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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,065 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2065
Reviews: 1018
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.1%


Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Flanders Oud Bruin |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Brewed for Monk's Café in Philadelphia, but also available for retail purchase elsewhere. Oud Bruin in style; a traditional blend of young and old beers.

(Beer added by: nomad on 06-19-2003)
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Ratings: 2,065 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of GermanHero
GermanHero

Vermont

2.8/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle
Drunk without food

Smells great. Has a nice feel in the mouth, but when it hits the back of the palette the sourness of of the beer comes out very strongly. I loved the way it smelt and the way it tasted initially but after it hit the back of my mouth it was overpowering.

Would drink again, but should be paired with food, something to counter act the sourness.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2010 18:50:18 | More by GermanHero
Photo of agent2550
agent2550

California

4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am sitting down with this beer right now.
It pours a uniform red with a finger of creamy head which continues to form well after it is poured: the tiny bubbles are fun to watch!
The taste is simple and delicious: sour with flavors reminiscent of cherry, mild bitterness, and kiwi.
Smells of funk and sour.
Smooth mouthfeel with light champaigne-like small bubbles.
Overall it is a very straightforward, clean, and simple beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2011 23:42:43 | More by agent2550
Photo of BeerYain
BeerYain

Washington

4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Here's the skinny: pours with little head and slight lacing. In my book, that's a good thing. I wanna get to the beer, not work my way through the foam. I would call this a typical representation of a Flemish sour - low alcohol and not too tart or sour for the casual drinker, but maybe underwhelming for the "seasoned" drinker. On a scale of 1 - 10 on the sour/tart scale, I'd probably give it a 4. Serve cold, but room temp ain't half bad either.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2011 01:36:28 | More by BeerYain
Photo of flip387
flip387

Texas

4.06/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: 4.25

Has a nice deep red color with a slight fizzy head.

Smell: 4.0

Crisp and slightly sour. Pleasant smell with mild hop and barley notes.

Taste: 4.0

Crisp and tart, noticed some earthy flavors which I believe is from the barley.

Mouthfeel: 4.0

Carbonated and fizzles on the tongue. Semi tar and sour, yet crisp and pleasant.

Overall: 4.25

My third sour beer, and my third from Brouwerij Bavik, defiantly my favorite from the Sour Power pack. This one is quite nice, has a tart crisp flavor along with some sweetness. A mild bodied red ale

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2013 22:02:14 | More by flip387
Photo of jbschafer
jbschafer

Iowa

3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Served at the high end of cellar temperature.

Pours a hazy amber, brown color - even more hazy than I might expect from this style. Very limited amount of light let through to the point of looking like something is "not right." I do not detect any red as might be expected. Reasonable sized head, collapses down in about a mind. Nice mild lacing as you drink that saved it's appearance score.

Smell is a mixture of sour fruit and some kind of bathroom astringent. Not awful, but again, like something is not right.

By the time, I took my first drink, I was already wondering what I had gotten myself into. The first taste was a mixture of cloves and vinegar, and like several other reviewers, I thought - crud, a lousy beer. However, I never trust first impressions. The clove taste was gone by the third sip and replaced with something more like sharp rotten fruit (kiwi?). While that sounds awful, it isn't too bad, and it began to grow on me.

Mouthfeel is somewhat thin with a lingering flavor of wet beach sand and, again, sour kiwi.

I could drink one with a meal, but am not sure I would want to drink two or three sitting around with friends.

I am not sorry I tried this, but it doesn't hold up against several of it's peers (like an old lover, Duchesse was my first and remains my favorite). I will probably keep a bottle on hand in the cellar, but it won't be one I will reach for on a weekly basis.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2006 18:55:11 | More by jbschafer
Photo of xxthepatientxx
xxthepatientxx

California

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2oz bottle. Poured into a flute.

A - Pours a beautiful pale reddish amber color with strong, champagne-like effervescence, leaving a dense, lingering slightly tan head. No lacing to speak of.

S - Fruity and tart, perhaps like a plum wine.

T/M - Mmmm! Smooth and viscous on the tongue. A bit more syrupy than I'd like when drinking that much of something, but not unpleasant. Very sweet with an underlying dry tartness like from a granny smith apple. Tiny bubbles tickle the tongue. The taste is very fruity; reminds me of plums. Tastes much like a port. This beer isn't nearly as tart as I expected, having previously tried La Folie. A good intro to the style, in that respect. The tartness is there, though, blending in and lending this certain character and depth.

D - One of these goes down very easy. For me, the sweetness is a bit much to have more than that...at least not without a break in between. The overall enjoyment factor though is very good. Very drinkable...just not sessionable.

Impressions: This brew reminds me of a lighter colored port - the smell, the texture, the sweetness, the the flavors. Very intriguing. And like a good port, this would pair fine with a dessert or stand alone as an after-dinner drink. It also occurred to me that due to the effervescence and distinctly winey taste of this particular beer, it would make a fun substitute to champagne on New Year's Eve. How's that for a way to introduce your friends and family to the world of unusual beers?

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2008 01:44:04 | More by xxthepatientxx
Photo of cavman
cavman

Massachusetts

4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got 2 bottles one for now one to age a bit, and see how it changes.

A = A quite attractive beer, I poured it into a La Chouffe tulip. Nice reddish color and a thick off white/light beige head.

S = Was what I was expecting, some tart cherry notes with a little bit of sour in the nose.

T = Reminds me of Duchesse but not as complex, cherry flavor seems to dominate followed by a slight sourness.

M = Smooth mouthfeel with a medium body.

D = I find it very drinkable, a beer that the wine folks would appreciate as well.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2009 02:17:53 | More by cavman
Photo of bikencycle
bikencycle

Illinois

4.6/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into my hamms chalice

A: pours an red brown hue with little head and some lacing

S: has a sour pie cherry smell

T: dry, sour, cherry, and somewhat bitter vinigar taste that is well balanced

M: has a very delicious feel to it

D: very drinkable, and one of my new favorites for the time being

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2009 04:41:36 | More by bikencycle
Photo of Surly87
Surly87

Minnesota

4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep ruby red, frothy off-white head that recedes fairly quickly. Tart at first, dies quickly and then a huge sour cherry flavor emerges through. Nearly perfect mouthfeel. My first sour, seems like a good introduction to the style. A very nice, interesting brew!

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2010 02:15:58 | More by Surly87
Photo of thstevens12
thstevens12

Washington

4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy brown with reddish tinge at the edges. Thin off-white head clings to the edges of the beer.
4

Smell: Tart cherries, estery notes, and a whiff of wheat. I can also detect a touch of lactose and grassiness.
4

Taste: The initial impression is sweet cherry, think pie, with white sugar and ester flavors right behind. The finish is a mild lactic sourness that is refreshingly dry.
4

Mouthfeel: Thin mouthfeel with just a touch of stickiness. Wine-like drying finish.
4

Drinkability: Tartly refreshing and not overly sweet. Highly drinkable.
4.5

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2011 22:50:41 | More by thstevens12
Photo of Texasfan549
Texasfan549

Texas

4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle straight from the fridge into a snifter. First time trying this style! Pours a clear bright red with a massive white head that filled over half of my snifter. Head receded after a couple minutes and left slight lacing. Aroma is sour cherries and a little funk with no hops or beer like qualities. Taste is all sour cherries, reminds me of the first time I ate candy! Carbonation explodes in your mouth and reveals tart cherries and a sweet almost sugary finish that sticks to your tongue. I couldn't put my glass down for more than a few seconds without finding myself wanting another sip. Mouthfeel is light and crisp with huge carbonation. Overall I'm glad I tried this and will be buying more on my next visit. I always enjoy trying new styles of beer and this is a prime example... really enjoyed this one.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2011 06:46:10 | More by Texasfan549
Photo of Dix90
Dix90

Pennsylvania

4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark golden chestnut brown with ruby hues. Nice bubbly head with good quick receding lacing.

Aroma: fruity and vinegary. Cherries, apples, grapes and cranberries shine through in almost a red wine tinge.

Taste: very fruity and sweet on the tongue.very well balanced with a mild tart sourness. Highly carbonated and leaves a pleasant sweetness at the end.

Mouthfeel: very light and carbonated. Bubbly and dry. Kind of feels like the carbonation makes the tartness cascade along the tongue.

Overall: a very good introduction to sours. Mildly sour that let's strong fruit notes shine through. Very thirst quenching.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2013 19:42:51 | More by Dix90
Photo of blgianbeer
blgianbeer

New York

4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I just got back from a trip to Philly and my obligatory stop at Monk's. Trying this ale was on the top of my "to do" list given the absence of any Rodenbach products in the market.
I was not disappointed. I would put this somewhere between the rather unremarkable Rodenbach and the spectacular Grand Cru. Not quite as complex and aromatic as the GC, but much more sour and flavorful than regular Rodenbach.
This beer is not unlike Van Steenberge's Bios (which I loved and brought several bottles back from Belgium). Well worth the price of admission.

Serving type: on-tap

07-07-2003 10:23:57 | More by blgianbeer
Photo of paulzy
paulzy

Wisconsin

3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle to a 22 ounce d

Appearance: Pours a deep copper color with a medium head. Head stays throughout the beer. Looks good.

Smell: Smells weakly of fruit and acid.

Taste: Starts sweet, then goes mildly sour, like a good lemonade. Finishes a little dry, not at all unpleasant.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation really does the trick with this sour brew, making it kind of fun to roll around on your toungue. Otherwise it feels like any other red.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. I'd consider sharing this with a non-beer geek, as a tasty introduction to a neato style.

Overall I consider this a very accessible beer within the style. I don't often bring sour beers through my fridge, but this one is certainly one I'd consider.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2008 23:41:34 | More by paulzy
Photo of LiquorLockerVP
LiquorLockerVP

Rhode Island

2.85/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Tried this at a private office function, poured from an 11.2oz bottle.

Appearance:
A dark garnet, like slightly red cola. It had a non existent head which was quickly chased away by an almost hissing carbonation. Interestingly, after letting it sit for a while, the remnants of the head formed little islands that looked hauntingly like leering skulls.

Smell:
At first, it was a phenol bomb bringing to mind the dreaded low totem poll halloween "Good n Plenty"s of younder years. Despite my disdain for the candies as a kid, this smell was really pleasing. As the brew warmed up, this candy smell transformed into an nose full of apple vinegar. It was a unique transformation that I found interesting.

Taste:
I recently tried a Geuze, and recognized some of the champagne qualities I picked up in that in this beer. It almost tastes like a marriage between cola and dry spanish cava all built on a backbone of sour dough bread. Very unique, pretty sweet. (sugary sweet, not sweet as in cool). After taste is very much champagne.

Moutful:
The hissing carbonation I mentioned earlier set upon my tongue and sizzled on its surface. Thin and driven by carbonation. Very gaseous and fizzy.

Drinkability:
A little too sweet to do more than one. After sitting out for a bit, its carbonation dulled accentuating the cola taste even more so. Nice beer for an experience, and would work well as a toast, but as far as sessioning it's just a bit too unique.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2009 02:44:30 | More by LiquorLockerVP
Photo of 404UGA
404UGA

Georgia

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first foray into the flemish sour red ale genre, I didn't really know what to expect. The beer store employee said it tasted like sour patch kids, which didn't exactly get me pumped up. Fortunately I wouldn't say that was too accurate of a characterization. It poured an almost blood red color with a think head that fizzled away pretty quickly but never totally disappears. It smells interesting, a little bit lactic perhaps but not necessarily bad. The taste is a little sour (go figure) but I liked it. The mouthfeel is almost more like a soda than a beer. During the first sip or two the bubbles actually grazed my nose like when drinking a coke. Not the most drinkable beer, but I think that goes with the category. Certainly good for one, probably not more than that though. Would go really well with bread and cheese. Overall, was a pleasant surprise.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2010 02:12:42 | More by 404UGA
Photo of drinkslinger028
drinkslinger028

Maryland

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was sitting on a shelf at my local go to beer store so I picked it up, this one of my first sours so I don't really have anything to compare it to.

A- pours a resist brown with a slight tan head
S- the smell is kinda off sorta like watered down cherry, with a but of iron
M- kinda slippery with quick disappearance
T- taste could be a little more sour but in all it's quite tasty
D- coming from a 750ml I could easily finish this by myself I would purchase again.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2011 23:07:48 | More by drinkslinger028
Photo of mclynch
mclynch

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Big creamy head that won't quit - but pour carefully towards the end lest chunks of blackish yuck end up in your glass, rising & falling like a lava lamp on the bubbles! Foam left on the glass was marred by this black gunk (yeast, trub, whatever?).
Smell was fruity, sweet & sour, & somewhat funky.
Taste was tart but not overly so, sour cherry, cheerfully carbonated, a nice food accompaniment and easy drinking beer.
Mouthfeel a little thin but enough going on with the taste and bubbles that it wasn't a factor.
Overall - will definitely buy this again. At about $10 for a 4 pack (in MA), it's a reasonable price for a blended sour ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2013 13:43:53 | More by mclynch
Photo of VinnyA
VinnyA

Pennsylvania

3.99/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Source: 11.2oz bottle
Served: tulip glass

Appearance: pours a deep red with about 1 inch tan head.

Smell: sugar, sour apple, hint of cherry

Taste: slightly bitter and moderately sour. Low tartness. Notice some vinegar. Beer gives way to a relatively clean finish, it is very much a palate cleansing beer. Tasty, however, I can't quite put my finger on what makes this unique.

Mouthfeel: high carbonation. Monks has a mild bite on the back end of the tongue that fades out into a refreshing yet dry finish. It quenches your thirst and is a nice cleanser.

Overall: this is a good entry-level sour red. I have to recommend having it on draft at monks cafe in Philly, if you're in the area. It is a lot softer, mildly carbonated and sweeter which balances out the sourness brilliantly. Still, the bottled version is a good beer to have before eating meat or as a relaxer on a summer evening. If you like the style, I'd recommend buying a case of it at least once. Very easy to drink. If you're looking for a more complete Oud Bruin, I recommend the Liefmans Goudenband.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2013 05:14:21 | More by VinnyA
Photo of Radley521
Radley521

Montana

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After a nice Sunday stroll along the East Gallatin River, we stopped by Vino Per Tutti, a great little wine in Bozeman that is carrying a great, if not small, selection of craft beers. Brewed for Monk's Cafe in Philly by Br. Van Steenberge in Belgium, Monk's Cafe is a Flemish Sour Red Ale. This is my first dive into this particular sour style. The one notion that keeps coming up in my mind as I drink this brew is cherries. It smells and tastes like a dry homemade cherry wine like some of fruit hooch that I had in my younger days.

Appearance: The head was a thin linen white head. It has all the looks of sparkling cherry juice. Laces glass nicely with sticky little bubbles.

Aroma: Cherries with almost cheese-like funkiness.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated, which effectively cleanses the palette, and a bit thin on the aftertaste, actually.

Taste: Cherry wine with pear notes followed by sweaty horse blanket. Dissipates quickly from the palette. Sourness is not pronounced as I had expected.

Redneck Rating: It's Alright

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2010 01:36:50 | More by Radley521
Photo of MikeyMisfit
MikeyMisfit

New York

4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: deep red mahogany color with an off-white head. The head from the initial pour seemed to dissipate pretty quickly, however the beer kept a thin creamy head from start to finish.

S: The scent of tartness with a slight malty/caramel floating around somewhere

T: You get the sour/tartness up front, your saliva glands kick in and then there is a cloying sweetness to balance the tartness. Like a sour apple type thing. Imagine taking a bite of a Granny Smith apple and then immediately follow it with a bite of a Red Delicious apple.

M: Light bodied with just the right amount of carbonation. Crisp and refreshing.

D: This would be a great beer on a hot summer day or after eating a heavy meal. Definitely one of those beers that makes you wonder why its gone so fast.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2010 06:07:53 | More by MikeyMisfit
Photo of Shaken9
Shaken9

North Carolina

3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got 750ml bottle from Healthy Home Market in Charlotte, NC

Appearance - medium brown with hints of ruby, thin fizzy head that dissipated quickly, very little lacing.

Smell - Slightly acidic with faint cherries, raspberries, very light vinegar and earthy funkiness.

Taste - Not very sour, more wine like acidity than anything, light malt and sour cherries in the finish. A bit of sweetness at first that yields to the lactic acidity. Just a hair too thin, watery, might be from the effervescent nature of this beer. A good beginners sour, but lacking the body and depth of flavor of other excellent sours (ie Rodenbach).

Mouthfeel - Very light, thin, fizzy... A bit too fizzy for the style but balances with the light flavor of the beer.

Drinkability - A fair, drinkable sour, especially for people who have never tried sours, though I would propose that beginners start with excellent examples first, some people like to "ease" into stronger styles like sours.

Overall, it's an ok representation of the style and is probably blended to appeal to a wider number of palates. As such, it's a passable sour, but more like a sparkling wine in its acidity than a vinegary or mouth puckering sour. Not bad if you can't find other sours around.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2010 18:57:44 | More by Shaken9
Photo of Patrick_E_Sweeney
Patrick_E_Sweeney

Virginia

3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a beer tulip. Color is a very dark amber. Almost three fingers of cream colored head with a slight red tinge. Extremely light aroma, slightly sour and fruity. A bit like an extremely watered-down apple cider vinegar (not at all unpleasant, just the best I could do to describe it).

Taste comes on strong and complex. Pretty much no malt, very little hops. There is a great deal of acidity, reminiscent of citrus fruit. Quite a decent bite that lingers for several seconds. As the acidic, carbonation feeling fades, a dry, slightly hoppy aftertaste persists.

Interesting beer, a bit like a less-sweet lambic. They aren't kidding when they call it sour. Not something I'd drink every day, but certainly a repeat customer.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2014 23:30:55 | More by Patrick_E_Sweeney
Photo of belhav0322
belhav0322

New York

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very different. This was my first time trying this style, so it is hard to compare it to anything. Pours a very reddish-mahogony tone. Floral aromas are very apparent and are noticable on the palate upon first taste. Underlying sweetness is balanced by sour aftertaste. Very quenching and full mouthfeel. Fruitiness and tartness are apparent as the beer starts to warm. This actually reminded me of certain Rose wines (I know, bad analogy on this site). This could make a good session beer if you were in the mood for something lite and refreshing. Other than that, this would make an excellent dessert beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2004 19:56:40 | More by belhav0322
Photo of senbrewing
senbrewing

Kentucky

4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich red and brown color with white fizzy head. Nice lace though stuck to the snifter quite well.

Upfront sourness typical of sour style beer. Smells of citrus and tart cherries. Very winey.Quite lovely.

Taste is fantastic. Sour beers are are my new favorite style and I never pass on up. Grand cru being one of my absolute favorite beers this is right up there with them. Very similar in taste with a balance between sweet and tart. Soured cherrys and sweet citrus very drinkable. The main difference is the sweetness which sets this apart from grand cru. By no means is it bad just a little sweet for my taste. All in all great balanced sour with that great funky finish that makes this a great sour.

Tart puckering effect when it hits the mouth followed by citrus and cherries. Very spritzy, typical champaign feel. Good malty base with hints of wine.

All in all this beer hits the top of my list and is a great representation of a good Flemish sour. Being one of my favorite styles this beer is all around a good balanced beer. Sweet sour tart, what else can I say. Try it. Like most I've seen you'll either love or hate this style. Thank you Belgium

Serving type: on-tap

02-01-2012 03:24:22 | More by senbrewing
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,065 ratings.