Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
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Ratings: 2,282 | Reviews: 1,038 | Display Reviews Only:
3.6/5 rDev -6.3%
A: copper, tan bubbly head foams and busts in about 30 seconds, no lace.
S: minerals, rust, fresh rain air, slight vinegar, Sauvignon Blanc wine cork.
T: sweet and sour sauce, cider funk and vinegar, Neco Wafers, kind of like soda flavored candy. Finish is juicy with a malty beer-y aftertaste. It reminds me a lot of a diet soda.
M: light-bodied, light carbonation, which I usually prefer in this style, but it lacks both the body and the dryness to back it up. Has a watery quality that is off-putting.
O: a very nice beer, pleasant and drinkable, in the same way that a diet Coke is. Also the smell and mouthfeel left a lot to be desired.
11-07-2011 22:25:18 | More by nickhiller
3.68/5 rDev -4.2%
Serving type: 330 ml bottle. There is a poorly printed batch code on the back label but nothing discernable as a freshness date.
Appearance: Poured into a tulip. The color is clean, dark brown. Two fingers of lightly tanned, buttery head dissipated quickly to leave a spotted lacing and ring around the edge.
Smell: Immediate tartness. Granny apple, sour grapes, plum, raisins, cherry, sweet (very sweet) caramel, molasses, chocolate, and yeast. It has a hint of smokiness and vinegar, too.
Taste: The mouthfeel is very peculiar. Light and slippery, it is almost like diet pop. The flavors do not standout on their own but contribute to a tart blend, which is mostly fruity; it swings between the grapes/apple and the darker fruits. The smokiness is gone, but the vinegar is still noticeable; it has a slight acidity to it.
Drinkability: I have never had sour ale before so I have to say this first experience was good. Different, but good.
01-20-2012 05:06:43 | More by TheQuietMan22
3.75/5 rDev -2.3%
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a New Belgium globe glass.
A: Pours a very murky brown with red accents with a thin head.
S: Sour, tangy, slightly sweet, sour cherries.
T: A tangy and tart sour cherries starts it off. The sourness is very pleasant, not at all overwhelming. Nice balance for the style.
M: Medium bodied, maybe even a little light. Smooth carbonation.
D: An interesting beer, certainly worth trying if you're a fan of sours.
09-13-2008 03:36:29 | More by willjschmidt
3.83/5 rDev -0.3%
Appearance: Chestnut brown body but ruby red and nearly translucent when held up to the light. Poured a fluffy light tan head that is slowly dissipating without much lacing.
Aroma: Nice tart and hearty red grape with some nondescript berry notes in there. An interesting dryness as well. Not really all that aromatic but the sweet and tart elements are quite enjoyable.
Taste: Smashing flavor straight away. Lively red grape must with lots of sweet fruity esters that turn tart in the second half. Not quite sweet and not quite sour a whole. The finish is full of spastic carbonation and the aftertaste lends a blast of red grape juice with cranberry. A light tart flavor lingers for a good while. A good amount of flavor for a modest 5.5% ABV.
Mouthfeel: About medium in body with tons of carbonation as is usual for the style. Easy drinkability and probably sessionable.
Final Thoughts: Really enjoyed this one and would recommend it to anyone interested in trying a Flemish/Sour beer for the first time. Though the level of sourness is on the low end of the spectrum, it was able to stave off that sour beer craving. Would I drink it again? Yes.
09-20-2013 02:10:49 | More by JamesMN
3.65/5 rDev -4.9%
My first beer of this style.
Appearance: Opaque brown body, slightly reddish coloration. Small khaki-colored head that dissipates quickly. Leaves a small amount of lacing.
Smell: Sour, tarty aroma, a hint of that "mustardy" aroma I always get from lambics, has the aroma of a wild ale, probably due to the yeast. Slightly musky at the bottom. This seems pretty much what I expected for-style, so I'm giving it a 4.
Taste: Strong notes of sourness up front. Breadiness in the middle, slightly malty and grainy. Underneath the sourness is a mild touch of apples and cherry. Finishes clean and dry with only a slight tart.
Mouthfeel: Fairly thin mouthfeel, no real carbonation, slightly chewy.
Drinkability: I'm dinging this a bit because I find it fairly undrinkable. I know the tartness and the sourness is to-style, but for my palate it's fairly overwhelming. I've given it credit in the higher categories, so I don't feel bad for dropping its score a bit here.
10-31-2008 03:27:45 | More by danielharper
4.33/5 rDev +12.8%
I was surprised to see I hadn't reviewed this before. I've had it probably 4 or 5 times. This bottle probably has about a year of aging on it, and it does seem to have mellowed out some which I like.
Appearance- dark ruby grapeish color with a small head but plenty of lacing. Looks good.
Smell- mostly sour notes, but there's a bit of vinegar at times in the background which I could go without. It's not a dealbreaker for me though, just something I could do without. Well... afterall, it is part of the style, isn't it? Smell of cherries and grapes with a dusting of oakey/woodsy notes.
Taste and Mouthfeel- Nice sour flavors mingle with very subtle oaky flavors. Again, the flavors are mostly grapes and cherries- at least that's how I perceive it anyway. Remember that grape flavored kool-aid with the purple dinosaur on it? Well, if I remember correctly, this beer tastes kind of like they took some of that and fermented it with some wild critters. That might sound like a negative review, but I think it's pretty darn tastey. Finishes pretty dry.
Drinkability- I find this to be a pretty drinkable beer overall, and one that might be a good gateway beer into the realm of sour beer. It's not too sour, but there's enough there to make it a new taste for most people.
11-03-2008 02:45:09 | More by lpayette
2.93/5 rDev -23.7%
It pours a niice red-brown with a rose head.
The smell sets up the taste, it is weak. Some sour, some sweet but nothing too much.
The taste is very meh. It reminds me less of a Flanders Red, it tastes more like a Dubbel with a slightly sour finish. Not bad, if you like Dubbels. I don't. It is also very sweet. Very sweet. I like a nice, crisp sour finish and this beer doesn't deliver.
The mouthfeel is bad. It reminds me of a quad -- both thin and thick at once. I don't like the feeling at all.
Drinkability? I'm having a hard time finishing a >12oz bottle. Would I drink it again? I could get two of Bell's Expedition for the price of this bottle, or half of Cantillon's Organic Gueze. 'Nuf said.
08-04-2006 01:38:49 | More by shbobdb
4.18/5 rDev +8.9%
Lightly chilled 11.2 oz. bottle poured into a shaker pint, as per the recommendation on the box. No discernable bottling date.
Look- Big, big head on this. 3/4 of the glass is filled with tight beige foam, looks like a root beer float, really. Crystal clear ruby-brown. Nice lacing.
Smell- Sweet, cidery, powdery, candylike. Pears, caramel, vanilla and lemon extract, some straw. Good malt backdrop, feels centered. Very appealing, if on the sweet side.
Taste- Cidery, pears, strong dose of wood comes out in the middle. Perhaps there's a hint of hops towards the end, but it's basically indistinguishable from the light oxidation. Vanilla again, sweet, almost candy/soda feel. Clean, almost no aftertaste, although sourness builds a bit as the glass empties. Very champagne-like.
Mouthfeel- Crisp, light to medium body. Not particularly dry, but quite clean. I feared it would be over-carbonated, but it's actually got a fairly soft edge, smooth on the tongue, a bit prickly on the swallow. Drinks like a cider, very refreshing. A bit acidic by the end, but it disappeared quickly- I wouldn't mind having a few of these.
Overall- Perhaps it's the 100+ degree heat today, but man, this really hit the spot. I have fairly mixed feelings about sours, but this one I thoroughly enjoyed. Crisp, easy drinking, definitely on the sweet side, puckery but not overly so. Feels more like an everyday beer, which I haven't seen in sours before. Not very complex, but what's there is spot on. A good lemonade replacement, in my opinion.
06-30-2012 00:11:20 | More by Lawl3ss
4.3/5 rDev +12%
Bottle to snifter.
In my search for reasonably priced sours, this one is coming on top thus far. Very cheap for a bottle (in comparison) and remarkably balanced and flavorful.
appearance - pours a rich ruby red with some transparency, head settles quickly but retains on the sides of the glass, some land mass formations from the aerial view of the glass, strong lacing
smell - fruit, oak, cherry, bitter, sour, wood
taste - sour but not too sour, dark fruits including cherry, apple, grape, flavors of wood, smooth finish, lacks the sharp tartness of better sours but amazing flavor
mouthfeel - full bodied for 5.5 abv and heavily carbonated, smooth and big
06-13-2010 02:24:04 | More by djbreezy
4.47/5 rDev +16.4%
Having to celebrate Belgian Independence Day. But I don't need an excuse to enjoy this fine brew.
Pours very dark. Brown and red trying to peak through, but it is really dark. Really nice head that stayed for a while. Lacing was always present and pretty thick as well.
Sour from the oak is the smell. And that is pretty much the taste as well. Maybe with a touch of sweetness. It is oh so good.
Highly recommended. Forgot how good this was.
07-22-2009 03:20:21 | More by GeoffFromSJ
4.1/5 rDev +6.8%
A- deep mahogany with 2 fingers of fluffy white froth, excellent retent, soapy lace
S- sour fruit, funky
T- highly sour, toasted malts, dried fruit, sweet and sour battle throughout
M- mouth puckering sourness, smooth, sticky
D- tasty and refreshing, love the sweet and sour flavors, i really wish brewers would attempt these sours belgian styles as opposes to triple and wits. recommended
07-02-2008 01:08:12 | More by tonistruth
2.68/5 rDev -30.2%
A nice looking ruby color body topped by a very thick off white head fills the tulip glass. The head remains thick but leaves only minimal lacing. Still, an attractive brew.
An aroma of cherries and musty vinegar. It actually smells better than the description.
Now comes the taste, and it is quite a letdown after what the aroma suggested. Very little sour character about this beer, in fact it seemed much sweeter than it did sour. There was still a hint of cherry, but it was muted by the sweetness. I really can't put a finger on any other flavors, it just had sort of a blandness to it.
Mouthfeel was thin and very slippery. It was also somewhat lifeless and uninteresting.
While I usually enjoy beers of this style, this is one I'll be passing on in the future. Other than the appearance and to a lesser degree the aroma, this beer had nothing about it which beckoned me back for more.
09-25-2009 01:44:00 | More by JBogan
4.1/5 rDev +6.8%
Deep reddened brown. Nectarine highlights. Small bubbly beige head that dissipated quickly. Some wisps of lace.
Vinegar, cherry, raspberry, tart and sour. apple, pear, candi sugar and spices. berry pie. slight lactic and slight feet.
Bright crisp and fruity. Sour apple and pear, tart cheery and raspberry. Sweet and fruity. pie crust.
Refreshing, crisp, bubbly high carbonation. Light body with some feel to it.
Very drinkable. Vinegar disappeared after a few minutes. Great flavors. Not overwhelmingly sour. A nice drinkable sour Flemish ale.
My girlfriend doesn't normally venture outside of the Hefe/Wit/Blonde arena, but she loved this one, claiming it was one of the best beers she's ever had. I am trying to get her into belgian beer and this was a great one for her to try.
09-27-2010 18:27:29 | More by CHILLINDYLAN
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,282 ratings.