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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

2,068 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2068
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: 2,068 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of marlinsfan4
marlinsfan4

Maryland

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

My first review of a Flanders Oud Bruin style beer. Had a bunch of Belgians the other weekend and found I really have a liking towards their beer, this one being no exception. Pours a brownish red color, not much head or carbonation. Super tasty and sour, a bit of a dry finish. Some nice cherry tones in the mouthfeel. Pretty good beer and I like the style, might be hard to have a few of these in a sitting but as it is, it's a delicious beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2012 02:04:42 | More by marlinsfan4
Photo of mtlasley
mtlasley

Illinois

3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A deeply brownish red pours from the glass where it collects as a deep brown that when held to light, shows as a powerfully deep red coloring. A light beige head weighs in at a finger and a half. It leaves exquisite lacing. The color is a beautifully deep red, really...

Slight lacto on the tip of the nose but I find a strong Belgian dark note dominating here. Figs, raisins and a slight alcohol scent really make up the center here. They're joined by a slightly burnt caramel. Slight oak here too.

Very, very lightly sour on the tip of the tongue but quickly dominated from the palate by Figs and Slightly burnt caramel dominate the taste profile here along with a very faint oak lingering in the background. Overall, not that impressive or complex of a brew..

Crisply bubbling in the mouth and the blush wine like thickness is carried along very well by the bubbles.

Overall, I'm not that impressed. A decent tasting Oud Bruin but the sour component that I've come to know and love just wasn't there. Don't get me wrong, a slight tartness stands up front but it's just not got any pop. The Belgian characteristic here is decent though. An overall decent beer but not worth the price I paid. ~$3.50 a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2012 03:22:49 | More by mtlasley
Photo of puboflyons
puboflyons

New Hampshire

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the 11.2 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on July 9, 2012. It pours reddish-brown with a full puffy, beige head that generally lingers. The aroma has a good cherry quality to it along with Belgian yeast and Belgian malts balancing it off. The body is medium but it also had an astringent bite to it. The taste was tart and sour as promised but not as much as I thought it might be. There's a cherry flavor to it but overall it lingers for some time. The flavor is one I will remember.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2012 22:54:09 | More by puboflyons
Photo of Aml42000
Aml42000

Washington

3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark brown body with a fluffy tan head. It showed some transparency toward the bottom of the glass and maintains a pretty appearance throughout.

S- A powerful blast of balsamico is hard to shake as you stick your nose deeper in the glass, but some muddled pit fruit becomes apparent with some swirling and persistence.

T- A healthy tension of sweet and sour on entry. The tart components are certainly more prominent on the mid palate. Tart, slighly underripe cherry and rhubarb fill the mouth. The barrel and yeast components take a backseat to the fruity aspects here. Medium levels of acidity for a sour ale.

M- This is a bit linear for a sour. High carbonation makes it more like a tart fruit soda than a sour or wild ale. I like a bit more acidity as I prefer a drier, fresher mouthfeel than this offers.

O- A very safe sour ale for those who aren't familiar with the style. A very versatile beer to serve with food as it has enough flavor to pair with many types of dishes, but gets a little tiresome to sip on alone. I wish it showed some more wild aspects.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2012 21:31:52 | More by Aml42000
Photo of thagr81us
thagr81us

South Carolina

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

Served from tap into a Trappe Door tulip. Poured a deep ruby red with a two finger very light tan head that subsided to a half finger quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, fruit, tart, cherry, vinegar, and strawberry. The flavor was of sweet malt, tart cherry, vinegar, cream, subtle wood, and strawberry. It had a light feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was a good brew. I have had this one more times than I can remember out of the bottle so it was really nice to see this one on-tap for the first time. I was definitely not disappointed. All of the right flavors and aromas going on in this one in all the right places. A very refreshing brew that is great for both the beginner and the professional alike. A definite must try if you have not done so already.

Serving type: on-tap

07-06-2012 10:39:28 | More by thagr81us
Photo of Danny1217
Danny1217

Florida

3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A brownish red color. An big off white head with good retention. Some fruits on the nose. A bit of an lactic acid smell, yet still somewhat sweet smelling. Cherry dominates the taste. The sourness comes in slightly delayed and is noticable, but not over-powering. Some other fruit tastes here. Plums, grapes, and pears. Tastes a bit like a red wine in a way. A somewhat light body and above average carbonation makes this actually very refreshing.

My first sour. Can't say that this will get me to spend all my money away on these expensive beers, but it has me interested.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2012 05:11:27 | More by Danny1217
Photo of martyl1000
martyl1000

Wisconsin

4.66/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Cooper's Tavern and at Mason Lounge. I can't stop drinking this stuff, and every time I order something else, I regret not having ordered the Monk's. I guess I'm even more a sour fan than I thought; used to think I was a malt guy, period). The aroma isn't great, smells like vinegar, actually. But I could drink ten of these in a row. Any other favorites I have -- Founders Imperial Stout, Southern Tier Jahva, Mikkeller Black Hole, Tyranena Dirty Old Man -- I can only drink two or three before feeling "up to here" (holding open hand at mid-throat). I can and want to drink as many of these sours as possible.

Note: I love this stuff, but I'd better adjust my original numerical rating (4.88), since I have very little experience with sours. From what I can see in other reviews of sours, this one is not an elite form of the style. I shouldn't be so affected by such things, but I don't want to be a grade-inflator. And its absolutely true that this beer isn't very complex. (But it's so damn drinkable!)

Serving type: on-tap

07-01-2012 07:52:31 | More by martyl1000
Photo of Lawl3ss
Lawl3ss

Texas

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

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2012 00:11:20 | More by Lawl3ss
Photo of rodkin
rodkin

Missouri

3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown, with about 2 fingers of light tan head. Reduces slowly, but a bit remains.

Smell is some dark fruit, mostly some cherry. Some tart acidity, slight funk. Nice, but kind of one dimensional.

Taste is some acidity upfront, A bit of the dark fruit, a little funk. Maybe a bit of citrus or oak. Kind of acidic, but not super sour. Slight wine taste. Nice, nothing special.

Okay mouthfeel. A bit thicker and less dry than I'd like. Decent carb.

Alright sour, tasty enough. Good value at $3.50 a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2012 04:33:03 | More by rodkin
Photo of KajII
KajII

North Carolina

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

[Best served in a Tulip glass]

The pour was a murky dark reddish brown with a large (2-3 finger) light brown rocky head that receded down to a thin cap, which did create some excellent sheeting of lacing.

The aroma was of a funky horse blanket Belgian yeast and a dark bread malt with notes of dark fruit (black cherries, plums and grapes) and a mild red wine.

The taste was sweet and a tad tart with a big dose of dark fruit throughout and a strong winey sour yeast presence towards the end. The flavor lasted an average duration after the swallow with a fruity sour wine finish.

Mouthfeel was light in body and semi-dry in texture with a good strong carbonation.

Overall a very satisfying Wild Ale with just enough fruitiness, which allowed for a robust fruity beginning and a slight wine finish...

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2012 18:25:42 | More by KajII
Photo of jmdrpi
jmdrpi

Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330mL bottle -no date

appears a dark brown with ruby highlights. off-white head. decent head retention. aroma is bready, belgian yeast, a little funkiness.

taste is a little bit tart. slightly sour aftertaste, but not overpowering. medium thickness, smooth mild carbonation.

overall - drinks nice. the sourness is restrained.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2012 03:41:43 | More by jmdrpi
Photo of boilermakerbrew
boilermakerbrew

Missouri

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First go with a sour, so here goes nothing...

A- Pours a deep, deep amber hue with a 1 finger head. Head is very bubbly and active. Good lacing and retention.

S- Well, sour it is. Very acidic on the nose. Slight fruit tones. Lemon and lime like scents with the acidity, minus the refreshing citrus part. Slight hints of some malts.

T- Light and fruity, with only hints of the sour flavors that were on the nose. Darker fruits are up front, with some grapes and maybe some tart cherries and raspberries. Very much like a semi-dry champagne.

M- Very carbonated. Drinks easily, but somewhat harsh on the palate. Could drink a few, but your tongue would be worn out.

O- This a a good starter sour. I thought I'd hate this from the smell, but it is pretty good. Easily drinkable and a good gateway into a very expensive style.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2012 02:45:15 | More by boilermakerbrew
Photo of MattyG85
MattyG85

Minnesota

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

Poured from 11.2 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with some tints of amber/ruby red. Moderate amount of bubbles and a huge five finger off white head that slowly recedes into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a good amount of lace.

Smell: Bready malts, yeast, and wheat grains up front giving a Maibock like aroma. Fruits are very noticeable but don't stand out strongly or smell overly sour/tart. Good hints of cherries and Brett along with hints of strawberry, fig, and apple. Also some subtle hints of wood. No noticeable hops.

Taste: Like the smell, but sourness and tartness is noticeable higher in the taste. A fairly tart and sour blend of cherries, Brett, fig, apple, and strawberry rhubarb. A little bit of wood. Solid backing of malts and wheat grains adding some bready sweetness. Somewhat funky with some Belgian yeast. Tastes pretty good.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy and fairly juicy. Sourness bites the tongue but isn't over the top. Finishes sweet.

Overall: A pretty solid sour. Has some nice tart fruit elements and remains fairly light and drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2012 06:24:44 | More by MattyG85
Photo of quirkzoo
quirkzoo

Colorado

3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful beer, dark brown with ruby highlights and 1 finger of off white head that last and lasts.

Smell is very nice, a very "clean" brett character, lots of earth and wood but not the super funky notes. Just a hint of tartness on the nose.

The taste was good but I knocked it down slightly from the aroma because it wasn't as intense. The same clean oakiness with a mild tart character.

Very drinkable, a bit on the lighter side, but that lends to increased drinkability.

OVerall, really nice. Not terribly complex but a really solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2012 17:16:58 | More by quirkzoo
Photo of TubaManJack
TubaManJack

Illinois

3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It's tulip time.

Appearance
Limited head which quickly disappates overlies a mahogany body with very little carbonation present.

Smell
Limited to a bit of bing cherries. There isn't any noticible malt comming through.

Taste
A lot of sour cherry twang as it spreads across your mouth. I have to say this but its similar to a cherry welshers sparking juice minus the carbonation. The sourness was pretty one dimensional and showed only bits of malt backbone. I didn't get the same vinger base that others mentioned.

Overall I am fairly new to the style and mixed on this one in particular. I would try to par this with food. Mine eventually joined a hot pretzel with spicy mustard for a doughy spice kick which I highly recommend.

Serving type: on-tap

06-12-2012 04:24:46 | More by TubaManJack
Photo of JHarris1717
JHarris1717

Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a really nice summer sipping beer. Peter Kate and I all got this and liked it. Smells great. Good sour, would try again . Went well with burger and chips at TJ's. I would also try other sours to compare but it is definitely not my usual preference.

Serving type: on-tap

06-09-2012 10:35:24 | More by JHarris1717
Photo of DaftCaskBC
DaftCaskBC

British Columbia (Canada)

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

A: 3/4" tan coloured head over deep mahogany liquid.

S: Sour funk and yeast.

T: Yeast, sour funk, rich bready malt, cherries, figs, pears and a sweet finish.

M: Medium viscosity and a medium level of carbonation.

O: A very easy drinker, one of the better Flanders Oud Bruins I have tried.

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2012 04:20:25 | More by DaftCaskBC
Photo of MadScientist
MadScientist

New York

4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a deep reddish brown with excellent clarity. The light tan head has lingers for a very long time.

The aroma is nice and fruity and malty with a light sour aroma. There are aromas of dark cherries and figs along with a brighter almost rhubarb like aroma. A mild sherry like character as well

There a lot going on in this with a fruit and malt flavors dominating followed by some spicy phenols all the while with a light sourness throughout ending in a dry finish. The flavors are again dark cherry and fig with a malt flavors of orange and a touch of treacle. Theres a light sherry like flavor in there and a little bit of hops bitterness. Overall it has a really nice balance of sweet and sour flavors but not with the intensity in some other sour styles.

It has a medium-full body with low carbonation. It's also very soft on the palate and almost cream. There is a slight touch of slickness but no diacetyl and no astringency.

Overall this is an amazing, lightly soured beer that is very refreshing. A the elements of the flavor and aroma are in a very satisfying balance, a world class example of the the Oud Bruin style. I'm definitely picking about a two more four packs of this and letting some age in my cellar.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2012 00:52:10 | More by MadScientist
Photo of Glibber
Glibber

Idaho

3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my first venture into sours, and for $2 a bottle at the co-op, I couldn't resist.
I was suprised at the 2" mocha colored head, and while the head did disipate, the glass was certainly laced. I dark copper colored beer, with some red when held to the light. On the nose I was able to detect some dark fruits, however they were light. I enjoyed the taste and mouthfeel more as the beer warmed up. Not as sour as I thought it was going to be and a drank easily. This was an enjoyable beer

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2012 01:13:32 | More by Glibber
Photo of ryanonline
ryanonline

Florida

2.5/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

looks like a nice brownish red flemish ale, lots of tan head and decent lacing. sort of opaque but just barely has some clarity to it.

smells light and sour, no hop presence and light on the sweet malts. maybe a slight bready yeast aroma.

the tast is rather off putting. It has virtually no real sour elements and is still very light on hops and malt, I practically taste nothing. Very odd.

the mouthfeel is thin and watery with a dry finish and a bit of foamy yet non aggressive carbonation.

drinkability is fairly high, due to the light nature, but it is not very tasty and, as such, i wouldn't want more than one.

overall, this beer sets you up to expect good things, but it kind of lets you down.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2012 23:40:04 | More by ryanonline
Photo of imasloth
imasloth

Texas

3.08/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Based on other reviews I look to be in the minority here but ...

A- Dark brown with red tint when head to light. Thin almond-coloured head with notable lacing.

S- Sweet malt with slight sourness.

T- Some sourness but not much else. A bit of malt in aftertaste.

M- Light-bodied with a dry, alcohol feel in afterfeel.

O- As my brother said, meh. Not the best of the Belgian brews or even sours by far.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2012 15:22:43 | More by imasloth
Photo of BostonHops
BostonHops

Massachusetts

3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a deep amber tone, sits a chestnut color with ruby tones evident when held to light. foamy finger, finger and a half beige head, middling retention; head lapse into a thin cap... very nice lacing.

nose is a pretty nice bouquet consisting mostly of malts, sour/tartness, and a fruity sweetness. flavor hits me with a little more sourness than i was anticipating based on the aroma, but not an overly, mouth-pucking sour... interesting balance between the sweet and sour. defintely has some tang to it; sour cherries. enjoyable and even a bit refreshing, though nothing transcendent.

medium-bodied mouthfeel with healthy carbonation. drinks easily. not the best sour you'll ever encounter but approachable and relatively tasty.

originally reviewed: 02-08-2011

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2012 22:33:40 | More by BostonHops
Photo of threeviews
threeviews

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviews vary quite a bit for this beer, so I do not know what to expect...poured from a 11.2oz bottle (no bottled on date), slightly below cellar temperature into a Duvel tulip glass.

A- Pours a with a deep, red/mahagony with a 2-1/2-finger, kahki colored head possessing moderate retention

S- Mild fruity notes: cherry, (red) apple and pear along with some hints of lactic acid. As the head subsides, a more geuze-like, barnyard funk is apparent. However, the overwhelming (and tart) apple cider vinegar aroma present in Rodenbach's Grand Cru or Lindeman's Cuvee Renee is not present.

T- Not at all that I was expecting (and pleasantly surprised)...mild apple cider vinegar sourness up front followed by some geuze-like funk and then a bit of chocolate/cherry sweetness on the back end. Really nice..

M- Copius, yet smooth carbonation gives this brew an effervescence that makes it refreshing. Couple that with a semi-dry finish and it makes Monk's Cafe a highly drinkable brew.

O- Not my favorite sour, but (as others have mentioned) a great entry into the style and certainly worth trying. I would like to say this might be the perfect amalgam between a geuze and sour, as it possesses traits of both.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2012 23:48:40 | More by threeviews
Photo of rfbenavi80
rfbenavi80

Missouri

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- With a very aggressive pour it pours a very dark amber almost brown with tons of fluffy light tan colored head that takes it's time leaving.

S- There is a noticeable "funk" factor about this beer. It is slightly fruity. Hard to pick out what fruits. Some sort of berry sweetness. Maybe some tart cherry candy.

T- WOW! Not at all what I expected. Very fruity, like fruit punch fruity, but with a nice sourness. Very interesting.

M- The carbonation in this one dances on the tongue as soon as it enters the mouth, but then quickly dances away. Turning into an easy drinker with it's light body.

O- Very surprised with this one. The taste does not follow the nose very well, there were many hidden flavors inside the beer that are not present on the nose. Overall, they got a good one here.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2012 02:32:20 | More by rfbenavi80
Photo of inlimbo77
inlimbo77

Delaware

3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle, no bottle date. Poured this into a Lost Abbey tulip.

A: Pours a very clear blood reddish amber color. Three fingers of off white, fluffy head. Nice carbonation for sure. During the sip it leaves a good amount of lacing.

S: Hard to smell through the thick head, but initially...not as funky and tart as I was expecting. There is some mild horse blanket and dark cherry but don't get tons.

T: Very surprised by how not sour it is. I get some mild tart cherry up front. And then a little oak hint. But there really isn't any super tart or balsamic character to this one. No where close to a Rodenbach or Red Poppy or others highly ranked.

M: It's fairly light bodied. Very refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2012 14:36:12 | More by inlimbo77
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,068 ratings.