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

Not Rated.
Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,094 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 1,094
Hads: 2,715
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.24%
Wants: 79
Gots: 355 | FT: 6
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:
Beer added by: nomad on 06-19-2003

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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,094 | Hads: 2,715
Photo of Darkmagus82
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – The beer served a reddish brown color with a nice clarity. Upon swerving there is a thick white head floating atop the brew. The head sticks around for quite some time eventually fading to leave a decent level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is sweet and tart with lots of dark cherry and plum with souring notes of an apple cider vinegar and some lactic acid bacterial funk smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a sweet dark cherry and a little bit of sour grape and sour cherry. As the flavor advances it gets more and more sour and tart in nature, but maintains, all the while, a good level of sweetness. Apple cider vinegar and some funky yeast flavors accompany the souring and tart flavors at the end leaving a pleasant sweet and tart flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is one thinner and crisper side with tons of tiny carbonation bubbles. The prickly carbonation and thinner body are great for the sweet, sour and tart fruit flavors of the brew and help keep the tart from becoming too overpowering.

Overall – This is a great sour. It isn’t too heavy in any one component – not too sweet, sour, or tart, but the right blend of the three for a very enjoyably drinkable brew. (1,303 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into tulip 14/3/13 bottle from IanSpindler IP trade

A looks dark brown until I hold it to the light where it has a dark amber glow, a finger of foam falls quickly ending up as a thin film that stays there leaving no lace

S burnt sugar and cider notes mix well with purple candy like grape aromas and earthy notes, has a nice sweet and sour thing going on, subtle green apple and sweet cherries

T not as much going in the mouth much to my surprise, just seems to be toned down a little compared to the nose, the sweet and sour is still working well for it though and I do like it but was expecting a little more after smelling it

M enters silky and gets creamy quickly, feels good, light but the bubbles give it lots of life and has some brown sugar and fruit on the finish

O I didn't know what to expect but I rather liked this one and it went down so easy, I could drink a few without getting board

Fairly random style but as far as I know they did a pretty good job, something I'd drink again for sure (1,033 characters)

Photo of sirtomtom
3.51/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a nice clear dark brown with two fingers of tan head.

S: Very mild scent, a bit of tart apple and a light funk.

T: A very mild flavor. Tart apple and berry. Mildy sour with just a touch of wet blanket funk.

M: A bit watery finishing nice and dry.

O: This is a great sour to start with. Lightly sour, very simple, easy drinking, not very complicated. The touch of funk helps ease people into sours nicely. Paid $3.99, well worth a try. (449 characters)

Photo of dogfishandi
3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750 ml caged and corked bottle at fridge temp poured into a snifter. Roughly 1 year of age on this bottle.

I should've known this was going to be a gusher, but I didn't lose more than a few ounces. The cork really shot off this bad boy. Pours out a fairly clear really nice dark ruby red color, almost brown when not in the light. A finger or 2 worth of fizzy light tan head that quickly faded to a ring. Not the best retention and no real lacing, but a nice color.

Dark cherry, acidic apple vinegar, a bit of a sweet brown sugary malt and lactic funk. Some barnyard Brett as it warms.

A nice balance of sweet to sour. Dark sweet cherry flavors all around, apple skin, apple vinegar, lots of sweet cherry mixed with a bit of brown sugar maltiness. Think candied caramel apple.

Really a lot of carbonation going on, light, airy, tart finish.

Not really all that sour, quite sweet. Not the best Flanders I've had, I tend to prefer some of the American versions over the Belgians, but still a worthy beer. Prolly something I wouldn't buy again however. (1,059 characters)

Photo of darky
3.17/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Poured from a bottle into a Saxo tulip/snifter

A:deep ruby reddish brown, thick, persistent white head and ample carbonation.

S: Tart fruits, and an astringent lemon-y scent.

T: Fruit punch at first, followed immediately by grapefruit, grapes, alcohol and a sour finish backed by strong carbonation. This is not a great example of this style. While different, and enjoyable, the flavor is really not very refined. The flavor of this beer has loads of character, but the component flavors are all fighting attention and fail to make a cohesive statement.

M: While the carbonation is strong, it pulls off a really nice smooth, almost creamy mouthfeel, that really benefits this beer overall. A definite strong point.

O: This is about third time I've had this beer, and I'm drinking this one a little warmer than before, probably around 45-50 degrees F. That said, this brew is better consumed a little colder. If you are introducing someone new to Belgians, by all means, do NOT start them out with beer. I think it would be very interesting to throw this brew into the mix in a blind taste with others of it category, but at the end of the day, your money is better spent elsewhere. (1,186 characters)

Photo of Brewsephus
3.19/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

11.2 oz bottle poured into tulip glass.

A- Pours a off-white 2 finger head. Head lasts longer than a minute and leaves very delicate lacing on inside of glass. Beer is a very dark red, almost opaque, held up to light reveals a deep ruby color. Small/Medium bubbles on surface.

S-Sour fruit, lemon, unripe plum, cherry pie.

T-deep cherry, baked pie, sweet resinous fruit, nectar. Very subtle malt sweetness. Sourness approaches the front of the palate, but is not sharp or vinegar. Just unripe fruit. A little band-aid flavor on the finish into aftertaste.

M- Carbonation is nicely effervescent, at first I thought it might take away from the wonderful flavor, but it would be too viscous and syrupy with all the fruit and less carbonation. Body is light, but not lacking in mouth-feel. Alcohol is unnoticeable.

O- This is one of my first Flanders and I must say I am pleasantly surprised. I enjoy the fruit characteristics, and while not puckering sour it is a lot more tender than I anticipated. A really nice, but not great, nuanced sour. (1,049 characters)

Photo of HabiMendes
4.49/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer looks as one would expect from the Flemish Brown Ales - dark brown, with reddish tones. The neck is slightly tanned. The aroma emanates Granny Smith apples, with a very characteristic acidic note. The medium body, well-carbonated and extremely refreshing, also showcases the acidity, but not exaggeratedly. The aftertaste is long, leaving a pleasant tartness in your mouth. Very good Flemish Brown. (407 characters)

Photo of BWED
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was lucky enough to move to the Philly area, and stopped into Monk's the other day. I had this on draft before my mussels came out.

A- Translucent mahogany, with an emphasis on some red highlights. Light light brown head, one finger thick, retains okay with some spattering of lacing.

S- Sweet, fruity. Tart cherry hits the nose quite strong.

T- Sweet strong cherry, with an acidic tart finish.

M- Smooth, yet with an acidic bite, fairly light body, and a puckering finish.

O- This is a fantastic choice for someone entering the realm of beer, as well as showing someone the diversity in beer. Lip smacking sweetness with a good tart balance. I like it. (660 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

(Note: my personal scoring system is in whole numbers only)

11.2 oz bottle poured into Golden Draak tulip and consumed today 2/20/2013

Aroma: A very nice tart cherry nose with hints of grape and raspberry, and a little bit of malt sweetness. Not particularly complex but is still rather pleasing. (4)

Colour: Really nice ruby-red body when illuminated. Pours with an expansive, aggressive offwhite head that requires a few minutes to settle down before I can complete the pour. Otherwise laces are quite sticky. (4)

Flavour: I get a lot of sour cherry and grape which is what I expected, I actually like it. Not a ton of malt sweetness but it's there. A little bit of plum and raisin comes up if I look for it. Generally a straight-forward combination of flavor. (4)

Mouthfeel: Nothing special, a medium bodied ale with overly strong carbonation and pleasant tart cherry aftertaste. It's nicely dry and really does a palate-cleansing job. If it wasn't as overcarbonated, I'd give it a 4. (3)

Overall: Quite enjoyable to drink but I'm not sure I'd rush out to get more. As I drink more sours, I'll probably revisit this one. As it stands, it's one of the better priced Belgians on the shelf in the US and I will drink accordingly. (4) (1,239 characters)

Photo of ajcormier
3.07/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Poured from bottle into small tasting tulip.
A - Looks great, reddish brown with creamy colored lacing.

S - Smelled good but lacking in a real sharp tart note I was hoping for. Plums, raisins, cherry and lightly toasted biscuits. Slight musk.

T - Disappointing a suppose. As with the smell I was really hoping for something a bit more puckering. Tasting was similar to the smell but sweeter than I was anticipating.

M - Good bubbles and slightly coating. Dry finish but residual sugars were there.

O - Eh, had way better. Good but not worth buying again. (559 characters)

Photo of SHODriver
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep brown with ruby edges and a huge slow to fade off white head into a New Belgium globe
S: smells of sour cherries, a bit of wood, some must and a slight roast malt
T: pleasantly tart with some sour cherry flavor followed by some slight oakiness but the cherry remains throughout, a bit of vanilla as well, hint of chocolate at times too. swallow brings more sour cherry and a bit of must
M: medium with pleasant and slightly prickly carbonation. refreshing finish
O: this beer is tasty and well executed. price isn't bad either and it's fairly accessible out here. If you like the oud bruin style you should give this one a go (641 characters)

Photo of XxNitExX
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into Tulip

A- Pours a deep ruby colored brown with a very lively tan head. Loads of bubbles!

S- Smells of rich malt with a dark sweetness. Also has a sour component that finishes and stings the nose.

T- Sweet sugar goodness! Starts with an immediate sweet sugary taste, but melds into a fruit (cherry grape maybe) that finishes with a malty backbone to remind you this is a beer. Get a little sour funk, more acidic than funky.

M- I don't know why but this just feels good in my mouth. Its like an effervescent feeling but not in a bad way.

Overall if you do not mind a sweeter sour, this is a great beer. A very good entry into the world of sours, but no where near the complexity you can find in some of the better sours. (748 characters)

Photo of pschul4
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into my HotD taster courtesy of the man, the legend, Libbey

A- pours a red/brown. Ruby tones, if you nomsayin. Also carbonation explosion. Only can get 1oz in this 3oz taster

S- very sweet malts and a touch of acidic bite on the back end

T- mostly sweet, sour bite in the middle before being sweet again on the end.

M- not as prickly as i would have thought, surprisingly smooth for the style

O- good, not great. Probably wouldnt buy again (451 characters)

Photo of tdm168
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - dark amber with a reddish hue; huge, soft, dense, foamy, offwhite almost brownish head that has great retention

S - a bit musty, faint fruit, some grainy sweetness

T - berries, mildly lactic, some caramel, mild bitterness in the finish

M - medium bodied, sticky, smooth, crisp

I'm not sure how I feel about this beer. It's not really bad, but it's not really great either. It has a decent enough flavor though the fruity notes are mild and there is very little if any sourness. The nose is a bit off putting with it's graininess. Overall, not a bad beer, but I've had better in this style. It was nice to try once, but I won't be seeking it out again. (659 characters)

Photo of MaximalC
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours the color of molasses with attractive plum highlights. Khaki head is respectable at first but soon disappears into a frothy veil that only partially hides the surface of the brew. Aroma is mild and vinegary, with some fruity sweetness to boot.

The flavor is incredibly mild and subtle for a sour ale, but I don't mean that in a negative way per se; it just takes some patience and close inspection to tease out what you're actually tasting. A prune-like malt sweetness melds seamlessly with a robust dose of Belgian yeast and a dash of cherry and apple cider vinegar. A touch of wheat shows up in the finish once all else has dissipated. The mouthfeel is the real star here as far as I'm concerned, with a crisp, velvety texture that holds one's attention in a way that the flavor alone would fail to do.

This is a delicate and drinkable sour ale that would make a great gateway for anyone new to the style. The sourness is hardly puckering, and the overall experience is more reminiscent of a mild, dark Belgian ale than a full-faced sour. Hardly spectacular, but still quite enjoyable. (1,095 characters)

Photo of ckollias
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed this bottle out of a Beligian tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark amber hue with a huge white head that leaves a good trail down the side of the glass.

S: Sour dark fruit aroma.

T: Sour and slightly sweet dark fruit flavor and decent malt background. Finishes on the sour side of sweet.

M: Thin body and medium carbonation.

O: Really good sour brew. A nice sipping beer – but nothing I could drink more than one of. (424 characters)

Photo of mclynch
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
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. (651 characters)

Photo of pmcadamis
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A - Deep garnet with a giant rocky four finger head and tons of chunky yeast in the glass. Big sheets of lace slide down the glass into that enormous beige head. Head retention is awesome.

S - Sour cherry candy, tart fruit preserves, and red wine vinegar. Nicely balanced sugary-jammy-preserves notes temper the vinegar acidic aroma. Smells a little bit like tart kool-aid mix powder without the sugar.

T - More sour cherry on top of a light brown sugar note. Strawberries. Tart sour candy. Rhubarb.

M - Light bodied with a very acidic tart puckery mouthfeel. FInishes relatively clean and slightly metallic and almost bloody (I know that sounds weird, but there is a bit of that metallic blood note at the end).

A very odd style to be sure, but I like it for it's off-kilter aspect. I think I would have a hard time drinking this with any regularity. (856 characters)

Photo of CurtFromHershey
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a dark Ruby with a thick khaki head which fades down to a thin and stubborn layer of head.
S - yuck. Hose water, old apples.
T - pleasant surprise, does not follow nose. Slightly tart, granny Smith, fig.
M - move along, nothing to see here. Nothing objectionable.
O - not a bad little brew. Smells foul but tastes refreshing. (335 characters)

Photo of secondtooth
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep reddish-amber in color, with a substantial head. Beautiful lacing going on here.

Nose - I get fruit, sour berries (particularly tart cherry) a hint of toffee, and maybe some yeastiness. It's a musty vibe, but quite appealing and unique.

Taste proved similar, with a delicious and refreshingly light-bodied feel. Tart berries and cherry dominated, with some sweetness and earthy elements rounding out the palate.

Delicious, unique, and a tasty brew. (457 characters)

Photo of CloudStrife
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a clear dark ruby brown with a 2 finger off white head. Quick to dissipate it leaves no real lacing. Some pretty big chunks floating in the body.

S: Fairly lackluster aroma, light funk/sour notes. Some fermented malt aroma that gives a dark fruitiness.

T: More of a malt-forward oud bruin. Does have some sour that kicks in mid sip but more of a pronounced dark fruit and roasty malt taste. Sweetness on the lips. Good mellow tartness throughout.

M: Light body with a good crisp finish. Very drinkable brew.

Overall a good baseline for the Oud Bruin category. Doesn't overwhelm but is true to the style and still very tasty. (677 characters)

Photo of LambicPentameter
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - deep ruby-red hue when lit, but burgundy, almost black appearance upon glance. Semi-opaque. Frothy head is beige and dissipates after 30-60 seconds.

Smell - dominant cherry aroma with hints of currant. Hint of sour, but rounding out into a sweetness.

Taste - strawberry and cherry tartness, but the sour complexity never arrives. Dry finish and a bit bland.

Mouthfeel - light effervescent carbonation. Silky thin coating.

Overall - a drinkable beer due to how mild it is, but also doesn't strike me as a beer I would just drink to drink. Not complex enough of a flavor or aroma to keep me coming back. (618 characters)

Photo of yamar68
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like a glass of cold frothy black tea - hazy burgundy brown with a creamy finger of stubborn off-white head. Loads and loads of beading right beneath that and a good amount of lacing above.

Balsamic vinegar with red wine grapes and sour cherry on the nose... it's relatively mellow but appropriately tart with a bit of citric acidity. I like where this is headed.

It's got a nice tart fruit character right on the front end with some sweet but earthy oak notes... musty red wine flavors... it finishes oddly empty though, maybe a bit of something floral, it doesn't even really dry up at the end.

This beer is spot on right up until the end. I reckon I'll age a few and see what happens. (697 characters)

Photo of MRsojourner
3.03/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

smell is somewhat musty- old fruit and slightly rubbery
dark red with ruby shining highlights- not see thru
Taste is of cherry coke, barely beer tasting. vey clean stone fruits and grapes. super clean with little aftertaste. almost no taste of hops.
imo way to clean to be called a sour. not sure where that notion even comes from. This is not bad by any means its just lackluster. (381 characters)

Photo of DavidST
3.3/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a pint glass, coded bottle date. This pours a crystal clear amber color with a massive fizzy tan head which last for a very long time a leave a duvel like foam. The smell is a little brown ale malty, a little nutty, hints of cherries. The feel is medium to light. The taste is okay, you get a little bitterness, nutty brown ale flavors and a little sourness, but mostly plain and light, this beer has the unfornutate task of following Liefmans Curvee and it leaves a ton to be desired. (516 characters)

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,094 ratings.