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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

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BA SCORE
86
very good

2,197 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,197
Reviews: 1,031
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.1%
Wants: 45
Gots: 124 | FT: 2
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: 2,197 | Reviews: 1,031 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PhilCheSteak
PhilCheSteak

New York

4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Visited Philly last week and had a chance to pick up a bottle of this delicious beer. Poured out of a 11.2 oz bottle into a nonic glass.

A: Reddish/brown color, with a nice head. This beer is just asking me want to drink it every time I look at it.

S: An apple, fruity smell. Smells both sweet and sour.

T: Just the right amount of sweetness. I've never had a sweeter, more delicious beer in my life. Tastes of apples and cherries. Every sip is refreshing and satisfying.

M: A good amount of carbonation that wasn't overwhelming.

O: Love Monk's Flemish Sour Ale. Just the right amount of sweetness for me and overall a delicious, high quality beer. I need to find more bottles of this!

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2011 18:22:14 | More by PhilCheSteak
Photo of MufflnMan
MufflnMan

Florida

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Thirsty Monk. Poured a reddish color with a frothy off white head. Smells of tart fruit... apples, cherries, berries. Taste is the perfect amount of sour. Just what I was looking for in this kind of brew. Green apples and cherries nicely balanced to create a really refreshing feel.

Serving type: on-tap

04-05-2011 05:00:04 | More by MufflnMan
Photo of BrewsCrewSA
BrewsCrewSA

Texas

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out with a beautiful, tan head. High in carbonation; deep ruby, and rusty brown in color, looks very inviting. Head retains well, dissipates after a few, appears to have some sediment on the bottom, not sure if this is normal. Still, a great looking beer.

Faint scents of alcohol and berries, not much here, but still pleasant. Smell reminds me of those few, Belgian krieks such as Cantillon, and Lindeman's Kriek and Gueze.

Tastes great. Just an amazing, tasty quality that's hard to define. I liken it to melting a few red Sweet Tarts on your tongue. That, plus the faint, goodness of alcohol notes toward the back of the palate. A great, sweet flavor that's hard to resist. One of the best Belgian beers I've ever had.

Mouthfeel is incredible, maybe an even better quality than the taste. I was expecting tart, bitterness; what I got instead was a mellow, sweet pleasantness that was happily surprising. Exceedingly smooth, cool, refreshing.

I guess they eliminated drinkability from the review categories, but OVERALL, a great Belgian effort. I personally much prefer this to the redundant, Tripels and Quadruppels. They all taste like apple juice anyway. This Red Ale, I highly recommend.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2011 20:51:17 | More by BrewsCrewSA
Photo of gdrydenc
gdrydenc

Massachusetts

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

A - Pours a red-brown with a finger of cream head. Really cool color, not sure what I'm looking for with the style, but it's what I would expect. The head sticks around for an alarmingly long time, which is cool.

S - Smells sour, but with quite a bit of fruit in it. Apples, mostly.

T - Much like the smell, but with a whole lot more apple in the finish. It tastes a bit like cider, but mostly in the sourness and the apple aspects.

M - Quite a bit of foam in the mouth. It really covers the entire mouth, which I like. The finish is surprisingly clean.

Overall, this is one cool beer. It has a lot of flavor in it, and a lot of varied things. Will have again.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2011 03:56:51 | More by gdrydenc
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

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

11.2oz bottle poured into a stemmed glass.

(A)- Pours a deep and dark burnt sienna color with ruby red highlights. Produced a nice fluffy off-white head with solid retention.

(S)- A big dry lactic vinegar up front. Some serious barnyard dirt and vinegar characters.

(T)- Very fruity. Not as sour or vinegar-like as the smell foretold. Some hints at tartness, but otherwise fruity, dry, and earthy with just a small kick.

(M)- A nice crisp carbonation level. Has a nice balance too. Smooth, fruity, and "ripe" tasting. A subtle sourness.

(D)- A solid Oud Bruin. Not as strong as what I anticipated, but it is what it is. Surprisingly refreshing and a nice treat and transition to have as the days slowly begin to warm up outside.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2011 00:58:04 | More by sweemzander
Photo of Prime16
Prime16

Connecticut

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Reddish color, nice frothy head.

S: Tart apples, sweet with sour cherries.

T: A little sweeter than I expected with definite green apple and cherry with a refreshing and pleasing sour taste.

M: Satisfying with light carbonation, clean.

O: Enjoyable beer, just a little on the sweet side for me.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2011 21:16:58 | More by Prime16
Photo of RTJakarta
RTJakarta

Kentucky

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

Pours a nice amber red with a nice finger-length head. The carbonation is kinda loud (I can hear it about two feet away), and the bubbling is actually visible through the head. Nice.

A nice apple smell is what steps out the most. Not particularly sour, but I don't mind a smell that just exudes apples.

Taste gives me a very faint sourness, but an overwhelming tartness. Sort of makes me think of red apples more than green ones, but it's pleasing.

Mouthfeel is pretty moderate, with medium carbonation.

Overall, it's a very smooth, tasty drink. So glad I was able to find some on my vacation here in Louisville. Would be a nice treat every once in a while!

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2011 05:32:16 | More by RTJakarta
Photo of Mosley1212
Mosley1212

Florida

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

(From Spring Break Notes)

Picked this one up at Hop City in Atlanta. This was my first sour from a purchased bottle. Here we go.

A--Poured into my Duvel tulip. Poured a ruby read with lots of carbonation bubbling from the bottom of the glass. Stared at them for a long time before finally sampling the beer. Also, beer had a creamy white head that was foamy at the start and had great retention throughout the drink.

S--Sweet and tart green apple. It is a hard smell to contemplate. Yeasty smell up front with an overly sweet finish. Not what I was expecting.

T--Follows the nose. This is the sweetest tasting sour I have ever had. It was like drinking a sour patch candy for me. Sour at first then overly sweet to finish. What a strange contrast.

M--The carbonation cleaned my palate with each sip. It felt bubbly and delicious in my mouth.

O--Not the best sour I have had. Pretty run-of-the-mill actually, but it was refreshing. I liked the sour finish and I would recommend it for that reason.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2011 19:02:41 | More by Mosley1212
Photo of oldsailor
oldsailor

Nevada

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

Not a bad sour but also nothing spectacular about this one either. Nice red coloring with a light head. Green apple tartiness comes to mind when drinking. Carbonation is higher than most sours in my opinion, which isn't a bad thing but hurts its drinkability. This is definitely a one beer tasting so the four pack we got ours in is holding up longer than some.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2011 00:57:39 | More by oldsailor
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another one I'm surprised I haven't reviewed.

Light fiizzy head, darker toasty brown color.

Nose of sweet malts, fruit, apple, pear, cider like, vinegar, light lactic acid and very light sour tartness.

Taste is sweeter, light toasty brown malts, fruits with apple pear and tart fruit flavors, light sour and tart.

Mouth is lighter bodied with good carbonation.

Overall not bad, basically what I call the introduction to sours and wilds, etc. It's a light sour tart beer but nice and malty at the same time. And very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2011 23:06:04 | More by jlindros
Photo of StaveHooks
StaveHooks

Oklahoma

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours dark brown with lots of red highlights.
Thin khaki head.

S - acidic fruit, vinegar, tart.

T - sweeter than the nose. Cherries dominate and coat the side and back of the tongue with tartness. Hints of green apples and stem wood. Sour but tame.

M - medium bodied, Low but tight carbonation.

This a good mix of sweet and sour. Smells incredible, and drinks very easy. Tame on the sourness.

Serving type: on-tap

03-20-2011 00:45:31 | More by StaveHooks
Photo of goast8127
goast8127

Michigan

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer pours a deep red - ruby would be a good one word description.

The aroma is sweet and leans towards grapes. Definite notes of sourness that the name indicates.

Once on the tongue there is a sweet warmth that fills the mouth, finishing with a pleasant bitter, sour sensation.

Feels a little hot in the mouth, likely due to the carbonation. Would be interested to try this beer at a temp a few degrees warmer.

Overall a beer fitting its description. Definitely not a session beer but an excellent pre-dinner selection.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2011 00:02:18 | More by goast8127
Photo of VMWhelan
VMWhelan

Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep ruby red / brown with a thin head that dissapates quickly.

Smells tart with some sour grape and cherry but also malty with a bit of sweetness to back it up. Also detecting a slight woodiness.

Taste is sweet almost instanty followed by sour and finished with that same woodiness again, though not as prominent. Pretty well balanced as the sourness is not overwhelming at all. Leaves a nice sour cherry taste on the upper lip.

Mouthfeel is medium-light and very very fizzy. This is my first of the style so I'm not sure if its supposed to be this carbonated, but I feel like it fits the flavor well. The champagne of beer?

Drinkability is high. This goes down incredibly easy. I feel like I could drink a lot in a night, though I'm not sure if I'd necessarily want to stick to this style for so long.

Overall, a nice introduction to Flemish sours, looks like I'll be trying more in the future.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2011 21:39:17 | More by VMWhelan
Photo of quine
quine

Colorado

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

On tap at Monk's Cafe. First sour.

A: Poured a deep, clear ruby-brown. Head was thin, off-white, and faded away rather quickly.

S: Smells tart and sweet. Like tart fruits.

T: Immediate taste of fruity sweetness, followed by significant tartness. Tastes of sour apples and cherries. The sweet and sour are well balanced. No trace of hops in the taste.

M: High carbonation that adds crispness. The tartness adds a feeling of tanginess.

D: This is very drinkable. I had misgivings about sours, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It had a nice balance of flavors, and was certainly different from any other beer I've had. It's not overly sweet or sour, and it's very tasty.

Serving type: on-tap

03-16-2011 16:43:37 | More by quine
Photo of depechemode1983
depechemode1983

Texas

4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured into a tulip glass a dark brown with deep red tones when held to the light. The light brown head doesn't stick around long and there is no lacing at all.

S - Smell is somewhat of mildew, vinegar, sour cherries, and a toasty. Up front the sour cherries hit you with a bit of a vinegar background. Then it fades off into a mildew like character with a bit of toastyness.

T - There is a very pronounced sour cherry flavor and a nice white wine alcohol character. Again I get some toastyness in the background.

M - Medium bodied and with mild carbonation. Finish is dry.

D/N - This stuff is F'ing delicious. Picked it up out of town. Should have probably capitalized on it.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2011 03:21:43 | More by depechemode1983
Photo of clarkm04
clarkm04

Nebraska

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Very reddish dark with a decent white head retention.

S- Very nice profile. Nice sour notes with strong cherries is the predominant smells I get.

T- Very nice balance between the sour and sweet notes. I get a nice tart cherry taste that is very robust yet somewhat delicate taste. Not as sour as I expected but very delicious throughout with a definite sour note that transpires throughout the whole taste profile. Nicely carbonated and I totally see this as a dessert beer.

M - Very good. Nicely carbonated and the beer sits well on the palate

D- Very high. I wish I had another one to drink.

Overall - Monk's is a very good example of a Flemish Red. Not as sour as some of the other sour beers I have encountered but I really liked the nice balance between the souring effect created by blending the beer with the sweet notes from the cherries. Definitely a beer to try if you are into sour beers.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2011 00:57:29 | More by clarkm04
Photo of jporf911
jporf911

Virginia

4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle with no freshness date into my trusty snifter.

Appearance- 2.5 out of 5. Aside from an initial burst of excitingly active fizz, this beer appears very lackluster. A charming ring of slightly tan lace rounds the top, but the beer itself is a dull dark brown that seems almost entirely opaque when held up to the light, ringed only with a little equally dull red. Not only is it rather boring, it's also a bit uncharacteristic for the style-- more translucency and ruby-reddish tint should be present.

Smell- 3.5 out of 5. On the other hand, the aroma is refreshingly pleasant and true-to-style. With hints of cherries, woodiness, and fruity wine that's been left out so long that it slowly turns to vinegar, it tickles the nose with anticipation. Pale and crystal malts provide a solid foundation for the rest of the scents, which do not include any hops at all. Nothing overpowering, but it's a step up from the appearance.

Taste- 4.5 out of 5. Jesus H. Christ, it's like a sour cherry warhead just pulled out my tongue, cut it off, and proceeded to beat the rest of my mouth with it. Be prepared for mouth-puckeringly strong sourness when you first sip this beer. It fades as your tongue becomes acclimated to it, but my god does it catch you off guard after the deceptively mild aroma. Make sure your palate is cleansed to fully enjoy the sensation. After the initial tongue-punch, it mellows out into sour cherries, fresh tart apples, and raspberries. A little earthy oak peeks in before washing away in a tide of mild sweetness that lingers in the aftertaste. As with the nose, no hops are present. Acidity is low, as is the "funkiness"-- the yeast did a great job of turning out a clean, mellow Sour Ale. The fairly low alcohol is hidden behind everything else going on in the glass. It's a classic example of the style.

Mouthfeel- 4 out of 5. Slightly dry with a medium body and astringent finish. Easily quaffable, but why waste such a treat for your mouth? Take it slow and savor each sip; they become creamier as it warms.

Drinkability- 4.5 out of 5. I'm tempted to give this a slightly lower drinkability score because both the price and the slowly-sipping nature needed to truly appreciate it make it a rather poor choice for a session, but if you were flush enough and so inclined, you could easily spend a few hours having a few of these. This is a great choice for people who dislike hops, wine drinkers who want to get into beer, and people who love sour candy and sour fruits. Keep in mind my bias-- this may not be for beginners coming from a macro-lager background.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2011 23:53:48 | More by jporf911
Photo of Jesse13713
Jesse13713

Ohio

4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into my Great Lakes Christmas Ale snifter. I was excited to see this at my local Heinen's after just recently reading that is many BA'S favorite and most drinkable sour. I had no idea it was even around here, as I'd never seen it before today.

Appearance - Three full fingers of unstable and clumpy froth appear right away. Watching the head dissipate is like watching a collapsing foam building. It just has a very unique structure to it. The liquid itself is deep brown with slight hints of crimson and amber. Very impressive lacing.

Smell - Smells very sour. I am most used to Jolly Pumpkin sours, so I have to say it smells similar to most of them; specifically Bam Biere. Strong hints of cherry with slight citrus. Smells slightly sweet and extremely acidic.

Taste - Definitely sweeter than the smell lead me to believe. It is sour as it first touches my tongue, but as I swallow i am smacked with a sack of cherries. This is the most amazing cherry beer I've ever tasted. There is definitely some light lemongrass swaying in the background as well. A slight sour pucker on the finish.Cherry and pomegranate really dominate the mouth here.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - Now that I look at other BA's reviews, I have to disagree with many of the other statements that this beer is too sweet. I believe it to be very well balanced all through-out. Sourness and sweetness are sort of playing tug-of-war with each other, and sometimes sour wins; sometimes sweet. it just depends on each certain drink to me. Not nearly as sour as I expected. Quite light bodied as well. While the beer is resting in my mouth, I get the feeling that I am going to be overcome by sweetness when I swallow. But when I do, I am pleasantly surprised each and every time I take a drink.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2011 04:02:03 | More by Jesse13713
Photo of cuttsjp
cuttsjp

New Jersey

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a snifter at the Alchemist and Barrister in Princeton, NJ

Appearance: deep reddish brown with nice garnet hues, brilliant clarity

Aroma: spiced cider, pears, sour apples, and a bit of lemon

Flavor: cherries, sour apples, very dry with not much sweetness, definite oaky character, tart lemon pucker and a bit of funk on the finish

Mouthfeel: medium body, high on the carbonation...a little too high for my liking, even for a sour

Drinkability: certainly a balanced beer and something that was nice to sip on, think I could stand to have more than one in a sitting

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2011 05:07:37 | More by cuttsjp
Photo of zachary80
zachary80

Indiana

3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown Body. Very nice off-white head leaves great lacing
Smell is mostly tart, some vinegar, something that reminds me of leather
Taste is mellow. Slight sour cherry flavors. Somewhat sweet with a short drier finish.
Very drinkable beer.

Not quite the beer I remembered: don't recall the vinegar, and also thought it was more assertive. Still good overall

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2011 04:31:38 | More by zachary80
Photo of angrybabboon
angrybabboon

Rhode Island

3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review adapted from notes taken 5/18/10

Appearance: Reddish brown color with a nice foamy, fluffy head - nice to look at

Smell: Sweet, sugary, funky, lactic, some malts in the background - I should note that these notes are from my second tasting - this was my first sour beer, and when I first smelled it I thought the beer smelled like a soggy sponge that someone abandoned for a few days - not kidding - thankfully, it was better the second time

Taste: More sweet than funky or sour - some sour cherry, but mostly the taste is dominated by the sweetness - gets a bit funkier as it warms up - some interesting herbal spiciness, and some wood - but the sweetness never fades, and it is somewhat overwhelming - not terrible, but certainly not something I really enjoy

Mouthfeel: Slightly above average for a sour, some nice carbonation, on the heavy side

Overall: Way too sweet for me to be interested in trying again soon - but it is something I will probably try again in the future

As I've already noted in my "smell" section, I have a strange history with Monk's Cafe. It was my first sour beer, and I didn't really like it at the time. After my first taste, I tried a few other sour beers. Then when I had Monk's Cafe again, I still didn't love it, but I had more specific reasons for not embracing its qualities. This beer is worth a try, but it's certainly not spectacular.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2011 08:05:33 | More by angrybabboon
Photo of petacutlasaurus
petacutlasaurus

Maryland

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

Whew. I enjoyed this, my first sour beer, at The Saloon on U street. Really knocked me out - I had just read an article on sour beers in either BA or on welovedc. Decided to take the plunge and order up one of these fellows. So glad I did. Dominant dark fruits on the nose with a bitter tinge that transforms on the close to a sour and crispy finish. The deep red color, with its fruity bitter smell coming out of the top of the goblet... Ultra-memorable and will definitely jump for a draft of this when I make a visit to their Philadelphia brew house.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2011 19:35:22 | More by petacutlasaurus
Photo of zrab11
zrab11

Indiana

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

A- Pours a Clear dark ruby color.Has a fluffy white head.

S-Smell is very good,has a tart sour smell with hints of grapes and tart apples

T-Has a nce smooth taste up front then finish's with alittle tartness. Very clean and crisp feel

M-Medium bodied with great carbonation

D-This is a great beer. would get this to finish a night all the time. HAvent had much from this style but i love it! Great beer ..give this s try if you havent

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2011 18:53:35 | More by zrab11
Photo of flannelman808
flannelman808

California

3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Bright amber red brown colored beer which is topped with a thin white head with medium to small bubbles. The retention isn't so great either is the lacing.

S: Lactic smell on the nose is very present as well as tart cherry and maybe a mild milk chocolate quality...

T: Sweeter than I remember and very quick finishing. Lots of carbonation hurts the tasting process a tad but thats not to say its not a tasty brew. Bing cherry and cherry herring like flavors ring true. A sweet almost soy sauce like quality follows up the sour with the sweet punch which eventually overtakes leaving the beer sweet finishing.

M: Carbonic tang

D: high

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2011 09:51:20 | More by flannelman808
Photo of Pencible
Pencible

Virginia

4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a mostly clear garnet with lots of tan head.
S: It smelled very metallic, with sweet prune and earthy caramel and a little balsamic vinegar and herbal hops.
T: It tasted like sweet prune and balsamic and earthy caramel, with white vinegar and metallic tin and sour Belgian yeast. It had a mouth-watering sour aftertaste that was smooth and clean.
M: It was thin with lots of carbonation. Not normally the body I like, but it really worked well for this beer.
D: This had great complexity and balance of sweet and sour. It had very nice scent and taste, with the exception of the metallic sense. Body really helped lighten the intensity of the sourness, making this easier to drink. But it's still better as a sipping beer. Age may help improve, but it's very enjoyable fresh.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2011 16:07:56 | More by Pencible
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,197 ratings.