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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

2,336 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,336
Reviews: 1,042
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 51
Gots: 160 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,336 | Reviews: 1,042 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mooseo
2.7/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle poured into tulip. This was my first sour, so I was not sure what to expect.

A - Deep red brown with a decent head that fades quickly.

S - Vinegar and malt, with a hint of sourness and some cherry. Funky and not very pleasant.

T - Sweet dark fruit (mostly cherry) at first mixed with some vinegar and yeast. Just a bit sour, much less than I was expecting.

M - Light bodied with average carbonation.

D - This is my first sour beer and I'm not sure what to think. It wasn't very enjoyable but not horrible either. The vinegar aroma really turned me off, but the taste wasn't as bad. This style seems like an acquired taste, and I'll have to experiment with some more examples.

mooseo, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of EkimGram
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 11.2oz bottle poured into Duvel tulip. Colour is a rosy brown, 1/2 finger head that is rather busy and bubbly fades quickly to a thin film and lacing. Decent amount of visible carbonation towards the top.

Smell: Somewhat tart yet roasty. Sour cherries and malt are the strongest aromas.

Taste: Much tarter than the smell, sour and sweet. The cherry flavours float over everything else. Complex and interesting.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied, carbonated with a sharp initial bite. Finishes somewhat sticky.

Overall: This was my first sour and I must say I'm pleasantly surprised. The flavours are all nice and balanced. Mouthfeel is a little abrasive for my taste but that's it.

EkimGram, Oct 14, 2011
Photo of matt20102
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at about 45deg. into goblet. Pours with a very large, foamy head which lasts for quite a while. The initial aroma is strongly of tart cherries and little else. The flavor is similar with a subtle vinegar sourness on the finish. Some tasters have written that this might be unpleasant but I suspect that this is much to do with the freshness of the particular bottle.

As the bottle progresses, the sour and tart components come forward along with a slight musty flavor and distinct sweetness- somewhat cloying but not a malt sweetness. There's not a lot going on here making it a great entry-level sour beer. It is also quite refreshing and could be a fantastic pairing with cream-heavy desserts.

matt20102, Oct 10, 2011
Photo of spratmi
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep ruby brown with a massive five finger head that recedes into a fluffy thick pillowy cap with an abundance of sticky lacing.
S: Sour and tart. Many complained of a vinegar smell, but I am not overwhelmed by anything like that. Very reflective of the style. Tart yeast and sour cherries.
T: Wow. Tartness rules. This beer is very interesting. Tart with spices in the picture. Apples, spice, cinammon, nutmeg, lemons, earthy breads, brown sugar, a hint of molasses. Very nice
M: Crispy and carbonated with a slight pepper burn. Light bodied.
O: Very nice. Very underrated. Excellent example of its style.

spratmi, Oct 09, 2011
Photo of tobelerone
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A reddish brown beer with a decently foamy head. Aroma is strongly redolent of vinegar and cherries. Very tart taste, typical sour, vinegar is in there, lots of cherry flavor as well, moderately sweet. All depends on how much you like sours and can deal with the vinegary aspect of the flavor. Found it ok, kind of a low-end entry level sour, not very complex, pretty refreshing. Brisk carbonation makes it taste like a sour cherry soda...with a vinegar backbone. Clean finish doesn't linger, nicely quenching.

I actually kinda like this beer, at least when I'm in the mood..have it had a few times and always have a different reaction. Not as good as something like Rodenbach, but similar I suppose. As I said, it's an entry level beer for the style and the low price reflects that. Usually under 3 bucks when I see it.

tobelerone, Sep 30, 2011
Photo of DCon
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on-tap @ the Hair of the Dog on Washington Ave. (St. Louis), MO for $5. Tapped from the Monk's Cafe Red Tap Handle into a 16oz Monk's Cafe Cocktail Style Glass.

Aroma- Has an awesome aroma! Sweet with black cherries are very strong. Has the slightest sour aroma but nothing big.

Appearance- Received with a .5 finger head that is off white. Has a clear, ruby-brown body and only sudsy lace is left on the glass.

Flavor- Very light character in the taste. It is evident that there are cherries in here but the sweetness and malty take over the entire taste. Has that sweet and sour profile but very minimal.

Mouthfeel- Light Bodied, Medium Carbonation, bit of alcohol taste on the finish but then has a metallic taste... Should definitely not be present.

Overall Impression- I was excited to try this on-tap but will tell you this is definitely a brew that should be enjoyed by the bottle! I love presenting this to people who are looking to try new styles but it was much different on-tap. Try it if you can and let me know if you think the same way!

DCon, Sep 27, 2011
Photo of output01x
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330 mL. capped bottle (No Date) into a tulip glass.

A moderate pour yields a 2 1/2-finger cream-colored head that recedes after a few minutes to a thick coating and thick foam ring. The body is a dark copper brown with a strong amount of energetic carbonation bubbles. Thick lacing clings to nearly every available surface the beer touches.

A strong sour apple vinegar aroma hits the nostrils at first sniff. A deeper investigation reveals a grainy malt background and notes of cherry and raspberry.

Very similar to the nose, a vinegar sourness starts each sip with notes of cherry and raspberry. As the beer is swallowed, the taste transforms into a sugary sweet apple cider flavor with notes of grapes and dark fruits. A slight raspberry aftertaste finishes each sip.

Light bodied with excellent carbonation, this beer goes down like soda. The body is light and playful, allowing the fruit flavors to really impact the taste buds without being coating or sticky. The carbonation is quite fizzy and really helps to make this a beer you can drink in mouthfulls.

output01x, Sep 17, 2011
Photo of StlHopHead77
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours out a Cola-like reddish/brown with a rapidly dissapearing,3 finger,tawny crown that reduced to a thin ring and left light but clingy lacing.

S-Cherry limeade,hay,yeast rolls,white pepper and Cheerwine(NC,representin').

T-Ferrara Pan Cherryheads,preserved lemon,sourdough and prosecco.

M-Bright and refreshing with lively carbonation and a mild sourness.Good starter sour.

O-Nice and light and probably a beer more suited for warm weather.

StlHopHead77, Sep 15, 2011
Photo of socon67
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours amber with a red hue. Thick rusty colored foam head.

S - Smells of sour apples, and similar to many Willy Wonka candies.

T - Taste has a tangy sour flavor, with tartness of sour cherries.

M - Medium bodied, well blended, and went just awesome with Indian food.

O - A well made Oud Bruin that isn't overly sour and has a fruit tangyness that makes it an enjoyable beer.

socon67, Sep 08, 2011
Photo of LiquidCucumber
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours deep copper/red, nearly a purplish brown. Has a small head that recedes to a white ring quickly.

S - Musty apple cider, smells like it will be tart and makes my mouth water. Some bready malts as well.

T - Tart grapes, apples and cherries. The smooth fruity malt also delivers some deep earthy tones. Dark figs seem to mix with the musty floor of a barn and hints of cider vinegar.

M - Dry and bubbly; lingers just a little too long.

O - Not a bad brew, but not something I'm going to try to seek out a bunch of. I'd rather it be a little bit more extreme in the sour and funky categories. A good starter for the style though.

LiquidCucumber, Sep 08, 2011
Photo of jcartamdg
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish brown with a paperthin head that slowly creeps to the glass of my tulip. Great lacing throughout. Aroma of sweet wine and lactic sour. Taste follows the nose tart but not overpowering. Smooth and sweet. Easy to drink where I could have two or three in a sitting. I love this beer

jcartamdg, Sep 06, 2011
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Monks Cafe Flemish Sour Red

Pours a reddish brown in color. Sour aroma, cherry, brown sugar, and red wine vinegar tones. In the flavor, malty, sugary sweet and sour. Belgian candi sugar, a present lactic tartness and sweet malt. Mouthfeel Is medium bodied and carbonation is low to moderate. I know I have come full circle, I tried this beer early in my beer journey and couldn't drink it because it was so sour and different. Now it's not sour enough for me, but still a nice Flanders style ale.

Stinkypuss, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of HopsKeepDroppin
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into maudite snifter.

A- Pours an opaque dark red-brown color with a monstrous beige colored head.

S- Smells really sour and some vinegar, cherries. Very complex.

T- Really sour cherry.

M- Really tangy feel that almost makes me pucker

O- This was interesting. Really nice sourness with some cherry flavors.

HopsKeepDroppin, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of TheGordianKnot
2.53/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into tulip glass...

A- Very deep blood brown color with a finger head. Pale pink colored head that settles to a film quickly.

A- Smells like oil and vinegar salad dressing. Subtle fruitiness makes it reminiscent of raspberry vinaigrette...

T/M- This is definitely a raspberry vinaigrette beer. Not quite what I expected. Body is oily and heavy with minimal carbonation; very unlike Duchesse which was what I pictured with this beer. I wanted more of that champagne-like flanders. Middle of the flavor is a berry medley, but it changes to a pungent vinegar and just leaves me dissatisfied.

O- Didn't hit my expectations. Just not something I could drink much of. Taste and feel were taxing to get through...

TheGordianKnot, Aug 30, 2011
Photo of eclipse54
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 330 mL bottle, poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a rusty brown and color with four finger’s width of sudsy, very bubbly light khaki head off of a very easy pour. There is a audible crackle as it quickly fades down to an inch, where it lingers for some time. Smells of tart cherries and raspberries and a slight touch of sour apple. Taste is very similar, with a number of muddled sour fruits before a sweet, wine like finish. Mouth is quite dry after the rush of sour. Overall, a good red ale that I pick up infrequently when I'm in the mood for a more economical choice in this style.

eclipse54, Aug 29, 2011
Photo of jsanford
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle poured into a Tulip Glass.

Pours a dark mahogany with reddish tints and a thin ivory head that dissipates quickly, leaving just a slight swirl of haze. Nice aromas of slightly sour cherry, leather, oak, and lactic acid. Flavor follows the nose nicely, it reminds me a bit of a "classic" Rodenbach with with less cherry character and more lacto. Mouthfeel is smooth and crisp, with a medium body and good, sharp carbonation. Overall a really nice Flanders, not quite on the Rodenbach level but still really good!

jsanford, Aug 26, 2011
Photo of nppeders
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance - brown with a reddish hue when held up to a light. extremely clear.

smell - tobaco?, chocolate, sourness, vinegar, sweet cherries.

taste - apple, cherry, vinegar, tastes like balsamic vinegar, definitely more vinegar then I've had in any beer but i really like it. Literally tastes like a fine balsamic vinegar. Some sweetness combines with tartness. reduce this with some berries and serve over ice cream and damn..that's a fine Italian dessert

mouthfeel - thin mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

overall - this is a fantastic Oud Bruin. Sour, tart, vinegar, apple, dark cherry.

nppeders, Aug 25, 2011
Photo of Mavajo
2.48/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours a deep mahogany, reddish color with a mild eggshell head. Aroma of vinegar and cherries. Not bad, but something just seems "off" about it. The taste is tart with a vinegar sourness, backed up by big cherry notes and hints of apple. Sweet. Big, big carbonation that tingles all across your mouth. Clean after-taste and cleanses the palate pretty well. I'm sure the huge carbonation has a had in that. I'm perplexed by some of the reviews that mention "mild carbonation" -- this is one of the most overcarbonated beers that I've ever experienced. If you try to swish it around, you end up with a mouth full of fizzy foam.

There's something just cheap about the aroma/taste on this one, and the over-the-top carbonation just really kills it. Reminds me of a Lindemans/Cheerwine blend, pumped full of carbonation. Seems more like a sparkly wine cooler than a beer.

Mavajo, Aug 24, 2011
Photo of Johnnyfacelift
4.58/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The first thing you smell from the bottle is the sourness, but when you pour you pickup more of the Belgian yeast character. It's a deep mahogany, crystal clear with a very prominent foamy head... lots of carbonation! The flavor of this beer is actually much more sweet than it is sour, I was expecting a big puckering sour and it tastes very rich and full for being a medium % ABV, cheers to the brewers! There's some nice raisin notes along with plum. Does not leave any aftertaste and is very drinkable. This is the first real "sour" ale that I've had other than the fruit lambic styles but I could see myself exploring more of the sour beer universe. Excellent!

Johnnyfacelift, Aug 21, 2011
Photo of jealousmonk
3.1/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is an interesting beer. It's hard to rate too highly--the mouthfeel is seriously lacking, and it doesn't bring the complexity of a really good sour--but it was unusual and fun to drink.

A--Dark reddish brown, poured into a tulip glass. Appears heavily carbonated, but did not feel overwhelming.

S--Smells sour, with strong apple and vinegar. Mild yeast and cherry. The smell is not very enticing--too vinegary.

T--Not terribly sour--more tart, with strong flavors of apples and cherries. The taste in unusual for a sour--far more drinkable than I was expecting, and as I said in the beginning, less complex.

M--Very thin. The carbonation level seems fine, contrary to the appearance of the beer. It could certainly use more body. This might be part of the reason that the flavors have less depth than expected. However, this also means I could drink a few of these. Drinking more than a couple of stronger sours would be very difficult. Overall an enjoyable beer.

jealousmonk, Aug 14, 2011
Photo of NotMyRealName
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is unusual. Although a Belgian ale, there's something that reminds me of a champagne. Fruity and smooth. Not hoppy. The flavor is not as complex as the best Belgian beers, but neither is it bland like Blue Moon Belgian White. Just like champagne makes a tasty occasional treat but is not an everyday drink, so too is Monk's Cafe.

NotMyRealName, Aug 13, 2011
Photo of jondeelee
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

If you had to judge this beer solely by the smell, you probably wouldn't try it. The aroma is vinegary and sour, and in fact more resembles a hard cider than a beer. Hints of bananas, apples, and cider vinegar dominate, but by and large this smells like the beer went bad in the bottle.

On the tongue, the resemblance to a hard cider continues, and thankfully, while the sour flavor is still present, it seems tempered here, and easily palatable. Again, bananas, cider vinegar, and apple flavors are present, and dominate most of the mouthful. In some respects, these flavors mimic ports, sweet champagnes, or perhaps sherries. Towards the end a few layers are peeled back to reveal a white grape-like taste, as well as nicely toasted grains. Mouthfeel is light--only slightly viscous--and the ale is fizzy, with more carbonation than usual.

Overall, while this beer is a bit of a shock to the tongue, and probably more than a bit of an acquired taste, it's still intriguing and seductive. Worth seeking out.

jondeelee, Aug 09, 2011
Photo of notchucknorris
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark chestnut color with some reddish hues when held to light. An absolutely beastly tan head that takes forever to die down. Nice.

S: Very sour on the nose. Granny smith apples, vinegar and sour cherries. A slight bit of belgian yeast as it warms. I don't know if it's possible for a nose to pucker, but I felt like mine did when it got a whiff of this.

T: Not sour. Didn't see that coming. Cranberry juice cocktail, red cherries, black cherries, blackberry and apple cider with a slight tartness. A very slight hint of bread in the background. The mouthfeel is the only thing lacking here. Kind of feels more like a fruit juice than a beer. Could use a touch more carbonation.

notchucknorris, Aug 08, 2011
Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 Pt. 9.4fl.oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Label stamped 09LJ 14:53... no idea if that's an encoded date stamp or the batch number. First I've had of this style, so I'm just going to rate it as a beer in general rather than to style, as is tradition. (in Canada?)

Appearance - Very dark clear/hazy ruby red body. Offwhite head with low to moderate retention and decent lacing.

Smell - Sour. Grape juice. Apple juice.

Taste - Sweet front end with a slightly metallic finish. Clean, slightly sweet aftertaste that doesn't linger for more than a few seconds.

Mouthfeel - Soft body with a slightly crisp, mild sparkling grape juice effervescence.

Overall Drinkability - Not particularly complex, but delicious nonetheless. Again, I can't rate in style since this is my first of its kind. However, as a beer it is very enjoyable. Would go great on any occasions where you might want to drink sparkling grape juice.

ZenAgnostic, Aug 07, 2011
Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass, a beautiful deep red color and thick tan head. The head fades fast to a nice layer that stays throughout.

Interesting aroma as a tart fruitiness blends with a bready malt background. Both sour and sweet cherries come to mind. Mild sour flavor, with more tart fruit and less of the malt. Interesting but not much more. It does dry out nicely in the finish.

Well carbonated and light to medium in body. Easy to drink and pleasant all the way around. I have not had many in this style but I do find this enjoyable.

ZimZamZoom, Aug 06, 2011
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,336 ratings.