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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,220 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,220
Reviews: 1,032
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.1%
Wants: 46
Gots: 130 | 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: 2,220 | Reviews: 1,032 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bgreg3
bgreg3

Indiana

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

app- deep amber colors are richer in middle of the glass, and has high levels of carbonation far after pouring.

smell- sour smell with sweet notes lingering in the back. Yeasty overtone. very enticing smell.

taste- Other characteristics of the beer stand out more than the taste. Tart and sour sensations rush your tongue but become sweet in just a second. The taste neutralizes to a beer tasting of amber malt and German yeast. No hops noticed, but it works for the most part.

MF- Bubbly and tingly. The carbonations mixed with the sour notes allows the beer to dance on your tongue in a most enjoyable way.

Drink- This beer killed my palate. It would have been difficult to taste other proceeding beers.

Give this one a go! very interesting!

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2011 14:04:03 | More by bgreg3
Photo of Aguirre
Aguirre

Missouri

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

Great looking pour. A thick, bubbly, lingering head, which I'm not used to in sour beers. Lacing all the way down the glass.

Smell is not impressing me. Basically just apple cider vinegar and malt.

The taste is better. The sourness is very mild and this beer is actually quite sweet, there's a strong brown sugar flavor coming out. I also feel like there's some spiciness (cinnamon?) and some sherry flavors.

It's nice and bubbly, but a sipper for sure. I found this beer to be too sweet tasting and too cider vinegary smelling to give it higher marks. It certainly wasn't bad, but I don't think I'll purchase it again.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2011 03:32:54 | More by Aguirre
Photo of larryi86
larryi86

Delaware

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

11.2 oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- Brown with a hint of red and a two finger head that fades quickly

S- Sour and tart fruits, getting cherries and lemons, some nice funky yeast, and a hint of vinegar that seems out of place.

T- Sour/tart sherries and grapes up front, a hint of funk and oak in the middle. Very sweet malt finish, seems a little out of place.

M- Nice medium body.

D- A good beer and I am happy I tried it. I feel that some flavors and smells are out of place, and was hoping that it would be more sour and less sweet.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2011 22:44:50 | More by larryi86
Photo of itsfreeasinbeer
itsfreeasinbeer

Massachusetts

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

A: auburn with a two and a half finger head. It leaves a solid lacing.

S: grapes and woody aroma.

T: Grape is the predominant base flavor. The beer is sour, almost vinegar-like, and a bit sweet. This is a really enjoyable and well balanced flavor profile for the style.

M: smooth and moderately carbonated.

D: a very enjoyable beer that I can easily finish several bottles of.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2011 02:50:07 | More by itsfreeasinbeer
Photo of emagana
emagana

California

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

Pours a red copper in a tulib glass.
Very well carbonated that helps the nose pick up several smells. I get ripe cherries, grape, watermelon, and stone fruit. There is some definite funk sour notes.
Starts off with some dark cherries and sweet grapes. Very pleasant and refreshing. Makes for a great warm day beer.
I'll pick up more next time.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2011 02:20:01 | More by emagana
Photo of RedSpecial1
RedSpecial1

Florida

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

This beer pours a light copper with a small off white head with slight persistent lacing. The smell is of white wine vinegar with a sour note as well. The taste is initially a touch of sweet white wine fading into a moderate sourness. The mouthfeel is light and fairly dry. The strong flavors in this beer keep it from being too drinkable, but it is an interesting drink.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2010 02:43:34 | More by RedSpecial1
Photo of PittBeerGirl
PittBeerGirl

Pennsylvania

3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

375 ml bottle poured into my snifter.

A- Body is a nearly transparent deep red hue. Light reflects through it beautifully. Pours with a 1-2 finger foamy off-white head which doesn't really stick to the glass.

S- Nose offers a lot of lactic sourness. A hint of vinegar and acidic tartness. In the background is a fair amount of oak and a hint of cherry.

T- Taste is similar to the nose-only the vinegar is more prominent the whole way though. Flavor upfront offers a mild acidic tartness with a hint of vinegar. Sour cherry and a hint of oak are in the background. The finish is slightly smoother but the vinegar comes through a bit more with a hint of oak. What lingers is a mild to moderate vinegar and a hint of cherry and wood.

M- Medium carbonation and medium weight body that is not particularly acidic or smooth.

D- This is pretty standard for a Flanders Red Ale (I think of this way more of a flanders red than oud bruin). Nothing outstanding- the cherry and sour are present-but Id like to see more oak and smoothness in the body. The vinegar is there and kept in check-but I like my vinegar extra mild in my sours. Overall- I like this and its seems pretty traditional.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2010 03:38:21 | More by PittBeerGirl
Photo of Shaken9
Shaken9

North Carolina

3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got 750ml bottle from Healthy Home Market in Charlotte, NC

Appearance - medium brown with hints of ruby, thin fizzy head that dissipated quickly, very little lacing.

Smell - Slightly acidic with faint cherries, raspberries, very light vinegar and earthy funkiness.

Taste - Not very sour, more wine like acidity than anything, light malt and sour cherries in the finish. A bit of sweetness at first that yields to the lactic acidity. Just a hair too thin, watery, might be from the effervescent nature of this beer. A good beginners sour, but lacking the body and depth of flavor of other excellent sours (ie Rodenbach).

Mouthfeel - Very light, thin, fizzy... A bit too fizzy for the style but balances with the light flavor of the beer.

Drinkability - A fair, drinkable sour, especially for people who have never tried sours, though I would propose that beginners start with excellent examples first, some people like to "ease" into stronger styles like sours.

Overall, it's an ok representation of the style and is probably blended to appeal to a wider number of palates. As such, it's a passable sour, but more like a sparkling wine in its acidity than a vinegary or mouth puckering sour. Not bad if you can't find other sours around.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2010 18:57:44 | More by Shaken9
Photo of stimulus
stimulus

New Jersey

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip.

A: Pours a clear brown with a tan head and decent lacing.
S: Sweet brown sugar and lactic vinegar.
T: A perfect blend between extreme acidity and sweetness, with a sweet finish.
M: Light carbonation, medium body.
D: I could easily drink more than one of these in a sitting, which is saying a lot for a sour ale. It's also affordable for a sour, which is a nice bonus.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 04:00:29 | More by stimulus
Photo of OneDropSoup
OneDropSoup

Pennsylvania

3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Grabbed this bottle from House of 1000 Beers in New Kensington, PA.

Poured into a stemmed tulip: Deep crimson body with ruby highlights - beautiful color. A finger of smooth, pillowy head that drops to a thin coating & coating. No lacing.

Tart cherry & orange peel in the smell with an overlying medicinal character, kind of like zinc lozenges. Somewhat metallic - good stuff in there, but those off-smells are hard to sift through.

Taste has pretty much the same notes as the smell, but the pleasant/unpleasant ratio has flipped to the point that the good outweighs the bad here by a little - the medicinal/metallic flavors are just trace.

Tart & acidic mouthfeel, medium-bodied, with just a little chalky sensation. As in the taste, the good's good & the bad's tolerable.

Definitely not my favorite for the style, but doable. I can stick with just one, though.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 01:02:37 | More by OneDropSoup
Photo of Spider889
Spider889

Ohio

3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lounge 62 in Gahanna.

Damn this one was tough to find on the site. Searches led me to a Brewery called Monks Cafe in Switzerland, then a bar called Monk's Cafe in PA. Neither brewed this beer, though apparently this Belgian brewery created this brew for the forementioned bar.

Bourgundy coloring in the dim bar light. With some effort and angling I could see some nice ruby and blood orange hues in my snifter. Lots of tiny white bubbles, no lace or retention however.

Smells pretty sour, but also sweet. Almost cidery in the good way. Ripe black cherries and sour green skins. Mild mildew funk as it warms.

Tastey, though very sweet. The sourness is not nearly as pronounced as in the nose. Some mild dank oakiness intermingles with puckering green cherries and candied pear.

Light carbonation, the bubbles that are there dance on the tongue. Brut champagne character, nice and drinkable, good beginner sour.

Serving type: on-tap

12-22-2010 17:22:54 | More by Spider889
Photo of Gobzilla
Gobzilla

California

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

Poured a dark brown in color with maroon highlights that had a 2 finger head and good retention leaving good frothy lacing sticking to the glass. The aroma upfront had big vanilla oaky notes with some vinegar, vinous, and slight acidic notes. The taste was also sweet and oaky with vinous vinegar accents but had slight brown sugar notes. The brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet, oaky, vinous, and tart finish. It did drink good and was a decent flanders style beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2010 02:58:08 | More by Gobzilla
Photo of Satchboogie
Satchboogie

New Hampshire

3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a tulip glass

A: Pours dark blood red/brown, 1 finger off-white champagne like head that disappears almost as quickly as it forms. Almost completely opaque.

S: Slight vinegar is the first thing noticeable, followed by sour apply, "funky" lactic flavors, a little alcohol, and something in the background that resembles a beer.

T: Well, I don't hate it... not yet. At first it tastes like a sweet tart soda, then after the carbonation starts to clear the vinegar and funky sour flavors start to come in. Candy our apple and slight vinegar seem to be the dominant flavors. Very sweet like candy sugar, seems to get a little more lactic as it warms.

M: Carbonation is champagne like, light body, crisp, refreshing. Aftertaste is tart, sour, and a little puckering.

D: While the lactic and vinegar aren't to pleasant, I do like the sweet candied sour apple flavor. the mouthfeel is refreshing and has me reaching for more despite the somewhat unpleasant finish. Strange, but it works.

It's important to note that this was my first taste of a sour Ale, not having had a wild ale or lambic either. Overall, I thought it was interesting but honestly it is a style I probably wont be visiting again anytime soon. It's not terrible, I just don't find the vinegar and lactic qualities that enjoyable and don't think of the flavors or mouthfeel as "beer" (I know it is an ale by definition).

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2010 03:57:42 | More by Satchboogie
Photo of UTCengOwl
UTCengOwl

Texas

1.7/5  rDev -55.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Had this on tap in a nonic half pint glass at the Draught House. Let's just say that I was not impressed by this beer... Thanks 2.0 scores!

The beer poured a pinkish brown color with a scattering of head across the top. I'd prefer for my beers to not come across as pinkish... but maybe that's just me.

The nose and taste were dominated by overly sweet red wine vinegar. Wow, just not pleasant at all. The sweetness sometimes bordered on cloying. The vinegar tastes were not so strong as to be basalmic or repugnant, but it was getting there. At least they were a bit more rounded.

I regretted ordering this after the first sip, but I didn't want to kill myself while drinking the rest of it, so I guess that's a plus. I will definitely not be ordering this again. We need more good sours to come to Texas so I don't have to subject myself to this as one of our few options!

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2010 15:25:20 | More by UTCengOwl
Photo of mrandypandy
mrandypandy

Georgia

2.88/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

750ml caged and corked bottle purchased at Specs, in Temple, TX.

A- Pours a crystal clear brownish red. Amber almost. Minimal off-tan head on pour which quickly dies.
S- Fruity sweetness, almost like golden raisins. Definately not tart our sour.
T- A hard brew to describe, and not really in a good way. Slight vinegar sour/tart flavors are apparent, but very subdued. They are overshadowed by the fact that it tastes like overly carbonated, slightly acidic apple juice. I'm getting shades of Lindemans Faro, and that's not a compliment.
M- Highly carbonated, medium body, "zesty".
D- Low. Not a great beer or a great example of the style. A 12oz bottle would be OK, but a 750 is overkill. I would split this with friends except that I actually LIKE my fiiends...

Overall- I've had this beer on-tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelpia, and bottled. Either way, you lose. While not a bad beer, it is incredibly average.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2010 02:00:34 | More by mrandypandy
Photo of marikoangel
marikoangel

California

3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tall Saison 1900 tulip glass at Amsterdam

A: It poured a deep dark red. It was clear, but hard to see through. There was a nice little head that retained a nice thick lacing on top of the beer.

S: Light scents, a little metallic sour, cherries.

T: It started with a crisp zing to it but smoothed out quickly into a juicy mild. There's a nice sour finish to it. The flavors are light, and there is nothing bold or catching to it. It has almost a watery aftertaste. Sour cherries.

M: Crisp but smooth

D: It was very disappointing. I love sours, and felt this was a weak representation. I've had beers not in the sour category that had more sour to them. It might be a good beer for someone who is just getting into sours or just isn't looking for that wonderful kick you can get from them. As a whole it is drinkable, even if it's one I wouldn't have again.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2010 01:20:05 | More by marikoangel
Photo of JoePat
JoePat

Kentucky

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

This beer pours reddish brown with a thin pale head.

I get strawberries, sour cherries and a hint of cinimon in the aroma.

I get a lot of the strawberrry and sour cherry in the beginning of this beer with a hint of malt in the middle and nuttiness on the finish.
Not extreme sourness but it is definately the main character of the beer. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel is thin with a lot of carbonation escaping the liquid as it hits your mouth adding to the dryness of the beer.

Probably the most drinkable sour beer I have ever had with all that balance supporting the sourness.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2010 16:24:13 | More by JoePat
Photo of TheDTrain
TheDTrain

Wisconsin

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

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep red, good retention. Aroma is a bit weak but you can smell the sour vinagar, fruits, and grapes. Light body with awesome funk taste from the fruits, vinagar, malts, and sugars. So easily drinkable it's a bit scary.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2010 03:22:37 | More by TheDTrain
Photo of jera1350
jera1350

Minnesota

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

Darkish ruby hued brown with a tan colored head of foam that is rather thin, but has staying power and some fine lacing.

The nose is tart and vinegary with some sweetness and notes of grape.

Pretty much mirrors the nose. A nice puckering tartness right on the tip of the tongue. A bit of a vinegar character along with sour cherry and grape. A really nice balance of sweet and sour with the scales slightly tipped towards the sour end.

Smooth with some soft carbonation and a bit of a tingly prickle to go with the tartness. The finish dries out the palate completely.

Drinks quite nicely. The balance is their to keep the sour in check and allows this to go down well. Really a nice beer overall.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2010 01:01:32 | More by jera1350
Photo of LeftyEtc
LeftyEtc

New Jersey

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

Appearance - A reddish-amber body, alive with ample carbonation, brings a half inch sand colored head, built of airy bubbles to the top of your glass.

Smell - Substantial presence of cherries and toasted brown sugar rounded out with an expected sour sting in your nose.

Taste - Initially fruity, cherries and raspberry's hit me first. As complex flavors travel to the back of your tongue the tartness is revealed, similar to sour grape skins.

Mouthfeel - Because I tend to like dark heavy beers. I find this beer to have an excellent presence in your mouth. Airy carbonation, lite body and a dry finish.

Drinkability - Being more fruity then sour, with a medium body and dry finish. I find this to be an easy drinking and enjoyable beer.

More fruity and less nearly as sour as i expected it to be.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2010 23:53:22 | More by LeftyEtc
Photo of aasher
aasher

Indiana

3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This one pours a burnt amber in color with a one finger off white head. It smells pretty good. It smells extremely sour, in a way that makes you want to resmell to see if you got the first one right. The taste is oaky, sweet, and has the great sour flavor to finish off the taste and it's left in the after taste. I really like this one, although it can be overpoweringly sweet and eventually gives off a vinegar flavor that is kind of repulsive. It's almost mouthwateringly sour. This beer was really good the first time I tried but after a couple times it's losing its luster. The only knock is that it could be a little too sweet. It drinks pretty well but one is enough.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2010 05:11:40 | More by aasher
Photo of massshortage
massshortage

California

3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this on a whim. It was nicely priced and had a good description on the bottle.

It poured gloriously- a deep clear deep red with a fluffy white head.

Smelled like fermented candy. Notes of sour warheads with vinegar.

The taste was fruitier than expected. Sweet and like raspberry and cranberry. The sourness was on the low side, and basically no hop bitterness, which I expected for the style, I suppose. Anyway, I feel that it could have been better balanced with more sour, less sweet.

Very light bodied, with high carbonation. Nice.

Well, it was certainly drinkable, and not bad by any means. But it drank more like a cider with its fruitiness and lack of much malt or hop character. I like their intentions with the sweet and sour balance, but I could have used less sweet and more sour.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2010 05:20:33 | More by massshortage
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

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

12 oz tap pour into a stemmed glass at bnieman's Dad's house before watching some Brew Masters on Discovery.

A - Beautiful mahogany amber in color with a light tan head. Good retention with some thick lace clinging to the glass.

S - Crisp amber malts with a sweet caramel aroma. A hint of vinegar sourness that is very nice. Good, but a little cold in aroma.

T - A touch of metallic flavor to the amber toasted malts. Nice mild sourness with a little hint of the awesome vinegar I love in this style.

M - Crisp and light-bodied with a smooth follow-through and light sour finish.

D - This will be dangerous on tap in the basement. I could drink this all night if I didn't have to drive (aka didn't feel guilty of emptying the keg).

Serving type: on-tap

12-04-2010 22:37:04 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of mempath
mempath

Pennsylvania

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

deep tawny with a cola, effervescent appearance

nose is a tangy, sweet, sour punch of fermentation, fizzy dark fruit combos.

taste is similar, reminding me too of the tang of a good lambic; though the carbonation is high, this has a lingering enough finish to savor as it settles. love the play of the sour and sweet.

very drinkable in that it balances the best of sour and sweet without any of the worst of sour or sweet. nothing cloying here. this would be great with some cheese...camembert/brie...Cabot's Habanero...:)

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2010 15:22:09 | More by mempath
Photo of ptykozoon
ptykozoon

California

3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours orange tinged brown. Pillowy head, good lacing.

Citrus, sour grape, wet wood, musky sourness.

Sweet cherry notes, ripe grapes, a tinge of blackberry and an earthy background. I really wish this was more sour. The fruity sweetness overwhelms.

Refreshing, slightly buttery finish, carbonation is a bit spritzy but not dominating.

Overall tasty, good introductory sour.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2010 04:37:28 | More by ptykozoon
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,220 ratings.