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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

2,353 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,353
Reviews: 1,045
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 52
Gots: 167 | 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: 2,353 | Reviews: 1,045 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of projectflam86
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep red color. Nice white head leaves some lace.

S- Lots of cherries and grape aromas. Citrusy with a bit of funk.

T- Sharp tart cherry flavors with a vinous finish. Comparisons to wine are easy to make with flavors of red grape skins, oak, earth, and a touch of sourness.

M- Spritzy with plenty of carbonation. Very dry and sharp. Relatively thin bodied. I like that this doesn't coat you tongue. The dryness helps each new drink bring forth all of the flavors.

O- Overall this was a really nice brew. I'm not horribly familiar with Oud Bruins but this was certainly worth trying.

projectflam86, Jun 02, 2011
Photo of dtivp
3.03/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark mahogany brown with hints of ruby, a larger two finger tan head that dissipated very quickly leaving very light lacing.

Aroma of tart cherries with vinegar.

Taste was slightly tart with sour red cherries, a slight hint of malt then a bitter metallic end.

Mouthfeel was a thin light body with heavy carbonation.

Overall I was not impressed with this sour ale, it does not come close to some of the nice Russian River sour ales.

dtivp, May 30, 2011
Photo of washburnkid
4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is just awesome. It pours reddish mahogany with little to no head. I don't care, because the aromas and flavors are filled with fruit, dominated by bitter, sour cherries. The mouthfeel is thin with low carbonation. This beer does the style justice, and I'm looking forward to enjoying it again!

washburnkid, May 26, 2011
Photo of jbertsch
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip.

Appears dark amber. Can't see through it. Head is off-white in color, sudsy with a little fiz, but it doesn't fade away completely.

Aroma gives off a fruit tartness. A little vinegar. If you didn't know what you were smelling a beer, one could mistake this for a wine cooler. But it doesn't smell cheap. I also smell notes of OJ and cola mixed with some sweet malt.

Taste is a little funky, faintly sour with significant notes of raspberry. Notes of apple, grape, and OJ are noticeable on the finish.

Champagne like mouthfeel. Short, dry, and elegant with carbonation.

Very enjoyable. A sipper due to the nature of the style. But great drinkability for what it is.

jbertsch, May 23, 2011
Photo of WankelEngine
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a tulip glass

A: Pours a dark brown color with hints of ruby when held up to the light. There is a small tan head which fades immediately. Despite the lack of head, there is a decent amount of carbonation.

S: The nose is sour and acidic. Behind this are notes of light fruits.

T: Fruitier than the smell; definitely acidic and sour but not overwhelmingly so. I can taste raspberry, cherry and citrus. The malt contributes some sweetness as well. There is a just little bit of an herbal taste from the hops to help balance the fruit flavors. The aftertaste is short and fruity.

M: Smooth with a decent amount of carbonation and slightly syrupy.

O: Mildly sour throughout but still sweet and drinkable.

WankelEngine, May 21, 2011
Photo of FanofHefe
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 fl. oz. bottle, no dating, poured into a Chimay chalice. Very high level of carbonation, so I had to pour slowly. Ruby red body that is mostly clear and lets the light through. Bubbly tan head that actually dissipates fairly quickly but leaves a nice cap and a little lacing.

Tart fruit up front in the aroma: cherry, raspberry, green apple. I get just a little sweet malt in the mix as well.

Very tasty. Nice blend of the tart and sour fruit flavors with the sweet malt. This one has a little more sweet balance than others of this style. Would be a good candidate for someone new to the more sour beers. Medium mouthfeel that is easy to drink. Nice brew.

FanofHefe, May 21, 2011
Photo of EricCioe
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours dark red with a bubbly and thin-looking two finger head that dies out quickly and doesn't leave lace. On the nose there is a good bit of tartness, which really dominates. There are some bits of acid and maybe some toffee further back, maybe some brown sugar, too. In the mouth the tartness envelops everything, both the front of the tongue where it normally shows up but also the inside of the cheeks. I keep getting toffee, as on the nose. The body is medium light with a medium finish with the sourness hanging around for a while.

Overall, this is a nice beer. I'm not familiar with the style, but I've had other types of sours so I'm not totally in the dark here. It's a nice brew but there are other sours I like better. Worth a try for sure.

EricCioe, May 17, 2011
Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer started pouring and instantly a massive amount of head started to form. A ton of carbonation with a lot of large bubbles. A hazy deep ruby mahogany color. The nose is all yeast with a lot of tangy metallic (penny) notes. A subtle amount of toasty sweetness. There is an intense fruity punch upfront. A sour apple juice flavor. A lot of the carbonation helps the bitterness which transitions to a tart sweetness for the finish. A nice tangy fruit kick.

DrinkingDrake, May 16, 2011
Photo of OddNotion
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle poured into my Russian River Belgian style glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep, yet semi transparent, reddish brown with a two finger light tan head that dissipates relatively quickly down to a cap on the beer with nice lacing.

Smell: Funkiness that turns medicinal, sour cherry alongside some bitter fruity scent. A little too reminiscent of robitussin, which gives me flashbacks of childhood and how much I hated that damn syrup, ergo its making it hard for me to want to take that first sip.

Taste: I let this beer sit until it warmed up from the fridge temp and I still get some metallic flavors. It is sweet, not sour at all, not even tart. I get some dark fruits such as figs, raisins, and even some molasses at the end.

Mouthfeel: Extremely light bodied and thin.

Overall: I guess its not bad for a beginner on the style. I am by no means a seasoned pro with sours, but this one just doesnt do much for me. It is not repulsive, but then again it gives me no reason to desire another one.

OddNotion, May 12, 2011
Photo of trappistlover
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(11.2oz bottle). Pours hazy mahogany with off-white head. Aroma has some vinegar and sour cherries along with some wood. Taste is sweet with some sour-almost like sour cherry hard candy. Medium bodied with a slick/oily texture. Not very sour, but would be a good intro into the style. Very easy to drink. Not bad.

trappistlover, May 10, 2011
Photo of mdaschaf
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a really nice deep red/burgundy with a light tan head that reduced to a thin layer of foam on top. Nice sheets of lacing.

S: Light, tart cherries. A little bit of wood and vinegar.

T: Nice cherry flavor, a bit less tart then I was expecting. The cherry flavor transitions to slight oxidized flavor that remains on the flavor profile on the finish.

M: Medium bodied with nice carbonation.

O: Nice aroma and upfront flavors, but the oxidation was a bit much, giving it a metallic finish that was a bit unpleasant.

mdaschaf, May 10, 2011
Photo of snaotheus
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml corked bottle split into two big snifters

Pours with very little head, pours a dark brownish red, medium amount of fine slow carbonation. Smell is dark and tart, maybe dark plums.

Taste is super tart, with a sweet aftertaste, it's very interesting, sort of a light flavor.

Mouthfeel is light and thin. Overall, nice, tasty, interesting beer.

snaotheus, May 09, 2011
Photo of rrski198
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Redish/brown translucent color. Huge rocky off white head that sticks around forever. Big time bubbles clinging to the glass and rising quickly from the bottom.

S: Very funky yeasty scent right up front. Odd rotten fermenting fruit scent.

T: Sour right up front with a super sweet back bone. Lovin' this. The sweetness reminds me of a sweet red fruit juice. Quite balanced and super refreshing.

M: Average to above average carbonation with an average body. The flavors come, kick you in the mouth, then leave rather quickly. I am left with more of the sweet nectar/juice than the sourness.

O: I am still fairly new to sours, however, this is one of the better ones i've had. I really like the sweet back bone that cuts through the mild sourness. Some of the sours i've had wreck your mouth wtih only a sour flavor and no balance, this is not the case with this brew. Real nice job here.

rrski198, May 08, 2011
Photo of ChugginOil
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Monk's Cafe

Pours a dark murky reddish-brown. Mass sediment floats throughout. An inch of spaced out bubbly head shortly sits atop the brew.

The nose reminds me of tart cherries and apples. A spicy Belgian yeast scent lingers behind the fruity esters.

The taste follows the nose pretty closely to the nose. Sweet cherries soon become delightfuly tart and a sour apple taste insues. After the tartness fades the sweetness returns. Some Belgian spiced yeast vaugly lingers in the background.

The mouthfeel is tinglingly tart yet crisp and refreshing.

Overall, this is my second round of trying sours and I must say that I am much more impressed this time (Petrus Pale last time). I am ready to begin exploring these style further.

ChugginOil, May 08, 2011
Photo of dmbsteve
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours ruby red with a giant off white head that fizzed down to about a finger and stuck around till the end.

Smells of bretty funk. Not much else, except maybe a hint of overripe grapes and sour apples.

Taste is better than smell. Sour apples is the dominant taste. Sweet and sour both. Hardly any bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium with heavy carbonation. A bit of sticky sweetness stays on the tongue and outlasts the bitterness.

Overall a pretty tasty beverage that tastes like a cross between a sour beer and a sweet wine like a reisling. I'm just starting to get into sours and every one I've had so far has been different. I really enjoyed this one.

dmbsteve, May 08, 2011
Photo of woosterbill
2.93/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On-tap at Prime 16 into a Monk's Cafe tumbler. Cheer's to matching glassware, even if it doesn't do much to accentuate aroma + flavor.

A: Clear vermillion body under a finger of super-fine tan foam. Decent retention and light lacing. Pretty inviting.

S: Uninspiring: prickly red wine vinegar, overripe cherries, and some vanilla. The acetic tartness increases as it warms, but it's never all that interesting for the style.

T: The sourness tingles the tip of my tongue, but is quickly drowned out entirely by wave after wave of cherry/vanilla sweetness. Tastes kind of like stale Cheerwine (for all you non-southerners, this is basically overly sweetened Dr. Pepper). Not terrible, but way too sweet.

M: Explosive carbonation and a sticky medium body. Exciting.

O: I think I prefer this slightly to Duchesse du Bourgogne, but only slightly - both are unnecessarily sweet and lacking in genuine complexity. While I love a great Flanders sour, I really can't get excited about a mediocre one.

Cheers!

woosterbill, May 08, 2011
Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours from the bottle with a mild head, no lacing, white with fast dissipation, thin and offwhite, eggshell even

S: smell makes you aware that fruit tannins and dark grapes and or currants and awaiting, and they are angry, they storm up your nostril not unlike an Al-Jazeera mob, giving your palate a warning shot for the bittnrness that they seek to impart

T: The front has a mild candy apple taste, not granny smith, sweet cherry flavor which mellows out to a sweeter candy finish, not tart, a bit like like a lukewarm sour patch kid, only not in a disparaging way, like a high class sour patch kid with a monocle and a aplomb for references to Marcel Proust.

M: the carbonation doesnt distract from the sweetness, the sour patch kid lets the bubbles pass like an elevator with unsavory folks exiting, then its all sweet business. The sour is a secondary effect, the sweet is much more pronounced, its more bake sale mom than competitive track home housewife.

D: Well what do you want from your beer? you want to be classy? pull out 11 oz bottles and show people your refined tastes? Ok well, this will do that but I cant seriously see anyone drinking a solid 4 pack of these. It's kinda like a Lambic's older brother who got a crew cut and a bomber jacket. You know deep down he's still sweet, but that Tears for Fear patch just shows you he has more bite than he lets on.

Narrative: These internet dating mixers are so lame, I am above this, but, if they only would give me a chance. I know on the outside I look like a beer, same old amber bottle they are used to, but inside i have so much character and personality, I am downright sweet. Oh great, look, they go for a strong DIRTY martini, I am here for them, my Jdate account get no hits...I TASTE LIKE CHERRY AND GIVE SWEET KISSES. Nice beers finish last, even my outside just says SOUR SOUR SOUR, great, now my belgium mom is gonna be all on my case about this, first my Kriek brother, now I just will sit around reading about all these other lowbrow Blegium strongs who pull all the chicks. I dont need this, I need a girl who likes ME FOR ME, not because I look like Leona- OH HEY I DO WATCH DEXTER!

SubpoenaDeuces, May 04, 2011
Photo of Texasfan549
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle straight from the fridge into a snifter. First time trying this style! Pours a clear bright red with a massive white head that filled over half of my snifter. Head receded after a couple minutes and left slight lacing. Aroma is sour cherries and a little funk with no hops or beer like qualities. Taste is all sour cherries, reminds me of the first time I ate candy! Carbonation explodes in your mouth and reveals tart cherries and a sweet almost sugary finish that sticks to your tongue. I couldn't put my glass down for more than a few seconds without finding myself wanting another sip. Mouthfeel is light and crisp with huge carbonation. Overall I'm glad I tried this and will be buying more on my next visit. I always enjoy trying new styles of beer and this is a prime example... really enjoyed this one.

Texasfan549, May 04, 2011
Photo of LittleDon
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A 13 oz. pour at the Sunset in Boston.

Cherry red, clear, with no head or lace. Aroma is sour cherries, oak, and noticeably acidic. Flavor is similar in characteristic, with a very lively feel. Light bodied. Strong lacquer characteristics in both aroma and taste (maybe fermented apples is more appropriate). I would have thought the ABV was much higher.

LittleDon, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle picked up at Rick's in Alexandria a little while back. Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass. Thought it was an appropriate time to crack this after getting home from my first visit to Monk's.

Pours a nice crimson color with some really nice lacing after a white head falls down. Not much light makes its way through. The nose has some mild cherry character plus some sweet malt. There's a touch of oak there along with some light acetic character. A bit of sweetness carries through. The flavor is somewhat tart with a bit of acid, along with a mild acetic character. A bit of oak and cherry. The mouthfeel is medium and has a dry finish. A decent example of the style, though nothing too memorable, unfortunately.

Thorpe429, Apr 26, 2011
Photo of OldIronLungs
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours into a tall goblet clean motor oil color with a nice puffy head that settles down quickly.

Nose of very light vinegar, overripe dark fruits, sour cherries.

Initial sour presence followed by a sweeter cherry flavor - more tart than anything overall. Really nice full carbonation that isn't overbearing, but chewy and effervescent. Very clean dry finish, refreshing as anything.

I think I could go for a little more sourness over the sweetness, but this still makes for a fairly balanced and pleasant sipper.

OldIronLungs, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep amber body, some reddish hues through the light with a nice thin offwhite head.

S - Smells of natural wild sour cherries. A nice dry oak note is present with tangy, tart vinegar-like aromas.

T - A great big splash of tangy cherry up front. Tartness and acidic fruit quality coupled with a metallic twang, almost mineralistic but soft. Some tart vinegar notes and a dry oaky sweetness as well.

M - Soft bodied with a very refreshing and clean feel. Crisp throughout and dry on the finish.

O - A very well balanced flavorful crisp beer. So clean and enjoyable and what a nice blend of flavors. Awesome.

BeerForMuscle, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of DirtybeerguyRI
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Pours a deep red mahogany with lines of carbonation climbing up the sides. It's crystal clear with a thick, fizzy white head.

SMELL: This is a sour beer, so you'll pick up notes of a hard apple cider vinegar. Under that, you'll pick up a deep fruitiness along with dark malts and a hint of spice.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-bodied sour ale that feels snappy, fizzy, and just sour enough to be more cleansing than anything else. It'll make you pucker just a bit.

TASTE: What a refreshing, unique beer! The opening taste is sour, but quickly followed by black cherries, dates, and maybe a touch of green apples. It's a very refreshing, fun beer that's only a touch complex. I would have liked this beer a little better with less fruitiness and a bit more breadiness, but that's purely subjective.

DRINKABILITY: I don't think that I could have several of these in a row, but I can see myself having one, breaking to try something else, and then having another Flemish Sour Ale.

VERDICT: This is actually a private label beer commissioned by Monk's Cafe Belgian Beer Emporium and Restaurant (http://www.monkscafe.com) in Philadelphia, PA. It's brewed by the Van Steenberge Brewery in Belgium. I bought on a lark and I'm glad I did. I love it when a gamble pays off. If you can find it (I got mine at The Savory Grape, East Greenwich, RI), then I recommend you give it a shot.

Cheers,
John Harvey
Dirtybeerguy.com

DirtybeerguyRI, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of musicforairports
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ruby brown, head forms big and some of it sticks around quite awhile but leaves little lacing.

Smells like overripe cherries, lacto-sourness and a bit of that balsamic vinegar-like aspect these beers have (this is not a bad thing.)

Tastes like sour cherries and that balsamic flavor, tart but not very sour, a bit sweet. Not as sweet as I was expecting though; there's a lot of carbonation that keeps the sweetness from becoming overbearing at all.

Fizzy on the mouth, which is good for the style otherwise it could get too sweet and syrupy. The body of the beer is very good.

A decent Oud Bruin, but not the best I've had. The flavors could be more robust and a bit more sour.

musicforairports, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of youradhere
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours bright mahogany with red edges, tan head. Smell, wow, butterscotch, cherries, slight medicinal. Taste, wow, butterscotch sweet sour malt. Some lemon, slight caramel. Definitely complex, yet I wish this were a tad less sweet. Carbonation is high, mouthfeel is slightly slick. I dunno if the sweet and sour works for me, but it is a different beer from what I am used to.

youradhere, Apr 16, 2011
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,353 ratings.