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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

2,278 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,278
Reviews: 1,038
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.1%
Wants: 48
Gots: 147 | 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: 2,278 | Reviews: 1,038 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brewerburgundy
brewerburgundy

California

3.83/5  rDev 0%

11.2oz bottle, Bruery tulip, and some code that probably takes a special ring to decipher on the back label.

Tis a beautiful beer even if it was almost a gusher. A quarter pour filled the glass with 7/8ths head that is rocky, light tan, and as it recedes leaves clumps. The beer is an exceptionally clear ruby.

Aromas are very soft, barely detectable acidity with biscuit and red fruit. After some warming I get vanilla oak.

The flavors have more power than the aromas. Sharp, fresh, tart green apple, a little lemon and unfiltered cider vinegar pucker. There's a cakey, biscuit base that's a complementary background.

Fizzy and tannic with a matte acidity. It's almost like a cider. Very refreshing.

As my second sour, I find it very near the first, Duchesse De Bourgogne. There are some specific flavor differences and in the level of sourness. I like it quite a bit and will keep trying beers with sour and acidic characteristics.

01-23-2011 00:50:25 | More by brewerburgundy
Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
ToAzwethinkweizm

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Date: 22 January 2011
Glass: Sierra Nevada XXX snifter
Type: 11.2fl oz bottle

Poured gently for a 2-finger head, reduces to thin bubbly film, lacing is a little runny, color is slightly cloudy deep crimson-brown with sediment. Aroma is a slightly rusty sour apple, vinegar, and some funky tartness. Taste can be described the same, but the carbonation really hits the tongue hard. Good beer to share with someone!

01-22-2011 21:13:23 | More by ToAzwethinkweizm
Photo of jjanega08
jjanega08

Minnesota

4.15/5  rDev +8.4%

A= Pours a hazy brown color with a coca cola like head that rises and falls fast to a thin ring around the glass after a while with zero lacing and nothing for retention.

S= The first thing I notice is a load of vinegar. As I dig my nose in I get less of the vinegar smell and start to venture into a woody semi sweet odor. Herbal and medicinal are some of the aromas that come to mind. The sour tartness takes a back seat in the odor on this one.

T= The taste has quite a bit of balance to it. There is a good bit of the vinegar acetic acid taste to it but it is balanced by a bit of cherry sweetness to it like a cherry pie. There is a bit of wood and oak in the flavor.

M= There is a lot of carbonation to it and a lot of scubbing bubbles.

D= This is one of the best flanders reds I've ever had. Smooth and balanced without a load of sweetness that I can deal with. The sourness vinegar taste is also kept to a tolerable level. Worth seeking out for sure.

01-22-2011 04:42:29 | More by jjanega08
Photo of oglmcdgl
oglmcdgl

Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%

A bottle poured into my trusty duvel tulip and paired with some confit pork belly tacos.

A- a finger or so of light tan head from a hard pour that settles quickly to leave a few spots of sticky lace on the glass and a thin ring. A good swirl brings the suds right back in stellar fashion. Brilliant deep ruby red brown in color that glows wonderfully when held to the light.

S- apple cider vinegar and vinous bits with some funky must and sweet cherries. There's a strange yet inviting umami savoriness at times.

T- apples, kinda rotten apples in fact but in a good way. Lightly sour and tart with a good bit of cherry cordial sweetness. Some funky wood and vinegar.

M- just about medium in body with a light carb that give a bit of a slick mouthfeel to it.

D- this is the beer that got me into craft beer. I remember it blowing my mind like it was yesterday, I'd never had anything like it and fell instantly in love. Now in the greater scheme of thing this is a tasty brew but I've have had better in the style.

01-22-2011 01:34:44 | More by oglmcdgl
Photo of DoktorZee
DoktorZee

Alberta (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%

Enjoyed on-tap at the Draught House, in a goblet.

A - pours a very red, clear brew with little to no head, some obvious carbonation.

S - very unique smell almost like spoiled fruit with a definite tartness.

T - tastes like sour apple juice underpinned by an elusive booziness that never quite makes an appearance. Also significant earthy tones.

M - really nice sharp carbonation that makes this taste very crisp and refreshing.

D - in spite of the significant tartness somehow the alcohol warmth keeps it very drinkable; surprisingly so!

Definitely a unique experience for me; would definitely try it again (and am curious what it's like from a bottle).

01-16-2011 19:33:43 | More by DoktorZee
Photo of bobsy
bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

3.68/5  rDev -3.9%

Bottle from Volo for around $9.

Standard flanders oud bruin appearance, with a rich mahogany body and a finger of off-white head. Nice retention and lace. Sweet cour cherry nose with a light brown bread aspect. The flavour is relatively simple - sour (though not too sour) cherry, brown sugar, and very mild balsamic vinegar. Straightforward, and not all that complex, lacking a bit of a sour bite that would put it in line with some of the better examples. Medium body and carbonation is about right.

Sweet and fruity, but lacing the sourness it needs. At this point it's more Petrus than Goudenband.

01-16-2011 19:25:55 | More by bobsy
Photo of happy5930
happy5930

New York

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%

One of the first sours I've had. I found it to be smooth, and easy to drink. Not much carbonation. Amber in color, with little to no sediment. Not much of a bite, and not too sour. It was sweet to the tongue and nose. Certainly worth a try, a smooth and light brew, to put back slowly.

01-13-2011 03:42:18 | More by happy5930
Photo of Beerbuddha
Beerbuddha

Louisiana

4/5  rDev +4.4%

Appearance: This beer poured a reddish brown with a huge fluffy tan head. Lacing present throughout

Smell: Wonderful smell of tart, dark cherries and wood.

Taste: Nice sweet, tart and sour taste of cherries. Starts off sweet and dives into a nice sourness. Has a nice oakiness which helps cut the sourness. Also has nice hints of citrus. The sweet and sour is balanced well.

Mouthfeel: Heavy mouthfeel with high carbonation.

Overall: Fantastic sour in my opinion. Nice too sour but rather well balanced with the sweetness.

01-04-2011 16:12:12 | More by Beerbuddha
Photo of bgreg3
bgreg3

Indiana

3.6/5  rDev -6%

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!

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

Missouri

3.6/5  rDev -6%

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.

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

Delaware

3.8/5  rDev -0.8%

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.

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

Massachusetts

4.18/5  rDev +9.1%

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.

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

California

4.15/5  rDev +8.4%

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.

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

Florida

3.8/5  rDev -0.8%

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.

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

Pennsylvania

3.73/5  rDev -2.6%

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.

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

North Carolina

3.7/5  rDev -3.4%

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.

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

New Jersey

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%

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.

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

Pennsylvania

3.25/5  rDev -15.1%

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.

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

Ohio

3.7/5  rDev -3.4%

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.

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

California

4.13/5  rDev +7.8%

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.

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

New Hampshire

3.2/5  rDev -16.4%

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).

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

Texas

1.7/5  rDev -55.6%

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!

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

Georgia

2.88/5  rDev -24.8%

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.

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

California

3.1/5  rDev -19.1%

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.

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

Kentucky

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%

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.

12-11-2010 16:24:13 | More by JoePat
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,278 ratings.