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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

2,197 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 medic25
medic25

Connecticut

4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Chestnut brown color with a frothy white head. Sour vinegar aroma, but not in an unpleasant way. Taste is as I'd expect from the aroma; quite tart and sour, a little bit fruity. Very sharp, but enjoyable; tough to drink more than one, but a nice change from the norm. A good example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2010 02:01:44 | More by medic25
Photo of ktrillionaire
ktrillionaire

Florida

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

Thanks to Freethyhops for the hook-up. Great trader.

G - Delirium tulip

A - It pours a fairly deep chestnut-brown hue with a reddish tinge. A nice millimeter of tan foam sticks around. Blotches of lace cling to the glass.

S - Smells sweet vinegar-y, and of apples, cinnamon, and spice, as well as little horse-y.

T - Tastes deliciously complex; fruity with suggestions of spiced apples, tart with nuances of cherry, funky with oak and vinegar character, and just overall an easily appreciable example of the style. Initially, familiar flavors coalesce to mimic the taste of apple butter. As it airs out, it shows the complexity and contrast imparted by the blending of new/sweet and old/sour.

M - Starts sweet/wet and finishes tart/dry. The feel enhances the flavor well.

D - Much better than I recall, this is a very good example of the style. My only caveat is that is a little too moderate of palette, despite the complexity; I think it is pleasant and immensely enjoyable, and perhaps not as challenging as I would like.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2010 03:24:40 | More by ktrillionaire
Photo of WOTO97
WOTO97

California

3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: vigorous pour for thick cappuccino head that slowly dissolves to thin bubbly film, thin web-like lacing, deep burgundy red

S: grapes and soft vinegar notes, mild sweetness, very faint malt, distant nutmeg accompanies some burned vanilla notes

T: loads of fresh grapes, mellow tartness that slowly fades on the palate to a nice sweetness

M: slight stickiness in the back of the throat, slight and clean on the front, mellow creaminess

D: incredibly drinkable for a sour but almost to negative results, the grape notes overwhelm the vinegar flavors for a very mellow and clean finish

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2010 23:16:49 | More by WOTO97
Photo of thecarster1
thecarster1

Pennsylvania

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

a- bottle poured into a flute, half inch bubbly head, clear tawny walnut color with active bubbling.

s- sour! tart unripe frruit, champagne like dryness, slight funk, apple cider vinegar.

t- doesn't have the overly sour puckering flavor i was bracing myself for. unripe berries, green apple, some funk - now i think i understand how bas use the term 'horse blacket.' i think i've come up with the perfect description for this beer - 'BROWN ALE GONE WRONG' - don't get me wrong, thats a compliment!

m- very light and effervescent.

d- nice, i could finish off a bottle, but not sure how many afterwards, this is a sipper anyway, and not an everyday beer at that, but it was a great treat to try!

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2010 16:51:00 | More by thecarster1
Photo of hayesez
hayesez

Indiana

2.68/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Been on a real sour kick lately and have been picking them up whenever I find a new one. On our recent trip to Texas I saw a bottle of Monk's and figured I'd give it a shot. I was in Philly last month and was hoping to try it right there at the café, but wasn't able to make it - the bottle will have to do.

Poured into a wine glass producing almost zero head. A thin ring of fizzy bubbles surrounds the surface, but that is about it. Absolutely no lacing left behind. Sitting on the table, it looks just like a glass of iced tea...color is spot on, and there is no head.

Smells quite strongly of vinegar. Also a slight hint of sweet fruitiness, but definitely hard to get past the vinegar. Zero funkiness.

Ok, the taste of this thing caught me way off guard. You'd think that after smelling the strong vinegar, I'd be ready for the taste. However, after talking with people who have had it in the past, and reading some of the reviews, I was expecting a bit more tart unripe fruit. I was wrong. Apple cider vinegar. Frankly, I'm having a really hard time getting past this. I drank an entire glass being as open-minded as possible, but I have to admit, I am quite disappointed. Hidden through several layers of vinegar, there is a bit of sour fruit taste in there, but that is about it. Mouthfeel is actually ok with a decent amount of carbonation even though this wasn't evident from the pour.

Overall, I was really disheartened with the whole experience. I'm kind of thinking there is a chance that I got a bad bottle. I will definitely give this a shot again down the road, and if different, I will certainly come back and alter the review. That being said, this is going to go down in my books as one of the lower ranked sours I've had.

Consumed: 04/08/10

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2010 03:02:12 | More by hayesez
Photo of BeerGodz
BeerGodz

New Jersey

3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Bright cherry red color, clear, small head with little retention or lacing

Smell: Apples, raisin

Taste: Up Front: Tart, green apple, Finish: Cherry, sweet & earthy

Mouthfeel: Light/medium body with a medium yet soft carbonation. Coats the palate nicely

Drinkability: Refreshing and very easy to drink

Overall Impression: This is a very interesting style - one that reminds me of really good cider. If you like slightly tart flavors or apples, you'll love this beer!

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2010 23:23:17 | More by BeerGodz
Photo of hoplover82
hoplover82

Texas

3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear beautiful cherry red with very good retention and lacing.

Smells of simply sweet green apples. That's it it seems.

Taste is pretty simple and one dementional as well. Only green apples to me. Afte hearing my friend say that buckeyenation got cherries in this, I can see that too. I aslo do get the cherries indeed...

The mouthfeel is kinda rough around the edges to me. This is the first sour I've had. Maybe this could be aged a little more. It has a medium body and the sourness seems to excentuate the carbonation and give it a bubbly mouthfeel.

And it's ok in drinkablilty.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2010 02:38:58 | More by hoplover82
Photo of jasonjlewis
jasonjlewis

Texas

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

great head retention, size and lacing.

smell is of green apples and a hint of raisin with a heping of cherried. not quite as complex as I would like but good nevertheless.

taste is of green apples and some caramel malts with cherry undertones. again, not as complex as I would like.

good attenuation and full mouthfeel.

decent stab at the style for a good price per bottle.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2010 02:35:36 | More by jasonjlewis
Photo of cwc
cwc

New York

4.65/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wow, this beer kind of changed my life, as far as beers go. Never having had a "sour red ale", I really wasn't sure what to expect, but what a treat it was! This is one of the most refreshing and tasty beers I can remember consuming and it really opens up a whole world of beers for future consumption! Really, this is a unique and special beer worth seeking out and trying.

T - very distinct and refreshing. Maybe all "sour red ales" taste like this, but it was a new and distinct taste for me - and it worked!

D - One could probably enjoy quite a few of these very easily. Not too strong by any means.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2010 03:28:23 | More by cwc
Photo of HoustonTX
HoustonTX

Texas

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out gorgeously into my Chimay Goblet. Bright ruby body with vivacious carbonation, and strong frothy off white head. Smell is sweetly phenolic, with a twang of funkiness. Some darker balancing notes of oak, vanilla, and roasted grain provide a nice backbone. Taste has great depth. Sweet, tangy, tart, funky, and sour. The sweetness comes of lambic in nature. Cherries and raspberries. Sweeping waves of funk, tangy bits of citrus rind, sour waves of bitter seeds, and sweet candied cherries, just a plethora of great flavors. Finishes with a lingering melding of flavors, and touch of graininess in the end to level things out. This beer was quite refreshing on a hot day like today, I would go as far to say this is dangerously drinkable. Very enjoyable overall.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2010 23:35:46 | More by HoustonTX
Photo of busterthecat
busterthecat

Massachusetts

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

Poured from 11.2 oz into a tulip glass

A- Pours a murky brownish red color with 1/4 inch of foam composed of both fine and coarse bubbles.

S- strong smell of tart, some funk. Vinegar and dark fruit also present.

T- Up front is some funk/tart, but much less then smell. Fruit notes of fig/apple/grape. Quite sweet. Secondary earthiness. mellows as u swallow. No taste of Alcohol.

M- Soft, barely feel bubbles. slightly coating feel. lingers for a second before mildly leaving.

D- very easy to drink. almost finished it while thinking about the taste. VERY GOOD for around $3.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2010 03:51:56 | More by busterthecat
Photo of diamondc
diamondc

Texas

4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, murky, burgundy in color, with excellent head retention and beautiful Belgian lace.

S: Acidic, chocolate-y, musty, cherry, rotten apples, with a bit of pork in the background.

T: Sour cherries dominate the flavor, along with vinegar, dark berries, brown sugar, with a barely there bitterness at the end (maybe due to the roasted malts?).

M/D: Excellent, light on the tongue, thirst quenching. Not heavy on the sour and the funk at all. This is as close as it gets to a everyday sour ale.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2010 01:44:59 | More by diamondc
Photo of emmasdad
emmasdad

Colorado

3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not my favorite style, but I tried it on tap at B.J.s Temecula. Pours a garnet/ruby red color, with a bit of tan lacing on top. Smells of red wine vinegar, tart cherries and lactic acid. Flavors not much different, although I detect a bit of sweetness, which plays nicely off of the sour funk. Crisp and refreshing, though I doubt I could drink more than one.

Serving type: on-tap

04-04-2010 01:17:58 | More by emmasdad
Photo of Spineypanda
Spineypanda

Texas

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

Pours a clear but dark red and has a nice head at least half an inch thick.
Smells of sours yeasts, not overly sour though.
Tastes like a bit of candied sugars, somewhat like a sweet red apple. Interesting how the sour ales remind me of apples every time. I really enjoy this beer, the finish is great and malty while being sweet as well.

Another I would buy for any occasion.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2010 02:35:06 | More by Spineypanda
Photo of cvaypai
cvaypai

Wisconsin

4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Taken from notes. In bottles at Titletown Brewery for FeBREWary.

Appearance - Deep mahogany red, ruby when held to light. Poured with a tan, reddish-white bubbly head that dissipates at a medium pace and leaves a very nice lacing.

Smell - Smells of sour cherries and tart cranberries, a small bit of sweetness can be picked up. Vinegar and oakey woodiness can be discerned. Other fruits can also be picked out, sort of underwhelming.

Taste - Extremely nice and refreshing. Lots of cranberry and cherry as the nose indicated. The other dark fruits are there and it is a bit lactic and tart but it works well. A small amount of sweet malt on the end and some possible grapes on the finish. The tartness stays and the candy likeness pales as it warms and sour green apples come out.

Mouthfeel - A bit thinner and light but incredibly easy to drink and the tart buckles the tongue. A tiny bit of carbonation works great with this and makes it slightly effervescent.

Drinkability - Immensely drinkable, reminded me of a wine/beer hybrid. Would reach for many more, tastes like candy and goes down like it too.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2010 00:53:54 | More by cvaypai
Photo of ChadQuest
ChadQuest

Illinois

2.1/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Looks nice, smells pretty fine too with some fruity notes, but there is way to much sweetness for what i wanted. The medicinal sweetness all but masks the characteristics that could be present. Like Cherry Nyquil. wanted a dry puckering finish, but this leaves with just a wisp of tartness and lets you keep the residual sweetness to stick in your mouth. The 12oz bottle in my snifter is more then enough for me, but i am still glad i tried it for more Oud Bruin experience for only 2.99.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2010 05:56:29 | More by ChadQuest
Photo of Reagan1984
Reagan1984

Massachusetts

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

Poured into my tulip glass and a finger 1/2 of fizzy off whiyte head formed and quickly settled. Brown/reddish color. Almost maroon. Sticky lacing quickly appears.

Aroma is dirty, musty, vingegar like and of cherry.

Flavor is much sweeter than the aroma indicates. Cherry, slightly nutty, bread tones and sweet. Just a touch of tartness at the end. Its like the beer is tart around the edges, but sweet all in the middle.
Medium bodied and less than sticky. Tiny pin point carbonation.

Interesting, but a little too sweet. Not as much depth as in some other sours.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2010 03:24:34 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of MOB210SA
MOB210SA

Texas

3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The first sour ale, of any kind, I have tried.

Nice retaining creamy medium tan head about a finger's worth and slowly fades. Some good looking lacing is left after the action. Small patches and thin film cover the beer eventually. Deep colored scarlet, ruby red in color. Lots of scattered lacing cling nicely.

Nose- They weren't lying on the label about a sour lactic nose. Smells of milk, I don't want to say soured milk, but it is a little funky. A very lightly underlying caramel with a wine-like quality too. Maybe light touch of leather.

The taste is like really overripe fruits maybe peach, banana, raspberry smoothie that has a little funkiness too it as if it was left out for a while. I can also taste a hint of apple. Somewhat strange at first, but I tried it with a open mind and slowly starting to like it more each sip. You will probably either love it or hate it. I think it's worth a try and would probably be excellent paired with the right foods.

Medium bodied mouthfeel, smooth, and creamy going down. Rather bitter, sour finish with a lightly sweet end finish. The drinkability isn't high on this one. I really would not want more than one in a day. Maybe once they grow on me more, but right now every sip is a little shocker. Probably the hardest beer I've drank down in a while. Not because its not good, because this beer is just so different, I think I'm still not sure what to think. Usually they go real quick but this one I've been sipping and still have half the 12 oz bottle left. Worth a try, it is certainly different.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2010 22:51:31 | More by MOB210SA
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

4.85/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 fl. oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A - Pours a malt vinegar copper color with a big foamy head that fades to a small cap. Lacing on this beer is quite good.

S - Smelling it right out of the bottle it smells like sweet vinegar. After pouring into the glass I get a sour fruit essence. It smells very much like some lambics I have had in the past.

T - Taste is of tart fruits (sour cherry/raspberry) with little bitterness. There is a sour aspect to this beer but it works well with the sweetness to create an even taste. The taste reminded me very much of lambics I have had in the past.

M - Great carbonation and dryness create a refreshing beer. Drinks down very smoothly.

D - This is a terrific beer that I purchased on a whim. I will definitely be purchasing more of these.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2010 05:46:27 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of alpinebryant
alpinebryant

Connecticut

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

Poured into a short wine glass / tulip glass. A foamy lacing of miniature oak bubbles that left lacing along the glass.

Smell of tart, sour cherry and raspberry, oak and funk. Vinegar presence also noticeable.

Taste of Sweet and Sour sauce , oak barrel aged funk and vinegar are most prominent. Raspberry and Cherry dark fruit flavors. This has both sides of the spectrum on sweet and sour, both almost equally noticeable. After some time, the vinegar taste is more pronounced.

Strong carbonation and a light mouthfeel, I was happy to have had this one for what I thought to be a reasonable price for sour. 3.99 for a 11.2 oz bottle in afterthought isn't a steal but it is a welcome addition to what I have been able to find in the category of sours which mostly only appear in Wine size bottles of a liter plus.

An enjoyable Flemish Sour Ale that can be enjoyed in sips. The sour funk is only slightly negative on my palate. I would appreciate a slightly cleaner taste.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2010 20:21:37 | More by alpinebryant
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a reddish brwon color with a 1/4" head that breaks apart immediately.

Smell: tart cherries, sourness, and a fruity sweetness is pleasant on the nose.

Taste: mild malt presence with loads of cherry flavor. Sourness is mild but very noticeable. Bitterness is mellow.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Crisp to start, less crisp and a bit dry at the finish. Aftertaste is short lived.

Drinkability: slow sipping beer. Bomber bottle is more than enough for a session.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2010 21:21:48 | More by Gavage
Photo of superdedooperboy
superdedooperboy

Georgia

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2-ounce brown bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a nicely clear copper-brown with a huge billowing head of beige foam that shows excellent retention, leaving fat patchy rings of lacing down the sides of the glass, settling to a thick cap that holds out until the finish.

The nose is a delicious melding of aromas, with some slightly sweet toffee-like notes, lots of oaky wood and a little bit of a sour, musty character.

Body sits on the lower end of medium, with a middling level of carbonation. A mild base of sweet caramel is topped with a nice dose of tartness that consumes the entirety of the palate through the finish, with notes of dark cherries and raspberries toward the back. More musty, oaky and vinous notes fill in the cracks before a slightly sour, medium-dry finish.

Wonderfully drinkable, the balance between sweet and sour here is spot-on, and the low alcohol level lends itself to sessionability. This is one beer that I honestly believe I could drink all night long without tiring of it. Very nice.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2010 02:44:16 | More by superdedooperboy
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

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

A: Light brown in color, small head with moderate lacing.

S: Funky yeast, sweet dark fruits, wood. Easily identifiable as a Flanders Oud Bruin.

T: Refreshing and tasty. I always prefer sour over sweet, but this beer marries the two quite well. There is an intriguing, musty, funky aspect to the beer that I am enjoying. The beer definitely has a sweet component, and finishes that way.

M: Moderately low carbonation, nice feel, sweet/sour finish (mostly sweet).

D: My palate can only handle a small amount of sweet beers. This one is very well done, and I'd be happy to drink it again.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2010 03:48:15 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

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

The beer pours a dark brown color with a beige head. The aroma is tart apple and tart grapes. The taste is caramel malt as well as tart apples and grapes. The apple is dominant. Low-medium carbonation and a thin mouthfeel. A pretty nice sour beer that is a not as sour as some, but has a nice fruity flavor.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2010 03:54:01 | More by Mora2000
Photo of BeanBone
BeanBone

Texas

4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A rich reddish-brown body capped by a little less than two fingers of creamy off-white head that fade slowly and leave great lacing.

Aroma: Sour and tart with lots of great cherry, sweet malt, musty, and vinous notes--mouthwatering and inviting.

Flavor: A great mix of sweet and sour flavors: lots of fruit (cherries, raspberries, and grapes mostly), wood, a slight acidity, and a base of toffee-like malt. Not overly sour, it's all balanced superbly. The aftertaste is wine-like, funky, and occasionally a little metallic.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with lots of great effervescent carbonation. A drying finish.

Drinkability: As long as you aren't totally put off by sour flavors, this is a highly drinkable brew.

Verdict: Brimming with character and depth, Monk's Café is a terrific beer that really satisfies when I'm craving a sweet and sour beer. If you've never had a sour and you're looking for a safe start, or if you're just looking for something a little different, this would be a great choice.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2010 22:09:32 | More by BeanBone
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,197 ratings.