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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

2,337 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,337
Reviews: 1,042
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 51
Gots: 161 | 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: 2,337 | Reviews: 1,042 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip glass and allowed to warm up to cellar temp before drinking.

The body is crisp and clear. A deep ruby red that borders on garnet, it is topped with a fluffy white 1 finger head that leaves sticky streaks of lacing, as well as some spots of foam, all over the sides of the glass. This looks absolutely gorgeous.

The aroma, unfortunately doesn't live up to the high expectations set by the appearance. There is a light acetic quality to the aroma, but more so, there are sour cherries, some cocoa powder, and an underlying sweetness. The presence of a ton of residual sugar is evident on the palate. The sweetness is high, even for a Flanders Red, making this one a bit tough to drink from the outset. Cloying from the start, the flavor has a long way to go to impress me. The dominant flavor outside of the sweetness is red wine vinegar, which is accompanied in the finish by some more slight acidity and some sour cherries.

Slick and heavy on the palate despite being sour, this beer just didn't really impress me all that much. There are far better representations of this style out there, though I can see the value in this beer. It would be a good training wheel sour for someone just getting into the expensive habit.

NittanyBeerFan, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of lnashsig
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Duvel tulip, pours a dark amber color, with quick froth that fills the glass, and receeds to leave some nice lacing. Smell- sour apples, musty funk, sour sugar. Taste- fruit, sour apples, dark cherry, a sweet but not cloying finish. Mouthfeel- nice rich carbonation, smooth feel. Drinkability- if you can stand the powerful sour, this is borderline sessionable.

I'm really loving sours these days...and this is a drinkable and awesome example.

lnashsig, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of DPFRD
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark Reddish Brown, creamy 2 cm head that recedes leaving a thing layer on top.

S- Sweet and tart, with hint of acidity and a trace of pepper.

T- Upfront comes sweetness, followed immediately by the tart, once it expands some more pronounced sourness pokes it's head, but only momentarily, as it closes with an oaky tannin quality.

M- Medium, good carbonation.

D- It's tasty. I think it is very accessible for almost anyone for this style, as it's not very subtle and the flavors are very clean cut.

O- Not too sour, and the balance of sweetness is good, but definitely more towards the sweet end. The nose shows this as it doesn't give off that pronounced sour aroma... it's in there if you look for it and the beer has had time to open up. Not to shabby.

DPFRD, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Three Floyd's in a Monk glass.

Appearance: This pours a cherry color with a tint of brown and a thin foamy tan cap. It mostly fades to a ring but leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Tart cherries, some vinegar, and surprising raisin aroma, which is pleasant and really some character.

Taste: A dash of light malt starts out the sip. Sweet cherries turn tart, then acidic and vinegary. A dash of raisin is in here, and the finish is more tart cherry and vinegar.

Mouthfeel: Crisply carbonated and a little bit creamy at the end. The tartness leaves my lips puckering and my mouth salivating. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: I found this to be easy drinking, not too tart, but with a pleasant, moderately complex flavor. I would definitely order this again.

KickInTheChalice, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of perrymarcus
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pours a deep amber tone, sits a chestnut color with ruby tones evident when held to light. foamy finger, finger and a half beige head, middling retention; head lapse into a thin cap... very nice lacing.

nose is a pretty nice bouquet consisting mostly of malts, sour/tartness, and a fruity sweetness.

flavor hits me with a little more sourness than i was anticipating based on the aroma, but not an overly, mouth-pucking sour... interesting balance between the sweet and sour. defintely has some tang to it; sour cherries. tasty and refreshing, though nothing transcendent.

medium-bodied mouthfeel with healthy carbonation. drinks easily. looks like 4s across the board here.

edit: docking the drinkability score a point. it's wearing on me.

perrymarcus, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of larsenju
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Rich amber red body with a very tall light brown head, very good retention and lacing.

S-Just a little sour, some cherries, just a little caramel, crisp apple, and just a touch of a vinegar aroma.

T-Lightly tart, I was getting plenty of cherry and a little green apple, I also got some other lightly fruity esters. It wasn't really funky at all, leaving it pretty juicy but it was still pretty nice. There was also a little malt profile buried in there, kind of a mix of caramel and biscuit with just a little bit of oak backing everything up.

M-Lots of carbonation, but its still pretty smooth, and very dry, almost champagne like.

D-I really like a super tart and funky Flanders, and this isn't. That said, its pretty easy to drink making it more approachable than most in the style. If I remember right it wasn't to expensive either.

larsenju, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of dgugliuzza
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip

A- Pours reddish brown with a thick tan head. A hazy red hue settles in the glass. Very good head retention.

S- Smells of sour prunes and sweet dark fruits. The combination of sweet and sour combines nicely. Delicate, yet complex.

T- Tastes of prunes and cherries. Mostly sour and a little sweet. Sour after taste that lingers intensely. A bit overpowering for my tastes buds, but pretty interesting nonetheless.

M- Bursts with carbonation. Medium bodied and quite crisp. Goes down fairly smooth.

D- Not sure if I would have more than one. It's a bit too sour and over carbonated for me, but there is a nice balance of sweet and sour. Granted, this was my first sour so I would like to try a few others.

dgugliuzza, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of mortarit
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Having a real hard time getting into these sour beers. They really drive my pallet crazy. My whole face draws up like all of the air left the building, experience.

Overall, the everthing else about this one particularly looks great for appearance, color, and smell.

Maybe, I should eat more sour apples for practice.

mortarit, Jan 24, 2011
Photo of BostonBrewins
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Big off white head that sticks around literally, some really nice lacing going on here. Color is mahogany, in the light its a brilliant amber. This beer looks so good in the snifter it's almost a shame to drink it.

S - Earthy boarding on musty fruity esters. Notes of apple and pears.

T - Tangy and just the right amount of sourness. Not as tart as I expected. The fruity ester flavors are definitely there, particularly that of sour apples, raisins and red grapes. Undertones of dark caramel malts are there, but subtle, maybe too subtle. Slight metallic aftertaste, but it's hardly noticeable.

M - Not too heavy but very full mouthfeel. Becomes even more full when I swirl it in my mouth. Superb, definitely this brew's best characteristic.

D - I really enjoyed this one, complex yet very drinkable.

BostonBrewins, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of brewerburgundy
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

brewerburgundy, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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!

ToAzwethinkweizm, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of jjanega08
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

jjanega08, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of oglmcdgl
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

oglmcdgl, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of DoktorZee
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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).

DoktorZee, Jan 16, 2011
Photo of bobsy
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

bobsy, Jan 16, 2011
Photo of happy5930
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

happy5930, Jan 13, 2011
Photo of Beerbuddha
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Beerbuddha, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of bgreg3
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
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!

bgreg3, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of Aguirre
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Aguirre, Jan 03, 2011
Photo of larryi86
3.8/5  rDev -1%
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.

larryi86, Jan 02, 2011
Photo of itsfreeasinbeer
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

itsfreeasinbeer, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of emagana
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

emagana, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of RedSpecial1
3.8/5  rDev -1%
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.

RedSpecial1, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

PittBeerGirl, Dec 28, 2010
Photo of Shaken9
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

Shaken9, Dec 27, 2010
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,337 ratings.