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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
87
very good

2,442 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,442
Reviews: 1,049
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 57
Gots: 192 | FT: 3
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: 2,442 | Reviews: 1,049 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of orangesol
3.18/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served on-tap at Al's of Hampden into a tulip.

A - Pours opaque reddish brown with a fizzy half finger tall off white head leaving little to no lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of tart sour cherries, oak, some lactic sourness, and a light sugary sweetness. Not as funky as I was expecting it to be, still a decent amount of sourness tho.

T - Starts off with a bright lactic sourness that fades quickly leaving hints of tart cherries, candied sugar, dry oak tannins, and some dark fruit. Finish is a mix of light sourness and sticky sweetness, lingering for a short time. This was ok at best.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Good amount of pucker initially quickly dieing down leaving a sticky sweet feel. Finish is a mix of light sourness and lingering sweetness.

O - This is far from a bad beer, but it really never wowed me. I liked the flavors but the sourness cut out far too quickly and you were left with an overly sweet red ale.

orangesol, Jun 30, 2011
Photo of kawilliams81
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a La Chouffe Tulip.

A- Light raspberry purple in color, with little to no head or lacing.

S- Sweet dark fruits with some sour/funk.

T- Sweet dark fruits dominate with a hint of sour and barnyard funk towards the middle and end.

M- Thin, low carbonation.

O- For a sour, not very sour. But I like this beer on a hot summer day. Would like a little more sour though.

kawilliams81, Jun 29, 2011
Photo of smakawhat
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

A gorgeous dark amber burnt brown and red body with clear presentation. Head doesn't stick around much but a good solid tan collar is left to observe. Very much like this body color, clear, brown and ruby. Looks great!

Bouquet is sweet and sour cherries, with emphasis on sweet first. A distinct sort of sweet mix of brown sugar and malt too. Hint of tartness. I really like this nose.

Taste is very good emphasis on sweet red fruits. Berries of cherry, raspberry, maybe even some dark plum. No sour or tartness at all. Very chewy in the palate, candy taffy like, with some slurring wetness in the feel. Brown sugar takes on during the finish.

Overall pretty easy drinking not even sour, quite sweet actually which probably knock my score down a bit. But it's a great beer and a good place to start to get your feet wet if you are not into sour tastes.

smakawhat, Jun 28, 2011
Photo of BBP
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- This beer seems to go from the largest amount of head to the smallest amount in the shortest time I've ever seen. At first it was giant and within a minute, it had completely disappeared aside from the ring of carbonation on the outside. The reason behind this seems to be how intense the carbonation is. It has a burnt raspberry look to it now, and leaves absolutely no lace.

S- Light sourness, and some light sweetness as well. Green apples and raspberries seem to be the most prominent fruits. The aroma presents the beer in a sharp way, but it ends up tasting more smooth.

T- The taste of this is more fruity than sour imo, as the sourness is more of an initial taste, and the fruitiness is a constant. My tastebuds aren't off, but I'm just not getting a ton of sourness. It's there initially, but then it's overtaken but a sugary taste.

The flavor leads with an almost citrus cherry flavor, and then soon tastes a bit tropical like mangoes and peaches. The aftertaste is full of buttery malt. and almost seems to taste like banana.

M- Slightly overcarbonated, but aside from that, it's fairly full bodied, and pretty creamy. Very dry finish.

O- Not a bad sour, but I've had many that I enjoy more. This one seems to contain a lot more sweetness than the other ones I've tried. There's only glimpses of alcohol in this, but it blends almost seamlessly with the fruity flavors.

I disagree with the assessments that this couldn't be drank all night. I found this to be very approachable, almost to a flaw. I just wish that it had more of a kick. For what it's worth, at 5.5%, I doubt you'll find many beers this potent though. Worth checking out, but I'd hold off on buying in bulk.

BBP, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of ryantaussig
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Leaps and bounds better on tap than it ever was in the bottle. I'm so sad the keg at The Good Life was kicked. While very similar to the bottled version. The freshness of it from the keg made for a significantly more sour experience. Same look (although lacing was better), better aroma and flavor. A great beer, especially on tap.

ryantaussig, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of Scottnr88
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep mahogany almost dark amber color. The white head dissipates quite quickly after pouring. Almost no carbonation afterwards.

S. I got some grassy notes on the nose. You can smell the sweetness of the beer with the very apparent profile of cherry in the beer.

T: Again lot of earthy flavors coming through, green apple,hey, cherry. One thing i did not expect was the dry finish at the end. Almost tastes like a hard cider or a champagne.

M: Good mouth feel, not too heavy or overpowering. Nice and sweet, slightly sour. Was almost expecting it to be a LOT more sour than it actually was.

Scottnr88, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of cavedave
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed live

A very dark ruby, clear, sporting a finger of dark beige head for a moment, then a partial cap. Having this one in a wine glass and there is plentiful lace cling.

Low/med. strength aroma, sweet with some fruity vinegar, hints of herbs and grass.

The sip starts sweet, with some strawberry, mineral, and light vinegar flavors kicking in. It finishes with just a bit of spice and herbal bitter joining in for a juicy finish that doesn't go off the rails.

Mouthfeel is pleasantly viscous, low carb., decent finish, showcases the flavors well.

Overall this is a pretty good beer, but not one I will try again as it is a bit too sweet for me.

cavedave, Jun 22, 2011
Photo of colt45n
2.25/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Pours a nice red/burgandy hue, light buggly white head.

S: Not really sure what flavors im getting here there is definitely a sour sweetness to it, but also something dirty or spoiled fruit about it.

T: SOUR omg was not expecting so much sour, also the spoiled fruit there as well.

This might be a liitle over my head, but my palete could not handle this one.

colt45n, Jun 19, 2011
Photo of DirtyDachshunds
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance
Pours a slightly hazy rich dark mahogany color with a thick off white head.

Aroma
Smell is almost overpowering at first. The smell can be described as ‘sour cherries dipped in alcohol’. The sour and alcohol smell are the most predominate up front with a background of cherries to smooth out the scent.

Mouthfeel:
The sweet and sour mixture is pleasing. I found the sourness slightly overpowering. Low bittering.

Taste:
Taste is refreshing. The sour cherry flavor shines through with a small alcohol presence to add a little warming. Very clean

Overall: The malt and hops take a backseat to the sweet sourness. I get a refreshing aftertaste that leaves me wanting more. Very clean beer from start to finish. Excellent beer to be paired with cheese. Everything about this beer follows the rules, however nothing left me saying ‘wow’.

DirtyDachshunds, Jun 14, 2011
Photo of buschbeer
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes June 4, 2011
11.2oz bottle

A - It pours brown with amber highlights. It is capped with one inch of beige head.

S - The aroma is fresh cut grass and cherries. I also get some vinegar.

T - I get a variety of flavors including brown sugar, dates, and apple vinegar.

M - Medium with medium carbonation.

O - It is different than I am used to. It goes from sweet to vinegary back to sweet again.

buschbeer, Jun 12, 2011
Photo of Scotchboy
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Here we go, Flanders Red Ale. Tying to climb the ladder of sour ales and I want to make sure I don't rip my tongue out in the process. This beer was suggested as a better jumping off point than the Le Terroir I tried a month or so ago.

11.2oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours deep brown/mahogany red, with an off-white head that has decent cling for a 5.5% beer.

S: Lactic cherry tartness and Belgian yeast character. It smells sweet and tart, not 'sour' in my opinion. Still, its enjoyable and not overpowering.

T: Starts sweet, with cherry flavors followed by other sweet fruits that race over your tongue and finally finish was a short tart flurry. The Belgian yeast characters are secondary, mixing in with the sweetness and leaving some peppery and spicy notes on the tongue.

MF: Pretty light bodied with good carbonation.

O: Very palatable for me but I can see where a lover of sours will be disappointed. Still not a style I would seek out but I could see myself enjoying this one again, maybe pairing with some blue cheese.

Scotchboy, Jun 12, 2011
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330 mL bottle poured into a goblet. Served one to my brother-in-law (Raul) to try to get him into some sour styles. It didn't work.

Appearance - Deep amber body with a huge head. More than half the glass is foam. Sticks to the sides of the glass and leaves a nice layer of foam throughout the drink.

Smell - Not much sour, mostly funk. Some cherry and light vinegar aromas. A bit of sweet malt behind what Raul described as "the smell of vomit from a tequila hangover."

Taste - Not very sour at all. Just a hint of tartness followed by a cherry sweetness. There is some malt sweetness, but it isn't cloying. It's too much sweetness, really, but it isn't sickly. Tough to describe. I get a lot of oak, as well. I look over to see Raul drinking it as fast as possible to avoid a gag reflex. What a waste.

Mouthfeel - A bit too sweet in the finish and that makes it feel heavier. It isn't heavy, it just feels that way. Not as easy to drink as a crisper acidity would have allowed.

Overall - Not bad bu nothing spectacular. Good flavor, but just not sour enough.

Mouthfeel -

Alieniloquium, Jun 10, 2011
Photo of Bubba83
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle says 25BJ 16:17. No idea what that means but I bought this a bit over a year ago. 11.2 served into a small globe glass at 50 degrees.

Appearance is quite awesome, two finger widths of light tan head with plenty of fizzyness top an amber colored body that looks like it has red highlights. Retention is awesome and lacing is good.

Smells of sour cherries, funk, raspberry, toasted bread, and traces of black pepper/clove. The layers of complexity in the nose are impressive.

First thing I taste is definitely a very sweet cherry flavor similar to Wisconsin Belgian Red. Thankfully that lets up rather quickly into a slightly sour kick and then some red wine vinegar and other assorted berries. There's a bit of breadiness here as well, and it's fairly well balanced, though it comes off a little overly sweet.

The consistency seems about right, but the carbonation seems a little much. It feels quite spritzy. Finishes fairly wet.

Overall this is a good Flanders Oud Bruin and one that I believe has improved with age. I have trouble palating this style so I only like to throw it into the mix once in a while.

Bubba83, Jun 07, 2011
Photo of psuKinger
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Monk's Cafe, on a "beer trip" with my buddy Griff. Poured into one of my New Belgium Globes.

A: Pours a murky brown color with a lively frothy off-white head that dissipated quickly.

S: Tart and funky, the nose is big on this one. The smell is simultaneously sweet and sour.

T: Delightfully sweet-and-sour, this beer starts sweet with notes of cherry and licorice before moving sour and tart. It's smooth and easy-drinking for a sour. It doesn't have overwhelming pucker-power, but it strikes a rare balance between sweet-and-sour not often seen in this style.

M: Light with lively carbonation, this beer doesn't leave an overwhelming aftertaste.

D: High for this style. This beer benefits from not being "melt your face" overwhelmingly sour. It strikes a nice balance, which makes it rather drinkable/repeatable, and overall quite enjoyable.

psuKinger, Jun 05, 2011
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
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,442 ratings.