Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

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BA SCORE
86
very good

2,478 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,478
Reviews: 1,054
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 57
Gots: 207 | 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: 2,478 | Reviews: 1,054 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of StlHopHead77
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours out a Cola-like reddish/brown with a rapidly dissapearing,3 finger,tawny crown that reduced to a thin ring and left light but clingy lacing.

S-Cherry limeade,hay,yeast rolls,white pepper and Cheerwine(NC,representin').

T-Ferrara Pan Cherryheads,preserved lemon,sourdough and prosecco.

M-Bright and refreshing with lively carbonation and a mild sourness.Good starter sour.

O-Nice and light and probably a beer more suited for warm weather.

Photo of socon67
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours amber with a red hue. Thick rusty colored foam head.

S - Smells of sour apples, and similar to many Willy Wonka candies.

T - Taste has a tangy sour flavor, with tartness of sour cherries.

M - Medium bodied, well blended, and went just awesome with Indian food.

O - A well made Oud Bruin that isn't overly sour and has a fruit tangyness that makes it an enjoyable beer.

Photo of LiquidCucumber
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours deep copper/red, nearly a purplish brown. Has a small head that recedes to a white ring quickly.

S - Musty apple cider, smells like it will be tart and makes my mouth water. Some bready malts as well.

T - Tart grapes, apples and cherries. The smooth fruity malt also delivers some deep earthy tones. Dark figs seem to mix with the musty floor of a barn and hints of cider vinegar.

M - Dry and bubbly; lingers just a little too long.

O - Not a bad brew, but not something I'm going to try to seek out a bunch of. I'd rather it be a little bit more extreme in the sour and funky categories. A good starter for the style though.

Photo of jcartamdg
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish brown with a paperthin head that slowly creeps to the glass of my tulip. Great lacing throughout. Aroma of sweet wine and lactic sour. Taste follows the nose tart but not overpowering. Smooth and sweet. Easy to drink where I could have two or three in a sitting. I love this beer

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Monks Cafe Flemish Sour Red

Pours a reddish brown in color. Sour aroma, cherry, brown sugar, and red wine vinegar tones. In the flavor, malty, sugary sweet and sour. Belgian candi sugar, a present lactic tartness and sweet malt. Mouthfeel Is medium bodied and carbonation is low to moderate. I know I have come full circle, I tried this beer early in my beer journey and couldn't drink it because it was so sour and different. Now it's not sour enough for me, but still a nice Flanders style ale.

Photo of HopsKeepDroppin
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into maudite snifter.

A- Pours an opaque dark red-brown color with a monstrous beige colored head.

S- Smells really sour and some vinegar, cherries. Very complex.

T- Really sour cherry.

M- Really tangy feel that almost makes me pucker

O- This was interesting. Really nice sourness with some cherry flavors.

Photo of TheGordianKnot
2.53/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into tulip glass...

A- Very deep blood brown color with a finger head. Pale pink colored head that settles to a film quickly.

A- Smells like oil and vinegar salad dressing. Subtle fruitiness makes it reminiscent of raspberry vinaigrette...

T/M- This is definitely a raspberry vinaigrette beer. Not quite what I expected. Body is oily and heavy with minimal carbonation; very unlike Duchesse which was what I pictured with this beer. I wanted more of that champagne-like flanders. Middle of the flavor is a berry medley, but it changes to a pungent vinegar and just leaves me dissatisfied.

O- Didn't hit my expectations. Just not something I could drink much of. Taste and feel were taxing to get through...

Photo of eclipse54
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 330 mL bottle, poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a rusty brown and color with four finger’s width of sudsy, very bubbly light khaki head off of a very easy pour. There is a audible crackle as it quickly fades down to an inch, where it lingers for some time. Smells of tart cherries and raspberries and a slight touch of sour apple. Taste is very similar, with a number of muddled sour fruits before a sweet, wine like finish. Mouth is quite dry after the rush of sour. Overall, a good red ale that I pick up infrequently when I'm in the mood for a more economical choice in this style.

Photo of jsanford
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle poured into a Tulip Glass.

Pours a dark mahogany with reddish tints and a thin ivory head that dissipates quickly, leaving just a slight swirl of haze. Nice aromas of slightly sour cherry, leather, oak, and lactic acid. Flavor follows the nose nicely, it reminds me a bit of a "classic" Rodenbach with with less cherry character and more lacto. Mouthfeel is smooth and crisp, with a medium body and good, sharp carbonation. Overall a really nice Flanders, not quite on the Rodenbach level but still really good!

Photo of nppeders
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance - brown with a reddish hue when held up to a light. extremely clear.

smell - tobaco?, chocolate, sourness, vinegar, sweet cherries.

taste - apple, cherry, vinegar, tastes like balsamic vinegar, definitely more vinegar then I've had in any beer but i really like it. Literally tastes like a fine balsamic vinegar. Some sweetness combines with tartness. reduce this with some berries and serve over ice cream and damn..that's a fine Italian dessert

mouthfeel - thin mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

overall - this is a fantastic Oud Bruin. Sour, tart, vinegar, apple, dark cherry.

Photo of Mavajo
2.48/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours a deep mahogany, reddish color with a mild eggshell head. Aroma of vinegar and cherries. Not bad, but something just seems "off" about it. The taste is tart with a vinegar sourness, backed up by big cherry notes and hints of apple. Sweet. Big, big carbonation that tingles all across your mouth. Clean after-taste and cleanses the palate pretty well. I'm sure the huge carbonation has a had in that. I'm perplexed by some of the reviews that mention "mild carbonation" -- this is one of the most overcarbonated beers that I've ever experienced. If you try to swish it around, you end up with a mouth full of fizzy foam.

There's something just cheap about the aroma/taste on this one, and the over-the-top carbonation just really kills it. Reminds me of a Lindemans/Cheerwine blend, pumped full of carbonation. Seems more like a sparkly wine cooler than a beer.

Photo of Johnnyfacelift
4.58/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The first thing you smell from the bottle is the sourness, but when you pour you pickup more of the Belgian yeast character. It's a deep mahogany, crystal clear with a very prominent foamy head... lots of carbonation! The flavor of this beer is actually much more sweet than it is sour, I was expecting a big puckering sour and it tastes very rich and full for being a medium % ABV, cheers to the brewers! There's some nice raisin notes along with plum. Does not leave any aftertaste and is very drinkable. This is the first real "sour" ale that I've had other than the fruit lambic styles but I could see myself exploring more of the sour beer universe. Excellent!

Photo of jealousmonk
3.1/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is an interesting beer. It's hard to rate too highly--the mouthfeel is seriously lacking, and it doesn't bring the complexity of a really good sour--but it was unusual and fun to drink.

A--Dark reddish brown, poured into a tulip glass. Appears heavily carbonated, but did not feel overwhelming.

S--Smells sour, with strong apple and vinegar. Mild yeast and cherry. The smell is not very enticing--too vinegary.

T--Not terribly sour--more tart, with strong flavors of apples and cherries. The taste in unusual for a sour--far more drinkable than I was expecting, and as I said in the beginning, less complex.

M--Very thin. The carbonation level seems fine, contrary to the appearance of the beer. It could certainly use more body. This might be part of the reason that the flavors have less depth than expected. However, this also means I could drink a few of these. Drinking more than a couple of stronger sours would be very difficult. Overall an enjoyable beer.

Photo of NotMyRealName
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is unusual. Although a Belgian ale, there's something that reminds me of a champagne. Fruity and smooth. Not hoppy. The flavor is not as complex as the best Belgian beers, but neither is it bland like Blue Moon Belgian White. Just like champagne makes a tasty occasional treat but is not an everyday drink, so too is Monk's Cafe.

Photo of jondeelee
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

If you had to judge this beer solely by the smell, you probably wouldn't try it. The aroma is vinegary and sour, and in fact more resembles a hard cider than a beer. Hints of bananas, apples, and cider vinegar dominate, but by and large this smells like the beer went bad in the bottle.

On the tongue, the resemblance to a hard cider continues, and thankfully, while the sour flavor is still present, it seems tempered here, and easily palatable. Again, bananas, cider vinegar, and apple flavors are present, and dominate most of the mouthful. In some respects, these flavors mimic ports, sweet champagnes, or perhaps sherries. Towards the end a few layers are peeled back to reveal a white grape-like taste, as well as nicely toasted grains. Mouthfeel is light--only slightly viscous--and the ale is fizzy, with more carbonation than usual.

Overall, while this beer is a bit of a shock to the tongue, and probably more than a bit of an acquired taste, it's still intriguing and seductive. Worth seeking out.

Photo of notchucknorris
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark chestnut color with some reddish hues when held to light. An absolutely beastly tan head that takes forever to die down. Nice.

S: Very sour on the nose. Granny smith apples, vinegar and sour cherries. A slight bit of belgian yeast as it warms. I don't know if it's possible for a nose to pucker, but I felt like mine did when it got a whiff of this.

T: Not sour. Didn't see that coming. Cranberry juice cocktail, red cherries, black cherries, blackberry and apple cider with a slight tartness. A very slight hint of bread in the background. The mouthfeel is the only thing lacking here. Kind of feels more like a fruit juice than a beer. Could use a touch more carbonation.

Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 Pt. 9.4fl.oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Label stamped 09LJ 14:53... no idea if that's an encoded date stamp or the batch number. First I've had of this style, so I'm just going to rate it as a beer in general rather than to style, as is tradition. (in Canada?)

Appearance - Very dark clear/hazy ruby red body. Offwhite head with low to moderate retention and decent lacing.

Smell - Sour. Grape juice. Apple juice.

Taste - Sweet front end with a slightly metallic finish. Clean, slightly sweet aftertaste that doesn't linger for more than a few seconds.

Mouthfeel - Soft body with a slightly crisp, mild sparkling grape juice effervescence.

Overall Drinkability - Not particularly complex, but delicious nonetheless. Again, I can't rate in style since this is my first of its kind. However, as a beer it is very enjoyable. Would go great on any occasions where you might want to drink sparkling grape juice.

Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass, a beautiful deep red color and thick tan head. The head fades fast to a nice layer that stays throughout.

Interesting aroma as a tart fruitiness blends with a bready malt background. Both sour and sweet cherries come to mind. Mild sour flavor, with more tart fruit and less of the malt. Interesting but not much more. It does dry out nicely in the finish.

Well carbonated and light to medium in body. Easy to drink and pleasant all the way around. I have not had many in this style but I do find this enjoyable.

Photo of ferrari29
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer poured from bottle into a Tulip glass at O'Shaunghnessy's Public House in the Ravenswood area of Chicago, IL.

A - Beer poured with a rocky, two finger sized beige colored head; held very well; body had an opaque dark reddish colored body; some lacing formed on the glass; some visible sediment

S - Initial overwhelming blast of vinegar and sour yeast come up; followed up with a light wheat smell; as the beer warms up a fruity cherry and berry profile develops and takes over your nose as the vinegar/sour scents become less

T - Great sour red ale taste; vinegar notes and astringent; light malt flavor is taken over by a fruity cherry blast; just like the smell, as the beer warms up, the cherry/berry flavor really starts to take over the taste profile; tart

M - A bit on the thin side; tangy fruit flavors give your taste buds a nice challenge; lingering cherry flavors; crisp and refreshing

D - I really liked this one; don't pass this up if your a sour beer fan; nice sour notes followed up by fruit flavors really make this a unique drink experience; smooth and easy to drink

Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes: Had on draft at Monk's Cafe thanks to Maggie for DIPA Trivia Question. : )

appearance: dark red / brown with a 1 finger minimal head

smell: sour, tart, cherries, apples,

taste: sour, tart, refreshing, cherries,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: really impressed how refreshing this beer was. So glad I got to try it and had a great time at Monk's.

cheers,
the CPJ

Photo of Netdigger2
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poors a deep brown mahogany with an amber head that resembles more a Pepsi than a beer... Serious carb.

The nose is of sour patch kids, vinegar, and funk.

The flavor rivals any good flander's sour or bruin gueze, full of vinegar, tart cherries, vanilla extract

Mouthfeel is great, the outrageous carb helps dry it out like champagne, and it has a very light feel on the palate.

For 4.99/ bottle, this is a great sour and will be one of my default brews.

Photo of HipHop5
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poor a medium to dark red Mahogany color.

3 fingers of light beige and creamy head that hang around for some time.

Heavy but perfect carbonation.

Mild dry fruits and funky on the first nose. Acidic lactic tart apple and cherries as it develops in the glass.

Some Oak ,raisin and tart apple, cherries open up after 10 minutes.

Super dry up front with medium light body. Extremely thirst quencher although a bit sweet in the finish with a heavy dose of candy sugar caramel sweetens. Lightly sour and tart in the middle but sweetness covers most of sourness. Well balanced and a perfect introduction to sours. Cherries and musky metallic note are revealed as it warms up a bit more. good sticky lacing.

This is a bit expensive but a great side track brew for the summer. If you ask me what I would prefer instead of a glass of champagne, this would do the trick. Sweet and dry at the same time. The blend of two sours makes this an extremely balance beer.

Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter.

Pours clear flamed ruby, a very beautiful hue. The head is two fingers thick and stays that way. I poured this 10 minutes ago and the head is still fluffy and dense. The appearance of this beer is outstanding.

The usual enticing suspects for this style of beer are present in the nose, with oak, lacto and sour apple notes being quite prominent. The smell seems a bit muted because of all the foam, which is awesome. I will just have to wait till I am deeper into the glass to smell this beer for real.

My first impression is that this beer is much sweeter than any other Oud Bruin or Flemish Red I have ever had. Interesting. The sour is mild, as is the tartness. A little something funky and almost metallic shows up in the aftertaste... not very appealing but it is mild. There is a nice pale malt flavor as I progress through the glass, presenting an appealing toasted bread flavor.

The mouthfeel is highly bubbly and carbonated with low-medium body.

Conclusion: It tastes to me like this was a traditionally brewed Oud Bruin with a significant dose of sugar added to round out the sour and tart qualities. As an introduction to the style I imagine it could be very appealing, but to myself I consider it less than what it could be. I love these beers of this style specifically for their dry feel and quenching tartness, both of which are destroyed by sweetness in this example. Don't get me wrong, this is a tasty beer, but I feel for the price that there are much truer (and tastier) options.

Photo of infi
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

Beautiful fruit punch, purple/red color with a thin, white and foamy cap surrounding the top. Has a lighter shade of wine red and more translucent. Smell has small hints of sourness and tartness, with a touch of oak from the casks as well. I get sour cherries and unripened, tart green apples dominating the aroma. Not as pungent as I thought it might have been, but that's a good indication of lactic acid and not acetic acid. Bigger whiffs bring out the malted barley and cereals.

Wow, very interesting. For the Oud Bruin style, there is really no funk or sourness to be found on the palate. It's actually very full of freshly cut fruit and cereal grains. Identifiable amounts of white and red grapes, apples, and some slight cherries and berries. There's a nice woody quality from the oak casks too. Kinda gives it an ferrous taste in the finish.

Actually a bit surprised– no sour or tart character in this beer at all. Not sure how to date this bottle, but I'm guessing that this is relatively fresh. Who knew I'd be looking for sourness now? I guess that's palate progressing.

Mouthfeel is lightly medium with a thinly prickly feel in the drink. Finish has a nice, white wine dryness and leaves a slim bitter feeling. Didn't think that this beer wouldn't have the characteristics of other Flemish sour ales, but that's no problem. I actually want to try an older bottle of this to have more of the "oude" character. Coming from Goudenband, this is totally different tasting.

Photo of bigfnjoe
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Served on tap into a Monk's glass

A- pours brown with a cherry shade to it, with a one finger, very quick fading pinkish head. Looks really good

S- light notes of red wine, cherries, and funk in the aroma

T- lightly tart cherries....not overly sour, not overly sweet

M- body is very thin, not much thickness going on here at all

O- really super drinkable, but it's REALLY expensive....7 bucks for about 12 oz. Yikes

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,478 ratings.