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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

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BA SCORE
86
very good

2,519 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,519
Reviews: 1,063
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 62
Gots: 231 | 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:
Beer added by: nomad on 06-19-2003

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,519 | Reviews: 1,063 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of russwbeck
2.62/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: Clear red pour with a fizzy white head. I was quite surprised at the vigor with which the head rose from the brew. Lacing is spotty, and retention is not great.

S: The smell is quite interesting and complex. The sour and funk rest in the background of a sweet and fruity nose. Cherries, oak, malty. Sort of strange.

T: Not what I was expecting, again. No sourness, sort of vinegar-like, no funk. Lots of fruit. Apples, cherries, raspberries, very sweet. Plastic-like finish.

MF: Creamy body, medium, with a high carbonation. Dry and weird aftertaste.

O: Very disappointed here. Well below average, just not very good.

Photo of climax
4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The flagship sour pours a deep black cherry with brilliant garnet highlights. The foamy tan head is gargantuan and retains itself atop indefinitely. All the way down, there's a constant thick film with a few dark thin spots.

I'm not too sure where to start on the nose, it's complexity is confounding. The sourness does not overpower the auxiliary flavors by any stretch, but it definitely has astringency and let's me know it's going to be tart. Dusty wood, sweet toffee, and juicy apple are the easiest to decipher. Deep within, a rogue roasty character hides, perhaps a glimpse of what's inside.

Toffee and unsweetened chocolate flavors soon surrender to inevitable tartness composed of unripened cherries, and raspberries. Some sweeter vanilla and soft Belgian yeast perplex me even further. And what comes after the beer has gone down is a fantastic lingering sweet, buttery, sour.... er, needless to say it's hard to make sense of what's going on in the finish (or any part) but the complexity is Earth shattering.

The carbonation explodes in the mouth like a bubble grenade. The body itself is slick and finishes clean. With this much fluffiness from the carbonation, it's tough to tell quite where the body fits in.

I am by no means a die hard of sour beer, but I did thoroughly enjoy this. It is astringent/sour/tart whatever, but I don't think I would have it any other way.

Photo of scout
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Publican in Chicago.

Pours a ruby-brown color with a generous head and excellent lacing. Smell is sour cherries, fruits, that Belgian sugary smell and some oaky funk.

Taste is really interesting -- a total blend of tart cherries, maybe some apples too and sweet. Also, a tad spicy and a little bready too. What's unique is that it's a total blending of flavors -- they don't hit you in phases but are all there from beginning to end. Mouthfeel is outstanding -- smooth, almost creamy (probably attributable to the draft, but still surprising for the style).

Overall, a very unique beer. A very drinkable sour with a lot of complex, but very blended and balanced flavors.

Photo of claytong
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

appearance - crimson mahogany in color, with an eggshell colored head which i believe lasted almost an inch the whole time i was drinking it.

smell - apple/pear, acidity/tart or sour cherries, a bit of white wine, pepper, and oak

taste - tart apple, tart cherries, pepper, oak, and a bit of metal to top it off.

mouthfeel - nice and dry. amazing carbonation, light to medium body.

for 2.50 a 12 oz its not a bad beer. certainly unique and hopefully the metal wont be there next time.

Photo of cdkrenz
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Brown body with a purplish accent where light makes it through. Head is eggshell and starts out at about a half inch and fades to leave a thin layer of varying densities at the surface.

S - Smells of a dry white wine. There are apple aromas, what seems to be a woody scent, and a sourness.

T - I taste alcohol, Chex Mix, sour grapes and yeast. One of these flavors in and of itself may not be all that inviting in a beer, however, wrapped up together they're not too bad.

M - Light bodied with a high level of carbonation making for abrasiveness throughout. It does have a nice dry finish.

~ This is a unique beer. Not one that I would seek out necessarily, but definitely a beer worth sampling.

Photo of hiku7
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy cherry mahogany with a tall light tan head that quickly recedes, but is easily revived with a swirl.

Aroma is overripe fruit, maybe raspberry and strawberry, and funk with spice. Flavor is a rounded comforting sweet malt base with barnyard funk and substantial but balanced tartness giving way to a dry finish.

Medium body with foamy carbonation. Starts with a slightly sticky sweetness, but ends dry.

Solid Flanders sour ale.

Photo of JoeAmerican77
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark cranberry in color, minute head. Yum, oak and sour bugs abound in the nose of this Flanders Oud Bruin ale. Huge carbonation, like a champagne explosion, is playful next to its medium bodied base. A nice tart lemon and berry fruit cocktail is presented to the tongue, hints of oak as well but not too dominant. The sour is delish!
6/10 Sour scale.

Fruity, sour and fun. Sounds like a bad Navy joke ;)

Photo of Beer4Baltimore
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the first beer I've had that uncorked itself. I removed the cage and within seconds the cork popped followed by a gush of foam.
A - a clear deep red brown topped with a towering bubbling foamy head.
S - I can smell and feel the tart. Very much a cherry malt aroma.
T - the taste surpasses what the smell may have hinted at. There are rich caramel malt flavors underneath the moderately latic tart twang. There is a bit more happening as it warms. Belgian yeast flavors appear along with an increase in the strength of the sour.
M - medium bodied and highly carbonated with a semi-sweet finish and a long lasting mild tartness not unlike what a sweetart candy leaves behind. It's just a little sticky.
D - easily can drink the whole 750ml and still want more.
I'd call this a Rodenbach Grand Cru Light.

Photo of jayhawk73
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown w/ crimson highlights. Decent carbonation and good lacing my my snifter glass. You can almost see the other side of the glass when held to light, but not quite. Smell is fairly smooth for the style- tart, a little funk, sour, some acidity, apple and cherry as well. Definitely on the reserved side, but good nonetheless. Taste brings out more of the cherry flavor, with a slight funky aftertaste. I'm actually surprised there isn't more funk in this beer. If there were, the score might be a touch higher. The acidity and tartness make themselves known as well- not over the top, but you get both out front. Feel is good, but not quite as complex as I would hope for. Overall, this is a good beer, and definitely a good intro to sours beer. The funk is there, but it's relegated to the background. Worth picking up for sure if you're new to the style.

Photo of mooseo
2.71/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle poured into tulip. This was my first sour, so I was not sure what to expect.

A - Deep red brown with a decent head that fades quickly.

S - Vinegar and malt, with a hint of sourness and some cherry. Funky and not very pleasant.

T - Sweet dark fruit (mostly cherry) at first mixed with some vinegar and yeast. Just a bit sour, much less than I was expecting.

M - Light bodied with average carbonation.

D - This is my first sour beer and I'm not sure what to think. It wasn't very enjoyable but not horrible either. The vinegar aroma really turned me off, but the taste wasn't as bad. This style seems like an acquired taste, and I'll have to experiment with some more examples.

Photo of EkimGram
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 11.2oz bottle poured into Duvel tulip. Colour is a rosy brown, 1/2 finger head that is rather busy and bubbly fades quickly to a thin film and lacing. Decent amount of visible carbonation towards the top.

Smell: Somewhat tart yet roasty. Sour cherries and malt are the strongest aromas.

Taste: Much tarter than the smell, sour and sweet. The cherry flavours float over everything else. Complex and interesting.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied, carbonated with a sharp initial bite. Finishes somewhat sticky.

Overall: This was my first sour and I must say I'm pleasantly surprised. The flavours are all nice and balanced. Mouthfeel is a little abrasive for my taste but that's it.

Photo of matt20102
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at about 45deg. into goblet. Pours with a very large, foamy head which lasts for quite a while. The initial aroma is strongly of tart cherries and little else. The flavor is similar with a subtle vinegar sourness on the finish. Some tasters have written that this might be unpleasant but I suspect that this is much to do with the freshness of the particular bottle.

As the bottle progresses, the sour and tart components come forward along with a slight musty flavor and distinct sweetness- somewhat cloying but not a malt sweetness. There's not a lot going on here making it a great entry-level sour beer. It is also quite refreshing and could be a fantastic pairing with cream-heavy desserts.

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

A: Pours a deep ruby brown with a massive five finger head that recedes into a fluffy thick pillowy cap with an abundance of sticky lacing.
S: Sour and tart. Many complained of a vinegar smell, but I am not overwhelmed by anything like that. Very reflective of the style. Tart yeast and sour cherries.
T: Wow. Tartness rules. This beer is very interesting. Tart with spices in the picture. Apples, spice, cinammon, nutmeg, lemons, earthy breads, brown sugar, a hint of molasses. Very nice
M: Crispy and carbonated with a slight pepper burn. Light bodied.
O: Very nice. Very underrated. Excellent example of its style.

Photo of tobelerone
3.44/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A reddish brown beer with a decently foamy head. Aroma is strongly redolent of vinegar and cherries. Very tart taste, typical sour, vinegar is in there, lots of cherry flavor as well, moderately sweet. All depends on how much you like sours and can deal with the vinegary aspect of the flavor. Found it ok, kind of a low-end entry level sour, not very complex, pretty refreshing. Brisk carbonation makes it taste like a sour cherry soda...with a vinegar backbone. Clean finish doesn't linger, nicely quenching.

I actually kinda like this beer, at least when I'm in the mood..have it had a few times and always have a different reaction. Not as good as something like Rodenbach, but similar I suppose. As I said, it's an entry level beer for the style and the low price reflects that. Usually under 3 bucks when I see it.

Photo of DCon
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on-tap @ the Hair of the Dog on Washington Ave. (St. Louis), MO for $5. Tapped from the Monk's Cafe Red Tap Handle into a 16oz Monk's Cafe Cocktail Style Glass.

Aroma- Has an awesome aroma! Sweet with black cherries are very strong. Has the slightest sour aroma but nothing big.

Appearance- Received with a .5 finger head that is off white. Has a clear, ruby-brown body and only sudsy lace is left on the glass.

Flavor- Very light character in the taste. It is evident that there are cherries in here but the sweetness and malty take over the entire taste. Has that sweet and sour profile but very minimal.

Mouthfeel- Light Bodied, Medium Carbonation, bit of alcohol taste on the finish but then has a metallic taste... Should definitely not be present.

Overall Impression- I was excited to try this on-tap but will tell you this is definitely a brew that should be enjoyed by the bottle! I love presenting this to people who are looking to try new styles but it was much different on-tap. Try it if you can and let me know if you think the same way!

Photo of output01x
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330 mL. capped bottle (No Date) into a tulip glass.

A moderate pour yields a 2 1/2-finger cream-colored head that recedes after a few minutes to a thick coating and thick foam ring. The body is a dark copper brown with a strong amount of energetic carbonation bubbles. Thick lacing clings to nearly every available surface the beer touches.

A strong sour apple vinegar aroma hits the nostrils at first sniff. A deeper investigation reveals a grainy malt background and notes of cherry and raspberry.

Very similar to the nose, a vinegar sourness starts each sip with notes of cherry and raspberry. As the beer is swallowed, the taste transforms into a sugary sweet apple cider flavor with notes of grapes and dark fruits. A slight raspberry aftertaste finishes each sip.

Light bodied with excellent carbonation, this beer goes down like soda. The body is light and playful, allowing the fruit flavors to really impact the taste buds without being coating or sticky. The carbonation is quite fizzy and really helps to make this a beer you can drink in mouthfulls.

Photo of StlHopHead77
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
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
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
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
3.83/5  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
3.83/5  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
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
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
2.54/5  rDev -33.9%
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
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
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!

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,519 ratings.