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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

2,330 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,330
Reviews: 1,042
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 14.06%
Wants: 50
Gots: 159 | 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: 2,330 | Reviews: 1,042 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kingcrowing
3.1/5  rDev -19.3%

11.2oz bottle poured into a sampling glass.

Pours a clear red color with a very small light brown color head. Nose is vinegar and funk. That's really it!

Taste is also quite tart and vinegar-y, very sharp and a bit unpleasant. It's got a fairly sharp mouthfeel due to harsh carb.

kingcrowing, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of scottfrie
2.13/5  rDev -44.5%

330ml bottle into Delirium Noël glass.

A: Pours an extremely dark ruby red with a thin bubbly light pinkish-brown head that faded into a fuzzy film
S: Smells strongly of sweaty socks with a touch oak and maybe a hint of cherry syrup.
T: Not sour at all. Maybe a touch tart, but for the most part this tastes like overly carbonated fruit punch. Very sweet on the palate, but luckily the finish dries up and a bit of the oak comes out. Aftertaste isn't syrupy, but there is a weird synthetic fruit flavor to it. Not particularly funky at all.
M: Tons of soda-like carbonation froths up in the mouth and then dies down into a slick, viscous finish. Off-putting.
D: Extremely disappointed by this one. The syrupy fruit flavors are almost medicinal and not pleasant. I love all styles of mouth puckering beers, but this one is just not for me.

scottfrie, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of mlazzaro
3.18/5  rDev -17.2%

11.2oz bottle from portland wholefood

a- pours a reasonably clear brown ale, with a tan colored head. healthy carbonation + good head retention.

s- smells of sour funk and maltiness. I usually associate this aroma with fruits, it is odd smelling the funk standing on its own. a unique aroma.

t- I do enjoy the sourness, but it feels naked without the fruitiness. not a traditional lambic like I was half hoping for. low hop profile. acid flavor, highly carbonic.

d+m- carbonation reminds me of a soda more than a beer. thin body from bret I believe. full flavor that dissipates very rapidly. not my favorite beer. I hardly cared to finish the bottle. might not be my preferred style of brew.

tastes like an accidentally soured beer.

mlazzaro, Oct 13, 2010
Photo of gatornation
4/5  rDev +4.2%

pours a garnet to amber color with a fluffy beige head somewhat hazy look..smell is vinegar and sour funk followed by tart raspberries or cherries ..taste is a slight sour vinegar taste that is infused with some tart fruit taste which works well..mouth feell is medium with carbonation it has a tartness to it with vinegar and sour notes..i liked this one i thought it was balanced well and a tasty sour flanders ..good one

gatornation, Oct 09, 2010
Photo of JEdmund
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Burgundy and clear with a good head on pour but fades fast; can smell the funk easily; nice sour scent, making me think cherries are included; taste is light, slightly sweet (in the finish) and has enough sourness to be enjoyable but not overpowering; high level of carbonation and a thin body; slight copper in aftertaste (makes me think this is the old beer part of the blend); overall an enjoyable experience, but not one to repeat at $4 for 11 oz.

JEdmund, Oct 09, 2010
Photo of billshmeinke
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%

One inch fluffy white head.

Ruby red body with some golden highlights. An inch of cream colored fluffy head.

Smells really fruity. Kind of a fake raspberry scent. Not too pleasant.

Tastes like raspberry and blueberries. Nothing really sour about it. Kind of fake fruit tasting... don't really know how to describe it, but a bit of a bummer.

Super well carbonated. Light bodied. Fairly dry.

Kind lame. Fake fruit tasting. Not buying again.

billshmeinke, Oct 06, 2010
Photo of cnally
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%

Another sour, I think I've officially turned the corner on these beasts...

A dark brown body color, off white shimmery head slight spitty lacing.

Aroma is vinegar, but somewhat mild, a little dried fruit, raisin/prune, that aroma when you open the bag.

The flavor is delectable. A tart flavor of fig, red grape. Aggressive yeasts come out sour and puckering. A good bitterness in the finish.

Highly fizzy wild and untamed.

Delicious and easy to swig considering the tartness. I believe this would be an appropriate diving board for someone who has never tried a sour, it is decently mild and less aggressive on the vinegar.

cnally, Oct 04, 2010
Photo of dpnelson1978
4/5  rDev +4.2%

10 oz. pour in glass snifter.
50°F (~)

$6.00 / ea.

A: Bright brown body with red highlights topped with a small loose head that quickly dissipates leaving moderate lacing and a thin bubbly cover.

S: Sour lactic nose but not overpowering, pleasant. Smells like pinot. Really interesting.

T: Tastes like pinot noir, with a pronounced grape presence. Sour lactic, but very clean, and inoffensive. Low hop character, and very little aftertaste.

M: Light body with high carbonation and a acidic bite on the tongue. Crisp.

D: Not everyone will like this one, but I could drink it all night. Give me some cheese and crackers and it would be heaven.

O: I was instantly impressed with this one, and later found out it is the same brewer as Gulden Draak (my favorite beer). I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, but I definitely was.

dpnelson1978, Oct 03, 2010
Photo of GDBEERMAN
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%

11.2oz bottle into snifter.
A: A deep reddish, amber body, pours with a light cream head. Head retreat thin layer, while the lace that is left is a spotty, that is spot on representation.
S: The aroma denotes a sour brew that shows a hint of sweet cherry.
T/M: The front of this beer is a mellow start of subtle cherry, that exceeds to a blast of sour, but not over powering the limit. The finish is a smooth and nice off for the style, a relapse of sour that lingers nicely. The mouthfeel is a nice and smooth sensation that forms a nice silky effect.
D: I find this to be a bit overly drinkable, a bit too smooth and tasty. The alcohol is barely present at all and is a delicious sour brew.

GDBEERMAN, Oct 01, 2010
Photo of CHILLINDYLAN
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%

Deep reddened brown. Nectarine highlights. Small bubbly beige head that dissipated quickly. Some wisps of lace.

Vinegar, cherry, raspberry, tart and sour. apple, pear, candi sugar and spices. berry pie. slight lactic and slight feet.

Bright crisp and fruity. Sour apple and pear, tart cheery and raspberry. Sweet and fruity. pie crust.

Refreshing, crisp, bubbly high carbonation. Light body with some feel to it.

Very drinkable. Vinegar disappeared after a few minutes. Great flavors. Not overwhelmingly sour. A nice drinkable sour Flemish ale.
My girlfriend doesn't normally venture outside of the Hefe/Wit/Blonde arena, but she loved this one, claiming it was one of the best beers she's ever had. I am trying to get her into belgian beer and this was a great one for her to try.

CHILLINDYLAN, Sep 27, 2010
Photo of MoreThanWine
2.73/5  rDev -28.9%

Pours a modest 1/2" head, and it's more of a stout brown than a red ale as the label says. Kind of like a lambic it's sour, although at least it's a cleaner sour than the raw hamburger taste I got in the last lambic. In fact the best descriptor for the Monk's I'd say would be pickle juice.

Hey, this is probably a excellent example of this type of beer. Honestly it's just not my thing.

MoreThanWine, Sep 26, 2010
Photo of Rayek
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%

Served in a snifter.

A: Deep mahogany with good clarity and little visible carbonation. A small and wispy head quickly falls to a ring. Leaves no lace.

S: Very sour in the nose. A distinct red wine vinegar aroma dominates. Dark fruits help offset the sour.

T: Lots of dark fruit flavors start things. Red grape, plum and raisin do yeoman's duty. A bit of pepper adds some spice. The sourness comes on late with an extremely puckering lemon flavor.

M: The medium-light body feels a touch thin. The carbonation is a bit low.

D: This is a nice Oud Bruin. The sourness was actually quite refreshing. Hopefully I'll get to revisit this one.

Rayek, Sep 25, 2010
Photo of codewarrior
3.3/5  rDev -14.1%

330mL from a 4 pack (17FJ 16:07), poured into a chalice

This beer, once upon a time, was my first sour ale ... on tap at Monk's cafe in Philadelphia a little-ways back. When I saw it sitting at Argonaut on Colfax, I jumped on it ... twittering with anticipation and chirping about it to my sweet lady.

A: Looks like mud mixed with blood (this is a good thing). Small amount of head, but thick.

S: Smells sticky and damp, like a frat-house basement ... except in a good-way.

T: Sweet up front, iron in the back. Very similar to the New Glarus Unplugged Enigma. Very.

F: Great! Thick and syrupy, but not over-much.

D: Nice all around.

Gonna let this do a turn in the cellar, see if it grows into itself a bit more. This is a delicious beer (vastly superior to the duchesse, to be sure), yet it doesn't stand up to other sours (Panil Bariqquee, Russian River Consecration, Supplication, etc). Yet. I have faith that in time, this baby will mature into a force to be reckoned with.

None-the-less ... friggin' tasty, seriously.

codewarrior, Sep 25, 2010
Photo of WhatsNewinBooze
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%

This was a great beer! I am a big fan of flanders and flemish ales and this one is right up there. Pours a reddish brown with a light fizzy head. Aromas of sweet malt raspberry and cherry are huge on the nose. The palate has quite a bit of sweetness, more so than other beers like it, but tons of red fruit flavor with a nice sour that isn't over the top. A good introduction into these style of beers.

WhatsNewinBooze, Sep 24, 2010
Photo of cooch69
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%

Had this at a local bar poured from the bottle into a dirty goblet. But I got over that after I realized how awesome this beer really was.
This beer pours a semi clear medium brown with dark red highlights. It barely has a head but it is pretty spritzy and vibrant on the carbonation.
This beers smells of candied apples, lactic acid, and a bit of funky sourness.
This beer has great flavour. It is full of all the stuff you want when you order a Flemish sour like the vinegar and the sour. It showcases them in a way that brings forth there flavors in an unshy manor while still making them very mild and easy to drink. Subtle but not weak or watery. Very complex and delicious.
I'll need to have more soon.
Bartender!!!

cooch69, Sep 20, 2010
Photo of kruthar
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%

A - dark brown in color with red highlights, extremely coarbonated with twice as much head as liquid as im pouring. creme colored soup sud head the diminishes extremely quickly.

S - A very sweet smell, very fruity with hints of the lactic acid sourness.

T - A carbonation that immediately attacks the tongue, so much so that the real flavors don't come out until you swallow. the after taste has a sweet lingering with a very mild sour bite.

M - ATTACK! this beer bites your tongue all the way down and should not be taken lightly.

D - Not terrible, but i would definitly not want more then one of these a night.

kruthar, Sep 19, 2010
Photo of Docer
3.8/5  rDev -1%

Snagged a little bottle up to try from By The Bottle over here... been on a big sour kick lately....

- Big off white foam.. settles to a nice fluffy half finger of fizz and foam... rests over a clear, and yeastless dark ruby reddish brown...

- Light brown sugar, wonderful bready and biscuit yeast with a wonderful tart and sour flare... some currants, fig... cherry... light woody vanilla.. all there, all mild, but blended so well.

- Very woody backbone with a candy sweet sugar tone... light sour and vinegar touch..currants, cherry... brown sugar.. caramel, toffee.. fig and prune...

- Thin, light bodied, bubbly.. and sticky sweet.

- Overall not bad, but just a bit on the sweet side for my taste... perhaps I am too used to NW style sour reds.. because these flemish Belgians seem to candy-sweet.

Docer, Sep 16, 2010
Photo of Franz4
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%

A- Very active head after an aggressive pour with an audible "fizz" to it, wore down quickly to a thin layer of bubbles

S-aromas of cherry and a slight vinegary scent, not overpowering by any means. Seems to invite me in...

T- initial blast of vinegar that rewards a little patience with a pleasant cherry/watermelon/peach? tone

M- lots of carbonation released in the mouth makes it feel alive

D- very refreshing, would be great for a hot spring/summer day

Disclaimer-- only a few beers under my belt in this style, so interpret with caution.

Franz4, Sep 15, 2010
Photo of kylehayworth
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%

A: It has a deep red with some burgundy tones playing aronud as well. The head rises and falls, leaving trace amounts of carbonated foam.

S: It smells a little sour, with a bubbly quality. Almost like a sparkling wine.

T: It has a nice balance of sweet, tart, and sour. The base of all those flavors being cherry/apple.

M/D: Perfect carbonation with a moderate body. The sparkling wine/champagne mouth feel plays well with these flavors.

This is a good substitute for the Enigma I have been drinking and ran out of. All in all a really good beer...

kylehayworth, Sep 14, 2010
Photo of Soonami
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%

I've had this beer on-tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, but when I saw this beer at my local shop, I decided to give it a try and see how it compares to the draft version.

From the bottle, the beer a medium reddish brown with ruby highlights and a is more carbonated than I've had on tap. This keeps feeding the head, making it fluffy as well as accentuate the fruity and acidic aromas. Also in the smell is a medicinal, plasticy phenol aroma that was somewhat unpleasant. The ale has cherry flavors and acidity not unlike a kriek, with a light spritzy body and active carbonation. It was very refreshing, almost like a soft drink.

Soonami, Sep 12, 2010
Photo of KDeLibero
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%

The Belgian family-owned Van Steenberge brewery, which is outside the city of Ghent, in the Flemish region, produces the famous beers Gulden Draak and Piraat. They have collaborated with the Belgian Beer Emporium, Monk's Café in Philadelphia to commission the Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale under their private label. Monk's Café is made in the style of an Oud Bruin (or "old brown). Young and old beers are blended to create balance and complexity in this mildly sour ale.

Monk's Café pours a deep red mahogany with a malty aroma of fruit and oak. The flavor is tart with strawberries and cherries, and hints of vanilla, wood, and lactic acid. The noticeable oak on the finish must be from the more aged batch of beer that is blended in. Overall, Monk's Café is a very drinkable and refreshing beer that would serve as a great introduction to sour beers for those who are not familiar with the style.

While delicious on it's own, Monk's Café will pair well with a wide variety of different foods, especially ones that share the same funky, barnyardy flavors. Try pairing it with a gamey meat such as duck with a sweet sauce, or a rich pork dish. It would certainly compliment an earthy, mushroomy cheese like Brie de Meaux, or Forsterkäse, which is wrapped in bark for an extra heady flavor. Experiment too, this beer is fun and delightful with chocolate!

KDeLibero, Sep 09, 2010
Photo of beeragent
2.8/5  rDev -27.1%

Poured into a glass from a bottle.

A - Pours a medium brown with redish hues. Sode pop like carbonation creates a 1 inch head which faded immediately. No lacing on the glass.

S - Strong sour aroma with a noticeable vinegar presence throughout.

T - The sour fruit is the forefront of the flavor, with the vinegar taste coming through in the finish. Light malt body mixed throughout, but the sourness/vinegar hides all other flavors.

M - Medium bodied with quick soda carboination which leaves the beer flat quick. Aside from the lack of carbonation, the body is smooth and clean.

D - Unique flavor and aroma. I'm not sure if the body is the way it should be. A good doorway into sours, and one I will continue to explore.

beeragent, Sep 07, 2010
Photo of mdfb79
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%

From 09/04/10 notes. Poured from a 750ML bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark amber color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sour cherries, dark fruit, raspberries, and a hint of funk.

t - Tastes of sour cherries and other dark fruits mostly. Some fruity malts and spice as well.

m - Light to medium body and high carbonation.

d - Thought this was a a pretty good flanders; my girlfriend loves this beer. I enjoyed the sour cherries in the smell and taste and wish it was a little less carbonated, but definitely a good beer. Will definitely be getting more of this for my girlfirend and will definitely have some as well.

mdfb79, Sep 05, 2010
Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

Aroma- oak, sour, dark berry fruit,cranberry and black currant, a very svory aroma, floral, lightly horsey,

Appearance- Brilliant clarity, ruby red, thick, moussy off-white head,

Flavor- crystal malty sweetness with light notes of dried cranberry, whisky, grape, ginger, apricot, plum hey dries out finish,

MF- really a pretty crisp sensation, medium bodied, very grippy,

JudgeRoughneck, Sep 05, 2010
Photo of htomsirveaux
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

11.2 oz. bottle tried 17 Jul 2009. Received in trade from.... damn, don't remember...

Served in the 0.4 L Steiner Pils snifter. Large lacy beige head. Well carbonated. Clear dark ruby red color. Aroma of sour cherries and raspberries, slightly dusty, hint of chocolate. Fizzy, sweet and sour. Some cherry juice, hint of cherry pits. Finishes with a bit of cinnamon. Aftertaste is slightly dry and stringent. Light body.

Good balance of sweet and sour.

htomsirveaux, Sep 03, 2010
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,330 ratings.