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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

2,199 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,199
Reviews: 1,031
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.1%
Wants: 45
Gots: 125 | 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)
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Ratings: 2,199 | Reviews: 1,031 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SPThirtyThree
SPThirtyThree

Colorado

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: Red mahogany with just a bit of haze, massive head on the pour that fades down to a clumpy, sticky lace.

S: This oud bruin slams the nose with vinegar. There's also some caramel hiding in there. Subsequent sniffs after the nose has adjusted to the acetic smell give a slightly sweaty or zoolike aroma. It's a nice amount of funk for the style.

T: Again, sour vinegar up front, but well balanced with sweetness and cloves. Also some bubblegum esters.

M: Very effervescent from the high carbonation.

D: High - it's very tasty, but a tinge less carbonation and a less estery profile would substantially improve the drinkability (although it might make this brew less interesting).

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2010 21:24:21 | More by SPThirtyThree
Photo of ccrida
ccrida

Oregon

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in my Belgique tulip, Monk's Café is a clear ruby with a very tight light tan head, leaving pretty nice lace.

Smell is very vinous, sweet malt and vanilla notes.

Taste is pretty heavy on the acetic acid vinegar, I think maybe an increase over having it a year ago, but maybe not, there's still a nice balance from the richness of the sweet malt. Strong oak and grape mid-palate before a pretty clean finish. Very intense, like the smell.

Mouthfeel has very creamy carbonation, which helps keep the body light and cut the viscosity of the malt, oiliness of the acids and tannic bite.

Drinkability is pretty good, this has held up well, maybe improved a bit after a year in the cellar. I think the acidity has increased, and while it's still to sweet and cider vinegary for my taste in the style, I think the age has helped it, as I don't recall being to pleased with the first bottle when I bought it (and ultimately busted out a little later in that night then I should have, so who knows).

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2010 02:50:16 | More by ccrida
Photo of Kelp
Kelp

New Hampshire

3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a redish brown color with a nice little head on it. Smelled strongly of tart cherries and a hint of balsamic vinegar. Definitely a tart cherry taste followed by a sweet malt to finish it off. Kind of like a sour cherry candy. Mouth feels smooth a decent amount of carbonation with a dryness on the end of it. I could only have one maybe two of these and then get sick of it. My first foray as far as i know into sours and it wasn't bad, but not great either.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2010 23:30:42 | More by Kelp
Photo of ArrogantB
ArrogantB

Colorado

3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl bottle $3.99 Looked red to me, decent head. Smelled a lot like glue but a cheap kind and not the top shelf Elmer's that I get from La Folie. A little vinegar in the smell also, not bad. Mildly sour but also a little one dimensional. I'd take a rodenbach or la folie over this any day.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2010 04:07:31 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of ocelot2500
ocelot2500

Arizona

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy brown with a tight off white head that leaves plenty of lacng on the glass.

Smells of tangy, sour cherries.

Tastes of tart cherries and green apples. A bit of sourness up front with a sugary sweetness on the end. A little diacetyl makes an appearance.

Mouthfeel is a medium-light that has an airy amount of carbonation that finishes dry.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2010 03:33:21 | More by ocelot2500
Photo of sisuspeed
sisuspeed

New Hampshire

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Red, brown-amber color with a fizzy white head on top. Some lacing is apparent as well.

Aroma consists of vinegar, sweet malts and a bit of cider. Apple vinegar comes to mind.

After a couple of sips the taste of sweet cherries, sour apple and rich malts flood my mouth. Sour at first, but then washed away by the sweet malts. The finish tart and fairly refreshing. Almost like sour candy.

Mouthfeel is quite smooth. Light carbonation, yet still somewhat prickly. Body feels full and rich.

Drinkability is good. The tartness on the finish makes me want to keep tipping the beer back to refresh my mouth with cool, smooth liquid. Very easy to drink. Sweetness is the only thing holding this beer back from being a session beer for me.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with this beer. This is only the second sour I've ever had and I'm liking the general style more and more. Glad I can easily pick this up.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2010 03:25:11 | More by sisuspeed
Photo of abuliarose
abuliarose

New Hampshire

3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass, revealing a decent but fading head over copper-toned body with fair bubble action. The second pour, to top the glass off, left a much thicker head that slides slowly down the inner glass and has quite nice staying power. It's a pretty looking beer. Smells quite metallic with lots of grape aromas, white and cider vinegar and something else decidedly off-putting. If this were any other type of beer, I would be tossing it, but the smells are pretty on for an oud bruin as far as I can tell.

Tastes very sweet and even a little salty with some unami soy sauce-type flavor. I don't get sour in a pucker sense at all except maybe at the end. Most of the sourness is the acidity I associate with carbonation. Mouthfeel is very airy and carbonated with much tingling. Pretty smooth body, light to near medium weight. Lots of sour-type off-malt character at the end. Fairly warming.

Overall, a decent representation of its style. If I could change it, I'd wish it a bit more sour.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2010 03:19:38 | More by abuliarose
Photo of rtratzlaff
rtratzlaff

North Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This oud bruin pours a crystal clear red ale with an off white head that fluffs up upon the pour and stays there. The aroma is vinegary sour and sweet. Not much fruit in the nose, but I am sure it will come through in the flavor. A sip provides and acid bite with the flavor of sour cherry cough drops. A slight funk in there as well. Light bodied and effervescent for sure. Were it not for the price, I would session this beer every day possible.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2010 19:57:28 | More by rtratzlaff
Photo of PeterLemonjello
PeterLemonjello

Alabama

3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Very pretty beer. Pours a dark/rusty ruby color. Clear with nice carbonation. Thin head which remains during drinking. Nice lacing on glass.

S - Smells of sweet fruit with a touch of sour cider. Ever so slight touch of barnyard.

T - Tastes nice but a little sweet. Tastes of sweet cherries with a sour flavor present but just not enough to balance out the sweetness. I want to enjoy it more as it tastes very nice, but the sweetness just needs to be balances out with more sour or more barnyard which just isn't there enough to balance.

M - Lovely mouthfeel with prickly carbonation. Not too think and not too think.

D - Tough for me rank higher on drinkability because of the sweetness. If more balanced or a drier finish, it would be a very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2010 02:56:09 | More by PeterLemonjello
Photo of homebrewhawk
homebrewhawk

Kansas

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle served in the new style Boulevard Chalice. Poured a reddish brown with a thin tan head. Good lactic aroma of sour cherries. Starts off with nice and tart. A little sweetness and more fruit (cherries). A touch metallic in the finish to start, but this fades. Very refreshing and drinkable. Good price point as well.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 16:29:31 | More by homebrewhawk
Photo of dubinsky
dubinsky

California

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first sour, so take this review with a grain of salt.

Poured from 12.oz bottle into a Chimay goblet. The color is a nice, clear, rusty copper hue. The smell was unusual, but i expected it from other reviews i read prior to drinking it. Smells of vinegar and apple cider.

The taste is equally unusual. I kept thinking that i am drinking expired Martinelli's apple cider, possibly an expired cola. Very sweet.

Has a very nice light carbonation that complements the smooth finish of the beer. My stomach is gurgling though. Weird!

overall, it was a fun experience that i dont think i will turn into a habit. Its definitely a particular taste that will take some getting used to. I liked it, but dont ever see myself dinking a lot of it or often.

Reviewed 8/23/11

Beer poured from bottle into a snifter.

A - Beer pours a dark brownish red with a nice two finger khaki head. The head seems to lose itself rather quickly from my pour eventually settling to the edge of the glass. The beer appears to be mostly clear with some visible sediment settling to the bottom of the glass.

S – The first waft I pick up is of a wine vinegar followed by a nice sour funk. I’m picking up some black and sour cherries as well as blackberry.

T – Sweet black cherry with a slight vinegar acidity and astringency. The sourness steps aside to give way to the cherry sweetness that is coming forward in huge volumes. A nice tartness. This beer is definitely a sour, but not mouth puckering. A great desert beer.

M – Medium bodied with excellent carbonation. Very sweet and tangy. Like a sour patch kid, first its sour then its sweet. Avery crisp and refreshing

D – This was the first sour I ever tried due to the accessible price point almost two years ago and I really didn't care for it. I couldn’t believe why anyone would buy this. Today I can truly attest to how my my palate has evolved/changed. I'm really enjoying this wonderful beer. At $3+ this is an amazing beer that i'm likely to keep in rotation as an everyday sour/desert beer. I really enjoyed this and will be buying it often I can see.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 20:49:58 | More by dubinsky
Photo of ThaBobfather
ThaBobfather

Ohio

4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a solid brownish hue with a nice helping of tannish head.
Smell is pretty textbook here, spice and vinegar. A slight twinge of green apple here.
Taste is very good. A great blend of malt and "Sour Patch Kid" taste with decent carbonation that compliments the flavor well.
Finish is good, some vinegar/apple spice notes in the last flavors.
Drinks pretty smoothly considering the sour flavor.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 18:32:50 | More by ThaBobfather
Photo of degerbah
degerbah

Ohio

3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown with plenty of head. The head causes very thick lacing on the edge of the glass as it settles down into the beer. Very acrid smell that reminds me of malt vinegar. Very, Very acidic smell that also gives way to more of an apple scent. The taste is slightly less sour than duchesse, but still great and extremely drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 04:04:41 | More by degerbah
Photo of ATraurig
ATraurig

South Carolina

2.6/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Brownish red color with a thin white head.

S:The wild yeast smell is most prevalent but not a sour smell. Hint of overripe apple. Not a very complex scent.

T: Reminds me a lot of Duchess (which I don't care for). I think "sour ale" is a bit of a misnomer. I wouldn't descride the taste as sour at all (can't even be said in the same breath as say, La Folie). Has a sweet, slightly cheap-tasting aftertaste.

M: Very effervescent and light. The carbonation tickles the mouth and nose.

D: I don't think I can get through a full bottle! Probably going to be a drain ale.

Overall: Not impressed at all. Like a cheap version of Duchess.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 01:26:26 | More by ATraurig
Photo of jampics2
jampics2

Ohio

3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at the Beer Engine.

Decent looking beer - deep brown with a white head.

Smells of vinegar and sour funk. I don't like the nose on this, but I like similar beers (Dutchess), so I'm not going to totally ding it. It's acceptable for the style, just this particular vinegar smell doesn't make me crazy.

Taste is weird. Sweet and sour collide as vinegar fights overripe apple. Interesting at least.

A little thin and too vinegary for me, but an example of the style every fan should try.

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2009 21:34:07 | More by jampics2
Photo of kegger22
kegger22

Michigan

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale is a rich red color with a one finger beige head that reduces to a skin covering.

The aroma has a musty note to it.

Sourness, of course, and cherries stand out in the taste. But not a bitter, mouth puckering sour, just a moderate tartness.

The mouth feel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Drinkability is good, another would be most welcome.

I do not have a great deal of experience with sours, but if they are all like this, I am looking forward to more of them.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2009 04:21:36 | More by kegger22
Photo of rhenning
rhenning

New York

3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a stemless red wine glass i like. Pours a copper red color with 1.5 fingers of light tan, sudsy head that recedes to a light covering of foam, leaving a nice lacing on the glass. Looks rather nice! Nose of cherry, apple, yeast and malt vinegar. Medium bodied mouthfeel; thirst-quenching and not sticky. Taste of apple & cherry fruits, lactic acid & CO2 bite. Quick on the palate, ending crisply. A bit of lingering grape skin in the flavor. Drinkability was good enough to have two. A very solid sour and a good introduction to the style, but more funk and tartness would be welcome.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2009 01:54:03 | More by rhenning
Photo of MbpBugeye
MbpBugeye

Ohio

3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Poured into a lindemans pilsner. Clear rusty brown with a fairly large white, sticky head. Decent retention.

S- Vinegar, apples a musty earthiness, blue cheese and funky mold.

T- Gets more sour as it warms. Apple sweetness, lactic sourness towards the end. Some funk and barnyard from wild yeast.

M- Slick and oily. Thin body. Mild yet sharp carbonation.

D- A sweeter take on a sour ale. For me this is better in small doses. It gets rather cloying and begins to be too much after about half

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2009 05:48:37 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of edbeer
edbeer

Rhode Island

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip from a bottle, developed a light/ off white head that foamed up but dissapated quickly. The nose hit me from three feet away. Brilliant fruity slightly sour nose with sour cherry overtones. The taste is crisp with mild sour notes. A clean malty finish with a very light malty (toffe?) end. Very drinkable paired with brie and triscuts. Delicious.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2009 03:48:16 | More by edbeer
Photo of Travlr
Travlr

District of Columbia

3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep ruby red. medium white head. Aroma of sour cherries and malt. Vinegar flavor. Sort of a less complex version of Rodenbach, similar to their "Alexander" which is no longer brewed. Nicely balanced, slight sweetness at the start and a scant bitter edge comes in late Nice example of the style..

Serving type: cask

12-18-2009 13:36:31 | More by Travlr
Photo of robbyc1
robbyc1

Illinois

3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep garnet red/brown clear look, with a slight one finger off-white head, into my Tripel Karmeliet glass.

Winey, sour nose, complex, very intriguing. Almost smells like a good balsamic vinegar. Huge nose.

District wood up front, a bit harsh, with a fruity middle of grapes, stone fruits, and a slightly tart finish. The wood doesn't really fit well with the fruits, good but not a great mixture, not as complex as expected from the nose.

Rather light body, good carbonation, really refreshing. A nice drinker, not as sour as some, lots of residual sugar here. Overall less than expected but a decent try. Could be so much more, but it doesn't fit well, several notches below the Oerbier version.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2009 23:09:50 | More by robbyc1
Photo of BradLikesBrew
BradLikesBrew

Missouri

3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is a blend of slightly sweet, slightly tart cherry and a touch of cider vinegar. Very approachable on the palate. Enough sweetness to invite you in with just enough tartness to keep you drinking. Brett provides just a hint of vinegar funk, mostly on the finish. Great entry level sour.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2009 19:33:59 | More by BradLikesBrew
Photo of Goldfish19
Goldfish19

New York

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

~ Purchased this bottle at Big Z Beverage in Huntington, NY. The appearance is reddish brown with a thick off-white head that lingers around for a while. Unique sweet and sour aromas graze the nose quite well. Taste is sour, but on the mild side. I keep picking out sour cherries from this beer more than anything else. Monk's Café does not overpower in any way. It's clean, light, and very refreshing. ~

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2009 01:09:56 | More by Goldfish19
Photo of brow1901
brow1901

Minnesota

4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Dark maroon in color with a small fizzy off white head. Almost no retention and no lacing.

S- The first thing I smell is cherries, really reminds me of those marchino cherries that come in cocktails. When I initially poured the beer I remember a vinegar quality. Defenite barnyard character to it when agitated.

T- Initially brings a slight tartness to the mouth which becomes rounded off to a sweetness. After the harsh tart flavor it is easyier to pick up the complexities, the one that stands out is the cherries again.

M- Pretty thick in the mouth and I really like that with this beer. The finish could have been a bit more dry, it was way to sweet.

D- Highly drinkable, this is becoming one of my favorite styles. Good carbonation, nice body, lowish alcohol, all this makes a real drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2009 06:10:35 | More by brow1901
Photo of morebeergood
morebeergood

Massachusetts

3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at PHP in Brookline. Poured into a wine glass. Dark ruby red color. Great looking tan head that lasted for some time. Ample lacing on the glass. Smell reminded me a lot of that funky aroma of a lambic. Taste was good but quite unusual. On one hand, it was tart like any great Belgian sour ale. But it also had a very different sugar flavor profile. It was a lot like the lactose sweetness in a milk stout. I am not sure if I was really in love with this combination. Yes, I will admit that this is a quality beer and I applaud the uniqueness of this beer. But I am not sure if it lived up to what I was expecting, which was something more along the lines of the classic style of a sour red ale.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2009 18:59:46 | More by morebeergood
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,199 ratings.