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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

2,355 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,355
Reviews: 1,046
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 52
Gots: 167 | 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: 2,355 | Reviews: 1,046 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beertunes
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Received in my recent trade with Jwpv. Poured into tulip. Poured a nice reddish-brown, with just a thin cap of light tan head that very low retention and bare minimum lacing.

A slight sour tang greets the nose. There is just enough fruit, spice and yeast to balance the tartness. That is also an accurate description of the flavors. Cherry dominates and I think I get some oak and leather. The 4 people I'm sharing this with agree that this a tasty, tasty brew.

The body is thin, but that's typical. Drinkability is very good, but will vary depending on your personal tolerance for sour beers.

Overall, a very nice beer. Worth seeking out.

beertunes, May 17, 2010
Photo of spoons
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle to the tulip

Pours a dark brown with a reddish hue in the light. A super sticky tan/creamy head sits on top.

Smells is tangy. A little malty. Touch of roasted malt in there, some sweetness as well.

The nose is pretty decieving on this beer. Initial taste is way smoother and sweeter than I thought it was going to be. Has an almost soda like body to it. Some acidic sourness, but not a mouth puckering super sour type beer.

A nice beer. I will probably pick up another one of these and see how I feel about it at a later date.

spoons, May 11, 2010
Photo of KTCamm
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours ruby red with fizzy white foam that survives beyond the initial pours and then drops off. Lacing is evident.

Smell is very faint. Light wine smell.

Taste is sweet and sour, perfectly balanced. Red wine in the finish. Not puckering, but clear sour taste. Mild hop finish. Well carbonated to complete the balance.

Very drinkable sour ale. Tasty.

KTCamm, May 06, 2010
Photo of birchstick
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Picked this up from the wine and cheese place. This is my first attempt at this style, so I have no idea what to expect.

A - pours a dark ruby with a nice head on it

S - smells has vinegar and sour green apples with some sweet malts. Almost like an apple vinaigrette dressing.

T - whoa. I had to sit back for a while from this one to figure out what was going on. I first got hit with a really sour, vinegary taste. After my tongue recovered a bit, I picked up a lot of sweet malts and a lot of tart green apples and some plumb. It ends with a little bit of vinegar.

M - a little watery and thin - pretty average mouthfeel

D - drinkablility suffers a bit due to the sweetness and vinegar characteristics. It wasn't a struggle to take down, but I wasn't disappointed to see the bottom of the glass.

birchstick, May 04, 2010
Photo of Lolli1315
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- A red/amber brown color, little light seen through the beer. A nice 1 to 2 finger head that holds nicely with a nice lacing. Thickness of the head very appealing for this beer.

S- Tart cherries with a malty sweetness that blends into lingering sour notes coupled with some dark fruits and maybe a hint of apple.

T- Subtle tastes of dark fruits, plums specifically, and some apples. Flavor profile takes a dramatic switch to a large amount of sourness and a sugary sweet aftertaste. Sourness lingers for a little, but it is not overpowering. Sugary sweetness is a little overpowering and could be held in check a little more.

M- Thin to medium body with a generally high amount of carbonation that makes this quite refreshing.

D- Really like the sour notes of this beer, but the sweetness really hurts the ability of the beer to be more drinkable.

Lolli1315, May 03, 2010
Photo of SourBatchKid
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Paired with Pork Lion home made BBQ sandwiches.

A- Chestnut brown with slight highlights of amber a color all it own. The head leaves something to be desired. Maybe a quarter of a finger, maybe. However the laceing is a bit bigger, but still I was hopping for more.

S- God do i love the way this smells. Freeze dried green apples and raisons. It smells sour like the wafting of air when walking into a great BBQ join or a pickle factory. Mmmmm.

T- Tart at first taste, boarding on sour but not quite. Sweetness then over powers my pallet almost leaving the tartness as a memory from the past. The sweetness tastes of dried cranberries and fades into cherries.

M- Light body for my taste, hardly no carbonation when i aerate it on my tongue. I can feel a sticky coating on my tongue from the left over sugars.

D- I feel that this is a great brew for the price. However i would like a bit more complexity, the sweetness is really very overwhelming.

SourBatchKid, Apr 30, 2010
Photo of Bouleboubier
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'll probably never again go all out and buy a case of this because A) $63.00, and B) tough to drink this on a regular basis (not that I HAD to...)

With that said, though, I do really enjoy this beer. Not quite as satisfying as the Duchesse, but still worth it.

I was looking at it earlier (3/4 the way through the case) and could've sworn it shown a deep blood-orange hue, kind of a earthy, cedar, rusty color. Its vinous, fruity sweetness I've always found deliciously refreshing - sours, lambics, gueuzes - I can't believe sometimes how much I love those flavors, especially during the warmer months. I often envision myself doing hard labor, busting rocks with a pickax or something, and refueling with a sour...anyway...

Like I said, I adore Duchesse, and this is a decent, albeit cheaper (in taste and $), substitute for it when I don't feel like shelling out for the goods. Definitely worth a try (on draft it's good too, not much different from the bottle). No need to buy a case though unless you REEEEALLY love it or you want to share it with friends.

Bouleboubier, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of portia99
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a Russian River Belgian stemmed glass.

A - Pours a clear, dark amber with ruby highlights. A thick finger of dense cream colored fluffy head sticks around for a good long time. As it slowly fades, it leaves behind some thick lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - A good combination of aromas this the beer. Good amount of fruity cherries, a slight tartness, some spicy cinnamon, a touch of brown sugar, and some bready malt to round things out.

T - Slightly tart at first fading to a sugary sweetness that lingers throughout. Good bready malt underneath. Cherry like fruit in middle of the flavors. A bit too sweet to be ideal for my tastes.

M - Thin in body, ample carbonation. Leaves a sugary coating all over the lips after every sip. Light and refreshing, but a little less sweet would help things out a bit...for me anyway.

D - Interesting and a bit different from what I'm used to. Light and pretty refreshing. Goes better with some light snacks, cheeses than it does drinking by itself. The flavors complement the food where drinking on its own is a bit too much sweetness.

portia99, Apr 18, 2010
Photo of medic25
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Chestnut brown color with a frothy white head. Sour vinegar aroma, but not in an unpleasant way. Taste is as I'd expect from the aroma; quite tart and sour, a little bit fruity. Very sharp, but enjoyable; tough to drink more than one, but a nice change from the norm. A good example of the style.

medic25, Apr 17, 2010
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Freethyhops for the hook-up. Great trader.

G - Delirium tulip

A - It pours a fairly deep chestnut-brown hue with a reddish tinge. A nice millimeter of tan foam sticks around. Blotches of lace cling to the glass.

S - Smells sweet vinegar-y, and of apples, cinnamon, and spice, as well as little horse-y.

T - Tastes deliciously complex; fruity with suggestions of spiced apples, tart with nuances of cherry, funky with oak and vinegar character, and just overall an easily appreciable example of the style. Initially, familiar flavors coalesce to mimic the taste of apple butter. As it airs out, it shows the complexity and contrast imparted by the blending of new/sweet and old/sour.

M - Starts sweet/wet and finishes tart/dry. The feel enhances the flavor well.

D - Much better than I recall, this is a very good example of the style. My only caveat is that is a little too moderate of palette, despite the complexity; I think it is pleasant and immensely enjoyable, and perhaps not as challenging as I would like.

ktrillionaire, Apr 16, 2010
Photo of WOTO97
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: vigorous pour for thick cappuccino head that slowly dissolves to thin bubbly film, thin web-like lacing, deep burgundy red

S: grapes and soft vinegar notes, mild sweetness, very faint malt, distant nutmeg accompanies some burned vanilla notes

T: loads of fresh grapes, mellow tartness that slowly fades on the palate to a nice sweetness

M: slight stickiness in the back of the throat, slight and clean on the front, mellow creaminess

D: incredibly drinkable for a sour but almost to negative results, the grape notes overwhelm the vinegar flavors for a very mellow and clean finish

WOTO97, Apr 14, 2010
Photo of thecarster1
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- bottle poured into a flute, half inch bubbly head, clear tawny walnut color with active bubbling.

s- sour! tart unripe frruit, champagne like dryness, slight funk, apple cider vinegar.

t- doesn't have the overly sour puckering flavor i was bracing myself for. unripe berries, green apple, some funk - now i think i understand how bas use the term 'horse blacket.' i think i've come up with the perfect description for this beer - 'BROWN ALE GONE WRONG' - don't get me wrong, thats a compliment!

m- very light and effervescent.

d- nice, i could finish off a bottle, but not sure how many afterwards, this is a sipper anyway, and not an everyday beer at that, but it was a great treat to try!

thecarster1, Apr 13, 2010
Photo of hayesez
2.68/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Been on a real sour kick lately and have been picking them up whenever I find a new one. On our recent trip to Texas I saw a bottle of Monk's and figured I'd give it a shot. I was in Philly last month and was hoping to try it right there at the café, but wasn't able to make it - the bottle will have to do.

Poured into a wine glass producing almost zero head. A thin ring of fizzy bubbles surrounds the surface, but that is about it. Absolutely no lacing left behind. Sitting on the table, it looks just like a glass of iced tea...color is spot on, and there is no head.

Smells quite strongly of vinegar. Also a slight hint of sweet fruitiness, but definitely hard to get past the vinegar. Zero funkiness.

Ok, the taste of this thing caught me way off guard. You'd think that after smelling the strong vinegar, I'd be ready for the taste. However, after talking with people who have had it in the past, and reading some of the reviews, I was expecting a bit more tart unripe fruit. I was wrong. Apple cider vinegar. Frankly, I'm having a really hard time getting past this. I drank an entire glass being as open-minded as possible, but I have to admit, I am quite disappointed. Hidden through several layers of vinegar, there is a bit of sour fruit taste in there, but that is about it. Mouthfeel is actually ok with a decent amount of carbonation even though this wasn't evident from the pour.

Overall, I was really disheartened with the whole experience. I'm kind of thinking there is a chance that I got a bad bottle. I will definitely give this a shot again down the road, and if different, I will certainly come back and alter the review. That being said, this is going to go down in my books as one of the lower ranked sours I've had.

Consumed: 04/08/10

hayesez, Apr 13, 2010
Photo of BeerGodz
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Bright cherry red color, clear, small head with little retention or lacing

Smell: Apples, raisin

Taste: Up Front: Tart, green apple, Finish: Cherry, sweet & earthy

Mouthfeel: Light/medium body with a medium yet soft carbonation. Coats the palate nicely

Drinkability: Refreshing and very easy to drink

Overall Impression: This is a very interesting style - one that reminds me of really good cider. If you like slightly tart flavors or apples, you'll love this beer!

BeerGodz, Apr 13, 2010
Photo of hoplover82
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear beautiful cherry red with very good retention and lacing.

Smells of simply sweet green apples. That's it it seems.

Taste is pretty simple and one dementional as well. Only green apples to me. Afte hearing my friend say that buckeyenation got cherries in this, I can see that too. I aslo do get the cherries indeed...

The mouthfeel is kinda rough around the edges to me. This is the first sour I've had. Maybe this could be aged a little more. It has a medium body and the sourness seems to excentuate the carbonation and give it a bubbly mouthfeel.

And it's ok in drinkablilty.

hoplover82, Apr 11, 2010
Photo of jasonjlewis
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

great head retention, size and lacing.

smell is of green apples and a hint of raisin with a heping of cherried. not quite as complex as I would like but good nevertheless.

taste is of green apples and some caramel malts with cherry undertones. again, not as complex as I would like.

good attenuation and full mouthfeel.

decent stab at the style for a good price per bottle.

jasonjlewis, Apr 11, 2010
Photo of cwc
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wow, this beer kind of changed my life, as far as beers go. Never having had a "sour red ale", I really wasn't sure what to expect, but what a treat it was! This is one of the most refreshing and tasty beers I can remember consuming and it really opens up a whole world of beers for future consumption! Really, this is a unique and special beer worth seeking out and trying.

T - very distinct and refreshing. Maybe all "sour red ales" taste like this, but it was a new and distinct taste for me - and it worked!

D - One could probably enjoy quite a few of these very easily. Not too strong by any means.

cwc, Apr 10, 2010
Photo of HoustonTX
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out gorgeously into my Chimay Goblet. Bright ruby body with vivacious carbonation, and strong frothy off white head. Smell is sweetly phenolic, with a twang of funkiness. Some darker balancing notes of oak, vanilla, and roasted grain provide a nice backbone. Taste has great depth. Sweet, tangy, tart, funky, and sour. The sweetness comes of lambic in nature. Cherries and raspberries. Sweeping waves of funk, tangy bits of citrus rind, sour waves of bitter seeds, and sweet candied cherries, just a plethora of great flavors. Finishes with a lingering melding of flavors, and touch of graininess in the end to level things out. This beer was quite refreshing on a hot day like today, I would go as far to say this is dangerously drinkable. Very enjoyable overall.

HoustonTX, Apr 09, 2010
Photo of busterthecat
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2 oz into a tulip glass

A- Pours a murky brownish red color with 1/4 inch of foam composed of both fine and coarse bubbles.

S- strong smell of tart, some funk. Vinegar and dark fruit also present.

T- Up front is some funk/tart, but much less then smell. Fruit notes of fig/apple/grape. Quite sweet. Secondary earthiness. mellows as u swallow. No taste of Alcohol.

M- Soft, barely feel bubbles. slightly coating feel. lingers for a second before mildly leaving.

D- very easy to drink. almost finished it while thinking about the taste. VERY GOOD for around $3.

busterthecat, Apr 07, 2010
Photo of diamondc
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, murky, burgundy in color, with excellent head retention and beautiful Belgian lace.

S: Acidic, chocolate-y, musty, cherry, rotten apples, with a bit of pork in the background.

T: Sour cherries dominate the flavor, along with vinegar, dark berries, brown sugar, with a barely there bitterness at the end (maybe due to the roasted malts?).

M/D: Excellent, light on the tongue, thirst quenching. Not heavy on the sour and the funk at all. This is as close as it gets to a everyday sour ale.

diamondc, Apr 05, 2010
Photo of emmasdad
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not my favorite style, but I tried it on tap at B.J.s Temecula. Pours a garnet/ruby red color, with a bit of tan lacing on top. Smells of red wine vinegar, tart cherries and lactic acid. Flavors not much different, although I detect a bit of sweetness, which plays nicely off of the sour funk. Crisp and refreshing, though I doubt I could drink more than one.

emmasdad, Apr 04, 2010
Photo of Spineypanda
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear but dark red and has a nice head at least half an inch thick.
Smells of sours yeasts, not overly sour though.
Tastes like a bit of candied sugars, somewhat like a sweet red apple. Interesting how the sour ales remind me of apples every time. I really enjoy this beer, the finish is great and malty while being sweet as well.

Another I would buy for any occasion.

Spineypanda, Apr 03, 2010
Photo of cvaypai
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Taken from notes. In bottles at Titletown Brewery for FeBREWary.

Appearance - Deep mahogany red, ruby when held to light. Poured with a tan, reddish-white bubbly head that dissipates at a medium pace and leaves a very nice lacing.

Smell - Smells of sour cherries and tart cranberries, a small bit of sweetness can be picked up. Vinegar and oakey woodiness can be discerned. Other fruits can also be picked out, sort of underwhelming.

Taste - Extremely nice and refreshing. Lots of cranberry and cherry as the nose indicated. The other dark fruits are there and it is a bit lactic and tart but it works well. A small amount of sweet malt on the end and some possible grapes on the finish. The tartness stays and the candy likeness pales as it warms and sour green apples come out.

Mouthfeel - A bit thinner and light but incredibly easy to drink and the tart buckles the tongue. A tiny bit of carbonation works great with this and makes it slightly effervescent.

Drinkability - Immensely drinkable, reminded me of a wine/beer hybrid. Would reach for many more, tastes like candy and goes down like it too.

cvaypai, Apr 03, 2010
Photo of ChadQuest
2.1/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Looks nice, smells pretty fine too with some fruity notes, but there is way to much sweetness for what i wanted. The medicinal sweetness all but masks the characteristics that could be present. Like Cherry Nyquil. wanted a dry puckering finish, but this leaves with just a wisp of tartness and lets you keep the residual sweetness to stick in your mouth. The 12oz bottle in my snifter is more then enough for me, but i am still glad i tried it for more Oud Bruin experience for only 2.99.

ChadQuest, Apr 01, 2010
Photo of Reagan1984
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my tulip glass and a finger 1/2 of fizzy off whiyte head formed and quickly settled. Brown/reddish color. Almost maroon. Sticky lacing quickly appears.

Aroma is dirty, musty, vingegar like and of cherry.

Flavor is much sweeter than the aroma indicates. Cherry, slightly nutty, bread tones and sweet. Just a touch of tartness at the end. Its like the beer is tart around the edges, but sweet all in the middle.
Medium bodied and less than sticky. Tiny pin point carbonation.

Interesting, but a little too sweet. Not as much depth as in some other sours.

Reagan1984, Mar 30, 2010
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,355 ratings.