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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,517 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,517
Reviews: 1,063
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 59
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: 2,517 | Reviews: 1,063 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a 50 cl fluted glass at Delaney's in New Haven, Conn.

A: Clean, dark reddish amber color with a thin, creamy cap of white foam which settles to a thin coating, leaving little lace. burnished red color is quite nice and the clarity is good for a seemingly darker red ale.

S: Fruity, floral bouquet of red berries, melon, citrus and musty, old bread. Lots of sweetness and only a hint of spicy, yeasty resin.

T: Sweet, tart and fruity up front, with a big-time sour berry and cherry flavor coupled quickly with rushes of sticky sweet caramel malts. Finishes out a bit chewy, with lingering raisin and berry sweetness among the sweet and tart aftertaste.

M: Medium-full bodied brew with some sticky sweet malts and tart acidity thrown around the palate.

D: A very interesting specialty Belgian brew and at 5.5% ABV it's not a stretch to try a few. The fruity, floral esters of this blended Belgian red ale are balanced, yet sweet, acidic, tart and funky all at once. Quite good if you;re in the mood to maybe pair it with a duck or wild turkey.

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

11.2oz bottle poured into a Pretty Things wine glass. Bottle generously provided as an extra by bs870621345, thanks Bobby!

A - This pours a really nice, deep cherry mahogany color, a great contrast between ruby and wooded brown colors. About a finger's worth of head floats on top of the beer, with fantastic retention, lasting for well over 15 minutes. Lacing is thick and generous.

S - The smell is a bit more mild than other sours I've had, but my most recent have been from Russian River so I'm not sure that's a fair comparison given the style differences and such. Tart cherries, fresh apples, some slight cocoa sweetness, and a lactic, vinegary note fill the aroma. A nice combination of sweet and sour funk going on here.

T - The taste is a tamed down version of the aroma here, unfortunately. While the nose boasts elegant bouquets of fruit and some funk, the taste is instead reduced to a barely tart cherry and raspberry juice quality. Even the vinegar in the nose was a little welcome just to keep things fresh, but in the taste its more acidic.

M - Mouthfeel is light-bodied with good carbonation. Light and spritzy on the palate but the frothy head aids some smoothness as well.

D - Drinkability is moderate. The nose really had me excited for this, but the taste is more narrow in focus. It's a bit simple, if not tasty, but the aroma had so much more opportunity. I would've loved to have this as an introduction to more sour beers, as it is gentle and only slightly tart.

Photo of paganbeast
2.86/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This is one of the first sour ales I've had, and I liked it fairly well.

The appearance is very reddish brown and actually quite appealing with a nice sustained head and delicate lacing.

The smells are almost overwhelming at first, as there is so much going on. Initially the sour cherries come barreling towards you followed by an entourage of sweet and sour notes.

It tastes quite sweet on the tongue and the sourness permeates the rest of your mouth. There's a feeling of drinking balsamic vinegar at times.

Has a very sticky and lasting mouthfeel, very difficult to shake.

Photo of thstevens12
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy brown with reddish tinge at the edges. Thin off-white head clings to the edges of the beer.
4

Smell: Tart cherries, estery notes, and a whiff of wheat. I can also detect a touch of lactose and grassiness.
4

Taste: The initial impression is sweet cherry, think pie, with white sugar and ester flavors right behind. The finish is a mild lactic sourness that is refreshingly dry.
4

Mouthfeel: Thin mouthfeel with just a touch of stickiness. Wine-like drying finish.
4

Drinkability: Tartly refreshing and not overly sweet. Highly drinkable.
4.5

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

Poured this into a tulip and allowed it to warm up a bit before drinking.

Poured a nice dark reddish amber with a dark lacy head that stayed on the glass.

Smell was acetic with a strong smell of cherries, some sweetness, and an underlying smell of vinegar and funk.

I was a bit disappointed with the taste. It has a good sour cherry with a musty funk, but ends with a bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is a bit heavy and not the degree of sourness I was expecting.

Although I have had better sours, I would recommend this one to those just starting out or to anyone who wants to keep several on hand as they are easy to find and priced well for this style.

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.16/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip glass and allowed to warm up to cellar temp before drinking.

The body is crisp and clear. A deep ruby red that borders on garnet, it is topped with a fluffy white 1 finger head that leaves sticky streaks of lacing, as well as some spots of foam, all over the sides of the glass. This looks absolutely gorgeous.

The aroma, unfortunately doesn't live up to the high expectations set by the appearance. There is a light acetic quality to the aroma, but more so, there are sour cherries, some cocoa powder, and an underlying sweetness. The presence of a ton of residual sugar is evident on the palate. The sweetness is high, even for a Flanders Red, making this one a bit tough to drink from the outset. Cloying from the start, the flavor has a long way to go to impress me. The dominant flavor outside of the sweetness is red wine vinegar, which is accompanied in the finish by some more slight acidity and some sour cherries.

Slick and heavy on the palate despite being sour, this beer just didn't really impress me all that much. There are far better representations of this style out there, though I can see the value in this beer. It would be a good training wheel sour for someone just getting into the expensive habit.

Photo of lnashsig
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Duvel tulip, pours a dark amber color, with quick froth that fills the glass, and receeds to leave some nice lacing. Smell- sour apples, musty funk, sour sugar. Taste- fruit, sour apples, dark cherry, a sweet but not cloying finish. Mouthfeel- nice rich carbonation, smooth feel. Drinkability- if you can stand the powerful sour, this is borderline sessionable.

I'm really loving sours these days...and this is a drinkable and awesome example.

Photo of DPFRD
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark Reddish Brown, creamy 2 cm head that recedes leaving a thing layer on top.

S- Sweet and tart, with hint of acidity and a trace of pepper.

T- Upfront comes sweetness, followed immediately by the tart, once it expands some more pronounced sourness pokes it's head, but only momentarily, as it closes with an oaky tannin quality.

M- Medium, good carbonation.

D- It's tasty. I think it is very accessible for almost anyone for this style, as it's not very subtle and the flavors are very clean cut.

O- Not too sour, and the balance of sweetness is good, but definitely more towards the sweet end. The nose shows this as it doesn't give off that pronounced sour aroma... it's in there if you look for it and the beer has had time to open up. Not to shabby.

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Three Floyd's in a Monk glass.

Appearance: This pours a cherry color with a tint of brown and a thin foamy tan cap. It mostly fades to a ring but leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Tart cherries, some vinegar, and surprising raisin aroma, which is pleasant and really some character.

Taste: A dash of light malt starts out the sip. Sweet cherries turn tart, then acidic and vinegary. A dash of raisin is in here, and the finish is more tart cherry and vinegar.

Mouthfeel: Crisply carbonated and a little bit creamy at the end. The tartness leaves my lips puckering and my mouth salivating. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: I found this to be easy drinking, not too tart, but with a pleasant, moderately complex flavor. I would definitely order this again.

Photo of perrymarcus
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pours a deep amber tone, sits a chestnut color with ruby tones evident when held to light. foamy finger, finger and a half beige head, middling retention; head lapse into a thin cap... very nice lacing.

nose is a pretty nice bouquet consisting mostly of malts, sour/tartness, and a fruity sweetness.

flavor hits me with a little more sourness than i was anticipating based on the aroma, but not an overly, mouth-pucking sour... interesting balance between the sweet and sour. defintely has some tang to it; sour cherries. tasty and refreshing, though nothing transcendent.

medium-bodied mouthfeel with healthy carbonation. drinks easily. looks like 4s across the board here.

edit: docking the drinkability score a point. it's wearing on me.

Photo of larsenju
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Rich amber red body with a very tall light brown head, very good retention and lacing.

S-Just a little sour, some cherries, just a little caramel, crisp apple, and just a touch of a vinegar aroma.

T-Lightly tart, I was getting plenty of cherry and a little green apple, I also got some other lightly fruity esters. It wasn't really funky at all, leaving it pretty juicy but it was still pretty nice. There was also a little malt profile buried in there, kind of a mix of caramel and biscuit with just a little bit of oak backing everything up.

M-Lots of carbonation, but its still pretty smooth, and very dry, almost champagne like.

D-I really like a super tart and funky Flanders, and this isn't. That said, its pretty easy to drink making it more approachable than most in the style. If I remember right it wasn't to expensive either.

Photo of dgugliuzza
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip

A- Pours reddish brown with a thick tan head. A hazy red hue settles in the glass. Very good head retention.

S- Smells of sour prunes and sweet dark fruits. The combination of sweet and sour combines nicely. Delicate, yet complex.

T- Tastes of prunes and cherries. Mostly sour and a little sweet. Sour after taste that lingers intensely. A bit overpowering for my tastes buds, but pretty interesting nonetheless.

M- Bursts with carbonation. Medium bodied and quite crisp. Goes down fairly smooth.

D- Not sure if I would have more than one. It's a bit too sour and over carbonated for me, but there is a nice balance of sweet and sour. Granted, this was my first sour so I would like to try a few others.

Photo of mortarit
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Having a real hard time getting into these sour beers. They really drive my pallet crazy. My whole face draws up like all of the air left the building, experience.

Overall, the everthing else about this one particularly looks great for appearance, color, and smell.

Maybe, I should eat more sour apples for practice.

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

A - Big off white head that sticks around literally, some really nice lacing going on here. Color is mahogany, in the light its a brilliant amber. This beer looks so good in the snifter it's almost a shame to drink it.

S - Earthy boarding on musty fruity esters. Notes of apple and pears.

T - Tangy and just the right amount of sourness. Not as tart as I expected. The fruity ester flavors are definitely there, particularly that of sour apples, raisins and red grapes. Undertones of dark caramel malts are there, but subtle, maybe too subtle. Slight metallic aftertaste, but it's hardly noticeable.

M - Not too heavy but very full mouthfeel. Becomes even more full when I swirl it in my mouth. Superb, definitely this brew's best characteristic.

D - I really enjoyed this one, complex yet very drinkable.

Photo of brewerburgundy
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle, Bruery tulip, and some code that probably takes a special ring to decipher on the back label.

Tis a beautiful beer even if it was almost a gusher. A quarter pour filled the glass with 7/8ths head that is rocky, light tan, and as it recedes leaves clumps. The beer is an exceptionally clear ruby.

Aromas are very soft, barely detectable acidity with biscuit and red fruit. After some warming I get vanilla oak.

The flavors have more power than the aromas. Sharp, fresh, tart green apple, a little lemon and unfiltered cider vinegar pucker. There's a cakey, biscuit base that's a complementary background.

Fizzy and tannic with a matte acidity. It's almost like a cider. Very refreshing.

As my second sour, I find it very near the first, Duchesse De Bourgogne. There are some specific flavor differences and in the level of sourness. I like it quite a bit and will keep trying beers with sour and acidic characteristics.

Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Date: 22 January 2011
Glass: Sierra Nevada XXX snifter
Type: 11.2fl oz bottle

Poured gently for a 2-finger head, reduces to thin bubbly film, lacing is a little runny, color is slightly cloudy deep crimson-brown with sediment. Aroma is a slightly rusty sour apple, vinegar, and some funky tartness. Taste can be described the same, but the carbonation really hits the tongue hard. Good beer to share with someone!

Photo of jjanega08
4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= Pours a hazy brown color with a coca cola like head that rises and falls fast to a thin ring around the glass after a while with zero lacing and nothing for retention.

S= The first thing I notice is a load of vinegar. As I dig my nose in I get less of the vinegar smell and start to venture into a woody semi sweet odor. Herbal and medicinal are some of the aromas that come to mind. The sour tartness takes a back seat in the odor on this one.

T= The taste has quite a bit of balance to it. There is a good bit of the vinegar acetic acid taste to it but it is balanced by a bit of cherry sweetness to it like a cherry pie. There is a bit of wood and oak in the flavor.

M= There is a lot of carbonation to it and a lot of scubbing bubbles.

D= This is one of the best flanders reds I've ever had. Smooth and balanced without a load of sweetness that I can deal with. The sourness vinegar taste is also kept to a tolerable level. Worth seeking out for sure.

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

A bottle poured into my trusty duvel tulip and paired with some confit pork belly tacos.

A- a finger or so of light tan head from a hard pour that settles quickly to leave a few spots of sticky lace on the glass and a thin ring. A good swirl brings the suds right back in stellar fashion. Brilliant deep ruby red brown in color that glows wonderfully when held to the light.

S- apple cider vinegar and vinous bits with some funky must and sweet cherries. There's a strange yet inviting umami savoriness at times.

T- apples, kinda rotten apples in fact but in a good way. Lightly sour and tart with a good bit of cherry cordial sweetness. Some funky wood and vinegar.

M- just about medium in body with a light carb that give a bit of a slick mouthfeel to it.

D- this is the beer that got me into craft beer. I remember it blowing my mind like it was yesterday, I'd never had anything like it and fell instantly in love. Now in the greater scheme of thing this is a tasty brew but I've have had better in the style.

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

Enjoyed on-tap at the Draught House, in a goblet.

A - pours a very red, clear brew with little to no head, some obvious carbonation.

S - very unique smell almost like spoiled fruit with a definite tartness.

T - tastes like sour apple juice underpinned by an elusive booziness that never quite makes an appearance. Also significant earthy tones.

M - really nice sharp carbonation that makes this taste very crisp and refreshing.

D - in spite of the significant tartness somehow the alcohol warmth keeps it very drinkable; surprisingly so!

Definitely a unique experience for me; would definitely try it again (and am curious what it's like from a bottle).

Photo of bobsy
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Volo for around $9.

Standard flanders oud bruin appearance, with a rich mahogany body and a finger of off-white head. Nice retention and lace. Sweet cour cherry nose with a light brown bread aspect. The flavour is relatively simple - sour (though not too sour) cherry, brown sugar, and very mild balsamic vinegar. Straightforward, and not all that complex, lacking a bit of a sour bite that would put it in line with some of the better examples. Medium body and carbonation is about right.

Sweet and fruity, but lacing the sourness it needs. At this point it's more Petrus than Goudenband.

Photo of happy5930
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the first sours I've had. I found it to be smooth, and easy to drink. Not much carbonation. Amber in color, with little to no sediment. Not much of a bite, and not too sour. It was sweet to the tongue and nose. Certainly worth a try, a smooth and light brew, to put back slowly.

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

Appearance: This beer poured a reddish brown with a huge fluffy tan head. Lacing present throughout

Smell: Wonderful smell of tart, dark cherries and wood.

Taste: Nice sweet, tart and sour taste of cherries. Starts off sweet and dives into a nice sourness. Has a nice oakiness which helps cut the sourness. Also has nice hints of citrus. The sweet and sour is balanced well.

Mouthfeel: Heavy mouthfeel with high carbonation.

Overall: Fantastic sour in my opinion. Nice too sour but rather well balanced with the sweetness.

Photo of bgreg3
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

app- deep amber colors are richer in middle of the glass, and has high levels of carbonation far after pouring.

smell- sour smell with sweet notes lingering in the back. Yeasty overtone. very enticing smell.

taste- Other characteristics of the beer stand out more than the taste. Tart and sour sensations rush your tongue but become sweet in just a second. The taste neutralizes to a beer tasting of amber malt and German yeast. No hops noticed, but it works for the most part.

MF- Bubbly and tingly. The carbonations mixed with the sour notes allows the beer to dance on your tongue in a most enjoyable way.

Drink- This beer killed my palate. It would have been difficult to taste other proceeding beers.

Give this one a go! very interesting!

Photo of Aguirre
3.59/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great looking pour. A thick, bubbly, lingering head, which I'm not used to in sour beers. Lacing all the way down the glass.

Smell is not impressing me. Basically just apple cider vinegar and malt.

The taste is better. The sourness is very mild and this beer is actually quite sweet, there's a strong brown sugar flavor coming out. I also feel like there's some spiciness (cinnamon?) and some sherry flavors.

It's nice and bubbly, but a sipper for sure. I found this beer to be too sweet tasting and too cider vinegary smelling to give it higher marks. It certainly wasn't bad, but I don't think I'll purchase it again.

Photo of larryi86
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- Brown with a hint of red and a two finger head that fades quickly

S- Sour and tart fruits, getting cherries and lemons, some nice funky yeast, and a hint of vinegar that seems out of place.

T- Sour/tart sherries and grapes up front, a hint of funk and oak in the middle. Very sweet malt finish, seems a little out of place.

M- Nice medium body.

D- A good beer and I am happy I tried it. I feel that some flavors and smells are out of place, and was hoping that it would be more sour and less sweet.

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,517 ratings.