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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
87
very good

2,470 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,470
Reviews: 1,054
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 14.06%
Wants: 57
Gots: 204 | 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:
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: 2,470 | Reviews: 1,054 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CampusCrew
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: red-copperish color, poured into a red wine glass, held hed retention well thru out

smell: sour fruity, grapes and cherries

taste: not extemelely sour enough and slightly sweeter than others I have tried. more fruity flavors than most

mouthfeel: high carbonation and medium bodied

drinkability: not my favorite flanders red, but solid

Photo of ZeroSignal
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, no date

A - Pours a Chestnut/Hazelnut brown with a very lively and vigorous head. Excellent retention, nice lacing

S - Sweet, fruity ester aroma with a sour edge; almost reminds me of sour patch kids.

T&M - Sharp, acidic style sourness with fruit notes; green apple and grapes. Light sweet malt presence, very vibrant carbonation. Medium bodied. I pick up just a bit of tannin woodiness with mild astringency.

D - Very refreshing, and I find myself imbibing faster then usual. My first try for this style, and I am very pleased. I wish I had a few more.

Photo of 404UGA
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first foray into the flemish sour red ale genre, I didn't really know what to expect. The beer store employee said it tasted like sour patch kids, which didn't exactly get me pumped up. Fortunately I wouldn't say that was too accurate of a characterization. It poured an almost blood red color with a think head that fizzled away pretty quickly but never totally disappears. It smells interesting, a little bit lactic perhaps but not necessarily bad. The taste is a little sour (go figure) but I liked it. The mouthfeel is almost more like a soda than a beer. During the first sip or two the bubbles actually grazed my nose like when drinking a coke. Not the most drinkable beer, but I think that goes with the category. Certainly good for one, probably not more than that though. Would go really well with bread and cheese. Overall, was a pleasant surprise.

Photo of fragilehearted
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle into a tulip. Thanks to Brez07 for this in a recent BIF! I've had it before, but it's just not sold where I live, so I seek it out whenever I can. It's one of my favorites!

A - dark brownish red. nice tan head, but it goes down pretty quickly into a cloud-covered ring. Leaves a bit of lacing hanging out in blotches.

S - sour fruits, acid, vinegar. Kind of reminds me of a vinaigrette dressing. Could be better, actually, but well, I'm into aromas.

T - tart, but not too tart. There's some sweetness in there too. Cherries, grapes, apples...fruits. Lots of sours are just overwhelmingly sour (not always a bad thing), but I like this one a lot because of the balance.

M - light. pretty carbonated, but I don't generally mind that in a beer. Goes down so smooth.

D - super duper. I could drink this all the time. It's not overly sour, has just a touch of sweetness that makes it much more drinkable than the average sour, especially for those not familiar w/ the style. For that reason, I think it'd be a great intro to the style - was mine, way back when! And if you can find it, usually not a bad price tag either.

Photo of stakem
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken 6/12/10

From a bottle it appears an amber color with a yellowish tan head that doesn't retain well. Faint amount of lace clings to the glass. Aroma is an interesting mixture of berry and vinegar. The fruity berry in the aroma comes across a bit like cherries. Taste is sweet upfront with the cherry flavor that turns a bit acidic with a note of sourness. Ligh feel with a modest level of carbonation. There is a lingering aftertaste of fruity sourness that is mildly drying on the tongue. This has more sweetness than I was expecting but perks my interest in trying more Flemish examples. As it warms, the vinegar character becomes more evident seemingly like apple cidar vinegar.

Photo of levifunk
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottle poured into my new KBS snifter. not sure if its appropriate glassware, but i don't care.

a - dark brownish read. good size head when poured, which drops but never dies.

s - sour apple. champagne yeast like smell. not a big nose.

t - a lot more sour than the nose leads on. made me pucker a bit. full flavored. sweet cherry/apple flavor.

m - medium light body, carbonation is perfect. lots and lots of little bubbles. leaves my tongue tingling.

overall - very impressed by this. Its not terribly expensive, but is a fantastic drink and has a good amount of sour punch while still being delightfully sweet.

Photo of blackc5
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured from a bottle to a tulip at about 45F. Cola-like, dark ruby in color with a very short-lived, fizzy, high carbonation head. Little lacing.

S - Smells sweet, sour and fruity. Mainly raspberry and dark cherry. A bit of oak.

T - Tart and sour, yet sweet as well. A great combination, and not vinegary. Gets a bit sweeter as it fizzes out and warms up. Like the aroma, much dark fruit, but more heavily towards cherry than raspberry. Some malty base, and of course the tannins from the oak. Hint of funk, quite mild and lingering in the background.

M - Light-bodied, and although it seems highly carbonated at first, it fades quickly, leaving a moderate brew in this regards.

D - Could easily have a few of these. The tartness does not overpower and dull the palate, and the sweetness is not too cloying. Well done.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Sloeber tulip glass.

Another one of those you have many times and realize you've yet to review it. Or maybe Im the only one? This guy pours a clear dark ruby-brown topped by a steadfast head of khaki foam. The nose comprises vinegar, tart lemon, figs, white grapes, wet grass, and black pepper. The taste holds notes of red grapes, sour raspberries, candi sugar, and a touch of honey bringing up the rear. The body is fairly light, with a moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a decent brew, but a little too timid for what it is. Something like that.

Photo of antoines15
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up at friar tucks, special thanks go out to yeahnatenelson for the parking lot info. The straight truck fit rather easily. On to the beer. The smell is a bit sour and biscuity??? Very dry and highly carbonated. Sour taste and cherry darkness. Dry finish leaves me wanting more. A bit too sweet to have more than one, but still glad I grabbed this one.

Photo of cbutova
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a gloriously dark red into my Duvel tulip. A head builds up to a few fingers but fizzes out very quickly and you can actually hear it. Dies down to a funky looking cloud and ring. A few sticky suds but looks more like wine with a mutant cloud in the middle of it.

S- Strong and sour. The aroma even made my cheeks pucker. Smells a lot like red wine, a very lot. Lots of grapes, fruit and acetic and lactic acid.

T- Pretty damn sour at first but that goes away pretty quickly. It starts off with huge fruit and vinous notes, lots of grape and dark fruit going on here. The finish is hugely unexpected, malty and very bready. The moderate sour level (after first sip) lends a great touch to these nice flavors. Vinegar levels not very present here for some reason. Wow, toward the ends this really tastes amazingly like tart cherry pits.

MF- The body is fairly light and highly carbonated. It is, however, very smooth and creamy. The sours make your cheeks pucker as the palate is coated with great fruit and vinous flavors.

DB- I bought this because it was the cheapest Belgian single on the entire shelf of a local store. Turned out to be a great buy, successfully blending wine flavors with a great malt and yeast backbone. I would be proud to have this brewed for my restaurant. Probably a one or two bottle thing but still one of the most drinkable sours I have come across.

Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours dark red into a pint class, with a big head that dissipates quickly into some nice lacing.

S - Smells sweet and sour, with mild vinegar notes, not as floral as I would hope.

T - Tart and sour, fruit-apple, cherry, maybe even some grapes in there. If you taste a nice swig and breathe out before swallowing your really taste the sweet mats of this brew.

M - Pretty thick beer, but the high level of carbonation really offsets that. Overall rather nice.

D - This is a nice beer that's worth trying, probably wouldn't have more than 2 in a row though.

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.2/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance -- Pours a ruddy brown with ruby highlights, slight haze, with two fingers of tight beige head.

Smell -- Cherries, raisins, cider vinegar, some metallic notes.

Taste -- Ripe cherry, rich roast malt, under-ripened plum, some woodiness, and a cider vinegar tanginess that crescendoes in the finish. A bit of off metallic flavor.

Mouthfeel -- Medium to light in body, with an overabundance of fluffy carbonation.

Drinkability -- Overall, I thought this beer was just okay. Instead of a sour finish what is present is a general tanginess and an unpleasant metallic taste. Also, the carbonation could stand to be pulled back slightly. Doubt I'll try again, but still a noble offering.

Photo of zoolzoo
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Another good all around Oud Bruin, Im starting to get into this style a bit more lately.

Pours ruby red with a lively head. A high level of carbonation is apparent. The smell is of sour cherries, vinegar, red wine barrel, hints of sweet and sour, subdued yeasty funk. A little musty.

A ballad of sweet and sour. Well balanced, but sometimes I'm in the mood for a bit more of one or the other. Definitely tart, but also ripe cherries, malt base, and wood. Moderate acidity.

Mouthfeel is pretty much on the mark; light, relatively thin, and bubbly. An acceptable example of the style, but not my favorite Flanders.

Photo of PintOHops
2.95/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Glass - Snifter

A - Ruby red color with a slight haze to it, it produced a 1-2 finger head that dissipated fairly quick. It left a bit of soapy/splashy lacing.

S - It's definitely got sour qualities, it's like a rice vinegar that's a bit mellowed with the accompanying malts. Soft brown sugar and clove notes is what I get.

T - A bit sour upfront like vinegar, it unfolds quickly into mellow clove & yeasty flavors. It finishes very sour, as it goes down an almost off putting splash of vinegar sourness dominates. It's got some lingering yeasty flavors as well.

M - Kinda thin with moderate crispness. Lite bodied

D - Not very drinkable to me, I'm new to the style and I must say I'm not digging it much. I just wanted to finish my sample and be done with it to be frank, not bad but it takes some getting used to. I'd try another sour for sure but not anytime soon.

Photo of JosiahS
2.98/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Glass: Snifter

The color reminds me of an amber or scotch ale. Pour produced less than 1-finger of head but it has a nice ring and lacing looks great.

The aroma, what can i say ..Very sour with a fermented cabbage and malt vinegar. Just the softest amount of citrus as well.

Taste; right there with the smell. Sour with a bit of spice to it. It's also slightly minerally.

Mouthfeel is light to medium and has a soft feel. CO2 is light.

My first sour. To be honest, i don't like it. Later on down the road, i will probably grow to appreciate the flavors but it will definitely always be low on my list of beer styles.

Photo of CrossFitAlex
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Rose, rust, and amber with a crisp medium head

N - ale- sour / acidic, cherry, rose and floral scents.

T - YUM! nice balance of sour on the front of the palette w/ good carbonation. Well balanced ale flavors. Cherry and floral with an excellent sweet-sour mix. (I love flemish sours)

M - 4.5

D - Did I mention I love flemish sours? I think i'll have another...

Photo of VoiceOfTheSoul
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip.

A: It pours a dark red, with a tan pillowy head that stays quite well. Some pretty nice lacing.

S: Smells vinous, with apple cider vinegar, lots of sourness, foreshadows the tartness, and has sweetness as it warms.

T: Taste is very tart with sour, vinous, apple and grapes up front with some dark cherry. Malts and more sourness at the end. As it warms, even more sourness comes through.

M: Tight carbonation with a medium-thick feel, similar to a champagne.

D: I could definitely drink a number of these in a sitting, especially for/with dessert. This was a great introduction to sour ales for me.

Photo of TheMadJack
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. Bottle into Tulip glass.

A: Dark brownish-red with a spotty, thin, light beige head. Sounds like a coke when I pour it.

S: Smells like a tawny port. Caramel, dates, raisins, rye, and wine vinegar. No hops.

T: Lightly toasted malts and a firm apple-cider vinegar flavor are at the forefront. Green grapes, cola, and a little bit of sugar wrap it up.

M: The acid is enough to register on the tongue and make the beer unavoidably sour, but not undrinkably so. The tongue doesn't curl, but the sourness brightens, and mild carbonation further lifts, what would otherwise be a heavy and almost syrupy brew.

D: This is my first exposure to the style and I am greatly pleased. I wish I could find this locally so I could start experimenting with food pairings!

Photo of TCgoalie
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 6/7/10

Pours a dark reddish brown with a touch of foamy head. Lacing is good.

Smells like a funky red wine with lots of cherries, spice, and a wine barrel scent.

There is a good deal of strawberry and cherries in the taste. It is very effervescent and reminds me of a tasty juice. Rounding out the flavor is a bit of funk.

Light to medium in the mouth with a wet aftertaste. Sugary and satisfying a good summertime drink.

Very drinkable if you don't mind a sugary treat.

Photo of Schmaltzy
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Nice dark red/brown body with minimal head and good lacing.

S- Great cherry, lactic, oak and slight vinegar, and sweet cherry/grape scents.

T- Again tons of cherry flavor with a lactic/vinegar taste that is balanced by the sweet cherry/grape flavor followed by a nice dry oaky finish. Very well balanced for the style.

D- Drank 3 bottles in one sitting. Great balance and light carbonation make this a pleasure to drink on a hot day, plus the fact that it only runs about $2.50 a bottle and is easy to find at BevMo.

Photo of Surly87
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep ruby red, frothy off-white head that recedes fairly quickly. Tart at first, dies quickly and then a huge sour cherry flavor emerges through. Nearly perfect mouthfeel. My first sour, seems like a good introduction to the style. A very nice, interesting brew!

Photo of Tucquan
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on 2010-06-26 in Columbia, PA

A - Dark amber with a 3-finger, tan head that drops to 1-finger quickly and doesn't leave much lace.

S - Pungent, dried apricots and sour cherries, malt vinegar, yeast

T - Tastes like it smells with the addition of some tannin. Finishes with too much caramel and fruit sweetness along with the moderate sourness.

M - Light-medium body with high carbonation with small bubble carbonation. Mildly creamy with a champagne feel.

D - It's a nice brew. Not nearly as sour as a Rodenbach Grand Cru, which I prefer. This good tasting ale could be a nice way to ease people into sours without clobbering them over the head. Too sweet though.

Photo of ryno09
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours reddish brown with an off white head of a finger or so. The head fades fairly quickly. The nose has the "Belgium funk" mixed with cherry acidity along with a touch of dark fruits and port, maybe a hint of sour apple.

Lots of carbonation as expected, it gives it a champagne like mouthfeel. It certainly tastes like it smells, cherries mixed with some dark fruit. A nice balance of sweet and tart that finishes very dry. I haven't tried many sours but this beer seems like a great place to start.

Photo of BeerImmediately
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured at 50 degrees into a wine-style Leffe glass.

Faint head, as expected, over a deep amber body with a touch of carbonation flowing up. Good lacing.

Aroma is really nice - sweet maraschino cherries, oak, and a nice lactic sourness to round it out.

Terrific entrance on the palate, without too much carbonation to distract from the nice flavor profile. Picked up on red grapes, cherry skins, and a nice, easygoing lactic sourness - definitely not too strong - no pucker. Well balanced overall.

Drinkability is large... could easily zip through a few of these w/out any burnout. This is one that would pair as well with a medium rare fillet as it would with a fruit-topped cheesecake or cherry tart.

Photo of GermanHero
2.8/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle
Drunk without food

Smells great. Has a nice feel in the mouth, but when it hits the back of the palette the sourness of of the beer comes out very strongly. I loved the way it smelt and the way it tasted initially but after it hit the back of my mouth it was overpowering.

Would drink again, but should be paired with food, something to counter act the sourness.

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,470 ratings.