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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

2,334 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,334
Reviews: 1,042
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 51
Gots: 160 | 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: 2,334 | Reviews: 1,042 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of philipquarles
1.85/5  rDev -51.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

On tap. Pours a very dark, clear red with a medium white head. Heavy acetic acid on the nose, though it doesn't smell very sour at all, just lots of vinegar. Very sugary, and somewhat vinous. Not incredibly appetizing. Tastes outright sweet. Again, acetic notes, but no real tart character. Some hints of artificial cherry. Light-medium body. Lingering, cloying sweetness. Utter shite.

philipquarles, Aug 17, 2009
Photo of jgasparine
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- An aggressive pour from the 750mL bottle yielded a nice big tan head... a bit rocky and well-retained. Some nice lacing... good carbonation... and a beautiful mahogany body.

S- The nose reminds me of Ludens Wild Cherry Throat Drops (sweet cough drops)... I am anticipating both sweet and sour flavors from this nose...

T- Sweet and sour goodness... with a dry clean (slightly oaky) finish. Can't quite describe the sweetness here... it is unique, cherry cider maybe? The sourness is akin to weak vinegar (acetobacter?). Beautiful flavors here.

M- A bit oily... lots of unattenuated sugar here... and the perfect amount of carbonation. Overall, I'd say this is light to medium body... what I would expect from the style.

D- What a beautiful drink... could go all day with this stuff. The sweetness is never overpowering, nor the sourness. Just plain satisfying and refreshing...

jgasparine, Aug 12, 2009
Photo of DeathbySexyBT
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Note: Satan tulip glass

A: A mahogany brown / port red wine with a two finger head and medium residuals left behind on the glass.

S: Whadda ya know? Sour! Notes of black cherries and maybe a blackberry hint with yeast.

T: Monk's Cafe has taken my Sour virginity and I was impressed by the complexities in the flavor profile. I originally had thought that Sours were a gimmick-beer, but this has set me straight. After the initial wince/pucker I truly started to appreciate the tart cherries and the warming alcohol finish.

M: Medium or Med-light body with a crisp finish that leaves the sour notes behind as a souvenir.

D: As much as I enjoyed the sour, I am not sure that I would dare try more than one in a night. However, this goes down smooth enough for me to give it consideration.

DeathbySexyBT, Aug 10, 2009
Photo of mobyfann
3.05/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Paid $1.49 for a single discounted at Ludlow Wines in Clifton...

The beer pours a very dark amber-brown base, huge head, great retention, nice lacing. Smells like sour grapes and cherries, that's about it...

The taste presents sour tones present early, tastes of cherries linger from middle to aftertaste, almost like a defunct wine... bizzare!

It's fairly easy in the mouth, low carbonation but as far as drinkability goes forget it... this ale lacks depth!

Final Thought: For a highly rated beer I'm afraid what lessor beers of the same style would taste like... not very impressed with this guy!

mobyfann, Aug 09, 2009
Photo of joeysmokedporter
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bottle into a Sam Adams glass.

A: pours mahogany red, clear, with a 2 finger reddish tan head.

S: dominated by vinegar, although cherry and woody aroma also present. this is one beer where the aroma and flavor are fairly disconnected, and in this case for the better.

T: an aceto-vinegar flavor, but also sour-cherry-like, with a sweet malty flavor coming in and a bit of a tannin finish. while some beers in this style have tasted like salad dressing to me, this one has a flavor that balances between sour, vinegar, and sweetness. Cherry doctor pepper-like flavor is evident in the middle of this, and finishes on the bitter side with a strong hint of wood aging.

M: light although puckering in the end, with the effect of the bitterness. carbonation high but appropriate for the style.

D: The more i drink the more I want. This is quite an enjoyable sour beer. Paired up with trappist cheese for a nice contrast, but alone this beer is fine as a drinker.

joeysmokedporter, Aug 07, 2009
Photo of benteach
3.18/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My first, and probally last, sour beer. I tried this style on the urging of a friend. I am not a big vinegar fan, maybe that is why I am not a fan of this.

Poured brown-red with a good, cream colored head.

Aromas of cider vinager.

Sweet taste. good mouthfeel. Hints of apple, cherries, citrus.

It is growing on me as I drink it, maybe it won't be the last.

benteach, Aug 04, 2009
Photo of Suomi411
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark amber with a reddish hue. Head dissipates quickly to about .5-1" thick. Moderate lacing that disappears quickly following each sip.
S: Sour, a hint of cherries and cider.
T: Initially, moderate sourness with a hint of cherries, apples. Ends sweet effectively balancing the initial sour component. No real sense of hops, diacetyl. Aftertaste is earthy/woody, but also disappears rather quickly
M: Light to medium bodied (more on light side) with a fair amount of carbonation and low bitterness.
D: Excellent! Will pick up again in the near future.

Suomi411, Aug 02, 2009
Photo of malty
4.58/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my stemmed Rodenbach glass a brilliantly clear rust color with crimson edges. Loose (but creamy) & fluffy beige head stands still at 1 1/2" tall. Lots of visible rushing fine carbonation moving upward. Beautiful wide rings of lace all the way down. Stunning.

Bright & fresh notes of sour cherries and rhubarb, along with baked pie crust and green grapes. Granny smith apples jump out too. Some oaky & spicy notes creep up at the end.

Wow, I believe I just tasted the pinnacle of sweet & sour in one beer. On one side the beer is a tad syrupy & vey sweet, but the other side is very tart and puckering - bringing a perfect balance to this wonderful ale. The cherry scent I grasped just a minute ago becomes very layered in the palate. Rich but yet strangely light all at the same time. This is a definite Ying/Yang brew if there ever was one.

Mouthfeel is between light & med. bodied with the most delightfully playful (champagne-like) fine carbonation. Semi-sweet but still plenty tart flavorful finish.

Drinkability is through the friggin' roof. I could EASILY drink this al day and/or night.

Overall an equisite Flemish Sour Ale. The sweetness is appealing to me, but not at all cloying or overbearing. A very memorable brew that I'll be seeking out fervently.

malty, Jul 30, 2009
Photo of bikencycle
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into my hamms chalice

A: pours an red brown hue with little head and some lacing

S: has a sour pie cherry smell

T: dry, sour, cherry, and somewhat bitter vinigar taste that is well balanced

M: has a very delicious feel to it

D: very drinkable, and one of my new favorites for the time being

bikencycle, Jul 30, 2009
Photo of lhaqq
2.73/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear brown body with a semi fluffy tan head.
S: A little bit syrupy, lots of sweet light fruits, sourness comes out pretty strong in the smell. The initial smell reminds me, not unpleasantly, of watered down vinegar or mop solution.
T: Not as big of a flavor as was expecting from the smell. Starts off with some strong sweet and bitter apple and red grape. Peaks a little sour but not very strong, and finishes with little flavor, maybe some apple core bitterness.
M: A bit too light and watery.
D: Not a very high abv; drinkable I guess for a sour ale. At $2.99, was worth giving a try but won't get again. At least it puts a sour ale within the price range of most other beers.

lhaqq, Jul 29, 2009
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - pours a reddish caramel like Killian's. A nice thin cover of mocha head and some partial sheet lacing to go with. Looks good in my new Dos Equis glass because, after all, I want to be more interesting.

Aroma - cider vinegar, much like what I use for my mop sauces when I smoke brisket or pork shoulders. A trace of something beer-like but it is remote. Perhaps the grain is imparting some spiciness, but at length it is too hard to separate from the vinegar smell. Since that is part and parcel for the style, I won't ding it but I don't dig it either.

Taste - tart, thankfully it is not near as vinegary as I feared. The sweetness of the malt is offsetting, and the Belgian character is evident on the swallow as the light funkiness comes through on the aftertaste. Some welcome fruitiness plays in at times, the beer does well (for me) to not dwell long on the vinegar or funk.

Mouthfeel - dry and light-bodied, and well-carbonated.

Drinkability - not one I'd rush out and stock, but I enjoyed the experience.

brewdlyhooked13, Jul 27, 2009
Photo of SpdKilz
2.83/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

[update from December 2011 - My sister bought this by mistake (told her to get another beer) and my brother-in-law and I opened it up one night. I told him of my past bad experience with it, and stated this was recommended to me by a beer store employee as a "gateway" sour and it almost ruined sours for me in that I wanted to stay away from them. Since it was my first "sour" I thought it was worth a revisit since I did not like it at all a few years ago. Needless to say, I still hate this beer. It is disgusting.]

Appearance - Poured relatively hard with the outcome being only about a finger of head which quickly dissipates and leaves lackluster lacing. A copper/red hue shines through when held up to the sun.

Smell - The very first thing I notice about this beer is the overwhelming cider/balsamic vinegar smell. Can also smell black cherries and obviously a hint of apple.

Taste - Not hoppy in the least. Honestly, it tastes how it smells to me - almost how I would imagine sour cider vinegar to taste with some alcohol added to it. After this initial flavor, it most definitely ends on a sweet note.

Mouthfeel - Relatively thin and carbonated. Aftertaste is quite sugary, a bit tart even.

Drinkability - Not very for me. This is my first sour and it was nothing like I expected, and sadly that is not a good thing. I would describe myself as someone who normally likes tart, bitter types of food so I naturally thought this would be something I would enjoy. As of now, it is not. I may need to give it a few more chances (I still remember when I could not stand hoppy beers like Stone and now I enjoy them thoroughly). Overall not horrible but somewhat disappointing.

SpdKilz, Jul 25, 2009
Photo of vrazionale
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2 fl. oz. bottle at refrigerator temperature poured into a snifter.

A - Body is dark brown with a reddish hue when held to the light. The head is one finger thick (at best), but quickly fades to a light lacing with bunches along the edges.

S - Dark chocolate, alcohol-soaked cherries, vanilla, clove, molasses, anise, sweet bread, roasted nuts. Smells pretty boozy. The nose pretty much exclusively tends towards sweet aromas, but they seem a little disjointed.

T - Again, the flavors here come down on the sweet side of the spectrum. Oaky vanilla flavors come to the fore alongside those alcohol-soaked cherry flavors. There is also a pretty distinct sweet combination of molasses and dark honey. The finish is lackluster and disappointing, though.

M - This brew feels a little sticky and clumsy to me. The carbonation doesn't make itself well-known, and the flavors, while varied and interesting, don't feel right together.

D - Not my thing. I would certainly like to point out that there is a lot going on here, both on the nose and on the palate. But it doesn't work for me. I expected it to have more of a lactic sourness, but all I picked up here was sweet flavors and aromas. This is my first experience of this style, though, so perhaps I will grow to appreciate it more.

vrazionale, Jul 24, 2009
Photo of dancinwillie
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark red and clear, with a modest beige head. Aroma makes me think of cream mixed with malt vinegar. Although as I read that, I realize that might seem like a bad thing, but it actually smell kind of good. Head has now dropped completely.

Not as sour as I had anticipated from other reviews. Sour, but only a facet of the flavor. A whole gang of sweetness is evident as well. Cherries, a bit of green apples are present. Freaking tasty, whatever it is. Yeast doesn't appear too much, and I'm not picking up any hops. Doesn't mean they aren't there, just that I don't taste them.

Mouthfeel is spritzy carbonation, creamy and medium bodied with a long sour finish.

As I come into my own tastes more and more, I find I'm a big fan of sour beers. This one didn't disappoint me. For some reason I'd like to try some sweet and sour chicken with it, although it might be too much of the same. Nonetheless, I'll try it. Tasty beer, and I will revisit it soon. Cheers!

dancinwillie, Jul 23, 2009
Photo of FACEMEAT
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A: Pours a reddish brown with a thin later of loose head that quickly becomes a thin cap. Little lacing remains on my glass.

S: Definitely a sour overtone on the nose. Earthy sour cherries and granny smith apples dominate with an earthy Belgian funk behind.

T: The sourness isn't as prominent on the palate as it is on the nose. It's there, but just not as much as I had expected. A sweet finish lingers on my tongue.

M: Way too much carbonation with a medium mouthfeel.

D: The sweetness kills any chances of downing more than one of these.

FACEMEAT, Jul 23, 2009
Photo of GRG1313
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bit brown but clear with a short white head.

A wonderful integration of balance and flavors! Refreshing, drinkable in the extreme. Sweet and sour and very well balanced, hint of hops, nice light sugars. Nice drink, for summer. Like an adult soft drink with noticeable bretanomyces character with undertones of balsamic and red wine vinegar, in the most pleasant sense.

Nice.

GRG1313, Jul 23, 2009
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.47/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Having to celebrate Belgian Independence Day. But I don't need an excuse to enjoy this fine brew.

Pours very dark. Brown and red trying to peak through, but it is really dark. Really nice head that stayed for a while. Lacing was always present and pretty thick as well.

Sour from the oak is the smell. And that is pretty much the taste as well. Maybe with a touch of sweetness. It is oh so good.

Highly recommended. Forgot how good this was.

GeoffFromSJ, Jul 22, 2009
Photo of drperm
4.9/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at the Raleigh Times Bar, 11 July 2009.

This is an all-around impeccable brew: for me, the new benchmark brew for this style. I was tempted to give it all 5's but had to go slightly under-bar somewhere, simply because, even thought it is a life-changing brew, it is not completely perfect. But almost.

My glass of Oud Bruin displayed a resplendent russet glow. The wonderful aromas and tastes of balsamic and rice vinegars kept me quenched and served to be a most excellent aperitif beverage. As I drank the beer, I kept thinking, "teriyaki chicken...prosciutto salad....cheeseburger..." but the brew continued to be self-sufficient on its own.

For any who love the Oud Bruin style, this is not one to be missed! One of the most well-rounded and nuanced beers I've had of any style, but damn near perfect as a sour ale.

drperm, Jul 12, 2009
Photo of atpben
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Had this in a bottle at the Houston Gingerman. Poured into a snifter. Pours a reddish-brown color with a thick head. Aroma of vinegar mixed with cherries and some light citrus notes. Quite tart flavor with more vinegar and cherry in the taste. Quite dry in the finish. Pretty decent sour. A little less sweet than duchess.

atpben, Jul 09, 2009
Photo of ballewblake
2.93/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Severed in the monks cafe pint glass.
Filled to the top, a thin light head that didn't last, Too dark to really peg the color but it looks ruby red, right now. Barely any lacing on the glass. The nose is all vinegar, having a hard time smelling anything else, its actully so intense its off putting. I love sours and I'm actually thinking this is a bad keg (based on the bottle version I had a year ago.) Taste is uber sweet, no sour notes detected and I'm bummed. Barely getting some cherries but the sweet malts really dominate. Ultra heavy carbonation element in this draught, really cleans the tongue after every sip, priming it for the next swig. Really, I think this draught is off, not near what I remember the bottle being.

ballewblake, Jul 06, 2009
Photo of GJ40
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 11.2 oz bottle in a standard pint glass.

A - Mahogany with a slight cherry tint, good clarity and a small beige head that dissipates quickly.

S - Cherries and raspberries with a nice sour aroma and some candy sugar.

T - I get mostly cherries and candy sugar. Starts sour but then turns sweet in the finish.

M - Moderate consistency with a moderate carbonation that seems to leap out of the beer as soon as it hits your mouth.

D - Smooth, interesting and easy to drink. I'd prefer a bit more sour and a bit less sweetness but I enjoyed it.

GJ40, Jul 02, 2009
Photo of david131
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- An absolutely clear ruby red liquid with a decent off-white head.

S- Cider, funk, fruit, and caramel. Rather simple, but enjoyable.

T- Sweet cider and caramel with a bit of funk and sourness. More complex than the aroma and pretty tasty.

M- Slightly tart, but clean.

D- A bit of a sipper, but it is unique and enjoyable. I would like to see more of this style.

david131, Jul 02, 2009
Photo of Goldopelgt
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured a reddish brown with a whitish head and some decent lacing.

S- Initially hit with vinegar and sour fruits...complex, but pleasant. Definitely some funk, but what to be expected with this style.

T- Tart, acidic, sour--everything you would expect from this beer. Very nice!

M- Somewhat thin, carbonated, but again what you would expect from this style.

D- Very drinkable....want to try it again. I really enjoyed this beer and would definitely recommend it.

Goldopelgt, Jun 30, 2009
Photo of MaggieReed
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had two of these @humpy's in downtown anchorage.

pours a deep red-brown with about an inch of nice, thick head.

s- tart cherries, brown sugar and wheat with a heavy malt presence rounding out the finish.

t-awesome- clearly if you look at my reviews I am a huge fan of this style, but this one has a presence that is not found in any but the best beers, and the taste was complex- not something my toungue will get bored with.

m- somewhat syrupy with moderate carbonation

d- not for everyone, but if you are a fan of the style you will enjoy this beer.

MaggieReed, Jun 29, 2009
Photo of TheFightfan1
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A dark ruby color with a thick tiny bubbled heading(heading looked like whip cream at first glance).Left a nice lacing throughout.

Smell was sour apple and a couple of other darker fruit's

Taste from what I can remember was sour of course but it had a kind of blood taste to it. I can't explain it, thick like wine but you did want to have more.

Mouth felt good to me I've never even heard of this style (Flanders Ouid Bruin) full bodied , decent carbonation.

Drink is average at best I wouldn't really want to try this one again. I couldn't see myself having a couple or a session with this. For the other's out there give it a go because it is unique.

TheFightfan1, Jun 28, 2009
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,334 ratings.