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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

2,518 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,518
Reviews: 1,063
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 62
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: 2,518 | Reviews: 1,063 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of donkeyrunner
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been going through a Flanders phase of red. I blame the Tour de Flanders.

Rusty auburn color. Fizzy beige head that quickly fizzles down to a thin skim. Aroma is perfectly in line with the style - steely sour and cherry sweet. Bonus aroma of wet, tropical palm leaf. Robust and flavorful sharp cherry thrown forward by sour at first, then settles into a more inviting sweet cherry.

Doesn't have the complexity of upper echelon Flander's reds but a great representation of style.

Photo of muttyd
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cracking a bottle the night before the ACBF. Why not?

A - Deep ruby/brown pour with a thin white/tan head.

S - Deep caramel, oak, slight vinegar/red wine. Poured at roughly 50 degrees. Aroma really opens up as the beer warms up.

T - Fruity (apples, raisins, grapes, cherries) mixed beautifully with oaky/funky sourness. Despite the initial fruity sweetness upfront, this one is pretty dry. Finishes dry and tart. Yum.

M - High carbonation with a silky mouth feel.

D - At only 5.5%, this is my session beer. Excellent brew!

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

A-This beer is a reddish, brown, reminds me of balsamic vinegar, the head is not huge, but laces well.

S- We have grapes and sweet cherry, and vinegar twang, some woody notes as well. This beer smells of a funky promise.

T- The taste is a sour red grape, mixed with slight cherry and some oak. This so reminds me of balsamic vinegar it is not funny, but it is oh so good.

M- A medium body with lots of carbonation, this beer is a beauty on the palate.

D- The glass empties quickly, with strong deep sips.

I know this beer gets a lot of abuse, but I think it is a good beer. While it might not be top of the line, it is a wonderful beer to keep on hand. I have also used this to convert a few wine drinkers in my time.

Photo of djbreezy
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle to snifter.

In my search for reasonably priced sours, this one is coming on top thus far. Very cheap for a bottle (in comparison) and remarkably balanced and flavorful.

appearance - pours a rich ruby red with some transparency, head settles quickly but retains on the sides of the glass, some land mass formations from the aerial view of the glass, strong lacing

smell - fruit, oak, cherry, bitter, sour, wood

taste - sour but not too sour, dark fruits including cherry, apple, grape, flavors of wood, smooth finish, lacks the sharp tartness of better sours but amazing flavor

mouthfeel - full bodied for 5.5 abv and heavily carbonated, smooth and big

Photo of daledeee
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a nice brown with a red tint. The head was an off white small head but it went away to leave a ring around the edge but no lace.

Nose is vinegar with a little fruit; rather cranberry like.

Taste is sweet with a little sourness. Some cherries. Very nice carbonation and clean to drink. Very refreshing on this hot summer day.

Photo of AleWatcher
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Another I picked up from JWiss22 in an excellent trade! Thanks!
Poured into Duvel tulip.

Pours a deep pinkish red with a creamy tan head of 1 finger. Decent lace and average head retention...

Smells of vinegar and tart fruit notes. Slight oaky wood scent. Almost reminds me of Greek yogurt a little.

Taste is kind of bland... Not really sour. Not bad, just not as tart as I was hoping for. Some sour cherries and even a little raspberry flavor cones through.

Mouthfeel is a little thin and watery for me... Not unpleasant, but not outstanding.
Drinkabilty is above average-- probably in part to the light body and style ABV... I could drink this all night... With ease.

Photo of jeffjeff1
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My fiance picked this up.
Poured into a flute

Appearance- reddish brown color, head dissipated almost immediately, resembles a soda

Smell- fruit, tart sweetness

Taste- tart fruit, Very interesting

Mouthfeel- light to medium bodied, very soda like, high amount of carbonation

Drinkability- Pretty good. I thought it was very interesting. I would drink it again.

Photo of weatherdog
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Revisited in May of 2010.

Many of my previous notes still hold up except that now that I've had many more examples of the style, my favorite, I can understand how mainstream this example is. The sweetness and lack of acetic character stand out when had side by side with a great example. While I still enjoy this beer and applaud it's availability and affordability, I had to lower the score down a little bit in order to have it more accurately reflect it's rank among other Oud Bruins

Poured from a 330mL bottle into a Delirium tulip glass

Poured a ruby red brown with a one finger head which receded into a small ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass

Aroma is of a tart sweetness and ripe fruit. Not offensive in smell but enough to know the style one is about to drink

Taste starts off with a decent amount of funk that transitions into a ripe fruit tartness. Finishes dry without much residual sweetness.

Carbonation is on the higher side and coupled with the tart dryness the drinkability is diminished and one bottle is perfect.

I'm just beginning to dive into the world of sours. It really is great trip and I enjoyed this easily accessible one. The more pronounced tartness and less residual sweetness of this example I prefer over some of the sweeter finishing ones.

Photo of pastradul
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a lost continent tulip.

poures a deep ruby with a slightly pink head with lots of bubbles riding the glass.

The smell is all viniger, some sweetness fighting through but mainly tart viniger.

the taste starts of with a good amount of sweetness. Lots of cherry or maybe even strawberry would be the closest fruit flavor that would fit. Then a very tart acidic flavor kicks you in the mouth. then finishes with a dry warmth around the mouth.

a pretty good beer. after a couple of sips it grows on you a bit.

Photo of kbutler1
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a darker than expected reddish brown color with minimal head. Aroma is of sour fruit and a slight funkiness. Nose has some cherry in it as well. I would say this has medium sourness to it compared to some other sour beers. Acidic as well. This ia not an extreme version of the style but is very good. Well balanced and at a great price to boot!

Photo of bump8628
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber with full and fluffy head that sticks for the session.

Tart, lactic sourness rules the roost but isn't overpowering. A thin vein of acetic acid runs through it also, but it blends into the background along with hints of cherry, raisins, and just a touch of wood.

A nice Oud Bruin, or Flemish Red as it's labeled. Either way, it's a balanced approach to the style. Admittedly, it's not my favorite style, otherwise, perhaps the drinkability would go up a couple notches.

***Reevaluation on 7/10/12 - better than I originally remembered. More tartness, deeper fruit notes, better balance. Really nice. ***

Photo of Boppar
4.48/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is, perhaps, my favorite beer. It is certainly very high up on the list.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a red wine glass/

A: Deep brown with hints of ruby, and two fingers of billowing, playful, foam. Excellent retention.

S: Lactic acid, sweet malts. Faint aromas of alcohol and vinegar.

T: It opens with a slight tang, segues into a rich, malty, sweet-without-cloying body. Faint notes of bread, chocolate, and ripe, dark stone fruits. The finish is acidic, slightly sour, and lingers.

M: Delightfully well-balanced between delivering a beer of substance, and yet one that is light enough to slake any thirst.

D: Exceptionally refreshing and drinkable. I would take this over any session beer, any day.

Photo of armock
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my go to beer at my local bar when theres nothing on the new beer list that I want to try.

A - Pours a ruby color with a tan head that leaves lacing behind

S - Has a wonderful sour nose of apple and dark fruits

T - Follows the nose with sour apples and dark fruit flavors

M - This beer has a fuller body with higher carbonation to it

D - I love this stuff I could seriously drink this stuff all night long when I'm at the Gingerman I love the taste to me its one of the most easy drinking sours out there worth getting to try if you see it

Photo of beertunes
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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.

Photo of KTCamm
3.81/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Photo of birchstick
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

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.

Photo of SourBatchKid
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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.

Photo of portia99
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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.

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

Photo of WOTO97
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
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

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!

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,518 ratings.