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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

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BA SCORE
87
very good

2,594 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,594
Reviews: 1,086
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 13.77%
Wants: 66
Gots: 282 | FT: 5
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.
View: Beers (87) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,594 | Reviews: 1,086
Photo of Rayek
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter.

A: Deep mahogany with good clarity and little visible carbonation. A small and wispy head quickly falls to a ring. Leaves no lace.

S: Very sour in the nose. A distinct red wine vinegar aroma dominates. Dark fruits help offset the sour.

T: Lots of dark fruit flavors start things. Red grape, plum and raisin do yeoman's duty. A bit of pepper adds some spice. The sourness comes on late with an extremely puckering lemon flavor.

M: The medium-light body feels a touch thin. The carbonation is a bit low.

D: This is a nice Oud Bruin. The sourness was actually quite refreshing. Hopefully I'll get to revisit this one.

Photo of codewarrior
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

330mL from a 4 pack (17FJ 16:07), poured into a chalice

This beer, once upon a time, was my first sour ale ... on tap at Monk's cafe in Philadelphia a little-ways back. When I saw it sitting at Argonaut on Colfax, I jumped on it ... twittering with anticipation and chirping about it to my sweet lady.

A: Looks like mud mixed with blood (this is a good thing). Small amount of head, but thick.

S: Smells sticky and damp, like a frat-house basement ... except in a good-way.

T: Sweet up front, iron in the back. Very similar to the New Glarus Unplugged Enigma. Very.

F: Great! Thick and syrupy, but not over-much.

D: Nice all around.

Gonna let this do a turn in the cellar, see if it grows into itself a bit more. This is a delicious beer (vastly superior to the duchesse, to be sure), yet it doesn't stand up to other sours (Panil Bariqquee, Russian River Consecration, Supplication, etc). Yet. I have faith that in time, this baby will mature into a force to be reckoned with.

None-the-less ... friggin' tasty, seriously.

Photo of WhatsNewinBooze
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a great beer! I am a big fan of flanders and flemish ales and this one is right up there. Pours a reddish brown with a light fizzy head. Aromas of sweet malt raspberry and cherry are huge on the nose. The palate has quite a bit of sweetness, more so than other beers like it, but tons of red fruit flavor with a nice sour that isn't over the top. A good introduction into these style of beers.

Photo of cooch69
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this at a local bar poured from the bottle into a dirty goblet. But I got over that after I realized how awesome this beer really was.
This beer pours a semi clear medium brown with dark red highlights. It barely has a head but it is pretty spritzy and vibrant on the carbonation.
This beers smells of candied apples, lactic acid, and a bit of funky sourness.
This beer has great flavour. It is full of all the stuff you want when you order a Flemish sour like the vinegar and the sour. It showcases them in a way that brings forth there flavors in an unshy manor while still making them very mild and easy to drink. Subtle but not weak or watery. Very complex and delicious.
I'll need to have more soon.
Bartender!!!

Photo of kruthar
3.47/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - dark brown in color with red highlights, extremely coarbonated with twice as much head as liquid as im pouring. creme colored soup sud head the diminishes extremely quickly.

S - A very sweet smell, very fruity with hints of the lactic acid sourness.

T - A carbonation that immediately attacks the tongue, so much so that the real flavors don't come out until you swallow. the after taste has a sweet lingering with a very mild sour bite.

M - ATTACK! this beer bites your tongue all the way down and should not be taken lightly.

D - Not terrible, but i would definitly not want more then one of these a night.

Photo of Docer
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Snagged a little bottle up to try from By The Bottle over here... been on a big sour kick lately....

- Big off white foam.. settles to a nice fluffy half finger of fizz and foam... rests over a clear, and yeastless dark ruby reddish brown...

- Light brown sugar, wonderful bready and biscuit yeast with a wonderful tart and sour flare... some currants, fig... cherry... light woody vanilla.. all there, all mild, but blended so well.

- Very woody backbone with a candy sweet sugar tone... light sour and vinegar touch..currants, cherry... brown sugar.. caramel, toffee.. fig and prune...

- Thin, light bodied, bubbly.. and sticky sweet.

- Overall not bad, but just a bit on the sweet side for my taste... perhaps I am too used to NW style sour reds.. because these flemish Belgians seem to candy-sweet.

Photo of Franz4
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Very active head after an aggressive pour with an audible "fizz" to it, wore down quickly to a thin layer of bubbles

S-aromas of cherry and a slight vinegary scent, not overpowering by any means. Seems to invite me in...

T- initial blast of vinegar that rewards a little patience with a pleasant cherry/watermelon/peach? tone

M- lots of carbonation released in the mouth makes it feel alive

D- very refreshing, would be great for a hot spring/summer day

Disclaimer-- only a few beers under my belt in this style, so interpret with caution.

Photo of kylehayworth
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: It has a deep red with some burgundy tones playing aronud as well. The head rises and falls, leaving trace amounts of carbonated foam.

S: It smells a little sour, with a bubbly quality. Almost like a sparkling wine.

T: It has a nice balance of sweet, tart, and sour. The base of all those flavors being cherry/apple.

M/D: Perfect carbonation with a moderate body. The sparkling wine/champagne mouth feel plays well with these flavors.

This is a good substitute for the Enigma I have been drinking and ran out of. All in all a really good beer...

Photo of Soonami
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer on-tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, but when I saw this beer at my local shop, I decided to give it a try and see how it compares to the draft version.

From the bottle, the beer a medium reddish brown with ruby highlights and a is more carbonated than I've had on tap. This keeps feeding the head, making it fluffy as well as accentuate the fruity and acidic aromas. Also in the smell is a medicinal, plasticy phenol aroma that was somewhat unpleasant. The ale has cherry flavors and acidity not unlike a kriek, with a light spritzy body and active carbonation. It was very refreshing, almost like a soft drink.

Photo of KDeLibero
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Belgian family-owned Van Steenberge brewery, which is outside the city of Ghent, in the Flemish region, produces the famous beers Gulden Draak and Piraat. They have collaborated with the Belgian Beer Emporium, Monk's Café in Philadelphia to commission the Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale under their private label. Monk's Café is made in the style of an Oud Bruin (or "old brown). Young and old beers are blended to create balance and complexity in this mildly sour ale.

Monk's Café pours a deep red mahogany with a malty aroma of fruit and oak. The flavor is tart with strawberries and cherries, and hints of vanilla, wood, and lactic acid. The noticeable oak on the finish must be from the more aged batch of beer that is blended in. Overall, Monk's Café is a very drinkable and refreshing beer that would serve as a great introduction to sour beers for those who are not familiar with the style.

While delicious on it's own, Monk's Café will pair well with a wide variety of different foods, especially ones that share the same funky, barnyardy flavors. Try pairing it with a gamey meat such as duck with a sweet sauce, or a rich pork dish. It would certainly compliment an earthy, mushroomy cheese like Brie de Meaux, or Forsterkäse, which is wrapped in bark for an extra heady flavor. Experiment too, this beer is fun and delightful with chocolate!

Photo of beeragent
2.78/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured into a glass from a bottle.

A - Pours a medium brown with redish hues. Sode pop like carbonation creates a 1 inch head which faded immediately. No lacing on the glass.

S - Strong sour aroma with a noticeable vinegar presence throughout.

T - The sour fruit is the forefront of the flavor, with the vinegar taste coming through in the finish. Light malt body mixed throughout, but the sourness/vinegar hides all other flavors.

M - Medium bodied with quick soda carboination which leaves the beer flat quick. Aside from the lack of carbonation, the body is smooth and clean.

D - Unique flavor and aroma. I'm not sure if the body is the way it should be. A good doorway into sours, and one I will continue to explore.

Photo of mdfb79
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 09/04/10 notes. Poured from a 750ML bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark amber color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sour cherries, dark fruit, raspberries, and a hint of funk.

t - Tastes of sour cherries and other dark fruits mostly. Some fruity malts and spice as well.

m - Light to medium body and high carbonation.

d - Thought this was a a pretty good flanders; my girlfriend loves this beer. I enjoyed the sour cherries in the smell and taste and wish it was a little less carbonated, but definitely a good beer. Will definitely be getting more of this for my girlfirend and will definitely have some as well.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.26/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Aroma- oak, sour, dark berry fruit,cranberry and black currant, a very svory aroma, floral, lightly horsey,

Appearance- Brilliant clarity, ruby red, thick, moussy off-white head,

Flavor- crystal malty sweetness with light notes of dried cranberry, whisky, grape, ginger, apricot, plum hey dries out finish,

MF- really a pretty crisp sensation, medium bodied, very grippy,

Photo of htomsirveaux
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle tried 17 Jul 2009. Received in trade from.... damn, don't remember...

Served in the 0.4 L Steiner Pils snifter. Large lacy beige head. Well carbonated. Clear dark ruby red color. Aroma of sour cherries and raspberries, slightly dusty, hint of chocolate. Fizzy, sweet and sour. Some cherry juice, hint of cherry pits. Finishes with a bit of cinnamon. Aftertaste is slightly dry and stringent. Light body.

Good balance of sweet and sour.

Photo of doppelmeup
4.63/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really enjoyed this beer, from start to finish.

Poured a beautiful deep mahogany into my glass. Unbelievable pillowy head and incredible chunks of lacing all the way to the bottom.

Nice aromas of tangy cider vinegar, dark fruits, and some slight yeast.

Flavor was similar to Flander's Red Ale. Tangy, slightly sour but with enough sweetness to balance, plums, raisins.

Mouthfeel very light and satisfying. Perfect feel for when you want a very flavorful beer but one that is not overly heavy.

Highly recommended. Would definitely drink again.

Photo of xnicknj
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at Monk's - review done from notes.

A - Nice clear reddish color which leaves sticky lacing all along the rim of the glass.

S - Dashes of fruit and coriander populate the nose, along with hints of sourness.

T - The beer almost instantly refreshes the drinker despite the sweet and tart flavors which swirl around the palate. Dark fruit and sour flavors glance the tongue without becoming overwhelming. Lactic sourness rounds everything out with a dry, bitter finish.

M/D - Bubbly and smooth, you can't help but desire another one, especially with its surprisingly smooth and refreshing qualities.

This was one of the first sours I ever tried years ago, and the delicious qualities are still ringing true to this day.

Photo of beerwolf77
2.78/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

A: dark rusty brown red, two fingers of light khaki head, thick lace webs remain

S: sour cherry is the most abundant aroma along with a strong vinegar back bone maybe a touch of barrel

T: light sweet cherry and vinegar mixed with a load of musty wet carboard and cough syrup, not much sour at all, actually rather sweet

M: light body with a decent amount of carbonation

D: overall very big let down, this stuff is not good, there are much better beers out there to represent this style, It will be a struggle to finish this bottle

Photo of metter98
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer poured hazy dark reddish brown in color into a snifter glass with a finger sized off white head that faded into a thin layer of bubbles that consistently covered the surface. A light amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: There are sweet and sour aromas of cherries in the nose along with some notes of oak.
T: Like the smell, there is a good balance between sweetness and sourness in the flavors, which have notes of tart cherries and hints of other fruits such as apples. The finish is slightly sweet.
M: It feels light-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is extremely easy to drink because it has well-balanced flavors and neither the sweetness nor sourness is overpowering.

Photo of Pahn
2.29/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

11.2oz bottle into a wine glass. Illegible code on it might tell someone when it was bottled, but it doesn't tell me anything.

Appearance: Free pour yields a 3/4 inch fluffy white head that dissipates steadily leaving swatches of lacing along the side of the glass (as does the beer itself). Pours a semi-translucent brownish red.

Smell: Very sweet. Sort of a candy, Belgian yeast smell, along with clove, fig, and off-putting funk and phenolic notes.

Taste: Sweet and funky but very unpleasantly chalky and bitter (also unpleasant is the fact that it isn't at all sour). Some disgusting notes lurking around, similar to nutrasweet. There's some clove and raisin, but mainly it tastes like sickly sweet medicine, or a thin Belgian dubbel that's gone bad. Some cologne-like notes and cinnamon. At its best, a sip is "not good, not terrible," while at its worst I want to pour the beer into a toilet.

Mouthfeel: On the thinner side of medium bodied, low carbonation, semi-dry finish.

Drinkability: The best I can say for this beer's drinkability is that I was able to finish this 11.2oz bottle.

The label mentions a mildly lactic sourness and a sweet and sour finish. In fact, the word 'sour' is used 5 times in the 3 sentence description. For some strange reason I expected the beer actually to be sour... instead it's sort of like a chalky, oily, Belgian dubbel soda (gone mostly flat) with a bunch of aspartame and cough medicine poured into it. Bad.

Since I generally don't like slamming a beer, I'll point out as a postscript that this brewery does make good beer, for example Augustijn Ale, which I gave a solid A (including a 4.5 score for taste) in my review of it. I hated Monk's Cafe however.

Photo of JLeege
2.79/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance- ruby red in color, big foamy off white head, good lacing

Smell- cherry, other dark fruit, a bit of vinegar

Taste- Follows the aroma, a bit tart, very sweet, lots of vinegar, vinegar overload

Mouthefeel- light body with medium carbonation

Overall- To much vinegar, not to much else going on

Photo of schoolboy
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like to think that I am pretty adventurous. That's the attitude that this style requires. There is a lot going on in this brew. The appearance is quite nice. The odor hits you right away as quite unique and strong. The taste is right in with the smell (odor was too harsh a word).

It takes a few swigs to get into this. It's like eating fruit. That first bite or two are sour, after that, you can enjoy. It even has a nifty sweet aftertaste. It really grows on you. I like it.

I would buy this again for a very interesting change of pace. I would like my son to try it. He use to like all that horrible sour candy (still does). This is the adult version.

Photo of rwinzing
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 11.5 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A-Dark Red appearance with a tan head.

S - Subtle spice smell, as a hint of apple with the tinge of being sour

T - Hint of sour green apple up front followed by sour after taste. The sour lingers

M - Nice mouthfeel full bodied

D - I enjoy sours and find this one a affortable option

overall this is a sour I can buy by the four pack and enjoy on a regular basis. I think it is a nice example of the style without being a homerun

Photo of mwilbur
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 mL bottle into tulip.
A: Pours a reddish brown (more red with backlighting) with high carbonation producing a 1-2 inch light tan head that quickly recedes.
S: Warm cinnamon, sugar, fresh bready yeast, and a hint of sour.
T: Tart apple, cinnamon, sour cherry, and a hint of milk sugar. Fairly tame with a lot of sweet notes.
M: Light body. Effevescent with a pleasant tingle on the tongue...almost champagne-like. Sweet turning toward tart and dry finish.
D: A very pleasing and drinkable brew. A nice summer refresher. Not too sour (especially for style)...which could be a good or bad thing depending upon your druthers.

Photo of Radley521
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After a nice Sunday stroll along the East Gallatin River, we stopped by Vino Per Tutti, a great little wine in Bozeman that is carrying a great, if not small, selection of craft beers. Brewed for Monk's Cafe in Philly by Br. Van Steenberge in Belgium, Monk's Cafe is a Flemish Sour Red Ale. This is my first dive into this particular sour style. The one notion that keeps coming up in my mind as I drink this brew is cherries. It smells and tastes like a dry homemade cherry wine like some of fruit hooch that I had in my younger days.

Appearance: The head was a thin linen white head. It has all the looks of sparkling cherry juice. Laces glass nicely with sticky little bubbles.

Aroma: Cherries with almost cheese-like funkiness.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated, which effectively cleanses the palette, and a bit thin on the aftertaste, actually.

Taste: Cherry wine with pear notes followed by sweaty horse blanket. Dissipates quickly from the palette. Sourness is not pronounced as I had expected.

Redneck Rating: It's Alright

Photo of CampusCrew
4/5  rDev +3.9%
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

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,594 ratings.