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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

2,380 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,380
Reviews: 1,047
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 55
Gots: 175 | 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: 2,380 | Reviews: 1,047 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rxdrewthejew
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good lord, it's been a long time since I've reviewed anything.

A: Really nice color on this one, dark amber bordering on burgundy. Got quite a nice head here, about three fingers, tannish and quite frothy. Lots and lots of tiny bubbles in this one, looks pretty fizzy.

S: Pungent sour smell really stands out upon opening the bottle. Main smell is sour cherries with an underlying malty sweetness. I get a hint of what I can only describe as warmed up ketchup-a bit of a sweet/sour smell. I realize that sounds really unpleasant, but it's not.

T: The initial taste is fairly sweet, a bit like plum or figs, but it has a decent sour balance after a few seconds. Citric acid is quite strong towards the finish, and sour cherries are again noted. As I went through this beer, the sour definitely started to overpower the sweet.

MF: Medium bodied and a bit syrupy. The carbonation isn't quite as high as it appeared it would be, but still a nice bit of fizz on the tongue. Not really puckeringly sour, but it does cause quite a bit of salivation.

D: This is ok, fine for the style. A bit too sweet up front for me...frankly overall it's just a bit too in your face. I'd prefer something a little more subdued. There's other stuff that's just as easy to find that's better, IMO.

rxdrewthejew, Jun 19, 2009
Photo of ShogoKawada
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought on impulse at the store. Poured 12oz into pint.

A- brown with an amazing head. This is some thick stuff. Looks tasty.

S- Cinnamon jumps off the pint, as well as clove spices. Smells like potpourri, honestly. A bit of fleshy fruit.

T- Sour hits the tongue. Wow. This one throws me for a loop. Spicy, sweet, sour. Good, unique, strange. I didn't know what to expect, but this wasn't it. Hmm. Second sip is sweeter, less sour. Clove aftertaste. Gets a little too sweet for my tastes, however.

M- Unique. The sweet and sour play on the tongue.

D- Eh... I'm impressed by this beer. I didn't like it enough to buy some more, but I respect the craft put into this unique brew. A very off-the-beaten-path brew that's worth checking out.

ShogoKawada, Jun 18, 2009
Photo of champ103
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a cloudy reddish/brown color. A two finger white head forms and recedes after a minute. Light lace is left behind.
S: The aroma is of funky sourness. Ripe fruit of apples, pears, and cherries. Some vinegar, slightly acidic, and tannin aromas. Oak and wood lingers on. I can just plant my nose in the glass all day. Truly amazing.
T: Follows the nose. Lots of barnyard funky flavors and fruits. Apples and pears are most prevalent. Oak and wood. Again this is slightly acidic. Plenty of sweet sourness. Though it never becomes cloying. Very balanced between the Belgium funk and sweet fruit flavors.
M/D: This has a medium body. At first it has to much carbonation. Though as this breaths a little the beer becomes more creamy and smooth. The great balance between the fruit and sourness makes this a treat to drink. I wish the bottle would have never ended.

This is one great beer. I really enjoyed it. Something I would highly recommend.

champ103, Jun 18, 2009
Photo of BamaBeerBuff
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep crimson-brown color with a creamy off-white head that laces well and retains nicely. Really creamy, fine bubbled head is impressive.

S: Acidic, unripened fruit. Oakiness and funk too. Complex and clean. Not too bold, but still nice.

T&M: Tart and fruity, a toffee like malt flavor, acidic zing, and a hint of oakiness. A clean, satisfying flavor. Only problem is that it's not really complex or challenging, a characteristic I think is important in these sour beers. Still, a great flavor. Mouthfeel is on-par for style. A brisk, bubbly carbonation that tingles well. A tad thin, but still decent.

D: Rather drinkable for a sour. Overall, a good beer that I'll likely try to sample again.

BamaBeerBuff, Jun 17, 2009
Photo of kwill
4.63/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great sour beer. Not quite as good as Duchess, but for the price ($5 on draft) I haven't found a better Flemish ale. I didn't give it a 5.0 because it is a bit less intense than other sour beers (which might be good for some drinkers), and when I want a sour beer then I am looking for a sour beer.

kwill, Jun 16, 2009
Photo of twiggamortis420
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear reddish brown color with a big-bubbled cream colored head. Decent retention and some nice sheets of lace on the glass.

I get some red wine vinegar smacking me in the face, damn near to the point of a nostril burning sensation. Other than that maybe some dark cherry and woody raisin aromas.

Ranks fairly high on the tart-sourness scale. Deep fruitiness reminds me of the time I was drugged to sleep by small green gnomes with red pointy hats and sealed up in a kriek barrel for two days and when I woke up, my wallet was missing. Ok, maybe not quite like that, but the fruitiness is very complex and unique. Still has a slight vinegary feel to it, but not nearly as much as the nose-twitching aroma. I like the fact that I can still detect some maltiness under all the other flavors. I dont think I have ever had a beer that has tasted this much better than it smells. Very good brew that can satisfy a sour craving quite nicely.

twiggamortis420, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of heapofaoatmeal
1.93/5  rDev -49.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

poured in a pint glass, red-brown with a white head. smell was a little simple, but ok. vinegar, cherries, malt mnn great smell. the flavor starts out just as the smell, but there is a dark secret. as the vinegar, cherries, and malt subside a sweetness remains. YUCK whiskey tango foxtrot, fake sugar and lots of it. disgusting diet soda faux sugar flavor that just lingers and makes me ill. drainpour, goodbye $2.95, i hardly knew thee.

heapofaoatmeal, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of grayburn
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The head on this beer stays atop the mahogany tinted brew for the duration of the beer, lacing is slightly off-white and predominent throughout the experience, very nice.

The smell at first exhibits the funky sour notes I was expecting, then bounces into a sweeter, almost fruitlike smell.

The taste is a bit cloying, too much sweetness in the middle. It is washed away by some sour funk, but a little too late in the game to provide a better score. Decently well balanced, nothing to write home about.

The mouthfeel is a bit heavier than I was expecting, but still nicely carbonated.

I couldn't drink a ton of this, but had no problems whatsoever finishing my bottle. Interesting, but not amazing.

grayburn, Jun 09, 2009
Photo of 51mmz0rz
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a Hoegaarden glass.

A: Totally clear dark amber hue. Head is light tan, medium density. I don't remember seeing beer of this hue with such clarity.

S: Slight vinegar aroma, very slight sweetness and fruit. Somehow I find this pleasant though. Maybe like an old wine and my grandmother's kitchen.

T: Sweeter than I expected, caramel flavors balanced by sourness. I couldn't tolerate a beer this sweet without the sour bite to balance it out. Some sherry notes at the end. Interesting stuff, pretty well balanced though on the sweet side.

M: Good carbonation helps it get through the thickness.

D: This one's pretty addicting, though this is my first beer of the style.

51mmz0rz, Jun 09, 2009
Photo of jminsc76
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this on alexd3891's recommendation. Pours a large creamy head that dissipates quickly but reemerges easily upon agitation. The body is deep ruby with a little bit of amber, and plenty of rising bubbles from the carbonation.

Aromas of sweet vinegar, fruit, and funky sourness. Kind of strong, but very refreshing, and exhibits a little bit of oak on the nose as it warms.

Flavors of sour apples and cherries, oak, sawdust, and slight vinegar. Has that nice thirst-quenching effect on the palate the way a good Flanders should have. A little thin on the mouthfeel though. Also doesn't have the kind of organic refinement found in a Rodenbach or a Duchess, but its one I recommend and wouldn't mind returning to again and again.

jminsc76, Jun 08, 2009
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Matt said this was coming... and I was stoked... Picked up at the Coop over the weekend.. I think about $2.50 for the bottle.. poured into my New Belgium goblet.

3 finger lite tan head lasts for quite a while.. great lacing sorta turns crusty after awhile and the retention is pretty nice... the brew is a perfectly clear deep deep amber with bright red highlites.

The nose immediately reminds me of an overly sweet cherry vinaigrette.. fruity and malty with some possibly imaginary wood ... a little bit of sweet vermouth.

Flavor has more caramel than the nose but it mixes fairly well with a sorta fruity "sweet and sour" mashup... cherry and (again possibly imaginary) wood and mild acetic notes.. but still seems too sweet for me..

The body is heavier than most Oud Bruin's I've had in recent memory.. and the carbonation is a little lite too...

Overall, I just think this one is too sweet.. the fruitiness would be dialed back if the sweeteness wasn't so heavy.. This is a good beer.. but made a bit better by the fantastic price tag... and despite my above negatives, the drinkability is fairly high... I just don't think it's really that great though.

4.5/3.5/3.5/3.5/4

JohnGalt1, Jun 08, 2009
Photo of damienblack
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a translucent amber-red in color. Head foams up nicely, and retains fairly well - by the end of the glass there is still a thin layer coating it. Also some very nice lacing patterns left when the glass is disturbed. Smell is sour cherries soaked in vinegar - a pleasant vinegaric smell. Doesn't seem to spicy or earthy at all. Taste starts off with a bit of vinegaric bite, but quickly mellows to a subtle berry flavor. Sour cherry and apple, still hints of vinegar but it doesn't have an in-your-face kick. Pretty light, maybe medium-light in body. Has a champagne-like dryness to it. Or maybe seltzer. Very nicely carbonated. Not as sour as I was expecting, I was expecting more of the Jolly Rancher in your face tartness. It is a very good intro to sours, it has some sour flavours without the bite, mellows quite nicely from the berries of the fruit.

damienblack, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of Murchmac
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My new favorite style. My god these beers are good, weird because I had dissident and hated it. Glad I keep trying these styles repeatedly.

Beautiful reddish brown color, carbonation, and head apparent.

Sweet and sour vinegar smell with some cherries thrown in to boot.

I'm starting to love sours, if they could all taste like this one. Sweetness dominates with that little bit of sourness that just when you think you're out, it pulls you back in.

Overall just a great beer, even if the name flemish sounds like something that comes out of your nose.

Murchmac, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of jneiswender
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bottle into a small sample glass.

A-reddish-amber body, clear, tan dense head

S-Worcestershire sauce, spice, sour
cherry

T-sweet cherry front, cherry pit-like middle,

M-medium, somewhat slick

D-much more tame and mellow than other sour ales I've had. I had this one evening with chocolate covered raisins. Unbelievable.

jneiswender, Jun 05, 2009
Photo of Mitchster
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

$2.99 for a 11.2oz bottle @ Merchants. Pours out to a clear very deep mahagony, forming a medium sized tan head with good retention and solid sheets of lace. Carbonation is moderately brisk. The aroma is quite sharp and pungent, reminding me of heavily caramelized sugar and apple cider vinegar. The mouthfeel is spritzy and semi-dry with a medium-light champagne-like body. The taste opens with thankfully brief vinegar, followed by rotting cherries, apples, burgandy wine, and plenty of wood in the finish. Well-balanced for a Flemish Red, not overly syrupy or tart. Big oak character as well. Not quite up there with Goudenband or Duchesse in it's complexity, but still quite good.

Mitchster, Jun 01, 2009
Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 330ml bottle poured into my Duvel tulip glass. The ale appears a hazy muted crimson brown color with about two fingers of creamy light tan foam. Nose and flavor are dominated by cider vinegar, tart apples, ripe cherries, fruity and mildly puckering. Not as tart as I was expecting. A rather light body with ample, bubbly carbonation. Sweet and sour fans should dig this.

ClockworkOrange, May 27, 2009
Photo of mattster
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Papago Brewery 05/22/09. Was served by the great bar staff in a tulip from tap.

Presented with a nice ¾" thick creamy head of tan atop a dark reddish-brown (or was it brownish-red?) brew.

First smell and I was amazed. I am sure I got funny looks from people as I just sat there for about 45 seconds sniffing. It was like a trail mix of home dried fruits. Taste follows through with a nice slightly fruity ale - not sweet. Very pleasant and well worth a nice slow slip. Not super sour, but has the right amount of sour to make it really pleasant.

Wonderful mouth feel and a really good follow through. This is one of those beers that when someone says "I won't drink beer, I prefer a good red wine" - give them this.

To everything this good, there is always a down side: It isn't cheep. I did end up purchasing a few in bottles, which I will be reviewing at a later time.

mattster, May 25, 2009
Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a brown/ruby red color with a small off-white head. Head retention is OK, lacing is pretty good. It smells like tart cherries, vinegar, green apples, and a bit of funk and earth. The beer tastes like green apples, tart and sweet cherries, yeast, and a bit of brown sugar and funk. Great mix of both sweet and sour in this brew. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's a bit creamy and slick with decent carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's very smooth and quite enjoyable. I wish I had another one to drink right now. I would definitely buy this again, I think it's a good overall Oud Bruin.

bluejacket74, May 23, 2009
Photo of bum732
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, coarse bubbly head that dissipates leaving great lacing. Smells of sour caramel, some oak, mild cherries, bourbon maybe, chocolate, cocoa, heavy earthiness, a lot going on here. Tastes of sour caramel/chocolate with some tart cherry present. To be honest, it almost tastes like coca cola. Not much bitterness and finishes fairly neutral. Good carbonation, again similar to coca cola. Mouthfeel is pretty thin.

An interesting beer, lots of smells and tastes packed in this baby. Not sure if it works though, different from other Oud Bruins, not as sour and a little thin in the mouthfeel. Interesting nonetheless.

bum732, May 22, 2009
Photo of goatxpower
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I don't know if this is categorized correctly, seeing as this is a Flanders Red, and not a Flanders Bruin.

A- This had a very nice ruby-brown color to it, nice head and a good fizzyness to it

S- Balsamic Vinegar, cider, faint fruit

T- not surprisingly, Balsamic Vinegar... but in a GOOD way, like if there was a semi-sweet Balsamic Champagne. I get hints of plums and cherries, but really this just reminds me of Balsamic. Very similar to Duchesse de Bourgogne. I thought it was delicious.

M- it was light and creamy. The acidity didn't linger for too long. You'd barely know that it is a sour beer.

D- sorry if this score is not fair. I could probably only drink one or two of these in a night. Not really my favorite style, but terrific for what it is.

goatxpower, May 19, 2009
Photo of Magpie14
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: a cranberry red body with some crimson and amber hues. The glass is filled with activity. A very stringy and foamy blob sat on top, it left a few splashes of lace. I like the deep crested color it brings

S: tangy and sour with some yeast and bread whiffs. Some fruits are noticeable, maybe a cherry or two. It smells relatively fresh for the style, nothing overly yeasty in the nose

T: flavors meld together nicely, there is a slap on the tongue that is reminiscent of tart cherries, cranberries, and a variety of bitter apples baked in a loaf of stale bread. The flavors are sour and tickle the tongue rather well. My palate also gathers an ample dose of acidity that, in some ways, helps keep things clean and from being overly full of pucker power. The last part of the sip finishes just a bit sweet

M: light body with a rather clean and crisp snap due to the carbonation levels. I am adjusting to the flavors after the initial blast of tart. I can safely say, it's and easy drinker for the style

D: good sipper. My acquaintance with sour ales is in the novice phase and I think I started with a pretty good one. Not my favorite style of beer, but it is good to mix things up

Magpie14, May 19, 2009
Photo of raoulduke37
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330mL bottle into a small tulip. Right away, this looks like a photograph out of one of Michael Jackson's books. Perfect 2 finger head ever-so-slightly brimming over the edge of the glass, inviting one to drink it down. Beautiful red luminescent burgundy color, and off-white lace is sticking all over this bad boy. I can't wait to go in closer. Smell is predominantly sour and it is a little difficult to get anything else, no matter how much I try.

As I drink it down, I think to myself, 'I think I'm becoming one of those "sour-loving" guys' and I have no problem with it. Sourness is not as intense as the smell indicates. There are traces of pineapple and raspberries in here. The finish is long, and it surprises you in the end with a touch of banana. Oh man, I'm enjoying every sip of this.

Mouthfeel is tart and carbonated, but very pleasant, especially after shooting some hoops. At $2.99, this will be a regular in my rotation, along with Duchesse and Rodenbach. Damn good. Don't pass it up.

raoulduke37, May 16, 2009
Photo of rpstevens
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

This beer pours a dark amber/red with a frothy white head that dissipated quickly with a good amount of lacing.

The smell is a very balanced sweet and sour, mostly cherries coming through in the nose but a faint trace of vinegar.

The taste is tart and slightly bitter, a lot of cherry throughout.

The feel is great, bubbly, highly carbonated, very crisp, reminiscent of a lemon-lime soda.

This beer is very drinkable, it's low alcohol content and crisp mouthfeel facilitate extreme drinkability.

rpstevens, May 16, 2009
Photo of Dubbercody
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sours and Vampires night---

Bottle poured into tulip glass. Red burgundy color with a white bubbly head. Smell is nice, gives a god indication of the sweet/sour mix that comes through in the flavor profile. Clean finish that drinks down very easily. Defiantly would drink again.

Very good beer to enjoy watching the beginning of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. (Maybe there is also something about Sours and Werewolves?)

Dubbercody, May 13, 2009
Photo of thirdeye11
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this at the Dallas Gingerman. We get almost no sour beers in this market so I was really happy to see it.

A: Pours a nice murky reddish/brown with a 1 finger light tan head. Lacing is good as well.

S: Smells like a flanders style beer in that it's a little bit funky, fruity, and has some spices showing their way through this one.

T: Taste is really nice. Not too sour but it's there. Has some funk to it, but really muted which I'm completely ok with. I was enjoying the sweetness here, almost no bitter whatsoever. Perhaps some oak in it as well?

M: Nicely carbonated, weight is just about right too.

D: Pretty high. I wanted more but it was expensive.

Recommended to any drinker of any beverage. Very drinkable.

thirdeye11, May 11, 2009
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,380 ratings.