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
86
very good

2,476 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,476
Reviews: 1,054
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 57
Gots: 207 | 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: 2,476 | Reviews: 1,054 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of StevenBilodeau
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have never really been a fan for sour ales, but the Belgians make some very good sour ales. This is a very good sour ale. Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale is another amazing ale to add to your repertoire of unique and strange beers. Tart, sour and sweet, this ale is drinkable, but isn't for everyone. Nice head, some lacing, and is a decent beer overall, I enjoyed it.

Photo of david18
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this at the Dive Bar on 75th Street on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The best thing about this beer is the amazing red color. I only had a small glass of it but I think i could drink a bunch of this. The only problem is that it's a little sweet. Great sour aroma. Good carbonation. Again, amazing color. A little more sour and a little less sweet and it would be perfect.

Photo of SPThirtyThree
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: Red mahogany with just a bit of haze, massive head on the pour that fades down to a clumpy, sticky lace.

S: This oud bruin slams the nose with vinegar. There's also some caramel hiding in there. Subsequent sniffs after the nose has adjusted to the acetic smell give a slightly sweaty or zoolike aroma. It's a nice amount of funk for the style.

T: Again, sour vinegar up front, but well balanced with sweetness and cloves. Also some bubblegum esters.

M: Very effervescent from the high carbonation.

D: High - it's very tasty, but a tinge less carbonation and a less estery profile would substantially improve the drinkability (although it might make this brew less interesting).

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

Poured in my Belgique tulip, Monk's Café is a clear ruby with a very tight light tan head, leaving pretty nice lace.

Smell is very vinous, sweet malt and vanilla notes.

Taste is pretty heavy on the acetic acid vinegar, I think maybe an increase over having it a year ago, but maybe not, there's still a nice balance from the richness of the sweet malt. Strong oak and grape mid-palate before a pretty clean finish. Very intense, like the smell.

Mouthfeel has very creamy carbonation, which helps keep the body light and cut the viscosity of the malt, oiliness of the acids and tannic bite.

Drinkability is pretty good, this has held up well, maybe improved a bit after a year in the cellar. I think the acidity has increased, and while it's still to sweet and cider vinegary for my taste in the style, I think the age has helped it, as I don't recall being to pleased with the first bottle when I bought it (and ultimately busted out a little later in that night then I should have, so who knows).

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

Poured out a redish brown color with a nice little head on it. Smelled strongly of tart cherries and a hint of balsamic vinegar. Definitely a tart cherry taste followed by a sweet malt to finish it off. Kind of like a sour cherry candy. Mouth feels smooth a decent amount of carbonation with a dryness on the end of it. I could only have one maybe two of these and then get sick of it. My first foray as far as i know into sours and it wasn't bad, but not great either.

Photo of ArrogantB
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl bottle $3.99 Looked red to me, decent head. Smelled a lot like glue but a cheap kind and not the top shelf Elmer's that I get from La Folie. A little vinegar in the smell also, not bad. Mildly sour but also a little one dimensional. I'd take a rodenbach or la folie over this any day.

Photo of ocelot2500
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy brown with a tight off white head that leaves plenty of lacng on the glass.

Smells of tangy, sour cherries.

Tastes of tart cherries and green apples. A bit of sourness up front with a sugary sweetness on the end. A little diacetyl makes an appearance.

Mouthfeel is a medium-light that has an airy amount of carbonation that finishes dry.

Photo of sisuspeed
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Red, brown-amber color with a fizzy white head on top. Some lacing is apparent as well.

Aroma consists of vinegar, sweet malts and a bit of cider. Apple vinegar comes to mind.

After a couple of sips the taste of sweet cherries, sour apple and rich malts flood my mouth. Sour at first, but then washed away by the sweet malts. The finish tart and fairly refreshing. Almost like sour candy.

Mouthfeel is quite smooth. Light carbonation, yet still somewhat prickly. Body feels full and rich.

Drinkability is good. The tartness on the finish makes me want to keep tipping the beer back to refresh my mouth with cool, smooth liquid. Very easy to drink. Sweetness is the only thing holding this beer back from being a session beer for me.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with this beer. This is only the second sour I've ever had and I'm liking the general style more and more. Glad I can easily pick this up.

Photo of abuliarose
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass, revealing a decent but fading head over copper-toned body with fair bubble action. The second pour, to top the glass off, left a much thicker head that slides slowly down the inner glass and has quite nice staying power. It's a pretty looking beer. Smells quite metallic with lots of grape aromas, white and cider vinegar and something else decidedly off-putting. If this were any other type of beer, I would be tossing it, but the smells are pretty on for an oud bruin as far as I can tell.

Tastes very sweet and even a little salty with some unami soy sauce-type flavor. I don't get sour in a pucker sense at all except maybe at the end. Most of the sourness is the acidity I associate with carbonation. Mouthfeel is very airy and carbonated with much tingling. Pretty smooth body, light to near medium weight. Lots of sour-type off-malt character at the end. Fairly warming.

Overall, a decent representation of its style. If I could change it, I'd wish it a bit more sour.

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

This oud bruin pours a crystal clear red ale with an off white head that fluffs up upon the pour and stays there. The aroma is vinegary sour and sweet. Not much fruit in the nose, but I am sure it will come through in the flavor. A sip provides and acid bite with the flavor of sour cherry cough drops. A slight funk in there as well. Light bodied and effervescent for sure. Were it not for the price, I would session this beer every day possible.

Photo of PeterLemonjello
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Very pretty beer. Pours a dark/rusty ruby color. Clear with nice carbonation. Thin head which remains during drinking. Nice lacing on glass.

S - Smells of sweet fruit with a touch of sour cider. Ever so slight touch of barnyard.

T - Tastes nice but a little sweet. Tastes of sweet cherries with a sour flavor present but just not enough to balance out the sweetness. I want to enjoy it more as it tastes very nice, but the sweetness just needs to be balances out with more sour or more barnyard which just isn't there enough to balance.

M - Lovely mouthfeel with prickly carbonation. Not too think and not too think.

D - Tough for me rank higher on drinkability because of the sweetness. If more balanced or a drier finish, it would be a very good beer.

Photo of homebrewhawk
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle served in the new style Boulevard Chalice. Poured a reddish brown with a thin tan head. Good lactic aroma of sour cherries. Starts off with nice and tart. A little sweetness and more fruit (cherries). A touch metallic in the finish to start, but this fades. Very refreshing and drinkable. Good price point as well.

Photo of dubinsky
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first sour, so take this review with a grain of salt.

Poured from 12.oz bottle into a Chimay goblet. The color is a nice, clear, rusty copper hue. The smell was unusual, but i expected it from other reviews i read prior to drinking it. Smells of vinegar and apple cider.

The taste is equally unusual. I kept thinking that i am drinking expired Martinelli's apple cider, possibly an expired cola. Very sweet.

Has a very nice light carbonation that complements the smooth finish of the beer. My stomach is gurgling though. Weird!

overall, it was a fun experience that i dont think i will turn into a habit. Its definitely a particular taste that will take some getting used to. I liked it, but dont ever see myself dinking a lot of it or often.

Reviewed 8/23/11

Beer poured from bottle into a snifter.

A - Beer pours a dark brownish red with a nice two finger khaki head. The head seems to lose itself rather quickly from my pour eventually settling to the edge of the glass. The beer appears to be mostly clear with some visible sediment settling to the bottom of the glass.

S – The first waft I pick up is of a wine vinegar followed by a nice sour funk. I’m picking up some black and sour cherries as well as blackberry.

T – Sweet black cherry with a slight vinegar acidity and astringency. The sourness steps aside to give way to the cherry sweetness that is coming forward in huge volumes. A nice tartness. This beer is definitely a sour, but not mouth puckering. A great desert beer.

M – Medium bodied with excellent carbonation. Very sweet and tangy. Like a sour patch kid, first its sour then its sweet. Avery crisp and refreshing

D – This was the first sour I ever tried due to the accessible price point almost two years ago and I really didn't care for it. I couldn’t believe why anyone would buy this. Today I can truly attest to how my my palate has evolved/changed. I'm really enjoying this wonderful beer. At $3+ this is an amazing beer that i'm likely to keep in rotation as an everyday sour/desert beer. I really enjoyed this and will be buying it often I can see.

Photo of ThaBobfather
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a solid brownish hue with a nice helping of tannish head.
Smell is pretty textbook here, spice and vinegar. A slight twinge of green apple here.
Taste is very good. A great blend of malt and "Sour Patch Kid" taste with decent carbonation that compliments the flavor well.
Finish is good, some vinegar/apple spice notes in the last flavors.
Drinks pretty smoothly considering the sour flavor.

Photo of degerbah
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown with plenty of head. The head causes very thick lacing on the edge of the glass as it settles down into the beer. Very acrid smell that reminds me of malt vinegar. Very, Very acidic smell that also gives way to more of an apple scent. The taste is slightly less sour than duchesse, but still great and extremely drinkable.

Photo of ATraurig
2.6/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Brownish red color with a thin white head.

S:The wild yeast smell is most prevalent but not a sour smell. Hint of overripe apple. Not a very complex scent.

T: Reminds me a lot of Duchess (which I don't care for). I think "sour ale" is a bit of a misnomer. I wouldn't descride the taste as sour at all (can't even be said in the same breath as say, La Folie). Has a sweet, slightly cheap-tasting aftertaste.

M: Very effervescent and light. The carbonation tickles the mouth and nose.

D: I don't think I can get through a full bottle! Probably going to be a drain ale.

Overall: Not impressed at all. Like a cheap version of Duchess.

Photo of jampics2
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at the Beer Engine.

Decent looking beer - deep brown with a white head.

Smells of vinegar and sour funk. I don't like the nose on this, but I like similar beers (Dutchess), so I'm not going to totally ding it. It's acceptable for the style, just this particular vinegar smell doesn't make me crazy.

Taste is weird. Sweet and sour collide as vinegar fights overripe apple. Interesting at least.

A little thin and too vinegary for me, but an example of the style every fan should try.

Photo of kegger22
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale is a rich red color with a one finger beige head that reduces to a skin covering.

The aroma has a musty note to it.

Sourness, of course, and cherries stand out in the taste. But not a bitter, mouth puckering sour, just a moderate tartness.

The mouth feel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Drinkability is good, another would be most welcome.

I do not have a great deal of experience with sours, but if they are all like this, I am looking forward to more of them.

Photo of rhenning
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a stemless red wine glass i like. Pours a copper red color with 1.5 fingers of light tan, sudsy head that recedes to a light covering of foam, leaving a nice lacing on the glass. Looks rather nice! Nose of cherry, apple, yeast and malt vinegar. Medium bodied mouthfeel; thirst-quenching and not sticky. Taste of apple & cherry fruits, lactic acid & CO2 bite. Quick on the palate, ending crisply. A bit of lingering grape skin in the flavor. Drinkability was good enough to have two. A very solid sour and a good introduction to the style, but more funk and tartness would be welcome.

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.15/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Poured into a lindemans pilsner. Clear rusty brown with a fairly large white, sticky head. Decent retention.

S- Vinegar, apples a musty earthiness, blue cheese and funky mold.

T- Gets more sour as it warms. Apple sweetness, lactic sourness towards the end. Some funk and barnyard from wild yeast.

M- Slick and oily. Thin body. Mild yet sharp carbonation.

D- A sweeter take on a sour ale. For me this is better in small doses. It gets rather cloying and begins to be too much after about half

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

Poured into a tulip from a bottle, developed a light/ off white head that foamed up but dissapated quickly. The nose hit me from three feet away. Brilliant fruity slightly sour nose with sour cherry overtones. The taste is crisp with mild sour notes. A clean malty finish with a very light malty (toffe?) end. Very drinkable paired with brie and triscuts. Delicious.

Photo of Travlr
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep ruby red. medium white head. Aroma of sour cherries and malt. Vinegar flavor. Sort of a less complex version of Rodenbach, similar to their "Alexander" which is no longer brewed. Nicely balanced, slight sweetness at the start and a scant bitter edge comes in late Nice example of the style..

Photo of robbyc1
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep garnet red/brown clear look, with a slight one finger off-white head, into my Tripel Karmeliet glass.

Winey, sour nose, complex, very intriguing. Almost smells like a good balsamic vinegar. Huge nose.

District wood up front, a bit harsh, with a fruity middle of grapes, stone fruits, and a slightly tart finish. The wood doesn't really fit well with the fruits, good but not a great mixture, not as complex as expected from the nose.

Rather light body, good carbonation, really refreshing. A nice drinker, not as sour as some, lots of residual sugar here. Overall less than expected but a decent try. Could be so much more, but it doesn't fit well, several notches below the Oerbier version.

Photo of BradLikesBrew
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is a blend of slightly sweet, slightly tart cherry and a touch of cider vinegar. Very approachable on the palate. Enough sweetness to invite you in with just enough tartness to keep you drinking. Brett provides just a hint of vinegar funk, mostly on the finish. Great entry level sour.

Photo of Goldfish19
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

~ Purchased this bottle at Big Z Beverage in Huntington, NY. The appearance is reddish brown with a thick off-white head that lingers around for a while. Unique sweet and sour aromas graze the nose quite well. Taste is sour, but on the mild side. I keep picking out sour cherries from this beer more than anything else. Monk's Café does not overpower in any way. It's clean, light, and very refreshing. ~

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,476 ratings.