Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
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Ratings: 2,304 | Reviews: 1,039 | Display Reviews Only:
4.05/5 rDev +5.5%
12 oz bottle poured into a Murphy's Tulip.
Appearance - Deep reddish copper, head quick to dissipate, but had large bubbles while it lasted. Poured impressively clear in spite of the thick layer of yeast at the bottom.
Smell - Sour, vinegar. Ripe without smelling rotten. A mild but powerful smell. Smells like a still-living beer.
Taste - Sour of course, like vinegar at first but then like a yogurt. Woody flavors, ripe fruit.
Mouthfeel - Not bad, a little more bold then I would expect. Was hoping for a lighter feel, like something I would drink on a summer evening.
Drinkability - Very drinkable for the style. I wouldn't want to polish off more than 1 or two in a night, but pleasant.
09-12-2008 01:35:58 | More by gmuller
3.9/5 rDev +1.6%
11.2oz bottle poured into a Duvel snifter.
A: Pours a dark muddy reddish color with a half inch loose and bubbly greyish white head that sticks around for a bit before fading into a cap while still leaving behind some pretty decent lacing.
S: Cherry vinegar, an amazing balance stuck between sweet and sour. Good but a bit one dimensional.
T/MF: Mild tobacco, sour acidic cherry, though compared to times I've tried this on tap, the acidity seems to be a bit more heavy handed in the bottled version, numbing the taste of cherry slightly. Feel is medium bodied, very tart, puckers the sides of the mouth but still manages to finish rather clean. Quite refreshing if a bit thin.
D: Not bad, but not as good as I would have hoped since trying it on tap once before. Still a pretty solid choice if you are looking to get into sour beers and don't know where to begin.
09-10-2008 03:59:01 | More by bluemoonswoon
3.95/5 rDev +2.9%
Appearance: Somewhere btw cherry and amber with a nice caramel head. Medium head retention and some lacing.
Smell: Extremely appetizing. Cider Vinegar dominates while sour tart apples and unripened fruit fill the smell out.
Taste: Loads of sourness, tangy, not very funky though. Cider vinegar again comes to mind.
Mouthfeel: thin with a good amount of carbonation.
Drinkability: extremely drinkable for the style, but not an easy style for some to drink.
Overall: I'm a fan and purchase this beer by the case.
09-09-2008 02:09:05 | More by koopa
4.05/5 rDev +5.5%
Can't remember if rphogan or jwc215 sent me this, cheers to all!
Pours brown with 1 finger of cream head. Above average lacing & very good head retention
S: Intense tartness & some oakyness
T: Strong woody taste, along with some vinaigrette & hints of apple vinegar up front. I get iron, oakyness & a touch of leather, plus dryness & tartness as this warms. Finishes oaky, tart & puckery with hints of leafy hops & figs fighting through
MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation
Drinks pretty good for the style, probably not sour enough for true Flemish red fans. I liked this one
09-05-2008 02:46:01 | More by russpowell
3.55/5 rDev -7.6%
I had this on tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia.
This was the first beer of this style I have tried, and it was definitely something unlike anything I had tried before.
Dark red/brown appearance. Smell to me was like pure vinegar. Not appealing at all, and takes you back at first.
Taste not as strong as the smell.. kind of a sour apple taste that reminds me of a hard apple cider. Very lactic.
Definitely something worth trying to me, but wasn't something I particularly enjoyed.
08-27-2008 21:32:10 | More by webmanspidey
3.75/5 rDev -2.3%
A: Dark, ruby/amber brown color, opaque, with a sticky layer of head that leaves thick lacing in my chalice.
S: Dark cherries, dried fruit, plums, slight vinegar, sweet caramel, sour and tart, lactic smell.
T&M: Much more sour and dry than I expected from the smell. This had kind of a funky texture, but was quite creamy and smooth going down. It was very sour and lactic, leaving an almost burning sensation in the back of my mouth and throat. Not much sweetness at all, but I still get the raisin/dried fruit, plum, and dark cherry flavors, just not as pronounced as I expected. I wasn't sure at first, but I like this the more I drink it. I much prefer Rodenbach.
D: Not very high, though I could take down a few.
08-25-2008 03:19:29 | More by PiecefulToker
3.58/5 rDev -6.8%
Almost a dark brown color, looks a lot like Duchesse du Bourgogne off the taphead actually. Pretty hazy, with a reddish tint to the large tan head that sticks a while.
The aroma is quite nice; lots of pleasingly sour and tart notes like green apple, tangy pear, etc. Very clean, not too earthy or dusty here.
Strangely strong on the vinegar end. I've really enjoyed this from the bottle before, but it tastes dramatically different here. Quite sour, but not as clean as the bottle: seriously strong vinegar flavor keeps coming back.
Still a lot of fruit, good tanginess, and puckering in the finish for days, lightish body but not too bad. I'm not hugely pleased by the overbearing acidity here. I guess go for the bottle, unless you're near Philly and you know you're getting a good fresh keg.
08-24-2008 03:20:17 | More by BretSikkink
3.78/5 rDev -1.6%
Gift from a friend. Yes I like sours, thank you. :)
Poured into my Ommegang flute that's just about perfect for everything these days.
Thick & heavy two inch French vanilla head. Tipping the glass doesn't change the level on the surface. The color of red oak stain, light takes all angles through but the most direct.
Smells of cider vinegar, maple, an honest assumption of potting soil, & a sweet/sour note that comes off a little like a mix between Chinese s&s sauce, & white grapes. Inviting & confusing at the same time.
Taste is a flash of syrupy sweet juice followed by a quick pat down with oak. Overripe cantaloupe & sour orange throw into the ring, but overall all the flavors remain pretty level. A little bit of something like sour milk & ash in the finish, but it agrees with me(sort of). Just a little bit of rind bitterness to keep things interesting. A little cookie crust overtakes any remaining sour right at the very end.
Carbonation is sitting pretty, & just has that touch about her. Body is thin & juicy, but it spreads itself out too far trying to keep everyone happy. A little brashness is healthy every now & then.
08-15-2008 01:23:40 | More by PEBKAC
4.18/5 rDev +8.9%
Ruby chestnut pour with a frothy beige head of large bubbles that falls to a soapy ring.
Aroma is over-ripe apples, tart cherry, must, diluted vinegar, with light toasty vanilla and oak.
Flavor is a near perfect blend of sweet and sour notes; musty orchard fruit, sweet balsalmic vinegar, tart cherries, and a nice winey oak spice note. As it warms a steely minerality comes into play. Not overy complex but very tastey.
Body shy of medium with loose carbonation, a slippery mouthfeel and superb drinkability. A definate session sour.
08-13-2008 13:31:24 | More by AlexJ
4.13/5 rDev +7.6%
no date on the bottle. possible batch number of U8:44?
poured into tulip
dark, almost opaque reddish brown. red tint under the light. not bottle conditioned, so pretty clear. decent head, but soon fades to a thin, then wispy layer. some good lacing.
very sour and funky vinegar aroma. fresh wood comes in and peaks at the back. balsamic vinegar? cider, crabapple, hint of dried cranberry and raisins. whiff of molasses.
flavors are similar, tart upfront with that balsamic character again. plus more woody notes. undertone of caramelized malts, with that almost-molasses flavor. tartness fades as it continues and you start to notice a gentle (hop?) bitterness. pleasantly sweet and sour overall.
not too thin nor watery. some acidic and tannic texture. moderate and refreshing carbonation.
perhaps not the pinnacle of the style, but you can't beat the price.
08-02-2008 03:38:16 | More by tai4ji2x
4.1/5 rDev +6.8%
Had this on tap at Monk's but this review is from the bottle.
A: Nice cloudy and earthy red color. 1/2 finger of white head with some lacing.
S: Nice and tart. Little bit musty and earthy. Not as potent on a nose as it is on tap.
T: Very tart and vinegary. Nice fruitiness. Not as complex as on tap which is kind of weird but it is still good.
M: Nice tart feel. Syrupy and coating.
D: Very drinkable. Love the huge taste and low ABV. Definitely grab this again if in Philly.
07-30-2008 23:46:06 | More by aerozeppl
3.05/5 rDev -20.6%
Appearance: 11.2 oz bottle poured into a pint glass, because I'm a fuckin' rebel. Clear but dark ruby red with great head retention, no sediment. Nice looking stuff.
Smell: Sweet and sour, with an emphasis on the sweet; balsamic vinegar, a bit of cherry cough syrup, slightly mineral/metallic. Pretty middle of the road for the style.
Taste & mouthfeel: Fruity sweetness followed by mild sourness, which leads way to a sweet/sour finish. I'd like a bit less sweetness, but this is pleasant enough. Mouthfeel is a touch syrupy. Decent, but far from great.
07-30-2008 01:48:13 | More by largadeer
4.13/5 rDev +7.6%
a: pours a deep mohogany color with about an eigth inch of head that dissapears quickly leaving a good amount of lacing
s: vinegar, funk, cherries are deffinatly present. the vinegar aroma is not overwhelming but ties all of the other aromas together niely
t: sour, vinegar, cherries, refreshing
m: medium bodied ample carbonation
overall, this was an enjoyable beer, I enjoyed it a lot there was a ton of flavor
07-27-2008 23:50:20 | More by happygnome
3.68/5 rDev -4.2%
Murky cranberried brown with a lid of frothy-creamy light brown coloring
Smells of tart cherries, lightly red wine and vinegary, with sweet wood and spicy hops.
The taste has a light brown sugar / woody sweetness before tart cranberries punch me playfully in the mouth. Dry red and caramely malts help to balance with mild herbal hops. Light medium body feels lightly acidic, and has a frothy carbonation.
Pleasant and mild for the most part, it did not come in as sour as I feared it may have. Good flavor and balance to it and one I definitely would not object to having again.
07-22-2008 02:09:36 | More by Slynger
4/5 rDev +4.2%
Bottle poured into a sniffer produced a fingers worth of white head that turned to lace on top of a mahogany body
Aromas of funk and cherries fill my nose
Flavors of sour and tart fruit a great treat lots of pucker power
Medium mouthfeel with enough carbonation to keep it interesting
I've had this on tap and I will say that it was better than the bottle, but still a good sour none the less
07-10-2008 01:13:01 | More by joepais
4.08/5 rDev +6.3%
Russet brown coloured body with a bottom of apricot coloured embers. A brazen maroon glimmers to the lights. A sandy toned khaki coloured head. The beer literally gleams.
With the breeze hitting just right my nose is treated, even from afar, to luscious, almost candy like cherries. Fermenting, drying fruits smell as if covered in sticky, roasting sugar; already sourness becomes wholly apparent. There is a tremendous underlying of mildewed, antiquated, musty oak.
I've had the bottle maybe the better part of a year, the blends themselves were most likely a year or two old before bottling, but this smells centuries old. It has the charm of a medieval castle or Gothic church. Again: mildewed, antiquated, musty oak.
The mouthfeel isn't so sour after all, moderate even for a Flemish. The finish has a chocking dryness that sees flavours part a little more quickly than I'd like them to. The oak splinters through the palate. The low, dying carbonation is felt only slightly, after the finish alongside a hint of melted butter.
My tongue is treated to a unique taste that could be described as fruit infused balsamic vinegar aged over musty wood. The flavour really showcases earthy, bruised orchard fruits. The oak aging results in a touch of port or sherry-like tannins and balsamic vinegar. You almost think you sense a touch of spiciness before the light roast and caramel sweetness of malts set in. Lacticness has no time to react as sweetness ushers in on the finish. This taste more 'bruin' than 'red' for sure.
This was a little acidic, a little tangy, and a little tart, but not a lot of any one of thing, which made it tremendously drinkable. The degree of must the oak brought with it gave this beer a lot of charm. It was a kind of charm I remember smelling a lot of while in Belgium. Flanders Oud Bruins are now reason number 878 for me to move there.
07-09-2008 02:49:36 | More by biegaman
4.1/5 rDev +6.8%
A- deep mahogany with 2 fingers of fluffy white froth, excellent retent, soapy lace
S- sour fruit, funky
T- highly sour, toasted malts, dried fruit, sweet and sour battle throughout
M- mouth puckering sourness, smooth, sticky
D- tasty and refreshing, love the sweet and sour flavors, i really wish brewers would attempt these sours belgian styles as opposes to triple and wits. recommended
07-02-2008 01:08:12 | More by tonistruth
2.6/5 rDev -32.3%
Appearance: beautiful dark brown liquid, a finger of light tan head which dissipates quickly
Mouthfeel: Bubbly, crisp, medium-light body
Taste: sour apples, vinegar, raisins, dates
Drinkability: Not really my type of beer. I have had the rodenbach red and really loved it (similar type of beer though not as overwhelmingly vinegar-esque). Low alcohol so you could have a few if you like the taste. I havent had many of this type so I cant really say how it compares to other sour ales.
07-01-2008 00:43:11 | More by daftafne
3.93/5 rDev +2.3%
Pours a dark russet color with a sticky, tenacious, cafe-au-lait head. From the looks of it, it could be a Belgian dubbel. The nose has the tell-tale marks of acetic acid, along with some sweeter smells (marshmallow). On the palate, there's a brisk, pit-fruit acidity first off, then a switch into some sweeter, almost cane-sugary elements, before a more citric acid finish. Cherry-pits finish things off. Mouthfeel is medium for the style, with quickness and some smoothness in the middle. Overall, this is quite a nice Flemish sour ale. It doesn't have a ton of depth, but what is here is balanced and pleasant.
06-25-2008 03:51:35 | More by geexploitation
3.35/5 rDev -12.8%
Bready, rye bread head with Florentine lacing. Deep, dark brown body with moderate carbonation. Has a root beer look to it.
This is an unfamiliar style for me, so I'm getting a lot of vinegar at first. Sweet, sarsparilla malt also makes an apperance. Ample funk.
I can understand the sour vinegar funk but I'm getting a tinny, metallic taste also. Comes off as funky but not entirely in a good way. Underneath the metal there's lots of character, though.
Yeasty, bready mouthfeel - funk evens out with warmth.
This one is a little tough to choke down - decently made but probably not my thing.
06-21-2008 13:03:08 | More by IBUnit63
3.43/5 rDev -10.7%
Monk's Cafe bottle via tytoanderso. Thanks Tyler! Pours a bubbly light cherry cola color with good clarity. Nose is mostly cherry and vinegar. Taste- Initial tart fruit which dries quickly into a mineral like finish. Dry and wood in finish as well. Would score higher, but the hard water taste is a bit much. Crisp on the tongue and goes down easy.
06-21-2008 02:43:34 | More by oakbluff
1.93/5 rDev -49.7%
Startled to see a purported Flanders ale for 2.79 at Hi-Times.
Pours a ruddy brown color with a white foam head.
The smell is offputting. Just plain bad. A sickly belgian yeast odor mixed with the familiar citrus zest/lemon tartness of a flanders ale. Does not mix at all.
The taste has some interesting notes, but nothing melds correctly. I get hints of the familiar, delicious vinegar zest, but there's a completely inappropriate cherry/medicinal overtone. It's just all over the map. I love sour ales, but I've apparently focused on the elite. I've now seen what happens when it isn't done well.
Just not a good example of the style, and a borderline drainpour. This noxious brew is sickly, a mishmash of conflicting flavors, and should be taken behind the barn and put out of its misery.
06-18-2008 06:06:22 | More by Overlord
3.93/5 rDev +2.3%
If you are trying to get a woman who doesn't normally care for beer interested in it this is where I would start. Not overly imposing or intense, but still firmly showing off a solid sweet/sour tart flavor. Cherry is the dominant sour fruit flavor, with solid carbonation and a nice tart pucker on the finish. Definitely not to be confused with the carbonated cherry juice that is sometimes sold as a sour fruit beer (a la Kasteel Rouge or some Framboise's).
06-18-2008 04:43:18 | More by punkindrublic50
4/5 rDev +4.2%
This offering pours a deep reddish brown and bubbly leaving a thick tan head sticky and clings to the glass. The aroma is a strong sour cherry, dark ripened fruit, sweet but sour dominate, hay, horse blanket, earthy.
The taste is deliciously tart, it has a slight metallic taste upfront, sour cherries, syrupy in consistancy pretty delicious that finishes by giving you a nice pinch of sourness on the back of the throat.
06-16-2008 15:54:51 | More by Franchise
4.22/5 rDev +9.9%
11.2 oz bottle poured into a tulip
Dark brown, classic brown color, some violet in there as well. One finger head, aggressive carbonation coursing along the walls of the glass. Beautiful.
Standard sour cherry aroma, potent, but a little more woody than sweet.
Really aggressive soda-like carbonation on the first small sips. Tremendous sweet/sour fruity burst, cherry. Really sweet, the dominant flavor rather than sourness. This may be the kool-aid of Flemish sours, very drinkable. Not quite as complex as others I've tasted but by no means bad. I pick up some other flavors in the aroma that don't quite show up in the mouth, slightly frustrating.
Really enjoyable beer, not much to complain about or quibble with.
06-08-2008 22:25:49 | More by USCTrojanBrian
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,304 ratings.