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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
87
very good

2,442 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,442
Reviews: 1,049
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 57
Gots: 192 | 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: 2,442 | Reviews: 1,049 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of kaseydad
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter and produces a nice thin layer of foam which has staying power.

First appearance is cola brown but once in the light there is a nice burgandy presence.

Smells of vinegar and I am picking up some cherry as well.

Whoa! I was expecting a major sour explosion but there is a really nice balance of sour and sweetness. On initial sip there is a bitter/sour kick but the sweetness quickly mellows it. Very cool.

Nice smooth mouthfeel.

Very easy to drink compared to other sours out there. This is a nice introduction to anyone wanting to try the sours but not be (or feel) overpowered by the flavor.

Very well done!

kaseydad, May 07, 2009
Photo of cavman
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got 2 bottles one for now one to age a bit, and see how it changes.

A = A quite attractive beer, I poured it into a La Chouffe tulip. Nice reddish color and a thick off white/light beige head.

S = Was what I was expecting, some tart cherry notes with a little bit of sour in the nose.

T = Reminds me of Duchesse but not as complex, cherry flavor seems to dominate followed by a slight sourness.

M = Smooth mouthfeel with a medium body.

D = I find it very drinkable, a beer that the wine folks would appreciate as well.

cavman, May 05, 2009
Photo of Hophead101
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

drank on 5.2.09.

pours a wonderful clear dark reddish copper. very nice looking beer with a thick foamy head that lasted a good bit. leaves a nice thin ring of foam around the edge of the glass. smell is amazing. wild, funky, sour, cherries - the funk is really powerful in a good way. earthy mossy and yeasty. there is a lot of stuff going on in here.

taste is crisp and carbonated to start. you get the cherries the most, very sour. not as much funk in the taste as in the smell. it is kind of light in body - you get a lot of cherry flavor right away but seems to disappear quickly. there is also a muted malt taste underneath the cherries. maybe the lighter mouthfeel makes you want to drink a little more because it doesn't give you a blanket of phlegm and sour taste in your mouth, but could be better balanced.

Hophead101, May 03, 2009
Photo of bort11
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into an Omegang tulip. Tight egg shell white head, streaks of lacing. Color is a bloody coppery red.

Smell is not as sour as I expected it to be. More tart and fruity with a little lacto sourness. Taste has a sweet malt back with more tart fruits. Green apples, sour cherries.

Medium body with a surprisingly creamy texture. Very interesting. I'm glad I have another one to see how funky it will get with age.

Blipped "Monk Time" by The Monks

bort11, May 02, 2009
Photo of DavoleBomb
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a flute.

3.5 A: Crystal clear dark amber color. Low density frothy head with below average retention, but lots of lacing.

3.5 S: Acetic acidy sour/tartness and not yet ripe cherries.

4.0 T: Lots of fruitiness. Sour green apples and unripe cherries reign supreme. Something like roasted malt and caramel.

3.5 M: Lighter body. Could use a bit more carbonation, but very smooth.

4.0 D: Pretty good, I wouldn't mind having another one.

First sour. Can't wait for my second.

DavoleBomb, May 01, 2009
Photo of SpecialK088
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter

A-Deep amber near red good head on it that fades quickly but not entirely, leave a nice film over the entire top of the beer, laces well but thin.

S-Sour fruit, grapes and apple both. Also a very strong alchol note like nail polish remover.

T-Taste is nearly indescribeable, very smooth and flavorful. Apple, grape, sour yeast and malt all very strong yet not over powering. Leaves a nice sour apple finish that does not linger.

M-Mouth is pretty thin but fits ther flavor of the beer perfectly, not something you want to hang around on the palate from drink to drink.

D-Not something I would drink all the time but for me more of a treat. I hear once yo go sour you never go back and that fact with this one scares me a little with how much I like it

SpecialK088, Apr 26, 2009
Photo of naterock
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a goblet with a deep reddish amber hue. one finger head that disapates quickly. no lacing to speak of.

smells very sour, with a great alcohol burn that smells a bit of nail polish remover. Apple and grapes in the nose that add to the sour.

Taste is Sour apples and a bit of grapes really qutie strange but delicious.

Mouth is dry and crisp moderate carbonation. Drinks slowly but smoothly. Lingers with the sour aftertaste, just begging to be discovered.

naterock, Apr 26, 2009
Photo of mikesgroove
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this long wanted one the other day and I knew I just had to get it right into the rotation. This one I have been wanting to try as I have heard it is an outstanding version of the style. Served at cellar temp and poured into a goblet this one was consumed on 04/23/2009.
 
The pour was wonderful, deep and dark red in color with a light tan head that came up to a height of around two inches before settling back down and leaving tons of lace all over the sides and bottom of the glass while never really falling much below the one inch level. The aroma was lightly tart, sour cherries, hints of earthy and spicy notes and even a touch of what seemed like brown sugar or something along those lines. Rally very well done and quite complex. The flavor was a little less tart then what I would have liked but I have to admit was still done very well. Rich and full, it was never flat or boring and I have to admit I found myself returning back to it time and again for another go round.
 
Overall a very solid Flemish ale, not the best I have had, but this was very well put together. Highly drinkable and something that I would not turn my nose at if I ever received it again, very well done.

mikesgroove, Apr 24, 2009
Photo of Bcaulin
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from slightly chilled bottle into tulip.

Poured with a little too much carbonation. Several inches of head immediately piled up despite a careful pour. Quickly receeded into a thin film. Tons of lacing lined the outside of the glass.

Lots of vinegar and fruit in the nose. I pick up some cherries, grapes, and apples for sure. Probably some others but there's a lot going on and its hard to pick our individuals.

Little heavy on the vinegar to taste. The sweetness of the fruit balances it out, but for the beer that describes itself as a "mildly sour sour ale", its pretty heavy on the sour.

Overall its refreshing and tasty, but its not as smooth as some other sours I've had. It's a sipper for sure, but it will probably be a little while before I run back to this one.

Bcaulin, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of Sean9689
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at FFF's BrewPub. This review is from notes dating 01/13. Pours reddish/brown with very little head. Smell is yeast/funk mixed with lots of fruit. Taste is sour cherries, yeast/funk with a nice tart finish. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body and a dry finish...much like champagne. I like this one, will revisit for sure.

Sean9689, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of Arbitrator
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Purchased at K&L in Redwood City.

A: Pours a rusty / chestnut brown color with reddish tint when held to the light. Has an inch of head that dissolves quickly into scattered film on top of the brew and a collar around the edge. No real lacing down the glass.

S: Sour apples, grapes, tamarind, cherry, and vinegar. Nice little blend, very pungent aroma that begs for some sampling.

T: Vinegary sourness up front, which blends seamlessy into a green apple taste. This segues into the other fruit flavors, namely cherry and grapes, with some raspberry lightly hidden behind. The finish is sweet and tart tamarind, reminding me of hard candy in particular.

M: High, fine carbonation like a sparkling wine, which makes the body feel a bit thinner than its medium-to-full range.

D: Pretty sessionable, I would say. The ABV is medium so it's not going to knock you flat, and the flavor, while significant, is not so overpowering that it fatigues the taste buds.

Arbitrator, Apr 17, 2009
Photo of BeerTruth
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one at Smoker's Den in Bennington a little while back.

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a clear rustic brick color with a one finger light tan head that crawls down the sides. A good amount of stick grips the glass and looks like it has no intentions of letting go. Aroma is big and sour with rhubarb, cranberries, and green apples. A good dose of vinegar, borderline salad dressing which is a bit much for my nostrils when it comes to beer. Taste starts off pretty sweet with cherries, red grapes, and pears. Midway a bit of tart emerges with sweet candy flavors...hmmm, grape Sweet Tart anyone? The smell though is definitely stronger in the sour/vinegary category. A light to medium body with a somewhat creamy feel. I'd prefer it lighter with a bit more tingle in the mouth for the style. Salad dressing in the nose, grape juice on the tongue...meh. Not terrible, but there are sooo many better sours out there to be enjoyed for me to return to this one.

BeerTruth, Apr 14, 2009
Photo of schroederm
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In a snifter:

Head falls apart quickly, body is a light translucent brown with amber and red hues. Aromas of umami, cherry, alcohol, tartness, and green apple. So sour! This is awesome, so sweet... Like candy. Good balance of bitter. Green apple, plum, cherry. Cider vinegar. Aftertaste is... Ketchup?! It works, though. Very good body and carbonation. I could drink a ton of this. Easy on the palate and delicious.

schroederm, Apr 13, 2009
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,442 ratings.