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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

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BA SCORE
87
very good

2,593 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,593
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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,593 | Reviews: 1,086
Photo of rfgetz
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish mahogany color, dense and creamy off white head, good retention and lacing.
Smell is of new red wine - slightly vinous, acidic and oaky. Taste brings the wine-like flavors with a big hit of balsamic vinegar and adds just a hint of tart cherry and sticky sweetness. Medium bodied, slightly chewy and sticky, palate coating but without a big aftertaste. Decent beer, a little lighter than expected, possibly could use a little more aging on it.

Photo of TwinSox33
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Pours dark rusty brown, with a lacy head.

S: Smells like a strong wine at first, then hints of sour malts and a touch of grain.

T: Very tart; there are some astringent phenolic like tastes intertwined with fruity esters. I think there might be a tinge of hops, but I Can't discern what type.

M: Very smooth at first, then the effervescence rushes up on you after a few sips.

D: Highly Drinkable. Quite unique and refreshing. I'd like to try brewing it myself, as it is a hit-or-miss affair trying to find it....

Photo of GRPunk
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into my tall, Lion Tulip glass. It was a little on the cold side to start.

A- A normal pour left a 2-finger, fluffy, tan head that eventually dropped to just under 1/2 finger. There was a lot of carbonation in the clean, mahogany body. As I drank, it left some of the widest, sticky rings I've seen with spotting in between layers.

S- At first, I got a sense of sour cream with a wet, woody background. There were hints of spice, fruit (something between raspberry and tart cherries), and a little red wine vinegar. A little warmth and some time for familiarity seemed to soften the sour aroma.

T- It's quite complex. There was a good portion of sour, hints of wood, and a little fruity flavor in spots with some lighter, vinegar accents. Very clean, dry in the finish. It says "mildly sour" on the neck. Maybe it's a good initiation.

M- There was a ton of soft and foamy carbonation and it was bone-dry in the end.

D- It's a new style to me (maybe my first true, commericially brewed sour), and it seemed good for the style when I checked out the guidlines. It's not a thirst quencher or a chugger by any means, but I'm sure that's not its purpose. I think it's sour nature is something to appreciate. It's definitely sparked my interest in the style.

Photo of mobyviacheslov
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let this one breathe!

A - Deep, brown hue with hints of red when held up to the light. Very thin head that disolves away rapidly.

S - Subtle hints of caramel and a fruit tartness, with a modest odor of malt-vinegar. Immediately after opening the bottle, the smell of vinegar was overwhelming. I let this one breathe about 20 minutes, and the smells all seemed to mellow a lot. However, the malt-vinegar smell still dominates.

T - After getting a little nervous from the vinegar nose, the beer was a wonderful surprise. The sourness was not vinegary at all, but a super-easy drinking sour-patch kid flavor. The sugars were a perfect counter to the mild sourness (it claims mild on the bottle, and is not lying...); the beer was not overpowered by either sweet or sour, and truly delivered a sour candy effect. There is a refined bitterness, and many subtle woody flavors hide in the malt, but require you to hold the sip for a while and play with it a little.

M - Very thick and creamy, almost gummy, with a pleasant mild carbonation that brings out the sour flavors. Leaves a not-unpleasant gummy feeling in the mouth that keeps the finish going for a while.

D - This truly is a mild flemish red. While I didn't taste it before letting it breath, I would guess it is a little rough immediately after opening. After 20 min, however, it settles in to a tasty yet safe sour ale...probably a good choice as an introduction to the style.

Serving Type: 11.2oz bottle, 55 degrees, snifter

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

Purchased at a local beer bar. I did not see a date on the label or the bottle but it was pretty dark. The menu described this beer as "The Dr. Pepper of the beer world" -- That bar needs to fire its writer. It was not that, not that at all and that is not what I expect from a Flanders.

Beer is served in a tulip, beer is clear with a white head. The beer is brown but at the brown / red interface of colors. Looks awesome. Head is weak and lacing is way down, carbonation is low. Not odd for the style.

Kind of an odd aroma with this one. Slight sour with a hint of sweet caramel, with an acetic aroma at the backend, maybe a little citric.

Beer first is pretty thin. Not watery, just no body. Its starts out sweet but the sweetness gives way to a strong and dominant balsamic vinegar taste. The finish is tart. There is also an odd, woodsey, aftertaste that degrades my pleasure. This is an OK beer but has not been my favorite Flanders.

Photo of coachdonovan
3.04/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

i don't have much experience with sour ales, so coming on the heels of Don Russell's description of the Oud Bruin style, i figure i should jump in. i'll start with one of the more common sours. sample size is 11.2oz bottle. no indication on the label when it was bottled, but hey, this style is supposed to be a blend of old and new beers, so who cares how old this one is.

pours darker than i thought it would, but when held up to the light you can see the nice ruby color that i was expecting. i'm not going to lie - the aroma is somewhat reminiscent of when i dyed Easter eggs as a kid. and by that i mean: vinegar.

good carbonation, and the taste is hard to pin down. there is a definite tartness, but not overwhelming. there is a sweet side also, almost in the way Jolly Ranchers or other candy can be sour and fruity-sweet at the same time.

i can certainly see the appeal to this beer, as it's really unlike most anything i've had. it doesn't have any of the hop profile that you get from IPAs or any of the roasted maltiness from a solid stout. i don't know that i want to drink sours all night, but i think i like this one.

Photo of gory4d
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear russet with a loosely bubbled, two-finger head; a little lacing. The smell is toffee, marigold, Niagara grapes, and hints of graphite. The taste is big on the brown sugar and toffee, with some grape-skin tang and just a hint of funk and bitterness. The sweetness dominates; it isn't much a sour ale. It's a little syrupy, highly carbonated, a very dense beer. Easy to drink; wish I had another. As Oud Bruins go, it's nothing on Goudenband, but makes for a simpler alternative.

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

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: rich brown color with a ruby tinge; one finger of foamy tan head. Nice.

Smell: big aromas of caramel, nuts and toasted malts. There is also an acidic brightness permeating the big malt. I've never had a Flanders Oud Bruin before, but this smells quite good.

Taste: bright, sweet and tart. There are big fruity flavors here; sour apple and cherry are the most prominent among them. The more traditional malty flavors are more apparent in the aftertaste. Overall, these two components complement each other quite well. I very much like this beer.

Mouthfeel: medium body and relatively high carbonation give this beer a nice creamy texture; though it's more fizzy than smooth. Still quite good.

Drinkability: I think this beer is just a hair too sweet to be exceptionally drinkable. Still, the tartness is just enough to keep me interested and I feel like I would gladly include one of these in my daily diet.

Photo of VWBuggirl
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is a new style of beer for me. So here goes!

The color is fantastic! It is a nice dark brown with a reddish hue to it.

The smell on the other hand is very vinegary. Now my rating on smell is based on the fact that this is a sour and, well, I would expect that it would smell sour. If a normal beer smelled this way I would toss it.

The taste is definitely sour. I get a hint of green apple in it. I wouldn't call it drinkable though. Even though I am enjoying it, I am not sure I could have another tonight, and it isn't for everyone.

Photo of Takahiro
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into Duvel Tulip glass.

A: dark red brown with a very light brown head. The head starts thick and stays thick for a while. Not much of lace left behind.

S: Sour and ester smell up front. Faint whiff of maltiness is felt in my nose. No hop smell what so ever.

T: Sour. This sourness reminds me of vinegar. It is pleasantly balanced with malt flavor, which can be felt in the back ground. This malt is toffee and caramel.

M: Refreshing SOUR.

D: Although it has a fresh taste, the beer's drinkability would be low for me. The flavor seem to stick to the palate and it is definitely not DRY.

NOTE: it went very well with tomato-based shrimp pasta.

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

Cork comes off with a nice pop.

Poured into bruery snifter.

Pours about 1/2 finger of light khaki head. Fades to a thin layer and leaves some splattered lace. Color is a dark ruby hued caramel brown.

Aroma: There is a nice amount of cherries up front, some sour notes that follow, but not overly sour. It seems to have a decent amount of fruit flavor to complement the cherry upfront, Granny smith apples come to mind. I get some oak as well. The aroma is pretty solid.

Taste: The cherries are again up front, but the taste is different compared to the aroma. It has some different fruit flavors here, sour grapes and raspberry, and more of a funky taste. The green apple flavor is here, but not as defined. I actually get a cider flavor out of this beer. The malts also stick out a lot more. The oak flavor is a lot less too.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, smooth, and a little sour. Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Ends a little dry and funky.

Overall, this is a pretty decent beer. My expectations were not that high for it, but it not only met them, but exceeded them. A very nice sipper. I am definitely savoring it. It isn't as sour as I would like, but I still think it is good.

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice deep syrupy brown with ruby red highlights. Moderate sandy head, composed of larger bubbles that rapidly fades to a ring around the glass. Some lacing. Smell is apple, vinous, slight roasted malt, a bit of vinegar to it too. Taste is somewhat fleeting at first sip. Burst of flavor that ebbs quickly. Let's try again. Tart apples with some sweetness to it, a bit of lightly toasted malt in the finish. Some sourness to it, though quite balanced with the other flavors. Some spice in there too, though not exactly sure what it is. A very slight hint of must too. This is quite good--my first Flanders, but a nice introduction to the style for sure. I can see myself craving something like this (and things far more extreme) in the future. Light, and a bit prickly, this one is actually quite refreshing, now leaving a lingering aftertaste of apples. Quite drinkable, I am definitely impressed with this beer.

Photo of constahoogan
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep red and brown body with a rocky tan head with slightly red hues and nice sea foam-like formation lacing. It smeels like sweet red wine.
The taste is very interesting. It has pruney fruitiness and vinegar tartness. there's a bit of hop bitterness as it smoothes out at the back end.
The mouthfeel is quite good, a bit harsh to begin with, but there's a litttle bit of creaminess that comes in at last minute.

Photo of alleykatking
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a deep amber color. Nice light tan one finger head that fades rather quickly. Leaves some nice skirted lacing on the sides as I drink this down.

S- This has a nice amber cider smell to it. Threw me off at first but nice nevertheless. Vinegar offnotes in this one as well. Not much of anything else.

T- Big fruity (apple) cider upfront with this. Some vinegar notes in the middle of it. Ends on a lighter clove and bubblegum like hints. This is balanced like that all throughout the beer.

M- Medium light mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the beer. Fizzes in the front half of the beer. Cider presence felt also in the front half. Nice apple and light sourness on both the palate and in the aftertaste.

D- This one is dangerously drinkable. I had no problem drinking all 12oz of this bad boy and at a alarming rate. The only set back to this one I would have to say is I could feel this making a mess of your gut if too much was drank. Would recommend this one as a sour to start off with.

Photo of Politibrew
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Completely translucent, held up to a light, a deep amber red color throughout. Quite a nice color.

Pours into a big foamy head, which dropped rather quickly.

Nose is decidedly vinegar, with a cider, fruity scent. Sour, but pleasant.

My first thought was, this sort of tastes like sour, fermented juice--like a fruit wine. Probably too sweet for my liking. Flavors; grapes, cherry, apple. Sour to sweet finish.

Mouthfeel was clean, smooth, and thin with medium carbonation.

I think this is an interesting enough beer, and probably a good to share with a wine lover, but I was somewhat let down by this beer. I simply can't imagine drinking more than one of these and still enjoying it--and I like sour Belgians. This is a decent, but not excellent, example of the style.

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

11.2oz bottle into a pinot glass.

Instantly hit with strong aroma of apple cider. Slight reduced vinegar on the nose.

Mahogany in color with some lacing. Big head at first and quickly falls out.

Sweet apple cider on the palate. Sweet on the tip of the tongue and more herbal towards the back.

Mouthfeel is pleasant. Very spritzy on the tongue. Very pleased with the long after taste.

Rather drinkable. Would pair wonderfully with hard cheeses. A great beer for someone who may think he/she is too good for beer.

Photo of mondegreen
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle into a Samichlaus Tulip.

I'm a newb to sours, but I'll give this one a shot.

A: Deep red with a small head and no lacing. Bunches of carbonation bubbles flowing up the side of the tulip.

S: Sour smell, picking up some fruits. Smells nice.

T: Reminds me a little of a cider, but that's probably just me looking for a point of reference since I am very new to the style. I pick up a good deal of sweetness in the mouth, and the finish is all sour. Really a nice drinker.

M: Nicely carbonated, good mouth.

D: I enjoy this one, but after 12oz I am ready to move on to something else. The sweet/sour thing tires me a little. However, I will come back to this one another night, so it is at least above average.

Photo of StevenBilodeau
3.38/5  rDev -12.2%
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
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
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 +0.8%
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 +3.9%
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
3.62/5  rDev -6%
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 -4.4%
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 +3.9%
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
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,593 ratings.