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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

2,594 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,594
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: 2,594 | Reviews: 1,086
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.

Photo of abuliarose
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
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
4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
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
3.31/5  rDev -14%
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
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
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
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
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
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
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
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
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
2.63/5  rDev -31.7%
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
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
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 +3.9%
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 -5.2%
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
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
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 +2.6%
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
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
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
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
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
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
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 +3.9%
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. ~

Photo of brow1901
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Dark maroon in color with a small fizzy off white head. Almost no retention and no lacing.

S- The first thing I smell is cherries, really reminds me of those marchino cherries that come in cocktails. When I initially poured the beer I remember a vinegar quality. Defenite barnyard character to it when agitated.

T- Initially brings a slight tartness to the mouth which becomes rounded off to a sweetness. After the harsh tart flavor it is easyier to pick up the complexities, the one that stands out is the cherries again.

M- Pretty thick in the mouth and I really like that with this beer. The finish could have been a bit more dry, it was way to sweet.

D- Highly drinkable, this is becoming one of my favorite styles. Good carbonation, nice body, lowish alcohol, all this makes a real drinkable beer.

Photo of morebeergood
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at PHP in Brookline. Poured into a wine glass. Dark ruby red color. Great looking tan head that lasted for some time. Ample lacing on the glass. Smell reminded me a lot of that funky aroma of a lambic. Taste was good but quite unusual. On one hand, it was tart like any great Belgian sour ale. But it also had a very different sugar flavor profile. It was a lot like the lactose sweetness in a milk stout. I am not sure if I was really in love with this combination. Yes, I will admit that this is a quality beer and I applaud the uniqueness of this beer. But I am not sure if it lived up to what I was expecting, which was something more along the lines of the classic style of a sour red ale.

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

A: Pours a nice 2 finger head that fades fast, but is otherwise clean looking. A little Active carb, but no yeast or haze at all. A basic light brown in color, it's not that impressive looking.

S: Kind of a sweet vinegar like smell I think. A little apple/pear going on. In fact, a lot like apple cider vinegar, in a good way. No hops at all. Not anything like anything I've had before.

T: Again, weird. Still sort of an apple cider vinegar sort of thing, but mysteriously good. Just sour enough, at least for this noob. The fruity sweetness is really appealing to me, but there's also some tartness at other times.

M: Smooth and watery, in a good way. A nice little sparkle

D: Not sure, I don't think I could drink too much of this. But easy going down.

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.42/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 8/26/2009 (Bottle):

Pours a nut brown colored body, clear. With a small off-white color head, quickly diminishing. Sour fruity aroma. Very sour, almost like a cheesy sour, but not quite. Some light fruit like apple, or light colored grape. Strong. Sour taste, that same fruitiness in the taste, and the aftertaste, similar to apple or cherry or something. Not bad tasting, not very off-putting. But it does take a little getting used to. Drinking, makes me thirsty for more, which is the sign of a good beer, right? Almost like a nutty taste to it, some substance. Weaker, less flavor as it warms.

Photo of indiapaleale
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Here we go...

Pour - Dark reddish brown or auburn in appearance. Nice off-white fluffy head with great lacing on the inside of the glass.

Aroma - Sour malt, vinegar, brown sugar, apple cider and a little bit of a buttery aroma.

Taste - Initial tartness, a bit like sweet apple cider vinegar, gives way to a very sweet malty rush. The tongue is lovingly put the ringer a bit like eating a Sour Patch Kid. Carbonation levels are good and as it warms a bit there are more overripe apple and pear flavors along with brown sugar and caramel. The sour flavors return in the aftertaste and leaves your mouth slightly puckered.

Overall - A great sour for the newbie. Its not too puckering to scare a person away but enough to keep you interested. Very drinkable and very delicious.

Would I buy more of it? - Absolutely! This is one of my favorite Flemish Sours and absolutely amazing on tap if you can find it.

Note: Monk's Cafe was named one of the "Top 10 Places to Have a Beer Before You Die" by All About Beer Magazine.

Photo of livingregret
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle

Appearance: Pours a deep brown, 2 finger head. Ample lacing and the head lingers for quite some time.

Smell: Sour/Tart apple smell. Maybe even a hint of cranberry? Plenty of fruit and a touch of sweetness. more tart than sweet though

Taste: Tart and sweet at the same time. Almost a mouth puckering sour berry that blends in nicely with the apple finish.

Mouthfeel: Thin, bubbly. A touch almost...over carbonated.

Drink: It's good, and i've enjoyed a few of these over the past couple weeks. Always enjoyable but not one I could pound during a night. Only reason it's not rated higher is because the aftertaste does start to wear on you and you could only drink so many

Photo of Cylinsier
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from a 12 oz.

Pours a deep chocolate brown with a red glow when held up to light. Minimal head retains as lacing.

Has a tart smell, like sour apples or sour grapes. There's also a hint of sweetness to it, like cane sugar.

The taste is tart, a bit on the vinegar side but with enough sweetness that it tends back towards green apples with a touch of lemon.

The feel is bubbly and thin, like soda water.

An interesting beer, probably somewhat of an acquired taste for most. I like it okay but would not necessarily seek it out. It would be easy to session though.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,594 ratings.