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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
86
very good

2,331 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,331
Reviews: 1,042
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 14.06%
Wants: 51
Gots: 159 | FT: 2
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: 2,331 | Reviews: 1,042 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Graebner
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%

Pours a red-orange and brownish color. Little or no white lacy head.

Smells of citric and lactic sours, light biscuity malts.

Tastes of citrus and milk/cheese sourness, substantial hoppy bitterness, and light, biscuity malts. The malts begin to come through more pronouncedly as the beer warms and you drink more, and it ends up being even somewhat sweet.

The feel is smooth and refreshing. It finishes spotlessly, completely clean, only a slight hoppy bitterness to let you remind you of the great beer you just sipped. Highly carbonated, but not out of balance. It merely enhances the brew.

Overall a very drinkable beer. Sour, but very drinkable. It ends up sweetening up after a while, and it does not sour your stomach regardless. The sour is taste only on the palate, and is quite enjoyable to me. It is absolutely superb with a rich, creamy cheese like brie, camembert, Saga blue, or St. Andre. It is a quientessential Belgian beer in both taste and mouthfeel, and anyone experienced with Belgians will note the familiar characteristics. Excellent and very unique beer.

Graebner, Aug 20, 2006
Photo of mjc410
3.8/5  rDev -1%

On-tap at Monk's. The beer, in its tulip, comes with a very tall head. Color is light tan to luminescent copper.

Nose is of sour cherries and malt.

Tastes of mild sour cherries, malt, pineapple, pretty sweet and very acidic.

Light mouthfeel, low carbonation, and very smooth.

A good easy drinker, so much that my girlfriend stole it. Could be more complex, perhaps, but is very nice.

mjc410, Aug 18, 2006
Photo of gueuzeonhigh
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Pours a reddish-amber.
Produced a nice tightly knit sculptured head that endured my leisurely tasting session.
My glass has been empty for a while and is still laced with wisps of foam.
The nose was particularly light bearing some wisps of yeast and a hint of sourness.

This beer produced the characteristic sour flavor but its body was lighter than I had hoped for..

Also the flavor profile was thin- it bore a sour start, hints of yeast, some hops here and there and then basically collapsed leaving a mildly tart finish.

The mouthfeel along with the drinkability is cordial-- it is light enough that it might be a refreshing drink on a warm summer day.

gueuzeonhigh, Aug 10, 2006
Photo of jhu1995
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%

Pours a dark red with purple hues. Minimal head which quickly dissipates. Smell is slightly vinegar and sour with some sweetness. Taste is sour, vinegar-like, with some mild sweetness in the finish, mostly cherry-like. Very light and refreshing on the palate. Easy to drink, particularly for a red ale. Worth a try.

jhu1995, Aug 05, 2006
Photo of brushpig
3.03/5  rDev -21.1%

Found a bottle at Sams wines in Chicago, the clerk recommended it.

I have never had a flemish sour before so I have no comparision, but I found it very interesting.

A Redish Brown Hue, with a head that was really non existant.

I smelled cherries right off, sour apples, with acidic sweetness to it.

The taste of sweet cherries was right upfront, then the sour, lightly acidic flavor. Not that complex, but a nice flavor.

The mouth feel I didn't like, the finish never finished, and left my mouth tart and sour, but not in a good way.

My tolerance for the sour and tart is not high in a beer, but the flavor was not bad. Not sure if I am a Flemish sour ale guy. I will have to try more to see.

brushpig, Aug 04, 2006
Photo of shbobdb
2.93/5  rDev -23.7%

Meh.

It pours a niice red-brown with a rose head.

The smell sets up the taste, it is weak. Some sour, some sweet but nothing too much.

The taste is very meh. It reminds me less of a Flanders Red, it tastes more like a Dubbel with a slightly sour finish. Not bad, if you like Dubbels. I don't. It is also very sweet. Very sweet. I like a nice, crisp sour finish and this beer doesn't deliver.

The mouthfeel is bad. It reminds me of a quad -- both thin and thick at once. I don't like the feeling at all.

Drinkability? I'm having a hard time finishing a >12oz bottle. Would I drink it again? I could get two of Bell's Expedition for the price of this bottle, or half of Cantillon's Organic Gueze. 'Nuf said.

shbobdb, Aug 04, 2006
Photo of hopsaplenty
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%

11.2oz brown bottle, 16DC on the back label.

Murky, deep cordovan with ox blood highlights. Pillowy, soft tan head of mixed size bubbles that crackles as it slowly settles leaving a few splotches of lace. Fat carbonation bubbles stick to the glass, but do not move. The aroma is mildly tart with woody tones and a modest dose of balsamic vinegar. There is a minimal amount of funkiness that works with the sugar sweet aromas. Initially, tart and lactic acidic, but not overly so. There is a woody tone that surfaces in the middle. A sweetness arrives to provide a bit of balance, but the finish is dominated by the acidic edge that pulls at the back corners and lingers. There is a tannic component as well as a clearly vinegar, think thin balsamic, tone. Medium-light body, the carbonation is bountiful and the acidic flavors seems to add lightness, while also leaving the mouth fairly clean. Tasty, and the acidic nature makes this thirst quenching. Perhaps not sessionable, but definitely worthy of returning to over time.

hopsaplenty, Jul 31, 2006
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%

Presentation: 11.2fl.oz brown glass bottle sealed with a standard crown cap. Main and neck label are the same as the BA Avatar. No strength or freshness listed.


Appearance: Ruby chestnut body with a nice looking light tan colored head that stayed at 1” deep for a short while, even when it settled a uniform cap covers the surface. Conditioning seems low, but the overall appearance is solid. Soft Belgian lacing is persistent.

Nose: Saggy soft sour aroma with a wet wood nose. Like rotting bark after a rain storm in the forest, the nose seems to impart a dying freshness. Gentle funk and a delicate dark spice hint.

Taste: Woody feel, damp cloth and soured malts blend with a background lactic lace. A little reticent with a faded sourness seems to allow the yeast to break through here and there.

Mouthfeel: Light body that struggles to maintain a medium overall projection. Can feel thin but it certainly does not feel wanting, the low density adds to the Drinkability here in this case.

Drinkability: A refreshing libation, the low end sourness and laid back light body all conspire to lend a comfort angle that makes this hard to put the glass down.

Overall: I have not seen this one on the West Coast before, so when I spied this lone bottle on the shelves at Hi-Times in Costa Mesa I snapped up the chance to try it again. Hmmmm, nice enough, but a bit of a let down, I think that the draft version is much better, the bottle just seems to lacks balls.

TheLongBeachBum, Jul 27, 2006
Photo of Phatz
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%

I enjoyed this beer but it is really freakin tart. I mean like vinegar. Lots of vinegar.

Appearance: Dark amber copper color with a halo.

Smell: Lots of sour apple orchard aroma. The smell of apples that have cooked a bit in the sun. Sour and sweet, acidic and fruity, cherries and berries, galore.

Taste: VERY acidic. Vinegarish. Sour apple and cherries in the flavor with a lactic acid attribute. This beer definitely takes some warming up to. It is a grow on you beer and *Not* one I would consider 'easily' approachable. The aftertaste is sour and astringent but has sweet sugars drawing lines in the tartness as well. This beer border on cloying but manages to walk the line and come out just fine; making this a very unique one to try.

Mouthfeel: A medium light body that has just enough carbonation to keep it feely somewhat airy through all the dry astringent character.

Drinkability: As harsh as I may have made this beer sound, it left an impression on me and I wanted more.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

Phatz, Jul 25, 2006
Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%

Having been through a local gueze and the requisite rodenbach examples I can get I thought I'd try this one. Good choice as far as my experience goes:

A - Nice amber brown with a minimal white head which faded quickly.

S - Citric / sour with a underlying sweet malt / cherry aroma.

T - Tart cherries, light waves of sour with a rich sweet malt backbone.

M -medium bodied. Dry in the finish. refreshing without the pucker factor.

D - This is a sour ale I could enjoy year round. Nice on the porch on a warm day!

barleywinebrewer, Jul 07, 2006
Photo of deuschbag
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%

330 ml. bottle pored into a wine glass. pores a beautiful ruby red color with a perfect light tan head that stays threwout the whole session and leaves great lacing. everything about the appearance is perfect.
i smell some sour cherries, vinegar and some chocolate malts.

i taste lots of cherries. lots of sourness in the background with vinegar. chocolaty malt aftertaste. a nice and very surprising taste over-all.

mouthfeel is medium bodied but a little intimidating from its sourness at first but after the first couple sips it's pretty easy to comsume and over-all very smooth.

this is my first time drinking a sour tasting beer and i am extrememly surprised. truly an easy beer to drink and a great experience for me. this was a good introduction to the style for me.

deuschbag, Jul 05, 2006
Photo of DrJay
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%

Ruby red with a bit of a brown hue and quite clear. The fine, light beige head showed good retention and produced a solid sheet of lace on the glass. Malt sweetness and sour fruit (cherries) in the aroma, along with a hint of leather. Tart berry fruitiness balanced the moderate malt quite nicely. Some sour cherry as well, also earthy and woody. It finished with lingering raspberry tartness. Light bodied with some residual sugar that gave it a slightly syrupy feel. Very thirst quenching and highly drinkable. Even with the rest of the line-up at Monk's Cafe, I had to have a second glass before moving on.

DrJay, Jun 20, 2006
Photo of nriech
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%

Little head, lots of carbonation though. Light ruby color. Served in a snifter and picked up some sour notes but not as strong as many other Flemish reds.

The taste to me was a little bland. Sure theres a bit of sour in there and maybe, a little oaky fruit tone but overall seemed a little weak to me. There is also of course a bit of acidity to the mouthfeel but this quickly disappears. I wouldnt say this is a newcomers sour ale since it doesnt seem to really catch all of what a belgian red can encompas. Its still an ok brew though Im rating the smell and taste down a little since this kind of beer really should be more powerful.

nriech, Jun 19, 2006
Photo of nlmartin
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%

The beer was served in a wide mouthed wine goblet.

Appearance: The beer pours an effervescent clear chestnut coloration. The head is a off color white.

Smell: The beer has a very sour fruity floral smell. The beer has a bit of musty oakeyness to it.

Taste: The beer has a sweet then sour spicy yeastyness. The beer has plenty of tart berry fruityness. The beer definately has vinous qualities.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer has a slightly lighter body than I prefer. The carbonation at times can be burning and stinging. The beer is still pretty dam refreshing to drink. This is a pretty solid offering by any standard.

nlmartin, Jun 17, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.08/5  rDev -19.8%

A: Deep strawberry/cherry juice color. Very clean and opaque. Nice billowy off white head in standard Belgium style. Seriously great looking beer.

S: Yeasty with notes of sour grape, wet oak, cherry vinegar.

T: Not nearly as pungent as I was expecting. Bit like watered down cherry juice. Minor sour notes with out much twang. Not nearly as complex as some of the other Flanders out there.

M: Bit thin and prickly from the carbonation.

D: I was disappointed by this beer. Its ok and certainly drinkable but nothing I'd be compelled to try again. Oh well, they can't all be Rodenbach.

Westsidethreat, Jun 14, 2006
Photo of weeare138
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%

On tap at Monk's Cafe...
Appears a hazy, red toned light brown with an off white head that slowly fades into a mild film. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of sour cherries, apples, mild vinegar.
Taste is of the above mentioned aromas. Similar to Rodenbach Red. Slight sour apple and light cherry flavors jumping about.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slightly thin mouthfeel but the Rodenbbach qualites are still there. Not quite mouth puckering but decent.

weeare138, Jun 05, 2006
Photo of sacfly
4.53/5  rDev +18%

First had this in a bottle at Max’s in Baltimore. Just got to have it on tap at Monk’s in Philly.
Served a dark red in a pint glass. Little head to speak of. Smell is both sweet and sour. Taste follows suit. Just the right ammout of sweetness to balance the tart flavors generated by this heavenly ale. Acidic and a slight hint of Balsamic vinaigrette. The aftertaste is still tart, but the not in a lingering, off-putting kind of way.
Very easy to drink. When I had it on tap, I could imagine drinking this all night. Very light and refreshing.

sacfly, May 29, 2006
Photo of RockyTopHeel
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Tasted at my new favorite Chicago bar, Hopleaf.

Served in a tulip glass, this beer poured a mahogany-red with a thin layer of bubbles. Aroma of nice sourness and oak.

The first sip is a nice , tart one, but it fades a little quickly on the back end. This problem is soon overcome, though, as the beer seems to build with every sip.

A good example of one of my favorite styles, and a great way to kick off the evening.

RockyTopHeel, May 28, 2006
Photo of Lnedrive14
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Only my second of the style, so I don't have much to compare it to, but here goes...

Pours a deep garnet reddish brown. Nose is strong of tarty sourness - just like the taste. However, this one hits the palate strangely. Upfront, there is a strong malty, caramel, belgian brown taste, which recedes into the sourness of the flemish red. Very interesting. Frankly, I would have liked a few more of those latter flavors up front.

A highly drinkable brew, and a very interesting one at that. Not something I would want to drink every night, but good for a change once in a while.

Lnedrive14, May 28, 2006
Photo of RBorsato
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%

Tasted on-tap on 03/09/06 at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.

Full ruby red color with a decent light beige head and moderate carbonation. Definite sourness in the aroma but overall a nicely balanced sweet and sour Flanders Red Ale in both aroma and flavor. Fairly mild overall for the style and therefore makes it a very approachable introduction for newcomers. Medium bodied and refreshing without being overly sour; looking forward to tasting the bottled version but it seems from previous reviews that it may not be quite as good.

RBorsato, May 18, 2006
Photo of beveragecaptain
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%

11.2 ounce bottle. Pours out a murky, reddish brown color with a small head. The aroma is sour cherries and oak. The flavor is a tangy mixture of sweet and sour. The flavor of cherries is most prominent, but there is also oak, wine, and berries. There is enough sourness so that the sweetness is held in check, but I would like this better if it was less sweet. Finishes very acidic. Carbonation is high. This is a pretty good version.

beveragecaptain, May 13, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%

Overcast, orange-infused apple cider brown on the coaster... lucent dark cherry when held up to my sunlit front window. The pale caramel colored cap looked (and sounded) excessively fizzy immediately after the pour, but has settled down nicely and may last for a bit. It looks like melted styrofoam, though, and lacks character. A few blips of lace is about it.

The aroma is classic for the style and is immensely appealing. It's sour, snappy, tart, tangy, acidic, acetic... take your pick. If forced to come up with a difference between this beer and others of the style that I've tried, I'd say this one is less funky than some.

You better be a fan of SOUR if you plan to drink and enjoy Flanders reds. I can't imagine a more salivary gland-squinching beverage than this one that would still be drinkable. I feel a need to wait for my mouth to unpucker between each sip. Unripe fruit (cherries and green apples especially) comes to mind, although I know that no fruit is used.

Again, funkiness is at a minimum. That isn't to say the yeast strain is a slacker. It's just that it excels at acid production and is otherwise exceptionally clean. Even though my Flanders red experience is minimal, I feel that Monk's Cafe, while perhaps not the best on the planet, is as classic and as representative of the style as any other.

The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium, with just a hint of stickiness on the finish. I'm amazed at how well the airy, well-carbonated, exceptionally clean mouthfeel dovetails with the flavor of the beer. Any heavier or more clingy and it wouldn't work nearly as well.

No matter how much I enjoy a good Flanders red, I'm perfectly content to go weeks or even months between bottles since my tolerance for sour is a fraction of my tolerance for bitter. Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Red is an excellent version, though. If I'm ever in Philadelphia, I'll make it a point to stop in at Monk's for a glass. What the hell, maybe two.

BuckeyeNation, May 07, 2006
Photo of PuckLSHS
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%

I could drink Monk's Flemish Sour all day long and not be disappointed. I have had this on tap several times at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach, CA.

It pours a brownish hue with a very small head to it that leaves very little lace.

The smell is a nice sour fruit (possibly a little cherry?). The taste pretty much follows up with that wonderful sour fruit smell also. Not too overpowering in the sour department, but just right to make this beer an everyday drink.

The mouthfeel is nice. Light carbonation, smooth...

Drinkability is rather high because this really has become my end of the night beer.

PuckLSHS, May 04, 2006
Photo of akorsak
1.83/5  rDev -52.3%

I am drinking a 330 mL bottle, poured into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: The ale is a deep brown color with a significant amount of sediment.

Smell: There is a slight lactic sourness in the nose.

Taste: Blehh... The sour presence that I expected from this flemish red appeared upfront but quickly disappeared, leaving an unremarkable red ale flavor.

Mouthfeel: Nowhere near as lactic and sour as it should be.

Drinkability: I had 1/2 of the bottle and poured it down the drain. This ale doesn't hold a candle to Rodenbach.

akorsak, May 01, 2006
Photo of mynie
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%

I don't know how they measure things in Flemland, but this here ain't red. It be brown as a dog's asshole, only in means in which the dog's asshole is made to be appealin', and with a little white head.

Very sour malt. That's it. Intense, candy sour. Very nice; reminds me of when I was little, buying Tearjerkers at the gas station.

Sour! Sweet and sour citrus to start, moving into an almost chemical, candy sour middle, ending on a more dry sourness, like a sour wine. I'm no good at picking out different types of sours: my pallete isn't used to them. Alls I can say is that this is sour, and it's good.

mynie, Apr 29, 2006
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,331 ratings.