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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

2,380 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,380
Reviews: 1,047
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 55
Gots: 175 | 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: 2,380 | Reviews: 1,047 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nortmand
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear ruby red with a 2 finger tan head that leaves nice lace.

High lactic acid in the nose. Also a ton of fresh strawberry aroma. Awesome.

Sweet mixed berries on the tip of the tongue. By mid tongue there is a mild lactic astringency. Very light bitterness as well.
Leaves a metallic twang aftertaste.

Low to medium bodied, a refreshing, lightly "sour" beer.

nortmand, Nov 10, 2006
Photo of dfillius
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a wine glass
A: Gentle pour yields 1.5 fingers of tan fizzy loose head with fair retention. Deep crimson crystal clear liquid. Head is nearly non-existent after 2 minutes, better retention please. Very effervescent.
S: Cherry, tart lemon juice, slight funk. Slight penicillin, oak. Apple cider.
T: Tart apple at first, caramel a little later. Balanced sweet and sour. Some clean malt, some lemon juice and tart cherries. Not as complex as the aroma. The effervescence dominates and scrubs the flavor. I swirled to reduce the vigor of the bubbles, much better.
M: Very dry up front, lightly sour with good sweetness following, like tart cherry juice. A little too effervescent. Expectorant.
O: Very high. I'd love to have another bottle/pint/4-pack. Really nice, solid, mellow, full-flavored sour.

dfillius, Dec 03, 2012
Photo of RenoZymurgist
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really like this beer.
Poured a deep brown color with tons of carbonation like champagne and a tan head that is very thick and leaves lots of lace.
The aroma is very crisp and has a nice tang of lactic acid with a minerally character, not blood like but metallic.
The flavor is very crisp as well and it begins with a sharp sourness that is not unpleasent at all and slowly declines after you initially taste it. There is not much malt or hops that i can detect due to the sourness taking the lead in this ale.
The mouthfeel is very nice as the sourness dosnt contribute to bite and the carbonation is surprisingly smooth for being so vivacious.
this is extremly drinkable to me and I would love to enjoy it more often but I had to fly to LA to get it so I woun't be enjoying it for a few more months.

RenoZymurgist, Aug 25, 2006
Photo of bikencycle
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into my hamms chalice

A: pours an red brown hue with little head and some lacing

S: has a sour pie cherry smell

T: dry, sour, cherry, and somewhat bitter vinigar taste that is well balanced

M: has a very delicious feel to it

D: very drinkable, and one of my new favorites for the time being

bikencycle, Jul 30, 2009
Photo of MadScientist
4.58/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is a deep reddish brown with excellent clarity. The light tan head has lingers for a very long time.

The aroma is nice and fruity and malty with a light sour aroma. There are aromas of dark cherries and figs along with a brighter almost rhubarb like aroma. A mild sherry like character as well

There a lot going on in this with a fruit and malt flavors dominating followed by some spicy phenols all the while with a light sourness throughout ending in a dry finish. The flavors are again dark cherry and fig with a malt flavors of orange and a touch of treacle. Theres a light sherry like flavor in there and a little bit of hops bitterness. Overall it has a really nice balance of sweet and sour flavors but not with the intensity in some other sour styles.

It has a medium-full body with low carbonation. It's also very soft on the palate and almost cream. There is a slight touch of slickness but no diacetyl and no astringency.

Overall this is an amazing, lightly soured beer that is very refreshing. A the elements of the flavor and aroma are in a very satisfying balance, a world class example of the the Oud Bruin style. I'm definitely picking about a two more four packs of this and letting some age in my cellar.

MadScientist, Jun 06, 2012
Photo of mempath
4.58/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

deep tawny with a cola, effervescent appearance

nose is a tangy, sweet, sour punch of fermentation, fizzy dark fruit combos.

taste is similar, reminding me too of the tang of a good lambic; though the carbonation is high, this has a lingering enough finish to savor as it settles. love the play of the sour and sweet.

very drinkable in that it balances the best of sour and sweet without any of the worst of sour or sweet. nothing cloying here. this would be great with some cheese...camembert/brie...Cabot's Habanero...:)

mempath, Nov 28, 2010
Photo of PhilCheSteak
4.58/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Visited Philly last week and had a chance to pick up a bottle of this delicious beer. Poured out of a 11.2 oz bottle into a nonic glass.

A: Reddish/brown color, with a nice head. This beer is just asking me want to drink it every time I look at it.

S: An apple, fruity smell. Smells both sweet and sour.

T: Just the right amount of sweetness. I've never had a sweeter, more delicious beer in my life. Tastes of apples and cherries. Every sip is refreshing and satisfying.

M: A good amount of carbonation that wasn't overwhelming.

O: Love Monk's Flemish Sour Ale. Just the right amount of sweetness for me and overall a delicious, high quality beer. I need to find more bottles of this!

PhilCheSteak, Apr 06, 2011
Photo of malty
4.58/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my stemmed Rodenbach glass a brilliantly clear rust color with crimson edges. Loose (but creamy) & fluffy beige head stands still at 1 1/2" tall. Lots of visible rushing fine carbonation moving upward. Beautiful wide rings of lace all the way down. Stunning.

Bright & fresh notes of sour cherries and rhubarb, along with baked pie crust and green grapes. Granny smith apples jump out too. Some oaky & spicy notes creep up at the end.

Wow, I believe I just tasted the pinnacle of sweet & sour in one beer. On one side the beer is a tad syrupy & vey sweet, but the other side is very tart and puckering - bringing a perfect balance to this wonderful ale. The cherry scent I grasped just a minute ago becomes very layered in the palate. Rich but yet strangely light all at the same time. This is a definite Ying/Yang brew if there ever was one.

Mouthfeel is between light & med. bodied with the most delightfully playful (champagne-like) fine carbonation. Semi-sweet but still plenty tart flavorful finish.

Drinkability is through the friggin' roof. I could EASILY drink this al day and/or night.

Overall an equisite Flemish Sour Ale. The sweetness is appealing to me, but not at all cloying or overbearing. A very memorable brew that I'll be seeking out fervently.

malty, Jul 31, 2009
Photo of Johnnyfacelift
4.58/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The first thing you smell from the bottle is the sourness, but when you pour you pickup more of the Belgian yeast character. It's a deep mahogany, crystal clear with a very prominent foamy head... lots of carbonation! The flavor of this beer is actually much more sweet than it is sour, I was expecting a big puckering sour and it tastes very rich and full for being a medium % ABV, cheers to the brewers! There's some nice raisin notes along with plum. Does not leave any aftertaste and is very drinkable. This is the first real "sour" ale that I've had other than the fruit lambic styles but I could see myself exploring more of the sour beer universe. Excellent!

Johnnyfacelift, Aug 21, 2011
Photo of leeenglewood
4.55/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not a beer for everybody but if you like sour and sherry like drinks you should indefinitely enjoy this wonderful thirst-quenching beer. Pours amberish brown with white head that becomes lacy. Smells like cherries and good American whisky also has very sherry like smell. Taste is predominately tart and somewhat acidic no apparent sweetness. A rather drinkable beer if you are into this kind of thing, as the acidic qualities are not overbearing.

leeenglewood, Dec 28, 2003
Photo of Twincrasher
4.55/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very nice head. Small bubbles. Pour slowly.

S: Astringent and very fruity. Very enjoyable as a stand alone night cap.

T: Cherry and deep fruits cut through the sour flavor profile. Very smooth finish for a sour beer.

M: Good layered mouthfeel. Finish is where flavor profile enhanced.

O: Not just a novelty. Worth drink as stand alone. Very nice.

Twincrasher, Nov 12, 2012
Photo of JamieDuncan
4.54/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Picked this up as part of a mixed six because I have been liking sours. Great looking beer that had a very good smell that could have been stronger. Flavor was excellent, had more of a beer taste than a lot of sours which I like very much, almost perfect. Overall a very strong beer that I will get again if I can find it at a decent price.

JamieDuncan, Mar 09, 2014
Photo of hippogasmo
4.54/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite possibly the best beer I've ever had, with two main competitors for my number one rank; surprise, they're also sours. I really only have two complaints about this beer.

1: It is somewhat inconsistent out of a bottle, and I've never found a bar with this beer on tap. In terms of quality and taste, it has never let me down. Unfortunately, a few bottles seem to be pulled from the bottom of the batch, and have chunks (yes, full size chunks!) of some yeast-like substance that I cannot identify, and these chunks cause a real problem in the flavor. I have had the occasional bottle where the alcohol flavor has completely overwhelmed anything else, which I don't necessarily mind, but is not what I look forward to when I pour this into a glass.

2: I learned very, very quickly (early on in my drinking career, that is) that this is not a beer that can be enjoyed straight from the bottle. Few enough are the brews that taste the same or close enough from the bottle that I cannot fault this particular brew on this shortcoming, but it is sometimes a slight disappointment that I have to clean a glass to drink one particular beer.

All-in-all, a very good brew. It's a drink that I like to scare my friends with. "What would you think if I told you that you can drink sour beer? Not a fan? Okay, well here, try this." I have never heard a single response that did not involve some form of "holy crap this is delicious." A beer with a 100% success rate for non-drinkers? Worth a try, if you ask me.

hippogasmo, Jun 20, 2014
Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a medium red brown with a thick 2" white head. Bubbles of carbonation stream lightly from the bottom of the glass. Little lacing is left as the head dissipates.
S: Sour with a hint of malt vinegar and sour cherries
T: A taste of red sweet and sour sauce, pineapple, sour cherries, a hint of lactic acid
M: full bodied and creamy
O: an excellent example of a Belgian sour ale

M_C_Hampton, Oct 20, 2012
Photo of cichief
4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 750ml bottle in Columbia, MD.

A- Poured a beautiful ruby-brown, with a nice light brown head. The beer was clear when held up to light.

S- Nice and sour, fruity.

T- The sourness was nicely balanced by a sweetness from the malt. Lots of ripe fruit flavor.

M- Well carbonated, but overly done. The mouthfeel was medium.

D- A very refreshing beer. This was sour, but well balanced.

cichief, Nov 01, 2009
Photo of sacfly
4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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 Dix90
4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark golden chestnut brown with ruby hues. Nice bubbly head with good quick receding lacing.

Aroma: fruity and vinegary. Cherries, apples, grapes and cranberries shine through in almost a red wine tinge.

Taste: very fruity and sweet on the tongue.very well balanced with a mild tart sourness. Highly carbonated and leaves a pleasant sweetness at the end.

Mouthfeel: very light and carbonated. Bubbly and dry. Kind of feels like the carbonation makes the tartness cascade along the tongue.

Overall: a very good introduction to sours. Mildly sour that let's strong fruit notes shine through. Very thirst quenching.

Dix90, Nov 14, 2013
Photo of swissmiss805
4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I love this beer. My first Flemish sour, it was a gateway beer to the style, leading me to all kinds of Duchesse (not a fan) and Cantillons, yet I always go back to Monks. It has all the tartness and acidity without the overly sweetness that can come with the style. Really, I'm just writing this review as a public forum for anyone who's spotted it in NYC/Brooklyn. Please let me know if you've bought/drank it in the area I miss the Monks!

swissmiss805, Apr 05, 2007
Photo of DeathShot
4.52/5  rDev +17.7%

DeathShot, Aug 28, 2014
Photo of Shveta
4.52/5  rDev +17.7%

Shveta, Sep 28, 2014
Photo of grittybrews
4.51/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark cherry cola brown into a tulip with two fingers of khaki head. Slightly sweet bready aroma mixed with vanilla, dark fruit, and mildly sour cherry.

Moderate carbonation and an exceptional mouthfeel that manages to be smooth and creamy while retaining a pleasant lightness. Tart apple and sour cherry up front followed by sweet dark fruit, grape, caramel, and a hint of spice on the finish.

Really tasty brew that balances its sweet and sour elements well. It's hard to slow down with this one!

grittybrews, Jul 21, 2011
Photo of jminch
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

jminch, Feb 03, 2013
Photo of hubster712
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

hubster712, May 23, 2012
Photo of brokentee
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

brokentee, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of stephengraniero
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

stephengraniero, Jan 30, 2013
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,380 ratings.