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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
86
very good

1,108 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,108
Hads: 2,812
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 21.61%
Wants: 83
Gots: 397 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Belgium | website

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.
View: Beers (95) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,108 | Hads: 2,812
Photo of billshmeinke
3.14/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

One inch fluffy white head.

Ruby red body with some golden highlights. An inch of cream colored fluffy head.

Smells really fruity. Kind of a fake raspberry scent. Not too pleasant.

Tastes like raspberry and blueberries. Nothing really sour about it. Kind of fake fruit tasting... don't really know how to describe it, but a bit of a bummer.

Super well carbonated. Light bodied. Fairly dry.

Kind lame. Fake fruit tasting. Not buying again.

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Photo of Cresant
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured this 11.2 oz brown bottle into a Triple Karmeliet glass. No date. Moderate off-white head faded to a ring and island. Color was prunejuice, brown with mauve tints. Cloudiness cleared as the sediments settled. Foamy splotches of lace stick to the sides.

Smell was metallic at first. Mild, aged balsamic vinegar. Sugary sweet. Not especially pungent.

Taste reflected the smell. Woody and vinous elements were evident. Refreshingly sour, but not as sour as other Flanders Reds I have tried. Plesant but not as extreme as many.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied and effervescent. Nice.

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Photo of gfreed
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

If you've ever dyed Easter eggs, you'll immediately recognize the vinegary, hard-boiled-egg aroma that launches itself from the bottle and sticks to everything in the room. It's powerful, but doesn't assault as much as the taste which is acidic enough to etch your kitchen table, so be sure to use a coaster under the glass. There's a sour apple-raisin flavor somewhere in there, too, but you'll have to work hard to separate it from the vinegar. Worth trying just to compare it with better examples of this style (e.g., Bockor). For me, though, it was a puckering struggle to drink the whole thing.

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Photo of cjacobsen
3.12/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(A) Pours a clear, deep red with a small off white that diminishes quickly to nothing.

(S) Slightly tart. Sweet. Cherry. The nose is more of a fruity blend with Cherry taking the lead.

(T) Not very sour or tart, but it's still present. You have the slight vinegar and then packed with cherry flavor.

(M) Very flat and ended dry despite the oily, fuller body mid-taste.

(O) It wasn't terrible but I've had far better Oud Bruins. This one was rather weak and more of a tart and amped up grape juice, just with a cherry spin on it.

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Photo of marikoangel
3.11/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tall Saison 1900 tulip glass at Amsterdam

A: It poured a deep dark red. It was clear, but hard to see through. There was a nice little head that retained a nice thick lacing on top of the beer.

S: Light scents, a little metallic sour, cherries.

T: It started with a crisp zing to it but smoothed out quickly into a juicy mild. There's a nice sour finish to it. The flavors are light, and there is nothing bold or catching to it. It has almost a watery aftertaste. Sour cherries.

M: Crisp but smooth

D: It was very disappointing. I love sours, and felt this was a weak representation. I've had beers not in the sour category that had more sour to them. It might be a good beer for someone who is just getting into sours or just isn't looking for that wonderful kick you can get from them. As a whole it is drinkable, even if it's one I wouldn't have again.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.09/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.08/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a sampling glass.

Pours a clear red color with a very small light brown color head. Nose is vinegar and funk. That's really it!

Taste is also quite tart and vinegar-y, very sharp and a bit unpleasant. It's got a fairly sharp mouthfeel due to harsh carb.

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Photo of imasloth
3.08/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Based on other reviews I look to be in the minority here but ...

A- Dark brown with red tint when head to light. Thin almond-coloured head with notable lacing.

S- Sweet malt with slight sourness.

T- Some sourness but not much else. A bit of malt in aftertaste.

M- Light-bodied with a dry, alcohol feel in afterfeel.

O- As my brother said, meh. Not the best of the Belgian brews or even sours by far.

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Photo of esv
3.08/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Flemish, from Flanders - a region that covers portions of Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

The head stands at about 1/3'' and I can hear it. It's like a snap, crackle pop sound or like a soft, white noise or a soda. The head flattens fairly quickly but lacing sticks around.

The beer is dark with a deep brownish red glow around the edges. Light doe not hardly pass through the bulk of the beer.

I can smell sour before I even lift the glass to my nose. The nose is both sour and sweet and it truly reminds me of a Chinese sauce.

There is a thin but syrupy-sweet taste and then sour. The beer is really quite sweet and certainly tangy. There is a hint of bitterness that becomes more detectable as the beer warms. It is almost like the bitterness you might taste from a cup of hot tea, when it has been allowed to cool and the teabag was left to sit in the cup. It is a dry bitterness.

The mouthfeel is thin.

I must admit, this is the first sour beer I've had and it will take me some time to purchase another bottle. It was not easy for me drink.

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Photo of dogfooddog
3.07/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

bottled version. pours 20% light tan head. smells sour and oaky, pleasant nose

taste is a bit weak, confirming an impression I had when I drank this on tap. there is a taste and smell that reminds me of german weiss beers. This beer does not make you pucker from sourness - it is subtle. It does taste a bit watery as well.

Overall this is probably my least favorite of the flemish red style I have tried to date. The bottle does note that this is a light version of sourness etc., but being a fan of the style I would prefer a full-blown sourpuss beer like duchesse de borgoune or rodenbach grand cru.

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Photo of ajcormier
3.07/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Poured from bottle into small tasting tulip.
A - Looks great, reddish brown with creamy colored lacing.

S - Smelled good but lacking in a real sharp tart note I was hoping for. Plums, raisins, cherry and lightly toasted biscuits. Slight musk.

T - Disappointing a suppose. As with the smell I was really hoping for something a bit more puckering. Tasting was similar to the smell but sweeter than I was anticipating.

M - Good bubbles and slightly coating. Dry finish but residual sugars were there.

O - Eh, had way better. Good but not worth buying again.

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Photo of BeerAllYouCanBe
3.06/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured slightly below room temperature, about 20 degrees C. Aggressive head, recedes to shallow but enduring, light brown foam on beer surface and minimal lacework on glass. Deep bronze color with slight reddish hue. Pleasant cherry and lactic nose. Grapefruit and cherry on entrance, sweet Concord grape finish. Sweetness hangs in the finish, a bit much, but still quite drinkable. Sourness is mild but present. As others have commented, an easy sour to approach for the uninitiated.

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Photo of largadeer
3.06/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: 11.2 oz bottle poured into a pint glass, because I'm a fuckin' rebel. Clear but dark ruby red with great head retention, no sediment. Nice looking stuff.

Smell: Sweet and sour, with an emphasis on the sweet; balsamic vinegar, a bit of cherry cough syrup, slightly mineral/metallic. Pretty middle of the road for the style.

Taste & mouthfeel: Fruity sweetness followed by mild sourness, which leads way to a sweet/sour finish. I'd like a bit less sweetness, but this is pleasant enough. Mouthfeel is a touch syrupy. Decent, but far from great.

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Photo of jealousmonk
3.06/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is an interesting beer. It's hard to rate too highly--the mouthfeel is seriously lacking, and it doesn't bring the complexity of a really good sour--but it was unusual and fun to drink.

A--Dark reddish brown, poured into a tulip glass. Appears heavily carbonated, but did not feel overwhelming.

S--Smells sour, with strong apple and vinegar. Mild yeast and cherry. The smell is not very enticing--too vinegary.

T--Not terribly sour--more tart, with strong flavors of apples and cherries. The taste in unusual for a sour--far more drinkable than I was expecting, and as I said in the beginning, less complex.

M--Very thin. The carbonation level seems fine, contrary to the appearance of the beer. It could certainly use more body. This might be part of the reason that the flavors have less depth than expected. However, this also means I could drink a few of these. Drinking more than a couple of stronger sours would be very difficult. Overall an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of blakelive784
3.05/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a snifter, reviewed live:

A - Pours a dark amber/ruby color with a thin, light tan head that's a finger tall. Retention is awful. Largely unremarkable.

S - Tart green apple, lactic sourness, sweet generic malt, cream, and very light yeasty funk. Surprisingly mild in strength, though it seems very well balanced.

T - I'm surprised at how simple this one, especially in comparison to most other sours. Sour green apple dominates over the crystal malt body. It fairly balanced and the sourness is relatively light. Hints of toasted malt come though. Definitely suffers from simplicity. I wish the flavors were less restrained.

M - Light, highly carbonated and an impressive dry finish. Works pretty well for the beer, though it probably would be less effective if there were more flavors present.

D - It's a decent beer, though it definitely wont hit the spot for someone looking for a big, bold sour. May work as an introduction to the style .

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Photo of MichaelinFishers
3.05/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into two Bell's tulips. Code on bottle is '24CK 15:14' but can't find what that means.

A lot of carbonation released even on a gentle pour, resulting in a lot of head. If I'd been pouring into a single glass, it wouldn't have been possible in one pour. Head settled down with some nice lacing.

The bottle says this is a Flemish Red, not an Oud Bruin. Who's wrong?

It isn't as tart as I'd hoped or experienced with the style before. It's a little sweeter than I prefer in my sours, but there is still a little sour funk going on. No one will ever mistake it for anything other than Flemish, that's for sure. But not my favorite. Mouthfeel follows the appearance at the pour: very carbonated, just this side of champagne-like, but fairly typical of the style.

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Photo of emerge077
3.04/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2012:
Alright, i've stayed away from this one for almost 4 years after a bad bottle (it was really terrible, likely infected in a bad way). Revisiting it, there are still certain character flaws, namely an unpleasant aroma (dishrag) and overcharged carbonation. Getting past that though, there were some nice flavors of grape and apple that came out as it warmed, but still somewhat one dimensional. It was prickly and overcarbonated, with astringency amplifying the tartness. None of the sweetness that was present in the 2007 bottle. Overall it wasn't terrible, but there are far better Flemish ales out there, Namely Rodenbach, La Folie, Jacobins, etc.

02-03-2007 2.7/5 rDev -29.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

For the record, i'm a big fan of sour ales and traditional lambics. My experience with this "Flemish Red" however was seriously subpar.

Dark burgundy brown, a thin ring of bubbles skim the top.

Smells like a donkey with bad hygiene. Stale oats and musky urine...not in the good "horseblanket" way either. Artificial sweetness chimes in. A foul stank on this that surpasses Gueuze, just completely unappealing.

Taste is initially tart and medicinal, becoming sweet, then almost cloying in the finish. Notes of copper, blood, black cherry, and phenolic medicinal funk. Mouthfeel is thin, yields some mouth-watering tartness, but ultimately doesn't deliver. Some carbonation carries it along.

Hard to finish one bottle.

Notes: Not the best example of a Flanders Red, not even a good one. This seems altered from a traditional recipe to somehow cater to the US market. Skip this bastardized Flanders Red and go for the real thing, Rodenbach, Goudenband, etc.

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Photo of coachdonovan
3.04/5  rDev -20.8%
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.

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Photo of MRsojourner
3.03/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

smell is somewhat musty- old fruit and slightly rubbery
dark red with ruby shining highlights- not see thru
Taste is of cherry coke, barely beer tasting. vey clean stone fruits and grapes. super clean with little aftertaste. almost no taste of hops.
imo way to clean to be called a sour. not sure where that notion even comes from. This is not bad by any means its just lackluster.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.03/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours opaque and dark with a ruby hue. Fat head of tan foam that fell slowly and left patchy lace. Nose is faint. I am getting a faint smell of grape, like grape juice and a powdery sweet scent. Not what I expected at all. The taste is nowhere near sour. It is dry, it is palate cleansing. It is not crisp or tart or sour. In fact it's much sweeter than I ever would have expected and there is only a faint hint of vinegar at the back of the throat as it finishes. The mouthfeel is soft and silky and while it has ample carbonation it has not bite, no zing. Oddly I find this sweeter than I think it should be but as it drinks it does become more sour and more dry.

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Photo of dtivp
3.03/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark mahogany brown with hints of ruby, a larger two finger tan head that dissipated very quickly leaving very light lacing.

Aroma of tart cherries with vinegar.

Taste was slightly tart with sour red cherries, a slight hint of malt then a bitter metallic end.

Mouthfeel was a thin light body with heavy carbonation.

Overall I was not impressed with this sour ale, it does not come close to some of the nice Russian River sour ales.

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Photo of mobyfann
3.02/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Paid $1.49 for a single discounted at Ludlow Wines in Clifton...

The beer pours a very dark amber-brown base, huge head, great retention, nice lacing. Smells like sour grapes and cherries, that's about it...

The taste presents sour tones present early, tastes of cherries linger from middle to aftertaste, almost like a defunct wine... bizzare!

It's fairly easy in the mouth, low carbonation but as far as drinkability goes forget it... this ale lacks depth!

Final Thought: For a highly rated beer I'm afraid what lessor beers of the same style would taste like... not very impressed with this guy!

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Photo of Libeertarian
3.01/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not too dark of a brown in the stream out of the bottle, but very dark, and like a garnet in the glass. Medium retention tan head with fine-bubbled, rocky cap coming higher than the brim of the tulip glass this beer was poured into. Aromas of vinegar, fresh paint, wood, and sweet esters or alcohols. In the taste, there's a light fruitiness, cherries I'd say, throughout and more of that fresh paint like quality in the back, to distinguish this from watered down carbonated vinegar. For this, it's not bad if sipped, may even start to grow on you. Very bubbly, lighter body than expected, good level of astringency to match the lingering sourness, as well as warming sensation.

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Photo of brushpig
3/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

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.

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Photo of FoamFingers
3/5  rDev -21.9%

Not at all sour. Merely tart and fruity. Not bad by any means, but not sour either. 0.5 puckers out of 5 possible. A sour warhead candy is more flavorful than this beer.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,108 ratings.