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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
87
very good

2,439 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,439
Reviews: 1,049
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 57
Gots: 190 | FT: 3
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: 2,439 | Reviews: 1,049 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MbpBugeye
3.15/5  rDev -18%
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

MbpBugeye, Dec 20, 2009
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip glass and allowed to warm up to cellar temp before drinking.

The body is crisp and clear. A deep ruby red that borders on garnet, it is topped with a fluffy white 1 finger head that leaves sticky streaks of lacing, as well as some spots of foam, all over the sides of the glass. This looks absolutely gorgeous.

The aroma, unfortunately doesn't live up to the high expectations set by the appearance. There is a light acetic quality to the aroma, but more so, there are sour cherries, some cocoa powder, and an underlying sweetness. The presence of a ton of residual sugar is evident on the palate. The sweetness is high, even for a Flanders Red, making this one a bit tough to drink from the outset. Cloying from the start, the flavor has a long way to go to impress me. The dominant flavor outside of the sweetness is red wine vinegar, which is accompanied in the finish by some more slight acidity and some sour cherries.

Slick and heavy on the palate despite being sour, this beer just didn't really impress me all that much. There are far better representations of this style out there, though I can see the value in this beer. It would be a good training wheel sour for someone just getting into the expensive habit.

NittanyBeerFan, Feb 20, 2011
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.

Cresant, Jan 25, 2007
Photo of Thorpe429
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle picked up at Rick's in Alexandria a little while back. Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass. Thought it was an appropriate time to crack this after getting home from my first visit to Monk's.

Pours a nice crimson color with some really nice lacing after a white head falls down. Not much light makes its way through. The nose has some mild cherry character plus some sweet malt. There's a touch of oak there along with some light acetic character. A bit of sweetness carries through. The flavor is somewhat tart with a bit of acid, along with a mild acetic character. A bit of oak and cherry. The mouthfeel is medium and has a dry finish. A decent example of the style, though nothing too memorable, unfortunately.

Thorpe429, Apr 26, 2011
Photo of billshmeinke
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
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.

billshmeinke, Oct 06, 2010
Photo of mortarit
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Having a real hard time getting into these sour beers. They really drive my pallet crazy. My whole face draws up like all of the air left the building, experience.

Overall, the everthing else about this one particularly looks great for appearance, color, and smell.

Maybe, I should eat more sour apples for practice.

mortarit, Jan 24, 2011
Photo of kingcrowing
3.1/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

kingcrowing, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of cjacobsen
3.1/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

cjacobsen, Jul 01, 2011
Photo of emerge077
3.1/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

emerge077, Jan 21, 2012
Photo of jealousmonk
3.1/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

jealousmonk, Aug 14, 2011
Photo of gfreed
3.1/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

gfreed, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of marikoangel
3.1/5  rDev -19.3%
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.

marikoangel, Dec 14, 2010
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.

imasloth, May 31, 2012
Photo of coachdonovan
3.08/5  rDev -19.8%
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.

coachdonovan, Feb 14, 2010
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.

esv, Jan 12, 2009
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.08/5  rDev -19.8%
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.

Westsidethreat, Jun 14, 2006
Photo of largadeer
3.05/5  rDev -20.6%
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.

largadeer, Jul 30, 2008
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 .

blakelive784, Mar 29, 2012
Photo of mobyfann
3.05/5  rDev -20.6%
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!

mobyfann, Aug 09, 2009
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.

MichaelinFishers, Dec 24, 2011
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.

MRsojourner, Dec 26, 2012
Photo of brushpig
3.03/5  rDev -21.1%
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.

brushpig, Aug 04, 2006
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.

utopiajane, Oct 14, 2013
Photo of ajcormier
3.03/5  rDev -21.1%
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.

ajcormier, Feb 19, 2013
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.

dtivp, May 30, 2011
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,439 ratings.