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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,065 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2065
Reviews: 1018
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.1%


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)
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Ratings: 2,065 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of malty
malty

Michigan

4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2009 23:44:39 | More by malty
Photo of mempath
mempath

Pennsylvania

4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
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...:)

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2010 15:22:09 | More by mempath
Photo of PhilCheSteak
PhilCheSteak

New York

4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
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!

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2011 18:22:14 | More by PhilCheSteak
Photo of Johnnyfacelift
Johnnyfacelift

New York

4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
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!

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2011 17:53:37 | More by Johnnyfacelift
Photo of MadScientist
MadScientist

New York

4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2012 00:52:10 | More by MadScientist
Photo of leeenglewood
leeenglewood

Pennsylvania

4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2003 19:38:59 | More by leeenglewood
Photo of Twincrasher
Twincrasher


4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2012 17:18:41 | More by Twincrasher
Photo of JamieDuncan
JamieDuncan

Maryland

4.54/5  rDev +18.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 22:51:12 | More by JamieDuncan
Photo of sacfly
sacfly

Maryland

4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-29-2006 15:40:01 | More by sacfly
Photo of swissmiss805
swissmiss805

New York

4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
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!

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2007 19:44:36 | More by swissmiss805
Photo of cichief
cichief

Virginia

4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2009 00:02:42 | More by cichief
Photo of M_C_Hampton
M_C_Hampton

Georgia

4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
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

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2012 00:13:14 | More by M_C_Hampton
Photo of Dix90
Dix90

Pennsylvania

4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2013 19:42:51 | More by Dix90
Photo of grittybrews
grittybrews

Washington

4.51/5  rDev +17.8%
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!

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2011 03:44:22 | More by grittybrews
Photo of champ103
champ103

Texas

4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a cloudy reddish/brown color. A two finger white head forms and recedes after a minute. Light lace is left behind.
S: The aroma is of funky sourness. Ripe fruit of apples, pears, and cherries. Some vinegar, slightly acidic, and tannin aromas. Oak and wood lingers on. I can just plant my nose in the glass all day. Truly amazing.
T: Follows the nose. Lots of barnyard funky flavors and fruits. Apples and pears are most prevalent. Oak and wood. Again this is slightly acidic. Plenty of sweet sourness. Though it never becomes cloying. Very balanced between the Belgium funk and sweet fruit flavors.
M/D: This has a medium body. At first it has to much carbonation. Though as this breaths a little the beer becomes more creamy and smooth. The great balance between the fruit and sourness makes this a treat to drink. I wish the bottle would have never ended.

This is one great beer. I really enjoyed it. Something I would highly recommend.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2009 04:49:31 | More by champ103
Photo of diamondc
diamondc

Texas

4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, murky, burgundy in color, with excellent head retention and beautiful Belgian lace.

S: Acidic, chocolate-y, musty, cherry, rotten apples, with a bit of pork in the background.

T: Sour cherries dominate the flavor, along with vinegar, dark berries, brown sugar, with a barely there bitterness at the end (maybe due to the roasted malts?).

M/D: Excellent, light on the tongue, thirst quenching. Not heavy on the sour and the funk at all. This is as close as it gets to a everyday sour ale.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2010 01:44:59 | More by diamondc
Photo of Boppar
Boppar

New Hampshire

4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is, perhaps, my favorite beer. It is certainly very high up on the list.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a red wine glass/

A: Deep brown with hints of ruby, and two fingers of billowing, playful, foam. Excellent retention.

S: Lactic acid, sweet malts. Faint aromas of alcohol and vinegar.

T: It opens with a slight tang, segues into a rich, malty, sweet-without-cloying body. Faint notes of bread, chocolate, and ripe, dark stone fruits. The finish is acidic, slightly sour, and lingers.

M: Delightfully well-balanced between delivering a beer of substance, and yet one that is light enough to slake any thirst.

D: Exceptionally refreshing and drinkable. I would take this over any session beer, any day.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2010 23:50:57 | More by Boppar
Photo of bernie879
bernie879

Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet

A reddish brown ale with an off white head, reeking of sour cherries in a really good way. The carbonation was up there just enough to aid the medium bodied bodied beer and played well with the tart sourness in the mouth.

Why this is called a red ale I am not sure as it has more of the characteristics of a brown which are noticeable in the taste once one gets passed the sour cherries which dominate the beer, again in a good way.

I picked up this beer on a whi as I had never heard of the style and was blown away. This was a really goos beer and I look forward to trying others within the style.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2010 22:38:48 | More by bernie879
Photo of beerhan
beerhan

Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a delirium snifter. Dark brown color with about an inch of foam. Smells very murky, somewhat metallic with a flowery scent as well. Tastes like toffee with this sweet and sourness to it that is very hard to describe except by describing how tasty it is. Not too sour whereas some sours make my mouth cringe up but not too sweet as with a faro. Very drinkable. I have had it on draft as well and could not stop having this except for the price tag. Bottles are a very good price though and I high encourage anyone to try this.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2010 03:05:44 | More by beerhan
Photo of RuckusDu
RuckusDu

Colorado

4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a large 4+ finger head that seemed rocky but then quickly went down. It does stick around however at about 1/4cm. The color is odd and I can't put my finger on it. Light khaki but also some darkness to it, like the red coming through. I can't believe how dark this is. Really a dark red plum color.

S - There is a slight Belgian (dark currents, fruits) quality to it, but really a sour lemon/orange/grapefruit scent.

T - Wow, this is very nice. A great combination of dark Belgian quad qualities (but remains light) with sour cherries. Was not expecting this to be so good. There is a little boozy quality at the front which is weird considering it is 5.7%. There are some sweet raspberry/blueberry flavors.

M - A little light considering all the dark flavors but that works for this beer. It is a great alternative to the standard dark Belgian ales and lambics.

O - A lot going on here which I will have to discover through many more bottles. Would like to see how this tastes with some age on it but will be one of those where I have a difficult time aging when I will just want to drink it.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2011 03:57:38 | More by RuckusDu
Photo of agent2550
agent2550

California

4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am sitting down with this beer right now.
It pours a uniform red with a finger of creamy head which continues to form well after it is poured: the tiny bubbles are fun to watch!
The taste is simple and delicious: sour with flavors reminiscent of cherry, mild bitterness, and kiwi.
Smells of funk and sour.
Smooth mouthfeel with light champaigne-like small bubbles.
Overall it is a very straightforward, clean, and simple beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2011 23:42:43 | More by agent2550
Photo of HabiMendes
HabiMendes

Rhode Island

4.49/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer looks as one would expect from the Flemish Brown Ales - dark brown, with reddish tones. The neck is slightly tanned. The aroma emanates Granny Smith apples, with a very characteristic acidic note. The medium body, well-carbonated and extremely refreshing, also showcases the acidity, but not exaggeratedly. The aftertaste is long, leaving a pleasant tartness in your mouth. Very good Flemish Brown.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2013 16:36:55 | More by HabiMendes
Photo of ark57
ark57

Pennsylvania

4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It is a brownish red with very little head. The reserved aroma has some oak and vinous notes and a lactic sourness to it as well. The taste is sweet and sour with some fruit and oak in the finish. The sourness is mild and it is quite refreshing. I always start a visit to Monk's with one of these.

Serving type: on-tap

03-15-2004 14:20:07 | More by ark57
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
GeoffFromSJ

New Jersey

4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Having to celebrate Belgian Independence Day. But I don't need an excuse to enjoy this fine brew.

Pours very dark. Brown and red trying to peak through, but it is really dark. Really nice head that stayed for a while. Lacing was always present and pretty thick as well.

Sour from the oak is the smell. And that is pretty much the taste as well. Maybe with a touch of sweetness. It is oh so good.

Highly recommended. Forgot how good this was.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2009 03:20:21 | More by GeoffFromSJ
Photo of PreacherBrewer
PreacherBrewer

Virginia

4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a beautiful red-wine color. Sports a 2 finger light kaki colored head. head dissolves slowly to a thin film that leaves decadent lacing.

S - Unlike anything i've ever caught on the nose of a beer before. My first thoughts were of vinegar. then some sour smells, yeast, mixed fruit, primarily, grape, prune, and raisin.

T - WOW! this thing has personality! tastes very similar to how it smells: oddly carbonated, fermented grape/prune juice. a little hint of cranberry maybe. An apple cider flavor is lingering in there as well. it's very similar to fermented sparkling apple cider...sort-of.

M - It has a very ticklish, bubbly mouthfeel. very interesting, almost the life of the brew. very unique.

D - Despite what i've herd about the FOB's, and sour ales in general, this is a remarkably drinkable ale. It is mysterious, and captivating. It's interesting, yet not ridiculous. It's very very good. it may not be the thing for you, but you at least have to try one before you die...seriously.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2009 01:05:46 | More by PreacherBrewer
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,065 ratings.