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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

2,067 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2067
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: 2,067 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of earthboundagain
earthboundagain

Colorado

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-This beer is a reddish, brown, reminds me of balsamic vinegar, the head is not huge, but laces well.

S- We have grapes and sweet cherry, and vinegar twang, some woody notes as well. This beer smells of a funky promise.

T- The taste is a sour red grape, mixed with slight cherry and some oak. This so reminds me of balsamic vinegar it is not funny, but it is oh so good.

M- A medium body with lots of carbonation, this beer is a beauty on the palate.

D- The glass empties quickly, with strong deep sips.

I know this beer gets a lot of abuse, but I think it is a good beer. While it might not be top of the line, it is a wonderful beer to keep on hand. I have also used this to convert a few wine drinkers in my time.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2010 16:01:28 | More by earthboundagain
Photo of Buttermaker
Buttermaker

California

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is lovely beer and perfect as an aperitif on an early summer evening. Light bodied, perfect sweet and sour balance. It's a great introduction to sours/old browns for someone that's not likely to try one on their own (your wife for example). Very seshable.

Recommended Music Pairing: Vince Guaraldi - In Person

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2010 02:06:14 | More by Buttermaker
Photo of CrossFitAlex
CrossFitAlex

Wisconsin

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Rose, rust, and amber with a crisp medium head

N - ale- sour / acidic, cherry, rose and floral scents.

T - YUM! nice balance of sour on the front of the palette w/ good carbonation. Well balanced ale flavors. Cherry and floral with an excellent sweet-sour mix. (I love flemish sours)

M - 4.5

D - Did I mention I love flemish sours? I think i'll have another...

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2010 23:22:54 | More by CrossFitAlex
Photo of fragilehearted
fragilehearted

Texas

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle into a tulip. Thanks to Brez07 for this in a recent BIF! I've had it before, but it's just not sold where I live, so I seek it out whenever I can. It's one of my favorites!

A - dark brownish red. nice tan head, but it goes down pretty quickly into a cloud-covered ring. Leaves a bit of lacing hanging out in blotches.

S - sour fruits, acid, vinegar. Kind of reminds me of a vinaigrette dressing. Could be better, actually, but well, I'm into aromas.

T - tart, but not too tart. There's some sweetness in there too. Cherries, grapes, apples...fruits. Lots of sours are just overwhelmingly sour (not always a bad thing), but I like this one a lot because of the balance.

M - light. pretty carbonated, but I don't generally mind that in a beer. Goes down so smooth.

D - super duper. I could drink this all the time. It's not overly sour, has just a touch of sweetness that makes it much more drinkable than the average sour, especially for those not familiar w/ the style. For that reason, I think it'd be a great intro to the style - was mine, way back when! And if you can find it, usually not a bad price tag either.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2010 06:21:42 | More by fragilehearted
Photo of Tone
Tone

Missouri

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark red color. 3/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of tart malt, slight sweet malt, and strong citrus. Fits the style of a Flanders Oud Bruin. Mouth feel is sharp at first, that then becomes smooth. There is an average carbonation level. Tastes of tart malt, strong citrus, slight sour, slight sweet malt, slight yeast, slight grass, hint of hop, and a hint of wood. Overall, a very good beer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-15-2010 21:21:35 | More by Tone
Photo of Brent
Brent

Kentucky

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This seemed a little younger and fresher than what I'm accustomed to for the style, or perhaps I've just gotten used to drinking old beer? Bright, well moderated lactic tartness redolent of sour cherry and some oaky, tannic notes. Finish was nicely dry and clean, with some citric sweetness at the very end.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2010 15:15:36 | More by Brent
Photo of Hopdaemon39
Hopdaemon39

New York

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip- pours a very dark ruby color (similar to Coke but darker) with 1.5 finger tan head. Great retention, good lacing.

Smell is kinda tart- a little fruity (grapefruit maybe), definitely very wild yeasty.

Taste is exceptional- well balanced tartness but very full flavored. I taste a little cherry, definitely lots of wild yeast (tart, earthy flavors). Great level of tartness- shows off the flavor while being mild enough for newcomers.

Mouthfeel is excellent- medium body with moderate to full carbonation. Definitely a great example of Oud Bruin. Had it on tap but enjoyed this from the bottle more.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2012 01:10:34 | More by Hopdaemon39
Photo of Jamesthebrit
Jamesthebrit

Michigan

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Super bubble head. Color is dark reddish brown.
S: Smells a little sour with a lot of grape. Smells a lot like a young wine.
T: The sour really hits you right away and the first thing I thought was this is going to linger around and taste gross. But as soon as the sour really set in it was gone being replaced with some spicy and malt. Some cinnamon in there maybe.
M: Again really great here. The beer sits with a medium body and like I said the sourness dissipates quickly leaving a sweet aftertaste.

Overall a very nice beer. Certainly unique and drinkable. Probably not a beer for everyone since it is a little weird but I quite like it. The combination of all the aspects works very well.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2012 16:00:57 | More by Jamesthebrit
Photo of mmmbeer
mmmbeer

Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle with no freshness date. It pours a red/copper with a 2 finger head that is tan with a hint of red and forms a crater in the middle when it recedes and leaves some nice foam for lace. It smells of sour grape, fruit?, dung?, lactic? (I guess that's what it is - it's not familiar to me and they mention it on the label...), along with mustiness and some acidity. It tastes sour/acidic, fruity, tart, with medicinal phenols, farm/mustiness, and perhaps iron and salt. Maybe a hint of hops, but not sure if they use them. It has a light, tingly, dry body that is quite refreshing and it's overall a quality beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2005 01:55:33 | More by mmmbeer
Photo of UncleFlip
UncleFlip

Alabama

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brown on the table, a bit hazy Honey with ruby and peach notes when held to the light. One finger tan head falls at a decent rate.

Smell is stewed cherries and paint thinner. It sounds un-appetizing, but it's actually rather nice.

Not as assertive as others I've had in this style. The sourness also seems more subtle, and builds as you approach the middle mark. The cherry notes peak just before the sour tang hits- you know the tang- the pleasant kind that gives a slight pain right at the back of your jaw- like what you get if you suck on a vitamin c tablet. I rather like this one!

The mouthfeel is very even. The viscosity of the liquid and the swell of the carbonation go hand in hand- but both are subtle.

VERY drinkable- one of the most drinkable I've had in this style. I'd like more! The only drawback is there's not as much flavour right at the sip as I'd like. If it weren't for that, it might get another half-point on drinkability.

Be well
-UF

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2006 07:19:19 | More by UncleFlip
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: on-tap

06-20-2006 02:40:02 | More by DrJay
Photo of FightingEntropy
FightingEntropy

Minnesota

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got down to the Blue Nile to have a draft of Monk's Flemish Red, and it was really worth the trip. I had a draft at Monk's a year ago, and rated this one higher. For this tasting, the beer poured high with a thick, off white head with lots of small carbonation bubbles which drops to a thin lingering foam that resembles a tan oil slick. Only a small amount of lace hangs on the edge. It is a truly red red ale, dark cherry in color with golden highlights that almost shimmers. Sour fruit fills your nose, mostly cherry, but also raisins/currants along with a light tinge from the oak too. The smell is less complex than the sour/sweet/tart/sour taste--like those expensive dark cherries you let set an extra day or two in the fridge before eating. The malt sweetness is strong enough to try hard to balance, but in the end lose by a bit to the complex yeasty sourness. Perfect. Really enjoyed this beer, but had to head home after two because a third would have knocked me for a loop. Hope that my life allows me to get back for another draft of this very cool beer of an underdone style. Take my review for what it is--I switch back and forth between barleywine and Flanders red as my favorite styles--I like strong, sour, and in your face beers that have strong opposing flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

10-08-2006 14:48:30 | More by FightingEntropy
Photo of MaggieReed
MaggieReed

Michigan

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had two of these @humpy's in downtown anchorage.

pours a deep red-brown with about an inch of nice, thick head.

s- tart cherries, brown sugar and wheat with a heavy malt presence rounding out the finish.

t-awesome- clearly if you look at my reviews I am a huge fan of this style, but this one has a presence that is not found in any but the best beers, and the taste was complex- not something my toungue will get bored with.

m- somewhat syrupy with moderate carbonation

d- not for everyone, but if you are a fan of the style you will enjoy this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

06-29-2009 06:14:44 | More by MaggieReed
Photo of Suomi411
Suomi411

Maryland

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark amber with a reddish hue. Head dissipates quickly to about .5-1" thick. Moderate lacing that disappears quickly following each sip.
S: Sour, a hint of cherries and cider.
T: Initially, moderate sourness with a hint of cherries, apples. Ends sweet effectively balancing the initial sour component. No real sense of hops, diacetyl. Aftertaste is earthy/woody, but also disappears rather quickly
M: Light to medium bodied (more on light side) with a fair amount of carbonation and low bitterness.
D: Excellent! Will pick up again in the near future.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2009 01:45:39 | More by Suomi411
Photo of Symptomu
Symptomu

Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As a lover of sour brews I've developed a special affinity for this beers different take on sour. The color is a lovely clear but deep brown red and on tap the head is impressive. The sour aroma and even the tast of this beer is very lactic, yogurty, rather than acetic, vinegary. The mouthfeel is thin but not overly so. The sour lends to the brews drinkability without being too tangy, puckery. Flavors hint at cherry, crab apple, molasses, and plain yogurt. This is an excellent first timers sour though may not be much like its brethren.

Serving type: on-tap

09-30-2009 22:22:01 | More by Symptomu
Photo of cbutova
cbutova

Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a gloriously dark red into my Duvel tulip. A head builds up to a few fingers but fizzes out very quickly and you can actually hear it. Dies down to a funky looking cloud and ring. A few sticky suds but looks more like wine with a mutant cloud in the middle of it.

S- Strong and sour. The aroma even made my cheeks pucker. Smells a lot like red wine, a very lot. Lots of grapes, fruit and acetic and lactic acid.

T- Pretty damn sour at first but that goes away pretty quickly. It starts off with huge fruit and vinous notes, lots of grape and dark fruit going on here. The finish is hugely unexpected, malty and very bready. The moderate sour level (after first sip) lends a great touch to these nice flavors. Vinegar levels not very present here for some reason. Wow, toward the ends this really tastes amazingly like tart cherry pits.

MF- The body is fairly light and highly carbonated. It is, however, very smooth and creamy. The sours make your cheeks pucker as the palate is coated with great fruit and vinous flavors.

DB- I bought this because it was the cheapest Belgian single on the entire shelf of a local store. Turned out to be a great buy, successfully blending wine flavors with a great malt and yeast backbone. I would be proud to have this brewed for my restaurant. Probably a one or two bottle thing but still one of the most drinkable sours I have come across.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2010 01:29:36 | More by cbutova
Photo of KDeLibero
KDeLibero

Colorado

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Belgian family-owned Van Steenberge brewery, which is outside the city of Ghent, in the Flemish region, produces the famous beers Gulden Draak and Piraat. They have collaborated with the Belgian Beer Emporium, Monk's Café in Philadelphia to commission the Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale under their private label. Monk's Café is made in the style of an Oud Bruin (or "old brown). Young and old beers are blended to create balance and complexity in this mildly sour ale.

Monk's Café pours a deep red mahogany with a malty aroma of fruit and oak. The flavor is tart with strawberries and cherries, and hints of vanilla, wood, and lactic acid. The noticeable oak on the finish must be from the more aged batch of beer that is blended in. Overall, Monk's Café is a very drinkable and refreshing beer that would serve as a great introduction to sour beers for those who are not familiar with the style.

While delicious on it's own, Monk's Café will pair well with a wide variety of different foods, especially ones that share the same funky, barnyardy flavors. Try pairing it with a gamey meat such as duck with a sweet sauce, or a rich pork dish. It would certainly compliment an earthy, mushroomy cheese like Brie de Meaux, or Forsterkäse, which is wrapped in bark for an extra heady flavor. Experiment too, this beer is fun and delightful with chocolate!

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2010 04:29:23 | More by KDeLibero
Photo of stimulus
stimulus

New Jersey

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip.

A: Pours a clear brown with a tan head and decent lacing.
S: Sweet brown sugar and lactic vinegar.
T: A perfect blend between extreme acidity and sweetness, with a sweet finish.
M: Light carbonation, medium body.
D: I could easily drink more than one of these in a sitting, which is saying a lot for a sour ale. It's also affordable for a sour, which is a nice bonus.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 04:00:29 | More by stimulus
Photo of Amalak
Amalak

New York

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. Black like a Guinness and it has a huge foamy tan head. It has tons of lacing.

S. A metallic scent followed with a grape undertone.

T. Wow, intense grape taste. A nice sour with a kind of jolly rancher feel, a roasty malt aftertaste.

M. A bit tart. Carbonated.

O. Maybe my favorite sour. Flavorful and not obnoxiously tart.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2012 17:31:35 | More by Amalak
Photo of pkalix
pkalix

California

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

part of 'that' sampler pack of sour brews...
tan, creamy head. dark ruby pour.
aroma 'could' be of a sour, but it's not totally there....
taste.... wow. very full, round sour flavor- AWESOME, but finishes totally WEAK. what a disappointment at the finish. kind of like the tigers in game 3 of the world series right now with bases loaded and 1 out- strike out, and chump! oh well.... i love the flavor, although it's just missing something... i mean, how do i describe this?
overall, awesome lacing on the sides. beautiful color. fruity, tart. low abv%, but okay.... maybe that's what it is missing.... does it earn a 4.5? i really like this.... but there's just something in the finishing of the taste that makes me think they just missed something....

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2012 03:07:07 | More by pkalix
Photo of mynie
mynie

Indiana

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2006 02:39:12 | More by mynie
Photo of rayjay
rayjay

Hawaii

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1st time I had this was when they were premiering it at Monks Cafe in Philly. The owner Tom and a business partner and I had a few and raved about it for a while; they were obviously proud of it, and I think they said they choose it from amoung 8 sours and it was the clear winner. It was so good I had 4 glasses right then and there. That was 4, maybe 5 years ago, so lets see how it tastes these days.

I purchased this one at Healthy Spirits in San Fran, and I was surprised and happy to see it because I thought you could only get it in Philly. I remember it being alot better on draft, but I happily gave this bottle a go.

Healthy head of red foam, purple body, lots of lace, a beautiful beer.

Funky cheese nose that is very appealing.

Some sweetness, a mild sour blanket, and gentle malts come together in perfect harmony. I've had bottles that were just so-so, but this one tastes great. Finishes very dry--sweetness goes right away. Cheese and sour cherries. Restrained, polite flavors that melt in your mouth.

Spicy carbonation that remains active. The sourness and dryness make you chave more. Extremely refreshing and drinkable. One of the finest examples of its kind; puts Duchesse to shame, making her seem like pure vinegar. Seek and consume!

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2007 06:43:21 | More by rayjay
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a sour/vinegar scent wrapped around a malt base of pale, crystal, and roasted malts. It has a buttery malt aroma; very nice. The taste is really good. It has a smooth and refreshing sourness along with a buttery malt flavor. The crystal and roasted malts give the beer excellent malt character. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This was a real treat. I'm a fan of sour beers and this was a good one.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2008 22:59:36 | More by WesWes
Photo of lpayette
lpayette

Vermont

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was surprised to see I hadn't reviewed this before. I've had it probably 4 or 5 times. This bottle probably has about a year of aging on it, and it does seem to have mellowed out some which I like.

Appearance- dark ruby grapeish color with a small head but plenty of lacing. Looks good.

Smell- mostly sour notes, but there's a bit of vinegar at times in the background which I could go without. It's not a dealbreaker for me though, just something I could do without. Well... afterall, it is part of the style, isn't it? Smell of cherries and grapes with a dusting of oakey/woodsy notes.

Taste and Mouthfeel- Nice sour flavors mingle with very subtle oaky flavors. Again, the flavors are mostly grapes and cherries- at least that's how I perceive it anyway. Remember that grape flavored kool-aid with the purple dinosaur on it? Well, if I remember correctly, this beer tastes kind of like they took some of that and fermented it with some wild critters. That might sound like a negative review, but I think it's pretty darn tastey. Finishes pretty dry.

Drinkability- I find this to be a pretty drinkable beer overall, and one that might be a good gateway beer into the realm of sour beer. It's not too sour, but there's enough there to make it a new taste for most people.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2008 02:45:09 | More by lpayette
Photo of jsanto
jsanto

New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

s - on hand pump at monks.

a - copper color brown, and a slight head.

s - sour orange, and sour some more.

t - all i can say is it was very flavorful, and sour red. little alcohol, and cherry.

m - not too much carbonation, and a excellent finish.

d - next time i would have a second one, a great session beer.

Serving type: cask

02-19-2009 21:12:59 | More by jsanto
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,067 ratings.