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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,094 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 1,094
Hads: 2,715
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.24%
Wants: 79
Gots: 355 | FT: 6
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:
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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,094 | Hads: 2,715
Photo of pjbfromkc
4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

One of the more affordle Flanders out the and a great intrduction in sour beer. It pours a dark ruby red and has a nice tart sour aroma. Taste is mild tart cherry. It is not the best sour out there, but it is good. And for the price this is a sour I will keep coming back to. (279 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A dark red brew, with a small whispy head. Aroma is heavy on the cherries, with some astringent, lambic-sour ale funk in the background...way in the background. The taste is sour, and fruity...a good combination of flavors, if you ask me. I have to agree that this is a great sour red ale, but it is not as complex as goudenbond or duchess....the drinkability is good, and the mouthfeel is creamy.

this is a very good beer

(430 characters)

Photo of edskirk3
4.39/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love me a sour ale and they are relatively hard to find, hence the purchase of this 11.2 oz brown glass bottle devoid of intellgible freshness information.

Pours (into a Duvel tulip) a dark brown, with half a finger of loose froth composed of relatively large bubbles.

Smells nice and tart, not very funky.

The palette is largely sour, which I love. Tartness of green apples and sweetness of sour cherries, if that makes any sense. Juicy aftertaste.

Very tasty. I've always loved things that taste sour. I could have a lot more of this. It's not too strong. (563 characters)

Photo of depechemode1983
4.39/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured into a tulip glass a dark brown with deep red tones when held to the light. The light brown head doesn't stick around long and there is no lacing at all.

S - Smell is somewhat of mildew, vinegar, sour cherries, and a toasty. Up front the sour cherries hit you with a bit of a vinegar background. Then it fades off into a mildew like character with a bit of toastyness.

T - There is a very pronounced sour cherry flavor and a nice white wine alcohol character. Again I get some toastyness in the background.

M - Medium bodied and with mild carbonation. Finish is dry.

D/N - This stuff is F'ing delicious. Picked it up out of town. Should have probably capitalized on it. (685 characters)

Photo of washburnkid
4.39/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is just awesome. It pours reddish mahogany with little to no head. I don't care, because the aromas and flavors are filled with fruit, dominated by bitter, sour cherries. The mouthfeel is thin with low carbonation. This beer does the style justice, and I'm looking forward to enjoying it again! (304 characters)

Photo of crhensel
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(12 oz bottle into tulip) I was apprehensive about this one, not only because it was my first sour, but also because I found it after getting as a Christmas gift in 2009(!) Heard a good pop when I lifted the cap, so that was promising. The pour was a deep mahogany with a very pillowy, thick tan head. The nose was at first strongly vinegar, which put me off, so I waited a little bit, then came back and found that mellowed into more or less a tart fruit - apples and cherries - with the vinegary undertone. The drink itself was very smooth, and not as sour as I expected. There was a fruity sweetness up front, but the finish had a nice crisp sour bite making for a nice ending note. I will definitely explore this style more, and this one will be a go to beer for me for a while. (782 characters)

Photo of dgallina
4.37/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz brown bottle without freshness date.

Poured a slightly transparent deep reddish-brown with big carbonation, small sheen of foam, and good lace. Smells big and fruity; a sweet and sour blend of green apples and grapes that tickles the nose. Green apples, pears, and a counter-balance of wood and sweet dark fruits (cherries?) lead to a super-dry, earthy and yeasty finish. Highly-carbonated, moderately light and tingly in the mouth. (443 characters)

Photo of Gusler
4.37/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Draught @ O’Brien’s San Diego
Just goes to show you, that you never know what you will find in a great pub, owned and run by great beer loving people, a beer brewed in Belgium exclusively for a pub in Philadelphia, in a pub in California!

The beer as it sets in the Belgian Chalice a somewhat murky deep red to almost brown color, the head a medium tan color that is also creamy in texture and the size perfect, the lace forms a tight skirt to cover the glass. Nose is crisp and tart, the aroma of over ripe fruit, a hint of yeast, a bit musky, quite a pleasant sniff this beer. Start is lightly sweet then tart with the top middling in its feel to the palate, finish is austere in its acidity, the hops perfect in their spiciness, very dry after taste that lingers on and on. I was simply forced to have several glasses before I boarded my incredibly long flight back to Phoenix, geez I needed the energy to withstand that hour and five minute flight! Lol (962 characters)

Photo of superdedooperboy
4.36/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2-ounce brown bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a nicely clear copper-brown with a huge billowing head of beige foam that shows excellent retention, leaving fat patchy rings of lacing down the sides of the glass, settling to a thick cap that holds out until the finish.

The nose is a delicious melding of aromas, with some slightly sweet toffee-like notes, lots of oaky wood and a little bit of a sour, musty character.

Body sits on the lower end of medium, with a middling level of carbonation. A mild base of sweet caramel is topped with a nice dose of tartness that consumes the entirety of the palate through the finish, with notes of dark cherries and raspberries toward the back. More musty, oaky and vinous notes fill in the cracks before a slightly sour, medium-dry finish.

Wonderfully drinkable, the balance between sweet and sour here is spot-on, and the low alcohol level lends itself to sessionability. This is one beer that I honestly believe I could drink all night long without tiring of it. Very nice. (1,031 characters)

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
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. (645 characters)

Photo of alleykatking
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a deep amber color. Nice light tan one finger head that fades rather quickly. Leaves some nice skirted lacing on the sides as I drink this down.

S- This has a nice amber cider smell to it. Threw me off at first but nice nevertheless. Vinegar offnotes in this one as well. Not much of anything else.

T- Big fruity (apple) cider upfront with this. Some vinegar notes in the middle of it. Ends on a lighter clove and bubblegum like hints. This is balanced like that all throughout the beer.

M- Medium light mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the beer. Fizzes in the front half of the beer. Cider presence felt also in the front half. Nice apple and light sourness on both the palate and in the aftertaste.

D- This one is dangerously drinkable. I had no problem drinking all 12oz of this bad boy and at a alarming rate. The only set back to this one I would have to say is I could feel this making a mess of your gut if too much was drank. Would recommend this one as a sour to start off with. (1,030 characters)

Photo of Brent
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
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. (307 characters)

Photo of Tsull123
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%

First sour ale i've had. I'm really enjoying it. I think it could be a bit more balanced but i'm really digging the fruity/malty/fizziness of it. It's very drinkable, and it's almost hard to believe that this is beer and not an alcopop.

Tastes like if you took a Smirnoff Ice Raspberry and waved a magic wand to transform it into a beer. In a good way.

I'm psyched to try more Sour Ales, and will probably pick this one up again. There is a TON of sediment however, if that type of thing turns you off this may not be fore you. (529 characters)

Photo of GClarkage
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

01/07/06- Purchased at Sun Devil Liquors in Mesa, AZ.

Presentation- 11.2 oz bottle. Code on the back label. Poured into a chalice tyle glass.

Appearance- Reddish in color. Light 1/4 inch head which almost all remains the whole way down. Very light lace.

Smell- A touch barnyard. A bit musty, with a hefty sour fruity scent.

Taste- Sour, but not mouth puckering sour. Cherry in flavor over any other fruit. Touch hoppy in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- Tart, with a about perfect carbonation level.

Drinkability- One of the better Flanders I have had. I like the fact that the tartness wasn't too overpowering. Nice drinking brew. (643 characters)

Photo of Buttermaker
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
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 (316 characters)

Photo of bitterthebetter
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a deep regal brown with ruby highlights and an off white head

rich, malty, caramel aromas upfront with a sour tartness and slight woodiness

caramel malt upfront by tart malt, slight apple notes, and slight dry woodiness on the finish

smooth, tart yet balanced, a bit sugary but super enticing

a great beer, reminds me of why I love these beers. smooth, malty, sour yet pleasant all the way through its an absolute pleasure to drink this beer (451 characters)

Photo of stimulus
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
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. (412 characters)

Photo of davexisxrabid
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice deep brown color that looked crimson when held up to the light in my Chimay goblet. Little white head that had decent retention. Excellent lacing during the drinking period.

Brown sugar aroma and grapejuice.

Flavor was similar to brown sugar followed by a slightly tart but not vinegary or acidic flavor. It was a fruit-like tart similar to green apples or white grapes.

Very carbonated brew, medium bodied due to the carbonation. Slightly sweet flavors linger on the palate for a bit, making this very pleasant all around.

Very drinkable in my opinion. Easy to have more than one, if you're lucky enough to have a few on hand. My only complaint was the carbonation, but it's ok. A few extra burps for a good beer. (732 characters)

Photo of earthboundagain
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
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. (725 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a ruby red color with a small white head. Nose is vinegar, fruits, strawberry perhaps and a definitevtartness. Taste is self is def tart from begining to end, great tasting blend of fruits, nice body and sweet. Very good brew, on tap much better versus bottle. My wife loved it. (285 characters)

Photo of mmmbeer
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
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. (622 characters)

Photo of Jamesthebrit
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
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. (700 characters)

Photo of elinash
4.34/5  rDev +13%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Monk's Cafe Flemish Red is brewed by Van Steenberge in Belgium. Poured into my Fin Du Monde glass at hand.

It pours very dark with no head, only a light ring of lacing around the edge.
The aroma is amazing, full of vitamin c/ acscorbic acid, vinegar and sweet malt. Tart cherries come out in the aroma and in the immediately following taste profile.
The taste is malt-rich with tons of fruit and sweet and sour flavors. It is wonderfully tangy and smooth at the same time.
Mouthfeel is soft with the sweetness predominating.
It finishes with rich fruit flavors and high acidity. (583 characters)

Photo of CrossFitAlex
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
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... (369 characters)

Photo of KDeLibero
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
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! (1,365 characters)

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,094 ratings.