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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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Photo of dar482
dar482

New York

3.31/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I had this on tap in Brooklyn at DBA.

The color is dark brown red with some amber on the edges.

The aroma has a sour cherry nose with some funk.

The flavor has a wonderful vinegar sour tart. It starts first is a bit of sour. Then it turns into a candied cherry. It finishes with a fake sweetness, almost like Sweet n’ Low or something.

This is a good beginner’s sour. It isn’t very sour, there isn’t much funk, and there is tons of sweetness on the end. It has a light body. It’s quite drinkable, but nothing too exciting.

Serving type: on-tap

06-06-2013 20:19:54 | More by dar482
Photo of Beerdster
Beerdster

Alaska

3.31/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a tulip.

A: Pretty opaque, dark red almost to the point of being brown. Dense white/tan head dissipated quickly.

S: Smells great: fruity, cherry, rounded

Taste: Sourness up front, but not very tart, it quickly gives way to...not much, really. Pretty weak finish.

M: In a word: thin. In more than one word: Thin, with carbonation that's a bit flacid.

The smell and appearance of this one set me up for a bit of a letdown. Almost no flavor on the back end, weak finish and little to no body. Probably a good "starter" sour.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2013 16:22:40 | More by Beerdster
Photo of illidurit
illidurit

California

3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear rust color with an ecru head that's fizzy but is kept alive by an etching at the bottom of my goblet. Black cherry aroma with some brown sugar and vinegar. Flavor is sweet with cherry and apple juice, a touch of vinaigrette, and some caramel. Not very sour really, and barely even tart. Definitely more sweet than anything. Body is very light, bordering on thin. Astringent dryness and a little metallic character. Overcarbonated.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2009 00:52:34 | More by illidurit
Photo of codewarrior
codewarrior

New York

3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

330mL from a 4 pack (17FJ 16:07), poured into a chalice

This beer, once upon a time, was my first sour ale ... on tap at Monk's cafe in Philadelphia a little-ways back. When I saw it sitting at Argonaut on Colfax, I jumped on it ... twittering with anticipation and chirping about it to my sweet lady.

A: Looks like mud mixed with blood (this is a good thing). Small amount of head, but thick.

S: Smells sticky and damp, like a frat-house basement ... except in a good-way.

T: Sweet up front, iron in the back. Very similar to the New Glarus Unplugged Enigma. Very.

F: Great! Thick and syrupy, but not over-much.

D: Nice all around.

Gonna let this do a turn in the cellar, see if it grows into itself a bit more. This is a delicious beer (vastly superior to the duchesse, to be sure), yet it doesn't stand up to other sours (Panil Bariqquee, Russian River Consecration, Supplication, etc). Yet. I have faith that in time, this baby will mature into a force to be reckoned with.

None-the-less ... friggin' tasty, seriously.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2010 01:14:09 | More by codewarrior
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a stemmed glass.

(A)- Pours a deep and dark burnt sienna color with ruby red highlights. Produced a nice fluffy off-white head with solid retention.

(S)- A big dry lactic vinegar up front. Some serious barnyard dirt and vinegar characters.

(T)- Very fruity. Not as sour or vinegar-like as the smell foretold. Some hints at tartness, but otherwise fruity, dry, and earthy with just a small kick.

(M)- A nice crisp carbonation level. Has a nice balance too. Smooth, fruity, and "ripe" tasting. A subtle sourness.

(D)- A solid Oud Bruin. Not as strong as what I anticipated, but it is what it is. Surprisingly refreshing and a nice treat and transition to have as the days slowly begin to warm up outside.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2011 00:58:04 | More by sweemzander
Photo of Aml42000
Aml42000

Washington

3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark brown body with a fluffy tan head. It showed some transparency toward the bottom of the glass and maintains a pretty appearance throughout.

S- A powerful blast of balsamico is hard to shake as you stick your nose deeper in the glass, but some muddled pit fruit becomes apparent with some swirling and persistence.

T- A healthy tension of sweet and sour on entry. The tart components are certainly more prominent on the mid palate. Tart, slighly underripe cherry and rhubarb fill the mouth. The barrel and yeast components take a backseat to the fruity aspects here. Medium levels of acidity for a sour ale.

M- This is a bit linear for a sour. High carbonation makes it more like a tart fruit soda than a sour or wild ale. I like a bit more acidity as I prefer a drier, fresher mouthfeel than this offers.

O- A very safe sour ale for those who aren't familiar with the style. A very versatile beer to serve with food as it has enough flavor to pair with many types of dishes, but gets a little tiresome to sip on alone. I wish it showed some more wild aspects.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2012 21:31:52 | More by Aml42000
Photo of mrasskicktastic
mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Auburn reddish with a medium tan head with lots of lacing. High carbonation is visible.

S - Very sour cherries, apple cider vinegar, faint cherry wood? That is unexpected.

T - Underripe sour cherries and mild vinegar. A bit of faint malt. Aftertaste is a sour and vinegary.

M - Thin, smooth, a little astringent, substantial carbonation. A tad refreshing too.

D - Pretty good. Not the best Flemish sour, but worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2007 06:31:43 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of ShogoKawada
ShogoKawada

Rhode Island

3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought on impulse at the store. Poured 12oz into pint.

A- brown with an amazing head. This is some thick stuff. Looks tasty.

S- Cinnamon jumps off the pint, as well as clove spices. Smells like potpourri, honestly. A bit of fleshy fruit.

T- Sour hits the tongue. Wow. This one throws me for a loop. Spicy, sweet, sour. Good, unique, strange. I didn't know what to expect, but this wasn't it. Hmm. Second sip is sweeter, less sour. Clove aftertaste. Gets a little too sweet for my tastes, however.

M- Unique. The sweet and sour play on the tongue.

D- Eh... I'm impressed by this beer. I didn't like it enough to buy some more, but I respect the craft put into this unique brew. A very off-the-beaten-path brew that's worth checking out.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2009 04:51:53 | More by ShogoKawada
Photo of PeterLemonjello
PeterLemonjello

Alabama

3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Very pretty beer. Pours a dark/rusty ruby color. Clear with nice carbonation. Thin head which remains during drinking. Nice lacing on glass.

S - Smells of sweet fruit with a touch of sour cider. Ever so slight touch of barnyard.

T - Tastes nice but a little sweet. Tastes of sweet cherries with a sour flavor present but just not enough to balance out the sweetness. I want to enjoy it more as it tastes very nice, but the sweetness just needs to be balances out with more sour or more barnyard which just isn't there enough to balance.

M - Lovely mouthfeel with prickly carbonation. Not too think and not too think.

D - Tough for me rank higher on drinkability because of the sweetness. If more balanced or a drier finish, it would be a very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2010 02:56:09 | More by PeterLemonjello
Photo of dejrrma
dejrrma

Georgia

3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

4 pack for about $14. 11.2 fl oz bottle poured into snifter. No date (that I could understand)

a- pours a deep amber, large off-white, froathy, buttery head that slides as i move the glass. a little lacing composed of foamy bubbles.

s- vinegary scent with notes of dark/red fruits (prunes, cranberries, raspberries). A hidden sweet aroma.

t- tastes like tart fresh fruits and balsamic vinaigrette. It's more sour than sweet, as I'd hoped, and but I wish it was more sour. Leaves a lingering earthy/metallic taste. Slight yeast

m- okay carbonation. Light and airy, and refreshing. A little watery as it warms .

o- Good, but not sure if I would buy again.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2011 21:00:36 | More by dejrrma
Photo of DavidST
DavidST

Texas

3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a pint glass, coded bottle date. This pours a crystal clear amber color with a massive fizzy tan head which last for a very long time a leave a duvel like foam. The smell is a little brown ale malty, a little nutty, hints of cherries. The feel is medium to light. The taste is okay, you get a little bitterness, nutty brown ale flavors and a little sourness, but mostly plain and light, this beer has the unfornutate task of following Liefmans Curvee and it leaves a ton to be desired.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 06:07:19 | More by DavidST
Photo of Tony49er
Tony49er

California

3.26/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Serving Type- Poured from a bottle into a Tulip Glass

Appearance- Tons of foamy brownish white head with an aggressive pour, dark ruby red color...just a beautiful looking Flemish sour

Smell- Funkyness, almost an effervescent character to the beer in the nose, fresh and dark cherries in the nose, light dark fruit character, some great barnyard funk to it

Taste- Effervescent quality in the front of the palate, dark cherries, fresh cherries, funk, light tart off dry sourness, very refreshing just a great sour no matter if you have had a lot of sours or you are new to the style

Overall- Just an awesome sour I have had this beer several times but this bottle has been in my cellar for a year or a little more and has not changed much maybe a little more funk but still awesome if you have never had a sour this is a great start I LOVE sours in my opinion they are the most under appreciated beer style by Americans....CHEERS

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2014 03:36:03 | More by Tony49er
Photo of Pamola
Pamola

Vermont

3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had tried this on tap before and wasn't too impressed. It may have been due to its comparison to the other fine brews in a flight at a beer bar, but here goes.

Poured an unaged bottle into a tulip glass. nice two finger head. The color is quite impressive. seems brown but in certain light it's very ruby-colored.
Smell is very reminiscent of Rodenbach's type or sour. Not piercing, but earthy and twangy and pretty good.
Taste is where this brew stumbles. This is an unaged bottle, so I'll reserve the ultimate judgement for a few years from now when another bottle comes out of the cellar. The sourness isn't quite sourness, it's a light tartness one would expect from fresh cider. Overwhelmingly fruity and slightly cloying.
Mouthfeel is jumbled and too effervescent.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2009 23:14:00 | More by Pamola
Photo of OneDropSoup
OneDropSoup

Pennsylvania

3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Grabbed this bottle from House of 1000 Beers in New Kensington, PA.

Poured into a stemmed tulip: Deep crimson body with ruby highlights - beautiful color. A finger of smooth, pillowy head that drops to a thin coating & coating. No lacing.

Tart cherry & orange peel in the smell with an overlying medicinal character, kind of like zinc lozenges. Somewhat metallic - good stuff in there, but those off-smells are hard to sift through.

Taste has pretty much the same notes as the smell, but the pleasant/unpleasant ratio has flipped to the point that the good outweighs the bad here by a little - the medicinal/metallic flavors are just trace.

Tart & acidic mouthfeel, medium-bodied, with just a little chalky sensation. As in the taste, the good's good & the bad's tolerable.

Definitely not my favorite for the style, but doable. I can stick with just one, though.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 01:02:37 | More by OneDropSoup
Photo of OddNotion
OddNotion

New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle poured into my Russian River Belgian style glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep, yet semi transparent, reddish brown with a two finger light tan head that dissipates relatively quickly down to a cap on the beer with nice lacing.

Smell: Funkiness that turns medicinal, sour cherry alongside some bitter fruity scent. A little too reminiscent of robitussin, which gives me flashbacks of childhood and how much I hated that damn syrup, ergo its making it hard for me to want to take that first sip.

Taste: I let this beer sit until it warmed up from the fridge temp and I still get some metallic flavors. It is sweet, not sour at all, not even tart. I get some dark fruits such as figs, raisins, and even some molasses at the end.

Mouthfeel: Extremely light bodied and thin.

Overall: I guess its not bad for a beginner on the style. I am by no means a seasoned pro with sours, but this one just doesnt do much for me. It is not repulsive, but then again it gives me no reason to desire another one.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2011 00:50:17 | More by OddNotion
Photo of Arithmeticus
Arithmeticus

Maryland

3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured chilled in flared sample glass @davewhite4, the third of a sour beer trilogy.

A: thin head, but very active carbonation; cola color; snowglobe effect from all the yeast floating about
S: not much aroma; opens up into some vinegar
T: very flavorful; sour cherry dominates; good malt presence

Good specimen of a sour beer

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2013 22:29:00 | More by Arithmeticus
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly cloudy reddish brown ale with out much of a head.

Smell is sweet and fruity with a slight acid edge. Mostly fruit scents of sour cherries with a sweetening of honey. Later one softer scents of brown sugar and rum appear.

Taste is a little sweet with a good sour pop of acid to more or less even the flavor out and leaves a lemony sour note on your tongue. Fruit flavor of sour cherries without going too sour. Refreshing but not real complex.

Mouthfeel is OK.

OK as the style goes. A sweet and sour ale that I really can't pair with anything except Sauerbraten.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2005 05:22:46 | More by Zorro
Photo of jbschafer
jbschafer

Iowa

3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Served at the high end of cellar temperature.

Pours a hazy amber, brown color - even more hazy than I might expect from this style. Very limited amount of light let through to the point of looking like something is "not right." I do not detect any red as might be expected. Reasonable sized head, collapses down in about a mind. Nice mild lacing as you drink that saved it's appearance score.

Smell is a mixture of sour fruit and some kind of bathroom astringent. Not awful, but again, like something is not right.

By the time, I took my first drink, I was already wondering what I had gotten myself into. The first taste was a mixture of cloves and vinegar, and like several other reviewers, I thought - crud, a lousy beer. However, I never trust first impressions. The clove taste was gone by the third sip and replaced with something more like sharp rotten fruit (kiwi?). While that sounds awful, it isn't too bad, and it began to grow on me.

Mouthfeel is somewhat thin with a lingering flavor of wet beach sand and, again, sour kiwi.

I could drink one with a meal, but am not sure I would want to drink two or three sitting around with friends.

I am not sorry I tried this, but it doesn't hold up against several of it's peers (like an old lover, Duchesse was my first and remains my favorite). I will probably keep a bottle on hand in the cellar, but it won't be one I will reach for on a weekly basis.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2006 18:55:11 | More by jbschafer
Photo of stckhndlr
stckhndlr

Virginia

3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark rusty brown with ruby highlights. Topped with a thick 1 finger head of very small bubbles. Creamy.

S- Smells like a sour apple cider. Picking up hints of bananas, cherry, maybe some dark caramel. There's a funkiness to this one that is hard to pin point. Almost like a wine that has been over exposed to air.

T- A mellow bitternesss with some sour apple, raisins, cherries, and a woody characteristic mixed in. Tastes like a mossy oak. A bit of metallic leftovers in the finish.

M- Medium creaminess, Not overly carbonated.

O- Kind of a bland sour. No big burst of smells nor flavors. Nothing that really stands out. Having a little trouble with this mossy funk it has to it. But I can't say I wouldn't try it again in the future.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2012 03:51:13 | More by stckhndlr
Photo of yeahnatenelson
yeahnatenelson

Illinois

3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance -- Pours a ruddy brown with ruby highlights, slight haze, with two fingers of tight beige head.

Smell -- Cherries, raisins, cider vinegar, some metallic notes.

Taste -- Ripe cherry, rich roast malt, under-ripened plum, some woodiness, and a cider vinegar tanginess that crescendoes in the finish. A bit of off metallic flavor.

Mouthfeel -- Medium to light in body, with an overabundance of fluffy carbonation.

Drinkability -- Overall, I thought this beer was just okay. Instead of a sour finish what is present is a general tanginess and an unpleasant metallic taste. Also, the carbonation could stand to be pulled back slightly. Doubt I'll try again, but still a noble offering.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2010 03:35:10 | More by yeahnatenelson
Photo of Satchboogie
Satchboogie

New Hampshire

3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a tulip glass

A: Pours dark blood red/brown, 1 finger off-white champagne like head that disappears almost as quickly as it forms. Almost completely opaque.

S: Slight vinegar is the first thing noticeable, followed by sour apply, "funky" lactic flavors, a little alcohol, and something in the background that resembles a beer.

T: Well, I don't hate it... not yet. At first it tastes like a sweet tart soda, then after the carbonation starts to clear the vinegar and funky sour flavors start to come in. Candy our apple and slight vinegar seem to be the dominant flavors. Very sweet like candy sugar, seems to get a little more lactic as it warms.

M: Carbonation is champagne like, light body, crisp, refreshing. Aftertaste is tart, sour, and a little puckering.

D: While the lactic and vinegar aren't to pleasant, I do like the sweet candied sour apple flavor. the mouthfeel is refreshing and has me reaching for more despite the somewhat unpleasant finish. Strange, but it works.

It's important to note that this was my first taste of a sour Ale, not having had a wild ale or lambic either. Overall, I thought it was interesting but honestly it is a style I probably wont be visiting again anytime soon. It's not terrible, I just don't find the vinegar and lactic qualities that enjoyable and don't think of the flavors or mouthfeel as "beer" (I know it is an ale by definition).

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2010 03:57:42 | More by Satchboogie
Photo of tjkinate
tjkinate

Texas

3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One major problem.

A: Probably the best looking beer I've seen from this style or similar styles. A single fingered head formed that exhibited good retention finally settling to a soapy film atop this deep red transparent brew. It even showed solid amounts of lacing!

S: Cherry, raspberry, pomegranate, and cranberry notes are most prominent, but are followed nicely with tart and grassy undertones.

T: Follows the smell fairly closely leaving the raspberry and cherry flavors to remain most dominant. Sour funk follows nicely, unfortunately so does the metallic copper aftertaste. Really bummed me out, gonna try again later hoping for better results.

M: Well carbonated and lightly bodied.

O: Almost fantastic, but the copper flavor really just ruined it for me.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2012 20:06:40 | More by tjkinate
Photo of Onibubba
Onibubba

Kentucky

3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a dark reddish brown with a small white head. Smell is all sour apples. Has a much more pronounced sourness than I was expecting. I thought this would be along the same lines of a Rodenbach or a Duchesse. However, there is none of that sour cutting sweetness present in this beer. Reminded me somewhat of a La Roja, but without the complexities. Mouthfeel was OK. For this degree of sourness, a bit more carbonation would have been nice.

Drinkability is not high. This is not a bad beer, but it is a sipper, maybe even a transitional beer. Would be nice to have before or after some sweeter reds, but 2 of these is a row would be a bit much.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2007 13:15:22 | More by Onibubba
Photo of 1759Girl
1759Girl

California

3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance> Mohagany in color. Little to no head. kind of lackluster, also.
Smell> Mmmm molasses
Taste> standard sour red. I'm not a fan of the type, but I've had enough to know what the good stuff is.
Mouthfeel> Too thin
Drinkability> if you like the style you will probably find this easy to drink.

Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2008 00:27:15 | More by 1759Girl
Photo of Psilo707
Psilo707

California

3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I believe this is the first Flanders Oud Bruin type of beer I have ever actually reviewed (and in recent knowledge - have even tried), and I was not sure what to expect. The appearance is a very piney red, slightly brown, as it pours with a thick head into a glass. Lacing isn't as nice as the head, but it's present.

Smell is very strong and I like it much. A very cherry and exciting scent, much like a fruit juice but with alcohol.

The taste took me for a surprise and I had no idea it would be this much like a fizzy wine. Now I understand why it's truly called Sour Ale. I didn't dislike the taste at first, but it took me about half a glass to get into and understand more thouroughly. By the end, I was enlightened somewhat. Decent stuff.

Mouthfeel is bubbly and erratic; good overall. Drinkability a bit lower than the rest as I don't think I could continue with these for too long, at least not in my current experience.

Overall I would recommend, but be ready for something new if you've never tried a Flanders Bruin.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2009 05:29:49 | More by Psilo707
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,065 ratings.