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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

2,064 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2064
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: 2,064 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of benteach
benteach

Missouri

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

My first, and probally last, sour beer. I tried this style on the urging of a friend. I am not a big vinegar fan, maybe that is why I am not a fan of this.

Poured brown-red with a good, cream colored head.

Aromas of cider vinager.

Sweet taste. good mouthfeel. Hints of apple, cherries, citrus.

It is growing on me as I drink it, maybe it won't be the last.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2009 23:37:47 | More by benteach
Photo of mlazzaro
mlazzaro

Massachusetts

3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

11.2oz bottle from portland wholefood

a- pours a reasonably clear brown ale, with a tan colored head. healthy carbonation + good head retention.

s- smells of sour funk and maltiness. I usually associate this aroma with fruits, it is odd smelling the funk standing on its own. a unique aroma.

t- I do enjoy the sourness, but it feels naked without the fruitiness. not a traditional lambic like I was half hoping for. low hop profile. acid flavor, highly carbonic.

d+m- carbonation reminds me of a soda more than a beer. thin body from bret I believe. full flavor that dissipates very rapidly. not my favorite beer. I hardly cared to finish the bottle. might not be my preferred style of brew.

tastes like an accidentally soured beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2010 20:08:44 | More by mlazzaro
Photo of orangesol
orangesol

Pennsylvania

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

Served on-tap at Al's of Hampden into a tulip.

A - Pours opaque reddish brown with a fizzy half finger tall off white head leaving little to no lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of tart sour cherries, oak, some lactic sourness, and a light sugary sweetness. Not as funky as I was expecting it to be, still a decent amount of sourness tho.

T - Starts off with a bright lactic sourness that fades quickly leaving hints of tart cherries, candied sugar, dry oak tannins, and some dark fruit. Finish is a mix of light sourness and sticky sweetness, lingering for a short time. This was ok at best.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Good amount of pucker initially quickly dieing down leaving a sticky sweet feel. Finish is a mix of light sourness and lingering sweetness.

O - This is far from a bad beer, but it really never wowed me. I liked the flavors but the sourness cut out far too quickly and you were left with an overly sweet red ale.

Serving type: on-tap

06-29-2011 23:14:48 | More by orangesol
Photo of Brewsephus
Brewsephus

Massachusetts

3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

11.2 oz bottle poured into tulip glass.

A- Pours a off-white 2 finger head. Head lasts longer than a minute and leaves very delicate lacing on inside of glass. Beer is a very dark red, almost opaque, held up to light reveals a deep ruby color. Small/Medium bubbles on surface.

S-Sour fruit, lemon, unripe plum, cherry pie.

T-deep cherry, baked pie, sweet resinous fruit, nectar. Very subtle malt sweetness. Sourness approaches the front of the palate, but is not sharp or vinegar. Just unripe fruit. A little band-aid flavor on the finish into aftertaste.

M- Carbonation is nicely effervescent, at first I thought it might take away from the wonderful flavor, but it would be too viscous and syrupy with all the fruit and less carbonation. Body is light, but not lacking in mouth-feel. Alcohol is unnoticeable.

O- This is one of my first Flanders and I must say I am pleasantly surprised. I enjoy the fruit characteristics, and while not puckering sour it is a lot more tender than I anticipated. A really nice, but not great, nuanced sour.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2013 19:05:35 | More by Brewsephus
Photo of darky
darky

South Dakota

3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Poured from a bottle into a Saxo tulip/snifter

A:deep ruby reddish brown, thick, persistent white head and ample carbonation.

S: Tart fruits, and an astringent lemon-y scent.

T: Fruit punch at first, followed immediately by grapefruit, grapes, alcohol and a sour finish backed by strong carbonation. This is not a great example of this style. While different, and enjoyable, the flavor is really not very refined. The flavor of this beer has loads of character, but the component flavors are all fighting attention and fail to make a cohesive statement.

M: While the carbonation is strong, it pulls off a really nice smooth, almost creamy mouthfeel, that really benefits this beer overall. A definite strong point.

O: This is about third time I've had this beer, and I'm drinking this one a little warmer than before, probably around 45-50 degrees F. That said, this brew is better consumed a little colder. If you are introducing someone new to Belgians, by all means, do NOT start them out with beer. I think it would be very interesting to throw this brew into the mix in a blind taste with others of it category, but at the end of the day, your money is better spent elsewhere.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2013 04:50:14 | More by darky
Photo of McNealc31
McNealc31

Ohio

3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

The color is attractive. As close to brown as red can get. However, the giant chunks of sediment are a bit off-putting. Aggressive carbonation tingles on the the tongue. This is, indeed, sour, but not unpleasantly so. A touch of caramel and even a fruity finish. But sour is by far the dominating note.

I feel like this is going to be a hit or miss. You'll love it or hate it, depending on your individual feelings toward sourness.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2013 01:47:12 | More by McNealc31
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a two-finger white head that fades quickly to a ring leaving no lace. Cloudy amber color. Light bodied and light carbonation. Nose is sour cherry . No sweetness here starts and finishes with a sour cherry taste. Clean, tart finish. $5.25 for a 330ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2005 22:35:39 | More by jdhilt
Photo of rugbyfan13
rugbyfan13

Georgia

3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Dark hazelnut brown on top fading into a dark red on the bottom. Tan, 1/2 inch head. Head turns into a thin cover on top. Medium lacing.

Smell: Cherries, wood, yeast funk, much less palpable than a Saison funk. Hints of garlic at the end that become more obvious as the beer warms up, but it still remains muted.

Taste: Oaky and funky, once again, similar to a Saison, lightly sour. Alcohol warms the burns the mouth as you drink it.

The main problem with this beer is that water hits you first. While I can tell there are strong flavors in the beer, the water just made the rest of the flavors have to overcome the watery-ness of the beer, and thus, diluted them.

Mouthfeel: Too damn watery up front. Similar to the taste, the water creates an obstacle for the mouthfeel and makes it seem weak.

Drinkability: I love yeasty funk, and I like sour beers, so I could drink more. Its an unremarkable beer.

Seeing how much I paid for the beer, I won't be trying this again.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2007 02:08:33 | More by rugbyfan13
Photo of dude
dude

Pennsylvania

3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Huge, duvel-like head of foam. Liquid is reddish-brown and clear. Aroma is acetic and fruity, like a vinegar made from wine and apple cider. Taste initially is sour, but this leaves quickly leaving a lightly sweet cherry flavor. It tastes nothing like beer I'm used to. No malt or hop notes. Finish is clean with almost no aftertaste. Mouthfeel is slightly flat. Maybe I poured it wrong I don't know. I'd drink a second bottle if one was available, but then move on.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2008 22:53:28 | More by dude
Photo of MbpBugeye
MbpBugeye

Ohio

3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
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

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2009 05:48:37 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of Cresant
Cresant

Kentucky

3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2007 16:09:00 | More by Cresant
Photo of billshmeinke
billshmeinke

California

3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2010 21:04:43 | More by billshmeinke
Photo of mortarit
mortarit

North Carolina

3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2011 14:36:08 | More by mortarit
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
NittanyBeerFan

Pennsylvania

3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2011 05:14:55 | More by NittanyBeerFan
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2011 15:29:42 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of kingcrowing
kingcrowing

Vermont

3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2010 21:25:36 | More by kingcrowing
Photo of marikoangel
marikoangel

California

3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2010 01:20:05 | More by marikoangel
Photo of cjacobsen
cjacobsen

Illinois

3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2011 13:01:40 | More by cjacobsen
Photo of jealousmonk
jealousmonk

California

3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2011 05:37:43 | More by jealousmonk
Photo of gfreed
gfreed

Massachusetts

3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2011 16:05:08 | More by gfreed
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2012 01:17:06 | More by emerge077
Photo of Westsidethreat
Westsidethreat

California

3.08/5  rDev -19.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2006 02:59:51 | More by Westsidethreat
Photo of esv
esv

Virginia

3.08/5  rDev -19.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2009 03:47:44 | More by esv
Photo of coachdonovan
coachdonovan

Rhode Island

3.08/5  rDev -19.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2010 19:59:20 | More by coachdonovan
Photo of imasloth
imasloth

Texas

3.08/5  rDev -19.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2012 15:22:43 | More by imasloth
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,064 ratings.