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

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BA SCORE
86
very good

1,088 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,088
Hads: 2,699
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.24%
Wants: 75
Gots: 343 | FT: 5
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: 1,088 | Hads: 2,699
Photo of classixIII
3.44/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a stemmed flute.

A - Very fast foamy head filled a third of the flute then subsided to about half inch. A dark, clear reddish mahogany.

S - I got mostly grape, wine like, at first smell, then some raisin, maybe berries.

T - Mild sweet fruit, with a barely sour finish that lingers on the tongue between sips

M - Light, lots of carbonation

O - Refreshing, Enjoyed it, and would recommend a try. Will have again but won't be making it one of my regulars. (497 characters)

Photo of bigbelcher
3.44/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice reddish amber color. A dense, lingering slightly tan head. No belgian lacing to speak of. Huge vinegar like aroma, not the same as Rodenbach. A bit thin on the body indicating low alcohol. Very sweet with an underlying dry tartness like from a biting into a lemon. Very fruity, almost cherry like. A good intro to the style, in that respect but it doesn't stand up to Rodenbach. (391 characters)

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.44/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A ruby body with a big off-white head. Leaves some nice sticky lacing on the glass.

Smells sour, but also a vinegar quality to it.

Sour with some dark fruits and malts. Sweet. Sour mouthfeel with a dry finish.

Fairly drinkable, nothing special but pretty good. (263 characters)

Photo of emmasdad
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not my favorite style, but I tried it on tap at B.J.s Temecula. Pours a garnet/ruby red color, with a bit of tan lacing on top. Smells of red wine vinegar, tart cherries and lactic acid. Flavors not much different, although I detect a bit of sweetness, which plays nicely off of the sour funk. Crisp and refreshing, though I doubt I could drink more than one. (359 characters)

Photo of dgugliuzza
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip

A- Pours reddish brown with a thick tan head. A hazy red hue settles in the glass. Very good head retention.

S- Smells of sour prunes and sweet dark fruits. The combination of sweet and sour combines nicely. Delicate, yet complex.

T- Tastes of prunes and cherries. Mostly sour and a little sweet. Sour after taste that lingers intensely. A bit overpowering for my tastes buds, but pretty interesting nonetheless.

M- Bursts with carbonation. Medium bodied and quite crisp. Goes down fairly smooth.

D- Not sure if I would have more than one. It's a bit too sour and over carbonated for me, but there is a nice balance of sweet and sour. Granted, this was my first sour so I would like to try a few others. (750 characters)

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.42/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 8/26/2009 (Bottle):

Pours a nut brown colored body, clear. With a small off-white color head, quickly diminishing. Sour fruity aroma. Very sour, almost like a cheesy sour, but not quite. Some light fruit like apple, or light colored grape. Strong. Sour taste, that same fruitiness in the taste, and the aftertaste, similar to apple or cherry or something. Not bad tasting, not very off-putting. But it does take a little getting used to. Drinking, makes me thirsty for more, which is the sign of a good beer, right? Almost like a nutty taste to it, some substance. Weaker, less flavor as it warms. (607 characters)

Photo of axeman9182
3.42/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle, allowed to warm slightly before being poured into my Bruery tulip.

Monk's Cafe pours a deep, dark red, and has some good clarity to it. There are plentiful ruby highlights, and maybe a finger and a half of bone colored foam that displays little in the way of head retention and lacing. The nose is nice, with some lactic sourness leading the way. Cherry and oak both show up a fair bit in the background. The flavor profile doesn't pull everything off nearly as well. The sourness of the beer takes a backseat compared to a sweet, cherry flavor, and the wood notes disappear almost entirely. It honestly tastes like someone took a decent Oud Bruin and cut it with a sweet cherry soda. The body is fine, but the carbonation is definitely a little dull, and it leaves the mouthfeel feeling a little too slick a times. Monk's Cafe is an alright beer, but it's one of the less impressive Oud Bruins I've had. (921 characters)

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Monks Flemish Red Ale

A- Deep copper red with a thick tn head. Good chunky lacing and nice carbonation.
S- Sour cooked cherries and sour green apple.
T- Sour granny smith apples blended into cooked gooey cherries. Slight brown sugary malt pokes through.
M- Mildly tart and sour. Finishes off sugary sweet with little acidity or heartburn.

Overall- A good solid sour beer. Although I'm not a big fan of the sours this 1 is more down the middle and more my style. (463 characters)

Photo of wedge
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Deep garnet with a high, airy head that jumps up and out of the glass. Sweet, tart cherries, plums, very light, clean oak, and a mineral note...a lot more mellow then other examples of the style. Slightly acidic, dry, and fruity with some spicy wood and finishing phenols. A bit acetic and certainly on the sour side of things, but again, lighter and cleaner than most. Some caramel enters the fold towards the end of the glass. Decent, but lacking character. (459 characters)

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 fl oz. bottle, no bottled on date present. My first encounter with this beer and this brewery, acquired the 4 pack at the local beer store.

Poured into a Unibroue La Fin Du Monde tulip glass.

A - Pours a murky brownish red body, a bit more clarity than I would have thought, with three fingers of fluffy pinkish-brown tinted head that stays for a while.

S - Aroma is pretty bland. A touch of lactic sour, green apples, mixed berries, and some mustiness.

T - Not sour at all, in my opinion. Minor tart. Lots of mixed berries. Taste at times almost reminds me of berry juice concentrate. Very plain and boring.

M - Smooth, wet, & sticky. Light-bodied, low carbonation. Easy-drinking, but not quenching.

Overall, a very plain and boring example of the style, I'd have to say. Definitely not worth the $15.99 price tag.

Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale -----3.5/5 (867 characters)

Photo of BeerHonky
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

While there's always something wonderful to be said about Monk's Cafe, I have to say that this beer was a little bit of a bummer. The beer looks beautiful. It pours a wonderfully bright reddish brown with a nice fluffy, pale khaki head. It smells sweet and wild and yeasty. A bit of fruityness can be detected here I'd say, but nothing out of the ordinary. The taste starts out really sweet and tart. Almost gummi bear-ish, obviously not as sweet as that, but a little too sweet in my mind for a flemmish sour. There's a decent bit of sourness and a hint of wood that appears after that first blast of sweet and tart changes into a wild and funky aftertaste if you don't go for another sip too soon. The mouthfeel is very refreshing with its scrubby, spritzy carbonation. I must say though, this isn't highly drinkable due to its level of sweetness. Again, I was a little bummed. (879 characters)

Photo of gottabetweed
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy brown with a minimal head that dissipates quickly. Little lacing remains on the glass.

Smell is sour, with fruits and malts. Malt is more prevelant than most sours.

Taste is sour at first, cherries, and lemons at the finish.

Overall a good, but not great sour. (278 characters)

Photo of paulzy
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle to a 22 ounce d

Appearance: Pours a deep copper color with a medium head. Head stays throughout the beer. Looks good.

Smell: Smells weakly of fruit and acid.

Taste: Starts sweet, then goes mildly sour, like a good lemonade. Finishes a little dry, not at all unpleasant.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation really does the trick with this sour brew, making it kind of fun to roll around on your toungue. Otherwise it feels like any other red.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. I'd consider sharing this with a non-beer geek, as a tasty introduction to a neato style.

Overall I consider this a very accessible beer within the style. I don't often bring sour beers through my fridge, but this one is certainly one I'd consider. (747 characters)

Photo of mtlasley
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A deeply brownish red pours from the glass where it collects as a deep brown that when held to light, shows as a powerfully deep red coloring. A light beige head weighs in at a finger and a half. It leaves exquisite lacing. The color is a beautifully deep red, really...

Slight lacto on the tip of the nose but I find a strong Belgian dark note dominating here. Figs, raisins and a slight alcohol scent really make up the center here. They're joined by a slightly burnt caramel. Slight oak here too.

Very, very lightly sour on the tip of the tongue but quickly dominated from the palate by Figs and Slightly burnt caramel dominate the taste profile here along with a very faint oak lingering in the background. Overall, not that impressive or complex of a brew..

Crisply bubbling in the mouth and the blush wine like thickness is carried along very well by the bubbles.

Overall, I'm not that impressed. A decent tasting Oud Bruin but the sour component that I've come to know and love just wasn't there. Don't get me wrong, a slight tartness stands up front but it's just not got any pop. The Belgian characteristic here is decent though. An overall decent beer but not worth the price I paid. ~$3.50 a bottle. (1,215 characters)

Photo of oakbluff
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Monk's Cafe bottle via tytoanderso. Thanks Tyler! Pours a bubbly light cherry cola color with good clarity. Nose is mostly cherry and vinegar. Taste- Initial tart fruit which dries quickly into a mineral like finish. Dry and wood in finish as well. Would score higher, but the hard water taste is a bit much. Crisp on the tongue and goes down easy. (348 characters)

Photo of trappistlover
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(11.2oz bottle). Pours hazy mahogany with off-white head. Aroma has some vinegar and sour cherries along with some wood. Taste is sweet with some sour-almost like sour cherry hard candy. Medium bodied with a slick/oily texture. Not very sour, but would be a good intro into the style. Very easy to drink. Not bad. (313 characters)

Photo of Rojopunk
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - deep redish amber color (loved the color)

S - First hits you with alcohol then sour doe .Lastly kinda soda like smell

T - sour with a kinda cherry Pepsi like sweetness. lastly bread like bitter after taste

M - medium body with a tingle

O - This was not what i expect but still a interesting experience .Once I poured this brew it started the roll coaster of enjoyment and disappointments. First i loved the color then i was disappointed with the head. Next I like the lacy and took a sip. Once again it fell short.Very nice sour but of course a pepis or wild cherry Pepsi like sweet. Lastly i got a bit of bread sour due like taste. Then that of course was spat down but a bit of bitter that came out of no were .I love sour brews very much sadly this is nothing spectacular but still nice at the end of my work day a average sour brew with a bit of potencial to be something great. (891 characters)

Photo of cdkrenz
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Brown body with a purplish accent where light makes it through. Head is eggshell and starts out at about a half inch and fades to leave a thin layer of varying densities at the surface.

S - Smells of a dry white wine. There are apple aromas, what seems to be a woody scent, and a sourness.

T - I taste alcohol, Chex Mix, sour grapes and yeast. One of these flavors in and of itself may not be all that inviting in a beer, however, wrapped up together they're not too bad.

M - Light bodied with a high level of carbonation making for abrasiveness throughout. It does have a nice dry finish.

~ This is a unique beer. Not one that I would seek out necessarily, but definitely a beer worth sampling. (705 characters)

Photo of birchstick
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Picked this up from the wine and cheese place. This is my first attempt at this style, so I have no idea what to expect.

A - pours a dark ruby with a nice head on it

S - smells has vinegar and sour green apples with some sweet malts. Almost like an apple vinaigrette dressing.

T - whoa. I had to sit back for a while from this one to figure out what was going on. I first got hit with a really sour, vinegary taste. After my tongue recovered a bit, I picked up a lot of sweet malts and a lot of tart green apples and some plumb. It ends with a little bit of vinegar.

M - a little watery and thin - pretty average mouthfeel

D - drinkablility suffers a bit due to the sweetness and vinegar characteristics. It wasn't a struggle to take down, but I wasn't disappointed to see the bottom of the glass. (803 characters)

Photo of antoines15
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up at friar tucks, special thanks go out to yeahnatenelson for the parking lot info. The straight truck fit rather easily. On to the beer. The smell is a bit sour and biscuity??? Very dry and highly carbonated. Sour taste and cherry darkness. Dry finish leaves me wanting more. A bit too sweet to have more than one, but still glad I grabbed this one. (363 characters)

Photo of gillagorilla
3.39/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a Flying Dog goblet

A: It appears to be a dark brown but is in fact a deep amber red with a bit of sediment/yeast that you can barely see at the bottom.

S: Slightly tart smelling with hints of sour cherries. Smells alot like sweet fruit, with a bit of yeastiness to it.

T: There is a very mild tartness here. The sweetness is tempered as well. I would most compare it to some kind of artisanal black cherry wishniak. It leaves almost no aftertaste, just kind of a funkiness, which isn't bad.

M: There is a nice solid carbonation there that envelopes your mouth after a bit, right as you swallow. It is quite crisp.

O: My beer guy's friend (other guy at the shop) got me to split a Sour Power pack with a friend and this is the first one out of six pack (2 of each). It is good stuff and very drinkable. Quite plain and not like the only other sour I have had so far (Rodenbach Classic). Now, I want to try it on tap at Monk's Cafe. (964 characters)

Photo of StevenBilodeau
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have never really been a fan for sour ales, but the Belgians make some very good sour ales. This is a very good sour ale. Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale is another amazing ale to add to your repertoire of unique and strange beers. Tart, sour and sweet, this ale is drinkable, but isn't for everyone. Nice head, some lacing, and is a decent beer overall, I enjoyed it. (367 characters)

Photo of peabody
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out like root beer with not as much suds. Very cloudy.
No lacing to speak of here.
Smell is sour cherry and a slight woodyness.
Taste is really sour at first but the Malt is really strong in the aftertaste and it ends up with a slightly sweet taste.
Mouthfeel is a little sour but seems to be clean after the bretts fade.
Not as good as the Petrus but still not a bad sour ale. (383 characters)

Photo of angrybabboon
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review adapted from notes taken 5/18/10

Appearance: Reddish brown color with a nice foamy, fluffy head - nice to look at

Smell: Sweet, sugary, funky, lactic, some malts in the background - I should note that these notes are from my second tasting - this was my first sour beer, and when I first smelled it I thought the beer smelled like a soggy sponge that someone abandoned for a few days - not kidding - thankfully, it was better the second time

Taste: More sweet than funky or sour - some sour cherry, but mostly the taste is dominated by the sweetness - gets a bit funkier as it warms up - some interesting herbal spiciness, and some wood - but the sweetness never fades, and it is somewhat overwhelming - not terrible, but certainly not something I really enjoy

Mouthfeel: Slightly above average for a sour, some nice carbonation, on the heavy side

Overall: Way too sweet for me to be interested in trying again soon - but it is something I will probably try again in the future

As I've already noted in my "smell" section, I have a strange history with Monk's Cafe. It was my first sour beer, and I didn't really like it at the time. After my first taste, I tried a few other sour beers. Then when I had Monk's Cafe again, I still didn't love it, but I had more specific reasons for not embracing its qualities. This beer is worth a try, but it's certainly not spectacular. (1,386 characters)

Photo of Politibrew
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Completely translucent, held up to a light, a deep amber red color throughout. Quite a nice color.

Pours into a big foamy head, which dropped rather quickly.

Nose is decidedly vinegar, with a cider, fruity scent. Sour, but pleasant.

My first thought was, this sort of tastes like sour, fermented juice--like a fruit wine. Probably too sweet for my liking. Flavors; grapes, cherry, apple. Sour to sweet finish.

Mouthfeel was clean, smooth, and thin with medium carbonation.

I think this is an interesting enough beer, and probably a good to share with a wine lover, but I was somewhat let down by this beer. I simply can't imagine drinking more than one of these and still enjoying it--and I like sour Belgians. This is a decent, but not excellent, example of the style. (779 characters)

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,088 ratings.