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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

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BA SCORE
86
very good

2,059 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2059
Reviews: 1017
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: 2,059 | Reviews: 1,017 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ElGuapo
ElGuapo

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice brown amber pour with a decent helping of off-white head. It is somewhat cloudy. The aroma is a bit weak, but it has some nice sweet malt hints as well as a delicious sour smell that tingles the nose.

The body is medium, and it has mild carbonation which all comes together to produce a very smooth mouthfeel. Flavor is a bit more dull than my beloved Duchesse, but it is still pretty good. The sour flavor is there with notes of balsamic vinegar. Some fruit flavors as well as citrus come in. Grains lay behind it all to bring in some balance. The drinkability is excellent, and I would have grabbed another or two if I weren't on my way out.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2004 16:06:11 | More by ElGuapo
Photo of 99bottles
99bottles

Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From an 11.2 ounce bottle this beer pours a rich ruby-brown color with a fizzy active head of white carbonation. The smell is very interesting. Sour and sultry, if you get a big whiff it makes the back of your mouth pucker and smells of turned milk (the label calls it lactic). The first taste is of tart cherry. The finish is vert TART. Sour, yes...but the sweet cherry is in there also. Wow. Incredibly refreshing. Incredible tasty. Dry earthy taste from the unique ferementation. I love the sour ending ! A class act all around. However, if fermentation run amok gives you the willies, you might want to look elsewhere. Little pricey also, but worth the bucks.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2004 04:42:09 | More by 99bottles
Photo of ark57
ark57

Pennsylvania

4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It is a brownish red with very little head. The reserved aroma has some oak and vinous notes and a lactic sourness to it as well. The taste is sweet and sour with some fruit and oak in the finish. The sourness is mild and it is quite refreshing. I always start a visit to Monk's with one of these.

Serving type: on-tap

03-15-2004 14:20:07 | More by ark57
Photo of Boilermaker88
Boilermaker88

California

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presented in an 11.2oz. bottle with no freshness date and poured into a tulip glass. Had a murky brownish-red color with a fast-fading vanilla head that deposited minimal lace.
The smell was decidedly sour with a lot of sweet-tart berry notes and an underlying woody essence. The taste had a tangy sweetness which brought notions of raspberries, blackberries and black currant. Some light oak flavor and a zippy, almost puckering sourness finish things off. The feel was light- to medium-bodied with a tight carbonation, dry and clean.
Damn, I don't know what to make of this style. It was pretty easy to drink. I wouldn't mind trying more of this style and will look for them in the future. Thanks go out to frank4sail for the gift from PA!

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2004 18:16:00 | More by Boilermaker88
Photo of thefireman
thefireman

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap, nice color, with a smallish head. A must before eating. Had almost a wine taste, very dry. Taste of cherries and spices. I like the sourness that finishes a little hoppy. Not overpowering, but a shock to the tastebuds on first tasting. An acquired taste, but opne I always go back to.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2004 01:31:02 | More by thefireman
Photo of cerevisiaephilus
cerevisiaephilus

Michigan

4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I thought this beer was fascinating. Really my first try at this style unless you count lambic, but I think sour ales/oud bruins are maltier. This one was quite nice. Great balance between malty and sour. Sweet but not cloying, then sour enough to dry your mouth out. The menu suggests this one as a palate clenser, I would agree. I could drink this beer over and over and never really get that sticky sugary coating you cometimes get after having numerous beers. I'm really going to start searching for this style.

Serving type: on-tap

12-30-2003 05:35:54 | More by cerevisiaephilus
Photo of leeenglewood
leeenglewood

Pennsylvania

4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not a beer for everybody but if you like sour and sherry like drinks you should indefinitely enjoy this wonderful thirst-quenching beer. Pours amberish brown with white head that becomes lacy. Smells like cherries and good American whisky also has very sherry like smell. Taste is predominately tart and somewhat acidic no apparent sweetness. A rather drinkable beer if you are into this kind of thing, as the acidic qualities are not overbearing.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2003 19:38:59 | More by leeenglewood
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep red with abrownish tint with about a 1/4 inch head that leaves some nice lacing,aroma is of sour cherries and light mineral notes.Taste is hits ya with a big sour note that slides into some stone-like qualities with that sour lemon flavor always there to linger.This style is not my cup of tea for sure but this beer is complex with alot of different flavors well made.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2003 18:59:17 | More by oberon
Photo of inebrius
inebrius

Michigan

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I love all things sour, I do.

A hopped up blend of lemon juice and malt tinted bright sienna by leaf stained spring water. Odd, and sour, but not your funked up homebrew rubber sour, a clean tart, citric, with an enticing nose of vanilla, chinotto and damp concrete.

Best appreciated without food I think. Popped a piece of anise flavored pizzelle in my mouth near the end of the glass and got a serious retronansal slap of two day old Walleye. Yikes! Other than that this beer is quite unique and quite good but a case of these puckers might collect a little dust, I'm afraid.

Cheers to frank4sail for the brew!

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2003 23:15:17 | More by inebrius
Photo of dmarch
dmarch

Pennsylvania

4.75/5  rDev +24%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep garnet in color with an off white head. Aroma is of sour fruit like cranberries and cherries. Taste is more sour than it is sweet. Very light in body, which makes me want to drink a lot more of them than I probably should. Hopefully we'll see more of this style popping up in America.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2003 21:08:29 | More by dmarch
Photo of GreatPondBrewer
GreatPondBrewer

California

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first experience with sour ales. Poured a mahogonay with an off white head that receded into bubbles around the outside of the glass. Smell was musty and sharp with plenty of cranberry coming through. Taste was mouth puckieringly good. It was hella sour with tons of sweet, lemon and cranberry flavors and some other different citrus flavors as well. Mouthfeel was carbonated and tart. This is a good beer that you could nurse all night long, provided you have enough around. Not too much balance in this beer, but I don't mind at all. A good tip of the scales is always in order. Thanks to nomad for the bottle straight from Illadelph..

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2003 02:21:54 | More by GreatPondBrewer
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A slightly hazy (but surprisingly clear given the style) mahogany body appears reddish in the glass and reveals crimson, ruby and orange highlights when held to the light. The creamy off-white head holds quite well and leaves some nice streaks and splotches of sticky lace throughout the glass. The nose is vinous with tempting, delicate, tart cherries and what appears to be some oakiness. It's not as bold as many other examples of the style, and it's certainly cleaner; but it is quite nice. A gentle massage of soft, fine carbonation washes over the tongue as it warms to become slightly creamy. The body is light, and it's quite smooth. Again, it's more delicate than many examples but very nice in its own way. The flavor mimics the nose with mildly vinous cherry and raspberry. It's acidity is restrained in comparison to most, and it's quite refreshing without becoming puckering. There's a bit of an oak character to it and it finishes dry with a slight astringency; but the sticky-sweet residue of many other examples is not present. Overall, this is a quite refreshing and enjoyable beer that represents the style well, but is somewhat restrained in comparison to most others.

Serving type: on-tap

08-02-2003 14:35:11 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of francisweizen
francisweizen

Arizona

4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
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

F

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2003 14:02:51 | More by francisweizen
Photo of blgianbeer
blgianbeer

New York

4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I just got back from a trip to Philly and my obligatory stop at Monk's. Trying this ale was on the top of my "to do" list given the absence of any Rodenbach products in the market.
I was not disappointed. I would put this somewhere between the rather unremarkable Rodenbach and the spectacular Grand Cru. Not quite as complex and aromatic as the GC, but much more sour and flavorful than regular Rodenbach.
This beer is not unlike Van Steenberge's Bios (which I loved and brought several bottles back from Belgium). Well worth the price of admission.

Serving type: on-tap

07-07-2003 10:23:57 | More by blgianbeer
Photo of vitesse
vitesse

Georgia

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

served on draught at monk's...
this was my first flemish sour ale, but i was really impressed.
the color was a beautiful dark ruby red color with a nice bubbly texture. very little head. great sweet/tart fruitiness in the nose.
taste was excellent. great summer drink. somewhat acidic and tart that balances well with a cherry or cassis-like sweetness. very light and champagne-like mouthfeel.
quite drinkable, especially on a hot day. despite the imposing name, i think even non-beer-geeks will like this one.

Serving type: on-tap

06-30-2003 11:20:43 | More by vitesse
Photo of frank4sail
frank4sail

New Jersey

4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I was quite excited to get hold of bottles of this stuff from The Beer Yard today (6-21-03). 11.2 Fl. Oz. bottles. The beer pours quite well with a nice tanish head and a beautiful ruby/rust color. Sweet malty, fruit (plum/cherry) and melon smell. Original sour slightly astringent taste gives way to rich fruit (cherries, plums, raspberries). A very nice balence between the fruit sweetness and dry acidic beginning and end. Very drinkable. Not heavy mouthed as you would think with all of these flavors, more on the medium to lighter body. Mouthfeel is lively and lighter. This is a nice rounded satisfying "sour patch ADULT" of a beer. Extreamly good looking in the glass.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2003 19:28:56 | More by frank4sail
Photo of nomad
nomad

Kansas

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

*Available only on draught and in 330 ml. bottles at the famous Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.*

Poured a ruby red color, deep and opaque, with a wisp of a head and a thin but full lacing. Kind of a dead-water look to me.

Smells of cherries and sherry, and did so in a sour and barely oaky way. For me, it at times came across as vinuous. Never very strong or wow-ing, as many Flemish Sour can be to the nose.

Taste is sour but not too sour, more vinuously so, with a body that was thin and softly reminiscent of sweetness like a liqueur or a lambic might. The main body of flavor was cherry like but not a cherry - know what I mean? That fruity flavor that only Flemish sour reds produce. Bright but not acidic, mellow but not boring, this beer also had some bits of lemon and raspberry at the finish. Had no metallic taste like some sour ales do, and possessed a thin and quick watery mouthfeel. Would like a little more carbonation.

Highly drinkable, this is more of a session version of a sour red ale, as it didn’t have the complexity or body of a Duchesse or a Goudenband. A good beer, regardless. Nice of Monk's Cafe to make the effort to contract Van Steenberge to brew this for them. Something's gotta fill the void while Rodenbach is temporarily M.I.A, right?. Nice to throw back a couple of these at the bar while you’re waiting for a table. FYI, some of the restaurant's dishes are cooked with this beer, too.

Serving type: on-tap

06-19-2003 08:43:52 | More by nomad
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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,059 ratings.