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
87
very good

2,680 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,680
Reviews: 1,106
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 13.51%
Wants: 74
Gots: 326 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,680 | Reviews: 1,106
Photo of Cheshire_Crew_Al
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank it from a pint glass pour, little bit of a head, pleasant odor, thinner quality than anticipated.

It has an extremely smooth feel, with a pleasant aftertaste, a little fruity (again more than anticipated), like raspberries, I drank the first on the cold side, would recommend to have it cool but not extremely cold. Not very hoppy, which I prefer.

Overall, excellent beer, not heavy at all but has a full taste to it. It has an all-around appeal in that, despite not very hoppy, it is well-balanced in flavor that I would imagine would appeal to most beer enthusiasts.

Photo of TruePerception
3.59/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

(Previous review, transferred from beer journal)

Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale: red sour; Appearance: dark amber; light raisin and tartaric acid; Taste/Mouthfeel: lightly bitter, very light sour, RC cola, pretty good, sounds like pouring ice cold soda.

Poured into a pint glass.

Photo of DougT
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a lager glass on a (very) warm summers eve.

Dark red with copper tones. 2 finger tan head that dissipated quickly but left a thin layer of lace with bubbles clinging to the glass.

Smell is a little funky at first, but that drops after the head reduces. Then the smell of sour grapes and raspberries. Hard for my nose to cut through the sour, but there's something else in the mix. Maybe malt or yeast.

Taste is very pleasant. Sour, but not overpowering. Smooth and sweat with grapes, blueberries, and raisins. Not much if any hops. Taste is consistent through the finish.

Effervescent but a little thin in the mouthfeel. Most of the flavor and feel stay to the front and middle of the palate. But it is quite refreshing. Crisp.

I'm buying this again. It is a good beer for a warm summer night and would go just as well on a crisp fall evening.

Photo of Libationguy
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reddish color with copper notes. Light tan 1-finger head. Medium retention.

The nose is fairly mild: grapefruit zest, band-aid, horse hair, flint, cracked leather.

On the palate there is a funky sweet and sour pork note, meyer lemon, horse hair, leather and a lactic note on the finish.

Medium bodied.

Photo of woemad
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle purchased at Total Wine in Spokane for $3.79. Sadly, there’s no obvious freshness date.

Poured into a Chimay glass, there was a big tan head that dropped somewhat quickly yet left a fair amount of lace. The beer itself was a dark, cola-like color that lightened up to a rubyish hue when held up to light.

The aroma was faintly fruity and malty. Frankly, I was surprised there wasn’t more going on.

The flavor was of faintly sweet yet tart fruit, like raspberries, and a somewhat mild sourness. Not much else was happening.

Medium bodied, with a slick, coating mouthfeel.

I suppose this could be a sour beer for beginners, as it’s rather bland. On the other hand, not many people are impressed with blandness, so I think I’d introduce someone to sours by utilizing a bottle of Duchesse De Bourgogne.

Photo of Auraan
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a deep brown, with a three finger off white head. Gorgeous, looks fantastic. Sour lactic scent with a slight hint of malt. A good scent of a sour ale, makes me want to take a sip. Taste begins with a nice sour flavor, a sort of sour crab apple flavor and a bit of nice roast malt flavor on the finish and after taste. Quite nice. Very refreshing. Mouthfeel is bubbly and medium bodied, quite good, refreshing and carbonated, yet easy to drink. This is a good, unique beer. I'm not sure how it stacks up for the style, yet I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Worth trying for sure.

Photo of microbrewlover
3.79/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This brew pours a ruby red/brown color with a massive tan head which lasts for several minuets. Thick lacing remains on the glass until the end and some of the head remains on the top of the brew until the end.

The smell is raspberries, black currants, sour apples, sour grapes and yeast. There is also a funky musty smell.

The taste mostly follows the nose, raspberries, sour apples, sour grapes, black currants, funky yeast as well as a vinegar like tannic taste on the backend. Very sweet. I could not detect any hop bitterness

The mouthfeel is tangy and bubbly. There is as slight sting from all of the sour in this brew.

Overall this is, as advertised, a sour ale. This is my first of this style so I can't say how it compares to other sour ales but this does remind me of a Lambic, only even more sour with less sweetness to balance out the sour. If you like sour ales, give this a try.

Photo of beergoot
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Deep, ruby red body with a persistent creamy head; chunks of yeast sediment from the pour. Slightly sour scent with a touch of green apple. Subtle sour flavors with a light bread-like undertone. Softly effervescent mouth feel, light in body; dry finish.

A nice Flemish sour ale that balances nicely with flavors, feel, and aromas. Light and refreshing.

Photo of magictacosinus
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured out of a 11.2oz bottle into a tulip glass. No freshness date. Broken with a friend from the Sour Power samplers appearing everywhere with Petrus beers.

Pours a darkened, brownish, reddish tinged beer, complete with an off light brown head that rises quite gracefully with the bottle conditioning to about 3 fingers, but fizzles down like cherry cola does after an aggressive pour. Barely any lacing on this thing. Relatively juicy looking, although not as much as I prefer in this style - which ranges on seeming vinous. Still, the color is quite noteworthy, and the amount of flake-like sediment that accumulates at bottom once the dregs come out are also pretty raw looking. Slightly above average for the style here.

The aroma is actually far less sour than I was hoping, with only an initial lactic, woody sourness at the front and a little bit of vinegar at the back. There's a soft bouquet of sour black cherries, raspberries, and blackberries, and then cashews, slight clove, and brown sweetened malts. Good notes of oak round up the acetic feel, as well as the fruits and nuttiness, but it's pretty subtle - and honestly, subdued - overall. Some bitterness is at the back, but it's also relatively inexistent for the most part. I enjoy it for what it is, but it could be a little bit more sour and oaky, to be honest.

The flavor is on the same realm of the aroma, ranging from dark cherries, prunes, blackberries, and the nutty feel of walnuts, as well as more well rounded oaky aromas. In actuality (especially as this warms up), the oak churns out other woody aromas, almost ranging on cedar or cherry wood. There's a soft, zesty embrace of the acidity from the woody tannins, as well as the lactic sourness, but it's delicate and doesn't put up much of a fight. Slightly earthy and dry, and more so when the hoppy, grassy notes come through. The extra sediment adds more character, but it's never puckery or intense. Refreshing and easy to drink, although it *could* use a bit more body. It's often thinned in feel overall, and loses carbonation rather quickly, which doesn't aid it in transporting the more complex, nor the more subtle aromas within.

A good beginner's Flanders sourish offering, although could definitely be more complex than it is. It's luckily quite refreshing, and especially show people that beer does not have to be a pilsner or something to do the trick on a warm day. I'm not too impressed by it, but I enjoyed drinking it.

Photo of abeeronthebeach
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cellared for 6 months.

A - Beautiful deep ruby. Call me a vampire but it brings to mind the colour of dried blood and looks good for it.

S - A little sourness meets the nose along with a sweet cherry aroma and a little bacterial funkiness.

T - Cherry predominates, and not for the first time with a non-fruit sour beer I'm amazed at how much fruit flavour it has. The tartness is right up front, transitioning to cherry-cola sweetness mid-sip with a little funk camping out til the end. It's much less sour than I remember it being which is a little disappointing.

M - I really enjoyed drinking this beer which is in part down to the mouthfeel which does its work quietly behind the scenes, allowing one to focus on the other aspects of the beer. I'd have appreciated more effervescence.

O - It's a good beer, and one which I suspect will score noticeably higher when I redrink it fresh. I think the cellaring took a little of the edge off in terms of flavour and carbonation, which is odd considering age is generally acknowledged to augment sourness.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured two fingers of head on a clear, red colored body.
The aroma is sour... fairly strong and one sided and still nice.
The taste is only mildly sour with a dull sweetness middle to end. Rounds it out well.
The texture is nice: fizzy and soft.
Very enjoyable.

Photo of boddhitree
4.77/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

WOW. They say it was brewed for them outside Ghent; it was super lovely malty, tasted like lots Special B.

Hops were light in the background. The foam head's creaminess was almost eternal. It stayed tight through almost to the end of the glass.

It tasted like Kriek (cherry), but not overly sweet. I detected virtually no sourness, neithr lactic nor acetic, as advertised on the menu. But it was still there slightly maybe, probably held back the malt and fruit sweetness from being overpowering. This was my favorite beer of the night. It was the perfect dessert, though it wasn't a dessert beer.

Photo of Murrhey
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a standard pressure-cap 11.2oz bottle into a snifter in high elevation Kalispell, Mont. Reviewed live.

A- Handsome three-finger light brown head. Tiny bubbles and very active carbonation with a long retention. Ruby-color body with high clarity for the darkness. Nice looking beer.

S- Slight lactic aroma with tannins, cherries and vinous scents. Slightly sour.

T- Surprisingly refreshing flavor with a tiny bit of sourness. Cherry, lactic, and a hint of wine. Not much though. Sweet.

M- Smooth feel. Finishes grainy, slightly vinously and semi-dry.

O- This is not a beer that is going to blow anybody away, but is a refreshing, sweet oud bruin.

Photo of ExaltedNecrosis
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

11.2 oz bottle poured into flute glass

A - Despite pouring very carefully, absolutely massive head. It took a few minutes to pour. Color is medium amber, decently clear with an off white head. Got some floaties of yeast in there.

S - Smell is instant lactic sourness and fruity. It's mainly an apple fruitiness. Fairly straightforward aroma.

T - Decently sour and tart. Not too sour, I think it could use a bit more. Definitely a lactic component to it, and a sweet & tart apple flavor.

M - High carbonation, sticky sweet mouthfeel. A bit on the thin side. Makes me pucker and smack. Sour apple tart on the finish.

O - A pretty decent sour. There are a lot better ones out there for a similar price, but this isn't bad. It doesn't have a lot of depth to it, as it's somewhat simple sour & tart apple. It's still crisp and refreshing though, and makes a good pair with cheese and crackers or other snack food.

Photo of yeastlovehoppiness_jess
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Poured a dark, ruby brown with a quickly-rising, bubbly two fingers of toasty beige head. The head settled down fairly quickly into a thinner film that left lacing quite high up on the large wine glass I drank from.

S - Rich, malty, dark fruit kind of fragrance. Faintly reminded me of both Branston Pickle (I know, weird!) and red wine. Black cherry or plum notes.

T - Dark fruit, cherry, or plum taste. Reminded me of red wine. Faint milk chocolate taste. It reminded me of that fleeting moment when you bite through the cherry candy into the tootsie-roll center of a tootsie-pop. Left a flat, acidic, coppery/metallic aftertaste on the tongue and lips.

M - Sour, of course, but sweet. Tart. The first sip made me pucker a little. Thin.

O - For my first sour, it has piqued my interest and taste buds. It's unlike anything I've ever had. Definitely an enjoyable sipping, dessert-like beer.

Photo of NiceTaps
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle in a tulip.

A- Poured a dark and bubbly amber-brown. The frothy 2-finger head tapers slowly to thin film leaving plenty of lacing. Very bubbly. Root Beer!!!

S-Rich malts and dark fruits. More sweet than sour. Black Cherry!

T- I'm picking up the dark fruitiness first; black cherry, plum, etc. Some red wine-like sourness and dark malts.

M- Tart, lively, and well carbonated. A bit thin, wine-like on the lip. Some sour, some sweet.

O- Introductory sour, and a good one at that.

Photo of wedge
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
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.

Photo of Beerdster
3.34/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

Photo of flip387
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: 4.25

Has a nice deep red color with a slight fizzy head.

Smell: 4.0

Crisp and slightly sour. Pleasant smell with mild hop and barley notes.

Taste: 4.0

Crisp and tart, noticed some earthy flavors which I believe is from the barley.

Mouthfeel: 4.0

Carbonated and fizzles on the tongue. Semi tar and sour, yet crisp and pleasant.

Overall: 4.25

My third sour beer, and my third from Brouwerij Bavik, defiantly my favorite from the Sour Power pack. This one is quite nice, has a tart crisp flavor along with some sweetness. A mild bodied red ale

Photo of dar482
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
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.

Photo of gillagorilla
3.39/5  rDev -11.9%
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.

Photo of Beaver13
2.91/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle. Pours reddish brown with a big fizzy light tan head that retains well and leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is tart and sour cherries with some woody cardboard and some acidity.

The flavor is sweet and tart sour cherries / raspberries with a little woody funk. The mouthfeel is light bodied and very watery.

Overall, an interesting sour. It's sweet, but not too much so. It is way too watery though.

Photo of tectactoe
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the Oak Cafe. It's got a pretty solid, burnt ruby color with a mahogany base. It seems to be somewhat translucent, although the bar I'm in is pretty dimly lit and therefore the opacity is hard to judge accurately. Basically no head on top of this one - just a small, beige ring that only stays for a minute or so before floating away.

Juicy, ripe apples and cherries outline the aromatic profile, or at least the first sniff. Residual sweetness backs up the apples nicely; a very faint tartness can be detected at times, though this is still telling me that this brew will be more sweet than sour. Time grants the ability for the beer to open up a bit; berries, darker cherries, acetic acid, light vinegar, and some mild barrel/oak.

Funk in the aroma is definitely there, but in small quantities. There's a slight "wet hay" and faint must character, but it's minimal compared to some other Belgian sours. This follows through into the flavor profile, as the first sip contains almost no funk at all, rather it's pretty heavy on the fruits - cherries, grapes, red apples. Vibrant, zesty, and juicy are good words to describe the flavors.

This beer is mildly tart, but only for a brief moment. The residual-like sugary sweetness creeps in pretty steadily and washes out any hope of this beer actually being "sour", despite the name. More vinous notes come in, although the more I drink, the more it just seems like heavy grapes rather than actual wine-barrel notes. The finish is fruit juice-like with fading cherries and grape skins, and maybe a hint of oak. Still no funk, sad to say. Snappy, crisp mouth feel, wet and slick; thin bodied with medium-heavy carbonation.

Pretty good beer, drinkability is insanely high - a 5.5% ABV beer that tastes like bold fruit juice. I would have like to see a bit more tartness or funk, as this one was kind of mild all around. But hey, perhaps that's the style they were going for. Still a nice drinking sour ale as long as you're not expecting it to be too sour (or too funky).

Photo of ESeab
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a Stella goblet

A - Dark ruby red, almost copper brown when not in light. Yeast flaoting around the bottom

S - Smells of raseberry and other fruit. I'm not really getting much though

T - Tastes like it smells. A touch of lemon and cherry comes through big time. It is definitely a great balance of sweet and tart, neither of which are too strong.

M - Real nice mouthfeel. Carbonation plays well with the body, which is a bit more syrupy than expected.

O - Solid sour if you are just starting. Or a nice refreshing beverage if you are already into sours.

Photo of Arithmeticus
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
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

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,680 ratings.