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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Not Rated.
Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

2,590 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,590
Reviews: 1,085
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 13.77%
Wants: 66
Gots: 282 | 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: 2,590 | Reviews: 1,085
Photo of Stigs
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a Chimay goblet.

A - pour yields barely a finger of tannish head. beer is a beautiful dark reddish-brown. no sticking or lacing on the glass.

S - vinegary cider. a little abrasive at first, but dark fruits chime in to save what might be a mess. reminds me a bit of dyeing easter eggs.

T - more vinegary cider going on, but more sweetness. this really almost tastes like an apple cider that was left out too long...but not completely in a bad way. the dark fruits and sweetness again come out strong near the end. warming turns the apples into cherries, kind of cool. very unique, ill give it that.

M - huge lively carbonation which you can feel all the way through the swallow. has a really nice thickness to it which kind of coats the mouth and give you time to contemplate all the flavor profiles.

D - very refreshing, just the right amount of sourness and tartness going on to make it interesting, but not overwhelming. could put a couple of these down. after awhile the vinegar does wear a bit.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a ruby red color with a small white head. Nose is vinegar, fruits, strawberry perhaps and a definitevtartness. Taste is self is def tart from begining to end, great tasting blend of fruits, nice body and sweet. Very good brew, on tap much better versus bottle. My wife loved it.

Photo of Soneast
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Dexter's Pub in Madison. Poured into a large tulip glass.

The pour produces a murky liquid, more ruby red than brown, maybe mahogany would be the appropriate term? Grows about a finger's worth of light brown colored head, that dissipates fairly quickly, to a bubbly ring, that leaves a small amount of lace.

The aroma: well I think apple cider vinegar sums it up. Quite a sour note, but also a touch of woody malt character with a hint of sweetness along the line of brown sugar, but mostly just...vinegar.

The flavor, fortunately, isn't all that vinegary. In fact, it is very good. A fair amount of tartness as to be expected, with a fruity component, more along the lines of a tart cherry I would say, with a touch of woodiness once again, the finish isn't overpoweringly sour, it's actually fairly sweet, yet retains a certain dryness.

Medium bodied, with pretty mild carbonation. Overall I thought the sour component was definitely tamed, and this might be a good introductory sour beer for the uninitiated. The vinegary aroma was off-putting at first, but it seemed to come into it's own as it warmed, both aroma and flavor-wise. A easily drinkable sour, that I would not mind drinking again.

Photo of pwoods
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz. brown bottle, purchased at Hyde Park Wine and Spirits, poured into a snifter. Notes.

A: Pours a deppish brown, flaming ruby in the light. Moderate frothy head with good retention and clumps of lacing.

S: Lots of sour and tart fruits. Funky, light cheese. Added fruity esters. Very clean sourness. Light grains.

T/M: sour and tart fruits, cherries, strawberries, red apple, light peach and plum. Very lactic. Some apple cider vinegar, not too much. Light grains, some wheat. Body is medium with good carbonation. Pretty dry finish.

D: Refreshing, drinkable, and only $3 a bottle :)

Photo of spointon
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this from an 11.2oz brown bottle into a stemmed tulip glass.

A= This ale poured a medium red/brown color with good clarity and a 1/2" light tan head. The head dropped to a thin cap in seconds and left only moderate lacing behind.

S= This beer smelled first of sourness, then of candy sweetness. Neither was overpowering making this a nice experience for my nose.

T= Much like the aroma, this ale was 2 faced. On one hand it was sour and tart but on the other hand it had a serious sweetness that kept my tongue on high alert. No hops to speak of. The finish was slightly sweet.

MF= Lighter side of medium bodied with a nice crisp mouthfeel.

D= This was a very pleasant surprise. I happen to love this brewery and am very pleased that their sour ale is as good as it is. Very drinkable and very tasty!

Photo of kpoole25
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11.2 oz to glass. Clear brownish red, tan head. Sour aromas, a little like sour milk or yogurt. Taste has a cloying sweetness along with the sour, it's really like a soda pop. Or maybe if Martinelli's made a sparkling cherry and added a few drops of vinegar for a little extra pucker. I haven't had any other sours but this did not remind me of beer. Still, it was fairly drinkable, went down quick.

Photo of DoctorDog
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2 oz bottle into a snifter.

A- Pours a translucent reddish brown. 1 finger of fizzy tan, which promptly reduces to a thin, incomplete cap.

S- Tart raspberry vinegar, red wine fruitiness, and a slightly funky yeastiness. Interesting and enjoyable (especially if you like the acetic acid stilt).

T- Swirling with fruity, malty, cherry-esque sweetness. Sour notes are fairly subdued, though there is certainly a perceptible amount of tartness. A bit of a sweet sherry thing going on here. Bitterness extremely minimal.

M- Slightly crisp with moderate carbonation. Medium feel.

D- Surprisingly good. I expected this to be perhaps too sour, or cloying, or perhaps too acetic to drink easily....but it was none of those things.

Future outlook: Hmmm...this was quite enjoyable. If I had been served blindly, I could surely have been fooled into thinking I was drinking something other than a beer. My initial impression is that this was an interesting drink that I will be happy to have again.

Photo of rye726
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber with a tan head and some light lace. Nose has sweet cherries, ripe plums and tart yeast. Taste has more ripe fruits followed by a sour yeast presence and a bit of funk. Crisp clean body is well carbonated. Tasty Flanders Red, but not a bruin.

Photo of Beejay
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: That is a truly beautiful beer. A deep brownish red color, like cherry or mahogany. A Decent bit of slight tan head.

S: Slight vinegar smell, as well as ripe berries, raspberries in particular. Almost a little bit of sake smell as well.

T: Tart, at first then, very sweet. Lots of berries in this. Delicious.

M: Very dry. Nicely carbonated.

D: A good beer all around, but I don't think it is my cup a tea. I think this would be a great desert beer to split with a few friends, and it would pair very well with something like cheesecake.

Photo of Symptomu
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As a lover of sour brews I've developed a special affinity for this beers different take on sour. The color is a lovely clear but deep brown red and on tap the head is impressive. The sour aroma and even the tast of this beer is very lactic, yogurty, rather than acetic, vinegary. The mouthfeel is thin but not overly so. The sour lends to the brews drinkability without being too tangy, puckery. Flavors hint at cherry, crab apple, molasses, and plain yogurt. This is an excellent first timers sour though may not be much like its brethren.

Photo of Traquairlover
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2-oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A = Ruby red, good clarity, billowy off white head which leaves heavy lacing as it slowly dissipates into a small foam covering over entire surface.

S = Some light sour funkiness, slight smell of sea salt, cherries, salty Chinese candy, just a touch of sherry cooking vinegar.

T = The saltiness in the nose is also present in the taste. There are also tastes of cherries, oak, sourdough starter.

M = Really froths a lot when first taken into the mouth, almost like a softer version of a soft drink. Medium body, only fair mouthcoating which causes the tastes to disappear too quickly.

D = I would have a hard time drinking more than one of these, though there are definitely things to like about this beer, it just doesn't go down easily enough to be highly drinkable.

Photo of wnh
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a slightly muddled mahogany with a large, lasting, foamy and creamy and sticky off-white head that leaves thick chunks of sticky lacing.

Aromas of sour (balsamic?) vinegar, tart, lactic lemon, and a sweet ripe-pear-like fruitiness. More tart than sour on the palate than the nose would indicate. Subtly sour lemon peel flavor dominates, with a subtle mix of other citrus fruits, balsamic vinegar, and more ripe pear. Fruitiness picks up as the beer warms, bringing in an oxidized apple and pear note. Complex and alluring.

Light to medium in body, with a high level of carbonation that prevents the intense flavors from becoming thick and sluggish.

Sour, but not mouth puckeringly so. Seems a good place to start for someone wanting to get into sour beers.

Photo of JBogan
2.78/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A nice looking ruby color body topped by a very thick off white head fills the tulip glass. The head remains thick but leaves only minimal lacing. Still, an attractive brew.

An aroma of cherries and musty vinegar. It actually smells better than the description.

Now comes the taste, and it is quite a letdown after what the aroma suggested. Very little sour character about this beer, in fact it seemed much sweeter than it did sour. There was still a hint of cherry, but it was muted by the sweetness. I really can't put a finger on any other flavors, it just had sort of a blandness to it.

Mouthfeel was thin and very slippery. It was also somewhat lifeless and uninteresting.

While I usually enjoy beers of this style, this is one I'll be passing on in the future. Other than the appearance and to a lesser degree the aroma, this beer had nothing about it which beckoned me back for more.

Photo of carwreCk
1.89/5  rDev -50.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

First time having a beer of this style. It spilled everywhere when I opened the bottle. After I finished cleaning up I took a whiff and realized I wasn't going to like this beer. Smells like red wine vinegar. Tastes like red wine vinegar. Can't say much more about it. I won't be buying this beer again and will be staying away from the style indefinitely. Just happens to offend my tastes.

Photo of eallured
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served At brasserie V in Madison. 25cl "buffalo" tulip. Tan fluffy head sits atop a deep ruby beer. Head dissapates moderately.
Smells of sour cherries a little and a light venegar scent that isn't unpleasant. Taste is fairly sweet, this always catches me off guard because I am prepared for something more sour. A rich malty but not grainlike taste, a bit caramelly, not toasty or bready. Sour cherry is also there a little bit. Very faint metallic taste, less than other oude bruins (read dutchess).
Mouthfeel is fairly thick, a little cloying that isn't quite cut through by the acid. Medium carbonation typical of the style
drinkability suffers from the sweetness without a cleansing sourness, although sourness can dull the palate too much. I'd say I could drink a lot of these but it doesn't prevent me from drinking others.

Photo of OtherShoe2
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear reddish brown but is a beautiful dark red when held to the light. A bunch of bubbles in this one as well. Terrific lacing, with one nice white ring near the top where the white foamy head was, working down the pint in scattered white patches.

A hint of burnt sugar and some light sour cherry/maybe cider vinegar. Smells like it will be an acidic one.

Great brew. Light tart cherries, a little burnt sugar, some tart acid, some chemical alcohol, and a very very clean finish. Nothing cloying or unpleasant during the drink or in the remainder.

Bubbly and thinner than expected. Helps tremendously in the drinkability. This went down very very easy. Funny enough, when buying this, the beer guy in the liquor store was talking to another customer about sours. He said they reminded him of a tart wine, but one that had gone very very bad. WTF? This was terrifc, and far from his description -- what shitty advice from that guy. Try this if you can.

Photo of CoolJosh
3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.7oz bottle into a tapered belgian pint glass. Pours a clear brown body with a creamy light brown head. This beer looks very crisp and clean.

The smell is of very sweet cherries and brown sugar. There is a nice lemonade scent. Very simple but it works fairly well.

The taste shows amplified versions of all of the components found in the scent. Again with the sweet cherry, brown sugar, and lemon tastes. There is an underwhelming sour taste which should show more with age. Very thin and sharp mouthfeel bode well with the flavors. I could easily drink another one of these.

Photo of jsh420
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours clear amber brown with a big 2+ finger head that leaves lacing down the glass

smells of sweet/sour cherries grapes apples malt vinegar

taste is great - much like the nose - the perfect balance of sweet and sour - good nutty malt aftertaste

mouthfeel medium body with plenty of life to it

drinkability is good but i would not more then maybe 2 in one sitting

Photo of PreacherBrewer
4.48/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a beautiful red-wine color. Sports a 2 finger light kaki colored head. head dissolves slowly to a thin film that leaves decadent lacing.

S - Unlike anything i've ever caught on the nose of a beer before. My first thoughts were of vinegar. then some sour smells, yeast, mixed fruit, primarily, grape, prune, and raisin.

T - WOW! this thing has personality! tastes very similar to how it smells: oddly carbonated, fermented grape/prune juice. a little hint of cranberry maybe. An apple cider flavor is lingering in there as well. it's very similar to fermented sparkling apple cider...sort-of.

M - It has a very ticklish, bubbly mouthfeel. very interesting, almost the life of the brew. very unique.

D - Despite what i've herd about the FOB's, and sour ales in general, this is a remarkably drinkable ale. It is mysterious, and captivating. It's interesting, yet not ridiculous. It's very very good. it may not be the thing for you, but you at least have to try one before you die...seriously.

Photo of lstokes
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Grace Tavern, apple cider colored with a minimal head (but then, the bartenders didn't seem to know that we like our heads!) and practically no lacing.

It smells like sour cherries, but has a lot of complex notes to it, some vinegar, the barest hint of funk, green apples and dried fruits. The taste is also solid, very sour but refreshingly so, and never puckering or acidic, but the mouth feel was almost too light for me, I wanted something more to roll around in my mouth.

It's not maybe the sourest of the sour ales, but it's drinkable! I even got a second one, which isn't something I can often say for this style. Would be amazing with some strong cheese.

Photo of fropones
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish brown with one finger of khaki head. Smell is vinegar and cherries. Sour. Making my mouth water already. Taste is deliciously sour, cherries, some jammy fruits, maybe raspberries. Green apple. Not as funky as I was expecting. Medium bodied, effervescent, nice dry finish. Extremely drinkable and thirst-quenching. I'd take this over gatorade any day of the week.

Photo of BarrelO
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a goblet.

A: Ruby red body. Head starts out big but fades, leaving a bit of lacing.

S: Cherries and vinegar.

T: Very sour, but not overwhelmingly so. Plenty of underlying fruitiness and maltiness to balance it out and make it drinkable.

M: Medium-bodied, bubbly.

D: Good if you're a fan of sour ales. Reasonably priced, too.

Photo of MrIncognito
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I had a really hard time with this beer because it is so very true to the style description but I had a really hard time drinking this on its own. Was really wishing I had some strong cheese or some roasted pork with leeks

A - Deep mahogony with a khaki head that is thick and fizzy. Stickier than I thought it would be and leaves beautiful lacing. The head fades to a 1/4-inch cap and stays for the whole beer. An incredibly attractive brew

S - Apple cider with light vinegar and sour cherries. Some clove-like spice that adds to the apple cider aroma.

T&M - Very spritzy carbonation that is quite nice in feel. Livens this beer up a bit and gives it a light, non-syrupy body. I instantly taste fresh mulled apple cider and think of a Fall county fair. Sour cherry notes and then hit hard by slightly bitter vinegar. Not harsh to the tastebuds, but man is that interesting. I can definitely appreciate the flavors here. No hop bitterness and not much malt I don't think.

D - Definitely a sipper, but again I had a hard time drinking the whole thing. Would have been much better with some food.

Photo of DawnL
3.56/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Murky amber with big foamy head that dissipates to sticky lace.

Smell: Slight caramel, with prune notes. It doesn't smell like your typical beer.

Taste: Malt character, then dried fruit, followed by acidic/sour cherry character.

Mouthfeel: This definitely coats the mouth - not really unctuous, but definitely present with good length.

Drinkability: I'm going with good.

This is a strange little beer. I'm still not sure whether or not I like it. I am giving it a pretty good rating, but I'm not sure if I am completely a fan.

Let me explain. I had this with a light fish dinner. I was hoping it would be a bit more sour and was completely surprised by the amber/brown color.

I wouldn't suggest serving this beer with an entree. I wouldn't suggest serving it as an aperitif either. This is an after dinner, bring on the cheese beer. It needs mild cheeses - young mimolette, laughing cow, mild goat cheese, cream cheese even. It would be overwhelmed by cheddar. Maybe a Swiss cheese would be okay. Brie would kill this! Or, maybe it should be had on its own after dinner as a divestif.

It develops an odd bitterness when left to warm. Definitely like leaving prune juice on the counter and letting it come up to room.

If it were a little tarter, it would remind me of those sour, dried, Asian plums. Oh, that would be something to pair it with. Try this beer with Asian plums that are dried and have that sourball coating dusted on them.

I like this beer because it's an oddity. And I know I'm going on a bit, but this taste sensation is so different from anything I've tasted before that I feel like sharing - a lot.

Photo of adamette
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Live review. Found this 11.2 oz. bottle at Heinen's in Willoughby Hills last week for $2.99 and decided to snatch it up. This is the first "Monk's Cafe" item that I have seen for sale. Poured into my Brewery Ommegang snifter.

A First of all, I like the cap. I know it is "not about the beer" but presentation means a lot and this sniny new penny copper cap is cool. It emulates the copper like translucent body which is dark than the cap but not by a whole lot. Head was 2 inches but short lived, quieting down within a minute. 3.5

S Gotta love that "Oud Bruin" smell and I do. This is a classic smell for the style. 3.5

T Wow, candy apple caramel sweet syrupy gives way to a nice cherry sour aftertaste in this classic for the style beer. 4.0

M The sweetness and the sour make this a very active beer to the feel.

D Good. I finished the 11.2 ounces within a few minutes and enjoyed it.

Notes: Probably a bit expensive to have all of the time but a good and accesible example of the style (vs., say....the Petrus Oud Bruin).

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,590 ratings.