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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,387 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,387
Reviews: 1,047
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 54
Gots: 179 | FT: 2
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,387 | Reviews: 1,047 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jwc215
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass:

Pours mahogany with a one-finger+ off white head that descends to about half the size and stays. Lacing sticks to glass.

The smell is mildly sour, vinuous, candy in the back.

The taste is sour/grapefruity/vinuous. Candy sweetness mixes in to give it a sweettart, dry finish.

Appropriately light-bodied and rather mild (but tasty) for the style, this is an easy drinker. It isn't as sour as other classic examples, but has a nicely balanced sourness to it and could be a good intro to the style. A nicely done brew. Could pair well with grapes and creamy cheeses.

jwc215, Jun 09, 2007
Photo of Brian700
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the first beer I reviewed in forever, I'm a little rusty, bear with me.

It pours a deep amberish red with an off-white head that slowly settled down to a creamy ring around the outer edge of my glass leaving nice belgian lacing.

The aroma is typical, sweet/sour, cherries, I get a little bit of burnt hair as I really stick my nose in there.

It has a big lactic wallup right in the front that develops into a sweet/sour flavor and tapers off into a little bit of sour fruit leaving your mouth dry and tasty. Very good!

The mouthfeel is light bodied with a lot of fine carbonation. Coats the palate nicely making this a beer to savor.

I think the drinkability is great. I am a big fan of sour beer, keep that in mind. To the faint of heart, stay away.

Brian700, Jun 09, 2007
Photo of HugoGrim
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia served in a Hoegaarden style glass. Deep ruby almost purple body with a thin creamy head. Some lace.

Aroma is of sour fruits.

Flavor is primarily of rich sour plum and cherries with a full malty character. Very refreshing and thirst quenching. I could drink quite a few of these.

Served as a good accompaniment to pommes frites with spiced mayonnaise.

HugoGrim, Jun 06, 2007
Photo of tempest
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Muddy Pig in St. Paul

A simpler sour ale than some of the other's I've tried, but at the same time it's the most drinkable I've had. It comes off with a juicy tart sourness that tastes slightly like sour cherries, but not much else. The flavor here is a little mellow and relies mostly on the sour tang to carry the beer. I've call it a starter-sour ale.

tempest, May 29, 2007
Photo of brdc
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish brown, this one has a very thick, luscious creamy, brownish head.
The expected sour aroma comes along with some fruitiness and a heavy smell I believe is from the yeasts.
Light-bodied, it starts right out tart and sour, almost puckering. It is then followed by some sweetness, and then more sourness and tartness.
Certainly not the best in the business, but nonetheless a pleasure.

brdc, May 21, 2007
Photo of Nesued
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Monk's in Philadelphia. Paired with the Grilled Monk's Flemish Sourpus (Octopus braised in Monk's Flemish Sour Ale). Along in this food pairing was a Vichtenaar to add a bit of Sour Ale variety to this food pairing. A tasting buddy and I split these two brews while enjoying this wonderful octopus offering.

Appearance - Red/ruby coloring with a fluffy head that was also showing some red tones along with a tan coloration.

Smell - A very refreshing tart/cherry nose with a subtle sweetness that draws you in (both literally and figuratively!).

Taste - This is what I love about Flanders Red Ales: the variety. There is a tartness present, but not as much as other Red Ale offerings.

Mouthfeel - Nicely wanders around the insides while showing how aeromatic a red ale can be. The carbonation lends great aid in this department.

Drinkability - A very nice representation of the style. Not the typical "Rodenbach-like" Reds. Worth finding. Really worth sampling if you visit Monk's on-tap.

Nesued, Apr 25, 2007
Photo of rayjay
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1st time I had this was when they were premiering it at Monks Cafe in Philly. The owner Tom and a business partner and I had a few and raved about it for a while; they were obviously proud of it, and I think they said they choose it from amoung 8 sours and it was the clear winner. It was so good I had 4 glasses right then and there. That was 4, maybe 5 years ago, so lets see how it tastes these days.

I purchased this one at Healthy Spirits in San Fran, and I was surprised and happy to see it because I thought you could only get it in Philly. I remember it being alot better on draft, but I happily gave this bottle a go.

Healthy head of red foam, purple body, lots of lace, a beautiful beer.

Funky cheese nose that is very appealing.

Some sweetness, a mild sour blanket, and gentle malts come together in perfect harmony. I've had bottles that were just so-so, but this one tastes great. Finishes very dry--sweetness goes right away. Cheese and sour cherries. Restrained, polite flavors that melt in your mouth.

Spicy carbonation that remains active. The sourness and dryness make you chave more. Extremely refreshing and drinkable. One of the finest examples of its kind; puts Duchesse to shame, making her seem like pure vinegar. Seek and consume!

rayjay, Apr 24, 2007
Photo of Foxman
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a quite clear rich ruby copper. A finger of frothy light tan head sinks slowly. Gulls of lacing aviate along the inside of the glass.

The aroma is decidedly lactic and pie-cherry sour. A submerged toasted malt grain presence intimates of a feather of sweetness to balance the more aggressive tartness.

Upon tasting, the malt is tart cherry sweet and ever so slightly doughy. The sour tower is again notably lactic, and this time is buttressed by a brace of earthy funk. A short batch of residual sweetness joins the tang to open up to a gradually drying and moderately crisp finish. No matter your general tastes, it's hard not to like this at least a measure.

Light bodied, the carbonation and sweet/sour duet combine to give a marked soft-drink impression to the palate.

Plenty of places have proprietary beers, but few have such distinctive, entertaining ales. It's a sour for a newer palate, or for those who'd like a little less "horsiness" in their beer, for whatever the reason. It's a refreshing and willing counterpoint to any number of savory culinary choices. I don't usually drink it at Monk's due to the usually many untried options, but it's nice to be able to bring a bit of Monk's home with me.

Foxman, Apr 23, 2007
Photo of techdiver
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep mahogany with a good two finger head that dissipates slowly leaving a small cap and nice lacing.

Aroma is sour but lacks the cherry found in other ales of this type.

Taste dispals some of the sour cherry that the nose fails to display.

Nice carbonation, fairly refreshing and pleasant.

Fairly drinkable, but it's not a Rodenbach Grand Cru.

techdiver, Apr 17, 2007
Photo of shivtim
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out a hazy brown with red tints and a small but nice head. Nose is very gentle, with just a slight sweetness. Even on warming it stays mild. Taste is great- just the right amount of sour flavor, a bit lemony, corn and some malt sweetness. Nice balance. Mouthfeel is tart and foamy, compliments the flavor well. Drinkability is good.

shivtim, Apr 15, 2007
Photo of albern
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a slightly cloudy brown, with some lacing and foaming on the edges. There is a goodly amount of carbonation, and the smell has all the characteristics of a really nice sour Flemish red. But it stops there. Monk's is a little watery, has a subdued cherry flavor, with other citrus present, but lacks the sourness that one would come to expect with the style. Duchesse and Rodenbach this isn't, and too bad. I was looking forward to the tartness, the chartreuse, the sweet cherry and citrus flavors, but this is lacking in all of the above. It's not a bad ale by any measure, but it just lacks the complexity, the sourness, the chewiness of the better Flemish sour ales so representative of the style. This might be a good initiate into the style for those unfamiliar with the unique qualities of the Flemish reds, but beyond that, why stop at Monk's when there are better available.

I had this on tap at the Sunset Grill in Allston, MA, December 2007. This is a very nice ale on tap, actually much fresher, more refreshing, and eminently more sippable than what I experienced out of the bottle. I would add another full point to this beer on tap.

albern, Apr 14, 2007
Photo of swissmiss805
4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I love this beer. My first Flemish sour, it was a gateway beer to the style, leading me to all kinds of Duchesse (not a fan) and Cantillons, yet I always go back to Monks. It has all the tartness and acidity without the overly sweetness that can come with the style. Really, I'm just writing this review as a public forum for anyone who's spotted it in NYC/Brooklyn. Please let me know if you've bought/drank it in the area I miss the Monks!

swissmiss805, Apr 05, 2007
Photo of Onibubba
3.18/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a dark reddish brown with a small white head. Smell is all sour apples. Has a much more pronounced sourness than I was expecting. I thought this would be along the same lines of a Rodenbach or a Duchesse. However, there is none of that sour cutting sweetness present in this beer. Reminded me somewhat of a La Roja, but without the complexities. Mouthfeel was OK. For this degree of sourness, a bit more carbonation would have been nice.

Drinkability is not high. This is not a bad beer, but it is a sipper, maybe even a transitional beer. Would be nice to have before or after some sweeter reds, but 2 of these is a row would be a bit much.

Onibubba, Apr 02, 2007
Photo of mcallister
2.25/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Murky burnt opaque raspberry lavender. Small white quick to fade head leave some faint lacing. Not too appetizing.

Violet, sour cherry, yeasty, burnt dried berry varieties, hints of wheat germ, other tart fruits and a odd sweetness follow up the aromas.

Very weak flavors and laid back. Balance is non existent, and just a wretched lack of depth. Hints of strawberry and raspberry, bitterness is mild and really hurt this beer. Mouthfeel is thin and weak and there is virtually no length to the finish.

mcallister, Apr 01, 2007
Photo of Bierguy5
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle, with the code 01 HE on the back. Cloudy, reddish brown color. Decent off white rocky head, which holds together well.

Sour berry aroma, with a bit of funky notes as well. Not a whole lot else.

Flavors begin with a puckering sensation, but quickly backs off. What is left is a bit tart, but not what was expected. Some slightly sour cherries, and dark berries, combine with a bit of earthy and musty flavors. The finish is very earthy, and dry.

Light body, with a good amount of carbonation. Seems to be light in alcohol, and pretty easy to drink.

Overall, not bad, but not as sour as I was hoping, or as the aroma would lead me to believe. The finish was not very good, which hurts the drinkability. This may be a good, non-intimidating intro into sour beers, but not at the top of the list for me.

Bierguy5, Mar 31, 2007
Photo of kmo1030
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

murky red brown, with not much of a head to speak of.
sour, flowery cherry aroma, with a faint basement funkiness. hints of wood, and oddly enough every once in a while i get a licorice smell. malty caramel comes out slightly underneath the sour fruit.
sour cherry flavors up front, with a tart apple skin or core flavor following behind. i actually get some malt-like sweetness towards the back half. very faint mustiness.
medium bodied with soft carbonation and puckering sourness.
drinkability is good enough, as the beer i pleasantly refreshing. though not hugely complex, this is a nice tasting flemish sour that does nicely if you're in a pinch for a sour beer fix..

kmo1030, Mar 28, 2007
Photo of BamaScholar
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was pleased to find any Flanders Red Ale or Sour Ale here in Nashville, which, while improving, is hardly a Mecca for interesting fare.

It was a nice pour--the beer is a beautiful garnet tone. I may have even awarded a 5 if there were more carbonation, a better head. This may not be characteristic for the style, however.

The nose is quite unusual, the sour is there! It's like soaked cherries and a bit of musty earth.

It's not really terribly sour, just enough sweetness and bite to make for a balanced and refreshing mouthful.

Again, I could almost use a little more carbonation here, as it seems a little flat. But the dryness is quite nice. "Ahhhh" producing.

Delicious beer but one or two is plenty at-a-go. I will definitely be seeking more examples of the style.

BamaScholar, Mar 24, 2007
Photo of brentk56
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy garnet color with a one inch head that caps nicely and leaves traces of foam down from the original head line

Smell: Sweet and sour cherry yoghurt and a bit of wood

Taste: Starts out with a comfortable blend of sweet and lactic sour cherry that builds in sourness, mid-palate; after the swallow, the wood flavor joins in and blends to the finish, which leans to the sweet rather than the sour

Mouthfeel: Somewhat thick and yoghurty with plenty of carbonation

Drinkability: Not as complex as some other Flemish Reds, this is nonetheless very enjoyable, particularly for those who are not enamored by sour beers but like an occasional stroll on the sour side

brentk56, Mar 22, 2007
Photo of BeerHonky
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

BeerHonky, Mar 19, 2007
Photo of JimsArcade
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a tulip glass, a minimal silky white head topped this reddish-brown ale. A gorgeous looking beer.

S: It has a lot less funk than I would've expected. Its aroma is mild with a hint of sour but non-citric fruits.

T: This is the least sour example I've ever tasted of this style. It tastes of tart cherries, minus some of the associated sweetness. Hints of lemon are also present.

M: Absolutely silky. The carbonation is just perfect, and it's just thin enough that my tastebuds aren't overpowered.

D: Surprisingly for a sour ale, I could see myself drinking several of these in a sitting. It's mildness compared to other sour ales I've sampled makes this the most drinkable example of the style I can think of.

JimsArcade, Mar 05, 2007
Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nice reddish brown color. Creamy, slightly off white head that settles quickly, but leaves a film on top and nice laceing.

S - Sour, lactic aroma. Musty, horse blanket with notes of orange and cherries.

T - Sweet and bright, with refreshing acidity of course. Citric character, reminicent of grapefruit zest. Still detecting a cherry like note, black cherry. Lingering maltyness in the finish.

M - Puckering and dry from the acidity. Good level of carbonation keeps it light on the palate.

D - Very drinkable beer, as a flemish red should be. Less acidity than some examples of this style, which makes it less intense and easier to drink, but it is also not as complex as something like Rodenbach.

nickfl, Mar 05, 2007
Photo of joe1510
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz. Bottle
$2.99
Binny's Orland

Monk's Cafe Flemish sour poured with a crystal clear crimson red body into a tulip. Very dark unless held directly to the light. 2 finger light tan head formed but quickly fled back to a solid half finger. Minor spotty lacing.

The smell begins with barnyard funk and lots of it. Ragweed and horse blanket run throughout the aroma. Super tart cranberries show up along with the occasional sour cherry. Smells refreshing.

Starts with a quick flash of tart cranberries that gives that small pucker. Quickly followed by the barnyard and ragweed aromas. The finish throws a quick flash of sweet cherries at me and is then followed up by a mildly tart cherry finish. A small metallic twang on the finish as well.

Mouthfeel is light and refreshing. Lighter body with prickly carbonation. Bone dry finish.

This is a refreshing beer and the light body helps with the easy drinking.

This is only my second sour ale. The first was awhile back and I couldn't take it. I figured I'd give another sour a shot and this was a pretty refreshing drink. A lot different than what I remembered from my last expierence. I'm looking forward to trying different sours in the future.

joe1510, Mar 04, 2007
Photo of Kudashov
1.55/5  rDev -59.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

12 .oz bottle with my belvoved Manic Street Preachers - " Design For Life " on the Hi-Fi .Poured into my Stella Artois glass . This was a call from Dan at Marty's . I enjoy talkiing to Dan about beer and his call on the Avery Hog Heaven was very good but this was not . I guess sour is not my style . Color was a dark red burgundy color with a one finger head that did not last long . Cider / sour apples and cherries . Tasing this is not as sour as I thought it was going to be but the flavor is everywhere and the finish is bleh . It was not overly sour that turn me off but it was a tad watery and the flavors again are everywhere . Really had to fight it to get it down . Not a drain pour but close .

Kudashov, Mar 01, 2007
Photo of beermanbrian
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy brown apple cider look. Very little head. Nothing appealing about the look at all. Smell is all sour fruit, this is what i was expecting. Cherry notes and maybe it's just the apple cider appearance but i think i pick up notes of sour apple too. Taste is sour, but not completely mouthpuckering sour. It's an interesting taste for sure but not over the top. I don't have much to compare this one too style wise but this is pretty much what i expected. Other than the rather drab appearance, a beer that is worth a try.

beermanbrian, Mar 01, 2007
Photo of aforbes10
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle purchased at City Wide in Mishawaka. A very pretty beer in my tulip glass. Perfect look to it, all clear and devilishly red with a fancy soft head and great looking lacing. Stinks like cranberries, sour cherries and red wine. Lots of odor to it = inviting. Taste is tart, but surprizing in that its really not all that complex. Dry cherry flavor, biscuity malt and vague cranberries and they all fade rather fast. Its a lot softer and less aggressive than i imagined it would be from the nose. Alcohol is almost imperceptible. Its a nice beer, overall, but its not, i think, the best of its kind.

aforbes10, Feb 27, 2007
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,387 ratings.