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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
87
very good

2,467 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,467
Reviews: 1,053
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 14.06%
Wants: 57
Gots: 203 | FT: 3
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: 2,467 | Reviews: 1,053 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerBelcher
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Loving sour as I do, I really enjoyed this beer. It is full of sour cherry musty goodess!

It poured a clear, brilliant red color with a sparkling head of tiny bubbles. Aroma was sour with red wine vinegar notes and cherry fruitiness. Flavor was very sour, and dominated by cherries (and delicious BTW). Mouthfeel was smooth and made me pucker. This beer was quite good.

I'd highly recommend this beer, if you're into sour.

Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - a ruby-ish, crimson, ruddy tan brew with half a finger of tan head, no visible carbonation or sediment

S - of course the aroma is dominated by its sourness, which is easily discernible as sour cherries, like that of pie filling, there is a malt spine to the bouquet

T - the taste is sweeter than the aroma let on, but still a great balance of sweet and sour cherries, with the malt backbone still there to give it some structure

M&D - i love this style, however you have to like sour-ish beers to enjoy it, it is a great beer, rich in flavor and in body, this beer feels as good as it tastes

Photo of paulzy
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

Photo of stephendr
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. glass bottle- color of mahogany, with a thick tan colored head - nose is floral, sour, earthy, and green apples – taste of sour, crisp, cidery, and light- body is medium, and with medium high carbonation – aftertaste of crisp, short, and clean

Photo of meatyard
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a clear, dark, reddish amber that has a nice two finger tan head that falls quickly to a covering with a lot of residual lacing. There is a considerable amount of carbonation rising from my Duvel tulip. A light swirl brings a thick cover to the top.
The smell is tart, lactic & cherries.
The taste is sour, tart cherries.
Mouthfeel is crisp and dry with a lot of carbonation.
Drinkability is very good in my opinion.

I like the style and I like this beer. I could easily drink three or four and enjoy each.

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

Pours a clouded and very dark ruby that has a light tan head at first but falls fast to nothing. Nose is not overpowering by any means by carries a wood tone and a slight yeast edge. Seems to be a touch of cherries on there as well. Flavor starts off fairly mild but moved to a cherry sugary sweet ending tone with a pretty firm wood overall tone. I kind of wish the flavor profile would stick around longer. Feel is good. Nice liquid feel with a good level of carbonation and bubble hitting my tongue. Drinkable, yes. The more and more I have of this style, the more and more I like it. And this one has helped to further my appreciation.

Photo of wheelinshirt
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle from Vidalia in Lansdale, poured into a wide tulip after allowing to warm from fridge temp. As i cracked the cap it immediately smelled vinegary and vinuous.

Deep red/brown color with a big light cream colored head that had fairly good retention. It slowly faded to about a fingers worth and in due time was down to a thin covering. Some pretty decent lacing, as well.

Smell was very vinuous, then vinegar. Personally, i don't find the smell attractive but it is certainly not inappropriate for the style and seems to be well done. Taste is more appealing to me, very wine like and cidery, reminds me a lot of duchesse. Mouthfeel is nice, medium light with moderate carbonation. Drinkability here isn't hampered by the beer per se--it is a good beer and the elements seem to be in a pretty good balance, here. However, this is a style that perhaps isn't for me. Pick it up if you are interested in the style, but i would probably recommend duchesse instead.

Photo of timtim
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

slightly hazy cherry reddish with a tan (i think, it was pretty dark in the bar) head that had okay retention and lace. smelled like a sour flemish style should... vinous, slightly cidery/vinegary, tart, hint of cherry. taste was even better than nose. a lot mellower than duchesse, but really lovely. pretty light mouthfeel, and properly carbonated. great after dinner, but not a session drink for sure.

Photo of papat444
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to franksnbeans for this one.

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle.

Appearance: Opaque with brownish-red color kinda of just sitting there. Held to the light, you can see the red hue. About a 3 finger head.

Smell: Sour notes apparent with some acidity.

Taste: Acidity is definitely present, dances on the tongue, very lively. Not too sour.

Mouthfeel: Light, very wine-like taste. Dry with some wood in it. Tartness is subdued, not mouth puckering.

Drinkability: Quite good, almost finished glass before i noticed.

Overall: I couldn't shake the feeling that i was drinking wine with more carbonation. Very interesting beer, pick it up if you're in the mood for something different.

Photo of bassmantin
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nasty brown color, almost like a dark cider. I gotta say the color is not that appealing, but I'm still open-minded. Smell is very tart. I've never had a Flemish sour ale, but it smells a lot like a lambic to me. The sourness is so strong that it makes me cringe.

The taste is very interesting. Begins very sour up front (quite like a lambic), and the more typical malty flavor of beer intervenes midway through adding a delicate balance to this brew. The balance lingers for quite some time and the sweet and sour work well together.

All in all: A remarkable beer that matches several different flavors well. Worth a shot if you're up for something interesting.

Thanks to goodbyeohio for this one.

Photo of sfoley333
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of 12oz bottle into Duvel snifter. Poured a dark reddish brown with a medium lacy head. Smell has acidic vingear with some wild sourness. Taste cherries with baslamic and oak finished with a slight nuttyness. Mouth feel is on the low end of medium body. Carbonation is there but not overpowering the dryness. Could drink a few because its light dryness, low alcohol content, and not overtop sourness.

Photo of soulgrowl
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Extremely volatile carbonation, spraying bubbles withing itself like a fistful of sparklers. Cherrywood reddish brown when it settles, a pretty color, with a smoggy brown tinge near the top and a yellowy parchment head. Poor retention.

Smell: Extremely red wine-like, with notes of tart cherry, tobacco, yogurty lactic acid, red wind vinegar, raspberries, and oak. Sour and tart, but well-balanced and solidly put together with a toasty, brown sugary and bagel-doughy malt base. I love this style! If there are hops, they express themselves in a very delicate, possibly floral way.

Taste: Dry, very dry, and only lightly tart for the style - no bursting berry flavors like those of the Duchesse or Rodenbach, but it is lightly fruity. Notes of apples, and, noticeably, cranberries are ample, with a whole-grain bready malt foundation. Clear notes of oak, or maybe maple, add a classy character while the vinegary tartness helps keep things bright.

Mouthfeel: Light and nicely effervescent - a tad too watery, perhaps, as the bubbles are very fine. Very clean and dry.

Drinkability: Yum! A pleasant, mild yet interesting Flanders red.

Photo of MiScusi
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Stone Bistro, served in a small snifter. Poured a brownish red with a head that had receded pretty fast into a thin foam. Aroma had a faintly tart character with red grapes thrown in. Taste had a maltiness that contained a bit of sour, but a good amount of sweetness from darker malt to balance it out. A grape taste was apparent as well. Mouthfeel was pretty smooth while also carbonated enough to give what little tartness was there a nice quenching aspect. This is a malty, mild sour ale that goes down pretty easy.

Photo of djeffbee
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Canal's Discount Liquors in Pennsauken, NJ. Very shocked to see this on the shelf, couldn't pass it up @ $1.99/bottle...

A - Pours deep amber to ruby, with no haze and a short head that fades quickly leaving lotsa lacing behind.

S - Sour cherries and green apples. More pleasant than expected based on other reviews.

T - WOW. Sour cherries (talking sour patch kids) with a mild malty background and no apparent hop presence. This is good.

M - I liken this to sucking on a lemon - a bit tart at first, making you pucker and leaving a very pleasant clean tingle. Nice.

D - Very good. I was expecting so much worse. This is an excellent beverage. I could see maybe two at a sitting, but not much more beyond that. (kinda like you wouldn't drink a few Coke's in a row)

Very enjoyable and will definitely purchase this again..

Photo of KingG
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served at room temp and poured into my Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance is good. The beer itself is dark red/almost purple. Nice creamy tan colored head with impressive lacing.

Smell is average. Sweet/tart aromas fight to be on top with the tartness winning out at the end. There's a strange stinky garbage smell coming through which isn't pleasant.

Taste is above-average. Initially, a nice fruity tartness hits with tamarind and oak. Finishes slightly metallic and lacks complexity but pretty good none-the-less.

Mouthfeel is good. Medium bodied for the style and a nice level of carbonation. Texture is slightly chalky.

Drinkability is above-average. I'll finish it but I'm moving onto something else afterward.

Overall:
Not bad for a change of pace but nothing worth seeking out. Above-average for the style.

Photo of CharlieMopps
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque brownish-red, a very deep hue, with a small layer of head that displays decent retention. A bit surprising that there is not a larger head formation from this one.

S: A winey and yeasty bouquet, notes of Belgian sugar and spices in the nose.

T: Tastes slightly of cherries, the tartness is what gives off this flavor along with its wine-like qualities. Definitely more noticeable in the finish, with a sugary flavor throughout.

M: Crisp with a light body, carbonation is at a generous level but not as much as expected here either.

D: All in all, for the style this is a quite drinkable beer in the sense that it doesn't really overpower, but definitely provides enough sour flavor to give the palate a kick. Not as dialed up as others, which is nice, but the body seemed a bit too thin in the mouthfeel.

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Auburn reddish with a medium tan head with lots of lacing. High carbonation is visible.

S - Very sour cherries, apple cider vinegar, faint cherry wood? That is unexpected.

T - Underripe sour cherries and mild vinegar. A bit of faint malt. Aftertaste is a sour and vinegary.

M - Thin, smooth, a little astringent, substantial carbonation. A tad refreshing too.

D - Pretty good. Not the best Flemish sour, but worth a try.

Photo of Doomcifer
2.28/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Appearance - pours an extremely murky/ruddy brown color with slight mahogany hues when held to light. Slight head that fades away quickly.

Smell - Smells like balsamic vinegarette, sweet, tart,

Taste - Extremely sour, taste is there in the background, kinda bland, and is overshadowed by the extreme sourness.

Mouthfeel - light bodied, champagne-like carbonation.

Drinkability - I couldn't take more than one of these. One is more than enough.

Photo of Floydster
2.58/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pint at Naja's Place

Very very sour, old beer takes over taste of the younger one

Vinegar, cherries, and a little citrus in the taste, but the aroma is mostly vinegar

Very carbonated with a reddish brown color

Buddy had one with me and enjoyed it more than I did, thought it was a little sweeter than most sours, but I thought the opposite

Not my favorite flanders style

Photo of YonderWanderer
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a reddish brown, yet very clear. A finger of slightly tan foam leaves a thick ring of lacing on the glass as it dissipates.

S: Sour! And more sour. A bit of vinegar, a lot of sour cherries, a bit of lemon.

T: Wow, much like the smell, except even more powerful. Sour cherries are the dominant flavor, but there are other flavors abound. I'm just not sure what they are, but it's pretty complex.

M: Nicely carbonated, and a smooth mouthfeel.

D: This is a great flemish sour, very tasty. I'd recommend it if you like the style.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sour is an understatement. ALL of my lips are puckering.
Poured a very deep amber yet crystal clear. Half finger of almost white head melted slowly to a heavy ring of lacing.

Aroma...my g/f smelled vinegar...ok...I smell sour red cherries and then some sugar that blends the cherries together and gives them distinction.

Taste...pucker...pucker..pucker...sour cherries definitely....what...wait...something else...but my palette is too uneducated or ruined to be able to identify it. There is a faint sweetness on the tail end like in the aromas that melds and mellows the sourness makiing me continually want another sip...then another.

Ken likes....it pleases him.

Photo of bosco7
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Obtained a 33 cL bottle to go at Monk's Cafe.

Beautiful burnt ruby color with a fluffy off-white head.

Sour grape, lemon, and vinegar in the nose. Hard to describe in great detail but think layers of sour aromas.

Whoa thats sour! Very very sour- a little overpowering. Starts with biscuity, bready, brown sugar flavors that is then obliterated by the sourness. Some cherry, grape, and lemon.

Very tasty beverage however I don't think I could consume a lot in a sitting. Now I love sour beers (I had 3 today) but one of these is enough. Still very good and recommended.

Photo of kindacold
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pouts a deep red with approximately a one inch, reddish-brown head. Head dissipates after a few minutes. Smells sour, almost candy-like. First sip is like a kick in the face. EXTREMELY sour, almost like a sweet tart. After the initial shock, the beer goes down with a lot of carbonation and much tingling. The sour taste remains in the mouth and even the throat for a long time after each sip, however, it somehow adds to the beer's refreshing taste. I will continue to drink this beer when I come inside from a hot day.

Photo of rugbyfan13
3.15/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Dark hazelnut brown on top fading into a dark red on the bottom. Tan, 1/2 inch head. Head turns into a thin cover on top. Medium lacing.

Smell: Cherries, wood, yeast funk, much less palpable than a Saison funk. Hints of garlic at the end that become more obvious as the beer warms up, but it still remains muted.

Taste: Oaky and funky, once again, similar to a Saison, lightly sour. Alcohol warms the burns the mouth as you drink it.

The main problem with this beer is that water hits you first. While I can tell there are strong flavors in the beer, the water just made the rest of the flavors have to overcome the watery-ness of the beer, and thus, diluted them.

Mouthfeel: Too damn watery up front. Similar to the taste, the water creates an obstacle for the mouthfeel and makes it seem weak.

Drinkability: I love yeasty funk, and I like sour beers, so I could drink more. Its an unremarkable beer.

Seeing how much I paid for the beer, I won't be trying this again.

Photo of DragYourBone
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a stemless goblet. A beautiful dark red opaque was topped with a quarter inch of foam that slowly dissipated to a slight film. If it had a touch more foam and it was a woman I would say she looked sultry.

Scent of citrus, lemon zest, cherries? and sweet yeast.

Taste and mouthfeel - I recall my first Leifmans' draught at first taste. On this near 90F day with as much humidity, it is so damn refreshing and delicious; I had to control taking it all down. The Sweet and sour brings a much anticipated tongue smack. It has a nice fullness to it with an underlying fluid component with a nice fizz at the end. The acidity and sweet notes seem to break apart a little if let sit for too long however, making it either a bit more sweet or more sour.

Drinkability - I could down this all day in the summer and feel bad about not enjoying it more. The mingling between the nose and the mouth is excellent.

I would walk a mile for a monk.

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,467 ratings.