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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

2,445 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,445
Reviews: 1,049
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 57
Gots: 193 | 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: 2,445 | Reviews: 1,049 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of OStrungT
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a murky brown solor, with a thin tan head. The head fades slowly, leavingfew laces.

This beer has a sour fruity aroma. I smell cherries. It smells tart. It also has a slightly sweet malty aroma. That is about it.

This beer tastes much like it smells. A mild tart cherry flavor. It is slightly sour with some sweet malty flavor.

This beer is hightly carbonated. It leaves a sour aftertaste.

This beer would not make a great session beer. It is sour, and would quickly become overbearing.

Overall: This beer was good, but then I usually enjoy anything from this style.

OStrungT, Feb 13, 2007
Photo of beveritt
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 11.2oz brown bottle into a snifter. Label depicts an oak barrel with the image of a monk on the side. No discernible freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with 3/8 inch of almost white, creamy head. This settles fairly quickly into a thin coating with islands of foam here and there. Nice lacing. The beer itself is perfectly clear and a deep brown red. The red hue only really comes out when the glass is held up to a light. A very small amount of sediment in the bottle.

Smell: A sour, tart cherry-like aroma, with sweet, syrupy undertones.

Taste: A tart, fruity flavor, with a lingering sour finish. Really tastes as if sour cherries, raspberries, or perhaps strawberries had been added to this beer, the yeast effect is amazing.

Mouthfeel: Average level of carbonation and body.

Drinkability: This is my first red ale, I have been dying to try one for a long time. I was worried it may be too sour, the kind of drink you couldn't really stand to have too many of. However, this is not the case, this is a tart and crisp refreshing drink. I am looking forward to trying more.

beveritt, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of Cresant
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured this 11.2 oz brown bottle into a Triple Karmeliet glass. No date. Moderate off-white head faded to a ring and island. Color was prunejuice, brown with mauve tints. Cloudiness cleared as the sediments settled. Foamy splotches of lace stick to the sides.

Smell was metallic at first. Mild, aged balsamic vinegar. Sugary sweet. Not especially pungent.

Taste reflected the smell. Woody and vinous elements were evident. Refreshingly sour, but not as sour as other Flanders Reds I have tried. Plesant but not as extreme as many.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied and effervescent. Nice.

Cresant, Jan 25, 2007
Photo of AudioGilz
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm not that well experienced with the flanders red ale style, so I didn't know what to expect with this one. I am certainly glad I picked this one up though.

It pours with a high amount of carbonation, yet there is no head to speak of, just a small ring of lace around the top; liquid itself is an enticing dark translucent ruby.

I can't get much out of smelling this beer, hints of sour candy, and old musty aged lambic character.

Immediately puckering on the first few sips, the brew presents a high amount of carbonation, and strong sour fruit character. I can't really pinpoint one particular fruit, it's just more of a general sour candy kind of feel.

The finish is dry on the palate with just enough sweetness to make it interesting and actually quite pleasing after the first few sips. It definitely becomes much more enjoyable as it warms a bit and you work your way down.

My first experience with this style is definitely a good one and I recommend this beer.

AudioGilz, Jan 21, 2007
Photo of TastyTaste
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Zorro for the bottle.

Appearance: Very dark murky brown body, big head fades to just an off-white band.

Smell: Extremely sour and fruit/vinous, mildy malty.

Taste: Not as sour you would imagine, but you get the idea of what it is going for. The malt is smooth and a touch grassy and metallic, but sweeet and sour overall. Not the most overpowering, but very easy to enjoy.

Drinkability: While not my favorite in the style, still a very drinkable Flemish Ale.

TastyTaste, Jan 16, 2007
Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked this one up at Lee's Liquor off of Lake Mead in Las Vegas this week.

Appearance: Pours a pretty clear reddish garnet color with a small, but persistent, of white head. After drinking the beer, there is some sporadic lacing left on the glass.

Aroma: Light sweet caramel is the first impression that I get. I definitely get some wood with this beer, and this melds with a sweetness and a cherry that are truly defined. There is an evident cherry impression in the nose of this beer, and that hints at the mild sourness to come in the sip.

Taste: The flavor is really mild and clean with some slight tartness. The cherry and the wood are big players in the flavor, but the rest of the beer comes across as really eserved and clean. The finish is wet rather than dry and attenuated like most other examples of this style. The beer is clean with no alcohol apparent.

Opinion: This is a pretty god beer. I am a big fan of the sour ales, and this one is really reserved for this category. I would drink it again, but mostly with newbies to sour beers.

SkeeterHawk, Jan 15, 2007
Photo of ElGordo
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Body is a turbid brown hue with ruby red highlights, topped by a modest off-white head. Tangy aroma that is typical of a Flemish sour - tart cherries, Belgian malt, some light, floral Euro hops, and a decent bit of astringency. Palate is along the same lines, with tart sour cherry dominating up front, becoming more balanced with the light brown malt by mid-palate. Finish is again tart, with a light flash of hoppiness before the swallow. The astringency doesn't linger as long as some other sours, but definitely makes its presence known. Body is a light and spritzy, maybe a touch foamy at times. Be gentle with this one. I've never been a huge fan of sour ales, but this one is passable.

ElGordo, Jan 11, 2007
Photo of lackenhauser
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Muddy brown with some minor reddish highlights. Nice, fruity aroma with a touch of sourness to it. Very berry like smell to it. Moderately sour flavor. A slight hint of fruit to it. Finishes quite dry. Good mouthfeel-very bright an effervescent on the palate. A very drinkable and enjoyable beer. I knock it down a bit for drinkability as it gets to be too much for me after 1 or 2. Dont let that stop you.

lackenhauser, Jan 08, 2007
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very murky brown with ruby highlights. Not much head. The smell is malt vinegar and late sweet malt. Tastes quite sour with a spicy taste redolent of cinnamon on the finish. The mouthfeel is alittle rough and non-integrated for me, but its a quite refreshing brew.

Georgiabeer, Jan 04, 2007
Photo of SilentSabre
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I do not recall having ever had a Flanders Red before now. I was really uncertain what to expect. Sitting on the table in the glass, it is reddish-brown in colour, with spotty patches of frost on the surface. It looks a bit murky. When held up in front of a light bulb, it becomes clear that this in indeed very red in colour, and while still a bit cloudy, it isn't as "muddy" as it appears sitting on the table.
The smell is a bit wine-like. It actually "smells" sour. There is also a damp basement smell present, as well, like you'd find with a gueuze or a saison. Having never had this style before, I am unsure what this should be like, but my suspicion is that this is right on target for the style. Taste is tart and sour all the way through. No bitterness or anything else. Pure lip-puckering tartness. I like this very much. Mouthfeel is quite smooth and pleasant with a lower level of CO2. Quite drinkable. I'm fairly impressed with this one, and certainly glad I tried it. I'll probably buy this again.

SilentSabre, Jan 02, 2007
Photo of oelergud
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear transparent beautiful dark ruby body with lots of carbonation and a nice pillowy, creamy, silken tan head. Good retention and lace.
Sweet and sour scent, tart green apple skin.
Fresh tart fruity taste. Very little aftertaste of green tart apple.
Medium mouthfeel with a finish that seems dry but thats just the tartness talking.
A very different and enjoyable brew.

-Oelergud

oelergud, Dec 26, 2006
Photo of TexIndy
4.93/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Re-review on 8/5/08. Original review at bottom.
Shipped back from my trip to Indiana. Poured from a 330ml bottle with a coded date on the label into my NBB snifter. It had a deep ruby color. It had a small fizzy head that quickly dissipated into nothing. Some carb but no lacing. The aroma was strong sour cherries. Since my original review, I've really grown into this style and absolutely love the aroma on this one. The taste was also incredible. It had a great sour bite that sticks throughout the whole drink. Ends with a sharp pucker. The mouthfeel is great with the sour and carbonation. Overall, this is an excellent beer and I'm so glad that I got to try it again. Originally I wasn't in a rush to try again but now I'm already thinking of ways to get more. Strongly recommend.

****original 12/25/06 review below****
Poured from a 330ml bottle with a coded date on label. Had a decent head that eventually become a thin constant film that also left lacing throughout. Was a medium mahogany color. The smell was strong with the sour cherries and definitely let you knew what was coming. The mouthfeel was good. This was my first sour ale so a whole new experience. Overall, I'd say I liked it but not sure I'm in a rush to get another one right away. This style for me is probably something to try every so often and see if I grow into it. I'd recommend trying this beer as it is top 10 in the style so a good intro to it. (3.5, RB, T, Y)

TexIndy, Dec 25, 2006
Photo of HossMcGraw
4.7/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Monk's.

Dark red, almost brown color with small head and awesome lacing. The aroma is sour cherry and mustiness with some slight malt sweetness in the background. The flavor is phenomenal.

I'm new to sour ales so there are probably better examples out there, but for me, this was perfection. Not too sour but enough to keep you on your toes. Also quite musty and woody with a bit of malt sweetness in the background. Finish is bone dry and makes this ridiculously drinkable.

Mouthfeel is my only complaint. A bit flat for my tastes. Overall though, one of my new favorite beers. I hope I can get this in Lancaster. Planning on buying a case.

HossMcGraw, Dec 11, 2006
Photo of Dukeofearl
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$4.99 (?) at Hi-Time Wine in Costa Mesa, CA., October-November 2006. Pours a fairly clear brown with deep reddish highlights, as it should be. A nice off-white cover sits atop the brew. A small amount of sediment (I assume it's yeast!) accompanies the last of the pour.

Aroma is a faint sour cherry, which is decent enough, but there's also a slight medicinal note that takes away a bit. Still good, though.

Flavor is the wonderful sour I love in these ales. Dark fruits (mostly black cherries, but might also be some raspberry) lovingly wrapped in the wonderous sour. It seems like the sour intensity varies from swallow to swallow- that must be me, mustn't it? Pretty good stuff.

I can drink this happily, one of my favorite styles (and also one of the rarest for me to get an opportunity to enjoy). I have had it on tap once or twice at a few "local" (SoCal) spots that might have this type of beer (Lucky Baldwin's, O'Briens), and really enjoyed it on tap. It was a while ago, so I can't compare directly here. Recommended.

Dukeofearl, Dec 10, 2006
Photo of vtfan77
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark brownish red with a small light tan head that dissipates quickly. Active carbonation with lots of bubbles throughout.

S- Sour cherries, vinegar, and a touch of malt.

T- Tart fruit up front, kind of like apple juice that has gone past its expiration date. Cracker-like malt and a metallic taste combine to form a strangely pleasing finish. However, this beer is lacking some meat in the middle; it's almost as if it's simply trying to ride the initial tartness all the way to the finish. Needs a little more substance there, but it's still good.

M- Light, airy, and smooth. Very nice.

D- Not a session beer per se, but one can definitely drink a couple in a sitting. ABV isn't mentioned, but it can't be too high.

An enjoyable beer, though not nearly as complex as, say, Duchesse. It's probably a better thirst-quencher, though. Certainly one to try, especially if you're a fan of the style. Recommended.

vtfan77, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Reddish brown with almost no head. Cherry aroma. Well malted, more so and less yeasty than the brewery's own version of the flemish sour. Sour, it makes its point, and it's not overdone, there is some balance. Had a bottle again 6.5 years later and its got some cherry but in fact a stouty aroma. Just OK and rerated.

Sammy, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of dherling
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out a murky, reddish-brown color with a thin, bubbly head that dissapears quickly. The nose was a strange combination of Belgian candi, yeasty spice, and vinegar. The taste offered cotton candy, lemon and moderately sour cherries with a pineapple finish. Soy sauce. Hate to say it, but I did. The mouthfeel is thin,
somewhat creamy on the tongue. A drinkable brew, but I almost expect this style to be a bit mroe assertive.

dherling, Nov 26, 2006
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,445 ratings.