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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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 babaracas
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark reddish orange with huge light brown head that covers the glass in a spray of lace to the end. Smell: lactic with green apple, red cherries, caramel; fruity, sweet and sour smelling. Taste: melon, tart grape, cherry-apple juice, finishing with earth green apple skin and herbal notes. Fruit forward, sweet and tart, with light-medium body and a sticky finish. Tasty and refreshing but without the complexity of others in this style.

Photo of Brock_hophead
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- dark brown with a nice tan head with amazing retention.

S- Definitely a sour! vinegar smelling with sweet malt with apple notes as well.

T-sour, tart, sweet, and tangy full and crisp.

M-Very good carbonation and sweetness, but definitely in a good way. It is not overly sweet and the sour characteristic is very balanced.

O-A very good sour with full flavor and great mouthfeel!

4.25

Photo of WhiteHillsStore
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I thought this was a wonderful sour ale. The appearance was a nice golden orange with a thick head that laced the glass. The smell was of grapefruit from the hops and then raspberry and cherry. The taste was excellent in my opinion. Full flavors of sour cherry and raspberry mix with the floral hops and wheat to make a very refreshing brew. The mouthfeel was a little thick but not overwhelming. A new favorite of mine.

Photo of SJ-IABrews
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was my first sour beer, so I wasn't sure what I would be getting into. I was overall pretty impressed with this. Pleasing color and a clean taste, not overly sweet and not as cloyingly sour as I was expecting. Smooth drinking with a very appealing smell. This would not be my go to beer, but I would definitely drink this again.

Photo of Bruiser81
3.36/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best thing about this brew was its look in the glass with a big ol frothy head. Smell was kinda yeasty. This was my first Flemish sour. Almost reminds me of a gueuze, maybe with a bit more fruitiness. Def a bit sour. Mouthfeel kinda thin but I think that'd be expected? Good beer. I'd drink another.

Photo of wattoclone
4.87/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this outstanding Oud Bruin at Monk's Cafe in Philly. Dark reddish brown with large short acting head. Aroma of malt and vinegar with cherries and dark fruits. An excellent sour ale. Fruity and malty sweet with a tart sour finish. Perfectly balanced and the best Oud Bruin (of 3 tried) to date. Superb and very sessionable. If you like Sweet-Tarts candy you will love this beer.

Photo of MrBoz21
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep red, clear and effervescent. What cap that settles into persistent skiff.

Aroma is horsey sour. Crisp.

Taste: cherry tart with nice lactic sweetness.

Mouth: Dry with tart tingle on back of tongue.

Overall: delicious sour ale that is very refreshing and balanced.

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

330ml bottle poured into Petrus chalice. Dark ruby with a thick off-white head. Moderate retention and thick chunks of lacing. Several pieces of sediment floating in the beer, which I don't remember from previous experiences...

Complex fruity esters. Black and red cherries, plum, currant. Slightly woody. Touch of spicy phenols.

Flavor is very tart, but not quite funky. Sour cherries combine with a nice light woodiness. Sour but not acetic. Dark sweet flavor - brown sugar or candi sugar, hard to place through the sour, but it definitely gives it a nice, balancing sweetness.

Light-moderate bodied and well-carbonated. Very crisp; acidic but not tannic, as it quickly re-salivates your mouth. I could do without the sediment, but a more careful pour could easily minimize that.

This is a nice, approachable, relatively affordable sour. It's not the best of the style, but it's damned good.

Photo of AmericanPaleMale666
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - had a darker body then I expected - deep red and brown tones, tall creamy head and decent lacing

M - light slightly creamy

N - sweet, sour, and candy-like. Not to in your face like other sours I like but the subtlety is nice on this one.

T - I picked up some apple flavors, cherries, and strawberries. Starts sweet and goes into an enjoyable tart taste followed by a smooth finish

O - I wasn't disappointed with this one. I think this is a nice introductory sour for someone who has never had the style. The nose and taste are not so strong as to be a big (perhaps unpleasant) surprise but you still get a feel for the tart sourness of the style.

Photo of pjbfromkc
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

One of the more affordle Flanders out the and a great intrduction in sour beer. It pours a dark ruby red and has a nice tart sour aroma. Taste is mild tart cherry. It is not the best sour out there, but it is good. And for the price this is a sour I will keep coming back to.

Photo of MonkeyDunk
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Great brew, especially for the price compared to other flemish reds.

Pleasantly funky cherrywood smell. Warming mouthfeel, tastes like sour cherries. Mild rubbery bitterness that picked up as I kept drinking it, lingering for minutes after. Very flavorful and big character, will be buying this one again.

Photo of hippogasmo
4.48/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite possibly the best beer I've ever had, with two main competitors for my number one rank; surprise, they're also sours. I really only have two complaints about this beer.

1: It is somewhat inconsistent out of a bottle, and I've never found a bar with this beer on tap. In terms of quality and taste, it has never let me down. Unfortunately, a few bottles seem to be pulled from the bottom of the batch, and have chunks (yes, full size chunks!) of some yeast-like substance that I cannot identify, and these chunks cause a real problem in the flavor. I have had the occasional bottle where the alcohol flavor has completely overwhelmed anything else, which I don't necessarily mind, but is not what I look forward to when I pour this into a glass.

2: I learned very, very quickly (early on in my drinking career, that is) that this is not a beer that can be enjoyed straight from the bottle. Few enough are the brews that taste the same or close enough from the bottle that I cannot fault this particular brew on this shortcoming, but it is sometimes a slight disappointment that I have to clean a glass to drink one particular beer.

All-in-all, a very good brew. It's a drink that I like to scare my friends with. "What would you think if I told you that you can drink sour beer? Not a fan? Okay, well here, try this." I have never heard a single response that did not involve some form of "holy crap this is delicious." A beer with a 100% success rate for non-drinkers? Worth a try, if you ask me.

Photo of patre_tim
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with a rusty reddish tinge, cloudy and opaque so I can’t see any carbonation, 2 fingers of cappuccino beige head with a shiny look of sugar bubbling and caramelizing in a pan, nice ring of lacing.

S: Sour in a slight malt vinegar way, fruity, complex fruit of apples and pears, nectarines and plums, prunes as well. A coke like quality.

T: Prunes and plums, light sweetness, light sourness, malt as in a dark malt rye bread sort of way. An acidic and lightly bitter finish. Some toffee notes. Fruity and floral notes.

M: Medium light body with a juice like weight, medium high slightly foamy carbonation. Relatively dry.

O: Makes me feel like I’m in some middle age village in in Belgium, drinking from a mug of fresh local brew as some dim lit pub. Delicious, fresh and complex. Bought and drank in Asheville, NC June 17, 2014. Great brew, in a style that is fast becoming my favourite. Gets more sour with sipping.

Photo of PBRmeasap1980
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smaller format bottle poured into tulip glass

A- Deep maroon/brown with sediment
S- Tart cherry, vinegar
T- Sweet and smooth, but kind of watery on the front. Cherries. I'm not really getting sour.
M- Smooth and watery
O- Not a bad drinking beer, but kind of average. I would like a sharper sourness. I'll set another one aside and see if the lacto sours some more.

Photo of slackattack
3.61/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into red wine glass

A- first thought was dirty river water. Started off with about half a finger of tight foam, dissipated pretty quickly, lacing was not really present

S- red wine vinegar, sour cherries in your face. Bright and acidic and pretty awesome.

T- started off following the nose, then got away from the sourness a little. Fell off toward the end for me and got a little sweet, maybe it's supposed to, but I would prefer a little more persistent bit.

M- medium to medium-full bodied. There's a definitively detectable amount of malt that I feel like is responsible for the body, not great, not terrible either.

O- like I said, if the label says sour I want and expect sour all the way. The sweetness that came through about 2 seconds into every sip was unwelcome. Didn't hate it, won't buy again though.

Photo of minterro
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a few weeks back at Morgan's Liquor store in Denver, poured into a snifter.

A&S: Beer is a translucent deep garnet color with no lively carbonation coming up. Pours about a finger of off white head and dissipates moderately quickly to a thin ring and some island, gobs of lacing are left once in a while. Aroma is a good mixture of tart and sour. Primarily tart cherries, sangria, along with some yeasty funk.

T&M: The taste is a little less sour than the aroma would lead you to believe. More cherries in the taste. Higher side of carbonation and lower side of body. Very drinkable.

Overall: The is a very solid beer. For sure worth a try. I will probably buy again but not very frequently due to the 5 buck pre bottle price tag.

Photo of Badger6
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle poured into a goblet.

Body is a deep reddish brown color with a white head that retains well, some lacing. The aroma is vinous, with some oak and malt. Hints of sourness. The tartness is immediately apparent on the tongue, with malty sweetness coming in right behind it. Very well balanced flavor. The beer is medium bodies, with a nicely carbonated feel.

Very enjoyable beer. Nicely sour, with a balanced sweetness that makes this much more accessible than many beers of this style. Easily recommend this to an adventurous taster who has never tried this style.

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

Poured at the fabulous Duckworth's Park Rd - Charlotte NC for $3.50 on a Thursday.

Not much head at all, wee bit of lacing. Looks like a glass of flat coke. The nose is great, lots of dark fruit - grapes especially - and charred wood. The taste follows suit, quite carbonated - bit like a champagne. Nicely tart. Great intro to sours for a newbie and easily enough going on to bring this beer-geek back for another glass.

Photo of jellikit
3.54/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: dark brown. Reddish to light. Looks like Coke. Thin head. Thin lacing.
S: sour. Wood.
T: grape, mellow sourness, hint of wine. Wine/champagne similarities.
M: highly carbonated. Dry. Light body.
O: good sour. Mellow flavor. Mildly sour. Would drink again.

Photo of Apellonious
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from CM. Purchased after the nice woman at CM gave me an introduction/education on the style, which is fairly new to me. Figured I'd start here.

A - Pours black as night, with a fluffy two finger head that settles. The lace hangs on the side of the glass.

S- I am picking up cider, vinegar, cherrywood. Hints of dark fruit.

T - Cider/vinegar, various fruits and maybe even a hint of nuttiness.

M - Quite viscous, with slightly above normal carbonation. Tart finish.

O - I'll admit, being a hop-head, I had some trepidation. This was a good, clean, beverage, and the sourness was not overbearing. Recommended.

Photo of illpass78
4.16/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

11.2 ounce bottle poured into a glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep oaky color with a half-inch white head that shows good retention. Lacing moderate.

Aroma: Interesting mix of aromas here. There's a vinous quality to it, but it also smells sort of like vinegar and glue. There's also some oak and malt.

Taste: Tartness is right up front, with the malt flavor on the finish. It's very good - terrific sour flavor balanced by sweetness, tastiness, and the vinous notes that were present in the nose.

Mouthfeel: Perfectly balanced beer. Depth is perfect.

Overall: Very enjoyable sour ale. It's hard to explain the appeal of a beer that smells like glue and tastes almost like vinegar, but it's really terrific stuff. Recommended.

Photo of PorterLambic
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful, if unexpected, dark, hickory brown with a big, fluffy head. No light gets through and the voluminous, light tan, head drops slowly to a rocky chunk o' foam with some nice lacing left behind.
Smell is sour (duh) with a quasi-medicinal note reminiscent of school glue, fainter scents of malt, some indeterminate dark fruits, wood, and some very faint spice (pepper?). Balance is skewed towards the sour and wood/glue end.
Taste is sour, malt, fruits, wood, that glue-like note, and a faint cracker flavor after the swallow. Balance is better here.
A slightly less than medium body with a light effervescence. A not-unexpected dry finish. Smoother than many other Flanders/Flemish reds. Like Most van Steenberge beers I like it but it's not my favorite.

Photo of Ed2
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I get in the mood for sours... This one is readily available in my area and is a very good option. The Tart of Darkness has been the best I've ever tasted, but this will do very well. Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Brown, lightish.. With a white head about a finger and a half... A little lacing. Smell is what I'm looking for and starts the salivation. Taste. Yes. A very good sour brown.

Photo of Wheatafficianado
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at J.L. Beers in Sioux Falls. I have never had a beer in this category before but was pleasantly surprised. It was fruity, not too sour. It was dark with a nice effervescence in the tulip glass. Slightly tart but drank very well. Different and unlike other beers in that it wasn't hoppy or malty but was really characterized by the fruity sourness. It certainly adds a new category. One of the more expensive beers on tap at J.L.

Photo of KornWallace
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Date: 3/31
Location: Whole Foods near Erdenheim, PA
Glassware: Tulip
Appearance: Pours dark brown sits in the tulip closer to a black. Slightly brown thumb size head that is slow to evaporate. With cascading down the glass as the beer is consumed.
Aromatics: The beer hits with fruits, grapes, plums, grape cough syrup. Some fresh grasses. Some malts. But back to the fruits a little bit of lemon certainly acid.
Flavor: Plums, Plum sodas. Like some kind of plum cream soda. The tart/sourness is very prevalent. The beer hits of fruity candies, lemons and grapes especially.
Finish: The medicinal tartness stays with the fruits carried effervescently by the carbonation.

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