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

Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

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

2,067 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2067
Reviews: 1018
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.1%


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)
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Ratings: 2,067 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Bonhoeffer
Bonhoeffer

Alabama

4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the most drinkable sour ales i've ever had. Not over the top. Just refreshing. Very approachable, and probably a good place to start getting a feel for Flanders Reds. Some of them can knock you out if you're not careful.

Good one for a hot day.

Thanks Uncle Flip.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2006 19:32:09 | More by Bonhoeffer
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Monk's wonderful cafe in Philly, pours the expected reddish tone, respectable lacing emenating from a tan head. Nose is sharply sour, fruity and spicy. This style is not for everyone, but as acompliment to tasty, rich Belgian mussles and other other dishes, it is stunning. A world class palate cleanser and beer to enjoy with certain foods. Flavorful and wel crafted. Worth acquiring a taste for this sophisticated nectar.

Serving type: on-tap

02-14-2006 01:53:27 | More by Billolick
Photo of chOAKbarrell
chOAKbarrell

Maryland

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Supposedly this beer was made for Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia? I dont know the whole story - maybe that is just a rumor.

Pours a very murky mahogany color with a small off-white head.

You could smell the sourness on this beer even if you had no olfactory sense. Awesome and powerful. There's also some scent underneath the sourness that smells like cheap stinky dollar store perfume. Not so awesome.

I really dig the taste. Not quite like a lambic. Maybe the best way I could describe it is like a halfway step between a lambic and a regular ale. Its sour, but it doesnt have the champagne qualities of a Belgian lambic. Very interesting. I've never had anything quite like this before.

Mouthfeel is sharp, tart, and to the point.

A very fun and interesting beer to drink. I dont know how many of these you would want to have in a sitting, though. Perhaps it is just a one-time thing. Other than the stinky scent, I give it all-thumbs-up.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2006 23:23:42 | More by chOAKbarrell
Photo of Higravity
Higravity

Michigan

3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A nice solid sour, but kind of a low end attempt. The apperance was Redish and I got a little head. Smells of feet and lactic acid covering up all of the malt. The taste is sour but not overly sour and is kind of one dimentional with the malt backbone most broken. It was also pretty thin and watery, but it could be a nice sipper at a lower price, but I think I would rather go to better Sour ales.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2006 19:06:25 | More by Higravity
Photo of UncleFlip
UncleFlip

Alabama

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brown on the table, a bit hazy Honey with ruby and peach notes when held to the light. One finger tan head falls at a decent rate.

Smell is stewed cherries and paint thinner. It sounds un-appetizing, but it's actually rather nice.

Not as assertive as others I've had in this style. The sourness also seems more subtle, and builds as you approach the middle mark. The cherry notes peak just before the sour tang hits- you know the tang- the pleasant kind that gives a slight pain right at the back of your jaw- like what you get if you suck on a vitamin c tablet. I rather like this one!

The mouthfeel is very even. The viscosity of the liquid and the swell of the carbonation go hand in hand- but both are subtle.

VERY drinkable- one of the most drinkable I've had in this style. I'd like more! The only drawback is there's not as much flavour right at the sip as I'd like. If it weren't for that, it might get another half-point on drinkability.

Be well
-UF

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2006 07:19:19 | More by UncleFlip
Photo of EmoBeerGuy
EmoBeerGuy

New Hampshire

3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Wow.

This was the first Sour Ale I had ever tried and it was something else. I need to read up on here about the process that goes into creating the sour taste but I am assuming it is something akin to sour dough.

A - Looks like a fairly standard brown ale. Unimpressed by the head.

S- Woah. The first sign that something is off. This stuff will turn your nose but you gotta just plunge in anyways.

T- Completle unique. As advertised it is quite sour but has some malt to back it up.

D- Hard to say. I've rated it low because it is a "one is enough" type beer, but for that one beer you don't really get sick of it.


Overall - A style all beer lovers should try, at least once.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2006 03:37:26 | More by EmoBeerGuy
Photo of kmpitz2
kmpitz2

Tennessee

3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber color with a minimal sparse head over top with no real carbonation bubbling up. Clarity is excellent. Nose is very interesting. I get a bit of cherries and tartness, but it is also moderately grainy. Its lacking that good acetate blast that I like in my flanders red brews. It is also pretty unintense in the nose as well. Flavor is a little better. Initial taste is a very sharp, almost biting tartness. This moves to a sour cherry with a moderate acetate. Flavors are just a bit thin for what I like. Its not really grabbing my senses as other have. Feel is on the thin end of moderate with a light carbonation of tiny bubbles. This is an okay brew. Nothing really makes it pop as a stellar example. I'd like a fuller flavor on this. Seems just a touch watery.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2006 01:38:04 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of neonbrown82
neonbrown82

Nebraska

3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This is one of few sour beers that I can tolerate. I've tried many kinds of Cantillon all of which were completely and utterly undrinkable, and this one isn't even much less sour, but for some reason I actually like it.

The beer pours to a deep plum color with a fine carbonation that produces a nice tall effervescent head. Looks quite good.

The smell is of rasberry with a heavy tartness. Obviously not loaded with sweeteners, but there is a hint of sweet under the tart.

The taste is shockingly sour at first drink. After that, however, your tastebuds have adjusted a little bit and it seems to be much more balanced. Has a dry, funky horseblanket flavor to it with a backing of tart rasberry. Has a very, very feint lingering sweetness, but mostly dry and acidic.

While I like this beer in small doses, drinking too much of it gives me heartburn... and I don't get heartburn off of anything (even habanero chilis). It's good to get away from the realm of "regular beer" from time to time, and this beer is ideal to introduce the palate to even funkier beers, such as the aforementioned Cantillon.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2006 07:00:34 | More by neonbrown82
Photo of JISurfer
JISurfer

South Carolina

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first experience of a sour ale, so I wasn't too sure what to expect. I must say though, I was pleasantly suprised. It did have a nice foamy head that lasted quite a while, but then "deflated" into a thick laceing. The smell was nice and malty, with a sweet-n-sour undertone, accompanied by a light grape finish. Taste was sour from the moment you put it in your mouth. It had a sour start, with a tart finish. I really dug this style. It was something I really wanted to try, ever since I first saw they had sour brews. I do like sour foods, sauces, candy, liquor, and such, so this one is up my alley.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2006 03:48:45 | More by JISurfer
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

01/07/06- Purchased at Sun Devil Liquors in Mesa, AZ.

Presentation- 11.2 oz bottle. Code on the back label. Poured into a chalice tyle glass.

Appearance- Reddish in color. Light 1/4 inch head which almost all remains the whole way down. Very light lace.

Smell- A touch barnyard. A bit musty, with a hefty sour fruity scent.

Taste- Sour, but not mouth puckering sour. Cherry in flavor over any other fruit. Touch hoppy in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- Tart, with a about perfect carbonation level.

Drinkability- One of the better Flanders I have had. I like the fact that the tartness wasn't too overpowering. Nice drinking brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2006 01:05:22 | More by GClarkage
Photo of mmmbeer
mmmbeer

Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle with no freshness date. It pours a red/copper with a 2 finger head that is tan with a hint of red and forms a crater in the middle when it recedes and leaves some nice foam for lace. It smells of sour grape, fruit?, dung?, lactic? (I guess that's what it is - it's not familiar to me and they mention it on the label...), along with mustiness and some acidity. It tastes sour/acidic, fruity, tart, with medicinal phenols, farm/mustiness, and perhaps iron and salt. Maybe a hint of hops, but not sure if they use them. It has a light, tingly, dry body that is quite refreshing and it's overall a quality beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2005 01:55:33 | More by mmmbeer
Photo of ggaughan
ggaughan

Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I should have reviewed this bad boy sooner as I was lucky enough to be at Monk's when they made the world debut of this beer in bottles at a Michael Jackson dinner. I have had alot of this beer since then (bottles and drafts).

I just had a bottle the other day and it poured a nice cloudy orange/redish color into a nice tulip glass. There was a nice tan head that followed with a nice bubbley body.

The aroma of this beer is nice and tart with some fruity tones to it. The taste continue the tart theme but there is also a nice sweet balance provided by the fruity tones in the beer. This is an easy beer to drink and I have found myself at one of the bars at Monk's having a few of these after work on several occasions.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2005 19:40:44 | More by ggaughan
Photo of SwillinBrew
SwillinBrew

California

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Stuffed Sandwich.

A- somewhat of a reddish Ice-T color and indian brown crayon with a good finger of ivory white head that lasted and left a nice lace.
S- that tart, sweet and sour bouquet that you expect from a flemmish red.
T- Mmmm, very tasty. Tangy tartness hits your palate with a little acidic notes and green apple. This gives way to a mellow sweetness on the finish. You get both the sweet and the sour, but not in that order and not much sweet.
M&Dr - good effervescence and medium body. I think this may have bordered on a tad of dry, but not much and it was excellent.

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2005 05:17:55 | More by SwillinBrew
Photo of pentathlete
pentathlete

Virginia

3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark translucent red with medium head that sticks around for a bit and laces the glass. Plenty of carbonation and a nose of mellow aspirin sourness, maybe some tart fruit too. Starts off with smooth almost watery base that moves into a tart middle that doesn't quite last long enough or get intensely sour. Slightly disappointing in that regard. Mouthfeel is medium, the finish leans toward metallic. This is drinkable because the sourness doesn't overpower, but that's why I buy a Flemish Ale. This isn't as bad as the Lindeman's Gueuze, but if it were any sweeter it would be pushing it.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2005 01:58:18 | More by pentathlete
Photo of Gattopardo
Gattopardo

New York

3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Lovely dark red copper color with a small but solid head and good lacing.

Smell: The aroma of sour apples is the most prevalent smell.

Taste: The carbonation is low and the most significant element of the taste is definitely the sourness, particularly at the back of the throat. I quite like the bite of the sour, but I can see how it could be considered overpowering. Hop content seems low.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, not too chewy.

Drinkability: I did enjoy drinking this beer from the tap at Monk’s in Philadelphia, particularly with their chicken-and-apple sausage sandwich, but I have to wonder if I shouldn’t expect more complexity from a sour ale. The sour flavor is very prevalent, and I would likely get it again but probably not often.

Serving type: on-tap

12-05-2005 01:59:44 | More by Gattopardo
Photo of asabreed
asabreed

New York

4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33 cl bottle into my Corsendonk tulip.

Appearance: Though the head doesn't bubble up crazily, it starts at 1" then goes to about a half inch, but it's very thick, leaving lots of good clumpy lacing on the side. Dark amber color with some brown hues, with a decent amount of bubbles floating up toward the middle.

Smell: Earth and grassy notes, with maybe some phenols at first. Then it goes to slight nail polish, sour cherries, and granny smith apples. Definite and welcoming notes of oak and maybe the slightest hint of vanilla. Complex as all hell.

Taste: Too dry? Where's the sweetness? That's what I asked at first, but somehow the first sip was misleading. However, since it's a sour beer, the taste is a bit puckering of course. It does finish very dry, but after a bit it becomes nice, though as I said it wasn't at first. The only problem with the dryness is that I feel it's maybe so dry as to not let the beautiful flavors of the sour fruits and yeast to come through? I'm not sure exactly, but as I drink, it does indeed become more complex. You can taste the sourness, but then it does into the astringent dryness. Still, with the finish there's definitely some hints of apple, sour cherries, and general sourness on the tongue. Lots of stuff going on, and though I don't know if it's as balanced as it could be, it's so complex and singular that I like it a lot.

Mouthfeel: Champagne-like carbonation, which I really didn't expect. But it never gets too astringent, spritzy, or overdone somehow, which is odd, because it's almost like it should. Therefore maybe the dryness that I alluded to before isn't as dry as I previously thought, which may combat that, if that makes any sense.

Drinkability: This is one of the most peculiar styles in my opinion, and one of the most novel, which makes me want to seek out every version I can. The problem is they always seem so damn hard to find. At any rate, I've enjoyed it more and more as the review comes to a close, and I still have a little less than half of the bottle left in my class. It was about $2.75 for the bottle, and to me that's cheap for such a stab at such a crazy and deliciously ambrosia-like style. Can't wait to snag some more versions when I can actually find them.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2005 02:48:58 | More by asabreed
Photo of HogHill
HogHill

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a single from Colonial Spirits for $5.25 for 33cl bottle.

Appearance: a murky brown, with red highlights, looks kind of like apple cider. Small tan head which reduces to lace quicly.

Smell: Acidic, similar to a red wine.

Taste: Granny Smith apple along with sour cherries backed by malt. Predominantly sour flavors, but not overwhelmingly tart for my palate.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, with a bit of zing from the sour and carbonation marriage.

Drinkability: I really enjoy Belgian Oud Bruins, and Flemish Reds. I could sip on a few of these. But eventually the acidic tartness will catch up and I'll want something to scrub the palate (a nice saison or Duvel?)

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2005 23:36:18 | More by HogHill
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly cloudy reddish brown ale with out much of a head.

Smell is sweet and fruity with a slight acid edge. Mostly fruit scents of sour cherries with a sweetening of honey. Later one softer scents of brown sugar and rum appear.

Taste is a little sweet with a good sour pop of acid to more or less even the flavor out and leaves a lemony sour note on your tongue. Fruit flavor of sour cherries without going too sour. Refreshing but not real complex.

Mouthfeel is OK.

OK as the style goes. A sweet and sour ale that I really can't pair with anything except Sauerbraten.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2005 05:22:46 | More by Zorro
Photo of dgallina
dgallina

Georgia

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz brown bottle without freshness date.

Poured a slightly transparent deep reddish-brown with big carbonation, small sheen of foam, and good lace. Smells big and fruity; a sweet and sour blend of green apples and grapes that tickles the nose. Green apples, pears, and a counter-balance of wood and sweet dark fruits (cherries?) lead to a super-dry, earthy and yeasty finish. Highly-carbonated, moderately light and tingly in the mouth.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2005 00:59:09 | More by dgallina
Photo of GreenWBush
GreenWBush

Oregon

3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby colored that looks more brown against strong light. Modest head that leaves only a little lace pattern but still quite cute in the chalice.

The smell is upforwardly fruity; cherries, red grapes, pinor noir. Sourness creeps forth at warmer temperatures with a hint of barnyard funk.

This could just be the wine lover's beer...I am amazed by how incredibly red-wine it is. The sourness of the beer contributes to its drinkability...tart, sour, and just a little sweetness to keep everything in check. A great introduction to the style.

Serving type: on-tap

10-29-2005 19:54:18 | More by GreenWBush
Photo of MuddyFeet
MuddyFeet

North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Made the girlfriend a turkey dinner with all the fixin's to celebrate her new job and decided to pop open my bottle of this beer.

Poured a garne red. Almost afraid to get any on my clothes bcause it looks like dye (but thin and watery). Only a thin head that all but evaporated

Aroma is very slight--mostly raspberries and yeast.

Flavor is complex. More enjoyably complex than over the top. At first sweet but quickly followed by a very tart and fruity quick. That tartness is very similar to raspberries, blackberries and cherries. A whole big bowl of all three berries. The yeast provides a nice substance to the flavor.

Medium body. The tartness is a bit puckering. No notice of alcohol in either the flavor or the feel.

Went very well with my dinner. I was glad I chose this beer because I forgot to pick up some cranberry sauce.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2005 00:27:33 | More by MuddyFeet
Photo of CharlesRiver
CharlesRiver

Connecticut

4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Such a unique style but so fun to drink. Pours out a cloudy, brown color with a very small head that doesn't seem to last. I see very few bubbles make their way to the top. I forgot to mention this is a 11.2 fl oz bottle, capped.

Smell is sour with something coming through almost like toast? Light notes of cherries and malt seem to be somewhat refreshing. Taste is much milder than I expected. The "sourness" is light but refreshing which makes it more drinkable. The cherries and fruit come through in the beginning and middle. The ending dumps off quickly. Some oaky notes come through but not enough.

Truely a tough beer to rate. I don't know this style well so I am going off pure taste and enjoyment. I would buy this or order this again anytime. I can't wait to try more examples of this style.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2005 21:10:56 | More by CharlesRiver
Photo of HappyHourHero
HappyHourHero

Indiana

4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up this bottle and boy does it have some miles on it. Brewed in Belgium, imported in San Diego, CA, bought in Elkton MD, and consumed in Ithaca, NY.

Aromas of sour cherries and brown sugar. Dense, oatmeal colored head was more then I expected. Sour and tart flavors dominate, but in an interesting mix of cherry and lime. Once those flavors release my tongue there are some other strange things that begin to happen. It's hard to put my finger on it but there is an earthy/woody aspect and a light spicyness that I can't describe (pepper and vanilla?, probably not). Anyway, it's enjoyable and interesting. Light, highly carbonated beer with a tart and dry finish. I was expecting a less carbonated beer that was all tart, and thankfully it was more then that.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2005 22:32:49 | More by HappyHourHero
Photo of TurdFurgison
TurdFurgison

Ohio

3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Drank on tap at Naja's in Redondo Beach, served in a Fin Du Monde chalice.

Appearance: Dark reddish brown, with wispy head lingering for a few minutes.

Smell: Sour lambic kind of aroma, with some cherries.

Taste: Very sour and bitter, nice cherry flavor.

Notes: Tart, sour, sweet, and good. This was my first Flanders Red, so I really have no right to judge it. I just know I enjoyed it. Maybe I'll revisit this beer review after I get more experience.

Serving type: on-tap

09-05-2005 23:11:49 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliantly clear amber-ruby color with a thin tan colored head. The aroma is tart with notes of sharp cherry, caramel, tannic wood, and a light mustiness. The aroma is pretty interesting, I am definitely looking forward to the taste. The beer is fairly dry up front with a thin body. The taste has an appealing tartness to it that is a mix of a sour cherry-like fruitiness and a bit of acetic acid. The taste is a pretty clean mix of fruitiness, sourness and toffee malt notes. The taste is just a bit too simplistic and thin, did not quite live up to the aroma. Certainly drinkable and even a bit enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2005 04:18:09 | More by Gueuzedude
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,067 ratings.