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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

2,221 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,221
Reviews: 1,032
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.1%
Wants: 46
Gots: 130 | 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)
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Ratings: 2,221 | Reviews: 1,032 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of benyerd
benyerd

Virginia

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz Bottle

(A) Dark red to amber in color. Poured a light brown 2 fingered head with good head retention. Great clarity with mild carbonation. A very pretty beer to look at.

(S) Very sour and tart at first smell but after smelling again, I picked up a slight malty aroma.

(T) Very crisp and refreshing sour taste. Would say that it almost tastes like apple cider on steriods. Very interesting flavor.

(M) Nice, Light and crisp.

(D) Very, very drinkable. Intense tart flavor on this one left my lips smacking.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2010 07:51:03 | More by benyerd
Photo of Rutager
Rutager

British Columbia (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a pretty clear, deep amber-red with a small head that fades quickly.

Smell. Sweet and lightly sour cherries, pears, and canteloupe with some light, woody funk.

Taste. Nice sweet cherries and apples with a little sourness in the end. Very little funkyness and even less wood.

Mouthfeel. Medium+ body, slightly syrupy with medium-low, fine carbonation.

Overall. Nice and easy drinking. Not a whole lot going on in this one, but a fine casual drinker for sure.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2012 03:35:23 | More by Rutager
Photo of Erdinger2003
Erdinger2003

Iowa

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a little head that falls into no head with a little lacing. Color is deep dark purple.

Smell is of sour dark fruit.

Taste is buttery and sour with flavors of apple.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, a little smoother than water.

I don't think I like the sour ales as much, but I would probably give this beer another chance.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2006 07:11:23 | More by Erdinger2003
Photo of mwilbur
mwilbur

Minnesota

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 mL bottle into tulip.
A: Pours a reddish brown (more red with backlighting) with high carbonation producing a 1-2 inch light tan head that quickly recedes.
S: Warm cinnamon, sugar, fresh bready yeast, and a hint of sour.
T: Tart apple, cinnamon, sour cherry, and a hint of milk sugar. Fairly tame with a lot of sweet notes.
M: Light body. Effevescent with a pleasant tingle on the tongue...almost champagne-like. Sweet turning toward tart and dry finish.
D: A very pleasing and drinkable brew. A nice summer refresher. Not too sour (especially for style)...which could be a good or bad thing depending upon your druthers.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2010 03:51:10 | More by mwilbur
Photo of stumac
stumac

Texas

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my buddy Onslow for this one....

the brew pours up a murky brown color with red edges. decent tan head, good lacing. the nose is oak, slight sourness, fruits, cherries. the taste is tart! oak, sourness, fruit, cherries, light to medium bodied, low spritzy carbo, very sweet beer. Good though...

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2008 17:19:51 | More by stumac
Photo of kmo1030
kmo1030

Massachusetts

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
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..

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2007 00:38:16 | More by kmo1030
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a reddish brwon color with a 1/4" head that breaks apart immediately.

Smell: tart cherries, sourness, and a fruity sweetness is pleasant on the nose.

Taste: mild malt presence with loads of cherry flavor. Sourness is mild but very noticeable. Bitterness is mellow.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Crisp to start, less crisp and a bit dry at the finish. Aftertaste is short lived.

Drinkability: slow sipping beer. Bomber bottle is more than enough for a session.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2010 21:21:48 | More by Gavage
Photo of SPThirtyThree
SPThirtyThree

Colorado

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: Red mahogany with just a bit of haze, massive head on the pour that fades down to a clumpy, sticky lace.

S: This oud bruin slams the nose with vinegar. There's also some caramel hiding in there. Subsequent sniffs after the nose has adjusted to the acetic smell give a slightly sweaty or zoolike aroma. It's a nice amount of funk for the style.

T: Again, sour vinegar up front, but well balanced with sweetness and cloves. Also some bubblegum esters.

M: Very effervescent from the high carbonation.

D: High - it's very tasty, but a tinge less carbonation and a less estery profile would substantially improve the drinkability (although it might make this brew less interesting).

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2010 21:24:21 | More by SPThirtyThree
Photo of Jayli
Jayli

Massachusetts

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

had on tap at The Publick House 6/25/09
This beer poured an opaque raspberry coloring with a one finger white head that faded relatively quickly, no lacing to speak of. Nose is very sour - cherry, yeasty, asorted berry, a touch of wheat and some floral in the nose. Taste is - WOW made me pucker! Big sour presence at first sip but then back off a bit, sour cherries hit you first followed by some sour apple that I didn't pick up in the nose, yeast and wheat presence build in the middle with tartness of berry mixed in. Medium bodied with nice carbonation that helps with the tartness, relatively thick on the tongue and after the initial tartness, goes down fairly easily.
This is definitely a beer for those who like the style. Though I can appreciate the beer, it is definitely not a beer for me.

Serving type: on-tap

06-26-2009 16:36:02 | More by Jayli
Photo of lackenhauser
lackenhauser

Maryland

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2007 02:19:23 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of stephens101
stephens101

Oklahoma

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After spending much time wandering desultory in the wilderness of sour-beer apprehension, wondering what the hell I'm not getting, I'm becoming more and more intrigued by these ales and the complexity they can bring to the table. Hopefully this one can pull off the delicate balance between off-putting and brilliant.

Pours dark brown with crimson hues and finishes with a light tan head that fades quickly.

Smells of belgian yeast, sugar, plum, grape, various other soured fruit guts, vinegar, and taffy.

Grape juice, grain, and vinegar to the tongue. Just enough bitter to make you pucker up a bit before the next sip.

Thinner than expected resulting in a less than medium body but easy on the palate comparatively speaking.

A quality brew that seeks greatness, keeps it between the goalposts, but falls just slightly short of the goal when it's all on the line.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2014 00:23:35 | More by stephens101
Photo of belhav0322
belhav0322

New York

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very different. This was my first time trying this style, so it is hard to compare it to anything. Pours a very reddish-mahogony tone. Floral aromas are very apparent and are noticable on the palate upon first taste. Underlying sweetness is balanced by sour aftertaste. Very quenching and full mouthfeel. Fruitiness and tartness are apparent as the beer starts to warm. This actually reminded me of certain Rose wines (I know, bad analogy on this site). This could make a good session beer if you were in the mood for something lite and refreshing. Other than that, this would make an excellent dessert beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2004 19:56:40 | More by belhav0322
Photo of Vancer
Vancer

Illinois

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The 11.2oz bottle pops and pours a very good looking deep amber with cola brown edges into the Corsendonk tulip. Thick tan head rises to the glass rim and then settles back, leaving sticky lace on the way down.

Tart aroma of cherry and even a bit of bourbon, or is that me wishing it? No, no bourbon in the quaff, just the lightly sour cherry finish after a sweet start. Very light bodied and refreshing, easy to drink in the STL summer heat - except the import price will keep this from being a well stocked in the DBF. Recommend giving it a try though.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2009 00:15:05 | More by Vancer
Photo of VelvetExtract
VelvetExtract

Massachusetts

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a very beautiful deep crimson color. Transparent body but quite dark. Head is a beauty. Lumpy and thick, the head is huge and retains perfectly. The head would rather sit atop the beer throughout than lace the glass. Overall, a pretty looker.

S-Smells wild and sour. Plenty of intensity in the nose. Tart cherry and hints of woodiness. A vinous aspect can be detected as well.

T-A little less sour than I was hoping. Good balance via the sweetness. Tart cherries and a tame wooden character are the most prevalent flavors. Light spiciness and hints of vanilla. Funky and tart and pretty tasty to boot.

M-Lighter bodied with a light prickly level of carbonation. Easy to sip. Smooth but not creamy.

O/D-For under $4 a bottle (11.2 oz) this is not a bad gig. I would recommend this to someone who has not tried a Sour before. Won't blow you away and it lacks complexity, but it is quite tasty. A success.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2012 03:06:04 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of tpd975
tpd975

Florida

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to tampabrew for this one.

A: Pours a dark ruby red that borders on brown. Thin white head with little retention or lace.

S: The aroma is sour cherries, apple, and light oak.

T: Taste is both sweet and tart. Apple sweetness blends well with cherry tartness. Light oak is able to push through as well.

M: On the lighter side of medium, not complex but pretty tasty.

D: Not too bad. Very drinkable. Not world class but worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2009 13:01:23 | More by tpd975
Photo of sinstaineddemon
sinstaineddemon

Connecticut

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
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

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2008 16:04:55 | More by sinstaineddemon
Photo of SeanRedd
SeanRedd

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An enjoyable, milder sour ale amongst the others. Pours a dark amber with a thick, beige pillowy head. Aromas of strawberries and bland gueze. Lil sweet, bit of cherry cola, warms into a red wine zing. Less exciting that other sour reds but provides a safe staple of the style.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2008 02:05:47 | More by SeanRedd
Photo of photomike
photomike

California

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My first of this style.

Pours a really beautiful brown with a fluffy brownish tan head. 3 fingers in a tall fluted pils glass. I love to look at this. It is a damn shame I have to drink it all.

Smell is somewhat generically sour. A big vinegary, a bit fruity.

That smell really develops when you actually taste it. Big time sour apple flavors here. Almost like what Martinelli's would taste like if it were made out of underripe apples. Some of that vinegar is present as well, but mostly only right when the beer hits your tastebuds--it dissipates quickly. More sour than I had expected, but certainly not overly so.

Mouthfeel was not bad. There was definitely significant astringency as a result of the sourness. Not that this was necessarily bad or unexpected, but it that is the nature of the beast. I love sours, and puckering like this is to be expected...it was just slightly less pleasant to me than it usually is with sours for some reason.

The astringency makes this a beer that you wouldn't want to session, but this stuff goes down really easy, and I could certainly have a couple.

For the price, a great sour. Now I'm just gonna have to pop one more to get another look at this beauty....

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2009 00:42:46 | More by photomike
Photo of oriolesfan4
oriolesfan4

Maryland

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first review of a Flanders Oud Bruin style beer. Had a bunch of Belgians the other weekend and found I really have a liking towards their beer, this one being no exception. Pours a brownish red color, not much head or carbonation. Super tasty and sour, a bit of a dry finish. Some nice cherry tones in the mouthfeel. Pretty good beer and I like the style, might be hard to have a few of these in a sitting but as it is, it's a delicious beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2012 02:04:42 | More by oriolesfan4
Photo of bulldog91
bulldog91

Illinois

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark red in color, virtually no head when it arrived at the table.
Smell of cherry definitely dominates, but not in a bad way. It's just what rises first.
Almost no carbonation in the mouth, which was good. Let me enjoy the fruit mix going on a bit more with cherries, cabernet, a touch of wood but only a touch. Not terribly sour, but that's OK.
Enjoyed this beer, a very good sour.

Serving type: on-tap

11-18-2012 15:36:05 | More by bulldog91
Photo of ElGuapo
ElGuapo

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice brown amber pour with a decent helping of off-white head. It is somewhat cloudy. The aroma is a bit weak, but it has some nice sweet malt hints as well as a delicious sour smell that tingles the nose.

The body is medium, and it has mild carbonation which all comes together to produce a very smooth mouthfeel. Flavor is a bit more dull than my beloved Duchesse, but it is still pretty good. The sour flavor is there with notes of balsamic vinegar. Some fruit flavors as well as citrus come in. Grains lay behind it all to bring in some balance. The drinkability is excellent, and I would have grabbed another or two if I weren't on my way out.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2004 16:06:11 | More by ElGuapo
Photo of homebrewhawk
homebrewhawk

Kansas

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle served in the new style Boulevard Chalice. Poured a reddish brown with a thin tan head. Good lactic aroma of sour cherries. Starts off with nice and tart. A little sweetness and more fruit (cherries). A touch metallic in the finish to start, but this fades. Very refreshing and drinkable. Good price point as well.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 16:29:31 | More by homebrewhawk
Photo of ummswimmin
ummswimmin

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the first time I had tried this style. I picked up this bottle to review every style on the BA list. I reviewed the style according to the BA description, but I admit that I have grown to really enjoy the sour style. I learned more about sours after enjoying Riserva by Weyerbacher (recommended).

Sours are an acquired taste, and I like that I learned how to enjoy this rarer style.

Monk's smelled like sour cherry. And it looks like a very deep red with minimal foam that disappears immediately.

The taste is a mix of sweet and sour. It is very fruity; I want to say it is a mix of pear and cherry. I would say that the flavor was very light. I thought that it would be stronger.

The feel is very light bubbles. It felt pretty good.

Overall this is an interesting experience. I wouldn't drink it on a regular basis, but it would do very well for dessert.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2012 03:59:56 | More by ummswimmin
Photo of BradtheGreat7
BradtheGreat7

Ohio

3.89/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle with a pretty nice label and Belgian style shape to the bottle. Not eye candy but still a pretty good label and bottle. Poured into a tumbler style pint glass. Nearly identical to the one pictured on the side of the pack.

A - dark reddish brown with lathes chucks of sediment floating about. Tan head poured quite nice at cellar temp and took its time dissolving into a good ring of lace. A bit thin looking for the mass it had. More light pillow like. Left small splotches of stick throughout the experience.

S - exactly as I expected. Some real funk to it. Oak. Dark fruit with sour cherries. But also a more dominant apple blend fruitiness. A sweet malt and more funk from the yeast. Overall a fine smelling ale. Dark, sweet, and mildly sour on the nose.

T - some real sweetness up front from the malt. Candied dark fruit and sour cherries. Everything seems ripe with age. A hint of oak about this, but not quite enough for me. Semi tart finish but no where near puckering. Yeast funk is a highlight in Monks Cafe. A lingering funk. Quite Nice.

M - lightest medium body possible. Not a whole lot of thickness but surprisingly a smooth rich texture considering its light in nature size. Very smooth and no where near a full in your face sour ale. This is a mild sour and very refreshing. Smooth with a lingering finish. Yeast funkiness alone is worth the try.

O - a very good brew. Not something I was searching for, but I'm glad I bought 1. It gives you the characters of a sour ale while keeping an excellent balance and not over doing the sourness nor the sweetness. If you like a sour ale without the puckering this is spot on. It's very session like and easy going. A super lunch beer. Quite tasty.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2013 19:56:28 | More by BradtheGreat7
Photo of CurtFromHershey
CurtFromHershey

Pennsylvania

3.89/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a dark Ruby with a thick khaki head which fades down to a thin and stubborn layer of head.
S - yuck. Hose water, old apples.
T - pleasant surprise, does not follow nose. Slightly tart, granny Smith, fig.
M - move along, nothing to see here. Nothing objectionable.
O - not a bad little brew. Smells foul but tastes refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2013 00:37:18 | More by CurtFromHershey
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,221 ratings.