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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

2,332 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,332
Reviews: 1,042
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 51
Gots: 159 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,332 | Reviews: 1,042 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bmwats
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

Poured from 750 ml bottle, into a tulip.

A: Dark amber hue. Pours about a quarter finger, bubbly, brown-white head. Dissipates quickly leaving a blanket of foam on the surface. Sporadic spider web lacing.

S: Musty and woody with raspberry.

T: Tastes like it smells. Pungent woody tone with a tangy raspberry flavor.

M: Penetrating to the palette. Musty and effervescent feel. Light but full flavored.

D: Goes down easy.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Nice, amber hue with a slight bubbly head. Musty nose with raspberry. Flavor is pungent and woody with plenty of tang. Overall, this is a good quaff.

bmwats, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of YonderWanderer
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

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.

YonderWanderer, Sep 02, 2007
Photo of Lolli1315
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

A- A red/amber brown color, little light seen through the beer. A nice 1 to 2 finger head that holds nicely with a nice lacing. Thickness of the head very appealing for this beer.

S- Tart cherries with a malty sweetness that blends into lingering sour notes coupled with some dark fruits and maybe a hint of apple.

T- Subtle tastes of dark fruits, plums specifically, and some apples. Flavor profile takes a dramatic switch to a large amount of sourness and a sugary sweet aftertaste. Sourness lingers for a little, but it is not overpowering. Sugary sweetness is a little overpowering and could be held in check a little more.

M- Thin to medium body with a generally high amount of carbonation that makes this quite refreshing.

D- Really like the sour notes of this beer, but the sweetness really hurts the ability of the beer to be more drinkable.

Lolli1315, May 03, 2010
Photo of CharlieMopps
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

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.

CharlieMopps, Sep 22, 2007
Photo of BradLikesBrew
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

Aroma is a blend of slightly sweet, slightly tart cherry and a touch of cider vinegar. Very approachable on the palate. Enough sweetness to invite you in with just enough tartness to keep you drinking. Brett provides just a hint of vinegar funk, mostly on the finish. Great entry level sour.

BradLikesBrew, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of brentk56
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

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 jwinship83
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

A- pours a murky or muddy brown with reddish highlights and a small eggshell colored sticky head.

S- some champagne like qualities as well as a sour twang. i also noticed some yeast scents and some other fruits like apple and grape also.

T- this reminds me ALOT of champagne. definitely has a sour kick to it, but not as much as i was expecting.

M- creamier and fuller than champagne with less carbonation.

D- a new style for me and i did enjoy it. not something that i could have everyday, but i liked it enough to take another look into the world of sour beers.

this seems like a good beer for people that dont really get into beer.

jwinship83, Oct 08, 2008
Photo of Chronofied
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

Cellar temperature, poured in a tulip glass.

Appearance - Brown around the edges, but a dark cherrywood in the center when held to the light. A little bit of orange tint at the bottom. Head didn't stand long, and left very little lace. Relaxed carbonation visible.

Smell - Heavy yeast on the nose, remniscent of the sour fermentation smell of wine grapes. Definite acidity. A little bit more fruit, like a prune/raisin smell as well.

Taste - Sour grape taste right away. Prune and light malt surface. The finish has a hint of carameled apple, sweet and sour. Actually somewhat rich in a strange, sweet and sour way.

Mouthfeel - Way lighter than expected. Really light, more carbonation that the appearance suggested, enlivens the brew on the tongue. Consistency is almost like that of sparkling juice.

Drinkability - It isn't a chore to finish a 750 bottle, but better to share one with someone. It is light enough to easily drink a good portion, but rich enough that one or two servings is enough.

N.B. - I feel like someone blended beer with a prune flavored Izze, and it actually turned out well. That is a major understatement, but that's what I thought of when I first tried this beer.

Chronofied, Mar 06, 2010
Photo of cosmo4u
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

Pours a deep amber under a thin beige head. Initial nose is primarily of soured sweet fruits with wood notes. First taste is of the big sour tartness laid immediately on top of a sweet fruity base. There is a big woody flavor in the middle of this one that is just right. Palate is surprisingly smooth and almost creamy and the sweet/tart finish is just perfect. I don’t want to sound patronizing by saying that this would be a good intro to sours for your non-beer friends, but it balances the sweet/sour well enough that it won’t blow anyone away. And, to be clear, that balance is an indication of the level of craft gone into this one.

cosmo4u, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of dmbsteve
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

Pours ruby red with a giant off white head that fizzed down to about a finger and stuck around till the end.

Smells of bretty funk. Not much else, except maybe a hint of overripe grapes and sour apples.

Taste is better than smell. Sour apples is the dominant taste. Sweet and sour both. Hardly any bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium with heavy carbonation. A bit of sticky sweetness stays on the tongue and outlasts the bitterness.

Overall a pretty tasty beverage that tastes like a cross between a sour beer and a sweet wine like a reisling. I'm just starting to get into sours and every one I've had so far has been different. I really enjoyed this one.

dmbsteve, May 08, 2011
Photo of SargeC
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

Appearance: Slightly hazy brown brew with a fizzy tan head.

Smell: Fruit, vinegar hints of malt and limited alcohol.

Taste: Tart beginning flavor evolves into mild fruit flavors. Malt peeks through at times.

Mouthfeel: Light body, but seems a bit heavier.

Drinkablity: A refreshing brew with good flavor.

SargeC, Mar 21, 2008
Photo of rajendra82
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

The brown murky body of this beer was topped with a smallish off-white head, giving this beer quite a rough hewn look, not unattractive, just lacking charisma. Aromatically this was very interesting, with a vinegary sour smell and some apple cider like notes. The taste was basically replicating fermented apple cider, with a puckering tart sourness, apple skin like astringency, and a touch of spiciness. Come to think of it, this looks a lot like unfiltered apple juice as well. This will be very refreshing and thirst quenching, if you happen to like the taste of apple cider. I would love to try this one mulled one day.

rajendra82, Aug 14, 2005
Photo of htomsirveaux
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%

11.2 oz. bottle tried 17 Jul 2009. Received in trade from.... damn, don't remember...

Served in the 0.4 L Steiner Pils snifter. Large lacy beige head. Well carbonated. Clear dark ruby red color. Aroma of sour cherries and raspberries, slightly dusty, hint of chocolate. Fizzy, sweet and sour. Some cherry juice, hint of cherry pits. Finishes with a bit of cinnamon. Aftertaste is slightly dry and stringent. Light body.

Good balance of sweet and sour.

htomsirveaux, Sep 03, 2010
Photo of flayedandskinned
3.84/5  rDev 0%

No Bottled on date.
Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark translucent garnet. A towering 4 finger loose bubbled, light brown head erupts immediately and as expected, fizzles down fairly fast, consistent with it's style.

Aroma: Big, vinous red wine vinegar right away with some musty funk alongside it. Juicy, tart currants are layered on top of faint, sweet malt in the background. A woodsy presence of rich vanilla and oak becomes more and more apparent as the beer warms.

Taste: Red wine vinegar up front with only the suggestion of tartness, some juicy red currants and some tart cherry notes are flirted with as a big, vanilla infused maltiness lands on your palate and softens the blow of the high carbonation. The creamy malt backbone abruptly mellows out the sourness of the brew and allows some of the oak barrel character come through. The beer finishes very dry, tart with an extremely light tannin presence and a faint hop bitterness. Lingering notes of plum skin and caramel bready malt. The beer does get a slightly unpleasant metallic twang as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with high carbonation; very brisk and refreshing.

Overall: A decent example of a Flanders Red. I do wish the initial rush of sourness sustained a bit longer before the malts rushed in and mellowed everything out, but the malt does add a strong sense of balance and contrast. This is a great beginner's sour. I would suggest not allowing this to warm up too much so you can avoid that metallic after taste.

flayedandskinned, Apr 11, 2013
Photo of prototypic
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%

Another fine bottle courtesy of guinnessdoc. Thanks, man.

Appearance: It's clear and an impressive deep garnet color. The head is light beige and stands a little over two fingers tall. Carbonation is very active and the head stuck around for quite a while. Sheets of lace clung to the glass.

Smell: The nose smells a little tart or sour up front, but not quite as much as I expected. It features a strong cherry scent that lingers throughout. It smells a little spicy. But, no single spice stands out. There's a bit of light tobacco and leather on the tail. If alcohol is here, I can't tell. It's a nice smelling beer, but doesn't come across as really deep or full of character.

Taste: This is one very tart/sour beer. If you're not into that, you should probably move along. It has a strong cherry flavor to kick it off. Tastes a little fruity otherwise, but not much. The tart blast that follows really stays with you for a bit. Good luck trying to keep a straight face at this point. But, it's a nice tart flavor. Not offensive at all. It is a tad bit spicy, but the individual spices are indistinct. It's somewhat acidic. Yeast is faintly noticeable. There is a little tobacco and leather to wrap it up. Again, alcohol is not noted in the least.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It has a medium body and very active carbonation. It's not quite smooth. Carbonation's a little too high for that. Drinkability is above average. The strong tart flavor just doesn't lend itself to really good drinkability.

Monk's Flemish Sour Red Ale is good beer. I like it. It doesn't really "wow" in any respect, but it's pretty good all around. The tart flavor could actually be toned down a bit and it might be a little better. But, that's probably true to style. I can't say I'm enamored with these types of beers, despite the fact that I do like them. In any event, it is recommended and definitely worth checking out.

prototypic, Mar 18, 2009
Photo of beveritt
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%

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 KTCamm
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours ruby red with fizzy white foam that survives beyond the initial pours and then drops off. Lacing is evident.

Smell is very faint. Light wine smell.

Taste is sweet and sour, perfectly balanced. Red wine in the finish. Not puckering, but clear sour taste. Mild hop finish. Well carbonated to complete the balance.

Very drinkable sour ale. Tasty.

KTCamm, May 06, 2010
Photo of HoustonTX
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%

Pours out gorgeously into my Chimay Goblet. Bright ruby body with vivacious carbonation, and strong frothy off white head. Smell is sweetly phenolic, with a twang of funkiness. Some darker balancing notes of oak, vanilla, and roasted grain provide a nice backbone. Taste has great depth. Sweet, tangy, tart, funky, and sour. The sweetness comes of lambic in nature. Cherries and raspberries. Sweeping waves of funk, tangy bits of citrus rind, sour waves of bitter seeds, and sweet candied cherries, just a plethora of great flavors. Finishes with a lingering melding of flavors, and touch of graininess in the end to level things out. This beer was quite refreshing on a hot day like today, I would go as far to say this is dangerously drinkable. Very enjoyable overall.

HoustonTX, Apr 08, 2010
Photo of jneiswender
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%

Poured out of a bottle into a small sample glass.

A-reddish-amber body, clear, tan dense head

S-Worcestershire sauce, spice, sour
cherry

T-sweet cherry front, cherry pit-like middle,

M-medium, somewhat slick

D-much more tame and mellow than other sour ales I've had. I had this one evening with chocolate covered raisins. Unbelievable.

jneiswender, Jun 05, 2009
Photo of hopsaplenty
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%

11.2oz brown bottle, 16DC on the back label.

Murky, deep cordovan with ox blood highlights. Pillowy, soft tan head of mixed size bubbles that crackles as it slowly settles leaving a few splotches of lace. Fat carbonation bubbles stick to the glass, but do not move. The aroma is mildly tart with woody tones and a modest dose of balsamic vinegar. There is a minimal amount of funkiness that works with the sugar sweet aromas. Initially, tart and lactic acidic, but not overly so. There is a woody tone that surfaces in the middle. A sweetness arrives to provide a bit of balance, but the finish is dominated by the acidic edge that pulls at the back corners and lingers. There is a tannic component as well as a clearly vinegar, think thin balsamic, tone. Medium-light body, the carbonation is bountiful and the acidic flavors seems to add lightness, while also leaving the mouth fairly clean. Tasty, and the acidic nature makes this thirst quenching. Perhaps not sessionable, but definitely worthy of returning to over time.

hopsaplenty, Jul 31, 2006
Photo of EricCioe
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%

This pours dark red with a bubbly and thin-looking two finger head that dies out quickly and doesn't leave lace. On the nose there is a good bit of tartness, which really dominates. There are some bits of acid and maybe some toffee further back, maybe some brown sugar, too. In the mouth the tartness envelops everything, both the front of the tongue where it normally shows up but also the inside of the cheeks. I keep getting toffee, as on the nose. The body is medium light with a medium finish with the sourness hanging around for a while.

Overall, this is a nice beer. I'm not familiar with the style, but I've had other types of sours so I'm not totally in the dark here. It's a nice brew but there are other sours I like better. Worth a try for sure.

EricCioe, May 17, 2011
Photo of LiquidCucumber
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%

A - Pours deep copper/red, nearly a purplish brown. Has a small head that recedes to a white ring quickly.

S - Musty apple cider, smells like it will be tart and makes my mouth water. Some bready malts as well.

T - Tart grapes, apples and cherries. The smooth fruity malt also delivers some deep earthy tones. Dark figs seem to mix with the musty floor of a barn and hints of cider vinegar.

M - Dry and bubbly; lingers just a little too long.

O - Not a bad brew, but not something I'm going to try to seek out a bunch of. I'd rather it be a little bit more extreme in the sour and funky categories. A good starter for the style though.

LiquidCucumber, Sep 08, 2011
Photo of JISurfer
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%

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.

JISurfer, Jan 09, 2006
Photo of spoons
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%

Bottle to the tulip

Pours a dark brown with a reddish hue in the light. A super sticky tan/creamy head sits on top.

Smells is tangy. A little malty. Touch of roasted malt in there, some sweetness as well.

The nose is pretty decieving on this beer. Initial taste is way smoother and sweeter than I thought it was going to be. Has an almost soda like body to it. Some acidic sourness, but not a mouth puckering super sour type beer.

A nice beer. I will probably pick up another one of these and see how I feel about it at a later date.

spoons, May 11, 2010
Photo of rfbenavi80
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%

11.2 ounce bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- With a very aggressive pour it pours a very dark amber almost brown with tons of fluffy light tan colored head that takes it's time leaving.

S- There is a noticeable "funk" factor about this beer. It is slightly fruity. Hard to pick out what fruits. Some sort of berry sweetness. Maybe some tart cherry candy.

T- WOW! Not at all what I expected. Very fruity, like fruit punch fruity, but with a nice sourness. Very interesting.

M- The carbonation in this one dances on the tongue as soon as it enters the mouth, but then quickly dances away. Turning into an easy drinker with it's light body.

O- Very surprised with this one. The taste does not follow the nose very well, there were many hidden flavors inside the beer that are not present on the nose. Overall, they got a good one here.

rfbenavi80, May 16, 2012
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,332 ratings.