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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,098 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,098
Hads: 2,763
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 21.61%
Wants: 82
Gots: 374 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website

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.
View: Beers (92) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,098 | Hads: 2,763
Photo of lstokes
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Grace Tavern, apple cider colored with a minimal head (but then, the bartenders didn't seem to know that we like our heads!) and practically no lacing.

It smells like sour cherries, but has a lot of complex notes to it, some vinegar, the barest hint of funk, green apples and dried fruits. The taste is also solid, very sour but refreshingly so, and never puckering or acidic, but the mouth feel was almost too light for me, I wanted something more to roll around in my mouth.

It's not maybe the sourest of the sour ales, but it's drinkable! I even got a second one, which isn't something I can often say for this style. Would be amazing with some strong cheese.

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Photo of Jimmys
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle into long stemmed tulip. some kind of marking on the bottle that i cannot make out.

A: couldnt even pour the entire 11.2oz bottle into my glass because of this head. very fluffy. great retention and tons of lacing left behind. color is a a reddish orange and reminds me a little of rose wine. loads of carbonation ribbing through the glass.

S: boatload of fruit. black cherries. blueberries. blackberries. tart and sweet. a little bit of grapefruit. a little bit of tart acidity, but mostly fruity and sweet. little bit one-note as far as being heavy on the fruit side.

T: starts highly tart. pucker-worthy. quickly dissipates as each visit to the glass tends to be less acidic. phenols. some sweetness is there, but faint. cherries and strawberries. finish is there, but dry.

M: effervescent fizz. certainly champagne-like.

D: good flavor and mouthfeel make for this to be super drinkable. the acidity is a nice complement. could crush a lot of these.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

A gorgeous dark amber burnt brown and red body with clear presentation. Head doesn't stick around much but a good solid tan collar is left to observe. Very much like this body color, clear, brown and ruby. Looks great!

Bouquet is sweet and sour cherries, with emphasis on sweet first. A distinct sort of sweet mix of brown sugar and malt too. Hint of tartness. I really like this nose.

Taste is very good emphasis on sweet red fruits. Berries of cherry, raspberry, maybe even some dark plum. No sour or tartness at all. Very chewy in the palate, candy taffy like, with some slurring wetness in the feel. Brown sugar takes on during the finish.

Overall pretty easy drinking not even sour, quite sweet actually which probably knock my score down a bit. But it's a great beer and a good place to start to get your feet wet if you are not into sour tastes.

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Photo of djeffbee
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Canal's Discount Liquors in Pennsauken, NJ. Very shocked to see this on the shelf, couldn't pass it up @ $1.99/bottle...

A - Pours deep amber to ruby, with no haze and a short head that fades quickly leaving lotsa lacing behind.

S - Sour cherries and green apples. More pleasant than expected based on other reviews.

T - WOW. Sour cherries (talking sour patch kids) with a mild malty background and no apparent hop presence. This is good.

M - I liken this to sucking on a lemon - a bit tart at first, making you pucker and leaving a very pleasant clean tingle. Nice.

D - Very good. I was expecting so much worse. This is an excellent beverage. I could see maybe two at a sitting, but not much more beyond that. (kinda like you wouldn't drink a few Coke's in a row)

Very enjoyable and will definitely purchase this again..

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Photo of itsfreeasinbeer
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: auburn with a two and a half finger head. It leaves a solid lacing.

S: grapes and woody aroma.

T: Grape is the predominant base flavor. The beer is sour, almost vinegar-like, and a bit sweet. This is a really enjoyable and well balanced flavor profile for the style.

M: smooth and moderately carbonated.

D: a very enjoyable beer that I can easily finish several bottles of.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pouts a lovely, slightly hazed brown in color. This fades into red and then orange towards the edge of the glass, giving a really attractive sunset impression. Moderately sized light tan head. The aroma is tart, with light oaky notes.

The taste hits big and sour at the start, but blends into an appealing woody malt character mid-palate. A bit sticky in the throat at the finish, but this problem fades as the hops strengthen with warmth, giving the beer a lightly floral finish with a slight metallic tinge. Despite how it sounds, though, this actually seems to work in conjunction with the malt middle. Pretty damn drinkable.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer was served in a wide mouthed wine goblet.

Appearance: The beer pours an effervescent clear chestnut coloration. The head is a off color white.

Smell: The beer has a very sour fruity floral smell. The beer has a bit of musty oakeyness to it.

Taste: The beer has a sweet then sour spicy yeastyness. The beer has plenty of tart berry fruityness. The beer definately has vinous qualities.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer has a slightly lighter body than I prefer. The carbonation at times can be burning and stinging. The beer is still pretty dam refreshing to drink. This is a pretty solid offering by any standard.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a flute

A: pours a deep mahogany amber color with two fingers of fluffy light tan colored head that lingers for a very long time, pours clear and leaves a nice amount of lacing around the glass
S: great nose, sour, tart, complex, its got quite a bit
T: begins modestly enough, then kicks in this really nice tartness that becomes complex and really makes the mouth pucker up, tartness lingers on the mouth nicely
M: modest but present carbonation tingle, drinks thin but definitely awakens the mouth, leaves the mouth feeling dry and also like i have just eaten a sweet tart
O: a well rounded brew with nice complexity and quality, i really love these sour ales

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Photo of Brock_hophead
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
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!


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Photo of ThaBobfather
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a solid brownish hue with a nice helping of tannish head.
Smell is pretty textbook here, spice and vinegar. A slight twinge of green apple here.
Taste is very good. A great blend of malt and "Sour Patch Kid" taste with decent carbonation that compliments the flavor well.
Finish is good, some vinegar/apple spice notes in the last flavors.
Drinks pretty smoothly considering the sour flavor.

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Photo of WhatsNewinBooze
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a great beer! I am a big fan of flanders and flemish ales and this one is right up there. Pours a reddish brown with a light fizzy head. Aromas of sweet malt raspberry and cherry are huge on the nose. The palate has quite a bit of sweetness, more so than other beers like it, but tons of red fruit flavor with a nice sour that isn't over the top. A good introduction into these style of beers.

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Photo of kaseydad
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter and produces a nice thin layer of foam which has staying power.

First appearance is cola brown but once in the light there is a nice burgandy presence.

Smells of vinegar and I am picking up some cherry as well.

Whoa! I was expecting a major sour explosion but there is a really nice balance of sour and sweetness. On initial sip there is a bitter/sour kick but the sweetness quickly mellows it. Very cool.

Nice smooth mouthfeel.

Very easy to drink compared to other sours out there. This is a nice introduction to anyone wanting to try the sours but not be (or feel) overpowered by the flavor.

Very well done!

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Photo of SHODriver
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep brown with ruby edges and a huge slow to fade off white head into a New Belgium globe
S: smells of sour cherries, a bit of wood, some must and a slight roast malt
T: pleasantly tart with some sour cherry flavor followed by some slight oakiness but the cherry remains throughout, a bit of vanilla as well, hint of chocolate at times too. swallow brings more sour cherry and a bit of must
M: medium with pleasant and slightly prickly carbonation. refreshing finish
O: this beer is tasty and well executed. price isn't bad either and it's fairly accessible out here. If you like the oud bruin style you should give this one a go

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Photo of illpass78
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

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Photo of Jparker37
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Mahogany head, medium sized bubbles. Very bright that left no lacing to the glass

S - Tart in the nose. Some faint caramel sweetness, cherry/raspberry fruit. No hop character. A touch of raisin, some alcohol and some woody notes.

T - Puckering moderate to high sourness, acidity outweighs the cherry sweetness. This beers smell was more complex than its taste.

M - Semi-sweet, lighter in body, refreshing, tingling light carbonation. Very acidic/sharp finish almost cloying.

O - Exactly what I was hoping for, great summer brew, no real Belgium funk just a refreshing sour brew.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My fiance picked this up.
Poured into a flute

Appearance- reddish brown color, head dissipated almost immediately, resembles a soda

Smell- fruit, tart sweetness

Taste- tart fruit, Very interesting

Mouthfeel- light to medium bodied, very soda like, high amount of carbonation

Drinkability- Pretty good. I thought it was very interesting. I would drink it again.

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Photo of megahurts4
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Appearance: Dark brown, medium head, and some lacing.

Smell: Sour wine like balsamic vinegar.

Taste: Purple sweet-tart start, a subtle malty aftertaste, and some subtle oak.

Mouthfeel: Medium.

This would go great with a meal. Smooth and nicely flavored. It has that taste of a purple sweet-tart. It is not as complex or potent as Russian River Consecration, but it makes a great introduction to sour beer.

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Photo of TCgoalie
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 6/7/10

Pours a dark reddish brown with a touch of foamy head. Lacing is good.

Smells like a funky red wine with lots of cherries, spice, and a wine barrel scent.

There is a good deal of strawberry and cherries in the taste. It is very effervescent and reminds me of a tasty juice. Rounding out the flavor is a bit of funk.

Light to medium in the mouth with a wet aftertaste. Sugary and satisfying a good summertime drink.

Very drinkable if you don't mind a sugary treat.

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Photo of Schmaltzy
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Nice dark red/brown body with minimal head and good lacing.

S- Great cherry, lactic, oak and slight vinegar, and sweet cherry/grape scents.

T- Again tons of cherry flavor with a lactic/vinegar taste that is balanced by the sweet cherry/grape flavor followed by a nice dry oaky finish. Very well balanced for the style.

D- Drank 3 bottles in one sitting. Great balance and light carbonation make this a pleasure to drink on a hot day, plus the fact that it only runs about $2.50 a bottle and is easy to find at BevMo.

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Photo of RidiculedDisplay
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first Oud Bruin.

Appearance: Pours with a lively Brett-like head, which fizzes and pops appropriately. About half-finger which settles into a quarter-finger. Lacing is sloping and jagged, with some spotting. Very consistent lacing, certainly. Body is a strange beast - outside of light, it gives off a sapphire-ish ruby red, but when held up to light, it becomes a far more opaque off-brown. Strange.

Smell: Apple cider, champagne-like vinousity, brett, a solvent-like buttery soy aroma. Corkiness. Some butter. Dried fruits deep underneath, like raisins and dates, mostly. An interestingly complex nose, with some definite funkiness to it.

Taste: Slight sourness on the tongue. A hibiscus flower-like flavor. Corkiness, vinousity again. Apple cider, hay. A little more one-note here, but still harbors some unique characteristics that I haven't particularly detected in other beers or, in what might be closest to this, lambics.

Mouthfeel: Fizzy and fluffy.

Drinkability: Surprisingly drinkable. This was a very interesting drinking experience, and makes me want to try more Oud Bruins.

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Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, dark burgundy color with a one-finger, light brown colored head of foam. Okay retention and it left soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled of sour black cherries and was slightly phenolic.

T - It had great sour fruit flavors - like black cherry and grapes.

M - It was crisp with a slightly puckering bite. A light to medium bodied ale with a very dry finish.

D - This is a really nice sour ale. It makes a great brew for a lengthy solo session.

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Photo of Stimack
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this brew the other night and poured to a dark red/mahogany color with a thick off white head that holds up quite well leaving a fair amount of lacing around the sides of the chalice. The aroma is definitely of sour/tart cherries with highlights of what I think is an oak barrel smell. This is a very nice smelling brew although it is funny having some friends take a whiff of it, as they have never had anything like this. The brew has a strong cherry (and other berry?) flavor that dominates from the start. The sour taste seems a little more harsh (?) than the Mestreechs Aait that I love but is an excellent taste as well! Also I can sense more of a oakiness from the taste mixing with the aroma which is a fantastic addition. The carbonation of this brew is very nice, seems to be at the perfect level as well. Over all this is a fantastic brew. I have just gotten into this style of brew but I must say that I am sold!

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Photo of PuckLSHS
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I could drink Monk's Flemish Sour all day long and not be disappointed. I have had this on tap several times at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach, CA.

It pours a brownish hue with a very small head to it that leaves very little lace.

The smell is a nice sour fruit (possibly a little cherry?). The taste pretty much follows up with that wonderful sour fruit smell also. Not too overpowering in the sour department, but just right to make this beer an everyday drink.

The mouthfeel is nice. Light carbonation, smooth...

Drinkability is rather high because this really has become my end of the night beer.

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Photo of roadhouse
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. Not sure of the age but it's probably quite old based on the store where I got it.

Appears dark mahogany in color, with a three-quarter inch pillowy off-white head. Leaves a bit of lacing on one portion of the glass and retains the head well, though I'm sure my glass with etched bottom doesn't hurt.

Aroma has a tart cherry tone, some vinegar, and a bunch leathery sour funk. There is a sweet smell peaking through as well, but it takes the backseat.

The taste is initially quite sweet, surprisingly. The funk hits next alongside some fruitiness. This one's not exactly sour, but it has a certain tart appeal to it. In the end the sweetness comes back, but right when I am expecting some more sour.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a very nice level of carbonation that makes for a creamy and soft drinking beer.

This one was really good but a bit too sweet and not enough sour. I would maybe get it again, but I certainly recommend giving it a shot.

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Photo of Bonhoeffer
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,098 ratings.