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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

1,095 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,095
Hads: 2,741
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 13.54%
Wants: 79
Gots: 364 | FT: 5
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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,095 | Hads: 2,741
Photo of mynie
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I don't know how they measure things in Flemland, but this here ain't red. It be brown as a dog's asshole, only in means in which the dog's asshole is made to be appealin', and with a little white head.

Very sour malt. That's it. Intense, candy sour. Very nice; reminds me of when I was little, buying Tearjerkers at the gas station.

Sour! Sweet and sour citrus to start, moving into an almost chemical, candy sour middle, ending on a more dry sourness, like a sour wine. I'm no good at picking out different types of sours: my pallete isn't used to them. Alls I can say is that this is sour, and it's good.

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Photo of Tone
4.31/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark red color. 3/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of tart malt, slight sweet malt, and strong citrus. Fits the style of a Flanders Oud Bruin. Mouth feel is sharp at first, that then becomes smooth. There is an average carbonation level. Tastes of tart malt, strong citrus, slight sour, slight sweet malt, slight yeast, slight grass, hint of hop, and a hint of wood. Overall, a very good beer.

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Photo of g_lincoln
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

One of the most full-flavored and surprisingly crisp beers that I've ever had the pleasure to drink. Nice, crisp flavor of red berries and a very clean and bright finish.

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Photo of UncleFlip
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
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

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Photo of biggred1
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown with a nice pink tinted tan head that leaves fine lace on the glass. Smells of tart cherries and citrus with a mild yeasty funkiness. Tastes of tart underripe fruit. Nice sour puckering quality with some sweet maltiness underneath. Well balanced and medium bodied with seltzery carbonation that adds to the drinkability. A nice,approachable example of the style.

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Photo of psuKinger
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Monk's Cafe, on a "beer trip" with my buddy Griff. Poured into one of my New Belgium Globes.

A: Pours a murky brown color with a lively frothy off-white head that dissipated quickly.

S: Tart and funky, the nose is big on this one. The smell is simultaneously sweet and sour.

T: Delightfully sweet-and-sour, this beer starts sweet with notes of cherry and licorice before moving sour and tart. It's smooth and easy-drinking for a sour. It doesn't have overwhelming pucker-power, but it strikes a rare balance between sweet-and-sour not often seen in this style.

M: Light with lively carbonation, this beer doesn't leave an overwhelming aftertaste.

D: High for this style. This beer benefits from not being "melt your face" overwhelmingly sour. It strikes a nice balance, which makes it rather drinkable/repeatable, and overall quite enjoyable.

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Photo of cbutova
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a gloriously dark red into my Duvel tulip. A head builds up to a few fingers but fizzes out very quickly and you can actually hear it. Dies down to a funky looking cloud and ring. A few sticky suds but looks more like wine with a mutant cloud in the middle of it.

S- Strong and sour. The aroma even made my cheeks pucker. Smells a lot like red wine, a very lot. Lots of grapes, fruit and acetic and lactic acid.

T- Pretty damn sour at first but that goes away pretty quickly. It starts off with huge fruit and vinous notes, lots of grape and dark fruit going on here. The finish is hugely unexpected, malty and very bready. The moderate sour level (after first sip) lends a great touch to these nice flavors. Vinegar levels not very present here for some reason. Wow, toward the ends this really tastes amazingly like tart cherry pits.

MF- The body is fairly light and highly carbonated. It is, however, very smooth and creamy. The sours make your cheeks pucker as the palate is coated with great fruit and vinous flavors.

DB- I bought this because it was the cheapest Belgian single on the entire shelf of a local store. Turned out to be a great buy, successfully blending wine flavors with a great malt and yeast backbone. I would be proud to have this brewed for my restaurant. Probably a one or two bottle thing but still one of the most drinkable sours I have come across.

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Photo of Spineypanda
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear but dark red and has a nice head at least half an inch thick.
Smells of sours yeasts, not overly sour though.
Tastes like a bit of candied sugars, somewhat like a sweet red apple. Interesting how the sour ales remind me of apples every time. I really enjoy this beer, the finish is great and malty while being sweet as well.

Another I would buy for any occasion.

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Photo of muttyd
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cracking a bottle the night before the ACBF. Why not?

A - Deep ruby/brown pour with a thin white/tan head.

S - Deep caramel, oak, slight vinegar/red wine. Poured at roughly 50 degrees. Aroma really opens up as the beer warms up.

T - Fruity (apples, raisins, grapes, cherries) mixed beautifully with oaky/funky sourness. Despite the initial fruity sweetness upfront, this one is pretty dry. Finishes dry and tart. Yum.

M - High carbonation with a silky mouth feel.

D - At only 5.5%, this is my session beer. Excellent brew!

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Photo of lpayette
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was surprised to see I hadn't reviewed this before. I've had it probably 4 or 5 times. This bottle probably has about a year of aging on it, and it does seem to have mellowed out some which I like.

Appearance- dark ruby grapeish color with a small head but plenty of lacing. Looks good.

Smell- mostly sour notes, but there's a bit of vinegar at times in the background which I could go without. It's not a dealbreaker for me though, just something I could do without. Well... afterall, it is part of the style, isn't it? Smell of cherries and grapes with a dusting of oakey/woodsy notes.

Taste and Mouthfeel- Nice sour flavors mingle with very subtle oaky flavors. Again, the flavors are mostly grapes and cherries- at least that's how I perceive it anyway. Remember that grape flavored kool-aid with the purple dinosaur on it? Well, if I remember correctly, this beer tastes kind of like they took some of that and fermented it with some wild critters. That might sound like a negative review, but I think it's pretty darn tastey. Finishes pretty dry.

Drinkability- I find this to be a pretty drinkable beer overall, and one that might be a good gateway beer into the realm of sour beer. It's not too sour, but there's enough there to make it a new taste for most people.

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Photo of Suomi411
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark amber with a reddish hue. Head dissipates quickly to about .5-1" thick. Moderate lacing that disappears quickly following each sip.
S: Sour, a hint of cherries and cider.
T: Initially, moderate sourness with a hint of cherries, apples. Ends sweet effectively balancing the initial sour component. No real sense of hops, diacetyl. Aftertaste is earthy/woody, but also disappears rather quickly
M: Light to medium bodied (more on light side) with a fair amount of carbonation and low bitterness.
D: Excellent! Will pick up again in the near future.

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Photo of CrossFitAlex
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Rose, rust, and amber with a crisp medium head

N - ale- sour / acidic, cherry, rose and floral scents.

T - YUM! nice balance of sour on the front of the palette w/ good carbonation. Well balanced ale flavors. Cherry and floral with an excellent sweet-sour mix. (I love flemish sours)

M - 4.5

D - Did I mention I love flemish sours? I think i'll have another...

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Photo of KDeLibero
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Belgian family-owned Van Steenberge brewery, which is outside the city of Ghent, in the Flemish region, produces the famous beers Gulden Draak and Piraat. They have collaborated with the Belgian Beer Emporium, Monk's Café in Philadelphia to commission the Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale under their private label. Monk's Café is made in the style of an Oud Bruin (or "old brown). Young and old beers are blended to create balance and complexity in this mildly sour ale.

Monk's Café pours a deep red mahogany with a malty aroma of fruit and oak. The flavor is tart with strawberries and cherries, and hints of vanilla, wood, and lactic acid. The noticeable oak on the finish must be from the more aged batch of beer that is blended in. Overall, Monk's Café is a very drinkable and refreshing beer that would serve as a great introduction to sour beers for those who are not familiar with the style.

While delicious on it's own, Monk's Café will pair well with a wide variety of different foods, especially ones that share the same funky, barnyardy flavors. Try pairing it with a gamey meat such as duck with a sweet sauce, or a rich pork dish. It would certainly compliment an earthy, mushroomy cheese like Brie de Meaux, or Forsterkäse, which is wrapped in bark for an extra heady flavor. Experiment too, this beer is fun and delightful with chocolate!

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Photo of Amalak
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. Black like a Guinness and it has a huge foamy tan head. It has tons of lacing.

S. A metallic scent followed with a grape undertone.

T. Wow, intense grape taste. A nice sour with a kind of jolly rancher feel, a roasty malt aftertaste.

M. A bit tart. Carbonated.

O. Maybe my favorite sour. Flavorful and not obnoxiously tart.

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Photo of MaggieReed
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had two of these @humpy's in downtown anchorage.

pours a deep red-brown with about an inch of nice, thick head.

s- tart cherries, brown sugar and wheat with a heavy malt presence rounding out the finish.

t-awesome- clearly if you look at my reviews I am a huge fan of this style, but this one has a presence that is not found in any but the best beers, and the taste was complex- not something my toungue will get bored with.

m- somewhat syrupy with moderate carbonation

d- not for everyone, but if you are a fan of the style you will enjoy this beer.

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Photo of fragilehearted
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle into a tulip. Thanks to Brez07 for this in a recent BIF! I've had it before, but it's just not sold where I live, so I seek it out whenever I can. It's one of my favorites!

A - dark brownish red. nice tan head, but it goes down pretty quickly into a cloud-covered ring. Leaves a bit of lacing hanging out in blotches.

S - sour fruits, acid, vinegar. Kind of reminds me of a vinaigrette dressing. Could be better, actually, but well, I'm into aromas.

T - tart, but not too tart. There's some sweetness in there too. Cherries, grapes, apples...fruits. Lots of sours are just overwhelmingly sour (not always a bad thing), but I like this one a lot because of the balance.

M - light. pretty carbonated, but I don't generally mind that in a beer. Goes down so smooth.

D - super duper. I could drink this all the time. It's not overly sour, has just a touch of sweetness that makes it much more drinkable than the average sour, especially for those not familiar w/ the style. For that reason, I think it'd be a great intro to the style - was mine, way back when! And if you can find it, usually not a bad price tag either.

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

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Photo of DrJay
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruby red with a bit of a brown hue and quite clear. The fine, light beige head showed good retention and produced a solid sheet of lace on the glass. Malt sweetness and sour fruit (cherries) in the aroma, along with a hint of leather. Tart berry fruitiness balanced the moderate malt quite nicely. Some sour cherry as well, also earthy and woody. It finished with lingering raspberry tartness. Light bodied with some residual sugar that gave it a slightly syrupy feel. Very thirst quenching and highly drinkable. Even with the rest of the line-up at Monk's Cafe, I had to have a second glass before moving on.

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Photo of Symptomu
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As a lover of sour brews I've developed a special affinity for this beers different take on sour. The color is a lovely clear but deep brown red and on tap the head is impressive. The sour aroma and even the tast of this beer is very lactic, yogurty, rather than acetic, vinegary. The mouthfeel is thin but not overly so. The sour lends to the brews drinkability without being too tangy, puckery. Flavors hint at cherry, crab apple, molasses, and plain yogurt. This is an excellent first timers sour though may not be much like its brethren.

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Photo of pkalix
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

part of 'that' sampler pack of sour brews...
tan, creamy head. dark ruby pour.
aroma 'could' be of a sour, but it's not totally there....
taste.... wow. very full, round sour flavor- AWESOME, but finishes totally WEAK. what a disappointment at the finish. kind of like the tigers in game 3 of the world series right now with bases loaded and 1 out- strike out, and chump! oh well.... i love the flavor, although it's just missing something... i mean, how do i describe this?
overall, awesome lacing on the sides. beautiful color. fruity, tart. low abv%, but okay.... maybe that's what it is missing.... does it earn a 4.5? i really like this.... but there's just something in the finishing of the taste that makes me think they just missed something....

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Photo of FightingEntropy
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got down to the Blue Nile to have a draft of Monk's Flemish Red, and it was really worth the trip. I had a draft at Monk's a year ago, and rated this one higher. For this tasting, the beer poured high with a thick, off white head with lots of small carbonation bubbles which drops to a thin lingering foam that resembles a tan oil slick. Only a small amount of lace hangs on the edge. It is a truly red red ale, dark cherry in color with golden highlights that almost shimmers. Sour fruit fills your nose, mostly cherry, but also raisins/currants along with a light tinge from the oak too. The smell is less complex than the sour/sweet/tart/sour taste--like those expensive dark cherries you let set an extra day or two in the fridge before eating. The malt sweetness is strong enough to try hard to balance, but in the end lose by a bit to the complex yeasty sourness. Perfect. Really enjoyed this beer, but had to head home after two because a third would have knocked me for a loop. Hope that my life allows me to get back for another draft of this very cool beer of an underdone style. Take my review for what it is--I switch back and forth between barleywine and Flanders red as my favorite styles--I like strong, sour, and in your face beers that have strong opposing flavors.

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Photo of elinash
4.34/5  rDev +13%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Monk's Cafe Flemish Red is brewed by Van Steenberge in Belgium. Poured into my Fin Du Monde glass at hand.

It pours very dark with no head, only a light ring of lacing around the edge.
The aroma is amazing, full of vitamin c/ acscorbic acid, vinegar and sweet malt. Tart cherries come out in the aroma and in the immediately following taste profile.
The taste is malt-rich with tons of fruit and sweet and sour flavors. It is wonderfully tangy and smooth at the same time.
Mouthfeel is soft with the sweetness predominating.
It finishes with rich fruit flavors and high acidity.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip- pours a very dark ruby color (similar to Coke but darker) with 1.5 finger tan head. Great retention, good lacing.

Smell is kinda tart- a little fruity (grapefruit maybe), definitely very wild yeasty.

Taste is exceptional- well balanced tartness but very full flavored. I taste a little cherry, definitely lots of wild yeast (tart, earthy flavors). Great level of tartness- shows off the flavor while being mild enough for newcomers.

Mouthfeel is excellent- medium body with moderate to full carbonation. Definitely a great example of Oud Bruin. Had it on tap but enjoyed this from the bottle more.

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Photo of alleykatking
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a deep amber color. Nice light tan one finger head that fades rather quickly. Leaves some nice skirted lacing on the sides as I drink this down.

S- This has a nice amber cider smell to it. Threw me off at first but nice nevertheless. Vinegar offnotes in this one as well. Not much of anything else.

T- Big fruity (apple) cider upfront with this. Some vinegar notes in the middle of it. Ends on a lighter clove and bubblegum like hints. This is balanced like that all throughout the beer.

M- Medium light mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the beer. Fizzes in the front half of the beer. Cider presence felt also in the front half. Nice apple and light sourness on both the palate and in the aftertaste.

D- This one is dangerously drinkable. I had no problem drinking all 12oz of this bad boy and at a alarming rate. The only set back to this one I would have to say is I could feel this making a mess of your gut if too much was drank. Would recommend this one as a sour to start off with.

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Photo of Brent
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This seemed a little younger and fresher than what I'm accustomed to for the style, or perhaps I've just gotten used to drinking old beer? Bright, well moderated lactic tartness redolent of sour cherry and some oaky, tannic notes. Finish was nicely dry and clean, with some citric sweetness at the very end.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,095 ratings.