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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

2,336 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,336
Reviews: 1,042
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 51
Gots: 160 | 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: 2,336 | Reviews: 1,042 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ElGordo
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Body is a turbid brown hue with ruby red highlights, topped by a modest off-white head. Tangy aroma that is typical of a Flemish sour - tart cherries, Belgian malt, some light, floral Euro hops, and a decent bit of astringency. Palate is along the same lines, with tart sour cherry dominating up front, becoming more balanced with the light brown malt by mid-palate. Finish is again tart, with a light flash of hoppiness before the swallow. The astringency doesn't linger as long as some other sours, but definitely makes its presence known. Body is a light and spritzy, maybe a touch foamy at times. Be gentle with this one. I've never been a huge fan of sour ales, but this one is passable.

ElGordo, Jan 11, 2007
Photo of PEBKAC
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Gift from a friend. Yes I like sours, thank you. :)

Poured into my Ommegang flute that's just about perfect for everything these days.

Thick & heavy two inch French vanilla head. Tipping the glass doesn't change the level on the surface. The color of red oak stain, light takes all angles through but the most direct.

Smells of cider vinegar, maple, an honest assumption of potting soil, & a sweet/sour note that comes off a little like a mix between Chinese s&s sauce, & white grapes. Inviting & confusing at the same time.

Taste is a flash of syrupy sweet juice followed by a quick pat down with oak. Overripe cantaloupe & sour orange throw into the ring, but overall all the flavors remain pretty level. A little bit of something like sour milk & ash in the finish, but it agrees with me(sort of). Just a little bit of rind bitterness to keep things interesting. A little cookie crust overtakes any remaining sour right at the very end.

Carbonation is sitting pretty, & just has that touch about her. Body is thin & juicy, but it spreads itself out too far trying to keep everyone happy. A little brashness is healthy every now & then.

PEBKAC, Aug 15, 2008
Photo of rrski198
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Redish/brown translucent color. Huge rocky off white head that sticks around forever. Big time bubbles clinging to the glass and rising quickly from the bottom.

S: Very funky yeasty scent right up front. Odd rotten fermenting fruit scent.

T: Sour right up front with a super sweet back bone. Lovin' this. The sweetness reminds me of a sweet red fruit juice. Quite balanced and super refreshing.

M: Average to above average carbonation with an average body. The flavors come, kick you in the mouth, then leave rather quickly. I am left with more of the sweet nectar/juice than the sourness.

O: I am still fairly new to sours, however, this is one of the better ones i've had. I really like the sweet back bone that cuts through the mild sourness. Some of the sours i've had wreck your mouth wtih only a sour flavor and no balance, this is not the case with this brew. Real nice job here.

rrski198, May 08, 2011
Photo of ScreamForMe
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Being another newbie to sours, I was recommended this brew by a local beer store owner.

The only other I've had in this realm (not the same style I realize) is RR's Consecration so that may have stacked the deck. In any event, I found this a good introductory beer for novices such as myself (good call local beer store owner guy).

ScreamForMe, Mar 07, 2009
Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours from the bottle with a mild head, no lacing, white with fast dissipation, thin and offwhite, eggshell even

S: smell makes you aware that fruit tannins and dark grapes and or currants and awaiting, and they are angry, they storm up your nostril not unlike an Al-Jazeera mob, giving your palate a warning shot for the bittnrness that they seek to impart

T: The front has a mild candy apple taste, not granny smith, sweet cherry flavor which mellows out to a sweeter candy finish, not tart, a bit like like a lukewarm sour patch kid, only not in a disparaging way, like a high class sour patch kid with a monocle and a aplomb for references to Marcel Proust.

M: the carbonation doesnt distract from the sweetness, the sour patch kid lets the bubbles pass like an elevator with unsavory folks exiting, then its all sweet business. The sour is a secondary effect, the sweet is much more pronounced, its more bake sale mom than competitive track home housewife.

D: Well what do you want from your beer? you want to be classy? pull out 11 oz bottles and show people your refined tastes? Ok well, this will do that but I cant seriously see anyone drinking a solid 4 pack of these. It's kinda like a Lambic's older brother who got a crew cut and a bomber jacket. You know deep down he's still sweet, but that Tears for Fear patch just shows you he has more bite than he lets on.

Narrative: These internet dating mixers are so lame, I am above this, but, if they only would give me a chance. I know on the outside I look like a beer, same old amber bottle they are used to, but inside i have so much character and personality, I am downright sweet. Oh great, look, they go for a strong DIRTY martini, I am here for them, my Jdate account get no hits...I TASTE LIKE CHERRY AND GIVE SWEET KISSES. Nice beers finish last, even my outside just says SOUR SOUR SOUR, great, now my belgium mom is gonna be all on my case about this, first my Kriek brother, now I just will sit around reading about all these other lowbrow Blegium strongs who pull all the chicks. I dont need this, I need a girl who likes ME FOR ME, not because I look like Leona- OH HEY I DO WATCH DEXTER!

SubpoenaDeuces, May 04, 2011
Photo of BostonHops
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a deep amber tone, sits a chestnut color with ruby tones evident when held to light. foamy finger, finger and a half beige head, middling retention; head lapse into a thin cap... very nice lacing.

nose is a pretty nice bouquet consisting mostly of malts, sour/tartness, and a fruity sweetness. flavor hits me with a little more sourness than i was anticipating based on the aroma, but not an overly, mouth-pucking sour... interesting balance between the sweet and sour. defintely has some tang to it; sour cherries. enjoyable and even a bit refreshing, though nothing transcendent.

medium-bodied mouthfeel with healthy carbonation. drinks easily. not the best sour you'll ever encounter but approachable and relatively tasty.

originally reviewed: 02-08-2011

BostonHops, May 25, 2012
Photo of Steamer
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: A rich ruby red; light tan head with large bubbles, sparkling effervescence. Smell: A dry champagne aroma. Taste: Very mild sour and tart flavor, almost too light, refreshing though. Mouthfeel: Again champagne like; heavy carbonation. Overall: On the mild side of sour ales. Would be an excellent choice for someone just getting into sours or anyone looking for a light tart ale on a hot summer day.

Steamer, May 19, 2013
Photo of CoolJosh
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.7oz bottle into a tapered belgian pint glass. Pours a clear brown body with a creamy light brown head. This beer looks very crisp and clean.

The smell is of very sweet cherries and brown sugar. There is a nice lemonade scent. Very simple but it works fairly well.

The taste shows amplified versions of all of the components found in the scent. Again with the sweet cherry, brown sugar, and lemon tastes. There is an underwhelming sour taste which should show more with age. Very thin and sharp mouthfeel bode well with the flavors. I could easily drink another one of these.

CoolJosh, Sep 15, 2009
Photo of soulfly1492
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Sour fruits, apple, grape and cherry. Lots of tart mild brett. Once the head settles down, aromas of fig and date comes out. Malt is dark caramel with some roasty darker brown varieties. No hop aroma, no diacetyl.

Appearance: Head is tall and light brown in color. Color is dark brown, some amber shows up when held to a bright light. Good retention and lots of lacing.

Taste: Sweet and tart. Sour grape, some brett. Malt shows up as mostly brown, not roasty. Looking for a bit more bold flavor, but it sure is smooth and easy to drink. Some of the darker fruits show up at the aftertaste.

Overall: Nice Flanders. Looking for a bit more boldness and more fruit flavor. Definitely some tart bitterness, but it falls a bit flat after that.

soulfly1492, Apr 12, 2012
Photo of UncleJimbo
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Flemish sour ale poured a cloudy, chestnut color with tan foam (needed to be coaxed) which dissipated flat but remained as a ring around the glass. The smell was tart and lightly malty with notes of caramel and a pungent spiciness and a bit of lactic acidity. The taste was tart and sour with malt and yeast flavors coming through together with a hint of dried fruit. The mouthfeel was sour and crisp with medium body and moderate carbonation. It was refreshing with a lightly tangy aftertaste. This was a nice sour ale.

Sampled another bottle at The Sunset and update review 3/10/05.

UncleJimbo, Dec 07, 2004
Photo of drumrboy22
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in trade from bradford last year. Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a Cantillon glass. Beer was a slightly hazy, rusty red color, with a small, off-white head. Light carbonation and thick lacing around the glass.

Aroma was tart cherries and light vinegar.

Taste was tart cherries, light sweet malt and a touch of oak. Light metallic flavor present. Could be a bit more sour.

Very easy drinking. Not as full flavored or complex as I had hoped, but still quite enjoyable.

drumrboy22, Dec 02, 2008
Photo of gory4d
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear russet with a loosely bubbled, two-finger head; a little lacing. The smell is toffee, marigold, Niagara grapes, and hints of graphite. The taste is big on the brown sugar and toffee, with some grape-skin tang and just a hint of funk and bitterness. The sweetness dominates; it isn't much a sour ale. It's a little syrupy, highly carbonated, a very dense beer. Easy to drink; wish I had another. As Oud Bruins go, it's nothing on Goudenband, but makes for a simpler alternative.

gory4d, Feb 07, 2010
Photo of jrallen34
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I drank this from the bottle into a chalice.

It pours a medium red brown with a light beighe head, not much retention or lacing.

The aroma is light vinegar and a little tart.

The taste is night and light and smooth. Well balanced with lots of different character. Not too overpowering and has a nice sweet finish and aftertaste. Mouthfeel is light, but highly drinkable.

jrallen34, Oct 31, 2009
Photo of BamaScholar
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was pleased to find any Flanders Red Ale or Sour Ale here in Nashville, which, while improving, is hardly a Mecca for interesting fare.

It was a nice pour--the beer is a beautiful garnet tone. I may have even awarded a 5 if there were more carbonation, a better head. This may not be characteristic for the style, however.

The nose is quite unusual, the sour is there! It's like soaked cherries and a bit of musty earth.

It's not really terribly sour, just enough sweetness and bite to make for a balanced and refreshing mouthful.

Again, I could almost use a little more carbonation here, as it seems a little flat. But the dryness is quite nice. "Ahhhh" producing.

Delicious beer but one or two is plenty at-a-go. I will definitely be seeking more examples of the style.

BamaScholar, Mar 24, 2007
Photo of youradhere
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours bright mahogany with red edges, tan head. Smell, wow, butterscotch, cherries, slight medicinal. Taste, wow, butterscotch sweet sour malt. Some lemon, slight caramel. Definitely complex, yet I wish this were a tad less sweet. Carbonation is high, mouthfeel is slightly slick. I dunno if the sweet and sour works for me, but it is a different beer from what I am used to.

youradhere, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of Fatehunter
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured two fingers of head on a clear, red colored body.
The aroma is sour... fairly strong and one sided and still nice.
The taste is only mildly sour with a dull sweetness middle to end. Rounds it out well.
The texture is nice: fizzy and soft.
Very enjoyable.

Fatehunter, Jul 23, 2013
Photo of beergoot
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Deep, ruby red body with a persistent creamy head; chunks of yeast sediment from the pour. Slightly sour scent with a touch of green apple. Subtle sour flavors with a light bread-like undertone. Softly effervescent mouth feel, light in body; dry finish.

A nice Flemish sour ale that balances nicely with flavors, feel, and aromas. Light and refreshing.

beergoot, Aug 05, 2013
Photo of BigBarley
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Poured hard into a tulip glass, for the first minute or so the beer was almost entirely head. The head is offwhite, light khaki. After settling the beer still maintains about a 50% head-beer ratio. Nice. Color is deep copper, almost brown. Somewhat murky.

S - Smells like a kriek. Wild yeast peppered with dark cherry and some light alcohol notes. Not too complex, but smells good all the same.

T - Dominated by yeast up front, immediately behind is a splash of sweet, tart cherry. The sour comes at the end, bringing this beer to a nice, round profile altogether. I personally feel this isn't much different in taste or smell from a lot of Kriek beers, but that is not a bad thing. Wild yeast makes for a strange and interesting profile, and the cherry notes keep it grounded.

M - Smooth, refreshing, with some lively carbonation. Runs down easy, but still a little thick for the ABV.

O - Altogether satisfying and interesting beer, definitely worth trying once, but I'm not quite sure how it compares to most others of the style

BigBarley, Mar 30, 2013
Photo of JHarris1717
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a really nice summer sipping beer. Peter Kate and I all got this and liked it. Smells great. Good sour, would try again . Went well with burger and chips at TJ's. I would also try other sours to compare but it is definitely not my usual preference.

JHarris1717, Jun 09, 2012
Photo of Libationguy
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reddish color with copper notes. Light tan 1-finger head. Medium retention.

The nose is fairly mild: grapefruit zest, band-aid, horse hair, flint, cracked leather.

On the palate there is a funky sweet and sour pork note, meyer lemon, horse hair, leather and a lactic note on the finish.

Medium bodied.

Libationguy, Aug 27, 2013
Photo of quirkzoo
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful beer, dark brown with ruby highlights and 1 finger of off white head that last and lasts.

Smell is very nice, a very "clean" brett character, lots of earth and wood but not the super funky notes. Just a hint of tartness on the nose.

The taste was good but I knocked it down slightly from the aroma because it wasn't as intense. The same clean oakiness with a mild tart character.

Very drinkable, a bit on the lighter side, but that lends to increased drinkability.

OVerall, really nice. Not terribly complex but a really solid beer.

quirkzoo, Jun 13, 2012
Photo of MiScusi
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Stone Bistro, served in a small snifter. Poured a brownish red with a head that had receded pretty fast into a thin foam. Aroma had a faintly tart character with red grapes thrown in. Taste had a maltiness that contained a bit of sour, but a good amount of sweetness from darker malt to balance it out. A grape taste was apparent as well. Mouthfeel was pretty smooth while also carbonated enough to give what little tartness was there a nice quenching aspect. This is a malty, mild sour ale that goes down pretty easy.

MiScusi, Nov 11, 2007
Photo of Docer
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Snagged a little bottle up to try from By The Bottle over here... been on a big sour kick lately....

- Big off white foam.. settles to a nice fluffy half finger of fizz and foam... rests over a clear, and yeastless dark ruby reddish brown...

- Light brown sugar, wonderful bready and biscuit yeast with a wonderful tart and sour flare... some currants, fig... cherry... light woody vanilla.. all there, all mild, but blended so well.

- Very woody backbone with a candy sweet sugar tone... light sour and vinegar touch..currants, cherry... brown sugar.. caramel, toffee.. fig and prune...

- Thin, light bodied, bubbly.. and sticky sweet.

- Overall not bad, but just a bit on the sweet side for my taste... perhaps I am too used to NW style sour reds.. because these flemish Belgians seem to candy-sweet.

Docer, Sep 16, 2010
Photo of yamar68
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours like a glass of cold frothy black tea - hazy burgundy brown with a creamy finger of stubborn off-white head. Loads and loads of beading right beneath that and a good amount of lacing above.

Balsamic vinegar with red wine grapes and sour cherry on the nose... it's relatively mellow but appropriately tart with a bit of citric acidity. I like where this is headed.

It's got a nice tart fruit character right on the front end with some sweet but earthy oak notes... musty red wine flavors... it finishes oddly empty though, maybe a bit of something floral, it doesn't even really dry up at the end.

This beer is spot on right up until the end. I reckon I'll age a few and see what happens.

yamar68, Jan 08, 2013
Photo of Rhf9120
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This was my very first sour. Smell is of sour fruit, bread malt, and mustiness. The taste is of vinegar, sour fruit, malt, and slight mustiness here as well. The aroma and flavor of this beer really reminded me of balsamic vinaigrette, which to me was awesome. Really happy with this as my first sour I am looking forward to trying more.

Rhf9120, Feb 03, 2014
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,336 ratings.