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

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

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BA SCORE
87
very good

2,673 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

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Ratings: 2,673
Reviews: 1,105
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 13.51%
Wants: 74
Gots: 324 | FT: 5
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:
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,673 | Reviews: 1,105
Photo of phalligan5
3.69/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I first had this beer at a bar in Washington DC. Every since, i have been hooked on sour ales. Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale is a great selection if you are looking for something different. From what I have tasted, you can't go wrong if you are in search of a tasty sour ale.

Photo of youknowmyname
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Odor: All I could smell was sour cherry and lime. Tried to pour into a glass to see if it produced any other odors and still sour cherry and lime.

Pour: Lightly Filtered. Pours out black with a slight plum look. Produces a nice long lasting head. No lacing.

Taste: Wow, Never had a flemish sour ale before. First thing that comes to mind is that this is a beer for someone who can't decide if they're in the mood for beer or wine. While brewed as a beer, this has a very sweet and sour taste to it. Very thin body and high carbonation. Reminds me of cherry coke mixed with a chardonnay. A little sour apple taste, a little malt taste. Definite cherry taste. Different than anything I have ever had.

Opinion: This has a nice drinkability to it, I could see drinking this when I wasn't in the mood for a standard beer. Goes down easy almost like soda, but alcoholic which is always a good thing. Being as light bodied as it is, it has little to no aftertaste. Just be prepared for something different.

Photo of don1481
3.54/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into my usual pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep, deep red color with a fairly quickly dissipating head. Some carbonation.

Smell: definitely a sour smell to it. Like a lambic with strong sour notes.

Taste: ... Not really a strong taste. Not the strongest tasting sour ale I've had. Very muted.

Mouthfeel: pretty crisp. Doesn't really leave any sort of aftertaste.

Overall: meh. I don't think I will be getting this again. Was worth going off the normal path for me, I suppose.

Photo of Rhf9120
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

Photo of Patrick_E_Sweeney
3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a beer tulip. Color is a very dark amber. Almost three fingers of cream colored head with a slight red tinge. Extremely light aroma, slightly sour and fruity. A bit like an extremely watered-down apple cider vinegar (not at all unpleasant, just the best I could do to describe it).

Taste comes on strong and complex. Pretty much no malt, very little hops. There is a great deal of acidity, reminiscent of citrus fruit. Quite a decent bite that lingers for several seconds. As the acidic, carbonation feeling fades, a dry, slightly hoppy aftertaste persists.

Interesting beer, a bit like a less-sweet lambic. They aren't kidding when they call it sour. Not something I'd drink every day, but certainly a repeat customer.

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a gueuze glass.

A: Dark red-brown color with a mild haze. Highly effervescent. The tan head almost has a slight pink tint. Retention is excellent. Bubbly patches of lacing slide lazily back down into the glass.

S: Sour cherries and sour apple. Acidic. Light rustic character, layer of musty yeast. Peppery. Malts come across very crusty on the nose. Traces of dark caramel and cocoa.

T: Cherry and prune juice. Cherry tartness balances a malt-derived sweetness of dark caramel, toffee, and chocolate. Brown molasses. Yeast character is more subtle than the nose indicated, but it still brings some musty flavors and some clovey phenol. Pleasing sweet and sour interplay on the finish as sour apple and cherry notes melt with a caramel/molasses sweetness.

M: Light in body with a refreshing spritzy feel. Any would-be sticky malt sweetness is lifted away by the scrubbing carbonation.

O: A very enchanting and crushable little sour. Actually more tart than sour. A good transition beer for those looking to immerse themselves more easily into the world of sour Belgian ales.

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale has an extremely thick, spongy, beige head, a mostly clear, dark, reddish-brown appearance, no visible bubble streams, and heavy lacing left behind. The aroma is of very bready, sour dough, slightly rancid fruit, and oldness or mustiness. Taste is of sweet bread, very sour fruit, old beer, sweet-tart hard candy, and maybe red apple. Mouthfeel is medium, and Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour Ale finishes mostly dry, strangely delicious, and highly interesting.

RJT

Photo of SavvyStudent
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark nutty amber color. Strong lacing, minimal carbonation to the eye and 2-finger of lacing that dissipates slowly.
S: Cherries, vinegar, leather, and a little bit of nuttiness
T: tonic profile with the cherry sour profile you would expect. rotting lemon and creaminess on the back that was not expected but is nice and not too heavy.
M: sits medium with medium-low carbonation
O: It is a above-average sour but nothing crazy worth buying in my opinion. the creaminess on the back and color are the only unique aspects I found in this ale.

Photo of Mises85
4.92/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is the first sour beer/flanders ale I have tasted. Served in a tulip glass at around 45 degrees.

Appearance: chestnut brown (I was expecting a red color) with 2-3 fingers. Head retention was quite good and didn't dissipate quickly.

Smell: What a delight! Cherries, touch of vinegar, some creaminess, red wine, some sourness, soda water.

taste: effervescent, seltzer like, cherries, mild acidity, winey, some sourness, touch of oak.

Mouthfeel: light and refreshing.

Verdict; What an amazing beer and unbelievable flavor! This is something I could kick back on a slow day. Not hoppy at all but was amazed that even an extreme hophead like me could enjoy this. Definitely not the last sour beer I will try.

Photo of FLima
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown color with a thin off-white head with short retention.
Light aroma of red wine and a hint of funky notes.
Wonderful flavor with notes of red wine, bread malt, vinegar, raspberries and cranberries, a hint of sulfur, with a pleasant mild tartness and lactic acid.
Full body with a bit effervescent carbonation and a light acid sensation.
Very assertive and easy to drink. As other Flemish Ales it is a good introduction to Sour Ales.

Photo of BradtheGreat7
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of thisisshsas
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown Red Coloring. Medium Head. Sour taste apparent but not overwhelming or unappetizing. Light aftertaste that is a little dry but not particularly bad. Overall a very balanced beer. I don't have a ton of experience with this style but if most beers taste like this I certainly will try them on a regular basis.

Photo of McNealc31
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

The color is attractive. As close to brown as red can get. However, the giant chunks of sediment are a bit off-putting. Aggressive carbonation tingles on the the tongue. This is, indeed, sour, but not unpleasantly so. A touch of caramel and even a fruity finish. But sour is by far the dominating note.

I feel like this is going to be a hit or miss. You'll love it or hate it, depending on your individual feelings toward sourness.

Photo of Dix90
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark golden chestnut brown with ruby hues. Nice bubbly head with good quick receding lacing.

Aroma: fruity and vinegary. Cherries, apples, grapes and cranberries shine through in almost a red wine tinge.

Taste: very fruity and sweet on the tongue.very well balanced with a mild tart sourness. Highly carbonated and leaves a pleasant sweetness at the end.

Mouthfeel: very light and carbonated. Bubbly and dry. Kind of feels like the carbonation makes the tartness cascade along the tongue.

Overall: a very good introduction to sours. Mildly sour that let's strong fruit notes shine through. Very thirst quenching.

Photo of Treyliff
3.49/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a murky brown color with ruby hues, fizzy two-finger white head that dissipates quickly, leaving just a ring around the rim

S- light sour lactic notes with some grape juice, sweet malty character, fruity esters, light vinegar, woodsy with a slight adjunct-like aroma

T- tart and fruity cherry and raspberry notes, virtually zero bitterness, very dry tartness with just a hint of lactic flavor

M- medium body, very low carbonation, trace of fizz on the mouthfeel, bone dry finish

O- pretty easy to drink, dry and bitter but surprising very drinkable. A nice option if you want to switch it up a bit

Photo of classixIII
3.44/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a stemmed flute.

A - Very fast foamy head filled a third of the flute then subsided to about half inch. A dark, clear reddish mahogany.

S - I got mostly grape, wine like, at first smell, then some raisin, maybe berries.

T - Mild sweet fruit, with a barely sour finish that lingers on the tongue between sips

M - Light, lots of carbonation

O - Refreshing, Enjoyed it, and would recommend a try. Will have again but won't be making it one of my regulars.

Photo of Benish
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into wine glass.

Appearance: Poured aggressively, a tremendous foamy head built up. Had to quickly inhale the foam before it overflowed. Very dark ruby in color.

Smell: Picked up some cranberries, raspberries, as well as the tartness that comes with the fruits and a ton of sweetness that carries across the nose.

Taste: It taste kinda like cranberries. It's very sweet; its sour but the sweetness takes over more of the flavors. Just at the finish there is a little bitterness. The entire aspect of beer makes me think of cranberries - sweet (stays sweet the entire time as the beer warms up), tart, and a little bitter at the end.

Mouthfeel: Very light bodied.

Overall: It's very drinkable and refreshing. The sourness is a bit subdued so it's definitely the kind a beginner should try before tackling the more intense sours.

Photo of Ryan_Graham
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Large head. Dark reddish brown color. Smells like lemons or tangerines. The sourness comes through right away but it's not at all offensive. This is the first "sour" ale I've ever had and I was pleasantly surprised. It's a little syrupy for my taste. It almost tastes like someone mixed a red ale with the the sweet and sour mix that people buy and use for whiskey sours. It's not spectacular, but it's different. And I'll give them credit for going outside of the box.

Photo of tone77
3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a brown 11.2 oz. bottle. Has a very dark brown color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of raisins, dark fruits, some malts, a bit of sweetness. Taste is good, but less complex than the smell. Very wine like, unique, grapes, refreshing and tasty. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is an enjoyable beer.

Photo of BMMillsy
2.54/5  rDev -34%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours dark red with a fizzy head that recedes quickly. Smell is faint and not what I wad expecting. Smells like a weak dubbel or belgian strong dark. Not much sour on the nose. Flavor tastes like carbonated artificial cherry drink. No real sour flavor to be found. Not what I wanted, and rather disappointing. Finishes as clean as a Bud Light. Doesn't taste terrible, but misses the bar as a beer. Maybe okay as an energy drink or coming out of a Capri Sun package. Wtf is this?

Photo of utopiajane
3.03/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours opaque and dark with a ruby hue. Fat head of tan foam that fell slowly and left patchy lace. Nose is faint. I am getting a faint smell of grape, like grape juice and a powdery sweet scent. Not what I expected at all. The taste is nowhere near sour. It is dry, it is palate cleansing. It is not crisp or tart or sour. In fact it's much sweeter than I ever would have expected and there is only a faint hint of vinegar at the back of the throat as it finishes. The mouthfeel is soft and silky and while it has ample carbonation it has not bite, no zing. Oddly I find this sweeter than I think it should be but as it drinks it does become more sour and more dry.

Photo of Glennlawless
2.91/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured into pint glass

a - Poured a dark reddish brown with a quickly dying down off-white head.

s - tart grape juice, red wine type smell. not a whole lot.

T - smooth entrance, very mild tart finish. thats all there is to it.

M - very well carbonated. pretty drinkable

overall, this honestly was my first sour style ale.not a very interesting beer per say, but it is what people say it is, an entry level sour. i feel this is a perfect beer to get somebody into sours. starts very mild, and at the end it slaps you with some sour. not overwhelming at all though. a pretty well balanced beer and drinkable. i like it.

Photo of Chaney
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Got this bottle from the Whole Foods in Springfield. Totally glad my bud Kevin got some time off to tend to his new baby.

A: Poured pretty dark, ruby color, with a 1/2 finger white head.

S: Had the brown ale flair and then some. A bit of feet in between the cracks.

T: Not that sour at all. More brown ale than anything. Not a brown sugar beer though.

M; Mild splotch on the glass and a good bit of carbonation... more that I thought there would be.

O: This is a worthy entry into the sour brown category.

Photo of JamesMN
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Chestnut brown body but ruby red and nearly translucent when held up to the light. Poured a fluffy light tan head that is slowly dissipating without much lacing.

Aroma: Nice tart and hearty red grape with some nondescript berry notes in there. An interesting dryness as well. Not really all that aromatic but the sweet and tart elements are quite enjoyable.

Taste: Smashing flavor straight away. Lively red grape must with lots of sweet fruity esters that turn tart in the second half. Not quite sweet and not quite sour a whole. The finish is full of spastic carbonation and the aftertaste lends a blast of red grape juice with cranberry. A light tart flavor lingers for a good while. A good amount of flavor for a modest 5.5% ABV.

Mouthfeel: About medium in body with tons of carbonation as is usual for the style. Easy drinkability and probably sessionable.

Final Thoughts: Really enjoyed this one and would recommend it to anyone interested in trying a Flemish/Sour beer for the first time. Though the level of sourness is on the low end of the spectrum, it was able to stave off that sour beer craving. Would I drink it again? Yes.

Photo of Cheshire_Crew_Al
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank it from a pint glass pour, little bit of a head, pleasant odor, thinner quality than anticipated.

It has an extremely smooth feel, with a pleasant aftertaste, a little fruity (again more than anticipated), like raspberries, I drank the first on the cold side, would recommend to have it cool but not extremely cold. Not very hoppy, which I prefer.

Overall, excellent beer, not heavy at all but has a full taste to it. It has an all-around appeal in that, despite not very hoppy, it is well-balanced in flavor that I would imagine would appeal to most beer enthusiasts.

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,673 ratings.