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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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very good

2,595 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,595
Reviews: 1,086
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 13.77%
Wants: 66
Gots: 282 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,595 | Reviews: 1,086
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A: Pours a reddish brown with a thin later of loose head that quickly becomes a thin cap. Little lacing remains on my glass.

S: Definitely a sour overtone on the nose. Earthy sour cherries and granny smith apples dominate with an earthy Belgian funk behind.

T: The sourness isn't as prominent on the palate as it is on the nose. It's there, but just not as much as I had expected. A sweet finish lingers on my tongue.

M: Way too much carbonation with a medium mouthfeel.

D: The sweetness kills any chances of downing more than one of these.

Photo of GRG1313
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bit brown but clear with a short white head.

A wonderful integration of balance and flavors! Refreshing, drinkable in the extreme. Sweet and sour and very well balanced, hint of hops, nice light sugars. Nice drink, for summer. Like an adult soft drink with noticeable bretanomyces character with undertones of balsamic and red wine vinegar, in the most pleasant sense.


Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.48/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Having to celebrate Belgian Independence Day. But I don't need an excuse to enjoy this fine brew.

Pours very dark. Brown and red trying to peak through, but it is really dark. Really nice head that stayed for a while. Lacing was always present and pretty thick as well.

Sour from the oak is the smell. And that is pretty much the taste as well. Maybe with a touch of sweetness. It is oh so good.

Highly recommended. Forgot how good this was.

Photo of drperm
4.9/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at the Raleigh Times Bar, 11 July 2009.

This is an all-around impeccable brew: for me, the new benchmark brew for this style. I was tempted to give it all 5's but had to go slightly under-bar somewhere, simply because, even thought it is a life-changing brew, it is not completely perfect. But almost.

My glass of Oud Bruin displayed a resplendent russet glow. The wonderful aromas and tastes of balsamic and rice vinegars kept me quenched and served to be a most excellent aperitif beverage. As I drank the beer, I kept thinking, "teriyaki chicken...prosciutto salad....cheeseburger..." but the brew continued to be self-sufficient on its own.

For any who love the Oud Bruin style, this is not one to be missed! One of the most well-rounded and nuanced beers I've had of any style, but damn near perfect as a sour ale.

Photo of atpben
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Had this in a bottle at the Houston Gingerman. Poured into a snifter. Pours a reddish-brown color with a thick head. Aroma of vinegar mixed with cherries and some light citrus notes. Quite tart flavor with more vinegar and cherry in the taste. Quite dry in the finish. Pretty decent sour. A little less sweet than duchess.

Photo of ballewblake
2.89/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Severed in the monks cafe pint glass.
Filled to the top, a thin light head that didn't last, Too dark to really peg the color but it looks ruby red, right now. Barely any lacing on the glass. The nose is all vinegar, having a hard time smelling anything else, its actully so intense its off putting. I love sours and I'm actually thinking this is a bad keg (based on the bottle version I had a year ago.) Taste is uber sweet, no sour notes detected and I'm bummed. Barely getting some cherries but the sweet malts really dominate. Ultra heavy carbonation element in this draught, really cleans the tongue after every sip, priming it for the next swig. Really, I think this draught is off, not near what I remember the bottle being.

Photo of GJ40
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 11.2 oz bottle in a standard pint glass.

A - Mahogany with a slight cherry tint, good clarity and a small beige head that dissipates quickly.

S - Cherries and raspberries with a nice sour aroma and some candy sugar.

T - I get mostly cherries and candy sugar. Starts sour but then turns sweet in the finish.

M - Moderate consistency with a moderate carbonation that seems to leap out of the beer as soon as it hits your mouth.

D - Smooth, interesting and easy to drink. I'd prefer a bit more sour and a bit less sweetness but I enjoyed it.

Photo of david131
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- An absolutely clear ruby red liquid with a decent off-white head.

S- Cider, funk, fruit, and caramel. Rather simple, but enjoyable.

T- Sweet cider and caramel with a bit of funk and sourness. More complex than the aroma and pretty tasty.

M- Slightly tart, but clean.

D- A bit of a sipper, but it is unique and enjoyable. I would like to see more of this style.

Photo of Goldopelgt
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured a reddish brown with a whitish head and some decent lacing.

S- Initially hit with vinegar and sour fruits...complex, but pleasant. Definitely some funk, but what to be expected with this style.

T- Tart, acidic, sour--everything you would expect from this beer. Very nice!

M- Somewhat thin, carbonated, but again what you would expect from this style.

D- Very drinkable....want to try it again. I really enjoyed this beer and would definitely recommend it.

Photo of MaggieReed
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

Photo of TheFightfan1
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A dark ruby color with a thick tiny bubbled heading(heading looked like whip cream at first glance).Left a nice lacing throughout.

Smell was sour apple and a couple of other darker fruit's

Taste from what I can remember was sour of course but it had a kind of blood taste to it. I can't explain it, thick like wine but you did want to have more.

Mouth felt good to me I've never even heard of this style (Flanders Ouid Bruin) full bodied , decent carbonation.

Drink is average at best I wouldn't really want to try this one again. I couldn't see myself having a couple or a session with this. For the other's out there give it a go because it is unique.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.41/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Monks Flemish Red Ale

A- Deep copper red with a thick tn head. Good chunky lacing and nice carbonation.
S- Sour cooked cherries and sour green apple.
T- Sour granny smith apples blended into cooked gooey cherries. Slight brown sugary malt pokes through.
M- Mildly tart and sour. Finishes off sugary sweet with little acidity or heartburn.

Overall- A good solid sour beer. Although I'm not a big fan of the sours this 1 is more down the middle and more my style.

Photo of Jayli
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

had on tap at The Publick House 6/25/09
This beer poured an opaque raspberry coloring with a one finger white head that faded relatively quickly, no lacing to speak of. Nose is very sour - cherry, yeasty, asorted berry, a touch of wheat and some floral in the nose. Taste is - WOW made me pucker! Big sour presence at first sip but then back off a bit, sour cherries hit you first followed by some sour apple that I didn't pick up in the nose, yeast and wheat presence build in the middle with tartness of berry mixed in. Medium bodied with nice carbonation that helps with the tartness, relatively thick on the tongue and after the initial tartness, goes down fairly easily.
This is definitely a beer for those who like the style. Though I can appreciate the beer, it is definitely not a beer for me.

Photo of sustainabrew
2.98/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Look: A deep red that bleeds into brown at the right angles, with a creamy off white head floating atop. Laces quite nicely

Aroma: A mix of funk and sour cherries really stand taller than everything else.

Taste: The ale was surprisingly sweet, expecting a bit more sourness and pop. Sour fruit, like cherries and maybe a tart apple come through, but the sweet maltiness seems to take center stage. Just a bit of carbonation to clean the palate, was hoping for a little more. A medium bodied ale that heads to the heavier side of things.

Notes: A really interesting beer that I quite enjoyed, but I could only really drink one of these at a time. Just cloying enough in its sweetness to leave it a one beer and move on type of drink. Maybe if I was more in the mood i could go for another, but at this time it was a tad much. If you get a chance I would try it, just not sure about going for seconds.

Photo of davexisxrabid
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice deep brown color that looked crimson when held up to the light in my Chimay goblet. Little white head that had decent retention. Excellent lacing during the drinking period.

Brown sugar aroma and grapejuice.

Flavor was similar to brown sugar followed by a slightly tart but not vinegary or acidic flavor. It was a fruit-like tart similar to green apples or white grapes.

Very carbonated brew, medium bodied due to the carbonation. Slightly sweet flavors linger on the palate for a bit, making this very pleasant all around.

Very drinkable in my opinion. Easy to have more than one, if you're lucky enough to have a few on hand. My only complaint was the carbonation, but it's ok. A few extra burps for a good beer.

Photo of rxdrewthejew
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good lord, it's been a long time since I've reviewed anything.

A: Really nice color on this one, dark amber bordering on burgundy. Got quite a nice head here, about three fingers, tannish and quite frothy. Lots and lots of tiny bubbles in this one, looks pretty fizzy.

S: Pungent sour smell really stands out upon opening the bottle. Main smell is sour cherries with an underlying malty sweetness. I get a hint of what I can only describe as warmed up ketchup-a bit of a sweet/sour smell. I realize that sounds really unpleasant, but it's not.

T: The initial taste is fairly sweet, a bit like plum or figs, but it has a decent sour balance after a few seconds. Citric acid is quite strong towards the finish, and sour cherries are again noted. As I went through this beer, the sour definitely started to overpower the sweet.

MF: Medium bodied and a bit syrupy. The carbonation isn't quite as high as it appeared it would be, but still a nice bit of fizz on the tongue. Not really puckeringly sour, but it does cause quite a bit of salivation.

D: This is ok, fine for the style. A bit too sweet up front for me...frankly overall it's just a bit too in your face. I'd prefer something a little more subdued. There's other stuff that's just as easy to find that's better, IMO.

Photo of ShogoKawada
3.32/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought on impulse at the store. Poured 12oz into pint.

A- brown with an amazing head. This is some thick stuff. Looks tasty.

S- Cinnamon jumps off the pint, as well as clove spices. Smells like potpourri, honestly. A bit of fleshy fruit.

T- Sour hits the tongue. Wow. This one throws me for a loop. Spicy, sweet, sour. Good, unique, strange. I didn't know what to expect, but this wasn't it. Hmm. Second sip is sweeter, less sour. Clove aftertaste. Gets a little too sweet for my tastes, however.

M- Unique. The sweet and sour play on the tongue.

D- Eh... I'm impressed by this beer. I didn't like it enough to buy some more, but I respect the craft put into this unique brew. A very off-the-beaten-path brew that's worth checking out.

Photo of champ103
4.51/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a cloudy reddish/brown color. A two finger white head forms and recedes after a minute. Light lace is left behind.
S: The aroma is of funky sourness. Ripe fruit of apples, pears, and cherries. Some vinegar, slightly acidic, and tannin aromas. Oak and wood lingers on. I can just plant my nose in the glass all day. Truly amazing.
T: Follows the nose. Lots of barnyard funky flavors and fruits. Apples and pears are most prevalent. Oak and wood. Again this is slightly acidic. Plenty of sweet sourness. Though it never becomes cloying. Very balanced between the Belgium funk and sweet fruit flavors.
M/D: This has a medium body. At first it has to much carbonation. Though as this breaths a little the beer becomes more creamy and smooth. The great balance between the fruit and sourness makes this a treat to drink. I wish the bottle would have never ended.

This is one great beer. I really enjoyed it. Something I would highly recommend.

Photo of BamaBeerBuff
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep crimson-brown color with a creamy off-white head that laces well and retains nicely. Really creamy, fine bubbled head is impressive.

S: Acidic, unripened fruit. Oakiness and funk too. Complex and clean. Not too bold, but still nice.

T&M: Tart and fruity, a toffee like malt flavor, acidic zing, and a hint of oakiness. A clean, satisfying flavor. Only problem is that it's not really complex or challenging, a characteristic I think is important in these sour beers. Still, a great flavor. Mouthfeel is on-par for style. A brisk, bubbly carbonation that tingles well. A tad thin, but still decent.

D: Rather drinkable for a sour. Overall, a good beer that I'll likely try to sample again.

Photo of kwill
4.65/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great sour beer. Not quite as good as Duchess, but for the price ($5 on draft) I haven't found a better Flemish ale. I didn't give it a 5.0 because it is a bit less intense than other sour beers (which might be good for some drinkers), and when I want a sour beer then I am looking for a sour beer.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear reddish brown color with a big-bubbled cream colored head. Decent retention and some nice sheets of lace on the glass.

I get some red wine vinegar smacking me in the face, damn near to the point of a nostril burning sensation. Other than that maybe some dark cherry and woody raisin aromas.

Ranks fairly high on the tart-sourness scale. Deep fruitiness reminds me of the time I was drugged to sleep by small green gnomes with red pointy hats and sealed up in a kriek barrel for two days and when I woke up, my wallet was missing. Ok, maybe not quite like that, but the fruitiness is very complex and unique. Still has a slight vinegary feel to it, but not nearly as much as the nose-twitching aroma. I like the fact that I can still detect some maltiness under all the other flavors. I dont think I have ever had a beer that has tasted this much better than it smells. Very good brew that can satisfy a sour craving quite nicely.

Photo of heapofaoatmeal
2.04/5  rDev -47%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

poured in a pint glass, red-brown with a white head. smell was a little simple, but ok. vinegar, cherries, malt mnn great smell. the flavor starts out just as the smell, but there is a dark secret. as the vinegar, cherries, and malt subside a sweetness remains. YUCK whiskey tango foxtrot, fake sugar and lots of it. disgusting diet soda faux sugar flavor that just lingers and makes me ill. drainpour, goodbye $2.95, i hardly knew thee.

Photo of grayburn
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The head on this beer stays atop the mahogany tinted brew for the duration of the beer, lacing is slightly off-white and predominent throughout the experience, very nice.

The smell at first exhibits the funky sour notes I was expecting, then bounces into a sweeter, almost fruitlike smell.

The taste is a bit cloying, too much sweetness in the middle. It is washed away by some sour funk, but a little too late in the game to provide a better score. Decently well balanced, nothing to write home about.

The mouthfeel is a bit heavier than I was expecting, but still nicely carbonated.

I couldn't drink a ton of this, but had no problems whatsoever finishing my bottle. Interesting, but not amazing.

Photo of 51mmz0rz
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a Hoegaarden glass.

A: Totally clear dark amber hue. Head is light tan, medium density. I don't remember seeing beer of this hue with such clarity.

S: Slight vinegar aroma, very slight sweetness and fruit. Somehow I find this pleasant though. Maybe like an old wine and my grandmother's kitchen.

T: Sweeter than I expected, caramel flavors balanced by sourness. I couldn't tolerate a beer this sweet without the sour bite to balance it out. Some sherry notes at the end. Interesting stuff, pretty well balanced though on the sweet side.

M: Good carbonation helps it get through the thickness.

D: This one's pretty addicting, though this is my first beer of the style.

Photo of jminsc76
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this on alexd3891's recommendation. Pours a large creamy head that dissipates quickly but reemerges easily upon agitation. The body is deep ruby with a little bit of amber, and plenty of rising bubbles from the carbonation.

Aromas of sweet vinegar, fruit, and funky sourness. Kind of strong, but very refreshing, and exhibits a little bit of oak on the nose as it warms.

Flavors of sour apples and cherries, oak, sawdust, and slight vinegar. Has that nice thirst-quenching effect on the palate the way a good Flanders should have. A little thin on the mouthfeel though. Also doesn't have the kind of organic refinement found in a Rodenbach or a Duchess, but its one I recommend and wouldn't mind returning to again and again.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,595 ratings.