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

2,674 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

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Ratings: 2,674
Reviews: 1,105
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 13.51%
Wants: 73
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: 2,674 | Reviews: 1,105
Photo of MrBoz21
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep red, clear and effervescent. What cap that settles into persistent skiff.

Aroma is horsey sour. Crisp.

Taste: cherry tart with nice lactic sweetness.

Mouth: Dry with tart tingle on back of tongue.

Overall: delicious sour ale that is very refreshing and balanced.

Photo of Phocion
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle poured into Petrus chalice. Dark ruby with a thick off-white head. Moderate retention and thick chunks of lacing. Several pieces of sediment floating in the beer, which I don't remember from previous experiences...

Complex fruity esters. Black and red cherries, plum, currant. Slightly woody. Touch of spicy phenols.

Flavor is very tart, but not quite funky. Sour cherries combine with a nice light woodiness. Sour but not acetic. Dark sweet flavor - brown sugar or candi sugar, hard to place through the sour, but it definitely gives it a nice, balancing sweetness.

Light-moderate bodied and well-carbonated. Very crisp; acidic but not tannic, as it quickly re-salivates your mouth. I could do without the sediment, but a more careful pour could easily minimize that.

This is a nice, approachable, relatively affordable sour. It's not the best of the style, but it's damned good.

Photo of AmericanPaleMale666
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - had a darker body then I expected - deep red and brown tones, tall creamy head and decent lacing

M - light slightly creamy

N - sweet, sour, and candy-like. Not to in your face like other sours I like but the subtlety is nice on this one.

T - I picked up some apple flavors, cherries, and strawberries. Starts sweet and goes into an enjoyable tart taste followed by a smooth finish

O - I wasn't disappointed with this one. I think this is a nice introductory sour for someone who has never had the style. The nose and taste are not so strong as to be a big (perhaps unpleasant) surprise but you still get a feel for the tart sourness of the style.

Photo of pjbfromkc
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

One of the more affordle Flanders out the and a great intrduction in sour beer. It pours a dark ruby red and has a nice tart sour aroma. Taste is mild tart cherry. It is not the best sour out there, but it is good. And for the price this is a sour I will keep coming back to.

Photo of MonkeyDunk
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Great brew, especially for the price compared to other flemish reds.

Pleasantly funky cherrywood smell. Warming mouthfeel, tastes like sour cherries. Mild rubbery bitterness that picked up as I kept drinking it, lingering for minutes after. Very flavorful and big character, will be buying this one again.

Photo of hippogasmo
4.48/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite possibly the best beer I've ever had, with two main competitors for my number one rank; surprise, they're also sours. I really only have two complaints about this beer.

1: It is somewhat inconsistent out of a bottle, and I've never found a bar with this beer on tap. In terms of quality and taste, it has never let me down. Unfortunately, a few bottles seem to be pulled from the bottom of the batch, and have chunks (yes, full size chunks!) of some yeast-like substance that I cannot identify, and these chunks cause a real problem in the flavor. I have had the occasional bottle where the alcohol flavor has completely overwhelmed anything else, which I don't necessarily mind, but is not what I look forward to when I pour this into a glass.

2: I learned very, very quickly (early on in my drinking career, that is) that this is not a beer that can be enjoyed straight from the bottle. Few enough are the brews that taste the same or close enough from the bottle that I cannot fault this particular brew on this shortcoming, but it is sometimes a slight disappointment that I have to clean a glass to drink one particular beer.

All-in-all, a very good brew. It's a drink that I like to scare my friends with. "What would you think if I told you that you can drink sour beer? Not a fan? Okay, well here, try this." I have never heard a single response that did not involve some form of "holy crap this is delicious." A beer with a 100% success rate for non-drinkers? Worth a try, if you ask me.

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

A: Dark brown with a rusty reddish tinge, cloudy and opaque so I can’t see any carbonation, 2 fingers of cappuccino beige head with a shiny look of sugar bubbling and caramelizing in a pan, nice ring of lacing.

S: Sour in a slight malt vinegar way, fruity, complex fruit of apples and pears, nectarines and plums, prunes as well. A coke like quality.

T: Prunes and plums, light sweetness, light sourness, malt as in a dark malt rye bread sort of way. An acidic and lightly bitter finish. Some toffee notes. Fruity and floral notes.

M: Medium light body with a juice like weight, medium high slightly foamy carbonation. Relatively dry.

O: Makes me feel like I’m in some middle age village in in Belgium, drinking from a mug of fresh local brew as some dim lit pub. Delicious, fresh and complex. Bought and drank in Asheville, NC June 17, 2014. Great brew, in a style that is fast becoming my favourite. Gets more sour with sipping.

Photo of PBRmeasap1980
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smaller format bottle poured into tulip glass

A- Deep maroon/brown with sediment
S- Tart cherry, vinegar
T- Sweet and smooth, but kind of watery on the front. Cherries. I'm not really getting sour.
M- Smooth and watery
O- Not a bad drinking beer, but kind of average. I would like a sharper sourness. I'll set another one aside and see if the lacto sours some more.

Photo of slackattack
3.61/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into red wine glass

A- first thought was dirty river water. Started off with about half a finger of tight foam, dissipated pretty quickly, lacing was not really present

S- red wine vinegar, sour cherries in your face. Bright and acidic and pretty awesome.

T- started off following the nose, then got away from the sourness a little. Fell off toward the end for me and got a little sweet, maybe it's supposed to, but I would prefer a little more persistent bit.

M- medium to medium-full bodied. There's a definitively detectable amount of malt that I feel like is responsible for the body, not great, not terrible either.

O- like I said, if the label says sour I want and expect sour all the way. The sweetness that came through about 2 seconds into every sip was unwelcome. Didn't hate it, won't buy again though.

Photo of minterro
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a few weeks back at Morgan's Liquor store in Denver, poured into a snifter.

A&S: Beer is a translucent deep garnet color with no lively carbonation coming up. Pours about a finger of off white head and dissipates moderately quickly to a thin ring and some island, gobs of lacing are left once in a while. Aroma is a good mixture of tart and sour. Primarily tart cherries, sangria, along with some yeasty funk.

T&M: The taste is a little less sour than the aroma would lead you to believe. More cherries in the taste. Higher side of carbonation and lower side of body. Very drinkable.

Overall: The is a very solid beer. For sure worth a try. I will probably buy again but not very frequently due to the 5 buck pre bottle price tag.

Photo of Badger6
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle poured into a goblet.

Body is a deep reddish brown color with a white head that retains well, some lacing. The aroma is vinous, with some oak and malt. Hints of sourness. The tartness is immediately apparent on the tongue, with malty sweetness coming in right behind it. Very well balanced flavor. The beer is medium bodies, with a nicely carbonated feel.

Very enjoyable beer. Nicely sour, with a balanced sweetness that makes this much more accessible than many beers of this style. Easily recommend this to an adventurous taster who has never tried this style.

Photo of Mantooth
3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured at the fabulous Duckworth's Park Rd - Charlotte NC for $3.50 on a Thursday.

Not much head at all, wee bit of lacing. Looks like a glass of flat coke. The nose is great, lots of dark fruit - grapes especially - and charred wood. The taste follows suit, quite carbonated - bit like a champagne. Nicely tart. Great intro to sours for a newbie and easily enough going on to bring this beer-geek back for another glass.

Photo of jellikit
3.54/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: dark brown. Reddish to light. Looks like Coke. Thin head. Thin lacing.
S: sour. Wood.
T: grape, mellow sourness, hint of wine. Wine/champagne similarities.
M: highly carbonated. Dry. Light body.
O: good sour. Mellow flavor. Mildly sour. Would drink again.

Photo of Apellonious
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from CM. Purchased after the nice woman at CM gave me an introduction/education on the style, which is fairly new to me. Figured I'd start here.

A - Pours black as night, with a fluffy two finger head that settles. The lace hangs on the side of the glass.

S- I am picking up cider, vinegar, cherrywood. Hints of dark fruit.

T - Cider/vinegar, various fruits and maybe even a hint of nuttiness.

M - Quite viscous, with slightly above normal carbonation. Tart finish.

O - I'll admit, being a hop-head, I had some trepidation. This was a good, clean, beverage, and the sourness was not overbearing. Recommended.

Photo of illpass78
4.16/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

Photo of PorterLambic
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful, if unexpected, dark, hickory brown with a big, fluffy head. No light gets through and the voluminous, light tan, head drops slowly to a rocky chunk o' foam with some nice lacing left behind.
Smell is sour (duh) with a quasi-medicinal note reminiscent of school glue, fainter scents of malt, some indeterminate dark fruits, wood, and some very faint spice (pepper?). Balance is skewed towards the sour and wood/glue end.
Taste is sour, malt, fruits, wood, that glue-like note, and a faint cracker flavor after the swallow. Balance is better here.
A slightly less than medium body with a light effervescence. A not-unexpected dry finish. Smoother than many other Flanders/Flemish reds. Like Most van Steenberge beers I like it but it's not my favorite.

Photo of Ed2
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I get in the mood for sours... This one is readily available in my area and is a very good option. The Tart of Darkness has been the best I've ever tasted, but this will do very well. Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Brown, lightish.. With a white head about a finger and a half... A little lacing. Smell is what I'm looking for and starts the salivation. Taste. Yes. A very good sour brown.

Photo of Wheatafficianado
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at J.L. Beers in Sioux Falls. I have never had a beer in this category before but was pleasantly surprised. It was fruity, not too sour. It was dark with a nice effervescence in the tulip glass. Slightly tart but drank very well. Different and unlike other beers in that it wasn't hoppy or malty but was really characterized by the fruity sourness. It certainly adds a new category. One of the more expensive beers on tap at J.L.

Photo of KornWallace
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Date: 3/31
Location: Whole Foods near Erdenheim, PA
Glassware: Tulip
Appearance: Pours dark brown sits in the tulip closer to a black. Slightly brown thumb size head that is slow to evaporate. With cascading down the glass as the beer is consumed.
Aromatics: The beer hits with fruits, grapes, plums, grape cough syrup. Some fresh grasses. Some malts. But back to the fruits a little bit of lemon certainly acid.
Flavor: Plums, Plum sodas. Like some kind of plum cream soda. The tart/sourness is very prevalent. The beer hits of fruity candies, lemons and grapes especially.
Finish: The medicinal tartness stays with the fruits carried effervescently by the carbonation.

Photo of Tony49er
3.27/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Serving Type- Poured from a bottle into a Tulip Glass

Appearance- Tons of foamy brownish white head with an aggressive pour, dark ruby red color...just a beautiful looking Flemish sour

Smell- Funkyness, almost an effervescent character to the beer in the nose, fresh and dark cherries in the nose, light dark fruit character, some great barnyard funk to it

Taste- Effervescent quality in the front of the palate, dark cherries, fresh cherries, funk, light tart off dry sourness, very refreshing just a great sour no matter if you have had a lot of sours or you are new to the style

Overall- Just an awesome sour I have had this beer several times but this bottle has been in my cellar for a year or a little more and has not changed much maybe a little more funk but still awesome if you have never had a sour this is a great start I LOVE sours in my opinion they are the most under appreciated beer style by Americans....CHEERS

Photo of DrumKid003
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark amber with a little red around the edges, and plenty of sediment floating in the glass.

S: Smells a little like sour apples, but I may be missing something here.

T: Tastes like apple juice on the front mixed with a couple other dark fruits, the sour starts to kick in midway mixed with the malt which makes it sweet, and the finish is a very crisp sour that last a very short amount of time.

M: I'm pretty new to sours, but this was very thin on the mouthfeel considering how dark it is. But the sour warms the mouth as you continue to drink.

O: If I was going to recommend a sour to someone new to the style, this would definitely be one the few, and it's an easy drinker so you could have a 2-3 before the alcohol starts to kick in.

Photo of stephens101
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After spending much time wandering desultory in the wilderness of sour-beer apprehension, wondering what the hell I'm not getting, I'm becoming more and more intrigued by these ales and the complexity they can bring to the table. Hopefully this one can pull off the delicate balance between off-putting and brilliant.

Pours dark brown with crimson hues and finishes with a light tan head that fades quickly.

Smells of belgian yeast, sugar, plum, grape, various other soured fruit guts, vinegar, and taffy.

Grape juice, grain, and vinegar to the tongue. Just enough bitter to make you pucker up a bit before the next sip.

Thinner than expected resulting in a less than medium body but easy on the palate comparatively speaking.

A quality brew that seeks greatness, keeps it between the goalposts, but falls just slightly short of the goal when it's all on the line.

Photo of Sumdeus
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: poured deep ruby in color into a mini snifter. Very little head. Last pour from the bottle is sediment heavy.

S: rich dark fruits with a nice moderate tartness to it.

T: the fruit characteristics are first which develops in to a medium tart kick with a clean finish.

M: good feel to the beer, not too thin, it has some thicker viscosity aspects to it but does not coat.

O: a good moderate sour with some dark fruits and tart cherry that is very pleasing to drink. Nothing out of this world but a good everyday beer for when the sour mood strikes.

Photo of JamieDuncan
4.51/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Picked this up as part of a mixed six because I have been liking sours. Great looking beer that had a very good smell that could have been stronger. Flavor was excellent, had more of a beer taste than a lot of sours which I like very much, almost perfect. Overall a very strong beer that I will get again if I can find it at a decent price.

Photo of KYGunner
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Giving off a fascade of a stout this pours like a cola with a deep brown hue. The head was thick and frothy with decent retention.

The nose holds a candy sweetness, with a wine like or Cabarnet fruitiness, some vinegar and a sweet bread malt.

This is full of tangy fruit flavor with Apple's and pears. Sweet Tart candies come to mind as I drink this but what was the flavor of Sweet Tarts anyway? Theres a tang that is a little like vinegar but it is not off putting and even seems to support the wine like properties.

The feel is velvety smooth with a smooth sour finish.

Overall I found this to be an excellent beer, not just for the genre, but as a great introductory beer into the world of sours.

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,674 ratings.