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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

1,098 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,098
Hads: 2,762
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 21.61%
Wants: 81
Gots: 374 | FT: 7
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.
View: Beers (92) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,098 | Hads: 2,762
Photo of PBRmeasap1980
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of slackattack
3.61/5  rDev -6%
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.

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Photo of minterro
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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Photo of Badger6
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of Mantooth
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of jellikit
3.54/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

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Photo of Apellonious
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of illpass78
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.45/5  rDev -10.2%
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.

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Photo of Ed2
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of Wheatafficianado
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

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Photo of KornWallace
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of Tony49er
3.27/5  rDev -14.8%
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

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Photo of DrumKid003
4.3/5  rDev +12%
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.

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Photo of stephens101
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Photo of Sumdeus
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.51/5  rDev +17.4%
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.

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Photo of KYGunner
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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Photo of phalligan5
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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Photo of youknowmyname
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

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Photo of don1481
3.54/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

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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.

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Photo of Patrick_E_Sweeney
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
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.


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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,098 ratings.