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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,062 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2062
Reviews: 1018
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.1%


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)
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Ratings: 2,062 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of dmarch
dmarch

Pennsylvania

4.75/5  rDev +24%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep garnet in color with an off white head. Aroma is of sour fruit like cranberries and cherries. Taste is more sour than it is sweet. Very light in body, which makes me want to drink a lot more of them than I probably should. Hopefully we'll see more of this style popping up in America.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2003 21:08:29 | More by dmarch
Photo of GreatPondBrewer
GreatPondBrewer

California

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first experience with sour ales. Poured a mahogonay with an off white head that receded into bubbles around the outside of the glass. Smell was musty and sharp with plenty of cranberry coming through. Taste was mouth puckieringly good. It was hella sour with tons of sweet, lemon and cranberry flavors and some other different citrus flavors as well. Mouthfeel was carbonated and tart. This is a good beer that you could nurse all night long, provided you have enough around. Not too much balance in this beer, but I don't mind at all. A good tip of the scales is always in order. Thanks to nomad for the bottle straight from Illadelph..

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2003 02:21:54 | More by GreatPondBrewer
Photo of francisweizen
francisweizen

Arizona

4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A dark red brew, with a small whispy head. Aroma is heavy on the cherries, with some astringent, lambic-sour ale funk in the background...way in the background. The taste is sour, and fruity...a good combination of flavors, if you ask me. I have to agree that this is a great sour red ale, but it is not as complex as goudenbond or duchess....the drinkability is good, and the mouthfeel is creamy.

this is a very good beer

F

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2003 14:02:51 | More by francisweizen
Photo of frank4sail
frank4sail

New Jersey

4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I was quite excited to get hold of bottles of this stuff from The Beer Yard today (6-21-03). 11.2 Fl. Oz. bottles. The beer pours quite well with a nice tanish head and a beautiful ruby/rust color. Sweet malty, fruit (plum/cherry) and melon smell. Original sour slightly astringent taste gives way to rich fruit (cherries, plums, raspberries). A very nice balence between the fruit sweetness and dry acidic beginning and end. Very drinkable. Not heavy mouthed as you would think with all of these flavors, more on the medium to lighter body. Mouthfeel is lively and lighter. This is a nice rounded satisfying "sour patch ADULT" of a beer. Extreamly good looking in the glass.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2003 19:28:56 | More by frank4sail
Photo of Wheatafficianado
Wheatafficianado

Minnesota

3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-03-2014 23:33:02 | More by Wheatafficianado
Photo of KYGunner
KYGunner

Kentucky

4.01/5  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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-21-2014 01:22:58 | More by KYGunner
Photo of SavvyStudent
SavvyStudent

Texas

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2014 20:46:58 | More by SavvyStudent
Photo of boddhitree
boddhitree

Germany

4.79/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

WOW. They say it was brewed for them outside Ghent; it was super lovely malty, tasted like lots Special B.

Hops were light in the background. The foam head's creaminess was almost eternal. It stayed tight through almost to the end of the glass.

It tasted like Kriek (cherry), but not overly sweet. I detected virtually no sourness, neithr lactic nor acetic, as advertised on the menu. But it was still there slightly maybe, probably held back the malt and fruit sweetness from being overpowering. This was my favorite beer of the night. It was the perfect dessert, though it wasn't a dessert beer.

Serving type: on-tap

07-14-2013 10:51:28 | More by boddhitree
Photo of dar482
dar482

New York

3.31/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I had this on tap in Brooklyn at DBA.

The color is dark brown red with some amber on the edges.

The aroma has a sour cherry nose with some funk.

The flavor has a wonderful vinegar sour tart. It starts first is a bit of sour. Then it turns into a candied cherry. It finishes with a fake sweetness, almost like Sweet n’ Low or something.

This is a good beginner’s sour. It isn’t very sour, there isn’t much funk, and there is tons of sweetness on the end. It has a light body. It’s quite drinkable, but nothing too exciting.

Serving type: on-tap

06-06-2013 20:19:54 | More by dar482
Photo of tectactoe
tectactoe

Michigan

3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the Oak Cafe. It's got a pretty solid, burnt ruby color with a mahogany base. It seems to be somewhat translucent, although the bar I'm in is pretty dimly lit and therefore the opacity is hard to judge accurately. Basically no head on top of this one - just a small, beige ring that only stays for a minute or so before floating away.

Juicy, ripe apples and cherries outline the aromatic profile, or at least the first sniff. Residual sweetness backs up the apples nicely; a very faint tartness can be detected at times, though this is still telling me that this brew will be more sweet than sour. Time grants the ability for the beer to open up a bit; berries, darker cherries, acetic acid, light vinegar, and some mild barrel/oak.

Funk in the aroma is definitely there, but in small quantities. There's a slight "wet hay" and faint must character, but it's minimal compared to some other Belgian sours. This follows through into the flavor profile, as the first sip contains almost no funk at all, rather it's pretty heavy on the fruits - cherries, grapes, red apples. Vibrant, zesty, and juicy are good words to describe the flavors.

This beer is mildly tart, but only for a brief moment. The residual-like sugary sweetness creeps in pretty steadily and washes out any hope of this beer actually being "sour", despite the name. More vinous notes come in, although the more I drink, the more it just seems like heavy grapes rather than actual wine-barrel notes. The finish is fruit juice-like with fading cherries and grape skins, and maybe a hint of oak. Still no funk, sad to say. Snappy, crisp mouth feel, wet and slick; thin bodied with medium-heavy carbonation.

Pretty good beer, drinkability is insanely high - a 5.5% ABV beer that tastes like bold fruit juice. I would have like to see a bit more tartness or funk, as this one was kind of mild all around. But hey, perhaps that's the style they were going for. Still a nice drinking sour ale as long as you're not expecting it to be too sour (or too funky).

Serving type: on-tap

05-24-2013 11:50:20 | More by tectactoe
Photo of Darkmagus82
Darkmagus82

Virginia

4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – The beer served a reddish brown color with a nice clarity. Upon swerving there is a thick white head floating atop the brew. The head sticks around for quite some time eventually fading to leave a decent level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is sweet and tart with lots of dark cherry and plum with souring notes of an apple cider vinegar and some lactic acid bacterial funk smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a sweet dark cherry and a little bit of sour grape and sour cherry. As the flavor advances it gets more and more sour and tart in nature, but maintains, all the while, a good level of sweetness. Apple cider vinegar and some funky yeast flavors accompany the souring and tart flavors at the end leaving a pleasant sweet and tart flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is one thinner and crisper side with tons of tiny carbonation bubbles. The prickly carbonation and thinner body are great for the sweet, sour and tart fruit flavors of the brew and help keep the tart from becoming too overpowering.

Overall – This is a great sour. It isn’t too heavy in any one component – not too sweet, sour, or tart, but the right blend of the three for a very enjoyably drinkable brew.

Serving type: on-tap

03-18-2013 00:38:07 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of BWED
BWED

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was lucky enough to move to the Philly area, and stopped into Monk's the other day. I had this on draft before my mussels came out.

A- Translucent mahogany, with an emphasis on some red highlights. Light light brown head, one finger thick, retains okay with some spattering of lacing.

S- Sweet, fruity. Tart cherry hits the nose quite strong.

T- Sweet strong cherry, with an acidic tart finish.

M- Smooth, yet with an acidic bite, fairly light body, and a puckering finish.

O- This is a fantastic choice for someone entering the realm of beer, as well as showing someone the diversity in beer. Lip smacking sweetness with a good tart balance. I like it.

Serving type: on-tap

02-23-2013 19:26:21 | More by BWED
Photo of kylehay2004
kylehay2004

Florida

3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Half finger head with excellent lacing on a deep amber body which is very clear. Aroma of dark cherry, not too sweet, with caramel. Simple but many of these tend to be. Flavor is also dark cherry dominant which initially seemed too sweet but this one mellows out. The flavor tastes a little too artificial though, almost like kool aid. Light but oily body and light to moderate carbonation. Not an amazing sour ale. Not terrible just not all that memorable.

Serving type: on-tap

12-25-2012 03:28:32 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of BrownAleMale
BrownAleMale

Wisconsin

4.63/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz tap poured into a pint glass

Appearance- A rutstic red with 1 finger of white head that levels off to a thin surface layer.

Smell- Strong tart smell. No specific fruit that I pick up, just a sour tart.

Taste- Taste is just like a sour fruit punch. Very yummy if this kind of beer doesnt bother you.

Mouthfeel- Nicely carbonated with a very crisp and refreshing mouthfeel.

Overall- This would make for a spectacular summer beer in my opinion. Light and very easy drinking. A beer with a sour fruit punch taste.

Serving type: on-tap

12-03-2012 02:20:51 | More by BrownAleMale
Photo of bulldog91
bulldog91

Illinois

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark red in color, virtually no head when it arrived at the table.
Smell of cherry definitely dominates, but not in a bad way. It's just what rises first.
Almost no carbonation in the mouth, which was good. Let me enjoy the fruit mix going on a bit more with cherries, cabernet, a touch of wood but only a touch. Not terribly sour, but that's OK.
Enjoyed this beer, a very good sour.

Serving type: on-tap

11-18-2012 15:36:05 | More by bulldog91
Photo of thagr81us
thagr81us

South Carolina

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from tap into a Trappe Door tulip. Poured a deep ruby red with a two finger very light tan head that subsided to a half finger quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, fruit, tart, cherry, vinegar, and strawberry. The flavor was of sweet malt, tart cherry, vinegar, cream, subtle wood, and strawberry. It had a light feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was a good brew. I have had this one more times than I can remember out of the bottle so it was really nice to see this one on-tap for the first time. I was definitely not disappointed. All of the right flavors and aromas going on in this one in all the right places. A very refreshing brew that is great for both the beginner and the professional alike. A definite must try if you have not done so already.

Serving type: on-tap

07-06-2012 10:39:28 | More by thagr81us
Photo of martyl1000
martyl1000

Wisconsin

4.66/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Cooper's Tavern and at Mason Lounge. I can't stop drinking this stuff, and every time I order something else, I regret not having ordered the Monk's. I guess I'm even more a sour fan than I thought; used to think I was a malt guy, period). The aroma isn't great, smells like vinegar, actually. But I could drink ten of these in a row. Any other favorites I have -- Founders Imperial Stout, Southern Tier Jahva, Mikkeller Black Hole, Tyranena Dirty Old Man -- I can only drink two or three before feeling "up to here" (holding open hand at mid-throat). I can and want to drink as many of these sours as possible.

Note: I love this stuff, but I'd better adjust my original numerical rating (4.88), since I have very little experience with sours. From what I can see in other reviews of sours, this one is not an elite form of the style. I shouldn't be so affected by such things, but I don't want to be a grade-inflator. And its absolutely true that this beer isn't very complex. (But it's so damn drinkable!)

Serving type: on-tap

07-01-2012 07:52:31 | More by martyl1000
Photo of TubaManJack
TubaManJack

Illinois

3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It's tulip time.

Appearance
Limited head which quickly disappates overlies a mahogany body with very little carbonation present.

Smell
Limited to a bit of bing cherries. There isn't any noticible malt comming through.

Taste
A lot of sour cherry twang as it spreads across your mouth. I have to say this but its similar to a cherry welshers sparking juice minus the carbonation. The sourness was pretty one dimensional and showed only bits of malt backbone. I didn't get the same vinger base that others mentioned.

Overall I am fairly new to the style and mixed on this one in particular. I would try to par this with food. Mine eventually joined a hot pretzel with spicy mustard for a doughy spice kick which I highly recommend.

Serving type: on-tap

06-12-2012 04:24:46 | More by TubaManJack
Photo of JHarris1717
JHarris1717

Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

06-09-2012 10:35:24 | More by JHarris1717
Photo of thydarkprevails
thydarkprevails

Illinois

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On draft. Clear ruby amber with a inch thick white head and nice lacing. Aroma is raspberry, and sour fruit. Taste is more raspberry, sour fruit, and light citrus. Thin mouthfeel. Nice sour. Not the strongest example of the style, but it was put together well and is very sessionable.

Serving type: on-tap

05-01-2012 04:31:00 | More by thydarkprevails
Photo of barczar
barczar

Kentucky

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep burgundy with ruby highlights and a solid half inch cream head that slowly dissipates, coating the glass.

Aroma is balsamic vinegar, cherries, and must. There's a touch of barnyard funk.

Sweet cherry forms the base of the flavor profile, with heavy vinegar and cider tones at the finish. Toasty oak becomes evident as it warms, along with a but of horse blanket.

Body is on the light side, with fairly high carbonation.

Overall, a nice starter sour. The sweetness of the malt provides relief from the vinegary sourness. A bit too sweet for my tastes.

Serving type: on-tap

04-23-2012 01:14:34 | More by barczar
Photo of rinhaak
rinhaak

Massachusetts

2.7/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Judging from others' reviews of this beer, it is entirely possible my beer was poured terribly wrong. However, I can only judge my own experience.

That said, Monk's Café poured with absolutely no head. It had a dark reddish hue, similar to a Dr. Pepper. In fact, not only did the color resemble Dr. Pepper, so did the visible carbonation bubbles, the mouthfeel, and – to a large extent – the taste.

This beer was very sweet with a sour twinge running parallel. This balance reminded me of Panda Express' sweet n' sour sauce: really sweet, with a hint of vinegar. There was a distinct cherry flavor, which added to its soda pop character.

Overall, I was tremendously disappointed with the brew. It was imbalanced towards the sweet side of the spectrum, and didn't have much, if any, depth of flavor. It go down easily enough, and if you are looking for a sweet, easily drinkable beer, this might be for you.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2012 14:33:54 | More by rinhaak
Photo of senbrewing
senbrewing

Kentucky

4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich red and brown color with white fizzy head. Nice lace though stuck to the snifter quite well.

Upfront sourness typical of sour style beer. Smells of citrus and tart cherries. Very winey.Quite lovely.

Taste is fantastic. Sour beers are are my new favorite style and I never pass on up. Grand cru being one of my absolute favorite beers this is right up there with them. Very similar in taste with a balance between sweet and tart. Soured cherrys and sweet citrus very drinkable. The main difference is the sweetness which sets this apart from grand cru. By no means is it bad just a little sweet for my taste. All in all great balanced sour with that great funky finish that makes this a great sour.

Tart puckering effect when it hits the mouth followed by citrus and cherries. Very spritzy, typical champaign feel. Good malty base with hints of wine.

All in all this beer hits the top of my list and is a great representation of a good Flemish sour. Being one of my favorite styles this beer is all around a good balanced beer. Sweet sour tart, what else can I say. Try it. Like most I've seen you'll either love or hate this style. Thank you Belgium

Serving type: on-tap

02-01-2012 03:24:22 | More by senbrewing
Photo of ShanePB
ShanePB

Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Craft Ale House, poured into a 12 oz Monk's Cafe glass.

A: Beautifully clear reddish/brown colored body with a small, fizzy and soda-like off white head. The retention is pretty nice but not as full and thick as I'd like it to be. Some lacing is left behind, but to style it's really nice looking.

S: Caramel malts, sweet syrupy cherry, pink grapefruit coated with table sugar, strawberry and oak. Towards the back there's a very acidic and vinegar type of bite, certainly this will have some tartness and sweetness to it.

T: Whoa, this is so well balanced. First is a lactic sour bite with again an almost vinegar quality. This is quickly balanced and washed with the sweet cherry notes, strawberry and raspberry. There's some citrus elements that come into play, and then the oak makes an appearance in the finish. Some tannins and dryness but just another layer in this delicious beer.

M: Bubbly, well-carbonated but still has a medium body with a very easy drinking nature to it. Somewhat dry from the oak perhaps on the finish but nothing detracting.

Whenever this beer is on draft, I always have to order a glass. This was so easy drinking for the style, and lower in ABV at 5.5% that I had to order another. A very approachable, reasonably priced and delicious Flanders Oud Bruin.

Serving type: on-tap

01-12-2012 14:05:47 | More by ShanePB
Photo of y2jrock60
y2jrock60

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Very dark red, almost resembles Coca-Cola. The head disappears fast and leaves behind no lacing.

S- Apple cider vinegar.

T- Sour, apple cider vinegar, with a lingering sweetness.

M- Medium bodied with high carbonation.

D- I could probably drink 1 or 2 of these before becoming tired.

I thought this beer was delicious. I never had this style before so I didn't know what to expect. It tasted like apple cider candy to me. Apparently this is one of those beers you either love, or hate. I loved it!

Serving type: on-tap

11-22-2011 03:21:55 | More by y2jrock60
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,062 ratings.