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
86
very good

2,478 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,478
Reviews: 1,054
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 57
Gots: 207 | FT: 3
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,478 | Reviews: 1,054 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of vacax
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Amber to rub-red with sparse off-white head. Head is small, but lovely carpet of nearly microscopic bubbles.

S: Sour with sweet malts. Very style-forward and solid.

T: Red fruits and figgy with light sourness and definite tang and funk. Balance between sweet and tart is spot-on. Metallic qualities to the flavor really reduce my enjoyment.

M: Light and fluffy, airy. Not as thick as I thought it would be.

D: High drinkability for a sour. Good balance between sweetness, tartness, and funkiness. I didn't notice an excess of acidity. Well reasonably priced also.

Photo of roadhouse
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. Not sure of the age but it's probably quite old based on the store where I got it.

Appears dark mahogany in color, with a three-quarter inch pillowy off-white head. Leaves a bit of lacing on one portion of the glass and retains the head well, though I'm sure my glass with etched bottom doesn't hurt.

Aroma has a tart cherry tone, some vinegar, and a bunch leathery sour funk. There is a sweet smell peaking through as well, but it takes the backseat.

The taste is initially quite sweet, surprisingly. The funk hits next alongside some fruitiness. This one's not exactly sour, but it has a certain tart appeal to it. In the end the sweetness comes back, but right when I am expecting some more sour.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a very nice level of carbonation that makes for a creamy and soft drinking beer.

This one was really good but a bit too sweet and not enough sour. I would maybe get it again, but I certainly recommend giving it a shot.

Photo of SeanRedd
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An enjoyable, milder sour ale amongst the others. Pours a dark amber with a thick, beige pillowy head. Aromas of strawberries and bland gueze. Lil sweet, bit of cherry cola, warms into a red wine zing. Less exciting that other sour reds but provides a safe staple of the style.

Photo of JoeMayo
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark reddish amber with a very small head.

S- Apple Cider vinegar hits the nose first, but is actually a welcoming smell. Sweet apple cider, caramelized sugar and brown sugar also come through.

T- Sweet and Tart. A mix of granny smith and Fuji or Gala apples come through with notes of honey. Tart cider vinegar comes through with a slight funk in the background.

M- Light body with a lovely effervescent carbonation.

D- This one goes down easy and is incredibly pleasant to sip on.

Photo of bonkers
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured a 11.2 ounce bottle into a tulip glass. It pours a deep mahogany in color with a fuzzy white head. When the beer is held up to a light it becomes very translucent and almost looks red. The smell is kind of funky, but in a good way. It is a bit like a red wine vinegar in aroma. The beer is like drinking a vinegary drink, only sweeter. Perhaps a sweet and sour drink. The flavor is acidic with a lingering sweet finish. The brew is a medium bodied sipper with high carbonation. I liked this beer because of its funky taste, but I do not think I could drink more than one in a sitting. A nice alternative to highly hopped beers.

Photo of tprokop7
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Trying this for the second or third time, out of a 11.2 oz bottle into an oversized wine glass. It's not bad, but something about the taste isn't for me. I think it's a little too sweet, and that the sugars are a bit muddled. The sour finish is nice, the beer looks beautiful.

Photo of YankChef
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a la fin du monde glass

Appearance: hazy ruby red with amberish copper.rust hues. thin white mucky looking head that just sticks to the top

Smell: Stinky, almost brie like aroma type funk maybe a little lactose (says so on the bottle) the wild yeast is really in your face. On the end there is certainly some big time fruit, mystery berry and cherry

Taste: Big and rich on the front of the palate cherry sourness, there is tons of cherry throughout, I would almost think it was actually in the beer if I knew it wasnt. Explosion of just sweet and sour and then lots of big fruit flavor and then and almost cheese finish, hmmm gruyere? Only complaint is the finish is very short which makes you want to keep on sipping

Overall: Excellent beer and an excellent sour, Rodenbach grand cru is in my opinion the benchmark for the style but this beer is much more approachable. Big on flavor without the rip your tounge sourness of RGC, balanced even. If you can find this stuff pick it up!

Photo of lpayette
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was surprised to see I hadn't reviewed this before. I've had it probably 4 or 5 times. This bottle probably has about a year of aging on it, and it does seem to have mellowed out some which I like.

Appearance- dark ruby grapeish color with a small head but plenty of lacing. Looks good.

Smell- mostly sour notes, but there's a bit of vinegar at times in the background which I could go without. It's not a dealbreaker for me though, just something I could do without. Well... afterall, it is part of the style, isn't it? Smell of cherries and grapes with a dusting of oakey/woodsy notes.

Taste and Mouthfeel- Nice sour flavors mingle with very subtle oaky flavors. Again, the flavors are mostly grapes and cherries- at least that's how I perceive it anyway. Remember that grape flavored kool-aid with the purple dinosaur on it? Well, if I remember correctly, this beer tastes kind of like they took some of that and fermented it with some wild critters. That might sound like a negative review, but I think it's pretty darn tastey. Finishes pretty dry.

Drinkability- I find this to be a pretty drinkable beer overall, and one that might be a good gateway beer into the realm of sour beer. It's not too sour, but there's enough there to make it a new taste for most people.

Photo of danielharper
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

My first beer of this style.

Appearance: Opaque brown body, slightly reddish coloration. Small khaki-colored head that dissipates quickly. Leaves a small amount of lacing.

Smell: Sour, tarty aroma, a hint of that "mustardy" aroma I always get from lambics, has the aroma of a wild ale, probably due to the yeast. Slightly musky at the bottom. This seems pretty much what I expected for-style, so I'm giving it a 4.

Taste: Strong notes of sourness up front. Breadiness in the middle, slightly malty and grainy. Underneath the sourness is a mild touch of apples and cherry. Finishes clean and dry with only a slight tart.

Mouthfeel: Fairly thin mouthfeel, no real carbonation, slightly chewy.

Drinkability: I'm dinging this a bit because I find it fairly undrinkable. I know the tartness and the sourness is to-style, but for my palate it's fairly overwhelming. I've given it credit in the higher categories, so I don't feel bad for dropping its score a bit here.

Photo of stumac
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my buddy Onslow for this one....

the brew pours up a murky brown color with red edges. decent tan head, good lacing. the nose is oak, slight sourness, fruits, cherries. the taste is tart! oak, sourness, fruit, cherries, light to medium bodied, low spritzy carbo, very sweet beer. Good though...

Photo of midaszero
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Clear and dark ruby red with three fingers of head that left behind good lacing

S - Sour and vinegar

T - Malts and vinegar a little sour. Would probably get better with some age on it

M - Medium body with light carbonation

D - It is okay but I would definitely want to throw some more down and see what it does with age..

Photo of dude
3.15/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Huge, duvel-like head of foam. Liquid is reddish-brown and clear. Aroma is acetic and fruity, like a vinegar made from wine and apple cider. Taste initially is sour, but this leaves quickly leaving a lightly sweet cherry flavor. It tastes nothing like beer I'm used to. No malt or hop notes. Finish is clean with almost no aftertaste. Mouthfeel is slightly flat. Maybe I poured it wrong I don't know. I'd drink a second bottle if one was available, but then move on.

Photo of bilyboy65
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into my standard pilsner style glass.

This is probably the first and last of this style that I'll be having. It was hard to remain objectionable to the style for this review. Funny thing is I like sour things, just apparently not my beer.

A: Flawless. Beautiful dark red-brown color that is still a little transparent. Lots of carbonation can be seen feeding a tan-redish head. No lacing or film left on the glass.

S: Very much like vinegar to me. Some underlining fruit, cranberry maybe, esters is the only saving grace the smell has.

T: Very sour taste with cranberry esters for flavor. Tastes a lot like a cider or a wine.

M: Light bodied with good action on the tongue from the carbonation.

D: If you can stand sour beer this is probably a good one.

Photo of Oxymoron
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to koopa for the trade. Pours a crystal clear amber red color. A fizzy white head but did settle to a more creamy appearance over time. Good retention though did hide to the edge of the glass.

The nose has a distinct sweet and sour aroma. The sourness is not over the top but still noticeable. There is a light vinegar and sour but no real funk. The sweetness comes in with a light fruity aroma on the back end. Some cherries and touch of apples (but not something I would call acetaldehyde) as well.

The taste is very similar. The sourness backs off a bit and has more of a tart flavor. Still provides a puckering sourness just light overall. This helps emphasis the more fruity aspect. Noticeable cherries and sugar plums. Some candy flavors as well. There is a hint of caramel with a light toast note but feint. The yeast is pretty clean for a sour. Some minor barnyard, but mostly clean.

The body is not as dry for a typical sour. Really easy drinking though. Overall it reminds me of Duchesse but toned down.

Photo of henrysunset
4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

very pretty beer. mahogany coloured with large head of white bubbles.

really nice smell too. sour and cherry with a bit of wood smell.

taste is great. sour and sweet at the same time, extremely clean flavor, very similar to the ever popular duchesse de borgorne, perhaps a little simpler and cleaner in flavor. Very easy to enjoy, tastes like juice.

excellent smoothness, excellent drinkability.

Photo of rtepiak
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a murky brown with reddish hue. some head with quite a bit of lace. smell is first off surprisingly malty. there is a cherry note with an equally strong somewhat boozy vanilla. tastes is very lightly tangy. sweet malt has vanilla characters like that of a bad cabernet. cherry is there. not very woody in flavor. has a light bitter finish. flavors separate dramtically as the beer gets warmer. taste becomes a bit plasticy. i would avoid if you think flemish reds and oud bruins are a novelity.

i think it was better in the bottle... or at least i remember it being better. this is something i'm going to have to come back to.

Photo of jwinship83
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a murky or muddy brown with reddish highlights and a small eggshell colored sticky head.

S- some champagne like qualities as well as a sour twang. i also noticed some yeast scents and some other fruits like apple and grape also.

T- this reminds me ALOT of champagne. definitely has a sour kick to it, but not as much as i was expecting.

M- creamier and fuller than champagne with less carbonation.

D- a new style for me and i did enjoy it. not something that i could have everyday, but i liked it enough to take another look into the world of sour beers.

this seems like a good beer for people that dont really get into beer.

Photo of 7ways
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark copper/ruby with a full yellowish-white head that remained at 1/2 cm for quite some time. Ungodly thick lacing.

N- Red wine/apple cider vinegar, sour grape, cherry, and apple. No distinct malt or hops. The smell alone makes my mouth water.

T- Very strong apple cider vinegar, which I happen to love. Quite acidic. Oakey cherry, sour apple candy. Balanced with moderate sweetness.

M- Prickly, but not so much as to be offensive or get in the way of the taste. Slightly more full than many Flemish reds, which to me increases drinkability.

D- I could drink many of these in a session. In fact, I do. Often.

This is only the second dark sour I've had, and it has made me determined to seek more out.

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.45/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A ruby body with a big off-white head. Leaves some nice sticky lacing on the glass.

Smells sour, but also a vinegar quality to it.

Sour with some dark fruits and malts. Sweet. Sour mouthfeel with a dry finish.

Fairly drinkable, nothing special but pretty good.

Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a beautiful rusty/brown with a small 1/8 inch tan head. Smells of sour grapes/apples and wine. First sip is sour and sweet with cherrys grapes being the dominate fruits. A carbonation consistency and mouthfeel of a wine cooler. This is a refreshing sipper and was much enjoyed.

Photo of jenitivecase
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to EmperorStan for bringing this one back from CA.

A: Pours a clear, coppery red, with a loose, fizzy head that dissipates leaving straggly lacing behind.

S: Clean scent. Picking up the usual sour fruits - plums, apples, etc., with some notes of acidity and a touch of citrus.

T: Very average sour ale. Not too sour, but not too sweet, although there is a good deal of sweetness in the taste. Again, lots of fruitiness, and the slightest touch of barnyard. Makes me think of candy apples.

M: Slightly watery, but not unpleasantly so. Nothing really stand out here, but nothing negative, either. Leaves a nice clean palate behind.

D: This may be a slightly generic sour, but it's a well-crafted one. I would have no problem at all with putting away a 750 of this on my own. Definitely a session drinker.

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

I am a big fan of Flemish sour ales, and this seems like a good falltime beer-(cider-get it?)
Pours out a reddish brown toned, light head, little lacing.
Smells of cherries, yeasts, oak, sour apples, cider, jonagold and granny smith apples, maybe even a touch of lemony-peaches, something like Dogfish Festina Peche.
Tastes of tart lambic yeasts, cherries, apples. Wow! this really is mouth puckering. Not as good as Duchesse de Bourgongne, but decent. I enjoy this style immensely, and this is a classic example. Solid-highly reccomended.

Photo of ckeegan04
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark mahogany color with ruby red highlights when held up to the light. Thin bubbly brown head quickly fades to just a thin bubbly layer. No lacing to speak of.

S - Sweet and sour smell, lots of vinegar. A hint of oak in the background.

T - A puckering sour fruit taste opens the drink with a light sweetness following. Acidic and very tart finish.

M/D - Full bodied and very well carbonated. A little sticky in the mouth. The high sourness of the beer makes it a little tough, but as it warms the flavors mellow and it is very drinkable.

Photo of willjschmidt
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a New Belgium globe glass.

A: Pours a very murky brown with red accents with a thin head.

S: Sour, tangy, slightly sweet, sour cherries.

T: A tangy and tart sour cherries starts it off. The sourness is very pleasant, not at all overwhelming. Nice balance for the style.

M: Medium bodied, maybe even a little light. Smooth carbonation.

D: An interesting beer, certainly worth trying if you're a fan of sours.

Photo of gmuller
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Murphy's Tulip.

Appearance - Deep reddish copper, head quick to dissipate, but had large bubbles while it lasted. Poured impressively clear in spite of the thick layer of yeast at the bottom.

Smell - Sour, vinegar. Ripe without smelling rotten. A mild but powerful smell. Smells like a still-living beer.

Taste - Sour of course, like vinegar at first but then like a yogurt. Woody flavors, ripe fruit.

Mouthfeel - Not bad, a little more bold then I would expect. Was hoping for a lighter feel, like something I would drink on a summer evening.

Drinkability - Very drinkable for the style. I wouldn't want to polish off more than 1 or two in a night, but pleasant.

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,478 ratings.