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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

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BA SCORE
86
very good

2,063 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2063
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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Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 1/25/09 at Julian's in Providence, RI, served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is cherries, light malts and a vinegary sourness.

T: The taste is very nicely balanced for a sour ale, with flavors of tart cherries and other dark fruits. The sourness seems to creep in slowly rather than hitting intensely. The malt character is thin and there's very little hops presence as you would expect. The after-taste is slightly sour.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, I'm not usually a sour ale fan but is one that I liked and is worth drinking for a while.

Serving type: on-tap

01-27-2009 15:54:29 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of rtepiak
rtepiak

Poland

3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

10-09-2008 21:41:02 | More by rtepiak
Photo of webmanspidey
webmanspidey

Michigan

3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia.

This was the first beer of this style I have tried, and it was definitely something unlike anything I had tried before.

Dark red/brown appearance. Smell to me was like pure vinegar. Not appealing at all, and takes you back at first.

Taste not as strong as the smell.. kind of a sour apple taste that reminds me of a hard apple cider. Very lactic.

Definitely something worth trying to me, but wasn't something I particularly enjoyed.

Serving type: on-tap

08-27-2008 21:32:10 | More by webmanspidey
Photo of BretSikkink
BretSikkink

Mexico

3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Almost a dark brown color, looks a lot like Duchesse du Bourgogne off the taphead actually. Pretty hazy, with a reddish tint to the large tan head that sticks a while.

The aroma is quite nice; lots of pleasingly sour and tart notes like green apple, tangy pear, etc. Very clean, not too earthy or dusty here.

Strangely strong on the vinegar end. I've really enjoyed this from the bottle before, but it tastes dramatically different here. Quite sour, but not as clean as the bottle: seriously strong vinegar flavor keeps coming back.

Still a lot of fruit, good tanginess, and puckering in the finish for days, lightish body but not too bad. I'm not hugely pleased by the overbearing acidity here. I guess go for the bottle, unless you're near Philly and you know you're getting a good fresh keg.

Serving type: on-tap

08-24-2008 03:20:17 | More by BretSikkink
Photo of Nutleybeer
Nutleybeer

New Jersey

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

Like all sour ales, this is not a style for everyone. While I can't understand how everyone doesn't appreciate a nice goblet of Chimay or Corsendonk, I can fully understand how sour ales are a real acquired taste and not for all.

I tried this at Monk's. I am not certain the style of glass this was served in, different, almost like a tall juice glass (?). Right away, the smell hits you before you take a sip. A strong, bitter, sour cherry scent.

While the bar's darkness made it hard to tell, it appeared to be ruby red-brown in color. A mild head, not too much. Rather refreshing in appearance.

The flavor is complex. A raging war between sweet and sour...with the sweetness taking the lead at the initial sip, but to be overcome by the notes of sourness at the end. Mild hints of yeastiness are mixed in throughout.

Take my review in comparison to other sour ales. Drinkability is scored high, but my hats off to anyone who could drink sour ales all night long. It is an interesting and unique style, but hardly matches well with most foods and definately the sour taste lingers in your mouth well after your drink is finished (similiar to a strong IPA).

Serving type: on-tap

05-26-2008 12:20:28 | More by Nutleybeer
Photo of 1759Girl
1759Girl

California

3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance> Mohagany in color. Little to no head. kind of lackluster, also.
Smell> Mmmm molasses
Taste> standard sour red. I'm not a fan of the type, but I've had enough to know what the good stuff is.
Mouthfeel> Too thin
Drinkability> if you like the style you will probably find this easy to drink.

Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2008 00:27:15 | More by 1759Girl
Photo of MiScusi
MiScusi

California

3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Stone Bistro, served in a small snifter. Poured a brownish red with a head that had receded pretty fast into a thin foam. Aroma had a faintly tart character with red grapes thrown in. Taste had a maltiness that contained a bit of sour, but a good amount of sweetness from darker malt to balance it out. A grape taste was apparent as well. Mouthfeel was pretty smooth while also carbonated enough to give what little tartness was there a nice quenching aspect. This is a malty, mild sour ale that goes down pretty easy.

Serving type: on-tap

11-11-2007 00:20:30 | More by MiScusi
Photo of Floydster
Floydster

California

2.58/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pint at Naja's Place

Very very sour, old beer takes over taste of the younger one

Vinegar, cherries, and a little citrus in the taste, but the aroma is mostly vinegar

Very carbonated with a reddish brown color

Buddy had one with me and enjoyed it more than I did, thought it was a little sweeter than most sours, but I thought the opposite

Not my favorite flanders style

Serving type: on-tap

09-09-2007 01:06:39 | More by Floydster
Photo of ryantupy
ryantupy

Minnesota

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Happy Gnome in St. Paul poured in a 12oz Monks Glass.
A- Poured a ruby red color with a nice frothy head that was an off white.
S - Tartness with notes of cherry, strong oak, and a nice sweetness.
T- Your first sip its all tart then the beer starts to sweeten out and you have strong oak character with hints of sweetness, cherry, and a nice tart finish.
M- Nicely carbonated beer that feels great as it coates your tongue with a nice tart zing.
D- Easily drinkable and enjoyable.

Serving type: on-tap

06-29-2007 01:26:17 | More by ryantupy
Photo of HugoGrim
HugoGrim

Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia served in a Hoegaarden style glass. Deep ruby almost purple body with a thin creamy head. Some lace.

Aroma is of sour fruits.

Flavor is primarily of rich sour plum and cherries with a full malty character. Very refreshing and thirst quenching. I could drink quite a few of these.

Served as a good accompaniment to pommes frites with spiced mayonnaise.

Serving type: on-tap

06-05-2007 23:24:10 | More by HugoGrim
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Muddy Pig in St. Paul

A simpler sour ale than some of the other's I've tried, but at the same time it's the most drinkable I've had. It comes off with a juicy tart sourness that tastes slightly like sour cherries, but not much else. The flavor here is a little mellow and relies mostly on the sour tang to carry the beer. I've call it a starter-sour ale.

Serving type: on-tap

05-29-2007 06:33:55 | More by tempest
Photo of Nesued
Nesued

South Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Monk's in Philadelphia. Paired with the Grilled Monk's Flemish Sourpus (Octopus braised in Monk's Flemish Sour Ale). Along in this food pairing was a Vichtenaar to add a bit of Sour Ale variety to this food pairing. A tasting buddy and I split these two brews while enjoying this wonderful octopus offering.

Appearance - Red/ruby coloring with a fluffy head that was also showing some red tones along with a tan coloration.

Smell - A very refreshing tart/cherry nose with a subtle sweetness that draws you in (both literally and figuratively!).

Taste - This is what I love about Flanders Red Ales: the variety. There is a tartness present, but not as much as other Red Ale offerings.

Mouthfeel - Nicely wanders around the insides while showing how aeromatic a red ale can be. The carbonation lends great aid in this department.

Drinkability - A very nice representation of the style. Not the typical "Rodenbach-like" Reds. Worth finding. Really worth sampling if you visit Monk's on-tap.

Serving type: on-tap

04-25-2007 02:24:52 | More by Nesued
Photo of HossMcGraw
HossMcGraw

Pennsylvania

4.7/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Monk's.

Dark red, almost brown color with small head and awesome lacing. The aroma is sour cherry and mustiness with some slight malt sweetness in the background. The flavor is phenomenal.

I'm new to sour ales so there are probably better examples out there, but for me, this was perfection. Not too sour but enough to keep you on your toes. Also quite musty and woody with a bit of malt sweetness in the background. Finish is bone dry and makes this ridiculously drinkable.

Mouthfeel is my only complaint. A bit flat for my tastes. Overall though, one of my new favorite beers. I hope I can get this in Lancaster. Planning on buying a case.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2006 16:15:45 | More by HossMcGraw
Photo of FightingEntropy
FightingEntropy

Minnesota

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got down to the Blue Nile to have a draft of Monk's Flemish Red, and it was really worth the trip. I had a draft at Monk's a year ago, and rated this one higher. For this tasting, the beer poured high with a thick, off white head with lots of small carbonation bubbles which drops to a thin lingering foam that resembles a tan oil slick. Only a small amount of lace hangs on the edge. It is a truly red red ale, dark cherry in color with golden highlights that almost shimmers. Sour fruit fills your nose, mostly cherry, but also raisins/currants along with a light tinge from the oak too. The smell is less complex than the sour/sweet/tart/sour taste--like those expensive dark cherries you let set an extra day or two in the fridge before eating. The malt sweetness is strong enough to try hard to balance, but in the end lose by a bit to the complex yeasty sourness. Perfect. Really enjoyed this beer, but had to head home after two because a third would have knocked me for a loop. Hope that my life allows me to get back for another draft of this very cool beer of an underdone style. Take my review for what it is--I switch back and forth between barleywine and Flanders red as my favorite styles--I like strong, sour, and in your face beers that have strong opposing flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

10-08-2006 14:48:30 | More by FightingEntropy
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

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

Reddish brown color, utterly transparent at the foot of the glass, with a bountiful head, lush, toffee-toned, creamy...very likable look.

Aroma: sour, cherries, underlying yeasty notes..that covers it!Right on target for style, without going overboard.

Taste: ooo, puckering at first, 'course I'm a sour ale wuss, apparently, than it slips away and a bite of sweetness as it leaves the mouth. Like a bite of sour cherries, then ah. Refreshing, despite the puckeration, and 3 sips in, I'm acclimated. Each subsequent meeting of glass and lip is overarchingly happy. Sour, then fruity, and a little sweet, lingering woody brown ale character at the finish.
Medium bodied, long, solid finish, tangy texture.

Fans of Flemish Sours can't go wrong with this one. They're a rabid bunch, but I know this'll please 'em.

Serving type: on-tap

09-25-2006 06:13:09 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of mjc410
mjc410

Vermont

3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Monk's. The beer, in its tulip, comes with a very tall head. Color is light tan to luminescent copper.

Nose is of sour cherries and malt.

Tastes of mild sour cherries, malt, pineapple, pretty sweet and very acidic.

Light mouthfeel, low carbonation, and very smooth.

A good easy drinker, so much that my girlfriend stole it. Could be more complex, perhaps, but is very nice.

Serving type: on-tap

08-18-2006 17:34:48 | More by mjc410
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruby red with a bit of a brown hue and quite clear. The fine, light beige head showed good retention and produced a solid sheet of lace on the glass. Malt sweetness and sour fruit (cherries) in the aroma, along with a hint of leather. Tart berry fruitiness balanced the moderate malt quite nicely. Some sour cherry as well, also earthy and woody. It finished with lingering raspberry tartness. Light bodied with some residual sugar that gave it a slightly syrupy feel. Very thirst quenching and highly drinkable. Even with the rest of the line-up at Monk's Cafe, I had to have a second glass before moving on.

Serving type: on-tap

06-20-2006 02:40:02 | More by DrJay
Photo of weeare138
weeare138

Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Monk's Cafe...
Appears a hazy, red toned light brown with an off white head that slowly fades into a mild film. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of sour cherries, apples, mild vinegar.
Taste is of the above mentioned aromas. Similar to Rodenbach Red. Slight sour apple and light cherry flavors jumping about.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slightly thin mouthfeel but the Rodenbbach qualites are still there. Not quite mouth puckering but decent.

Serving type: on-tap

06-05-2006 16:08:43 | More by weeare138
Photo of sacfly
sacfly

Maryland

4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First had this in a bottle at Max’s in Baltimore. Just got to have it on tap at Monk’s in Philly.
Served a dark red in a pint glass. Little head to speak of. Smell is both sweet and sour. Taste follows suit. Just the right ammout of sweetness to balance the tart flavors generated by this heavenly ale. Acidic and a slight hint of Balsamic vinaigrette. The aftertaste is still tart, but the not in a lingering, off-putting kind of way.
Very easy to drink. When I had it on tap, I could imagine drinking this all night. Very light and refreshing.

Serving type: on-tap

05-29-2006 15:40:01 | More by sacfly
Photo of RockyTopHeel
RockyTopHeel

North Carolina

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

Tasted at my new favorite Chicago bar, Hopleaf.

Served in a tulip glass, this beer poured a mahogany-red with a thin layer of bubbles. Aroma of nice sourness and oak.

The first sip is a nice , tart one, but it fades a little quickly on the back end. This problem is soon overcome, though, as the beer seems to build with every sip.

A good example of one of my favorite styles, and a great way to kick off the evening.

Serving type: on-tap

05-28-2006 20:01:16 | More by RockyTopHeel
Photo of RBorsato
RBorsato

Virginia

4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted on-tap on 03/09/06 at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.

Full ruby red color with a decent light beige head and moderate carbonation. Definite sourness in the aroma but overall a nicely balanced sweet and sour Flanders Red Ale in both aroma and flavor. Fairly mild overall for the style and therefore makes it a very approachable introduction for newcomers. Medium bodied and refreshing without being overly sour; looking forward to tasting the bottled version but it seems from previous reviews that it may not be quite as good.

Serving type: on-tap

05-18-2006 21:00:23 | More by RBorsato
Photo of PuckLSHS
PuckLSHS

Iowa

4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I could drink Monk's Flemish Sour all day long and not be disappointed. I have had this on tap several times at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach, CA.

It pours a brownish hue with a very small head to it that leaves very little lace.

The smell is a nice sour fruit (possibly a little cherry?). The taste pretty much follows up with that wonderful sour fruit smell also. Not too overpowering in the sour department, but just right to make this beer an everyday drink.

The mouthfeel is nice. Light carbonation, smooth...

Drinkability is rather high because this really has become my end of the night beer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-04-2006 18:04:59 | More by PuckLSHS
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

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

On draft at Monk's wonderful cafe in Philly, pours the expected reddish tone, respectable lacing emenating from a tan head. Nose is sharply sour, fruity and spicy. This style is not for everyone, but as acompliment to tasty, rich Belgian mussles and other other dishes, it is stunning. A world class palate cleanser and beer to enjoy with certain foods. Flavorful and wel crafted. Worth acquiring a taste for this sophisticated nectar.

Serving type: on-tap

02-14-2006 01:53:27 | More by Billolick
Photo of SwillinBrew
SwillinBrew

California

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

Had on tap at the Stuffed Sandwich.

A- somewhat of a reddish Ice-T color and indian brown crayon with a good finger of ivory white head that lasted and left a nice lace.
S- that tart, sweet and sour bouquet that you expect from a flemmish red.
T- Mmmm, very tasty. Tangy tartness hits your palate with a little acidic notes and green apple. This gives way to a mellow sweetness on the finish. You get both the sweet and the sour, but not in that order and not much sweet.
M&Dr - good effervescence and medium body. I think this may have bordered on a tad of dry, but not much and it was excellent.

Serving type: on-tap

12-21-2005 05:17:55 | More by SwillinBrew
Photo of Gattopardo
Gattopardo

New York

3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Lovely dark red copper color with a small but solid head and good lacing.

Smell: The aroma of sour apples is the most prevalent smell.

Taste: The carbonation is low and the most significant element of the taste is definitely the sourness, particularly at the back of the throat. I quite like the bite of the sour, but I can see how it could be considered overpowering. Hop content seems low.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, not too chewy.

Drinkability: I did enjoy drinking this beer from the tap at Monk’s in Philadelphia, particularly with their chicken-and-apple sausage sandwich, but I have to wonder if I shouldn’t expect more complexity from a sour ale. The sour flavor is very prevalent, and I would likely get it again but probably not often.

Serving type: on-tap

12-05-2005 01:59:44 | More by Gattopardo
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,063 ratings.