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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 akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

1.83/5  rDev -52.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I am drinking a 330 mL bottle, poured into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: The ale is a deep brown color with a significant amount of sediment.

Smell: There is a slight lactic sourness in the nose.

Taste: Blehh... The sour presence that I expected from this flemish red appeared upfront but quickly disappeared, leaving an unremarkable red ale flavor.

Mouthfeel: Nowhere near as lactic and sour as it should be.

Drinkability: I had 1/2 of the bottle and poured it down the drain. This ale doesn't hold a candle to Rodenbach.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2006 00:36:26 | More by akorsak
Photo of mynie
mynie

Indiana

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I don't know how they measure things in Flemland, but this here ain't red. It be brown as a dog's asshole, only in means in which the dog's asshole is made to be appealin', and with a little white head.

Very sour malt. That's it. Intense, candy sour. Very nice; reminds me of when I was little, buying Tearjerkers at the gas station.

Sour! Sweet and sour citrus to start, moving into an almost chemical, candy sour middle, ending on a more dry sourness, like a sour wine. I'm no good at picking out different types of sours: my pallete isn't used to them. Alls I can say is that this is sour, and it's good.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2006 02:39:12 | More by mynie
Photo of DaPeculierDane
DaPeculierDane

Wisconsin

4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours as brown as brown can be with dirty white lacing. Wonderfully sharp, sour/tart aroma reminiscent of Fantome Hiver. Taste is big sourness and tartness, grape skins, tannins, and oak. Light but lively mouthfeel. Very drinkable. I could guzzle this stuff. Very enjoyable and not too expensive at 3 bucks a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2006 23:06:54 | More by DaPeculierDane
Photo of UnionMade
UnionMade

Colorado

4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jim and Allie for bringing this one back from PA for me!
Hazy ruby, topped off with a thick, antique white head. Pleasantly tart aroma, with a solid caramel malt base. A bit woody and vinous. Understated and classy. The flavor opens with caramel malt and an immediate, modest tartness. Red grape juice, with a bit of plum, easing simply into a tart, berry-like finish. Fizzy, with a lighter medium body and plenty of dryness in the finish. Good stuff. Very drinkable. Solid, this is a good example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2006 10:35:37 | More by UnionMade
Photo of meathookjones
meathookjones

Virginia

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

Pours out a bubbly dark cherry red with about a half inch of tan foam on top. Nice sour aroma with light woody notes and faint fruits. Some sweetness is there in the back. Nice little sour kick upfront in the flavor with some balancing notes from sweet fruits. Light woody notes as this finishes. Well carbonated mouthfeel and really easy drinking. While this was good and balanced I usually prefer a bit more sourness in this style.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2006 18:47:27 | More by meathookjones
Photo of Bitterbill
Bitterbill

Wyoming

3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 11.2oz bottle (room temp) a murky medium brown with a medium sized head of foam with little lacing.

The smell does indeed have strong sour fruity notes with some sensing of yeast as well.

The taste is of a nice sour peach and apricot at first but then it moves beyond that and becomes peppery...leaving some "heat" in my mouth and on my lips after I finish each sip. Not exactly what I was looking for in a Sour ale.

Bottom line: an interesting brew that I'm glad I got a chance to try but I don't know if I'd visit with this one again.

Thanks, bditty187!

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2006 21:00:42 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of connecticutpoet
connecticutpoet

Connecticut

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

This beer was a lovely red-brown color with a one finger head that died slowly, leaving a lot of lace on the glass.

Its aroma was sour, with medium-bodied malts, slightly acidic, and tart, with some cherry-like notes. Quite complex and multi-layered.

Taste was tart with a hint of sweetness, and no fruitiness at all. Definitely a sour ale.

Mouthfeel was light and crisp, very refreshing.

Drinkability was quite good. Not too expensive, good bosy, nice taste if you're in the mood for that type of beer experience... yes, I would revisit this one readily if the store I got it at had more than the one bottle.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2006 03:15:59 | More by connecticutpoet
Photo of Erdinger2003
Erdinger2003

Iowa

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a little head that falls into no head with a little lacing. Color is deep dark purple.

Smell is of sour dark fruit.

Taste is buttery and sour with flavors of apple.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, a little smoother than water.

I don't think I like the sour ales as much, but I would probably give this beer another chance.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2006 07:11:23 | More by Erdinger2003
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

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

(Served in a wide bottom flute)

A- This beer pours a warm brown clear body with a strong carbonation of medium size bubbles. The head is a light tan thick foam that turns rocky after a bit.

S- The smell of fresh rain is a very soft earthy quality that is followed by a soft sour note. As it warms a faint barnyard smell comes through but it is still soft.

T- There is a very soft light malt note that is quickly followed by a light sour note. There is a cardboard note in the beginning but it is a very nice compliment to the sourness. The sourness finishes the beer with an addition of fizz from the carbonation. As it warms that cardboard note turns into a very soft wet horse blanket note.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel but it feels more full from a fizz texture.

D- This is a Flemish sour but it doesn't have any of the "big" characteristics that I associate with this style. This is a beer if you want to stick your toe in the pool of sour beers. I prefer to jump right in with the sour beers that real make you pucker and smell like you are on a farm in the summer. This is very smooth with just a hint of that.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2006 03:34:08 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of clvand0
clvand0

Kentucky

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

Pours a slightly cloudy amber/brown color with a very small head that dies fast and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. The aroma has lots of sour fruitiness - cherry, mostly. The flavor is quite tart, but not puckering tart. Some cherry and citrus flavors go well with the lactic sourness. Seems to also have some woody flavors in there. The body is light, but not too light and the drinkability is pretty good once you get used to the sourness.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2006 16:30:33 | More by clvand0
Photo of dogfooddog
dogfooddog

Panama

3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

bottled version. pours 20% light tan head. smells sour and oaky, pleasant nose

taste is a bit weak, confirming an impression I had when I drank this on tap. there is a taste and smell that reminds me of german weiss beers. This beer does not make you pucker from sourness - it is subtle. It does taste a bit watery as well.

Overall this is probably my least favorite of the flemish red style I have tried to date. The bottle does note that this is a light version of sourness etc., but being a fan of the style I would prefer a full-blown sourpuss beer like duchesse de borgoune or rodenbach grand cru.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2006 02:29:46 | More by dogfooddog
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

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

A slightly sourish and sweetly malted Flander's Red with tart cherries, wine-like vinous, oaky-tawny beer with flawed flavors of cider, vinegar, and metal flavor.

Maroon and gold, the beer gives a slight haze and a dainty head that struggles for life during the first half pour but then succumbs. No lacing or legging.

Cherry flavor leads the fruity way with hints toward under rippened berries, crabapples, and lemons. Acidic notes bridge the gap between fruitiness and lactic sourness. Before the beer gets too tart, the malts wrangle the wilder elements and engulf them in a sweeter and chocolatey way. Tanic oak-like flavors give balance in the absence of hops.

Palate cleansing lactic tartness gives medium astringency and acidic bite early, but the malts kick in for a smoother and sweeter finish.

A delightful beer but not as clean or controlled as more noted beers in the style; like Rodenbach.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2006 17:21:30 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of RedHaze
RedHaze

Nebraska

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

Pours a murky reddish brown with a one inch tan head that fades to a spotty cap and has only a small amount of lace.

Smell; strong sour nose with hints of lactic acid. There's sour fruitiness (cherries?), as well as a bit of some citrus aromas.

Taste; tart cherries and sour lemon peel, with an acidic bite hammer you at first. After this warms up some a nice oaky flavor mixed with a little malt presence kick in to off set those sour/tart flavors. Mouthfeel is light bodied, and a touch thin, but this is still a very drinkable beer.

This is only my second Flemish Sour Ale, and I find myself really enjoying this style. I'm looking forward to trying some more.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2006 02:26:43 | More by RedHaze
Photo of jbschafer
jbschafer

Iowa

3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Served at the high end of cellar temperature.

Pours a hazy amber, brown color - even more hazy than I might expect from this style. Very limited amount of light let through to the point of looking like something is "not right." I do not detect any red as might be expected. Reasonable sized head, collapses down in about a mind. Nice mild lacing as you drink that saved it's appearance score.

Smell is a mixture of sour fruit and some kind of bathroom astringent. Not awful, but again, like something is not right.

By the time, I took my first drink, I was already wondering what I had gotten myself into. The first taste was a mixture of cloves and vinegar, and like several other reviewers, I thought - crud, a lousy beer. However, I never trust first impressions. The clove taste was gone by the third sip and replaced with something more like sharp rotten fruit (kiwi?). While that sounds awful, it isn't too bad, and it began to grow on me.

Mouthfeel is somewhat thin with a lingering flavor of wet beach sand and, again, sour kiwi.

I could drink one with a meal, but am not sure I would want to drink two or three sitting around with friends.

I am not sorry I tried this, but it doesn't hold up against several of it's peers (like an old lover, Duchesse was my first and remains my favorite). I will probably keep a bottle on hand in the cellar, but it won't be one I will reach for on a weekly basis.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2006 18:55:11 | More by jbschafer
Photo of bditty187
bditty187

Nebraska

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

Cloudy, brown in hue with red, dull bronze influences; the liquid is classic Flanders Red. Bubbly, off-white head, at the apex the foam was only a half finger tall. Sadly, the bubbles quickly faded to a soapy collar with a small island in the middle. No subsequent lacing. The collar did last the entire consumption. Overall, this is a lovely looking beer and it fits the bill for the style.

Classic Flanders Red aroma! I smell sour, lactic acid notes with sour, tart cherry/berry notes, oaky, citrus zest in the distance, with some dull maltiness. The nose is a nice little package of complex aromas, nothing strays from what should be there and noting is missing either. Moderately high potency, chatty but direct. I am interested. I love the aroma. I love this style. I can’t wait to take a sip.

The first sip was tame. I was pissed! I was about to throw the beer across the room and curl up into to the fetal position and cry. Then I thought, “Hey, take another sip.” I did. I was rewarded. Maybe I needed a sip to ready my palate. I still find this beer second rate to La Folie but what can hang with that? Nothing. Sharp, lactic acid and sour notes upfront, this is followed quickly by oak. In the middle a sour berry/cherry vibe starts and this is mixed with some dull malt. Sour at the finish, lambic-like, I didn’t find it overwhelming. Maybe I am too use to the style. Even if that is the case, this is a damn lovely beer! Slightly sweet aftertaste with a lingering sourness and oak notes; I like it, I found it very appetite stimulating. God, do I want some blue cheese…

Medium/medium-light in body, low but natural carbonation, the mouthfeel is slightly creamy and plenty relaxing. My only complaint is the watery sensation at the swallow with a metallic kiss.

I really like this beer; I think it is a good representation of the style. I like it even more because I purchased it in Council Bluffs, IA for only $2.50 a bottle. I can’t knock that! What a find. It is plenty drinkable. I will buy more… and you should too!

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2006 15:41:19 | More by bditty187
Photo of Bonhoeffer
Bonhoeffer

Alabama

4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the most drinkable sour ales i've ever had. Not over the top. Just refreshing. Very approachable, and probably a good place to start getting a feel for Flanders Reds. Some of them can knock you out if you're not careful.

Good one for a hot day.

Thanks Uncle Flip.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2006 19:32:09 | More by Bonhoeffer
Photo of chOAKbarrell
chOAKbarrell

Maryland

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Supposedly this beer was made for Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia? I dont know the whole story - maybe that is just a rumor.

Pours a very murky mahogany color with a small off-white head.

You could smell the sourness on this beer even if you had no olfactory sense. Awesome and powerful. There's also some scent underneath the sourness that smells like cheap stinky dollar store perfume. Not so awesome.

I really dig the taste. Not quite like a lambic. Maybe the best way I could describe it is like a halfway step between a lambic and a regular ale. Its sour, but it doesnt have the champagne qualities of a Belgian lambic. Very interesting. I've never had anything quite like this before.

Mouthfeel is sharp, tart, and to the point.

A very fun and interesting beer to drink. I dont know how many of these you would want to have in a sitting, though. Perhaps it is just a one-time thing. Other than the stinky scent, I give it all-thumbs-up.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2006 23:23:42 | More by chOAKbarrell
Photo of Higravity
Higravity

Michigan

3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A nice solid sour, but kind of a low end attempt. The apperance was Redish and I got a little head. Smells of feet and lactic acid covering up all of the malt. The taste is sour but not overly sour and is kind of one dimentional with the malt backbone most broken. It was also pretty thin and watery, but it could be a nice sipper at a lower price, but I think I would rather go to better Sour ales.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2006 19:06:25 | More by Higravity
Photo of UncleFlip
UncleFlip

Alabama

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brown on the table, a bit hazy Honey with ruby and peach notes when held to the light. One finger tan head falls at a decent rate.

Smell is stewed cherries and paint thinner. It sounds un-appetizing, but it's actually rather nice.

Not as assertive as others I've had in this style. The sourness also seems more subtle, and builds as you approach the middle mark. The cherry notes peak just before the sour tang hits- you know the tang- the pleasant kind that gives a slight pain right at the back of your jaw- like what you get if you suck on a vitamin c tablet. I rather like this one!

The mouthfeel is very even. The viscosity of the liquid and the swell of the carbonation go hand in hand- but both are subtle.

VERY drinkable- one of the most drinkable I've had in this style. I'd like more! The only drawback is there's not as much flavour right at the sip as I'd like. If it weren't for that, it might get another half-point on drinkability.

Be well
-UF

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2006 07:19:19 | More by UncleFlip
Photo of EmoBeerGuy
EmoBeerGuy

New Hampshire

3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Wow.

This was the first Sour Ale I had ever tried and it was something else. I need to read up on here about the process that goes into creating the sour taste but I am assuming it is something akin to sour dough.

A - Looks like a fairly standard brown ale. Unimpressed by the head.

S- Woah. The first sign that something is off. This stuff will turn your nose but you gotta just plunge in anyways.

T- Completle unique. As advertised it is quite sour but has some malt to back it up.

D- Hard to say. I've rated it low because it is a "one is enough" type beer, but for that one beer you don't really get sick of it.


Overall - A style all beer lovers should try, at least once.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2006 03:37:26 | More by EmoBeerGuy
Photo of kmpitz2
kmpitz2

Tennessee

3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber color with a minimal sparse head over top with no real carbonation bubbling up. Clarity is excellent. Nose is very interesting. I get a bit of cherries and tartness, but it is also moderately grainy. Its lacking that good acetate blast that I like in my flanders red brews. It is also pretty unintense in the nose as well. Flavor is a little better. Initial taste is a very sharp, almost biting tartness. This moves to a sour cherry with a moderate acetate. Flavors are just a bit thin for what I like. Its not really grabbing my senses as other have. Feel is on the thin end of moderate with a light carbonation of tiny bubbles. This is an okay brew. Nothing really makes it pop as a stellar example. I'd like a fuller flavor on this. Seems just a touch watery.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2006 01:38:04 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of neonbrown82
neonbrown82

Nebraska

3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This is one of few sour beers that I can tolerate. I've tried many kinds of Cantillon all of which were completely and utterly undrinkable, and this one isn't even much less sour, but for some reason I actually like it.

The beer pours to a deep plum color with a fine carbonation that produces a nice tall effervescent head. Looks quite good.

The smell is of rasberry with a heavy tartness. Obviously not loaded with sweeteners, but there is a hint of sweet under the tart.

The taste is shockingly sour at first drink. After that, however, your tastebuds have adjusted a little bit and it seems to be much more balanced. Has a dry, funky horseblanket flavor to it with a backing of tart rasberry. Has a very, very feint lingering sweetness, but mostly dry and acidic.

While I like this beer in small doses, drinking too much of it gives me heartburn... and I don't get heartburn off of anything (even habanero chilis). It's good to get away from the realm of "regular beer" from time to time, and this beer is ideal to introduce the palate to even funkier beers, such as the aforementioned Cantillon.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2006 07:00:34 | More by neonbrown82
Photo of JISurfer
JISurfer

South Carolina

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first experience of a sour ale, so I wasn't too sure what to expect. I must say though, I was pleasantly suprised. It did have a nice foamy head that lasted quite a while, but then "deflated" into a thick laceing. The smell was nice and malty, with a sweet-n-sour undertone, accompanied by a light grape finish. Taste was sour from the moment you put it in your mouth. It had a sour start, with a tart finish. I really dug this style. It was something I really wanted to try, ever since I first saw they had sour brews. I do like sour foods, sauces, candy, liquor, and such, so this one is up my alley.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2006 03:48:45 | More by JISurfer
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

01/07/06- Purchased at Sun Devil Liquors in Mesa, AZ.

Presentation- 11.2 oz bottle. Code on the back label. Poured into a chalice tyle glass.

Appearance- Reddish in color. Light 1/4 inch head which almost all remains the whole way down. Very light lace.

Smell- A touch barnyard. A bit musty, with a hefty sour fruity scent.

Taste- Sour, but not mouth puckering sour. Cherry in flavor over any other fruit. Touch hoppy in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- Tart, with a about perfect carbonation level.

Drinkability- One of the better Flanders I have had. I like the fact that the tartness wasn't too overpowering. Nice drinking brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2006 01:05:22 | More by GClarkage
Photo of mmmbeer
mmmbeer

Massachusetts

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

330 mL bottle with no freshness date. It pours a red/copper with a 2 finger head that is tan with a hint of red and forms a crater in the middle when it recedes and leaves some nice foam for lace. It smells of sour grape, fruit?, dung?, lactic? (I guess that's what it is - it's not familiar to me and they mention it on the label...), along with mustiness and some acidity. It tastes sour/acidic, fruity, tart, with medicinal phenols, farm/mustiness, and perhaps iron and salt. Maybe a hint of hops, but not sure if they use them. It has a light, tingly, dry body that is quite refreshing and it's overall a quality beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2005 01:55:33 | More by mmmbeer
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,062 ratings.