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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

2,061 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2061
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: 2,061 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ggaughan
ggaughan

Pennsylvania

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

I should have reviewed this bad boy sooner as I was lucky enough to be at Monk's when they made the world debut of this beer in bottles at a Michael Jackson dinner. I have had alot of this beer since then (bottles and drafts).

I just had a bottle the other day and it poured a nice cloudy orange/redish color into a nice tulip glass. There was a nice tan head that followed with a nice bubbley body.

The aroma of this beer is nice and tart with some fruity tones to it. The taste continue the tart theme but there is also a nice sweet balance provided by the fruity tones in the beer. This is an easy beer to drink and I have found myself at one of the bars at Monk's having a few of these after work on several occasions.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2005 19:40:44 | More by ggaughan
Photo of pentathlete
pentathlete

Virginia

3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark translucent red with medium head that sticks around for a bit and laces the glass. Plenty of carbonation and a nose of mellow aspirin sourness, maybe some tart fruit too. Starts off with smooth almost watery base that moves into a tart middle that doesn't quite last long enough or get intensely sour. Slightly disappointing in that regard. Mouthfeel is medium, the finish leans toward metallic. This is drinkable because the sourness doesn't overpower, but that's why I buy a Flemish Ale. This isn't as bad as the Lindeman's Gueuze, but if it were any sweeter it would be pushing it.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2005 01:58:18 | More by pentathlete
Photo of asabreed
asabreed

New York

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

33 cl bottle into my Corsendonk tulip.

Appearance: Though the head doesn't bubble up crazily, it starts at 1" then goes to about a half inch, but it's very thick, leaving lots of good clumpy lacing on the side. Dark amber color with some brown hues, with a decent amount of bubbles floating up toward the middle.

Smell: Earth and grassy notes, with maybe some phenols at first. Then it goes to slight nail polish, sour cherries, and granny smith apples. Definite and welcoming notes of oak and maybe the slightest hint of vanilla. Complex as all hell.

Taste: Too dry? Where's the sweetness? That's what I asked at first, but somehow the first sip was misleading. However, since it's a sour beer, the taste is a bit puckering of course. It does finish very dry, but after a bit it becomes nice, though as I said it wasn't at first. The only problem with the dryness is that I feel it's maybe so dry as to not let the beautiful flavors of the sour fruits and yeast to come through? I'm not sure exactly, but as I drink, it does indeed become more complex. You can taste the sourness, but then it does into the astringent dryness. Still, with the finish there's definitely some hints of apple, sour cherries, and general sourness on the tongue. Lots of stuff going on, and though I don't know if it's as balanced as it could be, it's so complex and singular that I like it a lot.

Mouthfeel: Champagne-like carbonation, which I really didn't expect. But it never gets too astringent, spritzy, or overdone somehow, which is odd, because it's almost like it should. Therefore maybe the dryness that I alluded to before isn't as dry as I previously thought, which may combat that, if that makes any sense.

Drinkability: This is one of the most peculiar styles in my opinion, and one of the most novel, which makes me want to seek out every version I can. The problem is they always seem so damn hard to find. At any rate, I've enjoyed it more and more as the review comes to a close, and I still have a little less than half of the bottle left in my class. It was about $2.75 for the bottle, and to me that's cheap for such a stab at such a crazy and deliciously ambrosia-like style. Can't wait to snag some more versions when I can actually find them.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2005 02:48:58 | More by asabreed
Photo of HogHill
HogHill

Massachusetts

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

Purchased a single from Colonial Spirits for $5.25 for 33cl bottle.

Appearance: a murky brown, with red highlights, looks kind of like apple cider. Small tan head which reduces to lace quicly.

Smell: Acidic, similar to a red wine.

Taste: Granny Smith apple along with sour cherries backed by malt. Predominantly sour flavors, but not overwhelmingly tart for my palate.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, with a bit of zing from the sour and carbonation marriage.

Drinkability: I really enjoy Belgian Oud Bruins, and Flemish Reds. I could sip on a few of these. But eventually the acidic tartness will catch up and I'll want something to scrub the palate (a nice saison or Duvel?)

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2005 23:36:18 | More by HogHill
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

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

Pours a slightly cloudy reddish brown ale with out much of a head.

Smell is sweet and fruity with a slight acid edge. Mostly fruit scents of sour cherries with a sweetening of honey. Later one softer scents of brown sugar and rum appear.

Taste is a little sweet with a good sour pop of acid to more or less even the flavor out and leaves a lemony sour note on your tongue. Fruit flavor of sour cherries without going too sour. Refreshing but not real complex.

Mouthfeel is OK.

OK as the style goes. A sweet and sour ale that I really can't pair with anything except Sauerbraten.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2005 05:22:46 | More by Zorro
Photo of dgallina
dgallina

Georgia

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz brown bottle without freshness date.

Poured a slightly transparent deep reddish-brown with big carbonation, small sheen of foam, and good lace. Smells big and fruity; a sweet and sour blend of green apples and grapes that tickles the nose. Green apples, pears, and a counter-balance of wood and sweet dark fruits (cherries?) lead to a super-dry, earthy and yeasty finish. Highly-carbonated, moderately light and tingly in the mouth.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2005 00:59:09 | More by dgallina
Photo of MuddyFeet
MuddyFeet

North Carolina

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

Made the girlfriend a turkey dinner with all the fixin's to celebrate her new job and decided to pop open my bottle of this beer.

Poured a garne red. Almost afraid to get any on my clothes bcause it looks like dye (but thin and watery). Only a thin head that all but evaporated

Aroma is very slight--mostly raspberries and yeast.

Flavor is complex. More enjoyably complex than over the top. At first sweet but quickly followed by a very tart and fruity quick. That tartness is very similar to raspberries, blackberries and cherries. A whole big bowl of all three berries. The yeast provides a nice substance to the flavor.

Medium body. The tartness is a bit puckering. No notice of alcohol in either the flavor or the feel.

Went very well with my dinner. I was glad I chose this beer because I forgot to pick up some cranberry sauce.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2005 00:27:33 | More by MuddyFeet
Photo of CharlesRiver
CharlesRiver

Connecticut

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

Such a unique style but so fun to drink. Pours out a cloudy, brown color with a very small head that doesn't seem to last. I see very few bubbles make their way to the top. I forgot to mention this is a 11.2 fl oz bottle, capped.

Smell is sour with something coming through almost like toast? Light notes of cherries and malt seem to be somewhat refreshing. Taste is much milder than I expected. The "sourness" is light but refreshing which makes it more drinkable. The cherries and fruit come through in the beginning and middle. The ending dumps off quickly. Some oaky notes come through but not enough.

Truely a tough beer to rate. I don't know this style well so I am going off pure taste and enjoyment. I would buy this or order this again anytime. I can't wait to try more examples of this style.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2005 21:10:56 | More by CharlesRiver
Photo of HappyHourHero
HappyHourHero

Indiana

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

Picked up this bottle and boy does it have some miles on it. Brewed in Belgium, imported in San Diego, CA, bought in Elkton MD, and consumed in Ithaca, NY.

Aromas of sour cherries and brown sugar. Dense, oatmeal colored head was more then I expected. Sour and tart flavors dominate, but in an interesting mix of cherry and lime. Once those flavors release my tongue there are some other strange things that begin to happen. It's hard to put my finger on it but there is an earthy/woody aspect and a light spicyness that I can't describe (pepper and vanilla?, probably not). Anyway, it's enjoyable and interesting. Light, highly carbonated beer with a tart and dry finish. I was expecting a less carbonated beer that was all tart, and thankfully it was more then that.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2005 22:32:49 | More by HappyHourHero
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliantly clear amber-ruby color with a thin tan colored head. The aroma is tart with notes of sharp cherry, caramel, tannic wood, and a light mustiness. The aroma is pretty interesting, I am definitely looking forward to the taste. The beer is fairly dry up front with a thin body. The taste has an appealing tartness to it that is a mix of a sour cherry-like fruitiness and a bit of acetic acid. The taste is a pretty clean mix of fruitiness, sourness and toffee malt notes. The taste is just a bit too simplistic and thin, did not quite live up to the aroma. Certainly drinkable and even a bit enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2005 04:18:09 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of tgbljb
tgbljb

Pennsylvania

2.83/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured a deep red-brown color with sparse, slightly-off white head. Smell is very tart and fruity. Taste is somewhat of a shocker. Extremely tart and sour, enough to make my mouth pucker. Finish is more tartness. Had trouble finishing half a bottle. Not my style of beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2005 18:08:54 | More by tgbljb
Photo of rajendra82
rajendra82

Georgia

3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The brown murky body of this beer was topped with a smallish off-white head, giving this beer quite a rough hewn look, not unattractive, just lacking charisma. Aromatically this was very interesting, with a vinegary sour smell and some apple cider like notes. The taste was basically replicating fermented apple cider, with a puckering tart sourness, apple skin like astringency, and a touch of spiciness. Come to think of it, this looks a lot like unfiltered apple juice as well. This will be very refreshing and thirst quenching, if you happen to like the taste of apple cider. I would love to try this one mulled one day.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2005 04:29:48 | More by rajendra82
Photo of twelvsies
twelvsies

Maine

3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I haven't had a lot of flemish reds, but what I have experienced of the style I love. So I'm trying to branch out a bit and explore. Picked this up out of the blue. Beautiful color on this one, cabinet brown with red hues, but really no head at all, reminiscent of a gueuze. I don't particularly know if this style is "supposed" to have a decent head or not, but I'm thinking no since it's on the sour side. Smell is all over the place. Sour cherry comes to mind first, with other sweeter fruits backing it up. Taste is ok - a little bit of a let down from the smell. Tart, but not overly so, but all of the sweet fruity complexity in the smell is absent in the taste. A little watery to be honest. I'm not one of those guys that needs their taste buds destroyed by every beer at all, but this tastes a little bland to me. The smell is making me crave something better that I can't get in the taste. I think if they stepped this up a bit - a little more sour, a little more complex - it would be great. Not a bad beer, drinkable, but doesn't hold my interest.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2005 02:19:22 | More by twelvsies
Photo of GCBrewingCo
GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the chalice clear deep amber brown with a white head which retreated quickly to the edges of the surface but lasted to lace the glass.

The aroma was acidic and lightly sour with a fruity aroma of cherries and berries melded with corn sweetness and earthiness.

The flavor was just barely sour and lacking in complexity. The sourness exhibited in the aroma was lacking in the flavor. The flavor did contain a slight cherry fruitiness, a nice crispness and some corn flavors, but exhibited no real complexity.

The finish was dry with just some slight fruit flavoring of cherries. The body was The aroma really leads one astray and the flavor just cannot backup the promise made by the aromatics. Highly drinkable, but devoid of character.

11.2 ounce bottle, code date on back is 16DC.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2005 22:07:33 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

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

Appearance – This red ale is brown in color with a nice head. It is very cloudy and full of small, tight bubbles.

Smell – The sour aroma is rather dull and muted by a malt that almost smells toasted in a way. I can pick up some darkly sweet citrus notes as well, giving this one a decent nose.

Taste – The sourness really kicks things up at the taste, to the extent that it’s about all I can distinguish. The light fruiting wants to come out and play but is squashed like a small bicycle seat engulfed in the ass of a circus fat woman.

Mouthfeel – The carbonation is the strong point of this barely-legal medium-bodied floozie. Otherwise this tease disappoints.

Drinkability – This sour ale went down OK but was nothing special and came in a tad under par for this prolific Belgian brewery.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2005 01:32:20 | More by RoyalT
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a two-finger white head that fades quickly to a ring leaving no lace. Cloudy amber color. Light bodied and light carbonation. Nose is sour cherry . No sweetness here starts and finishes with a sour cherry taste. Clean, tart finish. $5.25 for a 330ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2005 22:35:39 | More by jdhilt
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

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

This poured with a great, thick brownish head, but it dissipated all too quickly, leaving behind a thin, wispy reminder. The color is a deep ruby red/brown. The nose is very tart with an underlying smell like toast right from the toaster. It has a thick, almost creamy mouthfeel and a flavor that is very reminiscent of SweetTarts from childhood. It has what I can best describe as a candy-like sweetness, but offset/balanced by an extremely tart flavor. The finish reveals this dichotomy to a greater degree, with me being unable to pin down either sweet or tart, but more like both at once. This is very enjoyable and I would certainly have more than one on a hot summer's day, when the beer would be quite refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2005 18:25:31 | More by woodychandler
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
ViveLaChouffe

Georgia

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

Pours an opaque reddish-brown with a 1/2 inch tan head. Smells of sour cherry. Acidic and winlike with hints of vinegar. lightly sweet. Tart black currant.

Taste is sour up front. A puckering sourness. Sour cherry and wild berry. Acidic and fruity but certainly not sweet. Mouth is a bit thin cold but fill sout as the beer warms. This is no Rodenbach, but like Rodenbach this beer delivers the sour in Flemish Sour Red.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2005 03:31:45 | More by ViveLaChouffe
Photo of blitz134
blitz134

California

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

Initially a really strong aroma as the cap was popped. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come.

Poured a predominately brown color with fainting hits of a garnet deep in the body. Head was just barely off white and disappeared rather quickly to only a circlet of bubbles around the outer edges.

Aroma is slightly sweet and has some hints of bread. But mixed in with all of that is a tart granny smith apple aroma with some other dark fruits. There is an overall sour candy smell to the whole thing. Nothing in the aroma is overly strong but nicely balanced.

Holy sh!t at the tartness of this on the first sip. This is the first beer to actually wrench on my tastebuds a bit and I love every bit of it. Overall there is a dry mouthfeel as this goes down but still coats the mouth well. The taste, as I said above, is extremely tart and consists mainly of apples. I don't pick up too much extra from the flavor as the tartness dominates. I'm torn between a 4 and a 4.5 for the taste. I want to give it a higher score b/c of the uniqueness of the flavor but I feel it fits with the common flavor profile of the style. Additionally the flavor seems a bit one sided compared to other flemish reds that I have had.

Mouthfeel is dry and coating at the same time but a little thin.

This one gets a good drinkability rating but the tartness might become overbearing after a while. Its still good though.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2005 02:51:13 | More by blitz134
Photo of Truh
Truh

New Hampshire

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

Had a few sips of this before the conclave on 4/22/2005. 11.2 fl. oz. bottle poured in an Allagash snifter.

Good bubbling, though forced, which settles to what is likely a more natural flat sheen with some piling on the sides. Deep orange to an almost brown hue with a fair amount of haze chimmy-changa-ing around. Lemon/cherry sour tart on nose with a hit of watermelon and a gangly malt; sour patch kid sweetness seeping in. Green apple tart on mouth with a candy apple twinge to it; some underlying yeast breadiness adds some body to an otherwise light profile; kind of a meringue-like feel to it.

Generally, this is not a style I would choose to drink or gravitate towards, but very enjoyable nevertheless.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2005 20:58:40 | More by Truh
Photo of IrishRedRock
IrishRedRock

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first time sampling this brew, despite its accessibility in this city. Next time I'm at Monk's I'll be sure to try the draught version, though the bottle will do for now on this snowy evening.

Pours a murky, mud color near the top of the glass and fades into a light ruby near the bottom. Tart aroma of mahogany wood and cherries. Flavor has some ripe cherry and plum flavors with a lemon zinger kick in there, all melding into the mildly hoppy middle and eventual tart finish. Hops seem to come through better as it warms, and overall gives it more balances to cut the sour fruitiness. Mouthfeel is enjoyable - a bit bubbly to blend with the tartness. Looking forward to the draught, but this is a nice take-home version.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2005 00:32:50 | More by IrishRedRock
Photo of Stimack
Stimack

New York

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

Had this brew the other night and poured to a dark red/mahogany color with a thick off white head that holds up quite well leaving a fair amount of lacing around the sides of the chalice. The aroma is definitely of sour/tart cherries with highlights of what I think is an oak barrel smell. This is a very nice smelling brew although it is funny having some friends take a whiff of it, as they have never had anything like this. The brew has a strong cherry (and other berry?) flavor that dominates from the start. The sour taste seems a little more harsh (?) than the Mestreechs Aait that I love but is an excellent taste as well! Also I can sense more of a oakiness from the taste mixing with the aroma which is a fantastic addition. The carbonation of this brew is very nice, seems to be at the perfect level as well. Over all this is a fantastic brew. I have just gotten into this style of brew but I must say that I am sold!

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2005 14:18:31 | More by Stimack
Photo of sulldaddy
sulldaddy

Connecticut

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

brew is from Irishredrock. Thanks for the hookup! I am sampling at room temp in a tulip glass. With an agressive pour, I get a good 2 inches of beige fluffy and frothy head that fades gradually with spacious latticework on the glass. Aroma is as expected, sour cherries, some oak/wooden scents (popsicle stick), tart raspberry as well. I find it very appealing.
First sip reveals a slightly oily texture with large and prickly carbonation. Flavor is fruity sweet up front for a second and then is tart tart tart! Sour cherries, again wooden flavors, granny smith apples. Reminds me of jolly rancher candy. The beer finishes leaving a tart coating on my palate. I find the beer to be very refreshing and enjoyable. A nice example of the style!

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2005 01:16:20 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
WilliamPhilaPa

Pennsylvania

2.85/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Nice deep burgundy color, with a decent white head which dissipates to a good rim lacing.
Smell: Sweet cherries....sour berries, red wine and oddly (to me) vinegar
Taste: (only took 4-5 sips) Short and simply put....very sour and nasty tasting. A few sips and I knew I would not be able to finish this brew.
This is the first flemish sour I ever had and it will most likely be my last.
Kicked: Perhaps a desired then aquired taste for certain sour ale drinkers....and this is probably very good brew in it's category/style but it's just not my style....take this review w/ a grain of salt.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2005 00:59:04 | More by WilliamPhilaPa
Photo of UncleJimbo
UncleJimbo

Massachusetts

3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Flemish sour ale poured a cloudy, chestnut color with tan foam (needed to be coaxed) which dissipated flat but remained as a ring around the glass. The smell was tart and lightly malty with notes of caramel and a pungent spiciness and a bit of lactic acidity. The taste was tart and sour with malt and yeast flavors coming through together with a hint of dried fruit. The mouthfeel was sour and crisp with medium body and moderate carbonation. It was refreshing with a lightly tangy aftertaste. This was a nice sour ale.

Sampled another bottle at The Sunset and update review 3/10/05.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2004 03:47:07 | More by UncleJimbo
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,061 ratings.