Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 2,278 | Reviews: 1,038 | Display Reviews Only:
3.6/5 rDev -6%
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.
04-09-2006 21:00:42 | More by Bitterbill
4/5 rDev +4.4%
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.
04-04-2006 03:15:59 | More by connecticutpoet
3.88/5 rDev +1.3%
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.
03-31-2006 07:11:23 | More by Erdinger2003
3.9/5 rDev +1.8%
(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.
03-12-2006 03:34:08 | More by rhoadsrage
4.22/5 rDev +10.2%
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.
03-10-2006 16:30:33 | More by clvand0
3/5 rDev -21.7%
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.
03-10-2006 02:29:46 | More by dogfooddog
4/5 rDev +4.4%
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.
03-05-2006 17:21:30 | More by BEERchitect
4/5 rDev +4.4%
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.
03-03-2006 02:26:43 | More by RedHaze
3.23/5 rDev -15.7%
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.
02-18-2006 18:55:11 | More by jbschafer
4.05/5 rDev +5.7%
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 cant 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 didnt 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 cant knock that! What a find. It is plenty drinkable. I will buy more and you should too!
02-15-2006 15:41:19 | More by bditty187
4.15/5 rDev +8.4%
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.
02-14-2006 19:32:09 | More by Bonhoeffer
4.08/5 rDev +6.5%
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.
02-14-2006 01:53:27 | More by Billolick
4.03/5 rDev +5.2%
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.
02-11-2006 23:23:42 | More by chOAKbarrell
3.35/5 rDev -12.5%
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.
02-10-2006 19:06:25 | More by Higravity
4.35/5 rDev +13.6%
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.
02-10-2006 07:19:19 | More by UncleFlip
3.68/5 rDev -3.9%
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.
02-10-2006 03:37:26 | More by EmoBeerGuy
3.53/5 rDev -7.8%
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.
02-10-2006 01:38:04 | More by kmpitz2
3.73/5 rDev -2.6%
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.
01-23-2006 07:00:34 | More by neonbrown82
3.85/5 rDev +0.5%
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.
01-09-2006 03:48:45 | More by JISurfer
4.38/5 rDev +14.4%
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.
01-08-2006 01:05:22 | More by GClarkage
4.35/5 rDev +13.6%
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.
12-30-2005 01:55:33 | More by mmmbeer
4.22/5 rDev +10.2%
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.
12-29-2005 19:40:44 | More by ggaughan
4/5 rDev +4.4%
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.
12-21-2005 05:17:55 | More by SwillinBrew
3.63/5 rDev -5.2%
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.
12-20-2005 01:58:18 | More by pentathlete
3.48/5 rDev -9.1%
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 Monks in Philadelphia, particularly with their chicken-and-apple sausage sandwich, but I have to wonder if I shouldnt expect more complexity from a sour ale. The sour flavor is very prevalent, and I would likely get it again but probably not often.
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 2,278 ratings.