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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Not Rated.
Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,234 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,234
Reviews: 1,032
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.1%
Wants: 47
Gots: 133 | FT: 2
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: 2,234 | Reviews: 1,032 | Display Reviews Only:
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 whartontallboy
whartontallboy

New York

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

Had this one on tap at Monk's for the first time today. Pours deep red-brown with a small white head. Smell is sweet and a little sour and funky. Flavor is extremely tart with some funk sourness. Bit of fruity cherry flavor to it as well. Malt presence is strong and pleasant.

Overall: This one is interesting. I didn't like the first few sips, but after I got accustomed to it, I really enjoyed the sourness. Quite a nice one to have on tap.

Serving type: on-tap

03-25-2005 23:16:26 | More by whartontallboy
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
Photo of blitheringidiot
blitheringidiot

Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Label Lingo: 12 oz browner.

Murky russet brown hues, nearly opaque with a thin clinging egg shell white collar. Warming swirls rise up a foamy collar that quickly descends down me Ommegang tulip.

Lemonade and lemon peel and lemon oil (lemons lemons and more lemons) apples, woody scents that linger and induce mouth watering pucker. Musty attic scents.

First Swigs: Lemon juice pucker. Some pekoe tea malts but this is lemony sour all the way. Metallic acidic. Extraneous notes of under ripened grapes.

Little warming carbonation fizzle rolls on. Thin body. As enjoyable as this is, not a perfect drinker, but close.

Last Swigs: Thanks to PopeDX for the offering. Half lemon juice, half pre mixed tea and like licking a 9 volt battery’s terminals. How good is this? Goood. All lemon lime citrous killer. My best guess is 6% ABV.

Beer is good. Happy sour beering.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2004 05:33:52 | More by blitheringidiot
Photo of PatandDavid
PatandDavid

Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a bottle of this at AC last weekend. Overall, an alright beer drinker experience, but not enough to make me ooh and aah. After being poured the beer looked like balsamic vinegar, and frankly, the aroma was also pretty reminiscent of the same. A thin white head topped it off. Medium in mouthfeel, I got some faint kriek like notes (aka sour ones), along with some dried fruit. Not as complex as anticipated, even the 'sourness' seemed a bit tame.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2004 12:50:36 | More by PatandDavid
Photo of waughbrew
waughbrew

Massachusetts

2.93/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Murky acorn color with no head, just a collar. Smells of cherries and cider. Flavor is bright fruits that quickly swirl into a tartness that is very present but not extreme. Woody notes add depth at the beginning but disappear as it becomes more tart and dry. Thin body and low carbonation makes this seem like a relative of red wine. The finish does not seem very interesting or complex and fails to really inspire another sip. A pleasant beer that could serve others as a decent introduction to the style.

It should be noted that this beer was the first ever to have devastating effects on my digestive system. You have been warned.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2004 03:13:39 | More by waughbrew
Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
NearerMyBeerToMe

Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with very little head but for a filmy ring of foam at edge of beer that doesn't cling. Beer itself looks like dirty apple cider, and wow is this murky! Wayyy up close I can see streamers through the murk, so I give it a few good swirls and am able to bolster up a head about a quarter inch deep. Beer is a dirty, rosewood color with slightly reddish highlights. As soon as beer is poured, lactic, yogurty smells fill up the entire room. Up in the nose this only gets stronger. Bananas soaking in vinegar; pomegranate fruitiness with extreme sharp sourness. Nosefeel is so pungent it feels like buttermilk is clotting inside the nasal cavity, desensitizing the entire sinus... Blades of flavor slice through the tongue--apple juice/cider vinegar, sour whey, and pectin. As it warms, it starts to taste more like gin and grapefruit juice, but.. oh man, this is SOUR! with eons of aftertaste. Pungent! Wanna know what the mouthfeel is like? Go do a shot of lemon juice, it's exactly the same... but put an enormous bite at the end. The alcohol went straight to my head, but the beer is remarkably quenching... it sent cooling waves of pleasure up and down my spine. This is the third time I've had this, and it just keeps growing on me. And people say Flemish Red Ale is hard to love? Haters can send their glasses my way!

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2004 21:24:00 | More by NearerMyBeerToMe
Photo of mzwolinski
mzwolinski

California

4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pouts a lovely, slightly hazed brown in color. This fades into red and then orange towards the edge of the glass, giving a really attractive sunset impression. Moderately sized light tan head. The aroma is tart, with light oaky notes.

The taste hits big and sour at the start, but blends into an appealing woody malt character mid-palate. A bit sticky in the throat at the finish, but this problem fades as the hops strengthen with warmth, giving the beer a lightly floral finish with a slight metallic tinge. Despite how it sounds, though, this actually seems to work in conjunction with the malt middle. Pretty damn drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2004 04:49:59 | More by mzwolinski
Photo of ybnorml
ybnorml

Rhode Island

3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A cloudy Dark, almost brown, amber ale with a small light brown head. Has a very distinct tart sour apple aroma. Slightly fruity flavor at first that gives way quickly to a sour tartness which is followed by a very puckery dry finish. This is my first try with this style. I could drink it fine but would not want more than one. Also the bottle I have is labeled : "Monk's Cafe" Flemish sour ale. I hope this is the right beer.
Note; The website lists the ABV at 5.5 and call it a "Old Brown Ale.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2004 00:08:21 | More by ybnorml
Photo of belhav0322
belhav0322

New York

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

Very different. This was my first time trying this style, so it is hard to compare it to anything. Pours a very reddish-mahogony tone. Floral aromas are very apparent and are noticable on the palate upon first taste. Underlying sweetness is balanced by sour aftertaste. Very quenching and full mouthfeel. Fruitiness and tartness are apparent as the beer starts to warm. This actually reminded me of certain Rose wines (I know, bad analogy on this site). This could make a good session beer if you were in the mood for something lite and refreshing. Other than that, this would make an excellent dessert beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2004 19:56:40 | More by belhav0322
Photo of bigbeerdrinka
bigbeerdrinka

Germany

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

Pours a deep murky brown with red hues and a small white head that left barely any lace. Aromas give off a mix of tartness and sour cherries with tones of barnyard vinegar tones. Flavors are intially nicely tart and sour which a nice fruit tones. This flavor is predominently of sour cherries with some grape and raspberry like flavors. This beer finishes with an acidic tartness and sourness, with a nice zinging carbonation. The body to this brew was a tad thin but overall a nice offering for a flemish sour that was not too syrupy or sugary.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2004 01:06:05 | More by bigbeerdrinka
Photo of Gusler
Gusler

Arizona

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

Draught @ O’Brien’s San Diego
Just goes to show you, that you never know what you will find in a great pub, owned and run by great beer loving people, a beer brewed in Belgium exclusively for a pub in Philadelphia, in a pub in California!

The beer as it sets in the Belgian Chalice a somewhat murky deep red to almost brown color, the head a medium tan color that is also creamy in texture and the size perfect, the lace forms a tight skirt to cover the glass. Nose is crisp and tart, the aroma of over ripe fruit, a hint of yeast, a bit musky, quite a pleasant sniff this beer. Start is lightly sweet then tart with the top middling in its feel to the palate, finish is austere in its acidity, the hops perfect in their spiciness, very dry after taste that lingers on and on. I was simply forced to have several glasses before I boarded my incredibly long flight back to Phoenix, geez I needed the energy to withstand that hour and five minute flight! Lol

Serving type: on-tap

06-15-2004 16:13:56 | More by Gusler
Photo of rdrummer
rdrummer

New Jersey

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

I try to have one of these whenever I visit Monk's. It pours a really nice, light amber color with a small whitish head. It has the aroma of roasted malts and sourness. The taste ranges from very tart to moderately sour. I find that it depends on what I have been eating or drinking before tasting. The sourness is never off-putting, though. I almost find it pleasantly refreshing in a way. It has a very clean feel in the mouth that really prepares you for a meal. I love one of these on draft before my lunch but have never really wanted a second.

Serving type: on-tap

05-29-2004 16:16:29 | More by rdrummer
Photo of ElGuapo
ElGuapo

New Jersey

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

Nice brown amber pour with a decent helping of off-white head. It is somewhat cloudy. The aroma is a bit weak, but it has some nice sweet malt hints as well as a delicious sour smell that tingles the nose.

The body is medium, and it has mild carbonation which all comes together to produce a very smooth mouthfeel. Flavor is a bit more dull than my beloved Duchesse, but it is still pretty good. The sour flavor is there with notes of balsamic vinegar. Some fruit flavors as well as citrus come in. Grains lay behind it all to bring in some balance. The drinkability is excellent, and I would have grabbed another or two if I weren't on my way out.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2004 16:06:11 | More by ElGuapo
Photo of 99bottles
99bottles

Pennsylvania

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

From an 11.2 ounce bottle this beer pours a rich ruby-brown color with a fizzy active head of white carbonation. The smell is very interesting. Sour and sultry, if you get a big whiff it makes the back of your mouth pucker and smells of turned milk (the label calls it lactic). The first taste is of tart cherry. The finish is vert TART. Sour, yes...but the sweet cherry is in there also. Wow. Incredibly refreshing. Incredible tasty. Dry earthy taste from the unique ferementation. I love the sour ending ! A class act all around. However, if fermentation run amok gives you the willies, you might want to look elsewhere. Little pricey also, but worth the bucks.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2004 04:42:09 | More by 99bottles
Photo of ark57
ark57

Pennsylvania

4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It is a brownish red with very little head. The reserved aroma has some oak and vinous notes and a lactic sourness to it as well. The taste is sweet and sour with some fruit and oak in the finish. The sourness is mild and it is quite refreshing. I always start a visit to Monk's with one of these.

Serving type: on-tap

03-15-2004 14:20:07 | More by ark57
Photo of Boilermaker88
Boilermaker88

California

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

Presented in an 11.2oz. bottle with no freshness date and poured into a tulip glass. Had a murky brownish-red color with a fast-fading vanilla head that deposited minimal lace.
The smell was decidedly sour with a lot of sweet-tart berry notes and an underlying woody essence. The taste had a tangy sweetness which brought notions of raspberries, blackberries and black currant. Some light oak flavor and a zippy, almost puckering sourness finish things off. The feel was light- to medium-bodied with a tight carbonation, dry and clean.
Damn, I don't know what to make of this style. It was pretty easy to drink. I wouldn't mind trying more of this style and will look for them in the future. Thanks go out to frank4sail for the gift from PA!

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2004 18:16:00 | More by Boilermaker88
Photo of thefireman
thefireman

Pennsylvania

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

On tap, nice color, with a smallish head. A must before eating. Had almost a wine taste, very dry. Taste of cherries and spices. I like the sourness that finishes a little hoppy. Not overpowering, but a shock to the tastebuds on first tasting. An acquired taste, but opne I always go back to.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2004 01:31:02 | More by thefireman
Photo of cerevisiaephilus
cerevisiaephilus

Michigan

4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I thought this beer was fascinating. Really my first try at this style unless you count lambic, but I think sour ales/oud bruins are maltier. This one was quite nice. Great balance between malty and sour. Sweet but not cloying, then sour enough to dry your mouth out. The menu suggests this one as a palate clenser, I would agree. I could drink this beer over and over and never really get that sticky sugary coating you cometimes get after having numerous beers. I'm really going to start searching for this style.

Serving type: on-tap

12-30-2003 05:35:54 | More by cerevisiaephilus
Photo of leeenglewood
leeenglewood

Pennsylvania

4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not a beer for everybody but if you like sour and sherry like drinks you should indefinitely enjoy this wonderful thirst-quenching beer. Pours amberish brown with white head that becomes lacy. Smells like cherries and good American whisky also has very sherry like smell. Taste is predominately tart and somewhat acidic no apparent sweetness. A rather drinkable beer if you are into this kind of thing, as the acidic qualities are not overbearing.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2003 19:38:59 | More by leeenglewood
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

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

Pours a deep red with abrownish tint with about a 1/4 inch head that leaves some nice lacing,aroma is of sour cherries and light mineral notes.Taste is hits ya with a big sour note that slides into some stone-like qualities with that sour lemon flavor always there to linger.This style is not my cup of tea for sure but this beer is complex with alot of different flavors well made.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2003 18:59:17 | More by oberon
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,234 ratings.