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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,095 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 1,095
Hads: 2,741
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 13.54%
Wants: 79
Gots: 364 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website

Style | ABV
Flanders Oud Bruin |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: nomad on 06-19-2003

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.
View: Beers (91) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,095 | Hads: 2,741
Photo of ktorsneyweir
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful burnt red color; sweet, slightly funky smell; very smooth on the tongue; cherry notes with a very subtle sour kick. Great for people that don't like that kick-you-in-the-face sour

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Photo of Trombone69
4.74/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. A little bit of head, that dissipates fairly quickly. Beautiful Reddish, maybe maroon, and copper color.

I am no expert on sours , but this is really enjoyable. Tart, fruity, yummy!

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Photo of ranchosdancingbull
4.64/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid sour ale. Very refreshing. Poured a fluffy, Light tan colored head that shrank down to about a quarter inch and lasted the whole way through. Great way to get chicks away from drinking nasty hard ciders.

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Photo of mikeg67
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. Pours dark red with tall, long-lasting, foamy off-white head and nice lacing. Nose is of caramel malt, vinegar and ripe fruit. Body is light, creamy and crisp. Taste is very similar to aroma. Finish is medium and acidic. Very refreshing, tasty brew.

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Photo of Tilly
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reddish brown color with a huge froth, khaki 2 fingers.
Aroma of berries, malt and sourness .
Sweetness, cherry, raspberry, melons and slightly sour.
Refreshingly light mouth feel with a slight bitterness.
Nice way to introduce me to sour beer.

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Photo of CADETS3
2.69/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

probably gonna get bashed for this, but I currently have 2 bottles of this stuff left in my fridge and all I can taste is wine! the beer was ok, i was not impressed. all i seem to taste is whine like flavors and smells.

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Photo of demon
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Let me start off by saying that I enjoyed this beer.

Poured with absolutely no head. Gorgeous amber-brown color. Light fruity and acidic smell.

The taste was good and not overpowering for a sour. In fact, I could imagine throwing one of these down pretty quick on a warm day. This beer is VERY sweet. So sweet, the sweetness almost overpowers the sourness. In terms of flavor, this beer was singing "raspberry" to me the whole time. It looks like other reviewers were calling this "cherry" but that didn't register for me. The other flavor notes were very disguised behind the prominent sweetness. I could barely discern any malty or hoppy notes, nor even taste the alcohol, really.

This beer would be good introduction to sour beers since it isn't so sour as to be off-putting. But for those who are looking for the next and greatest sour, you might be a little let down with this one.

At its pricepoint (paid $4 for a single 11.2 oz), I couldn't imagine myself buying a six of these to share with friends. But on those odd secluded nights where you just want to try something different, this was a good choice.

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.35/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Dark brown body and a huge light khaki head.

Head size and retention makes me think this will be mild on the sourness and it definitely is. Dark bread, wood, touch of brown sugar, plum, cherry.

Nothing spectacular. Worth a tick.

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Photo of cellojon
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Beautiful cherry-amber color, head is almost white; pours easy. Some lacing

Nose: Slight alcohol bite followed by lots of sweet fruit, some bubblegum with a hint of yeastiness at the end

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied, a little crispness - much less carbonation apparent than I would have thought from the pour

Taste: Nice sweetness, almost cherry candy, followed by the main course: mild sour and bitterness in the middle; bread at the end holds on a long time

Overall: I enjoyed this one, and it's really easy drinking. Don't have much experience with sours, but I will keep going back to this.

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Photo of samtrillo
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vibrant amber with a bubbly off white head.

Nose is lactic sour.

Taste is very pleasant cherry sour with a slight sweetness. Red wine grape off notes. Mouthfeel is prickly and entertaining. A very nice approachable sour.

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Photo of 10Crumra
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

The beer appeared a very dark red or amber color. When poured it created a fairly significant slightly off-white head of approximately 1 inch. The head was slow to dissipate taking several minutes and it left quite a bit of lacing.

It had a mild sour smell with a hint of cherries.

It was pleasantly tart like a sour hard candy. Definitely got the cherry taste along with an acidic vinegar taste and a malty, fruity aftertaste. I found it hard to identify individual flavors in this but the combined flavor was fantastic.

The beer was medium bodied with fairly light carbonation.

I thought this was a great sour beer. It was rich with cherry and grape flavors that nicely complemented the tartness. I found it quite different from the lighter, more citrusy american sour ales I have tried in the past. I would drink this again in a heartbeat.

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Photo of BeerAllYouCanBe
3.06/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured slightly below room temperature, about 20 degrees C. Aggressive head, recedes to shallow but enduring, light brown foam on beer surface and minimal lacework on glass. Deep bronze color with slight reddish hue. Pleasant cherry and lactic nose. Grapefruit and cherry on entrance, sweet Concord grape finish. Sweetness hangs in the finish, a bit much, but still quite drinkable. Sourness is mild but present. As others have commented, an easy sour to approach for the uninitiated.

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Photo of Harvest06
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Very mild for a sour Oud Bruin. This is a good introduction to sour ales for someone unfamiliar with the bold sourness of something like the Dutches or Cascade's sours.

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Photo of Premo88
4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle poured into tulip
(19 AL 12:44 printed on back label)

L: red/amber ... dark red, not 100% clear but nice clarity at bottom of glass and looks like it will clear up; pretty thick 1-inch head of beige/tan foam that sticks a little; keeps a fantastic collar of thick bubbly foam with a good skin across most of the surface; some cool lacing on the drinking side of the glass (typically it shows up on the opposite side ... again very cool).

S: rasberry, tart rasberry, some sweetness in it; malt ... there's a vienna-like malt to it or a bread malt note that's mixing with the tartness ... definitely different ... almost like the malty note under the hop bitterness in Anchor Steam; slight vinegar

T: amazing sweet/sour balance with tart rasberries/strawberries, dried apricots, toasted dried cranberries, lemon juice ... at times, tastes a little like cherry pie filling, just not nearly that sweet; tartness is always present

F: perfect ... fully carbonated midweight

O: a really cool mix of sour and sweet that's very accessible ... the first sips are a bit weird because there clearly seems to be some malt flavor mixing with the tart notes, which is atypical of most beers on the sour side of things. but i love it. it's refreshing, almost like a palate cleanser after so many hoppy IPAs and stouts. the little bit of malt in this one also seems to fit the cooler weathers -- perhaps a beer here that fits all seasons? hardcore sour fans would find this one too sweet.

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Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I bought this on draught at the Cafe Bruges in Carlisle, PA. It was a deep crimson red with a nice tannish head that sank bit by bit into the liquid, leaving a gentle bubbly mixture on top. The aroma was earthy, with just that hint of tartness I was expecting. When I tasted it, my taste buds just exploded. Now, I should be honest and say I haven't really tried sour ales before, so I had no real comparison to go on at the time. But that initial taste was enough to tell me I had found a real winner. It has a smooth texture to it, and it lingers on the tongue for quite a while. I like the medieval appeal of this ale, and I would definitely get it again and again. It was a real treat.

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Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 11/17/2011. Pours slightly cloudy deep ruby red/brown color with a 2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of tart cherry, green apple, pear, raisin, plum, fig, caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, cider vinegar, leather, hay, straw, grass, musty funk, light oak, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/funky yeast, dark/bready malt, and light oak notes; with solid strength. Taste of tart cherry, green apple, pear, raisin, plum, fig, caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, cider vinegar, leather, hay, straw, grass, musty funk, light oak, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Light fruity/earthy tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of tart cherry, green apple, pear, raisin, plum, fig, caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, cider vinegar, leather, hay, straw, grass, musty funk, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice complexity and balance of fruity/funky yeast, dark/bready malt, and light oak notes; with a good sweetness/tartness balance and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, and slightly creamy/acidic mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice Flanders Oud Bruin style. All around good complexity and balance of fruity/funky yeast, dark/bready malt, and light oak flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. More of an entry level sour for sure, but has all of the normal flavors I would expect from the style; just more toned down and approachable. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of ScotPrzybylski
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

A bit of a vinegar note, sweet. Not traditionally too sour which is nice with a deep red color.

It's so good my wife took from me half way through it.

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Photo of yarnbomb
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Had this on tap several times from the Monk's Cafe and it really is kind of life-changing. Now I buy it whenever I get a chance and put a few away for later. Each bottle can vary from perfection to kind of weird and funky. Always worth it, though.

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Photo of ThomasMetal75
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

A- Dark maroon/brown/red color. Lots of sediment! Khaki head. Was big when poured down the center of the glass, but died to one fingers worth.

S- Vinegar and lactic sourness. Dark raisin, plum, or fig type smell. Yeasty, earthy, funkiness. Light biscuit notes as well.

T- Great beginner sour ale for sure. Tart and lightly sour. It does have that yeasty, earthy funk. Not over the top at all. Dark fruits as well. Everything is done very lightly (as light as a sour beer can be).

M- Medium towards light bodied. Slight oily slickness is detected, but it mellows out a great deal in the finish.

Overall this beer is very well done. It reminds me of the first time I had Sam Adams Boston Lager. To most of us, it was a gateway beer from American adjunct lagers into beer with more flavor. This is a good gateway beer into not only sour ales, but Belgian beer in general. I'd say try it.

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Photo of FoamFingers
3/5  rDev -21.9%

Not at all sour. Merely tart and fruity. Not bad by any means, but not sour either. 0.5 puckers out of 5 possible. A sour warhead candy is more flavorful than this beer.

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Photo of Tsull123
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%

First sour ale i've had. I'm really enjoying it. I think it could be a bit more balanced but i'm really digging the fruity/malty/fizziness of it. It's very drinkable, and it's almost hard to believe that this is beer and not an alcopop.

Tastes like if you took a Smirnoff Ice Raspberry and waved a magic wand to transform it into a beer. In a good way.

I'm psyched to try more Sour Ales, and will probably pick this one up again. There is a TON of sediment however, if that type of thing turns you off this may not be fore you.

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Photo of Budinetz
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

Poured from a cork and cage 750 ml bottle into a fegley's brew works snifter. Bottle is dated at 7/26/2013.

Pours a dark brown color with an eggshell white head that slowly dissipates.
No lacing present during consumption. Sediment is present from the yeast and crystallization from the hops.

Appearance is awesome. Pours as of it's one of the best Flemish browns I have ever seen. Unfortunately this changes and it seems to look sketchy as stated above.

Tastes slightly sour but nothing like it should for the style. Very disappointing considering this was brewed for Monk's Cafe in Belgium.
One would only assume that the best ingredients would have gone into making one of the best sours known to man. This was not the case.

Smells of maple syrup subtlety... Strangely enough. No other notes from smell.

Taste is interesting. Not sour as it should be but has the malt profile. Very strange profile for a Flemish sour.

Overall not the best Flemish sour I have ever had and it may actually be the worst I have ever had.

Due to he dating on the bottle I'm going to research this beer because the reputation is stellar and what I just drank was garbage.


-Wade B

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Photo of Karibourgeois
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Dark brown pour with some garnet highlights and a two-finger off-white head. Aroma is sour and almost vinegary. Taste is sour upfront with some dark fruit and light brown sugar flavors. Cherry, plum and prune flavors come through very nicely backed by a touch of oak. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes with a really nice tart cherry and brown sugary flavor.

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Photo of zac16125
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%

11.2oz bottle into a Teku
no bottle dates

A: Pours a dark brown, nearly cola colored, with 1.5 fingers width of fizzy light tan colored head that dissipates down fairly slowly and leaves some nice lacing. 3.75

S: Caramel, subtle lactic acidity, dark fruits. Meh. 3.5

T: Lighty sour, dark fruits, caramel. Fairly sweet, with a nice balacing subtle tartness. 4

M/D: Lighter side of medium body, carbonation on the heavier end which is appropriate, quick refreshing and drinkability is good. 4

O: Good but not great. There are certainly more impressive examples of the style, but refreshing and pretty tasty. 3.75

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Photo of babaracas
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark reddish orange with huge light brown head that covers the glass in a spray of lace to the end. Smell: lactic with green apple, red cherries, caramel; fruity, sweet and sour smelling. Taste: melon, tart grape, cherry-apple juice, finishing with earth green apple skin and herbal notes. Fruit forward, sweet and tart, with light-medium body and a sticky finish. Tasty and refreshing but without the complexity of others in this style.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,095 ratings.