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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

1,098 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,098
Hads: 2,763
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 21.61%
Wants: 82
Gots: 374 | FT: 7
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 (92) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,098 | Hads: 2,763
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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Photo of Brock_hophead
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- dark brown with a nice tan head with amazing retention.

S- Definitely a sour! vinegar smelling with sweet malt with apple notes as well.

T-sour, tart, sweet, and tangy full and crisp.

M-Very good carbonation and sweetness, but definitely in a good way. It is not overly sweet and the sour characteristic is very balanced.

O-A very good sour with full flavor and great mouthfeel!


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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I thought this was a wonderful sour ale. The appearance was a nice golden orange with a thick head that laced the glass. The smell was of grapefruit from the hops and then raspberry and cherry. The taste was excellent in my opinion. Full flavors of sour cherry and raspberry mix with the floral hops and wheat to make a very refreshing brew. The mouthfeel was a little thick but not overwhelming. A new favorite of mine.

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Photo of SJ-IABrews
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was my first sour beer, so I wasn't sure what I would be getting into. I was overall pretty impressed with this. Pleasing color and a clean taste, not overly sweet and not as cloyingly sour as I was expecting. Smooth drinking with a very appealing smell. This would not be my go to beer, but I would definitely drink this again.

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Photo of Bruiser81
3.36/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best thing about this brew was its look in the glass with a big ol frothy head. Smell was kinda yeasty. This was my first Flemish sour. Almost reminds me of a gueuze, maybe with a bit more fruitiness. Def a bit sour. Mouthfeel kinda thin but I think that'd be expected? Good beer. I'd drink another.

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Photo of wattoclone
4.87/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this outstanding Oud Bruin at Monk's Cafe in Philly. Dark reddish brown with large short acting head. Aroma of malt and vinegar with cherries and dark fruits. An excellent sour ale. Fruity and malty sweet with a tart sour finish. Perfectly balanced and the best Oud Bruin (of 3 tried) to date. Superb and very sessionable. If you like Sweet-Tarts candy you will love this beer.

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Photo of MrBoz21
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep red, clear and effervescent. What cap that settles into persistent skiff.

Aroma is horsey sour. Crisp.

Taste: cherry tart with nice lactic sweetness.

Mouth: Dry with tart tingle on back of tongue.

Overall: delicious sour ale that is very refreshing and balanced.

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Photo of Phocion
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle poured into Petrus chalice. Dark ruby with a thick off-white head. Moderate retention and thick chunks of lacing. Several pieces of sediment floating in the beer, which I don't remember from previous experiences...

Complex fruity esters. Black and red cherries, plum, currant. Slightly woody. Touch of spicy phenols.

Flavor is very tart, but not quite funky. Sour cherries combine with a nice light woodiness. Sour but not acetic. Dark sweet flavor - brown sugar or candi sugar, hard to place through the sour, but it definitely gives it a nice, balancing sweetness.

Light-moderate bodied and well-carbonated. Very crisp; acidic but not tannic, as it quickly re-salivates your mouth. I could do without the sediment, but a more careful pour could easily minimize that.

This is a nice, approachable, relatively affordable sour. It's not the best of the style, but it's damned good.

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Photo of AmericanPaleMale666
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - had a darker body then I expected - deep red and brown tones, tall creamy head and decent lacing

M - light slightly creamy

N - sweet, sour, and candy-like. Not to in your face like other sours I like but the subtlety is nice on this one.

T - I picked up some apple flavors, cherries, and strawberries. Starts sweet and goes into an enjoyable tart taste followed by a smooth finish

O - I wasn't disappointed with this one. I think this is a nice introductory sour for someone who has never had the style. The nose and taste are not so strong as to be a big (perhaps unpleasant) surprise but you still get a feel for the tart sourness of the style.

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Photo of pjbfromkc
4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

One of the more affordle Flanders out the and a great intrduction in sour beer. It pours a dark ruby red and has a nice tart sour aroma. Taste is mild tart cherry. It is not the best sour out there, but it is good. And for the price this is a sour I will keep coming back to.

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Photo of MonkeyDunk
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Great brew, especially for the price compared to other flemish reds.

Pleasantly funky cherrywood smell. Warming mouthfeel, tastes like sour cherries. Mild rubbery bitterness that picked up as I kept drinking it, lingering for minutes after. Very flavorful and big character, will be buying this one again.

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Photo of hippogasmo
4.48/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite possibly the best beer I've ever had, with two main competitors for my number one rank; surprise, they're also sours. I really only have two complaints about this beer.

1: It is somewhat inconsistent out of a bottle, and I've never found a bar with this beer on tap. In terms of quality and taste, it has never let me down. Unfortunately, a few bottles seem to be pulled from the bottom of the batch, and have chunks (yes, full size chunks!) of some yeast-like substance that I cannot identify, and these chunks cause a real problem in the flavor. I have had the occasional bottle where the alcohol flavor has completely overwhelmed anything else, which I don't necessarily mind, but is not what I look forward to when I pour this into a glass.

2: I learned very, very quickly (early on in my drinking career, that is) that this is not a beer that can be enjoyed straight from the bottle. Few enough are the brews that taste the same or close enough from the bottle that I cannot fault this particular brew on this shortcoming, but it is sometimes a slight disappointment that I have to clean a glass to drink one particular beer.

All-in-all, a very good brew. It's a drink that I like to scare my friends with. "What would you think if I told you that you can drink sour beer? Not a fan? Okay, well here, try this." I have never heard a single response that did not involve some form of "holy crap this is delicious." A beer with a 100% success rate for non-drinkers? Worth a try, if you ask me.

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

A: Dark brown with a rusty reddish tinge, cloudy and opaque so I can’t see any carbonation, 2 fingers of cappuccino beige head with a shiny look of sugar bubbling and caramelizing in a pan, nice ring of lacing.

S: Sour in a slight malt vinegar way, fruity, complex fruit of apples and pears, nectarines and plums, prunes as well. A coke like quality.

T: Prunes and plums, light sweetness, light sourness, malt as in a dark malt rye bread sort of way. An acidic and lightly bitter finish. Some toffee notes. Fruity and floral notes.

M: Medium light body with a juice like weight, medium high slightly foamy carbonation. Relatively dry.

O: Makes me feel like I’m in some middle age village in in Belgium, drinking from a mug of fresh local brew as some dim lit pub. Delicious, fresh and complex. Bought and drank in Asheville, NC June 17, 2014. Great brew, in a style that is fast becoming my favourite. Gets more sour with sipping.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,098 ratings.