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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

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

2,060 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2060
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: 2,060 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of nortmand
nortmand

Virginia

4.6/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear ruby red with a 2 finger tan head that leaves nice lace.

High lactic acid in the nose. Also a ton of fresh strawberry aroma. Awesome.

Sweet mixed berries on the tip of the tongue. By mid tongue there is a mild lactic astringency. Very light bitterness as well.
Leaves a metallic twang aftertaste.

Low to medium bodied, a refreshing, lightly "sour" beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2006 16:47:28 | More by nortmand
Photo of BlindPig
BlindPig

Pennsylvania

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

A- 1/4" tan head on a clearish dark amber body when poured into a flute. Nice thickish lacing that sticks to side of glass.
S- You can smell the sourness. Maybe some malts hidden in the strong sour smell. Some grassy hops with earth tones? Maybe some woody notes in it also?
T- A big strong sour taste. Almost like sour grapes with that same dry finish. Causes some puckering (first proper sour beer). Some wood notes in it too. Some sour cherries or some other kind of fruit that follows that like raspberries or something. It is quite refreshing and the more I drink the more I like it.
M- Thinner in the body but when it sticks after you swallow it almost makes it seem like a thicker body. Low carbonation.
D- First one of this style. Don't think I'm a huge fan of it but it is good. I would probably keep one of these if I could get it just for those occasions when it would sound great.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2006 05:50:23 | More by BlindPig
Photo of grub
grub

Ontario (Canada)

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

DrJay hooked me up with this one. thanks jay!

pours a deep ruby red, nearly brown, with a half inch of dense off-white head.

aroma is nice. distinct sourness. fruity, cherry and raspberry. slightly vinous.

taste is good. nice moderate sourness. mild acidity. cherry and a bit of raspberry. sweet, but not syrupy. slightly woody. at first i thought this beer was a little thin/watery, but it really grew legs once it warmed a little. still feels a bit lacking, but good.

mouthfeel is nice. carbonation level feels a touch low.

drinkability is good. an interesting beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2006 01:51:08 | More by grub
Photo of DogFood11
DogFood11

California

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

11.2 oz bottle poured into a smallish tulip. Good looking brew. Red/amber body with a whispy head that leaves continental lace.

Certainly has a tart and sour edge but overall this has some balance considering the style. Some wooded backer adds to the depth. Cherries and sour apple enter the picture and the tart edge has some similarities to sweet tarts candy. Some hints of Rhubarb here and there with a touch of ripe grape. Pretty dry finish.

Notes: I liked it. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Blending old and young beers when done right is awesome. This one is not in the elite category to me but more of a nice representation that stays in the safe zone.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2006 04:11:46 | More by DogFood11
Photo of kimcgolf
kimcgolf

Georgia

3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured to a murky brown, with okay head but little lacing. Aroma was the usual vinegary smell, but nothing else seemed present. Flavor was extra sour, and while I detected a hint of fruit, it was difficult to really tell what it was. Other Flemish Sours tend to be sour, then slide into a sweet aftertaste. This hits you with very sour start, and then sweet, with little transition. It also tended to be a little watery. I really have learned to like Flemish Sours, but this one, while good, was not one of the best.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2006 12:13:56 | More by kimcgolf
Photo of SacoDeToro
SacoDeToro

California

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

Poured a deep reddish brown with a dense tan head that faded to a nice lace.

The aroma of the beer was of sweaty horse hair and that distinct Belgian lactic tang. No hops or maltiness was detectable in the aroma.

The flavor was predominantly tart cherries with notes of vanilla and cinnamon. There were some slight solvent flavors typical of this style.

The carbonation was good, but the mouthfeel could've been a touch fuller to add some body.

Overall, a very drinkable Flanders red ale. Not too over the top with tartness.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2006 03:45:30 | More by SacoDeToro
Photo of Fugazme
Fugazme

Nebraska

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes:

Hazy/murky... dull brown with flickers of amber.
Head dissipates quickly leaving a soapy cover consisting of various bubble sizes... each swirl brings forth more and creates a nice head.

Aroma is sweet and sour... bubblegum, musty, mint, moldy oranges... reminds me of a produce cooler in a grocery store... in a good way.

Puckery lemon... soda-like... sour apple, granny smith... apple juice. A slight bit of grain. I like it.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2006 15:24:18 | More by Fugazme
Photo of FightingEntropy
FightingEntropy

Minnesota

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got down to the Blue Nile to have a draft of Monk's Flemish Red, and it was really worth the trip. I had a draft at Monk's a year ago, and rated this one higher. For this tasting, the beer poured high with a thick, off white head with lots of small carbonation bubbles which drops to a thin lingering foam that resembles a tan oil slick. Only a small amount of lace hangs on the edge. It is a truly red red ale, dark cherry in color with golden highlights that almost shimmers. Sour fruit fills your nose, mostly cherry, but also raisins/currants along with a light tinge from the oak too. The smell is less complex than the sour/sweet/tart/sour taste--like those expensive dark cherries you let set an extra day or two in the fridge before eating. The malt sweetness is strong enough to try hard to balance, but in the end lose by a bit to the complex yeasty sourness. Perfect. Really enjoyed this beer, but had to head home after two because a third would have knocked me for a loop. Hope that my life allows me to get back for another draft of this very cool beer of an underdone style. Take my review for what it is--I switch back and forth between barleywine and Flanders red as my favorite styles--I like strong, sour, and in your face beers that have strong opposing flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

10-08-2006 14:48:30 | More by FightingEntropy
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reddish brown color, utterly transparent at the foot of the glass, with a bountiful head, lush, toffee-toned, creamy...very likable look.

Aroma: sour, cherries, underlying yeasty notes..that covers it!Right on target for style, without going overboard.

Taste: ooo, puckering at first, 'course I'm a sour ale wuss, apparently, than it slips away and a bite of sweetness as it leaves the mouth. Like a bite of sour cherries, then ah. Refreshing, despite the puckeration, and 3 sips in, I'm acclimated. Each subsequent meeting of glass and lip is overarchingly happy. Sour, then fruity, and a little sweet, lingering woody brown ale character at the finish.
Medium bodied, long, solid finish, tangy texture.

Fans of Flemish Sours can't go wrong with this one. They're a rabid bunch, but I know this'll please 'em.

Serving type: on-tap

09-25-2006 06:13:09 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of merlin48
merlin48

Kentucky

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

11.2 oz bottle pours a clear dark mahogany body with a small khaki head. Good retention and some patchy island chain lacing. Aroma features light malt and lots of acidic notes of sour white grapes and cherries. Mouthfeel is tart and effervescent, light bodied. Taste is dry and tart. Hints of cherries and sour white grapes. A hint of caramel supports the considerable acidic sourness. Clean and refreshing. A good example of the style, but not one of my favorites.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2006 21:30:30 | More by merlin48
Photo of RenoZymurgist
RenoZymurgist

Nevada

4.6/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I really like this beer.
Poured a deep brown color with tons of carbonation like champagne and a tan head that is very thick and leaves lots of lace.
The aroma is very crisp and has a nice tang of lactic acid with a minerally character, not blood like but metallic.
The flavor is very crisp as well and it begins with a sharp sourness that is not unpleasent at all and slowly declines after you initially taste it. There is not much malt or hops that i can detect due to the sourness taking the lead in this ale.
The mouthfeel is very nice as the sourness dosnt contribute to bite and the carbonation is surprisingly smooth for being so vivacious.
this is extremly drinkable to me and I would love to enjoy it more often but I had to fly to LA to get it so I woun't be enjoying it for a few more months.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2006 02:38:15 | More by RenoZymurgist
Photo of MaltyGoodness
MaltyGoodness

Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle

Pours a hazy brown color, kind of like a watery chocolate milk. Held to the light, there is a ruby hue that comes through.

Aroma is very sour with a light layer of malt.

Very sour upfront that leads into a malty base and a hint of hops. It's sour again on the way out, but finishes very cleanly.

Smooth texture, good carbonation.

What a good beer, very similar to Rodenbach Red. Nothing like a good Flemish ale to wake up the palate.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2006 00:31:18 | More by MaltyGoodness
Photo of Graebner
Graebner

Germany

3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a red-orange and brownish color. Little or no white lacy head.

Smells of citric and lactic sours, light biscuity malts.

Tastes of citrus and milk/cheese sourness, substantial hoppy bitterness, and light, biscuity malts. The malts begin to come through more pronouncedly as the beer warms and you drink more, and it ends up being even somewhat sweet.

The feel is smooth and refreshing. It finishes spotlessly, completely clean, only a slight hoppy bitterness to let you remind you of the great beer you just sipped. Highly carbonated, but not out of balance. It merely enhances the brew.

Overall a very drinkable beer. Sour, but very drinkable. It ends up sweetening up after a while, and it does not sour your stomach regardless. The sour is taste only on the palate, and is quite enjoyable to me. It is absolutely superb with a rich, creamy cheese like brie, camembert, Saga blue, or St. Andre. It is a quientessential Belgian beer in both taste and mouthfeel, and anyone experienced with Belgians will note the familiar characteristics. Excellent and very unique beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2006 19:20:48 | More by Graebner
Photo of mjc410
mjc410

Vermont

3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Monk's. The beer, in its tulip, comes with a very tall head. Color is light tan to luminescent copper.

Nose is of sour cherries and malt.

Tastes of mild sour cherries, malt, pineapple, pretty sweet and very acidic.

Light mouthfeel, low carbonation, and very smooth.

A good easy drinker, so much that my girlfriend stole it. Could be more complex, perhaps, but is very nice.

Serving type: on-tap

08-18-2006 17:34:48 | More by mjc410
Photo of gueuzeonhigh
gueuzeonhigh

Maine

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish-amber.
Produced a nice tightly knit sculptured head that endured my leisurely tasting session.
My glass has been empty for a while and is still laced with wisps of foam.
The nose was particularly light bearing some wisps of yeast and a hint of sourness.

This beer produced the characteristic sour flavor but its body was lighter than I had hoped for..

Also the flavor profile was thin- it bore a sour start, hints of yeast, some hops here and there and then basically collapsed leaving a mildly tart finish.

The mouthfeel along with the drinkability is cordial-- it is light enough that it might be a refreshing drink on a warm summer day.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2006 23:26:01 | More by gueuzeonhigh
Photo of jhu1995
jhu1995

Maryland

3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red with purple hues. Minimal head which quickly dissipates. Smell is slightly vinegar and sour with some sweetness. Taste is sour, vinegar-like, with some mild sweetness in the finish, mostly cherry-like. Very light and refreshing on the palate. Easy to drink, particularly for a red ale. Worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2006 03:48:12 | More by jhu1995
Photo of brushpig
brushpig

Illinois

3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Found a bottle at Sams wines in Chicago, the clerk recommended it.

I have never had a flemish sour before so I have no comparision, but I found it very interesting.

A Redish Brown Hue, with a head that was really non existant.

I smelled cherries right off, sour apples, with acidic sweetness to it.

The taste of sweet cherries was right upfront, then the sour, lightly acidic flavor. Not that complex, but a nice flavor.

The mouth feel I didn't like, the finish never finished, and left my mouth tart and sour, but not in a good way.

My tolerance for the sour and tart is not high in a beer, but the flavor was not bad. Not sure if I am a Flemish sour ale guy. I will have to try more to see.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2006 18:03:49 | More by brushpig
Photo of shbobdb
shbobdb

Indiana

2.93/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Meh.

It pours a niice red-brown with a rose head.

The smell sets up the taste, it is weak. Some sour, some sweet but nothing too much.

The taste is very meh. It reminds me less of a Flanders Red, it tastes more like a Dubbel with a slightly sour finish. Not bad, if you like Dubbels. I don't. It is also very sweet. Very sweet. I like a nice, crisp sour finish and this beer doesn't deliver.

The mouthfeel is bad. It reminds me of a quad -- both thin and thick at once. I don't like the feeling at all.

Drinkability? I'm having a hard time finishing a >12oz bottle. Would I drink it again? I could get two of Bell's Expedition for the price of this bottle, or half of Cantillon's Organic Gueze. 'Nuf said.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2006 01:38:49 | More by shbobdb
Photo of hopsaplenty
hopsaplenty

Virginia

3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz brown bottle, 16DC on the back label.

Murky, deep cordovan with ox blood highlights. Pillowy, soft tan head of mixed size bubbles that crackles as it slowly settles leaving a few splotches of lace. Fat carbonation bubbles stick to the glass, but do not move. The aroma is mildly tart with woody tones and a modest dose of balsamic vinegar. There is a minimal amount of funkiness that works with the sugar sweet aromas. Initially, tart and lactic acidic, but not overly so. There is a woody tone that surfaces in the middle. A sweetness arrives to provide a bit of balance, but the finish is dominated by the acidic edge that pulls at the back corners and lingers. There is a tannic component as well as a clearly vinegar, think thin balsamic, tone. Medium-light body, the carbonation is bountiful and the acidic flavors seems to add lightness, while also leaving the mouth fairly clean. Tasty, and the acidic nature makes this thirst quenching. Perhaps not sessionable, but definitely worthy of returning to over time.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2006 11:57:30 | More by hopsaplenty
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
TheLongBeachBum

California

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

Presentation: 11.2fl.oz brown glass bottle sealed with a standard crown cap. Main and neck label are the same as the BA Avatar. No strength or freshness listed.


Appearance: Ruby chestnut body with a nice looking light tan colored head that stayed at 1” deep for a short while, even when it settled a uniform cap covers the surface. Conditioning seems low, but the overall appearance is solid. Soft Belgian lacing is persistent.

Nose: Saggy soft sour aroma with a wet wood nose. Like rotting bark after a rain storm in the forest, the nose seems to impart a dying freshness. Gentle funk and a delicate dark spice hint.

Taste: Woody feel, damp cloth and soured malts blend with a background lactic lace. A little reticent with a faded sourness seems to allow the yeast to break through here and there.

Mouthfeel: Light body that struggles to maintain a medium overall projection. Can feel thin but it certainly does not feel wanting, the low density adds to the Drinkability here in this case.

Drinkability: A refreshing libation, the low end sourness and laid back light body all conspire to lend a comfort angle that makes this hard to put the glass down.

Overall: I have not seen this one on the West Coast before, so when I spied this lone bottle on the shelves at Hi-Times in Costa Mesa I snapped up the chance to try it again. Hmmmm, nice enough, but a bit of a let down, I think that the draft version is much better, the bottle just seems to lacks balls.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2006 05:25:38 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of Phatz
Phatz

Pennsylvania

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

I enjoyed this beer but it is really freakin tart. I mean like vinegar. Lots of vinegar.

Appearance: Dark amber copper color with a halo.

Smell: Lots of sour apple orchard aroma. The smell of apples that have cooked a bit in the sun. Sour and sweet, acidic and fruity, cherries and berries, galore.

Taste: VERY acidic. Vinegarish. Sour apple and cherries in the flavor with a lactic acid attribute. This beer definitely takes some warming up to. It is a grow on you beer and *Not* one I would consider 'easily' approachable. The aftertaste is sour and astringent but has sweet sugars drawing lines in the tartness as well. This beer border on cloying but manages to walk the line and come out just fine; making this a very unique one to try.

Mouthfeel: A medium light body that has just enough carbonation to keep it feely somewhat airy through all the dry astringent character.

Drinkability: As harsh as I may have made this beer sound, it left an impression on me and I wanted more.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2006 07:55:07 | More by Phatz
Photo of barleywinebrewer
barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

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

Having been through a local gueze and the requisite rodenbach examples I can get I thought I'd try this one. Good choice as far as my experience goes:

A - Nice amber brown with a minimal white head which faded quickly.

S - Citric / sour with a underlying sweet malt / cherry aroma.

T - Tart cherries, light waves of sour with a rich sweet malt backbone.

M -medium bodied. Dry in the finish. refreshing without the pucker factor.

D - This is a sour ale I could enjoy year round. Nice on the porch on a warm day!

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2006 15:40:33 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of deuschbag
deuschbag

California

4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml. bottle pored into a wine glass. pores a beautiful ruby red color with a perfect light tan head that stays threwout the whole session and leaves great lacing. everything about the appearance is perfect.
i smell some sour cherries, vinegar and some chocolate malts.

i taste lots of cherries. lots of sourness in the background with vinegar. chocolaty malt aftertaste. a nice and very surprising taste over-all.

mouthfeel is medium bodied but a little intimidating from its sourness at first but after the first couple sips it's pretty easy to comsume and over-all very smooth.

this is my first time drinking a sour tasting beer and i am extrememly surprised. truly an easy beer to drink and a great experience for me. this was a good introduction to the style for me.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2006 23:24:25 | More by deuschbag
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruby red with a bit of a brown hue and quite clear. The fine, light beige head showed good retention and produced a solid sheet of lace on the glass. Malt sweetness and sour fruit (cherries) in the aroma, along with a hint of leather. Tart berry fruitiness balanced the moderate malt quite nicely. Some sour cherry as well, also earthy and woody. It finished with lingering raspberry tartness. Light bodied with some residual sugar that gave it a slightly syrupy feel. Very thirst quenching and highly drinkable. Even with the rest of the line-up at Monk's Cafe, I had to have a second glass before moving on.

Serving type: on-tap

06-20-2006 02:40:02 | More by DrJay
Photo of nriech
nriech

Virginia

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

Little head, lots of carbonation though. Light ruby color. Served in a snifter and picked up some sour notes but not as strong as many other Flemish reds.

The taste to me was a little bland. Sure theres a bit of sour in there and maybe, a little oaky fruit tone but overall seemed a little weak to me. There is also of course a bit of acidity to the mouthfeel but this quickly disappears. I wouldnt say this is a newcomers sour ale since it doesnt seem to really catch all of what a belgian red can encompas. Its still an ok brew though Im rating the smell and taste down a little since this kind of beer really should be more powerful.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2006 00:49:05 | More by nriech
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,060 ratings.