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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

2,063 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2063
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: 2,063 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of tgbljb
tgbljb

Pennsylvania

2.83/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured a deep red-brown color with sparse, slightly-off white head. Smell is very tart and fruity. Taste is somewhat of a shocker. Extremely tart and sour, enough to make my mouth pucker. Finish is more tartness. Had trouble finishing half a bottle. Not my style of beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2005 18:08:54 | More by tgbljb
Photo of rajendra82
rajendra82

Georgia

3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The brown murky body of this beer was topped with a smallish off-white head, giving this beer quite a rough hewn look, not unattractive, just lacking charisma. Aromatically this was very interesting, with a vinegary sour smell and some apple cider like notes. The taste was basically replicating fermented apple cider, with a puckering tart sourness, apple skin like astringency, and a touch of spiciness. Come to think of it, this looks a lot like unfiltered apple juice as well. This will be very refreshing and thirst quenching, if you happen to like the taste of apple cider. I would love to try this one mulled one day.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2005 04:29:48 | More by rajendra82
Photo of twelvsies
twelvsies

Maine

3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I haven't had a lot of flemish reds, but what I have experienced of the style I love. So I'm trying to branch out a bit and explore. Picked this up out of the blue. Beautiful color on this one, cabinet brown with red hues, but really no head at all, reminiscent of a gueuze. I don't particularly know if this style is "supposed" to have a decent head or not, but I'm thinking no since it's on the sour side. Smell is all over the place. Sour cherry comes to mind first, with other sweeter fruits backing it up. Taste is ok - a little bit of a let down from the smell. Tart, but not overly so, but all of the sweet fruity complexity in the smell is absent in the taste. A little watery to be honest. I'm not one of those guys that needs their taste buds destroyed by every beer at all, but this tastes a little bland to me. The smell is making me crave something better that I can't get in the taste. I think if they stepped this up a bit - a little more sour, a little more complex - it would be great. Not a bad beer, drinkable, but doesn't hold my interest.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2005 02:19:22 | More by twelvsies
Photo of GCBrewingCo
GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the chalice clear deep amber brown with a white head which retreated quickly to the edges of the surface but lasted to lace the glass.

The aroma was acidic and lightly sour with a fruity aroma of cherries and berries melded with corn sweetness and earthiness.

The flavor was just barely sour and lacking in complexity. The sourness exhibited in the aroma was lacking in the flavor. The flavor did contain a slight cherry fruitiness, a nice crispness and some corn flavors, but exhibited no real complexity.

The finish was dry with just some slight fruit flavoring of cherries. The body was The aroma really leads one astray and the flavor just cannot backup the promise made by the aromatics. Highly drinkable, but devoid of character.

11.2 ounce bottle, code date on back is 16DC.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2005 22:07:33 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This red ale is brown in color with a nice head. It is very cloudy and full of small, tight bubbles.

Smell – The sour aroma is rather dull and muted by a malt that almost smells toasted in a way. I can pick up some darkly sweet citrus notes as well, giving this one a decent nose.

Taste – The sourness really kicks things up at the taste, to the extent that it’s about all I can distinguish. The light fruiting wants to come out and play but is squashed like a small bicycle seat engulfed in the ass of a circus fat woman.

Mouthfeel – The carbonation is the strong point of this barely-legal medium-bodied floozie. Otherwise this tease disappoints.

Drinkability – This sour ale went down OK but was nothing special and came in a tad under par for this prolific Belgian brewery.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2005 01:32:20 | More by RoyalT
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a two-finger white head that fades quickly to a ring leaving no lace. Cloudy amber color. Light bodied and light carbonation. Nose is sour cherry . No sweetness here starts and finishes with a sour cherry taste. Clean, tart finish. $5.25 for a 330ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2005 22:35:39 | More by jdhilt
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler

Pennsylvania

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

This poured with a great, thick brownish head, but it dissipated all too quickly, leaving behind a thin, wispy reminder. The color is a deep ruby red/brown. The nose is very tart with an underlying smell like toast right from the toaster. It has a thick, almost creamy mouthfeel and a flavor that is very reminiscent of SweetTarts from childhood. It has what I can best describe as a candy-like sweetness, but offset/balanced by an extremely tart flavor. The finish reveals this dichotomy to a greater degree, with me being unable to pin down either sweet or tart, but more like both at once. This is very enjoyable and I would certainly have more than one on a hot summer's day, when the beer would be quite refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2005 18:25:31 | More by woodychandler
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
ViveLaChouffe

Georgia

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

Pours an opaque reddish-brown with a 1/2 inch tan head. Smells of sour cherry. Acidic and winlike with hints of vinegar. lightly sweet. Tart black currant.

Taste is sour up front. A puckering sourness. Sour cherry and wild berry. Acidic and fruity but certainly not sweet. Mouth is a bit thin cold but fill sout as the beer warms. This is no Rodenbach, but like Rodenbach this beer delivers the sour in Flemish Sour Red.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2005 03:31:45 | More by ViveLaChouffe
Photo of blitz134
blitz134

California

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

Initially a really strong aroma as the cap was popped. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come.

Poured a predominately brown color with fainting hits of a garnet deep in the body. Head was just barely off white and disappeared rather quickly to only a circlet of bubbles around the outer edges.

Aroma is slightly sweet and has some hints of bread. But mixed in with all of that is a tart granny smith apple aroma with some other dark fruits. There is an overall sour candy smell to the whole thing. Nothing in the aroma is overly strong but nicely balanced.

Holy sh!t at the tartness of this on the first sip. This is the first beer to actually wrench on my tastebuds a bit and I love every bit of it. Overall there is a dry mouthfeel as this goes down but still coats the mouth well. The taste, as I said above, is extremely tart and consists mainly of apples. I don't pick up too much extra from the flavor as the tartness dominates. I'm torn between a 4 and a 4.5 for the taste. I want to give it a higher score b/c of the uniqueness of the flavor but I feel it fits with the common flavor profile of the style. Additionally the flavor seems a bit one sided compared to other flemish reds that I have had.

Mouthfeel is dry and coating at the same time but a little thin.

This one gets a good drinkability rating but the tartness might become overbearing after a while. Its still good though.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2005 02:51:13 | More by blitz134
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
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,063 ratings.