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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
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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.
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Reviews: 1,095 | Hads: 2,741
Photo of ordybill
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 OZ bottle into a pint glass this beer is a dark reddish amber with a yhick tan head. The aroma is big on grapes with a nice tart flavir, very smooth.

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Photo of leantom
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Alright. Probably just should've bought one bottle, though. Here goes:

A: Actually, I liked it very much. Well-carbonated (lots of effervescence), massive head that lingers, and OK lacing. Pours a dark murky brown, but I liked the appearance - very Belgian.

S: Like a sour homebrew. Thick yeast, some cherries/raspberries, prunes, raisins, and brown sugar and molasses. However, it's very musty - can't get over the homebrew smell. Smells somewhat oxidized and old.

T: Good. Cherries much more prominent; very jolly rancher-esque sour bite on the lips. Lots of raspberries - like a lambic. Also a good portion of brown sugar/molasses. Very yeasty. Overall, a good mix of dark malt and bready yeast.

F: Good. Nice and thick.

O: Good concoction. A little sour for my liking, but this comes with the territory.

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Photo of fitzy84
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Had on tap at Monks Cafe. The beer had an amber-brown appearance with a good sized head with great retention and nice lacing on the sides. Dominant aromas I smelled included cherries, berries, and malts. In terms of taste, I got more of a raspberry feel with a generally tart and sour flavor. The beer was surprisingly refreshing and had a good watery body with medium carbonation. Overall, a refreshing beer with some interesting fruity flavors.

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Photo of Radome
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 330 ml bottle.

L - Attractive medium brown color with lots of red. Head is light tan, thick, creamy, moussy and long-lasting. Tons of creamy lace.

S - Appetizing malt aromas of graham crackers, light molasses, raisins and prunes. Overlaid is a whiff of "aged" aromas such as raspberries, sweet grape juice, and even vinegar. No hops or alcohol on the nose. It smells delicate and dainty.

T - The flavors are not as fruit-filled as the aromas. Light graham cracker malt. Light raisins and prunes, then a gentle vinegar note late in the palate.

F - Light body, restrained but creamy carbonation. No hops bitterness detectable, but a bit of vinegar-like acetic bite keeps it from being cloying. No alcohol heat.

O - A great example of the style, made with a delicate touch. Not as full of flavor and complexity as some, but overall clean, gentle and pleasant.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours ruby brown with a very light tan, near two finger head. Fair retention before thinning out to a consistent layer of suds across the top. Spotty lacing.

Smell - Tart, sour notes, like cherry or green apple, with an underlying must character.

Taste - Cherry and green apple tartness. Hints of caramel and butterscotch. Lightly vinegar in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with moderate carbonation. Smooth, slick texture. Goes down easy despite the tart flavors.

Overall - Decent tartness, while the caramel and butterscotch undertone gives this some decent depth. I wouldn't be opposed to buying this again, though it's not exactly my favorite style of brew. That counts for something, right?

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep, opaque, ruby/mahogany brown. Very thick, light brown head that is surprisingly frothy. A very nice film. Incredible retention, and leaves significant lacing.

Smells sour, but not overly so. Funky Belgian yeast. Fermented apples and cherries. Kind of musty.

Initial tartness/sourness subsides and I taste cherries, or some sort of dark fruit. Maybe red grapes too. The yeast starts to come through, but is not real prominent. A little bit of apple juice and some wood. More sourness in the end along with my least favorite part, a slightly metallic and bitter aftertaste. Almost like an asprin on your tongue. I don't find it to be overly sour, which I like. It doesn't mask all of the flavors.

Nice body. Slightly prickly

I was enjoying this one a lot until the bad aftertaste. Not sure if this is common. This is not my first sour, but I have not had many, and this is my first Old Bruin style. I am definitely interested in trying more. Just not at this price though. $4.75 for a single.

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Photo of breadwinner
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I thought this little Flemish ale worked pretty nicely. I appreciated its light tartness, certainly not a sour for sour fiends, but really quite pleasant, and working in concert with a raisiny/dark berry-ish flavor and touches of funk to create a nicely drinkable brew.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle served in a tasting glass.

Very dark red with a nice brown head. Clear and beautiful. Sour cherries and a little sour funk in the nose. Thin mouthfeel, sour cherries, tart but not too much. Heavy medicinal flavor but not in a bad way. No oak character, I guess that vanished generations ago. Wonderful Flemish Red.

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Photo of alexanderplatz
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Like Rodenbach Classic Red this is an easy to drink sour beer. The flavor is slightly tart, sweet and dominated by berry flavors. It is not hoppy at all. Descriptions of sour beers often feature terms evoking barnyard odors, which to me implies an acquired taste that may be not for me. But I didn't find Monk's to have any sort of challenging/weird/offensive flavors at all. If I had to use a single word to describe it, I would say "tangy."

I find one bottle very drinkable but the sweetness is such that it isn't the sort of beer I would drink two of back to back.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 fl oz. bottle, no bottled on date present. My first encounter with this beer and this brewery, acquired the 4 pack at the local beer store.

Poured into a Unibroue La Fin Du Monde tulip glass.

A - Pours a murky brownish red body, a bit more clarity than I would have thought, with three fingers of fluffy pinkish-brown tinted head that stays for a while.

S - Aroma is pretty bland. A touch of lactic sour, green apples, mixed berries, and some mustiness.

T - Not sour at all, in my opinion. Minor tart. Lots of mixed berries. Taste at times almost reminds me of berry juice concentrate. Very plain and boring.

M - Smooth, wet, & sticky. Light-bodied, low carbonation. Easy-drinking, but not quenching.

Overall, a very plain and boring example of the style, I'd have to say. Definitely not worth the $15.99 price tag.

Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale -----3.5/5

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured on tap in a tulip, the beer is a bright, crystal clear, straw coloring with a thin, clingy, white head. Aromas of toasted grains, subtle grape must, and lemon. Flavors are toasted forward, with a subtle lemon tart and sweet, white grape must, and floral highlights. Very balanced, light, and refreshing. The aftertaste is tart and sweet, with a dry, crisp, clean finish. Very drinkable.

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Photo of MLoxxer
3.16/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

I enjoyed this beer on tap at Yia Yia's in Lincoln Nebraska. Although the head consisted of larger bubbles retention was very good. Living up to its reputation its flavor does have a very lambic-like start with a sour finish. Mouthfeel is moderately tanniny. I could detect no malt or hop character which leads me to believe the base is wheat and fruit. This isn't a beer for everyone but it does have an adventurous flavor.

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Photo of Slack
4.47/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mahagoney in color with about 1/2 inch of head and no lacing.

Aroma is sour, acidic, with sweet undertones. Am picking up vinegar and grape.

Taste is acid up front mixed with wine. Finish is sweet grape.

Mouthful is light and crisp with high carbonation.

This is a nice beer that is very easy to drink. I paired it with some BBQ and enjoyed it even further.

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Photo of Qbdoo
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark, dark brown, almost black with frothy tan head. Smells like cherries and tastes similar. Starts with a touch of sweetness but finishes super dry and crisp. Light-bodied. I am not a lover of sours but this is the best I've had and one I will drink again.

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Photo of BenwayPHD
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a reddish brown with a full three finger head. The appearance bothers me. It's too clean. I want to see the funk in a sour beer. The nose is also a letdown. It smells like sour, sweet, and slightly citrussy, but it's all a bit too mellow. The flavor is similar. It's good but not great. I like a sour that punches me in the gut. This feels safe. It's a sour for people who are new to sours.

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Photo of stompilator
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.5oz bottle into a snifter.

A - Poured a hazy dark brown, slimy, off-white head.

S - Heavy, almost astringent sourness, akin to paint fumes. Slight bit of caramelly grain aroma.

T - Initial sour taste follows the nose, very harsh and vinegar-y with some stone fruit notes.. Tartness builds to a peak and fades into a nibbling residual sourness, allowing the slightly sweet grain and yeast spice to really shine.

M - A tad dry, but nice carbonation and medium body.

O - The astringency of the sourness masks the complex flavor profile a bit, but is still an interesting and evolving brew.

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Photo of Libeertarian
3.01/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not too dark of a brown in the stream out of the bottle, but very dark, and like a garnet in the glass. Medium retention tan head with fine-bubbled, rocky cap coming higher than the brim of the tulip glass this beer was poured into. Aromas of vinegar, fresh paint, wood, and sweet esters or alcohols. In the taste, there's a light fruitiness, cherries I'd say, throughout and more of that fresh paint like quality in the back, to distinguish this from watered down carbonated vinegar. For this, it's not bad if sipped, may even start to grow on you. Very bubbly, lighter body than expected, good level of astringency to match the lingering sourness, as well as warming sensation.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
4.19/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into tulip a clear, light brown color with a foamy white, two finger head. Nose was a bit of dark fruit and a lactic sourness combined. Taste was refreshingly tart with an underlying stone fruit sweetness and light body. Finish is on the sour side but appropriately so. Nice representation of the style and I would certainly drink it again.

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Photo of g_lincoln
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

One of the most full-flavored and surprisingly crisp beers that I've ever had the pleasure to drink. Nice, crisp flavor of red berries and a very clean and bright finish.

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Photo of JuliaCoolia
4.82/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is my first and only sour so far so it's hardly fair for me to judge. However, it's one of my favorite beers to date. It's crisp and acidly with a little fruity flavor. Bonus: your friends won't steal your beer.

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Photo of timontheroad
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

10 oz pour into a snifter at the Shamrock Inn in Pueblo, CO. Very nice deep ruby color, opaque, with a thick white two-finger head. Great retention and lacing. The nose was lots of tart cherry up front, with some sweet raisins, and fresh grapes. The flavor was identical to the aroma, with lots of tart cherry, almost like drinking a cherry pie. Fairly thin, but felt very nice on the palate, the tartness hit the spot. Overall, this was pretty good, not quite on the level of a Rodenbach Grand Cru, but still tasty and well worth drinking.

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Photo of BeerSnobLeprechaun
4.8/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Served in snifter at Craft Ale House (Pottstown, PA).

L- Transluscent brown with light receding lace around perimeter.

S- Huge malt vinegar nose with a hint of sweet fruit in background, a bit of dirty bar-skunk beer in nose.

T- Great brown ale flavor in front then a blast of HUGE malt vinegar flavor resides to a sweet finish. This taste I have only found in the kegged beer. The bottle has a much thinner ale taste and a mush lesser acidic character. I have yet to understand how this is so, except that the kegged beer is still 'alive' whereas all aging has been stopped by bottling.

F- Flat mouthfeel and minimal carbonation..

O- My favorite Belgian sour of all-time. There are always a few lingering in my bar for that special occassion and always Monk's Cafe (Philly) and Craft Ale House (Pottstown) are always on my travel destination when I'm in eastern PA just for another precious sample of this amazing creation.

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Photo of mwave
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been eyeballing this in the store for a few years. Finally uncapped one tonight and it is excellent. Pours a beautiful light mahogany with a hint of cherry. Creamy head which dissipates quickly, the nose is sweet and raisiny, and the first sip is a lively balance of sweet and sour. Nice fizzle on the tongue, and the tight carbonation adds to the zest. It's definitely grapey with some prune and oak woodiness, a touch of spice, all in all an excellent and unique brew. At $4 a pop that's $24 a 6, it night not be an everyday but I'm into the gose and sours now and this is special.

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Photo of DannyS
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle, 12 oz. mason jar glass.

Look - Deep, dark reddish brown. Almost black. Nice tan colored head that leaves only loose dots of lacing.

Smell - Vinegar and citric acids mixing with dark, tantalizingly sweet fruit.

Taste - hits with an acidic kick at the start, but quickly mellows into dark tart/sweet cherry and grape. I actually wish it were a bit more aggressively sour but this is a great balance, morphing from tart to fruity to oakey & leathery and back around with each sip.

Feel - Active carbonation and a thin body. doesn't detract from it but it doesn't add to the overall enjoyment of the beer.

Overall - This one packs quite a nice flavor punch. This could be a great intro to sour beers for the leery, as well as a standby for the sour fiend that wants something not too astringent to drink every day.

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Photo of leroybrown10
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rusty reddish-brown. Ruby highlights when held to the light. Large off-white colored head which disappears slowish but leaves almost no lacing behind.

Aroma is sweet grapes, tart cherry, leather, and mild vinegar. Sour berry and citrus.

Again, starts with sweet grape notes. Tart cherry comes through right afterward. Leather, oak, and mild acetic acid. Sour lemon and raspberry. A touch of vanilla at the end.

Medium bodied with fairly high carbonation. Sweet to start but tartness quickly comes to prominence and lingers.

Very tasty and tart. Flavors blend well. Easy drinking and crispness from the carbonation makes it rather refreshing.

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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.