Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

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BA SCORE
86
very good

1,089 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 1,089
Hads: 2,700
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.24%
Wants: 75
Gots: 343 | FT: 5
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:
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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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,089 | Hads: 2,700
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. (152 characters)

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. (247 characters)

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. (889 characters)

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. (169 characters)

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. (529 characters)

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.

TBD.

-Wade B (1,179 characters)

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. (373 characters)

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 (623 characters)

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. (451 characters)

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!

4.25 (392 characters)

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. (420 characters)

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. (333 characters)

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. (299 characters)

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. (381 characters)

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. (271 characters)

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. (898 characters)

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. (657 characters)

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. (279 characters)

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. (306 characters)

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. (1,506 characters)

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. (938 characters)

Photo of PBRmeasap1980
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smaller format bottle poured into tulip glass

A- Deep maroon/brown with sediment
S- Tart cherry, vinegar
T- Sweet and smooth, but kind of watery on the front. Cherries. I'm not really getting sour.
M- Smooth and watery
O- Not a bad drinking beer, but kind of average. I would like a sharper sourness. I'll set another one aside and see if the lacto sours some more. (366 characters)

Photo of slackattack
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into red wine glass

A- first thought was dirty river water. Started off with about half a finger of tight foam, dissipated pretty quickly, lacing was not really present

S- red wine vinegar, sour cherries in your face. Bright and acidic and pretty awesome.

T- started off following the nose, then got away from the sourness a little. Fell off toward the end for me and got a little sweet, maybe it's supposed to, but I would prefer a little more persistent bit.

M- medium to medium-full bodied. There's a definitively detectable amount of malt that I feel like is responsible for the body, not great, not terrible either.

O- like I said, if the label says sour I want and expect sour all the way. The sweetness that came through about 2 seconds into every sip was unwelcome. Didn't hate it, won't buy again though. (837 characters)

Photo of minterro
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a few weeks back at Morgan's Liquor store in Denver, poured into a snifter.

A&S: Beer is a translucent deep garnet color with no lively carbonation coming up. Pours about a finger of off white head and dissipates moderately quickly to a thin ring and some island, gobs of lacing are left once in a while. Aroma is a good mixture of tart and sour. Primarily tart cherries, sangria, along with some yeasty funk.

T&M: The taste is a little less sour than the aroma would lead you to believe. More cherries in the taste. Higher side of carbonation and lower side of body. Very drinkable.

Overall: The is a very solid beer. For sure worth a try. I will probably buy again but not very frequently due to the 5 buck pre bottle price tag. (741 characters)

Photo of Badger6
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle poured into a goblet.

Body is a deep reddish brown color with a white head that retains well, some lacing. The aroma is vinous, with some oak and malt. Hints of sourness. The tartness is immediately apparent on the tongue, with malty sweetness coming in right behind it. Very well balanced flavor. The beer is medium bodies, with a nicely carbonated feel.

Very enjoyable beer. Nicely sour, with a balanced sweetness that makes this much more accessible than many beers of this style. Easily recommend this to an adventurous taster who has never tried this style. (583 characters)

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,089 ratings.