Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
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Ratings: 2,290 | Reviews: 1,038 | Display Reviews Only:
3.65/5 rDev -4.9%
Reddish brown with almost no head. Cherry aroma. Well malted, more so and less yeasty than the brewery's own version of the flemish sour. Sour, it makes its point, and it's not overdone, there is some balance. Had a bottle again 6.5 years later and its got some cherry but in fact a stouty aroma. Just OK and rerated.
11-28-2006 02:10:34 | More by Sammy
4.85/5 rDev +26.3%
11.2 fl. oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass.
A - Pours a malt vinegar copper color with a big foamy head that fades to a small cap. Lacing on this beer is quite good.
S - Smelling it right out of the bottle it smells like sweet vinegar. After pouring into the glass I get a sour fruit essence. It smells very much like some lambics I have had in the past.
T - Taste is of tart fruits (sour cherry/raspberry) with little bitterness. There is a sour aspect to this beer but it works well with the sweetness to create an even taste. The taste reminded me very much of lambics I have had in the past.
M - Great carbonation and dryness create a refreshing beer. Drinks down very smoothly.
D - This is a terrific beer that I purchased on a whim. I will definitely be purchasing more of these.
03-29-2010 05:46:27 | More by UCLABrewN84
3.13/5 rDev -18.5%
Bottle picked up at Rick's in Alexandria a little while back. Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass. Thought it was an appropriate time to crack this after getting home from my first visit to Monk's.
Pours a nice crimson color with some really nice lacing after a white head falls down. Not much light makes its way through. The nose has some mild cherry character plus some sweet malt. There's a touch of oak there along with some light acetic character. A bit of sweetness carries through. The flavor is somewhat tart with a bit of acid, along with a mild acetic character. A bit of oak and cherry. The mouthfeel is medium and has a dry finish. A decent example of the style, though nothing too memorable, unfortunately.
04-26-2011 15:29:42 | More by Thorpe429
3.98/5 rDev +3.6%
A: The beer poured hazy dark reddish brown in color into a snifter glass with a finger sized off white head that faded into a thin layer of bubbles that consistently covered the surface. A light amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: There are sweet and sour aromas of cherries in the nose along with some notes of oak.
T: Like the smell, there is a good balance between sweetness and sourness in the flavors, which have notes of tart cherries and hints of other fruits such as apples. The finish is slightly sweet.
M: It feels light-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is extremely easy to drink because it has well-balanced flavors and neither the sweetness nor sourness is overpowering.
08-24-2010 03:16:41 | More by metter98
4.08/5 rDev +6.3%
Overcast, orange-infused apple cider brown on the coaster... lucent dark cherry when held up to my sunlit front window. The pale caramel colored cap looked (and sounded) excessively fizzy immediately after the pour, but has settled down nicely and may last for a bit. It looks like melted styrofoam, though, and lacks character. A few blips of lace is about it.
The aroma is classic for the style and is immensely appealing. It's sour, snappy, tart, tangy, acidic, acetic... take your pick. If forced to come up with a difference between this beer and others of the style that I've tried, I'd say this one is less funky than some.
You better be a fan of SOUR if you plan to drink and enjoy Flanders reds. I can't imagine a more salivary gland-squinching beverage than this one that would still be drinkable. I feel a need to wait for my mouth to unpucker between each sip. Unripe fruit (cherries and green apples especially) comes to mind, although I know that no fruit is used.
Again, funkiness is at a minimum. That isn't to say the yeast strain is a slacker. It's just that it excels at acid production and is otherwise exceptionally clean. Even though my Flanders red experience is minimal, I feel that Monk's Cafe, while perhaps not the best on the planet, is as classic and as representative of the style as any other.
The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium, with just a hint of stickiness on the finish. I'm amazed at how well the airy, well-carbonated, exceptionally clean mouthfeel dovetails with the flavor of the beer. Any heavier or more clingy and it wouldn't work nearly as well.
No matter how much I enjoy a good Flanders red, I'm perfectly content to go weeks or even months between bottles since my tolerance for sour is a fraction of my tolerance for bitter. Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Red is an excellent version, though. If I'm ever in Philadelphia, I'll make it a point to stop in at Monk's for a glass. What the hell, maybe two.
05-07-2006 13:55:22 | More by BuckeyeNation
3.83/5 rDev -0.3%
Appearance: Pours a hazy garnet color with a one inch head that caps nicely and leaves traces of foam down from the original head line
Smell: Sweet and sour cherry yoghurt and a bit of wood
Taste: Starts out with a comfortable blend of sweet and lactic sour cherry that builds in sourness, mid-palate; after the swallow, the wood flavor joins in and blends to the finish, which leans to the sweet rather than the sour
Mouthfeel: Somewhat thick and yoghurty with plenty of carbonation
Drinkability: Not as complex as some other Flemish Reds, this is nonetheless very enjoyable, particularly for those who are not enamored by sour beers but like an occasional stroll on the sour side
03-22-2007 01:40:59 | More by brentk56
4/5 rDev +4.2%
A slightly sourish and sweetly malted Flander's Red with tart cherries, wine-like vinous, oaky-tawny beer with flawed flavors of cider, vinegar, and metal flavor.
Maroon and gold, the beer gives a slight haze and a dainty head that struggles for life during the first half pour but then succumbs. No lacing or legging.
Cherry flavor leads the fruity way with hints toward under rippened berries, crabapples, and lemons. Acidic notes bridge the gap between fruitiness and lactic sourness. Before the beer gets too tart, the malts wrangle the wilder elements and engulf them in a sweeter and chocolatey way. Tanic oak-like flavors give balance in the absence of hops.
Palate cleansing lactic tartness gives medium astringency and acidic bite early, but the malts kick in for a smoother and sweeter finish.
A delightful beer but not as clean or controlled as more noted beers in the style; like Rodenbach.
03-05-2006 17:21:30 | More by BEERchitect
4/5 rDev +4.2%
Bottle: Poured a brownish red color beer with a medium off-white foamy head with some pretty good retention. Aroma is quite sour and you can already feel the effect of the oak on this beer. Taste is quite acid with some subtle sweetness at the end. Cheery feels is less present then in the Rodenbach Grand Cru but can still be detected. Overall, I find this one to be a good Flemish sour ale and would even say that it seems to be underrated compared to some other Flemish Sour ale.
03-11-2008 17:59:57 | More by Phyl21ca
4.28/5 rDev +11.5%
Got this long wanted one the other day and I knew I just had to get it right into the rotation. This one I have been wanting to try as I have heard it is an outstanding version of the style. Served at cellar temp and poured into a goblet this one was consumed on 04/23/2009.
The pour was wonderful, deep and dark red in color with a light tan head that came up to a height of around two inches before settling back down and leaving tons of lace all over the sides and bottom of the glass while never really falling much below the one inch level. The aroma was lightly tart, sour cherries, hints of earthy and spicy notes and even a touch of what seemed like brown sugar or something along those lines. Rally very well done and quite complex. The flavor was a little less tart then what I would have liked but I have to admit was still done very well. Rich and full, it was never flat or boring and I have to admit I found myself returning back to it time and again for another go round.
Overall a very solid Flemish ale, not the best I have had, but this was very well put together. Highly drinkable and something that I would not turn my nose at if I ever received it again, very well done.
04-24-2009 14:57:49 | More by mikesgroove
3.93/5 rDev +2.3%
Bottle purchased at Total Wine in Tustin and poured into an oversized wine glass.
A: An opaque reddish-brown color with an red-tinted foam which quickly subsides.
S: The nose is full of sour cherries, vinegar, and oak. There also seems to be some hints of sweetness coming through the pungent and strong aromas.
T: The taste is quite similar to the nose. The oak flavor is very prominent, as are the dark fruits. The vinegar component is a somewhat muted, compared to the aroma. Overall, the beer is tart, but not overwhelmingly so.
M: The beer is medium in body with a dry finish, and mild astringency. I enjoy this type of dryness in a beer.
D: The flavors are good, and it's certainly not a beer that will knock you over with alcohol. But, the vinegar character and the dryness lead to the beer being something you can't drink too much of.
10-31-2009 00:33:33 | More by womencantsail
4.18/5 rDev +8.9%
Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle straight from the fridge into a snifter. First time trying this style! Pours a clear bright red with a massive white head that filled over half of my snifter. Head receded after a couple minutes and left slight lacing. Aroma is sour cherries and a little funk with no hops or beer like qualities. Taste is all sour cherries, reminds me of the first time I ate candy! Carbonation explodes in your mouth and reveals tart cherries and a sweet almost sugary finish that sticks to your tongue. I couldn't put my glass down for more than a few seconds without finding myself wanting another sip. Mouthfeel is light and crisp with huge carbonation. Overall I'm glad I tried this and will be buying more on my next visit. I always enjoy trying new styles of beer and this is a prime example... really enjoyed this one.
05-04-2011 06:46:10 | More by Texasfan549
4.33/5 rDev +12.8%
Pours a bit brown but clear with a short white head.
A wonderful integration of balance and flavors! Refreshing, drinkable in the extreme. Sweet and sour and very well balanced, hint of hops, nice light sugars. Nice drink, for summer. Like an adult soft drink with noticeable bretanomyces character with undertones of balsamic and red wine vinegar, in the most pleasant sense.
07-23-2009 01:00:54 | More by GRG1313
3.55/5 rDev -7.6%
Half finger head with excellent lacing on a deep amber body which is very clear. Aroma of dark cherry, not too sweet, with caramel. Simple but many of these tend to be. Flavor is also dark cherry dominant which initially seemed too sweet but this one mellows out. The flavor tastes a little too artificial though, almost like kool aid. Light but oily body and light to moderate carbonation. Not an amazing sour ale. Not terrible just not all that memorable.
12-25-2012 03:28:32 | More by kylehay2004
3.68/5 rDev -4.2%
Pours a deep red with abrownish tint with about a 1/4 inch head that leaves some nice lacing,aroma is of sour cherries and light mineral notes.Taste is hits ya with a big sour note that slides into some stone-like qualities with that sour lemon flavor always there to linger.This style is not my cup of tea for sure but this beer is complex with alot of different flavors well made.
10-02-2003 18:59:17 | More by oberon
3.7/5 rDev -3.6%
Served in a Sloeber tulip glass.
Another one of those you have many times and realize you've yet to review it. Or maybe Im the only one? This guy pours a clear dark ruby-brown topped by a steadfast head of khaki foam. The nose comprises vinegar, tart lemon, figs, white grapes, wet grass, and black pepper. The taste holds notes of red grapes, sour raspberries, candi sugar, and a touch of honey bringing up the rear. The body is fairly light, with a moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a decent brew, but a little too timid for what it is. Something like that.
07-23-2010 00:17:56 | More by TMoney2591
3.1/5 rDev -19.3%
Alright, i've stayed away from this one for almost 4 years after a bad bottle (it was really terrible, likely infected in a bad way). Revisiting it, there are still certain character flaws, namely an unpleasant aroma (dishrag) and overcharged carbonation. Getting past that though, there were some nice flavors of grape and apple that came out as it warmed, but still somewhat one dimensional. It was prickly and overcarbonated, with astringency amplifying the tartness. None of the sweetness that was present in the 2007 bottle. Overall it wasn't terrible, but there are far better Flemish ales out there, Namely Rodenbach, La Folie, Jacobins, etc.
02-03-2007 2.7/5 rDev -29.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5
For the record, i'm a big fan of sour ales and traditional lambics. My experience with this "Flemish Red" however was seriously subpar.
Dark burgundy brown, a thin ring of bubbles skim the top.
Smells like a donkey with bad hygiene. Stale oats and musky urine...not in the good "horseblanket" way either. Artificial sweetness chimes in. A foul stank on this that surpasses Gueuze, just completely unappealing.
Taste is initially tart and medicinal, becoming sweet, then almost cloying in the finish. Notes of copper, blood, black cherry, and phenolic medicinal funk. Mouthfeel is thin, yields some mouth-watering tartness, but ultimately doesn't deliver. Some carbonation carries it along.
Hard to finish one bottle.
Notes: Not the best example of a Flanders Red, not even a good one. This seems altered from a traditional recipe to somehow cater to the US market. Skip this bastardized Flanders Red and go for the real thing, Rodenbach, Goudenband, etc.
01-21-2012 01:17:06 | More by emerge077
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,290 ratings.