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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

2,064 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2064
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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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 morimech
morimech

Minnesota

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

Clear crimson brown color with a large head that had very good retention before settling to a thick cap. Large amount of lacing is left on the glass. Aroma is acidic and slightly sour. Some oak as well. The label states mildly sour and that is what you get. Flavor has hints of cherries and a slight vinous quality. Mild acidity. Maybe the slightest hint of funkiness but this is a much cleaner example of a Flanders Ale. Light to medium body with carbonation that is slightly effervescent. The combination works well in sour ales. A milder and cleaner example that still has good flavor. Quite refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2010 22:27:25 | More by morimech
Photo of Pencible
Pencible

Virginia

4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a mostly clear garnet with lots of tan head.
S: It smelled very metallic, with sweet prune and earthy caramel and a little balsamic vinegar and herbal hops.
T: It tasted like sweet prune and balsamic and earthy caramel, with white vinegar and metallic tin and sour Belgian yeast. It had a mouth-watering sour aftertaste that was smooth and clean.
M: It was thin with lots of carbonation. Not normally the body I like, but it really worked well for this beer.
D: This had great complexity and balance of sweet and sour. It had very nice scent and taste, with the exception of the metallic sense. Body really helped lighten the intensity of the sourness, making this easier to drink. But it's still better as a sipping beer. Age may help improve, but it's very enjoyable fresh.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2011 16:07:56 | More by Pencible
Photo of Darkmagus82
Darkmagus82

Virginia

4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – The beer served a reddish brown color with a nice clarity. Upon swerving there is a thick white head floating atop the brew. The head sticks around for quite some time eventually fading to leave a decent level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is sweet and tart with lots of dark cherry and plum with souring notes of an apple cider vinegar and some lactic acid bacterial funk smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a sweet dark cherry and a little bit of sour grape and sour cherry. As the flavor advances it gets more and more sour and tart in nature, but maintains, all the while, a good level of sweetness. Apple cider vinegar and some funky yeast flavors accompany the souring and tart flavors at the end leaving a pleasant sweet and tart flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is one thinner and crisper side with tons of tiny carbonation bubbles. The prickly carbonation and thinner body are great for the sweet, sour and tart fruit flavors of the brew and help keep the tart from becoming too overpowering.

Overall – This is a great sour. It isn’t too heavy in any one component – not too sweet, sour, or tart, but the right blend of the three for a very enjoyably drinkable brew.

Serving type: on-tap

03-18-2013 00:38:07 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of emmasdad
emmasdad

Colorado

3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not my favorite style, but I tried it on tap at B.J.s Temecula. Pours a garnet/ruby red color, with a bit of tan lacing on top. Smells of red wine vinegar, tart cherries and lactic acid. Flavors not much different, although I detect a bit of sweetness, which plays nicely off of the sour funk. Crisp and refreshing, though I doubt I could drink more than one.

Serving type: on-tap

04-04-2010 01:17:58 | More by emmasdad
Photo of Floydster
Floydster

California

2.58/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pint at Naja's Place

Very very sour, old beer takes over taste of the younger one

Vinegar, cherries, and a little citrus in the taste, but the aroma is mostly vinegar

Very carbonated with a reddish brown color

Buddy had one with me and enjoyed it more than I did, thought it was a little sweeter than most sours, but I thought the opposite

Not my favorite flanders style

Serving type: on-tap

09-09-2007 01:06:39 | More by Floydster
Photo of bobsy
bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

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

Bottle from Volo for around $9.

Standard flanders oud bruin appearance, with a rich mahogany body and a finger of off-white head. Nice retention and lace. Sweet cour cherry nose with a light brown bread aspect. The flavour is relatively simple - sour (though not too sour) cherry, brown sugar, and very mild balsamic vinegar. Straightforward, and not all that complex, lacking a bit of a sour bite that would put it in line with some of the better examples. Medium body and carbonation is about right.

Sweet and fruity, but lacing the sourness it needs. At this point it's more Petrus than Goudenband.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2011 19:25:55 | More by bobsy
Photo of kmpitz2
kmpitz2

Tennessee

3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber color with a minimal sparse head over top with no real carbonation bubbling up. Clarity is excellent. Nose is very interesting. I get a bit of cherries and tartness, but it is also moderately grainy. Its lacking that good acetate blast that I like in my flanders red brews. It is also pretty unintense in the nose as well. Flavor is a little better. Initial taste is a very sharp, almost biting tartness. This moves to a sour cherry with a moderate acetate. Flavors are just a bit thin for what I like. Its not really grabbing my senses as other have. Feel is on the thin end of moderate with a light carbonation of tiny bubbles. This is an okay brew. Nothing really makes it pop as a stellar example. I'd like a fuller flavor on this. Seems just a touch watery.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2006 01:38:04 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of NJpadreFan
NJpadreFan

New Jersey

3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Monks Flemish Red Ale

A- Deep copper red with a thick tn head. Good chunky lacing and nice carbonation.
S- Sour cooked cherries and sour green apple.
T- Sour granny smith apples blended into cooked gooey cherries. Slight brown sugary malt pokes through.
M- Mildly tart and sour. Finishes off sugary sweet with little acidity or heartburn.

Overall- A good solid sour beer. Although I'm not a big fan of the sours this 1 is more down the middle and more my style.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2009 21:35:35 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of Mitchster
Mitchster

Michigan

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

$2.99 for a 11.2oz bottle @ Merchants. Pours out to a clear very deep mahagony, forming a medium sized tan head with good retention and solid sheets of lace. Carbonation is moderately brisk. The aroma is quite sharp and pungent, reminding me of heavily caramelized sugar and apple cider vinegar. The mouthfeel is spritzy and semi-dry with a medium-light champagne-like body. The taste opens with thankfully brief vinegar, followed by rotting cherries, apples, burgandy wine, and plenty of wood in the finish. Well-balanced for a Flemish Red, not overly syrupy or tart. Big oak character as well. Not quite up there with Goudenband or Duchesse in it's complexity, but still quite good.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2009 23:48:43 | More by Mitchster
Photo of illidurit
illidurit

California

3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear rust color with an ecru head that's fizzy but is kept alive by an etching at the bottom of my goblet. Black cherry aroma with some brown sugar and vinegar. Flavor is sweet with cherry and apple juice, a touch of vinaigrette, and some caramel. Not very sour really, and barely even tart. Definitely more sweet than anything. Body is very light, bordering on thin. Astringent dryness and a little metallic character. Overcarbonated.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2009 00:52:34 | More by illidurit
Photo of scottfrie
scottfrie

California

2.13/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

330ml bottle into Delirium Noël glass.

A: Pours an extremely dark ruby red with a thin bubbly light pinkish-brown head that faded into a fuzzy film
S: Smells strongly of sweaty socks with a touch oak and maybe a hint of cherry syrup.
T: Not sour at all. Maybe a touch tart, but for the most part this tastes like overly carbonated fruit punch. Very sweet on the palate, but luckily the finish dries up and a bit of the oak comes out. Aftertaste isn't syrupy, but there is a weird synthetic fruit flavor to it. Not particularly funky at all.
M: Tons of soda-like carbonation froths up in the mouth and then dies down into a slick, viscous finish. Off-putting.
D: Extremely disappointed by this one. The syrupy fruit flavors are almost medicinal and not pleasant. I love all styles of mouth puckering beers, but this one is just not for me.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2010 03:08:02 | More by scottfrie
Photo of Hojaminbag
Hojaminbag

Colorado

3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A ruby body with a big off-white head. Leaves some nice sticky lacing on the glass.

Smells sour, but also a vinegar quality to it.

Sour with some dark fruits and malts. Sweet. Sour mouthfeel with a dry finish.

Fairly drinkable, nothing special but pretty good.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2008 00:31:21 | More by Hojaminbag
Photo of msubulldog25
msubulldog25

Oregon

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

An 11.2 oz. bottle, poured to a small wide-mouthed wine goblet.

A: Murky rust-brown, with plentiful rising carbonation. A creamy, sandy tan head of tiny bubbles, freckled with areas of rising carbonation amidst areas of stillness.

S: Wonderfully tart/sour aroma - there goes the saliva! Musty yeast, light sour cherries, sugary lemon candy backing.

T: Sour and sweet, not quite a pucker-inducing, tongue-curling intensity. Cherries, sour green grapes, hints of vanilla & oak barrel, especially in the finish. Dryness of tart apples.

M: Good, crisp carbonation...refreshingly light. Some clinging sweetness and lasting woody/vinous sourness.

D: A tasty Flanders Red Ale, an eminently drinkable example of a style I enjoy alot. Well blended, good aromas and flavors, one I'm glad to have tried and would like more of. Thanks to Jef and the guys at Van Steenberge for making this and thanks to the East Coaster who sent this bottle...

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2007 23:21:13 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of Overlord
Overlord

California

1.93/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Startled to see a purported Flanders ale for 2.79 at Hi-Times.

Pours a ruddy brown color with a white foam head.

The smell is offputting. Just plain bad. A sickly belgian yeast odor mixed with the familiar citrus zest/lemon tartness of a flanders ale. Does not mix at all.

The taste has some interesting notes, but nothing melds correctly. I get hints of the familiar, delicious vinegar zest, but there's a completely inappropriate cherry/medicinal overtone. It's just all over the map. I love sour ales, but I've apparently focused on the elite. I've now seen what happens when it isn't done well.

Just not a good example of the style, and a borderline drainpour. This noxious brew is sickly, a mishmash of conflicting flavors, and should be taken behind the barn and put out of its misery.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2008 06:06:22 | More by Overlord
Photo of VelvetExtract
VelvetExtract

Massachusetts

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a very beautiful deep crimson color. Transparent body but quite dark. Head is a beauty. Lumpy and thick, the head is huge and retains perfectly. The head would rather sit atop the beer throughout than lace the glass. Overall, a pretty looker.

S-Smells wild and sour. Plenty of intensity in the nose. Tart cherry and hints of woodiness. A vinous aspect can be detected as well.

T-A little less sour than I was hoping. Good balance via the sweetness. Tart cherries and a tame wooden character are the most prevalent flavors. Light spiciness and hints of vanilla. Funky and tart and pretty tasty to boot.

M-Lighter bodied with a light prickly level of carbonation. Easy to sip. Smooth but not creamy.

O/D-For under $4 a bottle (11.2 oz) this is not a bad gig. I would recommend this to someone who has not tried a Sour before. Won't blow you away and it lacks complexity, but it is quite tasty. A success.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2012 03:06:04 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of rfgetz
rfgetz

New Jersey

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

Pours a dark reddish mahogany color, dense and creamy off white head, good retention and lacing.
Smell is of new red wine - slightly vinous, acidic and oaky. Taste brings the wine-like flavors with a big hit of balsamic vinegar and adds just a hint of tart cherry and sticky sweetness. Medium bodied, slightly chewy and sticky, palate coating but without a big aftertaste. Decent beer, a little lighter than expected, possibly could use a little more aging on it.

Serving type: on-tap

02-26-2010 14:53:28 | More by rfgetz
Photo of mdaschaf
mdaschaf

Washington

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

A: Pours a really nice deep red/burgundy with a light tan head that reduced to a thin layer of foam on top. Nice sheets of lacing.

S: Light, tart cherries. A little bit of wood and vinegar.

T: Nice cherry flavor, a bit less tart then I was expecting. The cherry flavor transitions to slight oxidized flavor that remains on the flavor profile on the finish.

M: Medium bodied with nice carbonation.

O: Nice aroma and upfront flavors, but the oxidation was a bit much, giving it a metallic finish that was a bit unpleasant.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2011 00:41:08 | More by mdaschaf
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 thecheapies
thecheapies

Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle. From what I know about Van Steenberge, I think the bottling code ('08KK') indicates that this bottle is from 2008? Not sure, not official. Bought it out of a bar's cooler today. Here goes.

Pours a very deep red; so dark, it looks almost black from afar. Nice fluffy beige head towered over the lip of my Duchesse glass before dropping slowly. I'd rate it even higher if it didn't look thin.

Soft aromas of tart and somewhat metallic cherry, some lactic brightness, and elixir-like qualities.

Refreshing cherry, almost in lozenge form. Some steely lingerings. Fruity, but not bursting. Semi-sour, as in, there is a noticeable acidity present. Not the balsamic notes I was looking for. Musty, tinny, and a little yeasty for the style. Estery, but not nutty. I'm crossed up. I'm trying really hard not to use one particular word... 'bland'.

Medium carbonation, or maybe a little lighter. Medium-light body. Not watery, just kind of thin.

I must say that I enjoyed this much more out of the imperial wine bottle that I had had about six months ago. I had a chance to have this at Monk's in Philly awhile back, but went for other draft selections. No bother. It's not terrible. It's just that there are so many other fruity and sour options out there. If it peaks your curiousity, buy it and try it. If you love the style, definitely try it. I'll leave it at that.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2012 03:47:38 | More by thecheapies
Photo of prototypic
prototypic

Ohio

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

Another fine bottle courtesy of guinnessdoc. Thanks, man.

Appearance: It's clear and an impressive deep garnet color. The head is light beige and stands a little over two fingers tall. Carbonation is very active and the head stuck around for quite a while. Sheets of lace clung to the glass.

Smell: The nose smells a little tart or sour up front, but not quite as much as I expected. It features a strong cherry scent that lingers throughout. It smells a little spicy. But, no single spice stands out. There's a bit of light tobacco and leather on the tail. If alcohol is here, I can't tell. It's a nice smelling beer, but doesn't come across as really deep or full of character.

Taste: This is one very tart/sour beer. If you're not into that, you should probably move along. It has a strong cherry flavor to kick it off. Tastes a little fruity otherwise, but not much. The tart blast that follows really stays with you for a bit. Good luck trying to keep a straight face at this point. But, it's a nice tart flavor. Not offensive at all. It is a tad bit spicy, but the individual spices are indistinct. It's somewhat acidic. Yeast is faintly noticeable. There is a little tobacco and leather to wrap it up. Again, alcohol is not noted in the least.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It has a medium body and very active carbonation. It's not quite smooth. Carbonation's a little too high for that. Drinkability is above average. The strong tart flavor just doesn't lend itself to really good drinkability.

Monk's Flemish Sour Red Ale is good beer. I like it. It doesn't really "wow" in any respect, but it's pretty good all around. The tart flavor could actually be toned down a bit and it might be a little better. But, that's probably true to style. I can't say I'm enamored with these types of beers, despite the fact that I do like them. In any event, it is recommended and definitely worth checking out.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2009 02:03:40 | More by prototypic
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander

Illinois

3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a stemmed glass.

(A)- Pours a deep and dark burnt sienna color with ruby red highlights. Produced a nice fluffy off-white head with solid retention.

(S)- A big dry lactic vinegar up front. Some serious barnyard dirt and vinegar characters.

(T)- Very fruity. Not as sour or vinegar-like as the smell foretold. Some hints at tartness, but otherwise fruity, dry, and earthy with just a small kick.

(M)- A nice crisp carbonation level. Has a nice balance too. Smooth, fruity, and "ripe" tasting. A subtle sourness.

(D)- A solid Oud Bruin. Not as strong as what I anticipated, but it is what it is. Surprisingly refreshing and a nice treat and transition to have as the days slowly begin to warm up outside.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2011 00:58:04 | More by sweemzander
Photo of Reagan1984
Reagan1984

Massachusetts

3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my tulip glass and a finger 1/2 of fizzy off whiyte head formed and quickly settled. Brown/reddish color. Almost maroon. Sticky lacing quickly appears.

Aroma is dirty, musty, vingegar like and of cherry.

Flavor is much sweeter than the aroma indicates. Cherry, slightly nutty, bread tones and sweet. Just a touch of tartness at the end. Its like the beer is tart around the edges, but sweet all in the middle.
Medium bodied and less than sticky. Tiny pin point carbonation.

Interesting, but a little too sweet. Not as much depth as in some other sours.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2010 03:24:34 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of cbutova
cbutova

Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a gloriously dark red into my Duvel tulip. A head builds up to a few fingers but fizzes out very quickly and you can actually hear it. Dies down to a funky looking cloud and ring. A few sticky suds but looks more like wine with a mutant cloud in the middle of it.

S- Strong and sour. The aroma even made my cheeks pucker. Smells a lot like red wine, a very lot. Lots of grapes, fruit and acetic and lactic acid.

T- Pretty damn sour at first but that goes away pretty quickly. It starts off with huge fruit and vinous notes, lots of grape and dark fruit going on here. The finish is hugely unexpected, malty and very bready. The moderate sour level (after first sip) lends a great touch to these nice flavors. Vinegar levels not very present here for some reason. Wow, toward the ends this really tastes amazingly like tart cherry pits.

MF- The body is fairly light and highly carbonated. It is, however, very smooth and creamy. The sours make your cheeks pucker as the palate is coated with great fruit and vinous flavors.

DB- I bought this because it was the cheapest Belgian single on the entire shelf of a local store. Turned out to be a great buy, successfully blending wine flavors with a great malt and yeast backbone. I would be proud to have this brewed for my restaurant. Probably a one or two bottle thing but still one of the most drinkable sours I have come across.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2010 01:29:36 | More by cbutova
Photo of Chaney
Chaney

District of Columbia

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Got this bottle from the Whole Foods in Springfield. Totally glad my bud Kevin got some time off to tend to his new baby.

A: Poured pretty dark, ruby color, with a 1/2 finger white head.

S: Had the brown ale flair and then some. A bit of feet in between the cracks.

T: Not that sour at all. More brown ale than anything. Not a brown sugar beer though.

M; Mild splotch on the glass and a good bit of carbonation... more that I thought there would be.

O: This is a worthy entry into the sour brown category.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2013 00:32:16 | More by Chaney
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,064 ratings.