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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,334 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,334
Reviews: 1,042
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 51
Gots: 160 | FT: 2
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,334 | Reviews: 1,042 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Evans_Tucker
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Evans_Tucker, Aug 22, 2013
Photo of Wheatafficianado
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at J.L. Beers in Sioux Falls. I have never had a beer in this category before but was pleasantly surprised. It was fruity, not too sour. It was dark with a nice effervescence in the tulip glass. Slightly tart but drank very well. Different and unlike other beers in that it wasn't hoppy or malty but was really characterized by the fruity sourness. It certainly adds a new category. One of the more expensive beers on tap at J.L.

Wheatafficianado, Apr 03, 2014
Photo of Lkell30
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Lkell30, Jan 08, 2014
Photo of NaH2
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

NaH2, Jun 26, 2014
Photo of MonkeyDunk
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

MonkeyDunk, Jun 21, 2014
Photo of Stegman
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Stegman, Jul 23, 2014
Photo of Pbrcannon
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Pbrcannon, Aug 06, 2014
Photo of xxthepatientxx
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2oz bottle. Poured into a flute.

A - Pours a beautiful pale reddish amber color with strong, champagne-like effervescence, leaving a dense, lingering slightly tan head. No lacing to speak of.

S - Fruity and tart, perhaps like a plum wine.

T/M - Mmmm! Smooth and viscous on the tongue. A bit more syrupy than I'd like when drinking that much of something, but not unpleasant. Very sweet with an underlying dry tartness like from a granny smith apple. Tiny bubbles tickle the tongue. The taste is very fruity; reminds me of plums. Tastes much like a port. This beer isn't nearly as tart as I expected, having previously tried La Folie. A good intro to the style, in that respect. The tartness is there, though, blending in and lending this certain character and depth.

D - One of these goes down very easy. For me, the sweetness is a bit much to have more than that...at least not without a break in between. The overall enjoyment factor though is very good. Very drinkable...just not sessionable.

Impressions: This brew reminds me of a lighter colored port - the smell, the texture, the sweetness, the the flavors. Very intriguing. And like a good port, this would pair fine with a dessert or stand alone as an after-dinner drink. It also occurred to me that due to the effervescence and distinctly winey taste of this particular beer, it would make a fun substitute to champagne on New Year's Eve. How's that for a way to introduce your friends and family to the world of unusual beers?

xxthepatientxx, Dec 22, 2008
Photo of jbschafer
3.23/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Served at the high end of cellar temperature.

Pours a hazy amber, brown color - even more hazy than I might expect from this style. Very limited amount of light let through to the point of looking like something is "not right." I do not detect any red as might be expected. Reasonable sized head, collapses down in about a mind. Nice mild lacing as you drink that saved it's appearance score.

Smell is a mixture of sour fruit and some kind of bathroom astringent. Not awful, but again, like something is not right.

By the time, I took my first drink, I was already wondering what I had gotten myself into. The first taste was a mixture of cloves and vinegar, and like several other reviewers, I thought - crud, a lousy beer. However, I never trust first impressions. The clove taste was gone by the third sip and replaced with something more like sharp rotten fruit (kiwi?). While that sounds awful, it isn't too bad, and it began to grow on me.

Mouthfeel is somewhat thin with a lingering flavor of wet beach sand and, again, sour kiwi.

I could drink one with a meal, but am not sure I would want to drink two or three sitting around with friends.

I am not sorry I tried this, but it doesn't hold up against several of it's peers (like an old lover, Duchesse was my first and remains my favorite). I will probably keep a bottle on hand in the cellar, but it won't be one I will reach for on a weekly basis.

jbschafer, Feb 18, 2006
Photo of drinkslinger028
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was sitting on a shelf at my local go to beer store so I picked it up, this one of my first sours so I don't really have anything to compare it to.

A- pours a resist brown with a slight tan head
S- the smell is kinda off sorta like watered down cherry, with a but of iron
M- kinda slippery with quick disappearance
T- taste could be a little more sour but in all it's quite tasty
D- coming from a 750ml I could easily finish this by myself I would purchase again.

drinkslinger028, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of cavman
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got 2 bottles one for now one to age a bit, and see how it changes.

A = A quite attractive beer, I poured it into a La Chouffe tulip. Nice reddish color and a thick off white/light beige head.

S = Was what I was expecting, some tart cherry notes with a little bit of sour in the nose.

T = Reminds me of Duchesse but not as complex, cherry flavor seems to dominate followed by a slight sourness.

M = Smooth mouthfeel with a medium body.

D = I find it very drinkable, a beer that the wine folks would appreciate as well.

cavman, May 05, 2009
Photo of bikencycle
4.6/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into my hamms chalice

A: pours an red brown hue with little head and some lacing

S: has a sour pie cherry smell

T: dry, sour, cherry, and somewhat bitter vinigar taste that is well balanced

M: has a very delicious feel to it

D: very drinkable, and one of my new favorites for the time being

bikencycle, Jul 30, 2009
Photo of Surly87
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep ruby red, frothy off-white head that recedes fairly quickly. Tart at first, dies quickly and then a huge sour cherry flavor emerges through. Nearly perfect mouthfeel. My first sour, seems like a good introduction to the style. A very nice, interesting brew!

Surly87, Jun 27, 2010
Photo of Aupuch
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Aupuch, Jul 01, 2012
Photo of Westbrook
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Westbrook, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of Dix90
4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark golden chestnut brown with ruby hues. Nice bubbly head with good quick receding lacing.

Aroma: fruity and vinegary. Cherries, apples, grapes and cranberries shine through in almost a red wine tinge.

Taste: very fruity and sweet on the tongue.very well balanced with a mild tart sourness. Highly carbonated and leaves a pleasant sweetness at the end.

Mouthfeel: very light and carbonated. Bubbly and dry. Kind of feels like the carbonation makes the tartness cascade along the tongue.

Overall: a very good introduction to sours. Mildly sour that let's strong fruit notes shine through. Very thirst quenching.

Dix90, Nov 14, 2013
Photo of JamesGrove
5/5  rDev +30.2%

JamesGrove, May 09, 2014
Photo of justinretzolk
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

justinretzolk, Sep 12, 2014
Photo of blgianbeer
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I just got back from a trip to Philly and my obligatory stop at Monk's. Trying this ale was on the top of my "to do" list given the absence of any Rodenbach products in the market.
I was not disappointed. I would put this somewhere between the rather unremarkable Rodenbach and the spectacular Grand Cru. Not quite as complex and aromatic as the GC, but much more sour and flavorful than regular Rodenbach.
This beer is not unlike Van Steenberge's Bios (which I loved and brought several bottles back from Belgium). Well worth the price of admission.

blgianbeer, Jul 07, 2003
Photo of paulzy
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle to a 22 ounce d

Appearance: Pours a deep copper color with a medium head. Head stays throughout the beer. Looks good.

Smell: Smells weakly of fruit and acid.

Taste: Starts sweet, then goes mildly sour, like a good lemonade. Finishes a little dry, not at all unpleasant.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation really does the trick with this sour brew, making it kind of fun to roll around on your toungue. Otherwise it feels like any other red.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. I'd consider sharing this with a non-beer geek, as a tasty introduction to a neato style.

Overall I consider this a very accessible beer within the style. I don't often bring sour beers through my fridge, but this one is certainly one I'd consider.

paulzy, Jan 06, 2008
Photo of LiquorLockerVP
2.85/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Tried this at a private office function, poured from an 11.2oz bottle.

Appearance:
A dark garnet, like slightly red cola. It had a non existent head which was quickly chased away by an almost hissing carbonation. Interestingly, after letting it sit for a while, the remnants of the head formed little islands that looked hauntingly like leering skulls.

Smell:
At first, it was a phenol bomb bringing to mind the dreaded low totem poll halloween "Good n Plenty"s of younder years. Despite my disdain for the candies as a kid, this smell was really pleasing. As the brew warmed up, this candy smell transformed into an nose full of apple vinegar. It was a unique transformation that I found interesting.

Taste:
I recently tried a Geuze, and recognized some of the champagne qualities I picked up in that in this beer. It almost tastes like a marriage between cola and dry spanish cava all built on a backbone of sour dough bread. Very unique, pretty sweet. (sugary sweet, not sweet as in cool). After taste is very much champagne.

Moutful:
The hissing carbonation I mentioned earlier set upon my tongue and sizzled on its surface. Thin and driven by carbonation. Very gaseous and fizzy.

Drinkability:
A little too sweet to do more than one. After sitting out for a bit, its carbonation dulled accentuating the cola taste even more so. Nice beer for an experience, and would work well as a toast, but as far as sessioning it's just a bit too unique.

LiquorLockerVP, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of Shaken9
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got 750ml bottle from Healthy Home Market in Charlotte, NC

Appearance - medium brown with hints of ruby, thin fizzy head that dissipated quickly, very little lacing.

Smell - Slightly acidic with faint cherries, raspberries, very light vinegar and earthy funkiness.

Taste - Not very sour, more wine like acidity than anything, light malt and sour cherries in the finish. A bit of sweetness at first that yields to the lactic acidity. Just a hair too thin, watery, might be from the effervescent nature of this beer. A good beginners sour, but lacking the body and depth of flavor of other excellent sours (ie Rodenbach).

Mouthfeel - Very light, thin, fizzy... A bit too fizzy for the style but balances with the light flavor of the beer.

Drinkability - A fair, drinkable sour, especially for people who have never tried sours, though I would propose that beginners start with excellent examples first, some people like to "ease" into stronger styles like sours.

Overall, it's an ok representation of the style and is probably blended to appeal to a wider number of palates. As such, it's a passable sour, but more like a sparkling wine in its acidity than a vinegary or mouth puckering sour. Not bad if you can't find other sours around.

Shaken9, Dec 27, 2010
Photo of 404UGA
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first foray into the flemish sour red ale genre, I didn't really know what to expect. The beer store employee said it tasted like sour patch kids, which didn't exactly get me pumped up. Fortunately I wouldn't say that was too accurate of a characterization. It poured an almost blood red color with a think head that fizzled away pretty quickly but never totally disappears. It smells interesting, a little bit lactic perhaps but not necessarily bad. The taste is a little sour (go figure) but I liked it. The mouthfeel is almost more like a soda than a beer. During the first sip or two the bubbles actually grazed my nose like when drinking a coke. Not the most drinkable beer, but I think that goes with the category. Certainly good for one, probably not more than that though. Would go really well with bread and cheese. Overall, was a pleasant surprise.

404UGA, Aug 03, 2010
Photo of senbrewing
4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich red and brown color with white fizzy head. Nice lace though stuck to the snifter quite well.

Upfront sourness typical of sour style beer. Smells of citrus and tart cherries. Very winey.Quite lovely.

Taste is fantastic. Sour beers are are my new favorite style and I never pass on up. Grand cru being one of my absolute favorite beers this is right up there with them. Very similar in taste with a balance between sweet and tart. Soured cherrys and sweet citrus very drinkable. The main difference is the sweetness which sets this apart from grand cru. By no means is it bad just a little sweet for my taste. All in all great balanced sour with that great funky finish that makes this a great sour.

Tart puckering effect when it hits the mouth followed by citrus and cherries. Very spritzy, typical champaign feel. Good malty base with hints of wine.

All in all this beer hits the top of my list and is a great representation of a good Flemish sour. Being one of my favorite styles this beer is all around a good balanced beer. Sweet sour tart, what else can I say. Try it. Like most I've seen you'll either love or hate this style. Thank you Belgium

senbrewing, Feb 01, 2012
Photo of TGCarr
5/5  rDev +30.2%

TGCarr, Mar 22, 2012
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,334 ratings.