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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,088 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 1,088
Hads: 2,699
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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Reviews: 1,088 | Hads: 2,699
Photo of jeremy13586
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured in to a Corsendonk glass.

Very dark red color/deep ruby color. Light tan three finger head that dissipated pretty quickly. Left some alright lacing.

Some sweet malt with a tart fruit sourness and a tiny bit of funk.

Dark tart cherries, green apple. Minor bitterness and funk.

Smooth and pretty dry, but incredibly carbonated. Like, too damn carbonated.

A solid beer, but not very complex. A nice gateway to sours. (440 characters)

Photo of DrumKid003
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark amber with a little red around the edges, and plenty of sediment floating in the glass.

S: Smells a little like sour apples, but I may be missing something here.

T: Tastes like apple juice on the front mixed with a couple other dark fruits, the sour starts to kick in midway mixed with the malt which makes it sweet, and the finish is a very crisp sour that last a very short amount of time.

M: I'm pretty new to sours, but this was very thin on the mouthfeel considering how dark it is. But the sour warms the mouth as you continue to drink.

O: If I was going to recommend a sour to someone new to the style, this would definitely be one the few, and it's an easy drinker so you could have a 2-3 before the alcohol starts to kick in. (751 characters)

Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I bought this on draught at the Cafe Bruges in Carlisle, PA. It was a deep crimson red with a nice tannish head that sank bit by bit into the liquid, leaving a gentle bubbly mixture on top. The aroma was earthy, with just that hint of tartness I was expecting. When I tasted it, my taste buds just exploded. Now, I should be honest and say I haven't really tried sour ales before, so I had no real comparison to go on at the time. But that initial taste was enough to tell me I had found a real winner. It has a smooth texture to it, and it lingers on the tongue for quite a while. I like the medieval appeal of this ale, and I would definitely get it again and again. It was a real treat. (697 characters)

Photo of atpben
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Had this in a bottle at the Houston Gingerman. Poured into a snifter. Pours a reddish-brown color with a thick head. Aroma of vinegar mixed with cherries and some light citrus notes. Quite tart flavor with more vinegar and cherry in the taste. Quite dry in the finish. Pretty decent sour. A little less sweet than duchess. (322 characters)

Photo of petacutlasaurus
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Whew. I enjoyed this, my first sour beer, at The Saloon on U street. Really knocked me out - I had just read an article on sour beers in either BA or on welovedc. Decided to take the plunge and order up one of these fellows. So glad I did. Dominant dark fruits on the nose with a bitter tinge that transforms on the close to a sour and crispy finish. The deep red color, with its fruity bitter smell coming out of the top of the goblet... Ultra-memorable and will definitely jump for a draft of this when I make a visit to their Philadelphia brew house. (553 characters)

Photo of schroederm
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In a snifter:

Head falls apart quickly, body is a light translucent brown with amber and red hues. Aromas of umami, cherry, alcohol, tartness, and green apple. So sour! This is awesome, so sweet... Like candy. Good balance of bitter. Green apple, plum, cherry. Cider vinegar. Aftertaste is... Ketchup?! It works, though. Very good body and carbonation. I could drink a ton of this. Easy on the palate and delicious. (416 characters)

Photo of dakid618
1.89/5  rDev -50.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into pint glass. Pours a deep red-brown color with very little head that disappears quickly. Smell is really strong of vinegar with a slight scent of fruits. Reading the BJCP guidelines this bottle may be old as it says the scent should not grow to a noticeable acetic/vinegary character. Taste is also like vinegar and sour cherries. Not malty at all as the guideline says it should be. It's so acetic it burns my nose after taking a drink. Improves slightly as it warms but still way too much like drinking vinegar. Medium bodied mouthfeel that drys out the mouth like drinking red wine. Not drinkable at all to me, the drain is going to enjoy this beer more than me. I've enjoyed all the sours I've ever had but this one, this one is a drainpour. I will try this again to see if maybe I just got an old bottle and re-review if thats the case, otherwise I would advise to be wary of this beer unless you ike drinking vinegar. (953 characters)

Photo of happy5930
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the first sours I've had. I found it to be smooth, and easy to drink. Not much carbonation. Amber in color, with little to no sediment. Not much of a bite, and not too sour. It was sweet to the tongue and nose. Certainly worth a try, a smooth and light brew, to put back slowly. (285 characters)

Photo of brow1901
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Dark maroon in color with a small fizzy off white head. Almost no retention and no lacing.

S- The first thing I smell is cherries, really reminds me of those marchino cherries that come in cocktails. When I initially poured the beer I remember a vinegar quality. Defenite barnyard character to it when agitated.

T- Initially brings a slight tartness to the mouth which becomes rounded off to a sweetness. After the harsh tart flavor it is easyier to pick up the complexities, the one that stands out is the cherries again.

M- Pretty thick in the mouth and I really like that with this beer. The finish could have been a bit more dry, it was way to sweet.

D- Highly drinkable, this is becoming one of my favorite styles. Good carbonation, nice body, lowish alcohol, all this makes a real drinkable beer. (811 characters)

Photo of raoulduke37
4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330mL bottle into a small tulip. Right away, this looks like a photograph out of one of Michael Jackson's books. Perfect 2 finger head ever-so-slightly brimming over the edge of the glass, inviting one to drink it down. Beautiful red luminescent burgundy color, and off-white lace is sticking all over this bad boy. I can't wait to go in closer. Smell is predominantly sour and it is a little difficult to get anything else, no matter how much I try.

As I drink it down, I think to myself, 'I think I'm becoming one of those "sour-loving" guys' and I have no problem with it. Sourness is not as intense as the smell indicates. There are traces of pineapple and raspberries in here. The finish is long, and it surprises you in the end with a touch of banana. Oh man, I'm enjoying every sip of this.

Mouthfeel is tart and carbonated, but very pleasant, especially after shooting some hoops. At $2.99, this will be a regular in my rotation, along with Duchesse and Rodenbach. Damn good. Don't pass it up. (1,017 characters)

Photo of PreacherBrewer
4.48/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a beautiful red-wine color. Sports a 2 finger light kaki colored head. head dissolves slowly to a thin film that leaves decadent lacing.

S - Unlike anything i've ever caught on the nose of a beer before. My first thoughts were of vinegar. then some sour smells, yeast, mixed fruit, primarily, grape, prune, and raisin.

T - WOW! this thing has personality! tastes very similar to how it smells: oddly carbonated, fermented grape/prune juice. a little hint of cranberry maybe. An apple cider flavor is lingering in there as well. it's very similar to fermented sparkling apple cider...sort-of.

M - It has a very ticklish, bubbly mouthfeel. very interesting, almost the life of the brew. very unique.

D - Despite what i've herd about the FOB's, and sour ales in general, this is a remarkably drinkable ale. It is mysterious, and captivating. It's interesting, yet not ridiculous. It's very very good. it may not be the thing for you, but you at least have to try one before you die...seriously. (1,006 characters)

Photo of Glennlawless
2.91/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured into pint glass

a - Poured a dark reddish brown with a quickly dying down off-white head.

s - tart grape juice, red wine type smell. not a whole lot.

T - smooth entrance, very mild tart finish. thats all there is to it.

M - very well carbonated. pretty drinkable

overall, this honestly was my first sour style ale.not a very interesting beer per say, but it is what people say it is, an entry level sour. i feel this is a perfect beer to get somebody into sours. starts very mild, and at the end it slaps you with some sour. not overwhelming at all though. a pretty well balanced beer and drinkable. i like it. (622 characters)

Photo of mortarit
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Having a real hard time getting into these sour beers. They really drive my pallet crazy. My whole face draws up like all of the air left the building, experience.

Overall, the everthing else about this one particularly looks great for appearance, color, and smell.

Maybe, I should eat more sour apples for practice. (320 characters)

Photo of penguinjive7
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pur is a cloudby brown color with about an inch of white head. Initial smell is of vinigar mixing with spice. The first sip is mostly a strong vinigar flavor is quickly followed by a bittersweet blast of firmented dark fruit. I can definitely taste hints of the oak coming through to further give the brew a flacor reminiscent of vinous almost cabernet-like flacor. The finish has a hint of clove spice to further round out the palate. Wow, this is really an odly balanced Flanders. The sweetness that balanced the sourness of the brew is almost awkward and unexpected, but it really works for this one. An excelent brew that I would have again in a heartbeat. (664 characters)

Photo of Takahiro
3.36/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into Duvel Tulip glass.

A: dark red brown with a very light brown head. The head starts thick and stays thick for a while. Not much of lace left behind.

S: Sour and ester smell up front. Faint whiff of maltiness is felt in my nose. No hop smell what so ever.

T: Sour. This sourness reminds me of vinegar. It is pleasantly balanced with malt flavor, which can be felt in the back ground. This malt is toffee and caramel.

M: Refreshing SOUR.

D: Although it has a fresh taste, the beer's drinkability would be low for me. The flavor seem to stick to the palate and it is definitely not DRY.

NOTE: it went very well with tomato-based shrimp pasta. (658 characters)

Photo of katybee
2.56/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

My first sour ale...this might take a bit of getting used to!

Pours a clear amber brown, and light frothy head which quickly dissipates.

Very light smell, but distinctly not hoppy...somewhat like an aged browned apple.

As an ale, this tastes very different from barley-hops beer. For me, it was similar to a fermented apple cider with less apple, and a little vinegar tartness. Unusual. Very soda-like, with a musky off taste on the tongue. Not as fruity as a [raspberry] lambic, but with no barley or malt character like a wheat beer. No real spiciness I could detect.

The carbonation gave a very soda-like effect, but like soda, and not like champagne. Very light-bodied.

Fortunately, this beverage was alcoholic, which gave a purpose to the drinking of it. The ale might blend well with cheeses and pie or crackers, and as a desert on its own, however the off-ness of the taste, and mild sweet carbonation for me wouldn't sit well with other meals (hamburger, pizza, chicken) and a definite no-no to doritos, onion-flavored chips and barbecue!

A quality taste experience, but not one I'll likely repeat! (1,115 characters)

Photo of thirdeye11
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this at the Dallas Gingerman. We get almost no sour beers in this market so I was really happy to see it.

A: Pours a nice murky reddish/brown with a 1 finger light tan head. Lacing is good as well.

S: Smells like a flanders style beer in that it's a little bit funky, fruity, and has some spices showing their way through this one.

T: Taste is really nice. Not too sour but it's there. Has some funk to it, but really muted which I'm completely ok with. I was enjoying the sweetness here, almost no bitter whatsoever. Perhaps some oak in it as well?

M: Nicely carbonated, weight is just about right too.

D: Pretty high. I wanted more but it was expensive.

Recommended to any drinker of any beverage. Very drinkable. (725 characters)

Photo of kylehayworth
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: It has a deep red with some burgundy tones playing aronud as well. The head rises and falls, leaving trace amounts of carbonated foam.

S: It smells a little sour, with a bubbly quality. Almost like a sparkling wine.

T: It has a nice balance of sweet, tart, and sour. The base of all those flavors being cherry/apple.

M/D: Perfect carbonation with a moderate body. The sparkling wine/champagne mouth feel plays well with these flavors.

This is a good substitute for the Enigma I have been drinking and ran out of. All in all a really good beer... (553 characters)

Photo of surfer4life
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poored from an 11.2 oz bottle into my Flute.

A - Dark Amber with a small head. Minimal Lacing

S - Lemon Juice, cranberries, if food going bad could smell this good, I would probably be sick from eating it.

T - Taste is not a sour as it smells (kind of a let down for me). however, there is a fair amount of sourness on the finish. Sweet cherries and other fruits dominate this in the beggining, small amounts of spices can be tasted throughout.

M - Carbonation is perfect, medium bodies, leaves that pallet clean and wanting more.

D - Not so much an everyday beer, fun for every once in a while or as an ice breaker to the style though.

All in all, this is a great beer and at 3.29 I can see myself having it again sometime. (735 characters)

Photo of VWBuggirl
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is a new style of beer for me. So here goes!

The color is fantastic! It is a nice dark brown with a reddish hue to it.

The smell on the other hand is very vinegary. Now my rating on smell is based on the fact that this is a sour and, well, I would expect that it would smell sour. If a normal beer smelled this way I would toss it.

The taste is definitely sour. I get a hint of green apple in it. I wouldn't call it drinkable though. Even though I am enjoying it, I am not sure I could have another tonight, and it isn't for everyone. (543 characters)

Photo of TheDTrain
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep red, good retention. Aroma is a bit weak but you can smell the sour vinagar, fruits, and grapes. Light body with awesome funk taste from the fruits, vinagar, malts, and sugars. So easily drinkable it's a bit scary. (267 characters)

Photo of HogHill
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a single from Colonial Spirits for $5.25 for 33cl bottle.

Appearance: a murky brown, with red highlights, looks kind of like apple cider. Small tan head which reduces to lace quicly.

Smell: Acidic, similar to a red wine.

Taste: Granny Smith apple along with sour cherries backed by malt. Predominantly sour flavors, but not overwhelmingly tart for my palate.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, with a bit of zing from the sour and carbonation marriage.

Drinkability: I really enjoy Belgian Oud Bruins, and Flemish Reds. I could sip on a few of these. But eventually the acidic tartness will catch up and I'll want something to scrub the palate (a nice saison or Duvel?) (685 characters)

Photo of DawnL
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Murky amber with big foamy head that dissipates to sticky lace.

Smell: Slight caramel, with prune notes. It doesn't smell like your typical beer.

Taste: Malt character, then dried fruit, followed by acidic/sour cherry character.

Mouthfeel: This definitely coats the mouth - not really unctuous, but definitely present with good length.

Drinkability: I'm going with good.

This is a strange little beer. I'm still not sure whether or not I like it. I am giving it a pretty good rating, but I'm not sure if I am completely a fan.

Let me explain. I had this with a light fish dinner. I was hoping it would be a bit more sour and was completely surprised by the amber/brown color.

I wouldn't suggest serving this beer with an entree. I wouldn't suggest serving it as an aperitif either. This is an after dinner, bring on the cheese beer. It needs mild cheeses - young mimolette, laughing cow, mild goat cheese, cream cheese even. It would be overwhelmed by cheddar. Maybe a Swiss cheese would be okay. Brie would kill this! Or, maybe it should be had on its own after dinner as a divestif.

It develops an odd bitterness when left to warm. Definitely like leaving prune juice on the counter and letting it come up to room.

If it were a little tarter, it would remind me of those sour, dried, Asian plums. Oh, that would be something to pair it with. Try this beer with Asian plums that are dried and have that sourball coating dusted on them.

I like this beer because it's an oddity. And I know I'm going on a bit, but this taste sensation is so different from anything I've tasted before that I feel like sharing - a lot. (1,638 characters)

Photo of WhatsNewinBooze
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a great beer! I am a big fan of flanders and flemish ales and this one is right up there. Pours a reddish brown with a light fizzy head. Aromas of sweet malt raspberry and cherry are huge on the nose. The palate has quite a bit of sweetness, more so than other beers like it, but tons of red fruit flavor with a nice sour that isn't over the top. A good introduction into these style of beers. (402 characters)

Photo of NardiByNature
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Aggressive pouring makes a massive, light tan head. Eventually settles down to a nice cap with a little spotty lacing. The beer is a deep, clear mahogany with some ruby notes. The color of this style reminds me of Lipton Brisk.

S: The nose is faint. Smells like carbonation (if that’s a thing), a little vinegar, some cherries.

T: Like the nose the taste is mild, but becomes more pronounced as the beer warms to room temp: sour cherries and some woody flavor.

M: Very smooth, very dry. Fuzzy carbonation. Very drinkable.

O: This is good. Not as complex or flavorful as some other old browns but I like it. Would like to have on-tap sometime. (654 characters)

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,088 ratings.