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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

2,234 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,234
Reviews: 1,032
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.1%
Wants: 47
Gots: 133 | 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)
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Ratings: 2,234 | Reviews: 1,032 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SHODriver
SHODriver

Louisiana

4.16/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep brown with ruby edges and a huge slow to fade off white head into a New Belgium globe
S: smells of sour cherries, a bit of wood, some must and a slight roast malt
T: pleasantly tart with some sour cherry flavor followed by some slight oakiness but the cherry remains throughout, a bit of vanilla as well, hint of chocolate at times too. swallow brings more sour cherry and a bit of must
M: medium with pleasant and slightly prickly carbonation. refreshing finish
O: this beer is tasty and well executed. price isn't bad either and it's fairly accessible out here. If you like the oud bruin style you should give this one a go

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2013 01:40:14 | More by SHODriver
Photo of PEBKAC
PEBKAC

New York

3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Gift from a friend. Yes I like sours, thank you. :)

Poured into my Ommegang flute that's just about perfect for everything these days.

Thick & heavy two inch French vanilla head. Tipping the glass doesn't change the level on the surface. The color of red oak stain, light takes all angles through but the most direct.

Smells of cider vinegar, maple, an honest assumption of potting soil, & a sweet/sour note that comes off a little like a mix between Chinese s&s sauce, & white grapes. Inviting & confusing at the same time.

Taste is a flash of syrupy sweet juice followed by a quick pat down with oak. Overripe cantaloupe & sour orange throw into the ring, but overall all the flavors remain pretty level. A little bit of something like sour milk & ash in the finish, but it agrees with me(sort of). Just a little bit of rind bitterness to keep things interesting. A little cookie crust overtakes any remaining sour right at the very end.

Carbonation is sitting pretty, & just has that touch about her. Body is thin & juicy, but it spreads itself out too far trying to keep everyone happy. A little brashness is healthy every now & then.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2008 01:23:40 | More by PEBKAC
Photo of ChadQuest
ChadQuest

Illinois

2.1/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Looks nice, smells pretty fine too with some fruity notes, but there is way to much sweetness for what i wanted. The medicinal sweetness all but masks the characteristics that could be present. Like Cherry Nyquil. wanted a dry puckering finish, but this leaves with just a wisp of tartness and lets you keep the residual sweetness to stick in your mouth. The 12oz bottle in my snifter is more then enough for me, but i am still glad i tried it for more Oud Bruin experience for only 2.99.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2010 05:56:29 | More by ChadQuest
Photo of mdwalsh
mdwalsh

Iowa

4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice 2 finger head that fades fast, but is otherwise clean looking. A little Active carb, but no yeast or haze at all. A basic light brown in color, it's not that impressive looking.

S: Kind of a sweet vinegar like smell I think. A little apple/pear going on. In fact, a lot like apple cider vinegar, in a good way. No hops at all. Not anything like anything I've had before.

T: Again, weird. Still sort of an apple cider vinegar sort of thing, but mysteriously good. Just sour enough, at least for this noob. The fruity sweetness is really appealing to me, but there's also some tartness at other times.

M: Smooth and watery, in a good way. A nice little sparkle

D: Not sure, I don't think I could drink too much of this. But easy going down.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2009 23:40:47 | More by mdwalsh
Photo of EasyReader
EasyReader

North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

01-01-2012 02:36:52 | More by EasyReader
Photo of Dank26
Dank26

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +4.4%

11-09-2012 09:45:08 | More by Dank26
Photo of CharlesRiver
CharlesRiver

Connecticut

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

Such a unique style but so fun to drink. Pours out a cloudy, brown color with a very small head that doesn't seem to last. I see very few bubbles make their way to the top. I forgot to mention this is a 11.2 fl oz bottle, capped.

Smell is sour with something coming through almost like toast? Light notes of cherries and malt seem to be somewhat refreshing. Taste is much milder than I expected. The "sourness" is light but refreshing which makes it more drinkable. The cherries and fruit come through in the beginning and middle. The ending dumps off quickly. Some oaky notes come through but not enough.

Truely a tough beer to rate. I don't know this style well so I am going off pure taste and enjoyment. I would buy this or order this again anytime. I can't wait to try more examples of this style.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2005 21:10:56 | More by CharlesRiver
Photo of DoctorDog
DoctorDog

Ohio

4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2 oz bottle into a snifter.

A- Pours a translucent reddish brown. 1 finger of fizzy tan, which promptly reduces to a thin, incomplete cap.

S- Tart raspberry vinegar, red wine fruitiness, and a slightly funky yeastiness. Interesting and enjoyable (especially if you like the acetic acid stilt).

T- Swirling with fruity, malty, cherry-esque sweetness. Sour notes are fairly subdued, though there is certainly a perceptible amount of tartness. A bit of a sweet sherry thing going on here. Bitterness extremely minimal.

M- Slightly crisp with moderate carbonation. Medium feel.

D- Surprisingly good. I expected this to be perhaps too sour, or cloying, or perhaps too acetic to drink easily....but it was none of those things.

Future outlook: Hmmm...this was quite enjoyable. If I had been served blindly, I could surely have been fooled into thinking I was drinking something other than a beer. My initial impression is that this was an interesting drink that I will be happy to have again.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2009 02:51:47 | More by DoctorDog
Photo of csmalley
csmalley

Kansas

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

12-07-2013 17:15:50 | More by csmalley
Photo of homebrewhawk
homebrewhawk

Kansas

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

11.2oz bottle served in the new style Boulevard Chalice. Poured a reddish brown with a thin tan head. Good lactic aroma of sour cherries. Starts off with nice and tart. A little sweetness and more fruit (cherries). A touch metallic in the finish to start, but this fades. Very refreshing and drinkable. Good price point as well.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 16:29:31 | More by homebrewhawk
Photo of PeteRiz
PeteRiz

Connecticut

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

10-11-2012 23:43:13 | More by PeteRiz
Photo of bluerabbit
bluerabbit

Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

01-01-2013 03:40:13 | More by bluerabbit
Photo of JEdmund
JEdmund

Kansas

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Burgundy and clear with a good head on pour but fades fast; can smell the funk easily; nice sour scent, making me think cherries are included; taste is light, slightly sweet (in the finish) and has enough sourness to be enjoyable but not overpowering; high level of carbonation and a thin body; slight copper in aftertaste (makes me think this is the old beer part of the blend); overall an enjoyable experience, but not one to repeat at $4 for 11 oz.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2010 15:11:43 | More by JEdmund
Photo of twelvsies
twelvsies

Maine

3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I haven't had a lot of flemish reds, but what I have experienced of the style I love. So I'm trying to branch out a bit and explore. Picked this up out of the blue. Beautiful color on this one, cabinet brown with red hues, but really no head at all, reminiscent of a gueuze. I don't particularly know if this style is "supposed" to have a decent head or not, but I'm thinking no since it's on the sour side. Smell is all over the place. Sour cherry comes to mind first, with other sweeter fruits backing it up. Taste is ok - a little bit of a let down from the smell. Tart, but not overly so, but all of the sweet fruity complexity in the smell is absent in the taste. A little watery to be honest. I'm not one of those guys that needs their taste buds destroyed by every beer at all, but this tastes a little bland to me. The smell is making me crave something better that I can't get in the taste. I think if they stepped this up a bit - a little more sour, a little more complex - it would be great. Not a bad beer, drinkable, but doesn't hold my interest.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2005 02:19:22 | More by twelvsies
Photo of LordAdmNelson
LordAdmNelson

Ohio

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

Pours a nice deep syrupy brown with ruby red highlights. Moderate sandy head, composed of larger bubbles that rapidly fades to a ring around the glass. Some lacing. Smell is apple, vinous, slight roasted malt, a bit of vinegar to it too. Taste is somewhat fleeting at first sip. Burst of flavor that ebbs quickly. Let's try again. Tart apples with some sweetness to it, a bit of lightly toasted malt in the finish. Some sourness to it, though quite balanced with the other flavors. Some spice in there too, though not exactly sure what it is. A very slight hint of must too. This is quite good--my first Flanders, but a nice introduction to the style for sure. I can see myself craving something like this (and things far more extreme) in the future. Light, and a bit prickly, this one is actually quite refreshing, now leaving a lingering aftertaste of apples. Quite drinkable, I am definitely impressed with this beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2010 05:40:43 | More by LordAdmNelson
Photo of gshak
gshak

Texas

3.25/5  rDev -15.1%

11-14-2012 23:26:58 | More by gshak
Photo of rodlavers
rodlavers

Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

01-16-2014 02:58:37 | More by rodlavers
Photo of climax
climax

Missouri

4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The flagship sour pours a deep black cherry with brilliant garnet highlights. The foamy tan head is gargantuan and retains itself atop indefinitely. All the way down, there's a constant thick film with a few dark thin spots.

I'm not too sure where to start on the nose, it's complexity is confounding. The sourness does not overpower the auxiliary flavors by any stretch, but it definitely has astringency and let's me know it's going to be tart. Dusty wood, sweet toffee, and juicy apple are the easiest to decipher. Deep within, a rogue roasty character hides, perhaps a glimpse of what's inside.

Toffee and unsweetened chocolate flavors soon surrender to inevitable tartness composed of unripened cherries, and raspberries. Some sweeter vanilla and soft Belgian yeast perplex me even further. And what comes after the beer has gone down is a fantastic lingering sweet, buttery, sour.... er, needless to say it's hard to make sense of what's going on in the finish (or any part) but the complexity is Earth shattering.

The carbonation explodes in the mouth like a bubble grenade. The body itself is slick and finishes clean. With this much fluffiness from the carbonation, it's tough to tell quite where the body fits in.

I am by no means a die hard of sour beer, but I did thoroughly enjoy this. It is astringent/sour/tart whatever, but I don't think I would have it any other way.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2011 21:37:12 | More by climax
Photo of damienblack
damienblack

Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a translucent amber-red in color. Head foams up nicely, and retains fairly well - by the end of the glass there is still a thin layer coating it. Also some very nice lacing patterns left when the glass is disturbed. Smell is sour cherries soaked in vinegar - a pleasant vinegaric smell. Doesn't seem to spicy or earthy at all. Taste starts off with a bit of vinegaric bite, but quickly mellows to a subtle berry flavor. Sour cherry and apple, still hints of vinegar but it doesn't have an in-your-face kick. Pretty light, maybe medium-light in body. Has a champagne-like dryness to it. Or maybe seltzer. Very nicely carbonated. Not as sour as I was expecting, I was expecting more of the Jolly Rancher in your face tartness. It is a very good intro to sours, it has some sour flavours without the bite, mellows quite nicely from the berries of the fruit.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2009 05:56:06 | More by damienblack
Photo of sisuspeed
sisuspeed

New Hampshire

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Red, brown-amber color with a fizzy white head on top. Some lacing is apparent as well.

Aroma consists of vinegar, sweet malts and a bit of cider. Apple vinegar comes to mind.

After a couple of sips the taste of sweet cherries, sour apple and rich malts flood my mouth. Sour at first, but then washed away by the sweet malts. The finish tart and fairly refreshing. Almost like sour candy.

Mouthfeel is quite smooth. Light carbonation, yet still somewhat prickly. Body feels full and rich.

Drinkability is good. The tartness on the finish makes me want to keep tipping the beer back to refresh my mouth with cool, smooth liquid. Very easy to drink. Sweetness is the only thing holding this beer back from being a session beer for me.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with this beer. This is only the second sour I've ever had and I'm liking the general style more and more. Glad I can easily pick this up.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2010 03:25:11 | More by sisuspeed
Photo of happygnome
happygnome

Minnesota

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

a: pours a deep mohogany color with about an eigth inch of head that dissapears quickly leaving a good amount of lacing
s: vinegar, funk, cherries are deffinatly present. the vinegar aroma is not overwhelming but ties all of the other aromas together niely
t: sour, vinegar, cherries, refreshing
m: medium bodied ample carbonation

overall, this was an enjoyable beer, I enjoyed it a lot there was a ton of flavor

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2008 23:50:20 | More by happygnome
Photo of dtivp
dtivp

Pennsylvania

3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark mahogany brown with hints of ruby, a larger two finger tan head that dissipated very quickly leaving very light lacing.

Aroma of tart cherries with vinegar.

Taste was slightly tart with sour red cherries, a slight hint of malt then a bitter metallic end.

Mouthfeel was a thin light body with heavy carbonation.

Overall I was not impressed with this sour ale, it does not come close to some of the nice Russian River sour ales.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2011 22:48:08 | More by dtivp
Photo of megahurts4
megahurts4

Louisiana

4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Appearance: Dark brown, medium head, and some lacing.

Smell: Sour wine like balsamic vinegar.

Taste: Purple sweet-tart start, a subtle malty aftertaste, and some subtle oak.

Mouthfeel: Medium.

Overall:
This would go great with a meal. Smooth and nicely flavored. It has that taste of a purple sweet-tart. It is not as complex or potent as Russian River Consecration, but it makes a great introduction to sour beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2010 04:25:47 | More by megahurts4
Photo of LightnerLiquorKS
LightnerLiquorKS

Kansas

4.25/5  rDev +11%

01-22-2014 00:29:18 | More by LightnerLiquorKS
Photo of djeucalyptus
djeucalyptus

Oregon

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

pours a ruby-tinged crystal clear chestnut hue with ample carbonation rising from the bottom, fueling a creamy almond-colored two finger head that leaves behind some foamy pisco sour egg white-esque lacing.

aroma is dead on for the style. clean, fruity, lactic acid aroma wafts as soon as the bottle is cracked. a bit cleaner and a bit less funky than some, but just as inviting as any flanders. tart fruit and spice, less sharp vinegar in the aroma. I'm lovin' it.

Taste attempts to match with aroma but falls just a bit short. still solidly tart with pleasant acidic notes, sharp berry sourness, and nice funkiness, but there's a bit of metallic earthiness that grows stronger as it warms. Still solid for the style, but just a bit too clean and sterile to have a ton of character, and the slight metallic earthy off note isn't incredibly appealing.

Mouthfeel is solid, with ample carbonation creating an almost creamy mouth despite the tartness and slight slickness that comes with the style. smooth and enjoyable. Cleaner mouth than many... definitely nice.

I'm pretty impressed. This may be one of my favorite Flanders I've had the pleasure of tasting. unbelievably drinkable with all the notes I love. it's a bit lacking in that extreme funkiness that keeps it from being outstanding, but on the whole, it's a beautifully rounded Flanders Oud Bruin. Delicious.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2009 04:25:58 | More by djeucalyptus
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,234 ratings.