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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

2,066 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2066
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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Ratings: 2,066 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of DirtybeerguyRI
DirtybeerguyRI

Rhode Island

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

APPEARANCE: Pours a deep red mahogany with lines of carbonation climbing up the sides. It's crystal clear with a thick, fizzy white head.

SMELL: This is a sour beer, so you'll pick up notes of a hard apple cider vinegar. Under that, you'll pick up a deep fruitiness along with dark malts and a hint of spice.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-bodied sour ale that feels snappy, fizzy, and just sour enough to be more cleansing than anything else. It'll make you pucker just a bit.

TASTE: What a refreshing, unique beer! The opening taste is sour, but quickly followed by black cherries, dates, and maybe a touch of green apples. It's a very refreshing, fun beer that's only a touch complex. I would have liked this beer a little better with less fruitiness and a bit more breadiness, but that's purely subjective.

DRINKABILITY: I don't think that I could have several of these in a row, but I can see myself having one, breaking to try something else, and then having another Flemish Sour Ale.

VERDICT: This is actually a private label beer commissioned by Monk's Cafe Belgian Beer Emporium and Restaurant (http://www.monkscafe.com) in Philadelphia, PA. It's brewed by the Van Steenberge Brewery in Belgium. I bought on a lark and I'm glad I did. I love it when a gamble pays off. If you can find it (I got mine at The Savory Grape, East Greenwich, RI), then I recommend you give it a shot.

Cheers,
John Harvey
Dirtybeerguy.com

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2011 00:33:10 | More by DirtybeerguyRI
Photo of jealousmonk
jealousmonk

California

3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is an interesting beer. It's hard to rate too highly--the mouthfeel is seriously lacking, and it doesn't bring the complexity of a really good sour--but it was unusual and fun to drink.

A--Dark reddish brown, poured into a tulip glass. Appears heavily carbonated, but did not feel overwhelming.

S--Smells sour, with strong apple and vinegar. Mild yeast and cherry. The smell is not very enticing--too vinegary.

T--Not terribly sour--more tart, with strong flavors of apples and cherries. The taste in unusual for a sour--far more drinkable than I was expecting, and as I said in the beginning, less complex.

M--Very thin. The carbonation level seems fine, contrary to the appearance of the beer. It could certainly use more body. This might be part of the reason that the flavors have less depth than expected. However, this also means I could drink a few of these. Drinking more than a couple of stronger sours would be very difficult. Overall an enjoyable beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2011 05:37:43 | More by jealousmonk
Photo of sirtomtom
sirtomtom

California

3.54/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a nice clear dark brown with two fingers of tan head.

S: Very mild scent, a bit of tart apple and a light funk.

T: A very mild flavor. Tart apple and berry. Mildy sour with just a touch of wet blanket funk.

M: A bit watery finishing nice and dry.

O: This is a great sour to start with. Lightly sour, very simple, easy drinking, not very complicated. The touch of funk helps ease people into sours nicely. Paid $3.99, well worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2013 04:41:58 | More by sirtomtom
Photo of rhenning
rhenning

New York

3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a stemless red wine glass i like. Pours a copper red color with 1.5 fingers of light tan, sudsy head that recedes to a light covering of foam, leaving a nice lacing on the glass. Looks rather nice! Nose of cherry, apple, yeast and malt vinegar. Medium bodied mouthfeel; thirst-quenching and not sticky. Taste of apple & cherry fruits, lactic acid & CO2 bite. Quick on the palate, ending crisply. A bit of lingering grape skin in the flavor. Drinkability was good enough to have two. A very solid sour and a good introduction to the style, but more funk and tartness would be welcome.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2009 01:54:03 | More by rhenning
Photo of bulldog91
bulldog91

Illinois

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

Dark red in color, virtually no head when it arrived at the table.
Smell of cherry definitely dominates, but not in a bad way. It's just what rises first.
Almost no carbonation in the mouth, which was good. Let me enjoy the fruit mix going on a bit more with cherries, cabernet, a touch of wood but only a touch. Not terribly sour, but that's OK.
Enjoyed this beer, a very good sour.

Serving type: on-tap

11-18-2012 15:36:05 | More by bulldog91
Photo of KDeLibero
KDeLibero

Colorado

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

The Belgian family-owned Van Steenberge brewery, which is outside the city of Ghent, in the Flemish region, produces the famous beers Gulden Draak and Piraat. They have collaborated with the Belgian Beer Emporium, Monk's Café in Philadelphia to commission the Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale under their private label. Monk's Café is made in the style of an Oud Bruin (or "old brown). Young and old beers are blended to create balance and complexity in this mildly sour ale.

Monk's Café pours a deep red mahogany with a malty aroma of fruit and oak. The flavor is tart with strawberries and cherries, and hints of vanilla, wood, and lactic acid. The noticeable oak on the finish must be from the more aged batch of beer that is blended in. Overall, Monk's Café is a very drinkable and refreshing beer that would serve as a great introduction to sour beers for those who are not familiar with the style.

While delicious on it's own, Monk's Café will pair well with a wide variety of different foods, especially ones that share the same funky, barnyardy flavors. Try pairing it with a gamey meat such as duck with a sweet sauce, or a rich pork dish. It would certainly compliment an earthy, mushroomy cheese like Brie de Meaux, or Forsterkäse, which is wrapped in bark for an extra heady flavor. Experiment too, this beer is fun and delightful with chocolate!

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2010 04:29:23 | More by KDeLibero
Photo of jonandhisflask
jonandhisflask

Kentucky

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

poured into a stone ipa tulip

A murkey redish brown, 2 finger head

S FUNKY, real tart fruits( im still getting my sours palate down) im getting some vinegar as well.

T hmmm i get sweet apples, some funk, sour cherry and other spent fruits.

M medium heavy body, suprisingly smooth, ive had others that were super heavy and acidic. this one was pleasant.

O i would get this again to help me build a palate, not so acidic down my alley at this point

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2011 03:07:27 | More by jonandhisflask
Photo of scout
scout

District of Columbia

4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Publican in Chicago.

Pours a ruby-brown color with a generous head and excellent lacing. Smell is sour cherries, fruits, that Belgian sugary smell and some oaky funk.

Taste is really interesting -- a total blend of tart cherries, maybe some apples too and sweet. Also, a tad spicy and a little bready too. What's unique is that it's a total blending of flavors -- they don't hit you in phases but are all there from beginning to end. Mouthfeel is outstanding -- smooth, almost creamy (probably attributable to the draft, but still surprising for the style).

Overall, a very unique beer. A very drinkable sour with a lot of complex, but very blended and balanced flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

10-21-2011 01:05:17 | More by scout
Photo of MichaelinFishers
MichaelinFishers

Indiana

3.05/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into two Bell's tulips. Code on bottle is '24CK 15:14' but can't find what that means.

A lot of carbonation released even on a gentle pour, resulting in a lot of head. If I'd been pouring into a single glass, it wouldn't have been possible in one pour. Head settled down with some nice lacing.

The bottle says this is a Flemish Red, not an Oud Bruin. Who's wrong?

It isn't as tart as I'd hoped or experienced with the style before. It's a little sweeter than I prefer in my sours, but there is still a little sour funk going on. No one will ever mistake it for anything other than Flemish, that's for sure. But not my favorite. Mouthfeel follows the appearance at the pour: very carbonated, just this side of champagne-like, but fairly typical of the style.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2011 20:57:43 | More by MichaelinFishers
Photo of goast8127
goast8127

Michigan

4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer pours a deep red - ruby would be a good one word description.

The aroma is sweet and leans towards grapes. Definite notes of sourness that the name indicates.

Once on the tongue there is a sweet warmth that fills the mouth, finishing with a pleasant bitter, sour sensation.

Feels a little hot in the mouth, likely due to the carbonation. Would be interested to try this beer at a temp a few degrees warmer.

Overall a beer fitting its description. Definitely not a session beer but an excellent pre-dinner selection.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2011 00:02:18 | More by goast8127
Photo of buddha5050
buddha5050

Michigan

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

12 oz bottle poured into a St. Bernardus challace.

A: nice deep red color with light/med carbonation with 1.5 to 2 fingers of white pillowy head.

S: Cherries, sour, bready nice tart smell

T: Balsamic vinegar (slightly), slight sweetness, but a nice sour cherry flavor with nice bubblegum/nutmeg phenols. Nice taste.

M: Med body and cabonation which is nice, with a good tartness on the sides of the tongue

O: Nice beer, above average for style.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 01:57:28 | More by buddha5050
Photo of rugbyfan13
rugbyfan13

Georgia

3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Dark hazelnut brown on top fading into a dark red on the bottom. Tan, 1/2 inch head. Head turns into a thin cover on top. Medium lacing.

Smell: Cherries, wood, yeast funk, much less palpable than a Saison funk. Hints of garlic at the end that become more obvious as the beer warms up, but it still remains muted.

Taste: Oaky and funky, once again, similar to a Saison, lightly sour. Alcohol warms the burns the mouth as you drink it.

The main problem with this beer is that water hits you first. While I can tell there are strong flavors in the beer, the water just made the rest of the flavors have to overcome the watery-ness of the beer, and thus, diluted them.

Mouthfeel: Too damn watery up front. Similar to the taste, the water creates an obstacle for the mouthfeel and makes it seem weak.

Drinkability: I love yeasty funk, and I like sour beers, so I could drink more. Its an unremarkable beer.

Seeing how much I paid for the beer, I won't be trying this again.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2007 02:08:33 | More by rugbyfan13
Photo of porkinator
porkinator

California

3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There wasn't a price tag on this at BevMo, so that kinda made me want it!

A- Dark brown color. 1 inch head that faded quickly. Been 2 minutes since I've poured it, and still has some bubbles around the glass.

S- You know it's going to be sour. Berries: Cherry and raspberry?

T- Good! Sour at first and as the taste goes away, you get a cool sensation that lingers.

M- Feels bubbly. Smooth and sits very well. Not to thick.

D- I would like to definitely try this again!

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2010 04:05:26 | More by porkinator
Photo of paganbeast
paganbeast

Texas

2.88/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This is one of the first sour ales I've had, and I liked it fairly well.

The appearance is very reddish brown and actually quite appealing with a nice sustained head and delicate lacing.

The smells are almost overwhelming at first, as there is so much going on. Initially the sour cherries come barreling towards you followed by an entourage of sweet and sour notes.

It tastes quite sweet on the tongue and the sourness permeates the rest of your mouth. There's a feeling of drinking balsamic vinegar at times.

Has a very sticky and lasting mouthfeel, very difficult to shake.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2011 01:25:35 | More by paganbeast
Photo of ESeab
ESeab

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a Stella goblet

A - Dark ruby red, almost copper brown when not in light. Yeast flaoting around the bottom

S - Smells of raseberry and other fruit. I'm not really getting much though

T - Tastes like it smells. A touch of lemon and cherry comes through big time. It is definitely a great balance of sweet and tart, neither of which are too strong.

M - Real nice mouthfeel. Carbonation plays well with the body, which is a bit more syrupy than expected.

O - Solid sour if you are just starting. Or a nice refreshing beverage if you are already into sours.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2013 20:14:38 | More by ESeab
Photo of CrossFitAlex
CrossFitAlex

Wisconsin

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Rose, rust, and amber with a crisp medium head

N - ale- sour / acidic, cherry, rose and floral scents.

T - YUM! nice balance of sour on the front of the palette w/ good carbonation. Well balanced ale flavors. Cherry and floral with an excellent sweet-sour mix. (I love flemish sours)

M - 4.5

D - Did I mention I love flemish sours? I think i'll have another...

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2010 23:22:54 | More by CrossFitAlex
Photo of massshortage
massshortage

California

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

Bought this on a whim. It was nicely priced and had a good description on the bottle.

It poured gloriously- a deep clear deep red with a fluffy white head.

Smelled like fermented candy. Notes of sour warheads with vinegar.

The taste was fruitier than expected. Sweet and like raspberry and cranberry. The sourness was on the low side, and basically no hop bitterness, which I expected for the style, I suppose. Anyway, I feel that it could have been better balanced with more sour, less sweet.

Very light bodied, with high carbonation. Nice.

Well, it was certainly drinkable, and not bad by any means. But it drank more like a cider with its fruitiness and lack of much malt or hop character. I like their intentions with the sweet and sour balance, but I could have used less sweet and more sour.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2010 05:20:33 | More by massshortage
Photo of NotMyRealName
NotMyRealName

Illinois

3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is unusual. Although a Belgian ale, there's something that reminds me of a champagne. Fruity and smooth. Not hoppy. The flavor is not as complex as the best Belgian beers, but neither is it bland like Blue Moon Belgian White. Just like champagne makes a tasty occasional treat but is not an everyday drink, so too is Monk's Cafe.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2011 23:35:44 | More by NotMyRealName
Photo of ajcormier
ajcormier

New Hampshire

3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Poured from bottle into small tasting tulip.
A - Looks great, reddish brown with creamy colored lacing.

S - Smelled good but lacking in a real sharp tart note I was hoping for. Plums, raisins, cherry and lightly toasted biscuits. Slight musk.

T - Disappointing a suppose. As with the smell I was really hoping for something a bit more puckering. Tasting was similar to the smell but sweeter than I was anticipating.

M - Good bubbles and slightly coating. Dry finish but residual sugars were there.

O - Eh, had way better. Good but not worth buying again.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2013 01:19:27 | More by ajcormier
Photo of darky
darky

South Dakota

3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Poured from a bottle into a Saxo tulip/snifter

A:deep ruby reddish brown, thick, persistent white head and ample carbonation.

S: Tart fruits, and an astringent lemon-y scent.

T: Fruit punch at first, followed immediately by grapefruit, grapes, alcohol and a sour finish backed by strong carbonation. This is not a great example of this style. While different, and enjoyable, the flavor is really not very refined. The flavor of this beer has loads of character, but the component flavors are all fighting attention and fail to make a cohesive statement.

M: While the carbonation is strong, it pulls off a really nice smooth, almost creamy mouthfeel, that really benefits this beer overall. A definite strong point.

O: This is about third time I've had this beer, and I'm drinking this one a little warmer than before, probably around 45-50 degrees F. That said, this brew is better consumed a little colder. If you are introducing someone new to Belgians, by all means, do NOT start them out with beer. I think it would be very interesting to throw this brew into the mix in a blind taste with others of it category, but at the end of the day, your money is better spent elsewhere.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2013 04:50:14 | More by darky
Photo of yeastlovehoppiness_jess
yeastlovehoppiness_jess

Iowa

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Poured a dark, ruby brown with a quickly-rising, bubbly two fingers of toasty beige head. The head settled down fairly quickly into a thinner film that left lacing quite high up on the large wine glass I drank from.

S - Rich, malty, dark fruit kind of fragrance. Faintly reminded me of both Branston Pickle (I know, weird!) and red wine. Black cherry or plum notes.

T - Dark fruit, cherry, or plum taste. Reminded me of red wine. Faint milk chocolate taste. It reminded me of that fleeting moment when you bite through the cherry candy into the tootsie-roll center of a tootsie-pop. Left a flat, acidic, coppery/metallic aftertaste on the tongue and lips.

M - Sour, of course, but sweet. Tart. The first sip made me pucker a little. Thin.

O - For my first sour, it has piqued my interest and taste buds. It's unlike anything I've ever had. Definitely an enjoyable sipping, dessert-like beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2013 21:11:25 | More by yeastlovehoppiness_jess
Photo of gmuller
gmuller

Georgia

4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Murphy's Tulip.

Appearance - Deep reddish copper, head quick to dissipate, but had large bubbles while it lasted. Poured impressively clear in spite of the thick layer of yeast at the bottom.

Smell - Sour, vinegar. Ripe without smelling rotten. A mild but powerful smell. Smells like a still-living beer.

Taste - Sour of course, like vinegar at first but then like a yogurt. Woody flavors, ripe fruit.

Mouthfeel - Not bad, a little more bold then I would expect. Was hoping for a lighter feel, like something I would drink on a summer evening.

Drinkability - Very drinkable for the style. I wouldn't want to polish off more than 1 or two in a night, but pleasant.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2008 01:35:58 | More by gmuller
Photo of ATraurig
ATraurig

South Carolina

2.6/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Brownish red color with a thin white head.

S:The wild yeast smell is most prevalent but not a sour smell. Hint of overripe apple. Not a very complex scent.

T: Reminds me a lot of Duchess (which I don't care for). I think "sour ale" is a bit of a misnomer. I wouldn't descride the taste as sour at all (can't even be said in the same breath as say, La Folie). Has a sweet, slightly cheap-tasting aftertaste.

M: Very effervescent and light. The carbonation tickles the mouth and nose.

D: I don't think I can get through a full bottle! Probably going to be a drain ale.

Overall: Not impressed at all. Like a cheap version of Duchess.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 01:26:26 | More by ATraurig
Photo of Ed2
Ed2

Delaware

3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I get in the mood for sours... This one is readily available in my area and is a very good option. The Tart of Darkness has been the best I've ever tasted, but this will do very well. Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Brown, lightish.. With a white head about a finger and a half... A little lacing. Smell is what I'm looking for and starts the salivation. Taste. Yes. A very good sour brown.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2014 19:33:25 | More by Ed2
Photo of Symptomu
Symptomu

Pennsylvania

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

As a lover of sour brews I've developed a special affinity for this beers different take on sour. The color is a lovely clear but deep brown red and on tap the head is impressive. The sour aroma and even the tast of this beer is very lactic, yogurty, rather than acetic, vinegary. The mouthfeel is thin but not overly so. The sour lends to the brews drinkability without being too tangy, puckery. Flavors hint at cherry, crab apple, molasses, and plain yogurt. This is an excellent first timers sour though may not be much like its brethren.

Serving type: on-tap

09-30-2009 22:22:01 | More by Symptomu
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,066 ratings.