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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

2,355 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,355
Reviews: 1,046
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 52
Gots: 167 | 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: 2,355 | Reviews: 1,046 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ChadQuest
2.1/5  rDev -45.3%
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.

ChadQuest, Apr 01, 2010
Photo of Kinsman
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark and hazy reddish brown color. Dense cream colored head holds tightly against the glass and doesn't let go.

Aroma touches on notes of vinegar and sour cherry but it's not as overpowering as some for this style. A bit of fruity sweetness in the background.

A more balanced version of a Flanders ale with a nice mildly sour kick but plenty of malt backbone and sweetness to keep things in check. Fruit notes touch on green apples and cherry with a nice tartness to them.

Mouthfeel is crisp an bubbly but doesn't quite dry you out like you'd expect. Overall, Monk's Flemish sour is a great sour ale when you're looking for moderation and mild sourness (i.e. good intro sour). At 2.50 a bottle, I'll certainly have this again.

Kinsman, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of mdwalsh
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

mdwalsh, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of Dank26
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Dank26, Nov 09, 2012
Photo of archero
4.75/5  rDev +23.7%

archero, Aug 13, 2013
Photo of BeersAndBears
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

BeersAndBears, Dec 10, 2013
Photo of CharlesRiver
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

CharlesRiver, Oct 22, 2005
Photo of DoctorDog
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

DoctorDog, Oct 09, 2009
Photo of confer
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

confer, Mar 03, 2013
Photo of MarioM
4/5  rDev +4.2%

MarioM, Nov 23, 2012
Photo of riemster
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

riemster, Jun 10, 2013
Photo of mrcraft
4/5  rDev +4.2%

mrcraft, Jun 23, 2014
Photo of Can_has_beer
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Can_has_beer, Jul 28, 2014
Photo of homebrewhawk
3.88/5  rDev +1%
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.

homebrewhawk, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of Auraan
4.09/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a deep brown, with a three finger off white head. Gorgeous, looks fantastic. Sour lactic scent with a slight hint of malt. A good scent of a sour ale, makes me want to take a sip. Taste begins with a nice sour flavor, a sort of sour crab apple flavor and a bit of nice roast malt flavor on the finish and after taste. Quite nice. Very refreshing. Mouthfeel is bubbly and medium bodied, quite good, refreshing and carbonated, yet easy to drink. This is a good, unique beer. I'm not sure how it stacks up for the style, yet I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Worth trying for sure.

Auraan, Aug 13, 2013
Photo of bluerabbit
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

bluerabbit, Jan 01, 2013
Photo of JEdmund
4/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

JEdmund, Oct 09, 2010
Photo of twelvsies
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

twelvsies, Aug 11, 2005
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

LordAdmNelson, Feb 02, 2010
Photo of climax
4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
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.

climax, Oct 27, 2011
Photo of halo913
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

halo913, Apr 07, 2012
Photo of damienblack
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

damienblack, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of sisuspeed
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

sisuspeed, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of happygnome
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
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

happygnome, Jul 28, 2008
Photo of megahurts4
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

megahurts4, Oct 21, 2010
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,355 ratings.