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

Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale
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Style:
Sour - Flanders Oud Bruin
Ranked #52
ABV:
5.5%
Score:
87
Ranked #15,617
Avg:
3.9 | pDev: 13.08%
Reviews:
1,177
Ratings:
3,060
From:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
 
Belgium
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  95
Gots
  488
SCORE
87
Very Good
Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale
Notes: 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.
View: Beers
Reviews: 1,177 | Ratings: 3,060 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of faraday326
faraday326 from California

4.46/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

It pours (11.2 oz bottle into glass) a deep reddish brown with a thick head.

The nose to me is amazing. Just incredibly rich w/ dark fruits and sweetness.. plums and raisins and typical things for this style. It's just very pleasant on the nose.

The flavor follows the nose with lots of plum and raisin and then a tartness you expect from a flemish sour ale. It's not like the bright sour of a wild ale/etc but it's the sweet/sour of a purple, plum, raisin flavor with the follow of tartness. Such a lovely mix.

A great, great, great example of the style.

Apr 09, 2021
Photo of Peach63
Peach63 from New York

4.6/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours red with a 3/4 inch cream-colored head. Heavy lacing to the end.

Aroma is sour raisins, plums, grapes Belgian yeast.

Taste is sour, slightly sweet, prunes, raisins, grapes, lactic acid.

Medium bodied, moderate carbonation. Sweetish, tart finish.

This is a very good sour ale.

Nov 25, 2020
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Greywulfken from New York

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

Dark ruby brown with a tan foam top... Makes me think of a farmhouse version of a Flanders red - has some berry and currant notes, but with a lactic tang and even a hint of red wine vinegar... Fairly smooth but lively enough up front, light-feeling, with a little wood at the end, but otherwise a surprisingly clean finish...

Nov 06, 2020
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CAMRAhardliner from Canada (ON)

4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep mahogany with copper glints at the edges of the glass. The fizzy tan head starts big and crackles to a persistent foam cap quickly. Caramel malts and light tartness in the nose. The taste is of cherries, raisin bread, lemon acidity and some soft oak. Fuller body that expect for the style with medium carbonation. Light sweet and sour notes in the finish.

A complex Oud Bruin that does a good job of straddling sweet and sour. Worth a try.

Jul 07, 2020
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Texanoblues

4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Same experience as other tasters. Dark brown in the glass with small cream colored head. Tart root beer and cherry. Also some nice caramel and date notes. Sort of a rich and well balanced wild ale. Very nice.

Apr 08, 2020
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ovaltine from Indiana

4.17/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Mahogany brown with reddish hues on the edges and a tan head, the nose is filled with cherry aromas and a significant oak component.

The tart cherries are featured on taste as well, with the oak flavor to smooth out the tart. This is really well executed, IMHO.

Mar 06, 2020
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Sabtos from Ohio

3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark muddled brownish-red with a tall, creamy persistent tan head clinging in thick wavy walls.

This is sweet, juicy and barely sour, featuring notes of crabapple, cranberry and red grape via a smooth medium slick body that finishes semi-dry with the lightest touch of dark oak on the exhale.

Sep 24, 2019
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mngermanshepherd from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This reminds me of a root beer. Pours a dark brown, almost black, with a head that would resemble a root beer from the tap.

Nose is definitely tart, with an almost vinegary aroma...

Taste is initially slight vinegary which quickly turns into a cherry delight. Definitely drinkable.

Aug 23, 2019
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Act25 from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

i like this better than rodenbach, discovered at wegmans' tasting.
a / Pours a balsamic vinegar colored body with a tan foamy head that laces madly and densely while retaining a cap.
s / offers that vinegar, cherry, malt flavor expected in lambics. a bit of funk, basement, cave.
t / begins with tart fruits (cherry and fermented black berry) with balancing sour bitterness. wine like and complex, a sipper.
f / there's an extra layer in every sip, lean yet complex, dry, smooth, cleansing, yet wine like.
o/ we need more of these - high on my belgian list

Jul 22, 2019
Photo of npolachek
npolachek from New York

4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Solid beer - tastes of cherry with good sweetness. Medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation. Good amount of sweetness and an overall pleasure to drink this beer.

May 27, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From undated notes.

Deep purple/brown colored liquid.

Light passes, but this is murky.

Nice off-white head; patchy but thick lacing.

Tart cherry nose. Inviting.

Medium thin mouthfeel.

Tastes of cherries & grapes; mild tartness but full flavor. Very quaffable for a sour, but sour nonetheless. Tasty.

May 19, 2019
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Troy-Hawaii from Hawaii

3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought a 11.2 oz can Tamuras $4.49
Smell of sour cherries
Dark brown color
Medium mouthfeel
Medium carbonation
Very sour, tart taste of cherries,
Overall it is what it says it is and that is sour. Not for me but rating it on what it is.

May 19, 2019
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VoxRationis from New York

4.39/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Decanted from an 11.2 oz (330 ml) bottle into a customer taster pint; 30 JQ printed on label (should anyone know what the code represents).
A: Pours a crystal clear, dark copper color with beautiful ruby highlights, a one to two inch, wheat colored head which slowly resolves to a cap, and tendrils and rings of lacing.
S: Tangy with what I thought was a whiff of lactic acid, but based on the taste, no. Aromas of cherry, berries (raspberry, blackberry (especially), maybe boysenberry), molasses, and honey.
T: Sweet and very slightly tart with flavors largely following the nose. Really having a hard time between cherry and berry. Very minimal bitterness appreciable in the mix.
M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.
O: Goodness, this is an enjoyable beer. Just a complex blend of gentle sourness and fruity goodness. Truly surprised by the low ratings of the site. My suggestion: try it again, you must have had a bad bottle.

Feb 22, 2019
Photo of Myros
Myros from Washington

4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I’m surprised at the overall rating for this beer. Maybe it’s just me and a few others, but I think this is a fantastic brew. I feel in good company though as a panel of expert judges rated this beer as a high exceptional.
I’ve had this twice on tap in Tacoma with some time in between, and both times come away impressed. Due to being in social situations I didn’t take notes, so I can’t in good conscience give note details. However, in broad terms this beer is beautiful in appearance with a well balanced winey earthy cherry sour flavor that is complex and easy to drink simultaneously. I think it’s a great Oud Bruin!

Dec 16, 2018
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JamFuel from Sweden

4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Monks in Philadelphia.

Pours a clear, dark brownsih red with soft, frothy head.

Smell is sweet and sour with notes of grass, cherries and a little bit raspberry.

Taste is tart, with a malty sweetness anchoring all the cherries and raspberries. One of these Belgian sours that are so well made and balanced, they manage to be thirst quenching and simple, yet complex and rich at the same time.

Mouthfeel is thin to medium with good, spritzy carbonation.

Overall, a terrific sour, goes well with food or as it is.

Dec 11, 2018
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TheDoctor from Canada (QC)

4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving: Bottle
Bottle code but no discernable date

This one pours a fairly opaque mahogany with a billowing tan head. Absolutely gorgeous. It has a constant finger of living head and sheets of fine lacing.
There is a sharp oaky, acetic smell immediately upon pouring, with sugary bread and spices with a fruity tartness and light funk on top.
Wowee! The flavor made me gasp out loud and then immediately sit back with my eyes closed and take another drink. And another. It has an amazing set of different levels of tartness, flower nectar, fields in spring, spiced bread and cherry sweetness that then decrescendos into earthiness and finally a medicinal hoppy smack at the end.
It is refreshing and perfectly tart with a medium body and a slow-lingering bitter finish that excellently stages each subsequent sip. As it warms the sweetness comes through more and more prominently. It becomes enough that I could see it being better if it was subdued a tiny bit, but at the same time the balance of the sweetness and sourness is really what made me like it so who knows...
Like all beers of this caliber I'm struck by how it can so completely be complex and simple at the same time. I'm glad I picked this beer up.

NOTE:
I'm not big into sours, and might have passed right over it if not for wanting to try something different. Also, looking at other reviews I see I must've really liked this one. I will keep an eye out for it and try to rate it again with some more perspective to see what I think and if I still think it's specatacular. This one was definitely my best experience with a sour. I've really liked a handful, but few have left me wanting another or thoroughly enjoying each sip. Was this because it was by chance my "breakthrough" tart beer? Was it because it isn't sour enough (a point a few reviewers made) and maybe I like it precisely because it isn't sour? Am I confusing the beer being balanced when it is just overly simple? Does it really matter? Very nice beer. I'll have it again.

Aug 27, 2018
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quaffinghans from Pennsylvania

3.71/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A classic Belgian sour style brewed as the house draft for the "Belgian-lovers heaven"--Monk's Cafe--in the Rittenhouse district of Philadelphia. Bottling carbonation does not do justice, as this beer is best served out of the keg. For me, the "Goldilocks" of sour beers: sour, but not so tart as to cause a grimace, distinctively fruity, but not too sweet, not high gravity, but not too weak. Smell is a tad unpleasant, but otherwise the most drinkable sour I've ever had. I've ordered several pints in succession without regret!

Aug 16, 2018
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Guppy314 from District of Columbia

3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a bottle, pours as a clear dark brown with a TALL khaki head (lots of carbonation). Aroma of dark fruitiness. Taste is immediately of sour cherry, but it's not overwhelming with an aftertaste of sweet malt (essentially no hops). Overall, it's fun, but it's just kind of a novelty beer ... rather that regular drinking.

Apr 22, 2018
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BlackBeerPirate from Illinois

4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Taste: complex, tangy dark fruit, some sour, tart, berries, bread, drinkable. Same with the nose. Deep reddish mahogany hue, semi clear, delicate head. Medium body.

Mar 22, 2018
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JackRWatkins from Alabama

3.13/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

A: Pours with a (very) frothy, off-white, one finger head (that recedes quickly) and a deep mahogany body, slight lacing.
S: Subtle malt notes and aromas of balsamic vinaigrette with an understated savory aroma accenting it.
T: Very fruit forward, with an emphasis on grape and cherry and a slight malt backbone. It is tart, but I wouldn't really call it sour.
M: Under-carbonated, with a slightly silky, medium body.
O: It's enjoyable, but definitely unremarkable. It would likely please at a party as an accessible alternative to more traditional beer. But in the realm of Flemish sour ales, it's not even in the top five I would say.

Mar 10, 2018
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 11.2 fluid ounce bottle into glass. Stamped on label is '30CQ 13:57'.
Ruby brown colored body. Light tan bubbly head. Good coverage of lacing.
Aroma of tart cherries and bready malt.
Rather a mix of tart dark fruit taste - cherry, raisin, plum and green apple. Some pale malt too. No oak or vinous aspects, no funk. Tart and just mildly sour. Sweetness is restrained. Palate cleansing at end of drink profile, rather dry.
Light mouth feel, with good carbonation. Easy to drink. I can understand the 4+ ratings, as this is a very pleasant beer to drink, but it lacks complexity. I would certainly drink this beer again, especially in a restaurant setting with proper food pairings.
An unchallenging, but pleasant and refreshing to drink, mildly sour old ale.

Feb 04, 2018
Photo of PatrickCT
PatrickCT from Connecticut

3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a nice enough beer and I would be happy to drink it by the gallon with some friends and food. A little on the sweet side but with good developed flavor of sour cherries, some oak and mildly sour. Not the best but a fun little Flanders.

Jan 25, 2018
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Themorg826 from Rhode Island

4.36/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look- Dark brown color, zero clarity. When poured, 1/3 inch of head, white in color.

Smell- Very sweet, almost candy-like smell. Zero hop smell. Essences of berries and cherry

Taste- Muted sour taste; cherry and raisin are prevalent when it first hits the mouth. Same fruit after taste; no hop taste. Rich undertone, extremely approachable.

Feel- High carbonation, nice fruity finish. Palate sensation is heightened by the tinge of sour flavor followed by fruit taste.

Overall- Phenomenal beer; would drink again.

Jan 14, 2018
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Shade1951 from Pennsylvania

4.51/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First thing - this beer smells wonderful! Sweet and tart, fruity. The pour is also great. The head is fluffy in the way that egg whites are when stirred into a cloud - only in this case tan. Flavor is also sweet/tart. Very appealing. It's not as sour as most sour ales I've tried - but that doesn't count against it in this case. I find no off tastes, nothing I would consider artificial or medicinal.

This is a very good beer - tasty and refreshing. If it were just a couple more percent ABV, it would be close to perfect for me.

Jan 02, 2018
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the_awesometeer from California

4.31/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

First off I am not sure what is up with my bottle but I think half of my beer was just foam. It was a chunky, foamy head that lasted a very long time. The beer is a very dark brown. The beer smells of sour cherries with mild bready malt aromas. The taste has a variety of different fruits but cherry is the strongest flavor. The sour starts off strong but fades. There is a nice carbonation to the beer

Dec 15, 2017
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 3060 ratings