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

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale
BA SCORE
3.86/5
Very Good
2,995 Ratings
Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Belgium
vansteenberge.com

Style: Flanders Oud Bruin

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

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.

Added by nomad on 06-19-2003

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#10,560
Reviews:
1,158
Ratings:
2,995
pDev:
13.21%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
94
Gots:
473
Trade:
5
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,995 |  Reviews: 1,158
Photo of Scotchboy
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Here we go, Flanders Red Ale. Tying to climb the ladder of sour ales and I want to make sure I don't rip my tongue out in the process. This beer was suggested as a better jumping off point than the Le Terroir I tried a month or so ago.

11.2oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours deep brown/mahogany red, with an off-white head that has decent cling for a 5.5% beer.

S: Lactic cherry tartness and Belgian yeast character. It smells sweet and tart, not 'sour' in my opinion. Still, its enjoyable and not overpowering.

T: Starts sweet, with cherry flavors followed by other sweet fruits that race over your tongue and finally finish was a short tart flurry. The Belgian yeast characters are secondary, mixing in with the sweetness and leaving some peppery and spicy notes on the tongue.

MF: Pretty light bodied with good carbonation.

O: Very palatable for me but I can see where a lover of sours will be disappointed. Still not a style I would seek out but I could see myself enjoying this one again, maybe pairing with some blue cheese.

 1,043 characters

Photo of Archig8r
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of tappangordo
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of BeerGodz
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Bright cherry red color, clear, small head with little retention or lacing

Smell: Apples, raisin

Taste: Up Front: Tart, green apple, Finish: Cherry, sweet & earthy

Mouthfeel: Light/medium body with a medium yet soft carbonation. Coats the palate nicely

Drinkability: Refreshing and very easy to drink

Overall Impression: This is a very interesting style - one that reminds me of really good cider. If you like slightly tart flavors or apples, you'll love this beer!

 476 characters

Photo of troysoy2
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass, and served just above fridge temps.

An awesome, fluffy white head floats effortlessly over a slightly-rouge-tinged brown body. Lots of carbonation apparent. Excellent retention.

The smell is a bit straightforward, but pleasant. Laid back lactic acid over a crisp, yet soft citrus-infused brown malt profile. A touch of caramel.

The taste is much like the nose. Definitely a more subtle sourness than you may find in some sour ales, but this is nice in a way. It allows you to appreciate the malt profile a bit more, which seems appropriate for the style. Very refreshing, tart finish accentuated by plenty of carbonation and a pretty light mouthfeel.

Not out of this world great, but this could make a great "everyday sour", if there is such a thing.

 781 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Sloeber tulip glass.

Another one of those you have many times and realize you've yet to review it. Or maybe Im the only one? This guy pours a clear dark ruby-brown topped by a steadfast head of khaki foam. The nose comprises vinegar, tart lemon, figs, white grapes, wet grass, and black pepper. The taste holds notes of red grapes, sour raspberries, candi sugar, and a touch of honey bringing up the rear. The body is fairly light, with a moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a decent brew, but a little too timid for what it is. Something like that.

 577 characters

Photo of Spider889
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lounge 62 in Gahanna.

Damn this one was tough to find on the site. Searches led me to a Brewery called Monks Cafe in Switzerland, then a bar called Monk's Cafe in PA. Neither brewed this beer, though apparently this Belgian brewery created this brew for the forementioned bar.

Bourgundy coloring in the dim bar light. With some effort and angling I could see some nice ruby and blood orange hues in my snifter. Lots of tiny white bubbles, no lace or retention however.

Smells pretty sour, but also sweet. Almost cidery in the good way. Ripe black cherries and sour green skins. Mild mildew funk as it warms.

Tastey, though very sweet. The sourness is not nearly as pronounced as in the nose. Some mild dank oakiness intermingles with puckering green cherries and candied pear.

Light carbonation, the bubbles that are there dance on the tongue. Brut champagne character, nice and drinkable, good beginner sour.

 924 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I know I've reviewed this before but I guess I just haven't gotten around to typing up those handwritten notes yet.

CAN: Purchased as part of a 4 pack in Denver, CO for $14.99 USD. 11.2 fl oz format. Standard pull-tab. Silver colour with classy depictions of a monk and a barrel.

5.5% ABV. "Flemish sour ale." Served cold into a goblet and allowed to come to room temperature over the course of consumption.

HEAD: Gorgeous in colour and consistency. Smooth, creamy, and soft in appearance with a fluffy consistency and an apt khaki colour. Looks luscious and inviting, and lasts a good ~10+ minutes, leaving light lacing on the sides of my goblet as it recedes.

BODY: Deep glowing ruby amber colour. Nontransparent. Semitranslucent. No yeast/lees are visible within.

Looks good for the style; I'm eager to try it.

AROMA: Vivid cherries are the first thing I notice, backed by pie crust, caramel, bready malts, and delicate fruity ale yeast esters. Sourness seems quite mild, maybe a 4-5/10 in terms of intensity. Cherry pie comes to mind, but this seems sweeter than something like Rodenbach, almost hinting at a more jammy cherry presence.

No off-notes, booze, or hoppy notes are detectable.

Aromatic intensity is moderate. Suggests a sweet and sour ale with a nice cherry presence and high drinkability.

I'm not finding any oak or wood barrel notes, unfortunately, and I think it'd do well with more bacterial presence and concomitant sourness.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Has a pleasing soft and luscious presence on the palate in spite of its acidity. Cherries, pomegranate seeds, and jammy fruit as well as fruity esters fill out this sweet yet mildly sour ale. Bacteria lends it a modest 4/10 sourness, and I think I'm finding both pediococcus and lactobacillus. Apple cidre, green apple.

More sourness and bacteria would help step this up to the next level, and the absence of any oak/wood barrel flavours is a missed opportunity. Nevertheless, it's well-balanced in spite of its sweetness and I find it very pleasant and approachable for a style that at its worst is anything but.

Depth of flavour is merely average. Flavour intensity is mild; it's a mellow expression of the style if only because it doesn't commit fully to the sourness. I find no acetic/vinegary notes. No metallic off-flavour from the can or any other off-flavour.

Smooth, wet, refreshing, medium-bodied, well-carbonated. Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy. Very mellow silky fare.

OVERALL: It's less defined than the best expressions of the style, shying away from commitment to sour cherry, tartness, sourness, and bacterial notes in favour of a more crowdpleasing sweet fruity approach. I absolutely like it and would happily recommend it to friends, but I'd sooner have a Liefmans or La Folie when in the mood for a good Oud Bruin, and this isn't any less expensive. I'll enjoy finishing off the 4 pack I got and would be happy to have this beer any day of the year. It's a classic Belgian ale with a great fruity core...liquid cherry pie, anyone?

High B (3.71) / GOOD

***
10.06.17 2nd impression from another can:

Dried cherries. Faint jammy sweetness. Ample lactic acid and concomitant sourness.

Texture is slightly coarse and dry.

B / GOOD

 3,266 characters

Photo of draheim
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL into a tulip. Pours a clear mahogany brown w/ a big thick khaki head, lively carb, sticky lacing.

Aroma is tart and dry. Sour cherries, lactic acid. A little one-dimensional.

Taste follows nose. Sour fermenting fruit, dry oak, heavy vinous red grapes. I search for more nuances, different layers, but that's about it. Has a cidery quality.

Mouthfeel is crisp and light, maybe a little thin. Very drinkable and refreshing.

Overall a good Flanders oud bruin, but lacks complexity. Might serve as a good intro to the style, but there are better ones out there.

 568 characters

Photo of ABabbidge
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Dark brown, almost black body. Head is rocky and reduces to a thin lace.

S: Sour funky smell with some dark fruit, like apples or cherries.

T&F: Taste is slightly sour. I get an apple like flavor reminiscent of a cider. A little bit a malt with some tannins in the finish that makes it somewhat dry.Moderate carbonation.

O: Could use a little more tartness but overall pretty enjoyable. Fruity and refreshing for a summer day.

 432 characters

Photo of BBP
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- This beer seems to go from the largest amount of head to the smallest amount in the shortest time I've ever seen. At first it was giant and within a minute, it had completely disappeared aside from the ring of carbonation on the outside. The reason behind this seems to be how intense the carbonation is. It has a burnt raspberry look to it now, and leaves absolutely no lace.

S- Light sourness, and some light sweetness as well. Green apples and raspberries seem to be the most prominent fruits. The aroma presents the beer in a sharp way, but it ends up tasting more smooth.

T- The taste of this is more fruity than sour imo, as the sourness is more of an initial taste, and the fruitiness is a constant. My tastebuds aren't off, but I'm just not getting a ton of sourness. It's there initially, but then it's overtaken but a sugary taste.

The flavor leads with an almost citrus cherry flavor, and then soon tastes a bit tropical like mangoes and peaches. The aftertaste is full of buttery malt. and almost seems to taste like banana.

M- Slightly overcarbonated, but aside from that, it's fairly full bodied, and pretty creamy. Very dry finish.

O- Not a bad sour, but I've had many that I enjoy more. This one seems to contain a lot more sweetness than the other ones I've tried. There's only glimpses of alcohol in this, but it blends almost seamlessly with the fruity flavors.

I disagree with the assessments that this couldn't be drank all night. I found this to be very approachable, almost to a flaw. I just wish that it had more of a kick. For what it's worth, at 5.5%, I doubt you'll find many beers this potent though. Worth checking out, but I'd hold off on buying in bulk.

 1,699 characters

Photo of cellojon
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Beautiful cherry-amber color, head is almost white; pours easy. Some lacing

Nose: Slight alcohol bite followed by lots of sweet fruit, some bubblegum with a hint of yeastiness at the end

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied, a little crispness - much less carbonation apparent than I would have thought from the pour

Taste: Nice sweetness, almost cherry candy, followed by the main course: mild sour and bitterness in the middle; bread at the end holds on a long time

Overall: I enjoyed this one, and it's really easy drinking. Don't have much experience with sours, but I will keep going back to this.

 605 characters

Photo of aforbes10
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle purchased at City Wide in Mishawaka. A very pretty beer in my tulip glass. Perfect look to it, all clear and devilishly red with a fancy soft head and great looking lacing. Stinks like cranberries, sour cherries and red wine. Lots of odor to it = inviting. Taste is tart, but surprizing in that its really not all that complex. Dry cherry flavor, biscuity malt and vague cranberries and they all fade rather fast. Its a lot softer and less aggressive than i imagined it would be from the nose. Alcohol is almost imperceptible. Its a nice beer, overall, but its not, i think, the best of its kind.

 610 characters

Photo of MOB210SA
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The first sour ale, of any kind, I have tried.

Nice retaining creamy medium tan head about a finger's worth and slowly fades. Some good looking lacing is left after the action. Small patches and thin film cover the beer eventually. Deep colored scarlet, ruby red in color. Lots of scattered lacing cling nicely.

Nose- They weren't lying on the label about a sour lactic nose. Smells of milk, I don't want to say soured milk, but it is a little funky. A very lightly underlying caramel with a wine-like quality too. Maybe light touch of leather.

The taste is like really overripe fruits maybe peach, banana, raspberry smoothie that has a little funkiness too it as if it was left out for a while. I can also taste a hint of apple. Somewhat strange at first, but I tried it with a open mind and slowly starting to like it more each sip. You will probably either love it or hate it. I think it's worth a try and would probably be excellent paired with the right foods.

Medium bodied mouthfeel, smooth, and creamy going down. Rather bitter, sour finish with a lightly sweet end finish. The drinkability isn't high on this one. I really would not want more than one in a day. Maybe once they grow on me more, but right now every sip is a little shocker. Probably the hardest beer I've drank down in a while. Not because its not good, because this beer is just so different, I think I'm still not sure what to think. Usually they go real quick but this one I've been sipping and still have half the 12 oz bottle left. Worth a try, it is certainly different.

 1,556 characters

Photo of wheelinshirt
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle from Vidalia in Lansdale, poured into a wide tulip after allowing to warm from fridge temp. As i cracked the cap it immediately smelled vinegary and vinuous.

Deep red/brown color with a big light cream colored head that had fairly good retention. It slowly faded to about a fingers worth and in due time was down to a thin covering. Some pretty decent lacing, as well.

Smell was very vinuous, then vinegar. Personally, i don't find the smell attractive but it is certainly not inappropriate for the style and seems to be well done. Taste is more appealing to me, very wine like and cidery, reminds me a lot of duchesse. Mouthfeel is nice, medium light with moderate carbonation. Drinkability here isn't hampered by the beer per se--it is a good beer and the elements seem to be in a pretty good balance, here. However, this is a style that perhaps isn't for me. Pick it up if you are interested in the style, but i would probably recommend duchesse instead.

 974 characters

Photo of ItsYourBoyBlue
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of magictacosinus
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured out of a 11.2oz bottle into a tulip glass. No freshness date. Broken with a friend from the Sour Power samplers appearing everywhere with Petrus beers.

Pours a darkened, brownish, reddish tinged beer, complete with an off light brown head that rises quite gracefully with the bottle conditioning to about 3 fingers, but fizzles down like cherry cola does after an aggressive pour. Barely any lacing on this thing. Relatively juicy looking, although not as much as I prefer in this style - which ranges on seeming vinous. Still, the color is quite noteworthy, and the amount of flake-like sediment that accumulates at bottom once the dregs come out are also pretty raw looking. Slightly above average for the style here.

The aroma is actually far less sour than I was hoping, with only an initial lactic, woody sourness at the front and a little bit of vinegar at the back. There's a soft bouquet of sour black cherries, raspberries, and blackberries, and then cashews, slight clove, and brown sweetened malts. Good notes of oak round up the acetic feel, as well as the fruits and nuttiness, but it's pretty subtle - and honestly, subdued - overall. Some bitterness is at the back, but it's also relatively inexistent for the most part. I enjoy it for what it is, but it could be a little bit more sour and oaky, to be honest.

The flavor is on the same realm of the aroma, ranging from dark cherries, prunes, blackberries, and the nutty feel of walnuts, as well as more well rounded oaky aromas. In actuality (especially as this warms up), the oak churns out other woody aromas, almost ranging on cedar or cherry wood. There's a soft, zesty embrace of the acidity from the woody tannins, as well as the lactic sourness, but it's delicate and doesn't put up much of a fight. Slightly earthy and dry, and more so when the hoppy, grassy notes come through. The extra sediment adds more character, but it's never puckery or intense. Refreshing and easy to drink, although it *could* use a bit more body. It's often thinned in feel overall, and loses carbonation rather quickly, which doesn't aid it in transporting the more complex, nor the more subtle aromas within.

A good beginner's Flanders sourish offering, although could definitely be more complex than it is. It's luckily quite refreshing, and especially show people that beer does not have to be a pilsner or something to do the trick on a warm day. I'm not too impressed by it, but I enjoyed drinking it.

 2,470 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a really nice deep red/burgundy with a light tan head that reduced to a thin layer of foam on top. Nice sheets of lacing.

S: Light, tart cherries. A little bit of wood and vinegar.

T: Nice cherry flavor, a bit less tart then I was expecting. The cherry flavor transitions to slight oxidized flavor that remains on the flavor profile on the finish.

M: Medium bodied with nice carbonation.

O: Nice aroma and upfront flavors, but the oxidation was a bit much, giving it a metallic finish that was a bit unpleasant.

 526 characters

Photo of Bierguy5
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle, with the code 01 HE on the back. Cloudy, reddish brown color. Decent off white rocky head, which holds together well.

Sour berry aroma, with a bit of funky notes as well. Not a whole lot else.

Flavors begin with a puckering sensation, but quickly backs off. What is left is a bit tart, but not what was expected. Some slightly sour cherries, and dark berries, combine with a bit of earthy and musty flavors. The finish is very earthy, and dry.

Light body, with a good amount of carbonation. Seems to be light in alcohol, and pretty easy to drink.

Overall, not bad, but not as sour as I was hoping, or as the aroma would lead me to believe. The finish was not very good, which hurts the drinkability. This may be a good, non-intimidating intro into sour beers, but not at the top of the list for me.

 829 characters

Photo of AleWatcher
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Another I picked up from JWiss22 in an excellent trade! Thanks!
Poured into Duvel tulip.

Pours a deep pinkish red with a creamy tan head of 1 finger. Decent lace and average head retention...

Smells of vinegar and tart fruit notes. Slight oaky wood scent. Almost reminds me of Greek yogurt a little.

Taste is kind of bland... Not really sour. Not bad, just not as tart as I was hoping for. Some sour cherries and even a little raspberry flavor cones through.

Mouthfeel is a little thin and watery for me... Not unpleasant, but not outstanding.
Drinkabilty is above average-- probably in part to the light body and style ABV... I could drink this all night... With ease.

 674 characters

Photo of Hopswagger
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

P:  A monstrous mountain of khaki ice cream float head that stays a long while. Underneath lies a dark amber body that is almost black. Faded head leaves wall climbing silky lacing. 

S:  Aroma is sweet and roasty, with old leather, old english wood cleaner, smoldered grains, old Irish spring soap, fermented plums, grapes and under ripe persimmons. A mild lemon and lactic sourness that swims around the sweet but musty and earthy nose. 

T/M:  The first thing that hits is a swirled combination of tart apples, lemon zest, and vinegar mixed with a sweet heavy fruit syrup, cherries and wood chips.  Medium syrupy body with tingling carbonation.  Starts sweet turns sour then finishes semi dry with all notes of sweet, sour, and wood.   

O:  A crazy mixture that really delivers. Maybe a tad too tart in the finish but still a really good sipper. I couldn't drink too many of these so it would be a treat to savor. 

  

 935 characters

Photo of stakem
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes taken 6/12/10

From a bottle it appears an amber color with a yellowish tan head that doesn't retain well. Faint amount of lace clings to the glass. Aroma is an interesting mixture of berry and vinegar. The fruity berry in the aroma comes across a bit like cherries. Taste is sweet upfront with the cherry flavor that turns a bit acidic with a note of sourness. Ligh feel with a modest level of carbonation. There is a lingering aftertaste of fruity sourness that is mildly drying on the tongue. This has more sweetness than I was expecting but perks my interest in trying more Flemish examples. As it warms, the vinegar character becomes more evident seemingly like apple cidar vinegar.

 705 characters

Photo of tut2528
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: pours is a deep ruby red, that is almost dark brown in appearance. poured into a tulip, and it creates a solid 2 fingers worth of head formation that is beige in color. fairly nice lacing and quite carbonated. floaties vary in size but most are quite small.

S: the nose is very faint, and quite disappointing. some notes of oak, hay and barnyard funk, subtle tough of vinous qualities like tannins , and a touch of vinegar.

T: the palate makes quite a unique transition in this beer. it starts off with some tartness, a slight touch of vinegar that gets the salivary glands pumping.. then this beer makes a hard turnaround, and becomes quite sweet. middle of the body consists of the oak, grain, slight touch of dark fruits, and brown sugar. the finish is quite creamy.

M: my palate is wondering what the hell just happened. this brew has both sweet and sour characteristics. it leaves a slight creaminess on the palate with just a subtle touch of grain. its borderline light/medium bodied.

O: I have passed this one up for years, and even though I will most likely not purchase this one again, I am glad to have tried it, and i feel this is a nice beer for those to would like to get their feet wet in the sour world.

 1,225 characters

Photo of ZaxGhost
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Travlr
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep ruby red. medium white head. Aroma of sour cherries and malt. Vinegar flavor. Sort of a less complex version of Rodenbach, similar to their "Alexander" which is no longer brewed. Nicely balanced, slight sweetness at the start and a scant bitter edge comes in late Nice example of the style..

 296 characters

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 2,995 ratings