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

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale
BA SCORE
3.86/5
Very Good
2,969 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:
#9,213
Reviews:
1,150
Ratings:
2,969
pDev:
13.21%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
91
Gots:
465
Trade:
5
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,969 |  Reviews: 1,150
Photo of Danielr26
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Jesse13713
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into my Great Lakes Christmas Ale snifter. I was excited to see this at my local Heinen's after just recently reading that is many BA'S favorite and most drinkable sour. I had no idea it was even around here, as I'd never seen it before today.

Appearance - Three full fingers of unstable and clumpy froth appear right away. Watching the head dissipate is like watching a collapsing foam building. It just has a very unique structure to it. The liquid itself is deep brown with slight hints of crimson and amber. Very impressive lacing.

Smell - Smells very sour. I am most used to Jolly Pumpkin sours, so I have to say it smells similar to most of them; specifically Bam Biere. Strong hints of cherry with slight citrus. Smells slightly sweet and extremely acidic.

Taste - Definitely sweeter than the smell lead me to believe. It is sour as it first touches my tongue, but as I swallow i am smacked with a sack of cherries. This is the most amazing cherry beer I've ever tasted. There is definitely some light lemongrass swaying in the background as well. A slight sour pucker on the finish.Cherry and pomegranate really dominate the mouth here.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - Now that I look at other BA's reviews, I have to disagree with many of the other statements that this beer is too sweet. I believe it to be very well balanced all through-out. Sourness and sweetness are sort of playing tug-of-war with each other, and sometimes sour wins; sometimes sweet. it just depends on each certain drink to me. Not nearly as sour as I expected. Quite light bodied as well. While the beer is resting in my mouth, I get the feeling that I am going to be overcome by sweetness when I swallow. But when I do, I am pleasantly surprised each and every time I take a drink.

 1,772 characters

Photo of jeffadow
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Deep, dark red, almost brown in color, with a small tan head. smells lemon-lime/sour candy. Sour upfront, predominantly citric in flavor, like a meyer lemon, with a big, creamy mouthfeel, long finish and unobtrusive malty sweetness throughout.

 243 characters

Photo of Boone757
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of LambicLion
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of JoeAmerican77
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark cranberry in color, minute head. Yum, oak and sour bugs abound in the nose of this Flanders Oud Bruin ale. Huge carbonation, like a champagne explosion, is playful next to its medium bodied base. A nice tart lemon and berry fruit cocktail is presented to the tongue, hints of oak as well but not too dominant. The sour is delish!
6/10 Sour scale.

Fruity, sour and fun. Sounds like a bad Navy joke ;)

 405 characters

Photo of morimech
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear crimson brown color with a large head that had very good retention before settling to a thick cap. Large amount of lacing is left on the glass. Aroma is acidic and slightly sour. Some oak as well. The label states mildly sour and that is what you get. Flavor has hints of cherries and a slight vinous quality. Mild acidity. Maybe the slightest hint of funkiness but this is a much cleaner example of a Flanders Ale. Light to medium body with carbonation that is slightly effervescent. The combination works well in sour ales. A milder and cleaner example that still has good flavor. Quite refreshing.

 606 characters

Photo of KDawg
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

very nice dark red mahogany color. Poured into a tulip and has a nice and foamy head

Very tart nose as would be expected. Sour cherries, apples, with some vinegary aromas as well

medium/full bodied with the acidity that one would expect from a good flemish sour. Very tart and sour driven flavors that one would expect as well with apples, sour cherries and some sour red berries too

Always consistent and always good. This is a personal favorite for when I need to have a sour.

 481 characters

Photo of Badger6
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle poured into a goblet.

Body is a deep reddish brown color with a white head that retains well, some lacing. The aroma is vinous, with some oak and malt. Hints of sourness. The tartness is immediately apparent on the tongue, with malty sweetness coming in right behind it. Very well balanced flavor. The beer is medium bodies, with a nicely carbonated feel.

Very enjoyable beer. Nicely sour, with a balanced sweetness that makes this much more accessible than many beers of this style. Easily recommend this to an adventurous taster who has never tried this style.

 583 characters

Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass, a beautiful deep red color and thick tan head. The head fades fast to a nice layer that stays throughout.

Interesting aroma as a tart fruitiness blends with a bready malt background. Both sour and sweet cherries come to mind. Mild sour flavor, with more tart fruit and less of the malt. Interesting but not much more. It does dry out nicely in the finish.

Well carbonated and light to medium in body. Easy to drink and pleasant all the way around. I have not had many in this style but I do find this enjoyable.

 540 characters

Photo of Prime16
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Reddish color, nice frothy head.

S: Tart apples, sweet with sour cherries.

T: A little sweeter than I expected with definite green apple and cherry with a refreshing and pleasing sour taste.

M: Satisfying with light carbonation, clean.

O: Enjoyable beer, just a little on the sweet side for me.

 301 characters

Photo of Beer4Baltimore
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the first beer I've had that uncorked itself. I removed the cage and within seconds the cork popped followed by a gush of foam.
A - a clear deep red brown topped with a towering bubbling foamy head.
S - I can smell and feel the tart. Very much a cherry malt aroma.
T - the taste surpasses what the smell may have hinted at. There are rich caramel malt flavors underneath the moderately latic tart twang. There is a bit more happening as it warms. Belgian yeast flavors appear along with an increase in the strength of the sour.
M - medium bodied and highly carbonated with a semi-sweet finish and a long lasting mild tartness not unlike what a sweetart candy leaves behind. It's just a little sticky.
D - easily can drink the whole 750ml and still want more.
I'd call this a Rodenbach Grand Cru Light.

 810 characters

Photo of GRPunk
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into my tall, Lion Tulip glass. It was a little on the cold side to start.

A- A normal pour left a 2-finger, fluffy, tan head that eventually dropped to just under 1/2 finger. There was a lot of carbonation in the clean, mahogany body. As I drank, it left some of the widest, sticky rings I've seen with spotting in between layers.

S- At first, I got a sense of sour cream with a wet, woody background. There were hints of spice, fruit (something between raspberry and tart cherries), and a little red wine vinegar. A little warmth and some time for familiarity seemed to soften the sour aroma.

T- It's quite complex. There was a good portion of sour, hints of wood, and a little fruity flavor in spots with some lighter, vinegar accents. Very clean, dry in the finish. It says "mildly sour" on the neck. Maybe it's a good initiation.

M- There was a ton of soft and foamy carbonation and it was bone-dry in the end.

D- It's a new style to me (maybe my first true, commericially brewed sour), and it seemed good for the style when I checked out the guidlines. It's not a thirst quencher or a chugger by any means, but I'm sure that's not its purpose. I think it's sour nature is something to appreciate. It's definitely sparked my interest in the style.

 1,271 characters

Photo of thirdeye11
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this at the Dallas Gingerman. We get almost no sour beers in this market so I was really happy to see it.

A: Pours a nice murky reddish/brown with a 1 finger light tan head. Lacing is good as well.

S: Smells like a flanders style beer in that it's a little bit funky, fruity, and has some spices showing their way through this one.

T: Taste is really nice. Not too sour but it's there. Has some funk to it, but really muted which I'm completely ok with. I was enjoying the sweetness here, almost no bitter whatsoever. Perhaps some oak in it as well?

M: Nicely carbonated, weight is just about right too.

D: Pretty high. I wanted more but it was expensive.

Recommended to any drinker of any beverage. Very drinkable.

 725 characters

Photo of andycorns13
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of oelergud
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear transparent beautiful dark ruby body with lots of carbonation and a nice pillowy, creamy, silken tan head. Good retention and lace.
Sweet and sour scent, tart green apple skin.
Fresh tart fruity taste. Very little aftertaste of green tart apple.
Medium mouthfeel with a finish that seems dry but thats just the tartness talking.
A very different and enjoyable brew.

-Oelergud

 388 characters

Photo of MufflnMan
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Thirsty Monk. Poured a reddish color with a frothy off white head. Smells of tart fruit... apples, cherries, berries. Taste is the perfect amount of sour. Just what I was looking for in this kind of brew. Green apples and cherries nicely balanced to create a really refreshing feel.

 296 characters

Photo of Foxman
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a quite clear rich ruby copper. A finger of frothy light tan head sinks slowly. Gulls of lacing aviate along the inside of the glass.

The aroma is decidedly lactic and pie-cherry sour. A submerged toasted malt grain presence intimates of a feather of sweetness to balance the more aggressive tartness.

Upon tasting, the malt is tart cherry sweet and ever so slightly doughy. The sour tower is again notably lactic, and this time is buttressed by a brace of earthy funk. A short batch of residual sweetness joins the tang to open up to a gradually drying and moderately crisp finish. No matter your general tastes, it's hard not to like this at least a measure.

Light bodied, the carbonation and sweet/sour duet combine to give a marked soft-drink impression to the palate.

Plenty of places have proprietary beers, but few have such distinctive, entertaining ales. It's a sour for a newer palate, or for those who'd like a little less "horsiness" in their beer, for whatever the reason. It's a refreshing and willing counterpoint to any number of savory culinary choices. I don't usually drink it at Monk's due to the usually many untried options, but it's nice to be able to bring a bit of Monk's home with me.

 1,235 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a gueuze glass.

A: Dark red-brown color with a mild haze. Highly effervescent. The tan head almost has a slight pink tint. Retention is excellent. Bubbly patches of lacing slide lazily back down into the glass.

S: Sour cherries and sour apple. Acidic. Light rustic character, layer of musty yeast. Peppery. Malts come across very crusty on the nose. Traces of dark caramel and cocoa.

T: Cherry and prune juice. Cherry tartness balances a malt-derived sweetness of dark caramel, toffee, and chocolate. Brown molasses. Yeast character is more subtle than the nose indicated, but it still brings some musty flavors and some clovey phenol. Pleasing sweet and sour interplay on the finish as sour apple and cherry notes melt with a caramel/molasses sweetness.

M: Light in body with a refreshing spritzy feel. Any would-be sticky malt sweetness is lifted away by the scrubbing carbonation.

O: A very enchanting and crushable little sour. Actually more tart than sour. A good transition beer for those looking to immerse themselves more easily into the world of sour Belgian ales.

 1,106 characters

Photo of BlindPig
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- 1/4" tan head on a clearish dark amber body when poured into a flute. Nice thickish lacing that sticks to side of glass.
S- You can smell the sourness. Maybe some malts hidden in the strong sour smell. Some grassy hops with earth tones? Maybe some woody notes in it also?
T- A big strong sour taste. Almost like sour grapes with that same dry finish. Causes some puckering (first proper sour beer). Some wood notes in it too. Some sour cherries or some other kind of fruit that follows that like raspberries or something. It is quite refreshing and the more I drink the more I like it.
M- Thinner in the body but when it sticks after you swallow it almost makes it seem like a thicker body. Low carbonation.
D- First one of this style. Don't think I'm a huge fan of it but it is good. I would probably keep one of these if I could get it just for those occasions when it would sound great.

 897 characters

Photo of kwjd
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of bump8628
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber with full and fluffy head that sticks for the session.

Tart, lactic sourness rules the roost but isn't overpowering. A thin vein of acetic acid runs through it also, but it blends into the background along with hints of cherry, raisins, and just a touch of wood.

A nice Oud Bruin, or Flemish Red as it's labeled. Either way, it's a balanced approach to the style. Admittedly, it's not my favorite style, otherwise, perhaps the drinkability would go up a couple notches.

***Reevaluation on 7/10/12 - better than I originally remembered. More tartness, deeper fruit notes, better balance. Really nice. ***

 617 characters

Photo of goschool
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: The pour is light brown with red hues and a medium-sized white head that sticks around until the last sip.

Smell: The aroma has a sour mix of cherries, cranberries green apples along with damp wood.

Taste: The flavor profile brings loads of tartness and sourness accentuated by cherries, cranberry, red grapes, green apples, cough syrup, generic red candy, and oak .

Mouthfeel: This beer is just barely medium-bodied with low carbonation.

Drinkability: I really dig sour beers. This one is good, not great, yet it's always nice to try new sour beers.

 570 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – The beer served a reddish brown color with a nice clarity. Upon swerving there is a thick white head floating atop the brew. The head sticks around for quite some time eventually fading to leave a decent level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is sweet and tart with lots of dark cherry and plum with souring notes of an apple cider vinegar and some lactic acid bacterial funk smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a sweet dark cherry and a little bit of sour grape and sour cherry. As the flavor advances it gets more and more sour and tart in nature, but maintains, all the while, a good level of sweetness. Apple cider vinegar and some funky yeast flavors accompany the souring and tart flavors at the end leaving a pleasant sweet and tart flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is one thinner and crisper side with tons of tiny carbonation bubbles. The prickly carbonation and thinner body are great for the sweet, sour and tart fruit flavors of the brew and help keep the tart from becoming too overpowering.

Overall – This is a great sour. It isn’t too heavy in any one component – not too sweet, sour, or tart, but the right blend of the three for a very enjoyably drinkable brew.

 1,303 characters

Photo of BeerBelcher
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Loving sour as I do, I really enjoyed this beer. It is full of sour cherry musty goodess!

It poured a clear, brilliant red color with a sparkling head of tiny bubbles. Aroma was sour with red wine vinegar notes and cherry fruitiness. Flavor was very sour, and dominated by cherries (and delicious BTW). Mouthfeel was smooth and made me pucker. This beer was quite good.

I'd highly recommend this beer, if you're into sour.

 424 characters

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 2,969 ratings
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