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

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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

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Reviews: 1,132 | Ratings: 2,909
Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a beautiful rusty/brown with a small 1/8 inch tan head. Smells of sour grapes/apples and wine. First sip is sour and sweet with cherrys grapes being the dominate fruits. A carbonation consistency and mouthfeel of a wine cooler. This is a refreshing sipper and was much enjoyed.

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Photo of whartontallboy
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this one on tap at Monk's for the first time today. Pours deep red-brown with a small white head. Smell is sweet and a little sour and funky. Flavor is extremely tart with some funk sourness. Bit of fruity cherry flavor to it as well. Malt presence is strong and pleasant.

Overall: This one is interesting. I didn't like the first few sips, but after I got accustomed to it, I really enjoyed the sourness. Quite a nice one to have on tap.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle, no bottle date. Poured this into a Lost Abbey tulip.

A: Pours a very clear blood reddish amber color. Three fingers of off white, fluffy head. Nice carbonation for sure. During the sip it leaves a good amount of lacing.

S: Hard to smell through the thick head, but initially...not as funky and tart as I was expecting. There is some mild horse blanket and dark cherry but don't get tons.

T: Very surprised by how not sour it is. I get some mild tart cherry up front. And then a little oak hint. But there really isn't any super tart or balsamic character to this one. No where close to a Rodenbach or Red Poppy or others highly ranked.

M: It's fairly light bodied. Very refreshing.

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Photo of errantnight
3.57/5  rDev -7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Well... not sure what the difference is between an oud bruin and Flanders Red... but... by all accounts this is an oud bruin.

Pours beautifully into my Corsendonk tulip: Three fingers of head with a tenacious head, a deep ruby brown.

Smell is wet horseblanket (finally! this is it! i found it! wet horse blanket!) with some rich malt sweetness and some old vinegar. It's... well... as much as I love these notes in moderation and in combination with other things, together... this isn't my favorite.

But in the mouth... whole different story. The sweetness is there and a little cloying, a little more candy cherry/raspberry than the nose seemed to imply, and the vinegar comes through a bit too much... but the sourness is spot on, a touch of oak, beautiful astringency/dryness. Maybe some tobacco/leather around the edges?

A lil rich and sweet, but well balanced, nice carbonation and full mouth.

Definitely give this a shot, but there are better takes.

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Photo of MisterClean
3.57/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz from Total Wine

A - Dark auburn to light brown in color, no head.

S - Cherries, plums, brown sugar, and caramel.

T - Dark cherries, sugar esters, very syrupy-sweet.

M - Salty, super-syrupy, a little too cloying for my taste.

D - As long as you sip this beer it is good. The mouthfeel is disappointing, do not gulp.

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Photo of IKR
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear medium reddish brown color with a generous off-white head.

Smell: Mainly bready yeast notes.

Taste: Fruity and mild bready notes. The beer is tart in the middle with a slightly sweet finish. I thought the taste profile was lacking in complexity.

Mouth-feel: Body is on the light side with a fairly high- level of carbonation.

Overall: Possibly a sour to introduce someone to sours or one for those who dislike an upfront sour taste but I found this one lacking in the sour department with a simple fairly muted taste profile.

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Photo of nickhiller
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: copper, tan bubbly head foams and busts in about 30 seconds, no lace.

S: minerals, rust, fresh rain air, slight vinegar, Sauvignon Blanc wine cork.

T: sweet and sour sauce, cider funk and vinegar, Neco Wafers, kind of like soda flavored candy. Finish is juicy with a malty beer-y aftertaste. It reminds me a lot of a diet soda.

M: light-bodied, light carbonation, which I usually prefer in this style, but it lacks both the body and the dryness to back it up. Has a watery quality that is off-putting.

O: a very nice beer, pleasant and drinkable, in the same way that a diet Coke is. Also the smell and mouthfeel left a lot to be desired.

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Photo of DoctorZombies
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Ruby pour with neigh top. Sour fruit nose. Tart, sour apples flavor. Medium lite mouthfeel with a bite. Sour from beginning to end, with a little sugar on top of tongue at finish.

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Photo of DawnL
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Murky amber with big foamy head that dissipates to sticky lace.

Smell: Slight caramel, with prune notes. It doesn't smell like your typical beer.

Taste: Malt character, then dried fruit, followed by acidic/sour cherry character.

Mouthfeel: This definitely coats the mouth - not really unctuous, but definitely present with good length.

Drinkability: I'm going with good.

This is a strange little beer. I'm still not sure whether or not I like it. I am giving it a pretty good rating, but I'm not sure if I am completely a fan.

Let me explain. I had this with a light fish dinner. I was hoping it would be a bit more sour and was completely surprised by the amber/brown color.

I wouldn't suggest serving this beer with an entree. I wouldn't suggest serving it as an aperitif either. This is an after dinner, bring on the cheese beer. It needs mild cheeses - young mimolette, laughing cow, mild goat cheese, cream cheese even. It would be overwhelmed by cheddar. Maybe a Swiss cheese would be okay. Brie would kill this! Or, maybe it should be had on its own after dinner as a divestif.

It develops an odd bitterness when left to warm. Definitely like leaving prune juice on the counter and letting it come up to room.

If it were a little tarter, it would remind me of those sour, dried, Asian plums. Oh, that would be something to pair it with. Try this beer with Asian plums that are dried and have that sourball coating dusted on them.

I like this beer because it's an oddity. And I know I'm going on a bit, but this taste sensation is so different from anything I've tasted before that I feel like sharing - a lot.

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Photo of NardiByNature
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Aggressive pouring makes a massive, light tan head. Eventually settles down to a nice cap with a little spotty lacing. The beer is a deep, clear mahogany with some ruby notes. The color of this style reminds me of Lipton Brisk.

S: The nose is faint. Smells like carbonation (if that’s a thing), a little vinegar, some cherries.

T: Like the nose the taste is mild, but becomes more pronounced as the beer warms to room temp: sour cherries and some woody flavor.

M: Very smooth, very dry. Fuzzy carbonation. Very drinkable.

O: This is good. Not as complex or flavorful as some other old browns but I like it. Would like to have on-tap sometime.

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Photo of BeerTruth
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one at Smoker's Den in Bennington a little while back.

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a clear rustic brick color with a one finger light tan head that crawls down the sides. A good amount of stick grips the glass and looks like it has no intentions of letting go. Aroma is big and sour with rhubarb, cranberries, and green apples. A good dose of vinegar, borderline salad dressing which is a bit much for my nostrils when it comes to beer. Taste starts off pretty sweet with cherries, red grapes, and pears. Midway a bit of tart emerges with sweet candy flavors...hmmm, grape Sweet Tart anyone? The smell though is definitely stronger in the sour/vinegary category. A light to medium body with a somewhat creamy feel. I'd prefer it lighter with a bit more tingle in the mouth for the style. Salad dressing in the nose, grape juice on the tongue...meh. Not terrible, but there are sooo many better sours out there to be enjoyed for me to return to this one.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Half finger head with excellent lacing on a deep amber body which is very clear. Aroma of dark cherry, not too sweet, with caramel. Simple but many of these tend to be. Flavor is also dark cherry dominant which initially seemed too sweet but this one mellows out. The flavor tastes a little too artificial though, almost like kool aid. Light but oily body and light to moderate carbonation. Not an amazing sour ale. Not terrible just not all that memorable.

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Photo of Harvest06
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Very mild for a sour Oud Bruin. This is a good introduction to sour ales for someone unfamiliar with the bold sourness of something like the Dutches or Cascade's sours.

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Photo of ryno09
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours reddish brown with an off white head of a finger or so. The head fades fairly quickly. The nose has the "Belgium funk" mixed with cherry acidity along with a touch of dark fruits and port, maybe a hint of sour apple.

Lots of carbonation as expected, it gives it a champagne like mouthfeel. It certainly tastes like it smells, cherries mixed with some dark fruit. A nice balance of sweet and tart that finishes very dry. I haven't tried many sours but this beer seems like a great place to start.

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Photo of kpoole25
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11.2 oz to glass. Clear brownish red, tan head. Sour aromas, a little like sour milk or yogurt. Taste has a cloying sweetness along with the sour, it's really like a soda pop. Or maybe if Martinelli's made a sparkling cherry and added a few drops of vinegar for a little extra pucker. I haven't had any other sours but this did not remind me of beer. Still, it was fairly drinkable, went down quick.

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Photo of TubaManJack
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It's tulip time.

Limited head which quickly disappates overlies a mahogany body with very little carbonation present.

Limited to a bit of bing cherries. There isn't any noticible malt comming through.

A lot of sour cherry twang as it spreads across your mouth. I have to say this but its similar to a cherry welshers sparking juice minus the carbonation. The sourness was pretty one dimensional and showed only bits of malt backbone. I didn't get the same vinger base that others mentioned.

Overall I am fairly new to the style and mixed on this one in particular. I would try to par this with food. Mine eventually joined a hot pretzel with spicy mustard for a doughy spice kick which I highly recommend.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from a 12 oz.

Pours a deep chocolate brown with a red glow when held up to light. Minimal head retains as lacing.

Has a tart smell, like sour apples or sour grapes. There's also a hint of sweetness to it, like cane sugar.

The taste is tart, a bit on the vinegar side but with enough sweetness that it tends back towards green apples with a touch of lemon.

The feel is bubbly and thin, like soda water.

An interesting beer, probably somewhat of an acquired taste for most. I like it okay but would not necessarily seek it out. It would be easy to session though.

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Photo of Bcaulin
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from slightly chilled bottle into tulip.

Poured with a little too much carbonation. Several inches of head immediately piled up despite a careful pour. Quickly receeded into a thin film. Tons of lacing lined the outside of the glass.

Lots of vinegar and fruit in the nose. I pick up some cherries, grapes, and apples for sure. Probably some others but there's a lot going on and its hard to pick our individuals.

Little heavy on the vinegar to taste. The sweetness of the fruit balances it out, but for the beer that describes itself as a "mildly sour sour ale", its pretty heavy on the sour.

Overall its refreshing and tasty, but its not as smooth as some other sours I've had. It's a sipper for sure, but it will probably be a little while before I run back to this one.

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Photo of rtepiak
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a murky brown with reddish hue. some head with quite a bit of lace. smell is first off surprisingly malty. there is a cherry note with an equally strong somewhat boozy vanilla. tastes is very lightly tangy. sweet malt has vanilla characters like that of a bad cabernet. cherry is there. not very woody in flavor. has a light bitter finish. flavors separate dramtically as the beer gets warmer. taste becomes a bit plasticy. i would avoid if you think flemish reds and oud bruins are a novelity.

i think it was better in the bottle... or at least i remember it being better. this is something i'm going to have to come back to.

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Photo of don1481
3.54/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into my usual pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep, deep red color with a fairly quickly dissipating head. Some carbonation.

Smell: definitely a sour smell to it. Like a lambic with strong sour notes.

Taste: ... Not really a strong taste. Not the strongest tasting sour ale I've had. Very muted.

Mouthfeel: pretty crisp. Doesn't really leave any sort of aftertaste.

Overall: meh. I don't think I will be getting this again. Was worth going off the normal path for me, I suppose.

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Photo of jellikit
3.54/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: dark brown. Reddish to light. Looks like Coke. Thin head. Thin lacing.
S: sour. Wood.
T: grape, mellow sourness, hint of wine. Wine/champagne similarities.
M: highly carbonated. Dry. Light body.
O: good sour. Mellow flavor. Mildly sour. Would drink again.

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Photo of twelvsies
3.54/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

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Photo of tdm168
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - dark amber with a reddish hue; huge, soft, dense, foamy, offwhite almost brownish head that has great retention

S - a bit musty, faint fruit, some grainy sweetness

T - berries, mildly lactic, some caramel, mild bitterness in the finish

M - medium bodied, sticky, smooth, crisp

I'm not sure how I feel about this beer. It's not really bad, but it's not really great either. It has a decent enough flavor though the fruity notes are mild and there is very little if any sourness. The nose is a bit off putting with it's graininess. Overall, not a bad beer, but I've had better in this style. It was nice to try once, but I won't be seeking it out again.

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Photo of tempest
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Muddy Pig in St. Paul

A simpler sour ale than some of the other's I've tried, but at the same time it's the most drinkable I've had. It comes off with a juicy tart sourness that tastes slightly like sour cherries, but not much else. The flavor here is a little mellow and relies mostly on the sour tang to carry the beer. I've call it a starter-sour ale.

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Photo of rodkin
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown, with about 2 fingers of light tan head. Reduces slowly, but a bit remains.

Smell is some dark fruit, mostly some cherry. Some tart acidity, slight funk. Nice, but kind of one dimensional.

Taste is some acidity upfront, A bit of the dark fruit, a little funk. Maybe a bit of citrus or oak. Kind of acidic, but not super sour. Slight wine taste. Nice, nothing special.

Okay mouthfeel. A bit thicker and less dry than I'd like. Decent carb.

Alright sour, tasty enough. Good value at $3.50 a bottle.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,909 ratings.
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