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

BA SCORE
86
very good
2,948 Ratings
THE BROS
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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
Ratings:
2,948
Reviews:
1,144
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
13.28%
 
 
Wants:
88
Gots:
452
For Trade:
5
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,948 |  Reviews: 1,144
Photo of homebrewhawk
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

 328 characters

Photo of BrewmasterHatchdaddy
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of PSU_Mike
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of degerbah
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown with plenty of head. The head causes very thick lacing on the edge of the glass as it settles down into the beer. Very acrid smell that reminds me of malt vinegar. Very, Very acidic smell that also gives way to more of an apple scent. The taste is slightly less sour than duchesse, but still great and extremely drinkable.

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Photo of Benj17
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark amber-brown, relatively persistent head, quite a bit of lacing. Nose: slight funk, malt, gently hoppy, light VA, v. slightly metallic. Palate: slightly drying mouthfeel, only moderately sour, good weight and carbonation (though perhaps a touch frothy for me), surprisingly bitter finish, which is a disappointment right at the end, because the rest of this is good. As with most good sours, this benefits from warming up to ~50 F. A little lighter than some of the heavy hitting sours. Decent, but not really worth it when there are plenty of better sours around this price point.

Also, I like my sours *sour*, and this doesn't quite bring that.

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Photo of goldbot
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby-brown with thick, tan head and some spotty lacing.

Strong sour apple on the nose as well as some cherry and raisin. Yeasty and spicy with some definite sour notes. Flavor is more sour, fruity notes of apple and cherry, along with a slightly peppery spice and Belgian yeast. Some woody and vanilla flavors towards the end.

Substantial body with a smooth, creamy feel. A sweet, fruity and creamy beer makes it a good dessert option.

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Photo of ScaryEd
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of ESeab
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a Stella goblet

A - Dark ruby red, almost copper brown when not in light. Yeast flaoting around the bottom

S - Smells of raseberry and other fruit. I'm not really getting much though

T - Tastes like it smells. A touch of lemon and cherry comes through big time. It is definitely a great balance of sweet and tart, neither of which are too strong.

M - Real nice mouthfeel. Carbonation plays well with the body, which is a bit more syrupy than expected.

O - Solid sour if you are just starting. Or a nice refreshing beverage if you are already into sours.

 570 characters

Photo of Arenbeer
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into a Tulip glass

A- Pours a beautifully clear dark reddish brown with 1 finger of off white head that sticks around due to tons of carbonation streaming up from the bottom of the glass.

S- Smells like a cherry lambic of Kriek with tons and tons of sweet yet tart cherry notes. Behind that are some subtle hints of oak, funk, vinegar, lactic acid, and a sweet breadiness.

T- Tart and sweet cherries, vinegar, lactic acid, oak, vanilla, bready malts, and a slight yeast funk. Getting some oxidized notes but very subtle, not enough to cry about or ruin the beer.

M- Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation and a slightly tart yet dry finish.

Skål!

 676 characters

Photo of timotao
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of RTJakarta
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber red with a nice finger-length head. The carbonation is kinda loud (I can hear it about two feet away), and the bubbling is actually visible through the head. Nice.

A nice apple smell is what steps out the most. Not particularly sour, but I don't mind a smell that just exudes apples.

Taste gives me a very faint sourness, but an overwhelming tartness. Sort of makes me think of red apples more than green ones, but it's pleasing.

Mouthfeel is pretty moderate, with medium carbonation.

Overall, it's a very smooth, tasty drink. So glad I was able to find some on my vacation here in Louisville. Would be a nice treat every once in a while!

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Photo of womencantsail
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Total Wine in Tustin and poured into an oversized wine glass.

A: An opaque reddish-brown color with an red-tinted foam which quickly subsides.

S: The nose is full of sour cherries, vinegar, and oak. There also seems to be some hints of sweetness coming through the pungent and strong aromas.

T: The taste is quite similar to the nose. The oak flavor is very prominent, as are the dark fruits. The vinegar component is a somewhat muted, compared to the aroma. Overall, the beer is tart, but not overwhelmingly so.

M: The beer is medium in body with a dry finish, and mild astringency. I enjoy this type of dryness in a beer.

D: The flavors are good, and it's certainly not a beer that will knock you over with alcohol. But, the vinegar character and the dryness lead to the beer being something you can't drink too much of.

 847 characters

Photo of dbalsock
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

App: Brown with an orange tint, and very clear. Off-white head and huge carbonation bubbles.

Smell: Vinegar, sour grapes and some background caramel and base malts.

Taste: Much less sour than it smells, with a deep maltiness that has a vague caramel taste mingling with a pale malty sweetness. It's much sweeter than expected.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth with a slight sour twang and fun carbonation. Light bodied and refreshing.

Drinkability: For a somewhat sour beer this is way drinkable, and goes very well with steak.

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Photo of beerman20
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful red color, a nice lace left on the glass as you drink it, not as much of an aroma as other sours. The beer is smooth with a nice sourness that isn't overpowering. Cherries stand out. It's a mild sour compared to others that I've had. Easy to drink, light body, and a good sour overall.

 295 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yeah, bring on the sour. Single bottle from Total Wine for $2.49, on to the beer:

Poured into an oversized wine glass, its brown in color, interweaved with dark red, and with hues of orange. Lovely color, even cooler when you shine a light through it. The nose is tart like strawberries, and phenolic. It's a good smell, but it lacks robustness for that higher score. Taste...sweet and sour sauce. Me likey. Tart and sugary sweet upfront. Light on the sourness and more focused on a sweet flavor. Burnt caramel sweet. Sour apples. Some might say it's cloying, but it's working for me. Delightful and not too heavy...Intro to Sour Beer 101 is right here.

 654 characters

Photo of MaximalC
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours the color of molasses with attractive plum highlights. Khaki head is respectable at first but soon disappears into a frothy veil that only partially hides the surface of the brew. Aroma is mild and vinegary, with some fruity sweetness to boot.

The flavor is incredibly mild and subtle for a sour ale, but I don't mean that in a negative way per se; it just takes some patience and close inspection to tease out what you're actually tasting. A prune-like malt sweetness melds seamlessly with a robust dose of Belgian yeast and a dash of cherry and apple cider vinegar. A touch of wheat shows up in the finish once all else has dissipated. The mouthfeel is the real star here as far as I'm concerned, with a crisp, velvety texture that holds one's attention in a way that the flavor alone would fail to do.

This is a delicate and drinkable sour ale that would make a great gateway for anyone new to the style. The sourness is hardly puckering, and the overall experience is more reminiscent of a mild, dark Belgian ale than a full-faced sour. Hardly spectacular, but still quite enjoyable.

 1,095 characters

Photo of sisuspeed
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

 935 characters

Photo of yelterdow
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle served at just over fridge temperature in a Rodenbach Grand Cru tulip glass. Purchased at Ramsey Liquors for $2.49 on 2/12/09. Freshness code reads 26IG.

Appearance- Reddish brown, this beer creates a three finger rose-tinged bone white head. Bubbles are varied in size, and lacing is heavy but sporadic.

Smell- Very similar to Duchesse de Bourgogne, the nose is funky and sour with some vinegar, then an underlying sweetness that brings to mind fermenting cherries comes through. As the beer opens up, the vinegar character becomes more and more evident.

Taste- It's an Oud Bruin lover's beer, for sure... the blending of old and new batches procures a smooth, sweet-and-sour character that leaves the lips and teeth with a sweetness that counters the tart beginning. The swallow is easy and savory.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Smooth, easy carbonation that makes all of the complex flavors and attributes effortless to enjoy. A bit expensive for such a small sized import, but certainly worth it and one I'd enjoy again.

 1,036 characters

Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First go with a sour, so here goes nothing...

A- Pours a deep, deep amber hue with a 1 finger head. Head is very bubbly and active. Good lacing and retention.

S- Well, sour it is. Very acidic on the nose. Slight fruit tones. Lemon and lime like scents with the acidity, minus the refreshing citrus part. Slight hints of some malts.

T- Light and fruity, with only hints of the sour flavors that were on the nose. Darker fruits are up front, with some grapes and maybe some tart cherries and raspberries. Very much like a semi-dry champagne.

M- Very carbonated. Drinks easily, but somewhat harsh on the palate. Could drink a few, but your tongue would be worn out.

O- This a a good starter sour. I thought I'd hate this from the smell, but it is pretty good. Easily drinkable and a good gateway into a very expensive style.

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Photo of JizackFH
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a clear dark ruby brown color. It has a nice fluffy off-white head. The color of the head reminds me of an apple slice starting to brown. There are also some carbonation bubbles present.

S - The smell is a bit sour and tart. There is also some oakiness and some funk present. Other notes I am getting include Cherry, grapes, and a touch of vinegar.

T - The taste is sour and tart up front. There is some yeast funkiness in the middle, but not all that much. I am also getting notes of fruit, brown sugar, and some cinnamon. The finish is quite clean. There is no hop presence here at all.

M - This has a medium body and moderate carbonation. It goes down easy and has a good flavor. It is sour and tart, but not too much.

D - It has good drinkability. I drank this faster than I thought I would. It has good flavor and is very easy to drink. I like this beer, and I can't wait to try others of this style.

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Photo of punkindrublic50
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

If you are trying to get a woman who doesn't normally care for beer interested in it this is where I would start. Not overly imposing or intense, but still firmly showing off a solid sweet/sour tart flavor. Cherry is the dominant sour fruit flavor, with solid carbonation and a nice tart pucker on the finish. Definitely not to be confused with the carbonated cherry juice that is sometimes sold as a sour fruit beer (a la Kasteel Rouge or some Framboise's).

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Photo of timontheroad
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

10 oz pour into a snifter at the Shamrock Inn in Pueblo, CO. Very nice deep ruby color, opaque, with a thick white two-finger head. Great retention and lacing. The nose was lots of tart cherry up front, with some sweet raisins, and fresh grapes. The flavor was identical to the aroma, with lots of tart cherry, almost like drinking a cherry pie. Fairly thin, but felt very nice on the palate, the tartness hit the spot. Overall, this was pretty good, not quite on the level of a Rodenbach Grand Cru, but still tasty and well worth drinking.

 542 characters

Photo of CloudStrife
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a clear dark ruby brown with a 2 finger off white head. Quick to dissipate it leaves no real lacing. Some pretty big chunks floating in the body.

S: Fairly lackluster aroma, light funk/sour notes. Some fermented malt aroma that gives a dark fruitiness.

T: More of a malt-forward oud bruin. Does have some sour that kicks in mid sip but more of a pronounced dark fruit and roasty malt taste. Sweetness on the lips. Good mellow tartness throughout.

M: Light body with a good crisp finish. Very drinkable brew.

Overall a good baseline for the Oud Bruin category. Doesn't overwhelm but is true to the style and still very tasty.

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Photo of tyalan
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle > 16 oz. Stella glass

This one is clear and vibrant dark reddish color in amber. Certainly the darkest color sour ale I've seen. A few tiny, relaxed bubbles are quick to form a 1" deep, thick and creamy tan colored head. The lacing is long and very sticky.

The nose is filled with a lush, sour red and green grapes, honey sweet malt, artichoke, zesty green herbs with sweet 'n sour candies.

The flavor is actually much sweeter than I would guess, very malty with a honey current. Ripe red fruits, think wild strawberries, sweet raspberries, and ripe green grapes. Really, only mildly sour with slight tartness that provides a dry, crisp edge to this medium bodied brew. The balance is a bit off, the malt holds to much weight and the sour, might not be sour enough, but it's really enjoyable. I'm thinking Lambic.

Eventhough there might be too much malty sweetness, it's really easy to drink. I will revisit this one in the summertime.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,948 ratings.
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