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
2,986 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:
#9,928
Reviews:
1,156
Ratings:
2,986
pDev:
13.21%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
93
Gots:
470
Trade:
5
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,986 |  Reviews: 1,156
Photo of Peaches13
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

 769 characters

Photo of Bmarkalan1970
4.56/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great top 5 sour to my palette

32 characters

Photo of wlynch
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of PatrickCT
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

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Photo of TheBrewsky
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of AllHopsMatter
4.41/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Themorg826
4.36/5  rDev +13%
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.

 517 characters

Photo of GregSemenza
4.14/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of Shade1951
4.51/5  rDev +16.8%
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.

 531 characters

Photo of DrewSnyc667
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Strohm
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of the_awesometeer
4.31/5  rDev +11.7%
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

 408 characters

Photo of AyatollahGold
4.53/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tastes like a cherry blow pop. Flavor coats the mouth and stays.

64 characters

Photo of coryhk
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of HoppingMadMonk
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Clear reddish brown color,champagne like carbonation and a similar feel. Aroma is malt,cherries,dried fruit, and a small amount of spice. Taste is identical,sweet first but then a sour note shows up. Has an almost balsamic vinegar taste but it works really well. This might be too sweet for some but I really enjoyed this one

 327 characters

Photo of StanleysCup
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of APH
4.14/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of 6thstreetbrewpub
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Squire123
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very attractive deep ruby color with gold highlights. Large, clumpy, bumpy voluminous Khaki colored cap with good lacing.

Clean, sweet aroma of tart cherries.

Taste on entry is a restrained tartness that refreshes rather than puckers and serves as a launching pad for the complex flavors that follow. Mostly what I get is a complex array of toffee malt and a lot of dark fruit sensations that don't disclose what variety of fruit (figs, black plums and dates come to mind) because everything is so seamlessly melded together. An overriding taste though is dark ripe cherries. A tart sort of dark cherry but cherry none the less. These flavors start together, stay together and last into the aftertaste.

Full texture with balancing carbonation.

For an Oud Bruin this tastes remarkably fresh. Maybe it always does, this is my first one of these, just an observation. Some other sour ales I've had (domestic and import) have an almost throat stripping acidity and the mild tartness of this one enhances it's drinkability.

 1,029 characters

Photo of crobinso
4.11/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of gurumacha
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BalancingBrooms
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 2,986 ratings