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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
2,973 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:
#9,368
Reviews:
1,152
Ratings:
2,973
pDev:
13.21%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
92
Gots:
466
Trade:
5
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,973 |  Reviews: 1,152
Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first review of a Flanders Oud Bruin style beer. Had a bunch of Belgians the other weekend and found I really have a liking towards their beer, this one being no exception. Pours a brownish red color, not much head or carbonation. Super tasty and sour, a bit of a dry finish. Some nice cherry tones in the mouthfeel. Pretty good beer and I like the style, might be hard to have a few of these in a sitting but as it is, it's a delicious beer.

 445 characters

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

Photo of metter98
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer poured hazy dark reddish brown in color into a snifter glass with a finger sized off white head that faded into a thin layer of bubbles that consistently covered the surface. A light amount of carbonation is visible from the rising bubbles.
S: There are sweet and sour aromas of cherries in the nose along with some notes of oak.
T: Like the smell, there is a good balance between sweetness and sourness in the flavors, which have notes of tart cherries and hints of other fruits such as apples. The finish is slightly sweet.
M: It feels light-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is extremely easy to drink because it has well-balanced flavors and neither the sweetness nor sourness is overpowering.

 758 characters

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

A slightly sourish and sweetly malted Flander's Red with tart cherries, wine-like vinous, oaky-tawny beer with flawed flavors of cider, vinegar, and metal flavor.

Maroon and gold, the beer gives a slight haze and a dainty head that struggles for life during the first half pour but then succumbs. No lacing or legging.

Cherry flavor leads the fruity way with hints toward under rippened berries, crabapples, and lemons. Acidic notes bridge the gap between fruitiness and lactic sourness. Before the beer gets too tart, the malts wrangle the wilder elements and engulf them in a sweeter and chocolatey way. Tanic oak-like flavors give balance in the absence of hops.

Palate cleansing lactic tartness gives medium astringency and acidic bite early, but the malts kick in for a smoother and sweeter finish.

A delightful beer but not as clean or controlled as more noted beers in the style; like Rodenbach.

 907 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 Taphouse_Traveler
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of emerge077
3.04/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2012:
Alright, i've stayed away from this one for almost 4 years after a bad bottle (it was really terrible, likely infected in a bad way). Revisiting it, there are still certain character flaws, namely an unpleasant aroma (dishrag) and overcharged carbonation. Getting past that though, there were some nice flavors of grape and apple that came out as it warmed, but still somewhat one dimensional. It was prickly and overcarbonated, with astringency amplifying the tartness. None of the sweetness that was present in the 2007 bottle. Overall it wasn't terrible, but there are far better Flemish ales out there, Namely Rodenbach, La Folie, Jacobins, etc.

02-03-2007 2.7/5 rDev -29.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

For the record, i'm a big fan of sour ales and traditional lambics. My experience with this "Flemish Red" however was seriously subpar.

Dark burgundy brown, a thin ring of bubbles skim the top.

Smells like a donkey with bad hygiene. Stale oats and musky urine...not in the good "horseblanket" way either. Artificial sweetness chimes in. A foul stank on this that surpasses Gueuze, just completely unappealing.

Taste is initially tart and medicinal, becoming sweet, then almost cloying in the finish. Notes of copper, blood, black cherry, and phenolic medicinal funk. Mouthfeel is thin, yields some mouth-watering tartness, but ultimately doesn't deliver. Some carbonation carries it along.

Hard to finish one bottle.

Notes: Not the best example of a Flanders Red, not even a good one. This seems altered from a traditional recipe to somehow cater to the US market. Skip this bastardized Flanders Red and go for the real thing, Rodenbach, Goudenband, etc.

 1,712 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of brentk56
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy garnet color with a one inch head that caps nicely and leaves traces of foam down from the original head line

Smell: Sweet and sour cherry yoghurt and a bit of wood

Taste: Starts out with a comfortable blend of sweet and lactic sour cherry that builds in sourness, mid-palate; after the swallow, the wood flavor joins in and blends to the finish, which leans to the sweet rather than the sour

Mouthfeel: Somewhat thick and yoghurty with plenty of carbonation

Drinkability: Not as complex as some other Flemish Reds, this is nonetheless very enjoyable, particularly for those who are not enamored by sour beers but like an occasional stroll on the sour side

 685 characters

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a brownish red color beer with a medium off-white foamy head with some pretty good retention. Aroma is quite sour and you can already feel the effect of the oak on this beer. Taste is quite acid with some subtle sweetness at the end. Cheery feels is less present then in the Rodenbach Grand Cru but can still be detected. Overall, I find this one to be a good Flemish sour ale and would even say that it seems to be underrated compared to some other Flemish Sour ale.

 482 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, dark burgundy color with a one-finger, light brown colored head of foam. Okay retention and it left soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled of sour black cherries and was slightly phenolic.

T - It had great sour fruit flavors - like black cherry and grapes.

M - It was crisp with a slightly puckering bite. A light to medium bodied ale with a very dry finish.

D - This is a really nice sour ale. It makes a great brew for a lengthy solo session.

 470 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 11/17/2011. Pours slightly cloudy deep ruby red/brown color with a 2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of tart cherry, green apple, pear, raisin, plum, fig, caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, cider vinegar, leather, hay, straw, grass, musty funk, light oak, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/funky yeast, dark/bready malt, and light oak notes; with solid strength. Taste of tart cherry, green apple, pear, raisin, plum, fig, caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, cider vinegar, leather, hay, straw, grass, musty funk, light oak, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Light fruity/earthy tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of tart cherry, green apple, pear, raisin, plum, fig, caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, cider vinegar, leather, hay, straw, grass, musty funk, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice complexity and balance of fruity/funky yeast, dark/bready malt, and light oak notes; with a good sweetness/tartness balance and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, and slightly creamy/acidic mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice Flanders Oud Bruin style. All around good complexity and balance of fruity/funky yeast, dark/bready malt, and light oak flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. More of an entry level sour for sure, but has all of the normal flavors I would expect from the style; just more toned down and approachable. A nicely enjoyable offering.

 1,838 characters

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

Photo of largadeer
3.06/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: 11.2 oz bottle poured into a pint glass, because I'm a fuckin' rebel. Clear but dark ruby red with great head retention, no sediment. Nice looking stuff.

Smell: Sweet and sour, with an emphasis on the sweet; balsamic vinegar, a bit of cherry cough syrup, slightly mineral/metallic. Pretty middle of the road for the style.

Taste & mouthfeel: Fruity sweetness followed by mild sourness, which leads way to a sweet/sour finish. I'd like a bit less sweetness, but this is pleasant enough. Mouthfeel is a touch syrupy. Decent, but far from great.

 556 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

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

Cork comes off with a nice pop.

Poured into bruery snifter.

Pours about 1/2 finger of light khaki head. Fades to a thin layer and leaves some splattered lace. Color is a dark ruby hued caramel brown.

Aroma: There is a nice amount of cherries up front, some sour notes that follow, but not overly sour. It seems to have a decent amount of fruit flavor to complement the cherry upfront, Granny smith apples come to mind. I get some oak as well. The aroma is pretty solid.

Taste: The cherries are again up front, but the taste is different compared to the aroma. It has some different fruit flavors here, sour grapes and raspberry, and more of a funky taste. The green apple flavor is here, but not as defined. I actually get a cider flavor out of this beer. The malts also stick out a lot more. The oak flavor is a lot less too.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, smooth, and a little sour. Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Ends a little dry and funky.

Overall, this is a pretty decent beer. My expectations were not that high for it, but it not only met them, but exceeded them. A very nice sipper. I am definitely savoring it. It isn't as sour as I would like, but I still think it is good.

 1,199 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.31/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A slightly hazy (but surprisingly clear given the style) mahogany body appears reddish in the glass and reveals crimson, ruby and orange highlights when held to the light. The creamy off-white head holds quite well and leaves some nice streaks and splotches of sticky lace throughout the glass. The nose is vinous with tempting, delicate, tart cherries and what appears to be some oakiness. It's not as bold as many other examples of the style, and it's certainly cleaner; but it is quite nice. A gentle massage of soft, fine carbonation washes over the tongue as it warms to become slightly creamy. The body is light, and it's quite smooth. Again, it's more delicate than many examples but very nice in its own way. The flavor mimics the nose with mildly vinous cherry and raspberry. It's acidity is restrained in comparison to most, and it's quite refreshing without becoming puckering. There's a bit of an oak character to it and it finishes dry with a slight astringency; but the sticky-sweet residue of many other examples is not present. Overall, this is a quite refreshing and enjoyable beer that represents the style well, but is somewhat restrained in comparison to most others.

 1,187 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours deep red to mahogany with a fluffy off-white head and some visible carbonation. There is very good head retention and large bubbles in the head. Very little lacing.

S: Overall the aromas are light in this beer but complex with hints of cherry, raspberry, and cranberry. There is a slight amount of mustiness and hints of some spices.

T: Flavors of cherry/raspberry/cranberry followed by slight sourness and a little bit of funk.

M: Light to medium bodied and smooth with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: I really enjoyed this as a sessionable beer as it is light and easy to drink that would allow it to pair with many different foods. I really enjoyed the acidity in the beer.

 694 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another one I'm surprised I haven't reviewed.

Light fiizzy head, darker toasty brown color.

Nose of sweet malts, fruit, apple, pear, cider like, vinegar, light lactic acid and very light sour tartness.

Taste is sweeter, light toasty brown malts, fruits with apple pear and tart fruit flavors, light sour and tart.

Mouth is lighter bodied with good carbonation.

Overall not bad, basically what I call the introduction to sours and wilds, etc. It's a light sour tart beer but nice and malty at the same time. And very drinkable.

 532 characters

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 2,973 ratings
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