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

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very good
1,126 Reviews
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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 | website

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
Reviews:
1,126
Ratings:
2,894
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
21.61%
 
 
Wants:
87
Gots:
427
For Trade:
6
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Reviews: 1,126 | Ratings: 2,894
Photo of akorsak
1.86/5  rDev -51.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I am drinking a 330 mL bottle, poured into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: The ale is a deep brown color with a significant amount of sediment.

Smell: There is a slight lactic sourness in the nose.

Taste: Blehh... The sour presence that I expected from this flemish red appeared upfront but quickly disappeared, leaving an unremarkable red ale flavor.

Mouthfeel: Nowhere near as lactic and sour as it should be.

Drinkability: I had 1/2 of the bottle and poured it down the drain. This ale doesn't hold a candle to Rodenbach.

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Photo of rudzud
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this at KJ Baarons on a whim. Always looking for a good Flanders...poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a wonderful super deep copper almost hazelnut in colour, crystal clear, with a massive almost 3 finger fluffy head that rapidly reduces into a thick and creamy half finger head that hangs around forever. Average side lacing too.

S - Typical Oud Bruin notes here. Some real nice subtle sour, vinegar notes. Very light sour cherry notes too.

T - Just like the nose with the addition of some really tasty barrel notes. Definately picking up on the oak as well as some green apple on the finish.

M - Its nearly undrinkable at first. Way, way too much carbonation resulting in a sharp feeling in the mouth. As this sits though things mellow out and it becomes much smoother. Leaves a very sugary afterfeel.

O - Overall this is a tasty flanders. There are lots for this style though and while this is tasty I'm still left seeking other, better examples of the style. Great appearance though.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter and received a murky brown body with a one-finger head that stuck around a long time and left a lace ring. A sour smell mixed with malts and some citric notes (closer to dark fruit but I'll leave it at that) combined with some caramel or butter - also a tad spicy. Very sour, but a good sour, with a smooth body and a bitter fruit taste. A little hop kick or spicy note (something like pepper) that jolts the tip of the tongue, then something akin to sweet malts and fruit (cherry being the most prevelant) hits the tastebuds as it is going down, making for a medium-bodied beer that is balanced and not rough. I don't like sour drinks period, but I thought this was a great beer. I don't know if I'd session it because it might leave a funny taste after a while (think too much OJ), but I recommend to all to try this beer.

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Photo of beertunes
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Received in my recent trade with Jwpv. Poured into tulip. Poured a nice reddish-brown, with just a thin cap of light tan head that very low retention and bare minimum lacing.

A slight sour tang greets the nose. There is just enough fruit, spice and yeast to balance the tartness. That is also an accurate description of the flavors. Cherry dominates and I think I get some oak and leather. The 4 people I'm sharing this with agree that this a tasty, tasty brew.

The body is thin, but that's typical. Drinkability is very good, but will vary depending on your personal tolerance for sour beers.

Overall, a very nice beer. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 11.2oz bottle (room temp) a murky medium brown with a medium sized head of foam with little lacing.

The smell does indeed have strong sour fruity notes with some sensing of yeast as well.

The taste is of a nice sour peach and apricot at first but then it moves beyond that and becomes peppery...leaving some "heat" in my mouth and on my lips after I finish each sip. Not exactly what I was looking for in a Sour ale.

Bottom line: an interesting brew that I'm glad I got a chance to try but I don't know if I'd visit with this one again.

Thanks, bditty187!

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Photo of dar482
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I had this on tap in Brooklyn at DBA.

The color is dark brown red with some amber on the edges.

The aroma has a sour cherry nose with some funk.

The flavor has a wonderful vinegar sour tart. It starts first is a bit of sour. Then it turns into a candied cherry. It finishes with a fake sweetness, almost like Sweet n’ Low or something.

This is a good beginner’s sour. It isn’t very sour, there isn’t much funk, and there is tons of sweetness on the end. It has a light body. It’s quite drinkable, but nothing too exciting.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into tulip 14/3/13 bottle from IanSpindler IP trade

A looks dark brown until I hold it to the light where it has a dark amber glow, a finger of foam falls quickly ending up as a thin film that stays there leaving no lace

S burnt sugar and cider notes mix well with purple candy like grape aromas and earthy notes, has a nice sweet and sour thing going on, subtle green apple and sweet cherries

T not as much going in the mouth much to my surprise, just seems to be toned down a little compared to the nose, the sweet and sour is still working well for it though and I do like it but was expecting a little more after smelling it

M enters silky and gets creamy quickly, feels good, light but the bubbles give it lots of life and has some brown sugar and fruit on the finish

O I didn't know what to expect but I rather liked this one and it went down so easy, I could drink a few without getting board

Fairly random style but as far as I know they did a pretty good job, something I'd drink again for sure

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sour and over ripe fruits on the nose with a touch of lemon. Pours brilliant deep garnet under a vigorous, slightly tan tinted 5” white foam cap. A sweet and sour palate with fruit, lemon, light malts, a touch of barnyard, hints of brown sugar, cherry and vanilla. Medium body and above average carbonation. Overall well balanced between sweet and tart for a reasonably mild, drinkable Flanders Oud Bruin.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a very beautiful deep crimson color. Transparent body but quite dark. Head is a beauty. Lumpy and thick, the head is huge and retains perfectly. The head would rather sit atop the beer throughout than lace the glass. Overall, a pretty looker.

S-Smells wild and sour. Plenty of intensity in the nose. Tart cherry and hints of woodiness. A vinous aspect can be detected as well.

T-A little less sour than I was hoping. Good balance via the sweetness. Tart cherries and a tame wooden character are the most prevalent flavors. Light spiciness and hints of vanilla. Funky and tart and pretty tasty to boot.

M-Lighter bodied with a light prickly level of carbonation. Easy to sip. Smooth but not creamy.

O/D-For under $4 a bottle (11.2 oz) this is not a bad gig. I would recommend this to someone who has not tried a Sour before. Won't blow you away and it lacks complexity, but it is quite tasty. A success.

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Photo of barczar
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep burgundy with ruby highlights and a solid half inch cream head that slowly dissipates, coating the glass.

Aroma is balsamic vinegar, cherries, and must. There's a touch of barnyard funk.

Sweet cherry forms the base of the flavor profile, with heavy vinegar and cider tones at the finish. Toasty oak becomes evident as it warms, along with a but of horse blanket.

Body is on the light side, with fairly high carbonation.

Overall, a nice starter sour. The sweetness of the malt provides relief from the vinegary sourness. A bit too sweet for my tastes.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a brown/ruby red color with a small off-white head. Head retention is OK, lacing is pretty good. It smells like tart cherries, vinegar, green apples, and a bit of funk and earth. The beer tastes like green apples, tart and sweet cherries, yeast, and a bit of brown sugar and funk. Great mix of both sweet and sour in this brew. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's a bit creamy and slick with decent carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's very smooth and quite enjoyable. I wish I had another one to drink right now. I would definitely buy this again, I think it's a good overall Oud Bruin.

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Photo of DrJay
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruby red with a bit of a brown hue and quite clear. The fine, light beige head showed good retention and produced a solid sheet of lace on the glass. Malt sweetness and sour fruit (cherries) in the aroma, along with a hint of leather. Tart berry fruitiness balanced the moderate malt quite nicely. Some sour cherry as well, also earthy and woody. It finished with lingering raspberry tartness. Light bodied with some residual sugar that gave it a slightly syrupy feel. Very thirst quenching and highly drinkable. Even with the rest of the line-up at Monk's Cafe, I had to have a second glass before moving on.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Saint Somewhere wine-style glass. No freshness date.

A- Pours a reddish dark brown color with a 3/4 inch tan head that has OK retention time before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and thin surface foam. Solid threads of lacing.

S- Smells of sour cherries and old grapes at first but then mellows out and allows the fresher fruit aromas of raspberry and strawberry to come through. All very faint though as the malt seems to be keeping everything on a tight leash.

T- Flash of sour that quickly melts away as the heavy dark fruit comes in like a chaser. The lactic acid hangs around in the aftertaste but isn't overpowering. Notes of black cherry and cranberry.

M- Tart, but not very dry which is impressive. Medium-high carbonation brings about many tight bubbles. Sturdy body.

O- I wasn't sure what to expect since I've been to Monk's Cafe once before and they had a bunch of Russian River sours on tap among which some I liked and some I didn't. However, this is one of the best (if not the best) sours I've ever had.

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Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a reddish-brown color and a cloudy texture. There was an inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Excellent lacing.

S: A big shot of cherries in the nose, along with the standard sourness of the style.

T: Tasted of cherries, first and foremost, along with some malt, and a decent amount of yeast. Definitely sour, but not as much as other Flanders Oud Bruins. A smooth, focused flavor.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a crisp, vibrant finish. Medium-bodied.

O: A solidly made, drinkable beer.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a stemmed glass.

(A)- Pours a deep and dark burnt sienna color with ruby red highlights. Produced a nice fluffy off-white head with solid retention.

(S)- A big dry lactic vinegar up front. Some serious barnyard dirt and vinegar characters.

(T)- Very fruity. Not as sour or vinegar-like as the smell foretold. Some hints at tartness, but otherwise fruity, dry, and earthy with just a small kick.

(M)- A nice crisp carbonation level. Has a nice balance too. Smooth, fruity, and "ripe" tasting. A subtle sourness.

(D)- A solid Oud Bruin. Not as strong as what I anticipated, but it is what it is. Surprisingly refreshing and a nice treat and transition to have as the days slowly begin to warm up outside.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish mahogany color, dense and creamy off white head, good retention and lacing.
Smell is of new red wine - slightly vinous, acidic and oaky. Taste brings the wine-like flavors with a big hit of balsamic vinegar and adds just a hint of tart cherry and sticky sweetness. Medium bodied, slightly chewy and sticky, palate coating but without a big aftertaste. Decent beer, a little lighter than expected, possibly could use a little more aging on it.

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Photo of Brad007
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red color with a thick two-finger head into my glass, leaving a bit of lacing.

Aroma is tart with a strong hint of cherries and spice. Also has a bit of barnyard funk.

Taste is tart and sour upfront with a hint of cherry, apple and barnyard funk.

Mouthfeel is mainly tart and sourness that linger at the back of the throat. Well carbonated.

Interesting example of the style that has a lot of nice characteristics. Definitely a sipping beer and you should only try it if you are looking for something to challenge your palate.

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Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/2 inch head, chestnut colored, clear, with lots of carbonation

Smell: sour apple jumps out with a hint of cherry

Taste: old sour apple domiantes with a hint of cherry, slight malt

Mouthfeel: sour and sweet mix, tart, smooth, with a light to medium body

Drinkability: I will have this again and could have several. I found this to be an excellent value for the price. I think this would be a great starter sour as it is not as overpoweringly sour as others I have tried. The flavor is still there though.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle that I grabbed a month back at State Line.

A: In my Unibroue tulip, this beer sits a very regal crimson with red highlights. A gorgeous 3-finger off-white head caps this, and it leaves some gorgeous lace in it's wake.

S: Vinegar up front. In fact, it singed my nostrils! There's sweetness present as well, malt vinegar in character. Sweet with oak and some vanilla, this is pretty solid. There's a mild spicy component in the back, almost like white pepper.

T: Opens up tart with vinegar with and appreciable sweetness, fruity in nature. Truly candy-like with enough sweetness and tartness to go around, this one's fairly simple but tasty at the same time. Vanilla sweetness appears towards the finish

M: Light in body with a great sweetness, this beer could use a bit more mid-palate. Finish is great

D: At $3, this beer is a steal and I'll grab more.

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Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy red/orange, thick tan head forms, nice lacing, great retention, really sticky. Smell is sweet and sour, sugary, some caramel, some fruits, excellent funk. Taste is sour, some cherries, funky, fruits, nice toffee finish, more sourness as it goes down. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with high carbonation, nice Flanders ale. Thanks DrJay!

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Photo of RBorsato
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted on-tap on 03/09/06 at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.

Full ruby red color with a decent light beige head and moderate carbonation. Definite sourness in the aroma but overall a nicely balanced sweet and sour Flanders Red Ale in both aroma and flavor. Fairly mild overall for the style and therefore makes it a very approachable introduction for newcomers. Medium bodied and refreshing without being overly sour; looking forward to tasting the bottled version but it seems from previous reviews that it may not be quite as good.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a reddish brown color, murky, thin beige head to it. Good sour aroma, mildly woody, plenty bitter bite in the nose.

Taste, fairly sour, far from complex, not really a distinct fruit presence to this one (if I had to, I'd roll with cherry simply because its popular and given its appearance), any vinegar in the mouthfeel is minimal, stays sharp and acidic, carbonation is right where I want it to be for this style of beer. Toffee seems present.

You can't beat scoring these for $4 a bottle either. Easily one of the best in style for the price. One of the first beers one should try stateside if they are looking to get into 'sours'.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

(Note: my personal scoring system is in whole numbers only)

11.2 oz bottle poured into Golden Draak tulip and consumed today 2/20/2013

Aroma: A very nice tart cherry nose with hints of grape and raspberry, and a little bit of malt sweetness. Not particularly complex but is still rather pleasing. (4)

Colour: Really nice ruby-red body when illuminated. Pours with an expansive, aggressive offwhite head that requires a few minutes to settle down before I can complete the pour. Otherwise laces are quite sticky. (4)

Flavour: I get a lot of sour cherry and grape which is what I expected, I actually like it. Not a ton of malt sweetness but it's there. A little bit of plum and raisin comes up if I look for it. Generally a straight-forward combination of flavor. (4)

Mouthfeel: Nothing special, a medium bodied ale with overly strong carbonation and pleasant tart cherry aftertaste. It's nicely dry and really does a palate-cleansing job. If it wasn't as overcarbonated, I'd give it a 4. (3)

Overall: Quite enjoyable to drink but I'm not sure I'd rush out to get more. As I drink more sours, I'll probably revisit this one. As it stands, it's one of the better priced Belgians on the shelf in the US and I will drink accordingly. (4)

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Photo of jrallen34
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I drank this from the bottle into a chalice.

It pours a medium red brown with a light beighe head, not much retention or lacing.

The aroma is light vinegar and a little tart.

The taste is night and light and smooth. Well balanced with lots of different character. Not too overpowering and has a nice sweet finish and aftertaste. Mouthfeel is light, but highly drinkable.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Drank on tap at Naja's in Redondo Beach, served in a Fin Du Monde chalice.

Appearance: Dark reddish brown, with wispy head lingering for a few minutes.

Smell: Sour lambic kind of aroma, with some cherries.

Taste: Very sour and bitter, nice cherry flavor.

Notes: Tart, sour, sweet, and good. This was my first Flanders Red, so I really have no right to judge it. I just know I enjoyed it. Maybe I'll revisit this beer review after I get more experience.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,126 ratings.
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