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 srw
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of asabreed
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33 cl bottle into my Corsendonk tulip.

Appearance: Though the head doesn't bubble up crazily, it starts at 1" then goes to about a half inch, but it's very thick, leaving lots of good clumpy lacing on the side. Dark amber color with some brown hues, with a decent amount of bubbles floating up toward the middle.

Smell: Earth and grassy notes, with maybe some phenols at first. Then it goes to slight nail polish, sour cherries, and granny smith apples. Definite and welcoming notes of oak and maybe the slightest hint of vanilla. Complex as all hell.

Taste: Too dry? Where's the sweetness? That's what I asked at first, but somehow the first sip was misleading. However, since it's a sour beer, the taste is a bit puckering of course. It does finish very dry, but after a bit it becomes nice, though as I said it wasn't at first. The only problem with the dryness is that I feel it's maybe so dry as to not let the beautiful flavors of the sour fruits and yeast to come through? I'm not sure exactly, but as I drink, it does indeed become more complex. You can taste the sourness, but then it does into the astringent dryness. Still, with the finish there's definitely some hints of apple, sour cherries, and general sourness on the tongue. Lots of stuff going on, and though I don't know if it's as balanced as it could be, it's so complex and singular that I like it a lot.

Mouthfeel: Champagne-like carbonation, which I really didn't expect. But it never gets too astringent, spritzy, or overdone somehow, which is odd, because it's almost like it should. Therefore maybe the dryness that I alluded to before isn't as dry as I previously thought, which may combat that, if that makes any sense.

Drinkability: This is one of the most peculiar styles in my opinion, and one of the most novel, which makes me want to seek out every version I can. The problem is they always seem so damn hard to find. At any rate, I've enjoyed it more and more as the review comes to a close, and I still have a little less than half of the bottle left in my class. It was about $2.75 for the bottle, and to me that's cheap for such a stab at such a crazy and deliciously ambrosia-like style. Can't wait to snag some more versions when I can actually find them.

 2,264 characters

Photo of TexIndy
4.92/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Re-review on 8/5/08. Original review at bottom.
Shipped back from my trip to Indiana. Poured from a 330ml bottle with a coded date on the label into my NBB snifter. It had a deep ruby color. It had a small fizzy head that quickly dissipated into nothing. Some carb but no lacing. The aroma was strong sour cherries. Since my original review, I've really grown into this style and absolutely love the aroma on this one. The taste was also incredible. It had a great sour bite that sticks throughout the whole drink. Ends with a sharp pucker. The mouthfeel is great with the sour and carbonation. Overall, this is an excellent beer and I'm so glad that I got to try it again. Originally I wasn't in a rush to try again but now I'm already thinking of ways to get more. Strongly recommend.

****original 12/25/06 review below****
Poured from a 330ml bottle with a coded date on label. Had a decent head that eventually become a thin constant film that also left lacing throughout. Was a medium mahogany color. The smell was strong with the sour cherries and definitely let you knew what was coming. The mouthfeel was good. This was my first sour ale so a whole new experience. Overall, I'd say I liked it but not sure I'm in a rush to get another one right away. This style for me is probably something to try every so often and see if I grow into it. I'd recommend trying this beer as it is top 10 in the style so a good intro to it. (3.5, RB, T, Y)

 1,448 characters

Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Duvel snifter. The beer comes out dark, clear, and reddish-brown with a nice big off-white head. Pretty good retention and nice lacing. The nose has a musty smell with some vinegar and cherry notes behind it.

Light-medium body with a nice firm mouthfeel. Light flavor on the front of the palate of lemon, cherries, and a vinegar-like acidity. The acidity is not overwhelming and tapers off a bit towards the back of the palate, where there is a mild tannic dryness. Very refreshing, but a bit light in the flavor department.

Someone is going to have to explain to me why this beer is categorized as an Oud Bruin and not a Flemish Red Ale. At any rate, it is tasty and refreshing, but lacks the depth of flavor and complexity of top-shelf examples. Definitely recommended for completists.

 817 characters

Photo of eldoctorador
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of mmmbeer
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle with no freshness date. It pours a red/copper with a 2 finger head that is tan with a hint of red and forms a crater in the middle when it recedes and leaves some nice foam for lace. It smells of sour grape, fruit?, dung?, lactic? (I guess that's what it is - it's not familiar to me and they mention it on the label...), along with mustiness and some acidity. It tastes sour/acidic, fruity, tart, with medicinal phenols, farm/mustiness, and perhaps iron and salt. Maybe a hint of hops, but not sure if they use them. It has a light, tingly, dry body that is quite refreshing and it's overall a quality beer.

 622 characters

Photo of MN_Beerticker
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of Janeinma
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.09/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Deep strawberry/cherry juice color. Very clean and opaque. Nice billowy off white head in standard Belgium style. Seriously great looking beer.

S: Yeasty with notes of sour grape, wet oak, cherry vinegar.

T: Not nearly as pungent as I was expecting. Bit like watered down cherry juice. Minor sour notes with out much twang. Not nearly as complex as some of the other Flanders out there.

M: Bit thin and prickly from the carbonation.

D: I was disappointed by this beer. Its ok and certainly drinkable but nothing I'd be compelled to try again. Oh well, they can't all be Rodenbach.

 596 characters

Photo of dextermcgurk
4.46/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of HRamz3
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Photo of erialbill
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of Spider889
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lounge 62 in Gahanna.

Damn this one was tough to find on the site. Searches led me to a Brewery called Monks Cafe in Switzerland, then a bar called Monk's Cafe in PA. Neither brewed this beer, though apparently this Belgian brewery created this brew for the forementioned bar.

Bourgundy coloring in the dim bar light. With some effort and angling I could see some nice ruby and blood orange hues in my snifter. Lots of tiny white bubbles, no lace or retention however.

Smells pretty sour, but also sweet. Almost cidery in the good way. Ripe black cherries and sour green skins. Mild mildew funk as it warms.

Tastey, though very sweet. The sourness is not nearly as pronounced as in the nose. Some mild dank oakiness intermingles with puckering green cherries and candied pear.

Light carbonation, the bubbles that are there dance on the tongue. Brut champagne character, nice and drinkable, good beginner sour.

 924 characters

Photo of lic217
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of PhillyStyle
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

Photo of Washuffizi98
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of pknyc
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of sukwonee
1/5  rDev -74%

Photo of jasonjlewis
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

great head retention, size and lacing.

smell is of green apples and a hint of raisin with a heping of cherried. not quite as complex as I would like but good nevertheless.

taste is of green apples and some caramel malts with cherry undertones. again, not as complex as I would like.

good attenuation and full mouthfeel.

decent stab at the style for a good price per bottle.

 377 characters

Photo of Phillyz
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of BeerMeBro720
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of doucmehu
3/5  rDev -21.9%

Photo of Shandycan
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

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

Here we go...

Pour - Dark reddish brown or auburn in appearance. Nice off-white fluffy head with great lacing on the inside of the glass.

Aroma - Sour malt, vinegar, brown sugar, apple cider and a little bit of a buttery aroma.

Taste - Initial tartness, a bit like sweet apple cider vinegar, gives way to a very sweet malty rush. The tongue is lovingly put the ringer a bit like eating a Sour Patch Kid. Carbonation levels are good and as it warms a bit there are more overripe apple and pear flavors along with brown sugar and caramel. The sour flavors return in the aftertaste and leaves your mouth slightly puckered.

Overall - A great sour for the newbie. Its not too puckering to scare a person away but enough to keep you interested. Very drinkable and very delicious.

Would I buy more of it? - Absolutely! This is one of my favorite Flemish Sours and absolutely amazing on tap if you can find it.

Note: Monk's Cafe was named one of the "Top 10 Places to Have a Beer Before You Die" by All About Beer Magazine.

 1,026 characters

Photo of swgwilt
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

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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