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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

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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

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Reviews: 1,131 | Ratings: 2,908
Photo of raoulduke37
4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330mL bottle into a small tulip. Right away, this looks like a photograph out of one of Michael Jackson's books. Perfect 2 finger head ever-so-slightly brimming over the edge of the glass, inviting one to drink it down. Beautiful red luminescent burgundy color, and off-white lace is sticking all over this bad boy. I can't wait to go in closer. Smell is predominantly sour and it is a little difficult to get anything else, no matter how much I try.

As I drink it down, I think to myself, 'I think I'm becoming one of those "sour-loving" guys' and I have no problem with it. Sourness is not as intense as the smell indicates. There are traces of pineapple and raspberries in here. The finish is long, and it surprises you in the end with a touch of banana. Oh man, I'm enjoying every sip of this.

Mouthfeel is tart and carbonated, but very pleasant, especially after shooting some hoops. At $2.99, this will be a regular in my rotation, along with Duchesse and Rodenbach. Damn good. Don't pass it up.

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Photo of PreacherBrewer
4.48/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a beautiful red-wine color. Sports a 2 finger light kaki colored head. head dissolves slowly to a thin film that leaves decadent lacing.

S - Unlike anything i've ever caught on the nose of a beer before. My first thoughts were of vinegar. then some sour smells, yeast, mixed fruit, primarily, grape, prune, and raisin.

T - WOW! this thing has personality! tastes very similar to how it smells: oddly carbonated, fermented grape/prune juice. a little hint of cranberry maybe. An apple cider flavor is lingering in there as well. it's very similar to fermented sparkling apple cider...sort-of.

M - It has a very ticklish, bubbly mouthfeel. very interesting, almost the life of the brew. very unique.

D - Despite what i've herd about the FOB's, and sour ales in general, this is a remarkably drinkable ale. It is mysterious, and captivating. It's interesting, yet not ridiculous. It's very very good. it may not be the thing for you, but you at least have to try one before you die...seriously.

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Photo of Glennlawless
2.91/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured into pint glass

a - Poured a dark reddish brown with a quickly dying down off-white head.

s - tart grape juice, red wine type smell. not a whole lot.

T - smooth entrance, very mild tart finish. thats all there is to it.

M - very well carbonated. pretty drinkable

overall, this honestly was my first sour style ale.not a very interesting beer per say, but it is what people say it is, an entry level sour. i feel this is a perfect beer to get somebody into sours. starts very mild, and at the end it slaps you with some sour. not overwhelming at all though. a pretty well balanced beer and drinkable. i like it.

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Photo of mortarit
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Having a real hard time getting into these sour beers. They really drive my pallet crazy. My whole face draws up like all of the air left the building, experience.

Overall, the everthing else about this one particularly looks great for appearance, color, and smell.

Maybe, I should eat more sour apples for practice.

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Photo of penguinjive7
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pur is a cloudby brown color with about an inch of white head. Initial smell is of vinigar mixing with spice. The first sip is mostly a strong vinigar flavor is quickly followed by a bittersweet blast of firmented dark fruit. I can definitely taste hints of the oak coming through to further give the brew a flacor reminiscent of vinous almost cabernet-like flacor. The finish has a hint of clove spice to further round out the palate. Wow, this is really an odly balanced Flanders. The sweetness that balanced the sourness of the brew is almost awkward and unexpected, but it really works for this one. An excelent brew that I would have again in a heartbeat.

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Photo of kpoole25
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11.2 oz to glass. Clear brownish red, tan head. Sour aromas, a little like sour milk or yogurt. Taste has a cloying sweetness along with the sour, it's really like a soda pop. Or maybe if Martinelli's made a sparkling cherry and added a few drops of vinegar for a little extra pucker. I haven't had any other sours but this did not remind me of beer. Still, it was fairly drinkable, went down quick.

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Photo of thirdeye11
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this at the Dallas Gingerman. We get almost no sour beers in this market so I was really happy to see it.

A: Pours a nice murky reddish/brown with a 1 finger light tan head. Lacing is good as well.

S: Smells like a flanders style beer in that it's a little bit funky, fruity, and has some spices showing their way through this one.

T: Taste is really nice. Not too sour but it's there. Has some funk to it, but really muted which I'm completely ok with. I was enjoying the sweetness here, almost no bitter whatsoever. Perhaps some oak in it as well?

M: Nicely carbonated, weight is just about right too.

D: Pretty high. I wanted more but it was expensive.

Recommended to any drinker of any beverage. Very drinkable.

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

A: It has a deep red with some burgundy tones playing aronud as well. The head rises and falls, leaving trace amounts of carbonated foam.

S: It smells a little sour, with a bubbly quality. Almost like a sparkling wine.

T: It has a nice balance of sweet, tart, and sour. The base of all those flavors being cherry/apple.

M/D: Perfect carbonation with a moderate body. The sparkling wine/champagne mouth feel plays well with these flavors.

This is a good substitute for the Enigma I have been drinking and ran out of. All in all a really good beer...

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Photo of surfer4life
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poored from an 11.2 oz bottle into my Flute.

A - Dark Amber with a small head. Minimal Lacing

S - Lemon Juice, cranberries, if food going bad could smell this good, I would probably be sick from eating it.

T - Taste is not a sour as it smells (kind of a let down for me). however, there is a fair amount of sourness on the finish. Sweet cherries and other fruits dominate this in the beggining, small amounts of spices can be tasted throughout.

M - Carbonation is perfect, medium bodies, leaves that pallet clean and wanting more.

D - Not so much an everyday beer, fun for every once in a while or as an ice breaker to the style though.

All in all, this is a great beer and at 3.29 I can see myself having it again sometime.

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Photo of VWBuggirl
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is a new style of beer for me. So here goes!

The color is fantastic! It is a nice dark brown with a reddish hue to it.

The smell on the other hand is very vinegary. Now my rating on smell is based on the fact that this is a sour and, well, I would expect that it would smell sour. If a normal beer smelled this way I would toss it.

The taste is definitely sour. I get a hint of green apple in it. I wouldn't call it drinkable though. Even though I am enjoying it, I am not sure I could have another tonight, and it isn't for everyone.

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

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep red, good retention. Aroma is a bit weak but you can smell the sour vinagar, fruits, and grapes. Light body with awesome funk taste from the fruits, vinagar, malts, and sugars. So easily drinkable it's a bit scary.

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

Purchased a single from Colonial Spirits for $5.25 for 33cl bottle.

Appearance: a murky brown, with red highlights, looks kind of like apple cider. Small tan head which reduces to lace quicly.

Smell: Acidic, similar to a red wine.

Taste: Granny Smith apple along with sour cherries backed by malt. Predominantly sour flavors, but not overwhelmingly tart for my palate.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, with a bit of zing from the sour and carbonation marriage.

Drinkability: I really enjoy Belgian Oud Bruins, and Flemish Reds. I could sip on a few of these. But eventually the acidic tartness will catch up and I'll want something to scrub the palate (a nice saison or Duvel?)

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Photo of DawnL
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Murky amber with big foamy head that dissipates to sticky lace.

Smell: Slight caramel, with prune notes. It doesn't smell like your typical beer.

Taste: Malt character, then dried fruit, followed by acidic/sour cherry character.

Mouthfeel: This definitely coats the mouth - not really unctuous, but definitely present with good length.

Drinkability: I'm going with good.

This is a strange little beer. I'm still not sure whether or not I like it. I am giving it a pretty good rating, but I'm not sure if I am completely a fan.

Let me explain. I had this with a light fish dinner. I was hoping it would be a bit more sour and was completely surprised by the amber/brown color.

I wouldn't suggest serving this beer with an entree. I wouldn't suggest serving it as an aperitif either. This is an after dinner, bring on the cheese beer. It needs mild cheeses - young mimolette, laughing cow, mild goat cheese, cream cheese even. It would be overwhelmed by cheddar. Maybe a Swiss cheese would be okay. Brie would kill this! Or, maybe it should be had on its own after dinner as a divestif.

It develops an odd bitterness when left to warm. Definitely like leaving prune juice on the counter and letting it come up to room.

If it were a little tarter, it would remind me of those sour, dried, Asian plums. Oh, that would be something to pair it with. Try this beer with Asian plums that are dried and have that sourball coating dusted on them.

I like this beer because it's an oddity. And I know I'm going on a bit, but this taste sensation is so different from anything I've tasted before that I feel like sharing - a lot.

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Photo of WhatsNewinBooze
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a great beer! I am a big fan of flanders and flemish ales and this one is right up there. Pours a reddish brown with a light fizzy head. Aromas of sweet malt raspberry and cherry are huge on the nose. The palate has quite a bit of sweetness, more so than other beers like it, but tons of red fruit flavor with a nice sour that isn't over the top. A good introduction into these style of beers.

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Photo of NardiByNature
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Aggressive pouring makes a massive, light tan head. Eventually settles down to a nice cap with a little spotty lacing. The beer is a deep, clear mahogany with some ruby notes. The color of this style reminds me of Lipton Brisk.

S: The nose is faint. Smells like carbonation (if that’s a thing), a little vinegar, some cherries.

T: Like the nose the taste is mild, but becomes more pronounced as the beer warms to room temp: sour cherries and some woody flavor.

M: Very smooth, very dry. Fuzzy carbonation. Very drinkable.

O: This is good. Not as complex or flavorful as some other old browns but I like it. Would like to have on-tap sometime.

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Photo of RedSpecial1
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours a light copper with a small off white head with slight persistent lacing. The smell is of white wine vinegar with a sour note as well. The taste is initially a touch of sweet white wine fading into a moderate sourness. The mouthfeel is light and fairly dry. The strong flavors in this beer keep it from being too drinkable, but it is an interesting drink.

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Photo of Graebner
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a red-orange and brownish color. Little or no white lacy head.

Smells of citric and lactic sours, light biscuity malts.

Tastes of citrus and milk/cheese sourness, substantial hoppy bitterness, and light, biscuity malts. The malts begin to come through more pronouncedly as the beer warms and you drink more, and it ends up being even somewhat sweet.

The feel is smooth and refreshing. It finishes spotlessly, completely clean, only a slight hoppy bitterness to let you remind you of the great beer you just sipped. Highly carbonated, but not out of balance. It merely enhances the brew.

Overall a very drinkable beer. Sour, but very drinkable. It ends up sweetening up after a while, and it does not sour your stomach regardless. The sour is taste only on the palate, and is quite enjoyable to me. It is absolutely superb with a rich, creamy cheese like brie, camembert, Saga blue, or St. Andre. It is a quientessential Belgian beer in both taste and mouthfeel, and anyone experienced with Belgians will note the familiar characteristics. Excellent and very unique beer.

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Photo of USCTrojanBrian
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a tulip

Dark brown, classic brown color, some violet in there as well. One finger head, aggressive carbonation coursing along the walls of the glass. Beautiful.

Standard sour cherry aroma, potent, but a little more woody than sweet.

Really aggressive soda-like carbonation on the first small sips. Tremendous sweet/sour fruity burst, cherry. Really sweet, the dominant flavor rather than sourness. This may be the kool-aid of Flemish sours, very drinkable. Not quite as complex as others I've tasted but by no means bad. I pick up some other flavors in the aroma that don't quite show up in the mouth, slightly frustrating.

Really enjoyable beer, not much to complain about or quibble with.

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Photo of SPThirtyThree
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: Red mahogany with just a bit of haze, massive head on the pour that fades down to a clumpy, sticky lace.

S: This oud bruin slams the nose with vinegar. There's also some caramel hiding in there. Subsequent sniffs after the nose has adjusted to the acetic smell give a slightly sweaty or zoolike aroma. It's a nice amount of funk for the style.

T: Again, sour vinegar up front, but well balanced with sweetness and cloves. Also some bubblegum esters.

M: Very effervescent from the high carbonation.

D: High - it's very tasty, but a tinge less carbonation and a less estery profile would substantially improve the drinkability (although it might make this brew less interesting).

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

Like all sour ales, this is not a style for everyone. While I can't understand how everyone doesn't appreciate a nice goblet of Chimay or Corsendonk, I can fully understand how sour ales are a real acquired taste and not for all.

I tried this at Monk's. I am not certain the style of glass this was served in, different, almost like a tall juice glass (?). Right away, the smell hits you before you take a sip. A strong, bitter, sour cherry scent.

While the bar's darkness made it hard to tell, it appeared to be ruby red-brown in color. A mild head, not too much. Rather refreshing in appearance.

The flavor is complex. A raging war between sweet and sour...with the sweetness taking the lead at the initial sip, but to be overcome by the notes of sourness at the end. Mild hints of yeastiness are mixed in throughout.

Take my review in comparison to other sour ales. Drinkability is scored high, but my hats off to anyone who could drink sour ales all night long. It is an interesting and unique style, but hardly matches well with most foods and definately the sour taste lingers in your mouth well after your drink is finished (similiar to a strong IPA).

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Photo of wrycon
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow. A ton of carbonation on this. Granted, the pour was semi-aggressive at the start, but a giant head of off-white foam emerged, but also dissipated nicely with good retention. Smells quite sour, some pomegranate some cherry. A bit of apple. Not mind-bendingly sour, but sour enough. Quite flavorful and quite delicious, in my opinion.

Like It? Indeed.

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Photo of bgreg3
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

app- deep amber colors are richer in middle of the glass, and has high levels of carbonation far after pouring.

smell- sour smell with sweet notes lingering in the back. Yeasty overtone. very enticing smell.

taste- Other characteristics of the beer stand out more than the taste. Tart and sour sensations rush your tongue but become sweet in just a second. The taste neutralizes to a beer tasting of amber malt and German yeast. No hops noticed, but it works for the most part.

MF- Bubbly and tingly. The carbonations mixed with the sour notes allows the beer to dance on your tongue in a most enjoyable way.

Drink- This beer killed my palate. It would have been difficult to taste other proceeding beers.

Give this one a go! very interesting!

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Photo of WOTO97
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: vigorous pour for thick cappuccino head that slowly dissolves to thin bubbly film, thin web-like lacing, deep burgundy red

S: grapes and soft vinegar notes, mild sweetness, very faint malt, distant nutmeg accompanies some burned vanilla notes

T: loads of fresh grapes, mellow tartness that slowly fades on the palate to a nice sweetness

M: slight stickiness in the back of the throat, slight and clean on the front, mellow creaminess

D: incredibly drinkable for a sour but almost to negative results, the grape notes overwhelm the vinegar flavors for a very mellow and clean finish

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

Serving Note: Satan tulip glass

A: A mahogany brown / port red wine with a two finger head and medium residuals left behind on the glass.

S: Whadda ya know? Sour! Notes of black cherries and maybe a blackberry hint with yeast.

T: Monk's Cafe has taken my Sour virginity and I was impressed by the complexities in the flavor profile. I originally had thought that Sours were a gimmick-beer, but this has set me straight. After the initial wince/pucker I truly started to appreciate the tart cherries and the warming alcohol finish.

M: Medium or Med-light body with a crisp finish that leaves the sour notes behind as a souvenir.

D: As much as I enjoyed the sour, I am not sure that I would dare try more than one in a night. However, this goes down smooth enough for me to give it consideration.

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Photo of brown2cu
3.66/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown and is topped by a massive head that took forever to die down. At the end the head was about a finger width.

S: A solid nose but not a lot of complexity. Sour cherries are the most dominant. There is also an undertone of vinegar.

T: There is definite cherry in this beer and like the nose it is the dominant taste. It is sour at first but ends with an almost bittersweet finish. I may be deceived, but I believe there is a woody undertone in the taste.

M: Low carbonation and I was taken aback by this considering how massive the head was. A very strange feel.

O: Not my cup of tea as far as the style goes, so I tried to review as subjectively as possible.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,908 ratings.
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