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
3,012 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:
#15,703
Reviews:
1,161
Ratings:
3,012
pDev:
13.21%
 
 
Wants:
98
Gots:
477
Trade:
5
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,012 |  Reviews: 1,161
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 sukwonee
1/5  rDev -74.1%

Photo of kingmaker
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of jasonjlewis
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

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Photo of Phillyz
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of BeerMeBro720
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of breadwinner
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I thought this little Flemish ale worked pretty nicely. I appreciated its light tartness, certainly not a sour for sour fiends, but really quite pleasant, and working in concert with a raisiny/dark berry-ish flavor and touches of funk to create a nicely drinkable brew.

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Photo of beeragent
2.78/5  rDev -28%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured into a glass from a bottle.

A - Pours a medium brown with redish hues. Sode pop like carbonation creates a 1 inch head which faded immediately. No lacing on the glass.

S - Strong sour aroma with a noticeable vinegar presence throughout.

T - The sour fruit is the forefront of the flavor, with the vinegar taste coming through in the finish. Light malt body mixed throughout, but the sourness/vinegar hides all other flavors.

M - Medium bodied with quick soda carboination which leaves the beer flat quick. Aside from the lack of carbonation, the body is smooth and clean.

D - Unique flavor and aroma. I'm not sure if the body is the way it should be. A good doorway into sours, and one I will continue to explore.

 725 characters

Photo of MarvinSnyder
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

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

Photo of doucmehu
3/5  rDev -22.3%

Photo of Shandycan
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of JohnofUpton
2.58/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This was a drain pour for me. Some off taste I found unpalatable.

65 characters

Photo of indiapaleale
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
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 +16.6%

Photo of doughanson78
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Dark ruby red in color. Very light tan half finger head with poor retention and not much lacing.

S: Vinegar, sour apples and cherries. Some toffee and woody notes. Touch of funk. Slight wine qualities.

T: A touch of toffee upfront. Tart cherries and apples. A Belgian yeast quality comes through for just a second. Then malty caramel and toffee come back in with a candi sugar flavor. Finishes slightly woody and nutty.

M: Medium light body. High carbonation, maybe a little to much. Finishes pretty dry.

O: Don't know if this is the first of this style I've had but it's not bad. A bit malty, but a nice mix of sour and sweet.

 670 characters

Photo of BeerSamurai34
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a really good sour, but I didn't get a lot of the fruit that was used in fermentation. Very good and refreshing but I like comparable beers like Duchesse better.

 170 characters

Photo of Foxman
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a quite clear rich ruby copper. A finger of frothy light tan head sinks slowly. Gulls of lacing aviate along the inside of the glass.

The aroma is decidedly lactic and pie-cherry sour. A submerged toasted malt grain presence intimates of a feather of sweetness to balance the more aggressive tartness.

Upon tasting, the malt is tart cherry sweet and ever so slightly doughy. The sour tower is again notably lactic, and this time is buttressed by a brace of earthy funk. A short batch of residual sweetness joins the tang to open up to a gradually drying and moderately crisp finish. No matter your general tastes, it's hard not to like this at least a measure.

Light bodied, the carbonation and sweet/sour duet combine to give a marked soft-drink impression to the palate.

Plenty of places have proprietary beers, but few have such distinctive, entertaining ales. It's a sour for a newer palate, or for those who'd like a little less "horsiness" in their beer, for whatever the reason. It's a refreshing and willing counterpoint to any number of savory culinary choices. I don't usually drink it at Monk's due to the usually many untried options, but it's nice to be able to bring a bit of Monk's home with me.

 1,235 characters

Photo of abex44
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of RKing44
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of sillyhed8
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%

Photo of younger35
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this brew as an extra quite a while back. It somehow got lost in my mix of 12 oz brews. Glad I found it! Drank out of my Stone India Pale Ale tulip.

Appearance- Pours a dark apple cider red with a small lightly dirty off-white head. Leaves a decent cap and collar for the duration of the brew and leaves a fairly good amount of lacing.
Smell- Just like you'd expect, very sour and just the smell makes my mouth water from the sour explosion that is about to come. Green apples and sour skittles are what I'm reminded of.
Taste- Hmmm, a lot smoother and more balanced than I was expecting. Green apples and soured cherries at the start before it slowly gives way to a bit of sweet malt. Not a big sweetness but a bit unexpected considering the beer. It also doesn't have that dirty yeastiness that I've experienced from my rather limited trying of this style. A bit musty in the aftertaste but overall fairly clean and very crisp.
Mouthfeel- Fairly thin but full of life and nice. The carbonation isn't messing around in this one.
Drinkability- I'm definitely not a sour ale kind of guy but this one isn't as sour as I was expecting and I really enjoyed it. Very crisp and clean without the whole dirty yeast must that I'm not the biggest fan of. Refreshing brew that should be tried if given the opportunity.

 1,318 characters

Photo of mwilbur
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 mL bottle into tulip.
A: Pours a reddish brown (more red with backlighting) with high carbonation producing a 1-2 inch light tan head that quickly recedes.
S: Warm cinnamon, sugar, fresh bready yeast, and a hint of sour.
T: Tart apple, cinnamon, sour cherry, and a hint of milk sugar. Fairly tame with a lot of sweet notes.
M: Light body. Effevescent with a pleasant tingle on the tongue...almost champagne-like. Sweet turning toward tart and dry finish.
D: A very pleasing and drinkable brew. A nice summer refresher. Not too sour (especially for style)...which could be a good or bad thing depending upon your druthers.

 637 characters

Photo of match1112
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

wanted to try a sour beeer and this was the first one i could find. poured from bottle into goblet, the color was reddish brown, kinda like rasberry ice tea. the smell was extremley sour fruit. once this beer had a chance to breathe the smell became more pleasant. when it first hit my lips it was sour enough to make me pucker. the mouth feel was pleasant and finished with a slight sour candy taste on the back of my tongue. overall i was surprised by this sour beer and cant wait to try different sours.

 506 characters

Photo of chinabeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

no date on the bottle. possible batch number of U8:44?

poured into tulip

dark, almost opaque reddish brown. red tint under the light. not bottle conditioned, so pretty clear. decent head, but soon fades to a thin, then wispy layer. some good lacing.

very sour and funky vinegar aroma. fresh wood comes in and peaks at the back. balsamic vinegar? cider, crabapple, hint of dried cranberry and raisins. whiff of molasses.

flavors are similar, tart upfront with that balsamic character again. plus more woody notes. undertone of caramelized malts, with that almost-molasses flavor. tartness fades as it continues and you start to notice a gentle (hop?) bitterness. pleasantly sweet and sour overall.

not too thin nor watery. some acidic and tannic texture. moderate and refreshing carbonation.

perhaps not the pinnacle of the style, but you can't beat the price.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 3,012 ratings