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

BA SCORE
86
very good
2,947 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:
2,947
Reviews:
1,143
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
13.28%
 
 
Wants:
88
Gots:
451
For Trade:
5
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,947 |  Reviews: 1,143
Photo of TrilliumFan
3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of razorsdescent
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Photo of instinct2
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of kornkid8600
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Photo of gcamparone
3.66/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Purchased in Wakefield, Rhode Island:

A- Pours a deep amber clear body with a generous, fluffy, thick cream-colored head that slowly reduces to some uneven chunks of puffy foam. Impressive

S- Sour apple notes, acidic. Malt backbone with some faint hoppiness in the background.

T- Starts off with a subtle caramel note, ends slightly acidic but not overbearingly. Somewhat simple.

M- Somewhat watery, medium-low carbonation.

Overall a refreshing brew that I enjoyed reviewing. It's slightly one-dimensional and could use more character. Worth a try nonetheless.

 612 characters

Photo of Theogre83
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of NickyPogs
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of hermit990
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of sideshowe
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of ShogoKawada
3.32/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought on impulse at the store. Poured 12oz into pint.

A- brown with an amazing head. This is some thick stuff. Looks tasty.

S- Cinnamon jumps off the pint, as well as clove spices. Smells like potpourri, honestly. A bit of fleshy fruit.

T- Sour hits the tongue. Wow. This one throws me for a loop. Spicy, sweet, sour. Good, unique, strange. I didn't know what to expect, but this wasn't it. Hmm. Second sip is sweeter, less sour. Clove aftertaste. Gets a little too sweet for my tastes, however.

M- Unique. The sweet and sour play on the tongue.

D- Eh... I'm impressed by this beer. I didn't like it enough to buy some more, but I respect the craft put into this unique brew. A very off-the-beaten-path brew that's worth checking out.

 742 characters

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

$4.99 (?) at Hi-Time Wine in Costa Mesa, CA., October-November 2006. Pours a fairly clear brown with deep reddish highlights, as it should be. A nice off-white cover sits atop the brew. A small amount of sediment (I assume it's yeast!) accompanies the last of the pour.

Aroma is a faint sour cherry, which is decent enough, but there's also a slight medicinal note that takes away a bit. Still good, though.

Flavor is the wonderful sour I love in these ales. Dark fruits (mostly black cherries, but might also be some raspberry) lovingly wrapped in the wonderous sour. It seems like the sour intensity varies from swallow to swallow- that must be me, mustn't it? Pretty good stuff.

I can drink this happily, one of my favorite styles (and also one of the rarest for me to get an opportunity to enjoy). I have had it on tap once or twice at a few "local" (SoCal) spots that might have this type of beer (Lucky Baldwin's, O'Briens), and really enjoyed it on tap. It was a while ago, so I can't compare directly here. Recommended.

 1,036 characters

Photo of kkmiller76
4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of SpasmWaiter
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Pahn
2.29/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

11.2oz bottle into a wine glass. Illegible code on it might tell someone when it was bottled, but it doesn't tell me anything.

Appearance: Free pour yields a 3/4 inch fluffy white head that dissipates steadily leaving swatches of lacing along the side of the glass (as does the beer itself). Pours a semi-translucent brownish red.

Smell: Very sweet. Sort of a candy, Belgian yeast smell, along with clove, fig, and off-putting funk and phenolic notes.

Taste: Sweet and funky but very unpleasantly chalky and bitter (also unpleasant is the fact that it isn't at all sour). Some disgusting notes lurking around, similar to nutrasweet. There's some clove and raisin, but mainly it tastes like sickly sweet medicine, or a thin Belgian dubbel that's gone bad. Some cologne-like notes and cinnamon. At its best, a sip is "not good, not terrible," while at its worst I want to pour the beer into a toilet.

Mouthfeel: On the thinner side of medium bodied, low carbonation, semi-dry finish.

Drinkability: The best I can say for this beer's drinkability is that I was able to finish this 11.2oz bottle.

The label mentions a mildly lactic sourness and a sweet and sour finish. In fact, the word 'sour' is used 5 times in the 3 sentence description. For some strange reason I expected the beer actually to be sour... instead it's sort of like a chalky, oily, Belgian dubbel soda (gone mostly flat) with a bunch of aspartame and cough medicine poured into it. Bad.

Since I generally don't like slamming a beer, I'll point out as a postscript that this brewery does make good beer, for example Augustijn Ale, which I gave a solid A (including a 4.5 score for taste) in my review of it. I hated Monk's Cafe however.

 1,709 characters

Photo of VaporDome
2/5  rDev -47.9%

Photo of MaxPowers
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of meatyard
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a clear, dark, reddish amber that has a nice two finger tan head that falls quickly to a covering with a lot of residual lacing. There is a considerable amount of carbonation rising from my Duvel tulip. A light swirl brings a thick cover to the top.
The smell is tart, lactic & cherries.
The taste is sour, tart cherries.
Mouthfeel is crisp and dry with a lot of carbonation.
Drinkability is very good in my opinion.

I like the style and I like this beer. I could easily drink three or four and enjoy each.

 521 characters

Photo of magictacosinus
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured out of a 11.2oz bottle into a tulip glass. No freshness date. Broken with a friend from the Sour Power samplers appearing everywhere with Petrus beers.

Pours a darkened, brownish, reddish tinged beer, complete with an off light brown head that rises quite gracefully with the bottle conditioning to about 3 fingers, but fizzles down like cherry cola does after an aggressive pour. Barely any lacing on this thing. Relatively juicy looking, although not as much as I prefer in this style - which ranges on seeming vinous. Still, the color is quite noteworthy, and the amount of flake-like sediment that accumulates at bottom once the dregs come out are also pretty raw looking. Slightly above average for the style here.

The aroma is actually far less sour than I was hoping, with only an initial lactic, woody sourness at the front and a little bit of vinegar at the back. There's a soft bouquet of sour black cherries, raspberries, and blackberries, and then cashews, slight clove, and brown sweetened malts. Good notes of oak round up the acetic feel, as well as the fruits and nuttiness, but it's pretty subtle - and honestly, subdued - overall. Some bitterness is at the back, but it's also relatively inexistent for the most part. I enjoy it for what it is, but it could be a little bit more sour and oaky, to be honest.

The flavor is on the same realm of the aroma, ranging from dark cherries, prunes, blackberries, and the nutty feel of walnuts, as well as more well rounded oaky aromas. In actuality (especially as this warms up), the oak churns out other woody aromas, almost ranging on cedar or cherry wood. There's a soft, zesty embrace of the acidity from the woody tannins, as well as the lactic sourness, but it's delicate and doesn't put up much of a fight. Slightly earthy and dry, and more so when the hoppy, grassy notes come through. The extra sediment adds more character, but it's never puckery or intense. Refreshing and easy to drink, although it *could* use a bit more body. It's often thinned in feel overall, and loses carbonation rather quickly, which doesn't aid it in transporting the more complex, nor the more subtle aromas within.

A good beginner's Flanders sourish offering, although could definitely be more complex than it is. It's luckily quite refreshing, and especially show people that beer does not have to be a pilsner or something to do the trick on a warm day. I'm not too impressed by it, but I enjoyed drinking it.

 2,470 characters

Photo of BeerTruth
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one at Smoker's Den in Bennington a little while back.

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a clear rustic brick color with a one finger light tan head that crawls down the sides. A good amount of stick grips the glass and looks like it has no intentions of letting go. Aroma is big and sour with rhubarb, cranberries, and green apples. A good dose of vinegar, borderline salad dressing which is a bit much for my nostrils when it comes to beer. Taste starts off pretty sweet with cherries, red grapes, and pears. Midway a bit of tart emerges with sweet candy flavors...hmmm, grape Sweet Tart anyone? The smell though is definitely stronger in the sour/vinegary category. A light to medium body with a somewhat creamy feel. I'd prefer it lighter with a bit more tingle in the mouth for the style. Salad dressing in the nose, grape juice on the tongue...meh. Not terrible, but there are sooo many better sours out there to be enjoyed for me to return to this one.

 979 characters

Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First go with a sour, so here goes nothing...

A- Pours a deep, deep amber hue with a 1 finger head. Head is very bubbly and active. Good lacing and retention.

S- Well, sour it is. Very acidic on the nose. Slight fruit tones. Lemon and lime like scents with the acidity, minus the refreshing citrus part. Slight hints of some malts.

T- Light and fruity, with only hints of the sour flavors that were on the nose. Darker fruits are up front, with some grapes and maybe some tart cherries and raspberries. Very much like a semi-dry champagne.

M- Very carbonated. Drinks easily, but somewhat harsh on the palate. Could drink a few, but your tongue would be worn out.

O- This a a good starter sour. I thought I'd hate this from the smell, but it is pretty good. Easily drinkable and a good gateway into a very expensive style.

 826 characters

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle

Pours a hazy brown color, kind of like a watery chocolate milk. Held to the light, there is a ruby hue that comes through.

Aroma is very sour with a light layer of malt.

Very sour upfront that leads into a malty base and a hint of hops. It's sour again on the way out, but finishes very cleanly.

Smooth texture, good carbonation.

What a good beer, very similar to Rodenbach Red. Nothing like a good Flemish ale to wake up the palate.

 466 characters

Photo of Mphis
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of aforbes10
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle purchased at City Wide in Mishawaka. A very pretty beer in my tulip glass. Perfect look to it, all clear and devilishly red with a fancy soft head and great looking lacing. Stinks like cranberries, sour cherries and red wine. Lots of odor to it = inviting. Taste is tart, but surprizing in that its really not all that complex. Dry cherry flavor, biscuity malt and vague cranberries and they all fade rather fast. Its a lot softer and less aggressive than i imagined it would be from the nose. Alcohol is almost imperceptible. Its a nice beer, overall, but its not, i think, the best of its kind.

 610 characters

Photo of harryhops
3.2/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of WunderLlama
3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap poured into a snippet

Reddish brown in color with a mahogany base.Taupe ring clings to the edges

Aroma of cherries, fruit, tart apples


Taste of cherries, whiff of tart apples, bit of funk

Good beer

 210 characters

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,947 ratings.
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