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

Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale
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Style:
Flanders Oud Bruin
Ranked #45
ABV:
5.5%
Score:
87
Ranked #12,358
Avg:
3.9 | pDev: 13.08%
Reviews:
1,170
Ratings:
3,040
From:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
 
Belgium
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  97
Gots
  487
SCORE
87
Very Good
Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale
Notes: 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.
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Reviews: 1,170 | Ratings: 3,040
Photo of bigbeerdrinka
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep murky brown with red hues and a small white head that left barely any lace. Aromas give off a mix of tartness and sour cherries with tones of barnyard vinegar tones. Flavors are intially nicely tart and sour which a nice fruit tones. This flavor is predominently of sour cherries with some grape and raspberry like flavors. This beer finishes with an acidic tartness and sourness, with a nice zinging carbonation. The body to this brew was a tad thin but overall a nice offering for a flemish sour that was not too syrupy or sugary.

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Photo of Gusler
4.37/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Draught @ O’Brien’s San Diego
Just goes to show you, that you never know what you will find in a great pub, owned and run by great beer loving people, a beer brewed in Belgium exclusively for a pub in Philadelphia, in a pub in California!

The beer as it sets in the Belgian Chalice a somewhat murky deep red to almost brown color, the head a medium tan color that is also creamy in texture and the size perfect, the lace forms a tight skirt to cover the glass. Nose is crisp and tart, the aroma of over ripe fruit, a hint of yeast, a bit musky, quite a pleasant sniff this beer. Start is lightly sweet then tart with the top middling in its feel to the palate, finish is austere in its acidity, the hops perfect in their spiciness, very dry after taste that lingers on and on. I was simply forced to have several glasses before I boarded my incredibly long flight back to Phoenix, geez I needed the energy to withstand that hour and five minute flight! Lol

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Photo of rdrummer
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I try to have one of these whenever I visit Monk's. It pours a really nice, light amber color with a small whitish head. It has the aroma of roasted malts and sourness. The taste ranges from very tart to moderately sour. I find that it depends on what I have been eating or drinking before tasting. The sourness is never off-putting, though. I almost find it pleasantly refreshing in a way. It has a very clean feel in the mouth that really prepares you for a meal. I love one of these on draft before my lunch but have never really wanted a second.

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Photo of ElGuapo
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice brown amber pour with a decent helping of off-white head. It is somewhat cloudy. The aroma is a bit weak, but it has some nice sweet malt hints as well as a delicious sour smell that tingles the nose.

The body is medium, and it has mild carbonation which all comes together to produce a very smooth mouthfeel. Flavor is a bit more dull than my beloved Duchesse, but it is still pretty good. The sour flavor is there with notes of balsamic vinegar. Some fruit flavors as well as citrus come in. Grains lay behind it all to bring in some balance. The drinkability is excellent, and I would have grabbed another or two if I weren't on my way out.

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Photo of 99bottles
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From an 11.2 ounce bottle this beer pours a rich ruby-brown color with a fizzy active head of white carbonation. The smell is very interesting. Sour and sultry, if you get a big whiff it makes the back of your mouth pucker and smells of turned milk (the label calls it lactic). The first taste is of tart cherry. The finish is vert TART. Sour, yes...but the sweet cherry is in there also. Wow. Incredibly refreshing. Incredible tasty. Dry earthy taste from the unique ferementation. I love the sour ending ! A class act all around. However, if fermentation run amok gives you the willies, you might want to look elsewhere. Little pricey also, but worth the bucks.

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Photo of ark57
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It is a brownish red with very little head. The reserved aroma has some oak and vinous notes and a lactic sourness to it as well. The taste is sweet and sour with some fruit and oak in the finish. The sourness is mild and it is quite refreshing. I always start a visit to Monk's with one of these.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presented in an 11.2oz. bottle with no freshness date and poured into a tulip glass. Had a murky brownish-red color with a fast-fading vanilla head that deposited minimal lace.
The smell was decidedly sour with a lot of sweet-tart berry notes and an underlying woody essence. The taste had a tangy sweetness which brought notions of raspberries, blackberries and black currant. Some light oak flavor and a zippy, almost puckering sourness finish things off. The feel was light- to medium-bodied with a tight carbonation, dry and clean.
Damn, I don't know what to make of this style. It was pretty easy to drink. I wouldn't mind trying more of this style and will look for them in the future. Thanks go out to frank4sail for the gift from PA!

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Photo of thefireman
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap, nice color, with a smallish head. A must before eating. Had almost a wine taste, very dry. Taste of cherries and spices. I like the sourness that finishes a little hoppy. Not overpowering, but a shock to the tastebuds on first tasting. An acquired taste, but opne I always go back to.

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Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I thought this beer was fascinating. Really my first try at this style unless you count lambic, but I think sour ales/oud bruins are maltier. This one was quite nice. Great balance between malty and sour. Sweet but not cloying, then sour enough to dry your mouth out. The menu suggests this one as a palate clenser, I would agree. I could drink this beer over and over and never really get that sticky sugary coating you cometimes get after having numerous beers. I'm really going to start searching for this style.

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Photo of leeenglewood
4.57/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not a beer for everybody but if you like sour and sherry like drinks you should indefinitely enjoy this wonderful thirst-quenching beer. Pours amberish brown with white head that becomes lacy. Smells like cherries and good American whisky also has very sherry like smell. Taste is predominately tart and somewhat acidic no apparent sweetness. A rather drinkable beer if you are into this kind of thing, as the acidic qualities are not overbearing.

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Photo of oberon
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep red with abrownish tint with about a 1/4 inch head that leaves some nice lacing,aroma is of sour cherries and light mineral notes.Taste is hits ya with a big sour note that slides into some stone-like qualities with that sour lemon flavor always there to linger.This style is not my cup of tea for sure but this beer is complex with alot of different flavors well made.

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Photo of inebrius
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I love all things sour, I do.

A hopped up blend of lemon juice and malt tinted bright sienna by leaf stained spring water. Odd, and sour, but not your funked up homebrew rubber sour, a clean tart, citric, with an enticing nose of vanilla, chinotto and damp concrete.

Best appreciated without food I think. Popped a piece of anise flavored pizzelle in my mouth near the end of the glass and got a serious retronansal slap of two day old Walleye. Yikes! Other than that this beer is quite unique and quite good but a case of these puckers might collect a little dust, I'm afraid.

Cheers to frank4sail for the brew!

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Photo of dmarch
4.74/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep garnet in color with an off white head. Aroma is of sour fruit like cranberries and cherries. Taste is more sour than it is sweet. Very light in body, which makes me want to drink a lot more of them than I probably should. Hopefully we'll see more of this style popping up in America.

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

My first experience with sour ales. Poured a mahogonay with an off white head that receded into bubbles around the outside of the glass. Smell was musty and sharp with plenty of cranberry coming through. Taste was mouth puckieringly good. It was hella sour with tons of sweet, lemon and cranberry flavors and some other different citrus flavors as well. Mouthfeel was carbonated and tart. This is a good beer that you could nurse all night long, provided you have enough around. Not too much balance in this beer, but I don't mind at all. A good tip of the scales is always in order. Thanks to nomad for the bottle straight from Illadelph..

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.31/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A slightly hazy (but surprisingly clear given the style) mahogany body appears reddish in the glass and reveals crimson, ruby and orange highlights when held to the light. The creamy off-white head holds quite well and leaves some nice streaks and splotches of sticky lace throughout the glass. The nose is vinous with tempting, delicate, tart cherries and what appears to be some oakiness. It's not as bold as many other examples of the style, and it's certainly cleaner; but it is quite nice. A gentle massage of soft, fine carbonation washes over the tongue as it warms to become slightly creamy. The body is light, and it's quite smooth. Again, it's more delicate than many examples but very nice in its own way. The flavor mimics the nose with mildly vinous cherry and raspberry. It's acidity is restrained in comparison to most, and it's quite refreshing without becoming puckering. There's a bit of an oak character to it and it finishes dry with a slight astringency; but the sticky-sweet residue of many other examples is not present. Overall, this is a quite refreshing and enjoyable beer that represents the style well, but is somewhat restrained in comparison to most others.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A dark red brew, with a small whispy head. Aroma is heavy on the cherries, with some astringent, lambic-sour ale funk in the background...way in the background. The taste is sour, and fruity...a good combination of flavors, if you ask me. I have to agree that this is a great sour red ale, but it is not as complex as goudenbond or duchess....the drinkability is good, and the mouthfeel is creamy.

this is a very good beer

F

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Photo of blgianbeer
4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I just got back from a trip to Philly and my obligatory stop at Monk's. Trying this ale was on the top of my "to do" list given the absence of any Rodenbach products in the market.
I was not disappointed. I would put this somewhere between the rather unremarkable Rodenbach and the spectacular Grand Cru. Not quite as complex and aromatic as the GC, but much more sour and flavorful than regular Rodenbach.
This beer is not unlike Van Steenberge's Bios (which I loved and brought several bottles back from Belgium). Well worth the price of admission.

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Photo of vitesse
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

served on draught at monk's...
this was my first flemish sour ale, but i was really impressed.
the color was a beautiful dark ruby red color with a nice bubbly texture. very little head. great sweet/tart fruitiness in the nose.
taste was excellent. great summer drink. somewhat acidic and tart that balances well with a cherry or cassis-like sweetness. very light and champagne-like mouthfeel.
quite drinkable, especially on a hot day. despite the imposing name, i think even non-beer-geeks will like this one.

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Photo of frank4sail
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I was quite excited to get hold of bottles of this stuff from The Beer Yard today (6-21-03). 11.2 Fl. Oz. bottles. The beer pours quite well with a nice tanish head and a beautiful ruby/rust color. Sweet malty, fruit (plum/cherry) and melon smell. Original sour slightly astringent taste gives way to rich fruit (cherries, plums, raspberries). A very nice balence between the fruit sweetness and dry acidic beginning and end. Very drinkable. Not heavy mouthed as you would think with all of these flavors, more on the medium to lighter body. Mouthfeel is lively and lighter. This is a nice rounded satisfying "sour patch ADULT" of a beer. Extreamly good looking in the glass.

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Photo of nomad
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

*Available only on draught and in 330 ml. bottles at the famous Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.*

Poured a ruby red color, deep and opaque, with a wisp of a head and a thin but full lacing. Kind of a dead-water look to me.

Smells of cherries and sherry, and did so in a sour and barely oaky way. For me, it at times came across as vinuous. Never very strong or wow-ing, as many Flemish Sour can be to the nose.

Taste is sour but not too sour, more vinuously so, with a body that was thin and softly reminiscent of sweetness like a liqueur or a lambic might. The main body of flavor was cherry like but not a cherry - know what I mean? That fruity flavor that only Flemish sour reds produce. Bright but not acidic, mellow but not boring, this beer also had some bits of lemon and raspberry at the finish. Had no metallic taste like some sour ales do, and possessed a thin and quick watery mouthfeel. Would like a little more carbonation.

Highly drinkable, this is more of a session version of a sour red ale, as it didn’t have the complexity or body of a Duchesse or a Goudenband. A good beer, regardless. Nice of Monk's Cafe to make the effort to contract Van Steenberge to brew this for them. Something's gotta fill the void while Rodenbach is temporarily M.I.A, right?. Nice to throw back a couple of these at the bar while you’re waiting for a table. FYI, some of the restaurant's dishes are cooked with this beer, too.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 3040 ratings