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
Very Good
2,989 Ratings
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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,989 |  Reviews: 1,157
Photo of jar2574
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First time I've had this style of beer. Beer is reddish brown, decent light tan head. Lacing and head retention leave a lot to be desired though.

Smells weakly of malts.

Taste is tart and sour - as the name would imply - and the flavor is really, really cool. I like it. As the beer warms I taste some cherries and cranberries too. The sourness isn't a scrunch up your face with displeasure sourness. It's more subtle. Aftertaste is only slightly sour, it doesn't hang around on your tongue too long like sour candy.

I give it points for uniqueness, and for drinkability, since I would like to and could have several.

 621 characters

Photo of Mahlik
1.97/5  rDev -49%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

11.2 oz bottle poured into a HotD tulip glass.

A- Pours a deep, dark burgundy with a one-finger off-white head. Head dissipates to a thin cap. Minimal traces of lacing.

S- Holy god what a terrible aroma. It smells like someone took soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and candied cherries and threw them together with a pinch of Belgian yeast. That is really the only way I can describe the aroma.

T- Not much going on. Rather bland. Some lactic sourness hits upfront and never really fads away. Subtle sour cherries and more balsamic vinegar finish out the taste.

M- Medium body with plenty of carbonation. The mouthfeel is slick and syrupy. Slightly puckering finish.

O- Complete failure IMO. I love sours. I had yet to have a sour that I did not enjoy until now. Nothing about this beer worked for me. I couldn't even finish half of the bottle.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours deep red to mahogany with a fluffy off-white head and some visible carbonation. There is very good head retention and large bubbles in the head. Very little lacing.

S: Overall the aromas are light in this beer but complex with hints of cherry, raspberry, and cranberry. There is a slight amount of mustiness and hints of some spices.

T: Flavors of cherry/raspberry/cranberry followed by slight sourness and a little bit of funk.

M: Light to medium bodied and smooth with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: I really enjoyed this as a sessionable beer as it is light and easy to drink that would allow it to pair with many different foods. I really enjoyed the acidity in the beer.

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Photo of B33R501
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

sort of a novelty for me, something i enjoy when i need a change but overall a really good beer.
pretty red color, nice musty sour yet almost a little sweet aroma. and thats what it tastes like, i love the malty sweet / sourness of this beer. very drinkable, could have many more.

 293 characters

Photo of texasclimber
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of tjkinate
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One major problem.

A: Probably the best looking beer I've seen from this style or similar styles. A single fingered head formed that exhibited good retention finally settling to a soapy film atop this deep red transparent brew. It even showed solid amounts of lacing!

S: Cherry, raspberry, pomegranate, and cranberry notes are most prominent, but are followed nicely with tart and grassy undertones.

T: Follows the smell fairly closely leaving the raspberry and cherry flavors to remain most dominant. Sour funk follows nicely, unfortunately so does the metallic copper aftertaste. Really bummed me out, gonna try again later hoping for better results.

M: Well carbonated and lightly bodied.

O: Almost fantastic, but the copper flavor really just ruined it for me.

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Photo of nicholas527
5/5  rDev +29.5%

Photo of bjtr
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of NickMunford
3/5  rDev -22.3%

Photo of jmunsters
1.65/5  rDev -57.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Bottle poured into a Ommegang chalice.

A- Deep red with a fairly good half finger head that stuck to the glass.

S - Tart, fake cherry flavor like you would find in candy. Not real cherries.

T - Quite tart and sour up front. A good does of brett makes you pucker a bit. This follows to a malty sweetness and then it gets horrible. Acetone and metal and battery acid. I spat it out.

M - Light carbonation leads to a decent mouth and creaminess. Very tolerable mouth feel albeit the taste.

O - This tastes like it will cause cancer. I honestly can not believe the fact that the in-store district rep told me it was better than Rodenbach's Grand Cru. I am absolutely appalled. It does not hold a candle to any sour Flemish I've ever had. I am holding off on all 1.0 ratings with the possibility I had a bad or mishandled batch, but this is honestly the worst Red Flemish I have ever had. This is sour nail polish remover with cherry flavoring.

 944 characters

Photo of sukwonee
1/5  rDev -74.1%

Photo of dprophet
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of jeonseh
2.13/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottle poured into a GI Matlida glass

A- deep, burgundy color with a light gold color to it. It's opaque and a bit hazy with a small white head that is comprised of small bubbles

S - smell is tart, reminds me of sour cherries with hints of balsamic vinegar. There is a slight farmhouse aspect to it. I also note hints of lemon peel. It also seems to have a slight metallic twang to it

T - taste is definitely tart at first. As it goes on, there is a nice cheery sweetness that comes through and reminds me of the taste of cherry pie filling. There is also a nice lemony aspect that cuts through the sweetness. There is still a strong metallic taste that comes through and reminds me of copper. It lingers on in the finish as well which just makes the aftertaste unattractive.

MF - Surprisingly creamy. Nice carbonation to this that lends to the body.

O - overall, a decent Flanders beer if it wasn't for the metallic taste. However that metallic taste and smell was too much for me to take. I've had other sours before and this is the only one where this came out so strong.

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Photo of emerge077
3.04/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Alright, i've stayed away from this one for almost 4 years after a bad bottle (it was really terrible, likely infected in a bad way). Revisiting it, there are still certain character flaws, namely an unpleasant aroma (dishrag) and overcharged carbonation. Getting past that though, there were some nice flavors of grape and apple that came out as it warmed, but still somewhat one dimensional. It was prickly and overcarbonated, with astringency amplifying the tartness. None of the sweetness that was present in the 2007 bottle. Overall it wasn't terrible, but there are far better Flemish ales out there, Namely Rodenbach, La Folie, Jacobins, etc.

02-03-2007 2.7/5 rDev -29.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

For the record, i'm a big fan of sour ales and traditional lambics. My experience with this "Flemish Red" however was seriously subpar.

Dark burgundy brown, a thin ring of bubbles skim the top.

Smells like a donkey with bad hygiene. Stale oats and musky urine...not in the good "horseblanket" way either. Artificial sweetness chimes in. A foul stank on this that surpasses Gueuze, just completely unappealing.

Taste is initially tart and medicinal, becoming sweet, then almost cloying in the finish. Notes of copper, blood, black cherry, and phenolic medicinal funk. Mouthfeel is thin, yields some mouth-watering tartness, but ultimately doesn't deliver. Some carbonation carries it along.

Hard to finish one bottle.

Notes: Not the best example of a Flanders Red, not even a good one. This seems altered from a traditional recipe to somehow cater to the US market. Skip this bastardized Flanders Red and go for the real thing, Rodenbach, Goudenband, etc.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Serving type: 330 ml bottle. There is a poorly printed batch code on the back label but nothing discernable as a freshness date.

Appearance: Poured into a tulip. The color is clean, dark brown. Two fingers of lightly tanned, buttery head dissipated quickly to leave a spotted lacing and ring around the edge.

Smell: Immediate tartness. Granny apple, sour grapes, plum, raisins, cherry, sweet (very sweet) caramel, molasses, chocolate, and yeast. It has a hint of smokiness and vinegar, too.

Taste: The mouthfeel is very peculiar. Light and slippery, it is almost like diet pop. The flavors do not standout on their own but contribute to a tart blend, which is mostly fruity; it swings between the grapes/apple and the darker fruits. The smokiness is gone, but the vinegar is still noticeable; it has a slight acidity to it.

Drinkability: I have never had sour ale before so I have to say this first experience was good. Different, but good.

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Photo of HumanParaquat
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of IKR
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear medium reddish brown color with a generous off-white head.

Smell: Mainly bready yeast notes.

Taste: Fruity and mild bready notes. The beer is tart in the middle with a slightly sweet finish. I thought the taste profile was lacking in complexity.

Mouth-feel: Body is on the light side with a fairly high- level of carbonation.

Overall: Possibly a sour to introduce someone to sours or one for those who dislike an upfront sour taste but I found this one lacking in the sour department with a simple fairly muted taste profile.

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Photo of stevefinny
3/5  rDev -22.3%

Photo of tatums1984
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

Photo of spkissane
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of MeisterSmudge
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of gcotts
2.5/5  rDev -35.2%

Photo of Duff27
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of ummswimmin
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the first time I had tried this style. I picked up this bottle to review every style on the BA list. I reviewed the style according to the BA description, but I admit that I have grown to really enjoy the sour style. I learned more about sours after enjoying Riserva by Weyerbacher (recommended).

Sours are an acquired taste, and I like that I learned how to enjoy this rarer style.

Monk's smelled like sour cherry. And it looks like a very deep red with minimal foam that disappears immediately.

The taste is a mix of sweet and sour. It is very fruity; I want to say it is a mix of pear and cherry. I would say that the flavor was very light. I thought that it would be stronger.

The feel is very light bubbles. It felt pretty good.

Overall this is an interesting experience. I wouldn't drink it on a regular basis, but it would do very well for dessert.

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Photo of bkbergen
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 2,989 ratings