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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Flanders Oud Bruin
Ranked #46
Ranked #12,348
3.9 | pDev: 13.08%
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
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 Soloviev
4.75/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Delicious... definitely worth trying at leas once. Not overly sour, it has a definite grape & fruit taste, reminds me of red wine in a way. Really unique beer and great sour.

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Photo of sokol_1993
3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Got a can from Calvert Woodley in DC.
A very refreshing oud bruin. Brownish red, with a good amount of head. Strange smell at the beginning, somewhat like a dishwashing soap. Sour at the beginning, but strong malty backbone. Excellent tartness for a hot day.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Dogfish tulip

L: Opaque dark ruby brown pour. Massive foamy white head. The glass was coated with lacing.

S: Apple cider vinegar... sweet, tart, and a bit of funk. Dark fruits.

T/F: Good tartness... some vinegary notes... not overly sweet. Vanilla/oak and dark cherries. Apple cider... some dark bread malts make it through. Some funk. Medium carbonation... light enough in body. Finishes with some tartness.

O: A delicious Oud Bruin from Monk's by way of Belgium. Easy drinking... complex and super tasty. If you enjoy the style then you'll enjoy this beer.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap.

Brownish ruby color with a creamy 1/2 finger head.

Lots of nice sour brown ale aromas, with bread crust, cherry, molasses, and vanilla almond.

Not as sweet as the nose would suggest. Basic brown bread crusts, some cherry, lemon rind, lots of lactobacillus, caramel, prune. Some bitterness on the finish. Odd?

Feel is creamy all the way to the bank. Nice mild to moderate carb.

Overall, a good effort. I'd have it again.

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Photo of mnj21655
3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish-brown with garnet highlights at the edges and a finger of light tan head, good retention. Aroma has dark fruits, some dark malts, and a sour hint. Taste starts with a sour note then moves to dark cherries, plums, and prunes then I get some caramel and toffee into the finish. The taste is definitely sweeter than the aroma. Medium-light body and moderate carbonation, a bit lighter than I'd expect. Overall a pretty good beer, not my favorite style but this was pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of Viaduck
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A moderate pop of the cork, but the contents couldn't wait to get out of the bottle, overflowing & running down the neck. Quick, grab that mug. Pours a reddish brown, very, very heady. Very nice aroma: caramel, berries, grain, it smells sour but not like vinegar. The taste is pretty sweet for a sour, grapey, an interesting blend of sour, sweet & bitter finish but not bad. More than enough carbonation. An excellent sour.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.61/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

11.2 oz. can

Pours bright maroon ruby red with a frothy light khaki colored foam head. Smells like cranberries, blackberries, blueberries, black cherry, caramel, toffee, vanilla, molasses, nutty toasted bready malts, oak, red and black grapes, slight bubblegum, apple, vinegary funk, with floral earthy herbal grass. Tastes like tart grapes, dark berries, black cherry, apple, caramel, toffee, vanilla, molasses, nutty toasted bready malts, oak, slight vinegary funk, with floral earthy herbal grass. Feels light bodied, creamy with moderate low carbonation. Overall a real nice Oud Bruin.

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Photo of atr2605
3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a coca cola color with a tan foamy head with great retention
S-raisin, dark sour cherries, some woody earthiness
T-tart cherries, cranberry, some caramel in the background, sour apple on the finish
M-medium bodied with very high carbonation
O-I am not super familiar with the style, but this is a tasty sour with lots of balance.

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Photo of BigGold
3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

First had poured from 11.2-oz. can, stamped on bottom "L6124," into snifter. My first "real" (Belgian) Flanders Oud Bruin. Always looking for a twist on brown ale, this, perhaps the original, may be my favorite modification to balance the inherent sweetness of that style.

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Photo of DanJaffe
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A nice combination between malts and sours. Flavorful without being overly heavy. Sour but not overly so. Not a bad choice if you're looking for a sour ale introduction.

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Photo of crimsonfloyd
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown on the pour. A deep, dark reddish brown. An inch of off-white head. Smells sour and yeasty, like kombucha. Taste is deliciously sour, like cranberry juice and the skin of green grapes. Nice and juicy and will make you salivate. Overall, a very enjoyable sour.

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Photo of Deanlee
4.16/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer was my first experience with a sour, at Monk's Cafe in Philly no less.
I wanted to expand my palate beyond traditional beers and into lambics and such.
I liked the head ftom the tap and love the cloudy nature of the beer in general.
I thought it actually had a very awesome taste given it was the first time I never had any kind of sour beer before.

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Photo of mothmanscott
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear deep brown, becoming garnet when held to the light, producing (depending on the aggressiveness of the pour) 1-2 fingers of tan, shortlived, foamy head that leaves a thin coating of weby lace. Aroma is tart & vinous, fruity with notes of sour cherry, muscadine & bunch grapes, green apple with a raspberry hint backed up by toasted malt. Taste is a very pleasant fruity, mild sourness & toasty malt. The fruity notes differ slightly from the nose being dark cherry, cranberry & blackberry, with grape & green apple in the background. Finishes fruity, vinous & caramel/toast, the sourness being joined by a fruity sweetness with an acetic, drawing in the back & roof of the mouth manifesting in the dry aftertaste. This brew is smooth & balanced with a sweetness that I feel comes as much, if not more, from the oak aging as from the malt. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium-high carbonation, prickly with peppery spice, mouth coating finish, dry & an astringent aftertaste on the back of the tongue & the roof of the mouth. Nice. A very drinkable example of the style.

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Photo of jeffadow
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Deep, dark red, almost brown in color, with a small tan head. smells lemon-lime/sour candy. Sour upfront, predominantly citric in flavor, like a meyer lemon, with a big, creamy mouthfeel, long finish and unobtrusive malty sweetness throughout.

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Photo of jooler
3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is from a can and my expectations for a sour in a can are low. Smell is fruity esters. Initial taste is tart along with a slight vinegar aftertaste. Not bad. A nice cup of tea

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Photo of weareallfalafel
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a tulip. Pours a deep mahogany color with a thick off-white head that fills the glass and leaves trails and lacing on the side of the glass as the head dissipates. Smell is of dark sour plums and a touch (small touch) of oak. Taste is everything you'd expect of an oud bruin. Good balance of sweet malts, a touch of brown sugar, and tart sour yeast, and a tart and slightly oaky finish. Nothing particularly jumps out at me, but solid, nonetheless. Feel is kinda light in body, but sorta refreshing in that way. Overall, a solid oud bruin, especially for the 3 dollar price tag! I'd recommend it.

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Photo of ABabbidge
3.71/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Dark brown, almost black body. Head is rocky and reduces to a thin lace.

S: Sour funky smell with some dark fruit, like apples or cherries.

T&F: Taste is slightly sour. I get an apple like flavor reminiscent of a cider. A little bit a malt with some tannins in the finish that makes it somewhat dry.Moderate carbonation.

O: Could use a little more tartness but overall pretty enjoyable. Fruity and refreshing for a summer day.

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Photo of bsp77
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Aroma is more muted than expected, with mostly caramel and cherry; some light oak and vinegar. The flavor profile is more assertive, with layers of caramel, cherry, cranberry, vinegar, and a general earthiness. The finish is sour, with sharp oak as well as tannic and white pepper notes. Not as sour as some Flemish Ales, and generally balanced between the sweet, the tart and the earthy/tannic.

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Photo of constantine_272
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I first had this on tap in Philly at the Monk's Cafe. Circling back now for a review at home with a bottle several years later. Dark reddish black with a frothy pillowy brown head. Smells of bright fresh brown soil with a cedar bark. The taste starts off earthy, oaky and leathery with a dark molasses and brown sugar baked gingerbread cookie. It quickly turns tart and fruity of dark red cherry, blood orange, cranberry and cabernet. A dark pipe tobacco finishes long on the aftertaste. The feel is okay, finishing a bit too sugary and cloying like cranberry juice with a touch too much dryness that doesn't seem to line up with the rest of the beer.

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Photo of Bulabeers
4.36/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

L: Brownish Red with a giant stubborn off white almost tan head
S: Funk, Raisins, Oak
T: tart strawberry, sour lemon, blackberry, oak,
F: well carbonated, not much but a little tannin action
O: Love this one. Great brew.

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Photo of DaverCS
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky brown color with an underlying ruby tone. 1/2 finger of an off-white head.

Aroma starts with the aroma akin to that if you held a penny for too long in your hand and then smelled your hand. Pretty funky also. Notes of dried plum, blueberry, fig and cherry. Some lactic acid.

Taste is no where close to the other elites in the class. A very unbalanced beer. It's funky, metallic, sweet, sour, fruity, and citrusy all at separate times. The finish is slightly salty with a bit of a crushed aspirin bitterness.

Overall, not worth the price. There are substantially better offerings for the same price. I see it pairing well with a sour green apple slaw. It gets a 71/100.

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Photo of Jeffsta1
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Good looking brown ale. Pale tan/off white head, relatively large lace, not super persistent.

Aroma is sweet, clean, fruit and dried fruit.

Taste is sour, clean. Ok. Strawberry. Blood orange. Light malt.

Mouthfeel is ok. Moderate to moderately rich. Big carbonation. Nothing special, nothing bad. Good. Better than fair.

Finish is ok. A little early, dirty, not super long. More fair than good, but flavors well integrated with the beer.

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Photo of jasadewi
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The head is huge, fluffy, and kind of a creamy dark white. There are actually (what seem to be) seeds on top of the head. There is consistent fizz bubbling up from the bottom of the glass. It's a dark red color that shines orange in the light. This is the fluffiest and most beautiful head on a beer, I've ever seen. It smells fruity, like a Gueze or a Lambic. Kind of a berry, sour smell. The taste is fairly sour, kind of berry-based, but maybe hints of pears and apples come through. The mouth feel is light, but it comes with heavy carbonation. A strong berry aftertaste lingers in my mouth, and has for about 45 minutes. Supremely good and long lasting aftertaste. Overall, this is a fantastic beer. It's not too sour (like some Geuzes), but it is a good amount of fruity sour. The beer looks beautiful and tastes great. I would highly recommend this to anyone, especially if you want to try this beer style.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

As hard as I've tried, I cannot really enjoy Belgian sours. (And I have tried so hard that I may have added 1/2" to my waistline.) As such, I cannot really enjoy Monk's Cafe, but at least I like it more than the others. (Could it be the can?)

Looks like a "Burgundy from Belgium" with ample foam and appetizing lace. Smells like that horse blanket.
Tastes just sour enough, not wildly so like so many of the competition.
Feel is a full mouth, modest carbonation and not the lingering attack on the buds that some sours do.

Reviewed in the "1001 Beers To Drink Before You Die", it deserves to be there.
And if I were to list only one sour in my book, it might be Monk's.
Having Had Monk's a few times over the last few years, it may be that I have matured enough for this sour ... but I may never mature enough to enjoy the sour sours.

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Photo of DBosco
3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark, but shows a ruby red if light shines through it. A little creamy head. Sour fruity aroma. Sweet fruity, slightly sour with a tannic aftertaste.

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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