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

BA SCORE
86
very good
2,954 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:
2,954
Reviews:
1,145
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
13.28%
 
 
Wants:
90
Gots:
455
For Trade:
5
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,954 |  Reviews: 1,145
Photo of EmoBeerGuy
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Wow.

This was the first Sour Ale I had ever tried and it was something else. I need to read up on here about the process that goes into creating the sour taste but I am assuming it is something akin to sour dough.

A - Looks like a fairly standard brown ale. Unimpressed by the head.

S- Woah. The first sign that something is off. This stuff will turn your nose but you gotta just plunge in anyways.

T- Completle unique. As advertised it is quite sour but has some malt to back it up.

D- Hard to say. I've rated it low because it is a "one is enough" type beer, but for that one beer you don't really get sick of it.


Overall - A style all beer lovers should try, at least once.

 696 characters

Photo of CBrodbeck
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Ristaccia
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of rudzud
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this at KJ Baarons on a whim. Always looking for a good Flanders...poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a wonderful super deep copper almost hazelnut in colour, crystal clear, with a massive almost 3 finger fluffy head that rapidly reduces into a thick and creamy half finger head that hangs around forever. Average side lacing too.

S - Typical Oud Bruin notes here. Some real nice subtle sour, vinegar notes. Very light sour cherry notes too.

T - Just like the nose with the addition of some really tasty barrel notes. Definately picking up on the oak as well as some green apple on the finish.

M - Its nearly undrinkable at first. Way, way too much carbonation resulting in a sharp feeling in the mouth. As this sits though things mellow out and it becomes much smoother. Leaves a very sugary afterfeel.

O - Overall this is a tasty flanders. There are lots for this style though and while this is tasty I'm still left seeking other, better examples of the style. Great appearance though.

 1,016 characters

Photo of TNBDM
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of beerforpresident
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Sludgeman
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Could not find a bottled on date. Poured into a large white wine glass.

A - Three-fingers tan rocky head, reddish brown, clear, well carbonated, some lace, lasting head due to carbonation.

A - Cherries and yeast.

T - cherries, mild sour, some sweetness in the finish.

MF - Slight metallic feel on teeth.

O - An easy drinking oud bruin, not thirst quenching, thought this style is not supposed to have a high degree of sourness, I still believe this could use a bit more to create a better balance and overall brew.

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Photo of oberon
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

 382 characters

Photo of PBRmeasap1980
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smaller format bottle poured into tulip glass

A- Deep maroon/brown with sediment
S- Tart cherry, vinegar
T- Sweet and smooth, but kind of watery on the front. Cherries. I'm not really getting sour.
M- Smooth and watery
O- Not a bad drinking beer, but kind of average. I would like a sharper sourness. I'll set another one aside and see if the lacto sours some more.

 366 characters

Photo of HalfFull
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into a flute glass. This is my first Oud Bruin and the first time I've poured beer into a 'champagne' glass. Let's see how it goes.

Pours a rather clear deep red/light brown color and easily generates a full inch of head. Offers good retention and yields some artsy lacing throughout.

Smell reminds me immediately of champagne, oddly apropos for the glass indeed. Perhaps a rosé bubbly. Now why does the BA dictionary recognize 'apropos' but not 'mouthfeel' or 'ABV' I don't know. No real vinegar sense here, just some extracts of summer fruit(grape, apple, and plum mostly) and champagne yeast. Sour? Sour notes are minimal and the beer isn't funky whatsoever.

Tastes of slightly tart cherries enhanced by deeper plum flavors, and has a lingering sweet close. Comparisons to champagne continue to the feel of this brew, bubbly and effervescent indeed.

This is an interesting beer but the simplicity of it all limits the drinkability for me. Surely a nice toasting brew, a champagne with a head! Definitely worth a try, an interesting style I'd like to try a few other examples of.

 1,119 characters

Photo of Kinsman
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark and hazy reddish brown color. Dense cream colored head holds tightly against the glass and doesn't let go.

Aroma touches on notes of vinegar and sour cherry but it's not as overpowering as some for this style. A bit of fruity sweetness in the background.

A more balanced version of a Flanders ale with a nice mildly sour kick but plenty of malt backbone and sweetness to keep things in check. Fruit notes touch on green apples and cherry with a nice tartness to them.

Mouthfeel is crisp an bubbly but doesn't quite dry you out like you'd expect. Overall, Monk's Flemish sour is a great sour ale when you're looking for moderation and mild sourness (i.e. good intro sour). At 2.50 a bottle, I'll certainly have this again.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
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 allforbetterbeer
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter.

Pours clear flamed ruby, a very beautiful hue. The head is two fingers thick and stays that way. I poured this 10 minutes ago and the head is still fluffy and dense. The appearance of this beer is outstanding.

The usual enticing suspects for this style of beer are present in the nose, with oak, lacto and sour apple notes being quite prominent. The smell seems a bit muted because of all the foam, which is awesome. I will just have to wait till I am deeper into the glass to smell this beer for real.

My first impression is that this beer is much sweeter than any other Oud Bruin or Flemish Red I have ever had. Interesting. The sour is mild, as is the tartness. A little something funky and almost metallic shows up in the aftertaste... not very appealing but it is mild. There is a nice pale malt flavor as I progress through the glass, presenting an appealing toasted bread flavor.

The mouthfeel is highly bubbly and carbonated with low-medium body.

Conclusion: It tastes to me like this was a traditionally brewed Oud Bruin with a significant dose of sugar added to round out the sour and tart qualities. As an introduction to the style I imagine it could be very appealing, but to myself I consider it less than what it could be. I love these beers of this style specifically for their dry feel and quenching tartness, both of which are destroyed by sweetness in this example. Don't get me wrong, this is a tasty beer, but I feel for the price that there are much truer (and tastier) options.

 1,526 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured on tap in a tulip, the beer is a bright, crystal clear, straw coloring with a thin, clingy, white head. Aromas of toasted grains, subtle grape must, and lemon. Flavors are toasted forward, with a subtle lemon tart and sweet, white grape must, and floral highlights. Very balanced, light, and refreshing. The aftertaste is tart and sweet, with a dry, crisp, clean finish. Very drinkable.

 393 characters

Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 11/17/2011. Pours slightly cloudy deep ruby red/brown color with a 2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of tart cherry, green apple, pear, raisin, plum, fig, caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, cider vinegar, leather, hay, straw, grass, musty funk, light oak, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/funky yeast, dark/bready malt, and light oak notes; with solid strength. Taste of tart cherry, green apple, pear, raisin, plum, fig, caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, cider vinegar, leather, hay, straw, grass, musty funk, light oak, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Light fruity/earthy tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of tart cherry, green apple, pear, raisin, plum, fig, caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, cider vinegar, leather, hay, straw, grass, musty funk, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice complexity and balance of fruity/funky yeast, dark/bready malt, and light oak notes; with a good sweetness/tartness balance and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, and slightly creamy/acidic mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice Flanders Oud Bruin style. All around good complexity and balance of fruity/funky yeast, dark/bready malt, and light oak flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. More of an entry level sour for sure, but has all of the normal flavors I would expect from the style; just more toned down and approachable. A nicely enjoyable offering.

 1,838 characters

Photo of DPFRD
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark Reddish Brown, creamy 2 cm head that recedes leaving a thing layer on top.

S- Sweet and tart, with hint of acidity and a trace of pepper.

T- Upfront comes sweetness, followed immediately by the tart, once it expands some more pronounced sourness pokes it's head, but only momentarily, as it closes with an oaky tannin quality.

M- Medium, good carbonation.

D- It's tasty. I think it is very accessible for almost anyone for this style, as it's not very subtle and the flavors are very clean cut.

O- Not too sour, and the balance of sweetness is good, but definitely more towards the sweet end. The nose shows this as it doesn't give off that pronounced sour aroma... it's in there if you look for it and the beer has had time to open up. Not to shabby.

 768 characters

Photo of AllanPatchin1016
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Murrhey
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a standard pressure-cap 11.2oz bottle into a snifter in high elevation Kalispell, Mont. Reviewed live.

A- Handsome three-finger light brown head. Tiny bubbles and very active carbonation with a long retention. Ruby-color body with high clarity for the darkness. Nice looking beer.

S- Slight lactic aroma with tannins, cherries and vinous scents. Slightly sour.

T- Surprisingly refreshing flavor with a tiny bit of sourness. Cherry, lactic, and a hint of wine. Not much though. Sweet.

M- Smooth feel. Finishes grainy, slightly vinously and semi-dry.

O- This is not a beer that is going to blow anybody away, but is a refreshing, sweet oud bruin.

 662 characters

Photo of nriech
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Little head, lots of carbonation though. Light ruby color. Served in a snifter and picked up some sour notes but not as strong as many other Flemish reds.

The taste to me was a little bland. Sure theres a bit of sour in there and maybe, a little oaky fruit tone but overall seemed a little weak to me. There is also of course a bit of acidity to the mouthfeel but this quickly disappears. I wouldnt say this is a newcomers sour ale since it doesnt seem to really catch all of what a belgian red can encompas. Its still an ok brew though Im rating the smell and taste down a little since this kind of beer really should be more powerful.

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Photo of jonandhisflask
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a stone ipa tulip

A murkey redish brown, 2 finger head

S FUNKY, real tart fruits( im still getting my sours palate down) im getting some vinegar as well.

T hmmm i get sweet apples, some funk, sour cherry and other spent fruits.

M medium heavy body, suprisingly smooth, ive had others that were super heavy and acidic. this one was pleasant.

O i would get this again to help me build a palate, not so acidic down my alley at this point

 451 characters

Photo of kawilliams81
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a La Chouffe Tulip.

A- Light raspberry purple in color, with little to no head or lacing.

S- Sweet dark fruits with some sour/funk.

T- Sweet dark fruits dominate with a hint of sour and barnyard funk towards the middle and end.

M- Thin, low carbonation.

O- For a sour, not very sour. But I like this beer on a hot summer day. Would like a little more sour though.

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Photo of grayburn
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The head on this beer stays atop the mahogany tinted brew for the duration of the beer, lacing is slightly off-white and predominent throughout the experience, very nice.

The smell at first exhibits the funky sour notes I was expecting, then bounces into a sweeter, almost fruitlike smell.

The taste is a bit cloying, too much sweetness in the middle. It is washed away by some sour funk, but a little too late in the game to provide a better score. Decently well balanced, nothing to write home about.

The mouthfeel is a bit heavier than I was expecting, but still nicely carbonated.

I couldn't drink a ton of this, but had no problems whatsoever finishing my bottle. Interesting, but not amazing.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl bottle $3.99 Looked red to me, decent head. Smelled a lot like glue but a cheap kind and not the top shelf Elmer's that I get from La Folie. A little vinegar in the smell also, not bad. Mildly sour but also a little one dimensional. I'd take a rodenbach or la folie over this any day.

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Photo of massshortage
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this on a whim. It was nicely priced and had a good description on the bottle.

It poured gloriously- a deep clear deep red with a fluffy white head.

Smelled like fermented candy. Notes of sour warheads with vinegar.

The taste was fruitier than expected. Sweet and like raspberry and cranberry. The sourness was on the low side, and basically no hop bitterness, which I expected for the style, I suppose. Anyway, I feel that it could have been better balanced with more sour, less sweet.

Very light bodied, with high carbonation. Nice.

Well, it was certainly drinkable, and not bad by any means. But it drank more like a cider with its fruitiness and lack of much malt or hop character. I like their intentions with the sweet and sour balance, but I could have used less sweet and more sour.

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Photo of bobsy
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Volo for around $9.

Standard flanders oud bruin appearance, with a rich mahogany body and a finger of off-white head. Nice retention and lace. Sweet cour cherry nose with a light brown bread aspect. The flavour is relatively simple - sour (though not too sour) cherry, brown sugar, and very mild balsamic vinegar. Straightforward, and not all that complex, lacking a bit of a sour bite that would put it in line with some of the better examples. Medium body and carbonation is about right.

Sweet and fruity, but lacing the sourness it needs. At this point it's more Petrus than Goudenband.

 603 characters

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,954 ratings.
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