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

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale
BA SCORE
3.86/5
Very Good
2,996 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#10,595
Reviews:
1,159
Ratings:
2,996
pDev:
13.21%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
94
Gots:
473
Trade:
5
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,996 |  Reviews: 1,159
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.

 694 characters

Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
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 -4.7%
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 -4.7%
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 -4.7%
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 -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Murrhey
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
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 -4.7%
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.

 640 characters

Photo of jonandhisflask
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
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 -4.7%
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.

 378 characters

Photo of grayburn
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

 704 characters

Photo of ArrogantB
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

 289 characters

Photo of massshortage
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

 802 characters

Photo of bobsy
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
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

Photo of Sammy
3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Reddish brown with almost no head. Cherry aroma. Well malted, more so and less yeasty than the brewery's own version of the flemish sour. Sour, it makes its point, and it's not overdone, there is some balance. Had a bottle again 6.5 years later and its got some cherry but in fact a stouty aroma. Just OK and rerated.

 317 characters

Photo of IrishColonial
3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of bort11
3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into an Omegang tulip. Tight egg shell white head, streaks of lacing. Color is a bloody coppery red.

Smell is not as sour as I expected it to be. More tart and fruity with a little lacto sourness. Taste has a sweet malt back with more tart fruits. Green apples, sour cherries.

Medium body with a surprisingly creamy texture. Very interesting. I'm glad I have another one to see how funky it will get with age.

Blipped "Monk Time" by The Monks

 467 characters

Photo of Burkbom23
3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a not that sour and way overpriced bottle in my opinion. at nearly 5 bucks for a shortie, i expected a bit more. pours a molasses looking redish brown color with an active off white head thats nice and thick. smells like tart fruit, not brett or anything like that. notes of oak as well as mild spice on the nose. flavor is sour cherries, brown sugar, and funky yeast. things are balanced well, but this is a pretty tame version of a flemish sour ale. not puckery or tangy at all, just a hint of vinegar as it goes down. feel is nice, bright bubbles and a medium body made to feel quite airy by the carbonation. overall a well made beer, but i prefer my sours with a bit more punch, especially for the price.

 708 characters

Photo of lordofstarside
3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11 oz bottle to snifter. "09HK" on the side which I'm assuming has something to do with the bottle date. I'm skeptical it's been sitting on a shelf for three years though

Pours a very dark red, which is perceived as more of a brown when not against my windows light. Poured a finger and a half of foam which has settled very quickly into a nice ring around the cup. Mild carbonation, mediocre lacing, not bad looking

Aroma of sour cherry, cabernet wine, apple, grape, oak, and alcohol. A faint sweet malt is present yet concealed

Taste of pretty straight forward sweet cherry, grape, and some malt. Many of the elements from the smell are hard to detect, taste is rather bland and over powered by the main fruit flavors

Mouth is pretty good. Sweet at first, finishing tart at the end. Nice carbonation, very thick and creamy

Overall this is a pretty mild sour. It's not bad, however I just find it too sweet...which I find to be stronger than I do the sourness of the ale, which I think defeats the purpose of the style. It was pretty cheap however, I might buy another to cellar for a couple years

 1,105 characters

Photo of BenGap
3.66/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.66/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Matt said this was coming... and I was stoked... Picked up at the Coop over the weekend.. I think about $2.50 for the bottle.. poured into my New Belgium goblet.

3 finger lite tan head lasts for quite a while.. great lacing sorta turns crusty after awhile and the retention is pretty nice... the brew is a perfectly clear deep deep amber with bright red highlites.

The nose immediately reminds me of an overly sweet cherry vinaigrette.. fruity and malty with some possibly imaginary wood ... a little bit of sweet vermouth.

Flavor has more caramel than the nose but it mixes fairly well with a sorta fruity "sweet and sour" mashup... cherry and (again possibly imaginary) wood and mild acetic notes.. but still seems too sweet for me..

The body is heavier than most Oud Bruin's I've had in recent memory.. and the carbonation is a little lite too...

Overall, I just think this one is too sweet.. the fruitiness would be dialed back if the sweeteness wasn't so heavy.. This is a good beer.. but made a bit better by the fantastic price tag... and despite my above negatives, the drinkability is fairly high... I just don't think it's really that great though.

4.5/3.5/3.5/3.5/4

 1,183 characters

Photo of TaySuth
3.66/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark copper red in color with a three finger head of creamy, small bubbles that recedes to one finger.

Smell: Tartness is immediately apparent with notes of fruit, mostly cherry, strongly dominating the smell. Minimal hops aroma.

Taste: Very tart right off the bat with a good fruitiness. The taste then shifts to a strong malt character. Slightly bitter and sour on the finish. Really good.

Mouthfeel: Lightly carbonated with a medium body.

Overall: A very enjoyable beer that I will be looking to pick up some more bottles of sooner than later.

 563 characters

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.66/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Found this in a random bottle shop in Muncie. Score for me.

A: A near-perfect looking beer. The head is rocky, thick, and foamy, spanning a good one-third of the glass – and it takes a solid five minutes for it to settle. Retention is a full inch of pure tan silk, so airy it looks like smoke laying over the body. Webs of lacing everywhere. The beer itself is a dark ruby red; a lovely color.

S: Overall character in this nose is grainy and sour, like a lemony wheat husk. Big lactic acid hits with a dose of raspberry, vanilla bean, and dry, vinous grape; it’s fruit-heavy, but definitely all about the sours. These aromas paint the picture of a sweet red wine, mixed with some earthy yeast notes of coriander, pine wood, and pie crust.

T: More of the same: sour and grainy. This time, there’s an upfront kick of grape juice and sour cherry candy over a bed of apple skin, young wheat, and sweet banana bread butteriness. When they say sweet and sour on the label, they’re dead on: it’s a good mix of full-bodied sweets and the lightening effects of tart flavor. It’s not an intensely flavorful palate, but it does provide a nice flavor. Barnyard funk just barely peeks out toward the finish, drying out the fruits for a chalky, iced tea aftertaste.

M: Thin, yet smooth and refreshing. A bit of carbonation comes with the wateriness, though not much.

O: What we seem to have here is a good introduction to the world of Flanders ales; sour, but not much, with a sweet undertone throughout. A good beer for a heavy dinner or just simple quaffing.

 1,563 characters

Photo of brown2cu
3.66/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark brown and is topped by a massive head that took forever to die down. At the end the head was about a finger width.

S: A solid nose but not a lot of complexity. Sour cherries are the most dominant. There is also an undertone of vinegar.

T: There is definite cherry in this beer and like the nose it is the dominant taste. It is sour at first but ends with an almost bittersweet finish. I may be deceived, but I believe there is a woody undertone in the taste.

M: Low carbonation and I was taken aback by this considering how massive the head was. A very strange feel.

O: Not my cup of tea as far as the style goes, so I tried to review as subjectively as possible.

 684 characters

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 2,996 ratings