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
BA SCORE
3.86/5
Very Good
3,003 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:
#11,204
Reviews:
1,160
Ratings:
3,003
pDev:
13.21%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
97
Gots:
473
Trade:
5
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,003 |  Reviews: 1,160
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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Purchased in Wakefield, Rhode Island:

A- Pours a deep amber clear body with a generous, fluffy, thick cream-colored head that slowly reduces to some uneven chunks of puffy foam. Impressive

S- Sour apple notes, acidic. Malt backbone with some faint hoppiness in the background.

T- Starts off with a subtle caramel note, ends slightly acidic but not overbearingly. Somewhat simple.

M- Somewhat watery, medium-low carbonation.

Overall a refreshing brew that I enjoyed reviewing. It's slightly one-dimensional and could use more character. Worth a try nonetheless.

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Photo of tprokop7
3.66/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Trying this for the second or third time, out of a 11.2 oz bottle into an oversized wine glass. It's not bad, but something about the taste isn't for me. I think it's a little too sweet, and that the sugars are a bit muddled. The sour finish is nice, the beer looks beautiful.

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Photo of rhenning
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a stemless red wine glass i like. Pours a copper red color with 1.5 fingers of light tan, sudsy head that recedes to a light covering of foam, leaving a nice lacing on the glass. Looks rather nice! Nose of cherry, apple, yeast and malt vinegar. Medium bodied mouthfeel; thirst-quenching and not sticky. Taste of apple & cherry fruits, lactic acid & CO2 bite. Quick on the palate, ending crisply. A bit of lingering grape skin in the flavor. Drinkability was good enough to have two. A very solid sour and a good introduction to the style, but more funk and tartness would be welcome.

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Photo of StlHopHead77
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours out a Cola-like reddish/brown with a rapidly dissapearing,3 finger,tawny crown that reduced to a thin ring and left light but clingy lacing.

S-Cherry limeade,hay,yeast rolls,white pepper and Cheerwine(NC,representin').

T-Ferrara Pan Cherryheads,preserved lemon,sourdough and prosecco.

M-Bright and refreshing with lively carbonation and a mild sourness.Good starter sour.

O-Nice and light and probably a beer more suited for warm weather.

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Photo of grub
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

DrJay hooked me up with this one. thanks jay!

pours a deep ruby red, nearly brown, with a half inch of dense off-white head.

aroma is nice. distinct sourness. fruity, cherry and raspberry. slightly vinous.

taste is good. nice moderate sourness. mild acidity. cherry and a bit of raspberry. sweet, but not syrupy. slightly woody. at first i thought this beer was a little thin/watery, but it really grew legs once it warmed a little. still feels a bit lacking, but good.

mouthfeel is nice. carbonation level feels a touch low.

drinkability is good. an interesting beer.

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Photo of portia99
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a Russian River Belgian stemmed glass.

A - Pours a clear, dark amber with ruby highlights. A thick finger of dense cream colored fluffy head sticks around for a good long time. As it slowly fades, it leaves behind some thick lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - A good combination of aromas this the beer. Good amount of fruity cherries, a slight tartness, some spicy cinnamon, a touch of brown sugar, and some bready malt to round things out.

T - Slightly tart at first fading to a sugary sweetness that lingers throughout. Good bready malt underneath. Cherry like fruit in middle of the flavors. A bit too sweet to be ideal for my tastes.

M - Thin in body, ample carbonation. Leaves a sugary coating all over the lips after every sip. Light and refreshing, but a little less sweet would help things out a bit...for me anyway.

D - Interesting and a bit different from what I'm used to. Light and pretty refreshing. Goes better with some light snacks, cheeses than it does drinking by itself. The flavors complement the food where drinking on its own is a bit too much sweetness.

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Photo of Slynger
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Murky cranberried brown with a lid of frothy-creamy light brown coloring

Smells of tart cherries, lightly red wine and vinegary, with sweet wood and spicy hops.

The taste has a light brown sugar / woody sweetness before tart cranberries punch me playfully in the mouth. Dry red and caramely malts help to balance with mild herbal hops. Light medium body feels lightly acidic, and has a frothy carbonation.

Pleasant and mild for the most part, it did not come in as sour as I feared it may have. Good flavor and balance to it and one I definitely would not object to having again.

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Photo of JGam115
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber. Great nose of a farmhouse after rain - wet hay, a little dog, sweet cherry. Approachable flavor for all who want to taste a sour.

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Photo of korguy123
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle into snifter.

A- Super dark brown pour with a slight purple/red hue to it. Two finger fizzy off white head that quickly drops to a thin cap. Lacing sheets quite well.

S- Lemon, sugar sweetness, slight grape juice (Welches) there is a small amount of funk going on in here but it is very subdued.

T- Slightly watery at the beginning, than a pucker from the grape juice like taste. Than a little funk finishing with a woody dryness. It's very progressive taste wise as it changes on your tongue.

M- Light, prickly carbonation and very refreshing.

O- This is a very "friendly" Flanders. Very light and refreshing, would have liked a little more zing. Solid beer overall though.

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Photo of ptykozoon
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours orange tinged brown. Pillowy head, good lacing.

Citrus, sour grape, wet wood, musky sourness.

Sweet cherry notes, ripe grapes, a tinge of blackberry and an earthy background. I really wish this was more sour. The fruity sweetness overwhelms.

Refreshing, slightly buttery finish, carbonation is a bit spritzy but not dominating.

Overall tasty, good introductory sour.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the chalice clear deep amber brown with a white head which retreated quickly to the edges of the surface but lasted to lace the glass.

The aroma was acidic and lightly sour with a fruity aroma of cherries and berries melded with corn sweetness and earthiness.

The flavor was just barely sour and lacking in complexity. The sourness exhibited in the aroma was lacking in the flavor. The flavor did contain a slight cherry fruitiness, a nice crispness and some corn flavors, but exhibited no real complexity.

The finish was dry with just some slight fruit flavoring of cherries. The body was The aroma really leads one astray and the flavor just cannot backup the promise made by the aromatics. Highly drinkable, but devoid of character.

11.2 ounce bottle, code date on back is 16DC.

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Photo of arini10
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Shaken9
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got 750ml bottle from Healthy Home Market in Charlotte, NC

Appearance - medium brown with hints of ruby, thin fizzy head that dissipated quickly, very little lacing.

Smell - Slightly acidic with faint cherries, raspberries, very light vinegar and earthy funkiness.

Taste - Not very sour, more wine like acidity than anything, light malt and sour cherries in the finish. A bit of sweetness at first that yields to the lactic acidity. Just a hair too thin, watery, might be from the effervescent nature of this beer. A good beginners sour, but lacking the body and depth of flavor of other excellent sours (ie Rodenbach).

Mouthfeel - Very light, thin, fizzy... A bit too fizzy for the style but balances with the light flavor of the beer.

Drinkability - A fair, drinkable sour, especially for people who have never tried sours, though I would propose that beginners start with excellent examples first, some people like to "ease" into stronger styles like sours.

Overall, it's an ok representation of the style and is probably blended to appeal to a wider number of palates. As such, it's a passable sour, but more like a sparkling wine in its acidity than a vinegary or mouth puckering sour. Not bad if you can't find other sours around.

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Photo of Carmack
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Drank on tap at Naja's in Redondo Beach, served in a Fin Du Monde chalice.

Appearance: Dark reddish brown, with wispy head lingering for a few minutes.

Smell: Sour lambic kind of aroma, with some cherries.

Taste: Very sour and bitter, nice cherry flavor.

Notes: Tart, sour, sweet, and good. This was my first Flanders Red, so I really have no right to judge it. I just know I enjoyed it. Maybe I'll revisit this beer review after I get more experience.

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Photo of danielharper
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

My first beer of this style.

Appearance: Opaque brown body, slightly reddish coloration. Small khaki-colored head that dissipates quickly. Leaves a small amount of lacing.

Smell: Sour, tarty aroma, a hint of that "mustardy" aroma I always get from lambics, has the aroma of a wild ale, probably due to the yeast. Slightly musky at the bottom. This seems pretty much what I expected for-style, so I'm giving it a 4.

Taste: Strong notes of sourness up front. Breadiness in the middle, slightly malty and grainy. Underneath the sourness is a mild touch of apples and cherry. Finishes clean and dry with only a slight tart.

Mouthfeel: Fairly thin mouthfeel, no real carbonation, slightly chewy.

Drinkability: I'm dinging this a bit because I find it fairly undrinkable. I know the tartness and the sourness is to-style, but for my palate it's fairly overwhelming. I've given it credit in the higher categories, so I don't feel bad for dropping its score a bit here.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Been on a sour kick lately and this is my latest acquisition...

I'm getting more sweet fruity aromas off of this than with most Flanders... It's almost a sweet Belgian sugar-like aroma with hints of vinegar and perhaps some cherries... Definitely not overwhelmingly sour like some of the recent offerings I've had...

Well, this is definitely sweeter than most of the style and doesn't have near the sourness either... It's not necessarily bad or anything but it seems fairly subdued really. Hints of vinegar attempt to urge a bit of tartness out here but this one is all about the sweetness...

I did like this brew... However... in the world of sours, I probably won't pick this one up again... There are just way too many other offerings to choose from

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Photo of dukew456
3.64/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into my Duvel tulip

A - Pours a clear mahogony/ruby color with a modest head that recedes, leaving moderate to light lacing. Pretty standard fare in this department, but with a splotchy head.

S - Smell is of a very lactic and sour nature, with a slight yeastiness coming through. Dark cherries and other sweet fruits also come through, along with that vinegary burn. I've always been reminded of vinegary, Carolina-style BBQ sauce when I smell these kinds of beers...weird.

T - The taste on this is much more cloyingly sweet than I expected, even for a Belgian sour. Candied fruits and cherries dominate up front, with that reliable lactic funk permeating throughout. The finish is almost port-like because of the sweetness and acidity of this style.

M&D - A tad bit highly carbonated for my impressions of the style, but it still works pretty well. Because of the sugary sweetness that isn't as counter-balanced by the sourness that I would like, I'd probably skip having more than one of these. Still pretty enjoyable though.

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Photo of GTJayG
3.64/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 3,003 ratings