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

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BA SCORE
86
very good
1,132 Reviews
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
Reviews:
1,132
Ratings:
2,916
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
21.61%
 
 
Wants:
88
Gots:
444
For Trade:
6
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,132 | Ratings: 2,916
Photo of DogFood11
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a smallish tulip. Good looking brew. Red/amber body with a whispy head that leaves continental lace.

Certainly has a tart and sour edge but overall this has some balance considering the style. Some wooded backer adds to the depth. Cherries and sour apple enter the picture and the tart edge has some similarities to sweet tarts candy. Some hints of Rhubarb here and there with a touch of ripe grape. Pretty dry finish.

Notes: I liked it. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Blending old and young beers when done right is awesome. This one is not in the elite category to me but more of a nice representation that stays in the safe zone.

 678 characters

Photo of Franky3
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a darkish red/brown but when held in light seems to actually be a beautiful shade of cherry/grape ruby red. The head was thin leaving a fairly uniform ring around my glass. Bubbles looked somewhat like the craters on the service of the moon which then shifted into thin blotches.

Smell- Somewhat tart with a facewarming sourness. Notes of cherry grape apple vinegar earthy browness.

Taste- Could have been better...It is a bit to flat and syruppy where I feel it could use sourness and refreshing dryness. Just my thought..Lots of tart aged cherries, very old style and good taste for what they are probably aiming for.

Feel- when it first hits your mouth it does deliver a fresh tingly carbonation.

Overall- I like the beer, there is no doubt it took time and hardwork to produce and they certainly came out with an impressive Flemish Red. However, I would leave it at just a Flemish Red, upon a taste you will find there is nothing very sour about it.

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Photo of stewart124
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

POurs a dark brown with ruby highlights and a fluffy tan head.

Smell is that of tart fruits and floral notes.

The taste is some is something you don't get often. Yum. Refreshing notes of tart cherries and a syrupy sweetness. This is a very tasty and refreshing beverage and my first taste of something in this range.

I could drink more of this tart beverage but I am not sure if I could drink a number of them in one sitting.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Almost a dark brown color, looks a lot like Duchesse du Bourgogne off the taphead actually. Pretty hazy, with a reddish tint to the large tan head that sticks a while.

The aroma is quite nice; lots of pleasingly sour and tart notes like green apple, tangy pear, etc. Very clean, not too earthy or dusty here.

Strangely strong on the vinegar end. I've really enjoyed this from the bottle before, but it tastes dramatically different here. Quite sour, but not as clean as the bottle: seriously strong vinegar flavor keeps coming back.

Still a lot of fruit, good tanginess, and puckering in the finish for days, lightish body but not too bad. I'm not hugely pleased by the overbearing acidity here. I guess go for the bottle, unless you're near Philly and you know you're getting a good fresh keg.

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Photo of cavedave
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed live

A very dark ruby, clear, sporting a finger of dark beige head for a moment, then a partial cap. Having this one in a wine glass and there is plentiful lace cling.

Low/med. strength aroma, sweet with some fruity vinegar, hints of herbs and grass.

The sip starts sweet, with some strawberry, mineral, and light vinegar flavors kicking in. It finishes with just a bit of spice and herbal bitter joining in for a juicy finish that doesn't go off the rails.

Mouthfeel is pleasantly viscous, low carb., decent finish, showcases the flavors well.

Overall this is a pretty good beer, but not one I will try again as it is a bit too sweet for me.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a beautiful rusty/brown with a small 1/8 inch tan head. Smells of sour grapes/apples and wine. First sip is sour and sweet with cherrys grapes being the dominate fruits. A carbonation consistency and mouthfeel of a wine cooler. This is a refreshing sipper and was much enjoyed.

 283 characters

Photo of whartontallboy
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this one on tap at Monk's for the first time today. Pours deep red-brown with a small white head. Smell is sweet and a little sour and funky. Flavor is extremely tart with some funk sourness. Bit of fruity cherry flavor to it as well. Malt presence is strong and pleasant.

Overall: This one is interesting. I didn't like the first few sips, but after I got accustomed to it, I really enjoyed the sourness. Quite a nice one to have on tap.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle, no bottle date. Poured this into a Lost Abbey tulip.

A: Pours a very clear blood reddish amber color. Three fingers of off white, fluffy head. Nice carbonation for sure. During the sip it leaves a good amount of lacing.

S: Hard to smell through the thick head, but initially...not as funky and tart as I was expecting. There is some mild horse blanket and dark cherry but don't get tons.

T: Very surprised by how not sour it is. I get some mild tart cherry up front. And then a little oak hint. But there really isn't any super tart or balsamic character to this one. No where close to a Rodenbach or Red Poppy or others highly ranked.

M: It's fairly light bodied. Very refreshing.

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Photo of errantnight
3.57/5  rDev -7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Well... not sure what the difference is between an oud bruin and Flanders Red... but... by all accounts this is an oud bruin.

Pours beautifully into my Corsendonk tulip: Three fingers of head with a tenacious head, a deep ruby brown.

Smell is wet horseblanket (finally! this is it! i found it! wet horse blanket!) with some rich malt sweetness and some old vinegar. It's... well... as much as I love these notes in moderation and in combination with other things, together... this isn't my favorite.

But in the mouth... whole different story. The sweetness is there and a little cloying, a little more candy cherry/raspberry than the nose seemed to imply, and the vinegar comes through a bit too much... but the sourness is spot on, a touch of oak, beautiful astringency/dryness. Maybe some tobacco/leather around the edges?

A lil rich and sweet, but well balanced, nice carbonation and full mouth.

Definitely give this a shot, but there are better takes.

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Photo of MisterClean
3.57/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz from Total Wine

A - Dark auburn to light brown in color, no head.

S - Cherries, plums, brown sugar, and caramel.

T - Dark cherries, sugar esters, very syrupy-sweet.

M - Salty, super-syrupy, a little too cloying for my taste.

D - As long as you sip this beer it is good. The mouthfeel is disappointing, do not gulp.

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Photo of IKR
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
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 nickhiller
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: copper, tan bubbly head foams and busts in about 30 seconds, no lace.

S: minerals, rust, fresh rain air, slight vinegar, Sauvignon Blanc wine cork.

T: sweet and sour sauce, cider funk and vinegar, Neco Wafers, kind of like soda flavored candy. Finish is juicy with a malty beer-y aftertaste. It reminds me a lot of a diet soda.

M: light-bodied, light carbonation, which I usually prefer in this style, but it lacks both the body and the dryness to back it up. Has a watery quality that is off-putting.

O: a very nice beer, pleasant and drinkable, in the same way that a diet Coke is. Also the smell and mouthfeel left a lot to be desired.

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Photo of DoctorZombies
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Ruby pour with neigh top. Sour fruit nose. Tart, sour apples flavor. Medium lite mouthfeel with a bite. Sour from beginning to end, with a little sugar on top of tongue at finish.

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Photo of DawnL
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Murky amber with big foamy head that dissipates to sticky lace.

Smell: Slight caramel, with prune notes. It doesn't smell like your typical beer.

Taste: Malt character, then dried fruit, followed by acidic/sour cherry character.

Mouthfeel: This definitely coats the mouth - not really unctuous, but definitely present with good length.

Drinkability: I'm going with good.

This is a strange little beer. I'm still not sure whether or not I like it. I am giving it a pretty good rating, but I'm not sure if I am completely a fan.

Let me explain. I had this with a light fish dinner. I was hoping it would be a bit more sour and was completely surprised by the amber/brown color.

I wouldn't suggest serving this beer with an entree. I wouldn't suggest serving it as an aperitif either. This is an after dinner, bring on the cheese beer. It needs mild cheeses - young mimolette, laughing cow, mild goat cheese, cream cheese even. It would be overwhelmed by cheddar. Maybe a Swiss cheese would be okay. Brie would kill this! Or, maybe it should be had on its own after dinner as a divestif.

It develops an odd bitterness when left to warm. Definitely like leaving prune juice on the counter and letting it come up to room.

If it were a little tarter, it would remind me of those sour, dried, Asian plums. Oh, that would be something to pair it with. Try this beer with Asian plums that are dried and have that sourball coating dusted on them.

I like this beer because it's an oddity. And I know I'm going on a bit, but this taste sensation is so different from anything I've tasted before that I feel like sharing - a lot.

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Photo of NardiByNature
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Aggressive pouring makes a massive, light tan head. Eventually settles down to a nice cap with a little spotty lacing. The beer is a deep, clear mahogany with some ruby notes. The color of this style reminds me of Lipton Brisk.

S: The nose is faint. Smells like carbonation (if that’s a thing), a little vinegar, some cherries.

T: Like the nose the taste is mild, but becomes more pronounced as the beer warms to room temp: sour cherries and some woody flavor.

M: Very smooth, very dry. Fuzzy carbonation. Very drinkable.

O: This is good. Not as complex or flavorful as some other old browns but I like it. Would like to have on-tap sometime.

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Photo of BeerTruth
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one at Smoker's Den in Bennington a little while back.

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a clear rustic brick color with a one finger light tan head that crawls down the sides. A good amount of stick grips the glass and looks like it has no intentions of letting go. Aroma is big and sour with rhubarb, cranberries, and green apples. A good dose of vinegar, borderline salad dressing which is a bit much for my nostrils when it comes to beer. Taste starts off pretty sweet with cherries, red grapes, and pears. Midway a bit of tart emerges with sweet candy flavors...hmmm, grape Sweet Tart anyone? The smell though is definitely stronger in the sour/vinegary category. A light to medium body with a somewhat creamy feel. I'd prefer it lighter with a bit more tingle in the mouth for the style. Salad dressing in the nose, grape juice on the tongue...meh. Not terrible, but there are sooo many better sours out there to be enjoyed for me to return to this one.

 979 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Half finger head with excellent lacing on a deep amber body which is very clear. Aroma of dark cherry, not too sweet, with caramel. Simple but many of these tend to be. Flavor is also dark cherry dominant which initially seemed too sweet but this one mellows out. The flavor tastes a little too artificial though, almost like kool aid. Light but oily body and light to moderate carbonation. Not an amazing sour ale. Not terrible just not all that memorable.

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Photo of Harvest06
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Very mild for a sour Oud Bruin. This is a good introduction to sour ales for someone unfamiliar with the bold sourness of something like the Dutches or Cascade's sours.

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Photo of ryno09
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours reddish brown with an off white head of a finger or so. The head fades fairly quickly. The nose has the "Belgium funk" mixed with cherry acidity along with a touch of dark fruits and port, maybe a hint of sour apple.

Lots of carbonation as expected, it gives it a champagne like mouthfeel. It certainly tastes like it smells, cherries mixed with some dark fruit. A nice balance of sweet and tart that finishes very dry. I haven't tried many sours but this beer seems like a great place to start.

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Photo of kpoole25
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11.2 oz to glass. Clear brownish red, tan head. Sour aromas, a little like sour milk or yogurt. Taste has a cloying sweetness along with the sour, it's really like a soda pop. Or maybe if Martinelli's made a sparkling cherry and added a few drops of vinegar for a little extra pucker. I haven't had any other sours but this did not remind me of beer. Still, it was fairly drinkable, went down quick.

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Photo of TubaManJack
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It's tulip time.

Appearance
Limited head which quickly disappates overlies a mahogany body with very little carbonation present.

Smell
Limited to a bit of bing cherries. There isn't any noticible malt comming through.

Taste
A lot of sour cherry twang as it spreads across your mouth. I have to say this but its similar to a cherry welshers sparking juice minus the carbonation. The sourness was pretty one dimensional and showed only bits of malt backbone. I didn't get the same vinger base that others mentioned.

Overall I am fairly new to the style and mixed on this one in particular. I would try to par this with food. Mine eventually joined a hot pretzel with spicy mustard for a doughy spice kick which I highly recommend.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from a 12 oz.

Pours a deep chocolate brown with a red glow when held up to light. Minimal head retains as lacing.

Has a tart smell, like sour apples or sour grapes. There's also a hint of sweetness to it, like cane sugar.

The taste is tart, a bit on the vinegar side but with enough sweetness that it tends back towards green apples with a touch of lemon.

The feel is bubbly and thin, like soda water.

An interesting beer, probably somewhat of an acquired taste for most. I like it okay but would not necessarily seek it out. It would be easy to session though.

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Photo of Bcaulin
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from slightly chilled bottle into tulip.

Poured with a little too much carbonation. Several inches of head immediately piled up despite a careful pour. Quickly receeded into a thin film. Tons of lacing lined the outside of the glass.

Lots of vinegar and fruit in the nose. I pick up some cherries, grapes, and apples for sure. Probably some others but there's a lot going on and its hard to pick our individuals.

Little heavy on the vinegar to taste. The sweetness of the fruit balances it out, but for the beer that describes itself as a "mildly sour sour ale", its pretty heavy on the sour.

Overall its refreshing and tasty, but its not as smooth as some other sours I've had. It's a sipper for sure, but it will probably be a little while before I run back to this one.

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Photo of rtepiak
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a murky brown with reddish hue. some head with quite a bit of lace. smell is first off surprisingly malty. there is a cherry note with an equally strong somewhat boozy vanilla. tastes is very lightly tangy. sweet malt has vanilla characters like that of a bad cabernet. cherry is there. not very woody in flavor. has a light bitter finish. flavors separate dramtically as the beer gets warmer. taste becomes a bit plasticy. i would avoid if you think flemish reds and oud bruins are a novelity.

i think it was better in the bottle... or at least i remember it being better. this is something i'm going to have to come back to.

 633 characters

Photo of don1481
3.54/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into my usual pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep, deep red color with a fairly quickly dissipating head. Some carbonation.

Smell: definitely a sour smell to it. Like a lambic with strong sour notes.

Taste: ... Not really a strong taste. Not the strongest tasting sour ale I've had. Very muted.

Mouthfeel: pretty crisp. Doesn't really leave any sort of aftertaste.

Overall: meh. I don't think I will be getting this again. Was worth going off the normal path for me, I suppose.

 505 characters

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,916 ratings.
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