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
2,972 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:
#9,352
Reviews:
1,151
Ratings:
2,972
pDev:
13.21%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
91
Gots:
466
Trade:
5
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,972 |  Reviews: 1,151
Photo of Foxman
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a quite clear rich ruby copper. A finger of frothy light tan head sinks slowly. Gulls of lacing aviate along the inside of the glass.

The aroma is decidedly lactic and pie-cherry sour. A submerged toasted malt grain presence intimates of a feather of sweetness to balance the more aggressive tartness.

Upon tasting, the malt is tart cherry sweet and ever so slightly doughy. The sour tower is again notably lactic, and this time is buttressed by a brace of earthy funk. A short batch of residual sweetness joins the tang to open up to a gradually drying and moderately crisp finish. No matter your general tastes, it's hard not to like this at least a measure.

Light bodied, the carbonation and sweet/sour duet combine to give a marked soft-drink impression to the palate.

Plenty of places have proprietary beers, but few have such distinctive, entertaining ales. It's a sour for a newer palate, or for those who'd like a little less "horsiness" in their beer, for whatever the reason. It's a refreshing and willing counterpoint to any number of savory culinary choices. I don't usually drink it at Monk's due to the usually many untried options, but it's nice to be able to bring a bit of Monk's home with me.

 1,235 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a gueuze glass.

A: Dark red-brown color with a mild haze. Highly effervescent. The tan head almost has a slight pink tint. Retention is excellent. Bubbly patches of lacing slide lazily back down into the glass.

S: Sour cherries and sour apple. Acidic. Light rustic character, layer of musty yeast. Peppery. Malts come across very crusty on the nose. Traces of dark caramel and cocoa.

T: Cherry and prune juice. Cherry tartness balances a malt-derived sweetness of dark caramel, toffee, and chocolate. Brown molasses. Yeast character is more subtle than the nose indicated, but it still brings some musty flavors and some clovey phenol. Pleasing sweet and sour interplay on the finish as sour apple and cherry notes melt with a caramel/molasses sweetness.

M: Light in body with a refreshing spritzy feel. Any would-be sticky malt sweetness is lifted away by the scrubbing carbonation.

O: A very enchanting and crushable little sour. Actually more tart than sour. A good transition beer for those looking to immerse themselves more easily into the world of sour Belgian ales.

 1,106 characters

Photo of BlindPig
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- 1/4" tan head on a clearish dark amber body when poured into a flute. Nice thickish lacing that sticks to side of glass.
S- You can smell the sourness. Maybe some malts hidden in the strong sour smell. Some grassy hops with earth tones? Maybe some woody notes in it also?
T- A big strong sour taste. Almost like sour grapes with that same dry finish. Causes some puckering (first proper sour beer). Some wood notes in it too. Some sour cherries or some other kind of fruit that follows that like raspberries or something. It is quite refreshing and the more I drink the more I like it.
M- Thinner in the body but when it sticks after you swallow it almost makes it seem like a thicker body. Low carbonation.
D- First one of this style. Don't think I'm a huge fan of it but it is good. I would probably keep one of these if I could get it just for those occasions when it would sound great.

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Photo of kwjd
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of bump8628
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber with full and fluffy head that sticks for the session.

Tart, lactic sourness rules the roost but isn't overpowering. A thin vein of acetic acid runs through it also, but it blends into the background along with hints of cherry, raisins, and just a touch of wood.

A nice Oud Bruin, or Flemish Red as it's labeled. Either way, it's a balanced approach to the style. Admittedly, it's not my favorite style, otherwise, perhaps the drinkability would go up a couple notches.

***Reevaluation on 7/10/12 - better than I originally remembered. More tartness, deeper fruit notes, better balance. Really nice. ***

 617 characters

Photo of goschool
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: The pour is light brown with red hues and a medium-sized white head that sticks around until the last sip.

Smell: The aroma has a sour mix of cherries, cranberries green apples along with damp wood.

Taste: The flavor profile brings loads of tartness and sourness accentuated by cherries, cranberry, red grapes, green apples, cough syrup, generic red candy, and oak .

Mouthfeel: This beer is just barely medium-bodied with low carbonation.

Drinkability: I really dig sour beers. This one is good, not great, yet it's always nice to try new sour beers.

 570 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – The beer served a reddish brown color with a nice clarity. Upon swerving there is a thick white head floating atop the brew. The head sticks around for quite some time eventually fading to leave a decent level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is sweet and tart with lots of dark cherry and plum with souring notes of an apple cider vinegar and some lactic acid bacterial funk smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a sweet dark cherry and a little bit of sour grape and sour cherry. As the flavor advances it gets more and more sour and tart in nature, but maintains, all the while, a good level of sweetness. Apple cider vinegar and some funky yeast flavors accompany the souring and tart flavors at the end leaving a pleasant sweet and tart flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is one thinner and crisper side with tons of tiny carbonation bubbles. The prickly carbonation and thinner body are great for the sweet, sour and tart fruit flavors of the brew and help keep the tart from becoming too overpowering.

Overall – This is a great sour. It isn’t too heavy in any one component – not too sweet, sour, or tart, but the right blend of the three for a very enjoyably drinkable brew.

 1,303 characters

Photo of BeerBelcher
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Loving sour as I do, I really enjoyed this beer. It is full of sour cherry musty goodess!

It poured a clear, brilliant red color with a sparkling head of tiny bubbles. Aroma was sour with red wine vinegar notes and cherry fruitiness. Flavor was very sour, and dominated by cherries (and delicious BTW). Mouthfeel was smooth and made me pucker. This beer was quite good.

I'd highly recommend this beer, if you're into sour.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up one of these in Totowa, having never had a beer from Brouwerij Van Steenberge or even a Flanders Oud Bruin before. This felt like a Lambic when I poured it out and gave it a whiff but it was just not quite sour enough to be considered as such. There was just enough of a sweetness here to make it distinct and the low alcohol made it quite enjoyable to someone unaccustomed to this style, such as myself!

The pour to this was brown, with just a hint of garnet around the edges with a nice head that lasted for quite a while. That wasn't the case with the lacing but there were a few rings that stuck to the sides of my glass as I worked my way down. Some lambic-like sourness was found in the nose but there was a lot of apple and pear sweetness in the taste that cancelled much of that out. There was a good amount of carbonation here too, which helped to offset that and allowed for some cherry syrup and dark fruits to emerge in the aftertaste. Not a lot of sourness here but it was present as the sugar wore off and this almost felt like a fermented cider that I'd have in the fall.

Even though I only had one bottle of this, I could have had another in a sitting, There wasn't any roasted or woody notes that were found in the description of this style on this site, but there was a nice Belgian feel to this from start to finish and it's hard to imagine anyone *not* finding something to enjoy about this beer. The hint of wild yeast makes up for the bottle only being 11.2 oz, as this was neither a fast or a slow sipper. I'm not sure I could have found a better example of a Flanders Oud Bruin to become accustomed to!

 1,639 characters

Photo of naterock
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a goblet with a deep reddish amber hue. one finger head that disapates quickly. no lacing to speak of.

smells very sour, with a great alcohol burn that smells a bit of nail polish remover. Apple and grapes in the nose that add to the sour.

Taste is Sour apples and a bit of grapes really qutie strange but delicious.

Mouth is dry and crisp moderate carbonation. Drinks slowly but smoothly. Lingers with the sour aftertaste, just begging to be discovered.

 470 characters

Photo of spratmi
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep ruby brown with a massive five finger head that recedes into a fluffy thick pillowy cap with an abundance of sticky lacing.
S: Sour and tart. Many complained of a vinegar smell, but I am not overwhelmed by anything like that. Very reflective of the style. Tart yeast and sour cherries.
T: Wow. Tartness rules. This beer is very interesting. Tart with spices in the picture. Apples, spice, cinammon, nutmeg, lemons, earthy breads, brown sugar, a hint of molasses. Very nice
M: Crispy and carbonated with a slight pepper burn. Light bodied.
O: Very nice. Very underrated. Excellent example of its style.

 617 characters

Photo of wvsabbath
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Darkish tan/brown with a red tint . Nice foamy 3 inch head and nice lacing.

Smell - Sour fruits, cherries, grapes, some sweet yeasts, light malts, some spices.

Taste - Nice mix of creamy, sweet yeasts, caramel malts, and sour fruits at first sip. Very well balanced sweet and sour, nothing is overboard or too strong. Red ale gives it a cherry and malty caramel flavor. Sweet brown suagrs and molasses with some sweet spices round this excellent ale out.

Mouthfeel - Very sweet and tasty, mouth doesnt get puckered to hell like with most sours. Tounge gets the yeasts, malty caramel and sugars. Palate gets more of the same and a little sweet fruit also. Afertaste is sweet and sour.

Overall - Great tasty and easy to drink. Its sweet with mild sourness, very balanced and a real pleasure to drink. A great starter to sours or for a easy drinker that wants a sour but not overly sour or bitter.

 934 characters

Photo of Sound_Explorer
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of brow1901
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Dark maroon in color with a small fizzy off white head. Almost no retention and no lacing.

S- The first thing I smell is cherries, really reminds me of those marchino cherries that come in cocktails. When I initially poured the beer I remember a vinegar quality. Defenite barnyard character to it when agitated.

T- Initially brings a slight tartness to the mouth which becomes rounded off to a sweetness. After the harsh tart flavor it is easyier to pick up the complexities, the one that stands out is the cherries again.

M- Pretty thick in the mouth and I really like that with this beer. The finish could have been a bit more dry, it was way to sweet.

D- Highly drinkable, this is becoming one of my favorite styles. Good carbonation, nice body, lowish alcohol, all this makes a real drinkable beer.

 811 characters

Photo of eallured
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served At brasserie V in Madison. 25cl "buffalo" tulip. Tan fluffy head sits atop a deep ruby beer. Head dissapates moderately.
Smells of sour cherries a little and a light venegar scent that isn't unpleasant. Taste is fairly sweet, this always catches me off guard because I am prepared for something more sour. A rich malty but not grainlike taste, a bit caramelly, not toasty or bready. Sour cherry is also there a little bit. Very faint metallic taste, less than other oude bruins (read dutchess).
Mouthfeel is fairly thick, a little cloying that isn't quite cut through by the acid. Medium carbonation typical of the style
drinkability suffers from the sweetness without a cleansing sourness, although sourness can dull the palate too much. I'd say I could drink a lot of these but it doesn't prevent me from drinking others.

 830 characters

Photo of KYGunner
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Giving off a fascade of a stout this pours like a cola with a deep brown hue. The head was thick and frothy with decent retention.

The nose holds a candy sweetness, with a wine like or Cabarnet fruitiness, some vinegar and a sweet bread malt.

This is full of tangy fruit flavor with Apple's and pears. Sweet Tart candies come to mind as I drink this but what was the flavor of Sweet Tarts anyway? Theres a tang that is a little like vinegar but it is not off putting and even seems to support the wine like properties.

The feel is velvety smooth with a smooth sour finish.

Overall I found this to be an excellent beer, not just for the genre, but as a great introductory beer into the world of sours.

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Photo of vacax
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Amber to rub-red with sparse off-white head. Head is small, but lovely carpet of nearly microscopic bubbles.

S: Sour with sweet malts. Very style-forward and solid.

T: Red fruits and figgy with light sourness and definite tang and funk. Balance between sweet and tart is spot-on. Metallic qualities to the flavor really reduce my enjoyment.

M: Light and fluffy, airy. Not as thick as I thought it would be.

D: High drinkability for a sour. Good balance between sweetness, tartness, and funkiness. I didn't notice an excess of acidity. Well reasonably priced also.

 570 characters

Photo of match1112
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

wanted to try a sour beeer and this was the first one i could find. poured from bottle into goblet, the color was reddish brown, kinda like rasberry ice tea. the smell was extremley sour fruit. once this beer had a chance to breathe the smell became more pleasant. when it first hit my lips it was sour enough to make me pucker. the mouth feel was pleasant and finished with a slight sour candy taste on the back of my tongue. overall i was surprised by this sour beer and cant wait to try different sours.

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Photo of Viaduck
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

 423 characters

Photo of BeerSamurai34
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a really good sour, but I didn't get a lot of the fruit that was used in fermentation. Very good and refreshing but I like comparable beers like Duchesse better.

 170 characters

Photo of ckeegan04
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark mahogany color with ruby red highlights when held up to the light. Thin bubbly brown head quickly fades to just a thin bubbly layer. No lacing to speak of.

S - Sweet and sour smell, lots of vinegar. A hint of oak in the background.

T - A puckering sour fruit taste opens the drink with a light sweetness following. Acidic and very tart finish.

M/D - Full bodied and very well carbonated. A little sticky in the mouth. The high sourness of the beer makes it a little tough, but as it warms the flavors mellow and it is very drinkable.

 545 characters

Photo of Kwak
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

this one poured light with a thick head the smell was almost over powering like sour apple cider the taste sour and sweet i think a nice blend with almost a wine finish the first sip had a bite but after a couple of sips it went down nice . could not drink this all day but i would drink one a day if i could

 308 characters

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ryantupy
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Happy Gnome in St. Paul poured in a 12oz Monks Glass.
A- Poured a ruby red color with a nice frothy head that was an off white.
S - Tartness with notes of cherry, strong oak, and a nice sweetness.
T- Your first sip its all tart then the beer starts to sweeten out and you have strong oak character with hints of sweetness, cherry, and a nice tart finish.
M- Nicely carbonated beer that feels great as it coates your tongue with a nice tart zing.
D- Easily drinkable and enjoyable.

 500 characters

Photo of bigbeerdrinka
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep murky brown with red hues and a small white head that left barely any lace. Aromas give off a mix of tartness and sour cherries with tones of barnyard vinegar tones. Flavors are intially nicely tart and sour which a nice fruit tones. This flavor is predominently of sour cherries with some grape and raspberry like flavors. This beer finishes with an acidic tartness and sourness, with a nice zinging carbonation. The body to this brew was a tad thin but overall a nice offering for a flemish sour that was not too syrupy or sugary.

 545 characters

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 2,972 ratings
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