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

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86
very good
2,957 Ratings
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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:
2,957
Reviews:
1,145
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
13.28%
 
 
Wants:
90
Gots:
459
For Trade:
5
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,957 |  Reviews: 1,145
Photo of Scotchboy
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Here we go, Flanders Red Ale. Tying to climb the ladder of sour ales and I want to make sure I don't rip my tongue out in the process. This beer was suggested as a better jumping off point than the Le Terroir I tried a month or so ago.

11.2oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours deep brown/mahogany red, with an off-white head that has decent cling for a 5.5% beer.

S: Lactic cherry tartness and Belgian yeast character. It smells sweet and tart, not 'sour' in my opinion. Still, its enjoyable and not overpowering.

T: Starts sweet, with cherry flavors followed by other sweet fruits that race over your tongue and finally finish was a short tart flurry. The Belgian yeast characters are secondary, mixing in with the sweetness and leaving some peppery and spicy notes on the tongue.

MF: Pretty light bodied with good carbonation.

O: Very palatable for me but I can see where a lover of sours will be disappointed. Still not a style I would seek out but I could see myself enjoying this one again, maybe pairing with some blue cheese.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330 mL bottle poured into a goblet. Served one to my brother-in-law (Raul) to try to get him into some sour styles. It didn't work.

Appearance - Deep amber body with a huge head. More than half the glass is foam. Sticks to the sides of the glass and leaves a nice layer of foam throughout the drink.

Smell - Not much sour, mostly funk. Some cherry and light vinegar aromas. A bit of sweet malt behind what Raul described as "the smell of vomit from a tequila hangover."

Taste - Not very sour at all. Just a hint of tartness followed by a cherry sweetness. There is some malt sweetness, but it isn't cloying. It's too much sweetness, really, but it isn't sickly. Tough to describe. I get a lot of oak, as well. I look over to see Raul drinking it as fast as possible to avoid a gag reflex. What a waste.

Mouthfeel - A bit too sweet in the finish and that makes it feel heavier. It isn't heavy, it just feels that way. Not as easy to drink as a crisper acidity would have allowed.

Overall - Not bad bu nothing spectacular. Good flavor, but just not sour enough.

Mouthfeel -

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Photo of Bubba83
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle says 25BJ 16:17. No idea what that means but I bought this a bit over a year ago. 11.2 served into a small globe glass at 50 degrees.

Appearance is quite awesome, two finger widths of light tan head with plenty of fizzyness top an amber colored body that looks like it has red highlights. Retention is awesome and lacing is good.

Smells of sour cherries, funk, raspberry, toasted bread, and traces of black pepper/clove. The layers of complexity in the nose are impressive.

First thing I taste is definitely a very sweet cherry flavor similar to Wisconsin Belgian Red. Thankfully that lets up rather quickly into a slightly sour kick and then some red wine vinegar and other assorted berries. There's a bit of breadiness here as well, and it's fairly well balanced, though it comes off a little overly sweet.

The consistency seems about right, but the carbonation seems a little much. It feels quite spritzy. Finishes fairly wet.

Overall this is a good Flanders Oud Bruin and one that I believe has improved with age. I have trouble palating this style so I only like to throw it into the mix once in a while.

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Photo of psuKinger
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Monk's Cafe, on a "beer trip" with my buddy Griff. Poured into one of my New Belgium Globes.

A: Pours a murky brown color with a lively frothy off-white head that dissipated quickly.

S: Tart and funky, the nose is big on this one. The smell is simultaneously sweet and sour.

T: Delightfully sweet-and-sour, this beer starts sweet with notes of cherry and licorice before moving sour and tart. It's smooth and easy-drinking for a sour. It doesn't have overwhelming pucker-power, but it strikes a rare balance between sweet-and-sour not often seen in this style.

M: Light with lively carbonation, this beer doesn't leave an overwhelming aftertaste.

D: High for this style. This beer benefits from not being "melt your face" overwhelmingly sour. It strikes a nice balance, which makes it rather drinkable/repeatable, and overall quite enjoyable.

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Photo of projectflam86
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep red color. Nice white head leaves some lace.

S- Lots of cherries and grape aromas. Citrusy with a bit of funk.

T- Sharp tart cherry flavors with a vinous finish. Comparisons to wine are easy to make with flavors of red grape skins, oak, earth, and a touch of sourness.

M- Spritzy with plenty of carbonation. Very dry and sharp. Relatively thin bodied. I like that this doesn't coat you tongue. The dryness helps each new drink bring forth all of the flavors.

O- Overall this was a really nice brew. I'm not horribly familiar with Oud Bruins but this was certainly worth trying.

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Photo of dtivp
3.03/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark mahogany brown with hints of ruby, a larger two finger tan head that dissipated very quickly leaving very light lacing.

Aroma of tart cherries with vinegar.

Taste was slightly tart with sour red cherries, a slight hint of malt then a bitter metallic end.

Mouthfeel was a thin light body with heavy carbonation.

Overall I was not impressed with this sour ale, it does not come close to some of the nice Russian River sour ales.

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Photo of washburnkid
4.39/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is just awesome. It pours reddish mahogany with little to no head. I don't care, because the aromas and flavors are filled with fruit, dominated by bitter, sour cherries. The mouthfeel is thin with low carbonation. This beer does the style justice, and I'm looking forward to enjoying it again!

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Photo of jbertsch
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip.

Appears dark amber. Can't see through it. Head is off-white in color, sudsy with a little fiz, but it doesn't fade away completely.

Aroma gives off a fruit tartness. A little vinegar. If you didn't know what you were smelling a beer, one could mistake this for a wine cooler. But it doesn't smell cheap. I also smell notes of OJ and cola mixed with some sweet malt.

Taste is a little funky, faintly sour with significant notes of raspberry. Notes of apple, grape, and OJ are noticeable on the finish.

Champagne like mouthfeel. Short, dry, and elegant with carbonation.

Very enjoyable. A sipper due to the nature of the style. But great drinkability for what it is.

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Photo of WankelEngine
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a tulip glass

A: Pours a dark brown color with hints of ruby when held up to the light. There is a small tan head which fades immediately. Despite the lack of head, there is a decent amount of carbonation.

S: The nose is sour and acidic. Behind this are notes of light fruits.

T: Fruitier than the smell; definitely acidic and sour but not overwhelmingly so. I can taste raspberry, cherry and citrus. The malt contributes some sweetness as well. There is a just little bit of an herbal taste from the hops to help balance the fruit flavors. The aftertaste is short and fruity.

M: Smooth with a decent amount of carbonation and slightly syrupy.

O: Mildly sour throughout but still sweet and drinkable.

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Photo of FanofHefe
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 fl. oz. bottle, no dating, poured into a Chimay chalice. Very high level of carbonation, so I had to pour slowly. Ruby red body that is mostly clear and lets the light through. Bubbly tan head that actually dissipates fairly quickly but leaves a nice cap and a little lacing.

Tart fruit up front in the aroma: cherry, raspberry, green apple. I get just a little sweet malt in the mix as well.

Very tasty. Nice blend of the tart and sour fruit flavors with the sweet malt. This one has a little more sweet balance than others of this style. Would be a good candidate for someone new to the more sour beers. Medium mouthfeel that is easy to drink. Nice brew.

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Photo of EricCioe
3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours dark red with a bubbly and thin-looking two finger head that dies out quickly and doesn't leave lace. On the nose there is a good bit of tartness, which really dominates. There are some bits of acid and maybe some toffee further back, maybe some brown sugar, too. In the mouth the tartness envelops everything, both the front of the tongue where it normally shows up but also the inside of the cheeks. I keep getting toffee, as on the nose. The body is medium light with a medium finish with the sourness hanging around for a while.

Overall, this is a nice beer. I'm not familiar with the style, but I've had other types of sours so I'm not totally in the dark here. It's a nice brew but there are other sours I like better. Worth a try for sure.

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Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer started pouring and instantly a massive amount of head started to form. A ton of carbonation with a lot of large bubbles. A hazy deep ruby mahogany color. The nose is all yeast with a lot of tangy metallic (penny) notes. A subtle amount of toasty sweetness. There is an intense fruity punch upfront. A sour apple juice flavor. A lot of the carbonation helps the bitterness which transitions to a tart sweetness for the finish. A nice tangy fruit kick.

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Photo of OddNotion
3.23/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle poured into my Russian River Belgian style glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep, yet semi transparent, reddish brown with a two finger light tan head that dissipates relatively quickly down to a cap on the beer with nice lacing.

Smell: Funkiness that turns medicinal, sour cherry alongside some bitter fruity scent. A little too reminiscent of robitussin, which gives me flashbacks of childhood and how much I hated that damn syrup, ergo its making it hard for me to want to take that first sip.

Taste: I let this beer sit until it warmed up from the fridge temp and I still get some metallic flavors. It is sweet, not sour at all, not even tart. I get some dark fruits such as figs, raisins, and even some molasses at the end.

Mouthfeel: Extremely light bodied and thin.

Overall: I guess its not bad for a beginner on the style. I am by no means a seasoned pro with sours, but this one just doesnt do much for me. It is not repulsive, but then again it gives me no reason to desire another one.

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Photo of trappistlover
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(11.2oz bottle). Pours hazy mahogany with off-white head. Aroma has some vinegar and sour cherries along with some wood. Taste is sweet with some sour-almost like sour cherry hard candy. Medium bodied with a slick/oily texture. Not very sour, but would be a good intro into the style. Very easy to drink. Not bad.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a really nice deep red/burgundy with a light tan head that reduced to a thin layer of foam on top. Nice sheets of lacing.

S: Light, tart cherries. A little bit of wood and vinegar.

T: Nice cherry flavor, a bit less tart then I was expecting. The cherry flavor transitions to slight oxidized flavor that remains on the flavor profile on the finish.

M: Medium bodied with nice carbonation.

O: Nice aroma and upfront flavors, but the oxidation was a bit much, giving it a metallic finish that was a bit unpleasant.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml corked bottle split into two big snifters

Pours with very little head, pours a dark brownish red, medium amount of fine slow carbonation. Smell is dark and tart, maybe dark plums.

Taste is super tart, with a sweet aftertaste, it's very interesting, sort of a light flavor.

Mouthfeel is light and thin. Overall, nice, tasty, interesting beer.

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Photo of rrski198
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Redish/brown translucent color. Huge rocky off white head that sticks around forever. Big time bubbles clinging to the glass and rising quickly from the bottom.

S: Very funky yeasty scent right up front. Odd rotten fermenting fruit scent.

T: Sour right up front with a super sweet back bone. Lovin' this. The sweetness reminds me of a sweet red fruit juice. Quite balanced and super refreshing.

M: Average to above average carbonation with an average body. The flavors come, kick you in the mouth, then leave rather quickly. I am left with more of the sweet nectar/juice than the sourness.

O: I am still fairly new to sours, however, this is one of the better ones i've had. I really like the sweet back bone that cuts through the mild sourness. Some of the sours i've had wreck your mouth wtih only a sour flavor and no balance, this is not the case with this brew. Real nice job here.

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Photo of ChugginOil
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Monk's Cafe

Pours a dark murky reddish-brown. Mass sediment floats throughout. An inch of spaced out bubbly head shortly sits atop the brew.

The nose reminds me of tart cherries and apples. A spicy Belgian yeast scent lingers behind the fruity esters.

The taste follows the nose pretty closely to the nose. Sweet cherries soon become delightfuly tart and a sour apple taste insues. After the tartness fades the sweetness returns. Some Belgian spiced yeast vaugly lingers in the background.

The mouthfeel is tinglingly tart yet crisp and refreshing.

Overall, this is my second round of trying sours and I must say that I am much more impressed this time (Petrus Pale last time). I am ready to begin exploring these style further.

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Photo of dmbsteve
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours ruby red with a giant off white head that fizzed down to about a finger and stuck around till the end.

Smells of bretty funk. Not much else, except maybe a hint of overripe grapes and sour apples.

Taste is better than smell. Sour apples is the dominant taste. Sweet and sour both. Hardly any bitterness.

Mouthfeel is medium with heavy carbonation. A bit of sticky sweetness stays on the tongue and outlasts the bitterness.

Overall a pretty tasty beverage that tastes like a cross between a sour beer and a sweet wine like a reisling. I'm just starting to get into sours and every one I've had so far has been different. I really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of woosterbill
2.96/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On-tap at Prime 16 into a Monk's Cafe tumbler. Cheer's to matching glassware, even if it doesn't do much to accentuate aroma + flavor.

A: Clear vermillion body under a finger of super-fine tan foam. Decent retention and light lacing. Pretty inviting.

S: Uninspiring: prickly red wine vinegar, overripe cherries, and some vanilla. The acetic tartness increases as it warms, but it's never all that interesting for the style.

T: The sourness tingles the tip of my tongue, but is quickly drowned out entirely by wave after wave of cherry/vanilla sweetness. Tastes kind of like stale Cheerwine (for all you non-southerners, this is basically overly sweetened Dr. Pepper). Not terrible, but way too sweet.

M: Explosive carbonation and a sticky medium body. Exciting.

O: I think I prefer this slightly to Duchesse du Bourgogne, but only slightly - both are unnecessarily sweet and lacking in genuine complexity. While I love a great Flanders sour, I really can't get excited about a mediocre one.

Cheers!

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Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours from the bottle with a mild head, no lacing, white with fast dissipation, thin and offwhite, eggshell even

S: smell makes you aware that fruit tannins and dark grapes and or currants and awaiting, and they are angry, they storm up your nostril not unlike an Al-Jazeera mob, giving your palate a warning shot for the bittnrness that they seek to impart

T: The front has a mild candy apple taste, not granny smith, sweet cherry flavor which mellows out to a sweeter candy finish, not tart, a bit like like a lukewarm sour patch kid, only not in a disparaging way, like a high class sour patch kid with a monocle and a aplomb for references to Marcel Proust.

M: the carbonation doesnt distract from the sweetness, the sour patch kid lets the bubbles pass like an elevator with unsavory folks exiting, then its all sweet business. The sour is a secondary effect, the sweet is much more pronounced, its more bake sale mom than competitive track home housewife.

D: Well what do you want from your beer? you want to be classy? pull out 11 oz bottles and show people your refined tastes? Ok well, this will do that but I cant seriously see anyone drinking a solid 4 pack of these. It's kinda like a Lambic's older brother who got a crew cut and a bomber jacket. You know deep down he's still sweet, but that Tears for Fear patch just shows you he has more bite than he lets on.

Narrative: These internet dating mixers are so lame, I am above this, but, if they only would give me a chance. I know on the outside I look like a beer, same old amber bottle they are used to, but inside i have so much character and personality, I am downright sweet. Oh great, look, they go for a strong DIRTY martini, I am here for them, my Jdate account get no hits...I TASTE LIKE CHERRY AND GIVE SWEET KISSES. Nice beers finish last, even my outside just says SOUR SOUR SOUR, great, now my belgium mom is gonna be all on my case about this, first my Kriek brother, now I just will sit around reading about all these other lowbrow Blegium strongs who pull all the chicks. I dont need this, I need a girl who likes ME FOR ME, not because I look like Leona- OH HEY I DO WATCH DEXTER!

 2,169 characters

Photo of Texasfan549
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle straight from the fridge into a snifter. First time trying this style! Pours a clear bright red with a massive white head that filled over half of my snifter. Head receded after a couple minutes and left slight lacing. Aroma is sour cherries and a little funk with no hops or beer like qualities. Taste is all sour cherries, reminds me of the first time I ate candy! Carbonation explodes in your mouth and reveals tart cherries and a sweet almost sugary finish that sticks to your tongue. I couldn't put my glass down for more than a few seconds without finding myself wanting another sip. Mouthfeel is light and crisp with huge carbonation. Overall I'm glad I tried this and will be buying more on my next visit. I always enjoy trying new styles of beer and this is a prime example... really enjoyed this one.

 840 characters

Photo of LittleDon
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A 13 oz. pour at the Sunset in Boston.

Cherry red, clear, with no head or lace. Aroma is sour cherries, oak, and noticeably acidic. Flavor is similar in characteristic, with a very lively feel. Light bodied. Strong lacquer characteristics in both aroma and taste (maybe fermented apples is more appropriate). I would have thought the ABV was much higher.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.14/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle picked up at Rick's in Alexandria a little while back. Served in a Hill Farmstead wine glass. Thought it was an appropriate time to crack this after getting home from my first visit to Monk's.

Pours a nice crimson color with some really nice lacing after a white head falls down. Not much light makes its way through. The nose has some mild cherry character plus some sweet malt. There's a touch of oak there along with some light acetic character. A bit of sweetness carries through. The flavor is somewhat tart with a bit of acid, along with a mild acetic character. A bit of oak and cherry. The mouthfeel is medium and has a dry finish. A decent example of the style, though nothing too memorable, unfortunately.

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Photo of OldIronLungs
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours into a tall goblet clean motor oil color with a nice puffy head that settles down quickly.

Nose of very light vinegar, overripe dark fruits, sour cherries.

Initial sour presence followed by a sweeter cherry flavor - more tart than anything overall. Really nice full carbonation that isn't overbearing, but chewy and effervescent. Very clean dry finish, refreshing as anything.

I think I could go for a little more sourness over the sweetness, but this still makes for a fairly balanced and pleasant sipper.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,957 ratings.
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