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

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86
very good
2,956 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:
2,956
Reviews:
1,145
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
13.28%
 
 
Wants:
90
Gots:
458
For Trade:
5
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,956 |  Reviews: 1,145
Photo of DirtybeerguyRI
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Pours a deep red mahogany with lines of carbonation climbing up the sides. It's crystal clear with a thick, fizzy white head.

SMELL: This is a sour beer, so you'll pick up notes of a hard apple cider vinegar. Under that, you'll pick up a deep fruitiness along with dark malts and a hint of spice.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-bodied sour ale that feels snappy, fizzy, and just sour enough to be more cleansing than anything else. It'll make you pucker just a bit.

TASTE: What a refreshing, unique beer! The opening taste is sour, but quickly followed by black cherries, dates, and maybe a touch of green apples. It's a very refreshing, fun beer that's only a touch complex. I would have liked this beer a little better with less fruitiness and a bit more breadiness, but that's purely subjective.

DRINKABILITY: I don't think that I could have several of these in a row, but I can see myself having one, breaking to try something else, and then having another Flemish Sour Ale.

VERDICT: This is actually a private label beer commissioned by Monk's Cafe Belgian Beer Emporium and Restaurant (http://www.monkscafe.com) in Philadelphia, PA. It's brewed by the Van Steenberge Brewery in Belgium. I bought on a lark and I'm glad I did. I love it when a gamble pays off. If you can find it (I got mine at The Savory Grape, East Greenwich, RI), then I recommend you give it a shot.

Cheers,
John Harvey
Dirtybeerguy.com

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

Ruby brown, head forms big and some of it sticks around quite awhile but leaves little lacing.

Smells like overripe cherries, lacto-sourness and a bit of that balsamic vinegar-like aspect these beers have (this is not a bad thing.)

Tastes like sour cherries and that balsamic flavor, tart but not very sour, a bit sweet. Not as sweet as I was expecting though; there's a lot of carbonation that keeps the sweetness from becoming overbearing at all.

Fizzy on the mouth, which is good for the style otherwise it could get too sweet and syrupy. The body of the beer is very good.

A decent Oud Bruin, but not the best I've had. The flavors could be more robust and a bit more sour.

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

Pours bright mahogany with red edges, tan head. Smell, wow, butterscotch, cherries, slight medicinal. Taste, wow, butterscotch sweet sour malt. Some lemon, slight caramel. Definitely complex, yet I wish this were a tad less sweet. Carbonation is high, mouthfeel is slightly slick. I dunno if the sweet and sour works for me, but it is a different beer from what I am used to.

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Photo of match1112
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
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 rudzud
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this at KJ Baarons on a whim. Always looking for a good Flanders...poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a wonderful super deep copper almost hazelnut in colour, crystal clear, with a massive almost 3 finger fluffy head that rapidly reduces into a thick and creamy half finger head that hangs around forever. Average side lacing too.

S - Typical Oud Bruin notes here. Some real nice subtle sour, vinegar notes. Very light sour cherry notes too.

T - Just like the nose with the addition of some really tasty barrel notes. Definately picking up on the oak as well as some green apple on the finish.

M - Its nearly undrinkable at first. Way, way too much carbonation resulting in a sharp feeling in the mouth. As this sits though things mellow out and it becomes much smoother. Leaves a very sugary afterfeel.

O - Overall this is a tasty flanders. There are lots for this style though and while this is tasty I'm still left seeking other, better examples of the style. Great appearance though.

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Photo of Neecee513
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured bottle into pint glass.

A: Deep red, slight tan head and retention.

S: Sweet, but sharp vinegar like smell - perhaps like an apple cidar vinegar.

T: Sour fruit, grapes.

M: Low carbonation, dry and frothy on the palate.

O: I'm not too excited about sour ales, but the elements of the beer came together nicely for this style.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
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 BerkeleyBeerMan
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark black cherry color with a bubbly 1/3 inch tan head. opaque color with a dash of medium carbonation that climbs up the edges of my 10oz. Goblet in lines.

Smell: Obvious oak barrel smell that leads to a heavy malt and vinegar smell. Heavy notes of spice, cherry, date. Lots of caramel and even a cola smell.

Taste: This ale presents the palate with two choices. Acknowledge the evident sour flavor which causes the mouth to pucker and then appreciate the nice heavily carbonated cherry cola flavor. I'll be honest I expected much different flavor, something closer to a red wine. There is a presence of black cherry, clove, and fig. I also pick up apple peel and nutmeg. Delicious. Finishes with a sensation that I have ingested a lot of sugar. The sour wear off rather quickly and I am left with a caramel candy taste.

Mouthfeel: Snappy syrupy and fizzy. It sort of slides down my tongue and begs to be sipped again. This closet thing I have ever drank to a soda, but is beer. It must be the combination of the carbonation and he caramel and sugar flavors. It is very refrshing.

Overall: A very unique beer that sort of stands on its own. I will definitely use this as a refresher and will introduce it to both wine drinkers and soda drinkers because I think it might be abe to convert them to drinking beer.

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Photo of beesy
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 11.2 ounce bottle into a Sam Adams glass.

A - pours a brilliant dark reddish orange with a finger and a half khaki colored light bodied head that dissipates quickly.

S - vinegar, sour and tangy notes

T - slightly sweet at the front of the palate that quickly turns in to significant amounts of sour and dark cherries that again quickly changes to green apples with a touch of vinegar and cherry coke as it meets the back palate. A lasting sourness of green apples lingers.

M - medium mouthfeel with a fair amount of carbonation.

D - easy to get down, but is somewhat filling due to carbonation.

Overall, a nice sour. Not much I'd change except maybe adding a touch more sourness.

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Photo of PhilCheSteak
4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Visited Philly last week and had a chance to pick up a bottle of this delicious beer. Poured out of a 11.2 oz bottle into a nonic glass.

A: Reddish/brown color, with a nice head. This beer is just asking me want to drink it every time I look at it.

S: An apple, fruity smell. Smells both sweet and sour.

T: Just the right amount of sweetness. I've never had a sweeter, more delicious beer in my life. Tastes of apples and cherries. Every sip is refreshing and satisfying.

M: A good amount of carbonation that wasn't overwhelming.

O: Love Monk's Flemish Sour Ale. Just the right amount of sweetness for me and overall a delicious, high quality beer. I need to find more bottles of this!

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Photo of MufflnMan
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Thirsty Monk. Poured a reddish color with a frothy off white head. Smells of tart fruit... apples, cherries, berries. Taste is the perfect amount of sour. Just what I was looking for in this kind of brew. Green apples and cherries nicely balanced to create a really refreshing feel.

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Photo of BrewsCrewSA
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out with a beautiful, tan head. High in carbonation; deep ruby, and rusty brown in color, looks very inviting. Head retains well, dissipates after a few, appears to have some sediment on the bottom, not sure if this is normal. Still, a great looking beer.

Faint scents of alcohol and berries, not much here, but still pleasant. Smell reminds me of those few, Belgian krieks such as Cantillon, and Lindeman's Kriek and Gueze.

Tastes great. Just an amazing, tasty quality that's hard to define. I liken it to melting a few red Sweet Tarts on your tongue. That, plus the faint, goodness of alcohol notes toward the back of the palate. A great, sweet flavor that's hard to resist. One of the best Belgian beers I've ever had.

Mouthfeel is incredible, maybe an even better quality than the taste. I was expecting tart, bitterness; what I got instead was a mellow, sweet pleasantness that was happily surprising. Exceedingly smooth, cool, refreshing.

I guess they eliminated drinkability from the review categories, but OVERALL, a great Belgian effort. I personally much prefer this to the redundant, Tripels and Quadruppels. They all taste like apple juice anyway. This Red Ale, I highly recommend.

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Photo of gdrydenc
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a red-brown with a finger of cream head. Really cool color, not sure what I'm looking for with the style, but it's what I would expect. The head sticks around for an alarmingly long time, which is cool.

S - Smells sour, but with quite a bit of fruit in it. Apples, mostly.

T - Much like the smell, but with a whole lot more apple in the finish. It tastes a bit like cider, but mostly in the sourness and the apple aspects.

M - Quite a bit of foam in the mouth. It really covers the entire mouth, which I like. The finish is surprisingly clean.

Overall, this is one cool beer. It has a lot of flavor in it, and a lot of varied things. Will have again.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a stemmed glass.

(A)- Pours a deep and dark burnt sienna color with ruby red highlights. Produced a nice fluffy off-white head with solid retention.

(S)- A big dry lactic vinegar up front. Some serious barnyard dirt and vinegar characters.

(T)- Very fruity. Not as sour or vinegar-like as the smell foretold. Some hints at tartness, but otherwise fruity, dry, and earthy with just a small kick.

(M)- A nice crisp carbonation level. Has a nice balance too. Smooth, fruity, and "ripe" tasting. A subtle sourness.

(D)- A solid Oud Bruin. Not as strong as what I anticipated, but it is what it is. Surprisingly refreshing and a nice treat and transition to have as the days slowly begin to warm up outside.

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Photo of Prime16
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Reddish color, nice frothy head.

S: Tart apples, sweet with sour cherries.

T: A little sweeter than I expected with definite green apple and cherry with a refreshing and pleasing sour taste.

M: Satisfying with light carbonation, clean.

O: Enjoyable beer, just a little on the sweet side for me.

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Photo of RTJakarta
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber red with a nice finger-length head. The carbonation is kinda loud (I can hear it about two feet away), and the bubbling is actually visible through the head. Nice.

A nice apple smell is what steps out the most. Not particularly sour, but I don't mind a smell that just exudes apples.

Taste gives me a very faint sourness, but an overwhelming tartness. Sort of makes me think of red apples more than green ones, but it's pleasing.

Mouthfeel is pretty moderate, with medium carbonation.

Overall, it's a very smooth, tasty drink. So glad I was able to find some on my vacation here in Louisville. Would be a nice treat every once in a while!

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Photo of Mosley1212
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(From Spring Break Notes)

Picked this one up at Hop City in Atlanta. This was my first sour from a purchased bottle. Here we go.

A--Poured into my Duvel tulip. Poured a ruby read with lots of carbonation bubbling from the bottom of the glass. Stared at them for a long time before finally sampling the beer. Also, beer had a creamy white head that was foamy at the start and had great retention throughout the drink.

S--Sweet and tart green apple. It is a hard smell to contemplate. Yeasty smell up front with an overly sweet finish. Not what I was expecting.

T--Follows the nose. This is the sweetest tasting sour I have ever had. It was like drinking a sour patch candy for me. Sour at first then overly sweet to finish. What a strange contrast.

M--The carbonation cleaned my palate with each sip. It felt bubbly and delicious in my mouth.

O--Not the best sour I have had. Pretty run-of-the-mill actually, but it was refreshing. I liked the sour finish and I would recommend it for that reason.

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Photo of oldsailor
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a bad sour but also nothing spectacular about this one either. Nice red coloring with a light head. Green apple tartiness comes to mind when drinking. Carbonation is higher than most sours in my opinion, which isn't a bad thing but hurts its drinkability. This is definitely a one beer tasting so the four pack we got ours in is holding up longer than some.

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Photo of jlindros
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another one I'm surprised I haven't reviewed.

Light fiizzy head, darker toasty brown color.

Nose of sweet malts, fruit, apple, pear, cider like, vinegar, light lactic acid and very light sour tartness.

Taste is sweeter, light toasty brown malts, fruits with apple pear and tart fruit flavors, light sour and tart.

Mouth is lighter bodied with good carbonation.

Overall not bad, basically what I call the introduction to sours and wilds, etc. It's a light sour tart beer but nice and malty at the same time. And very drinkable.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours dark brown with lots of red highlights.
Thin khaki head.

S - acidic fruit, vinegar, tart.

T - sweeter than the nose. Cherries dominate and coat the side and back of the tongue with tartness. Hints of green apples and stem wood. Sour but tame.

M - medium bodied, Low but tight carbonation.

This a good mix of sweet and sour. Smells incredible, and drinks very easy. Tame on the sourness.

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Photo of goast8127
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer pours a deep red - ruby would be a good one word description.

The aroma is sweet and leans towards grapes. Definite notes of sourness that the name indicates.

Once on the tongue there is a sweet warmth that fills the mouth, finishing with a pleasant bitter, sour sensation.

Feels a little hot in the mouth, likely due to the carbonation. Would be interested to try this beer at a temp a few degrees warmer.

Overall a beer fitting its description. Definitely not a session beer but an excellent pre-dinner selection.

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Photo of VMWhelan
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep ruby red / brown with a thin head that dissapates quickly.

Smells tart with some sour grape and cherry but also malty with a bit of sweetness to back it up. Also detecting a slight woodiness.

Taste is sweet almost instanty followed by sour and finished with that same woodiness again, though not as prominent. Pretty well balanced as the sourness is not overwhelming at all. Leaves a nice sour cherry taste on the upper lip.

Mouthfeel is medium-light and very very fizzy. This is my first of the style so I'm not sure if its supposed to be this carbonated, but I feel like it fits the flavor well. The champagne of beer?

Drinkability is high. This goes down incredibly easy. I feel like I could drink a lot in a night, though I'm not sure if I'd necessarily want to stick to this style for so long.

Overall, a nice introduction to Flemish sours, looks like I'll be trying more in the future.

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

On tap at Monk's Cafe. First sour.

A: Poured a deep, clear ruby-brown. Head was thin, off-white, and faded away rather quickly.

S: Smells tart and sweet. Like tart fruits.

T: Immediate taste of fruity sweetness, followed by significant tartness. Tastes of sour apples and cherries. The sweet and sour are well balanced. No trace of hops in the taste.

M: High carbonation that adds crispness. The tartness adds a feeling of tanginess.

D: This is very drinkable. I had misgivings about sours, but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. It had a nice balance of flavors, and was certainly different from any other beer I've had. It's not overly sweet or sour, and it's very tasty.

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Photo of depechemode1983
4.39/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured into a tulip glass a dark brown with deep red tones when held to the light. The light brown head doesn't stick around long and there is no lacing at all.

S - Smell is somewhat of mildew, vinegar, sour cherries, and a toasty. Up front the sour cherries hit you with a bit of a vinegar background. Then it fades off into a mildew like character with a bit of toastyness.

T - There is a very pronounced sour cherry flavor and a nice white wine alcohol character. Again I get some toastyness in the background.

M - Medium bodied and with mild carbonation. Finish is dry.

D/N - This stuff is F'ing delicious. Picked it up out of town. Should have probably capitalized on it.

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Photo of clarkm04
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Very reddish dark with a decent white head retention.

S- Very nice profile. Nice sour notes with strong cherries is the predominant smells I get.

T- Very nice balance between the sour and sweet notes. I get a nice tart cherry taste that is very robust yet somewhat delicate taste. Not as sour as I expected but very delicious throughout with a definite sour note that transpires throughout the whole taste profile. Nicely carbonated and I totally see this as a dessert beer.

M - Very good. Nicely carbonated and the beer sits well on the palate

D- Very high. I wish I had another one to drink.

Overall - Monk's is a very good example of a Flemish Red. Not as sour as some of the other sour beers I have encountered but I really liked the nice balance between the souring effect created by blending the beer with the sweet notes from the cherries. Definitely a beer to try if you are into sour beers.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,956 ratings.
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