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
Very Good
2,989 Ratings
Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,989 |  Reviews: 1,157
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours as brown as brown can be with dirty white lacing. Wonderfully sharp, sour/tart aroma reminiscent of Fantome Hiver. Taste is big sourness and tartness, grape skins, tannins, and oak. Light but lively mouthfeel. Very drinkable. I could guzzle this stuff. Very enjoyable and not too expensive at 3 bucks a bottle.

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Photo of merlin48
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle pours a clear dark mahogany body with a small khaki head. Good retention and some patchy island chain lacing. Aroma features light malt and lots of acidic notes of sour white grapes and cherries. Mouthfeel is tart and effervescent, light bodied. Taste is dry and tart. Hints of cherries and sour white grapes. A hint of caramel supports the considerable acidic sourness. Clean and refreshing. A good example of the style, but not one of my favorites.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with some tints of amber/ruby red. Moderate amount of bubbles and a huge five finger off white head that slowly recedes into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a good amount of lace.

Smell: Bready malts, yeast, and wheat grains up front giving a Maibock like aroma. Fruits are very noticeable but don't stand out strongly or smell overly sour/tart. Good hints of cherries and Brett along with hints of strawberry, fig, and apple. Also some subtle hints of wood. No noticeable hops.

Taste: Like the smell, but sourness and tartness is noticeable higher in the taste. A fairly tart and sour blend of cherries, Brett, fig, apple, and strawberry rhubarb. A little bit of wood. Solid backing of malts and wheat grains adding some bready sweetness. Somewhat funky with some Belgian yeast. Tastes pretty good.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy and fairly juicy. Sourness bites the tongue but isn't over the top. Finishes sweet.

Overall: A pretty solid sour. Has some nice tart fruit elements and remains fairly light and drinkable.

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Photo of cmwilliq
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of thefireman
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap, nice color, with a smallish head. A must before eating. Had almost a wine taste, very dry. Taste of cherries and spices. I like the sourness that finishes a little hoppy. Not overpowering, but a shock to the tastebuds on first tasting. An acquired taste, but opne I always go back to.

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Photo of dancinwillie
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark red and clear, with a modest beige head. Aroma makes me think of cream mixed with malt vinegar. Although as I read that, I realize that might seem like a bad thing, but it actually smell kind of good. Head has now dropped completely.

Not as sour as I had anticipated from other reviews. Sour, but only a facet of the flavor. A whole gang of sweetness is evident as well. Cherries, a bit of green apples are present. Freaking tasty, whatever it is. Yeast doesn't appear too much, and I'm not picking up any hops. Doesn't mean they aren't there, just that I don't taste them.

Mouthfeel is spritzy carbonation, creamy and medium bodied with a long sour finish.

As I come into my own tastes more and more, I find I'm a big fan of sour beers. This one didn't disappoint me. For some reason I'd like to try some sweet and sour chicken with it, although it might be too much of the same. Nonetheless, I'll try it. Tasty beer, and I will revisit it soon. Cheers!

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4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep reddened brown. Nectarine highlights. Small bubbly beige head that dissipated quickly. Some wisps of lace.

Vinegar, cherry, raspberry, tart and sour. apple, pear, candi sugar and spices. berry pie. slight lactic and slight feet.

Bright crisp and fruity. Sour apple and pear, tart cheery and raspberry. Sweet and fruity. pie crust.

Refreshing, crisp, bubbly high carbonation. Light body with some feel to it.

Very drinkable. Vinegar disappeared after a few minutes. Great flavors. Not overwhelmingly sour. A nice drinkable sour Flemish ale.
My girlfriend doesn't normally venture outside of the Hefe/Wit/Blonde arena, but she loved this one, claiming it was one of the best beers she's ever had. I am trying to get her into belgian beer and this was a great one for her to try.

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Photo of SpecialK088
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter

A-Deep amber near red good head on it that fades quickly but not entirely, leave a nice film over the entire top of the beer, laces well but thin.

S-Sour fruit, grapes and apple both. Also a very strong alchol note like nail polish remover.

T-Taste is nearly indescribeable, very smooth and flavorful. Apple, grape, sour yeast and malt all very strong yet not over powering. Leaves a nice sour apple finish that does not linger.

M-Mouth is pretty thin but fits ther flavor of the beer perfectly, not something you want to hang around on the palate from drink to drink.

D-Not something I would drink all the time but for me more of a treat. I hear once yo go sour you never go back and that fact with this one scares me a little with how much I like it

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Photo of rdrummer
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I try to have one of these whenever I visit Monk's. It pours a really nice, light amber color with a small whitish head. It has the aroma of roasted malts and sourness. The taste ranges from very tart to moderately sour. I find that it depends on what I have been eating or drinking before tasting. The sourness is never off-putting, though. I almost find it pleasantly refreshing in a way. It has a very clean feel in the mouth that really prepares you for a meal. I love one of these on draft before my lunch but have never really wanted a second.

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Photo of Halluxone
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of happygnome
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: pours a deep mohogany color with about an eigth inch of head that dissapears quickly leaving a good amount of lacing
s: vinegar, funk, cherries are deffinatly present. the vinegar aroma is not overwhelming but ties all of the other aromas together niely
t: sour, vinegar, cherries, refreshing
m: medium bodied ample carbonation

overall, this was an enjoyable beer, I enjoyed it a lot there was a ton of flavor

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Photo of thstevens12
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy brown with reddish tinge at the edges. Thin off-white head clings to the edges of the beer.

Smell: Tart cherries, estery notes, and a whiff of wheat. I can also detect a touch of lactose and grassiness.

Taste: The initial impression is sweet cherry, think pie, with white sugar and ester flavors right behind. The finish is a mild lactic sourness that is refreshingly dry.

Mouthfeel: Thin mouthfeel with just a touch of stickiness. Wine-like drying finish.

Drinkability: Tartly refreshing and not overly sweet. Highly drinkable.

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Photo of zrab11
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a Clear dark ruby color.Has a fluffy white head.

S-Smell is very good,has a tart sour smell with hints of grapes and tart apples

T-Has a nce smooth taste up front then finish's with alittle tartness. Very clean and crisp feel

M-Medium bodied with great carbonation

D-This is a great beer. would get this to finish a night all the time. HAvent had much from this style but i love it! Great beer ..give this s try if you havent

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Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 Pt. 9.4fl.oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Label stamped 09LJ 14:53... no idea if that's an encoded date stamp or the batch number. First I've had of this style, so I'm just going to rate it as a beer in general rather than to style, as is tradition. (in Canada?)

Appearance - Very dark clear/hazy ruby red body. Offwhite head with low to moderate retention and decent lacing.

Smell - Sour. Grape juice. Apple juice.

Taste - Sweet front end with a slightly metallic finish. Clean, slightly sweet aftertaste that doesn't linger for more than a few seconds.

Mouthfeel - Soft body with a slightly crisp, mild sparkling grape juice effervescence.

Overall Drinkability - Not particularly complex, but delicious nonetheless. Again, I can't rate in style since this is my first of its kind. However, as a beer it is very enjoyable. Would go great on any occasions where you might want to drink sparkling grape juice.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark chestnut color with some reddish hues when held to light. An absolutely beastly tan head that takes forever to die down. Nice.

S: Very sour on the nose. Granny smith apples, vinegar and sour cherries. A slight bit of belgian yeast as it warms. I don't know if it's possible for a nose to pucker, but I felt like mine did when it got a whiff of this.

T: Not sour. Didn't see that coming. Cranberry juice cocktail, red cherries, black cherries, blackberry and apple cider with a slight tartness. A very slight hint of bread in the background. The mouthfeel is the only thing lacking here. Kind of feels more like a fruit juice than a beer. Could use a touch more carbonation.

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Photo of 6thstreetbrewpub
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Merks
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of stompilator
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.5oz bottle into a snifter.

A - Poured a hazy dark brown, slimy, off-white head.

S - Heavy, almost astringent sourness, akin to paint fumes. Slight bit of caramelly grain aroma.

T - Initial sour taste follows the nose, very harsh and vinegar-y with some stone fruit notes.. Tartness builds to a peak and fades into a nibbling residual sourness, allowing the slightly sweet grain and yeast spice to really shine.

M - A tad dry, but nice carbonation and medium body.

O - The astringency of the sourness masks the complex flavor profile a bit, but is still an interesting and evolving brew.

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Photo of Yeldarb92
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of bcm75
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of DaveAnderson
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice deep syrupy brown with ruby red highlights. Moderate sandy head, composed of larger bubbles that rapidly fades to a ring around the glass. Some lacing. Smell is apple, vinous, slight roasted malt, a bit of vinegar to it too. Taste is somewhat fleeting at first sip. Burst of flavor that ebbs quickly. Let's try again. Tart apples with some sweetness to it, a bit of lightly toasted malt in the finish. Some sourness to it, though quite balanced with the other flavors. Some spice in there too, though not exactly sure what it is. A very slight hint of must too. This is quite good--my first Flanders, but a nice introduction to the style for sure. I can see myself craving something like this (and things far more extreme) in the future. Light, and a bit prickly, this one is actually quite refreshing, now leaving a lingering aftertaste of apples. Quite drinkable, I am definitely impressed with this beer.

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Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Russet brown coloured body with a bottom of apricot coloured embers. A brazen maroon glimmers to the lights. A sandy toned khaki coloured head. The beer literally gleams.

With the breeze hitting just right my nose is treated, even from afar, to luscious, almost candy like cherries. Fermenting, drying fruits smell as if covered in sticky, roasting sugar; already sourness becomes wholly apparent. There is a tremendous underlying of mildewed, antiquated, musty oak.

I've had the bottle maybe the better part of a year, the blends themselves were most likely a year or two old before bottling, but this smells centuries old. It has the charm of a medieval castle or Gothic church. Again: mildewed, antiquated, musty oak.

The mouthfeel isn't so sour after all, moderate even for a Flemish. The finish has a chocking dryness that sees flavours part a little more quickly than I'd like them to. The oak splinters through the palate. The low, dying carbonation is felt only slightly, after the finish alongside a hint of melted butter.

My tongue is treated to a unique taste that could be described as fruit infused balsamic vinegar aged over musty wood. The flavour really showcases earthy, bruised orchard fruits. The oak aging results in a touch of port or sherry-like tannins and balsamic vinegar. You almost think you sense a touch of spiciness before the light roast and caramel sweetness of malts set in. Lacticness has no time to react as sweetness ushers in on the finish. This taste more 'bruin' than 'red' for sure.

This was a little acidic, a little tangy, and a little tart, but not a lot of any one of thing, which made it tremendously drinkable. The degree of must the oak brought with it gave this beer a lot of charm. It was a kind of charm I remember smelling a lot of while in Belgium. Flanders Oud Bruins are now reason number 878 for me to move there.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An 11.2 oz. bottle, poured to a small wide-mouthed wine goblet.

A: Murky rust-brown, with plentiful rising carbonation. A creamy, sandy tan head of tiny bubbles, freckled with areas of rising carbonation amidst areas of stillness.

S: Wonderfully tart/sour aroma - there goes the saliva! Musty yeast, light sour cherries, sugary lemon candy backing.

T: Sour and sweet, not quite a pucker-inducing, tongue-curling intensity. Cherries, sour green grapes, hints of vanilla & oak barrel, especially in the finish. Dryness of tart apples.

M: Good, crisp carbonation...refreshingly light. Some clinging sweetness and lasting woody/vinous sourness.

D: A tasty Flanders Red Ale, an eminently drinkable example of a style I enjoy alot. Well blended, good aromas and flavors, one I'm glad to have tried and would like more of. Thanks to Jef and the guys at Van Steenberge for making this and thanks to the East Coaster who sent this bottle...

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Photo of kbutler1
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a darker than expected reddish brown color with minimal head. Aroma is of sour fruit and a slight funkiness. Nose has some cherry in it as well. I would say this has medium sourness to it compared to some other sour beers. Acidic as well. This ia not an extreme version of the style but is very good. Well balanced and at a great price to boot!

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 2,989 ratings