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
3,003 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:
#11,204
Reviews:
1,160
Ratings:
3,003
pDev:
13.21%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
97
Gots:
473
Trade:
5
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,003 |  Reviews: 1,160
Photo of Billolick
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Monk's wonderful cafe in Philly, pours the expected reddish tone, respectable lacing emenating from a tan head. Nose is sharply sour, fruity and spicy. This style is not for everyone, but as acompliment to tasty, rich Belgian mussles and other other dishes, it is stunning. A world class palate cleanser and beer to enjoy with certain foods. Flavorful and wel crafted. Worth acquiring a taste for this sophisticated nectar.

 435 characters

Photo of Auraan
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a deep brown, with a three finger off white head. Gorgeous, looks fantastic. Sour lactic scent with a slight hint of malt. A good scent of a sour ale, makes me want to take a sip. Taste begins with a nice sour flavor, a sort of sour crab apple flavor and a bit of nice roast malt flavor on the finish and after taste. Quite nice. Very refreshing. Mouthfeel is bubbly and medium bodied, quite good, refreshing and carbonated, yet easy to drink. This is a good, unique beer. I'm not sure how it stacks up for the style, yet I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Worth trying for sure.

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Photo of jporf911
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle with no freshness date into my trusty snifter.

Appearance- 2.5 out of 5. Aside from an initial burst of excitingly active fizz, this beer appears very lackluster. A charming ring of slightly tan lace rounds the top, but the beer itself is a dull dark brown that seems almost entirely opaque when held up to the light, ringed only with a little equally dull red. Not only is it rather boring, it's also a bit uncharacteristic for the style-- more translucency and ruby-reddish tint should be present.

Smell- 3.5 out of 5. On the other hand, the aroma is refreshingly pleasant and true-to-style. With hints of cherries, woodiness, and fruity wine that's been left out so long that it slowly turns to vinegar, it tickles the nose with anticipation. Pale and crystal malts provide a solid foundation for the rest of the scents, which do not include any hops at all. Nothing overpowering, but it's a step up from the appearance.

Taste- 4.5 out of 5. Jesus H. Christ, it's like a sour cherry warhead just pulled out my tongue, cut it off, and proceeded to beat the rest of my mouth with it. Be prepared for mouth-puckeringly strong sourness when you first sip this beer. It fades as your tongue becomes acclimated to it, but my god does it catch you off guard after the deceptively mild aroma. Make sure your palate is cleansed to fully enjoy the sensation. After the initial tongue-punch, it mellows out into sour cherries, fresh tart apples, and raspberries. A little earthy oak peeks in before washing away in a tide of mild sweetness that lingers in the aftertaste. As with the nose, no hops are present. Acidity is low, as is the "funkiness"-- the yeast did a great job of turning out a clean, mellow Sour Ale. The fairly low alcohol is hidden behind everything else going on in the glass. It's a classic example of the style.

Mouthfeel- 4 out of 5. Slightly dry with a medium body and astringent finish. Easily quaffable, but why waste such a treat for your mouth? Take it slow and savor each sip; they become creamier as it warms.

Drinkability- 4.5 out of 5. I'm tempted to give this a slightly lower drinkability score because both the price and the slowly-sipping nature needed to truly appreciate it make it a rather poor choice for a session, but if you were flush enough and so inclined, you could easily spend a few hours having a few of these. This is a great choice for people who dislike hops, wine drinkers who want to get into beer, and people who love sour candy and sour fruits. Keep in mind my bias-- this may not be for beginners coming from a macro-lager background.

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Photo of epyon396
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of beveragecaptain
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle. Pours out a murky, reddish brown color with a small head. The aroma is sour cherries and oak. The flavor is a tangy mixture of sweet and sour. The flavor of cherries is most prominent, but there is also oak, wine, and berries. There is enough sourness so that the sweetness is held in check, but I would like this better if it was less sweet. Finishes very acidic. Carbonation is high. This is a pretty good version.

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Photo of The_Kriek_Freak
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

It pours dark red with a big head. The aroma is vinous and a bit oaky. The taste is sweet upfront with some late tartness and some very late bitterness.

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Photo of bnes09
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby, copper and mostly transparent. Sudsy, soda-like head with descent retention, no lace. Bottom of the glass has chunks of yeast which rise to the top as I drink it.

Tart and sweet aroma of dark fruits and lactic acid. Hints at roasted malt character which is well blended.

Light malty character with roasted characters most predominant. Mild prune and date sweetness. Lactic acid. Chocolate flavor in the finish. Well balanced.

Light to medium body. Snappy carbonation. Dry, crisp finish makes me want another sip.

Pretty good brew. Complex flavors and easy drinking.

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Photo of mtimmerman84
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Overcast, orange-infused apple cider brown on the coaster... lucent dark cherry when held up to my sunlit front window. The pale caramel colored cap looked (and sounded) excessively fizzy immediately after the pour, but has settled down nicely and may last for a bit. It looks like melted styrofoam, though, and lacks character. A few blips of lace is about it.

The aroma is classic for the style and is immensely appealing. It's sour, snappy, tart, tangy, acidic, acetic... take your pick. If forced to come up with a difference between this beer and others of the style that I've tried, I'd say this one is less funky than some.

You better be a fan of SOUR if you plan to drink and enjoy Flanders reds. I can't imagine a more salivary gland-squinching beverage than this one that would still be drinkable. I feel a need to wait for my mouth to unpucker between each sip. Unripe fruit (cherries and green apples especially) comes to mind, although I know that no fruit is used.

Again, funkiness is at a minimum. That isn't to say the yeast strain is a slacker. It's just that it excels at acid production and is otherwise exceptionally clean. Even though my Flanders red experience is minimal, I feel that Monk's Cafe, while perhaps not the best on the planet, is as classic and as representative of the style as any other.

The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium, with just a hint of stickiness on the finish. I'm amazed at how well the airy, well-carbonated, exceptionally clean mouthfeel dovetails with the flavor of the beer. Any heavier or more clingy and it wouldn't work nearly as well.

No matter how much I enjoy a good Flanders red, I'm perfectly content to go weeks or even months between bottles since my tolerance for sour is a fraction of my tolerance for bitter. Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Red is an excellent version, though. If I'm ever in Philadelphia, I'll make it a point to stop in at Monk's for a glass. What the hell, maybe two.

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Photo of crimsonfloyd
4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown on the pour. A deep, dark reddish brown. An inch of off-white head. Smells sour and yeasty, like kombucha. Taste is deliciously sour, like cranberry juice and the skin of green grapes. Nice and juicy and will make you salivate. Overall, a very enjoyable sour.

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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.

 1,151 characters

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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Photo of CHILLINDYLAN
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.
4

Smell: Tart cherries, estery notes, and a whiff of wheat. I can also detect a touch of lactose and grassiness.
4

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.
4

Mouthfeel: Thin mouthfeel with just a touch of stickiness. Wine-like drying finish.
4

Drinkability: Tartly refreshing and not overly sweet. Highly drinkable.
4.5

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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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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 3,003 ratings