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

Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale
BA SCORE
71.4%
Liked This Beer
3.84 w/ 2,960 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:
#8,598
Reviews:
1,148
Ratings:
2,960
Liked:
2,113
Avg:
3.84/5
pDev:
13.28%
Alströms:
-
 
 
Wants:
91
Gots:
462
Trade:
5
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,960 |  Reviews: 1,148
Photo of notchucknorris
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
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 Merks
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of stompilator
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
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 +6.8%

Photo of bcm75
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of DaveAnderson
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
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 +6.8%
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 +6.8%
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 +6.8%
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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Photo of DragYourBone
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a stemless goblet. A beautiful dark red opaque was topped with a quarter inch of foam that slowly dissipated to a slight film. If it had a touch more foam and it was a woman I would say she looked sultry.

Scent of citrus, lemon zest, cherries? and sweet yeast.

Taste and mouthfeel - I recall my first Leifmans' draught at first taste. On this near 90F day with as much humidity, it is so damn refreshing and delicious; I had to control taking it all down. The Sweet and sour brings a much anticipated tongue smack. It has a nice fullness to it with an underlying fluid component with a nice fizz at the end. The acidity and sweet notes seem to break apart a little if let sit for too long however, making it either a bit more sweet or more sour.

Drinkability - I could down this all day in the summer and feel bad about not enjoying it more. The mingling between the nose and the mouth is excellent.

I would walk a mile for a monk.

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Photo of CPeterson
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A -- Pours a copper cola brown, effervescent like soda, bubbling and calming just as quickly.

S -- Huge sour apple and cherry with a heady sweetness followed by acidic sharpness.

T -- Sweet and sour, just as expected. Sour cherry and good acid up front followed by a mellow earthiness from the wood. A sweetness lingers and balances the brew with an excellent finish.

M -- Well carbonated, a little silky while still being sharp.

D -- While not mind-blowing, this would be a great intro beer for those looking to try a sour but want to keep the pucker and the balance in check. Worth a purchase or ten.

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Photo of blissfulNemo
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of tonistruth
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- deep mahogany with 2 fingers of fluffy white froth, excellent retent, soapy lace

S- sour fruit, funky

T- highly sour, toasted malts, dried fruit, sweet and sour battle throughout

M- mouth puckering sourness, smooth, sticky

D- tasty and refreshing, love the sweet and sour flavors, i really wish brewers would attempt these sours belgian styles as opposes to triple and wits. recommended

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Monk's but this review is from the bottle.

A: Nice cloudy and earthy red color. 1/2 finger of white head with some lacing.

S: Nice and tart. Little bit musty and earthy. Not as potent on a nose as it is on tap.

T: Very tart and vinegary. Nice fruitiness. Not as complex as on tap which is kind of weird but it is still good.

M: Nice tart feel. Syrupy and coating.

D: Very drinkable. Love the huge taste and low ABV. Definitely grab this again if in Philly.

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Photo of Life-Love-Beer
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Pencible
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a mostly clear garnet with lots of tan head.
S: It smelled very metallic, with sweet prune and earthy caramel and a little balsamic vinegar and herbal hops.
T: It tasted like sweet prune and balsamic and earthy caramel, with white vinegar and metallic tin and sour Belgian yeast. It had a mouth-watering sour aftertaste that was smooth and clean.
M: It was thin with lots of carbonation. Not normally the body I like, but it really worked well for this beer.
D: This had great complexity and balance of sweet and sour. It had very nice scent and taste, with the exception of the metallic sense. Body really helped lighten the intensity of the sourness, making this easier to drink. But it's still better as a sipping beer. Age may help improve, but it's very enjoyable fresh.

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Photo of raoulduke37
4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330mL bottle into a small tulip. Right away, this looks like a photograph out of one of Michael Jackson's books. Perfect 2 finger head ever-so-slightly brimming over the edge of the glass, inviting one to drink it down. Beautiful red luminescent burgundy color, and off-white lace is sticking all over this bad boy. I can't wait to go in closer. Smell is predominantly sour and it is a little difficult to get anything else, no matter how much I try.

As I drink it down, I think to myself, 'I think I'm becoming one of those "sour-loving" guys' and I have no problem with it. Sourness is not as intense as the smell indicates. There are traces of pineapple and raspberries in here. The finish is long, and it surprises you in the end with a touch of banana. Oh man, I'm enjoying every sip of this.

Mouthfeel is tart and carbonated, but very pleasant, especially after shooting some hoops. At $2.99, this will be a regular in my rotation, along with Duchesse and Rodenbach. Damn good. Don't pass it up.

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Photo of SackBlabbath
4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jjanega08
4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A= Pours a hazy brown color with a coca cola like head that rises and falls fast to a thin ring around the glass after a while with zero lacing and nothing for retention.

S= The first thing I notice is a load of vinegar. As I dig my nose in I get less of the vinegar smell and start to venture into a woody semi sweet odor. Herbal and medicinal are some of the aromas that come to mind. The sour tartness takes a back seat in the odor on this one.

T= The taste has quite a bit of balance to it. There is a good bit of the vinegar acetic acid taste to it but it is balanced by a bit of cherry sweetness to it like a cherry pie. There is a bit of wood and oak in the flavor.

M= There is a lot of carbonation to it and a lot of scubbing bubbles.

D= This is one of the best flanders reds I've ever had. Smooth and balanced without a load of sweetness that I can deal with. The sourness vinegar taste is also kept to a tolerable level. Worth seeking out for sure.

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Photo of BlakeAM
4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of ghatz
4.11/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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

33 cl bottle into my Corsendonk tulip.

Appearance: Though the head doesn't bubble up crazily, it starts at 1" then goes to about a half inch, but it's very thick, leaving lots of good clumpy lacing on the side. Dark amber color with some brown hues, with a decent amount of bubbles floating up toward the middle.

Smell: Earth and grassy notes, with maybe some phenols at first. Then it goes to slight nail polish, sour cherries, and granny smith apples. Definite and welcoming notes of oak and maybe the slightest hint of vanilla. Complex as all hell.

Taste: Too dry? Where's the sweetness? That's what I asked at first, but somehow the first sip was misleading. However, since it's a sour beer, the taste is a bit puckering of course. It does finish very dry, but after a bit it becomes nice, though as I said it wasn't at first. The only problem with the dryness is that I feel it's maybe so dry as to not let the beautiful flavors of the sour fruits and yeast to come through? I'm not sure exactly, but as I drink, it does indeed become more complex. You can taste the sourness, but then it does into the astringent dryness. Still, with the finish there's definitely some hints of apple, sour cherries, and general sourness on the tongue. Lots of stuff going on, and though I don't know if it's as balanced as it could be, it's so complex and singular that I like it a lot.

Mouthfeel: Champagne-like carbonation, which I really didn't expect. But it never gets too astringent, spritzy, or overdone somehow, which is odd, because it's almost like it should. Therefore maybe the dryness that I alluded to before isn't as dry as I previously thought, which may combat that, if that makes any sense.

Drinkability: This is one of the most peculiar styles in my opinion, and one of the most novel, which makes me want to seek out every version I can. The problem is they always seem so damn hard to find. At any rate, I've enjoyed it more and more as the review comes to a close, and I still have a little less than half of the bottle left in my class. It was about $2.75 for the bottle, and to me that's cheap for such a stab at such a crazy and deliciously ambrosia-like style. Can't wait to snag some more versions when I can actually find them.

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

pours a ruby-tinged crystal clear chestnut hue with ample carbonation rising from the bottom, fueling a creamy almond-colored two finger head that leaves behind some foamy pisco sour egg white-esque lacing.

aroma is dead on for the style. clean, fruity, lactic acid aroma wafts as soon as the bottle is cracked. a bit cleaner and a bit less funky than some, but just as inviting as any flanders. tart fruit and spice, less sharp vinegar in the aroma. I'm lovin' it.

Taste attempts to match with aroma but falls just a bit short. still solidly tart with pleasant acidic notes, sharp berry sourness, and nice funkiness, but there's a bit of metallic earthiness that grows stronger as it warms. Still solid for the style, but just a bit too clean and sterile to have a ton of character, and the slight metallic earthy off note isn't incredibly appealing.

Mouthfeel is solid, with ample carbonation creating an almost creamy mouth despite the tartness and slight slickness that comes with the style. smooth and enjoyable. Cleaner mouth than many... definitely nice.

I'm pretty impressed. This may be one of my favorite Flanders I've had the pleasure of tasting. unbelievably drinkable with all the notes I love. it's a bit lacking in that extreme funkiness that keeps it from being outstanding, but on the whole, it's a beautifully rounded Flanders Oud Bruin. Delicious.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

brew is from Irishredrock. Thanks for the hookup! I am sampling at room temp in a tulip glass. With an agressive pour, I get a good 2 inches of beige fluffy and frothy head that fades gradually with spacious latticework on the glass. Aroma is as expected, sour cherries, some oak/wooden scents (popsicle stick), tart raspberry as well. I find it very appealing.
First sip reveals a slightly oily texture with large and prickly carbonation. Flavor is fruity sweet up front for a second and then is tart tart tart! Sour cherries, again wooden flavors, granny smith apples. Reminds me of jolly rancher candy. The beer finishes leaving a tart coating on my palate. I find the beer to be very refreshing and enjoyable. A nice example of the style!

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 71.4% out of 100 with 2,960 ratings
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