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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
2,972 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:
#9,359
Reviews:
1,151
Ratings:
2,972
pDev:
13.21%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
91
Gots:
466
Trade:
5
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Ratings: 2,972 |  Reviews: 1,151
Photo of raoulduke37
4.11/5  rDev +6.5%
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 +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jjanega08
4.11/5  rDev +6.5%
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 +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of ghatz
4.11/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of asabreed
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
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 +6.7%
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 +6.7%
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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Photo of natideac
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Stoneman78
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark ruby hue with good translucency, off-white head is bubbly and lively like a soda that dissipates, slight lacing
S- Nose is sour and tart fruits, full of acidity, cherries, and vinegar
T- Initial taste is slightly sweet fruits, that transitions to a mildly tart and sour body that transitions to a very wine-like drying finish
M- Medium-bodied, texture is watery with a very dry feel, carbonation is very amped
D- I think this ale holds well to the Duchesse, a bit more dry and acidic, well-balanced and unique sour beer that is a nice break from some of the bolder styles out there

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Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

 1,328 characters

Photo of BeardedBoffin
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This dark brown brew arrived with a light head that clung to the glass. The aroma of this beer had a huge green apple component mixed with fruity Belgian funk and a little vinegar. A light maltiness, almost a sweetness, pervades the palate up front but it is quickly gives way to an intense sourness. The sourness is unripe green apples, tart cherries, and, if it were blistering hot day, very refreshing. This beer is very interesting and I liked it. I wish there were more of this style around.

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Photo of youknowmyname
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Odor: All I could smell was sour cherry and lime. Tried to pour into a glass to see if it produced any other odors and still sour cherry and lime.

Pour: Lightly Filtered. Pours out black with a slight plum look. Produces a nice long lasting head. No lacing.

Taste: Wow, Never had a flemish sour ale before. First thing that comes to mind is that this is a beer for someone who can't decide if they're in the mood for beer or wine. While brewed as a beer, this has a very sweet and sour taste to it. Very thin body and high carbonation. Reminds me of cherry coke mixed with a chardonnay. A little sour apple taste, a little malt taste. Definite cherry taste. Different than anything I have ever had.

Opinion: This has a nice drinkability to it, I could see drinking this when I wasn't in the mood for a standard beer. Goes down easy almost like soda, but alcoholic which is always a good thing. Being as light bodied as it is, it has little to no aftertaste. Just be prepared for something different.

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Photo of UnionMade
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jim and Allie for bringing this one back from PA for me!
Hazy ruby, topped off with a thick, antique white head. Pleasantly tart aroma, with a solid caramel malt base. A bit woody and vinous. Understated and classy. The flavor opens with caramel malt and an immediate, modest tartness. Red grape juice, with a bit of plum, easing simply into a tart, berry-like finish. Fizzy, with a lighter medium body and plenty of dryness in the finish. Good stuff. Very drinkable. Solid, this is a good example of the style.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Such a unique style but so fun to drink. Pours out a cloudy, brown color with a very small head that doesn't seem to last. I see very few bubbles make their way to the top. I forgot to mention this is a 11.2 fl oz bottle, capped.

Smell is sour with something coming through almost like toast? Light notes of cherries and malt seem to be somewhat refreshing. Taste is much milder than I expected. The "sourness" is light but refreshing which makes it more drinkable. The cherries and fruit come through in the beginning and middle. The ending dumps off quickly. Some oaky notes come through but not enough.

Truely a tough beer to rate. I don't know this style well so I am going off pure taste and enjoyment. I would buy this or order this again anytime. I can't wait to try more examples of this style.

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Photo of cavman
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got 2 bottles one for now one to age a bit, and see how it changes.

A = A quite attractive beer, I poured it into a La Chouffe tulip. Nice reddish color and a thick off white/light beige head.

S = Was what I was expecting, some tart cherry notes with a little bit of sour in the nose.

T = Reminds me of Duchesse but not as complex, cherry flavor seems to dominate followed by a slight sourness.

M = Smooth mouthfeel with a medium body.

D = I find it very drinkable, a beer that the wine folks would appreciate as well.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Light brown in color, small head with moderate lacing.

S: Funky yeast, sweet dark fruits, wood. Easily identifiable as a Flanders Oud Bruin.

T: Refreshing and tasty. I always prefer sour over sweet, but this beer marries the two quite well. There is an intriguing, musty, funky aspect to the beer that I am enjoying. The beer definitely has a sweet component, and finishes that way.

M: Moderately low carbonation, nice feel, sweet/sour finish (mostly sweet).

D: My palate can only handle a small amount of sweet beers. This one is very well done, and I'd be happy to drink it again.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
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 Bunuelian
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of akolb
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours dark with a huge head. Aroma of tootsie rolls, prunes, funk, and figs. Tart and fruity taste. A very nice beer, complex, sour, and refreshing, I enjoyed this quite a bit.

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Photo of Phatz
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this beer but it is really freakin tart. I mean like vinegar. Lots of vinegar.

Appearance: Dark amber copper color with a halo.

Smell: Lots of sour apple orchard aroma. The smell of apples that have cooked a bit in the sun. Sour and sweet, acidic and fruity, cherries and berries, galore.

Taste: VERY acidic. Vinegarish. Sour apple and cherries in the flavor with a lactic acid attribute. This beer definitely takes some warming up to. It is a grow on you beer and *Not* one I would consider 'easily' approachable. The aftertaste is sour and astringent but has sweet sugars drawing lines in the tartness as well. This beer border on cloying but manages to walk the line and come out just fine; making this a very unique one to try.

Mouthfeel: A medium light body that has just enough carbonation to keep it feely somewhat airy through all the dry astringent character.

Drinkability: As harsh as I may have made this beer sound, it left an impression on me and I wanted more.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

 1,034 characters

Photo of fropones
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish brown with one finger of khaki head. Smell is vinegar and cherries. Sour. Making my mouth water already. Taste is deliciously sour, cherries, some jammy fruits, maybe raspberries. Green apple. Not as funky as I was expecting. Medium bodied, effervescent, nice dry finish. Extremely drinkable and thirst-quenching. I'd take this over gatorade any day of the week.

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Photo of jwc215
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass:

Pours mahogany with a one-finger+ off white head that descends to about half the size and stays. Lacing sticks to glass.

The smell is mildly sour, vinuous, candy in the back.

The taste is sour/grapefruity/vinuous. Candy sweetness mixes in to give it a sweettart, dry finish.

Appropriately light-bodied and rather mild (but tasty) for the style, this is an easy drinker. It isn't as sour as other classic examples, but has a nicely balanced sourness to it and could be a good intro to the style. A nicely done brew. Could pair well with grapes and creamy cheeses.

 601 characters

Photo of KeithE
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of RBorsato
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted on-tap on 03/09/06 at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA.

Full ruby red color with a decent light beige head and moderate carbonation. Definite sourness in the aroma but overall a nicely balanced sweet and sour Flanders Red Ale in both aroma and flavor. Fairly mild overall for the style and therefore makes it a very approachable introduction for newcomers. Medium bodied and refreshing without being overly sour; looking forward to tasting the bottled version but it seems from previous reviews that it may not be quite as good.

 537 characters

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 2,972 ratings
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