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

BA SCORE
86
very good
2,942 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
Reviews:
1,140
Ratings:
2,942
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
13.28%
 
 
Wants:
89
Gots:
450
For Trade:
6
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,140 | Ratings: 2,942
Photo of chinabeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

no date on the bottle. possible batch number of U8:44?

poured into tulip

dark, almost opaque reddish brown. red tint under the light. not bottle conditioned, so pretty clear. decent head, but soon fades to a thin, then wispy layer. some good lacing.

very sour and funky vinegar aroma. fresh wood comes in and peaks at the back. balsamic vinegar? cider, crabapple, hint of dried cranberry and raisins. whiff of molasses.

flavors are similar, tart upfront with that balsamic character again. plus more woody notes. undertone of caramelized malts, with that almost-molasses flavor. tartness fades as it continues and you start to notice a gentle (hop?) bitterness. pleasantly sweet and sour overall.

not too thin nor watery. some acidic and tannic texture. moderate and refreshing carbonation.

perhaps not the pinnacle of the style, but you can't beat the price.

 865 characters

Photo of Tilly
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reddish brown color with a huge froth, khaki 2 fingers.
Aroma of berries, malt and sourness .
Sweetness, cherry, raspberry, melons and slightly sour.
Refreshingly light mouth feel with a slight bitterness.
Nice way to introduce me to sour beer.

 244 characters

Photo of ktorsneyweir
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful burnt red color; sweet, slightly funky smell; very smooth on the tongue; cherry notes with a very subtle sour kick. Great for people that don't like that kick-you-in-the-face sour

 189 characters

Photo of dantheduck
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is a very nice sour. Had it on tap at our favorite bottle shop in Raleigh, The Hop Yard. Nice dark color, very good fruity aroma, and a full body mouth feel that could only have been made better by a little more pucker. Definitely a do for sour loving fans.

 262 characters

Photo of Lemke10
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This pours a medium brown color with a foamy, off-white head. The scent is kind of sour with a slight amount of yeast. The flavor starts off very sweet and ends with sour finish. The texture is good and the flavor is ok, but there is certainly room to make this a bigger, bolder beer. Pretty simple and reserved which makes for a good starter sour/wild ale.

 357 characters

Photo of BeerYain
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Here's the skinny: pours with little head and slight lacing. In my book, that's a good thing. I wanna get to the beer, not work my way through the foam. I would call this a typical representation of a Flemish sour - low alcohol and not too tart or sour for the casual drinker, but maybe underwhelming for the "seasoned" drinker. On a scale of 1 - 10 on the sour/tart scale, I'd probably give it a 4. Serve cold, but room temp ain't half bad either.

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Photo of leroybrown10
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rusty reddish-brown. Ruby highlights when held to the light. Large off-white colored head which disappears slowish but leaves almost no lacing behind.

Aroma is sweet grapes, tart cherry, leather, and mild vinegar. Sour berry and citrus.

Again, starts with sweet grape notes. Tart cherry comes through right afterward. Leather, oak, and mild acetic acid. Sour lemon and raspberry. A touch of vanilla at the end.

Medium bodied with fairly high carbonation. Sweet to start but tartness quickly comes to prominence and lingers.

Very tasty and tart. Flavors blend well. Easy drinking and crispness from the carbonation makes it rather refreshing.

 664 characters

Photo of lstokes
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Grace Tavern, apple cider colored with a minimal head (but then, the bartenders didn't seem to know that we like our heads!) and practically no lacing.

It smells like sour cherries, but has a lot of complex notes to it, some vinegar, the barest hint of funk, green apples and dried fruits. The taste is also solid, very sour but refreshingly so, and never puckering or acidic, but the mouth feel was almost too light for me, I wanted something more to roll around in my mouth.

It's not maybe the sourest of the sour ales, but it's drinkable! I even got a second one, which isn't something I can often say for this style. Would be amazing with some strong cheese.

 675 characters

Photo of Jimmys
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle into long stemmed tulip. some kind of marking on the bottle that i cannot make out.

A: couldnt even pour the entire 11.2oz bottle into my glass because of this head. very fluffy. great retention and tons of lacing left behind. color is a a reddish orange and reminds me a little of rose wine. loads of carbonation ribbing through the glass.

S: boatload of fruit. black cherries. blueberries. blackberries. tart and sweet. a little bit of grapefruit. a little bit of tart acidity, but mostly fruity and sweet. little bit one-note as far as being heavy on the fruit side.

T: starts highly tart. pucker-worthy. quickly dissipates as each visit to the glass tends to be less acidic. phenols. some sweetness is there, but faint. cherries and strawberries. finish is there, but dry.

M: effervescent fizz. certainly champagne-like.

D: good flavor and mouthfeel make for this to be super drinkable. the acidity is a nice complement. could crush a lot of these.

 974 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

A gorgeous dark amber burnt brown and red body with clear presentation. Head doesn't stick around much but a good solid tan collar is left to observe. Very much like this body color, clear, brown and ruby. Looks great!

Bouquet is sweet and sour cherries, with emphasis on sweet first. A distinct sort of sweet mix of brown sugar and malt too. Hint of tartness. I really like this nose.

Taste is very good emphasis on sweet red fruits. Berries of cherry, raspberry, maybe even some dark plum. No sour or tartness at all. Very chewy in the palate, candy taffy like, with some slurring wetness in the feel. Brown sugar takes on during the finish.

Overall pretty easy drinking not even sour, quite sweet actually which probably knock my score down a bit. But it's a great beer and a good place to start to get your feet wet if you are not into sour tastes.

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Photo of djeffbee
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Canal's Discount Liquors in Pennsauken, NJ. Very shocked to see this on the shelf, couldn't pass it up @ $1.99/bottle...

A - Pours deep amber to ruby, with no haze and a short head that fades quickly leaving lotsa lacing behind.

S - Sour cherries and green apples. More pleasant than expected based on other reviews.

T - WOW. Sour cherries (talking sour patch kids) with a mild malty background and no apparent hop presence. This is good.

M - I liken this to sucking on a lemon - a bit tart at first, making you pucker and leaving a very pleasant clean tingle. Nice.

D - Very good. I was expecting so much worse. This is an excellent beverage. I could see maybe two at a sitting, but not much more beyond that. (kinda like you wouldn't drink a few Coke's in a row)

Very enjoyable and will definitely purchase this again..

 840 characters

Photo of itsfreeasinbeer
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: auburn with a two and a half finger head. It leaves a solid lacing.

S: grapes and woody aroma.

T: Grape is the predominant base flavor. The beer is sour, almost vinegar-like, and a bit sweet. This is a really enjoyable and well balanced flavor profile for the style.

M: smooth and moderately carbonated.

D: a very enjoyable beer that I can easily finish several bottles of.

 380 characters

Photo of mzwolinski
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pouts a lovely, slightly hazed brown in color. This fades into red and then orange towards the edge of the glass, giving a really attractive sunset impression. Moderately sized light tan head. The aroma is tart, with light oaky notes.

The taste hits big and sour at the start, but blends into an appealing woody malt character mid-palate. A bit sticky in the throat at the finish, but this problem fades as the hops strengthen with warmth, giving the beer a lightly floral finish with a slight metallic tinge. Despite how it sounds, though, this actually seems to work in conjunction with the malt middle. Pretty damn drinkable.

 631 characters

Photo of nlmartin
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer was served in a wide mouthed wine goblet.

Appearance: The beer pours an effervescent clear chestnut coloration. The head is a off color white.

Smell: The beer has a very sour fruity floral smell. The beer has a bit of musty oakeyness to it.

Taste: The beer has a sweet then sour spicy yeastyness. The beer has plenty of tart berry fruityness. The beer definately has vinous qualities.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer has a slightly lighter body than I prefer. The carbonation at times can be burning and stinging. The beer is still pretty dam refreshing to drink. This is a pretty solid offering by any standard.

 638 characters

Photo of BigPlay1824
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a flute

A: pours a deep mahogany amber color with two fingers of fluffy light tan colored head that lingers for a very long time, pours clear and leaves a nice amount of lacing around the glass
S: great nose, sour, tart, complex, its got quite a bit
T: begins modestly enough, then kicks in this really nice tartness that becomes complex and really makes the mouth pucker up, tartness lingers on the mouth nicely
M: modest but present carbonation tingle, drinks thin but definitely awakens the mouth, leaves the mouth feeling dry and also like i have just eaten a sweet tart
O: a well rounded brew with nice complexity and quality, i really love these sour ales

 673 characters

Photo of Brock_hophead
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- dark brown with a nice tan head with amazing retention.

S- Definitely a sour! vinegar smelling with sweet malt with apple notes as well.

T-sour, tart, sweet, and tangy full and crisp.

M-Very good carbonation and sweetness, but definitely in a good way. It is not overly sweet and the sour characteristic is very balanced.

O-A very good sour with full flavor and great mouthfeel!

4.25

 392 characters

Photo of ThaBobfather
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a solid brownish hue with a nice helping of tannish head.
Smell is pretty textbook here, spice and vinegar. A slight twinge of green apple here.
Taste is very good. A great blend of malt and "Sour Patch Kid" taste with decent carbonation that compliments the flavor well.
Finish is good, some vinegar/apple spice notes in the last flavors.
Drinks pretty smoothly considering the sour flavor.

 397 characters

Photo of WhatsNewinBooze
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a great beer! I am a big fan of flanders and flemish ales and this one is right up there. Pours a reddish brown with a light fizzy head. Aromas of sweet malt raspberry and cherry are huge on the nose. The palate has quite a bit of sweetness, more so than other beers like it, but tons of red fruit flavor with a nice sour that isn't over the top. A good introduction into these style of beers.

 402 characters

Photo of kaseydad
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter and produces a nice thin layer of foam which has staying power.

First appearance is cola brown but once in the light there is a nice burgandy presence.

Smells of vinegar and I am picking up some cherry as well.

Whoa! I was expecting a major sour explosion but there is a really nice balance of sour and sweetness. On initial sip there is a bitter/sour kick but the sweetness quickly mellows it. Very cool.

Nice smooth mouthfeel.

Very easy to drink compared to other sours out there. This is a nice introduction to anyone wanting to try the sours but not be (or feel) overpowered by the flavor.

Very well done!

 637 characters

Photo of SHODriver
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep brown with ruby edges and a huge slow to fade off white head into a New Belgium globe
S: smells of sour cherries, a bit of wood, some must and a slight roast malt
T: pleasantly tart with some sour cherry flavor followed by some slight oakiness but the cherry remains throughout, a bit of vanilla as well, hint of chocolate at times too. swallow brings more sour cherry and a bit of must
M: medium with pleasant and slightly prickly carbonation. refreshing finish
O: this beer is tasty and well executed. price isn't bad either and it's fairly accessible out here. If you like the oud bruin style you should give this one a go

 641 characters

Photo of illpass78
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

11.2 ounce bottle poured into a glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep oaky color with a half-inch white head that shows good retention. Lacing moderate.

Aroma: Interesting mix of aromas here. There's a vinous quality to it, but it also smells sort of like vinegar and glue. There's also some oak and malt.

Taste: Tartness is right up front, with the malt flavor on the finish. It's very good - terrific sour flavor balanced by sweetness, tastiness, and the vinous notes that were present in the nose.

Mouthfeel: Perfectly balanced beer. Depth is perfect.

Overall: Very enjoyable sour ale. It's hard to explain the appeal of a beer that smells like glue and tastes almost like vinegar, but it's really terrific stuff. Recommended.

 729 characters

Photo of Deanlee
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer was my first experience with a sour, at Monk's Cafe in Philly no less.
I wanted to expand my palate beyond traditional beers and into lambics and such.
I liked the head ftom the tap and love the cloudy nature of the beer in general.
I thought it actually had a very awesome taste given it was the first time I never had any kind of sour beer before.

 361 characters

Photo of Jparker37
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Mahogany head, medium sized bubbles. Very bright that left no lacing to the glass

S - Tart in the nose. Some faint caramel sweetness, cherry/raspberry fruit. No hop character. A touch of raisin, some alcohol and some woody notes.

T - Puckering moderate to high sourness, acidity outweighs the cherry sweetness. This beers smell was more complex than its taste.

M - Semi-sweet, lighter in body, refreshing, tingling light carbonation. Very acidic/sharp finish almost cloying.

O - Exactly what I was hoping for, great summer brew, no real Belgium funk just a refreshing sour brew.

 587 characters

Photo of jeffjeff1
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My fiance picked this up.
Poured into a flute

Appearance- reddish brown color, head dissipated almost immediately, resembles a soda

Smell- fruit, tart sweetness

Taste- tart fruit, Very interesting

Mouthfeel- light to medium bodied, very soda like, high amount of carbonation

Drinkability- Pretty good. I thought it was very interesting. I would drink it again.

 365 characters

Photo of megahurts4
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Appearance: Dark brown, medium head, and some lacing.

Smell: Sour wine like balsamic vinegar.

Taste: Purple sweet-tart start, a subtle malty aftertaste, and some subtle oak.

Mouthfeel: Medium.

Overall:
This would go great with a meal. Smooth and nicely flavored. It has that taste of a purple sweet-tart. It is not as complex or potent as Russian River Consecration, but it makes a great introduction to sour beer.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,942 ratings.
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