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

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86
very good
1,132 Reviews
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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:
1,132
Ratings:
2,916
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
21.61%
 
 
Wants:
88
Gots:
446
For Trade:
6
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Reviews: 1,132 | Ratings: 2,916
Photo of wnh
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a slightly muddled mahogany with a large, lasting, foamy and creamy and sticky off-white head that leaves thick chunks of sticky lacing.

Aromas of sour (balsamic?) vinegar, tart, lactic lemon, and a sweet ripe-pear-like fruitiness. More tart than sour on the palate than the nose would indicate. Subtly sour lemon peel flavor dominates, with a subtle mix of other citrus fruits, balsamic vinegar, and more ripe pear. Fruitiness picks up as the beer warms, bringing in an oxidized apple and pear note. Complex and alluring.

Light to medium in body, with a high level of carbonation that prevents the intense flavors from becoming thick and sluggish.

Sour, but not mouth puckeringly so. Seems a good place to start for someone wanting to get into sour beers.

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Photo of gdrydenc
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a red-brown with a finger of cream head. Really cool color, not sure what I'm looking for with the style, but it's what I would expect. The head sticks around for an alarmingly long time, which is cool.

S - Smells sour, but with quite a bit of fruit in it. Apples, mostly.

T - Much like the smell, but with a whole lot more apple in the finish. It tastes a bit like cider, but mostly in the sourness and the apple aspects.

M - Quite a bit of foam in the mouth. It really covers the entire mouth, which I like. The finish is surprisingly clean.

Overall, this is one cool beer. It has a lot of flavor in it, and a lot of varied things. Will have again.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Freethyhops for the hook-up. Great trader.

G - Delirium tulip

A - It pours a fairly deep chestnut-brown hue with a reddish tinge. A nice millimeter of tan foam sticks around. Blotches of lace cling to the glass.

S - Smells sweet vinegar-y, and of apples, cinnamon, and spice, as well as little horse-y.

T - Tastes deliciously complex; fruity with suggestions of spiced apples, tart with nuances of cherry, funky with oak and vinegar character, and just overall an easily appreciable example of the style. Initially, familiar flavors coalesce to mimic the taste of apple butter. As it airs out, it shows the complexity and contrast imparted by the blending of new/sweet and old/sour.

M - Starts sweet/wet and finishes tart/dry. The feel enhances the flavor well.

D - Much better than I recall, this is a very good example of the style. My only caveat is that is a little too moderate of palette, despite the complexity; I think it is pleasant and immensely enjoyable, and perhaps not as challenging as I would like.

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Photo of dubinsky
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first sour, so take this review with a grain of salt.

Poured from 12.oz bottle into a Chimay goblet. The color is a nice, clear, rusty copper hue. The smell was unusual, but i expected it from other reviews i read prior to drinking it. Smells of vinegar and apple cider.

The taste is equally unusual. I kept thinking that i am drinking expired Martinelli's apple cider, possibly an expired cola. Very sweet.

Has a very nice light carbonation that complements the smooth finish of the beer. My stomach is gurgling though. Weird!

overall, it was a fun experience that i dont think i will turn into a habit. Its definitely a particular taste that will take some getting used to. I liked it, but dont ever see myself dinking a lot of it or often.

Reviewed 8/23/11

Beer poured from bottle into a snifter.

A - Beer pours a dark brownish red with a nice two finger khaki head. The head seems to lose itself rather quickly from my pour eventually settling to the edge of the glass. The beer appears to be mostly clear with some visible sediment settling to the bottom of the glass.

S – The first waft I pick up is of a wine vinegar followed by a nice sour funk. I’m picking up some black and sour cherries as well as blackberry.

T – Sweet black cherry with a slight vinegar acidity and astringency. The sourness steps aside to give way to the cherry sweetness that is coming forward in huge volumes. A nice tartness. This beer is definitely a sour, but not mouth puckering. A great desert beer.

M – Medium bodied with excellent carbonation. Very sweet and tangy. Like a sour patch kid, first its sour then its sweet. Avery crisp and refreshing

D – This was the first sour I ever tried due to the accessible price point almost two years ago and I really didn't care for it. I couldn’t believe why anyone would buy this. Today I can truly attest to how my my palate has evolved/changed. I'm really enjoying this wonderful beer. At $3+ this is an amazing beer that i'm likely to keep in rotation as an everyday sour/desert beer. I really enjoyed this and will be buying it often I can see.

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Photo of HugoGrim
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia served in a Hoegaarden style glass. Deep ruby almost purple body with a thin creamy head. Some lace.

Aroma is of sour fruits.

Flavor is primarily of rich sour plum and cherries with a full malty character. Very refreshing and thirst quenching. I could drink quite a few of these.

Served as a good accompaniment to pommes frites with spiced mayonnaise.

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Photo of Netdigger2
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poors a deep brown mahogany with an amber head that resembles more a Pepsi than a beer... Serious carb.

The nose is of sour patch kids, vinegar, and funk.

The flavor rivals any good flander's sour or bruin gueze, full of vinegar, tart cherries, vanilla extract

Mouthfeel is great, the outrageous carb helps dry it out like champagne, and it has a very light feel on the palate.

For 4.99/ bottle, this is a great sour and will be one of my default brews.

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Photo of dherling
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out a murky, reddish-brown color with a thin, bubbly head that dissapears quickly. The nose was a strange combination of Belgian candi, yeasty spice, and vinegar. The taste offered cotton candy, lemon and moderately sour cherries with a pineapple finish. Soy sauce. Hate to say it, but I did. The mouthfeel is thin,
somewhat creamy on the tongue. A drinkable brew, but I almost expect this style to be a bit mroe assertive.

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Photo of nebula1999
4.24/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer is not really sour or tart...compared to the more recent examples of "sour" beers. But the Flemish Red style is more than just being sour.

This beer has more malt than you can shake a stick at....and full of dark fruits..cherry, prune, raisin, currant, etc.

Love Love Love.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.24/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Purchased at K&L in Redwood City.

A: Pours a rusty / chestnut brown color with reddish tint when held to the light. Has an inch of head that dissolves quickly into scattered film on top of the brew and a collar around the edge. No real lacing down the glass.

S: Sour apples, grapes, tamarind, cherry, and vinegar. Nice little blend, very pungent aroma that begs for some sampling.

T: Vinegary sourness up front, which blends seamlessy into a green apple taste. This segues into the other fruit flavors, namely cherry and grapes, with some raspberry lightly hidden behind. The finish is sweet and tart tamarind, reminding me of hard candy in particular.

M: High, fine carbonation like a sparkling wine, which makes the body feel a bit thinner than its medium-to-full range.

D: Pretty sessionable, I would say. The ABV is medium so it's not going to knock you flat, and the flavor, while significant, is not so overpowering that it fatigues the taste buds.

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Photo of jsh420
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours clear amber brown with a big 2+ finger head that leaves lacing down the glass

smells of sweet/sour cherries grapes apples malt vinegar

taste is great - much like the nose - the perfect balance of sweet and sour - good nutty malt aftertaste

mouthfeel medium body with plenty of life to it

drinkability is good but i would not more then maybe 2 in one sitting

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Photo of Frosty80
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Color: pours light brown. sits dark copper with deep ruby hue

Smell: moderate funkiness of vinegar and gym locker with a hint of cherry sweetness to round it out. somehow this works

Taste: a mellow tartness with a hint of vinegar and cherry sweetness through the finish

Mouthfeel: light-medium body with moderate carbonation

Notes: personally i love vinegar so im very cool with sours like this. refreshing especially after having a big stout

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Photo of Beelzebeer
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle, no BB date, served in a tulip. I bought this from a bottle shop in NYC about 2 years ago.

A - Holy head! I had to pour extra slow, just a trickle, to keep this thing under wraps. Maybe it's the age? Alot of bubbles coming up. After a couple minutes, it's still going strong.

S - I can't really get much of a smell. Could be the head, could be my nose, could be the beer. Some sour coming through, but not a whole lot.

T - Malt off the top. A little bread, some light raisin, then the sour kicks in. This is delicious. Very well balanced.

M - Nice. Medium-high carbonation, but not too much, with a chewier body than what I was expecting. A very nice surprise.

O - Killer. Liked it then, like it now. I really wish more sours were available in Canada, let alone Newfoundland.

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Photo of MikeyMisfit
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: deep red mahogany color with an off-white head. The head from the initial pour seemed to dissipate pretty quickly, however the beer kept a thin creamy head from start to finish.

S: The scent of tartness with a slight malty/caramel floating around somewhere

T: You get the sour/tartness up front, your saliva glands kick in and then there is a cloying sweetness to balance the tartness. Like a sour apple type thing. Imagine taking a bite of a Granny Smith apple and then immediately follow it with a bite of a Red Delicious apple.

M: Light bodied with just the right amount of carbonation. Crisp and refreshing.

D: This would be a great beer on a hot summer day or after eating a heavy meal. Definitely one of those beers that makes you wonder why its gone so fast.

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Photo of ShanePB
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Craft Ale House, poured into a 12 oz Monk's Cafe glass.

A: Beautifully clear reddish/brown colored body with a small, fizzy and soda-like off white head. The retention is pretty nice but not as full and thick as I'd like it to be. Some lacing is left behind, but to style it's really nice looking.

S: Caramel malts, sweet syrupy cherry, pink grapefruit coated with table sugar, strawberry and oak. Towards the back there's a very acidic and vinegar type of bite, certainly this will have some tartness and sweetness to it.

T: Whoa, this is so well balanced. First is a lactic sour bite with again an almost vinegar quality. This is quickly balanced and washed with the sweet cherry notes, strawberry and raspberry. There's some citrus elements that come into play, and then the oak makes an appearance in the finish. Some tannins and dryness but just another layer in this delicious beer.

M: Bubbly, well-carbonated but still has a medium body with a very easy drinking nature to it. Somewhat dry from the oak perhaps on the finish but nothing detracting.

Whenever this beer is on draft, I always have to order a glass. This was so easy drinking for the style, and lower in ABV at 5.5% that I had to order another. A very approachable, reasonably priced and delicious Flanders Oud Bruin.

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Photo of Phocion
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle poured into Petrus chalice. Dark ruby with a thick off-white head. Moderate retention and thick chunks of lacing. Several pieces of sediment floating in the beer, which I don't remember from previous experiences...

Complex fruity esters. Black and red cherries, plum, currant. Slightly woody. Touch of spicy phenols.

Flavor is very tart, but not quite funky. Sour cherries combine with a nice light woodiness. Sour but not acetic. Dark sweet flavor - brown sugar or candi sugar, hard to place through the sour, but it definitely gives it a nice, balancing sweetness.

Light-moderate bodied and well-carbonated. Very crisp; acidic but not tannic, as it quickly re-salivates your mouth. I could do without the sediment, but a more careful pour could easily minimize that.

This is a nice, approachable, relatively affordable sour. It's not the best of the style, but it's damned good.

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Photo of vitesse
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

served on draught at monk's...
this was my first flemish sour ale, but i was really impressed.
the color was a beautiful dark ruby red color with a nice bubbly texture. very little head. great sweet/tart fruitiness in the nose.
taste was excellent. great summer drink. somewhat acidic and tart that balances well with a cherry or cassis-like sweetness. very light and champagne-like mouthfeel.
quite drinkable, especially on a hot day. despite the imposing name, i think even non-beer-geeks will like this one.

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Photo of gyllstromk
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear ruby. Nose is granny smith apples, cranberries, cider. Flavor is apples, raspberries, champagne. The finish is a pronounced sweet tartness evoking cranberries or currants. Feel is bubbly like a sparkling wine. The sourness is very enjoyable and does not compromise drinkability like some sour beers. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of JustinMatthew
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 750ml in to a tulip glass. A beautiful dark red color with a small white head that quickly disappears. Smells Of vinegar and what seems to be some sort berries. Taste is very similar.. Lots of vinegar and fruit coming through. Good amount of sourness in this one. I enjoyed it. the After taste lingering in what seems to be some sort of berries.

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Photo of happy5930
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the first sours I've had. I found it to be smooth, and easy to drink. Not much carbonation. Amber in color, with little to no sediment. Not much of a bite, and not too sour. It was sweet to the tongue and nose. Certainly worth a try, a smooth and light brew, to put back slowly.

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Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.26/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Aroma- oak, sour, dark berry fruit,cranberry and black currant, a very svory aroma, floral, lightly horsey,

Appearance- Brilliant clarity, ruby red, thick, moussy off-white head,

Flavor- crystal malty sweetness with light notes of dried cranberry, whisky, grape, ginger, apricot, plum hey dries out finish,

MF- really a pretty crisp sensation, medium bodied, very grippy,

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Photo of mbrandon2w
4.26/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful ruby red color. Thin tan head.
Smell is sweet malt, light cherries, and a touch of acetic acid.
Taste is sweet cherry, lightly sour.
Smooth and easily drinkable. Fairly high carbonation makes it lively and helps lift all the flavors off the tongue, making it more drinkable.

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Photo of tvv375ia
4.26/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from 11.2oz bottle into tulip glass

A-nice ruby color with more than 2 finger head that take quite awhile to fade

S-some sour granny smith apple and sour cherry

T-tart cherry with a nice apple cider type taste with a sauvignon blanc finish

M-well carbonated with a nice crisp finish

O-this was my first sour but after this experience surely not to be the last. I see this one is pretty highly rated so it may be tough to find a better one around here but this has some nice flavors and an acidity that I really enjoy every time I try a new beer I wonder why I stuck with Bud Light for 20 years never trying anything new

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Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
4.26/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with very little head but for a filmy ring of foam at edge of beer that doesn't cling. Beer itself looks like dirty apple cider, and wow is this murky! Wayyy up close I can see streamers through the murk, so I give it a few good swirls and am able to bolster up a head about a quarter inch deep. Beer is a dirty, rosewood color with slightly reddish highlights. As soon as beer is poured, lactic, yogurty smells fill up the entire room. Up in the nose this only gets stronger. Bananas soaking in vinegar; pomegranate fruitiness with extreme sharp sourness. Nosefeel is so pungent it feels like buttermilk is clotting inside the nasal cavity, desensitizing the entire sinus... Blades of flavor slice through the tongue--apple juice/cider vinegar, sour whey, and pectin. As it warms, it starts to taste more like gin and grapefruit juice, but.. oh man, this is SOUR! with eons of aftertaste. Pungent! Wanna know what the mouthfeel is like? Go do a shot of lemon juice, it's exactly the same... but put an enormous bite at the end. The alcohol went straight to my head, but the beer is remarkably quenching... it sent cooling waves of pleasure up and down my spine. This is the third time I've had this, and it just keeps growing on me. And people say Flemish Red Ale is hard to love? Haters can send their glasses my way!

 1,325 characters

Photo of goast8127
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer pours a deep red - ruby would be a good one word description.

The aroma is sweet and leans towards grapes. Definite notes of sourness that the name indicates.

Once on the tongue there is a sweet warmth that fills the mouth, finishing with a pleasant bitter, sour sensation.

Feels a little hot in the mouth, likely due to the carbonation. Would be interested to try this beer at a temp a few degrees warmer.

Overall a beer fitting its description. Definitely not a session beer but an excellent pre-dinner selection.

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Photo of lnashsig
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Duvel tulip, pours a dark amber color, with quick froth that fills the glass, and receeds to leave some nice lacing. Smell- sour apples, musty funk, sour sugar. Taste- fruit, sour apples, dark cherry, a sweet but not cloying finish. Mouthfeel- nice rich carbonation, smooth feel. Drinkability- if you can stand the powerful sour, this is borderline sessionable.

I'm really loving sours these days...and this is a drinkable and awesome example.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,916 ratings.
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