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

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86
very good
2,956 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
Ratings:
2,956
Reviews:
1,145
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
13.28%
 
 
Wants:
90
Gots:
458
For Trade:
5
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,956 |  Reviews: 1,145
Photo of spratmi
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep ruby brown with a massive five finger head that recedes into a fluffy thick pillowy cap with an abundance of sticky lacing.
S: Sour and tart. Many complained of a vinegar smell, but I am not overwhelmed by anything like that. Very reflective of the style. Tart yeast and sour cherries.
T: Wow. Tartness rules. This beer is very interesting. Tart with spices in the picture. Apples, spice, cinammon, nutmeg, lemons, earthy breads, brown sugar, a hint of molasses. Very nice
M: Crispy and carbonated with a slight pepper burn. Light bodied.
O: Very nice. Very underrated. Excellent example of its style.

 617 characters

Photo of tobelerone
3.44/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A reddish brown beer with a decently foamy head. Aroma is strongly redolent of vinegar and cherries. Very tart taste, typical sour, vinegar is in there, lots of cherry flavor as well, moderately sweet. All depends on how much you like sours and can deal with the vinegary aspect of the flavor. Found it ok, kind of a low-end entry level sour, not very complex, pretty refreshing. Brisk carbonation makes it taste like a sour cherry soda...with a vinegar backbone. Clean finish doesn't linger, nicely quenching.

I actually kinda like this beer, at least when I'm in the mood..have it had a few times and always have a different reaction. Not as good as something like Rodenbach, but similar I suppose. As I said, it's an entry level beer for the style and the low price reflects that. Usually under 3 bucks when I see it.

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Photo of DCon
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on-tap @ the Hair of the Dog on Washington Ave. (St. Louis), MO for $5. Tapped from the Monk's Cafe Red Tap Handle into a 16oz Monk's Cafe Cocktail Style Glass.

Aroma- Has an awesome aroma! Sweet with black cherries are very strong. Has the slightest sour aroma but nothing big.

Appearance- Received with a .5 finger head that is off white. Has a clear, ruby-brown body and only sudsy lace is left on the glass.

Flavor- Very light character in the taste. It is evident that there are cherries in here but the sweetness and malty take over the entire taste. Has that sweet and sour profile but very minimal.

Mouthfeel- Light Bodied, Medium Carbonation, bit of alcohol taste on the finish but then has a metallic taste... Should definitely not be present.

Overall Impression- I was excited to try this on-tap but will tell you this is definitely a brew that should be enjoyed by the bottle! I love presenting this to people who are looking to try new styles but it was much different on-tap. Try it if you can and let me know if you think the same way!

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Photo of output01x
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330 mL. capped bottle (No Date) into a tulip glass.

A moderate pour yields a 2 1/2-finger cream-colored head that recedes after a few minutes to a thick coating and thick foam ring. The body is a dark copper brown with a strong amount of energetic carbonation bubbles. Thick lacing clings to nearly every available surface the beer touches.

A strong sour apple vinegar aroma hits the nostrils at first sniff. A deeper investigation reveals a grainy malt background and notes of cherry and raspberry.

Very similar to the nose, a vinegar sourness starts each sip with notes of cherry and raspberry. As the beer is swallowed, the taste transforms into a sugary sweet apple cider flavor with notes of grapes and dark fruits. A slight raspberry aftertaste finishes each sip.

Light bodied with excellent carbonation, this beer goes down like soda. The body is light and playful, allowing the fruit flavors to really impact the taste buds without being coating or sticky. The carbonation is quite fizzy and really helps to make this a beer you can drink in mouthfulls.

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Photo of StlHopHead77
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours out a Cola-like reddish/brown with a rapidly dissapearing,3 finger,tawny crown that reduced to a thin ring and left light but clingy lacing.

S-Cherry limeade,hay,yeast rolls,white pepper and Cheerwine(NC,representin').

T-Ferrara Pan Cherryheads,preserved lemon,sourdough and prosecco.

M-Bright and refreshing with lively carbonation and a mild sourness.Good starter sour.

O-Nice and light and probably a beer more suited for warm weather.

 450 characters

Photo of socon67
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours amber with a red hue. Thick rusty colored foam head.

S - Smells of sour apples, and similar to many Willy Wonka candies.

T - Taste has a tangy sour flavor, with tartness of sour cherries.

M - Medium bodied, well blended, and went just awesome with Indian food.

O - A well made Oud Bruin that isn't overly sour and has a fruit tangyness that makes it an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of LiquidCucumber
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours deep copper/red, nearly a purplish brown. Has a small head that recedes to a white ring quickly.

S - Musty apple cider, smells like it will be tart and makes my mouth water. Some bready malts as well.

T - Tart grapes, apples and cherries. The smooth fruity malt also delivers some deep earthy tones. Dark figs seem to mix with the musty floor of a barn and hints of cider vinegar.

M - Dry and bubbly; lingers just a little too long.

O - Not a bad brew, but not something I'm going to try to seek out a bunch of. I'd rather it be a little bit more extreme in the sour and funky categories. A good starter for the style though.

 639 characters

Photo of jcartamdg
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish brown with a paperthin head that slowly creeps to the glass of my tulip. Great lacing throughout. Aroma of sweet wine and lactic sour. Taste follows the nose tart but not overpowering. Smooth and sweet. Easy to drink where I could have two or three in a sitting. I love this beer

 295 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Monks Cafe Flemish Sour Red

Pours a reddish brown in color. Sour aroma, cherry, brown sugar, and red wine vinegar tones. In the flavor, malty, sugary sweet and sour. Belgian candi sugar, a present lactic tartness and sweet malt. Mouthfeel Is medium bodied and carbonation is low to moderate. I know I have come full circle, I tried this beer early in my beer journey and couldn't drink it because it was so sour and different. Now it's not sour enough for me, but still a nice Flanders style ale.

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Photo of HopsKeepDroppin
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into maudite snifter.

A- Pours an opaque dark red-brown color with a monstrous beige colored head.

S- Smells really sour and some vinegar, cherries. Very complex.

T- Really sour cherry.

M- Really tangy feel that almost makes me pucker

O- This was interesting. Really nice sourness with some cherry flavors.

 337 characters

Photo of eclipse54
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 330 mL bottle, poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a rusty brown and color with four finger’s width of sudsy, very bubbly light khaki head off of a very easy pour. There is a audible crackle as it quickly fades down to an inch, where it lingers for some time. Smells of tart cherries and raspberries and a slight touch of sour apple. Taste is very similar, with a number of muddled sour fruits before a sweet, wine like finish. Mouth is quite dry after the rush of sour. Overall, a good red ale that I pick up infrequently when I'm in the mood for a more economical choice in this style.

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Photo of jsanford
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle poured into a Tulip Glass.

Pours a dark mahogany with reddish tints and a thin ivory head that dissipates quickly, leaving just a slight swirl of haze. Nice aromas of slightly sour cherry, leather, oak, and lactic acid. Flavor follows the nose nicely, it reminds me a bit of a "classic" Rodenbach with with less cherry character and more lacto. Mouthfeel is smooth and crisp, with a medium body and good, sharp carbonation. Overall a really nice Flanders, not quite on the Rodenbach level but still really good!

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Photo of nppeders
4.62/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance - brown with a reddish hue when held up to a light. extremely clear.

smell - tobaco?, chocolate, sourness, vinegar, sweet cherries.

taste - apple, cherry, vinegar, tastes like balsamic vinegar, definitely more vinegar then I've had in any beer but i really like it. Literally tastes like a fine balsamic vinegar. Some sweetness combines with tartness. reduce this with some berries and serve over ice cream and damn..that's a fine Italian dessert

mouthfeel - thin mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

overall - this is a fantastic Oud Bruin. Sour, tart, vinegar, apple, dark cherry.

 594 characters

Photo of Mavajo
2.51/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours a deep mahogany, reddish color with a mild eggshell head. Aroma of vinegar and cherries. Not bad, but something just seems "off" about it. The taste is tart with a vinegar sourness, backed up by big cherry notes and hints of apple. Sweet. Big, big carbonation that tingles all across your mouth. Clean after-taste and cleanses the palate pretty well. I'm sure the huge carbonation has a had in that. I'm perplexed by some of the reviews that mention "mild carbonation" -- this is one of the most overcarbonated beers that I've ever experienced. If you try to swish it around, you end up with a mouth full of fizzy foam.

There's something just cheap about the aroma/taste on this one, and the over-the-top carbonation just really kills it. Reminds me of a Lindemans/Cheerwine blend, pumped full of carbonation. Seems more like a sparkly wine cooler than a beer.

 867 characters

Photo of Johnnyfacelift
4.56/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The first thing you smell from the bottle is the sourness, but when you pour you pickup more of the Belgian yeast character. It's a deep mahogany, crystal clear with a very prominent foamy head... lots of carbonation! The flavor of this beer is actually much more sweet than it is sour, I was expecting a big puckering sour and it tastes very rich and full for being a medium % ABV, cheers to the brewers! There's some nice raisin notes along with plum. Does not leave any aftertaste and is very drinkable. This is the first real "sour" ale that I've had other than the fruit lambic styles but I could see myself exploring more of the sour beer universe. Excellent!

 665 characters

Photo of jealousmonk
3.06/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is an interesting beer. It's hard to rate too highly--the mouthfeel is seriously lacking, and it doesn't bring the complexity of a really good sour--but it was unusual and fun to drink.

A--Dark reddish brown, poured into a tulip glass. Appears heavily carbonated, but did not feel overwhelming.

S--Smells sour, with strong apple and vinegar. Mild yeast and cherry. The smell is not very enticing--too vinegary.

T--Not terribly sour--more tart, with strong flavors of apples and cherries. The taste in unusual for a sour--far more drinkable than I was expecting, and as I said in the beginning, less complex.

M--Very thin. The carbonation level seems fine, contrary to the appearance of the beer. It could certainly use more body. This might be part of the reason that the flavors have less depth than expected. However, this also means I could drink a few of these. Drinking more than a couple of stronger sours would be very difficult. Overall an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of NotMyRealName
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is unusual. Although a Belgian ale, there's something that reminds me of a champagne. Fruity and smooth. Not hoppy. The flavor is not as complex as the best Belgian beers, but neither is it bland like Blue Moon Belgian White. Just like champagne makes a tasty occasional treat but is not an everyday drink, so too is Monk's Cafe.

 339 characters

Photo of jondeelee
3.44/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

If you had to judge this beer solely by the smell, you probably wouldn't try it. The aroma is vinegary and sour, and in fact more resembles a hard cider than a beer. Hints of bananas, apples, and cider vinegar dominate, but by and large this smells like the beer went bad in the bottle.

On the tongue, the resemblance to a hard cider continues, and thankfully, while the sour flavor is still present, it seems tempered here, and easily palatable. Again, bananas, cider vinegar, and apple flavors are present, and dominate most of the mouthful. In some respects, these flavors mimic ports, sweet champagnes, or perhaps sherries. Towards the end a few layers are peeled back to reveal a white grape-like taste, as well as nicely toasted grains. Mouthfeel is light--only slightly viscous--and the ale is fizzy, with more carbonation than usual.

Overall, while this beer is a bit of a shock to the tongue, and probably more than a bit of an acquired taste, it's still intriguing and seductive. Worth seeking out.

 1,012 characters

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 ZenAgnostic
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
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 ZimZamZoom
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass, a beautiful deep red color and thick tan head. The head fades fast to a nice layer that stays throughout.

Interesting aroma as a tart fruitiness blends with a bready malt background. Both sour and sweet cherries come to mind. Mild sour flavor, with more tart fruit and less of the malt. Interesting but not much more. It does dry out nicely in the finish.

Well carbonated and light to medium in body. Easy to drink and pleasant all the way around. I have not had many in this style but I do find this enjoyable.

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Photo of ferrari29
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer poured from bottle into a Tulip glass at O'Shaunghnessy's Public House in the Ravenswood area of Chicago, IL.

A - Beer poured with a rocky, two finger sized beige colored head; held very well; body had an opaque dark reddish colored body; some lacing formed on the glass; some visible sediment

S - Initial overwhelming blast of vinegar and sour yeast come up; followed up with a light wheat smell; as the beer warms up a fruity cherry and berry profile develops and takes over your nose as the vinegar/sour scents become less

T - Great sour red ale taste; vinegar notes and astringent; light malt flavor is taken over by a fruity cherry blast; just like the smell, as the beer warms up, the cherry/berry flavor really starts to take over the taste profile; tart

M - A bit on the thin side; tangy fruit flavors give your taste buds a nice challenge; lingering cherry flavors; crisp and refreshing

D - I really liked this one; don't pass this up if your a sour beer fan; nice sour notes followed up by fruit flavors really make this a unique drink experience; smooth and easy to drink

 1,092 characters

Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes: Had on draft at Monk's Cafe thanks to Maggie for DIPA Trivia Question. : )

appearance: dark red / brown with a 1 finger minimal head

smell: sour, tart, cherries, apples,

taste: sour, tart, refreshing, cherries,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: really impressed how refreshing this beer was. So glad I got to try it and had a great time at Monk's.

cheers,
the CPJ

 408 characters

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.

 458 characters

Photo of HipHop5
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poor a medium to dark red Mahogany color.

3 fingers of light beige and creamy head that hang around for some time.

Heavy but perfect carbonation.

Mild dry fruits and funky on the first nose. Acidic lactic tart apple and cherries as it develops in the glass.

Some Oak ,raisin and tart apple, cherries open up after 10 minutes.

Super dry up front with medium light body. Extremely thirst quencher although a bit sweet in the finish with a heavy dose of candy sugar caramel sweetens. Lightly sour and tart in the middle but sweetness covers most of sourness. Well balanced and a perfect introduction to sours. Cherries and musky metallic note are revealed as it warms up a bit more. good sticky lacing.

This is a bit expensive but a great side track brew for the summer. If you ask me what I would prefer instead of a glass of champagne, this would do the trick. Sweet and dry at the same time. The blend of two sours makes this an extremely balance beer.

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Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,956 ratings.
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