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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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,972 |  Reviews: 1,151
Photo of katybee
2.56/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

My first sour ale...this might take a bit of getting used to!

Pours a clear amber brown, and light frothy head which quickly dissipates.

Very light smell, but distinctly not hoppy...somewhat like an aged browned apple.

As an ale, this tastes very different from barley-hops beer. For me, it was similar to a fermented apple cider with less apple, and a little vinegar tartness. Unusual. Very soda-like, with a musky off taste on the tongue. Not as fruity as a [raspberry] lambic, but with no barley or malt character like a wheat beer. No real spiciness I could detect.

The carbonation gave a very soda-like effect, but like soda, and not like champagne. Very light-bodied.

Fortunately, this beverage was alcoholic, which gave a purpose to the drinking of it. The ale might blend well with cheeses and pie or crackers, and as a desert on its own, however the off-ness of the taste, and mild sweet carbonation for me wouldn't sit well with other meals (hamburger, pizza, chicken) and a definite no-no to doritos, onion-flavored chips and barbecue!

A quality taste experience, but not one I'll likely repeat!

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Photo of JizackFH
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a clear dark ruby brown color. It has a nice fluffy off-white head. The color of the head reminds me of an apple slice starting to brown. There are also some carbonation bubbles present.

S - The smell is a bit sour and tart. There is also some oakiness and some funk present. Other notes I am getting include Cherry, grapes, and a touch of vinegar.

T - The taste is sour and tart up front. There is some yeast funkiness in the middle, but not all that much. I am also getting notes of fruit, brown sugar, and some cinnamon. The finish is quite clean. There is no hop presence here at all.

M - This has a medium body and moderate carbonation. It goes down easy and has a good flavor. It is sour and tart, but not too much.

D - It has good drinkability. I drank this faster than I thought I would. It has good flavor and is very easy to drink. I like this beer, and I can't wait to try others of this style.

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Photo of afinepilsner
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz brown bottle

Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Red Ale was red-brown in color with good clarity. It had an off-white head with decent retention and lacing. The smell was fruit (cherries) and vinegar. The taste was sweet and sour cherries with some malt, vinegar and buttery notes. The finish was sweet, sour and semi-dry. The mouthfeel was good with a medium-light body and plenty of carbonation. The drinkability was good as this beer kept me very interested. This is a tasty brew and worth a try.

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Photo of Vengeance526
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red amber color with a large sudsy tan head that quickly fades away and leaves hardly any lacing.

Smells of sour cherries, apple and a hint of vinegar.

Taste starts off a little sweet with the cherry flavor strongly present. The sweetness quickly turns back to sour, some light apple shows up again with some woody flavors in the back.

Medium carbonation with a thin mouthfeel. A nice mild sour overall.

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Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: nice mahogany red, gotta score high for color alone. fairly fluffy, cloud like tan head gets rejuvinated with a mere swirl of the glass. strands of lacing remain behind strewn all over the place.
S: sour fruits such as cherries and green apple. nice malt backbone.
T: pretty good mix of sweet and sour aspects. sour cherry up front, and sweetish green apple on the finish. after my palate gets used to the first few sips, the green apple really pulls through as a primary flavor. pretty enjoyable.
M: brisk carbonation slams up front and then gives way to somewhat of a smooth middle to finish. my mouth is left quite content after each sip, it really starts to grow on me.
D: i think the serving size for this beer is the right amount. i probably wouldnt move onto a second one, however the one i am enjoying now goes down super smooth and fast.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a 50 cl fluted glass at Delaney's in New Haven, Conn.

A: Clean, dark reddish amber color with a thin, creamy cap of white foam which settles to a thin coating, leaving little lace. burnished red color is quite nice and the clarity is good for a seemingly darker red ale.

S: Fruity, floral bouquet of red berries, melon, citrus and musty, old bread. Lots of sweetness and only a hint of spicy, yeasty resin.

T: Sweet, tart and fruity up front, with a big-time sour berry and cherry flavor coupled quickly with rushes of sticky sweet caramel malts. Finishes out a bit chewy, with lingering raisin and berry sweetness among the sweet and tart aftertaste.

M: Medium-full bodied brew with some sticky sweet malts and tart acidity thrown around the palate.

D: A very interesting specialty Belgian brew and at 5.5% ABV it's not a stretch to try a few. The fruity, floral esters of this blended Belgian red ale are balanced, yet sweet, acidic, tart and funky all at once. Quite good if you;re in the mood to maybe pair it with a duck or wild turkey.

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Photo of nhindian
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a Pretty Things wine glass. Bottle generously provided as an extra by bs870621345, thanks Bobby!

A - This pours a really nice, deep cherry mahogany color, a great contrast between ruby and wooded brown colors. About a finger's worth of head floats on top of the beer, with fantastic retention, lasting for well over 15 minutes. Lacing is thick and generous.

S - The smell is a bit more mild than other sours I've had, but my most recent have been from Russian River so I'm not sure that's a fair comparison given the style differences and such. Tart cherries, fresh apples, some slight cocoa sweetness, and a lactic, vinegary note fill the aroma. A nice combination of sweet and sour funk going on here.

T - The taste is a tamed down version of the aroma here, unfortunately. While the nose boasts elegant bouquets of fruit and some funk, the taste is instead reduced to a barely tart cherry and raspberry juice quality. Even the vinegar in the nose was a little welcome just to keep things fresh, but in the taste its more acidic.

M - Mouthfeel is light-bodied with good carbonation. Light and spritzy on the palate but the frothy head aids some smoothness as well.

D - Drinkability is moderate. The nose really had me excited for this, but the taste is more narrow in focus. It's a bit simple, if not tasty, but the aroma had so much more opportunity. I would've loved to have this as an introduction to more sour beers, as it is gentle and only slightly tart.

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Photo of paganbeast
2.86/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This is one of the first sour ales I've had, and I liked it fairly well.

The appearance is very reddish brown and actually quite appealing with a nice sustained head and delicate lacing.

The smells are almost overwhelming at first, as there is so much going on. Initially the sour cherries come barreling towards you followed by an entourage of sweet and sour notes.

It tastes quite sweet on the tongue and the sourness permeates the rest of your mouth. There's a feeling of drinking balsamic vinegar at times.

Has a very sticky and lasting mouthfeel, very difficult to shake.

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Photo of thstevens12
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy brown with reddish tinge at the edges. Thin off-white head clings to the edges of the beer.
4

Smell: Tart cherries, estery notes, and a whiff of wheat. I can also detect a touch of lactose and grassiness.
4

Taste: The initial impression is sweet cherry, think pie, with white sugar and ester flavors right behind. The finish is a mild lactic sourness that is refreshingly dry.
4

Mouthfeel: Thin mouthfeel with just a touch of stickiness. Wine-like drying finish.
4

Drinkability: Tartly refreshing and not overly sweet. Highly drinkable.
4.5

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Photo of Geuzedad
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this into a tulip and allowed it to warm up a bit before drinking.

Poured a nice dark reddish amber with a dark lacy head that stayed on the glass.

Smell was acetic with a strong smell of cherries, some sweetness, and an underlying smell of vinegar and funk.

I was a bit disappointed with the taste. It has a good sour cherry with a musty funk, but ends with a bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is a bit heavy and not the degree of sourness I was expecting.

Although I have had better sours, I would recommend this one to those just starting out or to anyone who wants to keep several on hand as they are easy to find and priced well for this style.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.16/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip glass and allowed to warm up to cellar temp before drinking.

The body is crisp and clear. A deep ruby red that borders on garnet, it is topped with a fluffy white 1 finger head that leaves sticky streaks of lacing, as well as some spots of foam, all over the sides of the glass. This looks absolutely gorgeous.

The aroma, unfortunately doesn't live up to the high expectations set by the appearance. There is a light acetic quality to the aroma, but more so, there are sour cherries, some cocoa powder, and an underlying sweetness. The presence of a ton of residual sugar is evident on the palate. The sweetness is high, even for a Flanders Red, making this one a bit tough to drink from the outset. Cloying from the start, the flavor has a long way to go to impress me. The dominant flavor outside of the sweetness is red wine vinegar, which is accompanied in the finish by some more slight acidity and some sour cherries.

Slick and heavy on the palate despite being sour, this beer just didn't really impress me all that much. There are far better representations of this style out there, though I can see the value in this beer. It would be a good training wheel sour for someone just getting into the expensive habit.

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Photo of lnashsig
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
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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Photo of DPFRD
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark Reddish Brown, creamy 2 cm head that recedes leaving a thing layer on top.

S- Sweet and tart, with hint of acidity and a trace of pepper.

T- Upfront comes sweetness, followed immediately by the tart, once it expands some more pronounced sourness pokes it's head, but only momentarily, as it closes with an oaky tannin quality.

M- Medium, good carbonation.

D- It's tasty. I think it is very accessible for almost anyone for this style, as it's not very subtle and the flavors are very clean cut.

O- Not too sour, and the balance of sweetness is good, but definitely more towards the sweet end. The nose shows this as it doesn't give off that pronounced sour aroma... it's in there if you look for it and the beer has had time to open up. Not to shabby.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Three Floyd's in a Monk glass.

Appearance: This pours a cherry color with a tint of brown and a thin foamy tan cap. It mostly fades to a ring but leaves a bit of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Tart cherries, some vinegar, and surprising raisin aroma, which is pleasant and really some character.

Taste: A dash of light malt starts out the sip. Sweet cherries turn tart, then acidic and vinegary. A dash of raisin is in here, and the finish is more tart cherry and vinegar.

Mouthfeel: Crisply carbonated and a little bit creamy at the end. The tartness leaves my lips puckering and my mouth salivating. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: I found this to be easy drinking, not too tart, but with a pleasant, moderately complex flavor. I would definitely order this again.

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Photo of perrymarcus
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pours a deep amber tone, sits a chestnut color with ruby tones evident when held to light. foamy finger, finger and a half beige head, middling retention; head lapse into a thin cap... very nice lacing.

nose is a pretty nice bouquet consisting mostly of malts, sour/tartness, and a fruity sweetness.

flavor hits me with a little more sourness than i was anticipating based on the aroma, but not an overly, mouth-pucking sour... interesting balance between the sweet and sour. defintely has some tang to it; sour cherries. tasty and refreshing, though nothing transcendent.

medium-bodied mouthfeel with healthy carbonation. drinks easily. looks like 4s across the board here.

edit: docking the drinkability score a point. it's wearing on me.

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Photo of larsenju
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Rich amber red body with a very tall light brown head, very good retention and lacing.

S-Just a little sour, some cherries, just a little caramel, crisp apple, and just a touch of a vinegar aroma.

T-Lightly tart, I was getting plenty of cherry and a little green apple, I also got some other lightly fruity esters. It wasn't really funky at all, leaving it pretty juicy but it was still pretty nice. There was also a little malt profile buried in there, kind of a mix of caramel and biscuit with just a little bit of oak backing everything up.

M-Lots of carbonation, but its still pretty smooth, and very dry, almost champagne like.

D-I really like a super tart and funky Flanders, and this isn't. That said, its pretty easy to drink making it more approachable than most in the style. If I remember right it wasn't to expensive either.

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Photo of dgugliuzza
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip

A- Pours reddish brown with a thick tan head. A hazy red hue settles in the glass. Very good head retention.

S- Smells of sour prunes and sweet dark fruits. The combination of sweet and sour combines nicely. Delicate, yet complex.

T- Tastes of prunes and cherries. Mostly sour and a little sweet. Sour after taste that lingers intensely. A bit overpowering for my tastes buds, but pretty interesting nonetheless.

M- Bursts with carbonation. Medium bodied and quite crisp. Goes down fairly smooth.

D- Not sure if I would have more than one. It's a bit too sour and over carbonated for me, but there is a nice balance of sweet and sour. Granted, this was my first sour so I would like to try a few others.

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Photo of mortarit
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Having a real hard time getting into these sour beers. They really drive my pallet crazy. My whole face draws up like all of the air left the building, experience.

Overall, the everthing else about this one particularly looks great for appearance, color, and smell.

Maybe, I should eat more sour apples for practice.

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Photo of BostonBrewins
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Big off white head that sticks around literally, some really nice lacing going on here. Color is mahogany, in the light its a brilliant amber. This beer looks so good in the snifter it's almost a shame to drink it.

S - Earthy boarding on musty fruity esters. Notes of apple and pears.

T - Tangy and just the right amount of sourness. Not as tart as I expected. The fruity ester flavors are definitely there, particularly that of sour apples, raisins and red grapes. Undertones of dark caramel malts are there, but subtle, maybe too subtle. Slight metallic aftertaste, but it's hardly noticeable.

M - Not too heavy but very full mouthfeel. Becomes even more full when I swirl it in my mouth. Superb, definitely this brew's best characteristic.

D - I really enjoyed this one, complex yet very drinkable.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle, Bruery tulip, and some code that probably takes a special ring to decipher on the back label.

Tis a beautiful beer even if it was almost a gusher. A quarter pour filled the glass with 7/8ths head that is rocky, light tan, and as it recedes leaves clumps. The beer is an exceptionally clear ruby.

Aromas are very soft, barely detectable acidity with biscuit and red fruit. After some warming I get vanilla oak.

The flavors have more power than the aromas. Sharp, fresh, tart green apple, a little lemon and unfiltered cider vinegar pucker. There's a cakey, biscuit base that's a complementary background.

Fizzy and tannic with a matte acidity. It's almost like a cider. Very refreshing.

As my second sour, I find it very near the first, Duchesse De Bourgogne. There are some specific flavor differences and in the level of sourness. I like it quite a bit and will keep trying beers with sour and acidic characteristics.

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Date: 22 January 2011
Glass: Sierra Nevada XXX snifter
Type: 11.2fl oz bottle

Poured gently for a 2-finger head, reduces to thin bubbly film, lacing is a little runny, color is slightly cloudy deep crimson-brown with sediment. Aroma is a slightly rusty sour apple, vinegar, and some funky tartness. Taste can be described the same, but the carbonation really hits the tongue hard. Good beer to share with someone!

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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 oglmcdgl
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A bottle poured into my trusty duvel tulip and paired with some confit pork belly tacos.

A- a finger or so of light tan head from a hard pour that settles quickly to leave a few spots of sticky lace on the glass and a thin ring. A good swirl brings the suds right back in stellar fashion. Brilliant deep ruby red brown in color that glows wonderfully when held to the light.

S- apple cider vinegar and vinous bits with some funky must and sweet cherries. There's a strange yet inviting umami savoriness at times.

T- apples, kinda rotten apples in fact but in a good way. Lightly sour and tart with a good bit of cherry cordial sweetness. Some funky wood and vinegar.

M- just about medium in body with a light carb that give a bit of a slick mouthfeel to it.

D- this is the beer that got me into craft beer. I remember it blowing my mind like it was yesterday, I'd never had anything like it and fell instantly in love. Now in the greater scheme of thing this is a tasty brew but I've have had better in the style.

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Photo of DoktorZee
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on-tap at the Draught House, in a goblet.

A - pours a very red, clear brew with little to no head, some obvious carbonation.

S - very unique smell almost like spoiled fruit with a definite tartness.

T - tastes like sour apple juice underpinned by an elusive booziness that never quite makes an appearance. Also significant earthy tones.

M - really nice sharp carbonation that makes this taste very crisp and refreshing.

D - in spite of the significant tartness somehow the alcohol warmth keeps it very drinkable; surprisingly so!

Definitely a unique experience for me; would definitely try it again (and am curious what it's like from a bottle).

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Photo of bobsy
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Volo for around $9.

Standard flanders oud bruin appearance, with a rich mahogany body and a finger of off-white head. Nice retention and lace. Sweet cour cherry nose with a light brown bread aspect. The flavour is relatively simple - sour (though not too sour) cherry, brown sugar, and very mild balsamic vinegar. Straightforward, and not all that complex, lacking a bit of a sour bite that would put it in line with some of the better examples. Medium body and carbonation is about right.

Sweet and fruity, but lacing the sourness it needs. At this point it's more Petrus than Goudenband.

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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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