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

BA SCORE
86
very good
2,956 Ratings
THE BROS
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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 neonbrown82
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This is one of few sour beers that I can tolerate. I've tried many kinds of Cantillon all of which were completely and utterly undrinkable, and this one isn't even much less sour, but for some reason I actually like it.

The beer pours to a deep plum color with a fine carbonation that produces a nice tall effervescent head. Looks quite good.

The smell is of rasberry with a heavy tartness. Obviously not loaded with sweeteners, but there is a hint of sweet under the tart.

The taste is shockingly sour at first drink. After that, however, your tastebuds have adjusted a little bit and it seems to be much more balanced. Has a dry, funky horseblanket flavor to it with a backing of tart rasberry. Has a very, very feint lingering sweetness, but mostly dry and acidic.

While I like this beer in small doses, drinking too much of it gives me heartburn... and I don't get heartburn off of anything (even habanero chilis). It's good to get away from the realm of "regular beer" from time to time, and this beer is ideal to introduce the palate to even funkier beers, such as the aforementioned Cantillon.

 1,112 characters

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.31/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Auburn reddish with a medium tan head with lots of lacing. High carbonation is visible.

S - Very sour cherries, apple cider vinegar, faint cherry wood? That is unexpected.

T - Underripe sour cherries and mild vinegar. A bit of faint malt. Aftertaste is a sour and vinegary.

M - Thin, smooth, a little astringent, substantial carbonation. A tad refreshing too.

D - Pretty good. Not the best Flemish sour, but worth a try.

 428 characters

Photo of biggred1
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown with a nice pink tinted tan head that leaves fine lace on the glass. Smells of tart cherries and citrus with a mild yeasty funkiness. Tastes of tart underripe fruit. Nice sour puckering quality with some sweet maltiness underneath. Well balanced and medium bodied with seltzery carbonation that adds to the drinkability. A nice,approachable example of the style.

 381 characters

Photo of rrski198
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Redish/brown translucent color. Huge rocky off white head that sticks around forever. Big time bubbles clinging to the glass and rising quickly from the bottom.

S: Very funky yeasty scent right up front. Odd rotten fermenting fruit scent.

T: Sour right up front with a super sweet back bone. Lovin' this. The sweetness reminds me of a sweet red fruit juice. Quite balanced and super refreshing.

M: Average to above average carbonation with an average body. The flavors come, kick you in the mouth, then leave rather quickly. I am left with more of the sweet nectar/juice than the sourness.

O: I am still fairly new to sours, however, this is one of the better ones i've had. I really like the sweet back bone that cuts through the mild sourness. Some of the sours i've had wreck your mouth wtih only a sour flavor and no balance, this is not the case with this brew. Real nice job here.

 896 characters

Photo of Fordknox
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of BradLikesBrew
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is a blend of slightly sweet, slightly tart cherry and a touch of cider vinegar. Very approachable on the palate. Enough sweetness to invite you in with just enough tartness to keep you drinking. Brett provides just a hint of vinegar funk, mostly on the finish. Great entry level sour.

 291 characters

Photo of OriolesFan1008
5/5  rDev +30.2%

Photo of CaptainNomihodai
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of eulerthegrape
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Having been through a local gueze and the requisite rodenbach examples I can get I thought I'd try this one. Good choice as far as my experience goes:

A - Nice amber brown with a minimal white head which faded quickly.

S - Citric / sour with a underlying sweet malt / cherry aroma.

T - Tart cherries, light waves of sour with a rich sweet malt backbone.

M -medium bodied. Dry in the finish. refreshing without the pucker factor.

D - This is a sour ale I could enjoy year round. Nice on the porch on a warm day!

 529 characters

Photo of martyl1000
4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Cooper's Tavern and at Mason Lounge. I can't stop drinking this stuff, and every time I order something else, I regret not having ordered the Monk's. I guess I'm even more a sour fan than I thought; used to think I was a malt guy, period). The aroma isn't great, smells like vinegar, actually. But I could drink ten of these in a row. Any other favorites I have -- Founders Imperial Stout, Southern Tier Jahva, Mikkeller Black Hole, Tyranena Dirty Old Man -- I can only drink two or three before feeling "up to here" (holding open hand at mid-throat). I can and want to drink as many of these sours as possible.

Note: I love this stuff, but I'd better adjust my original numerical rating (4.88), since I have very little experience with sours. From what I can see in other reviews of sours, this one is not an elite form of the style. I shouldn't be so affected by such things, but I don't want to be a grade-inflator. And its absolutely true that this beer isn't very complex. (But it's so damn drinkable!)

 1,018 characters

Photo of delgotit99
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of axeman9182
3.42/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle, allowed to warm slightly before being poured into my Bruery tulip.

Monk's Cafe pours a deep, dark red, and has some good clarity to it. There are plentiful ruby highlights, and maybe a finger and a half of bone colored foam that displays little in the way of head retention and lacing. The nose is nice, with some lactic sourness leading the way. Cherry and oak both show up a fair bit in the background. The flavor profile doesn't pull everything off nearly as well. The sourness of the beer takes a backseat compared to a sweet, cherry flavor, and the wood notes disappear almost entirely. It honestly tastes like someone took a decent Oud Bruin and cut it with a sweet cherry soda. The body is fine, but the carbonation is definitely a little dull, and it leaves the mouthfeel feeling a little too slick a times. Monk's Cafe is an alright beer, but it's one of the less impressive Oud Bruins I've had.

 921 characters

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

Pours out a bubbly dark cherry red with about a half inch of tan foam on top. Nice sour aroma with light woody notes and faint fruits. Some sweetness is there in the back. Nice little sour kick upfront in the flavor with some balancing notes from sweet fruits. Light woody notes as this finishes. Well carbonated mouthfeel and really easy drinking. While this was good and balanced I usually prefer a bit more sourness in this style.

 433 characters

Photo of BeerImmediately
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured at 50 degrees into a wine-style Leffe glass.

Faint head, as expected, over a deep amber body with a touch of carbonation flowing up. Good lacing.

Aroma is really nice - sweet maraschino cherries, oak, and a nice lactic sourness to round it out.

Terrific entrance on the palate, without too much carbonation to distract from the nice flavor profile. Picked up on red grapes, cherry skins, and a nice, easygoing lactic sourness - definitely not too strong - no pucker. Well balanced overall.

Drinkability is large... could easily zip through a few of these w/out any burnout. This is one that would pair as well with a medium rare fillet as it would with a fruit-topped cheesecake or cherry tart.

 708 characters

Photo of cosmonick
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of StephRai
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of IBUnit63
3.36/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bready, rye bread head with Florentine lacing. Deep, dark brown body with moderate carbonation. Has a root beer look to it.

This is an unfamiliar style for me, so I'm getting a lot of vinegar at first. Sweet, sarsparilla malt also makes an apperance. Ample funk.

I can understand the sour vinegar funk but I'm getting a tinny, metallic taste also. Comes off as funky but not entirely in a good way. Underneath the metal there's lots of character, though.

Yeasty, bready mouthfeel - funk evens out with warmth.

This one is a little tough to choke down - decently made but probably not my thing.

 597 characters

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

Bottle poured into a sniffer produced a fingers worth of white head that turned to lace on top of a mahogany body

Aromas of funk and cherries fill my nose

Flavors of sour and tart fruit a great treat lots of pucker power

Medium mouthfeel with enough carbonation to keep it interesting

I've had this on tap and I will say that it was better than the bottle, but still a good sour none the less

 400 characters

Photo of Knoxrb12
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of cdkrenz
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Brown body with a purplish accent where light makes it through. Head is eggshell and starts out at about a half inch and fades to leave a thin layer of varying densities at the surface.

S - Smells of a dry white wine. There are apple aromas, what seems to be a woody scent, and a sourness.

T - I taste alcohol, Chex Mix, sour grapes and yeast. One of these flavors in and of itself may not be all that inviting in a beer, however, wrapped up together they're not too bad.

M - Light bodied with a high level of carbonation making for abrasiveness throughout. It does have a nice dry finish.

~ This is a unique beer. Not one that I would seek out necessarily, but definitely a beer worth sampling.

 705 characters

Photo of funkyaudio
3/5  rDev -21.9%

Photo of 2ellas
2.46/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of judkinst
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

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

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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