1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

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

Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,062 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2062
Reviews: 1018
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.1%


Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Flanders Oud Bruin |  5.50% ABV

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.

(Beer added by: nomad on 06-19-2003)
View: Beers (74) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 2,062 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ballewblake
ballewblake

New Jersey

2.93/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Severed in the monks cafe pint glass.
Filled to the top, a thin light head that didn't last, Too dark to really peg the color but it looks ruby red, right now. Barely any lacing on the glass. The nose is all vinegar, having a hard time smelling anything else, its actully so intense its off putting. I love sours and I'm actually thinking this is a bad keg (based on the bottle version I had a year ago.) Taste is uber sweet, no sour notes detected and I'm bummed. Barely getting some cherries but the sweet malts really dominate. Ultra heavy carbonation element in this draught, really cleans the tongue after every sip, priming it for the next swig. Really, I think this draught is off, not near what I remember the bottle being.

Serving type: on-tap

07-06-2009 02:52:41 | More by ballewblake
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

2.93/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On-tap at Prime 16 into a Monk's Cafe tumbler. Cheer's to matching glassware, even if it doesn't do much to accentuate aroma + flavor.

A: Clear vermillion body under a finger of super-fine tan foam. Decent retention and light lacing. Pretty inviting.

S: Uninspiring: prickly red wine vinegar, overripe cherries, and some vanilla. The acetic tartness increases as it warms, but it's never all that interesting for the style.

T: The sourness tingles the tip of my tongue, but is quickly drowned out entirely by wave after wave of cherry/vanilla sweetness. Tastes kind of like stale Cheerwine (for all you non-southerners, this is basically overly sweetened Dr. Pepper). Not terrible, but way too sweet.

M: Explosive carbonation and a sticky medium body. Exciting.

O: I think I prefer this slightly to Duchesse du Bourgogne, but only slightly - both are unnecessarily sweet and lacking in genuine complexity. While I love a great Flanders sour, I really can't get excited about a mediocre one.

Cheers!

Serving type: on-tap

05-08-2011 00:49:50 | More by woosterbill
Photo of Glennlawless
Glennlawless

New Jersey

2.93/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Poured into pint glass

a - Poured a dark reddish brown with a quickly dying down off-white head.

s - tart grape juice, red wine type smell. not a whole lot.

T - smooth entrance, very mild tart finish. thats all there is to it.

M - very well carbonated. pretty drinkable

overall, this honestly was my first sour style ale.not a very interesting beer per say, but it is what people say it is, an entry level sour. i feel this is a perfect beer to get somebody into sours. starts very mild, and at the end it slaps you with some sour. not overwhelming at all though. a pretty well balanced beer and drinkable. i like it.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2013 02:13:52 | More by Glennlawless
Photo of jeffthecheff
jeffthecheff

Connecticut

2.95/5  rDev -23%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a wide stem flute glass. Great clear, reddish brown with an excellent head. Amazing looking beer.

Smell is really strange. Old rotten cherries, grapes, maybe other fruits in the nose. Not very pleasant.

Taste is very interesting and complex. The front of the tongue is like cherry candies. Combined with the high carbonated mouthfeel, it reminds me of pop rocks. This part is good, but the finish changes completely to a rotten/sour like cherry flavor. I just wish the up front flavors stayed, then this would be excellent.

Highly carbonated mouthfeel. Sliding over the tongue feels like poprocks, like I said before. Strong flavors linger a bit too long, though. The poor finish on this beer ruins the drinkability for me. Maybe its just something I have to get used to, I've only had a few sour beers.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2009 02:57:09 | More by jeffthecheff
Photo of PintOHops
PintOHops

California

2.95/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Glass - Snifter

A - Ruby red color with a slight haze to it, it produced a 1-2 finger head that dissipated fairly quick. It left a bit of soapy/splashy lacing.

S - It's definitely got sour qualities, it's like a rice vinegar that's a bit mellowed with the accompanying malts. Soft brown sugar and clove notes is what I get.

T - A bit sour upfront like vinegar, it unfolds quickly into mellow clove & yeasty flavors. It finishes very sour, as it goes down an almost off putting splash of vinegar sourness dominates. It's got some lingering yeasty flavors as well.

M - Kinda thin with moderate crispness. Lite bodied

D - Not very drinkable to me, I'm new to the style and I must say I'm not digging it much. I just wanted to finish my sample and be done with it to be frank, not bad but it takes some getting used to. I'd try another sour for sure but not anytime soon.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2010 23:59:32 | More by PintOHops
Photo of viverlee
viverlee

Ohio

2.95/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

More than any other for me, there’s variety in this style. Superlative to good to average to what the fuck, to be more specific. This one, I wanted to like it more.

STYLE: Flanders Oud Bruin

ABV: 5.5%

LOOK: Dark wood, brown, and syrupy. But that’s a standstill take. On closer inspection with a whirl or two around a Belgian tulip it’s plainly lighter, unsticky.

NOSE: Burnt leather, stale coffee, flat soda. Residual cherry and malt vinegar.

MOUTH: Rather soft, mild tartness. The biggest problem I have is reconciling the message (Flemish Sour Ale) with the result (a slightly sweeter, moderately more acidic Killian’s Irish Red). Cherry skins and cola cake, yes – a wee bit. But it’s a struggle to pull more. For a so-called sour, the finish is ridiculously clean, palate cleansing.

Beeradvocate Rating: 86

ratebeer Rating: 92

Hayward Abbey Rating: 77

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2012 05:03:36 | More by viverlee
Photo of sustainabrew
sustainabrew

New York

2.98/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Look: A deep red that bleeds into brown at the right angles, with a creamy off white head floating atop. Laces quite nicely

Aroma: A mix of funk and sour cherries really stand taller than everything else.

Taste: The ale was surprisingly sweet, expecting a bit more sourness and pop. Sour fruit, like cherries and maybe a tart apple come through, but the sweet maltiness seems to take center stage. Just a bit of carbonation to clean the palate, was hoping for a little more. A medium bodied ale that heads to the heavier side of things.

Notes: A really interesting beer that I quite enjoyed, but I could only really drink one of these at a time. Just cloying enough in its sweetness to leave it a one beer and move on type of drink. Maybe if I was more in the mood i could go for another, but at this time it was a tad much. If you get a chance I would try it, just not sure about going for seconds.

Serving type: on-tap

06-22-2009 22:33:51 | More by sustainabrew
Photo of JosiahS
JosiahS

California

2.98/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Glass: Snifter

The color reminds me of an amber or scotch ale. Pour produced less than 1-finger of head but it has a nice ring and lacing looks great.

The aroma, what can i say ..Very sour with a fermented cabbage and malt vinegar. Just the softest amount of citrus as well.

Taste; right there with the smell. Sour with a bit of spice to it. It's also slightly minerally.

Mouthfeel is light to medium and has a soft feel. CO2 is light.

My first sour. To be honest, i don't like it. Later on down the road, i will probably grow to appreciate the flavors but it will definitely always be low on my list of beer styles.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2010 23:50:49 | More by JosiahS
Photo of dogfooddog
dogfooddog

Panama

3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

bottled version. pours 20% light tan head. smells sour and oaky, pleasant nose

taste is a bit weak, confirming an impression I had when I drank this on tap. there is a taste and smell that reminds me of german weiss beers. This beer does not make you pucker from sourness - it is subtle. It does taste a bit watery as well.

Overall this is probably my least favorite of the flemish red style I have tried to date. The bottle does note that this is a light version of sourness etc., but being a fan of the style I would prefer a full-blown sourpuss beer like duchesse de borgoune or rodenbach grand cru.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2006 02:29:46 | More by dogfooddog
Photo of brushpig
brushpig

Illinois

3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Found a bottle at Sams wines in Chicago, the clerk recommended it.

I have never had a flemish sour before so I have no comparision, but I found it very interesting.

A Redish Brown Hue, with a head that was really non existant.

I smelled cherries right off, sour apples, with acidic sweetness to it.

The taste of sweet cherries was right upfront, then the sour, lightly acidic flavor. Not that complex, but a nice flavor.

The mouth feel I didn't like, the finish never finished, and left my mouth tart and sour, but not in a good way.

My tolerance for the sour and tart is not high in a beer, but the flavor was not bad. Not sure if I am a Flemish sour ale guy. I will have to try more to see.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2006 18:03:49 | More by brushpig
Photo of dtivp
dtivp

West Virginia

3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark mahogany brown with hints of ruby, a larger two finger tan head that dissipated very quickly leaving very light lacing.

Aroma of tart cherries with vinegar.

Taste was slightly tart with sour red cherries, a slight hint of malt then a bitter metallic end.

Mouthfeel was a thin light body with heavy carbonation.

Overall I was not impressed with this sour ale, it does not come close to some of the nice Russian River sour ales.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2011 22:48:08 | More by dtivp
Photo of MRsojourner
MRsojourner

Massachusetts

3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

smell is somewhat musty- old fruit and slightly rubbery
dark red with ruby shining highlights- not see thru
Taste is of cherry coke, barely beer tasting. vey clean stone fruits and grapes. super clean with little aftertaste. almost no taste of hops.
imo way to clean to be called a sour. not sure where that notion even comes from. This is not bad by any means its just lackluster.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2012 20:48:44 | More by MRsojourner
Photo of ajcormier
ajcormier

New Hampshire

3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Poured from bottle into small tasting tulip.
A - Looks great, reddish brown with creamy colored lacing.

S - Smelled good but lacking in a real sharp tart note I was hoping for. Plums, raisins, cherry and lightly toasted biscuits. Slight musk.

T - Disappointing a suppose. As with the smell I was really hoping for something a bit more puckering. Tasting was similar to the smell but sweeter than I was anticipating.

M - Good bubbles and slightly coating. Dry finish but residual sugars were there.

O - Eh, had way better. Good but not worth buying again.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2013 01:19:27 | More by ajcormier
Photo of utopiajane
utopiajane

New York

3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours opaque and dark with a ruby hue. Fat head of tan foam that fell slowly and left patchy lace. Nose is faint. I am getting a faint smell of grape, like grape juice and a powdery sweet scent. Not what I expected at all. The taste is nowhere near sour. It is dry, it is palate cleansing. It is not crisp or tart or sour. In fact it's much sweeter than I ever would have expected and there is only a faint hint of vinegar at the back of the throat as it finishes. The mouthfeel is soft and silky and while it has ample carbonation it has not bite, no zing. Oddly I find this sweeter than I think it should be but as it drinks it does become more sour and more dry.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2013 13:43:33 | More by utopiajane
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

3.05/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: 11.2 oz bottle poured into a pint glass, because I'm a fuckin' rebel. Clear but dark ruby red with great head retention, no sediment. Nice looking stuff.

Smell: Sweet and sour, with an emphasis on the sweet; balsamic vinegar, a bit of cherry cough syrup, slightly mineral/metallic. Pretty middle of the road for the style.

Taste & mouthfeel: Fruity sweetness followed by mild sourness, which leads way to a sweet/sour finish. I'd like a bit less sweetness, but this is pleasant enough. Mouthfeel is a touch syrupy. Decent, but far from great.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2008 01:48:13 | More by largadeer
Photo of mobyfann
mobyfann

Ohio

3.05/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Paid $1.49 for a single discounted at Ludlow Wines in Clifton...

The beer pours a very dark amber-brown base, huge head, great retention, nice lacing. Smells like sour grapes and cherries, that's about it...

The taste presents sour tones present early, tastes of cherries linger from middle to aftertaste, almost like a defunct wine... bizzare!

It's fairly easy in the mouth, low carbonation but as far as drinkability goes forget it... this ale lacks depth!

Final Thought: For a highly rated beer I'm afraid what lessor beers of the same style would taste like... not very impressed with this guy!

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2009 03:32:27 | More by mobyfann
Photo of MichaelinFishers
MichaelinFishers

Indiana

3.05/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into two Bell's tulips. Code on bottle is '24CK 15:14' but can't find what that means.

A lot of carbonation released even on a gentle pour, resulting in a lot of head. If I'd been pouring into a single glass, it wouldn't have been possible in one pour. Head settled down with some nice lacing.

The bottle says this is a Flemish Red, not an Oud Bruin. Who's wrong?

It isn't as tart as I'd hoped or experienced with the style before. It's a little sweeter than I prefer in my sours, but there is still a little sour funk going on. No one will ever mistake it for anything other than Flemish, that's for sure. But not my favorite. Mouthfeel follows the appearance at the pour: very carbonated, just this side of champagne-like, but fairly typical of the style.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2011 20:57:43 | More by MichaelinFishers
Photo of blakelive784
blakelive784

Colorado

3.05/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a snifter, reviewed live:

A - Pours a dark amber/ruby color with a thin, light tan head that's a finger tall. Retention is awful. Largely unremarkable.

S - Tart green apple, lactic sourness, sweet generic malt, cream, and very light yeasty funk. Surprisingly mild in strength, though it seems very well balanced.

T - I'm surprised at how simple this one, especially in comparison to most other sours. Sour green apple dominates over the crystal malt body. It fairly balanced and the sourness is relatively light. Hints of toasted malt come though. Definitely suffers from simplicity. I wish the flavors were less restrained.

M - Light, highly carbonated and an impressive dry finish. Works pretty well for the beer, though it probably would be less effective if there were more flavors present.

D - It's a decent beer, though it definitely wont hit the spot for someone looking for a big, bold sour. May work as an introduction to the style .

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2012 23:30:14 | More by blakelive784
Photo of Westsidethreat
Westsidethreat

California

3.08/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Deep strawberry/cherry juice color. Very clean and opaque. Nice billowy off white head in standard Belgium style. Seriously great looking beer.

S: Yeasty with notes of sour grape, wet oak, cherry vinegar.

T: Not nearly as pungent as I was expecting. Bit like watered down cherry juice. Minor sour notes with out much twang. Not nearly as complex as some of the other Flanders out there.

M: Bit thin and prickly from the carbonation.

D: I was disappointed by this beer. Its ok and certainly drinkable but nothing I'd be compelled to try again. Oh well, they can't all be Rodenbach.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2006 02:59:51 | More by Westsidethreat
Photo of esv
esv

Virginia

3.08/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Flemish, from Flanders - a region that covers portions of Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

The head stands at about 1/3'' and I can hear it. It's like a snap, crackle pop sound or like a soft, white noise or a soda. The head flattens fairly quickly but lacing sticks around.

The beer is dark with a deep brownish red glow around the edges. Light doe not hardly pass through the bulk of the beer.

I can smell sour before I even lift the glass to my nose. The nose is both sour and sweet and it truly reminds me of a Chinese sauce.

There is a thin but syrupy-sweet taste and then sour. The beer is really quite sweet and certainly tangy. There is a hint of bitterness that becomes more detectable as the beer warms. It is almost like the bitterness you might taste from a cup of hot tea, when it has been allowed to cool and the teabag was left to sit in the cup. It is a dry bitterness.

The mouthfeel is thin.

I must admit, this is the first sour beer I've had and it will take me some time to purchase another bottle. It was not easy for me drink.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2009 03:47:44 | More by esv
Photo of coachdonovan
coachdonovan

Rhode Island

3.08/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

i don't have much experience with sour ales, so coming on the heels of Don Russell's description of the Oud Bruin style, i figure i should jump in. i'll start with one of the more common sours. sample size is 11.2oz bottle. no indication on the label when it was bottled, but hey, this style is supposed to be a blend of old and new beers, so who cares how old this one is.

pours darker than i thought it would, but when held up to the light you can see the nice ruby color that i was expecting. i'm not going to lie - the aroma is somewhat reminiscent of when i dyed Easter eggs as a kid. and by that i mean: vinegar.

good carbonation, and the taste is hard to pin down. there is a definite tartness, but not overwhelming. there is a sweet side also, almost in the way Jolly Ranchers or other candy can be sour and fruity-sweet at the same time.

i can certainly see the appeal to this beer, as it's really unlike most anything i've had. it doesn't have any of the hop profile that you get from IPAs or any of the roasted maltiness from a solid stout. i don't know that i want to drink sours all night, but i think i like this one.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2010 19:59:20 | More by coachdonovan
Photo of imasloth
imasloth

Texas

3.08/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Based on other reviews I look to be in the minority here but ...

A- Dark brown with red tint when head to light. Thin almond-coloured head with notable lacing.

S- Sweet malt with slight sourness.

T- Some sourness but not much else. A bit of malt in aftertaste.

M- Light-bodied with a dry, alcohol feel in afterfeel.

O- As my brother said, meh. Not the best of the Belgian brews or even sours by far.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2012 15:22:43 | More by imasloth
Photo of kingcrowing
kingcrowing

Vermont

3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a sampling glass.

Pours a clear red color with a very small light brown color head. Nose is vinegar and funk. That's really it!

Taste is also quite tart and vinegar-y, very sharp and a bit unpleasant. It's got a fairly sharp mouthfeel due to harsh carb.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2010 21:25:36 | More by kingcrowing
Photo of marikoangel
marikoangel

California

3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tall Saison 1900 tulip glass at Amsterdam

A: It poured a deep dark red. It was clear, but hard to see through. There was a nice little head that retained a nice thick lacing on top of the beer.

S: Light scents, a little metallic sour, cherries.

T: It started with a crisp zing to it but smoothed out quickly into a juicy mild. There's a nice sour finish to it. The flavors are light, and there is nothing bold or catching to it. It has almost a watery aftertaste. Sour cherries.

M: Crisp but smooth

D: It was very disappointing. I love sours, and felt this was a weak representation. I've had beers not in the sour category that had more sour to them. It might be a good beer for someone who is just getting into sours or just isn't looking for that wonderful kick you can get from them. As a whole it is drinkable, even if it's one I wouldn't have again.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2010 01:20:05 | More by marikoangel
Photo of cjacobsen
cjacobsen

Illinois

3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(A) Pours a clear, deep red with a small off white that diminishes quickly to nothing.

(S) Slightly tart. Sweet. Cherry. The nose is more of a fruity blend with Cherry taking the lead.

(T) Not very sour or tart, but it's still present. You have the slight vinegar and then packed with cherry flavor.

(M) Very flat and ended dry despite the oily, fuller body mid-taste.

(O) It wasn't terrible but I've had far better Oud Bruins. This one was rather weak and more of a tart and amped up grape juice, just with a cherry spin on it.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2011 13:01:40 | More by cjacobsen
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,062 ratings.