1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Not Rated.
Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

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

2,237 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,237
Reviews: 1,032
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.1%
Wants: 47
Gots: 133 | FT: 2
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 (77) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,237 | Reviews: 1,032 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Flight317
Flight317

Indiana

4/5  rDev +4.4%

04-17-2014 20:59:42 | More by Flight317
Photo of mj81
mj81

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +4.4%

04-07-2014 11:05:57 | More by mj81
Photo of BWED
BWED

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was lucky enough to move to the Philly area, and stopped into Monk's the other day. I had this on draft before my mussels came out.

A- Translucent mahogany, with an emphasis on some red highlights. Light light brown head, one finger thick, retains okay with some spattering of lacing.

S- Sweet, fruity. Tart cherry hits the nose quite strong.

T- Sweet strong cherry, with an acidic tart finish.

M- Smooth, yet with an acidic bite, fairly light body, and a puckering finish.

O- This is a fantastic choice for someone entering the realm of beer, as well as showing someone the diversity in beer. Lip smacking sweetness with a good tart balance. I like it.

Serving type: on-tap

02-23-2013 19:26:21 | More by BWED
Photo of chOAKbarrell
chOAKbarrell

Maryland

4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Supposedly this beer was made for Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia? I dont know the whole story - maybe that is just a rumor.

Pours a very murky mahogany color with a small off-white head.

You could smell the sourness on this beer even if you had no olfactory sense. Awesome and powerful. There's also some scent underneath the sourness that smells like cheap stinky dollar store perfume. Not so awesome.

I really dig the taste. Not quite like a lambic. Maybe the best way I could describe it is like a halfway step between a lambic and a regular ale. Its sour, but it doesnt have the champagne qualities of a Belgian lambic. Very interesting. I've never had anything quite like this before.

Mouthfeel is sharp, tart, and to the point.

A very fun and interesting beer to drink. I dont know how many of these you would want to have in a sitting, though. Perhaps it is just a one-time thing. Other than the stinky scent, I give it all-thumbs-up.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2006 23:23:42 | More by chOAKbarrell
Photo of illeagle05
illeagle05

Virginia

4.25/5  rDev +11%

05-05-2014 02:52:08 | More by illeagle05
Photo of dpnelson1978
dpnelson1978

Minnesota

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10 oz. pour in glass snifter.
50°F (~)

$6.00 / ea.

A: Bright brown body with red highlights topped with a small loose head that quickly dissipates leaving moderate lacing and a thin bubbly cover.

S: Sour lactic nose but not overpowering, pleasant. Smells like pinot. Really interesting.

T: Tastes like pinot noir, with a pronounced grape presence. Sour lactic, but very clean, and inoffensive. Low hop character, and very little aftertaste.

M: Light body with high carbonation and a acidic bite on the tongue. Crisp.

D: Not everyone will like this one, but I could drink it all night. Give me some cheese and crackers and it would be heaven.

O: I was instantly impressed with this one, and later found out it is the same brewer as Gulden Draak (my favorite beer). I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, but I definitely was.

Serving type: on-tap

10-03-2010 03:05:25 | More by dpnelson1978
Photo of JebediahScooter
JebediahScooter

Vermont

3/5  rDev -21.7%

06-08-2014 14:07:15 | More by JebediahScooter
Photo of HereforBeer
HereforBeer

Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

04-06-2014 15:59:34 | More by HereforBeer
Photo of zoolzoo
zoolzoo

Connecticut

3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Another good all around Oud Bruin, Im starting to get into this style a bit more lately.

Pours ruby red with a lively head. A high level of carbonation is apparent. The smell is of sour cherries, vinegar, red wine barrel, hints of sweet and sour, subdued yeasty funk. A little musty.

A ballad of sweet and sour. Well balanced, but sometimes I'm in the mood for a bit more of one or the other. Definitely tart, but also ripe cherries, malt base, and wood. Moderate acidity.

Mouthfeel is pretty much on the mark; light, relatively thin, and bubbly. An acceptable example of the style, but not my favorite Flanders.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2010 14:58:39 | More by zoolzoo
Photo of rickyleepotts
rickyleepotts

Arizona

4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is apparently rare. I had no idea. I don’t even remember what it cost, but it was less than $10 for the bottle. I grabbed a bottle at Whole Foods. They have a solid selection, but sell just as many cases as they do single bottles. I think ALL beer should be available at ALL stores by the bottle. But that’s just me.

I don’t remember the show, but when I search for “Monk’s Cafe” on Google, the restaurant from the hit TV show Seinfeld shows up. I wonder if that was the name of the restaurant on the show… anyone know? Anyway, let’s get busy drinking.

In the Glass: I didn’t expect this to be so dark. It’s almost red. The label is red, which makes sense. But the last few sours I have had were not red. That’s for sure. But hey, I am fairly new to sours, so maybe THIS is normal.

Nose: Holy cow. The first thing I smell is sour. Like SOUR sour. Not just sour… but sour sour. Did I mention this beer is a sour? I also am picking up some spices on the second sniff. After three or four smells, it starts to settle down a little bit. But I can already taste the sour. Let’s just see how sour she is.

Flavor: The beer quickly slides across the palate, with little carbonation and then just disappears leaving your tongue with that almost too sour sour, but then a soothing finish. The back of the throat gets those spices I was picking up on the nose, but the sour doesn’t really last. That’s OK.

Mouthfeel: I wanted a few more bubbles, but the beer has a great mouthfeel. You don’t get much on the front of the tongue, but then the sour slides around and just punches you in the teeth when you start to swallow. Then the sour leaves, and those spices hang on into the aftertaste. The beer is also very thin, which I expected. As sour as it is, it is very easy to drink, and with a low ABV I could see myself throwing back a six-pack on a Friday night.

Aftertaste: The sour is so forward, it doesn’t really stick around. The spices that were on the nose do. The aftertaste lasts for three or four minutes, then you are left with a somewhat bitter, dry finish. The burp is pretty weak too, but the sour explosion on the tongue when you start drinking puts the rest to shame.

This beer is rare, but shouldn’t be. It’s delicious. It’s also a good springtime beer too, as those sours make me think/feel about the summer just around the corner. I wonder what foods this would pair with… anyway, it’s great. Bottoms up, people!

Monk’s Café Flemish Sour Ale - The bottle says: “We blend young and old beers to make this mildly sour sour ale. Light bodied with a lactic/sour nose and a bit of sweet and sour in the finish. Very refreshing!”

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2012 18:29:34 | More by rickyleepotts
Photo of jborg
jborg

New York

4.25/5  rDev +11%

06-14-2014 01:28:18 | More by jborg
Photo of sclitch
sclitch

Alberta (Canada)

4/5  rDev +4.4%

02-09-2014 00:57:44 | More by sclitch
Photo of DoktorZee
DoktorZee

Alberta (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
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).

Serving type: on-tap

01-16-2011 19:33:43 | More by DoktorZee
Photo of TGS
TGS

California

4.5/5  rDev +17.5%

05-06-2013 03:04:33 | More by TGS
Photo of slavall
slavall

Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

04-06-2013 03:49:06 | More by slavall
Photo of JasonSiedman
JasonSiedman

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +11%

08-30-2012 18:36:29 | More by JasonSiedman
Photo of SacoDeToro
SacoDeToro

California

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep reddish brown with a dense tan head that faded to a nice lace.

The aroma of the beer was of sweaty horse hair and that distinct Belgian lactic tang. No hops or maltiness was detectable in the aroma.

The flavor was predominantly tart cherries with notes of vanilla and cinnamon. There were some slight solvent flavors typical of this style.

The carbonation was good, but the mouthfeel could've been a touch fuller to add some body.

Overall, a very drinkable Flanders red ale. Not too over the top with tartness.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2006 03:45:30 | More by SacoDeToro
Photo of mondegreen
mondegreen

Georgia

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle into a Samichlaus Tulip.

I'm a newb to sours, but I'll give this one a shot.

A: Deep red with a small head and no lacing. Bunches of carbonation bubbles flowing up the side of the tulip.

S: Sour smell, picking up some fruits. Smells nice.

T: Reminds me a little of a cider, but that's probably just me looking for a point of reference since I am very new to the style. I pick up a good deal of sweetness in the mouth, and the finish is all sour. Really a nice drinker.

M: Nicely carbonated, good mouth.

D: I enjoy this one, but after 12oz I am ready to move on to something else. The sweet/sour thing tires me a little. However, I will come back to this one another night, so it is at least above average.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2010 02:16:33 | More by mondegreen
Photo of BradtheGreat7
BradtheGreat7

Ohio

3.89/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle with a pretty nice label and Belgian style shape to the bottle. Not eye candy but still a pretty good label and bottle. Poured into a tumbler style pint glass. Nearly identical to the one pictured on the side of the pack.

A - dark reddish brown with lathes chucks of sediment floating about. Tan head poured quite nice at cellar temp and took its time dissolving into a good ring of lace. A bit thin looking for the mass it had. More light pillow like. Left small splotches of stick throughout the experience.

S - exactly as I expected. Some real funk to it. Oak. Dark fruit with sour cherries. But also a more dominant apple blend fruitiness. A sweet malt and more funk from the yeast. Overall a fine smelling ale. Dark, sweet, and mildly sour on the nose.

T - some real sweetness up front from the malt. Candied dark fruit and sour cherries. Everything seems ripe with age. A hint of oak about this, but not quite enough for me. Semi tart finish but no where near puckering. Yeast funk is a highlight in Monks Cafe. A lingering funk. Quite Nice.

M - lightest medium body possible. Not a whole lot of thickness but surprisingly a smooth rich texture considering its light in nature size. Very smooth and no where near a full in your face sour ale. This is a mild sour and very refreshing. Smooth with a lingering finish. Yeast funkiness alone is worth the try.

O - a very good brew. Not something I was searching for, but I'm glad I bought 1. It gives you the characters of a sour ale while keeping an excellent balance and not over doing the sourness nor the sweetness. If you like a sour ale without the puckering this is spot on. It's very session like and easy going. A super lunch beer. Quite tasty.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2013 19:56:28 | More by BradtheGreat7
Photo of SnatchyMcPants
SnatchyMcPants

Indiana

4.75/5  rDev +24%

03-28-2012 21:53:23 | More by SnatchyMcPants
Photo of tvv375ia
tvv375ia

Iowa

4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
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

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2011 22:51:31 | More by tvv375ia
Photo of dozier77
dozier77

Arizona

4.25/5  rDev +11%

02-22-2014 06:17:31 | More by dozier77
Photo of DLSheidy
DLSheidy

Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

04-15-2014 01:46:32 | More by DLSheidy
Photo of mattster
mattster

Texas

4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Papago Brewery 05/22/09. Was served by the great bar staff in a tulip from tap.

Presented with a nice ¾" thick creamy head of tan atop a dark reddish-brown (or was it brownish-red?) brew.

First smell and I was amazed. I am sure I got funny looks from people as I just sat there for about 45 seconds sniffing. It was like a trail mix of home dried fruits. Taste follows through with a nice slightly fruity ale - not sweet. Very pleasant and well worth a nice slow slip. Not super sour, but has the right amount of sour to make it really pleasant.

Wonderful mouth feel and a really good follow through. This is one of those beers that when someone says "I won't drink beer, I prefer a good red wine" - give them this.

To everything this good, there is always a down side: It isn't cheep. I did end up purchasing a few in bottles, which I will be reviewing at a later time.

Serving type: on-tap

05-25-2009 10:29:33 | More by mattster
Photo of MrIncognito
MrIncognito

Virginia

3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I had a really hard time with this beer because it is so very true to the style description but I had a really hard time drinking this on its own. Was really wishing I had some strong cheese or some roasted pork with leeks

A - Deep mahogony with a khaki head that is thick and fizzy. Stickier than I thought it would be and leaves beautiful lacing. The head fades to a 1/4-inch cap and stays for the whole beer. An incredibly attractive brew

S - Apple cider with light vinegar and sour cherries. Some clove-like spice that adds to the apple cider aroma.

T&M - Very spritzy carbonation that is quite nice in feel. Livens this beer up a bit and gives it a light, non-syrupy body. I instantly taste fresh mulled apple cider and think of a Fall county fair. Sour cherry notes and then hit hard by slightly bitter vinegar. Not harsh to the tastebuds, but man is that interesting. I can definitely appreciate the flavors here. No hop bitterness and not much malt I don't think.

D - Definitely a sipper, but again I had a hard time drinking the whole thing. Would have been much better with some food.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2009 18:38:09 | More by MrIncognito
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,237 ratings.