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

2,330 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,330
Reviews: 1,042
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 14.06%
Wants: 50
Gots: 159 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,330 | Reviews: 1,042 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CB2maltygoodness
4/5  rDev +4.2%

CB2maltygoodness, May 03, 2014
Photo of PeteRiz
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

PeteRiz, Oct 11, 2012
Photo of Slynger
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%

Murky cranberried brown with a lid of frothy-creamy light brown coloring

Smells of tart cherries, lightly red wine and vinegary, with sweet wood and spicy hops.

The taste has a light brown sugar / woody sweetness before tart cranberries punch me playfully in the mouth. Dry red and caramely malts help to balance with mild herbal hops. Light medium body feels lightly acidic, and has a frothy carbonation.

Pleasant and mild for the most part, it did not come in as sour as I feared it may have. Good flavor and balance to it and one I definitely would not object to having again.

Slynger, Jul 22, 2008
Photo of LittleDon
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%

A 13 oz. pour at the Sunset in Boston.

Cherry red, clear, with no head or lace. Aroma is sour cherries, oak, and noticeably acidic. Flavor is similar in characteristic, with a very lively feel. Light bodied. Strong lacquer characteristics in both aroma and taste (maybe fermented apples is more appropriate). I would have thought the ABV was much higher.

LittleDon, Apr 29, 2011
Photo of gshak
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

gshak, Nov 14, 2012
Photo of Caudalie
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Caudalie, Mar 12, 2014
Photo of sunofneurot
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

sunofneurot, Dec 15, 2013
Photo of Rborre321
5/5  rDev +30.2%

Rborre321, Jul 14, 2014
Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

Bosoxfan20, Aug 16, 2014
Photo of PEBKAC
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%

Gift from a friend. Yes I like sours, thank you. :)

Poured into my Ommegang flute that's just about perfect for everything these days.

Thick & heavy two inch French vanilla head. Tipping the glass doesn't change the level on the surface. The color of red oak stain, light takes all angles through but the most direct.

Smells of cider vinegar, maple, an honest assumption of potting soil, & a sweet/sour note that comes off a little like a mix between Chinese s&s sauce, & white grapes. Inviting & confusing at the same time.

Taste is a flash of syrupy sweet juice followed by a quick pat down with oak. Overripe cantaloupe & sour orange throw into the ring, but overall all the flavors remain pretty level. A little bit of something like sour milk & ash in the finish, but it agrees with me(sort of). Just a little bit of rind bitterness to keep things interesting. A little cookie crust overtakes any remaining sour right at the very end.

Carbonation is sitting pretty, & just has that touch about her. Body is thin & juicy, but it spreads itself out too far trying to keep everyone happy. A little brashness is healthy every now & then.

PEBKAC, Aug 15, 2008
Photo of ChadQuest
2.1/5  rDev -45.3%

Looks nice, smells pretty fine too with some fruity notes, but there is way to much sweetness for what i wanted. The medicinal sweetness all but masks the characteristics that could be present. Like Cherry Nyquil. wanted a dry puckering finish, but this leaves with just a wisp of tartness and lets you keep the residual sweetness to stick in your mouth. The 12oz bottle in my snifter is more then enough for me, but i am still glad i tried it for more Oud Bruin experience for only 2.99.

ChadQuest, Apr 01, 2010
Photo of elec
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

elec, Apr 08, 2012
Photo of mdwalsh
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%

A: Pours a nice 2 finger head that fades fast, but is otherwise clean looking. A little Active carb, but no yeast or haze at all. A basic light brown in color, it's not that impressive looking.

S: Kind of a sweet vinegar like smell I think. A little apple/pear going on. In fact, a lot like apple cider vinegar, in a good way. No hops at all. Not anything like anything I've had before.

T: Again, weird. Still sort of an apple cider vinegar sort of thing, but mysteriously good. Just sour enough, at least for this noob. The fruity sweetness is really appealing to me, but there's also some tartness at other times.

M: Smooth and watery, in a good way. A nice little sparkle

D: Not sure, I don't think I could drink too much of this. But easy going down.

mdwalsh, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of Dank26
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Dank26, Nov 09, 2012
Photo of CharlesRiver
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%

Such a unique style but so fun to drink. Pours out a cloudy, brown color with a very small head that doesn't seem to last. I see very few bubbles make their way to the top. I forgot to mention this is a 11.2 fl oz bottle, capped.

Smell is sour with something coming through almost like toast? Light notes of cherries and malt seem to be somewhat refreshing. Taste is much milder than I expected. The "sourness" is light but refreshing which makes it more drinkable. The cherries and fruit come through in the beginning and middle. The ending dumps off quickly. Some oaky notes come through but not enough.

Truely a tough beer to rate. I don't know this style well so I am going off pure taste and enjoyment. I would buy this or order this again anytime. I can't wait to try more examples of this style.

CharlesRiver, Oct 22, 2005
Photo of DoctorDog
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%

Presentation: 11.2 oz bottle into a snifter.

A- Pours a translucent reddish brown. 1 finger of fizzy tan, which promptly reduces to a thin, incomplete cap.

S- Tart raspberry vinegar, red wine fruitiness, and a slightly funky yeastiness. Interesting and enjoyable (especially if you like the acetic acid stilt).

T- Swirling with fruity, malty, cherry-esque sweetness. Sour notes are fairly subdued, though there is certainly a perceptible amount of tartness. A bit of a sweet sherry thing going on here. Bitterness extremely minimal.

M- Slightly crisp with moderate carbonation. Medium feel.

D- Surprisingly good. I expected this to be perhaps too sour, or cloying, or perhaps too acetic to drink easily....but it was none of those things.

Future outlook: Hmmm...this was quite enjoyable. If I had been served blindly, I could surely have been fooled into thinking I was drinking something other than a beer. My initial impression is that this was an interesting drink that I will be happy to have again.

DoctorDog, Oct 09, 2009
Photo of Kinsman
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%

Pours a dark and hazy reddish brown color. Dense cream colored head holds tightly against the glass and doesn't let go.

Aroma touches on notes of vinegar and sour cherry but it's not as overpowering as some for this style. A bit of fruity sweetness in the background.

A more balanced version of a Flanders ale with a nice mildly sour kick but plenty of malt backbone and sweetness to keep things in check. Fruit notes touch on green apples and cherry with a nice tartness to them.

Mouthfeel is crisp an bubbly but doesn't quite dry you out like you'd expect. Overall, Monk's Flemish sour is a great sour ale when you're looking for moderation and mild sourness (i.e. good intro sour). At 2.50 a bottle, I'll certainly have this again.

Kinsman, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of homebrewhawk
3.88/5  rDev +1%

11.2oz bottle served in the new style Boulevard Chalice. Poured a reddish brown with a thin tan head. Good lactic aroma of sour cherries. Starts off with nice and tart. A little sweetness and more fruit (cherries). A touch metallic in the finish to start, but this fades. Very refreshing and drinkable. Good price point as well.

homebrewhawk, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of confer
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

confer, Mar 03, 2013
Photo of riemster
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

riemster, Jun 10, 2013
Photo of bluerabbit
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

bluerabbit, Jan 01, 2013
Photo of JEdmund
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Burgundy and clear with a good head on pour but fades fast; can smell the funk easily; nice sour scent, making me think cherries are included; taste is light, slightly sweet (in the finish) and has enough sourness to be enjoyable but not overpowering; high level of carbonation and a thin body; slight copper in aftertaste (makes me think this is the old beer part of the blend); overall an enjoyable experience, but not one to repeat at $4 for 11 oz.

JEdmund, Oct 09, 2010
Photo of MarioM
4/5  rDev +4.2%

MarioM, Nov 23, 2012
Photo of twelvsies
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%

I haven't had a lot of flemish reds, but what I have experienced of the style I love. So I'm trying to branch out a bit and explore. Picked this up out of the blue. Beautiful color on this one, cabinet brown with red hues, but really no head at all, reminiscent of a gueuze. I don't particularly know if this style is "supposed" to have a decent head or not, but I'm thinking no since it's on the sour side. Smell is all over the place. Sour cherry comes to mind first, with other sweeter fruits backing it up. Taste is ok - a little bit of a let down from the smell. Tart, but not overly so, but all of the sweet fruity complexity in the smell is absent in the taste. A little watery to be honest. I'm not one of those guys that needs their taste buds destroyed by every beer at all, but this tastes a little bland to me. The smell is making me crave something better that I can't get in the taste. I think if they stepped this up a bit - a little more sour, a little more complex - it would be great. Not a bad beer, drinkable, but doesn't hold my interest.

twelvsies, Aug 11, 2005
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%

Pours a nice deep syrupy brown with ruby red highlights. Moderate sandy head, composed of larger bubbles that rapidly fades to a ring around the glass. Some lacing. Smell is apple, vinous, slight roasted malt, a bit of vinegar to it too. Taste is somewhat fleeting at first sip. Burst of flavor that ebbs quickly. Let's try again. Tart apples with some sweetness to it, a bit of lightly toasted malt in the finish. Some sourness to it, though quite balanced with the other flavors. Some spice in there too, though not exactly sure what it is. A very slight hint of must too. This is quite good--my first Flanders, but a nice introduction to the style for sure. I can see myself craving something like this (and things far more extreme) in the future. Light, and a bit prickly, this one is actually quite refreshing, now leaving a lingering aftertaste of apples. Quite drinkable, I am definitely impressed with this beer.

LordAdmNelson, Feb 02, 2010
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,330 ratings.