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
87
very good

2,468 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,468
Reviews: 1,053
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 14.06%
Wants: 57
Gots: 203 | FT: 3
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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,468 | Reviews: 1,053 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of FliryVorru
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

Photo of Zephids
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up one of these in Totowa, having never had a beer from Brouwerij Van Steenberge or even a Flanders Oud Bruin before. This felt like a Lambic when I poured it out and gave it a whiff but it was just not quite sour enough to be considered as such. There was just enough of a sweetness here to make it distinct and the low alcohol made it quite enjoyable to someone unaccustomed to this style, such as myself!

The pour to this was brown, with just a hint of garnet around the edges with a nice head that lasted for quite a while. That wasn't the case with the lacing but there were a few rings that stuck to the sides of my glass as I worked my way down. Some lambic-like sourness was found in the nose but there was a lot of apple and pear sweetness in the taste that cancelled much of that out. There was a good amount of carbonation here too, which helped to offset that and allowed for some cherry syrup and dark fruits to emerge in the aftertaste. Not a lot of sourness here but it was present as the sugar wore off and this almost felt like a fermented cider that I'd have in the fall.

Even though I only had one bottle of this, I could have had another in a sitting, There wasn't any roasted or woody notes that were found in the description of this style on this site, but there was a nice Belgian feel to this from start to finish and it's hard to imagine anyone *not* finding something to enjoy about this beer. The hint of wild yeast makes up for the bottle only being 11.2 oz, as this was neither a fast or a slow sipper. I'm not sure I could have found a better example of a Flanders Oud Bruin to become accustomed to!

Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark mahogany brown with some slight reddish hues. There is a thin quarter inch head of off-white foam that forms and recedes quickly but it leaves a nice lacing along the glass.

Aroma off some oak notes and some nice tartness starts things off. There is some slight funk notes in the nose with some good earthy grain tones. There is some fruit tartness to the nose as well as some slight acidity to it.

Flavor starts off with some slight sweet fruit notes with some grainy malt notes. There is quickly a nice tart fruit acidity that pops up. Nice tart apple notes with some very midl balsamic vinegar. The brew is nice and tart but not too intense and very approachable. There is nice grainy and earthy malt notes mixed in with the fruitiness that also add some sweetness. There is some nice funky yeast notes with some woody oak notes present as well.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium. Nice complete flavors cover the palette and the carbonation adds a nice cleansing feeling.

PRetty good Flanders. Nice fruity notes balanced with the tartness. Refreshing and delicious. Keeps you coming back for more.

Photo of gshackles
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of GraduatedCashew
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of Evan
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of alysmith4
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

Photo of bmurray10
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of jman005
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of tazzman
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of PennState99
1.5/5  rDev -60.9%

Photo of Kunstman
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Pegasus
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Somewhat hazy, deep reddish amber body when viewed before a strong light, otherwise opaque, surmounted by a massive, coarse off-white head, which retains superbly. The lacing is, appropriately, Belgian in form, and quite sticky and thick.

Aroma: Rather prominent lactic and vinegar aroma will not go unnoticed. Bitter apple rind and tart cherries are present as well.

Taste: Opens with a moderate wave of lactic sourness, and vinegar. As the taste progresses, sour cherries and bitter apples offer a counterpoint to the vinegar and lactic flavors. Late in the taste, the is a flourish of restrained herbal hops The finish is rather astringent.

Mouth feel: Smooth and full, with champagne-like carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: I did not expect to enjoy this beer, having heard other craft beer fanciers disparage the style. Nonetheless, I felt that sampling a representative of the Flanders Oud Bruin style was an essential part of my education as a Beer Advocate. To my surprise, I like this beer quite a lot, and hope to try other examples of the style. For anyone who has not tried the style, Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale is inexpensive and will handsomely reward one's tasting efforts.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard eleven point two ounce Euro-style brown glass long-neck bottle with a pry -off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

Sourcing: Purchased at Spec's in Texas in March of 2013 for $2.79 for a single bottle..

Photo of MSandahl23
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of sirsteve42
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of StArnoldFan
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of RashyGrillCook
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of fsck
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of mkrass
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of Lare453
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of mattviator
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of cackalacky
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
2.5/5  rDev -34.9%

Photo of flayedandskinned
3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

No Bottled on date.
Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark translucent garnet. A towering 4 finger loose bubbled, light brown head erupts immediately and as expected, fizzles down fairly fast, consistent with it's style.

Aroma: Big, vinous red wine vinegar right away with some musty funk alongside it. Juicy, tart currants are layered on top of faint, sweet malt in the background. A woodsy presence of rich vanilla and oak becomes more and more apparent as the beer warms.

Taste: Red wine vinegar up front with only the suggestion of tartness, some juicy red currants and some tart cherry notes are flirted with as a big, vanilla infused maltiness lands on your palate and softens the blow of the high carbonation. The creamy malt backbone abruptly mellows out the sourness of the brew and allows some of the oak barrel character come through. The beer finishes very dry, tart with an extremely light tannin presence and a faint hop bitterness. Lingering notes of plum skin and caramel bready malt. The beer does get a slightly unpleasant metallic twang as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with high carbonation; very brisk and refreshing.

Overall: A decent example of a Flanders Red. I do wish the initial rush of sourness sustained a bit longer before the malts rushed in and mellowed everything out, but the malt does add a strong sense of balance and contrast. This is a great beginner's sour. I would suggest not allowing this to warm up too much so you can avoid that metallic after taste.

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,468 ratings.