Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,093 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,093
Hads: 2,712
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.24%
Wants: 78
Gots: 354 | FT: 6
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:
Beer added by: nomad on 06-19-2003

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.
View: Beers (96) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,093 | Hads: 2,712
Photo of leeenglewood
4.57/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not a beer for everybody but if you like sour and sherry like drinks you should indefinitely enjoy this wonderful thirst-quenching beer. Pours amberish brown with white head that becomes lacy. Smells like cherries and good American whisky also has very sherry like smell. Taste is predominately tart and somewhat acidic no apparent sweetness. A rather drinkable beer if you are into this kind of thing, as the acidic qualities are not overbearing. (447 characters)

Photo of Johnnyfacelift
4.56/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The first thing you smell from the bottle is the sourness, but when you pour you pickup more of the Belgian yeast character. It's a deep mahogany, crystal clear with a very prominent foamy head... lots of carbonation! The flavor of this beer is actually much more sweet than it is sour, I was expecting a big puckering sour and it tastes very rich and full for being a medium % ABV, cheers to the brewers! There's some nice raisin notes along with plum. Does not leave any aftertaste and is very drinkable. This is the first real "sour" ale that I've had other than the fruit lambic styles but I could see myself exploring more of the sour beer universe. Excellent! (665 characters)

Photo of Twincrasher
4.55/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very nice head. Small bubbles. Pour slowly.

S: Astringent and very fruity. Very enjoyable as a stand alone night cap.

T: Cherry and deep fruits cut through the sour flavor profile. Very smooth finish for a sour beer.

M: Good layered mouthfeel. Finish is where flavor profile enhanced.

O: Not just a novelty. Worth drink as stand alone. Very nice. (354 characters)

Photo of cichief
4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 750ml bottle in Columbia, MD.

A- Poured a beautiful ruby-brown, with a nice light brown head. The beer was clear when held up to light.

S- Nice and sour, fruity.

T- The sourness was nicely balanced by a sweetness from the malt. Lots of ripe fruit flavor.

M- Well carbonated, but overly done. The mouthfeel was medium.

D- A very refreshing beer. This was sour, but well balanced. (392 characters)

Photo of PhilCheSteak
4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Visited Philly last week and had a chance to pick up a bottle of this delicious beer. Poured out of a 11.2 oz bottle into a nonic glass.

A: Reddish/brown color, with a nice head. This beer is just asking me want to drink it every time I look at it.

S: An apple, fruity smell. Smells both sweet and sour.

T: Just the right amount of sweetness. I've never had a sweeter, more delicious beer in my life. Tastes of apples and cherries. Every sip is refreshing and satisfying.

M: A good amount of carbonation that wasn't overwhelming.

O: Love Monk's Flemish Sour Ale. Just the right amount of sweetness for me and overall a delicious, high quality beer. I need to find more bottles of this! (690 characters)

Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.52/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a medium red brown with a thick 2" white head. Bubbles of carbonation stream lightly from the bottom of the glass. Little lacing is left as the head dissipates.
S: Sour with a hint of malt vinegar and sour cherries
T: A taste of red sweet and sour sauce, pineapple, sour cherries, a hint of lactic acid
M: full bodied and creamy
O: an excellent example of a Belgian sour ale (383 characters)

Photo of sacfly
4.52/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First had this in a bottle at Max’s in Baltimore. Just got to have it on tap at Monk’s in Philly.
Served a dark red in a pint glass. Little head to speak of. Smell is both sweet and sour. Taste follows suit. Just the right ammout of sweetness to balance the tart flavors generated by this heavenly ale. Acidic and a slight hint of Balsamic vinaigrette. The aftertaste is still tart, but the not in a lingering, off-putting kind of way.
Very easy to drink. When I had it on tap, I could imagine drinking this all night. Very light and refreshing. (551 characters)

Photo of JamieDuncan
4.51/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Picked this up as part of a mixed six because I have been liking sours. Great looking beer that had a very good smell that could have been stronger. Flavor was excellent, had more of a beer taste than a lot of sours which I like very much, almost perfect. Overall a very strong beer that I will get again if I can find it at a decent price. (340 characters)

Photo of champ103
4.51/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a cloudy reddish/brown color. A two finger white head forms and recedes after a minute. Light lace is left behind.
S: The aroma is of funky sourness. Ripe fruit of apples, pears, and cherries. Some vinegar, slightly acidic, and tannin aromas. Oak and wood lingers on. I can just plant my nose in the glass all day. Truly amazing.
T: Follows the nose. Lots of barnyard funky flavors and fruits. Apples and pears are most prevalent. Oak and wood. Again this is slightly acidic. Plenty of sweet sourness. Though it never becomes cloying. Very balanced between the Belgium funk and sweet fruit flavors.
M/D: This has a medium body. At first it has to much carbonation. Though as this breaths a little the beer becomes more creamy and smooth. The great balance between the fruit and sourness makes this a treat to drink. I wish the bottle would have never ended.

This is one great beer. I really enjoyed it. Something I would highly recommend. (948 characters)

Photo of grittybrews
4.51/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark cherry cola brown into a tulip with two fingers of khaki head. Slightly sweet bready aroma mixed with vanilla, dark fruit, and mildly sour cherry.

Moderate carbonation and an exceptional mouthfeel that manages to be smooth and creamy while retaining a pleasant lightness. Tart apple and sour cherry up front followed by sweet dark fruit, grape, caramel, and a hint of spice on the finish.

Really tasty brew that balances its sweet and sour elements well. It's hard to slow down with this one! (508 characters)

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sour and over ripe fruits on the nose with a touch of lemon. Pours brilliant deep garnet under a vigorous, slightly tan tinted 5” white foam cap. A sweet and sour palate with fruit, lemon, light malts, a touch of barnyard, hints of brown sugar, cherry and vanilla. Medium body and above average carbonation. Overall well balanced between sweet and tart for a reasonably mild, drinkable Flanders Oud Bruin. (407 characters)

Photo of bernie879
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet

A reddish brown ale with an off white head, reeking of sour cherries in a really good way. The carbonation was up there just enough to aid the medium bodied bodied beer and played well with the tart sourness in the mouth.

Why this is called a red ale I am not sure as it has more of the characteristics of a brown which are noticeable in the taste once one gets passed the sour cherries which dominate the beer, again in a good way.

I picked up this beer on a whi as I had never heard of the style and was blown away. This was a really goos beer and I look forward to trying others within the style. (626 characters)

Photo of diamondc
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, murky, burgundy in color, with excellent head retention and beautiful Belgian lace.

S: Acidic, chocolate-y, musty, cherry, rotten apples, with a bit of pork in the background.

T: Sour cherries dominate the flavor, along with vinegar, dark berries, brown sugar, with a barely there bitterness at the end (maybe due to the roasted malts?).

M/D: Excellent, light on the tongue, thirst quenching. Not heavy on the sour and the funk at all. This is as close as it gets to a everyday sour ale. (500 characters)

Photo of yarnbomb
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Had this on tap several times from the Monk's Cafe and it really is kind of life-changing. Now I buy it whenever I get a chance and put a few away for later. Each bottle can vary from perfection to kind of weird and funky. Always worth it, though. (247 characters)

Photo of Dix90
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark golden chestnut brown with ruby hues. Nice bubbly head with good quick receding lacing.

Aroma: fruity and vinegary. Cherries, apples, grapes and cranberries shine through in almost a red wine tinge.

Taste: very fruity and sweet on the tongue.very well balanced with a mild tart sourness. Highly carbonated and leaves a pleasant sweetness at the end.

Mouthfeel: very light and carbonated. Bubbly and dry. Kind of feels like the carbonation makes the tartness cascade along the tongue.

Overall: a very good introduction to sours. Mildly sour that let's strong fruit notes shine through. Very thirst quenching. (628 characters)

Photo of mwave
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been eyeballing this in the store for a few years. Finally uncapped one tonight and it is excellent. Pours a beautiful light mahogany with a hint of cherry. Creamy head which dissipates quickly, the nose is sweet and raisiny, and the first sip is a lively balance of sweet and sour. Nice fizzle on the tongue, and the tight carbonation adds to the zest. It's definitely grapey with some prune and oak woodiness, a touch of spice, all in all an excellent and unique brew. At $4 a pop that's $24 a 6, it night not be an everyday but I'm into the gose and sours now and this is special. (588 characters)

Photo of swissmiss805
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I love this beer. My first Flemish sour, it was a gateway beer to the style, leading me to all kinds of Duchesse (not a fan) and Cantillons, yet I always go back to Monks. It has all the tartness and acidity without the overly sweetness that can come with the style. Really, I'm just writing this review as a public forum for anyone who's spotted it in NYC/Brooklyn. Please let me know if you've bought/drank it in the area I miss the Monks! (441 characters)

Photo of agent2550
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am sitting down with this beer right now.
It pours a uniform red with a finger of creamy head which continues to form well after it is poured: the tiny bubbles are fun to watch!
The taste is simple and delicious: sour with flavors reminiscent of cherry, mild bitterness, and kiwi.
Smells of funk and sour.
Smooth mouthfeel with light champaigne-like small bubbles.
Overall it is a very straightforward, clean, and simple beer. (429 characters)

Photo of HabiMendes
4.49/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer looks as one would expect from the Flemish Brown Ales - dark brown, with reddish tones. The neck is slightly tanned. The aroma emanates Granny Smith apples, with a very characteristic acidic note. The medium body, well-carbonated and extremely refreshing, also showcases the acidity, but not exaggeratedly. The aftertaste is long, leaving a pleasant tartness in your mouth. Very good Flemish Brown. (407 characters)

Photo of beerhan
4.48/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a delirium snifter. Dark brown color with about an inch of foam. Smells very murky, somewhat metallic with a flowery scent as well. Tastes like toffee with this sweet and sourness to it that is very hard to describe except by describing how tasty it is. Not too sour whereas some sours make my mouth cringe up but not too sweet as with a faro. Very drinkable. I have had it on draft as well and could not stop having this except for the price tag. Bottles are a very good price though and I high encourage anyone to try this. (551 characters)

Photo of PreacherBrewer
4.48/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a beautiful red-wine color. Sports a 2 finger light kaki colored head. head dissolves slowly to a thin film that leaves decadent lacing.

S - Unlike anything i've ever caught on the nose of a beer before. My first thoughts were of vinegar. then some sour smells, yeast, mixed fruit, primarily, grape, prune, and raisin.

T - WOW! this thing has personality! tastes very similar to how it smells: oddly carbonated, fermented grape/prune juice. a little hint of cranberry maybe. An apple cider flavor is lingering in there as well. it's very similar to fermented sparkling apple cider...sort-of.

M - It has a very ticklish, bubbly mouthfeel. very interesting, almost the life of the brew. very unique.

D - Despite what i've herd about the FOB's, and sour ales in general, this is a remarkably drinkable ale. It is mysterious, and captivating. It's interesting, yet not ridiculous. It's very very good. it may not be the thing for you, but you at least have to try one before you die...seriously. (1,006 characters)

Photo of hippogasmo
4.48/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite possibly the best beer I've ever had, with two main competitors for my number one rank; surprise, they're also sours. I really only have two complaints about this beer.

1: It is somewhat inconsistent out of a bottle, and I've never found a bar with this beer on tap. In terms of quality and taste, it has never let me down. Unfortunately, a few bottles seem to be pulled from the bottom of the batch, and have chunks (yes, full size chunks!) of some yeast-like substance that I cannot identify, and these chunks cause a real problem in the flavor. I have had the occasional bottle where the alcohol flavor has completely overwhelmed anything else, which I don't necessarily mind, but is not what I look forward to when I pour this into a glass.

2: I learned very, very quickly (early on in my drinking career, that is) that this is not a beer that can be enjoyed straight from the bottle. Few enough are the brews that taste the same or close enough from the bottle that I cannot fault this particular brew on this shortcoming, but it is sometimes a slight disappointment that I have to clean a glass to drink one particular beer.

All-in-all, a very good brew. It's a drink that I like to scare my friends with. "What would you think if I told you that you can drink sour beer? Not a fan? Okay, well here, try this." I have never heard a single response that did not involve some form of "holy crap this is delicious." A beer with a 100% success rate for non-drinkers? Worth a try, if you ask me. (1,506 characters)

Photo of Boppar
4.48/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is, perhaps, my favorite beer. It is certainly very high up on the list.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a red wine glass/

A: Deep brown with hints of ruby, and two fingers of billowing, playful, foam. Excellent retention.

S: Lactic acid, sweet malts. Faint aromas of alcohol and vinegar.

T: It opens with a slight tang, segues into a rich, malty, sweet-without-cloying body. Faint notes of bread, chocolate, and ripe, dark stone fruits. The finish is acidic, slightly sour, and lingers.

M: Delightfully well-balanced between delivering a beer of substance, and yet one that is light enough to slake any thirst.

D: Exceptionally refreshing and drinkable. I would take this over any session beer, any day. (716 characters)

Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.48/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Having to celebrate Belgian Independence Day. But I don't need an excuse to enjoy this fine brew.

Pours very dark. Brown and red trying to peak through, but it is really dark. Really nice head that stayed for a while. Lacing was always present and pretty thick as well.

Sour from the oak is the smell. And that is pretty much the taste as well. Maybe with a touch of sweetness. It is oh so good.

Highly recommended. Forgot how good this was. (444 characters)

Photo of Slack
4.47/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mahagoney in color with about 1/2 inch of head and no lacing.

Aroma is sour, acidic, with sweet undertones. Am picking up vinegar and grape.

Taste is acid up front mixed with wine. Finish is sweet grape.

Mouthful is light and crisp with high carbonation.

This is a nice beer that is very easy to drink. I paired it with some BBQ and enjoyed it even further. (365 characters)

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,093 ratings.