1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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

2,355 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,355
Reviews: 1,046
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 52
Gots: 167 | 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: 2,355 | Reviews: 1,046 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jskennedy
4/5  rDev +4.2%

jskennedy, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of Durb777
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Durb777, Feb 04, 2012
Photo of jmich24
4/5  rDev +4.2%

jmich24, Feb 03, 2012
Photo of attometer00
2.5/5  rDev -34.9%

attometer00, Feb 03, 2012
Photo of thecheapies
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle. From what I know about Van Steenberge, I think the bottling code ('08KK') indicates that this bottle is from 2008? Not sure, not official. Bought it out of a bar's cooler today. Here goes.

Pours a very deep red; so dark, it looks almost black from afar. Nice fluffy beige head towered over the lip of my Duchesse glass before dropping slowly. I'd rate it even higher if it didn't look thin.

Soft aromas of tart and somewhat metallic cherry, some lactic brightness, and elixir-like qualities.

Refreshing cherry, almost in lozenge form. Some steely lingerings. Fruity, but not bursting. Semi-sour, as in, there is a noticeable acidity present. Not the balsamic notes I was looking for. Musty, tinny, and a little yeasty for the style. Estery, but not nutty. I'm crossed up. I'm trying really hard not to use one particular word... 'bland'.

Medium carbonation, or maybe a little lighter. Medium-light body. Not watery, just kind of thin.

I must say that I enjoyed this much more out of the imperial wine bottle that I had had about six months ago. I had a chance to have this at Monk's in Philly awhile back, but went for other draft selections. No bother. It's not terrible. It's just that there are so many other fruity and sour options out there. If it peaks your curiousity, buy it and try it. If you love the style, definitely try it. I'll leave it at that.

thecheapies, Feb 01, 2012
Photo of senbrewing
4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich red and brown color with white fizzy head. Nice lace though stuck to the snifter quite well.

Upfront sourness typical of sour style beer. Smells of citrus and tart cherries. Very winey.Quite lovely.

Taste is fantastic. Sour beers are are my new favorite style and I never pass on up. Grand cru being one of my absolute favorite beers this is right up there with them. Very similar in taste with a balance between sweet and tart. Soured cherrys and sweet citrus very drinkable. The main difference is the sweetness which sets this apart from grand cru. By no means is it bad just a little sweet for my taste. All in all great balanced sour with that great funky finish that makes this a great sour.

Tart puckering effect when it hits the mouth followed by citrus and cherries. Very spritzy, typical champaign feel. Good malty base with hints of wine.

All in all this beer hits the top of my list and is a great representation of a good Flemish sour. Being one of my favorite styles this beer is all around a good balanced beer. Sweet sour tart, what else can I say. Try it. Like most I've seen you'll either love or hate this style. Thank you Belgium

senbrewing, Feb 01, 2012
Photo of fatmcb1
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark amber with an off white head that leaves a ring with little lacing.

Tart sour cherries, green apple, and raspberry. Very tart.

Taste is balanced between tart sourness and sweeter citrus. Also, there is a level of funk that changed as the beer warmed.

Very strong, prickly carbonation.

fatmcb1, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of slimntubbs
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

slimntubbs, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of CBlack85
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

CBlack85, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of kjkinsey
3/5  rDev -21.9%

kjkinsey, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of SpillyBeers
4/5  rDev +4.2%

SpillyBeers, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a reddish-brown color and a cloudy texture. There was an inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Excellent lacing.

S: A big shot of cherries in the nose, along with the standard sourness of the style.

T: Tasted of cherries, first and foremost, along with some malt, and a decent amount of yeast. Definitely sour, but not as much as other Flanders Oud Bruins. A smooth, focused flavor.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a crisp, vibrant finish. Medium-bodied.

O: A solidly made, drinkable beer.

avalon07, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of jar2574
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First time I've had this style of beer. Beer is reddish brown, decent light tan head. Lacing and head retention leave a lot to be desired though.

Smells weakly of malts.

Taste is tart and sour - as the name would imply - and the flavor is really, really cool. I like it. As the beer warms I taste some cherries and cranberries too. The sourness isn't a scrunch up your face with displeasure sourness. It's more subtle. Aftertaste is only slightly sour, it doesn't hang around on your tongue too long like sour candy.

I give it points for uniqueness, and for drinkability, since I would like to and could have several.

jar2574, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of Mahlik
1.98/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

11.2 oz bottle poured into a HotD tulip glass.

A- Pours a deep, dark burgundy with a one-finger off-white head. Head dissipates to a thin cap. Minimal traces of lacing.

S- Holy god what a terrible aroma. It smells like someone took soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and candied cherries and threw them together with a pinch of Belgian yeast. That is really the only way I can describe the aroma.

T- Not much going on. Rather bland. Some lactic sourness hits upfront and never really fads away. Subtle sour cherries and more balsamic vinegar finish out the taste.

M- Medium body with plenty of carbonation. The mouthfeel is slick and syrupy. Slightly puckering finish.

O- Complete failure IMO. I love sours. I had yet to have a sour that I did not enjoy until now. Nothing about this beer worked for me. I couldn't even finish half of the bottle.

Mahlik, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of dbrauneis
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours deep red to mahogany with a fluffy off-white head and some visible carbonation. There is very good head retention and large bubbles in the head. Very little lacing.

S: Overall the aromas are light in this beer but complex with hints of cherry, raspberry, and cranberry. There is a slight amount of mustiness and hints of some spices.

T: Flavors of cherry/raspberry/cranberry followed by slight sourness and a little bit of funk.

M: Light to medium bodied and smooth with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: I really enjoyed this as a sessionable beer as it is light and easy to drink that would allow it to pair with many different foods. I really enjoyed the acidity in the beer.

dbrauneis, Jan 27, 2012
Photo of B33R501
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

sort of a novelty for me, something i enjoy when i need a change but overall a really good beer.
pretty red color, nice musty sour yet almost a little sweet aroma. and thats what it tastes like, i love the malty sweet / sourness of this beer. very drinkable, could have many more.
recommended.

B33R501, Jan 26, 2012
Photo of texasclimber
4/5  rDev +4.2%

texasclimber, Jan 24, 2012
Photo of tjkinate
3.2/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One major problem.

A: Probably the best looking beer I've seen from this style or similar styles. A single fingered head formed that exhibited good retention finally settling to a soapy film atop this deep red transparent brew. It even showed solid amounts of lacing!

S: Cherry, raspberry, pomegranate, and cranberry notes are most prominent, but are followed nicely with tart and grassy undertones.

T: Follows the smell fairly closely leaving the raspberry and cherry flavors to remain most dominant. Sour funk follows nicely, unfortunately so does the metallic copper aftertaste. Really bummed me out, gonna try again later hoping for better results.

M: Well carbonated and lightly bodied.

O: Almost fantastic, but the copper flavor really just ruined it for me.

tjkinate, Jan 24, 2012
Photo of nicholas527
5/5  rDev +30.2%

nicholas527, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of bjtr
4/5  rDev +4.2%

bjtr, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of djaeon
3/5  rDev -21.9%

djaeon, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of jmunsters
1.58/5  rDev -58.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Bottle poured into a Ommegang chalice.

A- Deep red with a fairly good half finger head that stuck to the glass.

S - Tart, fake cherry flavor like you would find in candy. Not real cherries.

T - Quite tart and sour up front. A good does of brett makes you pucker a bit. This follows to a malty sweetness and then it gets horrible. Acetone and metal and battery acid. I spat it out.

M - Light carbonation leads to a decent mouth and creaminess. Very tolerable mouth feel albeit the taste.

O - This tastes like it will cause cancer. I honestly can not believe the fact that the in-store district rep told me it was better than Rodenbach's Grand Cru. I am absolutely appalled. It does not hold a candle to any sour Flemish I've ever had. I am holding off on all 1.0 ratings with the possibility I had a bad or mishandled batch, but this is honestly the worst Red Flemish I have ever had. This is sour nail polish remover with cherry flavoring.

jmunsters, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of sukwonee
1/5  rDev -74%

sukwonee, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of dprophet
4/5  rDev +4.2%

dprophet, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of jeonseh
2.1/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottle poured into a GI Matlida glass

A- deep, burgundy color with a light gold color to it. It's opaque and a bit hazy with a small white head that is comprised of small bubbles

S - smell is tart, reminds me of sour cherries with hints of balsamic vinegar. There is a slight farmhouse aspect to it. I also note hints of lemon peel. It also seems to have a slight metallic twang to it

T - taste is definitely tart at first. As it goes on, there is a nice cheery sweetness that comes through and reminds me of the taste of cherry pie filling. There is also a nice lemony aspect that cuts through the sweetness. There is still a strong metallic taste that comes through and reminds me of copper. It lingers on in the finish as well which just makes the aftertaste unattractive.

MF - Surprisingly creamy. Nice carbonation to this that lends to the body.

O - overall, a decent Flanders beer if it wasn't for the metallic taste. However that metallic taste and smell was too much for me to take. I've had other sours before and this is the only one where this came out so strong.

jeonseh, Jan 22, 2012
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,355 ratings.