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

2,467 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,467
Reviews: 1,053
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 14.06%
Wants: 57
Gots: 201 | 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: 2,467 | Reviews: 1,053 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JDV
2.58/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of Humulone_Red. Thank you!
Pours a dark maroon color with an offwhite head. Smell is mild cherry kriek like tartness, but a bit too mild. Taste is like a thin kriek with very light tartness and sweetness. Thin body and carbonation. Just not enough flavor or umpf

Photo of younger35
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this brew as an extra quite a while back. It somehow got lost in my mix of 12 oz brews. Glad I found it! Drank out of my Stone India Pale Ale tulip.

Appearance- Pours a dark apple cider red with a small lightly dirty off-white head. Leaves a decent cap and collar for the duration of the brew and leaves a fairly good amount of lacing.
Smell- Just like you'd expect, very sour and just the smell makes my mouth water from the sour explosion that is about to come. Green apples and sour skittles are what I'm reminded of.
Taste- Hmmm, a lot smoother and more balanced than I was expecting. Green apples and soured cherries at the start before it slowly gives way to a bit of sweet malt. Not a big sweetness but a bit unexpected considering the beer. It also doesn't have that dirty yeastiness that I've experienced from my rather limited trying of this style. A bit musty in the aftertaste but overall fairly clean and very crisp.
Mouthfeel- Fairly thin but full of life and nice. The carbonation isn't messing around in this one.
Drinkability- I'm definitely not a sour ale kind of guy but this one isn't as sour as I was expecting and I really enjoyed it. Very crisp and clean without the whole dirty yeast must that I'm not the biggest fan of. Refreshing brew that should be tried if given the opportunity.

Photo of tayner
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A big thank you goes out to Leftmindedrighty for providing this 11.2 oz bottle for me so that i may begin to explore the scary world of sour ales.

Poured into my Kuhnhenn tulip glass. It poured dark brown with a decent sized pillow-y white head that dissipated to a reasonably solid ring which provided a touch of lacing for the remainder of the glass.

Smell is what i am guessing normal for the style as up front i get a lactic acid/sour fruit smell. If this was some sort of juice drink i would take it back if it smelled like this! with longer, more sustained whiffs you can smell the backbone of sweet malt hiding there.

Taste was, much to my surprise, nice. Right up front was tart cherry (after the first couple sips it was subdued enough to not be overwhelming) along with a lactic bite. midpalate the sweetness began to appear to help balance the sourness. The finish was what i would classify sweet and sour, which you can easily define on different parts of your tongue. Very unique taste.

Mouthfeel brings a fairly carbonated beverage that is surprising light bodied for as dark as it looks, light on the tongue, and pretty easy to drink, doesnt get weighty before the glass is gone.

As for drinkability, i cannot believe i am saying this, but i wish i had a couple more of these laying around, because i would could see myself having one a week . It is an interesting beer and style that, based on this one, i want to keep exploring.

Photo of dalion037
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not what I expected from a US-made Flanders Oud Bruin. It was surprising well done with a nice vinegary smell and taste. It poured a big lacy head that lasted until the last sip. It had a typical mouthfeel for a Oud Bruin. The after taste lingered with a fruity sweet and sour taste. It was worth trying it out.

Photo of elinash
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Monk's Cafe Flemish Red is brewed by Van Steenberge in Belgium. Poured into my Fin Du Monde glass at hand.

It pours very dark with no head, only a light ring of lacing around the edge.
The aroma is amazing, full of vitamin c/ acscorbic acid, vinegar and sweet malt. Tart cherries come out in the aroma and in the immediately following taste profile.
The taste is malt-rich with tons of fruit and sweet and sour flavors. It is wonderfully tangy and smooth at the same time.
Mouthfeel is soft with the sweetness predominating.
It finishes with rich fruit flavors and high acidity.

Photo of SargeC
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slightly hazy brown brew with a fizzy tan head.

Smell: Fruit, vinegar hints of malt and limited alcohol.

Taste: Tart beginning flavor evolves into mild fruit flavors. Malt peeks through at times.

Mouthfeel: Light body, but seems a bit heavier.

Drinkablity: A refreshing brew with good flavor.

Photo of SPLITGRIN
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A deep brownish red carmel colored body hosts a rocky swiss cheese bubbled foamy head. Head has nice staying power and leaves spotty scattered lace all over. Nose is a very funky crisp tartness with hints of cherry, rubarb, and powder candy(like pixie sticks). A musty sour funk soaks the mouth on first sip. The tartness is really much more mild and enjoyable than the firsy mouth full had shown. The sour feel dries out a bit and actually balances with a hint of sweetness. Mouthfeel is that same dry sour hue that is very pleasant. Drinkability is high for this style for me. This was a very nice change from some of the blunt mouth destroyers that other sour beers are to me.

Photo of DIM
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: This is a somewhat cloudy dark amber color. It pour with a big, pillowy, uneven, lacey light tan head with cherry highlights.

s: Big poweful nose here! Sour candied cherry aromas dominate. Funky earthy grains are present as well. Overall, this smells mildly rotten, but not in bad way.

t: I like the funk, but there is too much sweet here. Sour rotten fruit flavors of apples and cherries and some prickly, acidic, vinegary grains dominate. On the down side, there is an artificial sweetner finish.

m: I like the tartness and dryness on the tongue.

d: This is a style I'd like to explore further. I enjoyed my first quite a bit.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a brownish red color beer with a medium off-white foamy head with some pretty good retention. Aroma is quite sour and you can already feel the effect of the oak on this beer. Taste is quite acid with some subtle sweetness at the end. Cheery feels is less present then in the Rodenbach Grand Cru but can still be detected. Overall, I find this one to be a good Flemish sour ale and would even say that it seems to be underrated compared to some other Flemish Sour ale.

Photo of kenito799
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip.

Gorgeous slightly hazy reddish-brown color, twinkling orangey-pink highlights when held to light. Tan head is raised and recedes slowly, leaving lots of lace. Very nice looking.

Atfirst pour the whiff is hugely vinegary, immediately bringing me back to those alka-seltzer-like easter egg dyes I used to drop into diluted vinegar as a kid. With more time open the sharp vinegar smell merges with fruity cherry and oak notes.

Mouthfeel is brightly fizzy, yet smooth and almost creamy as well. Taste is very nicely sweet-tart cherries steeped in oak. The sweetness prevails a bit as the bottle is finished, leaving me wishing it were a touch drier--knocks drinkability a tad. Nevertheless a wonderfully refreshing and delicious beer

Photo of dbalsock
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

App: Brown with an orange tint, and very clear. Off-white head and huge carbonation bubbles.

Smell: Vinegar, sour grapes and some background caramel and base malts.

Taste: Much less sour than it smells, with a deep maltiness that has a vague caramel taste mingling with a pale malty sweetness. It's much sweeter than expected.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth with a slight sour twang and fun carbonation. Light bodied and refreshing.

Drinkability: For a somewhat sour beer this is way drinkable, and goes very well with steak.

Photo of RidiculedDisplay
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first Oud Bruin.

Appearance: Pours with a lively Brett-like head, which fizzes and pops appropriately. About half-finger which settles into a quarter-finger. Lacing is sloping and jagged, with some spotting. Very consistent lacing, certainly. Body is a strange beast - outside of light, it gives off a sapphire-ish ruby red, but when held up to light, it becomes a far more opaque off-brown. Strange.

Smell: Apple cider, champagne-like vinousity, brett, a solvent-like buttery soy aroma. Corkiness. Some butter. Dried fruits deep underneath, like raisins and dates, mostly. An interestingly complex nose, with some definite funkiness to it.

Taste: Slight sourness on the tongue. A hibiscus flower-like flavor. Corkiness, vinousity again. Apple cider, hay. A little more one-note here, but still harbors some unique characteristics that I haven't particularly detected in other beers or, in what might be closest to this, lambics.

Mouthfeel: Fizzy and fluffy.

Drinkability: Surprisingly drinkable. This was a very interesting drinking experience, and makes me want to try more Oud Bruins.

Photo of botham
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip. pours a chocolate brown color with brilliant garnet highlights. a single finger of head tops it off and leaves moderate lacings.

aroma is very acerbic, with a fruity base. the sour character overwhelms any chances of delicate aromas to show. fruit notes include mild citrus and grape.

taste is of light caramel malts and a touch of roasted malts up front, with the same acidic character. an earthy base begins to show after a few sips, most likely from the barrel aging. nice complexity here, without being overly sweet or sour.

mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a sharp bite from the sour character. no alcohol present with mild CO2.

drinkability is good, though this is a polarizing style, this brew is decently drinkable. nice complexity and proportioning. cheers!

Photo of treehugger02010
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I bought this bottle at Oak Tree Discount Wine & Spirits and poured into a Snifter.
Appearance: It poured a brown opaque body with a big tan head with small bubbles, pour retention and thin but abundant lacing.
Smell: Obvious cherries and sourness. Intriguing, but not complex.
Taste: Cherries again and forward sourness but not off putting.
Mouthfeel: Prickly.
Drinkability: Good.
Don't drink and review.

Photo of peabody
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out like root beer with not as much suds. Very cloudy.
No lacing to speak of here.
Smell is sour cherry and a slight woodyness.
Taste is really sour at first but the Malt is really strong in the aftertaste and it ends up with a slightly sweet taste.
Mouthfeel is a little sour but seems to be clean after the bretts fade.
Not as good as the Petrus but still not a bad sour ale.

Photo of philbe311
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Darker than expected, cranberry in color. Little or no head.

S - Hints of cider & cherry

T - Excellent taste. Reminds me of a cider with distinct cherry taste. Tartness is evident, but not overdone. Very well crafted.

M - Light, but carbonated. Reminds me of champagne.

D - Unique and complex. The slight tartness and complex after taste make this a a very enjoyable beer. I'd definitely have another...

Photo of hellcatsjg
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark ruby beer with a good two fingers of head. Layer of foam lasts for the whole brew and leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smell: Sour cherry with a bit of malts as well.

Taste: Big sour cherry taste dominates, with a bit of green apple present as well. Malt flavor joins in at the back end of the sip. Decent taste but not as full as I would like.

Mouthfeel: Thickness is decent but the body is slightly weak. The beer doesn't coat the mouth as much as I would like, and the taste does not linger for very long.

Drinkability: Decent taste but does not come across as full enough to enjoy completely. Worth a try but nothing great.

Photo of ROMER79
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour was a dark red with a tan/white one finger head. The initial smell was of berries, vinegar, and cherries. The taste was interesting. I could grab the sour cherries, berries, and I even think I picked up on a milky feel. There were even some sweet after notes that followed the sour taste. It was a milky sort of feel in the mouth and the sour taste got my palate running wild. It was a slow beer to drink, definitely not a session beer. If you don't like the taste it will be hard to finish. Just man up!

Photo of mithrascruor
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a reddish-brown color with just a ring of off-white carbonation around the edges.

Smell: Aroma of apple cider vinegar and tart cherries.

Taste: Really a lot like the smell, with malts. Very little yeast or other flavors. Aftertaste is very vinegar-like.

Mouthfeel: Light- to medium-bodied with a tingly but soft feel.

Drinkability: Strong flavor, so drink it slow, but nothing problematic.

Not bad, but it just tastes rather one-dimensional, especially compared to other similar beers.

Photo of WesWes
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a sour/vinegar scent wrapped around a malt base of pale, crystal, and roasted malts. It has a buttery malt aroma; very nice. The taste is really good. It has a smooth and refreshing sourness along with a buttery malt flavor. The crystal and roasted malts give the beer excellent malt character. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This was a real treat. I'm a fan of sour beers and this was a good one.

Photo of edskirk3
4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love me a sour ale and they are relatively hard to find, hence the purchase of this 11.2 oz brown glass bottle devoid of intellgible freshness information.

Pours (into a Duvel tulip) a dark brown, with half a finger of loose froth composed of relatively large bubbles.

Smells nice and tart, not very funky.

The palette is largely sour, which I love. Tartness of green apples and sweetness of sour cherries, if that makes any sense. Juicy aftertaste.

Very tasty. I've always loved things that taste sour. I could have a lot more of this. It's not too strong.

Photo of kleffman
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay glass. A very dark amber brown color with ruby red when held up to the light. Poured a small tight head with great retention and lacing on the glass.

Aroma immediately hit me with vinegar and that's what I expected out of the taste. Tart fruits and something funky in the nose that I couldn't place until I read a review below saying "wet horse blanket". While that sounds absolutely disgusting, it's sort of true and I'm going to go ahead and say I enjoy this most interesting aroma.

Taste is fantastic. The mouthfeel is divine, more on that later. Flavors of both sweet and sour cherries, plums, and other over ripe fruits. Slight woody character. Quite acidic and sour but not overpowering like many Flanders Reds tend to be. Maybe that's what makes this an Oud Bruin style? The bottle however claims it's a Flemish Sour Red. Definite lacto presence and a little vinegar even though the aromas could've fooled me into thinking it was dominated by vinegar.

Mouthfeel on this is by far the best I've experienced from the Flanders style beers. It's a rather nice medium body with plenty of carbonation helping it finish quite dry and wine-like. I think without this mouthfeel it wouldn't be the same beer at all.

High on drinkability if you enjoy the Flanders beers. It's a new style for me but they're quickly growing on me and I'm trying to really open my mind to them. I wish I could find more of this one, but there was only one bottle left where I got it.

Bottom line is if you come across this beer it's most definitely worth a shot. I only had to pay $2.50 for it, but I would spend more than that.

Photo of errantnight
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Well... not sure what the difference is between an oud bruin and Flanders Red... but... by all accounts this is an oud bruin.

Pours beautifully into my Corsendonk tulip: Three fingers of head with a tenacious head, a deep ruby brown.

Smell is wet horseblanket (finally! this is it! i found it! wet horse blanket!) with some rich malt sweetness and some old vinegar. It's... well... as much as I love these notes in moderation and in combination with other things, together... this isn't my favorite.

But in the mouth... whole different story. The sweetness is there and a little cloying, a little more candy cherry/raspberry than the nose seemed to imply, and the vinegar comes through a bit too much... but the sourness is spot on, a touch of oak, beautiful astringency/dryness. Maybe some tobacco/leather around the edges?

A lil rich and sweet, but well balanced, nice carbonation and full mouth.

Definitely give this a shot, but there are better takes.

Photo of Greenfloyd
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Flemish Sour Ale. That just might be the sexiest beer description ever. Or not....

Poured into my tulip glass with a fairly menacing looking brownish/amber color that is topped off by a long lasting (albeit extremely thin) cappuccino frothy head. The nose brings out subtle malted vinegar and tart apple aromas that only a Flanders beer can. The taste is so wonderfully complex- sweet malty tones with apple cider trail off into a tart, mildly acidic finish. The mouth feel of this ale, as I've been finding out, is indicative of the remarkably refreshing light to medium body these beers all have. A great beer with grilled Steak au Poivre, or with some brie de meaux and crusty French bread. Enjoy.

Photo of Stoneman78
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark ruby hue with good translucency, off-white head is bubbly and lively like a soda that dissipates, slight lacing
S- Nose is sour and tart fruits, full of acidity, cherries, and vinegar
T- Initial taste is slightly sweet fruits, that transitions to a mildly tart and sour body that transitions to a very wine-like drying finish
M- Medium-bodied, texture is watery with a very dry feel, carbonation is very amped
D- I think this ale holds well to the Duchesse, a bit more dry and acidic, well-balanced and unique sour beer that is a nice break from some of the bolder styles out there

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 2,467 ratings.