Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

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

1,108 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,108
Hads: 2,814
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 21.61%
Wants: 83
Gots: 400 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Belgium | website

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 (95) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,108 | Hads: 2,814
Photo of megahurts4
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Appearance: Dark brown, medium head, and some lacing.

Smell: Sour wine like balsamic vinegar.

Taste: Purple sweet-tart start, a subtle malty aftertaste, and some subtle oak.

Mouthfeel: Medium.

Overall:
This would go great with a meal. Smooth and nicely flavored. It has that taste of a purple sweet-tart. It is not as complex or potent as Russian River Consecration, but it makes a great introduction to sour beer.

 483 characters

Photo of TCgoalie
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 6/7/10

Pours a dark reddish brown with a touch of foamy head. Lacing is good.

Smells like a funky red wine with lots of cherries, spice, and a wine barrel scent.

There is a good deal of strawberry and cherries in the taste. It is very effervescent and reminds me of a tasty juice. Rounding out the flavor is a bit of funk.

Light to medium in the mouth with a wet aftertaste. Sugary and satisfying a good summertime drink.

Very drinkable if you don't mind a sugary treat.

 486 characters

Photo of Schmaltzy
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Nice dark red/brown body with minimal head and good lacing.

S- Great cherry, lactic, oak and slight vinegar, and sweet cherry/grape scents.

T- Again tons of cherry flavor with a lactic/vinegar taste that is balanced by the sweet cherry/grape flavor followed by a nice dry oaky finish. Very well balanced for the style.

D- Drank 3 bottles in one sitting. Great balance and light carbonation make this a pleasure to drink on a hot day, plus the fact that it only runs about $2.50 a bottle and is easy to find at BevMo.

 522 characters

Photo of RidiculedDisplay
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

 1,096 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, dark burgundy color with a one-finger, light brown colored head of foam. Okay retention and it left soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled of sour black cherries and was slightly phenolic.

T - It had great sour fruit flavors - like black cherry and grapes.

M - It was crisp with a slightly puckering bite. A light to medium bodied ale with a very dry finish.

D - This is a really nice sour ale. It makes a great brew for a lengthy solo session.

 470 characters

Photo of Stimack
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this brew the other night and poured to a dark red/mahogany color with a thick off white head that holds up quite well leaving a fair amount of lacing around the sides of the chalice. The aroma is definitely of sour/tart cherries with highlights of what I think is an oak barrel smell. This is a very nice smelling brew although it is funny having some friends take a whiff of it, as they have never had anything like this. The brew has a strong cherry (and other berry?) flavor that dominates from the start. The sour taste seems a little more harsh (?) than the Mestreechs Aait that I love but is an excellent taste as well! Also I can sense more of a oakiness from the taste mixing with the aroma which is a fantastic addition. The carbonation of this brew is very nice, seems to be at the perfect level as well. Over all this is a fantastic brew. I have just gotten into this style of brew but I must say that I am sold!

 928 characters

Photo of PuckLSHS
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I could drink Monk's Flemish Sour all day long and not be disappointed. I have had this on tap several times at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach, CA.

It pours a brownish hue with a very small head to it that leaves very little lace.

The smell is a nice sour fruit (possibly a little cherry?). The taste pretty much follows up with that wonderful sour fruit smell also. Not too overpowering in the sour department, but just right to make this beer an everyday drink.

The mouthfeel is nice. Light carbonation, smooth...

Drinkability is rather high because this really has become my end of the night beer.

 612 characters

Photo of roadhouse
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. Not sure of the age but it's probably quite old based on the store where I got it.

Appears dark mahogany in color, with a three-quarter inch pillowy off-white head. Leaves a bit of lacing on one portion of the glass and retains the head well, though I'm sure my glass with etched bottom doesn't hurt.

Aroma has a tart cherry tone, some vinegar, and a bunch leathery sour funk. There is a sweet smell peaking through as well, but it takes the backseat.

The taste is initially quite sweet, surprisingly. The funk hits next alongside some fruitiness. This one's not exactly sour, but it has a certain tart appeal to it. In the end the sweetness comes back, but right when I am expecting some more sour.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a very nice level of carbonation that makes for a creamy and soft drinking beer.

This one was really good but a bit too sweet and not enough sour. I would maybe get it again, but I certainly recommend giving it a shot.

 1,006 characters

Photo of Bonhoeffer
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the most drinkable sour ales i've ever had. Not over the top. Just refreshing. Very approachable, and probably a good place to start getting a feel for Flanders Reds. Some of them can knock you out if you're not careful.

Good one for a hot day.

Thanks Uncle Flip.

 276 characters

Photo of busterthecat
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2 oz into a tulip glass

A- Pours a murky brownish red color with 1/4 inch of foam composed of both fine and coarse bubbles.

S- strong smell of tart, some funk. Vinegar and dark fruit also present.

T- Up front is some funk/tart, but much less then smell. Fruit notes of fig/apple/grape. Quite sweet. Secondary earthiness. mellows as u swallow. No taste of Alcohol.

M- Soft, barely feel bubbles. slightly coating feel. lingers for a second before mildly leaving.

D- very easy to drink. almost finished it while thinking about the taste. VERY GOOD for around $3.

 579 characters

Photo of penguinjive7
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pur is a cloudby brown color with about an inch of white head. Initial smell is of vinigar mixing with spice. The first sip is mostly a strong vinigar flavor is quickly followed by a bittersweet blast of firmented dark fruit. I can definitely taste hints of the oak coming through to further give the brew a flacor reminiscent of vinous almost cabernet-like flacor. The finish has a hint of clove spice to further round out the palate. Wow, this is really an odly balanced Flanders. The sweetness that balanced the sourness of the brew is almost awkward and unexpected, but it really works for this one. An excelent brew that I would have again in a heartbeat.

 664 characters

Photo of AlexJ
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ruby chestnut pour with a frothy beige head of large bubbles that falls to a soapy ring.

Aroma is over-ripe apples, tart cherry, must, diluted vinegar, with light toasty vanilla and oak.

Flavor is a near perfect blend of sweet and sour notes; musty orchard fruit, sweet balsalmic vinegar, tart cherries, and a nice winey oak spice note. As it warms a steely minerality comes into play. Not overy complex but very tastey.

Body shy of medium with loose carbonation, a slippery mouthfeel and superb drinkability. A definate session sour.

 537 characters

Photo of emagana
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a red copper in a tulib glass.
Very well carbonated that helps the nose pick up several smells. I get ripe cherries, grape, watermelon, and stone fruit. There is some definite funk sour notes.
Starts off with some dark cherries and sweet grapes. Very pleasant and refreshing. Makes for a great warm day beer.
I'll pick up more next time.

 346 characters

Photo of petacutlasaurus
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Whew. I enjoyed this, my first sour beer, at The Saloon on U street. Really knocked me out - I had just read an article on sour beers in either BA or on welovedc. Decided to take the plunge and order up one of these fellows. So glad I did. Dominant dark fruits on the nose with a bitter tinge that transforms on the close to a sour and crispy finish. The deep red color, with its fruity bitter smell coming out of the top of the goblet... Ultra-memorable and will definitely jump for a draft of this when I make a visit to their Philadelphia brew house.

 553 characters

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

Pours a deep mahogany with a good two finger head that dissipates slowly leaving a small cap and nice lacing.

Aroma is sour but lacks the cherry found in other ales of this type.

Taste dispals some of the sour cherry that the nose fails to display.

Nice carbonation, fairly refreshing and pleasant.

Fairly drinkable, but it's not a Rodenbach Grand Cru.

 365 characters

Photo of nightcrawler
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a scary-looking muddy brown with a brown head. There were red highlights when viewed with a bright light looking through the glass. Lacing was thick and tight on the glass.

Smelled sort of like BBQ sauce with a hint of yeast/bread. Very interesting. Carbonation was like a soda.

The taste was sweet with a cherry wine-like finish. Very easy to drink, maybe too easy. The beer has a creamy feel and carbonation continues to produce bubbles when the liquid hits your warm tongue.

My mouth tingles slightly with the sour after every swallow. Not a beer to chug all afternoon, but very tasty.

 605 characters

Photo of cvaypai
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Taken from notes. In bottles at Titletown Brewery for FeBREWary.

Appearance - Deep mahogany red, ruby when held to light. Poured with a tan, reddish-white bubbly head that dissipates at a medium pace and leaves a very nice lacing.

Smell - Smells of sour cherries and tart cranberries, a small bit of sweetness can be picked up. Vinegar and oakey woodiness can be discerned. Other fruits can also be picked out, sort of underwhelming.

Taste - Extremely nice and refreshing. Lots of cranberry and cherry as the nose indicated. The other dark fruits are there and it is a bit lactic and tart but it works well. A small amount of sweet malt on the end and some possible grapes on the finish. The tartness stays and the candy likeness pales as it warms and sour green apples come out.

Mouthfeel - A bit thinner and light but incredibly easy to drink and the tart buckles the tongue. A tiny bit of carbonation works great with this and makes it slightly effervescent.

Drinkability - Immensely drinkable, reminded me of a wine/beer hybrid. Would reach for many more, tastes like candy and goes down like it too.

 1,109 characters

Photo of bigfnjoe
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Served on tap into a Monk's glass

A- pours brown with a cherry shade to it, with a one finger, very quick fading pinkish head. Looks really good

S- light notes of red wine, cherries, and funk in the aroma

T- lightly tart cherries....not overly sour, not overly sweet

M- body is very thin, not much thickness going on here at all

O- really super drinkable, but it's REALLY expensive....7 bucks for about 12 oz. Yikes

 420 characters

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.

 311 characters

Photo of cnally
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another sour, I think I've officially turned the corner on these beasts...

A dark brown body color, off white shimmery head slight spitty lacing.

Aroma is vinegar, but somewhat mild, a little dried fruit, raisin/prune, that aroma when you open the bag.

The flavor is delectable. A tart flavor of fig, red grape. Aggressive yeasts come out sour and puckering. A good bitterness in the finish.

Highly fizzy wild and untamed.

Delicious and easy to swig considering the tartness. I believe this would be an appropriate diving board for someone who has never tried a sour, it is decently mild and less aggressive on the vinegar.

 628 characters

Photo of ferrari29
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer poured from bottle into a Tulip glass at O'Shaunghnessy's Public House in the Ravenswood area of Chicago, IL.

A - Beer poured with a rocky, two finger sized beige colored head; held very well; body had an opaque dark reddish colored body; some lacing formed on the glass; some visible sediment

S - Initial overwhelming blast of vinegar and sour yeast come up; followed up with a light wheat smell; as the beer warms up a fruity cherry and berry profile develops and takes over your nose as the vinegar/sour scents become less

T - Great sour red ale taste; vinegar notes and astringent; light malt flavor is taken over by a fruity cherry blast; just like the smell, as the beer warms up, the cherry/berry flavor really starts to take over the taste profile; tart

M - A bit on the thin side; tangy fruit flavors give your taste buds a nice challenge; lingering cherry flavors; crisp and refreshing

D - I really liked this one; don't pass this up if your a sour beer fan; nice sour notes followed up by fruit flavors really make this a unique drink experience; smooth and easy to drink

 1,092 characters

Photo of alexanderplatz
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Like Rodenbach Classic Red this is an easy to drink sour beer. The flavor is slightly tart, sweet and dominated by berry flavors. It is not hoppy at all. Descriptions of sour beers often feature terms evoking barnyard odors, which to me implies an acquired taste that may be not for me. But I didn't find Monk's to have any sort of challenging/weird/offensive flavors at all. If I had to use a single word to describe it, I would say "tangy."

I find one bottle very drinkable but the sweetness is such that it isn't the sort of beer I would drink two of back to back.

 569 characters

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

A: Poured into a tulip glass, a minimal silky white head topped this reddish-brown ale. A gorgeous looking beer.

S: It has a lot less funk than I would've expected. Its aroma is mild with a hint of sour but non-citric fruits.

T: This is the least sour example I've ever tasted of this style. It tastes of tart cherries, minus some of the associated sweetness. Hints of lemon are also present.

M: Absolutely silky. The carbonation is just perfect, and it's just thin enough that my tastebuds aren't overpowered.

D: Surprisingly for a sour ale, I could see myself drinking several of these in a sitting. It's mildness compared to other sour ales I've sampled makes this the most drinkable example of the style I can think of.

 727 characters

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

Poured into a tulip.

Appears dark amber. Can't see through it. Head is off-white in color, sudsy with a little fiz, but it doesn't fade away completely.

Aroma gives off a fruit tartness. A little vinegar. If you didn't know what you were smelling a beer, one could mistake this for a wine cooler. But it doesn't smell cheap. I also smell notes of OJ and cola mixed with some sweet malt.

Taste is a little funky, faintly sour with significant notes of raspberry. Notes of apple, grape, and OJ are noticeable on the finish.

Champagne like mouthfeel. Short, dry, and elegant with carbonation.

Very enjoyable. A sipper due to the nature of the style. But great drinkability for what it is.

 690 characters

Photo of Lawl3ss
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lightly chilled 11.2 oz. bottle poured into a shaker pint, as per the recommendation on the box. No discernable bottling date.

Look- Big, big head on this. 3/4 of the glass is filled with tight beige foam, looks like a root beer float, really. Crystal clear ruby-brown. Nice lacing.

Smell- Sweet, cidery, powdery, candylike. Pears, caramel, vanilla and lemon extract, some straw. Good malt backdrop, feels centered. Very appealing, if on the sweet side.

Taste- Cidery, pears, strong dose of wood comes out in the middle. Perhaps there's a hint of hops towards the end, but it's basically indistinguishable from the light oxidation. Vanilla again, sweet, almost candy/soda feel. Clean, almost no aftertaste, although sourness builds a bit as the glass empties. Very champagne-like.

Mouthfeel- Crisp, light to medium body. Not particularly dry, but quite clean. I feared it would be over-carbonated, but it's actually got a fairly soft edge, smooth on the tongue, a bit prickly on the swallow. Drinks like a cider, very refreshing. A bit acidic by the end, but it disappeared quickly- I wouldn't mind having a few of these.

Overall- Perhaps it's the 100+ degree heat today, but man, this really hit the spot. I have fairly mixed feelings about sours, but this one I thoroughly enjoyed. Crisp, easy drinking, definitely on the sweet side, puckery but not overly so. Feels more like an everyday beer, which I haven't seen in sours before. Not very complex, but what's there is spot on. A good lemonade replacement, in my opinion.

 1,530 characters

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 1,108 ratings.