1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

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

Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,063 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2063
Reviews: 1018
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 14.1%


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)
View: Beers (74) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
Ratings: 2,063 | Reviews: 1,018 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruby red with a bit of a brown hue and quite clear. The fine, light beige head showed good retention and produced a solid sheet of lace on the glass. Malt sweetness and sour fruit (cherries) in the aroma, along with a hint of leather. Tart berry fruitiness balanced the moderate malt quite nicely. Some sour cherry as well, also earthy and woody. It finished with lingering raspberry tartness. Light bodied with some residual sugar that gave it a slightly syrupy feel. Very thirst quenching and highly drinkable. Even with the rest of the line-up at Monk's Cafe, I had to have a second glass before moving on.

Serving type: on-tap

06-20-2006 02:40:02 | More by DrJay
Photo of FightingEntropy
FightingEntropy

Minnesota

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got down to the Blue Nile to have a draft of Monk's Flemish Red, and it was really worth the trip. I had a draft at Monk's a year ago, and rated this one higher. For this tasting, the beer poured high with a thick, off white head with lots of small carbonation bubbles which drops to a thin lingering foam that resembles a tan oil slick. Only a small amount of lace hangs on the edge. It is a truly red red ale, dark cherry in color with golden highlights that almost shimmers. Sour fruit fills your nose, mostly cherry, but also raisins/currants along with a light tinge from the oak too. The smell is less complex than the sour/sweet/tart/sour taste--like those expensive dark cherries you let set an extra day or two in the fridge before eating. The malt sweetness is strong enough to try hard to balance, but in the end lose by a bit to the complex yeasty sourness. Perfect. Really enjoyed this beer, but had to head home after two because a third would have knocked me for a loop. Hope that my life allows me to get back for another draft of this very cool beer of an underdone style. Take my review for what it is--I switch back and forth between barleywine and Flanders red as my favorite styles--I like strong, sour, and in your face beers that have strong opposing flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

10-08-2006 14:48:30 | More by FightingEntropy
Photo of MaggieReed
MaggieReed

Michigan

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had two of these @humpy's in downtown anchorage.

pours a deep red-brown with about an inch of nice, thick head.

s- tart cherries, brown sugar and wheat with a heavy malt presence rounding out the finish.

t-awesome- clearly if you look at my reviews I am a huge fan of this style, but this one has a presence that is not found in any but the best beers, and the taste was complex- not something my toungue will get bored with.

m- somewhat syrupy with moderate carbonation

d- not for everyone, but if you are a fan of the style you will enjoy this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

06-29-2009 06:14:44 | More by MaggieReed
Photo of Suomi411
Suomi411

Maryland

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark amber with a reddish hue. Head dissipates quickly to about .5-1" thick. Moderate lacing that disappears quickly following each sip.
S: Sour, a hint of cherries and cider.
T: Initially, moderate sourness with a hint of cherries, apples. Ends sweet effectively balancing the initial sour component. No real sense of hops, diacetyl. Aftertaste is earthy/woody, but also disappears rather quickly
M: Light to medium bodied (more on light side) with a fair amount of carbonation and low bitterness.
D: Excellent! Will pick up again in the near future.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2009 01:45:39 | More by Suomi411
Photo of Symptomu
Symptomu

Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As a lover of sour brews I've developed a special affinity for this beers different take on sour. The color is a lovely clear but deep brown red and on tap the head is impressive. The sour aroma and even the tast of this beer is very lactic, yogurty, rather than acetic, vinegary. The mouthfeel is thin but not overly so. The sour lends to the brews drinkability without being too tangy, puckery. Flavors hint at cherry, crab apple, molasses, and plain yogurt. This is an excellent first timers sour though may not be much like its brethren.

Serving type: on-tap

09-30-2009 22:22:01 | More by Symptomu
Photo of cbutova
cbutova

Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a gloriously dark red into my Duvel tulip. A head builds up to a few fingers but fizzes out very quickly and you can actually hear it. Dies down to a funky looking cloud and ring. A few sticky suds but looks more like wine with a mutant cloud in the middle of it.

S- Strong and sour. The aroma even made my cheeks pucker. Smells a lot like red wine, a very lot. Lots of grapes, fruit and acetic and lactic acid.

T- Pretty damn sour at first but that goes away pretty quickly. It starts off with huge fruit and vinous notes, lots of grape and dark fruit going on here. The finish is hugely unexpected, malty and very bready. The moderate sour level (after first sip) lends a great touch to these nice flavors. Vinegar levels not very present here for some reason. Wow, toward the ends this really tastes amazingly like tart cherry pits.

MF- The body is fairly light and highly carbonated. It is, however, very smooth and creamy. The sours make your cheeks pucker as the palate is coated with great fruit and vinous flavors.

DB- I bought this because it was the cheapest Belgian single on the entire shelf of a local store. Turned out to be a great buy, successfully blending wine flavors with a great malt and yeast backbone. I would be proud to have this brewed for my restaurant. Probably a one or two bottle thing but still one of the most drinkable sours I have come across.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2010 01:29:36 | More by cbutova
Photo of KDeLibero
KDeLibero

Colorado

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Belgian family-owned Van Steenberge brewery, which is outside the city of Ghent, in the Flemish region, produces the famous beers Gulden Draak and Piraat. They have collaborated with the Belgian Beer Emporium, Monk's Café in Philadelphia to commission the Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale under their private label. Monk's Café is made in the style of an Oud Bruin (or "old brown). Young and old beers are blended to create balance and complexity in this mildly sour ale.

Monk's Café pours a deep red mahogany with a malty aroma of fruit and oak. The flavor is tart with strawberries and cherries, and hints of vanilla, wood, and lactic acid. The noticeable oak on the finish must be from the more aged batch of beer that is blended in. Overall, Monk's Café is a very drinkable and refreshing beer that would serve as a great introduction to sour beers for those who are not familiar with the style.

While delicious on it's own, Monk's Café will pair well with a wide variety of different foods, especially ones that share the same funky, barnyardy flavors. Try pairing it with a gamey meat such as duck with a sweet sauce, or a rich pork dish. It would certainly compliment an earthy, mushroomy cheese like Brie de Meaux, or Forsterkäse, which is wrapped in bark for an extra heady flavor. Experiment too, this beer is fun and delightful with chocolate!

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2010 04:29:23 | More by KDeLibero
Photo of stimulus
stimulus

New Jersey

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip.

A: Pours a clear brown with a tan head and decent lacing.
S: Sweet brown sugar and lactic vinegar.
T: A perfect blend between extreme acidity and sweetness, with a sweet finish.
M: Light carbonation, medium body.
D: I could easily drink more than one of these in a sitting, which is saying a lot for a sour ale. It's also affordable for a sour, which is a nice bonus.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2010 04:00:29 | More by stimulus
Photo of Amalak
Amalak

New York

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. Black like a Guinness and it has a huge foamy tan head. It has tons of lacing.

S. A metallic scent followed with a grape undertone.

T. Wow, intense grape taste. A nice sour with a kind of jolly rancher feel, a roasty malt aftertaste.

M. A bit tart. Carbonated.

O. Maybe my favorite sour. Flavorful and not obnoxiously tart.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2012 17:31:35 | More by Amalak
Photo of pkalix
pkalix

California

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

part of 'that' sampler pack of sour brews...
tan, creamy head. dark ruby pour.
aroma 'could' be of a sour, but it's not totally there....
taste.... wow. very full, round sour flavor- AWESOME, but finishes totally WEAK. what a disappointment at the finish. kind of like the tigers in game 3 of the world series right now with bases loaded and 1 out- strike out, and chump! oh well.... i love the flavor, although it's just missing something... i mean, how do i describe this?
overall, awesome lacing on the sides. beautiful color. fruity, tart. low abv%, but okay.... maybe that's what it is missing.... does it earn a 4.5? i really like this.... but there's just something in the finishing of the taste that makes me think they just missed something....

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2012 03:07:07 | More by pkalix
Photo of Gusler
Gusler

Arizona

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Draught @ O’Brien’s San Diego
Just goes to show you, that you never know what you will find in a great pub, owned and run by great beer loving people, a beer brewed in Belgium exclusively for a pub in Philadelphia, in a pub in California!

The beer as it sets in the Belgian Chalice a somewhat murky deep red to almost brown color, the head a medium tan color that is also creamy in texture and the size perfect, the lace forms a tight skirt to cover the glass. Nose is crisp and tart, the aroma of over ripe fruit, a hint of yeast, a bit musky, quite a pleasant sniff this beer. Start is lightly sweet then tart with the top middling in its feel to the palate, finish is austere in its acidity, the hops perfect in their spiciness, very dry after taste that lingers on and on. I was simply forced to have several glasses before I boarded my incredibly long flight back to Phoenix, geez I needed the energy to withstand that hour and five minute flight! Lol

Serving type: on-tap

06-15-2004 16:13:56 | More by Gusler
Photo of dgallina
dgallina

Georgia

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz brown bottle without freshness date.

Poured a slightly transparent deep reddish-brown with big carbonation, small sheen of foam, and good lace. Smells big and fruity; a sweet and sour blend of green apples and grapes that tickles the nose. Green apples, pears, and a counter-balance of wood and sweet dark fruits (cherries?) lead to a super-dry, earthy and yeasty finish. Highly-carbonated, moderately light and tingly in the mouth.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2005 00:59:09 | More by dgallina
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

01/07/06- Purchased at Sun Devil Liquors in Mesa, AZ.

Presentation- 11.2 oz bottle. Code on the back label. Poured into a chalice tyle glass.

Appearance- Reddish in color. Light 1/4 inch head which almost all remains the whole way down. Very light lace.

Smell- A touch barnyard. A bit musty, with a hefty sour fruity scent.

Taste- Sour, but not mouth puckering sour. Cherry in flavor over any other fruit. Touch hoppy in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- Tart, with a about perfect carbonation level.

Drinkability- One of the better Flanders I have had. I like the fact that the tartness wasn't too overpowering. Nice drinking brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2006 01:05:22 | More by GClarkage
Photo of elinash
elinash

New York

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2008 04:36:48 | More by elinash
Photo of bitterthebetter
bitterthebetter

Oregon

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a deep regal brown with ruby highlights and an off white head

rich, malty, caramel aromas upfront with a sour tartness and slight woodiness

caramel malt upfront by tart malt, slight apple notes, and slight dry woodiness on the finish

smooth, tart yet balanced, a bit sugary but super enticing

a great beer, reminds me of why I love these beers. smooth, malty, sour yet pleasant all the way through its an absolute pleasure to drink this beer

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2009 07:49:07 | More by bitterthebetter
Photo of davexisxrabid
davexisxrabid

California

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice deep brown color that looked crimson when held up to the light in my Chimay goblet. Little white head that had decent retention. Excellent lacing during the drinking period.

Brown sugar aroma and grapejuice.

Flavor was similar to brown sugar followed by a slightly tart but not vinegary or acidic flavor. It was a fruit-like tart similar to green apples or white grapes.

Very carbonated brew, medium bodied due to the carbonation. Slightly sweet flavors linger on the palate for a bit, making this very pleasant all around.

Very drinkable in my opinion. Easy to have more than one, if you're lucky enough to have a few on hand. My only complaint was the carbonation, but it's ok. A few extra burps for a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2009 16:07:17 | More by davexisxrabid
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a ruby red color with a small white head. Nose is vinegar, fruits, strawberry perhaps and a definitevtartness. Taste is self is def tart from begining to end, great tasting blend of fruits, nice body and sweet. Very good brew, on tap much better versus bottle. My wife loved it.

Serving type: on-tap

10-27-2009 16:10:21 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of alleykatking
alleykatking

Indiana

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a deep amber color. Nice light tan one finger head that fades rather quickly. Leaves some nice skirted lacing on the sides as I drink this down.

S- This has a nice amber cider smell to it. Threw me off at first but nice nevertheless. Vinegar offnotes in this one as well. Not much of anything else.

T- Big fruity (apple) cider upfront with this. Some vinegar notes in the middle of it. Ends on a lighter clove and bubblegum like hints. This is balanced like that all throughout the beer.

M- Medium light mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the beer. Fizzes in the front half of the beer. Cider presence felt also in the front half. Nice apple and light sourness on both the palate and in the aftertaste.

D- This one is dangerously drinkable. I had no problem drinking all 12oz of this bad boy and at a alarming rate. The only set back to this one I would have to say is I could feel this making a mess of your gut if too much was drank. Would recommend this one as a sour to start off with.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2010 22:09:19 | More by alleykatking
Photo of superdedooperboy
superdedooperboy

Georgia

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2-ounce brown bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a nicely clear copper-brown with a huge billowing head of beige foam that shows excellent retention, leaving fat patchy rings of lacing down the sides of the glass, settling to a thick cap that holds out until the finish.

The nose is a delicious melding of aromas, with some slightly sweet toffee-like notes, lots of oaky wood and a little bit of a sour, musty character.

Body sits on the lower end of medium, with a middling level of carbonation. A mild base of sweet caramel is topped with a nice dose of tartness that consumes the entirety of the palate through the finish, with notes of dark cherries and raspberries toward the back. More musty, oaky and vinous notes fill in the cracks before a slightly sour, medium-dry finish.

Wonderfully drinkable, the balance between sweet and sour here is spot-on, and the low alcohol level lends itself to sessionability. This is one beer that I honestly believe I could drink all night long without tiring of it. Very nice.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2010 02:44:16 | More by superdedooperboy
Photo of earthboundagain
earthboundagain

Colorado

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-This beer is a reddish, brown, reminds me of balsamic vinegar, the head is not huge, but laces well.

S- We have grapes and sweet cherry, and vinegar twang, some woody notes as well. This beer smells of a funky promise.

T- The taste is a sour red grape, mixed with slight cherry and some oak. This so reminds me of balsamic vinegar it is not funny, but it is oh so good.

M- A medium body with lots of carbonation, this beer is a beauty on the palate.

D- The glass empties quickly, with strong deep sips.

I know this beer gets a lot of abuse, but I think it is a good beer. While it might not be top of the line, it is a wonderful beer to keep on hand. I have also used this to convert a few wine drinkers in my time.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2010 16:01:28 | More by earthboundagain
Photo of Buttermaker
Buttermaker

California

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is lovely beer and perfect as an aperitif on an early summer evening. Light bodied, perfect sweet and sour balance. It's a great introduction to sours/old browns for someone that's not likely to try one on their own (your wife for example). Very seshable.

Recommended Music Pairing: Vince Guaraldi - In Person

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2010 02:06:14 | More by Buttermaker
Photo of CrossFitAlex
CrossFitAlex

Wisconsin

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Rose, rust, and amber with a crisp medium head

N - ale- sour / acidic, cherry, rose and floral scents.

T - YUM! nice balance of sour on the front of the palette w/ good carbonation. Well balanced ale flavors. Cherry and floral with an excellent sweet-sour mix. (I love flemish sours)

M - 4.5

D - Did I mention I love flemish sours? I think i'll have another...

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2010 23:22:54 | More by CrossFitAlex
Photo of fragilehearted
fragilehearted

Texas

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle into a tulip. Thanks to Brez07 for this in a recent BIF! I've had it before, but it's just not sold where I live, so I seek it out whenever I can. It's one of my favorites!

A - dark brownish red. nice tan head, but it goes down pretty quickly into a cloud-covered ring. Leaves a bit of lacing hanging out in blotches.

S - sour fruits, acid, vinegar. Kind of reminds me of a vinaigrette dressing. Could be better, actually, but well, I'm into aromas.

T - tart, but not too tart. There's some sweetness in there too. Cherries, grapes, apples...fruits. Lots of sours are just overwhelmingly sour (not always a bad thing), but I like this one a lot because of the balance.

M - light. pretty carbonated, but I don't generally mind that in a beer. Goes down so smooth.

D - super duper. I could drink this all the time. It's not overly sour, has just a touch of sweetness that makes it much more drinkable than the average sour, especially for those not familiar w/ the style. For that reason, I think it'd be a great intro to the style - was mine, way back when! And if you can find it, usually not a bad price tag either.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2010 06:21:42 | More by fragilehearted
Photo of Tone
Tone

Missouri

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark red color. 3/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of tart malt, slight sweet malt, and strong citrus. Fits the style of a Flanders Oud Bruin. Mouth feel is sharp at first, that then becomes smooth. There is an average carbonation level. Tastes of tart malt, strong citrus, slight sour, slight sweet malt, slight yeast, slight grass, hint of hop, and a hint of wood. Overall, a very good beer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-15-2010 21:21:35 | More by Tone
Photo of Brent
Brent

Kentucky

4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This seemed a little younger and fresher than what I'm accustomed to for the style, or perhaps I've just gotten used to drinking old beer? Bright, well moderated lactic tartness redolent of sour cherry and some oaky, tannic notes. Finish was nicely dry and clean, with some citric sweetness at the very end.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2010 15:15:36 | More by Brent
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,063 ratings.