1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  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

2,338 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,338
Reviews: 1,042
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 13.8%
Wants: 51
Gots: 161 | 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: 2,338 | Reviews: 1,042 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Suomi411
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

Suomi411, Aug 02, 2009
Photo of porkinator
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There wasn't a price tag on this at BevMo, so that kinda made me want it!

A- Dark brown color. 1 inch head that faded quickly. Been 2 minutes since I've poured it, and still has some bubbles around the glass.

S- You know it's going to be sour. Berries: Cherry and raspberry?

T- Good! Sour at first and as the taste goes away, you get a cool sensation that lingers.

M- Feels bubbly. Smooth and sits very well. Not to thick.

D- I would like to definitely try this again!

porkinator, Nov 11, 2010
Photo of MasterEzra
2.5/5  rDev -34.9%

MasterEzra, Jul 01, 2012
Photo of flip387
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: 4.25

Has a nice deep red color with a slight fizzy head.

Smell: 4.0

Crisp and slightly sour. Pleasant smell with mild hop and barley notes.

Taste: 4.0

Crisp and tart, noticed some earthy flavors which I believe is from the barley.

Mouthfeel: 4.0

Carbonated and fizzles on the tongue. Semi tar and sour, yet crisp and pleasant.

Overall: 4.25

My third sour beer, and my third from Brouwerij Bavik, defiantly my favorite from the Sour Power pack. This one is quite nice, has a tart crisp flavor along with some sweetness. A mild bodied red ale

flip387, Jun 08, 2013
Photo of ILuvBeer
5/5  rDev +30.2%

ILuvBeer, Aug 29, 2014
Photo of scout
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Publican in Chicago.

Pours a ruby-brown color with a generous head and excellent lacing. Smell is sour cherries, fruits, that Belgian sugary smell and some oaky funk.

Taste is really interesting -- a total blend of tart cherries, maybe some apples too and sweet. Also, a tad spicy and a little bready too. What's unique is that it's a total blending of flavors -- they don't hit you in phases but are all there from beginning to end. Mouthfeel is outstanding -- smooth, almost creamy (probably attributable to the draft, but still surprising for the style).

Overall, a very unique beer. A very drinkable sour with a lot of complex, but very blended and balanced flavors.

scout, Oct 21, 2011
Photo of KDeLibero
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
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!

KDeLibero, Sep 09, 2010
Photo of Weter
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

Weter, Mar 24, 2012
Photo of DeerNick
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

DeerNick, Mar 15, 2012
Photo of classixIII
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a stemmed flute.

A - Very fast foamy head filled a third of the flute then subsided to about half inch. A dark, clear reddish mahogany.

S - I got mostly grape, wine like, at first smell, then some raisin, maybe berries.

T - Mild sweet fruit, with a barely sour finish that lingers on the tongue between sips

M - Light, lots of carbonation

O - Refreshing, Enjoyed it, and would recommend a try. Will have again but won't be making it one of my regulars.

classixIII, Oct 27, 2013
Photo of william_longshaft
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

william_longshaft, Dec 12, 2012
Photo of Phread
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Phread, Oct 20, 2012
Photo of AwesomeLiz
5/5  rDev +30.2%

AwesomeLiz, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of Argofax
5/5  rDev +30.2%

Argofax, Feb 10, 2012
Photo of alyssajoy
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

alyssajoy, Apr 05, 2012
Photo of benkt68
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

benkt68, Dec 02, 2013
Photo of paganbeast
2.88/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This is one of the first sour ales I've had, and I liked it fairly well.

The appearance is very reddish brown and actually quite appealing with a nice sustained head and delicate lacing.

The smells are almost overwhelming at first, as there is so much going on. Initially the sour cherries come barreling towards you followed by an entourage of sweet and sour notes.

It tastes quite sweet on the tongue and the sourness permeates the rest of your mouth. There's a feeling of drinking balsamic vinegar at times.

Has a very sticky and lasting mouthfeel, very difficult to shake.

paganbeast, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of rugbyfan13
3.15/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Dark hazelnut brown on top fading into a dark red on the bottom. Tan, 1/2 inch head. Head turns into a thin cover on top. Medium lacing.

Smell: Cherries, wood, yeast funk, much less palpable than a Saison funk. Hints of garlic at the end that become more obvious as the beer warms up, but it still remains muted.

Taste: Oaky and funky, once again, similar to a Saison, lightly sour. Alcohol warms the burns the mouth as you drink it.

The main problem with this beer is that water hits you first. While I can tell there are strong flavors in the beer, the water just made the rest of the flavors have to overcome the watery-ness of the beer, and thus, diluted them.

Mouthfeel: Too damn watery up front. Similar to the taste, the water creates an obstacle for the mouthfeel and makes it seem weak.

Drinkability: I love yeasty funk, and I like sour beers, so I could drink more. Its an unremarkable beer.

Seeing how much I paid for the beer, I won't be trying this again.

rugbyfan13, Aug 16, 2007
Photo of RayDeMundo
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

RayDeMundo, Aug 03, 2014
Photo of jeffack
5/5  rDev +30.2%

jeffack, Aug 05, 2012
Photo of CeasarB
4/5  rDev +4.2%

CeasarB, Nov 22, 2013
Photo of CrossFitAlex
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
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...

CrossFitAlex, Jul 12, 2010
Photo of massshortage
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this on a whim. It was nicely priced and had a good description on the bottle.

It poured gloriously- a deep clear deep red with a fluffy white head.

Smelled like fermented candy. Notes of sour warheads with vinegar.

The taste was fruitier than expected. Sweet and like raspberry and cranberry. The sourness was on the low side, and basically no hop bitterness, which I expected for the style, I suppose. Anyway, I feel that it could have been better balanced with more sour, less sweet.

Very light bodied, with high carbonation. Nice.

Well, it was certainly drinkable, and not bad by any means. But it drank more like a cider with its fruitiness and lack of much malt or hop character. I like their intentions with the sweet and sour balance, but I could have used less sweet and more sour.

massshortage, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of NotMyRealName
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is unusual. Although a Belgian ale, there's something that reminds me of a champagne. Fruity and smooth. Not hoppy. The flavor is not as complex as the best Belgian beers, but neither is it bland like Blue Moon Belgian White. Just like champagne makes a tasty occasional treat but is not an everyday drink, so too is Monk's Cafe.

NotMyRealName, Aug 13, 2011
Photo of yeastlovehoppiness_jess
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Poured a dark, ruby brown with a quickly-rising, bubbly two fingers of toasty beige head. The head settled down fairly quickly into a thinner film that left lacing quite high up on the large wine glass I drank from.

S - Rich, malty, dark fruit kind of fragrance. Faintly reminded me of both Branston Pickle (I know, weird!) and red wine. Black cherry or plum notes.

T - Dark fruit, cherry, or plum taste. Reminded me of red wine. Faint milk chocolate taste. It reminded me of that fleeting moment when you bite through the cherry candy into the tootsie-roll center of a tootsie-pop. Left a flat, acidic, coppery/metallic aftertaste on the tongue and lips.

M - Sour, of course, but sweet. Tart. The first sip made me pucker a little. Thin.

O - For my first sour, it has piqued my interest and taste buds. It's unlike anything I've ever had. Definitely an enjoyable sipping, dessert-like beer.

yeastlovehoppiness_jess, Jul 02, 2013
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,338 ratings.