1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. 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 champ103
champ103

Texas

4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a cloudy reddish/brown color. A two finger white head forms and recedes after a minute. Light lace is left behind.
S: The aroma is of funky sourness. Ripe fruit of apples, pears, and cherries. Some vinegar, slightly acidic, and tannin aromas. Oak and wood lingers on. I can just plant my nose in the glass all day. Truly amazing.
T: Follows the nose. Lots of barnyard funky flavors and fruits. Apples and pears are most prevalent. Oak and wood. Again this is slightly acidic. Plenty of sweet sourness. Though it never becomes cloying. Very balanced between the Belgium funk and sweet fruit flavors.
M/D: This has a medium body. At first it has to much carbonation. Though as this breaths a little the beer becomes more creamy and smooth. The great balance between the fruit and sourness makes this a treat to drink. I wish the bottle would have never ended.

This is one great beer. I really enjoyed it. Something I would highly recommend.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2009 04:49:31 | More by champ103
Photo of TurdFurgison
TurdFurgison

Ohio

3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Drank on tap at Naja's in Redondo Beach, served in a Fin Du Monde chalice.

Appearance: Dark reddish brown, with wispy head lingering for a few minutes.

Smell: Sour lambic kind of aroma, with some cherries.

Taste: Very sour and bitter, nice cherry flavor.

Notes: Tart, sour, sweet, and good. This was my first Flanders Red, so I really have no right to judge it. I just know I enjoyed it. Maybe I'll revisit this beer review after I get more experience.

Serving type: on-tap

09-05-2005 23:11:49 | More by TurdFurgison
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

2.93/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On-tap at Prime 16 into a Monk's Cafe tumbler. Cheer's to matching glassware, even if it doesn't do much to accentuate aroma + flavor.

A: Clear vermillion body under a finger of super-fine tan foam. Decent retention and light lacing. Pretty inviting.

S: Uninspiring: prickly red wine vinegar, overripe cherries, and some vanilla. The acetic tartness increases as it warms, but it's never all that interesting for the style.

T: The sourness tingles the tip of my tongue, but is quickly drowned out entirely by wave after wave of cherry/vanilla sweetness. Tastes kind of like stale Cheerwine (for all you non-southerners, this is basically overly sweetened Dr. Pepper). Not terrible, but way too sweet.

M: Explosive carbonation and a sticky medium body. Exciting.

O: I think I prefer this slightly to Duchesse du Bourgogne, but only slightly - both are unnecessarily sweet and lacking in genuine complexity. While I love a great Flanders sour, I really can't get excited about a mediocre one.

Cheers!

Serving type: on-tap

05-08-2011 00:49:50 | More by woosterbill
Photo of johnnnniee
johnnnniee

New Hampshire

3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a really clear deep copper color with a huge head that slowly dissipates to a cap but leaves fluffy sticky lace down the sides of the glass. Smell of lactic acid, sweet malts, a bit of lemon, and sour cherries. Taste is sweeter than I expected but has that sour twang about it. More lemons and sour cherries and sweet malts in the taste. Leaves a sweet and sour taste in my mouth, pass the Chinese food. Mouthfeel is syrupy and a bit sticky. Carbonation is on the high side prickling the tongue with every sip. Body is medium. Decent sour ale, but I thought it a bit on the sweet side for the style. Maybe more like a beginners sour ale, but still tasty.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2009 18:28:50 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium

Florida

3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330 mL bottle poured into a goblet. Served one to my brother-in-law (Raul) to try to get him into some sour styles. It didn't work.

Appearance - Deep amber body with a huge head. More than half the glass is foam. Sticks to the sides of the glass and leaves a nice layer of foam throughout the drink.

Smell - Not much sour, mostly funk. Some cherry and light vinegar aromas. A bit of sweet malt behind what Raul described as "the smell of vomit from a tequila hangover."

Taste - Not very sour at all. Just a hint of tartness followed by a cherry sweetness. There is some malt sweetness, but it isn't cloying. It's too much sweetness, really, but it isn't sickly. Tough to describe. I get a lot of oak, as well. I look over to see Raul drinking it as fast as possible to avoid a gag reflex. What a waste.

Mouthfeel - A bit too sweet in the finish and that makes it feel heavier. It isn't heavy, it just feels that way. Not as easy to drink as a crisper acidity would have allowed.

Overall - Not bad bu nothing spectacular. Good flavor, but just not sour enough.

Mouthfeel -

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2011 13:28:08 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of francisweizen
francisweizen

Arizona

4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A dark red brew, with a small whispy head. Aroma is heavy on the cherries, with some astringent, lambic-sour ale funk in the background...way in the background. The taste is sour, and fruity...a good combination of flavors, if you ask me. I have to agree that this is a great sour red ale, but it is not as complex as goudenbond or duchess....the drinkability is good, and the mouthfeel is creamy.

this is a very good beer

F

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2003 14:02:51 | More by francisweizen
Photo of tpd975
tpd975

Florida

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to tampabrew for this one.

A: Pours a dark ruby red that borders on brown. Thin white head with little retention or lace.

S: The aroma is sour cherries, apple, and light oak.

T: Taste is both sweet and tart. Apple sweetness blends well with cherry tartness. Light oak is able to push through as well.

M: On the lighter side of medium, not complex but pretty tasty.

D: Not too bad. Very drinkable. Not world class but worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2009 13:01:23 | More by tpd975
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
LilBeerDoctor

New York

3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 2/29/08. Bottled as Monk's Flemish Sour Ale. Pours a dark, clear brown with a very small head. Aroma of tart raspberries, alcohol, oak, prunes. Tastes of sweetness, some sour fruits, and oak. I really enjoyed this a lot and thought it was comparable to Duchesse de Bourgogne. Very drinkable. I was very surprised by this one and would really recommend it!

Rerate 09/28/08: Aroma of tart fruits (raspberry in particular) and a slight hint of something else that reminds me of oatmeal. Flavor of balsamic vinegar and sour fruits. This is still quite delicious and I will leave my old numbers. Yum! 8/3/8/4/15 (3.8/5)

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2008 01:23:19 | More by LilBeerDoctor
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73

Rhode Island

3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle served in my new Chouffe N'Ice 25 cl flute at 52 degrees (wish I had let this chill down a little more). Poured a translucent chestnut with a tight two inch off-white head pock-marked on the surface, but composed of compressed, tiny bubbles along the shoulders; head eventually recedes into a consistent, dense cap. A half moon band of lacing coats one side of the glass with spatters coating the opposite side of the bowl. Nose indicated some acidity off the bat; suggests sour cherries. Taste consistent with nose, but sour character is muted and even; not overly bold upfront but consistent throughout the tasting experience. Mouthfeel is light and lively with a slight acidity at the finish. Easy drinking and flavorful with a low abv makes this a great introduction for sour beer newbies (like myself).

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2009 18:38:00 | More by Jwale73
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
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 tdm168
tdm168

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - dark amber with a reddish hue; huge, soft, dense, foamy, offwhite almost brownish head that has great retention

S - a bit musty, faint fruit, some grainy sweetness

T - berries, mildly lactic, some caramel, mild bitterness in the finish

M - medium bodied, sticky, smooth, crisp

I'm not sure how I feel about this beer. It's not really bad, but it's not really great either. It has a decent enough flavor though the fruity notes are mild and there is very little if any sourness. The nose is a bit off putting with it's graininess. Overall, not a bad beer, but I've had better in this style. It was nice to try once, but I won't be seeking it out again.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2013 00:27:28 | More by tdm168
Photo of ArrogantB
ArrogantB

Colorado

3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl bottle $3.99 Looked red to me, decent head. Smelled a lot like glue but a cheap kind and not the top shelf Elmer's that I get from La Folie. A little vinegar in the smell also, not bad. Mildly sour but also a little one dimensional. I'd take a rodenbach or la folie over this any day.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2010 04:07:31 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of rudzud
rudzud

Massachusetts

3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this at KJ Baarons on a whim. Always looking for a good Flanders...poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a wonderful super deep copper almost hazelnut in colour, crystal clear, with a massive almost 3 finger fluffy head that rapidly reduces into a thick and creamy half finger head that hangs around forever. Average side lacing too.

S - Typical Oud Bruin notes here. Some real nice subtle sour, vinegar notes. Very light sour cherry notes too.

T - Just like the nose with the addition of some really tasty barrel notes. Definately picking up on the oak as well as some green apple on the finish.

M - Its nearly undrinkable at first. Way, way too much carbonation resulting in a sharp feeling in the mouth. As this sits though things mellow out and it becomes much smoother. Leaves a very sugary afterfeel.

O - Overall this is a tasty flanders. There are lots for this style though and while this is tasty I'm still left seeking other, better examples of the style. Great appearance though.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2011 05:45:34 | More by rudzud
Photo of puboflyons
puboflyons

New Hampshire

3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the 11.2 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on July 9, 2012. It pours reddish-brown with a full puffy, beige head that generally lingers. The aroma has a good cherry quality to it along with Belgian yeast and Belgian malts balancing it off. The body is medium but it also had an astringent bite to it. The taste was tart and sour as promised but not as much as I thought it might be. There's a cherry flavor to it but overall it lingers for some time. The flavor is one I will remember.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2012 22:54:09 | More by puboflyons
Photo of mynie
mynie

Indiana

4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I don't know how they measure things in Flemland, but this here ain't red. It be brown as a dog's asshole, only in means in which the dog's asshole is made to be appealin', and with a little white head.

Very sour malt. That's it. Intense, candy sour. Very nice; reminds me of when I was little, buying Tearjerkers at the gas station.

Sour! Sweet and sour citrus to start, moving into an almost chemical, candy sour middle, ending on a more dry sourness, like a sour wine. I'm no good at picking out different types of sours: my pallete isn't used to them. Alls I can say is that this is sour, and it's good.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2006 02:39:12 | More by mynie
Photo of clayrock81
clayrock81

Virginia

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter and received a murky brown body with a one-finger head that stuck around a long time and left a lace ring. A sour smell mixed with malts and some citric notes (closer to dark fruit but I'll leave it at that) combined with some caramel or butter - also a tad spicy. Very sour, but a good sour, with a smooth body and a bitter fruit taste. A little hop kick or spicy note (something like pepper) that jolts the tip of the tongue, then something akin to sweet malts and fruit (cherry being the most prevelant) hits the tastebuds as it is going down, making for a medium-bodied beer that is balanced and not rough. I don't like sour drinks period, but I thought this was a great beer. I don't know if I'd session it because it might leave a funny taste after a while (think too much OJ), but I recommend to all to try this beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2008 13:25:15 | More by clayrock81
Photo of merlin48
merlin48

Kentucky

4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle pours a clear dark mahogany body with a small khaki head. Good retention and some patchy island chain lacing. Aroma features light malt and lots of acidic notes of sour white grapes and cherries. Mouthfeel is tart and effervescent, light bodied. Taste is dry and tart. Hints of cherries and sour white grapes. A hint of caramel supports the considerable acidic sourness. Clean and refreshing. A good example of the style, but not one of my favorites.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2006 21:30:30 | More by merlin48
Photo of Vancer
Vancer

Illinois

3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The 11.2oz bottle pops and pours a very good looking deep amber with cola brown edges into the Corsendonk tulip. Thick tan head rises to the glass rim and then settles back, leaving sticky lace on the way down.

Tart aroma of cherry and even a bit of bourbon, or is that me wishing it? No, no bourbon in the quaff, just the lightly sour cherry finish after a sweet start. Very light bodied and refreshing, easy to drink in the STL summer heat - except the import price will keep this from being a well stocked in the DBF. Recommend giving it a try though.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2009 00:15:05 | More by Vancer
Photo of tgbljb
tgbljb

Pennsylvania

2.83/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured a deep red-brown color with sparse, slightly-off white head. Smell is very tart and fruity. Taste is somewhat of a shocker. Extremely tart and sour, enough to make my mouth pucker. Finish is more tartness. Had trouble finishing half a bottle. Not my style of beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2005 18:08:54 | More by tgbljb
Photo of DavoleBomb
DavoleBomb

Ohio

3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a flute.

3.5 A: Crystal clear dark amber color. Low density frothy head with below average retention, but lots of lacing.

3.5 S: Acetic acidy sour/tartness and not yet ripe cherries.

4.0 T: Lots of fruitiness. Sour green apples and unripe cherries reign supreme. Something like roasted malt and caramel.

3.5 M: Lighter body. Could use a bit more carbonation, but very smooth.

4.0 D: Pretty good, I wouldn't mind having another one.

First sour. Can't wait for my second.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2009 23:50:39 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of Reidrover
Reidrover

Oregon

3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle labelled Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale Darker amber coloured ale with a large light tan head. Very farmyard/brett style aromas, cheesy,doughy. Nice taste..the sour/vinegar is well balanced making this like a good cider in many ways.. certainlly fruity apples, pears etc Nice smooth palate..works well. Overall a nice drink unusual but pleasant,

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2010 13:00:16 | More by Reidrover
Photo of BARFLYB
BARFLYB

Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a Chimay goblet. Not sure of the date on this one. I've been drinking this for years and it was my first introduction to the sourlike spectrum of beer.

A- Monk's Cafe FSA pors out a very murky and bloody brownish red color bordering on a dark mahagony. A decent 3/4 inch off-white beige head arises leaving some spotty lacing.

S- Pretty much a mix of sweet and sour with more of the former. A whole lot of apples and sour cherries but not on the deep end. Also getting that vinegar scent so common with this elusive style of brew.

T- This is delicious. A burst of apple with some cherries to give that twang i'm looking for. The vinegar aspect common with old bruins is there and cant be denied but does not come off as overkill. Some sweet malt as well and oaky qualities. Not as sour as some may say.

M- This is smooth and easy drinking with a medium like mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. A lot of the oak and apple stays throughout while a nice tartness is present on the top of the mouth.

D- At 5.50% and it being so readily available in my area this one is always a go to for me. When i'm in the mood for a sour "fix" and funds are tight this is the solution. A great candidate for this style brewed by a respectable Belgian brewery for America, what more can i ask for. I'm glad to see this getting wide distribution.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2009 06:52:24 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
brewdlyhooked13

Ohio

3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - pours a reddish caramel like Killian's. A nice thin cover of mocha head and some partial sheet lacing to go with. Looks good in my new Dos Equis glass because, after all, I want to be more interesting.

Aroma - cider vinegar, much like what I use for my mop sauces when I smoke brisket or pork shoulders. A trace of something beer-like but it is remote. Perhaps the grain is imparting some spiciness, but at length it is too hard to separate from the vinegar smell. Since that is part and parcel for the style, I won't ding it but I don't dig it either.

Taste - tart, thankfully it is not near as vinegary as I feared. The sweetness of the malt is offsetting, and the Belgian character is evident on the swallow as the light funkiness comes through on the aftertaste. Some welcome fruitiness plays in at times, the beer does well (for me) to not dwell long on the vinegar or funk.

Mouthfeel - dry and light-bodied, and well-carbonated.

Drinkability - not one I'd rush out and stock, but I enjoyed the experience.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2009 02:52:34 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of tigg924
tigg924

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/2 inch head, chestnut colored, clear, with lots of carbonation

Smell: sour apple jumps out with a hint of cherry

Taste: old sour apple domiantes with a hint of cherry, slight malt

Mouthfeel: sour and sweet mix, tart, smooth, with a light to medium body

Drinkability: I will have this again and could have several. I found this to be an excellent value for the price. I think this would be a great starter sour as it is not as overpoweringly sour as others I have tried. The flavor is still there though.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2009 16:13:56 | More by tigg924
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
86 out of 100 based on 2,063 ratings.