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

Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale
BA SCORE
3.86/5
2,967 Ratings
Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Belgium
vansteenberge.com

Style: Flanders Oud Bruin

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

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.

Added by nomad on 06-19-2003

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#8,820
Reviews:
1,150
Ratings:
2,967
pDev:
13.21%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
91
Gots:
463
Trade:
5
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,967 |  Reviews: 1,150
Photo of deuschbag
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml. bottle pored into a wine glass. pores a beautiful ruby red color with a perfect light tan head that stays threwout the whole session and leaves great lacing. everything about the appearance is perfect.
i smell some sour cherries, vinegar and some chocolate malts.

i taste lots of cherries. lots of sourness in the background with vinegar. chocolaty malt aftertaste. a nice and very surprising taste over-all.

mouthfeel is medium bodied but a little intimidating from its sourness at first but after the first couple sips it's pretty easy to comsume and over-all very smooth.

this is my first time drinking a sour tasting beer and i am extrememly surprised. truly an easy beer to drink and a great experience for me. this was a good introduction to the style for me.

 783 characters

Photo of bditty187
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy, brown in hue with red, dull bronze influences; the liquid is classic Flanders Red. Bubbly, off-white head, at the apex the foam was only a half finger tall. Sadly, the bubbles quickly faded to a soapy collar with a small island in the middle. No subsequent lacing. The collar did last the entire consumption. Overall, this is a lovely looking beer and it fits the bill for the style.

Classic Flanders Red aroma! I smell sour, lactic acid notes with sour, tart cherry/berry notes, oaky, citrus zest in the distance, with some dull maltiness. The nose is a nice little package of complex aromas, nothing strays from what should be there and noting is missing either. Moderately high potency, chatty but direct. I am interested. I love the aroma. I love this style. I can’t wait to take a sip.

The first sip was tame. I was pissed! I was about to throw the beer across the room and curl up into to the fetal position and cry. Then I thought, “Hey, take another sip.” I did. I was rewarded. Maybe I needed a sip to ready my palate. I still find this beer second rate to La Folie but what can hang with that? Nothing. Sharp, lactic acid and sour notes upfront, this is followed quickly by oak. In the middle a sour berry/cherry vibe starts and this is mixed with some dull malt. Sour at the finish, lambic-like, I didn’t find it overwhelming. Maybe I am too use to the style. Even if that is the case, this is a damn lovely beer! Slightly sweet aftertaste with a lingering sourness and oak notes; I like it, I found it very appetite stimulating. God, do I want some blue cheese…

Medium/medium-light in body, low but natural carbonation, the mouthfeel is slightly creamy and plenty relaxing. My only complaint is the watery sensation at the swallow with a metallic kiss.

I really like this beer; I think it is a good representation of the style. I like it even more because I purchased it in Council Bluffs, IA for only $2.50 a bottle. I can’t knock that! What a find. It is plenty drinkable. I will buy more… and you should too!

 2,051 characters

Photo of zachrotc
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of PSUBeerman
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle in tulip glass
*First sour I recall tasting

Deep mahogany/garnet color. Head is off white, slightly tan color. Head pours frothy, but dissipated quickly. Definite lacing and retention around glass.

Vinegar aroma hits immediately. Characteristics of red wine in the aroma as well.

Nice carbonation. I thought it was refreshing and very drinkable as far as the mouthfeel.

I thought the taste was well balanced between the sour / tartness and the sweetness. I am a vinegar lover, so I may be biased to say that it was not overpowering with tartness. I picked up some fruitiness, possibly cherry. It reminds me of a local winemaker who bottled a sour cherry wine.

I enjoyed this. Was not what i expected with my first try at a sour ale.

 752 characters

Photo of minterro
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a few weeks back at Morgan's Liquor store in Denver, poured into a snifter.

A&S: Beer is a translucent deep garnet color with no lively carbonation coming up. Pours about a finger of off white head and dissipates moderately quickly to a thin ring and some island, gobs of lacing are left once in a while. Aroma is a good mixture of tart and sour. Primarily tart cherries, sangria, along with some yeasty funk.

T&M: The taste is a little less sour than the aroma would lead you to believe. More cherries in the taste. Higher side of carbonation and lower side of body. Very drinkable.

Overall: The is a very solid beer. For sure worth a try. I will probably buy again but not very frequently due to the 5 buck pre bottle price tag.

 741 characters

Photo of Kromes
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A clear dark reddish brown with ruby highlights and a thin soapy head.

S: An acidic and sour cherry aroma

T: Sour cherry with a bit of cork and a nice funk to it with a dry acidic feel that finishes sweet.

M: Light body with peppery carbonation. The sour and acid feel hits up front and dries and puckers the mouth, however, that fades and the beer finishes somewhat clean with a bit of sweetness. Very unique feel.

O: I enjoyed this. One of the better sour beers out there. Very refreshing and drinkable.

 512 characters

Photo of medic25
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Chestnut brown color with a frothy white head. Sour vinegar aroma, but not in an unpleasant way. Taste is as I'd expect from the aroma; quite tart and sour, a little bit fruity. Very sharp, but enjoyable; tough to drink more than one, but a nice change from the norm. A good example of the style.

 296 characters

Photo of projectflam86
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep red color. Nice white head leaves some lace.

S- Lots of cherries and grape aromas. Citrusy with a bit of funk.

T- Sharp tart cherry flavors with a vinous finish. Comparisons to wine are easy to make with flavors of red grape skins, oak, earth, and a touch of sourness.

M- Spritzy with plenty of carbonation. Very dry and sharp. Relatively thin bodied. I like that this doesn't coat you tongue. The dryness helps each new drink bring forth all of the flavors.

O- Overall this was a really nice brew. I'm not horribly familiar with Oud Bruins but this was certainly worth trying.

 605 characters

Photo of georgiaboy8686
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Seanniek91
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into an Affligem goblet (probably around 0.3 l).

Appearance- Nice amber/brown. One finger head that dissipated in about 30 seconds leaving a small white rim around the top of the beer.

Smell- Cherry, apple, raspberry. Yeast and some malt.

Taste- Similar to the smell. Definantly some yeast and malt mixed with oak. Raspberry and cherry flavors come through. Not overly sour. Very nice aftertaste of fruit that lingers for a while.

Mouthfeel- Reasonably carbonated. Sits in the mouth for a while imparting flavors. Goes down very smooth. Very refreshing.

Overall- A great beer for people who want to get into sours but are hesitant to try the extremes. It's not overly sour, but it's got a nice sweetness to balance it. Very refreshing Flemish Sour.

 782 characters

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'll probably never again go all out and buy a case of this because A) $63.00, and B) tough to drink this on a regular basis (not that I HAD to...)

With that said, though, I do really enjoy this beer. Not quite as satisfying as the Duchesse, but still worth it.

I was looking at it earlier (3/4 the way through the case) and could've sworn it shown a deep blood-orange hue, kind of a earthy, cedar, rusty color. Its vinous, fruity sweetness I've always found deliciously refreshing - sours, lambics, gueuzes - I can't believe sometimes how much I love those flavors, especially during the warmer months. I often envision myself doing hard labor, busting rocks with a pickax or something, and refueling with a sour...anyway...

Like I said, I adore Duchesse, and this is a decent, albeit cheaper (in taste and $), substitute for it when I don't feel like shelling out for the goods. Definitely worth a try (on draft it's good too, not much different from the bottle). No need to buy a case though unless you REEEEALLY love it or you want to share it with friends.

 1,064 characters

Photo of Nicholaspark
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of surfer4life
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poored from an 11.2 oz bottle into my Flute.

A - Dark Amber with a small head. Minimal Lacing

S - Lemon Juice, cranberries, if food going bad could smell this good, I would probably be sick from eating it.

T - Taste is not a sour as it smells (kind of a let down for me). however, there is a fair amount of sourness on the finish. Sweet cherries and other fruits dominate this in the beggining, small amounts of spices can be tasted throughout.

M - Carbonation is perfect, medium bodies, leaves that pallet clean and wanting more.

D - Not so much an everyday beer, fun for every once in a while or as an ice breaker to the style though.

All in all, this is a great beer and at 3.29 I can see myself having it again sometime.

 735 characters

Photo of Brian700
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the first beer I reviewed in forever, I'm a little rusty, bear with me.

It pours a deep amberish red with an off-white head that slowly settled down to a creamy ring around the outer edge of my glass leaving nice belgian lacing.

The aroma is typical, sweet/sour, cherries, I get a little bit of burnt hair as I really stick my nose in there.

It has a big lactic wallup right in the front that develops into a sweet/sour flavor and tapers off into a little bit of sour fruit leaving your mouth dry and tasty. Very good!

The mouthfeel is light bodied with a lot of fine carbonation. Coats the palate nicely making this a beer to savor.

I think the drinkability is great. I am a big fan of sour beer, keep that in mind. To the faint of heart, stay away.

 773 characters

Photo of shwhat
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance - super creamy, lightly tan head. almost like melted ice cream. dark brown, explosively bright blood red when held up to the light. super clear.

smell - vinegary sourness, vinous (like a funky white wine), apple skin, cranberry, cherry.

taste - mild sourness up front. lots of fruit, mainly apple. no bitterness to speak of. super clean finish, the flavor almost evaporates, leaving you with a juicy wetness. light, refreshing, sweet, sour...it's pretty straightforward. not much funk in the taste at all. definitely a beginner's sour, but also something i could drink every day. i paired it with a french onion soup. the saltiness and beefy stock married very well with the tartness and juicy, fruity flavors of the beer.

mouthfeel, champagne-like mousse of carbonation as soon as it hits your tongue, then it gets very wet and light as it washes down. awesome for cleansing the palate.

 901 characters

Photo of Surly87
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep ruby red, frothy off-white head that recedes fairly quickly. Tart at first, dies quickly and then a huge sour cherry flavor emerges through. Nearly perfect mouthfeel. My first sour, seems like a good introduction to the style. A very nice, interesting brew!

 262 characters

Photo of BigMike
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulips from am 11.2oz bottle.

Blood orange in color when held up to the light. Pretty clear with light carbonation. A vigorous swirl generates about a 1 finger head thats light with larger sized bubbles. The color of the head is off-white to a light tan color. Not much as far as lacing going on.

Smell at first is dominated by vinegar. If you swirl it around and really get your nose in there i'm picking out some light oak aromas and also a touch of vanilla. Some sour cherries and also some dark sticky fruits like raisin and prunes.

The flavor is not what i expected. There seems to be more sweetness then i thought. It's like my tastebuds are smacked with sweet and sour together. A bit of vinegary balsamic sour at first followed quickly by an almost sticky like sweetness that stays well after the swallow. A get a lot of grape bubble gum flavors,sour bing cherries and in between some raisiny flavors are there too.

Mouthfeel is super smooth. Creamy and silky. It glides down the throat with little to no effort. Not more carbonation at all.

As far as drinkability. Thats a tought one. It's a very tasty beer. Very smooth and flavorful. The only drawback is the sweetness might become a little too much after more then one bottle. Thats not to say it's not a really good beer because it is.

 1,317 characters

Photo of Mississipping
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml corked and caged bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a clear brown with brilliant ruby highlights when held to light.  A one-finger khaki-colored head briefly sits atop the brown liquid, but dissipates quickly, leaving only a thin ring and patchy film behind.  Almost no lacing at all. 

S: Mild sourness in the nose.  Tart cherries, green apples, and vinegar are the most evident.  Sweet cherries and raspberries are also present, along with subtle grassy and peppery notes in the background.  Not as sour/tart as I was hoping for, but the combination of subtle sourness and moderate sweetness may create a beautifully balanced taste. 

T: Starts off sweet, with cherries, raspberries, and grape.  Slowly transitions to a slight tartness, comprised of tart cherries, green apple, and vinegar.  Finishes with a good balance between sweet and tart, with a slight earthy flavor (grass/hay).  Not as sour as I hoped it would be, but really pleasant.  Booze is nowhere to be found in this one.

M: Very good mouthfeel.  Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation that slightly resembles a spritzer on the tongue.  Again, nice balance between sweetness and sourness.  Slightly drying at the finish, but not overly so.

O: While it isn't as sour as I had hoped for, it's really enjoyable.  Sweet fruit are quite tasty, and the level of sourness provides a nice complement throughout.  Alcohol is hidden very well, making it even easier to drink.  As it warms, the tartness is amped up just a bit, but it never reaches the level I'd really like it to be at.  In terms of a subtle, easy-drinking sour, this one hits the mark; it's enjoyable, but could offer a little more.

 1,695 characters

Photo of Wizzle32
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ChugginOil
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Monk's Cafe

Pours a dark murky reddish-brown. Mass sediment floats throughout. An inch of spaced out bubbly head shortly sits atop the brew.

The nose reminds me of tart cherries and apples. A spicy Belgian yeast scent lingers behind the fruity esters.

The taste follows the nose pretty closely to the nose. Sweet cherries soon become delightfuly tart and a sour apple taste insues. After the tartness fades the sweetness returns. Some Belgian spiced yeast vaugly lingers in the background.

The mouthfeel is tinglingly tart yet crisp and refreshing.

Overall, this is my second round of trying sours and I must say that I am much more impressed this time (Petrus Pale last time). I am ready to begin exploring these style further.

 735 characters

Photo of reebtaerG
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of tkdchampxi
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%

Photo of adamks
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: pours copper/orange with thin, quick to fade light brown head

s: vinegar....woah! some fruity something (cherry, maybe strawberry?), hard to tell with the overpowering sourness

t: sour/vinegar up front, as that fades the cherry/fruit sweetness really comes out, good overall balance

m: thin but well-carbonated

d: this is the best of the few sours i've had, but the sourness could be off-putting to some. maybe not the best introduction for those hesitant to try a sour, but it worked for me!

 499 characters

Photo of alcohline_trip
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Danielr26
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 2,967 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.