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

BA SCORE
86
very good
2,954 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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
Ratings:
2,954
Reviews:
1,145
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
13.28%
 
 
Wants:
91
Gots:
455
For Trade:
5
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 2,954 |  Reviews: 1,145
Photo of sourlinus
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of HappyHourHero
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up this bottle and boy does it have some miles on it. Brewed in Belgium, imported in San Diego, CA, bought in Elkton MD, and consumed in Ithaca, NY.

Aromas of sour cherries and brown sugar. Dense, oatmeal colored head was more then I expected. Sour and tart flavors dominate, but in an interesting mix of cherry and lime. Once those flavors release my tongue there are some other strange things that begin to happen. It's hard to put my finger on it but there is an earthy/woody aspect and a light spicyness that I can't describe (pepper and vanilla?, probably not). Anyway, it's enjoyable and interesting. Light, highly carbonated beer with a tart and dry finish. I was expecting a less carbonated beer that was all tart, and thankfully it was more then that.

 771 characters

Photo of micromaniac129
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish kinda brownish color with a small head and good carbonation. Aroma is tart and sour with a side of white vinegar and church pews. Taste is tart, sweet, fruity and sour. Really, hard to describe.
Drinks thin and crisp. Tickles the palette.
An excellent beer drinks more like a soda. I could drink a bunch of these.

 329 characters

Photo of flagmantho
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: rich brown color with a ruby tinge; one finger of foamy tan head. Nice.

Smell: big aromas of caramel, nuts and toasted malts. There is also an acidic brightness permeating the big malt. I've never had a Flanders Oud Bruin before, but this smells quite good.

Taste: bright, sweet and tart. There are big fruity flavors here; sour apple and cherry are the most prominent among them. The more traditional malty flavors are more apparent in the aftertaste. Overall, these two components complement each other quite well. I very much like this beer.

Mouthfeel: medium body and relatively high carbonation give this beer a nice creamy texture; though it's more fizzy than smooth. Still quite good.

Drinkability: I think this beer is just a hair too sweet to be exceptionally drinkable. Still, the tartness is just enough to keep me interested and I feel like I would gladly include one of these in my daily diet.

 963 characters

Photo of 99bottles
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From an 11.2 ounce bottle this beer pours a rich ruby-brown color with a fizzy active head of white carbonation. The smell is very interesting. Sour and sultry, if you get a big whiff it makes the back of your mouth pucker and smells of turned milk (the label calls it lactic). The first taste is of tart cherry. The finish is vert TART. Sour, yes...but the sweet cherry is in there also. Wow. Incredibly refreshing. Incredible tasty. Dry earthy taste from the unique ferementation. I love the sour ending ! A class act all around. However, if fermentation run amok gives you the willies, you might want to look elsewhere. Little pricey also, but worth the bucks.

 663 characters

Photo of riderwbd
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of 7ways
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark copper/ruby with a full yellowish-white head that remained at 1/2 cm for quite some time. Ungodly thick lacing.

N- Red wine/apple cider vinegar, sour grape, cherry, and apple. No distinct malt or hops. The smell alone makes my mouth water.

T- Very strong apple cider vinegar, which I happen to love. Quite acidic. Oakey cherry, sour apple candy. Balanced with moderate sweetness.

M- Prickly, but not so much as to be offensive or get in the way of the taste. Slightly more full than many Flemish reds, which to me increases drinkability.

D- I could drink many of these in a session. In fact, I do. Often.

This is only the second dark sour I've had, and it has made me determined to seek more out.

 717 characters

Photo of clvand0
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy amber/brown color with a very small head that dies fast and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. The aroma has lots of sour fruitiness - cherry, mostly. The flavor is quite tart, but not puckering tart. Some cherry and citrus flavors go well with the lactic sourness. Seems to also have some woody flavors in there. The body is light, but not too light and the drinkability is pretty good once you get used to the sourness.

 450 characters

Photo of xnicknj
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at Monk's - review done from notes.

A - Nice clear reddish color which leaves sticky lacing all along the rim of the glass.

S - Dashes of fruit and coriander populate the nose, along with hints of sourness.

T - The beer almost instantly refreshes the drinker despite the sweet and tart flavors which swirl around the palate. Dark fruit and sour flavors glance the tongue without becoming overwhelming. Lactic sourness rounds everything out with a dry, bitter finish.

M/D - Bubbly and smooth, you can't help but desire another one, especially with its surprisingly smooth and refreshing qualities.

This was one of the first sours I ever tried years ago, and the delicious qualities are still ringing true to this day.

 732 characters

Photo of DoctorDog
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2 oz bottle into a snifter.

A- Pours a translucent reddish brown. 1 finger of fizzy tan, which promptly reduces to a thin, incomplete cap.

S- Tart raspberry vinegar, red wine fruitiness, and a slightly funky yeastiness. Interesting and enjoyable (especially if you like the acetic acid stilt).

T- Swirling with fruity, malty, cherry-esque sweetness. Sour notes are fairly subdued, though there is certainly a perceptible amount of tartness. A bit of a sweet sherry thing going on here. Bitterness extremely minimal.

M- Slightly crisp with moderate carbonation. Medium feel.

D- Surprisingly good. I expected this to be perhaps too sour, or cloying, or perhaps too acetic to drink easily....but it was none of those things.

Future outlook: Hmmm...this was quite enjoyable. If I had been served blindly, I could surely have been fooled into thinking I was drinking something other than a beer. My initial impression is that this was an interesting drink that I will be happy to have again.

 1,012 characters

Photo of Domvan
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a 50 cl fluted glass at Delaney's in New Haven, Conn.

A: Clean, dark reddish amber color with a thin, creamy cap of white foam which settles to a thin coating, leaving little lace. burnished red color is quite nice and the clarity is good for a seemingly darker red ale.

S: Fruity, floral bouquet of red berries, melon, citrus and musty, old bread. Lots of sweetness and only a hint of spicy, yeasty resin.

T: Sweet, tart and fruity up front, with a big-time sour berry and cherry flavor coupled quickly with rushes of sticky sweet caramel malts. Finishes out a bit chewy, with lingering raisin and berry sweetness among the sweet and tart aftertaste.

M: Medium-full bodied brew with some sticky sweet malts and tart acidity thrown around the palate.

D: A very interesting specialty Belgian brew and at 5.5% ABV it's not a stretch to try a few. The fruity, floral esters of this blended Belgian red ale are balanced, yet sweet, acidic, tart and funky all at once. Quite good if you;re in the mood to maybe pair it with a duck or wild turkey.

 1,063 characters

Photo of Richard-Scott
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of somenoise
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of FanofHefe
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 fl. oz. bottle, no dating, poured into a Chimay chalice. Very high level of carbonation, so I had to pour slowly. Ruby red body that is mostly clear and lets the light through. Bubbly tan head that actually dissipates fairly quickly but leaves a nice cap and a little lacing.

Tart fruit up front in the aroma: cherry, raspberry, green apple. I get just a little sweet malt in the mix as well.

Very tasty. Nice blend of the tart and sour fruit flavors with the sweet malt. This one has a little more sweet balance than others of this style. Would be a good candidate for someone new to the more sour beers. Medium mouthfeel that is easy to drink. Nice brew.

 664 characters

Photo of blackc5
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured from a bottle to a tulip at about 45F. Cola-like, dark ruby in color with a very short-lived, fizzy, high carbonation head. Little lacing.

S - Smells sweet, sour and fruity. Mainly raspberry and dark cherry. A bit of oak.

T - Tart and sour, yet sweet as well. A great combination, and not vinegary. Gets a bit sweeter as it fizzes out and warms up. Like the aroma, much dark fruit, but more heavily towards cherry than raspberry. Some malty base, and of course the tannins from the oak. Hint of funk, quite mild and lingering in the background.

M - Light-bodied, and although it seems highly carbonated at first, it fades quickly, leaving a moderate brew in this regards.

D - Could easily have a few of these. The tartness does not overpower and dull the palate, and the sweetness is not too cloying. Well done.

 827 characters

Photo of VTCombi
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ckollias
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed this bottle out of a Beligian tulip glass.

A: Pours a dark amber hue with a huge white head that leaves a good trail down the side of the glass.

S: Sour dark fruit aroma.

T: Sour and slightly sweet dark fruit flavor and decent malt background. Finishes on the sour side of sweet.

M: Thin body and medium carbonation.

O: Really good sour brew. A nice sipping beer – but nothing I could drink more than one of.

 424 characters

Photo of jmg480
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Czequershuus
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a beautiful ruby with a good sized off white head. The aroma has a lingering sense of vinegar, with red fruit notes, apple skin, and some cinnamon. The flavor is moderately sour balanced by moderate sweetness. Mostly the sourness is reminiscent of vinegar, but softened by fruitiness. The mouthfeel is light and foamy. Overall this is a very easy drinking sour with nice depth.

 392 characters

Photo of SMZBrew
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter.

A - Poured a deep mahogany red with at least 2 inch brownish head. Head retention is pretty good with great lacing afterwards all along the sides of the glass.

S - Definitely on the mild side with a good amount of sourness, mild funk and maybe vague hint of hops.

T - Very mild and balanced brew. The initial taste is mild sour and sweetness with a significant hint of berry. Finish is mildly tart and barely perceptible bitterness. I really enjoy the mildness and balance of this beer.

M - Light bodied with light/medium carbonation. Very smooth, easy drinking beer.

O - I am a big fan of sour beers and I enjoy this one regularly. It doesn't have the same big sour taste and complexity as its competition and that may leave some disappointed. For me, it is well balanced and easy to drink and sometimes you may not want that big sour note. Because of the mildness, this beer is especially great for sharing with someone who have never tried or is apprehensive about trying a sour brew. This has a regular spot in my fridge and cellar.

 1,075 characters

Photo of OtherShoe2
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear reddish brown but is a beautiful dark red when held to the light. A bunch of bubbles in this one as well. Terrific lacing, with one nice white ring near the top where the white foamy head was, working down the pint in scattered white patches.

A hint of burnt sugar and some light sour cherry/maybe cider vinegar. Smells like it will be an acidic one.

Great brew. Light tart cherries, a little burnt sugar, some tart acid, some chemical alcohol, and a very very clean finish. Nothing cloying or unpleasant during the drink or in the remainder.

Bubbly and thinner than expected. Helps tremendously in the drinkability. This went down very very easy. Funny enough, when buying this, the beer guy in the liquor store was talking to another customer about sours. He said they reminded him of a tart wine, but one that had gone very very bad. WTF? This was terrifc, and far from his description -- what shitty advice from that guy. Try this if you can.

 964 characters

Photo of warrenc
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SonictheBeerhog
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of WoostaBia
4.21/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,954 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.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

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

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

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

    Learn More