Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
1,132 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Monk's Café Flemish Sour AleMonk's Café Flemish Sour Ale

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 1,132 | Ratings: 2,909
Photo of Deanlee
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer was my first experience with a sour, at Monk's Cafe in Philly no less.
I wanted to expand my palate beyond traditional beers and into lambics and such.
I liked the head ftom the tap and love the cloudy nature of the beer in general.
I thought it actually had a very awesome taste given it was the first time I never had any kind of sour beer before.

 361 characters

Photo of mothmanscott
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear deep brown, becoming garnet when held to the light, producing (depending on the aggressiveness of the pour) 1-2 fingers of tan, shortlived, foamy head that leaves a thin coating of weby lace. Aroma is tart & vinous, fruity with notes of sour cherry, muscadine & bunch grapes, green apple with a raspberry hint backed up by toasted malt. Taste is a very pleasant fruity, mild sourness & toasty malt. The fruity notes differ slightly from the nose being dark cherry, cranberry & blackberry, with grape & green apple in the background. Finishes fruity, vinous & caramel/toast, the sourness being joined by a fruity sweetness with an acetic, drawing in the back & roof of the mouth manifesting in the dry aftertaste. This brew is smooth & balanced with a sweetness that I feel comes as much, if not more, from the oak aging as from the malt. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium-high carbonation, prickly with peppery spice, mouth coating finish, dry & an astringent aftertaste on the back of the tongue & the roof of the mouth. Nice. A very drinkable example of the style.

 1,085 characters

Photo of jeffadow
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Deep, dark red, almost brown in color, with a small tan head. smells lemon-lime/sour candy. Sour upfront, predominantly citric in flavor, like a meyer lemon, with a big, creamy mouthfeel, long finish and unobtrusive malty sweetness throughout.

 243 characters

Photo of jooler
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is from a can and my expectations for a sour in a can are low. Smell is fruity esters. Initial taste is tart along with a slight vinegar aftertaste. Not bad. A nice cup of tea

 180 characters

Photo of weareallfalafel
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a tulip. Pours a deep mahogany color with a thick off-white head that fills the glass and leaves trails and lacing on the side of the glass as the head dissipates. Smell is of dark sour plums and a touch (small touch) of oak. Taste is everything you'd expect of an oud bruin. Good balance of sweet malts, a touch of brown sugar, and tart sour yeast, and a tart and slightly oaky finish. Nothing particularly jumps out at me, but solid, nonetheless. Feel is kinda light in body, but sorta refreshing in that way. Overall, a solid oud bruin, especially for the 3 dollar price tag! I'd recommend it.

 630 characters

Photo of ABabbidge
3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Dark brown, almost black body. Head is rocky and reduces to a thin lace.

S: Sour funky smell with some dark fruit, like apples or cherries.

T&F: Taste is slightly sour. I get an apple like flavor reminiscent of a cider. A little bit a malt with some tannins in the finish that makes it somewhat dry.Moderate carbonation.

O: Could use a little more tartness but overall pretty enjoyable. Fruity and refreshing for a summer day.

 432 characters

Photo of bsp77
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Aroma is more muted than expected, with mostly caramel and cherry; some light oak and vinegar. The flavor profile is more assertive, with layers of caramel, cherry, cranberry, vinegar, and a general earthiness. The finish is sour, with sharp oak as well as tannic and white pepper notes. Not as sour as some Flemish Ales, and generally balanced between the sweet, the tart and the earthy/tannic.

 395 characters

Photo of constantine_272
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I first had this on tap in Philly at the Monk's Cafe. Circling back now for a review at home with a bottle several years later. Dark reddish black with a frothy pillowy brown head. Smells of bright fresh brown soil with a cedar bark. The taste starts off earthy, oaky and leathery with a dark molasses and brown sugar baked gingerbread cookie. It quickly turns tart and fruity of dark red cherry, blood orange, cranberry and cabernet. A dark pipe tobacco finishes long on the aftertaste. The feel is okay, finishing a bit too sugary and cloying like cranberry juice with a touch too much dryness that doesn't seem to line up with the rest of the beer.

 651 characters

Photo of Bulabeers
4.36/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

L: Brownish Red with a giant stubborn off white almost tan head
S: Funk, Raisins, Oak
T: tart strawberry, sour lemon, blackberry, oak,
F: well carbonated, not much but a little tannin action
O: Love this one. Great brew.

 221 characters

Photo of DaverCS
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky brown color with an underlying ruby tone. 1/2 finger of an off-white head.

Aroma starts with the aroma akin to that if you held a penny for too long in your hand and then smelled your hand. Pretty funky also. Notes of dried plum, blueberry, fig and cherry. Some lactic acid.

Taste is no where close to the other elites in the class. A very unbalanced beer. It's funky, metallic, sweet, sour, fruity, and citrusy all at separate times. The finish is slightly salty with a bit of a crushed aspirin bitterness.

Overall, not worth the price. There are substantially better offerings for the same price. I see it pairing well with a sour green apple slaw. It gets a 71/100.

 686 characters

Photo of Jeffsta1
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Good looking brown ale. Pale tan/off white head, relatively large lace, not super persistent.

Aroma is sweet, clean, fruit and dried fruit.

Taste is sour, clean. Ok. Strawberry. Blood orange. Light malt.

Mouthfeel is ok. Moderate to moderately rich. Big carbonation. Nothing special, nothing bad. Good. Better than fair.

Finish is ok. A little early, dirty, not super long. More fair than good, but flavors well integrated with the beer.

 441 characters

Photo of jasadewi
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The head is huge, fluffy, and kind of a creamy dark white. There are actually (what seem to be) seeds on top of the head. There is consistent fizz bubbling up from the bottom of the glass. It's a dark red color that shines orange in the light. This is the fluffiest and most beautiful head on a beer, I've ever seen. It smells fruity, like a Gueze or a Lambic. Kind of a berry, sour smell. The taste is fairly sour, kind of berry-based, but maybe hints of pears and apples come through. The mouth feel is light, but it comes with heavy carbonation. A strong berry aftertaste lingers in my mouth, and has for about 45 minutes. Supremely good and long lasting aftertaste. Overall, this is a fantastic beer. It's not too sour (like some Geuzes), but it is a good amount of fruity sour. The beer looks beautiful and tastes great. I would highly recommend this to anyone, especially if you want to try this beer style.

 927 characters

Photo of DBosco
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark, but shows a ruby red if light shines through it. A little creamy head. Sour fruity aroma. Sweet fruity, slightly sour with a tannic aftertaste.

 151 characters

Photo of vette2006c5r
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Monk's Cafe pours a dark reddish color with a big frothy lacing head. Big strong sour aroma, with hints of dry fruit. Taste is sour, and sweet, with some spices and dry fruit. Just a hint of wateryness, good feel. Overall its a pretty big sour ale.

 252 characters

Photo of jngrizzaffi
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a very cloudy, dark, dark amber/red color with a thick foamy head. Head retention and lacing are both excellent. Has a sour dark fruit aroma. Taste is pretty much the same. Lactic acid sourness with a sweeter dark fruit at the end. Lighter bodied with moderate carbonation. Very smooth.

 298 characters

Photo of Gregaroo
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

3-10-16 - On tap at the new Barcha in San Francisco. Served in a tulip glass with nice head. Sour, yet balanced, that paired very well with my grilled angus beef kabob. Nice surprise to find this one out west. Good company with our west coast team and Marsh pals. Gave props to Kais and especially Peter for having this ale on tap at their new venture. Eat here, but if you can't make it, pick up a Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour to quench your thirst.

 452 characters

Photo of CHickman
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours dark red brownish color with a 2+ finger foamy tan head that faded very slowly and left great foamy lacing and thick rings as it went down.

Smelled of sweet dark fruit, orange peel, sour fruit, yeast, caramel and tart rotting fruit like apple or pear. The sweetness gets cut off by the citrus, and then it turns sour and filled with a mix of dark fruits.

 361 characters

Photo of akolb
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours dark with a huge head. Aroma of tootsie rolls, prunes, funk, and figs. Tart and fruity taste. A very nice beer, complex, sour, and refreshing, I enjoyed this quite a bit.

 176 characters

Photo of dantheduck
4.14/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is a very nice sour. Had it on tap at our favorite bottle shop in Raleigh, The Hop Yard. Nice dark color, very good fruity aroma, and a full body mouth feel that could only have been made better by a little more pucker. Definitely a do for sour loving fans.

 262 characters

Photo of nebula1999
4.24/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer is not really sour or tart...compared to the more recent examples of "sour" beers. But the Flemish Red style is more than just being sour.

This beer has more malt than you can shake a stick at....and full of dark fruits..cherry, prune, raisin, currant, etc.

Love Love Love.

 287 characters

Photo of MUTINY
3.81/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

11.2oz bottle into a Teku...I know, I know - odd glass choice...just breaking in some new glass.

A: Pours a nearly-opaque chocolate/mahogany with crimson highlights when held up to direct light. 1/2" light-tan head recedes somewhat quickly. Retention & lacing are both about average-to-style.

S: Extremely deep & well-defined macerated & pitted fruit notes. Plum, date & fig are all very up-front with a slightly tart raspberry character that serves to bind everything together.

T: Comes on with a faintly funky apple/pear quality that leads into a somewhat more tangy mid palate. Overripe raspberry & blueberry come into play along with a just-slightly brettish quality leading toward the finish. Finishes overly simple with a one-two punch of fructose & barnyard.

M: Pleasantly effervescent medium carb married to an appropriate-to-style mid-weight body. Finishes moderately dry.

O: This brew walks a fine line between subtle & overly-simple. I'm inclined to place it closer to the overly-simple side.

 1,020 characters

Photo of DonaldS
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass from bottle. Deep brownish red almost opaque with a small head dissipates. Minimal lacing. Smell vinegar, hint of cherry. Taste is fairly sour with strong vinegar on the tongue. High carbonation. I would buy this again if I was in the mood for a sour. I don't think this is for everyone, especially the vinegar taste might put people off.

 369 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.51/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Red and brown, muddled, thin tan head on it, 1/4". The aroma was plenty sour, minimal wood, and some bitter darker cherry fruit notes.

Taste was fairly sour, a little bit of vinegar like acetic acid, milder wood, plenty acidic. This one isn't a mild blended sour, it hits with a sharp quotient, even if it isn't the most complex or top tier kind of flavors, not a lot in the way of fruit impressions, cherry, mild.

These are plenty affordable, good intro to sours kind of beers.

 484 characters

Photo of Franziskaner
3.31/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Dark brown to amber with a quarter inch of beige head resting on top. Light lacing. The aroma is tart Brett and horse blanket. The taste is lightly tart Brett and dark malt and is very balanced. The mouth is highly carbonated and very dry.

 243 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Type: 12-oz. draft
Glass: Clear tulip glass
From: Junk House in San Diego, Calif.
Price: $7.00
Purchased: Jan. 8, 2016
Consumed: Jan. 8, 2016
Misc.: N/A

Poured a dark reddish auburn color with 1-to-2 fingers of dark khaki-white, frothy head when I got it. Excellent, foamy layered lacing on the sides of the glass. Above average retention on the top of the glass. (Sight - 4.25)

Smelled dark fruits - raspberry, red apple, strawberry and pomegranite - along with raspberry sorbet, sour lactose notes and some rosy vinegar. (Smell - 4.25)

Tasted similar to the nose, getting dark boozy raspberry, raspberry sorbet, dark apple, pomegranate, light blueberry, plum, purple grapes, rosy vinegar and sour milky lactose. (Taste - 4.00)

Medium body. Oily texture. Average-to-lively carbonation. Long, smooth finish. (Feel - 4.00)

This was a very good beer. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to have it. (Overall - 4.00)

4.08 | 91 | A-

 942 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,909 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!