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.
BA SCORE
86
very good
1,132 Reviews
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
Reviews:
1,132
Ratings:
2,916
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
21.61%
 
 
Wants:
88
Gots:
445
For Trade:
6
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,132 | Ratings: 2,916
Photo of dalion037
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not what I expected from a US-made Flanders Oud Bruin. It was surprising well done with a nice vinegary smell and taste. It poured a big lacy head that lasted until the last sip. It had a typical mouthfeel for a Oud Bruin. The after taste lingered with a fruity sweet and sour taste. It was worth trying it out.

 311 characters

Photo of HopsKeepDroppin
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into maudite snifter.

A- Pours an opaque dark red-brown color with a monstrous beige colored head.

S- Smells really sour and some vinegar, cherries. Very complex.

T- Really sour cherry.

M- Really tangy feel that almost makes me pucker

O- This was interesting. Really nice sourness with some cherry flavors.

 337 characters

Photo of PuckLSHS
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I could drink Monk's Flemish Sour all day long and not be disappointed. I have had this on tap several times at Naja's Place in Redondo Beach, CA.

It pours a brownish hue with a very small head to it that leaves very little lace.

The smell is a nice sour fruit (possibly a little cherry?). The taste pretty much follows up with that wonderful sour fruit smell also. Not too overpowering in the sour department, but just right to make this beer an everyday drink.

The mouthfeel is nice. Light carbonation, smooth...

Drinkability is rather high because this really has become my end of the night beer.

 612 characters

Photo of Brock_hophead
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- dark brown with a nice tan head with amazing retention.

S- Definitely a sour! vinegar smelling with sweet malt with apple notes as well.

T-sour, tart, sweet, and tangy full and crisp.

M-Very good carbonation and sweetness, but definitely in a good way. It is not overly sweet and the sour characteristic is very balanced.

O-A very good sour with full flavor and great mouthfeel!

4.25

 392 characters

Photo of dukew456
3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into my Duvel tulip

A - Pours a clear mahogony/ruby color with a modest head that recedes, leaving moderate to light lacing. Pretty standard fare in this department, but with a splotchy head.

S - Smell is of a very lactic and sour nature, with a slight yeastiness coming through. Dark cherries and other sweet fruits also come through, along with that vinegary burn. I've always been reminded of vinegary, Carolina-style BBQ sauce when I smell these kinds of beers...weird.

T - The taste on this is much more cloyingly sweet than I expected, even for a Belgian sour. Candied fruits and cherries dominate up front, with that reliable lactic funk permeating throughout. The finish is almost port-like because of the sweetness and acidity of this style.

M&D - A tad bit highly carbonated for my impressions of the style, but it still works pretty well. Because of the sugary sweetness that isn't as counter-balanced by the sourness that I would like, I'd probably skip having more than one of these. Still pretty enjoyable though.

 1,062 characters

Photo of jealousmonk
3.06/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is an interesting beer. It's hard to rate too highly--the mouthfeel is seriously lacking, and it doesn't bring the complexity of a really good sour--but it was unusual and fun to drink.

A--Dark reddish brown, poured into a tulip glass. Appears heavily carbonated, but did not feel overwhelming.

S--Smells sour, with strong apple and vinegar. Mild yeast and cherry. The smell is not very enticing--too vinegary.

T--Not terribly sour--more tart, with strong flavors of apples and cherries. The taste in unusual for a sour--far more drinkable than I was expecting, and as I said in the beginning, less complex.

M--Very thin. The carbonation level seems fine, contrary to the appearance of the beer. It could certainly use more body. This might be part of the reason that the flavors have less depth than expected. However, this also means I could drink a few of these. Drinking more than a couple of stronger sours would be very difficult. Overall an enjoyable beer.

 972 characters

Photo of thefireman
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap, nice color, with a smallish head. A must before eating. Had almost a wine taste, very dry. Taste of cherries and spices. I like the sourness that finishes a little hoppy. Not overpowering, but a shock to the tastebuds on first tasting. An acquired taste, but opne I always go back to.

 292 characters

Photo of MichaelinFishers
3.05/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into two Bell's tulips. Code on bottle is '24CK 15:14' but can't find what that means.

A lot of carbonation released even on a gentle pour, resulting in a lot of head. If I'd been pouring into a single glass, it wouldn't have been possible in one pour. Head settled down with some nice lacing.

The bottle says this is a Flemish Red, not an Oud Bruin. Who's wrong?

It isn't as tart as I'd hoped or experienced with the style before. It's a little sweeter than I prefer in my sours, but there is still a little sour funk going on. No one will ever mistake it for anything other than Flemish, that's for sure. But not my favorite. Mouthfeel follows the appearance at the pour: very carbonated, just this side of champagne-like, but fairly typical of the style.

 788 characters

Photo of spratmi
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep ruby brown with a massive five finger head that recedes into a fluffy thick pillowy cap with an abundance of sticky lacing.
S: Sour and tart. Many complained of a vinegar smell, but I am not overwhelmed by anything like that. Very reflective of the style. Tart yeast and sour cherries.
T: Wow. Tartness rules. This beer is very interesting. Tart with spices in the picture. Apples, spice, cinammon, nutmeg, lemons, earthy breads, brown sugar, a hint of molasses. Very nice
M: Crispy and carbonated with a slight pepper burn. Light bodied.
O: Very nice. Very underrated. Excellent example of its style.

 617 characters

Photo of itsfreeasinbeer
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: auburn with a two and a half finger head. It leaves a solid lacing.

S: grapes and woody aroma.

T: Grape is the predominant base flavor. The beer is sour, almost vinegar-like, and a bit sweet. This is a really enjoyable and well balanced flavor profile for the style.

M: smooth and moderately carbonated.

D: a very enjoyable beer that I can easily finish several bottles of.

 380 characters

Photo of RTJakarta
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber red with a nice finger-length head. The carbonation is kinda loud (I can hear it about two feet away), and the bubbling is actually visible through the head. Nice.

A nice apple smell is what steps out the most. Not particularly sour, but I don't mind a smell that just exudes apples.

Taste gives me a very faint sourness, but an overwhelming tartness. Sort of makes me think of red apples more than green ones, but it's pleasing.

Mouthfeel is pretty moderate, with medium carbonation.

Overall, it's a very smooth, tasty drink. So glad I was able to find some on my vacation here in Louisville. Would be a nice treat every once in a while!

 661 characters

Photo of Neecee513
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured bottle into pint glass.

A: Deep red, slight tan head and retention.

S: Sweet, but sharp vinegar like smell - perhaps like an apple cidar vinegar.

T: Sour fruit, grapes.

M: Low carbonation, dry and frothy on the palate.

O: I'm not too excited about sour ales, but the elements of the beer came together nicely for this style.

 336 characters

Photo of bulldog91
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark red in color, virtually no head when it arrived at the table.
Smell of cherry definitely dominates, but not in a bad way. It's just what rises first.
Almost no carbonation in the mouth, which was good. Let me enjoy the fruit mix going on a bit more with cherries, cabernet, a touch of wood but only a touch. Not terribly sour, but that's OK.
Enjoyed this beer, a very good sour.

 384 characters

Photo of leeenglewood
4.57/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not a beer for everybody but if you like sour and sherry like drinks you should indefinitely enjoy this wonderful thirst-quenching beer. Pours amberish brown with white head that becomes lacy. Smells like cherries and good American whisky also has very sherry like smell. Taste is predominately tart and somewhat acidic no apparent sweetness. A rather drinkable beer if you are into this kind of thing, as the acidic qualities are not overbearing.

 447 characters

Photo of eallured
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served At brasserie V in Madison. 25cl "buffalo" tulip. Tan fluffy head sits atop a deep ruby beer. Head dissapates moderately.
Smells of sour cherries a little and a light venegar scent that isn't unpleasant. Taste is fairly sweet, this always catches me off guard because I am prepared for something more sour. A rich malty but not grainlike taste, a bit caramelly, not toasty or bready. Sour cherry is also there a little bit. Very faint metallic taste, less than other oude bruins (read dutchess).
Mouthfeel is fairly thick, a little cloying that isn't quite cut through by the acid. Medium carbonation typical of the style
drinkability suffers from the sweetness without a cleansing sourness, although sourness can dull the palate too much. I'd say I could drink a lot of these but it doesn't prevent me from drinking others.

 830 characters

Photo of mbrandon2w
4.26/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful ruby red color. Thin tan head.
Smell is sweet malt, light cherries, and a touch of acetic acid.
Taste is sweet cherry, lightly sour.
Smooth and easily drinkable. Fairly high carbonation makes it lively and helps lift all the flavors off the tongue, making it more drinkable.

 285 characters

Photo of jcurtis55
3.32/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was my first experience with sour beer. I enjoyed the sweet and sour taste, but had a hard time getting past the vinegar like aroma.

It starts with a tart fruit flavor and sweetens a bit on the back end. I'll try other sour beers, but I just had too much trouble getting past the funky aroma of this one.

 310 characters

Photo of mobyviacheslov
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let this one breathe!

A - Deep, brown hue with hints of red when held up to the light. Very thin head that disolves away rapidly.

S - Subtle hints of caramel and a fruit tartness, with a modest odor of malt-vinegar. Immediately after opening the bottle, the smell of vinegar was overwhelming. I let this one breathe about 20 minutes, and the smells all seemed to mellow a lot. However, the malt-vinegar smell still dominates.

T - After getting a little nervous from the vinegar nose, the beer was a wonderful surprise. The sourness was not vinegary at all, but a super-easy drinking sour-patch kid flavor. The sugars were a perfect counter to the mild sourness (it claims mild on the bottle, and is not lying...); the beer was not overpowered by either sweet or sour, and truly delivered a sour candy effect. There is a refined bitterness, and many subtle woody flavors hide in the malt, but require you to hold the sip for a while and play with it a little.

M - Very thick and creamy, almost gummy, with a pleasant mild carbonation that brings out the sour flavors. Leaves a not-unpleasant gummy feeling in the mouth that keeps the finish going for a while.

D - This truly is a mild flemish red. While I didn't taste it before letting it breath, I would guess it is a little rough immediately after opening. After 20 min, however, it settles in to a tasty yet safe sour ale...probably a good choice as an introduction to the style.

Serving Type: 11.2oz bottle, 55 degrees, snifter

 1,487 characters

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

Let me start off by saying that I enjoyed this beer.

Poured with absolutely no head. Gorgeous amber-brown color. Light fruity and acidic smell.

The taste was good and not overpowering for a sour. In fact, I could imagine throwing one of these down pretty quick on a warm day. This beer is VERY sweet. So sweet, the sweetness almost overpowers the sourness. In terms of flavor, this beer was singing "raspberry" to me the whole time. It looks like other reviewers were calling this "cherry" but that didn't register for me. The other flavor notes were very disguised behind the prominent sweetness. I could barely discern any malty or hoppy notes, nor even taste the alcohol, really.

This beer would be good introduction to sour beers since it isn't so sour as to be off-putting. But for those who are looking for the next and greatest sour, you might be a little let down with this one.

At its pricepoint (paid $4 for a single 11.2 oz), I couldn't imagine myself buying a six of these to share with friends. But on those odd secluded nights where you just want to try something different, this was a good choice.

 1,120 characters

Photo of marikoangel
3.11/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tall Saison 1900 tulip glass at Amsterdam

A: It poured a deep dark red. It was clear, but hard to see through. There was a nice little head that retained a nice thick lacing on top of the beer.

S: Light scents, a little metallic sour, cherries.

T: It started with a crisp zing to it but smoothed out quickly into a juicy mild. There's a nice sour finish to it. The flavors are light, and there is nothing bold or catching to it. It has almost a watery aftertaste. Sour cherries.

M: Crisp but smooth

D: It was very disappointing. I love sours, and felt this was a weak representation. I've had beers not in the sour category that had more sour to them. It might be a good beer for someone who is just getting into sours or just isn't looking for that wonderful kick you can get from them. As a whole it is drinkable, even if it's one I wouldn't have again.

 874 characters

Photo of Mises85
4.92/5  rDev +28.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is the first sour beer/flanders ale I have tasted. Served in a tulip glass at around 45 degrees.

Appearance: chestnut brown (I was expecting a red color) with 2-3 fingers. Head retention was quite good and didn't dissipate quickly.

Smell: What a delight! Cherries, touch of vinegar, some creaminess, red wine, some sourness, soda water.

taste: effervescent, seltzer like, cherries, mild acidity, winey, some sourness, touch of oak.

Mouthfeel: light and refreshing.

Verdict; What an amazing beer and unbelievable flavor! This is something I could kick back on a slow day. Not hoppy at all but was amazed that even an extreme hophead like me could enjoy this. Definitely not the last sour beer I will try.

 713 characters

Photo of Gattopardo
3.48/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Lovely dark red copper color with a small but solid head and good lacing.

Smell: The aroma of sour apples is the most prevalent smell.

Taste: The carbonation is low and the most significant element of the taste is definitely the sourness, particularly at the back of the throat. I quite like the bite of the sour, but I can see how it could be considered overpowering. Hop content seems low.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, not too chewy.

Drinkability: I did enjoy drinking this beer from the tap at Monk’s in Philadelphia, particularly with their chicken-and-apple sausage sandwich, but I have to wonder if I shouldn’t expect more complexity from a sour ale. The sour flavor is very prevalent, and I would likely get it again but probably not often.

 772 characters

Photo of jsanto
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

s - on hand pump at monks.

a - copper color brown, and a slight head.

s - sour orange, and sour some more.

t - all i can say is it was very flavorful, and sour red. little alcohol, and cherry.

m - not too much carbonation, and a excellent finish.

d - next time i would have a second one, a great session beer.

 314 characters

Photo of thstevens12
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy brown with reddish tinge at the edges. Thin off-white head clings to the edges of the beer.
4

Smell: Tart cherries, estery notes, and a whiff of wheat. I can also detect a touch of lactose and grassiness.
4

Taste: The initial impression is sweet cherry, think pie, with white sugar and ester flavors right behind. The finish is a mild lactic sourness that is refreshingly dry.
4

Mouthfeel: Thin mouthfeel with just a touch of stickiness. Wine-like drying finish.
4

Drinkability: Tartly refreshing and not overly sweet. Highly drinkable.
4.5

 566 characters

Photo of Buttermaker
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is lovely beer and perfect as an aperitif on an early summer evening. Light bodied, perfect sweet and sour balance. It's a great introduction to sours/old browns for someone that's not likely to try one on their own (your wife for example). Very seshable.

Recommended Music Pairing: Vince Guaraldi - In Person

 316 characters

Monk's Café Flemish Sour Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.84 out of 5 based on 2,916 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
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe