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Rodenbach Classic (Red) | Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

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Rodenbach Classic (Red)Rodenbach Classic (Red)

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
Belgium | website

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
ABV varies 5.0-5.2% ABV

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-04-2002

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Reviews: 663 | Ratings: 1,709
Photo of MrDell
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Flanders Red Ale – 5.2% - 33cl can - Best before 11.08.2017

This classic version of the Rodenbach is blended new to old beer at a rate of 3:1, making it sweeter that the Grand Cru version that is two parts beer from the foeder (large oak tank in which the beer is aged ) to one part young beer.

Appearance: Poured from can into stemmed Rodenbach Grand Cru glass. Beer is a brown/red colour, turning amber/red when held up to light. Small off white head. Slow moving carbonation rising up centre of glass.

Aroma: Summer Fruits come to the fore in the aroma, such as very ripe raspberry and gooseberry with a hint of the acidic in the background. Smells like strawberry bon-bons - sweet but you can just detect some sour/tartness in the background.

Taste: First impression is that this tastes more like beer and less like wine than the other offerings from Rodenbach. I can actually taste the malt when it first enters the mouth, then it's tart in the middle, like the summer fruits that are also present in the aroma, then a very clean, dry finish. Very refreshing.

Mouthfeel: It's actually very smooth on the palate, without the huge levels of carbonation. Very dry, leaves the palate feeling clean.

Overall: Very nice, I actually enjoyed this more than the last Grand Cru I had (that was from a bottle though). Would like to try them side by side. This reminds me of a kind of spritzy rose wine (but much better!). Could certainly session this on a hot day.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

At some point, I should stop reviewing these sour browns and just rate them because I am running out of things to say other than: I tried and I tried to get used to them, and I couldn't embrace them.

MJ's "Great Beers of Belgium" said the "classic version is a blend of 25% beer from the wooden tuns and 75% young beer.... Tart, fruity, refreshing, with a balancing Madeira sweetness."
MJ's 1999 "Guide" gave it 3.5 stars of 4, but noted that it had become sweeter in recent years.

Rodenbach's Classic is listed in the "1001", but I'll let you decide if that is deserved.

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Photo of ivehadthatbrew
4.11/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look (3.25): A dark murky brown with a slight Rudy red hue when held up to light. Whitish/tan colored head that happily clings to the side of the glass.

Smell (4): Musty sour cherry smells with a bit of woody oak and malted caramel mixed in.

Taste (4.5): Starts out exactly as you'd hope leading up to this point. Malty oaked caramel with some dark cherries or raseberry flavors. These fruit flavors quickly turn sour after a moment or so making your palate sing.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Medium to full bodied. It's not extremely acidic for a sour which I find pleasent, but overall it's still fairly acidic.

Overall (4): This guy was pretty fun to try. I'm still experimenting with sours and look forward to trying more Flanders Red Ales in the future!

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Photo of TH28
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. BB date 3/18/16. Appearance: Murky brown with a dark ruby red tint and a light off white foam head that dissipates quickly. Aroma: Bready malt undertones with a musty, acetic acid, and strawberry aroma. Taste: Sweet bready maltiness, with dark fruit and berry notes, and a tart acetic sourness to balance. Mouthfeel: Medium body and a moderately high carbonation. Finish: Very dry. Lingering toasted, bready malt and a touch of acetic tartness. Overall: Classic Flanders red with distinct acetic tartness, dark fruit character, and a vinous character. Finishes like a semi dry red wine.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.34/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass.

Hazy dark brown with little to no head.

Aroma is red grapes with slight vinegar note.

Taste is almost like a wine grape soda combo but in a good way. Like a dark rose.

Excellent classic beer.

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Photo of adodds
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a soft, medium-dark honey-amber color with just enough haunt of red to make you squint and ask, "Is that red I see?" Small head. If this beer had a personality I would guess that it is sleepy or mellow, based on first glance.

S - The expected acidic, fruity smell is actually quite muted. It is as if somebody tossed the scent on the ground and shoveled some brown sugar- or molasses-laced dirt on top. This is the kind of dirt that mushrooms grow in in dark forests.

T - Sour acidity and carbonation pierce the tongue at first, but this acid does not soar as high as one would expect from other sours. Sweet cherry and raisin dominate, sprinkled with a pinch of light brown sugar on top.

M - Although the carbonation does bite the tongue at first, it feels very soft and fuzzy. The beer seems to take its time as rolls around the mouth softly and sleepily.

O - This beer is a good choice for somebody just looking to get into sours. It does not scream loudly nor stab your tongue with thousands of tiny lances. Perhaps a bit sweet, even cloying for my tastes. I would consider it the equivalent of a dessert wine. If you like lively, vivacious sours then this beer probably is not for you.

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Photo of LAp
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A beautiful beer on the whole, sour mixed with a hint of balsalmic vinegar. Had in a 3-way tasting with Classic, Grand Cru, and Vintage. Having this beer in immediate comparison to its older brothers definitely points out benefit that aging gives this already excellent base beer.

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Photo of Cyrano41
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was gifted this on Christmas from my sister-in-law. She asked the staff at Total Wine to help with selecting beers for someone who "likes weird beer." And in 13 years, this is the best gift yet. This was the first beer from the six pack I've tried and I really like it!
Poured a reddish brown into a standard pint glass, a quarter inch of head with not much lacing.
Smell carried a bit of ....apple? A bit of acidity on the nose hinted at the tartness to come.
Medium bodied, not insubstantial.
I've never wrapped my head around the appeal of sours, once at Tapped the barkeeper described the Italian sour they had as "kinda like drinking malt-vinegar." Needless to say that didn't convince me to overcome my reluctance to imbibe. Rodenbach has a tart bite, but off-sets it with a slight sweetness. The beer uses the tart to enhance flavor rather than overpower it. I will look for this again.

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Photo of mothmanscott
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown, becoming almost garnet when held to the light, producing 2+ fingers of tan, shortlived, frothy head that leaves only a few motes of lace. Aroma is sour, toasted malt, vinous, grape must, green apple & something a little ginger ale like. Taste is similar with more sour & vinous grape, lightly acetic, as in the nose some spice like ginger or perhaps cinnamon. Finishes sour, very peppery & acetic producing a similar but astringent aftertaste. I did not pick up any wood notes from the barrel aging. Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with high carbonation, prickly with peppery spice, astringent aftertaste.

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Photo of Marius
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby brown, murky, with a short-lived head. Smells like red grapes, or like a rose wine, with a hint of vinegar and caramel. Tastes like watered-down wine must. Light body with a nice acidic and refreshing mouthfeel.

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Photo of JayQue
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyable sour!! Pours a clear reddish brown color with a lot of carbonation. Medium size tan head with good retention. Keeps a covering of the flute glass throughout. Wide bands of filmy lacing. Aroma is malty with a strong but not overpowering vinegar presence. Flavor is more of the same. The oak is fairly faint but the maltiness and mild vinegary sourness are more than enough to keep this beer interesting. Mouthfeel is crisp with just the right amount of carbonation. This sour is about the level I can enjoy. Grand Cru is a bit much for me.

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Photo of kitch
4.44/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 330ml bottle with a best before date of 3rd October 2015 and poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Poured a dark reddish brown colour with a thin tanned head (although on my second bottle, an extremely aggressive pour gave me a one finger head) that leaves plenty of stringy lacing.

Aroma: Nice strong tart cherry and grape aromas with hints of vinegar and oak.

Taste: Tart cherry with hints of vinegar and grape bubblegum.

Mouthfeel: Dry, light to medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall: The most basic of the Rodenbach line, this was very good. It was very refreshing, nice on the palate and easy to drink.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the 11.2 oz bottle in a snifter. Pours a dark muddy brownish red with a light head of off white foam that dissipates to a thin ring and light lacing. Nose of tart berries---cranberry, blackberry, and tart pie chery that blend with subtle oak and light sweet candy sugar. Flavors exceed the nose with tart berries on all sides that commingle nicely with sweet candy malts and a touch of earthy yeast to make for a pleasant ale with a lightly tart aftertaste. Nice mouth feel with good carbonation finishes moderately dry. Very nice for the style.


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Photo of Ciocanelu
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish brown color with a small head fizzing away in a second. Aroma has a lot of fruits like cherries, grapes, red apples and berries. Doesn't have the vinegar like character of the Grand Cru. Taste is also just slightly tart, letting the fruity character shine along with the slightly caramelized malts. Very easy to drink but complex at the same time.

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Photo of josanguapo
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From elcervecero. In Duvel glass. After dinner. Nice aroma and taste to cherries and barrel. Remembers red wine. Long and tasty aftertaste. A bit sour but nothing bothering

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Photo of hophugger
4.04/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark reddish brown. Aromas of bing cherry and raw sugar. Head is almost non-existent and lacing is sparse and spotty. Taste is of dark, ripe cherries, raw sugar and a touch of barnyard funk. Overall, feels good on the palate and balances well, without the cherries being too tart. Great, clean finish...

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Photo of BigBry
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another huge suprise when I saw this on-tap at Craft Beer Market - alway check the menu, the chalkboard, the table toppers...never know where a jewel is hiding.
Red and brown color, tan head. Good retention and lacy lines.
Smell of sour cherries, a bit boozy but not off putting, musty yeast.
Tatse has some malt and fruit sweetness to start, then sour comes out. Not overly puckering but enough to feel it. Some spiciness, and a hint oak the oak aging at the end.
Body and mouth feel are more on the full side.
I enjoyed it, but it scared off a couple of colleagues and they didn't like it.

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Photo of cbutova
4.26/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been a long time coming for this review. Have enjoyed this at least 5 if not 10 times.

A- 750ml emptied into three glasses with a mostly clear ruby red body. A wispy light tan cap forms with a creamy thick appearance. Good retention dying out to a large belt. Lacing is somewhat rare.

S- Very easy to tell this is not the Grand Cru version as it delivers less acidity in the aroma with more malts coming through. Toasty barley, nuttiness, hinting at caramel, light bit of balsamic acetic acid and a hint of cherries.

T- Sweet and sour indeed (well more like tart). The blend is immediately apparent for anyone familiar with the Rodenbach line of beers. Sweets from the base malts like pale caramel, toasted bread and nuts and dark brown sugar. The red aspect gives hints of balsamic, raspberry, vinous grapes, wet toast oak, vinegar and raisin spice. Minimally tart.

MF- Crisp and smooth light to moderate thickness. Texture is just a bit frothy and slick with high end bubbles. Sweet tart ending.

The intro to a classic brewery lineup. The most approachable of the Rodenbachs that I have had. The juxtaposition and balance in the blend is borderline genius and reminds you why this is so highly respected. Sweet with a hint of tarts and so much more.

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Photo of Dave1999
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark red/brown.

The smell is sour, raspberries, apples, cherries, vinegar.

The taste is much like the smell, fruits, lots of tart cherry and apple cider vinegar. There also some oak from the barrel.

The mouthfeel is light and well carbonated.

Overall a very good sour beer, fruity and sour.

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Photo of Cannybrew
2.13/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

Sorry guys but I'm not able to offer a positive review for this beer. I know I'm in the minority but this beer was a challenge for me to drink. Loads of tart cherry in smell and taste. But way too much cider vinegar!! Guess I'm not a sour fan after all. If you like sours, try. If you don't, stay clear.

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Photo of sjones5045
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Natirar 5/9/15

Pour ruby red and the smell of a sour tart cherry gets you first. The taste is good, rather simple, sour tart fruit, mostly cherry. Maybe a little spoiled with the sours lately but felt like I wanted more out if this. Still nice and simple and refreshing though. Good beer.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

You know that funny feeling you get when you know you’re about to crack open a world class beer and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up? I’m getting that feeling with this Rodenbach Classic Flanders Red Ale, and it could be because their Grand Cru was a spectacular introduction to the style... or it could be that beer is like crack cocaine for me and I have a really, really bad addiction problem... I’m going with the former [yes indeed, good choice me] thanks me [you’re welcome me] you’re welcome yourself me... aaand so forth.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip - here’s a top tip: if you’re ever in doubt as to which glass to use with any given beer go with a Duvel tulip.

A: Cloudy red-tinged brown body with a tan head that soon reduces to a thin lace ring. Looks borderline Flanders Oud Bruin, but we’ll forgive it this one appearance transgression, not the poor head though; at 5.2% ABV there should be a head. 6/10.

S: Quite forward with a tart cherry/grape aroma. There are hints of wood from the oak and a light caramel malt base with some bread yeast, but overall the pervading sense is one of dry astringent tartness [I’m puckering my face in anticipation]. 8/10.

T: Once again Rodenbach did well to keep the tartness in check with this brew taking on more of a vinegary slant than the Grand Cru (which was more grape-aid). Notes of burnt caramel, wood and cherry are hinted to in the background... actually the burnt caramel is a bit more noticeable than the other background notes, you get the idea. Finishes quite dry and moreish like the Grand Cru, hmmm. 8/10.

M: Almost identical to the Grand Cru: mid to light body, hmm, slightly watery, with a nicely dense carbonation. 7/10.

D: Well there isn’t a great deal of separation between the Grand Cru and Classic bar that the Grand Cru is much more interesting and flavoursome. Don’t get me wrong [get me right!] Rodenbach Classic is a tasty Flanders Red, however one will instinctively draw comparison between Classic and Grand Cru and the latter nails it whilst the former is decent enough but not nearly as great. I will say one thing: Rodenbach Classic goes down very easy, but with the slightest challenge from the astringent aspects that you feel like you’ve glimpsed into the eyes of greatness, found a tart granny smith apple in a golden chalice, with some angels standing around it, and licked the juices dripping forth from the sacred receptacle... or something quasi-mystical along those lines. 9/10.

Food match: A selection of cheeses arranged on a platter would suffice.

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Photo of Topdollar
4.64/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Cherries...almost a sherry on the nose. Very light and refreshing on the tongue. Not bitter or heavy. Appealing red apperence...clouded as if unfiltered. An excellent overall beer.

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Photo of Mikus
4.16/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reddish brown with a ring of off-white head. Well carbonated. Light vinegar and dark fruit on the nose. Plums and raisins make their way from the aromas to the flavors. Nice and tart. Seems a 'lighter' version of the Grand Cru, and appropriately so. Definitely more of a regular treat than the granddaddy. Delicious.

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Photo of PlutonowyManiek
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Foam um, I do not remember, appeared and disappeared.
The aroma of wine, but also cherries, and even cork (beer aged in oak barrels). The aroma suggests that the taste is dry.
Yes, taste dry, sour, dominated by dark and red fruits, grapes.
Rodenbach is pleasantly tart and very stimulating taste buds, sometimes it is astringent. Somewhere far away in the background, you can find some notes cork (association of wine) or another tree.
Medium saturated with well hidden alcohol. Perfect wines for lunch sated. This beer is another Belgian classic and although there are other, perhaps better variations of this style, I know that Rodenbach is one.

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Rodenbach Classic (Red) from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
90 out of 100 based on 663 ratings.