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

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Rodenbach Classic (Red)Rodenbach Classic (Red)

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

644 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 644
Hads: 1,612
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 6.72%
Wants: 71
Gots: 156 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-04-2002

ABV varies 5.0-5.2% ABV
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 644 | Hads: 1,612
Photo of hustlesworth
4.82/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml crowned and corked, no date on cork.

A- very nicely colored hazy bing cherry/red plum with amber highs, ruby mids, and burgundy lows. rich creamy khaki colored head doesn't get too big, but doesn't go away either. thick curtains of lace cover the inner walls with only a few port holes open, gets very crusty as it dries.

S- no wonder they call this a flemish sour ale. smell is of sour cherries and fruity malt vinegar. my mouth gets that funny puckering feeling just by smelling it. i can also appreciate the deep sweet richness of dark malt and port wine barrels. whatever these special yeasts are, they are sour and buttery, like a butter cheese with plums, cherries and tart red berries.

T- damn what an interesting beer. initial taste is clean mineral water, as a very fruity sourness sits on my tongue waiting to be noticed. i don't know how to describe it except for a long list of every tart non-citrus fruit i can think of. diluted apple cider vinegar it first, changing regular apple cider, then cherries, gooseberries, unripe blackberries, red plum, wild strawberry, cranberry, crabapple, rhubarb, absolutely ridiculous. as the tartness fades, the mellow oak aged flavors set in with a very clean raw wood taste and refined cereal grains, pale and toasty barley, and a natural earthiness of organic soil.

MF- somewhat juicy, light but not watery, acidic yet alkaline, low carbonation, no residual astringency or anything for that matter left on the cheeks, just the pleasant lingering flavor of fruit stems, oak, and granola.

D- this is a style i could get used to. i expected something good, but this was almost mind-bending. thoroughly complex and sophisticated, like a lambic crossed with an english pale ale. not something i'd want to gulp down without noticing the subtleties, but i easily could. worth the money for me, and i will surely have several of these on hand at all times. (1,913 characters)

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.82/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a paradigm of the style and it is always fucking fantastic!

A - Brown-ruby hued, replete with a persistent khaki crown, leaving occasional glaciers of lace.

S - Sweet and sour and absolutely delectable. Concord grape and a sort of Polynesian-tart sauciness marks the nose.

T - The nose is extrapolated in the flavor, but that doesn't even begin to give the taste credit due... both the flavor and aroma are so well-apportioned to the point of being absolutely sublime. The concord grape, the wood, the masterful balance of blending; this brew is clearly a work of fine art, beyond mere solid craftsmanship.

M - Just as beautiful and dynamically balanced as it gets

D - I have enjoyed this brew for so long... Though this version is less sour than the Grand Cru, it is more consistently excellent; really every bit of the brew is perfection and archetype. (867 characters)

Photo of k75
4.8/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

amazing garnet red color, nice tight bubbles, off white head

big nose of tart, vinuous, acidic - like a vintage balsamic

smooth mouthfeel, medium body , big big flavors that get much better as it warms up

complex flavors of balsamic and tart fruit

not more than one glass, but very impressive (305 characters)

Photo of dalion037
4.8/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have been slowingly getting into sour beer and this was a very good mildly sour and sweet beer. It poured out with no head and a beautiful reddish brown color. You could feel the carbonation tingling your mouth and the taste was very good. This is a must try for people trying to get into more complex beer. (309 characters)

Photo of scottyg354
4.79/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a brownish red color. Cloudiness is lightly preveilant. Head that lingers with nice lacing.

S: Slight Vineger and sour berries. Farmhouse funkiness.

T: Sour Cherries and grapefrui, slight brett notes. Sweet and Sour. Very Nice.

M: Crisp with a medium carbonation. Goes down very smoothly.

O:Great beer. One of my favorite styles. (342 characters)

Photo of hbis2gut
4.75/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

An absolute classic. Get it on tap if ever you can.
Fantastic depth and character. This is a beer to give to the folks known for phrases such as "beer is beer".
Sweet and sour. Full bodied yet clean and drinkable. Tart faintly cherry nose. It's hard to believe this is brewed without fruit. (292 characters)

Photo of techdiver
4.73/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a clear, deep, reddish brown with a solid head that dissipates slowly.

Aroma is sour with cherry predominating.

Taste is spectacular, so refreshing. It's hard to pick between the Grand Cru and the Classic. If it weren't for the fact that the Classic has a slightly better appearance, and the Grand Cru has a slightly better smell; I'd probably rate them all 5's.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are both exceptional. Previous problem with Grand Cru aleviated with acquisition of a case. Now I need a case of this too. (528 characters)

Photo of Boilermaker88
4.71/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I finally managed to get my hands on what seems to be widely regarded as the premiere Flanders Red Ale, at least based on what I've gleaned from BA. I spotted this (and the Grand Cru, which I also bought) at Harry's Wine & Liquor in Fairfield, CT. Glassware used was a flute.
Appearance: has a dried, or drying, blood color - rather brownish-red - and had a generous amount of carbonation that produced a thick, long-lasting light tan head. Thick rings of lace marked each pull and the downward progression of the beer in the glass.
Smell: immediate sweet/tart aroma and sour cherry note, though not as strong as anticipated. Yeasty funkiness. Light oaken woodiness. Vague notion of vinegar adds a sharpness. Nice.
Taste: *shudder* ohh boy, that's good! Softly acidic and lushly creamy, sweet/sour cherry flavor. Hints of cocoa and caramel smooth out what could otherwise be a near-lambic tartness. Oak tannins and the musty, dusty, yeasty leathery flavor adds a breadth of complexity that's simply exquisite.
Feel: light yet round and creamy with a dry finish that sucks all the moisture from the tongue.
Drinkability: unbelieveably drinkable; you just want to keep going back to the well with this one. Undeniably a stunning example of the style. Worth every penny and a beer I will constantly be on the lookout for from now on. (1,335 characters)

Photo of Beertracker
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Rodenbach Classic (Red) should be served at (47-53F) from a traditional flute or stemmed goblet. The Red (Classic) is a combination of 75% fresh ale & 25% barrel aged ale and pours up very softly with plenty of Belgian lace. The translucent reddish-light brown body is offset beautifully by a fluffy, cream colored head. The nose is ripe with fruity complexity and some sweet candy apple undertones. The classic Flanders aroma has some subtle oak character, light oxidation and a noteably sharp sourness. Hints of aged Balsamic vinegar, cordial cherries, red currants and fresh green apples spring to mind. The first sip creates an initial sourness upon the palate that seems to shock every taste bud on the tongue! Once the initial acidity fades, some sweet caramel apple and bitter almond characters emerge intermingled with the sharp sourness. The winelike finish is decidely tart, dry (oaky & tannic) and slightly astringent. The medium body is alive with a zesty carbonation that creates some prickly carbonic acid, as it glides past the lips.

This is undoubtedly the quintessential classic for a Flanders Red Ale. I'm very pleased to see this world class beer make its long awaited return to the United States. However, I feel that the "rebirth" of this classic has come at some cost, as it has lost some of the earthy "wildness" and complexity that it previously held. This highly regarded Flemish Sour Ale is still one of my all-time favorites and I highly recommend that if you're a sour beer fan that you seek some out! Enjoy Rodenbach Red as an apertif or try it paired with some blue cheese stuffed crabcakes. For a traditional treat... try enjoying a glass with your next breakfast or brunch? Here's to the "Burgundy of Belgium!"

CHEERS! Beertracker (1,770 characters)

Photo of Phatz
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ML bottle screen printed and corked bottle with a new logo from the displayed above.

I have only had 3 Flanders Reds but I have decided it is my current favorite style and I am going to seek out as many of these as I can find. I love the teeter-totting from sweet to tart and the berry bite in the end wow. I did enjoy this beer more than the Grand Cru but not quite as much as the Duchess De Bourgogne.

Suggestion: Let this warm signifcants on the counter before opening. It really mellows. Also take your time; start before it has reached room temp and re-cork (if you have a 750 ML) and try a small flute again and again as it warms. Absolutly *fasinating* the flavors that continue to come out, especially the coco.

Appearance: Pours a dark raspberry brown/copper color that does not let the light through the body but looks lighter around the edges. It had a small light brown head that fades to a spotty frothy cap and descent lacing.

Smell: Raspberries, cherry, brown sugar a hint of smoked barrel wood fill the nose and send my taste buds in a frenzy of anticipation i.e. salivation.

Taste: Sour, with wine like attributes it is cherry with a hint of coco and a flood of brown sugar it slides smoothly and is somewhat nonchalant the way sneaks through the fist part of palate without causing much ruckus; then, all of the sudden it erupts with flavors of berries and spices that that are simply exceptional. As it warms there are hint of coca and nuts and oak along with the sour cherries. It is similar to the Lambics that I have had in acidity and bite. The aftertaste lingers forever! mmm.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is very nice. I do not have much within the style to compare it to yet but it is extremely active and poking and prodding the palate while dancing around with great energy on the taste buds. That said the carbonation is not as crazy as the Grand Cru was, which I personally prefer. It was a little rough on the swallow sometimes with the acidity but overall, very nice in the mouth.

Drinkability: I hardly know what to say. Typically I would not consider a sour beer sessionable but maybe I am converting to a new way of thinking; this beer was so east to drink it was hard to believe. I won’t quite give it a 5.0 but it’s a really close call wow. I think it’s that amazing aftertaste that just keeps this beer cruising down the hatch =)

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers! (2,425 characters)

Photo of eclectic
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Monk's

Poured into a Rodenbach glass. Red/Black color with minimal head, aromas of lactic sour and cherry. Tastes incredible, even smoother than the bottled version. Smooth and creamy, more drinkable than almost anything I can think of. Once again I am amazed at the caliber of this brew. (301 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This flemish red ale is great. Bottles only go for around 1 Euro a pop as well. This pours out a nice pinkish/red colour with a small head of raspberry like foam. The aromas are very cherry-ish, lactic, slightly sour, and a bit sweet all at the same time. The taste is wonderfully fresh and creamy, with all of the flavors intermingling nicely. The mouthfeel is definately a little less creamy than it is on tap and this does hurt the drinkability a bit.

Please note that a recent 750 of this brew has a very funky metallic tastes to it...I'd stick with the little bottles, personally.

Pre-palm vintage, perhaps a 1993? This stuff is dark brown with a small off-white head. Aromas are of smoky malts, cherries, acidic funk, chocolate, and more. The taste is chocolate-like, with smoke, cherries, funk, and lambic-like acid all in the mix as well. The mouthfeel is a bit thinner thinner than usual, and the drinkability is still absolutely awesome. Wow this is so different than fresh, post-palm rodenbach. I wonder if the reciple changed? At 10 years old this stuff is starting to have the complexity of a Hardy's! (1,120 characters)

Photo of RedSpecial1
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear brown with a small bit of frothy white head with pearlescent quality.

S: I first notice an acetic note with a very vinous quality. Underneath that is a malty sweetness with a raisin-like quality.

T: Starts with a raisin or date-like character with the acetic and vinous tastes coming through in the finish, but much softer than in the aroma.

M: Almost a softness or roundness to the feeling of this beer with a slight sting from the acetic notes.

O: A very rich and flavorful beer with a complex flavor profile. The flavors seem much more integrated than many other examples of this style, probably due to the strong blending experience at the brewery. (673 characters)

Photo of cjgator3
4.69/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very dark red color with a tan head. Smell is tart and sour cherries. Taste is surprisingly crisp and refreshing! Sour and tart fruit dominate the taste that finishes incredibly dry and crisp. This brew has an extremely high drinkability. Even though I recommend the Rodenbach Grand Cru slightly higher, this is an absolutely wonderful brew. (349 characters)

Photo of thefireman
4.68/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Listen, what can I add to what has been said? On draft at Monk's in a classic glass from the brewer. Reddish brown, almost opaque. Tastes sweet of cherries and/or raisons. Then tart. Hints of oak, tannic acid. Tart is the finish that sets this apart from every other experience. A home run as it were. Maybe not a session beer, but one I always look forward to at Monk's. This stuff is terriffic. Truely one of my favorites. (424 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.68/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Although it's not quite what I remember it to be in the early 80's (I'd imagine that I might be bolstering its memory as it was then one of the special beers of my youth), it's still a remarkable beer! And since I consider the Flander's red style to be my favorite style, that's nothing to sneeze at.

It pours a clear deep-mahogany red body with a full head of pillowy tan foam that holds remarkably well and leaves very nice lace about the glass.

The nose is woody, mildly fruity and subtly candyish-sweet with notes of red fruit and a flicker of tartness (red raspberry, sweet cherry, passion fruit, lemon zest). There's some wet straw and wool in there as well, but it's restrained and actually helps to enhance the other aromas.

In the mouth it's surprisingly supple and airy, leaving it unsurpassingly smooth across the palate with a delicate caress.

The tartness that's expected is clearly present, but not nearly in the same range that one might expect of a lambic... No, this is far more refined. And it's soft, dull caramel-accented maltiness has just enough sweetness to act as a swaddling blanket against it. Fruitiness then enters and adds great depth; all the while balancing it out with a low-key earthiness of wood and subtle "barnyard"/"horseblanket"/"wool".

It finishes dry with a note of woody/earthy/mustiness, some iron, and some residual dark fruit skins.

Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful!

It pairs well with a wide range of soft, buttery and/or earthy Brie-type cheeses; and alongside a crusty loaf of whole wheat bread it makes a wonderful small meal. Some red grapes on the side only help to delineate it's character. Seafood is another choice to consider, as it's acidity clearly cuts through, and mussels in red sauce is a classic. Finally, it also works well at the very start of a meal as an apertif, or with salad (think vinaigrette and soft cheese); and at the end of the meal as a palate cleanser. (1,951 characters)

Photo of gfreed
4.68/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I could easily take a bath in this beer. What's not to like? Not as sour or tart as other Flemish reds, but enough sourness to make it clear you're drinking something exceptional. The healthy hit of Pez-like sugar in the nose is inviting, then the light body and the tightness of the taste-- without the balsamic twang of other beers of this style-- just keep raising the glass all by itself. Low alcohol means you can drink several at one sitting. I'm sorry I had only one bottle in the house at the time. (506 characters)

Photo of laintringulis
4.68/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a wide mouth goblet from Eulogy's in Philadelphia. Pours a dark cranberry color with thick foamy head that thins out quickly but laces nicely. Light body, medium carbonation.

Smells strongly of apple cider, with a sweet caramel smell and some spiciness.

Has an initial sour/tart apple taste with a pleasant dryness that turns more sweet with a caramel maltiness in the middle. It finished with a tart cherry like back taste and moderate dryness.

Very crisp and refreshing. For a light bodied beer this has an exceptional fullness to the mouthfeel without being oily or filmy. Easily sessionable. I could drink this stuff all day long. It has a really nice tie between the mouthfeel, complexity of tastes, and drinkability. (741 characters)

Photo of HogHill
4.68/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I purchased a 750 of the Rodenbach classic while in Buffalo, NY (at Premier Gourmet) over Thanksgiving. Poured this sour beauty into a Rapscallion snifter, the body was a lovely burgundy brown combination. A one finger light tan head topped it off.

While doing my best Paul Giamatti impersonation, I detect a distinct sour cherry aroma along with a spiciness. Some phenols too, just like most belgians. No doubt it's a sour ale!

To drink this Rodenbach is a great experience in beer drinking, an absolute genuine craft brew. Here is a brilliant combination of soured fruits (mostly cherry) backed by a mildy sweet maltiness with a spicy phenolic finish along for the ride. Feels medium bodied with a reduced carbonation.

I would have no problem polishing off mutliple 750s. I can taste why this brew has been around for centuries. Looking forward to see how the Rodenbach Grand Cru stacks up to the Classic. (919 characters)

Photo of dgallina
4.67/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle with best-before 09/08/2005 date.

Poured a minimally cloudy dark ruby with big, but rapidly diminishing white head and excellent lace retention. A pleasant blend of juicy fruits, oak, and wine-like sourness in the nose. Very rounded and exceptionally well-balanced flavors. Ripe red fruits intermingle with woody oak and finish in a moderately drying yeasty flourish. Moderately light in body, with the expected big carbonation. Stunningly drinkable and poised. (478 characters)

Photo of ANNO1074
4.67/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wonderful mix of sour and malt. Slight sweetness with floral notes that contrast with sour and acid. Relatively flat, consistent with sour, though with enough head to release lovely aromas and contribute to mouth feel. Lots of body and flavor for 5.2% beer. A 750ml that you can open without considering how early you need to get up the next day. (346 characters)

Photo of timtheenchanta
4.65/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep ruby color that may as well be brown topped by a light tan one finger head that laces delicately down the glass. A thin layer of foam stays on top for the duration of the drink.

Gorgeous nose that smells like ripe cherries, muscadine grapes, expected tart smell with some moldy oranges. There's a slight moldy hay/wet straw aroma followed by a subtle woody character.

Lively flavor tingles the tongue with sweet fruitiness (grapes, cherries, lemons) balanced out by a beautiful sour/vinegar profile with some horseblanket/hay smell.

This one has a very crisp light feel that delights and brings me back for more. The taste is strong and hangs with you so I'm not sure that I could have more than one in an evening despite the low alcohol level which would otherwise leave it very drinkable.

A wonderful beer and a great example of the style. It doesn't have the slightly metallic taste that some others in the style show. (938 characters)

Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.65/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: poured from a 330 mL bottle into a pint glass, red brown colored almost like cherry cola with a short red tan head that dissipates quickly leaving little lacing, clear

S: sweet and sour fruit aroma, sour cherries, plums

T: very sour up front with complex flavors of malt, fruit, and yeast, slight bitter hop flavor in middle combined with a sweetness from the malt, followed by a sour finish, cherry, oak, tart apple

M: feel is silky smooth with just a bit of carbonation, good lingering sour aftertaste

O: if you are in to Belgian sours you will like this beer, sweet and sour elements are well balanced (611 characters)

Photo of allengarvin
4.65/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ah, Rodenbach. It's been about 8 years since I last got a hold of any of this. 750ml bottle, served into a tall chalice. Lovely reddish-brown color with a solid finger of foam atop it. Aroma is particular appetizing: sharp, coppery scent with sweet malt and a lot of fruitiness. Complex mix of flavors: tangy fruit (unripe grape, or green apple), smooth very very lightly caramel malt, a little spicy, slightly metallic taste at the back of the tongue. Finish is particularly tart and vinous. Beautifully smooth texture with unusual amount of tannic mouthfeel.

This is definitely a "Desert Island" beer, one of the very great beers one should always have around. Yet it's so hard to find in parts of the US. (711 characters)

Photo of Bearski-Beerski
4.65/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed: During this review.
Appearance: Bloody water with just enough visible carbonation.
Smell: Instant tart and sour cherry/strawberry leading to the unveiling of a harmonious nutty oak scent.
Taste: Almost identical to the way it smells. Tart + sour cherry/strawberry, followed by a mild oak after taste. Then, a light carbonation tingle.
Mouthfeel: Quite light in body(not my thing, but with this low enough of an ABV...it works). Rather silky as well, except for the slight tingle.
Overall: I found it hard not to rate this a perfect score. The only thing I thought would of made it a five could be a more full bodied mouth feel and maybe age it towards having a little more oak flavor(I'm over opinionated at best). Otherwise this brew was exceptional in general, but especially for the price.
Stay Fiscal My Friends! (834 characters)

Rodenbach Classic (Red) from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
90 out of 100 based on 644 ratings.