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

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Rodenbach Classic (Red)Rodenbach Classic (Red)

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1,506 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,506
Reviews: 631
rAvg: 4
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 68
Gots: 108 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V. visit their website

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

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

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-04-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,506 | Reviews: 631 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of berkey
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Allagash glass as it was the closest in appearance to the Rodenbach glass as I had in the cabinet. Opens with a small pop of a stubby cork. Pours a dense body a little more brown than other flemish reds but shows some strong red tones when held to light. Tiny khaki colored head dies quickly. No real lacing.

Aromas include sour and tart fruit including cherries and apples, oak, yeast, and some underlying vinegar but altogether pretty mild.

The acidic vinegar bite that was mild on the aroma is a little more assertive on first sip but still pretty mellow. Tartness still here but in balance. As it warms some funk finally starts to peek through.

Mouthfeel is always a little thin on these beers but while this is by no means thick it isn't too watery. Highly drinkable with the low ABV and mellow for the style flavor profile. Had no problem getting through the 750ml in a sitting.

Overall this beer is a great intro into the flavors this style brings while remaining unoffensive and approachable even for the first timer. Unfortunatley I tried Rodenbach Grand Cru before I got around to this one and fair or not
this one lacks a little in comparison.

Photo of Greenfloyd
4.97/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finding Flanders Reds to be one of my favorite styles, if not THE favorite style of beer, I might be a little biased towards this offering. That being said, this one is the best of the bunch for me. In fact I'm requesting my casket to be a replica of one of Rodenbach's giant oak aging barrels. No rush though...

When I poured this into a medium sized tulip glass, it gave the appearance of an Amontillado sherry, with a wonderful auburn tint. The nose was of fresh cut, slightly un ripened green apple, and hints of oak. When I put this Flanders offering into a large snifter, I got much stronger woody tones from the nose, including traces of vanilla.

The taste emulated the nose, with tart green apple showing itself right away. The hop presence, as is traditional with this style, is obsolete, yet the beer maintains a remarkable balance with its subtle malty background. Trailing off with faint oaky echoes, this beer has a quick, yet complex finish.

The mouth feel of this beer is lighter bodied, but you don't feel like you are getting cheated out of substance. Fairly decent carbonation rounded out the experience. This beer has incredible drinkability. It is unbelievably refreshing, and a 750 of this could go alarmingly quick.

Truly an outstanding Belgian treat, this beer could be just as much "session" worthy as it is gourmet. If you pair a Rodenbach Classic with some Alaskan king crab, clarified butter, and a loaf of fresh bread, Bill Gates would not be able to top that (yes of course he probably could, but surely by now you get the point). I love everything about this beer. Enjoy

Photo of jrallen34
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I drank this from a bottle into a chalice at Delirium Cafe in Brussels.

This beer is half the man of the Grand Cru, if you can find either don't waste your time on this inferior red.

It pours dark red with a light tan head.

It smells and tastes sour, but way to sour.

Photo of Orangevango
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

The reddish brown beer produces a creamy head that is a strange greyish brown color. The head does not stick around. A nice tartness dominates the nose, it smells refreshing. Surprisingly, the flavor is not that puckering, The sourness is balanced nicely by a touch of sweetness. The mouthfeel is a slight let down, a bit oily and I would like a bit more carbonation. Drinkability is, however, very high. Yummy, very yummy. The bottles are tiny, less than nine oz.

Photo of roblowther
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a head that dissapears faster than my dogs at bath time. Smells of sour cherries, wood, and pepper. Has that distinctive worscestire smell of a Flanders red. Taste is tart, malty, and very, very smooth. Not too much of anything. Outstanding! Mouthfeel is slick but a touch thin. Drinkability is phenomenal. It goes down quickly. It's my new friend.

Photo of homebrewhawk
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked bottle served in a chalice. Bottle conditioned. Poured a dark copper with a quickly dissipating off white head. Lots of fruit in the aroma, mainly sour cherries. Not very carbonated, fairly light body. A little sweetness up front. Nice tart flavor with more fruit. Very drinkable. If you are new to the style, this would be a good starting point.

Photo of Cs1987
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dark brown, almost opaque. 2 fingers of creamy head with excellent retention.

Smell - Pretty strong, mostly sweet and sour cherries.

Taste - This tastes so much like a kriek it's not funny. I was surprised to discover after drinking this that cherries are not used in the brewing process, and the sourness and fruitiness is created entirely by the Belgian yeast and oak barrel aging. I would describe it as moderately sour.

Mouthfeel - A bit thin for a Belgian ale. Low carbonation.

Drinkability - Pretty drinkable, considering the sourness.

Overall - I wouldn't normally choose a sour ale over a hoppy or malty one, but this certainly worth a try just to experience how a beer can taste so much like a kriek without using cherries.

Photo of CampusCrew
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Holy crap... This is my first sour ale. I had no idea what I was missing. Unsure how to rate it because I have nothing to compare it to.

appearance: beutiful red copperish color and the head retention faded fast

smell: sour candy fruit, grapes and cherries

taste: not extemelely sour enough to be balanced with the fruit taste. work of art!

mouthfeel: high carbonation and light

drinkability: very easy... I could session this at a nice dinner

Photo of goblet
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 250 ml bottle into a glass . i`ve had this beer a few times now so it`s time for a review.

appearance:it`s dark not transparent at all, a deep reddish brown hue with a thin tan foam head that reduces leave a coating. i can`t see any carbonation ,or lace.

smell: dry sour fruits like grapes and cherries,the aroma is alluring i get some malt but not much else.

taste:this is more on the sour grape side with a hint of cherries.the sour flavor is not as strong as the scent,it`s smooth like grape juice.

mouthfeel:of course besides the sour grape feel on the palate its got a slight bitterness and sweet cherry,sugar after taste .

drinkability:i like this beer ,its tasty and smooth the smell is bigger then the bite but don`t be turn of from this brew try it for yourself .

Photo of vacax
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Corked and caged 750 mL bottle.

A: Rich reddish brown. Not a large head but a gorgeous light tan one that sparkles along the sides of the glass. Beautiful in a glass.

S: Sour red berries mixed with a robust musty oakiness to them.

T: Tart fruitiness throughout, reminiscent of red wine and berries. Tart but not exactly sour accompanied with a feint background of musty oak. This would be a great starter sour, as it has a delicious flavor but is 75% fresh ale so the sour or funk is kept to low but definitely detectable levels. No sense of vinegar that some might be prone to taste in the Grand Cru. Not the most thrilling Flemish Red, but an exemplary brew with no obvious flaws.

M: Light to medium body with airy and fine carbonation.

D: Exceptional here. Everything that is good about a Flemish Red, but nothing in excess that might turn you off or lead to palate fatigue. A sour fan can easily drink this 750 mL bottle. The only problem is this is the only time I have ever seen it on shelves. About $1 less than the Grand Cru, but I never see either of these on the shelves. I recommend buying any Rodenbach bottles you see in the wild.

This is an excellent beer and benchmark to the style. There are other more sour/funky versions, but this is just a classic ale.

Photo of BierFan
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml corked bottle into a flute.

Light tan head. The body of the beer is a dark red. Smell and taste is, of course, headlined by the sourness of the ale. The aroma of the oak comes across better than I thought it would. The taste has a certain fruity quality, like raspberries and raw rhubarb.

Photo of garymuchow
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Cork and cage. Good and easy pop to open.
Aroma is both sweet (somewhat fruity) and sour. Heavy yeast character carrying an almost rancid quality. Interesting and compelling.
Really attractive clear deep red (garnet). Dark head with nice staying power. (poured into a wine glass).
Initially the softness of the carbonation and the sweetness of the fruity flavors makes it like a sweet soda (can anyone remember Tahitian Treat?), but the counter-balancing sourness swiftly moves in to stop any memories cold in their track and shaking to a different, and equally enjoyable reality. Again with the yeast character and the near rancid presence (the brett I presume), yet the overall soft flavors and soft feel are greatly appealing and enjoyable. There seems to be a hard water quality, but I'm not sure if that's the glass I'm suing or the beer. The light, fine and bubbly carbonation brings an element of childhood fun to the drink (how about Fizzies, anyone remember that) as it brings a tickle to the nose and tongue. Light overall feel and great softness.
This drinks so easily. Soft and light and tasty (again in a soda pop manner). It seems like I hit the temperature pretty close on this one as it's going down so well.
So back to "in the shadow of no towers".
Sat on this for a year. Thanks Linda.

Photo of Offa
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is an interesting beer, rather light, zesty, and fruity, and more tart than sour.

Dark red, almost black, it has a small-medium pale tan head steadily shrinking to a lasting thick foamy ring and wisps, with hints of foamy briefly clinging to the sides.

The aroma is quite pungent, perfumy sweet-sour, turned fruit, somewhat vinegary with elements of old, rusty metal pipes and a compost pile, plus a strong character of old berries, especially raspberries. The aroma is to me just a touch off-putting although I have mixed feelings about it as I do most aspects of this beer.

The taste is a little different and lighter, mostly lightly tart with a slight sweetness and only very light sourness, but with strong fermentd fruit - mostly a very strong character of turned raspberries - along with some toasty, very faintly buttery grain/cracker that peeks through in the aftertaste along with a hint of woody paper. The feel is light, zesty, and a bit fizzy. It's distinctve and holds up well with definite character, fairly refreshing and interesting, and fairly easy to drink but a bit one-dimensional, not really my style, and not something I would readily choose.

Photo of charlzm
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Consumed 04/10/09.

Pours a murky brown into a Triple Petrus tulip. Small ring of white foam around edges of glass. Minimal but detectable carbonation.

Aroma is interesting: sour and citric with a bready, yeasty character.

Flavor is tart and even made me squint a little on first sip. Slightly acidic sourness, some sweet breadiness. Tastes much like the aroma. Overripe cherries. Clean finish after some lingering cough syrup notes.

Mouthfeel is ever so slightly dry.

Drinkability? Depends on your tolerance for a little funk in your beer. I'm not hugely into it, but it's agreeable enough with the sweet and sour chicken I'm having.

Photo of wl0307
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Revisiting the Classic 2.5 years since the last bottle which was not very impressive; at 5.2%abv., BB 13/10/09, served lightly-chilled in Rodenbach's own branded slim goblet.

A: pours a dark russet brown hue (certainly NOT red!), coming with a thin, fluffy beige foam that breaks up fast on top of relatively moderate carbonation.
S: a refreshing, stimulating note mixed of cherry- & strawberry-vinegar, prune juice, and brown-sugary liquid malts floats on top of a deeper layer of pleasant woody aroma presumably as a result of oak-ageing. All's well, fruity sweet yet refreshing, exactly like what I was left with from my last bottle as far as the aroma is concerned.
T: a semi-sharp, effervescent swallow of lightly-flavoured malts, herb soup and tart-savoury prunes quickly leads towards a marvellous aftertaste full of brown-malts' aroma with a touch of toastiness, while a dry & bitter edge as if from both hops and barrel-ageing makes a kickback here to contrast the malty undertone, then all's wrapped up and ends in a harmonious finish that demonstrates more light aromatic malts, lingering tart fruitiness, and a soothingly dry & savoury edge of a well-aged ale in wood barrels.
M&D: despite a slightly overly fizzy texture, I suppose this is what it means to provide in support of a refreshing fruity theme. Overall, this bottle is way less metallic than my previous encounter, and the refreshingly dry-ish theme lasting up until the very end of each sip makes this ale clean, thirst-quenching, and absolutely quffable!

* Tasting Date: 03/07/2006
It's been a long long time since I tasted this beer years ago in Belgium. But since I've been having the Grand Cru every now and then, I really wonder if I'm prejudiced against this "ordinary" one?? I shouldn't be, I thought. That's way I purchased this bottle a week ago to prove that I'm being fair to both of them~~
BB 26/07/2006, served lightly chilled in a slim goblet.

4.5 A: very dark russet hue with brownish hints; poured with a huge and creamy cappuccino-like, off-white frothy head with superb retention (to which the shape of the glass contributes a lot, I reckon)... very lively fizziness full of micro-scopic bubbles floating.
4 S: complex, tartly-sweet fruity note (raspberry, prune, strawberry...) dominates the aroma, very creamy at the same time, almost like cranberry-flavoured ice-cream... A sour-woody edge of oak-barrels complements the fruity theme, and the sweetness of malts is very restrained. Overall the aroma is much milder than the Grand Cru with its less sharp and less vinegary edge. Pleasant and refreshing!
3 T: a slightly metallic edge (from ____?) accompanies the rather "focused" sour berry-fruity, slightly salty-sour prune-ish, and brown-malt flavour; the metallic edge is not unpleasant as such, but degrading the overall fruitiness a bit... The sour fruitiness fades out surprisingly fast in intensity, leaving a faintly tangy and dryish-bitter edge of wood barrels and Rodenbach's hallmark--a clashing feel b/w the teeth--in the end, where a welcomed raspberry-sorbet like aftertaste stays for a short while.
3 M&3 D: to my surprise, the body and flavour are both much lighter than I expected; while this little brother retains a reasonably refreshing and crisp texture, it's outshined by the Grand Cru by a large margin in complexity and depth. If I've tried this beer more often than the Grand Cru rather than the other way round, I might've felt more at ease drinking this. But now that my palate is tamed by the sharper but much richer Grand Cru, I really find it hard to adjust to the milder version... not saying that it's not a decent and distinctive brew, though.

Photo of ccrida
4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle (best before 28/05/08) poured into my Delirium snifter, Rodenbach is a dark ruby with a medium sized off white head, leaving scattered foam. Pretty impressive pop of the cork after all these years..

Smell is acidic, red wine vinegar

Taste is tart and sweet, cherries, not overly sour though, a tinge, nice balance, depth, damn good. A classic that I haven't had in a few years, and have been hoarding my last two bottles until they start importing it again. Overall, it's striking similar to cherry sweet tarts, which is a candy I love! Still, I prefer the extra pucker of the Grand Cru for sure.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, slick, medium light body.

Drinkability is high, there's a reason this is a world classic and benchmark example of the style. Also, due to it's light overall sourness, it's really a great introduction to sour ales. The low ABV also means that if you'd be able to session this if it wasn't expensive (and now rare, at least in the US, until import resumes).

Photo of sacullen
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Rodenbach Grand Cru tulip.

A: Pours a hazy light brown with a bit of red, ruby tinge. Smallish head that dissipates very quickly. Leaves almost no lacing. Very typical of sours.

S: While the smell definitely has a tart, vinegary aroma, it's much less pronounced than my favorite, the Duchesse.

T: Cherries and grapes dominate the taste. The sour notes come through in the swallow. The sourness is not overpowering and this might be a good example for someone who wants to try their first Flanders Red.

M: Very crisp, dry, and lively although it's a bit thin. The taste doesn't seem to want to linger, though.

D: Very easy to throw one back and order another, but that's only if you like what I think is a bit of a mild sour.

I myself like a little more punch to the sides of my mouth in my sours. It takes a lot for me to pucker up and this certainly doesn't do it. However, it serves as a decent example of the style.

Photo of robbtjones68
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very specific taste. Don't advise drinking after a stout as I made the mistake of doing. Once I absorbed the initial shock the taste grew on me. Decent mouthfeel. A citrusy taste is the predominant overtone, hence the "sour". By the time I got to the last two swills I was a fan. Not for all tastes but highly recommended for those ready to explore.

Photo of madtowndmb1
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep red with no head but a nice swirl develops after a while

S: Sour, tart cherries with a hint of wood backing it up.

T: Same as the smell but it was a little lacking. The sour was nice and the tartness on the back and the side of the tongue is nice, but there's no cherries almost. I could pick up the wood as it lingered in my mouth.

M: It was what I had expected so that's good. It's thin and no offensive across the tongue, just kind of inviting

D: Very drinkable and at 5% you don't have to feel bad about drinking a whole one and wanting another.

Photo of WilliamD
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brownish red with no head. Very still in my snifter.
Smell is sour fruits and a definite oak presence. Earthy tones as well.
Taste is quite nice- this is my first flemish sour ale, and I didn't know what to expect. Definitely sour but slightly sweet as well. Again the earthy oak is present. Nice dry finish.
Mouthfeel is pleasant- despite its stillness, some carbonation can be detected. Crisp and refreshing.
Quite drinkable as well. I will be finishing this bottle.
Tasty beer- makes me want to check out more of this style.

Photo of fingerlaker
2.78/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Disappointing. My first experience with a sour ale was less than what I expected.

Opening it up I was hit with the smell of bad wine. It wasn't pleasant. I smelled fruit, Lord, did I smell fruit- Grapes, cherries, plums, strawberries... Just not beer.

The taste... well, it was sour. Hit first by the sour taste of bad grapes and bad cherries. It was sweet, malty and had NO hops. I was SEARCHING for hops and found none. It tasted more like bad fruit wine than beer. Just strange.

Anything good? It LOOKED fantastic. Good lacing... That's about it.

Photo of ArrogantB
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle $7.49 at Beverage World in Ft. Oglethorp, GA. Bottom of the bottle is dated 28/11/07 so I hope it that was the bottled on date not the best by. Dark red bordering on brown with no head. Smells like sour, glue, vinegar, cherry cough syrup and a hint of wood. the flavor is nice with just a hint of sourness and a hint of lemon and glue ( I swear I didn't eat glue as a kid!). A very approachable sour/wild, much more so than La Folie or even the duchesse which might scare off the newbie.

Photo of craytonic
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a ruby-amber with a large foam head.

Smell: A little funkiness, sour cherries, tart candy.

Taste: Tart, fruity, and acidic, not much vinegar. The woody oak element is very nice, but the 25% should be 100%. However, I find it a little too sweet and syrupy. A bit of iron.

Mouthfeel: Good, but a little sweet and syrupy.

Drinkability: Very drinkable, although the syrup-sweetness detracts somewhat and keeps the score from rising.

Photo of phantomwyse
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Vivid mahogany red with soft garnet highlights. Thin, off-white, ring of carbonation forms, no head in the classic sense.

S: Sour cherries, grape, plum with an over sweet candy backlash.

T: Half tart fruits--cherry, plum with grape seltzer in the middle. Funky candy, tainted fun dip, rubberized bubble gum, and at the end a return to fruits, a chewy apple.

M: Diet soda.

D: If you're down with the taste, it slips down well. Red wine drinkers should appreciate these beers.

Photo of Sigmund
3.43/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

250 ml bottle, simply called "Rodenbach", courtesy of Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 5.2%. Very dark reddish brown colour, moderate beige head. Nice aroma of red wine vinegar, sour cherries and farmhouse kitchen. The flavour is moderately sweet and sour, notes of musty fruit, funk and red wine vinegar. Some oak in the finish, minimal hops. Not nearly as complex, powerful and interesting as the Grand Cru, but okay.

Rodenbach Classic (Red) from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
90 out of 100 based on 1,506 ratings.