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

Not Rated.
Rodenbach Classic (Red)Rodenbach Classic (Red)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

651 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 651
Hads: 1,640
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 18.45%
Wants: 77
Gots: 163 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V. visit their website

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
View: Beers (6) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 651 | Hads: 1,640
Photo of DoubleJ
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been sick the last few days, but I'm feeling better tonight and I have some catching up to do, one bottle at a time. I'm going to start small in quanitity by opening the 8.45 ounce (250 ml) bottle of Rodenbach I purchased last week. On to the beer:

The only red in the beer is found in the hues of this tawny brown creation. Sour funk in the smell, and a smell that's tamed. The flavor seemed a little muted by the carbonation that hits the tongue, but the balance is good. The sour and tart taste is pleasant, no question about that. It's the low amount of overall flavor though, that's reflected in the taste score I'm giving it, that keeps it from being a highly recommended pick. Nonetheless an interesting beer in an interesting style.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Murky raspberry iced tea. The beer was clear initially, but since the bottle is so small, I was able to get the entire contents into the glass with one pour, including the sentiment. Atop the liquid is a splendid looking crown of almond colored foam that sports a rough hewn surface and is substantial enough to hang around for a bit. Thick bands of pocked lace are a bonus. I'm impressed so far and I haven't even smelled it yet.

The nose is solid, even if it fails to 'wow' me as much as the appearance. It's tart and fruity and acetic acid-like and oaky and all the things that Flanders red ales are known for. It's a perfect example of the style, if not quite the standard bearer. If I was to nitpick, I'd ask for more intensity and more complexity.

My first impression is that I'm not quite as impressed as I was with the much less-heralded Mestreechs Aajt and Monk's Flemish Sour Red. Rodenbach is intense, but it's more intensely acidic than it is intensely flavorful or intensely sour. The flavor profile is another step down from the nose in terms of (a lack of) complexity.

According to the label, the beer is 75% fresh and 25% aged in oak. Even though I can appreciate the wood, more would nice. This beer needs more of quite a few things in fact. Again, it's a faithful version, just not a stellar one according to my taste buds. I had originally thought that the 250 ml bottle would be way too small, but it's turning out to be just about about right.

There's very little wrong with the mouthfeel from where I sit. By the same token, it doesn't distinguish itself either. It's on the thin side with the exception of a nod toward lightly viscous on the finish. A generous amount of fine-bubbled carbonation adds some amount of mouth interest.

Rodenbach Classic is a disappointment. I've come to enjoy this style and was expecting an explosion of tart, funky, oak-accented fruit... and didn't get it. I don't remember where I finally located a bottle, but from now on, whenever I get the urge to drink a beer of this style, I'll be content with the Monk's Flemish Sour Red that I can get mere minutes from my front door. Here's hoping that Rodenbach Grand Cru blows the roof off the joint.

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Photo of aaronh
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice to finally try this beer. Body really has a nice reddish color to it with a nice head as well. The head fades pretty quickly. The aroma has a sharp edge to it, but a lot of nice fruity smells in the as well. Flavor is sharply sour at first, but more of the malt profile comes through as you sip. Mouthfeel is ok, but seems a little thin. Drinakbility is also OK. I enjoy it, but I couldn't see drinking more than one of these in a sitting.

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.67/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle at 42* into a Boon Kriek glass. Best before: 10/06/2010. Uh oh.

A: This pours an opaque dark-red color with a thin, off-white head.

S: It is almost completely composed of sweet and sour cherries.

T: It opens with a sweet cherry juice flavor and finishes with notes of cherry peel and pit.

M: It has a medium body with a refreshingly crisp finish.

D: This is okay but I don't quite understand the obsession with the style. It is not a very complex brew.

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Photo of redneckchugger
3.67/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured dark brown bordering on auburn. Fizzy head.
Weaker nose than i expected. I get some balsamic, and a bit of fruit. not much else , but its nice, i like the subtly.
The palate is a bit less, its thin in flavor. Very one dimensional, i get the balsamic and a bit of cheery, but not in any kind of nuanced or developed way. Very disappointing.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 250ml bottle with a BB of March 2013. Picked up from a Belgian supermarket back in May while on a trip over there. A Flemish red ale matured in oak vats - should be interesting.

Poured into a Delirium chalice. A deep rusty red-brown hue with good carbonation. Yields a decent head of fine off-white foam that lasts for a minute or two before subsiding to a patchy surface layer. Aroma of fruity sweet 'n sour - notes of cherries, raspberries, red fruits, vinegar, malt, dried fruit, brown sugar, mild caramel, subtle funk, yeast and a hint of wood. A solventy whiff of alcohol lurks in the background. Complex and enticing.

Tastes of sweet 'n sour; fruity and acidic at the same time (not unlike wine). Notes of cherry, red fruits, vinegar, malt, dried fruit, caramel, brown sugar, wood and mild funk. Sour and tingly, but balanced by the sweetness. Lacks the depth of the aroma. A sharp, vinous finish, accompanied by a faint warming hint of booze. Mouthfeel is smooth, decidedly dry and very tingly. The carbonation combines with the acidity to deliver a pleasant sensation on the tongue. Body seems thin and a tad watery. Rather astringent, with an aftertaste of fruity sourness and malt vinegar.

An impressive brew - this is certainly one of the more idiosyncratic styles to come out of Belgium. It fascinates me how allowing a beer to become innoculated by a range of microorganisms and then aging it in wood produces such a complexity of character. The smell is just as you might expect, though the flavour seems thinner and less intricate than the aroma. The body is also somewhat watery and insubstantial. Good, but falls short of greatness (I suspect that the lack of bottle conditioning might have contributed to this). Nonetheless, a classic beer that is well worth trying; grab one if you have the chance.

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Photo of pwoods
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

250ml little brown bottle, purchased at Party Source, poured into a flute.

A: Pours a dark brown tinted ruby color with good visibility. 1 1/2 fingers worth of lightly tinted heads forms and holds nicely for a few minutes. A bit of lacing.

S: Tart fruits, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries. Tart raspberries start to stick out more as it warms. Some grape and wine like aromas. Some leather and woody aromas.

T/M: More of the tart fruits with some added sourness. Some sweet malts struggle past the tarts fruits. Some leather taste and feel dry things out quite a bit. Some sweetness that feels like it's from the wood but not really in the form of vanilla... does that make sense? Very dry finish. Body is light and crisp.

D: Not as overly tart and sour as some of the Flanders Red's that I've had which can be nice. Not quite as flavorful, either, though. Tasty and drinkable nonetheless.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle, split/consumed during march madness

celly notes

appearance: served in kasteel chalice, murky amber body, light tan foam

smell: highly acidic - vinegar, light caramel, tart fruit, sour cherry

taste: rodenbach is often heralded as the champion of the flanders red style, but i just cant get past the acidity. sourness is minimal as this beer is dominated by a cloying vinegar presence. muddy fruit punch, traces of oak and caramel

mouthfeel: high acidity, balsamic-y

drinkability: ok - not my favorite

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Photo of jtierney89
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a very murk brown with a white head. best before date 08-22-12. Lots of tart sweetness on the nose. Some citrus, raisins, lemon rind, green apples. Mildy tart, not over the top tasting. Low amount of effervescence. Malty sweetness up front, almost buttery, slides around the sides of the tongue and bright fruit sourness kicks in to balance. A wave of subtlety (for a sour anyway). Hidden notes of oak, lots of deep complex flavors if you wanna look for them. Pretty smooth and well balanced. I usually don't like sours but the sour flavors lend a nice balance to this one.

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Photo of weeare138
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on draft at Monk's Cafe...
Appears a reddish brown with an ivory head and lots of retention. Tiny lacing speckles are left behind.
Smell is of the trademark Rodenbach funk yeast smelling almost like a fresh cut steak with some sour notes of vinegar and cherry mixed with a ton of sugar.
Taste is almost equal to the aroma, which truley defines this beer.
Mouthfeel is slightly watery with sweets and sours resounding.
I actually remember Rodenbach being a bit better the last go 'round in the States but maybe it's just me.

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Photo of titty_mcbitty
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Murky brick brown. Not much of a head. Poured it into a wine glass.

S: Estery. Some cherries and tea.

T: Cherries, black tea, acidic fruit, half and half, raisins, yeast, and some oak. Not bad but the flavors aren't as sharp as I'd like them to be. I'm getting a bit of a watered down version of a really good beer.

M: Creamy and not much carb. Not heavy but buttery and light.

O: Not too impressed since I expected the taste to jump out more like the Grand Cru did. Still an excellent beer and worth buying if you can get it in the little singles like I did.

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Photo of Nutleybeer
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Unique tasting beer...for those who want to broaden their beer tasting horizons.

Can't say I loved it...but clearly this is a quality beer. It is like drinking a cherry sour ball candy beer. The taste was interesting...sour, but not too sour...just a bit, but with a rich fruity flavor...yet, not too sweet.

I would have been satisfied with a single glass, but I polished off the entire 22 oz bottle anyway. A reddish/mahogony like color, with a mild head. A nice smell. Not hoppy at all. As I said, a slightly sour cherry taste, but not sour enough to make your lips pucker...

Try if you want to experiment. Not for all tastes. Drinkable, don't get me wrong, but in limited quantities.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle. Leaves a one finger head that has excellent retention, and very good spotty lacing. Body is garnet with red highlights.

Smell - horseblanket, sour cherries, plums, vinegar.

Taste - very sour. Horsebalanket, less plums and sour cherries than nose suggests, and an aftertaste of vinegar.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, somewhat fizzy, semi-dry.

Drinkability - this is good, but not great.

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Photo of SShelly
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish cloudy color with a low offwhite head.

Aroma is lightly sour, slightly acedic, some sweetness exists in there as well.

Flavor follows the arom pretty close, light and tart with some malt sweetness behind, kinda boring actually.

medium mouth and carb make it feel decent in teh mouth.

kinda a yawn for me, just not that interesting.

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Photo of Powderhornphil
3.64/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours murky brown. Soapy head. Very little lacing.

Aroma is of plumbs, apple skins, cherry and slight vinegar.

Taste is on the sweeter side with plumb and apple sweetness. tartness is overshadowed by sweetness.

Medium mouthfeel.

Pretty drinkable. Will try the grand cru at some point.

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Photo of Theheroguy
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Deliciously fruity

Almost like a fruit soda pop. Smell like sweet malts taste like esters from the yeast. The hop presence for me was non existent. There is a slight acidic twang. Very enjoyable and very different from what I expected. The beer is complex and highly drinkable.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark ruby red body with thin foamy off-white head that has great retention. No lacing is left behind in the glass.

S- Strong acidic vinergar aroma with hints of sour cherries. Smell was somewhat unpleasant to me.

T- very complex. Tart sour cherries upfront with deep malt backbone. Then the acidity hits and is quite overwhelming. Finish is very plesent. Fruity cherry aftertaste that is both sweet and sour with some breadiness lingering.

M- very smooth with some light carbonation. Body is somewhat syrupy.

D- This was good and a unique brew. I will have it again. The smell kinda turned me away and one every once in awhile is probably good enough.

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Photo of bobhits
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep medium body red, nice tan head. Not nearly as carbonated as the grand cru.

Fruity bouquet of apples and amber malt with a tart sour finish.

Opens with a nice sour bite, then turns to amber malts, apples, pears, and other fruits. The sour comes back near the finish and a sweet fruity flavor lingers after the beer has been finish.

medium light body, decent carbonation, and the sour flavors don't bite hard enough to cause any issues.

Another excellent though not world changing beer from Rodenbach.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
3.61/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one was brown and cloudy, with almost no head.

The aroma was slightly skunky, but mostly of strong musty malt. Hints of fruitiness.

The taste was very fruity, hints of cherries and apples, sweet, pronounced malt, and red wine notes as well. It did seem a little thin for the taste though.

An interesting beer, worth a try.

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Photo of mithrascruor
3.6/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

250 mL bottle poured into a chalice at O'Briens in San Diego.

Pours a nice red brown color. Bubly but very little head. Apple vinegar aroma, but not overwhelming and even a tad sweet. Very tingly but not too intense carbonation. Lightly sour taste with apples and cherries. One of the most drinkable sour ales I've tried. Not particularly exciting (it's missing the complexity and tart-ness of many of these beers), but still an enjoyable beer and probably a good introduction to this unusual (and, to some, shocking) style.

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Photo of Rudgers73
3.59/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice homogeneous shade of mahogany. Decent 1/2 inch fizzy head that disperses into a very thin ring. This appears to be light and crisp with a very wine-like oak aroma. Beyond the sour tones up front you can smell a light sweetness in the background. Sour cherries, raisins, and grapes. The taste is tart up front with a flood of unripened cherries and a slight tweak of malt. It then drops off slightly into a very mild pure carbonated water taste. Very strange flavor profile. Not quite sure what to make of it yet. I'm relatively sure that this isn't my kind of thing. I have tried Duchesse De Bourgogne a while back not knowing that it was a Flanders Red Ale and I remember it having a more full flavor and more continuously rich flavor profile. This one sort of drops off in such an abrupt manor. Not enough alcohol for the oak aging to really do much for IMHO. Overall, I was glad I tried more than one of this style for relativity if nothing else. Quite an interesting style, maybe I'll try the Grand Cru in a couple of weeks to see if the extra alcohol brings something better to the table.

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Photo of itsscience
3.59/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours murky brown with a finger of off-white head. The smell has sweet grapes, cherries, some wild yeast, and some vinegar, although the taste is not as sour as the nose suggests. A low level of sourness is met with a sweet red wine taste and a clean, effervescent, sparkling water finish. Carbonation is high and the body is light.

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Photo of kkleu357
3.59/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Bought this on clearance for $1. Thinking it is pretty old. Poured dark like a Coke. Aroma is slightly boozy with some apple fruitiness. Mild flavor. It has a sharp bite on the tip of the tongue, followed by some apple flavors. Actually taste pretty good. Not sure what it would taste fresh, but not bad old.

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Photo of pinotboy007
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My first Rodenbach, purchased at Washington Street Purveyor, Lexington, VA.

Splendid red mahogany appearance and soft, modest head that slowly fades; minimal lacing.

Smell/nose is captivating - earthy, soury cherry, garden mulch. In my opinion, unique. Soft mouthfeel, modest carbonation.

Taste: almost like it smells with a mellow sourness backed with dark cherry and a tinge of alcohol and sweetness. In a word, "complex." Don't drink this too cold or you'll lose out on its nuanced silkiness. Not a fan of Lambic/fruity-styled beers, but this I liked.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 7/26/08. Bottle at the Peculier Pub (it was called Rodenbach Red on the menu, causing me to hope, in vain, that it was the Redbach but alas). Pours a dark red with no head. Aroma is tart and funky. Flavor of tart candies, very sweet. Pretty similar to the Grand Cru, maybe it's a little sweeter. Good beer though!
7/4/7/4/14 (3.6/5)

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Rodenbach Classic (Red) from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
90 out of 100 based on 651 ratings.