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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.

653 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 653
Hads: 1,659
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 18.45%
Wants: 81
Gots: 164 | 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 (7) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 653 | Hads: 1,659
Photo of dogfooddog
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml of this beer, served around 50F. Very large 50% head in glass. Odor is mildly sour, with just a hint of the green woodiness I have found in the 750ml bottlings of the rodenbach products as well as duchesse de borgoune.

This beer is a great thrist-quencher. The sourness at this age and blend is fairly subtle and understated. The alcohol is not really visible and you could almost drink this like a lemonade. I prefer the more complex grand cru to this but it is a very refreshing beer.

Aftertaste is mildly sour with some woody notes - stays in the nose for minutes afterwards. This beer is probably mild enough for npeople not accustomed to flemish reds to easily drink it.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.65/5  rDev +16%
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.

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Photo of JMD71
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This had a nice winey aroma with a good solid head when poured. It had a wonderful sour flavor in the Flemish style with hints of black cherries. I also taste some metallic hints, but did not detract from the flavor at all. This was very crisp & clean in the finish. Good carbonation led this to be very drinkable & quenching. I would definitely get this again, but the price makes it slightly prohibitive.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.68/5  rDev +16.7%
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.

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Photo of klewis
3.93/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

250 ml bottle
8/11/06 freshness date

A: Pours copper with a small off-white head that subsides to a frothy ring around the glass.

S: Aromas of malt, cherries, and Belgian yeast. This also had a sour vinegar odor at first that was pretty repulsive, but within twenty seconds or so it subsided leaving only a slight sour smell.

T: Simultaneous sweet and sour sensations. Flavors of cherry and citrus give way to a finish with a lingering tartness. There's a slight oak flavor if you search for it, but admittedly, I wouldn't have noticed had the bottle not said that it was aged in oak.

M: Medium-light in body with less carbonation than most Belgian ales. The tartness of this beer explodes as it hits your tongue, creating a very lively mouthfeel.

D: This is my first time having this style, and it is very interesting. The tartness is very intense, making me glad that I tried the 250 ml bottles instead of the 750's, as I think a 750 would be difficult to finish in one sitting. Definitely not an everyday brew, but definitely one that I'll add to my repertoire.

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Photo of sloejams
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

sampler at the Lucky Baldwins Belgian Beer Festival, listed on the menu as Rodenbach Flemish Red

This had a darkish, red murky color with a slight pink head. The aroma is wonderful - very tart with cherry and oak. The taste is crisp - green apple, cherry and malt, subtle with a sour kick. It has a medium body with a fizzy pop of carbonation. Finishes smooth and clean.

I think a few of these would be welcome, but certainly not a session beer.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at McNulty Bier Market in Cleveland. Pours a dark red, ruby color with a very thin white head that disappeared in an instant. Slight sour cherry and vinegar aroma. Tart flavor of sour berries. Flavor ends quickly. No bitterness. Quite differnet from the Grand Cru, I was expecting it to be more sour. Light to medium body. Refreshing, and pretty drinkable.

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Photo of geexploitation
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this years ago and didn't care for it. Maybe my palate's expanded since then, because my appreciation of this has grown considerably. From a 750 mL cork finish bottle, this pours a pink-tinged amber with a considerable head that leaves lacing on my Duvel glass. Held up to the light, this beer looks like a stage lighting gel. The nose is huge, with a base of vinegar overlaid with fruit notes like Juicyfruit gum and some low barnyard smells. The taste is initally a blast of fruity sweetness. This is follwed by a blast of sourness and carbonation at the back of the tongue, then a metallic aftertaste. Mouthfeel is quite effervescent. Drinkability is a bit low when consumed by itself, but imagine that this would be divine paired with the right food.

Overall I'm really impressed. This is one of those unique beer gems that isn't "normal" and is all the more amazing for it. We wouldn't want everything to taste the same, would we?

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Photo of ggaughan
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked 750 ml bottle into a Rodenbach glass. Picked up a case a few months back at the Beeryard and have been trying them little by little ever since. Just has this one tonight. The beer pours a deep redish brown color with a slight tan head with some good lacing. The aroma gives a big kick of cheeries with some earthy notes in the background. The taste is a cluster of cherry tartness with a good balance of carbonation and more of the earthy notes I got in the aroma. I find this beer very drinkable and although not my favorite flemish red, it is very near the top of my list of favorites.

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Photo of blitz134
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear mohogany body. Light tan, khaki colored 1.25" head that hangs around. Not much else to say, super nice looking, just what I would expect from this style.

Tart cherry and grape mainly. A bit of granny smith apple as well. Some cellar mustyness comes in as well. Taste is again tart and a bit sour, but not quite as tart as others I've had. Taste is tart cherries again. Some raspberries work their way in. Finishes with a bit of earthy flavors and some woody notes as well. Many of the secondary flavors after the tart fruit don't come out very well.

Seems to be a medium bodied brew. Tartness is only initial and then subsides. A bit of carbonation adds a refreshing edge to this. Very drinkable for the style.

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Photo of BillyB
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with ruby red highlights. Thin tan head.

Aroma is sour and vinegary. Woody, barnyard scent.

Taste is tart and very sour. Tastes like a red wine with some cranberry, orange and green apple flavors.

Mouthfeel is very sharp, tart, acidic and fizzy.

This beer is crisp and refreshing. Good drinkabilty if you can handle the intense sweet and sour tastes. Gets a little too tart to have too many.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip)

A- This beer has a warm deep brown with slight copper colored body with a good carbonation of tiny bubbles that can only be seen at the narrowest part of the glass. The head is a smooth creamy light tan that last and last.

S- Even during the pour the smell of sour tart cherries with a hint of wood comes through. The sourness does have some tart qualities with hints of brown malt.

T- The fizz greets you at the beginning with a sour cherry flavor popping up to take over. There is a grapefruit note that follows and then a very soft earth hop note. As it warms the notes of soft lightly toasted malt come into the background but the tartness and a currant tartness get stronger aswell. In the background there is also notes of oak and aged wood that really add to the fruit flavors and give them more depth and notes of aged big red wines.

M- There is a medium mouthfeel with a fizz texture. On the first sip my jaws locked with the tartness but so the astringency became a nice finish.

D- I can really see how this style is nicknamed the "red wine of beers", but this beer is more than that. The complexity of fruit, malt, and wood are really nice together and this is a good beer to be sipped slowly and not quaffed.

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Photo of TheEclecticGent
2.94/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this beer from the 750ml bottle into my Konings hoeven goblet. It is a dark red-brown with a quickly fading tan head. It has some light lacing and high carbonation. The smell is a musty cellared smell. It has a very clean taste for a Flemish red ale. An initial sour berries flavor peaks in a sour mid-note and fades to an oak sour finish that lasts. It gets better as you sip it and become familiar with it. Not my favorite Flemish Red by far. The flavor isn’t near as complex as my favorite beer Duchesse de Bourgogne or its sister Vichtenaar. However, I like this beer far better than Rodenback Gran Cru.

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Photo of taez555
3.18/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a dark reddish body with off-white/tan head.

Nose has a sharp fruit smell. Dark cherries, plums or other tart fruits come to mind. Some mild woody tones as well.

Taste is light to medium bodied. Very watery and light to the tongue yet tart and very sour. Tart cherries, some raisin, plums and raspberries. There this mild touch of powdered cocoa in the back blending well with the tart fruit. The carbonation in this beer is very strange. It starts large, overwhelming in an almost foamy carbonation and yet as it continues it almost disappears into the weak taste. It ends with a mild yet still tooth rotting sour and tart taste.

Maybe I've been ruined since the the flanders red's I've had the most are la folie and rodenbach grand cru, but I'm not overly crazy about this. 3/4 lambic, 1/16 belgian strong ale and the rest water, well.... I can understand it, I'm just not a big fan.

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Photo of WesWes
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a complex scent that boasts of Belgian crystal and roasted malts along with a tart yeast aroma; very nice. There is a slight oak essence in the background. The taste is great. It has an intensely tart flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry and sour. It has a nice mix of crystal and roasted malts along with some oak notes. I can't get enough of this tart taste; damn it's refreshing. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a damn good beer. I'm relatively new to this style, but I really enjoyed it. I'll be seeking this out again soon.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.64/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a deep amber to red color with a 2 finger head that falls to a solid coat over top. Nose is so very nice and sweet with tartness to balance it very well. Good notes of cherry and acetone sweetness (I always liked the smell of acetone) with a sharp tartness that is so nice. Flavor is very well balanced, with the sweet cherry hitting first followed by a moderate sharp sourness that turns to a light residual sweetness on the finish. Very clean and incredibly tasty. Feel is on the light end of moderate with a full moderate carbonation. Very light and clean, keeping it disappearing from my glass at a high clip. A very tasty and drinkable beer. I like the balance of flavors and I think the nose is even better. A wonderful brew.

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Photo of CDBeerDisappear
1.98/5  rDev -50.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I should have read the label more carefully. This is a Flemish SOUR ale. I like to try new things and I never drank sour ale before but I did not anticipate how sour, sour could be. To me it tasted like vinegar. I spent half an hour trying to drink the blasted stuff hoping that I would "develope a taste" for it. But that never happened.It tasted like vineagar from the first sip to the last. The bottle cost me $7 (750ml) and I consider it money well spent since I now know that sour ale is NOT for me. There are many good reveiws of this ale, apparently there are those who like sour tasting beer, but it is not for everybody. When I drink Belgian, I will stick to the classic Belgium Stong Ales frm now on.

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Photo of Hhawk06
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was very much looking forward to popping the top on this world renowned brew, especially since I've had very few in the style. It poured with a largely beaded, off-white, and bit inconsistent head. It has a gorgeous pure mahogany color that is incredibly inviting. Wow, the smell is very vinous, almost like a merlot. Among the odors include; sweet malt, cherry, oak, and sour grape. Its surprisingly medium-bodied and very liquid in mouthfeel. I immediately notice that this is a very different and complex beer. The sour character is evident from the first sip. I'm sensing sour cherries/grapes, prickly fruit notes that engage in a serious tug of war with the sharp sour notes that result in a highly acidic character. It finishes more tartly as the sour notes fade, also somewhat dry with a touch of grit. Wonderful oaken fruit notes remain. The complexity is amazing. Even if you're not into the style, its something you have to try once.

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Photo of Citadel82
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml Cork and Caged Bottle purchased at spirits unlimited in Red Bank.

I think I prefer the Classic to the Grand Cru at least from a pure drinkability standpoint. I found this refreshingly tart though not as vinegar like as the Grand Cru. Poured deep ruby with a thin head and persistent light carbonation. Aroma was sour cherries, and some other funky aromas that I could not put into words. Taste is delightfully sour and refreshing. Tingly mouth feel is heightend by a mouth puckering sourness and persistent light carbonation. Mouthfeel is light and overall this is a very drinkable brew.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

250 mL nip bottle, best by 10/20/05 - ah well - probably still good. Pours a ruddy red/brown into the flute with a 1 finger tan head that sticks fairly well and has a hint of red. It has scents of earthy malts and a musty sour/farmy character. The taste is the same with an acidic sourness and fruits (cherry? raspberry?). The body is medium, initially tingly, and fairly drying. An interesting style - maybe not the best, but good enough and I've got another kind (Monk's) to compare it against.

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Photo of carln26
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the Mellow Mushroom in Charlotte. It was poured into a tulip glass a deep brown with ruby highlights topped by a light fluffy white head. Fruity aroma. Some cranberry, a little sour apple. Taste is tart. More cranberry, a little orange, some fresh bread. More citrus on the finish. Slick dry mouth feel nice drinkability. It was great to finally get a chance to try this classic. I can’t wait to compare it to a bottle

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Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice find on tap at the soon to be no more Blind Tiger ale house. This little lovely poured cloudy reddish amber, with a tiny bubble slight head, leaving fine, wispy lacing. Nose of semi sour cherries. Flavorful, complex brew with notes of sour fruit, moderate but not overpowering in intensity. More drinkable then other "reds" I've tried. Tasty, fruity, intense. A fine experience in drinking.

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Photo of waughbrew
3.57/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hazy deep chestnut with a medium beige head which laces well but should have stuck around for a while longer. Smells halfway between a wood fire and vinegar. Tastes like toasted apple cider vinegar. Smoky, oaky, and old, a little sharp, but not fresh. Feels slick for one second, then makes a 180 to sizzly. The sourness has a nice finish to it, but overall the flavor just doesn't do much for me. It does not have enough complexity or drinkability to make me really want it again. This may have been the old standard, but it has been far surpassed by now.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this from a 750ml bottle at a poker game. Dark red or brown color, not too much head on top.

The flavor takes some getting used to. Very sour, kind of bitter. I liked it, but I don't think anyone else at the table liked it too much. I've tried La Folie and Monk's Red in the past, and I'd have a hard time telling the difference from this.

If you've never tried Flanders Reds before, I recommend getting a smaller bottle or trying one on tap somewhere first. Not a style that everyone will like.

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Photo of HogHill
4.68/5  rDev +16.7%
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.

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Rodenbach Classic (Red) from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
90 out of 100 based on 653 ratings.