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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.

655 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 655
Hads: 1,673
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 18.45%
Wants: 83
Gots: 174 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
Belgium | 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: 655 | Hads: 1,673
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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Photo of Foxman
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It came to me a fairly cloudy ruddy ruby. Remnants of a pinkish pithy head swirled on the surface. Light lacing slid down the inside of the glass.

The aroma wafted a pointed but comforting tartness, rife with cherries, earth, hard wood, a tinge of sweetness and a draft of vinous essence.

Upon tasting, there came a wash of varied fruit tartness, along with signs of cherries and grapes, and partnered with the complimentary sweetness of malt and wheat. The fruity sourness continued through the middle ground, rounded off by light oak and dough undertones. The finish is a fading tart memory carrying a quenching, fruity overall impression. It’s a smooth blend of crafted character.

Between light and medium bodied, it’s carbonated and lively on the palate, and it fades creamily.

Carrying an almost legendary air about it, when Eulogy had it, I decided, I had to as well. And I’m certainly glad I did, as it is a nice example of well-crafted blended complexity. Not to say it’s the most complicated offering out there, but it does hit on various levels. And it’s surprisingly crisp and quenching, driving the drinkability skyward. And yes, I did indulge that asset, what with a DD in tow. There’s a certain mystique about this beer, and I’ll be more than happy to revisit it the next time it comes around. I just hope I don’t have to wait too long.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the chalice crystal clear deep amber brown, almost ruby, with a tan and frothy head which rose tall and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was nice with a fruity acidit tartness that was coupled with a nice cherry character. The aroma was enticing and interestingly complex.

The flavor was light with a bready flavor of malt and wheat. The beer had a thirst quenching tartness that was not overdone but contained a light graham and caramel character that quickly dried when coupled with the light tartness of the acidity. As the beer warmed a DMS component of cooked corn emerged which did detract from the flavor.

The finish was dry with a lasting light tartness and fruity character long and pleasantly into the afteraste. The body was medium and the carbonation level made the mouthfeel creamy. This bottle was head and shoulders above my previous review. I'd suggest to seek out newer bottles and drink without further aging.

750 ml bottle. $9 in NC. Says 5.1% ABV and 75% fresh/25% aged in oak silk screened on bottle.

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Photo of dgallina
4.67/5  rDev +16.5%
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.

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Photo of warriorsoul
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed a glass of this with my wife and fellow BA's FitzIPAtrick and growler at The Publick House...thanks to Liefman for the heads up on this one.
Arrived in a oversized Rodenbach flute glass...leave it up to TPH to match the beer w/ the perfect glassware. Red rust in color with less than a half finger of off-white head...no lacing detected.
Faint aromas of cherries and some earthy tones...
Taste is very enjoyable...mainly tart cherries with a subtle sour characteristic that was very complementary to the brunch.
Mouthfeel was a tad thin and the carbonation was high, but most likely average for the style (I lack experience in this one).
I could enjoy a few glasses of this one, but at $7 a glass, this would be a one and done for me.

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

A nice and unique brew. Bright vibrant red color, no head on this one. Smells woodsy, with hints of cherries and other bits of sweetness. Taste is much the same, but more complex. It's a tad sour, but not nearly the sourness I was expecting. Definately wild and woodsy though, I love that freshness. Mildly sweet and fruity as well, with a solid dust taste. Really interesting. I'd like to try the bottle conditioned version sooner or later. A complex, refreshing, well made beer.

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Photo of kaimcm
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

An interesting and unique brew. However to me, one youve got to be in the mood for and/or have an appropriate pairing. Clean, bright nose with hints of cherry. Taste is strong cherry, noticeable lime, a hint of sugar, and a nice tart dry finish. A nice balance of the tart/sweet that really makes the brew refreshing. Mouthfeel is weak. Too light, too craft soda like for me. Very reminiscent of a Stewarts Black Cherry soda. If in the mood, warm day, etc...a very nice beer, but not for all occasions by any means. That being said, well crafted no doubt.

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Photo of qcitydarkstar
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Upon pouring this beer into my Unibroue Tulip glass, a slightly tan creamy head swelled up about 2 fingers in depth. The head on this beer was absolutely remarkable with a certain frothy texture popping with blue and red micro bubbles. The beer poured a dark brown with a hint of deep burgundy when held up to a lamp. The smell was of pungent sour cherries, vinegar and grass. The initial taste was that of a malty brown ale that immediately transformed into a tart cherry and grape and finished clean with a ginger-like flavor. I sipped from this glass for about an hour and then re-poured from the 750ml bottle with remarkably similar results. This is a fantastic beverage to sip throughout an evening with company. While I am an amateur in the realm of Belgian/Flemish sour ales and lambics, I highly recommend this brew to anyone interested in the style as it has certainly turned me on to exploring other varieties.

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Photo of ski271
3.44/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Zeno’s in State College, PA. Just got it because it was something I hadn’t ever heard of or tried before. Didn’t know it was a flanders until I tried it. Not one of my favorite styles of beer, but a good change of pace. Pours a hazy reddish-copperish-dark brown with a small, off-white, tight, creamy-looking head with good retention. Excellent, thick lacing. A bit sweet smelling but with a sour tinge to it as well as expected. Fruity (cherry and grape), bready and woodsy smelling with a hint of vinegar. The sour smell and taste instantly give away its style. Very typical aromas and flavors from the brets. The taste is mostly fruity with a light malt backbone. Kind of reminds me of some apple cider I recently had that I let get a few weeks old to where it has that nice ‘zing’ to it. The taste seems to be a little one-dimensional, but I haven’t had too many flanders ales to know if this is typical of the style or not. I mean, the taste was good, but there wasn’t all that much of it, nor did it last very long on the finish at all. Medium-light body, moderately astringent, and soft carbonation. An interesting ale, and good… but not great, though I blame a lot of that on the style. Not my cup of tea, but probably a little above average compared to other flanders I’ve had. I'm glad I tried it.

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Photo of sacfly
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at McGraths in Harrisburg

Presented a muddy reddish brown, light white head. Smells of sour funk… Balsamic vinaigrette. Light cherries. Interesting.

First sip is a blend of sourness soy sauce, vinaigrette… Tastes like a marinade my wife and I make for salmon that is a mix of honey, balsamic vinaigrette, and soy sauce. Erie. Very light body. A bit watery, but was nice for drinking with food.

Surprisingly refreshing. A perfect counter to the salty foods (wings, burger, fries) I was eating at the time. If I read my own description, I would probably not want to try this. But it actually tastes really good. A great beer to drink with a salty dinner.

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Photo of Ego
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

$5.99 @ Buy Rite in Edison, NJ for a 750ml.. they got about 15 cases in of this and the grand cru about 3 weeks ago... yum, glad to have a classic like this available a quarter mile down the street...

minimal head but great lacing, red as an irish girl's.. never mind, it's a beautiful amber almost purple at times hue, consistent glass to glass, solid

cherry flavored bubble yum bubble gum with a dark licorce edge, this smells like what the style says.. period, to me this is the standard of the style, call me biased...

pleasant sourness, like the smell the taste encompasses the style, there is enough to chew on, it is easy drinking and not super sour (like say a cantillon lambic). Considering this is beer, this is a friggin excellent brew imo, the sourness is just enough to want you have more (salivate a little) and the carbonation finishes the sip "wet"... tasty as hell, definite session beer for the right time of year. It is light enough to drink year round but as a meal starter or finisher when not in the mood for something intense.. go rodey ! The taste to me is spot on. Dead perfect. The mouthfeel is great paired with the right carbonation. Fantastic.

I love this beer, period. Is it worth an arm and a leg.. no. but if it is around at a reasonable price this is something to have out often. So well rounded it is mind boggling. This is one to enjoy rather than break out the science kit and analyze all night. A simple plate of mild cheeses like jack or even a nice cabot would go great with this.

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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 BlastTyrant
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was excited to finally find this and the Grand Cru in my area. This didn’t disappoint. Pours red-brown with a thick, luscious off-white head. Sour aroma full of sour cherries, grapes, cider, a touch of cider vinegar, and some barnyard funk. Perfect amount of tartness is tempered by a slight raisin sweetness. Some spiciness in the finish. I loved this beer, can’t wait for to try the Cru.

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Photo of Dithyramb
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Ale Mary's here in Baltimore in a Rodenbach chalice. Beautiful amber brown with a tan head that had some retention values. Great lacing, though. Tart, sour cherries on the nose.

Slightly acidic with sour fruit flavor. Once my mouth became used to the funky sourness, it really didn't have much body to it. Came off more of a one-trick pony, with no real finish to it. Finished dry and clean, though

The drinkability was a notch above. This was my first overly drinkable funkadelic red.

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

Deep red mahogany pour with a fluffy off-white head.

Aromas of grape must, sour cherries, fruit, and a tart, almost wine-like characteristic.

Flavor is initially tart, leading into a slight cherry sweetness with lots of funky musty cellared flavors. Similar to Mestreech's in terms of it's overall flavor. Far less sweet than Dutchess. Not nearly as acidic and tart as La Folie.

Fluffy, airey mouthfeel with a soft texture and surprisingly good drinkability.

Thanks for sharing Gabe!

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Photo of clicheusername
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is the beer that made me learn to appreciate beer. Served in a Rodenbach glass.

It pours a deep, dark maroon/brown color, something between maple syrup and a good red wine, perhaps. High translucency. 2"+ thick, foamy head. Leaves fantastic laces as it recedes to a constant 1/4" cap.

Smells spicy, fruity... cherries, a bit of cinammon, crushed leaves in autumn. Fabulous.

But, woe is me, the first taste is of iron, or glass! This is not at all what I expected, given the other half-dozen Rodenbachs I've enjoyed in the past few weeks. I'll give the glass a few minutes to warm just a bit. In the meanwhile, a few bites of tandoori kip met indiase rijst (reminds me of Cincinnati-style chili, for some reason). Alright, back to the beer; I've loved it before, and I'm not going to give up on this one, goddammit! Okay, initial taste is rich, spicy, a bit of a tangy bite, lots of fruit/earthy undertones. But there's still a disturbing iron aftertaste. It's almost like someone accidentally dropped a horseshoe into the vat during this beer's 2-year creation. Still, by the end of the glass, the taste has smoothed out a lot, is even fuller, and the odd taste has virtually disappeared (I think this bottle sat in my crappy fridge for just a bit too long).

Mouthfeel is effervescent, light-to-medium body, thoroughly enjoyable.

Drinkability is phenomenal. This beer is just flat out sexy, in my opinion. After a week of all Belgian Blondes, Dubbels, Tripels, and Wits (all of which, of course, have their own strengths), this is a fresh taste, and certainly a beer that I plan on continuing to drink as regularly as possible.

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

I bought this while in Brussels from Beer Mania. Sampled from a 25cl bottle into my nifty new Alesmith Decadence glass. Pours a dark redish brown, has a garnet likeness, tops off with a light offwhite-tan head, doesn't leave much lacing on my glass. Aroma is quite the funk, smells of a barnyard backed up by sweet thick figgy malt and a hint of vinegar. Flavor is like figs and sour cherries, the scales sway back and forth between sour and sweet, slightly bitter and peppery spice. Quite a complex flavor profile going on here. Mouthfeel is crisp with carbonation that dances on the palate, medium to light coating and finishes with an astringent dryness. I like the Rodenbach, this is my second time trying it and I will surely try it again.

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Photo of thefireman
4.68/5  rDev +16.7%
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.

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

Deep plum colored brew, not cloudy but clear. A tan head flares with fine and clumpy lace. Beautiful.

The nose is tart and sour, cranberries, prominent oak, dark old fruit and something floral. It smells lambic but different.

The taste is different as well. A mineral wash of sour fruit starts it off. Cherries, cranberries, then a musty, vaguely metallic center, oaky and acidic, leading to a dry, tart finish.

Light yet mouthfilling, persistent carbonation, very refreshing. The beer world's answer to the kir royale. The end of each sip strips away all that went before, leaving you ready for the next sip or bite of food. I can certainly see salad or seafood with this. I had it with brunch, a nice feta cheese omellete, and it was perfect. A great and distinctive beer, deserving of it's reputation.

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Photo of santoslhalper
4.97/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearence: Pours a wonderful, clear red with a thin head that stays for a bit.

Smell: The smell is a wonderful mix of sourness, cherries, fruits, and bread. Well balanced and supremely complex.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The taste is unreal. It's enough to bring me to my knees. Perfect balance, high complexity. The sourness hits your tongue first, followed shortly by and incredibly wonderful fruit flavor. It finishes smoothly, and about 10 seconds after swallowing an amazing bread flavor hits your mouth and lingers until the next sip. The mouthfeel is smooth and slick.

Drinkability and Overall: This beer is devilishly smooth, delicious, and drinkable. This is one I wish I had available to me all the time. My choice for a session beer. Thank you D's for bringing in this marvelous creation.

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Photo of eclectic
4.7/5  rDev +17.2%
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.

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Photo of jakester
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at 3rd and Spruce Cafe in West Reading. 16oz. pint glass for $3!! (Happy hour)

Arrives a pretty darn clear deep dark red with hints of brown. A one finger light tan head of different sized bubbles. Drops to islands and a ring. Minimal lacing.

Smell is Belgian funky, sour cherries or raspberries, no discernable hop aroma which is appropriate for style.

The taste is dominated by intense sour fruit, more like cherries than raspberries. Really thirst quenching and refreshing tanginess on the tongue. Acidic but pleasant. There is no detectable bitterness, but with the sour, it doesn't matter. This is a sour beer, but not too sour, just delicious. Aftertaste is sour cherries.

Mouthfeel is kind of thin, effervescent, and yes, sour. No real sweetness until the finish.

This beer is highly recommended. It's probably not for everyone, but what a great representation of the style!

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Photo of cypressbob
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

330ml bottle, in Cafe Gollem, Amsterdam

Pours with a deep shimmering red body, tannish head with great retention, stays round all day and lots of lacing

Smell, fresh ripe fruit, tart acidicity, thick winey grapes

Taste, tart acidic cherries, sour and some nice fresh fruit. Very fresh tasting, very refreshing. Drinkability is off the scale, this is thee most drinkable beer i think i've ever had

An amazing beer, i could drink this all day, the archetypal flanders red. Just bought a case, i cant see it lasting too long. Also, dont serve it too cold


I had had an old label in the 'dam', but the new stuff maybe aint quite as good. Still a damn good red ale


Just sipping another in 2006, not as good as I recall. Tasty still but the flavours somehow seem muted

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Photo of vladtheimpaler
4.31/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tap at Andy's. Three glasses full with Slander and Mkobes (and Tony Forder for that matter). Seductive looking tulip glass. Burnt orange hugh, nice head on top. Not really clear. Rich soured apple and cherry aromas. Flavors are tart and malty. You can pick out apples and cherries in that sweet and sour combination of fruit and malt. Decent mouth feel. Tart finish. Drinkable to the max. A session beer with all the trimmings.

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Rodenbach Classic (Red) from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
90 out of 100 based on 655 ratings.