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Rodenbach Grand Cru - Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

Not Rated.
Rodenbach Grand CruRodenbach Grand Cru

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,061 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,061
Hads: 3,636
Avg: 4.26
pDev: 20.89%
Wants: 293
Gots: 515 | FT: 27
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V. visit their website

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-25-2000

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,061 | Hads: 3,636
Photo of HossMcGraw
3.45/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is really tough to review since I haven't really aquired a taste for this yet. I can tell that it's well crafted, but not sure if it's for me.

The appearance is not that exciting. Reddish brown with a slight head that reduces to a ring, and a little lacing. Aroma is very complex, tart and funky. Blue cheese is prominent. I can also pick up some unripened fruit (strawberry) and some creaminess along with some wood.

Very tart once again on the palate with strong acidity, some strawberry and more funky blue cheese. Alcohol is noticeable. There is a burning sensation as it goes down my throat (not necessarily due tio alcohol), and the finish is more sour strawberries and blue cheese.

The mouthfeel is prickly with carbonation which is nice, but I couldn't see myself drinking a whole lot of this.

Overall an interesting beer. Personally I don't like blue cheese, and there is a lot of that characteristic here. I would definitely reccomend this to someone who does enjoy it however. Glad I tried it. May need to drink more of the style in the future.

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Photo of norwichboy
3.4/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Dark brown with a red tinge when held to the light. It produced a good sized lasting head. The smell is an unusual mixture of chocolate and cherries against a vinegary sourness. The taste is very tart, pretty challenging, with some funky characteristics emerging as well on the mid palate that remind me of blue cheese. Mouthfeel is watery with little carbonation. Finishes very sour as well, with a lasting drying of the throat! I found this a struggle personally, much more so than other sour styles: definitely an acquired taste. I can see it benefiting from pairing with food.

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Photo of BenZ
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Recent vintage 750 poured into flutes.

A: Clear, red-amber, fast-dissapating head. No lacing.

S: Vinegar, pinappley citrus, followed by cheesy funk. Funk is directly proportional to temperature.

T: Hits you right in the throat!! So sour! If you let it linger on your tongue there is a metallic aftertaste (an oozing from the side of your tongue which hits your cheek). There are so many flavors behind the obvious sour blast: cheesy, barny, exotic fruits, woody, etc.

M: Nice and fizzy, perhaps Panil has a better mouthfeel.

D: This is one of the best beers ever and we've bought it many times. But how can a beer that scrapes the skin off of the back of your throat score a 5?

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Photo of Callenak
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up the smaller bottle of this at Stuffed Sandwich. Poured into a tulip.

Pours a murky reddish brown with a nice and fizzy head. Head dissipates quickly. Smell is sweet with a hint of cherries to it. Carbonation really helps bring it out. The Brett barnyard smell is there but not as powerful as other wild styles.

Taste begins with the tartness, followed by cherries and oak. Sourness lingers after the other flavors disappear. Just a great balance of sweet and sour. I've been on a real sour kick lately and this was a real pleasure. A honor to try such a tasty and well respected beer. Worth the hype.

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Photo of stephendr
4.86/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle - color of rust brown– small whitish head short in duration - nose of sour dark cherries , malt , cinnamon , molasses , milk chocolate , and plum – taste of sour dark cherries , plum , and earthy / woody notes perfect balance of tart and sweet – body is light acidic / sweet – aftertaste plum sweetness and sour / tart of cherries

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Photo of edchicma
3.43/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a light cherry with a great carbonated, creamy white head. Smell is mainly cherries with a "barnyard" musky undertone. Taste is sour, sour, sour! Overpowereing in a way..very little hops and malts noted.Mouthfeel was light, but with a definite astringent quality. On a drinkability scale, this takes some getting used to...the sourness is there throughout. Perhaps when paired with the proper cheese, I might rate it higher.

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Photo of rayjay
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

210907 1017; not quite sure what to make of the dating system, but I've had this bottle for about 3 months. Very interesting beer, almost no detectable sweetness. Intense sour ale characteristics, such as sourness, vinegar, pepper, metal, oak. It reminds me very much of Jamaican roots drinks. Spicy carbonation. Medium dryness. Very enjoyable overall, but not for the faint of heart or the uninitiated. Pair with a musty cheese. Cheers!

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.88/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rodenbach- Grand Cru

Appearance- dark ruby brown with a thick head.
Smell- Strong cherries with a slight molassess hint.
Taste- Strong bitter cherries with a sour whiskey sour mix.
Mouthfeel- Sour but sweet and tasty. Each sip needed to be backed by another.

Overall- A sour/tart beer that was hard to NOT sip. Very tart but very tasty! Try it, you'll like it!

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Photo of vancurly
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep dark red into a Leffe chalice. Fading tan head.

Aromas of wood, cherry/blackcurrent, winey. Some cool herbaciousness, touch of cider.

Flavour reminds me of sparkling burgundy, but sour... Leathery woody aftertaste, cherry, touch of acetone.

Better balanced than the Classic. The sourness is a little less angular.

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Photo of tkarsies
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from 750 mL bottle slightly chilled in wine goblet. Best by 9/21/07. Pours brown with reddish undertones. Tan head and some visible carbonation. Head
lasts throughout the glass. As soon as the bottle is opened, you can smell the sourness. There is a lactic/acetic acid smell as well as a fruity smell.
T-Wow. This is sour—but in a good way. I can taste fruit-apples, cherries, grapes. (All this comes from the yeast?! Amazing.) There is also slight barnyard funk. No significant malt presence or bitterness, yet the sweet and sour balance out nicely.Fairly light mouthfeel with just the right amount of carbonation.
The sweetness and sourness will keep me from drinking a whole bottle in an evening. The alcohol is not noticeable at all. It went well with the grilled steak that I had for dinner. It also amazed a wine snob who was at my house. This is my first Flanders Red and I was very impressed and definitely will visit this brew again.

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Photo of klewis
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle

A: Pours a red color with a head that takes up nearly all of the tulip. This head isn't going away soon.

S: A vague cherry smell is accompanied by lots of Belgian farmhouse funk.

T: Very tart and funky with a taste that reminds me of sour fizzy candy that I had as a kid.

M: Medium-bodied and syrupy with high carbonation.

D: It take some getting used to, but this is quite enjoyable. Not a beer that I'll drink a lot of, but definitely one I'd drink again.

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Photo of soulgrowl
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Deeply translucent burgundy root beer body with a small, parchment-colored head. Retention is lacking, but overall an attractive beer.

Smell: Ah... it's been a while since I smelled something so interesting, so refreshing. Sour concord grape juice, light farmy funk, an undercurrent of yogurty lactic tang, nutty sherry, and oaky port. Really, a great nose.

Taste: Sour through-and-through, with a spicy, envigorating tartness that swells in intensity as you hold it on your palate, then dissipates slightly before a clean, bracingly tart finish. Flavors are that of grape juice, glutamic acid, lactic acid, port, cherry juice, and underripe nectarines. Very good, very bright, and very refreshing, but I do wish there were a bit more depth in the malt profile.

Mouthfeel: Soft carbonation with bubbles that you can almost feel rolling around in your mouth individually. Clean and dry, but the acidity can be harsh at times.

Drinkability: Yum. This is exceptionally flavorful, interesting, and drinkable, especially at only 6% ABV. A great match for goat cheese and fairly good with medium cheddar.

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Photo of beersabound
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

When we first opened this one it had a strong vinegar aroma and flavor. This was beyond sour and unpleasant. However, after it warmed up, the vinegar subisided substantially allowng the fruity tones and sourness to come through. This beer has a hazy amber hue with a fizzy head that forms nicely and then snap, crackle, pops away. The aroma is predominantly sour with cherry and other fruits. The mouthfeel is puckering, quite lively and dries the mouth. the carbonation is high and it has a little body. Good Sour! Let it warm before you dive in.

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Photo of Lnedrive14
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Totally biased because of my love of the style...

Pours a light brown with a red delicious apple hue. Big white head and nice lacing. strong sour smell immediately overwhelms the room. Wonderful sour tartness is the dominant taste, but it is well rounded with cherry/apple sweetness. Lingering flavors. Perfect amount of carbonation to mesh with the tartness. Strong wood/barrel aged sensation. Highly drinkable.

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Photo of Budlum
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Rodenbach Grand Cru pours with 0.75 inches of thin, tan head that lasts about 30 seconds before ringing a Val Dieu chalice. The body is slightly cloudy and composed of a beautiful, deep ruby hue. Shades of brown and garnet distinguish this from the standard Rodenbach's already amazing red body. Thin lacing is always visible on the glass.

This beer is delightfully tart and bitter on the nose. Sharp, fruity flavors of sour green apples and raspberries appear early. Sherry vinegar is represented in a very powerful manner followed by a huge rush of yeasty funk. For the Flanders Red, this is defining beer in terms of smell.

A tart, flavorful rush of apple, raspberries and currants start this ale off on a very fruity wave. Almost immediately, the microflora and yeast profile explode with the textbook Flemish tartness. The tartness is so powerful that there is almost a burning sensation at the back of the mouth. This Grand Cru finishes incredibly long with a creamy vanilla and black cherry taste riding on the continuous yeast profile. This is the Flanders Red style at its best. Perfect.

Mouthfeel is highly carbonated, very spicy and viscous enough to coat the palate after each sip. The Flemish style is held constant by a huge tartness presence with each sip.

Drinkabiliy is good when the power and complexity of flavor is considered. Still, even with so much flavor it still manages to be refreshing. However, it is certainly a brew to be enjoyed slowly and one bottle is more than enough for one sitting. Definitely not an everyday beer and most likely the worst choice to introduce a novice to the style.

Overall, the leading Flanders Red available in the US.

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Photo of crwills
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle bought in the Northeastern US sometime in the last year.

Poured a deep reddish brown with a huge, mocha-coloured, foamy head. Great looking beer!

Aroma is crackery, with lots of sour fruit: lemon, cherry, and strawberry.

Taste is brandy, sour apples, grapes, and even some watermelon. Very spritzy and lemony when colder, and highly carbonated like a champagne. Creamy mouthfeel, which was actually a little weird in this style of beer. Hoppy, cherry-like aftertaste, with a little bit of Coca Cola or something. Not as sour as I remember from the first time I had it, which is a good thing.

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Photo of gonzo138
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- pours into my snifer a very deep red, has frothy white head that didn't retain well, but laced very well

S- a very sour aroma, a little fruity too, smells like applecider vinegar, but in a good way

T- sour bite at first, then accompanied by a fruity apple cider/ citrusy aftertaste

M- very nice light feeling in mouth, good carbonation, sticky mouthfeel

D- a very interesting beer, this is my first time trying this style and I am impressed, I bought it because this is one of the few belgian styles that I had not tried yet, I'm glad I decided to buy it. A very good beer, not something to drink often, but every now and then something to enjoy, I want to try this beer with a food, see what it pairs with

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Photo of mcallister
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber with some cloudyness. Off white frothy head leave terrific lace around the glass with retention too spare.

Sour fruits, cider, sour apple, berries with some earth tones and even some barnyard aromas. A musky belgian beer indeed.

Awesome beer. Very complex and perfectly balanced. Laced with sour fruits. Oak is very well integrated. Difficult to describe exactly what I'm tasting. Very cider like, apples, strawberries, and other berries with a sweetness that brings it all together.

Mouthfeel is bitter smooth and puckering and screaming drink me. Damn good drinkable beer.MMM

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Photo of Osiris9588
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an apple cider color with a reddish tint from a 750ml bottle, caged and corked, wrapped in gold foil. Frothy two-finger head with decent retention and a fair amount of lacing. It is very effervescent, bubbles cascading to the top for the duration of the first tulip-ful. Besides appearance, the sound should be noted--it crackles and sizzles when first poured.

The smell is that of a gentle apple cider vinegar, intercut with strawberries, cherries, and other fresh fruit. This is my first go at a Flanders Red, and I must admit, the first sour sip is quite shocking, though really shouldn't be based upon the smell. The barmaid at the Burgundy Room warned me that it tasted "weird" and "like vingegar."

As my palate grows accustomed, I begin to enjoy the complex flavors of cider, grape juice, berries, sugary fruit, and sparkling wine--it also seems to share some characteristics with meads I have sampled. The mouth is complex, tart and bitter at first, then smoothing out into a jammy finish.

I find the drinkablity rather low, though I am quite enjoying it. The amount of tartness and sugar overwhelms my palate a bit. I think I might appreciate it in small doses, as a desert wine, but not at 750ml a shot. But in small doses it is wonderfully complex and dense and highly satisfying.

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Photo of ohitsbrad
4.85/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

7 September 2006, Best Before Dec 06

Clear red-tinged brown colour. Medium sized head. Aroma of sour cherries, oak, oxidised wine, complex fruit and sweet, rich malt. Flavour is sour, vinegary, winey with suggestions of fruit (orange, citrus, passionfruit, raspberries). It's rich, malty and has some sweetness - like sour lollies. It's also irony and there's a slight burn of acidity. Lingering aftertaste. The mouthfeel is prickly, medium bodied and astringent. Wonderful sour beer. Very well balanced and drinkable.

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Photo of jmatthew
4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark rusty red from the 750ml bottle with a large sticky tan head that subdues to a thin layer and leaves decent lacing on the glass. The smell alone warns of what lies below; mostly vinegar on the nose (evoking thoughts of ketchup and soy sauce), but with hints of fermented fruit and yeast. Upon tasting, the vinegar aroma reveals itself as an intriguing blend dominated by sour cherries up front and tart green apples with a lemon citrus dryness at the finish, all wrapped up neatly with a bit of oak. Sweetish, very full-flavored and lively, but well balanced as it finishes quite cleanly. Certainly not a taste for everyone, but an outstanding example of the style.

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Photo of Iguana
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked/caged bottle

A: Poured a reddish amber into my tulip glass, with a 1cm frothy head that didnt go down.

S: Smells like cherry smarties candy, tart and sweet, smells great.

T: Wow, tart cherries, some barnyard funk, dry finish. Hints of oak in there. Man thats tasty.

M: Acidic, tingly on the tongue, tartness that gives a little cringe and settles into sweetness. I am diggin it.

D: I can see this being hard for some, but for me, this stuff is great, refreshing, and I plan on getting some more. A bit harsher than the classic, but a great beer.

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Photo of jdoolin
4.68/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm really hoping that I had a bad bottle of this. Others have said the recipe is different now. In any case...

Presentation: 750mL bottle, poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark, brownish red with a huge fluffy head. Nice lacing for the entire time. A very tempting looking beer.

Aroma: Here's where it started going downhill. The fruitiness was definitely there, but overpowering it was a tremendous aroma of vinegar.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Egads!! Carbonated vinegar! Yeah, it seriously does taste like there's some fruit in there, but by all that's good and holy, how could it taste so much like vinegar? It was terribly acidic and difficult to swallow, even after having a full glass giving it a chance. It literally burned going down. Very harsh.

Notes: Once again, I'm hoping this was a bad bottle. This beer was so acetic, so sour, and so much like drinking carbonated vinegar. The odd thing is, I really like vinegar and sour stuff. I am known to drink pickle brine. I was always the type to eat Mega Warheads without blinking an eye. But this beer was too much.

Cooking Notes: Despite the terrible drinkability of this sample, I used it in many sauces and dishes in the following months. A wonderfully delicious vinaigrette, barbeque sauce, salsa and even mayonnaise.

[UPDATE - 2/26/2007]

I decided to try this again, hoping that what I'd had before was just a bad bottle.

Presentation: 33cL bottle, poured into a Rodenbach classic glass.

Appearance: the same beautiful brownish red and a spectacular tan head. An awesome looking beer.

Aroma: Very pleasant tart fruitiness... cherries, citrus... even a hint of vanilla

Taste and Mouthfeel: Sharp sourness at first, but it's immediately followed by amazing flavor. Light caramel malt flavors and lots of fruitiness. Sour cherries for sure, but the other fruity flavors are all its own. Nice oakiness in the finish. Almost a spritzy carbonation with a medium body.

Notes: Rodenbach Grand Cru has been redeemed! This sample wasn't even close to as sour as the first bottle I tried last May. It was harsh, carbonated vinegar. This bottle was a fantastic, flavorful, tart, refreshing beer, and I can't wait to have more!

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It poured out of the 750 ml bottle a slightly cherry brown that faded to straw near the edges and it had very little head.

Smells of sour, tart cherries, raspberries, a musky sweet yeast, a slight hazelnut and pastry dough. Fantastic!

Tastes of a very dry tart cherry and raspberry with a slight peppery dryness that was somewhat buttery. This faded to a smooth creamy oak. This really accentuated the sweetness of this beer.

The mouth feel was light to medium bodied with a big, intense carbonation that was coupled to the tartness.

This is a tasty sipper for sure with some great dynamics I’d never before encountered in the style. I shared this with some friends whilst watching Gremlins and BA Doolar woke his girlfriend up to try some. Upon sipping she exclaimed, “Why would you do that to me?!” I guess this isn’t for everyone. More for me!

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Photo of jettjon
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Went into this thinking I was trying a Belgian dark… man was I surprised. After the smoke cleared:

Cork pops out with a nice report. Pours into the cervoise a beautiful, crystal-clear deep red cranberry color with a small number of tiny bubbles. Head is smallish, brown to tan, and fades slowly leaving a pretty good cap. Lacing is moderate. Damn nice looking beer. Nose of heavy yeast, alcohol, and some dark fermented fruit, maybe plums? Yeast smell reminds me of when I was making my own wine. A hint of sour vinegar on the nose. Taste: now here’s where it gets interesting. First impressing: surprisingly sweet. Like a lambic. And then OH YEAH, sour, like a lambic. A very sweet/sour cherry taste, very bitter on the swallow, almost wincingly so. Yet the finish is surprisingly clean, and there’s absolutely no bitter aftertaste, or really any aftertaste at all. What’s even more amazing is that there is NO FRUIT in this beer. It’s all specialty yeasts. Yet it tastes like a cherry lambic! There's a bit of alcohol evident, no real malt or hops flavor. Mouth is semi-creamy, lightly carbonated, and satisfying. Drinkability… OK, I know I’m going to struggle through the 750ml bottle. As a sipping beer, it’s good; to chug, not happening.

Overall: I suppose one man’s Flander’s Red Ale is another’s cherry lambic, though of course the Flander’s doesn’t have any actual cherries in it. That fact seems academic, and I would say that Rodenbach Grand Cru is a great lambic –style- brew, if you like that sort of thing.

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Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
95 out of 100 based on 1,061 ratings.