Rodenbach Grand Cru - Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
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Ratings: 2,958 | Reviews: 985 | Display Reviews Only:
2.25/5 rDev -47.6%
No two ways about it. A very, very challenging beer.
I'm perplexed at the consistently stellar reviews for this beer. It's so highly rated yet deserves to be far more polarised. If you like this kind of thing - you're going to love it - but you really have to like it.
I'm not quite the the polar opposite in terms if actually disliking it but I have to say - if you're at all new to funk/sour/oxidised beers then step lightly.
So, down to business. I paid 3.15 for a 33cl bottle of Grand Cru, bought from a Belgian beer emporium in Thouars, France.
Bottle was marked up as BBE July 2010 and I'm tasting it in April 2010 so it's fairly close to the end of its stated bottle life.
I know 'fresh' is a misnomer but the bottle age might have had an impact on the beer I'm tasting here.
A. Spectacular deep ruby/garnet colour, impressive clarity and sparkle. Poured a huge thin cream coloured head which sank to cola-like rim of bubbles after a minute or two. After 4 mins, flat as a pancake with NO head at all. Some light brown edges at the periphery of the glass,
S. Sour cherry, treacle toffee, slight hints of an espresso coffee bitterness. Long backnotes of acetic vinegar harshness. Off smelling, some woody oak but very subtle
T. Cloying, full acid profile. Vinegar. No malt, no hops. Harsh black pepper minus the heat at the back of the palette.
M. Despite the acidic sharpness it's not at all thin as you might expect. Some mousse which disappears quickly. Persistent acid Zing at the edge of the jaws. Whatever the acid profile is that is so dominant actually flashes off if I hold a mouthful and starts to seer the back of the nose/sinus.
D. Very hard to approach this one - the kind of thing you're going to have to man-up for. It's actually hard to drink. I do wonder what percentage of bottles actually get finished. I can't easily think of a natural food pairing for this drink as it would overwhelm anything with a much simpler flavour profile. Maybe a very mature vintage English cheddar?
So. Will I drink it again? YES! If only to satisfy a small morbid curiosity that I didn't have a ropey bottle or that the rest of the world wasn't barking up the wrong tree.
04-10-2010 19:35:27 | More by bellebouche
2.28/5 rDev -46.9%
Cracked this one open after Thanksgiving dinner. Looks nice in the glass, but that's where the compliments end. Smell isn't bad necessarily, just lopsidedly sour with nothing else to balance. Taste is like drinking balsamic vinegar straight up. Bottle said it's supposed to have a "sweet-sour" taste and it absolutely did not. It's also so dry in the mouth that a couple sips totally ruin the palate. Very disappointing.
11-25-2011 01:41:49 | More by gregb13
2.28/5 rDev -46.9%
Now this is one sickly brew although it pours a decent colour with head. However the taste was getting so appaling after a while that i could not even finish a half pint. The smell is kind of telling it has slightly sickly hop notes and off malted with some sour grapes and apple. The mouthfeel again is kind of good but hard to segregate from the taste. I hope this was a bad sample
08-09-2009 20:27:18 | More by DerBayer
2.65/5 rDev -38.2%
RGC pours a deep red-cognac color with generous carbonation and a settling tan head. Quickly dispersing industrial vinegar nose, leading to repressed malty-apple cider vinegar nose. Taste of moderate tart laden cherries and an inhaled fresh black pepper attack upon the tonsil area of the throat. Medium bodied and strangely refreshing, there is some desensitizing to the overly assertive acids that are omnipresent within. I tried this version after it was recommended to me that the Grand Cru was "much better" than the standard version. This version of the style is commercial, squeaky clean and aromatically void of any discernable bret or wild yeast elements available to the taster.
I still continue to find it impossible to grasp what it is that turns beer enthusiasts on when consuming the Rodenbach line, as there is nothing hedonistic about it. Lacking true Flanders red authenticity; and as much as I try to convince myself that this is an enjoyable product; ingestion is a definite struggle.
07-21-2006 12:00:59 | More by barknee
2.68/5 rDev -37.5%
Thin brownish head, dark ruddish body. No visible carbination.
Huge vinous aroma.
This is not beer, it is red wine vinegar made with malt. Sour with an earthy base. Low carbination, medium body. Sweetness is present to balance the sour, but this is not chinese food, so I will pass on the sweet and sour combination. Smooth on the palate, the beer says nothing, if it does not say sour cherries.
10-10-2004 14:04:55 | More by Naerhu
2.7/5 rDev -37.1%
Dark brown tint with a amber hue with a slight head of white foam. Sour vinegar sweet with a weird alcohol punch and large citrus bloom. The taste while complex is way too acidic in the finish. The favor of oak is present but the citris owns this beer and the heartburn is already starting. The malt comes through and the sourness would be pleasent but the vinegar note is sending this sideways. Maybe it might have been better colder but I thought cellar temps would be best. I finally polished off the 750 solo as the wife ran for the door at the first sip even though she usually like the sour beers.
01-15-2007 16:05:43 | More by Higravity
2.73/5 rDev -36.4%
I used to drink a lot of this stuff back "in the day" of the early seventies while listening to the tunes and having an illegal smoke or two.
We called it something else though, I believe it was wine, or sherry.
Anyhow, this product arrived a deep brownish/red with a medium + carbonation. The body is a medium.
The aroma is yeasty fruit.
The taste is very strong, very sweet, very lingering, and all of cheap wine.
Think I could use a smoke right about now...
01-17-2006 00:02:15 | More by Shiloh
2.75/5 rDev -35.9%
A - Brown with a large tan carbonated type head
S - Smells awesome. Hints of fruits and tartness dance in my nose. Can't wait to taste this one.
T - Well, I can't say the nose matches the flavor. There are hints of light malts and fruits, but there is an overwhelming acetic finish which is completely off putting. It's almost like drinking vinegar.
M - Light in body with a medium-heavy carbonation.
D - The cork was stuck in this beer so it took me a while to open this beer. It was fate telling me not to crack this beer by myself. It's far too tart to drink a bottle by itself. Any more than one glass is going to be a challenge.
02-22-2010 02:22:58 | More by Martin2D
2.8/5 rDev -34.7%
have to say, i really didnt enjoy this beer at all. maybe it was too old, tho it wasnt past its use by, but it was just way too tart for me to enjoy it on any level.
superb reddy brown color with a voluminous head, it looked like a fair dinkum ripper. ordinary smell, alot like red wine vinegar, with some hops and a bit of citrus. tasted alot like vinegar too, and also resembled blood oranges and grapefruit. the malt and sweetnees was completey overcome by the tart acidic nature of the beer. finished really dry and cloying. the subtle presence of wood didnt help much either. not as full in body as id hoped for. couldnt help but think if i wanted something that tasted and felt like this i would have just grabbed a carton of succo rosso or a bottle of pellegrini.
i was utterly disappointed with this beer, the alexander is so much better. definately an acquired taste. it wasnt total crap, but i was wanting a lot more, and i can find it much better with numerous other belgians. worth a try, but again, its going to be one of those beers you either really love or really hate. im heading toward the latter.
11-23-2003 13:27:43 | More by diablo14
2.83/5 rDev -34%
Appearance - Pours a dark amber. Rocky head. Fully diminishing.
Smell - Rotten wood with a hint of beaver piss. I now have beaver fever. Another whiff gives off soy sauce and lemonade.
Taste - Very sour close to lemonade mixed with tea. Puckering cherry and other sour fruit. I have a very hard time determining what else I'm tasting. No hops. No malt. No Yeast.
Mouthfeel - Fizzy and clean finishing.
Drinkability - Easy to drink but the flavor leaves a lot to be desired.
This would be my first sour ale. I am thinking because of high marks on this site that this is probably a good example of a style that I simply just don't like.
06-25-2008 04:51:10 | More by gonzo46and2
2.83/5 rDev -34%
A: deep brown, tinged with red, quickly dissipating head. Fine, persistent, sheeting lacing.
S: sour, fruity, medicinal
T: dominantly sour, slightly bitter, malt/citrus
M: thin-medium body, sour bite
O: Not particularly enjoyable. Sour, on the watery side for a dark beer ... it feels like there's just something missing. I've heard it compared to champagne ... and I guess if you want a beer glass of middling champagne, this works.
10-26-2013 05:04:07 | More by RandomExile
2.85/5 rDev -33.6%
Rusty bike chain, leaky D batteries, fermented cider, and deep inside, a robust Belgian beer. I shall drink it 'til I get it right! It is part of a bounty I captured at my new favorite place on earth. It is the 7th Belgian I've tried and is very distinct in character. At first taste I believed it to be bad. I quickly inspected the bottle cap looking for signs of rust. There were none. I proceeded to google. To my fiscal satisfaction, it's supposed to taste that way. I will inspect every drop.
04-11-2010 19:45:56 | More by Nbr1Geech
Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
95 out of 100 based on 2,958 ratings.