Rodenbach Grand Cru - Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

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Rodenbach Grand CruRodenbach Grand Cru

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1,040 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,040
Hads: 3,545
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 5.66%
Wants: 280
Gots: 481 | FT: 26
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: 1,040 | Hads: 3,545
Photo of AlexJ
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark crystaline ruby with a frothy head of beige that sizzles down to a thin veil, leaving no traces of it's self.

Aroma is both taunting and seductive; black cherries, berries, ripe apple and dried fruit are washed away by notes of barrel-aged vinegar, thick Tamari, and horsey, farmy funk. There's a slight woodsy undertone that seals the deal.

Flavor is a Steel Cage match between ripe, rotton fruit, tart vinegar funk, and dry oaked soy sauce. There are layers of cherry, red berry, and orchard fruit countered by tart, acidic, farm-infused funk. The oak aging mellows it out just enough to make drinkability insane. Do I want to drink it, marinate a steak in it, or pour it on my Waldorf salad? I dunno, but gimme, gimme, gimme!

Body is medium, sticky, and has a soft, prickly mouthfeel. Each sip leaves you drooling for the next. Good stuff. (857 characters)

Photo of scooter231
3.18/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very pretty scarlet red, absolutely clear, with an off white head. Smell was both sweet and sour- vinegar and soy sauce, mostly. Sour fruits, perhaps. Taste left me conflicted, I'm still not sure if I liked it or not. Balsamic and regular vinegar with some berries added. Salad dressing came to mind. After much thought, I think this reminds me of a vinegary arbor mist. I'm still unsure if that's good or bad though. Mouthfeel was fizzy, like a champagne, perhaps. Weird beer, probably spot on for the style, but I don't know, I'm not sold on it. (547 characters)

Photo of ypsifly
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Painted 750 that has gold foil over a cork and cage. For some reason the best before date of July '09 is jetted on the bottom of the bottle. Poured into a Maudite tulip.

Dark copper over a tall head of light tan that shows good retention and layered rings of lace.

Dark ripe apples, cherries and grapes that have gone sour in an oaken barrel. Sharp yet fruity and almost sweet. Mouthwatering.

A taste of the cherries and aplle juice upfront before the sourness sweeps my tongue. A pinch of powdered sugar with dehydrated lemon zest and grape juice into a bone dry finish. Very dry and tart but at no point does it make my tongue shrivel. The sweet is the Yin to the sour Yang. So perfectly balanced.

Nice puckery mouth that works very well with the carbonation. The interesting character of this beer adds to its good drinkablity. (842 characters)

Photo of moderndrunkard
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

As the slogan goes, you either love it or you hate it, and I fell in love with it after trying it on tap last summer. Since it's readily available here in Dresden, I almost always keep one handy.

This beer pours a cloudy, dark brown color with a hint of red. Even an aggressive pour yields only the slightest head that quickly disappears.

The smell is obvious as soon as you start to pour. Overwhelming acidic, vinegar smell. Has the aroma of wine.

The taste is all tart. Nice moderate carbonation level. And the sparkling character really adds to the flavor. The tartness really lingers on the back of the tongue. And as I'm drinking this glass, I suddenly realize why I love this beer so much. It reminds me of the sparkling cider we would always have at family dinners when I was a kid. I couldn't get enough of that stuff.

As for the mouthfeel, it's medium-bodied, not too thin. The serious sourness really balances the beer out.

Unfortunately, though, this is not very drinkable. I love having one in a night, usually to get things started. But after that, I'm ready to move on, which accounts for the low score.

Still, all in all, this one's one of my favorites. (1,192 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first Palm version, Sampled May 2006
Incredibly well carbonated, this beer pours with a frothy, though quickly disappearing, initially 4 finger thick, amber tan colored head. I get a nice tart aroma as soon as I pour this beer, a nice level of tart acetic acid. As I go in for a deeper smell the aroma becomes much more tart; a mix of vinegar and something like tamarind. Underneath the dominating sour character is astringent note that seems a bit woody. The aroma has a certain fruitiness to it that hints at cherries.

Tart and effervescent, the beer seems to be fermenting a bit more than expected in the bottle. Is this now being bottle conditioned, that would be surprising from this traditionally pasteurized product. This is quite tasty as usual, a combination of tart and fruity with woody tannic notes that come on in the finish. It is so interesting to compare this beer to others that I have had most recently (Supplication, La Folie, & Panil Barriquée), beers now carrying the torch that had so long only been held by Rodenbach. It is interesting to me, the other newer beers are so much more satisfying and complex than this brew, but you can't fault the Grand Cru for that. It did what it had to survive all those years, but it is clearly now not one of the best examples of the style. I can only hope that Palm will choose to make this a bit more complex brew in the culture.

Having said all of that ruminescent, romantic b.s., this is still a damn good beer. I am a sucker for these beers and this is still quite good. I can see this beer aging quite gracefully for some time. The acidity should round out a bit and a touch of oxidation should play up the rich malt character a bit more. In the end that is what this needs a bit more complexity to balance out the great sour character. (1,812 characters)

Photo of cjgator3
4.57/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Ran across this at the store and figured I would give it a try. I have never had a beer of this style so I did not know what I was getting into when I first bought this bottle. Pours out of it's 750mL bottle deep red in appearance with a sharp sour fruity smell, almost vinegar like. The taste sour but surprisingly pleasant. As the bottle warms up a bit, you can pick up some oak in the taste as well. Delicious! This was a pleasant surprise and is easily one of my favorite beers. It is not one that you can drink all night, but it sure is a unique beer that is a nice change in style every once in a while. (609 characters)

Photo of haz77
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a tulip. Very dark red in colour with a small amount of off-white head. Virtually no carbonation.

S - Big hit of cherries, some vinegar and caramel in their also and what I can only describe as paint-thinners

T - Tart and refreshing. Cherries and other fruits upfront. Lemon comes through before dryness, tartness and sourness at the end.

M - Medium body with almost zero carbonation.

D - The only bottle I had dissapeared fast, although I'm not sure how many more I'd want. A tasty and interesting beer nonetheless. (544 characters)

Photo of Bierman9
3.85/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A couple of nights ago I opted to try one of these for my night-cap. Enjoyed from a 25.4oz caged/corked bottle. Didn't bother to look for any "best before/bottled on" dates.

No problem either removing the cork or with any excess carbonation. Pours a medium amber hue, clear throughout, and with sporadic, indifferent bubbles rising within. Topping was a thin, light beige, fine head. Some stick, yet not a lot. Has a robust aroma right from the get-go. Smelled it even as the cork came out. Tart and sour all the way, making its presence known right off. Fruit notes dominate, with nary a typical hint of malt or hops. Across the tongue it goes; just about medium body-wise, yet quite bubbly/prickly for the feel. Airy, too, like a Hefe.

Flavor has a big combo of sweetness and tartness. Sweetness is not a typical malt sweetness, though; more-so from the fruit. Again, tart and sour, with notes of grapes and cherries being the most noticeable. Not really much picked up in the way of oak character, even though it's oak-aged. Great fruitiness, though without getting overly puckery. Quite the distinct, flavorable and enjoyable bier. Yet, still something to be enjoyed in small measures, imo. Doing an entire bottle took me a while, even though it was eminently tasty. Worked well for #900.


overall: 3.9
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5

900 (1,398 characters)

Photo of RoyalT
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This is a deep, deep red in color that's borderline brown. The head was moderate and went down rather quickly, which is typical of the style.

Smell – The tart cherry sweetness comes out way before the malt. The malt does eventually make itself known, but it’s quite wimpy here, much afraid of the big bad sour wolf. There’s an earthy character to this FRA as well, giving the bouquet some real substance.

Taste – Mother pucker! This is one sour, uh, Sour Ale. It’s not so much sour like a lemon as it is just super tart like an early-picked cherry. There are a lot of simple sugars here no doubt, but it’s the tartness that really sticks out. It’s not cheap-tasting though like a lot of pretenders of the style. This is the real deal.

Mouthfeel – This is a bit bigger than light-bodied with some saliva-activating mouth-puckering sourness that will send a shiver down your spine.

Drinkability – This is a very intense FRA that begs to be shared. (980 characters)

Photo of rajendra82
3.63/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This green bomber was adorned with a silk-screened label, dull gold neck foil, wire cage, and cork, all combining to give the appearance of a package meant for a special occasion. The beer came out deep amber red in color, and had a slightly hazy appearance. The persistent head was one finger thick and the carbonation was light. The aroma of sour cherries and oak combined to form a wood glue like smell, which was quite mouthwatering (and no I don’t usually sniff glue). The taste was balsamic vinegar sour and somewhat spicy as well. Both of these tastes made for a very dry beer that demanded to be gently sipped and be paired with some food, so I pulled out some Irish cheddar cheese from the refrigerator to accompany it. The earthy sharp cheese cut out the peppery spiciness, but the sour flavor became even more accentuated. The oak aged notes were never quite detectable under the evident acidity. I found this to be quite drinkable, despite being very different than the hop bombs I always seem gravitate towards. The mouthfeel was naturally dry and the body was on the thin side due to a near absence of residual sugar. Not one I would order very often, although that being a deficiency in my character rather than that of this beer. (1,246 characters)

Photo of BadBadger
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A truely fine example of a unqiue style of beer. The Rodenbach Grand Cru pours from the bottle a dark brown-red color, witha beautiful off-white foamy head. The smell is nicely sour (imagine apple vinegar). The taste is tart, as it should be. The mouthfeel is dynamic with sour flowing up to the palate, and then lingering on the tongue. A very nice brew. This fine brew should be searched out and enjoyed for it's wonderful uniqueness. It will be different than any thing you have probably had before so give it a chance, (522 characters)

Photo of ommegangpbr
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is good lookin' stuff even before you pour. The stuff in the bottle is prettier than the container.
The scent is striking; what one would expect for a flanders red ale. Sharp, sour fermented fruit smells.
Raspberry vinegrette? Tangy and tart to say the least. Reminds one a bit of sour patch kids candy or some such. A hint of soy sauce lives in the flavor but I definately get berries on the palate.
This seems pretty spot on for the style though my experience with it is limited. Certainly not for everyone; it's pretty much a love it or hate it flavor profile. (571 characters)

Photo of Shaw
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After literally spending 10 minutes struggling with the crown cork, I poured this beer from its 750 mL bottle into my glass. Phew!

It's a beautiful red color with an off-white head.

It smells sour with notes of cherries, citrus and earth. The cherry smell is quite strong, actually. Nice.

The taste is tart and acidic with fruit notes. I don't taste malt or bitter flavors at all. Very clean.

The light body compliments the tart flavors very well.

This is a very nice Flanders Red Ale. (501 characters)

Photo of ggaughan
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Holey Christ what a beer. I have had this in bottles recently and on tap but never cask conditioned. This was served at the Monk's Cafe Michael Jackson dinner this past Sunday and it was fantastic on cask. They said that this is the first cask conditioned keg of this fine beer to leave Belgium. The beer was poured into a wine glass from a pitcher and poured a bright but deep burgundy color with a slight tan head. The has a good sour nose to it and a bit of funk but slightly mellow. The taste was a wonderfully sour cherry delight but not overally sour that heartburt sets in. This taste was a bit more muted than the bottle or keg very and it my favorite of the 3. This was the last beer of the night and probably my second favorite overall, if not my favorite. With the taste a bit more mellow but still very strong, I found this beer to be very drinkable and was pleased to get a few refills before the night was over. (925 characters)

Photo of ppoitras
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle from AKSmokedPorter as part of Secret Santa 2005. Label, I think, says best by 1/3/06. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1/2" light tan head above the somewhat clear burgundy brew. Head quickly fades down to an uneven layer of bubbles, with ample delicate lacing. Aroma is piecing sour musty funk. Cool. Taste is slightly chalky cherry tartness, which fades on through to the aftertaste. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both nice for the style as well. A standard to which others should aspire and hope to supercede. (568 characters)

Photo of JulieRFoster
3.11/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Burnished cherry color, fairly translucent, with a good 2 cm of vanilla colored head resting atop.
The smell is tart, with red fruit, merteuille (I forget the english name of this red berry) and dark vanilla extract.
It rolls into your mouth with a sweet, full-bodied taste. There is a very distinct taste in the back of the palate – like a pleasant vomit. It's very acidic, dark and fruity (like black cherries).
An interesting taste, but it's just too damn sweet. It's dark, syrupy, acidic and very sweet. Too heavy to be really drinkable, and a flat, or possibly 2-diamensional taste. (594 characters)

Photo of VoodooBrew
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Redish golden-brown in color. The sharp aroma of apple cider vinegar leaps up into the nostrils upon sniffing this beer. You might normally consider "vinegar" to be a flaw in a beer's character, but in this context I rather like it. The nose continues tart and fruity with a flash of coconut cream.

On the palate this beer is SOUR! Incredibly so-- it's sour before you taste it, during, and after! Wow. There is a brief window of opportunity to explore sour tart citrus fruit and then the overriding tartness reenters the fore. Sharply sour on the finish, all the way down into the throat. Mouthpuckering.

This beer is, at least by my experience, completely unique. Certainly worth seeking out. (702 characters)

Photo of phisig137
3.42/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a goblet a very dark brown with many ruby red highlights. Very little head, dissapated immediately, and left no lacing at all.
The smell I found to be a little muted, but the sourness did shine through. Hints of vinegar and vanilla were present, but not much else. It did smell quite good, but just muted.
The flavor I found to be quite enjoyable. The sourness is definitely present, and makes itself know, but it seems to be well balanced with a hint of acidic sweetness. You can also taste a bit of vanilla and chocolate in there too. Mouthfeel was average, and I rate the drinkability low because it IS rather tough to drink, a sipper no doubt. But as far as the style goes, this is relatively easy to drink.

I think this is one of the best examples of a Flanders Red I've had to date. I love "the duchesse", but I could drink more than one of these. (871 characters)

Photo of dogfooddog
4.36/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml corked bottle served 50F. I have had this beer many times in the 330 capped bottle and this is my first of the new 750ml corked. there is no sediment in the bottle. I do not know if this beer is pasteurized, but some comments by MJ in the past make me think the 330ml is.

pours very large head, typical rodenbach orange-browiish clear beer.

the nose is distinct from the smaller bottle. not as sweet, a strong scent i cannot put my finger on, woodiness? greenness? once again, a change from the 330ml. I did notice a similar nose change from in the duchess de borgoune 750ml vs. smaller bottle as well.

taste is more as expected, fabulous sour woodiness. I do not believe this is as sweet as the 330ml. this seems more complex than the small bottle, which i have usually found to have understated taste versus the nose and has been my biggest complaint with rodenbach (small) in the past. This one has a full-blown mouthfull of sensations.

overall i find the character of this beer in this size bottle more pronounced than smalls. the sourness almost puckers the mouth, the oaken notes are very strong both in taste and aftertaste, and I think I will never buy the 330ml again if this is available. (1,217 characters)

Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is my second flemish sour ale. I've heard this brew described or referenced so much I had to try it. that said, here's what I thought:

A - faint head that quickly disspiated. Steady rising bubbles from the the glass let you know it's not flat. The beer is ruby red when held up to the light. Very nice to look at in the glass.

S - sour cherries, sour mash. did not notice any hints of oak but hey, could be me.

T- Sourness straight up. undertones of cherry and faint sweet malt. No question this delivers on the style flemish sour ale.

M - served at approx 55 degrees. medium to full bodied. Lot of reviews describe the carbonation as strong, but I did not see that with my drink. carbonation was light and complimentary to the drink.

Drinkablilty - Not a beer that drinks easy or fast. This brew is a commitment in my mind. A stronger sour than I expected.

Tantalizing style, but it may be a while before I try the other bottle. this is definitely a beer you need to be ready for. (1,005 characters)

Photo of alexgash
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Slightly dirty ruby red body (has that ‘aged in a barrel for a while’ look). Dense, small off-cream head. Musty sour compost fruit. An almost tart cherry fruitiness detectable along with mild medicinal spirits and vinegar. Starts sweet and almost fruity (like overripe cherries or grapes). This is followed by musty cedar/oak, a touch of vanilla, and a whiff of alcohol. However, sour acidity erases all this with a Pop-rock fizz on the tongue. Tart cherries and vinegar somehow mix as the sourness climaxes into the finish. Not puckeringly sour, but refreshingly sour, especially after the sweetness early on. I was prepared to not really like this beer much, but now I can’t stop drinking it. Strange and delicious. Very lively, with champagne like fizz on the tongue that works wonders with the sweet/sour balance. Might not be able to drink pitchers of it, but better than expected! (889 characters)

Photo of kkipple
1.9/5  rDev -55.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Well, this was a surprise. Pop the cork and immediately a sour, yeasty smell emanates menacingly from the bottle. Hm, what's this...? Poured a clear amber into my goblet, with a huge fluffy head that faded fast, leaving little sign it was ever around.

The smell is... bold. It's a VERY intense sour fruit aroma with tons of funky yeast and gives a vinegary punch to the nose. Subtle this isn’t. I've never smelled a beer remotely close to this... smelled like cherry vinegar... I'm going to give it rather high marks on uniqueness of smell alone.

Taste is unbelievably sour. This ale smacks you right in the face with mouth-puckering sour fruit (chiefly cherries), citrus, and a raging tartness. It’s advertised as "aged 18 months in oak", but I couldn't tell. Second sip is just as horrid. I couldn't taste anything else past the mind-bending sourness. Just destroyed my palate. Ever drink pickle brine? Yeah, it's that harsh. Didn't enjoy this at all.

Finishes rather wet and with a lingering sourness. This is one bizarre beer.

I ended up dumping most of this one. My friend who shared the bottle with me (and took one in the wallet for us!) did the same.

I can possibly, maybe, see this beer paired with food and improving, but... it's a stretch. I'm actually a bit curious to sample this again (in the distant future) and see if I enjoy it the second time around. I actually wouldn't rule out the possibility that we got a bad bottle, but as it stands, this is the least drinkable beer I've ever had.. That said, it's certainly different. (1,561 characters)

Photo of geexploitation
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Wow. The Rodenbach Grand Cru is everything the regular Rodenbach is and more more more. Pours a bright ruby brown with a big head. Massive sour cherry nose with underlying vanilla notes. Taste is initally sweet, but upon starting to swallow the sourness takes over, and by "over" I mean "overpowering". Swig some of this and the sourness explodes in the back of the palate; even after swallowing, the sourness sticks around in the back of the throat. Mouthfeel is bright with that sour flavor. Drinkability, alas, is pretty low. The sourness is just a bit too much for me (and I like the regular Rodenbach, this is just dialed up so much), which reduces the drinkability.

Perhaps this could be excellent with the proper food pairing, and served in a smaller vessel (I'm working on 2/3 of a 750 at this point). Lots of extra points for rather rare flavors to encounter in a beer. Overall this is a great beer that I can appreciate but not, perhaps, love. (956 characters)

Photo of ashleyshalyn
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle into a snifter glass

A: Crystal clear brandy color with auburn and big frothy head

S: Smells like acetone / fingernail polish remover. To prove this to a few people I actually pulled a bottle of nail polish out of my bag and proceeded to make everyone take a whiff and then smell the beer again a few minutes later…. Yep… Also smells of brine/vinegar with some notable fruits like granny smith apple and sour cherry.

T: SOUR! Wooo boy sour cherry alll over the place. Finished with an alcohol/sour flavour. Very complex ale, but it is really hard to get around the sourness.

M: Medium body but high high carbonation!

D: I can’t drink much of this b/c sour really isn’t my thing… but I would drink it again just as something different. Not really my type of a beer…. (799 characters)

Photo of AltBock
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 fl oz/330ml bottle. The picture of mine is a little different than the one pictured. This one has the barrels on the top with GRAND CRU in the middle and Rodenbach below that. In the red part of the label is where they mention Flanders Sour Ale aged in oak for 18 months. There is a back label with info about the beer, best before date, and numbers on the bottom that needed to be notched. Mine was BB 16/11/07 and with no numbers notched. Below the BB date there are numbers 4-18 and 06:20.

Appearance: When poured into my Snifter, the beer was this reddish/brown color with barely a head of foam on it. It dissipted into nothing very fast (what head there was). No rings, no lace, nothing!

Smell: It had a nice aroma of sour apples and cherries with this oak wood smell in the background. Smelled exactly like I thought it would.

Taste: Very flavorful! It was loaded with tart sour fruits (apples, cherries and grapes) up front and with this citrus yeast bite at the end. I've never had a beer with this taste before. Very Unique.

Mouthfeel: This beer sure does bite (in a good way)! Those sour furits sure do linger on for a while.

Drinkability: Truly a very unique beer that people should try for themselves. Next time I buy this, I going to get this in the big 750 size. The 11.2oz bottle is too small. A great beer! (1,343 characters)

Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
94 out of 100 based on 1,040 ratings.