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Rodenbach Grand Cru - Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

Rodenbach Grand CruRodenbach Grand Cru

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,541 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2541
Reviews: 961
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 11.89%

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V. visit their website

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-25-2000)
View: Beers (5) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 2,541 | Reviews: 961 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at La Trappe, in San Francisco.

The creation of Rodenbach Grand Cru involved a process of blending young beer with older beer that spent upwards of two (or more) years inside a great big wooden vat, the result of which is reflected in its appearance: a brilliant reddish hue coalesced into a darkish, slumbering complexion. You can see why they call these beers the 'Burgundy of Belgium'.

By the way, those giant oak vats contain a bunch of distinct bacterias (and often yeasts) that impart a tremendously distinct sourness to the beer, something you could definitely call "terroir". The beer develops a complex fruitiness somewhat like a deep red wine, except is far more acidic, with musty malts and a balsamic vinegar-like overtone.

Sometimes tasting notes can be a little misleading - the presence of 'banana' flavour in a wheat beer may be illusive to those lacking the palate or familiarity to find it. But when it comes to Flanders Red Ales, the comparison to (perhaps fruit infused, namely cherry) balsamic vinegar is very real. Even their production processes are almost identical.

This taste certainly mimics that of an authentic artisan Italian balsamic vinegar, with notes of oak wood eclipsing a good portion of the vinegar-y acidity. Crowning the finish is a brief but intense flavour, simply more strong than sweet, of cherry brandy. It has stiff competition with the mildewed oak flavours and dark balsamic, but tart fruit definitely weighs in.

Rodenbach Grand Cru may no longer be the most sour, complex or even most elegant ale on the market, but let's not forget it is precisely because of Rodenbach that we even have these other beers around in the first place. This is still a beer of great beauty and sophistication and, above all, one that is bound to open up some doors for any individual first trying it.

Serving type: on-tap

07-17-2011 16:39:27 | More by biegaman
Photo of KickInTheChalice


4.65/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at Northdown in a chalice.

Appearance: My chalice arrives with a ruby brown liquid that does not really permit light to pass through. A frothy tan head bubbles for a minute but eventually fades to a ring around the glass. A little bit of lace on the glass, but not much.

Smell: Great full aroma of cherries, oak, and vanilla. Very tart, vinegary and and pleasant, with some general spiciness and red grape in the background.

Taste: Tart cherry is the predominant flavor throughout. Some red grape, a hint of plum, oak, vanilla, and some light spice from the yeast add a fair amount of depth. This starts sour, is sour in the middle, and finishes sour as well.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, acidic, and vinegary, with above average carbonation. The tart flavor causes me to salivate, while the texture of the beer dries out the corners of my mouth. Medium bodied.

Overall: This is just an exceptional beer. Smooth, with a complexity that may come from the blending of the barrels or from the yeast strains, but I would recommend always having this one available. Right now this is the front runner for my favorite Flanders Red.

Serving type: on-tap

07-11-2011 17:39:59 | More by KickInTheChalice
Photo of jpro

South Carolina

3.85/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Rodenbach tulip glass at Closed for Business...

A: Ruby / brown body, with a light beige head; a few specks of lace get left on the glass.

S: Apple cider vinegar; vinous.

T: Cidery; sweet tarts; some malt vinegar toward the finish.

M: Medium bodied and zippy; puckering; kind of dry on the finish.

O: A sipper of a sour; good tartness with a bit of funk.

Serving type: on-tap

07-11-2011 17:20:10 | More by jpro
Photo of sk8man121


4.2/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Great Lost Bear in Portland, ME.

A: Pours a mostly opaque cherry-cola brown with rust highlights. Beautiful, creamy 1-finger head settles into a perfect cap and leaves a unified layer of lacing around the glass. Gorgeous.

S: Sour cherry, vinegar, toffee sweetness.

T: Tart cherries are up front, with a sweet and malty follow through. Finish is of creamy vanilla with a malty caramel aftertaste. No noticeable alcohol at all.

M: I love the mouthfeel here. Low to no carbonation at first, but slowly carbs up and tingles the tongue. Finishes thick and creamy.

O: This is simply a great beer. Tart and sour but not to the point of being "too much," this would be my recommendation of the perfect Flanders Red for beginners. Even though it's a bit on the sweet side, it's terribly drinkable and could become an expensive habit.


Serving type: on-tap

07-06-2011 22:14:22 | More by sk8man121
Photo of ehammond1

4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

A dark ruby and chestnut brown. Nearly no head. Decent lacing down the glass.

A tart, biting sour, vinegary aroma combined with cherry sweetness. I know this beer is aged in oak barrels, but I don't smell anything in particular from them, though this beer smells tremendous as is.

A biting, tart, vinegary, sour ale balanced remarkably well with a sweet cherry juiciness.

Light to medium bodied. A pleasure to sip.

A well balanced, tart, sweet sour. Incredible!

Serving type: on-tap

07-01-2011 02:45:39 | More by ehammond1
Photo of leschkie


4.63/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Toronado and poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a variety of foliage colors that you typically see when driving through the Atlantic Northeast during autumn. At first glance, a conglomeration between pumpkin orange and chestnut brown. But placing this one in fron of the setting sun reveals its true beauty: blazing fire red resembling the setting sun of the deserts of the American Southwest. Incredible! The frothy ecru head is spritzy with its fair share of carbination that eventually settles into a thin ring with pieces of broken delicate lace.

Smell: Sweet and sour cherries, dry tartness with some acidity and vinegar, and generous quantities of oak from the barrels. Each contribution is just so spot on that I can't even fathom it. This is the prototypical scent that every sour should have, period.

Taste: Holy crap! My taste buds are swimming in this stuff. The sweet and sour notes just play off of each other perfectly. When I want sour, I get sour. Just when the sour and tart get to the point of being borderline overwhelming, the sweet makes itself known to assuage the situation. Finishes clean and refreshingly dry with a nice acidic bite.

Mouthfeel: Light- to medium-bodied with the perfect amount of carbination. Sticky, but only just. This will probably be one of the few beers I review that will receive a perfect score for mouthfeel. I can't find anything wrong with it. Nothing more I can say than that.

Overall: I will never understand why people continue to seek out the rarer, younger "sexy" sours out there when they have utter perfection at their fingertips with the Rodenbach Grand Cru. Trust me, once you've had this on-tap, you will never go back. For me, this one will always be that first crush that you never really truly get over. Absolutely delectable.

Serving type: on-tap

06-30-2011 00:53:14 | More by leschkie
Photo of Mosley1212


4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Took this from previous notes. I just found them. Poured on draft at Brick Store into a Rodenbach glass.

A--Poured an amber color with a brown tint to it. When held in the light there is quite a lot of glimmering. Had a off-white head that was very foamy. It lasted throughout the beer. There was good retention on the glass.

S--Vinegar is the first smell as it wafts up into the nose. This is followed by a sweet smelling yeast finish. I also pick up some fruit notes (very sour citrus) that featured tart cherries.

T--Lip-puckering sour! I taste the vinegar first, then the sweetness of candy apples, lemons, cherries, and grapefruit comes through. This is a very pleasant beer.

M--The sourness makes the mouthfeel great in this beer. It is what I was hoping for from a sour.

O--This is a great beer. It was my first sour and I'm pretty sure I started with a great one.

Serving type: on-tap

06-28-2011 15:59:06 | More by Mosley1212
Photo of ryantaussig

New York

3.98/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not the most beautiful beer on the planet, but it carries a nice balance of sour notes in the nose. Cherries especially come through, with a slight note of under-ripe plum or blueberry. Same notes come through in the flavor, but with an added malt sweetness and even some slight vanilla. Smooth beer with nonaggressive carbonation.

Serving type: on-tap

06-25-2011 14:32:39 | More by ryantaussig
Photo of Rifugium


3.85/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Eulogy, Philly, PA

Poured into a tulip glass, an opaque reddish brown with a small, beige head that receded to a thin film. Aroma of sour cherries, and vinegar. Very kriek-like in the taste, with sweet, light sugar up front, followed almost immediately by tart cherries. Light spice, yeast, and maybe a touch of grapes finish things off smooth, but a little bitter. Medium mouthfeel, and pretty drinkable. My sister-in-law doesn't like beer, but she liked this one a lot.

Serving type: on-tap

06-06-2011 17:17:36 | More by Rifugium
Photo of taigor

New York

4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a small glass.

A - Poured dark brown almost non-transparent color with mahogany hue and huge head that slowly dissipated leaving lots of lacing around the glass.

S - Very yeasty with wooden hints. Cherry and other dark fruits can be detected as well.

T - Tart taste that turns into slight smokiness with a slightly sweet aftertaste probably caused by brown sugar.

M - Medium bodied with high carbonation.

O - ABV is kind of low but overall very enjoyable ale that I would highly recommend it.

Serving type: on-tap

04-18-2011 20:08:32 | More by taigor
Photo of kingcrowing


3.98/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap poured into a wine glass.

Pours a very dark brown with some red notes, small light brown head. Nose is like vinegar, tart and sour.

Taste is sweet and super tart. Some earthy malty flavor as well. Mouthfeel is light and crisp. Overall quite good.

Serving type: on-tap

03-19-2011 21:20:06 | More by kingcrowing
Photo of magnj

New Jersey

3.78/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a - Deep purple with a mostly non-existent head.

s - Tart, fruity aroma. Not typical Belgian dark fruits, this is more grape and cranberry.

t - Just like the aroma. Not a real funky sour, just sour. Tart and fruity.

m/d - Body was on the thin side. Served in a snifter, at 6% this was drinkable. My second sour, enjoyed it more than the other, I think the low ABV made it tolerable.

Serving type: on-tap

02-24-2011 01:08:01 | More by magnj
Photo of cookedw


4.05/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I was shocked to discover that Jupiter (Berkeley) had this beer on tap, but then I remembered they were doing a sour special for beer week.

A - This is a gorgeous looking beer, a beautiful deep red.

S - Very red wine in character from the oak+fruit notes, a little vinegary but not a ton. Not really very aromatic, honestly.

T - Immediately, I tasted cranberry and sour cherries, and then this subsided into grapes. This beer is not particularly sour, which I appreciate, but it was almost too fruity. As the flavor accumulated on my tongue over time, I tasted a lingering tobacco-like note.

M - Lightly carbonated, this was pleasurable, with enough robustness to let the flavors linger and enough pucker to make the mouth water without blistering it.

D - As far as the style goes, it's really light and not super sour, so I consider it pretty drinkable.

O - This beer is good, but I kept on wanting something more from it. Maybe 'cause it's relatively low in alcohol content and so fruit-centric, I just didn't really yearn for each sip. I'm glad I had it, and it was tasty, but this is not one for the "absolutely seek out", IMO.

Serving type: on-tap

02-15-2011 07:32:45 | More by cookedw
Photo of modernartblues


4.08/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on Tap at Mikro in Hamden

Served in a Tulip

A: brownish-red with a dark head 1/2" head that recedes into nothing, not much lacing and no head retention

S: sour cherries, vinegar, touches of other fruit and funk....I like it, but not blown away.

T: cherries, tartness, sour with some funk, sweetness on the finish is not overbearing, this is a nice balance of acidity and vinegarness and fruity sweetness..impressive

M: light and smooth, pretty good for the flavor profile, I don't like these types of beers when they get super chewy.

D: really good for the style, I can see knocking off one of the 750 ml bottles in a night

I'm not as enraptured with this one as others I've talked to, but hey tastes are different right?

Serving type: on-tap

02-09-2011 13:34:14 | More by modernartblues
Photo of beerpirates


4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap togheter with urbain in à pub in Diksmuide

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of vinegary & tart apples and dark fruits, some Belgian yeast, some malts and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sour with strong flavors of apples , wood and cherries. There's a little bit of sweetness that comes in along with a hearty but not too heavy malt character. The hops presence is mild. The after-taste is sour.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

D: Flavorful, goes down easily, good representation of style, it's a decent beer to drink for a while if you're in the mood for a sour beer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-17-2010 07:02:47 | More by beerpirates
Photo of blackc5


4.55/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Deeper brown then expected. Reddish tint shines through when held up to the light. Slightly hazy. No real head or lacing to speak of.

S - Immensely tart fruit - cherry and sour apple are most forward. Some oak in the background and perhaps a bit of vanilla as well. Vinegary, but not overly so.

T - Outstanding - exceptionally fruity and the tartness is just right. Not too sour, and not too vinegary, and balanced with some sweetness. Just right for a wonderfully drinkable beer. Main fruit elements are cherries, apple, grape must and tamarind. The oak aging adds a nice level of complexity and vanilla. All balanced with some bready grain and just a hint of leather.

M - Mild carbonation that leaves just a bit of fizz on the tongue. Light and smooth body with a dry finish.

D - No complaits here - this one lives up to its reputation, and goes on my list to have again. Held up well to food also.

Serving type: on-tap

11-16-2010 18:38:24 | More by blackc5
Photo of jsanford


4.05/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Distillery in Savannah, GA. I was surprised to see this on tap, it was quite an unexpected treat.

A - Dark, cola-brown with reddish tints and a wispy rose-colored head. Solid retention, looks very inviting.
S - Quite sour smelling. Red wine vinegar dominates with a bit of tart cherry, sweet-smelling hay and oak.
T - Again, I'm getting a ton of pleasantly sour red wine vinegar. Some sweet malt and dark cherry balances the tart a bit, while the straw and oak help smooth the whole thing out. Quite tasty.
M - Thin-bodied with a slightly syrupy consistency. Carbonation is crisp and sharp.
D - Got a bit intense toward the end of the glass, so one should be good for me. Also, I need to pop a TUMS. Worth it though.

Serving type: on-tap

11-13-2010 03:07:19 | More by jsanford
Photo of Liverpool08


4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at Monk's in Philly

A nice dark browinsh red. Whiffs of cherry and sour patch kids. A great first sip, tart, crisp, a great kick to the taste buds. Nots of cherry, oak, which ends in a great balsamic vinegar sweetness. What a great brew!! Gets more complex with every sip. Sour is a bad term for this beer. Its more a great tartness with hints of fruit. And stil you get that hint of vinegar at the end. Can drink lots of these!!

Serving type: on-tap

10-19-2010 23:50:01 | More by Liverpool08
Photo of joesc230

New Jersey

1.35/5  rDev -68.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Decided to try this out based on the reviews I saw on this site. To be honest, this was the first time I've tried a well-rated beer (based on this site's ratings) that I absolutely hated. I'm sure it's a great choice for some people, but both the smell and taste of this beer reminded me of a very sweet and sour vinegar. After trying it out and being suprised by its taste, I asked a friend to try it out and he totally agreed with me.

Serving type: on-tap

10-17-2010 23:39:46 | More by joesc230
Photo of Thorpe429


3.83/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark crimson with an off-white head. Good deal of lacing as it goes down. Smell is vinegar and lactic acid with some dark fruits, cherries, and currants. Taste is quite similar, with the acetic acid coming through. Also a sort of cream-soda-type taste. Mouthfeel is very nice between the sourness and the creamy body. Good drinkability. Not the best Flanders Red, but up there, especially considering its availability.

Serving type: on-tap

09-23-2010 21:47:25 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of VoiceOfTheSoul


4.28/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draft at Eulogy in Philly. 12oz into a Rodenbach Grand Cru tulip.

A: Pours a deep ruby reddish brown with a thin beige head.

S: Smells sour, fruity, cherries, maple syrup, flowers, slight cocoa.

T: Taste is dry, sweet, sour, cocoa, tart, citrus, cherries, strawberries, apples, peaches. Lots of fruit in there, but it's still not overly sweet. It's not as sweet as Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Red Ale. This has a great balance between the dryness, fruitiness and sour/tartness.

M: Mouthfeel is light, dry, only slightly astringent, little carbonation.

D: Very refreshing and easy drinking.

Serving type: on-tap

08-20-2010 22:49:18 | More by VoiceOfTheSoul
Photo of Bendurgin


4.05/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap in a goblet at Pepperland. The appearance is a dark mahogany with a hint of red. A centimeter of off white head sits on top with very thing lacing. At first whiff all I got was a nose full of red wine vinegar. It really reminded me of a fresh garden salad with a vinaigrette on top. At my second go towards a smell tart cherries and raspberries penetrate through a big vinegar nose. The fruit is very welcome company to this one. The taste seems a little more balanced. Nice and sour with a forefront of tart cherries followed by a vinegary aftertaste. Oak notes underlie fruit and sourness. The finish is rather a little sweet, making this a very ranged beer on the pallet. Nice to drink and it went very well with my corn chowder. I thought the carbonation was a little much but overall, this one drank nicely.

Serving type: on-tap

07-17-2010 03:44:27 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of CraftAleRookie


4.08/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Capone's- served in a 9 oz Brandy Snifter

A- Deep, dark, ruby-brown color. No head at all- a thin ring of lace only right up against the glass.

S- Wow! Sweet, yet....sour? Hint of tart vinegar, but not in a bad way. Slight hint of ripe cherry.

T- Good! Sweet, cherry, cassis.

M- Fizzy, medium body- but the tartness makes it feel on the lighter side.

D- Here is where I will not be at a loss for words. I enjoyed this ale with a piece of Reese's Peanut Butter cake (this was the last course)- and it was a perfect pairing. At the end of a night of sampling IPAs, DIPAs, and Belgian Dark Ales with appetizer foods (wings, poppers, nachos), this ale was the perfect match with dessert.

A suprising change of pace.

Serving type: on-tap

06-18-2010 23:29:20 | More by CraftAleRookie
Photo of DmanGTR

New York

4.65/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at Capone's near Philly. Review from notes on 6/4/10.

A - Clear deep maroon/cherry, nicely formed off-white head in a snifter. 4.5

S - Rich cherry and tartness reminiscent of a red wine, very light funk. 5.0

T - Nice tart and sweet body with a sour cherry flavor throughout. Hint of chocolate, sweet as well but a decent dryness in the finish too. 4.5

M - Medium bodied, smooth and bubbly carbonation. 4.0

D - Incredible. I wouldn't mind 3 or 4 more please. 5.0

Serving type: on-tap

06-15-2010 12:49:22 | More by DmanGTR
Photo of popery


4.53/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Toronado. Absolutely, positively delicious stuff. The beer is a blend of deep ruby and mahogany with a small head. The aroma is a fascinating blend of fruit flavors. There are cherries, peaches, grapes, cherries, apricots and cherries. It's also wrapped in one of the most refined vinegar aromas I've ever smelled. There's even further refinement in the oak and light barnyard notes. The flavor is moderately sour with lots of dry woodiness. Again, refinement marks this beer solidly in the flavor, as well. The mouthfeel is incredibly soft, a particular achievement given the acidity of the style. It's just incredible to find such velvety softness coating vinegary sour flavors. My tasting notes simply end with "excellent."

My score would be even higher, if it were not for newer, harder to find offerings that I have not yet reviewed. Rodenbach Grand Cru is a world class beer and I could see upping these scores once I figure out a way to round up a tasting of Flanders-style sours.

Serving type: on-tap

05-25-2010 04:19:36 | More by popery
Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
95 out of 100 based on 2,541 ratings.