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Rodenbach Grand Cru - Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

Not Rated.
Rodenbach Grand CruRodenbach Grand Cru

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,069 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,069
Hads: 3,670
Avg: 4.26
pDev: 20.89%
Wants: 298
Gots: 536 | 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.
View: Beers (7) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Rodenbach Grand Cru Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,069 | Hads: 3,670
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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Photo of kmo1030
4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a nice looking deep dark red, with a thin not quite white head.
vinous vinegar-y aroma, with some dark, let me see... sort of rotten, mineral filled swamp mud. brings some hideous images to mind i know, but this works out very well somehow. some hay-like horse blanket mixed in with the swampiness too, followed by some plasticy oak.
the taste is fan-freaking-tastic. it's like drinking the most tasty vinegar you can imagine. a mild sweet apple cider vinegar flavor, with a little bit of oak and maybe vanilla here and there. a lot of cherry seems to come out as it warms. absolutely awesome and must be tasted to be believed.
medium body with mild moderate carbonation. mouth puckeringly sour and very drying.
excellent drinkability for something that is such an assault on the senses, but in the grand scheme of things probably only ranks at "good" for drinkability.
i've had this beer a few times now, and it gets better every time. seek this out and alter your definition of beer forever.

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Photo of joedon
2.95/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Nice tan head with lots of lace atop a dark brown-garnet beer.
Strong aroma of sour cherries plus earthy-dank notes.

Overpowering sourness with sour cherries, buttery-acetyl and alcohol bite. Very much of an acquired taste.

Decent mouthfeel for a strong flavored beer.

Not very drinkable to me. This beer might be right for someone really into lambics or lactobacillus flavors but it's not for me.

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Photo of granger10
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was afraid hype would get the better of this beer as I have heard much high praise. Fortunately, this beer lived up to its hype.

Deep brown cherry colored with a tall fizzy brilliant white head. Head reduces, lacing moderate, good signs of carbonation. Smell is strong on oak and sour cherries. In fact that was it for awhile but then some yeasty raw flavors came out and were really unique with their wildness yet restraint. Taste begins sweeter than I thought. Braeburn apples dipped in caramel. Sourness ensues. Sweeter woody flavors under but don't come completely through. Yeast funk rises instead. Sourness stays. Tart fresh picked unwashed cherries. Apple cider vinegar. Purely acidic finish. Wait, a touch of earth too. Mouthfeel is prickly from the carbonation and that's how it should be. Man this is enjoyable. Complex, easy to drink, flavorful, balanced enough. Me likey!

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a ruddy russet copper topped with a frothy khaki pillowy head cap leaving drippy pillowy lace sliding down the glass.

Light oaky wooden bouquet is subtle yet prescent.

First swigs: Tart Granny Smith apple pucker meeting a cherry pie crust malt. Some soft lingering of lemon and confectioner’s sugar sweetness. Tartness is kept in check. Slightly red wine vinious.

Medium bodied and easily drinkable with a 6% abv. Carbonation seems a touch foamy.

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Photo of Brian700
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a 750 that Realale sent to me as a suprise. So I must thank him first for this unreal ale.

This beer pours a reddish amber color with a light tan head that leaves nice lace on my glass. Looks refreshing.

I am immediately hit with a huge fruity aroma the second I popped the cork on this one. I smelled the top of the bottle and I got a mixture of all kinds of things. There was fruit, peppers, vinegar, and some mild oak presence. Pouring this into my glass it was intensified.

The flavor is like nothing I've tasted. The first sip took me by suprise. I couldn't believe how much sourness was in there. There is presence of sour fruit, mild vinegar, and there is some hot pepper (possibly Cyan pepper) finish in the back of the throat. After I got used to it I could pick up on more sweetness and fruit (raspberries, cherries). This beer warms you all the way down to your stomach. This is a very complex and tasty beer but if you have a 750 ml bottle of this you should definately share it with a friend or two.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with heavy carbonation. It consumes the mouth like pop rocks.

The drinkability is a little bit lower because this is such an intense flavor. I highly recommend trying it if you have an experienced palate. Not for the faint of heart.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.86/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma: Firm sour note, with some sour cherry and malt

Appearance: Amber glass with a tan head that left a good curtain of lace

Flavor: Tart! The sourness gives a real bite. Again, some sour cherry and a hint of what I’ve heard others describe as a nail polish note. Funny, I HATE nail polish, but it strangely works in this beer.

Mouthfeel: Lively carbonation and a puckering astringency.

Overall Impression: Easy drinking, which is a bit dangerous. The sour is firm, but it has enough base to keep the drinkability high. Enjoyed this in the Poperinge city square at Café de la Paix.

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Photo of cbl2
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$7.99 750 mL 6.00% Best by 9/07.


Pours a deep almost opaque reddish brown that is freckled with carbonation, though only a thin haze rimes the top.


As tart and acidic as the regular rodenbach, but with an underlying vanilla/oak component. That gentles it a bit, and somewhat lessens the cherry aspect.


This one pops in the mouth! Even more tart than the original with intense cherry/raspberry overtones that send your salivary glands into high gear. This beer doesn't ask for respect, it demands it. I'm almost forced to chew on this one, as the juices released in my mouth congeal a bit. Some subtle oak nuances are apparent, though I don't know if this is worth the few extra dollars over the regular.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.74/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up in Washington on a recent visit. I haven't seen it locally (LA) so it was a must buy. A dark amber color with a off white head that leaves little lacing.

Fruity and spiced ale taste hits me up front. A bit of wild yeast combine to give it a citrus almost acidic type flavor and mouthfeel. The theme to this beer though is in its wooded, smoked, oaked flavor. Lots of earthy roots balanced by the mildly wild yeast, funky backer. Cherries are present and give it a level of sweetness that is needed. Highly peppered in the mouthfeel and down the throat, it adds a unique kick to this brew that I like very much.

Notes: quite the tart and sour little treasure. Hops don't really make a presence and aren't necessary. One that I will pursue and purchase whenever possible and a worthy brew just short of greatness in the end.

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Photo of barknee
2.67/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

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Photo of surfadelic23
3.4/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Holy guacamole is this sour! It's the equivalent of biting a lemon or sticking yout tongue on a nine volt battery! WOW! Don't get me wrong, these aren't negatives for the style and I went into this 750 ml. bottle knowing what to expect! I can't imagine what somebody who bought this thinking "Oh it's just another Belgian" would think after sip one!
This pourred a bright ruby brown with a nice head in my chalice.
There's a nice sourish fruity smell that's pleasant. Off the bat, the taste is sweet but then KABAM a wall of sourness hits! Boy does it hang around for a bit too.
The mouthfeel is right for the style but boy is it overpowering. Drinkability for me is on par or average. Because of the sourness I just can't see this as one that I'd make a session beer out of. I'm glad I tried it though as it's a very interesting style that I had trepidations about even drinking... Alas, nothing ventured nothing gained. I will definitely try others of the style

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Photo of jamie2dope
3.14/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a cool dark red color with a small tannish white head. Smell was extremely sour, very jolly rancherish. Also some cherries and a noticeable vinnegar smell towards the back. Taste was a bit better, with the sour flavors and fruit melding together. Mouthfeel was light to medium bodied. This beer was simply too sour for me, and way too acidic for me to handle. Maybe it is just the style. Im not sure...this was my first example of the style. cheers

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice muddy brown color but has a brightness to it. Some good red hues running thru it. Big head that dies right away. Good aroma-sour cherries and a trace of oak. Sour smelling. Incredible flavor-perfect blend of sourness and fruit. Just a hint of oakiness. The sourness is just right and balanced with a nice sweet finish. Nice fruit in the backround. Good mouthfeel-very full though quite refreshing and light at the same time. Very, very drinkable and enjoyable. I will be buying this again and again.

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Photo of trep
3.45/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750mL bottle, corked n caged.

Murky brown with a mocha head that fades to a thin ring around the glass. Some carbonation visible and some yeast sediment.

Smells like vinegar and wine. Very fruity but the alcohol is very overwhelming.

Very tart all the way through, appley and grapey. Alcohol isn't too prevalent in the taste as it was the aroma.

High carbonation and thin mouthfeel. Kind of tough to drink through the tartness. But overall its above average.

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

750mL bottle, corked and caged, into a thin Lindemans pilsner.

clear amber orange with tons of rising bubbles and a creamy layer of off-white head that retains well and leaves plenty of lace.

what an odd combination of aromas. sharp sweetness with cherries, apples, raisins and honey; sharp sourness with sour grapes and cherries; vinegar, resiny woodiness.

initial apple and raisin sweetness, then an overpowering lemon, cherry and grape sourness with a strong note of balsamic vinegar in the finish. fairly light feel and carbonation. unsparingly strong in its flavors, but the combination and finish are slightly off-putting.

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Photo of Phatz
3.98/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This beer pours a golden ruby color with a big head and lots of active carbonation bubbles.

Smell: The aroma is reserved in my limited experience with the style. However with a bit searching there was a little bit of tart cherries and grapes.

Taste: The taste is very sugary and yet tart. Much more tart than I had expected but I believe that was largely because of the carbonation that the tart seemed exaggerated. The bottle claimed that is was aged in oak for 18month. I had to use a lot of imagination to find an oak flavor. Overall it is good, but I believe I had too high of expectations. I was hoping for something that could compete with the Duchess.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is hard to describe. The tartness brought on a pucker and stung the taste buds a bit and yet underneath the big fluffy crisp carbonation the beer had a medium light smooth body.

Drinkability: Despite being a bit different than I had expected this is a tasty beer that drinks very easily.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark ruby-red color, a bit murky, topped by a thin bubbly off-white head that quickly dissolved into nothingness. Nose had a lot of sour cherry notes, hints of vanilla and a wooden aroma gleaned from the oak aging. I also picked up occasional hits of vinegar and that ol' farmhouse funk.
The taste had an immediate sharp tart taste of cherries and currants. It got to the point where my jaws ached after a while. Oaken flavor presented itself mid-palate as did some light vanilla. Very dry and light, velvety feel.
Overall, darn tasty and quaffable. Still, I think I might prefer the Classic over this creation. Hard to say, but I know I'm looking forward to having the GC again.

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Photo of Litterbean
1.69/5  rDev -60.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Pours a reddish brown color with a decent sized head. Looks decent, if not a little typical.

Very tart to the nose, hints of raspberries and sour apple. Overpowering and not at all pleasant.

Taste is terribly sour, like sucking on a green jolly rancher. Hints of acidic vinegar and ripe raspberries. Mouth puckeringly sour, with little else going for it. Oak notes are subdued and pretty much nonexistent behind the yeast-induced sourness. Made my mouth feel nasty afterwards too.

After spending $10 for a bottle, I certainly wasn't going to pour this down the drain, but I did think about it. I forced myself to drink every last drop of this god-awful beer. I award it no points for being unique. Just a terribly unappetizing beer.

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Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
95 out of 100 based on 1,069 ratings.