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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: 3,669
Avg: 4.26
pDev: 20.89%
Wants: 298
Gots: 535 | 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
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Reviews: 1,069 | Hads: 3,669
Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mouth-puckering sour. Due to expire on my birthday, June 21, 2004, it had noticeable sediment from the oak barrel which prevented the last drops, and takes away from its georgeous red-brown colour with lacing. Cherry and tart real vanilla that works through the roof of the mouth before eating, Ranked up in fresher bottle sampled a year later. Had again 6.3 years later an just as good. As good in the style as can be.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky dark brown with a 1 inch fizzy tan head that fades to nothing. No lacing on this one. Smell is of balsalmic and red wine vinegar, funk, and some woody aromas. Taste is of sweet and sour cherries, vinegar, funk, and a dry woody flavor on the finish. This beer has a higher level of carbonation with a very crisp and bubbly mouthfeel but with a drying quality in the mouth with each sip. Overall, this is a very good beer that is better than the classic Rodenbach but not as good as the 2008 Vintage I have tried.

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Photo of metter98
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is clear dark reddish brown in color. It poured with a thin off white head that quickly faded into lacy patterns of bubbles on the surface. Only a very light amount of carbonation is evident from the rising bubbles.
S: The nose has a moderately sour aroma along with some notes of cherries, oak barrels and vinegar.
T: Like the smell, there is a moderate amount of sour taste but these are intermixed with some sweetness from the fruit that results in an interesting balance between sweet and sour flavors. Notes of the oak barrel aging are also noticeable in the taste.
M: The beer feels medium-bodied and rather tart on the palate, particularly in the lingering aftertaste. It has a light amount of carbonation.
D: The beer is very easy to drink and quite refreshing because the sourness is not overpowering.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

i have to thank my friend paul for sharing this with us. what a legend, thanks man. killer beer of fame here, not sure i would ever find one, but sure enough. not quite a flanders red to me, not quite an oud bruin, but some dynamic synergy of both, greater than either, and about as complex as beer can get, just so much going on in this one. hazy very dark amber color, as much brown as red, with an inch of tan head that doesnt fade at all. it smells like nutty grain on the front end, but carries with it a palate watering acidity and tartness thats short of fully sour, but lactic and enticing. the first part of the sip is malt heavy, its sweet, brown sugar and candied red grain, but it moves swiftly into a whole mouth experience that draws unusual connections between acidity, oak, and earthy grain. the sweetness doesnt last at all, and the tartness that replaces it is both surprising and welcomed. even after the swallow i taste this for miles, some preserved lemon vinegar as it dies out, but i am amazed by all the layers here. massive body, but i like that the alcohol is so manageable. so many of these get too enormous for much drinking, but this stays right in the comfortable range. as much flavor as ive seen in a beer at 6% abv. enough carbonation, i wouldnt call it lively, but its not flat either. somewhere in the upper medium range, which is a nice compliment to the complexity. i wish this came to colorado. thanks again paul for sharing such a high end and unique beverage.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This poured out as a nice deep red color with a fizzy white head on top. Hardly any lacing and retention on this beer. The smell of the beer is slightly sour, with notes of oak and cherry. The taste is really nice, it's got a subtle tart cherry flavor with a slight sweet malt backbone. The flavors are very well balanced. The mouthfeel is light bodied, with a solid carbonation and very drinkable. Overall this beer is very good. Would drink it again anytime.

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Photo of brentk56
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy tawny color with garnet highlights and a fluffy head that leaves splashy lacing

Smell: Interesting - let it lie still and the odor is of sour cherries and pineapples; stir it up and the yeasty mustiness jumps to the forefront

Taste: Like a sweet tart - starts out with sweet cherry flavors and then all of a sudden, whammo, a sour tartness takes over the palate, leaving me puckering through the finish; then, seconds after I thought all flavors were done, an odd, minty flavor appears

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and fizzy, like a champagne

Drinkability: Wish it was bottled in a smaller bottle; while I enjoy the style for a change of pace, it is not something I can consume in quantity

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Second sampling: Still a strong contender in the Flander's market. Still, could use more body and depth. A hint of chocolate malt and nuttiness would really improve this brew.

Mother pucker! That one's taaaart. Right out of the aromas, barnyardy, vineous, and muskiness makes the mouth water and the eye twitch. Looks burgundy in color with a lightly creamy off-white head that fleeted quickly. Flavors of cider, cherries, and tart berries accompany the intense tartness. Though malt sweetness offers a nice mellowness, it never balances the beer correctly. It could have more sweetness. Alcoholic and lightly astringent in the mouth feel. A woodsy flavor persists in the aftertaste. I like it, but it makes my teeth hurt. Good for all Flander's lovers! Thanks SheepNuts

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a reddish colored brew with a nice bubbly head with standard retention. Aroma is nice mix of oak and cherry with some acidic and tart note also noticeable. Taste is an extremely complex mix of oak, sour cherry (without the sweetness) and some tart and acidic notes also mix in there. The finish is quite bitter; carbonation is average and body is medium. Overall, this is a very complex beer that is also very refreshing. Now, if I can get my hand on some Alexander I would be a happy man.

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Photo of largadeer
3.88/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this one several times, so it's about time I got around to writing a review.

Appearance: A dark but clear ruby red. The two finger head slowly settles to a thin cap, leaving sheets of lace as it recedes. The color is exceptional.

Smell: Simultaneously sour and sweet. Tart cherries, vanilla, balsamic vinegar and a hint of buttery oak.

Taste/mouthfeel: Initially sweet, though it's quickly cut by an acetic fruity sourness (raspberries, black cherries). Notes of oak appear, dry and slightly tannic with a caramel undertone. The finish is tart and fruity, leaving a hint of vanilla on the tongue after the sourness fades.

Drinkability: Fairly easy to drink, but the acetic acid catches up with you after a while.

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

330ml bottle, at Beer Bistro in suit-heavy downtown Toronto.

This beer pours a clear, very dark, yet bright ruby amber hue, with one skinny finger of low-key foamy, and mostly soapy beige head, which leaves a small ring of lace in its slow retreat.

It smells of tart, fruity funk - cherry, apple, and red grape, mostly - a softly oaken woodiness, bready, pastry-like malt, a twitch of likewise malt-borne vinegar, a bit of earthy yeast, and soft leafy, weedy hops. The taste is sour, acidic orchard fruit - cherry, apples, dry white wine, some sweeter Lifesavers-like analogue, a hint of dry yeast, and a bit of earthen woodiness.

The carbonation is actually quite average, and quotidian in its support duties, the body a bit south of medium weight, and generally smooth. It finishes fruity, dry, and receding in its tartness, the cherry tendencies most likely to come out and make a day of it.

A well-balanced sour ale, if that's even a thing, though not quite the sort to knock one over the head, like some of its brethren. Easy to drink, fruity, and a tad funky - good stuff.

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Photo of emerge077
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Into a Liefman's tulip, the Grand Cru pours a deep scarlet tone, capped with several fingers of off-white foam. There's a good level of clarity in this one, without pouring the yeast sediment the first time around.

Smell is perfect, and one of my favorite aspects of Belgian farmhouse styles. The yeast has a distinct funky wildness about it. The aroma first conjures up a wet field in the late morning, as the sun starts to warm up the soil. Damp earth, overripe berries, and a ripened cheese note. A citric sharpness cuts through all the romantic notions, alluding to it's potency.

Taste is citrusy tart at first, spritzy on the palate. Midway through, it has a rounder mouthfeel, with oak and sour berry lasting on the tongue. There is a Balsamic sweetness, but toned down and not vinegary. Aftertaste is a little dry, but balanced by the mouth-watering sweet/sour element.

I can finish a 750 in a sitting, but it's definitely one to pair with food (and share). The label recommends pairing with seafood or dishes with lemon garnish.

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

Corked and caged bottle poured into a chalice. Nice reddish brown and very murky appearance with a large bubbly light-tan head which fades slowly. Nose is lemon and citrus zest with oak and sour cherries. Some vinegar in there too. Taste is really nice with a mild sour/tart combined with a sweet and deep tannin bite. Noticed a cherry and red grape skin combo with a crisp oak finish. Prickly carbonation makes this really drinkable. Overall, a great "sweet-tart" sour blend. A favorite for sure.

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

Vivid blood orange with bright tangerine trim. The cork colored cap is two fingers immediately after the pour and isn't strinking very quickly. It becomes nicely creamy as it melts and leaves a surprising amount of thick lace on the upper reaches of the glass. What a warm, inviting looking ale.

The nose is reminiscent of sweet and sour fruit (cherries mostly) soaked in gourmet vinegar. There's also a lovely woodiness born of 18 months in Brouwerij Rodenbach's massive oak tuns. I love the way I smell something slightly different each time I put my nose over the glass. I haven't had a huge number of Flanders reds yet, but this nose has to be a classic of the style.

No version that I've had thus far prepared me for what just splashed over my taste buds. Most of them seem to be sour for sour's sake. I like sour, but I need more. Rodenbach Grand Cru delivers more... and more... and more. I'm amazed at the stunning amount of depth and complexity in each mouthful.

I have to believe that oak is the key to Grand Cru's success. I'm sure the chemical reactions that occur as the beer seeps into the wood and is then breathed back out again change the original ale in untold ways. I have no idea if more time together would improve things to an even greater extent, but I do know that less time wouldn't be advisable.

Impressively tart and tangy are the order of the day. Having said that, I don't know that I've had a Flanders red with as much underlying sweetness. The utilization of multiple sets of taste buds (sweet at the tip, sour along the sides), and the contrast between the two, is what sets this world-class ale apart.

The finish has a perfect acidic bite. It's easy to see why Michael Jackson considers this the most refreshing beer in all the world. I'd probably choose something else for that honor, but I can damn sure see what he means. As much as I'm enjoying it solo, I can also see how it would complement a wide variety of foods extremely well.

I wouldn't change a single thing about the mouthfeel. Given the style, it's pretty close to perfect. It's light, yet has a undeniable strength; like a heavy strand of silk thread. A light stickiness promotes flavor linger and a gentle sizzle of carbonation keeps the tongue's attention. Not that it was in danger of wandering given the remarkable flavor profile.

This is fantastically delicious beer. I'd advise anyone who is interested in Flanders reds to start here before proclaiming their love, like or dislike for this unique style. Put me solidly in the 'love' camp. It's hard to imagine that La Folie is superior since there's so little room between Rodenbach Grand Cru and perfection.

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Photo of oberon
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my tulip glass a deep burgundy with a large blooming head,sour cherry to be expected dominate the aromas with a touch of iron and barnyard as well.This stuff can make you pucker sour cherry hits hard on the tastebuds but rounds nicely into a more sweet cherry-pie like flavor in the finish.It has an almost creamy mouthfeel to it as I drink more the more it grows on me once your palate gets used to the sour tinge this stuff goes down very easily,glad to try this classic.

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

a very interesting choice for me to make this evening after everyone went to bed, a really am just trying to get through my backlog, but wow, what an unexpected result

Rich red in color and cloudy with a ruby/garnet look to it. nice light head that hung around for a nice little bit. Then I go in for the smell and I am knocked back. Sour, apple vinegar with hints of citrus bouncing around it as well. tart cherries all over. So amazingly complex. Grapes, and plums, lots of fruit notes and a granny smith apple or two all coming up into the air. Carried over very well in to the first sip, as it was biting tart through and through. Really lip puckering sour that took a second to get used to, but once you did, look out. Bright lemon and orange notes then lit it up. Very light, very bright flavor that was soo complex and wonderfully done. Smooth, gentle, not overly carbonated, but amazingly drinkable.

overall just what i needed and really set me back where i needed to be

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Photo of oline73
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Poured hazy reddish brown color with one finger of off white head. Most of the head goes away almost right away leaving just a ring around the edge.

Smell: Quite sweet from the malt with a strong sourness. Hints of sour fruit, raspberry etc, some vinegar as well.

Taste: Initially sour, with hints of fruit, think sour raspberries. There is also some sweetness from the malt along with the sour fruit notes. There is some dry oak in there as well. All the flavors blend together very well and are very smooth.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with delicate mild carbonation. The finish is quite dry.

Overall: This beer is very smooth and good. I love the sweet and sour notes together. Overall I like this beer and would definitely have it again.

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

A - Dark reddish brown with a medium sized head and good clarity.

S - Acidic and earthy/ spicy. Fruity with some dark cherry character.

T - Tart smooth and spicy. Very earthy and refreshing.

M - Fairly dry and strongly carbonated. Finishes somewhat sweet and never becomes overly sour and puckering.

D - This is a greatly enjoyable beer. It is so well balanced that I find myself often overlooking the complexity of its flavor and aroma. Hard to find any flaws in this one.

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

I realized I haven't review this one yet. Bottle shared with some family after Thanksgiving dinner.

A: Grand Cru pours a dark brown color with reddish tint and an off-white head. The beer leaves some spotty lacing on the glass.

S: The aroma is very acetic, vinous, and tart. There is also a substantial malt aroma which provides a bit of balance to the nose.

T: This is what I think of when I hear "Flanders Red Ale". The taste is incredibly acetic and vinous. There are also great sour cherry and wood flavors, lending the beer a tannic quality.

M: The beer is rather full bodied with abundant carbonation and an astringency that can be a bit strong if you're not really expecting it.

D: As previously mentioned, this beer is pretty much *the* example of a Flanders Red. It's a really solid beer and a great one for wine drinkers like my cousin that I shared the bottle with.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle - $9.49 at Bullock's Wine & Spirits in Marietta, Georiga.

Appearance: Escapes the bottle an opaque, dark brown-red body with a thinnish, scant, khaki-colored head.

Smell: Easy breezy aroma of moist, ripe cherries leisurely soaking in first-class vinegar and dusted with vanilla sugar.

Taste: Flavorful blend of both sweet and tart cherries with a lesser hint of black raspberry and an overall robust acetic quality. Subtle, subdued oakiness with a kiss of vanilla. Pinch of pickling spices. Cracklingly tart, puckering finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium-high carbonation. Mouthfeel is has a tad oiliness to it but is also lightly spritzy.

Drinkability: An all-around admirable brew that's surprisingly refreshing. As my astonished roommate said of it, "How dey do dat??" Some things are best left unsaid, man.

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Photo of jlindros
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wha! I've never reviewed this beer before. Well silly me.

Pours a nice fizzy almost 1 finger head that fades pretty quickly, just a touch of light getting through the dark reddish maroon burnt sienna brown colored beer.

Nose is definite Belgian flemish, sour malts, malt vinegar, light bready malts, sour fruit, a bit of tart cherry and apricot like fruits, hints of brown sugar and molasses, and a bit of lactic acid like aromas.

Taste is more of the same as expected, tart fruit and sour malts hit right off, again a malt vinegar but not quite Duchesse level, tart berry, sour peach and cherry like fruit, lactic acid, etc. Then a bready brown malt, hint of molasses, juicy tart fruits. Finish is bone dry, actually even more than bone dry, but slightly flemmy, with tons of sour and tart fruits and malt flavors lingering, and a bit of lactic acid.

Mouth is med bodied, decent carb which I always thought it had more carbonation, and a little bite from the acidity.

Overall great, this is one of the staples for a flemish red style, great tart fruit, sour brown malts, light lactic acid, but smooth and juicy, and still somehow decently drinkable.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.06/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Duvel tulip glass.

Things are just as burgundy here as in Classic world, though a touch darker and a whole degree of magnitude more brackish. The khaki cap is now more baseball than beret, ‘cause it has to appeal to a wider audience, and who doesn’t love America’s pastime, eh? No one, that’s who!

Whatever subtlety lived in the classic nose is mostly gone here, replaced by an even sharper contingent of berries, the elite sniper brigade of the bush/bog/wherever the hell else berries happen to come from. Luckily for the sanity of the nose hairs, these sumbitches are constantly hounded (and likely annoyed) by a loudmouthed, yappy little toffee bastard. Now the berries know how Spike felt all those years ago with that pest Chester always tagging along, makin’ a comedic mess o’ things for the big lug. The traces of red wine on the edges are more blatant now, in the vein of a rich, earthy Pinot Noir. A short field of dark ivy crawls beneath it all, ensuring the tartness and the sweetness don’t battle in a vacuum, that it’s not just a young buck taking on a crowd of comers one at a time (I’m lookin’ at you, any extra that’s ever been in an action movie before). Finally, swinging along the edge of the canopy with the last vestiges of the wine is a twinge of apple vinegar, young, lithe, and carefree, but still with a chip on its shoulder. Be wary of this little fireball, as it probably won’t take much to set it off in an adolescent rage. I blame the parents. It’s always the parents. Usually. Sometimes.

Similar layers stratify themselves atop the tongue. First comes a basal sediment of sweet, buttery toffee. On top of this rolls a tide of berry-laced wine, this time verging closer to a Malbec. Then comes a thin-ish wash and veneer of straight white vinegar, quick and effervescent as a misty ninja, yet effective as the blade of a veteran samurai. Once this silent wind of puckering doom whooshes away, the wine and toffee helically battle through the air, a Torch and Sub-Mariner for these Modern Age times (clearly I’m not counting their appearance in Marvels as anything new, more a rerun of the past in stunning Alex Ross HD). Depending on the curvature of your tongue at the right instant, you may be left with a dry, tannic scar or a mildly-nutty sweetness. Either way, the feeling doesn’t last long, but a crater is indeed left behind, laden with remnants of everything that once dwelt on that craggy little asteroid. Shit, geologists are gonna have field days for years to come with this nonsense.

As hearty as everything comes and as thoroughly as things express themselves, there is a very bearable lightness in their collective being. An evanescence somehow pervades, even in spite of the lack of that dark beauty, Amy Lee. Dammit, this shit just turns out to be so drinkable because of this. There are worse burdens, I s’pose.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It pours a reddish-chestnut brown beneath a short lid of creamy tan foam that drops shortly to a standard collar with just some spider-web surface covering (which is common for the style). It does, however, leave some nice splashes and spots of lace about the goblet.

The nose is grape-like, and vinous; with some earthy character (muddy, mineral-rich barnyard), and a touch of underlying wood.

In the mouth it's medium-light bodied but with a certain amount of dextrins, and it's very-fine, natural (bottle-conditioned) carbonation is gently effervescent.

The flavor is tart and sweet right up-front like dark grapes (Concorde even), with a combination of cherry and plum-like fruitiness that's backed by a wide, sweetish caramelish malt base. It's not overly sugary, but there's definitely some dextrinous sweetness there acting as a soft platform for it's spritely, spinning, and sublimely metallic-spicy tart character. The bitterness is limited, as it should be, and the tartness and drying woodiness balance it well, and bring it to a fruity, but still raspy-dry finish.

The Rodenbach beers are of the highest caliber, and this is their finest. It's refreshing and exciting!

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Photo of kojevergas
3.42/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle served in a Rodenbach Grand Cru goblet in a bar in Ghent, Belgium. Reviewed from notes.

A: 2.5 finger head of nice cream and thickness. Black colour. Good retention.

Sm: Dark fruit, hops, a bit of caramel. Complex, and featuring some wonderful esters that me broken nose can't quite identify.

T: Dark fruit body with a sourish finish. Very hoppy, particularly in terms of esters. Fairly simple for the style. The souring notes are nicely balanced against the fruit body, but still strange in the beer, even considering the style.

Mf: Relatively coarse and wet. Matches the style but not the beer per se.

Dr: Too sour to drink repeatedly, but overall a good beer, and an affordable one in Belgium.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Max's. My first Flanders Red Ale (I think?) so I'm curious to try. Pours a nice ruby red color, nice tart aroma. Taste is a bit sour, with tons of cherry flavor, more balanced and drinkable than I thought it would be. Delicious beer with tons of flavor, finishes nice and clean. Count me in as a fan of this style, would definitely try this one again.

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