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Rodenbach Grand Cru - Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

Not Rated.
Rodenbach Grand CruRodenbach Grand Cru

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3,298 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,298
Reviews: 1,009
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 11.42%
Wants: 240
Gots: 379 | FT: 19
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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,298 | Reviews: 1,009 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of thain709
4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Ffej of July

A - Poured with a deep, crimson colored body...a fluffy, white head stood about two fingers and showed nice retention...nice lacing was left behind

S - Sweet and tart cherries are up front...they mix well with some vinegar, other sour notes, more fruit, some wine, and some oak

T - Well, all those flavors present in the nose combine excellently on the palate...the sweet and sour aspect of the beer is present throughout the entire beer...cherries play a big part in this...there is some grape and apple coming through creating the wine-like flavors...I really taste the vinegar that's described for a Flanders...the vinegar cuts through the sweetness and really lets the tart and sour notes stand out...finishes long, tart, and dry

M - Medium bodied...this one has a nice creaminess to it as well as some subtle carbonation...tart and dry finish

O - What a surprise to have this keg at the party...an excellent addition to the tap line up...my first Flanders Red and I was impressed...probably one of the best out there that I'll have

Photo of biegaman
4.23/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

Photo of snaotheus
4.67/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked and caged bottle split into two big snifters

Pours a dark reddish brown, a little cloudy, medium sized beige-ish head. Smell is tart, dark fruity, I think I smell plums a lot. Smells like sweet tarts.

Taste is extremely tart, and very good. Like delicious. Holy crap. This is my new standard. More plums, a little cherry. Sweet tarts.

Mouthfeel is moderately dry, nice and smooth. Overall, this beer is excellent.

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.03/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours clear ruby red with a medium-large off-white creamy head. Dissipation is slow and leaves rich lacings.

S: Oak, a bit sour and some cherries. Dry, some malt, dark syrup, bready. Faint bitterness.

T: Cherries and brett. Sour. Rich cherryflavour. Well balanced and well matured. Oranges.

M: Long sour bitter aftertaste. Body is medium and carbonation is very mild.

O: Nice sour Flanders red.

Photo of KAP1356
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle with no apparent freshness or bottle on date visible. Poured into an oversized wine glass...

A - Poured a nice ruby, dark brown color with a .5 finger off-white head that slowly recedes to a collar. Spotty lacing along the way.

S - Light touch of tart cherries, vanilla, some brown sugar, and some plum and caramel. Oak adds nicely. Slight vinegar taste, but not as much as I would have expected. Nice sweet/bitter juxtaposition going on here.

T - Follows the nose nicely with tart cherries, vanilla and oak at the forefront followed closely by the vinegar sourness. There are hints of other fruits (plums, raspberries, blackberries) present as well.

M - Light-medium bodied beer with a more than moderate amount of carbonation. Really very nice mouthfeel and a highlight of this beer.

O - Wow. Looked past this one so much. I definitely must go buy more to cellar for a good while.

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.62/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Photo of jpro
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.

Photo of TheWhiskerReview
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish-brownish black with a 1-finger tan head. Mild retention and lace.

The silky nose offers up deep notes of rich cocoa powder, raisins, prunes and vanilla with touches of coffee and spiced apples. For a sour, the nose has little evidence of it. Perhaps a touch of sour cherry.

The palate has a massive, dominant but incredibly well-integrated sourness- lemony with other tones of black cherries and pears- balanced by a very rich malty structure. More notes of butterscotch, syrupy tobacco, creamy vanilla bean, a figgy sweetness and a good dusting of spices- pepper, clove, cinnamon. A faint bit of tannins in the middle of the tongue starts the finish, which is incredibly long with trailing, vineous notes of chocolate and spiced orange peel. The spectrum of flavors in this are astounding.

Out of all the sours I've had, this one has one of the most well-integrated sour characters I've ever come across. Ya it's a bit like those warheads candies, but it's tucked in such an incredible silky richness. The flavors are varied and complex and the delivery is impeccable. And for a sour, there's none of those rank, barnyardy tones either which would make this, I think, a good first sour for someone who needs their sour cherry popped.

Photo of sk8man121
4.21/5  rDev -1.9%
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.


Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.12/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a snifter. Sharred with a fellow BA.

A- Pours a dark brown body with red hues, nice 2 finger beige head that dissipates slowly, nice lacing as well.
S- The smell was not a surprise, vinegar upfront, with a nice oakiness that lingers out, cherries as well as a slight barnyard funk aroma.
T- Wow the taste really surprised me, from the aroma I was expecting this one to be a little more sour, this beer is really sweet almost candy like, slight tartness, cherries, oak, vinegar, very surprising.
M- Well carbonated, smooth drinking, dry on the finish.
O- This beer surprised me, I heard fairly good feedback on this one, although I was expecting it to be a little more sour, the surprising sweetness was enjoyable, really easy drinkability, would definitely drink again.

Photo of Azurescens
4.13/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL corked and caged bottle best by date 05/04/14 printed on label, poured into Hair of the Dog tulip, reviewed on 6/30/11.

A: Pours dark red brown with with light reddish hues and a fluffy tan head that leave some light lacing around glass.

S: Tart cherries with dark fruit, sweet malt, caramel and some mild vinegar notes.

T: Starts out tart with cherries, other fruit notes and some sweet malts. The tartness fades to reveal smooth and mellow cherry and caramel followed by a wave of mild tartness. Leaves a lingering taste of cherries and other fruit.

M: Really smooth light-medium body with moderate carbonation, finishes dry.

O: Awesome Flanders Red, one of my favorites yet. Really drinkable and delicious with great fruit notes and tartness.

Photo of ehammond1
4.27/5  rDev -0.5%
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!

Photo of leschkie
4.62/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Photo of Mosley1212
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of avalon07
4.52/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a bright ruby color and a somewhat hazy consistency. There was an inch and a half of foamy, long-lasting head. OK lacing.

S: A big, fruity aroma of cherries, citrus and a hint of malt. A bit sour, but definitely appealing.

T: Taste was dominated by the cherries (not a bad thing), with some citrus, malt and a sugary element as well. Not as sour as I would have thought, but definitely tart. A well balanced, extremely focused and quite tasty beer.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a silky smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is a well made, easy drink and vibrant brew. Well worth a try.

Photo of fields336
4.03/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into my SN Snifter
best by 1/09/13 printed on the bottom of the bottle

A: Dark brown reddish color with 1/2 finger of khaki/mocha colored head. lingers on the side with slight carbonation, alcohol legs present. lacing is nice and leaves different patterns on my glass as I drink it.

S: first smell is of vinegar, then opens up to a bouquet of cherries and grapes. with the funkiness/sourness it is almost like a red wine. some coffee or dark chocolate is latent. definitely smells acidic.

T: Red wine vinegar mixed in with dark fruits. the sourness washes away to a nice mix of fruity and earthy undertones. Definitely wine-like. Pretty nice. The mix of sweet and sour is nice and neither one overpowers the other. Definitely getting some tannins and oak late in the taste as it sweetens and lingers on my tongue. nice balance and the different waves of flavors are welcome.

M: light-bodied and carbonated, not a whole lot lingers but a bit on the sides of my tongue. hangs around for a while.

O: My palate was not ready for this style, so I will definitely mark this as one to have to re-review, but I think sour beers could become something I like.

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

Appearance-Clear brownish red with beautiful ruby highlights on the edges, slightly off white head that doesn't stick around too much but leaves a ring of foam around the glass. Great looking beer.

Smell- A lot of tartness, cherry, fruitcake, and cinnamon. Maybe a bit of funkiness, but generally a very well-behaved smell.

Taste- Really excellent, taste begins with a lot of sour cherry and strawberry flavors, and ends with that very familiar juicy sweet/honey taste. This is great.

Mouthfeel- Not much to say here. It's acidic and medium bodied. not a ton of carbonation, but it's just fine.

Overall- This is not my favorite style of beer, but I found this to be exceptional. Not too sour, but also not god awfully sweet and juicy like a lot of these flemish reds. Real easy and pleasant drinking, highly recommended.

Photo of ryantaussig
3.97/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

Photo of bamadog
4.77/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I picked this one up back in December while traveling home to Northwestern Pennsylvania. Review is from notes taken on 6/22/2011 and poured from the bottle to a tulip.

Appearance: Pour is a dark, murky, coppery brown -- like a really old, dirty penny (if that can be used as a descriptor); starts with a short, light tan loose head that fades immediately to nothing other than a thin island and an even thinner ring hanging around the surface; body shows some really deep ruby/mahogany highlights, and it's pretty cloudy; near the sides, one can see some thin lines of carbonation trickling up to the top.

Smell: Wow. Pretty strong and it just pours out of the bottle upon getting the cork out (which proved to be a bit of a challenge); lots of tart fruitiness, that has a hint of cherry to it, but also a sweeter raspberry or strawberry quality to it as well; bit of a sweet, vanilla-like scent as well. The smell is great, and it's actually making my mouth water.

Taste: This beer is pretty superb. Lots of the sweet and sour/tart fruity flavors (again, I would guess cherry, and the sweeter raspberries and/or strawberries); bit of a dank, dark malt hiding out in there; the tartness is great, and it has just a touch of funk to it without being overwhelming. I would definitely compare to this to a lighter version of Consecration, despite being very different styles of beer.

Mouthfeel: Body is of medium weight, and has a nice, spritzy carbonation that works great with the sweet and sour flavors and creates just a bit of pucker, but still remains very refreshing; a moderately thick, sticky coating is left all over the palate and it really holds those flavors well -- I'm really impressed by how well the sweet and tart flavors hold on; belly is left a little warm from the acidic nature of the drink.

Overall: This is seriously and all day, all year beer. I'm loving it on this warm summer night, but would never complain about having to drink it in the middle of winter. With an ABV clocking in at only 6%, it wouldn't beer hard to drink all night long. I'm glad to have come across this beer and if I ever see it again, I will be buying the store out.

Photo of scbrew
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2nd in 1st day of Summer tasting w/ Vistica. Bottle from O'Shea Brewing in Laguna Niguel. Pours dark amber with a tight white head. Flavor is tart raison/plum and fig. Beautiful balance between sweet & sour leaning towards sour. Medium carbonation with smooth little bubbles. Finishes with the same balance.

Photo of Patrickbrusil
4.58/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Obviously this beer needs not much of an intro. It is one of the most widely recognized flander red ales around the world.

The nose has hints of mashed cherries and oak. The taste is utterly refreshing. This could be consumed all day long. For days on end.

It has notes of dried cherries, slight vanilla, and a wonderful woody sour taste that just dances across the tongue and begs one to take another sip.

A wonderful mouthfeel from the champagne like bubbles.

Drink it up. What a brew.

Photo of smakawhat
4.8/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a Rodenbach Grand Cru tulip glass.

A nice thick foam of light creamy brown is created off the pour, sitting on a solid dark Indian red brown body. Minimal sticking, but what is gives some nice sheets.

Salty sour, and hint of sweet cherry on the last whiff. Real wonderful, extremely balanced even a hint of creamy vanilla. Really like this mix

Taste is a wonderful rush of flavors. A great mix of sweet and sour cherries in the mid palate. Carbonated small but tight tingles on the swallow, creamy afterfinsh bringing some of the vanilla hints, maybe even some pepper strangely, and hot cinnamon. Chewy, sour viscous and a perfect almost raspberry tartness. Just loving it.

I could drink this all day. This is pure magic in a bottle, and much tastier than the classic. Complete total beer enjoyment.

Photo of karait95
3.82/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown reddish color not bright but not opaque either, is a nice presentation with a big head formed of small bubbles that make a compact head, this one dissipates not to fast leaving some traces behind.

S: Here starts the complexity, starting with a fermented fruity aroma really intense with lot of sour inside fruits like citrus and prunes and some other things are really intense, not clear to say because it is a rare type, also can be sensed some malts in the back.

T: Really sour tasting not a common flavor but not unpleasant it is really complex, you need to evaluate it from a mature perspective, not an easy one, not for beginners.

M: It is nice, as the main mouth-feel is sour the bitterness and the sweetness are set aside but at some point the beer-like sensations is present with a medium lasting ending not to easy to process. Good but rare beer feeling.

Photo of spinrsx
4.1/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz Bottle

Appearance – Hazy reddish brown colour with a large size frothy off white coloured head. It’s hard to make out the carbonation level due to the haziness and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for 5 minutes or so before it began to dissipate.

Smell – Malts, vinegar, dark fruits, caramel, citric acid

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, balsamic vinegar, and some dark fruits. (raisins, cherries) I can also taste an earthiness, some citric acid, and some notes of caramel. The beer finishes with a tart/sour vinegar and dark fruit aftertaste.

Overall – I've only had a handful of flanders red ales before, but this was by far the best one I've encountered. The taste is complex but too over the top. It's got a lot of flavour punch but it's still quite drinkable. I'd buy this beer again.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was excited and surprised to find this at a Walmart in Cancun, Mexico.

A: Pours a dark ruby/brown color with a one finger off-white head. Spotty lacing down the sides of the glass.

S: Light tart cherries, vanilla, a little bit of brown sugar. Slightly vinegary, and overall not as sour as expected. There is a subtle sweetness.

T: Nice sour cherries, vanilla and oak. There is some plum, raspberry, and a little bit of apple. On the acetic side, but not overly sour.

M: Medium bodied with lots of carbonation, really spot on in both regards.

O: A great beer, fits style pretty much spot on. Great flavor profile and mouthfeel. Look forward to picking this up when I get back to the states.

Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
95 out of 100 based on 3,298 ratings.