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Rodenbach Grand Cru - Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

Not Rated.
Rodenbach Grand CruRodenbach Grand Cru

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,071 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,071
Hads: 3,675
Avg: 4.26
pDev: 20.89%
Wants: 298
Gots: 537 | 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: 1,071 | Hads: 3,675
Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.7/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of alexgash
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

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Photo of kkipple
1.9/5  rDev -55.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of geexploitation
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

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

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

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Photo of ashleyshalyn
3.7/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle into a snifter glass

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

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

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

M: Medium body but high high carbonation!

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

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Photo of AltBock
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of sabrills70
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml cork and caged bottle with best before date of 6/07. Pours a slightly cloudy ruby red/brown with a good 2 finger head and very pretty lace. Aroma is awesome. Sour cherry, nutmeg, oak, vanilla.
Sour cherry taste with oak and vanilla. High carbonation. Refreshing but not super high carbonation due to the sourness. A very unique and tasty beer. Truely amazing since there is no fruit added to this beer.

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Photo of Jredner
3.77/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is sweet white fruits and balsamic vinegar. Amber/brown color with a smallish and mostly diminishing head. Fore is balsamic vinegar and tart cherries. Flavor range is narrow highlighting the vinegar and fruits and carries through to the dry acidic finish.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.01/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - wow, the first ounce or two gets completely converted to about four fingers of foam. Getting a mug full of this beer will take some patience. Ends up a nice caramel amber capped with a solid film of multi-colored foam ranging from light mocha to cocoa brown.

Aroma - yeasty, mild funk mixed with some sour lemon. Hmm, I'm undecided.

Taste - sour lemon, sweet, musty. A mix of flavors, some I like more than others. The finish is dry, tart, and sour. Still not my favorite style.

Mouthfeel - lively carbonation with medium body, this beer has panache, that's for sure.

Drinkability - I liked it less at first and more as I progressed. Generally, this isn't a beer I'd revisit, but it's not bad, just not for me.

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Photo of rustymoore
3.49/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is my first review of a Belgian Red Ale but here goes...pours with a light head and good lacing. The color is a dark, reddish amber that is fairly uniform. The ale smells of sour fruits and wine with a slight nutty hint. It smells amazing! The taste is where this ale declines in my opinion...sour grapes and cranberries are the primary flavor while the tartness tends to take away from this red ale for me. A little more sweetness to balance out the tartness could help. This ale is however very fruity in taste (however sour) and the acidic mouthfeel is somewhat unpleasent as well. Not something one could drink consistently I wouldn't think.

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Photo of aleyeast
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Let me preface by saying, I think this could have used a little more time in the cellar, not a usual problem with me as I have quite a backed up cellar.

poured into a rodenbach tulip from 75cl corked bottle

color is auburn-amber, head is orangy with mixed bubble size
aroma is slight sour, earth
taste is sour, fruity, very effervescent
mouthfeel probably could us 6 months to mellow and have the flavors blend, almost unripe, still easy drinking for a sour ale.

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Photo of Blakaeris
3.73/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours light coppery color with amber highlights. Head dissipates to a crisp white ring.

Smell is sour grape and reminds me of wood aged balsamic vinegar.

Taste is very tart with an underlying sugary sweetness. Finish is a lingering sourness. Generous dry cedar notes. I'm having difficulty identifying the the flavor as sour grape or cherry.

Mouthfeel is light bodied with generous carbonation.

This brew is certainly an aquired taste. Unusual and complex. This brew is good for a change of pace.

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Photo of bashiba
4.09/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice dark red with some brown hints, almost no head on the cellered bottle, fresh it has a big creamy head.

Smell is dominated by a sour balsamic quality, and a deep dark fruity sweetness. Both old and new bottles seem to smell the same.

Taste has a great mix of woody notes, tart sour flavors, and deep dark fruit sweetness, a nice marriage of big flavors, a bit of balsamic flavor comes through more and more.

Mouthfeel has a medium body to it with a dry woody finish, good levels of carbonation especially considering its age and almost flat appearance.

Very well done Flanders Red, nicely sour and has great woody flavors.

Updated on 01/23/12 with a vintage bottle from the celler, I think from 2005.

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Photo of WesWes
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark amber/red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a very sour scent that boasts of crystal and roasted malts along with a yeast sour aroma; very enticing. The taste is great. It has a refreshingly sour taste that is solid on the malts and easy drinking. It boasts Belgian crystal and roasted malts. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a damn good brew. It is quite refreshing. It has great malt character and an excellent yeast sourness.

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

Large bottle, caged and corked, with a foil enclosure to boot. Best before date stamped on the bottle of the bottle. (There's a good place to put vital info...) Pours an interesting chestnut shade of amber, with a slight dark cherry hue. Well developed lacing emerges from a light tan puffy head, which exhibited moderate retention. Nose also, I would characterize as interesting, sweet, nutty and fruity. This brew is a classic of the style, sour, sweet,smoky,acidic, complex. Not for everybody, this style takes awhile for most to warm up to and appreciate. It goes well with food, particularily "fish with lemon" as noted on the label. Tasty, mysterious, interesting and thirst quenching. Get some, taste it, taste it again, come to love it

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark reddish-amber color with a medium thick eggshell white head that lasts fairly long. Thick sheets of lacing. Aroma of sour cherry and grape, with a touch of sweet malt too. Medium-bodied and super tart and vinous and first, but smoother as it warms. Sour fruit is the name of the game here, with cherry and apple being dominant. Some light spices and malts are there as well. The finish is dry and fruity. Admittedly I usually struggle with this style but this is a complex and well-crafted beer.

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

Out of a 750ml bottle received from Michael Jackson's Rare Beer Club, into a Hoegaarden Grand Cru Goblet:
Appearance: Red, almost burgundy in the light. Slightly tan head. Lacing on the side of the glass as I drink.
Smell: Vinegary, barnyardy, oak, vanilla, tropical fruit; very complex.
Taste: Sour, sharply acidic, yet a note of creamy oakiness.
Mouthfeel: Tart acidity left me salivating, which only made me drink more.
Drinkability: The acidity seems too much at first, but the bottle was gone before I knew it. Fantastic beer, maybe not for everyone (do you like sour beer?), but I think that's just the nature of the style.

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Photo of Suds
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

No doubt this is an acquired taste. I, for one, couldn’t keep my nose out of the glass. What an aroma!!! Funky, fruity, sweet…yeast, vinegar, spice…magic marker, sugar, oak, vanilla, cherries, sour-candies….you can’t count all the smells. The taste is equally thrilling….sour and mouth puckering one minute, sweet and succulent the next. I enjoy this style by taking long, deep sniffs, followed by small, slow sips. I swear that you can experience something different each time. This brew is a little sweeter than expected, and very earthy. At times it seems to have a musty, woods-like quality about it. The tart, acidity is refreshing and really clears the pallet for another sip. The liquid is a deep brownish red, with a respectable head. There’s a lot of carbonation, and a medium body. Lingering, funky finish. Very easy to drink.

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Photo of Shiloh
2.77/5  rDev -35%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I used to drink a lot of this stuff back "in the day" of the early seventies while listening to the tunes and having an illegal smoke or two.
We called it something else though, I believe it was wine, or sherry.
Anyhow, this product arrived a deep brownish/red with a medium + carbonation. The body is a medium.
The aroma is yeasty fruit.
The taste is very strong, very sweet, very lingering, and all of cheap wine.
Think I could use a smoke right about now...

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

*Aim bottle in opposite direction when opening*
Appearance: Mixed hues of red, brown and gold. Bourbon colored with an excellent 3 finger head that rises a good 1/4 inch above the glass. Very foamy head that last a long, long time. Thick lace covers the whole glass.
Smell: Tart, Raspberries, with a hint of oak
Taste: Overpowering with raspberries. Very tart. It's missing the oak that's in the smell. Leaves a lingering tart aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated with thick foam in the mouth. Feels somewhat like you're sucking a lemon and has a slight burn to it. I like the mouthfeel, but don't think it's for everyone.
Drinkability: A classic sipping beer. The tartness and carbonation lower the drinkability.
Overall: It's a good beer, but save it for special occasions. Would be good with a nice meal.

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Photo of Enola
2.88/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer shocked me. The color is an oak stain color. The head was unreal. I poured a small amout into a sampler glass and it turned into all head. No beer at all. It finally settled so here we go.

The smell is of wine. No question about it. Maybe some hidden caramel in there too. The taste will take you if you are not prepared. It tastes like wine as well. A very distinct flavor af soured grapes. The mouthfeel is active. The carbonation comes alive. The drinkability is affected by the alcohol. If the alcohol was not so up front this would be a much better beer. I could not drink this much but it would be ok time to time.

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Photo of Citadel82
3.92/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ML Bottle purchased at Spirtis Unlimited in Red Bank. Poured this Flanders Red Ale into a large snifter. A thin tan head formed and quickly disspated to near nothigness. The body of the beer is a reddish mahogany, it has some red highlights when held up to light.

Aroma is sour vinegar, and then the cherries make an appearance.

Taste is a like a tart vinagrette, which morphs into a sourness. No evidence of hops in this brew just wave upon wave of acidic sourness. Any hop presence was lost or diminished from the oak aging process for this beer.

Light bodied with active carbonation which lends to the mouth puckering and thirst quenching qualities of this brew.

Drinkablilty - Very bracingly refreshing. A welcome treat when you have a thirst to slake. I found that the sourness while delightful at first becomes overwhelming at length.

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Photo of ikats
4.87/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep red, mahogany color. Large tan head dissipates quickly to a thin cover. Wonderful sour aroma. It's full of sour cherries and plums. Wood notes are there too (not surprisingly since it was aged in oak for 18 months). As I keep enjoying the aroma, it starts to remind me of sour candies. And with that thought it tastes like sour candies too. Such a wonderful taste, especially if it's not straight out of the fridge. The pleasure is the same I get out of eating sour cherries. Tartness is not overbearing as there is very sweet background to balance it. It all plays very nice on my tongue. I do enjoy sour beers and this one is the best so far. Grand Cru seems like a fitting name.

This was a 750 ml bottle that I saved for a few months for a special night. "Best before" date is stamped on the bottom of the bottle, but it's a bit hard to make out.

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

From bottle purchased at the Stuffed Sandwich.

A- dark brown leather color like stained wood with deep mohogany hues when held up to the light. Had a thin tooth white head that didnt last too long.
S- basalmic vinegar, sour cherries and a burnt fireworks smell that i cant place.
T- Hmmm, well the tartness hits your mouth like you had a basalmic vinegar reduction sauce with sour cherry brine and unripe apple peels. Ended on a burnt sulfer like note with faint sweetness, then back to the vinous character... cant place it.
M&Dr - had a wine like mouthfeel to it with carbonation befitting the style. Good sipping brew.

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Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
95 out of 100 based on 1,071 ratings.