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Rodenbach Grand Cru | Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

1,103 Reviews
For Trade:
Rodenbach Grand CruRodenbach Grand Cru

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
Belgium | website

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-25-2000

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Reviews: 1,103 | Ratings: 3,842
Photo of Shaw
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After literally spending 10 minutes struggling with the crown cork, I poured this beer from its 750 mL bottle into my glass. Phew!

It's a beautiful red color with an off-white head.

It smells sour with notes of cherries, citrus and earth. The cherry smell is quite strong, actually. Nice.

The taste is tart and acidic with fruit notes. I don't taste malt or bitter flavors at all. Very clean.

The light body compliments the tart flavors very well.

This is a very nice Flanders Red Ale.

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Photo of ggaughan
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Holey Christ what a beer. I have had this in bottles recently and on tap but never cask conditioned. This was served at the Monk's Cafe Michael Jackson dinner this past Sunday and it was fantastic on cask. They said that this is the first cask conditioned keg of this fine beer to leave Belgium. The beer was poured into a wine glass from a pitcher and poured a bright but deep burgundy color with a slight tan head. The has a good sour nose to it and a bit of funk but slightly mellow. The taste was a wonderfully sour cherry delight but not overally sour that heartburt sets in. This taste was a bit more muted than the bottle or keg very and it my favorite of the 3. This was the last beer of the night and probably my second favorite overall, if not my favorite. With the taste a bit more mellow but still very strong, I found this beer to be very drinkable and was pleased to get a few refills before the night was over.

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Photo of ppoitras
4/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle from AKSmokedPorter as part of Secret Santa 2005. Label, I think, says best by 1/3/06. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1/2" light tan head above the somewhat clear burgundy brew. Head quickly fades down to an uneven layer of bubbles, with ample delicate lacing. Aroma is piecing sour musty funk. Cool. Taste is slightly chalky cherry tartness, which fades on through to the aftertaste. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both nice for the style as well. A standard to which others should aspire and hope to supercede.

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Photo of JulieRFoster
3.11/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Burnished cherry color, fairly translucent, with a good 2 cm of vanilla colored head resting atop.
The smell is tart, with red fruit, merteuille (I forget the english name of this red berry) and dark vanilla extract.
It rolls into your mouth with a sweet, full-bodied taste. There is a very distinct taste in the back of the palate – like a pleasant vomit. It's very acidic, dark and fruity (like black cherries).
An interesting taste, but it's just too damn sweet. It's dark, syrupy, acidic and very sweet. Too heavy to be really drinkable, and a flat, or possibly 2-diamensional taste.

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Photo of VoodooBrew
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Redish golden-brown in color. The sharp aroma of apple cider vinegar leaps up into the nostrils upon sniffing this beer. You might normally consider "vinegar" to be a flaw in a beer's character, but in this context I rather like it. The nose continues tart and fruity with a flash of coconut cream.

On the palate this beer is SOUR! Incredibly so-- it's sour before you taste it, during, and after! Wow. There is a brief window of opportunity to explore sour tart citrus fruit and then the overriding tartness reenters the fore. Sharply sour on the finish, all the way down into the throat. Mouthpuckering.

This beer is, at least by my experience, completely unique. Certainly worth seeking out.

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Photo of phisig137
3.42/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a goblet a very dark brown with many ruby red highlights. Very little head, dissapated immediately, and left no lacing at all.
The smell I found to be a little muted, but the sourness did shine through. Hints of vinegar and vanilla were present, but not much else. It did smell quite good, but just muted.
The flavor I found to be quite enjoyable. The sourness is definitely present, and makes itself know, but it seems to be well balanced with a hint of acidic sweetness. You can also taste a bit of vanilla and chocolate in there too. Mouthfeel was average, and I rate the drinkability low because it IS rather tough to drink, a sipper no doubt. But as far as the style goes, this is relatively easy to drink.

I think this is one of the best examples of a Flanders Red I've had to date. I love "the duchesse", but I could drink more than one of these.

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Photo of dogfooddog
4.36/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml corked bottle served 50F. I have had this beer many times in the 330 capped bottle and this is my first of the new 750ml corked. there is no sediment in the bottle. I do not know if this beer is pasteurized, but some comments by MJ in the past make me think the 330ml is.

pours very large head, typical rodenbach orange-browiish clear beer.

the nose is distinct from the smaller bottle. not as sweet, a strong scent i cannot put my finger on, woodiness? greenness? once again, a change from the 330ml. I did notice a similar nose change from in the duchess de borgoune 750ml vs. smaller bottle as well.

taste is more as expected, fabulous sour woodiness. I do not believe this is as sweet as the 330ml. this seems more complex than the small bottle, which i have usually found to have understated taste versus the nose and has been my biggest complaint with rodenbach (small) in the past. This one has a full-blown mouthfull of sensations.

overall i find the character of this beer in this size bottle more pronounced than smalls. the sourness almost puckers the mouth, the oaken notes are very strong both in taste and aftertaste, and I think I will never buy the 330ml again if this is available.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.7/5  rDev -12.9%
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 +3.5%
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 -55.3%
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 -4.7%
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 -12.9%
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 +0.5%
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 -5.4%
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 -11.3%
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 -29.2%
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 -17.9%
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 -2.8%
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 -12.2%
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 -3.8%
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 +4.7%
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 +1.2%
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 -5.2%
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 +5.2%
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 +2.1%
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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Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
95 out of 100 based on 1,103 ratings.