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Rodenbach Grand Cru | Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

1,106 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: 1,106 | Ratings: 3,848
Photo of SirChugsAlot
3.53/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out rather dark when held up to a light revealed a redish hint with a nice cream colored head that faded quickly. Smell reminds me of vinegar and fruit with the sour yet sweet taste to follow and a hint of citrus. Tingled the taste buds with the carbonation and left me wanting another

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Photo of doubleipa
3.78/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very surprised at the very faint sound when the cork was opened. My first thought was uh-oh!! Not to worry though. Virtually no head. Cherry, vinegar, and large amount of oak. No overpowering sour like some of this style. Good mouthfell - only a lishgt pucker. Surprisingly lively considering the lack of head and lack of any kind of pop with the cork. If this was the first sour ale I had I would be really iimpressed. But I prefer others over this one - slightly.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.03/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Beautifully bold and shiny dark brown color with a fine, bright ruby glow within and around the edges when strongly back lit. Much like if it were an interchangeable stage light. Starchy topping of parchment paper colored foam builds up gracefully after the pour to about a finger high and slowly fades to a light skim and a few light specks and strings of lacing.

Aroma is sweet and mostly sour with vineous grapes and cherry vinegar and a whole lot of earthly woodish notes that are very high ended and nose hair pullingly sour.

Taste is a towering inferno of souring stuff that is quite complex and uniquely snappy on the palate. Instant tongue cleansing and cheek parching with super sweet, tart cherries, souring vinegar, and vineous quailties that scream dry wine. Lots of superb surroundings to earth, wood, and leaves. Dare I say raisin seems to drift around with some currant skins and a bit of plum too. The texture of sourness is incredibly complex. Acidicly sublime and balanced with just enough sweet to help keep it a bit more in check then it probably could be. The oak aging has done wonders here with all sorts of unique notes that remind me of being in a deeply wooded forest on a hot day as the heat rises from the forest floor and sifts through the thick tree foilage. Wonderful in that regards.

Mouthfeel is like a swig of vinegar balanced with souring fruits and sweetened fruity malt. Crisp, tangy, full on oaky tinged heat and character, vineous dryness, and tones of well-handled sour is the beast of each sip. If sour patch candies were oak aged and pulled from the ground this would be the liquid form of that.

Now as much as I enjoy these types of beers, I have always had a tremendously hard time drinking them with any ease. The sourness is beyond me and my capacity to handle them like a pro Lambic drinker is not something I can keep up with. So on that note I unfortunately have a hard time attributing a nubmer to the drinkability of such a beer. So since this took me a very, very long time to finish, I guess its my average? Damn good stuff though.

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Photo of Cascadia
3.68/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very complex beer. Beautiful to look at, a very nice dark brown, until the light hits it from behind and brings out the ruby red corners. Nice. Smells of cider and fresh cracked black peper. Tastes unlike any beer I've had. Sour, oaky, more like a fruit cider to me than a beer, but tasty nonetheless. Not a beer that I've grown a taste for yet, but worth the purchase. Flanders reds are going to take me some time to appreciate.


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

a - poured a two-fingers thick tan head into a tulip glass. the body was a dense reddish-purple-brown color and it left a nice bubbly ring throughout that was easily agitated with a swirl of the glass.
s - dark fruits like grapes, cherries with a whiff of red wine.
t - tart cherries and a finish of black currant.
m - crisp and bubbly.
d - very refreshing and pleasant to drink.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
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 JustinOSU99
3.65/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark orange-red color with a large head that fades away rather quickly.
S: Very tart and fruity with hints of alcohol behind it.Apple, raspberries, strawberries, oranges and fig dominate the smells.
T: Wow. Very different. I'm not even sure how to really describe it at first. Extremely tart and sour, followed by sweetness and alcohol. A very good flavor consisting of heavy apple tastes.Really a crazy tasting beer, but one to enjoy as a desert.
M: Heavily carbonated, light and refreshing though.
D: I would never drink more than one of these, but as a desert beer or with appetizers on a hot summer day it would be wonderful.

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Photo of brendan13
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark mahogany colour with a small head that fades away to nothing pretty quickly.
S - Quite a sour aroma. Apple vinegar and raisins are the first things that come to mind.
T - Tart fruitiness hits first followed by a bit of sweetness.
M - Medium mouthfeel with quite a spritzy feel on the back on the tongue.
D - I can see why people would be turned off by this type of beer but I dig it. Not for regular drinking but every now and then would be good.

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Photo of Stephen63
3.62/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pleasant red/dark appearance, pretty short lived head.

S - Very complex lots of fruit and sour aromas.

T - Possibly too much going on here. Sourness is very apparent. Very sharply citrus.

M - Nippy!

D - Nice one to try once in a while but not looking for a second.

A decent beer though red beer not one of my favourite styles.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.48/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Not sure how I feel about Flanders Red Ale. Reddish-brown colour with very little head. Winey, vinegar smell. Sour, and a very slight hint of sweetness. Not the most appealing smell.

Tart, almost vinegar taste. Hints of sugar, raisins and plum. Sour dominates.

I'd like to describe this in more detail, but I really am mostly getting tart, sour flavour out of this. Drinkable, but there's other beers I'd rather have.

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Photo of counterpart9
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this served to me in a fairly cool bottle

A- the head dissapates quickly and leaves the beer with little lacing. The color is a deep red, similar to a porter.

S- smell hints of grape/citrus

T- it is a complex mixture of tartness, a dark grape, and maybe some hickory.

M- the first sip of this was amazingly crisp and flavorful in the mouth, quite differnet from anything I've had before.

D- very easy to drink, low ABV and the complexity of the taste is a very enjoyable experience for your mouth

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Photo of leftmindedrighty
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Oh my good friend Rodenbach, the beer that broke me into Flander's ale. Some friends brought over a 4-pack of this legend to consume. And consume we did.

Smell, Tartness and dark fruits, plum, grapes
Taste, Tartness, there is no getting around it, bits of apple, plum and a very mild grape flavor pokes through. Very tart and sweet, little bitterness.

Overall, this was the first Flander's ale I had ever had; I forgot what complexity this style can bring. I must start getting these types of beer back into the regular line up.

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Photo of sethmeister
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 corked and caged bottle into flute

Attractive caramel brown body with a creamy light tan head and a touch of streaky lace.

The scent is quite amazing. A blast of pungent and acidic sourness, vinous grapes, yeast, spice, toasty notes.

The taste is just as overwhelming as the scent. Sour, salty, wine grapes, yeast, oaky and toasted flavors. My unlettered palate can't help but taste apple cider vinegar.

Mouthfeel is intensely astringent and puckering. The back of my throat tingles and itches.

Drinkability is, at least for me, not high. I suspect that finding just the right food to accompany it might make it easier to drink.

This is the James Joyce of beers. Its not for the casual quaffer and may leave you confused and upset at times but the experience makes you a richer human being. Well, perhaps that's stretching it but if you want a beer that is both shocking and enriching Rodenbach Grand Cru is a good choice.

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Photo of Cresant
4.14/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this brown 750 mL bottle into a Lindemans flute. No date. The body was clear and burnished brown/red in color. The mild head retreated to a tiny collar. The off white head was effervescent and quickly faded leaving no lacing.

Smell was bold. Sour and vinegary. War-head candies come to mind. Vinous.

Taste was sweet and tart. Salty. Sour cherries. Crisp and drying. Unmistakable woodiness. Complex and unfolding throughout the drink.

Mouthfeel was spritzy and medium in body.

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Photo of shbobdb
3.6/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not a bad brew, I suppose. It is a little too sweet-sour for me, not a combination I've ever really been in love with.

The beer pours a deep red with a surprisingly short-lived head. The first time I had this beer, I assumed it was my glassware, but nope, it looks like this beer just has some head retention problems. Unusual for a Bug Beer.

The beer both tastes and smells like rotting sour cherries. It is pleasant, if a touch too acetic for my tastes. As the beer warms, the vinegar aspect really starts to predominate, as it takes on strong notes of balsamic and nail-polish remover.

The mouthfeel is slick and smooth, if a little vineous.

It is a good beer, but I guess after La Folie, I really had my hopes up. I am not sure how they manage to make it so sweet, but I do not like it. I can't call the beer dry, which is a pity. It really reminds me of sweet-sour sauce at a crappy chinese restaraunt, but good -- if that makes any sense.

I had high hopes for this beer, and it is good . . . don't get me wrong, but it isn't some transcendental experience either.

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Photo of techdiver
4.82/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a rich clear mahogany with a modest head that dissipates slowly.

Nose of sour cherries and yeast.

Taste is crisp, tart and almost overwhelmingly complex. An amazing and refreshing taste that overpowers the senses.

Mouthfeel is just so exceptional, it just tingles as it rolls through your mouth.

Drinkability is such that I'm distraught that I have but this one sample - for now.

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Photo of mnj21655
4.2/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle best before 21/06/07

Pours a clear reddish-brown which resembles mahogany, with a huge head that settles down to about a finger and leaves somewhat spotty lacing. Has a nice yeasty smell to it. This beer even smells tart. As for the taste, this is amazingly complex. Simply calling it tart or sour is a huge understatement. There is a nice fruity sourness, specifically berries and citrus, that makes this especially enjoyable. In terms of mouthfeel this is light-bodied and moderate to high carbonation. In terms of drinkability this is great. While this is quite tart I found it very enjoyable. The amazing complexity of this beer makes it a pleasure. Bottom Line: this is an excellent beer that I would certainly recommend.

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Photo of warmstorage
4.12/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I just realized that as I'm about to keg several batches, I needed to free up some space in the beer fridge to use it as a keg fridge. Time to drink!

750ml bottle, 6%, says Best Before: see bottom, but no date discernable on the bottle of the bottle (or anywhere else.)

Pours a deep red with a moderate, fairly dense off-white head that dissipates rapidly and leaves just a little lacing.

Aroma is sour pungent funk, in a great way.

Taste is sour and lactic and slightly sweet, with a long sour finish. Notes of fresh, young granny smith apples? Slightly sugary sweet, more than I might expect to show through in a sour beer. Long lingering sweetness.

Mouth is relatively thin, with a prickle that is probably more from sour than carbonation.

A delicious beer, and it shows my love of sour beers that I don't find this particularly sour. It gets only a relatively minor response from my salivary glands, and finishes sweet more than sour. Still pretty tasty.

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Photo of Onibubba
4.57/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cracked open this 750 in celebration of St Pat - In your face Guinness! Beautiful ruby pour with a rich beige head. The expected aromas of port, vinegar, and sweet tarts assail my nose aggressively. You don't have to work to smell this beer - It smells you. Very heady, very nice. Taste is awesome. Very reminescent of The Duchesse, but this is more tart. Balsamic and tart cherries and port. Mouthfeel is not as smooth as the aforementioned lady, but is nice. A bit more highly carbonated.

Drinkability is great. Killed thi in no time and reached for the Duchesse to finish the night off. I think this style could take a bit more alcohol. I'd love to try a 9% version.

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Photo of kajerm
3.68/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my first Flanders Red, and outside of a few lambics (of varying degrees of autheticity), my first adventure with sour beer. 750mL bottle with foil, cork, and cage. My girlfriend thought it was going to taste like champagne-- man, was she in for a shock.

Pours a rich, gorgeous amber with a foamy head of fine carbonation that puts up a hell of a fight before dying down. The head did not fade entirely throughout the entire drink, thanks to the constant stream of tiny bubbles. Very nice.

Smells exactly like I imagined. Mountains of horsey brettanomyces, layered with a cidery note that I couldn't pin down exactly. There is an underlying aroma of acetic acid.

Holy living fuck. This is a sour beer. Tastes exactly like it smells, only stronger in every conceivable way. The vinegar taste is overpowering on the first few sips, but as my taste buds adapt the barnyardy brett flavor, the apple cider note (does beer have malic acid in it?), and other sour notes become more dominant, and thank God, Zeus, and Thor for that.

Mouthfeel is sharp and thin, a deadly combo of high carbonation and a really, really acidic beer.

Drinkability? This is interesting, but one is more than enough. I was very very very very glad I didn't have to kill that 750 alone.

RERATE: I like it this time. I'm jacking up drinkability-- this is actually very subdued. I'm guessing it was warm or oxidized last time; in any case, this is a fine sour beer. Fortunately I overrated last time, so the numbers will stay more or less the same.

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Photo of drseamus
4.23/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle was labeled as best by 11/16/07 and poured into a chimay chalice consumed on 3/15/07. I drank this right after RR Suplication to compare two different sour ales. This one pours brown but the light makes it appear ruby colored. There is very little head. It has a very similar aroma to the Supplication with a very strong sour brett presence. The taste is also similar to the Supplication with a strong sour brett presence but is still very smooth. This is sweeter than the Supplication and has a slightly fuller body. This is a great example of a Flanders red.

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Photo of RedHaze
4.22/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle with a best by 13/09/08.

Pours a dak garnet tinged brown with a on finger head that fades fairly quickly to a thin soapy cap. The isn't very sticky, sliding down the sides of the glass when I set it down.

Smell; sour apples and tart cherries come out right up front, followed by a bit of vinegar and oak. There's a touch of some earthy funkiness floating around in the background as well.

Taste; the tart cherries a very evident on the first few sips, and then some of the sour apples start to show through a little bit. Vinegar and oak barrels mix with a bit of a woodsy earthiness, and just some faint hints of a barnyard funk, with a bit of an acidic bite in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a bit of a carbonation tingle that adds a bit of bite to the tartness, and the drinkability is really good, but I really like this style of beer.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.64/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: There was some off-gas when popping the top, but the beer pours mostly still with a small ring of foam on top. This beer is mostly clear with a reddish brown tint. There are only a few bubbles rising, but the head was never really there to maintain.

Aroma: My first impression is of a little bit of sweetness and a defined dark cherry presence. I get a little bit of dry woody aromatics that contribute to the impression of sourness to the beer. It obviously has a wild character. As it warms, the complexity of the aroma gets more intense and seems to accentuate the sweetness giving it a mild caramel-like quality.

Taste: The beer comes across the palate as being pretty dry and clean. It is obviously well attenuated and the sweetness that you pick up in the nose is just an impression that is left from the wild yeast. The flavor tells a different story than the aroma did, but the cherry notes stand strong the entire time. There is a strong malty backbone that this beer once stood upon, but the yeast took care of that and left some dryness in their wake...however you can still taste that depth in the flavor. I don't get any strong hops or anything, and the wild yeast character lend as much to the balance as anything.

Opinion: I am really enjoying this beer and again, it makes me wonder why in the heck we can't get beer like this in Texas. I really enjoy the depth of flavor in this beer and ones similar (like the Duchesse), but for some reason "Texans don't get it". A beer like this is one that you will either love or hate depending on your preference, but I really enjoy them. I would most certainly drink this beer again and would do so regularly if it were available in my area. As it is, I got a four pack (now three pack) in Florida to sit on an enjoy on special occasions. I would definitely recommend this beer to try and see if your palate is agreeable to it or not.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.32/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Many many thank to Patrick for getting this one for me. $3.59/11.2 oz bottle.6% ABV.

Pours out to a sparkingly clear deep garnet, forming a modest soapy yellow head with very good retention and decent lacing. Carbonation is moderate, which is mild compared to most other Belgians. This is good in my book. The aroma wafts immediately out of the bottle, hitting the nose with a sharp, biting super-fruity sourness. This reminds me of Duchesse but the oak is much more pronounced here. You can actually smell the vats. Overripe fruit, basement must, brand new tennis shoes, a touch of burnt rubber and magic marker, rotting cherries, oak and when swirled, fresh pipe tobacco and a hint of leather....a very complex and wonderful nose. Does this come in a cologne? The mouthfeel is very tart and puckering with a medium-light body and plenty of astringency in the finish. As it hits the tongue, it doesn't quite explode, but it has a very soft, almost meringue-like airy texture composed of very fine bubbles. The taste is a recap of the aroma...not as sweet as Duchesse and perhaps a bit more sour and dry...the tennis shoes and black markers don't quite make it into the flavor, but the other aromas do with the inclusion of concorde grapes and red cherries. The vats leave a nice woodsy finish. Towards the middle, there seems to be a brief tinge of metals. I don't know where this would be picked up...you would think it would dissipate during the 18 months of aging.

A wonderful beer, however, I'm going to have to go with the Duchesse as far as pure drinkability and enjoyment goes. This is an amazingly complex and tasty beer worthy of it's reputation. I only wish that it was more full-bodied. Thank heavens I picked up a 4-pack!

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Photo of malcontent
4.44/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky red/brown leaving hardly any head in its wake. Uninspiring ring of lacing lingers behind.

Ah, there it is! Cherries, red wine vinegar and earth scents flood my nose. Soft berry and cola show up on subsequent sniffs. An exciting nose to say the least.

Tart cherry vinegar right up front with that great mouth-puckering effect on the finish from the oak. This is actually sweeter than the tap version and all sorts of milder, even buttery flavors are coming through with some mild spice and honey to name a few.

Mouthfeel tingles the tongue and yet maintains its smoothness. I'd once said I couldn't drink this all night but I'd love to try. Screw that. I'd totally drink this until I fell over. Love it, love it, love it.

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Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
95 out of 100 based on 1,106 ratings.