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Rodenbach Caractère Rouge - Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

Not Rated.
Rodenbach Caractère RougeRodenbach Caractère Rouge

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141 Reviews

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Reviews: 141
Hads: 1,089
Avg: 4.43
pDev: 19.86%
Wants: 266
Gots: 297 | FT: 47
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V. visit their website

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 11-02-2011

The brewer allow the beer to macerate with fresh cherries, raspberries and cranberries. After this maceration in oak, the beer re-ferments in the bottle. The result is RODENBACH Caractère Rouge, an exceptional RODENBACH with fruit maceration and a 7% alcohol volume. The brew is more than unique and extremely exclusive, as only 900 75-cl bottles were produced (first batch). Geunes serves this wilful beer as part of his other unique range of beer varieties in his restaurant, ’t Zilte, at the Antwerp MAS museum.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 141 | Hads: 1,089
Reviews by TheBrewo:
Photo of TheBrewo
4.24/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

We rip the cage and cork, pouring a brew of shimmering ruby reds into our Ommegang Game of Thrones snifters. It puts up a hearty three finger head of cotton candy colored foam that lies in a single tight unit, save for a soapy bubble mountain to one side of it. This retains decently, leaving wet drops of lacing that drip back into the main body within seconds. No haze or sediment is noted, and carbonation appears to be lightly active throughout. The nose is insanely tart, giving notes of simple syrup soaked cranberries, raspberries, and blueberries, with dried black cherry skins, heavy caramel and bourbon sweetness, dried oaky moldiness, dried papaya and mango flesh, spice of cinnamon and green cardamom pods, vinegar and soured lemon acidity, dried floral petals, red and dusty pale maltiness, chokecherries, and biting vinyl plastics. Our first impression is that this beer is impressively sour and puckering, and surprisingly, that the most forward fruity flavor is that of the cranberry. The flavoring takes off with juicy, fruity bubblegum sweetness, intense fermented cranberry and raspberry sourness, biting rubbers and phenolic plastics, tart oaky punch, red wine vinegar, dried and chipped red grape skins, mustard seed, and cotton candy fluffiness. The middle comes to a peak with blunted mallow sugars, rotten strawberry and raspberry fruit mash, soured cherry flesh, coppery and irony metallics, powdered cinnamon, thin plastic sheets, pencil lead, dried apricot, potpourri petals, and acidic sourness of that fermented fruit maceration. The end washes through with soured acidity of stomach juices, synthetic red grape flavoring, frozen raspberry puree, cranberry flesh and water, tonic water bitters, succulent pomegranate seeds, artificial plastic bite, thick waves of oaky heaviness, moss and green grassiness, confectioner’s sugar battered fresh cherries, and pale wheatiness. The aftertaste breathes with dampening maltiness of caramel, pale, and ruddy amber maltiness, hollow wheatiness, sunflower pollen, salted toffee, foamy plastics, dried cranberry and raspberry bite and crumble, moldy blue cheese funk, balsamic vinegar, burnt wheat breadiness, white pepper and garlic salts, continued cherry flesh sours, overripe strawberries, and dry burgundy red. The body is light but sticky and sweet on the lips, while carbonation is medium. Each sip affords wet cream and froth, which thins them a bit, but slurp, smack, pop, and glug are all intact and powerfully appropriate. The mouth is briefly coated with residual stickiness of sugars, with a quickly following puck and twinge of dryness. The muscles of the palate and cheeks contract and swoon like a teenage girl in the presence of a young Brad Pitt. It is glorious. The abv is handled easily, and the beer drinks way too easily.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was its taste. This beer is able to destroy the stylistic guidelines with pinpoint accuracy while sending unique yet appropriate flavoring dancing over top of it. The fruit is wonderfully refreshing and authentic, matching the oak in all of its weird glory whole heartedly. The aroma is just as nice, but doesn’t quite set you up for the seriousness of the sip. The mouthfeel, on the other hand, is out of this world, with just the right amount of dryness to match the juiciness and puckering punch of the fruit, grain, and wood. We’ve been quite excited for this one for a while, and oddly enough this is our first taste of any Rodenbach product, despite the fact that we’ve been accruing a vintage vertical in our cellar for the past several years. This beer might be a bit esoteric for some, but for those that can appreciate it, it is downright delicious.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of kojevergas
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%

BOTTLE: 750 ml. Brown glass. Appealing label design. Branded cap in a cage, set over a cork.

Expectations are sky high; I have massive respect for and love Rodenbach (even under Palm).

Served chilled into a Westvleteren goblet and allowed to come to room temperature over the course of consumption. 7.0% ABV.

Cork pops hard and hits the ceiling upon removal (with pliers), but no beer surges out. It's well packaged for aging.

A fizzy cascading bubble show emerges as it's poured, and remains for some time - quite the spectacle when combined with the beer's vibrance.

HEAD: 3 fingers wide. Best described as a pinkish white; it's alluring and almost unique. Foamy but not too fizzy, with a soft cobwebby consistency and a decent spongey complexion. Its lightness is apt for the style, and its effervescence is teasing - between beer and champagne. It retains quite well (for ~10 minutes), but leaves no lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: A bright plump vibrant red. Not a solid red, but a weak one; grapeskin comes to mind. Light, translucent, and transparent. Clean, with no visible yeast particulate or hop sediment.

It's a lively inviting appearance, and has me curious.

AROMA: Powdered white sugar, fresh cherries, fresh rapberries, and touches of tart cranberries. Incredibly evocative; the fruitiness is just perfect. Soft and lush, with no off-notes, though some American drinkers may note a cherry-like medicinal note. I'm just blown away by how fresh and vivid this aroma is. Sourness is mild - maybe a 5 or 6 out of 10 in terms of intensity, but what really works are the cherry pie notes Rodenbach is known for. The pie crust married to the blunt oak tone is lovely, but I do find myself missing the damp acetic oak barrel character I love in regular Rodenbach. In any case, this easily approachable light powdery aroma has my mouth watering. Wow.

It boasts tricky subtlety in terms of its yeast & bacteria; I'd guess pedio and a bit of lactobacillus.

Aromatic intensity is average.

TASTE: The taste is every bit as fresh and evocative as the aroma, evoking notes of soft luscious raspberry, tart cherry, and sweetened cranberry. Powdered sugar comes to mind in taste as in texture. Rodenbach's signature cherry pie/pie crust notes emerge in the second act, lending even more depth to an already fascinatingly subtle and intricate brew. The oak is attuned to the flavour profile without being overbearing; it's present only as a guiding tone which ensures the flavour profile's cohesion - as if it wasn't a gestalt brew already.

Undeniably more than the sum of its parts, this flavour profile blows me away. Good duration of flavour and apt flavour intensity.

The pucker-lovers may crave still more sourness - this offers only a 5 out of 10 - but I have trouble imagining this impossibly careful balance disturbed. It's just immaculate. I do want more of the acetic character I go to Rodenbach for; they do it better than anyone.

In short, it's fucking incredible. A treat of a brew.

To nitpick, I do think it could use more tartness and cranberry, and I greedily want still more cherry pie and acetic character.

TEXTURE: Has a delicacy and fragility I've observed in extremely few beers, with an effortless lightness on the palate that really makes the flavours sing, and gives a quenching refreshing feel that's heaven with the tart berry notes. Soft and light-bodied without being weak or watery; I don't know how they do it. Naturally, it's soft and wet, and does have an above average acidity as well as a light puckery twang. Smacky and powdery in perfect fashion, with the perfect amount of creaminess as well. Carbonation is perfect.

It's almost flawless. Just a bit more body would help give the flavours a bit more support, and a bit more acidity and/or smackiness wouldn't hurt. But it's damn near perfect.

OVERALL: Effortlessly drinkable, an effect reached by an ideal harmony of texture and taste: the angelic lightness of the mouthfeel keeps the palate craving more and the incredible fresh berry notes are divine. An accomplishment in the style, and a beer whose quality forces me to savor each sip. Absolutely a paragon. Incredible work. I tip my hat to Rodenbach yet again. I imagine I will definitely be picking up more bottles of this, but it's hard to imagine it could improve with age - it's already so good. This is in the upper echelon of beers currently being brewed, and demands the discerning drinker's attention. A very welcome addition to my top beers of all time. Take note - this is how subtlety and balance are done.

High A

Pair with fresh raspberries.

Serve chilled, not cold.

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Photo of Tucquan
4.37/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this on 2013-11-24 in Columbia, PA

A - Mahogany/amber with a short-lived, tan head and moderate lacing.

S - Characteristic Rodenbach Grand Cru aroma but with added raspberry and cranberry. I always get oak, cherry and hard apple cider out of the normal Grand Cru. Very pleasant enhancements.

T - Tart cranberry with some cherry and a little raspberry, light malt, hard cider, oak. Moderately sour with a typical Grand Cru finish but with some added lingering cranberry. Perhaps a bit less tart than normal Grand Cru with more of an emphasis on the fruit in this one. Very, very nice.

M - High carbonation and a light body. Dries quickly.

O - A well-done step up from the already-great Grand Cru. Too bad it is so expensive.

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.63/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: poured from a 750 mL bottle into a snifter, beautiful red brown with a whispy reddish head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: sweet and sour combination of cherries and cranberries, hints of raspberry, balsamic vinegar

T: WOW, this beer plays back and forth between sweet and sour, acetic acid of malt and balsamic vinegar at first quickly swings into sweet cherry, tangy raspberry follows and plays off of sour cranberry, flavors of fruit abound in this beer

M: medium bodied, nice carbonation

O: and excellent fruity Flanders Red, well worth purchasing

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.57/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

With the personal feeling that Rodenbach's beers have always been undermined as a Sour Ale, they've put themselves back on the sour map with Caractere Rouge!

Starting with the same ruby-mauve hue that sparkles in the glass; its dark red hue is largely clear until the yeast cake in the bottle rises in suspension. As a dainty semi-fizzy creme swirls from the calderon beneath, its head character is soon compromised by the beer's acidity and dry body. A quick swirl brings the head back to life to share its high aromatics and then folds back into the glass with minimal lacing power.

Sweetness, tartness, and ooh-so savory aromas align in the nose with a sense of brightness and vibrancy. The fruity threads that pull the beer together are plump and just verbose enough to distinguish its cherry, raspberry and cranberry notes from each other. An overcast of malt is candied with mild confectioner's sweetness and then tempered with balsamic-type acidity. Toasted grain brings out a taste of toast and meek chocolate in order to reinforce its beery-scent.

Crisp, refreshing and savory at the onset, the beer's sweetness and sourness align on the early palate much like "Sweetheart" candy. Its fruit-forward flavor further reinforce that attitude until the middle of vinous red wine, slim balsamic and drier fruit notes bring about the natural earthiness in the beer. Light brine, musty wine soaked wood, dried limes and crab-apples hark to Lambic- but the fruit and light sweetness that accompanies it really bring out those Roeselare characteristics.

Though light bodied but not abhorrently dry, there's ample sweetness and and carbonation to give the early palate sensations a creamy fruit texture. But that's all short-lived as the carbonation bounces off the tongue and carries away with it the fruit and malt sweetness. What's left is vinous acidity that pangs sharply on the mouth in order to refresh it and finish pleasantly dry and warm.

Caractere Rouge is a less vinegary example of Flanders Red Ales but is slightly more fruit forward. I love it that the fruits are sweet enough to discern them from another and not so dry that they all begin to taste alike. That sweet-sour-savory medley shows a balance that's rarely found in Sour Ales.

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Photo of Jack_Malts
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Beautiful hazy auburn pour. Smells like sour cherry syrup. Big juicy fruit flavors, tart cherry, slight acetic presence, bright cranberry and freshly picked raspberries. A bit expensive, but a must try for any fans of Flanders reds, or anybody who likes mouth-wateringly delicious beer.

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Photo of putonyourwalkingshoes
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Poured from a 750ml bottle no date. Cellared for about 6 months.

A: slightly translucent but muddy red. Nice foamy head for a sour. Really pleasant looking.

S: amazing. One of the best smells from a sour. Rich cranberries with a cherry soda component. Like candy.

T: clean. Not ultra sour but pleasant. A buttery sourness lighter in vinegar character than say rodenbach grand cru. Everything here works really well and the light carbonation brings it together.

M: great acid feel very smooth. Lingering sourness not overbearing. Real clean all around.

O: a great find. $25 well spent. Enjoyed much more than the vintage of many different years. Love sours and a great change up on the kriek with cranberries. Bomb.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of t2grogan
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Krafty34
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Photo of SkiBum22
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of lateralundertow
4.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of warnerry
4.62/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was afraid I had held onto this too long for the fruit to really come through. Luckily, that is not the case. Amazing fruit aroma, with raspberries leading the way and cherries not far behind. Taste is an absolute delight. Fruity, but still with the complexity of a good Flanders red. Maybe a bit more earthiness and funk would be beneficial, but this is a fantastic beer.

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Photo of Callmecoon
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of Doomcifer
4.96/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Photo of JakerLou
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of BillKuhnel
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of Jason
4.59/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beertender at 't Brugs Beertje recommended it, 40 Euro for the bottle? Only around 900 bottles for sale from the batch.

Beautiful lacing, dark amber glow.

Perfume like fruit, some raspberry & cherry but the tartness of the cranberries and the house character come out more in the nose.

Tart pucker, soft malt, hint of caramel, bread, wood, bubble gum, cranberry tartness, faint raspberry & cherry, mint, pull of wood which leads to dryness.

Worth the try and the extremely higher price tag, by far one of the most interesting beers I have tasted this year. From the use of different fruits and the wood aging ... epic.

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Photo of Chris_Panos
4.31/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev -15.3%

Photo of Shankopotamus
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of Meyers1023
4.28/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Marius
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Prospero
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

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Rodenbach Caractère Rouge from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
97 out of 100 based on 141 ratings.