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Rodenbach Caractère Rouge - Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

Not Rated.
Rodenbach Caractère RougeRodenbach Caractère Rouge

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

170 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 170
Hads: 1,202
Avg: 4.43
pDev: 7.22%
Wants: 282
Gots: 335 | FT: 47
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
Belgium | 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: 170 | Hads: 1,202
Photo of scottfrie
4.68/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

750ml bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a slightly hazy dark mahogany color with a couple of fingers of light brown head. A few wispy streaks of soapy lace were left down the glass along with a lasting collar.
S: Subtly complex notes of sweet fruit puree mixed with musty oak and a clean, bright, tartness. The nose is sweet, and each of the fruits in noticeable, with raspberry and cranberry sticking out the most to me.
T: Follows the nose with sweet and fruity red berry flavors. Sour cherries and oak are lightly tannic, but there is a ton of balancing sugary sweetness. Raspberries puree is sweet up front, with hints of tart cranberries and earthy, slightly spicy yeast and oak barrel. The finish is nice and tart, with a lingering sugary sweetness in the aftertaste. Yeast flavors are complex and add depth that other sweet fruit beers do not have.
M: Full body, sweet and heavy but not cloying, with a slick, chewy mouthfeel and frothy yet soft carbonation.
O: Another great beer from the masters of the style. Complex super sweet and fruity flavors mixed with subtle oak and spices.

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Photo of brianmandell
4.39/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the 750ml bottle into a wine glass, caractere rouge is in character with a reddish brown pour. An actively fizzy head reduces to a fine ring of lacing on the glass.

The nose speaks of fruit, leather and oak.There is a strong cranberry presence layered with raspberry and strawberry. There is an underlying oaky, leathery smell. There is some medicinal quality to the elixir and a measure of funkiness.

The flavor is much more rounded and softer than the nose suggested. It's really delicious. There is only a mild amount of tartness - really a perfect amount for it to be refreshing. There is a ton of juicy fruit in the flavor - slightly sweet and mostly cranberry and raspberry but also cherry and even strawberry. It's a little medicinal on the mid-palate but dries out and does not overpower. There is also a soft oakiness that helps carry the large amount of fruit and make it interesting. There is definitely influence from the flanders red that makes Grand Cru such a nice beer but the effect here is a little lighter, more subtle and more distinct. I think you would have to like cranberries to really like this beer.

The mouthfeel is driven by active, creamy carbonation. Very nice.

I didn't expect this beer to be so easy to drink. But it is. It's very well done. If not for the nitpick of a slight medicinal smell and flavor - as well as the high cost - this would be a homerun.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.26/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle:
Pours rose side of burgundy. Decent white head grows on pour, fades to the edges but lasts. Beer seems translucent to clear, but deep color essentially block most light. Nose is almost spoiled wine-like: some fruit notes, but with a vinegar note to it. I get the raspberry, maybe a hint of cranberry, but none of it is very strong (though it does seem more evident a little later in the drink).

Taste has the fruitiness from the nose, but more evident: raspberry and cranberry. The cherry might provide some tartness, which is there and blends nicely with other fruit flavors. I also do get a bit of cider vinegar taste behind the tartness. The carbonation tickles the tongue nicely, and the beer is quite smooth or even silly in its own way.

Another hit by Rodenbach. I think having one of their beers every so often should be a plan of mine. The lightness of the sour or the vinegar tartness that is a part of their beers just isn't my ideal, so I can't go world class level myself, although I appreciate the balance of flavors.

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Photo of sjones5045
4.66/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

4/25/15 home

750 bottle

Pours ruby red with a thin head. The smell is a sour fruit concoction with oak pouring through. The taste is just a tad sour and tart but you really can taste the raspberry and cranberry with an oak finish. Excellent beer and one that is a great example of a craft beer that is put together extremely well.

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Photo of Gasc0igne
4.28/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A gorgeous coloured pour; hazy dark red (almost a mahogany) with two fingers of pinkish-brown soapy head that becomes a light film after a short time. Average lacing.

Raspberry dominates the nose, big supporting cherry, a touch of cranberry. Amazingly fruity. Something like an over-sweetened jam to the nose, definite sugar presence. Balsamic backing throughout. I get a big hit of toasted wood (think: light char from saw) every so often. Sadly I do get an unwelcome medicinal note that detracts from the experience.

A bit of a change from the nose, cranberry clearly dominates, cherry close behind. Big and tart upfront. Raspberry pops in halfway through carrying some sour funkiness with it. Fruit-sweet, as opposed to sugar-sweet. No proper barrel presence (apart from funkiness), and no noticeable medicinal qualities like the nose had. Balsamic still backs everything up. Tart through-and-through and ridiculously juicy.

Light bodied. Smooth with a very dry finish. Highly carbonated.

A vastly different beer to the base. The bold and clear fruits are a joy, and it is oh so drinkable!

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Photo of M_chav
3.87/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This is probably much better than my rating suggests. Lots of deep fruits, I normally really like the Flanders Red style, but I just can't get over the children's medicine smell/flavor. Reminds me of bad times haha

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Photo of cvm4
4.32/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not sure on vintage.

L - Pours a deep cherry red with a one finger pinkish head that fades quickly.

S - The nose seems really jammy to me with a slightly medicinal quality. The cranberries, raspberries and cherries really mesh well together. Definitely some oak mixed in.

T - So much tart cranberries, cherries and raspberries! The sour is mild at first then builds to where you can taste in the back of your jaws. Lacto and oak all throughout. I can definitely see some jam quality.

F - Medium body and medium carbonation. Smooth body, creamy.

O - This is a special beer to be enjoyed slowly. I think having this on the regular would ruin me.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.56/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Due South Brewing Co. snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours a hazy reddish light brown color with a 1/4 inch light tan head that retains a bit before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a small center patch of sheer surface foam. Not-so-resilient lacing leaves small clots behind.

S- Has that classic funky kriek aroma of bright sweet cherry with a moderate medicinal quality. Also lots of dark fruit like plum, fig and black raspberry. There's also a slight Brett presence lending a note of green olive.

T- Lots of sweet golden raisin upfront, then the cranberry, sour cherries and lactic acid come in to tarten (did I just invent a word?) things up. The raisin lasts through to the aftertaste resulting in a port-like quality.

M- Moderately tart and sticky with medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the lighter side.

O- I would definitely liken this more to a Kriek than a Flanders Red but, either way, it's very tasty. Definitely on the sweeter side and could use a tad more tartness but the complexity is there.

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Photo of rudzud
4.36/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice crystal clear ruby hue with a thin white head that fades to leave a thin halo.

S - Aromas of loads of lactose, raspberries, cranberries. Very nice jammy berry notes, lightly funky, nice.

T - Taste is lactose, lots of it, nice tart cranberry, good raspberry notes. Tart, pleasant, jammy, very flemmy but in a good way.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely, good lactose. Flemmy.

O - Overall this beer was quite tasty, great berry notes with a pleasant flemmy quality. Great addition to the base beer.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of kevanb
3.98/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle, European bottle with the hanging tag, poured into a Rodenbach Alexander snifter glass.


The beer pours a burgundy color, hazy and cloudy with light garnet and ruby hues with a thick finger of off-white head sitting atop the beer, good retention yielding a few spots of lace. The aroma is nice, tart cranberry, stone fruits, funk, oak, hearty grain and some really sharp sweetness here, like candi sugar overload. The flavors are nice, plenty of fruit, raspberry jam, tart cherry and cranberry, certainly sweet, but as aggressive as in the aroma, stone fruits, funk, chewy oak and dark grains, decently balanced though again, still quite sweet for me. The mouthfeel is very nice, lively but gentle carbonation, very smooth and soft, coats the mouth exceptionally well, light pucker at the finish that is mildly dry, spot on for the style.

Verdict: A nice Flanders Red Ale from Rodenbach, perhaps a bit too sweet for my palette, but the fruit flavors are very enjoyable, delicate and balanced. Another example of why Rodenbach is easily the best producer of Flander's beers in the world.

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Photo of samshaw
4.59/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Mostly opaque, dark amber with thick head of light pink and tan that dissipates quickly.

S: Moderate tart cherry, with light notes of cranberry and raspberry.

T: Medium sour cherry more pronounced on the tongue, complemented with the moderate flavor of other berries. Slightly more sour than tart with just a hint of sweetness.

M: Moderate carbonation and thickness, the sensations of which amount to a significant component of this ale.

O: Dark, brooding and sexy. Tartness of the cranberry and raspberry lend a vivid bite to the primary note of wild cherry, making this a drink to savor slowly. Enjoying it as such maintains an extremely pleasant aroma of red consistently in the mouth.

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Photo of safaricook
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A fantastic vlaams rood. Unfortunately, mine was more than a year old therefore the fruitiness of the aroma as described by other was strongly reduced. Drink it as you get it!

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Photo of jakewatt135
4.36/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Much lighter beer than the grand cru, which is still my favorite they make. Great fruit flavors but I wasn't a fan of the cranberry. I think it gave the beer a dry cranberry bitterness in the finish. Still a great beer.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL into an Altamont beer glass.

Reddish clear, with heavy berry notes on the nose and a light funk.

The beer itself is much sweeter than anticipated, with the only tartness being a sort of dried cranberry -- it's fruity-sour and not acidic-sour. Rich and full, the mouthfeel is great.

I don't think I like this as much as standard Grand Cru, but it's tasty!

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Photo of jpmccann
4.67/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is an amazing beer. As with all of the Caractère Rouge bottled beer, it is 75-cl corked and caged.

When it is held to the light is a bright ruby red thanks to all of the cranberries, raspberries and cherries.

On the nose you get all of the fruits right at the beginning, followed by a bit of vinegar and general sourness, but overall, it is soft and it all comes together very well.

When you take your first sip, you get all of the fruit right away and that is washed over by the sourness and tartness. It is a perfect blend of fruit and sour and tart and it is all held together with the oak. Nothing is over powered. It is perfectly balanced for my taste.

While this beer comes with a significant tag, it is a great beer to have for that special occasion.

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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 mdfb79
4.4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From 01/30/15 notes. Picked a bottle of this up off the shelf in Naples, Florida at the Total Wine & More. Expensive but awesome. 750ml bottle poured into a wine glass.

Pours a deep, murky reddish-brown color with one finger of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Smells and tastes of vanilla, tannic, loads of cherries, cranberries, tart raspberries, oak, strawberries, and mixed berries. Light vinegar but way more on the fruity sour side, which works great. Medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall i thought this was awesome. It was quite expensive but if you love fruity sours definitely try this out at least once. If I saw it again I'd pick up the occasional bottle.

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Photo of gtermi
4.72/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer is glorious! This beer is very sweet and fruity in the smell. The cherries and cranberries are the most dominant in the flavor with a bit of raspberries in the taste. There is a nice bit of tartness with a dry mouthfeel.

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Photo of russpowell
4.62/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Opens with a gentle pop & much effervescence with an orange/pink color had a finger of cream colored head that falls off rapidly; Zero head retention & lacing, murks up a bit as the bottle drains. Stays effervescent throughout, nice viscious look to this

S: Sourness, berries & cherries, Balsamic vinegar, dates

T: A little sweet up front, cherries & raspberry, plus faint dryness up front. Tartness picks up as this warms, some acidity as well, plenty of lovely cherry & raspberry. Finishes tart, acidic, with cherry juice, raspberry, & leather dryness

MF: Medium bodied, a little dryness & delicate carbonation that firms up a bit once warm, a swear I can feel the enamel getting stripped off my teeth!

Super variation on the style, this was pricey but worth it, as good or better than the flagship beer

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Photo of tillmac62
4.61/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Normal head volume, weak retention and minimal lacing - which is normal for the style. Pours a beautiful clear medium copper and garnet.

Complex nose of tart and sour with notes of vinegar, hints of raspberry and cherry over a subtle fruit like sweetness. As it warms, oak notes are present.

Light medium body with a smooth texture that approaches creamy and has an oily characteristic as well. Above normal carbonation with a bit of effervescence in the middle and a nice burst in the finish. In short, World Class.

The flavor profile is World Class and serves as the standard against which others should be judged. It is intense, quite complex and a brewer's masterpiece of balance. It begins with a burst of tart fruit, raspberries and cherries, over a slightly sweet background. In the middle, tartness gives a slight pucker with only the slightest hint of sour vinegar. The raspberry and cherry fruit flavors slowly subside and cranberry comes to the forefront over a caramel like sweetness. As the finish approaches, dryness comes to the forefront coupled still with a nice tart pucker and flavor. In the finish, oak notes come to the forefront coupled with a slow fade of tartness and slight sourness. A dry pucker lingers.

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Photo of stumac
4.94/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Chuk at Central Market for the last bottle in Austin. Pours up a beautiful ruby, smells of insane amounts of the red fruits as labeled, flavors of the same fruits, very intense, nice and tart, very smooth carbo, medium bodied, slight sweet finish, I think I'm about to mate with Amanda after this beaute.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.45/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750 ml caged and corked bottle, no date on the bottle that I could find so I have no idea how old or what batch number this is. I'm pretty sure I've had this bottle for about a year if not longer, so it does have some age on it. Served in a Prairie Teku, the beer pours a slightly hazy ruby red/brown color with about a half inch light tan head. The head fizzled away quickly, and there isn't much lacing. Aroma is nice and fruity (sweet and tart), the brew smells like raspberries, cherries, oak, vinegar, lemon and a bit of cranberry. The taste overall is a bit sweeter than I expected it to be. It tastes like raspberries, cherries (both sweet and tart ones), cranberries, oak, grape skins, caramel, vinegar and a bit of apple and lemon peel. The tart flavors were subtle at first, but then got stronger as I finished the bottle. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy with a good amount of soft carbonation. I think this is a pretty good overall brew. Definitely worth buying if you see it anywhere! $21.99 a bottle.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.45/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked and caged bottle poured into tulip 3/12/15, gotta thank kumatmebrew for the major want

A sits reddish brown in the glass with a ruby glow when held to the light, not much for head or lace but not far off the style

S its like smelling juice, cranberry, strawberry, raspberries, black current, cherries, a little apple, massive fruity notes, some brown sugar, a hint of vinegar, and faint wet wood, just brilliant I'd change nothing

T fruits more sour then sweet unlike the nose, more vinegar, still some brown sugar, not as intense as the nose but still very tasty

M tart, a little sweet and sour going on, medium bodied, more bubbles then I could see in the glass, slippery with liquids in your mouth, long earthy, fruity finish

O I'm almost done the bottle at this point so that says something, smells perfect and solid everywhere else

I can see why this beer has such a great reputation, I might just sit here smelling the empty bottle all night

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Photo of beerhan
4.47/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A-pours a ruby red with a pink hue and a one finger pinkish white head

S-smells very acidic, vinegar, apples and a little lemon

T-delicious raspberry hits your tongue first followed by a slightly tart cherry and a little melon in the finish

M-very smooth for being a sour but not quite as smooth as traditional rodenbach or the grand cru. Medium carbonation makes this incredibly drinkable but this is just a hair on the tart side.

O-this is pretty phenomenal overall. If it wasn't for the price I would keep this stocked always. Highly recommend.

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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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Rodenbach Caractère Rouge from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
97 out of 100 based on 170 ratings.