Rodenbach Caractère Rouge - Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

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Rodenbach Caractère RougeRodenbach Caractère Rouge

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

127 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

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Reviews: 127
Hads: 1,020
rAvg: 4.43
pDev: 6.77%
Wants: 257
Gots: 277 | FT: 47
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V. visit their website
Belgium

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: 127 | Hads: 1,020
Photo of StoutHunter
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a bottle of Rodenbach's Cartactere Rouge a few days ago for $22.99 at The Lager Mill. I was looking for something a little special for my birthday and I thought I would take a chance on this one, I think the Rodenbach Classic is a pretty nice beer and i'm interested to see how this one turns out, so lets see how it goes. 2013 Vintage. Poured from a brown corked and caged 750ml Bottle into a Belgian tulip.

A- The label is pretty simple and not too eye catching, but I think it has a nice classy look to it. It poured a nice and hazy darker red color that took on a great ruby red color when held to the light with a finger and a half worth of off white head that died down to a thin ring that eventually disappears and it left a little bit of spotty lacing behind. This was a very good looking beer, I really liked the color and I have no complaints at all.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness that's followed by a huge berry aroma, the raspberrys, cranberrys, and tart cherrys all come through and I think the cranberrys add a unique aspect to the berry aroma that sets it apart and it has a nice tart/sour aroma to it. Up next comes a light funky farmhouse like aroma with a lighter musty aroma mixed in and there's also some light oaky aromas that show up just enough to notice them. Towards the end there's a pretty light vinegar aroma that works well with this beer. I thought this beer had very good aroma, it was very fruity with the berrys and cherrys being highlighted with just enough funky and oaky aromas.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness followed by all those berry and cherry aspects that I got in the aroma with the cranberrys still adding an extra unique aspect that makes for an aroma that isn't the typical berry aroma. Up next comes some of that funky yeast and it imparts a lighter funky flavors with a slight musty flavor in the background that shows up just enough. On the finish comes the oak with a slight bit of vanilla and there's higher amount of medium tartness that is at just the right level and it had a tart berry like aftertaste. This is a very good tasting beer, I loved the balance between the tart berrys and the funky yeast.

M- Pretty smooth, refreshing, clean, fairly dry on the finish, medium bodied with a good amount of higher medium carbonation that was at just the right level. This beer had a very good mouthfeel, it really worked well with this beer and I have no complaints.

Overall I thought this was a very good beer and I don't have any experience with this style, but I'm pretty sure this is a very good example of a Flanders Red Ale and it reminded me of some of the better funky fruit beers I have had. This beer had nice drinkability, it wasn't overly sour, a little acidic, pretty smooth, clean, refreshing and the taste did a good job at holding my attention, I think a full bottle would be a little too acidic for me so I think splitting the bottle with someone is the perfect amount and I could see how this would be a great beer to enjoy in the summer. What I liked the most about this beer was everything, this beer didn't have any weak points in my opinion and there's nothing I can think that would improve this beer. What I liked the least about this beer was how expensive it is, I know it's not cheap to import these Belgian beers, but if the price was lower it wouldn't be just a special occasion beer. I would get this beer again if it saw it, it's very expensive, but I think it's worth it and it makes for a great special occasion beer and I would love to see how it changes over time. I would recommend this to anyone who loves those Funky fruit beers. All in all I was pretty impressed with this beer, I was hoping this was going to be good for how much I paid for it, but it ended up exceeding my expectations and it made for a very enjoyable beer. Good job guys, this was a great and special beer, thanks for sending some to the USA, keep up the awesome work. (4,060 characters)

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. (286 characters)

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. (719 characters)

Photo of TimZebGir
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Oh my god,
Oh my god,
When can I get more?
Oh my god.

A: Glorious pink with a touch of brown and bubbly thin head that recedes quickly (3/3)
S: Very earthy acidic with notes of fruits added but most strongly cranberry (10/12)
T: Aged oak sour dominates with raspberry and cranberry tartness n front cherry sweetness on finish (18/20)
M: Surprisingly bubbly for a sour and a very nice astringent dryness on finish (5/5)
O: Very refreshing a great beer for warm weather or a good counter to fatty meats (9/10)
45/50 (516 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.49/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Récolte 2010, though I'm unclear if that's when it was brewed, barreled, or bottled. This is apparently batch 1. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Light red body. Slight gusher of a bottle. Small, off-white head. Murky.

Smell - Bright fruit aroma. Cranberry is distinguishable. Cherry in the form of sour. Raspberry sweetens the nose bakc up. Great fruit acidity and a light malt.

Taste - Maybe a little less fruity than the smell. Still a wonderful fruit flavor. Quality over quantity with the acidity. Just a touch of vinegar, which I can accept in this style. Dry caramel maltiness at the end.

Mouthfeel - The fruit balances the acidity perfectly. Not overly sour, which I prefer in reds. Sufficiently soured, though, as the malt has dried out leaving a medium body and no residual sweetness.

Overall - Impressive all around, but especially the fruit character. Beautifully crafted beer. Don't expect a beat-you-over-the-head sourness. (981 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.49/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A Flanders Red Ale, eh? I'm always down for that, but of course there just aren't enough of them being put out to try.

Great even tone to this one. Raspberries are definitely there. Cherries are also there bringing some sour fruit character also. After that, it's kind of hard to tell if I pick up cranberries here with all the typical stuff that comes with the style. Anyways. This beer is awesome. Find me a keg of it, or a river, if you please. (449 characters)

Photo of MDDMD
4.49/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-burgundy brown color with a decent light pink head and a little lacing

S-sour cherries, oak, light vinegar, hints of sweetness and cranberry

T-sour cherries, cranberry, raspberry, little yeast, oaky, nice dry tart finish

F-medium body with lively carbonation, crisp and a little astringent

O-great blend of flavors and one of the best Flanders reds I have ever had, look forward to trying this one with a little age (421 characters)

Photo of Roguer
4.48/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful reddish/pink/brown ale, with a light, pink creme head. Retention is poor (expected for the style). Brew is pulpy and translucent.

Absolutely delectable aroma, featuring Rodenbach's yeasty funk; significant oak, tartness, and vanilla; and a ton of tart fruits. Raspberries and cranberries stand out, with a hint of tart cherry behind. A floral bouquet appears as it warms. The sourness of this beer is neither hidden nor overpowering.

Flavor is much more fruit-forward than the aroma implies, but otherwise hits on everything you might expect. Funk and oak up front; immediately followed by fruit and tannins; and washed over on the back-end by a tumultuous mixture of cherries, raspberries, cranberries, vanilla, and apples. Very sweet, and less subtle than other Rodenbach beers, but no less complex. Quite sour, but with plenty of balancing sweetness from the fruit. Divine.

Tart and puckering, with a sticky, lively mouthfeel. Long finish; you'll be smacking your lips and gums long after the brew has been swallowed.

Another fantastic, fantastic Flanders by Rodenbach, and finally a fruit-forward version. This easily can step up and compete with the best fruit lambics of the rest of Belgium, and of New Glarus. (1,231 characters)

Photo of angrybabboon
4.48/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this beer

Consumed 12/11/13

Appearance: Deep purple - medium brown with a ton of red, pink, and copper - hazy, cloudy - pours with a medium-sized, off-white head, leads some nice lacing

Smell: An abundance of berries - cherries, raspberries, and cranberries are all present here, creates a very rich, bright berry aroma - berry skins, with some fruity sweetness - some rich funk, sourness, musty notes, and wood - some rich amber and caramel malts as well - a touch of vinegar, but mostly this is a blast of fruits

Taste: Berries, berries everywhere - brilliantly tart, with a ton of berry skin - tart cherries, ripe cranberries, fleshy raspberries - fruity and juicy without being really sweet - sweetness is brilliantly minimal - lightly sour, but more tart - funky, with some lactic, musty funk - some nice caramel and amber malts as a base - some nice acidity in a surprisingly clean finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body, very smooth, nice carbonation, very clean for the style

Overall: I don't care if I can't pronounce the name of this beer, it's still awesome

This is an excellent Flanders Red. It's absurdly fruity, and inexplicably clean. I'm honestly surprised at how good this is. Buy it if you see it. (1,249 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.48/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by thorpe429. Woohoo!

The beer is a gorgeous, radiant, dark ruby color, like a gem. A thin pink head rests atop the beer, leaving sparse lacing on the tulip. The aroma is wild and funky, like a fruit lambic. Smells very sweet. Huge raspberry presence, similar to a framboise. Sweet and teeming with berry flavor, balanced by a bit of tartness and wild yeast character. A great candidate for sharing, as the sweetness is a bit much after a small serving. Overall, very tasty, albeit a bit too sweet for me personally. While not my absolute favorite offering from Rodenbach, I enjoyed this. Recommended. (616 characters)

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. (552 characters)

Photo of Rutager
4.47/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A huge thank you to Jeffo for this and many more amazing brews.

Appearance. Pours a hazy, very nice looking deep red with a touch of brown. Topped with a thin pinkish off-white head.

Smell. Tart cherries and raspberries, barrel wood and just a light hint of caramel. Very fruity and delicious smelling.

Taste. Tart raspberries with just a little sweetness, barrel wood (on the fresh side) ...not a whole lot else but what is there is very nice. Tastes like a ton of raspberries went in to this. Really nice.

Mouthfeel. Medium body, medium + carbonation.

Overall. Elegant simplicity (perfect description from Kathleen). So much fruit flavour for the style which was a bit surprising considering the other rodenbach offerings that are heavier on the sweetness and caramel flavours. Awesome stuff. Thanks again Jeff! (819 characters)

Photo of mendvicdog
4.47/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Blind BIF Beer #1

Cascadeish smell and taste with some excellent blueberry strawberry taste/smell.

Smooth mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Simple yet very pleasant tart taste. Mild funk.

Guess some Upland rare beer like Blackberry Lambic. I had had most of the bottled Cascades recently and didn't think it could be any of those.

Very surprised by the reveal. (359 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
4.47/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to jedwards for breaking this one out. Pours a beautiful raspberry hue with no head. Nose expresses raspberries and tart cherries. Taste consistent with nose - bold and fruity with a slight tart quality. Mouthfeel is light-medium with a mild, even carbonation, a slight acidity and easy easy astringency. This is a top notch beer, although not sure I would classify it as a Belgian Strong Dark. Not overly sour, very approachable to various taste and there's some definite cellaring potential here. I'd like to score a bottle to sit on for a couple years. (566 characters)

Photo of PBRmeasap1980
4.46/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750lm poured into pint glass (not my choice, but I'll take it"

A- Nice reddish brown
S- White oak, dark fruits. Salivation begins immediatately
T- Very sour, but the oak, cranberry and tart cherrys come through. Very well balanced for such a complex beer.
M- I little sour burning
O - This one is very sour, but the bright, clean oak and fruit distract. Great sour! (366 characters)

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. (1,036 characters)

Photo of Greywulfken
4.45/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: deep amber with orange-red highlights and an ivory head big-as-ya-want-it; slight bits of clinging lace slipped away shortly

S: dark sour fruits and tart yeasts - as advertised, cranberry, raspberry, sour cherry; lighter notes of oak/wood

T: right off the nose, the tart fruits follow, transforming cranberries and raspberries and dark cherries into an exquisite drinking experience; the oak vats lighten any too sweet or too fruity flavors, and weave elegant airs throughout the drink

M: light, tart, slightly fuzzy, slightly tingly, subtle carbonation; refreshing and quenching

O: I tried to be moderate in my review, as this is not a style I have frequented often, but there is no doubt that this is a superior ale, and something worth getting your hands on should the opportunity present itself. (806 characters)

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 (979 characters)

Photo of spdyfire83
4.45/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

246th Review
75cl (corked and caged) bottle poured into long-stemmed wine glass
Vintage: Batch 1 - produced/bottled sometime in 2011, I think

Enjoyed at DHvL in early June 2012. Somewhat unfair to drink/rate this immediately following the Alexander, but that's how it goes.

A: Medium amber. Half (off-white) fingernail head on vigorous pour.

S: Sour, tart cherry/cranberry, and some funk/must. Oak and raspberry sweetness. Classic Rodenbach nose that is very inviting and rich.

T: Bold sourness up-front with cherry and oak. Vinegar overtones along with tannins/leather as well as raspberry and cranberry punch (soft sweetness)! At times, the acidity was somewhat overpowering (I think it will age extremely well), but all in all a tasty beer.

M: Medium bodied with low carbonation.

O: Overall a very good beer, but it needs some time to age/mellow a bit (so the tart acidity can work itself out). I think the long-term potential for this beer to be wonderful is very high. I'll be curious to see how Batch 2 (approx. 10k bottle production) drinks compared to this (Batch 1, 900 bottles). (1,095 characters)

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.45/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Thanks seblp for offering up 2 bottles of this

The beer pours a dark, slightly dull rusty brown that shines crimson in the light and provides a fizzling pink head. Although the head fades quickly with minimal lacing, it leaves a thin blanketing/halo throughout drinking. The nose is potently fruity with prominent notes of strawberry and cherry (and celery?) followed by a very refined oak acetone. The taste is Flanders red to the max with huge amounts of description-promised strawb/cherry fruitiness, a touch of caramel and wood. Its medium bodied, effervescent, modestly dry and acidic, fruity, bold, and downright drinkable as hell. I highly recommend this brew for those that enjoy a good Flanders and have had the Rodenbach predecessors. It's an excellent beer, one of the best I've had in a long time actually. (819 characters)

Photo of TruePerception
4.44/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rodenbach's Caractère Rouge, Flanders Red Ale aged with cranberries, raspberries, and sour cherries in oak vats. 7% ABV.

Huge pop!

A: Nice plum red, with some slight showing of sediment. A finger of slightly rosy head. Slightly dull yellow in the dimple, which shows of a steady stream of tiny bubbles. Lacing forms, but does not hold. Barely any sheeting.

S: Fruits coming through very well on the nose. Cranberry is more subdued, but definitely there, and blends well with the raspberry. Sour cherry stands out slightly from the others. Nice acidity, as is to be expected.

T/MF: Oh, yeah! Just a touch of sweetness. Some cranberry dryness. Raspberry seed, raspberry. Morello cherry. Plenty of acidity, but it shows more as crispness than tartness. It also seems to affect a slight chill on the tongue. Nicely balanced carbonation; not too heavy, but not at all flat.

Very nice. Sort of a cross breed between a Flanders Red and a Lambic. Just a great beer! (963 characters)

Photo of draheim
4.44/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL into a tulip. Pours a clear reddish amber w/ a thin beige head, minimal lacing.

Aroma is big sour oaky tartness, berries, and fruit. Smells great.

Taste is likewise tart and oaky, super dry, and fruity without being sweet. Great balance of elements.

Mouthfeel is crisp and light, dry, almost vinous. Really nice.

Overall a truly outstanding, world-class barrel-aged beer. Thirst-quenching, delicious. (410 characters)

Photo of Stevedore
4.44/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, blank with the tag. Generously sent over as a wedding gift from Eduardo in Switzerland. Thanks a lot man! Poured into Cantillon degustation glasses and shared with my wife today, 2/6/2014 as a week-early Valentine's day drink.

Review #434.

App- Dark pink-red body, light pink head, good retention, nice lacing

Smell- Sweet raspberries, tart cherry, oak, a nice bit of rubbery funk, a lot of vinegar mixed in with a bit of brown malt sweetness. Very interesting nose indeed.

Flavour- Delicious. Oak tannins, tart cherries, rubbery funk, vinegar making this a 5/10 sour, some sweet brown malts, and faint raspberry fruitiness. Not overly sweet, but quite dry and tart. Complex and interesting.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied, well carbonated, good body and easily drinkable despite the acidity. I am sure my teeth are still there after this one.

Overall- Very interesting and delicious Belgian sour. After finishing the bottle, I saw that this is a Flanders Red on BA and that really threw me off. This tastes more like a fruit lambic in a lot of ways, although the brown malts do come across more than say, Rosé de Gambrinus. My wife and I certainly enjoyed trying this one! Thank you Eduardo, for the lovely wedding gift. (1,236 characters)

Photo of fourstringer
4.43/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a caged & corked 750 mL bottle into a Brewer's Art goblet. Moderate hand. Date on the bottom of the bottle reads 18-04-16.

A: Hazy, reddish-brown body with 1/2 finger of off-white head. Ok retention. Minimal lacing.

S: Lactic/citric acid tartness. Cherry features most predominantly, with lesser berry, grape. Lemon. Traces of mint, herb. Wood. The overall character is both familiar and unique.

T: Moderate sweet & sour with a stone fruit tang. Hint of chocolate. Minimal bitterness and a semi-dry finish. Lingering tartness in the aftertaste. Degrees of herbal earthiness, oak. Minimal alcohol.

M: Moderately robust carbonation with a certain zing. Moderate body. Nicely effervescent and palate-coating.

O: Excellent Flanders red with some interesting woody, herbal notes. Drinks very well. Very balanced. Surprisingly, I didn't find it any more fruity than Rodenbach's typical offering. Great brew.

Prost! (928 characters)

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. (4,662 characters)

Rodenbach Caractère Rouge from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
97 out of 100 based on 127 ratings.