Rodenbach Classic (Red) | Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

675 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Rodenbach Classic (Red)Rodenbach Classic (Red)

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
ABV varies 5.0-5.2% ABV

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-04-2002

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 675 | Ratings: 1,792
Photo of eclectic
4.7/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Monk's

Poured into a Rodenbach glass. Red/Black color with minimal head, aromas of lactic sour and cherry. Tastes incredible, even smoother than the bottled version. Smooth and creamy, more drinkable than almost anything I can think of. Once again I am amazed at the caliber of this brew.

 301 characters

Photo of francisweizen
4.7/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This flemish red ale is great. Bottles only go for around 1 Euro a pop as well. This pours out a nice pinkish/red colour with a small head of raspberry like foam. The aromas are very cherry-ish, lactic, slightly sour, and a bit sweet all at the same time. The taste is wonderfully fresh and creamy, with all of the flavors intermingling nicely. The mouthfeel is definately a little less creamy than it is on tap and this does hurt the drinkability a bit.

Please note that a recent 750 of this brew has a very funky metallic tastes to it...I'd stick with the little bottles, personally.

Pre-palm vintage, perhaps a 1993? This stuff is dark brown with a small off-white head. Aromas are of smoky malts, cherries, acidic funk, chocolate, and more. The taste is chocolate-like, with smoke, cherries, funk, and lambic-like acid all in the mix as well. The mouthfeel is a bit thinner thinner than usual, and the drinkability is still absolutely awesome. Wow this is so different than fresh, post-palm rodenbach. I wonder if the reciple changed? At 10 years old this stuff is starting to have the complexity of a Hardy's!

 1,120 characters

Photo of RedSpecial1
4.7/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a clear brown with a small bit of frothy white head with pearlescent quality.

S: I first notice an acetic note with a very vinous quality. Underneath that is a malty sweetness with a raisin-like quality.

T: Starts with a raisin or date-like character with the acetic and vinous tastes coming through in the finish, but much softer than in the aroma.

M: Almost a softness or roundness to the feeling of this beer with a slight sting from the acetic notes.

O: A very rich and flavorful beer with a complex flavor profile. The flavors seem much more integrated than many other examples of this style, probably due to the strong blending experience at the brewery.

 673 characters

Photo of cjgator3
4.69/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very dark red color with a tan head. Smell is tart and sour cherries. Taste is surprisingly crisp and refreshing! Sour and tart fruit dominate the taste that finishes incredibly dry and crisp. This brew has an extremely high drinkability. Even though I recommend the Rodenbach Grand Cru slightly higher, this is an absolutely wonderful brew.

 349 characters

Photo of thefireman
4.68/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Listen, what can I add to what has been said? On draft at Monk's in a classic glass from the brewer. Reddish brown, almost opaque. Tastes sweet of cherries and/or raisons. Then tart. Hints of oak, tannic acid. Tart is the finish that sets this apart from every other experience. A home run as it were. Maybe not a session beer, but one I always look forward to at Monk's. This stuff is terriffic. Truely one of my favorites.

 424 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.68/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Although it's not quite what I remember it to be in the early 80's (I'd imagine that I might be bolstering its memory as it was then one of the special beers of my youth), it's still a remarkable beer! And since I consider the Flander's red style to be my favorite style, that's nothing to sneeze at.

It pours a clear deep-mahogany red body with a full head of pillowy tan foam that holds remarkably well and leaves very nice lace about the glass.

The nose is woody, mildly fruity and subtly candyish-sweet with notes of red fruit and a flicker of tartness (red raspberry, sweet cherry, passion fruit, lemon zest). There's some wet straw and wool in there as well, but it's restrained and actually helps to enhance the other aromas.

In the mouth it's surprisingly supple and airy, leaving it unsurpassingly smooth across the palate with a delicate caress.

The tartness that's expected is clearly present, but not nearly in the same range that one might expect of a lambic... No, this is far more refined. And it's soft, dull caramel-accented maltiness has just enough sweetness to act as a swaddling blanket against it. Fruitiness then enters and adds great depth; all the while balancing it out with a low-key earthiness of wood and subtle "barnyard"/"horseblanket"/"wool".

It finishes dry with a note of woody/earthy/mustiness, some iron, and some residual dark fruit skins.

Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful!

It pairs well with a wide range of soft, buttery and/or earthy Brie-type cheeses; and alongside a crusty loaf of whole wheat bread it makes a wonderful small meal. Some red grapes on the side only help to delineate it's character. Seafood is another choice to consider, as it's acidity clearly cuts through, and mussels in red sauce is a classic. Finally, it also works well at the very start of a meal as an apertif, or with salad (think vinaigrette and soft cheese); and at the end of the meal as a palate cleanser.

 1,951 characters

Photo of gfreed
4.68/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I could easily take a bath in this beer. What's not to like? Not as sour or tart as other Flemish reds, but enough sourness to make it clear you're drinking something exceptional. The healthy hit of Pez-like sugar in the nose is inviting, then the light body and the tightness of the taste-- without the balsamic twang of other beers of this style-- just keep raising the glass all by itself. Low alcohol means you can drink several at one sitting. I'm sorry I had only one bottle in the house at the time.

 506 characters

Photo of laintringulis
4.68/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a wide mouth goblet from Eulogy's in Philadelphia. Pours a dark cranberry color with thick foamy head that thins out quickly but laces nicely. Light body, medium carbonation.

Smells strongly of apple cider, with a sweet caramel smell and some spiciness.

Has an initial sour/tart apple taste with a pleasant dryness that turns more sweet with a caramel maltiness in the middle. It finished with a tart cherry like back taste and moderate dryness.

Very crisp and refreshing. For a light bodied beer this has an exceptional fullness to the mouthfeel without being oily or filmy. Easily sessionable. I could drink this stuff all day long. It has a really nice tie between the mouthfeel, complexity of tastes, and drinkability.

 741 characters

Photo of HogHill
4.68/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I purchased a 750 of the Rodenbach classic while in Buffalo, NY (at Premier Gourmet) over Thanksgiving. Poured this sour beauty into a Rapscallion snifter, the body was a lovely burgundy brown combination. A one finger light tan head topped it off.

While doing my best Paul Giamatti impersonation, I detect a distinct sour cherry aroma along with a spiciness. Some phenols too, just like most belgians. No doubt it's a sour ale!

To drink this Rodenbach is a great experience in beer drinking, an absolute genuine craft brew. Here is a brilliant combination of soured fruits (mostly cherry) backed by a mildy sweet maltiness with a spicy phenolic finish along for the ride. Feels medium bodied with a reduced carbonation.

I would have no problem polishing off mutliple 750s. I can taste why this brew has been around for centuries. Looking forward to see how the Rodenbach Grand Cru stacks up to the Classic.

 919 characters

Photo of dgallina
4.67/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle with best-before 09/08/2005 date.

Poured a minimally cloudy dark ruby with big, but rapidly diminishing white head and excellent lace retention. A pleasant blend of juicy fruits, oak, and wine-like sourness in the nose. Very rounded and exceptionally well-balanced flavors. Ripe red fruits intermingle with woody oak and finish in a moderately drying yeasty flourish. Moderately light in body, with the expected big carbonation. Stunningly drinkable and poised.

 478 characters

Photo of ANNO1074
4.67/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wonderful mix of sour and malt. Slight sweetness with floral notes that contrast with sour and acid. Relatively flat, consistent with sour, though with enough head to release lovely aromas and contribute to mouth feel. Lots of body and flavor for 5.2% beer. A 750ml that you can open without considering how early you need to get up the next day.

 346 characters

Photo of timtheenchanta
4.65/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep ruby color that may as well be brown topped by a light tan one finger head that laces delicately down the glass. A thin layer of foam stays on top for the duration of the drink.

Gorgeous nose that smells like ripe cherries, muscadine grapes, expected tart smell with some moldy oranges. There's a slight moldy hay/wet straw aroma followed by a subtle woody character.

Lively flavor tingles the tongue with sweet fruitiness (grapes, cherries, lemons) balanced out by a beautiful sour/vinegar profile with some horseblanket/hay smell.

This one has a very crisp light feel that delights and brings me back for more. The taste is strong and hangs with you so I'm not sure that I could have more than one in an evening despite the low alcohol level which would otherwise leave it very drinkable.

A wonderful beer and a great example of the style. It doesn't have the slightly metallic taste that some others in the style show.

 938 characters

Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.65/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: poured from a 330 mL bottle into a pint glass, red brown colored almost like cherry cola with a short red tan head that dissipates quickly leaving little lacing, clear

S: sweet and sour fruit aroma, sour cherries, plums

T: very sour up front with complex flavors of malt, fruit, and yeast, slight bitter hop flavor in middle combined with a sweetness from the malt, followed by a sour finish, cherry, oak, tart apple

M: feel is silky smooth with just a bit of carbonation, good lingering sour aftertaste

O: if you are in to Belgian sours you will like this beer, sweet and sour elements are well balanced

 611 characters

Photo of allengarvin
4.65/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ah, Rodenbach. It's been about 8 years since I last got a hold of any of this. 750ml bottle, served into a tall chalice. Lovely reddish-brown color with a solid finger of foam atop it. Aroma is particular appetizing: sharp, coppery scent with sweet malt and a lot of fruitiness. Complex mix of flavors: tangy fruit (unripe grape, or green apple), smooth very very lightly caramel malt, a little spicy, slightly metallic taste at the back of the tongue. Finish is particularly tart and vinous. Beautifully smooth texture with unusual amount of tannic mouthfeel.

This is definitely a "Desert Island" beer, one of the very great beers one should always have around. Yet it's so hard to find in parts of the US.

 711 characters

Photo of Bearski-Beerski
4.65/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed: During this review.
Appearance: Bloody water with just enough visible carbonation.
Smell: Instant tart and sour cherry/strawberry leading to the unveiling of a harmonious nutty oak scent.
Taste: Almost identical to the way it smells. Tart + sour cherry/strawberry, followed by a mild oak after taste. Then, a light carbonation tingle.
Mouthfeel: Quite light in body(not my thing, but with this low enough of an works). Rather silky as well, except for the slight tingle.
Overall: I found it hard not to rate this a perfect score. The only thing I thought would of made it a five could be a more full bodied mouth feel and maybe age it towards having a little more oak flavor(I'm over opinionated at best). Otherwise this brew was exceptional in general, but especially for the price.
Stay Fiscal My Friends!

 834 characters

Photo of JustinMatthew
4.65/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beer pours a very dark brown almost black color with a quickly disappearing head. Smells of very pungent souring grapes and a little funk. Tastes a lot like a Pinot noir upfront. Some apples and Sour grapes, a little oak, sour mash, a touch of vinegar all down the hatch. very well balanced. A good amount of carbonated mouth feel with a lingering grape taste. Love this one.

"75% young ale 25% ale matured for 2 years in oak vats"

 432 characters

Photo of Topdollar
4.64/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Cherries...almost a sherry on the nose. Very light and refreshing on the tongue. Not bitter or heavy. Appealing red apperence...clouded as if unfiltered. An excellent overall beer.

 180 characters

Photo of kmpitz2
4.64/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a deep amber to red color with a 2 finger head that falls to a solid coat over top. Nose is so very nice and sweet with tartness to balance it very well. Good notes of cherry and acetone sweetness (I always liked the smell of acetone) with a sharp tartness that is so nice. Flavor is very well balanced, with the sweet cherry hitting first followed by a moderate sharp sourness that turns to a light residual sweetness on the finish. Very clean and incredibly tasty. Feel is on the light end of moderate with a full moderate carbonation. Very light and clean, keeping it disappearing from my glass at a high clip. A very tasty and drinkable beer. I like the balance of flavors and I think the nose is even better. A wonderful brew.

 737 characters

Photo of westweasel
4.63/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Weyerbacher tulip glass.

Appearance - A very dark almost opaque dark brown liquid with a thin slightly off-white head. When held up to the light in this tulip glass, the beer is a dark, clear ruby red.
A very cool looking beer.

Aroma - A mixture of sour cherries, toffee, leather, and charred oak.

Taste - Tart cherries, a bit of toffee, a bit of horse blanket, followed by a tart, dry finish.

MF - Medium / thin with high carbonation.

Drinkability - This is a very enjoyable sour beer. Sour enough to accentuate the fruit flavors, but probably not sour enough to turn off people who aren't sour fans.

 640 characters

Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draft at brewery. .25 l into Rodenbach tulip.  Dark ruby.  Off white head, soapy lacing. Aroma, vinegar, sour. Mouth puckering, biting in the back of the mouth and top of throat. Smooth finish, Michael Jackson called this refreshing,I guess for the first time I understand what he meant. Delicious. 

 305 characters

Photo of geexploitation
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this years ago and didn't care for it. Maybe my palate's expanded since then, because my appreciation of this has grown considerably. From a 750 mL cork finish bottle, this pours a pink-tinged amber with a considerable head that leaves lacing on my Duvel glass. Held up to the light, this beer looks like a stage lighting gel. The nose is huge, with a base of vinegar overlaid with fruit notes like Juicyfruit gum and some low barnyard smells. The taste is initally a blast of fruity sweetness. This is follwed by a blast of sourness and carbonation at the back of the tongue, then a metallic aftertaste. Mouthfeel is quite effervescent. Drinkability is a bit low when consumed by itself, but imagine that this would be divine paired with the right food.

Overall I'm really impressed. This is one of those unique beer gems that isn't "normal" and is all the more amazing for it. We wouldn't want everything to taste the same, would we?

 944 characters

Photo of saltydog
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was, amazingly enough, a bottle from 1988, served at Kroegske. Appearance: Mild head, bright dark red color, very clear. Aroma: very strong sourness, still enough malt to balance it out, with an incredibly smooth balance. Flavor: Tart and very mellow. Malty is subdued, and vinous flavors. Dinkability is dominated by tart finish. The sourness wonderfully masks the age; the only way you would have any idea how old it is would be that they don't make it this well anymore!

 478 characters

Photo of Budlum
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle in to a goblet. A somewhat firm, tan head that dissipates in about two minutes leaving nice lacing throughout the drink. Colors are light brown, almost cloudy with plenty of red hues. A goblet with a smaller diameter would show more of the red characteristics.

The aromas are immediately floral. Sour apples, fresh raspberries, hints of passion fruits and a slight hefeweiss yeast smell. Hyacynthe in the mix as well?

The flavors are noticeably tart, as expected. However, the tartness never becomes overwhelming. Fresh sour fruits, hints of juniper and sweet raisins as it warms. Light in body yet powerful in flavor. A slight saltiness as well as vanilla tones can be found in the finish. There is no presence of alcohol as epected from the low ABV.

Incredible mouthfeel with plenty of effervesence. A great balance of complexity and a classic representation of the style.

I've had this on draft a few times and noticed that tartness was much more apparent. I should also note that the bottle reviewed has been maturing for about four months. Earlier samples from the case had increased tartness but the same characteristics elsewhere.

For muggy summer evenings, forget the IPA's and wheat beers. This is the one! Very refreshing and ridiculously drinkable.

 1,306 characters

Photo of KTCamm
4.61/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Champagne style bottle poured into a duvel glass.

Pours very dark brownish red with wisps of foam. Nice lacing. Berry tartness in the nose. Cherries.

Sweet open, sour finish taste. Quite fruity in between. Grapes, subtle wine as well. Carbonation felt at the finish. Very even keeled. Tartness tasty but not ovpowering.

Really delicious and a great beer. Loved it.

 370 characters

Photo of SurlyDuff
4.61/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish brown with some real nice bright red highlights when holding up to the light. Good frothy tan head.

I love this style and jump at and Fladers Reds I can get ahold of.

Sourness in the aroma, but alas, there is also a candy sweetness and a woody earthiness. In more than one sniff I caught Sour Patch Kids.

Smooth dry mouthfeel and a great complex explosion of flavor. A mild malt presense balances it out nicely, and helps to draw the distinction between it and a lambic. Tart apple, cherries, crisp burnt sugar (without the real sweetness), and a really really clean finish. Aftertaste has the amazing ability of making itself even more desirous. I couldn't put my glass down. When I wasn't drinknig it, I had my nose burried in the top of my flute glass.

Wonderful brew!

 787 characters

Rodenbach Classic (Red) from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
4.01 out of 5 based on 1,792 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.