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

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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

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Reviews: 677 | Ratings: 1,796
Photo of BeerNutta
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


A = Poured out of the bottle dark mahogany. There was little to no head.

S = Smells of plentiful dark cherries. There is a slight slight hint of vinegar. A very inviting smell.

T = Initial cherry sweetness gives way for a dry bitterness and red vinegar like taste that lingers giving a slight tartness characteristic to the beer.

M = Low carbonation makes rodenbach easy to drink and enjoy. The tartness coupled with the dry finish leaves the mouth wanting more.

D = Very drinkable.

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Photo of vancurly
3.84/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown, with a thin tan head.

Aromas of cherry, oak wood, and slight sour rotten vegetables.

Tastes a variety of sour flavours: sour cherry, buttermilk, cider vinegar. As it warms, there's some leather, chinese plum sauce, and even some grapefruit.

The effervescence explodes in the mouth. The mouthfeel is not puckeringly sour, but it is still quite light & thin. There is no bitterness that I can discern.

Quite a remarkable drink. I would drink one glass as an aperitif. I couldn't have it as a session beer.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is really assertive from the very beginning. There is a dry impression with some noticeable roast that helps accent this dryness. There seems to be a bit of oxidation in this example that I am not sure is from actual oxidation from age, or from the aging in the barrels that breath. There is a very subtle dryness to this beer that makes it seem very well attenuated. There is a whole bunch of fruit in this beer and you can pick out the cherries in particular. The cherries are such a big player that it almost gives the beer an impression of the Black Cherry Kool-Aid.

As the beer warms a bit, there is a much more earthy flavor coming out. It really gets woody after it sits for a while. After you have been sipping this beer for a little while, there is a noticeable acidity that lingers on the back of the throat much like a Stout beer, but without the coffee like aftertaste. It leaves a cherry-like impression to linger for some time. This is a nice beer. It is nice to have a beer that is this light on the alcohol, yet still this big on flavor.

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Photo of LarryV
2.7/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I found this to be a really disappointing beer. Aroma wasn't bad, but the overwhelming sourness once I tasted it turned me right off. Reminded me of drinking apple cider and had apple cider vinegar overtones. It was a chore to drink a 10.5 oz glass of this.

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Photo of rarevos
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into Ommegang ale glass.

A: Pours a murky reddish-brown, more brown than red. Head is light tan and doesn't stick around for long. Remains as a thin layer of tiny bubbles.

S: Cherry, oaky aroma with a touch of plums and strawberries at the back.

T/M: Cherry woodiness up front, and, as with a gueuze, you can tell that some sourness/tartness is building. It's moderately acidic toward the middle as it builds to become lightly vinous right before the swallow. Some ripe, dark fruit emerges here, like plums, sour cherries, and red wine grapes. Finish is sour, lightly chocolatey, and with a mildly bitter tail. Very, very good.

D: This isn't as sour or as fruity/vinous as Duchesse de Bourgogne, but they're two pretty different beers, so that's not a knock. This one is milder, mellower, and has some roasty, woody sweetness to round out the many flavors.

This is a sour beer that doesn't beat you up with sourness. A series of complex flavors work with the tartness/sourness to produce something really unique, and I can't wait to try and pair this with some authentic Flemish cuisine. Low abv% means that you're not limiting yourself to just one beer. I'm not sure I would drink a ton of these, but a bomber is just about right.

I usually keep some of this on hand in my cellar, and I'm always glad for it. For me, this is a classic, a really unique beer. One of my favorite comforting beers.

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Photo of Beertracker
4.7/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Rodenbach Classic (Red) should be served at (47-53F) from a traditional flute or stemmed goblet. The Red (Classic) is a combination of 75% fresh ale & 25% barrel aged ale and pours up very softly with plenty of Belgian lace. The translucent reddish-light brown body is offset beautifully by a fluffy, cream colored head. The nose is ripe with fruity complexity and some sweet candy apple undertones. The classic Flanders aroma has some subtle oak character, light oxidation and a noteably sharp sourness. Hints of aged Balsamic vinegar, cordial cherries, red currants and fresh green apples spring to mind. The first sip creates an initial sourness upon the palate that seems to shock every taste bud on the tongue! Once the initial acidity fades, some sweet caramel apple and bitter almond characters emerge intermingled with the sharp sourness. The winelike finish is decidely tart, dry (oaky & tannic) and slightly astringent. The medium body is alive with a zesty carbonation that creates some prickly carbonic acid, as it glides past the lips.

This is undoubtedly the quintessential classic for a Flanders Red Ale. I'm very pleased to see this world class beer make its long awaited return to the United States. However, I feel that the "rebirth" of this classic has come at some cost, as it has lost some of the earthy "wildness" and complexity that it previously held. This highly regarded Flemish Sour Ale is still one of my all-time favorites and I highly recommend that if you're a sour beer fan that you seek some out! Enjoy Rodenbach Red as an apertif or try it paired with some blue cheese stuffed crabcakes. For a traditional treat... try enjoying a glass with your next breakfast or brunch? Here's to the "Burgundy of Belgium!"

CHEERS! Beertracker

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Photo of Nutleybeer
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Unique tasting beer...for those who want to broaden their beer tasting horizons.

Can't say I loved it...but clearly this is a quality beer. It is like drinking a cherry sour ball candy beer. The taste was interesting...sour, but not too sour...just a bit, but with a rich fruity flavor...yet, not too sweet.

I would have been satisfied with a single glass, but I polished off the entire 22 oz bottle anyway. A reddish/mahogony like color, with a mild head. A nice smell. Not hoppy at all. As I said, a slightly sour cherry taste, but not sour enough to make your lips pucker...

Try if you want to experiment. Not for all tastes. Drinkable, don't get me wrong, but in limited quantities.

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Photo of rayjay
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Found this one in Oregon. Best before 08-11-06, a little over a month ago, but then the next line reads 4-16 19:17, and the dates are notched 03 06. What the hell, when was this beer brewed? Maybe that's some code for the different blended barrels?

Pours thick and deep cherry red. Barely any carbonation is visibly present, but on the mouthfeel it is as lively as soda pop. Smells like cherry soda and vinegar. Firmly sour taste with a dry finish. Flavors: wood, cherry, citrus. No cloying sugar. Aftertaste goes for hard water with unsweetened cherry essence. Vinegar taste is not present.

Compared to Duchesse, it is much less sweet, less sticky, more tart, and more dry. I made the mistake of pairing it with ice cream, not recommened! Ice cream was way to dominating, I think something much less fatty like sorbet or a salad would be best.

The first time I had it was about '98, when the waitress brought me one when I had ordered a St. Rogue Red. I tried it just to be a good sport, but sent it back. I tried it again over the next few years and hated it every time. Funny, now it's one of my favorite styles, and I was excited about it after it had not been available in the US for some time. Now I can't wait to crack open my Grand Cru!

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Photo of jdoolin
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: on tap at the Sharp Edge in Pittsburgh, poured into the proper Rodenbach glass.

Appearance: Dark brownish red with a fluffy light tan head. Nice lacing.

Aroma: Incredible. Ripe cherries, light caramel and the aceting sourness combine to create a wonderful aroma.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Tartness hits first, but it's not at all overbearing. Cherries, grapes and other fruits come along with a caramel like sweetness balancing the tartness. Finishes with a smooth malt flavor and bit more cherries. Mouthfeel is incredibly smooth. Very tasty.

I wouldn't want to have too many of these in one sitting, but it's still above average drinkability.

Notes: After being disappointed with a bad bottle of Grand Cru (tasted like carbonated vinegar), I was ever so pleased with this beer. Wonderful flavors with a great level of tartness. I will get this beer again without a doubt.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle

Pours a semi-hazed reddish brown with a dense tan head that thins. Thick lacing on the glass.

Aroma is both sour and tart with a slight fruitiness.

The flavor is very tangy. It has sour and tart notes with a light fruitiness and just the slightest hint of malt.

Light body, creamy texture.

This is a fine sour ale. I consumed the 750 with no effort. Need to pick up another one of these....

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Photo of Iguana
4.95/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've been wanting to try the Rodenbach beer's for quite awhile now but been unable to find em. Yesterday I was in Eugene, OR at the Bier Stein and ran across some much to my delight. 275 ml bottle poured into my New Belgium Globe glass a dark amber color with a small head that laced up fairly quick. Looks great. Smell is of tart cherries, oak, and just hint of vinegar sour twang. Smells awesome. Taste was not a let down, cherries, oak, rich malts, hint of wheat towards the end with a pleasently refreshing sour finish. Mouthfeel was smooth, a bit sticky, and tart. Really pleasent. Man if I could get this stuff in town I would drink it all the time. I absolutely love it. This is a brew that can be enjoyed on a hot afternoon to refresh you, or as a dessert for after dinner.

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Photo of unklesyd
3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My last in the line of Rodenbach tastings. After Redbach, this is a welcome back to beer territory.

Nice, tart flavor, slight hint of past-prime strawberries. Sourness is present, but not overly twangy. Blend of tart and sweet is nice, without making the beer undrinkably sour or sweet. No hint of "funk". Very clean, with a dry mouthfeel and slightly "savory" aftertaste.

Big downfall is appearance, which is a murky, not very attrative brown. However, it does pour with a nice head which maintains as a purplish ring throughout. A good aperitif.

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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.

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Photo of edmundfitzoil
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 750 of Rodenbach poured into one of my trust snifters. I poured mind just a touch under cellar temperature, and I enjoyed it as it warmed in the glass.

The beer poured a lightly hazed deep red-brown. The head started out about an inch in height, but it dissipated pretty quickly like a glass of soda but left some spotty, wildly patterned fine lacing around the inside of the glass. The nose is complex and intensely - dare I say it - almost intimdating at first: fairly heavy oak tones with numerous fruits with a fairly heavy dose of a tart quality to it. The flavor itself initially is a subdued oaked-woodiness that is followed by the substantial lactic/sourness and pocedes to multiple layers of oakiness as the flavor itself feels like it spreads outward from the direct center of the tongue. The mouthfeel is full, but it's dangerously drinkable and enjoyable. I am quite surprised that something of this quality if fairly easy to come across here in town; although, don't allow my surprise to be anything to prevent someone from trying this. I will probably return soon enough.

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Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky orangish-brown with a hazed clarity. One finger of dense, pale tan foam holds well and leaves spotty lacing. A complex aroma of cidery farmhouse yeast , some background peach/apricot fruitiness, and a musty french oak with toasted malt overlapping. Caramel taste briefly sweetens the flavor, followed by a malt vinegar bite. Aftertaste is tart and dry, with a funky belgian yeast flavor, and lingering sourness. No hops to speak of, but this balances fine without. A crisp, medium-high carbonation and medium body accentuate the acidic kick, and produces a very lively mouthfeel. Finishes pleasently tart and highly drinkable. If you're you're into the brett. thing, this is for you.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer came a cola color with prominent cherry highlights and a wide creamy tan collar.

Smelled very sour and dry with a touch of vinegar and under-ripe cherries. There’s also a slight pie crust sweetness.

Tastes of musky sour and dry cherries, with a smooth creamy caramel that’s pasted on my tongue. The malty sweetness was a nice change of pace for the style.

The mouth feel was medium boded with a full mouth of unobtrusive bubbles.

The caramel sweetness took a lot of the edge off this one and made it very easy to drink.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pops out a cork with ease, leading to a russet, brown, offering hazy cloudy in depth topped with a densely packed frothy sandy coating leaving a pillowy lace stuck to the glass.

Piquant scents of mouth watering sour apple. Light lemonade meets a light red apple with a leafy crispness.

First swigs: Bright red apple sharpness immediately starts off the palate with soft rose petal Earthiness. A touch of medicinal copper penny and lemon meringue pie filling follow through to a razor sharp finish of Sweet-Tart candy. A delicate linger of fluffy candy.

Restrained body and refined flavor makes a drinkable beer in my book. Clean finish helps.

Last swigs: Tart red apple sour sipper. A true classic.

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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.

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Photo of cbl2
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$5.79 750 mL 5.10% Best by 9/06.


Pours a brilliant deep red with thin tight carbonation that yields a minimal white head.


Acidic and tart with sour mashed cherries and a sweet raspberry aroma.


Like a lambic with no fruit added! This is fantastic, and refreshing with a palate cleansing acidic tartness that is imbued with a fresh cherry flavor that lingers as this one goes down. The low ABV makes this one easy to enjoy, and its overall uniqueness makes it a glory to behold.

Grab this one if you can get your hands on it, it is an excellent value. 75% fresh ale, 25% aged in oak.

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Photo of doppelmeup
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was my first experience with a sour ale, so I wasn't sure how I would like it..

Cloudy, reddish brown color with a small head and minimal lacing served in a tulip glass.

Aromas of tart cherries, vinegar, pickles. Not overly strong and intriguing aromas.

This beer was more tart than sour tasting, similar to tart pie cherries. It was a little strange at first, but as I got accustomed to it, the flavor really grew on me. I shared the 750ml bottle with a friend, and he really liked the flavor, as did I.

(Edit: In pondering the flavor of this beer, I now know what the flavor reminded me of. It was similar to eating a piece of rhubarb pie, both tart and fruity at once.)

Clean crisp mouthfeel. Much lighter than expected. Not overly carbonated.

Easy to drink, but the flavor did take a bit of getting used to. I'd drink this again.

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

750 ML bottle screen printed and corked bottle with a new logo from the displayed above.

I have only had 3 Flanders Reds but I have decided it is my current favorite style and I am going to seek out as many of these as I can find. I love the teeter-totting from sweet to tart and the berry bite in the end wow. I did enjoy this beer more than the Grand Cru but not quite as much as the Duchess De Bourgogne.

Suggestion: Let this warm signifcants on the counter before opening. It really mellows. Also take your time; start before it has reached room temp and re-cork (if you have a 750 ML) and try a small flute again and again as it warms. Absolutly *fasinating* the flavors that continue to come out, especially the coco.

Appearance: Pours a dark raspberry brown/copper color that does not let the light through the body but looks lighter around the edges. It had a small light brown head that fades to a spotty frothy cap and descent lacing.

Smell: Raspberries, cherry, brown sugar a hint of smoked barrel wood fill the nose and send my taste buds in a frenzy of anticipation i.e. salivation.

Taste: Sour, with wine like attributes it is cherry with a hint of coco and a flood of brown sugar it slides smoothly and is somewhat nonchalant the way sneaks through the fist part of palate without causing much ruckus; then, all of the sudden it erupts with flavors of berries and spices that that are simply exceptional. As it warms there are hint of coca and nuts and oak along with the sour cherries. It is similar to the Lambics that I have had in acidity and bite. The aftertaste lingers forever! mmm.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is very nice. I do not have much within the style to compare it to yet but it is extremely active and poking and prodding the palate while dancing around with great energy on the taste buds. That said the carbonation is not as crazy as the Grand Cru was, which I personally prefer. It was a little rough on the swallow sometimes with the acidity but overall, very nice in the mouth.

Drinkability: I hardly know what to say. Typically I would not consider a sour beer sessionable but maybe I am converting to a new way of thinking; this beer was so east to drink it was hard to believe. I won’t quite give it a 5.0 but it’s a really close call wow. I think it’s that amazing aftertaste that just keeps this beer cruising down the hatch =)

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of MSchae1017
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was tasted from the 750mL Bottle in a tulip glass.

This beer pours deep mahogany with a fluffy off white head, nice lacing and retention. The smell is woody and sour/tart vinous fruits. The taste reminds me first of a gueze or a lambic but not quite as sour/tart. There is also a slightly preceptable flavor of woodiness. The mouthfeel has a strong body without being overwhelming. The carbonation is also nice. There is also a nice amount of dryness. Overall, highly drinkable, a lovely beer. A great one to mix it up with for something a little different.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
2.68/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

My first dive into "sour" ales. Poured a dark reddish-brown with a tan head that left some lacing behind. The smell is unlike any other beer I have had. Sour vinegar with some dark fruits and a sweeter bubble gum like scent. The taste is ... wow ... sour! I know I should have expected it but it hit me hard. It's like someone stuffed some cherries into a bottle of apple cider vinegar. This may be true to style but it's not for me. I gave it a 3 because I am assuming that is how it should taste. was an interesting experience for sure, but I had to feed this one to the sink.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this beer several times at Eulogy in Philly. This beer was served in a chalice.

Appearance: The beer has a nearly crimson coloration. The head was a pink foam on the beer. The head had almost no retention.

Smell: The beer has a very dominate and pleasing sour cherry smell. The beer has a bit of spicyness funkyness splashing about the beer.

Taste: The beer has a lead in of tart cherry fruityness. The beer has a bit of funky spicyness.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer has a light body. The beer has a very crisp and refreshing mouthfeel. This beer is a definate thirst quencher. I will definately be partaking of Rodenbach again. This is just a very solid sessionable beer.

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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.

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Rodenbach Classic (Red) from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
4.01 out of 5 based on 1,796 ratings.
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