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: 675 | Ratings: 1,792
3.74/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Reddish-brown color - clear...1/2 inch beige head falls to a cap quickly - no lace.
Sour fruit (cherry?), wood, spice in the nose. Malty and clean with a nice amount of refreshing sour middle to the end. Not an overly long or complex finish to it - clean entry, light sour hit, and gone.
Medium weight and medium carbonation in the mouthfeel. This is enjoyable overall - has a nice nose and the sour adds a good profile to the flavor. Good.

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Photo of 0110x011
3.74/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a murky red-brown from a 750ml corked & caged bottle, with a bubbly one finger head and minimal lace. Nose is cherries & raspberries, with a healthy dose of malt sweetness. Tart cherries predominate on the tongue, with a nice malt sweetness to back of up, and a nice sour punch. Not terribly complex. Almost soda-like carbonation, medium body, and a crisp dry finish.

This is my first experience with the style, and I have to say I like it very much. This would make a great alternative session beer, but its pretty one-dimentional, and lacks the complexity I normally look for.

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Photo of IKR
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Medium reddish brown color with a generous light beige head.

Smell: Fruity nose with some noticeable grape aromas. Very mild Belgian yeast scents come through. The nose is reminiscent of a good quad.

Taste: Tart fruity taste similar to the nose is present but it's fairly muted. Not a complex tasting beer and I feel a step behind other beers I've had in this style. Fairly dry finish.

Mouth-feel: Body is on the lighter Medium side with a generous level of carbonation. Fairly thin tasting.

Overall: The taste doesn't live up to the presentation. The appearance and nose built up my anticipation but the taste while not bad was muted and very plain. I'll have to try the Grand Cru.

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Photo of jsanford
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Distiller in Savannah, GA on 1/27/11

A - Dark reddish-brown with a 2-inch fluffy white head. Very nice retention, leaves soapy lacing.
S - Smells of sweet cherry candy, brown sugar, and a slight whiff of red wine vinegar.
T - More sweet cherry with a grainy toasted cereal malt backbone and a touch of vanilla.
M - Slick, with a medium-thin body and low carbonation.
D - Very drinkable, almost like a cherry soda.

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Photo of Dithyramb
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Ale Mary's here in Baltimore in a Rodenbach chalice. Beautiful amber brown with a tan head that had some retention values. Great lacing, though. Tart, sour cherries on the nose.

Slightly acidic with sour fruit flavor. Once my mouth became used to the funky sourness, it really didn't have much body to it. Came off more of a one-trick pony, with no real finish to it. Finished dry and clean, though

The drinkability was a notch above. This was my first overly drinkable funkadelic red.

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Photo of tjd25
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark red color. The smell is winy and woody. The beer matured two years in wooden barrels, so it’s not really a surprise. I’m kind of scared because I usually don’t appreciate this kind of beer very much. Cherries, wood and fruity wine flavors come in the taste. Raspberries and blueberries. Sweetness. Definitely cherries. The mouthfeel is light. The real surprise for me was the sourness, mixed with some slightly bitter aftertaste. I didn’t expect the tart but it was very deep in the brew. Good, but not one of my favorites. Too sour for my taste.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

At some point, I should stop reviewing these sour browns and just rate them because I am running out of things to say other than: I tried and I tried to get used to them, and I couldn't embrace them.

MJ's "Great Beers of Belgium" said the "classic version is a blend of 25% beer from the wooden tuns and 75% young beer.... Tart, fruity, refreshing, with a balancing Madeira sweetness."
MJ's 1999 "Guide" gave it 3.5 stars of 4, but noted that it had become sweeter in recent years.

Rodenbach's Classic is listed in the "1001", but I'll let you decide if that is deserved.

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Photo of Padron4KM
3.72/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

250 ml brown bottle.
Best before Sept. 9 07

Reddish brown with no real head to speak of, just a thin cap of tight bubbles.

Aroma is Balsamic vinegar and oak and sour cherries.

Flavor is sweet and sour cherries with a touch of balsamic acidity on the finish.

Body is a touch thin, but it is still a good beer.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.72/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle best before 10-06-2010. Bought at Capital Market, Salem darker amber almost cola coloured ale..small delicate light brown head. Good sour and fruity aromas,slightly phenolic and earthy. mainlly very malty with sourness underneath,very balanced. Some astringency at the end, but its welcomed. Smooth and balanced again on the palate Overall very refreshing, but not sour enough for me.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.72/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Reddish brown, clear, small near white head, only a ring. No lace.

S - Sharp start nice round malt surrounding it. Musky note observed as well.

T - Juicy, malty, small bite at end. Nice, but nothing extreme.

M - Medium body, lower carb than would have liked, ok balance.

D - Liked it, but wouldn't actively seek it out again.

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Photo of lastmango
3.71/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a dark ruby brown with a thin tan fizzy head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing. Nose of apple and mixed fruit. Moderate malt flavor that is overshadowed by sour cherry flavor. As I first approached this beer, the tartness was like lemonade. But, within a few sips, the sourness became more balanced with the malt. This beer is thin and fizzy. This is my first Flanders red ale and I am finding it enjoyable as a departure from my norm.

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Photo of PhiloPsych
3.71/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is dark red and medium brown in the glass. Little aroma, but plenty of sour, sweet, lightly malty taste. No hops bitter to speak of—that’s not the style. This is brown malt and fruity, sour, sweet fruit on top and a touch of earthiness in the finish. The mouthfeel is clean, crisp, and rather light with some prickly carbonation and bright acidity. This isn’t the most sour sour beer; it isn’t the fruitiest fruity beer; it isn’t the maltiest brown beer. But it is a very nicely balanced sour, fruity, red-brown beer.

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Photo of artoolemomo
3.71/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- Pours up very little head which dissipates in less than 15 seconds. The head is a light beige with khaki tones while the body is a muddy, chestnut brown mixed with maroon and shows crimson and burgundy in the light. Some spots of lacing.

Nose- Mostly cherries and other dark fruits. Some presence but little complexity. The cherry is a bit more tart and fleshier from the bottle. The aroma from the glass seems a little thin. Light plums and prunes. Slight hint of vinegar.

Taste- Very representative of the nose as it is mostly cherries with hints of other dark fruits. I don't really get a lot of tartness or acetic acid at all. There might be a slight amount but I'm pretty sure I would pick up on it if it had much presence at all. Seems a little flabby and maybe a little thin. Some other stone fruits on the finish? Maybe a little bit of peach or apricot? Some oak on the finish with mild vanilla to really even it out. I just assumed that this would be sour but it's very approachable. I know that my palate has acclimated somewhat but not that much. The sour qualities tend to flit around the edges of my mouth. Maybe a little bit of Sweet Tarts? It's a solid, good beer but I don't know if it's anything beyond that. Could use more complexity and presence, but structurally it is sound. Maybe some cinnamon around the edges as well. Some dull apple notes on the finish as well.

Mouthfeel- Almost medium bodied with light carbonation and some syrup to the texture.

Drinkability- Very easygoing and quite accessible. This could be a gateway for those who don't like fruit beers as it isn't cloying at all. It could also be an introduction to sours as it only has a slight hint of any tartness. 4 bucks a bottle is reasonable but I probably won't buy it again.

Overall- Solid, good beer as I expected it would be. Doesn't do anything particularly special; it's simply an effective and consistent beer. I would give it a try. Probably not a repurchase (except maybe on tap).

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle drank at le Cirio in Brussels: Poured a light red/brown colored beer with a nice head with better then average retention. Aroma is mostly dominated by the oak/cherry smell but not as strong as for the Grand Cru. Taste is surprisingly more refreshing then expected with again the oak/cherry taste and some light sweetness. The end is a bit sour and watery. This is not on par with the Grand Cru but it would wonderful to drink this during a hot summer days beside the pool.

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Photo of DaveFL1976
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The cage is untied and.... POP!
The cork rockets out of the bottle, cage in tow, and slams to my kitchen ceiling, slightly cracking the plastic diffuser of my kitchen's light bulb. This beer's off to an interesting start.
I reach down to pick up the cork and catch of waft of funkyness. Oh, this is a really interesting start.

Pour the beer into my chimay goblet and take note of a crysta lclear deep cherry red body topped with a fluffy tan head.

The nose has a bit of sharpness to it, and tart fruity tones, like cherries. Really nice and crisp smell.

But the taste was a bit of a letdown. It's sour at the start, and it's nice. Then a wave of cherries fill the palate, but what's left is a metallic aftertaste that tastes a bit like I've sucked on a penny.

Mouthfeel is deceptively light due to the high carbonation, and drinkability is..ehh.

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Photo of adodds
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a soft, medium-dark honey-amber color with just enough haunt of red to make you squint and ask, "Is that red I see?" Small head. If this beer had a personality I would guess that it is sleepy or mellow, based on first glance.

S - The expected acidic, fruity smell is actually quite muted. It is as if somebody tossed the scent on the ground and shoveled some brown sugar- or molasses-laced dirt on top. This is the kind of dirt that mushrooms grow in in dark forests.

T - Sour acidity and carbonation pierce the tongue at first, but this acid does not soar as high as one would expect from other sours. Sweet cherry and raisin dominate, sprinkled with a pinch of light brown sugar on top.

M - Although the carbonation does bite the tongue at first, it feels very soft and fuzzy. The beer seems to take its time as rolls around the mouth softly and sleepily.

O - This beer is a good choice for somebody just looking to get into sours. It does not scream loudly nor stab your tongue with thousands of tiny lances. Perhaps a bit sweet, even cloying for my tastes. I would consider it the equivalent of a dessert wine. If you like lively, vivacious sours then this beer probably is not for you.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tumbler at ChurchKey.

Finally, a place that has this on tap so that I don't have to buy a bottle (I'm cheap). You rock, CK! It pours a seemingly clear, though rather dark, ruby topped by over a finger of tan foam. The nose comprises light vinegar, mandarin oranges, pineapple, maple syrup, sour grapes, and raspberries. The taste begins with some o' those sour grapes and vinegar notes, followed by some wheat, lightly roasted malts, and nutmeg. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sticky finish. Overall, a tasty Flemish offering, but not necessarily something I see myself drinking too often.

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Photo of EternalCask
3.69/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Was making a stop for the lady at a package store in somers,ct. I happened upon a shelf of craft offerings and picked this on no authourity, other than my love for most Belgians and a desire to experiment with Flanders Red.

A- a rusty, coppery red. It glows a bit. Half an inch of mother of pearl colored froth. Looks like a lit cigar.

S-green and gala apples.. A hint of sherry wood. There is a wiff of youthful frivolity, followed by a nose of a wise old sage.

T- more apples, grape must, sherry, sweet and tart play a game of one on one. Right now sweet is up by two. Figs, quince, dark stuff.

M- dissipates quickly, but leaves a great woodsy finish flavor-wise. Not heavy.

O-fun! Glad I tried this. It could be too sweet for some, but I find a nice balance with sour notes throughout. The sherry notes make me happy. Give me portobello mushrooms, chicken marsala with egg noodles, a Danish blue cheese burger. BBQ??
Go Belgium, go Belgium....

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Photo of hobbes2112
3.69/5  rDev -8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got a 750mL bottle and shared with some friends. Deep red in color, small head that rapidly dissipated. Aroma was tart and sweet at the same time. Serious cherry notes in the aroma and taste. The sour start to the beer put me off a little at the start, but near the end of my half (shared the bottle) I was warming to it. I guess it was also literally warming so maybe that was part of it.

Overall a pretty good beer. I'm not very familiar with the style but I would say this lives up to the expectations from what I had read.

I might drink this again, but it is unlikely I will buy it again.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at McNulty Bier Market in Cleveland. Pours a dark red, ruby color with a very thin white head that disappeared in an instant. Slight sour cherry and vinegar aroma. Tart flavor of sour berries. Flavor ends quickly. No bitterness. Quite differnet from the Grand Cru, I was expecting it to be more sour. Light to medium body. Refreshing, and pretty drinkable.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a clear ruby red with orange edges and a tan dense head.

S-tons of cherry, light notes of balsamic with a hint of cherry tartness in the back.

T-balsamic vinegar light up front, notes of very slightly tart cherries, a dark chocolate maltiness lies underneath. light herbal tea notes in the back.

M-smooth on the palate with a good carbonation, medium body and a good crisp dry finish.

D-easy drinker right here, good sweetness balanced with a light note of vinegar, tartness and dark malt.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been sick the last few days, but I'm feeling better tonight and I have some catching up to do, one bottle at a time. I'm going to start small in quanitity by opening the 8.45 ounce (250 ml) bottle of Rodenbach I purchased last week. On to the beer:

The only red in the beer is found in the hues of this tawny brown creation. Sour funk in the smell, and a smell that's tamed. The flavor seemed a little muted by the carbonation that hits the tongue, but the balance is good. The sour and tart taste is pleasant, no question about that. It's the low amount of overall flavor though, that's reflected in the taste score I'm giving it, that keeps it from being a highly recommended pick. Nonetheless an interesting beer in an interesting style.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Murky raspberry iced tea. The beer was clear initially, but since the bottle is so small, I was able to get the entire contents into the glass with one pour, including the sentiment. Atop the liquid is a splendid looking crown of almond colored foam that sports a rough hewn surface and is substantial enough to hang around for a bit. Thick bands of pocked lace are a bonus. I'm impressed so far and I haven't even smelled it yet.

The nose is solid, even if it fails to 'wow' me as much as the appearance. It's tart and fruity and acetic acid-like and oaky and all the things that Flanders red ales are known for. It's a perfect example of the style, if not quite the standard bearer. If I was to nitpick, I'd ask for more intensity and more complexity.

My first impression is that I'm not quite as impressed as I was with the much less-heralded Mestreechs Aajt and Monk's Flemish Sour Red. Rodenbach is intense, but it's more intensely acidic than it is intensely flavorful or intensely sour. The flavor profile is another step down from the nose in terms of (a lack of) complexity.

According to the label, the beer is 75% fresh and 25% aged in oak. Even though I can appreciate the wood, more would nice. This beer needs more of quite a few things in fact. Again, it's a faithful version, just not a stellar one according to my taste buds. I had originally thought that the 250 ml bottle would be way too small, but it's turning out to be just about about right.

There's very little wrong with the mouthfeel from where I sit. By the same token, it doesn't distinguish itself either. It's on the thin side with the exception of a nod toward lightly viscous on the finish. A generous amount of fine-bubbled carbonation adds some amount of mouth interest.

Rodenbach Classic is a disappointment. I've come to enjoy this style and was expecting an explosion of tart, funky, oak-accented fruit... and didn't get it. I don't remember where I finally located a bottle, but from now on, whenever I get the urge to drink a beer of this style, I'll be content with the Monk's Flemish Sour Red that I can get mere minutes from my front door. Here's hoping that Rodenbach Grand Cru blows the roof off the joint.

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Photo of aaronh
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice to finally try this beer. Body really has a nice reddish color to it with a nice head as well. The head fades pretty quickly. The aroma has a sharp edge to it, but a lot of nice fruity smells in the as well. Flavor is sharply sour at first, but more of the malt profile comes through as you sip. Mouthfeel is ok, but seems a little thin. Drinakbility is also OK. I enjoy it, but I couldn't see drinking more than one of these in a sitting.

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.67/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle at 42* into a Boon Kriek glass. Best before: 10/06/2010. Uh oh.

A: This pours an opaque dark-red color with a thin, off-white head.

S: It is almost completely composed of sweet and sour cherries.

T: It opens with a sweet cherry juice flavor and finishes with notes of cherry peel and pit.

M: It has a medium body with a refreshingly crisp finish.

D: This is okay but I don't quite understand the obsession with the style. It is not a very complex brew.

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