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: 1,793
Photo of GPHarris
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - poured a two fingers thick head into a tulip glass. the head was a light tan color, fizzy and bubbly which left a thick lace. the body was a deep red.
s - tart and sour cherries.
t - cherries with a little dried grapes thrown in. i know it's about to be i drinking a manishevitz?
m - bubbly and thin.
d - the more i drink this beer the more i am liking it. not very familiar with the style but this is starting to become one i'll look for every now and then.

 481 characters

Photo of ultralarry2006
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle. Leaves a one finger head that has excellent retention, and very good spotty lacing. Body is garnet with red highlights.

Smell - horseblanket, sour cherries, plums, vinegar.

Taste - very sour. Horsebalanket, less plums and sour cherries than nose suggests, and an aftertaste of vinegar.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, somewhat fizzy, semi-dry.

Drinkability - this is good, but not great.

 424 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark caramel with a thick head that descends to a thin, lasting head. Some vanishing lace sticks to glass.

The smell is sour and fruity.

The taste is sour, tart passion fruitiness. Oak, and a touch of iron come through. The sour is sharp at first, but becomes mellow and smooth in the finish.

The body is medium, but with a touch of thinness.

This is a beer that is put together pretty well. It's worth having for its unique character, and fairly easy to drink.

 479 characters

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.

 859 characters

Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Reddish with a brown tint. Large head with impressive retention. Not really any lacing there.

S - A bit of yeasty fruit - cherries mostly. Slight maltiness, but it is dwarfed by the cherries.

T - Cherries, very sour cherries. The aftertaste is a lingering sour cherry . . . not a touch of sweetness. A faint slightly fruity bitterness in the aftertaste. Quite good.

M - Smooth, thin, very refreshing.

D - Great. I actually ordered two of these in a row because they were so good. I won't hesitate to have this again.

 532 characters

Photo of alexskovan
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a slightly hazy red amber with a light tan head that slowly dropped to a half-inch and stayed. Aroma was crisply sour, sour milk and cherry, pungent but clean. Taste is acidic fruit with malty undertones and a chewy finish. Tastes like another! (If only it wasn't so damn expensive. . . )

 295 characters

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was really looking forward to cracking open this classic, and was not disappointed. If you like sour (as I do!), then this is the beer for you!

Appearance was reddish with fairly little white head, and appealing.

Aroma is sour, sour, sour, as is the flavor. Taste was a bit like good vinegar, and distinctly sour. As it warmed, it was very wine-y, like a chardonnay.

Mouthfeel and drinkability were both good. Thus far, the highlight of my beer drinking day.

 469 characters

Photo of tempest
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the BXL Cafe in NYC.

Funk, yet refined this was a great beer to try. Not overwhelming like a few lambics I've tried, but still nothing a great example of the style. The wood character was evident along with very tart cherries, grapes and apples. Flavor was subdued at first until the beer warmed up. Reminds me of La Folie with a bit more fruit but not as rich in flavor.

 384 characters

Photo of Cresant
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 750 mL brown bottle into a Tripel Karmeliet tulip. The semi-opaque body was a dull brown/red leather color. The modest head faded quickly, falling to a ring and island of foam. The beer cleared some and subsequent pours darkened some. The head was the color of old tanned newspaper.

Smell was vinegar up front. Complex and changing throughout the drink. Sweet grape kool-aid (citric acid?), fresh currants. More vinous toward the end of the bottle.

Taste was stone-fruits. Cherry, peaches. A pleasant tart bit and an acidic dry finish. Richer toward the end of the bottle. Refreshing and interesting. Flavors reflected the aroma.

Mouthfeel was very zesty at the beginning and smoothed way out toward the end as it warmed. Medium to light bodied. I would love to drink this one again in the future.

 819 characters

Photo of norwichboy
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance more brown but with a red tinge. Good head and lacing. Utterly amazing aromas with sour cherries and chocolate (Cherry Ripe), some marzipan in there as well. To taste, very tart and sour. Mouthfeel is somewhat watery, but perfect tingly fine carbonation.

 265 characters

Photo of strangefate
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle.

Pours a dark red-brown with a nice head that dissipates quickly. The smell is very fruity. Taste is similar - very fruity with a sweet taste up front and then a nice sour bite that's not overwhelming. The sourness and carbonation provides a great mouthfeel and feeling on your tongue. The fruitiness of this beer makes it almost like a sour carbonated wine.

 374 characters

Photo of plaztikjezuz
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

i'm not that big on sour beers but this one was pretty good.
it poured a deep coppery with hints of reddish flecks when the light shown through the glass, not much of a head but it was present the entire time i consumed the brew.
the aroma is soury, bit of apple cider vinager, maybe a has the pleasent properties of a good steak marenade.
the flaovr is pretty rich and complex, malty yet not to heavy, just enough sweetness to off set the sour, fruity and applilish, sour and sharp but not over the edge. i think this beer would go well with a good beligian mussles.

 570 characters

Photo of Damian
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank from an 8.45 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Liquor World, Somerville, MA

Poured a glowing orangey, amber-brown with a two-finger, fizzy, light tan head. The head faded to swirls of lace with a thick ring along the edge of the glass. Initially, there were many drippy patches of lacing.

Aroma was bold and sharp. Yeasty, sour (sour cherries) and dry like a champagne, with some woodiness in the background.

Taste was similar to a champagne if it were made from cherries. Fruity and a bit sweet on the front end. Apples were noticeable. As the beer moved along the palate, the sourness became more apparent. Very tart and somewhat fruity on the back end (sour cherries and raspberries) with a noticeable oakiness. Absolutely no aftertaste (or hops for that matter).

Mouthfeel was light, crisp, spritzy and a touch creamy.

While this beer might be somewhat harsh on its own, it is a nice appetizing beer that would go well with rich, creamy cheeses and sourdough bread.

 974 characters

Photo of jokelahoma
3.77/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a cheap stemmed wine glass in a Residence Inn in Ft. Myers, Florida.

Pours a murky, semi-cloudy deep copper-brown, with just the slightest hint of head forming a tiny little foam cap.

The aroma is quite sour and fruity. Sort of like Sweet/Tarts soaked in red wine. There is a hint of malt sweetness here, and the subtle underlying Belgian bready, "horse blanket funk" that I've come to love. Mostly, though, you get the sour apple, sour cherry, sour grape, even sour watermelon scent.

Taste is a little disappointing at first, but perhaps I'm drinking this too cold (it's only been out of the fridge in this hotel room for about 10 minutes). The initial impression is that the sourness is almost all there is. There's no "bite" other than the sour nature of the beer itself. Not terribly acidic, in my opinion, not sweet, not hoppy... just sour, with a faint vinegar-like flavor. I know my words make it sound bad, or spoiled, but it isn't. This really isn't a bad beer. Just not what I was hoping to find within the bottle. I'll let it rest a few minutes, warm up a bit, then try it again.

After another 10 minutes or so, it's not changed much. It's good, quite good, but not what the smell leads you to believe it will be. The malt just runs and hides, leaving the sourness and a faint hint of fruit to keep you company. It really does take on a wine-like character, since it's missing the balancing grainy sweetness I'd so hoped to find.

The mouthfeel is pretty thin, which for the style is perfectly acceptable.

Overall, this is very, very easy to drink, especially if you like the sour styles. Me, I'm a big fan of Flanders Red, Berliner Weiss, etc. This drinkability, however, comes at the expense of character. After all, water is pretty high on the drinkability list too. This one isn't devoid of character by any means, but it could be so much more. Many other examples of intentionally sour beers are out there, and many are better than this. This is mild enough, in fact, that I'd say it would be a great beer to introduce others to the style, before moving on to sour brews with more "oomph". Good, and recommended, but could have been so much more.

 2,191 characters

Photo of Grundle20
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Looks just like a coke when poured in to a snifter, same color, same soda like head.

There's a lot of sour fruit smell. There's underlying Belgian funk and earthiness but that is dominated by the tart fruit notes.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
A plethora of fermented or sour fruit notes build this beer. I taste fermented apple, sour cherries, and sour grapes for the most part. The beer lies flat on my pallette and drinks smooth with minor tart bites throughout the taste. There's a funky Belgian aftertaste but it was to be expected.

It tastes good enough given it's style, but that's just the thing. I don't know many people who just sit around drinking flanders red. A good beer for occassions and the off craving, but hardly a beer I would want more than a few times a year.

Bottom Line:
A good showing for a flanders red and if you're in to the style you would probably love it. Avoid if you aren't in to the whole sour fruit beer scene.

 986 characters

Photo of dherling
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out a dark cranberry color with thick foamy head that thins out quickly but laces nicely. The nose smells strongly of cider, with caramel and spiciness. The taste has an initial sour apple flavor with a dryness that turns into sweet caramel maltiness in the middle. It finished with a sour cherry like taste and moderate dryness. The mouthfeel is very crisp and refreshing. Light body, medium carbonation.

 412 characters

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

750ml brown bottle. No label as shown in the picture, however all of the information is present via inked onto the bottle glass.

Appearance - A reviewer previously mentioned "iced tea", yep, that does indeed best describe the color. Very, very slight haze otherwise clear in color. Carbonation was present but did not last long at all. A bit of lacing after the fade, with a small ring head remaining. A very fine carbonation feeding the remaining head.

Smell - Acetic acid, plain and simple as the main aroma. Very fruity and traces of apple. Very fresh and inviting due to the crisp smell that captures your nose and won't let go.

Taste - Striking if unprepared, in a true Flemmish sour sense the sour taste comes shining through. Very dry, very sour, very good. Not a shred of bitterness, just a nice sour, tart taste. I do feel a bit of the smoothness of the oak, but not much.

Mouthfeel - Crisp and clean. The carbonation just runs this little number around your mouth filling you with an outstanding feel. I would highly recommend drinking this beer at room temp as it brings out a lot more of the basic tones and feel.

Drinkability - Wow. I want more of this. The suprising feature of this beer is the low alcohol content. This makes for a beer that would pair well with a nice steak to be savored over the meal. I would highly recommend this beer as an excellent representation of the style.

 1,419 characters

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.

 2,216 characters

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.

 508 characters

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.

 543 characters

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.

 1,066 characters

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.

 257 characters

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.

 1,438 characters

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

 1,770 characters

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.

 697 characters

Rodenbach Classic (Red) from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
4.01 out of 5 based on 1,793 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

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.