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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: 667 | Ratings: 1,727
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 Mora2000
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a hazy brown-red color with a white head. The aroma is vinegar with some sweetness and some oaked notes. The flavor is a great mix of sweet and sour with some oak and vanilla notes. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice Flanders Red.

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Photo of stevoj
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice tangy, lingering palate on this Belgian ale. Pours reddish/brown with thin beige silky head. Aroma is wine, fruit and candy. Has a wine-like taste with elements of cherries, cough syrup, apple cider. Sour taste lingers on the palate.

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Photo of aasher
3.06/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a light bodied, chestnut brown with ruby highlights and a one finger, creamy off white head. The nose features light sweet cherry with light vinegar. The flavors are both sweet and tart. It features a touch of sweet cherry with an acetic tartness but also has this odd, lager yeast and pale malt characteristic that is both stale and really strange. It's too light and that lager aspect is really distracting. It drinks light with a decent amount of residual sugar but the flavors don't all come together very well. I wouldn't buy this one. It is well below Duchesse let alone their Grand Cru.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

8.45 oz. bottle

Pours a dark mahogany color, nice carbonation, tiny fizzy head, tiny islands left behind. The nose is sour, tangy, cherry/raspberry, and some malts. The taste is sour/tangy, lots of cherry/raspberry, there's some funk going on in there. Medium body. Drinkable, not that impressed with this one, I've had way way way better Flanders in the past.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An old staple of mine, one of the first Belgiums that opened up my palate. Found this in dirty jersey for $2.00 beans, sweet deal, but it is nearing the expiration date, let's see what some time has done to this.

Opens with a light red almost maroon look in color and a very thin topping of off white close to tan colored head with small spots of streaking on the glass.

Smells like that Rodenbach but this one is all about the wood and tart fruits. I don't get alot of Vinegar in the nose which Im thankful for, time may have played a factor here. Alot of granny smith apples with wood and some sweetness from the oak, a touch of vanilla. Vinious and pungent.

This is still a standout in the style and the pinnacle as far as im concerned. I think I like it better than the grand cru for the lower amount of sweetness and vinegar which kills it for me. Those are still there but under alot of fruit with apple and pear, wood and vanilla. This is more to my liking.

Feel is pretty much thin, it may have lost some luster since it's been sitting for so long, but I think time has done this alot of good. A great balance of tart and sweet in that order. Comes off as a tart vinious treat that does not resemble beer but we do know that this is indeed great beer. A nice rush of carb as well, this is certainly not dead.

I like the red aged before a fresh bottle, and I like the red before the grand cru. This is one I could have a field day with. Now if they would only un retire Redbach, than i'll be sitting pretty.

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Photo of tone77
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a brown 11.2 oz. bottle. Has a cloudy brownish/red color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is alive with fruits. Taste is tart, cherries, some other berries, lots of flavor here. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a very good beer worth checking out.

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

Best By Date October 2006; Sampled March 2008
I am quite surprised by the best by date as I bought it newly distributed to AZ about a year ago. The beer pours with a frothy, initially two-finger thick, fairly quickly dissipating, darkish tan colored head. The beer is a deep, richly concentrated amber color, but shows a bright cranberry color when held up to the light. Faintly tart smelling as I visually inspect this beer, with a wisp of acetic acid to it. A deeper inspection of the aroma confirms the tartness, though there is lots of balancing caramelized malt notes to balance this out. Fruity aromatics of cherries and prunes are noticeable from time to time, though more in a supporting kind of role. Some drier malt notes contribute a light nuttiness as well as some biscuit like aromatics. Softer funk notes contribute a slight musty earth note, While not as powerful as its big brother, this beer's nose has a really nice complexity to it and the fruit character is can be quite rich if you spend an extended period smelling the nose.

Lightly tart, but with a balancing light sweetness that is matched up front. The sweetness dies a bit towards the finish (where the tartness takes over), but then picks up again to provide more balance to the light sourness in the long finish. Very light bodied, more so than I was expecting from this 5.1% abv beer; not watery, but it is darn near refreshing. A cherry like fruitiness is accented by a light acetic note that reminds me a bit of washed out balsamic vinegar. There seems to be a touch of woody tannins in the finish that coat the mouth a bit like black tea does. The malt / caramel character of this brew also adds some character; light toasty, bread flavors, a touch of sweet caramel and perhaps a hint of toffee.

As the beer warms up a bit and my palate gets used to it, the body picks up a touch more heft, though it is still down right quaffable. It also gets a bit more acetic, which is perfectly all right with me. The second pour of this was clear right up until the last drop, yet there was a dark, tightly compacted sediment layer on the bottom of the bottle of this pasteurized brew. I haven't had this for a long time, but this is much more interesting than I remember it being. I wonder if the fact that I have an out of date bottle has helped things. I need to try and get a fresh bottle of this to see if it is still this good. I really like how quaffable this brew is; finishing a 750ml bottle of this brew is just too easy.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a large bottle into a small wine glass. A reddish brown in color with a tightly beaded, fizzy head.

Smells of apple cider, vinegar and malt sweetness.

Flavor follows the nose, nice tart acidic twang to start things off. Leans toward the sour edge of its tartness. Some oak and funk help make this brew a memorable one.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a fizzy carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability rates fairly high. I will be buying this beer again, a great example of the style.

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Photo of biegaman
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle enjoyed in the wonderful ambiance of 'Los Romanticos' in Brussels. Crowded in both numbers and passion, I sipped this delightfully complex ale while watching the tango dancers, remarking with awe how every motion, every expression was so full of sensuality.

The bartender asked if I wanted it served with grenadine. "Blasphemy!" I yelled at him, slapping the bottle from his hand and spitting on his shoes... no, not really.

No actual head would shape up. Rather than assemble together, amassing what could be a bulk of pristine white foam, each bubble stood on its own, spreading a thin, dotted sea of air pockets. The body is a tawny with mahogany highlights. A deepened, fiery complexion - glowing blood red to the light.

The oak has imparted a nearly overwhelming character. On par are port like notes of cherry and sour grapes. Quite a pleasant bouquet. While it shares notes of figs, dates, and raisins this in no way mimics a quad or Belgian Strong dark. It is fruity and much closer resembles a fine port.

The mouthfeel has a level of sweetness usually only found in artificial treats; it almost feels sticky, like caramel candy. Quite a sensation. While it is incredibly sweet it is in no way cloying. It might remind one of a lambic, but hardly shares the makeup. The oak again is quite apparent and dries out the aftertaste. The yeast introduces such unique character, although it steers far from the sour character of their Grand Cru.

The taste is full of ripened cherries. The flavour captures the taste of ripe cherries so well, leaving strong, luscious fruity notes on the palate. The oak is there too, and certainly compliments the taste, adding depth and enhancing the flavours. Slightly vineous flavours (again, lush cherries and sour grapes). It brings esters to an extreme - what a yeast!

I could see how others may not like it, myself personally however, I found it to be quite a lovely treat. I was quite amazed with it actually; it has such unique character. And even more to its credit, I doubt the one bottle I had was enough to really understand this beer, to fully experience its character. I must revisit.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.44/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ, in Seal Beach, CA, this is the first time I have ever seen this for sale in CA, so I jumped at the chance to try it,

A: Pours a dark, maroon red, with a small white/off-white head.

S: Sour funk, though not as funky as a lambic, more of a lactic acidity, with some cherry and strawberry, and oak.

T: Taste is a fascinating blend of oak and fruit mixed with lactic acid. It can get a little to vinegary at times but overall, I was enthralled with its upfront sour character which evolved into a malty sweet berry flavour, definitely worth the wait.

M: Sour obviously, lactic, vineagry, acetic, but very refreshing.

D: I really dug this beer, would like to have it again, but it was $7 for about 8 oz. so it will have to be a rare treat.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.12/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Normal brown 25cl bottle most have reviewed from, this one was best before 29th April 2009 and drank on a cold, dry afternoon in December 2008.

Poured into a Palm tulip glass.

Teak wood red in colour, with a good firm tan head on top. Looks a little mirky, but there is no light here today, so we'll go with a slightly hazey complexion.

Old cherries, sour cherries, almonds and rotting undergrowth are the smells I got.

The old and sour cherries win the taste race, no sign of the almonds and rotting veg (thank goodness).

Can't pretent to love this style or this beer, but it is different and if that 'floats your boat' then all well and good, but I like beer to taste like beer.

Body isn't heavy, but it has a presence, the aftertaste is fine, no nasty metallic feel or cardboard dryness here. Just those cherries.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Summits in Snellville, GA a while ago. Poured a ruby red tinted with dark brown. Slight head that faded to a ring. Quite acetic on the nose and with aromas of muscadine grapes, tart currants, and some muskiness as well as vinegar. Taste is similar, and and quite tart on the finish but slightly more mellow up front. There is a nice bitterness that helps temper the acetic qualities as well, and also some tart raspberry throughout. Mouthfeel is smooth and sour, leading this to be quite a refreshing beer. Not as complex as the Grand Cru, but simple and quenching.

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

I am a big fan of the Rodenbach Grand Cru and feel that beer is somewhat superior to this one, although the Classic is certainly very nice in its own right. I had a little side to side with the Duchesse recently and the Rodenbach classic came out, for me, the clear winner.

A murky reddish brown color with a strong cap of foam, good retention and sticky lacing. Aroma is tart and full of cherries, acidity, oakiness. Sweet but not excessively so. Somewhat sour in the nose. Flavor is also moderately sour, nicely tart, fruity, and tannic. Tasty sour cherry flavor with a light oak note; sweetness is definitely there but is well short of cloying; falls between the Duchesse and the Grand Cru in this respect. Bitterness is negligible.

Good carbonation, somewhat dry finish, crisp and refreshing. Enjoyable and easy to drink; falls shy of the much more complex Grand Cru.

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

On tap at Max's tonight.

The beer pours a reddish brown color with good head retention and lacing. Don't get a whole lot on the nose, but what I get is attractive. I get considerable cherry and strawberry, along with some very light vinegar. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, though it's a bit more sweet and fruity than I expected (a good thing in my book). There's some light sour funk in the finish, but it's very light (thankfully), and helps to balance and counter the sweet fruit pretty nicely. Mouthfeel is no more than medium bodied, and the beer finishes very cleanly and well. Drinkability is quite good, with the alcohol no more than an afterthought.

Very easy to take...

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Photo of flagmantho
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750mL corked & caged bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: deep, deep amber hue, bordering on brown. Body is clear and head is two thick fingers of creamy tan foam. Looks quite nice.

Smell: sweet caramel malt aroma with a bit of tartness around the edges. Hints of cherry and raspberry are present as well; quite nice indeed.

Taste: smooth, sweet malt right up front with a nice maltiness with caramel and bready qualities. Tartness is light but enticing, and there's a light toastiness at the end. Dynamic and appealing.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a well-integrated carbonation yielding a bursting creaminess. The cream is pretty low-density, but overall it's very nice.

Overall: on paper this is a good but not ground-breaking beer, but I feel like there are good intangibles here. This beer is a tad sweet, perhaps, but overall I like it very much.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From the 750 ml. bottle with no expiration or brewed date. Sampled on 1/11/11. The pour is a nice looking amber-brown with about an inch of silky but quickly fading head. Some ruby hues when held to the light. The aroma is a lot like vinegar which is a bit of a turnoff for me. I get a little hint of malts. The body is in the medium range with a fizzy carbonation. The taste is quitre sour and boozy.

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Photo of weeare138
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on draft at Monk's Cafe...
Appears a reddish brown with an ivory head and lots of retention. Tiny lacing speckles are left behind.
Smell is of the trademark Rodenbach funk yeast smelling almost like a fresh cut steak with some sour notes of vinegar and cherry mixed with a ton of sugar.
Taste is almost equal to the aroma, which truley defines this beer.
Mouthfeel is slightly watery with sweets and sours resounding.
I actually remember Rodenbach being a bit better the last go 'round in the States but maybe it's just me.

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Photo of dar482
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer comes in a murky copper brown.

The aroma is quite tart of unripen apples, cherries, cranberries, fig, red grape, a hint of oak, and sweet bready malt.

In the front, there’s a combination of apple and cranberry juice with hints of tartness, but that quickly subsides onto musty and funky red grapes. A gentle caramel and malt sweetness in the middle, then it dries off leaving that lingering funk and wood.

The front of the palate impresses, but that quickly goes away. A decent step behind the Grand Cru.

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

I've had the Grand Cru on many occasions, and it's one of my favourite beers. I saw the original today and decided to give it a go.

Pours a deep, luscious cherry red, like some dark, mysterious gemstone. Head is a thin film of almost white tiny bubbles. Lacing is excellent, cascading in concentric rings around the glass. Looks great.

Mmm, that wonderful sour Rodenbach character is ever present on the nose. Hints of straw, cut grass, crushed cherry and wet leather. Maybe not quite as robust and extravagant as the Grand Cru, but not far off.

Taste is light and pleasant, although not particularly sour. There's certainly less mouth-puckering acidity than in the Grand Cru. There's a toasty, roasted note which is more prominent in this one, and even a dry yeasty character on the back palate. It's a bit more earthy and organic, a bit more roasted, and the feel is a little thinner. There's less development in the palate too, despite the fact that it has less of the dominating sour character of the GC.

This is still a very drinkable beer, but it is noticeably the lesser of the magnificent Rodenbach Grand Cru.

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Photo of corby112
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a dark cherry red/ mahognay browncolor with thin, foamy off-white, slightly pink head. Sour aroma of cherries, oak and other dark fruit. A nice balance of sour and sweet with neiher to overpowering. Very tasty and refreshing with hints of sour cherry.

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Photo of wl0307
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Revisiting the Classic 2.5 years since the last bottle which was not very impressive; at 5.2%abv., BB 13/10/09, served lightly-chilled in Rodenbach's own branded slim goblet.

A: pours a dark russet brown hue (certainly NOT red!), coming with a thin, fluffy beige foam that breaks up fast on top of relatively moderate carbonation.
S: a refreshing, stimulating note mixed of cherry- & strawberry-vinegar, prune juice, and brown-sugary liquid malts floats on top of a deeper layer of pleasant woody aroma presumably as a result of oak-ageing. All's well, fruity sweet yet refreshing, exactly like what I was left with from my last bottle as far as the aroma is concerned.
T: a semi-sharp, effervescent swallow of lightly-flavoured malts, herb soup and tart-savoury prunes quickly leads towards a marvellous aftertaste full of brown-malts' aroma with a touch of toastiness, while a dry & bitter edge as if from both hops and barrel-ageing makes a kickback here to contrast the malty undertone, then all's wrapped up and ends in a harmonious finish that demonstrates more light aromatic malts, lingering tart fruitiness, and a soothingly dry & savoury edge of a well-aged ale in wood barrels.
M&D: despite a slightly overly fizzy texture, I suppose this is what it means to provide in support of a refreshing fruity theme. Overall, this bottle is way less metallic than my previous encounter, and the refreshingly dry-ish theme lasting up until the very end of each sip makes this ale clean, thirst-quenching, and absolutely quffable!

* Tasting Date: 03/07/2006
It's been a long long time since I tasted this beer years ago in Belgium. But since I've been having the Grand Cru every now and then, I really wonder if I'm prejudiced against this "ordinary" one?? I shouldn't be, I thought. That's way I purchased this bottle a week ago to prove that I'm being fair to both of them~~
BB 26/07/2006, served lightly chilled in a slim goblet.

4.5 A: very dark russet hue with brownish hints; poured with a huge and creamy cappuccino-like, off-white frothy head with superb retention (to which the shape of the glass contributes a lot, I reckon)... very lively fizziness full of micro-scopic bubbles floating.
4 S: complex, tartly-sweet fruity note (raspberry, prune, strawberry...) dominates the aroma, very creamy at the same time, almost like cranberry-flavoured ice-cream... A sour-woody edge of oak-barrels complements the fruity theme, and the sweetness of malts is very restrained. Overall the aroma is much milder than the Grand Cru with its less sharp and less vinegary edge. Pleasant and refreshing!
3 T: a slightly metallic edge (from ____?) accompanies the rather "focused" sour berry-fruity, slightly salty-sour prune-ish, and brown-malt flavour; the metallic edge is not unpleasant as such, but degrading the overall fruitiness a bit... The sour fruitiness fades out surprisingly fast in intensity, leaving a faintly tangy and dryish-bitter edge of wood barrels and Rodenbach's hallmark--a clashing feel b/w the teeth--in the end, where a welcomed raspberry-sorbet like aftertaste stays for a short while.
3 M&3 D: to my surprise, the body and flavour are both much lighter than I expected; while this little brother retains a reasonably refreshing and crisp texture, it's outshined by the Grand Cru by a large margin in complexity and depth. If I've tried this beer more often than the Grand Cru rather than the other way round, I might've felt more at ease drinking this. But now that my palate is tamed by the sharper but much richer Grand Cru, I really find it hard to adjust to the milder version... not saying that it's not a decent and distinctive brew, though.

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

A: Poured a dark ruby red color with a slight light beige head that had light reddish hues. The head was sticky and left behind a nice film lacing behind.

S: The nose bursts with fresh marachino cherries and is very fruity.

T: The flavor like wise is dominant cherries, alcohol, apples with a tangy sweet sourness. Tart and very smooth with a very quick clean finish.

M: a little thin, light and smooth.

D: A very smooth and silky drink with a great gentle sourness makes for a good desert beer.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip)

A- This beer has a warm deep brown with slight copper colored body with a good carbonation of tiny bubbles that can only be seen at the narrowest part of the glass. The head is a smooth creamy light tan that last and last.

S- Even during the pour the smell of sour tart cherries with a hint of wood comes through. The sourness does have some tart qualities with hints of brown malt.

T- The fizz greets you at the beginning with a sour cherry flavor popping up to take over. There is a grapefruit note that follows and then a very soft earth hop note. As it warms the notes of soft lightly toasted malt come into the background but the tartness and a currant tartness get stronger aswell. In the background there is also notes of oak and aged wood that really add to the fruit flavors and give them more depth and notes of aged big red wines.

M- There is a medium mouthfeel with a fizz texture. On the first sip my jaws locked with the tartness but so the astringency became a nice finish.

D- I can really see how this style is nicknamed the "red wine of beers", but this beer is more than that. The complexity of fruit, malt, and wood are really nice together and this is a good beer to be sipped slowly and not quaffed.

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

A corked and caged 750 mL bottle that my brother brought as a Christmas present.

A: The ale pours with an amber color that shows off brilliant copper colors when light shines through the base of the glass. A fluffy head near 2 fingers looks like it will retain and lace.

S: The nose is, without a doubt, unique. Tartness with a barnyard undertone, lots of fruit with a kriek-like aroma.

T: The kriek-like flavor evident in the nose returns en force in the taste. The cherry flavors are dry and slightly sour, not syrupy and sweet. Underlying the fruit flavors is a subtle funky tartness. That tartness is not quite pucker-up level but it is noticeable. Cherry and berry sweetness see the ale away.

M: The mouthfeel is slightly funky, sweet with lots of fruitiness. This is not as sour and offputting as, say, the Duchesse de Bourgogne (my mortal enemy in the world of beer).

D: The alcohol is nice and low, eluding detection throughout the glass. The slight tartness is welcome and the fruitiness from the spontaneous fermentation and aging is quite enjoyable.

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Rodenbach Classic (Red) from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
4.01 out of 5 based on 1,727 ratings.
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