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Rodenbach Grand Cru | Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
95
world-class
1,114 Reviews
Rodenbach Grand CruRodenbach Grand Cru
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
Belgium | website

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-25-2000

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,114
Ratings:
3,885
Avg:
4.26
pDev:
20.89%
 
 
Wants:
317
Gots:
643
For Trade:
26
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,114 | Ratings: 3,885
Photo of mynie
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a beautiful beer. A ceremonial beer. The fact that I have never reviewed means that I have probably never drank it, and that is a gigantic goddamn omission on my behalf.

Because this is one of the most important beers ever, so far as the American understanding of Belgians is concerned. It was the crown jewel of Michael Jackson's "Burgundies of Belgium" _Beerhunter_ episode. The hype from Jackson and other beer writers led to this being maybe the first somewhat-readily available sour beer the United States had ever seen, and that relative ubiquity is why, in 2016, I can still buy an imported bottle for under 10 dollars.

Just--try to imagine what this was like in the early 1990s, even to a very adventurous and informed beer drinker. The Alstrom Bros review, from 2001, makes surprised mention of how the epic fruitiness of the beer doesn't come from any actual fruit, but from the interplay of various strains of microbes. When did American brewers started doing sours en masse? 2011? I can't find any info regarding a release date, but Jackson was writing about Rodenbach's Grand Cru at least as far back as 1977.

Pours very juicy looking with a pink head. Smells fruity, with vinegar-ish nodes that might be offputting to pampered newcomers. Not nearly as tart or acidic as its lesser counterparts, with subtle variegation and fruit greatly outweighing any other nodes.

Tastes perfect. Not "perfect" in the context of this being old and therefore off nodes become more easy to overlook. "Perfect" in that it's one of the best tasting beers I've ever had.

Starts with a little bit of sharp acid, which the oaks smooths out very quickly into a jubilee of cherries, raspberries, and grapes. It ends with measured sweetness, the tart beginning nothing more than a memory. That, my friends, is how you make a sour beer, with the sourness acting as a ballast point, not persisting throughout as some sort of sick challenge.

This is, far and away, the fruitiest non-fruit beer I've ever had. The nuance and complexity is nothing short of art. Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

 2,097 characters

Photo of professorchow
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Rich complex smell, even more complex taste, both tart and sweet, with notes of cherries, plums, maybe even raisins. It's neither harsh nor wimpy--just subtle, nuanced, really well balanced. Best Flemish red/brown I've had.

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Photo of Malt_Man
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served cool from 330ml bottle into tulip glass.

L) Reddish-brown colour, opaque, 1cm off-white bubbly head. Small bubbles visible.

S) Red wine and sour tones dominate. Also reminiscent of cider.

T) The sourness is really spot on, not too much but sharp enough to make the mouth water. Red grape flavours. A bit of apple peel maybe. Just a hint of bitterness on the aftertaste.

F) Very easy drinking, with mild carbonation. Goes down way to easy for a 6% beer. No bitterness on the aftertaste, it just calls for another mouthful.

O) Superb sour beer, the best I have tried so far. Will try to get it again some time.

 628 characters

Photo of Carl_Brisson
4.94/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This has recently replaced La Fin du Monde as my go to. Excellent all around. Anyone who has an affinity for sour ales owes themselves a glass of this.

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Photo of Mateo2699
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pour is a very deep red, close to brown hue. Off white colored head that settles to a ring, nice retention on the glass. Subtle aroma of cherries and plums. Oak is in the foreground, undertones of funk and hints of Belgian yeast. Taste follows nose well, sour cherries initially back door with some leathery funk, and some hints of vinager and red wine. Mouthfeel is medium carbonated, not overly acidic.

Overall, a well balanced not overly complex beer. Wish the flavors stuck around in the palate longer, or more elements to just sour cherries and red wine, but gets the job done.

 583 characters

Photo of hman43
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: It pours a reddish brown with a tan head. The head retention is rather decent. The head is frothy.

Smell: It has aromas of cherries, plums and moderate sourness.

Taste: It has tastes that is intensely fruity and sour with cherry, and plums. There is some spiciness to it.

Feel: It has a medium feel with medium carbonation.

Overall this is a highly fruity, sour beer.

 382 characters

Photo of FBarber
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark reddish brown - mostly opaque but not hazy. Thin tan head dissipates slowly leaving a thin tan film on the beer.

Smell has aromas of tart cherries, berries strong oaken aromas with undertones of vinegar, funk, slight brown sugar.

Taste ... wow, ok, this is awesome. Sour tart cherries are the predominant flavors initially, with some underlying tart funk. Some slight red wine vinegar notes are noted with a tart apple flavor as well balanced with a slightly salty flavor. Slight oaken flavors peak through albeit not strongly. Dry finish almost tannin like in nature.

Feel has medium carbonation. Dry tannin like notes with a dry finish. The tartness is refreshing.

This beer alone turned me on to Flanders Red Ale - if it weren't for this one, I would never drink one. Its so well done and so flavorful.

 825 characters

Photo of DaverCS
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a murky red color with brown undertones. Fizzy carbonation with ½ inch of off-white head that dissipates like soda.

Aroma yields a predominate amount of oak, a bit of leather, sour cherries, a bit of funk, tartness, dehydrated dark fruits, and an underlying roasted sugar-like sweetness.

Taste is really pleasant! High carbonation level with a medium body creates an incredibly refreshing beer. The flavor doesn’t match how easy drinking this beer is though—its super complex! A prevalent sweetness underlies this beer, which combats any extreme overtaking of tartness. Sure the beer is sour with some vinegar notes as it warms, but it is not cloying by any means. Flavor is definitely of berries, but it alternates between tart raspberries/cherries to that of more dark fruits that have been dehydrated and thus concentrated/sweetened. I get oak and a noticeable red wine character. The finish is a bit funky with some leather notes as well.

Overall, this is an excellent beer. I see this being a great convert beer for just about anyone — especially red wine drinkers. I see this pairing well with something rather plain, as to not overtake this beer’s subtleties. I see something like a beet and goat cheese salad lightly dressed in a red wine vinaigrette working well. It gets a 93.5/100.

 1,313 characters

Photo of craftbeersweden
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

ABV: 6% Best before October 14, 2017.
Bought from Belgian Happiness. Poured in a glass from Orrefors, Sweden.

Clear, dark mahogany colored. Beige head.

Nose: Red berries, sour cherry, some caramel and oak.
Taste: Oh! This is so good! Tart, vinegar, oak and ripe apples.
Mouth: Medium carbonation. Medium body. Dry ending.

Great beer!

 342 characters

Photo of FearTheSpear
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Rodenbach Grand Cru is one of my favorites.

Dark mahogany and thin brown head with good retention. Sour cherry comes through nicely and light oak aroma. Biscuit undertones with a semi dry finish . Carbonation is spot on which helps bring out the sour.

Very refreshing tart feel. Wonderful flavors are balanced that keeps you coming back for more.

 351 characters

Photo of AaEsk
1.18/5  rDev -72.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Well, my 1st time here thus my first post. I've been very excited to try a Sour Ale so stopping at the local BEV-MO, the very well informed associate directed me to Rodenbach Grand Cru as THE standard to compare all other sour ales to. I happily accepted his suggestion and made my purchase, exciteldy hurrying home to chill this little $10 baby. Well, maybe it's from my recent love affair with IPAs but my experience with this piss was (and still is) horrible. I am sitting here with a half full glass and building up the courage to for my next drink which may very well turn into a series of quaffs since I still have the other half of the bottle to finish and not really sure how I will do that. Maybe a bit o' the sweet leaf would help change my perspective but geez, I fully understand acquired tastes. I eat just every cuisine and adore great bourbons and great beers but this is not a beer. At least not what I've come to love and enjoy. I am very happy to have experienced to sour ale but this will certainly be my very last meeting with something that looks like Newcastle, heads like a Sam Adams but smells like nothing more than a bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar (which I will drink from time to time but I expect it to taste like shit). I am HUGELY apologetic for offending you lovers of this version of "drink" and I respect the efforts that went behind this labor of love but count me out. Sierra Nevada Torpedo or Hop Oil here I come! Peace out MFR's! (I hope this was constructive?)

 1,499 characters

Photo of delta490
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with a nice cap of light tan head. Great retention and small tight lacing that is slightly soapy. The aroma and taste are definitely sour but it was not overpowering to me as they tend to me. It is lighter bodied and smooth.

 244 characters

Photo of citizencane
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Disclaimer: I don't usually like sours. That said, this is a good sipper. Dark reddish brown color. Tart raisin with a hint of cranberry up front, with woody cranberry lingering. Smooth and crisp mouthfeel. Like and would definitely drink again.

 250 characters

Photo of woemad
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry’s in Spokane for $3.99. According to the label, this is best before March 23, 2017.

Poured into a Chimay goblet, this was a dark brown looking beer until held up to light, when it took on a clear, dark rubyish look. Minimal, beige-colored head.

The aroma is about what I expected. A bit like a raspberry vinaigrette, with a minimal, oaky aroma from the oak aging.

Tart, fruity, vinegary flavor, much like in the taste. I don’t get much from the oak aging beyond a light aftertaste. Finishes dry.

Fairly light bodied, with a somewhat creamy mouthfeel. I feel like the carbonation might have been a little low.

Quite yummy tasting. This is up there with the Duchesse in terms of flavor, and just falls short with the carbonation. I would drink this again.

 801 characters

Photo of NilocRellim
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear garnet color. Smells like a raspberry vinagrette; sour tart and fruity but light overall, and a little woody. Nice carbonation, tart and fruity, sweet but lighter bodied than expected. Well balanced and rounded flavors. Tart dark cherry and a woody oakiness. Hints of lingering fruit but relatively clean finish.

 321 characters

Photo of BlackBeerPirate
3.34/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Taste: semi sweet, cherry, spicy, sour notes. Sour fruit and alcohol nose.
Deep red copper color, mostly clear with a delicate head. Medium body. It had a kick to the finish.

 174 characters

Photo of JordanlikesAles
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Deep orange-brown pour with sour, tart fruit and some caramel aromas & taste. The flavor is Gose like, though more on the cranberry side than lemon. Very refreshing & different.

 179 characters

Photo of illpass78
4.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

8 oz. on draft at Novare Res in Portland, Maine. Served in an Allagash tulip.

Appearance: Pours a murky ruby brown with a short crown of bubbles.

Aroma: Big bouquet. Wine, cherries, tartness, vinegar, barnyard.

Taste: Follows the nose. Delicious. Wine-like. Cherries and sourness dominate, but there's a mix of inviting flavors.

Mouthfeel: Also wine-like. Way better though (duh).

Overall: Excellent sour beer. Complex, delicious and refreshing.

 450 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.24/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

330 ml bottle served in a St. Bernardus snifter. BB date of 28 Jan. 2017.

Hazy mahogany body with a thin, weak head. Patches of lacing left on the glass nonetheless.

Aroma: Some barnyard and wet leather aromas mixed with vinegar and dark, over-ripe fruits.

Flavor: moderately tart with a light sweetness. Less funky and more, appealing dark dried fruit and cherries than the aroma suggests. The finish is the best aspect.

Overall: not my favorite Rodenbach.

 468 characters

Photo of dleigh
4.39/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thin, fizzy head. Smells dry and vinegary and oaky, maybe a hint of cherry but not much. Taste is tart, fruity, and vinegary, with some spiciness from the carbonation. This is a great hot-day beer.

 197 characters

Photo of ssam
4.53/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this one in the Belgian bar Herman in Berlin last week. I was with my family and my dad who thinks he doesn't like beer. This whole trip he was tolerating my beer geekiness and tid bits and trying all the local fare. But I hadn't converted him until he tried this one. Poured a dark ruby red with a very thin head. The smell is minimal but the flavor is great. It's lightly carbonated and perfectly sour without being too tart. It tastes kinda like wine, but more beery and way better. Loved this and so glad I got to try it!

 529 characters

Photo of Beginner2
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You're looking at the Grand Champion of its style.
Do you like the style ? (My second largest challenge as a beer drinker is to have Belgian Reds more than once a month or once in winter.)
But this is beyond good and refreshing ale.

MJ gives Rodenbach 10 pages in his "Great Beers of Belgium". Without rivals for space... probably because Rodenbach revived the flagging style so well. If you are a devotee of Belgian Reds, read that chapter.
MJ's 1999 "Guide" gave it 4 of 4 stars (really, really rare.)
The Grand Cru is listed in the "1001" and deserves to be there.
Reviewed in Roger Protz' CAMRA classic "300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"

 645 characters

Photo of Weixiaobao
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Ruby colored. Very light head. Thin layer head almost has pinkish hue. Bubbles swirling in four separate quadrants of the glass.
S: Not as sharp as the taste. A wider spectrum than expected.
T: Quintessential sour Belgian ale. Not puckering levels of sourness, but quite high, even compared to other Flanders reds.
F: Acidity doesn't push things towards vinegar-y territory, which is a good thing. Balanced.
O: A fantastic brew. This is about as good as it gets when it comes to Flanders reds. Look forward to the day when these are more available on the shelves in my local liquor stores.

 592 characters

Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.29/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - The beer wads brownish red color with soft off-white bubbles.

Smell - Sour cherry comes through in the nose with a slight oakiness.

Taste - Sweet cherry comes to the front with a slight oakiness. The sweetness is well balanced with the sour. The taste is not overly acidic. The sweetness fades in the aftertaste, with the oak coming to the front.

Mouthfeel - I found myself wishing the beer had more staying power.

Overall - I like this beer a lot. It is a well balanced sour.

 497 characters

Photo of Dzu
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Dark brown with a little foam head.
S: Smell soar, cherry.
T: Sweet-soar, smoother thaen Rodenbach Caractère Rouge.
F: Soar grapes.
O:Good balnced ale.

 156 characters

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Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
95 out of 100 based on 1,114 ratings.
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