Rodenbach Grand Cru | Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

1,135 Reviews
Rodenbach Grand CruRodenbach Grand Cru

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

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

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Reviews: 1,135 | Ratings: 3,990
Photo of jdhilt
2.92/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours a two finger light tan head that fades quickly to a ring leaving no lace. Murky brown/amber color some yeast left in bottle. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Sour vinegar nose and flavor is oak and sour apple with hints of sweetness $4.50 for a 330ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of joaopmgoncalves
3.96/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured to an oversized wine glass.

A: The body is coppery to black having no head, existing only to the sides of the glass. Minor to non existent lacing.
S: The aroma is very sweet of Belgian Candi, much like a Faro aroma. There's already some acidity, vinegar-like, in the aroma. And it appears to have some spices like cinnamon.
T: The taste has a very sweet touch of Belgian candi just like a Faro styled beer, but with a less rounded sugary tone, as this Grand Cru from Rodenbach turns then to a mild acidity and a also prominent bitterness, blending in in a very well balanced manner.
M: The body is medium. Carbonation is high and a bit harsh. Acidity is medium. Bitterness is mild. Alcohol unnoticed.
O: It's my first Red Flanders beer. Liked it!

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Photo of Whiteweasel
4.51/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into wine glasses from a 750ml bottle with expiration date 28/11/2017.

Appearance: Thick, rich, reddish brown. Aggressive pour yielded a nice head that dissipated too quickly. Large bubbles linger on the sides.

Smell: Dark pinot noir and muscat grape, plus rich fermented fig. Raisin and a slight hint of tangerine. Chocolate covered raspberry and cherry. Sour muscat vinegar with sweet malt. Absolutely delicious.

Taste: Sour, like verjus, champagne vinegar and old opened red wine. Fruity with apricot, sour cherry, woodchips.

Mouthfeel: Semi-dry finish, with a thick and syrupy body, yet still stubbornly effervescent. Alcohol is not noticeable. Stays quite sharp in the throat afterwards.

Overall: Sour, thick bodied, effervescent, with an incredible nose, powerful concentrated fruit and a complexity that can stand up to most Belgian strong ales, yet somehow done on a stingy ABV budget of 6%.

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Photo of ctylinebeer
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into a teku glass. Flemish red sour ale that is blended with fresh beer and two year oak aged beer. Pretty famous sour ale, Michael Jackson referred Rodenbach Grand Cru as the "burgundy of Belgium." Features the wild yeast strain lactobicillus which gives a tart funk flavor. Most sour beer brewers had this beer and that's how their sour funk started.

L - deep ruby red color, dark hazy hue, very little light passing through, foam head is no more than one finger. No lacing at all, foam just slides down back into the glass

S - dried fruit, cherry pie, musty basement. A true mix of fresh and old beer. Super fruity but also that old red wine character

T - this is a crazy beer. Gushing of cherries and raspberries, funky dried fruit. Similar to cherry sour patch kids or cherry sorbet

F - medium light carbonation, sweet on the palate, tart finish

O - a true classic in the sour cult. Super fruity and sweet but tart and sharp at the same time. A customer had given this to me and was able to spare a bottle, so not sure how hard to get this is. Would definitely try again, Cheers!

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Photo of mothmanscott
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nearly clear garnet brown, when held to the light, with widely distributed effervesce streaming up from the bottom of the goblet. The pour produces slightly more than a finger of tan, very shortlived, champagne foam head that leaves a thin collar ring & no hint of lace on the sides of glass. Aroma is acidic & lightly acetic with hints of wood, vinous grape, berry & cherry. Taste is similar but more robust with sour, vinegar acetic sharp edges backed by hints vinous grape, cherry, wood & spice. Finishes sour, very peppery, dry & acetic producing a similar but mildly astringent aftertaste. The wood notes from the barrel aging are more reserved than I suspected. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation, prickly with peppery spice, dry & faintly astringent in the aftertaste.

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Photo of Dinglehacker
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into snifter. Small beige head turns to a very thin ring. Dull ruby brown color.

Nose of grape and plum, some vinegaresque sour.

Similar taste, with balsamic qualities, cherries, and some faint oak. This was a younger bottle.

Light is only slightly carbed, and the pucker isn't too strong either.

For those who dig on sour, and you know who you are, this one's up there for sure. Worth a try for fans of oud bruin and geuze, in addition to FRA junkies.

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Photo of thebeers
4.36/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A beer I've had many times before, but am reviewing here with some age on it. Think I bought it in early 2014. Stamped 13-09-16 on the bottom.

Dark garnet-brown with a finger of creamy looking tan head.

Delicious mix of cherry, oak and muted vinegar in the aroma.

The taste is sweeter than usual with strong cherry and even some vanilla. The oak is still in there, and while it definitely has a strongly tart finish, it doesn't have the sharp edge I enjoy in a fresher bottle. Not bad, just different.

With some age on it, it's so much smoother than I remember. Creamy mouthfeel with good carbonation behind. Reminds me a bit of fresh Alexander in the mouthfeel.

Always a favorite.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

11.2 oz. bottle

Pours maroon ruby red with a creamy frothy light khaki colored foam head. Smells like balsamic vinegar, tart funky cherries, oak, with earthy herbal grassy pine. Tastes like balsamic vinegar, tart funky cherries, oak, with earthy herbal grassy pine. Feels medium bodied, thick and creamy with moderate low carbonation. Overall a really nice Flanders red ale.

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Photo of BJ_Bear
4.76/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A: Dark with slight reddish tinge, fizzy
S: The sourness on the nose is apparent but beckoning
T: Tart, vinegar sourness with a red-wine complexity. Hint of cherries.
M: The tartness cuts through the sweetness leaving a good balance for me.
O: A great beer, but you have to like this kind of thing. Love or hate.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.73/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark but clear red, maybe a bit of chill haze, with a large, fluffy khaki head.

Smell is nutty, musty wood and cherry.

Taste is tart cherry, raspberry, and semi-sweet grape, with a soft, wet, full feel.

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Photo of drtth
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best by date 28 Jan. 2017

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a clear but dark cherry wood color with a 1/2" light tan head that soon recedes to a thin layer of bubbles over the nucleation point and a small ring around the interior of the glass and leaving no lacing on the sides. Sipping creates a couple of arches of lacing with lots of scattered small patches that mostly slide gradually back down to the liquid.

The aromas include some dark tart cherries, some other dark fruit against a light gentle background of red wine vinegar and woodiness.

The flavors include both some sweetness and tartness at the same time. The dark cherry tartness also includes a bit of tannin from the oak as well as some light vanilla character. The fruit flavors include those tart dark cherries and something that seems a lot like tart green apple.

The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium bodied with just a hint of fizzy creaminess from the light but persistent carbonation. The finish is fairly long and has most of flavors around until the dry finish. First the tartness, the wine vinegar and sweetness recede into the back of the palate letting the vanilla move forward and then to the back of the palate. Eventually all flavors fade a way leaving a long dry ending in which the vanilla and oak show up briefly before also disappearing.

Overall I'd say this is a very well made beer and I'll be looking forward to having another. That said, it is also definitely a sipping beer and a single 330 ml bottle is more than enough for one evening. If I had to use a single word for this beer, it would be complex. There is a dynamic interplay of flavors that come and go on centerstage with the others still playing a supporting role so that none of them steal the show.

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Photo of irrevjim
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

from a bottle to a large red wine glass
look; different shades of upscale wooden furniture. walnut on the outside fading quickly from cherry to mahogany, spotty lacing
smell; cherry brandy, a little oak and vanilla, tiny funk
taste; bright tart cherry, very sour, crisp and yummy
feel; moderate carbonation, a little more than necessary, smooth, medium light
overall; a good example of a magnificent style, which is something.

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Photo of Extol
4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - dark in color, brown with a slight dark purple hue. Smell - smells of cherries for sure, slightly boozy. Taste - tart on the back end. Very well blended, mostly cherry in flavor, borderline Lambic territory. Overall - good beer. Good dinner beer. Just good all around. Mouth feel is a bit flat.

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

Soft opaqueness, the color of walnuts, and a filmy light tan head are visual attributes that are all uniquely lovely, yet true to style. The complex aroma is equally fine, with balanced notes of young wine, dates, nutmeg, and of course, vinegar. The typical sour taste has an interesting sweet smokiness to the finish, almost like burnt molasses. Dried gala apples are another more saccharine flavor which helps to tone down the tartness just the right amount. The nutmeg on the nose is on the tongue as well, along with soft notes of cinnamon sticks and cloves. Other Red Ales are more savory; the Grand Cru feels a bit light and feathery in comparison. But the medium body and moderate carbonation are well suited to the recipe, as is the semi-dry finish. A fine Flanders specimen with some fascinating softening ingredients which leave me torn: while nicely unique, they detract somewhat from the style's lively potency.

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Photo of mschrei
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Cloudy tannish red with a very healthy head when poured. Good carb, slight lacing. A fruity, floral barrel smell. Taste/feeling is sharp bubbly and tangy. It's tart, mildly boozy, and very mouth watering. Very good beer.

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Photo of SFNC
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beer number 500 on BA. I figured I'd tackle a revered classic. Here goes.

L; Muddy, reddish brown with a one finger head after a vigorous pour. Pretty opaque.
S; Vinegar, sweet cherries, must. Distinctive, if not truly inviting.
T; Sour up front, balsamic vinegar, then oak, then sour cherries. Rich, tart and satisfying.
F; Light of body, with light carbonation. Medium to dry finish.
O; A great beer to slowly enjoy, Rodenbach Grand Cru has earned it's status as a classic beer.

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Photo of janubio
4.69/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a brown reddish colour, with a small head that fades soon. Great lace. Aroma of cherries, wood is very present, vinegar, leather, funky notes. Medium body, good carbonation, acid thick palate. Taste is very sour, with cherries, plums, wood, sherry, brandy. Great.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours reddish brown with a one finger off white head. Light amount of sticky lacing.

S - Aroma is tart cherries, vinegar and oak.

T - The flavor starts off tart cherries, plums, red wine vinegar and green apple skins. The tartness fades into some sweet cherries and brown sugar.

M - Light bodied with medium carbonation. Nice crisp mouthfeel with a smooth dry finish.

O - This is the gold standard for Flanders Red Ales. The balance of tart and sweet is perfect.

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Photo of andy712
4.68/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

While sucking down my usual summer brew (citrusy IPA) at the local tap house, I noticed this Belgian beer on tap that I had never heard of. I am not partial to lots of Belgian beer as I haven't developed an affinity for the pronounced yeast flavor in many, so I was a little wary. Man, am I glad I gave it a taste. So different than my usual, but so good. It pours an intriguing red, brown and opaque, with just enough head. A deep, rich cherry smell predominates. The mouth feel is great, and the taste even better. Very nicely balanced and thankfully not too sweet, with a fairly clean finish. This is easily the best of the sour beers I have tried. The pub has this on tap, but I also found a couple bottles there to take home for further evaluation.

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Photo of ordybill
4.78/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a tulip glass. The appearance is a dark ruby red with a small white head. The aroma is heavy on cherry and has a sour take on the smell. The taste is very sour and has a very good cherry flavor. A really great beer.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
4.26 out of 5 based on 3,990 ratings.
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