Rodenbach Grand Cru | Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

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95
world-class
1,120 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:
1,120
Ratings:
3,902
Avg:
4.26
pDev:
20.89%
 
 
Wants:
319
Gots:
645
For Trade:
26
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Reviews: 1,120 | Ratings: 3,902
Photo of nomad
4.97/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Unknown Pre-Palm vintage, estimated as 1999

I recently had one of those lucky beer days that reward your hunting and attention. At a Sunday brunch at the Belgique Gourmande cafe in Occoquan, VA I perused their beer menu for something amber or dark in sorts to pair with my Flemish beef carbonade. What's this Rodenbach, and Grand Cru to boot? No longer imported, and since I wasn't picking up the check does the price matter? Had to try.

One of those beers you don't need to take notes to review, at least for me its flavor, scents, and appearance is tough to forget. Poured in to the correct Rodenbach flute-type glass, it comes an intriguing color: red in general but hazy near its center with brown hues lightly shading it. The head is soft and soapy and does not stay up well, though the lacing is more than sufficient on each and every tip to my lips.

Smell is just the definition of a wonderfully conditioned Flemish Red, as the oak and sour scents are toned and rounded, wrapped up in a gorgeous fruity scents. Strawberry juice, sour cherries, hints of vanilla (don't understant where that comes from), caramelized brown sugar, and lacto-bacillus yeast pepper the body as well. Beyond the exotic and extravagant smells is an actual sense of malt, reminding you that this elixir is made with barley and not just the magic of oak, yeast cultures, and Belgian magic.

Taste was amazing, truly the king of the style since the oak, sour, and fruity accents are rounded and impeccably integrated, flashing each without overpowering each other or the palate. The fruity flavors are the most awe inspiring, as this Flemish red goes beyond the sour cherry flavor into changing sides of raspberries, strawberries, and pomegranate. To make it more than a sweet beer was the earthiness of oak and hints of roasty and caramelized sugars. Minty Continental hops bring on the smoothest and quietest dry finish, impeccably cleaning off the full flavor of the beer. Mouthfeel was fairly moderate with just enough carbonation, evading the prickliness of a young Flemish Red.

Wow. Just one of those beers you remember like yesterday and informs every opinion of the Flemish Red style you've ever had. Gets the balance of sourness, fruitiness, sweet and cinnamon spice, and oak conditioning perfect for what the beer style requires. The bottle I enjoyed was past its "best by" date, and such aging was happily enjoyed. What an experience, who knows when and if I'll ever catch another one - only a trip to Belgium would make it possible.

 2,538 characters

Photo of pezoids
4.95/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Michael at the Eulogy Bar was kind enough to let us sample this rare beer at his bar. Poured into an authentic Rodenbach stemmed glass, this beer looked fabulous from the start – Glowing bright amber in appearance and topped with a thin lacy head of foam. The aroma is exceptional and very misleading. Like a lamb in wolfs’ clothing! After the first whiff, you would think that this was going to be a very heavy beer with a big body. Freshly tapped maple syrup was the initial aroma, then came oak, vanilla and finished with tart bing cherries. The beer is truly revealed after the first sip. Light and almost airy, with a perfect sourness. The finish is crisp, clean and leaves a lemon zestfulness on the tongue. A real beauty of a beer.

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Photo of stealth
4.95/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep red color that looks beautiful with some light behind it and comes with a thick white foamy head. Steady carbonation bubbles flow. Fruit aroma, and you can smell the tartness

Rodenbach is sour and tart. Leaves your mouth begging for more. Abundant sweetness, but not candy sweet - more like sour cherry sweet. The dry finish is perfect.

Light/medium mouthfeel, but very thirst quenching and crisp, crisp, crisp.

Rodenbach is my ultimate standby. Always have some ready to serve. It's cheap, readily available, and nearly the best sour available.

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Photo of Todd
4.94/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 33cl European-style brown bottle. Foil neck and an illustrated label of their famous oak casks.

Appearance: Hazy dark red, almost deep brown in colour with a nice whisp of a white laced head.

Smell: Acidic, sharp fruity aroma. Hints of caramel notes and oak as the beer warms.

Taste: Crisp, dry and refreshingly tart. Has a very intense sourness and a raw cherry juice fruitiness about it. Body is perfectly balanced, full and gentle. A subtle background malt sweetness provides balance. Hops are masked by the instense flavours. Light malt grain and oak flavours as the beer warms. Finishes semi-tart, clean.

Notes: Grand Cru is probably the most famous of the West Flanders red ales. It's made with Vienna malt and 5 yeast strains. It's then aged in massive unvarnished oak casks for over 2 years. Then, it's blended with other 2 year old ales, no young ale addition. There's no fruit in this beer. All fruit flavours are imparted by its unique house blend of yeast strains.

Dear beergod, thank you. This is indeed one of the most refreshing beers on the planet. An absolute must try.

 1,115 characters

Photo of Rastacouere
4.94/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Straight from Winnipeg, thanks piscator34 Rodenbach grand cru appears ruby brown with a vague haze. It wears a delicately laced beige head that, while diminishing, is more persistent than it's usual for sour ales. Sticky leftover. Deep, intense and complex aroma. Magnificient old cask wood and oak gently complement malic and acetic acid. Sharp maderized cherries and vinous blue grapes are blend together in the most virtuous cookie/toasty malt. Moist and old cave yeast in which you've spilled a few drops of vinegar and let a few apples rott. You don't get much more complex than that. The first sip surprises me. I have very high expectations you see? This is a good bit sweeter than anticipated and less tart. Multiple flavors come and go: vanilla, grapes, caramel, green plants, vinegar, mint, oak(!)... Mouthfeel is thin-medium and proposes above average effervescence. Very dry eternal grapes and cherries from the wood aftertaste, astringent, delicately lactic. I hoped to have found a first 5, but this is not quite there, the quest is not over. I can only desire I had a chance to bask in the glory from the pre-palm versions era. Ahhh, desire... Fabulously complex and a nice souvenir from glorious times. How could you ever grow tired of a good flemish sour ale?
After having this 4 times in the last 2 weeks, I indeed can't see myself ever growing tired of it and raise the rating one point overall and there might be more to come!

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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 Lars3
4.94/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750mL bottle, first into a Lindemans flute, then into an oversized snifter.

Poured into the flute this beer had a beautiful billowing brownish head. The body was garnet with only small amounts of light able to pass through. When I switched to the snifter the beer looked black with only a modest head quickly falling to a mere lacing.

In the flute I smelled nothing, but the snifter exploded with delicous sweet sour aroma. It reminds me of red wine, but less sharp.

Super cold out of the fridge this beer was gross and candy-like. As it warmed over less than 5 minutes it transformed into something otherworldly. It reminds me if green apples with the tiniest hint of caramel in the background.

Perfect carbonation. Small sharp bubbles that carres the tongue instead of attacking it. Not too tannic. I expect a beer this sour to be drier, not a bad thing.

Incredibly drinkable. Only $8.99 for a 750mL of an imported beer this tasty is dangerous. The 6% alcohol makes it far too easy to put back a whole bottle in under an hour. Perfect on a hot muggy day... like today.

EDIT: For about 2 hours after finishing this beer I craved nothing but cilantro.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
4.94/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a small chalice: color is amber, slight haze, no head on this pour but usually a feint top, that dissipates quickly, typical of these low hop, extreme sours.

Nose is extremely distinctive to this beer: sharp sourness, sweeter and less pungent than vinegar, and enjoyable. Leads to a fruity complex profile, vinous, earthy, grapes, figs all subtle but pleasant notes in the aroma.

Taste is also distinctive: again sharp sourness, with a sweet complent, vinegar like presence is not noticeable, flavor is extremely enjoyable. Flavor profile leads to sour grapes, vinous, light earthy, no weird off flavored funk. A clean tasting but extremely delicious sour ale.

Mouthfeel is sweet then dry then sweet in lingering presence; balance of flavors is throughout the mouth touching on the tongue and cheeks equally but not lasting long or lingering poorly.

Overall, this is one of the best beers in the world, style defining and exceptionally tasty and drinkable.

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Photo of RTJakarta
4.92/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice dark red/brown, leaving behind a little lacing as you drink.

The smells caught me off guard initially with how good it was. Leads off with a light vinegar smell before bringing in a real nice tartness.

The taste. Oh man, the taste. A lovely tartness/sourness I've never really had in any other beer. Can definitely taste the bits of cherry and apple people have mentioned.

Mouthfeel is pretty smooth and light.

Drinkability is out of this world. I wish I had more than just one of these bottles available right now, because this is a beer I would love to drink more of. Gets better with every sip. A tremendous beer.

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Photo of Realale
4.92/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Slightly hazy reddish brown. Fine beige head settles to a thin, incomplete cap.

Nose is sour tart fruit over slightly bready malt. Simply makes the mouth water. Some woody/musty/earthy notes develop as it warms in the glass. Very well-balanced and beautiful.

Medium weight in the mouth with an outstanding balance of sour fruitiness and malt. The earthiness is there again to add complexity. Unbelievable length, and excellent bottle-conditioned mouthfeel. Great drinkability on its own, and incredible with food.

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Photo of afatty
4.92/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

... what pezoids said... pretty much covers it. The smell held promise of something very complex and thus I was prepared for a taste fairly high in alcohol as we often expect from beers called "Grand Cru". Nothing could have been further from the truth. Complex yes. But, at 6% you could do it over and over and over. This could be Monk's Flemish Sour's BIG Brother....
Samples were available for all who showed up at Eulogy for the Philly Crawl on Friday. I know that I'm a slacker. Where are the rest of the reviews. I can't wait for wider availability...

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Photo of Morris729
4.92/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark ruby-amber color with a tall foamy light tan head that settles into a heavy lace. Nose is sour cherries and vinous vanilla oak along with a bit of a berry sweetness—very nice. Taste begins with a sharp cherry tartness that makes your mouth pucker for a second before immediately craving more. A tangy black cherry and dark plum sourness follows along with a nice balance of cherry and apple sweetness. There are also some woody oak flavors along with notes of vanilla and grape skin tannins. Very complex and thoroughly enjoyable.

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Photo of nickthetick
4.91/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: pours a dark brown red into a sort pint glass with almost no head to speak of. There is a ring of khaki bubbles that hang around a while.

S: sour cherries, caramel, alcohol, leather, oak, woods, vanilla.

T: this wallops the tongue with a beautiful sourness that cannot be rivaled. Sour cherries, dark fruit, and caramel make their mark early on. Everything is chased by cherries, vanilla, and alcohol muddled together.

MF: great effervescence compared to what you would expect with the head being what it is. Crisp medium body and a dry finish.

O: this is everything I expected from reading descriptions of flanders reds and more. This as an amazing beer with some unique notes that I will be searching for in the future.

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Photo of xjapanhomebrewx
4.9/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-Lovely dark wood and raisin tones. Is it going too far if i use the word sexy?

S-Vinous with a robust woody undertone. A nose full of vinegar every few sniffs, but not in a bad way. Curious and very enjoyable, I can't put it down and get to the tasting.

T-Incredible. So many flavors and elements to this one. Sour yet the malts can still be tasted and enjoyed. Very delicate fruity and wine like character with some mouth puckering sourness at times!

M-Just a vast amount of textures each sip. really silky smooth and drying at the end. Layers of creamy, then prickly from the high carbonation, and a drying finish.

D-Very easy, but this beer begs for the slow appreciative approach.

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Photo of csrbv
4.9/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A--Deep reddish brown color with a thin white foamy head. Carbonation bubbles flow.

S--Fruit cherry aroma with a hint of tartness.

T--this Flanders Red is sour and tart. Leaves your mouth begging for more. Sweet, but not candy sweet - more like sour cherry sweet with a fantastic dry finish.

MF--Light/medium with good carbonation, very thirst quenching and super crisp!

O--Rodenbach Grand Cru has become a standby for me. Unbelievably complex! I always have some ready to serve. It's inexpensive, readily available, and far and away the best Flanders Red Ale/sour I have had.

 581 characters

Photo of pat61
4.89/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Tart, fruity lemonade nose with light barnyard and over ripe fruit. It pours brilliant chestnut with cherry highlights and a very dense, persistent, finely bubbled, off white foam cap. It attacks with a light sweetness and then the tartness explodes with unsweetened lemon, plum, a little orange, and dark cherry. The sweet and tart oscilate through your mouth culminating in a sweet and sour finish that lingers in a long fruity aftertaste. The carbonation is above average but it has a very fine bead giving the beer a very light, creamy texture.

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Photo of Rickus
4.89/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L: Murky brown-black. A vigorous, coffee-tainted head. S: A lambic, but not really. Sour, wet wood, sour cherries. T: Tart. Sour cherries, vinegar and grapefruit. A little musty? An aftertaste of cuberdons and more vinegar. F: Champagne, a lingering dryness. O: A fantastic beer. Probably one of my favourite beers in the world. You must try it. If you have already done so, you will try it again.

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Photo of ryannosaurus
4.89/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

750 poured to tulip

A: dark red-brown and clear. Lovely 2 finger head that takes it's time laying down

S: a lot of cherry, some red wine, little mustiness. Light sassy phenolic herb note and a touch of malt vinegar

T: nicely sour, well balanced. Tart cherries and plum, a hotter alcohol taste then most at 8%. Discreet touch of oak becomes more noticeable as it warms.

mf: good carbonation, moderately high abv and sour bite make this surprisingly light bodied and very refreshing

o: for fans of the sour that gravitate to the sweet and sour side of things, this is a pretty amazing example of the Flanders style. Not too tart, not too sweet... right on the mark.

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Photo of onewetpaw
4.88/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Tart cherry and red grape notes.

A- Nice creamy biege head. Deep reddish brown. Clear on the initial pour.

F- There's a strong tartness present, but its not unidimensional at all. The malt is still present and there's a subtleness to the sourness that surprises. I would guess the long aging time and the multiplicity of bugs make this happen.

M- Silky with a strong dry finish. The body is still there, but overall it's rather low. Nicely drinkable.

O- Wow. A tart beautiful beer that drinks so easily and reminds me of red wine, but still retains the underlying beer qualities. I'm glad I finally got my hands on this one.

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Photo of bonsreeb85
4.87/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this bottle from a generous BA by the name of G311. Cheers buddy.

Appearance is that of a murky brown brew with a slight reddish tint. Tan/creme/khaki head with excellent retention.

Now for the smell... Balsamic, vinegar, lemon, tart cherry, dark fruit(plum) and vanilla.

Oh my, this is complex(and tasty) as hell! Tug of war between sweet and sour. Tartness wins. Underlying vanilla and sweetness really complement this amazing beer.

Perfect MF, Drinks light but has some weight to it. Reasonable carbonation with a smooth and creamy texture.

Very refreshing, not too tart. Great with food or alone. Now I know why this is the benchmark for the style.

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Photo of ikats
4.87/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep red, mahogany color. Large tan head dissipates quickly to a thin cover. Wonderful sour aroma. It's full of sour cherries and plums. Wood notes are there too (not surprisingly since it was aged in oak for 18 months). As I keep enjoying the aroma, it starts to remind me of sour candies. And with that thought it tastes like sour candies too. Such a wonderful taste, especially if it's not straight out of the fridge. The pleasure is the same I get out of eating sour cherries. Tartness is not overbearing as there is very sweet background to balance it. It all plays very nice on my tongue. I do enjoy sour beers and this one is the best so far. Grand Cru seems like a fitting name.

This was a 750 ml bottle that I saved for a few months for a special night. "Best before" date is stamped on the bottom of the bottle, but it's a bit hard to make out.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.86/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 mL pours a dark brown color with a thin coating of tan head. Spotty lacing and poor retention. This bottle is probably at least 2 years old.

Nose is very acetic, red-wine vinegar and caramel malts. Nice, very similar to the regular Rodenbach, maybe a little more malt. Fruitiness leans apples and pears, maybe red grape skins as well.

Much smoother and maltier than the regular Rodenbach, concord grape juice meets a tannic malbec. The sweetness really melds so well with the sour aspect, it is utterly ridiculously drinkable. I could finish a liter of this in less than 10 minutes and enjoy every last drop. Amazing beer, just like it's regular (red) brethren. Muy delicioso!

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Photo of stephendr
4.86/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle - color of rust brown– small whitish head short in duration - nose of sour dark cherries , malt , cinnamon , molasses , milk chocolate , and plum – taste of sour dark cherries , plum , and earthy / woody notes perfect balance of tart and sweet – body is light acidic / sweet – aftertaste plum sweetness and sour / tart of cherries

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
4.85/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: poured from a 750mL bottle into a tulip glass, red brown with a big tan head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: sour and vinegary, mouth watering goodness

T: wonderful sour flavor, balsamic vinegar, sweet and sour maltyness

M: full yet refreshing, great creaminess

O: an excellent sour

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Photo of surfnebr
4.85/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Redish-copper tint, effervescent off white/subtle red head

S - Gritty, barnyard, cherry-red fruit sourness

T - Funky sourness as expected, oak, refeshing at the finish, not as acidic as expected

M - Effervescent, medium body, smooth

Extremely enjoyable, perfect session beer for a warm summer day

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Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
95 out of 100 based on 1,120 ratings.
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