Rodenbach Grand Cru | Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

1,134 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,134 | Ratings: 3,975
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.85/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours an intriguing and mysterious mahogany with cherry glints which get bolder the more you look at the glass. The head is a pinkish cap the leaves a great network of lace. The aroma is of lemon rinds, grapefruit, red berries and sweet malts. These flavors are so rich and I know I havent done the aroma justice.

The taste is absolutely astounding. An initial pronounced tartness quickly shows its complexity. Theres sour cherry, and citrus notes. Theres a yoghurt like lactic tartness as well as slight vinegar notes. In the middle, a balancing maltiness makes itself present. Plums and green apple skins appear. Theres no alcohol or hop flavor perceptible. The finish is dry with a white wine acidity. An oaky character is also apparent. The mouthfeel is prickly from frenetic carbonation and wine like.

Now this is a cool beer. It has a very unique taste that is much like wine. One interesting thing is that corn is listed on the label as an ingredient. Viva adjuncts!!

I wish there were more commercial examples of this style available (in Canada). Its really incredibly.

 1,098 characters

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

Picked up a bottle at a previous beerfest at Julio's. Been saving it for when the craving for something tart and refreshing hit me. Well loe and behold, that struck tonight. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a dark, muddy ruby colour with a fizzy two finger head that quickly faded into a half quarter inch foamy blanket with the slightest of side lacing left with each sip as it slumps back down to the ale.

S - There is a nice sour tartness from the pour that just washes over the nose. There is some nice solid cherry and light oak notes thanks to the great aging. A very balanced tartness.

T - Much like the nose WHAM, intense tart and sourness. While this is intense tartness its still not overpowering. There is the great cherry flavour again, thanks not to fruit, but to the great yeast strains. Again, a superb balance between tart cherries and oak.

M - Just wow. Incredible carbonation. Almost more than a can of soda or seltzer. So fizzy and crisp.

D - Yeah, wow. Such a potent Flanders. Throw in that great high, crisp carbonation and the tartness and this is one really, really exceptional brew. The two play off one another so well, and each tart refreshing sip leaves me craving yet another.

 1,213 characters

Photo of Westsidethreat
4.84/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Very low carbonation level. Looks a tad like rootbeer with a burgundy highlite. Very murky and mysterious.

S: So unbelievable. Sour port, bing cherries, green apples, oak and vinegar.

T: Wonderfully balanced between dry sourness, crisp sweetness and neat maltiness. Finishes with smooth carmelized oak that lingers long on the tongue.

M: Seems light on the palate early but as the flavors linger in the mouth it becomes more full bodied.

D: One of the best beers in the world. My favorite Flanders.

 517 characters

Photo of Dravin
4.84/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a Duvel tulip. Best bey date on the bottom of 04/05/2018.

Look -- A finger of slightly beige head atop a amber brown body with a lovely noticeable red tinge.

Smell -- Acetic tartness, cherry, green apple, and a vinous quality.

Taste -- Apple cider vinegar, cherry, red wine, some nuttiness hiding in there. There is some mild sweetness to counterbalance the tartness that lingers for a handful of second after the swallow.

Feel -- The acid and carbonation tickle the tongue and scrub away the medium body. It's fairly dry and aside from the tartness lingering a little is fairly crisp.

Overall -- Tart, fruity, winey, refreshing, complex. It's a fantastic beer and I can't think of anything I'd change. It's an amazing beer and if tartness doesn't scare you or repulse you I'd recommend it in a heartbeat.

 845 characters

Photo of dalion037
4.83/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was an excellent oak aged Belgian red ale. It had a pungent aroma and grape-like undertones. The mouthfeel is slightly sweet, extremely acidic and fruity, and deliciously sour. This is definately one fto stock up on when available. It was great from the beginning to the finish. This is a complex beer and not your typical Grand Cru.

 338 characters

Photo of francisweizen
4.83/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in it's correct glass at the Bier Circus in Brussels, Belgium. This beer is Rodenbachs big brother. This is a darker, nearly brown coloured ale with a reddish/beige cap of foam. The aromas are just like that of regular Rodenback....but intensified to a new level. A new level of lactic, a new level of sour, a new level of cherry, and a new level of smooth. The taste is sheer perfection as fresh cherry flavor dances with the flavors of oak and tart sourness imparted into this beer by some unknown forces. The mouthfeel is excellent....creamy, smooth, great. The drinkability....once again WONDERFUL

 608 characters

Photo of pkalix
4.83/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours the darkest of possible reddish-brown, only on the thinnest of edges is the light able to lighten the color. thick, foamy two-finger head, tan.
smells of vinegar, not balsamic, but spiced-in-some-way type of vinegar.
taste is sweet and beautiful on the front and middle of the tongue, vinegar-sweet when it falls off the sides of the tongue- almost a tongue on battery bitter/sweetness. kind of a fish-n-chips vinegar after-taste (although i'm not a fish guy- it's what i think it would be like- the malted vinegar packet that comes with it...)
mouthfeel a little carbonated and surprisingly light. perhaps it's because it tricks the mind into thinking it's a thicker vinegar product.
overall.... i love this stuff. i love the petrus sour also, and this one feels lighter. i could drink these things all night. the abv is less than i appreciate whereas the petrus is a 7.6%, i believe, but that probably explains the abv.
just poured the second part of the large bottle and the color is incredible. i am truly excited about this brew. i can understand how some folks wont like the vinegar and the tartness, but i love vinegar and this is an absolutely special product. if there were a score between 4.5 and 5 available, i'd give this a 4.8. but since there isnt, i have to give it a 5 for overall. i mean, i dont think there is another beer out the which i could 'session' like i could this one, or the petrus....

 1,419 characters

Photo of techdiver
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a rich clear mahogany with a modest head that dissipates slowly.

Nose of sour cherries and yeast.

Taste is crisp, tart and almost overwhelmingly complex. An amazing and refreshing taste that overpowers the senses.

Mouthfeel is just so exceptional, it just tingles as it rolls through your mouth.

Drinkability is such that I'm distraught that I have but this one sample - for now.

 398 characters

Photo of BenZ
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Recent vintage 750 poured into flutes.

A: Clear, red-amber, fast-dissapating head. No lacing.

S: Vinegar, pinappley citrus, followed by cheesy funk. Funk is directly proportional to temperature.

T: Hits you right in the throat!! So sour! If you let it linger on your tongue there is a metallic aftertaste (an oozing from the side of your tongue which hits your cheek). There are so many flavors behind the obvious sour blast: cheesy, barny, exotic fruits, woody, etc.

M: Nice and fizzy, perhaps Panil has a better mouthfeel.

D: This is one of the best beers ever and we've bought it many times. But how can a beer that scrapes the skin off of the back of your throat score a 5?

 693 characters

Photo of jbakajust1
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured @ the Bier Stein into an 8 oz goblet.

A - Deep brown with ruby highlights, slightly murky, but clear along the edge, thin off-white cap, nice legs, light lacing

S - Sour cherries, acidic aroma burns the sinuses a bit on a heavy wif, vinegar, red wine, light oak, plums, caramel, brown sugar, juicy fruits, leather, funk, lots of sour

T - Just like it smells, sour, vinious, sweet & sour at the same time, red wine, cherries, earthy, leathery, vinegar, nice funky barnyard on back end as you exhale.

M - Med body, bone dry, light on the tongue, smooth fizzy carb, sweet, and quite sour

O - Great beer, nice and sour with a sweetness in the middle, dry, fruity, oaky, funky. Glad I went just to get this, would love another, and will definitely be seeking this out again.

 781 characters

Photo of Iguana
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked/caged bottle

A: Poured a reddish amber into my tulip glass, with a 1cm frothy head that didnt go down.

S: Smells like cherry smarties candy, tart and sweet, smells great.

T: Wow, tart cherries, some barnyard funk, dry finish. Hints of oak in there. Man thats tasty.

M: Acidic, tingly on the tongue, tartness that gives a little cringe and settles into sweetness. I am diggin it.

D: I can see this being hard for some, but for me, this stuff is great, refreshing, and I plan on getting some more. A bit harsher than the classic, but a great beer.

 573 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep ruby red/brown with a pale pink dense head that settles to a film after a while. It really does look mysterious and wonderful.

Coppery and sour on the nose, hints of maraschino cherries, pickled onions, fresh herbs, nutmeg, all underpinned by a syrupy sweetness. Smells unbelievable, unique and rich.

Coppery sourness on the front palate with a dryness that slowly spreads around your mouth like a dry red wine. There is a peppery spiciness there as well which beautifully counterpoints the sweetness. It takes some time to drink it, but you can savour every moment of it.

I can understand why some people might not like this. It certainly has the ability to offend if you're not prepared for it. I absolutely love this one. I get the taste for this in my mouth for days afterwards.

Truly remarkable

 816 characters

Photo of Trappissed
4.82/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'll start off by saying I enjoyed this much more than the Rodenbach Classic Red, although that one was still plenty good. This has nice reddish brown color with decent head and lacing. A pleasant sweet-n-sour smell and a little funky with a touch of vinegar. In the taste, it starts off sour and fades into a mellow caramel flavor. Then the sourness comes back for the aftertaste. Also getting some tart cherries and oak.

I can see why they describe this as a Flemish Red Brown Ale on the bottle. The different elements keep each other in check and produce a very balanced beer. Although sour, its definitely not overpowering by any means. A great and lively mouthfeel, with prickly carbonation keeps things interesting. I'm glad I finally found a place that carries this and I'll be getting more in the future.

 814 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It pours a reddish-chestnut brown beneath a short lid of creamy tan foam that drops shortly to a standard collar with just some spider-web surface covering (which is common for the style). It does, however, leave some nice splashes and spots of lace about the goblet.

The nose is grape-like, and vinous; with some earthy character (muddy, mineral-rich barnyard), and a touch of underlying wood.

In the mouth it's medium-light bodied but with a certain amount of dextrins, and it's very-fine, natural (bottle-conditioned) carbonation is gently effervescent.

The flavor is tart and sweet right up-front like dark grapes (Concorde even), with a combination of cherry and plum-like fruitiness that's backed by a wide, sweetish caramelish malt base. It's not overly sugary, but there's definitely some dextrinous sweetness there acting as a soft platform for it's spritely, spinning, and sublimely metallic-spicy tart character. The bitterness is limited, as it should be, and the tartness and drying woodiness balance it well, and bring it to a fruity, but still raspy-dry finish.

The Rodenbach beers are of the highest caliber, and this is their finest. It's refreshing and exciting!

 1,193 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a Rodenbach Grand Cru tulip glass.

A nice thick foam of light creamy brown is created off the pour, sitting on a solid dark Indian red brown body. Minimal sticking, but what is gives some nice sheets.

Salty sour, and hint of sweet cherry on the last whiff. Real wonderful, extremely balanced even a hint of creamy vanilla. Really like this mix

Taste is a wonderful rush of flavors. A great mix of sweet and sour cherries in the mid palate. Carbonated small but tight tingles on the swallow, creamy afterfinsh bringing some of the vanilla hints, maybe even some pepper strangely, and hot cinnamon. Chewy, sour viscous and a perfect almost raspberry tartness. Just loving it.

I could drink this all day. This is pure magic in a bottle, and much tastier than the classic. Complete total beer enjoyment.

 831 characters

Photo of KarlHungus
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a dark ruby color. The head is large, pink, and fluffy. Lacing is thorough with thick chunks of foam sticking to the sides of the glass. The aroma is of passion fruit, bretta, oak, honey, and lavender. The taste is of cherries with a harsh tartness, followed by a stinging sourness, and ending in a balance of sweet and sour. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation. Overall, there is a lot going on in this beer. It seem I find something new with each sip. I will certainly drink this many, many more times.

 539 characters

Photo of Budlum
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Rodenbach Grand Cru pours with 0.75 inches of thin, tan head that lasts about 30 seconds before ringing a Val Dieu chalice. The body is slightly cloudy and composed of a beautiful, deep ruby hue. Shades of brown and garnet distinguish this from the standard Rodenbach's already amazing red body. Thin lacing is always visible on the glass.

This beer is delightfully tart and bitter on the nose. Sharp, fruity flavors of sour green apples and raspberries appear early. Sherry vinegar is represented in a very powerful manner followed by a huge rush of yeasty funk. For the Flanders Red, this is defining beer in terms of smell.

A tart, flavorful rush of apple, raspberries and currants start this ale off on a very fruity wave. Almost immediately, the microflora and yeast profile explode with the textbook Flemish tartness. The tartness is so powerful that there is almost a burning sensation at the back of the mouth. This Grand Cru finishes incredibly long with a creamy vanilla and black cherry taste riding on the continuous yeast profile. This is the Flanders Red style at its best. Perfect.

Mouthfeel is highly carbonated, very spicy and viscous enough to coat the palate after each sip. The Flemish style is held constant by a huge tartness presence with each sip.

Drinkabiliy is good when the power and complexity of flavor is considered. Still, even with so much flavor it still manages to be refreshing. However, it is certainly a brew to be enjoyed slowly and one bottle is more than enough for one sitting. Definitely not an everyday beer and most likely the worst choice to introduce a novice to the style.

Overall, the leading Flanders Red available in the US.

 1,694 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Tall slim brown glass 33cl bottle, the usual dispensing method for Rodenbach. The label wasn’t the usual modern day one, but an older style from a time past that I was used to when I visited Belgium years ago, there was even some foil surrounding the crown cap. Myself and fellow BA Davo each enjoyed a bottle each of this masterful beer during a recent visit to the Stuffed Sandwich in San Gabriel – in fact we both spotted it in the Cooler at the same time and told each other in unison that this would be our next beer sampled. Great minds think alike.

Appearance: Beautiful transient body that alters with light. A brown beer with red hints, or is it red with brown hints, hmmm. I know that the many Grand Cru’s that I have had ALL exhibit a crystal ruby red shine when backlit. The head was limited in size but always returned when swirled thanks to the carbonation, or it was replenished when more beer was poured from the bottle into our tasting receptacles. The light tan head is smooth and ever present.

Nose: Oh yes. One smell can immediately send you back into the past to the last time you drank this Ale, such is its distinctive character. Vinous, sour and acerbically minded. Wooden casks soaked in Acetic Malt vinegars pungently invade your nostrils. Damn this smells good.

Taste: The hairs on the back of my neck always stand up when I drink this beer; it just has that effect on me. It is without doubt one of the finest. The cask aged Flemish Red is demonstrated in all its sheer mature brilliance in this offering from Rodenbach. Sourness dries the tip of the tongue and pulls the cheeks; acetic malt vinegar traits layer the tip of the tongue whilst the lactic malts mingle in the back-end of the beer. It finishes sour with an oxidized mouth puckering quality – it never fails to impress with its complexity. Amazing.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth in the mouth, oak aging lends this Flanders Red a rich, smooth, deeply enticing and quaffable feel. Swirling this beer and letting it soak in the mouth for a few seconds it has chance to reveal all of its character gained whilst aging.

Drinkability: Gimme an old crate of this someone please! I dearly, dearly, dearly miss it.

Overall: It was great to visit the Stuffed Sandwich again and even better to have BA Davo’s company – but it was simply fucking awesome to have this World Classic beer on our table whilst we chatted beer.
**Highly Recommended**

 2,459 characters

Photo of BastardKing24
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I really dig this beer. I mean DIG, its just loads of fun to pop one of these and smell it right away straight from the bottle and savor whats to come.

Pours a dark red with minimal head but retains decent lacing.

Smell is gorgeous under-ripe fruit, vinegar, tartness, nose searing sour smells, with dark fruits, and oak.

Taste is like the smell with a big sour punch, not as much as some stronger examples, but damn near perfect. Oak, cherries, nectarine, slight vinegar, and sour apple.

Feel is fantastic. Light but present malt character, and mild carbonation.

Great beer, Great brewery

 594 characters

Photo of brdc
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Large corked bottle, expiration date 12/12/08.

Beautiful, classical reddish appearance, slightly hazy, with a foamy pinkish tan head when poured into my Rodenbach Grand Cru glass. The foam eventually dissipates, but the lacing coats the glass and the top of the beer all the way to the end.
The aroma immediately suggests the tartness/sourness to come. Acidic, vinegary, fruity, mostly berries and grapes, sour apples and sugar, with some oak and vanilla notes as it wamrs up.
Light and extremely refreshing, it is puckering at times, tart, acidic and sour, but also sweet and sugary, fruity with notes of cherries, sour apples, strawberries and other berries, with some oak and vanilla hints.
Very complex, wonderfully refreshing, a great summer brew, one of my favorites.

 779 characters

Photo of CPeterson
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A -- A beautiful, deep crimson / brown pours with a vigorous head that settles at a mellow pace and leaves nice lacing.

S -- Sour cherry and apple, fig and other dark fruit are followed by oak and acid.

T -- Cherry and sweet - tart apple, acid and sweetness play to no end and contest to see which will win. You get both with this flavorful monster. Dark fruits come through later on the tongue with a great residual taste.

M -- A nice crisp bite from the acid and a nice pucker.

D -- Buy it, drink it, be amazed.

 517 characters

Photo of baumaxx1
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%

Bottled beer served in a glass.

Appearance - Transparent red-brown, tan 1cm head which dissipates quickly, a bit of lacing, mildly carbonated.

Smell - Red wine, cocoa, caramel, malt, oak, cherries, orange peel.

Taste - Cherry, pear, cider sourness, mandarin, blackforest cake, a hint of oak and tart, blackberry and raspberry.

Mouthfeel - Mild carbonation, a bit of fizz which is refreshing, smooth, creamy and clean. Slightly tarty.

Overall - Very refreshing - not too heavy, not too sour, not too fizzy and big on flavour. A bit of a cherry brandy/port influence going on.

 579 characters

Photo of ryantupy
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a dark cloud ruby red with a nice creamy head that quickly reduces.

S - Tart at first but you also notice the beers sourness and oak. Then you notice cherries and spice.

T - Tart at first followed by hints of oak and cherries with mild spice. The tart smooths out into more of a sweet fruity beer.

M - Smooth medium bodied beer that goes down nicely.

D - This is a great beer that you can enjoy all night.

 419 characters

Photo of MarioM
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 ml poured into tulip

A: Cloudy deep reddish brown color with a light tan head, small bubbles and lingered for about a minute to a thin rim of creamy looking bubbles ending with some minor lacing.

S: Fruity, sweet smell with some sourness notes, fresh tart fruit upfront. This is a great smelling brew.

T: Great balance of flavors. Sweet dark fruit, slightly sour, great tartness and fruity. Its a bit bitter right after a drink but goes away quickly due to the balance being spot on. Just a tad vinigry, pleasant sourness, mostly tart fruitiness, almost no funk and very drinkable and very enjoyable. Fits the style very well.

M: Tartness lingers a bit with the sourness but then transforms into a fruity almost bread like maybe yeasty or funky aftertaste that is actually enjoyable, makes me want more and more. Carbonation is on the lighter side of medium, compliments the beer well, also a slight warm mouthfeel.

O: What a great beer. This is one of those beers that I keep on passing and ignoring when shopping, so so glad I finally gave it the attention it desired and well deserved. The balance of this Flanders Red is spot on, very enjoyable brew. I find myself stopping from typing to keep sipping this mouthwatering liquid. A must have.

 1,256 characters

Photo of Doomcifer
4.79/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured a brownish-amber with lots of lively carbonation. Very little head.

Smells very tart, sweet...cherries, raspberries. Mmmm, I'm loving the nose on this. Taste is what would be expected from the nose. Extremely tart and puckering, sweetness, sour cherries, can pick up on the woodiness in the finish...almost musky. Mouthfeel is very thin, very carbonated, finishes ever so slightly dry. I'm huge on this style and love this beer, so I could sip on many of these.

 469 characters

Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
4.26 out of 5 based on 3,975 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.