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: 3,986
Photo of GClarkage
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

10/11/05- Purchased at Bottleworks in Seattle, WA.

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle with a best by date imprinted on the back label. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Murky plum, almost brown color. Medium 1/2 inch head which fades soon here after. Above average lacing.

Smell- Lots of sour and vinous like funk. About the only way I can describe it. Doesn't really smell "good", but fits the style perfect.

Taste- Not even as sour as it smells. Was looking for something more sour than La Folie, but what I got was a mildly tart and kinda sweet at the same time, brew. Maybe even some cherry and darker fruit flavors as well.

Mouthfeel- Low carbonation and pretty smooth. Easy drinker for a Flanders.

Drinkability- One of the better Flanders for sure. Super easy to drink. Great sweet and sour combo.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally reviewing the Rodenbach.

Served in a Bruery tulip, just because. Beer is brown and hazy with a thin brown head of tiny bubbles that doesn't leave any lacing on the glass. Looks fine. Carbonation moderate.

Beer smell like vinegar and sweetness. Its like a thin bruin aroma. Smells good.

Beer is mildly sweet and acetic biting sour on the backend. It leaves the mouth with an apple flavor, sour apple. Beer is light in body and goes down smooth with minimal carbonation on the palate. Its good, drinkable, less sour than I remember / was expecting but still not for amateurs. Enjoyable.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.97/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, corked and caged into a tulip glass...

A - Dark mahogany brown with some defined reddish hues. Off white head, quick dissipation with a nice cap left throughout the glass.

S - Complex tart fruits: cherry, strawberry, gooseberry and sour lemon. Some caramel sneaks in the end and helps wrangle in some medium-dry red wine qualities with a dry finish.

T - The nose echoes the palate quite perfectly. A rush of tart and sour qualities erupt all over the palate due to the higher carbonation: cherry and lemon. Some spice finishes off with a wild yeast note and some grainy/bready dry esters.

M - Effervescent, thinner on the body but the carbonation gives it a good feel.

D - If you like Flanders-style beers, this is a great treat. I can enjoy a bottle myself though it's better to split as the tart and sour qualities become redundant after a while.

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Photo of stevoj
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really well done sour, smooth and not too tart. Brown/ruby with spare beige/pink head. Aroma of sour cherries, peat, wood barrel. Taste is sort of cider-like, light bodied, tingly palate. Sweet, but not too much.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.01/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Victoire in Rochester, NY.

Pours a reddish hazy brown, with a fizzy head, and no lacing.

Smells include cherry, vinegar, and some funk.

The taste is the same. The sourness is definitely there, but not overpowering at all. Some cherry, with some lactic acid, and mild musty funkiness. Some oaky vanilla type character is also noticeable.

Medium bodied, syrupy mouthfeel, pretty drinkable.

This is one of the beers that showed me I might end up liking some sours. It's quite tasty.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: poured a reddish brown in color with brown highlights and a thin head leaving a little frothy lacing sticking to the glass.

S: upfront on the nose it was a mixture of plum and vinegar notes with a little aroma of acidity but had slight oaky character. I did however manage to sniff out some brown sugar and mild cherries.

T: the vinegar and acidic character was more prominent on the palate with the oak barrel giving it some complexity but had cherry accents and a touch of plum.

M: the brew was medium in body with a sweet, slight fruity, oaky, acidic, and tart finish.

D: definitely was drinking great and this brew has been one of my favorite flanders stlye brew for awhile. We'll see how this one holds up with a little time.

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Photo of liamt07
4.48/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by Steve at my 22nd birthday, 750ml bottle corked/caged into a tulip. No vintage date.

Poured a dark reddish brown, mocha head with great head retention and some splotchy lace. Nose has sour berries, oak/vanilla/general barrel character. Lots of dried fruits. More tart berry flavours, sweet and sour fruit notes throughout. Oak, vanilla and a touch of brown sugar. More barrel character. Exceptional balance. A phenomenal sour, fantastic feel and flavour.

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml Gold Foiled


Poured into a chalice a nice ruby red color, nice carbonation, tiny fizzy off-white head, traces of sticky lacing around the edges. The nose is malty, good dose of cherries, raspberries, and caramel. The taste is sweet, tangy, lots of cheeries/raspberries. Nice little tingle of carbonation at first. Slightly dry finish. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a nice Flanders Red.

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

The beer pours a dark amber/red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a very sour scent that boasts of crystal and roasted malts along with a yeast sour aroma; very enticing. The taste is great. It has a refreshingly sour taste that is solid on the malts and easy drinking. It boasts Belgian crystal and roasted malts. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a damn good brew. It is quite refreshing. It has great malt character and an excellent yeast sourness.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5 was a magnum of this for $7.99 or a bomber of La Folie for $10.99. Deal done! 750 ml bottle split with my friend this afternoon, and consumed outdoors, on to the beer:

There's plenty to like, and nothing to hate. The color is brilliant and bold, a dark red...almost brown, with a persistent head. That aroma of freshly prepeared caramel and sour berries is drawing my interest...and the taste is kickass too! This beer's flavor has a medium, but tamed tartness that doesn't kill your palate. Is this wine? Fresh caramel is dominate. Citrus peel, maple, liquified brown is sweet, but also sour. A little acidic, like vinegar, and it melds well into the overall flavor.

Simply great! That's all folks!

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Photo of Mora2000
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy thirdeye11.

2007 vintage. Beer pours reddish brown with a small white head. The aroma is a mix of sourness, oak and tart cherries. The flavor is a medium sourness with sour fruit (cherries) and some oak and vanilla. Not as sour as some of the beers I have had, but one of the best overall sours I have tried. Very drinkable.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rodenbach Grand Cru

Pours a reddish brown in color, off white head forms and crackles away. Aroma of balsamic vinegar, very tart fruit, some sweetness. In the flavor profile, a nice pronounced sour. Acidic and alittle lemony, sour, lip puckering goodness. Alittle oak influence with some woodsy tannins showing late. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, well carbonated and slightly dry. Overall, a sophisticated sipper, nice sour, worth revisiting.

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Photo of dar482
4.72/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer comes in a rusty brown and dark maroon.

The aroma has overly ripe sweet plums, a big dark candy sugar sweetness, some red wine character, and sour berries.

The flavor explodes on the palate, a rush fruit complexities. Red cherries, black cherries, cranberries, tart raspberries, red grape peel, figs with a strong tartness that engages the back of the throat. It has lots of red wine vinegar sourness balanced with a big fruity and dark sugary candy sweetness. A good amount of oak character and alcohol that hints at red wine.

The finish cleans up quite well with that tartness still lingering on the back of the throat.

A creamy mouthfeel with a good amount of carbonation, super refreshing.

Again Cuvee de Jacobin, the complexity of this beer wins it out for, but both are world class.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy dark reddish brown. Moderate head.

Very acetic smell with a touch of sweetness at the end. The whole is supported by earthy, yeasty undernotes.

The taste is like no other- spicy, sour and sweet. Starts with a slight candy sugar sweetness, then stingingly sour, and then a cinnamon spiciness and more sweetness at the very end. A really complex beer that may be an acquired taste, but once you've acquired it, nothing refreshes quite the same. The only down note is that the current incarnation doesn't seem quite as complex or integrated as the earlier incarnation. Still very good, though.

Mouthfeel is quite carbonated and crisp.

Very drinkable, extremely refreshing and different.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.85/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally, after a brief hiatus Rodenbach is back on draft in SEPA. It's been over a year since i've had it and it's been calling me.

A- Served up in a tulip, Grand Cru boasts a deep dark mahogany appearance. It is quite dark almost to the point of a deep brown color. Once I got a good look this had a dark array of red, brown and ruby. Just a cap of beige foam on top.

S- Sweet jusus, this smells good. Deep scents of ripe sour apple and cherrys. As with the style a good bit of vinegar. Some oak and wood from the huge barrels used in the brewing process.

T- This is a bit more sweet from the vinegar type taste but it is not a problem. I guess im used to a little age on the grand cru as these kegs are new to the area to my knowledge. Either way there is a nice sour element that is not much but there. Sour cherry and ripe apples.

M- More sweet then sour but this did pack some puckering ability, nothing I cant handle. Even at that Rodenbach GC seems to just go down very easy with a great balance of flavor making it even easier to enjoy. Perhaps I can get used to extremely fresh rodenbach.

D- I really missed this and Im glad it's back. I will order one at each outing whenever I see it. Not too much of alcohol content and a good beer to pair up with alot of food types. Perhaps my favorite flanders red (with Ommegang Rouge not far behind) and probably the most authentic in the style.

Edit- After having this a few more times in bottle and draft, I just cant seem to get away from the over abundance of vinegar and sweetness in this. I still love this beer, but after having different versions of rodenbach, this grand cru version is not so grand in my eyes.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

Appearance: rich, deep amber hue with a body clear of haze. Head is a finger of frothy ivory foam. Pretty nice.

Smell: tartness first, with a hint of sweetness and a touch of caramel malt character. There's also a light hint of funkiness which helps bring everything together. I like it.

Taste: wow, lots of flavor and lots of acidity. Tartness with a bit of funk right off the bat; it-burns-going-down kind of acidity. Through that phase, though, is a light breadiness and a slightly sweet, tasty fruitiness. At the end, finally, the breadiness comes to the forefront in a flavor similar to rye bread. I feel like the super tartness here is almost archetypal for the style; plus, it makes this a super drinkable, tasty beer. Wonderful.

Mouthfeel: lightish body with a big carbonation and a big mouthfeel; it's hard to use "creamy" to describe the balooning froth that represents the mouthfeel. Big and exciting, but somewhat ephemeral. Still, quite good.

Overall: what a tasty and wonderful beer. As noted above, this is probably the archetype for the style.

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Photo of biegaman
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at La Trappe, in San Francisco.

The creation of Rodenbach Grand Cru involved a process of blending young beer with older beer that spent upwards of two (or more) years inside a great big wooden vat, the result of which is reflected in its appearance: a brilliant reddish hue coalesced into a darkish, slumbering complexion. You can see why they call these beers the 'Burgundy of Belgium'.

By the way, those giant oak vats contain a bunch of distinct bacterias (and often yeasts) that impart a tremendously distinct sourness to the beer, something you could definitely call "terroir". The beer develops a complex fruitiness somewhat like a deep red wine, except is far more acidic, with musty malts and a balsamic vinegar-like overtone.

Sometimes tasting notes can be a little misleading - the presence of 'banana' flavour in a wheat beer may be illusive to those lacking the palate or familiarity to find it. But when it comes to Flanders Red Ales, the comparison to (perhaps fruit infused, namely cherry) balsamic vinegar is very real. Even their production processes are almost identical.

This taste certainly mimics that of an authentic artisan Italian balsamic vinegar, with notes of oak wood eclipsing a good portion of the vinegar-y acidity. Crowning the finish is a brief but intense flavour, simply more strong than sweet, of cherry brandy. It has stiff competition with the mildewed oak flavours and dark balsamic, but tart fruit definitely weighs in.

Rodenbach Grand Cru may no longer be the most sour, complex or even most elegant ale on the market, but let's not forget it is precisely because of Rodenbach that we even have these other beers around in the first place. This is still a beer of great beauty and sophistication and, above all, one that is bound to open up some doors for any individual first trying it.

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Photo of tobelerone
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can’t believe I am just getting around to reviewing this one now; sometimes my notes go missing for months at a time. This is one tasty beer though. Reddish brown, dark cherry soda appearance. Not much head or lacing although the cork popped nicely on the review bottle. Aroma is tantalizingly tart and sweet, with the faintest hint of vinegar in the background. Cherry in there, too. The flavors are the same; the vinegar note, while noticed, is small and muted enough that non sour aficionados can enjoy this one too. Very fruity, mostly cherry but maybe plum/raisin/cranberry as well? Super tart, crisp, clean, refreshing. Excellent carbonation. I had this one at the end of a very very long day of teaching, followed by a memorial service in a sweltering church, then cleaning the house till midnight to prepare for guests. Hit the spot in a big way.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first Palm version, Sampled May 2006
Incredibly well carbonated, this beer pours with a frothy, though quickly disappearing, initially 4 finger thick, amber tan colored head. I get a nice tart aroma as soon as I pour this beer, a nice level of tart acetic acid. As I go in for a deeper smell the aroma becomes much more tart; a mix of vinegar and something like tamarind. Underneath the dominating sour character is astringent note that seems a bit woody. The aroma has a certain fruitiness to it that hints at cherries.

Tart and effervescent, the beer seems to be fermenting a bit more than expected in the bottle. Is this now being bottle conditioned, that would be surprising from this traditionally pasteurized product. This is quite tasty as usual, a combination of tart and fruity with woody tannic notes that come on in the finish. It is so interesting to compare this beer to others that I have had most recently (Supplication, La Folie, & Panil Barriquée), beers now carrying the torch that had so long only been held by Rodenbach. It is interesting to me, the other newer beers are so much more satisfying and complex than this brew, but you can't fault the Grand Cru for that. It did what it had to survive all those years, but it is clearly now not one of the best examples of the style. I can only hope that Palm will choose to make this a bit more complex brew in the culture.

Having said all of that ruminescent, romantic b.s., this is still a damn good beer. I am a sucker for these beers and this is still quite good. I can see this beer aging quite gracefully for some time. The acidity should round out a bit and a touch of oxidation should play up the rich malt character a bit more. In the end that is what this needs a bit more complexity to balance out the great sour character.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I received this in the beat down Czoch75 gave me in the 2nd Round of the Fight Club.... Clint put a hurtin' on my wants list... seriously.

Edit.. this is an '06!! Thanks again Clint!!

Shared this with inflatablechair.. Sam brought over some doozies.. so I had to reciprocate..

Poured into my New Belgium goblet.. reddish orange.. a little cloudy and a lite foamy head.

Nose is acetic with a bunch of fruity notes... sour cherries with a lite apple butter element.

Palate is much sweeter than the nose... a sweet apple cider vinegar combines with a bit of peachy fruitiness.. red wine vinegar is drying on the finish... A bunch more tannic oak arrives at room temperature.

the body is lite/medium with a lighter than expected carbonation.. very complex...

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Photo of John_M
3.78/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a darkish brown color with some red highlights. The beer also has fairly good head retention and lacing, with an interesting aroma of vanilla, cherry and sour funk. Flavors on the palate replicate the nose, except the sour tartness really dominates this beer. I do get some underlying vanilla and chocolate, but it's really dominated by the sour component. Mouthfeel is fairly light, with some prickliness from the sour. The alcohol is pretty well disguised, but the amount of sour in this beer is a bit much, and detracts a bit from this beers drinkability. Nevertheless, this is a pretty solid red flanders beer from the folks at Rodenbach.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the 750 ml. corked bottle. Sampled on January 7, 2011. It pours opaque bown from the heavy duty bottle with ruby hues and an inch thick silky beige head that fizzles down to nothing quickly. The aroma reeks of bourbon and wine with a cherry or grape maltiness evident. The body is smooth. The taste is very tart like grapefruit or cherry. After it settles it reminds me more of wine than beer but nowhere near as dry.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.77/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a burgundy red, with a small tan/pink head, which fizzes away pretty quickly, though the residual colour of this beer is quite beautiful.

S: Tart cherries and oak, syrup, wildberries.

T: Sweet cherries and strawberries and mild malts start the beer, which ends in an oaky, winey sour/cranberry tart finish with a hint of vanilla, very complex, a more mellow and richer beer than the regular Red, IMO.

M: Tart and dry on the finish, with a residual sugar/maple syrup sweetness as a good contrast.

D: An exceptional beer from Rodenbach, would be a great thirst quencher, would drink a lot of this if it wasn't $4 a bottle, glad it finally came to Orange County.

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Photo of KAF
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer! I have had it bottled before and can still get bottles of it a few blocks from my apt. I just had it on tap two weeks ago at Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis, MN. I also just had a bottle of it that had been aged in a friends cellar for an extra year. If you like sour, aging it an extra year made my mouth almost cringe! The pour is a ruby or deep rich red in color with a very slight hazyness to it. Aromas of cherry and plum as well as a tartness on the nose. Taste is complex. You get the dark fruits of cherry and plum as well as vinegar and mustard seed. A nice champagne feel in the mouth. Great beer!

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Photo of BlackHaddock
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33cl Brown bottle, best before 27th Mar 2010, drank after a heavy day at work 5th Aug 2008.

Poured into my new La Chouffe tulip glass (the first beer to grace it). Deep Ruby red and as clear as clear when held up to the light. The tan head looked well formed at first, but it fell away to a collar very swiftly.

Incredible aroma of sour red fruit (Raspberries, Cherries and Redcurrents), Almonds and Mazzipan type smells too, but all sour.

The sourness is also incredible in the taste, very pronounced and in your face.

I have had a few 'Reds' in my time, but this one was very true to its style, a rich sourness prevails throughout and althought not a favourite style of mine, you can't help but appreciate the complex mix your senses are given by this beer. Whoever blended this brew did a fine job.

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Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
4.26 out of 5 based on 3,986 ratings.
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