Rodenbach Grand Cru | Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

BA SCORE
95
world-class
4,043 Ratings
Rodenbach Grand CruRodenbach Grand Cru
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
Belgium
rodenbach.be

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Flanders Red Ale- a blend of 1/3 young beer and 2/3 aged beer matured for 2 years in oak casts.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-25-2000

BEER STATS
Ratings:
4,043
Reviews:
1,149
Avg:
4.26
pDev:
11.27%
 
 
Wants:
336
Gots:
696
For Trade:
21
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,043 |  Reviews: 1,149
Photo of merlin48
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really like nomad's eloquent review of this classic. I poured my 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass, resulting in a dark, ruby mahogany body that reveals some magnificent garnet hues when held to the light. Small, tan head was short lived and left behind just a few patches of lace.

Inviting aroma beckons with tart cherries, and oak aromas straight out of an antique furniture shop. A note of vanilla is also picked up.

Mouthfeel is satiny, medium bodied, and has moderate carbonation. There is an explosion of tart fruit all over the senses.

The taste begins with a mouthpuckering, tart fruitiness which mellows, considerably, as it warms to room temperature. Intense, sour cherries, fresh pressed apple cider, and a hint of allspice. Much more mellow and complex near room temperature.

Absolutely a classic, and perfect for style. I could enjoy one of these any time of day, anywhere.

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

Rerate: Drank it out of a proper glass this time, still a great beer! Original rating: 330 ml bottle, ABV 6%. Drank it out of a plastic "glass" (sacrilege, I know!) at cellar temperature. Cherry-like aroma with hints of cowshed and ensilage. Flavour is sour/acidic/red wine vinegar-like, with strong barnyard and ensilage elements (not that I normally eat ensilage, but still...). This was my first Flemish red ale, an exciting experience! It will not be my last beer of this style. (Okay, I know I wrote my rating of the Duchesse de Bourgogne a bit earlier today, but I actually drank the Rodenbach 4-5 days before the Duchesse).

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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.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a nice clear brownish ale with almost no head.

The aroma was of musty, sweet fruity malt.

The taste was incredibly complex. It was tart and sour, somewhat fruity, and it very strongly tasted of red wine. There were oak notes hovering in the background. Truly a unique experience.

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Photo of Crosling
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the White Horse in London, England. A beer bar with well over 200 beers and the best in London by far, this was my first choice. The one I wanted the most.

Murky Brown.

Cherries, lots of cherries with oak, a distinct tartness and dark fruits in the nose.

Deliciously sour and tart. Dryness from the oak aging and lovely oak notes in the flavor. Mouth Puckering. Aged. More cherries and other dark fruits along with a few notes of lemon. Lingering. Everything I look for in the style.

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

Mouth-puckering sour. Due to expire on my birthday, June 21, 2004, it had noticeable sediment from the oak barrel which prevented the last drops, and takes away from its georgeous red-brown colour with lacing. Cherry and tart real vanilla that works through the roof of the mouth before eating, Ranked up in fresher bottle sampled a year later. Had again 6.3 years later an just as good. As good in the style as can be.

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

Presentation: 33 cl bottle with a “consume before” date on the back label.

Appearance: Quick to foam though retains a healthy looking lace, deep reddish brown lets little light through.

Smell: Sour fruit; cherries, grapes and lemon. Hints of vanilla and malt husk.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Mild viscous smoothness, lots of tartness with fruity suggestions of cherries and plum. Mild flare of alcohol with a hollow vanilla flavor. Not much for hops though any kind of hop flavor would not be expected any way.

Drinkablity & Notes: A pretty exceptional brew, I have had better from this brewery in the past though this one still stands up to be a quality brew for sure.

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Photo of cypressbob
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle, poured into a T'ij brewery tulip

Pours with a deep red slightly burgandy body. Some thick ruby highlights supplemented with a tight off white bubbly head with good retention. Some thick patches of lacing up and down the glass.

Smell, thick sweet estery cherries. Sweet caramel and toffee covered dried fruit, some astringent acid along with a huge whack of phenolic undertones. Slightly spicy on the nose, a hint of mixed chiinese spice and a bit of estery alcohol

Taste, thick dry estery soaked cherries. A nice harsh acidic note with a hint of brett character, prickly carbonation with a winey syrupy body and a thick rich sweet port character on the finish. Masses of deep acidic red fruit, cherries and redcurrants soaked in rum along with a heap of lemon juice and sulphuric acid. Deep red wine vinegar profile along with a lasting slightly sugary and syrupy mouthfeel. Thick crisp biscuity body lying behind the initial sour fruit, some lasting acidity on the finish

A legend in the realms of the flanders red. Some sweetness but generally overpowered and knocked into touch by a whack of acidic fresh fruit. The quintessential flanders red, sour, slightly sweet and fruity.... perfect

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.2/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a reddish colored brew with a nice bubbly head with standard retention. Aroma is nice mix of oak and cherry with some acidic and tart note also noticeable. Taste is an extremely complex mix of oak, sour cherry (without the sweetness) and some tart and acidic notes also mix in there. The finish is quite bitter; carbonation is average and body is medium. Overall, this is a very complex beer that is also very refreshing. Now, if I can get my hand on some Alexander I would be a happy man.

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Photo of donnebaby
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks similar to the Rodenbach Classic, but perhaps a little lighter in color and lighter in head. Looks like cherry juice, with a thin tan smattering of foam scum. Smell is sweet dark cherries, but light compared to the R. Classic.

Taste is an overpowering lemon cherry cough drop. Sour to the max, with a spicy grating of the throat. Lasting cherry taste in the throat, with notes of anise cookies and vanilla. Mouthfeel is creamy on the intake--but immediately changes to gripping lip-smacking sourness. It gets points for kicking my ass. Sort of the feeling when drinking vinegar, or eating something that has alot of vinegar. I love vinegar though, so it's all good fortunately.

This is an awesome taste and creation, but I don't think I really want to have more than one at a sitting. That said, I certainly want to finish the one I'm having.

I'm also reminded of eating too many salt-and-vinegar chips at once...definite parallels.

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Photo of ark57
4.68/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It pours a beautiful clear, dark mahogany with a head that dissipates fast. The first thing I noted in the aroma was wood. There is quite a bit of it and then the maltiness and a lactic sourness can be detected as well. It is very complex and elegant to drink. It is tart with some fruity cherry notes, there is some wood notes as well as some wine notes. The perfect marriage between sweet and sour with a somewhat dry lactic finish. The amazing beer is truly the standard for the style.

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Photo of frank4sail
4.46/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big off white head. The head is very sticky and lacing on the goblet. Lots pf carbonation (tiny bubbles) as well. Ruby color in the tulip shaped glass. Lively in the glass. The taste upfront is of sour black cherry with a thickish sweetness in the middle and a dry slightly bitter hop finish. Sour nose. Complex smooth mouth with a very dry tongued finish. Your tongue is left wanting more.

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

Legendary. Pours a rubyish copper color with a generous beige hue. Small tuliped glass is recommended. Sour dark cherry notes and an intricate yeast profile as well as barrel aging is evident in the nose. Further dark fruit notes as well as the malt profile bordering on a chocolate-like profile. Lavish and extravagant. I'm not trying to hype the beer up at all, but this is the real deal. The right amount of sweetness balances out the lactic sourness of this beer. Complex; changes many times on the tongue with each sip. Really plays with you as it warms, I recommend the warmer end of the spectrum. Thoroughly enjoyable. Thanks go out to a friend whose parents live in Brussels and bring beers back from Belgium when coming back to the States. Quintessential; wish it was more widely available but I know the story.

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Photo of tjd25
3.93/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A totally opaque red-brwon color. The very fine head fades quickly but doesn't die. The smell is of vinegar. Sourness and tart, but with some fruity and sweet aspects. The taste is what the smell makes you expect. The tart and sour aspects are so strong that they're almost not unpleasing. I got an impression of baked cookies after a while (butter and eggs). The sourness fades as I got used to the brew. The mouthfeel is aggressive and thick. It overwhelms the palate and takes time to fade. I'll try to taste this brew again in a few months, to see if the evolution of my palate makes it more easy to drink for me. As of now, drinkable is not a word I could use for that beer, although I can appreciate its disturbing complexity.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

33 cL bottle served chilled in a Brewer's Art chalice

Appearance: A clear brownish red liquid topped by a small tan head. Dissipates to a layer of foam after a minute or so. Small fingers of lace attempted to form, but ultimately stopped

Smell: Powerful aromas of funky brett, wood, vinegar, cherries, and raspberries. She's a harsh mistress and lets you know this upfront.

Taste: Mindblowingly tart cherries and raspberries with doses of balsamic vinegar, tannins, twigs, pits, seeds, oak, and heaps of funk. Hoo-yah! Aftertastes of funk.

Mouthfeel: Very light in body and quite puckering due to the high acidity.

Drinkability: If La Folie was using this as their model, they nailed it. High acidity = one a night for most peeps. I'll definitely try this one again. It's certainly an acquired taste, one I'm still working on. I hope my secret source still has some lying around

Other: I first tried this about 6 months ago without really knowing much about the style or the beer. An opportunity arose to try it again with slightly more experience under my belt, and I took it. Original review: 4.05

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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 RockyTopHeel
4.97/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

There were only two of these left on the shelves when I walked into the store. I'm incredibly happy I managed to get one for myself, and kicking myself for not buying the other.

This beautiful beer poured a bold, chestnut red with a foamy, off-white head. A full aroma wafted up from the beer, with notes of sourness, a touch of fruit, and some oak wood and yeast elements. One taste and I'm hooked. The taste is all of Belgian beer greatness in a glass--crisp, refreshing lambic-like sourness, fruity sweetness and yeasty elements like in Belgian pale ales, and an irresistable drinkability for a darker beer I know well from Belgian dark ales. It finishes dry and refreshing, a little like a light red wine.

Bottom line: ridiculously good, and a possible new favorite. Just amazing.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep cherry with a 1/4 inch tan head. Smells of sour cherry, vanilla, oak, hints of port.

Taste is quite sour and cherry tart. The fruity tartness overpowers most of the other flavors. Lots of cherry flavors in here. Hints of oak and vanilla way back there. My only complaint is that with the sour aftertaste there is also a strong coppery aftertaste which I don't find appeaing. Don't know if that is indicative of the style or this bottle is past its prime. Full bodied and flavorful beer. This was the flavor explosion I was expecting from the Rodenbach Red. Not nearly as balanced but still amazing.

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

Presentation: Comes in a brown, 33 cl bottle. The front of the label has a picture of casks and text boasting of "2 year muturation in oak casks" in four languages. The back of the label has a longer description of the beer, a series of numbers that appear to be a bottling code, and a best before date of 11/19/05.

Appearance: Pours a very dark, ruby color that lets through only a small amount of light. The head is very small, with average head retention and a small ring of lacing. Solid color, but nothing amazing.

Smell: A more refined version of the Rodenbach classic, with a similar but deeper smell. Wine-like acidic fruit aromas, followed by a hint of sweetness. As the beer warms, more pronounced wood aromas and a small amount of mustiness.

Taste: Again, a much better version of the Rodenbach classic; similar flavors but they taste more developed. Toasted malt nose followed by a wave of what seem to be sour fruit flavors, mainly cherry — I'm shocked to learn that this beer doesn't actually have any fruit in it. If the flavors come from the oak, it shows the pour of the long maturation process. A hint of malt vinegar. Aftertaste of smokiness, oak flavor from the casks. Very dry finish due to the oak and tart "fruit" flavors. I tried tried paring this with from sharp cheese and a pear, which really drew out the oak flavors.

Mouthfeel: Noticeably smoother than the Rodenbach classic, very nice.

Drinkability: The sour "fruit" and the high carbonation hurt the drinkability of this one. An excellent flavor, but not something you'd want to have a lot of.

Rodenbach Grand Cru has a vasty different flavor from what most people imagine when they think of beer. This isn't something I'm going to start drinking daily, even if I could afford to, but it's a still a very interesting and challenging beer I'm glad to have tried.

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Photo of theo692
3.69/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served chilled, though not terribly cold. Aroma is wonderfully full, carmel-ish, and not sour. Refreshing initial taste, though perhaps too sweet for some. Flavor really opens up after the first sip -- cherries, I think, though certainly some citrus taste, as well. Finish is clean and even tart. Very easy to drink, not heavy at all.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep ruby brown color with a tan head leaves behind webbed fine belgian style lacing. Aroma: Vinous and effervescent some tart cherry or raspberry tones to it leaves a woody almost cedar like finish to it an Oud Bruin in all of it's glory. Taste: Whopping array of tart tones but it's multilayered a tartness forms on the back of the tongue then sweet fruit grapes again the wine like tone very vinous and mild chocolate tones soften the mouthfeel by applying some sweetness to the overall profile of the flavor. Mouthfeel: High carbonation in that it's spritzy on the back of the throat but it still tends to be smooth going down a medium bodied masterpiece, a step above Petrus Oud Bruin in my opinion. Drinkability: The tartness does a lot to the palate and I believe this one should be enjoyed slowly in small portions there's alot going on relax and explore this beer there's no rush.

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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**

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Photo of diablo14
2.79/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

have to say, i really didnt enjoy this beer at all. maybe it was too old, tho it wasnt past its use by, but it was just way too tart for me to enjoy it on any level.

superb reddy brown color with a voluminous head, it looked like a fair dinkum ripper. ordinary smell, alot like red wine vinegar, with some hops and a bit of citrus. tasted alot like vinegar too, and also resembled blood oranges and grapefruit. the malt and sweetnees was completey overcome by the tart acidic nature of the beer. finished really dry and cloying. the subtle presence of wood didnt help much either. not as full in body as id hoped for. couldnt help but think if i wanted something that tasted and felt like this i would have just grabbed a carton of succo rosso or a bottle of pellegrini.

i was utterly disappointed with this beer, the alexander is so much better. definately an acquired taste. it wasnt total crap, but i was wanting a lot more, and i can find it much better with numerous other belgians. worth a try, but again, its going to be one of those beers you either really love or really hate. im heading toward the latter.

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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 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

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Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
4.26 out of 5 based on 4,043 ratings.
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