Rodenbach Grand Cru | Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

Rodenbach Grand CruRodenbach Grand Cru
Liked This Beer
4.29 w/ 4,057 ratings
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:
Flanders Red Ale- a blend of 1/3 young beer and 2/3 aged beer matured for 2 years in oak foeders. The original sour ale.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-25-2000

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Ratings: 4,057 |  Reviews: 1,157
Photo of frank4sail
4.46/5  rDev +4%
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 +3.7%
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 -8.4%
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 +6.1%
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 +15.2%
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 +15.9%
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 +6.1%
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 -4.4%
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 -14%
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 +1.9%
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 +11.9%
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 -35%
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 +14.7%
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 +12.6%
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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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.74/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sourness from the start, as my nose merely glides over the open bottle neck. Once poured into a tall, slender glass, the aroma pervades the atmosphere, sour cherries, rich and pungent, with a nice side-saddle dose of fruity sweetness A deeper sniff offers melodious complexities that dance freely in the caverns of the senses, a resonant aura of unearthly delights.

Color is a light leather-brown, but cloaked with cherry-red tinges, at side, bottom, and trickling in from behind.

First sip...AMAZING! I stop, pause, seep in the immediate pleasure of this initial sampling. Tasty tart texture...low hops, just-perfect malt ballast...long, luxuriant finish, grips the tongue, lips, even teeth, senses and brew caught up in amorous embrace, locked up too tight to untwist....sip after sip, sweetness and sour, a recurring, relaxing joy!

A mellowing effect is applied to the body and the soul, for this is that plush armchair ale, to swish in a snifter in the dark of night, leafing through the works of Voltaire, Old Dog Blue at your feet, while all is well with the world, and the mind can slip from serious matters and perambulate the corridors of less than lofty philosophy, epicurean ambitions, and bacchanalian designs.
This is that beer.

Sadly, the drink left the glass too soon...can I get a magnum, please?

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Photo of Gusler
4.67/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A somewhat nebulous ruby red to almost brown color, the head modest in size and frothy in consistency, light tan in color with some decent lace to coat the glass. Nose is tart cherries with sweet hints of maple syrup, yeast and a real dream of a nose. Sweet and sour start, the top middling in its feel, finish prickly in its acidity, hops perfect in their bite, very dry, vinous almost, wow what a great beer guess if I want any more I will need phone Belgium.

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Photo of GreenCard
4.07/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle best by date: 5/16/05

Appearance: dark amber color, a thick rocky later of ever-present tannish head, great clarity, some lace

Aroma: lactic, almondy, oaky, minerally, strawberries, a hint of Brett horsiness, very interesting and hard to nail down

Flavor: a syrupy sweetness pervades but is slightly countered by a firm lactic tang and some lambic character (musty, horsey, earthy); a bit oaky and seemingly corky, vinous; finish is somewhat sweet but a pleasant sourness lingers in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, zesty carbonation, slightly slimy residue feel

Overall Impression: Having finally acquired a taste for geuze (and the like), I can definitely see the appeal of this beer. And why it's a "hallmark" of its style. Would be great to cook with in place of wine, too.

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Photo of beerguy101
4.78/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reddish color, slightly cloudy, small head. Very vinous nose (wine-like esters). Vinous taste, normal for Belgian red ales. Despite the vinous taste, there is a malty sweetness to the beer. Rich, full flavor that gets better the more you sip it. Definitely an acquired taste, but it is the best of style. Finish is clean, vinous and sharp. Aftertaste has a hint of cherry.

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Photo of marburg
5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of my favorite beers of all time, and the beer that made the Flemish sour ales my favorite style of beer. This brew single-handedly changed my English ale-centric view of beer and started me down a path of Belgian love. In some ways, it's the reason I'm part of this website, so I'm pleased to have it again tonight to review.

Deep brown color, the shade of freshly carmelized sugar, still liquidy, with a faint red glow: Brilliant hints of garnet shine through in the light. Potent aromas of brown sugar, sweet cherry juice, and a sense of violent countertop fermentation. A flirtation with sweetness, fruity flavors, and a cherry essence is kicked aside by the perfect level of tartness -- simply brutally delightful in its sourness. Any real hop presence is muted by this sourness that seems to bring balance to the Force.

No beverage should be this damn good. It's a thing of divine inspiration and may very well be the best beer in the world -- well, certainly one of my two or three favorites.

I consumed the second half of my bottle with pickled herring in a white wine sauce with some sweet onion. They matched perfectly. The meal cost next to nothing, but I felt like I should have paid an arm for the joy I got to experience. It definitely never gets old.

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Photo of ALEBOY
4.48/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Devine!! ....Exceptional!!...A true classic. This is an incredibly challenging and assertive beer. I sampled it at around 8 or 9 degrees C . The lovely reddish colour and woody aroma are very inviting. It has a very oily and tart taste and the use of oak casks is quite obvious. There are also hints of fruit ( sour plum/cherry) and some slight vanilla notes. You must try this beer! Forget the port, have a Grand Cru.

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Photo of putnam
5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Smell: Toasted maplewood. Dry. Meaty. Cured, caramelized, cocoa-scented beef. Clean. Pretty. Like a Persian or Romance-tongued beauty, folded over with exotic perfume.
Red fruit explodes on the palate. Cherries. Red currants. Marzipan. Bitter chocolate.
The texture is chewy and tart, yet transparent, with a paper-thin layer of concentrated, dried fruit that melts in the mouth, building easily in a steady crescendo...cocoa and allspice waft in cartwheels along the way. It is loud as thunder in the end but the flavors rinse beautifully across the palate like rain.
This is perfect, soulful, emotionally wrenching beer. It must be ranked above all other beers I know.

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Photo of dmarch
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a garnet hue and a white head. Aroma is mostly sour cherries. The taste is quite winelike with a cherry flavored tartness. This has to be the most under-rated style in the world. With beers like this out there I wonder why we don't see more flemish sour ales.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.28/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reddish brown (bright red to light) with a full light brown head, good carbonation, and sheets of lace. Sour dark fruit and winey aroma. Malty and tart fruitiness with light sourness. Light-medium bodied and airy.

There are not many Flanders Red Ales out there but this one has been my favorite so far - well worth getting again.

Label states: "Mixed fermentation beer" & "Aged in Oak barrels for two years"

Best Before: 09/13/04
Tasted: 06/27/03

($3.59 / 33cl)


Label states: "Flemish Sour Ale Aged in Oak for 18 months"

Best Before: 09/21/07
Tasted: 01/24/07

(25.4 oz / 750 ml tall green champagne style bottle, corked, caged, and wrapped with gold foil)

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Photo of marc77
4.64/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Deep garnet hue with a slight murk. Thin, but well retained light tan head leaves sparse lace.

Aroma: Pungent barrage of vinous sherry, tart, fermented plum along with heaty ethanol. Secondary notes of cheesy old hop, musty oak and chunky lactic tartness. Mellows and morphs as it breathes, with both licorish notes and bubblegum esters surfacing to provide a candyish contrast. Very enticing and uniquely intense aromawise.

Taste: Coating wash of thick, aged balsamic tartness bathes the palate initially, then widens into a melange of balsamic drizzled sour cherry, lightly tannic oak and yeast must. Sweetens somewhat mid palate, with notes of caramelized raisins and old fruitcake providing addition depth and additional contrast. Tartness reemerges late, this time of a clean, green apple nature. Finishes with a thirst inducing combination of tart, lightly salted lemon.

Mouthfeel: Deceivingly light and crisp on the palate, due to the high attenuation. Soft and smooth.

Drinkability / overall: A delicious, intensely flavored, beefed up Old Bruin. Concomitantly rich and satiating, yet teasingly whimsical, beckoning the palate for more to attempt comprehension. This deserves to be in a 750 ml bottle. Outstanding. "Best before 9/13/04"

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Photo of Wildman
4.12/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a very dark amber color and formed an off white foamy head that coated the glass with lace as it subsided. An aroma of chocolate, caramel and cherries. The flavor was of cherries and some malt and the sourness of it is definately there in the finish of the beer.

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Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
Beer rating: 92.9% out of 100 with 4,057 ratings
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