Rodenbach Grand Cru | Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

BA SCORE
95
world-class
1,131 Reviews
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:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-25-2000

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,131
Ratings:
3,964
Avg:
4.26
pDev:
11.27%
 
 
Wants:
327
Gots:
665
For Trade:
23
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Reviews: 1,131 | Ratings: 3,964
Photo of oberon
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my tulip glass a deep burgundy with a large blooming head,sour cherry to be expected dominate the aromas with a touch of iron and barnyard as well.This stuff can make you pucker sour cherry hits hard on the tastebuds but rounds nicely into a more sweet cherry-pie like flavor in the finish.It has an almost creamy mouthfeel to it as I drink more the more it grows on me once your palate gets used to the sour tinge this stuff goes down very easily,glad to try this classic.

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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 Philabeerphia
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been very excited for this one. The appearance is a deep amber rust. Smell is a little sharp but very fresh (not warm or spicy)- orchard, ahhhh, apples, and acerbic. The very first smell is the oak followed quickly by the sour fruit. Slight undertone of malt. Taste- tart up front, like sour apples, slightly sharp on the tongue, some carbonation. Soft sweetness on the back end to balance the taste. More balance than other red ales. Overall, extremely pleasing and above average drinkability. No head, no lace. Resembles the body of a wine. Direct relative of the orchard. Warms the stomach. It's been a treat. I would love to try it on tap.

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Photo of Swim424
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from bomber into stella chalice

A-dark burnt amber, mahogany color up to light. much darker away from light. small 1 finger head.

S-very familiar smell, cant put my finger on it. definitely smells a bit sour. sort of vinagar fruity smell.

T-Tastes like less sugary sour candy. Tart, apple flavor.

Mf-pretty thin for what I was expecting. Sort of fizzy.

O-I have never had a beer anything like this beer before. Never had a sour of anything along those lines. But this is really good. Drinks more like a wine. I really like this beer. I will be looking for more like this and i highly recommend this one.

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Photo of charlzm
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 2009/11/25.

Pours deep brown into a glass with deep red highlights. Fine white head that provides a modicum of lacing.

There's no nice way to say it; I couldn't distinguish the aroma of this beer from that of vinegar. There was also a nice apple cider note and grape note to offset it, however.

The flavor is quite sharp: tart, sweet berries and a vinous character that dances right on the edge of vinegar. Some fleeting wood character. Despite this, it didn't strike me as especially complex.

Finish is notably dry and slightly acidic.

This one pulls off an amazing feat: successfully walking a tightrope over undrinkable sourness. Delicious.

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

750ml bottle split with friends. I decided to do a side by side tasting and open this along with the clasdic red and also the caractere rogue to analyze the differences in each. Poured into a cervoise, the brew appears a murky brown with a yellowish clarity around the edges and ruby through the body. A figner of tan head appears across the top and fades leaving spotty lace.

The smell is tangy with alcohol. Much more bright and less sweet smelling than the normal red rodenbach offering. It displays fruity esters, oak and vinegar in a more bright way. The barrel character impats some mild burnt sugar quality like caramel and toffee that does a good job contrasting the alcohol an tangy aspects of the nose. As it warms up, some vanilla comes through with lots of fruity tones.

The taste is fruity almost like raisins. Lotd of tart cherry and mild apple cidar vinegar. Some barrel presence like caramel/vanilla contrasts the mildly acidic nature. A touch of oxidation in the aftertaste has a bit of focus shifting towards the woody and almost cardboard quality mingled with earthy components.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. There is a light effervescence and it is overall very easy drinking with low alcohol impact. I really enjoy how well blended and flavorful this beer is without being face crushing/puckering sour. It has just a bit more tartness and is overall more dry than the base. Nicely done and even more enjoyable than the rodenbach red.

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

750 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a dark crimson color with a tinge of brown, but looks black outside of the full light (or when the glass is low). Nice off-white/slightly tan 1/2-finger head turns to a film but with creamy bubbles still around the edges.

Smell: Initial aroma of cider vinegar, but with the hint of, perhaps, some apple and a bit of cherry.

Taste: Significant vinegar flavor here, both cider and balsamic. There's definitely some (crab?)apples in there too. However, there's only a hint of cherry in there, at least to me. A bit of sweetness come out in the aftertaste, but then it is back to mostly sour in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Has a great active yet not overly strong tingly carbonation, that goes well with the flavor. Light mouthfeel, and quite smooth.

Drinkability: As long as you're good with the taste, this is really quite drinkable. Perfect ABV.

While I enjoy these sour Belgian red beers, this one is definitely strong in the vinegar department. It might take more adjustment for some than other similar beers. For those unfamiliar with this style, be prepared to share it with a friend (as I've only seen 750 mL bottles), or grab a smaller bottle of Duchesse De Bourgogne.

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Photo of BethanyB
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Soft opaqueness, the color of walnuts, and a filmy light tan head are visual attributes that are all uniquely lovely, yet true to style. The complex aroma is equally fine, with balanced notes of young wine, dates, nutmeg, and of course, vinegar. The typical sour taste has an interesting sweet smokiness to the finish, almost like burnt molasses. Dried gala apples are another more saccharine flavor which helps to tone down the tartness just the right amount. The nutmeg on the nose is on the tongue as well, along with soft notes of cinnamon sticks and cloves. Other Red Ales are more savory; the Grand Cru feels a bit light and feathery in comparison. But the medium body and moderate carbonation are well suited to the recipe, as is the semi-dry finish. A fine Flanders specimen with some fascinating softening ingredients which leave me torn: while nicely unique, they detract somewhat from the style's lively potency.

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Photo of Beginner2
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You're looking at the Grand Champion of its style.
Do you like the style ? (My second largest challenge as a beer drinker is to have Belgian Reds more than once a month.)
Despite having to force this style on myself, I find this Grand Cru is beyond good and a totally refreshing ale.

MJ gives Rodenbach 10 pages in his "Great Beers of Belgium". Without rivals for MJ ink... I suspect it is because Rodenbach revived the flagging style so well. If you are a devotee of Belgian Reds, read that chapter.
MJ's 1999 "Guide" gave it 4 of 4 stars (really, really rare.)
The Grand Cru is listed in the "1001" and deserves to be there.
It also is reviewed in Roger Protz' CAMRA classic "300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"

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Photo of aflamang
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served in Schott Zwiesel bordeaux glasses from 750 mL bottle, which we got from the Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, MA.

Appearance is deep brown. I found it to have almost no burgundy coloring. The head was lighter than tan, and had a lot of big bubbles.

Nose is sour berries and oak with a wonderful slight whiff of vinegar. Very complex nose even for a sour.

Taste is not overwhelmingly sour. The flavors really develop through each sip and between sips as the temperature rises. The major notes I picked up were cherry, grape, lemon, oak, and a surprising amount of yeasty flavor at the tail.

Mouthfeel is thinner than I expected, and more carbonated than other great sours.

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Photo of Dzu
4.08/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Dark brown with a little foam head.
S: Smell soar, cherry.
T: Sweet-soar, smoother thaen Rodenbach Caractère Rouge.
F: Soar grapes.
O:Good balnced ale.

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

AP: ruby tinted amber with a slow but plentiful carbonation creating a formidable tan colored head that becomes a fizzy 1/4" cap.

nose: sour and tart raspberrie fruity malt, sour dill pickles, overripe apples, sweaty feat-cheese, herbal hop and fermented grapes. pretty dang complex and odd.

flavor: This is an extremely tart raspberry flavored belgian yeast effect at first, mildly sweet malt, sour apples and a light white-wine taste that takes a back seat to the dominant sour yeatieness.

Feel: Medium body, light and fluffy feel with a dry finish. goes down pretty smooth.

DA: not bad at 6% ABV.

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

See My prior review below review below. I was new to this style, and since then have realized this beer is fantastic. A perfect balance of sourness and malt. It truly grows on you. I now agree with many others who state this is a world class beer.

Purchased a bottle in QUebec. I was very excited to try this after the reviews on this site.

Smell - Yikes. Is this beer gone bad? Balsamic vinegar. Thats all i can smell. I'm not getting the same odor as many others describe.

Taste - Sour, very sour...Again, vinegar and funky. Some sweet red wine a tiny hint of malt. With each sip, i get used to the tartness, but its overpowering for sure. Interesting nonetheless.

Overall - I'm not as impressed as most are, perhaps i'm too new to the style.

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

On tap at Capone's- served in a 9 oz Brandy Snifter

A- Deep, dark, ruby-brown color. No head at all- a thin ring of lace only right up against the glass.

S- Wow! Sweet, yet....sour? Hint of tart vinegar, but not in a bad way. Slight hint of ripe cherry.

T- Good! Sweet, cherry, cassis.

M- Fizzy, medium body- but the tartness makes it feel on the lighter side.

D- Here is where I will not be at a loss for words. I enjoyed this ale with a piece of Reese's Peanut Butter cake (this was the last course)- and it was a perfect pairing. At the end of a night of sampling IPAs, DIPAs, and Belgian Dark Ales with appetizer foods (wings, poppers, nachos), this ale was the perfect match with dessert.

A suprising change of pace.

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

Enjoyed on Tap at Mikro in Hamden

Served in a Tulip

A: brownish-red with a dark head 1/2" head that recedes into nothing, not much lacing and no head retention

S: sour cherries, vinegar, touches of other fruit and funk....I like it, but not blown away.

T: cherries, tartness, sour with some funk, sweetness on the finish is not overbearing, this is a nice balance of acidity and vinegarness and fruity sweetness..impressive

M: light and smooth, pretty good for the flavor profile, I don't like these types of beers when they get super chewy.

D: really good for the style, I can see knocking off one of the 750 ml bottles in a night

I'm not as enraptured with this one as others I've talked to, but hey tastes are different right?

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

Red in color, very little head but creamy, with beautiful lacing. Smells pretty straightforwardly of sourness, like vinegar. I love the smell but know that many people would turn away. Mouth-puckering sourness with a superdry finish. Very acidic and dry. Boy that's good, and a great apertif. In my opinion, the most sour of the sour Flemish beers.

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Photo of rawthar
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Dark cola brown with some burnt red tones where the light meanders through, some dusty grey head that simmers down to a nice film with a respectable collar.

S- Vinegar and prunes, intensely sour and intensely sharp.

T- Balsamic vinegar is the major player, extremely tart and sour, refreshing. Dark dried fruits behind the wall of vinegar. An intense beer for the hearty, and as thirst-quenching as unsweetened lemonade.

M- Light, thin, kind of watery. Stings the hell out of the mouth (in a good way) but that is more a function of the flavor than the feel.

D- Rating drinkability to this style is almost an oxymoron, and while this would be very difficult to session, its a great drink for the right time.

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

Pours a leather red brown with mauve highlights and no head to speak of. Nose is fruit, funky barrel and earthy spice - like mulled wine or Balsamic vinegar. Bright unripe pear and white grape up front, with a sour burst of mustiness in the middle and maybe a hint of nettle tea hops. Surprising hint of chocolate-covered cherry at the end. Vanilla as it warms. Light, clean, dry with a bit of burn.

Not so much my thing, but *way* complex.

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Photo of Fish113d
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into my tulip glass at room temperature, it left a 1/4" head w/ some sediment floating. Cranberry in color w/ definite clinging lacy head on the sides of my glass. To me it smelled much like a red wine would smell with some vinegar undertones. However, some vanilla and grapes come through as well and even a slight scent of sandlewood (barrels).

The taste is a tart cranberry-chocolate malt (mostly cran), w/ soem oak wood flavors but not really dry (maybe like a Merlot Wine) w/ a mild aftertaste. The feel is a tart and bitey feel w/ tickling carbonation and a mild aftertaste. This was a "new" beer for me to try, so i was quite suprised and interested in this style now.

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Photo of spdyfire83
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

303rd Review
33cl bottle poured into Westy 12 chalice

A: Burgundy. ½ (mocha) fingernail head on brisk pour.

S: Candied brown sugar, vanilla, vinegar, and touch of caramel.

T: Sweet red fruit, soft caramel, and rounded tartness. Very enjoyable.

M: Medium body with soft carbonation.

O: I've never enjoyed a capped bottle of the Grand Cru previously (only draft and C&C bottles), but this was quite good. Very young and "fresh" for a Rodenbach, but quite tasty nonetheless.

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

Poured on tap at Boston's Bistro 9/20/07 into a fluted Belgian glass (la fin du monde).

Appearance- Beer pours a deep dark red with a decent head. The head is an off pink that dissipates quickly.

Smell- Lots of cherries and raspberries with a hint of vinegar.

Taste- They may call this a grand cru, but I insist that this is a Kreik. Strong cherry with raspberry sourness. a nice kick of tartness in the finish.

Mouthfeel- Sticky and thick. I would like this over ice cream. An excellent dessert beer.

Drinkability- Very nice for a beer with this level of sweetness. Back to back I noticed very little difference between this and the regular Rodenbach.

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Photo of tiger88
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

My first Flanders Ale...
Pours a reddish brown in the glass that creates a nice, fluffy white head. The head slowly goes away to leave light lacing on the glass. Smells sweet and fruity but I can;t place the fruit immediately. The taste is very distinct and very sour upon first touch. The sour gives way nicely to a sweet almost wine taste as it rolls back on the tongue. It as a very light and crisp mouthfeel that goes down smothly. I would not be able to drink more than one, but that;s just my opinion. As I become better versed in this style, that may change.

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Photo of Jonada
4.07/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. Best before October 22nd 2016. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a dark red brown color with a finger of a light tan head which settles into a thin cap and thick collar and leaves some spotty lacing. Body is very murky (nearly opaque).

Smell: Acidic sour notes, stone fruit, sour cherry, balsamic vinegar, dark bread .

Taste: Green apple, red grape, light oakiness, slight breadiness and a faint red berry character. Sourness is on the lower end of medium.

Mouthfeel: Light/medium bodied with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Really well balanced and complex. This is a such a unique style and this is a great example of it. This one is a classic for a reason.

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

33cl, best by 3/8/12, purchased in Belgium.

Pours a deep, opaque brown with plum highlights. The beige head is compact and laces well. Retention is average.

Aroma is fantastic, with a big sour component, sharp woodiness and an interestingly leathery character.

The flavor is very lactic-tart with a long, fruity finish. This stuff is pretty damn sour actually. There are notes of molasses, oak, leather, and dark fruits. The mouthfeel is smooth, with lightly prickly carbonation, but the beer lost it very quickly.

If you like sours, Rodenbach Grand Cru is a very enjoyable beer.

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Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
4.26 out of 5 based on 3,964 ratings.
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