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Rodenbach Grand Cru | Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

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1,125 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: 1,125 | Ratings: 3,925
Photo of TMoney2591
4.06/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Duvel tulip glass.

Things are just as burgundy here as in Classic world, though a touch darker and a whole degree of magnitude more brackish. The khaki cap is now more baseball than beret, ‘cause it has to appeal to a wider audience, and who doesn’t love America’s pastime, eh? No one, that’s who!

Whatever subtlety lived in the classic nose is mostly gone here, replaced by an even sharper contingent of berries, the elite sniper brigade of the bush/bog/wherever the hell else berries happen to come from. Luckily for the sanity of the nose hairs, these sumbitches are constantly hounded (and likely annoyed) by a loudmouthed, yappy little toffee bastard. Now the berries know how Spike felt all those years ago with that pest Chester always tagging along, makin’ a comedic mess o’ things for the big lug. The traces of red wine on the edges are more blatant now, in the vein of a rich, earthy Pinot Noir. A short field of dark ivy crawls beneath it all, ensuring the tartness and the sweetness don’t battle in a vacuum, that it’s not just a young buck taking on a crowd of comers one at a time (I’m lookin’ at you, any extra that’s ever been in an action movie before). Finally, swinging along the edge of the canopy with the last vestiges of the wine is a twinge of apple vinegar, young, lithe, and carefree, but still with a chip on its shoulder. Be wary of this little fireball, as it probably won’t take much to set it off in an adolescent rage. I blame the parents. It’s always the parents. Usually. Sometimes.

Similar layers stratify themselves atop the tongue. First comes a basal sediment of sweet, buttery toffee. On top of this rolls a tide of berry-laced wine, this time verging closer to a Malbec. Then comes a thin-ish wash and veneer of straight white vinegar, quick and effervescent as a misty ninja, yet effective as the blade of a veteran samurai. Once this silent wind of puckering doom whooshes away, the wine and toffee helically battle through the air, a Torch and Sub-Mariner for these Modern Age times (clearly I’m not counting their appearance in Marvels as anything new, more a rerun of the past in stunning Alex Ross HD). Depending on the curvature of your tongue at the right instant, you may be left with a dry, tannic scar or a mildly-nutty sweetness. Either way, the feeling doesn’t last long, but a crater is indeed left behind, laden with remnants of everything that once dwelt on that craggy little asteroid. Shit, geologists are gonna have field days for years to come with this nonsense.

As hearty as everything comes and as thoroughly as things express themselves, there is a very bearable lightness in their collective being. An evanescence somehow pervades, even in spite of the lack of that dark beauty, Amy Lee. Dammit, this shit just turns out to be so drinkable because of this. There are worse burdens, I s’pose.

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Photo of cokes
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've had this bottle for quite some time. I'm not sure when it was produced, but the bottom has a best before date of: 09 08 07.

Pours a shimmering and lightly hazy auburn-brown body with a firm rise of tan suds.
The nose is heavy on balsamic vinegar, and backed with oak, old sneakers, mentholated cherry coughdrops, and mildew.
It begins with lightly sugared brown raisin fruitiness, as it morphs towards cherry, and then begins an exponentially sour descent. From this sour cherry, it turns towards cider. From the cider, it turns towards lime juice. From lime juice, it becomes a well aged balsamic vinegar with the requisite oaky nuances. It stay bracingly tart as it hits the back of the mouth and explodes into splinters of cinnamon.
The tartness is generally autocratic, but some funkier yeast flourishes pop up from time to time, mostly via pungent cheese and wet basement impressions.
It carries a medium body, with a small amount of sweettart tackiness, but a fluffy carbonation keeps it from gumming up too much.
In some ways, the tartness makes this a bit of a one trick pony. It's not refreshing like a gueuze; more like liquid heartburn.
That said, this still has plenty of charm, and I like it quite a bit more than their Classic.

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Photo of jsanford
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Distillery in Savannah, GA. I was surprised to see this on tap, it was quite an unexpected treat.

A - Dark, cola-brown with reddish tints and a wispy rose-colored head. Solid retention, looks very inviting.
S - Quite sour smelling. Red wine vinegar dominates with a bit of tart cherry, sweet-smelling hay and oak.
T - Again, I'm getting a ton of pleasantly sour red wine vinegar. Some sweet malt and dark cherry balances the tart a bit, while the straw and oak help smooth the whole thing out. Quite tasty.
M - Thin-bodied with a slightly syrupy consistency. Carbonation is crisp and sharp.
D - Got a bit intense toward the end of the glass, so one should be good for me. Also, I need to pop a TUMS. Worth it though.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Southern Tier tulip-style glass. Stamp on the bottom of the bottle says 07/03/14 which I take to mean drink by March 7, 2014.

A- Pours a dark brown that's almost opaque with a 1/2 inch head that's very fizzy as it quickly gasses away to just a paper-thin ring around the edge of the glass and almost no surface foam. Below average lacing.

S- Smells of rotten cherries and sour red grapes. Oh boy. Here we go.

T- Immediate lashing of the tongue with dry, puckering sourness but what's this? A soaring rescue as the sweetness follows and gives the tartness a purpose. As more sips are taken, the palate becomes acclimated to the wildness and things become more enjoyable. The aroma is still kind of off-putting but can be overlooked. Notes of cherry, raspberry and blackberry.

M- Not as dry or acidic as other Flanders Reds can be. Still plenty of pucker but the body keeps things balanced. Low carbonation.

O- This could definitely be intense for someone who's not used to sour beers but IMO it's one of the better beers in its class. I'm still not a fan of the aroma, but it tastes great.

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Photo of geexploitation
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Wow. The Rodenbach Grand Cru is everything the regular Rodenbach is and more more more. Pours a bright ruby brown with a big head. Massive sour cherry nose with underlying vanilla notes. Taste is initally sweet, but upon starting to swallow the sourness takes over, and by "over" I mean "overpowering". Swig some of this and the sourness explodes in the back of the palate; even after swallowing, the sourness sticks around in the back of the throat. Mouthfeel is bright with that sour flavor. Drinkability, alas, is pretty low. The sourness is just a bit too much for me (and I like the regular Rodenbach, this is just dialed up so much), which reduces the drinkability.

Perhaps this could be excellent with the proper food pairing, and served in a smaller vessel (I'm working on 2/3 of a 750 at this point). Lots of extra points for rather rare flavors to encounter in a beer. Overall this is a great beer that I can appreciate but not, perhaps, love.

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Photo of mmapes
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Had a bottle earlier in the day that was fresh. Reviewing a roughly five year old bottle from Beer Mania.

Poured into wine glasses. Head was there briefly but dissipated quickly. Color is cola-reddish-brown.

Smell is sour up front, carmel, maybe a hint of slight vinegar... we hope it's okay. I think the fresh bottle earlier had a more appealing scent -- the sour note seemed more fruity.

Very interesting first sip: Sweet, a little sour, very complex. Some cherry up front, but quickly turns less fruity than the fresh bottle earlier had been. The age makes it smoother than the fresh bottle. The sour component is preceded by a dark brown sugary malt that is quite sweet, and just the right offset for the sour. The long finish makes it easy to sip. I'm not the biggest fan of sour beers, but this is delicious.

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Photo of beersabound
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

When we first opened this one it had a strong vinegar aroma and flavor. This was beyond sour and unpleasant. However, after it warmed up, the vinegar subisided substantially allowng the fruity tones and sourness to come through. This beer has a hazy amber hue with a fizzy head that forms nicely and then snap, crackle, pops away. The aroma is predominantly sour with cherry and other fruits. The mouthfeel is puckering, quite lively and dries the mouth. the carbonation is high and it has a little body. Good Sour! Let it warm before you dive in.

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Photo of mltobin
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at The Half Door in Hartford, CT.
Poured into a goblit, the appearance is a light red color with a one finger head. The smell is tart, cherry, faint sugar. With a taste sour like the normal Rodenbach, but the Grand Cru to me seemed not to be as sour, but still interesting to say the least. With a tart, sweet taste, but not overpowering in my humble opinion. Mouthfeel is full and flavorful like most Flanders. Drinkability is pretty good for such an interesting and unique beer. Not a beer for someone who has only been exposed to bud light. But if you have tried some other styles and wish to expand your palate, start with the regular Rodenbach and then try this Rodenbach Grand Cru, it is worth your efforts.

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Photo of davesway10
4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So this is the first time I've had this style of beer. Words such as "sour" usually send me packing. That said, I really enjoyed this beer. Nice Hazy brown, a little red, with a tan head the quickly recedes. Taste has some nice tart fruitiness to it, I get the apples more than the cherry that others have noticed, and thats fine. My palate isn't as "refined", one day though. Anyway, this wont be a regular staple for me but I'll certainly pick it up again, and look forward to trying others of the style.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Another brew split with fish113d. Big thanks to Manekineko for the hookup!
I am sampling @ room temp in a tulip glass. the beer pours a clear cranberry color with minimal off white head that fades to an edge layer quickly. Aroma is tart, sour cherries, merlot wine, and some light oak scents mixed with a bit of vanilla. The first sip reveals a lighter body and fine yet prickly carbonation.
Flavor is as advertised by the nose, tart and sour cherries mix with a hint of oak but mostly puckering sour. I dig it!
the finish is very light with a lingering tartness and wine flavors in the burp. QUite an experience, I really enjoy this style.

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Photo of cookedw
4.04/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I was shocked to discover that Jupiter (Berkeley) had this beer on tap, but then I remembered they were doing a sour special for beer week.

A - This is a gorgeous looking beer, a beautiful deep red.

S - Very red wine in character from the oak+fruit notes, a little vinegary but not a ton. Not really very aromatic, honestly.

T - Immediately, I tasted cranberry and sour cherries, and then this subsided into grapes. This beer is not particularly sour, which I appreciate, but it was almost too fruity. As the flavor accumulated on my tongue over time, I tasted a lingering tobacco-like note.

M - Lightly carbonated, this was pleasurable, with enough robustness to let the flavors linger and enough pucker to make the mouth water without blistering it.

D - As far as the style goes, it's really light and not super sour, so I consider it pretty drinkable.

O - This beer is good, but I kept on wanting something more from it. Maybe 'cause it's relatively low in alcohol content and so fruit-centric, I just didn't really yearn for each sip. I'm glad I had it, and it was tasty, but this is not one for the "absolutely seek out", IMO.

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

25.4oz bottle, Boulevard tulip, "27/05/13" on bottom of bottle.

The pop of the cork was not so big, but the beer looks wonderful. The cork is definitely shorter than normal. A deep tawny head forms at a measured pace on a minimally chill-hazed brown-red, burgundy body that is just restricting light through its center. Minimal lacing occurs, but it's has a beautiful bit of foam.

My brother immediately channelled red wine upon smelling Grand Cru, and it's a valid point of reference. Woody, even oaky vanilla overtones show on mild acid. I'm reminded of sherry more than red wine and sherry vinegar at that.

Oak aging has had a large impact here; this is primarily a melange of oak's vanilla and tannic qualities and sour berries. Not much acid, a pleasant tartness suggesting some berry ciders and tart plums.

Carbonation is in a very comfortable sweet spot, distributing flavor, allowing the tannin's full impact. They're mouth coating but not overwhelming.

I haven't found this as sour as some sources make it sound. This is a good beer and seems perfect for a sort of warm up to the Russian River sours I've got in the fridge. I put put it around Duchesse's level, very good but possibly just below, as a possible introductory red sour ale.

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

This sets the bar very high with a near sculpturesque body. The head is tight, thick and resembles a cream like froth. The color is a deep ruby with highlights of mahogany at the edge.

The scent is sour with a sweet cheery tartness, some dried fruit lingers at the back.

The cherry tartness stands out on the tongue. I'm catching some date and prune but the sour washes it away. Dry malts also make an appearance but for the most part the cherry really rides on through.

The feel is very dry and smooth. The carbonation is not too noticeable but it still has a sprite air to it.

This is very good, very tasty, and nice all around. My only complaint is that it seems to be holding out the real strength that lies within.

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

Redish golden-brown in color. The sharp aroma of apple cider vinegar leaps up into the nostrils upon sniffing this beer. You might normally consider "vinegar" to be a flaw in a beer's character, but in this context I rather like it. The nose continues tart and fruity with a flash of coconut cream.

On the palate this beer is SOUR! Incredibly so-- it's sour before you taste it, during, and after! Wow. There is a brief window of opportunity to explore sour tart citrus fruit and then the overriding tartness reenters the fore. Sharply sour on the finish, all the way down into the throat. Mouthpuckering.

This beer is, at least by my experience, completely unique. Certainly worth seeking out.

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

A - Pours a dark brown, looks like a quad nearly. The two finger head doesn't stick around for long.

S - I can smell sour notes right as I pour it. But that's all I smell, just sour. Little disappointed on the nose factor of this one. As I let it warm up, I'm getting more wood'ish notes. As it warms the sour wears a bit, and gains a bit of complexity.

T - Hey, that's pretty good. This isn't as good as previous ones I've had. I was blown away by the first one of these I had. This one might be light struck or something. The taste is good, but not amazing. I'm going to let this warm up for a few minutes and see what happens.

M - Pretty solid on this count.

D - Feels pretty darn good, but leaves the mouth a bit dry, that's my only compaint.

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Photo of OnThenIn
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Beautiful beer with a slightly off white head that was tiny and died down quickly. The beer was a magnificent dark ruby color with some amber hues.

Smell: This is one pungent beer. It smells a bit like apple vinegar with some cherry elements and a bit of backing sweetness.

Taste: A sour cider with a massive sour taste which included a finish that just kept going. There was a sweet backing flavor and a tiny bit of oakyness. Cherry and a vinous character were clearly present. It is complex as all get out.

Mouthfeel: The sourness is so strong that there is an carbonation like prickle, which goes fantastically with the lighter, thinner body.

Drinkability: The thin body and huge complexity would be a wonderful combination leading to a massively drinkable beer, but the super sourness makes it a serious sipper. It was rather enjoyable and a good introduction to sours.

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

Pours a deep red with little head. Very interesting looking.

More interesting to taste and smell however. One whiff tells you this is going to be sour and one taste blows you away. I was not sure that this was how it was supposed to taste until I read some of the reviews here but this is by multiples the most sour beer I have ever had. The cherry like sour taste grabs hold of your tounge and does not let go. Right amount of carbonation for this type of beer makes it easier to drink than one might think. I'm not sure I could drink this on a regular basis but it is one hell of an interesting beer.

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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 tavernjef
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Beautifully bold and shiny dark brown color with a fine, bright ruby glow within and around the edges when strongly back lit. Much like if it were an interchangeable stage light. Starchy topping of parchment paper colored foam builds up gracefully after the pour to about a finger high and slowly fades to a light skim and a few light specks and strings of lacing.

Aroma is sweet and mostly sour with vineous grapes and cherry vinegar and a whole lot of earthly woodish notes that are very high ended and nose hair pullingly sour.

Taste is a towering inferno of souring stuff that is quite complex and uniquely snappy on the palate. Instant tongue cleansing and cheek parching with super sweet, tart cherries, souring vinegar, and vineous quailties that scream dry wine. Lots of superb surroundings to earth, wood, and leaves. Dare I say raisin seems to drift around with some currant skins and a bit of plum too. The texture of sourness is incredibly complex. Acidicly sublime and balanced with just enough sweet to help keep it a bit more in check then it probably could be. The oak aging has done wonders here with all sorts of unique notes that remind me of being in a deeply wooded forest on a hot day as the heat rises from the forest floor and sifts through the thick tree foilage. Wonderful in that regards.

Mouthfeel is like a swig of vinegar balanced with souring fruits and sweetened fruity malt. Crisp, tangy, full on oaky tinged heat and character, vineous dryness, and tones of well-handled sour is the beast of each sip. If sour patch candies were oak aged and pulled from the ground this would be the liquid form of that.

Now as much as I enjoy these types of beers, I have always had a tremendously hard time drinking them with any ease. The sourness is beyond me and my capacity to handle them like a pro Lambic drinker is not something I can keep up with. So on that note I unfortunately have a hard time attributing a nubmer to the drinkability of such a beer. So since this took me a very, very long time to finish, I guess its my average? Damn good stuff though.

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

This is good lookin' stuff even before you pour. The stuff in the bottle is prettier than the container.
The scent is striking; what one would expect for a flanders red ale. Sharp, sour fermented fruit smells.
Raspberry vinegrette? Tangy and tart to say the least. Reminds one a bit of sour patch kids candy or some such. A hint of soy sauce lives in the flavor but I definately get berries on the palate.
This seems pretty spot on for the style though my experience with it is limited. Certainly not for everyone; it's pretty much a love it or hate it flavor profile.

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

Translucent ruby brown, tiny bubbled head, persistant ring and some lacing. Gobs of carbonation. The smell has a little aspirinish odor connoting a sour taste is coming. There is also a malty aroma, albeit twisted by the sourness. Tart starts it all off, but never puckering. The malt base washes through in the middle. Balance is not bad at all. Mouthfeel is thin to medium with a light body and carbonic finish. There are lots of bubbles in this one, plenty of sour burps. Not overpowering, actually pleasant for a Flanders and paired very well with grilled porkchops. Spouse really liked it, too, a first for a sour brew.

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

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Brand flute glass. Pours a deep dark amber with a generous inch of off white, fluffy head. Aromas of sour cherries are most apparent followed by spicy yeast. Tastes of tart and sour dried fruits such as plum, prune, and cherry. The sourness lasts through the dry finish and then some. medium body and moderate carbonation. I did not think I would like this after my first few sips, but as I made my way to the bottom of the bottle, it sure did grow on me. Very well made.

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

Pours a dark ruby red with brownish highlights. Very small cap of head tops the beer. Smell is musty and vinegary. Smells of a German Cherry Vinegar i used once. Taste is similar, sour cherries, wine vinegar, pucker the cheeks. A note of horsey funkiness also creeps into the taste. Mouthfeel is nice, low carbonation. No real hops to speak of which probably wouldnt be to style any how. A nice beer with dinner or a salad. Definately not a session beer, but one that I would definately pick up again.

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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 Evil_Pidde
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours clear ruby red with a medium-large off-white creamy head. Dissipation is slow and leaves rich lacings.

S: Oak, a bit sour and some cherries. Dry, some malt, dark syrup, bready. Faint bitterness.

T: Cherries and brett. Sour. Rich cherryflavour. Well balanced and well matured. Oranges.

M: Long sour bitter aftertaste. Body is medium and carbonation is very mild.

O: Nice sour Flanders red.

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Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
4.26 out of 5 based on 3,925 ratings.
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