Rodenbach Grand Cru | Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

1,135 Reviews
Rodenbach Grand CruRodenbach Grand Cru

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-25-2000

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Reviews: 1,135 | Ratings: 3,989
Photo of drtth
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best by date 28 Jan. 2017

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a clear but dark cherry wood color with a 1/2" light tan head that soon recedes to a thin layer of bubbles over the nucleation point and a small ring around the interior of the glass and leaving no lacing on the sides. Sipping creates a couple of arches of lacing with lots of scattered small patches that mostly slide gradually back down to the liquid.

The aromas include some dark tart cherries, some other dark fruit against a light gentle background of red wine vinegar and woodiness.

The flavors include both some sweetness and tartness at the same time. The dark cherry tartness also includes a bit of tannin from the oak as well as some light vanilla character. The fruit flavors include those tart dark cherries and something that seems a lot like tart green apple.

The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium bodied with just a hint of fizzy creaminess from the light but persistent carbonation. The finish is fairly long and has most of flavors around until the dry finish. First the tartness, the wine vinegar and sweetness recede into the back of the palate letting the vanilla move forward and then to the back of the palate. Eventually all flavors fade a way leaving a long dry ending in which the vanilla and oak show up briefly before also disappearing.

Overall I'd say this is a very well made beer and I'll be looking forward to having another. That said, it is also definitely a sipping beer and a single 330 ml bottle is more than enough for one evening. If I had to use a single word for this beer, it would be complex. There is a dynamic interplay of flavors that come and go on centerstage with the others still playing a supporting role so that none of them steal the show.

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Photo of irrevjim
4.33/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

from a bottle to a large red wine glass
look; different shades of upscale wooden furniture. walnut on the outside fading quickly from cherry to mahogany, spotty lacing
smell; cherry brandy, a little oak and vanilla, tiny funk
taste; bright tart cherry, very sour, crisp and yummy
feel; moderate carbonation, a little more than necessary, smooth, medium light
overall; a good example of a magnificent style, which is something.

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Photo of Extol
4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - dark in color, brown with a slight dark purple hue. Smell - smells of cherries for sure, slightly boozy. Taste - tart on the back end. Very well blended, mostly cherry in flavor, borderline Lambic territory. Overall - good beer. Good dinner beer. Just good all around. Mouth feel is a bit flat.

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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 mschrei
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Cloudy tannish red with a very healthy head when poured. Good carb, slight lacing. A fruity, floral barrel smell. Taste/feeling is sharp bubbly and tangy. It's tart, mildly boozy, and very mouth watering. Very good beer.

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Photo of SFNC
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beer number 500 on BA. I figured I'd tackle a revered classic. Here goes.

L; Muddy, reddish brown with a one finger head after a vigorous pour. Pretty opaque.
S; Vinegar, sweet cherries, must. Distinctive, if not truly inviting.
T; Sour up front, balsamic vinegar, then oak, then sour cherries. Rich, tart and satisfying.
F; Light of body, with light carbonation. Medium to dry finish.
O; A great beer to slowly enjoy, Rodenbach Grand Cru has earned it's status as a classic beer.

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Photo of janubio
4.69/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a brown reddish colour, with a small head that fades soon. Great lace. Aroma of cherries, wood is very present, vinegar, leather, funky notes. Medium body, good carbonation, acid thick palate. Taste is very sour, with cherries, plums, wood, sherry, brandy. Great.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours reddish brown with a one finger off white head. Light amount of sticky lacing.

S - Aroma is tart cherries, vinegar and oak.

T - The flavor starts off tart cherries, plums, red wine vinegar and green apple skins. The tartness fades into some sweet cherries and brown sugar.

M - Light bodied with medium carbonation. Nice crisp mouthfeel with a smooth dry finish.

O - This is the gold standard for Flanders Red Ales. The balance of tart and sweet is perfect.

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Photo of andy712
4.68/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

While sucking down my usual summer brew (citrusy IPA) at the local tap house, I noticed this Belgian beer on tap that I had never heard of. I am not partial to lots of Belgian beer as I haven't developed an affinity for the pronounced yeast flavor in many, so I was a little wary. Man, am I glad I gave it a taste. So different than my usual, but so good. It pours an intriguing red, brown and opaque, with just enough head. A deep, rich cherry smell predominates. The mouth feel is great, and the taste even better. Very nicely balanced and thankfully not too sweet, with a fairly clean finish. This is easily the best of the sour beers I have tried. The pub has this on tap, but I also found a couple bottles there to take home for further evaluation.

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Photo of ordybill
4.78/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a tulip glass. The appearance is a dark ruby red with a small white head. The aroma is heavy on cherry and has a sour take on the smell. The taste is very sour and has a very good cherry flavor. A really great beer.

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Photo of mynie
5/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a beautiful beer. A ceremonial beer. The fact that I have never reviewed means that I have probably never drank it, and that is a gigantic goddamn omission on my behalf.

Because this is one of the most important beers ever, so far as the American understanding of Belgians is concerned. It was the crown jewel of Michael Jackson's "Burgundies of Belgium" _Beerhunter_ episode. The hype from Jackson and other beer writers led to this being maybe the first somewhat-readily available sour beer the United States had ever seen, and that relative ubiquity is why, in 2016, I can still buy an imported bottle for under 10 dollars.

Just--try to imagine what this was like in the early 1990s, even to a very adventurous and informed beer drinker. The Alstrom Bros review, from 2001, makes surprised mention of how the epic fruitiness of the beer doesn't come from any actual fruit, but from the interplay of various strains of microbes. When did American brewers started doing sours en masse? 2011? I can't find any info regarding a release date, but Jackson was writing about Rodenbach's Grand Cru at least as far back as 1977.

Pours very juicy looking with a pink head. Smells fruity, with vinegar-ish nodes that might be offputting to pampered newcomers. Not nearly as tart or acidic as its lesser counterparts, with subtle variegation and fruit greatly outweighing any other nodes.

Tastes perfect. Not "perfect" in the context of this being old and therefore off nodes become more easy to overlook. "Perfect" in that it's one of the best tasting beers I've ever had.

Starts with a little bit of sharp acid, which the oaks smooths out very quickly into a jubilee of cherries, raspberries, and grapes. It ends with measured sweetness, the tart beginning nothing more than a memory. That, my friends, is how you make a sour beer, with the sourness acting as a ballast point, not persisting throughout as some sort of sick challenge.

This is, far and away, the fruitiest non-fruit beer I've ever had. The nuance and complexity is nothing short of art. Perfect. Absolutely perfect.

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Photo of professorchow
4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Rich complex smell, even more complex taste, both tart and sweet, with notes of cherries, plums, maybe even raisins. It's neither harsh nor wimpy--just subtle, nuanced, really well balanced. Best Flemish red/brown I've had.

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Photo of Malt_Man
4.38/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served cool from 330ml bottle into tulip glass.

L) Reddish-brown colour, opaque, 1cm off-white bubbly head. Small bubbles visible.

S) Red wine and sour tones dominate. Also reminiscent of cider.

T) The sourness is really spot on, not too much but sharp enough to make the mouth water. Red grape flavours. A bit of apple peel maybe. Just a hint of bitterness on the aftertaste.

F) Very easy drinking, with mild carbonation. Goes down way to easy for a 6% beer. No bitterness on the aftertaste, it just calls for another mouthful.

O) Superb sour beer, the best I have tried so far. Will try to get it again some time.

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Photo of Carl_Brisson
4.94/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This has recently replaced La Fin du Monde as my go to. Excellent all around. Anyone who has an affinity for sour ales owes themselves a glass of this.

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Photo of Mateo2699
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pour is a very deep red, close to brown hue. Off white colored head that settles to a ring, nice retention on the glass. Subtle aroma of cherries and plums. Oak is in the foreground, undertones of funk and hints of Belgian yeast. Taste follows nose well, sour cherries initially back door with some leathery funk, and some hints of vinager and red wine. Mouthfeel is medium carbonated, not overly acidic.

Overall, a well balanced not overly complex beer. Wish the flavors stuck around in the palate longer, or more elements to just sour cherries and red wine, but gets the job done.

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Photo of hman43
4.43/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: It pours a reddish brown with a tan head. The head retention is rather decent. The head is frothy.

Smell: It has aromas of cherries, plums and moderate sourness.

Taste: It has tastes that is intensely fruity and sour with cherry, and plums. There is some spiciness to it.

Feel: It has a medium feel with medium carbonation.

Overall this is a highly fruity, sour beer.

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Photo of FBarber
4.45/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark reddish brown - mostly opaque but not hazy. Thin tan head dissipates slowly leaving a thin tan film on the beer.

Smell has aromas of tart cherries, berries strong oaken aromas with undertones of vinegar, funk, slight brown sugar.

Taste ... wow, ok, this is awesome. Sour tart cherries are the predominant flavors initially, with some underlying tart funk. Some slight red wine vinegar notes are noted with a tart apple flavor as well balanced with a slightly salty flavor. Slight oaken flavors peak through albeit not strongly. Dry finish almost tannin like in nature.

Feel has medium carbonation. Dry tannin like notes with a dry finish. The tartness is refreshing.

This beer alone turned me on to Flanders Red Ale - if it weren't for this one, I would never drink one. Its so well done and so flavorful.

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Photo of DaverCS
4.67/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a murky red color with brown undertones. Fizzy carbonation with ½ inch of off-white head that dissipates like soda.

Aroma yields a predominate amount of oak, a bit of leather, sour cherries, a bit of funk, tartness, dehydrated dark fruits, and an underlying roasted sugar-like sweetness.

Taste is really pleasant! High carbonation level with a medium body creates an incredibly refreshing beer. The flavor doesn’t match how easy drinking this beer is though—its super complex! A prevalent sweetness underlies this beer, which combats any extreme overtaking of tartness. Sure the beer is sour with some vinegar notes as it warms, but it is not cloying by any means. Flavor is definitely of berries, but it alternates between tart raspberries/cherries to that of more dark fruits that have been dehydrated and thus concentrated/sweetened. I get oak and a noticeable red wine character. The finish is a bit funky with some leather notes as well.

Overall, this is an excellent beer. I see this being a great convert beer for just about anyone — especially red wine drinkers. I see this pairing well with something rather plain, as to not overtake this beer’s subtleties. I see something like a beet and goat cheese salad lightly dressed in a red wine vinaigrette working well. It gets a 93.5/100.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

ABV: 6% Best before October 14, 2017.
Bought from Belgian Happiness. Poured in a glass from Orrefors, Sweden.

Clear, dark mahogany colored. Beige head.

Nose: Red berries, sour cherry, some caramel and oak.
Taste: Oh! This is so good! Tart, vinegar, oak and ripe apples.
Mouth: Medium carbonation. Medium body. Dry ending.

Great beer!

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Photo of Ale_Lover
4.75/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Rodenbach Grand Cru is one of my favorites.

Dark mahogany and thin brown head with good retention. Sour cherry comes through nicely and light oak aroma. Biscuit undertones with a semi dry finish . Carbonation is spot on which helps bring out the sour.

Very refreshing tart feel. Wonderful flavors are balanced that keeps you coming back for more.

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Photo of AaEsk
1.18/5  rDev -72.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Well, my 1st time here thus my first post. I've been very excited to try a Sour Ale so stopping at the local BEV-MO, the very well informed associate directed me to Rodenbach Grand Cru as THE standard to compare all other sour ales to. I happily accepted his suggestion and made my purchase, exciteldy hurrying home to chill this little $10 baby. Well, maybe it's from my recent love affair with IPAs but my experience with this piss was (and still is) horrible. I am sitting here with a half full glass and building up the courage to for my next drink which may very well turn into a series of quaffs since I still have the other half of the bottle to finish and not really sure how I will do that. Maybe a bit o' the sweet leaf would help change my perspective but geez, I fully understand acquired tastes. I eat just every cuisine and adore great bourbons and great beers but this is not a beer. At least not what I've come to love and enjoy. I am very happy to have experienced to sour ale but this will certainly be my very last meeting with something that looks like Newcastle, heads like a Sam Adams but smells like nothing more than a bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar (which I will drink from time to time but I expect it to taste like shit). I am HUGELY apologetic for offending you lovers of this version of "drink" and I respect the efforts that went behind this labor of love but count me out. Sierra Nevada Torpedo or Hop Oil here I come! Peace out MFR's! (I hope this was constructive?)

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Photo of delta490
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with a nice cap of light tan head. Great retention and small tight lacing that is slightly soapy. The aroma and taste are definitely sour but it was not overpowering to me as they tend to me. It is lighter bodied and smooth.

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Photo of citizencane
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Disclaimer: I don't usually like sours. That said, this is a good sipper. Dark reddish brown color. Tart raisin with a hint of cranberry up front, with woody cranberry lingering. Smooth and crisp mouthfeel. Like and would definitely drink again.

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Photo of woemad
4.28/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry’s in Spokane for $3.99. According to the label, this is best before March 23, 2017.

Poured into a Chimay goblet, this was a dark brown looking beer until held up to light, when it took on a clear, dark rubyish look. Minimal, beige-colored head.

The aroma is about what I expected. A bit like a raspberry vinaigrette, with a minimal, oaky aroma from the oak aging.

Tart, fruity, vinegary flavor, much like in the taste. I don’t get much from the oak aging beyond a light aftertaste. Finishes dry.

Fairly light bodied, with a somewhat creamy mouthfeel. I feel like the carbonation might have been a little low.

Quite yummy tasting. This is up there with the Duchesse in terms of flavor, and just falls short with the carbonation. I would drink this again.

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Photo of NilocRellim
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear garnet color. Smells like a raspberry vinagrette; sour tart and fruity but light overall, and a little woody. Nice carbonation, tart and fruity, sweet but lighter bodied than expected. Well balanced and rounded flavors. Tart dark cherry and a woody oakiness. Hints of lingering fruit but relatively clean finish.

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Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
4.26 out of 5 based on 3,989 ratings.
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