Rodenbach Grand Cru | Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

1,134 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: 1,134 | Ratings: 3,974
Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.64/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: There was some off-gas when popping the top, but the beer pours mostly still with a small ring of foam on top. This beer is mostly clear with a reddish brown tint. There are only a few bubbles rising, but the head was never really there to maintain.

Aroma: My first impression is of a little bit of sweetness and a defined dark cherry presence. I get a little bit of dry woody aromatics that contribute to the impression of sourness to the beer. It obviously has a wild character. As it warms, the complexity of the aroma gets more intense and seems to accentuate the sweetness giving it a mild caramel-like quality.

Taste: The beer comes across the palate as being pretty dry and clean. It is obviously well attenuated and the sweetness that you pick up in the nose is just an impression that is left from the wild yeast. The flavor tells a different story than the aroma did, but the cherry notes stand strong the entire time. There is a strong malty backbone that this beer once stood upon, but the yeast took care of that and left some dryness in their wake...however you can still taste that depth in the flavor. I don't get any strong hops or anything, and the wild yeast character lend as much to the balance as anything.

Opinion: I am really enjoying this beer and again, it makes me wonder why in the heck we can't get beer like this in Texas. I really enjoy the depth of flavor in this beer and ones similar (like the Duchesse), but for some reason "Texans don't get it". A beer like this is one that you will either love or hate depending on your preference, but I really enjoy them. I would most certainly drink this beer again and would do so regularly if it were available in my area. As it is, I got a four pack (now three pack) in Florida to sit on an enjoy on special occasions. I would definitely recommend this beer to try and see if your palate is agreeable to it or not.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.32/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Many many thank to Patrick for getting this one for me. $3.59/11.2 oz bottle.6% ABV.

Pours out to a sparkingly clear deep garnet, forming a modest soapy yellow head with very good retention and decent lacing. Carbonation is moderate, which is mild compared to most other Belgians. This is good in my book. The aroma wafts immediately out of the bottle, hitting the nose with a sharp, biting super-fruity sourness. This reminds me of Duchesse but the oak is much more pronounced here. You can actually smell the vats. Overripe fruit, basement must, brand new tennis shoes, a touch of burnt rubber and magic marker, rotting cherries, oak and when swirled, fresh pipe tobacco and a hint of leather....a very complex and wonderful nose. Does this come in a cologne? The mouthfeel is very tart and puckering with a medium-light body and plenty of astringency in the finish. As it hits the tongue, it doesn't quite explode, but it has a very soft, almost meringue-like airy texture composed of very fine bubbles. The taste is a recap of the aroma...not as sweet as Duchesse and perhaps a bit more sour and dry...the tennis shoes and black markers don't quite make it into the flavor, but the other aromas do with the inclusion of concorde grapes and red cherries. The vats leave a nice woodsy finish. Towards the middle, there seems to be a brief tinge of metals. I don't know where this would be picked would think it would dissipate during the 18 months of aging.

A wonderful beer, however, I'm going to have to go with the Duchesse as far as pure drinkability and enjoyment goes. This is an amazingly complex and tasty beer worthy of it's reputation. I only wish that it was more full-bodied. Thank heavens I picked up a 4-pack!

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Photo of malcontent
4.44/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky red/brown leaving hardly any head in its wake. Uninspiring ring of lacing lingers behind.

Ah, there it is! Cherries, red wine vinegar and earth scents flood my nose. Soft berry and cola show up on subsequent sniffs. An exciting nose to say the least.

Tart cherry vinegar right up front with that great mouth-puckering effect on the finish from the oak. This is actually sweeter than the tap version and all sorts of milder, even buttery flavors are coming through with some mild spice and honey to name a few.

Mouthfeel tingles the tongue and yet maintains its smoothness. I'd once said I couldn't drink this all night but I'd love to try. Screw that. I'd totally drink this until I fell over. Love it, love it, love it.

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Photo of soupyman10
4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Got this one on-tap into the snifter. Actually had a friend order it who couldn't end up handling it, so I gave it a shot. Color is reddish-brown with a fairly small to medium amount of white head; looks alright, but nothing to write home about. Smell is biting, lots of cherries and grapes. Taste is remarkably strange; I've never anything remotely like it. It's mostly acidic; lots of sourness that really knocks you on your ass. There's also a good amount of cherry and grape, but not much in the way of hops. Other flavors in there as well (which other reviews hint might be oak). Again, body is medium overall, with fairly high carbonation (maybe a touch too high for me). It's a pretty good beer, and extremely unique; it's just not something I'd go out of my way to drink that often. So not bad, but not necessarily fantastic either.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.47/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle. Pours a reddish amber with a tinge of copper. Minimally hazy, low on carbonation resulting in only some soapy froth and not much head. The aroma is intense with notes of dominant sour cherry and light oak. Some of the fruit flavor gives hints of grape and strawberry also.

Dry, oaked tartness in the flavor, with some light smoke in the finish and a hint of cinnamon spice. The end is astringent with a juice like acidity. The cherry fruit is present, but not as bright as in the aroma. The body seems thin, and the carbonation is fine yet razor sharp on the tongue.

I didn't find this Flanders Red very appealing. The astringent finish was the major turn-off for me. Perhaps I should have paired it with a lemon-garnished dish as they suggest, because it wasn't that enjoyable by itself...

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Photo of atigerlife
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Rodenbach tulip.

Pours a deep amber with a 2 finger light brown head. Good head retention. Lots of carbonation seen rising. Quite impressive to look at.

Aroma has a wine/vinegar nose with dark fruits and oak rounding out the experience. Nice.

Taste is startling. Be prepared for a slap in the face! Dominating is the dark sour cherries. Some oak also is present. The strong sourness and some light sweetness have an interesting interplay. Some light spices in the background.

Mouthfeel was medium/light bodied, medium carbonation and a VERY dominant dry mouthfeel. This beer will leave you puckered.

Overall, the first few sips were not enjoyable but it defnitely grew on me the more I drank. Too bad I didn't have more. Beautiful to look at and the taste is an aquired one. Good for sipping. Very interesting.

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Photo of Cadyfatcat
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Moody red color with small brown head with lingering rather large bubbles.

Smells of blood orange, papaya, floor cleaner, sourness, nail polish.
Taste is very sour the entire way through, some red candy apple sweetness, burnt caramel notes. A little carrot, caramelized peppers, extreme key lime acidity and tartness. The flavor ending is hardly bitter like most beer; it’s a lip puckering sourness which retains a perfect amount of dryness.

Body is extremely light and fizzy, normally this would be a bad attribute but it goes wonderfully with the flavors in this beer. A great example of one of my favorite and most esoteric types of beer.

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Photo of plaztikjezuz
2.95/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

this grand cru pours a very deep copper, with some reddish hues, the head is very thin and beige.
the aroma is a mix of carmelized malt, some unidentified spice, some mangos, and some thing acidic.
the flavor is malty, fruity, acidic, light.
i guess i'm not much of a fan of this beer, i dont like the acid zing, and the body is a little to light for the aroma.

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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 Morris729
4.92/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark ruby-amber color with a tall foamy light tan head that settles into a heavy lace. Nose is sour cherries and vinous vanilla oak along with a bit of a berry sweetness—very nice. Taste begins with a sharp cherry tartness that makes your mouth pucker for a second before immediately craving more. A tangy black cherry and dark plum sourness follows along with a nice balance of cherry and apple sweetness. There are also some woody oak flavors along with notes of vanilla and grape skin tannins. Very complex and thoroughly enjoyable.

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

Appearance: Translucent reddish-brown with a light tan head. The head leaves a nice foam over the top of the beer.

Smell: Cherries and apple are the majority of smells. Some oaky grapes appear in the background.

Taste: Sharp almost sour apple tasting. Tart then take over your palette. The grapes and a little plum are present toward the end. Nice dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Like a nice champagne. Very well balanced.

Drinkability: RThis is a fruity and complex beer that is very crisp and refreshing to drink. I have another one aging now.

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Photo of drewbage
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle of the new version (2006) shipped fresh from Belgium. Best Before date of 10/3/2008

Pours a slightly hazy red red brown with a low, rapidly disappating white head. Lots of CO2 in this glass. More than I remember from the pre-Palm batches.

Aroma is of vinegar and sour cherry candy. Candy floss, fruit leather, christmas mulled drinks in a cold brew.

The flavor matches with a spritzy carbonic acid bite that breaks into a sweet raspy brown malty character that is wiped out of existence by a quickly rising acectic acid character.

Still a refreshing sweet tart beer, but even with the acidity this feels like a far cleaner and simpler beer than the older crazier more variable brews. Absolutely worth it, just a bit faded

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Photo of tboom29
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a deep red brown when poured. A lot of head at first, but it quickly subsides.

Lots of cherry and red fruits in the nose. Smells great.

Very crisp and has a dry, almost tanniny finish, which is probably from the oak. Tart cherry comes through, as well as other dark fruits and some of the oak as well. Medium mouthfeel, with a nice sharp bite throughout. Despite the bite, surpisingly smooth. Although I didn't do this, I would recommend eating with some cheese, as it can get a bit sweet. I'm not a huge fan of sour beers, but this was really great and would be great to sip in the summer.

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Photo of emerge077
4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Into a Liefman's tulip, the Grand Cru pours a deep scarlet tone, capped with several fingers of off-white foam. There's a good level of clarity in this one, without pouring the yeast sediment the first time around.

Smell is perfect, and one of my favorite aspects of Belgian farmhouse styles. The yeast has a distinct funky wildness about it. The aroma first conjures up a wet field in the late morning, as the sun starts to warm up the soil. Damp earth, overripe berries, and a ripened cheese note. A citric sharpness cuts through all the romantic notions, alluding to it's intensity.

Taste is citrusy tart at first, spritzy on the palate. Midway through, it has a rounder mouthfeel, with oak and sour berry lasting on the tongue. There is a Balsamic sweetness, but toned down and not vinegary. Aftertaste is a little dry, but balanced by the mouth-watering sweet/sour element.

I can finish a 750 in a sitting, but it's definitely one to pair with food (and share). The label recommends pairing with seafood or dishes with lemon garnish.

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Photo of xav33
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rodenbach Grand Cru
12 oz bottle
Medium pour in a tulip glass
Best before 04/08, crucified 01/07

Poured a ruddy brown with an average light brown somewhat lasting head that settles into a thin consistent layer due to good carbonation.

Smelt of strong sweet vinaigrette, and white grape juice, with moderate oak, pipe tobacco, cobwebs.

Taste was upfront strong sourness and moderate sweetness, like some concentrated white grape juice or biting into a fresh tart plum, followed by more strong sourness and moderate sweetness and a tinge of oak, roasted or smoky malt bitterness, and a comfortable brandy like alcoholic warmth on a long sour finish. Palate was light to medium bodied, watery, strongly puckering, lively but softly carbonated, and very slightly alcoholic.

Overall, this is a pretty amazing beer. I have seldom been a fan of sour beers, but the balance of sweetness and subtle bitterness all mesh perfectly. The smell was strong, teasing and enchanting; I spent the first 15 minutes basking in its redolence.

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

Appearance is the most romantic red color I have ever seen. Not alot of head like the pictures depict on the website.

Smells like vitamin C tablets and under ripe fruit, but in a good way. The oak is perceivable, like a tinge of red wine was spilled into a lambic. Vinegar-like.

Lots of alcohol for only 6.0%. Perhaps it comes off this way because i've let it warm and it is a very dry beer. Flavor is similar to the aroma; vitamin C and lingering oak. There is a nice sour bitter kick in the back of my mouth that I can't place, it lets the beer finish out really nicely and refreshingly/quenching. Definately a sipper yet I can't get my hand off the glass.

Mouthfeel is light and dry.

The drinkability of this beer requires the mood for it. Maybe a good beer for those who haven't crossed over from wine to beer yet. There is no need for more than one of these, but it is an excellent sipper and a real treat.

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Photo of kenito799
4.22/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Monk's back bar, Philly, $8 in a tulip glass. I am not worthy, what an offering.

Dark thick inky brew with maroon highlights. A bit of head formed and lace stuck along the walls of the glass.

Fruity and sweet malty aromas predominate, with some funky brett 'n' Belgian yeast scents in the mix. My first taste of Flanders red ale, an interesting and complex style. Quite a treat.

The taste is predominantly malty with plummy and grapey fruitiness in the middle, but a sour/tangy backbone, lingering finish. Intense stuff, for sipping and contemplating.

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Photo of Higravity
2.75/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Dark brown tint with a amber hue with a slight head of white foam. Sour vinegar sweet with a weird alcohol punch and large citrus bloom. The taste while complex is way too acidic in the finish. The favor of oak is present but the citris owns this beer and the heartburn is already starting. The malt comes through and the sourness would be pleasent but the vinegar note is sending this sideways. Maybe it might have been better colder but I thought cellar temps would be best. I finally polished off the 750 solo as the wife ran for the door at the first sip even though she usually like the sour beers.

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Photo of jwc215
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass. Best before 27/06/07 (indicated on bottom).

Pours mahogany with a tall, bubbly head that quickly f,izzled to a one finger head, than slowly descended to a thin cover.

The smell is of sourness - almost vinegary. Subtle hints of vanilla and oak give it a nice aroma.

The taste is sour with a tart fruitiness. Hints of oak and vanilla mix in. Finishes with a clean, sharp, acidity
Spritzy but smooth, full-body. Flavors linger. Drying, but not puckering.

This would be a wonderful accompaniment to a vinegary, acidic dish.

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Photo of SilentSabre
3.74/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was very powerful in the way of smell and taste. In fact, its assertive nature hurt it a bit in my scoring. The appearance was very nice and stuck to the style well, pouring a medium brick red colour with a considerable level of cloudiness. Smell was very musty and "soured" and reminded me of muscadines. Taste was sweet and sour up front, and then at the end, a colossal tanic surge strips your mouth. Very assertive. Good, but I'll be hard pressed to drink this entire 750mL myself tonight.
I have had Flanders Reds before, but never anything this aggressive.

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Photo of rarevos
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22 oz bottle into an Ommegang standard-ale glass.

A: Pours a translucent reddish-brown with a half finger of tan head. Carbonation is pretty abundant. Head sticks around for a few minutes before becoming a bubbly blanket.

S: Crisp apple, cherry, and vinous red-wine grape. Hint of raw wine vinegar and an oaky aroma.

T/M: Crisp, sour apple up front with some ripe fruit peeking in afterward: juicy plum, tart cherry. Finish is sour, dry, and long, with a hint of an alcohol bite at the very end--odd since it's not a high abv beer. There's no real bitterness to speak of (thank God). Mouthfeel is nicely bubbly and well balanced.

D: Without doing a side-by-side tasting of this and the regular Rodenbach, I cannot for the life of me explain what the difference is (I know what the brewing/aging differences are, but the *tastes* aren't appreciably different to me). I enjoy both. Regardless, the Grand Cru is a complex, fruity, crisp, refreshing, comforting and tasty beer.

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Photo of nkurz129
3.86/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried this on-tap at the Speckled Hen Pub in Reading, PA. When I ordered it, I was warned by the bar keep that it was a real "love-it-or-hate-it" beer. It had a powerful, sour aroma more fitting to a dry cider than a beer. The mouthfeel was dry as well. In the glass, it looked like a kind of murky brew, as reddish-brown colored as the mahogany decor of the bar. It was much lighter on the tongue than its appearance and aroma would have suggested but had a very full complex taste full of fruity tastes and a pleasant, lingering aftertaste.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy dark reddish brown. Moderate head.

Very acetic smell with a touch of sweetness at the end. The whole is supported by earthy, yeasty undernotes.

The taste is like no other- spicy, sour and sweet. Starts with a slight candy sugar sweetness, then stingingly sour, and then a cinnamon spiciness and more sweetness at the very end. A really complex beer that may be an acquired taste, but once you've acquired it, nothing refreshes quite the same. The only down note is that the current incarnation doesn't seem quite as complex or integrated as the earlier incarnation. Still very good, though.

Mouthfeel is quite carbonated and crisp.

Very drinkable, extremely refreshing and different.

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Photo of HossMcGraw
3.45/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is really tough to review since I haven't really aquired a taste for this yet. I can tell that it's well crafted, but not sure if it's for me.

The appearance is not that exciting. Reddish brown with a slight head that reduces to a ring, and a little lacing. Aroma is very complex, tart and funky. Blue cheese is prominent. I can also pick up some unripened fruit (strawberry) and some creaminess along with some wood.

Very tart once again on the palate with strong acidity, some strawberry and more funky blue cheese. Alcohol is noticeable. There is a burning sensation as it goes down my throat (not necessarily due tio alcohol), and the finish is more sour strawberries and blue cheese.

The mouthfeel is prickly with carbonation which is nice, but I couldn't see myself drinking a whole lot of this.

Overall an interesting beer. Personally I don't like blue cheese, and there is a lot of that characteristic here. I would definitely reccomend this to someone who does enjoy it however. Glad I tried it. May need to drink more of the style in the future.

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Photo of norwichboy
3.4/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Dark brown with a red tinge when held to the light. It produced a good sized lasting head. The smell is an unusual mixture of chocolate and cherries against a vinegary sourness. The taste is very tart, pretty challenging, with some funky characteristics emerging as well on the mid palate that remind me of blue cheese. Mouthfeel is watery with little carbonation. Finishes very sour as well, with a lasting drying of the throat! I found this a struggle personally, much more so than other sour styles: definitely an acquired taste. I can see it benefiting from pairing with food.

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Rodenbach Grand Cru from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
4.26 out of 5 based on 3,974 ratings.
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