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 Brad007
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mild ruby/brown ale with a one-finger head. Aroma is a decent sourness upfront that is reminiscent of cherries. Very tart, much more than Rodenbach Classic. Taste is very tart and nice with the mouthfeel taking on the essence of cherries. Not too sour at the back of the throat. A second sip brings about that wonderful tartness that I'm starting to develop an affinity for. Excellent! Drinkable as well.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5 was a magnum of this for $7.99 or a bomber of La Folie for $10.99. Deal done! 750 ml bottle split with my friend this afternoon, and consumed outdoors, on to the beer:

There's plenty to like, and nothing to hate. The color is brilliant and bold, a dark red...almost brown, with a persistent head. That aroma of freshly prepeared caramel and sour berries is drawing my interest...and the taste is kickass too! This beer's flavor has a medium, but tamed tartness that doesn't kill your palate. Is this wine? Fresh caramel is dominate. Citrus peel, maple, liquified brown is sweet, but also sour. A little acidic, like vinegar, and it melds well into the overall flavor.

Simply great! That's all folks!

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

750mL bottle into a Tulip

A: Nice 1-1.5 finger Khaki head that receded quickly. Beautiful clear deep burgundy body.

S: Vinegar, slight funky barnyard but very minimal. No hops, no malt.

T: Sweet fruity flavors with strong acidic tartness. some lingering malt flavor as an aftertaste

M: Thin and highly carbonated

O: I love this style and this beer. A wonderfully refreshing sour that is reasonably priced. I will always welcome a chance to enjoy this beer.

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

This was truly exceptional and unexpected. I had tasted the Rodenbach before and had not particularly loved it. This Grand Cru is a different ball game. I poured it in a Duvel glass. It poured a nice reddish color with a good solid head that collapsed quickly. I loved it at first sip. First there was the tartness. Just perfect. I love kriek beer but always found it a bit too sweet. This tasted like a kriek that was not overly sweet. Then the taste lingered and left a long lasting pleasure that truly pleased my palate. I will seek it again. This was great.

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

Well I have to admit, I was little misled by the label of Grand Cru when I picked this up, but I guess it's a Grand Cru that has been flemish sourized.

I was pleasantly surprised at the drinkability of this beer. Sour beers really push my personal boundaries in the beer arena. There is plenty of sourness to go around, but it is somehow tamed down- perhaps from the 18 months of aging this beer undergoes. There's a definite sour grape taste going on that for me takes on the main characteristic of this beer.

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

14oz pour on-tap at bier markt mississauga

a: a very gorgeous clear ruby red with about a finger of off-white frothy head

s: really sour vinegar up front, but underneath that is a blend of woody notes and tart fruits, mainly cherries

t: follows the nose. tart to begin with, but leads quickly into fruity notes -- cherries, slight tart apples, berries, even some vinous qualities. the oak flavours add a dimension of complexity, working really well with the fruit tastes. no alcohol whatsoever. dry finish

m: medium-bodied with medium-to-high prickly carbonation, but it's kind of creamy. i love this mouthfeel

o: what an absolute delight of a beer. it's sour, fruity, tasty, and refreshing. i'm glad to have had the opportunity to taste this, and i'll definitely have this again in the future if i ever see it

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Photo of clvand0
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

25.4oz bottle. New version. This one pours a dark red color with a tall head that falls moderately and leaves some lacing on the glass. Very attractive. The aroma is full of cherry notes with sourness lingering in the back. Slight funkiness as well. The flavor is very much the same - very tasty - great mixture of the sour and the cherries. Extremely smooth. The body is moderate and the drinkability is good.

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Photo of JackRWatkins
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

750 ml bottle in tulip glass (duvel glass)

I've been wanting to try this beer ever since I heard michael jackson talk about it in one of the beer hunter episodes and and additional interview, it does not disappoint, to me, this is beers answer to wine, it's very vinous and tart, tastes of dark fruits and cherry (only a bit) it is delicious and it is definitely worth your time, hint (as with most beer, have it colder rather than warmer)

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Photo of TVolt1
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: nice dark red color with finger width of white head.

S: great sour cherry smell with a small amount of wine smell to it.

T: love this taste. Very crisp, sour, somewhat dry with a finish of an Oakley small.

M: good dry crisp light mouth feel. Bubbly

O: overall, a delicious beer. Unique finish for a Flanders as well. Would get it again

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Photo of RyanSoFla
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Rodenbach Grand Cru is my go-to Flander's red. It is sour, funky deliciousness in a bottle. The beer is also an unbelievable bargain and can be found for $10-12.

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

An unbelievably, incredibly, awesome beer. Had alongside Classic and Vintage 2011. The thing that most struck me about this beer was that it actually held its own against the Vintage. Something about the blend of the younger and aged beers gave this brew a more balsalmic, and less port-like sweetness, than its older cousin. An absolute must try.

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

a: This was a beautiful, clear coppery amber color with bright orange edges. It poured with a medium sized off-white head. It sticky with decent retention.

s: This smells acidic and sour, but lacks the mustiness I've found in other sour beers. This has vinegary fruit aromas of aplles and to a lesser extent, cherries.

t: This has a stronger sweet side than any other sour I've tried. Mild vanilla and faint oak help blunt the vinegary tartness a bit. This is bursting with fruit flavors of apples and berries. I found this to be dry, but not obnoxiously so. Tart and acidic without being abrasive. Damn near perfect.

m: Thick body without being syrupy. The carbonation was gentle and foamy.

d: Refreshinglt tart and superbly drinkable. This could become a regular in my rotation.

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Photo of Stoutfan23DJ
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ML Bottle, 6% abv, Best before date of 12/09/2014 on the bottom of the bottle.
Poured into a Duvel Tulip glass at 50 degrees.

Appearance: Poured it right down the center of the glass and received a 2 finger off white head that resided down to a nice lacing on the top. Dark, dank brown & red body with a medium carbonation and a nice looking lacing on the sides after each swirl.

Aroma: An assortment of dried fruit like sweet apple, grape, plum, prune, and some cherry. I’m getting some other interesting characteristics like vinegar, candied sugar, tart fruit, and aged oak. This is complex and I’m in for a real treat.

Taste: The flavors that hit you first are the dry, sweet and sour fruits. Apple and apple cider, grape, cherry, prune, plum, pear, raisin and citrus in the background. Much sweeter than I expected, and is the sweetest Flanders Red that I’ve had so far. There is a nice sourness here but it is very mild compared most other red sours. The other characteristics like the breaded malts, sweet sugar candy, old leather, tobacco, old wood, vanilla, and a slight astringent funkiness come through just as prominent as the fruit characteristics. The sweet and dry fruit and all of the other interesting characteristics really come together at the same wavelength. This is a very well-crafted and well-blended beer that simply has everything you want in a Flanders Red Ale. Very complex, robust yet very smooth, very well balanced, and very well-crafted!

Mouth feel: Medium carbonation that is right where I wanted it and really helped move the flavors along through each sip. The drink ability on this is moderate. As it warms up, all of the characteristics really unfold and it really makes you want to take your time and sip on it little by little.

Overall: I am really impressed with this and I definitely will be buying this again when it’s available around me and when I’m feeling a top shelf Flanders Red again. This sits on top of the list of Belgian Red Ales so far for me. I definitely recommend this to anybody who hasn’t had this and already enjoys this style of beer and to anybody that wants to start somewhere in the range of Flanders Red Style Ales.

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

Champagne style bottle, cork, and wire cage. BevMo in San Mateo. Served in a Unibroue goblet

Out of the fridge, this pours a little hazy with a big bubbled head that fades to lace around the edges. On warming, the beer becomes clear. It is a gorgeous "brune" brown color. Deep reddish brown with yellowish tints at the edges. Looks like still Coca Cola from the top but has reddish tints from the side.

The aroma is quite a bit funky with some oxidized notes. It really hints at what is to follow.

On the tongue it starts sweet and fizzy. As it passes the sides to the back of the tongue, I get a crescendo of tartness. I get surges of two distinctly different sournesses. Tart cherry and something more funky. The sourness lasts quite a while and seems to interchange with some good tight sweetness. There is just a tiny bit of bitterness that coincides with the tart surge in the beginning. Finish is impossibly clean.

Medium to full bodied. Tastes obviously bigger than the classic Rodenbach, even though it's just a little more ABV.

Overall: I loved the classic sour, and I love Monk's sour, and now I love this Grand Cru version. It's not for everyone. It's a bit more out there than the classic, but if you like the classic and you're up for a special treat, this is great.

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

bottle states best before: 13/09/08. suppose about six months passed due?

pour is a light murky reddish brown with a decent head. beautiful nose. tart, cherry, wood, vanilla with a bit of dough. palate is actually quite nice. mellowed out tart in comparison to some bottles. predominantly cherry, but plum and blackberry fruit also. the skunky nature comes through in the food wood interaction like in a traditional lambic. a wonderful vanilla. with a wood that sits in the light doughy quality like a headboard. a 'german' apple malt finish with a light sense of smokiness even. some grape. very gentle but in the wood grain giving it a earthy acid similar to coffee. never really notice it before but i can say they this is one of the best bottle i've had. a mild earth that gives way to meaty seasoning herbs. a blend of thyme and rosemary mostly. quite a successful earth though. wonderful. one of the best.

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

Appearance: It looks like murky prune juice.
Smell: Vinegar and sweet raisins.
Taste: Sweet and sour
Mouthfeel: Carbonated and light.
Drinkability: Refreshing and surprisingly good, considering I described it as tasting like vinegar and raisins. I really like this beer!

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

Vivid blood orange with bright tangerine trim. The cork colored cap is two fingers immediately after the pour and isn't strinking very quickly. It becomes nicely creamy as it melts and leaves a surprising amount of thick lace on the upper reaches of the glass. What a warm, inviting looking ale.

The nose is reminiscent of sweet and sour fruit (cherries mostly) soaked in gourmet vinegar. There's also a lovely woodiness born of 18 months in Brouwerij Rodenbach's massive oak tuns. I love the way I smell something slightly different each time I put my nose over the glass. I haven't had a huge number of Flanders reds yet, but this nose has to be a classic of the style.

No version that I've had thus far prepared me for what just splashed over my taste buds. Most of them seem to be sour for sour's sake. I like sour, but I need more. Rodenbach Grand Cru delivers more... and more... and more. I'm amazed at the stunning amount of depth and complexity in each mouthful.

I have to believe that oak is the key to Grand Cru's success. I'm sure the chemical reactions that occur as the beer seeps into the wood and is then breathed back out again change the original ale in untold ways. I have no idea if more time together would improve things to an even greater extent, but I do know that less time wouldn't be advisable.

Impressively tart and tangy are the order of the day. Having said that, I don't know that I've had a Flanders red with as much underlying sweetness. The utilization of multiple sets of taste buds (sweet at the tip, sour along the sides), and the contrast between the two, is what sets this world-class ale apart.

The finish has a perfect acidic bite. It's easy to see why Michael Jackson considers this the most refreshing beer in all the world. I'd probably choose something else for that honor, but I can damn sure see what he means. As much as I'm enjoying it solo, I can also see how it would complement a wide variety of foods extremely well.

I wouldn't change a single thing about the mouthfeel. Given the style, it's pretty close to perfect. It's light, yet has a undeniable strength; like a heavy strand of silk thread. A light stickiness promotes flavor linger and a gentle sizzle of carbonation keeps the tongue's attention. Not that it was in danger of wandering given the remarkable flavor profile.

This is fantastically delicious beer. I'd advise anyone who is interested in Flanders reds to start here before proclaiming their love, like or dislike for this unique style. Put me solidly in the 'love' camp. It's hard to imagine that La Folie is superior since there's so little room between Rodenbach Grand Cru and perfection.

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Photo of SargeC
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark brown colored brew with a frothy tan head.

Smell: Vinegar, cherries, berries and yeast with hints of malt and alcohol.

Taste: The initial sour blast gives way to fruit flavors that highlight cherry and wildberry. Has an acidic finish that strangely comes across as sweet.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body. The slightly oily quality of this brew allows the flavors to really stick around.

Drinkablity: Very tasty and consumable. A challenge at first, but worth getting used to.

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

750 ml bottle poured into a Chimay chalice. Although it looks red as it poured, it is darker in the glass: deep brown with red highlights around the edges. One finger tan head that dissipates fairly quickly and leaves a little lacing.

The aroma starts with cherry, tart apple, and vinegar. It definitely sets up very well for a sour tasting. As I stir the glass and as it warms, I get some light woody oak and also a bit of caramel malt.

Delicious flavor. The tartness is very tolerable and enjoyable. Definite flavors of cherry, raspberry, and green apple on the fruity side. The vinegar flavor is present but much less pronounced than the aroma would suggest. Only the slightest note of oak, but the flavors blend so well, it's just goes down easy.

The mouthfeel is fairly light overall as it does not taste "heavy" at all. It finishes crisply with no notice of the alcohol. A superb brew. Highly recommend this one.

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Photo of blackc5
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Deeper brown then expected. Reddish tint shines through when held up to the light. Slightly hazy. No real head or lacing to speak of.

S - Immensely tart fruit - cherry and sour apple are most forward. Some oak in the background and perhaps a bit of vanilla as well. Vinegary, but not overly so.

T - Outstanding - exceptionally fruity and the tartness is just right. Not too sour, and not too vinegary, and balanced with some sweetness. Just right for a wonderfully drinkable beer. Main fruit elements are cherries, apple, grape must and tamarind. The oak aging adds a nice level of complexity and vanilla. All balanced with some bready grain and just a hint of leather.

M - Mild carbonation that leaves just a bit of fizz on the tongue. Light and smooth body with a dry finish.

D - No complaits here - this one lives up to its reputation, and goes on my list to have again. Held up well to food also.

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Photo of Jumbo_James
4.51/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Very interesting nose. This beer smells of red fruit and acetic acid though they are very well balanced. This is my first sour and although it was a bit intense at first I quickly warmed up to it. Beautiful color, somewhere between mahogany and dark red.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.51/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a tiny bit hazy, deep reddish brown. No real head forms on the pour, and there's but a wisp of a bit o'f foam at the rim. No real lacing to speak of. Very lightly carbonated also. Nose is huge with sour fruit notes. Probably some Brett also. Enormous sour apple, cherry and grapefruit notes in the nose speak of a nice sour ale to come. You can smell this all the way across the room. Wow on the flavor. It's super tart, very robust and very good. This is like a less-sweet version of the Duchesse. The carbonation is very spritzy, giving this a real champagne-like quality which cuts through the sweetness. Did I mention sour??!! Well, just to be sure - this is a Flemish Sour for sure. No mistaking it. Some lactose like qualities in the mouthfeel, though I'm unsure where they come from. This is really delicious. I'm finding these Flemish-style sours to be rapidly becoming my favorite beer style. The flavort evolves into a more leathery, Lambic style with the yeast taking center stage for a brief solo, then rocking out into a nice long, tangy, bitter in a good way finish. Strikingly expensive at $11.99/750ml bottle, that is probably it's only real flaw. Fantastic and must find.

What I like most: The entire flavor profile along with the robust aroma.

What I like least: The hefty price tag.

Verdict: Fantastic but expensive ale that is a must find.

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Photo of raynmoon
4.51/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Its deep ruby red. I love it.

Smells nice. Tannins, astringent, acidic, red wine, funk from the yeast. Very much identical to a dirty, earthy red wine. The smell lacks strength however.

So smooth. I get a perfect amount of tartness coating my mouth and a nice cherry/ mixed fruit and then it goes down smooth and sweet. Not too acidic or cloying like the Duchesse, and the price is way too great. $9 for a 750ml may be the best beer deal next to Old Rasputin 4 packs.

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

Poured from a caged-and-corked 750mL bottle into my White Birch flute/tulip.

A resounding sonorous pop greets me as I ease the cork out. Aromas surge forth before I can even pour any liquid.

Dark auburn-tinged burgundy liquid with crimson/cerise highlights and an active light tan head that recedes to a thin layer of cream. Thick even sandy lacing coats the sides. Very thin oily legs.

Dark cherries, lemon and strawberries from afar - when you bring the liquid closer to your nose, the acidity picks up considerably. Tangy red-wine vinegar, light oaky wood notes, and a mild intermingling of young port with toasted malt round out the boquet.

Complex flavors - a wide range of acidity suggesting a variety of light vinegars (champagne, aged balsamic, rice wine), plum wine, and citrus and a bit of pit fruit. Brown sugar, malt syrup, and cola notes add sweetness, while the finish adds in bitterness and a wave of tannins. Perfectly blended.

Well carbonated, nearly medium-bodied, and moderately astringent.

Perfect with food, really nice on its own - similarly enjoyable to a good (if not a great) wine, but with much less alcohol.

While it's been a while since I've tried the original, I believe this is sweeter and more nuanced than the standard Rodenbach. Well worth seeking out if you enjoy the style as this is among the very best I've tried.

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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 potency.

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