Rodenbach Caractère Rouge
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

Rodenbach Caractère RougeRodenbach Caractère Rouge
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Flanders Red Ale
Ranked #1
Ranked #203
4.48 | pDev: 7.14%
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
Rodenbach Caractère RougeRodenbach Caractère Rouge
Notes: Flanders Red Ale- two-year ale matured in oak foeders, that is aged for an additional six months with cherries, raspberries and cranberries. Vinous and very complex with notes of wood and caramel.

The brewer allow the beer to macerate with fresh cherries, raspberries and cranberries. After this maceration in oak, the beer re-ferments in the bottle. The result is RODENBACH Caractère Rouge, an exceptional RODENBACH with fruit maceration and a 7% alcohol volume. The brew is more than unique and extremely exclusive, as only 900 75-cl bottles were produced (first batch). Geunes serves this wilful beer as part of his other unique range of beer varieties in his restaurant, ’t Zilte, at the Antwerp MAS museum.
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Reviews: 240 | Ratings: 1,550
Photo of FLima
4.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Fresh from the brewery.
Light brown reddish and pinkish color with a thin head.
Sour aroma with notes with of raspberries, cherries, lemon, cranberries and some residual mild sweetness.
Flavor with notes of cranberries, raspberries, cherries, red wine, bold spices, yakult, salt, some vinous funkiness, mild vinegar and caramel. Dry, spiced, and bitter aftertaste.
Medium body with perfect carbonation. Alcohol of 7% is very well hidden.
Flemish Red Ale with bold notes of red fruits with good acetic complexity and peppered with salt and spices.

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Photo of GingerFinn
2.03/5  rDev -54.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.5

750ml corked bottle from the LCBO, served from the fridge. Best before date: 02/07/2020
I went into this so excited to try this beer. The look was a beautiful dark pink colour, and it smelled like a great combination of berries. That's where things went sour, literally. I know that this type of ale is supposed to be tart, and I was expecting that. Two other beer lovers tried this with me, and we all felt similarly. It tasted like red wine that had gone to vinegar. I have tasted balsamic vinegars that I would prefer to sip. I am hoping that I got a bad bottle, but I fear that it wasn't the case. It felt like it was well-brewed, but the taste was frankly revolting, and I have had some bad brews in my day.
100% disappointed.

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Photo of janubio
4.76/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

75 cl. corked bottle from Las Buenas Pulgas. Served at home in a tulip glass. Pours a kind of red colored-fuchsia, small head that vinishes almost before you fill the glass, no lacing.
Aroma of red fruits, nuts, fruit stalk, tarty, some barnyard.
Medium to full boyd, creamy texture, n ormal carbonation. Dry acidic finish.
Taste is similar to the aroma.
Absolutely great and complex. And Excelent aperitif.

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Photo of Beersnake1
4.06/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from fridge temp. Pours dark brown. Nose is cranberry juice, sour, and sweet. Taste is dark fruit, juice, a bit of syrup, and sweet. Really nice, but this had a few years on it. Might be better fresh.

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Photo of octortus
4.44/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL Bottle. ABV 7%.
Appearance: Very slightly veiled cherry red, A half finger of beautiful soft pink head which dissipates quickly, low carbonation.
Aroma: Raspberry, Strawberry, Cherry, Cranberry, Yeast, Funk, Fruity syrup, Sweet.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, Slightly prickly, Semi-dry, Noticeable carbonation.
Flavour: Sour cherry, Tart, Raspberry, Cranberry finish, Dark fruit juice, Vinous, Yeast/Funk, Slight vinegar, Insanely balanced.
Overall: If you have not had a beer from Rodenbach - change that. In my humble opinion, they are THE name in Flanders Reds. Their beers are unbelievably delicious, complex and balanced. They are also highly consistent. As the name suggests, Caractėre Rouge embodies "Red".

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Photo of Cramshawbar
3.28/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

If this was one 330mL bottle, maybe I could tolerate it more. As is, the sourness affects the teeth and gives acid reflux to regret. Too much.
Looks and smells great but I wouldn't try again.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.18/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a copper-tinted reddish body with fizzy carbonation but no head or lace. The aroma is sour/tart and chock full of cranberries and cherries along with some razzies and oak. Excellent balance between tart cherries, sour/sharp cranberries, some raspberry sweetness and an oaky smoothness with no booze and a filling body.

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Photo of hophugger
4.2/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

What an amazing color!!..a semi-cloudy light strawberry color with a quickly disappating light pink head. Aroma is full, so full. of strawberries, light cranberries and sweet cherries. Taste has just a light touch of sourness from the cherries and a great balance of sweetness in the form of cherries and raspberries. Yeast and Belgian feel is so light and makes this beer so so drinkable at 7%abv. The tartness lays on the tip of the tongue and does not overpower the goodness of the main ingredients. Finish is incredibly refreshing and has a great feel of fresh beries throughout.This one is a winner !

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Photo of taxandbeerguy
4.67/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle 3 of 4. Finally getting down to reviewing this legendary brew. Cork and cage 750 ml bottle and cost was a mere $8.70 CDN. Probably should've picked up another half dozen of these. A fine way to conclude Canada Day! Served cold into a chalice.

Appearance - Light pink or red in color. Capped with a tiny off white head. Good clarity. Looks the way its expected too.

Smell - Tart... very tart with raspberry and cheery and of course some balsamic vinegar, but this is a more robust fruitiness than Grand Cru. Very inviting.

Taste - First sip was loads of tart raspberries, second was all cranberry. Followed up with plenty of cherries. Wondrous. Tart yet sweet, significantly more so than Grand Cru. Booze is an afterthought yet its packing 7% in there an its completely invisible. Oak shows up after a touch of warming and just adds to the complexity.

Mouthfeel - Dry, juicy, tart, crisp, effervescent, smooth. Each sip seems a little different and a little more magical. Hard to pin down but excellent. Tingly sensation on by tongue has me singing for joy. What gets me is how deliciously easy this is to drink. after every single sip, I just want more.

Overall - Simply put one of the best best beers on the planet, although it might not even be favorite (or second favorite- Grand Cru and 2013 Vintage ales were sublime too.) by the kings of the Flanders Ale. Somehow this is impossible given that I've just scored it in my top top 5 beers of all time at the moment. Just a wonderful array of cherries, raspberries and cranberries with plenty of tartness, sourness to boot. Happy Canada Day to me indeed!

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.27/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle corked and caged poured into a speigelau ipa Glass

A: Small slightly off white Soapy head that quickly settles to a film. Body is a burnished copper, brown leaning toward amber with fairly good clarity.

S: Lots of berry flavors strike you raspberry and strawberry and a lesser extent of cherry.

T: Nice berry explosion of strawberry raspberry and just the lightest hint of tartness with just a light bit of apple skin and vinegar and then sweetness.

M: medium bodied lower carbonation.

O: This is fantastic, the only draw back to it is I wish it were a little more tart with a touch less sweetness.

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Photo of Vidblain
4.59/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I waffled about this bottle on many, many occasions - that $25 price tag is hard for me to justify when I know that I'll likely be drinking the bottle along. Please, Rodenbach! 500ml bottles! or 12 oz bottles!

Obviously I bought it anyway. And with that out of the way...

Poured in to a 10oz flute - Caractere Rouge takes a bit of time to warm and open up. As it does so, the oak notes become more and more prominent, as does the tartness of the berries. And? It just gets more and more awesome. It has a delicious fruity taste and mouth feel, much like a traditional framboise, with the addition of cranberries and cherries. This is nothing like those cherry fruited beers that take on that awful cough syrup taste and aroma. It's incredibly complex, with those dry barrel notes and tremendous juice and berry flavors. It's not mouth-puckeringly sour, but it's certainly quite tart.

Would I buy a bottle again? Absolutely. Would I drink a bottle alone again? Well. Probably not. But I wouldn't say no!

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Photo of gshak
4.75/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is it - the ultimate sour beer I've ever tasted. So dangerously drinkable - the sourness and the fruitiness is in perfect balance and harmony. I put this beer down so fast that I did not stop to admire all the nuances of the beer. This beer is great for those moments of introspection and quiet reflection - if you can rein in your urges, which I sadly was unable to do.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.42/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

(corked 750 ml 2013 bottle, split between two tulip glasses)

L: reddish-tawny liquid, slight haze; active foam erupts on pour, falls away to stillness, bubbles rise up around glass

S: gummy candy, berry jam, bit of a vinegary note... softly fruity-perfumy, pleasant intensity

T: moderate sweetness that could be mind trick via the fruit flavors, notably dry finish; dense, tangible fruit - gummy fruit slice?, sour jelly bean? - someone in the room suggested black cherry Warhead... was hoping for a little more bite to its sour/tart element, but its balance with the other flavors does end up winning me over

F: mild oily residual viscosity, greasy-plush body... dry finish, but not as sharp as it could be - though there's some sizzle on the sides of the palate and a tiny firework burst at the back, its nectar prevails... it flattens out a little toward the end

O: fantastic flavors, no-brainer to buy again, though it'll probably be another impulse purchase due to its boku price tag

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Photo of markjknowles
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Is Rodenbach the world's best brewery, Belgian style at least? This is simply sensational. I drank this out of my handy Garre glass from a 750 ml bottle I kept outside in the low 50's. The beautiful red color bubbles to a quickly vanishing light fizz emitting an earthy, fruity aroma my 4yr old child described as "rotten fruit candy". The taste is fresh fruit (but kinda Faygo Rockin' Rye!) followed by oakiness and that delicious Flanders red base. An Earthy tart dry finish. This is showing off just how sophisticated "beer" can be. Sublime, complex, wow.

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Photo of stcules
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2013.
Bright ruby red, beautiful beige head, long standing.
In the nose a lot of berry fruit (raspberry, blueberry), woofìd notes, tobacco, vanilla. A light note of cherry stone.
Then flowers (violets). A light fresh tartness, then tovìbacco and leather. Great.
Godd balnce in the taste, between sweetness, fruitiness and controlled sourness.
Great drinkability, long and dry finish, with fruity notes, and leather/tobacco.

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Photo of doktorhops
4.45/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

#1,000 for reals this time. I’ve been squirrelling so much anticipation, ewe wouldn’t even believe, but bear with me - this is a massive milestone, let me crow about it [animal puns: success!]. 7 years ago I posted my first review on, and in that time I’ve had many many great beers, and in the last few years less and less crap beers. TBH I realised life is short there are too many beers out there for one man to drink (and review) so I’ve been sticking with the “good stuff”. Rodenbach Caractère Rouge: good stuff I’ve heard, plus I already love Rodenbach Grand Cru, seems like a no brainer. No, it isn’t my usual “what’s the BIGGEST (ABV) beer I can get my hands on”, but let’s give something different a go (yo!).

Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Cloudy red fruit coloured body with a nice tight-packed salmon-tinged head that slowly dies back to a thin lace ring. A stunning seductress: “the coyote of the desert likes to eat the heart of the young and the blood drips down to his children for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and only the ribs will be broken...” mmm. 9/10.

S: Red currents, cherry, grape-aid, hints of vanilla, the aroma is quite sweet, very fruity, but this no doubt belies a tart flavour hiding within the flavour profile. Without question this is the most berry fruit I’ve ever encountered in a beer - it’s a pervading musk, like a female version of Sex Panther: “60% of the time, it works every time” [yes, it’s a Ron Burgundy night for me]. 9/10.

T: God damn this is a taste sensation. It’s upfront sugar: red current, cherry, raspberry, cranberry, grape-aid, hints of vanilla, then in comes that classic Flanders Red Ale sharp acidic tart overtone to cut through all sweetness and finish crisp and moreish. It comes with an acid reflux trigger warning: you will get reflux from this if you’re susceptible. Further sips make me question the amount of tartness in this brew - such a complex and beautiful homage to berry fruits, yet it’s a touch too sour IMO. Otherwise it’s a grand flavour profile. 9/10.

M: Medium bodied, hints of wateriness, with a heavy/dense carbonation. 8/10.

D: Sourness holds Caractère Rouge from being up there with Grand Cru, however we’re comparing a world class Fruit Beer with a world class Flanders Red Ale... made by the same brewer! Rodenbach are legends, for good reason, they make unique beers, and what might be too sour and acidic for me might be perfect for you, horses: courses. It’s all glorious, viva beer! 9/10.

Food match: Game meats with wild forest mushrooms and truffle (oh & an antacid).

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.59/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into glass. 2013 dated, Best By date on bottom of bottle is '05/09/2019'.
Reddish amber colored body, cloudy appearance. White fizzy head settles back to healthy ring fed by bubbles. A few spots of lacing but most slide back into body.
Aroma of sour cherries, raspberries, with the sour cranberries in the background. Also there is vinous red wine and oak tannins.
Flavor has both sweet and sour, but the sweet is a little more than the sour. The sour takes hold more toward the end. The sweetness is more fruity than sugary. Cherry, raspberry, and cranberry blend and mix together very well. Later in the taste profile is a leather/earthy component which does not last into the aftertaste. Also present is the oak barrel.
Medium, dry mouth feel.
This well done beer does not let the sweet from getting too saccharine, nor the sour from getting too puckering. Well suited to match with strong cheese or savory cured meats and sausages.

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Photo of DoctorZombies
4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Red/amber/lite brown pour; quick thin white cap, but lace sheets the glass to the last drop; medium thick legs on swirl. Intense sour cherries, red wine nose. Tart juicy cherries with acidic bite; red wine, plum, currant fruit flavors with lite toast malt backbone. Medium body, acidic tingle on tongue, lite and crisp; dry tannins-like wine feel. Overall, World Class; sweet fruit finish notwithstanding sour cherries/fruit flavors; smooth complex fruit and red wine notes; no bitterness or vinager flavors; simply awesome.

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Photo of Holderness
4.63/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Happy New Year! Aged for four years

Easily one of the best fruited sours I’ve had. The aromas explode with cherry, raspberry, and cranberry, with a nice musky earthiness rounding it out. There is a prevalent raspberry/cranberry tartness in the flavor, but it is not nearly as overwhelming as most American wilds. The four years of aging in the bottle have mellowed out the gently sweet malts and alcohol presence wonderfully, and the result is an immensely smooth, silky, bright palate. Complex, fruity, estery yeast character. A very special ale, as it should be at ~$25/bottle.


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Photo of JohnnyHopps
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - The beer poured a beautiful ruby red color with an off-white head. Carbonation was visible.

Smell - The nose was a bomb of fresh raspberries.

Taste - A lot of raspberry came to the front. The initial impression was followed by cherry, vanilla, and oak. The cherry and raspberry intertwine to become indistinguishable. The aftertaste is slightly soured, but overall well-balanced. Sweet and sour linger.

Mouthfeel - The carbonation allows for a drt aftertaste. Still, itwas smooth loke juice.

Overall - I don’t hand out many perfect scores, so this is good.

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Photo of unclejazz
4.76/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Exceptional vessel of deliciousness, mouthfeel is a champ and the leathery tobacco notes were there along with exruptions of fruit. This is fine craftsmanship to the Nth degree. This bottle was cellared for 2-3 years and I think that may have dried it out just a bit. Devine Devine.

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Photo of VT-Bardo
4.45/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky enough to find the 2013 locally on close out. $5.00 a 750 ml bottle! I bought 2-6 packs. Delicious fruit forward sour. Had some with a little dark chocolate, very nice.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.56/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V. "Rodenbach Caractère Rouge"
750 ml brown glass bottle, corked and caged, and coded 23 02 18"
$22.99 @ Roger Wilco, Pennsauken, NJ

Notes via stream of consciousness: Not much of a pop upon opening, and then not much of a head whilst pouring. I guess that secondary fermentation in the bottle just didn't happen. It's a cloudy, almost brown color with just a thin collar of white. The aroma is fruity with notes of raspberry and cherry, and a little bit of Graham Cracker, and that carries over into the flavor. There's some oak as well but it's limited, at least in comparison to the fruit, and there's a touch of golden to medium caramel and a subtle note of chocolate as well. It's not tart but there's a light acidity to it, giving it a slightly metallic edge, and the softer carbonation works really well - perhaps it's intended to be like that. The very fine bubbles gently bristle the tongue, and the acidity lends it a hand, but at the same time it remains very soft and easy to drink. I'm a little bit torn in that it's not more intense, but at the same time so refined and sophisticated that it's hard to argue against. It's obviously a world classic, the question is where does it fall in the line-up. Well worth seeking out.

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.33/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 750 mL bottle into a Hunahpu snifter.

A: Dark red - almost magenta – with a thin light pink head and lots of visible carbonation. Quite hazy.

S: Tart and sweet cherries, tart cranberries, dry oaky tannins. Somewhat vinous but the lactic character dominates. Nice but not outstanding on the nose.

T: Tart cherries, juicy raspberries, and dry oak tannins up front. Fruity lactic tartness, yet stays juicy. Cranberry bone dryness and more dry oak flavors hit just after the swallow, and it stays dry and lactic throughout the finish with just a bit of lingering sweet fruit juice on the top of the mouth.

M: Medium body, alcohol presence well-hidden, and adequate carbonation sensation.

O: Very tasty and quite enjoyable. This hits a nice balance between the natural fruit flavors and sweetness and the sour/dry/lactic flavors. My only complaint might be the price compared to New Glarus's fruit offerings, although the oak adds a nice depth to this beer that those lack for sure. As a personal preference note, I could do without the cranberries. But overall, still quite good.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a beautiful ruby red with a three finger fizzy white head. The head dissapates quickly leaving some soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is sweet and tart cherries, raspberry and oak.

T - The taste is sweet and tart cherries, cranberry, raspberry and brown sugar finishing with some nice oakiness.

M - Medium bodied with medium/low carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a soft dry finish.

O - Outstanding Flanders and a must try.

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Rodenbach Caractère Rouge from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 1550 ratings