Rodenbach Caractère Rouge
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

Rodenbach Caractère RougeRodenbach Caractère Rouge
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Sour - Flanders Red Ale
Ranked #1
Ranked #209
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.
View: Beers
Reviews: 246 | Ratings: 1,571 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of DokiDokiLitFam
DokiDokiLitFam from New Jersey

4.26/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice translucent ruby red. A finger of rocky head appears and quickly fades.

Nose is strong flowery fragrances with tart raspberry and cherry underneath. Like a garden of flowers and fruit.

Taste is definitely more complex. Getting cranberry now, almost overshadowing both raspberry and cherry. The tart and funk strong initially but quickly fades to a savory note almost. Reminds me of the aftertaste of olives. Very interesting. Getting very mild notes of oak. The finish is smooth and graceful. No flavors lingering and overstaying their welcome.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

A really good sour. Don't think I've had a Flanders Red, so I'm a little out of my element with this one. This one would be great with a nice meal. Perhaps a steak dinner or chicken marsala or chicken cordon bleu. A nice treat.

Sep 03, 2020
Photo of Brugesman
Brugesman from California

4.92/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A collaboration review with my brother.

750 ml bottle. Date on the bottle is 5/7/18, which we assume is the bottling date.

Appearance: ruddy brown like apple cider, cloudy, initially effervescent but the bit of foam dissipated immediately.

Smell: Fruit dominant, sour cherries, raspberries. Earthy.

Taste: Whole lotta berry, tart, vinous/acetic notes. Lingering red berry aftertaste. The blending produces a profound complexity. Hints of sherry and caramel.

Mouthfeel: Thin to medium body, low carbonation, slightly astringent

Overall: A master class in Flemish Red Ale production with the added bonus of aging with sour cherries, raspberries, and cranberries. This style, famously called the "Burgundy of Belgium" by Michael Jackson, sets a high bar for beer blending and complexity. Bursting with flavor, a towering brewing achievement.

Jul 29, 2020
Photo of zeff80
zeff80 from Missouri

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

750ml bottle. Poured out a reddish-amber color with a small, khaki-colored head of foam. It smelled of cherry, other berries and toffee. Tart berry taste with oak, toffee and hints of vanilla.

Mar 25, 2020
Photo of thebeers
thebeers from Pennsylvania

4.21/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazed red with a brownish hue. The fat finger of raspberry-tinted, light tan head quickly fizzes away to a wisp and a crown.

The big, fruity aroma smells “pink,” with fresh, juicy berries, cherry, some solvent and light oak.

More of the lovely vinegar acidity characteristic of Grand Cru shows up front in the taste, pairing nicely with the juicy cranberry, raspberry and cherry. The oak touch is refined, smoothing out both the juice and acidity in the finish. The aftertaste is only lightly puckering — a mixture of sweet and tart.

Medium bodied at most with a slight oily slickness and light carbonation fizz.

Almost shockingly juicy, while maintaining Rodenbach’s classic character. Makes for a delicious special-occasion treat.

Feb 22, 2020
Photo of stortore
stortore from Illinois

4.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle into a tulip snifter. Best by 2/19/18, had 11/21/18. Shame on me for missing by that much.

Pours a purplish amber, cloudy, with a one inch foamy head and some foamy lacing. Aromas of cherries, raspberries, some cranberries, malt, some vanilla. The flavor is similar- cherries, raspberries, malt, some cranberries, light vanilla. Not picking up the oak or caramel. Lightly tart and sour, fairly sweet. Smooth, a solid medium body, well carbonated.

It’s all about the fruit and it’s very well executed. The tartness of the cranberries is a nice balance to the sweetness of the cherries and raspberries. Undoubtedly, missing the best by date by 9 months has had some effect here. Very enjoyable and well worth a purchase.

Feb 14, 2020
Photo of EMV
EMV from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage. Poured from a bomber into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Nearly clear maroon pour with 1 finger of off-white head. Nice lacing. Sediment at the end of the pour.

S: Tart and funky. Fruity.. cherry and raspberry mingled with oak.

T.F: Just like it smells. Tart without being sour. Big time fruit... baking cherry, raspberry, and cranberry. Some fruit sweetness to go with the tartness... oak and a bit of funk. Modest acidity... with some apple cider vinegar and tannins. Medium bodied... nice carbonation. More fruit and cherry to finish.

O: Absolutely outstanding. Wish I had a case of this... and it made for a great 'end of the week' treat. Super complex and delicious and worthy of the high rating.

Feb 01, 2020
Photo of Snowcrash000
Snowcrash000 from Germany

4.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a cloudy, deep, dark ruby red coloration with a tiny, fizzy head that fades to nothing almost instantly. Smells absolutely intoxicating of vibrant, tart red berries and musty, old oak, with just a hint of tannins and vinegar coming through as well. Taste is a perfect balance of juicy, vibrant, sweet and tart red berry notes of cherry, raspberry and cranberry, with each really standing out on their own, and a strong barrel-character of earthy, old and slightly tannic oak, as well as some light, musty mushroom funk and just a hint of balsamic vinegar. Finishes quite tart, but not overwhelmingly so, with some vibrant red berries, musty oak and a touch of tannins and vinegar lingering in the aftertaste. Full, effervescent mouthfeel with a medium body and medium/strong carbonation.

A fantastic Flanders Red Ale that just showcases a perfect marriage of vibrant, fresh fruit and musty, old oak, with a perfect balance of sweet and tart notes and a wonderful richness and complexity added by some lighter, vinous, funky and acidic notes that all come together to form a sublime drinking experience. Also stands heads and shoulders above the way too sweet and one-dimensional Rodenbach Alexander thanks to a much richer and more well-balanced depth of flavor.

Dec 22, 2019
Photo of FLima
FLima from Brazil

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.

Oct 09, 2019
Photo of GingerFinn
GingerFinn from Canada

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.

Aug 26, 2019
Photo of janubio
janubio from Spain

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.

Aug 06, 2019
Photo of Beersnake1
Beersnake1 from California

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.

Aug 05, 2019
Photo of octortus
octortus from Canada

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, Half a finger of beautiful soft pink head which dissipates quickly, Soft 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".

Review: 25

May 08, 2019
Photo of Cramshawbar
Cramshawbar from Canada

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.

Apr 14, 2019
Photo of clayrock81
clayrock81 from Florida

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.

Feb 15, 2019
Photo of hophugger
hophugger from Virginia

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 !

Nov 14, 2018
Photo of taxandbeerguy
taxandbeerguy from Canada

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!

Jul 02, 2018
Photo of SomethingClever
SomethingClever from Ohio

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.

May 07, 2018
Photo of Vidblain
Vidblain from Minnesota

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!

Apr 27, 2018
Photo of gshak
gshak from Texas

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.

Apr 24, 2018
Photo of Bouleboubier
Bouleboubier from New Jersey

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

Apr 11, 2018
Photo of markjknowles
markjknowles from Oregon

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.

Mar 27, 2018
Photo of stcules
stcules from Italy

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.

Mar 15, 2018
Photo of doktorhops
doktorhops from Australia

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).

Mar 11, 2018
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

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.

Feb 12, 2018
Photo of DoctorZombies
DoctorZombies from Florida

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.

Jan 02, 2018
Rodenbach Caractère Rouge from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 1571 ratings