Rodenbach Caractère Rouge
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

Rodenbach Caractère RougeRodenbach Caractère Rouge
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Sour - Flanders Red Ale
Ranked #1
Ranked #207
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: 250 | Ratings: 1,579 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Beginner2
Beginner2 from Illinois

4.51/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

This style requires a lot of work for me to like. But Caractere Rouge, I like.
Note that only 2 of the 12 that I've had among the Top 100 Flanders Reds did I rate above each's BA average. As a malt-head, tart is OK. In the hands of a master, the style is better. In the hands of the masters of the masters that produce the style's finest, I have to agree with the high accolades awarded Caractere Rouge.

Weakening my resistances to tart, Caractere uses more than cherries for its 6 month sit in fruit. I detect raspberries. Thus, Caractere is more of a fruit cocktail that how other brewers merely use malt to impart fun and bacteria to impart nature's art and barrels to impart complex flavors.

If I were a sour-phile, I'd put Rodenbach on my BBBL list (Belgian Brewers Bucket List.) The tour of their brew-room and barrel-room seems to have few rivals in the world. But, I think I'd like to have a nearby restaurant also because Rodenbach seems to know what the kitchen needs. I've just had Caractere with a simple meal of soup and potatoes. My simple meal was vastly improved by Caractere, a masterpiece.

Jan 23, 2021
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ChefKev from Pennsylvania

4.79/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 750ml bottle into Ommegang tulip at 52 degrees f.
Color of deep red lollipop
Smell of red berries, vinegar, barrel, mild funk
Flavor is highly balanced fruit with mild vinegar. No single fruit stands above the other two for me. Not at all sweet or cloying as some fruited sours can be. I’m a huge fan of this style and Rodenbach does it better than most. This particular brew exercises subtle and experienced blending to deliver a balance above all others in its class. No beer can ever be perfect in my eyes but this comes close.

Dec 28, 2020
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Falcon91Wolvrn03 from California

4.81/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wow! This is really good Flanders Ale.

Appearance – Pours a beautiful clear amber red with a nice head that doesn't last long..

Smell – A really wonderful smell, which smelled great before I even had a chance to think about what was in it. Cherry, raspberry, cranberry, oak, and Flanders' funk, that's not overly sour. Wow, this smells really good!

Taste – The taste is similar to the smell. I really like it because it's not too sour, it's got just the right sweetness and tartness to it for me. Very good.

Mouthfeel – A very nice carbonation. Super easy to drink because it tastes so good.

Drinkability – This beer really took me by surprise. I'm not a huge fan of the style because it's usually too sour for my taste, but this is perfect. It's SO easy to drink.

Dec 19, 2020
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jheimbigner from Washington

4.37/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a reddish brown. Head dissipates. Nose of flowers, followed by strong candied cherry, raspberry. Taste of jammy cherry notes, do get minimal raspberry, cranberry in flavor leading the beer to be dry, oak on the end. Light to medium carb and body. Overall, another excellent flanders red from rodenbach

Nov 08, 2020
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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GingerFinn from Canada (ON)

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
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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
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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
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octortus from Canada (ON)

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
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Cramshawbar from Canada (ON)

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
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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
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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
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taxandbeerguy from Canada (ON)

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
Rodenbach Caractère Rouge from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 1579 ratings