Rodenbach Caractère Rouge
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.

Rodenbach Caractère RougeRodenbach Caractère Rouge
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Sour - Flanders Red Ale
Ranked #1
ABV:
7%
Score:
99
Ranked #209
Avg:
4.48 | pDev: 7.14%
Reviews:
247
Ratings:
1,574
From:
Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
 
Belgium
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  337
Gots
  371
SCORE
99
World-Class
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: 247 | Ratings: 1,574 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Snowcrash000:
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
More User Reviews:
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas from Louisiana

4.42/5  rDev -1.3%

BOTTLE: 750 ml. Brown glass. Appealing label design. Branded cap in a cage, set over a cork.

Expectations are sky high; I have massive respect for and love Rodenbach (even under Palm).

Served chilled into a Westvleteren goblet and allowed to come to room temperature over the course of consumption. 7.0% ABV.

Cork pops hard and hits the ceiling upon removal (with pliers), but no beer surges out. It's well packaged for aging.

A fizzy cascading bubble show emerges as it's poured, and remains for some time - quite the spectacle when combined with the beer's vibrance.

HEAD: 3 fingers wide. Best described as a pinkish white; it's alluring and almost unique. Foamy but not too fizzy, with a soft cobwebby consistency and a decent spongey complexion. Its lightness is apt for the style, and its effervescence is teasing - between beer and champagne. It retains quite well (for ~10 minutes), but leaves no lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: A bright plump vibrant red. Not a solid red, but a weak one; grapeskin comes to mind. Light, translucent, and transparent. Clean, with no visible yeast particulate or hop sediment.

It's a lively inviting appearance, and has me curious.

AROMA: Powdered white sugar, fresh cherries, fresh rapberries, and touches of tart cranberries. Incredibly evocative; the fruitiness is just perfect. Soft and lush, with no off-notes, though some American drinkers may note a cherry-like medicinal note. I'm just blown away by how fresh and vivid this aroma is. Sourness is mild - maybe a 5 or 6 out of 10 in terms of intensity, but what really works are the cherry pie notes Rodenbach is known for. The pie crust married to the blunt oak tone is lovely, but I do find myself missing the damp acetic oak barrel character I love in regular Rodenbach. In any case, this easily approachable light powdery aroma has my mouth watering. Wow.

It boasts tricky subtlety in terms of its yeast & bacteria; I'd guess pedio and a bit of lactobacillus.

Aromatic intensity is average.

TASTE: The taste is every bit as fresh and evocative as the aroma, evoking notes of soft luscious raspberry, tart cherry, and sweetened cranberry. Powdered sugar comes to mind in taste as in texture. Rodenbach's signature cherry pie/pie crust notes emerge in the second act, lending even more depth to an already fascinatingly subtle and intricate brew. The oak is attuned to the flavour profile without being overbearing; it's present only as a guiding tone which ensures the flavour profile's cohesion - as if it wasn't a gestalt brew already.

Undeniably more than the sum of its parts, this flavour profile blows me away. Good duration of flavour and apt flavour intensity.

The pucker-lovers may crave still more sourness - this offers only a 5 out of 10 - but I have trouble imagining this impossibly careful balance disturbed. It's just immaculate. I do want more of the acetic character I go to Rodenbach for; they do it better than anyone.

In short, it's fucking incredible. A treat of a brew.

To nitpick, I do think it could use more tartness and cranberry, and I greedily want still more cherry pie and acetic character.

TEXTURE: Has a delicacy and fragility I've observed in extremely few beers, with an effortless lightness on the palate that really makes the flavours sing, and gives a quenching refreshing feel that's heaven with the tart berry notes. Soft and light-bodied without being weak or watery; I don't know how they do it. Naturally, it's soft and wet, and does have an above average acidity as well as a light puckery twang. Smacky and powdery in perfect fashion, with the perfect amount of creaminess as well. Carbonation is perfect.

It's almost flawless. Just a bit more body would help give the flavours a bit more support, and a bit more acidity and/or smackiness wouldn't hurt. But it's damn near perfect.

OVERALL: Effortlessly drinkable, an effect reached by an ideal harmony of texture and taste: the angelic lightness of the mouthfeel keeps the palate craving more and the incredible fresh berry notes are divine. An accomplishment in the style, and a beer whose quality forces me to savor each sip. Absolutely a paragon. Incredible work. I tip my hat to Rodenbach yet again. I imagine I will definitely be picking up more bottles of this, but it's hard to imagine it could improve with age - it's already so good. This is in the upper echelon of beers currently being brewed, and demands the discerning drinker's attention. A very welcome addition to my top beers of all time. Take note - this is how subtlety and balance are done.

High A

Pair with fresh raspberries.

Serve chilled, not cold.

Dec 15, 2014
Photo of Tucquan
Tucquan from Pennsylvania

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

Had this on 2013-11-24 in Columbia, PA

A - Mahogany/amber with a short-lived, tan head and moderate lacing.

S - Characteristic Rodenbach Grand Cru aroma but with added raspberry and cranberry. I always get oak, cherry and hard apple cider out of the normal Grand Cru. Very pleasant enhancements.

T - Tart cranberry with some cherry and a little raspberry, light malt, hard cider, oak. Moderately sour with a typical Grand Cru finish but with some added lingering cranberry. Perhaps a bit less tart than normal Grand Cru with more of an emphasis on the fruit in this one. Very, very nice.

M - High carbonation and a light body. Dries quickly.

O - A well-done step up from the already-great Grand Cru. Too bad it is so expensive.

Nov 26, 2013
Photo of putonyourwalkingshoes
putonyourwalkingshoes from California

4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Poured from a 750ml bottle no date. Cellared for about 6 months.

A: slightly translucent but muddy red. Nice foamy head for a sour. Really pleasant looking.

S: amazing. One of the best smells from a sour. Rich cranberries with a cherry soda component. Like candy.

T: clean. Not ultra sour but pleasant. A buttery sourness lighter in vinegar character than say rodenbach grand cru. Everything here works really well and the light carbonation brings it together.

M: great acid feel very smooth. Lingering sourness not overbearing. Real clean all around.

O: a great find. $25 well spent. Enjoyed much more than the vintage of many different years. Love sours and a great change up on the kriek with cranberries. Bomb.

Nov 20, 2014
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.57/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

With the personal feeling that Rodenbach's beers have always been undermined as a Sour Ale, they've put themselves back on the sour map with Caractere Rouge!

Starting with the same ruby-mauve hue that sparkles in the glass; its dark red hue is largely clear until the yeast cake in the bottle rises in suspension. As a dainty semi-fizzy creme swirls from the calderon beneath, its head character is soon compromised by the beer's acidity and dry body. A quick swirl brings the head back to life to share its high aromatics and then folds back into the glass with minimal lacing power.

Sweetness, tartness, and ooh-so savory aromas align in the nose with a sense of brightness and vibrancy. The fruity threads that pull the beer together are plump and just verbose enough to distinguish its cherry, raspberry and cranberry notes from each other. An overcast of malt is candied with mild confectioner's sweetness and then tempered with balsamic-type acidity. Toasted grain brings out a taste of toast and meek chocolate in order to reinforce its beery-scent.

Crisp, refreshing and savory at the onset, the beer's sweetness and sourness align on the early palate much like "Sweetheart" candy. Its fruit-forward flavor further reinforce that attitude until the middle of vinous red wine, slim balsamic and drier fruit notes bring about the natural earthiness in the beer. Light brine, musty wine soaked wood, dried limes and crab-apples hark to Lambic- but the fruit and light sweetness that accompanies it really bring out those Roeselare characteristics.

Though light bodied but not abhorrently dry, there's ample sweetness and and carbonation to give the early palate sensations a creamy fruit texture. But that's all short-lived as the carbonation bounces off the tongue and carries away with it the fruit and malt sweetness. What's left is vinous acidity that pangs sharply on the mouth in order to refresh it and finish pleasantly dry and warm.

Caractere Rouge is a less vinegary example of Flanders Red Ales but is slightly more fruit forward. I love it that the fruits are sweet enough to discern them from another and not so dry that they all begin to taste alike. That sweet-sour-savory medley shows a balance that's rarely found in Sour Ales.

Nov 21, 2013
Photo of Jack_Malts
Jack_Malts from Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Beautiful hazy auburn pour. Smells like sour cherry syrup. Big juicy fruit flavors, tart cherry, slight acetic presence, bright cranberry and freshly picked raspberries. A bit expensive, but a must try for any fans of Flanders reds, or anybody who likes mouth-wateringly delicious beer.

Nov 13, 2014
Photo of M_C_Hampton
M_C_Hampton from Georgia

4.63/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: poured from a 750 mL bottle into a snifter, beautiful red brown with a whispy reddish head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: sweet and sour combination of cherries and cranberries, hints of raspberry, balsamic vinegar

T: WOW, this beer plays back and forth between sweet and sour, acetic acid of malt and balsamic vinegar at first quickly swings into sweet cherry, tangy raspberry follows and plays off of sour cranberry, flavors of fruit abound in this beer

M: medium bodied, nice carbonation

O: and excellent fruity Flanders Red, well worth purchasing

Dec 13, 2014
Photo of jheimbigner
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
Photo of Brianito
Brianito from Tennessee

4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Aug 21, 2014
Photo of ummswimmin
ummswimmin from New Jersey

4.49/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jun 03, 2018
Photo of pathead
pathead from Wisconsin

4.75/5  rDev +6%

Jun 05, 2014
Photo of cmw2987
cmw2987 from Delaware

4.64/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Jul 20, 2015
Photo of Jhfinn
Jhfinn from New York

4.34/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aug 17, 2015
Photo of RealDeal
RealDeal from Florida

4.1/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Oct 15, 2017
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 sweemzander
sweemzander from Illinois

4/5  rDev -10.7%

Nov 11, 2013
Photo of brianmandell
brianmandell from California

4.39/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the 750ml bottle into a wine glass, caractere rouge is in character with a reddish brown pour. An actively fizzy head reduces to a fine ring of lacing on the glass.

The nose speaks of fruit, leather and oak.There is a strong cranberry presence layered with raspberry and strawberry. There is an underlying oaky, leathery smell. There is some medicinal quality to the elixir and a measure of funkiness.

The flavor is much more rounded and softer than the nose suggested. It's really delicious. There is only a mild amount of tartness - really a perfect amount for it to be refreshing. There is a ton of juicy fruit in the flavor - slightly sweet and mostly cranberry and raspberry but also cherry and even strawberry. It's a little medicinal on the mid-palate but dries out and does not overpower. There is also a soft oakiness that helps carry the large amount of fruit and make it interesting. There is definitely influence from the flanders red that makes Grand Cru such a nice beer but the effect here is a little lighter, more subtle and more distinct. I think you would have to like cranberries to really like this beer.

The mouthfeel is driven by active, creamy carbonation. Very nice.

I didn't expect this beer to be so easy to drink. But it is. It's very well done. If not for the nitpick of a slight medicinal smell and flavor - as well as the high cost - this would be a homerun.

May 06, 2015
Photo of ilikebeer03
ilikebeer03 from Texas

4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Feb 01, 2014
Photo of WhittierIceCream
WhittierIceCream from California

4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Dec 30, 2013
Photo of TravisMason
TravisMason from Indiana

4.41/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Mar 21, 2016
Photo of WormGod
WormGod from New York

4.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Jan 19, 2018
Photo of Insomniac
Insomniac from Canada (ON)

4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nov 07, 2020
Photo of KAP1356
KAP1356 from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Aug 18, 2014
Photo of kevanb
kevanb from Illinois

3.98/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle, European bottle with the hanging tag, poured into a Rodenbach Alexander snifter glass.


The beer pours a burgundy color, hazy and cloudy with light garnet and ruby hues with a thick finger of off-white head sitting atop the beer, good retention yielding a few spots of lace. The aroma is nice, tart cranberry, stone fruits, funk, oak, hearty grain and some really sharp sweetness here, like candi sugar overload. The flavors are nice, plenty of fruit, raspberry jam, tart cherry and cranberry, certainly sweet, but as aggressive as in the aroma, stone fruits, funk, chewy oak and dark grains, decently balanced though again, still quite sweet for me. The mouthfeel is very nice, lively but gentle carbonation, very smooth and soft, coats the mouth exceptionally well, light pucker at the finish that is mildly dry, spot on for the style.

Verdict: A nice Flanders Red Ale from Rodenbach, perhaps a bit too sweet for my palette, but the fruit flavors are very enjoyable, delicate and balanced. Another example of why Rodenbach is easily the best producer of Flander's beers in the world.

Mar 20, 2015
Photo of brother_kenneth
brother_kenneth from Virginia

5/5  rDev +11.6%

Jul 17, 2014
Rodenbach Caractère Rouge from Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
Beer rating: 99 out of 100 with 1574 ratings