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Ichtegem's Grand Cru | Brouwerij Strubbe

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BA SCORE
84
good
248 Reviews
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Ichtegem's Grand CruIchtegem's Grand Cru
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Strubbe
Belgium | website

Style: Flanders Oud Bruin

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by audiojon on 05-07-2006

BEER STATS
Reviews:
248
Ratings:
548
Avg:
3.73
pDev:
17.96%
 
 
Wants:
29
Gots:
47
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 248 | Ratings: 548
Photo of GRG1313
4.17/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark clear brown with a thin white head.

Nose is assertive aged oranges and a "sweet/sour" character. Nose has a "sweet fruit with brettanomyces" character. Pleasant.

Mouthfeel is just about perfect. Rich, creamy and full bodied but with a bright acidic character.

Flavors are bright but bold and big. Huge spiced citric orange with lime, citric malt and citric stone fruit.

All around deliscious flavors once it's in the glass or in an open bottle for a bit! Air really helps this one develope into something very nice, almost like having a wine breathe.

Nice citric limed malt finish. Hints of sour all around (and one almost wants it to be more sour) but very drinkable.

 689 characters

Photo of cichief
4.17/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a pretty good example of the style. Maybe not as sour as some.

A- Pours a nice reddish-brown with a nice tan head, not quite opaque.

S- Smells of ripe fruit, a hint of sourness coming through.

T- The sour flavor doesn't hit you like others in the style, some maltiness, over-ripe fruit.

M- Bubbly, but not effervescent, maybe a bit thinner than I would like.

D- I enjoyed the beer, and will purchase it again in the future. I have another bottle I want to share with a friend who likes the style.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.15/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 330mL bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: deep amber-brown hue with a little haze and two fingers of nice tan head. Looks promising.

Smell: sour, woody aroma atop a slightly sweet, caramel malt. A very nice aroma, if not otherwise complex.

Taste: right in line with the aroma; it's tasty and well-crafted. A nice medium sourness fills out a caramel malt flavor that has hints of the wood in which it has been aged. Straightforward and tasty.

Mouthfeel: there's a little astringency due to the acidity, but the creaminess of well-integrated carbonation comes through very well in the medium body. Fantastic.

Drinkability: I love the refreshing characteristics of sour ales. Ichtegem's Grand Cru is a solid, refreshing, tasty Flanders red that I could probably drink all day.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.15/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle into a pint glass. best by 12/17/17.

pours a dark brown/red with no head. moderate amount of bubbles. the smell is of sour cherries, quite pronounced and strong. taste is about the same, with an added flavor of grapes as well. enjoyable and true to style. medium bodied with medium carbonation.

overall a solid example of a flemish red. very tasty and enjoyable.

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Photo of rootbeerman
4.13/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into my duvel tulip

A: pours deep reddish brown with an off white finger and a half head which fell to a thin layer, thick lacing.
S: sour slightly vinegary malt, with a woody fruity sweetness.
T: a great balance between sour and sweet. there is a tart cherry like sweetness. a light vinegar taste.
M: dry, yet the tartness lingers after each sip. low carbonation
D: wish a sixer or four pack was cheap, this is very good and a nice change from the normal american craft.

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Photo of ToasterChef
4.13/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a Trappist Rochefort chalice. It pours very dark brown with a tan head of large soapy bubbles. There is a slightly earthy aroma, but I couldn't really smell much with this beer. The complex tastes is where this beer shines. It is mildly sweet, with molasses, gingerbread and winter spices. They all work together well, even though it seemed I couldn't always taste all the flavors with each sip (probably because the beer was warming as I drank it). It has a fuller mouthfeel; this isn't a watery beer. It fishes dry with a hint of toffee and perhaps some toasted malts. I like this beer. It probably isn't a great choice for a hot Memorial Day weekend (when I had it), but would work well in the colder, winter months.

Edit: after looking at some of the other reviews, I wonder if I was served the correct beer, as my review doesn't sound like any of the other ones. I am reviewing from my tasting notes, and I left no indication that this one tasted sour at all.

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Photo of tempest
4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

To the uninitiated, this can be a pretty funky beer. Having tried many Flanders Reds, however, I can say this is a nice, mellower than usual version of the style. In that sense it allows you to enjoy the flavors of crisp tang, mild oak, and light caramel barley instead of being overwhelmed by the sour funk.

Maybe it's just a sour ale for beginners, but I liked it.

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Photo of SteveS1
4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Look - Pours cloudy red with amber at the edges. 1-finger bubbly head with average retention, little lacing to speak of.

Smell - strong acidic sourness, tart apples, and a distinct musty aroma.

Taste - Tart cherries and apple on the tongue, general fruitiness on the palate, and a mellow cranberry and oak going down. Mild dry aftertaste.

Feel - Highly carbonated, accentuates the sour notes on the tongue, otherwise rather light

Drink - If sour and fruity is your thing, this one goes down no problem. More on the mild side of what can be accomplished with the style.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an 11.2 oz. bottle into a tulip. A deep ruby brown color with a nice fluffy tan head. About a finger's worth of head, tight bubbled and clinging nicely to the glass.

Aroma is a sour oakiness with sweet toasted malt in the background. A very pleasant blend of sweet and sour, with the sour owning my olfactory glands at first and the sweetness just slithering through quietly. The oak aging is very evident here, and adds another aspect to the mix. Yes I've been smelling this for about ten minutes so far and have not taken a sip.

The taste is all about the sour funk. Sour fruitiness, with some sweetness as well and no bitterness in the end just a long dry sour finish. Did I mention this is sour? Some of the toasted oak is coming through at times and it adds a nice complexity, but I do not get the same balance and complexity that the aroma promises.

This is my first formal review of this style and only my second tasting of it. I am learning a great deal and enjoying every bit of it.

This Flanders Red is not heavy at all, and it does leave the mouth dry. A nice sipper though with some wine like qualities that one would not expect in a relatively low ABV beer.

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Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a subtle sourness that yields to the oak barrel aroma. It's well rounded with crystal and roasted malts; very nice. The taste is good. It has a subdued sour flavor that really works well with the oak aging. It's mellowed out and thus increases the drinkability. The malt content consists of some pale and roasted malts. It's doesn't appear to be too sweet. On the contrary, it's dry and quite light in the mouthfeel. It's a medium bodied beer with adequate/good carbonation. This is a very enjoyable beer. I love the oak contribution. It tames the sourness to a level that most would enjoy.

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Photo of tbeckett
4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle at Josie Bones. From notes.

A - Poured murky brown with a red tint. One finger of beige head. Nice drapes of lace and a film of retention.

S - Nice woody notes. Rich fruits and spirits. Cherry, dark fruit and sweet fruits.

T - Less dark fruit, more tart woodiness. Mellowed later with a sweetness. Woody, tart, and sweet all at once.

M - Good carbonation, medium body, frothy in the mouth, tart finish.

O/D - Nice. Enjoyed it as it captured the flavours I was expecting properly and fit the style. Balanced accordingly. Nice stuff.

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Photo of glid02
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this on-tap from BSP in Atlanta.

Pours a clear dark ruby color with a one-finger white head that seems to have an orange tint. The head recedes into a thin layer of bubbles on top and a medium-sized ring around the glass. There's not much lacing.

Smells good. There's a good fruity aroma, lots of berries. There are also slight tart and earthy smells.

Tastes good as well. Lots of sweet fruit flavors up front that are followed by a good amount of sourness and a dry finish. There's a mild oak flavor that pokes through every now and then as well.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a good thickness to go with lively carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I had no problem finishing this glass and would've gladly had another.

Overall I was impressed. I'm just now getting into sours, but I was a fan of the way none of the flavors were too overpowering in this beer. Certainly worth a shot.

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Photo of eric5bellies
4.09/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from my Duvel tulip glass

A - Pours a dark brown Belgian Ale appearance with a head that dies pretty fast.

S - Aromas are quite vineous and reminicent of the Duchess de Bourgoyne and a little sweet.

T - Up front there are some sweet malts that are followed briefly by some dark stewed fruit and finishes with a vineous flavour that is balanced out with sugar at the very end.

M - Light to medium body and small carbonation

D - I like this beer a lot, and it will leave a nice suprise for you, its something a little different which I enjoy.

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Photo of rarbring
4.08/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cuvée 2007. Slightly hazy red/brown/copper, a light high tan head, settles rather quickly leaving good lacing. Some curtains.

The smell is fresh and sour, sour creme, red fruits and some wood.

The taste starts sweet, fructose, then dried fruits, raisins, apples and raspberries, a touch of sour rhubarbs, some yeast and leather.

Little carbonation, a soft texture, a medium body, smooth and not dry.

A good, clean, solid, honest, original beer. Smooth temptation. Exquisite with cheese.

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Photo of jwc215
4.07/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Freshness date of 03-2013 on top of cap.

Pours hazed reddish brown with a thin tan bubbly head. Spots of lacing stick.

The smell is tart with some acidity, brown sugar, and vinuous notes - Oak is mild.

The taste is sour notes (grapey) with caramelish brown sugar sweetness. Not as sour as some other examples. The oak is mild, but there. It has a soft sweet and sour finish.

It is light-bodied with some effervescence. Very smooth.

A very drinkable example of the style. A malty complexity balances out the tart, though doesn't overwhelm it. Alcohol is very well hidden. It's not as strong as some others, but it has a nice uniqueness and is very drinkable.

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Photo of crossovert
4.07/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle.

Pours into my tulip with a nice big off white head that looks amazing and leaves some nice laing topping a dark red/brown colored brew with yeast floaties gleefully swirling around.

The smell is heavily infused with a big dose of oak along with some vinegary cherry.

It is very smooth and drinkable, not very sour with a hint of cherry and some very nice caramel malts. Not too vinegary, very nice ale.

The mouthfeel is a bit off, it is very carbonated and slightly water if you take a certain sized gulp. I t is certainly very drinkable for the style.

This is a nice not too rabid, not too sweet Flanders Red Ale.

 635 characters

Photo of MrDanno96
4.07/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours fairly dark with hints of red - especially when held to light. Not much head or lacing.

S: The typical sour fruit aroma you would expect from this style.

T: Very pleasant - I get mostly sour grapes and raspberries, but not too sour. A good mix of sweet and sour acidity.

M: Light to medium and fairly smooth with a nice sour bite in the finish.

D: Very drinkable for the style, I think. Not TOO high in alcohol and not so sour that you want to stop after one.

 475 characters

Photo of 7ways
4.07/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

9/21/08 11.5 oz bottle in a tulip.

Looks dirty dark brown until held to the light, when it becomes a gorgeous bright red, with a fleeting off white head. Smells like ripe fruit, oak, and...cheddar? Smoked gouda? Interesting.
Taste: Lovely mild sourness; tart red fruit and muted lactose sweetness. Not much oak, but that's OK. Definitely smoked gouda on the finish, which is my favorite component of this brew. Lively carbonation, but could use a bit more. Not as dry or sour as others I've had of the style.
My local bar keeps this stocked, and I sometimes order 2 or 3 in a session. I ask for the gouda beer. Very good stuff.

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Photo of bceagles39
4.07/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On draft at Gastropub 775 in Reno, NV on July 26 2011.

Beer poured a light chestnut brown. It had a tan head with good lacing.

It smelled of sour cherries.

As one would expect, the first sip was bracingly acidic, sour and quenching.

The carbonation and beer were harsh on the tongue. The beer was very very smooth, likely due to the aging. No fake vanilla notes or anything like that.

Drinks like a Flemish Red with no lack of delicious, funky, Belgian action.

 465 characters

Photo of Mitchster
4.06/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$4.29 for an 11.2 oz bottle. 6.5% ABV per the bottle. Thin dark brown layer of yeast at the bottom of the bottle. Pours out to a clear dark brown, requiring a heavy pour to achieve a thin dark yellow head with poor retention and no lacing. Carbonation is moderate. The aroma is deliciously tart , with candied apples, tart cherries, and sour Belgian barnyard funk. The mouthfeel is pleasant, smooth, rounded with a nice oak character, a light body and a crisp piquant acidity. The taste starts out with sour cherries and candied apples, followed by a nice sweet apple cider vinegar note, oak, and followed by toasted malts in the middle. Bitterness is very mild, nearly non-existent. There is a peculiar candi-like aftertaste.

This beer is really nice, but it doesn't stand up to Duchesse, Goudenband, or Rodenbach Grand Cru...other killer examples of the style.

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Photo of alkchrios
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was suggested to my by a reliable source due to my new found love for monks cafe flemish red.. I must say although I do enjoy the Ichtegem, the flanders still sticks out as one of the best sours ive ever had...although im not the most knowledgeable when it comes to sours.
A- Dark copper, almost a deep purple hue, mostly transparent with little to no head
S- wine, cherries, sugar
T-I get a nice cider taste, there are no earthy notes to this brew at all..just a lot of sweet tones with citrus and tartness.
M- Very crisp and clean..coats the entire pallet but not over bearing.
D- This is a great beer summer beer...very refreshing..not hard on the wallet at all and just an overall good beer!

Cheers

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Photo of Brenden
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's true that I need more experience with the style, but I think I know the guidelines, at least.

It's sort of a thick and hazy beer, and the color isn't so much a red-brown as brown-red. A big, fluffy off-qhite head stands for a good, long time, barely diminishing below two fingers for quite a while and remaining even as the beer is being drunk. It sticks around like a creamy pillow before eventually settling to a layer that deposits patchy lacing that continues to spread out in legging as it goes.
Tart and sour on the nose, this is a solid standard-setter as I understand it. Just a touch of vinegar-like funk is unoffensive and deep. Light alcohol notes just sneak out.
Plenty tart and sour, it's short of puckering but plenty flavorful. It's got lots of it, giving the impression of underripe fruits that have somehow full developed their flavor. A creamy sort of vanilla sweetness underlies it and balances very nicely. An easy sipper that's not too sour but doesn't stray, I could have several of these easily.
The body is light a fairly robust red wine with a light fizz to it. It's got a solid depth to it and flows very nicely. It has a pretty easy finish.

 1,173 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle poured into a Snifter

A – Poured a very nice and hazy ruby tinted medium brown with a decent enough two inch head of off white frothy foam at the top. This settled down gently to a nice thin layer across with adequate side glass lacing throughout.

S – The aroma was rich and full of sour tones. There was a nice earthy grain quality to the background which melded with lots of sour fruit like smells and a nice tight bouquet of light alcohol. Very classic aroma for the style.

T – A wonderful and very full flavor this one was definitely a crowd pleaser. The first wave to hit me was a nice rich bitter sour puckered grape flavor. This was very full with a good amount of bite to it and a really nice freshness. Once it started to warm, some very nice sugary notes began to meld into it and form a very nice dark fruit like flavor that continued on into a very nice long lasting bitter dry finish. There was almost a wine like flavor capping it off, very good.

M – Very smooth and delicate, this light to medium bodied ale displayed more then adequate carbonation and a rich velvet like texture that really helped to showcase and bring forward the delicate flavors that were inside.

D – Very nice sipper. The flavors were very big and intense at first, but as it warmed it really started to mellow some and became a fine sipping sour ale. There was very low ABV so you had no trouble in polishing it off.

Overall this was a fine example of the style and really nice sour ale; I had not had one in a good while so this was a nice treat. Very nice presentation and aroma, and the flavor more then backed it up. I would gladly have another one of these any day.

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Photo of chefkevlar
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a beautiful deep garnet color with a 1/4 inch or so of tan colored head.

S: Very complex aroma with a mix of cherry, vinegar, raspberry, and a little bit of a funky backgroud

T: Complex just like the smell. I was told this was a sour beer and there is a hit of sour at first, but it fades quickly. Other than that I can taste cherry and raspberry, along with a bit of vinegar. It finishes with a little bit of a mineral taste.

M: Medium body with a moderate amount of carbonation. The carbonation is made of tiny bubbles which reminds me of champagne

D: This is not a beer that could be pounded down in large amounts, but it is very enjoyable to sip on a bottle or two at a time.

 692 characters

Photo of ILessThan3Brett
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a very difficult beer to review because I feel it differs an unusual amount from bottle to bottle. I've had about 8 or 10 of these over the past year, usually in a Rodenbach or Liefmans flute, and I feel that roughly half the time, the stuff that comes out of the bottle is definitely one of the best sour beers available. No observable pattern in bottle age or batch as to which bottles turn out great and which merely okay. I'm reviewing "the great half" and "the okay half" separately.

About half the time, I've gotten a superb beer with nicely balanced sweetness and tartness, predominantly vanilla flavors with a background of stone fruit, and maybe just a touch too much astringency. I think the most similar beer I've tried to this one is Jolly Pumpkin's La Roja, though I'm not sure I remember La Roja well enough to be confident about that comparison. I'd be tempted to give this verson of Ichtegem's Grand Cru a perfect rating.

The other half of the time, I've gotten something by no means awful, but certainly a bit odd, with the usual flaw being excessive sweetness accompanied by a bit more leather and astringency than usual. Leather undertones can be great in the right beer, but they clash with the sweetness here. On one occasion I got something a bit medicinal and acetone-like.

I do have a theory about the reason for the inconsistency and would love to have it confirmed or denied. I think that the beer as it is intended has pretty high diacetyl content, which comes off as contributing a vanilla-ish taste to this beer. However, diacetyls are unstable and can degrade (and then react with other beer components, degrading them in turn) if not treated gently. I think it's possible that this beer is just fragile and needs especially careful treatment to show its best. I know that it can also difficult to control diacetyl remetabolization (aka "diacetyl rest"). This must be especially difficult with a barrel-aged, bottle-conditioned ale like this one, so that could also be what's happening here.

EDIT: The distributors confirmed that this beer and Strubbe's Flemish Red Ale Grand Cru ( http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/2299/28420 ) are identical beers despite having different labels.

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Ichtegem's Grand Cru from Brouwerij Strubbe
84 out of 100 based on 248 ratings.
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