Rader Blonde | Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu

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Rader BlondeRader Blonde
22 Ratings
Rader BlondeRader Blonde

Brewed by:
Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu

Style: Belgian Blonde Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by dogfooddog on 06-17-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 22 |  Reviews: 15
Reviews by dogfooddog:
Photo of dogfooddog
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Blonde beer from the Val Dieu brewery, notable that the brewery goes to some lengths to hide their role in producing this beer, as it lists only Radermacher Distillerie as the brewery. BBD 10/2008. May be another instance of the infamous belgian practice of selling the same beer under 2 labels?

Smell is very peppery, on top and dominating the normal belgian blonde floral hoppy notes typical for the blonde style. Might as well have black pepper in the beer, or maybe it does.

Taste is also unusually spicy, to the degree the odd pepper or spice note dominates the taste into the finish. It is very light-bodied, and quite pleasant. I am not sure what the component adding this character to the beer is, the closest resemblence is from saison de pipaix.

finish is unremarkable, some peppery notes on top of a bland blonde finish.

well worth trying, if only for the unusual flavor.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of barzelay
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Back of bottle says it is a "traditional Belgian bottle fermented ale brewed in old-fashioned way with natural gin flavor." Who knows what "natural gin flavor" is?

Most commenters have pointed out the gin-like aroma and taste, some have called it pine, others have referred to citrus such as lemons and oranges. Those are all near the truth, because this beer definitely brings plenty of the terpenes that you'd expect from evergreen and citrus oils. Still, the end effect of these terpenes combined with the malts is more unique and intriguing than others have given credit. In fact, it finishes with more honey flavor than anything else, with the piney and gingery flavors playing the role of honey's bitter notes. If you've had dandelion, sunflower, or bark honey, it's closer to those.

Still, the balance isn't quite there, with the sweetness seemingly present to mask the other flavors. It could use a bit less of the "natural gin flavors" and a bit less residual sugar.

Mouthfeel is fantastic and champagne-like, with lots of little bubbles.

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Photo of mattfancett
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%

Photo of Beer-Ed
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of DrBier
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dumpy brown 33cl bottle, picked up in Antwerp at some random beer shop I stumbled across while walking the wife.

I poured the beer into my 'Forbidden Fruit' chalice (only because the beer is supposed to be flavoured with a Juniper Berry distillate!).

I poured the whole bottle in, I wasn't going to, intending to leave the sediment within the bottle, but I missed the 'cut off point' and hey presto, out came the grist.

The beer would have been a clear but dull orange, old gold colour. It still was, but without the clear body, because of the floating particles i'd allowed out the bottle. The head was a deep blanket of white foam which stayed throughout the tasting.

Juniper beeries aren't supposed to smell of Wiltshire Ham are they? Well this beer did (smell of cold cut, cured Ham), unless my nose lost the plot completely.

The swurling sediment slowly began to settle and I took my first sip. Forget the hammy smells, this is a sour berry beer, lemon and limes too!

Really interesting Blonde this one, you'd never guess the flavours from the smell, well I was fooled anyway. Real Gin and Tonic style feel to it. What a pity the wife is in London at a West End Show tonight, she'd have raved about this beer.

Different and well made, I'll suprise my good lady next week (in Brugge) if I see this on any beer menu.

Edit bit: I did find it in Brugge and the wife did rave about it!

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Photo of chrismilner20
2.72/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This was a 750ml caged & corked bottle from Whole Foods on P street in DC,poured into my Gulden Draak tulip glass.

The color is a light golden color with lots of tiny bubbles streaming up .The nose is a mixture of ginger and soap with a little hint of pine. I think that this beer tastes remarkably like ginger ale with a little bit of Pine Sol thrown in. The mouth feel is very thin and is lacking body. My overall thought on this beer is so so I would not probably have another but was worth trying.

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Photo of John_M
4.74/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Unbelievably, this was on tap at Max's the other night. If memory serves, it was one of the first kegs to kick at their 72 hours of Belgium last year. It was that unusual and that popular.

The beer pours a solid gold color with decent head retention and lacing. The juniper berries in this beer are very noticeable, giving the beer an almost gingerale nose. There is also honey and sweet malt. This beer smells just divine. On the palate this beer is just amazing. It's very light and soft, with incredible flavors of honey and gingerale. There is lots of juniper on the palate, giving this beer almost gin-like properties. The beer is not the least bit heavy and is so easy to drink. Abv. is completely disguised, though there's a bit of astringency at the very end of the finish.

I guess I can see where this beer might not be for everybody, but in my mind this is what sets Belgium brewers apart from all others. This beer is completely unique and is not like anything else you are likely to try. I just love it and only wish the draft version were more readily available. For those feeling adventuresome, this beer is highly recommended. The only other beer I can think of that is even remotely similar to this beer is the Abbaye de St. Bon-Chien. This is fabulous stuff.

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Photo of InspectorBob
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of flagmantho
3.27/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from 330mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: dark golden color with a little bit of haze and some yeasty floaties because my pour was a little vigorous. Head is one finger of frothy white foam which dissipates somewhat quickly. Nice, but not perfect.

Smell: very floral aroma with hints of citrus and a light but present malt backbone. There's also a light pungency here which is interesting. I like it.

Taste: extremely floral flavor which overtakes its better qualities. The label says this contains "natural gin flavor", and I'll definitely buy that. It's a bit too sweet and the flavor is a bit too strong for me.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a very good creaminess. I like this aspect of the brew.

Overall: I find this beer getting more difficult to drink with each sip. It's not bad, per se, just really not toward my tastes. I'm sure this beer would be much tastier without its spices.

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Photo of kitschiguy
4.22/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle into 350ml beer glass.

I'm drinking the version of this beer under the 'Maset' label.

Very cloudy orange/brown. Head was virtually non-existent - maybe the glass.

Nice nose with a little yeast spice with malt aromas coming through nicely. Makes a nice change from the very yeast-forward Belgians I've tried lately.

Palate is lovely. Subtle but complex. Lots of malt flavour, some honey and mild bittreness in the finish. Really nice.

Mouth is medium - good.

Third beer from this bunch and they've all been winners. I got given these from a supplier here in Hong Kong and they are no longer supplying this beer. I hope I can get hold of some beers from this brewery again.

Highly recommended.

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Photo of brentk56
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy honey color with a rocky snow white head, with quite a bit of lace clinging to the sides of the chalice

Smell: Gin dominates the aroma, but there is a sweet malt, lemon and ginger element underneath, once you get by the Gin

Taste: Bready opening, but the Gin jumps into the fray very quickly, with the lemon and ginger ale elements arriving by mid-palate; after the swallow, the peppery ginger ale flavor dominates into the finish

Mouthfeel: Light body with spritzy carbonation

Drinkability: Can't say that I really enjoy this, although I find the flavor profile rather interesting; despite the interesting flavors, the overall effect is somewhat unbalanced, and I would like to see the gin, lemon and ginger play a more complementary role rather than dominating the profile

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Photo of LTS
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Okay, so this might be one of the more unique beers I've tried.

Poured into a traditional Belgian glass at 46 degrees. Thick white head that dissipates slowly into a thin top. Lacing is present.

Aroma is gin, as soon as I popped the cork I could smell it. It's nearly overpowering. In the glass you can pick up some citrusy notes.

Taste is unique. The taste of gin slams the tongue and there are some hints of lemon and some sweetness. There is a lingering lemon flavor.

Mouthfeel is pretty good. The beer is not thin and the sweetness in the taste gave a hint of that. It's effervescent almost on the tongue with a feeling that little bubbles are bursting everywhere.

Drinkability is up to the beholder. I worked through the glass waiting for it to grow on me and I just couldn't get there. The flavors are a little too scattered and unbalanced. It's not horrible, but there's no way I could drink another of these unless that was fixed. Still, some might like it.

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Photo of Latarnik
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of Honeybourne
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of corby112
3.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, cloudy golden yellow color with visible carbonation bubbling up and a one finger frothy off-white head that quickly fades into a thin lasting ring. Minimal spots of lacing left behind.

Crisp light fruit aroma with subtle hops and a strong gin character. The nose of this beer is truly unique and the gin presence blends well with the grape, apple and pear notes.

Creamy medium body with soft carbonation up front. Extremely quaffable and refreshing with light crisp fruit notes, especially apple and pear and a refreshing gin presence. Very well balanced with a sweet dry finish. Again, the gin flavor provides another layer of complexity, making this beer very unique and drinkable.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

25.9oz dark brown bottle. Generous 06/06/09 Best Before Date.
It pours a slightly hazy yellow-gold color with a pure white fast dissipating head with bubbles of all various sizes.

The aroma is odd! Crushed mint leaves in a pile of cut dried hay come to mind. The smell of ground pepper and a hint of limes are noticed.

The taste is unusual. Think Pils with a dash of Orange Kool Aid, mint leaf and black pepper.

A honey-like sweetness emerges, as does a tarragon herbal taste. The 6.5% is well disguised, though a slight boozy breath appears late in the glass.

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Photo of drpimento
4.51/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Odd beer to review and rate. Nevertheless. Well now. Truly unique. The brewer has created an intriguing concoction that has the sense of mastery about it. I have a hard time imagining anyone else taking these ingredients and crafting something as palatable as this. The commercial description says "subtle juniper". I have a bad sinus infection so that my smell and taste are greatly diminished. But I can certainly pick up the juniper characteristics here! Whoa nelly. It's not a dark beer. It is hazy. Some lace and a lasting thin head. Gin beer. Go figure. Nice.

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Photo of markaberrant
1.59/5  rDev -56.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

A - hazy golden, nice white head

S - massive juniper nose, tons of fresh evergreen, mint and soap. Smells like Pine-Sol.

T - tastes like a combination of Pine-Sol and a basic light lager

M - who cares?

D - yuck!

Their website says it is a lager flavoured with juniper. This is awful. I've had some great beers with juniper, but this is disgusting. Drain pour.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.13/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pale lemon with fine yeast particles fluttering downward and fine bubbles rushing upward. The bright white crown is a thing of beauty. It was four full fingers following the pour, has an amazing whipped-sticky texture and is beginning to lay down shredded sheets of Belgian lace like nobody's business. Masterful.

Scotch, bourbon, dark rum and anejo tequila are the best. I can handle vodka and white rum. I've always found the medicinal flavor of gin to be... let's go with revolting. That little fact is relevant in this review because Rader Blonde includes 'natural gin flavor', whatever that is. A few drops of the spirit itself? Juniper berries? So right away, RB has a tough row to hoe.

The nose is actually pretty pleasant, largely because it doesn't smell much like gin. Well, okay, maybe weakly flavored gin with a whole lotta lemon zest and a few freshly ground spices. It's definitely different. This might be good beer after all.

Rader Blonde is delicious. It's a good thing this is a 750 ml bottle because this ale is light (with respect to both flavor and body) and is immensely drinkable. It's a perfect choice for a warm summer day, rather than a weakly sunny fall-winter day like today. Thankfully, the brewers went light on the 'gin flavor' as well. There's just enough juniper to make things interesting.

The malt is nothing but pilsner and the hops are Hallertau and Saaz. Now I know where the bright lemongrassiness is coming from. A subtle, clove and cardamom-like spiciness balances things out in beautiful fashion. The finish is ultra-clean and quenching. Talk about a perfect picnic beer.

The body/mouthfeel is pretty much right where it should be. Having said that, a little more fluffy creaminess and fraction more 'hang on' would have earned it the next highest score with ease.

This is good beer that is just different enough to be considered unique. I've certainly never had anything quite like it. If you love both gin and Belgian pale ale, seek it out. Even if, like me, you can't stand gin, Rader Blonde will provide you with 750 ml of light and refreshing deliciousness.

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Photo of CMW
2.57/5  rDev -29%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - cloudy yellow with one finger head that retreates and leaves just a trace of its former self. Lacing is massive. Carbonation is also very present.

S - Sweetness and alcohol is mostly what I detect. Not very pleasant.

T - There is a mix of lemon sourness and pine cones. It tastes like I'm drinking hard alcohol without the burn.

M - Very light but crisp.

D - If I enjoyed the taste more, I would say these are very drinkable.

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Rader Blonde from Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu
Beer rating: 3.62 out of 5 with 22 ratings