Name: Rodenbach Grand Cru
Brewery: Brouwerij Rodenbach
Country of Origin: Belgium
City & State: Spanjestraat
Style: Flanders Red Ale
Alcohol Content (ABV): 6.00%
First Brewed: ca. 1885
Brown with a burgundy shine under a dense, lacy head. Woody ode with lactic acid, black cherries, and Black Forest cake. Vinous taste, sharp notes of lactic and acetic acid, with some sweetness. Yet tart, yet astringently dry. Fruity esters, but clean metallic in the palate.
We haven’t really reviewed many beers since we got back from China. I blame weird sleep schedules and just trying to get caught up. We have also started to expand the blog with interviews, off the wall blog posts and the podcast. We are busy, but we are going to get caught up this weekend and review a few beers.
I am not sure I have ever tried a beer from Rodenbach, but it’s good to know all their beers (at least the 2 on the list) are blended. Very cool story about the brewery, too. I landed this bottle in a trade, but can’t even remember who the trade was with! It doesn’t matter, as I am excited to drink this. Just reading those tasting notes has my mouth watering. I hope it tastes as good as it sounds. Cheers!
In the Glass: When I took this out of the fridge, I almost freaked out. The cork had a weird residue around the base, and the wire around the cap was rusted. This beer traveled a LONG way, and I was going to be pissed if it was bad. I popped the cork, and my hand was immediately sticky. NOT a good sign. I poured some beer, and it was fine producing a nice ice cream thick head. I haven’t tried it yet, but it smells delicious. I might be freaking out for no reason.
The only thing I am concerned about right now is the head. It is thick. I mean, I need a spoon to find the beer thick. That is a good sign for a good beer. The bros on BeerAdvocate rated this 100… So it MUST be good! I like this style, too. Cheers!
Nose: It smells like a Flanders red should. It has a nice subtle sweetness to it with a tinge of the sour that I can’t wait to consume. I almost want to just skip the nose and focus on the flavor. Also, I had a really bad week this week… I just took a shot of whiskey to drown my trouble away. Back to the beer.
When I close my eyes, I get a nice barnyard metallic aroma here. It’s hard for me to explain the “barnyard” part… But if you smell this beer, and have ever been in a barn in the middle of summer, you will know what I am talking about. Let’s drink!
Flavor: I can’t believe a beer that has this much sugar added (to increase the ABV) and has matured for at least 2 years in a cask is only 6% ABV. I would love to see this around 10 or 11%.
The beer is not as sour as I thought it would be. It does produce a nice sour in the finish, but is WAY too cold to drink. This is going to really start to open up as it heats up. I will say, just based on that first sip, this beer is not bad nor is it infected. There must just have been something spilled on the cap from the time it was bottled until now. I wish I had a way to track how long it has been since this was bottled.
The beer is not as complex as I thought it would be. It is also not as sour as I wanted it to be. Not that I wanted lip sucking sour, but I did expect it to be more tart than this. It’s not a bad beer, but it just isn’t what I expected for as long as this beer takes to produce. I wanted more “wow” factor.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is quite boring, to be honest. It is smooth and very easy to drink. I don’t always agree with the guys on BeerAdvocate, and this is definitely one of those times where I am confused with their rating. If I was rating this on a scale of 1 to 100, I would rate this around 72. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure there are some people out there that appreciate this style. I just wanted more.
Aftertaste: There isn’t much an aftertaste. There is a little bit of sour sticking around, and maybe a hint of sweetness. But I am not going to seek this beer out again. If this is any sign of what is to come from Rodenbach, I am not looking forward to our next bottle from them. Think about it… 2/3 of the beer in this bottle sat in the brewery for at least 2 years in wooden casks… Yet they aren’t able to produce a flavor that is beyond something I can grab off the shelf any day of the week.
Rodenbach is a big name in Belgian brewing, and even though they have changed ownership over the years and have basically written the book on blending, this is not the best example of this style. This is also not the best blend I have ever had. I would even say there are some local brewing companies producing better beers of a similar style.
Rodenbach Grand Cru – The bottle says: “Rodenbach Grand Cru is an exceptional Belgian ale known as FLEMISH RED BROWN ALE. It enjoys a special status in Belgium as a “Traditional Regional” product. A mixed fermentation ale, Rodenbach is matured in oak vats, giving this ale a signature sweet-sour taste and intense bouquet with a very long aftertaste like a Grand Cru wine. Rodenbach Grand Cru is a blend of “young” male (33%) and ale that has matured for two years (67%).”
So, this beer is a sour. That’s about all I really know about it. It looks pretty dark in the glass, almost like a brown. Ricky said the cork almost looked like it had broken off in the bottle. The beer still poured out with a ton of head, though. I’ve left it sitting here a while, and it’s pretty much gone now. It’s pretty thick, but not totally. I can still see through the glass a little bit. It smells sour, but it’s not overpowering. Let’s see what it tastes like.
It tastes really sour, that’s for sure. The sour taste hit me even before I got all the beer in my mouth. Once you get some of it down, though, the sour taste has a nice balance to it. It hits you at first, but it’s not overpowering, either, at least not in my opinion. It’s got a slight hint of carbonation to it, but not a lot. Ricky said when he was telling me about it, “you like sours, right?” My answer was that I do sometimes, but not if they are too sour. We had one a while back that was really darn sour, like drinking a Warhead, those candies you used to buy as a kid (or at least I did). I don’t get a ton of other flavor out of it, really. Maybe a little smokiness, but not much.
Ricky doesn’t seem too impressed by it, but I think it’s well-balanced for a sour. I’d buy it again if I was looking for a sour that I liked that wasn’t too overpowering.