Grand Cru (Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.)

Style: Flanders Red Ale

6% ABV

Brewer’s Note:

33% Young Ale, 67% Ale matured for 2 years

Aged in Oak Barrels

This is a big classy bottle, which I respect and enjoy, but overall the design is a little boring.  The close-up of the oak barrels as the picture graphic for the bottle is a little weird, though I do like the crooked oval that the photo is found within.  The text is nice and uncluttered, but a little boring.  I do like the black and red color scheme, but I think the gold lettering clashes with it.  I like the gold letters by themselves, but on this bottle they seem a little off.  Overall this is a mediocre bottle.  Its presentation is classy, which is nice, and is definitely worthy of scrapbooking, but I will have to think about it before I put it on a shelf.


The beer pours a murky brown like melted brown sugar, and there is a nice light cream head on top that circles the glass but leaves the middle clear.  The second pour produced a bigger head with some slight tanning to it.  The beer is quite dark and very murky, but there are some light carbonation bubbles.  There is also a nice dark rose tinge to the color.  The beer smells big and sour with strong cherry leather wafting.  The alcohol is also a little present at the back of the nose, leaving a slight spicy burn.  The beer also smells richly caramelly, but this is over powered by the vinegar sour which stings at the nose, and the cherry leather which plays with the caramel.

The beer tastes wonderfully cherry tart with terrific and strong esters coming off the yeast and suggesting green apples and slight pineapple accents.  Of course this beer is mostly about the big sour taste, and it delivers beautifully, bringing big sweet fruit notes over the tongue while it puckers the sides of my mouth.  The initial rush of flavor is big with sour cherry, but as the beer opens up it really highlights the esters beautifully.  The aftertaste is very strong with the apple esters and the remnants of the sweet cherry.  As the beer warms the apple esters also become more dominant.  The mouthfeel is prickly and effervescent with carbonation, leaving it a little harsh on the tongue, but the beer is soft and chewy, leaving the palate wet with lots of dry patches and wanting more as it puckers with the sour after-shocks.  Overall this is another tasty Flanders Red that is quite cheap and easily accessible making it a great introduction to the style.  I liked Oude Tart a little more than this I think, as it was thicker and got a little more caramel into the sour, but this is a terrific sipper and is worth a try.



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