Rodenbach Grand Cru (6%, 33 cl)

More than a year ago I reviewed the “Original” Rodenbach and concluded I wouldn’t buy that one anymore since this Rodenbach Grand Cru is so much better. Obviously I had it before. Time to write a review about the “better” Rodenbach. And as I have said before, I like to age almost all of my Belgian beers, and this one is no exception (this time). This particular bottle was aged for another year and a half (past it’s best before date). Before my additional ageing, the beer was aged at the brewery for two years (in oak) and then mixed with young beer. 2/3 old beer with 1/3 young beer.

At this point I must give off a little warning. I was in a beer shop recently and overheard some clients talking about pouring the big bottle of Rodenbach Vintage down the toilet. The big bottle should even be better than this Grand Cru, but this is a Flemish Red Brown beer, it’s acidic, so probably not for everyone…

Color: Dark red with brown foam

Nose: Fresh, with a small hint of stale beer, acidic. Sour cherries. Deep brooding yeast (not a lot of it though). Spices. With time some raisins and plum, which adds another layer of depth to the beer. Beef jerky? wow!

Taste: Yeah! Acidic, but with extreme depth. Too much to comprehend all at once. This is so much better than the original Rodenbach! Cherries in alcohol (the alcohol taste is enhanced by the extra ageing). Black cherries, and even some other red fruits from the family of berries. Definitely a favorite of mine. Extremely refreshing. One bottle is not enough. Long finish, with a lemony finish.

This beer takes ageing very well, but also warnings are given off no to age for too long. I just don’t know how long too long is. Ageing add’s  a lot of complexity. Can’t wait to try a vintage Rodenbach! I’m pretty sure I won’t be pouring that one down the toilet!

Points: 88

Petrus Aged Pale (7.3%, 11.2 fl.oz.)

Still nice weather and too hot for writing blogs, so hereby I apologize to my readers that it took a few days for a new review. This time a review of beer brewed by Bavik in Belgium called Petrus Aged Pale. This beer was initially intended only for the US market, hence the typical warnings on the label, even though I bought this bottle in Belgium. This Aged Pale is considered by many to be Bavik’s best beer (and thus compared with Rodenbach Grand Cru). It is made with pale malt only and lagered for two to two and a half years in oak casks. Funnily enough its style is the same as with the Rodenbach. So this can be considered to be a “white” red beer.

Color: Gold

Nose: Announces acidity, yellow fruits, apricots and pear (not the skin).

Taste: Sour and woody. Refreshing. Citrussy and is almost a white beer (but it isn’t). Herbal and grassy, and a woody finish.

Initially you might say that it’s simple, sour and very refreshing, so it fits the summer day profile. But when given some attention and your ability to work on it for a while, this simple beer let’s you know it has a lot more going for it. It awards you with a lot more complexity than you would say at first. It is close to a Rodenbach but in my opinion, better balanced and way more complex. You just have to work it a bit. For me this is better than the classic Rodenbach, but I’ll have to give the Rodenbach Grand Cru a go. This Petrus could be an acquired taste, but one I like a lot.

Points: 84

Rodenbach (5.2%, 25 cl)

Here’s something else to put in your mouth!

It’s difficult to say what kind of beer Rodenbach really is. Michael Jackson called it a Red Beer or Burgundy of Belgium. In Flanders they call it a “(Flemish) Old Brown” or “Flemish Red Brown”. Sometimes it’s also called a “West Flanders Red Brown” So take your pick. The brewery started in Roeselare Belgium in 1821, and as of 1998 Rodenbach is part of the Palm group.

Rodenbach Original or Classic is blended from aged (1/4) and young beers (3/4) and married for two years. There is also a Rodenbach “Grand Cru” (6%) wich also is blended from aged (2/3) and young beers (1/3). Besides these two, some less known special editions are released. The vintage 2009 springs to mind.

Color: Red Brown, Mahogany.

Nose: Sour, fruity and yeast. After a while it smelled a bit like sugar syrup.

Taste: Watery (in comparison to the Grand Cru). Sour and winey. Lemon-lime citrus notes and very fresh. Hints of wood which gives the beer some body. Sometimes this reminds me of a Lambic beer.

This one is all right and could be savoured any time. It’s probably at its best on a terrace in the summertime. Really refreshing, thirst quenching. It has its place, and in comparison with other Belgian beers it shure is unique, but if you like more depth and more…well everything, you should go for the Grand Cru. This still is pretty decent and fresh, classic Rodenbach.

Personally I wouldn’t buy this (any more). The Grand Cru is so much better. The ‘Cru’ also is great for outside drinking in the summertime and has some more meat on its bones. If given the choice, a no brainer for me.  Master Quills tip: this beer is still ok, past its best before date…

Points: 74