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Rodenbach Alexander

Brewed by Brouwerij Rodenbach (Palm)
Style: Sour Red/Brown
Roeselare, Belgium
Serve in Snifter, Tulip, Tumbler


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 483   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.16/5   EST. CALORIES: 180   ABV: 6%
Extra-fermented beer with a fruity bouquet and a sharp, sweet and sour flavor. Matured for two years in oak casks.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
mariuspoenari (1692) - The Hague, NETHERLANDS - OCT 24, 2016
75cl bottle. Clear ruby pour with a medium-height beige head that gives way to a smooth lacing. Visible carbonation rising to the top. The aroma is dominated by sour cherries, with additional cherry cores, almonds, sherry and a hint of vanilla. The taste follows the aroma notes, heavy on the cherries, almonds, macerated grapes, red wine vinegar and vanilla. Mild to medium tartness, light bodied and with high carbonation, making for a very refreshing drink.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
weihenweizen (3187) - Charleston Area, West Virginia, USA - OCT 22, 2016
Refrigerated 75 cl brown bottle listed at 5.6%corked and capped poured into a Teku. Translucent Crimson with small white head. Aroma is tart cherries, medium body, medium carbonation, and pretty good small bubble lacing. Taste is rice rich cherry, some tart, And a little wood. Not only the best Rodenbach, but the best Flemish reds, and one of the best beers I have had.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
beerplace (913) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - OCT 21, 2016
Tasting at Alex’s. Vintage 2016. 750ml bottle from Elizabeth Station. Pours a copper with a white head. Aroma is non-intense with cherries and barrels notes. Taste is very smooth, slightly sour, with cherry notes. This one is definitely should be a separate entry from the original Alexander that has been brewed last time in the year 2000.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Habanero (4130) - Tranbjerg, DENMARK, DENMARK - OCT 21, 2016
Bottled. Pours clear amber with a tiny of-white head. Aroma of caramel wood, vanilla, over ripe fruits and berries. Slightly sweet flavor that ends up being dy and tart. Medium bodied, oiy texture and soft to average carbonation. An excellent Sour.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
philus (54) - Bazel, BELGIUM - OCT 20, 2016
I can only speak for drinking this fresh, the 2016 version, but this is not nearly as good as the hype suggests. It’s actually quite sweet for an oud bruin and I doubt if they used fresh fruit in this beer...

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Alengrin (4604) - BELGIUM - OCT 18, 2016
Very classic Belgian fruit beer, ’oud bruin’ with cherries, in the same tradition as Liefmans Kriekbier (now called Liefmans Kriek Brut) or Verhaeghe Echt Kriekenbier. I have regretted for many years having had the chance to taste this back in the nineties, but having declined because I was not as experienced in beer tasting as I am now and did not care too much for fruit beers - ah, the callowness of youth! Luckily, Palm (now Bavaria-owned), after having received questions from consumers about this for years, has decided to bring it back to life this year, thirty years after it was first launched in honour of the (literally) blind Alexander Rodenbach, a 19th-century politician and brewer (two things that were often linked to each other in those days), and sixteen years after it was put to retirement. Much to the discontent of Belgian consumers, it was first released on the American market (it says a lot that even the family brewers are aware of the fact that the Americans have become more eager for more characterful craft beers than their local audience, but anyway); again after many reactions from Belgian beer lovers, it was finally decided to launch it onto the Belgian market as well. This rating concerns the 155th bottle in that first launch, a luxury 75 bottle from a cardboard box, corked with muselet and white background colour with a picture of the historical figure after which it was named - one thing it has in common with the original bottles from the eighties and nineties. Opens with quite a lot of pressure and smoke coming out of the bottle neck, but there is no gushing. Medium sized, pale yellowish beige-ish head, moussy and stable, leaving a thin veil of the liquid’s surface after a while; warm copper brownish-red robe, beautifully ’autumny’ for this time of year, clear initially, with a lively, lambrusco-like fizz. Aroma does breathe cherry juice and cherry jam, but also an unexpected (and for me undesirable) hint of red candy (’poepegatjes’), though this is fortunately largely drenched in caramel, sweet sherry, red wine vinegar, redcurrant, some wet wood, cherry pits, vanilla, passion fruit, rosé wine, apple peel, honey, ripe gooseberry. The red candy sweetness is present in the onset too, again that reminiscence of ’Haribo red licorice wheels’ or something like that, but much to my relief, it doesn’t stick around for too long or dominate the entire palate, as is often the case in more artificial red fruit beers; instead, it quickly makes room for a deeper and more convincing flavor of indeed cherries, but also rhubarb, gooseberry, passion fruit and cranberries, adding a deeper fruit acidity to the whole without losing contact with the sweetness; carbonation is fizzy but in a pleasantly refined way, as in some fine red lambrusco. Mouthfeel is smooth and supple, with a lean caramelly and lightly honeyish malt sweet core, of the ’moelleux’ kind I think is essential in a Flemish red style beer; meanwhile the drying fruit tartness continues and penetrates the palate in a gently drying way, eventually blending with tannins from wood and cherry pits, providing balance against the malt sweetness and that initial red candy sweet touch. Some earthy, estery yeastiness is left in the back of the mouth after swallowing (especially near the end of the bottle, of course), along with that drying tartness. I can still feel a light stickiness of the red candy and that is basically my only point of criticism here: I do not know exactly how this was made (I only know the recipe of the original version), but I am convinced that this is not just old Rodenbach with sour cherries added: this is very clearly sugared as well, and in that sense offers a look back at the eighties, when this beer was conceived because many consumers - having grown up as a ’Coca Cola’ generation - added grenadine or sugar to their Rodenbach anyway and the brewery wanted to find a way to counter this and already add that flavor to the beer itself. I have managed to find a vintage bottle of 1998 as well and I am extremely curious to find out if this original, historical version too had this added sugariness to it, though after almost twenty years, it will doubtlessly have evolved too much to establish that in an unambiguous way, I suspect. I will add my findings of that vintage bottle here too when I open it but for now: great beer for sure, Rodenbach ’oud bruin’ in all respects, glad it’s back - and probably for sale in supermarkets here within a year or so; in my unbiased opinion (unbiased since I never had this Alexander when I was young), however, Charactère Rouge tops this in authenticity, finesse and complexity.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
pushkinwow (2627) - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA - OCT 18, 2016
Bottle, shared by Eric. Red copper with almost no head. So dry with lots of cherries, great balance of tartness with the sweetness at just the right level, oak, some funk, long finish with a moderate carbonation and full body that keeps on giving. Yummy.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
koleminer20 (2591) - Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA - OCT 13, 2016
From notes. Enjoyed at Abu’s place on September 13. 750 mL bottle. The pour is a nice ruby cherry color with a thick cap of light tan head (surprising since the liquid is red) and a light lace as it falls down. The aroma is good. There is a lot of cherry right up front. It does have quite a bit of funk and oak on the nose, but for the most part, it’s really good. The flavor is a little better. It’s got a tartness to it, and then a sweet cherry, like a pie filling, just coating the mouth and lingering. The oak and funk seem to fade, leaving the beautiful cherry behind. The mouth feel is a little thicker and slightly syrupy with a nice carbonation and a lingeringly sweet and tart cherry. There is a bit of funk on the finish, but it’s not terrible.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
phaleslu (9426) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - OCT 13, 2016
750 ml bottle shared by DrSilverworm - thanks again, Chris! Pours a lightly cloudy ruby red with a small head that forms a bubbly ring but never amounts to much. There’s a big cherry character here, tart and sweet, with mineral notes (especially in the aroma), vanilla, sweet malt undertones, red wine, mild spice, and an acetic twinge. Medium-bodied, with medium carbonation and a mouthfeel that’s both sweet and sour. Expertly done. More satisfying as it opens. I went back for seconds on this one. So glad I finally got to try it.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
berntholer (1588) - Antwerp, BELGIUM - OCT 11, 2016
slight reddish head. burgundy colour. aroma is candy/poepegaatjes/cherries. taste starts like rodenbach grand cru followed by a rather artificial sour cherry candy taste with a sour-sweet finish. medium body and carbonation. not bad, not great. bottle 75cl / 2016 version

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