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Duchessic Ale - Birra Del Borgo

Not Rated.
Duchessic AleDuchessic Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

104 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 104
Hads: 325
Avg: 4.14
pDev: 16.18%
Wants: 56
Gots: 50 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Birra Del Borgo visit their website

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ATPete on 11-01-2009

A sort of "collaboration beer" with the famous Belgian brewery Brasserie Cantillon: an interesting experiment on the world of spontaneous fermentation. Our classic Duchess - Spelt beer - is was cut with a 20% of Cantillon lambic aged one year. The result is a unique beer that blends in an extraordinary way the characteristic acidity and roughness of lambic with delicate and gentle notes of the Duchess.
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Reviews: 104 | Hads: 325
Photo of Beejay
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 1000th beer review!!!!!!! Hit the big four digits! Had a wonderful day spending time with my family, enjoying a little rainy autumn weather, and snuggling with the kiddo with a movie and the fireplace crackling, seems like a great day for great beer.

A: A very hazy grapefruit yellow in color, with a very small white head on top that rapidly turns from frog eyes to a ring around the glass.

S: Sour tartness right away, but definitely an interesting grain thing going in there, almost a touch spicy. There is a touch of funk in the finish..

T: Tart and lively. Crisp acidity, light fruit, and some good citrus notes, finishes slightly herbal.

M: Light, with moderate carbonation, and a fairly dry finish.

O: Overall light, crisp, refreshing, with a wonderful tartness to keep you sipping.

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Photo of PHBoiler
4.51/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Huge carb/head and an orange body. Smell is hay and lemons. Beer is really well balanced with a creaminess from the body and a light citrus. Like a HF saison with some brightness from that lambic, but it's a saison to its core. Excellent beer.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle marked L83713 (I think):
Nice off yellow (tan to orange side), cloudy. A LOT of champagne-like head in pour, reduces to foamy, lace-producing white head that covers surface. Nose is very funky to me. Wood, definitely aged and perhaps rotting, a touch of sour milk tartness, Belgian yeast notes, bit if farmhouse scents as well.

Taste starts tart, with a decent amount if carbonation right up front. The tartness is pretty subdued, but lemon/lime perhaps, but really combined with a cheesy funky aspect. He carbonation plays a part in the feel throughout the taste. I can't quite decide what the tart/funk combo produces, but it seems light-tart in nature, Granny Smith apple-like. I feel a bit rambling, but it's an interesting beer.

Overall, this beer seems a bit overpriced. It's not bad, but add that it's an import, apparently (given BA rating), has Cantillon related to it, etc, and the price is jacked up, perhaps. If it weren't a special occasion, probably wouldn't have tried it. Actually glad I did, so if you have a chance, think you might enjoy it based On your preferences, and have some $$ in your pocket, give it a whirl.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

5.3% ABV per the label.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy orange-white head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy patches of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Tiny particles of sediment are seen floating around in the beer after the pour. Smell is slightly sour with malt, grain, funk, earth, wood, and acidic aromas. Taste is much the same with slightly sour grain, funk, apple skin, earth, and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and prickly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a nice balance between the base beer and the lambic addition blended in.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of jaasen64
4/5  rDev -3.4%

A- Opens with a loud hiss but not gushing. Pours a clear golden color with a 4-5 finger white frothy head that doesn't recede (4)

S- Definitely get the spelt and lambic which blend nicely together with the lambic adding just a touch of funkiness to the spelt. Backround aromas of clean saison yeast, light spices that blend with the spelt, and a clean profile. Nicely done (4.25)

T- Spelt and lambic again intertwine nicely. Flavors of spelt, hints of peppercorn, light lambic funk, saison yeast, and clean profile come out. The lambic blends nicely, a little bit of age might not hurt to let it come out a bit more too (4)

M- Very fizzy and highly carbonated, light and very drinkable, finishes a bit on the dry side. I suggest letting this sit for about 10-15 minutes to let the fizziness settle a bit (3.5)

O- This was a nice beer that I'm glad I picked up a bottle of. My only complaint was that it was a little bit overcarbonated, but that was solved by letting it sit for 10-15 minutes to settle. Might be worth aging this for a bit to let the lambic come out a little bit more, but it's drinking fairly well right now (4)

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Photo of sweemzander
4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375mL bottle poured into a tulip.

(A)- Pours a hazy golden apricot color. Produced some solid white froth with great retention and lacing.

(S)- An insanely inviting aroma of acidic oak funk meets dry lemon peel and apple. Its very very dry, but very very awesome. Subtle Brett bits.

(T)- Again, a Brett-like funky dryness meets subtle acidity with lemon. Finishes slightly yeasty with bits of ever so slight sweet apple.

(M)- A lively carbonation level. This has a great balance of dry funky oak, acidic lemon, and a subtle yeasty sweet finish.

(O)- The lambic influence in this is obvious, but it really adds a dynamic layer of funk and acidity to the base overall. Fantastic beer. This bottle has obviously had some time on it at the time of purchase due to how faded the label appeared.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.31/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served from a 11.1oz bottle into a Hill Farmstead stemmed tulip. This bottle was a real gusher.

Appearance- Beautiful orange/gold with massive bubbly white head that raised over the glass. What I like to see in a saison. Huge lacing follows.

Smell- Huge brett and oak with a bit of gueze funk. Rather akin to Arthur. Very funky and earthy lemon and green grapes.

Taste- Big brett notes with the lemon funk of the lambic. Earthy, juicy, but with a dry finish. Grapes, peach, lemon are all coming through.

Mouthfeel- Very effervescent and dry. Light bodied and easy to drink. Tart, but not sour. I could drink it all day.

Overall- This is a really enjoyable and tasty blend. Pick a bottle up and check this out.

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Photo of tmzl
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look: (maybe some gushing at start - happens some times with saisons) Pours with thick, fizzy white head. Slow retention, mostly diminishing, leaves a very thin thick layer. Sticky fair lacing. Medium carbonation, colour is yellow wheat (with light orange hue). Cloudy as fck but the yellow is very intense and looks marvelous, very lively.

Smell: Consists of medium fresh lemony, citrus, wild berries sour and leathery funk. Freshness is very nice and the funk is low-medium, goes along, good balance. Hidden in the backbone lurks light sweetness and some floral notes.

Taste: Lemon, berries sour hits you first, continues with good medium-light funkiness. Just before it goes down there is a small spike of mushroom, wood, earthy tart. Medium sour and light brett funk stay with your at the end. Very light sweet backbone.

Mouthfeel: Very crisp, high carbonation - but isn't annoying (bubbles small enough). Light, dry and fresh.

Overall: Great beer, if funk and sour please you - do yourself a favour and grab this one. Fresh and good balance.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to stakem for hooking me up with this extra!

Opened with a 'pop' and a slow rush of foam in the bottle, but fortunately it was no gusher. Even a slow, steady pour filled the glass with foam, so I dumped some into a Del Borgo teku, and some into a vintage Cantillon lambic mug (#doubleproper), and let it settle for a few minutes, eventually combining the two. Fortunately, not a drop was lost.

Settling down revealed a slightly-hazy golden liquid with a head that eventually simmered to a thin layer of lasting bubbles. Aroma was pleasant and lemony, promises of light tartness, and earthy, grainy malts, with a bit of barnyard funk. This beer was much better than I expected. Moderate lacto-tartness right up front, lemon meringue, crisp saison grassiness, with an earthy finish, the tartness lingering on the tongue. Very nicely balanced in just about every aspect. Smooth mouthfeel, medium body, drinkable to the point that I sad-faced once it was gone. I'd love to get more of this.

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Photo of kbrown
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A 101 Beer Kitchen September beer club selection.

Appearance- Gold color, mostly clear with plenty of carbonation. 2 Finger high white foam head holding steady a few minutes in.

Smell- Invitingly sour citrus fruit aroma.

Taste- Textbook tart flavor. A nice blend of fruits. Tough to distinguish fruit separately.

Moutfeel- Sharp at the front and very bubbly. Too effervescent? Refreshing though.

Overall- A textbook sour taste although listed as a saison. Good, but not as distinct or outstanding as a Duchesse De Bourgogne any of the Cascade sours that I've had.

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Photo of deschutes_fan
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

350mL Bottle poured into a bittercreek Teku

-Pours a golden hazy orange with WAY too much carbonation resulting in overflow... the foam tastes of sour deliciousness as I try to save some of the overflow. Foam is quite airy and aromatic, dissipating quickly.

- Smell is complex with a big sour nose at first followed by citrus and barnyard funk. Also can pick up some floral spiciness.

- A nice sour taste upfront, funky tart with lemon and orange citrus. Once the palate adapts to the sourness, I can really pick up on the saison characteristics with spicy floral notes and more citrus. Finish is dry, but not as dry as I was expecting with all the carbonation and sourness.

-Overall a nice sour-saison hybrid, which isn't shocking since they started with 1year old Cantillon lambic. Quite unique with good complexity, however, it is lacking if one is looking for a pure sour gueuze punch.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

one heck of a great beer here, sour and funky, really intensely carbonated, drinkable, and fancy. hazy yeast heavy straw color with a massive champagne style white head, comprised of massive bubbles, looks more like the play place at mcdonalds than a brew, serious huge bubbles. the nose is prickly, ticklish I should say, tart yeast and wheat malt, than cantillon in this is evident from the outset. light though, not a big heavy beer, this is a drinker. notes of cut hay, fresh chopped wood, white wheat malt, and summery sour yeast all assault the palate. its an onslaught mostly because of the feel, which is maybe the most carbonated beer ever, and it works perfectly with the sour flavors, its a total rush. not overly sour, not at all acidic, this is like a table sour or something, a beer to be consumed frequently in decent volume. I wish I had more of this, I was very very impressed. Italy has some great stuff, its just really hard to find.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Great looking honey dark orange body with hints of lemon yellow color. Opaque. Head forms very foamy with bubble bath retention and large size. Great even pinhead bubbles throughout while forming an easy four fingers, with meringue and shampoo like whipped top. Always gets repopulated with thin white carbonation on the sides and matching middle carbonation in the middle. Great looking brew.

Nice mild brett and herbal and floral sensations. Warm earth and moderate funk, with not much acid hinting but just a touch. Very garden smelling with hints of brett and spicy yeast qualities. Real nice bouquet.

First sip has a real nice tart flavor in the mid palate, bringing a mix of lots of hot brett. Giant funk and lots of numbing and pepper sensations on the finish, almost novocaine numbing. Light bread malts seem to give a honey mild backbone to this, with some floral qualities. Sharp and stinging but very lingering finish. Carbonation is quite good with very noticeably almost prickly character, but not too large.

This reminds me a bit of Orval, but with a finish that's a little bit more jarring. Quite a nice beer very much enjoyed it.

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Photo of Kirk_Grant
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Tulip wine glass.

Color: Hazy pale amber with hints of yeast/sediment floating around in the glass.
Smell: Funk, sour, grapefruit, quince, fresh baked bread, and more citrus notes lift in again
Taste: This really is like a great blend of Saison and Lambic styles with notes of citrus, yellow apple, and quince on the palate.
Overall: An outstanding beer, and unlike anything I've had todate. It reminds me more of Lambic than anything else. Great acidity, nice lithe body, with a big head in the pour. However, at $10 for 11.1 oz. I can't see myself buying this again.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

reinheitsgematt hooked this up tonight at an impromptu Labor Day BBQ... Thanks Matt!! This was never on my radar.

Pours a crystal clear light golden with a sudsy white head... small drapes of lacing.

Nose is light spiciness punctuated by a good earthy funk.. the lambic is definitely present.

Flavor has a bit of fruitiness that reminds me of fermented out apricot or possibly green apple... dry grassy lawn clippings.. but the funk comes in swinging and doesn't die back.. well done.

Light body with a good carbonation.

Matt gave this to me blind... I guessed it was a very old Saison Brett... Good guess I think. Thanks again buddy!!

4's across the board.

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Photo of MRsojourner
4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

hazy and dark gold in appearance with a super lively head as the bottle overflowed when i opened it- beware!
aroma is of hay and straw and a little bit musty and leathery as well.
taste is rather juicy like tangerines mixed with a touch of tartness and a lil bit of acidity. very little hop bitterness and whatever is there is just used to balance out the malts. i would dare to say that there might be some sort of citrus hops used in the flavor dept.
dry mouth feel that leaves the palate wanting more.
to bad i dont have more this, it was gone to soon
it taste like a tank7 mixed with a lambic

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Photo of Etan
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

375ml into a 3F taster.

A: Pours a hazy orange-gold with a spongy white head and thick sheets of lacing.

S: Characteristic musty Cantillon funk and sparkling minerality, dried peach, vanilla, sourdough, honeysuckle.

T: The lambic pushes forward in the blend, with a moderate dry tartness up front. Oaky, pressed grapes, slightly phenolic edge, stone fruit and lightly sweet grain, very dry and a bit floral in the finish.

M: Light-bodied with zingy carbonation.

O: This is very nice. I was expecting more sweetness given the saison in the blend, but this is very dry. Certainly not a bad thing.

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Photo of yankeepride
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a very cloudy/hazy golden color, with a thick pillowy head and clingy rows of bubbles that hang off the inside of the glass. Has a musty, dusty smell initially, but as the bubbles fade away and it sits in the glass a bit, the lambic becomes the dominant smell. It's really an interesting beer with a lot of depth. Every mouthful has a transition from a light, bubbly saison-standard wet-wheat taste into a clean, very-slightly sour and then leaving a mouth-coating gritty and and musty trailer that has the -very- faint note of wild cherry skins. Overall for its style, it would appear to be world-class in hitting its mark, just not a flavor profile that would have me coming back for more.

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Photo of standardcherry
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy golden color with a large, frothy white head. Lots of lacing and sediment.
S: The lambic funk takes over here. A bit of saison yeast spiciness and fruity/citrusy sweetness but a large part is funk. A bit of apricot/pear in there as well.
T: Not as funky as I expected. The balance is perfect between the lambic and the saison. Lots of lactic sourness, some yeasty breadiness, some sweet malts and finishes with lemons and dry tartness. Excellent.
M: Light/medium bodied but a bit overcarbonated. Extremely drinkable though, very refreshing.
O: Very impressive beer from these Italians! World-class, I would drink this every day if I could.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Saint Somewhere wine-style glass. No freshness date.

A- Pours a hazy medium amber color with a 1/2 inch white head that retains well before shimmying down to a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a full sheet of surface foam. Sudsy, resilient lacing. Tiny specs of sediment in the body stick to the glass.

S- Funky saison yeast aroma upfront with some fruit sweetness in the back that has a hint of vinegar. A great blend of two distinct aromas. A bit effervescent.

T- More tart than expected at first but then the yeast funk swings in to round things out and finishes sweet. Slightly Bretty with some green olive notes that linger. I like the way the lemony citrus flavors bounce off the funk and then back to the sweet fruit. Very complex and enticing of more sips. Hint of soap flavor.

M- Moderate amount of tartness with a relatively moist feel for the style. Medium carbonation and a body that's on the lighter side.

O- Wonderful blend of two styles. Absolutely worth the ten bucks spent.

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Photo of eric5bellies
4.52/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from my duvel tulip

A _ pours a very inviting cloudy copper colour with a huge white foamy head that stays the course and laces.

S - Big yeasty aromas with cirtus ,spice, apple. Authentice Belgian with a twist

T - Up front plenty of spicy malt, followed by citrus, yeast and a nice aniseed finish. This is a very silky saison

M - Medium to full body with low carbonation the overall mouthfell id very smooth indeed.

O - Probably the best saison that i have had to date other than the Fantome Ghost

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Big thanks to merc for sharing, duchessa + 1yr lambic

The beer pours a cloudy golden yellow/orange with 1/2 an inch of white head that fades quickly. There is some lurking sediment as well. The nose is reminiscent of a mild gueuze with a funky/skunky sweet citrusy aroma. It drinks more tamely with a delicious citrusy saison base enhanced by a reserved funk. It's a relatively medium bodied, funky, tart, with a semi-dry finish. It's definitely a beer worth drinking, but for the slap in the face price tag (which I thankfully didn't pay), I don't think I will repeat anytime soon.

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Photo of davey101
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Oddly shaped 11.1 oz bottle into a HF wine glass. This is the newer 2013 batch that was just released. Opens up with little drama but even with a slow pour this beer foams out of control. The beer violently bubbles as the foam rises up and over the glass. Takes a solid five minutes for it to even become drinkable. Loads of sticky lacing and everlasting retention. The body of the beer is a hazy orange/amber body.

S - Mostly saison notes of pear, apple, lemons, grass, and some Belgian yeast esters. A very faint musk lingers on the end of the nose that almost resembles white wine and leather.

T - Fruity and vibrant; pear and apple juice with some grass and doughy yeast. A sharp acidity cuts through and provides some much needed balance. Some lactic smoothness on the finish with little funk or musk. Mouth feel is full and creamy yet spritzy and refreshing.

O - A really fantastic saison with just enough lambic notes to make it unique. I could drink gallons of this, its very refreshing and delicious. The only draw back is the lack of availability and the high price of admission.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.99/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a vibrant, burnished orange, with slight haze. Tightly-packed head, off-white, not too glamorous. Looks acceptable.

Smells kinda Belgian, with noticeable but subtle phenols. Strong cinnamon character coming through, with notes of poached apple and quince as well. Sweet; very pleasant. Could use a little more saisony funk though.

Taste is more of the same. Cinnamon apple notes, with sweetish spice throughout, and a nice cinnamon back. Fruit on the back is a bit more tart and green than it perhaps should be, quite a touch of acidity to an otherwise pleasant apple/pear palate. Still, very tasty overall.

Again, a bit of a pull from the astringency on the back. Body maybe a little too thin to handle it.

I love the idea here, and wish the execution was better. Just tastes a little undercooked; otherwise very nice.

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Photo of cfrances33
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a Hill Farmstead stem.

Pour: I made a very careful pour, so as to not disturb the sediment. Completely clear honey gold with a massive, 4+ finger white head. I has to pour for a LONG time to get most of the bottle into the glass. Big billowing white head, and some nice lacing.

Smell: Woah! Huge Cantillon lambic funk up front. Very strong lactic tartness on the nose. Some white grapes and oak. A touch of white pepper and yeast, but only just.

Taste: Slightly more balanced between the lambic and saison than the nose, but only just. Still a big lactic tartness and classic Cantillon funk up front. This honestly tastes like a young Cantillon classic. Some yeast and breadyness mid palate, and as it warms. Finishes with a lingering lemon and tartness.

Mouthfeel: Hugh carb. Maybe just a touch too much. Sharp and biting, but letting the glass sit helps dissolve some of it. Nice tartness. Pretty drinkable despite the carb. Refreshing.

Overall: Well this has gotten exponentially better since when I had it 5 months ago, and it was good then. I'm looking forward to having this again in the future.

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Duchessic Ale from Birra Del Borgo
92 out of 100 based on 104 ratings.