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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.
View: Beers (45) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 104 | Hads: 325
Photo of rudzud
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Purchased at Julio's. Unfortunately my botle promptly overflowed as soon as I cracked it resulting in a great loss.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip while overflowing. Pours a nice golden brown colour, like others have said much ike a light apple cider. There was a nice rocky head that slowly faded to leave a nice white blanket and average side lacing.

S - A nice mingling of the usual saison aromas (funky, citrus) and lambic ones (acid, vinegar, tartness). Pretty good.

T - The same, its a nice saison with good barnyard funk followed b some unplaceable fruit tartness. Apples perhaps? Maybe cherries, I dunno. Quite sour and tart, very tasty though.

M - Have to give it a low score considering that all the carbonation was lost when I cracked it resulting in an almost completely flat drink.

O - Overall, thoroughly enjoyed this beer. I'd love to have it again but bottles will always be nervous for me seeing how this one blew. Perhaps on tap, as this has many qualities that make this beer easy drinking and incredibly addictive.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draft at Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown, DC.

Body is a hazy light brown, like an apple cider. Poured with a slight head that quickly dissipated to a ring with minimal lacing.

The Cantillon lambic characteristic smell is present in this beer. Being a saison, there is also more malt and spice.

This is a saiason/lambic blend, and it tastes like it. There is light malt, like a farmhouse saison, but with definite Cantillon lambic funk and tartness. Some spice, I am getting cinnamon and coriander. Has a dry, lightly hopped finish.

Body and carbonation is light, but has a crisp mouthfeel.

A tasty saison and lambic blend, the first I've ever heard of, and rather delightful.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark gold w/ minimal head that gave off minor head that died quick w/ lace. Nose and taste are the same; semi-sweet w/ a good touch of fruit like citrus and tart cherry although not so much tartness in this at all. Easy to drink w/ a crisp finish.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.48/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a saison with a low abv and a complex flavor that is a rather good study of grain. The better of the two i had that day. Said to be brewed on buckwheat... or was it spelt? Pour is cloudy golden with a nice white head that doesn't have as much stick as a bipa. Nose is saison funk wheat with sweet hints. Wheaty and mineral notes but not husky. Light clay marzipan... Light grass citrus. Interesting ester undertones that wouldn't be likely in something so low abv. Great summer sipper or gulper.

had it again about 2 weeks later at the birch bar in norfolk VA and it was even better. the best saison i've had this year. head on looked like dough and caulk. well sustained and creamy but not yeast and overwhelming.

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Photo of gfreed
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at ChurchKey DC. This take a steep curve toward pilsner territory, making it something of a light saison and an excellent one at that. The aroma is full of lemons and oranges and even some Elmer's white glue-- not in a bad way, frankly. I was gripped with the urge to spread glue all over my hands, let it dry and peel it off, leaving it on the floor for someone else to clean up. Frothy, fluffy head and a taste that was loaded with citrus, with a tangy bite at the end. An excellent beer for the summer.

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Photo of adrian21
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this today at pizzeria paradiso, two yr old, cellard. waitress opened bottle and it spewed out a bit :) interesting beer, looked orange yellow one and half finger very white head. it reeked of "horse blanket" and sourness... the flavor was very very sour more so than any gueze, wild ale or oud bruin/flanders red ive had... must be from aging all in all at that point it i feel it wasnt a saison minus the slight herbal and horse blanket notes... it was a fun beer though

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Photo of THECPJ
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes 2/22/2011

A: pours a golden yellow with maybe ½ finger white head, doesn't leave much lacing

S: subtle hints of apple and a profound scent of funk- some sort of musty and/or perfumey thing going on, weird, but not off-putting

T: moderate carbonation, dry, tons of bubbles in the glass, medium body

M: sweet, funky sour, tart, almost champange-like

O: a very interesting/intruiging beer, a great collaboration between my favorite Italian brewery and Cantillon, definitely worth a try.


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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a clear bright golden color ale with a super large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of dry fruity malt with solid malt backbone. Taste is also dominated by light fruity notes with solid malt backbone and a dry finish. No yeast signature or dominating ester or floral notes which I usually associate with the style. Body is a bit light with great carbonation. Interesting though below average for style.

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Photo of craytonic
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No noticeable Cantillon in this bottle.

Appearance: Hazy apricot-straw with an enormous head, bit of a gusher

Nose: Hops, honey, lemongrass, pears, apricots

Taste: Hops, apricots, peaches, pears, lemongrass. Slightly sweet, not any real funk or sourness.

Mouthfeel: Dry and light, creamy also

Drinkability: I was fascinated about the idea of two of my favorite styles being joined - sour and saison. Sadly it really just tastes like a regular saison, the cantillon contribution is not noticeable.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours with an apricot body that is a bit hazy. Pretty nice white head that draws down to leave a little bit of lacing. Nose brings some light peach notes along with honey, grass, and a little bit of earth. The taste is ever so mildly sweet and fruity, but gives way to some drier, earthy elements and just a tad of funky leather. Mouthfeel is dry and a bit light. Fairly unique, and drinks pretty well overall.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased this on a whim at Crown Liquors in Carmel. Figured that anything containing Cantillon lambic was worth a try. The fill level on my bottle was right up to the cap, and when the cap came off we had a slow gusher. Served in a wine glass.

A - Big soapy foam that eventually settles to a thick, chunky, cap and leaves behind lots of lacework. The body is a hazy peach color.

S - Stone fruits, hay, floral and grassy, a touch of honey. This is definitely way on the Saison side as opposed to the lambic side, with only a bit of brett character present.

T - This is a musty Saison in the Fantôme vein. Grapeskins, peaches, light grain/wheat and pilsner malt? Hops (or something) provides hay and grass flavors. Not particularly sour, just very earthy and lightly funky and leathery.

M - Moderate carbonation, medium-light body. The finish is quite clean and leaves behind light residual stickiness.

D - This is quite easy to drink, and could serve as a less strong session alternate to Fantôme. I'd like to see the wild lambic flavors come out a bit more, but at nearly a year they're still quite muted. Probably should have had this before the Wadesda #1 instead of after.

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Photo of John_M
3.96/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's. Sampled side by side with the Del Ducato saison style beer.

The Duchessic pours a slightly cloudy, honey gold color with very good head retention and considerable lacing. The nose is kind of muted, with some honey and hint of barnyard funk... could it be? Yes indeed, this beers shows some considerable sour funk to go along with the honey and clove. Considering the relatively low alcohol, I'm absolutely amazed by the amount of flavor in this beer. The beer has a nice texture, and seems pretty rich and full flavored. I feel as if I get a hint of melted butter in the finish, which is attractive. Drinkability is good, though this isn't something you'd gulp down.

Very impressive. One of the more interesting beers I've been lucky enough to try from Italy.

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Photo of timtim
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

awesome. my two favorite styles blended together by two of my favorite brewers. lambic from cantillon and saison from del borgo. light amber with a white head that seems to fade pretty quick. Still looks quite good. Nose is all things saison... pepper, barn, earth, sunshine, and they all seem to be elevated by the wild, sour notes contributed by the lambic. I think a lot of extra flavor comes from the blending here, and I also think that the lambic spritzes up the body and really helps spread the flavors all over the palate. I wanted way way more. Absolutely delicious beer, especially on tap. A must for the fan of the more wild and funky saisons.

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Photo of berkey
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12.7 fl oz pry off bottle courtest of jleblanc. Poured into my Duvel tulip 06/22/10.

Forms a great head that settles quickly but what's left is nicely retained for the rest of the tasting. Body is a pale blonde with an amber hue. More lucid than a typical lambic or many Saisons. Leaves some filmy lacing on the sides of the glass.

Aroma is both sweet and slightly tart. Distinct acidic sour notes come through strong and are backed up by some pleasant floral hops. As it warms to room temperature some dirty apple and funk come through.

Flavor is not quite as good as the aroma but still quite enjoyable. The great sour notes tease me a bit and have me craving full on lambic intensity but as I drink on the dry and floral hop flavors and subtle fruitiness combines with the tartness to become something quite unique and tasty.

Very easy drinking due to the delicate balance and well hidden 6.9 ABV. Nice clean and dry finish. Not overwhelming but very well done. I'll be on the lookout for more from this brewer in the near future.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to Julie and Jason for this one. I would not have even known about it if not for them. Served chilled and poured into a small taster glass, this one was consumed on 05/16/2010.

The pour was rather nice. Light amber in color with a nice golden glow to it. Lots of carbonation was visible streaming up through the glass to continually reinforce the nice white head of lacing that seemed to be permanently perched on top. Had a very light but at the same time, filling look to it.

Aroma is light, nice touches of apples, pears, peaches. Hints of grasses, light bready notes and a touch of light plum as it warms. Really quite light and complex with a earthy and fruity quality to it. First sip though let loose with a nice white grape flavor. Nice light body and near perfect carbonation really let this one pop for me. Each sip was clean, crisp, refreshing and most of all quite unique. Lots of more earthy fruits up front, apples, pears, etc but there were hints of light citrus bouncing around now as well, really nicely done all around. At barely 6% there was just a really nice drinkability to it that was quite nice to see and really helped me get this one going in the right direction. As it was nearly 90 degrees outside and I was cooking over a grill, it was a damn fine choice for a hot day.

Overall very nicely done I have to admit. This is one that will most certainly fly under the radar, but I really think is quite worthy of a look by anyone.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle at Beachwood BBQ, on to the beer:

Sparkling pale yellow in color with almost no head on top. Great nose; it's tart, it's mellow, it's grape. Tasting it brough me back to elemenatry school; what stuck out the most was that fruit snack taste that I remember fondly. There's a little tartness, and a little bit of citrus peel noted. Light in the mouth, easy on the carbonation.

Less a saison and more lambic-like in my opinion. Regardless, it is worth trying out.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.66/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle at Beachwood,

A: Pours a dark gold with a firm white head, good lace.

S: Rustic earthy Brett and pepper, but light.

T: Bitter coriander, white pepper, yeast and Brett flavours. The saison dominates with the lambic only offering a mild sour finish.

M: Dry, medium-bodied, robust, a nice feel in the mouth.

D: I was hoping the Cantillon would come out a little more, but this is nice saison, a good hybrid.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ShogoKawada for this one. Poured from a 375mL green bottle into my Drie Fonteinen tumbler.

Cloudy orange peel body with a lasting small seashell head. Nice thick lacing too.

The aroma reveals an acidic funk from Brett. coupled to a sweet sourdough starter yeast scent. Floral and tart.

I'm guessing pilsner malt as there is a slight lagerish note tied to the acidity - thankfully this is absorbed by white pepper, chamomile, and bread from the yeast and a faint cellar note from the lambic. Asian pear mid-palate. Hops contribute a light bitterness which works well with the acidity and earthiness of the finish. An interesting blend, but the lambic and the saison maintain their individuality rather than synergize.

Nice pillowy body - medium but refreshing. I'm guessing the spelt adds some depth to the feel. Good solid carbonation.

Very refreshing with a brisk minerality. Just enough funk to keep you from guzzling, but this is a great ale to open after working in the sun for a while...

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

jleblanc was such a vociferous pimp of this beer that I had to grab a bottle.

Quite brilliantly clear, this beer is a gorgeous golden color with a dense white head with excellent retention and lacing. A steady stream of carbonation is visible.

The nose is quite saison-like with a rustic, barnyard aroma with a spicy character along with some honey and a mild floral character. I definitely do not get the gobs of horseblanket that some people allude to, this is still very saison-like, to the point that I wish I'd held onto it a longer. However, there is a definite Brett character to the nose, refreshingly so, mildly clove-like with some earthiness.

The palate opens with a delicious blend of dry, saison flavors and a wonderful Bretty character. Rustic and barnyardy with drying hay, spicy phenols, the pronounced Brett character does work well with base saison. The mid-palate is quite funky alongside which there's a combination of honey and a hibiscus-like floral character. Drying out on the finish with a earthy spiciness, this is quite delicious. Light in body with a moderately high level of carbonation, this is quite the treat on the palate. Thoroughly drinkable, I'll keep an eye out for this. My only complaint is the moderate bait-and-switch that this beer is. I've had many a Cantillon beer and this has nothing I really associate with one, this almost tastes like a good saison that's finished with an all-Brett beer.

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Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy apple juice gold with a light white head that recedes at an average pace. Lots of lacing.

S - Horse blanket, hints of urine. Nice and funky, not very sour though.

T - Pretty bland/watery. Lots of pepper, but not too much funk. Almost has a similar profile to a hefeweizen.

M - Very watery, nothing to write home about.

D - Would not seek out again

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Photo of nickd717
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared at the after-Bruery tasting. I was very interested to try this one.

Pours mostly clear golden with a well-formed white head and a little lacing.

Aroma? Two words: HORSE BLANKET. It's as if they ran a horse around all day with a big ol' load on its back, then took the dirty, sweaty, horsey blanket from between the horse's disgusting back and its saddle, then threw the damn thing in the fermenter. And I love it! Some brett and pepper in there as well.

Flavor is also very horseblankety, funky, and bretty. A little sweetness from pale malt pokes through the tartness and funk. Some pepper too.

Medium body with mild acidity and fairly lively carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. Overall, pretty much a poor man's Boulevard Saison Brett with a little more tartness and funk.

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Photo of ToasterChef
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from my tasting notes. Served in my 20oz Uprising chalice at Novare Res. This excellent beer pours a peach/orange color. It is slightly cloudy. It is very interesting looking. It has a yeast aroma, along with some citrus. It is a very good fruit smell. The main flavors are of peach and grapefruit. There's a bit of sourness to the finish. It tasted a bit chalky at first, but as I drank it, this went away. I think the beer may have been too cold at first and as it warmed, this chalkiness went away. The approach to cellar temperature really improved things. It has a medium body with no detectable carbonation or coating. It feels great. The drinkability is equally impressive. This beer has just the right amount of sourness. I'm really glad I got to have this beer!

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Photo of Travlr
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at Churchkey in Washington DC.
A: hazy yellow, same color as a urinary tract infection (but in a good way). Larger than expected white head that lasts longer than expected. Great lacing.
S: simply amazing combo of freshly mown grass, barnyard, hay bales and horse stall.
T: starts with light citrus and bread, continues to a musty finish with the barest hint of bitterness.
M: body is lighter than expected. This might improve with age.
D: the aroma is everything. definitely a unique brew.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

33cl bottle from Nikki's, 10.49+tax. Poured into my new Chimay goblet.

A- A mild, slightly hazy rusty sunshine yellow with little to no head... expected as I poured this slow as to leave the yeast for the second pour. Nice, dense bubble formation at the edges... this beer looks tasty.

S- Interesting... the lambic is noticeable in the nose. Leather/wet-dog/medicinal funk smell. Cherry/pineapple/green apple sweetness.

T- Interesting. Hard funky first shot. Not nearly as sweet as the nose would suggest. Mild pear, a faint grassiness, and a sharpness from the funk which is quite tasty. WOW... 2nd pour with the yeast puts this one in another level. Funk and fruit are multiplied... tart apple is ever-so-fleeting. very tasty! This is an interesting blend... not in-your-face, but pretty tasty, indeed.

M- Sharp, drying, and really complex. Beyond my tongue, I think... but I know I enjoy it!

D- Moderate... tasty, interesting, and unique... a bit too expensive to have a couple of these, but I enjoyed this for sure!

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Photo of Billolick
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Small green bottle, large cap. Pours cloudy dark peach, delicate off white head, leaves fine blobs of lace. Complex nose, earthy, light barnyard, citrus, grape juice. Yummy creation, delicate, complex with notes of more light funk, Tropical fuits, lactose, brett, chunky/drying skunky hops..a lot going on here...all of it quite delicious...

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