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Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Not Rated.
Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

3,405 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,405
Reviews: 1,371
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 160
Gots: 407 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Verhaeghe visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Belgian top-fermented reddish-brown ale, a blend of 8 and 18 months old beers following the careful maturation in oak casks.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,405 | Reviews: 1,371 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wedge
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's been too long.

Beautiful chestnut colored body with a small, creamy pillow of a head that quickly reduces to a plush, bubbly ring. Oaky balsamic sharpness first hits the nose along with sour cherry, berries, caramel, and dusty red wine. Big, sour, well-rounded flavors like sweet, acidic fruit, tart cherry, wood, light tannins. Dry and puckering. This takes me back. Less vinegary than I remember. Excellent...

Photo of atigerlife
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours amber with a small light brown head. Big carbonation rising.

Aroma of hay, vinegar and cherries. Interesting.

Taste is lightly sour, sour plums, sweet dark cherries, apple and grape. Quite a lot going on here.

Mouthfeel is light, cleansing and smooth.

Overall, very good, very drinkable. Good with a variety of foods.

Photo of SDDanC
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tulip from tap at sd toronado. Pours a dark brown with a small bit of amber. Creamy, but thin, egg white head that does not linger very long. Nose is spice, vanilla, and sour yeast. On the tongue it has a very smooth and sweet vanilla taste that coats the mouth. Sourness is subtle but comes out most in the middle then gives way to the vanilla and dark fruits. Mouthfeel is great, comfortable carbonation that compliments the toned down sourness.

Overall, awesome beer, nice switch from the fruity, tart sours

Photo of jakon
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle purchased for $8.39 on 7-1-7 at Tanasbourne Haggen.

Pours ruby, with a forced 2 inch head which actually sticks around for a bit despite the implied acidity. The aroma initially reminds me of vinegar. There's cherries and other fruits in there too, but I'm mostly getting vinegar. I'm expecting a very sour and funky brew. But the first thing I notice is how sweet it is. I'm disappointed with this discovery until I realize just how clean that sweetness is, and how well balanced it is with the rest of the characteristics of this fine brew. Seems like new flavors expose themselves with every movement of the tongue. This is one of the most complex beers I've tried. I can't pick it apart. I have no idea what it is that's contributing to this dynamic flavor profile. Incredibly balanced, incredibly flavorful, but at the same time, the exceptionally clean finish makes for a highly quaffable brew. This is the sweetest beer that I actually liked. An eye opener.

Photo of Neorebel
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a barely translucent shade of reddish brown, with a soda-like head... Very nice! Fairly high carbonation level. The aroma reminds me of apple cider vinegar, cherries, port wine, a mossy type of earthiness, and rosemary herbs. I love the nice, tart flavor, which contains essences of cranberry, raisin, currants, caramel apples, citrus, funky Belgian yeast, and fresh red grapes. It's nice and light, going down easily. Slightly sticky mouthfeel. It's got a juicy finish, which leaves the drinker wanting more. Overall, this beer is simply exquisite... a fantastic sour that every beer advocate MUST try!

Photo of drperm
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Don’t try this at a beer festival in the midst of sweet stouts, hoppy IPAs, or complex Abbeys. You won’t like it and you’ll give it a bad grade, simply because it’s so different from everything else. Sort of like drinking a strong Cabernet-Zinfandel blend with palak paneer and chicken jal frazie -- you’ll end up thinking that the wine is bad. Rather, this beer, a remarkable example of Flemish Red Ale, should be experienced on its own, or better yet, with dinner.

It is matured in oak casks, giving it a rich depth. It has a sourness reminiscent of Gueuze or unfruited Lambic, but has much more to offer than the Gueuze that I’ve tasted. There is a mild fruity (applish) acidity to the finish giving it a wine-like quality: not for nothing is it called the “Burgundy of Beers.” It is this acidity coupled with the pleasant sourness and wine-like dryness that makes it go so well with a variety of foods, from artisan cheese to seafood (I expect – I’m dying to try it with mussels and frites) to venison (I had it with a savory meat pie loaded with cardamom and other spices), and I’m sure there are other wonderful pairings lurking out there to be found.

Definitely a keeper. It’s also not nearly as high in alcohol (about 6.2% ABV) as other Belgians, so it won’t knock you out for the rest of the evening.

Photo of idurra
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- The color is hazy reddish brown, almost cherry wood. About 2 cm of beige head that quickly subsides, leaves a pleasant lacing.

S- Pleasant smell of early souring milk, or even sourdough

T- The sweetness is pleasant, the sourness not overpowering, and both work together to great effect. Surprising floral quality to the taste, rose water or rose hips. No significant bitterness.

M- The mouth feel is medium bodied. Not very tannic.

O- Overall excellent, the perfect sweet and sour in the world of beers. Goes well alone or with a milder tasting dish such as white fish of shellfish.

P.S. The artwork on the sticker is great.

Photo of Cavery
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ML bottle into the official Duchesse De Bourgogne glass, straight proper. Shared with SundaySour on this Friday night.

Bottle indicates best before the end of the world, check.

A: Deep dark black opal, this is how I'd imagine a dragon's eyeball to look. Dark reds, earthy browns, and prismatic oils shimmer underneath a half finger head. The brew is at about ~45F, so I can't blame the Duchesse for rocking a pixie cut. Solid speckled lacing gets her a nice set of side-burns, the andro-look.

S: Grenadine covered cherry skins dominate the front, while a smell of old rules the middle. When I sniff this beer I get a visual: cobwebs in a rusty pipe, covered with a mixture of sherry and lingenberry jam. An unusual transition of the tartness leans toward gojji berries. A complex but very clean nose.

T: Cherry skins, lime, and a bittering carob. A dash of balsamic vinegar makes this an ultimate beet salad pairing. So sweet and so light, a crisp pink lady apple bite keeps me praising the Duchesse. How is all that flavor in there? Vinegar acidity increases with the temperature. This is just like fine salad dressings, you want to try and get just the right amount in your mouth. Too big of a gulp and you'd hate it, too little and you'd be left wanting. The challenge is taking that perfect rip.

M: Just so buttery smooth, the carbonation is so strong yet restrained. A master class in mouthfeel, the liquid levitates in your mouth above so many layers of bursting bubbles that you swear it never makes contact with your mouth. The Duchesse is a witch, burn her. But you can't, because you love her.

O: This really is just a classic. Definitely one of those beers you introduce to a new drinking buddy as an introduction to sour styles. The execution of this flanders is so clean and crisp, that to dislike it is as unholy as disliking your grandmother's apple-pie. Avoid such blasphemies, and take your time with this one. Explore the different flavor experiences to be had with different sized mouthfuls. Notice how she can be as sweet as you want her to be, and as tart as you want her to be. Revisit this one a few times before you come to any conclusions about it, each bottle is a variation on a theme. It's ever so sensitive to temperature and glassware, give her the care she needs. After many dates, hopefully you'll come to see her as the beautiful siren that she is.

Photo of jmdrpi
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750mL corked and caged champagne-style bottle, with best by date on cork. poured into snifter

appears a deep dark brown with creamy head. but head up to light, a brilliant garnet color. head coats to the end, and great lacing.

funky aroma, a little musty and sweetness. but not off-putting.

taste is slightly sour start, but finishes more like a biscuity malty brown ale. complex and very enjoyable.

extremely smooth mouthfeel. couldn't be better.

I thought this beer had a great reputation, and it did not disapoint.

Photo of bark
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The colour is dark red-brown; the liquid is clear. The low off white foam slowly sinks down leaving a small amount of lacing.

The smell is… Ehhh… Different. Sticky sour notes chemical of acetone, red fruits, barrel-aged flavours, some bitterness and a hint of chocolate. Cool.

The taste is very complex, yet balanced and smooth. The first very sour chemical flavour passes quickly leaving room for a fruity sweet note: Red apples, cherries, raspberries, strawberries… There is a mild sour note with some earthy flavours and a growing matured flavour of wood and strong wines. The aftertaste is fruity and sweet with a gentle low bitterness.

The carbonation is medium strong with lots of short-lasting small fresh bubbles. The liquid is creamy and a little bit thick.

I have never tasted anything like this. Much more fruity and matured than the fruit Lambics, still it is very sour and chemical.

Photo of mpyle
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Best before 06-06-08, so a year ahead of "expiration date".

app - Lovely reddish-brown color with sparkling clarity. Large, creamy, off-white head lingers nicely, leaving lace in its wake.

smell - A bit vinegar-like, and a sour berry smell dominates. Pleasant, but a bit simple and one-dimensional.

flavor - a dark berry fruity sweetness and a competing sour dryness. Overall balance slightly sweet. Hop flavor nonexistent as appropriate for style, hop bitterness not clearly evident (but providing some balance).

MF - medium body and low-to-med carbonation. A gentle astringency from the red wine-like finish, but in style. No alcohol warming.

O'all/drinkability - A beautiful looking, beautiful tasting beverage. Lovely mnelding of fruity sweetness and aged beer sourness, with tremendous balance. Given the price (think my 11.2 oz bottle was about $4) and nature of the brew, not one that will be a pounding session beer, but highly drinkable for a sour (in my view).

Photo of MufflnMan
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The TRUE champagne of beers. Poured a 750ml bottle into a flute which really fits this brew well. Dark brown with a thin and light lacy head that disappears quickly. As dark as it is, it looks very lively with carbonation.

Not too much in the nose, a woody smell of some sort. The taste, on the other hand... the second this brew hits your tongue the party starts. Champagne like bubbles, some tartness (but not at all strong) of cherries and plums, and a very subtle malty finish to balance everything out.

Overall, a really unique beer. Great way to introduce someone who doesn't like beer to something different... ie, my girlfriend, who loved it. Can't wait to have this for brunch!

Photo of Klym
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at The Rake in London. Review from notes.

A: Pours a malt-vinegar esque deep red/brown with a respectable head. Appearance is complex and intriguing.

S: Smells of grape and cherry sweetness with a vinegary sting to it. Smells like it might be rather biting.

T: Wow. I've had Duchesse a couple of times from the bottle before and this is just totally different. In my previous experiences the vinegar dominated and the sweetness was a little hard to dig out. This time, the highest quality of sweet grapeskins beautifully layered the taste throughout, with small hints of other fruits like rich cherry. A vinegarish bite came toward the end but added a sort of crispness and fighting spirit to the taste. Really lovely.

M: Great mouthfeel; an excited carbonation with a viscocity that makes it run throughout your mouth at the appropriate rate and with just the right feel for the proper taste experience.

O: Having this on tap really caught me off guard and made me realize the dangers posed by getting this post international shipping. This is an awesome beer and already well worth getting in a bottle-- getting it on tap is a must if its available to you. Hats off to the Duchesse de Bourgogne.

Photo of ejquin
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: red with thin white head that holds with good lacing.

S: Oaky and deep with caramel notes and a fruitiness. Smoky Vanilla from the oak and butterscotch as well.

T/M: Nice creamy mouthfeel with carb level. Taste is malty and caramely up front giving weight to raspberry fruitiness and acidic funk, with the vanilla smoky oakyness coming through on finish alongwith a maple sugar sweetness.

Ovr: Very nice red ale.

Photo of jmc44
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, deep brownish-red, with a rocky offwhite head that sticks around forever.

Fruity aroma, apples, acidic, a bit of sweet malt and hints of earthiness.

Taste is complex. A great balance of malty sweetness with a strong tart flavor, like sour cherries, apples, and a hint of raisins and dark fruit. Light and sweet at first, followed by the pronounced tart and sour taste. Surprisingly clean finish.

Medium-bottled, fairly highly carbonated, smooth. A very good beer, very complex and yet well balanced.

Photo of wordemupg
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured into tulip 18/6/13

A nearly clear ruby red with lots of carbonation, a light brown two finger foams a little darker then expected and quickly looses half its height but then sticks around a pinky deep leaving several partial rings deep down the glass

S earthy wood notes, some sour fruit, brown sugar, just a very faint hint of funk and vinegar, smells solid but could use just a little more intensity

T flavors stronger then the nose, has a sweet and sour thing going on and it works very well, cherry, strawberries and raspberries both sweet and tart, those fizzy candies that come in the two foot long strips, wood and vinegars quite faint, soft caramels add to the mix, wonderful stuff

M silky through the lips and creams up nicely, sweet and sour, a little slick inside your mouth and sticky on the lips, mild fruity aftertaste is rather clean much to my surprise

O great beer that's already gone at this point, very easy to drink and everything meshes together to create a lovely sweet and sour, fruity mix

I've had this several times before and I'm not really sure how I've never sat down and reviewed it, a classic brew that I doubt will ever go out of style

Photo of JBogan
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with ruby tint, a slightly off white small head which left somewhat quickly and left moderate lacing.

Smelled mostly of sour cherries, with a bit of raisin and alcohol present as well.

Tasted of sour cherries with a hint of alcohol warming.

Mouthfeel was very good. Smooth and medium bodied yet with a perfect amount of carbonation sting.

This was a very drinkable beer, yet it doesn't come cheap. It also seem to have a much higher ABV than advertised. Overall I will most certainly revisit this one again, yet save it for special occasions as it's priced a bit too dear for daily consumption.

Photo of Titans77
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into an oversized snifter.

A - Very very dark brown with hints of red where the light hits the glass. Half finger of khaki head that sticks around for a bit. Good looking beer.

S - sour cherry and dark fruits. very pungent.

T - big sour dark fruits with a dominant cherry flavor. A great example of Flanders Red style.

M - Puckering sour from start to finish. Mild carbonation and medium bodied. One of my favorite sours so far.

O - I feel that this is slightly better than Rodenbach Grand Cru. A very good entry sour, which is what I am into right now. Good stuff.

Photo of sholland119
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Along with the Monk's Sour Ale, this beer was my introduction to Flanders Reds. I was intrigued to go back and try one again.

Pours a moderately opaque brown with just a hint of dark purple. A thin tan head sticks around nicely.

Sour fruits, mostly cherries and maybe some green apple combined with a nice bready yeast.

Taste is delicious, with a bit of fruity sweetness in the front which rolls into a nice sour tang. Cherry sweetness come back in the finish. Excellent, if perhaps a tiny bit too sweet.

Mouthfeel has a modest pucker with nice medium carbonation.

An easy drinker for the style. The extra sweetness makes this more sessionable than most Flanders Reds.

HV

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Like most beers of this style, I like to describe them as sparkling pinot noir. However, This one is different. It pours a dark garnet color, with a thick head consisting of rather large bubbles. On the nose is a hint of spice, with a scent of blackcurrant. Beginning with a sour flavor of raspberry and cranberry, it is followed by a sweet finish of plum, currant, and brown sugar. The beer is medium-to-full bodied, and is not something that will fill you up before or after a meal. Because of it's acidity, I would serve this beer with fresh fruit or a salad. It would go great with pork tenderloin as well... For those looking to explore into a realm of something truly different, I highly reccomend this fine product.

Photo of biegaman
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer is 'red' only in regards to its highlights, which blaze a casual orange-red, like that of persimmon fruit. The body is slightly dark and its shine is modest. A patchy yet all encompassing tarp of head slates the beer at all times. Irregular patterns of lacing are splotched about the glass.

The smell can evolve throughout the tasting. Generally speaking it is a compost of candy apple, balsamic vinegar and spiked cranberry lemonade. As it became room temperature, the smell grew more sweet than it was at first sour, and became remarkably alike a mead. One (or all) of the cranberry lemonade/balsamic vinegar/candy apple is what most will likely pick up on.

The Duchesse, somewhat distinct from others its style, has an underlying bittersweet cocoa mixed with granola kind of flavour. More like others, the sense of balsamic vinegar is strong. Strawberries, cherries, bruised apple, and dates characterize most of the overripe fruit taste.

The mouthfeel is certainly a lot closer to a wine than most beer drinkers would be used to. Bitterness is replaced by sourness (although no Cantillon) and tartness (although no Rodenbach). The oak aging contributes greatly to the overall dimension of the beer, lending a dryness, but also combining with the sweetness in flavour to make for rum, port, or sherry like taste.

Like lambics, Flanders Ales are a blend of young and old beers and carry a touch of funk. Although the two styles also share in common barrel aging, the merging of tart, sweet, and sour, as well as the often underlying acidity, the reds and bruins of Flanders certainly don't drink like their Brusselian cousins.

Flanders Ales offer you a choice. Their subtleties and complexity allow for something that can be sipped and savoured. The medley of sweet and sour, on the other hand, make for something refreshing and rewarding, a glass that won't last long full. The choice can be yours.

I've had the Duchesse De Bourgogne on so many occasions now, including the beer at different ages, and I can honestly say that it is always a treat. The Duchesse especially epitomizes the art of Flemish brewing.

Photo of delicious
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Auburn body and a very thin beige head that leaves an interesting lace.
There's a hint of fermented apple cider in the nose and a little vinegar.
Holding the first sip in my mouth, all the tiny bubbles work with the sourness and cider vinegar to create something alive and explosive; alcohol warmth lets the feeling linger on. The initial sweetness seems to come from sour cherries, unripe plums, and apples, and the dichotomy is an interesting experience; the two extremes of sweet and sour not only coexist, but thrive. As the temperature rises, the sourness calms a bit and lets you explore it more in-depth. I could sip this all by its self, but it also went great beside a burger topped with a mound of gorgonzola.

Photo of UberWasser
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown bottle served in a snifter.

Freshness date is 27/05/05, so this beer is about a year beyond that. And from what I've noticed in the reviews, the Freshness date is set about two years after bottling...so this bottle was capped back in 03, most likely.

The bottle popped nicely, but upon the pour, the reddish brown beer is topped by a very small and fizzy head. There is no retention to be spoken of, leaving it looking flat in the glass. But the color is nice. I am worried that time has flattened my beer, though, as I move on to the sniff.

Which pleases me greatly. It smells a bit...old. Not in a bad way, though. When you combine it with the winey, fruity, vinegary and woody scents that rise from the glass it makes me feel like I'm walking through an old wine cellar, with all of those aromas permeating the air.

Now what really surprises me is that when I take a sip, my mouth is filled with a warm prickley carbonation...where was all of this when I poured it? Seems to have worked itself stubbornly in the beer, only to be released as it slips between the lips. Its the perfect sensation to go with the fruity, champagne-like flavors that dominated the front and middle of the mouth. This fruity and grapey character lasts until a few seconds after the swallow as a pleasant just-ripened raspberry tartness rises to provide some drying balance. This taste lingers for some time, with a slightly twiggy, woody flavor slowly unfolding to mingle.

This is a beer that just plain works...not sure what it would be like fresh, I will have to find another bottle, but I am glad I took the risk grabbing this one, because it was quite the experience.

Photo of SuperSpy
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A brown-red color, an almost coca-cola like head. Head retention is a little on the weak side but it does retain a nice foam cap and there is some good lacing.

S - The aroma is tart and acidic with hints of sour cherries and raspberries.

T/M - The flavor is tart and sweet but finishes nutty and earthy with a hint of oak. There is plum and dark cherries. The beer is light and tingly which pairs extremely well with the tart flavor.

D - I could sip this all night. A great Flanders Red.

Photo of scott451
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 350ml bottle into a Duvel tulip. Clear dark reddish brown with a big tan head which soon diminishes to a persistent thin layer. Strong lacing. Very light carbonation.

A very evident sourness in the smell. A nice sweet and sour balance in the taste. Lots going on here. Some woody flavours - very mellow though. Hints of fruit. A long finish

Mouthfeel is very creamy but fairly light. The light carbonation goes well with the sweet sour finish. Very drinkable

Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,405 ratings.