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Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Not Rated.
Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

3,488 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,488
Reviews: 1,395
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 13.46%
Wants: 171
Gots: 453 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Verhaeghe visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001

Belgian top-fermented reddish-brown ale, a blend of 8 and 18 months old beers following the careful maturation in oak casks.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,488 | Reviews: 1,395 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of goochpunch
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle: best before 09-08-06

Pours out dark brown with outlines of ruby when put in direct light. The head comes and goes quickly, but will leave a slight ring if agitated. Smells of balsamic vinegar, tart berries and oak. I also detect an eau de elmer's glue, but oddly enough, it's a good thing here. Tastes of tart fruit, specifically cherries, alonside oak tones, a slight alcohol presence, and a grape-juice/wine-like acidity. I got a lot of the same wine-like characteristics as I did with the Vichtenaar, but with this brew, they seemed more married to the other flavors and don't stand out AS much. Mouthfeel is vibrant and biting. Leaves me dry. Excellent. This one seems a lot more mellow than the Vichtenaar I reviewed earlier, both in the flavor profile and mouthfeel. Fantastic beer.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle split and poured into a Unibroue tulip. 6% ABV, Best before: See Cork, Exp: Jul 2011.

Thanks to Beerwolf77 for bringing this over last night!

A - A hard cork pull relieves our "don't be a gusher" worries. An effervescent pour let the Duchesse give up a loose tan head with quickly popping and sinking bubbles. Low retention with little lace left over. The color is a clear red-brown. It looks unassuming and kind of like you pored a Coke in a tulip.

S - An oaky wood nose with an astringent, acidic sour smell kind of aims it towards the sour category. Hints of vinegar don't ruin anything, rather, it adds an extra dimension to the tart sourness the nose has to offer. Toasty malts have toffee in the background and combat the sourness reassuring that the taste wont be a mouth-puckering beer. No hop presence in this at all.

T - Delicious malty sweetness with a touch of brown sugar and caramel sweetness with toffee shavings on top. A light vinegar touch and some tart red grape with a mild funkiness backs up the malty sweetness with good balance. Awesome flavor with great depth! Mmmm.

M - The light tart funk melds well with the light-medium body and moderate carbonation finish. Very nice texture and finish but nothing in the mouthfeel really adds to the enjoyment of the beer, rather, it just helps it's awesomeness along.

D - This beer is insanely drinkable. Before finishing my review my pour from the 750 ml bottle was nearly gone. I busted out my 11.2 oz bottle to enjoy some more. Fantastic flavor and good aroma with such a well-balanced flavor and finish. I could put down a 750 ml of this myself no problem. Thanks Bnieman for recommending this time and time again and thanks Todd for bringing it over!

Photo of bark
4.37/5  rDev +5%
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 ejquin
4.37/5  rDev +5%
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 JBogan
4.37/5  rDev +5%
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 biegaman
4.37/5  rDev +5%
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
4.37/5  rDev +5%
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
4.37/5  rDev +5%
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 scott451
4.37/5  rDev +5%
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

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

I picked up the Duchesse after many times passing her by due to the uncertainty. My wife picked her up for me at Whole Foods and unfortunately it was placed facing the cold box near an auxillary vent...of heat...which was keeping cheese cold. Go figure.

After 24 hours in the cold, the Duchesse and I had our rendezvous.

Being my first Flanders Red Ale, she went easy. She poured a nice reddish brown color with a single layer of foam. A light carbonation was also present.

She yielded a major vinegar aroma with a whisp of cherry in the background.

She tasted of a sweet vinegar on the initial sip with a nice sweetness on the back of the tongue and lips. A very intriguing taste for a newbie to this style.

It was a nice refreshing brew to some of the others I have tried in the past and is very drinkable if you can get past the ever-present vinegar smell.

Photo of hagbergl
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

750 mL green bottle into my Rodenbach Grand Cru glass. This is the first time I have had a full glass of this beer, so I'm interested to see how it compares to other great Flanders Reds, like the Bruery's Oude Tart and, of course, Rodenbach Grand Cru.

Appearance (4/5): The Duchesse pours a dark red-brown with a rocky, slightly choppy tan/light brown head. Lots of soapy lacing on the sides of the glass when I tilt it. Beautiful color; wish there was more head to top it off, but that's nitpicking a little too much.

Smell (4.5/5): VERY DISTINCT: The Duchesse has a pronounced balsamic vinegar smell to it that is unlike other sours I've smelled. Black pepper, blackberry, black cherries, pomegranate are prominent notes, too. Very interesting and unusual.

Taste (4.5/5): Very fruity: blackberry and pomegranate in the front, the beer resolves into a slightly vinegary, mildly sour finish. Sweet to start, but the beer dries out nicely and regains some of its tartness in the finish. Not noticing much of the balsamic character that I picked up in the nose in the taste. That’s fine with me, though!

Mouthfeel (3.75/5): Duchesse de Bourgogne is slicker and smoother than most sours (this due to a medium carbonation level). While it doesn't necessarily make the beer LESS drinkable, a higher carbonation level would really give this beer a boost. Could this be due to a bottle that's been sitting around a while? Maybe. But I'm reviewing the beer I have in my hand. Next time I pick this beer up maybe it'll be different.

Overall (4.25/5): Duchesse is a very good Belgian sour that gets a lot right: it has a great balance of tart and sweet, an excellent nose, and looks very nice in the glass. I do wish it featured better carbonation for sure, but that doesn't detract too much from the beer's overall quality. Very good, and I concur with others on BA that this is a good introductory sour.

Photo of Green1981
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of oh_sacred_hops
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%

Photo of Neorebel
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
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
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
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 wordemupg
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
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 Titans77
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
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 kbub6f
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

There's a very strange effect creating the head on this beer that I've never seen. It looks like tiny bubbles of carbonation gather in clumps in the bottom of my tulip glass. When enough have stuck together, they rise in a big gob through the beer to join the small tan head. It's a little disconcerting at first, seeing these pale gobs rising. The beer itself is dark red-brown and clear. Swoopy, thick, thick lacing. Loads of fresh bread waft out of the glass. Tangy, sweet toffee. Alcohol, prunes, sour fruit. That might be one of the fullest aromas ever. The beer starts spicy, with tangy fruit and toffee. The middle is thick, sweet, fruity, creamy. There's almost a little chocolate. The finish is bready, with sweet cherries and a dry edge to it. This is just one fruity, bready, sweet beer. Rich, flavorful. I can't really think of anything it compares to, but I really like it. Just a little too sweet for me, but the breadiness and cream are great.

Photo of fostachild
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours an awesome clear dark brown/red color with a good amount of light tan/offwhite head - nice lacing afterwards.

smell is nice - super sour, alcohol. sweetness - tons of fruit/berries.

tastes delicious. sour, sweet, fruit, wine, slight alcohol. interesting balance and well done. enjoyed this a ton! definitely recommend trying one out.

Photo of brewsclues
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On-tap at Sharp Edge (Pittsburgh, PA) on 1/19/2013. Thanks for the brews, JJ.

One word: balsamic vinegar! (OK, two words.) Not the type of vinegar you slug when you're sick, or the type that makes your intestines pucker, or the type that you un-clog drains with. No, this is the sweet, complex, slightly tangy, and medium-acidic balsamic vinegar that you let age and import it from Italy for $40/bottle. The nose screamed it from the very start, and while I might say that Flemish Reds won't be everyone's bag, if you are looking for a great intro to the style, The Duchesse is a great place to start.

Duchesse is really quite complex, rich, and malty for a sour. Plus points for balance and a not-too-overbearing pucker-taste. But let me re-iterate: this is a big, bold, and tangy Flemish Red. Drier than I was expecting - quite sessionable.

Flanders!

Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%

Photo of EnemyWithin
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle with exp date of 03/2012 on cork. Poured into Duvel tulip glass on Jan 27, 2012.

Appearance: 5

Dark brown, with hint of dark cherry, body. Pour with a 1 inch dense white head that tender to persist nicely. Actually a great looking beer.

Smell:4

Tart fruit, especially cherry, and prominent sourness, with a slight vinegary note, dominates. Mild, appropriate funk detectable. Also get a mild spiced note from yeast. Overall, pleasant aroma that lets you know this is a sour beer.

Taste: 4.5

On first sip, very intriguing and complex. On further tasting, I detect a tart cherry presence, with a slight candy sweetness. This quickly transitions into a more bold pure sourness, with strong persisting cherry fruit notes as well as a touch of lemon. Midway through, there is a soft funk detectable. Flickering faint notes of spice also are present at times.
Finishes relatively cleanly with lingering sour/tart fruit notes. Overall, undoubtly sour, but well balance IMO.

Mouthfeel: 4

Nice soft moderate, somewhat creamy carbonation. Body is mild-moderate thickness, at times feels slightly thin possibly, mainly at the finish. But in the end, this is not a real big deal. Still a good mouthfeel overall.

Overall: 4.5

Great sour beer. Good flavours, with a nice complexity of layers. Sourness is prominent, but not through the roof. Incredibly easy to drink. The alcohol content of 6.2% makes is reasonably to drink a bottle on one’s own. I know that this a beer I will drink frequent to satisfy a sour-craving.
Highly recommend.

Photo of Ashleydenee
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of MMAJYK
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Bright mahogony color. Nice and clear with a nice little head that dissipates rather quickly.

S. Cherries, apples, muscadines, and a touch of wood.

T. Grape skins, lemons, strawberries, and bubblegum.

M. Light in the mouth and high carbonation. Zingy and refreshing.

D. This beer is quite drinkable as it is one of the most refreshing drinks I've had in a while. Paired with Chicken Alfredo was excellent!

Photo of bluejacket74
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml caged and corked bottle, cork states expiration date of 12/09. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a reddish/brown color with about a half inch off-white head. Head retention is average, lacing is good. It smells like tart cherries, apples and vinegar. The taste is similar to the aroma, it tastes like slightly tart cherries, apples, plums and a bit of funk and vinegar. The taste isn't quite as sour as I expected it to be, but I think it's pretty good. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy and slick and well carbonated. Drinkability is pretty good, it's smooth, refreshing and very enjoyable and easy to drink. I'd buy this again in the future, I think this is a pretty good brew. Recommended.

Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,488 ratings.