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Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Not Rated.
Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,430 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,430
Hads: 3,844
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 22.93%
Wants: 202
Gots: 671 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Verhaeghe visit their website

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.
View: Beers (13) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,430 | Hads: 3,844
Photo of boatshoes
3.4/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Received this as an extra in a BIF from Brewfan. Thanks!

Appearance- Pours a shade of darker brown with a very minimal head that dies almost immediately to a ring around the edges. Very mild carbonation as per the style, with just a touch of lacing as I drink.

Smell- Nose is primarily of overripe, decaying apples with just a touch of tart vinegar. An interesting combination of sweet and sour.

Taste- Again, an interesting taste of overripe apples layered over balsamic vinegar. Some minerals with a touch of iron as well. However, I oddly find this one to be overwhelmingly sweet, with tartness to be almost nonexistent when compared to some of my other favorite Flemish reds. Taste would be much more interesting and complex to me were it not for the distracting sweetness.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is spot on with minimal carbonation but not overly thin on the body. Drinkability however is really killed by the sweetness here. I usually rely on an appetizing tartness in these to keep me drinking but it is lost for me in the Duchesse.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed with this one. I had heart a lot of great things about the Duchesse but for me it really pales in comparison to Rodenbach and Rodenbach Grand Cru. Not a bad beer, just too sweet for me and lacking in that tartness that I love so much in this style.

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Photo of slackattack
3.4/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark red, almost brown with short, but persistent tan head. Smell is complex and satisfying. Sour cherries, fig, molasses, and a Red wine vinegar tartness. Taste (after you get over the initial sweetness) is sour cherries, some wood, and maybe apple. Mouthfeel is a nice carbonation and a good pretty dry finish. Overall I like it, it's obviously a quality brew and easy to drink, but it's not my favorite Flanders, wish it was a tad more on the sour side.

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Photo of IdentityAles
3.4/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle. Up front sourness followed by a orange, cherry aroma and some vinous qualities. Clear burgundy in color with a small off white head. Aggressive up front sourness, rounded with hint of sour cherries, sherry like, somewhat acidic and a little bitter orange peel. A little astringent for my tastes and the sweetness lingers on the back of the throat. Pretty good job of playing the sweet and sour contrast but seems a little rough around the edges. The aggressive sourness makes it a little one dimensional IMHO.

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Photo of Popsinc
3.38/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: A dark ruby-brownish pour. Thin tan head.

Smell: A very fruity and sour nose. Ripe grape is prominent and there is also a hint of balsamic vinegar.

Taste: The taste here is much sweeter and more mild then the nose might suggest. A nice cherry sweetness creeps through and balances nicely with the tart nose.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and fresh...little sweet n dry on the finish.

Drinkability: The beer was decent but i would only question the how often would i actually sit down to drink this beer? I aprreciate it but i don't love it.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.38/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reddish -brown appearance, that is actually a deep amber up close. Lots of spritzy carbonation and 1/2 inch thick, tan foam that only settles a bit after while. The aroma is strong and vinous, lots of cherry and raisin fruit with a hint of vinegar and oak-like sourness. The taste unfortunately doesn't match up to the smell, as the flavor is almost too sweet, reminding me of grape juice. More dark fruit flavor, yet it is only weakly tart, leaving a light astringence in the finish. Mouthfeel is a bit light, decent carbonation, nothing spectacular.

The drinkablilty is average, it was hard for me to get into this beer. I was hoping for the taste to match the complexities first noted by the aroma. I would have liked it to be more sour also...

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Photo of Quaffer
3.37/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle. Still one good year left according to the BB date.

Appearance: A deep, ruddy brown beer with a course, tan head. The foam rose up easily to over two fingers and disappeared quickly. A rough ring of bubbles was left around the edge of the glass, but there wasn't much lacing at all.

Smell: There was a lot going on in the smell. Sharp, tart fruit cameto mind first. It reminded me of straight cherry juice. It had a acidic edge to it, but was sweet as well. After that initial hit, I started to notice a stong oak character, wine vinegar, and hints of Brett. Very enjoyable overall.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied and slightly buttery at times in the front of the mouth. The carbonation really built as the beer sat in the mouth, until it became strong in the throat.

Taste: The first half of this beer was a combination of sweet and tart fruit, as well as a nice woody component. The tartness was not anywhere close to being as strong as I was expecting. Surprisingly light, in fact. The second half of the glass retained the aforementioned characteristics, but they became a shadow underneath a flat, astringent bitterness that clawed at the roof of my mouth. The finish was dry, with the aftertaste being a mix of sweet fruit and turnips.

The tartness just didn't seem to be there in this beer, and the astringency that developed was rough and harsh. I would like to give it a try again in the future, though.

Thanks, babydoc!

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.36/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Filtered chestnut brown with a thick and luscious tan head. Plenty of carbonation streams visible.

N: Rotten fruit (dates, plums, and blackberries mostly) and sour apples. Vinegar.

T: Sweet and sour weirdness. Tastes like very, very rotten fruit – mostly plums and apples. Rotten to the core. Nasty stuff. The initial sip causes one’s lips to pucker violently but that is followed by this strong sugary rotten fruit sweetness. This is strange brew.

MF: Sour, then sweet, then sour again. Medium body with a lengthy slightly sweet nasty finish.

D: Low. This brew doesn’t sit right. Too much vinegar. I don’t think more than one goblet would be healthy.

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Photo of hopsaplenty
3.36/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Rustico, and served in Chimay chalice.

Arrives a deep garnet with cordovan highlights. Topped with a modest head of fine sand colored bubbles that slowly settles to a thick coating leaving big clots of foam floating. A few active carbonation streams are visible. The smell is tart, dry, sharp and of balsamic vinegar. Sweet and with a pleasing, slightly woody tartness. Sweet up front, and almost sugary. The balsamic notes ride through the middle into the finish where the tart bite shows up, but is then completely dominated by a syrupy sweet flavor. Fine, but active carbonation, rich and medium bodied slightly, ever so, dry. This has a bit of a soda feel about it. I kept coming back to the chalice hoping that it had changed somewhat, maybe dried out a bit, or that the tartness a fought its way to the front, or that at least the sweetness had dissipated. Alas, the chalice was empty and the sweet, cloying taste lingered. I had hoped for more. My wife enjoyed it more than I.

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Photo of jreitman
3.36/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purplish brown in color with a initally huge head that fades quickly. Aroma of vinegar was not appropriate. Much sweeter than should be the case for the style. Very remniscent of a Liefman's lambic in that respect. Quite enjoyable, but nothing outstanding. May be a good introduction to the style for a lot of people as it doesn't have the harsh acidity that most new sour ale drinkers get shocked by.

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Photo of John
3.36/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Relatively clear ruby/brown. Thin layer of tan foam. Aroma consists of sour, unripe fruit and balsamic vinegar notes. Vinous and champagne-like. Some sour cherries poke through...very dry. A unique style indeed. This brew redeemed itself somewhat as it neared room temperature. Do not attempt to drink this right from the fridge.

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Photo of cbl2
3.36/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


A brilliant clear reddish brown with plenty of effervescence that leads to an inch of frothy tan head that has great retention.


Sharp and fruity. Nose tingles upon sniffing this one. No hop presence, with all of the malt displayed as tropical fruit.


An overwhelming fruit presence, so much so that it resembles a lambic. Alcohol is nicely masked, but this is not balanced. Too sweet for my taste, and too off flavor for a belgian.

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Photo of TechMyst
3.35/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Root beer appearance; opaque with garnet as transmitted color. White wine aroma. 4 months after 'best by' date, but let's be honest, that shouldn't matter much here. Apple cider vinegar taste. Sweet/sour dry grapes. No head retension; thick rings which slid back into brew. Bubbles spaced very far apart. Tried this warmer than normal. Thin Mouthfeel. No bloating, which is unique to this style for me. Resinous palate. Oaky with tart cherry undertones. Almost cloyingly sweet. Drinkable though.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.35/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Lovely, clear ruby-amber body with an inch of frothy white head. Quick dissipation and almost no lacing. Nice color, but the head could use some work.

S: Straight-up acetic aroma: balsamic vinegar, cherry, and more vinegar. Pretty much as expected, but kind of boring.

T: Light vinegar, sweet fruit, and an acidic finish. Meh.

M: Light bodied yet sticky with pretty lively carbonation. Not especially pleasant.

D: Well, it's not like it's overly sour or intense, but it's just not that enjoyable to drink. I'd much rather quaff the stronger and more acidic Rodenbach Grand Cru.

Notes: While not a terrible beer by any stretch, this just isn't as good as, well, any other Flanders Red I've had - either Rodenbach, Ommegang Rouge, Willimantic Rodenzok, New Glarus Enigma, etc, etc. Too sweet and one-dimensional for my taste, but I can see how a lot of people could find it to be a good introduction to sours.


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Photo of lurpy1
3.33/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Republic. Not a style I know terribly well, but I likes me some sours, and the one FRA I had knocked my socks off.

Beautiful, deep red pour. A word to the wise though. Typically this is poured into a goblet, and the ruby red liquid in the goblet makes one look like a wine snob. Be careful where you order this, it might get you on the bidness end of an ass whupping.

Smell is vinegary, citrus, sour cherry, plenty of funk. Nice.

Taste is good, vinegar, apple, cherry. Good stu....wait a minute, what is that? That's a strange taste. Where have I had it before? With steak. Yes. It tastes like A-1! Really! Don't get me wrong, I like A-1, I just don't want to drink a goblet full of it.

Mouthfeel makes for smooth sipping.

Despite the steak sauce sensation I was able to enjoy this beer. But the off putting taste keeps it well short of being great.

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Photo of ngandhi
3.33/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The mouthwatering nose and stable half-inch head make this as appealing as any funky Belgian. Raw fruit and raw wood are backed by controlled bacteriological spice and this is, all in all, elegant.

The palate, however, is entirely undeveloped. Though it originally opens to impressive fruit -- raspberries and grape, mostly -- loaded with vinous, beaujoulais-like qualities, it feels thin and Spritey. Overwhelmed with an obnoxiously light soda element, this is an easy beer to forget about.

The label notes "careful maturation in oak casks," but the oak contributes little more outside of a woody flavor and some vanilla -- no body, no structure, or not enough.

Residually sweet of malt, Duchess doesn't deliver the caramel that I expect (and hoped for). Instead, this is a summery mix almost wine cooler-/mimosa-/balsamic reduction-like in its conception.

The properties of a Flemish red are here, but all the king's horses and all the king's men . . .

Relax, relax.

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Photo of pentathlete
3.33/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a flute. Beauty ruby brown with large head. Nose is all tart and cherries. Taste is cherry fruit with some sour notes. Pleasant, but rather tame. I expected more sour bite. Too much sweetness, almost candy like flavors. Perhaps my palate was spent, but I was not altogether thrilled. Not a bad beer, but nothing special.

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Photo of cvaypai
3.31/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle to goblet.

Appearance - Amber with beautiful red tone. Little to no head, less than 1/4 inch, dissipated quickly, no lacing.

Smell - Sour like old apples and cherries. Apple is the most powerful for me, like apple juice almost.

Taste - This seems more to me like wine, strong tastes of cherries, and yeast taste. As I drink more it becomes more apparent it is a belgian. Definitely can tell those strains. Not bad, but not really up my alley.

Mouthfeel - Tangy and carbonated, it feels like a wine in the mouth.

Drinkability - Just one of these babies. Maybe I need to let this style grow on me.

Hopefully this was just this bottle.

I think I need to try a few others of this style, definitely something I think needs to grow on me.

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Photo of tai4ji2x
3.31/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml green bottle. cork has exp date of 3/10. poured into tulip.

dark, ruby red with brown tones. gemstone clear under the light. moderately sized, fluffy tan head fades to thin layer, then wisps. amazing curtain of lacing. no sediment in the bottle or glass - is this a filtered brew?

aroma is fruity cherries and faint molasses with a very weak funk note. light wood tones, plus damp earth or fallen leaves. whiff of vinegar.

surprisingly sweet with only a trace of acidity. fruity apple and cherries, with syrupy caramel and brown sugar. faint bitterness from grassy hops and more weak acidity, with another trace of wood and damp hay.

smooth, with acidic twinge at the end for texture. mild to moderate carbonation for some refreshment.

too sweet, almost cloying, and certainly not enough acidity or complex funkiness. pales in comparison to rodenbach grand cru or even monk's cafe. but i understand the appeal for sour beer novices, so this prevents me from totally trashing it.

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Photo of rhinos00
3.31/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a burgundy, brown color with a nice three fingers width of off-white head. Some lacing as the beer is consumed.

S- Not very pleasant. Gives off a strong vinegar scent with some oak and sourness in between.

T- Not as overwhelming as the aroma. Toned down sourness that is more tart and a nice sweetness that balances the taste. Still this one is just off in some way.

M- Some carbonation. Had a thin to medium bodied mouthfeel.

D- This one was pretty hard to put down. The taste and aroma weren't doing it for me.

Overall, I love sours but this one was just not my cup of tea. Sour, yet sweet with a vinegar scent was all too much for me. I'll pass.

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Photo of dvb
3.3/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Reddish-brown, leaning more toward the reddish end. Large, off-white head that fades quickly but leaves a lot of lacing. Great clarity, no sediment. Filtered?

S - Smells of sparkling cider, apple cider vinegar, candi sugar and maturity.

T - This is a sweet, fruity, cider-like, tangy ale. Like a sparkling cider, but with more character.

M - Sticky, but not overly so. On the thin side, but not overly so. Overall, this does not drink like a beer at all. More like sparkling cider.

D - The sparkling cider qualities of this beer make it impossible for me to want any more than the one I tried today, but it is obvious that some great care went into making this product and that this is no doubt a fine example of the style

It is interesting to note that this beer is actually not just one beer, but two, as the product actually consists of the blending of two vintages of the same beer: 8 months old and 18 months old. It is also aged in oak barrels, some of which are decades old.

Did I mention that this beer is like sparkling cider?

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Photo of petacutlasaurus
3.3/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had with crackers and blue cheese on Friday night. The food was better than the beer, though. I had a pretty negative response to this one. It's a well executed beer, one with a pretty clear mission and objective taste. That taste is just not for me. It's candy beer.

Duchess is incredibly sweet, apparent immediately from the pour in the stickiness and the lacing of the head. Reeks of sugar, candied cherries, maybe, covering up a bit of sourness and booze. The taste and the body together are quite potent. Definitely strong sour notes, but it's as if the brewer wanted to cover that sourness up, or subdue it, and in order to do so, loaded the beer up with sugars. As that sourness and sweetness collides, you get a taste not too far from Splenda. Pretty unpleasant.

I think it's useful to compare it with another readily available sour, the Monk's Cafe flemish sour. It's lower gravity, sweetness, and increased tartness/bite really serves the style in a more palatable way. But that's only if you're part of the musty/bitter camp like me. If you're sweet-toothed, grab one of these, you probably will love it.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.29/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: Beautiful caged/corked 750ml bottle with great label; expiration date of 06/10.

Appearance: Beautiful dark garnet brown beer with fluffy dark ivory cap with great retention.

Smell: Funky, tart lactic and woodsy aromas...quite sour, with almost a touch of vinegar.

Taste: Super tart/woodsy up front...hints of vinegar...light hints of tart/sweet cherry on the finish

Mouthfeel: Prickly and highly carbonated

Drinkability: Medium-medium low

Conclusion: Interesting and definitely unique....I had this once before with goat cheese and marinara...that was pretty tasty...by itself this is a bit intense, and while I can appreciate the complexity and uniqueness of the style, I'm not sure this one is for me...it was alright with Jarlsberg though.

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Photo of CowsCanBark
3.29/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 25.4 oz bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a nice mahogany hue with a one-finger off-white head, not really any lacing.

Smell: It smells like wine, to put it simply; tart and fruity, and I despise wine.

Taste: It's much better than the smell. It's tart, sour, VERY sweet and fruity, mildly boozy, and mildly metallic. Too much sweetness, in my opinion.

Mouthfeel: Fits the flavor profile extremely well; high carbonation and medium bodied, slight dryness to the finish.

Overall: My first real dive into a beer that is tart and sour, and while it certainly isn't unpleasant, it's not something I'd actively seek out again. However, it has not turned me off from trying different sours, as it isn't disgusting by any means.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.28/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

My very first sour ale. I was not sure what to expect going in, but definatly knew what it was about when it was done!

Poured a deep dark brown, with lots of reddish hints to it, making it almost seem a dull burnt orange in bright light. A huge billowing white head faded quickly, but left a nice film of lace about the top for most of the glass. The smell was probably the strongest I have ever smelled in a beer. Almost knocked me over. Huge flavors of sour grapes and apples, lots of fruity hints in there, and very very strong, really like nothing I have ever smelled. The taste was unbelievably sour. Like sour candy sour, huge flavors, too much for me. Actually made my eyes water with every sip. Very light mouth feel, and great carbonation were nice, and helped it go down smoothly, but was not really my cup of tea. Flavors were big, grapes, apples, peaches, raisins, plums, very very complex and fruity. Overall I did not enjoy it, but I am not sure if this was due t o the style or this particular brew. I will have to try a couple more to get a better feel, but this one was rough on me. I could see how someone would like its deep complex character, just not me.

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Photo of Crotor
3.28/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I have a strange relationship with this beer. When I first tried it, as a nascent BA, it freaked me out. Tasted like vinegar. I thought it'd make a good salad dressing, but not a good beer.

The second time around, things are a bit different. Nonetheless, the beer remains, shall we say, *unique.*

Pours deep and dark with rich, crimson windowpanes. the low, tan head dissipates quickly.

Can't really pick up much on the aroma...

The taste hits big. Tart & sweet with an astringent finish. Behind the vinegary sourness there's a massive, cloying sweetness. The mouthfeel *seems* good, but admidst all the sweetness and tartness, it's difficult to notice anything else. Oh does the tartness linger...

After a little while in the glass, and a bit of warming, it seems to develop a foamy, effervescent feel in the mouth. Is it a bit salty?

In the end, all I can really say is that this beer is an *experience.* It seemed to hi every damn region of my tongue. Interesting certainly... Kinda like a Kubrick film - you know it was interesting, and you know a lot of work went into it, and it gave your brain a workout, but as to whether or not it was actually good, you don't really know...

My one major complaint would be that the sweetness of the beer was overly simplistic. I don't know if that's the result of the tartness deadening my palate, or if it's from the reported artificial sweeteners. Either way, it just seemed that it lost out on some of the subtlety that it could have had.

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Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
92 out of 100 based on 1,430 ratings.