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Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

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Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,429 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,429
Hads: 3,838
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 22.93%
Wants: 199
Gots: 670 | 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: 1,429 | Hads: 3,838
Photo of bareju
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Poured from bottle. Huge fine white head, highly carbonated. Very light on the mouth, coats the mouth with bubbles. A tiny bit of dryness on the finish. Funky and fruity smell, very nice.

Taste is sweet and fruity with a very nice acidity and sourness that is well balanced.

Overall a very tasty, refreshing, fun beer. I'd like just a tiny bit less carb but other than that it's fantastic.

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Photo of July2Nov
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Older version: 19-01-08.

Appearance: Poured a very dark burgundy color (much darker than I anticipated). Thin, nice lacing all around the glass (held well during the life of the beer).

Smell: Funky and strong. Getting some apple and dark fruit scents. Spiced Raisin comes through near the end.

Taste & Mouthfeel: I guess when I automatically see a darker beer, my immediate thought is that it's going to be heavy...so with that in mind, this was so light and refreshing to the palate. Has a thin syrup like texture that wraps on the tongue. Nice undercurrent of fruit flavors, with some sweetness. The initial flavor has something akin to balsamic vinegar. Some tartness during the middle...the aftertaste has a slight numbing effect. Very interesting and complex, yet lighter and refreshing.

Drinkability: This is almost wine-like and lambic-esque in it's tasting...which I'm a fan of. With this in mind, this is so drinkable that it's almost off the scale. I've had this bottle for close to three years and I'm impressed by the flavor that is still evident from this bottle. Must compare it to a newer version to find what the differences are (if any). Would try again, in any form! A must!!!

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Photo of confer
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first Flanders Red, and I think I have a winner as my first. Reddish -brown with a giant fluffy off-white head. The smell is over-ripe apples. Tart but sweet.
Taste is more of the same. Tart and sweet.
Feel is very light and dry.
A very tasty beer and I'd imagine a good example of the style. Price is a little much but it could be nice treat every once in a while.

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Photo of cradke
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark brownish red. A thin fine head.

Smell: A tart nose that has some good sweetness. Cherrys and other esters.

Taste: Delicious. Not as tart as the nose would lead you to believe. Certainly some dark fruit. Nicely complex and well put together.

Mouthfeel: Very nice. Nicely substantial with good carbonation.

Overall: I'm really impressed with this beer. The nose is quite tart but the taste is well balanced. Very good amount of fruit. I really enjoyed this.

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Photo of beermanbrian
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice mahogony color with a creamy off white head. Nice lacing. Smell of sour cherries domminates. As it warms the smell gets richer and fuller as the oak flavors kick in and it slips almost into wine territory. Taste is just so full and rich, tons of sour fruit backed by oak. You should definately not drink this one too cold. Creamy medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall I rate this one in the excellent category, not quite world class but close. You just don't want this one to end.

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Photo of Muhly
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-deep reddy brown. Pours with a large off-white to tan head.

S-citrusy and bread-sweetness

T-tart, acidic, dark fruit sweetness


O-yay. Very good. More complex than Rodenbach Classic with a good wallop of tartness to keep sour fans happy.

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Photo of Hoperator
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

The appearance has a crystal clarity and a ruby brown color with a thin yet always present light tan head. To the nose, there is wine like light vinegary aroma with no hop presence. The mouth feel is effervescent and there is a tartness on the front of the tongue that doesn't have the dramatic pucker of some sours. There seems to be an almost oakey middle with a sweet finish. Overall nicely balanced RBA.

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Photo of Risser09
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml Bottle Shared With Friends At A Sour Beer Tasting • Poured Into A Tulip Taster • Review From Notes

Appearance: Dark Brown caramel color with lighter tan highlights that shimmer in the light. Eggshell head is tight and quickly dissipates.

Smell: The aroma is quite grape-like, but has many more aromas to contemplate.
Freshly cracked eggs, smoke, soy sauce, worchestershire sauce, brown sugar, rosebuds, other flowers. There is also a faint caramel aroma.

Taste: Taste is excellent. We begin with the obvious oak, smoke and pleasantly sour flavors that are immediately apparent. The front of the palate is mildly tart dry grapes and then there is a nice layer of brown sugar and caramel that sweetens up the palate. Prunes, berries, plum, and a touch of leather bring up the rear of flavors.
What a nice beer!

Mouthfeel: Tight little bubbles of carbonation treat your mouth just right. Pucker up, because you're in for a whirlwind of pleasure.

Drinkability: Superb. I think I could have easily finished the whole 750 by myself and enjoyed it thoroughly. This certainly isn't as cloying as other Flanders Reds I've had and could possibly be considered the staple.

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Photo of wl0307
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Revisiting this vaguely-defined Flanders ale as part of my 7-bottle tasting panel of Flemish Red/Brown ales. BB 13/12/09, served lightly-chilled in Gulden Draak's tulip-shaped bowl sniffer.

A: dark russet brown colour with good clarity, coming with fine yet constant streams of carbonation in support of a thick, dark-beige frothy head that retreats reluctantly and leaves tight lacing behind.
S: marvellously fruity, lactic-sour, and sweet-malty... creamy yet salty-sour berry fruits are not "floating", but rather thick and oily, suggesting licorice-marinated prunes, strawberry/raspberry jam, fat smoked longan-fruits, and a dancing touch of diacetyl in the background, while the dark malts give out a strong aroma of crystallised sugar... A closer sniff reveals the underlying oak-ageing aroma, that is mildly vanilla-ish sweet yet inextricably linked to the vinegary character typical of this style. Still, having tried Rodenbach Grand Cru, this ale smells rather like a milder Oud Bruin to me.
T: the foretaste is just lightly lactic-sour cherry-fruity, backed by a thick body of mild brown-sugary malts, semi-sweet longan-fruits and utterly delicious prunes... as the vinegary sour-fruity edge softens, very quietly the main theme gives way to lightly flavoured, sweet-tea-ish herbal touch of hops and lightly aromatic notes of oak-ageing (not unlike an Oloroso Sherry actually), leaving a mildly woody/tangy palate to go with more aromatic undertones of Chinese prunes in the long finish. Simply delicious...
M&D: like my last bottle, the body is medium-plus and the texture is impeccably creamy-smooth, but the overall sweet elements apparently are much softer and the flavour structure is quite "evolving", hence a more enjoyable balance. Still, it's very hard to determine where a Flemish Red stops and Oud Bruin starts, as the characters shown in this nice ale border both, smartly.

* Tasting Date: 23/07/06
This is the first time to revisit this beer since my first encounter three years ago in Brussels. I still remember that it gave me a much sweeter impression than Rodenbach's range and other counterparts, thus I was not that keen to try it again. But my memory could be hazy, I told myself in the shop, and it deserves a "recorded" opinion as such~~ BB 11/07/07, served lightly-chilled in a large Burgundy bulb wine glass.
4 A: reddish-brown in colour the beige-hued frothy head settles fast to a rimmed foam and leaves uneven lacing along the way; medium-lively carbonation. Looking settled and promising.
4.5 S: slightly rusty upfront, followed by a much milder edge of red wine vinegar, creamy raspberry+strawberry-flavoured yogurt, lightly-caramelised sugar, and a fantastic note of smoked prunes and quite akin to a silky and prune-ish Rioja!! As I remember it right, the fruity smell does have a sweeter edge to the overall sour aroma, but in a sense a softer and creamy balance is obtained b/w wood-ageing factor and profound maltiness, neither so... exciting nor harsh as Rodenbach Grand Cru... Instead it's deeply aromatic, fruity, yet approachable.
3.5 T: an assertive flow of brown sugar like sweetness and sour-sweet berry- and stone-fruits smoothly caress the tongue, but in two different layers rather than being mixed seamlessly... the mid-flavour shows more sweet and creamy malts, which is not heavy but slightly too sugary, whereas the soft fruitiness and wood-ageing's sourness prevail in time to result in a slightly dryish, tangy and tartly-sweet aftertaste, thus an overall pleasant and evolving structure is secured all right. Short and clean finish.
4 M&3.5 D: can't complain at all about the texture--creamy and softly carbonated on the mouthfeel, and the body is quite solid yet pretty refreshingly-light vis-a-vis the flavour. Somehow the sweet edge of this beer is still what fails to convince me, just like my first encounter three years ago: the sweet, sugary edge running in parallel to, rather than hand in hand with, the sour-fruitiness poses the largest difficulty b/w me and this otherwise fantastic beer. Guess I'd only be converted to this ale either when my palate changes, or the brewer budges.

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Photo of timtim
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i really love this one. nice reddish brown color with an off white head that shrinks down but never goes away. nice lace as well. smells of some fruit like plum, raspberry, cherry and vinegar as well. also some sweet sugary smell. tastes like a mix of all three fruits with a raw sugary sweetness and has an incredible sour kick. not too sour, just remarkable in my opinion. mouthfeel is soft and silky with a great carbonation that gives the drink some legs as it goes down. a real pleasure of a drink.

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Photo of Padron4KM
4.51/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From old notes. Clear dark brown, thin beige head, nice lacing left on the glass.
Aroma starts with malt vinegar, but there is an underlying sweetness, oak, vanilla, wine.
Flavor is sour and sweet at the same time. Vinous, sweet, fruity, tart, oaky.

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Photo of silenius
4.51/5  rDev +10%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served at slightly warmer than fridge temperature in a tulip glass.

Reddish brown appearance with a uniformly light beige head containing medium sized bubbles in the foam. The head dissipated quickly. This beer has a sour cherry and red wine vinegar smell with a background of brown sugar and a hint of vanilla (possibly from the oak barrels).

A bit of a bite on the attack, but that quickly segues into a round, mellow, dried cherry sweetness with a tart backbone. A complex, wine-like beer. At the end it reverts to a slightly tart, but eminently enjoyable, tinge that lasts in the mouth for a good 20 seconds.

Very enjoyable. When drinking this, I sip it slowly and savor it like a dessert wine. This is not a beer I would use to quench a thirst. I would drink it at the the end of meal instead of dessert. The other three bottles I purchased in the four-pack will be gone within the week I am sure!

I would definitely drink it again.

Purchased on 1/17/04. Best before date is 07/04/05.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
4.51/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A very unique and complex brew. Poured out to a dark brown / almost black color that turned burgandy when held to the light. Medium level of carbonation produced an exceptionally dense foamy head. Some notes of lace. Aromas of fermented apples, mature grain, and some sweet bourbon on the nose. Different, yet not unplesant. Taste is unlike any Flanders Red Ale I have previously had, or any beer for that matter. Very similar to a well rounded sweet red wine; flavors of mature dark fruit, sweet caramel, tart sugar, very sweet malt and a touch of worscheshire toward the finish. Very complex and enjoyable. Mouthfeel is again very wine like, with some carbonation that adds a demention that brings to mind a pink champagne. A good level of drinkability. This is not my favorite style of beer, but I could sure see this in my fridge again soon. I look forward to introducing my wine loving friends to this. Highly Recommended for the style.

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Photo of cdkrenz
4.51/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Brown body with a strong amount of carbonation. The head is quicklived and is a pale eggshell color.

S - It offers an aroma of red wine, oak and slightly sour cherry.

T - Quickly, a sour almost cherry flavor comes up. It soon fades away leaving the flavor of white wine and a tiny hint of alcohol.

M - Light and airy from the large amount of carbonation.

~ This is something I will seek out again. It is one of the best beers I've had the luxury to sample. If you have the opportunity to try it you should definitely take advantage.

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Photo of carpezytha
4.51/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very well balanced beer. Do not try this beer if you are narrow minded. It probably falls outside of whatever classification you will try to fit it into.

Fabulous appearance. Deep bronzed ruby in color.

An eager foam gathers after a good pour. I used a small chardonnay-shaped glass and that worked.

A bit musty on the nose, with some sourness anticipated, indicated.

First on the tongue, a well balanced sweet and sour, good carbonation. I think the carbonation helped it.

Beneath the sourness of the yeast and the sweet light malt there are citrus notes underneath, some jammy cherry and peach, tangy notes with a light scatter of spicebox, cedar and leather. There really are several flavors here that combine well.

I will definitely try this one again soon if I can. I was surprised and impressed.

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Photo of TDotScott
4.51/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a wine glass from a 22 oz bomber, cellared for nine months.

L- Deep auburn with very little head. Highlights of Garnet.

S- Acetobacter like whoa. Lots of vinegar and sour fruit, without being fusel-y. Still a malt presence, but all about the yeast and bacteria.

T- As expected, the cellaring has turned the beer into a more robustly sour version of its fresh self. As I like my sours sour, I'm not one to complain. Vinegar, sweet chocolatey malt, with a dry finish.

F- Not as lively as I like it.

O- Worth it to cellar it for nine months to a year, if you're down with the tartness. Any more, and the vinegar might turn into something ugly (but I don't know for sure).

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Photo of philbe311
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Dark, yet translucent... Red undertones within...

S - Malt and Grapes dominate... Very inviting...

T - Mildly sweet cider with grapes and apples at the forefront... Turns slightly bitter as the taste develops... Demonstrates smoky characteristics as the beer warms towards room temperature...

M - Carbonation... Intense... Has a good bite to it...

D - To be sipped and savored glass after glass... WOW!

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Photo of bubrewer
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I first tried the Duchess about 2 years ago and was not impressed. It was like drinking a glass full of cider vinegar. I tried her again today and found a completely different experience.

I brought out a pair of new goblets and made sure they were as beer-clean as I can get them. I sat my BMC drinking brother in law down to expanded his horizons. He had read about those crazy Belgians that just let whatever is in the air ferment their beer, so I brought out the Duchess to give him one idea about which they were talking.

This time the Duchess was in a much better mood. Deep ruby red, and brilliantly clear. I see no sediment so I assume this is not bottle conditioned. Although she had some expected tartness, it did not scream (or even hint) "cider vinegar!" like the last time. This time she was full of stone fruits, apples, a little barnyard, some sherry, and just a wonderful experience all around.

I will certainly not shy away from her any more, and am sorry I have
stayed away so long. I should listen to what I tell my kids - even if
you don't like something once, try it again once in a while because
things can change.

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Photo of DKRowden
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap into a 10 oz tulip glass. A very deep red with almost no light transparency and a creamy off white inch head. It has a very red wine like nose with the bitter sweetness. This is my first sour so I can't judge too much but it has a good sour sweet wine taste like a dessert wine or something. It has a crisp mouth feel with a moist finish. Overall quite nice for my first sour. It was aged and cellared by my local Beer Shoppe and I was lucky to try it.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a deep reddish brown color, clear, nice head that left a sheen on top, very nice lacing.

Smelled absolutely amazing, but hardly like a beer at all, more like wine. A very strong smell for such a low ABV beer, you wind up thinking you're smelling strong alcohol, but you're not. Powerful dark fruit aromas and an earthy, woody background combine with the yeast to hammer the nose. Just a touch balsamic vinegar like (that's not bad tho, I love the smell of balsamic vinegar).

A true taste explosion, amazing flavors. Cherries and raisins dominate, yeasty and sweet, woody and tart. Highly complex and fabulously delicious. Tart and tangy in the mouth, a sweet, sour, complex lingering aftertaste follows.

An oddity: based on the smell I would think it would be hard to drink, but it's exactly the opposite. Very easy to drink, very quickly leaving me wanting more.

Drink is off the charts with easy going deliciousness. Really combines the properties of wine and beer, harnessing the best qualities of both.

My first true "sour" experience. I'm hooked already!

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Photo of whiterascal
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: thin tan head, disappeared quickly, deep bronze in color
S: smells deliciously like Easter and makes my mouth water
T: truly a treat. Vinegary at first but so smooth at the finish. I taste green apple and cherries.
M: carbonated.
D: Poured into a goblet, I could enjoy the Duchesse all evening long

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Photo of Brian700
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was introduced to this beer the other night and I was really confused at first smell as to why this beer was held in such high regard...then I tasted it and my world was flipped upside down. I got to drink this out of a Duchesse de Bourgogne glass that my friend gave me.

This beer poured a silky reddish brown color with a nice looking head that clung to the glass nicely.

The aroma threw me at first. I thought it was a bad bottle because I immediately picked up on a buttery vinegar-like aroma. This aroma and whatever I had left sitting on my palate from my last beer didn't jive well at all. As soon as I got acclimated to the flavor of this beer the aroma became enticing and very complex.

The flavor was something else. It has a buttery presence in the mouth with some mild tartness. The flavor that I would have called vinegar before was acclimated to this beer became something else. I believe maybe a oak influenced sourness that is mild and adds to the complexity of this beer. It finishes somewhat dry and leaves you mouth with still developing flavors. I need to clean out some cupboard space for beers like this one now.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with medium to low carbonation. It coats the mouth nicely but is not cloying.

The drinkability of this one is good for say me, but I would say it is a lot lower for inexperienced palates.

This is definately a beer to pick up and try. Drink it with a few friends or they will never believe you.

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Photo of zymurgy4all
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is quite an interesting beer. It pours a deep reddish brown with a dense white creamy head. The aroma is all sourness: lactobacillus, brettanomyces, and a hint of oak. The immediate flavor is sour, then it finishes sweet leaving a sweet & sour taste in your mouth. The aftertaste lingers for a while as well. This is a beer that you learn to like--after having a gueze, this one tastes wonderful. Great beer, but don't drink it until you've had other sour beers to compare it too, and you develop your palate.

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The power of the Duchesse is great! The pour is a bit viscous (like wine) with a ruby red color and brown tinges when held to the light. A bubbly head that dissipates rather quickly and not much lacing to speak of, but that's ok for style.

The nose is has more of a tart aroma then acidic. Very noticeable fruit esters with cherries, pears and some tropical fruit notes in the back ground. Some sweeter malt and candy like esters. Noticeable Belgium yeast characteristics as well.

The taste is fruity for a Flemish red. The tart flavor brings out a unique cherry blossom tang both enhancing the sweeter malty flavors with the sour like candy apple tastes. The acidic and dry ester flavors leaves a no doubt Flemish style that only is exemplified by the light but delicate Belgium yeast undertones. There is a spice kick at then end. Really this beer brings out all the flavor characteristics of sweet, salty, sour and bitter wrapped altogether.

The body is closer to mid then full, but a true Belgium delight. Yeasty undertones with a fruity center that really appeals to all flavors. There really is a powerful taste overall.

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Photo of stingo
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I first fell in love with this beer while having it on tap my first time at the local beer bar. I am very happy to say it was not mere infatuation - the Duchesse poured a dark dark red that looked very appetizing indeed. The nose was acidic, yet lightly so, so it beckoned to the eager taste buds to get some of what they were missing. And what a nice flavor - deep rich earthy flavors combined with a nice sour edge to give both ends of the palate a treat. The mouthfeel was a bit thinner than I expected, but still very enjoyable. Having drunk this for an entire night, I can truthfully say the drinkability is exceptional. A highly recommended treat for your taste buds.

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Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
92 out of 100 based on 1,429 ratings.