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Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Not Rated.
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 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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Photo of plfahey
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle (corked and caged) poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Deep red color with ruby/garnet highlights-brilliant clarity. Ivory/light tan moderate head with moderate retention.

Aroma-Awesome aroma of cherries, grapes, and passionfruit. Nice oaky, woody notes. Tart, with musty brett flavors of horse blanket and barnyard. Complex, layered, wonderful.

Flavor-Tart up front, fruity sweet in the middle, and dry and acidic in the finish. Cherries, passionfruit, and grapes. Oaky, tart, cider vinegar flavors as well. Slight chocolate flavor. Light barnyard musty flavors in the finish. Finish is dry with a touch of acidity and lingering cherry notes. Awesome.

Mouthfeel-Medium body with moderate carbonation. Smooth and easy drinking, with a slight tingle on the palate. Crisp and refreshing.

I must say, I think I like Rodenbach Grand Cru a bit better, but the Duchesse is simply sublime. Just a hair on the sweet side, but that's just being nitpicky. This is a phenomenal beer.

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Photo of Squelch
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark Plum colored. Off white head. Slight lacing. Beautiful beer.

Smell: sweet cherries, prunes, candy.

Taste: Sour cherries, prunes, bubble gum. Wonderful

Mouthfeel: Light and tart. puckering. Sour.

Overall: One of my favorites. This beer is exceptional. Balanced and complex at the same time.

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Photo of nightcrawler
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What can you say about this great beer? Opening a bottle is always a reason to call friends and share the joy. And it is very easy to finish a bottle and move onto another...and another...and another.

It pours a brownish-red. While the smell is good, the taste is like a complex explosion. Every sip brought something different to the tongue. It ends with a clean, wine-like dry finish - just bordering on sharp. If you don't like any sweet/fruit taste, avoid this beer.

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Photo of ThirdLap
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So it turns out that I was wrong.

I tried Duchesse in my early craft beer days and found it to be utterly revolting. Perhaps it was due to a bad bottle I picked up, but I'm more inclined to blame it on an undeveloped palate. Yesterday I tried it on-tap at Sacramento Brewing and realized what I'd been missing out on.

Get this: A non-beer-drinker in our party declared it her favorite beer of all time, ordering two additional glasses for herself.

A - Pours a light cherry brown with a light, dirty tan head. Lots of lacing remains after the head dissipates nearly completely.

S - You know that it's going to be tart before even taking a sip. As a beginner I got vinegar and little else. This time I pick up dark cherries, vanilla, with a nutty backbone. You will recall this beer by its nose more than anything else.

T - To cut to the chase, absolutely delicious. It's creamy, sweet, tart, with cherries, vanilla, and dark berries. The vinegar is present, but doesn't ruin the experience.

M - Medium bodied, crisp, with lots of carbonation.

D - A sipper, but one you want to sip all damn day.

Never in a million years did I think I'd say it, but I love Duchesse!

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Photo of Souleman
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had 1pt 9.4 FL OZ and was really loving it all the way. I think you have to be in the mood for a little more tart/sweet beer that has a more fruity flavor.

A- One of the most beautiful looking beers for that kind. Head was really nice, but the cherry/amber color was quite a treat to look at.
S- very fruity smelling, not too overbearing though.
T- Really well balanced, tasty brew. Hints of tart cherry with a slight bitter taste that was balanced by a bit of fruity sweetness.
M- Really nice mouth feel. The head stuck around long enough for it to mix in with the first couple of sips. A slight effervescence hooked the brew up. Without it, I would have thrown the beer away.

Overall, I am rating this beer high because, in it's class, I haven't had too many that would touch it. That said, you definitely should know what you are getting into and be in the mood for a tart, fruity treat that you can only find with DDB.

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A - Pours an incredibly dark mahogany ruby red, no head formed. Very light whispy lacing.
S - Grapes, black cherries, plums, raisins, figs, malts, acidic wine and a light caramel whiskey note.
T - Lightly, refreshingly sweet black cherry, smooth champagne quality bubbles in the carbonation, dark cooked fruits, wines and a nip of warming alcohol. Finishes with a malty bitterness to round out the initial upfront sweetness at the beginning of the development of the flavor.
O - While I've never had a Flanders red ale styled beer before, I can say this is a damned fine and excellent 5 star beer. Not as intense as a kriek lambic style beer, but would appeal to fans of winey beers or strong dark Belgian beers and the like.
V - Good value, available in a single bomber and a four pack of bottles.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle. Leaves a one finger beige head with excellent retention, and excellent lacing. The head is simply amazing and beautiful. Body is a slightly hazy garnet. An excellent looking beer.

Smell - sour cherries, plums, and a musty horse blanket. Very good and mouthwatering.

Taste - similiar to the smell. Sour cherries and plums washed through with a barnyard must and champange. Strong sour cherries on the aftertaste. Very good.

Mouthfeel - surprisingly full bodied, and some slickness (also a surprise) , and fizzy (not a surprise).

Drinkability - this is very good ale, and I really like it alot, but I dont' think it's sessionable, not because of the abv, which is not really high, but rather, because of the taste. That is, this would be one to almost always enjoy with food, and not in a drinking session.

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Expiration date of Oct. 2007: Pours with a half inch of foam, sticky lace wraps the glass. Color is a dark amber. Smell is quite overpowering. Sour oak with a wine undertone.

Tastes sour, sweet, oaky, winey, with the flavors repeating in a random order. This is my first Flanders Red Ale, and I am a fan. Mouthfeel is creamy, but light. The finish is long. I won't struggle to finish the 750ml bottle.

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Photo of GPHarris
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a - poured a three-fingers dense and thick tan head into a tulip glass that settled into a thick lace and sheeting throughout. the head began to look creamier and creamier with each sip. it also billowed nicely upon every swirl of the glass. the body was a deep red with hints of purple.
s - slightly muted sour cherries.
t - cherries with a hint of sweetness and other fruits were present as well.
m - medium, bubbly mouthfeel.
d - excellent beer. just amazing.

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Photo of DagFishHead
4.54/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Burnt-amber, ruby pour. Thin, tightly-bubbled, tan head hangs in with minimal lace.
Smell: Red wine tanins, oak, butter, wine vinegar. Earthy, roasted malt, with faint hops in the background. An olfactory onslaught. I could sniff this all afternoon!
Taste: Like a port wine fortified scottish ale. Sweet cherry, followed by wine/vinegar acidity... all supported by a sweet, slightly-roasted malt, ripe plum/raisin fruit tones and an acidic-citrus/dry-hop finish.
Mouthfeel: Tingly champagne carbonation, puckery acidity, smooth middling malt fullness. There's a lot going on in your mouth with this one.
Drinkability: Never would have thought I would enjoy something of this style this much... please be open to trying this one.

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Photo of hippogasmo
4.54/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Oh man, I cannot believe some of the more recent reviews. Maybe the quality has started to diminish in the recent months and I am finding the last of their good stock. Somewhat doubtful, however.

A: A dark reddish brown color, somewhat like mahogany. Small to medium head on average, usually resting at a small head that doesn't always dissipate.
S: Strong vinegar smell that leaves a lasting impression on a night that involves various styles.
T: Solid throughout. Starts out with a carbonated and slightly sweet flavor, finishing out with a strong vinegar/sour note. In terms of sourness, I'd place it between a Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale and a Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge.
M: Light carbonation upfront, enough to be refreshing on a hot day.
O: One of my favorite brews. In North Texas, price ranges between $3-5/bottle, and I'd say it's well worth the cost. On the few occasions I have been able to find the larger bottles (shaped like the apollinaris, volume like a bomber) I snatch up as many bottles as I can carry. Worth the money every time.

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.54/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Pours a very dark ruby color, with some brown and purple. Has a very thick head and nice lacing.

Smell –Vinegar, red wine, raspberry, oak, a hint of black cherry, and sugar.

Taste – Sweet yet sour raspberry and grape flavors. A little like Sour Patch Kids. But it also complemented with oak, vinegar, and black cherry. Lots of tastes in this.

Mouthfeel – Starts off sweet, but leaves a sour aftertaste, but not too sour, which is why I really like it. Nicely carbonated.

Drinkability – A very good sour. Goes down very easily, although it is only 6%.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.54/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Duchesse De Bourgogne
Bottle Inspection: Fine art on an 11.2 oz. brown bottle noting 6% abv. and a best by date of 01-02-09, enjoyed 28-10-07. Serving temp suggestion of 47-53F.

Aroma: Definite wood character, a sweetness there too, like Coca Cola syrup, and a funky twang, almost like vinegar. A really sniffer; I long lingered here trying to find words.

Appearance: Deep reddish brown with excellent clarity from the top of my chalice. Only a wisp of brownish head that doesn’t look long for the world.

Flavor: Wow. Almost a steak sauce flavor, like A1, with a vinegary edge much like a red wine. Funky, but not intense. Mild Oak flavor but no woody tannins. Mild sweetness is there too, again, close as I can come is Coca Cola. Just a hint of paper in the finish but it adds just a touch more of complexity.

Mouthfeel: Given the lack of head, I’m surprised how lively the feel is. Tiny little bubbles fizz and pop on the tongue without getting foamy. Medium body with a long lasting finish that triggers a bit of chew.

Overall Impression: I’m seriously impressed. This is a work of art. I take little sips and then gaze lovingly at the glass. The TABC has completely failed in their quest to keep interesting, high quality beers out of Texas. They won’t nap long. Join me in hording all of this you can find. I’m betting this just keeps getting better with age.


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Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.54/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 0.5L Duvel tulip.

A: Light tan head, dark brown body with reddish tints. Head is loose with good retention and leaves great lacing as it fades.

S: Fruity sourness with light malt in the background. Smells like some krieks I've had. A slight roastyness, maybe just oak from the barrel. A little more acidic as it warms.

T: Sweet, smooth, fruity. Not intensely sour. Vanilla jumps on board later sometimes. Complex and delicious.

M: Medium carbonation, with a thick viscosity to match the sweetness.

D: Highly drinkable and rather refreshing if not a little sweet.

Flavors of this beer were mind bending. I will say it was a little sweet, but balanced fairly well with the sour.

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Photo of WoogityBoogity
4.54/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark reddish/brown color. Brilliantly clear. Semi-thick head that slowly dissipates.

S - Definitely a complex fruitiness. Cherry ester presence; maybe apples or plums? Few spicy phenols.

T - Intense fruitiness from cherries with intense sour acidic character. Few spicy phenols. No hop presence. Vanilla flavor is present. Sour and bitterness gives balance slightly towards finish.

M - Medium body with high carbonation. Prickly acidity and very little warming from ABV.

D - Superb palate of various fruit and spice notes. Sweet and sour notes accentuate the few spicey phenols.


What a stupendous beer! Complex palate and very well executed. Drinkability makes this a sipping beer, however.

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Photo of generallee
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was served on tap at the Blue Monk in Buffalo NY and presented in a tulip glass.

Appearance: The Duchesse De Bourgogne comes to the table sporting a small creamy off white head over a dark and hazy reddish brown body. It is full of lively carbonation rushing up to the head which has great retention and leaves perfect lace ring after each sip.

Smell: The aroma has lots of delicate tart fruit and wine like character with light woody and nutty nuances and some mellow malt sweetness.

Taste/Palate: Like the aroma its flavor displays notes of sour cherry, tart raspberry, browned apple peel and red wine backed by dry woody oak and some light yeast funk. This is balanced by some bready malt with mild sweetness. Everything is nicely balanced and slowly fades into a smooth dry finish. The palate has a lively well carbonated medium feel with tons of complexity and a mild sour pucker.

Notes: The wonderful balance of flavor and body works to give it lots of complex character and drinkability. I would highly recommend to both wine and beer drinkers who like sours.

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Photo of Calico
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my very favorite beers, truly a royal brew in my opinion. The only other Flanders sour red I've had is Rodenbach, but this beer is much more mellow and drinkable than even the Rodenbach Grand Cru.

Pours with an enormous head. Brilliant mahogany color.

Nose has winey notes, a little rose aroma, sugar sweetness, maybe a hint of irises.

Sherry and port tastes hit the back of the tongue. I also noticed a licorice note. I'm surprised to find this much of a sherry or winey taste in a less-than-7% abv beer. Some esters apparent; finishes with a sparkle of grapefruit.

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Photo of Cresant
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 11.2 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Dated best by: 30/3/07. Body was ebony/ruby color. Beige head was 1/2 inch at it's peak. Splotches of lace remained.

Smell was "WOW". The most distinct beer aroma I have smelled. Vinegar, Vinous, and pixie sticks. No alcohol discernable.

Tasted of tart, fizzy Kool-aid. Plums. Granny Smith peel. Faint woody finish. Complex, interesting, and sophisticated. Became even more drinkable as it warmed. Non-cloying.

Mouthfeel was light, finely carbonated, champagne-like.

Wonderful sipping beer. I will revisit.

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Photo of Chinookie
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have had this beer on many occasions, even having it on tap at home a couple of times (since it is the wife's favorite). But I thought I would write a review for the bottle we drank last night, aged just over three years. Although I did not taste it side-by-side with a new bottle, my wife and I are familiar enough with the flavor to notice the differences.

For Valentine's Day I pulled out of the cellar the bottle I had been aging since June 2005 to pair with the chocolate dipped strawberries. The expiration date on the cork said Nov. 2007, so I suspect bottling date was Nov. 2004. I had stored this in my cellar on its side.

Served in the brewery-designed glasses, it poured clear dark reddish brown. The head was thinner and with bigger bubbles than new bottles, and head retention was also a lot weaker.

The aroma was roughly the same (cherry, brown/candi sugar, some balsamic vinegar) with a bit more wood.

The flavor and mouthfeel were noticeably different and better than the fresh version. First, the texture was lighter than normal and more velvety. The flavor profile was very similar--sweet, cherry tart, a bit woody, sugary--but the usual balsamic acidity in the finish was gone, making it more drinkable and enjoyable.

It paired very well with the chocolate-dipped strawberries.

I highly recommend to fans of this beer to age some in a cool dark place for three years. I can't imagine that it could get better, so probably wise not to keep much longer.

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Photo of cncbofh
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a deep goblet as a deep copper red with lots of fizzy and quickly dissappearing bubbly. Amazingly, the beer itself did not "feel" carbonated in the mouth at all, but rather smooth almost like sherry or port.

The smell of roses and fruit were strong, but not overwhelming. Reminds me of Rosé de Gambrinus.

The taste lifted the bar. New and strange, but very very good. It had a soft velvety flavor of fruit - cherry and figs, with a light almondy nutty character. What amazes me so much about this beer is the character is so different and complex, yet the beer is so light and (can I use the word fluffy?)....

Good stuff. Made it to my top ten list.

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