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Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Not Rated.
Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,441 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,441
Hads: 3,883
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 23.17%
Wants: 210
Gots: 690 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Duchesse De Bourgogne Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,441 | Hads: 3,883
Photo of therica
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Nose-- beef with Worcestireshire or A-1 Sauce?!?!? No way.

Taste-- yes, it's true! With some bitters. Very very strange. As it sets for a few minutes, there's a nose of liquor something like brandy, and taste becomes a little more flat and salty. Prune is probably partly responsible for the steak-sauce taste, because that's what many of them use as a base.

Appearance-- poured a surprising dark-tea color, minor light-brown suds that didn't last more than half a minute, but with lacing throughout the drinking.

Yes, another "add this to your bizarre list" beer-- a specialty beer, which I can appreciate for its unique creativity, from an objective point of view. From a subjective point of view, this beer is too far afield from being "beer" that I can't see myself buying another bottle to sample-- especially at closer to $4US a bottle. Unless, however, I really want to startle someone.

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Photo of Domingo
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Falling Rock.
Arrived a mahogany brown, with reddish notes in the sun (I had it outside).
The smell reminded me a lot of vinegar and really sour citrus. In all honesty, I was almost scared off by the smell. I figured it was going to be like drinking a lambic crossed with some malt vinegar.
The taste on the other hand was REALLY good. It's sweet like brown sugar and berries. A little bit of sourness in the finish, sort of like a citrus flavor. It does have a little vinegar-type flavor, but it's defintiely more along the balsamic lines. Stange how the flavor and smells are almost totally unconnected! That seems to be the hallmark of a good Belgian brew - 2 totally unique flavors.
I could definitely drink more of this brew. Once you get used to the smell and taste being unique entities, this is a terrific brew that you can sip and enjoy. Lots of different flavors going on.
A definite winner.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark reddish amber...very rich...with a half finger head that melted quickly to a sticky lacing all across the top.
Aroma is immediately vinegar...red wine...sweet fruits. Very complex.
Taste is slightly sour...cherries....raisins....no alcohol...a little apple peel.
Aftertaste is smooth...tiny sweetness...a little bigger tiny sourness.
Ok..this is the first of this style I've had but it is so complex, so very different from anything I've had before I don't know the right adjectives to describe it.
I'm sort of stuck with....interesting....totally different and unexpected....I like it....this should be the end of the day, not mid-day...how do I ever follow it?
I find it difficult to drink this beer slowly as I keep discovering new things in the taste with every sip.
I think this may be as complex as any beer has a right to be...yet somehow everything seems balanced...with each sip I keep thinking...'yeah...nice'...'this works'.

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Photo of rarevos
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Chimay chalice. Bottle has "Best before 29-04-07" printed on the back.

A: Deep ruby with a full finger of fluffy, off-white head. Head doesn't take long to reduce, very thick lacing left behind. Sticky trails clinging to the glass.

S: Wow. There's a sharp oaky wineyness at first. Underneath is some fruit, like red wine grapes (pinot noir, sangiovese) grape, pear, plum, and cherry.

T: Wine flavor first with notes of the above-mentioned fruit. There's a lot going on here. Some maltiness underneath, but the strongest flavors are the grape, plum and cherry. A bit of "unfiltered, natural apple juice" creeps in, too. Tartness towards the end that builds to a crisp/dry sourness in a very clean finish. Is better as it warms (the sweet malt stands out more), so heed the suggested temperature.

M: Can a beer be "soft"? This starts off very smooth and builds to a nice tingle.

D: Oh dear Lord. This is wonderful stuff. At 6.2% abv, this isn't like an ordinary sipping beer, but you still do have to sip it. Odd. Very strong flavors, and a very sophisticated-feeling beer. It has vaulted to the top of my list of personal favorites.

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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 kimcgolf
4.64/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was my first Flemish Sour, and it really grew on me. Poured to darlk brown with hints of red, and a thick tan head that lasted for the whole drink and left excellent lacing. The aroma was very funky, reminded me of those old Paz Easter Egg Coloring kits where you drop a colored tablet in pure vinegar. I was afraid of what I would be drinking next. To my great surprise, the taste was excellent. It was sour fruit, and at first caught me off guard, but I quickly adapted. Finish was dry, sour and warming. I bought this in a 4pack, and was concerned that I may have over-bought. Now, I know I will be heading back for more.

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Photo of donotknowme
4.88/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This poured a deep reddish-brown with a thin lacy head that quickly faded. The nose was dominated by a sour smell with hints of berries and maybe some oak. One of the best mouthfeels I have ever had in a beer. At the end it got a little thick and sticky from the sweetness but the tartness cleared it up nicely. Easily my favorite beer.

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Photo of Derek
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark mohoganny, tan head, very little retention, slight leg/lace.

S: Like a sherry with a hint of sourness.

T: Very winey, tart raisins, brown sugar, hint of chocolate. Flavour isn't overly powerful, but it's VERY refined.

M: Body slightly lighter than moderate, fairly dry.

D: Smooth introduction to the style!

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Photo of barefootbrewer
2.63/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This beer poured a deep brown with a light head. It had a tart smell that is weirdly reminiscent of worcesertshire. The smell is definitely unique. The taste is fruity and a bit sour. The mouthfeel is crisp with noticeable carbonation. This is an interesting beer that I would not necessarily consider highly drinkable for me.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
2.48/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The head is not too dense and the lacing doesn't stick very well. The color is clear red/purple. The smell is sour with slight earthy tones and a slight plum or other sour fruit in the backround. Taste is metalic with some earthy tones. The taste is a bit bland like cardboard. Mouthfeel is well carbonated and a little harsh. I don't think I would have another one of these, maybe it's the style, however this glass wasn't great.

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Photo of BigBry
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330 ml brown bottle (as pictured).
Pours a clear deep red and burnished brown color. Thick frothy head that lasts forever and leaves beautiful lacing. Strong (but not overpowering) sour aroma. The smell has lots of complexity with spice, clove and some apple cider vinegar. Well balanced flavor that has elements of sweet caramel-like malt, tart apple and sour cherry. Medium-bodied smoothness covers your tongue in all the different flavors.
A unique and different style, but a classic when you get used to it.

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Photo of gbarron
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Brickstore Pub.

A - served in a nice tulip glass emblazoned with Duchesse de Bourgogne written upon it. Orangish, almost brown, large billowy head of thick bubbles, outstanding head retention and lacing.

S - candy sugar aroma, hints of tangy sourness. Little or no hop aroma. Tons of rich, sweet malty esters and some hints of alcohol.

T - incredible mix of sweet sugary smells and tangy sourness. Lots of fruity esters, dark grapes, plums, over-ripe apples. Great balance with tart sourness, but not overwhelming. Sweet and sour. Little hop presence.

M - medium to light bodied, a little fluffy. Carbonation is average. Slightly sweet finish.

D - great, great beer. Perfect balance of sweet and sour and bittnerness. One of the best sour Flanders ales I've ever had.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.77/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed a stemmed wine glass of this West Flanders classic at a place called Heads Up Brewing in Silverdale, Washington. I thought perhaps this was a house beer as Heads Up is a BOP and all of their house beers are clones of popular beers from around the world. I should have known from the first sip that this was not a clone. This was the real thing.

The presentation was elegant with a saffron body sporting a tan head and clinging lace. The aroma swirled like a symphony of tart fruits and orange peel. The taste was also very fruity – almost like a fruit cola – with elements of orange, black cherry and huckleberry. It is sharply acidic and plainly tinged with some non-sacch- yeast and/or bacteria. This carries the initial sweetness towards a zesty resolve of biting acidic fruitiness.

Oak barrel aged and blended from young and old batches. This is a prince among ales – an absolute noble pedigree. And it drinks like fine wine.

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Photo of SethB2
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A - Beer pours a very deep amber color, nearly non transparent, with a decent sized whispy head that fizzles down to a nice ring around the edge.

S - Huge vinegar up front covering tart apples and a bit of woodyness. One of the more interesting beers I have smelled.

T - Sweet berries start this thing off before it quickly moves into a sour apple, tart flavor then yeilds the the vinegar that was on the nose originally. Very unique, and very good.

M - A tad on the thin side, but still not bad.

D - Very good. This is an excellent beer. The yeast in this thing do some really funky stuff.

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Photo of rayjay
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought at City Beer in S.F. and poured into a wit beer glass. Best before 18-10-07.

Nice pour. No sediment, acive carbonation and sudsy head. Deep red like cherry cough syrup.

Smells like cherries and vinegar, very nice and pleasant but bold at the same time. Grainy smell like gueuze ale.

Cherry candy taste dominates. Tart and snappy but also very sweet. Woody and metallic. Others have said Coca-Cola, which I can see but may not have picked it out myself.

Mouthfeel is a bit thick from the sugars, and the carbonation is a bit low which makes it feel even thicker. Chalky finish.

I enjoy this beer and would always be happy to drink one. Refreshing but too sweet. I wish this style was more widely available, I have only had 3 examples of this style and one was from Colorado.

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Photo of hunteraw
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

"Interesting" is the word that seems to fit this beer best. It's the first really sour beer I've had, so comparison is tough, but I'll do my best. Pours an interesting garnet brown color, little head, fairly clear. Aroma is interesting: dark fruit and vinegar. Not particularly sweet in the nose, which is promising. Taste upholds that conclusion - not overly sweet. Every sip is puckering, but not to the point where it's not enjoyable. Lots of character: tart, fruit and wood, but nothing is too dominant. Mouthfeel is good, not syrupy at all. Carbonation seemed right. Drinkability is the tough part. I enjoyed it, but I'm glad I was splitting a bottle because I probably wouldn't have wanted to drink the rest of it on my own. Maybe it'll grow on me.

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Photo of EPICAC
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lately I've been in the mood for some sour beers, so last night I picked up a bottle of Duchesse De Bourgogne, a Flanders Red Ale, and a bottle of Cantillon Lou Pepe Gueuze at Downtown Wine & Spirits. I let this warm to around 45º F and served it in one of my New Belgium glasses.

Appearance: Pours a clear ruby brown, with a thick, frothy, beige head that thins to a persistent layer and leaves massive lace on the glass.

Smell: Sweet with an acidic sour cherry aroma. A lightly funky aroma emerges upon swirling.

Taste: A sweet cherry fruitiness upfront is met by a strong acidic tartness that moves into a metallic twang in the finish and mingles with hints of earthiness.

Mouthfeel: Moderate, effervescent carbonation. Light-bodied and almost silky. The finish is moderately dry.

Drinkability: Tart, but the sweetness balances well.

Overall: An excellent Flanders Red. It's no La Folie, but it's very good nonetheless.

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Photo of stangelj
2.46/5  rDev -40%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 330ml bottle, best before 24-08-07. Appearance is very nice, a dark brown/red color with a 2 finger head that persisted. Lots of lacing left on the glass as I drank the beer. Off to a good start. Smells sweet and fruity, interesting, sour apple and cherry mostly. Taste amplifies what I smelled, whew. Starts off sweet but quickly turned sour. I like sour fruit beers but this tasted exactly like apple cider vinegar to me. The vinegar taste overpowers and is what's left in the aftertaste. Does not have much of a beer taste. Mouthfeel is ok, perhaps too full bodied, carbonation is fairly high. I didn't find this overly drinkable, would not have more than one. I would not buy again. This is my first experience with this style, so perhaps this is what it's supposed to be like, but I can't get past the apple cider vinegar taste.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a coca-cola brown with thin tan head.

Nose is a little cola like as well, but together with sour passion fruits. Very complex, like that miscellanious "passion fruits" flavor in many products/fragrances. Cherry is one that might stick out, but very complex on the whole. Slight hint of pipe tobacco.

On the palate is a delightful explosion of vinegary sourness together with burnt sugar sweetnes mingled with passion fruit. A darker, molasses to toffee cake sweetness is found at the back of the palate and into the finish.

Finish is very cola-syrup extract like in sweetness. Nice and appetizing for the next sip. Reminds me of those coca-cola ink pens from childhood, the ones with the fragrance in the ink.

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Photo of UberWasser
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Photo of Budlum
4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle with best by 6/08 on the cork.

Pours with one and one half inches of deep tan, foamy head lasting throughout the drink. Presents a deep brown and burgundy body with deep ruby-red hues on the edges. Very attractive.

Sharp on the nose, strongly suggesting red wine vinegar. Notes of sour apples and tart berries. Notable earth and oak presence. Sweet caramel notes after the initial sharp notes back down. Complex to diagnose.

Initial bitterness suggesting sour apples and other tart fruit flavors. The tarntess is quickly squelched by a rush of sweet fruits suggesting figs and raisins. A cross-blend of merlot and white wine flavors at the midpoint provides some dry characteristics and the presence of sweet and sour grapes. A long, tangy finish reminiscient of the initial flavors with stong tannin and oak flavors.

Mouthfeel is smooth and clean with qualities similar to a white wine. Tart, sweet and balanced.

Drinkability is great for a Flanders with this type of strong flavors. Not quite as tart as I expected but a flow of sweetness will make this a little easier for the novice.

An excellent Flanders Red which is a complex and powerful brew for fans of the style. It is not likely that this would be a good choice for a Flanders virgin.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Like hammer09, I bought this beer because my wife liked the label (and I like Belgians). It was a 750ml bottle with an expiration date of 06/08 on the cork. The label describes it as a red-brown ale from the West Flanders region. It is a blend of ales aged 8 and 18 months in oak casks. It was truly reddish-brown in color, with a medium off-white head. Nothing outstanding about the aroma, mostly sweet. The taste, though, was exciting. Sweet, dark fruit, with a little chocolate. As it warmed up, it became spicy. I loved it. Good mouthfeel, very drinkable. A little on the sweet side, so maybe no more than the 750 in one sitting.

Had a chance to try this on tap recently at Ebenezer's Pub in Lovell, ME. Even better, more complex.

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Photo of hammer09
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My fiancee convinced me to try this beer since I typically like Belgian-style ales. It wasn't until later that I found out she picked it because she liked the label on the bottle.

My first impression ended with disappointment; this is not your typical beer. However, my initial disappointment stemmed from the fact that I didn't approach it with the right mindset. I tried another bottle last night and I have to say that it made a much better second impression.

A - Duchesse De Bourgogne pours a dark amber/brown with a thick, foamy head. This beer exhibits some nice lacing, clinging to the inside of the glass in distinct rings as the beer is consumed.

S - Here's the surprising aspect of this beer; it doesn't smell like a beer. It has a champagne-like aroma, both sour and sweet with notes of apples and grapes.

T - As with the aroma, this beer tastes very similar to a champagne. It's both sour and sweet on the palate with a fruity, cider-like finish. I did noticed a slight solvent taste/odor, reminiscent of acetone, toward the end of this beer.

M - The fizzy carbonation is numbing, but the experience is very refreshing. This is a good beer for a hot day.

D - Overall, this is a very complex and interesting brew. I would probably drink no more than two of these in a sitting, and likely switch to something lighter in character after the second. An excellent beer that I would definitely purchase again.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I found this on-tap at McMenamin’s in Philly.

This beer pours a murky root beer and gold color, but when held to the light, it reveals a glowing cherry. The head is a thin film of slightly tan.

Smells of musky sour cherries and a dry, crisp red wine.

The flavor is similar with a similar musky sour cherry with a light creamy wheat in the background. There’s also a little orange and lime here too.

The mouth feel is light to medium bodied with a very active carbonation.

I’m just a sucker for this style, so I loved it. A little heavy feeling, but delicious!

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Photo of Gagnonsux
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color is maroon with a ruby glow. Head is tall and light brown. Aroma starts with an initial blast of sour funkiness, which gives way to a sweet dark fruit smell. Interesting, but relatively weak. A sip starts with plenty of tartness. Soon, sweet dark fruit flavors take over until a sugary sweet finish. A slight edge of what I believe to be oak flavor is noted as well. A constant theme here is that of sweet and tart flavors volleying for my palate's attention. The overall flavor here is excellent, very complex and layered, making this beer almost too easy to drink. Highly recommended.

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Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
92 out of 100 based on 1,441 ratings.