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Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,647 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2647
Reviews: 1319
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 13.98%


Brewed by:
Brouwerij Verhaeghe visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Belgian top-fermented reddish-brown ale, a blend of 8 and 18 months old beers following the careful maturation in oak casks.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001)
View: Beers (12) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 2,647 | Reviews: 1,319 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of WetCoaster
WetCoaster

California

2.73/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: An even mix of garnet and brown, crystal clear, with a fizzy, yet rocky and firm tan head. Good retention and surprisngly sticky lace. Beautiful color, real stunner.

Smell: Wow, all over the place. Malt sweetness, yeasty, funky, woody, ripe cherry fruitiness, vinous, musty barnyard -- a real marvel, this. Wow.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Uh... yikes. Very, very, very sweet -- almost like Malta soda, if you've ever spent any time in Latin America or Miami -- while at the same time sour like a cherry Pez. But oddly, they don't seem to blend at all, it's two distinct flavors. In fact, this tastes exactly like a carbonated 10-year-old balsamic vinegar. Yeah, that's it -- dead-on. The mouthfeel, on the other hand, is the picture of normalcy, medium bodied, moderately carbonated, if a bit sticky.

Drinkability: I'll be the first to admit this is not a style with which I've had much experience. So while this may or may not be a stellar example of the style, it's something I simply do not like. Novel, but not something I'll be back for any time soon.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2005 20:16:42 | More by WetCoaster
Photo of Px2GrafX
Px2GrafX

Virginia

4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

presentation: 11.2oz. bottle with a black label on the front displaying a rennaisance painting of what is assumed to be the duchesse de bourgogne. she has a bird on her finger. a lot of belgian text. "flemish art of brewing" on top of label. 6.2%abv is displayed and there is a best before date of: 17-03-06. the back label says this is "blended with between 8 and 18 month old beers following careful maturation in oak casks".

appearance: pours a deep dark red with a light tan head in a tulip glass. beautiful ruby read highlights and looks a lot like a less opaque red wine. head is a nice 1" fluffy head that drops to a patchy capper after a few minutes. laces very well.

smell: first smell is sour and wine-like. woody and there are some other fruit aromas. grapes and cherries. lightly spicy aroma typical of a lot of belgians.

taste: sour cherries overlying a lightly woody undertone. champagne-like flavors as well. not much hop bitterness. caramelly sweet mixes with champagne and wine and bready flavors. quite a lot going on here. finish is sweet and sour and inviting.

mouthfeel: very creamy medium-heavy body. surprising. very smooth with a silky smooth swallow. carbonation balances the smoothness well. excellent mouthfeel.

drinkability: drinkability is good but seems to be more of a sipper. alcohol is well hidden. taste and finish make this an inviting drink, but the champagne-like creamy mouthfeel and sourness slows the drinking down a bit. slow drinking, but very easy to drink.

overall: this is an amazing red ale. i have to get some more of this. i wonder how it will change over a year. nice sweet and sour flavors remind me of what a fruit beer should taste like. complex now and maybe even more so after laying down. a must try.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2005 02:33:45 | More by Px2GrafX
Photo of EMV
EMV

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a pretty impressive Red Ale out of Belgium that I picked up at a SAQ (gotta love that place) on a whim, and is definitely a nice spicy alternative to whatever you normally drink. This one pours a rich dark reddish/brown with about an inch of creamy head that fell fairly quickly, leaving a great lace. The aroma is tart, yeasty, and very sharp, giving a great prelude as to what the beer is going to be like.

The taste itself is excellent and complex, with both sweet and sour flavours vying for dominance. There's a fruity touch there, and a smooth aftertaste that really rate this one high on the drinkability. It's one to be sipped and savored rather than gulped, and the ample carbonation is also very pleasant. Like I said before, I would definitely recommend this as an alternative to your regularly scheduled brew on one of those nights you need something a little more spicy.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2005 02:03:58 | More by EMV
Photo of RidiculedDisplay
RidiculedDisplay

California

4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was my first Flanders Red, and I can say this is undoubtedly one of the most unique styles of beer I've ever tasted. Just completely in its own dimension. That being said, different also meant complex and wonderful in this instance. Pours a very deep, deep red with hints of oaky brown. Aroma is of bourbon-soaked wood, tart apple, apricot, date, grapes, dark cherry. Taste begins with tart apple, transforming into a almost tropical note, and then ending on a distinctive kick of bourbon or finer whiskey. Wow. Mouthfeel is bubbly, slightly astringent but pleasantly so. Suprisingly drinkable as well. Overall one of my favorite finds of the year.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2005 03:15:33 | More by RidiculedDisplay
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perhaps a Belgian sour ale on training wheels, this may be the perfect choice for the introduction of these complex and wonderful flavors to the uninitiated.

This Flanders red ale's tawny pour of browns, reds, and haze carry an inherent wine-like, port-like appearance that's shyly adorned with the daintiest of foam stance. It's similar to coffee-like creme.

The nose is met with complicated and succulent characteristics that remind the olfactory senses more of balsamic, chocolate, cherries, old wood, soy sauce, red wine, and fruitcake. The sweet and sour interplay seems something much more of French reductions or Thai cuisine than it does of beer.

Flavors are a dynamic sweet and sour interplay of chocolate to tart berries, caramel malt to vinous wine, savory umami to lemon-like acidity, and on and on- every point of flavor has a counterpart to balance and carry the beer across the palate with intrigue and wonderment.

Medium bodied, but the beer's tepid sourness makes the beer seem light while the succulent chocolate and caramel cause the impression of weight. The moderate carbonaiton allows the beer to seep into the mouth tissues but also usher in a dry woody finish with mild crabapples astringency and savory balsamic.

Well balanced throughout, but the beer's maltier side and more restrained intensity of sourness only challenge the palate moderately compared to the more famed Rodenbach and Steenberg varieties- making it a good step for anyone who's adapted to the wild yeast world of Belgian ales and wants more.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2005 15:36:21 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of SkeeterHawk
SkeeterHawk

Texas

4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very clear rich Red color with about an inch of loose tanish foam at first pour. There are quite a few bubbles rising that maintain the head pretty well. There is some loose lacing around the glass after consuming.

Aroma: You can definitely smell a "woody" character to this beer. There are bunches of dark fruits in the aroma of this one. I can smell fig, black cherry, and plums initially. I may be imagining this, but it is almost like I smell sour green apples here also. The aroma is really complex!

Taste: The flavor is also really complex, but with this example, it doesn't match the aroma that much. It somehow starts of syrupy sweet with a bit of astringency, and then this fades to let the sour in to play for the finish. Your palate is left mostly dry with a slightly sweet and earthy finish. There is a little bit of warming from the alcohol that is noticeable deep in the throat, but the complexity of the flavor makes it easy to miss. The carbonation is just right to send this beer across your palate without hitting it too hard.

Opinion: This is a mighty fine beer! It is a bit sweet for my taste, and I am assuming that it was added to make the beer more appealing to the masses. There is definitely a sour component to the beer, and it manages to maintain a woody character. This is a beer that I would have often if it was available in my area, but at the same time, it isn't one that I would have too many of. I'd definitely recommend it!

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2005 23:25:58 | More by SkeeterHawk
Photo of Gritsak
Gritsak

West Virginia

3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- deep brown with a thick head. when held up to the light a brillant red body shows through

S- sweet, fruity aroma that is very similar to wine.

T- again very sweet and fruit taste. high carbonation makes it almost like a sparkling wine. this beer was like nothing ive ever tasted.

M- medium body with high carbonation. not to thick but enough to let you feel it.

D- while the taste is extremely unique and pleasent, i couldnt imagine drinking this all night due to the sweetness.

overall- WOW. very suprised by my first flanders red ale. nothing like i ever would have expected. nothing like any other beer ive had. im looking forward to trying other beers of the same style to compare.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2005 05:13:09 | More by Gritsak
Photo of yelterdow
yelterdow

New Jersey

3.43/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finally tasted this one after putting it off week after week. Served in the Duvel tulip at just above fridge temperature.

Appearance- Pours the color of raspberry iced tea with a smooth, creamy one-finger head. Settles to a thin mat after a few minutes.

Smell- Barnyard funk and sour cherries with an underlying sweetness.

Taste- Starts off like full flavored sour bubble gum, and finishes with an almost artificial sweetness. Candy ice cream. Awesome big taste, but the lingering aftertaste reminds me of Red Bull. That is not good.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Chewy and mouth-coating, smooth carbonation. A bit rough towards the end, with explosive activity towards the back of the throat. Aside from the saccharin-like notes in the taste, this is a decent Flanders sour ale that is readily available here.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2005 23:46:01 | More by yelterdow
Photo of bruachan
bruachan

District of Columbia

3.38/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

from arrowine

big arty green bottle that emitted a musty aroma of port and masala wine. the beer poured a beautiful clear burgundy, though it didn't hold much of a head (not nothing, but minimal lacing and only a collar). the nose from the glass was equally complex and winey as from the freshly uncorked bottle: reminded me of my mother's chicken masala. a friend and i agreed that there was definitely a meat dish of some sort in there

actually drinking it was a bit of a bonerkill. so incredibly sweet, with little of the sour belgian character i was hoping for (my only experience with with style previously was a rodenbach, so my standards are perhaps artificially high). actually tasted like cranberry-apple cider, with only a hint of that sourness i longed for. to top that off carbonation was sparse so the perception of sweetness was enhanced further. dissappointing

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2005 15:00:05 | More by bruachan
Photo of cracgor
cracgor

Texas

4.05/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Tawny in color and very dark. Rocky grey head.

Smell: Funky smell. Vinegary. Sweet/sour.

Taste: Tastes funkier than it smells. Has a sweet grapefruit like after taste. Upfront it is kind of fermented grape. Tastes a lot like Port wine if less sweet. An earthy sour beer flavor.

Mouthfeel: well carbonated feel, almost too much.

Drinkability: It is a good beer. However, flemish reds are a different type of beer and so be prepared if you are jumping into the style for the first time.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2005 19:35:06 | More by cracgor
Photo of BDTyre
BDTyre

British Columbia (Canada)

3.2/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Wierd.

An impressive deep copper colour, but not much head. Smells like wine, with traces of spice. It taste very similar to wine, or even alcoholic grape juice, with hints of plum, spices, raisin and even coffee in the background. Very interesting.

Carbonation is good, but this beer seems at times too sweet and wine-like. The richness and higher than typical strength will probably limit me to one of these a session.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2005 06:23:49 | More by BDTyre
Photo of Skidz
Skidz

Wisconsin

4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out bright copper-brown and sits deep, ruby brown in the glass with a good sized, battered tan head, fading to a faint skim, pushed to the sides with some good lacings.

Smells of sweetened caramel and dark brown sugar, tart and sour in the back. Tart cherries and golden raisins mingle with figs and browned apples. Wooden hues along the sides, faint leafy hops.

Medium sweetness and well-matched tang and light acidity up-front, boasting pre-ripe tart cherries, pears, apricots and raisins. Fantastically mouthwatering, juices drip all over. Brown sugar coats the crowd and melds to bits of charred oak. Finish is equivalent to the introduction, but fades out with a very mild, almost non-existent bitterness hinting on grape seeds.

Crisp in the mouth with tact carbonation. In time with some gentle swirling, this mellows out into the delightfully smooth, silky body that lies underneath. This is built for an overnight stay in the mouth.

I cannot find a flaw large enough to constitute a complaint as this beer is highly drinkable and warrants many more encounters. A very finely crafted ale.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2005 03:24:18 | More by Skidz
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy cinnabar with orange highlights and a considerable amount of uprushing carbonation. The small, airysoft, golden beige head has a featureless surface and a less than impressive lifespan. A thin ring of delicate lace indicates the high water mark of the head, and a series of vertical streamers run down to the deflating cap. Although the color of the liquid is great, not much else impresses.

Duchesse is the most vinegar-like beer that I've ever smelled. It isn't overwhelmingly vinegary, but if I caught it in the midst of deterioration, I wouldn't have wanted to pop the cap much farther along. There's also a funky, sour cherry aroma that I find appealing. On repeated sniffs, the cider vinegariness isn't all that bad. If it's that dominant on the palate, though, I smell trouble.

Vinegar is still noticed... and still stops just short of being a deal breaker. I would love to taste DDB fresh so that I wouldn't keep flashing back to coloring Easter eggs as a kid. This bottle is still more than a month away from its 'best by' date, so maybe it's supposed to taste like this. It's puckeringly sour and acidic with sour cherries still running rampant. I'd be amazed if cherries didn't play some role in the brewing process.

As I get deeper into the glass, I can appreciate a fairly significant sweetness that's all the more noticeable because of the medium-full, lightly viscous mouthfeel. The seltzer-like carbonation feels out of place, but it does keep things from bogging down and becoming overly syrupy. It also eliminates much in the way of mouthcoating; the finish is surprisingly clean.

I'm conflicted about Duchesse De Bourgogne. I can taste the outlines of what must be an incredible Flanders red, but this particular bottle tastes like it's on the cusp of the point of no return. Even though it's still drinkable, I'm convinced that the Duchesse and I haven't met in the most optimal of circumstances. I'll keep an eye out and will give a younger, more vivacious version a second review.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2005 14:54:37 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of cypressbob
cypressbob

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

250ml bottle

Pours with a deep red body, burgandy hints of brown. Small light tan head with some retention, a fair bit of lacing

Smell, strong esters, super gluey esters too, tart acidic cherries.

Taste, crisp biting tart cherry, thick malty backbone. Lasting tart, vinegar on the palette. Esters again, red wine, other port notes

Another amazingly complex red ale, I could see myelf taking rodenbach over this mainly due to its amazing drinkability and session qualities but this is perhaps a tad more complex

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2005 15:49:44 | More by cypressbob
Photo of Andreji
Andreji

Colombia

4.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

WOW. I won't try to describe this beer to perfection because words just won't be enough. I invited a few friends (among which owner of Ozy Pub Camilo Ospina) to try this beauty out. I'd aged it for about a year.

The pour is just mystical. you seem like you're indulging in a frambozen sort of- as in, the pour is very dark, almost purplish-brown, and the head is clearly white with a medium consistency.

The smell....well, it wasn't all that strong, but as you acknowledge it you find all sorts of blends (screw it, I won't step into this) ranging through cocktails, fruits, wines....

The taste and mouthfeel....OMG (I don't like this sort of acronym but it seems suitable). It's just beautiful, you feel like you've blended a lambic with a kir royale, and the offspring is just bliss. wonderful in soooo many senses!

I downed the drinkability and mouthfeel just for the sake of it that is, just that I absolutely was enchanted by this beer but it's not perfect (in my de leckere standards) but this IS A MUST for any beer lover. bless you, madame la duchesse.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2005 07:23:38 | More by Andreji
Photo of connecticutpoet
connecticutpoet

Connecticut

4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This poured out a clear reddish-brown with a one finger head. It left a little bit of lacing on the glass.

The aroma was a blend of sweet & sour, worcestershire sauce, cherries, light malt, and oak tannins.

Taste mirrored the aroma... sweet & sour and cherries. It was rather tart. Excellent.

Mouthfeel was perfect for the taste, and I would get this one in a heartbeat were I able to find it around me. Thanks to GClarkage for the trade!!!

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2005 02:03:39 | More by connecticutpoet
Photo of ahking
ahking

Michigan

3.43/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Interesting beer. One of the prettiest looking beers I have seen. Deep mahogany wood color with lacy white head. Had no idea what to expect when I picked up this 750 ml bottle. Tangy cherries and raspberries hit your tongue first off. Champagne bubblyness tickles your mouth. Smells of sloe gin. Light and refreshing mouthfeel. Extra points for being unique.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2005 22:58:46 | More by ahking
Photo of bashiba
bashiba

Iowa

4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice copper/red color with a thick creamy head and good retention.

Smell was dominated by the odor of sour cherries.

Taste starts out sour then quickly mellows into a smooth woody charachter. Has a nice fruityness to it with a very deep overall flavor.

Mouthfeel is thin and light with a nice amount of carbonation.

A very good and enjoyable beer, very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2005 01:34:14 | More by bashiba
Photo of pjwilson
pjwilson

California

4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

second time drinking this beer. Time for a review. This is my first Flemish Red, but it seems to have

Appearance: Red. Tons of lace and decent head.
Smell: Funk. Cherries and sourness
Taste: it's really good. Be prepared if you've never had the style before because it's whole other beast from most other beers. You don't taste any hops. It's quite tart and sour like those sour candies. Beneath the sourness however is a malt backbone that is similar to a amber ale.
Mouthfeel: It's thin and watery but in a good way. I like the prickly carbonation on the tounge.
Drinkabiltly: this is a slow drinker despite the wateryness and relatively low alcohol.

This makes for a great summer beer. Take it slow so it goes from cold to cellar temp. This is the only flemish red I can find and i'll pounch on the chance to try another.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2005 02:22:20 | More by pjwilson
Photo of granger10
granger10

Wisconsin

3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle. Pours a deep reddish almost brown color. Huge foamy, airy tan head rests on tap. Tons of lacing. Aroma is sour and vinous but not too acidic at all or pungent. Taste has a weird contrast of sweet and tart. The sweetness is fruity and kind of sugary but is soon balanced out by a drying tartness. Finish lingers a bit. Not really the vinegar wretching beer like other Flemish Reds I have tried and the sweetness isn't as deep of a maltyness. Take those characteristics as either good things or bad things. I couldn't really get totally into this beer but I didn't mind it really either.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2005 02:36:11 | More by granger10
Photo of ILiveOffHops
ILiveOffHops

New Hampshire

3.63/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I first tried the Duchess at the Dove. I couldn't believe how much it tasted more like a tart wine than a beer. That was my first try of a Flanders, and this is my tasting of it at home. Still the one and only Flanders I've tried.

I got this bottle from a friend who bought it at Harrington's in Chelmsford...a great beer store if you live in northern MA. The Duchess is an unbelievable red color...almost opaque. I've never seen a red glow like the one this beer gives off in front of light.

Smells incredible...like cherries and other fruits. Some tartness too

Tastes more tart and much more sour than the aroma suggests. Still sweet at the same time and the sweetness grows over time.

I'm not sure how drinkable this style of beer is in general...at least for me. I'm not going to blame the Duchess for this..in fact I feel like if I had an appropriate meal I could have 2 of these with dinner. Overall, the Duchess is a brew I would only have once in a while. Too much flavor and sourness for an "everyday" beer. Even so, I give this my approval.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2005 04:10:00 | More by ILiveOffHops
Photo of Tim2000
Tim2000

Quebec (Canada)

4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 mL brown bottle, best before 10 months from now.

Dark mahogany brown, very clear brew with a small cap of tightly knit bubbles that leaves a bit of lacing.

Notes of ripe sour cherries, raisins, cloves and cinnamon melt together in a complex, spicy and tart aroma.

This is an intensely flavourful beer. A dominant cherry fruitiness, with hints of berries and green apples, is complemented by clove. Alcohol is definitely present and lends a pleasant warming sensation. Quite a sweet beer, reminiscent of port, but a mild cidery tartness leaves the palate refreshed. Finishes dry and spicy. Body is thin but silky and carbonation is moderately high.

Delicious.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2005 02:11:17 | More by Tim2000
Photo of rajendra82
rajendra82

Georgia

3.6/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Green (Ack!) Champagne style 750 ml. bottle with a wire cage, and an best by date of Oct 2007 printed on the cork. The body was dark red - bordering on brown, clear, fizzy, and topped with a two finger foamy beige head. The aroma was a complex mix of wood glue, soured cherries, saffron, floral hops, and a touch of hay. The taste was light, fruity, and airy. The flavor was sweet-sour like granny smith apples, pickles, vinegar, and whipped cream. The yeast presented itself as an earthy and slightly spicy background tone. Mouthfeel was very light and delicate. Towards the end the sweetness got quite a bit cloying, but I think this was an intentional effect using NutraSweet (or so I’ve heard).

I can see the craft in this beer, and the tangent that it has traveled along. It hasn’t gone so far as to become a malt vinegar flavored alco-pop, but is has flirted close enough to avoid frequent visits. Extra points for being gutsy.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2005 04:23:04 | More by rajendra82
Photo of twelvsies
twelvsies

Maine

4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful ruby-red, cranberry juice color, with a small bubbly head, fading fast. Smell is quite intense to say the least. The first thing that comes to mind is a grapey wine character, with an almost gueuze-like tang, finally finished up with a permanent marker smell. Wow. Much more subtle in the taste than in the nose. All that harshness calms down and gives way to a well rounded and complex ale. Ok, wow, again... this is really unlike anything I've had before, so it's tough to describe these tastes. There's a definate fruity quality there; plums, blackberries, grape jelly, etc... really a complex character. I'm having a hard time detecting any hops or malt in this beer, yet while it shares that quality with a lambic, this still seems more like a beer to me. Sweet juicy notes with a bit of a sour kick, though to be honest, from the smell, and from other reviews and the style description I was expecting a little more pucker. I was surprised by the slight funkiness in the finish, like a stinky cheese, a nice unexpected bonus. Interesting mouthfeel too; it seems to change from bubbly and carbonated when it first hits the mouth to a slighty syrupy yet super-smooth finish. Illusion? I have no idea, but it's great. I could drink this beer anytime, and could never get bored of it. So many nooks and crannies to discover in this beer. Go get it. Cheers to the Duchesse!

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2005 01:46:31 | More by twelvsies
Photo of Cwrw
Cwrw

Alberta (Canada)

4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A quaint little 250ml bottle, with a dark label of Renaissance/mediaeval appearance. BB: 11-02-06. Purchased in Brussels September 2004, so it has been aged a little in the bottle. The head was not large in my chalice glass, but seemed to fizz with large bubbles gripping the sides of the glass, whilst the centre of the beer's head was patchy. Later, swirling it steadily in the glass, the head gets better, and thicker. Nevertheless light brown walls of lacing stuck nicely. The beer's colour is a rich garnet, deep red, almost like some red wines, but with much more depth and richness. It is an impenetrable black cherry/rose brown, and quite delicious looking. The aroma surprised me exceedingly--I was expecting some wine notes, but the tannic acidity made me stop a second and remember that this is a beer. Incredible. I detected a little sourness in the aroma, but mostly the red wine and sugary malt. Other hints of oaky muskiness, yeast, raspberries, black cherries and a smell I cannot quite place, whether particular to Belgian Red Ales or not I do not know, as it is my first try of this style. I have to say it is akin to sharp blue cheese, or old cheddar. I also detect some celery salt and seasoning salt, balsamic vinegar, black currant and port. Very complex, I could sniff the aroma all day. The malt smells aged, similar to the smell of a beer glass not washed for a couple of days. The taste is immediate sourness, sharp and bold. Tart does not quite describe it. Sour-soother candies. After that hit come some candied apple, oak, iron, must, tannins, and at the very end the candy malt really balances out with the yeast for a surprisingly drinkable finish. The taste reminded me a little of a lambic faro. The aftertaste is fresh malt, a dash of dryness, and the everpresent sourness starts to fade into a pleasant candied cherry flavour. For all its flavour the taste is not overly complex, the acidity and sharp bite of sourness really dominate, and the oak and yeast only play a background role to that. Still, this is a remarkably different treat; a nice change from the ordinary. The body is medium, and the taste lingers for quite some time on the palate. Some would find this far too sour, but I find the sugary tartness delicious. This has to be tried at least once by all beer-lovers, (and wine lovers).

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2005 07:13:44 | More by Cwrw
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