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Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Not Rated.
Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,419 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,419
Hads: 3,800
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 13.48%
Wants: 197
Gots: 652 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Verhaeghe visit their website
Belgium

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: 1,419 | Hads: 3,800
Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark red brew with a medium head. Sour taste with a distinct cherry flavor which is coming from the oak. Very impressive control of the flemish style. Alcohol taste is not evident at all. I could drink this at any point in time. One of the best flemish sour ales that I've had the chance to taste. (297 characters)

Photo of largadeer
3.43/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark reddish amber, not far from a dubbel in appearance. The cloudy tan head never lets up.

Smell: An intensely sweet aroma escaped from the bottle as soon as I uncapped it, which was initially a bit off-putting. A bit of swirling reveals sour cherries, molasses and vanilla.

Taste: Cherries again, red apple, grape, vanilla, oak and brown sugar. The taste has a sweet/sour dynamic, leaning a bit toward the sweet.

Mouthfeel: On the lighter side of medium-bodied, this goes down pretty easily, but it becomes a bit syrupy. Gentle but abundant carbonation tingles the tongue.

Not bad for a sweeter Flanders red, but I greatly prefer this style more dry and sour. (677 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle. So like a gueuze, but not a Gueuze, eh? Screwy old-world denominations.

This beer pours a clear, rather dark reddish cola amber hue, with two pudgy fingers of foamy, soapy beige head, which take a fair while to melt away, leaving some chunky, splotchy stillborn honeycombed lace around the glass as it slowly melts away.

It smells of sour fruit esters - cherry, lemon, and apple, with more than a bit of sharp acetic acid, some timid boozy oak barrel notes, and a faint pale malt sweetness. The taste is big sweet and sour fruitiness - black currants, cherry, apple - further sweet caramel malt, and a burgeoning oaken vanilla woodiness. Some leafy, earthy bitterness loiters after the fact.

The carbonation is quite low-key, the body a solid, and fairly smooth medium weight, the echoes of abstracted fruit strangely doing no harm. It finishes off-dry, with the overarching fruitiness fully opening up to the yin and yang of tartness and sweetness.

A rather complex and sexy offering, the sourness alluring enough to draw one in, but not too pungent to outstay its welcome. In the end, one has to describe this as a more sweet than sour, tasty tipple, a testament to the mutability of things. (1,211 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

All food and balsamic vinegar references aside, this is a great introductory Flemish Red Ale. If you dig sweeter Belgians, go for this, if not, try Rodenbach. If neither float your boat, do us all a favor and don't review these beers until you have some point of reference, or at the very least read the style description.

From the 750mL bottle at cellar temperature, this ale pours a clear reddish-brown. Ever-present lacing is stable, and remains for the duration of the glass.

Smells a touch sweet, plums, fruit, nuts, unique farmhouse yeast. A metallic iron note offsets the fruitiness.

Taste follows the smell, fairly sweet fruit, very mild tartness that doesn't much compare to Rodenbach and the like. Slight residual mustiness and iron/copper notes.

Fairly thin mouthfeel, even carbonation keeps things lively. Drinkability is big if you can dig the style. A 750 is no problem in one sitting... (907 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.58/5  rDev -12.3%
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. (2,019 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a chalice/snifter. It was a dark brown with flecks of red. It had a tan, two-finger head that left nice rings of lace.

S - It smelled of sour cherries and malt.

T - It tasted very sour with a little sweet kick. There was a good dosage of malt, too.

M - It was crisp and sharp. It was medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good beer. It's the first Flanders Red Ale that I've tried and I really liked it. (432 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
3.28/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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

Poured a deep dark brown, with lots of reddish hints to it, making it almost seem a dull burnt orange in bright light. A huge billowing white head faded quickly, but left a nice film of lace about the top for most of the glass. The smell was probably the strongest I have ever smelled in a beer. Almost knocked me over. Huge flavors of sour grapes and apples, lots of fruity hints in there, and very very strong, really like nothing I have ever smelled. The taste was unbelievably sour. Like sour candy sour, huge flavors, too much for me. Actually made my eyes water with every sip. Very light mouth feel, and great carbonation were nice, and helped it go down smoothly, but was not really my cup of tea. Flavors were big, grapes, apples, peaches, raisins, plums, very very complex and fruity. Overall I did not enjoy it, but I am not sure if this was due t o the style or this particular brew. I will have to try a couple more to get a better feel, but this one was rough on me. I could see how someone would like its deep complex character, just not me. (1,178 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby color with a nice creamy,sticky head that leaves waves of lace down my brandy snifter,aromas are all Belgian some sour cherry and malt vinegar with a touch of funk hits right on.Now I got alot more sweetness than expected in this brew,a kinda sweet/spicey mix that coats ur mouth with only a touch of sourness in the finish wich was unexpected.I picked up some cherry stone and iron notes a little more as I drank but this seems to stay more on the sweeter side for the style,true to the style not sure, but worth a try its a quality brew. (557 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The pour is a dark, rich, red color without too much carbonation or head formation.

S: Loads of dark fruit, specifically sour cherries and currants. There is a nice lactic sourness along with a mild vinegar aroma.

T: Almost identical to the nose. A wonderful tart/sourness, but not overpowering. The cherries really come through here as well as a touch of sweet malt.

M: Medium bodied with a high level of carbonation and a crisp, dry finish.

D: I'm still getting used to these sour ales and this is a great one to start on. Nothing overly intense about it, but a nice beer nonetheless. (593 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best Before: 05-12-09.

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark mahogany brown body with a full, frothy, light khaki-colored head. Fair amount of lacing deposited on the way down.

Smell: Sweet-smelling, sugar-coated fruit nose with a big, hearty dose of malt vinegar. Light whiff of an unidentified herbal component.

Taste: Sweet dark caramel maltiness precludes a fruity dose of raspberries and a sugary, lightly tart cherry juice character and with an addition of both aged balsamic and malt vinegars. Squirt of fresh lemon juice. Tiny pinch of cocoa powder. Mild woodiness throughout. Undercurrent of tart acidity, particularly at the end. Long, fruity, crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: Recommended. An enjoyable, tasty, relatively smooth Flemish Red jam-packed with rich fruity complexities. (838 characters)

Photo of nickfl
3.98/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Two fingers of light brown head tops the clear, amber-brown body.

S - Sour and malty with a bit of caramel and pepper.

T - Sweet and sour. Fruity notes of black currants and lemon. Lots of malt and a bit of caramel.

M - Medium to light body and medium carbonation.

D - Very drinkable with a nice interplay between the sweet and sour flavors. Not too complex, but very satisfying. (387 characters)

Photo of oline73
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish amber to brown. Two fingers of white head go away but leave some lacing.

Smell: Sweet and sour with hints of fruit and caramel.

Taste: Tastes like a sour caramel apple. Fruity notes with a mild sourness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a dry finish.

Drinkability: I like this beer, but it is a bit too sweet for a sour ale in my opinion. (407 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Carefully poured from a long-standing bottle it's a surprisingly clear, reddish-brown with orange-ish highlights. The light tan head rises up full at first, but thins shortly. The thin cap, however, holds to the end of the serving - no doubt buoyed by effervescent carbonation - and leaves some noteable lace. The aroma is soft with sugary sweet dark fruit (cherry, raspberry, plum) and an array of gentle lactic notes including vinegar, leather, and barnyard. It's also a touch of vegetal character, and the combination of sugar sweet and vinegar leaves it with a note that's oddly similar to ketchup. It's not bad, but it's sweeter, more chalky, and much less sour than many of the examples from the historic town of Oudenaarde. The body is light but with some dextrins, and offers a crisp and zesty mouthfeel from a very fine, effervescent carbonation. The flavor starts with a combination of tart, sharp fruit (raisin, raspberry, prune, currant, sour cherry) and sweetish caramelized sugar at the front of the mouth, leading into a more winey character with a big woody note and sweet maltiness at mid swallow. It finishes a bit chalky and dry, with a light stickiness throughout the mouth and a sweet & tart note on the tip of the tongue - sometimes followed by an earthy, musty and acidic burp. A very good beer in the Oud Bruin style, posessing a solid oak character and good fruitiness, but possibly a touch sweet. Overall, quite enjoyable. (1,448 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.41/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2oz. bottle into flute glass.

A: The beer is a dark reddish brown color with a medium off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is mostly sour with apples, dark fruit, some chocolate and elements of creaminess and smokiness.

T: The taste is very fruity with a heavy burst of sourness. The initial taste had a nasty metallic bite, but it disappears. The malt character is thin and there’s a mild hops presence. The after-taste is slightly sweet and very tart.

M: Smooth and crisp, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, dry and sticky finish.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, not very filling, it’s not the type a beer that I could drink consistently, but it’s a good to drink casually if you like the sourness. (782 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.57/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this at Crush in Lancaster. Served chilled in a wine glass.

A - Dark burgundy w/ small beaded pale tan head. The color has some ruby accents

S - Smells like a mix of sweet and sour w/ worcestershire some wood and spice w/ a sweet cherry and light currant. There is a subtle raspberry note w/ mild dark sugar aroma

M - The feel is slightly candy-like at first w/ a subtle sour and mild fruit texture, slight berry w/ vinous elements and moderate carbonation. The beer finishes on the dry side.

T - The taste of dark and sweet cherry w/ hints of sour berry notes and light brown sugar like a dessert beer quality. The taste has mild lemon rind acidic flavor w/ mild vinous dark grapeskin notes and wild berry w/ mild spice and earthy hints. The taste is complex to say the least with even a tinge of leather and oak.

D - This is a fantastic flanders w/ subtle smooth sour blended with the fruit and sweet notes. The Duchesse stands alone as I have not had a beer quite like her, very drinkable sweet/sour blend and I find this an easy ale to drink but prefer to save it for occasions. (1,093 characters)

Photo of Jason
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep brownish red colour with some haze from both the chill and yeast, tight off white lace with a half decent lace. Soft and slightly sour aroma, dry woody almost nutty back ground. Biting crispness within the light yet effervescent and smooth carbonation. Puckering twang of sourness hits the palate, fruity flavours ride along with this and give suggestions of ripe currant and apple peel. A woody dryness sneaks up and dries the mouth is a split second and clear all residual sweetness. Quite the enjoyable Flemish Red … (530 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown with a reddish hue. Flavor is sour. Hoooie! I love it. Kind of an antiseptic edge to it. But it's nice and smooth. Feel has a fairly biting carbonation that hits quickly and leaves. Liquid is kind of sticky yet smooth. This is a pretty good example of this style. If you aren't ready for the sour, don't bother coming at all for this one. (358 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours garnet with 4 fingers of off white/sand colored head. Insane lacing &healthy head retention

S: Sour, vinergary notes up front that dissipates to not much of anything & then comes back

T: Sweetness & sourness do battle up front, along with serious dryness. Currant/raspberry taste surface along with hints of vinegar and oaky dryness (squared) as this warms. Finishes tart, uber dry, with a tinge of vinegar & a touch of berry sweetness

MF: Sticky with low carbonation.

Drinks all-right would pair well with many meats & fish & even salads. Just not a session ale, but one to ponder & savor by a fire or in a dimly Belgian pub. I prefer rodnebach's grand cru to this, this is a beer universe expander & well worth a try (728 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before date: 30/03/2013. 11.2 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into me Guinness goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Bottle acquired at Red Carpet Liquor in Glendale, California. They also carried the larger bottle. I don't recall the cost. Expectations are through the roof given the reputation of this beer and the style - which I generally am quite fond of.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. This should be in line with the recommended 47-53 degree fahrenheit range. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Not paired with food. I wanted to enjoy the beer on its own, especially since the serving size is relatively small.

A: Pours a four finger head of great smooth cream, marvelous foamy thickness, and fantastic retention - though the ABV is merely 6.00%. Colour is a dark semitransparent ruby. Translucent. No floating yeast particles are visible. There's no bubble show, but I've yet to see a beer in the style with one.

Sm: Sourness, wild yeast, bacteria, cream, clean malts, and an oak tone - when I look for it. A subtle, mild strength aroma. Very encouraging, alive, and inviting. I'd prefer it stronger, but its downplayed timidness lends it a certain class.

T: Yeasty subtle sourness, with cherry fruit ester notes. Slight cream on the open and as an undertone. Oak is a backgrounded tone that isn't horribly noticeable. Hints of red grape notes (but not wine). Extremely subtle. Fantastic. The sourness isn't overdone, and would likely appeal even to people who don't usually enjoy sours. Incredibly well balanced. Exceptionally well constructed, with complexity and layering abound. Nicely tart. Pleasant to drink, even approaching refreshing. Very enjoyable. I quite like it.

Mf: Perfect creaminess for the style. Smooth and wet. Great thickness. It's a touch too wet methinks - especially on the finish. Subtle slight dryness would be ideal to coax out the next sip. Perfect carbonation. Complements the flavours quite nicely.

Dr: Incredibly drinkable. I could down this all night. A bit pricey, but well worth it. An exceptional sour. Quite remarkable and special. Perhaps the best beer in the style I've had yet.

A great candidate for aging.

Drank wonderfully out of me goblet. A snifter would also be appropriate.

Would pair well with a salad, but I'd prefer it alone. This beer warrants your full attention.

A- (2,499 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.37/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Ruby red brown with a nice caramel tan head leaves appitent amount of head leaves lacing that's beyond my belief. Aroma: Clear caramel malt with massive amounts of amber tones that left me in a frenzy solid looking flemish ale. Taste: Sharp cherry taste with an incredible amount of sourness that is somehow still enjoyable sets your spirit free excellent taste that can'e be let go. Tart fruit flavor that brings any oud bruin competition. Mouthfeel: Heavy carbonation medium bodied ale nice. Drinkability: Excellent solid array of flavors that proves this is a classic staple of the oud bruin or flemish style ale tradition good stuff. (649 characters)

Photo of smcolw
4.03/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very red and very clear

Deep malt aromas, lots of cherries. Very close in aroma to a Framboise.

The taste has lots of cherries, quite sweet. So much so that I re-read the bottle to see if it was infused with fruit. Again, this is very much like a Framboise...without the lip-smacking sourness. Tastes more potent than the alcohol indicates (6% abv). The body is full, carbonation is moderate. The aftertaste is a light tartness that diminishes slowly.

This is an unusual Belgian in that it doesn't have the typical flavors/aromas. Still, it is very good. Think heavy lambic with less tart. (598 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.15/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle.
Sits in the snifter a a clear, deep ruby hue, nearing on brown, with a toasty, fizzy head holding down the fort.
Spicy aroma, and plenty sour, replete with associations of dark fruit, grapes, dates, blackberries, and a twisted hint of licorice. Wicked mix in this nose. I like it.
Oooo, puckeration! Mega-hit of sour on first sip! Backwash of sweetness, cherries and plums, but the tart stays on top. Next sip: Ooooweee, it's at it again! Molasses-like, and treacly in the taste, thinning out by the time the flavor leaves the palate and I'm ready for another swallow...ooo, quit doing that!
Around this time, the intense tartness mellows a bit, and the brew plays a little lighter in the mouth. Sweetness glides arm in arm with sour, and they play a tight ping pong match.
body is medium, lightly fruity, long-lived finish. Tasty thing, despite the challenges that must be met in approaching the brew. I'm going to relax with the remainder. (962 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, best before 5/2014. Pours crystal clear dark reddish brown color with a 2 finger fairly dense and fluffy cream colored with with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense foamy lacing clings on the glass, with plenty of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of green apple, cherry, raspberry, pear, apple skin, floral, hay, grass, oak, light vinegar, light red wine, funk, and grassy earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity notes; with moderate malt sweetness and good strength. Taste of lightly tart cherry, raspberry, apple, pear, hay, grass, pepper, light vinegar, oak, light red wine, light funk, and grassy earthiness. Slight fruity and earthy tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark and light fruits, hay, grass, floral, light vinegar, light red wine, oak, and grassy earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of fruity and spicy notes; with a moderate malt balance and zero cloying sweetness present after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a smooth, crisp, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Flanders red ale. Very nice complexity and balance of flavors; and very smooth and crisp to sip on. A very enjoyable offering. (1,412 characters)

Photo of jwc215
3.08/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2 oz. bottle:

Pours deep mahogany (nice color) with very little head.

The smell is vinuous - dark grape.

The taste is of grape and pomigranite. Slight oak. Wine-like (Manishevitz comes to mind). Sour with a fruity sweetness (subtle hints towards a chocolate, but more in that you would find in some wines). Aftertaste of grape soda lingers. Sweettart. Sweet and sour dominates, but more towards the sweetness. Dry finish.

It has certain unique characters, however, it doesn't stand out as anything above average for the style, IMO. Too much like grape soda for me. (579 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer served on draft at a beer bar in FL. Beer served in a Duchess De Bourgogne wine glass. Beer is hazy brown and has a broken brown head with very little carbonation. The tiny head manages to leave some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is citric and lactic sour in nature. Not too much complexity but for this style its dead on. Time to drink.

Beer is sweet and sour, the sweetness comes first but its quickly overtaken by the sour nature of the beer. Beer is smooth and has a thin body. The drinkability is high and the midpalate is where the majority of the flavor is noticed. Its a good example of a sour beer. (611 characters)

Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
91 out of 100 based on 1,419 ratings.