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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: 209
Gots: 689 | 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 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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Photo of Boneheadmx
4.61/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours out to what appears to be a dark, slightly hazy magenta-purple amber with a 1 inch cream-colored head that subsides slowly and leaves thick lacing around the glass. The purple color makes this extremely beautiful and it's the best looking beer I've ever seen.

Smell is faintly of fruit with not much in the way of the hops. Smells nice but it's ultimately a little bland.

Oh boy. The flavor. Nice tangy, citrusy sourness with hints of fresh berries, fairly sweet. Slow sour finish nicely complemented by just the right touch of carbonation (which is more than it looks to have when poured out). There's a slight bit of hops in the back of the tongue which gives it a lot of dimension instead of just "sweet and sour."

The mouthfeel is light, watery, and carbonated but matches the flavor perfectly.

This is surprisingly one of the most drinkable beers I've ever had (surprising since I don't particularly like light, watery, carbonated, sweet beers). Highly recommended for seasoned beer drinkers and newbies alike.

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Photo of DUBinMIA
3.44/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear deep brown with reddish tint. Thick foam head 3in. at least with insane lace.

Smell is of malt and sweet fruit. Dates, cherries, and light pine hop notes.

Taste is starts sweet malty and ends very tart and crisp. Citrus is abound which is different for a red ale. Interesting rasberry flavor towards the end.

Mouth feel is light and high in carbonation

Overall this beer is unique… prob won’t pick it up again but glad I tried it.

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Photo of acehart1
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2006 Vintage, sampled on Jan. 22, 2011

Deep red, brownish color. Extremely pungent smell. Almost like vinegar. The smell almost overpowers everything else. The taste is much better than the smell. This stuff goes down much too easily. Very complex and drinkable, almost too drinkable. Dangerous. Very, very nice. We paired it with a brie with currant jelly. Very nice mixture.

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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 Goldfish19
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

~ Purchased this bottle from Big Z Beverage in Huntington, NY. This sour ale pours a dark reddish brown with a huge foamy head that subsides rather quickly into some spotty lacing. The smell reminds me a lot of balsamic vinegar. There is a really nice sour and earthy smell going on here. The taste is a wonderful complex combination of sweet and sour. Absolutely refreshing! A little pricey @ $4.95 for a single 11.2 oz bottle, but hey, you get what you pay for right?

All in all, if you are looking for a beer that is unique and different--you've come to the right place! ~

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Photo of jmc44
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, deep brownish-red, with a rocky offwhite head that sticks around forever.

Fruity aroma, apples, acidic, a bit of sweet malt and hints of earthiness.

Taste is complex. A great balance of malty sweetness with a strong tart flavor, like sour cherries, apples, and a hint of raisins and dark fruit. Light and sweet at first, followed by the pronounced tart and sour taste. Surprisingly clean finish.

Medium-bottled, fairly highly carbonated, smooth. A very good beer, very complex and yet well balanced.

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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 Rezzin
4.97/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Poured into a tulip glass. 1/4" tan head that doesn't hang out long. Color is a deep mahogany red and it's crystal clear. I expected it to be bottle conditioned but I didn't notice any trace yeast in the bottle. Looks quite appealing.

S - Wow, the aroma is incredible. Complex with fruity notes. Cherries, plums, some tartness in the nose. Slight barnyard character - sweet caramal.

T - This is an excellent flanders red - the sweet and tart is perfectly balanced. There's that a ever so slight barnyard character that just perfectly compliments the flavors in my mouth. You have to search for the barnyard - it's very slight. Sour cherries, raspberries, maybe even some plum with a nice balanced sweetness. I'm loving these sour beers right now!

M - Medium to light body with a nice acidic crispness. Moderately carbonated.

D - I've died and gone to sour beer heaven. I love this beer. I'm looking forward to trying other examples of this style to see what i'm missing. If this is not one of the better ones then I'm in for a real treat!

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Photo of wd40
3.51/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Beautiful burgundy appearance. Deep dark red, fairly clear. Smells like a fantastic sour beer mixed with red wine. I really liked the aroma except there was a faint hint of metal. The tast up front is fantastic. Great sour bite that quickly fades into an almost soda-like sweetness. The finish of the beer is very sweet, more like wine than beer. The mouthfeel is soft. Subtle carbonation. The beer is very well-crafted but the drinkability is negatively affected by the sweetness in the finish.

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Photo of broken22
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh Duchesse. She is a beer that I had kept playing hard to get with. I would see her at the beer store and think about but never acted. I even held here a couple of times to only put her back. So when I finally had the chance to get a glass on tap I decided it was time to meet her.

This beer is a nice red amber color. The head on this beer is very tight little micro bubbles and white. This beer is very fragrant. Taking a sniff an you will know right away that this is going to be a sour beer. I'm not an expert on sour beers so I cannot really elaborate on smell other than sour. The taste really surprised me. I was totally expecting something awful. This beer has a really nice flavor that is only exemplified by the sourness. It has a very nice fruity taste. The brewery describes it as passion fruit and I will just agree to that. The overall mouthfeel is nice and light with a dry finish.

I am not a sour chaser and I really thought I would never find a sour beer that I really liked. Duchesse won me over on the first sip. Its complex flavor is completely masked by the smell. It's like the durian fruit of beer. While I'm sure its still not for everyone I think if your curious you should try a glass.

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Photo of clarkm04
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- A deep amber, red hue.

Smell- lots of cherries along with funky yeast smell

Taste- Outstanding. Very sweet with less sourness of the traditional Flemish Red or sour. Lots of cherries with a nice finish.

Mouthful- A very light, crisp mouthful.

Drinkability- Very high for a Flemish Red. I enjoy this style but can usually only drink one at the most.

Overall- A very strong strong Flemish Red. In the same realm as Kastel Rouge or Belgian Red but more sour and closer to the style of the Flemish Red. I will definitely drink this beer again. Definitely would pare well with a variety of desserts.

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Photo of hooligan
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beautiful ruby-red color with a wispy lace head. The oaken cask conditioning of this beer give the drinker hints of balsamic and red wine vinegar, with some sweetness and floral notes of wine. While you are trying to put a finger on all the flavors, you start tasting the sweet and "chewier" texture of the malt. This beer is slightly sour and very highly carbonated, pleasantly so, similar to a lambic... this is bottled happiness.

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

What a delicious brew.

Very clear ruby-bronze color - and gradiated. When held to a light it shows off brilliant clarity and a few champagne-like bubbles rising to surface. Small head with low head-retention.

Sour cherries, crab apples, creamy-carmely malt.

Slight tannin, sourness, light carmel malt. Whole cherries. Young and sweet but deliciously sour and complex. Clearly a blend.

Full and well-rounded. Semi-dry finish. Slight mouth-pricle from medium-to-high carbonation.

Despite complexity, sour/sweet ness, this is highly drinkable thanks to how well balanced and only slight dryness.

Drink it!

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

This was my first flander's red, and wow was I impressed. This beer is awesome.

At first glance, it poured a beautiful bergundy brown color, with a nice 1 finger head that lasted quite a while. Nice lacing down the glass.

S: It smells like sweet, delicate, fruity wine.

T: Wow, this beer is amazing, sweet, but with a nice sourness that comes in. It has wine like character that I really enjoy.

M: Excellent. Smooth, yet it has a great tingling carbonation to it.

D: I would only want one of these ever so often because they are so delicious, I could easily get addicted.

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Photo of beersabound
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The aroma smells of sour cherries with some alcohol and malt sweetness. It has a deep red color with a large tan head that lasts forever. The mouthfeel is slightly slick with some tartness and a little CO2 bite. The flavor is sweet, tart, fruity and delicious. The finish is still sweet but has some dryness to it. Other than this dryness I do not get much oak out of it. This is a good flanders red but I prefer them with more sourness and less sweetness. Everyone seems to be ga-ga over this one so here is a different opinion. It's good but very sweet.

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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 3sheets2wind
2.12/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.75

Nice looking beer. Pours auburn with pillowy off-white head. Cherry red lifesaver with vinegar after taste. Mouthfeel is nice. Aroma is melted sour apple slurpee and red vines. Not sure why this beer gets so much love. Get some cuvee de jacobins fellas.

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Photo of mexikrainian
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml poured into a Unibroue tulip.

Appearance: brown amber with short-lived beige head and patchy lacing.

Aroma: pungent cherry aroma, slightly nutty and plum.

Taste: a balance of sour and sweet with dry, smooth finish.

Mouthfeel: syrup and acidic texture with medium body and light-medium carbonation.

Overall Impression: unique and complex, this delicious red ale is reminiscent of a carbonated plum wine. mmmm...give me more.

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Photo of nogoodreason
2.64/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance: Nice. Deep red, fairly clear. Lovely thick cream head with a slight red hue. The Duchesse is pretty.

Smell: Um. Vinegar? Sweet Vinegarette? Some fruit, rasberries, cherries. But mostly vinegar.

Taste: Like the smell only with a cloying, sickly sweetness. Again, there is a big fruity aspect there. The more I drink, the less the sweetness effects me and the more I can taste a nice yeastiness but it's subtle, and I still have to wade through the sweetness and the vinegar aspects to get to it.

Mouthfeel: If I can separate the way it feels in my mouth from the smell and taste, I find this to be quite pleasant. Thick, viscous and with enough carbonation to please.

Drinkability: I guess you could call this drinkable, if it's your thing. To me the sweetness made me choke it back rather than savoring it.

I thought at first that I might've gotten a bad bottle, but I asked around and the people that I talked to have had this experience. Some liked it, some didn't. Count me in the latter group. It tastes like a bubbly raspberry vinegarette. Ugh.

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

A- Reddish brown, very clean when light is shone through. Head dissipated quickly, leaving a soapy presence. Good Carbonation.

S- Sweet, Oak and tart acidic notes, very subtle.

T- Sweet and sour duel on a tight rope. The transparency and complexity of this beer seems unreel. You have to look into it. Has a tart fruit aspect with the fruit being very subtle or short rather, as it is there. As it warms fruity notes begin to propagate.

M- Medium, decent carbonation activity on tongue, has a puckering aspect.

D- Wonderfully drinkable, and quite interesting. Has wine like qualities.

O- I'm into this. I want to travel to Flanders now and get into all the sour shit they have. The beer was more sweet to me than sour, but not overly.

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

750mL bottle, poured into snifters. Pours a murky reddish-brown that, when held to the light gleams a brilliant ruby red. Tan-brown head leaving moderate pooled lacing. Dark fruit on the nose, with heavy balsamic vinegar undertones. On the palate, the balsamic vinegar notes leap to the fore, but give way to saccarine strawberry. The flavor progresses to a broader array of dark fruits. Mouthfeel is light on the carbonation, yielding a creamier texture that suits the complexity of the beer. Outstanding for pairing with food. Overall, a simply excellent beer.

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Photo of TPSReports
2.27/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Picked up this bottle with great ancitipation for Chan's now Aloha World of Wines in Pensacola, FL. The bottled looked good and the cork was solid with no dust on the bottle.

I lightly chilled the beer then popped the cork. It poured a reddish brown with a nice head. That's basically where the fun ended.

The smell was vinegarish with some cirtus notes blended in. I'm not a fan of vinegar unless we're talking BBQ sauce.

Anyway, the taste matched the smell to my taste. I let the beer warm and tried some more. No change. I put the bottle in an ice bath and tried it again. Still nothing but disappointment. Bummer.

I guess the mouthfeel was OK, but the taste killed the feel.

I will not drink the beer again. Based on the other reviews that I've read, I guess my bottle was good, but didn't agree with me. Glad everyone else seems to enjoy it.


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

Finally getting to try the Duchesse after having numerous examples of the Flanders Red style that impressed me. I continually hear that this is the supreme example of the style so we'll see.

Pours a dark very clear ruby red and brown color into a Chimay goblet. Slight head and retention with only a little lacing. Quite beautiful looking in this wide mouth glass.

Aroma has a definite vinegar presence with a TON of tart cherries and vanilla from the oak. Smells acidic and I'm in for a treat.

Taste is just as it smells but way more complex and very little vinegar! Mostly incredible tart cherry vanilla flavors with oak, earthy yeast characters and slight raspberry hints. Really sweet with a tart background. Perfectly balanced and really complex however.

The mouthfeel is an incredible lively, smooth and refreshing experience. I want more. I wish it wasn't quite so expensive, I could keep this constantly on hand. I would love one of these every single Friday after work. Very high drinkability, and an extreme enjoyability. I can't imagine much better for the style. Only the Rodenbach beers match it in my opinion.

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Photo of tcfishler
1.74/5  rDev -57.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Deep red-brown, like an old/oxidized red wine.

Winey nose of sour cherry, yeast, and aceto balsamico.

Hits first with acidity...definitely acetic acid (aka vinegar). Comes through afterward with quite sweet fruitiness, and a tiny bit of roasted malt as well. Highly carbonated. Finishes long but astringent.

Very much a love-it-or-hate-it beer, or perhaps an acquired taste. For someone like me whose background is in wine-drinking, this isfar too similar to a wine that has gone bad, what with the brownish red color and copious volatile acidity (acetic acid). I couldn't even manage to drink more than a few ounces, which is a tragedy given the care put into brewing this. Take my rating with a grain of salt, keeping in mind my biases.

EDIT: Come to think of it, reducing this in a pan on the stove could make an awesome sauce. In that context the vinegar-y flavors would be appetizing rather than offensive.

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