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Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Not Rated.
Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,430 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,430
Hads: 3,839
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 22.93%
Wants: 199
Gots: 670 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Verhaeghe visit their website

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001

Belgian top-fermented reddish-brown ale, a blend of 8 and 18 months old beers following the careful maturation in oak casks.
View: Beers (13) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,430 | Hads: 3,839
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 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 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 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 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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Photo of mbrasi
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best Before 03-10-09 Pours a reddish brown with a head that dissipates fast. Aroma is sour, lactic, vinigar dominates, with some wood. Flavor is sweet up front, some then vinigar, with a wood finish and some lingering lactic notes. This one kind of grows on me. At first I thought it wood be drain pour (and I love sours) because of the too much vinigar and sweetness, but the flavors start to blend into something that is more enjoyable as you drink this brew. Mouthfeel lacks significant carbonation but has a decently rich body that compensates.

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Photo of joshwlt
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tan brown color with a purple grape juice-like tone when held to the light. Off white sticky head. Smells vinegary, sour, and acidic. It really shines in flavor though. Has an apple cider-like sweetness but not overly sugary as it has a bready malt to match and a sourness that puckers the sides of the tongue. This stuff just tastes delicious.

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Photo of SteveS1
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Look: Pours dark ruby/caramel with a decent head that fizzles out at an even pace.

Smell: Tart fruit and lots of it, dried cranberries, raisins, plums, currents, rasberry and a distinct woody scent.

Taste: Tart fruit (raspberry and cranberry) on the tongue melts into much mellower berries (strawberry, sweet blueberry), and finishes with a clean and dry red grape. Current/woody aftertaste. Sweet overall and nary a trace of alcohol.

Feel: Fantastic carbonation subsides into a refreshing light body.

Drink: Exquisite beer or fancy soda? Indeed, this is a beer, and quite an impressive one, but there isn't nearly enough tart to balance the sweetness for me. Very drinkable, almost dangerously so.

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Photo of Sumdeus
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Split a 750ml bottle among a group.

A: very dark red and clear pour, a finger of head that rapidly dissipates into the beer leaving some good lacing on the glass.

S: slightly acetic tart, fruits and some oaky/woody notes.

T: tart fruits, not super tart, but a nice acetic tart. Very clean taste.

M: crisp and clean. Nice and bubbly too.

O: great mildly tart beer.

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Photo of beerfairy
2.96/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Very nice foam presence, a copper-ish brown color

S - Vinegar and diacytel with hits of prune

T - Sweet vinegar and prune tastes

I'm not sure if I got a good bottle of this one, will have to try again, but it's expensive. It was from a 750ml bottle.

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Photo of markmiller
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful dark reddish ruby brown with a decent finger of off white head. Nice lacing.

While pouring this, there is a funk that wafts up...kind of hard to describe. The aroma is one of tart fruit, brown sugar and vinegar. As it warms, it seems to get more "funky".

A long, drawing sip proves this one to be sweeter than the nose. I was expecting far more tartness to the Duchesse, but she's pretty damn balanced. There is a that fruit, maybe some strawberry, candied citrus rind. Oak is present, and this one finishes lightl and balanced. Never too much fruit or tartness. Unique and delicious!

Crisp finish, not overly sweet on the aftertaste.

Outstanding example of how complex beer can be. Enjoy this at least once for sure!

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

Poured into tulip from tap at sd toronado. Pours a dark brown with a small bit of amber. Creamy, but thin, egg white head that does not linger very long. Nose is spice, vanilla, and sour yeast. On the tongue it has a very smooth and sweet vanilla taste that coats the mouth. Sourness is subtle but comes out most in the middle then gives way to the vanilla and dark fruits. Mouthfeel is great, comfortable carbonation that compliments the toned down sourness.

Overall, awesome beer, nice switch from the fruity, tart sours

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Photo of Greenfloyd
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one wild beer....

Poured into a snifter with a very dark amber hue, with a yellowish, orange decently lingering head. This beer had a tart cherry nose , with subtle hints of malt vinegar. The taste was a pretty wild ride....Rainer cherries collapse into a mildly sour, oaky cider. Very unique, yet refreshing for such a dark menacing looking beer. The strains of yeast clearly dominate the characteristics of this Flanders Red. The medium body helps the drinkability, as this beer should be paired with mild, semi-soft cheeses and tart apples. Of course a grilled Montreal style rib-eye pairing coupled with some Portabello mushrooms would be great as well...Enjoy

Note: Don't give up on this beer until you've tried it a few times. I had three before I really started to enjoy the complexities of this ale. My taste is an easy upgrade to "4.5" after the repeated sampling...it's still a crazy beer though...

Note part 2: I can't help it. It's a "5" in the old taste category now. The more I drink it the more I love it. Simply amazing...

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Photo of Maction
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Mahogany with rosy amber edges and a thin straw-colored head that quickly fades to a mist.

S: A very complex nose, with sherry, leather, malt vinegar, aromas and some funky, swampy, earthy notes.

T: Complements the nose, with sweeter raspberry hard candy, balsamic vinegar, and mushroom-y finish

M: Wine like feel, with some sparkle at the end, and a sweet-and-sour finish.

D: This isn't a ballgame chugger, but a nightcap sipper, to be enjoyed by the fireside. Does that make it less drinkable than an ESB? I think not.

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

Bottle is just over 2 years old, which should not affect this review too much considering the style.

Super dark brownish-reddish-almost-blackish, with a thin head that quickly dissipates. The aroma is inviting: citrusy, brown sugary. The flavor is superb - literally one of the finest beers I've ever tasted. Tangy and lemony, but not mouth puckering. Some wood flavor, cherry, brown sugar, and vanilla... all very lingering. Easy to drink, with almost no alcohol flavor present, and a lively, soda-like carbonation.

Damn there's a lot going on in this fine piece of beverage art! I'm a fanatic of the Flemish ales, and this goes down as my favorite so far. A special occasion beer that is truly worth every penny.

About 13 bucks if you find a four-pack of small bottles, and 9-10 dollars for a the more common 750 mL.

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Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
92 out of 100 based on 1,430 ratings.