Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

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Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

3,736 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,736
Reviews: 1,463
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 188
Gots: 612 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,736 | Reviews: 1,463
Photo of jmc44
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Photo of UberWasser
4.37/5  rDev +5%
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.

Photo of Rezzin
4.97/5  rDev +19.5%
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!

Photo of wd40
3.51/5  rDev -15.6%
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.

Photo of broken22
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.49/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle.

A: Pours a deep rusty red with a thick off-white head. Head lingers a bit before collapsing into a thin bubbly layer that resides on top of the brew. Lacing is minimal but present.

S: Balsamic vinegar, sour fruit, green apple, soy sauce, and sweet malts.

T: Green apple, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, rhubarb, and sour fruits.

M: Medium bodied, highly carbonated, crisp with a nice sour finish.

O: This is truly a great brew. I'm finally starting to come around on the whole sour thing and this easily one of the best I've had. Subtly sour and sweet with a solid malt backbone. I like this a lot more then I thought I would when I first tried it awhile back, and honestly after re-visiting it I like it even more. It's just very pleasant to drink. This is one I plan to keep a stock of.

Photo of clarkm04
4.2/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of hooligan
5/5  rDev +20.2%
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.

Photo of kpoole25
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11-ish bottle to glass. Gentle pour leads to huge head, color is dark brown/red. Smell is somewhat sweet and a little vinegar. Taste is somewhat like soda pop in carbonation and sweetness, with decent sourness. Not as sweet as Monk's Cafe, a good thing. More interesting than drinkable for me.

Photo of davedahl
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a delicious brew.

_Appearance_
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.

_Smell_
Sour cherries, crab apples, creamy-carmely malt.

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

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

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

Drink it!

Photo of PiecefulToker
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Photo of beersabound
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
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.

Photo of ThirdLap
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
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!

Photo of JackRWatkins
3.94/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

snifter on draft

quick and humorous note on this one, I had it the other day not realizing that I had indeed tried it before at a beer festival, so the lesson I guess is that with some luck you may get a second chance to make a first impression.

A: Walnut brown is danced over by a very pretty ruby color. very muddy (not color wise but consistency wise) and thick. little to no head but decent and pleasant lacing. the ruby coming through makes the contents of a glass look like a glowing gem, which I suppose is fitting.

S: sour, sour, sour. Wild yeast stands toe to toe with the cherry and the tart acidic smell. Very pleasant. smell resembles the tartness of this style's more varied cousin the lambic.

T: Very pleasant, easy to drink. I personally very much enjoy sour beers, however this is not a typical sour beer, this beer is very reminiscent of St. Bernardus abt. 12 (on draft not bottle). It's as if the recipe for the 12'er was scaled down for a 6% beer and then a lot of cherries were added. back to it being atypical in terms of a sour beer, I feel like there's a lot more going on here than in your typical kriek flanders red, the malt is more present and so are the dark fruits, but the yeast is the deviation, it's as if this was a similar experiment as three philosophers only at a lower alcohol and done with much more success. It's essentially like a low abv dubbel fermented with wild yeast with added cherries

M: oily and watery, yet decently thick, the water may leave the mouth and go down the throat but the syrupy sugars stay on the palate

O: I really enjoyed this beer, as I said at the beginning I had tasted this beer before but did not remember it. Looking back, the first time I tried it, I remember tasting pure vinegar, it was bad and disappointing, however it incidentally, (as I said before) it got a second chance to make a first impression and I'm glad it did. I was, while writing this review, initially questioning whether this beer had a purpose when placed next to abt. 12 on draft seeing as they are very similar, I have concluded that there is a place for both of these in your glass, when you can't afford to be knocked on your ass, this is a great alternative to abt. 12 since it's lower in alcohol, additionally, there is a subtle difference in flavor that is enough to justify this beers existence. very satisfied overall.

Photo of A_Rad
3.03/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I did not enjoy this beer. The taste is hard for me to describe. Just strange. Not my thing.

Photo of mexikrainian
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Photo of nogoodreason
2.64/5  rDev -36.5%
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.

Photo of DPFRD
4.2/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of TPSReports
2.27/5  rDev -45.4%
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.

Cheers.

Photo of kleffman
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Photo of tcfishler
1.74/5  rDev -58.2%
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.

Photo of mbrasi
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

Photo of joshwlt
4.16/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of SteveS1
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Photo of beerfairy
2.96/5  rDev -28.8%
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.

Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,736 ratings.