1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Not Rated.
Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

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

3,138 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,138
Reviews: 1,355
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 141
Gots: 322 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Verhaeghe visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

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

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Duchesse De Bourgogne Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,138 | Reviews: 1,355 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of berkey
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%

Poured into a Duvel Tulip. Ruby-garnet brown body with a medium head with below average retention. Lacing is a bit spotty.

Aromas are of sour fruit, red wine, over ripe cherries, and a surprising almost cheese-like pungency along with some bready yeast and a very subtle vinegar smell.

Taste is of more yeast and sour fruit along with the same pungency picked up on the nose. Also some mellow woodiness. Overall not as much sour as I look for in the style. Sour pungency is the best thing this beer has going for it and there's not enough for my tastes. Otherwise this beer is a little on the ordinary side. Lack of agressive flavors should keep this drinkable but I lost interest before I even hit the bottom of the glass.

Overall an okay intro to sours because of it's mellow character and availability but a far shot from what this style has to offer. I skipped this beer on my sour education and I really don't feel I missed out.

berkey, May 23, 2009
Photo of danoble1
4/5  rDev -3.8%

danoble1, Nov 12, 2012
Photo of imperiallibations
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

imperiallibations, Jan 30, 2013
Photo of UncleFlip
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%

It's definitely not an everyday beer- yet right now, I think this beer is my favourite. A friend commented that the flavour of this beer is going in 1000 different directions at once- and that's a fair assessment.

It arrived in a glass that bore its name...As I put my nose close to the short fat goblet, I picked up a vinegary smell- it made me think just a bit of a beer that was infected....however, not in an unpleasant way. The deep ruby colour was hard to pick up on, as the upstairs bar at the Brick Store was somewhat dimly lit (as was I, at the moment). First taste was not quite what I expected- though it matched the smell very well. The vinegar overtones and infection-taste were there, but again, not unpleasantly. There was a bit of citrus-acid tang to it as well, the type that in large doses can give you a pang of slight pain just where your jaw meets your neck. Yet there was also a dark, malty sweetness that was carried on a thinner body than I expected.

Take this one slowly, and let it caress you. You don't want to take things to fast with this formidable woman.

(edit: since this review I have found better beers in this style, and this one is not as appealing as it once was- though it will always have a special place for me, being my first of the style...)

-UF

UncleFlip, Jun 16, 2005
Photo of hagbergl
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%

750 mL green bottle into my Rodenbach Grand Cru glass. This is the first time I have had a full glass of this beer, so I'm interested to see how it compares to other great Flanders Reds, like the Bruery's Oude Tart and, of course, Rodenbach Grand Cru.

Appearance (4/5): The Duchesse pours a dark red-brown with a rocky, slightly choppy tan/light brown head. Lots of soapy lacing on the sides of the glass when I tilt it. Beautiful color; wish there was more head to top it off, but that's nitpicking a little too much.

Smell (4.5/5): VERY DISTINCT: The Duchesse has a pronounced balsamic vinegar smell to it that is unlike other sours I've smelled. Black pepper, blackberry, black cherries, pomegranate are prominent notes, too. Very interesting and unusual.

Taste (4.5/5): Very fruity: blackberry and pomegranate in the front, the beer resolves into a slightly vinegary, mildly sour finish. Sweet to start, but the beer dries out nicely and regains some of its tartness in the finish. Not noticing much of the balsamic character that I picked up in the nose in the taste. That’s fine with me, though!

Mouthfeel (3.75/5): Duchesse de Bourgogne is slicker and smoother than most sours (this due to a medium carbonation level). While it doesn't necessarily make the beer LESS drinkable, a higher carbonation level would really give this beer a boost. Could this be due to a bottle that's been sitting around a while? Maybe. But I'm reviewing the beer I have in my hand. Next time I pick this beer up maybe it'll be different.

Overall (4.25/5): Duchesse is a very good Belgian sour that gets a lot right: it has a great balance of tart and sweet, an excellent nose, and looks very nice in the glass. I do wish it featured better carbonation for sure, but that doesn't detract too much from the beer's overall quality. Very good, and I concur with others on BA that this is a good introductory sour.

hagbergl, Jun 05, 2014
Photo of YieldToNothing
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

YieldToNothing, Dec 27, 2013
Photo of ThaHealer
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

ThaHealer, May 29, 2014
Photo of Onibubba
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%

Not the beer that I was expecting. Poured an almost black brown with a beige frothy head that quickly dissappeared. Smell was intensely strange with raisins, cherries, and balsamic vinegar. I was expecting something sour, but this was indulgently sweet. The taste reminded me very much of the dressing used on a Killed Spinach Salad - Sugar and vinegar are quickly heated in bacon fat and poured over the spinach. That is the taste which solidified wiht me, and not in an offputting way at all.

You've heard the term smooth as silk, and that is an accurate description of the mouthfeel here. No carbonation detectable at all, but somehow a thin film of lace clung to the glass with each sip. Alcohol does not assert itself. This beer was a perfect nightcap after a bottle of La Roja.

Onibubba, Feb 05, 2007
Photo of ThirstyHrothgar
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

ThirstyHrothgar, Sep 02, 2013
Photo of alwaysplayin
2.5/5  rDev -39.9%

alwaysplayin, May 22, 2014
Photo of halo3one
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

halo3one, Aug 23, 2014
Photo of FenwaySquid
4.45/5  rDev +7%

Presentation: 11.2 oz bottle poured into a Chimay chalice. (the date on the bottle said best before 17-3-06.) The beer book I have showed it in what looked like an oversized wine glass, and that was the closest thing I could find to match.

Appearance: poured a very dark reddish brown, the carbonation was spritzy. A small head formed initially then faded qickly into a lace around the edge of the glass. A small, almost clould-like puff remained in the center though.

Aroma: Very faint, what I could detect was slightly sour.

Taste: I'm new to this style, and this is easily the most complex beer I've ever tasted, so here goes. At first it is sweet and pleasant, reminiscent of cherries. Then it takes on a more sour flavor, almost like a red wine, but not quite. the finish was rather vinagery, but still pleasant. Throughout the entire time it remained very smooth and semi-sweet.

Overall: This is a beer I wasn't sure I'd like, and I came away pleasantly surprised. I'm not sure I'd want to drink it on a daily basis, but it is truly a remarkable brew. I'd rather break it out once a month or so simply to remind myself how truly complicated and different beer can be. Once you're at this point you're light years away from anything the average person imagines when they think of beer, but that's the whole point, isn't it?

FenwaySquid, Feb 21, 2005
Photo of drperm
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%

Don’t try this at a beer festival in the midst of sweet stouts, hoppy IPAs, or complex Abbeys. You won’t like it and you’ll give it a bad grade, simply because it’s so different from everything else. Sort of like drinking a strong Cabernet-Zinfandel blend with palak paneer and chicken jal frazie -- you’ll end up thinking that the wine is bad. Rather, this beer, a remarkable example of Flemish Red Ale, should be experienced on its own, or better yet, with dinner.

It is matured in oak casks, giving it a rich depth. It has a sourness reminiscent of Gueuze or unfruited Lambic, but has much more to offer than the Gueuze that I’ve tasted. There is a mild fruity (applish) acidity to the finish giving it a wine-like quality: not for nothing is it called the “Burgundy of Beers.” It is this acidity coupled with the pleasant sourness and wine-like dryness that makes it go so well with a variety of foods, from artisan cheese to seafood (I expect – I’m dying to try it with mussels and frites) to venison (I had it with a savory meat pie loaded with cardamom and other spices), and I’m sure there are other wonderful pairings lurking out there to be found.

Definitely a keeper. It’s also not nearly as high in alcohol (about 6.2% ABV) as other Belgians, so it won’t knock you out for the rest of the evening.

drperm, Dec 17, 2007
Photo of seanthornton152
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

seanthornton152, Jul 11, 2014
Photo of hvy1
4/5  rDev -3.8%

hvy1, Jun 20, 2014
Photo of jeiiVP
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

jeiiVP, Jan 29, 2014
Photo of doubleipa
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%

I'm not very familar with this style since I've ever had one of these on draft. However, I certainly will try as many of this style after having this one. This was really a spectacular beer. I can't say I would've appreciated this several years ago. Very sour aroma - duh! A little bit of vinegar, cherry, raspberry, and oak. Kind of hard to describe as the sour is so predominant. Taste is really huge. Incredible levels of tartness. Nice frothy head and a light ruby color. Great mouthfeel - very lively. I can't wait to pop open one of these at the next neighborhood party and offer this to someone.

doubleipa, Jun 29, 2007
Photo of Cubsfan1087
5/5  rDev +20.2%

Cubsfan1087, Mar 30, 2014
Photo of welldigger888
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

Best by date of 8/14/08 poured a deep garnett hue with a pillowy head and respectable lace.

Sweet Sour fruit footish aroma with a wine like wood.

Sweet effervesence and sour twang that lingers. A deffinate wine like flavor that is woody and crisp.

Bubbley and dry to the bone.

Not familiar, but it seems to repeel the wife and kids, so it is a winner.

welldigger888, Jun 11, 2011
Photo of raynmoon
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%

Its such a beautiful ruby red. Most beers are like a brown red but this one is truly red. Amazing.

It smells nice and tart. You get some cherries in there. Maybe a little acidic, but still pleasant. Reminds me of fruity sparkling wine.

Right on the front it is tart and sweet and then goes down very sweet and smooth. Very champagne like on the mouth feel. It is kind of hard to describe what i'm tasting. It just reminds me of a darker, fruit champagne. I can see why people like this style and I can see why other shy away.

Overall I definitely enjoy this beer. It is my first Flanders style sour or a Red Sour so I can't really say it's not the best in it's style, but I wish I'd be getting a little more depth. It seems to go down sweet/ vinegary the whole way without really changing too much. But as it warms up it seems to be getting a little better.

Still something i'd love to have anytime. But for 6$ a bottle? I dunno. I'm hoping to enjoy the Lost Abbey's Red Poppy a little more at 15$ a bottle.

raynmoon, Apr 30, 2012
Photo of Black_ox
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Black_ox, Apr 26, 2014
Photo of rickyleepotts
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%

Today is special. Well, sort of. This is beer #200 for us! We have drank a lot of beers over the last two years, but this is a milestone I am excited about. I am also excited about a beer trade we got in the mail today thanks to Andy Crow, a craft beer lover from Iowa. He sent a ton of bottles we haven't had before, including a bottle of KBS from Founders. Thanks for the trade, Andy!

This beer sits on the shelf at Total Wine, but no one ever buys it. I was excited to see this bottle appear in a recent beer class at Total Wine, and was BLOWN away with the flavor. I remember nothing but sour flavors; lip sucking sour flavors in this bottle. You know me and sours. Also, I love the label. The duchess looks so proper sitting there. OK, let's drink. I can't wait!!!

In the Glass: The beer pours reddish-brown; almost looks like a brown ale to be honest. It leaves a nice thin tan head on top that just sits there. Not thick, but according to the label, you are to drink this beer cold. The beer also leaves a nice thin lace.

Nose: This beer even smells sour. Actually, to be honest, the beer stinks. It is so sour that it smells gross! But that is what a Flanders red is supposed to smell like. This is also a smaller bottle, so there isn't much in my glass. I wish they sold thees in bombers. Especially with such a low ABV. A second whiff leaves me those same sour fruity notes I was getting as I poured the beer. Let's drink!

Flavor: Oh. My. GOD! That isn't beer… that is heaven in a glass. Holy crap, that is good. I mean, GREAT. It starts almost mellow and boring, then the sour flavors hit and you are stuck sucking your lips for five minutes. Then, as the beer sits on the palate, it settles to a sweet drying finish. I just looked at the brewery on Google Maps. This place is TINY. The next time we are in Belgium I want to visit the brewery and see them making this stuff in person. I do have another week of vacation this year… maybe I will go to Belgium and get lost bouncing from brewery to brewery! This is a GREAT beer if you like sours.

Mouthfeel: The front of my palate is bored to tears, but the back of my tongue is dancing with flavor. The beer is not thick, but has a nice fluffy mouthfeel. One thing I find enjoyable with sour beers are their tendency to lose that powerful sour flavor as you drink. Not sure if my palate is getting used to the flavor or what, but it allows me to enjoy a sour beer with several different flavors throughout the course of a bottle. Like I said, I just wish the bottle was bigger!

Aftertaste: The aftertaste is great on this bottle. The sour flavor is there for a few swallows, but then a sweetness begins to set in and it becomes dry. With such a low ABV you could drink a ton of this stuff and never know you were drinking beer. I bet this, room temperature, would be amazing. Or, I just thought of this, with a splash of soda water. Make it a Sunday afternoon spritzer by the pool. Yummy!

I knew I was going to like this… and I like it more now than I did when I tried it in the beer class. Bravo to Brouwerij Verhaeghe. This is the only bottle from them on our list… I wonder what other beers they produce. Has anyone tried anything else from them? Oh well, this one is good enough for me to buy over and over again!!! Cheers.

rickyleepotts, May 09, 2013
Photo of JulianB
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

JulianB, Aug 19, 2013
Photo of rjcoy06
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

rjcoy06, Dec 13, 2013
Photo of JohnathanColeman
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

JohnathanColeman, Jul 15, 2014
Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,138 ratings.