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Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Not Rated.
Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

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

3,136 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,136
Reviews: 1,355
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 141
Gots: 322 | FT: 9
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
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Ratings: 3,136 | Reviews: 1,355 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beertunes
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%

Served in a Chalice. Thin light tan head that dissipates quickly. A quite lovely deep brown with a reddish tint. Strong vinegar aroma. Flavor has the vinegar, but not as noticeably as the aroma. That musky, deep flavor is quite enjoyable. A sharp, wine like taste. I'm having trouble finding descriptors that fit the taste of this beer. The body is solid if a little thin. Very drinkable, if these flavors fit you. I enjoy this beer a lot, even though I have a difficult time describing it.

beertunes, Feb 06, 2009
Photo of jminsc76
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%

Imagine Coca Cola meets vinegar in a garden of oak-ey goodness.

Duchesse ties with Rodenbach Grand Cru as my favorite of the Flanders red ales. Upon pouring, the carbonation initially brings out a slight head that clears fairly quickly, but upon a two to three second swirl will reform. The beer produces a tingling sensation on the roof of the mouth and/or parts of the tongue. When allowed to set and warm for five to 10 minutes out of the fridge, the feeling in the throat upon consumption is refreshing, like drinking a cold glass of water on a hot day. By 15 to 20 minutes most of the flavors have peaked, so polish it off by 30 minutes. You probably wouldn't drink warm Coca Cola; why would you drink warm Duchesse?

The smell is refreshing and very similar to the taste. Not too strong. The color is a dark, ruby red with a touch of brown. Very lush.

As the alcohol content is 6%, don't expect to get 'ishfaced out of your mind (unless you drink, like, 20 of them). This drink is more for the taste than the inebriation, although the taste is intoxicating in its own right.

On an additional note, my experience sharing Duchess with others is that beer lovers of the Flanders red style, and Belgian beers in general, love this drink. It's also an ideal beer for converting oenophiles and other beer-skeptics to the cause of drinking good, quality beer. Women who say they hate beer have expressed particular enjoyment with this one. Not always, but mostly.

jminsc76, Feb 06, 2009
Photo of craytonic
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%

Appearance: Pours a glowing ruby-amber with a large head.

Smell: The vinegar is very noticeable; also tart fruit (cherries) and vinegar-cider.

Taste: Vinegar, sour/tart cherries, raspberry, cider. Very sour, and not sweet like rodenbach. Nice oak wood element. I do wish it were a bit more sour with a little less vinegar. Way too sweet though. Refreshing and enjoyable, but the sweetness detracts from the drinkability. I prefer it on tap.

craytonic, Feb 03, 2009
Photo of Azumel
2.05/5  rDev -50.7%

I realize that many people like this beer, but even after fighting through the soy sauce/mustard smell, I couldn't drink it. The strange sweet and sour taste along with the smell was a bit too much for me. Perhaps I'll try it again someday with better results. It's a pretty unique flavor for a beer, but one that I did not enjoy in any way.

Azumel, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of mbrasi
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%

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.

mbrasi, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of Rayek
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%

On-tap at the Cheeky Monk in Denver, CO. Served in a Duchesse De Bourgogne glass.

A: Deep ruby color with a small cream colored head. Clarity is very good. Head retention is only fair. Leaves a heavy lace behind.

S: All I can think of is red wine when I smell this. Heavy on the dark fruits, plus a light pepper bite and a slight sourness that keeps the fruit aromas from being too sweet. Extremely complex.

T: The complexity of the nose transitions perfectly into the flavor. Tart grapes, cherries and cranberries dominate. Balance is created more by sourness than the peppery hop bitterness. Balance is great. Finishes somewhat dry, with lingering dark fruit flavors.

M: Medium body feels substantial in the mouth and has the right amount of carbonation.

D: This was easily my favorite beer at the Monk. A good sipping beer that I wish was served in a larger glass. Almost frighteningly good to my pallet. Well worth a revisit.

Rayek, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of bowersdm
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%

11.2 oz bottle poured into a pilsner (the closest thing I had to a flute glass) Note: This is the first Flanders Red Ale I've had and the four sour beer.

Upon opening the bottle, a geyser of carbon dioxide erupted. The smell of pungent vinegar singed my nostrils as I cleaned my floor.

A - dark red, ruby-like color with a 3mm tan head that originally was ~1cm, but dissipated quickly.

S - vinegar, sweet and pungent, maybe some spice and fruit, but the vinegar is the predominant aroma

T - very tart and sour with suggestions of cranberries, apples, grapes, some spice and a little bit of a vinegar taste (but not as much as the nose suggested.) There was also a hint of citrus fruit, but that may be residual flavor from the orange-poppy seed muffin I had a few hours ago.

M - lots of carbonation. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be this way, but I enjoyed the way it interacted with my tongue.

D - Edit: i felt compelled to change the rating on this category. I have since tried other Flanders Red ales and because of their lack of flavor, they were hard to drink! Old rating: 2.0. new rating: 3.5

bowersdm, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of cdrummer
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%

On tap at Beer Run, Charlottesville, VA in a 10 oz snifter

A: Deep depths of reddish brown and copper with a bone colored lacing head of foam.

S: I'm hit in the face by sourness (in a good way) in the form of vinegar, apple, lemon drop candy, raspberries, cranberries and a slight meatiness.

T & M: There is an endless supply of bubbles that disperse the sourness across the tongue. It's quite dense and syrupy, but still very refreshing, fruity and crisp. The overall taste is quite sour, focused on such flavors as were in the nose - those of tart cranberries and raspberries. While at first the sourness was overwhelming, as it warmed it turned into a pleasant port like quality, especially in the finish as the carbonation became more subdued.

D: Honestly, this took a while to drink, and I like dense beers... I think this is for one who enjoys a rich fruity brew more-so than I.

No kidding, I thought this was a lambic, but upon inquiry came to find that the sourness actually comes from the aging in oak casks - no lambic at all. Well done!

cdrummer, Jan 22, 2009
Photo of KeefD
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%

750ml split with my girlfriend. Hope she likes it! Haha... Expiration date of Dec 2008. It's January. Oh well. Poured into a Tripel Karmeliet tulip a dark brown color with ruby highlights and a large light pink colored head with lots of carbonation bubbles keeping good head retention. Very nice lacing. First aroma is sour cherries and then comes the vinegar. There's an underlying sweetness in the nose, maybe some brown sugar, and slight metallic notes. Flavors of ripe cherry, slightly sour, acidic and tart, maple brown sugar, and a chalky sort of sweetness reminiscent of smarties candy. There's also a certain fruitiness, some apples and pears come to mind. This is complex and tasty. Definitely some wine-like characteristics. Mouthfeel is medium, good carbonation. It's tasty, but I couldn't see myself drinking an entire 750. I like it but have had better Flemish Reds, namely Rodenbach Grand Cru. Still a good treat.

KeefD, Jan 19, 2009
Photo of BeerSox
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Note: This is my first Flanders Red.

750ml bottle into 25oz wine glass. Expires 12/09.

Very dark red hue, bordering on black. Peering toward the glass there is a dark glowing red shining through. An off-white one finger head slowly settles to a thin cap, leaving behind a thick wall of lacing.

Sweet cherry like fruit comes through the very sour aromas. A slight spiciness is in there as well.

The flavor starts out with a splash of sweet n' sour, a mix of dark cherry syrup which quickly shifts to a lingering sourness. Vinegar sounds too harsh for the flavor, but it's almost like vinegar with some sugar added. Full bodied. The tartness lingers for a while.

One of the most contrasting beers I've ever had. The sourness is heavily mixed with a very sweet, almost syrupy, flavor.

BeerSox, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of farrago
4.63/5  rDev +11.3%

Dark rust red to brown in color, has a fuzzy sort of opacity, not really blacked out, more unintentionally veiled. Not a lot of obvious fizz, the head is very light and disintegrates into little islands across the surface. Intense, multi-faceted nose of vinegar, tea leafs, plum to candied cherry fruit, rum, soy sauce, green apple, esters, almost could pose as a very traditional (cubed beef) barbecue sauce. Medium-bodied, playful carbonation crests like waves in the mouth. The sour vinegar component met head on by golden raisin, date and then cherry, raspberry fruit. Yeasty in a subtle way, works consciously in concert with the rest. Tea, tar, kindling wood. Nothing screams hops nor malts, category mistake to think of this beer in those terms. It's really an intellectual challenge to your taste buds, a can you keep up with the syllabus sort of situation. You may not love it, you may not hate it, but you must taste it.

farrago, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of Greggy
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

750ml -> Flute Glass

A- Pours a nice thick 1 finger head with great retention and lacing. The body is a dark red/brown with bits of yeasty haze.

S- Very wine like in the aroma but with a nice tart/funk. Notes of apples, oak, funk, and maybe a rum-soaked raisin.

T- Very complex notes of cherry, green apple, rum soaked raisin, buttery oak, and a nice tartness. The finish is buttery with notes of apple and bits of rum.

M- Quite full mouthfeel, low carbonation but higher acidity.

D- This is a great Flanders Red and pretty drinkable. Definitely will have again.

Greggy, Jan 14, 2009
Photo of Dantheman4162
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

This is one of my original reviews, so i regret that its not as detailed as I would hope.
Poured from a 750 ml bottle
Reddish brown ale, Very sweet, almost wine like. a little tart after-taste. It was a very good beer and I highly recommend it. I'm going to need to try this one again.

Dantheman4162, Jan 13, 2009
Photo of thekanna
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%

Poured from a 750 ml bottle.

Appearance: Amber, crystalline beer with active carbonation and effervescence. Appears somewhat like sparkling cider.

Smell: Freshly squeezed apple juice, citrus fruits, cherry tree grove, and a slight sweetness that intermingles with the sourness. If I didn't know any better, I'd say it smelled like fruity children's candy (e.g. Fruit Roll-Ups).

Taste: Slightly vinegary as it hits the palate; granny smith apples, blood oranges, passion fruit/starfruit? Maybe not the last one. There seems to be a sudden transition in flavor midway: from carbonated to a smooth, ice wine or port-like quality. Hard cider or mulled mead sweetness rounds out the finish, with the mouthfeel almost like Sunny Delight (interestingly enough).

Drinkability: Sipper, but oh my this is a wonderful sipper. Definitely pairs well with anything resembling a 13th century meal or something more elegant. This is the one beer that all the wine drinkers I know who hate beer will drink.

thekanna, Jan 12, 2009
Photo of joepais
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%

Well decided to write a review for this one I have had many of these on tap But this one is from a 750.
Bottle poured into a snifter produced a good of white head that goes to a ring of bubbles around the glass. The body is a clear dark burgandy it really is a nice shade at that.

Aromas of sour cherries and funk filled my head. The aromas are not as good as from a draft but the fruit profiles are still good.

A nice sweet tart thing develops with the flavors .It is much sweeter cherry than a Rodenbach but less than Kasteel Rouge. This brew is always a nice brew to enjoy with a meal. There is a nice feel in the mouth with enough carbonation to keep it crisp and dry in the finish.

A very good example of a Flanders and a style that I truly enjoy I always grab this when I see it on tap. I found a bottle cheap up north I guess they didn't know what they had. So it was a fine treat for a winter's day

joepais, Jan 12, 2009
Photo of whiterascal
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%

A: thin tan head, disappeared quickly, deep bronze in color
S: smells deliciously like Easter and makes my mouth water
T: truly a treat. Vinegary at first but so smooth at the finish. I taste green apple and cherries.
M: carbonated.
D: Poured into a goblet, I could enjoy the Duchesse all evening long

whiterascal, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of lhaqq
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%

A: Deep clear mahogany body and a coat of off-white bubbles circling the edges.
S: Predominant smell is just like a sour apple Blow Pop. Sour cherries and some hay.
T: Granny delicious apples begin. Cherries and some earthy flavors. Finishes with a cherry-pit bitterness.
M: Clean but really sticky.
D: Served in a 10oz goblet; good but wouldn't have too many.

lhaqq, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of deliriumfest
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%

Consumed on 1/5/09

Served on Tap at the Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis. Poured a very clear red/brown color with a small white head that faded quickly. Aroma was sour and funky with dried fruit. Taste was similar to the aroma but tart and had an oak flavor as well. Finish was very dry and the tart flavor slowly dissipated over time. Mouthfeel was sticky and carbonation was low. Overall, a great beer for a first review and good representation of the style.

deliriumfest, Jan 06, 2009
Photo of johnnnniee
4.45/5  rDev +7%

Pours a beautifully clear red/brown with a bubbly off white head that starts off strong but leaves us much too soon but sticks much lace on my glass. Smells of horsehair, must, oak, some berries, tart acidic. Taste is filled with all the wonderful things I smelled. I pick up the funk sweet and sour dried fruits, some vanilla, even a faint bourbon in there as well. Mouthfeel is syrupy, sticky, smooth. Body is medium, carbonation is low but ample. I wish I had tried this sooner as it is a fantastic sour and seems to be readily available in my area.

johnnnniee, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of albern
3.15/5  rDev -24.3%

This beer was given my highest rating when I sampled it again and again in the bottle. I had this for the first time on-tap, and it was a big disappointment. I'm not ready to pan the beer in this review, just significantly deduct points. What makes Duchesse so fantastic in the bottle is a rainbow of flavors and its incredible complexity. There are sweet and sours, and cherry and sherry flavors all blending and dancing about. Each sip is an experience and the tastes just dazzle and insinuate themselves and change with each sip as the beer warms and settles.

Duchesse on tap is much more uniform, much more sour, and just does not have that complex range of flavors. I found the beer to be a bit vinegary, overly sour, less carbonated than in the bottle, and just a downer. I wouldnt go back to this on tap again, knowing what is in store in the bottle version.

albern, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of champ103
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

A: Pours a mahogany, almost dark brown color. A one finger beige head forms. Rings of sticky lace are left behind.
S: Wow! One of the most unique aromas I have come by. Buttery, musky, sour, tart malt. Some dark fruits and oak. Very unique and interesting. It doesn't quit mesh right for me, but I love how unique this is.
T: Buttery and sweet malt. Slightly sour fruits of apples and cherries. A tannin/wine like grape flavor with some oak. Some warming alcohol.
M/D: A medium body that is creamy and well carbonated. This is not that high in alcohol, though it is noticeable. Combine that with the sweet and sour character, one bottle is plenty for a night.

I have heard that this is very much like wine. I would have to agree with that opinion, and add that I would take this any day over wine. So complex, and very unique. This should be shown off to every wine geek to show the depth and range of this amazing beverage.

champ103, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of jpiper
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%

Draught at Buckeye Beer Engine.

Amber-brown with a nice finger and a half pillowy head which turns into a thin lace.

Prunes and dates and raisins, oh my. Lots of delicious sweet dried fruit.

Taste is more of the same. Tons of sweet fruits plus a mild
tartness. A coppery taste in the middle, but the finish is pleasant with more of the sweet fruits, minor amounts of breast yeast, and some acidity. Some richer roasted flavors also come out in the finish. Further in to the glass, as I become accustomed to the forward flavors, I get some chocolate at the beginning as well.

Very dry finish. Nice and clean.

This is pretty drinkable save for the coppery middle palate, which dissipates further into the beer.

jpiper, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of bmwats
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%

Poured into a tulip.

A: Dark brown color with reddish hue. Foam plumed out of the bottle when I opened it, but I can't say whether this is characteristic or not as I only had one. Overall it is lightly carbonated and pours into a 3 finger frothy, cratered, off white head. Leaves bubbly residual as it settles into a layer of carbonation on the surface. Heavy carbonation buildup where the surface meets the edge of the glass. Leaves spotty, but significant lacing as you drink.

S: Malt, molasses, and peat. Really sweet nose.

T: Light malt flavor, hints of cherry, cranberry, and peat.

M: Carbonation infiltrates mouth. Fruity flavor, then light maltiness, and the pungent peat lingers for the aftertaste. Light but syrupy feel.

D: Quality drinkability. Good sipping beer. Good flavor, no strong alcohol taste.

This is a really distinctive brew. Sweet, but unlike your lambics, the sweetness is offset by the malt and pungent peat. Really distinctive flavor, really good atmosphere, really good drinkability. One of the only downsides is the smell is almost overwhelmingly sweet. Overall very good quaff. I highly recommend trying this one if you have the opportunity.

bmwats, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of onecrazybreeze
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%

Tap at the Falling Rock. Poured a dark opaque brown with slight red tints, had no head by the time it got to me. Smelled sugary and fruity, mainly of raisins. Tasted more sweet then sour to me, mainly of cherries and raisins. It's not overly sour making it a great beer for those that need a good balance between sweet and sour in a sour brew. In all, a very likable beer.

onecrazybreeze, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of NolateM
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%

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.

NolateM, Dec 26, 2008
Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,136 ratings.