1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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

3,345 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,345
Reviews: 1,367
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 154
Gots: 379 | 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: 3,345 | Reviews: 1,367 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of np0x
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a great introduction to sour beers, with a soft approach to the vineous flavors in the flanders style. As I drink more and more sour beers, this beer's back sweetened style is less palatable. But the complexity in this beer will blow the mind of someone who hasn't had a sour beers and it won't create a phobic sour beer hater...

np0x, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of Stigs
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle served in a St. Bernardus chalice

A - poured a healthy finger of tight and frothy off white foam, slowly falling to a thin layer. the beer is a rich dark amber color, and quite clear.

S - mostly vinegar mixed with overly ripe dark fruits, some belgian yeast, funky socks, and sour lemon rind. spicy finish.

T - immediate funky vinegar turns to a surprise candy like sweetness. just a tad sour, but mostly fruity sweet, white grapes, pears, plums, and cherries. last third, the cherries really take over as some yeast, funk, and vinegar joins in. quite unique.

M - medium bodied and creamy. carbonation is subtle but there. nothing fancy.

D - unique, even for the style. just sour enough for some character, but the sweet fruits mostly dominate. wine lovers might like this, and also a good intro to the style.

Stigs, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of Lunch
2.95/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Served from a 750ml bottle purchased by a friend at The Village Pump in College Park, MD into two Three Philosophers' goblets at a seemingly appropriate temperature (01/15/10). After a several year hiatus from the Old Flanders Red, we decided to give it another go.

A: Pours a slightly syrupy hazy mahogany with ruby hues capped with a slight off-white which dissolved to a collar leaving unremarkable lace.

S: Rather potent aroma of red wine vinegar and some dark red fruits as well as well. Not really my cup of tea, but not nearly a vinegary as I remembered.

T: I must say that I really tried to give this beer a chance, but it is not really doing much for me. The vinegar taste certainly in not as strong as the aroma and there are some nice dark red fruit tones, but the tartness is a bit much for me. I appreciate the complexity and craftsmanship of this ale, but not my sort of flavor profile.

M: Medium-bodied with low and sightly creamy carbonation. There is a slight sticky feel and syrupy feel.

D: Sours at this point are just not my thing. Perhaps this will change in the future.

Overall this was quite an experience and I am glad that I revisited this style, but still not really a fan. Thanks hyempdaddy for picking this one up. Recommended to fans of the style and worth a look to those that are intrigued by sours.

Lunch, Jan 15, 2010
Photo of SPThirtyThree
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from the standard 750 mL bottle you see in stores. The carbonation was perfect and the cork came out easily. Pours into the goblet a deep, crystal clear gobet with a brilliant red hue and ruby highlights. A one-finger cream-colored head quickly boils to the top of the beer, in a fizzy, effervescent way, to crown this Flanders' Red. Surprisingly, the head persists, as a fine cream layer on top of the beer that shows patterns from the rim every time I lift the glass.

S: The nose is exceptional on this beer. It's extremely sweet and sour all at once. Lingering just behind the veil of sweetness is a tart, sour vinegar note, like that of sour cherries. A clove-like spiciness and the faintest hint of copper suggest a Belgian yeast. Duchesse de Bourgogne actually smells a lot like a soured Delirium Noel.

T: Deliciously smooth and sweet with a hint of tartness. This beer opens with sweet flavors of honey surrounded by sour cherries. Next comes a faint vinegar flavor, and finally, the beer finishes with a hint of butterscotch and a tart, apple juice crispiness.

M: The mouthfeel is extremely creamy and frothy, resulting in a smoothness that perfectly accentuates the sour tang left on the tongue by the Duchesse.

D: High. This beer is delicious. The only fault is that it seems to be very sugary, which makes it quite filling.

Overall, this is a pretty solid ale. It isn't overwhelmingly sour like a Kriek, but instead, so it's very accessible to non-sour drinkers. The only drawback is it's might be too sweet and sugary for some. I was a little surprised that that this filtered beer, as I expected a yeast cake on bottom, but I suppose that makes sense with the amount of residual sugar in this Flanders' Red Ale.

***Re-reviewed 5.18.2010 to edit review from 1.13.2010. The score changed to reflect a better nose, but more noticeable fillingness of the beer. Also, I seem to have missed a handful of details the first time I experienced this brew, so tasting notes were augmented.***

SPThirtyThree, Jan 13, 2010
Photo of atigerlife
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours amber with a small light brown head. Big carbonation rising.

Aroma of hay, vinegar and cherries. Interesting.

Taste is lightly sour, sour plums, sweet dark cherries, apple and grape. Quite a lot going on here.

Mouthfeel is light, cleansing and smooth.

Overall, very good, very drinkable. Good with a variety of foods.

atigerlife, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle with a best before date of 13/05/11. The ABV is 6% on this very attractive bottle. Poured into a chalice.

A: Pretty average in appearance. The 1 finger, light brown head lasts for a while, then subsides into a thick, constantly creamy film. The body is hazy, about 70% opaque, and has a reddish dark brown/ambery color. There is a paleness or lack of saturation in the color of this brew that makes it unique. Lacing is good.

S: Light malts of caramel and cereal. Light hops of flowers, grass and lime. The yeast character is heavy & dominates the aroma with a funky barnyard/cheesy quality mixed with an earthy leafiness.

T & M: Long flavor duration. Moderate sweetness on the tongue is countered by above average acidity and mild bitterness. Lots of red/dark fruits and spices. Upfront flavors of cherries, prunes, grapes, champagne vinegar, toffee and butterscotch. Contributing flavors of raspberry, butter, allspice, nutmeg and a flat cherry cola. Don't get me wrong, the carbonation was present and very fizzy, it was just somehow detached from the cherry cola sensation. The Duchesse has a creamy texture to her, she is tart/sour, and finishes with a real vinegary astringency.

D: More drinkable than say, a wild ale, and is much tamer in mouthfeel comparison. Nice distribution of aromas and flavors. Very stimulating and definitely palatable, might max out at two in a session.

FeDUBBELFIST, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of donkeyrunner
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Popular with the ladies!

How come no one has created a "best historical ruler beer" thread yet, i.e. Duchessese De Bourgogne, Kate the Great, etc?

Cinnamon red color with a decent tan head. Retains a thin skim that leaves spashy lace in it's wake. Expiration 6/10.

Smells like apple vinegar and making Ukrainian Easter eggs with my mom. That however opens the door to cherry infused malty bread pudding sweetness and a whole world of depth.

Sweet caramel covered cherries with a sour tinge. Bits of sour bob up and down just to mess with me. As the sour fades from the aroma it seems to seep into the taste creating a circular pattern of intrigue between sour and sweet. Delicate but outgoing mouthfeel.

My biggest qualm with this beer is inconstancy. It's my girlfriend's favorite beer so I drink it alot but it's rarely the same twice. Sometimes sour takes center stage, sometimes sweet, sometimes its perfectly balanced and unilateral (which is when Duchesse is at her best). Sometimes I think I just haven't figured out an aging schedule, sometimes I think it's just an off bottle.

donkeyrunner, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of adamette
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Live review. Poured from the 11.2 oz. bottle that I bought as a single for $3.99 at Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor a few weeks ago into my Trappist Westvleteren silver rimmed goblet. 23-04-11 stamped on the back label.

A Ruby red body that appears dark unless held in front of direct light when it glows. This under a rather brief but creamy very light brown head that dissipated down to a thin layer on top of the beer. Nice look and consistent with the style. 4.0

S Funky, tart smells typical of the style. This strikes me as a rather classic Red Flanders Ale. 3.5

T Much sweeter than the smell suggested, this has a nice, pleasant taste of cherries or berries with light roast malt and no tasteable hops to me. I will bump up to 4.5 since the sweetness really makes this very drinkable. 4.5

M Some smoothness, possibly taken from the creamy head and carbonation but mostly this is beer has a moderate feel. 4.0

D Very good indeed. After smelling the beer I was afraid that it may not be that drinkable but that sweetness makes it really approachable and I finished the goblet without much delay at all. 4.5

adamette, Jan 05, 2010
Photo of ThaBobfather
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a great reddish hue with some solid light brown/tannish head the nearly pours over with foam.
Smell is acrid, the good kind of acrid with a vinegar hint.
Flavor is complex. Slight sourness followed by some kind of smooth fruit/acidic taste, maybe I'm getting cherries, maybe pomegranite.
Finish is long, the oak maturation gives it such a greatly smooth and long aftertaste of sour and fruit.
Drinks great, it's tough to find sours that are drinkable and this is definately.

ThaBobfather, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of wd40
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
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.

wd40, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of degerbah
4.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very deep red with a ton of tan head. The head dissapears quickly, but leaves a hefty amount of thick lacing along the top of the glass. The aroma reminds me very much of malt venegar and is incredibly acrid. The taste is slightly sour, acidic, and subdued. It reminds me more of cherries than anything else. Extraordinarily smooth, this is an amazing beer. I will definitely buy this many more times.

degerbah, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of boatshoes
3.35/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Received this as an extra in a BIF from Brewfan. Thanks!

Appearance- Pours a shade of darker brown with a very minimal head that dies almost immediately to a ring around the edges. Very mild carbonation as per the style, with just a touch of lacing as I drink.

Smell- Nose is primarily of overripe, decaying apples with just a touch of tart vinegar. An interesting combination of sweet and sour.

Taste- Again, an interesting taste of overripe apples layered over balsamic vinegar. Some minerals with a touch of iron as well. However, I oddly find this one to be overwhelmingly sweet, with tartness to be almost nonexistent when compared to some of my other favorite Flemish reds. Taste would be much more interesting and complex to me were it not for the distracting sweetness.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is spot on with minimal carbonation but not overly thin on the body. Drinkability however is really killed by the sweetness here. I usually rely on an appetizing tartness in these to keep me drinking but it is lost for me in the Duchesse.

Overall, I was a bit disappointed with this one. I had heart a lot of great things about the Duchesse but for me it really pales in comparison to Rodenbach and Rodenbach Grand Cru. Not a bad beer, just too sweet for me and lacking in that tartness that I love so much in this style.

boatshoes, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of Hawthorne
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap and thought it was brilliant!! After having this beer I became aware of how biased I was toward American craft beers. This beer pours a beautiful deep chestnut with limited head. The nose has sun dried fruit with a flavor that has a nice maltyness with raisin. mmmm!

Hawthorne, Dec 29, 2009
Photo of drabmuh
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer served on draft at a beer bar in FL. Beer served in a Duchess De Bourgogne wine glass. Beer is hazy brown and has a broken brown head with very little carbonation. The tiny head manages to leave some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is citric and lactic sour in nature. Not too much complexity but for this style its dead on. Time to drink.

Beer is sweet and sour, the sweetness comes first but its quickly overtaken by the sour nature of the beer. Beer is smooth and has a thin body. The drinkability is high and the midpalate is where the majority of the flavor is noticed. Its a good example of a sour beer.

drabmuh, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip, I usually drink this out of a goblet. The tulip works nice.

A - Mahogany brown, with a slight reddish hue, huge head, great retention, with glaciers of foam sticking to the side of the glass

S - Tart, malt vinegar, peach and strawberry ester.

T - Quite flavorful. Tart, pungent and musty vinegar flavors sit on a sweet malt backbone. Notes of sour fruit and a very buttery, rich oak finish.

M - Smooth, medium body with a creamy texture and a mouth-watering finish

D - I will drink this anywhere, anytime. Nice stuff.

ktrillionaire, Dec 26, 2009
Photo of jbonapar
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My second time trying this beer, I think the first time I was so shocked by it i wasn't sure if I liked it or not. Anyway, found some bottles in HUll Quebec.

Poured a dark ruby/mahogany red with a nice thick foam that steams up from the beer.

Smell: Sweet balsamic vinegar, green apple. So interesting.
Taste: Smooth malty sweetness hits your tongue and then melds into a vinegar-like tartness which seems to develope into a sour apple/green apple like finish. The tartness is wonderfull. Refressing, but not overpowering.

I agree with others, this is one complex beer that in my opinion, really has to be tried on its own. You need to start the night with this, and really forget your preconceived notions of what a beer is. This is a unique and wonderfull drink.

jbonapar, Dec 24, 2009
Photo of rfgetz
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lovely deep dark ruby brown color with pillowy off white head. Smell is of balsamic vinegar, tart cherry with hints of pear. Taste is a quick burst of tart cherry and apple cider vinegar / balsamic vinegar quickly backing off into a nice blend of semi-sweet fruit with a very earthy grain profile. Body medium... prickly at first, mellowing out quickly. Very good taste without overpowering. Would be a very good introduction into the world of sour beer for the novice.

rfgetz, Dec 17, 2009
Photo of Avagadro
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: garnet in color with a cream head that lasts through the entire experience. The head sticks to the glass in rings, marking your progress.

S: aroma consists of cherries along with the typical funkiness that comes with most sour ales. Overall, the bouquet is quite shy.

T: off-dry with hints of cherries, fruitcake, and sourness blending together for a delightful experience.

M: thin body with a decent amount of carbonation.

D: a delightful example of the flanders red style. Good for those looking to get in to sour ales, since this one is somewhat tame.

Avagadro, Dec 17, 2009
Photo of Vengeance526
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lightly hazy dark reddish amber color with a 1 finger tan head that lasts for about a minute before subsiding to a small ring, leaving small bits of lacing.

The smell upfront showcases a burst of sour cherries amidst a woody background. There is a vinegar like smell at the end, but the aroma mostly comes off a little more sweet than sour.

Now the taste mixes things up a little. There is absolutely a strong taste of vinegar upfront. Towards the middle, the cherries come back into the picture, and there is still a faint woody taste in the background. Raspberries are also present, making this one quite fruity at times, but also a little acidic. The finish is again a little more sweet than sour and that sweetness is needed to balance out the vinegar. I'd think that vinegar taste could be done away with but I'll still give this a good mark for being satisfying overall.

Medium bodied, maybe a little thin, medium carbonation. Duchesse looks good, smells fairly good, and the taste is good, but a little weird. That sharp acid upfront is just strange, but it balances out by the middle and into the finish. The sweetness of the fruit helps bring it all together. I could rate this one much higher if not for that vinegar touch, but it is still enjoyable for the most part. Good to try no doubt, but I won't be stocking up on these.

Vengeance526, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of jmshipe
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml Bottle

Pours a dark, clear reddish brown, with a ring of head. It smells quite tart, with notes of sour cherry and vinegar. You'll find a deep, sweet taste that carries along a complex mix of spices, yeast, and cider vinegar. It feels quite delicate and fizzy, which a wonderful match to its other characteristics.

This is one of my favorite beers for late fall, and through the winter. Guests are delighted to try it, and it pairs well with seasonal ingredients. A prize example of a Flemish red ale.

jmshipe, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of GeezLynn
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Deep dark brown, slight ruby tint, with a resilient beige head that continues to seep up.

Heavy apple cider and vinegar smell at first sniff. Raspberry and cherry aromas also come through, along with a little lactic character.

Flavor is not nearly as sour or tart as the smell would suggest. Plenty of fruit flavors here with cherry, raspberry tartness and rhubarb. I would also describe it as leafy, minerally and slightly sweet with a long dry, woody finish.

Light, effervescent, but not thin mouthfeel.

Highly drinkable. I would prefer just a little more sourness with maybe a little less sweetness, but this is obviously a superb and easily accessible example of the style.

GeezLynn, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of thegodfather2701
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is my first beer of this style so that should probably be kept in mind when reading my review.

A-Pours a beautiful cherry/brown with an excellent off white billowy head.

S-Tart and sour, cherries and apples jump out at me, and just a hint of citrus. Its pretty complex and strong.

T-I would be lying if I didn't admit the first sip took my breath away. At first I couldn't decide if that was a good thing or a bad thing, but it was definitely a positive. It tastes like a strong carbonated water with sour cherries and apples. Vinegar comes in for the finish but is accompanied by some sweetness.

M-Carbonated but in a good way because it helps make it exceptionally refreshing.

D-I don't know if I could drink more than one of these in a sitting because it is unlike any beer I have ever had. But I definitely enjoyed the experience and will try other beers of the style.

Overall, I enjoy this beer and would drink it or other examples of the style. It is very interesting and refreshing.

thegodfather2701, Dec 09, 2009
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.

kpoole25, Dec 08, 2009
Photo of Katahdin
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

I was suspiciou at first of this beer. I am not generally a fan of Sours, but this one won me over. Very smooth and crisp. Has a nice sour taste and a full body but without the tartness of many sours. This is a beer that will not pucker your mouth with its tartness. it has a surprisingly sweet finish to it and is imminently drinkable. Even more the aroma is not overwhelming like many other sours.

Katahdin, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of Goldfish19
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
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! ~

Goldfish19, Dec 03, 2009
Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,345 ratings.