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Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Not Rated.
Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

3,492 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,492
Reviews: 1,395
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 13.46%
Wants: 172
Gots: 455 | FT: 8
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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,492 | Reviews: 1,395 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dqrull
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear red, deep poppy-red, crisp lightly pink coloured head that receeds and leaves no lacing, but a fine pink ring on the liquid.

Smells fresh and nice! Tart berries and green grapes, slightly unripe strawberries, without the bitter stringiness to it. Lightly funky, there's a light maltiness behind it all as well.

Taste is lightly acidic, with a oh so small, but refreshing hint of vinegar and citric acid, but at the same time it is pretty sweet. Lots of red berries, a b it riper than in the nose, but not fully ripe, still contributing with a light bittterness. Finishes with a funky white breadiness and a faint bitterness.

Slightly cloying in the mouth, but still manages to stay pretty fresh thanks to the acidity.

Photo of eat
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Flanders Red Ale...I have no idea what this is supposed to taste like, but it looks like this is a good one to start with. I can only review this as a beer in general since I have nothing to compare it to. Best before 10-09-11 and consumed 18-04-10; lots of time left.

Pours with a beige head which fades down to a nice blanket, sticking around with not much lacing. Great colour: dark ruby-copper, or when held up to the light, a reddish-amber. The beer is transparent against light but the dark colour makes it appear to be opaque.

Pretty big complex smell. I've definitely never encountered a profile like this before. Oddly enough, the only thing I can compare it to is some six-year old La Terrible I just tried a couple days ago, but it's even quite different from that. Pumpernickel, red wine vinegar, yeast, a hint of something chocolaty, walnuts, prunes, alcohol. Slightly funky even. I'm into it but it's very different. My girlfriend claims it smells like "horse pee-pee" but I wouldn't know, not having smelled horse's urine before.

Wow. I have no idea what to make of this, it's barely reminiscent of beer at all compared to styles I've tried. That said though, it's pretty delicious. It tastes like some kind of complex, fruity cocktail but with a beer mouthfeel. Tons of different flavours combine to produce quite a pleasant brew: prune juice, grape must, red wine vinegar, apple cider, sour raspberry, light chocolate, wheat. Very complex and interesting. I wouldn't necessarily have expected this, but my girlfriend says it's the best beer she's ever tasted, even going so far as to want to buy some more for herself. This is saying a lot as she pretty much doesn't drink, period. I can kind of see why actually; it's really fruity and doesn't taste at all like your standard beer. It's kind of like the girly cocktail version of beer (in a good way). There are similarities to lambic, but I find the Duchesse to be much more complex than the Cantillon Gueuze I tried recently. Pretty sweet but balanced with a drying bitterness on the finish that seems to come out of nowhere. Aftertaste of wine grapes. I'm almost wanting to give this a 4.5 but really still don't know what to make of it.

The feel is pretty good. Light-medium mouthfeel and a light but effervescent carbonation. I can't figure out what's causing it, but it leaves your tongue with a dry, tingling feeling. The dryness even extends down the throat.

I'm really enjoying this beer but it's hitting me a little like a lambic: a bit too sour to session. I feel like two of these might leave my stomach feeling like I just ate a few too many Cherry Blasters. I am enjoying this more than the Cantillon, however. I would definitely drink this again though and would be very interested to try other beers in the style.

Photo of chickencoop
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As a BA you hope and need to try every style out there, just to be well-rounded, so I attempted to enter the realm of sours, and failed when I started with a Supplication, just didn't get it. So thanks to Ed at Ledgers Liqours in Berkeley, he informed me that this would be where to begin. Now I know this isn't and American Wild Ale/ Sour, but i'll work up to that. This poured a deep amber, small head. Smell was sweet vinegar. Taste started pretty sour, but ended with a sweet vinegar taste. This is quite drinkable once you get going on it. Very good.

Photo of FreshHawk
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep orange mahogany color and when held up to the light it is a dark reddish orange copper. Large bubbly and foamy off-white head with good retention and a lot of thick lacing left.

S - Slightly acidic and sour and also a bit of a sweet smell. Fair amount of wine and vinegar as well as some woody, oaky, and nutty aroma.

T - Some rich malt with cherry and grape tart sour flavors. Also a good amount of balsamic and red wine vinegar taste. The tart/sour/acidic flavors are prominent but for the style, they are slightly subdued and a significant amount of sweetness is present. Some berry flavors (particularly raspberry) and some dark fruit are also present. There is a touch of citrus (lemon) acidity as well. Mid sip to finish there is a somewhat strong woody, oaky flavor that gives it a bit of an earthy taste.

M - Medium body with moderate carbonation. Slightly creamy with a drying finish.

D - Nice and easy to drink sour beer. There is the sour, acidic taste but it is not that strong and actually has a fair amount of sweetness to it. This makes drinking a couple a bit easier and fortunately the sweetness isn't too strong to be cloying. Not too strong but provided enough flavor to be interesting.

Notes: Not a bad sour beer. It is a touch sweet for an acidic beer, but it isn't anything like say a Lindeman's fruit beer. Not the boldest or strongest sour out there, but it was a nice beer to drink. Worth a try and would probably be a good gateway to sours. Pretty well balanced and enjoyable to drink.

Photo of metter98
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured very dark red into a snifter glass with a white head that died down quickly. Judging from the bubbles, the level of carbonation appears to be light to moderate.
S: There's a distinct aroma of sour fruit with subtle notes of sweetness.
T: Like the smell, there's sourness in the taste but there's also an equal amount of fruity sweetness; the mix between sweet and sour flavors is rather refreshing on the palate.
M: The beer feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate.
D: The sweetness balancing some of the sourness makes this very drinkable and refreshing.

Photo of thecarster1
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- bottle poured into a tasting glass, two and a half fingers worth of head, color is a reddish brown, head trails down the glass as i sip.

s- straight up balsamic vinegar, slight sweetness, malty complexities (that means i'm not up enough on my sours to know what i'm picking up haha)

t- green apples, balsamic vinegar, unripe raspberries, slight metallic edge, a sour tartness lays ontop of everything. this is an interesting beer for sure.

m- medium bodied.

d- this is a really top notch beer, that is a palate changer. this isn't overly sour, but gives just enough edge to make it interesting. i'll be drinking this again for sure.

Photo of Jayli
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Initially had some of this at Lucky 13 in Almeda, CA based off the recommendation of sberan13. Found this bad boy in Boston. Poured in to my Portsmouth tulip

A: This beer pours a clear mahogany/ruby brown with a one finger of rocky khaki colored head. Head recedes gradually and leaves wispy spider web lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is of sour cherries, granny apples, caramel malts - very reminiscent of champagne.

T: Taste is.... so more pleasant than champagne, but it is very reminiscent of champagne. Sweetness and fruit dominate this beer with hints of sourness. On the forefront is the sour cherries. They permeate and linger throughout the entire beer. Apple and caramel malts come in and dominate the middle. Touch of vinegar adds to the middle with the apple and caramel. Pear lingers for a long time in the finish.

M: Lighter side of medium body, low to medium carbonation, crisp, clean feel to this body.

D: This is a nice beer, well blended, more of a sipper, but highly enjoyable beer!

Photo of cwc
4.66/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I simply can't say enough good things about this style of beer since having first tried it recently when I tasted Monk's Café Flemish Sour Red Ale. Today I went on a hunt for more Flanders Red Ales and I came up with a few, one being this Duchesse De Bourgogne.

A - This beer is a very appealing red color.

S - When I opened the bottle, there was definitely a nice smell. But now that I am drinking it from the glass I can't really smell it - perhaps my taste buds are overwhelmed by the general deliciousness of the beer?

T - Fruity, refreshing. Not overwhelming, somehow quite right, but on the whole totally unique (and I think that's the style more than this particular brew).

D - Dangerously drinkable! Refreshing! Wow...

Photo of kmo1030
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a brownish ruby, with moderately sized coursely bubbled head.
the aroma is predominantly fruity with black cherries and grape juice. you find some maltiness beneath with a vageuely chocolatey flavor that is mingled with damp wood, and some fresher oak aromas.
the taste has got a pleasant tang. fruits again dominate, with an underlying mustiness,and oaky qualities. there is some faint powdered cocoa buried in there too. it's sweet and somewhat juice like. with warmth some balsamic vinegar flavor develop.
in the mouth it's got a medium body with an active, but very fine carbonation.
the drinkability is fair, after a half a glass it gets a little sweet. this would benefit from a little dryness, because it has a nice flavor, and really everything else about the beer is very good, it just gets a little soda-like after a while.

Photo of ocmpoma
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out a wonderful red brown, dark and rich coloring, into a Duvel tulip. Sported a good head maybe 2cm thick, although that dissipated relatively quickly.

The nose is very nice: Sour cherries and licorice, woody and with a musty hint of sweat -- very complex and quite different from just about every other beer I've had. Impressive.

The taste is also very nice: quite smooth, no real bitterness. There's an initial warmth and spicyness that lasts momentarily and gives way to a wonderful sour fruit taste that spreads to the edges of my tongue, sliding on top of a faint, underlying layer of mustiness. The finish is very crisp and clean, though; not hanging around.

The crisp finish and understated mouthfeel make this beer an easy drinker: three tasting swigs and I had made a serious dent in the tulip's contents. Overall a very nice, very different beer for me.

Photo of endovelico
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's been awhile since I've reviewed a beer and couldn't be happier to review this historic and exotic specimen.

I poured the beer into a dimpled stein, reviewed the beer under low artificial light and drank it cold.

Appearance: This beer displays a clear mahogany color, without any sort of floaties or sediment. The white head that forms is fizzy, holding reasonably well throughout the session. Could have used a more luscious head, although i'm aware this is dificult given the limit on hop character on these types of beer.

Aroma: Medium high intensity and flavorful, albeit a bit muddy. Cherry, cinammon, Cedar wood, green apple, vinagar and port. No hop aroma to speak of.

Taste: High intensity, flavorful and layered complexity. Cherry, green apples on the frontend. The wood, warm alcohol and candy build the backend.
As it warms up i start picking a faint nuttiness and chocolate like complexity. No hop taste.

Palate: Medium full bodied. Soda sweetness with lactic twang. Medium to medium high acidity. Medium high sourness. Medium low to low carbonation. Low bitterness. Long finish. The sweetness and sourness battle out as the taste lingers. Was actually expecting more sourness. Alcohol barely noticeable.

Drinkability: This seems to me like a fine archtype of what a Flanders Red Ale should be: It has nice complexity, it is intriguing, it is challenging on the palate plus there is no noticeable flaws. I do think however that it could benefit from less sweetness. The alcohol isn't too evident, so there would be decent leeway to do it. Would have again and it makes for a good gimmick beer to shock your friends.

Photo of Gtreid
2.58/5  rDev -38%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

11.3 oz. bottle poured into my Cigar City tulip.

A: Deep copper, almost brown color. The pour creates a pretty thick sand head, that retains wells and leaves some thick lace.

A: Sugary sweet. Almost malt vinegar, with brown sugar. A little caramel, lemon, and cherry. Very earthy, and smells very tart.

T: Very sweet and vinegary. Instead of the sour and sweet balancing each other, as in so many other sours, in this one, I can completely distinguish between the two. I get the sugary sweetness up front, followed by a yeasty sourness at the back. Finishes rather dry, but extremely sweet.

M: Aggressive carbonation and sharp. Medium body.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is low. Way to much sweetness to have any more than one. Overall, I was not impressed by the Duchesse. I did not think the flavors went well at all. The sweet and the sour are supposed to play off of one another, this did not happen here. I really thought it was somewhat of a mess. Won't be purchasing again. Skal.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle, best by 9/2/11,

A: Pours a copper burgundy with a pillowy off-white head, lots of lace.

S: Attic dust and must, balsamic vinegar, and a hint of raspberry.

T: Sweet upfront, the fruit changes from raspberry in the nose to Bing cherry on the tongue. Sweet cherries, not sour cherries. Rather mild acetic acid is here. Definite oak character - there are hints of vanilla. There's a note of sweet caramel malt that's aching to get in the mix too.

M: Sweet to start out with, tart and sour on the finish. Complex. Not over-carbonated, which I was concerned about with the big head, but the carbonation is rather light here - the background acidity carries the body of the ale.

D: Again, I can see why these types of beers are known as the Burgundies of Belgium. Not only the colour, but they are delicious, complex; they have some wildness to them but are still completely distinct from the lambic beer family. I'd love to pair this with a venison steak and cherry reduction sauce, I think that would be amazing. The nice thing about this beer is it is very easy to find and not overpriced in the current price range of Belgian beers. It's making me wonder why it took me so long to revisit it.

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.81/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours reddish brown with an uneven beige/tan head with some retention. Some good lacing, fair clarity. A different look than you usually get from a brew, so this appearance bumped a bit higher.

Light tart fruit aromas and some wet wood. Not as strong as I would have liked.

Flavor comes in waves. Tart fruit, cherry primarily (intermingled with some light sweetness), then some mustiness, but not in a bad way. Maybe wood and yeast. As the tartness clears, you get light toasted malt that leads to a mild pleasant bitterness. In the end, it finishes clean. I wish the malt element was more prevalent, but the remaining complexity of this one far outshines any minor flaws.

Good carbonation keeps this lighter on the palate. Still enough body to swish around though. It works.

The first 2/3 of the glass went down easier than the last 1/3. I liked this beer alot, but I'm glad I found a small bottle and didn't have to commit to a bomber.

Photo of olympuszymurgus
2.14/5  rDev -48.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A small bottle, slender with smooth curves like the Duchesse herself. She stares at that little bird while I stare at the nice reddish brown, the color of caramel and desert sunsets. I smell it, the aromas wafting off the headless beer, cherries, caramel, brown sugar, lemons, and a hint of wood. It moves to my mouth, the anticipation causes my foot to tremble.

What in the name of all things holy is this. It tastes like artificial sweetener, preservatives, fake fruit flavoring, and minimal tartness. Is this beer or cheap red soda? I am saddened. I have to go back to the cellar and find something drinkable, something joyfull. I wish I had another supplication left, that might get this thing out of my memory.

Morals are all that keep this thing, this bottled sadness from hitting my drain. I wished for the stars, and hit dirt.

One last thought: this abomination ruined half of a bottle of delirium nocturnum, the beer we chose to wash out this foul flavor.

Photo of jpmclaug
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a flute

A - Dark red with no head, lots of lacing on the side of the glass as this one disappears

S - reminds me of red wine vinegar with a hint of cherry

T - tart cherry flavor is very balanced with the sweetness, mild oak flavor. Certainly not unpleasant but I was expecting more tartness from this.

M - Medium body with an average amount of carbonation

D - Easy to drink but not all that memorable. While the flavor isn't bad it just isn't all that exciting. I was hoping for more sour notes than this. I would drink this one again sometime but don't plan on seeking it out.

Photo of Shadman
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark ruby red brown, fizzy head. No real retention or lacing to speak of.

Whoa! Interesting smell. Mix between old wood and a weak balsamic vinegar.

Tartness, like a sharp cidar apple. Malt vinegar sourness. Smooths out a bit after that into a spicy marinated fruitiness...and yes the marinade includes some vinegar.

Lighter body coupled with some active carbonation help counter the tartness.

Reviewed this according to the style discription. Lot's of stuff happening here flavour-wise. A sipper, not a session beer and really not one of my favourite beer style. An aquired taste IMO.

Photo of juju7
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, a pretty special beer. Cherry, sherry, sweet vermouth kind of nose which was a bit of a surprise but pleasant all the same. Follows through with the sweet vermouth kind of flavours on the palate; low carbonation gives it quite a wine like feel. A beautifully complex beer worth trying and worth coming back to. This kind of beer just can`t be easily copied. Nor should anyone try to.

Photo of IrieJackalope
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

One of my favorite beers, finally sitting down to give this one a review.
Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into my Belgian goblet. Pours a dark red, crystal clear with a good amount of head, leaving lacing down the glass as it disipates. The smell is sweet, tangy and oh-so inviting. I once heard someone describe the aroma as fermented ketchup and bowling alley shoes, but it's pretty damn wonderful if you ask me. The taste is equally amazing. A bit of sweet malt paired with a delicious tang that I've come to crave over time. Despite it's sour elements, the beer finishes pretty clean, although there's certainly a bit of the liveliness that lingers behind. Honestly, I could drink this stuff all day. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea (or beer rather) but the duchess will always have a space reserved in my beer fridge. Definitely worth trying at least once, it might even change the world of beer for you forever.

Photo of ne0m00re
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured the 33 cL glass into an oversized red wine glass to capture the aroma. Best by date: March 18, 2011.
A: Mahogany with ruby hues and a clear body. Poured with a thick tan film, which died to a good lace.
S: Tart raisin, cranberry granny smith apples with earthy, musty notes.
T: Very sweet and tart cranberry/cherry sparkling grape juice. It is extremely fruity with toffee, walnut and pecan flavors.
M: Very syrupy with a soda-like carbonation.
D: This is too sweet to have many in a row, but it is quite mild and refreshing like sparkling juice.

Photo of Axic10
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml into a Leffe chalice.

Appearance: Pours a dark ruby red with no head whatsoever. Almost looks like a port wine.

Smell: Vinegar, sour cherry juice, tart apple and caramel malt.

Taste: Tart cherries and apple, slight hints of vinegar, sugar and oak are also there.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with little to no carbonation.

Drinkability: A real bargain for the $8.49 I paid for the 750ml bottle. Will be drinking it reguarly.

Photo of CPeterson
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A -- A brilliant amber / red concoction that bubbled to a nice head and settled well, leaving good streaks of lacing.

S -- Strongly tart yet somewhat sweet in the nose. Light acid, smells vaguely of watermelon pickles I had growing up. Faint oak aroma as well.

T -- Flavor overload. Complex tart and slightly sweet like dipping rhubarb in sugar and then eating it with pickled beets. But the acidity is not overpowering, really well balanced by the wood, ending with a sweet pucker.

M -- Well carbonated, smooth yet robust in presence. A light tart pucker to follow and a faint lingering stickiness.

D -- Again and again and some more. Please. This is the beer that introduced me to the style, and not many can even come close. Worth anyone's money for the experience alone.

Photo of BillyBoysPie
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap in the appropriate glassware at the (soon to be if it isn't already) legendary Sergio's World Beers in Louisville, KY. Go. Now.

Reddish-brownish-purple with a dense white foam on top. Near perfect lacing with decent retention.

Tart and sour flavors dominate the nose. Well fruited, mostly cassis (currant) and raspberry combined with tart rhubarb like acidity. Some malt comes through, but the slight buttery is far more interesting.

Grape bubblegum and tart raspberry are in the front with some of the oaky, woody characteristics filling out the beer. It's very delicate, but really clean. Well balanced and very enjoyable.

Light, not too viscous. Enough carbonation to accentuate the tart without overpowering the sour.

Easy to drink - if you like the style, which I do. It's really fun and deep.

Photo of flagmantho
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 330mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: deep, clear red-brown woody color with two fingers of pillowy ivory foam. Layers of chunky lace are left as I drink the glass down. I like it a lot.

Smell: sweet caramel malt, oak and a nice dry sourness. Under that I get some faint but nice raisin and plum aromas. Nicely complex and highly alluring.

Taste: flavor profile is similar to the aroma with a bit dose of caramel malt, followed by a nice woody tartness. Complexity is very nice and the tartness is just enough to warrant taking another sip. This is one delicious beer.

Mouthfeel: medium body and enough carbonation to yield a sweet, smooth creaminess. Perhaps this should fall under flavor, but it seems like the acidity results in a little astringency which helps wash the palate clean and gets you ready for the next bout of creaminess. Fantastico.

Drinkability: this is a freakin' delicious beer. I am sad I have never had this up until now. I would drink this daily if I had the money.

Photo of ThaCreep
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nose that directly think of red grapes and more particularly to wine (particularly in 75cl bottles where it is much more emphasized) but also harmonious tannins, probably due to a shift in casks. It also collects other flavors of red fruits, including cherries how. The palate is sweet tasting at first but it soon becomes sour. The finish leaves an impression of Red Flanders but more complex than his sisters and that's what makes it so valuable. Bubbly, light and far from being disgusting, it can boast of offering both unique flavors and easy to drink.

Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,492 ratings.