1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Not Rated.
Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

3,608 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,608
Reviews: 1,426
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 176
Gots: 528 | FT: 11
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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 3,608 | Reviews: 1,426
Photo of unclejimbay
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was my first notably sour beer to date. I enjoyed it much more thnan I thought I would. It was almost to the edge of undrinkable with it's dominant vinegar character. It was just edgy enough where it kept me sipping more to revist the cherry, fruit and tart notes whispering out of my snifter.

Appearance was ruby red with brillant clarity. Excellent head, retention and lace.
Smell is a bold balsamic and cider vinegar reduction wafting with some red wine and dark fruits (most notably cherries).
Taste as it smells, fruity red wine character greeted by your childhood easter egg dyes of yesteryear. Repeats mellowed balsamic reduction memories over and over again, in a good way, but almost overdone. Almost overdone, but not quite.
Mouthfeel is sour. Tart. Sharp. Medium body & carbonation. Wow this is a very curious and moving target taste.

On the drinkability...
2 of us slit the small bottle. My wife couldn't finish hers. I was hesitant at first, but gladly finished hers up as I warmed up with this strange concotion. In the future I would gladly split a bottle with someone for the right meal, but would not do it solo or too frequently. I would pursue this with the right food pairing or when I have a sour beer craving (a new concept altogether as of today, thanks to Duchesse!)

Seems like it would god very well with a rich steak, salty meats, subtle balsamic salads or nuts.

Photo of TheJollyHop
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dated best buy 3/2012.

Pours a clear, reddish brown with a finger of tan head; large bubbles, fast fading head, but copious lacing.

A sour vinegar aroma wrapped around papaya, oranges, sweet cherries, and musty funk.

Very sweet, sugary cherry juice and some mild tartness. Plum, oak (which rounds out the flavor profile), vanilla, and bitterness that tingles throughout but remains way in the background. Funky brett enters in the middle and finish ends acidic, and fruity sweet. Sweetness is very prominent, even a tad too much, but the flavor interplay still yields good drinkabilty.

Effervescent, light body that pops on the tongue, with a low to medium level of carbonation that is both refreshing and a touch tongue drying. If I really look I can pick up some milk chocolate notes, but it's a stretch.

I would imagine some age would dry this beer out and make it a truly delicious experiences that isn't quite so sweet.

Photo of hdofu
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An interesting taste... Light drinkable, good. Poured reddish brown with a reddis hint of tan head. Smell kind of reminds me of soy sauce. Taste is complicated with various fruits and vinegar noticable. Sort of slick to the tongue Pretty drinkable for such an odd flavor and smell/

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

The Duchess! One of the most complex and refreshing low ABV beers I have ever experienced. I've enjoyed this and Rodenbach Grand Cru on multiple occasions and have decided that as far as the Flanders heavyweights go, this is my favorite. On to the review.

The appearance is crystal clear ruby-garnet body with a two finger tan head that is made of very tight champagne like bubbles that quickly dissipate to the wisp collar that is typical of a beverage with champagne like carbonation. Minimal lacing shows up. 4/5

Aroma is heavy on red-wine vinegar with a touch of red stone fruits. Medicinal qualities and that "band aid" thing show up but works well with the aceitic character. 4/5

Puckering, sour, vinegar poured from oak barrel dance across the tongue as the taste builds. Each sip builds on the previous. Some sweet cherry shows up at the mid-way point and delights the senses. There's more to this beer that I just can't explain. The experience is one to be savored. The Duchess clearly dominates Rodenbach at this juncture. 4/5

Mouthfeel is pure champagne. Soft soothing carbonation slides across the palate with a delicate nature that no other beer can equal. The perfect score is the result. 5/5

Drinkability is through the roof! The mouth puckering quality of this is spectacular and makes me want that next sip that much faster! Every time I have this beer I try to enjoy it slowly but it screams to be drunk fast. Another perfect score! 5/5

My wife has told me that if we ever renew our vows, The Duchess is going to make an appearance at the toast. It really is that good and classy. Try this now! Beer will never seem the same to you again!

Photo of boss302
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle

A Red and clear. Light head, some lacing, but the head didn't stay for long.

S There are figs, anise, sugary and fruity aromas. There is no indication of hops at all.

T Sweetness and fruitiness dominate. Some raspberry or tart strawberry flavors, and currants and green apples. This is a clean beer that finishes clean with no off flavors.

M Light to medium body, low carbonation eliminates that bite for balance.

O This would be a good apertif beer, I simply prefer a little less fruit. That is not to say this is a bad beer, it is quite good and full of fruit flavors. For those so inclined, you will like this beer. Too sweet for diehard hop fans but good for the Belgian beginner.

Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle (with a best before date of 30-11-11) into a Bitburger branded footed pilsner glass.

A: Brownish amber with a small head with good lacing.

S: Chocolate, wood, cloves and somewhat sweet and vinegary.

T: Sour and bready but really well balanced with sweet woodiness. There's a real distinct berry/wine flavor in the aftertaste that is real nice as well.

M: Medium bodied and rich with nice carbonation.

D: Real easy to drink, but as much as I enjoyed this one, I wouldn't have more than one or two in an evening.

Photo of Beejay
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A brown pour but Dark Ruby Brown in the glass. Just beautiful color and clarity. Nice off white head on the top, which gently settles into a foam, then bubbles with a stronger ring.

S: Slightly tart with oak notes, and vinegar. Some raspberry or other dark berries in there as well.

T: Tart at first, but this leads to a sweet berry flavor. Tart at first, but not overpowering, then a gently, though strong sweet flavor. Absolutely interesting and one of a kind.

M: Very nice. Clean on the palate, no weird aftertastes. Carbonation is extremely high, though that works for this style. Perhaps a little harshness in the back of the throat as it warms.

D: Just a very nice beer. Both aggressive and mellow. A strange combination, and one I wish I had a few more bottles of. Very nice.

Photo of LordAdmNelson
3.66/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a syrup colored reddish brown, clear, with about an inch of creamy sandy head that leaves a bit of lacing. I am really excited for this one. Smell, however, is a bit of a let-down, I actually get a bit of booze (at 6%??), some medium roasted malts, and a bit of pear, apples, and vinegar. It's not as strong as I had hoped, and the booze in it is a little disconcerting.

Taste is pretty good. I must say that I prefer Monk's Cafe, though I'm starting to understand why MC is not a good example of this style. The tart, sour, and vinegar of MC are way over-the-top compared with Duchesse. It's got a nice apple cider vinegar kick to start, drifting into a nice smooth brown ale. The subtlety of the different aspects of this beer are pretty nice. The brown malts to it though get to be a bit cloyingly sweet, very syrupy.

MF is decent, a bit prickly, medium bodied, dry finish. Not as dry as I would have preferred, however. Sweetness on the back end of this one gets in the way of the drinkability, though this is a nicely crafted Flanders.

Photo of krisandajt
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'll be honest, I really love this beer. I've had it several times before, but never had an opportunity to sit down and really give it its proper review. Time to remedy that...

Appearance: An easy pour into my Poperings Hommel bier glass, the beer is deep, vivid red that's slightly cloudy and has a slight brownish hue to it. There's not much head sitting atop this brew, only a fine layer of white bubbles that are slowly dissipating. The lacing is impressive, however, with plenty of sticky rings where the beer comes to settle.

Smell: A blend of sweet fruitiness with some tart and vinegar, a smell I have really come to love lately. It just smells great.

Taste: Simply delicious! The taste is sour and kinda funky at first, but it smooths out to a sweet, fruity finish. No one individual flavor dominates another, it all sort of flows together. Really tasty.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly well carbonated, there's plenty of fizz on the palate. The beer has a refreshing, medium body that compliments the other features of this beer perfectly.

Drinkability: Absolutely a new staple beer in my fridge. Great flavor thats complex and diverse enough to keep you interested, and tasty enough to keep you coming back for more. The body of this beer is perfect, and the ABV is perfect for sessioning. Absolutely recommend this beer!

Photo of flexabull
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of klikger, thanks again!

Pours a deep amber color with a sizable off-white head.

Aromas are potent! Cider vinegar, earth, clay, and spicy breads.

Flavors are not as power packed as the nose. Light cola sweetness, bready, spicy, earthy, and subtle funky cider vinegar notes. Finish is dry and tart. Very balanced between malt sweetness and yeasty sourness.

Mouthfeel is very nice. Full and smooth, well carbonated.

Drinkability is great. What a great example of the style. I think I prefer Rodenbach though, the nose on this one is just a tiny bit off putting to me. Don't get me wrong though, this is still a top notch beer.

Photo of dgilks
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Rich sweet and sour aroma like good aged Balsamic. Slightly earthy. Very good.

Rich ruby red. Mostly clear. Small, creamy, tan head.

I can see why people don't like this. Rich, sticky balsamic vinegar. Some vinous fruit. Actually quite sweet. I really like this.

Full body with moderately high carbonation. Very sticky.

A tasty, tasty beer. Lots of good here and while not easy to drink, it's the sort of sour I'd be back for in an instant.

Photo of DioS
4.77/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark brown but not quite opaque. Soft head. I always thought the Duchesse looks viscous, even though it's really not. Smell is complex and delicious, more fruity (cherry, plum) than floral, with slight caramel and vanilla sweetness, and evocative of some wood like a fine dessert wine does, and the vinegary aroma tends to be mellow compared to some other Flanders I've had. I cannot get tired of smelling this one. The mellowness (as opposed to sharp sourness) and complexity truly make it stand out.

Taste is initially very sour and slightly funky, but the sourness settles down very quickly into ripened fruits (cherry, plum, jam, pear). The finish is long and lingering. The sourness almost completely subsides into the background and becomes just a tartness in the mouthfeel after 1/3 of glass. After that point it just tastes like a very interesting dessert wine, and very easy going down, yet tastes far from simple. Duchesse is a wonderfully smooth Flanders that can be drunken like session beer and hold my interest at the same time. I feel lucky to be close to pubs that serve it on the tap regularly.

Photo of elniko
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into tulip glass.

A: Glowing reddish amber coloring with finger of head and nice heavy lacing. Good looking brew.

S: Sour cherry notes along with just a touch of vinegar.

T & M: Such an interesting brew, intriguing mix of sweet and sour. Sweetness comes across throughout the entire taste. Bitter cherry notes from the nose come through in the taste.

D: For a sour brew incredibly drinkable, this is such a fine and unique brew.

Photo of GPHarris
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a - poured a three-fingers dense and thick tan head into a tulip glass that settled into a thick lace and sheeting throughout. the head began to look creamier and creamier with each sip. it also billowed nicely upon every swirl of the glass. the body was a deep red with hints of purple.
s - slightly muted sour cherries.
t - cherries with a hint of sweetness and other fruits were present as well.
m - medium, bubbly mouthfeel.
d - excellent beer. just amazing.

Photo of carpezytha
4.51/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very well balanced beer. Do not try this beer if you are narrow minded. It probably falls outside of whatever classification you will try to fit it into.

Fabulous appearance. Deep bronzed ruby in color.

An eager foam gathers after a good pour. I used a small chardonnay-shaped glass and that worked.

A bit musty on the nose, with some sourness anticipated, indicated.

First on the tongue, a well balanced sweet and sour, good carbonation. I think the carbonation helped it.

Beneath the sourness of the yeast and the sweet light malt there are citrus notes underneath, some jammy cherry and peach, tangy notes with a light scatter of spicebox, cedar and leather. There really are several flavors here that combine well.

I will definitely try this one again soon if I can. I was surprised and impressed.

Photo of steadydose
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best berfore 1-10-11

Poured this one into my trappist glass. The beer was burgundy, brown w/ red highlights. There was a wisp of cream foam around the perimeter of the beer. Looked good in the wide mouthed glass, especially with the sun overhead.

Duchesse had a good aroma with cherries, rasberries, pie crust and sweet fruit all coming through in the nose. I didn't notice much vinegar or oak in this bottle.

I got a lot of cherries, rasberry fruit juice in the taste with just a hint of tart and vinegar. There was a fair amount of sweetness towards the end, but finished pretty clean.

Mouthfeel was very good, with proper carbonation and a light body.

Overall, I enjoyed this particular serving more than the other bottle I had about a year ago, which tasted more like vinegar and old stale wine to me, this serving may have been fresher as it was cleaner and presented with more fruit sweetness.

Photo of djbreezy
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 750ml bottle into a snifter.

appearance - dark and clear reddish brown, carbonation crawling up the side of the glass, big retention on the edge of the glass with yeast spotting on top, lacing crawls down the glass

smell - wine-like nose, vinegar, dark fruit, blended, sour, rich oak

taste - sour and tart cherries, sweet grape, yeast, rich oak barrel complexity

mouthfeel - heavily carbonated, full bodied, smooth, tingle from the carbonation

drinkability - remarkably complex, very rich and flavorful, the excessive carbonation and the initial vinegar in the nose are this beer's biggest flaws but the rest of the ale is very well crafted, amazing flavor and great value

Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"Exp. date: Jul 2011"

A. Pours a brownish-amber with a creamy tan head.
S. Sweet malt with sour cherries on oak with some musty farmhouse smells.
T. Tastes like a lambic with malt as the fruity focus (rather than cherries or raspberries). A nice level of tartness with an ample sweet malt profile that balances nicely. Some subtle cherry and oak flavors also come through.
M. Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation - just enough to pick the tartness up off of the tongue.
D. Wonderful. This is a wonderful sour that I could definitely see myself picking up again - especially since it's now available at the grocery store I regularly shop at.

Photo of irisier
1.55/5  rDev -62.7%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

I tried this one again to see if I've warmed to this brew. Unfortunately, this time I seem to have soured to it (no pun intended) even more.

Appearance: Nice dark reddish brown with a excellent fizzy head.

Smell: Vinegar fumes. Some fruit and wood is also noticeable. Did someone mix balsamic with malt vinegar and label it as beer?

Taste: God, it's even worse than I remembered it. Fruity vinegar with some tannic wood tastes. Cloying sweetness makes sure you know there is plenty of sugar in here. Hmmm.. this might be good to use as a base in a sweet/sour sauce. I actually managed to finish it the first time I tried it, not this time though.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated.

Impressions: To give you some perspective. A few years ago after reading an article about how prison inmates make "wine" out of ketchup, juice, and fruit snacks with moldy bread as the fermentation culture. I gave it a try out of curiosity. The funky, weird smelling drink I got was still not as bad as this brew. If this was the only beer on Earth, I'd be a teetotaler.

---Old Review---
Appearance: Clear reddish brown body with a fizzy tan head that actually seems to amplify with time. Highly carbonated and effervescent.

Smell: Sour malt vinegar smell. I didn't expect it to be that strong. Some faint fruit is also present

Taste: Sour and sweet. Slightly fruity as well. I can't help but feel like I'm drinking balsamic vinegar. I wouldn't exactly say that these flavors are pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a lively carbonation.

Impressions: I'll preface by saying that I've never had a Flemish Red before, but I really tried to keep an open mind. There may be a possibility that I got a bad bottle. This just was not good. I had a really hard time even finishing it. It was like drinking balsamic vinaigrette. I've heard this described as being "wine-like", frankly if I had a wine that tasted like this, I'd think it had spoiled. This just tasted too much like vinegar.

Photo of snogglethorpe
3.57/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A lovely deep burgundy color, with a huge creamy head. Smell is interesting, woody/fruity/musty. Taste doesn't really live up to the smell though -- it's sour, fruity, and refreshing, but not complex, and the woody notes in the smell are barely evident in the taste.

Photo of jera1350
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours into a Duvel Tulip a deep burgundy color that is semi transparent. The head is light tan creating a wonderful contrast from the body. Some lacing and wonderful retention.

Sour smelling reminiscent of silage. Sour dark fruit, woody and earthy.

Juicy cherry, blueberry and blackberry flavors. Sweetness from the fruit flavors. Some balsamic, earthy and woody notes as well. Very deep in complexity. The sourness is there, but not strong in any way.

Velvety smooth with soft carbonation. About medium bodied with a super dry finish.

Great drinkability. I am loving this and am a little upset that I haven't tried it sooner. An awesome all around beer that I will definitely have again.

Photo of vkv822
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle into snifter.
best by date: Feb. 2011

Pours a very hazy brown with red accents and a nice off white head. The aroma is very vinegary but with some fruity oak aroma with sour cherry coming through the fruit flavors the most. The taste is not as vinegary as the aroma thankfully. The first flavor I identify is the yeast, which is quickly followed by a very nice tart apple taste. There is also more of the sour cherry flavor coming through. This beer is much more complex then I feel I am able to appropriately convey. And there are some faint notes of oak in the finish.
The mouthfeel is very crisp and dry, with good mild carbonation, and a medium to light body.
This is a very enjoyable and pleasant introduction to the Flanders Red family, and leaves me not only wanting more of this style, but definitely more of this beer as well.

Photo of berley31
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured with a fairly large, off-white head that was long-lasting and eventually settled to 1/2-finger. Body is dark ruby red and quite clear.

S: Fantastic aroma of medium sourness, with some cherry fruitiness thrown in as well. Slight horse-blanket smell in there, too.

T: Nice balance of fruitiness and sourness... doesn't become overpowering at all. Awesome.

M: Medium body, medium-light carbonation. Both sweet and tart in the finish.

D: My first Flanders Red. I loved it.

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

thick pillowy head and lots of lacing. hazy amber brown body. Hits the pallete sweet, and then the earthy tannins take over and gives a nice dry finish. Grape and Wine characteristics, At the start of the sip i taste sweet red apple but that turns into tart Green Apple by the end. good viscosity and carbination gives a great strong body that with the tart finish stays very drinkable and enjoyable.

Photo of beerwolf77
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle split with the SE sconnie BA crew for our small tasting.

Poured into my tulip the beer is dark blood red almost black. A small amount of light beige head forms on top. Soapy lace clings to the edges as you tilt the glass.

The aroam is pure sour vinegar. It instantly reminds me of dying easter eggs as a kid. That's not a bad thing in my book. Hints of wood and funks come through as it warms. The sourness subsided a tad as it warm as well. A light sweetness started to peek it's head out.

The flavor is not as sour as the nose. Just the right amount of mouth puckering sourness balanced by a moderate sugary sweetness. It's like getting a sour and sweet grape at the same time. Just a hint of dry funky wood in the finish.

Fairly light body with very mild carbonation. Dry finish.

Overall a solid representation of the style. Not something I could drink all the time but a nice change of pace to shock the taste buds.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,608 ratings.