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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

3,175 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,175
Reviews: 1,356
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 148
Gots: 334 | 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
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Ratings: 3,175 | Reviews: 1,356 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MuddyFeet
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Sunset Bar & Grill with my lunch on June 11, 2006.

Poured a dark brown in color that was slightly translucent. Essentially flat in appearance. Nose was sour grapes and cherries. Very nice and fruity sweet.

Flavor was more of the aroma but with a sweeter tinge. Bit cloying and sticky. Nice and mild sour-patch kids flavor. Definitely a very drinkable sour beer. Not puckering sour, but rather very flavorful sour. Full body but sticky. Really nice drinking beer.

MuddyFeet, Jun 11, 2006
Photo of Phatz
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow! This beer was definitely the beer of the night! So much thanks to BA, 'YBSober' for this beer was phenomenal!

This was my first Flanders Red Ale and I am going to make it a point to seek out much more of this! I thought I was in heaven. I know I am in love with the Duchesse (don't tell me wife;-).

Appearance: This Duchesse poured out a beautiful dark caramel color with some golden tan highlights on her elegant body, and then fantastic head made of tight off-white foam. This leads into the sticky circles of off-white lacing, left lining the glass.

Smell: The aroma is quite vinous, with a wine grapes aroma, a nice tartness, (those not in the know might think her a port wine) and yet an underlying caramel sweetness. It is spiced and complex; very much like the Holiday Spiced Wine from Mount Hope Winery (with what might be cinnamon and a splash of lemon in the aroma as well).

Taste: The taste, like the smell was very complex and pleasing! The front of the palate is mildly tart dry grapes and then there is a nice layer of brown sugar and caramel that sweetens up the palate. Layer upon layer I realized more and more tremendous depth as the fruits began to reveal themselves; first apples and plums, cherries, a prune and then mixed berries. All the while, I couldn’t help but to think, this beer must be oak aged because the magnificent flavor of oak, and a subtle hint of leather, kept swatting at my taste buds. This beer has an incredible depth of character and flavor. Her finish is sour (not too much) just the prefect degree (tipping the scales to tart). That tartness carries into the aftertaste as well, balanced with the loving touch of gentle sweet fruits, leaving you with wonderful memories of how she treated your tongue. I could hardly keep my tongue in my mouth. I had to dive in for more. She’s irresistible!

Mouthfeel: Tight little bubbles of carbonation treat your mouth just right. 36-24-36 this sweet lady has a perfect medium body with just enough dryness to force you to pucker up, and enough lingering sweetness that you enjoy it.

Drinkability: I want her all to myself all the time. $65 a case and I would pay it too. Are all Flanders like this? I may be in trouble. Now that I have gone Flanders I may never go back!

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

Phatz, Jun 09, 2006
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into little hotel glasses. The beer was more brown than red and had an off-white almost brown foam. The smell was sour and had a hint of vinegar aroma (better than it sounds).

This is one of the better tasting Flanders Reds I've had. The flavor was sweet with a sour after-taste. Absolutely perfect pairing of flavors.

Get this beer if you like sour ales. I'd recommend it even if you think you don't like the style.

TurdFurgison, Jun 07, 2006
Photo of malty
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Rodenbach 8 oz. stemmed glass a beautiful ruby red with orange-copper edges. A creamed colored fluffy/dense head stands steady at 1". Visible racing carbonation.

A quick few swirls of the glass and a FRESH carmel covered tart apple scent erupts. A prolonged inhale detects cinnamon, concord grapes and pickled brussel sprouts. What a unique assortment of scents!

The liquid touches my lips and replicates basically everything I smelled. Tart & sweet for sure. Definitely more on the sweeter side of any Flemish red I ever tasted. Reminiscent of sweet iced tea with bitters. Faint molasses that brings hearty Dopplebocks to mind. Sweet candi sugar ending.

Mouthfeel is delectable. Fine and kinetic carbonation makes this a joy to drink. Not nearly the dry/tart finish I was expecting.

Drinkability is good. Tone-down the sweetness and it would be perfect.

Overall an utterly unique ale with many (in a good way) schizophrenic combinations of fresh and boisterous flavors. I'm still a little perplexed, but I do know I like it a lot. The sweetness is a little too much from what I was anticipating. But it's good to get your socks blown-off every once and a while! Fantastic beer.

malty, Jun 05, 2006
Photo of BlueHammer
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed this beer! It is very similar to Nostradamus, which is one of my favorites. As soon as you pop the cap off the bottle the sweer, malty, fruity aroma emanates from within. The beer pours a dark reddish brown, only slightly translucent when held to the light. There was a light tan head that held for a while and left lacing on the glass.

The flavor was very sweet and malty with a clear prune/plum flavor. Delicious. This is a heavy feeling beer, very filling, and better sipped. The beer is smooth and balanced as you drink.

BlueHammer, May 31, 2006
Photo of xymyl
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is one of my all-time favorites, and I just had some again the other night. I apparently don't drink this nearly as often as I should.

The sour notes in the aroma are strong enough to set up the sweetness of the beer as the dominant flavor for the first few sips then the interplay of the flavors starts up. Complex sweet and sour fruit, old wet oak, earth, leather... It has everything a beer with no definable hop character should have. The sweetness stood out more this time, probably because I drank it fully chilled. I typically drink it at about 60 degrees fahrenheit (or warmer) which balances it more to my taste. Try it at different temperatures, learn all about it. I've been drinking it for years and I'm still learning.

xymyl, May 27, 2006
Photo of HochFliegen
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby red with a good white head that left traces all along my glass.
The smell was amazingly sour, fruity with a musty and vinegar like smell. Cherry, green apple and plum comes to mind after a deep inhale of this beer.
Taste was really sweet fruit like then turned to rotten fruit sourness and finishes with a tart mouth watering aftertaste. So many flavors all running around together makes this an amazing beer.
A very light mouthfeel which I think helps enhance the flavor by not taking away from the sourness. It really leaves a juicy feeling in your mouth.

HochFliegen, May 27, 2006
Photo of nriech
4.95/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at Capital Ale House in Richmond, also in bottle at home with very similar results.

This beer is amazing and has become one of my all time favorite brews. The flavors are so complex and intense that I dont even want food to come near me for the chance to interrupt the experience.

Slight head with good carbonation. The color is similar to a subdued red wine. Be sure to serve this at the correct temp, I believe somewere around 50F. The inital sip is like a sour wine but becomes complex extremely quickly as it warms. The oak aging is very obvious. It adds so much to this brew.

This is extremely drinkable, very hard to not give into drinking this quickly. One sidepoint is that the one on tap seemed to be a bit more oaky and sour than the bottled version. Not sure on the dates of either.

nriech, May 25, 2006
Photo of GarrettB
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Elegance, as inherited through primogeniture and blue blood, has long passed. In its place is something we prefer to call class, which is related to archaic elegance but only remotely. Anybody can have class; the magnate in his vogue mansion or the cad in on the street. It isn’t easy to learn it, and its impossible to purchase it, but class can be trained. Elegance, as the wealthy were expected to have in years past, is altogether unattainable, even for some of the rich. The first and most obvious requirement is to be ejected from the womb of a bourgeoisie, and preferably to have been fathered by one. After that, it was merely a game of chance against in-breeding and developed tyranny that sculpted the, quite literally, nouveuax rich into adulthood. History is replete with cases of royal albinos, trisomy 21, incompetence or just plain idiocy. Also, there are the benevolently raised children of the upper classes that accrue an unnatural concept of class warfare, who then exercise their power with excessive enthusiasm. Let us take the few remaining cases of the beautiful, the wise and the kind regal individuals. The ones coursing with blue blood and compassion, and the ones imprinted in fairy tales and a few justly optimistic histories are those we speak of with an elegance no longer found today, save for a few obscure descendants living on vestigial fortunes. But I’ve found one, remarkably gentle but rich, formal but enjoyable, sweet but mature. The Duchess de Bourgogne, though fictional, is a blurry depiction of some royal lady whose personality doubtlessly charmed her family and subjects alike. She is the altruist from above, showering the ground with coins and flowers from her ivory tower. All I’ve done is told a story, one that I think is nicely summarized in the Duchess de Bourgogne beer. The crepuscular and mellowed tone of the beer nuzzles against the glass below the margaritaceous crown of foam, baring nothing to the unobservant eye. It’s a chaste and modest drink, hinting at its alluring flavor by breathing a slow but diligent waft of green apples, confectioner’s sugar, orange zest, shining red cherries and oak. Below this divine vapor sits the chaliced drink, reverently waiting for imbibing. There the eager drinker finds a similarly rich batch of flavors. Faint vinegar coarseness guides the column of tastes, featuring a light and sweet honey, red and white grapes, orange zest (amongst other citrus) and a very heavy and bombastic conclusion of oak. Poignant and garrulous as the Duchesse may be, it still fits “elegant” nicely. The blend of friendly and charismatic flavors allows anyone, be they friend or foe to beer, to pick up a glass and enjoy. If the rich and bold, sweet and sour flavors do not suffice the claim to elegance, then at least the extrovert, humble and generous nature of the Duchesse does. These are, after all, higher qualities that we aspire to. That is, if we want to be classy.

GarrettB, May 25, 2006
Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.35/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Filtered chestnut brown with a thick and luscious tan head. Plenty of carbonation streams visible.

N: Rotten fruit (dates, plums, and blackberries mostly) and sour apples. Vinegar.

T: Sweet and sour weirdness. Tastes like very, very rotten fruit – mostly plums and apples. Rotten to the core. Nasty stuff. The initial sip causes one’s lips to pucker violently but that is followed by this strong sugary rotten fruit sweetness. This is strange brew.

MF: Sour, then sweet, then sour again. Medium body with a lengthy slightly sweet nasty finish.

D: Low. This brew doesn’t sit right. Too much vinegar. I don’t think more than one goblet would be healthy.

DaPeculierDane, May 22, 2006
Photo of benito
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A wonderful find on tap at Falling Rock in Denver.

This comes a handsome brown with a thick head that laces the glass well. The bouquet and flavor both are a mix of butter and oak, with hints of pepper and maple syrup.

The interplay of sweet (buttery) and sour is amazing...indeed, the beer moves across the palate with a light and tickling grace that I've ever seen in only a handful of other beers. Each swig reveals a new complexity in the flavor profile--a different spice here, bubble gum there.

Were this less costly (at $6 for half-a-pint) I would have kept trying la Duchesse all day. A wonderful beer.

benito, May 22, 2006
Photo of haz77
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured into a tulip a deep ruby red with a 1/2 inch of tan head. This quickly drops to a thin layer. Looks to have almost no carbonation.

S - Mild solvent, musk, sourness mixed with sweetness, cherry

T - Sweet and juicy at first, then tartness kicks in. Red fruits fills the middle, then a syrupy sweet and sour finish which lingers and becomes dryer. Very nice.

M - Syrupy and refreshing all in one. Carbonation is subtle and works well.

D - Very moreish beer. Well worth a try and I'll be having more soon.

haz77, May 19, 2006
Photo of hopsaplenty
3.38/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Rustico, and served in Chimay chalice.

Arrives a deep garnet with cordovan highlights. Topped with a modest head of fine sand colored bubbles that slowly settles to a thick coating leaving big clots of foam floating. A few active carbonation streams are visible. The smell is tart, dry, sharp and of balsamic vinegar. Sweet and with a pleasing, slightly woody tartness. Sweet up front, and almost sugary. The balsamic notes ride through the middle into the finish where the tart bite shows up, but is then completely dominated by a syrupy sweet flavor. Fine, but active carbonation, rich and medium bodied slightly, ever so, dry. This has a bit of a soda feel about it. I kept coming back to the chalice hoping that it had changed somewhat, maybe dried out a bit, or that the tartness a fought its way to the front, or that at least the sweetness had dissipated. Alas, the chalice was empty and the sweet, cloying taste lingered. I had hoped for more. My wife enjoyed it more than I.

hopsaplenty, May 18, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very cool beer. Very sour and very sweet. Different than most Belgian sours. The carbonation is TERRIBLE though, the overall impresion would have been higher if it was spot on. There is no head and very fizzy. Perhaps I got a bad bottle. Very fun beer regardless.

Westsidethreat, May 13, 2006
Photo of sevineyes
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown bottle featuring, presumably, the Dutchess of Burgandy on the label.

A: Poured with a thin head. Distinctly red hue in color. Leaves vague lacing.

S: Very tart. Red wine vinegar, maybe bordering on an English malt vinegar. Unripened apples. Plenty of vinous character. Very pronounced nose.

T: Complex is an understatement. Sweet and sour initially. Sour apple candy. Sweet cherries. Soured cider. Imitation grape. Red apple flesh. Finishes with something very similar to an imitation strawberry flavor, maybe even imitation watermellon. Aftertaste does have a touch bitterness and a mild tartness. The longer the aftertaste goes the more it only leaves the bitter, like the dividing pieces of a pecan.

M: Highly carbonated, but not distracting in the same way that champagne bubbles aren't distracting from the flavor. The flavors really dance around the mouth. Finishes a little dry, but that doesn't linger. In the aftertaste there's something metal, maybe iron.

Overall: For those not familiar with the style, this beer may hit you a bit like a sweet tart does. The first time I had a red it took me a little while to convince myself I wasn't drinking some kind of sweet-and-sour sauce. This really isn't too unbalanced of a beer. Sure, the sour wins out over the sweet and bitter, but it's not so pronounced that it landslides everything. Certainly haven't come close to defining everything in this beer either. Very complex and worth trying if you can find it.

sevineyes, May 07, 2006
Photo of Crosling
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark red. Extremely vinous nose (Pinot Noir), with hints of ripe red fruit, muffin batter, overloaded with blueberries, a light touch of caramel and of course. lactic and acetic acid funk. Quite vibrant. Rich compatibility between the sweet malts, bright fruits and sweeteners (?) and the funky and sour lactic and acetic, lightly woody tones. Really more of a mild Red, but very characterful and complex.

Crosling, Apr 24, 2006
Photo of timtheenchanta
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber/ruby color. There's a decent two finger head with good retention.

Very sour and woody smell to it. Smells of cheap red wine.

Tart taste rules initially with a wine like taste lingering in the back. Delightful sourness that is a bit tainted in the finish by a metallic hint.

This brew feels wonderful on the tongue and is a delight to have. It's not my favorite Flemish but certainly isn't bad beer to have on hand.

timtheenchanta, Apr 23, 2006
Photo of arguemaniac
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark burgundy with a creamy, red-tinged head that leaves behind a thick, well-sustained lace. The nose features a distinctive vinegary aroma, and even a faint touch of sulfur, with some definite fruitiness in the background (strange as it might seem, this is actually a good thing, considering the style). The sour palate also has some pleasant fruity sweetness to it (with a distinct cherry character to it). I can’t really make out any hop bitterness as the sourness eclipses most everything else. The finish is not as sour but is certainly fairly tart with a little more of that sweetness coming through. The mouthfeel is surprisingly light with a sharp carbonation tang.

One thing I like about this style of beer (or at least good examples of it, such as this one) is that even though they are very sour, they are also rich and quite drinkable, something to which the unexpectedly light mouthfeel contributes. The other thing I like about these is how unique they are: while I certainly can’t see myself drinking them all the time, they are a refreshing change of pace. And this particular example is one of the better. So, while this might not be the most approachable style for someone who is new to the craft beer scene, it is definitely something a more adventurous and more experienced beer drinker should try. Highly recommended.

arguemaniac, Apr 05, 2006
Photo of sinistrsam
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark red, almost black body under a small tan head which dissapated quickly. The head left excellent lacing around the snifter. The aroma was dominated by fruits, namely cherries, dark sugars, alcohol and molasses. The taste was some of the same, with dark (very) sour cherries up front, and hints of wheat, hops, sweet malts and sugars. I thought it was complex and interesting.
The feel was sour obviously, but if you can stick that out, it has an excellent blend of carbonation and sweetness to compliment the sour feel. It reminded me of a lambic or more specifically yhr three philosophers, but more subdued. Overall an excellent beer.

sinistrsam, Mar 27, 2006
Photo of ggaughan
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of the Monk's Cafe Michael Jackson dinner. This was beer # 3. This beer poured a dark burgundy color with a nice tan head and nice lacing. The aroma is at times an overwhelming sourness of cherries but pretty pleasant. The taste is tart cherries, a bit earthy. This one is a bit acidic but overall a crisp beer and with a medium body, pretty drinkable.

ggaughan, Mar 24, 2006
Photo of scottoale
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Came in a 11.2oz brown bottle, label stated: Best before 12/06/03. Aged, I think so. Pours a very dark mahogany-burgandy(no murkiness) with a nice creamy tan, inch of head. Looks rather exotic. The head finally subsides to a quarter inch, with tons of thick lacing to follow.

It has a very different smell to it, sweet grape and berries up front with an assertive balsamic vinegar tang in full persuit. Very interesting, smells like a great salad dressing, never smelled a beer like this before.

First taste is sweet for starters, then turns tangy and fills the mouth with a rich, sour fiz and ends on a bitter note. Tastes like it smells, a very different kind of beer for sure.

One of these in a sitting is fine for me, a most unusual, yet tasty beer that seems to be what Belgians do best, gotta hand it to them, complexity is second nature in their brewing tecniques...Prost!

scottoale, Mar 18, 2006
Photo of dreadnatty08
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer pours a dark red, nearly opaque. Head forms about half an inch and recedes to a light covering. Aromas are incredible, jump right out of the glass. As this is my first Flemish Red I will just describe what I find, as I'm not sure what I "should" find... Smells like red berries, balsamic and red wine vinegar sourness. Never smelled a beer quite like this wow! Flavors are both sweet and sour (to me, akin to some duck sauce from Chinese take-out). This beer is incredible, have had nothing quite like it. Drinkability is only so-so as it's a fairly sweet brew and I'm not sure if I could have many of these.

dreadnatty08, Mar 11, 2006
Photo of Blakaeris
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark ruby red, almost brown. Head dissipates to almost nothing but leaving plenty of lacing.

Smell is sour dark fruit and spices.

Taste mildly sweet. Fruity cherry and plum flavors with subtle corriander and cinnimon spices. Tartness is not overstated. Smooth balanced flavors with a crisp finish.

Mouthfeel is light and smooth.

Overall this is a decent brew. Flavors are surprisingly smooth and balanced.

Blakaeris, Mar 08, 2006
Photo of goochpunch
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle: best before 09-08-06

Pours out dark brown with outlines of ruby when put in direct light. The head comes and goes quickly, but will leave a slight ring if agitated. Smells of balsamic vinegar, tart berries and oak. I also detect an eau de elmer's glue, but oddly enough, it's a good thing here. Tastes of tart fruit, specifically cherries, alonside oak tones, a slight alcohol presence, and a grape-juice/wine-like acidity. I got a lot of the same wine-like characteristics as I did with the Vichtenaar, but with this brew, they seemed more married to the other flavors and don't stand out AS much. Mouthfeel is vibrant and biting. Leaves me dry. Excellent. This one seems a lot more mellow than the Vichtenaar I reviewed earlier, both in the flavor profile and mouthfeel. Fantastic beer.

goochpunch, Feb 25, 2006
Photo of WMBierguy
1.98/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

This was the first Belgian red ale that I have ever tried. I didn't know what to expect, but I didn't expect this. I consider myself to have a pretty open mind when it comes to beer. Bavarian beers are my favorite, but I had yet to find a quality beer that I simply couldn't stand. Today I found that beer.

I really don't consider this to be beer. It may technically be beer, but it tastes nothing like it. It resembles a strange wine. The first taste was quite striking... I was expecting something that tasted somewhat like a Brown Ale. The flavor was incredibly sweet, with a strange tartness cutting accross about half way through the sip. It tastes a bit like nail polish smells.

Yes, this beer is complex. Very complex. I haven't tasted anything like it. However, the complexity isn't pleasant. I want a beer, not a science experiment. I guess that I'm too attached to the Reinheitsgebot... I'd take the robust complexity of an Aventinus to this beer anyday.

WMBierguy, Feb 25, 2006
Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,175 ratings.