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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

3,132 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,132
Reviews: 1,355
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 141
Gots: 322 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Verhaeghe visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Belgian top-fermented reddish-brown ale, a blend of 8 and 18 months old beers following the careful maturation in oak casks.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,132 | Reviews: 1,355 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tjd25
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%

Beautiful head, very dense and lasting. Dark brown, purple color body with some orange reflects. The smell is very sour, like vinegar, with maybe a surprizing chocolate aspect and some cheesecake aromas. The taste is not as sour as one would expect; bread like, very citric, oranges. A sangria like aspect that also appears in the smell becomes more and more noticeable: red wine and fruits. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, thanks to the long lasting head, almost melting in the mouth. I had this beer before but it was a bit too cold. Today I served it at a higher temperature and it revealed a more interesting variety of aromas and flavors than just the basic sourness one would expect.

tjd25, Jul 01, 2004
Photo of aracauna
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%

Dark burgandy with a lively pale khaki head. The aroma is like a fruit basket with peaches and green apples and grapes. There’s also a slight vinegariness in there. The flavor is more tart than I expected, giving the fruits life. A bit of wine. There’s some spice or herb in there that is slipping my mind. Slick on the tongue, this one takes a bit to get used to, but it improves as you sip it.

aracauna, Jun 30, 2004
Photo of HopDevil
4/5  rDev -3.8%

poured from 250ml bottle wrapped with a very attractive label graced with lovely artwork more like wine label.

Initial appearance was one of rich dark umber which upon further reflection showed deep ruby/mahogany highlights. The fine carbonation and off white head was a pleasant contrast to the dark brew that suported it's pillowy head. Decent well lasting lace.

The aroma was a rich amalgam of malt, raisiny fruit and remeniscent of candy corn. Another deep inhalation and I detected the acidic sour character that Flemish Reds are well known for. It made my mouth water for the tart sour pucker that it implied I would experience. Alas the reality fell short of my expectation.

The taste was a soft balance of syrupy malt and sour tart complimented by aged in oak woody flavor. Further sipping proved to emphasize it's sweet malt profile and tended to conceal the acidic tartness. This beer is an alltogether complex and remarkably well balanced beer but it was this very balance of sweet and sour which left me a tad dissapointed. A very fine and enjoyable beer but to my mind it did not have the refreshing and sour/tartness as say a Goudenband which has much more of the green apple "Jolly Rancher" taste that I crave. The mouthfeel was silky and pleasant with good carbonation but not overly effervescent. I had the Duchesse with a ginger honey chicken at a Vietnamese restaurant called The Mekong which, remarkably, had 2 pages of Belgian beers in their beer list. The restaurant is in Richmond VA. Should I review the restaurant...I wonder.

The aftertaste was was sweeter than I prefer in a Flanders Red but I would drink this beer again happily for it's own sake and the enjoyment that I would experience from it.

HopDevil, Jun 28, 2004
Photo of kbub6f
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

There's a very strange effect creating the head on this beer that I've never seen. It looks like tiny bubbles of carbonation gather in clumps in the bottom of my tulip glass. When enough have stuck together, they rise in a big gob through the beer to join the small tan head. It's a little disconcerting at first, seeing these pale gobs rising. The beer itself is dark red-brown and clear. Swoopy, thick, thick lacing. Loads of fresh bread waft out of the glass. Tangy, sweet toffee. Alcohol, prunes, sour fruit. That might be one of the fullest aromas ever. The beer starts spicy, with tangy fruit and toffee. The middle is thick, sweet, fruity, creamy. There's almost a little chocolate. The finish is bready, with sweet cherries and a dry edge to it. This is just one fruity, bready, sweet beer. Rich, flavorful. I can't really think of anything it compares to, but I really like it. Just a little too sweet for me, but the breadiness and cream are great.

kbub6f, Jun 24, 2004
Photo of PorterLambic
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%

Pouring produces a a dark, reddish brown with a big head that falls evenly to cover and some lacing.
Smell is sweet, a bit musty, earthy.
Taste is very complex, malty, sweet, sour, fruity, tart, a light effervescence, a little earthy with some alcohol showing up in the aftertaste. An extremely well balanced brew.
Mouthfeel was nice and smooth and somewhat creamy.
This is one of my Top Ten favorite beers. This is a great beer, not just in this style. Extremely drinkable. An absolute "must try" beer.

PorterLambic, Jun 08, 2004
Photo of Lafe
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%

Pours a dark, hazy brown with flashes of burgundy into the chalice. Aroma is immediate and vinous. There's a strong component of vinegar, and a sour, musty, funky smell reminiscent of some lambics I've tried. Well carbonated, it forms a tan head, which recedes slowly to a frothy lace just covering the beer.

The taste delivers pretty much what the aroma promised. Intensely sour and strongly fruity, there is no bitterness readily apparent. The sourness seems to be fairly acidic, and pretty tart, and lingers after swallowing. The sweetness is subtle, and makes a stronger showing as the beer warms.

This is my first experience with a Flanders Red, and I find this beer to be interesting. That being said, it reminds me too much of fizzy wine, or perhaps a wine cooler mixed with champagne. Just not the sort of thing I normally go for. I'll try a few more examples of the style and revisit this. Some day.

Lafe, Jun 02, 2004
Photo of Sixpack595
3.18/5  rDev -23.6%

Dark, reddish brown witha chunky light tan head. Aroma is sharply sour and a touch fruity. Vinegar scent is almost overpowering. Flavor is much less potent than the aroma suggests. Very complex with many flavors hiding under the press of sourness. Not really sure how I feel about it. Definitly woth a try, but it gets to be a real chore to drink.

Sixpack595, May 31, 2004
Photo of cbl2
3.33/5  rDev -20%

Appearance:

A brilliant clear reddish brown with plenty of effervescence that leads to an inch of frothy tan head that has great retention.

Smell:

Sharp and fruity. Nose tingles upon sniffing this one. No hop presence, with all of the malt displayed as tropical fruit.

Taste/Mouthfeel:

An overwhelming fruit presence, so much so that it resembles a lambic. Alcohol is nicely masked, but this is not balanced. Too sweet for my taste, and too off flavor for a belgian.

cbl2, May 29, 2004
Photo of merlin48
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%

11.2 oz bottle produces a very fine looking pour. Dark brown sitting in the goblet, is a brilliantly clear, ruby red when held to any light. Minimal, beige head quickly falls into lasting collar and film lace. Impressive, sheets of lace are left on the side.

Aroma is initially fruity tart. Banana, cloves, and coriander quickly emerge to take the dominant role. Oak woodiness is also noted.

Mouthfeel is tart and fruity. Medium body and lots of carbonation here.

Taste is incredibly complex. Tart fruits start things off, with a "slap your face" burst of cherries and raspberries. This reminds me of a fruit Lambic, with the tart flavors and yeasty, barnyard musty yeast presence. Smooth malt stays in the background, but provides for a well rounded, nicely balanced profile. The oak aged character provides a woody note that adds an additional complexity. Alcohol is very craftily concealed in the complexity of flavors.

This is my first experience with a Flanders Red ale. I like it a lot, but doubt that I could distinguish this from a good fruit Lambic, in a blind tasting. The wood aged character is the most obvious difference. Just a little on the tart side, as for drinkability.

merlin48, May 21, 2004
Photo of ngandhi
3.3/5  rDev -20.7%

The mouthwatering nose and stable half-inch head make this as appealing as any funky Belgian. Raw fruit and raw wood are backed by controlled bacteriological spice and this is, all in all, elegant.

The palate, however, is entirely undeveloped. Though it originally opens to impressive fruit -- raspberries and grape, mostly -- loaded with vinous, beaujoulais-like qualities, it feels thin and Spritey. Overwhelmed with an obnoxiously light soda element, this is an easy beer to forget about.

The label notes "careful maturation in oak casks," but the oak contributes little more outside of a woody flavor and some vanilla -- no body, no structure, or not enough.

Residually sweet of malt, Duchess doesn't deliver the caramel that I expect (and hoped for). Instead, this is a summery mix almost wine cooler-/mimosa-/balsamic reduction-like in its conception.

The properties of a Flemish red are here, but all the king's horses and all the king's men . . .

Relax, relax.
ng

ngandhi, May 17, 2004
Photo of jdhilt
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

Pours with a two-finger white head leaving that fades quickly but leaves a good lace. Clear, deep reddish amber. Nose is raisin. Tastes of raisins and apricots, smooth with sweetness but has a slightly tart finish. Complex - sweet and sour. A 330ml bottle was $3.50 from Colonial Liquors, Acton, Ma.

jdhilt, May 17, 2004
Photo of sulldaddy
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%

Well, I went back to Delaney's tonite and found this brew on tap in the tap-room. Cool!
The beer is served in a flute glass and is rather cold. The color is a rich mahogany with dark ruby tints. A soft creamy beige head rests gently on the top of the beer.
Aroma is mostly sour cherries and some spicy yeast hits as well, cloves for sure and some others.
First sip gives an average bodied brew with almost non-existent carbonation. A slighty syrupyness in texture. The flavor is very tart with sour cherries and granny smith apples coming out. The cherries dominate though. The finish is very sour and slightly drying. I really enjoyed this beer and wish there were some other examples of this style floating around CT.

sulldaddy, May 16, 2004
Photo of necoadam
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%

Damn this is an interesting beer. Granted this was my first time I've tried a flanders red, I didn't know what to expect. Poured out like thick cough syrup. Dark ruby with lots of carbonation. Smell..at first it was like soy sauce. But once you keep whiffing it, it smells like wine somewhat. Cheeries and plums comes to mind when smelling. Taste was unique. Beginning is tart, sweet and sour. Very complexed. Once the sourness goes away, fruits hit the palate with some woody finish to it. Finishes very dry to my surprise. Worth trying out.

necoadam, May 12, 2004
Photo of 99bottles
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

Appearance: Pours an unexpected dark mahogany with the slightest red color in the stream from the bottle to the glass. A inch of minute bubbles form a tight little head.

Smell: Very nice nose with a lot going on. One can sense the sweet richness of the malts and esters and then feel the tart sting, so common to the style.

Taste: Wow. Incredible complexity. A soft malt backbone swirls about the mouth first lending carmel sweetness, brown sugar, ripe fruit and then suddenly subsides allowing tart cherries, apples and pears to brush about the tastebuds. Intersting musky earthen flavor. This is so well put together that you greedily gulp it trying to figure out what else is in there that you can't quite define. Absolutely excellent.

Mouthfeel: Perfect balance, good body, but still light enough to refresh and be easily consumed.

Drinkability: I'd drink a six pack every day if I could afford it. Awesome representation of the style; not as mouth puckeringly sour as others. Quite a treat.

99bottles, May 10, 2004
Photo of cokes
2.93/5  rDev -29.6%

Cherried dark amber with a modest and slow-to-fade brown head.
Nose of raspberry vinaigrette, oak, and sugared red grapes.
Sweet and sour truly defines this. Like the sauce. You could dip chicken nuggets in this (actually, it's much more akin to German Sauerbraten in flavor, as opposed to McD's).
Alternatively, you could toss it on your salad, with it's screaming vinaigrette flavors.
This vinegar flavor is countered with brown sugar and cola syrup. Fruit notations too, caramelized plums, raspberries and cherries are foremost, but this seems to shift its shape enough for any number of fruit hues to be located. More brown sugar and cola midway. Tartness fades, and some light funk is introduced. Spoiling cream cheese, oak barrels, and perspiration. Ends with a crack of cinnamon and some lingering, sticky sweetness.
Light bodied and fizzy, yet a bit gooey as well.
There's a good deal that I like here, but it fails to coalesce into an enjoyable beverage. It's actually the sweetness here, rather than the sourness, that makes me wince.

cokes, Apr 30, 2004
Photo of abents
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Although this is my first time trying this particular style I will try and judge this one fairly. 11.2oz bottle pours a reddish brown with slight off white head that stays around. Smell is of nuts and sourness interesting mix here. The taste is to put it lightly interesting, but I like it. There is an upfront fruity sourness that lets the fruit linger and then the sweetness comes in and finishes nicely with some nutty tastes. I taste cherries for sure, but there's some other kinds of fruit in there as well I think. Lots of carbonation, but it's done rather nicely. It's definitly a different tasting beer, but it's very enjoyable none the less.

abents, Apr 14, 2004
Photo of IrishRedRock
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%

750ml bottle. Deep mahogany color, but when held to the light it gives off a ruby glow. There's that Flemish red! The aroma of previous 12 oz bottles I have sampled with ElGuapo smell a lot more like vinegar than this larger bottle does. The others we had, really REALLY reeked of Balsamic. It was an unbelievable aroma for a beer. This one only has traces of it, much milder, to go along with a tart, musty aroma.

Flavor is nicely sour and acidic, but certainly not overdone. Begins to sweeten as it warms, and some very fruity flavors come out, particularly cherries. Mouthfeel is perfection, smooth, crisp, with just the right amount of carbonation...and the tartness in the finish leaves you wanting to pour more of that big bottle. As "the handsome man" has said in his review below, this beer isn't for everyone; but you'll never know unless you try it.

IrishRedRock, Apr 13, 2004
Photo of ElGuapo
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%

A deep amber pour topped in a thick tannish covering of foam that sits on top for a long time. The aroma scares many away, but I love it. It is very sour with a character much like balsamic vinegar. There are a lot of fruit aromas and touches of spice to balance. This is one of the most interesting whiffers I have ever come accross.

The Duchesse has a crisp start with some tingly carbonation. She then smoothes out to a very nice mouthfeel. The body is medium-full. The sour flavor is awesome. It is big, bold, and absolutely beautiful. The fruit flavor and touch of spices balance just enough to keep the beer from being pure vinegar. I think that this balance is perfect. It may be the fact that I have had no other samples of this style, but it really does the trick for me. It is interesting and complex, and that sour bite keeps me wanting more. This will certainly become a regular whenever I feel like having a good brew. I get one every time I go to Eulogy, and now I have 750s to enjoy at home. This beer is definitely not for everyone, so if you don' t like it, send it to me.

ElGuapo, Apr 13, 2004
Photo of mzwolinski
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%

Ruby in color with a thin, light tan head. The aroma is, first of all, sour. Not as sour as I expected, but with a sharp vinegar zing to it. Hints of vanilla lie underneath.

The taste, OTOH, is every bit as sour as I expected, and then some. It can take quite a while to work through this to discover any other flavors, especially for a neophyte to the style like me. A hint of oak seems to poke through, and the middle develops a nice sweetness as the beer warms. The finish, however, is reassertively acidic with something of an apple flavor to it.

It's hard for me to call this beer very drinkable -- it's certainly not meant to be quaffed in a few gulps, and quite frankly, I have a hard time seeing myself return to it very often. I imagine it would pair rather nicely with food, given its wine-like qualities. Either way, though, it's an experience worth having.

mzwolinski, Apr 10, 2004
Photo of Mangus
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%

Appearance - ruby-copper red with a small tight lacy head.

Smell - complex, extremely interesting, light, fruity, clean

Taste - apples and fruit, intricate dance of flavors, tight crispness, and sweet tartness. What a wonderfully complex and interesting beer. I have to remind myself that this is actually beer that I'm drinking.

Mouthfeel - bubbly, crisp and syrupy. I'm salivating like Pavlov's dog's.

Mangus, Mar 16, 2004
Photo of BierReise
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

11.2 oz Bottle Best Before 27/05/05 A reddish brown with no head and only a bit of a foam layer. Looks similar to thr Vichtenaar I just had. Slightly acidic aroma with notes of rotten cherries and peppercorns. Quite spicy. Body is lively with carbonation and with a crisp somewhat dry finish. Flavor is sweet and sour with slight vinegar and acidic notes. Some sour fruit also in the mix. Overall much better than the Vichtenaar in my opinion and has some good flavor.

BierReise, Mar 04, 2004
Photo of SeanChouffe
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%

Pours a deep red/brown color with an off white head. The head diminished almost immediately and left a thin sticky lace. The aroma is tart and more like wine than beer -- cider vinegar smell. The taste is tart like a cider. The mouthfeel was somewhat complex: tart at the beginning with a dry middle and an astringent finish.

I have had this beer a couple of times. It does not appear to bee a good representation of the style, but a style of itself. An interesting experience.

SeanChouffe, Mar 03, 2004
Photo of bditty187
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Clear, beautiful dark ruby hue, there is also a hint of coppery-brown. The beige head reached a solid finger in height of foamy bubbles. I am impressed with the head retention; it slowly faded to islands of bubbles that lasted for the whole consumption. The lacing was bountiful, it looked like ripped wallpaper. This is a great looking beer. The nose is doughy with sweet/sour undercurrents, port wine, a kiss of fruitiness, oak notes too. The aroma is potent and thus inviting. It is too unique not to want to take a sip. So I do. After the first drink my initial reaction was simple: yum. The palate is very tasty and amazingly well rounded; the tartness is tremendously refreshing; the cookie dough is found behind the sourness. This is opposite of the nose. I like it. The wine-like features are soft, sweet, and earthy. The fruitiness was a basket of pears, cherry filling, and muted plums/raisins. Almonds. Wood. All in all, the palate is complex. The finish is pillow soft, very lazy and long lasting. Flemish Sour Ale is a style of beer I really dig and Duchesse de Bourgogne is a damn good (if not great) representation of the style. The carbonation is lively but the bubbles feel small, almost like nitrogen, how weird! All I can say is the mouthfeel is fantastic; there is also good bulk on the tongue. The drinkability is magical; I had to fight myself from sailing through my 11.2 ounce bottle (which was purchased in Iowa City). The alcohol content is ideal as well. I think this is a beer that every serious beer drinker should try at least once. I need more!

The only drawback, I get a bad case of the burps and they aren’t good burps like hops burps. Burp!

bditty187, Mar 01, 2004
Photo of Zorro
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%

Pours a clear dark red brew with some floaters in it.

Strong sour smell with a cherries and fruit scent. Is this a sour Lambic? Harder sniffing uncovers spice and a sweet smell too. The sweet smell is malt.

Flavor is very sour, with woody flavors. Cherries are present; this strongly resembles a Kriek Lambic in flavor. After you get over the sour shock other flavors come out. Add Honey, Mustard, and olive oil to this and you will have an interesting salad dressing.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Not real drinkable, it's to sour for most.

Zorro, Feb 19, 2004
Photo of frank4sail
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%

11.2 fl. oz. best before 2-11-04

Sharp vinegar (balsamic) and a slight sweetness of ripe dark fruit (plum) in the nose. Deep purple opeque look in the goblet. 1/2 inch pale beige head that is persistant. Inital tangy/sweet/puckering fruit taste of bing cherries and ripe plum is then followed by a sweeter woody finish. Medium mouth. Good but due to many factors not very drinkable.. a case of these would last you a very long time.

frank4sail, Feb 16, 2004
Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,132 ratings.