Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Not Rated.
Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,417 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

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Reviews: 1,417
Hads: 3,764
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 13.48%
Wants: 188
Gots: 636 | FT: 12
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,417 | Hads: 3,764
Photo of TechMyst
3.35/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Root beer appearance; opaque with garnet as transmitted color. White wine aroma. 4 months after 'best by' date, but let's be honest, that shouldn't matter much here. Apple cider vinegar taste. Sweet/sour dry grapes. No head retension; thick rings which slid back into brew. Bubbles spaced very far apart. Tried this warmer than normal. Thin Mouthfeel. No bloating, which is unique to this style for me. Resinous palate. Oaky with tart cherry undertones. Almost cloyingly sweet. Drinkable though. (495 characters)

Photo of woosterbill
3.35/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Lovely, clear ruby-amber body with an inch of frothy white head. Quick dissipation and almost no lacing. Nice color, but the head could use some work.

S: Straight-up acetic aroma: balsamic vinegar, cherry, and more vinegar. Pretty much as expected, but kind of boring.

T: Light vinegar, sweet fruit, and an acidic finish. Meh.

M: Light bodied yet sticky with pretty lively carbonation. Not especially pleasant.

D: Well, it's not like it's overly sour or intense, but it's just not that enjoyable to drink. I'd much rather quaff the stronger and more acidic Rodenbach Grand Cru.

Notes: While not a terrible beer by any stretch, this just isn't as good as, well, any other Flanders Red I've had - either Rodenbach, Ommegang Rouge, Willimantic Rodenzok, New Glarus Enigma, etc, etc. Too sweet and one-dimensional for my taste, but I can see how a lot of people could find it to be a good introduction to sours.

Cheers! (958 characters)

Photo of lurpy1
3.33/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Republic. Not a style I know terribly well, but I likes me some sours, and the one FRA I had knocked my socks off.

Beautiful, deep red pour. A word to the wise though. Typically this is poured into a goblet, and the ruby red liquid in the goblet makes one look like a wine snob. Be careful where you order this, it might get you on the bidness end of an ass whupping.

Smell is vinegary, citrus, sour cherry, plenty of funk. Nice.

Taste is good, vinegar, apple, cherry. Good stu....wait a minute, what is that? That's a strange taste. Where have I had it before? With steak. Yes. It tastes like A-1! Really! Don't get me wrong, I like A-1, I just don't want to drink a goblet full of it.

Mouthfeel makes for smooth sipping.

Despite the steak sauce sensation I was able to enjoy this beer. But the off putting taste keeps it well short of being great. (865 characters)

Photo of ngandhi
3.33/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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 (991 characters)

Photo of pentathlete
3.33/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a flute. Beauty ruby brown with large head. Nose is all tart and cherries. Taste is cherry fruit with some sour notes. Pleasant, but rather tame. I expected more sour bite. Too much sweetness, almost candy like flavors. Perhaps my palate was spent, but I was not altogether thrilled. Not a bad beer, but nothing special. (332 characters)

Photo of cvaypai
3.31/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle to goblet.

Appearance - Amber with beautiful red tone. Little to no head, less than 1/4 inch, dissipated quickly, no lacing.

Smell - Sour like old apples and cherries. Apple is the most powerful for me, like apple juice almost.

Taste - This seems more to me like wine, strong tastes of cherries, and yeast taste. As I drink more it becomes more apparent it is a belgian. Definitely can tell those strains. Not bad, but not really up my alley.

Mouthfeel - Tangy and carbonated, it feels like a wine in the mouth.

Drinkability - Just one of these babies. Maybe I need to let this style grow on me.

Hopefully this was just this bottle.

I think I need to try a few others of this style, definitely something I think needs to grow on me. (758 characters)

Photo of tai4ji2x
3.31/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml green bottle. cork has exp date of 3/10. poured into tulip.

dark, ruby red with brown tones. gemstone clear under the light. moderately sized, fluffy tan head fades to thin layer, then wisps. amazing curtain of lacing. no sediment in the bottle or glass - is this a filtered brew?

aroma is fruity cherries and faint molasses with a very weak funk note. light wood tones, plus damp earth or fallen leaves. whiff of vinegar.

surprisingly sweet with only a trace of acidity. fruity apple and cherries, with syrupy caramel and brown sugar. faint bitterness from grassy hops and more weak acidity, with another trace of wood and damp hay.

smooth, with acidic twinge at the end for texture. mild to moderate carbonation for some refreshment.

too sweet, almost cloying, and certainly not enough acidity or complex funkiness. pales in comparison to rodenbach grand cru or even monk's cafe. but i understand the appeal for sour beer novices, so this prevents me from totally trashing it. (989 characters)

Photo of rhinos00
3.31/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a burgundy, brown color with a nice three fingers width of off-white head. Some lacing as the beer is consumed.

S- Not very pleasant. Gives off a strong vinegar scent with some oak and sourness in between.

T- Not as overwhelming as the aroma. Toned down sourness that is more tart and a nice sweetness that balances the taste. Still this one is just off in some way.

M- Some carbonation. Had a thin to medium bodied mouthfeel.

D- This one was pretty hard to put down. The taste and aroma weren't doing it for me.

Overall, I love sours but this one was just not my cup of tea. Sour, yet sweet with a vinegar scent was all too much for me. I'll pass. (714 characters)

Photo of dvb
3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Reddish-brown, leaning more toward the reddish end. Large, off-white head that fades quickly but leaves a lot of lacing. Great clarity, no sediment. Filtered?

S - Smells of sparkling cider, apple cider vinegar, candi sugar and maturity.

T - This is a sweet, fruity, cider-like, tangy ale. Like a sparkling cider, but with more character.

M - Sticky, but not overly so. On the thin side, but not overly so. Overall, this does not drink like a beer at all. More like sparkling cider.

D - The sparkling cider qualities of this beer make it impossible for me to want any more than the one I tried today, but it is obvious that some great care went into making this product and that this is no doubt a fine example of the style

It is interesting to note that this beer is actually not just one beer, but two, as the product actually consists of the blending of two vintages of the same beer: 8 months old and 18 months old. It is also aged in oak barrels, some of which are decades old.

Did I mention that this beer is like sparkling cider? (1,045 characters)

Photo of petacutlasaurus
3.3/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had with crackers and blue cheese on Friday night. The food was better than the beer, though. I had a pretty negative response to this one. It's a well executed beer, one with a pretty clear mission and objective taste. That taste is just not for me. It's candy beer.

Duchess is incredibly sweet, apparent immediately from the pour in the stickiness and the lacing of the head. Reeks of sugar, candied cherries, maybe, covering up a bit of sourness and booze. The taste and the body together are quite potent. Definitely strong sour notes, but it's as if the brewer wanted to cover that sourness up, or subdue it, and in order to do so, loaded the beer up with sugars. As that sourness and sweetness collides, you get a taste not too far from Splenda. Pretty unpleasant.

I think it's useful to compare it with another readily available sour, the Monk's Cafe flemish sour. It's lower gravity, sweetness, and increased tartness/bite really serves the style in a more palatable way. But that's only if you're part of the musty/bitter camp like me. If you're sweet-toothed, grab one of these, you probably will love it. (1,117 characters)

Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.29/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: Beautiful caged/corked 750ml bottle with great label; expiration date of 06/10.

Appearance: Beautiful dark garnet brown beer with fluffy dark ivory cap with great retention.

Smell: Funky, tart lactic and woodsy aromas...quite sour, with almost a touch of vinegar.

Taste: Super tart/woodsy up front...hints of vinegar...light hints of tart/sweet cherry on the finish

Mouthfeel: Prickly and highly carbonated

Drinkability: Medium-medium low

Conclusion: Interesting and definitely unique....I had this once before with goat cheese and marinara...that was pretty tasty...by itself this is a bit intense, and while I can appreciate the complexity and uniqueness of the style, I'm not sure this one is for me...it was alright with Jarlsberg though. (762 characters)

Photo of CowsCanBark
3.29/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 25.4 oz bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a nice mahogany hue with a one-finger off-white head, not really any lacing.

Smell: It smells like wine, to put it simply; tart and fruity, and I despise wine.

Taste: It's much better than the smell. It's tart, sour, VERY sweet and fruity, mildly boozy, and mildly metallic. Too much sweetness, in my opinion.

Mouthfeel: Fits the flavor profile extremely well; high carbonation and medium bodied, slight dryness to the finish.

Overall: My first real dive into a beer that is tart and sour, and while it certainly isn't unpleasant, it's not something I'd actively seek out again. However, it has not turned me off from trying different sours, as it isn't disgusting by any means. (745 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
3.28/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

My very first sour ale. I was not sure what to expect going in, but definatly knew what it was about when it was done!

Poured a deep dark brown, with lots of reddish hints to it, making it almost seem a dull burnt orange in bright light. A huge billowing white head faded quickly, but left a nice film of lace about the top for most of the glass. The smell was probably the strongest I have ever smelled in a beer. Almost knocked me over. Huge flavors of sour grapes and apples, lots of fruity hints in there, and very very strong, really like nothing I have ever smelled. The taste was unbelievably sour. Like sour candy sour, huge flavors, too much for me. Actually made my eyes water with every sip. Very light mouth feel, and great carbonation were nice, and helped it go down smoothly, but was not really my cup of tea. Flavors were big, grapes, apples, peaches, raisins, plums, very very complex and fruity. Overall I did not enjoy it, but I am not sure if this was due t o the style or this particular brew. I will have to try a couple more to get a better feel, but this one was rough on me. I could see how someone would like its deep complex character, just not me. (1,178 characters)

Photo of Crotor
3.28/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I have a strange relationship with this beer. When I first tried it, as a nascent BA, it freaked me out. Tasted like vinegar. I thought it'd make a good salad dressing, but not a good beer.

The second time around, things are a bit different. Nonetheless, the beer remains, shall we say, *unique.*

Pours deep and dark with rich, crimson windowpanes. the low, tan head dissipates quickly.

Can't really pick up much on the aroma...

The taste hits big. Tart & sweet with an astringent finish. Behind the vinegary sourness there's a massive, cloying sweetness. The mouthfeel *seems* good, but admidst all the sweetness and tartness, it's difficult to notice anything else. Oh does the tartness linger...

After a little while in the glass, and a bit of warming, it seems to develop a foamy, effervescent feel in the mouth. Is it a bit salty?

In the end, all I can really say is that this beer is an *experience.* It seemed to hi every damn region of my tongue. Interesting certainly... Kinda like a Kubrick film - you know it was interesting, and you know a lot of work went into it, and it gave your brain a workout, but as to whether or not it was actually good, you don't really know...

My one major complaint would be that the sweetness of the beer was overly simplistic. I don't know if that's the result of the tartness deadening my palate, or if it's from the reported artificial sweeteners. Either way, it just seemed that it lost out on some of the subtlety that it could have had. (1,505 characters)

Photo of csiewert
3.26/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark ruby color with a trace of off white fizzy head that retain and laces pretty well. The aroma has notes of sour cherries, dark fruit and some vinegar. The taste starts with the sour cherries and then has a strong note of vinegar... Not very good. The mouthfeel is on par for what a sour ale should be like, but I don't know if I got a bad bottle or what, but this was way too vinegary for me. (415 characters)

Photo of BDLbrewster
3.26/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a striking ruby hue with a fluffy strawberry cream colored head that dissipates leaving some spotty lacing.

The first smell that I pick up on this brew is a thick but somewhat mild cherry infused funk. Sniff after sniff I get more cherry, apple and a touch of vinous alcohol. All I can think is merlot, this beer smells like wine... I love the smell this brew throws off.

My first sip provides a kick in the teeth of cherry. Sweetness followed by a mildly abrasive tartness combined with a very worked over tasting oak barrel flavor. I also get an earthy yeasty light gymsock funk as well. There is a strange resonating taste in the back of my mouth that honestly reminds me of the pink sweet and sour sauce at my corner Chinese restaurant. There is definitely a lot going on in this brew and It's taking a lot of sipping to grasp everything.

The mouthfeel starts out feeling quite light and airy, but as I swallow I get a strange coating effect that leaves a fairly extreme dryness. Carbonation is mild and almost unnoticeable after several sips.

Overall this is a good brew to enjoy a meal with, but a 750 will probably need to be shared. This brew is a bit sweet and cloying to enjoy a large amount of. (1,217 characters)

Photo of Overlord
3.25/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly ruddy medium brown. Kind of translucent. Inch or two of tan foam head.

Smell is ... weird. Vinegar? A bit of cherry tartness? Strange.

Taste is also weird. There's a real vinegar undercurrent. But, more like ... balsamic vinegar than a lambic/gueuze acidity. There's some cherry in here that I really love, and a bit of oaky woodsiness, but there's also a real sweetness to it I can't stand. With the vinegar, it's almost like sweet and sour. Real offputting after a while.

Delightful carbonation, though. (526 characters)

Photo of Floydster
3.24/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Goblet at Naja's Place

Super sweet and sour, one of my friend's favorites, so I gave it a try

10 ounces for $6.50 was a little steep in my book

Highly carbonated and large head

Berries and vinegar hints dominated the smell

Taste lasts a long time and makes you even thirstier

Could not drink much of this at all, 12 ounces would probably be the limit (356 characters)

Photo of Chessmaster
3.22/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Received a bottle of this as part of a Christmas sampler gift pack.
Poured from the bottle into the accompanying Barbe chalice.

A: Poured a beautiful dark ruby red that was clear enough to see through. A small white head turned into a lingering cap with some lacing

S: The initial smell from the bottle was off-putting vinegary sourness. This later mellowed into a pleasant tart cherry smell

T: Initial taste is of tart cherry, the finishing notes are just lingering tartness and bitterness. I assume this is correct for the style, but it is not _my_ style :-) No hop aromas nor flavors, no real malt flavors. Sort of like drinking a weird sour cough syrup. Didn't hate it, but didn't love it.

M: Crisp and refreshing, pleasant carbonation

O: Again, the style is not my favorite, but I can guess this is true to the style guidelines. Appearance was very nice, smell ended up being nice, the flavor just okay for me. (920 characters)

Photo of ChillMike
3.21/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep mulberry color with a smaller white head that has a little bit of pink color. It leaves some nice lacing all around the glass.

S: Very odd smell, like a mix of malts with I would say a Syrah/Shiraz smells like. Ahhh hence the aging in oak casks. Not overly impressed with the smell.

T: Very complex tasting beer, super sugary malt flavor, with a sour apple kind of taste with a mix of a champagne and wine mix. A little too sweet for my likings . I like the mix of flavors and it definitely is an interesting taste but this tastes too close to a lambic for my likings.

MF: Very light and bubbly, again almost like champagne. Interesting style for a beer.

D: Pretty drinkable if you're into the style I suppose. (723 characters)

Photo of ptykozoon
3.2/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Medium brown, beige head, sparse lacing.

Raisin, nuts, light funk, vanilla.

Taste is very sweet, nuts, lots of oak and sweet unripe grapes are at the front, the lightest pinch of sour going on. The sweetness overpowers.

Light spritzy mouthfeel.

A good starter belgian. A bit too sweet for my taste. (302 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
3.2/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a light, red wine color with a hint of brown. Smelled a bit like red wine, but with a slight hop nuance and cherry lambic tartness. Tasted very sour, this was my first Flanders Red Ale, so I didn't know what to expect. Reminded of a cherry lambic, something I would have after dinner with a tart torte. Could also taste some winey grape notes as well. Mouthfeel was light but with an unexpected tartness, I wouldn't have more than one of these 750ml bottles in a day. (474 characters)

Photo of Hophead101
3.2/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

had on draft at Zeno's in state college.
nice dark copper color. small frosty bubbles, not too much head, good looking. great sour smell - not too surprising knowing it is a flemish sour - a bit heavy on the vinegar smell - a little musty and moldy smell as well - but not all in a bad way. taste is not quite as good as it looks or smells. a bit disappointing. had a bit of an off flavor. it is within style, but just not the best flemish sour that i have had. one glass is enough of this one. (495 characters)

Photo of Docer
3.18/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Was recommended to me by a gal at By The Bottle.. so hear it goes... poured in a tulip.

- Bubbly creamy colored fizz... leaves a nice steady finger of head... dark ruby copper color, clear.. red... each and every bubble is of such uniform size... interesting,.

- Esters, plum, fig, vinegar... slight straw funk.. sweet.. almost minty..

- Interesting and very sweet. Light tartness, vinegar... syrup.. esters.. plum, fig, prune.. light woody notes, oak perhaps..

- Sticky sweet... very carbonated.. almost too bubbly. Light bodied..

- Overall a tad too sweet for my taste.. would like it to be a lot more sour... and it is a tad over-carbonated. Would like it better I think if more sugars were devoured and made into a 9% flemish. I bet it would taste a lot better. (773 characters)

Photo of ktorsneyweir
3.18/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I should've listened to the other reviews....

Looks great, smells great, tastes like you're drinking straight vinegar - and feels like it on the way down! I appreciate a good sour beer but this is not one (205 characters)

Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
91 out of 100 based on 1,417 ratings.