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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

3,141 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,141
Reviews: 1,355
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 142
Gots: 323 | 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: 3,141 | Reviews: 1,355 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cbl2
3.33/5  rDev -20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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 Quaffer
3.33/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle. Still one good year left according to the BB date.

Appearance: A deep, ruddy brown beer with a course, tan head. The foam rose up easily to over two fingers and disappeared quickly. A rough ring of bubbles was left around the edge of the glass, but there wasn't much lacing at all.

Smell: There was a lot going on in the smell. Sharp, tart fruit cameto mind first. It reminded me of straight cherry juice. It had a acidic edge to it, but was sweet as well. After that initial hit, I started to notice a stong oak character, wine vinegar, and hints of Brett. Very enjoyable overall.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied and slightly buttery at times in the front of the mouth. The carbonation really built as the beer sat in the mouth, until it became strong in the throat.

Taste: The first half of this beer was a combination of sweet and tart fruit, as well as a nice woody component. The tartness was not anywhere close to being as strong as I was expecting. Surprisingly light, in fact. The second half of the glass retained the aforementioned characteristics, but they became a shadow underneath a flat, astringent bitterness that clawed at the roof of my mouth. The finish was dry, with the aftertaste being a mix of sweet fruit and turnips.

The tartness just didn't seem to be there in this beer, and the astringency that developed was rough and harsh. I would like to give it a try again in the future, though.

Thanks, babydoc!

Quaffer, Jan 31, 2005
Photo of CowsCanBark
3.33/5  rDev -20%
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.

CowsCanBark, Dec 25, 2011
Photo of rhinos00
3.33/5  rDev -20%
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.

rhinos00, May 05, 2009
Photo of bennetj17
3.33/5  rDev -20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reddish -brown appearance, that is actually a deep amber up close. Lots of spritzy carbonation and 1/2 inch thick, tan foam that only settles a bit after while. The aroma is strong and vinous, lots of cherry and raisin fruit with a hint of vinegar and oak-like sourness. The taste unfortunately doesn't match up to the smell, as the flavor is almost too sweet, reminding me of grape juice. More dark fruit flavor, yet it is only weakly tart, leaving a light astringence in the finish. Mouthfeel is a bit light, decent carbonation, nothing spectacular.

The drinkablilty is average, it was hard for me to get into this beer. I was hoping for the taste to match the complexities first noted by the aroma. I would have liked it to be more sour also...

bennetj17, Oct 06, 2006
Photo of Crotor
3.3/5  rDev -20.7%
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.

Crotor, Dec 14, 2004
Photo of ngandhi
3.3/5  rDev -20.7%
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

ngandhi, May 17, 2004
Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.3/5  rDev -20.7%
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.

BedetheVenerable, May 19, 2009
Photo of pentathlete
3.3/5  rDev -20.7%
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.

pentathlete, May 07, 2005
Photo of tai4ji2x
3.28/5  rDev -21.2%
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.

tai4ji2x, Feb 19, 2009
Photo of petacutlasaurus
3.28/5  rDev -21.2%
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.

petacutlasaurus, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of JonBrand
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%

JonBrand, Jun 22, 2014
Photo of reaganrvltn
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%

reaganrvltn, Jun 29, 2014
Photo of blabaer
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%

blabaer, Jul 10, 2014
Photo of HuntDaddy540
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%

HuntDaddy540, May 08, 2014
Photo of beerFool28607
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%

beerFool28607, Jun 09, 2012
Photo of DrunkenMonk
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%

DrunkenMonk, Aug 06, 2012
Photo of mikesgroove
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%
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.

mikesgroove, Mar 16, 2007
Photo of Irish57
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%

Irish57, Feb 20, 2014
Photo of lurpy1
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%
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.

lurpy1, Mar 17, 2012
Photo of Bramsigman
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%

Bramsigman, Jun 12, 2014
Photo of dvb
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%
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?

dvb, Oct 31, 2010
Photo of Rand_ale_Thor
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%

Rand_ale_Thor, Dec 03, 2013
Photo of tvghost
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%

tvghost, Sep 03, 2014
Photo of thatoneguymike
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%

thatoneguymike, Apr 01, 2014
Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,141 ratings.