1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Not Rated.
Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

3,136 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,136
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Duchesse De Bourgogne Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,136 | Reviews: 1,355 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of soper2000
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%

Having this on-tap at the Hopleaf was a wonderful experience and compelled me to purchase a bottle for review. It poured a very handsome burnt maroon with a small tannish head that quickly retreated to only provide a nice lacing on the glass. Smell is ever so slightly tart with a nice woody/earthy background and a small note of yeast is present as well. Taste is quite refreshing and complex at the same time. Tart cherries eventually yield to a massive oakiness that lingers on the tongue. Finishes sweet. Very good beer in my opinion. On-tap was just a tad better for me, but I'm sure that was due to my surroundings and the gigantic bucket of mussels sitting in front of me.

soper2000, Mar 15, 2005
Photo of gimmehead
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%

Beautiful burgundy brown infused with ruby highlights and multitudes of streaming bubbles that form a thin but lasting head. The smell was a little sweet initially, but rapidly changes to a very winelike aroma. Flavor is great. Sourness up front, grapes and tart cherries, caramel malt backing that does't quite balance the tartness and a lingering vinous mouthpuckering semi-dry finish. Very good. The tartness builds with each beer so if you are planning on making this a session keep some palate cleanser handy.

gimmehead, Mar 13, 2005
Photo of UncleJimbo
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%

Sampled at The Sunset in Boston.

This beer poured a clear, dark brown color with creamy, tan foam that settled flat. The smell was a modest but pleasant lightly tart aroma. The taste had a mild tartness with some fruitiness (cherries) and a bit of dried fruit. There was a hint of tangy sweetness and some sour caramel flavor in the finish. The mouthfeel was tart and crisp with medium body and modest carbonation. The flavor lingered only briefly. This was a decent Flanders Red ale, but I expected more from it. The flavor and aroma seemed somewhat muted compared to others of this style. I will have to give this one a try out of a bottle sometime soon.

UncleJimbo, Mar 11, 2005
Photo of Gaisgeil
2.93/5  rDev -29.6%

Hm, reading the other reviews really makes me wonder if something was wrong with my particular bottle...

Poured a beautiful deep red with a thin lace of a head. Nose was very intriguing, notes of apple peel, grains, very fragrant. The taste followed a similar vein only to be taken by an intense sourness, not unbearable, but not particularly pleasent either.

I'll have to revisit this brew another time, I seem to be the only one with this experience.

Gaisgeil, Feb 28, 2005
Photo of TinusTime
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%

Pours a brownish red. With a nice fluffy head. The head doesnt last as long as some, but disolves into a thin lace on top. The aroma is extremely complex. Hints of apple, sour cherries, oak, light smoke, leather, fig vinegar. Everytime you take a sniff there seems to be something different there. Taste Is seemingly as complex. Its a great blend of both sweet fruity notes with some sour cherry, vinegar notes. The taste might not be for all. At first it reminded me of the Italian tradition of having a shot of really nice balsamic vinegar after a meal. The sourness however, does not overwhelm and the beer has a nice lightly carbonated mouthfeel that keeps the sourness from becoming too much and lets the sweetness and oakiness shine through. Drinkability is good, however im sure after a number of these the acidity would play wreck havoc with ones GI tract. Overall I recomend this beer and it goes wonderfully with tart foods or foods with cherries in them.

TinusTime, Feb 25, 2005
Photo of FenwaySquid
4.45/5  rDev +7%

Presentation: 11.2 oz bottle poured into a Chimay chalice. (the date on the bottle said best before 17-3-06.) The beer book I have showed it in what looked like an oversized wine glass, and that was the closest thing I could find to match.

Appearance: poured a very dark reddish brown, the carbonation was spritzy. A small head formed initially then faded qickly into a lace around the edge of the glass. A small, almost clould-like puff remained in the center though.

Aroma: Very faint, what I could detect was slightly sour.

Taste: I'm new to this style, and this is easily the most complex beer I've ever tasted, so here goes. At first it is sweet and pleasant, reminiscent of cherries. Then it takes on a more sour flavor, almost like a red wine, but not quite. the finish was rather vinagery, but still pleasant. Throughout the entire time it remained very smooth and semi-sweet.

Overall: This is a beer I wasn't sure I'd like, and I came away pleasantly surprised. I'm not sure I'd want to drink it on a daily basis, but it is truly a remarkable brew. I'd rather break it out once a month or so simply to remind myself how truly complicated and different beer can be. Once you're at this point you're light years away from anything the average person imagines when they think of beer, but that's the whole point, isn't it?

FenwaySquid, Feb 21, 2005
Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%

pours with a light beige fizzy head that dissipates toa thin head layer rather quickly. A shower of tiny bubbles rises from the bottom of the glass constantly. It pours a deep ruby amber and leaves minimal lacing.

Very little aroma in this one but what is there sort of smells like a sweettart.

Taste is very sweet in the beginning and then turning to a sour apple vinegar to the finish. There are hints of cherry and other berries with no real hop presence.

The carbonation level is a bit soda like (extremely fizzy) with a nice medium body to the mouthfeel.

I am pretty much a newbie to this style but it is quickly becoming one of my favorites!

Wolfsdenbrew, Feb 21, 2005
Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.93/5  rDev +18.5%

11.2 oz. bottle with best before date of 22-4-06.

Pours a deep red- dark copper with a large tan head comprised of big bubbles that quickly dissipates.

The aroma is very complex, very tempting. Fresh tart cherries, musty earth tones, bourbon.

Easily one of the most complex brews I've drank. Cherry juice. At first light and refreshing, I had a hard time not slamming this down. Very tangy, very sour. Even at 6.2% abv the alchohol is warming down the gullet. Slight metallic taste, but it adds rather than distracts to the beer's awsomeness. Lime. Hershey's cocoa from the tin towards the end. The finish doesn't finish, with sour malt going and going.

I could easily drink this every day, but it would be like eating steak and lobster every day. Speaking of which this beer begs to tried with a wide range of food.

Shultzerdugen, Feb 13, 2005
Photo of Quaffer
3.33/5  rDev -20%

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 CharlesRiver
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%

Pours out a dark reddish-brown with a nice off white head that seems to last. The smell is wonderful. Sweet, sour, balanced and simply amazing. The smell is a perfect five.

Taste is much more smooth than I expected. Cherries, wood, and a tad on the sweet side. No alcohol is present. So smooth and so balanced I am amazed this beer is aged in oak.

To be honest, I am sure there are better beers from this style. But, they are not that easily available. This is the best that I have had from this style and I can't wait to try more.

CharlesRiver, Jan 22, 2005
Photo of claytri
4.63/5  rDev +11.3%

The beer poured a beautiful rich brown that let just enough light through to provide read highlights. It generated a thin tan head. The aroma is sharp and winey with an alcohol burn. The tastes starts with a wonderful tanin taste, then moves to a sweet dark berry flavor, and finally progresses into a dark tart fruit finish. The feel is smooth and creamy with a nice rounding of flavors on the tounge. An absolutely enjoyable drink and something I will have to consider everytime I go to the shelf to make a purchase.

claytri, Jan 15, 2005
Photo of kindestcut
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%

OK, so the conundrum is...how do you review a beer fairly if it turns out you don't really care for the style? Well, that's what I had to deal with here.

I wanted to like this beer. I really did. But I couldn't get into it (I say this as I drink a stout to cleanse my palate). So, I've looked at the style attributes and I've tried to be as fair as possible.

The Duchesse De Bourgogne poured a reddish brown. The off-white head was very active, rising to the top of my goblet and staying for quite a long time. When it began to recede it left a pretty lace.

The aroma was a combination of sweet and sour, reminding me of a good raspberry sauce with hints of lemon. If that sounds out of character, then it's because I was straining to find something familiar here.

The taste was also complex. Any hoppiness was dominated by a dramatic sweetness that gave way to a tart finish...a sour character that lived beyond the swallow. However, this beer is far more sweet than sour. The alcohol, although a hearty 6.2%, was not to be tasted.

Again, it's not my cup of beer but graded by the style, I suppose it's a solid example.

kindestcut, Jan 08, 2005
Photo of lackenhauser
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%

Very nice deep chestnut brown color. No real head to speak of. Oakey,vinuous aroma. Makes me think of a cabernet. Raiseny like flavor. Malty upfront. Very wine like. Not overly sweet-nice balance between sweetness and a slight sourness. Good smooth body. A nice beer. Good sipping beer-not real high in alcohol but a sipper none the less.

lackenhauser, Jan 04, 2005
Photo of ggroller
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

I just drank my first Duchesse on Christmas Day 2004 and was completely excited about what I saw and smelled in my glass without even taking the first sip.

The color was a dark, velvety, burgundy brown with a large fluffy head similiar to one seen on a Beligian White.The aroma was like nothing I have ever smelled before. Sour cherries was the first thing I noticed followed by sweet cherry and orange mingled with woody earthiness. Upon taking the first sip I first tasted sour then sweet; just like the aroma.

This beer is very drinkable and in my opinion a session beer. It was sweet but not too sweet. Sour but not too sour. And the finish left my palate clean and wanting more.

ggroller, Dec 28, 2004
Photo of ReindeerFlotilla
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%

I tried this at the Hopleaf, a pub on the north side of Chicago. Got it on tap, and it poured deep brown with a small head, which dissipated quickly. The aroma was somewhat fruity with a hint of hops. The beer looked hearty, but the mouthfeel was actually a bit on the thin side. The flavor was incredible. It has characteristics similar to something like a Lindeman's Kriek, but the sweetness was not as pronounced and there was more of an oak characteristic to the flavor and it tasted more "ale-like" than a sweet lambic. The finish was wonderful -- a bit fruity with a hint of cherry. Overall, an outstanding beer.

ReindeerFlotilla, Dec 23, 2004
Photo of medic25
4.2/5  rDev +1%

Definitely a change of pace from the everyday beer. Served in a chalice, fairly short-lasting brown-tinged head tops a dark, reddish brown beer. The first whiff has quite a bite to it. Once you get past the initial vinegarish scent, a more fruity odor dominates. The acerbic trend continues with the first sip; an almost overpowering (but not at all unpleasant) sour cherry flavor dominates. The tingling aftertaste is probably my favorite thing about this beer; think eating sour patch kids when you were younger. Not a beer I'd suggest to introduce your macro friends to the BA world, but overall a pleasant drinking experience.

medic25, Dec 14, 2004
Photo of Crotor
3.3/5  rDev -20.7%

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 Dukeofearl
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%

I had heard odes sung lovingly (if not off-key) to this brew long before I had a chance to try it (that would be you, LongBeachBum) before I got to try in in its homeland of Belgium (I definitely recommend this approach, if you can do it!). But this review is based on a single bottle I found here in the states. I was worried- was it too old? Had it been handled properly? Well, guess what- this was not a problem!!!

Bottle best-by 3/31/05. Pours a dark brown with ruby port highlights, with a medium tan head and off-white chunks of yeast that quickly dissolved. Aroma is very inviting- pretty sour (in a good way) with dark fruits that offset each other very nicely. Flavor- ohmigod! Tart and brown sugar and candied fruits and sour cherries and plums and yes, all offset by the tartness. Talk about balance! I love this stuff!

One odd notation- there was a strange pond scum effect (I assume from the dissolved yeast) that sat below the head and above the beer. Gave an unusual smoothing effect I've never experienced elsewhere. Was not a bad thing, but strange.

Overall- can I have some more, please?

Dukeofearl, Dec 10, 2004
Photo of paterlodie
3.1/5  rDev -25.5%

From label and name a beer with great appearance. Also from beerstyle one to watch out for of course... or not?
Appearance in the glass is not exceptional, no big head and a brown, in sunlight red colour. Smell is fruity and litle sour with some oak. Taste is mild( compared to the Rodenbach grand cru) and a lot sweeter& less sour. Some oak is there but taste is mostly sweet and gets sweeter and sweeter. After drinking half a glas and reviewing it I got more and more a feeling that it was lemonade what I was tasting. Maybe a nice beer for people that start with sour beers but nothing special to me.

paterlodie, Dec 06, 2004
Photo of alexgash
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

Dank, dark ruby with orangeish highlights around the edges. Big, almost gushing, reddish-tan head.
Smell is tart, oaky fruit (cherry?) with olives, earth, and light vinegar. Interesting. Tastes much like it smells. Lively carbonation. Sweet yet dry tart fruits (strawberry, cherry). Musty oak accent throughout. Very interesting. Finish is fruity and tart. Mama likes. Medium-bodied, high carbonation, and quite drinkable. I like this style to begin with (represented by the few samples I've had) and this doesn't disappoint. Recommended.

alexgash, Nov 29, 2004
Photo of amicar
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%

From a just-shy-of 12oz bottle, poured into a standard cabernet wineglass. Part of a food/ wine pairning.

Poured with a slight brown- tinged head; the beer color has a mid- caramel with red undertones. The smell itself is amazing- a hundred different smells pull you in multiple directions; you get just a hint of the fruity tartness that lies under the surface;
The sip is a little tart and malty at the same time; there's a full toffee/ caramel feel and a syrupy sensation, but none of these aspects are overdone; they are restrained just the right amount to let the dried tart cherry taste underneath through; the tartness is 'almost' masterfully balancing the sweetness; I would have preferred a hair less.

I thought this was a great beer when I tasted it alone; then I had it with food.... oh my gawd.
The meal was a pork tenderloin with a portabella/ shallot/ cream sauce (if anyone wants, beermail me and I'll share the recipie). The underlying sweetness matched nicely with the shallot/ cream sauce, and the muskiness of the beer and that of the mushrooms were perfect together; The tartness/ cherry sensation was less pronounced but still detectable with food. mmm....

anyway, overall, this is a fantastic beer. Alone, a single bottle can occupy you for an extended period of time; however, it would be tough to have more than one (kind of like very how you can only take so much rich chocolate) at a sitting. I can see how it's probably not for everybody; Definitely try it with food, especially something with cream or that has similar body.

amicar, Nov 21, 2004
Photo of Suds
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%

Now this is something interesting! I completely didn’t expect the flavor of this brew.
It pours a dark, deep, rich brown and red. The carbonation is extreme, contributing to a huge, soft, tan head. Amazing lace. The aroma is wild and strange…both acid and sugar, yeast, cherries, smoke, berries, candy, vinegar, and countless other sensations. Wooo….the smell alone is dizzying with complexity. The taste is out of this world….sweet and sour…cloying and mouth-puckering. It’s a mashed-up dichotomy of unexpected flavors. Again, extraordinary strange….I can see that this one’s not going to be for everyone. Thin to medium mouthfeel, with a lot of prickly effervescence. I personally didn’t find it extremely drinkable….it’s an experience, and good (without a doubt), but it’s also tongue-taxing and the acidity got to me.

Suds, Nov 14, 2004
Photo of PatandDavid
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%

Had on tap at Anam Cara, and I enjoyed this one. I am liking this style! Anyway, pour when served was the dark burgundy, no head. It had a rather muted aroma, although I thought there were some kriek like notes. I found it easy to drink, more sweet than sour, with some cinnamon powder like taste and texture in the finish. I am intrigued by the sweet vs sour experiences of the other reviewers when trying this beer. Maybe it has an evil twin? I liked this, and would get again.

PatandDavid, Nov 13, 2004
Photo of ncbrewerbun
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%

This came in a brown 11.2 oz bottle with a "Best Before" date of 10-11-05.

This classic Flanders Red poured an inviting brown/burgandy color with ruby tints and an off-white head

The aroma was a sweet-sour cherry and malt combination. I did pick up a little vinegar and oak.

What a great interaction of sweet malt and fruity/berry flavors with the sourness this style calls for. An enjoyable complex beer and a unique style.

ncbrewerbun, Nov 07, 2004
Photo of dgallina
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%

Pours a deep clear mahogany with red highlights. Creamy tan head which subsides to a frothy layer and substantial creamy lacing. Rounded wine-like smell with woody tones (likely to be too sour for some). Initially soft, tart flavors which develop into a rounded fruitiness. The flavor is much more subtle than the smell would initially suggest. Very satisfying creamy smooth medium body.

dgallina, Nov 03, 2004
Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,136 ratings.