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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

3,245 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,245
Reviews: 1,362
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 150
Gots: 348 | 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: 3,245 | Reviews: 1,362 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Stimack
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap the other night while at Marhars. The brew was dark brown with a red like tinge to the color. Had a smallish head of tan bubbles that clung to the sides of the glass leaving some fain lacing down the sides of the brew. Before I really even try to take a whiff of the brew I can notice a sour like smell to it. On a deeper whiff of the brew, I notice fruit like smells that seem to blend or lead to the sour aroma. I believe that the fruit smell is of apple and/ or cherries but am not 100% positive. The taste is somewhat sweet with a clear sour flavor that goes nice with the malt backbone and spicy finish. Over all this is a great brew for people that like this type. For me I can usually handle about one before the sourness starts to get to me but I would and will get this brew again

Stimack, Nov 05, 2005
Photo of sacfly
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Best before 08-06-06 printed on the back label.

Pours a dark ruby brown color. Thin head of tan bubbles. Smell is a balance of sour and sweet apple.

Taste is…wow… almost creamy sour apple candy flavor. Slight tart cherry. Aftertaste is mildly sweet with that sweet tart twang.

What took me so long to try this? Not at all what I expected, but something that I will keep around for a nice change of pace.

sacfly, Oct 30, 2005
Photo of GreenWBush
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Blood red in the glass with dark brown highlights. A modest head.

Slightly vinegary on the nose with hints of cherries and sour apple. Oak characteristics appear later.

The taste of this beer is understandably devisive. Sour, funky, and amazingly champaign-like in alot of ways. Sourness builds up in the bottom of the palate in a strangely addictive way. Oak is strong by the end.

A tasty detour from my usual...

GreenWBush, Oct 29, 2005
Photo of grindcore666
1.13/5  rDev -72.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

A union of red and black beneath roasted marshmallow foam.

Aroma is of eggnog, sweet and sour sauce, and vinegarrrr. This is one of those occasions where I'm absolutely certain that's what I'm smelling. But...I'm disgusted by it.

After taking a sip: feels like a cherry cola before I sense the taste. A sharp, sweet, super sour cherry sensation escapes nasally. Sugar up the ying yang. Thick vinegar overdrive. Gross.

Carbonation. Carbonation. More carbonation. It's a super carbonated cherry cola with a tang. I think this one was too much for me: overly sweet and funky. Couldn't finish it. Awful.

grindcore666, Oct 21, 2005
Photo of OStrungT
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a ruby red with out much head at all. I saw a little off white head for just a second, but then nothing. This beer looks sort of like wine. This beer smells of sour fruit. Cranberries, cherries, and even a slight hint of apples. This beer smells very much like wine. This beer tastes sour, with strong fruit flavors. Like the aroma suggeste, I taste cranberries, and cherries. I dont detect too much in the way of hops. This beer is not very carbonated at all. It goes down smooth leaving a sour fruity aftertaste. This beer tastes slightly like wine. I think this beer would be a good session beer, if you can handle all the sour fruit. I am glad to have had the opportunity to try this unique ale.

EDIT 9 NOV 2007

Wow, after over 2 years, I am surprised at my review. I love this beer now, and I love the style. How could I have given it such a low review. I am going to rereview it once I drink another one.

OStrungT, Oct 20, 2005
Photo of JohnfromDublin
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted on tap in Café Gollem, Amsterdam on 16th October 2005.
Saw this on tap, and had to try it.

I have reviewed a Flanders red ale before (Bourgogne des Flandres) and quite liked it, but this offering surpassed it. Appearance was typical red/brown ale with a little haze and a thin off-white head.

Smell was fairly complex; lots of things going on. Taste was less sweet and sour than BdesF and much more complex. This was a very enjoyable experience, so I repeated it!

JohnfromDublin, Oct 19, 2005
Photo of fisherman34
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A brownish beer with hints of red. Aromas of cranberry, cherry, and sour raspberry. An interesting interplay of sweet and sour flavors, but it lacked some of the complexity, especially the vinegar notes, that are found in the Rodenbach Grand Cru. It lost it’s way a little on the finish too. Still good, just not fantastic.

fisherman34, Oct 18, 2005
Photo of mac56
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sample brought to me from Belgium by my sister, bless her heart.

Lovely ruby red appearance with an effervescent head that settled down to stay,

Slightly cidery aroma.

Taste: wow. Just wow. This bad boy's got a tang. Cidery and tart, with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. The tang clears the flavor away off the back of the tongue, clearing the path for the next swallow.

A special occasion beer, to be sure. I don't think I could drink more than one of these a night, but I can see doing just that sitting by a roaring fire in January sometime.

mac56, Oct 13, 2005
Photo of amatuerbeerguy
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured out ruby red color, off white head with lasting and lacing head retention. soured fruit, raison, floral, mulled wine aroma. some cherry, tangy, tart, sour, red wine flavors. moderate bodied with high carbonation. overall a nicely sour, tangy drink for the palate to dissect

amatuerbeerguy, Oct 02, 2005
Photo of WetCoaster
2.73/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: An even mix of garnet and brown, crystal clear, with a fizzy, yet rocky and firm tan head. Good retention and surprisngly sticky lace. Beautiful color, real stunner.

Smell: Wow, all over the place. Malt sweetness, yeasty, funky, woody, ripe cherry fruitiness, vinous, musty barnyard -- a real marvel, this. Wow.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Uh... yikes. Very, very, very sweet -- almost like Malta soda, if you've ever spent any time in Latin America or Miami -- while at the same time sour like a cherry Pez. But oddly, they don't seem to blend at all, it's two distinct flavors. In fact, this tastes exactly like a carbonated 10-year-old balsamic vinegar. Yeah, that's it -- dead-on. The mouthfeel, on the other hand, is the picture of normalcy, medium bodied, moderately carbonated, if a bit sticky.

Drinkability: I'll be the first to admit this is not a style with which I've had much experience. So while this may or may not be a stellar example of the style, it's something I simply do not like. Novel, but not something I'll be back for any time soon.

WetCoaster, Sep 22, 2005
Photo of Px2GrafX
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

presentation: 11.2oz. bottle with a black label on the front displaying a rennaisance painting of what is assumed to be the duchesse de bourgogne. she has a bird on her finger. a lot of belgian text. "flemish art of brewing" on top of label. 6.2%abv is displayed and there is a best before date of: 17-03-06. the back label says this is "blended with between 8 and 18 month old beers following careful maturation in oak casks".

appearance: pours a deep dark red with a light tan head in a tulip glass. beautiful ruby read highlights and looks a lot like a less opaque red wine. head is a nice 1" fluffy head that drops to a patchy capper after a few minutes. laces very well.

smell: first smell is sour and wine-like. woody and there are some other fruit aromas. grapes and cherries. lightly spicy aroma typical of a lot of belgians.

taste: sour cherries overlying a lightly woody undertone. champagne-like flavors as well. not much hop bitterness. caramelly sweet mixes with champagne and wine and bready flavors. quite a lot going on here. finish is sweet and sour and inviting.

mouthfeel: very creamy medium-heavy body. surprising. very smooth with a silky smooth swallow. carbonation balances the smoothness well. excellent mouthfeel.

drinkability: drinkability is good but seems to be more of a sipper. alcohol is well hidden. taste and finish make this an inviting drink, but the champagne-like creamy mouthfeel and sourness slows the drinking down a bit. slow drinking, but very easy to drink.

overall: this is an amazing red ale. i have to get some more of this. i wonder how it will change over a year. nice sweet and sour flavors remind me of what a fruit beer should taste like. complex now and maybe even more so after laying down. a must try.

Px2GrafX, Sep 19, 2005
Photo of EMV
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a pretty impressive Red Ale out of Belgium that I picked up at a SAQ (gotta love that place) on a whim, and is definitely a nice spicy alternative to whatever you normally drink. This one pours a rich dark reddish/brown with about an inch of creamy head that fell fairly quickly, leaving a great lace. The aroma is tart, yeasty, and very sharp, giving a great prelude as to what the beer is going to be like.

The taste itself is excellent and complex, with both sweet and sour flavours vying for dominance. There's a fruity touch there, and a smooth aftertaste that really rate this one high on the drinkability. It's one to be sipped and savored rather than gulped, and the ample carbonation is also very pleasant. Like I said before, I would definitely recommend this as an alternative to your regularly scheduled brew on one of those nights you need something a little more spicy.

EMV, Sep 14, 2005
Photo of Beertracker
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Duchesse de Bourgogne should be served at (47-53F) from a traditional tumbler or logo goblet. This lady has plenty to offer even the pickiest of beer lovers. DDB pours up very nicely with plenty of Belgian lace. The translucent burgundy-brown body is offset beautifully by a fluffy, cream colored head. The nose is full of fruity complexity and sweet malty undertones. The classic Flanders aroma also has a subtle oak character, some oxidation and lots of noteable sourness. Hints of aged Balsamic vinegar, cordial cherries, fresh green apples, hot caramel fudge and creamy vanilla pudding come to mind. The first sip creates an initial sourness upon the palate that seems to shock every taste bud on the tongue! Once the acidity fades, then sweet caramel, roasted almond, spiced rum, and raisiny malt flavors emerge intermingled with the sourness. The finish is decidely tart, dry (oaky & tannic) and slightly spicy. The medium-full body is alive with a zesty carbonation that creates a creamy texture despite itself. This Flanders Red Ale is surprisingly smooth & drinkable. I highly recommend that you seek out some of this "Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry" of the beer world on tap. Enjoy DDB as an apertif or as a after dinner treat paired with bread pudding, cheesecake, creme brulee, flan or fresh orchard fruit & nuts.

CHEERS! Beertracker

Beertracker, Sep 05, 2005
Photo of RidiculedDisplay
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was my first Flanders Red, and I can say this is undoubtedly one of the most unique styles of beer I've ever tasted. Just completely in its own dimension. That being said, different also meant complex and wonderful in this instance. Pours a very deep, deep red with hints of oaky brown. Aroma is of bourbon-soaked wood, tart apple, apricot, date, grapes, dark cherry. Taste begins with tart apple, transforming into a almost tropical note, and then ending on a distinctive kick of bourbon or finer whiskey. Wow. Mouthfeel is bubbly, slightly astringent but pleasantly so. Suprisingly drinkable as well. Overall one of my favorite finds of the year.

RidiculedDisplay, Aug 31, 2005
Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very clear rich Red color with about an inch of loose tanish foam at first pour. There are quite a few bubbles rising that maintain the head pretty well. There is some loose lacing around the glass after consuming.

Aroma: You can definitely smell a "woody" character to this beer. There are bunches of dark fruits in the aroma of this one. I can smell fig, black cherry, and plums initially. I may be imagining this, but it is almost like I smell sour green apples here also. The aroma is really complex!

Taste: The flavor is also really complex, but with this example, it doesn't match the aroma that much. It somehow starts of syrupy sweet with a bit of astringency, and then this fades to let the sour in to play for the finish. Your palate is left mostly dry with a slightly sweet and earthy finish. There is a little bit of warming from the alcohol that is noticeable deep in the throat, but the complexity of the flavor makes it easy to miss. The carbonation is just right to send this beer across your palate without hitting it too hard.

Opinion: This is a mighty fine beer! It is a bit sweet for my taste, and I am assuming that it was added to make the beer more appealing to the masses. There is definitely a sour component to the beer, and it manages to maintain a woody character. This is a beer that I would have often if it was available in my area, but at the same time, it isn't one that I would have too many of. I'd definitely recommend it!

SkeeterHawk, Aug 19, 2005
Photo of Gritsak
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- deep brown with a thick head. when held up to the light a brillant red body shows through

S- sweet, fruity aroma that is very similar to wine.

T- again very sweet and fruit taste. high carbonation makes it almost like a sparkling wine. this beer was like nothing ive ever tasted.

M- medium body with high carbonation. not to thick but enough to let you feel it.

D- while the taste is extremely unique and pleasent, i couldnt imagine drinking this all night due to the sweetness.

overall- WOW. very suprised by my first flanders red ale. nothing like i ever would have expected. nothing like any other beer ive had. im looking forward to trying other beers of the same style to compare.

Gritsak, Aug 18, 2005
Photo of yelterdow
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finally tasted this one after putting it off week after week. Served in the Duvel tulip at just above fridge temperature.

Appearance- Pours the color of raspberry iced tea with a smooth, creamy one-finger head. Settles to a thin mat after a few minutes.

Smell- Barnyard funk and sour cherries with an underlying sweetness.

Taste- Starts off like full flavored sour bubble gum, and finishes with an almost artificial sweetness. Candy ice cream. Awesome big taste, but the lingering aftertaste reminds me of Red Bull. That is not good.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Chewy and mouth-coating, smooth carbonation. A bit rough towards the end, with explosive activity towards the back of the throat. Aside from the saccharin-like notes in the taste, this is a decent Flanders sour ale that is readily available here.

yelterdow, Aug 18, 2005
Photo of bruachan
3.38/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

from arrowine

big arty green bottle that emitted a musty aroma of port and masala wine. the beer poured a beautiful clear burgundy, though it didn't hold much of a head (not nothing, but minimal lacing and only a collar). the nose from the glass was equally complex and winey as from the freshly uncorked bottle: reminded me of my mother's chicken masala. a friend and i agreed that there was definitely a meat dish of some sort in there

actually drinking it was a bit of a bonerkill. so incredibly sweet, with little of the sour belgian character i was hoping for (my only experience with with style previously was a rodenbach, so my standards are perhaps artificially high). actually tasted like cranberry-apple cider, with only a hint of that sourness i longed for. to top that off carbonation was sparse so the perception of sweetness was enhanced further. dissappointing

bruachan, Aug 16, 2005
Photo of cracgor
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Tawny in color and very dark. Rocky grey head.

Smell: Funky smell. Vinegary. Sweet/sour.

Taste: Tastes funkier than it smells. Has a sweet grapefruit like after taste. Upfront it is kind of fermented grape. Tastes a lot like Port wine if less sweet. An earthy sour beer flavor.

Mouthfeel: well carbonated feel, almost too much.

Drinkability: It is a good beer. However, flemish reds are a different type of beer and so be prepared if you are jumping into the style for the first time.

cracgor, Aug 08, 2005
Photo of BDTyre
3.2/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Wierd.

An impressive deep copper colour, but not much head. Smells like wine, with traces of spice. It taste very similar to wine, or even alcoholic grape juice, with hints of plum, spices, raisin and even coffee in the background. Very interesting.

Carbonation is good, but this beer seems at times too sweet and wine-like. The richness and higher than typical strength will probably limit me to one of these a session.

BDTyre, Aug 08, 2005
Photo of Skidz
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out bright copper-brown and sits deep, ruby brown in the glass with a good sized, battered tan head, fading to a faint skim, pushed to the sides with some good lacings.

Smells of sweetened caramel and dark brown sugar, tart and sour in the back. Tart cherries and golden raisins mingle with figs and browned apples. Wooden hues along the sides, faint leafy hops.

Medium sweetness and well-matched tang and light acidity up-front, boasting pre-ripe tart cherries, pears, apricots and raisins. Fantastically mouthwatering, juices drip all over. Brown sugar coats the crowd and melds to bits of charred oak. Finish is equivalent to the introduction, but fades out with a very mild, almost non-existent bitterness hinting on grape seeds.

Crisp in the mouth with tact carbonation. In time with some gentle swirling, this mellows out into the delightfully smooth, silky body that lies underneath. This is built for an overnight stay in the mouth.

I cannot find a flaw large enough to constitute a complaint as this beer is highly drinkable and warrants many more encounters. A very finely crafted ale.

Skidz, Aug 03, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy cinnabar with orange highlights and a considerable amount of uprushing carbonation. The small, airysoft, golden beige head has a featureless surface and a less than impressive lifespan. A thin ring of delicate lace indicates the high water mark of the head, and a series of vertical streamers run down to the deflating cap. Although the color of the liquid is great, not much else impresses.

Duchesse is the most vinegar-like beer that I've ever smelled. It isn't overwhelmingly vinegary, but if I caught it in the midst of deterioration, I wouldn't have wanted to pop the cap much farther along. There's also a funky, sour cherry aroma that I find appealing. On repeated sniffs, the cider vinegariness isn't all that bad. If it's that dominant on the palate, though, I smell trouble.

Vinegar is still noticed... and still stops just short of being a deal breaker. I would love to taste DDB fresh so that I wouldn't keep flashing back to coloring Easter eggs as a kid. This bottle is still more than a month away from its 'best by' date, so maybe it's supposed to taste like this. It's puckeringly sour and acidic with sour cherries still running rampant. I'd be amazed if cherries didn't play some role in the brewing process.

As I get deeper into the glass, I can appreciate a fairly significant sweetness that's all the more noticeable because of the medium-full, lightly viscous mouthfeel. The seltzer-like carbonation feels out of place, but it does keep things from bogging down and becoming overly syrupy. It also eliminates much in the way of mouthcoating; the finish is surprisingly clean.

I'm conflicted about Duchesse De Bourgogne. I can taste the outlines of what must be an incredible Flanders red, but this particular bottle tastes like it's on the cusp of the point of no return. Even though it's still drinkable, I'm convinced that the Duchesse and I haven't met in the most optimal of circumstances. I'll keep an eye out and will give a younger, more vivacious version a second review.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 01, 2005
Photo of cypressbob
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

250ml bottle

Pours with a deep red body, burgandy hints of brown. Small light tan head with some retention, a fair bit of lacing

Smell, strong esters, super gluey esters too, tart acidic cherries.

Taste, crisp biting tart cherry, thick malty backbone. Lasting tart, vinegar on the palette. Esters again, red wine, other port notes

Another amazingly complex red ale, I could see myelf taking rodenbach over this mainly due to its amazing drinkability and session qualities but this is perhaps a tad more complex

cypressbob, Jul 30, 2005
Photo of Andreji
4.88/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

WOW. I won't try to describe this beer to perfection because words just won't be enough. I invited a few friends (among which owner of Ozy Pub Camilo Ospina) to try this beauty out. I'd aged it for about a year.

The pour is just mystical. you seem like you're indulging in a frambozen sort of- as in, the pour is very dark, almost purplish-brown, and the head is clearly white with a medium consistency.

The smell....well, it wasn't all that strong, but as you acknowledge it you find all sorts of blends (screw it, I won't step into this) ranging through cocktails, fruits, wines....

The taste and mouthfeel....OMG (I don't like this sort of acronym but it seems suitable). It's just beautiful, you feel like you've blended a lambic with a kir royale, and the offspring is just bliss. wonderful in soooo many senses!

I downed the drinkability and mouthfeel just for the sake of it that is, just that I absolutely was enchanted by this beer but it's not perfect (in my de leckere standards) but this IS A MUST for any beer lover. bless you, madame la duchesse.

Andreji, Jul 29, 2005
Photo of connecticutpoet
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This poured out a clear reddish-brown with a one finger head. It left a little bit of lacing on the glass.

The aroma was a blend of sweet & sour, worcestershire sauce, cherries, light malt, and oak tannins.

Taste mirrored the aroma... sweet & sour and cherries. It was rather tart. Excellent.

Mouthfeel was perfect for the taste, and I would get this one in a heartbeat were I able to find it around me. Thanks to GClarkage for the trade!!!

connecticutpoet, Jul 27, 2005
Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,245 ratings.