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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

3,341 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,341
Reviews: 1,367
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 151
Gots: 378 | 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: 3,341 | Reviews: 1,367 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GarrettB
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Elegance, as inherited through primogeniture and blue blood, has long passed. In its place is something we prefer to call class, which is related to archaic elegance but only remotely. Anybody can have class; the magnate in his vogue mansion or the cad in on the street. It isn’t easy to learn it, and its impossible to purchase it, but class can be trained. Elegance, as the wealthy were expected to have in years past, is altogether unattainable, even for some of the rich. The first and most obvious requirement is to be ejected from the womb of a bourgeoisie, and preferably to have been fathered by one. After that, it was merely a game of chance against in-breeding and developed tyranny that sculpted the, quite literally, nouveuax rich into adulthood. History is replete with cases of royal albinos, trisomy 21, incompetence or just plain idiocy. Also, there are the benevolently raised children of the upper classes that accrue an unnatural concept of class warfare, who then exercise their power with excessive enthusiasm. Let us take the few remaining cases of the beautiful, the wise and the kind regal individuals. The ones coursing with blue blood and compassion, and the ones imprinted in fairy tales and a few justly optimistic histories are those we speak of with an elegance no longer found today, save for a few obscure descendants living on vestigial fortunes. But I’ve found one, remarkably gentle but rich, formal but enjoyable, sweet but mature. The Duchess de Bourgogne, though fictional, is a blurry depiction of some royal lady whose personality doubtlessly charmed her family and subjects alike. She is the altruist from above, showering the ground with coins and flowers from her ivory tower. All I’ve done is told a story, one that I think is nicely summarized in the Duchess de Bourgogne beer. The crepuscular and mellowed tone of the beer nuzzles against the glass below the margaritaceous crown of foam, baring nothing to the unobservant eye. It’s a chaste and modest drink, hinting at its alluring flavor by breathing a slow but diligent waft of green apples, confectioner’s sugar, orange zest, shining red cherries and oak. Below this divine vapor sits the chaliced drink, reverently waiting for imbibing. There the eager drinker finds a similarly rich batch of flavors. Faint vinegar coarseness guides the column of tastes, featuring a light and sweet honey, red and white grapes, orange zest (amongst other citrus) and a very heavy and bombastic conclusion of oak. Poignant and garrulous as the Duchesse may be, it still fits “elegant” nicely. The blend of friendly and charismatic flavors allows anyone, be they friend or foe to beer, to pick up a glass and enjoy. If the rich and bold, sweet and sour flavors do not suffice the claim to elegance, then at least the extrovert, humble and generous nature of the Duchesse does. These are, after all, higher qualities that we aspire to. That is, if we want to be classy.

GarrettB, May 25, 2006
Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.35/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Filtered chestnut brown with a thick and luscious tan head. Plenty of carbonation streams visible.

N: Rotten fruit (dates, plums, and blackberries mostly) and sour apples. Vinegar.

T: Sweet and sour weirdness. Tastes like very, very rotten fruit – mostly plums and apples. Rotten to the core. Nasty stuff. The initial sip causes one’s lips to pucker violently but that is followed by this strong sugary rotten fruit sweetness. This is strange brew.

MF: Sour, then sweet, then sour again. Medium body with a lengthy slightly sweet nasty finish.

D: Low. This brew doesn’t sit right. Too much vinegar. I don’t think more than one goblet would be healthy.

DaPeculierDane, May 22, 2006
Photo of benito
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A wonderful find on tap at Falling Rock in Denver.

This comes a handsome brown with a thick head that laces the glass well. The bouquet and flavor both are a mix of butter and oak, with hints of pepper and maple syrup.

The interplay of sweet (buttery) and sour is amazing...indeed, the beer moves across the palate with a light and tickling grace that I've ever seen in only a handful of other beers. Each swig reveals a new complexity in the flavor profile--a different spice here, bubble gum there.

Were this less costly (at $6 for half-a-pint) I would have kept trying la Duchesse all day. A wonderful beer.

benito, May 22, 2006
Photo of haz77
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured into a tulip a deep ruby red with a 1/2 inch of tan head. This quickly drops to a thin layer. Looks to have almost no carbonation.

S - Mild solvent, musk, sourness mixed with sweetness, cherry

T - Sweet and juicy at first, then tartness kicks in. Red fruits fills the middle, then a syrupy sweet and sour finish which lingers and becomes dryer. Very nice.

M - Syrupy and refreshing all in one. Carbonation is subtle and works well.

D - Very moreish beer. Well worth a try and I'll be having more soon.

haz77, May 19, 2006
Photo of hopsaplenty
3.38/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On draft at Rustico, and served in Chimay chalice.

Arrives a deep garnet with cordovan highlights. Topped with a modest head of fine sand colored bubbles that slowly settles to a thick coating leaving big clots of foam floating. A few active carbonation streams are visible. The smell is tart, dry, sharp and of balsamic vinegar. Sweet and with a pleasing, slightly woody tartness. Sweet up front, and almost sugary. The balsamic notes ride through the middle into the finish where the tart bite shows up, but is then completely dominated by a syrupy sweet flavor. Fine, but active carbonation, rich and medium bodied slightly, ever so, dry. This has a bit of a soda feel about it. I kept coming back to the chalice hoping that it had changed somewhat, maybe dried out a bit, or that the tartness a fought its way to the front, or that at least the sweetness had dissipated. Alas, the chalice was empty and the sweet, cloying taste lingered. I had hoped for more. My wife enjoyed it more than I.

hopsaplenty, May 18, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very cool beer. Very sour and very sweet. Different than most Belgian sours. The carbonation is TERRIBLE though, the overall impresion would have been higher if it was spot on. There is no head and very fizzy. Perhaps I got a bad bottle. Very fun beer regardless.

Westsidethreat, May 13, 2006
Photo of sevineyes
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown bottle featuring, presumably, the Dutchess of Burgandy on the label.

A: Poured with a thin head. Distinctly red hue in color. Leaves vague lacing.

S: Very tart. Red wine vinegar, maybe bordering on an English malt vinegar. Unripened apples. Plenty of vinous character. Very pronounced nose.

T: Complex is an understatement. Sweet and sour initially. Sour apple candy. Sweet cherries. Soured cider. Imitation grape. Red apple flesh. Finishes with something very similar to an imitation strawberry flavor, maybe even imitation watermellon. Aftertaste does have a touch bitterness and a mild tartness. The longer the aftertaste goes the more it only leaves the bitter, like the dividing pieces of a pecan.

M: Highly carbonated, but not distracting in the same way that champagne bubbles aren't distracting from the flavor. The flavors really dance around the mouth. Finishes a little dry, but that doesn't linger. In the aftertaste there's something metal, maybe iron.

Overall: For those not familiar with the style, this beer may hit you a bit like a sweet tart does. The first time I had a red it took me a little while to convince myself I wasn't drinking some kind of sweet-and-sour sauce. This really isn't too unbalanced of a beer. Sure, the sour wins out over the sweet and bitter, but it's not so pronounced that it landslides everything. Certainly haven't come close to defining everything in this beer either. Very complex and worth trying if you can find it.

sevineyes, May 07, 2006
Photo of Crosling
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark red. Extremely vinous nose (Pinot Noir), with hints of ripe red fruit, muffin batter, overloaded with blueberries, a light touch of caramel and of course. lactic and acetic acid funk. Quite vibrant. Rich compatibility between the sweet malts, bright fruits and sweeteners (?) and the funky and sour lactic and acetic, lightly woody tones. Really more of a mild Red, but very characterful and complex.

Crosling, Apr 24, 2006
Photo of timtheenchanta
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber/ruby color. There's a decent two finger head with good retention.

Very sour and woody smell to it. Smells of cheap red wine.

Tart taste rules initially with a wine like taste lingering in the back. Delightful sourness that is a bit tainted in the finish by a metallic hint.

This brew feels wonderful on the tongue and is a delight to have. It's not my favorite Flemish but certainly isn't bad beer to have on hand.

timtheenchanta, Apr 23, 2006
Photo of arguemaniac
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark burgundy with a creamy, red-tinged head that leaves behind a thick, well-sustained lace. The nose features a distinctive vinegary aroma, and even a faint touch of sulfur, with some definite fruitiness in the background (strange as it might seem, this is actually a good thing, considering the style). The sour palate also has some pleasant fruity sweetness to it (with a distinct cherry character to it). I can’t really make out any hop bitterness as the sourness eclipses most everything else. The finish is not as sour but is certainly fairly tart with a little more of that sweetness coming through. The mouthfeel is surprisingly light with a sharp carbonation tang.

One thing I like about this style of beer (or at least good examples of it, such as this one) is that even though they are very sour, they are also rich and quite drinkable, something to which the unexpectedly light mouthfeel contributes. The other thing I like about these is how unique they are: while I certainly can’t see myself drinking them all the time, they are a refreshing change of pace. And this particular example is one of the better. So, while this might not be the most approachable style for someone who is new to the craft beer scene, it is definitely something a more adventurous and more experienced beer drinker should try. Highly recommended.

arguemaniac, Apr 05, 2006
Photo of sinistrsam
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark red, almost black body under a small tan head which dissapated quickly. The head left excellent lacing around the snifter. The aroma was dominated by fruits, namely cherries, dark sugars, alcohol and molasses. The taste was some of the same, with dark (very) sour cherries up front, and hints of wheat, hops, sweet malts and sugars. I thought it was complex and interesting.
The feel was sour obviously, but if you can stick that out, it has an excellent blend of carbonation and sweetness to compliment the sour feel. It reminded me of a lambic or more specifically yhr three philosophers, but more subdued. Overall an excellent beer.

sinistrsam, Mar 27, 2006
Photo of ggaughan
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of the Monk's Cafe Michael Jackson dinner. This was beer # 3. This beer poured a dark burgundy color with a nice tan head and nice lacing. The aroma is at times an overwhelming sourness of cherries but pretty pleasant. The taste is tart cherries, a bit earthy. This one is a bit acidic but overall a crisp beer and with a medium body, pretty drinkable.

ggaughan, Mar 24, 2006
Photo of scottoale
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Came in a 11.2oz brown bottle, label stated: Best before 12/06/03. Aged, I think so. Pours a very dark mahogany-burgandy(no murkiness) with a nice creamy tan, inch of head. Looks rather exotic. The head finally subsides to a quarter inch, with tons of thick lacing to follow.

It has a very different smell to it, sweet grape and berries up front with an assertive balsamic vinegar tang in full persuit. Very interesting, smells like a great salad dressing, never smelled a beer like this before.

First taste is sweet for starters, then turns tangy and fills the mouth with a rich, sour fiz and ends on a bitter note. Tastes like it smells, a very different kind of beer for sure.

One of these in a sitting is fine for me, a most unusual, yet tasty beer that seems to be what Belgians do best, gotta hand it to them, complexity is second nature in their brewing tecniques...Prost!

scottoale, Mar 18, 2006
Photo of dreadnatty08
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer pours a dark red, nearly opaque. Head forms about half an inch and recedes to a light covering. Aromas are incredible, jump right out of the glass. As this is my first Flemish Red I will just describe what I find, as I'm not sure what I "should" find... Smells like red berries, balsamic and red wine vinegar sourness. Never smelled a beer quite like this wow! Flavors are both sweet and sour (to me, akin to some duck sauce from Chinese take-out). This beer is incredible, have had nothing quite like it. Drinkability is only so-so as it's a fairly sweet brew and I'm not sure if I could have many of these.

dreadnatty08, Mar 11, 2006
Photo of Blakaeris
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark ruby red, almost brown. Head dissipates to almost nothing but leaving plenty of lacing.

Smell is sour dark fruit and spices.

Taste mildly sweet. Fruity cherry and plum flavors with subtle corriander and cinnimon spices. Tartness is not overstated. Smooth balanced flavors with a crisp finish.

Mouthfeel is light and smooth.

Overall this is a decent brew. Flavors are surprisingly smooth and balanced.

Blakaeris, Mar 08, 2006
Photo of goochpunch
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle: best before 09-08-06

Pours out dark brown with outlines of ruby when put in direct light. The head comes and goes quickly, but will leave a slight ring if agitated. Smells of balsamic vinegar, tart berries and oak. I also detect an eau de elmer's glue, but oddly enough, it's a good thing here. Tastes of tart fruit, specifically cherries, alonside oak tones, a slight alcohol presence, and a grape-juice/wine-like acidity. I got a lot of the same wine-like characteristics as I did with the Vichtenaar, but with this brew, they seemed more married to the other flavors and don't stand out AS much. Mouthfeel is vibrant and biting. Leaves me dry. Excellent. This one seems a lot more mellow than the Vichtenaar I reviewed earlier, both in the flavor profile and mouthfeel. Fantastic beer.

goochpunch, Feb 25, 2006
Photo of WMBierguy
1.98/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

This was the first Belgian red ale that I have ever tried. I didn't know what to expect, but I didn't expect this. I consider myself to have a pretty open mind when it comes to beer. Bavarian beers are my favorite, but I had yet to find a quality beer that I simply couldn't stand. Today I found that beer.

I really don't consider this to be beer. It may technically be beer, but it tastes nothing like it. It resembles a strange wine. The first taste was quite striking... I was expecting something that tasted somewhat like a Brown Ale. The flavor was incredibly sweet, with a strange tartness cutting accross about half way through the sip. It tastes a bit like nail polish smells.

Yes, this beer is complex. Very complex. I haven't tasted anything like it. However, the complexity isn't pleasant. I want a beer, not a science experiment. I guess that I'm too attached to the Reinheitsgebot... I'd take the robust complexity of an Aventinus to this beer anyday.

WMBierguy, Feb 25, 2006
Photo of RedHaze
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best by date of 08-06-06

Pours a very dark burgundy color with a thick two finger head that settles to a solid ring that leaves behind nice webs of lacing.

Smell; very vinous and slightly sour. There's planty of fruit present (cherries, apples and raisins) as well as a bit yeasty. I really like that way this smells. The sourness isn't quite as pronounced as I had expected, and blends well with the fruit aromas.

Taste; a slightly surgary sweetness hits at first, followed by cherries, apples raisins/plums intertwined with a tart sourness. There's a bit of a dry oak flavor, as well as a touch of cinnamon in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with nice carbonation that makes this somewhat creamy.

This is my first beer of this style, and I'm pleasantly surprised. I didn't expect to like this nearly as much as I have.

RedHaze, Feb 23, 2006
Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked up a single at Riley's here in Madison.

Part of my three-part series of intimidatingly sour/funky beers along with New Glarus' Sour Brown Ale, and Oude Gueuze.

Pours a striking dark ruby/garnet with a short, fading tan head. Nose is similar to the Sour Brown with the strong balsamic vinegar astringency along with tart lambic fruits. Taste starts with a quick vinegar/lambic sour bite and then gets sickly sweet with overripe granny smith apple peel and rancid citrus then finishes with a hint of dry tart. Mouthfeel is clean and bubbly. Would be a lot more drinkable if the sickly-sweetness was kept in check, but still certainly one of the most unique beer experiences I've had to date.

Golden2wenty1, Feb 21, 2006
Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby red/brown, medium off white head forms, lots of lace, head goes in not too long. Smell is sour cherries, caramel, yeast, sweet malt, acidity. Taste is a strange mix, sugary at first, cherries, then a super sour/acidic hit. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with low carbonation, nice and creamy. Crazy sour/acidity, but great, would definately try again.

Viggo, Feb 21, 2006
Photo of charlesw
2.95/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Very pretty... Deep burgundy/amber. Plenty clear while being (sigh) plenty opaque. You with me? Medium-height, dark head of really tight bubbles. Still have a full cover of head after 5 minutes (wow).
Smells like a walk in the woods on a nice fall day. Sweet and musky... Huge sweet raisin nose with plenty of caramel malts in there, too...
Very fruity in the mouth. Sweetened sour cherries, hints of that caramel. Medicinal in the back of the mouth and followed by a sour aftertaste that lingers several minutes. It's very interesting how it changes in your mouth - each of the first 10 seconds gives a new wave of something completely different.
Very crisp and clean in the mouth - perhaps medium in body but with a high level of carbonation - even a bit fizzy.
So... Drinkable? Well, yeah. Say the day is hot and you want something refreshing to cleanse your palate... Yeah, this would do the trick perfectly. It's not well adapted for drinking right now - it's 15F out with 30mph winds!

And, uh, well. I won't be able to finish the (750ml) bottle. It's just too...

charlesw, Feb 17, 2006
Photo of murrayswine
3.15/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I think me and any Flanders officially dont get along.
It pours a mildly headish ruby brown smelling frankly like sour patch kids, vinegar, and alcohol.
The taste is light, lighter than the smell leads you to believe. It's not my favorite, but it did finish with a saki clean, like a good Flanders. The body is a little light, though from other's I've had.

murrayswine, Feb 13, 2006
Photo of DrJay
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby colour with a bit of brown topped by a pale tan head. Good lacing made up of very fine bubbles. Tart aroma with some fruity esters and a bit of tobacco. There's a hint of solventy alcohol here that was slightly distracting, but diminished somewhat with time. Syrupy sweetness balances the fruity tartness quite nicely - almost like candy. Dry finish. Very fine carbonation, full mouthfeel and palate coating. Quite nice overall. The sweet and tart combination in the flavour really works. Thanks Viggo!

DrJay, Feb 11, 2006
Photo of texashammer
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours out of the bottle a dark brown, red when held to the light, with only a slight head. smell is a very funky sourness. just a hint of Vichtenaar's richness in the mouth. somewhat daunting sourness. delicate, with a slightly metallic bite at the end.

texashammer, Feb 08, 2006
Photo of Metalmonk
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a large Gulden Draak tulip glass. Foamy bone-white head that all but disappears in a minute or so. Beautiful lace and gorgeous deep red-brown color, can just barely see through it.

Complex aromas, with tartness full-on and up-front. Black and sour cherries mingle with hints of rhubarb. Or a just-opened bag of soft Sweet Tarts candy. Also getting some funk in the background (like the yeasty funk in the amazing Flemish Primitive Wild Ale).

Cherry tartness dominates the flavor with some oak barrel woodiness. Delicious and highly drinkable. Pleasing dryness in back. Full body, with sourness coating the mouth. Robust enough to feel like an ale, but only just. Undeniably delicious.

Metalmonk, Feb 05, 2006
Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,341 ratings.