Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

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Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

3,737 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,737
Reviews: 1,463
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 188
Gots: 614 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,737 | Reviews: 1,463
Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Cola colored body very clear throughout the body. Off-white head that dissipated quickly but some mild lacing was present.

Smell: Allmost wine-ish smell. Hints of vinegar, oak, plums, caramel, sour apples and cherries. Some mild spices present.

Taste: Starts off with a smooth caramelish taste. The fruits and spices come in to excite the palate. The finish is again the caramel with the lingering spices and mild tartness

Mouthfeel: Mild carbonation and silky smooth feel. NIce coating in the mouth. Almost cidery.

Drinakbility: Well I definitely plan on having another of these and saving the last 2 for company at some point. I could see this going very well with a dessert.

Photo of Pip_Count_167
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Ebenezer's in Brunswick. The taste is really reminiscent of a balsamic vinegar, especially when it first hits the mouth. The tartness didn't linger though, it left a fruity flavor behind. I've really been digging sour beers lately, and this one blew me away. Hopefully it's as tasty in a bottle.

Photo of asabreed
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer last week on tap, and I realized I could get a 4-pack, and then decided that clearly, after flipping about the beer on tap, that I should certainly do so.

Appearance: Gorgeous dirty white head, meaning the reddish color is putting it off on that degree a bit, and in a good way. A nice amount of bubbles flowing up from the bottom.

Smell: Red wine, vinegar, some tart apples and fruit -- maybe granny smith apples. Almost some sour apple candy type smells. Fantastic.

Taste: Sweetness up front, and a slight amount of tartness. Fruitiness and apples, cherries, raspberries. Some sugars. Just wonderful overall. The wine / vinegar quality is there, yes, but the balance is amazing and fools and teases your taste buds into only good things.

Mouthfeel: A great balance with carbonation and the tartness that sneaks through into the taste. Not creamy, really, but not really light. It almost starts out like a spritzer and then somehow fills into a gorgeous dance of balance, complexity, and taste. And this is just the mouthfeel...

Drinkability: Easily one of my new favorite beers. I need more beers in this style I imagine. The wine-like character may turn some people on, though some, on the other hand, may be completely turned off. However, the ABV is moderately low, but I personally think this should be a treat, and especially without food. There's so much beauty going on that no compliments are needed.

Please try this in some form, just to try a pretty different style at the very least. I can't wait to get more.

Photo of jbonapar
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My second time trying this beer, I think the first time I was so shocked by it i wasn't sure if I liked it or not. Anyway, found some bottles in HUll Quebec.

Poured a dark ruby/mahogany red with a nice thick foam that steams up from the beer.

Smell: Sweet balsamic vinegar, green apple. So interesting.
Taste: Smooth malty sweetness hits your tongue and then melds into a vinegar-like tartness which seems to develope into a sour apple/green apple like finish. The tartness is wonderfull. Refressing, but not overpowering.

I agree with others, this is one complex beer that in my opinion, really has to be tried on its own. You need to start the night with this, and really forget your preconceived notions of what a beer is. This is a unique and wonderfull drink.

Photo of Darkale
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

REVISITED BEER ON JULY 11, 2011

Few things make me more hopeful about beer than the fact that I gave the Duchesse a C or so rating 8 years ago, when I first reviewed it, and now it is one of my favorites. Eight years ago, it seemed over the top; now, it seems almost sedate, and "pleasant" is how I would describe it today. It is juicy and thirst-quenching, with a bright, woodsy, summer's-day combination of flavors and mouthfeel. Great stuff.

If you let your palate grow, oh the places it will take you.

FOR HUMOR AND HUMILITY PURPOSES, ORIGINAL REVIEW BELOW...

Um... I, uh, don't really know what to say about this beer. It certainly pushes the envelope open further than any other beer I've ever had.

Clear, red-brown body with a thick tan head. Powerful apple-vinegar aroma. Somewhere in the back of it, holding its nose, is some sweet malt.

How to describe the taste? "Interesting and different" does not seem to be enough. It's thick and chewy, but overpowered by massive, slick apple vinegar. There is also some oak and pure green apple mixed in.

I am impressed by the depth and quality of this beer; surely it is no easy task to put all of those tastes together. I wish I liked this beer. If I bought twelve bottles in January, and opened one per month for a year, by December I might be able to finish one. Still, I am not sure that I would be able to say that I enjoyed it.

Photo of logicalparadox
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Whoa! Flemish sour ale that has some truly distinctive notes. Apple cider vinegar. Acetone and nail polish remover. Grape juice. As it breathes and warms: cherries!

Tart, sour, light bodied to medium bodied, but has some tooth. Crisp. Very effervescent.

The Duchesse will always have a place in my fridge!

Photo of SHODriver
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 champagne flute. pours a nice reddish brown with a three finger light tan head with decent retention
S: smells of sour cherries, acetic acid and some nice woody oak and vanilla
T: tart cherry, a bit of oak and vanilla, residual sugary sweetness, vinegar sourness. swallow brings more oak and vanilla with a bit of tartness toward the end
M: medium with soft carbonation, very nice in the mouth but slightly chalky and a little drying on the swallow
O: a very nice and tasty beer. good complexity, true to style and very well made. well worth the money and quite enjoyable

Photo of VoodooBrew
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33 cl bottle. Best before 09-08-06. By the way, I know that often Europeans write their dates as Date-Month-Year, whereas we're more used to Month-Date-Year. Based on some of the dates I've seen, it seems the Belgians are of the Date-Month persuasion. Is this a nation- or continent-wide standard?

Ruby-brown in color with good clarity. the initially generous off-white head subsides a little but leaves plenty of lacing and doesn't go away altogether.

The nose is sweet and tart, *almost* a hint of vinegar. Wait... yeah, that's a hint of vinegar. But you know, that's not a bad thing. Fruity and sour.

Ditto the flavor (minus the vinegar), plus candy notes and that good tartness that takes up residence on the rear sides of the tongue and back of the cheeks. It's not nearly as mouth-puckering as some examples, but yeah baby, it's sour nonetheless. The flavor transitions from tart to sweet to a rather dry finish. Some cherry, and a mildly chalky element (think flavored chewable medicine tablets).

This one is smooth and pretty easy-drinking, even for a sour beer. For those just getting into the style, this may be a better jumping-off point than, say, Rodenbach Grand Cru.

Man I'm starting to like sour beers more and more...

Photo of PieOhMy
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

On tap. Poured into tulip.

A Dark ruby, near black. Thick tan head that remains

S Pungent! Rhubarb. Fine tones like a rainy day. Aged Cheese even.

T Tart... and tart! Much like the smell. Sour candy. Lime. Grape. Sweetness that lingers.

M Medium and effervescent.

O Awesome. Great rep of the style. The mix of tartyness/sweetness is perfect. I could drink this all day.

Photo of jaxon53
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served slightly chilled in a goblet, from a growler supplied by magget. Poured a deep brown with bright ruby highlights. About a finger of thin off white head topped the beer. Head actually lasted longer than I had thought it would, and left a thin coating of lace on the glass. Aromas of sour cherries, plum, yeast, with a nice malty note to it. Taste was pretty much the same. Tons of tart cherry, a nice bready yeast flavor, some dark fruits with a nice woody character to it. Tart enough to make you pucker but not overbearing. A nice well balanced Flanders Red Ale. Had a wonderful full bodied mouthfeel. Quite tart but very drinkable.

Photo of demcorhip
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Chimay chalice. Thanks to CBA for trading this gem.

Appearance
A very dark, garnet hued ale. A one finger ruddy tan head formed on the pour, and it continues to sponataneously regenerate itself. This ale is finely yet somewhat actively carbonated, and thin yet full, intricate lacings formed for my appreciation.

Aroma
Wow theres alot to smell in here! Tart red apple funk, toffee, hint of vanilla, and grassy, earthy hop spice.

Taste
Yummy! Something like a bready, caramel and toffee coated red apple (Mc Intosh?, Spartan?). Tart sour funk, candi sugar, vanilla ice cream, earthy hop spice, reminescent of a touch of cinnamon. Damn this is like a tasty sweet and sour apple pie with a good dollop of vanilla ice cream!

Mouthfeel
Theres a hell of a lot going on in this beer! Sour yet sweet, fruity yet bready, solid, creamy toffee character, all enhanced by the cinnamon like hop spice. An excellent brew full of flavour and depth, very well rounded and complimentary to itself.

Drinkability
A very drinkable, incredibly rich and complex ale. Would love to be able to try and session with this. Stay away if sour, oaked brews arent your thing. If you love a tart apple pie with some vanilla ice cream on the side do whatebver it takes to find this gem!

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.

Photo of Clints1991
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled, poured in a tulip glass. It pours a brownish red, with a light tan head. The head lingers around for quite some time. It has a strong aroma of fruits, tarts and some wine characteristics. It has a strong taste of fruits such as cherry and some melon. It is very palatable. It is an amazing beer overall!!

Photo of flagmantho
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 330mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: deep, clear red-brown woody color with two fingers of pillowy ivory foam. Layers of chunky lace are left as I drink the glass down. I like it a lot.

Smell: sweet caramel malt, oak and a nice dry sourness. Under that I get some faint but nice raisin and plum aromas. Nicely complex and highly alluring.

Taste: flavor profile is similar to the aroma with a bit dose of caramel malt, followed by a nice woody tartness. Complexity is very nice and the tartness is just enough to warrant taking another sip. This is one delicious beer.

Mouthfeel: medium body and enough carbonation to yield a sweet, smooth creaminess. Perhaps this should fall under flavor, but it seems like the acidity results in a little astringency which helps wash the palate clean and gets you ready for the next bout of creaminess. Fantastico.

Drinkability: this is a freakin' delicious beer. I am sad I have never had this up until now. I would drink this daily if I had the money.

Photo of smcreator
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first lambic to try so the overall mouth feel and flavor is new to me. Overall, I enjoyed the beer very much as it is flavorful and balanced.

A: Very dark burgundy red color. One finger initial head that settles to a 3 mm head and light lacing.
S: Smells very fruity and also of alcohol at the same time, but the alcohol does not bother me. The fruit notes are very pleasant and complex. Definitely a similar smell to walking through a fruit market where all the smells blend.
T: The alcohol smell and taste is balanced nicely with the fruity sweet notes so it does not tire to drink. The beer has three or more stages of flavor. At first there is an in-rush of a sweet fruit blend. Then there is a mellower taste that is slightly more dry. Finally, there is a nice semi-bitter alcohol finish that balances out the whole movement.
M: A very smooth medium-thick bodied beer with little carbonation. Feels like eating yogurt to some degree. The only drawback is that it leaves a slight film in your mouth.
D: It is very easy to drink as it is packed with flavor and feels nice in the mouth. You will not get tired drinking it, you just might have to spit from time to time.

Photo of Chris_Reimann
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

I had this both On-Draft at a great bar in Philly, and also out of the bottle. Very great! It is a little sour, but also fruity and sweet. Loved it! Try it for sure.

Photo of bareju
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Poured from bottle. Huge fine white head, highly carbonated. Very light on the mouth, coats the mouth with bubbles. A tiny bit of dryness on the finish. Funky and fruity smell, very nice.

Taste is sweet and fruity with a very nice acidity and sourness that is well balanced.

Overall a very tasty, refreshing, fun beer. I'd like just a tiny bit less carb but other than that it's fantastic.

Photo of July2Nov
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Older version: 19-01-08.

Appearance: Poured a very dark burgundy color (much darker than I anticipated). Thin, nice lacing all around the glass (held well during the life of the beer).

Smell: Funky and strong. Getting some apple and dark fruit scents. Spiced Raisin comes through near the end.

Taste & Mouthfeel: I guess when I automatically see a darker beer, my immediate thought is that it's going to be heavy...so with that in mind, this was so light and refreshing to the palate. Has a thin syrup like texture that wraps on the tongue. Nice undercurrent of fruit flavors, with some sweetness. The initial flavor has something akin to balsamic vinegar. Some tartness during the middle...the aftertaste has a slight numbing effect. Very interesting and complex, yet lighter and refreshing.

Drinkability: This is almost wine-like and lambic-esque in it's tasting...which I'm a fan of. With this in mind, this is so drinkable that it's almost off the scale. I've had this bottle for close to three years and I'm impressed by the flavor that is still evident from this bottle. Must compare it to a newer version to find what the differences are (if any). Would try again, in any form! A must!!!

Photo of confer
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first Flanders Red, and I think I have a winner as my first. Reddish -brown with a giant fluffy off-white head. The smell is over-ripe apples. Tart but sweet.
Taste is more of the same. Tart and sweet.
Feel is very light and dry.
A very tasty beer and I'd imagine a good example of the style. Price is a little much but it could be nice treat every once in a while.

Photo of cradke
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark brownish red. A thin fine head.

Smell: A tart nose that has some good sweetness. Cherrys and other esters.

Taste: Delicious. Not as tart as the nose would lead you to believe. Certainly some dark fruit. Nicely complex and well put together.

Mouthfeel: Very nice. Nicely substantial with good carbonation.

Overall: I'm really impressed with this beer. The nose is quite tart but the taste is well balanced. Very good amount of fruit. I really enjoyed this.

Photo of beermanbrian
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice mahogony color with a creamy off white head. Nice lacing. Smell of sour cherries domminates. As it warms the smell gets richer and fuller as the oak flavors kick in and it slips almost into wine territory. Taste is just so full and rich, tons of sour fruit backed by oak. You should definately not drink this one too cold. Creamy medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall I rate this one in the excellent category, not quite world class but close. You just don't want this one to end.

Photo of Muhly
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-deep reddy brown. Pours with a large off-white to tan head.

S-citrusy and bread-sweetness

T-tart, acidic, dark fruit sweetness

M-ebullient

O-yay. Very good. More complex than Rodenbach Classic with a good wallop of tartness to keep sour fans happy.

Photo of Hoperator
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

The appearance has a crystal clarity and a ruby brown color with a thin yet always present light tan head. To the nose, there is wine like light vinegary aroma with no hop presence. The mouth feel is effervescent and there is a tartness on the front of the tongue that doesn't have the dramatic pucker of some sours. There seems to be an almost oakey middle with a sweet finish. Overall nicely balanced RBA.

Photo of Risser09
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml Bottle Shared With Friends At A Sour Beer Tasting • Poured Into A Tulip Taster • Review From Notes

Appearance: Dark Brown caramel color with lighter tan highlights that shimmer in the light. Eggshell head is tight and quickly dissipates.

Smell: The aroma is quite grape-like, but has many more aromas to contemplate.
Freshly cracked eggs, smoke, soy sauce, worchestershire sauce, brown sugar, rosebuds, other flowers. There is also a faint caramel aroma.

Taste: Taste is excellent. We begin with the obvious oak, smoke and pleasantly sour flavors that are immediately apparent. The front of the palate is mildly tart dry grapes and then there is a nice layer of brown sugar and caramel that sweetens up the palate. Prunes, berries, plum, and a touch of leather bring up the rear of flavors.
What a nice beer!

Mouthfeel: Tight little bubbles of carbonation treat your mouth just right. Pucker up, because you're in for a whirlwind of pleasure.

Drinkability: Superb. I think I could have easily finished the whole 750 by myself and enjoyed it thoroughly. This certainly isn't as cloying as other Flanders Reds I've had and could possibly be considered the staple.

Photo of wl0307
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Revisiting this vaguely-defined Flanders ale as part of my 7-bottle tasting panel of Flemish Red/Brown ales. BB 13/12/09, served lightly-chilled in Gulden Draak's tulip-shaped bowl sniffer.

A: dark russet brown colour with good clarity, coming with fine yet constant streams of carbonation in support of a thick, dark-beige frothy head that retreats reluctantly and leaves tight lacing behind.
S: marvellously fruity, lactic-sour, and sweet-malty... creamy yet salty-sour berry fruits are not "floating", but rather thick and oily, suggesting licorice-marinated prunes, strawberry/raspberry jam, fat smoked longan-fruits, and a dancing touch of diacetyl in the background, while the dark malts give out a strong aroma of crystallised sugar... A closer sniff reveals the underlying oak-ageing aroma, that is mildly vanilla-ish sweet yet inextricably linked to the vinegary character typical of this style. Still, having tried Rodenbach Grand Cru, this ale smells rather like a milder Oud Bruin to me.
T: the foretaste is just lightly lactic-sour cherry-fruity, backed by a thick body of mild brown-sugary malts, semi-sweet longan-fruits and utterly delicious prunes... as the vinegary sour-fruity edge softens, very quietly the main theme gives way to lightly flavoured, sweet-tea-ish herbal touch of hops and lightly aromatic notes of oak-ageing (not unlike an Oloroso Sherry actually), leaving a mildly woody/tangy palate to go with more aromatic undertones of Chinese prunes in the long finish. Simply delicious...
M&D: like my last bottle, the body is medium-plus and the texture is impeccably creamy-smooth, but the overall sweet elements apparently are much softer and the flavour structure is quite "evolving", hence a more enjoyable balance. Still, it's very hard to determine where a Flemish Red stops and Oud Bruin starts, as the characters shown in this nice ale border both, smartly.

* Tasting Date: 23/07/06
This is the first time to revisit this beer since my first encounter three years ago in Brussels. I still remember that it gave me a much sweeter impression than Rodenbach's range and other counterparts, thus I was not that keen to try it again. But my memory could be hazy, I told myself in the shop, and it deserves a "recorded" opinion as such~~ BB 11/07/07, served lightly-chilled in a large Burgundy bulb wine glass.
4 A: reddish-brown in colour the beige-hued frothy head settles fast to a rimmed foam and leaves uneven lacing along the way; medium-lively carbonation. Looking settled and promising.
4.5 S: slightly rusty upfront, followed by a much milder edge of red wine vinegar, creamy raspberry+strawberry-flavoured yogurt, lightly-caramelised sugar, and a fantastic note of smoked prunes and quite akin to a silky and prune-ish Rioja!! As I remember it right, the fruity smell does have a sweeter edge to the overall sour aroma, but in a sense a softer and creamy balance is obtained b/w wood-ageing factor and profound maltiness, neither so... exciting nor harsh as Rodenbach Grand Cru... Instead it's deeply aromatic, fruity, yet approachable.
3.5 T: an assertive flow of brown sugar like sweetness and sour-sweet berry- and stone-fruits smoothly caress the tongue, but in two different layers rather than being mixed seamlessly... the mid-flavour shows more sweet and creamy malts, which is not heavy but slightly too sugary, whereas the soft fruitiness and wood-ageing's sourness prevail in time to result in a slightly dryish, tangy and tartly-sweet aftertaste, thus an overall pleasant and evolving structure is secured all right. Short and clean finish.
4 M&3.5 D: can't complain at all about the texture--creamy and softly carbonated on the mouthfeel, and the body is quite solid yet pretty refreshingly-light vis-a-vis the flavour. Somehow the sweet edge of this beer is still what fails to convince me, just like my first encounter three years ago: the sweet, sugary edge running in parallel to, rather than hand in hand with, the sour-fruitiness poses the largest difficulty b/w me and this otherwise fantastic beer. Guess I'd only be converted to this ale either when my palate changes, or the brewer budges.

Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,737 ratings.