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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

3,178 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,178
Reviews: 1,356
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 148
Gots: 333 | 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: 3,178 | Reviews: 1,356 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Seanniek91
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into an Affligem Goblet.

Appearance- Beautiful amber color with no sediment floating around. Little to no head, but a slight ring around the top.

Smell- Oak, vanilla, tobacco, cherry, yeast, some malts. Absolutely beautiful.

Taste- Cherry, vanilla, malts. Some oak is present. Not to sour. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel- Nicely carbonated. Very smooth, not too resinous.

Overall- This is a beautiful beer. All around very well balanced. I'll be buying this again.

Seanniek91, Nov 21, 2012
Photo of NolateM
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle is just over 2 years old, which should not affect this review too much considering the style.

Super dark brownish-reddish-almost-blackish, with a thin head that quickly dissipates. The aroma is inviting: citrusy, brown sugary. The flavor is superb - literally one of the finest beers I've ever tasted. Tangy and lemony, but not mouth puckering. Some wood flavor, cherry, brown sugar, and vanilla... all very lingering. Easy to drink, with almost no alcohol flavor present, and a lively, soda-like carbonation.

Damn there's a lot going on in this fine piece of beverage art! I'm a fanatic of the Flemish ales, and this goes down as my favorite so far. A special occasion beer that is truly worth every penny.

About 13 bucks if you find a four-pack of small bottles, and 9-10 dollars for a the more common 750 mL.

NolateM, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of DioS
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark brown but not quite opaque. Soft head. I always thought the Duchesse looks viscous, even though it's really not. Smell is complex and delicious, more fruity (cherry, plum) than floral, with slight caramel and vanilla sweetness, and evocative of some wood like a fine dessert wine does, and the vinegary aroma tends to be mellow compared to some other Flanders I've had. I cannot get tired of smelling this one. The mellowness (as opposed to sharp sourness) and complexity truly make it stand out.

Taste is initially very sour and slightly funky, but the sourness settles down very quickly into ripened fruits (cherry, plum, jam, pear). The finish is long and lingering. The sourness almost completely subsides into the background and becomes just a tartness in the mouthfeel after 1/3 of glass. After that point it just tastes like a very interesting dessert wine, and very easy going down, yet tastes far from simple. Duchesse is a wonderfully smooth Flanders that can be drunken like session beer and hold my interest at the same time. I feel lucky to be close to pubs that serve it on the tap regularly.

DioS, Jun 15, 2010
Photo of FlikkerDans
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had a bottle last night on the front porch. It poured a small head with just the perfect amount of carbonation. The smell was a bit like raisins, prunes, and a touch of wine. Smelled a bit like alcohol but that was nowhere in the taste. It tasted amazing, with just the perfect amount of sweetness. Cool and extremely smooth, it almost felt like drinking a soda. Dr. Pepper, to be exact. It was my first for this style that I can remember, and it has left me wanting a whole lot more.

FlikkerDans, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of Z3r0_D34d
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%

Z3r0_D34d, Sep 01, 2014
Photo of johnd513
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours ruby red in color with a small off-white head. Smells like wine and dry vinegar certainly unique even for a good sour. The taste is dry and sour but not as sour as the nose with tart cherries, wine flavors and others that i can't even begin to describe. Drinkability is prohibited only by the price tag. I could sip on this all night long. One of the most unique beers I have ever come across.

johnd513, Apr 24, 2009
Photo of the42ndtourist
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

33cL bottle. Another great find from a jaunt into Quebec.

Dirty garnet in hue, with a initially large head which fades quickly to a thin covering layer. I poured it into a Belle-Vue glass, which I think turned out to be a good choice.

Aroma lends a good clue as to what follows. Some people have mentioned balsamic vinegar, and that is rather appropriate (of course, this one is better suited to dessert than salad dressings). To me, this served to excite me even more about the coming beer.

Taste is initially sour, with a lot of fruity complexity. The first taste sent me straight to BA to see if it was actually a some sort of kriek variant. Nope. Just fabulously crafted and complex. There's so much to this - the sour start, the lovely sweet fruitiness - cherries, cassis, big juicy blackberries, home-canned plums like my mother used to make. It comes to a acidic and tart finish, which lingers with a tad of vinegar in the aftertaste (no it's nowhere near as bad as it sounds). I love it all the way through.

Beautiful slightly oily feel on the tongue. Carbonation, though seemingly energetic at the pour, is actually quite soft. I could (and would, if it were a little less expensive) drink this all night. It's fantastic, amazing, ethereal even. I've run out of adjectives, I'm flat out in love with this beer.

the42ndtourist, Mar 06, 2003
Photo of Phatz
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow! This beer was definitely the beer of the night! So much thanks to BA, 'YBSober' for this beer was phenomenal!

This was my first Flanders Red Ale and I am going to make it a point to seek out much more of this! I thought I was in heaven. I know I am in love with the Duchesse (don't tell me wife;-).

Appearance: This Duchesse poured out a beautiful dark caramel color with some golden tan highlights on her elegant body, and then fantastic head made of tight off-white foam. This leads into the sticky circles of off-white lacing, left lining the glass.

Smell: The aroma is quite vinous, with a wine grapes aroma, a nice tartness, (those not in the know might think her a port wine) and yet an underlying caramel sweetness. It is spiced and complex; very much like the Holiday Spiced Wine from Mount Hope Winery (with what might be cinnamon and a splash of lemon in the aroma as well).

Taste: The taste, like the smell was very complex and pleasing! 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. Layer upon layer I realized more and more tremendous depth as the fruits began to reveal themselves; first apples and plums, cherries, a prune and then mixed berries. All the while, I couldn’t help but to think, this beer must be oak aged because the magnificent flavor of oak, and a subtle hint of leather, kept swatting at my taste buds. This beer has an incredible depth of character and flavor. Her finish is sour (not too much) just the prefect degree (tipping the scales to tart). That tartness carries into the aftertaste as well, balanced with the loving touch of gentle sweet fruits, leaving you with wonderful memories of how she treated your tongue. I could hardly keep my tongue in my mouth. I had to dive in for more. She’s irresistible!

Mouthfeel: Tight little bubbles of carbonation treat your mouth just right. 36-24-36 this sweet lady has a perfect medium body with just enough dryness to force you to pucker up, and enough lingering sweetness that you enjoy it.

Drinkability: I want her all to myself all the time. $65 a case and I would pay it too. Are all Flanders like this? I may be in trouble. Now that I have gone Flanders I may never go back!

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

Phatz, Jun 09, 2006
Photo of JSMarsolais
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This review is based on a " drank in a Miller's glass " serving type.

Even If I first tried this wonderfull beer in a Belgian restaurant close to my house, which served it in the proper glass, I have to admit that the experience was not altered in any way.

When pourred, it has a small white-beige head, a strong red color and a little bit of fuzziness. I got a nose of sweet Balsamic Vinegar. In mouth,the acidity was surpisingly not aggresive, and let the place to a perfectly balanced taste between acidity and sweetness. I also got some sweet sour cherries as an aftertaste.

Of course, the whole experience was a lot better in the first place (the restaurant), but I have to admit that this is my favorite beer. And for 3,55$ the bottle, it is more than respectable for the great time you will have drinking this delicious nectar.

JSMarsolais, Mar 02, 2010
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: I have been in the US just over two years & never had this here, so when I spied a 4-Pack of this at a beer store weekend I was excited. I elected to cut down my beer expenditure though & just picked up a single – it was $3.79 for the 11.2 fl.oz bottle.

I noticed that the beer looked slightly different somehow, and then I realized that I was used to seeing a simple dark purple crown cap – my example had a black crown cap with the Verhaeghe coat of arms in gold on it.

Appearance: A filtered chestnut brown, dirty tan head comprised of incredibly small bubbles, fantastic smooth layered head. Excellent conditioning.

Nose: Rather delicate sour pong at first, with some aged port aspects.

Taste: Benefits immensely from the 18 months that this spends in maturation in the Brewery, often in large Oak Vats or smaller Casks. Fantastic zippy sour-sharp feel at first. It assaults you & punishes your acceptance of bland beer with a “WTF??” if you are not used to Flanders Reds. How this beer encapsulates diametrically opposed flavor profiles and yet remains incredibly well balanced is the work of masters - Awesome.

Mouthfeel: The beer dissolves on the tongue; lots of conditioning, velvety feel to the cheeks, sour & fruity cheek puller. Excellent.

Drinkability: Immense, you will want to drown in this spritzy sour baby, or throw up after the first mouthful. Has all the Drinkability of a traditional lambic, if you know what I mean.

Overall: I first came across this fine beer in 1994 during my first ever trip to Belgium & was completely blown away by its immense character. Our party was so impressed; we ended up arranging to visit the Brewery in 1995, where we had a guided tour & when I bought my first 24 bottle crate of this fine West Flanders Red. I drank the last of this in August 2001 when I came to the US – all I can say is that this beer is to Flanders Reds what Cantillon & Girardin are to lambics.

It is as good now, as it was in 1995, which is something the likes of comparable beers from Rodenbach cannot claim.

A Classic & @ $3.79 – It’s a Steal. WELL WORTH IT.

F**K! What a tight-wad I am,
I knew I should have purchased the 4-pack when I saw it.

TheLongBeachBum, Oct 20, 2003
Photo of brdc
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to stoutsnipas, this one is VERY fresh, expiration date Dec 2008.
I know this does not help, but I initially felt like writing "WOW" and concluding ny review, enough said. But let's try to elaborate.

Brown with multiple reddish overtones, tan head with good retention, and very sticky.
Aroma is acidic, tart, with some oak and sugar notes.
Nice medium body, flavorful, sweetish and malty, then tart and acidic, then sweetish again. Fruity, raspberry, cherries, citric fruits.
Clean finish with a tart and sweetish aftertaste.
Extremely refreshing, a fantastic summer beer.
I need more!

brdc, Jun 10, 2007
Photo of Onslow
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

wow, a very different brew indeed ... lots of complex and strangely exotic (erotic?) flavours ... crazy good full mouthfeel ... it is uplifting and tangy, with some jump up and dance qualities .. a fitting beer for the 2008 champions league! ... full, delicious, and a damn enjoyable beer... Come On United!!!

Onslow, Jul 12, 2008
Photo of yemenmocha
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a coca-cola brown with thin tan head.

Nose is a little cola like as well, but together with sour passion fruits. Very complex, like that miscellanious "passion fruits" flavor in many products/fragrances. Cherry is one that might stick out, but very complex on the whole. Slight hint of pipe tobacco.

On the palate is a delightful explosion of vinegary sourness together with burnt sugar sweetnes mingled with passion fruit. A darker, molasses to toffee cake sweetness is found at the back of the palate and into the finish.

Finish is very cola-syrup extract like in sweetness. Nice and appetizing for the next sip. Reminds me of those coca-cola ink pens from childhood, the ones with the fragrance in the ink.

yemenmocha, Aug 06, 2006
Photo of inebrius
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chinotto! Fermented, of course, with a raw fruit kind of sour pear gig going on. Nose of sweat and licorice and pungent weeds amongst sill laden four berry pies and cotton under garments hung in the soft Autumn air. Tart and sweet like the most quality of Chinese dipping sauce. Flow is frothy and bold. Me like, Todd like. More.

inebrius, Nov 22, 2003
Photo of ElGuapo
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A deep amber pour topped in a thick tannish covering of foam that sits on top for a long time. The aroma scares many away, but I love it. It is very sour with a character much like balsamic vinegar. There are a lot of fruit aromas and touches of spice to balance. This is one of the most interesting whiffers I have ever come accross.

The Duchesse has a crisp start with some tingly carbonation. She then smoothes out to a very nice mouthfeel. The body is medium-full. The sour flavor is awesome. It is big, bold, and absolutely beautiful. The fruit flavor and touch of spices balance just enough to keep the beer from being pure vinegar. I think that this balance is perfect. It may be the fact that I have had no other samples of this style, but it really does the trick for me. It is interesting and complex, and that sour bite keeps me wanting more. This will certainly become a regular whenever I feel like having a good brew. I get one every time I go to Eulogy, and now I have 750s to enjoy at home. This beer is definitely not for everyone, so if you don' t like it, send it to me.

ElGuapo, Apr 13, 2004
Photo of cabsandking
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Mahogany red color and a fair sized tan head with good retention. The nose is pungent with notes of acidic tannin, alcoholic esters, sweet and tart plum, and oaky. Flavors are much more mellow than the nose leads to believe...mild dark cherries, oaky vanilla, maple syrup, apple, plum, white grapes, and bigger caramel notes as it warms. Mouthfeel is delicately smooth creaminess with some slight crisp fizz at the end. Now this is a flanders that I could drink more of, perfectly blended and all the flavors meld together so well.

cabsandking, Jan 09, 2007
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
Photo of PatrickJR
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into red wine glass. My bottle lists the ABV at 6%.

A - A very deep reddish brown, nearly opaque. A quarter inch of head rises and settles quickly to a thin collar, minimal lace.

S - Vinegar, fruit, and brown sugar. Very appealing.

T - This shit is amazing. A moderate sour burst of apple cider vinegar with a touch of citrus comes in early palate. Huge brown sugar/berry-like sweetness kicks in, making this taste like some sort of raspberry vinegarette salad dressing. Finish is of apples, slight sourness, and a chunk of sweetness. Very reminiscent of a port, sweet sherry, or madeira.

M - Moderate to high carbonation with a medium body. Excellent for the flavors being conveyed.

D - Amazing stuff. Great balance between sweet and sour, I could drink this all day. Very good.

PatrickJR, Oct 16, 2008
Photo of MadeInOregon
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well, here goes another review that will have absolutely no impact whatsoever on the overall score of a beer! Oh well!...

THE APPEARANCE of the Duchesse De Bourgogne was great. The off-white, oily suds of foam atop the body instantly reveal its cask-aged nature. The head diminishes a little, but never dissipates and leaves massive lacing for the duration of drinking, as any barrel-aged brew should. The body is good but not great. It is a medium-deep brown with red hues, similar to Dr. Pepper or root beer. I was disappointed to see that this beer is highly filtered leaving no sediment anywhere. Strikes me as odd for something that is aged and so complex.

THE SMELL of this beer is of vinegary, fermented fruit--oranges and strawberries to be exact. There is also ripe banana and caramel. It's quite unusual but not offensive. It's very pungent and strong, and, honestly, pretty incredible...just a little weird.

THE TASTE literally blew me away. Never have I had a beer like this. Upon reflection it actually tastes very similar to kombucha. There is banana and bubble gum at the tip of the tongue and the same fermented oranges and strawberries (a little mango too) in the smell are at the back of the tongue. This is a very bright, sharp, and crisp beer and tastes something like a fruit soda mixed with bourbon barrel ale. The incredibly sour fruit qualities are very similar to a good lambic beer. Overall, the flavors could also be compared to a tart, hard apple cider. This really is amazing stuff. If this is a blend, as the label says, I would think this flavor would be tough to duplicate from batch to batch(?).

THE FEEL, for all the reasons described above, is amazing. It's very carbonated and has a lot of alcohol burn for a 6.0%'er. Your tongue will tingle like it's going numb with this one. Very entertaining to drink!

CONCLUSION: This is my first Flanders Red Ale but will definitely not be my last. Hopefully others can stand up to this one. Incredible stuff.

MadeInOregon, Oct 21, 2011
Photo of dmarch
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my first experience with a Flemish sour ale and I was blown away. It pours with a deep ruby color and a thin white head. The aroma is of red wine vinegar. Some may be turned off by the tart acidic tast, but I love it. Tastes of ripe cherries and red wine with that vinegar-like sourness. This is a style of beer I wish I could see more of.

dmarch, Apr 09, 2003
Photo of bonsreeb85
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - nice sustaining head atop this burgundy colored beauty.

S - lots of cherries, also some red wine and vinegar. is tart a smell??

T - much sweeter than the nose leads on. I get a mouthful of cherries that initialy begin sweet, but then turn towards the tart side, but not overly so. This is a very complex brew. I also taste oak and wine with that a nutty flavor comes through and displays an earth-like quality. Excellent balance is acheived. never cloyingly sweet or overly sour.

MF - full and chewy with buttloads of spritzer like carbonation. makes my mouth tingle with joy.

D - exceptional. I easily finished the 750.

bonsreeb85, Oct 21, 2009
Photo of lsummers
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not sure when I first got into sours, but this beer doesn't dissapoint.

The Overall look of the beer is a satisfying deep red brown with a great tan head and lacing to match.

The smell is that of sour apples mixed slightly with wood.

The taste is fantastic, the sour notes hit first, the apple flavors come alive and bounce around the taste buds. It's a very tart beer.

The mouthfeel is great, the carbonation helps the beer feel light on the tongue and lets the sour notes float around the mouth. After the first sip, I can't wait to take another.

Overall, I've had this beer many times, I plan on having it again. It's currently my favorite sour.

lsummers, Mar 19, 2012
Photo of PorterLambic
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pouring produces a a dark, reddish brown with a big head that falls evenly to cover and some lacing.
Smell is sweet, a bit musty, earthy.
Taste is very complex, malty, sweet, sour, fruity, tart, a light effervescence, a little earthy with some alcohol showing up in the aftertaste. An extremely well balanced brew.
Mouthfeel was nice and smooth and somewhat creamy.
This is one of my Top Ten favorite beers. This is a great beer, not just in this style. Extremely drinkable. An absolute "must try" beer.

PorterLambic, Jun 08, 2004
Photo of BillHilly
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this in Praha (Prague) at the Pivovarsky Klub (Beer Club).

A: Absolutey the best of the best of the Flanders when on tap. Beautiful dark red, like a balsamic.

S: Sweet & Sour, citrus fruit, vinegar

T: Like a cranberry vinegar with little to no hoppiness, very unique.

M: Thick, pleasant carbonation

D: Have had it both on tap and in bottle, the tap is far superior to the bottles you will get at the local bottle shop...might have to travel abroad to get it on tap, but worth the trip, espcially if you are in Europe enjoying the vacation as well.

BillHilly, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of Wobbly
4.86/5  rDev +16.8%

One of the best examples of a very difficult style to perfect. In fact, only the examples from Rodenbach are clearly superior. With all due respect to attempts from the U.S. (I know American Wild Ales do not count, as they are their own, special sub-style), none of them compete with the Flemish originals. Where I live, the price for this beer varies dramatically, so I suggest shopping around for a good price.

Wobbly, Oct 25, 2013
Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,178 ratings.