1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

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

2,646 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2646
Reviews: 1319
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 13.98%


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)
View: Beers (12) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 2,646 | Reviews: 1,319 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of byrd
byrd

Virginia

4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a good sized light tan head that is fizzy for a moment, then slowly recedes to a thick lace. The color is a clear dark-reddish brown. Aroma has lots of sour vinous notes along side notes of dark fruits. Hints of oak are also apparent. The start is quite sweet and fruity. Prunes, raisins, and cherry notes are all present. Not much hop bitterness, but there is a nice sourness that comes in towards the end to balance things out. There’s a dry oaky finish. Carbonation is fairly light, and more noticeable towards the end. Very drinkable brew that I enjoyed quite a bit. Reminded me somewhat of a fruit lambic, and would make for a good desert beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2003 19:57:21 | More by byrd
Photo of inebrius
inebrius

Michigan

4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2003 07:40:28 | More by inebrius
Photo of crookedhalo
crookedhalo

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Translucent ruby color with thick beige head that leaves intricate lace in the glass. 33 cl bottle dated best before 10/13/03. Slightly vinegary and sweet aromas blended with the complexity of a Flanders red. Oaky and rich on the tongue. Epitomizes the standard of a Flanders red. Again slightly red wine vinegary taste complemented with a thorough malt sweetness and a sour cherry finish not unlike something like Liefmans Kriek. Absolutely drinkable; a fine example of a substitute for a red wine from a culinary perspective in dishes that complement red wines.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2003 07:52:25 | More by crookedhalo
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark red brew with a medium head. Sour taste with a distinct cherry flavor which is coming from the oak. Very impressive control of the flemish style. Alcohol taste is not evident at all. I could drink this at any point in time. One of the best flemish sour ales that I've had the chance to taste.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2003 19:11:06 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of DagFishHead
DagFishHead

New York

4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Burnt-amber, ruby pour. Thin, tightly-bubbled, tan head hangs in with minimal lace.
Smell: Red wine tanins, oak, butter, wine vinegar. Earthy, roasted malt, with faint hops in the background. An olfactory onslaught. I could sniff this all afternoon!
Taste: Like a port wine fortified scottish ale. Sweet cherry, followed by wine/vinegar acidity... all supported by a sweet, slightly-roasted malt, ripe plum/raisin fruit tones and an acidic-citrus/dry-hop finish.
Mouthfeel: Tingly champagne carbonation, puckery acidity, smooth middling malt fullness. There's a lot going on in your mouth with this one.
Drinkability: Never would have thought I would enjoy something of this style this much... please be open to trying this one.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2003 00:19:24 | More by DagFishHead
Photo of Popsinc
Popsinc

Ontario (Canada)

3.38/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: A dark ruby-brownish pour. Thin tan head.

Smell: A very fruity and sour nose. Ripe grape is prominent and there is also a hint of balsamic vinegar.

Taste: The taste here is much sweeter and more mild then the nose might suggest. A nice cherry sweetness creeps through and balances nicely with the tart nose.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and fresh...little sweet n dry on the finish.

Drinkability: The beer was decent but i would only question the how often would i actually sit down to drink this beer? I aprreciate it but i don't love it.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2003 02:19:39 | More by Popsinc
Photo of hotstuff
hotstuff

Indiana

3.5/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This is beer?? It tasted and smelled more like a wine than it did a beer and therefore it was very much not to my liking. It poured a large sized tan frothy head that consisted of fine-small bubbles. The body was opaque and carbonated with a red hue. The nose reminded me of pure wine as did the flavor. The mouthfeel was tingly, tangy, bitey and medium bodied. There was a fair amount of lacing with this beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2003 23:27:48 | More by hotstuff
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
TheLongBeachBum

California

4.83/5  rDev +16.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2003 03:53:24 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of Jon
Jon

Illinois

4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Comparative tasting with a 2001 Liefmans Goudenband 10/17/03.

Reddish brown color with a khaki head that becomes frothy after agitation. Some nice trails of lace remain on the glass. Nose is oaky and buttery with some subdued fruity esters. The nose, to me, screams California Chardonnay with that big buttery, oaky profile (and this is just on aroma). Taste-wise, this doesn't deviate too far from that California Chardonnay once again. Buttery, oaky, and vanilla notes give way to a tart green apple finish with notes of vinegar and funkiness. A wonderful interplay of sweet and sour. One of the most vinous beers I've consumed. The mouthfeel is pleasantly carbonated, yet quite smooth. This is an extraordinarily crafted Oud Bruin. Not quite as quenching as the Goudenband, but it seemed to be more flavorful with a fuller finish. Wonderful stuff.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2003 01:35:12 | More by Jon
Photo of beerguy101
beerguy101

California

4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Deep ruby color. Medium head. Aroma is slightly vinegar and malts. This is DEFINITELY a Flemish Sour Ale. A big bold sour tartness up front, gives way to a nice vinous fruitiness somewhere in the middle. Fruity and sour and vinegar and sweet all at the same time. Very reminiscent of a Rodenbach Grand Cru. Very complex flavors. Nice beer. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this style. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is vinous and slightly bitter . WARNING::QUALITY CAN VARY FROM BOTTLE TO BOTTLE

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2003 02:07:21 | More by beerguy101
Photo of Bighuge
Bighuge

Minnesota

4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer is muy bonita. Lovely deep and clear burgandy tone. A creamy and dense beige head decorates the surface. Great retention is noted. I love the aroma: brown sugar, molasses, leather, sour cherry and ginger. The taste is up to the task as well. Great flavors at work. A bit of a battle of sweet and sour with the sweet actually winning out. No make that a draw. Pretty balanced in that area. A little sour cherry. A little sweet cookie dough. A little sour lemon. A little sweet brown sugar. Some subtle spicing I note as well includes ginger, cinamon and corriander. (Although I'm not sure that this beer is purposely spiced.) There are also some oaky and smokey qualities. A really nice blend of flavors. Body is light and the mouthfeel is on the lighter side of the carbonation spectrum. Wow. I do like this bruin.

Thanks marc77. Once again you've picked a winner for me.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2003 03:22:47 | More by Bighuge
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice burgundy color, quite clear and pours with almost no head. Tastes lightly sour, with a hint of sweetness. Smells lightly woody and a bit sour as well. This beer tastes tart with a hint of cherry. A much more everyday, easy drinking version of Rodenbach Grand Cru. Maybe some hints of vanilla in the taste, followed by a bit of tannic background. No bitterness just a wonderful marriage of tart and sweet flavors. A hint of alcohol in the finish.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2003 16:37:45 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of clvand0
clvand0

Kentucky

4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one strange beer that doesn't really fit into what I normally call beer. Came in a bottle like a beer, looked like a beer, but nothing else. Anyway, to the review! Pours a dark red/brown color with very little head that dies off quickly and leaves a tiny bit of lacing on the glass. The aroma was very sweet and was full of apples (or possibly grapes?). Smelled just like a very fruity red wine. I saw where someone else who rated this one said it smelled of apples - I'm not sure - I thought it was grapes at the time, but I can't go back and re-smell it to find out for sure. :-) The taste was very much like the aroma - sweet and full of apple (or grape) flavors. Tasted like a wine with a carbonation bite and a little beer-malt. Gotta say that I enjoyed drinking this beer as the drinkabily was very good and the mouthfeel was the same. Very wierd, but enjoyable at the same time.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2003 14:26:43 | More by clvand0
Photo of Darkale
Darkale

Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2003 13:23:16 | More by Darkale
Photo of SetarconeX
SetarconeX

Florida

4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: A wonderful dark red color, with an agressive brown head on it. Careful pouring this one, this head doesn't go away as quickly as you might think.

Smell: There's malt, and wine, and citrus, and the alcohol's definately there too. Don't think I've ever had anything that smelled quite like this before.

Taste: Sweet up front, and sour in the back. Very heavy apple flavor all around, with wine-like undertones. Don't think I've ever tasted a beer quite like this before.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and thick. Very good considering the unique tang the beer has.

What a unique little brew! Much too sweet for everyday use, but with completely unmatched complexities to the taste. I'd sell my soul for an exact ingredients list. I've never tasted anything like it.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2003 03:12:16 | More by SetarconeX
Photo of mickeymac
mickeymac

California

4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Charging out of the bottle with champagne-like carbonation, it's a very eye-pleasing brown with garnet highlights. A fine tan head full of little bubbles lays on top of the beer to the end. The smell is somewhat musty, with hints of ripe fruit and an overriding sourness. One sip immediately causes the mouth to pucker, but that's not the end of the story. Raisiny sweetness balances the sour aspect of the beer, making for a very nice drinking experience. For a fairly sour beer, this one is surprisingly drinkable, and I found myself having to resist the urge to throw down big gulps of it. Nice.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2003 01:21:03 | More by mickeymac
Photo of marburg
marburg

Michigan

4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interestingly sweet and certainly different than I was expecting. I had to pause a bit before assigning numerical values to the review because in some ways, it fell below my expectations for any oud bruin. Generally, I want my face to be distorted into a tight pucker. But this complex, aromatic gem will have to suffice!

Brownish color reveals the deep center of a ruby when held to the light. The generous head is cola-like and quickly fades back to a mess of foamy islands. The aroma is sickly pungent: Strong, sweet redolence; vinegar and cherries. The flavors are engaging and complex, though awfully sweet. A light sourness, more acetic than tart, is buried beneath an avalanche of cherries, light vanilla, and honey roasted cashews. Almost like a beer sundae with layers of sweet and varying flavors. It could use another kick of sourness to balance just a tiny bit. Nonetheless, it's quite an enjoyable offering and not to be missed.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2003 02:13:56 | More by marburg
Photo of putnam
putnam

Michigan

4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

We like sour beer. Sour beer is good. This is only slightly sour. The balance just favors a fresh apple, cherry and red plum fruit that would make this suitable for mixed company.
At first the aromas are just steely and clean but as it warms up there is a pronounced apple brandy scent with notes of ginger snap on the side. The texture is fizzy and cleanly sweet with more fresh fruit essences on the way down. medium-bodied and complex, with shifting layers of damp earth, barrel fermented pickles, caramel apples and burned slate in the background. Very drinkable hooch.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2003 19:55:24 | More by putnam
Photo of euskera
euskera

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Oud Bruin..

Nice reddish brown color with a small head. Smell was tart and vinegary. Sour overtones on the taste, with vinegar hints and red wine hints and just a nice tartness throughout with a woody overtone on the end. Maybe not something I'd drink on a regular basis, but very interesting for a change of pace..

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2003 15:20:16 | More by euskera
Photo of RenoZymurgist
RenoZymurgist

Nevada

3.48/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thin head that subsided quickly, for a flemish ale i must have not poured it right as i was carefull to omit the yeast. Color as deep and crimson as red wine. Aroma is sweet and fruity with no malt or hops to be found. Flavor is crazy with the high, soft carbonation causing the sour beer to attack my taste buds. Just enough sweetness to balance the sour flavors. This is a blend of an eight month and eighteen month old ale. The body is light but the carbonation gives an added boost to the strength of the flavors. Very drinkable, and a good beer to expand the horizons of beer flavors.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2003 21:30:42 | More by RenoZymurgist
Photo of RBorsato
RBorsato

Virginia

3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark reddish-brown with a full light brown head, good carbonation, and sheets of lace. Light sour aroma and light oakiness. Dark passion fruit flavors with chocolatey tones and woody tones. More sour than Rodenbach Grand Cru and not as smooth. Light-medium bodied.

I'd try other Flanders Red Ales before trying this one again although I'm hoping the age did not have a negative impact...

Best Before: 08/16/02
Tasted: 06/27/03

($2.99 / 11.2 oz.)

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2003 07:37:16 | More by RBorsato
Photo of Dogbrick
Dogbrick

Ohio

3/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I am still a little new to Flemish Sour Ales, Rodenbach Alexander being the only other one I have tried so far. From what I understand both are good examples of the style. That being the case I am fairly certain this is not a style I am a big fan of. Pours a dark amber/brown with a thick multi-colored head (beige with light brown splotches), with thin lacing. Aroma is alternatingly fruity and sour. The flavor actually reminded me of some Ohio Buckeye Brown that I tried not too long ago that had gone way past the "best by" date. Tart and vinegary flavor is tangy throughout. The finish is like an oaky Merlot. I was able to drink most of this in small doses, but I just can't appreciate the style.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2003 06:22:24 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of nomad
nomad

Kansas

3.73/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a transparent deep red color. Had a soft bubbly head from a good amount of carbonation, and negligible lace. The nose was of oak, apples, and an almost rum smelling alcohol body. I could almost smell the sour that it tasted of. In all, I wish the scents were stronger, as their complexity from this beer's special brewing and aging proess is unique and excellent in the beer world.

The taste was of dry red apples and a great palatable sour - from start to finish, it really bit up at my mouthroof as I swallowed. Had a slight oak character from its cask aging. The malt was not readily apparent but quite nice, a good base strangely tempered by the blending (8 month old batch with a 18 month old batch) and fermentation process of Belgian red ales. In all, the taste was mouth watering, and so calm (again from the aging and blending) but not boring. Some tannins came in on the finish, and eventually the beer took on a unique sour & woody fruit taste.

With a slight tingle on the tongue, a thin and watery body, and a moderate length finish, the mouthfeel was lightly dry turning to a bud salivating end. Quite interesting as it lingered in my mouth for awhile – like the taste its calmly complex. Very interesting, must be great with food. If you enjoy quality red wines (like myself), check this out. Hop heads and fans of big tasting beers might find it boring or too "sweet."

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2003 10:27:30 | More by nomad
Photo of jackndan
jackndan

Illinois

2.95/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Duchesse de Bourgogne: a reddish beer sitting under an initially thick off-white head. Great, thick lacing all the way down the side of the glass. Aroma is very sweet with hints of cherries. The taste is very remarkable: mixed sweet and sour that is almost candy like, unfortunately there is an unmistakable vinegar taste/aroma that is present throughout. The taste is very intense, and complex. Before I forget, the aftertaste is dry, and leaves almost a cabernet impression. Some sharp alcohol sensations as well. Overall, the sweetness kills this brew for me, but I’d give it too a wine drinker to show them what they are missing.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2003 20:57:21 | More by jackndan
Photo of jreitman
jreitman

California

3.35/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purplish brown in color with a initally huge head that fades quickly. Aroma of vinegar was not appropriate. Much sweeter than should be the case for the style. Very remniscent of a Liefman's lambic in that respect. Quite enjoyable, but nothing outstanding. May be a good introduction to the style for a lot of people as it doesn't have the harsh acidity that most new sour ale drinkers get shocked by.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2003 11:21:55 | More by jreitman
Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 2,646 ratings.