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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

3,355 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,355
Reviews: 1,369
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 155
Gots: 384 | 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: 3,355 | Reviews: 1,369 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Onibubba
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Not the beer that I was expecting. Poured an almost black brown with a beige frothy head that quickly dissappeared. Smell was intensely strange with raisins, cherries, and balsamic vinegar. I was expecting something sour, but this was indulgently sweet. The taste reminded me very much of the dressing used on a Killed Spinach Salad - Sugar and vinegar are quickly heated in bacon fat and poured over the spinach. That is the taste which solidified wiht me, and not in an offputting way at all.

You've heard the term smooth as silk, and that is an accurate description of the mouthfeel here. No carbonation detectable at all, but somehow a thin film of lace clung to the glass with each sip. Alcohol does not assert itself. This beer was a perfect nightcap after a bottle of La Roja.

Onibubba, Feb 05, 2007
Photo of Greenfloyd
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one wild beer....

Poured into a snifter with a very dark amber hue, with a yellowish, orange decently lingering head. This beer had a tart cherry nose , with subtle hints of malt vinegar. The taste was a pretty wild ride....Rainer cherries collapse into a mildly sour, oaky cider. Very unique, yet refreshing for such a dark menacing looking beer. The strains of yeast clearly dominate the characteristics of this Flanders Red. The medium body helps the drinkability, as this beer should be paired with mild, semi-soft cheeses and tart apples. Of course a grilled Montreal style rib-eye pairing coupled with some Portabello mushrooms would be great as well...Enjoy

Note: Don't give up on this beer until you've tried it a few times. I had three before I really started to enjoy the complexities of this ale. My taste is an easy upgrade to "4.5" after the repeated sampling...it's still a crazy beer though...

Note part 2: I can't help it. It's a "5" in the old taste category now. The more I drink it the more I love it. Simply amazing...

Greenfloyd, Feb 01, 2007
Photo of Reinheitsgebot71
4.88/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A friend of mine and myself went down to the beer bistro earlier in the week and tried a few new beers each of which I'll review in turn.

A: It poured very dark brown almost completely opaque with a mocha
brown half inch head and minimal lace.

B: Immediately upon first sniff mincemeat pie came to mind followed by a slight hint of pine. The more subtle hits then manifested themselves, namely raisins and rock sugar. I didn't detect any hit of alcohol whatsoever, unsurprisingly as it is a lower percentage compared to some of its other Belgian counterparts.

T: Right off the bat raisins again followed by, lemon, iron rust, honey, hints of curry powder, cardamom in conjunction with the more prevalent lemon sapidity. Hidden at the very bottom of the taste spectrum were nice finishing touches of allspice, cinnamon and soothing caramel.

M: Uber smooth, very sparse effervescence, but what little there is tingles the mouth nicely in conjunction with the magnificent flavors abound in the beer. Overall quit silky smooth almost marshmellowy feel in the mouth.

D: A very very nice beer; goes down very well. After I finished it I immediately craved another. I don't think I could ever get sick of this beer, just excellent. I recommend it to any true lover of beer.

Reinheitsgebot71, Jan 31, 2007
Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - this belgian beer pours a dark rich mahogany color, with crimson highlights, atop sits a dark tan head maybe half a finger thick, and throughout streams plenty of swift carbonation

S - sour cherries big and up front, but not overpowering and not like cough syrup, a basic hoppy ale background with slight hints of vanilla

T - wow, a nice cherry/ale blend, great rich cherry flavor without beign gross liek the aforementioned cough syrup, something else, like a woodiness, of course *now* i look at the bottle and see that it was aged in oak casks, well ites apparent and delicious

M&D - smooth and easy down, flavorful and mouth coating fruitiness make this a dangerous brew, a moderate ABV saves it from a "one glass only and recork it" doom, phew! what a marvelous beer though, masterfully crafted

sinstaineddemon, Jan 23, 2007
Photo of bigone4
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer on tap at the Belgium beer tasting at Pitchers Pub in Cumberland, RI. They served this brew in a nice goblet making for a great presentation. It poured a deep dark brown ruby color. Nice dense white head with decent lacing left in the glass. The smell is very much of fruit and caramel malt. Especially plum or figs mixed in the back ground. Some tones of malt and grape sourness in the nose as well. Very complex taste, that creates a rolling mosaic of flavor through out the mouth.

This was my first beer from West-Flanders region of Belgium. This Flemish style of brew is quite unique and different. It really had me thinking and focusing on the different flavors I could identify. Nice hints of malt and a dry hop taste very strong hints of fruit. There were many different sour notes throughout the mouth. From the first taste the sour fruit tone is mellow and quite unique. Smooth sour start with a fruity malted taste. The finish was dry and had a slight taste of alcohol. There was an almost spicy flavor hidden in the aftertaste. The sour notes get you right in the back of the mouth.

Learning about the aging process was quite interesting. Some of the oak tannins made there appearance as the beer warmed. I found it to be enjoyable and quite drinkable. Some of its qualities reminded me of a homemade wine. This is a very unique and different beer that is not for everyone. But if you are looking to expand your beer tasting pallet make sure you include this one for a taste.

bigone4, Jan 21, 2007
Photo of GooberMcNutly
3.23/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours as a thick, reddish brown with white head and good carbonation. Aromas of sour, acidic cider with cherry and rasberry notes. Taste bursts of fresh grape juice and red wine vinegar with nice oak notes. I found the overall body to be very light and unassuming with less of an acidic kick than I was expecting. Nicely subtle and the dry finish makes for a good starter beer.

GooberMcNutly, Jan 19, 2007
Photo of jbart
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Apples, apples, apples. This beer pours dark with a reddish tinge. For some reason, I thought it'd be lighter. As other people have said, it smells like apple cider vinegar, but not bad. I think it's pleasant. It tastes like fresh apples, like I picked them myself--more sour than sweet. It's not overly sour, though. In fact, I thought it would be more sour. I really like this--it's very refreshing.

jbart, Jan 14, 2007
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
2.63/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

11.2oz brown bottle from Florian's. My first Flemish Red. Dark brownish-red body with ruby-red highlights and a half an inch of light tan head. Smells acidic (like vinegar) with hints of fruit. Tastes acidic and fruity, like a raspberry maybe? After a few sips, a yeasty character starts to show too. Medium-bodied. Not sure what to think of this one... I'm sure it's to style and great for what it is, but I just can't get past that vinegar-like quality, which hurts the taste, smell, and drinkability... Call me unsophisticated and inexperienced, and compared to some I may be, but I am just not a fan of this one, sorry. At least I only ot an 11.2oz.

MrHurmateeowish, Jan 14, 2007
Photo of nouseforotacon
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

After being floored by the tart, sour bomb that is a Cantillon Rosé on my birthday, this brew ended up rather tame and mild in comparison. Best before date of 29-04-07.

Pours out a dark brown and ruby bottom with some transparency and haze. Small tan foam on top that sticks to the glass and leaves a bit of murky foam.

Smell is a vinegar-hater's (which I'm not) worst nightmare. Over-the-top cider vinegar smell, with hints of green apple and tart cherries. Very vinous with a little oak, chardonnay-like grapes, and sweet malts/toffee.

Sourness in the flavor is well-regulated and by no means unbearable. Pleasant green apple/sour cherry on the tongue, with a vinegar-like acidity. Oak-aging imparts a wonderful, deep, wood flavor that mellows out the sourness well and gives the brew a dry finish. Medium body.

This one is not bad. I'd be interested in trying more flemish ales, but I can fully understand others' gripes with the style. I don't like to drink malted vinegar, but there's more to this one beyond the pungent aroma.

nouseforotacon, Jan 12, 2007
Photo of gonzo138
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours a clear deep red, has a tan colored head that doesn't retain too well but does retain nicely

S- a little bit of tart sweetness, and a pleasant apple cider vinegar-ish smell to it as well

T- a little tangy, fruity sweetness at first followed by a mellowed tart sourness thats not too overwhelming, very pleasant

M- medium/ light body with moderatwe carbonation

D- could definitely have a few of these without getting sick of them, a very interesting style of ale, wish I could find more representations of this style

gonzo138, Jan 11, 2007
Photo of goschool
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: The pour is burgundy with ruby highlights and a frothy tan head.

Smell: The sweet malts in the nose bring cherries, grapes, and other ambiguous dark fruit, to compliment tart sourness. There is a faint spicy phenolic aroma as well.

Taste: The sourness comes out right away and sticks around as, at least, the co-dominant flavor. Cherries, blackberries, grapes, sweet candy, molasses, and a hint of vanilla round out the flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with quite a bit of astringency.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. I'm sad to see my glass empty.

goschool, Jan 09, 2007
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 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!

demcorhip, Jan 02, 2007
Photo of beerphilosopher
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Belgian Flanders Red poured into a tall chalice. Presents itself a deep ruby brown with a thin pale tan head that dissipates quickly, leaving a fine lace in the glassware. Active carbonation bubbles are evident. The nose is, to me, much like a good gueuze albeit a bit more subdued. Tart, over ripe fruits, port, slight cider venegar notes, and a hint of spice. The palate is quite sour up front, causing the mouth to water instantaneously. The sourness quickly yields to a strong sweetness, delivering a taste of confectioner's sugar, cider venegar, cherries, and baker's yeast all at once. The sweetness diminishes again in the mouth after swollowing, reminding you of the sour beginnings. Really a complex play in the mouth. If you've not experienced a Gueuze or a Flanders Red before, this interplay may be a bit much for you. The brewers achieve this by blending both young and old (cask aged) ales to create these complex beers. Once you've aquired the taste for "sour" ales, however, you'll be hooked. The mouthfeel is medium, at best, and the finish is sweet mixed with sour, and lingers long. The feel would be a bit cloying were it not for the aggressive carbonation found here. Intentional ... I'd bet on it. A very good Flanders ale, and one I wish I could find again more readily. This one took a trip to Indianapolis recently to find. These ales are a challenge to some, and very well may not be for everyone ... but if you like a good Lambic, Gueuze or Flanders Red, this is one that will not only please you, but may well be the best exemplar of the style. Terrific.

beerphilosopher, Dec 31, 2006
Photo of Marty
3.4/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a transparent deep rosy amber, which surprised me because I (for whatever reason) expected this to be an unfiltered. Dense, craggy, light brown head.

Smells very sweet, cider-like. Taste is very similar, and surprisingly simple. No hops to speak of, and not even particularly malty. Just FRUITY! Very fruity. Impressive that such a tart flavor could come just from yeast, because I was pretty sure there was a whole granny smith apple in that bottle.

Not something I would buy again, but worth a try.

Marty, Dec 29, 2006
Photo of warmstorage
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounces, bottles states 6% ABV. Poured into a wide-mouthed wine glass at cellar temp.

Pours medium to deep brown, dense beige head, dissipates and leaves little lacing.

Aroma is lactic and sour and pleasant. Mouth is tingly and hopping with the bright acidic nature of the beer.

Taste is sweet tangy lactic acid sour tangy goodness. A distinctly sweet fruit taste, ripe pears maybe. A solid Flanders ale, it delivers the fruit and sour body very capably without overwhelming.

An excellent, tasty beer which I'll keep buying and enjoying. Not for non-beer-geek friends, for sure, but an outstanding beer nevertheless.

warmstorage, Dec 21, 2006
Photo of Rudgers73
2.93/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured from a 330 mL bottle into a short chalice. I bought this bottle because it was Belgian and I tend to like Belgians. I poured it and it looked like a nice BSDA with a deep brown-red color, tan head that stuck around, and a touch of carbonation. It smells buttery at first with a sweet smell I have never smelled before. Almost like banana and really young pears. I took a taste and it was not what I expected at all. A wild, tart, rich flood of apples, grapes, and walnuts (maybe from the oak). Until I looked at BA.com I didn't know I had stumbled into my first Flanders Red Ale. The mouthfeel was tart and dry, with sharp sticky-sweet notes. Very crisp and clean. I think I would have liked this more if I knew that it was a Flanders. I went into it expecting a deep, round, caramel taste. For now I think FRA's are a bit too tart for my taste as I am currently swinging from belgian darks to american IPA's. Too much for the time being, but maybe I'll return and buy a few in a few months.

Rudgers73, Dec 15, 2006
Photo of Minkybut
2.5/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Poured into chalice at 50 degrees. Beer wa dark with a nice foamu head that tried to climb out of the bottle. I was excited. Nice bready smell and I was getting more excited. The I tasted it and the sourness made me gag. I'm not sure if there was something wrong with this brew or I'm just not into Flanders style ales and I infact poured it out. I will NOT purchase this again.

Minkybut, Dec 09, 2006
Photo of IdentityAles
3.38/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle. Up front sourness followed by a orange, cherry aroma and some vinous qualities. Clear burgundy in color with a small off white head. Aggressive up front sourness, rounded with hint of sour cherries, sherry like, somewhat acidic and a little bitter orange peel. A little astringent for my tastes and the sweetness lingers on the back of the throat. Pretty good job of playing the sweet and sour contrast but seems a little rough around the edges. The aggressive sourness makes it a little one dimensional IMHO.

IdentityAles, Dec 03, 2006
Photo of tcfishler
1.7/5  rDev -59.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Deep red-brown, like an old/oxidized red wine.

Winey nose of sour cherry, yeast, and aceto balsamico.

Hits first with acidity...definitely acetic acid (aka vinegar). Comes through afterward with quite sweet fruitiness, and a tiny bit of roasted malt as well. Highly carbonated. Finishes long but astringent.

Very much a love-it-or-hate-it beer, or perhaps an acquired taste. For someone like me whose background is in wine-drinking, this isfar too similar to a wine that has gone bad, what with the brownish red color and copious volatile acidity (acetic acid). I couldn't even manage to drink more than a few ounces, which is a tragedy given the care put into brewing this. Take my rating with a grain of salt, keeping in mind my biases.

EDIT: Come to think of it, reducing this in a pan on the stove could make an awesome sauce. In that context the vinegar-y flavors would be appetizing rather than offensive.

tcfishler, Nov 25, 2006
Photo of malthead
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

My first time for a Flanders Red Ale, best before 10/07, served in a tulip.
Very dark red color, nice little red-tinged head. Smell - wow. Like a fine, aged balsamic vinegar. Sweet, darkly fruity at first, but with a vinegar bite after smelling it for a while. Taste - again, wow. Kinda grows on you after a while. It's both sweet and tart. Dried fruit, tannic, maybe a very dry grape juice. Mouthfeel is a little too slick for me, and while interesting, this just isn't very drinkable for me - not sure I'm even going to get through this one. Just too much for me right now, I guess.

malthead, Nov 20, 2006
Photo of dherling
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out a dark reddish brown with a minimal head that drops quickly. The nose is sour, even vinegary. There are also some nice notes of fruit and mustiness. I pick up some faint spice and sweetness lingering as well. The taste uncovers the sweet and extremely fruity notes from the nose. The body is amazingly sour grape juice, with a subdued bitterness that really works. Totally different than the nose, a nice surprise. Medium bodied, with good carbonation. The finish is pretty dry, like white wine.

dherling, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of mcallister
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bad boy is pouring with a huge ivory white head that protudes over the top of the glass. Great retention and when it finally fades a thick, sticky lace is left behind. The color is a dark mahagonny/ruby red if held to light.

A tart cherry, dried berry aroma. Hints of nuts, and other dried fruits as well.

This is a great flemish. Dried fruit and berry galore with a tart cherry kick. The finish is moderate and leaves you wanting more.

Mouthfeel is a tad off. It seems a little flat and thin.

mcallister, Nov 14, 2006
Photo of Oxymoron
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The power of the Duchesse is great! The pour is a bit viscous (like wine) with a ruby red color and brown tinges when held to the light. A bubbly head that dissipates rather quickly and not much lacing to speak of, but that's ok for style.

The nose is has more of a tart aroma then acidic. Very noticeable fruit esters with cherries, pears and some tropical fruit notes in the back ground. Some sweeter malt and candy like esters. Noticeable Belgium yeast characteristics as well.

The taste is fruity for a Flemish red. The tart flavor brings out a unique cherry blossom tang both enhancing the sweeter malty flavors with the sour like candy apple tastes. The acidic and dry ester flavors leaves a no doubt Flemish style that only is exemplified by the light but delicate Belgium yeast undertones. There is a spice kick at then end. Really this beer brings out all the flavor characteristics of sweet, salty, sour and bitter wrapped altogether.

The body is closer to mid then full, but a true Belgium delight. Yeasty undertones with a fruity center that really appeals to all flavors. There really is a powerful taste overall.

Oxymoron, Nov 11, 2006
Photo of weasbri
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Rustico, a fine new restaurant with a beer and wine list that features one page of wines, and about 15 pages of beers. Gotta love that.
Poured into a Chimay glass. The restaurant was dark, so maybe the beer seemed darker than it is, but it was a deep red, close to brown color. The head dissipated somewhat, but left a nice lacing on the sides of the glass.
Wow, the taste. I remember reading about Duchesse, but when I ordered it, I wasn't sure what to expect. What I got was a tarty cherry flavor smacking me on the tongue. I almost had my non-beer drinking wife try some, but then decided to keep it for myself. The tartness is well-balanced by a very sweet fruity flavor, and it only tastes like what most people would call "beer" in the remotest sense.
This is one of those beers you take to your wine snob friends if you want to turn them into beer snobs. Lots going on, and I could drink it for days.

weasbri, Nov 03, 2006
Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,355 ratings.