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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 CharlesRiver
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a dark reddish-brown with a nice off white head that seems to last. The smell is wonderful. Sweet, sour, balanced and simply amazing. The smell is a perfect five.

Taste is much more smooth than I expected. Cherries, wood, and a tad on the sweet side. No alcohol is present. So smooth and so balanced I am amazed this beer is aged in oak.

To be honest, I am sure there are better beers from this style. But, they are not that easily available. This is the best that I have had from this style and I can't wait to try more.

CharlesRiver, Jan 22, 2005
Photo of claytri
4.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured a beautiful rich brown that let just enough light through to provide read highlights. It generated a thin tan head. The aroma is sharp and winey with an alcohol burn. The tastes starts with a wonderful tanin taste, then moves to a sweet dark berry flavor, and finally progresses into a dark tart fruit finish. The feel is smooth and creamy with a nice rounding of flavors on the tounge. An absolutely enjoyable drink and something I will have to consider everytime I go to the shelf to make a purchase.

claytri, Jan 15, 2005
Photo of kindestcut
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

OK, so the conundrum is...how do you review a beer fairly if it turns out you don't really care for the style? Well, that's what I had to deal with here.

I wanted to like this beer. I really did. But I couldn't get into it (I say this as I drink a stout to cleanse my palate). So, I've looked at the style attributes and I've tried to be as fair as possible.

The Duchesse De Bourgogne poured a reddish brown. The off-white head was very active, rising to the top of my goblet and staying for quite a long time. When it began to recede it left a pretty lace.

The aroma was a combination of sweet and sour, reminding me of a good raspberry sauce with hints of lemon. If that sounds out of character, then it's because I was straining to find something familiar here.

The taste was also complex. Any hoppiness was dominated by a dramatic sweetness that gave way to a tart finish...a sour character that lived beyond the swallow. However, this beer is far more sweet than sour. The alcohol, although a hearty 6.2%, was not to be tasted.

Again, it's not my cup of beer but graded by the style, I suppose it's a solid example.

kindestcut, Jan 08, 2005
Photo of lackenhauser
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice deep chestnut brown color. No real head to speak of. Oakey,vinuous aroma. Makes me think of a cabernet. Raiseny like flavor. Malty upfront. Very wine like. Not overly sweet-nice balance between sweetness and a slight sourness. Good smooth body. A nice beer. Good sipping beer-not real high in alcohol but a sipper none the less.

lackenhauser, Jan 04, 2005
Photo of ggroller
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I just drank my first Duchesse on Christmas Day 2004 and was completely excited about what I saw and smelled in my glass without even taking the first sip.

The color was a dark, velvety, burgundy brown with a large fluffy head similiar to one seen on a Beligian White.The aroma was like nothing I have ever smelled before. Sour cherries was the first thing I noticed followed by sweet cherry and orange mingled with woody earthiness. Upon taking the first sip I first tasted sour then sweet; just like the aroma.

This beer is very drinkable and in my opinion a session beer. It was sweet but not too sweet. Sour but not too sour. And the finish left my palate clean and wanting more.

ggroller, Dec 28, 2004
Photo of ReindeerFlotilla
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I tried this at the Hopleaf, a pub on the north side of Chicago. Got it on tap, and it poured deep brown with a small head, which dissipated quickly. The aroma was somewhat fruity with a hint of hops. The beer looked hearty, but the mouthfeel was actually a bit on the thin side. The flavor was incredible. It has characteristics similar to something like a Lindeman's Kriek, but the sweetness was not as pronounced and there was more of an oak characteristic to the flavor and it tasted more "ale-like" than a sweet lambic. The finish was wonderful -- a bit fruity with a hint of cherry. Overall, an outstanding beer.

ReindeerFlotilla, Dec 23, 2004
Photo of medic25
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Definitely a change of pace from the everyday beer. Served in a chalice, fairly short-lasting brown-tinged head tops a dark, reddish brown beer. The first whiff has quite a bite to it. Once you get past the initial vinegarish scent, a more fruity odor dominates. The acerbic trend continues with the first sip; an almost overpowering (but not at all unpleasant) sour cherry flavor dominates. The tingling aftertaste is probably my favorite thing about this beer; think eating sour patch kids when you were younger. Not a beer I'd suggest to introduce your macro friends to the BA world, but overall a pleasant drinking experience.

medic25, Dec 14, 2004
Photo of Crotor
3.3/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I have a strange relationship with this beer. When I first tried it, as a nascent BA, it freaked me out. Tasted like vinegar. I thought it'd make a good salad dressing, but not a good beer.

The second time around, things are a bit different. Nonetheless, the beer remains, shall we say, *unique.*

Pours deep and dark with rich, crimson windowpanes. the low, tan head dissipates quickly.

Can't really pick up much on the aroma...

The taste hits big. Tart & sweet with an astringent finish. Behind the vinegary sourness there's a massive, cloying sweetness. The mouthfeel *seems* good, but admidst all the sweetness and tartness, it's difficult to notice anything else. Oh does the tartness linger...

After a little while in the glass, and a bit of warming, it seems to develop a foamy, effervescent feel in the mouth. Is it a bit salty?

In the end, all I can really say is that this beer is an *experience.* It seemed to hi every damn region of my tongue. Interesting certainly... Kinda like a Kubrick film - you know it was interesting, and you know a lot of work went into it, and it gave your brain a workout, but as to whether or not it was actually good, you don't really know...

My one major complaint would be that the sweetness of the beer was overly simplistic. I don't know if that's the result of the tartness deadening my palate, or if it's from the reported artificial sweeteners. Either way, it just seemed that it lost out on some of the subtlety that it could have had.

Crotor, Dec 14, 2004
Photo of Dukeofearl
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had heard odes sung lovingly (if not off-key) to this brew long before I had a chance to try it (that would be you, LongBeachBum) before I got to try in in its homeland of Belgium (I definitely recommend this approach, if you can do it!). But this review is based on a single bottle I found here in the states. I was worried- was it too old? Had it been handled properly? Well, guess what- this was not a problem!!!

Bottle best-by 3/31/05. Pours a dark brown with ruby port highlights, with a medium tan head and off-white chunks of yeast that quickly dissolved. Aroma is very inviting- pretty sour (in a good way) with dark fruits that offset each other very nicely. Flavor- ohmigod! Tart and brown sugar and candied fruits and sour cherries and plums and yes, all offset by the tartness. Talk about balance! I love this stuff!

One odd notation- there was a strange pond scum effect (I assume from the dissolved yeast) that sat below the head and above the beer. Gave an unusual smoothing effect I've never experienced elsewhere. Was not a bad thing, but strange.

Overall- can I have some more, please?

Dukeofearl, Dec 10, 2004
Photo of paterlodie
3.1/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From label and name a beer with great appearance. Also from beerstyle one to watch out for of course... or not?
Appearance in the glass is not exceptional, no big head and a brown, in sunlight red colour. Smell is fruity and litle sour with some oak. Taste is mild( compared to the Rodenbach grand cru) and a lot sweeter& less sour. Some oak is there but taste is mostly sweet and gets sweeter and sweeter. After drinking half a glas and reviewing it I got more and more a feeling that it was lemonade what I was tasting. Maybe a nice beer for people that start with sour beers but nothing special to me.

paterlodie, Dec 06, 2004
Photo of alexgash
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dank, dark ruby with orangeish highlights around the edges. Big, almost gushing, reddish-tan head.
Smell is tart, oaky fruit (cherry?) with olives, earth, and light vinegar. Interesting. Tastes much like it smells. Lively carbonation. Sweet yet dry tart fruits (strawberry, cherry). Musty oak accent throughout. Very interesting. Finish is fruity and tart. Mama likes. Medium-bodied, high carbonation, and quite drinkable. I like this style to begin with (represented by the few samples I've had) and this doesn't disappoint. Recommended.

alexgash, Nov 29, 2004
Photo of amicar
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a just-shy-of 12oz bottle, poured into a standard cabernet wineglass. Part of a food/ wine pairning.

Poured with a slight brown- tinged head; the beer color has a mid- caramel with red undertones. The smell itself is amazing- a hundred different smells pull you in multiple directions; you get just a hint of the fruity tartness that lies under the surface;
The sip is a little tart and malty at the same time; there's a full toffee/ caramel feel and a syrupy sensation, but none of these aspects are overdone; they are restrained just the right amount to let the dried tart cherry taste underneath through; the tartness is 'almost' masterfully balancing the sweetness; I would have preferred a hair less.

I thought this was a great beer when I tasted it alone; then I had it with food.... oh my gawd.
The meal was a pork tenderloin with a portabella/ shallot/ cream sauce (if anyone wants, beermail me and I'll share the recipie). The underlying sweetness matched nicely with the shallot/ cream sauce, and the muskiness of the beer and that of the mushrooms were perfect together; The tartness/ cherry sensation was less pronounced but still detectable with food. mmm....

anyway, overall, this is a fantastic beer. Alone, a single bottle can occupy you for an extended period of time; however, it would be tough to have more than one (kind of like very how you can only take so much rich chocolate) at a sitting. I can see how it's probably not for everybody; Definitely try it with food, especially something with cream or that has similar body.

amicar, Nov 21, 2004
Photo of Suds
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Now this is something interesting! I completely didn’t expect the flavor of this brew.
It pours a dark, deep, rich brown and red. The carbonation is extreme, contributing to a huge, soft, tan head. Amazing lace. The aroma is wild and strange…both acid and sugar, yeast, cherries, smoke, berries, candy, vinegar, and countless other sensations. Wooo….the smell alone is dizzying with complexity. The taste is out of this world….sweet and sour…cloying and mouth-puckering. It’s a mashed-up dichotomy of unexpected flavors. Again, extraordinary strange….I can see that this one’s not going to be for everyone. Thin to medium mouthfeel, with a lot of prickly effervescence. I personally didn’t find it extremely drinkable….it’s an experience, and good (without a doubt), but it’s also tongue-taxing and the acidity got to me.

Suds, Nov 14, 2004
Photo of PatandDavid
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Anam Cara, and I enjoyed this one. I am liking this style! Anyway, pour when served was the dark burgundy, no head. It had a rather muted aroma, although I thought there were some kriek like notes. I found it easy to drink, more sweet than sour, with some cinnamon powder like taste and texture in the finish. I am intrigued by the sweet vs sour experiences of the other reviewers when trying this beer. Maybe it has an evil twin? I liked this, and would get again.

PatandDavid, Nov 13, 2004
Photo of ncbrewerbun
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This came in a brown 11.2 oz bottle with a "Best Before" date of 10-11-05.

This classic Flanders Red poured an inviting brown/burgandy color with ruby tints and an off-white head

The aroma was a sweet-sour cherry and malt combination. I did pick up a little vinegar and oak.

What a great interaction of sweet malt and fruity/berry flavors with the sourness this style calls for. An enjoyable complex beer and a unique style.

ncbrewerbun, Nov 07, 2004
Photo of dgallina
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep clear mahogany with red highlights. Creamy tan head which subsides to a frothy layer and substantial creamy lacing. Rounded wine-like smell with woody tones (likely to be too sour for some). Initially soft, tart flavors which develop into a rounded fruitiness. The flavor is much more subtle than the smell would initially suggest. Very satisfying creamy smooth medium body.

dgallina, Nov 03, 2004
Photo of xgrigorix
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brown 33cl bottle. Best by date printed on back label.

Full russet brown in colour, with reddish highlights. Large sized bubbles begin to form almost immediately, and intially look like particulate matter floating throughout the beer. A small tan head forms, but doesn't hang around for long.

Fruity aroma, with plenty of vinegar like sourness.

Fruity, sour, tangy. Cola sort of flavour running underneath the hole thing. Medium bodied, rustic carbonation.

xgrigorix, Nov 01, 2004
Photo of Ahhdball
1.3/5  rDev -68.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I'm going to be blunt on this. Horrible. It came in a bottle with a "best before" date of 01/01/06. I liked the color, a nice deep auburn capped by a small beige top. The smell consisted of berries, and a sort of cough medicine overtone. A small amount of citrus hit the nose as I drank. When I forced down the first drink all I tasted was vineager. I tried another few "pulls" and after tasting round after round of vineager and berries I had to give up. I even orderd a sprite to get the taste out of my mouth.

Ahhdball, Oct 31, 2004
Photo of kiya
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

upon a hard pour i'm left with a great thick light tan head that holds it's shape and size quite well over the couple of minutes i let the beer sit to warm it up a bit.

this is easily one of the best smelling beers i've ever encountered.. a sweet smokey scent that is so pleasant i wish i had an air-freshner that smelled like this.

nothing could have prepared me for what happened when this stuff hit my tongue. the initial flavor is one of sickly sweet fermented berries, which mellows out quickly leaving a slight molasses flavor that gets sweeter the longer you roll the beer around your tongue. from the carbonation level to the strong sweet overtones work really well here, where as normally (tasting within the style of beer) i'm not so sure i'd be happy if a beer was this sweet without it being a lambic ale of sorts.

i absolutely love the smell, and would definitely go for this again...

kiya, Oct 21, 2004
Photo of rousee
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours active with what looks like floaties popping up top and they disappear quickly into a little harmless carbonation. No head and no lace to speak of.

Smell--Wow !! Almost like vinegar. Very stinky sour acidic fruit scent. Not even a farm smell, more like musty damp socks. My high score is not because it is a pleasant smell but because it is so unusual. I like cheese to be smelly and thats the analogy I will make.

The taste is completely different from the smell. It is now sweet and slightly syrupy with a dry lemonny or citrus type finish. The mustiness comes across like some real effort has gone into brewing this stuff. Chalkiness too with maybe a tad of malt on it. Syrupy mouthfeel and not too drinkable due to its extreme taste and smell. I love it though and will definitely buy again.

rousee, Oct 11, 2004
Photo of stingo
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I first fell in love with this beer while having it on tap my first time at the local beer bar. I am very happy to say it was not mere infatuation - the Duchesse poured a dark dark red that looked very appetizing indeed. The nose was acidic, yet lightly so, so it beckoned to the eager taste buds to get some of what they were missing. And what a nice flavor - deep rich earthy flavors combined with a nice sour edge to give both ends of the palate a treat. The mouthfeel was a bit thinner than I expected, but still very enjoyable. Having drunk this for an entire night, I can truthfully say the drinkability is exceptional. A highly recommended treat for your taste buds.

stingo, Oct 08, 2004
Photo of bultrey
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a pleasant little surprise to find on draft at the Ginger Man in New York .Unofrtunately, it was served to me in an imperial pint glass instead of a proper tulip glass or wine glass, but I still enjoyed this interesting beer.
This beer has a beautiful deep red color, with a very wispy head and moderate lacing. The nose is very aromatic -- woodsy, minty, cherry, a little funky. Upon first sip, a sweet-tartness explodes on the palate like Smarties candies, only refined. Fresh cherries come to mind instantly, but there's something else too: a very vinous characteristic, bordering on vinegary, that appears but doesn't overwhelm at any point. There is also the feel as if this were aged in some sort of wood -- almost like cedar. The mouthfeel is a little thin, but very much like sparkling wine. The finish is dry and refreshing, with a wisp of tartness and bitterness. This beer is very refreshing. It's ironic that this is considered a "challenging" or rare style of beer in the US, when in fact, I would recommend something like this first and foremost to a wine lover that wants to get into beers. My first Flanders red, and certainly not my last.

bultrey, Oct 05, 2004
Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I don't know where to begin with this beer. This is by far one of the most complex beers I have ever had the opportunity to drink. The color is a gorgeous deep ruby. If the head would have held a little longer, I would have given it a "5". The smell has its belgian characteristics with a soft sweet aroma. Ripened cherries fill the nose beautifully. The initial taste really blew me away. The tart beginning smoothes out to a well-balanced sweet wine taste. It has many features of a cherry-cider yet it still holds its beer roots. I think this is truly a fine speciman of master brewing and will have my respect forever.

ALESwhatCURESya, Oct 02, 2004
Photo of lastauss
4.9/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tart, tangy, gorgeous to look at, this has got to be one of my all-time favorites. Notes of sour, sour cherry interlude to delicate oakiness. My only [minor] complaint is that its faint smell totally belies the explosive flavor of this beauty. Truly, a sexy beer, by all counts.

lastauss, Sep 24, 2004
Photo of meathookjones
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This appeared a deep brown caramel color with a fairly tall light tan head. Scatterings of lace were left as this was consumed and the head retention was minimal. Holy Crap when I first poured this I took a big whiff and was hit with a HUGE funky tart aroma that was a bit overpowering. After letting it air for a bit it became much more pleasant with a bit of fruity tartness, a slight vinegar smell and some woody notes. Flavor wise this was super tart on the first sip that made me think it was going to take a while to get through this glass. After it warmed a bit I found it much more tasty and palatable with a nice mix of tartness and sweetness balancing each other out with the tartness taking a slight lead. There were fruit flavors and woody notes in the taste as well and a fairly nice lingering sour after taste. Mouthfeel was about medium with a soda bubbly feel to it that kind of detracted from it a bit but not much. This was a real sipper for me and I would definitely have to be in the mood for one of these to drink it. I would have it again in the future but I doubt more than one bottle at a time. Very interesting stuff that deserves a shot if you come across it, and I suggest letting it air out and warm a bit for the best experience.

meathookjones, Sep 23, 2004
Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,178 ratings.