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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 BuckeyeNation
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy cinnabar with orange highlights and a considerable amount of uprushing carbonation. The small, airysoft, golden beige head has a featureless surface and a less than impressive lifespan. A thin ring of delicate lace indicates the high water mark of the head, and a series of vertical streamers run down to the deflating cap. Although the color of the liquid is great, not much else impresses.

Duchesse is the most vinegar-like beer that I've ever smelled. It isn't overwhelmingly vinegary, but if I caught it in the midst of deterioration, I wouldn't have wanted to pop the cap much farther along. There's also a funky, sour cherry aroma that I find appealing. On repeated sniffs, the cider vinegariness isn't all that bad. If it's that dominant on the palate, though, I smell trouble.

Vinegar is still noticed... and still stops just short of being a deal breaker. I would love to taste DDB fresh so that I wouldn't keep flashing back to coloring Easter eggs as a kid. This bottle is still more than a month away from its 'best by' date, so maybe it's supposed to taste like this. It's puckeringly sour and acidic with sour cherries still running rampant. I'd be amazed if cherries didn't play some role in the brewing process.

As I get deeper into the glass, I can appreciate a fairly significant sweetness that's all the more noticeable because of the medium-full, lightly viscous mouthfeel. The seltzer-like carbonation feels out of place, but it does keep things from bogging down and becoming overly syrupy. It also eliminates much in the way of mouthcoating; the finish is surprisingly clean.

I'm conflicted about Duchesse De Bourgogne. I can taste the outlines of what must be an incredible Flanders red, but this particular bottle tastes like it's on the cusp of the point of no return. Even though it's still drinkable, I'm convinced that the Duchesse and I haven't met in the most optimal of circumstances. I'll keep an eye out and will give a younger, more vivacious version a second review.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 01, 2005
Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Texasfan549, May 15, 2012
Photo of BEERchitect
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

In the honor of the Duchess of Burgundy, a unique sweet and sour taste emerges in ale form- an unfailing choice for the curious palate to venture into the sour family, but with the malty-sweet support and a rich fruit flavor to balance its acidity. Its utmost complexity and refreshment is reserved for those who refine their palate but are tentative about sourness.

This Flanders red ale's tawny pour of browns, reds, and haze carry an inherent wine-like, cognac appearance that's shyly adorned with the daintiest of foam stance which It's similar to delicate coffee-like creme.

The nose is met with complex and succulent character that remind that strikes the olfactory senses with balsamic, chocolate, black cherry, weathered wood, soy sauce, red wine, and sherry wine. The sweet and sour interplay seems something much more of French reductions or Chinese cuisine than it does of beer.

Flavors are a dynamic sweet and sour interplay of to tart berries, mild toast but more so of vinous wine, savory umami character, lemon-like acidity,- its sour and savory combination can go on and on. Every point of flavor has a counterpart to balance, which carry the beer across the palate with a multitude of intrigue and wonderment.

Medium bodied, but the beer's tepid but acidic sourness makes the beer seem somberly tart while the succulent cherry and cocoa allow for a soft weight to be felt. Its moderate carbonation allows the beer to seep into the softer mouth tissues for fuller flavor but also ushers in a dry woodsy finish of crab apples with mild vinegary astringency.

Well balanced throughout, but the beer's sweeter and fruitier side buffers against any abrupt sourness which gives it a restrained property that not only challenges the palate, but soothes it with ample wine sweetness and toasty malts.

BEERchitect, Aug 25, 2005
Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

Phyl21ca, Nov 13, 2003
Photo of mikesgroove
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

My very first sour ale. I was not sure what to expect going in, but definatly knew what it was about when it was done!

Poured a deep dark brown, with lots of reddish hints to it, making it almost seem a dull burnt orange in bright light. A huge billowing white head faded quickly, but left a nice film of lace about the top for most of the glass. The smell was probably the strongest I have ever smelled in a beer. Almost knocked me over. Huge flavors of sour grapes and apples, lots of fruity hints in there, and very very strong, really like nothing I have ever smelled. The taste was unbelievably sour. Like sour candy sour, huge flavors, too much for me. Actually made my eyes water with every sip. Very light mouth feel, and great carbonation were nice, and helped it go down smoothly, but was not really my cup of tea. Flavors were big, grapes, apples, peaches, raisins, plums, very very complex and fruity. Overall I did not enjoy it, but I am not sure if this was due t o the style or this particular brew. I will have to try a couple more to get a better feel, but this one was rough on me. I could see how someone would like its deep complex character, just not me.

mikesgroove, Mar 16, 2007
Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

kjkinsey, Feb 04, 2012
Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

GRG1313, Oct 28, 2013
Photo of womencantsail
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The pour is a dark, rich, red color without too much carbonation or head formation.

S: Loads of dark fruit, specifically sour cherries and currants. There is a nice lactic sourness along with a mild vinegar aroma.

T: Almost identical to the nose. A wonderful tart/sourness, but not overpowering. The cherries really come through here as well as a touch of sweet malt.

M: Medium bodied with a high level of carbonation and a crisp, dry finish.

D: I'm still getting used to these sour ales and this is a great one to start on. Nothing overly intense about it, but a nice beer nonetheless.

womencantsail, Jul 12, 2009
Photo of kylehay2004
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Two finger rapidly dissipating head with a little lace on a clear near perfectly amber body. Near perfect sour cherry aroma with candy notes. Flavor is initially sour then sweet in the finish with a predominantly dark fruit backbone. This beer is excellent and very very drinkable. Medium body and moderate carbonation. I will be having this one again.

kylehay2004, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of jaydoc
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

jaydoc, Aug 16, 2013
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best Before: 05-12-09.

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark mahogany brown body with a full, frothy, light khaki-colored head. Fair amount of lacing deposited on the way down.

Smell: Sweet-smelling, sugar-coated fruit nose with a big, hearty dose of malt vinegar. Light whiff of an unidentified herbal component.

Taste: Sweet dark caramel maltiness precludes a fruity dose of raspberries and a sugary, lightly tart cherry juice character and with an addition of both aged balsamic and malt vinegars. Squirt of fresh lemon juice. Tiny pinch of cocoa powder. Mild woodiness throughout. Undercurrent of tart acidity, particularly at the end. Long, fruity, crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: Recommended. An enjoyable, tasty, relatively smooth Flemish Red jam-packed with rich fruity complexities.

ChainGangGuy, Nov 12, 2008
Photo of Knapp85
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This ale poured out as a fizzy looking deep red color with a light tan colored head on it. The head didn't last very long and neither did the lacing. The color was great on this beer though. The aroma of oak wood and fermented cherries on the nose giving this quite a sour profile. The taste is exactly what the smell told me. The flavors in this beer are big a powerful upfront with tart cherry and fresh oak. The aftertaste settles into a more semi-sweet and very nice yeasty cherry flavor. The mouthfeel is bubbly and kind of thin but didn't bother me. Overall this is probably one of my favorite sours, I'm not really into this style too much but I'll admit I did enjoy this brew.

Knapp85, Jun 07, 2011
Photo of oberon
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby color with a nice creamy,sticky head that leaves waves of lace down my brandy snifter,aromas are all Belgian some sour cherry and malt vinegar with a touch of funk hits right on.Now I got alot more sweetness than expected in this brew,a kinda sweet/spicey mix that coats ur mouth with only a touch of sourness in the finish wich was unexpected.I picked up some cherry stone and iron notes a little more as I drank but this seems to stay more on the sweeter side for the style,true to the style not sure, but worth a try its a quality brew.

oberon, Aug 24, 2004
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

westcoastbeerlvr, Jan 11, 2013
Photo of largadeer
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark reddish amber, not far from a dubbel in appearance. The cloudy tan head never lets up.

Smell: An intensely sweet aroma escaped from the bottle as soon as I uncapped it, which was initially a bit off-putting. A bit of swirling reveals sour cherries, molasses and vanilla.

Taste: Cherries again, red apple, grape, vanilla, oak and brown sugar. The taste has a sweet/sour dynamic, leaning a bit toward the sweet.

Mouthfeel: On the lighter side of medium-bodied, this goes down pretty easily, but it becomes a bit syrupy. Gentle but abundant carbonation tingles the tongue.

Not bad for a sweeter Flanders red, but I greatly prefer this style more dry and sour.

largadeer, Jun 18, 2007
Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

All food and balsamic vinegar references aside, this is a great introductory Flemish Red Ale. If you dig sweeter Belgians, go for this, if not, try Rodenbach. If neither float your boat, do us all a favor and don't review these beers until you have some point of reference, or at the very least read the style description.

From the 750mL bottle at cellar temperature, this ale pours a clear reddish-brown. Ever-present lacing is stable, and remains for the duration of the glass.

Smells a touch sweet, plums, fruit, nuts, unique farmhouse yeast. A metallic iron note offsets the fruitiness.

Taste follows the smell, fairly sweet fruit, very mild tartness that doesn't much compare to Rodenbach and the like. Slight residual mustiness and iron/copper notes.

Fairly thin mouthfeel, even carbonation keeps things lively. Drinkability is big if you can dig the style. A 750 is no problem in one sitting...

emerge077, Feb 11, 2007
Photo of zeff80
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a chalice/snifter. It was a dark brown with flecks of red. It had a tan, two-finger head that left nice rings of lace.

S - It smelled of sour cherries and malt.

T - It tasted very sour with a little sweet kick. There was a good dosage of malt, too.

M - It was crisp and sharp. It was medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good beer. It's the first Flanders Red Ale that I've tried and I really liked it.

zeff80, Jun 13, 2007
Photo of biboergosum
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle. So like a gueuze, but not a Gueuze, eh? Screwy old-world denominations.

This beer pours a clear, rather dark reddish cola amber hue, with two pudgy fingers of foamy, soapy beige head, which take a fair while to melt away, leaving some chunky, splotchy stillborn honeycombed lace around the glass as it slowly melts away.

It smells of sour fruit esters - cherry, lemon, and apple, with more than a bit of sharp acetic acid, some timid boozy oak barrel notes, and a faint pale malt sweetness. The taste is big sweet and sour fruitiness - black currants, cherry, apple - further sweet caramel malt, and a burgeoning oaken vanilla woodiness. Some leafy, earthy bitterness loiters after the fact.

The carbonation is quite low-key, the body a solid, and fairly smooth medium weight, the echoes of abstracted fruit strangely doing no harm. It finishes off-dry, with the overarching fruitiness fully opening up to the yin and yang of tartness and sweetness.

A rather complex and sexy offering, the sourness alluring enough to draw one in, but not too pungent to outstay its welcome. In the end, one has to describe this as a more sweet than sour, tasty tipple, a testament to the mutability of things.

biboergosum, May 14, 2009
Photo of JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%

JAHMUR, Jun 02, 2013
Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -3.8%

SocalKicks, Sep 15, 2012
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Carefully poured from a long-standing bottle it's a surprisingly clear, reddish-brown with orange-ish highlights. The light tan head rises up full at first, but thins shortly. The thin cap, however, holds to the end of the serving - no doubt buoyed by effervescent carbonation - and leaves some noteable lace. The aroma is soft with sugary sweet dark fruit (cherry, raspberry, plum) and an array of gentle lactic notes including vinegar, leather, and barnyard. It's also a touch of vegetal character, and the combination of sugar sweet and vinegar leaves it with a note that's oddly similar to ketchup. It's not bad, but it's sweeter, more chalky, and much less sour than many of the examples from the historic town of Oudenaarde. The body is light but with some dextrins, and offers a crisp and zesty mouthfeel from a very fine, effervescent carbonation. The flavor starts with a combination of tart, sharp fruit (raisin, raspberry, prune, currant, sour cherry) and sweetish caramelized sugar at the front of the mouth, leading into a more winey character with a big woody note and sweet maltiness at mid swallow. It finishes a bit chalky and dry, with a light stickiness throughout the mouth and a sweet & tart note on the tip of the tongue - sometimes followed by an earthy, musty and acidic burp. A very good beer in the Oud Bruin style, posessing a solid oak character and good fruitiness, but possibly a touch sweet. Overall, quite enjoyable.

NeroFiddled, Aug 15, 2002
Photo of Jason
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep brownish red colour with some haze from both the chill and yeast, tight off white lace with a half decent lace. Soft and slightly sour aroma, dry woody almost nutty back ground. Biting crispness within the light yet effervescent and smooth carbonation. Puckering twang of sourness hits the palate, fruity flavours ride along with this and give suggestions of ripe currant and apple peel. A woody dryness sneaks up and dries the mouth is a split second and clear all residual sweetness. Quite the enjoyable Flemish Red …

Jason, Feb 21, 2002
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Ruby red brown with a nice caramel tan head leaves appitent amount of head leaves lacing that's beyond my belief. Aroma: Clear caramel malt with massive amounts of amber tones that left me in a frenzy solid looking flemish ale. Taste: Sharp cherry taste with an incredible amount of sourness that is somehow still enjoyable sets your spirit free excellent taste that can'e be let go. Tart fruit flavor that brings any oud bruin competition. Mouthfeel: Heavy carbonation medium bodied ale nice. Drinkability: Excellent solid array of flavors that proves this is a classic staple of the oud bruin or flemish style ale tradition good stuff.

WVbeergeek, Jan 19, 2004
Photo of nickfl
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Two fingers of light brown head tops the clear, amber-brown body.

S - Sour and malty with a bit of caramel and pepper.

T - Sweet and sour. Fruity notes of black currants and lemon. Lots of malt and a bit of caramel.

M - Medium to light body and medium carbonation.

D - Very drinkable with a nice interplay between the sweet and sour flavors. Not too complex, but very satisfying.

nickfl, Jun 05, 2008
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2oz. bottle into flute glass.

A: The beer is a dark reddish brown color with a medium off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is mostly sour with apples, dark fruit, some chocolate and elements of creaminess and smokiness.

T: The taste is very fruity with a heavy burst of sourness. The initial taste had a nasty metallic bite, but it disappears. The malt character is thin and there’s a mild hops presence. The after-taste is slightly sweet and very tart.

M: Smooth and crisp, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, dry and sticky finish.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, not very filling, it’s not the type a beer that I could drink consistently, but it’s a good to drink casually if you like the sourness.

TheManiacalOne, Aug 07, 2007
Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,178 ratings.