Duchesse De Bourgogne - Brouwerij Verhaeghe

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Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

3,732 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,732
Reviews: 1,463
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 13.7%
Wants: 188
Gots: 609 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Verhaeghe visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Flanders Red Ale |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001

Belgian top-fermented reddish-brown ale, a blend of 8 and 18 months old beers following the careful maturation in oak casks.
View: Beers (13) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,732 | Reviews: 1,463
Photo of Goldopelgt
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured a reddish amber with an off-white head that actually stuck around with some decent lacing...

S- Ahhh, what I was hoping for in this brew...Slightly vinegar-y with some nice sour fruit notes...a little bit of funk (there's definitely some brews out there that are alot funkier) and a suprising amount of malt at the end...

T- To be honest, I was a little let down here (I guess I was just hoping for more)...taste is a little milder than it smelled, but still pretty damn good...tart fruits dominate with a decent balance of sweetness and maltiness...

M- Medium to light bodied...right amount of carbonation, but seems to be lacking the dryness I have come to expect out of sours...

D- This beer is still good, don't get me wrong...I guess I was anticipating an over-the-top sour that was in your face with the funk and would make your lips pucker...but that isn't this brew...this brew is very nicely balanced for the style, and is a very good introduction for those who haven't tried a beer of this variety...cheers!

Photo of slackattack
3.4/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark red, almost brown with short, but persistent tan head. Smell is complex and satisfying. Sour cherries, fig, molasses, and a Red wine vinegar tartness. Taste (after you get over the initial sweetness) is sour cherries, some wood, and maybe apple. Mouthfeel is a nice carbonation and a good pretty dry finish. Overall I like it, it's obviously a quality brew and easy to drink, but it's not my favorite Flanders, wish it was a tad more on the sour side.

Photo of delicious
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Auburn body and a very thin beige head that leaves an interesting lace.
There's a hint of fermented apple cider in the nose and a little vinegar.
Holding the first sip in my mouth, all the tiny bubbles work with the sourness and cider vinegar to create something alive and explosive; alcohol warmth lets the feeling linger on. The initial sweetness seems to come from sour cherries, unripe plums, and apples, and the dichotomy is an interesting experience; the two extremes of sweet and sour not only coexist, but thrive. As the temperature rises, the sourness calms a bit and lets you explore it more in-depth. I could sip this all by its self, but it also went great beside a burger topped with a mound of gorgonzola.

Photo of goldendenizen
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Great Belgian sour red. Definitely enjoyed having this on draft.

Photo of ToriBug13
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark brown on the table, but when held to the light this beer has gorgeous amber hues accented by tiny effervescent bubbles fizzing their way to the top. The head, when poured, was milky white and full of giant foany bubbles which dissolved smoothly into the glass leaving little no no lacing.

Smell: from the moment I poured this into the glass, tart cheery scent wafted in my direction across the table. My mouth started to salivate just smelling this beer! Intense bing cherry with a slightly woody aroma. Strawberry and sandlewood also come to mind as secondary descriptors.

Taste&Mouthfeel: even before this beer hints the tongue your tastebuds salivate from the smell alone. The preparation your mouth does is well worth it, for once the brew enters, millions of tastebuds scream in happiness. It's like Sweet Tarts candy made a cherry themed adult beverage! The tart, sour, red cherries play off of the dry foresty, woodsy charm that balances the sweet to dry beautifully. I think the best part of this beer is the body. I have had many sours not worth a reveiw, but this is so lovely in body... Medium weight, great medium carbonation, but the lingering depth and layers in this beer are what leave its body something other sour beers should strive for.

Overall: I think I am in love. Highly recomended! Delicious!

Photo of buckiflyer
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle. Another sampling with my father when he was in town. Appearance: dark amber color, lots of carbination bubbles, little to no head, champainge like. Smell: sweet and fruity. Taste: again sweet and fruity smooth finish, there are so many flavors going on I can't explain it. Mouthfeel good. A winner, this is beeer?! Try it if you want to see where beer can go.

Photo of daftafne
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears as a cola with a tinge of orange. Lacing around rim and surface with little head around the rim supported by good carbonation. Smells of vinegar, apple, dark fruit, and spice. This is my fourth time having this and the taste is more musty than I remember it. Tastes mostly of apple, oak, and light vinegar. It is deliciously well-balanced between sweet and tart. Goes down easy and very smooth. Finishes with a nice bite. Medium body and good drinkability. Really fantastic!

Photo of ElizabethCraig
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Purchased this as recommended by an employee at Siciliano's in Grand Rapids, MI.

Medium Brown/red in color, very clear. Lovely tan head with nice bubbly microfoam.

Scent: Raspberry sour, this sour made my stomach gurgle and my mouth salivate all through the smelling and drinking =)

Taste: Starts out a medium molasses/sorgham and goes immediately to a medium sweet raspberry, then to a VERY sweet raspberry. The aftertaste is a nicely sour caramel malty taste. No fruit in the immediate aftertaste. After around 3 minutes the taste is a very wine-like tanniny grape.

Fairly high carbonation, carries the sour flavor into being and then just leaves the sour.

The ABV isn't high, but the combination of the higher carbonation and the sweet taste is very heady.

I love this beer. I will seek this out and drink this again =)

Photo of blockdude
1.24/5  rDev -70.2%
look: 5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

There are very few beers that I will not finish and this is surely one of those. I'll admit the appearance of the bear is quite nice, with a dark brown/ruby like color. In terms of the nose, the cherries are the most noticeable with vinegar and pomegranate coming in a close second. However, the taste of the beer did not agree with me at all, although it is possible that this was just a bad batch. Overall, I felt there was way too much vinegar and when combined with the richness of the beer, made me feel sick enough to only handle a few sips. On top of that, the beer had a very metallic aftertaste which was very unpleasant and unlike any other sour I have experienced. My brother who was with me had the same experience tasting this beer.

Photo of Illini5596
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Excellent beer, strong fruit flavors, almost grape like, with a spicyness and definite effervescent feel. The taste is a nice mix of tart and smooth, with a sharpness in the aftertaste. While I really love this beer, it isn't one I'd have every day, or even every month. It has a bit of a thick and sticky mouthfeel, and isn't as drinkable as I would like, when compared to the excellent taste.

A good one to try and have on rare occasions.

Photo of bubrewer
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I first tried the Duchess about 2 years ago and was not impressed. It was like drinking a glass full of cider vinegar. I tried her again today and found a completely different experience.

I brought out a pair of new goblets and made sure they were as beer-clean as I can get them. I sat my BMC drinking brother in law down to expanded his horizons. He had read about those crazy Belgians that just let whatever is in the air ferment their beer, so I brought out the Duchess to give him one idea about which they were talking.

This time the Duchess was in a much better mood. Deep ruby red, and brilliantly clear. I see no sediment so I assume this is not bottle conditioned. Although she had some expected tartness, it did not scream (or even hint) "cider vinegar!" like the last time. This time she was full of stone fruits, apples, a little barnyard, some sherry, and just a wonderful experience all around.

I will certainly not shy away from her any more, and am sorry I have
stayed away so long. I should listen to what I tell my kids - even if
you don't like something once, try it again once in a while because
things can change.

Photo of Jerico
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - dark, murky amber/red color with only a slight head.

S - slightly fruity - like a bit of cherry/raspberry/strawberry - and slightly sour with a hint of lovely funk.

T/M/D - wow, is this something special! The cherry/raspberry/strawberry flavor is there, but it not in a overly sweet or syrupy way at all - more sour, but not aggressively so. The beer also has a texture - it feels and tastes thick and creamy but not heavy. Amazing! I've had this on tap once before buying a bottle, and the bottled version tastes exactly the same! Outstanding stuff.

Photo of GarrettB
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Elegance, as inherited through primogeniture and blue blood, has long passed. In its place is something we prefer to call class, which is related to archaic elegance but only remotely. Anybody can have class; the magnate in his vogue mansion or the cad in on the street. It isn’t easy to learn it, and its impossible to purchase it, but class can be trained. Elegance, as the wealthy were expected to have in years past, is altogether unattainable, even for some of the rich. The first and most obvious requirement is to be ejected from the womb of a bourgeoisie, and preferably to have been fathered by one. After that, it was merely a game of chance against in-breeding and developed tyranny that sculpted the, quite literally, nouveuax rich into adulthood. History is replete with cases of royal albinos, trisomy 21, incompetence or just plain idiocy. Also, there are the benevolently raised children of the upper classes that accrue an unnatural concept of class warfare, who then exercise their power with excessive enthusiasm. Let us take the few remaining cases of the beautiful, the wise and the kind regal individuals. The ones coursing with blue blood and compassion, and the ones imprinted in fairy tales and a few justly optimistic histories are those we speak of with an elegance no longer found today, save for a few obscure descendants living on vestigial fortunes. But I’ve found one, remarkably gentle but rich, formal but enjoyable, sweet but mature. The Duchess de Bourgogne, though fictional, is a blurry depiction of some royal lady whose personality doubtlessly charmed her family and subjects alike. She is the altruist from above, showering the ground with coins and flowers from her ivory tower. All I’ve done is told a story, one that I think is nicely summarized in the Duchess de Bourgogne beer. The crepuscular and mellowed tone of the beer nuzzles against the glass below the margaritaceous crown of foam, baring nothing to the unobservant eye. It’s a chaste and modest drink, hinting at its alluring flavor by breathing a slow but diligent waft of green apples, confectioner’s sugar, orange zest, shining red cherries and oak. Below this divine vapor sits the chaliced drink, reverently waiting for imbibing. There the eager drinker finds a similarly rich batch of flavors. Faint vinegar coarseness guides the column of tastes, featuring a light and sweet honey, red and white grapes, orange zest (amongst other citrus) and a very heavy and bombastic conclusion of oak. Poignant and garrulous as the Duchesse may be, it still fits “elegant” nicely. The blend of friendly and charismatic flavors allows anyone, be they friend or foe to beer, to pick up a glass and enjoy. If the rich and bold, sweet and sour flavors do not suffice the claim to elegance, then at least the extrovert, humble and generous nature of the Duchesse does. These are, after all, higher qualities that we aspire to. That is, if we want to be classy.

Photo of TJBAIHWL
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Beautiful dark auburn with a fairly big sticky, bubbly head that receded slowly, leaving honeycomb-like pockets of foam behind.

S - Sweet, tart, fruity. Candied sugar and very very slight vinegar & funky smells.

T - Leads off with ripe red cherries, turning into a swirl of berry & melon flavors. More sweet than tart, but also dry enough not to be cloying. Amazingly light, refreshing & complex. There's a faint off-sour note that I can't quite pick out at the end. There are beers that just taste "fruity" and then there are beers like this one that take it to the next level. A must try, 5/5

M - Soft. Great.

D - Infinitely drinkable. A beer that novices & seasoned BAs alike should love.

Photo of dizknee24
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Reddish not much head on this one

S Smelled of a nice red wine. I was not sure on if this is good or bad. I decided bad IMO.

T u can definetly tell there is some oak barrels involved. but it tasted way to much like wine for me.

M - again with the wine

D couldnt get past the winish notes! not for me. not saying its bad just not my cup of tea.

Photo of Titans77
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into an oversized snifter.

A - Very very dark brown with hints of red where the light hits the glass. Half finger of khaki head that sticks around for a bit. Good looking beer.

S - sour cherry and dark fruits. very pungent.

T - big sour dark fruits with a dominant cherry flavor. A great example of Flanders Red style.

M - Puckering sour from start to finish. Mild carbonation and medium bodied. One of my favorite sours so far.

O - I feel that this is slightly better than Rodenbach Grand Cru. A very good entry sour, which is what I am into right now. Good stuff.

Photo of dvb
3.3/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Reddish-brown, leaning more toward the reddish end. Large, off-white head that fades quickly but leaves a lot of lacing. Great clarity, no sediment. Filtered?

S - Smells of sparkling cider, apple cider vinegar, candi sugar and maturity.

T - This is a sweet, fruity, cider-like, tangy ale. Like a sparkling cider, but with more character.

M - Sticky, but not overly so. On the thin side, but not overly so. Overall, this does not drink like a beer at all. More like sparkling cider.

D - The sparkling cider qualities of this beer make it impossible for me to want any more than the one I tried today, but it is obvious that some great care went into making this product and that this is no doubt a fine example of the style

It is interesting to note that this beer is actually not just one beer, but two, as the product actually consists of the blending of two vintages of the same beer: 8 months old and 18 months old. It is also aged in oak barrels, some of which are decades old.

Did I mention that this beer is like sparkling cider?

Photo of kw_pip
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tastes like mustard. Other flavors are good.

Photo of BigAl723
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Ashley's in Ann Arbor.

A: Rusty pumpkin brown with a creamy tan head.

S: Vinegar, fruity, and sour.

T: Apples and chocolate. What combination!

M: Medium carbonation. Very light in the mouth. Creamy and smooth.

D: Very smooth. This aged sour goes down very easy. I could drink a lot of this.

Overall, a real unique beer. I heard the bartender say something about a sour ale matured in oak casks and double fermented. Instantly I knew I had to try it, I'm glad I did.

Photo of WoogityBoogity
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark reddish/brown color. Brilliantly clear. Semi-thick head that slowly dissipates.

S - Definitely a complex fruitiness. Cherry ester presence; maybe apples or plums? Few spicy phenols.

T - Intense fruitiness from cherries with intense sour acidic character. Few spicy phenols. No hop presence. Vanilla flavor is present. Sour and bitterness gives balance slightly towards finish.

M - Medium body with high carbonation. Prickly acidity and very little warming from ABV.

D - Superb palate of various fruit and spice notes. Sweet and sour notes accentuate the few spicey phenols.

----

What a stupendous beer! Complex palate and very well executed. Drinkability makes this a sipping beer, however.

Photo of Doshkin
4.59/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - good looking beer. deep amber with reddish hues. crystal clear. poured with a couple inch head that came down but stays as a nice frothy layer. wet, sticky lacing is a nice visual reminder of what you're missing in between each sip

S - so perfect. this is everything I want to smell in a sour-ish beer. vinegar is the dominating aroma, blending beautifully with deep sugary sweetness and tartness, akin to a cinnamon/sugar/apple combination, but much more malty and rich.

T - the vinegary tart tang encapsulates every aspect of the taste. everything in between is a smooth mix of brown sugary maltiness. oh man... it's almost gone and i'm only 60% done with the review

M - this is a tough one for me to classify. the fine effervescence and extreme vinegary sour try and trick me to think the beer is lighter in body than it really is. the rich complexity of the flavors, bold sweetness, and full, smooth swallow assert themselves in this beer to remind you of how robust it really is. tl;dr - medium mouthfeel.

O - truly incredible. if you want to try an amazing (sour) red ale, and you are willing to dish out some cash, look no further. i, for one, can say i will be taking the wallet hit again in the near future to experience what this beer has to offer

Photo of keoki182
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Madison WI's Malt House. Ruddy brown color. Vinegar aroma. Wonderfully complex sweet/sour balance in flavor with some mild cherry fruitiness. With a very basic understanding of the fine range of Belgian beers, I asked for something sour out of curiosity. I've seen beer lovers go ga-ga over sour ales, and I had to know what this was about. The aroma threw me off quite a bit, the strong astringency was very off-putting and made me afraid that I might be in over my head. The flavor though was quite a redemption. Duchesse had an interesting tartness that worked nicely with the understated malt notes and cherry. Really easy to drink, and unique enough that I would have a few glasses without getting bored. I'm looking forward to more ales like this one in my future!

Photo of jamespub
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had it first on botte, then twice on tap. obviously, this was at different times, but from my recollection, they tasted similar once they got to temperature and both methods were divine.

A- Caramel brown, clear, nice head that dissipated quickly. looks comparable to a belgian dubbel

S- Slight malt with a mild sour funk. I thought it would be more sour in the taste, so I was slightly misled by the smell. Nothing fancy here for me, but still had a good aroma.

T- stunning. i could drink this beer all day, everyday. it goes down sooo smoooth. sour, sweet, malty awesomeness. great caramel flavor to accompany the mild sour flavor.

M- way too easy to drink. amazing.

O- I absolutely love this beer. the tap ran out at the local bar and my heart broke. thankfully i have bottles available when i can get some more petty cash. buy this beer, drink it, savor it, and share it with me.

Photo of AleDrinkToThat
4.88/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Beautiful burgundy hue under a perfect creamy beige head.

Smell: Oh, such a delicious smell of cherries and malt. I can tell just by the smell that there's more going on here.

Taste: Good thing I'm only typing about this, 'cause my mouth just exploded. Seriously, wow. This is excellent. The tart cherry is much more subtle than, say, a Kriek Lambic, and is so well balanced with delicious roasted malt.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, devilishly so, and the tartness danced all over my mouth, puckering all inner surfaces in its path (I'll leave you to picture that). The malt definitely rounded things back out, and the result is a heavenly complexity.

Drinkability: Go get one. Now.

Photo of runningjoke
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured into tulip glass.

Reddish brown with thin head and head retention,

Smells of sour cherry, balsamic vinegar, yeast, touch of malty breadiness.

Tastes of balsamic vinegar, cherry and altbier.
Alcohol is totally covered by these strong flavors. No bitterness just tartness in its place. Really almost like a desert wine.

Feels thick and slick, but not unpleasent.

I would not be able to handle too many of these.

This would be really good with vanilla ice cream or a plain cheesecake. A killer reduction sauce could be made out of this stuff.

Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
93 out of 100 based on 3,732 ratings.