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Duchessic Ale | Birra Del Borgo

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BA SCORE
92
outstanding
106 Reviews
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Duchessic AleDuchessic Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Birra Del Borgo
Italy | website

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A sort of "collaboration beer" with the famous Belgian brewery Brasserie Cantillon: an interesting experiment on the world of spontaneous fermentation. Our classic Duchess - Spelt beer - is was cut with a 20% of Cantillon lambic aged one year. The result is a unique beer that blends in an extraordinary way the characteristic acidity and roughness of lambic with delicate and gentle notes of the Duchess.

Added by ATPete on 11-01-2009

BEER STATS
Reviews:
106
Ratings:
338
Avg:
4.14
pDev:
16.18%
 
 
Wants:
60
Gots:
47
For Trade:
5
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Reviews: 106 | Ratings: 338
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

5.3% ABV per the label.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy orange-white head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy patches of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Tiny particles of sediment are seen floating around in the beer after the pour. Smell is slightly sour with malt, grain, funk, earth, wood, and acidic aromas. Taste is much the same with slightly sour grain, funk, apple skin, earth, and wood flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and prickly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a nice balance between the base beer and the lambic addition blended in.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.07/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: giant frothy white head that took a while to go down. Pale golden cloudy body.

S: yeast, pear, light strawberry, green apple and corriander.

T: very interesting beer which seems to get better the more you drink it. mildly tart citrus with mostly green apple coming through. herbal notes and club soda.

M: light body, very high carbonation. almost has a fine sediment to it. semi dry finish.

Overall: interesting beer. This combination compliments each other very well making a beer that only gets better as you drink it.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

one heck of a great beer here, sour and funky, really intensely carbonated, drinkable, and fancy. hazy yeast heavy straw color with a massive champagne style white head, comprised of massive bubbles, looks more like the play place at mcdonalds than a brew, serious huge bubbles. the nose is prickly, ticklish I should say, tart yeast and wheat malt, than cantillon in this is evident from the outset. light though, not a big heavy beer, this is a drinker. notes of cut hay, fresh chopped wood, white wheat malt, and summery sour yeast all assault the palate. its an onslaught mostly because of the feel, which is maybe the most carbonated beer ever, and it works perfectly with the sour flavors, its a total rush. not overly sour, not at all acidic, this is like a table sour or something, a beer to be consumed frequently in decent volume. I wish I had more of this, I was very very impressed. Italy has some great stuff, its just really hard to find.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a clear bright golden color ale with a super large foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of dry fruity malt with solid malt backbone. Taste is also dominated by light fruity notes with solid malt backbone and a dry finish. No yeast signature or dominating ester or floral notes which I usually associate with the style. Body is a bit light with great carbonation. Interesting though below average for style.

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Photo of emerge077
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Served at 55º into a tulip glass. Back label stamped 07 2013.
Sharp hiss and an erupting violent gush... should've chilled it overnight, lost 1/3 of the bottle >_>

Murky and opaque pastel orange, with a dense, charged head of soapy white foam. In the meniscus of the glass was a miniature galaxy of suspended sediment. Arcs of sticky lace adhere to the glass as the beer is sipped. Swirling the glass quickly regenerates an inch of dense white foam.

Initial smell was of acidic bile, and a bit rank to be honest. Later it became less harsh, more sweet and tempered with notes of wet hay.

Sweet and tart citrus flavors, dry oak tannins in the finish. Peach or lemon-lime SweeTarts candy wafers. Lots of acidity and very effervescent, almost overly so. Some wet hay and gauze from the Brett yeast. There's a fine line of balance to walk here, and it seems slightly out of harmony here. Lacks complexity also, and comes across like middle of the road wild ales from the US.

Maybe if it was chilled overnight and settled, it would make a slight difference, but for the price, give me Cantillon anyday. Doesn't really seem to be much of an innovation, was hoping for more, especially with Cantillon involved.

Review #2400

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours with an apricot body that is a bit hazy. Pretty nice white head that draws down to leave a little bit of lacing. Nose brings some light peach notes along with honey, grass, and a little bit of earth. The taste is ever so mildly sweet and fruity, but gives way to some drier, earthy elements and just a tad of funky leather. Mouthfeel is dry and a bit light. Fairly unique, and drinks pretty well overall.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to Julie and Jason for this one. I would not have even known about it if not for them. Served chilled and poured into a small taster glass, this one was consumed on 05/16/2010.

The pour was rather nice. Light amber in color with a nice golden glow to it. Lots of carbonation was visible streaming up through the glass to continually reinforce the nice white head of lacing that seemed to be permanently perched on top. Had a very light but at the same time, filling look to it.

Aroma is light, nice touches of apples, pears, peaches. Hints of grasses, light bready notes and a touch of light plum as it warms. Really quite light and complex with a earthy and fruity quality to it. First sip though let loose with a nice white grape flavor. Nice light body and near perfect carbonation really let this one pop for me. Each sip was clean, crisp, refreshing and most of all quite unique. Lots of more earthy fruits up front, apples, pears, etc but there were hints of light citrus bouncing around now as well, really nicely done all around. At barely 6% there was just a really nice drinkability to it that was quite nice to see and really helped me get this one going in the right direction. As it was nearly 90 degrees outside and I was cooking over a grill, it was a damn fine choice for a hot day.

Overall very nicely done I have to admit. This is one that will most certainly fly under the radar, but I really think is quite worthy of a look by anyone.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood Brewing

The pour is a cloudy/turbid golden straw color with a solid white head. A really funky nose to this. Great straw and grass with plenty of oak, lemon zest, and barnyard. Plenty of fruit notes to it as well, a touch of peach, lemon, and green apple. The flavor has a hint of tartness but a really enjoyable funk/farmhouse character. Quite dry with some lactic acidity on the finish. Might be a mild note of vanilla on the back end, too.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to stakem for hooking me up with this extra!

Opened with a 'pop' and a slow rush of foam in the bottle, but fortunately it was no gusher. Even a slow, steady pour filled the glass with foam, so I dumped some into a Del Borgo teku, and some into a vintage Cantillon lambic mug (#doubleproper), and let it settle for a few minutes, eventually combining the two. Fortunately, not a drop was lost.

Settling down revealed a slightly-hazy golden liquid with a head that eventually simmered to a thin layer of lasting bubbles. Aroma was pleasant and lemony, promises of light tartness, and earthy, grainy malts, with a bit of barnyard funk. This beer was much better than I expected. Moderate lacto-tartness right up front, lemon meringue, crisp saison grassiness, with an earthy finish, the tartness lingering on the tongue. Very nicely balanced in just about every aspect. Smooth mouthfeel, medium body, drinkable to the point that I sad-faced once it was gone. I'd love to get more of this.

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Photo of mothman
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

We got a gusher a little here. Lots of white head. Color is a hazed bright golden orange.

Aroma: Lots of funk and citrus flavor. The cantillon flavors are there. Green apples and lemon citrus. Old cobweb. Fruity and funky. Very nice.

Taste: A nice amount of saison funk and spice. Green apples, lemon citrus and some other juicy fruits. Basement must and cobweb. A great saison flavor mixed with some nice lambic. I like it.

Mouthfeel: Tart and smooth. A little bubbly. Light bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends clean.

Overall, this was a great saison, and I am not just saying that because it is made with Loon Lambic. It is a great saison with an additional layer. Very drinkable. I highly recommend this one.

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Photo of stakem
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

375ml bottle into a Cantillon tumbler. Slow gusher here when chilled, borderline explosive when warmer.  The brew is a hazy golden with rich bubby froth nearly 4 fingers strong despite a careful pour. Patches of lace stick all over the glass.

The smell of this brew is strongly reminescent of Cantillon sourness. Some mild oak scent of funk. Lemony lacto is quite bold. Some earthy quality of saison yeast notes almost with a yogurt aspect run all through the back with an increased focus on grain as it gets warmer.

The taste is yogurt like creamy yeast. Some saison like spice of clove sits overtop barnyard straw grain and must. Very fruity with tart lemon, pear, apple hints. Mild alcohol warmth and spice from the saison yeast. That Cantillon inclusion is quite pronounced in thus offering,

This is a medium to light bodied brew an effervescent level of carbonation. It is light, refreshing and super easy drinking. Amazing offering here that is a hybrid of saison and lambic with more of a focus on the later. I'm sure this brew will be met with mixed opinions but overall this was fantastic. Can't believe I haven't heard anything about this brew prior to trying it. Get some of this ASAP, its awesome and sure to develop into something even more enjoyable down the road.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased this on a whim at Crown Liquors in Carmel. Figured that anything containing Cantillon lambic was worth a try. The fill level on my bottle was right up to the cap, and when the cap came off we had a slow gusher. Served in a wine glass.

A - Big soapy foam that eventually settles to a thick, chunky, cap and leaves behind lots of lacework. The body is a hazy peach color.

S - Stone fruits, hay, floral and grassy, a touch of honey. This is definitely way on the Saison side as opposed to the lambic side, with only a bit of brett character present.

T - This is a musty Saison in the Fantôme vein. Grapeskins, peaches, light grain/wheat and pilsner malt? Hops (or something) provides hay and grass flavors. Not particularly sour, just very earthy and lightly funky and leathery.

M - Moderate carbonation, medium-light body. The finish is quite clean and leaves behind light residual stickiness.

D - This is quite easy to drink, and could serve as a less strong session alternate to Fantôme. I'd like to see the wild lambic flavors come out a bit more, but at nearly a year they're still quite muted. Probably should have had this before the Wadesda #1 instead of after.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Great looking honey dark orange body with hints of lemon yellow color. Opaque. Head forms very foamy with bubble bath retention and large size. Great even pinhead bubbles throughout while forming an easy four fingers, with meringue and shampoo like whipped top. Always gets repopulated with thin white carbonation on the sides and matching middle carbonation in the middle. Great looking brew.

Nice mild brett and herbal and floral sensations. Warm earth and moderate funk, with not much acid hinting but just a touch. Very garden smelling with hints of brett and spicy yeast qualities. Real nice bouquet.

First sip has a real nice tart flavor in the mid palate, bringing a mix of lots of hot brett. Giant funk and lots of numbing and pepper sensations on the finish, almost novocaine numbing. Light bread malts seem to give a honey mild backbone to this, with some floral qualities. Sharp and stinging but very lingering finish. Carbonation is quite good with very noticeably almost prickly character, but not too large.

This reminds me a bit of Orval, but with a finish that's a little bit more jarring. Quite a nice beer very much enjoyed it.

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Photo of Billolick
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Small green bottle, large cap. Pours cloudy dark peach, delicate off white head, leaves fine blobs of lace. Complex nose, earthy, light barnyard, citrus, grape juice. Yummy creation, delicate, complex with notes of more light funk, Tropical fuits, lactose, brett, chunky/drying skunky hops..a lot going on here...all of it quite delicious...

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle at Beachwood BBQ, on to the beer:

Sparkling pale yellow in color with almost no head on top. Great nose; it's tart, it's mellow, it's grape. Tasting it brough me back to elemenatry school; what stuck out the most was that fruit snack taste that I remember fondly. There's a little tartness, and a little bit of citrus peel noted. Light in the mouth, easy on the carbonation.

Less a saison and more lambic-like in my opinion. Regardless, it is worth trying out.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a hill Farmstead Tulip/wine glass. Review#1300.

Duchessic has a hiss when popped. The liquid looks esquisite, a nice hue of orange with some darker amber spots on the edge. A nice bright white bubbled foam that clang to the glass. A lot of active carb seen. Small sediment floating.

Smell is pretty bold and very earthy with a floral and mineral scent. Some scents of lemon with some of that acidic gueuze thrown in. Some apple skin and coriander. Very floral forward. A very nice smeller, that builds over time.

This is very exciting stuff, the lambic addition does not overpower the saison at all. A big farmhouse character, floral notes, mineral flavors, some apple and earthy appeal. Some weird spice flavor and coriander. The lambic gives off a slight pucker without being acidic.

Feel is pretty much perfect. A light saison with a slight twang to it. Packs a punch up front than whimpers off in a good way, with a small aftertaste. Carb is perky and not bitey. Not acidic, not sour, lightly tart. A nice mix.

Pretty good stuff here, it is interesting. I would give it a go again. A floral saison with a twist of small citrus and twang.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Birra Del Borgo : Duchessic Ale

Pours a clear golden color, bone white collar and decent staying power. Smells of musty lemon, hay, barnyard and funk aromas as well. In the taste, mild wheat malt, aggressive sourness from the Cantillion blend. Sour lemon, mild wheat and clove flavors, and mild bitternesss. Finish is drying, sour and beckons for another sip. Overall, a really nice farmhouse ale with ample sourness.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

reinheitsgematt hooked this up tonight at an impromptu Labor Day BBQ... Thanks Matt!! This was never on my radar.

Pours a crystal clear light golden with a sudsy white head... small drapes of lacing.

Nose is light spiciness punctuated by a good earthy funk.. the lambic is definitely present.

Flavor has a bit of fruitiness that reminds me of fermented out apricot or possibly green apple... dry grassy lawn clippings.. but the funk comes in swinging and doesn't die back.. well done.

Light body with a good carbonation.

Matt gave this to me blind... I guessed it was a very old Saison Brett... Good guess I think. Thanks again buddy!!

4's across the board.

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Photo of aasher
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been waiting for this one to show up for awhile now. This one pours a very cloudy tangerine orange in color with a billowing head. It smells of a boatload of brett, faded hops that leave a citrus aroma, dry, and other yeasts. It certainly is a mix of a saison and lambic. The flavors are very sour. It is soured, fermented fruit and a ton of brett. It leans towards being soured citrus fruit, peach, and apricots. The brett takes charge on this one. It finishes light and dry. It is very effervescent and drinks very light. The sour is nice and right up Cantillon's alley. Overall this is a nice and interesting beer. Of course, it could use more lambic ;). Solid beer.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.66/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle at Beachwood,

A: Pours a dark gold with a firm white head, good lace.

S: Rustic earthy Brett and pepper, but light.

T: Bitter coriander, white pepper, yeast and Brett flavours. The saison dominates with the lambic only offering a mild sour finish.

M: Dry, medium-bodied, robust, a nice feel in the mouth.

D: I was hoping the Cantillon would come out a little more, but this is nice saison, a good hybrid.

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Photo of John_M
3.96/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's. Sampled side by side with the Del Ducato saison style beer.

The Duchessic pours a slightly cloudy, honey gold color with very good head retention and considerable lacing. The nose is kind of muted, with some honey and hint of barnyard funk... could it be? Yes indeed, this beers shows some considerable sour funk to go along with the honey and clove. Considering the relatively low alcohol, I'm absolutely amazed by the amount of flavor in this beer. The beer has a nice texture, and seems pretty rich and full flavored. I feel as if I get a hint of melted butter in the finish, which is attractive. Drinkability is good, though this isn't something you'd gulp down.

Very impressive. One of the more interesting beers I've been lucky enough to try from Italy.

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Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in a trade with jleblanc and consumed on 10/31/2009. The beer pours an interesting, vibrant, and hazy peach orange. I didn't let this settle more than a day before I opened it so the haze is likely my fault. The head is one finger, fizzy, and white. Retention is decent.

I was very interested in this beer when I first heard about it, and then I learned it was a one year lambic in the blend and my expectations dropped a bit. I'm immediately greeted by the signature wet leather that alerts me to Brett's presence. The citrus is prominent in the form of orange and lemon. Wheat notes are strong, and I detect subtle lactic notes as well as some yeast character. I get neither alcohol nor hops in the aroma.

The flavor opens up with a low level of lactic sourness with a little tartness, segueing into citrus wheat. The orange notes are almost tangy, and Brett is again present in a subtle form, imparting mustiness. The finish exhibits low lactic sourness with lingering citrus. The beer is light bodied with a lower level of carbonation.

This is interesting stuff that I can't help but think will improve with a bit of age. Recommended.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.49/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from Beermongers in Portland, OR. Brought back to Sydney and shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.

Uncaps with a massive fizz, but fortunately no foaming. Pours a lovely bright yellow-golden colour, very cloudy, but pleasantly light-bodied. Head is a smooth, egg-white sheen across the top of the glass. Some patchy, streaking lace. Looks pretty good.

I immediately get coconut on the nose, but it has an odd greenness to it, perhaps like coconut water, or the coconut that would lace a Thai stir-fry—because under it is layers of biting acid and mild astringency, that suggest citrus pith, plantain and an almost pine or cedar wood character. Wowee. This is expressive and exciting stuff.

Taste is also extremely good. There's not the mouth-ripping acidity of a straight Cantillon lambic, but it plays along with the other characters, suggesting that it could destroy your mouth if it wanted to: it's just that right now, it's feeling generous.Instead, we get a lovely buoyancy of mild citrus along with more oaky coconut, pithy greens, a touch of white grape juice, with a faintly fruity freshness to finish with. Wow. This is exceptionally good.

Feel is clean, but very, very smooth. It creates yet another wonderful balm to the acidity.

This is a truly wonderful beer, but it's unsurprising given the two breweries who gave birth to it. Birra del Borgo are now well on-top when it comes to Italian craft beer for me, this being just another in a great line of good beers.

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Photo of rudzud
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Purchased at Julio's. Unfortunately my botle promptly overflowed as soon as I cracked it resulting in a great loss.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip while overflowing. Pours a nice golden brown colour, like others have said much ike a light apple cider. There was a nice rocky head that slowly faded to leave a nice white blanket and average side lacing.

S - A nice mingling of the usual saison aromas (funky, citrus) and lambic ones (acid, vinegar, tartness). Pretty good.

T - The same, its a nice saison with good barnyard funk followed b some unplaceable fruit tartness. Apples perhaps? Maybe cherries, I dunno. Quite sour and tart, very tasty though.

M - Have to give it a low score considering that all the carbonation was lost when I cracked it resulting in an almost completely flat drink.

O - Overall, thoroughly enjoyed this beer. I'd love to have it again but bottles will always be nervous for me seeing how this one blew. Perhaps on tap, as this has many qualities that make this beer easy drinking and incredibly addictive.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark gold w/ minimal head that gave off minor head that died quick w/ lace. Nose and taste are the same; semi-sweet w/ a good touch of fruit like citrus and tart cherry although not so much tartness in this at all. Easy to drink w/ a crisp finish.

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Duchessic Ale from Birra Del Borgo
92 out of 100 based on 106 ratings.
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