Duchessic Ale | Birra Del Borgo

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BA SCORE
92
outstanding
107 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:
107
Ratings:
339
Avg:
4.14
pDev:
15.94%
 
 
Wants:
61
Gots:
49
For Trade:
5
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Reviews: 107 | Ratings: 339
Photo of augustgarage
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ShogoKawada for this one. Poured from a 375mL green bottle into my Drie Fonteinen tumbler.

Cloudy orange peel body with a lasting small seashell head. Nice thick lacing too.

The aroma reveals an acidic funk from Brett. coupled to a sweet sourdough starter yeast scent. Floral and tart.

I'm guessing pilsner malt as there is a slight lagerish note tied to the acidity - thankfully this is absorbed by white pepper, chamomile, and bread from the yeast and a faint cellar note from the lambic. Asian pear mid-palate. Hops contribute a light bitterness which works well with the acidity and earthiness of the finish. An interesting blend, but the lambic and the saison maintain their individuality rather than synergize.

Nice pillowy body - medium but refreshing. I'm guessing the spelt adds some depth to the feel. Good solid carbonation.

Very refreshing with a brisk minerality. Just enough funk to keep you from guzzling, but this is a great ale to open after working in the sun for a while...

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

the pour is amazing. poured into a drie fonteinen stemmed glass. cap pops and there is some gush. poured into glass where the head is thick and huge. takes forever to dissipate. slightly hazy body, very active.

very spicy and funky on the nose, slight hint of fresh young lambic or gueuze.

flavor is very interesting. loads of spice, funk, and floral notes. there is a complex blend of the above with some sweetness and lemon notes. and from that lemon, a bit of tartness.

very light and airy with a very moderate to active carbonation.

very interesting. not sure if this will develop over time, but great flavors. the hint of lambic really adds that extra dimension.

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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 codysjb
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Chimay glass.
Gushes out of the bottle and pours a massive three or more knuckle head.
A: Huge head, golden color with some sediment in the beer.
S: Lambic and citrus with some wheat and a nice saison smell.
T: Funky, citrus, lemon, maybe some apple undertones. The whole thing feels like its midway between a limbic and a saison.
M: Some citrus, the limbic fills the mouth while the saison part takes a backseat.
O: Good, the cantillon stands out against the saison. Not something I’d seak out but certainly worth trying and buying again. B+ A- range.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally opening this bottle. Pours a murky, golden color with some dark red floaties. This one is a bit of a gusher, but not too bad.Large white head that disappears quickly. Scent is definitely influenced by Cantillon. It is VERY funky with some queuze-like qualities. Pears and spices with some Belgian yeast. Hints of green apple. Amazing aroma on this. Taste is not as sour as the aroma was hinting. It is still as funky though. A ton of barnyard funk, which I love! Belgian yeast with pears and green apples. Some melon flavors too. Finishes slightly tart with some lemon and grass. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, crisp, dry, and refreshing. Drinkability is very high. Overall, this is a very tasty beer. If this beer would have been thrown in a Fantome bottle, I wouldn't question the quality of Fantome. That is saying a lot.

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Photo of Homebrew35
4.16/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a billowing 3 fingers worth of head in a medium size wine glass. Hazy pale straw color. Some lacing and good retention.

Smells lightly of lemony funk, some hay, and slight white vinegar. Not too strong or distinctive on the nose.

Tastes like fermented lemon mixed with some funk, very clean and refreshing. A medium sour character. Very clean in the sourness and ends quite clean with no substantial sourness.

Thin bodied and fairly prickly/spritzie on the palate.

Overall this is an entry level beer for sourness. A mildly complex with regards to flavors. This beer shines in its even, yet refined flavors. Concise and somewhat short. I prefer a bit more sourness and complexity in flavors. A bit pricy at $9 a 12% bottle.

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Photo of suspect
4.16/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 375ml bottle into a Founders brewing snifter. Thanks to Jon for sharing.

A: Hazy, opaque faded golden color. Neat pour leads to a thin white ring of fizz that fades immediately leaving whisps. No lacing.

S: Yeasty up front with funk. I can almost smell the carbonation. A bit of smarties is picked up in the nose as well.

T: Taste is mild but good. Funky barnyard flavors, touch of mold and grain.

M: A touch overcarbonated but fizzy and crisp.

O: A good beer, definitely a lambic vs. a farmhouse ale but it's good. Glad to have tried it.

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Photo of Brenden
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If the appearance has anything to say for Duchessic, it makes a statement from the get-go, showing lots of depth and structure. The light yellow-tinted head sitting on this clouded dark gold brew grows to almost three fingers on the pour and retention is fantastic, as the creamy, thick and frothy pillow lays on top for awhile before becoming a heavy layer of foam. Lacing is in thick deposits before going patchy. If only it didn't fade afterward, this beer would likely have a perfect score. Floaties mix it up and then settle down, but can be swirled up along with the head as it sits.
The smell is lovely, showing the good aspects both of lambics and saisons, and it's a style combination that just seems natural. The funk is potent on the nose, horseblanket and wet hay all over the place without any rot to it; as "purely" as funk can be funky, it is. The earthy, dusty elements pull through nicely as well, with a light leafy and herbal quality and just a nip of spiciness in the back.
As can happen, something lightens and thins out a bit in the flavor. I get flashes of the funk I found in the aroma, but it comes and goes less consistently. Thus, the flavor is good but not quite on par with the smell. Most of the dustiness forms the foundational element of this beer's flavor. It does a good job of avoiding metallic qualities or the wet cardboard taste that can sometimes sneak in.
The feel offers a crisp note underneath with a moderate smoothness in a light-medium body with a carbonation that's just right.

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Photo of ToasterChef
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from my tasting notes. Served in my 20oz Uprising chalice at Novare Res. This excellent beer pours a peach/orange color. It is slightly cloudy. It is very interesting looking. It has a yeast aroma, along with some citrus. It is a very good fruit smell. The main flavors are of peach and grapefruit. There's a bit of sourness to the finish. It tasted a bit chalky at first, but as I drank it, this went away. I think the beer may have been too cold at first and as it warmed, this chalkiness went away. The approach to cellar temperature really improved things. It has a medium body with no detectable carbonation or coating. It feels great. The drinkability is equally impressive. This beer has just the right amount of sourness. I'm really glad I got to have this beer!

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Photo of Onibubba
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wowza. Nice hiss as the cap pops off. Not used to that in a lambic styled beer. Initial pour into a tulip is nearly all foam. Great head and carbonation. I really like that. I was told going in that this is blended with lambic, and baby does it shine. The farmhouse character of the saison is practically overpowered by the sour aspect of the lambic. Aggressively carbonated, it seems to just zing its way down my throat. Super good stuff.

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Photo of adrian21
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this today at pizzeria paradiso, two yr old, cellard. waitress opened bottle and it spewed out a bit :) interesting beer, looked orange yellow one and half finger very white head. it reeked of "horse blanket" and sourness... the flavor was very very sour more so than any gueze, wild ale or oud bruin/flanders red ive had... must be from aging all in all at that point it i feel it wasnt a saison minus the slight herbal and horse blanket notes... it was a fun beer though

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Photo of WesM63
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into oversized wine glass.

A: Pours a straw yellow with an overflowing 3finger white head. Minimal lacing and retention.

S: As soon as I opened it I got a huge whiff of funk. Lots of tart and funkyness. Some citrus and wheat.

T: Some funkyness up front followed by almost some wheat/citrus then a sour tart dry finish.

M: Light body plenty of carbonation.

O: Overall, it's pretty good. I do get a hint of both of the styles. (Saison/Farmhouse and some Lambic like quality's) I would not hesitate recommending it to a sour lover.

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

Bottle marked L83713 (I think):
Nice off yellow (tan to orange side), cloudy. A LOT of champagne-like head in pour, reduces to foamy, lace-producing white head that covers surface. Nose is very funky to me. Wood, definitely aged and perhaps rotting, a touch of sour milk tartness, Belgian yeast notes, bit if farmhouse scents as well.

Taste starts tart, with a decent amount if carbonation right up front. The tartness is pretty subdued, but lemon/lime perhaps, but really combined with a cheesy funky aspect. He carbonation plays a part in the feel throughout the taste. I can't quite decide what the tart/funk combo produces, but it seems light-tart in nature, Granny Smith apple-like. I feel a bit rambling, but it's an interesting beer.

Overall, this beer seems a bit overpriced. It's not bad, but add that it's an import, apparently (given BA rating), has Cantillon related to it, etc, and the price is jacked up, perhaps. If it weren't a special occasion, probably wouldn't have tried it. Actually glad I did, so if you have a chance, think you might enjoy it based On your preferences, and have some $$ in your pocket, give it a whirl.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12.7 ounce bottle, 07 2013 stamped on the back label (I guess that's the best by date). Served in a tulip, the beer pours a hazy gold color with a couple inch frothy white head that stays around for a long time. There's also a good amount of lacing. The aroma is nice, it smells like peppery spice, lemon peel, pears, hay, wheat and some funk. It tastes like lemon peel, wheat, peppery spice, slightly tart lemons, apricots, white grapes and funk. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, with high (a little bit too high for me) but soft carbonation. I think this is a good saison/lambic blend. It's pricey at $9.99 a bottle but I'd buy this brew again, I liked it.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Big thanks to merc for sharing, duchessa + 1yr lambic

The beer pours a cloudy golden yellow/orange with 1/2 an inch of white head that fades quickly. There is some lurking sediment as well. The nose is reminiscent of a mild gueuze with a funky/skunky sweet citrusy aroma. It drinks more tamely with a delicious citrusy saison base enhanced by a reserved funk. It's a relatively medium bodied, funky, tart, with a semi-dry finish. It's definitely a beer worth drinking, but for the slap in the face price tag (which I thankfully didn't pay), I don't think I will repeat anytime soon.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

jleblanc was such a vociferous pimp of this beer that I had to grab a bottle.

Quite brilliantly clear, this beer is a gorgeous golden color with a dense white head with excellent retention and lacing. A steady stream of carbonation is visible.

The nose is quite saison-like with a rustic, barnyard aroma with a spicy character along with some honey and a mild floral character. I definitely do not get the gobs of horseblanket that some people allude to, this is still very saison-like, to the point that I wish I'd held onto it a longer. However, there is a definite Brett character to the nose, refreshingly so, mildly clove-like with some earthiness.

The palate opens with a delicious blend of dry, saison flavors and a wonderful Bretty character. Rustic and barnyardy with drying hay, spicy phenols, the pronounced Brett character does work well with base saison. The mid-palate is quite funky alongside which there's a combination of honey and a hibiscus-like floral character. Drying out on the finish with a earthy spiciness, this is quite delicious. Light in body with a moderately high level of carbonation, this is quite the treat on the palate. Thoroughly drinkable, I'll keep an eye out for this. My only complaint is the moderate bait-and-switch that this beer is. I've had many a Cantillon beer and this has nothing I really associate with one, this almost tastes like a good saison that's finished with an all-Brett beer.

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

375ml capped (re-sealable) champagne style half bottle

Looky what I have here, a collaboration brew of epic proportions. Though I added this beer as a Saison / Farmhouse it truly is a blend of Saison from Birra Del Borgo and 1 year old Lambic from the one and only Cantillon, safe to say I'm excited to try and very privileged to have acquired this one.

Duchessic Ale pours an orange hue that i have not yet seen in a glass of beer before, it appears to have a sandy texture, hundreds of tiny bubbles line the surface of the pour, minimal 'foam' to speak of. Very delicate to the nose, a mild looming funk, fresh wood, slightly vinous, white grape/apple juice, faint lemon/lime skin a definite sweetness and a touch of a fresh hop character. My only complaint, albeit a small one, is that the beer drinks basically flat, very still in the mouth, it adds unnecessary weight to the quaff and accents the sweetness a bit too much. Glad I have another to age, id be quite interested to see what this does with some time.

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

As soon as this brewery started hitting our shores there was three beers from these guys that ive always wanted to try this is the last one on my list and pours a hazed golden yellow hue which leaves a fluffy three finger head and lacing everywhere.

The smell is pineapple,bubble gum,barnhouse funk,sherbet,candy and fresh fruit.

On taste you can taste the two beers blending together with hints of pineapple,guava,lemon sherbet,blood oranges,candy and finished with a sour funky dryness that makes you want another sip straight away.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and tart with moderate carbonation.

Overall its nice and the blend works,would age well and will buy again cheers.

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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 Kirk_Grant
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Tulip wine glass.

Color: Hazy pale amber with hints of yeast/sediment floating around in the glass.
Smell: Funk, sour, grapefruit, quince, fresh baked bread, and more citrus notes lift in again
Taste: This really is like a great blend of Saison and Lambic styles with notes of citrus, yellow apple, and quince on the palate.
Overall: An outstanding beer, and unlike anything I've had todate. It reminds me more of Lambic than anything else. Great acidity, nice lithe body, with a big head in the pour. However, at $10 for 11.1 oz. I can't see myself buying this again.

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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 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 berkey
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12.7 fl oz pry off bottle courtest of jleblanc. Poured into my Duvel tulip 06/22/10.

Forms a great head that settles quickly but what's left is nicely retained for the rest of the tasting. Body is a pale blonde with an amber hue. More lucid than a typical lambic or many Saisons. Leaves some filmy lacing on the sides of the glass.

Aroma is both sweet and slightly tart. Distinct acidic sour notes come through strong and are backed up by some pleasant floral hops. As it warms to room temperature some dirty apple and funk come through.

Flavor is not quite as good as the aroma but still quite enjoyable. The great sour notes tease me a bit and have me craving full on lambic intensity but as I drink on the dry and floral hop flavors and subtle fruitiness combines with the tartness to become something quite unique and tasty.

Very easy drinking due to the delicate balance and well hidden 6.9 ABV. Nice clean and dry finish. Not overwhelming but very well done. I'll be on the lookout for more from this brewer in the near future.

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Duchessic Ale from Birra Del Borgo
4.14 out of 5 based on 339 ratings.
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