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Duchesse De Bourgogne | Brouwerij Verhaeghe

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1,507 Reviews
Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-15-2001

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Reviews: 1,507 | Ratings: 4,128
Photo of rjlesher11
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm a foodie, I'm a beer lover and I'm a Wine Lover! I feel this proper sour hits all three hobbies in one glass... Vinegary, salty and sweet. Sooo Good! Most definitely recommended and I will do my best to keep in my fridge for those cultured pallets.


 259 characters

Photo of joecast
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

specs out of the way first. best before 22/3/2013 250ml 6.2%abv

this is one hell of a pretty beer. quite clear, dark amber in color. low carbonation. one cm fine firm tanned head. genuinely nice to look at. like something i have seen in books about beer. only its in my lounge room. hooray for me.

dreamy aroma. and i dont use dreamy lightly. puckering vinegar (acetic for you sciencey types) acidity balanced by a prominent fruity sweetness. light touch of alcohol without the heat. woody (dried, not green). has a concentrated characteristic to it like molasses, incredible.

and i can finally take a sip. just been too preoccupied smelling this one. soooo smooth. just brilliant. the expected tartness is there but very mildly. finish is so light for such a complex beer. i can only imagine the complexity is brought on by the blending and oak influences and the impact they have blow me away.

cannot believe i only have the one bottle. makes me sad. ive always been intrigued by this style and feel i have now found its standard. and it is good!!

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Photo of ryandurka
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

i bought a case of Duchesse De Bourgogne bottles in emmaus pa, at shangys. i love Flemish red ale and this is the perfect example of Flemish red. its refreshing and tastes great. its not the strongest of beers but the taste makes up for that. there is nothing to complain about with this beer. its distributed well in America and is not too hard to find. if anyone sees this beer and is curious as to what a good red ale tastes like, try it!

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Photo of intransitive
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

look: gorgeous opaque deep-brown/ruby-red.
taste: sweet and tart with undertones of ripe fruit... but well balanced, not too vinegary or too cloying.
feel: once it warms a bit, the mouthfeel becomes somewhat creamy, rich like a dense cake...
overall: Flemish red is my favorite style of beer, and this is my favorite beer in that style. Duchess is the Flanders red that, for me, all others must be compared to.

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Photo of hooligan
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Beautiful ruby-red color with a wispy lace head. The oaken cask conditioning of this beer give the drinker hints of balsamic and red wine vinegar, with some sweetness and floral notes of wine. While you are trying to put a finger on all the flavors, you start tasting the sweet and "chewier" texture of the malt. This beer is slightly sour and very highly carbonated, pleasantly so, similar to a lambic... this is bottled happiness.

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Photo of BhamBeerLover
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Oh the dutchess... Shall I compare the to a summer's day? Seriously though, this beer is phenomenal. For one expecting a good sour ale this beer cannot be beat, though potentially tied. I got exactly what I expected and would not wish for this beer to change at all. I hope to be able to share this beer with my children, when they are old enough of course. (At least not until they hit double digits.) Thanks to all those Flemish folks for this amazing contribution to the world beer community.

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Photo of sirtomtom
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a hazy dark red/brown with a bit of white head.

S: Sour with a light touch of funk.

T: Medium sour with a faintest hint of funk. Not too tart to be mouth puckering but not so mildly sour as to wonder where the sour is. Not real heavy on any type of sourness, a nice balance between the different types of sour: lactic, citric, etc.

M: A nice medium body with a good bit of carbonation to balance it out.

O: A perfect well made sour great for an introduction to sour ales as well a great easy access sour for that hot day.

 534 characters

Photo of BeerCentralWA
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

In bottle, served in wine glass. Appearance is slightly reddish with yeast clouding and effervescent head.

Nose is raspberry and yeast with clove and anise spice.
Mouthfeel is dry and champagne like. It literally disappears on the tongue, with rich malt and complex fruit and spice on the palate.

 298 characters

Photo of SouthAtholSuds
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The first time I tried this beer I think I fell in love with it. Pours a dark copper/ruby color with minimal head. Strong smell of tart fruit on the nose. Complex tastes of sour figs, raisins and plums with low carbonation. Everything about this beer is balanced perfectly. Minimal carbonation makes this a beer you could drink all night. Instead have one every once and a while. You don't want to kill the appeal of The Duchesse.

 430 characters

Photo of Meeg
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I can't believe that only a few days after reading about this brew here on BA, I found it on tap at La Cav du Vin here in Cleveland. Having moved here a month ago, I was worried about finding good sour flemish ale. Apparently there is no need to worry, as the Cleveland beer scene, whether it's good bars or good brewpubs, is alive and VERY well. I used to live in Providence (Union Station, Trinity), so I've got something decent to compare to if you include Boston (Sunset, Beer Works) and New England (Moat Mountain, Vermont Pub & Brewery, The Alchemist) in general.
OK, so I at least think I know what I'm talking about...

I definitely smelled balsamic vinegar, but not overpowering at all. Just a hint of that dark, sweet acid.
Very little foam, unsurprisingly for a sour.
Smooth mouth feel, with a nice subtle tingle of carbonation.
Taste of balsamic, caramel, cherries.
Lightly sweet, perfectly balancing the sourness.


I would say this is a great intro to sours, but the imbiber may be spoiled. Truly sour reds might shock them after this.

Fortunately, I also discovered this in a four-pack at Warehouse Beverage on Mayfield Road. Sixteen bucks will make me wait until my next (first!!) paycheck.


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Photo of JokineAugustus
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer. It has a pleasant sour fruit smell of Cherries, Cranberry, and Raspberry. Taste is quite similar. Has a slight bready and sour fruit aftertaste that blends well. Look is beautiful bright ruby red in a glass which I absolutely adore. One of my favourites atm.

 276 characters

Photo of billzav
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Duchesse may very well be the best sour ale I have ever had and it pours a deep chestnut brown color with notes of tart fruit, notably cherries, and dark malt. Since this ale is aged in oak conditioned casks, Duchesse has a red wine like feeling to it. The array of sweet and sour flavors are perfectly balanced throughout this Flanders red ale, and it’s velvety smooth from start to finish.

 393 characters

Photo of 01121987
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

i am no expert on this style of beer, but i would have to say that it kicks some serious ass!
i tried this beer a couple of years ago and was disgusted by it, now i dont know how i ever could have thought that. this is my favorite sour beer. im surprised the bros didnt rate it as world class.
awsome beer!
not for the faint hearted!

 335 characters

Photo of janubio
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Brown colour, with a small head that leaves a good ring and some lace. Aroma is tart, acid, cider, vinegar, combined with sweetness from red or dark fruits, cherries, oak cask, wood. Medium body and an active carbonation. Taste is acidic too, oak, red fruits, some citruses notes, chocolate, vinegar, cider., vanilla. Very complex and a hell of an extraordinary beer. Put another one in my list of perfect ten. As a note, I've been drinking this beer for years whenever I find, but I just notice the other day that I had never rated it.

 536 characters

Photo of anthrocks
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had several other sour ales, and I've always been disappointed with most of the others. This one stands tall among the rest.

L: Pours a very dark reddish-brown, with white head that turns into light lacing
S: Smells like Balsamic vinegar and sour cherries
T: Sweet and sour with a wonderful tang
F: Medium-bodied with fizzy carbonation
O: This could very well be the best beer I've ever tasted, or ever will taste.

It's expensive, but worth it. Give it a shot!

 467 characters

Photo of oelergud
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep clear ruby and mahogany body. Very low carbonation. Big tan butte head. Good retention and great lace.
Strong scents of both sweet and sour notes, very well balanced. Interesting and complex with cherries and dark malts.
Taste is amazing, perfect balance of sweet and sour, very strong. Cherries, prunes and sour characters all very powerful and delicious. Great aftertaste.
Hydrating mouthfeel that is slightly puckering and mouthwatering.
Great drinkability.


 482 characters

Photo of kicktothehead
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Seriously the best Flanders Red on the planet. For all you douchebags that give this a 1 or 2, you're idiots and should stick to Bud.
Complex, sour, oakey, vineious, in your face. Love it!

 189 characters

Photo of michelgruenberg
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well... Whoever hasn't had a Duchesse on his life, does not know what a good beer is. Altough "beer" wouldn't be the word to describe it accurately, since this little piece of heaven is known to mimic a good sweet-sour wine. Matured in centennial old huge oak casks from french cellars, this beautiful blend of two different harvests stays during a total of a year and a half in the process of maturation. The smell is of a good balsamic vinegar, deeply sweet-and-sour at it's peak and a little spicy at it's end; the taste itself turns to be that of a good black cherry, with a very sour tannin bottom and a creamy top; some people find it to have a "metallic" aftertaste, which is also posible. The siblings, Mr Karl and Miss Mercedes Verhaeghe, as well as their parents, created a form of making wine without grapes... and not ANY wine, a GOOD BURGUNDY ONE, without EVEN using any artificial or natural aroma from the fruit. As well as the Vichtenaar, this little piece of treasure remains as my top pick... my sincere congratulations to the brewers.

 1,053 characters

Photo of Pullen
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at the Brickstore Pub last night, served in a Duchesse Chalice...

- Ruby color, nice head that dissipated in minutes.

- Smelled of cherries, vanilla, fresh sliced apples, and ripe soft plums.

- Taste? This beer is heavenly!!!! Perfect in every way....Cherry flavor, but soft to the pallet. I'd think this was aged in oak given the vanilla subtleties.

Mouthfeel - Soft velvety. Nothing harsh about this at all.

Drinkability - I swear we (3 of us) order 8 or 9 of these in between all the other beers we had at the BSP. Does that say enough?

Overall - This would be a perfect introduction to flander Red style and to craft beer in general.. I met up with a female friend of mine who gasp at beer because all she knew was BMC. After having this beer, and a few others... her mind has been changed...permanently!

Awesome beer! Cheers!

 857 characters

Photo of orcasteve
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

was sent this in a bif, i cant thank coldmeat23 enough for my chance to try this one, poured into my duvel tulip, poured a rich wine like shade of brownish red with dense tanish white head on it that sticks around for awhile, the sourness of this beer was aperant when i uncorked her as a tart cherry sent filled my nose, as far as taste i taste, apple cider, red wine viniger, tart cheries, strong oak notes, some lemon, figs a hint of malt all of witch have taken my tastebuds hostage and thay never want to be let go. this is my favorite beer so far of all time! this is a stile i will have to find more of

 609 characters

Photo of ShannonRedCow
5/5  rDev +22%

My absolute favorite sour. I explain it to guests in layman's terms. It's like red wine, cider, and beer got together and created a new beer. It changes as you drink it too. Delicious!

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Photo of ribpy
5/5  rDev +22%

Smooth and soft up front, but a mildly sour overall taste with an oak aroma.
My experience among friends with this ale is either they love it or hate it.
I personally love the taste and this is currently my favorite beer.

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Photo of coldmeat23
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

GLASS: Chimay Goblet
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees

Deep, dark, ruby red liquid. Much like the blood of the Duchesse. One finger head of creamy tan foam. Truly excellent retention and great lacing.

Smells amazing! Deep tart fruit smells. Lots of green apple and black cherries. Not quite ripened peaches. Scent of almonds/marzipan. Hints of underlying gingerbread spiciness. Slight touch of vanilla.

This is such a phenomenal tasting sour (flemish red). Big cherry taste, sour and sweet, at the same time. Huge notes of green apple. Nice big presence of black currants. Nice woody/earthiness, here, also. Hints of oak and vanilla.

Extremely smooth and creamy in body, like a mouthfeel of rolling fine silk. Carbonation is perfect, with tiny, tiny bubbles.

This beer is so perfect. If it were Napoleon's Army invading my mouth, my taste buds would have no choice but to surrender.
I could drink this for weeks at a time and be perfectly satisfied, with no other options.

 990 characters

Photo of ElizabethCraig
5/5  rDev +22%
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 =)

 830 characters

Photo of Mnigro
4.97/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have had a number of Flanders Reds, from traditionals like DdB and Rode to the Bruery offerings. To future reviewers, if this beer doesn't blow your socks off, this style isn't for you.

If I could fill a bathtub with this stuff and soak in it, I would. Fruity, funky, tart, smooth. It's freaking wonderful beer. My favorite of this style and probably any style.

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Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,128 ratings.
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