Duchesse De Bourgogne | Brouwerij Verhaeghe

1,527 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: 1,527 | Ratings: 4,203
Photo of Libeertarian
3.35/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

From notes taken 08/28/16:

Clear brownish red, ranging from ruby to dark pink to rich orange in the light. Consistent, foamy head of creamy tan. Moderate retention, layered, filmy. Aromas of balsamic and wine vinegar, fresh paint or industrial marker. Perhaps a touch of grape spirit. Balanced, not unpleasant but not enticing either. Like drinking watered down sherry vinegar with brown sugar added, and an aethery or solventy retro-olfaction. Tartness of mostly vinegar and somewhat metallic with light dark fruit and sugars detected, throughout. But also a burn relating to acidity probably more so than alcohol content, at its height during finish. Light-bodied, with fine soft carbonation, smooth throughout apart from throaty burn in finish. I’ve gotten used to most Belgian beers by now but these sours and occasional strong ales that are basically sours anyway are a little harsh. Fun to try, still. If you enjoy the occasional kombucha or like to drench your salad in dressing, you could handle this. If you have a strange affinity for chemical and gaseous fumes, this will be right up your alley.

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Photo of amano_h
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Strong balsamic vinegar accompanied by some red wine. The initial punch of sour and red is rounded off by an earthy, estery stone fruit backdrop; there's even a splash of vanilla cane sugar speckled in among the sea of dark and red colors. I expected a whole lot of funk and oak characteristics given this is a Flanders Red, but those qualities seem to be well-hidden behind the dominant balsamic qualities. I can see why people call this the gateway sour.
Sweet and sour is probably the best way to paraphrase the sensation on the tongue. Sweet red berries coat the tongue first, eventually followed on by a bright balsamic sour sensation which washes away the sweetness. The balsamic sour becomes more of well-rounded pleasant tart flavor once you give it time to breathe and heat up, with the aforementioned hidden funk and oak making a cameo appearance.

Light bodied, accompanied by a high level of effervescence. The sweetness also makes this feel deceptively viscous, but it rounds off pretty well in the end without leaving any unpleasantness behind. That wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it'd be.

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Photo of Karnivool1
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Fantastic belgian sour. Tart cherry taste but this flows so smooth. The sour part hits right away, but balances quick with sweetness towards the back end. Any fan of a solid sour will no doubt enjoy this.

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Photo of MoohMooh
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very deep red with a nice head that vanishes almost instantly to form a thin ring of foam. Solid lacing. Smell is funky and earthy, sweet and sour. I'm getting apple cider and lemon, vinegar, and the faintest smell of chocolate from the malts. The taste is very sweet and very reminiscent of apple cider, with a touch of vinegar, very full and earthy. It's pretty carbonated and rich, but not heavy, very well balanced.

This is a very interesting beer, reminiscent of lambics. I don't know how representative of the style it is, but I really like it.

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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.

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Photo of Jimmys
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL. EXP 11/2016.

A: dark and hazy, i would go so far to say this is a light brown rather then red. great lacing and head retention. surprised it is as cloudy as it is.

S: dark fruit, must. acetic acid. a hint of diacetyl? lots of must. hint of sweet caramel malt.

T: tart but super smooth. this thing has really rounded out with time. sweetness on the back-side makes this very easy to drink. man, this is one balanced beer.

M: moderate fizzy carb on a medium body.

D: overall a really well made beer. i bought this close to its expiration but would be confident it could keep running strong.

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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 JakeScully
4.69/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Other BAs have described this one perfectly already so I'll spare you a whole review, but this is one of the most tasteful, flavorful beer I have ever tried. Incredible. World class without a doubt.

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Photo of agriffin1633
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Not terribly thick head, but stays with 2 mm throughout drinking. Amber-brown color.

S: Tart cherry, red wine vinegar, even a little salty.

T: Sour, sweet. The first part is a bit overwhelming, but it mellows out, and then gets intense again at the end.

M: Surprisingly light for the intense taste.

O: As complex as a wine. Moves through different stages of flavors at different parts in your mouth.

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Photo of CHickman
4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle stated best before 2018: Pours dark mahogany brown color with some red highlights that lead up to a 1 finger tan foamy head that faded slowly and left good spotty lacing.

Smells and tastes of sour cherry, vinegar, white wine, caramel, black cherry soda, merlot oak barrels, malty/bready sweetness, faint brown sugar and some tart fruity notes. Flavor had hints of rotting fruit or grappa-like fermentation with a slight boozey aspect that warmed my insides. Complex and seems to change a little with each sip.

Mouthfeel was smooth with a medium body and mild carbonation, the sourness is offset by the sweet fruity flavors and acidity from the fruits, this somehow managed to go down easier than I expected it would. Finish had barrel aged notes which negated the sour side of the brew.

Overall very enjoyable, especially considering the initial whiff after it poured into the snifter gave off a similar smell to an infected beer. As it sat and got warmer it got better and more dynamic.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

750ml bottle

Pours dark burgundy maroon with a dense creamy khaki colored foam head. Smells like rich cherries, plum, fig, tart blackcurrants, red apple, with dark caramel, malty molasses, tannic oak, brown sugar, and mild vanilla. Tastes like rich tart red fruits, lush cherry, bright plum, raspberry, blackcurrants, red apple, with smooth malty molasses, toasty cracker, dark caramel, brown sugar, some vanilla, and tannic oak. Feels medium bodied, creamy and smooth with moderate low carbonation. Overall a really nice Flanders red ale.

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Photo of Im4jojo
4.88/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A very sophisticated red ale. Poured into a tulip glass a gorgeous burgundy which reminded me of red wine. Little carbonation with cranberry right at the front. A bit acidic, but I could definitely live with that! The finish was smooth and dry, and I regretted only buying one bottle.

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Photo of FBarber
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours reddish mahogany beer. Effervescent when held to the light. Nice tan head slowly dissipates to a thin pillowy tan head. Sticky tan lacing is noted on the glass.

Aroma has notes of grapes, wine, red wine vinegar - tart acidic and funky on the nose.

Taste is a nice balance between the tart vinegar like flavors and a sweet malty backbone. Flavors of red wine vinegar, oak, overly ripe cherries and grapes. There is a strong acidity to the beer that becomes more and more metallic as you drink it. Clean and dry finish with a lingering sweet cherry like flavor.

Feel has a prickly almost fizzy carbonation up front that mellows out. Feels similar to a red wine - drinkable, but there is some weight to the beer. Dry tannic finish coats the mouth.

Overall a nice Flanders Red - I am not a fan of the metallic flavor that develops on the palate as you drink it - that really took this beer down a notch for me - but its a solid offering none the less.

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Photo of andy712
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Really enjoyed. The Flanders reds I enjoy are those where the barrel aging has taken a bit of the sourness edge off. This one fits the bill. Poured from a bottle with a best before date of 11/2017. Terrific reddish brown color with about 1 finger of head that dissipates quickly. Smell is acidic with cherry and oak. Very nice balance between sour and some malty sweetness. Terrific beer.

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Photo of mschrei
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark reddish brown, healthy carb with slight lacing. Very fruity nose. Tart taste right off the bat, smooth fruity mouth filling notes with a subtle underlying sourness. Reminds me of a sparkling fruit wine. Very tasty.

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Photo of Ginger-tipple
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

An exceptionally good dark sour ale. Could do with an extra 1% or 2% and the aroma was a bit weak. Other than that, a brilliant drink, went perfectly well with cold meats, potato salad and sourcrout .

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Photo of buschbeer
3.79/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

11.2 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a beer flute
Best before: 05/01/2014

This beer looks kind of brown when in the glass, but when held to the light some blood orange highlights emerge. It is topped with two inches of tan head that leaves a little lacing.

At first I thought I got some hints of apple cider vinegar, but after it sat awhile I could not longer get that smell. I get some dark fruit with a vinous character now.

It starts out sweet with some black cherry. Then I get some tartness and light acidity and more dark fruit.

Low carbonation and medium bodied.

It was somewhat complex. It had some conflicting flavors that made it interesting.

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Photo of aleigator
4.64/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark red color, with a beige, fluffy head.

Smells of acetic, fermented grapes, glue and old mushrooms. Dried plums and rock sugar get easily balanced by the sharpness of the acetic sourness. Brings a pleasant fruitiness to the nose, which adds a fantastic complexity. This may be the beer, which comes closest to a red wine I have yet experienced, and it does a great job by doing so.

Drinks very soft, with a lively, well nuanced carbonation and a medium body.

Tastes sour from the first split second, with its acetic sharpness setting the tone in the taste as well. Its sour profile is far away from offering a citraic crispness, instead the beer got a ton of matured wine grapes, which gets almost decadent next to the powerful acetic quality. It remains pleasant on the palate with its balance resulting from sweet cakey malts, rock sugar and sugar glazed grapes. Both flavors, sweet and sour are intense in this, reminding me of a joung, untamed wine. Got a soft spiciness at its peak, perfectly blending into the grapes, opening up the palate to a long lasting, sour finish.

One of my all time favorits. So different than what you've expect from a beer and yet so mindblowingly good. I personally enjoy the pungent sourness a lot, as it constantly develops on the palate due to the slowly uprising sweetness, which turns out to be just as complex.

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Photo of D-HopSupreme
3.71/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brown, barely transparent body with little to no head formation at the top. The scent is immediately tart, with red wine and vinegar coming off at the start, with a richer texture in the middle. The taste has an immense red wine tartness, with the same acidic vinegar characteristics. Overall it is a change, maybe I will have to revisit this one.

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Photo of Ferb
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Flanders ales are some of my favorite beers now. The Duchess has a flavor that moves from citrus to old ale to wood to a whisper of balsamic vinegar and then to malty ale and back again, each sip changing as it warms and even as it sits on your tongue. This and Vander Ghinste red/brown are beers that I have to have at least one of in my fridge for when I need a personal indulgence!

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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!

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Photo of ordybill
4.56/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11 OZ bottle into a tulip glass. The appearance is a nice burgundy color with a small white head. Has a very strong wine aroma. Excellent beer.

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Photo of kitch
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A 750ml corked and caged bottle with an expiry date of December 2016, poured into a Cantillon ballon glass.

Appearance: It poured a clear reddish brown colour with a red hue and a one finger khaki head that has decent retention and leaves lots of nice lacing.

Aroma: Sour, tart, cherry, red wine, oak and sweet vinegar.

Taste: Sweet and sour but leaning a bit more towards sweet. Cherry, grape, cranberry and oak with a hint of balsamic vinegar.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with moderate prickly carbonation.

Overall: I am a huge fan of sour beers and this was a little on the sweet side for me. However, it was a still a good beer and easy to drink.

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Photo of alexander_ostrofsky
4.87/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Outstanding. I have never had anything like this. I wish there were more people being inspired by and following the Belgian style. This rich ale has an extraordinary soft scent of mature vinegar that really comes out in the bouquet. This full flavoured beauty will always have a home in my cellar.

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Photo of Shilnikoff
3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle 750 ml with cork | Best before end of 20-09-2017 | Bar code 5 411364 151300
Served in Bourgogne des Flandres glass

Appearance: Red brown, 5 mm foam
Smell: Apple vinegar
Taste: Sour champagne
Mouthfeel: A bit dizzy and sharp
Overall: I really like it, gonna try it from tap in a local bar

NB: 6.2% ABV

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Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,203 ratings.
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