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 Dinglehacker
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured into snifter. Little head, lacing shaped like the eye of Sauron. Looks black until held to light, then a murky red like a fine old piano.

Smells of vinegar, dark fruit, and soft malts.

Tastes tart and delightfully sour. Vinegar is now tempered with plumb, grape and cherry.

Feels a little dry, puckers the throat just a bit. Swallows tart, but does not linger or cause too much pucker.

First sour beer & first red ale I ever tried, and still the best. Not as sharp as Cuvee, not as overly saccharine as Delirium and Founder's Rubaeus (for comparison) might be. Not unlike a Lindeman's lambic, but more deserving the title of "beer." Sour beer is simply not for everyone, but for those who don't mind a mistress with snarl, Duchesse is among the most delicious of beers.

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Photo of GrumpyJack
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dark ruby red ale which doesn't retain a significant head after pouring and which has a complex fruit / malt sweet / sour aroma.

Sour cherry and dark fruits, worcester sauce, balsamic vinegar & malt on the palate. A superb combination of sweet and sour flavours which will not be to everyone's taste, but kept me coming back for further sips to try to work out quite what I liked so much about it.

If you're unsure about sour Belgian beers, this is quite a good introduction as it is not too tart and has bags of interesting flavours.

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Photo of DevWand
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Not as sour as I expected, which I guess makes the Duchesse more drinkable.
Solid sour beer for someone looking to get into the style.

I might have rated the beer a tad bit higher, if it wasn't for the Rodenbach Grand Cru (which I had the day prior to sampling the Duchesse); that thing was AMAZING!

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Photo of oldn00b
4.36/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Can't believe I'd never tried this - received as a gift and damn happy for it.

Pours a copper,ruby with a fizzy head that forms but quickly fades. No lacing to speak of.

Nose is bright sour cherry, yeast and malt.

Flavor is fantastic - bright sour cherry with a great pucker.

Mouthfeel is incredibly well rounded, smooth, luscious. Very nice standard flanders with a huge bright fruit profile.

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Photo of Melvintrude
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Extraordinary and unexpected.

Initial hit is basalmic vinegar, both tart and sweet, then increasingly complex whilst remaining refreshing. Much better than Rodenbach's Flanders REd

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
1.91/5  rDev -53.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Poured into a Barbe chalice.

Look: Deep mahogany body with a cream colored head. A collar remains with little or no lacing.

Aroma: Vinegar, sweaty socks, sour grapes.

Taste: Sweetness runs underneath a woody, vinegar bomb. Sweaty gym socks galore.

Mouthfeel: Light.

Overall: I hate vinegar, so needless to say I pretty much do not like this beer or the style. Disregard my review as it is biased obviously.

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Photo of jw4free
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: pours a near opaque dark brown. Limited off-white head, that fades to a champagne like bubbly. S: sour raspberry, cherry, caramel oak. T: cherry, fruity wine, but a sweet and sour interplay. F: bubbly effervescence, crisp, taste lingers pleasantly on the palate. O: seriously complex and dynamic. A real eye opener to unique styles of beer. Excellent beer.

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Photo of AmeriCanadian
3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Wow. Not sure I've ever tried a beer that brought out such a divergent set of reactions through the tasting experience. I am fairly new to Red Flanders Ales, so it's possible that this beer is more the norm for the style than the others I've tried. But based on my small sample set, this one is the outlier, some negative, some positive.

It started positively with an attractive look of dark reddish brown color and a small but fluffy head that disappeared quickly and left a faint lacing. Then the "vinegar" took over. The smell is an overwhelming vinegar that has a sour funkiness to it I'm not sure I've ever experienced. The smell is quite literally eye opening, but not necessarily all in a bad way. The sharpness of the smell is too much, but there's also an invigorating aspect to it. The taste initially followed suit, with a sharp balsamic vinegar note followed by tart fruitiness that reminded me of old berry and cherry preserves that are past their expiration date. The taste settles into a more traditional and subtle (relatively speaking) sourness, with notes of cherry, raisins, salt, and an almost grassy note. Very unique, for sure. Feel is medium-bodied and stickier than I expected.

I enjoyed the last sip much more than the first, so I can see the uniqueness growing on someone after the shock of the vinegar notes wear off. Interesting change of pace beer to sample from time to time, but not one I would drink on a regular basis, or drink much of in a single sitting. Glad to have tried it, though.

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Photo of staubot
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Small dark head but it lasts forever. Nice lacing. Dark light chocolate colour.

Aroma spews forth for all to enjoy. Fruity roasted malts.

Tartness entering the mouth plays with the cherry / sweet red wine flavour. Not totally what is expected from the smell.

Small bite gives way to oily smoothness with balanced after taste.

Overall and enjoyable experience

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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
2.43/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.25

Almost opaque dark brown color with strong glass clinging activity. Slightly creamy brown 2 finger head, lasting around 15-20 minutes, creating a very good amount of legs. Flavors of worcestershire sauce, rotten dark fruits, ester fruits, grapes, cherries, cheese, stinky feet, herbal spices and yeast. Medium body with prickly carbonation. Strong thick bitter finish with a long lasting super dry fruity putrid leathery vinous feel, ending with a barbecue sauce feel, a little oaky, and a blue cheese and peppery aftertaste. Overall I don't like this craft due to an overly rotten feel with excessive flavors. Too bitter, not accessible at all, really hardcore stuff. Poor unbalanced flavors and no freshness. Could not even finish the bottle. Bad bottle maybe?

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Photo of Analog_kid
1.46/5  rDev -64.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

I bought this beer at Total Wine in NoVa, and looked forward to drinking it over the span of a week. Before I begin let's be honest, not every one tastes the same thing exactly the same way.

That being said, people need to get over this idea of sour beer, no matter how beautiful the packaging. Beer should be any of the following combinations:

• Hoppy
• Java-y (if that's a word).
• Malty
• Chocolate-y (if that's a word)
• Fruity
• Citrus-y (if that's a word)
• Spicy
• Good
• Excellent
• Meh

But among those flavors that a beer shouldn't be, is sour. Before I even bought this beer I came to our beloved BeerAdvocate to read up on the overall reviews. I thought with a BA score of 92 and Bros score of 93, there should be no question that this is a home run, so I greedily bought it like a kid buying the last piece of chocolate in a candy store.

My first smell of this beer made me jerk my head away in revulsion, as if I just smelled a jar of liquefied roadkill mixed with malt vinegar. But realizing that smells of beer can be a bit deceiving, I decided to get past the smell and let the liquid flow over my taste buds. Only after swallowing this concoction did I realize that I had made the worst mistake of my beer life.

I tried to give it one more try, hoping that, having paid $15 for one bottle, there would be some redeeming quality to this beer>. Alas, there was none.

This beer is beautiful to behold, I'll grant the brewers that. But as for drinking? No thanks. That being that, this is so heavy on the vinegar, maybe it would make a good marinade for chicken or beef short ribs. Either way, I'd rather drink an entire truckload of Iron City before I even consider drinking this again.

But hey, my friend absolutely loved it.

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Photo of leadpaint76
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Duchesse poured out a nice dark ruby red. The aroma is of tartness and cherries. The taste in Duchesse is very sour and tart, you taste cherries and other dark fruits. This is the first sour beer I have had and it is very nice. It has wine characteristics. I would recommend this beer to any friend. Nice change from the normal. Have a great day my friends.

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

This beer. Codename: Duchess. . . .

As a reviewer below put it, if you don't like this beer, you don't like the Flanders Red Ale style. Which is fine--more for me. My preference runs to Rodenbach Grand Cru, but this is a pretty remarkable beer as well. Pours a dark, thick cola colour, capped by a finger of quickly disappating foam that does leave a few islands and some decent lacing.

Smell is balsamic vinegar, sour cherries, slight vanilla. brown sugar. Slight farm-y funk. Delightful. Taste is much the same. Very sweet and tart, with a vinegar-y note. Tons of cherry, slightly vinous. Brown sugar. Slightly milky. Rich body, moderate carbonation. The more pronounced vinegar note might turn folks off of this, and it doesn't have the pronounced cherry flavour of the Rodenbach, but this is certainly a world-class beer.

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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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Photo of Mike_Aguirre
4.51/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I just tried this beer yesterday. Pours deep red, like an old wine with a very wide white foam head, excellent retention. Smell is fruity, acid and acetic. Taste is complex, acid, sour, acetic, some fruits, it improves with temperature and breathing. Great beer, different but nice for advanced craft beer drinkers.

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

Brouwerij Verhaeghe - Duchesse De Bourgogne
6.0% - 25cl bottle - Best before 28.04.2017

Appearance: Very deep red, almost brown. Tan coloured head. Very small bubbles fast moving carbonation. Lots of lacing left on the teku glass by this beautiful red beer.

Aroma: Funk! Balsamic vinegar, acidic red fruits and… Fiberglass resin?

Taste: Lots of fruity acidity. Very refreshing and thirst quenching. I didn't really like the only beer of this style I have tried before (Rodenbach grand cru) early on in my beer tasting days as I was shocked by the sour flavours but my tastes are constantly changing and I have to say, I like this one a lot! Big hit of sweet raspberries and strawberries up front, turning sour in the middle and then tart in the finish. Quite complex and very moreish - shame the bottle is only 25cl!

Mouthfeel: Low in body. Makes the palate shrivel a little being so tart, carbonation works the beer around the palate well.

Overall: As I said before I was overwhelmed and shocked by the sourness of certain beers early on in my road to enlightenment but this beer is fantastic and may well be a gateway drug to sours for me. It’s difficult for me to give this Flanders Red Ale a rating as I know very little about the style, I do know that this one is a blend of 8 and 18 month old beers that have matured in oak casks. For enjoyment factor. I am however going to rate this at 9.75 / 10 purely on how much I enjoyed it. Really looking forward to trying more of this style.

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Photo of ZinFanDave
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The initial aroma was distinctive of Worcestershire sauce and it remained throughout to the end. Interesting balance of sour and roasted malts with the toasty oak.

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Photo of LAp
4.54/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle, poured into snifters. Pours a murky reddish-brown that, when held to the light gleams a brilliant ruby red. Tan-brown head leaving moderate pooled lacing. Dark fruit on the nose, with heavy balsamic vinegar undertones. On the palate, the balsamic vinegar notes leap to the fore, but give way to saccarine strawberry. The flavor progresses to a broader array of dark fruits. Mouthfeel is light on the carbonation, yielding a creamier texture that suits the complexity of the beer. Outstanding for pairing with food. Overall, a simply excellent beer.

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

250 ml bottle Belgium Beer Company. Pours dark brown withn a large foamy tan head. Medium carbonation. Nice lacing. Smell - Ripened stone fruits, grassy tones. Taste - Sweet, medium sour notes, light crisp finish. Lush.

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Photo of jmasher85
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One fancy birthday dinner at a French bistro and a splurge on an expensive beer I'd been eyeing for a while later, and I've just found a new classic jaw-dropper of a beer! I've had sour beers, I've had red ales, I've had more than a few Belgians, but I guess somehow the Flanders Red Ale style has either gone under my radar or I've simply not been blown away by others I've had enough to remember them. But as of now, I pledge my allegiance to the Duchesse.

The smell and taste work so well and complementary with each other, it's almost impossible to separate them into different ratings. Sour, for sure, but not heavily so - just a nice rich pucker. There is a lightly fermented funk and barnyard smell coming out of this, and the taste is like fermented fruit in a way that might almost be unpleasant, but is just interesting enough that it's captivating instead. The taste is of tart cherries, a hint of strawberry, some earthy, yeasty tones, and is just delicious. The 11.2 oz bottle is the perfect amount - any more and it would be a sensory overload and the sourness and funk would overwhelm the positive traits.

Sweet, savory, sour, funky, rich, oak, light - this beer has a little of everything! I have to try a few more of the style before I can make a good comparison, but for now, this is going into my new top ten.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.45/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle from Whole Foods Market, Giffnock, Scotland:
Quite a sour and tart beer but definitely not as strong in those departments as I'd been expecting when compared to some other Belgian sours that I've tried over the years. The nose in particular is quite a complex one with some good sweetness off the back of the fruits and a nice balance as well; a very nice beer and one well worth trying if you get the chance.

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Photo of dro7
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This was extremely good! The first time I had it, I did not like it. It was my first time having a Flemish ale, but now I appreciate the style and this is the best representation of it. Very good, deep, sweet, dark taste. Not a funky sour. More vinegar, similar to a wine.

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Photo of HopsForBrains
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Heavy ruby-red color, voluminous notes of balsamic vinegar, taste is sweet with a nice finish. Overall this is really good beer but I would prefer it to be higher in alcohol content for what it's offering.

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Photo of SeanMNCraftBeerLover
2.32/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.25

Well I don't know what happened here... Was exited to have it... Looked great... Smelled decent.... Then all hell broke loose once it hit the lips. Maybe it was a bad line but damn this was not a good beer.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look : pour a clouded brown with no head
Smell : almost only balsamic vinegar, something else but i can't say what
Taste: quite peculiar taste, vinegar, but some other more complicated notes
Feel : reassuring feeling
Overall: really good oak aged ale, can be used as a crossover for people that don't like beer because it tastes nothing like beer or maybe something acidulous like a lambic

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