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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 beersheppard
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Apperance: dark rub, mahogany, with tan head.

Smell: raspberry vinegar, brown sugar, musty

Taste: predominant flavor here is sour cherries, unripened grapes, and very sour with a long aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: is intense, with good tingle.

Drinkability: a good beer and good example of this type. But, it would be hard for me to have more than one of these.

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Photo of Steasy66
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

~12oz pour at Nomad world pub into a wide mouth glass.
A- Dark brown, not much head.
S- Smells quite fruity, very sour.
T- Nice red fruits, a lot of oak, somewhat sours. I don't really like sours, but this is a fine beer.
M- Crisp carbonation, not too thick, nice.
O- Pretty shocked to find a sour I liked. Would drink again.

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Photo of alk3kenny
4.78/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Just starting to get into/try sour beers and from I understand this is a legend. Pours a dark, dark ruby red. Nice tan head that sticks around for awhile. Smell dark fruit, banana, not really picking up anything sour on the nose but smells amazing. OOOHHH there's the sour lol it's all over the taste and mouthfeel. Tart, sour cherry some of the funky taste I recognize from beers with brett but not nearly as pronounced. This is very nicely balanced. Won't be an every day beer for me because of the price point but I'll be back for more.

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Photo of USCTrojanBrian
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle consumed at The Trappist in Oakland, CA. From notes.

Egg-like foamy head. Violet-brown color. Sour cherry and oaky aroma.

Overly smooth first taste. Low carbonation, good, like a cask beer. Solid base beer. Somewhat sugary but quite enjoyable.

Maybe needed a bit more sour to balance the flavors a bit but this thing is like candy within the style, hard not to enjoy.

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Photo of SPThirtyThree
4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from the standard 750 mL bottle you see in stores. The carbonation was perfect and the cork came out easily. Pours into the goblet a deep, crystal clear gobet with a brilliant red hue and ruby highlights. A one-finger cream-colored head quickly boils to the top of the beer, in a fizzy, effervescent way, to crown this Flanders' Red. Surprisingly, the head persists, as a fine cream layer on top of the beer that shows patterns from the rim every time I lift the glass.

S: The nose is exceptional on this beer. It's extremely sweet and sour all at once. Lingering just behind the veil of sweetness is a tart, sour vinegar note, like that of sour cherries. A clove-like spiciness and the faintest hint of copper suggest a Belgian yeast. Duchesse de Bourgogne actually smells a lot like a soured Delirium Noel.

T: Deliciously smooth and sweet with a hint of tartness. This beer opens with sweet flavors of honey surrounded by sour cherries. Next comes a faint vinegar flavor, and finally, the beer finishes with a hint of butterscotch and a tart, apple juice crispiness.

M: The mouthfeel is extremely creamy and frothy, resulting in a smoothness that perfectly accentuates the sour tang left on the tongue by the Duchesse.

D: High. This beer is delicious. The only fault is that it seems to be very sugary, which makes it quite filling.

Overall, this is a pretty solid ale. It isn't overwhelmingly sour like a Kriek, but instead, so it's very accessible to non-sour drinkers. The only drawback is it's might be too sweet and sugary for some. I was a little surprised that that this filtered beer, as I expected a yeast cake on bottom, but I suppose that makes sense with the amount of residual sugar in this Flanders' Red Ale.

***Re-reviewed 5.18.2010 to edit review from 1.13.2010. The score changed to reflect a better nose, but more noticeable fillingness of the beer. Also, I seem to have missed a handful of details the first time I experienced this brew, so tasting notes were augmented.***

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Photo of amatuerbeerguy
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured out ruby red color, off white head with lasting and lacing head retention. soured fruit, raison, floral, mulled wine aroma. some cherry, tangy, tart, sour, red wine flavors. moderate bodied with high carbonation. overall a nicely sour, tangy drink for the palate to dissect

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Photo of smcreator
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first lambic to try so the overall mouth feel and flavor is new to me. Overall, I enjoyed the beer very much as it is flavorful and balanced.

A: Very dark burgundy red color. One finger initial head that settles to a 3 mm head and light lacing.
S: Smells very fruity and also of alcohol at the same time, but the alcohol does not bother me. The fruit notes are very pleasant and complex. Definitely a similar smell to walking through a fruit market where all the smells blend.
T: The alcohol smell and taste is balanced nicely with the fruity sweet notes so it does not tire to drink. The beer has three or more stages of flavor. At first there is an in-rush of a sweet fruit blend. Then there is a mellower taste that is slightly more dry. Finally, there is a nice semi-bitter alcohol finish that balances out the whole movement.
M: A very smooth medium-thick bodied beer with little carbonation. Feels like eating yogurt to some degree. The only drawback is that it leaves a slight film in your mouth.
D: It is very easy to drink as it is packed with flavor and feels nice in the mouth. You will not get tired drinking it, you just might have to spit from time to time.

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

Poured on tap into a 10 oz tulip glass. A very deep red with almost no light transparency and a creamy off white inch head. It has a very red wine like nose with the bitter sweetness. This is my first sour so I can't judge too much but it has a good sour sweet wine taste like a dessert wine or something. It has a crisp mouth feel with a moist finish. Overall quite nice for my first sour. It was aged and cellared by my local Beer Shoppe and I was lucky to try it.

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Photo of weazal
4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

S: Alcohol and sourness blends perfectly. Although, a little medicinal. Some notes of sweet caramel snuck in there.

T: Shockingly sweet, puckeringly sour cherry with a rounding our creaminess. Vanilla cherry cheese cake! Perfectly balanced, unique, exciting, and tasty!

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Photo of ggroller
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I just drank my first Duchesse on Christmas Day 2004 and was completely excited about what I saw and smelled in my glass without even taking the first sip.

The color was a dark, velvety, burgundy brown with a large fluffy head similiar to one seen on a Beligian White.The aroma was like nothing I have ever smelled before. Sour cherries was the first thing I noticed followed by sweet cherry and orange mingled with woody earthiness. Upon taking the first sip I first tasted sour then sweet; just like the aroma.

This beer is very drinkable and in my opinion a session beer. It was sweet but not too sweet. Sour but not too sour. And the finish left my palate clean and wanting more.

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Photo of malthead
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

My first time for a Flanders Red Ale, best before 10/07, served in a tulip.
Very dark red color, nice little red-tinged head. Smell - wow. Like a fine, aged balsamic vinegar. Sweet, darkly fruity at first, but with a vinegar bite after smelling it for a while. Taste - again, wow. Kinda grows on you after a while. It's both sweet and tart. Dried fruit, tannic, maybe a very dry grape juice. Mouthfeel is a little too slick for me, and while interesting, this just isn't very drinkable for me - not sure I'm even going to get through this one. Just too much for me right now, I guess.

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Photo of WOTO97
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really great beer. Poured into a NB goblet with some vigor. Great head retention with nice off-white lacing around the glass. The nose definitely gives off some decent tartness along with melon and grape notes common with the style; some faint wood in the background complemented by subtle coriander. The taste is really spectacular: great tartness throughout with a slight lingering acidic note on the immediate finish, soft fruit (grape, melon), great herbal character with very nominal medicinal quality on the mid-palate, wood noticeable but less so than on the nose. Clean mouthfeel with a bit of chewiness/stickiness on the immediate tasting. Some points off the drinkability for the simple fact this is a sipper; not likely to throw down a grip of these back-to-back.

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Photo of Boneheadmx
4.61/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours out to what appears to be a dark, slightly hazy magenta-purple amber with a 1 inch cream-colored head that subsides slowly and leaves thick lacing around the glass. The purple color makes this extremely beautiful and it's the best looking beer I've ever seen.

Smell is faintly of fruit with not much in the way of the hops. Smells nice but it's ultimately a little bland.

Oh boy. The flavor. Nice tangy, citrusy sourness with hints of fresh berries, fairly sweet. Slow sour finish nicely complemented by just the right touch of carbonation (which is more than it looks to have when poured out). There's a slight bit of hops in the back of the tongue which gives it a lot of dimension instead of just "sweet and sour."

The mouthfeel is light, watery, and carbonated but matches the flavor perfectly.

This is surprisingly one of the most drinkable beers I've ever had (surprising since I don't particularly like light, watery, carbonated, sweet beers). Highly recommended for seasoned beer drinkers and newbies alike.

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Photo of ROMER79
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer both in a bottle and on tap and I truly feel that it is a better beer on tap. It pours a nice ruby red with a one finger tan head. It has a big sour cherry smell with spices and lactic aromas pulling through. The taste was almost the same. Big sour cherry flavor mixed with some lactic acids, but the alcohol flavor was hidden by the sour flavor. The mouthfeel was thick and full and it was very easy to drink.

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Photo of Agent1
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fermented in previously used oak wine barrels, this impressive red ale is somewhat of an anomaly. Originally, I was not a big fan of this, but over time it became a beer of interest to me. This is only my third or fourth bottle, so we'll see how this goes...

Appearance - A dark ruby red with orange/ copper hues. Great head retention. The head is a thick, creamy beige with light frothy bubbles near the rim of the glass. This Flemish red ale is very bubbly and alive. Like champagne, a steady stream of carbonation racing upward. Very nice.

Smell - Yeast, oak (woody aromas), light floral accents, cranberry, sourdough and jammy fruits. Obviously, quite acidic, too.

Taste - Hints of red wine, apple cider, light fruits (cranberry, raspberry, grape, apple, etc.), vanilla, oak wood and rose wood. A great use of sugars. It seems this red ale is slightly hopped, creating subtle floral notes and spices. Not too acidic. The aftertaste is a bit underwhelming, to be honest. Doesn't finish strong. Reasonably intricate in composition. Fits the style well.

Mouthfeel - A full-bodied beer. This moves all over the tongue. Quite wonderful! This can definitely be sensed throughout the mouth as it strikes an impressive balance between sour and sweet.

Overall - Not typically a beer I purchase (more of a Belgian Tripel, Quad and Dubbel kind of guy), but this is an impressive beer. No wonder it is distributed by the same importers as St. Bernardus. I classy Flemish beer that harnesses a lot of impactful qualities. Sour much like a Lambic ale, this beer is acidic, but balanced. Combining barrels aged in oak from 8 months as well as 18 months, really helps to create balance here. A nice fruity, sour ale. Stretch yourself and give this a try...

The Duchesse must be courted!

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Photo of pittvkyle7
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very dark with a good white head. The color becomes much more red when the light hits it, but looks black in the shade.

Smells sweet and berry like, alcohol present too.

wow big sweet cherry taste with some vinegar like grape to it. very tart with no bitterness. Has a great white wine taste to it. I wish I had some food to pair it with.

good drinkability, left you wanting more, the low carbonation really made it feel like you were drinking wine.

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Photo of dill
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from an 11.5 oz bottle into a flute glass.

A - deep amber in color with a thin white head.

S - smells of vinegar and some fruits.

T - taste is similar with a sour vinegary note as well as fruit juice.

M - creamy mouthfeel with a tight carbonation.

D - one of the more drinkable flanders reds i have had. this one is really good.

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Photo of nouseforotacon
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

After being floored by the tart, sour bomb that is a Cantillon Rosé on my birthday, this brew ended up rather tame and mild in comparison. Best before date of 29-04-07.

Pours out a dark brown and ruby bottom with some transparency and haze. Small tan foam on top that sticks to the glass and leaves a bit of murky foam.

Smell is a vinegar-hater's (which I'm not) worst nightmare. Over-the-top cider vinegar smell, with hints of green apple and tart cherries. Very vinous with a little oak, chardonnay-like grapes, and sweet malts/toffee.

Sourness in the flavor is well-regulated and by no means unbearable. Pleasant green apple/sour cherry on the tongue, with a vinegar-like acidity. Oak-aging imparts a wonderful, deep, wood flavor that mellows out the sourness well and gives the brew a dry finish. Medium body.

This one is not bad. I'd be interested in trying more flemish ales, but I can fully understand others' gripes with the style. I don't like to drink malted vinegar, but there's more to this one beyond the pungent aroma.

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Photo of Bobikel
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - A very clear deep red with an extremely rocky head that dissapates and leaves a little lacing in its wake.

Smell - Deep maltyness and an apple like tartness give way to some black pepper, earthy notes.

Taste - Semi sweet with a mild sourness persisting. Grassy and fruity.

Mouthfeel - Slick and oily. Light carbonation.

Drinkability - Fairly easy drinking, although a little to sweet for much more than one glass. More carbonaiton would help here.

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Photo of KevCan
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bought a 4-pack of 11.2 oz. bottles from Whole Foods in Arlington, VA. Best by 2017-06-29. Poured into a tulip glass.

Look: Nice ruby/garnet color with small amount of tan head with tiny bubbles.

Smell: Red wine vinegar.

Taste: Sweet and sour. Sour cherry. Acidic/astringent.

Feel: Fizzy. Sweetness/stickiness balances nicely against the dryness of the acidity.

Overall: For one of my first sours, I'm not well-versed enough to judge this well, but it's really enjoyable.

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Photo of cncbofh
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a deep goblet as a deep copper red with lots of fizzy and quickly dissappearing bubbly. Amazingly, the beer itself did not "feel" carbonated in the mouth at all, but rather smooth almost like sherry or port.

The smell of roses and fruit were strong, but not overwhelming. Reminds me of Rosé de Gambrinus.

The taste lifted the bar. New and strange, but very very good. It had a soft velvety flavor of fruit - cherry and figs, with a light almondy nutty character. What amazes me so much about this beer is the character is so different and complex, yet the beer is so light and (can I use the word fluffy?)....

Good stuff. Made it to my top ten list.

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Photo of DUBinMIA
3.44/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear deep brown with reddish tint. Thick foam head 3in. at least with insane lace.

Smell is of malt and sweet fruit. Dates, cherries, and light pine hop notes.

Taste is starts sweet malty and ends very tart and crisp. Citrus is abound which is different for a red ale. Interesting rasberry flavor towards the end.

Mouth feel is light and high in carbonation

Overall this beer is unique… prob won’t pick it up again but glad I tried it.

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Photo of acehart1
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2006 Vintage, sampled on Jan. 22, 2011

Deep red, brownish color. Extremely pungent smell. Almost like vinegar. The smell almost overpowers everything else. The taste is much better than the smell. This stuff goes down much too easily. Very complex and drinkable, almost too drinkable. Dangerous. Very, very nice. We paired it with a brie with currant jelly. Very nice mixture.

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Photo of hammer09
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My fiancee convinced me to try this beer since I typically like Belgian-style ales. It wasn't until later that I found out she picked it because she liked the label on the bottle.

My first impression ended with disappointment; this is not your typical beer. However, my initial disappointment stemmed from the fact that I didn't approach it with the right mindset. I tried another bottle last night and I have to say that it made a much better second impression.

A - Duchesse De Bourgogne pours a dark amber/brown with a thick, foamy head. This beer exhibits some nice lacing, clinging to the inside of the glass in distinct rings as the beer is consumed.

S - Here's the surprising aspect of this beer; it doesn't smell like a beer. It has a champagne-like aroma, both sour and sweet with notes of apples and grapes.

T - As with the aroma, this beer tastes very similar to a champagne. It's both sour and sweet on the palate with a fruity, cider-like finish. I did noticed a slight solvent taste/odor, reminiscent of acetone, toward the end of this beer.

M - The fizzy carbonation is numbing, but the experience is very refreshing. This is a good beer for a hot day.

D - Overall, this is a very complex and interesting brew. I would probably drink no more than two of these in a sitting, and likely switch to something lighter in character after the second. An excellent beer that I would definitely purchase again.

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