Duchesse De Bourgogne | Brouwerij Verhaeghe

BA SCORE
92
outstanding
1,520 Reviews
Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Verhaeghe
Belgium
brouwerijverhaeghe.be

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,520
Ratings:
4,176
Avg:
4.1
pDev:
14.15%
 
 
Wants:
239
Gots:
888
For Trade:
16
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Reviews: 1,520 | Ratings: 4,176
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 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 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 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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Photo of Goldfish19
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

~ Purchased this bottle from Big Z Beverage in Huntington, NY. This sour ale pours a dark reddish brown with a huge foamy head that subsides rather quickly into some spotty lacing. The smell reminds me a lot of balsamic vinegar. There is a really nice sour and earthy smell going on here. The taste is a wonderful complex combination of sweet and sour. Absolutely refreshing! A little pricey @ $4.95 for a single 11.2 oz bottle, but hey, you get what you pay for right?

All in all, if you are looking for a beer that is unique and different--you've come to the right place! ~

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Photo of jmc44
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, deep brownish-red, with a rocky offwhite head that sticks around forever.

Fruity aroma, apples, acidic, a bit of sweet malt and hints of earthiness.

Taste is complex. A great balance of malty sweetness with a strong tart flavor, like sour cherries, apples, and a hint of raisins and dark fruit. Light and sweet at first, followed by the pronounced tart and sour taste. Surprisingly clean finish.

Medium-bottled, fairly highly carbonated, smooth. A very good beer, very complex and yet well balanced.

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Photo of Pundit_of_Potability
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Well, here we go... A Flanders Sour....I've had others and frankly, some of them are more sour in the vinegar sort of way, rather than a tart sour cherry sort of way. This one has a vinegary smell, so that's kind of off-putting...I'm not getting any cherries in the smell and only a hint of malts. It pours a nice brown/red color with very little head, and very little lacing. The taste? Well, i was surprised (in a good way). This has the flavor of sour cherries--in a big way. There is a little malty body there. But not much. Abundant sugars keep this sour from tasting like a bottle of fizzy wine vinegar. There is plenty of carbonation to add a zip at the end. If you're not into sweet tarts, or cranberry juice, or sour cherries, this one isn't for you. It really isn't my thing either--but for its style, it is one of the better Flemish style sours I've had... And the only one I could finish. If you like a fruity, sour ale, this is what you need to partake in.

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

Brown bottle served in a snifter.

Freshness date is 27/05/05, so this beer is about a year beyond that. And from what I've noticed in the reviews, the Freshness date is set about two years after bottling...so this bottle was capped back in 03, most likely.

The bottle popped nicely, but upon the pour, the reddish brown beer is topped by a very small and fizzy head. There is no retention to be spoken of, leaving it looking flat in the glass. But the color is nice. I am worried that time has flattened my beer, though, as I move on to the sniff.

Which pleases me greatly. It smells a bit...old. Not in a bad way, though. When you combine it with the winey, fruity, vinegary and woody scents that rise from the glass it makes me feel like I'm walking through an old wine cellar, with all of those aromas permeating the air.

Now what really surprises me is that when I take a sip, my mouth is filled with a warm prickley carbonation...where was all of this when I poured it? Seems to have worked itself stubbornly in the beer, only to be released as it slips between the lips. Its the perfect sensation to go with the fruity, champagne-like flavors that dominated the front and middle of the mouth. This fruity and grapey character lasts until a few seconds after the swallow as a pleasant just-ripened raspberry tartness rises to provide some drying balance. This taste lingers for some time, with a slightly twiggy, woody flavor slowly unfolding to mingle.

This is a beer that just plain works...not sure what it would be like fresh, I will have to find another bottle, but I am glad I took the risk grabbing this one, because it was quite the experience.

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

A - Poured into a tulip glass. 1/4" tan head that doesn't hang out long. Color is a deep mahogany red and it's crystal clear. I expected it to be bottle conditioned but I didn't notice any trace yeast in the bottle. Looks quite appealing.

S - Wow, the aroma is incredible. Complex with fruity notes. Cherries, plums, some tartness in the nose. Slight barnyard character - sweet caramal.

T - This is an excellent flanders red - the sweet and tart is perfectly balanced. There's that a ever so slight barnyard character that just perfectly compliments the flavors in my mouth. You have to search for the barnyard - it's very slight. Sour cherries, raspberries, maybe even some plum with a nice balanced sweetness. I'm loving these sour beers right now!

M - Medium to light body with a nice acidic crispness. Moderately carbonated.

D - I've died and gone to sour beer heaven. I love this beer. I'm looking forward to trying other examples of this style to see what i'm missing. If this is not one of the better ones then I'm in for a real treat!

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Photo of wd40
3.51/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Beautiful burgundy appearance. Deep dark red, fairly clear. Smells like a fantastic sour beer mixed with red wine. I really liked the aroma except there was a faint hint of metal. The tast up front is fantastic. Great sour bite that quickly fades into an almost soda-like sweetness. The finish of the beer is very sweet, more like wine than beer. The mouthfeel is soft. Subtle carbonation. The beer is very well-crafted but the drinkability is negatively affected by the sweetness in the finish.

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Photo of broken22
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh Duchesse. She is a beer that I had kept playing hard to get with. I would see her at the beer store and think about but never acted. I even held here a couple of times to only put her back. So when I finally had the chance to get a glass on tap I decided it was time to meet her.

This beer is a nice red amber color. The head on this beer is very tight little micro bubbles and white. This beer is very fragrant. Taking a sniff an you will know right away that this is going to be a sour beer. I'm not an expert on sour beers so I cannot really elaborate on smell other than sour. The taste really surprised me. I was totally expecting something awful. This beer has a really nice flavor that is only exemplified by the sourness. It has a very nice fruity taste. The brewery describes it as passion fruit and I will just agree to that. The overall mouthfeel is nice and light with a dry finish.

I am not a sour chaser and I really thought I would never find a sour beer that I really liked. Duchesse won me over on the first sip. Its complex flavor is completely masked by the smell. It's like the durian fruit of beer. While I'm sure its still not for everyone I think if your curious you should try a glass.

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Photo of Whey2Hoppy
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- Copper brown coloration with a one finger head.

S- Lots of pungent sour aromas. Kind of gross, since this is my first sour ever. But we will see how it tastes...

T- My lord, I have seen the light of the sour beer! I was expecting a drainpour, and to just delete everything I've written so far, but this is amazing! Very very sweet and sour, almost like a sweet tart candy. It's a strong fruity sourness, like sour raspberries.

F- Light body, with a high amount of carbonation that tickles the tongue as you're sipping.

O- I finally see why people love sour beers so much. I went in with an open mind, and was not disappointed!

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Photo of crimsonfloyd
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brown on the pour with about a third an inch of head. Smells of yeast, lemongrass and fermented fruit. Perhaps a touch of caramel in there as well. Tastes of sour green apple. A bit of a cranberry flavor in the finish. Texture is a little granular, like drinking pure apple juice. Overall, a tasty and distinct beer.

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Photo of clarkm04
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- A deep amber, red hue.

Smell- lots of cherries along with funky yeast smell

Taste- Outstanding. Very sweet with less sourness of the traditional Flemish Red or sour. Lots of cherries with a nice finish.

Mouthful- A very light, crisp mouthful.

Drinkability- Very high for a Flemish Red. I enjoy this style but can usually only drink one at the most.

Overall- A very strong strong Flemish Red. In the same realm as Kastel Rouge or Belgian Red but more sour and closer to the style of the Flemish Red. I will definitely drink this beer again. Definitely would pare well with a variety of desserts.

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Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,176 ratings.
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