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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: 4,129
Photo of BeerMeInMS
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drinking Date Nov. 2nd 2011
Expiration: 03/13

Glassware: Tulip

Appearance: Dense brown with a red tinge; frothy beige head.

Smell: Very sweet and musky; fruity aroma maybe a little bread-like. Inviting smell

Taste: Sweet grape-ish flavor (wine-like); Tangy and fruity throughout. Not a lot of complexity or depth. Definitely redefines my box for beer tastes, though... Only the aftertaste had a little of the yeasty/malty flavor that reminded me of 'beer'. To me, it tasted like carbonated muscadine wine. (If you haven't had muscadine wine...It is similar to grape but with muskiness, more sweetness, and less acidity)

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied; highly carbonated.

Overall: I know this is supposed to be a standard for the style but I did not find a depth of flavor and I did not much care for the very sweet flavor it did have. Not a fan, but it was interesting to try. This was my first Flanders Red Ale, so nothing else to compare to.

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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 poluti
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black brownish in initial color. Found dark red tints when I held it to the light. It had a nice dark tan head.
Smelled of vinegar and fruit. It definitely had a sour tinge to it not unlike a red wine.
It tastes very sour and vinegary and I sensed some metalic notes. There is virtually no hop taste present. This beer tastes like a sweet red wine. There are sweet and sour notes, tart to the aftertaste. Very interesting and good if you are into sour beers.
I found this beer to go down very smoothly. The carbonation eases the beer along nicely and the aftertaste is pleasurable.
This is a very drinkable beer for sour enthusiasts.

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Photo of deliriumfest
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Consumed on 1/5/09

Served on Tap at the Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis. Poured a very clear red/brown color with a small white head that faded quickly. Aroma was sour and funky with dried fruit. Taste was similar to the aroma but tart and had an oak flavor as well. Finish was very dry and the tart flavor slowly dissipated over time. Mouthfeel was sticky and carbonation was low. Overall, a great beer for a first review and good representation of the style.

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

I will preface this review by saying I didn't like this beer one bit. I enjoy the pure lactic sourness of a Berliner Weisse but the acetic character was a deal-breaker here. That said I will review to style, not to prejudice.

Appearance - An orange color with slight amber and brown tinges to it rests beneath a prodigious three and a half finger head of pure snow white. Obviously high carbonation keeps the head cap there, but the lacing isn't really that spectacular.

Smell - Whoo. Acetic city man. I smell a cidery acetic character almost to the exclusion of all else. I can detect a lactic lemony sour flavor I recognize from berliners.

Taste - The cider vinegar again takes a dominant position, squeezing out the lactic acid from the first sip. Once I take a few more I can tell there's more here than the acetic acid, but I'm not sure I like it because of the harsh vinegar character. There's the aforementioned lactic sourness and an accompanying lemon flavor over a lightly bread and biscuity malt. Sour fruit, especially cherries comes in midway. There's a sweetness and a metallic taste that enter during the finish with a lime-like sour note, some red wine vinegar, a vinous twang, and a hint of alcohol and spice.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel would probably be rather thick and unpleasant if not for the enormously carbonated nature of the beer. I take a sip and rather than getting liquid, i is mostly bubbles and foam by the time I swallow it.

Drinkability - For me not high at all. For the style this beer is right on, so medium I suppose.

I will continue to try different sours since flanders reds are supposedly very acetic compared to the rest. This one is not very appealing to me however. Time will tell whether or not I like brett character any more than acetic acid.

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Photo of shortbus7
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A dark red color with a slight head.

S: Dark cherries, apples, and vinegar.

T: There is so much going on in this beer it's amazing. Dark cherries, apples, red wine vinegar, and malt. This beer is more sweet and tangy than sour.

M: Smooth and slightly puckering.

O: This is a great beer and a great place to start with sours. The taste amazed me. So much going on but nothing became muddled.

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Photo of Chessmaster
3.22/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Received a bottle of this as part of a Christmas sampler gift pack.
Poured from the bottle into the accompanying Barbe chalice.

A: Poured a beautiful dark ruby red that was clear enough to see through. A small white head turned into a lingering cap with some lacing

S: The initial smell from the bottle was off-putting vinegary sourness. This later mellowed into a pleasant tart cherry smell

T: Initial taste is of tart cherry, the finishing notes are just lingering tartness and bitterness. I assume this is correct for the style, but it is not _my_ style :-) No hop aromas nor flavors, no real malt flavors. Sort of like drinking a weird sour cough syrup. Didn't hate it, but didn't love it.

M: Crisp and refreshing, pleasant carbonation

O: Again, the style is not my favorite, but I can guess this is true to the style guidelines. Appearance was very nice, smell ended up being nice, the flavor just okay for me.

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Photo of TDotScott
4.51/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a wine glass from a 22 oz bomber, cellared for nine months.

L- Deep auburn with very little head. Highlights of Garnet.

S- Acetobacter like whoa. Lots of vinegar and sour fruit, without being fusel-y. Still a malt presence, but all about the yeast and bacteria.

T- As expected, the cellaring has turned the beer into a more robustly sour version of its fresh self. As I like my sours sour, I'm not one to complain. Vinegar, sweet chocolatey malt, with a dry finish.

F- Not as lively as I like it.

O- Worth it to cellar it for nine months to a year, if you're down with the tartness. Any more, and the vinegar might turn into something ugly (but I don't know for sure).

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Photo of Cuvie62
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smells vingary at first. Great follow. Kombychka like. Awesome beer. If I could brew beers at hone I would give thus shit a shot. You need a deserni g palate for this shiz. Give it a whirl. Trying yo make a 250 word review and all I can say is "You gotta Try this shiz" not annormal beer.

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Photo of nbree00
2.38/5  rDev -42%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This beer pours a beautiful deep brown with a reddish tint to it. The smell was pleasant with a sort of spiced cherry aroma coming through, however I was not very impressed with the carbonation which seemed to be low. The taste for me was pretty overwhelmingly sweet, no apparent sourness to better balance the flavors out. You can taste some of the roasted malts but other then that pretty bland with a cherry-banana sweetness coming through that makes it pretty hard to drink, definitely a sipping beer. Overall I didn't care for it much

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Photo of xrdsci
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle.

A: Deep reddish brown color. Off-white head.

S: Fruity with a subtle wine-like smell.

T: Incredible balance of fruit and tart flavors. Neither overpowers the other. Sour cherries and other dark fruits are most prominent. Finishes dry, with a hint of spice.

M: Medium mouthfeel, light carbonation. Very smooth and creamy.

D: If my body would let me, I could drink a couple dozen of these.

Highly recommended for this style.

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Photo of WhiskeyMax
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pour into tulip a cloudy brown with a light head that laced all the way down.
Smell was nice, with a tart cherry bran muffin notes. Smells more like wine than beer.
Taste was less sour than I expected in a way that was delightful. Oh the wonderful dark fruits
Feels nice, a light bit of syrup with little carbonation.
Overall I thought this a delicious beer that I will definitely drink again.

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

Beautiful burgundy. Medium carbonation. Clear. Small head that goes away quickly and leaves a tiny bit of film and lacing.

Smell sour cherries. Toasted malts. Molases. Lemon.

Taste sour black cherries. Toasted malts and finishes with some breadiness (which I really like). Ruby red grapefruit. Winey. Green apple.

Mouthfeel it sticky. Nice carbonation.

Overall: I guess I am just new to this style but I was just not a huge fan of the tart/sweet taste. I am waiting for a headache to kick in from the sugar.

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Photo of nathi
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very nice beer.

Somewhat cloudy, small head, nice amber color.

Excellent sourness in aroma. Light prune-like maltyness and subtle oak character.

Very rich flavor with storng sourness balancing it out. Complex malt flavor with raisnes, caramel and toffee. Excellent oak character, adds nice complexity and gives a port like character when combined with oxidized malt richness.. Sourness is a bit simplistic but balances out the flavor very well. A well balanced, and very drinkable sour ale. Very rodenbach like, a little less complex, but very nice.

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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 cdrummer
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Beer Run, Charlottesville, VA in a 10 oz snifter

A: Deep depths of reddish brown and copper with a bone colored lacing head of foam.

S: I'm hit in the face by sourness (in a good way) in the form of vinegar, apple, lemon drop candy, raspberries, cranberries and a slight meatiness.

T & M: There is an endless supply of bubbles that disperse the sourness across the tongue. It's quite dense and syrupy, but still very refreshing, fruity and crisp. The overall taste is quite sour, focused on such flavors as were in the nose - those of tart cranberries and raspberries. While at first the sourness was overwhelming, as it warmed it turned into a pleasant port like quality, especially in the finish as the carbonation became more subdued.

D: Honestly, this took a while to drink, and I like dense beers... I think this is for one who enjoys a rich fruity brew more-so than I.

No kidding, I thought this was a lambic, but upon inquiry came to find that the sourness actually comes from the aging in oak casks - no lambic at all. Well done!

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Photo of Andrewtherooster
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is the first beer I've had of this style, and boy, it's a good one.

A- Pours a great ruby red with a goldish rim around the edge. The lacing is beautiful, sticking to the sides of the glass and leaving a smeared haze.

S- Smells right away of tart dark cherries with a warm toastiness in the background. It smells to a degree like Welch's gone bad in the best way.

T- Wow, this smacks of the sour, tart flavor I was looking for. Each step in the sip is like a wave of sourness washing over, finishing off with a slight alcohol burn. It tastes like a variety of berries--blackberries, cherries, raspberries, and such--all soured, slightly lactic. It's all definitely enough to make your face contort.

M- The carbonation that kicks in halfway adds a nice punch to the sourness, and thickness of it is slightly surprising.

Overall, this is beer is a great and unique experience, though I haven't even finished this one and I'm looking at my snifter like I don't know if I can take any more. It's tasty, but I don't think it's something you'd want to drink more than one 11.2 oz. bottle of in a night.

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Photo of th0m
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ruby color with a finger of off-white head. Head lingers for a bit, then turns into a thin layer around the edges of the glass and in the middle.

Smells wonderfully refreshing on this warm NC day. Smells of raisins, plumb, tarty, a bit of must, farty farm smells, when I close my eyes and smell this, it takes me to an open meadow on a warm spring day with the sun setting.

Taste is sour up front with a very fruity finish. Very dry. Notes of strawberries, cherries, plumb, pineapple, currant, cranberries. As I sip this on my front porch, it hits the right spots. Very refreshing.

Mouth feel is light. Very carbonated. Refreshing, but one of those drinks you want to sip and enjoy, so maybe not very easily drinkable.

Overall I really enjoyed this.

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Photo of diamond_mind
4.89/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Tart and complex, loads of fruit and phenol, some elegant vinegar and tasty soil. If you like your sour more than unidimensional which seems to be the trend, this is the beer. Deep brown with tartness that can still come off a little sweet. Flavors are melded but all play the same part in a rich symphony.

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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 ocmpoma
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out a wonderful red brown, dark and rich coloring, into a Duvel tulip. Sported a good head maybe 2cm thick, although that dissipated relatively quickly.

The nose is very nice: Sour cherries and licorice, woody and with a musty hint of sweat -- very complex and quite different from just about every other beer I've had. Impressive.

The taste is also very nice: quite smooth, no real bitterness. There's an initial warmth and spicyness that lasts momentarily and gives way to a wonderful sour fruit taste that spreads to the edges of my tongue, sliding on top of a faint, underlying layer of mustiness. The finish is very crisp and clean, though; not hanging around.

The crisp finish and understated mouthfeel make this beer an easy drinker: three tasting swigs and I had made a serious dent in the tulip's contents. Overall a very nice, very different beer for me.

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Photo of RTJakarta
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice sort of dark red/brown color with a light off-white head that goes away pretty quickly. Lovely lacing.

Nice, rich sour smell. Some tart cherries as well as vinegar. A bunch of the usual gang for a FRA. Loving it.

The taste to me is a battle between a strong sweetness and sourness. I sort of pick up a clash of both at the same time, which is kinda of nice, but I wish it would sort of pick one angle and run with it. Nice cherry notes throughout, though.

Mouthfeel is medium. Moderate, unobtrusive carbonation.

Overall, a pretty solid beer. If it had a more refined sour taste, it could probably be world class, in my opinion. Taste is too schizophrenic, though. Worth a drink, though.

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Photo of zhivago373
4/5  rDev -2.4%

first sour for me. not sure what the expect.

pours a deep red, maybe brownish purple with a thin pale-brown head. i honestly expected more carbonation, being it’s a Belgian style.

smells of dark fruits a la plums and black cherries with an almost musty oak smell. not getting any distinct malt aromas. very red-wine like, more acidic and sour notes though. the sourness is well balanced with the fruits.

tastes of black cherries, plums, maybe a slight chocolate flavor, too. the oak barrel comes out in the tannic, acidic red-wine flavor especially on the back of the tongue. the malts balance things out without offering any distinct notes. finish is long and dry, the wine barrel notes lingering in the back. medium mouthfeel with nice carbonation.

overall, this is quite good. the red wine similarities are evident, but i prefer this to a wine (duh, it’s beer, it’s not a soulless drink!). the sour notes are in great balance with the dark fruits, and the medium carbonation makes this all the more palatable. at 6%, it’s quite easy drinking. will seek out again.

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

750ml bottle poured into two well used New Belgium globe glass. Pours a beautiful red wine like mahogany red creating a one finger, slightly off white head. Looks great.

Smell is of sweet cherry pie and a bit of rounded vanilla. Smell is very sweet, overpowering any funky sour that I would have liked.

Taste is of very sweet cherry pie and oaky vanilla. Sour and funk take a backseat, as the sweet fruit dominates the beer like none other. Taste is still good, but it is missing the sour that I want in the style.

Mouthfeel is heavy and syrupy. Sour doesn't do much to balance the sweet. This sweetness really hurts the drinkability and mouthfeel. More balance would be greatly appreciated.

it's an ok beer, to be sure. but there are others in this style that I will go to.

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Photo of Sirwootalot
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the bulldog downtown in minneapolis, mn.

Pours a rich, dark ebony-brown with a nearly nonexistent pure white head. The smell is borderline unpleasant, like a dirty t-shirt or rotting flowers. Each sip is elegantly, richly layered with notes of berries, balsamic vinegar, and dry malt. It's utterly delicious, and the taste evolves to an earthier, maltier molasses as it lingers on the tongue. If there are hops, they are utterly undetectable. The mouthfeel is sweet, silky, and slightly astringent.

Overall, this is a fantastic beer that makes me feel like i should be dressing up and pairing it with a cigar; it's easily the tastiest sour i've had to date and a new favorite. I'd score it even higher if it didn't smell so odd.

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Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,129 ratings.
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