Duchesse De Bourgogne
Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Flanders Red Ale
Ranked #9
ABV:
6.2%
Score:
94
Ranked #1,328
Avg:
4.22 | pDev: 13.74%
Reviews:
1,592
Ratings:
4,487
From:
Brouwerij Verhaeghe
 
Belgium
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  273
Gots
  1,036
SCORE
94
Outstanding
Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne
Notes: Belgian top-fermented reddish-brown ale, a blend of 8 and 18 months old beers following the careful maturation in oak casks.
View: Beers | Events
Reviews: 1,592 | Ratings: 4,487
Photo of DagFishHead
4.54/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Burnt-amber, ruby pour. Thin, tightly-bubbled, tan head hangs in with minimal lace.
Smell: Red wine tanins, oak, butter, wine vinegar. Earthy, roasted malt, with faint hops in the background. An olfactory onslaught. I could sniff this all afternoon!
Taste: Like a port wine fortified scottish ale. Sweet cherry, followed by wine/vinegar acidity... all supported by a sweet, slightly-roasted malt, ripe plum/raisin fruit tones and an acidic-citrus/dry-hop finish.
Mouthfeel: Tingly champagne carbonation, puckery acidity, smooth middling malt fullness. There's a lot going on in your mouth with this one.
Drinkability: Never would have thought I would enjoy something of this style this much... please be open to trying this one.

 744 characters

Photo of Popsinc
3.38/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: A dark ruby-brownish pour. Thin tan head.

Smell: A very fruity and sour nose. Ripe grape is prominent and there is also a hint of balsamic vinegar.

Taste: The taste here is much sweeter and more mild then the nose might suggest. A nice cherry sweetness creeps through and balances nicely with the tart nose.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and fresh...little sweet n dry on the finish.

Drinkability: The beer was decent but i would only question the how often would i actually sit down to drink this beer? I aprreciate it but i don't love it.

 552 characters

Photo of hotstuff
3.52/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This is beer?? It tasted and smelled more like a wine than it did a beer and therefore it was very much not to my liking. It poured a large sized tan frothy head that consisted of fine-small bubbles. The body was opaque and carbonated with a red hue. The nose reminded me of pure wine as did the flavor. The mouthfeel was tingly, tangy, bitey and medium bodied. There was a fair amount of lacing with this beer.

 411 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.8/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: I have been in the US just over two years & never had this here, so when I spied a 4-Pack of this at a beer store weekend I was excited. I elected to cut down my beer expenditure though & just picked up a single – it was $3.79 for the 11.2 fl.oz bottle.

I noticed that the beer looked slightly different somehow, and then I realized that I was used to seeing a simple dark purple crown cap – my example had a black crown cap with the Verhaeghe coat of arms in gold on it.

Appearance: A filtered chestnut brown, dirty tan head comprised of incredibly small bubbles, fantastic smooth layered head. Excellent conditioning.

Nose: Rather delicate sour pong at first, with some aged port aspects.

Taste: Benefits immensely from the 18 months that this spends in maturation in the Brewery, often in large Oak Vats or smaller Casks. Fantastic zippy sour-sharp feel at first. It assaults you & punishes your acceptance of bland beer with a “WTF??” if you are not used to Flanders Reds. How this beer encapsulates diametrically opposed flavor profiles and yet remains incredibly well balanced is the work of masters - Awesome.

Mouthfeel: The beer dissolves on the tongue; lots of conditioning, velvety feel to the cheeks, sour & fruity cheek puller. Excellent.

Drinkability: Immense, you will want to drown in this spritzy sour baby, or throw up after the first mouthful. Has all the Drinkability of a traditional lambic, if you know what I mean.

Overall: I first came across this fine beer in 1994 during my first ever trip to Belgium & was completely blown away by its immense character. Our party was so impressed; we ended up arranging to visit the Brewery in 1995, where we had a guided tour & when I bought my first 24 bottle crate of this fine West Flanders Red. I drank the last of this in August 2001 when I came to the US – all I can say is that this beer is to Flanders Reds what Cantillon & Girardin are to lambics.

It is as good now, as it was in 1995, which is something the likes of comparable beers from Rodenbach cannot claim.

A Classic & @ $3.79 – It’s a Steal. WELL WORTH IT.

F**K! What a tight-wad I am,
I knew I should have purchased the 4-pack when I saw it.

 2,225 characters

Photo of Jon
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Comparative tasting with a 2001 Liefmans Goudenband 10/17/03.

Reddish brown color with a khaki head that becomes frothy after agitation. Some nice trails of lace remain on the glass. Nose is oaky and buttery with some subdued fruity esters. The nose, to me, screams California Chardonnay with that big buttery, oaky profile (and this is just on aroma). Taste-wise, this doesn't deviate too far from that California Chardonnay once again. Buttery, oaky, and vanilla notes give way to a tart green apple finish with notes of vinegar and funkiness. A wonderful interplay of sweet and sour. One of the most vinous beers I've consumed. The mouthfeel is pleasantly carbonated, yet quite smooth. This is an extraordinarily crafted Oud Bruin. Not quite as quenching as the Goudenband, but it seemed to be more flavorful with a fuller finish. Wonderful stuff.

 854 characters

Photo of beerguy101
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Deep ruby color. Medium head. Aroma is slightly vinegar and malts. This is DEFINITELY a Flemish Sour Ale. A big bold sour tartness up front, gives way to a nice vinous fruitiness somewhere in the middle. Fruity and sour and vinegar and sweet all at the same time. Very reminiscent of a Rodenbach Grand Cru. Very complex flavors. Nice beer. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this style. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is vinous and slightly bitter . WARNING::QUALITY CAN VARY FROM BOTTLE TO BOTTLE

 534 characters

Photo of Bighuge
4.55/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer is muy bonita. Lovely deep and clear burgandy tone. A creamy and dense beige head decorates the surface. Great retention is noted. I love the aroma: brown sugar, molasses, leather, sour cherry and ginger. The taste is up to the task as well. Great flavors at work. A bit of a battle of sweet and sour with the sweet actually winning out. No make that a draw. Pretty balanced in that area. A little sour cherry. A little sweet cookie dough. A little sour lemon. A little sweet brown sugar. Some subtle spicing I note as well includes ginger, cinamon and corriander. (Although I'm not sure that this beer is purposely spiced.) There are also some oaky and smokey qualities. A really nice blend of flavors. Body is light and the mouthfeel is on the lighter side of the carbonation spectrum. Wow. I do like this bruin.

Thanks marc77. Once again you've picked a winner for me.

 884 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice burgundy color, quite clear and pours with almost no head. Tastes lightly sour, with a hint of sweetness. Smells lightly woody and a bit sour as well. This beer tastes tart with a hint of cherry. A much more everyday, easy drinking version of Rodenbach Grand Cru. Maybe some hints of vanilla in the taste, followed by a bit of tannic background. No bitterness just a wonderful marriage of tart and sweet flavors. A hint of alcohol in the finish.

 452 characters

Photo of clvand0
4/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one strange beer that doesn't really fit into what I normally call beer. Came in a bottle like a beer, looked like a beer, but nothing else. Anyway, to the review! Pours a dark red/brown color with very little head that dies off quickly and leaves a tiny bit of lacing on the glass. The aroma was very sweet and was full of apples (or possibly grapes?). Smelled just like a very fruity red wine. I saw where someone else who rated this one said it smelled of apples - I'm not sure - I thought it was grapes at the time, but I can't go back and re-smell it to find out for sure. :-) The taste was very much like the aroma - sweet and full of apple (or grape) flavors. Tasted like a wine with a carbonation bite and a little beer-malt. Gotta say that I enjoyed drinking this beer as the drinkabily was very good and the mouthfeel was the same. Very wierd, but enjoyable at the same time.

 893 characters

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

REVISITED BEER ON JULY 11, 2011

Few things make me more hopeful about beer than the fact that I gave the Duchesse a C or so rating 8 years ago, when I first reviewed it, and now it is one of my favorites. Eight years ago, it seemed over the top; now, it seems almost sedate, and "pleasant" is how I would describe it today. It is juicy and thirst-quenching, with a bright, woodsy, summer's-day combination of flavors and mouthfeel. Great stuff.

If you let your palate grow, oh the places it will take you.

FOR HUMOR AND HUMILITY PURPOSES, ORIGINAL REVIEW BELOW...

Um... I, uh, don't really know what to say about this beer. It certainly pushes the envelope open further than any other beer I've ever had.

Clear, red-brown body with a thick tan head. Powerful apple-vinegar aroma. Somewhere in the back of it, holding its nose, is some sweet malt.

How to describe the taste? "Interesting and different" does not seem to be enough. It's thick and chewy, but overpowered by massive, slick apple vinegar. There is also some oak and pure green apple mixed in.

I am impressed by the depth and quality of this beer; surely it is no easy task to put all of those tastes together. I wish I liked this beer. If I bought twelve bottles in January, and opened one per month for a year, by December I might be able to finish one. Still, I am not sure that I would be able to say that I enjoyed it.

 1,392 characters

Photo of SetarconeX
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: A wonderful dark red color, with an agressive brown head on it. Careful pouring this one, this head doesn't go away as quickly as you might think.

Smell: There's malt, and wine, and citrus, and the alcohol's definately there too. Don't think I've ever had anything that smelled quite like this before.

Taste: Sweet up front, and sour in the back. Very heavy apple flavor all around, with wine-like undertones. Don't think I've ever tasted a beer quite like this before.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and thick. Very good considering the unique tang the beer has.

What a unique little brew! Much too sweet for everyday use, but with completely unmatched complexities to the taste. I'd sell my soul for an exact ingredients list. I've never tasted anything like it.

 782 characters

Photo of mickeymac
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Charging out of the bottle with champagne-like carbonation, it's a very eye-pleasing brown with garnet highlights. A fine tan head full of little bubbles lays on top of the beer to the end. The smell is somewhat musty, with hints of ripe fruit and an overriding sourness. One sip immediately causes the mouth to pucker, but that's not the end of the story. Raisiny sweetness balances the sour aspect of the beer, making for a very nice drinking experience. For a fairly sour beer, this one is surprisingly drinkable, and I found myself having to resist the urge to throw down big gulps of it. Nice.

 598 characters

Photo of marburg
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interestingly sweet and certainly different than I was expecting. I had to pause a bit before assigning numerical values to the review because in some ways, it fell below my expectations for any oud bruin. Generally, I want my face to be distorted into a tight pucker. But this complex, aromatic gem will have to suffice!

Brownish color reveals the deep center of a ruby when held to the light. The generous head is cola-like and quickly fades back to a mess of foamy islands. The aroma is sickly pungent: Strong, sweet redolence; vinegar and cherries. The flavors are engaging and complex, though awfully sweet. A light sourness, more acetic than tart, is buried beneath an avalanche of cherries, light vanilla, and honey roasted cashews. Almost like a beer sundae with layers of sweet and varying flavors. It could use another kick of sourness to balance just a tiny bit. Nonetheless, it's quite an enjoyable offering and not to be missed.

 944 characters

Photo of putnam
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

We like sour beer. Sour beer is good. This is only slightly sour. The balance just favors a fresh apple, cherry and red plum fruit that would make this suitable for mixed company.
At first the aromas are just steely and clean but as it warms up there is a pronounced apple brandy scent with notes of ginger snap on the side. The texture is fizzy and cleanly sweet with more fresh fruit essences on the way down. medium-bodied and complex, with shifting layers of damp earth, barrel fermented pickles, caramel apples and burned slate in the background. Very drinkable hooch.

 574 characters

Photo of euskera
3.88/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first Oud Bruin..

Nice reddish brown color with a small head. Smell was tart and vinegary. Sour overtones on the taste, with vinegar hints and red wine hints and just a nice tartness throughout with a woody overtone on the end. Maybe not something I'd drink on a regular basis, but very interesting for a change of pace..

 328 characters

Photo of RenoZymurgist
3.42/5  rDev -19%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thin head that subsided quickly, for a flemish ale i must have not poured it right as i was carefull to omit the yeast. Color as deep and crimson as red wine. Aroma is sweet and fruity with no malt or hops to be found. Flavor is crazy with the high, soft carbonation causing the sour beer to attack my taste buds. Just enough sweetness to balance the sour flavors. This is a blend of an eight month and eighteen month old ale. The body is light but the carbonation gives an added boost to the strength of the flavors. Very drinkable, and a good beer to expand the horizons of beer flavors.

 589 characters

Photo of RBorsato
3.76/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark reddish-brown with a full light brown head, good carbonation, and sheets of lace. Light sour aroma and light oakiness. Dark passion fruit flavors with chocolatey tones and woody tones. More sour than Rodenbach Grand Cru and not as smooth. Light-medium bodied.

I'd try other Flanders Red Ales before trying this one again although I'm hoping the age did not have a negative impact...

Best Before: 08/16/02
Tasted: 06/27/03

($2.99 / 11.2 oz.)

 455 characters

Photo of jcalabre
3.94/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Originally sampled on draught 20 March 2002. This is one of the most unique beers I've ever tasted. It is dark reddish brown in color, but light in body. The balance between sweet & tart is excellent. I would have it again. It has a wonderful, fruity aroma. I wouldn't recommend it for any novice beer drinkers, but it's a must try for any serious beer drinker.

 361 characters

Photo of Dogbrick
3.03/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I am still a little new to Flemish Sour Ales, Rodenbach Alexander being the only other one I have tried so far. From what I understand both are good examples of the style. That being the case I am fairly certain this is not a style I am a big fan of. Pours a dark amber/brown with a thick multi-colored head (beige with light brown splotches), with thin lacing. Aroma is alternatingly fruity and sour. The flavor actually reminded me of some Ohio Buckeye Brown that I tried not too long ago that had gone way past the "best by" date. Tart and vinegary flavor is tangy throughout. The finish is like an oaky Merlot. I was able to drink most of this in small doses, but I just can't appreciate the style.

 702 characters

Photo of nomad
3.73/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a transparent deep red color. Had a soft bubbly head from a good amount of carbonation, and negligible lace. The nose was of oak, apples, and an almost rum smelling alcohol body. I could almost smell the sour that it tasted of. In all, I wish the scents were stronger, as their complexity from this beer's special brewing and aging proess is unique and excellent in the beer world.

The taste was of dry red apples and a great palatable sour - from start to finish, it really bit up at my mouthroof as I swallowed. Had a slight oak character from its cask aging. The malt was not readily apparent but quite nice, a good base strangely tempered by the blending (8 month old batch with a 18 month old batch) and fermentation process of Belgian red ales. In all, the taste was mouth watering, and so calm (again from the aging and blending) but not boring. Some tannins came in on the finish, and eventually the beer took on a unique sour & woody fruit taste.

With a slight tingle on the tongue, a thin and watery body, and a moderate length finish, the mouthfeel was lightly dry turning to a bud salivating end. Quite interesting as it lingered in my mouth for awhile – like the taste its calmly complex. Very interesting, must be great with food. If you enjoy quality red wines (like myself), check this out. Hop heads and fans of big tasting beers might find it boring or too "sweet."

 1,397 characters

Photo of jackndan
2.96/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Duchesse de Bourgogne: a reddish beer sitting under an initially thick off-white head. Great, thick lacing all the way down the side of the glass. Aroma is very sweet with hints of cherries. The taste is very remarkable: mixed sweet and sour that is almost candy like, unfortunately there is an unmistakable vinegar taste/aroma that is present throughout. The taste is very intense, and complex. Before I forget, the aftertaste is dry, and leaves almost a cabernet impression. Some sharp alcohol sensations as well. Overall, the sweetness kills this brew for me, but I’d give it too a wine drinker to show them what they are missing.

 639 characters

Photo of jreitman
3.36/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purplish brown in color with a initally huge head that fades quickly. Aroma of vinegar was not appropriate. Much sweeter than should be the case for the style. Very remniscent of a Liefman's lambic in that respect. Quite enjoyable, but nothing outstanding. May be a good introduction to the style for a lot of people as it doesn't have the harsh acidity that most new sour ale drinkers get shocked by.

 401 characters

Photo of francisweizen
3.86/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A very interesting and tasty Belgian beer. This beer pours a nice dark amber, hazy blood-reddish colour with a nice sized head. It has the aromas of oak, vinegar, sour fruit, tartness, horse blanket, and cherries. It tastes of tart flavors, oak, and cherries. It reminds me of Unibroues Quelque Chose mixed with Liefmans Goudenband. The mouthfeel is creamy and thick and the drinkability is good once you get past the sourness. This beer is a mix of a young beer and an aged beer. It is aged in oaken casks in Belgium. When this beer warms the flavors become more complex and the tartness is enhanced.
A classic example of this style, I am told. I would like to try more Flemish Reds!
Cheers!
-F

 698 characters

Photo of dmarch
4.83/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my first experience with a Flemish sour ale and I was blown away. It pours with a deep ruby color and a thin white head. The aroma is of red wine vinegar. Some may be turned off by the tart acidic tast, but I love it. Tastes of ripe cherries and red wine with that vinegar-like sourness. This is a style of beer I wish I could see more of.

 347 characters

Photo of Viking
4.21/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep and murky, garnet-hued, brown body. Thick (1.5") foamy head. Retention leaves a bit to be desired, but plenty of lace left floating on top along with a bit on the side of the glass. Smell is very vinous (a little too much, in fact) and fruity (raspberry), with a hint of sourness. A bit of caramel malt present, but hidden deeply under the fruitiness. Rich moderately sour raspberry flavor. Solid backing of caramel malt becomes more noticeable as the brew warms towards room temperature. Sourness also seems to pleasantly increase after warming a bit. Smooth, creamy mouthful. Leaves an oily coating in the mouth. Excellent brew. A style that I find goes extremely well with game birds (pheasant, especially).

 715 characters

Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 4487 ratings