Duchesse De Bourgogne | Brouwerij Verhaeghe

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BA SCORE
92
outstanding
1,503 Reviews
Duchesse De BourgogneDuchesse De Bourgogne
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Verhaeghe
Belgium | website

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:
1,503
Ratings:
4,117
Avg:
4.1
pDev:
23.66%
 
 
Wants:
233
Gots:
846
For Trade:
15
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Reviews: 1,503 | Ratings: 4,117
Photo of BrutalSusan
4.73/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Love. Love. Love this beer. I am usually not a fan of sweeter styles, but the balance of sweet and sour make this beer fantastic. My only problem with it, is its metallic aroma, with a hint of metallic in the finish. Very pleasant effervescent mouthfeel. Have only come across this once on draft, which is definitely better than in the bottle.

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Photo of mudbug
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

From the freshness dated 11.2 oz bottle, (best before 07 03 2015) into a large wine chalice results in a reddish tinged brown body with some clarity topped by a nice stubborn frothy inch thick head that sticks all over the sides as the level drops, very nice.
Aroma is not overpowering but hints of vinegar, green apple, red licorice and wine subtle softness prevails and invites.
Taste is... wow, sour,no sweet,no sour, berries, leather, candy, a slight grassy,sour again then a sweet coating prickly effervescence but in a medium thick liquid? This is a mesmerizing composition, nothing out of place but more than the sums of its many players
Overall, just wonderful

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Photo of IPAcraig
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this from the botttle at Het Elfde Gebod in Amsterdam. Poured from the bottle into the proper glassware.

A - This pours a beautiful ruby brown. Small head, htat hung around ok.

Smell - I believe this is the first 5 I have given out. This is amazing. Bursting with aroma. A big sour aroma, followed by this huge sweetness. Amazing balance, amazing smell.

T - Just like the smell, it starts off with this great sour tartness, that is followed by this very nice, big sweetness, and then back to a sourness that lingers on your tounge. This is like a roller coaster for your tastebuds. Absolutely amazing. The taste of this beer doesnt reveal it self all at once, it slowly unfolds bit by bit.

A light mildly carbonated mouthfeel. This may possibly be my favorite beer. Not the most drinkable though. With such an intese flavor it may be hard to drink two of these back to back. But no matter, this is an amzing beer.

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Photo of Crossmd
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 40 degrees into a tulip glass. No born date.

Pours a lucid light cola color with a 1.5 finger head - settling into a ring of foam on the inside of the glass

Smell is a very well projected and pungent blend of belgian yeast, malts, and figs

Mouthfeel is surprisingly effervescent for what I see the style to be, but in a way that only serves as a sparkling platform upon which to place the vortex of flavors in the palate remains fresh and yet weighty enough from late summer into the late winter.

Taste consists of a veritable rush of dark fruit, cranberry and cherry with a hint of cola, wine, and oak in the tertiary flavors. Not as much fig as implied in the nose, but instead replaced with a dark and warm fruity freshness that's adequately tempered by the oak. This in writing looks seemingly paradoxical, and perhaps is, but only in the greatest way possible. A masterpiece. Ludicrously well balanced. Little bit besides myself, will be picking up more than a couple of these in the future.

98.

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Photo of xymyl
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is one of my all-time favorites, and I just had some again the other night. I apparently don't drink this nearly as often as I should.

The sour notes in the aroma are strong enough to set up the sweetness of the beer as the dominant flavor for the first few sips then the interplay of the flavors starts up. Complex sweet and sour fruit, old wet oak, earth, leather... It has everything a beer with no definable hop character should have. The sweetness stood out more this time, probably because I drank it fully chilled. I typically drink it at about 60 degrees fahrenheit (or warmer) which balances it more to my taste. Try it at different temperatures, learn all about it. I've been drinking it for years and I'm still learning.

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Photo of hummni
4.71/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Why ever drink any thing again after this beer. I love this beer I can’t stop drinking it. I drink it in my Maudite Tulip glass...The color of Duchesse is a wonderfully dark red and it looks awesome behind the maudites winged devil...the head is around 2-3 fingers and a light tan color not real sticky but some nice lace. Smell is a sour smell but so much more...hard to explain I fine this beer very complex. Taste is sour and very drinkable no ALC. taste, being only 6%abv. This was expected. All in all if you are looking for something different to try, try a sour Flemish tonight and this is an awesome example of them.

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Photo of Brisket
4.71/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle from Total Wine in Federal Way, WA

A- Amber colored with a three+ finger head of large beige bubble. They dissipated quickly leaving heavy lacing.

S- All Lactic and acetic sour in the nose. Some sweetness at the end.

T- This is a beer that needs to warm up. It starts out fairly sour and metallic but at the right temperature the metal fades to sour/sweet cherry with a solid malt backbone. The sour is always there, but without the metallic component it is much softer.

M- Acid and carbonation, quite light for the amount of flavor in the beer.

O- Outstanding beer.

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

While this is one of the most idiosyncratic beers I've ever had, it's also definitely one of my absolute favorites. I got it in one of the big wine-type bottles (not sure what the exact measurement was) over the summer, and I've gone through at least 3 more since.

Appearance: Really nice deep reddish brown. Carbonation is apparent just by looking at it. Very foamy reddish head that sticks around pretty well with good lacing throughout.

Smell: Very strong fruity aroma with a kick of hopped, spicy beer. Really interesting and prepares you for the taste very well.

Taste: Absolutely delicious. It honestly doesn't taste a whole lot like a beer (at least not what is traditionally thought of as a beer taste), but it's really great so it's never bothered me. It tastes more like a combination of champagne and wine with very fruity notes. Very full-bodied and complex and finishes strong too.

Mouthfeel: Very heavily carbonated, which is why I drew the champagne comparison.

Overall: Even though this beer is honestly like nothing else I've ever had, it still remains one of my favorites. It's complex yet very easy to drink; full-bodied and fun. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to try something truly new.

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

12 oz bottle, marked “Best before 02/02/2013” also “ A blend of 8 and 18 months old beers following the carful maturation in oak casks”

Purchased 10/11 and very well stored.

Poured into a Corsendunk Tulip

Pours a huge three finger head, very foamy, lots of medium bubbles, lots! The head very slowly reduces to ½”, excellent lace.
The color is very deep red amber. Beautiful! Classic looks.

The aroma is a big blast of wild cherry smelling yeast, very powerful with a fair amount of wood peaking thru in the background. Each smell brings and ever changing cherry aroma. It is very complex and aromatic.

Crisp, delicious entry on the palate of sour wild cherry and yeast. Woody mouth drying middle, yet there is a faint suggestion of sweetness, probably mind games from the intense cherry flavor. A very pronounced and yet very balanced sourness. The medium full body and crisp acidity perfectly balance this ale. Just flat out delicious!

The finish is long and very mouth drying, consisting of sour cherry of course, followed by distinct wood. The woody dryness eventually takes charge.

This is an amazing brew, unlike any other style. Amazing flavor profile and a great choice for breakfast. Really!!
I have had this on tap several times (these notes are from bottle) with very similar taste profiles. It is more akin to drinking a fine wine than an ale, with an exceptionally enjoyable mix of fruit and wood and a complex bouquet. Wow!
Highly recommended! And an excellent introduction to the style.

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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 RidiculedDisplay
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was my first Flanders Red, and I can say this is undoubtedly one of the most unique styles of beer I've ever tasted. Just completely in its own dimension. That being said, different also meant complex and wonderful in this instance. Pours a very deep, deep red with hints of oaky brown. Aroma is of bourbon-soaked wood, tart apple, apricot, date, grapes, dark cherry. Taste begins with tart apple, transforming into a almost tropical note, and then ending on a distinctive kick of bourbon or finer whiskey. Wow. Mouthfeel is bubbly, slightly astringent but pleasantly so. Suprisingly drinkable as well. Overall one of my favorite finds of the year.

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

11.2oz bottle poured to snifter. Best by date of 5/1/2013.

A - Pours ruby red with about two fingers of off white head and some lacing.

S - A bit softer of smell than expected, but it is welcome. It smells almost like a sour wine, with a hint of brown sugar. Not overpowering at all. Very unique.

T - An amazing balance here. Sour cherries and a hint of vinegar up front, which gives way to an unexpected sweetness which was a great treat. Lots going on.

M - Light body, and good carbonation.

O - I'd been thinking about trying this for some time, but could never pull the trigger. Thank goodness I did, because this is a treat. An exceptionally good sour, and one I will continue to by from now on.

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

A - poured a transparent burgundy red with 1" off-white creamy head that clung to the tulip glass and laced well. Excellent head retention.

S - sour fruits like green apples and cherries, some fresh berries, with a white zinfandel-like tartness and very slight alcohol. Fruity and deep, some ripe grape notes and caramel malts.

T - very different from what I've ever had! Tart cherries and apples, puckering sweetness, an acidic finish with slight bitterness as that found in wine in the finish as well. Lingering fruity and acidic aftertaste.

M/D - medium bodied and well carbonated. Although it is not thick or syrupy, it can definitely be enjoyed as a sipper before or after dinner.

Overall - I bought this one on sale at Beers of the World for $10/4 pack (regularly $22 I think), still before the freshness date. I was slightly apprehensive to try it, seeing as I've never had a Flanders/Flemish Red Ale before but I was quite surprised by its tastiness and drinkability. It is a most interesting beer. It's like a blend of a Belgian dark ale and a cherry lambic with high levels of tartness. Well balanced and will entice the adventurous palate. Beauty in a very different beer. I could drink this all day.

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

A -- A brilliant amber / red concoction that bubbled to a nice head and settled well, leaving good streaks of lacing.

S -- Strongly tart yet somewhat sweet in the nose. Light acid, smells vaguely of watermelon pickles I had growing up. Faint oak aroma as well.

T -- Flavor overload. Complex tart and slightly sweet like dipping rhubarb in sugar and then eating it with pickled beets. But the acidity is not overpowering, really well balanced by the wood, ending with a sweet pucker.

M -- Well carbonated, smooth yet robust in presence. A light tart pucker to follow and a faint lingering stickiness.

D -- Again and again and some more. Please. This is the beer that introduced me to the style, and not many can even come close. Worth anyone's money for the experience alone.

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

Poured into a pint glass. Pours reddish copper with a fluffy tan head that leaves behind plenty of lacing. The aroma is of vinegar and sour fruit (perhaps cherry or apple). It's funky. The flavor is tart up front with plenty of carbonation. I can taste some apple flavor. The sour flavor isn't overwhelming and plays well with the carbonation. The flavors are definitely interesting, but in a good way. It's medium bodied with proper carbonation. The finish is dry. This is a sipper due to the tartness, but it's an easy sipper. Overall, I'd rate this an excellent beer.

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Photo of Citadel82
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been over a year since I last tried this brew. Wow! I love this style.

750ml bottle purchased at Spirits Unlimited in Red Bank - cork stamped "good until Nov. 2007." I am drinking it young and loving it!

Unlike the last bottle I tried which was a 11.3. ounce crown capped bottle, this one is cork and cage finished.

Poured a deep ruby garnet with a generous off-white head that lasts and lasts and leaves clumps of thick lacing.

Aroma is funky earth, some wine vinegar and a malt like sweetness that I cannot say I have smelled before.

Taste is refreshing and complex. a tartness up front morphs into candy sugar and finishes in a bready slightly dry finish. Sour cherry candies?

Mouthfeel is creamy and light, which makes this quenching beer a real refresher.

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Photo of Carnage0070
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at the Cheeky Monk, Colorado.

A - Nice 1 1/2 finger head with a deep red/brown color when held up to the light.

S - Aroma of sweet and sour fruit/cherry.

T - Medium body that finishes with kind of a scotchish/nutty flavor. The sweet and sour stay on your palate long after you finish.

D - Could have had a couple more glasses of the Duchesse! Goes down great and the flavors are outstanding!

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Photo of MNirtsylle
4.69/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

What more can be said about this classic? Beer Advocate has a lot of very knowledgeable reviewers, many of which have reviewed this exact beer. I'm not going to try and outdo those reviews, I'm only going to add how I feel about it. I love it, it's as simple as that. The smell, taste, mouth feel and overall feeling that I get from this beer is pure, unadulterated love.

The only downside of loving this beer is the price and availability. Over the years I've been able to find sources in cities outside of my area. I can get 4 packs for $21, and bombers for $11. I can only find bombers, so far, a few hours away. When I make a trip, I always come home with no less than 4 bottles that I cherish.

If I could get bombers at my local, I would have absolutely no negative comments to make about this wonderful brew. If you haven't already had it, I can't recommend it enough.

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Photo of rickyleepotts
4.69/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Today is special. Well, sort of. This is beer #200 for us! We have drank a lot of beers over the last two years, but this is a milestone I am excited about. I am also excited about a beer trade we got in the mail today thanks to Andy Crow, a craft beer lover from Iowa. He sent a ton of bottles we haven't had before, including a bottle of KBS from Founders. Thanks for the trade, Andy!

This beer sits on the shelf at Total Wine, but no one ever buys it. I was excited to see this bottle appear in a recent beer class at Total Wine, and was BLOWN away with the flavor. I remember nothing but sour flavors; lip sucking sour flavors in this bottle. You know me and sours. Also, I love the label. The duchess looks so proper sitting there. OK, let's drink. I can't wait!!!

In the Glass: The beer pours reddish-brown; almost looks like a brown ale to be honest. It leaves a nice thin tan head on top that just sits there. Not thick, but according to the label, you are to drink this beer cold. The beer also leaves a nice thin lace.

Nose: This beer even smells sour. Actually, to be honest, the beer stinks. It is so sour that it smells gross! But that is what a Flanders red is supposed to smell like. This is also a smaller bottle, so there isn't much in my glass. I wish they sold thees in bombers. Especially with such a low ABV. A second whiff leaves me those same sour fruity notes I was getting as I poured the beer. Let's drink!

Flavor: Oh. My. GOD! That isn't beer… that is heaven in a glass. Holy crap, that is good. I mean, GREAT. It starts almost mellow and boring, then the sour flavors hit and you are stuck sucking your lips for five minutes. Then, as the beer sits on the palate, it settles to a sweet drying finish. I just looked at the brewery on Google Maps. This place is TINY. The next time we are in Belgium I want to visit the brewery and see them making this stuff in person. I do have another week of vacation this year… maybe I will go to Belgium and get lost bouncing from brewery to brewery! This is a GREAT beer if you like sours.

Mouthfeel: The front of my palate is bored to tears, but the back of my tongue is dancing with flavor. The beer is not thick, but has a nice fluffy mouthfeel. One thing I find enjoyable with sour beers are their tendency to lose that powerful sour flavor as you drink. Not sure if my palate is getting used to the flavor or what, but it allows me to enjoy a sour beer with several different flavors throughout the course of a bottle. Like I said, I just wish the bottle was bigger!

Aftertaste: The aftertaste is great on this bottle. The sour flavor is there for a few swallows, but then a sweetness begins to set in and it becomes dry. With such a low ABV you could drink a ton of this stuff and never know you were drinking beer. I bet this, room temperature, would be amazing. Or, I just thought of this, with a splash of soda water. Make it a Sunday afternoon spritzer by the pool. Yummy!

I knew I was going to like this… and I like it more now than I did when I tried it in the beer class. Bravo to Brouwerij Verhaeghe. This is the only bottle from them on our list… I wonder what other beers they produce. Has anyone tried anything else from them? Oh well, this one is good enough for me to buy over and over again!!! Cheers.

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Photo of weasbri
4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Rustico, a fine new restaurant with a beer and wine list that features one page of wines, and about 15 pages of beers. Gotta love that.
Poured into a Chimay glass. The restaurant was dark, so maybe the beer seemed darker than it is, but it was a deep red, close to brown color. The head dissipated somewhat, but left a nice lacing on the sides of the glass.
Wow, the taste. I remember reading about Duchesse, but when I ordered it, I wasn't sure what to expect. What I got was a tarty cherry flavor smacking me on the tongue. I almost had my non-beer drinking wife try some, but then decided to keep it for myself. The tartness is well-balanced by a very sweet fruity flavor, and it only tastes like what most people would call "beer" in the remotest sense.
This is one of those beers you take to your wine snob friends if you want to turn them into beer snobs. Lots going on, and I could drink it for days.

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Photo of TJBAIHWL
4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Beautiful dark auburn with a fairly big sticky, bubbly head that receded slowly, leaving honeycomb-like pockets of foam behind.

S - Sweet, tart, fruity. Candied sugar and very very slight vinegar & funky smells.

T - Leads off with ripe red cherries, turning into a swirl of berry & melon flavors. More sweet than tart, but also dry enough not to be cloying. Amazingly light, refreshing & complex. There's a faint off-sour note that I can't quite pick out at the end. There are beers that just taste "fruity" and then there are beers like this one that take it to the next level. A must try, 5/5

M - Soft. Great.

D - Infinitely drinkable. A beer that novices & seasoned BAs alike should love.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Clear filtered dark reddish brown, little carbonation, half finger beige head. Cool lacing.

S: Balsamic vinegar, dark earthy malt, must, a bit of caramel. Very acidic.

T: A balance of sweet and sour, slight metallic end on the first sip, but not after. Malty caramel quality. Dark malts evident. Acidic is vinegar on the end, but is more of a fruit like sour without a fruitiness. Some bitter linger at the end, but minimal.

M: Medium body, medium high carbonation. Acidity clings to the tongue.

O: Love this beer. Certainly up there in my favourites. The best of the sour reds I’ve had. Its balanced for a sour and complex. Keeps me wanting more.

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

Best by 27-07-10

A - Ruby reddish brown with a fluffy off white head that doesn't hang around very long but leaves a nice lacing.

S - Dark cherries and alcohol. Almost a port smell. A bit sweet at the end.

T - Oh wow. That is really good. Why have I waited so long to try this beer? Cherry and grape with a malty sweetness. Amazing flavor. The tartness and sour is there but I wish it were more. If it was more sour it would get a 5 easy.

M - Great tingly carbonation and good body.

D - Very, very drinkable.

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

Tart fruit (especially cherries), wood, funk, sourness all swirling around in an orgy of aromas. Quite nice.
Pretty beer. Darker body of closer to brown than red, but clear with lots of bubble action. Dense tan head with great stability.
A little sweeter than other Flanders I've had. with a "Fizzies" taste (the baby boomer members of BA might remember them) with the sweet and sugary fruit flavors, but it's not overbalanced towards sweetness, as all the elements in the aroma appear in the taste too. Even with the shot of sweetness up front this finishes with a moderately dry and woody finish that is absolutely delightful.
The perfect refreshing and light yet full carbonation on this is wonderful and delicate and enhances the drink.
Boy this is quite an exceptional beer.

Gift from my 2nd for father's day. What a nice guy. :0)

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

750ml bottle

Pours dark burgundy maroon with a dense creamy khaki colored foam head. Smells like rich cherries, plum, fig, tart blackcurrants, red apple, with dark caramel, malty molasses, tannic oak, brown sugar, and mild vanilla. Tastes like rich tart red fruits, lush cherry, bright plum, raspberry, blackcurrants, red apple, with smooth malty molasses, toasty cracker, dark caramel, brown sugar, some vanilla, and tannic oak. Feels medium bodied, creamy and smooth with moderate low carbonation. Overall a really nice Flanders red ale.

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Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,117 ratings.
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