Duchesse De Bourgogne | Brouwerij Verhaeghe

1,527 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: 1,527 | Ratings: 4,203
Photo of afroitguy
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A unique tasting beer ..has a unique taste like a slight acetic acid but delicious and consistent thought. Dark red in appearance. Has a light yet unique flavor. I believe this may pair well with a lamb dish.

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Photo of baconfromwalmart
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Hazy dark chocolate brown with a quickly dissipating head.
S: Apple cider and red wine vinegar.
T: Surprisingly light, fruity esters with a slight, jaw-twitching tartness. Really balanced.
F: Looks syrupy but has a delightfully thin mouth feel.

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Photo of smbslt
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark red with ruby highlights with a thin head that retreats quickly and leaves a thin ring along the tulip's perimeter. No lacing

The smells and tastes are biting, different and hard to identify - but in a good way consistent with the style. Balsamic and orange rind dominate - throughly captivating.

Thinnish and watery but with ample carbonation to expand and release the flavors on the tongue.

Not an everyday sort but waits for you at the end of the beer spectrum for when you are ready.

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

From bottle, pours dark red with little to no head. Aroma sour, cherry, red wine, nail polish. Taste follows the nose sour, cherry, red wine like. I very much enjoyed this number.

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Photo of Yancey82
2.8/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

First try of the style. It pours a beautiful dark red with a foamy whit head that lingers. It goes downhill from there. The sourness of the aroma is off-putting. Taste follows the aroma with but even more sour and funky. Pardon my unrefined palate, but this is practically undrinkable. I will try to finish it out of respect, but that the best think I can say about it.

UPDATE: Couldn't drink it. Hated to do it but drain-poured it :(

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Photo of gautch726
3.42/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I can't say that I enjoy the sours. This is a very complex beer with strong notes of sour red wine. It's a blend of alcohols that I can't really get behind. Beautiful coloring with a tart smell of vinegar and sweet berries. Full bodied on the tongue but washes down without much grace. Just not a fan of the style.

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

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

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

Smell: Red wine vinegar.

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

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

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

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Photo of Davey-C
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on 2/11/16 from bottle labeled "best before 2017-6-29". Aroma: Initial aroma of sour red wine. Aroma developed to become slightly earthy, very light sulfur with ester hints of stone fruit. Appearance: dark Amber with ruby hues. Moderately clear. Poor head retention with no head and only fine bubbles around run. Light amounts of fine lacing quickly dissipate. Flavor: malt forward balance, with no hop flavor and little to no perceivable hop bitterness. Initial palate of sweet candi that quickly turns sour and lingers on palate for short time before quickly fading away. Dry finish with pleasant cherry/stone fruit aftertaste. Mouthfeel: medium body. Light carbonation. No alcohol warmth. No creaminess. Light, slightly astringent and acidic aftertaste. Overall: complex beer! Balance between malt sweetness and sour is amazing. The types and succession of changing flavors is fast and very enjoyable. Only complaint is there is a sweetness perceived after consuming about 7 oz that occur during initial palate that detracts from the beer and really slows the rate of consumption - not that you would pound this beer, rather it encourages very slow sipping. I don't have a lot of experience with this style but am excited to try other examples and will keep an eye out for this gem! 42/50.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The usual flanders appearance, if anything this one leaned a little more oud bruin than it did flanders, more brown than red. Little in the way of head formation, 1/12". Aroma was blended sweet and sour beer with old wet wood notes.

Taste was very young, didn't impart much tartness or sour, underwhelming was certainly a word that came to mind. Too much acetic notes. Just kind of rolled through the brown malt, tasted like old school recreation type of stuff. Interesting trip down historical road, but there was just too much burton tea like notes and dark fruit bitterness instead of some tart dark cherry, leather and oak notes I was hoping for. This had the earthy notes I guess.

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Photo of Tele
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type: Bottle (Best by 5.6.17)
Consumed: 1.30.16

A: 4.25 Pours a sort of murky, reddish-brown with a large, light tan head. Good retention and lacing.

S: 4.25 Smells rather sweet for the style with lots of cherries and vanilla. A good amount of vinegar and an almost meaty quality come through under the fruitiness and sweet elements.

T: 4 Like the nose, the flavor starts off rather sweet with caramel, toffee, vanilla, and cherry. A mild acetic quality has an umami/Worcestershire sauce flavor that’s really nice and interesting. Things overall are very tasty and balanced but the sweetness is a bit much and gets slightly cloying at times.

M: 4.5 The body and carbonation are spot on. The sweetness hinders drinkability a bit though.

O: 4.25 This is a nice, interesting, and fairly well balanced Flanders red. A bit sweet for my tastes; it almost seems like they back sweetened the beer. Not up to Rodenbach or even some American versions, but still a solid brew.

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Photo of Dinglehacker
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured into snifter. Little head, lacing shaped like the eye of Sauron. Looks black until held to light, then a murky red like a fine old piano.

Smells of vinegar, dark fruit, and soft malts.

Tastes tart and delightfully sour. Vinegar is now tempered with plumb, grape and cherry.

Feels a little dry, puckers the throat just a bit. Swallows tart, but does not linger or cause too much pucker.

First sour beer & first red ale I ever tried, and still the best. Not as sharp as Cuvee, not as overly saccharine as Delirium and Founder's Rubaeus (for comparison) might be. Not unlike a Lindeman's lambic, but more deserving the title of "beer." Sour beer is simply not for everyone, but for those who don't mind a mistress with snarl, Duchesse is among the most delicious of beers.

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Photo of GrumpyJack
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dark ruby red ale which doesn't retain a significant head after pouring and which has a complex fruit / malt sweet / sour aroma.

Sour cherry and dark fruits, worcester sauce, balsamic vinegar & malt on the palate. A superb combination of sweet and sour flavours which will not be to everyone's taste, but kept me coming back for further sips to try to work out quite what I liked so much about it.

If you're unsure about sour Belgian beers, this is quite a good introduction as it is not too tart and has bags of interesting flavours.

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Photo of DevWand
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Not as sour as I expected, which I guess makes the Duchesse more drinkable.
Solid sour beer for someone looking to get into the style.

I might have rated the beer a tad bit higher, if it wasn't for the Rodenbach Grand Cru (which I had the day prior to sampling the Duchesse); that thing was AMAZING!

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Photo of oldn00b
4.36/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Can't believe I'd never tried this - received as a gift and damn happy for it.

Pours a copper,ruby with a fizzy head that forms but quickly fades. No lacing to speak of.

Nose is bright sour cherry, yeast and malt.

Flavor is fantastic - bright sour cherry with a great pucker.

Mouthfeel is incredibly well rounded, smooth, luscious. Very nice standard flanders with a huge bright fruit profile.

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Photo of Melvintrude
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Extraordinary and unexpected.

Initial hit is basalmic vinegar, both tart and sweet, then increasingly complex whilst remaining refreshing. Much better than Rodenbach's Flanders REd

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
1.91/5  rDev -53.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Poured into a Barbe chalice.

Look: Deep mahogany body with a cream colored head. A collar remains with little or no lacing.

Aroma: Vinegar, sweaty socks, sour grapes.

Taste: Sweetness runs underneath a woody, vinegar bomb. Sweaty gym socks galore.

Mouthfeel: Light.

Overall: I hate vinegar, so needless to say I pretty much do not like this beer or the style. Disregard my review as it is biased obviously.

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Photo of jw4free
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: pours a near opaque dark brown. Limited off-white head, that fades to a champagne like bubbly. S: sour raspberry, cherry, caramel oak. T: cherry, fruity wine, but a sweet and sour interplay. F: bubbly effervescence, crisp, taste lingers pleasantly on the palate. O: seriously complex and dynamic. A real eye opener to unique styles of beer. Excellent beer.

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Photo of AmeriCanadian
3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Wow. Not sure I've ever tried a beer that brought out such a divergent set of reactions through the tasting experience. I am fairly new to Red Flanders Ales, so it's possible that this beer is more the norm for the style than the others I've tried. But based on my small sample set, this one is the outlier, some negative, some positive.

It started positively with an attractive look of dark reddish brown color and a small but fluffy head that disappeared quickly and left a faint lacing. Then the "vinegar" took over. The smell is an overwhelming vinegar that has a sour funkiness to it I'm not sure I've ever experienced. The smell is quite literally eye opening, but not necessarily all in a bad way. The sharpness of the smell is too much, but there's also an invigorating aspect to it. The taste initially followed suit, with a sharp balsamic vinegar note followed by tart fruitiness that reminded me of old berry and cherry preserves that are past their expiration date. The taste settles into a more traditional and subtle (relatively speaking) sourness, with notes of cherry, raisins, salt, and an almost grassy note. Very unique, for sure. Feel is medium-bodied and stickier than I expected.

I enjoyed the last sip much more than the first, so I can see the uniqueness growing on someone after the shock of the vinegar notes wear off. Interesting change of pace beer to sample from time to time, but not one I would drink on a regular basis, or drink much of in a single sitting. Glad to have tried it, though.

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Photo of staubot
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Small dark head but it lasts forever. Nice lacing. Dark light chocolate colour.

Aroma spews forth for all to enjoy. Fruity roasted malts.

Tartness entering the mouth plays with the cherry / sweet red wine flavour. Not totally what is expected from the smell.

Small bite gives way to oily smoothness with balanced after taste.

Overall and enjoyable experience

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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
2.43/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.25

Almost opaque dark brown color with strong glass clinging activity. Slightly creamy brown 2 finger head, lasting around 15-20 minutes, creating a very good amount of legs. Flavors of worcestershire sauce, rotten dark fruits, ester fruits, grapes, cherries, cheese, stinky feet, herbal spices and yeast. Medium body with prickly carbonation. Strong thick bitter finish with a long lasting super dry fruity putrid leathery vinous feel, ending with a barbecue sauce feel, a little oaky, and a blue cheese and peppery aftertaste. Overall I don't like this craft due to an overly rotten feel with excessive flavors. Too bitter, not accessible at all, really hardcore stuff. Poor unbalanced flavors and no freshness. Could not even finish the bottle. Bad bottle maybe?

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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 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 headlessparrot
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer. Codename: Duchess. . . .

As a reviewer below put it, if you don't like this beer, you don't like the Flanders Red Ale style. Which is fine--more for me. My preference runs to Rodenbach Grand Cru, but this is a pretty remarkable beer as well. Pours a dark, thick cola colour, capped by a finger of quickly disappating foam that does leave a few islands and some decent lacing.

Smell is balsamic vinegar, sour cherries, slight vanilla. brown sugar. Slight farm-y funk. Delightful. Taste is much the same. Very sweet and tart, with a vinegar-y note. Tons of cherry, slightly vinous. Brown sugar. Slightly milky. Rich body, moderate carbonation. The more pronounced vinegar note might turn folks off of this, and it doesn't have the pronounced cherry flavour of the Rodenbach, but this is certainly a world-class beer.

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

I have had a number of Flanders Reds, from traditionals like DdB and Rode to the Bruery offerings. To future reviewers, if this beer doesn't blow your socks off, this style isn't for you.

If I could fill a bathtub with this stuff and soak in it, I would. Fruity, funky, tart, smooth. It's freaking wonderful beer. My favorite of this style and probably any style.

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Photo of Mike_Aguirre
4.51/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I just tried this beer yesterday. Pours deep red, like an old wine with a very wide white foam head, excellent retention. Smell is fruity, acid and acetic. Taste is complex, acid, sour, acetic, some fruits, it improves with temperature and breathing. Great beer, different but nice for advanced craft beer drinkers.

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Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,203 ratings.
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