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 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 Meyers1023
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Brown pour with a light amount of tan head. The aroma is cherry, sour, barrel, and a bit of alcohol. Taste is a lot of fruit, soured with a good balance of barrel smoothing it out. Very interesting flavor with a lot going on in a wonderful overall beer.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Chestnut brown with cranberry highlights. Small frothy head.

Aromas of apple cider vinegar. Slight barrel, slight bandaid.

Flavor is just FULL of ripe cherries, wild berry, bright fleshy plum, with a lactic acid sourness and slight vinegar. Just, wow. Perfect up till the finish which veers off a little.

Feel is like a leathery wine. Just stays with you and that's OK by me.

Overall, may be picking up a bomber. This was tight.

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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 Everydayoff
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle poured into a chalice. I personally like the label.

Deep brown with some reddish and amber hue when hits the light, the pour forms up one finger of silky light tan head that retains itself for some time before gradually subsiding to long-lasting bubble film atop along with several sticky lacing patch and web that appear on the glass-side from time to time.

Super mellow vinous and fruity in the aroma, it comprises of ripe cherry, red wine, oaky, chalky yeast, tart apple, acidic, some chocolate, and some roasted profile, so complex and blissful.

The taste is artfully blended. Fruity coats the tongue with characters of oak sherry, sweet and tart grape, winy acidic, sour apple then malt joining increasing complexity with a rotation of chocolate, dough, and caramel that shifty travel through the taste buds. It becomes dryness in the finish with such blissful complicacy lingering on and on.

Medium body with some sticky touch through the palate, the mouthfeel is smooth and just right with some lively carbonation generated some crispness. Finish is pleasantly dry.

This beer is truly art in the glass. Complex and refined work of craftsmanship, it grows on me in every sip and sticks in my mind for long even the glass is already empty.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Super dark burgundy color, opaque, with a light tan head, some lacing.

S - Strong vinegar note, sourness, red wine aspects, and a definite hit of oak.

T - Follows the nose, with vinegar aspects a-plenty, but sweetness is an immediate secondary hit. There is a note of wine in the middle, and the close is surprisingly supple, fading to quiet sour elements.

M - A full feel on the open, clean close that does not linger.

O - A touch too close to the vinegar aspects for my taste, but with that said, it has a delicious flavor, a certain savory quality that offers a boosted richness, and an exceptional close that leaves the palate clean.

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Photo of sherillc
4.41/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aromas of tart cherries, lime and a hint of vanilla. Packs a sour punch but once you get accustomed, this is one complex and interesting beer. Balsamic vinegar and more tart cherries on the palette followed by some nice malty notes. Certainly not my everyday go-to beer but when in the mood for something different this hits the spot.

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Photo of anon
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Happy to finally give this style a go. This one pours a deep, hazy Ruby colour accompanied by a small khaki head. Light lace.

Aromas of vinegar, cherry, lemon sourness. Taste is lightly balsamic and apple cider vinegar-forward with cherry tartness and red wine sweetness. Some dark fruits mixed in with some funk. Apples, grapes and some malt in the end.

Medium bodied with just the right amount of pucker. Very nice brew.

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Photo of ch_star
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had in bottle. Very rare to find on tap. Poured into tulip glass. Beer is light brown with a light cream colored lacy head.

Texture is bubbly. Bubbles seem smaller than typical beer bubbles--similar to champagne. Gives the beer a effervescence not typically found any beers, let alone aged beers.

Flavor is a balanced red/brown ale (i.e. a little more malt than hops) with a strong balsamic and hints of cider.

Sour is a little more than moderately astringent. Not to the point of being pucker-up tart.

Fantastic example of a well-rounded, balanced sour.

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Photo of MaltyPythonsHopCircus
4.41/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - light brown, off- white head that dissipates quickly but lingers as you swirl
S - light balsamic with dark berry or cherry in the background
T - sweet malt with assertive acidity. Light balsamic flavour balanced with sweetness
F - lively in mouthfeel. Slightly astringent
O - One of the best and consistent sours

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Photo of Libeertarian
3.35/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

From notes taken 08/28/16:

Clear brownish red, ranging from ruby to dark pink to rich orange in the light. Consistent, foamy head of creamy tan. Moderate retention, layered, filmy. Aromas of balsamic and wine vinegar, fresh paint or industrial marker. Perhaps a touch of grape spirit. Balanced, not unpleasant but not enticing either. Like drinking watered down sherry vinegar with brown sugar added, and an aethery or solventy retro-olfaction. Tartness of mostly vinegar and somewhat metallic with light dark fruit and sugars detected, throughout. But also a burn relating to acidity probably more so than alcohol content, at its height during finish. Light-bodied, with fine soft carbonation, smooth throughout apart from throaty burn in finish. I’ve gotten used to most Belgian beers by now but these sours and occasional strong ales that are basically sours anyway are a little harsh. Fun to try, still. If you enjoy the occasional kombucha or like to drench your salad in dressing, you could handle this. If you have a strange affinity for chemical and gaseous fumes, this will be right up your alley.

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

Strong balsamic vinegar accompanied by some red wine. The initial punch of sour and red is rounded off by an earthy, estery stone fruit backdrop; there's even a splash of vanilla cane sugar speckled in among the sea of dark and red colors. I expected a whole lot of funk and oak characteristics given this is a Flanders Red, but those qualities seem to be well-hidden behind the dominant balsamic qualities. I can see why people call this the gateway sour.
Sweet and sour is probably the best way to paraphrase the sensation on the tongue. Sweet red berries coat the tongue first, eventually followed on by a bright balsamic sour sensation which washes away the sweetness. The balsamic sour becomes more of well-rounded pleasant tart flavor once you give it time to breathe and heat up, with the aforementioned hidden funk and oak making a cameo appearance.

Light bodied, accompanied by a high level of effervescence. The sweetness also makes this feel deceptively viscous, but it rounds off pretty well in the end without leaving any unpleasantness behind. That wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it'd be.

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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 MoohMooh
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very deep red with a nice head that vanishes almost instantly to form a thin ring of foam. Solid lacing. Smell is funky and earthy, sweet and sour. I'm getting apple cider and lemon, vinegar, and the faintest smell of chocolate from the malts. The taste is very sweet and very reminiscent of apple cider, with a touch of vinegar, very full and earthy. It's pretty carbonated and rich, but not heavy, very well balanced.

This is a very interesting beer, reminiscent of lambics. I don't know how representative of the style it is, but I really like it.

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Photo of michelgruenberg
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well... Whoever hasn't had a Duchesse on his life, does not know what a good beer is. Altough "beer" wouldn't be the word to describe it accurately, since this little piece of heaven is known to mimic a good sweet-sour wine. Matured in centennial old huge oak casks from french cellars, this beautiful blend of two different harvests stays during a total of a year and a half in the process of maturation. The smell is of a good balsamic vinegar, deeply sweet-and-sour at it's peak and a little spicy at it's end; the taste itself turns to be that of a good black cherry, with a very sour tannin bottom and a creamy top; some people find it to have a "metallic" aftertaste, which is also posible. The siblings, Mr Karl and Miss Mercedes Verhaeghe, as well as their parents, created a form of making wine without grapes... and not ANY wine, a GOOD BURGUNDY ONE, without EVEN using any artificial or natural aroma from the fruit. As well as the Vichtenaar, this little piece of treasure remains as my top pick... my sincere congratulations to the brewers.

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Photo of Jimmys
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL. EXP 11/2016.

A: dark and hazy, i would go so far to say this is a light brown rather then red. great lacing and head retention. surprised it is as cloudy as it is.

S: dark fruit, must. acetic acid. a hint of diacetyl? lots of must. hint of sweet caramel malt.

T: tart but super smooth. this thing has really rounded out with time. sweetness on the back-side makes this very easy to drink. man, this is one balanced beer.

M: moderate fizzy carb on a medium body.

D: overall a really well made beer. i bought this close to its expiration but would be confident it could keep running strong.

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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 JakeScully
4.69/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Other BAs have described this one perfectly already so I'll spare you a whole review, but this is one of the most tasteful, flavorful beer I have ever tried. Incredible. World class without a doubt.

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Photo of agriffin1633
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Not terribly thick head, but stays with 2 mm throughout drinking. Amber-brown color.

S: Tart cherry, red wine vinegar, even a little salty.

T: Sour, sweet. The first part is a bit overwhelming, but it mellows out, and then gets intense again at the end.

M: Surprisingly light for the intense taste.

O: As complex as a wine. Moves through different stages of flavors at different parts in your mouth.

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Photo of CHickman
4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle stated best before 2018: Pours dark mahogany brown color with some red highlights that lead up to a 1 finger tan foamy head that faded slowly and left good spotty lacing.

Smells and tastes of sour cherry, vinegar, white wine, caramel, black cherry soda, merlot oak barrels, malty/bready sweetness, faint brown sugar and some tart fruity notes. Flavor had hints of rotting fruit or grappa-like fermentation with a slight boozey aspect that warmed my insides. Complex and seems to change a little with each sip.

Mouthfeel was smooth with a medium body and mild carbonation, the sourness is offset by the sweet fruity flavors and acidity from the fruits, this somehow managed to go down easier than I expected it would. Finish had barrel aged notes which negated the sour side of the brew.

Overall very enjoyable, especially considering the initial whiff after it poured into the snifter gave off a similar smell to an infected beer. As it sat and got warmer it got better and more dynamic.

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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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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 FBarber
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours reddish mahogany beer. Effervescent when held to the light. Nice tan head slowly dissipates to a thin pillowy tan head. Sticky tan lacing is noted on the glass.

Aroma has notes of grapes, wine, red wine vinegar - tart acidic and funky on the nose.

Taste is a nice balance between the tart vinegar like flavors and a sweet malty backbone. Flavors of red wine vinegar, oak, overly ripe cherries and grapes. There is a strong acidity to the beer that becomes more and more metallic as you drink it. Clean and dry finish with a lingering sweet cherry like flavor.

Feel has a prickly almost fizzy carbonation up front that mellows out. Feels similar to a red wine - drinkable, but there is some weight to the beer. Dry tannic finish coats the mouth.

Overall a nice Flanders Red - I am not a fan of the metallic flavor that develops on the palate as you drink it - that really took this beer down a notch for me - but its a solid offering none the less.

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Photo of andy712
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Really enjoyed. The Flanders reds I enjoy are those where the barrel aging has taken a bit of the sourness edge off. This one fits the bill. Poured from a bottle with a best before date of 11/2017. Terrific reddish brown color with about 1 finger of head that dissipates quickly. Smell is acidic with cherry and oak. Very nice balance between sour and some malty sweetness. Terrific beer.

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Photo of mschrei
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark reddish brown, healthy carb with slight lacing. Very fruity nose. Tart taste right off the bat, smooth fruity mouth filling notes with a subtle underlying sourness. Reminds me of a sparkling fruit wine. Very tasty.

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