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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: 4,128
Photo of smcolw
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very red and very clear

Deep malt aromas, lots of cherries. Very close in aroma to a Framboise.

The taste has lots of cherries, quite sweet. So much so that I re-read the bottle to see if it was infused with fruit. Again, this is very much like a Framboise...without the lip-smacking sourness. Tastes more potent than the alcohol indicates (6% abv). The body is full, carbonation is moderate. The aftertaste is a light tartness that diminishes slowly.

This is an unusual Belgian in that it doesn't have the typical flavors/aromas. Still, it is very good. Think heavy lambic with less tart.

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Photo of BeerAmbassador
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is the second time I have tasted this beer the first being only a few ounces at a tasting I decided to wait for a full bottle to review it.

Appearence is a deep ruby color with fairly small head that dissapates quickly.

Smell is super complex: sweet, sour, woody all at once. definately some fruitiness going on as well.

Taste is amazing with lots of fruit/ sweet/ sour going off all at once. This beer reminds me of balsamic vinegar in a really good way. This beer is so complex I am having a hard time quantifying it.
Mouthfeel is just about right with maybe just a slight bit of a grainy feel.

This is definately food beer. I would have a hard time drinking it without food to go with it. As of now I have an aged white cheddar that is aged with Guinness stout and it tastes pretty good together but since it reminds me so much of Balsamic I bet it would go better with some really good Parmesan. When I first tasted it someone said that it makes a killer salad dressing which I found pretty interesting. And I bet if you reduced it down to a glaze it would be killer with some grilled meat.

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Photo of mmcave
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Before even pouring it I could smell that slightly vinegary kombucha smell ( which I'm slowly growing to like). Pours dark coffee with deep red highlights. The head is small but pleasantly leaving lacing. With further inspection smells of Belgian yeast minor hops and mild sweet vinegar. Taste is complex, sweet, slightly fruity esters mixed with a tinge of bitterness. Sour cherries and the bottom of apple cider, nice bit of acidity, might be good for food. This is a really different ale than I'm used to the only other I've had at all similar was a gueze lambic, but I know this is a very different beer. I enjoyed this I might even buy others like this, but its something I will slowly learn to enjoy.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle. Leaves a one finger beige head with excellent retention, and excellent lacing. The head is simply amazing and beautiful. Body is a slightly hazy garnet. An excellent looking beer.

Smell - sour cherries, plums, and a musty horse blanket. Very good and mouthwatering.

Taste - similiar to the smell. Sour cherries and plums washed through with a barnyard must and champange. Strong sour cherries on the aftertaste. Very good.

Mouthfeel - surprisingly full bodied, and some slickness (also a surprise) , and fizzy (not a surprise).

Drinkability - this is very good ale, and I really like it alot, but I dont' think it's sessionable, not because of the abv, which is not really high, but rather, because of the taste. That is, this would be one to almost always enjoy with food, and not in a drinking session.

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

Duchesse De Bourgogne
25.4 oz dark green bottle with caged cork
Exp. date listed on cork: December 2007
Served in a pilsner glass

Pours a dark crimson red color. Fluffy head forms on top with little holes throughout. The head sustains and leaves major trails and patterns of sticky lacings all over the glassware. Layers and layers of lace provide decoration.

Whiffs of funky yeast, sour notes and cherries.

My sip starts off with a sweet, caramel malt backbone that lays the foundation and then instantly transforms to a highly acidic and sour bash on my palate. Hints of raisins, prunes, cherries and blueberry syrup meld together under the mouth puckering tartness that awaits the finish. The hop profile is minimal at best. This beer screams sweet & sour.

More "balanced" than a true lambic, but just as interesting in terms of complexity and depth. Wow, I'm so glad I'm discovering this style of beer.

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Photo of allergictomacros
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark red/brown. Could be clear, could be cloudy - I can't tell because it's so dark. Head is uninspiring and drops quickly.

S - Sour, vinegary smell. Notes of fruit and some mustiness.

T - Sweet, extremely fruity. Notes of concord grapes are very prominent. Oh yeah, it's sour too, but soooo grapey! Bitterness is very subdued, although present in the aftertaste. Very "fresh" tasting as well, which was unexpected from the aroma.

M - Medium bodied, with a spritzy carbonation. A bit of astringency in the aftertaste that feels somewhat drying.

D - I like this a lot. The major criticism is that the aroma and the taste seem a bit at odds at each other. Flavour is much mellower and fresher than indicated by the strong vinegary smell and mustiness.

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Photo of therica
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Nose-- beef with Worcestireshire or A-1 Sauce?!?!? No way.

Taste-- yes, it's true! With some bitters. Very very strange. As it sets for a few minutes, there's a nose of liquor something like brandy, and taste becomes a little more flat and salty. Prune is probably partly responsible for the steak-sauce taste, because that's what many of them use as a base.

Appearance-- poured a surprising dark-tea color, minor light-brown suds that didn't last more than half a minute, but with lacing throughout the drinking.

Yes, another "add this to your bizarre list" beer-- a specialty beer, which I can appreciate for its unique creativity, from an objective point of view. From a subjective point of view, this beer is too far afield from being "beer" that I can't see myself buying another bottle to sample-- especially at closer to $4US a bottle. Unless, however, I really want to startle someone.

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Photo of Domingo
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Falling Rock.
Arrived a mahogany brown, with reddish notes in the sun (I had it outside).
The smell reminded me a lot of vinegar and really sour citrus. In all honesty, I was almost scared off by the smell. I figured it was going to be like drinking a lambic crossed with some malt vinegar.
The taste on the other hand was REALLY good. It's sweet like brown sugar and berries. A little bit of sourness in the finish, sort of like a citrus flavor. It does have a little vinegar-type flavor, but it's defintiely more along the balsamic lines. Stange how the flavor and smells are almost totally unconnected! That seems to be the hallmark of a good Belgian brew - 2 totally unique flavors.
I could definitely drink more of this brew. Once you get used to the smell and taste being unique entities, this is a terrific brew that you can sip and enjoy. Lots of different flavors going on.
A definite winner.

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

Dark reddish amber...very rich...with a half finger head that melted quickly to a sticky lacing all across the top.
Aroma is immediately vinegar...red wine...sweet fruits. Very complex.
Taste is slightly sour...cherries....raisins....no alcohol...a little apple peel.
Aftertaste is smooth...tiny sweetness...a little bigger tiny sourness.
Ok..this is the first of this style I've had but it is so complex, so very different from anything I've had before I don't know the right adjectives to describe it.
I'm sort of stuck with....interesting....totally different and unexpected....I like it....this should be the end of the day, not mid-day...how do I ever follow it?
I find it difficult to drink this beer slowly as I keep discovering new things in the taste with every sip.
I think this may be as complex as any beer has a right to be...yet somehow everything seems balanced...with each sip I keep thinking...'yeah...nice'...'this works'.

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

Poured into Chimay chalice. Bottle has "Best before 29-04-07" printed on the back.

A: Deep ruby with a full finger of fluffy, off-white head. Head doesn't take long to reduce, very thick lacing left behind. Sticky trails clinging to the glass.

S: Wow. There's a sharp oaky wineyness at first. Underneath is some fruit, like red wine grapes (pinot noir, sangiovese) grape, pear, plum, and cherry.

T: Wine flavor first with notes of the above-mentioned fruit. There's a lot going on here. Some maltiness underneath, but the strongest flavors are the grape, plum and cherry. A bit of "unfiltered, natural apple juice" creeps in, too. Tartness towards the end that builds to a crisp/dry sourness in a very clean finish. Is better as it warms (the sweet malt stands out more), so heed the suggested temperature.

M: Can a beer be "soft"? This starts off very smooth and builds to a nice tingle.

D: Oh dear Lord. This is wonderful stuff. At 6.2% abv, this isn't like an ordinary sipping beer, but you still do have to sip it. Odd. Very strong flavors, and a very sophisticated-feeling beer. It has vaulted to the top of my list of personal favorites.

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Photo of Cresant
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 11.2 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Dated best by: 30/3/07. Body was ebony/ruby color. Beige head was 1/2 inch at it's peak. Splotches of lace remained.

Smell was "WOW". The most distinct beer aroma I have smelled. Vinegar, Vinous, and pixie sticks. No alcohol discernable.

Tasted of tart, fizzy Kool-aid. Plums. Granny Smith peel. Faint woody finish. Complex, interesting, and sophisticated. Became even more drinkable as it warmed. Non-cloying.

Mouthfeel was light, finely carbonated, champagne-like.

Wonderful sipping beer. I will revisit.

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Photo of kimcgolf
4.64/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was my first Flemish Sour, and it really grew on me. Poured to darlk brown with hints of red, and a thick tan head that lasted for the whole drink and left excellent lacing. The aroma was very funky, reminded me of those old Paz Easter Egg Coloring kits where you drop a colored tablet in pure vinegar. I was afraid of what I would be drinking next. To my great surprise, the taste was excellent. It was sour fruit, and at first caught me off guard, but I quickly adapted. Finish was dry, sour and warming. I bought this in a 4pack, and was concerned that I may have over-bought. Now, I know I will be heading back for more.

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Photo of donotknowme
4.88/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This poured a deep reddish-brown with a thin lacy head that quickly faded. The nose was dominated by a sour smell with hints of berries and maybe some oak. One of the best mouthfeels I have ever had in a beer. At the end it got a little thick and sticky from the sweetness but the tartness cleared it up nicely. Easily my favorite beer.

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

A: Dark mohoganny, tan head, very little retention, slight leg/lace.

S: Like a sherry with a hint of sourness.

T: Very winey, tart raisins, brown sugar, hint of chocolate. Flavour isn't overly powerful, but it's VERY refined.

M: Body slightly lighter than moderate, fairly dry.

D: Smooth introduction to the style!

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Photo of barefootbrewer
2.63/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This beer poured a deep brown with a light head. It had a tart smell that is weirdly reminiscent of worcesertshire. The smell is definitely unique. The taste is fruity and a bit sour. The mouthfeel is crisp with noticeable carbonation. This is an interesting beer that I would not necessarily consider highly drinkable for me.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
2.48/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The head is not too dense and the lacing doesn't stick very well. The color is clear red/purple. The smell is sour with slight earthy tones and a slight plum or other sour fruit in the backround. Taste is metalic with some earthy tones. The taste is a bit bland like cardboard. Mouthfeel is well carbonated and a little harsh. I don't think I would have another one of these, maybe it's the style, however this glass wasn't great.

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Photo of BigBry
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330 ml brown bottle (as pictured).
Pours a clear deep red and burnished brown color. Thick frothy head that lasts forever and leaves beautiful lacing. Strong (but not overpowering) sour aroma. The smell has lots of complexity with spice, clove and some apple cider vinegar. Well balanced flavor that has elements of sweet caramel-like malt, tart apple and sour cherry. Medium-bodied smoothness covers your tongue in all the different flavors.
A unique and different style, but a classic when you get used to it.

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

On tap at the Brickstore Pub.

A - served in a nice tulip glass emblazoned with Duchesse de Bourgogne written upon it. Orangish, almost brown, large billowy head of thick bubbles, outstanding head retention and lacing.

S - candy sugar aroma, hints of tangy sourness. Little or no hop aroma. Tons of rich, sweet malty esters and some hints of alcohol.

T - incredible mix of sweet sugary smells and tangy sourness. Lots of fruity esters, dark grapes, plums, over-ripe apples. Great balance with tart sourness, but not overwhelming. Sweet and sour. Little hop presence.

M - medium to light bodied, a little fluffy. Carbonation is average. Slightly sweet finish.

D - great, great beer. Perfect balance of sweet and sour and bittnerness. One of the best sour Flanders ales I've ever had.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.77/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed a stemmed wine glass of this West Flanders classic at a place called Heads Up Brewing in Silverdale, Washington. I thought perhaps this was a house beer as Heads Up is a BOP and all of their house beers are clones of popular beers from around the world. I should have known from the first sip that this was not a clone. This was the real thing.

The presentation was elegant with a saffron body sporting a tan head and clinging lace. The aroma swirled like a symphony of tart fruits and orange peel. The taste was also very fruity – almost like a fruit cola – with elements of orange, black cherry and huckleberry. It is sharply acidic and plainly tinged with some non-sacch- yeast and/or bacteria. This carries the initial sweetness towards a zesty resolve of biting acidic fruitiness.

Oak barrel aged and blended from young and old batches. This is a prince among ales – an absolute noble pedigree. And it drinks like fine wine.

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Photo of SethB2
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A - Beer pours a very deep amber color, nearly non transparent, with a decent sized whispy head that fizzles down to a nice ring around the edge.

S - Huge vinegar up front covering tart apples and a bit of woodyness. One of the more interesting beers I have smelled.

T - Sweet berries start this thing off before it quickly moves into a sour apple, tart flavor then yeilds the the vinegar that was on the nose originally. Very unique, and very good.

M - A tad on the thin side, but still not bad.

D - Very good. This is an excellent beer. The yeast in this thing do some really funky stuff.

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

Bought at City Beer in S.F. and poured into a wit beer glass. Best before 18-10-07.

Nice pour. No sediment, acive carbonation and sudsy head. Deep red like cherry cough syrup.

Smells like cherries and vinegar, very nice and pleasant but bold at the same time. Grainy smell like gueuze ale.

Cherry candy taste dominates. Tart and snappy but also very sweet. Woody and metallic. Others have said Coca-Cola, which I can see but may not have picked it out myself.

Mouthfeel is a bit thick from the sugars, and the carbonation is a bit low which makes it feel even thicker. Chalky finish.

I enjoy this beer and would always be happy to drink one. Refreshing but too sweet. I wish this style was more widely available, I have only had 3 examples of this style and one was from Colorado.

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Photo of hunteraw
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

"Interesting" is the word that seems to fit this beer best. It's the first really sour beer I've had, so comparison is tough, but I'll do my best. Pours an interesting garnet brown color, little head, fairly clear. Aroma is interesting: dark fruit and vinegar. Not particularly sweet in the nose, which is promising. Taste upholds that conclusion - not overly sweet. Every sip is puckering, but not to the point where it's not enjoyable. Lots of character: tart, fruit and wood, but nothing is too dominant. Mouthfeel is good, not syrupy at all. Carbonation seemed right. Drinkability is the tough part. I enjoyed it, but I'm glad I was splitting a bottle because I probably wouldn't have wanted to drink the rest of it on my own. Maybe it'll grow on me.

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Photo of EPICAC
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lately I've been in the mood for some sour beers, so last night I picked up a bottle of Duchesse De Bourgogne, a Flanders Red Ale, and a bottle of Cantillon Lou Pepe Gueuze at Downtown Wine & Spirits. I let this warm to around 45º F and served it in one of my New Belgium glasses.

Appearance: Pours a clear ruby brown, with a thick, frothy, beige head that thins to a persistent layer and leaves massive lace on the glass.

Smell: Sweet with an acidic sour cherry aroma. A lightly funky aroma emerges upon swirling.

Taste: A sweet cherry fruitiness upfront is met by a strong acidic tartness that moves into a metallic twang in the finish and mingles with hints of earthiness.

Mouthfeel: Moderate, effervescent carbonation. Light-bodied and almost silky. The finish is moderately dry.

Drinkability: Tart, but the sweetness balances well.

Overall: An excellent Flanders Red. It's no La Folie, but it's very good nonetheless.

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Photo of stangelj
2.46/5  rDev -40%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 330ml bottle, best before 24-08-07. Appearance is very nice, a dark brown/red color with a 2 finger head that persisted. Lots of lacing left on the glass as I drank the beer. Off to a good start. Smells sweet and fruity, interesting, sour apple and cherry mostly. Taste amplifies what I smelled, whew. Starts off sweet but quickly turned sour. I like sour fruit beers but this tasted exactly like apple cider vinegar to me. The vinegar taste overpowers and is what's left in the aftertaste. Does not have much of a beer taste. Mouthfeel is ok, perhaps too full bodied, carbonation is fairly high. I didn't find this overly drinkable, would not have more than one. I would not buy again. This is my first experience with this style, so perhaps this is what it's supposed to be like, but I can't get past the apple cider vinegar taste.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a coca-cola brown with thin tan head.

Nose is a little cola like as well, but together with sour passion fruits. Very complex, like that miscellanious "passion fruits" flavor in many products/fragrances. Cherry is one that might stick out, but very complex on the whole. Slight hint of pipe tobacco.

On the palate is a delightful explosion of vinegary sourness together with burnt sugar sweetnes mingled with passion fruit. A darker, molasses to toffee cake sweetness is found at the back of the palate and into the finish.

Finish is very cola-syrup extract like in sweetness. Nice and appetizing for the next sip. Reminds me of those coca-cola ink pens from childhood, the ones with the fragrance in the ink.

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Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,128 ratings.
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