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Duchesse De Bourgogne | Brouwerij Verhaeghe

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1,508 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: 1,508 | Ratings: 4,130
Photo of RomanW70
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark reddish brown with a frothy tan head. Aroma a combination of sweet and sour cherries. Very sweet up front, flowing into a mild sour and finishing smooth with a slight vineous tartness. Med-low carbonation. Medium mouthfeel. Good beer, bit would like to see more sweet/sour balance. A little heavy on the sweet side.

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Photo of Monsteruss
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The foam when poured was a fluffy dark wheat, lacey, thick and ever-lasting (alot o' foam). Color was reddish/brown, amber, mahogany and deep rose red. Smell was deep, robust, rich, alittle bitter, fruity/orange and carmel undertones. Taste was very deep and rich. Fruity with a hint of high-alchohol content, chery sour apple highlight (like others from their beer line). Mouthfeel - very heavy-bodied, smooth and sour. Drinkability - you can't just 'slam' this beer, it need to be taken in slowly like wine.

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Photo of petacutlasaurus
3.3/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had with crackers and blue cheese on Friday night. The food was better than the beer, though. I had a pretty negative response to this one. It's a well executed beer, one with a pretty clear mission and objective taste. That taste is just not for me. It's candy beer.

Duchess is incredibly sweet, apparent immediately from the pour in the stickiness and the lacing of the head. Reeks of sugar, candied cherries, maybe, covering up a bit of sourness and booze. The taste and the body together are quite potent. Definitely strong sour notes, but it's as if the brewer wanted to cover that sourness up, or subdue it, and in order to do so, loaded the beer up with sugars. As that sourness and sweetness collides, you get a taste not too far from Splenda. Pretty unpleasant.

I think it's useful to compare it with another readily available sour, the Monk's Cafe flemish sour. It's lower gravity, sweetness, and increased tartness/bite really serves the style in a more palatable way. But that's only if you're part of the musty/bitter camp like me. If you're sweet-toothed, grab one of these, you probably will love it.

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Photo of snogglethorpe
3.57/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A lovely deep burgundy color, with a huge creamy head. Smell is interesting, woody/fruity/musty. Taste doesn't really live up to the smell though -- it's sour, fruity, and refreshing, but not complex, and the woody notes in the smell are barely evident in the taste.

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

750ml bottle with exp date of 03/2012 on cork. Poured into Duvel tulip glass on Jan 27, 2012.

Appearance: 5

Dark brown, with hint of dark cherry, body. Pour with a 1 inch dense white head that tender to persist nicely. Actually a great looking beer.


Tart fruit, especially cherry, and prominent sourness, with a slight vinegary note, dominates. Mild, appropriate funk detectable. Also get a mild spiced note from yeast. Overall, pleasant aroma that lets you know this is a sour beer.

Taste: 4.5

On first sip, very intriguing and complex. On further tasting, I detect a tart cherry presence, with a slight candy sweetness. This quickly transitions into a more bold pure sourness, with strong persisting cherry fruit notes as well as a touch of lemon. Midway through, there is a soft funk detectable. Flickering faint notes of spice also are present at times.
Finishes relatively cleanly with lingering sour/tart fruit notes. Overall, undoubtly sour, but well balance IMO.

Mouthfeel: 4

Nice soft moderate, somewhat creamy carbonation. Body is mild-moderate thickness, at times feels slightly thin possibly, mainly at the finish. But in the end, this is not a real big deal. Still a good mouthfeel overall.

Overall: 4.5

Great sour beer. Good flavours, with a nice complexity of layers. Sourness is prominent, but not through the roof. Incredibly easy to drink. The alcohol content of 6.2% makes is reasonably to drink a bottle on one’s own. I know that this a beer I will drink frequent to satisfy a sour-craving.
Highly recommend.

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Photo of drink1121
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- Great head with lacyness. (my own word) Nice dark amber color. Looks great in a chalice.

S- Sour to the nose.

T- Sour vinegar, Bourbon - like.

M- Very smooth with creamy note.

D - Could only have one of these. A very good brew, just not my preference. I can appreciate the quality.

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Photo of Whiteweasel
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a chalice, poured from on tap.

A: Deep dark reddish black, hard to see through without direct light. Luxurious creamy off white head.

S: Musty, muscat grape and fig, very similar to a rich cabernet sauvignon, and with more than a hint of balsamic vinegar.

T: Sour and surprisingly refreshing. Sweet with a strong grape essence, like what a cabernet sauvignon tastes like at the dregs at the bottom of the bottle. Strong sweet balsamic in a very pleasant way.

M: Fizzy and tasty mouthfeel, very strong flavour that fills the mouth and throat, lasting well after you've swallowed it. Definitely sour and bold in nearly every way, but no noticeable alcohol.

Overall: Extremely interesting and like a combination of cider, red wine, beer, and vinegar. Wouldn't want to have another one though, one is quite the experience as it is.

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

A tan head with different sized bubbles tops a very clear dark plum brew with red highlights.

Smells of dark fruits and spices. Reminiscent of a BSDA. Vinegar was apparent at first, but later settled into the background. The promise of sourness tickles the nose.

The taste contains notes of lemon juice, tart fresh berries, nail polish remover (which is not actually as bad as it sounds within the context of the other flavors, but is pretty strong on the palate), ripe fresh cherries, granny smith apples and some caramel.

The mouthfeel is light; carbonation and sourness tickle the whole mouth.

Pretty drinkable and overall, a very nice brew. As my first sour, I wasn't sure what to expect but I was pleased with the results. Can't wait to explore more sours now!

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Photo of cradke
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark brownish red. A thin fine head.

Smell: A tart nose that has some good sweetness. Cherrys and other esters.

Taste: Delicious. Not as tart as the nose would lead you to believe. Certainly some dark fruit. Nicely complex and well put together.

Mouthfeel: Very nice. Nicely substantial with good carbonation.

Overall: I'm really impressed with this beer. The nose is quite tart but the taste is well balanced. Very good amount of fruit. I really enjoyed this.

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Photo of BeerTaster
3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not bad by any means you just have to remember what this beer is trying to be not what you expect it to be. Appearance dark brown but the head left a bit two quick for my taste. Smell was vinager and some oak. Taste very winey and sour with hints of vannila and oak. Mouthfeel was mediem body and low carbonation. Drinkability not bad a decent thirst quencher.

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Photo of SmokinSmyth
1.31/5  rDev -68%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Poured into a Tulip glass, nice big head, minimal lacing, brown color.

Aroma is strong, vinegar and another sour are in the majority.

Taste - just not for me. I see the good ratings, but this is a rare beer for me, in that I didn't finish it, and actually poured it down the sink. My children were shocked. Tasted way too much like vinegar for me, and I checked the date, the bottle had another year to go.

Mouthfeel - didn't really register as I didn't want in my mouth after my tongue had gotten hold of it.

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Photo of mortarit
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A Flanders Red, are commonly referred to as the "red" beers of West Flanders. Belgian Red Beers are typically light-bodied brews with reddish-brown colors. They are infamous for their distinct sharp, fruity, sour and tart flavours which are created by special yeast strains. Very complex beers, they are produced under the age old tradition of long-term cask aging in oak, and the blending of young and old beers.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 4.0-8.0%

I copied the definition so I could reviews this one since it is my first Flanders Red. I remember one cohort here at this style picked as his prefered choice. Man, was I way off. I thought this would be a beer of simply taste. I was blown away from the sharp taste. I should of know when I open the bottle , it had a little kick in the release of the cap.
Alcohol can be detected
The tartness is a little over whelming.
It's different, I am glad I had the chance to experience it.
Uh, try again.
I would like to try others in this group to have a broaded range of this style.

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Photo of Reinheitsgebot71
4.87/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A friend of mine and myself went down to the beer bistro earlier in the week and tried a few new beers each of which I'll review in turn.

A: It poured very dark brown almost completely opaque with a mocha
brown half inch head and minimal lace.

B: Immediately upon first sniff mincemeat pie came to mind followed by a slight hint of pine. The more subtle hits then manifested themselves, namely raisins and rock sugar. I didn't detect any hit of alcohol whatsoever, unsurprisingly as it is a lower percentage compared to some of its other Belgian counterparts.

T: Right off the bat raisins again followed by, lemon, iron rust, honey, hints of curry powder, cardamom in conjunction with the more prevalent lemon sapidity. Hidden at the very bottom of the taste spectrum were nice finishing touches of allspice, cinnamon and soothing caramel.

M: Uber smooth, very sparse effervescence, but what little there is tingles the mouth nicely in conjunction with the magnificent flavors abound in the beer. Overall quit silky smooth almost marshmellowy feel in the mouth.

D: A very very nice beer; goes down very well. After I finished it I immediately craved another. I don't think I could ever get sick of this beer, just excellent. I recommend it to any true lover of beer.

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Photo of kpoole25
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11-ish bottle to glass. Gentle pour leads to huge head, color is dark brown/red. Smell is somewhat sweet and a little vinegar. Taste is somewhat like soda pop in carbonation and sweetness, with decent sourness. Not as sweet as Monk's Cafe, a good thing. More interesting than drinkable for me.

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Photo of BillyBoysPie
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap in the appropriate glassware at the (soon to be if it isn't already) legendary Sergio's World Beers in Louisville, KY. Go. Now.

Reddish-brownish-purple with a dense white foam on top. Near perfect lacing with decent retention.

Tart and sour flavors dominate the nose. Well fruited, mostly cassis (currant) and raspberry combined with tart rhubarb like acidity. Some malt comes through, but the slight buttery is far more interesting.

Grape bubblegum and tart raspberry are in the front with some of the oaky, woody characteristics filling out the beer. It's very delicate, but really clean. Well balanced and very enjoyable.

Light, not too viscous. Enough carbonation to accentuate the tart without overpowering the sour.

Easy to drink - if you like the style, which I do. It's really fun and deep.

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

Thanks to Mac56 for this beer, via Newbie "Onebox" BIF '05

Poured into my Rodenbach tulip.
250 ml. bottle

Very large quickly dissapating head. Went from 3.5 fingers to covering the top of the beer in about 25 seconds.
Dark reddish copper color with a steady stream of carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass. Decent lace clings to the edges.
Smell: Sour and musty. Not as viniagry or "over the top" as say Rodenback Grand Cru. This is definately more my style. Nice tart fresh cherry and off-the-tree apple sweetness, with definate hops towards the back. Oak comes through later on.
Taste: This is gorgeous. Tart, but not overly. Malty sweetness on the tongue. Almost on the verge of an apple-wine. Very fruity. Slight bitterness, like the bitterness from a fresh apple peel that you just picked off of the tree. I keep going back to the apple references. If apples actually tasted this good, Jesus, I'd eat an apple with every single meal of my life. May have wanted it a bit more tart, ended up being a bit too sweet towards the end.
Mouthfeel/Drinkability: I could have drank this beer in about 3 sips. Medium mouthfeel. Nice and creamy. I would have liked it a bit more tart and brisk. Finishes dry, drier than I would have thought possible while drinking this beer.
Full of surprises, flavors and aromas. Nice beer.

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Photo of zymurgy4all
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is quite an interesting beer. It pours a deep reddish brown with a dense white creamy head. The aroma is all sourness: lactobacillus, brettanomyces, and a hint of oak. The immediate flavor is sour, then it finishes sweet leaving a sweet & sour taste in your mouth. The aftertaste lingers for a while as well. This is a beer that you learn to like--after having a gueze, this one tastes wonderful. Great beer, but don't drink it until you've had other sour beers to compare it too, and you develop your palate.

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Photo of TVolt1
3.45/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A: Deep amber color, good clarity, small amount of white head.

S: mmm great smell. Smells of cherry warhead candies and that's my favorite type of sour beer! Good hint of wine smell too.

T: Has a great bubbly, cherry initial flavor that excited me. The aftertaste is almost nutty and does not fit with the beer at all. Finish is disappointing...

M: Good bubbly, carbonated mouth feel, light on the tongue.

O: I like every other factor of this beer but the final taste. Too bad because everything else is going well for it.

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Photo of amicar
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a just-shy-of 12oz bottle, poured into a standard cabernet wineglass. Part of a food/ wine pairning.

Poured with a slight brown- tinged head; the beer color has a mid- caramel with red undertones. The smell itself is amazing- a hundred different smells pull you in multiple directions; you get just a hint of the fruity tartness that lies under the surface;
The sip is a little tart and malty at the same time; there's a full toffee/ caramel feel and a syrupy sensation, but none of these aspects are overdone; they are restrained just the right amount to let the dried tart cherry taste underneath through; the tartness is 'almost' masterfully balancing the sweetness; I would have preferred a hair less.

I thought this was a great beer when I tasted it alone; then I had it with food.... oh my gawd.
The meal was a pork tenderloin with a portabella/ shallot/ cream sauce (if anyone wants, beermail me and I'll share the recipie). The underlying sweetness matched nicely with the shallot/ cream sauce, and the muskiness of the beer and that of the mushrooms were perfect together; The tartness/ cherry sensation was less pronounced but still detectable with food. mmm....

anyway, overall, this is a fantastic beer. Alone, a single bottle can occupy you for an extended period of time; however, it would be tough to have more than one (kind of like very how you can only take so much rich chocolate) at a sitting. I can see how it's probably not for everybody; Definitely try it with food, especially something with cream or that has similar body.

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Photo of cpmichael
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel snifter.

A: Pours a brownish-red, very thin lacing.

S: fruity, tart cherries, some hints of oak and vanilla.

T: Tart cherries, slight metallic taste right at first, but as the beer warms up it smooths out into a sweeter taste. Almost too sweet for me. a bit of oak flavor comes through too.

M/D: Good carbonation, and not a bad beer in the least, I would advise letting the beer warm a bit because I found it to taste much better when it warmed up. The metallic flavor was gone. Still I found it to be too sweet, even for the style and could have benefited from being more on the sour side.

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Photo of WhatsNewinBooze
4.64/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one caught me by suprise. This beer (if you can even call it that) pours a clear reddish brown with a thin fizzy head that atually foams up after waiting a few minutes. The nose was loaded with red berries, citrus, sweet malts and yeast. The palate was loaded with red fruit and citrus flavors with some wonderful notes of bread, yeast and spice. Evryone should try this at least once.

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

Bold, clear, reddish mahogany with a decent head and cap leaving behind some lacing. Ruby tinging in the light. Vinegar-astringence and some fruit: pear, cherry, apple. A slight whiff of that woody smell of a basement. Big, fruity and sour, this beer is a delicious mash of sweet and sour cherry and pear flavor. Some heat on the backburner. Puckering, smooth, dry, and a little spicy carbonation.

O: Loved it. Assertive, smooth and sour mash-up. Looking forward to trying more brown ales.

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Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours with a light beige fizzy head that dissipates toa thin head layer rather quickly. A shower of tiny bubbles rises from the bottom of the glass constantly. It pours a deep ruby amber and leaves minimal lacing.

Very little aroma in this one but what is there sort of smells like a sweettart.

Taste is very sweet in the beginning and then turning to a sour apple vinegar to the finish. There are hints of cherry and other berries with no real hop presence.

The carbonation level is a bit soda like (extremely fizzy) with a nice medium body to the mouthfeel.

I am pretty much a newbie to this style but it is quickly becoming one of my favorites!

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

poured this particular one out of a bottle with a beautiful work of art on the label even the cap with the lions holding the shield was a nice touch.

A,this has a dark brick red brown color with a one finger thick white froth that dissipates quickly leaves spots of lace .

S,wow! overwhelming ,this took me off guard. it`s like a sweet and sour wine with vineger and fruits ..

T,sweet yet a strong vineger wine quality to it.fruity ,apple ,plums and sour grapes though it`s got balance .

D, i find this beer very good ,like a fine wine the more i drink it the more i appreciate the multiple flavors

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Photo of Lewnanny
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A real nice beer, with the touch of a champagne. I can drink this beer with my wife and she have love it.

The IBU is definately 0, and the SRM is about 20. The 330 ml bottle is a must for everyone that want to taste a beer out of the common.

Try this one as soon a possible.

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Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,130 ratings.
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