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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: 4,129
Photo of drabmuh
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer served on draft at a beer bar in FL. Beer served in a Duchess De Bourgogne wine glass. Beer is hazy brown and has a broken brown head with very little carbonation. The tiny head manages to leave some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is citric and lactic sour in nature. Not too much complexity but for this style its dead on. Time to drink.

Beer is sweet and sour, the sweetness comes first but its quickly overtaken by the sour nature of the beer. Beer is smooth and has a thin body. The drinkability is high and the midpalate is where the majority of the flavor is noticed. Its a good example of a sour beer.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer on tap at the Toronado in San Francisco in September, 2004. Served in a authentic Duchesse glass. Watched as it poured with a small head that didn't remain for long. A very opaque, mahoganey color. Almost like blackcurrant juice. A beautiful hue to it. Tons of lace that just stuck to the side and didn't disipate. Smelled both sweet and sour at the same time. A typical Flemish stlye taste but better. Not too sour as I expected. Maybe a cranberry taste or even something nutty in the background. Aftertaste is good as well. A definite great beer that I will have again.

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Photo of tempest
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Farmhouse in Emmaus, PA. Served, post-dinner, in a large wine glass, murky brown with no head. This beer reminds me of Goudenband. The beer menu described this as having chocolate-covered raisin flavors, and I think that's a bit of a stretch. Certainly, there is a pairing of sweet candy and sour flavors, and I can find raisins in here, but no chocolate. This beer is not that much of a dessert beer. For it's creamy mix of flavor (which also includes salad vinaigrette) it's not an incredibly drinkable beer, but it is a semi-approachable sour ale that drinks a bit like a thick hard cider. Not my favorite, but a beer to try if you're into the wild styles.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap years ago and have not tried it since. This time it was in a bottle....

Pours a shiny hazelnut brown, reddish glows. Tan head, bubbly...looks like cola a bit.

Aroma isn't as strong as I remembered the tap version. Cherries, new leather, caramel, candied sugar, and some apple.

Sourness just isn't there, perhaps a bit of pucker though. It's foremost flavors remind me of apple cider, sweet cider. Some cherry/apple tartness. Tannins here and there. Caramel in the nose is almost gone in the taste. No flavors are bad or off-putting, but none are outstanding either.
I'd drink it again, probably

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Photo of Tone
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark amber color. 1/2 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of sweet malt, yeast, citrus, hint of alcohol, hint of grass, and tartness/sourness. Fits the style of a Flanders Red Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of tart cherry, slight wheat, slight sweet malt, sugar, and slight hop. Overall, great appearance, good aroma, and good blend.

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Photo of WesWes
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark amber color with an offwhite head that fades to lacing. The aroma is very malty. It has a fruity feel as well which enhances the pale and crystal malts. There are hints of chocolate here as well. The taste is perfect. It has a malty base, but is dominated with a tart fruitiness. This goes down very easy and finishes a bit dry and acidic. The mouthfeel is perfect as well. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good drinking beer. I love the fruitiness along with it's complex malt makeup.

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Photo of Gavage
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear amber / brown color with a medium head. Some lacing developed. The aroma was wine-like, fruity, and sour but very unique. The flavor was of malt and sour fruits and cherries. No bitterness at all.

The mouthfeel was crisp with a long sour fruity finish. This brew is medium / heavy in body with decent carbonation. This brew is for slow drinking session late at night, but drinking more than one would be tough.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The portrait on the front label looks like a Rennaissance work with the phrase "Flemish Art of Brewing" in small print towards the top. Some of the words are printed in Dutch and French. Wow, I'm getting worked up about this one, and this is quite an uncommon style to find. On to the beer:

Into a snifter it goes, and it's a lighter brown with red mixed in. This is a very intersting smell, one I haven't encountered yet because of the limited Belgian beers I've sampled. Smells of wine vinigrette and sourness. I'm afraid to go on any farther...no I'm not! This is really interesting, very fruity, and not esters, it's really sweet. A little sourness is mixed in, which seems to be the way the beer balances out the sweet flavor. The aftertaste is quite dry with bready malts. I enjoyed it more the farther I got along with it. Not too cloying and not overpowering. And really different from your everyday beer.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark red with an off-white head. The aroma is tart fruit with a little bit of vinegar. The flavor is a great combination of sweet and sour. The flavors include oak and lots of dark fruit such as plums, cherries and possibly apples and grapes. You get some tart cherries as well as a lot of sweeter fruit to balance out the tartness. Thin mouthfeel and low carbonation. A great beer.

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

Review from 8/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a dark red amber, moderate long lasting head and lacing. Fruit and sour aroma. Nice dark fruits with a rush of cherry, sour and sweetness in a well blended flavor. Sour and fruit finish. Wow. Sours aren't my favorite style, but this is excellent and beautifully made. I will buy again.

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Photo of aasher
3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one poured a dark cherry brown in color with a quickly dissipating beige head. When you hold it up to the light it is ruby red, like freshly stained wood. This smells like sourdough, vinegar, spoiled milk, and cherries. It instantly makes me think of Monks Cafe. The flavor is just ok. You get ALOT of sweetness though. I'd say it's cloyingly sweet before it goes into the slight sourness. You can actually pick of a trace of alcohol, which is very surprising considering it's only 6.2%. It's tastes of a mix of sweet fruits and condensed milk. Sweet Moses this beer is sweet! How do people drink a 750 by themselves? I kind of like Flanders Red Ales but this beer is far too sweet for me. It doesn't help that the sweetness is the prominent part of the after taste. It's just ok in my opinion.

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

Revisit: 28 Nov 15
11.2 oz. Bottle
Best Before: 2016-08-19

Poured into a chalice a very nice reddish/brownish color, very nice carbonation, with a very nice small foamy/creamy off-white head, which leaves some sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, tart, sweet, with some dark cherries, grapey. The taste is very nice malty, tart, very nice sweetness, cherries, slightly grapey. Medium body. Overall, this one is hitting the spot with some chili. Now I do drink wine, once in a while, also getting into some port. Still would recommend this brew!

Pours a dark brown/black color, nice carbonation, lots of lacing throuhout the drink. Scents of grapes, sour/tarty, and caramel. I like the taste, tarty/sour, carbonated, reminds me of a wine, but more to my liken (not a wine drinker at all). Medium body. Very drinkable, this is my first Flanders Red Ale. Totally blew my mind when opened and took my first sip. Would highly recommend to people, will definitely buy again.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.86/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a oversized DFH snifter+ a small wine glass. Thanks Birradr14

Duchesse De Bourgogne graces a dark brown look from afar. Up towards brightness, a red mixture with orange patches and a mahogany screen. A lucious creamy bright vanilla head rose about a inch or so creating snowflake lace.

Her scent comprises of a dose of dark fruit with apple slices and minimal pear. Being a flanders red ale, Duchesse brings vinegar and it is the most forward out of any flanders red i've had. Hops are not a factor here. A sweet shot of vanilla and some oak from the barrel.

Holy sweet vinegar birdman, it is the main contender. Vinegar forward with dark fruits following (apples upfront) with a vanilla or light cream finish. Some pear and cherry. The oak is really prominent in the bottle. On tap, Duchesse is very sweet and the vinegar comes out a bit more, I like this version better. Not really tart or sour.

This has a light to medium body. The carbonation is present and expected from the pop of the cork. It works well. The liquid goes down kind of smooth. I dont find this to be tart or sour in the least bit, although there is some slight acidity on the tounge. This is quite smooth and easy going. The sweetness sticks around for a while (vanilla) but not as much than the on tap version IMO.

This is great beer. Not high in alcohol and the ladies sem to love it. I prefer the bottle version and would prefer the smaller version, I couldent take to much more than that. Big bottles are great for sharing. This would go well with some dark meats. With all this said Out of all the flanders red's I've had it's low in ranking because of the over the top vinegar taste, I've had better.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice burgundy color, quite clear and pours with almost no head. Tastes lightly sour, with a hint of sweetness. Smells lightly woody and a bit sour as well. This beer tastes tart with a hint of cherry. A much more everyday, easy drinking version of Rodenbach Grand Cru. Maybe some hints of vanilla in the taste, followed by a bit of tannic background. No bitterness just a wonderful marriage of tart and sweet flavors. A hint of alcohol in the finish.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml poured into my Kasteel tulip. Picked up in trade.

Short lasting 1/2" head.. atop a beautiful brown brew with crystal clear deep red highlites.

Aroma is sweet and definately vinegar like... Unexpected sweet and sour cherry aroma... wine/tawyny port notes in the nose.

Flavor has Balsamic characteristics for sure... Sweet red wine and cidery with cherry notes... as it warms dark dried fruits play a bigger role, prunes raisins and sugary dates.. big woody oakey overtones throughout.. interesting... not nearly as sour as expected.. creamy lite/medium body and an active carbonation pushes the flavors through my mouth making me want another taste... Oakey Strawberries mascerated with Balsamic BURPS!

I've had 2 other bottles of this one, but this one aged for a while... I have no idea if the cellaring helped, but I am appreciating this one more than previous notes signify.. I would buy this again and again if it were available in Boise... but after reviewing it, I would let most sit for a long while before capping another.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark ruby colored brew which sports a rocky, pillowy, off white head that seems to breathe as if the beer was alive (which it is). Craters opening up, the head finally dies down a little and leaves alot of lace. Just a beauty of a beer.

Smell: Apple cider, vinegar. A bit musty and sour smelling. Perfumy.

Taste: Tart and sweet with a lingering sour/metallic edge. This ale was matured in wooden vats, providing an oaky/woodsy dryness. As it warms, more complexity develops, fruits that do not exist like a mixture of cherry, granny smith apple and citrus with some acidity. This is one hell of a beverage.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a semi dry finish and a lingering sourness of the palate.

Drinkability: A very desirable sour that is a pleasure to partake. Highly recommended.

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Photo of biegaman
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer is 'red' only in regards to its highlights, which blaze a casual orange-red, like that of persimmon fruit. The body is slightly dark and its shine is modest. A patchy yet all encompassing tarp of head slates the beer at all times. Irregular patterns of lacing are splotched about the glass.

The smell can evolve throughout the tasting. Generally speaking it is a compost of candy apple, balsamic vinegar and spiked cranberry lemonade. As it became room temperature, the smell grew more sweet than it was at first sour, and became remarkably alike a mead. One (or all) of the cranberry lemonade/balsamic vinegar/candy apple is what most will likely pick up on.

The Duchesse, somewhat distinct from others its style, has an underlying bittersweet cocoa mixed with granola kind of flavour. More like others, the sense of balsamic vinegar is strong. Strawberries, cherries, bruised apple, and dates characterize most of the overripe fruit taste.

The mouthfeel is certainly a lot closer to a wine than most beer drinkers would be used to. Bitterness is replaced by sourness (although no Cantillon) and tartness (although no Rodenbach). The oak aging contributes greatly to the overall dimension of the beer, lending a dryness, but also combining with the sweetness in flavour to make for rum, port, or sherry like taste.

Like lambics, Flanders Ales are a blend of young and old beers and carry a touch of funk. Although the two styles also share in common barrel aging, the merging of tart, sweet, and sour, as well as the often underlying acidity, the reds and bruins of Flanders certainly don't drink like their Brusselian cousins.

Flanders Ales offer you a choice. Their subtleties and complexity allow for something that can be sipped and savoured. The medley of sweet and sour, on the other hand, make for something refreshing and rewarding, a glass that won't last long full. The choice can be yours.

I've had the Duchesse De Bourgogne on so many occasions now, including the beer at different ages, and I can honestly say that it is always a treat. The Duchesse especially epitomizes the art of Flemish brewing.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle, best by 9/2/11,

A: Pours a copper burgundy with a pillowy off-white head, lots of lace.

S: Attic dust and must, balsamic vinegar, and a hint of raspberry.

T: Sweet upfront, the fruit changes from raspberry in the nose to Bing cherry on the tongue. Sweet cherries, not sour cherries. Rather mild acetic acid is here. Definite oak character - there are hints of vanilla. There's a note of sweet caramel malt that's aching to get in the mix too.

M: Sweet to start out with, tart and sour on the finish. Complex. Not over-carbonated, which I was concerned about with the big head, but the carbonation is rather light here - the background acidity carries the body of the ale.

D: Again, I can see why these types of beers are known as the Burgundies of Belgium. Not only the colour, but they are delicious, complex; they have some wildness to them but are still completely distinct from the lambic beer family. I'd love to pair this with a venison steak and cherry reduction sauce, I think that would be amazing. The nice thing about this beer is it is very easy to find and not overpriced in the current price range of Belgian beers. It's making me wonder why it took me so long to revisit it.

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Photo of Zorro
3.72/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear dark red brew with some floaters in it.

Strong sour smell with a cherries and fruit scent. Is this a sour Lambic? Harder sniffing uncovers spice and a sweet smell too. The sweet smell is malt.

Flavor is very sour, with woody flavors. Cherries are present; this strongly resembles a Kriek Lambic in flavor. After you get over the sour shock other flavors come out. Add Honey, Mustard, and olive oil to this and you will have an interesting salad dressing.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Not real drinkable, it's to sour for most.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
2.53/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Third Flanders Red I've reviewed on this site and it is receiving the lowest scores so far. Very surprised to see it in the top ten for its style.

I didn't like the sour, vingerous aroma mixed in with the old cherry and almonds smells. I know that is what should smell like, but this seemed a over the top.

It looked fine, clear ruby red when held up to the light. The head started as a wisp and didn't change much throughout the drinking, apart from getting less and less.

The sweet and sour taste was too sickly and it was too fizzy as well, over carbonated for sure.

This is a designer beer, I've had it on tap and bottled before, it wasn't great then. My wife doesn't like it and I don't either.

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

Finally got around to reviewing this classic of the style. Had a bottle at the Brick Store poured into the appropriate glassware. Poured red without much head or lacing, but still pretty to look at. Sweet and sour aromas of apples and cherries and a lightly acetic quality. The taste has that same sweet/sour combo as its main thread of flavor. Added to that are flavors of spiced cherries, a bit of oaky woodiness, and a developing creamy sweetness with a hint of bitter tannins right at the finish. Mouthfeel is creamy and soft and a bit sweet. This is on the low side in the sour spectrum that this style encompasses. Very nice, if not quite as complex as some others. Still, relatively easy to find and a solid brew.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally getting around to reviewing this one. An easy introductory brew to the world of Flanders reds. Muddy brown color with a smallish head, spotty lace.

Aroma on the sweet side, with lots of cherries and raspberry, decent tartness and funk, nothing too overpowering, trace vinegar note.

The flavor follows the aroma very closely; kind of straightforward and uncomplicated for the style, maybe a bit too sweet for my taste. Lots of sour cherry, very lightly funky, some woody notes, and again, a muted undertone of vinegar.

Medium thin bodied, spritely carbonation, interestingly drying finish without overly lingering sweet or sour flavors.

A decent beer for the style, ubiquitous, but I prefer the Rodenbachs.

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

Was very surprised to see that I had not reviewed this previously. On tap at the Hudson Street Stackhouse.

The beer pours a reddish amber color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is very attractive, showcasing considerable cherry, vanilla, sweet tart and hints of chocolate. As good as this beer smells, it tastes even better. The flavor profile replicates the nose, but the cherry and sweet tart really come on strong. Also, I really like the hint of vanilla, wine and chocolate I'm picking up as well. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a long, tart, mouth puckering finish.

Just delicious, and probably the best example of how my taste has changed over time. At one time I found this beer barely drinkable, as it was just too sour for me. Now I think the level of sour in this beer is just right, and sometimes think it borders on being too sweet. Regardless, this is an outstanding beer, with an amazing amount of flavor given the 6% abv. This is the beer I think of when I think of a flanders red ale.

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

Poured from 330mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: deep, clear red-brown woody color with two fingers of pillowy ivory foam. Layers of chunky lace are left as I drink the glass down. I like it a lot.

Smell: sweet caramel malt, oak and a nice dry sourness. Under that I get some faint but nice raisin and plum aromas. Nicely complex and highly alluring.

Taste: flavor profile is similar to the aroma with a bit dose of caramel malt, followed by a nice woody tartness. Complexity is very nice and the tartness is just enough to warrant taking another sip. This is one delicious beer.

Mouthfeel: medium body and enough carbonation to yield a sweet, smooth creaminess. Perhaps this should fall under flavor, but it seems like the acidity results in a little astringency which helps wash the palate clean and gets you ready for the next bout of creaminess. Fantastico.

Drinkability: this is a freakin' delicious beer. I am sad I have never had this up until now. I would drink this daily if I had the money.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pour is red with a small off-white head that slowly sets into decent lacings.

S: Sour and yeasty, there is at least some brett in it. Kind of fruity and dry. Some nice bitterness. Some sweetness to the malt. Cherries.

T: Cherries again, and sweetness. Sour and yeasty just like in the smell. Some tart at the end.

M: Light body and rich carbonation. Aftertaste is rather long and mostly sour, but also bitter.

O: A Flanders Red is always an interesting beer. This is no exception.

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Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
4.1 out of 5 based on 4,129 ratings.
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