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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 corby112
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a dark amber brown with burgundy edges. Beautiful aroma of oak, cherry, vanilla and sour tartness. The combination of the two aged brown ales provides this beer with a perfect smooth balance that is not to sweet and not to tart. Hints of oak, vanilla, grape, cherry, sugar and sourness.

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

Picked this up at Julio's a long time ago, poured into my Dogfish Head chalice.

A - Pours a cherry amber hue with a large, off-white, 2 finger head with a good retention and a light lacing.

S - Light sourness with some faint vinegar notes along with some slight earthyness qualities.

T - Lots of nice oak barrel with this, quite prominant and mingles nicely with the good sour vinegar notes and faint cherries. Nicely complex as well.

M - Nice carbonation for this style, keeps it up off the tongue.

O - Super refreshing and delicious. Quite enjoyable and a solid brew for the style.

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Photo of wl0307
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Revisiting this vaguely-defined Flanders ale as part of my 7-bottle tasting panel of Flemish Red/Brown ales. BB 13/12/09, served lightly-chilled in Gulden Draak's tulip-shaped bowl sniffer.

A: dark russet brown colour with good clarity, coming with fine yet constant streams of carbonation in support of a thick, dark-beige frothy head that retreats reluctantly and leaves tight lacing behind.
S: marvellously fruity, lactic-sour, and sweet-malty... creamy yet salty-sour berry fruits are not "floating", but rather thick and oily, suggesting licorice-marinated prunes, strawberry/raspberry jam, fat smoked longan-fruits, and a dancing touch of diacetyl in the background, while the dark malts give out a strong aroma of crystallised sugar... A closer sniff reveals the underlying oak-ageing aroma, that is mildly vanilla-ish sweet yet inextricably linked to the vinegary character typical of this style. Still, having tried Rodenbach Grand Cru, this ale smells rather like a milder Oud Bruin to me.
T: the foretaste is just lightly lactic-sour cherry-fruity, backed by a thick body of mild brown-sugary malts, semi-sweet longan-fruits and utterly delicious prunes... as the vinegary sour-fruity edge softens, very quietly the main theme gives way to lightly flavoured, sweet-tea-ish herbal touch of hops and lightly aromatic notes of oak-ageing (not unlike an Oloroso Sherry actually), leaving a mildly woody/tangy palate to go with more aromatic undertones of Chinese prunes in the long finish. Simply delicious...
M&D: like my last bottle, the body is medium-plus and the texture is impeccably creamy-smooth, but the overall sweet elements apparently are much softer and the flavour structure is quite "evolving", hence a more enjoyable balance. Still, it's very hard to determine where a Flemish Red stops and Oud Bruin starts, as the characters shown in this nice ale border both, smartly.

* Tasting Date: 23/07/06
This is the first time to revisit this beer since my first encounter three years ago in Brussels. I still remember that it gave me a much sweeter impression than Rodenbach's range and other counterparts, thus I was not that keen to try it again. But my memory could be hazy, I told myself in the shop, and it deserves a "recorded" opinion as such~~ BB 11/07/07, served lightly-chilled in a large Burgundy bulb wine glass.
4 A: reddish-brown in colour the beige-hued frothy head settles fast to a rimmed foam and leaves uneven lacing along the way; medium-lively carbonation. Looking settled and promising.
4.5 S: slightly rusty upfront, followed by a much milder edge of red wine vinegar, creamy raspberry+strawberry-flavoured yogurt, lightly-caramelised sugar, and a fantastic note of smoked prunes and quite akin to a silky and prune-ish Rioja!! As I remember it right, the fruity smell does have a sweeter edge to the overall sour aroma, but in a sense a softer and creamy balance is obtained b/w wood-ageing factor and profound maltiness, neither so... exciting nor harsh as Rodenbach Grand Cru... Instead it's deeply aromatic, fruity, yet approachable.
3.5 T: an assertive flow of brown sugar like sweetness and sour-sweet berry- and stone-fruits smoothly caress the tongue, but in two different layers rather than being mixed seamlessly... the mid-flavour shows more sweet and creamy malts, which is not heavy but slightly too sugary, whereas the soft fruitiness and wood-ageing's sourness prevail in time to result in a slightly dryish, tangy and tartly-sweet aftertaste, thus an overall pleasant and evolving structure is secured all right. Short and clean finish.
4 M&3.5 D: can't complain at all about the texture--creamy and softly carbonated on the mouthfeel, and the body is quite solid yet pretty refreshingly-light vis-a-vis the flavour. Somehow the sweet edge of this beer is still what fails to convince me, just like my first encounter three years ago: the sweet, sugary edge running in parallel to, rather than hand in hand with, the sour-fruitiness poses the largest difficulty b/w me and this otherwise fantastic beer. Guess I'd only be converted to this ale either when my palate changes, or the brewer budges.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice deep burgundy color.

S: Huge fruity aroma, sour cherries, and berries and a light vinegar presence.

T: Cherries and sour berries for flavor and drinks like a fermented fruit juice with some fresh dark fruit and plums as well. Some oaky and vinous notes. Sweet alcohol laced cherries closes things out. Spicy bite from the yeast and hops with an acidic bite.

M: lots carbonation and was very fizzy. Very smooth and silky on the tongue and well balanced.

D: Highly recommended. smooth and is very drinkable.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter glass and received a two-finger head that died quickly on top of a dark brown with purple tints (think brown grapefruit juice) body. Some caramel and citric notes like grapefruit and pear, along with a light malt presence and oak (sort of reminded me a cab sauv) in the smell. An excellent tart citrus taste, like cherries (and oranges; acidicness), mixed w/ caramel and chocolate malt and oak. A medium to full body that goes down smooth with a wine-like aftertaste (a tad sour) and carbonation. Good fruitiness in there (sort of reminded me of a Belgian triple, and this is a Belgian afterall), but maybe a little too sour/fruity for a complete sessioning, but this is one damn good beer that you must try if you haven't already.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)
A-Pours a deep chocolate brown body that is almost opaque with a nice carbonation of tiny bubbles. It has a tan head that fades to a few clouds of head around the edge of the glass.

S- Black cherry, dried cranberry aromas with a sharp vinegar smell.

T- tart cherry flavor with a strong acidity. Hints of currants or cranberries are present. A slight hint of vanilla is present but the acidity dominates. Hints of port flavors in the finish.

M- Medium-light body and not any fizziness from the carbonation. It has acidic pucker at the finish but no sweetness or alcohol in the finish.

D- The sourness fades about 3/4 of the way through the beer. It starts to mellow after your taste bud get used to the shock. It has an almost red wine taste and it would be wonderful to develop that more at a port taste with other flavors popping out aswellas the acidity. Definitely an interesting experience.

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Photo of beertunes
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in a Chalice. Thin light tan head that dissipates quickly. A quite lovely deep brown with a reddish tint. Strong vinegar aroma. Flavor has the vinegar, but not as noticeably as the aroma. That musky, deep flavor is quite enjoyable. A sharp, wine like taste. I'm having trouble finding descriptors that fit the taste of this beer. The body is solid if a little thin. Very drinkable, if these flavors fit you. I enjoy this beer a lot, even though I have a difficult time describing it.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cork exploded off the 750ml bottle without much effort. Poured a dark brownish red color with a nice creamy head. Smell is sour with vinegar and I can pick up a bit of the oak as well . Taste starts out quite smooth, then the tartness hits you and continues to build making way for a surpisingly clean and dry finish. Wow! Great Flanders Red Ale, however I do believe Rodenbach Grand Cru is far superior. A stellar brew nonetheless.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml caged and corked bottle(best by Nov 2007 and 6%abv on the label) a ruby red with a large head of foam that settled down to a billowy layer with lots of nice lacing.

The smell is quite fruity, mostly sour cherries and some yeastiness. A *very* good nose, imho.

The taste is fruity sweet up front..I note cherries and pears with a hint of raspberry along with some good yeasty flavour..it's almost hitting me like a good flavourful Lambic. A few more sips in and the sourness that I mentioned in the nose starts to sneak up on me but wait, even at its peak, it is on the mild side. Yum. This Flanders Red Ale is taking a different route from the one I'm used to drinking and that suits me just fine. It is a super smooth drinker.

Halfway through the bottle and indeed, to the last pour, I hold up my NB goblet and see that the colour is *still* a clear ruby red, the smell and taste are *still* a delightful mix of sweet and sour fruit, the foam is *still* a sight to behold. I'm certainly I grabbed a bottle of this one on my last trip to Colorado. I would not hesitate to buy another.

Bottom line: Super smooth yet flavourful Flanders Red Ale. Do try it if you see it in a store near you!

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Photo of spinrsx
3.16/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

330ml bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a clear brown colour with huge fizzy beige head. There appears to be a lower than normal amount of carbonation. There is some faint lacing, and the head lasted for a while.

Smell - Slightly metallic, vinegar, plums, a peppery spice mix

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a nice mouth feel, lots of little bubbles on the tongue. It feels very light - But it is definitely not light tasting. This beer packs a punch with a whole lot of various flavours going on. I have to say that I've never encountered a beer that tasted quite like this one. It reminds me of a glass of port mixed with champagne and beer. It tastes slightly metallic, lots of sweet grape flavour, and some woody notes. It finishes with a grape and metallic bitter aftertaste.

Drink - I have to say.. not one of my favorite beers. I can see how it might appeal to some, but this beer isn't for me.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750ml corked bottled poured into a snifter glass. Cork says expires on 9/2014.

Pours a medium reddish-brown color with a light, bubbly head. Smell is mild for a sour, with sweet grapes being the pronounced scent along with vinegar. the taste is...wow. Quite different. Not at all how it smells. First off, it's not very sour tasting at all. VERY easy to drink. Sweet fruits dominate the palate with a very slight sour aftertaste. I taste cherry and grape mostly, but there are so many flavors here. I really enjoy it. Carbonation is high, as it should be for the style.

Overall this is a very drinkable beer. It's more candy than beer. It's not something you'd drink fast, as the flavors are so complex you want to savor every sip. It is honestly the most "different" beer I've ever tasted. I really enjoyed this one.

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

330ml bottle poured into tulip 18/6/13

A nearly clear ruby red with lots of carbonation, a light brown two finger foams a little darker then expected and quickly looses half its height but then sticks around a pinky deep leaving several partial rings deep down the glass

S earthy wood notes, some sour fruit, brown sugar, just a very faint hint of funk and vinegar, smells solid but could use just a little more intensity

T flavors stronger then the nose, has a sweet and sour thing going on and it works very well, cherry, strawberries and raspberries both sweet and tart, those fizzy candies that come in the two foot long strips, wood and vinegars quite faint, soft caramels add to the mix, wonderful stuff

M silky through the lips and creams up nicely, sweet and sour, a little slick inside your mouth and sticky on the lips, mild fruity aftertaste is rather clean much to my surprise

O great beer that's already gone at this point, very easy to drink and everything meshes together to create a lovely sweet and sour, fruity mix

I've had this several times before and I'm not really sure how I've never sat down and reviewed it, a classic brew that I doubt will ever go out of style

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Photo of pat61
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tart nose with slight wet horse blanket, red fruit not much hop, malt with slight chocolate. Pours brilliant reddish brown, not a lot of head. On the palate ripe and over ripe fruit with cherries at the front with the sour coming on by the middle and then a slight touch of hops, finishes a little sweet – almost like they added some sweetness to increase the marketability. Medium body, medium low carbonation, no alcohol, slightly creamy, very sweet finish. Overall Impression: the head was somewhat light, drinkable but too sweet. Lacking complexity. Should be drier.

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

Pours a brilliant amber with a frothy beige head. Tart cherry and acetic acid open the aroma, with toasted oak and vinous qualities adding complexity. Flavor is very acetic, with toasted barrel drying out the finish. Tart cherries and balsamic vinegar are evident. Puckeringly sour, with cherry lingering in the finish. Slightly spicy, phenolic aftertaste.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml caged and corked bottle, cork states expiration date of 12/09. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a reddish/brown color with about a half inch off-white head. Head retention is average, lacing is good. It smells like tart cherries, apples and vinegar. The taste is similar to the aroma, it tastes like slightly tart cherries, apples, plums and a bit of funk and vinegar. The taste isn't quite as sour as I expected it to be, but I think it's pretty good. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy and slick and well carbonated. Drinkability is pretty good, it's smooth, refreshing and very enjoyable and easy to drink. I'd buy this again in the future, I think this is a pretty good brew. Recommended.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Dogfish signature snifter. Label says best before 09/11/2013.

A- Pours a ruby-like brown color with almost two fingers worth of head that retains well before making its way down to an 1/8 inch ring around the edge of the glass. A nice sheet of surface foam and good lacing. Actually looks quite nice.

S- Oh, but it will be sour indeed. Pungent, almost medicinal fumes of wild funk. I can actually smell the tartness which immediately causes my tongue to pucker and salivate slightly.

T- Oh my. That's good! Sweet in the front, very tart in the back and plenty of twists and turns in between. Has the candy-like fruit flavor of a lambic while still brandishing that assertive sourness. Also a noticeable use of malts which keeps that nice, solid beer body amongst the acidity.

M- Very drying and, of course, puckering. Medium-high carbonation.

O- Yes, it's quite tart and does very little to quench my thirst but, after your palate gets acquainted with those tastes, it's very well-balanced. I don't usually get into sours, but I wouldn't mind having this every once in a while. Hat's off to the Duchesse.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.2/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a light, red wine color with a hint of brown. Smelled a bit like red wine, but with a slight hop nuance and cherry lambic tartness. Tasted very sour, this was my first Flanders Red Ale, so I didn't know what to expect. Reminded of a cherry lambic, something I would have after dinner with a tart torte. Could also taste some winey grape notes as well. Mouthfeel was light but with an unexpected tartness, I wouldn't have more than one of these 750ml bottles in a day.

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Photo of avalon07
3.18/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a dark brownish-red hue and very small head. Some lacing, but not a lot.

Very vinegary smell. Not totally unpleasant, but it kind of reminded me of a salad in liquid form.

The taste was complex, but not in a way I enjoy. A previous reviewer said it was like a red wine vinaigrette and I tend to agree with that. It almost didn't have the qualities of a beer.

It had a fair mouthfeel. Not a huge amount of carbonation here. The finish was not especially smooth.

I didn't particularly care for this one. It had much to pungent a taste to go down well Like I said, it almost wasn't like a beer at all.

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

The colour is dark red-brown; the liquid is clear. The low off white foam slowly sinks down leaving a small amount of lacing.

The smell is… Ehhh… Different. Sticky sour notes chemical of acetone, red fruits, barrel-aged flavours, some bitterness and a hint of chocolate. Cool.

The taste is very complex, yet balanced and smooth. The first very sour chemical flavour passes quickly leaving room for a fruity sweet note: Red apples, cherries, raspberries, strawberries… There is a mild sour note with some earthy flavours and a growing matured flavour of wood and strong wines. The aftertaste is fruity and sweet with a gentle low bitterness.

The carbonation is medium strong with lots of short-lasting small fresh bubbles. The liquid is creamy and a little bit thick.

I have never tasted anything like this. Much more fruity and matured than the fruit Lambics, still it is very sour and chemical.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.66/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle, best by 2/10/2015. Served in an Unibroue tulip at Pigs in a Fur Coat, Madison WI, 9/27/2014.

A- Dark burgundy colour with a LOT of offwhite head. It took quite a while to completely pour this, as it was clearly overcarbonated. Pretty off-putting. Lots of fluffy thick lacing, though. [3.5]

S- Cherries, brown malt sweetness, a bit of lemon acidity. Solid, nothing too complex. [3.75]

F- Some more complexity here- sour lemon acidity, raisins, grape juice, brown malt sweetness with an oaky, earthy middle finished off by a slightly acidic but metallic finish. I'm not a fan of the finish, unfortunately. And it's quite a bit sweeter than I expected it to be. [3.75]

M- Medium bodied, a bit thick and syrupy for a sour although it seems to be about right for the Flanders Red style. Fairly drinkable although the sweetness is a bit of a turnoff for me. [3.5]

O- Not that big a fan of this beer, but I wouldn't turn it down if there were no better options available. A bit too sweet for me. [3.5]

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Photo of DrJay
3.76/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby colour with a bit of brown topped by a pale tan head. Good lacing made up of very fine bubbles. Tart aroma with some fruity esters and a bit of tobacco. There's a hint of solventy alcohol here that was slightly distracting, but diminished somewhat with time. Syrupy sweetness balances the fruity tartness quite nicely - almost like candy. Dry finish. Very fine carbonation, full mouthfeel and palate coating. Quite nice overall. The sweet and tart combination in the flavour really works. Thanks Viggo!

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Photo of tigg924
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: dark red/brown, medium head, medium carbonation, clear

Smell: sour figs, pears, and cherries

Taste: The big taste I get here is cherry sour patch kids, plus maybe a bit of berry

Mouthfeel: sour, tart, clean, and there is a sweetness to it as well

Drinkability: I think this would be an excellent starter sour. The taste is amazing and I could drink several as the alcohol is hidden.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lovely deep dark ruby brown color with pillowy off white head. Smell is of balsamic vinegar, tart cherry with hints of pear. Taste is a quick burst of tart cherry and apple cider vinegar / balsamic vinegar quickly backing off into a nice blend of semi-sweet fruit with a very earthy grain profile. Body medium... prickly at first, mellowing out quickly. Very good taste without overpowering. Would be a very good introduction into the world of sour beer for the novice.

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Photo of RBorsato
3.76/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark reddish-brown with a full light brown head, good carbonation, and sheets of lace. Light sour aroma and light oakiness. Dark passion fruit flavors with chocolatey tones and woody tones. More sour than Rodenbach Grand Cru and not as smooth. Light-medium bodied.

I'd try other Flanders Red Ales before trying this one again although I'm hoping the age did not have a negative impact...

Best Before: 08/16/02
Tasted: 06/27/03

($2.99 / 11.2 oz.)

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

750mL corked & caged bottle split, poured into a tulip. Best before July 2011 on the cork. Huge thanks to beerwolf77 for sharing this!

(A)- Pours a clear mahogany color with reddish highlights. Produced a good off-white head that dissipated down to bubbles. Left a tiny ring of lacing.

(S)- A big sour funk up front. Has a vinegar smell reminiscent of easter egg dye (you were right beerwolf!)Has a big dry funk with some dark fruits floating in the background. Funktastic.

(T)- A sour vinegar-like dark fruits of cherry, grape, and maybe even plum. Definitely a sour kicker. A funky combo of sweet fruits and funky sour vinegar-like flavors.

(M)- A good carbonation level. A good balance of all the funk with the dry, sweet, tart, and sour profiles. Definitely something different than what I am used to. It grew on me the more I had of it.

(D)- An interesting beer. Being the first of the style I have consumed, I am not familiar with it, but it is intriguing me. I am glad this was split, cause I might have had trouble if I drank one on my own. It fits the style as far as I can tell well. I look forward to trying more.

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