Sunday, November 14, 2010

Verhaeghe Duchesse De Bourgogne

Duchesse De Bourgogne

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Flanders (Flemish) Red Ale

6.20% ABV

Commercial Description:
Duchesee de Bourgogne is the traditional top fermented reddish-brown ale from the West-Flanders region of Belgium. This refined ale also known as "The Burgundies of Belgium" is a blend of 8 and 18 months old ales following careful maturation in oak casks. 100% natural and unpasteurized.

General Pricing:
11.2oz, 330ml bottle, ~$6.00 each, ~$22.00 4 pack, ~$121.00 case
750ml Bottle, ~$12.00 each, ~$135.00 case

I have to admit up front that this is my favorite Flemish Red and what I consider the Gold Standard for style. This particular bottle was a left over from the tasting table at the last Belgian Event.

This one was brought to the event by my friend Gonzolo. I have had this several times but I have not reviewed it before. So last see how the Duchesee holds up in a review.
The bier pours a clear dark amber almost brown with deep ruby hues and an off white to tan head.

The nose is exquisite. Well, that is if you like the Belgian funky sour aromas. The nose is full with sweet dark fruit esters with sour tart notes all with that classic Belgian yeasty background. This is extremely inviting, if this is your thing.

Oh My, That is Goood. I’m afraid that this may be a short review. This is so delicious it may end up going down too fast.

The taste starts out with a fruit sweetness up front on the tip of the tongue then that is immediately followed by a tart and sour effervescence throughout the middle of the sip. Still fruity and sweet but now also tart and sour. The back end is very easy drinking but also highly carbonated. The flavors toward the end of the swallow into the finish are quite impressive. The flavors are of sweet dark fruits; cheery, raspberry and a wine like red grape and old flavor. These flavors are so refreshing in the finish. There is also a very dark malt flavor in the finish but mostly these are sweet fruit flavors. There is a lingering aftertaste of sweet fruit along with a sour/tartness and yeasty notes. However this sourness is never overwhelming.

I have heard other reviewers comparing Belgian biers to wine and I usually disagree with that analogy but in this case it really fits. This bier is really more like a moderately sour/tart carbonated red wine than a bier. The actual official glass for this bier is a wine glass.

The taste of this bier also reminds me of some of the Fruit Lambics; sour in the background but with strong fruit sweetness up front. Although this bier is not as sweet as the fruit lambics. This also has a nice malt and oak flavor to it.

This is really an exquisite brew.
It is extremely good but it is also very sweet. Because of that, this is one of those biers that I have to be in the mood for. I have had this in the fridge since the end of September just waiting for the right time to have it. I don’t know why but I was almost craving this tonight.

Well, just like I thought in the beginning this went down to easy and was so delicious that it is just about gone.

The final sips have warmed up quite a bit. It is much smoother now and much richer.

The head on this bier never quit. Even the last sip had a nice protective layer over it and there was very nice lacing left on the glass.

This is an A+ in my book. It is a perfect blend of old and young ales and aged like a fine wine to a simple perfection. Not for everyone, this is sour, sweet and a little yeasty. It really drinks more like a carbonated yeasty wine rather than a beer but it is so delicious.


  1. Ok, so this one's at Steve's as well. I'm actually glad I did NOT pick up this 4-pack, although the pricing wasn't quite as bad as you advertised. We have enough actual wine and enough fruit beer to do for a while. However, I'll recommend this to Zachary when the time comes since he likes Lambics.

  2. Hey Ken, It's worth trying and if Steve's has the 750ml bottle that is usually better then the small ones.