Aug 3, 2007

Session #6: Duchesse De Bourgogne

The Session Logo

For this month’s Session, I needed to find a beer that had been brewed with or augmented by fruit. As some of you know, I’m not the biggest fruit beer fan.

Quite honestly, I have been dreading this day since its announcement. But for the sake of holding true to The Session, I sucked it up and began making a list of the beers that I was going to subject myself to. Ultimately, I decided on trying out Dogfish Head’s Festina Peche. Planning on picking it up earlier this week, fate intervened.

This past weekend we had the wife’s family up for dinner and as usual my father-in-law brought with him an excellent brew. I had seen a bottle of Duchesse De Bourgogne some time ago, but didn’t know much about it so neglected to pick it up. After having a glass of it before dinner on Sunday, I’ve come to the realization that I should be kicked in the jimmy repeatedly for passing it up.

Briefly, the beer is a Flanders red ale-style brewed with mild hops and roasted malt then blended with various vintages and aged in oak casks for 18 months. Now, while this beer isn’t directly influenced by fruit, the flavors that it picks up from the casks produce a very unique port-like taste — so much so that I initially mistook this as an offshoot style of lambic.

Beer Label: Duchesse De Bourgogne


This beer poured much darker than I initially anticipated. It’s got a nice garnet hue along the edges of the glass and a decent sized head that faded to a relatively long lasting sticky lacing.


The smells in this beer are mouth watering. It’s got the characteristics of a nice port as well as a good bit of woodiness from the oak barrels.


Immediately you’re taken with how sweet and grape-like this beer is. Initially I had thought this was aged in wine casks, but I haven’t been able to find any mention of that other than some of the casks the blends are aged in are upwards of 80 years in age. Plum and and a bit of raisin are also in there. Other flavors that I tasted include a nice, subtle malt and yeast presence.


This is without a doubt a special beer. It’s certainly not an every day drinker, but definitely one to enjoy slowly with a fine dinner. It’s qualities are very port like. I enjoyed this one thoroughly.

While I did not pick up a true fruit influenced beer, I’m quite happy that I had the opportunity to try Duchesse De Bourgogne and felt that it deserved more attention than just a standard review, hence my posting it for The Session. If you are lucky enough to find a bottle, I hope you are smarter than I was and grab it immediately — repeated blows to the privates just aren’t fun.

Rating: 4.5/5