English: Duchesse de Bourgogne, Belgian beer

English: Duchesse de Bourgogne, Belgian beer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Duchesse de Bourgogne is a Flanders red ale-style beer produced by Brouwerij Verhaeghe in Vichte, Belgium. After a primary and secondary fermentation, this ale is matured in oak barrels for 18 months. The final product is a blend of a younger 8-month-old beer with an 18-month-old beer. The name of the beer is meant to honor Duchess Mary of Burgundy, the only daughter of Charles the Bold, born in Brussels in 1457, who died young in a horse riding accident. Like all Flemish red ales, Duchesse de Bourgogne has a characteristically sour, fruity flavor similar to that of lambic beers.

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beers

beers (Photo credit: uberculture)

Flanders red ale is a style of sour ale usually brewed in Belgium. Although sharing a common ancestor with English porters of the 17th century, the Flanders red ale has evolved along a different track: the beer is often fermented with organisms other than Saccharomyces cerevisiae, especially Lactobacillus, which produces a sour character attributable to lactic acid. Long periods of aging are employed, a year or more, often in oaken barrels, to impart an acetic acid character to the beer. Special red malt is used to give the beer its unique color and often the matured beer is blended with a younger batch before bottling to balance and round the character.

Flanders reds have a strong fruit flavor similar to the aroma, but more intense. Plum, prune, raisin and raspberry are the most common flavors, followed by orange and some spiciness. All Flanders red ales have an obvious sour or acidic taste, but this characteristic can range from moderate to strong. There is no hop bitterness, but tannins are common. Consequently, Flanders red ales are often described as the most “wine-like” of all beers.

Notable examples include Duchesse de Bourgogne and Rodenbach.