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Duchess de Bourgone

I went out to a bar last night - I rarely do these days, and this was on tap. Asked the bartender what it was and he replied a sour beer. Looking it up it’s a Flanders Red Ale. It seems to rate rather high -

Well after reading so much lately about sours and never having tried one, I gave it a whirl.

I don’t really know what to think. It smelled like a mix of vinegar and brake cleaner. Initial taste was what I assume brake cleaner tastes like but near the mid to end of the sip a fruity flavor came through and was VERY good. If I could only have the last 1/2 of the taste - I’d be all over it. (sorry - I don’t speak BJCP)

Given the VERY heavy solvent smell and initial taste and the fact I had NEVER had such a style before I’m wondering if it was mishandled or some other way not correct.

I’ve done a lot of mechanic work, ran a diesel shop etc - I know brake cleaner and solvent when I smell it and that’s what this was - bad.

Can anyone else verify or offer insight as to why this was that way or is it supposed to be that way?

I don’t know what I don’t know so to speak.

It’s definitely acetic, i.e. vinegary. I certainly haven’t noticed “brake cleaner” though, and I can’t think of a contaminant that would do that. Without having someone else there to taste it, I’m not sure you can know if it’s off, or if you just don’t like it.

I’d try to pick up a bottle and see how that strikes you. Or a different Flanders Red, to see if you like the style.

I’m going to try and get a bottle. The vinegar was separate from this solvent taste. They weren’t mixed but separate.

The solvent taste should not be there. It should be fruity and sweet with some sourness. Many people compare these beers to red wine. This is why I don’t drink at bars very often. They or the distributers don’t always keep the beers in good condition.

My club brewed one of these beers a few years ago, and it developed a finger nail polish remover taste after a while. I think this is acetone. I had to dump mine even though it tasted great the month before.

Around here I find that most bars serve beer in better condition than I can buy in a package store. Of course with a beer like this with mixed fermentation, a lot can go wrong.

Not sure why the beer would develop a solvent note, the acidity is pretty strong and gets stronger with age. I make a mean Flanders red, only takes about nine months or so to be drinkable.

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