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Rare Vos (Amber Ale) | Brewery Ommegang

1,136 Reviews
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Rare Vos (Amber Ale)Rare Vos (Amber Ale)

Brewed by:
Brewery Ommegang
New York, United States | website

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-24-2000

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,136 | Ratings: 3,252
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - poured into a Belgian glass, had to stop to keep the head from going over. Bubbly stuff! It settles down and leaves a think plug of foam in the center. I'll drink around it... leaves thick ropy lacing on the glass.

Aroma - spicy, peppery, some banana and clove aromas emanating from the yeast, somewhat hefe-like.

Taste - a fine taste experience. Medium malt based, a whole lotta bubbles, a fruity and yeasty flavor takes over, developing into some sourness. A restrained hop element just to wrap things up, though the sourness kind of lingers into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - very active and lively in the mouth. The high carbonation level gives it a very crisp feel and the well-pronounced flavors maintain themselves anyway for a superb balance.

Drinkability - delicious enough to drink everyday and about as affordable. Well done by Ommegang.

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Photo of BierManVA
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first Belgian Pale Ale. Dry and hoppy, not unpleasant. I am usually not a fan of Pale Ales, but this is a little different than what I am used to.

Heavily carbonated, amber in color. The bouquet begs to be explored..."drink me!" So I drink...smoothness follows and....another drink.


Thumbs Up!


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Photo of ManekiNeko
4.29/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served chilled in a Duvel tulip from a 750 mL corked and caged bottle.

Appearance: Clear orange liquid with reddish highlights topped by a huge pale yellow head of dense, tiny bubbles. Active carbonation quite visible and maintains a healthy head all throughout consumption. No bona fide lacing, but there were some good sized bits of foam left on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Gorgeously fruity aroma with hints of spices. Peach, orange, cherry, and melon fruit notes. Peppery and coriander spices. A great nose worth taking the time to savor.

Taste: Sweet caramel malt dominated by peppery spices. Slightly herby and medicinal with some banana esters and sourness on the finish. Malt is not quite strong enough to my liking, but it's still purty darn good.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and well carbonated. The cork took no effort to get out via hand. Flavors dance lightly on the tongue and mouth.

Drinkability: Oh god, yes. A solid beer with a bargain basement price. They could charge twice as much for it and I'd still consider this well worth it. I like Hennepin and Ommegang a little better, though.

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Photo of HardTarget
2.84/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Aroma: Spicy, with a slight off smell I can’t place (sorry, musty?).
Appearance: Red/amber color with a monster head. Also noted the very active carbonation seemed to keep some very small (spices?) particles suspended in the brew. Also have to note, the entire pack I got were all gushers, quite a surprise from such a prestigious brewery. A solid coat of lace, which looked more like spray paint, dominated the glass.
Flavor: Spices are right up front, nutmeg, pepper, allspice? I’m taking wild guesses here. Spice fades into a malt sweet that takes about 5 seconds to transition to a hint of hops at the end. Balance is good and allows the spice and yeast to come through, but I have to say, this wasn’t the transcendental experience I had hoped for.
Mouthfeel: Medium, with a slight astringent pucker at the end that wasn’t unpleasant.
Overall Impression: Sigh. I really hope I got a bad batch somehow, which still counts against the brewer. Starting with a gush didn’t help my impressions, and the end result is that, while I’ll drink this, I’m already looking forward to my next beer. The flavor profile is well balanced and the spices are nice, but not great. Obviously some quality in the brew given the massive lacing, but overall, I feel like I didn’t get my money out of this.

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Photo of SheepNutz
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750mL bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a hazy reddish-amber color with two fingers of head. There is minimal lacing left on the glass. The smell is very malty and sweet, with bits of lemon and caramel. The taste starts malty and sweet, with a bit of fruit and pepper. A hint of hops on the finish. The mouthfeel is fairly thick and smooth. The drinkability is also fairly nice. Another great brew from Ommegang.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice ale from Cooperstown. This good looking brew is a very murky deep red amber with an exquisite and creamy, tightly-formed tan head that retains beautifully and laces with remarkable gusto. Beer rarely looks much better than this one does.

The nose is very nice and provides hints of yeast, fruit and spice, along with a very strong alcohol sense that seems higher than its rating. A smooth, creamy feel crosses the lips and provides a bready and yeasty sense very quickly. Lighter notes of fruit and spice enter as each sip settles in and hints at a very nice complexity. The body is lighter and thinner than normally noted in this style. This is followed by a less than crisp, but notably clean finish. The drinkability seems quite good and I can imagine a setting with several of these consumed.

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Photo of JISurfer
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not bad as far as American made Belgian brews. It's definately a lot more refreshing and crisp than most brews of it's kind, which tend to be heavy and thick. The taste is like most Belgians, but lighter and somewhat sharper. The appearance of the beer was a nice thing too. The color was "murky" brownish red, with a creamy colored foam. The head lasted a good bit and was very frothy to begin with.

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Photo of Rumrunner
4.21/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle.

I really enjoyed this ale. A new dimension in spice.

The appearance was a foggy brown amber. Dark gold hues on the sides of the glass with bubbles dancing their way to the top of the glass. The head was big and bubbly. It dissipated some but it did not disappear. The scents were unfortunately restrained. Good scents just not powerful. Mild yeast and pepper. Some grass and fruity sweet apples and green grapes.

The flavors are not restrained at all. Deep pepper and other spices. Nice and grainy. The spices tend to be on the bitter side. There are sweet apples and grapes in the flavors to try and balance out the spicey bite. The spice wins. It finishes with a clove and yeast flavor. The spices mellow slightly when the ale warms a bit. It becomes a bit more malty. A nice adventure for the taste buds.

This ale drinks rich and smooth. The spices leave your mouth with a dry crisp feeling. Very enjoyable.

I think the pepper spice would mellow a bit with some aging. What a great excuse to buy another bottle or two. Cheers.

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Photo of Elemental
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Copper amber color which I thought was a little dark for a Belgian Strong ale, nice thick 1/2" of head.

Smell - I thought the smell was a little lacking, not as much there as I wanted. From what was there it was a good smell - fruity, malty, and slightly spicy.

Taste - Good, slightly fruity and quite malty. Very spicy (maybe a bit too spicy - didn't reflect the smell).

Overall - a pretty good strong ale but I think that a couple refinements could be made to give a better balanced beer.

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Photo of beerguy101
4.36/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Belgian style ale. Dark golden color, large head. Aroma is very malty, fruity and sweet. Smooth malty flavor, nearly fruity. Some hoppyness, nice malt flavors. Finish is smooth. Aftertaste is smooth and malty, no bitterness. No harsh alcohol taste (6.5%). Very good beer.

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Photo of Jarod
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle

This beer poured an amber/almond color that was cloudy to the eye, probably d/t to it being bottle conditioned. The foam that was produced was thick, rich, creamy, sticky, full and colored and off white in color. Lasting power was very nice. It produced a nice sticky lace on the sides of the glass. The aromas that this beer produced were of alcohol soaked fruits, big malts, some grains, plums, raisins and a banana, lots of spices (clove, nutmeg, pepper, licorice), hints of yeast and like a tree bark tendency. The tastes were dominated by all the spices that were noticeable in the nose: cloves, peppers, nutmegs, licorice, followed by some sweet malts and fruits (some dark sweet fruits, bananas and apples), then yeasty bread grains, and hints of alcohol. Aftertaste was of dry yeast, drier overall then I would have thought with the sweetness taking a back seat, and only emerging on occasions. But refreshing and a different view of the style. Not as heavy as I would have thought comparing it to others of the same style, more of a medium/light medium body. Decently complex in the nose and pallet. Good and would probably get again. But would like to try others of the same style first before I revisit.

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Photo of SeanChouffe
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A creamy white head that diminished some, but maintained a smooth and sticky layer. The color is bronze with a hint of yellow., and there was a good amount of carbonation.

Aroma: A complex mixture of tropical fruit (citrusy), and clove with a rich background smell that reminded me of bubblegum.

Taste: Some complex spicy and sweet flavors, but peppery, with an unexpended dry and somewhat acidic finish.

Mouthfeel: A thick , creamy and full bodied feel. Very well balanced.

Interesting: Has a lot of character, but the biting finish was a let down to an otherwise good, well balanced, beer.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
4.01/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was the first beer I grabbed up when I went on my Friday beer shopping run to Whole Foods. They didn't have any the last few times I'd stopped in and I'd almost given up finding any Brewery Ommegang beers near my home.
This poured a dark reddish color similar to that of the skin of a fully ripened peach. It produced a massive, towering, creamy camel-colored head that was eternal and left great lace. Unbelieveable amount of carbonation rising to sustain the head.
The smell was somewhat like that of a Bavarian hefeweizen - cloves, a hint of banana, plum, yeasty malt and peppery spice. All this was present but subservient to the clove aroma.
The taste mirrored the smell except the spiciness was at the forefront. Cloves were omnipresent but the peppery flavor stood out. Yeast and malt were nicely blended in for a complex variety of tastes.
Feel was full, smooth and creamy.
This was a delicious beer. I set aside the rest to have with dinner and it was even better as it warmed. The reasonable ABV% makes Rare Vos quite easy to drink. A great beer with grilled meats and vegetables. A real treat.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice amber color with a slight head that continues to linger.Malty and sweet aroma-somewhat spicy and faintly of hops.Big flavor-malty sweetness,spiciness and maybe a touch of caramel.Full bodied mouthfeel and smooth on the palate.Overall a great beer-never had a bad one from Ommegang.

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Photo of BierReise
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice looking deep amber ale with a creamy dense head and light retention. Gives a fruity spicy aroma with an earthy quality that is quite pleasant. Great full bodied with a creamy yet effervescent mouthfeel. Flavor is malty, fruity with notes of caramel. Everything was excellent about this ale untill the last mouthfull which seemed weak and slightly watery. Also this ale would benefit with a higher abv. It's just missing something.

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Photo of marburg
4.34/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloves, cloves, and more cloves. Then yeast, yeast, and more yeast.

Very straightforward yet somehow subtle. A dark brew with a head that won't quit. An offering to the nose of cloves, clove incense, and clove cigarettes. There's definitely a little pepper and fruit there as well, but this aroma is so well-integrated, it's like watching two really great dancers have at it on an empty floor. Just mind-bogglingly well put together. Flavor is also clove-like but dominated by the yeast. Meaty and luscious yet fruity, estery: lemon and light rind bitterness to close.

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Photo of dmarch
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A hazy copper colored beer with a large white head. The head is quite fizzy and diminishes quickly. Aroma is malty and fruity with some spicyness. The taste malty and peppery. Lots of flavor from the yeast as well. Overall, a solid belgian style ale, but not my favorite Ommegang.

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

Poured a hazy tan-brown. Tart fruit aroma. Initial impression contained an element of raw medicinal alcohol, but this faded quickly as the beer warmed up a bit. Tart phenolic fruit flavors of apricot and pear. At first the beer seemed a bit untamed and unrefined, but as it warmed a bit more maltyness emerged and the flavors came together much better. Finish was a bit sharp with citric acidity.

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Photo of Zraly
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A hazy, apricot-orange with a creamy, off-white head pours beautifully. Wonderful malt and grain note with a hint of a fruit bowl smell. Carbonation is somewhat fizzy and provides an interesting dimension to the complexity of this ale.

Full and forward, the malts prove prominent. Notes of citrus and has bread-like, yeasty flavors. Underlying these is a slight note of spice, almost has a unique cinnamon n' sugar quality to it. A little bit o' honey lingering around as well. The hops are a smooth ending compliment to this powerful and quite divine brew.

I'm fairly new to Belgian-style ales. But if the majority of them are like this, count me in. A gamey meal would go along just fine.

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Photo of putnam
4.52/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a smell! Carnival spun sugar, baked granulated sugar coated deepfried pastries coated in caramel and bananas...disciplined, coffee cream-flavored yeast. Sweet, right?
Actually it's pretty dry on the palate. There is a chalky, yeasty slice of powdered coriander and glazed meats. Dehydrated banana peels and dehydrated citrus peel are stitched throughout the voluptuosly large body. A bit Frankenstein-like...a bit engineered, but impressive.

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Photo of oberon
3.87/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy deep orange with a medium head that sticks around for quite some time,the aroma is orangy and pretty clovey.The taste is a little tart to begin with and a lingering spiciness to it.Nice mouthfeel to it and seems to be pretty drinkable, something a little different.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.65/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

McCall said, in his review, that regular, as well as Cave-Aged, Rare Vos goes well with spicy foods, and it's a good thing, for I'm sampling as I dine on Ethiopian food, and you couldn't want spicier! (although tonight's meal is on the mild side)
There comes off the cage, now for the cork...POP!..and we pour...pale orangeish color, good-sized creamy head..aroma is fresh, yeasty, fruity, uplifting, and more character shines through, more sweet, candyish, even...distinctly sugary, and the perfect profile for a Belgian-style ale bent on delivering deliciusness!
Oh, yum...oh, delicious...thick, fruity, ...heavenly, chock full o' sweetness...malt, hops in perfect alignment to produce a divinely candyish, magnificent dessert beer...or dinner beer...or Happy-to-Be-Alive-Beer (and who doesn't need a copious amount of these?)
In all honesty, the work done in the cave was fairly minimal, for I've just now consumed a 750 of non-cave-cellared Rare Vos, though certainly ensconced in an uncaring store's aisle for many, many months, for what that's worth...and the difference is not too remarkable ...a bit mellower, perhaps...wonderful mouthfeel, dazzling hops...my appreciation continues to grow...bright fruit flavors continue, peach, apricot...not as transcendent as I'd hoped, not like my experience with the Cave-Aged Ommegang.
Still, despite that, a really nice beer...really, really nice...mmmmn, did I say nice? I meant niiiiiiice!
Big thanks to purplehops for providing this bottle!

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Photo of aaronh
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shared a bottle of this with beergeek279. Pours a orange color topped by a thick off white head. Shows great retention. The aroma is surprisingly hoppy, with a touch of sweetness and spices. The taste is very grassy and herbal, with again a nice hop component. The mouthfeel is rather light and refreshing for the style, and reflects a well crafted beer. The carbonation, although strong, is part of the beer rather than being a noticeably individual item. The drinkability is actually very good. As many others have mentioned, this could be a belgian style session type beer.

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Photo of Jon
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rare Vos pours an orange-amber color with a thick off-white head. Excellent head retention and a beautiful beer. The bouquet is diverse with notes of citrus rind, caramel, and herbal/floral aspects. The taste is a great balance between caramel malt, herbal hops and citrus. Finish is sharp and clean. Rather full-bodied and mildly carbonated. Drinks very well for a beer of 6.5% abv, and according to the brewers, it's about as close to a Belgian session ale as you'll find. Another excellent creation from Ommegang. Great stuff.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 12 oz. bottle. The color was amber, with excellent head retention. The smell was very malty. The taste was somewhat hoppy, but not overly so, with some hints of sweetness. Mouthfeel was properly carbonated. As for drinkability, as good a session beer as a Belgian could possibly be.

Thanks to aaronh for supplying this sample. Ommegang makes such quality beers, and this is no exception. For a fraction of the prices of "real" Belgians, Rare Vos stands with the best of them.

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Rare Vos (Amber Ale) from Brewery Ommegang
90 out of 100 based on 1,136 ratings.