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Rare Vos (Amber Ale) - Brewery Ommegang

Not Rated.
Rare Vos (Amber Ale)Rare Vos (Amber Ale)

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1,115 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,115
Hads: 3,118
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 9.93%
Wants: 166
Gots: 492 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brewery Ommegang visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-24-2000

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,115 | Hads: 3,118
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
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! (1,499 characters)

Photo of aaronh
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
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. (576 characters)

Photo of Jon
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
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. (529 characters)

Photo of beergeek279
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
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. (491 characters)

Photo of TheDM
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This brew poured a very large creamy head of finely sized off white bubbles that as it receded left an excellent lacing. It has an amber colored body with lots of carbonation rising in the mug. It has a very nice malty aroma. It had a initially smooth taste that finished even more smoothly with a very mild floral flavor. There was no tartness, bitterness, just smooooooth. Can I have some more please? (403 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy apricot color with a large effervescent cream colored head, even webbing of lace delicate and beautiful Belgian style ale poured from a 12oz. bottle conditioned vessel. Aroma has fruit sweet nectar picking up some sharp apple tones, and cherries thrown in there to make it a bit sweet and sour. Slightly musty yet peppery yeast effervesence makes this beer one of the most appetising american made belgium styles ales I have come across. Sweet sharp malt tones with fruit phenols dancing along the palate what a great beer, same yeast profile just a tad peppery in the flavor profile and a mild bitter hop profile to go along with it. Just amazing that this beer wasn't brewed in Belgium, in my eyes the high carbonation makes this beer able to cut right through the flavors of a well done prime rib or any other lucious meat. Medium in body a true blessing to any beer lover, and this Brewery Ommegang product may just be the most drinkable other than Hennepin. Just simply a must try wonderful strong ale. (1,012 characters)

Photo of granger10
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer reminds me of a wine. It's most dominanat flavors are fruity flavors that I would usually find in wines. But this does have more complexity than that. There's some citrus hops that fit well and I definitely taste the yeast in this. The yeast is also apparent in the finish causing for a very dry ending in this one. The body is light in my opinoin and needs to be a little more bold for this beer to go to the next level and join its compadres Ommegang and Hennepin. (476 characters)

Photo of rabidawg
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL corked and caged - $3.99

Appearance: Hazy, red-amber color with a slight yeast cloudiness. Creamy white head that settled slowly into a dense cap. Nice sticky lacing that gripped my glass tightly.

Smell: Spicy yeast up front, shadowed by a thick, indulgant maltiness. Hops are only slight, if present at all. Dark, candied fruits waft through. Decent nose, nothing like it's big brother.

Taste: Starts slightly sour and yeasty. Peppery, spicy middle, with a slight tang of alcohol. Finishes rather dry, with a saccharine, almost cloying, sweetness. Would be difficult to drink if not balanced by the woody, earthy aftertaste. Very soft mouth, but sort of thin. Definitely tastes like the mouthfeel should be rounder, but it's not.

This tastes strikingly similar to a smaller, less mature version of this brewery's Ommegang. Good, but not this brewery's best. (877 characters)

Photo of Mitchster
2.11/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Pours out to a slightly hazy light amber with orange accents, forming a large light beige head after a vigorous pour. Head is sea-foam in consistency and has OK retention with sparse lacing. Aroma is of dry cloves, a faint whiff of bananas, apricots, a crisp toasted wheat note, Wyeast Belgian Wit yeast aromatics, and diabetic urine (seriously). Mouthfeel is spritzy, with a watery thin body. Taste begins with florid carbonation, immediately fading into a thin bitterness with nary a hint of hop flavor or aroma...more of a tannic bitterness, like oversteeped black tea. There is a toasty note in the middle, a mentionable complete lack of malt body or sugar, followed by more chemical bitterness in the watery, thin finish. The finish reminds me of chewing a Tylenol. In the aftertaste, I tend to pick up roasted barley astringency and some isopropyl alcohol. As it warms, the alcohol becomes obtrusive and drys out the mouth. Highly overrated, and nothing I would care to drink again. (988 characters)

Photo of jcalabre
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Originally sampled on 27 January 2003. I am writing this review from my notes. Thanks to slushy for this one. This is a hazy burnt orange w/ some champagne bubbles & tightly bubbled head. Slight flavors of peaches and pears. This was a very enjoyable beer. (256 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An excellent treat care of "Stan-The-Man" a.k.a., Purplehops. This cave-aged version of Rare Vos is very similar to the regular version. It still pours out a nice dark red/copperish colour with a lovely, white head on top. The aromas were of dark fruits, sugar, malt, and some hops. This reminded me of a cross between Original Ommegang and Hennepin, which is a good thing. This beer has a very balanced and rounded taste and it also had a super deluxe and CREAMY mouthfeel as well.
I could drink this stuff 'all night long'
A definate keeper.
-F (558 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a dark golden/ amber color with a large off-white head that remained throughout my tasting. It was a bit hazy and overcarbonated due to bottle conditioning, but it's not a real big issue. The aroma smells of sweet Belgian malts and corriander. It's a bit fruity. The taste is good. A bit plain for me. Their other beers offer a little more spiciness, but this one is a good choice. The taste has the same fruity taste, but not as strong as the aroma suggests. I detect very little hopping in this one. The mouthfeel is quite smooth. This beer is very drinkable and a delight. Ommegang offers plenty in the line quality Belgian ales. This one however, is my least favorite of theirs'. (699 characters)

Photo of xgrigorix
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep rust in color, hazy from the yeast. Gigantic, pillowy white head. Explosive carbonation. Head settles a bit to show sticky lace on the glass.
Nose is a bit fruity.
Mildly sweet, with biscuit and raw grain flavors. Oranges, slightly spicy, and transitions into a dry piney finish. Full bodied a somewhat rustic (in a good way). Creamy, smooth, & balanced. This beer is complex, sublte, & highly quaffable. Drinking this is as easy as breathing air. (454 characters)

Photo of MaineBeerMan
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy light brown beer with subtle orange highlights and a big head of off white foam. The foam dissipates somewhat, but never really goes away as it leaves rings and bits of lace on its way down the glass.
Aroma is full of banana with hints of clove and perhaps some orange. I could smell this beer the instant the cork left the bottle, and pouring only intensified the aroma.
Not as full bodied as I expected, but still plenty rich and tasty, fairly dry on the palate all the way through.
Flavor is a somewhat fruity and sweet which sounds a bit contradictory for a beer with such a dry mouthfeel. Vinous might be an apt description. Bits of herbal and grassy notes are slight, but detectable.
Overall, a tasty beer that I would try again, but not up to par with Ommegang or Hennepin. (790 characters)

Photo of hotstuff
4.88/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This brew poured a large, creamy head, but it left little to no lacing on the sides of my mug. It had a fruity aroma to it. It had a very smooth taste which was much to my liking. There was no bitterness to this brew in my opinion. I was very, very impressed with this brew and I hope to have the opportunity to enjoy this brew again. (334 characters)

Photo of RonfromJersey
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly cloudy orange body, topped by a hefty big-bubbled white head. Head settles down to a half-inch topper shortly. A large snout of a nose, dominated by apples, lemons and oranges (not the grapefruit of cascade hops). Also a strong spicy character, peppery (not spicy like the dry spice of an overdone Christmas ale). All the characters of the nose are also in the taste: the spicy, peppery hops, a very apple/citrus fruity taste. Finishes surprisingly dry and clean. Could make a really fine "relaxing on the deck in summer" beer. (536 characters)

Photo of WaltTrombone
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A copper body, topped with a light beige head w ith good staying power.

The aromas were tea, orange, and mild hops.

Tastes abounded, fleeting in and out! Orange, tea, caramel, mild hops bitterness, a wee citrus tang, prunes, apple, coriander,nutmeg, cinnamon, clove. How'd they get all that in there???

A creamy mouthfeel, and a smooth, mellow finish that reminded me of a spicy tea.

What a bier!!! (410 characters)

Photo of Admiraldinty
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nearly clear orange-coppery color with a big, white, frothy head. Estery, spicy, and fairly earthy aroma. Kind of a dry malt taste, with some noticeable hop bitterness. Medium-bodied and crisp. Dry finish and has a honey-like aftertaste. Pretty darned good stuff, and only about $5.00 for a 750 ml. bottle. You can't beat that. (335 characters)

Photo of shirfan
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a fairly elegant beer at a low price. Slightly less enjoyable than the Unibroue line, but still very good.

Pours light and dusty orange with a good sized, retentive head.
Smell is of malt, nutmeg, and a slight kelp-like, organic note. Honestly I don't know what corriander smells like, so I can't compare it to that, but I didn't find it offensive.

Taste was notably dry for the style, with a frothy mouthfeel. A bit of a bitter but sharp finish takes over from an odd middle. Sort of spicy, peppery, with hints of yeast and that mysterious vegetable note. Faint cloves, nutmeg, and even a bit of a brine note. Malt lurks in the background.

An odd, but not unpleasant beer. (693 characters)

Photo of StevieW
3.03/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Big 750 ml brown bottle with cork and cage. A loud "pop" indicates a full amount of carbonation. Medium copper in color, shiny. Poured into a wide mouth belgian goblet as the bottle instructs. Off-white to beige head. Subtle smells of mulled spices. Cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg too. Taste was a bit oddly sweet, syrupy and full of spices. Hints of black pepper and sweet carmel malt, but nutmeg and cinnamon seem to dominate the flavors, but they don't balance and malt or traditional yeasty belgian flavors. Chewy full belgian feel fades as is the glass sits, and it turns into a muddled, spice filled, watery concoction. All beer and belgian flavors seem to fade into a wierd mess. There are present to start, but they fade fast. Seemingly artificial alcohol heat to finish. Watery, thin, and slippery feel linger. An all out search for positive flavors left on the tongue, comes up empty. Not one to savor, and honestly hard to finish the entire bottle. Maybe my taste buds aren't refined enough. This one was a dissapointment to me. My apologies to those that are a big fan of this one. I liked the other two from this brewery. I don't think it was past it's prime, I just didn't enjoy it like I hoped I would. (1,214 characters)

Photo of Scooter77
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another great brew from the folks at Ommegang. Pours an orange/copper in color with a thick creamy off-white, persistent head. After the froth dies down, a sticky web-like lace is left on the glass. Aromas are quite yeasty with moderately fruity undertones. Initial taste is somewhat malty, mixed with yeast and citrus fruit. A nice crisp zing of spiciness, possibly coriander, is left on the tongue. This is one exceptionally complex, yet balanced brew. (454 characters)

Photo of TXHops
2.29/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Coriander. Slippery, Bain de Soleil-in glass-like coriander. This beer smells, tastes and feels exactly like coriander-infused sun tan lotion in a bottle. Disclaimer for any who might not know—I don’t like spiced beer and I especially don’t like coriander in my beer. It tastes too much like vegetables for me. In this case, Ommegang has taken that flavor profile to a whole new level. I think I can maintain some degree of objectivity, but we’ll see…

The beer pours an orangey-gold color with a pretty good sized head by American standards and a sub-par offering on the Belgian scale. The frothy, meringue-like character was non-existent, though a layer of white film lasted forever.

The aroma was coriander. Nothing but straight, in-my-face coriander. I smelled 5 or 6 times for something else, but I could only smell coriander. That being said, coriander in beer, to me smells like the aroma conjured up when I see the image of the nicely-bronzed little girl having her bum exposed by the overly-frisky family dog. Either sun tan lotion or celery. Is there a celery-scented Hawaiian Tropic product?

The flavor is the same, but with some depth. First, the greasy, celery-ish coriander smacked me on the tongue. Then I was granted a temporary reprieve by the green apple maltiness, flowed by some more Braeburn-like sweetness, before Banana Boat and cilantro fruit regained their strangle-hold on the flavors.

I hated, HATED this beer. But, I could appreciate how so many might like it. I was also impressed by the fact that the flavor didn’t follow in lock step with the aroma, offering up some nice appley tartness that was non-existent in the aroma. I will take off points for the possible addition of Coppertone and cabbage to the kettle, but I’ll be fair enough to recognize this beer strengths too… (1,826 characters)

Photo of longpondbeerman
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a well-balanced, though not overly complex, brew. It pours a cloudy, medium-dark amber with a light tan head which settles into a weblike lace. There is hoppy smell, but not much by way of spice. The mouthfeel is exquisite--cottony soft and a lightly fine carbonation. There's an initially tart taste--the hops--which fades deliberately into a slighly fruity finish. Very drinkable. I like everything about this brew and the brewery that makes it; they are clearly doing something right. (495 characters)

Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle

I picked up some bottles after my trip to the brewery and I am extremely impressed. Out of the four beers they brew this is in the middle of the pack, but for this brewery that still means exceptional. Vos poured a sweet orange color with a fair bit of cloudiness and sediment. The head was white and ginormous as a good Belgian should be. The smell was spicy with just a subtle hint of hops. The taste was full bodied with a sweet malted characteristic and some hops and pepper in the back. Seeing how carefully they attend to the brews only made me appreciate this even more. I can't wait for my 750 of the abby. (631 characters)

Photo of Darkale
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of the first Belgian-style beers that I have really enjoyed. Rare Vos erupts into a fast, loud, fizzy and cream-colored head of good retention and lacing, and is a cloudy red-orange in color.

The aroma is a wonderful and sweet sort of caramel and fruit mixture. The taste is full of syrup and fruit, with a bit of spice and hoppiness to balance the sweetness. As it warms, it just gets better. This is a fun beer to swirl around and play with for a while.

Complicated but not overbearing, spicy but not combative, Rare Vos is peppy and intriguing. Certainly a beer that I will purchase again, and I will probably put one or two in storage for a while, if I can keep my hands off them. (695 characters)

Rare Vos (Amber Ale) from Brewery Ommegang
90 out of 100 based on 1,115 ratings.