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Rare Vos (Amber Ale) - Brewery Ommegang

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

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2,588 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,588
Reviews: 1,076
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 105
Gots: 181 | FT: 0
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-24-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,588 | Reviews: 1,076 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beabear

New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a very yellowy-brown, with a decent-sized head. Color is a bit light for a "dark" beer, though that often happens with Belgians.

Smell: Quite complex. The typical "Belgian" smell is certainly prevalent -- lots of yeast. However, there is also a lot of fruity notes, with a slight bit of nuttiness as well.

Taste: Starts out almost sweet, but not cloyingly so. The faint bitterness near the end is actually quite refreshing, since it adds a lot to the drinkability.

Mouthfeel: Much more balanced than you'd expect for a beer this alcoholic, especially from Ommegang.

Drinkability: If you discount Witte, this is probably the closest thing Ommegang has to a session beer. Some might consider that a negative thing, but man cannot survive on Three Phils alone.

This may not be the most complex Belgian you can find, but its relative simplicity makes it an important part of the Ommegang lineup. If someone was not very familiar with Belgians, I would certainly start them with this and not Abbey Ale or Three Phils.

Serving type: growler

07-14-2009 01:35:19 | More by beabear
Photo of sonicstylee

New York

4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer pours out a caramel amber color. it has a nice white head that lasted. malty nose mixed with cherry and clove. wow, hard to figure out, very complex. taste is nice and malty mixed with sour notes, sweet notes?, and clove. great balance and quite complex. mouthfeel was nice and smooth, not real bitter at all. has a similar texture as Fuller ESB. I'll need more to really figure this one out, would buy again

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2009 20:57:40 | More by sonicstylee
Photo of webmanspidey


4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Light caramel/amber color. Lots of carbonation: an inch or so of thick head. Smell is sweet and candy-like, definitely a Belgian-esque aroma. Dark fruit, figs, dates, plums, etc..

Taste is pretty light and refreshing. It is somewhat sweet but there's a decent amount of hops and bitterness there as well. A fair amount of spiciness. Not strong at all, this is one of the more "sessionable" Belgian-style beers I've had. To me, it is a lighter and more drinkable version of the heavy hitting Trappist styles. Worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2009 03:36:09 | More by webmanspidey
Photo of melagnus


4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rare Vos (6.5% ABV)

A - Sudsy-white head pours very thick and then settles down to a finger-thick head, which is supported by medium carbonic activity. The hue is a Copper tone, somewhere around a Medium Amber (SRM 12) color. The beer pours clear and is currently being observed in a snifter. Rousing the glass stirs back up the head to at least finger-thick proportions and leaves a little residue on the side of the glass; great head retention! As the beer warms, a subtle toastiness comes through on the nose, though very mild indeed.

S - Hops play a role in this beer, which is exciting to see, as most Belgian styles don't portray hops in such a forward manner. The Belgian strain of yeast comes through as well, which a bright earthy note. Pear-like fruit notes come through, along with a peppery spice from the yeast. Malts seem somewhat disguised by all the rest, though something sweetish comes through.

T - Sweet caramel taste comes through with, only for a second, syrupy consistency that then waters-out and leaves a slight bitter aftertaste. In the minute second of caramel coming through, comes a warming booziness that is pleasing to the mind, though quickly becomes cloaked by hops and malts. A lingering pear-like fruitiness and drier finish comes forth, with medium carbonation felt on the tongue. In comparison to an Abbey/Trappist Ale, this doesn't have the same levels of malt and booze, but, to-style, allows the hops and malts to play in a more balanced fashion off of one another. Seems to be medium body is much tamer in hops than per-se a Golden Ale would be. Overall, this beer comes across as very smooth and not aggressive in any way. A beer fit for consumption anytime of the year, and easily paired with almost any type of food!

C - I really like this beer, but am still trying to figure it out. It's such a different character than all of the other styles of Belgian beer I've had. From Sours to Quads, Belgians brew an incredible array of beer. Though this beer is FAR from being out of style, this beer clearly shows the British influence of the 18th & 19th centuries, as it has less Belgian flare than other styles formerly tasted.


Serving type: bottle

07-07-2009 02:52:13 | More by melagnus
Photo of Liverpool08


3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy dark amber. Nice foamy head that quickly dies down to a small thin line. Aroma of malt and cloves. Taste is of cloves and spice but very tame. I was expecting a lot more from Ommegang. It just didn't jump out at me with any significant taste or flavors. Also it seems a bit watery. Its certainly very drinkible, but not the best I've had.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2009 02:38:07 | More by Liverpool08
Photo of beerhobo22


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

Traditional belgian aroma w cloves. Pours a brilliant copper w good head. Poor head retention, probably due to the glass.
Mellow fruit and malt w balanced hop bitterness. Medium body w a clean finish. Overall a very refreshing ale. Some mild spice isn't overpowering.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2009 23:21:40 | More by beerhobo22
Photo of TLove

District of Columbia

3.45/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

(From Notes)

Hazy orange complextion with solid, white head and decent carbonation. Citrus, sourdough and pale malts (this is not a Belgian Dark Ale, by the way, but a Belgian Pale Ale at best). Slight hops and touch of cedar wood and caramel. Finish is silky and spicy, with ever-present hop structure. Finish is a tingly on the nose and a tad watery. A bit tough to drink just on the finish, but the beer is very enjoyable and a great value.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2009 00:56:33 | More by TLove
Photo of GilGarp


4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served slightly chilled into a chalice glass.

It has a beautiful redish golden amber color with amazing towering head that sticks around forever. Very good clarity and all around great looking beer.

Aroma is sweet and funky like a good Belgian should be. There is some fruity banana and yeast character too - all very pleasant.

Flavor is mild but full of flavor and complexities that are really enjoyable. There is certainly lots of fruit, some spice, and a nice sour twang at the end.

Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated but like on body. It feels thin but for something at 6.5% it's not bad at all. Starts sweet but ends very dry. Very drinkable.

This is quite easily one of the most complex and interesting beers under 7% I've ever had. Very enjoyable from start to finish.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2009 00:47:20 | More by GilGarp
Photo of MVotter

New York

4.9/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The Ommegang Rare Vos pours into a tall pils glass a beautiful clear gold color, easily a three finger head, which which settles back to 1+ fingers after a couple of sips, and leaves a little lacing as you drink it down.

The smell is terrific! Reminiscent of the aroma you get with an Ommegang Abbey Ale; a buttery, malty aroma.

The taste is simply fantastic. It starts with delicious sweet malt and butter flavor, and finishes with spices. What a terrific combination of flavors in this brew.

The mouthfeel is also impressive ... plenty of effervescence. If you want this one give you the ultimate dry experience, do the entire pour down the side of your glass, wow!

So, if you have ever wondered to yourself, "I wonder what it would taste like if I could directly mix the flavors of Omm. Abbey Ale with Omm. Hennepin," here it is ... the buttery malt splendor of the Abbey, with the clovey spices of the Hennepin.


Serving type: bottle

06-25-2009 04:16:26 | More by MVotter
Photo of fitzy84


4.93/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured with an excellent, burnt brown-colored head. Dark amber color with patchy lacing on the sides. Aromas are wicked, wicked rich in citrus, grains, hints of toffee maybe even caramel. I liked the slight sense of burnt sweetness to the drink too. Taste has a great, great sweetness to it that mixes oranges, lemons, biscuity grains, honey and even syrup. Carbonation is so well balanced that it makes the drink very refreshing but smooth at the same time. Complemented with the flavor and the aromas, this is one gosh darn awesome drink. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2009 23:39:59 | More by fitzy84
Photo of smanders


4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - cloudy amber and a beautiful head. Lots of effervescence.

Smell - typical aroma of Belgian Ales; Heaven. Fruit, cloves, and grain.

Taste - lots of yeast with earthy grains and a bit of spice. The bubbles are really active in my mouth.

Mouthfeel - medium, leaving a nice coating on the tongue.

Drinkability - Another great example of a Belgian Ale from Ommegang. Many earthy flavors and tons of complex tastes. Not sure it should be labeled a dark, though.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2009 20:31:40 | More by smanders
Photo of redneckchugger


3.4/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is not a belgian dark ale,. Its a belgian pale. That said, its decent. Clove and cooked apples on the nose, banna on the pallate, huge amounts of bannana, with clove on the back end. Decent beer, but not great. I probaly won't be haveing it again.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2009 00:39:08 | More by redneckchugger
Photo of rapidsequence


3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml cork and caged bottle.

Appearance: Hazy orange amber with a nice fluffy white head that faded into oblivion between the kitchen and the couch. Minimal lacing. I saved myself from a quarter sized yeast floater on the second glass, but lost about an ounce of beer.

Smell: It says to serve this at 40 degrees, at which temp there is little taste or smell. As it warms though, there is some slightly spicy, fruity, yeast bread goodness.

Taste: Similar to the nose, but with surprising (to me) dryness and bitterness (not really bitter, but more than I expected). Nice spicy bready goodness. Theres some citrus too.

Mouthfeel: Its quite dry, and a little thinner than I'd like. Almost too crisp with mostly the dryness and slight bitterness in the aftertaste-- makes you reach for the glass for another sip.

Drinkability: Its good. ABV is not to high to just down this by myself, so I think I will.

This stuff is so relatively cheap, its definitely worth a try-- I think mine was 5 or 6 bucks.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2009 00:03:50 | More by rapidsequence
Photo of kimcgolf


3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle to a hazy orange with good carbonation and a thin head that dissipated quickly top slight lacing. Nose was a nice blend of citrus fruit, spices, bread dough and wheat. Mouth was tingly and slightly hoppy, and the taste picked up the lead of the nose. The only drawback was a slight watery finish, but not enough to ruin my enjoyment of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2009 17:46:50 | More by kimcgolf
Photo of siradmiralnelson


3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml bottle into Tulip

A. Poured a big 3 finger head. Lots of carbonation. Nice orange/amber color. Very thin lacing.

S. Spices, clove, yeast, malt, some fruit.

T. Spices, clove, some bitterness, slight malt sweetness. A underlying sourness that I didn't detect until almost the bottom of the glass.

M. Medium bodied. Very dry. Well carbonated.

D. A drikable beer. Pretty straightforward with not much complexity. Probably a little more dry than I prefer. Overall not my favorite from Brewery Ommegang.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2009 21:48:15 | More by siradmiralnelson
Photo of Genghis22


3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No Bottle Date

A - Pours a beautiful amber color, with a fluffy white head.

S - Smells like a Belgian. Lots of fruit and spice in the nose, with a malt backbone. Sour apple, a little bit of woodiness.

T - A very refreshing beer. The flavors are subtle. The sour and spice come at you first, but the finish is smooth and sweet. The aftertaste is a dry and sticky.

M - Medium bodied, with moderate carbonation. This is not a heavy beer in any sense, but it is not too light either. This is very refreshing and a good change of pace from the DIPAs I usually drink.

D - Hell yeah. This beer is great for relaxing, almost would consider it a session ale if the abv weren't so high. It's very crisp and refreshing, with lots of good flavors, that don't come at you too strongly.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2009 06:21:15 | More by Genghis22
Photo of Brenden


4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to BeerLovinGrl for a great trade.

The color is a cloudy, coppery amber. A big, soapy, thick white head eventually dissipates and leaves some moderate lacing in patches. Carbonation is lively and some yeast sediment settles on the bottom of the bottle. This is a pretty brew.
Malt, grains and a light yeast are strong on the nose with a great complexity. No weaker are aromas of cloves and other spices with some light fruit and citrus notes.
The taste is even more complex. Hops bitterness is not dominant by any means but perfectly complimentary and always lingering behind a malt sweetness backing. Further complimenting the balance and complexity are a variety of gentle spices and a nice, light peppery bite, along with yeast, earthy grains, and citrus undertones. A nicely lingering finish is fairly dry with underlying grains and even sweetness.
This one is medium-bodied with a much creamier mouthfeel than I expected that somehow remains crisp at the same time.
This is simply a fantastic brew and one I'm thrilled to have been able to try since I can't get much Ommegang here.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2009 12:34:12 | More by Brenden
Photo of OlRasputin989


4.83/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The bottle depicts the beer being served in a tumbler. I had one glass with the tumbler then I had the next one with the Duvel tulip. The latter being much more enjoyable.

A: amber colored beer with a slightly off white puffy head. It poured a very nice 1 inch head. The glass etching in the bottom of the tulip kept the bubbles coming. not much lacing.

S: cloves, yeasts, fruity esters,and biscuity malt

T: good n' sweet. honey, white grapes, yeasty. hint of the malts in the aftertaste then a little bitterness.

M: This beer reminds me so much of Duvel when it comes to mouhfeel. It's velvety-soft from the champagne like carbonation.

Overall, I have to be honest. I almost didn't want to buy this because of the alcohol content of only 6.5%, but since it was cheap (5.00) i couldn't pass it up. I'm glad I did because this will not be the last time I buy this beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2009 03:55:58 | More by OlRasputin989
Photo of grayburn

South Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a light amber with a whitish head composed of small bubbles. The foam dies down a bit quickly and leaves a little lacing on the glass.

The smell is dominated by smokey cloves, a little bit of citrus rind in the background. This carries over into the taste quite well, with a nice bitter/sourness that is carried accross the tongue by an assault of carbonation. One of the best mouthfeels I have ever been lucky enough to experience. It tickles and tingles the whole way down and leaves an exquisite clovey lingering flavor.

I could drink this all the time, very impressive. I have come to expect nothing less from this wonderful brewery.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2009 01:50:21 | More by grayburn
Photo of bheilman


3.63/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just enough flavor to not disappoint me, but I was hoping for something much more unique. This is a great brewery and I've never been disappointed by their beer, but this one didn't meet my expectations. It's medium bodied verging on light and has some fruit flavors almost like an apple, a dry apple. Not very sweet at all. Good amount of carbonation. It is really smooth and drinkable and could be a great session beer. I like this beer, I was just hoping it would be even better.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2009 23:27:43 | More by bheilman
Photo of spointon


4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this one on tap at the Ommegang Brewery on 5/6/2009.

A= This ale poured a slightly hazy amber color with a creamy tan head. The head retained well and left some sticky lace on my glass.

S= Lots of sweet malt in the nose, with a very slight toastiness, and some fruity esters present as well.

T= Definitely more malt sweetness than any other flavor. The yeast prodused a spicy, mildly phenolic character. Midway this ale began to dry out a bit, with an earthy dryness coming in. Finished dry with a nice aftertaste of yeast funk.

MF= Medium bodied with a slick mouthfeel.

D= Solid Belgian amber ale here. Nothing too extraordinary, but nothing to bitch about either.

Serving type: on-tap

05-07-2009 23:03:15 | More by spointon
Photo of jbertsch


4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another beer that reminds me of autumn. Combination of a beautiful amber color (albeit hazy), and a snow-white frothy head reminds me of a McIntosh apple. This beer would probably go well with an rhubarb or apple pie, or at least food with autumn/new england flavors.

Was given a 750ml corked bottle as a gift. Poured into normal pint glass.

Malty and earthy in a fruity way. There's a hint of clove which, for me, immediately recalls the Belgian style.

Malt, hops, and plum...with hints of clove/tea or something leafy. I think there's something else a bit citrusy in there other than plum. Can't put my nose on it.

Crisp (like the apple I referenced), and slightly grainy so it finishes on the dry side. Good carbonation.

Thumbs up.

I do like this beer very much, but I think I like a couple other offerings from Ommegang a bit more... 3 Philosophers and Hennepin.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2009 04:19:01 | More by jbertsch
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A bounteous volume of creamy suds raised to the very edge of the glass, denying the bottom quarter inch of the bottle and its accompanying yeast sludge any room to fit. As result, this Rare Vos would stay vibrantly clear. The head remains fluffed high with stiff peaks and the body shines incandescently with unsullied tones of bright orange and amber.

I gave a perfect score on appearance - just looking at it makes my mouth water - and I'm tempted to do the same for aroma. This is a smell my nostrils will never tire of. It pairs whole classes of spices with entire schools of fruits and insists they hold hands. Cinnamon with apple, aniseed with orange, lemon and allspice, pepper with pear - the combinations seem endless. It's amazing the array of scents that can be derived from yeast!

The taste isn't quite as dynamic but it showcases much of the same spice/fruit pairings. In particular, I note sweet oranges and cooked red apples with traces of allspice. More bready flavours and hints of toffee emerge. The beer is certainly flavourful but leaves plenty of room on the palate if you wanted to pair this with a meal.

And I can imagine it being well suited to a wide collection of meals. It is elegant, suggestive and diverse in its flavours. It is uncharacteristically light bodied for a beer this flavourful (and one of slightly higher than average alcohol percentage.) It's probably spicy enough to stack up against grilled, fatty meats but is also elegant enough to pair alongside soups and light appetizers (I'm thinking tapas.)

Ommegang rightfully advertises their beers' ability to pair amazingly with foods. Indeed they do, I haven't had a Thanksgiving or Easter in years without one of their products at the table. But those big 750ml bottles also make nice treats unto themselves. I'll tell you from experience they suit a good book, a breezy spring night by candles, or the company of good friends just as well as any dish you can think of.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2009 01:12:18 | More by biegaman
Photo of Vonerichs


4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the local Taphouse. Kudos to the bartender for a great pour.

Amber in color with a nice creamy white head that had great retention.

The smell was predominantly a toasty malt with a mild fruity sweetness to it. There is a spiced finish to it.

There's a caramel malt nose and a tart finish to it. I detected a hint of orange-peel along the way but it faded quickly. There is also a mild peppery spice. This has a complex taste that changes gears rather quick.

Medium body with crisp carbonation. The tartness does leave it slightly dry and there is a little spicey bite at the end.

Very tastey and easy to drink. I wasn't eating anything with this beer, but I suspect it would pair well with quite a bit of different foods.

Serving type: on-tap

05-04-2009 17:04:39 | More by Vonerichs
Photo of theklep


4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a great Americanized version of the Belgian. I like that its an amber and has great mouthfeel. It is a full beer without the fullness in the stomach feel. This is by far one of the best American recreations of the Belgian.

The carbonation is just right, many Belgians are over carbonated, and tend to taste sharper than they should. The alcohol is masked so well that 6.5% is mind blowing for how light and refreshing the beer truly is. I must say this is was a great pickup on my part and I will buy again.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2009 06:03:13 | More by theklep
Rare Vos (Amber Ale) from Brewery Ommegang
91 out of 100 based on 2,588 ratings.