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Rare Vos (Amber Ale) - Brewery Ommegang

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

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2,921 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,921
Reviews: 1,096
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 137
Gots: 322 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-24-2000

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,921 | Reviews: 1,096 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of OlRasputin989
4.83/5  rDev +18.7%
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.

Photo of grayburn
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

Photo of bheilman
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

Photo of spointon
4/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

Photo of jbertsch
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Photo of biegaman
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Photo of Vonerichs
4.03/5  rDev -1%
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.

Photo of theklep
4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

Photo of mhatters
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Duvel glass at my house from a 22oz cork-finished bottle.

Pours a medium amberorange color (almost copper colored), some hazecloudiness with a nice white head that leaves some lacing in the glass

The nose has three strong elements: a sweet malt, strong fruit (apple), a yeasty end

The flavor is powered byt he apple, which fades to a maltier base after a little time.

overall medium-bodied, simple and complex at the same time, easy to drink, a nice session ale

Photo of Ragingbull
3.45/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My mother-in-law and father-in-law love Ommegang beers so I often buy the big bottles when they visit and then we "share" them. This is one of their favorites, and I would say the "session" beer of the bunch at this point.

It pours out an amber color with a frothy white foam. The nose is pretty unremarkable to me as it all seems to kind of blend together and leaves nothing that pulls out in front. The flavor is smooth and a nice blend of some mild malt flavors. The mouthfeel is the highlight as it is silky and smooth, like your hair after conditioner. This beer is pretty easy to drink as it has a mild attack and a clean finish. I find I am "restraining" myself because while this beer is good, there are other Belgians of various styles that I feel should be ranked ahead of it.

Photo of bbeerman
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A..Poured into a Chimay goblet. A nice dark amber hue with good head retention and average lace.

S..Not a fruity smell, but definitely there is fruit in the scent. Yeast is also apparent.

T..Sweet without being too sweet. Based on some previous reviews there are apparently apple and/or pear flavors though I cannot taste them. Good malt presence with a slight hop hit. A little dry by the end of the glass. A nice mellow dark ale with respect to flavor.

M..Is soft and pleasing on the palette.

D..Easy to drink and not too heavy on the ABV. I would consider this as a session beer if I had $6 to spend per bottle. Two or three bottles would make for a nice afternoon or evening.

Not the best offering from Brewery Ommegang, but certainly a pleasing, easy to drink dark(er) ale.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 750ml bottle shared with psycohops and brothercannon. Poured into my Ithaca shaker glass and appears a clear medium chestnut color with about a finger of dense light ecru foam. The foam leaves no lacing on the inside of my glass. Tastes and smells of ripe fall fruits such as pears and green apples, sweet caramel, a touch of spicy yeast and black peppercorns. This Belgian ale is a notch above medium in both body and carbonation and quite dry. One of the better offering of this style that I've had.

Photo of glid02
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at the Porter Beer Bar in Atlanta.

Pours a clear brownish-amber color with a one-finger tan head. The head slowly dissipates into a thin pancake on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of booze-soaked green apples and pears with hints of spices and Belgian yeast. As it warms hints of bananas sneak out.

Tastes good. Sweet malt and flavors from the Belgian yeast hit first, followed by green apples and pears. Midway through the sip hops make a brief appearance before fading into mild spice flavors with a slightly dry ending.

Mouthfeel is very nice. It's not the thickness but how smooth it is. The carbonation is grainy and gently pushes the beer down my gullet.

Drinkability is good. This is a very drinkable Belgian Dark that I could have a few of.

Overall this isn't one of the most flavorful Belgian Darks that I've had, but it is one of the easiest to drink. Definitely worth a shot.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber brown color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of Belgian yeast, fruit, some spices, caramelized malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is decently balanced with a good Belgian yeast backbone, mildly sweet flavors of caramel & fruit and a mild hops presence. The malt character is hearty. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a nice Belgian-style beer with a lot of flavor and substance that doesn't try to overpower you.

Photo of brianjay
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I haven't had this one in a while. Decided to make a nice session of it this time around.

Poured into a goblet style glass: quite a bit of creamy white head which faded away quickly and left a bright white lace around the glass. The body was a unique amber, with shades of brown and orange, cloudy and lively. Upon first smell, the yeast and alcohol were dominating, with a subtle, sweet spice aroma lingering. As it sat in the goblet, the air allowed it to open up and the fruity, sweet scents came through more.

The initial taste was quite a shock to the senses: bubbly and peppery (there should be a "!" added to that) on the tongue. The finish was smooth and sweet, with taste of orange, sugar and spice (and yes, everything nice.) while still retaining the respectable bite of its original impression.

This one just got smoother, and tastier further down the glass. The taste became a bit more tame, but kept all the qualities that make it a great beer. This is one to enjoy outside as the sun is just about to set, or in the dim light of a great bar.

Photo of coldmeat23
3.23/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees

Pours a very nice golden copper color with a slight ruby tint. Three-fingers of loose foamy off-white colored head. Retention is okay. Lacing is very good.

Sweet malts dance with belgian yeast notes. A nice scent of grassiness. Nice notes of caramel breads. Good presence of apples and pears. Nice touch of allspice and a hint of corriander.

The allspice and apple/pear flavors come out first, reminding me, slightly, of cider. A nice malty sweetness then gets attacked by tangy yeast notes and a touch of funk. It's not bad by any means, just slightly out-of-balance.
The flavor didn't live up to the promise of the nose. It's not a total mess, it's just slightly askew.

Nice level of creaminess, but the carbonation is a touch too sharp. A smoother body would benefit this one, greatly.

It's drinkable, sure. Would I go out of my way for it, though? No.
This upsets me, because I love Ommegang. I'll track down another bottle and try this one again, when I can. I'll update this review, if necessary.

Photo of Arbitrator
3.23/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Chilled bomber into a glass.

A: As the name suggests, pours a cloudy amber color with rust tones when held to a lamp. A generous 2" off-white frothy head develops immediately and recedes very slowly, continuously resupplied by active bubbling up the glass. The head never dips below an inch as I drink, and it leaves nice sticky lacing down the glass.

S: Bread and caramel malt are strong on the nose, but are nearly matched by fruity esters that lean toward apple and pears. Some floral notes, along with tart and sour yeast aromas, a very typical Ommegang smell. Some spice is noted -- allspice, I think.

T: Surprisingly muted. Dominated by toasted malt. I also got bread and caramel, and if I searched for it I could pick up some apple notes, but generally this didn't have any of the complexity of the nose. I am certain I didn't have it too cold, so I don't think it's a palate numbness issue. It just didn't deliver. The finish was dry.

M: Medium-bodied with high carbonation that interferes with the taste a bit. Couldn't detect any alcohol. A nice dry finish, which would be interesting if there were a stronger flavor profile to precede it.

D: I'm pretty disappointed by this. I don't think I'll pick up another.

Photo of atsprings
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at The Busy Bee served in an Ommegang chalice a crisp orange with a thin diminishing head. Aroma was sweet malt, spice and yeast. The taste was a nice dry blend of sweet fruits and a touch of spice. The beer is on the light side of medium with a nice dryness and low carbonation. This has always been an interesting beer and it holds up to that on draft.

Photo of IMincedTheKing
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy amber with a frothy head that peeks over the rim of the glass. Blocky lacing, and the head sticks around all the way to the bottom.

It smells very bready with a yeast twang. Hints of citrus and berries.

Grains, berries, spice, and a bit of sweetness. The mildest hint of pear and a drying finish. The hops in the brew are present but subtle. I also pick up a taste that reminds me of buttered corn, fresh off the cob. The mouthfeel is very smooth, though just a bit thin.

Overall, I think this is well-balanced, easy-to-drink, and delicious.

Photo of argock
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml brown bottle into a clear glass stange. No freshness date. Purchased from Harris Teeter (Charlottesville, VA) for $6.49.

A: Rusty amber with 2-finger off-white head with good retention and a few rings of lace.

S: Musty and musky with some mild fruitiness

T: Profile is faintly sweet with pear and apple fruit flavors finished with higher-than-average yeastiness and spicy hops. A bit of clove and nutmeg appear as well. Alcohol is well-hidden.

M: Pretty fizzy although it goes down pretty easily. Dry apple finish.

D: A nice beer with mild flavors that could be a good crossover beer. Ommegang has better offerings however. The value is still good like most of their brews.

Photo of Bung
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kind of a light amber/orange pour for a dark ale. Huge white rocky head. Lots of yeast, some malt and fruit in the aroma. Quite a carbonated mouthfeel, but not overly so. Taste has much yeast, malt, some amber leathery tones. Also some toffee/caramel and fruits, citrus and red. Clean finishing. A good drinker for the style especially.

Photo of Lambstrong
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appear: Beautiful amber color with a thick golden head. Good head retention and good lacing.

Aroma: Caramel notes with pleantiful spices (all spice).

Taste: A lot of upfront spices. I detected cloves and all spice. I really enjoyed the balance of sweetness and spices. Although the spices are upfront, they are not overbearing.

Mouth: Very carbonated, but not over carbonated for this style of beer. Definately enough to get your tongue tingly. Good amount for a spicy beer.

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle poured into a chalice

Pours a slightly hazy copper/amber with a minimal yellowish head that faded rather quickly. Very active carbonation.

Trademark Ommegang yeast strain very noticeable in the nose. Floral notes, pears, and spices blend with a tart, sour, funky yeast strain for a rather aromatic nose. Very pleasing.

The carbonation is turned way up here. Very lively. Fruity (grapes and pears) with grassy hops and sour yeast. Good, but I think the carbonation is holding the flavor in this beer back a little bit.

Light body with high carbonation. Wasn't a big fan of the mouthfeel.

Very drinkable and a pleasant flavor profile. This was nice in a somewhat warm afternoon.

Photo of becktone
3.33/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From notes 1-28-09

Eye: Into the Ommegang glass: This one has a very nice color. The main color is copper/amber. However, it is much more complex than that. The beer is clear, yet not brilliantly so, sort of hazy. Light coming through it allows one to easily pick out layers of color, light reddish brown on the very top supporting the head, under that orange hues, and at the very bottom yellow. Head formation is quite nice, yet retention could use work, its now just a somewhat thick foamy blanket. The body looks lively as carbonation rises to support the head.

Nose: Strong aroma of malt sweetness, unfermented wort almost. Some fruitiness-apple was my first impression-and some tartness, very small amounts of tartness/sourness hidden behind everything else. The "mellow fruitiness" described by the label is easy to get. The "elusive spiciness" not so much so. I think that I can almost get it, somewhere around the apple, hard to describe as anything but an elusive spiciness...very faint, very subdued. It is something I'd not be looking for, or would have ever picked up less the label had said something. The beer is just as the label describes it. I'd like it to be a bit more potent overall though.

Tongue: Not really much going on here. No caramel tones, not really a whole lot of malt sweetness, none of that apple fruitiness I found in the aroma, not really any sign of that tartness. The dry finish adds to the almost oaky flavor I get in the finish. The best way to describe this one is toasty, and toasted. Thats really it. Hop bitterness comes into play with the dry finish as well as some hop flavor. Touches of sweetness on the front of the tongue. Yeast character is definitely Ommegang, their house yeast strain is easy to pick out here.

Feel and Drinkability: The most notable thing about this beer is that it is extremely dry. It reminds me of a merlot or something. Very dry and not quenching at all. Carbonation is spritzy and coarse. In my opinion the carbonation gets in the way of the beer's flavor....there's little enough of that as it is. To me it seems as if I'm drinking tonic water, the body is thin and the beer is close enough to flavorless that it bears a striking resembelence. This is one that I'll not be buying again. Not a big fan at all. This one does nothing for me. Dekonink has a real toned down amber as well, but that one is crafted much better than this one, the feel is right and its got a nicer flavor. Sure its not big and in your face but at least its there. I feel that this one is just too weak, its really stretching for it if you ask me.

Photo of ZimZamZoom
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from this corked 750 into a tulip glass. I got a slightly hazy orangish-amber colored ale with a thick off-white head. Very frothy head with great lacing. Some rocky character as it fades.

A real nice bready malt aroma, earthy yeasts with some fruity pear and spicy hop notes. Tastes of sugary pear preserves, on fresh baked Cuban water bread. Earthiness and spice reminiscent of hot cross buns on Good Friday. This is a tasty relatively small Belgian style ale.

Nice medium body, with ample carbonation leading to a smooth substantial feel. I will have no problem polishing this 750 off, which is a nice change.

Rare Vos (Amber Ale) from Brewery Ommegang
91 out of 100 based on 2,921 ratings.