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Rare Vos (Amber Ale) - Brewery Ommegang

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

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2,982 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,982
Reviews: 1,109
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.81%
Wants: 148
Gots: 379 | 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: 2,982 | Reviews: 1,109
Photo of cavedave
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A beautifully cloudy pour of golden hue is topped by a thin head of closely knit foam which recedes slowly to a persistent island. A gentle swirl leaves sheets of negative-imagery mountains on the snifter.

The nose is a full bodied aroma of belgiany yeast, light fruits, a hint of alcohol, and gentle notes of spice, sweet grain, and even lighter hints of citrus and bitter.

It has very gentle flavor for such a big beer. There is lots of flavor, but it is gentle. The yeast is less prominent, but it still leads a flavor brigade of pear, gentle spice, and an even gentler herbosity that leads to a juicy finish that is beyond my palate to relay. It is yummy, not too sweet, just as a beer this mild should be.

Mouthfeel is thinner side of medium, viscosity a bit too missing. I love Ommegang, but Rare Vos is the least of their offerings, no where more evidently than in mouthfeel.

Drinkability is o'kay, not as good as many others.

Impression: Not the best of their lot, but a good starting point for someone to get interested in Belgian-style ales.

Photo of mjaskula
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewing from notes.

Served in a pint glass. Pours a hazy golden color with an off white head that thins to a film and leaves some lacing.

Aroma is spicy, slightly sweet and fruity. There is some belgian funkiness in the aroma as well. Flavor is more of the aroma- clean and malty and some wheat like flavors.

Carbonation is high. It is easy drinking and delicious.

Photo of drperm
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

3 December 09. 750 mL bottle, poured into my Duvel goblet

Ap: Luxurious thick vanilla foam rests a full inch above a glowy, opaque brew the color of dark unfiltered apple juice.

S: Divine. Fresh bread yeast, gentle spice (coriander, mace, white pepper), pear, apricot, apple, wet moss.

T: Nice. Elusive spices, strong farmy yeast, lots of pear and biscuit. Unexpectedly bone-dry mid palate: which I like, although as it sits and matures in the glass it seems to get sweeter. A hint of mild cherry is in there too, and a lot more barnyard than was in the nose. It has a very strong hard-mineral-water finish. Still, it's not as full-bodied as some in this style, or as the nose might suggest. But, that means I can avail myself to more of the bottle!

M: TONS of spritz up front, but somewhere along the way it poops out.

D: The price is right on this one and it's definitely worthy. Not my favorite Belgian Amber, but not my least favorite, either. This would be a great companion with an assortment of dishes, or good sheep or goat cheese (like that great Dutch Legendairy Goat Gouday). If it goes up in price anytime soon it probably won't be worth it for me, but for now this is a good go-to Belgian-style Amber from this side of the pond.

Photo of stephens101
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A huge tan head bellows forth boldly off a medium pour, rising to a good three-fingers, then tapering off slowly, leaving a borken, chunky lace behind. Brew color is amber with some jagged orange hues where the light hits. Big sweet malts and light fruits (grapefruit, grape, orange) float pleasantly to the nose. A little candy sweetness lingers underneath among some slight phenolic activity. Tastes fruity and spicy up front with a bitterness that works in almost perfectly toward the end. A bit of tartness is noticed as well as some taffy. Disparate characteristics blended well to push the taste upwards to perfect, but not quite, as the finish becomes a bit weak. Mouth-feel lies on the full side of medium, and this one goes down a bit dry, with a modicum of alcohol heat touching the back of the throat. Not anything like most "American" ambers, but better.

Photo of donkeyrunner
4.07/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rare Vos means "sly fox" in Belgian. Sounds like a sexual innuendo similar to Rusty Trombone or Screaming Seagull. I.e. "had a great roll in hay last night, gave'er the ol' sly fox." To which an appropriate reply could be "you old sly fox you." Endless possibilities.

It's amber. Clear amber with a large, bubbly white head that dissipates quickly and vanishes by mid beer. I see sediment floaties despite my careful pour.

Aroma is spicey, fruity, Belgian yeast, and orange coriander. Taste parallels aroma with fruity, spicey phenols and great toast malt compliment. Effervescent carbonation adds to the impression of a very delicate beer.

Photo of kylejohnson03
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked cage 750 into a goblet.

A: Pours a semi-cloudy, orange-amber. Good two finger head, which reduces down to a thin layer atop the glass. Good lacing left on the sides as I take my first few drinks.

S: Big belgiun style yeast you would expect, dark fruit and malt.

T: Very bready, sweet malts, and some spices give this beer a good character. The sweet fruit flavor sits on my tounge for a minute, but then it's gone just as quickly.

M: Big carbonation, with a light-medium body. The weight goes nicely with the amount of carbonation.

D: A very drinkable beer. I will not have a problem finishing off the bottle, and at 6.5 percent I could easily open another one (if only I had bought an extra!)

Photo of katan
3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml into a pint

A - Pours a gold to golden brown color. A bit hazy, some yeast as well as some strong carbonation. Head formation is strong, a few mm in size. Well retained.

S - A funky sour smell - a an earthy, floral yeast scent dominates the beer. Very belgian funk. Some bready notes as well.

T - Starts off with a dry, lightly sweet bready malt note. Mid-stream gets more bitter without any noticeable hops. Some phenolic tones build towards the end. Finishes with the sour yeasty edge that was detected on the nose. Lots of good funk notes, earthy, tobacco, wild yeast.

M - Moderate beer body, which is highly accentuated by the strong carbonation profile. Certainly a Belgian and/or Ommegang trait. Light oily texture on the tongue.

D - Moderate to low drinkability. ABV is manageable, but potent. Just a bit filling. The sour notes are good for a single interesting beer, but not perhaps for sessioning.

A solid American/Belgian offering.

Photo of jlindros
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Love bottle conditioned Belgian, and love that Ommegang and Allagash are really bringing the art to the U.S.

A: Fluffy airy head that disappears quickly. Crystal clear reddish orange brown color, that is until I stir up the yeast and pour that in.

N: Medium malts, crystal malt like, some Belgian yeast and fruity aromas from the yeast, light alcohol, bready almost.

T: Light Belgian like malts and red/amber ale like malt flavors. Light alcohol flavor. Slight Belgian sugar and yeasty fruity flavors.

M: Ridiculous carbonation, pretty light body.

F: Very clean but very lingering light sweetness. A little syrupy. Crisp finish, almost like a good lager or bright amber ale.

Photo of tigg924
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 1/2 inch head, moderate carbonation, orange-red in color, cloudy

Smell: toasted malt and dark fruit--very much the scent I associate with Unibroue

Taste: sweet malt, pear, dark fruit and a bit of hay at the end

Mouthfeel: moderately sweet, smooth, high carbonation

Drinkability: A nice intro beer to this style. I would have this again but am glad I got a smaller single as opposed to a bomber. Decent, not outstanding.

Photo of champ103
2.93/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy amber/reddish color. At first a large white head rises to over two fingers. The foam recedes to a ring quickly. Light lace is left.
S: Over ripe, almost spoiled fruits. Some yeast and light funk. An interesting spicy aroma lingers.
T: Again an over ripe fruit flavor. Spice, yeast, and some funk. Lightly tart. Dirty, maybe some diacetyl. Dry and moldy wood. Interesting, but the flavors don't mesh right for me.
M/D: A medium body and crisp carbonation. Very dry. Not hard to sip on, but a one and done for me.

This is interesting, but not for me. Something that is worth a try, but I am not really that into this.

Photo of Rayek
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an Ommegang flute.

A: Cloudy red oak, even with a very careful pour. A large and foamy pale cream head has OK retention and leaves bits of lace.

S: Quite fruity initially, as green grape, pear and even a hint of bubblegum hit right away. Things become a bit spicy after that, with a clove and coriander kick. The aroma finishes up with a mild sourdough scent.

T: Spicy clove and sourdough bread dominate the flavor. There is a distinct fruitiness here that's made up of flavors of pear and grape. Finishes sharp and dry. Alcohol adds a mild warmth at the end.

M: The grainy body has a high level of mouth tingling carbonation.

D: I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. It's flavor profile reminded me a bit of a dunkelweiss, even though this isn't one. The spicy clove and penetrating carbonation are what did it. Overall, I'm really glad I finally picked this up.

Photo of drawbackwards
4.76/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

All I can say is "Wow"...I have heard all the hype about this beer and the stellar reviews it gets so I had to try it. I have had Abbey Ale from Ommegang and love it, so I had to try this one. First thing I notice is the pour...It gives an amazing head. You must be careful or a huge head will takeover your glass. The words "slow but vigorous" appear on the bottle. I would aim more for slow and less for vigorous.

The smell is fantastic, mouthfeel is great. Super smooth. This beer is so ridiculously smooth and flavorful that it really is a glorious representation of the style. If you like Hopback (Troegs), you will love this. It doesn't have the hoppiness of the Troegs, but has so much character anyway. You need this...seriously.

Photo of TommyW
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Hazy amber with a nice off-white head.

S- Malty with a nice note of spices.

T- Nice malty flavors upfront with some complex sugar tones followed by a great tasted of different spices. Hops are there and balanced well.

M- Full body with a smooth carbonation.

D- Really nice take on this style.

Photo of botham
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Sugar Maple in Milwaukee. Pours a hazy amber color with one finger of healthy white head, good retention and no lacings.

Aroma is of Belgian yeast up front with undertones of subtle banana and citrus along with a mild sweetness and some subtle spice, almost reminiscent of a wit, though dialed back in intensity.

Taste follows the nose with the profile of a wit, though a bit less citrusy and spicy than a typical wit. There is wonderful proportioning, with a character not much like a Belgian Dark. Goes down smooth with residual fruity yeast and a touch of malty spice.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with a fruity yeast aura and a finish of residual yeast.

Drinkability is good. An easy going Belgian that does the right things well and holds back on the right things just as well. Nicely crafted. Cheers!

Photo of jeffjeff1
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was really good. First Ommegang for me, got it in a 3 pack of Ommegang beers

Appearance- amber color, good head retention

Smell- malt

Taste- malt, dark fruit, delicious, a certain yummy spice to it

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- Excellent, will drink it again

Photo of gloriousglo2
4.7/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

....just had my first one. Freakin' awesome. Don't know how to put it any other way. Great amber color, nice body, pours with a great head, no aftertaste. Perfect amount of sweetness and balance. Got a 4 pack for about $9, not too bad, considering the overall quality of this beer.

Photo of DrScotch
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first foray into the Ommegang collection...

Copper coloured ale, very animated carbonation, nice bold head that hangs around.

Bright and fresh aroma, some citrus and clove.

First sip bursts in bubbles and a light dryness reminiscent of the fizz and flavour of champagne. The flavour develops into mild bitterness balanced with sweet and spice and a warming finish which is the only hint of the 6.5% ABV.

I could easily knock back 2 or 3 bottles of this in an afternoon and possibly come back for a 4th (if still able to stand)...

Photo of ffejherb
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Resurrection Ale House on 10/3/09.

A - Very hazy, peachy golden/orange color with one finger of fluffy, bright white head that retained well and deposited a fair amount of lace on the glass.

S - Initial aroma blends spicy, peppery notes with fruity esters suggesting apple and citrus fruit. Hints of clove and basement funk also emerge as the liquid warmed up. Malt base consists of toasted grains and bready notes.

T - Subtly complex with the typical saison attributes: fruity esters, spicy yeast and a hint of pepper and clove. While there is some earthy bitterness in the backend, the finish is actually quite Berliner Weiss-esque with a splash of sourness and a prevalent toasted grainy malt character.

M - Medium bodied with substantial carbonation and a syrupy texture. Slight sourness with plenty of residual sweetness and a hint of earthy bitterness on the palate.

D - A superb saison, Rare Vos is definitely an excellent representation of the style. I'm realy surprised it took me so long to try this.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

A-Relatively clear amber brew. Big, fluffy lighter-tan head retained decently, eventually down to a consistent, thin layer.

S-Spicy over a yeasty breadiness. Somthing peppery-soury over the top of it.

T-Fruity character mixes with breadiness and spice with a black pepper character on top of it all. Bitterness is not apparent. Finishes with an almost sour fruitiness, and relatively dry.

M-High carbonation, medium body. Probalby appropriate, but it just didn't quite feel right to me.

D-An easy-drinking amber ale with a nice touch of Belgian influence and flavor. This is easy and smooth enough that it could be a good gateway beer into Belgian-style flavors.

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

Knowing fully well that I was in for a treat after having success with other brews from Ommegang--I was not let down.

I almost forgot how careful I have to be when pouring a nicely chilled, quality belgian brew--this head was scrumptious and lacing was like that of the rings a few hundred year old redwood. Simply there as reminders of each sip.

I enjoyed this amber ale as a sort of an every day option where its flavor is more reserved than that of a white/wheat variety. Rather, this was spicy and warm afterwards--of course not without that initial, wonderful, carbonated smack on the palate.

Please give this a try...and enjoy it slowly.

Photo of stakem
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes taken last month (8/21)

Pours a clowdy amber with thick 2 finger head. Big bubbles fade quickly to a lacey half finger of off white head. Fruity aroma with yeast present. Taste is filled with yeast, nearly bread like but has a fruit character akin to apples. Smells also of apples and spice as well. Light mouthfeel and mildly warming sweet finish.

Photo of bump8628
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle.

Light orange/copper color with a slight haze and 1 finger of fluffy, white head.

Aroma is fruity with plum notes and some mild yeasty spiciness.

Tastes of bready and caramelly malt and fruity/spicy Belgian yeast. Some faint earthy and spicy hops round it all out. Finishes dry and refreshing with a very creamy mouthfeel.

Overall, a very balanced and drinkable Belgian-style ale. Very versatile for pairing with foods and great for any season.

Photo of drtth
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel tulip. A glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a hazed, dark orange/amber color with a 1" thick light tan head that creates a ring of lace around the glass. As the head recedes it leaves a thin layer of foam on the liquid and a nice ring of foam. On sipping the lacing pattern is like a spider web on one side of the glass and speckles of lacing on the other. Over time most of the head disappears but the ring and lacing persist for quite a while.

Smell: The aroma is lightly yeasty, softly spicy with hints of coriander and clove, and laced with traces of fruitiness that include orange and apricot. The whole is quite rich and complex.

Taste: The yeasty flavor also contains some light sweet, caramel maltiness that blends nicely with a touch of spices--clove and even some ginger. There is also fruitiness here with some banana, apple and golden raisins. Creating a counterpoint and rounding everything out, there is a trace of bitterness from the hops.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and softly smooth with good, persistent carbonation. The finish is long, clean, crisp and dry.

Drinkability: This is outstanding. To my tastes this highly drinkable beer is meant for sipping and relaxing but I can also see that it should go well with dinner or even to follow dinner as a dessert treat. This is definitely a beer to have more than one of both tonight and in the future.

Photo of washburnkid
4.75/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a single at Cost Plus. My first, but not my last of this beer! Enjoyed in a tulip.

A: About 3 fingers frothy light beige head over a dark amber (red in the light) body. Good retention and nice webbed lacing.
S: Big fruits at the pour. Very ripe and sweet. Pleasant on the nose. A bit of earth I would expect in an Ommegang brew, and the clove spice and wheat I expect in a Belgian ale. Spices are wonderful, and the aroma is almost perfumey.
T: Emphasis on the clove and other dark spices. Wheat-like and earthy, all of which I expected from the aroma. Grassy. Delicious.
M: Medium body with high, crisp carbonation.
D: I am a big fan of this brew. To me, it seems like a less horse blanket version of Hennepin. Refreshing and drinkable.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.64/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottles poured into a wine glass.

Pours a ruby color with no head. Has a nice hoppy and sweet aroma.

Taste is somewhat sweet and a bit malty. Nice and sharp with a bit of hoppiness and some good thick flavors, overall pretty decent but not one of my favorites from Ommegang.

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Rare Vos (Amber Ale) from Brewery Ommegang
91 out of 100 based on 2,982 ratings.