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Rare Vos (Amber Ale) - Brewery Ommegang

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Rare Vos (Amber Ale)Rare Vos (Amber Ale)

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2,958 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,958
Reviews: 1,101
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.81%
Wants: 144
Gots: 351 | 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: 2,958 | Reviews: 1,101 | Display Reviews Only:
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
3.27/5  rDev -19.7%
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
3.3/5  rDev -18.9%
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
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
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
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
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
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
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
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
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
3.77/5  rDev -7.4%
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
4.32/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Photo of indiapaleale
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange, medium amber with a very thick, fluffy white head. As far as "dark ales" go, this one seems relatively light.

Smell is that familiar Belgian yeast, lots of sweetness, quite a floral/fruity bouquet. Another great smelling Belgian style beer.

Taste is very, very smooth, sweet and delicious. Lots of canned pear taste comes through along with other juicy fruits and apple cider. Lots of flavor in this refreshing ale, love it.

Super easy drinking, I think I could handle a big bottle by myself!

Photo of Newmerator
3.87/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A. Deep Amber, pale-copper, Cloudy,

S. Mildly sweet, malty, yeasty

T. Light, fruity, oily after taste

M. slick, light, medium body.

D. Good beer, session beer. Nothing to boast about, though.

I had some hype when going into this beer. I expected it to be better, I have liked most of the brews by Ommegang. This one, for me, fell a bit short of par.

Photo of droomyster
4.52/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy, deep orange that almost glows like an ember, with a nice tan head with decent retention. Its aromas are interesting. It smells very minerally, almost beachy, with light, fruity ethers reminiscent of apricots, and a pleasant, natural yeastiness. The fact that all of these aromas are present and yet all very subtle makes this beer very intriguing. I've become accustomed to Belgian-style ales practically smacking me in the nose and jarring my tongue with their intensity but this beer does none of those things. Rare Vos has a lot of finesse. Its flavors are complex yet gentle. Its fruity notes range from peaches and apricots to sour strawberries. Its bitterness is best described as unripened fruit rather than "citrusy," "piney," "earthy" or what have you. Finishes dry and leaves you excited for the next sip. This is another extremely good ale by Ommegang.

Photo of jlb307
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from the tap into a Chimay chalice.

A: Murky copper in color and nicely bubbly. Nice off-white head which retained for a few minutes, but it seemed to thin a little too soon. Some spots of lace on the glass.

S: Slightly sweet and pleasingly spicy aroma. Hints of citrus and ripe red fruits.

T: Spicy, sweet, and mildly nutty. Great balance with just enough of a light alcohol flavor.

M: Full body, but light feel. Clean finish and smooth.

D: Very good beer and great to drink.

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

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Pours a slightly hazy light copper with a big billowing head that left some beautiful lacing.

S: Belgian yeast, fresh cut grass and nutmeg.

T: Lightly toasted white bread, white peppercorns, apricot, and granny smith apple.

M: Medium bodied with perfect carbonation for a Belgian Ale.

D: Easy and satisfying to drink.

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

Appearance: Head attacks the glass. I had to pour in two installments as to not overflow. Frothy and bubbly look leaving good lacing. Head appears to be breathe as it shrinks to about an inch. Amber in color, bordering on red.

Smell: Tangy smell of alcohol and malt. Some hops, but the malt and belgian yeast lead the way. Sweet and sour.

Taste: Different than what I was expecting, but then again my experience with belgian styles are limited. I'm guessing that it is the yeast that gives Rare Vos its fruity and smooth taste. The hops serve as a means of balancing out the sweetness of the yeast and malt. A very balanced beer. The one complaint is the taste is rather empty at first, but it grows.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel of this beer is great. A little dry and maybe a bit thin, but the aftertaste and multi-layered dimensions of this beer come through after the sip is gone.

Drinkability: This beer is very drinkable even at 6.5%. You would not even know that its that high if it was not printed on the bottle. The balanced taste and thin/dry body make it a good candidate for having a few.

Photo of tlinner
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Stunning clear amber with a towering fluffy off-white head that lasts a while.

Smell - Spicy Belgian yeast, light fruit: pear and table grapes.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Very similar to nose. But the fruit character is darker, like cherries or even plum. Subtle hops, with the yeast leading the way.

Drinkability - Fantastic beer form one of the best breweries in the world, IMHO. A great beer for novices and veterans alike.

Photo of Psilo707
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very golden amber color into the mug and leaves behind a thick frothy head with a bit of scattered lacing. Also there are more bubbles floating up in this brew than in any I have ever seen - nice! The scent is actually not as prominent for me as many other people have stated but maybe my nose is off today. But it is one of slight banana and a little bit of fruity candy in there.

Taste is much lighter than expected but in a positive way. The fruity and high-pitched aftertaste lingers on the tongue for quite a while and it goes down smoothly. Mouthfeel is solid and somewhat creamy. Drinkability is good, I will have no problem finishing this.

Overall a good light belgian ale. A-

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.34/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 6/16/2007 (750mL bottle):

Pours a cloudy brown colored body, with a small whitish head, fizzy but diminishing very quickly. Very floral light sweet aroma. Sweet fizzy taste, clean aftertaste. Floral taste, some acid. Warming up....a little more even taste, not acidic.

Photo of lhaqq
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Light copper body with amazing bubbles. More than even a Duvel. A billowy yellowish white head that looks creamier as it settles.
S: Initially orange and banana and spices pretty strong. Then shifts into Belgian yeast and toffee. Also a bit of bubble gum.
T: Tastes a bit like a light dubbel. Less flavor than I was expecting from the smell, but still good. Has more light fruity notes, though, than a dubbel. Less on the orange than the smell and more on a malty banana flavor. Some cloves come out in the flavor, too; now that I've tasted it, it's more apparent in the smell as well.
M: Light but fairly creamy.
D: Will have an easy time putting back the rest of the 750ml.

Photo of cpn920
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a cloudy amber golden hue with a thick creamy head that faded to lacing. Smell consisted of banana's and mild clove. Taste was very good and very smooth. Tasted banana with a mildly sweet finish. Medium bodied with good carbonation. Drinkability very high. This beer is really really enjoyable and I'm disappointed that I hadn't tried it sooner.This is one that will be a regular at my house!

Photo of beeragent
4.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter from a bottle.

A - Pours a medium slightly hazy amber, forming a creamy 1 inch head, that fades rather quickly. Light spots of lacing dot the glass.

S - Strong fruity aroma created from the yeast, along with a noticeable hint of alcohol.

T - Sweet fruity taste coats the palate, followed by a nice sweet malt thickness. Spices seem to come out a bit more in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D - Very nice full flavor and smooth finishing beer. Definitely a sessionable ale. The not so high alcohol content allows for a few of these in one night.

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

A beautiful clear copper ale with a thick meringue like head. Retention is impressive and it never completely goes away. Fading to a light foam covering with bits of lace all along the sides. Steady and gentle carbonation gives a pretty look as well as keeping the top covered.

Smell is pale and caramel malts, banana, spices like clove, anise, and light pepper, and light hop florals. There is a back note of sourdough bread and fruitiness from the yeast as well as faint Belgian funk.

Taste is a superb balance of malt at first, followed by a banana led fruitiness finished by clean hops. There is a light toffee like sweetness to the malt profile as well as a healthy spiciness in between the malt and fruits consisting of the clove and white pepper from the nose. Anise tucks in at the back of them. The finish is so clean and dry leaving just enough breadiness and light hop bittering to have you smacking your lips and tounge. There is a hint of mint as I do so. Mmmm.

Feel is medium and tingly from the carbonation. It just stops short of creaminess but gives a smooth swallow that is quenching and refreshing.

Drinkability is definitely a strong suit. The 750 ml bottle used to say this was the session ale from Ommegang and I have to agree. You can drink this one all day and night and never want for anything except snacks and meals .

A great one to keep in the house for everyday enjoyment. Went great with a bowl of smoked bean soup. Four packs of this are going for $9.99 in Manhattan where I work,
( Hennepin too ). At this price how can you loose? One of the greats from Cooperstown

Rare Vos (Amber Ale) from Brewery Ommegang
91 out of 100 based on 2,958 ratings.