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Rare Vos (Amber Ale) - Brewery Ommegang

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,357 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2357
Reviews: 1057
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 11.33%

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
Ratings: 2,357 | Reviews: 1,057 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of AtLagerHeads


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

A very nice ale from Cooperstown. This good looking brew is a very murky deep red amber with an exquisite and creamy, tightly-formed tan head that retains beautifully and laces with remarkable gusto. Beer rarely looks much better than this one does.

The nose is very nice and provides hints of yeast, fruit and spice, along with a very strong alcohol sense that seems higher than its rating. A smooth, creamy feel crosses the lips and provides a bready and yeasty sense very quickly. Lighter notes of fruit and spice enter as each sip settles in and hints at a very nice complexity. The body is lighter and thinner than normally noted in this style. This is followed by a less than crisp, but notably clean finish. The drinkability seems quite good and I can imagine a setting with several of these consumed.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2003 01:42:57 | More by AtLagerHeads
Photo of JISurfer

South Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not bad as far as American made Belgian brews. It's definately a lot more refreshing and crisp than most brews of it's kind, which tend to be heavy and thick. The taste is like most Belgians, but lighter and somewhat sharper. The appearance of the beer was a nice thing too. The color was "murky" brownish red, with a creamy colored foam. The head lasted a good bit and was very frothy to begin with.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2003 03:49:58 | More by JISurfer
Photo of Rumrunner


4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle.

I really enjoyed this ale. A new dimension in spice.

The appearance was a foggy brown amber. Dark gold hues on the sides of the glass with bubbles dancing their way to the top of the glass. The head was big and bubbly. It dissipated some but it did not disappear. The scents were unfortunately restrained. Good scents just not powerful. Mild yeast and pepper. Some grass and fruity sweet apples and green grapes.

The flavors are not restrained at all. Deep pepper and other spices. Nice and grainy. The spices tend to be on the bitter side. There are sweet apples and grapes in the flavors to try and balance out the spicey bite. The spice wins. It finishes with a clove and yeast flavor. The spices mellow slightly when the ale warms a bit. It becomes a bit more malty. A nice adventure for the taste buds.

This ale drinks rich and smooth. The spices leave your mouth with a dry crisp feeling. Very enjoyable.

I think the pepper spice would mellow a bit with some aging. What a great excuse to buy another bottle or two. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2003 05:46:04 | More by Rumrunner
Photo of Elemental


3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Copper amber color which I thought was a little dark for a Belgian Strong ale, nice thick 1/2" of head.

Smell - I thought the smell was a little lacking, not as much there as I wanted. From what was there it was a good smell - fruity, malty, and slightly spicy.

Taste - Good, slightly fruity and quite malty. Very spicy (maybe a bit too spicy - didn't reflect the smell).

Overall - a pretty good strong ale but I think that a couple refinements could be made to give a better balanced beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2003 16:39:55 | More by Elemental
Photo of beerguy101


4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Belgian style ale. Dark golden color, large head. Aroma is very malty, fruity and sweet. Smooth malty flavor, nearly fruity. Some hoppyness, nice malt flavors. Finish is smooth. Aftertaste is smooth and malty, no bitterness. No harsh alcohol taste (6.5%). Very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2003 02:24:43 | More by beerguy101
Photo of Jarod


3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle

This beer poured an amber/almond color that was cloudy to the eye, probably d/t to it being bottle conditioned. The foam that was produced was thick, rich, creamy, sticky, full and colored and off white in color. Lasting power was very nice. It produced a nice sticky lace on the sides of the glass. The aromas that this beer produced were of alcohol soaked fruits, big malts, some grains, plums, raisins and a banana, lots of spices (clove, nutmeg, pepper, licorice), hints of yeast and like a tree bark tendency. The tastes were dominated by all the spices that were noticeable in the nose: cloves, peppers, nutmegs, licorice, followed by some sweet malts and fruits (some dark sweet fruits, bananas and apples), then yeasty bread grains, and hints of alcohol. Aftertaste was of dry yeast, drier overall then I would have thought with the sweetness taking a back seat, and only emerging on occasions. But refreshing and a different view of the style. Not as heavy as I would have thought comparing it to others of the same style, more of a medium/light medium body. Decently complex in the nose and pallet. Good and would probably get again. But would like to try others of the same style first before I revisit.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2003 17:32:13 | More by Jarod
Photo of SeanChouffe

New Mexico

3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A creamy white head that diminished some, but maintained a smooth and sticky layer. The color is bronze with a hint of yellow., and there was a good amount of carbonation.

Aroma: A complex mixture of tropical fruit (citrusy), and clove with a rich background smell that reminded me of bubblegum.

Taste: Some complex spicy and sweet flavors, but peppery, with an unexpended dry and somewhat acidic finish.

Mouthfeel: A thick , creamy and full bodied feel. Very well balanced.

Interesting: Has a lot of character, but the biting finish was a let down to an otherwise good, well balanced, beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2003 02:55:40 | More by SeanChouffe
Photo of Boilermaker88


4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was the first beer I grabbed up when I went on my Friday beer shopping run to Whole Foods. They didn't have any the last few times I'd stopped in and I'd almost given up finding any Brewery Ommegang beers near my home.
This poured a dark reddish color similar to that of the skin of a fully ripened peach. It produced a massive, towering, creamy camel-colored head that was eternal and left great lace. Unbelieveable amount of carbonation rising to sustain the head.
The smell was somewhat like that of a Bavarian hefeweizen - cloves, a hint of banana, plum, yeasty malt and peppery spice. All this was present but subservient to the clove aroma.
The taste mirrored the smell except the spiciness was at the forefront. Cloves were omnipresent but the peppery flavor stood out. Yeast and malt were nicely blended in for a complex variety of tastes.
Feel was full, smooth and creamy.
This was a delicious beer. I set aside the rest to have with dinner and it was even better as it warmed. The reasonable ABV% makes Rare Vos quite easy to drink. A great beer with grilled meats and vegetables. A real treat.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2003 05:05:14 | More by Boilermaker88
Photo of lackenhauser


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

Nice amber color with a slight head that continues to linger.Malty and sweet aroma-somewhat spicy and faintly of hops.Big flavor-malty sweetness,spiciness and maybe a touch of caramel.Full bodied mouthfeel and smooth on the palate.Overall a great beer-never had a bad one from Ommegang.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2003 02:38:10 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of BierReise


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

A nice looking deep amber ale with a creamy dense head and light retention. Gives a fruity spicy aroma with an earthy quality that is quite pleasant. Great full bodied with a creamy yet effervescent mouthfeel. Flavor is malty, fruity with notes of caramel. Everything was excellent about this ale untill the last mouthfull which seemed weak and slightly watery. Also this ale would benefit with a higher abv. It's just missing something.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2003 19:56:33 | More by BierReise
Photo of marburg


4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloves, cloves, and more cloves. Then yeast, yeast, and more yeast.

Very straightforward yet somehow subtle. A dark brew with a head that won't quit. An offering to the nose of cloves, clove incense, and clove cigarettes. There's definitely a little pepper and fruit there as well, but this aroma is so well-integrated, it's like watching two really great dancers have at it on an empty floor. Just mind-bogglingly well put together. Flavor is also clove-like but dominated by the yeast. Meaty and luscious yet fruity, estery: lemon and light rind bitterness to close.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2003 02:36:54 | More by marburg
Photo of dmarch


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

A hazy copper colored beer with a large white head. The head is quite fizzy and diminishes quickly. Aroma is malty and fruity with some spicyness. The taste malty and peppery. Lots of flavor from the yeast as well. Overall, a solid belgian style ale, but not my favorite Ommegang.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2003 22:06:39 | More by dmarch
Photo of Brent


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

Poured a hazy tan-brown. Tart fruit aroma. Initial impression contained an element of raw medicinal alcohol, but this faded quickly as the beer warmed up a bit. Tart phenolic fruit flavors of apricot and pear. At first the beer seemed a bit untamed and unrefined, but as it warmed a bit more maltyness emerged and the flavors came together much better. Finish was a bit sharp with citric acidity.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2003 02:10:40 | More by Brent
Photo of Zraly


4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A hazy, apricot-orange with a creamy, off-white head pours beautifully. Wonderful malt and grain note with a hint of a fruit bowl smell. Carbonation is somewhat fizzy and provides an interesting dimension to the complexity of this ale.

Full and forward, the malts prove prominent. Notes of citrus and has bread-like, yeasty flavors. Underlying these is a slight note of spice, almost has a unique cinnamon n' sugar quality to it. A little bit o' honey lingering around as well. The hops are a smooth ending compliment to this powerful and quite divine brew.

I'm fairly new to Belgian-style ales. But if the majority of them are like this, count me in. A gamey meal would go along just fine.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2003 02:47:39 | More by Zraly
Photo of putnam


4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a smell! Carnival spun sugar, baked granulated sugar coated deepfried pastries coated in caramel and bananas...disciplined, coffee cream-flavored yeast. Sweet, right?
Actually it's pretty dry on the palate. There is a chalky, yeasty slice of powdered coriander and glazed meats. Dehydrated banana peels and dehydrated citrus peel are stitched throughout the voluptuosly large body. A bit Frankenstein-like...a bit engineered, but impressive.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2003 23:34:43 | More by putnam
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy deep orange with a medium head that sticks around for quite some time,the aroma is orangy and pretty clovey.The taste is a little tart to begin with and a lingering spiciness to it.Nice mouthfeel to it and seems to be pretty drinkable, something a little different.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2003 20:11:55 | More by oberon
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
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!

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2003 07:39:31 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of aaronh


3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2003 02:12:46 | More by aaronh
Photo of Jon


4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2003 02:00:16 | More by Jon
Photo of beergeek279


4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2003 01:26:23 | More by beergeek279
Photo of TheDM


4.1/5  rDev +1%
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?

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2003 16:13:45 | More by TheDM
Photo of WVbeergeek


4.63/5  rDev +14%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2003 14:08:46 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of granger10


3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2003 16:02:10 | More by granger10
Photo of rabidawg


4.1/5  rDev +1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2003 20:17:53 | More by rabidawg
Photo of Mitchster


2.03/5  rDev -50%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2003 16:19:41 | More by Mitchster
Rare Vos (Amber Ale) from Brewery Ommegang
91 out of 100 based on 2,357 ratings.