Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Rare Vos (Amber Ale) - Brewery Ommegang

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,124 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,124
Hads: 3,160
Avg: 4.04
pDev: 18.32%
Wants: 175
Gots: 531 | FT: 1
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Rare Vos (Amber Ale) Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,124 | Hads: 3,160
Photo of ryantaussig
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks good and smells good. Lots of spice comes through in the nose, especially coriander. That same spice is huge in the flavor and really gives this one it's characteristic identity. I really like this beer. The feel is alright, a bit aggressive on the carbonation, I'd like it to be smoother. Overall, a good choice on a night out.

 334 characters

Photo of philipt
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brewery Ommegang is one of the top 3 American brewers of Belgain style ales and Rare Vos certainly helps maintain this opinion.

Pours a copper/amber color with a sizeable head. Sweet, fruity, and floral nose. Malt, fruit, and some spice in the taste. Well balanced and finishes surprisingly dry. Very drinkable.

 314 characters

Photo of Stonebreaker
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber with a weizen like head. Sticks around.

Smell: That familiar Belgian aroma, only a little faint.

Taste: My first beer of the style but a definite let down, I don't think I like the Ommegang abbey ale or this one as much as other Belgians because they just aren't sweet enough for my taste. The flavor is malts and Belgian yeast produced esters, lightly sweet, more bitter than I would expect. Less flavorful than the Belgian Strong Dark ale, to be expected I suppose.

Mouthfeel: OK

Drinkability: Had the dunkelweizen at Piece brewpub again last night. That was far superior to this one, on the drinkability scale. Good, but I'd take the Hennepin over this one any day.

 690 characters

Photo of jlb307
4.2/5  rDev +4%
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.

 488 characters

Photo of KYBrewgrass
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-4.5 dark, cloudy orange, caramel-like color. Poured into a tulip, perfect 1" white foamy head. Nice lacing on glass.

S-4 dried fruit, fresh bread.

T-4 malt, caramel, hint of fruit and spices (clove, nutmeg). Very slight metallic after-taste is really only unappealing thing about this beer for me.

M-4.5 great feel. Medium body with pretty high carbonation. Creamy feel if sipped slowly.

D-4 good, balanced beer that isn't too heavy, though it is rich in flavor and I'd probably only want 1-2 at a time. Overall a tasty brew that I'd recommend and buy again.

 564 characters

Photo of cooter
4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I wrote notes while heavily intoxicated. This is the result. Somewhat 19th-century-prose, IMHO--reminds me of Walden.

Head is a delicious, luscious, quivering, throbbing sea of white magma that arches its back, solidifying into a lattice of foam bubbles, once energetic and now firm, bubbles of all shapes and sizes, appearing for all the world like whipped cream or ice cream floating on root beer.

Smells sweet.

Powerful carbonation; it is vibrant, like a million seahorses biting on my tongue. [ed note: why seahorses? why not?]

Full, delicious, spicy, in increasing order of power. Sweet, sugars and hops both. Strong, with a commanding presence, like Captain Picard or Sean Connery. Like a substantial, less saccharine champagne.

It's really a lot like an ice cream float.

[see other review for more cohesion]

 832 characters

Photo of CASK1
3.28/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pale orange, with plenty of haze. Thick white head with excellent retention. Nice lacing to the bottom of the glass.

S: Fruity, especially citrus and tropical. Low spicy hop aroma, and virtually no malt aroma.

T: Low caramel malt, with a nice, drying hop bitterness. Belgian yeast phenolics (peppery) and lots of esters - reminiscent of red berries. Low spicy hop flavor. Not terribly well-balanced. Slightly tart. Needs more malt to support the other flavor features. Alcohol flavors are evident - could be better hidden in a beer of moderate strength.

MF: Somewhat astringent finish. Prickly carbonation. Light body.

D: Not bad, but doesn't make me crave another as I had hoped.

I'm a big fan of Ommegang, but this beer left me somewhat disappointed.

 762 characters

Photo of ThreeDimesDown
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a colorful amber with orange edging and a big fluffy white head that retains well and creates very nice lacing.

Aromas are dominated by yeast and flowery citrus, especially orange. Balanced well with clove and peppery spiciness.

Taste follows the aroma, with a breadiness and orange upfront followed by the spices of clove, coriander and pepper. The finish had a slight bite of alcohol and dryness.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly thinner than expected, considering all the flavor and aroma. Carbonation is strong throughout.

A tasty beer that could work as a session brew or a dinner pairing.

 598 characters

Photo of LucaBrasi
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color is dull orange and reddish. The head is large, tan and laces the glass well which will sink back in to the beer rapidly.
Smell is of citrus and light spice.
Taste is clean like light fruit, cherries spices and cream.
Mouthfeel is remarkably smooth with a tiny carbonation tingle.
Drinkability is excellent this is one of the smoothest beers I can remember, taste is great and the alcohol isn’t on the high end of the spectrum. All these things make this a highly drinkable beer; it’s too bad its retired. I’m heading to the beer store to stock up on whatever they still have on the shelves.

 603 characters

Photo of theBubba
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a cloudy rust-like color in my snifter. The head came on strong but was gone in short time. The moderate lace hung on and lasted to the end. Distinct aroma of pear and clove (sorry, no leather, tobacco, and other such like comparisons the beer cognescenti refer to. We home brewers and winemakers know about esters). The nice carbonation makes for lots of bite but leaves a smooth foamy mouthfeel after each swallow. Hops are just right. You know they exist, but you're not left with the bitterness of Ommegang's Hennipen. All in all, a very nice ale. One I'll drink many times over (as long as I have a job...otherwise I'll be drinking Busch at 4 bucks a six pack). As young Bobby Zimmerman said, "The times they are a changing".

 737 characters

Photo of Victor
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Presentation= Poured in a tall 20oz glass with a nice head and good looking honey color.
Aroma= Fresh, clean and slightly sweet.
Flavor= A satisfying flavor with hints of caramel, lemon and something else I can’t explain but enjoyed.
Overall Ommegang did an excellent job with this Belgian Pale Ale. Refreshing, bubbly, crisp and satisfying!

 344 characters

Photo of Bones54
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in a 750 ml bottle. My first from the Ommegang Brewery out of Cooperstown, New York.
Appearance: Typical Belgian ale appearance, not as much cloudy in appearance, but definately a dark amber hue. Not a large head, but lasting until the last sip.
Smell: mixture of grain and fruit.
Taste: not as powerfull as many Belgian brews, however very pleasant and drinkable. The alcohol taste prevelant in many Belgian beers is not as distinct in Rare Vos.
Overall the beer is very enjoyable and drinkable, one of my favorites. Makes me feel like I'm enjoying it on a summer's night in Brugge, instead of a cold, dreary night in Akron, OH. And for $4.99 that's not bad at all!

 677 characters

Photo of PBBC
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer Pours a nice orange-brown... head begins high but settles low with a little bit of lace.

Aroma is of biscuit and sour apples... but also of peaches, nice fresh peaches.

Taste is surprisingly smooth... strong wheat presence... crisp crackers... light honey, peach, and cherries,

Excellent beer... I paired it with a spicy pasta dish: Clams in a roasted tomato and cayenne pepper sauce. The beer lifted the heat off the center off the palate and pushed it to the sides of the palate... preparing the tongue for the next bite and sip.

Great drinkability. Would buy again as a dinner beer.

 594 characters

Photo of brianjay
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

 1,060 characters

Photo of RashyGrillCook
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A "true belgian style amber ale" from Cooperstown, NY. Apparently, rare vos is Flemish for sly fox. Sports a distinct, foggy orange honey color that looks as refreshing as it sounds and retains a "rocky" head quite well. Smell is typical of quality amber ales with sweet, but mellow, notes of cloves, bread and citrus. Taste is similar to smell, accentuated by a sharp (almost overbearing) shot of carbonation. There is a lingering bitterness as well as some buried caramel accents. This does get a little sweeter as it gets warmer and overall a very decent brew.

 563 characters

Photo of Altrurian
3.89/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Golden-hued, with an orange cast. The frothy head fades fairly quickly. The nose, concentrated in a 12-oz. tulip, is of toffee, citrus, and pepper, satisfyingly affirmed by the taste. The beer is refreshingly prickly on the palate. This sophisticated blend of flavors, combined with a relatively modest ABV, makes for a noteworthy thirst-quencher, and an able accompaniment to a piquant meal.

 392 characters

Photo of nogoodreason
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I lack the wide-mouthed stem glass the bottle insisted upon. Instead, I poured this into a pint-sized glass with a narrow bottom and middle with a tulip-esque bulb near the mouth. Served with a pan-seared steak and some very buttery parmesan asparagus.

Appearance: Pours an abso-fucking-lutely beautiful hazy red orange. Initially a behemoth head forms and threatens to overrun the glass. The head didn't stick around for long, but the beer still had a nice, consistent lacing down the sides of the glass.

Smell: Not a particuarly stong smelling brew, a nice malty smell with touches of citrus. Perhaps the smell of the food was interfering with my ability to capture the scent, but this really doesn't have a particuarly pungent nose.

Taste: Malty, with orange peel(?), a faint but unquestionable banana taste. Well balanced, not too sweet, not too strong on the fruity flavors and just enough hops to give it a bit of bite. This is not a big beer, on the contrary, it is very mild and subtle. Not especially complex (for a belgian-style ale), but still quite good tasting.

Mouthfeel: Thick and fairly viscous with good carbonation bite. I like the way this one feels in my mouth.

Unlike most of the belgian-style ales I normally enjoy Rare Voss is not a burly behemoth of flavor. It is a mild, easy drinking brew. At 6.5 ABV, it was easy for me to drink a 750 ml. bottle and not feel more than a pleasant warmness. I went ridiculously well with the steak and aparagus, neither being overpowered by the food nor overpowering. This may be the the best session beer of this type I've had, and it is a great substitute for a table wine when consuming red meat.

 1,673 characters

Photo of Hobbz
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orange-red presentation in the (Belgian) serving glass. Bubbly effervescence stirred its cloudy (bottle-conditioned) liquid, forming a hefty, foamy head.

Dried-orange and yeasty nose also was filled with a spicy aroma. I gathered its smell, and with each tasting, I liked it.

This beer's "thinnish" mouthfeel I think actually helps this one (I actually underlined this in my beer notes; then reading some of the other reviews, I can see how this is a very personal matter; one grasps -- or grapples with -- its "light-bodiedness" immediately).

Rare Vos is light and airy and conveys its flavors it bits and pieces as well: This pretty drinkable Belgian-style ale has hints of dried orange peel with a smidgen of sourness and background-hop-bitterness mixed in. (Almost slight green-apple tartness, but I wouldn't think it directly attributed to acetaldehyde?)

A great all-around lighter styled Belgian ale, and one I'd love to sample at the "sly fox" proper.

 970 characters

Photo of Soozy
4.31/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 5

Split a bottle of this with a friend, poured into a tulip glass. This beer is f***in gorgeous. Golden orange, just looks like a perfect amber. Has a citrus smell to it, a bit of apple, smells almost like a cider.

Very spicy in taste. I couldn't pick up on them, but almost like a little bit of pepper, really liked it. This bottle was a gusher and it seemed very over-carbonated, but the drinkability is still high

Overall, great beer, would recommend this one for sure.

 473 characters

Photo of ghetto90007
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 750mL bottle into my New Belgium snifter. Would have preferred the tulip for this one in retrospect. Served at about 40 degrees, per the bottle's label recommendation. Let it warm to about 45 degrees for my second pour and enjoyed it a bit more.

L - Amber-orange, a bit cloudy. Stick your ear over the glass and you'll hear the busy crackle of carbonation. Off-white head, starts at about 2 fingers, has reasonable resilience - the big bubbles pop off, small bubbles stick around and cluster together. A thin layer (~2 mm) sticks around to the end. Carbonation is exciting on this one - holding the glass up and looking through the side, tiny bubbles of carbonation float in orderly threads from bottom of the glass to the top to join their heady brethren.

S - Sweet smell, hints of grain. Fruity. Alcohol is very apparent, especially right after the pour.

T - Definite sipper - has lots of body. 40 degrees was a bit cold and makes the substantial carbonation seem a little harsh. At 45-50 you can really start to appreciate this one. On the palate, it is spicy and fruity. But upon swallowing a dry, clean, yeastiness emerges. It's real nice. Ommegang is in NY but this tastes like a genuine Belgian.

F - Highly carbonated. As I mentioned above, mouthfeel is a bit harsh at lower temps, but is less aggressive if you let it warm just a little.

D - Enjoyable with a nice combo of lightness and gravity. Each sip stays interesting. Effervescence makes it a refresher.

I'll be keeping a bottle of this one on hand.

 1,535 characters

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

Sampled 8.6.05

A massive two fingers of head crowned the glorious golden bronze brew. Foam like a latte. A patient one can watch it sneak away.

One smell is funky malts, super sweet and spicy. Belgium unleashed in my living room. I sense a light fragrance of licorice. A delicious aroma all around.

First sip is tangy and spicy, a rush of both feeling and taste. Light fruits linger in the body, sweetness coats the cheeks and tongue. A bitter finish with a tinge of alcohol keeps you aware of what you're drinking. Very light and fluffy in the mouth, but still with plenty of carbonation. Like the smell, this has a great flavor all around as well.

This is easily to drink. Good to toast with, bubbly and bright. A recent favorite and absolute pleasure to review!

 776 characters

Photo of TPSReports
3.42/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This 11.2 oz bottled is served at 48 degrees from my cellar. There is no date on the bottle.

Pours and nice translucent medium amber color into my tulip with a very large white head. The head sticks areound for a while and is composed of 1/4 bb sized bubbles.

The nose is of grapes and cotton-candy, but not sticky syrupy sweet.

The flavor is somewhat non-descript. Prehaps it is overpowered by the Unibroue La Fin Du Monde I just finished. It's hard to imagine that this brew can be compromised by a pale ale, but maybe that is the case. Maybe not. I'm not sure that this brew has a strong taste, period. I was expecting more.

To date, this is my least favorite beer from Ommegang. 2 out of 3 ain't bad!

 716 characters

Photo of Tom_Banjo
3.71/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle purchased as part of a 4-pack, chilled to approximately 50 degrees, and poured into a Spiegelau tulip. A nice beer, but without anything compelling about it. I think the brewery's Fleur de Houblon, also a Belgian Pale Ale, is more interesting, though that one is more of a summer seasonal and so not available now.

 330 characters

Photo of xzqrut
3.91/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured from the tap, had a great appearance. It gave a nice amber/copper color, with a beautiful head that stuck to the end, with excellent lacing. It gave a nice spicy and orange smell, same flavors found in the taste. Mouthfeel was full and frothy. Excellent beer!

 276 characters

Photo of Lambstrong
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

 478 characters

Rare Vos (Amber Ale) from Brewery Ommegang
90 out of 100 based on 1,124 ratings.