Vas Deferens Ale | Caldera Brewing Company

59 Reviews
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Vas Deferens AleVas Deferens Ale

Brewed by:
Caldera Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Halcyondays on 06-05-2010

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Reviews: 59 | Ratings: 126
Photo of russpowell
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this ine from the Nashvillian (cheers John)

Pours chestnut/mahogany with a pinky of of tan head. Average head retention & good lacing

S: Rich dark fruit, chocolate. All fade as this warms

T: Follows the nose, dryness, apricot, pears & cherries with a touch of oakyness up front. I start picking some candi orange notes as this warms, a touch of juicy fruit gum on the edges, along with apple skins. Finishes dry with some orange rind bitterness showing up, some cocoa powder as well

MF: Medium bodied, fairly firm carbonation, a bit too dry for my liking

A decent shot at the style, just didn't pull a the way together for me, still very drinkable

Was hoping for some like an acholic version of Terry's Orange Chocolate (if you know what I'm talking about)

Having read other reviews, yeah what is up with that label? Not sure what that demon is is grabbing...

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

Drank 11/5/11

A: A slightly reddish amber hue, with a head that dissipates quickly and completely. Intriguing simply because it's a different color.

S: It smells like an orange chocolate bar. Not what I was expecting at all, but I like it. Not the most exceptional or complex beer I've had, but it's good.

T: Again, orange chocolate. Mmm mmm good. Very well balanced, and not a hint of booze.

M: Good intermediate body, but nothing special.

O: I enjoyed this beer, but I much prefer Caldera's other offerings.

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Photo of phichifiji00
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: Deep mahogany with red hue, pours 1 finger of off-white head that fades quickly. Lots of lacing.

Smell: Roasted malt, chocolate, orange zest, slightly boozy as it warms, raw sugars.

Taste: roasted malt, chocolate, blood orange, sweet, brown sugar.

Mouthfeel: full bodied, good carbonation.

Overall: A tasty porter. I like the subtle blood orange element. Not a lot going on here, but what there is is quite good. Drinkability is above average.

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Photo of mgbickel
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Piraat tulip. 1/2 finger of lazy tan bubbles formed on top of the dark copper/brown body. The head vanished rather qucikly, but laced the walls of the glass nicely.

This smells a lot like a classic quad...lots of dark fruits, plums and malt.

Just as the nose indicates, the dark fruits are the major flavor here. The blood oranges can be detected slightly, but not as strongly as other beers that contain the same citrus.

Medium bodied...a little sticky with moderate carbonation.

Not a bad offering...a little heavy after the first glass. Well balanced flavors and one of the coolest (and disturbing) labels of all time!

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Photo of vande
3.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: a coppery, somewhat bronze type color with a nice thin layer of lace left atop.
S: Malty and some dark fruit notes... plumb/fig..but a sweet
T: the malty sweentness blended with the dark fruits do make for an interesting tasting beer.
M: medium bodied dark ale, relatively easy to drink...
O: pretty good beer.

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Photo of oline73
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear very dark redish amber with a finger of tan head that fades to a ring.

Smell: Malty with some fruity notes along with mild chocolate and spice.

Taste: More fruit here than in the smell. Malty and quite sweet, I'm picking up just a bit of the orange. The finish is malty and bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with prickly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: Not as much citrus and I would have expected. I would have liked more fruit to go along with everything else. I would probably pass on this one in the future.

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Photo of pitasoup
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours clear dark brown with a hint of ruby. one finger of white head, very fine buttles that are slow to subside, no lacing.

S: barley malt, orange zest, pumpkin spices? i'd almost want to guess summit hops without the onionyness.

T: slight hop bitterness at first, then smoked and barley malts, vanilla, bread, campfire, caramel, honey, and lingering hops. a touch of minerallyness, perhaps crystal hops?

M: slightly astringent from the carbonation that quickly subsided to smooth medium bodied barley malt. marginally tart on the tongue afterwards.

O: bottle says orange bitters and zest - i only taste zest, and not that much, which may have been better replicated w/ appropriate hops. a fun beer overall, i'd drink it again, but not at the large-bottle price. if it sold itself as a brown ale, i'd like it more. belgian yeasts arent as present, and the intended spicing is overwhelmed by roasted barley. i liked this a lot, despite being oddly unfitting to any style.

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Photo of match1112
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: dark brown with amber highlights, no head or lacing.

s: dark malts, medicine, little orange and rubbing alochol.

t: malts, caramel, no medicine but dark fruits, other than bitters no other orange taste detected.

m: full body with some bitterness.

o: worth trying once, dont think i'll seek this one out again.

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Photo of Siggy125
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from a 22oz bottle to a couple of taster glasses with a buddy. Dark amber/copper in color, dusty off white head with fast fading carbonation. A little haziness.

Smells of hard candy, tart citrus, spices and little like a fruity cough medicine. Not in a bad way though. I enjoy the aroma after a few minutes of temp increases. The tart nose softened a bit.

Tastes a little sweet, I get the hard candy sugars again, dark fruits, faint orange zest. The flavors are combining with a slight medicinal taste. Some spices, maybe nutmeg, cinnamon? The orange flavor comes across a bit "artificial", maybe the bitters?

A very different brew, surprised my palate a bit. Stands on its own in flavor and not like anything I wouldve expected. I enjoyed it more at cask temp after it smoothed out. Deecent mouthfeel. Not in hurry to obtain more, but not really bad if you want to try something new.

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Photo of beer2day
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had to give this a try, based on the name and the label. A bit disturbing, if you dwell on it too much.

Ruby brown with 1-finger pale cream head. Light lace and just a touch of head left at the bottom of the glass. Great color, though.

Nose is caramel and brown sugar with a touch of Belgian yeast. Getting the orange zest about half-way through the glass.

Orange much more evident in the taste, with more blood orange than zest. Lots of caramel malt and sweet molasses here. A bit of roasted toffee, too. Touch of bitter orange in the finish. Nice twist.

Feel is pretty solid. Very creamy with just a touch of carbonation.

Overall well worth trying. Just got to get past that label.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had to get this one for the name, Grabbed a bottle when I came across it at the store. The pour was a murky orange brown color with a fluffy tan colored head on it. The smell of Belgian yeast was prominent, along with some citrusy aromas and earth too. The taste of the beer had some sweet notes up front with the fruits and brown sugars that might be in there. The finish was a little on the dry and spicy side. The mouthfeel I thought was just a little thin. Overall the beer was worth the try for sure. I would probably buy this one again in the fututre.

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

Pours a reddish brown. Fairly clear with a bit of white head. Smells orange heavy and sweet dark carmels malts. Vry rich and dark . Brown sugar sweetness. Almost a burnt caramel on he tongue, the orange is not as strong as i would like. Thick and full bodied. Overall very nice compared to what I expected

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Photo of sgsmfdoom
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smell is light, almost non-existent, must be trapped in the dark amber. Very light head tops a thin effervescent surface. Taste is belgian yet bitter, with very little of the promised oranges. I'm getting a lot of roast out of this, which normally would be a compliment but it just doesn't fit what I was expecting. Aside from the bitter notes the beer is pretty good, it's almost like a belgian strong dark coffee stout ale.

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Photo of Nashvillain
3.56/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is an awesome color, a very dark brown that only lets small amounts of light through around the edges. Head is thin and fleeting, the small amount that sticks around is like cream poured in a latte. Smell is a light belgian roastiness, something like a sweetness mixed with coffee and a slight amount of bread. It's very faint, hard to pull out any specific aromas.

Taste is great, a roasty brown ale with a belgian-friendly slant. The yeast lightens up the beer considerably, very thin up front with most of the body in the middle and finish. The sweetness hits first, followed by the roasty flavors and orange bitters in the back end. Nothing in the beer is really overpowering, but it's not weak, just tame. On the whole, it seems like there's a tendency to go crazy in the BSDA category, this is a reserved offering that's great for a nice relaxing evening, definitely in opposition to what the label may suggest.

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4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber with an awesome label.
Clear deep amber with razzberry and apricot highlights. A big dense tan head with decent retention. Tight sheets of lace.

Blood orange, caramel, dark candi sugar/brown sugar, toasty, spices, pie crust. Some fruity Belgian yeast esters.

Sweet toasty caramel, brown sugar and spices, pie crust. Bitter blood orange. Nice and bitter, counters the sweetness.

Smooth, no bite. Full feeling medium body. Slow med carbonation.

Very drinkable and interesting brew. Complex, lots of flavors, and very enjoyable. Hilarious name and label.

bomber enjoyed 9/12/10

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Photo of emmasdad
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to inflatablechair for sending out this great extra last month. Shared with a few others last saturday night. Poured a nice reddish brown color, with a bit of tan head on top. Aromas of toasted malt, caramel, orange zest and yeast. Medium bodied, with flavors of orange, caramel, toasted malt and yeast.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got this one from Lazerlobe a while back in a BIF. Thanks again! Poured into a tulip. The beer pours a dark mahogany with slight red hughs and a small off white head.

Interesting aroma here. I get dark chocolaty malts with a hint of orange zest. Don't really know where the chocolate is coming from but this smells pretty good. Choclate taste without much noticability of orange flavors as the label of the beer would indicate. Strong malt flavors here.

The feel is pretty good, soft carbonation and a full body help this a lot. Good beer, kind of a sipper and it's not so much what I thought it would be as the label indicates but an interesting effort.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.41/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pecan shell dark brown that becomes burnt orange and dark cherry red with backlighting. Appropriate color for a BSDA. The good looking lid of golden khaki is not Belgianesque... nor was it expected to be. Thick streamers of sudsy lace means no real negatives.

I'm not getting much in the way of Belgian yeast esters in the nose, which makes me think the brewers used dark candi sugar, but not Belgian yeast, and called it a day. Not getting the blood orange zest either, just some dark malts.

Vas Deferens Ale is the first Caldera brew that I haven't enjoyed immensely. While it isn't bad beer, it's a sorry excuse for a BSDA no matter how you slice it. The flavor profile does not fit the style, not least because there still isn't much contribution from the yeast... which is what should be driving this car.

Specifics include toasted pumpernickel, medium-dark fruit, black tea, black pepper and a modicum of citrus zest. That last one isn't immediately recognizable as orange, blood or otherwise. Warming brings a bit more boldness and definition, which is enough to tilt the score in an upward direction. Good sweet-bitter balance and skilled alcohol masking help too.

Since nothing else about this brew is Belgianesque, it would unfair to ask the mouthfeel to be. It has neither the medium-full creaminess, the expansiveness, nor the hang-on that it needs to earn the 4.0.

Unless you have a passing familiarity with human anatomy and physiology, it's probably best that you don't know what the singing devil on the rather disturbing label is being showered with. Hey Caldera, in the interests of gender equality, how about giving us Fallopian Tube Flanders Red Ale next?

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #42 (Jul 2010):

Crazy name, disturbing label. WTF!! LOL ... we're OK now. It's a dark and heady brew. Brown sugar, medicinal phenols, bubble gum and ripe fruit make for a Belgian-like aroma. It is crisp and smooth with a bitty mouth- feel. Suggestions of chocolate, oranges, toasted bread and rum come to mind. With modest hops, the alcohol is very prevalent; lots of ripe tropical fruit in tow. Bitter orange wins over the blood orange zest. This beer is not half bad, and certainly worth a try if you can get past the label.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer poured from a bottle into a beer mug. The beer pours an extremely dark brown with a foamy, light 2" head. The beer has smells of alcohol, citrus, and heavy malts, but all well blended together. The beer has a robust burst of flavors, again well blended like the smell. There are flavors of malt, sweetness, citrus/orange, and a little bit of molasses undertone. It's impressive that these bold flavors all blend so well, and the beer still manages to be smooth in mouth. There is an alcohol tinge to the flavor, and it is rather pleasant along with the rest of the beer. There is a very smooth finish, as well, and the beer is surprisingly easy to drink despite all the strong flavors and the decent ABV. Pretty decent brew, and it's unfortunate that this is a rare release. I think this could be a decent flagship beer for the brewery. If it weren't for the sticker price, I would bring home a lot of this one.

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Photo of chumba526
3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears dark brown with a medium light brown head.

It smells of oranges, chocolate, nutty malts and it strangely smells a bit like cherries.

It tastes strongly of oranges. The orange flavor almost has a fresh taste to it. The malt taste to the beer is a bit nutty and chocolate like. There is a noticeable amount of Belgian yeast flavor. I get a tangy almost chalky flavor from the yeast. The yeast also seems to add some fruity characteristic to the beer. This most orange tasting beer I have ever had. They must have added a lot of orange zest to the beer.

The carbonation is medium low in this beer. It has a smooth carbonation to it.

The drinkability is pretty good for the how high it is in alcohol. The beer has a smooth flavor so it is quite easy to drink.

Overall, a distinctive creative ale that has some minor flaws but overall is a nice tasting beer. This is an interesting take on Belgian strong ale. Worth trying.

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Photo of Xul
2.99/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a translucent, deep ruby with brown highlights, capped by a finger and a half of frothy head. Retention is moderate as it settles down to a thin layer of foam and holds there.

S: Dark fruits - prunes and figs - along with some oranges and wheaty base. A strange salty, vinegary aroma not unlike green olives lurks in the background. Doesn't kill the beer, but it's a big strange.

T: Lots of dark malts, some chocolate and coffee, and a big dose of dark fruits. The oranges come through a bit but not overwhelmingly. Some light tartness near the backend. Long, sweet finish.

M: Full bodied with moderate carbonation.

D: Bold flavors, but somewhat unbalanced...not a particularly interesting beer.

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Photo of Docer
3.26/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Roommates GF brought home a bottle to try... love the name, label.. etc.... let's see what we've got...

- Clear, and rather dark brown ale of sorts.. glows a touch red as well... big off-white head... leaves a bit of a ring and a subtle layer on top...

- I get some bitter hops, tangy Belgian-like yeast.. wheat or a wit quality... and green olives. I usually get a green olive smell when something is wrong.... little spice, zest, earthy...

- Esters.. fig, prune, fruit... yogurt.. spice, and some green olive... a very interesting almost iced-cream-like approach to a beer... a cream flavor exists... zesty tangy hop.... very interesting. I am also getting peanuts... lots of essence of peanut... like peanut butter.

- Medium bodied, creamy.. dry, and chewy.

- Certainly an interesting brew. Just a touch off for me though... could do without the green olive smell.. but I would love to know what they put in this... certainly pushing the envelope with this one.

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Photo of rand
2.29/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

22 oz bomber to pint glass

Pours a rich reddish-brown that, although isn't cloudy or murky, is dark enough to let little light through. It's seems to be amply carbonated, but the small head quickly dissipates leaving little lacing.

The nose is a little flat. Given the description on the bottle, I was expecting something unique and layered, but I could have mistaken this for Newcastle (sorry NC fans). You can pick up a bit of the orange, but given that the label mentions orange was added, you're smelling for it.

The flavors are a bit more pronounced than the scent, but they're perhaps less interesting. You're met with roasted malts and orange, but the flavors don't pop, at all, and they're combined with muddy, earthy tones that becomes cloyingly sweet as the sip progresses. This beer needs something else. Hops, perhaps? Perhaps not, it's simply unbalanced.

Given the wispy head, I wasn't expecting a lot of viscosity and I wasn't surprised. This is light on the tongue and not in a good way, especially for an 8% Belgian. I've noticed some 'chewy' references here - maybe I got a bad bottle? Possibly, but I'm not sure bad batches/bottles change the body much, and this is pretty damn thin for 8%

This beer clearly doesn't work and it's not something I would seek out again, but it doesn't fail - it's not the worst thing I've tried and I like what they were trying to do here. There's a template in there to work from. But if I was Caldera I would go back to the drawing board on this one.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.23/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. A generous gift from ramnuts. Thanks, Frank!

Shared with alfrantzell and chswimmer.

A: Pours a clear maroon body with a light tan head. The bubbles fill the tulip but quickly collapse into nothing.

S: Not much aroma at all. Some nuts and orange, perhaps.

T: This beer initially tasted like sushi. Ted narrowed it down to the seaweed wrap used in rolls, but I am convinced I picked up the soy / cardboard signs of oxidation, as well. As it warmed, those flavors receded a bit, producing flavors of orange, nuts, coffee, and some kind of spice. Somewhat disjointed.

M: Oddly thin, with a watery flavor.

D: Not enjoyable...

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Vas Deferens Ale from Caldera Brewing Company
3.64 out of 5 based on 126 ratings.
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