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Rare Vos (Amber Ale) | Brewery Ommegang

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1,146 Reviews
Rare Vos (Amber Ale)Rare Vos (Amber Ale)

Brewed by:
Brewery Ommegang
New York, United States

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-24-2000

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,146 | Ratings: 3,297
Photo of GreenWBush
3.59/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I can't believe I haven't tried this yet alone reviewed it as Ommegang and Hennepin are beer-fridge staples.

Evacuates the large and attractively printed bottle crackling and noisy. Shaded pumpkin in color, Rare Vos produces a productive head that blossoms beautifully over my tulip glass. Lace appears before the first sip and sticks with a vengence all the way through.

The main thing to consider about this beer is the footprint of the typically overzealous Ommegang house yeast. To me, it tastes equal parts rotten oak and dried flowers with metallic and coppery aromas. Saddle leather. Biscuity. Eartiness and spice I usually enjoy in BPA's seem hidden underneath rotten apples and wicker baskets. Mild hop-prescence akin to squeezed grapes.

The taste is markedly cider-esque and bitey. Astringent over-steeped pekoe tea. Dry as all hell, and like drinking a blanket: cotton. Rotting apple flavor continues until the addition of the yeast which somehow really opens up the sweet malt flavors, which are luscious when you can find them.

Again, overcarbonatingly bitey with orange rings and cracked pepper. Almost puckering dryness aids drinkability.

Not particularly drinkable, I found it hard to consume this 750mL bottle which is strange considering the amazing Hennepin and Ommegang. Interestingly, my wife liked it much more than either of those two options.

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Photo of BillyB
4.48/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful bright orange/burnt copper color. Medium white head leaves some nice belgian lace.

Sweet, citrusy aromas such as melon, peach, tangerine. Also biscuity, bready, yeasty aroma.

Taste is more peach/citrusy but slightly spicy. A hint of melon. Tart and sour.

Excellent fizzy, light, carbonic mouthfeel. Almost champagne like.

A combination of belgian golden ales and american ambers. Incredibly drinkable and endlessly enjoyable.

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Photo of Shaw
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a beautiful amber color: It almost glows. It has a lovely foamy white head that settles down to a thin layer of foam.

It smells like a Beligan beer: Fruity and sweet with notes of biscuit and bread.

The flavor is also good. The flavor I'm detecting most is biscuit. It's a bit sour, which is nice.

The mouthfeel is great. The density of tiny bubbles creates a wonderful fizziness that pops in my mouth. The light body compliments the carbonation.

This is a great drinking beer. Its flavors are subtle and don't hit you over the head.

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Photo of whartontallboy
3.71/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this out of a 12 oz. bottle I got on sale.

Pours out beautifully like all the Ommegang beers do, big eggshell head of meringue, lace sheets the side of the glass, looks as tasty as any Belgian example.

Smell is yeasty, somewhat fruity, with bubblegum hints as well. Major fruit is peach and orange, some apricot, too.

Flavor is predominantly yeasty, not quite as complex as I was hoping for. The fruitiness comes through as well, with the peach flavors again at the fore, but I mostly get the dry, yeasty flavor, which, while nice, is not overwhelmingly complex. Tasty and thirst-quenching no doubt, but not great.

Overall: A good one, but not a great one, probably my least favorite of Ommegang's brews.

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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]

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

Pours a deep transparent amber with big foamy off-white head and huge lace. Subtle toasted grain, flowery hops, and candy sweetness in the nose. Medium-light and strongly carbonated mouth feel. Yeasty and slightly biscuit-like in initial flavor. Grows into big fruitiness before balancing into a drier lingering bitterness that is slightly medicinal. Flavor slightly more subdued than I would like. Remains a drinkable and well-balanced amber ale.

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Photo of amstelcat
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured for me at a Belgian style cafe from a corked 750 ml bottle . Dark orange color in the low light available to me at the bar. Fruity esters hitting my nose as I take a sniff from my goblet. Thin lacing down the side of the glass. Taste is also a nice fruity, sweet/sour on the tongue with a bit of an oakey aftertaste. My fiance and I had no problem finishing it off with pleasure.

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Photo of daliandragon
3.61/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm always glad when a beer takes the time to explain its odd name or tell a story on the label. Rare Vos fits the bill and teaches a little Flemish as well.
Bright reddish color with neverending inch of creamy head and dusky transluscent body. Nose is fruity and spicy with hints of clove and alcohol.
For a pale Belgian there is a lot of alcohol and malt flavor but its not excessive or unpleasant. Not much spice or fruit either. A bit of a deeper taste than expected. Bubbly mouthfeel that is more delicate then you'd think for an ale carrying so much malt. Dry finish.
Unfortunately, whle not a bad beer, this is a little disappointing. For a Ommegang this is a boring beer.

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Photo of filabrazilia
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy light orange with a nice off white head the laces the glass nicely.

The aroma is a bit doughy with an element of fruit and spice. This would make a nice candle fragrance.

The taste is complex--there is a mild sweetness and fruit (apple, pear?) presence that is finished with a kick opf pepper at the end. Fruity and spicy could be misconstrued in the wrong context, but I think this combo works for this beer.

There is a hop bite that grabs the tongue at the end. The carbonation delivers the flavor to the taste buds with a hearty "how do you do?"

This beer is very easy to drink--a little too easy to drink. The light mouthfeel lulls you into thinking this could be a session beer. At 6.5 % abv, this could be a slight miscalculation. What a nice beer.

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Photo of macpapi
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Have enjoyed all of the Ommegang products many times. Finally get around to reviewing, this underappreciated and underrated beer.

Rare Vos pours a nice amber-orange color with a good, fluffy white head. Great lacing as well.

Smells malty and fruty with a nice yeast presence as well. Great spice and citrus balance.

Tastes of malt, yeast, fruit and hops. There is quite a bit of bitterness, along with spices to help balance out a fine flavor.

In the mouth R.V. is crisp and sharp. Good, full and somewhat fruity presence to go along with its mild bitterness.

On the whole this is a very sippable and drinkable beer from Ommegang. It is the one of the big four that could easily be enjoyed all day without much of a problem.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.68/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a wide mouthed goblet.

Appearance: The beer pours a hazy coppery amber coloration. There is a thick fluffy white head almost two inches thick. The head resolves itself into a one finger head. There is solid concrete like webs of lacing on the glass.

Smell: The beer smells very nice. The beer has a nice bready spicy yeasty smell. The malty sweetness plays well with a understated fruityness.

Taste: The beer has a nice intial peppery taste. The taste then breaks into a pleasing malty breadyness. Very well balanced and very tasty.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer is meduim plus bodied. Very well balanced sweetness to spicyness. Just another dam fine beer from Ommegang.

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Photo of akorsak
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am drinking a 750 mL corked and caged bottle, poured into a Rare Vos stange (see the 'Glassware for Beer' section if you are wondering what a stange is).

Appearance: The beer pours cleanly, no hazy or sediment upfront (although there is a layer of yeast at the bottom of the bottle, so haze is in the near future). The beer is highly carbonated and gave me an immediate head of approximately 4 fingers. The head quickly dissapated to a constant 1 finger, leaving a very nice ring of lace around the stange.

Smell: The beer has a very natural smell, fresh with a note of muted hops.

Taste The muted hops make themselves known here. They are not overpowering, they just make themselves known. I also taste some fruity apple in the ale.

Mouthfeel: This ale sits nicely in the mouth. The malt and hops are nicely balanced, preventing either one from overpowering the taste buds.

Drinkability: Thiis one ale that could easily be consumed all day (and night long). The relatively low ABV (6.5%) means that it will not knock you out while giving you hours of drinking enjoyment.

Another great selection from Ommegang, the 2005 akorsak Brewery of the Year.

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Photo of russpowell
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a .75l bottle; effervecent white head drops off to an amobea-like surface, no lacing at all

Smell: Slight fruitiness and leather smells

Taste: Slight bitterness of of old hops comes trough, some leather, cherry, sourness and tartness, alcohol in the finish. I suspect more maturation would've helped this bottle across the board.

MF: dry and prickly, great carbonation, probably this beer's selling point

I love belgian beer and some state side copy cats, this effort wasn't really up to my expectations, but close

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Photo of Viggo
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy orange, medium thick white head forms, lots of lace. Smell is malty, some citrus/floral hoppage, yeast, some orange and a little bit of spice. Taste is more of the same, malty, with some chocolate, orange, spice and a little citrus. Mouthfeel is very smooth, its been aging for a while, with medium body and medium carbonation. The taste was not so complex, maybe because its been cellaring since february, not sure if it would help or hinder this beer.

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Photo of clvand0
3.6/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy amber color with a moderate head that falls fast and leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma is very fruity with some spices - smells promising. The flavor is much the same with the orange and the spices, but there is another fruit flavor in there that I don't think mixes well with the others. Just doesn't hit the palate well. The mouthfeel is on the low end of moderate and the drinkability is ok. I just don't care much for the flavor of this one.

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Photo of SteveO1231
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed a 750ml bottle at the beer store on MCAS Miramar.

Pours a dark, cloudy, rust color. Awesome thick frothy off-white head. Lots of slow bubbles of carbonation. Nice chunky bubbles stick to my tulip glass.

Aroma fruity of grannysmith apples and citrus, a yeast like sour bread. Nice light spiciness as well.

Light and crisp on the palate. Spicy clove and citrus taste. A mild sweet fruity flavor the finish has a bitter yeast tang. The taste of this beer is very light and fades quickly.

Very ncie beer.

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Photo of Manosbeeroffate
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First time I tried this offering from Ommegang, kinda is rare in these parts, usually I find Hennepin. Pours a hazy gold color, smell is of fruit, taste is of malt, sharp fruit but not overly sweet. Mouthfeel is a bit thinner from what I expect from these guys, but overall it is pretty good. I'll probably stick with Hennepin though since it's my fave from Ommegang.

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

How Rare is Rare Vos? I would say it is not rare at all based on how many reviews there are. Oh you mean "Sly Fox?" Who jumped over the lazy brown dog then? Never mind. The 750 bottle poured a truly amber color with a consistent white frothy head. The lacing is decent but the head is good and last a while.

The smell is fruity and Belgium-esk. Notes of banana mixed with pears. A slighter malt taste is noticeable in the background along with some coriander and ginger to boot.

The taste is more malty then the smell would expect. A noticeable biscuit taste, but not quite bready flavor. There is almost a chewy texture to it. The sweet malt is what I notice first but quickly is replaced by the Belgium candi taste as well as some fruity esters. Almost dessert qualities with a semi-sasion characteristic to it. Still a unique flavor.

The body is in the medium range. The texture is really nice with the sweet to bready glow. The alcohol is smooth and light. Overall this is a dessert deer but nice to share with another person.

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Photo of ODBRIP
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

as advertised, it is mellow....as in the taste isn't too strong. it's certainly a high quality pale ale. veeerrry smooth. very drinkable. the taste is unremakrable though....not bland...but not awesome. definately worth a try. woould probably go great with a meal, b/c the taste isn't overpowering.

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Photo of AltBock
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle that had a label that mentioned that Rare Vos in Flemish meant "Sly Fox." I only picked this up for only $4.49. Good deal for an American Belgian style beer.

Appearance: Poured a golden orange color with a nice head of white bubbly foam. When the foam settled it turned into a smooth and creamy head of foam that left plenty lace around the tulip glass.

Smell: It had a nice aroma of juicy fruits, spicy hops and little malt in the background.

Taste: Up front there was plenty of sweet malts and in the background, some fruits and spices. Basically the taste was nice and malty.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, little carbonation, and with a slight dry hoppy bitterness aftertaste at the end.

Drinkability: This made for a nice affordable Belgian style Ale from Ommegang. I wouldn't expect anything less from them. This made for another winner from Ommegang.

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

750 ml. brown bomber, corked.

Poured into a snifter. Deep hazy orange, small head with nice active yet delicate carbonation. Small white head composed mostly of tiny bubbles but also with a few clusters of larger bubbles.

The bouquet exhibits notes of orange peel, sweet gingerbread, coriander, and lemon juce.

Well balanced and complex but so fluid in composition that it is at the same time rather simple. Malt flavors include soft caramel, gingerbread, orange zest, and faint notes of raw sugar. Hop flavors include the juniper bitterness good of gin, and a hint of aniseed. The one downfall is that it is a bit shallow, lacking a deep or lingering bottom characteristic.

Very round; soft and big. Quite refreshing for an ale with such a malt profile.

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Photo of Shovelbum
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Robust off-white head deep ruby copper body. Decent head retention and lace. Aromas of toasted and sweet malt, vinous fruit, a hint of hops and some wet horse blanket. Tastes are similar with a nice toasted biscuit malt profile, mild caramel sweetness and a bit of barnyard character. Medium body. Moderate carbonation makes it quite crisp upfront in the mouth, but it settles down for a smooth finish. Slightly drying.

My favorite of the excellent offerings from the Ommegang crew. If only there were more Belgian-style ales of this caliber produced domestically. . .

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

Poured from the 12oz. brown bottle into a toulip glass, the beer was a bright amber red color with three fingers of fluffy slightly off-white head. Ample lacing throughout the sample.

The smell was malty and spicy with caramel and a slight hint of alcohol in the nose.

The taste was innitially very matly with a slight biscuit chewyness to it that had a caramel candy taste. A spicy hop taste was also present but not overpowering. As the beer warmed the alcohol became more apparent as did a soft fruittiness similiar to peach or apple.

Medium body with a high amount of carbonation and a crisp mouthfeel.

Enjoyable and drinkable. Another winner from Ommegang and one I'll drink again often.

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Photo of NEhophead
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Foamy off white head that fades to an intact sheet that remains a top a hazy peach and copper color, for the duration of the glass. Thin and dimpled lacing with good strength.

Mild candied sweetness. Hints of citric fruit: peach, pear, green apple, light grapefruit. A few notes of pepper/corriander adding a bit of spice.

An initial wave of bright citric fruit: pear, green apple, and orange accompanied by a hint of corriander and oak. The light tartness is balanced nicely with an underlying candied sweetness. The finish is crisp with an aftertaste of light lime and a touch of spice.

Light bodied and rather refreshing. Crisp and prickly on the palate.

A flavorful and refreshingly crisp take on the style. Nothing flashy, but impressively well-rounded. I imagine that this could make for a rather nice session ale.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.94/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark honey color with a huge head,pour slowly people!!!.The smell is not very strong.There are some hops with spices and a little floral.The taste is a bit hoppy and grainy.There is a large abundance of wheat flavoring,as well as carbonation.The after taste is sweet,I can see having this with fruit or dessert.This is a nice full flavored beer that I will buy when I see it again.Ommegang is top notch.

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Rare Vos (Amber Ale) from Brewery Ommegang
4.04 out of 5 based on 3,297 ratings.
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