Rare Vos (Amber Ale) | Brewery Ommegang

1,157 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:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,157 | Ratings: 3,329
Photo of NJpadreFan
2.81/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Ommegang- Rare Vos

Appearance- ruby red/ brown with a big thick head. Took several minutes until I could pour the rest of the beer into the glass.
Smell- Light fruit (grape and cherry) and a sugary candy malt.
Taste- very weak! Where the hell is the flavor?! The lightest of fruit punch mixed with malt and slight toasted hops.
Mouthfeel- watery and weak.

Overall- This was so weak I could not believe. My wife drank a bottle and couldn't believe the lack of flavor, more like the watered down flavor. Thumbs down until Ommegang bumps the flavor in this 1!

 565 characters

Photo of joeskirkie
3.41/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my oversized wine glass with a strong bubbly head and a nice brown/copper body.

A cherry cough drop aroma to it, some malts and grains there too, not bad.

Flavor: first a sourness like lime, a berry note thoughout, theres grains and a slite bite in the end. Carbonation is apparent. It's very well drinkable.

 326 characters

Photo of kevin62
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Belgian ale poured out a dark golden amber with a good size hrad.The aromas were of hops,malt and citrus,also in the taste.The beer also was yeatsy and rich and all in all a pretty good offering from Ommegang,although I do not believe it's there best.

 256 characters

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

Pours a reddish orange color with wispy head. I'm not sure it's a Belgian pale ale as BA says. It's more of an amber ale.

The flavor is on the malty side, some hops but not too much. I can't really say that the aroma was very strong. Not a bad thing really, but...

During a recent tour of the brewery I saw that they add some flavors to this near the end of boil. I don't remember which ones (I think coriander is used for the Hennepin, and anise for the Ommegang, but there was also "seeds of paradise" or something peppery).

 532 characters

Photo of assurbanipaul
4.51/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a clear caramel color with a solid half-inch head. Aroma is light, sugary and lemony with just a touch of mustiness. A thick layer of sediment left in the bottom of the bottle -- but the beer remains sparkling clear.

Taste is sweet pale malt followed by some light candy sugar. The sugary bits are not overpowering and are tempered with white pepper flavors and a nice yeasty element. Hints of lemon, white grapes, maple syrup and just a touch of pine. With all this sweetness, it still manages to finish dry and with just a memory of hops.

Mouthfeel is very light, very clean. Well done for a Yankee micro, would stand up well to any native Belgian pale. I could definitely session a few of these.

 710 characters

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.89/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy burnt orange color with a small 1/4" head of off white foam. The beer is so cloudy that I can't tell if there are many bubbles rising or not. There is already a little lacing on the glass after the little bitty head fell.

Aroma: Really fruity aroma with a bunch of apples, pears, grapes, and some citrus fruit being the most noticeable. There is some dry and earthy malt in there that may be based on wheat. There is a bit of oxidation as it is apparent that this beer has some age on it.

Taste: It has a really fruity flavor also. I get all of the aforementioned fruits as well as a dry/grainy malt flavor that is as much mouthfeel as it is a flavor. The beer is super dry and attenuated. The carbonation is light, but the dryness caries it across you palate pretty quickly. The finish is dry, but manages to have a bit of sweetness present to linger for a while. The flavors imparted by the age mellow as the beer breathes for a while.

Opinion: Well, this beer has some serious age on it, so it obviously isn't in its prime. The flavor is still really complex, and I would really like to try a really fresh example. I will be trying this beer again for sure.

 1,196 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this and Hennepin recently; I prefer this one. It is an amber color with a small white head that remains present. A small amount of lacing. It has a sweet malty odor to it, mostly sweet. There is a very nice fruity taste with some spice and a little hoppiness. It feels very good in the mouth, not too carbonated. A very good beer, quite drinkable.

 355 characters

Photo of mochunk
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the second offering from Ommegang I've had... This is considered a Belgian Pale Ale, or as the bottle describes, a Belgian Amber Ale, the latter being a little more accurate I should say.

Pours from a corked 750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip... Careful proper pour lends to a half glass or so of fine dirty copper colored brew with a creme colored gravely head about 1.5-2 inches thick. Dissapating quick enough to the eye, but not fast... Settles to a nice thin head that never dissapears, sparse spotty lacing that stays in place after a few minutes.

Smells of fruits of some kind, a bit of hops, but also a bit of malts, mostly fruits...

Taste of course echoes the nose but the fruits are a bit more apparent, even through the finish. The hops and malts are just about right, the former just barely masking the other. Not balanced but probably better for it. It's pretty dry with a medium carbonated mouthfeel and goes down smooth as glass and finishes dry with just the right amount of belgian aftertaste, only a bit hoppier than usual, but just barely. But pleasantly so.

Second pour I mix it up fully and dump the entire contents in, yeast and all. This seems to further balance it and bring a bit more complexity to it, but still nothing to shake a stick at. But I think that's where it really wins me over here. It's not overly complex. It's completely unoffensive anywhere, which means a great brew that is simply enjoyed, not over-bearing.

For the price, an amazing value, as was the Hennepin I've tasted previously. I'll definitely revisit this one. A good choice for someone wanting to break into Belgians.

This is my first ever public review, I felt compelled on this one, so that must mean something.

 1,739 characters

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

Poured into a Moinette goblet from a 750 ml bottle as a lively orange color with golden accents. Big, rocky head of a cream color. Fantastic retention and much lacing in the inner rim of the goblet. Nose is lively with citrus, spices, white grapes, and fruit salad! Taste profile is pleasingly light, yet very complex and exciting. Citrus offers a lively play on the tongue, encouraged in its performance by a worthy hop presence. Best described as a refreshing taste, leaning toward hops and citrus fruity lightness, with some expression of yeast to add complexity. Alcohol is not assertive. Light-bodies and lively, this is a great beer. Immenently drinkable and "user-friendly." Recommended!

 694 characters

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

12 oz bottle

Light amber to dark golden in color. Nice one finger head in a chimay goblet. Perfect stream of carbonation keeps a thin foamy off white head piled on top. Thick lacing that clings to the glass. First smell I notice is the bready yeastyness. As i sit and enjoy a light fruitiness comes through. Not heavy dark fruits like plums and figs but not light citrusy either.

Taste is hidden at first by the supper active carbonation. The yeast and bread flavors come through though. This is followed by the fruits and here I do note a little citrus, maybe grapefruit. Further down the glass I note some pepper flavors.

Very active in the mouth. Dry, smooth and tingly on the way down. Minimal aftertaste. Nice.

This is the first belgian style I've had from the proper glasswear and it is making a huge differance. I could sit and enjoy one of these every night. What a wonderful pleasant experience. I can't wait to revisit some of the other belgians i've had to see if it's the glass or the beer or maybe a little of each.

 1,041 characters

Photo of bearrunner44
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Cloudy amber color. Thin & frothy, cream-colored head.

Smell- Sharp, tangy, black cherry-like aroma. The malt profile is dry, but the bready scent of the yeast takes the edge off it.

Taste & Mouthfeel- Medium-to-full-bodied, with high levels of carbonation. Dry malt flavors up front. The dryness spikes for a moment, then the yeast fades in. Fruity prune elements permeate the beer, and the yeast lends a heavy sourdough flavor. Estery, fruity alcohol flavors add some spice to the finish.

Verdict- An above-average, well-rounded beer.

 558 characters

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.

 1,382 characters

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.

 448 characters

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.

 553 characters

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.

 726 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 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.

 447 characters

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.

 386 characters

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.

 687 characters

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.

 782 characters

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.

 739 characters

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.

 715 characters

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.

 1,169 characters

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

 538 characters

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.

 468 characters

Rare Vos (Amber Ale) from Brewery Ommegang
4.04 out of 5 based on 3,329 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.