Rare Vos (Amber Ale) | Brewery Ommegang

1,155 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: 1,155 | Ratings: 3,323
Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Artisinal to the core, this 'Sly Fox' of a beer steals the flavors of suble dried fruits and bread crust from dubbel ales, yet still with the dryness and drinkability of Belgian pale ales. What a bold leap with this flagship ale.

Pouring a true medium amber color, the beer's early carbonation settles and the resulting head is creamy, fluid, and sturdy. The barley stained head laces fairly well, with sparse pockets of foam left behind. A diffused glow emmits from the moderate haze. A very handsome appearance that's maybe understated.

A bready, lightly biscuity and crusty aroma provides the pillow for fruit and spice. Dates, figs, and other dried fruits (cherries, apples, appricots...) give a suble glimpse into the medium sweet and estery nose. Lightly spiced with corriander and white pepper, the yeast is very much at work with the aromas of this beer.

The bready/biscuity/crusty flavors continue where the nose leaves off. Medium malty flavors of caramel and bread crust give ample support for a blend of stone fruits, dried fruits that stop shy of the intensity of raisons or prunes. Not yet fruit cake in nature, the appricots, cherries, apples, nuts and figs give a rich yet moderate tone to taste and without becomming rich or sweet. These fruit and malt flavors are the ideal balance for the spices of dried orange peel, corriander, cinnamon-nutmeg-allspice, white pepper, and alcohol. With such variety in flavor, the strength of each simply remain moderate and in superb balance as not to overwhelm the palate with any dominant flavor- truly a new flavor with each sip.

Creamy and moderately rich, the beer has an even keel fade from initial semi-fullness into a soft simmer at mid palate where the carbonation waivers and the alcohol dryness sets in. Drying late into a malty-dry finish, the alcohol has a menthol cooling feel and a fleeting malt texture. Never reaching peak dryness, the beer has a unique shaddow that keeps the memory of flavor alive into the next sip, but without any lingering sweetness, maltiness, bitterness, or spice.

While Rare Vos never recognizes any of the styles that are generally given to Belgian Ales, it simply does its artistry with benevolence, grace, and artistry- just as true Belgian brewers would have it!

 2,268 characters

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

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into a Unibroue glass. Pours a dark copper with some floaties and two fingers of cream-colored head. Good retention and lacing as well. Smell is a strong green apple and citrus fruitiness with a nice clove spiciness and some yeastiness. Taste starts out with a sugary sweet maltiness but then hits you with plesantly sour cherry/green apple flavor. Finish is just a little spicy and very crisp. Mouthfeel is medium and carbonation is a little on the low side. This is a really well-balanced easy drinking Belgian ale--unlike a lot of others with more complexityI could see myself drinking this as a session beer.

 641 characters

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

07/07/05- Purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA

Presentation- 750ml bottle, caged and corked, but undated. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Very hefty large bubbled head. A lighter brown-copper colored pour. Perfectly adequate lacing as well.

Smell- Spices all around. Maybe a touch of dark fruit in the nose. Lots of pepper.

Taste- Dark cherry flavor hits you right off the bat. Not really sweet dark cherry. Kind of a dark cherry mixed with some real dark chocolate. Pepper, anise, clove and other spices all surround the alcohol.

Mouthfeel- Lower than expected carbonation. Not too heavy.

Drinkability- Wasn't expecting the flavor I got. Still tasting it in my mouth. Interesting and enjoyable. May not be for everyone though.

 762 characters

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

Pours a nice peachy copper with a light tan head that is huge and frothy. Holds well in a tulip glass.

Lots of apple peel in the aroma, green apples. Yeast and bread makes a showing as well.

Prickly carbonation carries the bready malt across the palate, just the slightest bitterness kicks in. No hop character at all. Finishes sweet with lots of green apples to round it out. Very fruity and a bit warming at the exhale.

Medium bodied, and the carbonation, though high, is not bothersome.

I would have this again, a very solid Belgian even though made in America.

 576 characters

Photo of ommegangpbr
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The last couple times I have had this make me think that the first time I tried and reviewed this brew I got a relatively lousy bottle of it.
Or my tastebuds have changed.
I dunno.
Regardless I like this stuff and would like to have a cellar full of it... along with its Ommegang siblings.
There is a delicious spicy character to this brew in the nose and flavor... clove comes to mind most easily.
A very pleasant, mild, desireable sourness lives in the flavor and mouthfeel.
An excellent, excellent session brew as there is nothing overpowering in here with a moderate enough alcohol content.
I still prefer Ommegang Abbey and Hennepin but next time I see this on a shelf in a store I won't hesitate in picking one up.

 727 characters

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

Corked and caged .750 bottle with no date that I could find. Ommegang is not distributed here anymore so when I saw 3 bottles of this in a store I snatched them up. Man, am I glad I did!!

The beer poured out a hazy orange with some amber highlights into a tulip glass. The 1" white head had great retention and left some nice lacing.

The nose was a spicy yeast aroma with some citrus apparent (maybe pear?).

The flavor starts out sweet and then a sour flash opens up in the mouth. nice and malty with some yeast coming through in the finish. The second glass I poured out came with all of the yeast and this brought a richer and more spicy character to the beer.

The Rare Vos has good carbonation and a somewhat creamy mouthfeel.

It is light and easily drinkable with some great Belgian characteristics. I am glad I have two more in the closet! This is the first Ommegang beer I have had and I am very impressed by it.

 933 characters

Photo of Toddv29424
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy light copper color with a little-moderate head. The smell is pleasant and floral (although pretty weak). Taste is great and well rounded: the first taste is of refreshing wheat, the next has a green apple taste to it, and it concludes with a sour malt taste. Overall it is a very agreeable beer, very easy to drink, so be sure to buy a couple bottles!

 364 characters

Photo of scooter231
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bright red color that's kind of clear- like cherry juice or the like. Nose is citrusy, mostly lemon. Also bananay... and definitely some spices in here. Coriander? And maybe some very subtle hints of cinnamon.

Taste is sweeter and fruitier than the nose would suggest. Cherry, plum, grape... still some spice and sourness, but mostly sweet. Still, the sweet/sour balances out very nicely, being both crisp and refreshing and sweet all at once.

Mouthfeel is bubbly, and smooth. Very drinkable- as are all Ommegang brews. This is the first time I've had this one, and I really enjoyed it. Tasty, refreshing, lovely.

 619 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 BeerFink
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Decanted from a 750mL and split with a friend...

Appears cloudy and golden amber, with extreme effervescence. Head is frothy and rocky, white in hue with a foamy surface. Pale malts lend a little breadiness to the aroma, which is well complimented by ripe bananas, a little citrous, and some grassiness and spice. Malts are thick and extreme in their breadiness. Citrous is cleanly bittering with lemons and bitter orange peel. A little graininess is there, and also some grass. Coriander, as well as other spices are present (a little clove?). Subtle fruit sweetness, considerably less than the nose would suggest. Mouthfeel is very full, but broken up by tons of carbonation. We damn near broke a light popping the cork out of this bad boy! Alcohol is barely noticeable, just slightly warming. Finish is dry and clean. I am really enjoying this offering from Ommegang.

 874 characters

Photo of JackStraw22
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I never seem to be in the mood for a Belgian, but I always love them when I have them. I haven't quite figured that out yet. This is another great brew from Ommegang. This and the Hennepin are my two favorite from them. Beautiful light amber body and a white head that stays the entire glass. Nice spicy and fruity aroma, and a spicy hop taste make this very refreshing. There seems to be a hint of lime as well that really hits the spot. Finishes slightly dry, with a bit of solventy alcohol, but it all works.

 511 characters

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

12oz bottle purchased at Daanen's Delicatessen in Hayden, ID, for $2.75.

Poured a cloudy apricot color, with a medium sized, fluffy white head. The head dropped fairly quickly yet never died away completely, with a large, foamy collar remaining intact. Lots of lace dripping down the sides of my Chimay goblet.

The smell was a little bit underwhelming, though perhaps I was expecting a lot after really being impressed with Hennepin. There's a modest, citrusy scent, that is paired with an equally modest spiciness. Both are secondary to the malty sweetness that dominates in a benevolent dictator kind of way.

The taste was more interesting (and better balanced) than the smell. There is a mild citrusy flavor that is balanced with a mild spiciness. There is also a mild sweetness that is much better balanced than in the nose. In addition, there is an interesting earthy wheatiness that is way in the background. Not a bad tasting beer at all.

This has just the right carbonation for a Belgian style ale, and is pleasingly medium bodied.

This is a nice beer to quaff, but it doesn't impress me the way Hennepin did. If it were a little bit cheaper, I'd go for it more often, but at the only place I know of them being sold (35 miles away), they are the same price, so I will probably go for more bottles of Hennepin next time I'm there.

 1,355 characters

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

750 ml bottle - cellared for roughly a year. Carefully poured from a long-standing, chilled bottle it's a perfectly clear orange amber beneath a big-bubbled head of white foam that holds splendidly and leaves some thin splatters of lace about the glass. The nose is lightly fruity (apricot, lemon rind, orange), a touch cork-like or musty, and subtly spicy. In the mouth it's light-medium bodied and zesty on the tongue due to its effervescent carbonation. The flavor is exactly as the nose suggets it might be with a bit more sweet malt, a touch more fruit, a sprinkling of delicate floral hops, and alot of peppery spice! It's well-balanced, but it relies more on its thin maltiness and peppery yeast to do that than it does hop bitterness. It finishes dry and refreshing with a quick passing of fruitiness followed by some lingering chalky dryness. The yeast pour brings out a little more character and lends the body a touch of girth; and I prefer it that way. Additionally, I don't feel that this beer really gains anything from cellaring other than to drop some of the yeast out of suspension (a rough, fresh bottle can be a bit much). Overall, as a Belgian-style pale ale, this is right on the mark! Love it or leave it!

 1,227 characters

Photo of beveragecaptain
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml corked bottle. Hazy apricot color with a large white head. The aroma is yeasty. There is also fruit, mainly oranges and strawberries, in the nose. Very spicy smelling. The flavor starts out sweet and fruity. This is clearly a bottled conditioned beer. I find the finish too bitter. It's not bitter like hops, but more like orange peels. While this detracts from the flavor a bit, the flavor is still very nice. A nice beer from Ommegang, but not their best.

 464 characters

Photo of mgdeth
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Very hazy, amber colored. Good head. Soem alce.

Smell - Fuity esters. Caramel. A whole bunch of other spices. Seriously, there is a lot going on in the aroma of this beer.

Taste - I can't say I like the taste as well as the smell. Medicinal comes to mind, but it held up with a background of malt. The taste is also tangy, with a good dose of orange/citrus as the beer warms. Hops flavor comes through, particularly mid mouth and a bit in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Good, thick body. Medium high or high carbonation. Belgian style all the way.

Drinkability - This beer is good, but still is not really easy to drink. The complexities of the smell and taste demand a good measure of attention from the drinker. I think this is not a good beer for those new to craft beer. I also imagine that it is possible to find the flavors in this beer disagreeable.

Comments - Let this beer warm up a few minutes, at least, before drinking it. The flavor and smell don't seem to match up for some reason, but the beer is still enjoyable. This beer is pretty complex. I'd say it is worth a try.

 1,110 characters

Photo of MuddyFeet
4.57/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Third time trying to type this review without my computer crashing. Damn technology.

Pours a rich and shiny amber in color with a thick head and lots of layered lace. Aroma is all lemon, sugars and spices. Mouthfeel is very light and pleasant. Went well with my salmon, lemon, taragon and pepper grilling concoction. Very drinkable, I had to pace myself or I was gonna finish before I was done eating. Flavor is at first sweet malts and sugars, but balanced nicely with smoothj hops and the yeast provides great antecedent flavors to the beer.

 546 characters

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

Pours from a 750 ml bottle into a tulip glass with a fluffy, light colored head. Dissipates slowly into a medium tinted amber roiling from the bottom of the glass. The definition of lacing in the dictionary should have a picture of this. The rocky, pock-marked surface that grabs sides of the glass is a fantastic sight.

Hints of spice and a little citrus in the nose. After warming I catch a hint of some other fruit that's quite difficult to identify. Combine this with fresh, bready tones leaves me thinking of something close to banana-bread with figs. A little alcohol is perceptible, but not overwhelming.

Flavor is a combination of orange and other unidentifiable (to me) fruits, but fewer spices than I expected given what I noticed aromatically. It's quite dry with a smooth refined finish, attributes that affect it both positively and negatively. It's remarkably smooth and very easy to drink, but not as complex as I would prefer. Because of this and it how it finely and crisply coats, it has great mouthfeel. Flavor could be a little more complex but hey it certainly tastes very good.

Very nice and easily quaffed brew. This is a very good beer and hard to identify any major flaws.

 1,207 characters

Photo of Gusler
3.92/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer after its release from the 750ml cork and wired brown bottle sets in the glass a luminous copper color with a portly creamy light tan head that after decomposing leaves a thick and clinging sheet of lace upon the glass. Nose is nicely malted with light hints of spice and plums. The start is lightly sweet and the grain profile adequate, the top is moderate in feel. Finishing is punishing in its acidity, the hop delightful in their spicy bite, very dry after taste that lingers long, a good beer, but I sample only rarely.

 533 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.28/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a hazy amber color ale with a huge white foamy head with excellent retention. Aroma of floral malt, sweet hops with some subtle spices and a touch of Belgian-type yeast. Taste is a nice mix between some floral sweet malt and discreet yeast with some spices. Body is just above average but carbonation is a bit low for a Belgian Ale.

 347 characters

Photo of Gaisgeil
3.67/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not really what I was expecting, or looking for...

Pours a cloudy amber/brown with a thick and fluffy tan head with excellent retention. Nose is sort of "clean" but thick in alcohol defying it's relatively low ABV. Taste follows the nose and more, alcohol overly present, also a nutty quality with a slight hop bitterness. Very crisp in character however. I was expecting a bit more depth to be honest, this brew is not quite that. Mouthfeel was good, medium bodied with a nice bit of carbonation.

Nothing overly impressive in this one I don't think. Not a bad offering by any means, but not something I'll be looking for again.

SlĂ inte!

 648 characters

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

It pours a hazy amber, with an explosive white head that dominates the pour. The foam lingers long, lacing the glass, along with leaving a moustache with every sip.

The aroma seems to struggle to get through the intimidating head. There is a dryness there, perhaps some orange and spice notes, and an allusion perhaps to caramel, but it struggles to coalesce and make identification anything more than tentative.

The flavor, however, is redeeeming, leading with a an earthy malt sweetness of currants and sloe fruit, along with a drier orange and coriander duet. The yeast lends a tangy sourness to companion caramel and peppery notes. The finish is crisp and clean, and quite dry due to the gradual and somewhat surprising appearance of alcohol at the end.

Medium bodied, it feels lively on the palate, and the lingering dryness of the vanished fruit sweetness is a nice memory.

Just another of a long line of solid, very good beers from Brewery Ommegang. While not my favorite, perhaps, the sweet/sour combination makes the beer interesting and drinkable. The earthy notes and spicy character make it refreshing, and while not amazing, the final impression was one of satisfaction and contentment. I don;t know how much more you can ask for than that.

 1,269 characters

Photo of ggroller
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brown bomber with a simple yet eye applealing label. Caged & corked.

Cloudy amber, copper colored beer with a large, fluffy white head. This one looks great in the glass.

Malty, fruity nose with a chewy peach like mouthfeel. This one gets a little more earthy and bready as it warms.

This is a great beer. Deceivingly easy to drink as the alchohol stays disguised in the tastiness of this beer.

 403 characters

Photo of connecticutpoet
3.08/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was a hazy amber-orange beer with a three finger head. Looked OK, a little darker than I expected.

The aroma was spicy, with caramel and raisin notes, and a little sourness.

The taste was a little sour, followed by malt with a touch of sweetness, then some raisins and spiciness, and a glow of alcohol in the finish. Interesting, but it didn't blow me away.

Mouthfeel wasn't that impressive, only a little better than average... drinkability wasn't that great. Overall, I thought it was OK, but I wouldn't have another one on my own.

 548 characters

Photo of Andreji
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Done with a respiratory physiology exam. Following my post-exam rituals, I pop open the rare vos 75cl I've kept for 6 months in my closet. previously refrigerated for an hr or so anyway.

The significant majority of the pour goes on the head. Thick and dominantly white, perhaps a it off. much lacing is left behind and the retention is above average, but still goes down rapidly to allow drinking. Bellow, a fizzy (ok, it's a duvel tulip. it fizzes up with freakin water) orange-to-red clearly translucid body.

The smell is stingy at first. due to a large majority concentrated in some citrus-fruityness. some oranges, perhaps a bit more tangy than that. the alcohol is clearly felt within. sweet and malty in a lower amount.

The taste was impressively moderate- in contrast with what I was expecting. rather sweet and fruity at first- just enough for you to wiggle it around for a bit, before gradually going from sweet to sour, from sour to bitter. smooth transition, and not overly-sweet, sour or bitter. rather soft. In the end, a bit wheaty and dry, sort of a nice aftertaste above the bitterness. that reminds me a bit of Club Colombia, a rather decent lager. it's a nice aftertaste, doubtless.

The mouthfeel i'd say is soothing. this is no large-contrast beer. the taste range goes across smoothly and from a soft sweet to a soft bitter. Not too carbonated, just right to accompany the transition, smoothen it out even further. the alcohol to the mouth is clearly hidden, as opposed to the nose. It isn't thick, rather medium bodied, but that I'd guessed from the pour itself.

The drinkability- considering the easygoing flavours and mouthfeel, I rank quite high. the only limitation is that the alcohol goes unnoticed while drinking it but not in the body. that's why I don't give it a 5 there.

 1,817 characters

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

I was pretty excited about trying this one out: a first for me by this brewery, and a first forray into the style after trying trippels, dubbels, wits and saisons.

When I cracked the 12 oz. bottle, there was a foam over, so I grabbed the gobblet quickly and poured as regular. The head was pretty thin, less than a finger and faded quickly. Thick dark amber color.

The smell was so dry it was almost nonexistent. Not until there was only about 4 oz. left in the glass did I get a sense of some dry fruitiness (grapes).

The taste was metalic and a little winey, like a malted cab sauv. Tasted alcoholic, even at relatively low ABV. Not really a whole lot going on besides.

Fairly astringent and dry mouthfeel.

At the end of the glass, I didn't want another one and am hoping that I won't be quite so disappointed with the bottle of Ommegang that I've had hanging around.

 884 characters

Rare Vos (Amber Ale) from Brewery Ommegang
4.04 out of 5 based on 3,323 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.