Vichtenaar
Brouwerij Verhaeghe

VichtenaarVichtenaar
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Style:
Flanders Red Ale
Ranked #59
ABV:
5.1%
Score:
89
Ranked #9,294
Avg:
3.96 | pDev: 12.37%
Reviews:
228
Ratings:
448
From:
Brouwerij Verhaeghe
 
Belgium
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  37
Gots
  39
SCORE
89
Very Good
VichtenaarVichtenaar
Notes: The "Vichtenaar" is a beer that is brewed on the basis of deeply burned malt, spicy and fruity hops, yeast and soft water pumped from a well with a depth of 172 m, which is a guarantee of the quality and the purity of the water. After the main fermentation and the second lagering the "Vichtenaar" undergoes a third fermentation in oak casks for several months. The oak casks are large vats with a capacity ranging between 5000 and 25000 liters.
The "Vichtenaar" is a traditional and typical beer for West Flanders, in the Northwest of Belgium. The taste of the "Vichtenaar" can be described as slightly acidic and complex and this through the long fermentation in oak casks. The fresh taste of the "Vichtenaar" makes it a particularly thirst-quenching beer, especially during the summer months.
The "Vichtenaar" is also one of the last old-Flemish red-brown beers which are matured in oak casks and is especially appreciated for its authenticity by the beer connoisseur. In 1958 “Brewery Verhaeghe” obtained for its beer "Vichtenaar" the first prize in the international contest for beers in Ghent.
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Reviews: 228 | Ratings: 448 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of JonnoWillsteed
JonnoWillsteed from England

3.69/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L- Distinct red-brown, clear, pours with 2Cm pale tan fine-bubble head [holds well].
S- It smells quite acidic, or perhaps of sour fruit.
T- Interesting, straight in and it tastes like quite a tangy yet medium apple cider! Well that's where the acidic/sour-fruit smell came in. Somehow that offends my taste-buds less than many equivalently tangy/sour beers. For several mouthfuls, each time I'm thinking 'Yep, still tastes more like cider than beer'...
F- The apple element brings a richness that adds to the relatively modest 5.1% ABV. I'd expect that to add to the versatily (year-round) of this beer.
O- It's certainly different and I'm enjoying it. Digging around for info I see it's aged in oak barrels. Hmmm, I don't get an oak edge as such, but maybe that's where the apple facet comes from...
Bought from London Beer Lab's shop 330ml bottle BB: 15/05/2020

Jan 07, 2020
Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.04/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into glass. Best before stamped on label as '23/05/2014'.
Ruby brown colored body, with red highlights. Half finger off white head sticks around. Leaves behind some webs of lacing.
Smell has a sour, vinegar aroma, with some sweet dark fruits way in the back.
Taste is soft, with a gentle balance of sweet and tart. Flavor reminds me of cherry syrup which transitions to a sweet plum. Slight acetone whiff of flavor at the end. Has some oak tannins also. Tastes like a living beer but the funk is minimal; just a hint of yeast.
Medium mouth feel, with a syrup component, and active fizzy on the tongue. Quite sweet but also refreshing.
I thought the aroma might indicate a soured beer, but the taste is full of flavors and layered. The smooth mouth feel adds to the positive drinking experience. I have not had this beer before and I cannot say whether it is still true to its intended taste, but the age label was of a concern (more than four years past its given best by date).
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
10/31/2018
I found another bottle with a best by date of '2018-6-22'.
The taste is the same as with the other bottle, with the cherry, plum, and quick acetone note at the end.

Sep 08, 2018
Photo of MaximalC
MaximalC from Illinois

3.94/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a muddy brown color with tawny highlights and an ephemeral veil of coarse, khaki bubbles. Aroma smells of tart cherries with a touch of apple cider vinegar and a vague funkyness.

The taste features a bright, punctuated tartness up front featuring apple cider vinegar, candi sugar, and a much more subdued cherry character than the nose would suggest. Tart and sweet strike a skillful balance that allows you to enjoy both ends of the spectrum without either getting out of hand. Warming reveals plums and toasted bread on the back end. High carbonation does a skillful job of scrubbing the palate between sips, while the medium body lends robustness that keeps things from going full seltzer.

Overall, this is a classy Flemish brown that compares favorably to some of the best in its style.

Feb 06, 2018
Photo of Bruno74200
Bruno74200 from France

3.92/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

All right beer. Balance between the sweetness and the sourness. It has a citrus tartness. Some grain presence. Cola. A bit watery and not very complex to other examples of the style

Nov 16, 2017
Photo of evianIPA
evianIPA from Australia

4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

11.2 fl oz bottle
Best before 12.02.2016
Opened 26.06.2017

Pours like black currant juice and cola with a white head that disappears to just the rim.

Smells of black currant and strawberry sour candy.
Thick and luscious mouthfeel that coats the mouth with sweetness and some booze in the finish. How isn't this rated higher? Some nail polisher remover in the finish, but hot damn the complexity! Less black currant and strawberry in the taste, and a near perfect balance between sour/sweet/carbonation/intensity.

Roden-what? If you see this, but it!

Jul 26, 2017
Photo of Davedrinkinbeer
Davedrinkinbeer from Indiana

4.14/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought one of these at a speciality store to give a try. I have sampled some of the Flemish styles of beer, and even the brewers' other Flanders ale-- Duchesse De Bourgeone, so I figured I would try this one too.

Smell is not as funky as I expected, but was distinctly tart grapes and cherries. Mouthful is very light-- cherries, grapes, apple, and was tart overall. A very even mouthful overall. Finish was clean, and lightly carbonated, but was a little sticky at the end too, but overall very refreshing.

Overall this is a very refreshing beer, almost like a Duchesse but less tart, less funky, and less alcohol. This beer is very sessionable, and has the 'just right' feel for sour beers in my opinion. Too bad this beer is so hard to find, I only saw a single 4-pack on sale, (and bought it when I discovered who brewed it) and the price is also prohibitive-- $22 for 4 of these. At that price there are much more desirable beers to be had. Still, a very good sour beer to try.

Mar 11, 2017
Photo of Beginner2
Beginner2 from Illinois

3.99/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another great story behind this family brewery that has been contributing to the art since the 16th Century. MJ tells the story that because the family would not brew for the Germans in WWI, they stole the kettles. They carry on with this speciality.

While I associate this style with quenching the summer sun and humidity, Vichtenaar hit the spot during the winter past. The horse blanket aromas, the fruity/cherry flavors and the somehow drying finish founds out a complete beer.

MJ's "Great Beers" says Vichtenaar is "in the town style... a cherish colour; a big, iron-ish bouquet; a fruity start; then Madeira and toffee."
(I can't wait until I have evolved enough to taste the toffee.)

Mar 23, 2016
Photo of Dentist666
Dentist666 from Russian Federation

4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

0.25l bottle.
Poured into tulip.
Pours reddish dark/brown beer with 1-finger tan head, not very long retention.
Nice smell - sour, cherries, plums, grapes, vinegar, caramel.
Taste - significantly sour, woody, red grapes, cherries, brown sugar.
Excellent in its inner complexity.

Jan 22, 2016
Photo of Marius
Marius from Netherlands

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

Dark brown pour with a tan head that gives way to a long lasting lacing. Smells like macerated grapes, caramel and dried fruit (figs, prunes). The taste is sour, with notes of macerated grapes, balsamic vinegar and apple cider.

Jan 08, 2016
Photo of pat61
pat61 from Minnesota

4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours deep reddish brown burgundy color under a ½”pale tan head with heterogeneous bubbles S: sour, fruit, cherry, malt, red fruit, vanilla, no hops aromas T: Crosses the palate with brown sugar, fruit, sour, lingering sweet finish, but not cloying, cherry, slight vanilla. sour acidic character balances the malt and sweet fruitiness, hops are not apparent. F: medium body, highly carbonated O: Complex and sour – just a touch too sweet but pleasant and drinkable.

Aug 17, 2015
Photo of flagmantho
flagmantho from Washington

4.07/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 330mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: rich, very dark red-brown hue with a strong effervescence and two fingers of frothy tan foam. The head has great retention and the color is striking and beautiful.

Smell: mild tartness with a deeply embedded fruit aroma. It takes a moment to develop but is well worth it.

Taste: sweet with a mild but effective tartness and a very nice dark-fruit character. There's cherry and date in here, and really, what more does one need?

Mouthfeel: light body but with a big carbonation and satisfying creaminess. Quite good.

Overall: this beer just pushes all of my buttons in a good way. Looking forward to drinking more of this!

Jun 16, 2015
Photo of mick303
mick303 from Canada

3.99/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle that gushed with crazy carbonation. Colour is a reddish brown, with a strong cap of slightly reddish head, great retention

S - aromas of tart plums, raspberry tarts, musty leather and barnyard, saddles, also a rich mulled fruit character, souring cherries and apples, with a nutty edge, a definite funk to it that is hard to place, very earthy, but also a spice to it, overripe blue cheese, and fruit compote.

T - much fruitier tart, with a gentle raspberry and plum tartness, coating acidity, with nice malt in the back, cherry, orange, earthy spice, with a lingering sweetness, a touch of caramel with a yeasty dryness toward the end, lingering tart red berry tang. Very nice, tart with some pleasant berry and fruity sweetness, very refreshing with a nice flavour profile, I would prefer it a bit less sweet.

M - lots of carbonation. moderate body, coating acidity, has a sharpness to it, but tempered by the sweetness and balanced profile. Crisp finish with a lingering tartness. Very nice.

Slightly mad at the lose of one of my nice tasting glasses in the process of this beer. However, that happen, and once the carbonation calms a bit this is an enjoyable flemish ale, quite a bit of acidy but also high on the sweetness so it balances well. Lots of character, very refreshing with the tartness. Smooth bodied and a nice balance between the yeast and the malt, really pleasant and easy to drink.

Feb 01, 2015
Photo of hansavijaticar
hansavijaticar from Croatia (Hrvatska)

4.24/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Usual vinnegar taste, along with red vine, cherry, plums etc., but it's sweeter than Rodenbach Grand Cru and Duchesse. I'd say it's Flanders Red for those which are not accustomed to sour beers.

Jan 08, 2015
Photo of soulgrowl
soulgrowl from England

2.74/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Fizzy. Dark brick red. Very little head, and what's there doesn't last at all. Smells predominantly, sharply, of sherry vinegar. And sour cherries. And redcurrant jelly and brown sugar. Meh.

Sweet and sour. And savory. Like a sauce. Weirdly void of depth – mostly tastes of sherry vinegar and grape jelly. Nicely carbonated sherry vinegar and grape jelly. As far as Flemish reds go, this is pretty far down my list, but it's still drinkable and has some good flavors. It just lacks the depth of something like Rodenbach GC or Duchesse. Possible drinks pairings: carbonnade (cook with it!), tapas, sheep's cheese, spiced lamb, kidneys.

Dec 14, 2014
Photo of constantine_272
constantine_272 from Oregon

3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Looks dark brown and murky with a light tan foam. Low foam, but what is there is sticky and thick.

S: Smells sweet of raspberry and strawberry. Slight scent of waterlogged oak.

T: Starts of rich and woody with a deep black soil earthiness. Mild tanginess with a balsamic vinegar. Fades fast into a sweet fruitiness of, again, strawberry an raspberry.

F: Thick and syrupy. Sweetness starts off okay but builds to a candy texture.

O: Tasty but too much sweet. Still good and enjoyable, but not the best of its style.

Nov 13, 2014
Photo of babaracas
babaracas from Florida

4.2/5  rDev +6.1%

Funkier and not as sweet as Duchesse. Pours a brown edged ruby with one finger thick tan colored head. Dense half inch cap remains. Smell: green apple, date bread, barnyard funk, sour peach, with herbal and vanilla-ish oaky notes. Taste: dried cherries and stone fruit with brown sugar note, then growing acid with grape and peach skin, finishing with green apple candy and oak contributions. Light-medium bodied, relaxed carbonation well suited to the experience. Best by 2/2015. Excellent!

Aug 23, 2014
Photo of dcmchew
dcmchew from Romania

4.06/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark ruby, huge (more than 3 fingers, didn't manage to pour the whole beer in) bubbly beige head, looking like honeycomb as it pops off to a small cap and sticky lacing, tons of traces.
Smell of vinegar, touch of cherries and caramel, faint barnyard, foreboding a big acidity. Some alcoholic kind of vapors creep up the nostrils.
Sourness and acidity in the start, not extremely fruity (some cherries, apple, pear, lemon), but with a pronounced toasted maltiness with some brown sugar. Some damp wood notes and barnyard funk, not too strong, but delivering a dry grassy/green straw finish. Gets more fruity as you drink it. Aftertaste have some light woody notes, bit of sweetness and a bit of fruit.
Medium body, a bit too carbonated, but it fits nicely.
This was tasty, not one of the extremely sour Flanders reds, but a bit sweeter.

Jul 05, 2014
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Jack_Malts from Virginia

3.81/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Very nice Flemish sour. Auburn in color with a little bit of an effervescent tan head. Smells of cherries, oak, and rubber cement. The taste follows the nose but is a bit sweeter than I expected. There is plenty of dark cherry, acetic acid, a bit of oak, a little bit of maraschino cherries. A bit of a medicinal quality because of the sweetness? Rubber cement(which is good). A bit too sweet for my tastes, but still quite enjoyable.

Jun 17, 2014
Photo of jellikit
jellikit from Washington

3.96/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: dark brownish-reddish. Small head. Nice lacing.
S: light vinegar. Cherry notes.
T: cherry. Light on the Oak. Light vinegar. A little sweet.Tasty.
M: light carbonation. Medium body.
O: mellow sour ale that is solid. Smooth. I will purchase again. Yum.

May 14, 2014
Photo of HoboChangBa
HoboChangBa from Connecticut

1.72/5  rDev -56.6%
look: 2 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.5

Vinegar. Sweet. Sweet vinegar. The smell of heinous strawberry and pear mixed into oak. The sweetness overrides the vinegar, but still this remains off. I would label the Vichtenaar the moscato of the flanders and the flemish. My taste tends towards the sour though, so if you like sweet, then try the Vichtenaar from Brouwerij Verhaeghe. The carbonation is decent, and as the flanders warms up the vinegar becomes slightly more present. This is the first Flanders Red Ale I have tasted that has been so predominately sweet; and the twinge of vinegar is strange with oak notes. Now that I am writing this and finishing the drink, it tastes like I am drinking a candy apple. Carbonation is key though, and it gives this beer something more even though the sweetness displeases my palate. But! I will be the first to say that maybe I need to get used to sweet & sour, though I don't find this Vichtenaar sour at all; this tasting is just something like sweet balsamic reserved. I will say that I have a hard time drinking sours that have a taste dominant in vinegar. This is the first beer I have tasted with these particular notes, and this is the first review I have ever given; but I intend to give more. Now as the beer has warmed and become a few more swigs from my glass, vinegar is the smell I get from this drink. Maybe I should have drank this faster, for maybe most sours—particularly gueuzes—tend to end smelling vinegary when they become warm and lesser within the glass.

—Hobo Chang Ba

"Strawwood claw rattlin' m' jaw
I can't call it usin'
It's just sumptin' soothin'
Feather times uh feather
Mornin' time t' thaw
Hobo chang ba"

May 06, 2014
Photo of FLima
FLima from Brazil

3.87/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany color with a thin off-white head with short retention and making good laces.
Aroma of oak, vinegar and sour grapes.
Vinous flavor with a mild tartness. Notes of sweet grapes and other dark fruits, pears, mild vanilla and oak, minerals, some sulphur and initially finishing with condiments. Astringent aftertaste from its tannins, though very mild with still present sweet notes.
Bordering medium body with good carbonation. Relatively with a mild acidity, far from offensive.
Mild Flanders Red Ale, refreshing and pleasant to drink. Not at par of Duchesse and Rodenbach, a bit sweet a less funky acid, but still pretty decent and easy to drink. Good bridge to these territories.

Apr 22, 2014
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SoupKitchenBeerSnob from Florida

1.18/5  rDev -70.2%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Every once in a while you try a beer and you know you may have to try it again sometime to see if your first experience was a fluke. This beer was like that because I can't possibly imagine that it was intended to taste like this. It HAD to have been a beer that went bad during the bottling process, during shipping to the U.S., or some infernal combination of the aforementioned scenarios compounded by a disgruntled employee of the brewery taking a piss in the batch. First of all, I'm pretty sure it's not supposed to smell like sour vinegar and taste pretty much the same. Out of stubbornness, I continued to force it down and finally gave up at the half-way point before I poured it down the sink. It only got worse from there, because the next 24 hours can only be described as something akin to galloping dysentery. I'm not kidding or trying to be clever-- this beer truly made me sick. I don't know, maybe explosive diarrhea is some trendy new experience with imports and I'm just too much of an uncultured barbarian to appreciate the finer nuances of such a gift. Some day I may try another, but for the moment, this brewery and the vendor I bought it from owe me a serious apology.

Feb 19, 2014
Photo of Pero1974
Pero1974 from England

4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful burgundy red colour with alost no foam at all. Nice balance between the sourness of a flemish red and a sweet fruitiness (cherry, strawberry ??). Almost tastes like a lambic beer, it is much fruitier than other flemish red I have drank so far. First time I drank this one, but I love it !!

Jan 15, 2014
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eric5bellies from Australia

3.3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank from my De Struise tulip

A - Pours a clear red mahogany colour with an off white head that retains well.

S - Malt, wood and grape

T - Up front some nice balanced tartness. The finish is slightly sweet.

M - Medium body and carbonation

O - This wont wow you, but its a session able FOB

Oct 25, 2013
Photo of BMMillsy
BMMillsy from Florida

4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours super dark red with a small head. Hints of tart black cherry and vinegar on the nose. Beautiful flavor of black cherries, nice tartness and clean finish. Very easy drinking and quite yummy. Carbonation makes it feel light on the palate. My second from Verhaeghe and have been impressed by both, but this one is better than the Kriek for me.

Oct 17, 2013
Vichtenaar from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 448 ratings