Vichtenaar | Brouwerij Verhaeghe

very good
425 Ratings
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Brewed by:
Brouwerij Verhaeghe

Style: Flanders Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Andreji on 06-25-2003

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Reviews: 223 | Ratings: 425
Photo of SoupKitchenBeerSnob
1.18/5  rDev -70%
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.

 1,192 characters

Photo of HoboChangBa
1.72/5  rDev -56.2%
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"

 1,652 characters

Photo of BeerBelcher
2.38/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

It takes different strokes to make the world go around, and contrary to the good reviews here and the recommendation of Nasser at Beer Mania to give this a try, I didn't really care for it. I love sour, and this beer had sour in spades, but it also had a kind of cloying sweetness that I found unpleasant and difficult to drink.

It poured black with a fine sticky head. Aroma was sour but also offered a pungent vinegar smell which I found unpleasant. Flavor was sour cherry with a very sweet aftertaste that clung to the tip of my tongue. Too sweet and sticky for tastes. Sour = good. Too sweet = bad. Adjudication of the two = not so good.

I would not recommend this beer. I had this bottle at Beer Mania in Brussels.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
2.53/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer is ruby and brown hued, with a thin, wispy head that leaves virtually no lacing. The aroma sends off alarm signals upon the initial whiff. Sweet cherries, alcohol, and an acetone-like off scent. The flavor is equally disappointing. No lactic, sour, barrel, funk notes, or anything pleasant for that matter. The beer was too sweet, and basically a mess. Not a good example of a Flanders red ale, a style of which I am particularly fond.

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Photo of mdfb79
2.68/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

From 05/28/11 notes. Poured from a 12.7 oz. bottle into a flute at Monk's Cafe in Philly, PA. Recommended by the bar tender as a sour beer after the beer I tried to order was out of stock.

a - Pours a murky reddish dark brown color with no head at all and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sweet cherries, sweet fruit, sugar, oak, and a tiny amount of vinegar. Smell is a bit too sweet for me, and not very sour at all.

t - Tastes of sweet fruit, sugar, bready malts, sweet cherries, light oak. Again, not tart or sour at all really, and very very sweet. Too sweet for me.

m - Medium body and low carbonation.

o - Overall not that great of a flanders red ale. The nose and taste are way too sweet, and neither have much sourness or tartness to it. Wouldn't seek out again.

 787 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
2.71/5  rDev -31%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle purchased at Rustico. Served in a stange-like glass.

Pours a murky reddish-brown color with a thin head that has a light bit of red tint to it. The nose is really strange. There's some acetic acid and oak, along with a really creamy character. While appropriate, it's too heavy and goes off in the wrong direction, reminding me a bit of a tequila creaminess. Flavor has the same issues. Oak and a bit of cherry, but then there's an off creamy character to it. No real malt or oak influence, and the sourness is kept very small. Medium body. Really a strange beer and not one that I particularly enjoyed.

 612 characters

Photo of soulgrowl
2.74/5  rDev -30.3%
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.

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Photo of Knapp85
2.78/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

One of the first Flemish Red's I had ever tried. This beer was a very nice ruby red color which was very inviting. The flavor is on the sweeter side and not as sour as expected. The Oak aging really dominates the finish of the beer to me. I'd like to try this one again in the future.

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Photo of AdamBear
2.9/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-dark ruby brown. lots of bubbles. light tan head.

S-vinegar and fruity caramels. buttercream? smells awful

T-comes in with a smooth taste of buttercream and cherries. it tastes a lot better than it smells, but it still doesn't taste great. the oak and dark fruits start to come through to make up the after-taste. the more i drink, the more okay it tastes.

M-dry low carbonation with a very dry finish

O-plug your nose and drink. its okay but not good enough to justify the price tag. the funny thing is, i chose this beer because it was the cheapest "sour" i could find at the bar i was at. taught me a lesson to not save money. it becomes more and more simple as i drink it. not enough sourness to it. not a pain to finish though.

 739 characters

Photo of GuzzLah
2.95/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

A - pours a clear deep red-brown with a short tan head and some lace. A few bubbles.

S - weak intensity. Some cherry. Faint vinegar. Not much going on here.

T - sweet with a little bit of acidity. Difficult flavor to describe, but it's definitely not what I look for in a Flanders. Barely tart, not sour. Not offensive, but far from interesting or enjoyable.

M - medium body with moderate carbonation.

O - this is my least favorite Flanders so far. Very dull and unimpressive for the style.

 495 characters

Photo of ChadQuest
3/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Body is a translucent reddish brown. Finger rests on top.
Nose is sweet cherries with a faint tartness implied.
Sweet cherries with a slight funky twang like oak and cherry tannins. More sweet then anything overall though. Some vinegar but little in the way of tartness.
Medium medium-full body.

3/c = average

 310 characters

Photo of axeman9182
3.11/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle with a "best by" date of 1/3/14. I received it for working Belgian Beer Fest this year, and after it was allowed to warm it was poured into my petite Duvel tulip.

Vichtenaarpours a deep, dark mahogany, with plentiful ruby highlights. About two fingers or so of off white foam crown the beer. Head retention is fairly solid, and a decent amount of lacing is left clinging to the side of the glass. The nose has a healthy proportion of sweet cherry/dark fruits, offset only by a little bit of a tart aroma. The flavor profile is again dominated by sweet cherries. There's a little bit of a sour presence as well, and a slight oaky note that's barely perceptible. All in all the taste somewhat reminds me of a cherry cola, which isn't necessarily what I'm looking for for this style. It's all fruit and artificial sweetness, with very little acidity or wood notes to balance things out. The body was a little bit full, and the carbonation a little bit dull, but neither were too far off the mark. I guess I was spoiled, with my first Flanders Red being from Rodenbach. In comparison, Vichtenaar tastes like it's been backsweetened, and it has none of the depth or complexity of the best versions of the style.

 1,222 characters

Photo of Crosling
3.12/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Very pretty ruby/violet colored with a small, wispy and quickly diminishing head of white foam. Vibrant aroma, strange smelling, with hints of barbeque sauce, ranch, balsamic vinegar and grapes. Body is very thin and one dimensional and it can’t decide if it wants to be sweet or sour. A totally dull red, lacking complexity.

 326 characters

Photo of Erish
3.13/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I poured this 11.2 oz. bottle into a Belgian tulip glass. Best by 19-10-08... which I assume means this beer is way, way past it's peak. I will review again if/when I get a fresher example.

A: clear, dark reddish brown color, very thin head falls into a decent cap with decent Belgian lace.

S: overripe fruit, funk, some spice.

T: overripe fruit, funk, some spice.

M: medium-bodied, viscous texture, low carbonation.

O: I was disappointed to discover just how old this beer was. Hopefully a fresher example will show better than this did.

 543 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.18/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle purchased in Boston 2 weeks ago. The back label says "Vichtenaar is West Flemish red-brown ale matured in oak casks, has a fruity palate, pleasant sour flavor and refreshing finish." Best by 22/04/2012 so everything's cool.

It pours dark ruby brown color, very clear, with a light tan sticky foam and lots of lace. The aroma is a cherry/vinegar mix, not as much cherry as I'd like. Same in the flavor, tart and cidery, flavors I normally like but for some reason they're not working in this one. A little sweet in the aftertaste.

Decent carbonation and body. Overall this is OK but not worth the $5+ for an 11.2oz bottle.

 639 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.18/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Vichtenaar Flemish Ale, bottled and brewed by Brouwerij Verhaege-Vichte, Belgium. Vichtenaar is a West-Flemish red-brown ale matured in oak casks, has a fruity palate, pleasant sour flavor and refreshing finish. 5.1 % ABV, 11.2 oz. bottle.

Clear, reddish-brown color, off-white head, slim, but lasting.

Aroma: sour fruit, vinegar, cherries, oak. All well-integrated, nothing too forward.

Drink it, now. Mild approach on the palate. The mild fruity flavor is there, the mild oak notes, the mild, light, lean body.

(Read between the lines.)

Okay, I'll come right out and say it: if you're a big, "sour" fan, this will not be for you. If you are looking for a stepping stone, step right on this one. It's a gateway Flemish red/brown, but if you've already got the bug, you can skip this one.

 795 characters

Photo of harrymel
3.29/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes on 07/11/10.
$4.50 for 12oz @ Jim's Homebrew in Spokane, WA.
Poured from bottle to Sam Adams sig glass.

A: Good burnt tan appearance with 1/4" head which is loosely packed and consistently replenished by the constant ribbons rising from the glass. Ale color is a light ruby.

S: Slightly sweet and sour apple skins. Light olive scent. Citrus, fruits and Sweet grains.

T: Toasty, nutty, spice, fruit. Medium sweetness with notes of raisin, oats, sour cherries. Pleasant.

M: Medium-light body with creamy yet drying feel. Good burn from carbonation with a feel that glides over tongue.

D: I found this a hair mellow for a flemish, but enjoyed nonetheless. Need to pick up a couple more bottles and age 'em to see if the tart grows on me. Worth a go ahead.

 777 characters

Photo of eric5bellies
3.3/5  rDev -16%
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

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Photo of DrunkenMaster
3.3/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Red/Brown color with an tan head that won't go away. This has less balsamic notes than the Duchesse but I can still smell it. Tart cherries and other dark fruits. Taste is vinegar with some sweetness. It starts to get flat and lose some of the tartness towards the end.

 269 characters

Photo of BierReise
3.33/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

11.2oz Bottle Best Before 16/06/05 Poured a clear reddish brown with lots of active carbonation yet leaving no head. Aroma starts off with vinegar followed by a sweet malt and a bit of fruit. Mouthfeel is a high carbonation and very lively. The flavor is a vingary sweet malt blend that I can't decide whether I like or not. The style is relatively new to me so I could be off on my judgement. Overall an interesting ale with maybe a tad too much vinegar for my liking.

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Photo of younger35
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a bottle of this from The Four Firkins a few months back. It's been sitting in my fridge since and I'm not sure why I haven't drank it. Drank from my Ithaca Excelsior tulip.

Appearance- Pours dark crimson brownish with a nice one finger creamy tan head with some serious staying power. A beautiful cap and collar remains the entire beer along with a TON of sticky ring like lacing.
Smell- Wow extremely tart and vinegary with a fruity sort of sour that is just scary puckering smelling. Half cherries, half red grapes, half balsamic vinegar. A light vanilla woodiness is somehow strong enough to cut through the intensity of the sour.
Taste- Wow, definitely not what I expected. The beer is actually sweeter than it is sour... Starts with a light bit of sourness right off the get go but it's extremely subtle and somewhat fruity. Almost some black cherries or even fig hiding in there. Almost as quick as the sour comes it's gone and a fairly sweet bit of caramel woodiness is left. It's amazing how sweet it gets as a sort of syrupy caramelized sugar just lingers. The oak is fairly strong and lightly vanilla like and very lightly tannic. Slightly cloying in the finish and very malty.
Mouthfeel- Big and rich with very light carbonation for a super creamy feel. Crazy full feel but the light cloying aspect is lame.
Drinkability- Sweet and sour sauce that is beer. I'm sure older versions of this are much better as the beer sours a bit more and loses a bit of that sweet edge. Not bad, but either more time is needed or less malt. Probably more time to let the sour develop.

 1,590 characters

Photo of kbutler1
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle. $3.99 for a 11.2oz bottle. Best before: 19-09-10. Pours a nice looking dark reddish brown color with a fluffy tan head. The aroma is of sweet, sour fruit, cherries and raisins. Very sweet me thinks upon the first sip. Mildly sour and tart and ends rather sugary. Minimal aftertaste of alcohol, like cough syrup. Medium mouthfeel, thought it would be a little lighter. Not a bad beer but not very sour nor did it have a very strong oak taste for being lagered for 8 months.

 480 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
3.41/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased at State Line Liquors in Elkton. I pick up this about twice a year but usually at The Foodery which is the only place in Philly I know has singles to go.

Vicky pours a pretty dark reddish brown color with some ruby tinge to it. With a stealth pour I get a dark tan loose bubbled head that that stuck around for a few and left a cap but no lace.

Smells of alot of dark fruit and some vinegar. I get alot of berries and cherry with a almost vinious scent that's not quite there. The oak surprisingly does not reach my nostrils. It does not smell like it's going to be tart or sour.

But there is a slight twang to this that I would not call sour/tart or whatever, just a tinge. This is very dark fruit forward with a backing of vinegar and just a bit of wood. More vinegar than wood, not a good look. A small amount of dark cranberry mixed with your normal FRA flavors, some malty brown ale appeal. This needs more wood dammit.

The feel is surprisingly light and uneventful. It looks carbed and is but it does not show up in the mouth. Pretty smooth and vinegary, some sweetness, a touch of sour twang (a touch) and a malty finish. A small step below medium with ample but weak carb.

There will always be a sweet spot in my heart for this beer as it's one that I cracked my tooth on in the world of better beer. With that said there is better out there style wise. It's low abv but the taste does not make me want top grab a bottle any time soon.

 1,471 characters

Photo of jrallen34
3.42/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I drank this from the bottle into a chalice.

This beer pours a oily dark brown with not much of a head, little head and retention.

The aroma is light for a flemish, light vinegar and tart.

The taste is ok, nothing great. Almost reminescant of a spoiled egg, which isn't a great thing.

Mouthfeel is very light and not very drinkable becuase of the strongness of the beverage. This is a little disappointing.

 412 characters

Photo of birchstick
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - pours a dark reddish/brown color with a very fluffy, cloud-like head.

S - smelled very sweet and malty. After multiple smells, vinegar dominated and there were hints of some sweet oak.

T - Wow is all I have to say. This is my first Flemish ale and I was pretty surprised. Starts off very sweet, almost like balsamic vinegar. There is also noticeable sweetness to it-tastes kind of like grape but the balsamic vinegar taste dominates it. There is also a light oak finish to it.

M - pretty thin mouthfeel to it, and very smooth

D - I couldn't finish this beer--the vinegar got to me after a while. That's not to say that this beer isn't worth drinking, it was just too much for me.

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Vichtenaar from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
3.93 out of 5 based on 425 ratings.
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