Vichtenaar | Brouwerij Verhaeghe

very good
223 Reviews
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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: 424
Photo of Davedrinkinbeer
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.99/5  rDev +1.5%
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.)

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Photo of Dentist666
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

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Photo of Marius
4/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.07/5  rDev +3.6%
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!

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Photo of mick303
3.99/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of hansavijaticar
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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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 constantine_272
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

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Photo of babaracas
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%

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!

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Photo of dcmchew
4.06/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

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Photo of Jack_Malts
3.81/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of jellikit
3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

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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"

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Photo of FLima
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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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.

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Photo of Pero1974
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
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 !!

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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 BMMillsy
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear deep reddish brown in color with light to moderate amounts of gentle visible carbonation streaming from the bottom of the glass and some cola brown highlights. The beer has a three finger tall foamy/sudsy dark tan head that slowly reduces to a large two finger tall cap in the center of the glass surrounded by a finger thick layer covering the remainder of the surface of the beer. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of tart cherries and some hints of vinegar.

T: Moderate flavors of tart cherries along with lighter flavors of vinegar and oak.

M: Just a hint heavier than light bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light to moderate amounts of acidic prickliness.

O: Very well balanced - not too sweet and not overly tart/sour. Relatively easy to drink and a good beer for novices to the Flanders Red Ale style to try out.

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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.

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Photo of Liquoric3
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reddish brown colour with a 2 finger white head, which lasts quite for a long time. Nice lacing in the class and medium carbonation.
Smell is tart cherries, sugar and a wine like sourness.
Less fruity than the nose might indicate. Some sweet cherry flavor at the beginning, which transforms into a sour finish. Light cinammon flavor and again wine taste, Body is light to medium. Overall an nice refreshing beer.

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Photo of TubaManJack
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours with a nice amber red with a tan light bubbly head and not much real lacing.

Smell - There isn't much of a sour nose. There are cherry notes of tartness and a bit of horse blanket.

Taste- Tartness overpowering with bits of tannins and a slight bit of sweetness.

Mouthfeel- Nice tartness and bubbles on the mouth to add complexity.

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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

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Vichtenaar from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
3.93 out of 5 based on 424 ratings.
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