Vichtenaar | Brouwerij Verhaeghe

very good
223 Reviews
no score
Send samples

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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 223 | Ratings: 424
Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Duvel snifter. The pour is dark brown with reddish hues, clear, and sports a nice 2-fingers of light tan head. On the nose I get the acidity that is characteristic of this style. Nice sour fruit and red wine grapiness. There is also a hint of oaky vanilla.

The beer has a medium body and a lively mouthfeel from a nice, high level of carbonation. Like Duchesse De Bourgogne, this beer has a flavor that is very balanced between sweet and sour. There are flavors of tart cherries, sweet fruit juice, and red wine notes that are best described as tasting like Beaujolais. The acidity is not intense and does not survive past mid-palate, leaving a very drinkable beer, but one that finishes a bit on the sweet side and does not leave an appetizing, lingering, tannic-like notes that the best of these beers are capable of.

Overall, a nice example of the style. I prefer these beers with a little more acidity, especially on the finish. This one exits down your throat on more of a sweet note. Still, it is very pleasant to drink.

 1,056 characters

Photo of Tone
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark brown color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of tartness, slight sweet malt, hint of fruit, and slight sour notes. Fits the style of a Flanders Red Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, slight sour notes, slight fruit, hint of yeast, and hint of hops. Overall, good appearance, aroma, and blend.

 416 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a very interesting beer. it pours a clear medium shade of brown, with a one inch off white head comprised of pretty large bubbles. it smells a lot darker than it looks, plenty of roast on the malts, a lot of sweetness, and some definite sour vibes. the flavor is exactly that, sweet at first, sour in the finish. the sweet is complex, brown sugar or molasses, with something a little floral, maybe honey. the sour is more vinegar than brett, but isnt offputting at all. the mouthfeel is good, lighter than it looks this time, with only about a medium body and effervescent carbonation. overall a nice flanders style brew, but probably wont pay 6 bucks for a bottle again.

 671 characters

Photo of Flounder57
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle was poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: The beer poured a one finger reddish white head that is still there. It is a crimson red color with some clarity and good signs of carbonation coming up through the glass.

Smell: tart, bready, some funkiness, and some sweetness from the cherries.

Taste: All of the above, but finish is really sweet compared to other reds and there is a little oakiness to the beer too.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium bodied, low to medium carbonation, and easy to drink.

Overall: pretty solid Flanders red. A bit on the sweet side, but still good.

 589 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 DaftCaskBC
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at Elizabeth Station in Bellingham, Washington.

A: 1/4" tan head over dark cherry coloured liquid.

S: Yeast, sugar and sour cherry.

T: Sweet cherries, pears, figs, yeast and some sourness in the finish. A metallic taste was also present, but that could've been due to a bad yeast pour by the server.

M: Medium viscosity and carbonation.

O: Definitely on the sweet side of sour, dark fruit and pears dominate the flavour profile, which makes it quite drinkable.

 473 characters

Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At first I'm thinking more along the lines of an Oud Bruin, but it turns out to be exactly what the back of the bottle claims: a [West-Flemish] red-brown ale. It's first evidenced in the color, being a dark brown but with a red tint. It forms a creamy, not rocky but plenty dense tan head that just sits there after rising to one finger in height. Lacing is patchy and gets sparse, though not very.
One has to know what to expect going into this one; it distinguishes itself with a sharper, more prominent vinegar presence than many I've had. The impression is very much apple cider vinegar with a red wine element and a bit of "oaky" dryness. A sturdy malt backbone keeps it together as well as adding balance to the sourness and the bite. While there are others more complex, this one does have complexity and really holds together well.
Carbonation is lively and nippy while not biting, but does make it both crisp and smooth.

 929 characters

Photo of Evan_Duncan
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown, ruby color when held to light. Thick off-white head with large bubbles. Some lacing with a head that stays around for a while.

S - Acetobacter sourness, slight vinegar, some funk (wet hay?), stone fruits

T - Cherries, that wet hay type funk is present, and an acetobacter type sourness.

M - Medium mouthfeel, sharp on the lips from the carbonation (which seemed to dissipate as the tasting went on). It is surprisingly creamy but has a nice crisp finish

O - I liked this one quite a bit. There are better ones out there in my opinion, but I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Will drink again

 608 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.79/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

A real impressive dark brown/red hue. Slightly clear with a caramel soapy brown head that seems to keep a collar but not much retention. Real nice ruby hues on this, quite impressive.

Nose is odd. Dense malt, mixes with faint juicy over-ripe cherry, and dare I say bile. It's very strange character, and feels incredibly juicy, but there's an after whaff of something VERY off putting on this. Some strange acid mix it's hard to describe. I hope this tastes better than it smells.

Oh juice juice carbonation all over my palate. There it is, the rich cherry juice hitting with a big cannon with a controlled feel. Crisp carbonation with a spritzy feel giving to some dense malt and nice controlled fruit sweetness. Hot candied cinammon red hots just ever so slightly on the palate for the aftertaste.

Overall this is a total ambush beer, and I am really enjoying it.

 912 characters

Photo of thecheapies
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vichtenaar Flemish Ale. 11.2oz bottle purchased for $5 locally. Best before '19-01-09', whatever that means. Tasted side-by-side Duchesse de Bourgogne. Served in Duchesse goblets.

Same color (very slightly a darker red-brown) and head as Duchesse, only with serious sediment that I didn't expect out of a Flanders Red. Doesn't lace as well. 3.5

Smells sour (vinegar) and a bit funky (flooded basement). Alcohol is apparent in the nose. Some alkaline metal and a tart and infected cherry/molded raspberry fruit note. 3.5

Soft fruity flavors of cherry, currant, and even peach or other stone fruits. Less acetic acidity than expected where it's more on the front half, and the finish is tinny malts, funky yeast, and light alcohol burn. The oak is a stale char woody character that's its own separate entity. Not as fruity as Duchesse, nor as balanced. Probably tainted from the nuttiness of the bottle yeast. 4.0

Feels alright. Not as soft and smooth as Duchesse. A little thinner with light, but satisfiable, carbonation. 4.0

Wanted to have tasted this Flanders Red for awhile. I'll know to decant next time. A tasty and almost fulfilling example. Certainly worth a revisit. 4.0

 1,183 characters

Photo of SLeffler27
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fills a Brasseurs DeGarde flute with clear burnished copper, red highlights and ample carbonation. A big, rocky, off-white head quickly drops to half an inch, leaving patches of sticky lace. The remaining creamy head lasts for the duration.

Tart with fermented berries and not much else.

Nicely balanced between sweetness and tartness. Fresh berries are prominent in this simple, but well done, Flanders Red. The tartness is much more pronounced in the finish. With warmth, notes of wine vinegar are revealed.

This has vigorous carbonation and a light body with no real alcohol. Overall it is somewhat fresh and cleansing.

A fine casual beer, though I suspect it would be better during warm-weather gatherings or as a dessert beer. While not at all similar to Vichtenaar, would likely be a fine substitute for mimosas.

Enjoyed by wine friends.

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

pours a ruby color. Smell is a little like vinegar but with some sweetness. Taste is like a red vinegar but with sweetness and malt, really wonder how they get it that close to vinegar but does not go over the top. The mouthfeel is exceptional. It has become a new favorite when I am eating spicy foods. I am a fan and I really do not like sour beers.

 351 characters

Photo of DCon
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 11.2 FL. OZ. bottle of this from The Publican in Chicago, IL for $9. Poured from the Black Labeled bottle w/ Lions & a Crest on the front into a 12oz Tulip Glass. Has Best before 09/03/2013 on the back.

Aroma- Very nice and complexed! The cherries I found in this one were very distant and then had a huge tart punch on the nose. Perfect acidity it seems so far!

Appearance- Pours a 1 finger head that dies fairly quickly. Has a deep and dark reddish/brown colored body with good clarity. Leaves light suds but no lacing.

Flavor- The cherries stayed very distant in the taste as well. Light vanilla flavor and then a ton of tartness on the finish. Bitterness was light and had a extremely dry finish.

Mouthfeel- Medium Bodied, Light Carbonation, Prickles the tongue with acidity but never a sour punch (great characteristic to have in other Sours but not in a Flanders Red). Cherries were left lightly on the palate.

Overall Impression- A very nice Flanders Red! There was never too much sourness or cherry flavor and so this one was easy drinking and I could definitely present this one to anyone of my friends. I could have had another one to see if there was any difference in complexity or flavors. Go for it if in stores! I would like to see how much this one really costs at the retail price.

 1,315 characters

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 matjack85
4.26/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I tried a bottle of this stuff at Quencher's Saloon in Chicago on the advice of the bartender there. 11.2oz brown bottle with no freshness date, but the bartender assured me this bottle was part of a just arrived shipment.

The beer poured a crystal clear cherry red color, but only made a half finger of ott-white head that dissipated quickly and left very little lacing.

This has a big sour cherry smell. Very nice.

Taste is pretty much split between sweet and sour. Not picking up much else besides cherries and that unique Belgian yeast, but I really liked it.

Light, crisp, and refreshing mouthfeel with plenty of puckering sourness and high carbonation that works well with this style.

Delicious as a treat by itself. Not sure I'd serve it with any food other than a sweet dessert. A little steep at $8 a bottle, but then again I ordered it at a bar and did not get it off a store shelf.

 897 characters

Photo of musicforairports
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours as the best looking Flanders beer I've ever had--the head sticks around forever and leaves some great lacing.

Smell is tart cherries and acetic sourness.

Taste is a lot of tart cherries and little else, a bit restrained, but well-done. Finishes tart but not sour. A bit sweet, but not nearly as much as some of the style. Not a mouth-puckering sour at all, but not an overly sweet one either. A nice in-between. I like it.

Light at first and then a bit creamy on the mouth; it suits the flavors well.

This is really about as drinkable as one of these beers gets. It has all the right qualities and, while it could use more of a sour bite, the way it is makes it tasty and really easy to drink for the style.

 722 characters

Photo of diablo14
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I approached this beer with some trepidation as i'm not a fan of Rodenbach Grand Cru and I expected this to be of like nature. While it is in many ways as you'd expect, I found this beer to be much more to my liking.

I love the dark ruby color and bursts of CO2 of this beer, not so enarmoured with the distinct lack of head. Style points lost as a result.

My knock on RGC is that it's too vinegary and tart. This beer had hints of the same. The vinegar like tones were especially present on the nose (a slight drawback) but the flavour was balanced with a sweetness that showed elements of morello cherries and apple. It's reminiscent of Turkish sour cherry juice, but with a delicious dry and bitter finish of great length. It is all underpinned by a subtle earthy yeasts.

It is very light and crisp in the mouth, showing characters of frizzante, which acts as a perfect counterpoint between the sweet and the tart.

It's very refreshing, complex yet approachable for the style, and is excellent with a range of soft cheeses.

Vichtenaar may not be the best interpretation going around, but it's certainly the most enjoyable FRA i've had the pleasure of drinking.

 1,170 characters

Photo of WillCarrera
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best before date of 5/8/11 on the back of the bottle, so this particular bottle is maybe a couple weeks past its prime, but it's been in my fridge since then, so we'll see. Poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a dark, almost cola reddish-brown. Only a bit of light makes it through when held up, revealing deep ruby hues. Vigorous carbonation produces a bubbly tan head that quickly dimishes down to a thin layer.

S- Definitely has a bit of a sour, wild yeast funk to it. Also picking up on some sweet fruits, cherry and maybe apple.

T- Has considerable sourness but finishes on more of a sweet, cherry fruit side. Oaky flavors lend it a more alcoholic, wine character, it tastes surprisingly alcoholic for being only 5.10% ABV. Some light, bready, sugary malts are also there. The sweetness on the end becomes almost cloying as you progress through the bottle, the oak aging doesn't help, it ends up producing a sort of sherry dessert wine aftertaste that lingers on your palate for longer than it should.

M- Medium bodied, good carbonation, crisp and refreshing.

O- A mediocre beer, although I can't fairly say if this is because of the brew itself or because it's past expiration. A bit too sweet for my liking, I would have liked to see the sour notes picked up in the nose more developed in the taste. Next time I'm craving a Flemish Red I'll probably go with Rodenbach Grand Cru or Duchesse de Bourgogne instead.

 1,422 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 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.

 444 characters

Photo of Avagadro
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Vichtenaar boasts a cedar color topped with a cream colored head. Lacing is minimal, and retention could be a tad stronger.

S: Bouquet is reminiscent of fortified wine, with deep notes of raisins, prunes, and black cherries.

T: Flavor is perfectly balanced between sweet and sour, without any clashing. Sweet marsala, Pedro Ximenez, and black cherries are merried with toffee and vanilla. very impressive.

M: Creamy, light, and ever so slightly sticky on the finish.

O: One of the better Flanders brews I've come across yet. Unlike the Duchess, this brew exhibits a harmonious interaction between sweet and sour, with each complementing the other's characteristics. Great brew!

 684 characters

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 Alieniloquium
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330 mL bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance - Pours a dark brown with a hint of orange color. Large off-white head despite a careful pour. Substantial surface foam even an half hour after pouring.

Smell - Sour cherry smell. A bit of a vinegar smell behind it and maybe some sweetness.

Taste - A tart flavor with cherries. Not an overpowering sourness at all. A bit of lingering sweetness, but not cloying at all.

Mouthfeel - Doesn't feel as light as 5.1% at all. Only slightly thin in the finish. Medium carbonation helps keep it from feeling too heavy, though.

Overall - I'm not the best judge of this style, but it's certainly better than other versions I have had. The sweetness is just barely enough without becoming overpowering. Not overly sour, just tart.

 770 characters

Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a Porterhouse flute. Bottles says "best before 22-09-05". Five+ years old? Let's see how it's held up...

A: Pours a deep rusty red with a spritzy soda-like head.

S: Vinous and sour. Notes of vinegar and funk.

T: Much sweeter than the nose implies. Not cloying, but contains a fine wine-like sweetness. Finishes dry and tart.

D: Much more complex than the 5.1 ABV implies and very interesting.

Overall: This is a very tasty Flander's Red that held up to the age beautifully. It's a bit on the sweet side for the style, but still very tart and a bit sour. Tasty stuff!

 605 characters

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