Vichtenaar | Brouwerij Verhaeghe

very good
426 Ratings
no score
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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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Ratings: 426 |  Reviews: 223
Photo of mikesgroove
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The first sour of the night hits the table. I was not expecting a few of these to show and to be quite honest ended up really rounding out the crowd quite nicely. Served in a nice little tasting glass and consumed on 06/09/10.

The pour was a nice dark ruby color with a small head of off white that sits on top of the glass just right. Settling down after a minute or so reveals a nice little bit of lacing and a well rounded coating of the glass.

Aroma is tart cherries, nice notes here. I love that aroma, not that huge horse funk, but the nice cherry and oak notes that still offer touches of sweetness in them. Really rounds it out nicely and makes for a tremendously pleasing aroma. Had this very close to consecration and the both of them really stood out from the our sours with the nice sweet notes tucked around inside of the deep tartness. Really nice light spices in here now. Currant maybe with touches of grape skins and a rich, subtle tone that is simply to die for. Really well done I have to say. Each sip became easier and easier to drink and I watched the bottle vanish in no time flat.

Overall a really solid ale here, really nicely done with a tremendous bouquet and also depth of flavor. I would love to have this one again any day.

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Photo of snogglethorpe
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Decently sour, if not outstandingly so, and a mainly sweet blackberry taste. The taste of wood-aging is there but not prominent. A decent foamy head, and a color that pretty much matches the taste.

This is a decent and drinkable flemish red ale, and seems a reasonable example of the type, but I think it's a little too sweet and lacks complexity and intensity compared to something like Rodenbach.

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Photo of champ103
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark ruby/brown color. A two finger beige head forms with good retention. As the foam recedes some sticky lace is left behind.
S: A sweet, sour, and vinegar aroma at first. Grape tannins and really dry wood lingers after the sweetness fades away.
T: Farly sour and vinegary. Sweet malt with dark fruits. Mostly grape tannins. Again, really incredibly dry.
M/D: A medium to full body. Low on the carbonation. Creamy and smooth. The dryness lingers throughout, and is more than just part of the mouthfeel. Easy to drink. I am not going to drink more than one in a sitting, but an excellent beer to sip on throughout the night.

Similar to Duchesse De Bourgogne, as I would expect being the same style and brewery. Though this is obviously much dryer. Excellent throughout. I am going to have to get a bottle of Duchesse to try side by side with this. Highly recommend.

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Photo of jeranbrews
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A - Slightly cloudy mahogany reddish-brown body.The bottle popped like champagne i presume from extended storage. What was left was a small amount of fine bubbled beige head and not much lacing.

S - Fruity. I found persimmons in abundance and a bit of raspberry. Malt and yeast smells were hard to define.

T - Very cherry. To describe positively I would say it's like a fruity pale ale or maybe a cherry lambic, to describe negatively I'd say it's dangerously close to being a cherry wine spritzer. The more common oak flavors of this style were hard to find. There was a nice citrus-sour after tang. Overall not complex.

M - Malty sleek with a medium body and just slightly effervescent. Alcohol burn was non-existant.

D - Sweet, good, yummy, but too simple. A chick beer.

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Photo of avalon07
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a flute. Had a brownish-red color and a clear consistency. There was a quarter inch of foamy, quickly dissipating head. Good lacing.

S: A strong aroma of cherry, grapes, and a sour vinegary quality.

T: A lively flavor of cherry, a little malt, that same vinegary quality, and an almost champagne-like aspect. The sourness isn't nearly as prevalent as you'd expect. This is a surprisingly fruity beer.

M: Lots of carbonation with a slightly slick finish. Light-bodied, crisp.

D: Drinkable very easy going down. Surprisingly refreshing.

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Photo of thepeter
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep dark red with a decent head that became and stayed a nice thin film and left a bit of lacing.

The smell was sweeter than I expected dominated by cherry and sour grapes and then some balsamic vinegar, must and funk.

Tastes to me a lot like it smells, again starts off sweet with cherry and caramel malt flavors, a decent amount of vinegar acidity a bit of funk 'n' wood to bring it all together. Sweet aftertaste which was refreshing on a nice day.

Smooth medium bodied and very easy to drink. A style that I have been big on recently so I would like more but could see how one would be enough. A very good beer.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice and complex Belgium red sour ale, leaning on its sweet edge.

Presentation: 0.33 l brown bottle. Front label shows over a black background the name of the brew, style, and heraldic seal. Back label offers a short description of the brew, with main ingredients and characteristics. Shows best before date (05-08-11), and Alc. by Vol. (5.1%). Served in a tulip glass.

A - Amber brown red pour with a rich frothy head, average retention, a fair surface memory, and some lacing.

S - The initial smell is sour, tangy... with an emerging sweet backbone, and even a faint funky note. In fact during the second half of the drink it reverses and the sweetness prevails.
A nice fruity sense punctuates it.

T - The taste follows quite a bit the nose rhythm albeit with a stronger profile on its sweeter side. The initial sourness and tiny funk touch is there but remains very tamed by a sugary and fruity sense: cherry, plum... and an earthy tone.

M - Light to medium body with a fine carbonation that holds it pretty well until the overtly sweet finish takes over.

D - Starts more enticing than what it offers at the end. It´s nice but lacks a final touch of complexity in particular with a bit of a dull sweetness.

Notes: Nice sour to keep around, and it´s high within the style but makes one long for an extended complexity and a shorter sweet range.

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Photo of philbe311
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A tad more than a fingers worth of of lively fizzy khaki colored head the quickly dissipates leaving a thick ring of foam around the edge of the glass and the very thin splotchy veil of lace which also ultimately fades leaving on the ring of foam around the edge of the glass... The coloring is that of deep ruby red teetering on aubergine... Trace random slow paced carbonation bubbles rise sporadically throughout... Light leaks in through the bottom and top of the glass...

S -Textbook Flanders Red aroma... A sour tart fruitiness... Cherries... Strawberries... Grapes... Vinegar... A touch of yeasty funk... Slightly musky...

T - Strawberry... Plum... Mild vinegar... Tart... A touch of woodiness... The presence of sweet cherry lingers...

M - On the lighter side of medium bodied... Bristling with biting fizzy carbonation... Slightly puckering... A mild acidic tartness lingers in the back of the throat...

D - A solid Flanders Red all the way around... Not the best I've had, but enjoyable none the less and one I would welcome in the future...

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.58/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I just picked up a 4-pack of this beer at Knightly Spirits in Orlando. I'll review this one and hoard the rest...woo hoo!

Appearance: Pours a clear caramel brown with a off white head of small bubbles that was rather dense in the beginning and was about half the size of its initial height about 30 seconds after the pour. Minutes after the pour, the head was still there and never completely faded into the beer. After drinking the beer, there is a significant amount of lace left on the glass.

Aroma: I initially get a whole lot of complexity from even the cold beer. There is a defined sweet caramel aroma in here as well as noticeable sour notes coming out a clean "sour black cherry" (if there was such a thing). The aromatics are really inviting in this. I get lots of dark fruit like figs and such and in fact there is so much going in in here, I am just going to skip the rest of the aroma for now and come back to it once the beer warms up a bit.

Taste: The flavor follows the aroma pretty closely in that it has lots of toffee-like flavors in here contributing substantial sweetness to the flavor to round out the sourness and make the whole thing support each other. The sourness is there, but with the bold malt-bill, it only enhances the whole experience rather than being the predominant flavor. The finish is slightly balanced toward the sweet in the finish and the flavor left on your palate is almost like you just had a bite of some exotic dessert. The carbonation is definitely spot-on for this beer and makes the beer skate across your palate with enough resonance to let you taste it, but not come across as heavy in any way.

Opinion: This is an outstanding beer! I really like the Duchesse from this brewery and this beer is no slouch by comparison. This one is a bit sweeter than the Duchesse, but the Duchesse is really about the only other beer that I could compare this to. If you like Flanders and sour ales like I do, you will respect the raw intensity of like a Rodenbach, but this beer is significantly more subtle. It is a very well blended beer and I would drink this beer all the time if it was available in my area. We have the Duchesse in Texas now, so I can't complain. Give this one a shot if you like sours or won't be disappointed.

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Photo of bshirley
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this bottle for several months, a gift from a friend, before I finally decanted it into a Chimay glass, pouring only the 3/4 of the 250 ml bottle.

It had a very clear appearance, a medium brown color, with glints of amber, gold and faint red. Medium bubbles formed a tenuous head, that abated after a few minutes.

The aroma immediately told me that this would be appropriately sour. My nose can't discriminate acetic and lactic differences, but I suspect both are present.

It had a lovely light flavor with a variety of fruit notes, and a late arriving sourness on the sides of the tongue.

It was light in the mouth with a refreshing drinkability.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is one of my most frequently consumed brews. Good Stuff.

G - .3 Aventinus glass

A - It pours a rich red-mahogany hue with a one finger tan head that recedes a bit, but leaves elevated ridges and sheets of lacing.

S - Sweetness emanating from, but not really smelling of, sweet barley malt, accompanied by a mustiness, light vinegar and oak tones.

T - For a beer that tastes this good, I am shocked at how little I can wax superlative; it tastes sweetly delicious, slighty sour, fruity in a very unusual port-wine way, and just overall solid. Notes of cherry and currant are subtly available. It ages well, despite relatively low alcohol. I have had many an expired Vichtenaar, some that were 3+ years past 'best by' and they were delicious. The super-fresh bottling is probably not quite as good, and tastes much more malty-sweet; it is still excellent, however.

M - Relatively light-bodied, velvety but not oily whatsoever, soft carbonation.

D - Delicious, delicious, and delicious. And excellent for pairing too; it goes well with strong flavors like tomato sauce, garlic, onion, ginger, sesame oil etc.


I've been sneaking a few of these into the movies lately. Awesome. Two of my greatest passions, in one place.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Sloeber tulip glass.

Pours a very deep crimson, with dark brown highlights making the proceedings even darker. The rich-looking head plumes to about a finger or so thick, but dissipates rather quickly, settling to a simmer on the surface. The nose is comprised of green apples, pears, cranberries, and cardamom: sour, yes, but with substance behind it, rather than sour for the sake of sour. The taste takes those sour fruit notes and adds a bit of complexity with the subtle body and sweetness of the malts. Unfortunately, though, there is an expectation of some bite, some climactic punch from the back and sides of the tongue, but this never comes. Luckily, though, the body remains in the medium range and the carbonation is just right, keeping this nice brew from sinking in terms of drinkability.

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Photo of Ek0nomik
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured In: Wine Glass
Purchased At: Steve's Liquor (Madison, WI)

Appearance: The pour is a dark copper brown color with a little ruby red tint sneaking through when held to light. There is a finger of light cocoa brown colored head sitting on top, with excellent retention. I wasn't expecting much lace with my wine glass, but there are some sheets covering most of the glass. The beer is nice and clear, and slightly effervescent.

Smell: The nose is a mixture of fruit, including grapes and cherries, some acidic sourness and a little bit of sweetness from the malt.

Taste: The palate is very similar to the nose, but the sweet notes are much stronger. The tasting starts out with acidic vinegar sourness. Then some fruit flavors start to come through; more grape and cherry. The sourness is now gone, but the fruit is still there, and now the sweetness is coming through. The sweetness is a mixture of caramel and molasses. The malt sweetness is more than I wanted to be honest. I think the malt profile should be brought down so the fruit and sourness can have more room to shine.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thin body and highly carbonated. I let the beer sit for an hour before attacking it again so the carbonation could die down a bit.

Drinkability: I'm glad I tried it, but I wouldn't pick it up again. The malt profile was a little too high, and the sour and fruit notes didn't come out as much as I wanted. There are a lot of better sours out there to try. I like their Duchesse offering more.

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Photo of MightyCow9
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was a sweet style Flemish Brown. To me it lacked the sour that I would like to have in this style. But the taste beyond that and the molasses like sweetness were very nice. This is a good version of the sweet end of the spectrum of this style. I would try it again.

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Photo of ccrida
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle (best before 19-09-10) poured into my delirium snifter, Vichtenaar is a dark garnett with a big, fluffy light sand head that is slow to recede, leaving big foamy lace rings

Smell is sweet and fruity, with a robust acetic apple cider vinegar backbone.

Taste is very nice, oaky sweet malt with a quick but puckering vinegar mid-palate and bright cherry finish. Classic flavor that epitomizes the style. This is the first Flanders beer I ever had, I was a little taken back by the vinegar at first, but by then end of the bottle, I was hooked!

Mouthfeel is creamy and light, a thinness to it really.

Drinkability is high if you like this style. Very flavorful, but digestible and lower alcohol. In fact, it's a great digestif, which is why I'm having it right now. Obviously some people will not, but I think you should have at least half a bottle before your decide. The Burgundy (wine) of Belgium for sure!

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Photo of Cresant
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this 11.2 oz brown bottle into a Duvel glass. Best before date: U4-U4-11. The body was ruby brown and slightly dulled, but clear os sediment. The large tan head had loose brittle bubbles. Sporadic lacing and a cap remained throughout.

Smell was old chocolate covered cherries. Metallic. Malty and acidic.

Taste was tart cherries. Lightly acidic. Oak. Woody and fruity. Slightly brandy-like, without the high alcohol. There was a sweet maltiness underneath the tartness. This was a wonderful surprise, I only purchased this on a whim because I had never tried it before.

Mouthfeel was medium in body and adequately carbonated.

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Photo of lhaqq
3.61/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear ruby-copper body with a slightly off-white dense head with good retention.
S: Sweet malts, sweet apple, vinegar.
T: Some of the vinegar initially comes through, then sweet apple and cherries. Not much sourness as was expecting, but a bit of apple tartness.
M: Good for the style; medium bodied and a bit creamy. Not as carbonated as was expecting.
D: Pretty average, too much flavor to drink too quickly but not hiding too high of an abv.

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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.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown color with a tall tan foam. Little retention but excellent lacing on the goblet. Highly sour, fruity nose. Puckering, really. Cherries, alcohol, a hint of lemon.

A little flat overall. Not in terms of carbonation, but "wow factor". Normal European brown ale notes, with enough puckering sourness to lift it above the crowd. Fruity and sensational, lemon-lime zestiness up front, but the mouthfeel is a little thick. Doesn't quite hold up to the best of the Flanders red style.

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

Victenaar is one of the best Flanders Red Ales in the world, but will forever be in the shadow of its slightly bigger sister, the Duchesse. I picked up a bottle in Buffalo and decided to give her a spin.

Pours a deep and rich mahogany, which errs more to the brown than the red end of the spectrum. A finger of creamy tan head produces nice sheets of lace as it slowly descends to a wispy cap. An intense aroma of sour fruit, funk and vinegar wakes up the nose. There's definitely something akin to cherry in there, mixed in with a really heavy malt vinegar presence, and a bit of oak in the tail. Its pretty complex and indicative of what's to follow.

The initial impression on tasting is of an intense fruity sourness, reminiscent of a fruit vinegar (I'm thinking cherry). While this is present for the entirety of the profile, its also joined by a brown sugar sweetness, spicy woodiness and a light earthiness. Balsamic lingers in a sustained aftertaste. The mouthfeel is spot on for the style - medium bodied with a medium carbonation, and puckering finish.

Vichtenaar is pretty spot on for the style (and I've graded it as such), but its never going to be a style I love. The gradual build up of vinegar flavours is enjoyable at first, but by the end of the bottle I've had enough and struggle to finish. If only this stuff was available in half bottles!

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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.

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Photo of botham
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into an oversized wine glass. pours a deep rouge with brown mixed in and a single finger of loose light tan head that retains nicely and leaves a thin layer for minutes.

aroma is of a light vinous note with a pleasant sourness hiding behind a restrained note of cherry. a very light musty funk keeps it honest, while adding a bit of complexity.

taste is more of the same with a soft vinous quality and a subtle cherry note that dances on the palate. supremely crafted with distant dark fruit showing a bit more after some warming.

mouthfeel is medium bodied and soft on the palate with a finish of residual fruit and funk.

drinkabliilty is great. subtle and easy drinking with a wonderfully complex character and a very tasty profile. an excellent flemish brew. cheers!

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Photo of WoogityBoogity
4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark red body that is brilliantly clear. Off-white tan colored head pours with high carbonation; moderate lasting.

S - Complex fruity esters combined with light spice phenols create an overloading sensation. Cherries, plums, and maybe prunes. Very low malt character detected. Low diacetyl smell.

T - Predominantly fruity flavors override the subtle malt character. Intense palate of cherries and plums create a sweet-but-sour transition. Balance definitely towards sweetness. Hop presence absent. Some vinegar-like character, probably in part with the low diacetyl/spice phenols. Dry finish.

M - Medium/full body. Average carbonation. No warming from ABV.

D - Very sweet and sour Flanders. Complex palate, but not overwhelming.


A great example of Flanders Red, but perhaps not the best.

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Photo of DrJay
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Seems like fairly high carbonation during the pour... lots of fluffy tan bubbles with a faint pink tint. The beer is a ruddy chestnut colour and a bit translucent. Great head retention. Fruity aroma, tart berries and sour cherries, a bit of wood. A little musty too, with notes of wet hay and leather. Tart, fruity flavour with lots of berry sweetness. Strawberries, sweet cherries, oak, cotton candy, earthy, slight spice in the finish. The flavour was great initially, but seemed to mellow somewhat after a few sips. Not sure if it's the beer's fault or my palate's, but it still tastes fine, just not as crisp on the tongue. Medium to light bodied with generous carbonation and an airy texture. Overall, pretty good.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.31/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a reddish brown with a good sized foamy beige/off white head. No rings, but a bunch of residual lacing. When held to the light, a pure garnet color. Nice brew.

Not overpowering in the smell, but pleasant. Tart stone fruit/tart cherry element, and some mild toasted malt aromas. There's more there, but the cherry edge is dominant.

Tart cherry element with light sweetness to balance, going into some mineral/earthy notes and wood and very light chemical alcohol. A light bitterness fights through all of this, and finally -- this one finishes very clean. I expected to have a lingering sour effect, but none here.

Well carbonated and a light prickliness on the tongue.

Sip, sip, sip --whoa -- I've got a quarter pint left! I was certainly ready for another (but alas, as this was the first try, only bought the single). This went down exceptionally easy for me. Overall, a terrific beer.

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Vichtenaar from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
3.93 out of 5 based on 426 ratings.
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