Vichtenaar | Brouwerij Verhaeghe

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Very Good
439 Ratings

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: 439 |  Reviews: 226
Photo of Ek0nomik
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
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 -2.6%
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 +10.5%
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 +3.3%
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 -7.9%
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 -13.8%
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 +1.3%
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 +2%
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 -12.8%
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 +11%
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 +12.2%
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 +4.6%
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 +9.9%
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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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a brownish red with a two finger fluffy offwhite head that died with the beer and left lace patches. A grape and oaky smell, like a mild red wine, with sour fruits like grape and cherry along with a hint of sweet malt. The fruit taste is mostly grape and cherry, with there being a light sour fruit taste but also some sweetness in this medium-bodied ale. Goes down easy and smooth while retaining a crispness and dryness from the sour fruit flavors and intense carbonation. Balanced with the sweetness, possible caramel malt and honey in there, and smoothed out thanks to oak casks. Not necessarily session this as one after my lunch has me feeling alright, but this is a must-try for anyone.

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Photo of drpimento
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

ooo this is good. Like exotic. Sweet, tart, earthy and supremely delicious. Poured with a nice light tan head and a little lace. Color is a clear mahoganey. Aroma is sour with floral, spicey, and caramel highlights. Flavor is even better: tart at first, immediately thereafter sweet with a shroud of earthiness. Body is very good with carbonation likewise. Finsih is a bit sweet tart and not too heavy. Not exactly a session beer, but very easy to reorder after the first.

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz single from Wilburs in Ft. Collins, around $6. 24-07-09 best before date...still tastes fine to me.

A: Dark red, verging on brown, almost purple in color when held to the light. Huge cream colored head, two inches worth, really dense, and rocky as well. Excellent retention.

S: Funky, medicinal, slight barnyard, smells quite acidic. Sour sour cherries, also has some definite red wine hints, I don't know my wine very well, but smells like something my parents used to drink, but better.

T: Slightly tart, funky cherries and sweet malt all play together nicely. Not as over the top sour as I had expected. Caramel and fruits blend really nice, and balance this one out. Slightly metallic though, and that hurts the overall score. Hint of bitter noble hops way in the back, not very present. Slightly woody too from the barrels, not really a vanilla, just more of a sawdust in the mouth kind of taste, not really dominating but is there. Nice beer.

M: Thin, crisp, extremely carbonated, dry, and goes down quite easily. Hits all the notes it should.

D: Easy to drink, while not the best sour beer I've ever had, I can definitely trace the roots of beers like La Folie to this. Excellent beer, I will definitely seek this out again, as well as try the Kriek version.

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Photo of Nick3
4.38/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gorgeous burgundy colored beer forms a 2 cm head in my Chimay chalice. Nice lacing blankets the glass. Nose is fruity, ripe with cherries and notes of vinegar and malt. Taste is a bit tart with mild sourness. Very smooth and light bodied, perfect carbonation. Mellow maltiness balances the beer throughout. Easy to drink and refreshing beer that vanishes quickly and leaves you wanting more.

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Photo of mtrentm
4.67/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

A: This flanders red pours a nice coffee brown with hints of red tones to it when held to the light. The head disipates leaving a nice tannish white thin layer of foam with great lacing.

S: The aroma on this beer is amazing! I get a hint of burnt sugar, tones of sour cherries, a little hint of vinegar, & a bit of musky woodiness in the background.

T: This is probably the most flavorful beer I've had in awhile. A very complex beer with flavors of granny smith apples, raspberries, sour cherries, with a nice spicy, woody finish.

M: The mouthfeel on this beer is almost like a champagne...nicely carbonated leaving your palate dry and clean.

D: This is a very drinkable flanders red, if you're into these styles of beer. I like the fact that there isn't a whle lot of vinegar flavors, just a hint in the nose.

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Photo of alovesupreme
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer has a best by 07 date on back of bottle.
Poured into a Lindemans flute, this beer has great lacing and fantastic head retentiuon. A dark reddish brown color dominates. The beer has lots of sediment floating in which is not ideal.
Smells sour and acidic. Beer also smells of cherry.
A tart cherry character dominates along with some sour acidic characters. Initial taste is very pleasant but aftertaste is of vinegar and hints at Ketchup.
Full mouthfeel with great carbonation.
A good beer. I would really enjoy this beer if it did not have the vinegar aftertaste.

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Photo of rtratzlaff
4.41/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I have no clue as to how long you can age these, but I found a bottle dated best by 05. So I guess that means this thing is about 5 or so years old. Since aging is okay for this style, I thik I'll add my review.

Vichtenaar pours a deep reddish brown that is clear with an off white head that dissipates to a thin white head of somewhat large sized bubbles.

The aromas is the strongest sour, vinous, acidic thing I have ever smelled.

The flavor is a complex sweetness up front. Sweet Fruit. Very sweet. Tart Cherries come in late with a sour cherry flavor that pounds the palate. There is an acidic burning on the back of my throat that makes me want to clean with another sip. No sign of hops to be found.
As far as flavor goes, this is the most flavor I think I have ever tasted in a beer. Is this extreme beer?
The wood character comes out as it warms a bit imparting a vanillin oakiness on the tongue. I can only pick up on it after all the tart sour qualities slide off their relentless barage on my tongue.
The complexity of this could fool someone into thinking they were drinking a sparkling wine that weighs in around 13%.

The body is light with light carbonation as well. The mouthfeel is also on the lighter crisp side.

This was probably hands down, the most interesting tasting beer I have had in a long time. It is different. I could imagine this would taste great blended with a triple. Your average beer drinking would probably spit this out and cry foul. Those that don't spit it out and like it would probably seek this out the rest of their life. I am probably one of the few that enjoys and appreciates, but I honestly do not not love this beer.

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Photo of wl0307
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

BB 04/07/09, served lightly-chilled in Rodenbach's slim goblet.

A: dark copper-red with a little purple-ish hues, coming with very mild carbonation and a thin light beige creamy head that settles fast to a thin layer.
S: pungent lactic sourness of delicious dark prune juice as well as sour cherries+strawberries are underlined by rich dark-sugary malts (with a touch of burned sugar). A fine aroma of woodiness stays religiously in the background. Nice and rich.
T: the foretaste is not at all sour as the aroma suggests, pretty smooth in terms of sour-sweet berry jam, rum-soaked raisins, smoked prunes, etc., laced with but a faintly metallic edge, a fast-expanding tinge of dry-ish pale malts, faint suggestion of hops, mild aroma of root licorice, and moderate but ever-lasting brown-malt aroma. The aftertaste, in continuation with what's described above, is remarkable, lightly chewy-tannic and scattered with woody aroma, while in the end it finishes equally clean.
M&D: the restrained, delicate even, level of dry-ish hops and woody, lactic sourness makes this ale a very drinkable and approachable one. The carbonation is mild, the body retains its integrity without going thin at all throughout the drink... this is a very balanced and delicious example of Flemish Oud Bruin to me.

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Photo of tempest
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a bottle at Liberty St. Tavern for a little something different. Appeared a hazy red-brown. Everyone is right, this beer is a lot like the Duchesse. In fact I'm not even sure how it varies. It's sweet and smooth at first, followed by a sharp, vinegar/sour tang. The malts have subtle berry fruit flavors and the beer finishes on a tangy note. Worth a try if you're into the style.

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Photo of tigg924
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: reddish/brown, small head, small carbonation, clear

Smell: little oak, big sour fruits, granny smith apple

Taste: I think it matches the smell

Mouthfeel: this one plays nice on the palatte--going between a little sour and a little sweet--can feel the carbonation on the tongue

Drinkability:coming off of Duchesse and Echte Kriek this one does not touch the same sour tones--although I do like it..A fine example of the style, I will look for it again

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Photo of birchstick
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
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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Photo of drseamus
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Beautiful garnet body with a nice tan head. Nice steady stream of bubbles rises off the top but ultimately can't sustain the large head and it falls leaving tiny hills around the center and some stuck to the sides.

S: Wow. This smells amazing. Vinegar coupled with cherries and other ripe to over-ripe fruits. The balance between vinegar and sweet is dead on.

T: The vinegar which was present in the aroma is almost imperceptible in the flavor. The cherries are right up front though providing some nice tartness on top of some underlying sweetness. Finishes with a deep tart and bitter note.

M: Surprisingly this is not a super light bodied beer. It is somewhere between light and medium and very smooth. The carbonation doesn't really play a part in the mouthfeel.

D: This is a great Flanders red. It could use some more sour/tart/vinegar in the flavor but it still tastes great.

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Vichtenaar from Brouwerij Verhaeghe
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 439 ratings