Orval Trappist Ale - Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
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Ratings: 3,800 | Reviews: 2,070 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by LambicPentameter:
4.33/5 rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Enjoyed out of a 11.2 oz brown bottle with the distinctive Orval curvature. Label is marked with a bottling date of 18/08/2011 and an enjoy by date five years after that. Poured into a large 22 oz snifter. Far from the first time I've tried this beer, but the first time I've sat down with a bottle and made a point to note all the intricate details of what I'm tasting.
Appearance - Pours a deep copper brown with some faint reddish clay-like undertones topped by an eggshell colored head of about two fingers thick, and that's with a fairly gentle pour. Big and rocky, with great retention and solid but spread-out lacing with distinct but faint ringing. Certainly darker than what most people (myself included) would expect from a pale ale, even one of the Belgian distinction, but Orval isn't really an easily-classified beer.
Smell - A complex combination of fruity phenols and floral overtones, but a more funky, musty element, like barnyard, but without the tartness that you'll get from some beers that have been fermented with a strain of Brett. The aroma is more dank, with some bits of malty sweetness coming through as well.
Taste - This particular version is heavy on a blend of the darker fruits--most notably raisin and date--along with a fair amount of pungent bitterness. Some notes of grapefruit rind, dandelion green and bittering spirits comes through, as well as some faint esters reminiscent of rich red wine, like cabernet sauvignon.
Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with ample carbonation. Mostly dry finish.
Overall, a beer that seems to vacillate wildly from bottle to bottle and depending on age. I've had some that were overpowering hop bitterness and funk, others that were floral and slightly fruity, and still others that hint at the darker fruits of your classic Belgian dark ales and quads. It's an enigma to be sure. One that I always enjoy, but I lament the inability to find it very fresh in the U.S., especially after getting to have some that was about 3 months after bottling when I visited Brussels a couple years ago. No matter, as the weirdness and complexity of this beer is what always draws me back. More often than not, if I go to a bottle shop looking for a beer without luck, but don't want to leave empty-handed, I'll grab a bottle of Orval. If you don't like it the first time you try it, I still would encourage you to give it another try.
Serving type: bottle
10-21-2013 20:36:14 | More by LambicPentameter
More User Reviews:
3.41/5 rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5
single purchased at Wegman's in Mechanicsburg, PA for $9.00 I believe, consumed on 3/14/14
A-hazy amber/brownish with a massive off white head and a ton of lacing.
S-yeast, dark fruits, some banana, floral notes, alcohol. Definitely pick up the "funk" that others mentioned.
T-very complex. there is a lot going on here. earthly taste, some sour, spice, more bitterness comes out as it warms.
M-strong carbonation, creamy, light-medium bodied
O- probably my least favorite Trappist to this point. a beer that tastes better as it warms, and very different from other Belgian ales. however, very expensive so I'm not sure I will have too many more of these.
Serving type: bottle
03-17-2014 00:16:05 | More by Zetcha7x
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 3,800 ratings.