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Orval Trappist Ale - Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,107 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,107
Reviews: 2,098
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 174
Gots: 308 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is 6.2% when released in Europe, US labels say 6.9% due to labeling laws.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,107 | Reviews: 2,098 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Mebuzzard
Mebuzzard

Colorado

4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel snifter. Good deep brown body and big head. Head laced on the sides and clumped in the middle.
Aroma of ripe (brown) bananas, malt and some citrus hops.
taste was more of an IPA style. Hops and citrus, with some roasted malt, biscuit and basil.
Had a bit of a bite to it, more hops than I expected, finished with a dryness. A complex beer overall.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2006 22:31:56 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of Rezzin
Rezzin

California

3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 30/06/2005 best by 30/06/2010 consumed 9/20/2006.

A - Pours a hazy honey orange with a 2" thick head that leaves nice lacing on it's way down.

S - Sweet oranges, somewhat bready, citrus and maybe even a little sour. Smells great.

T - The first sip foams in the mouth. Starts off tart and maybe even a little sour then fades into a flavor much like a hoppy pale ale. Somewhat of a metallic twang to the flavor. As I let it warm it pretty much follows the same taste pattern... lambic, a hoppy ale, then metallic.

M - Highly carbonated and finished dry. Light and refreshing even with the massive carbonation.

D - I'm wondering if I got a light struck bottle. The aroma is wonderful but the flavor is just not I was hoping for. I'll re-review this beer later when I pick up another bottle. The place by my house sells these 11.2oz bottles for $4.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2006 01:41:55 | More by Rezzin
Photo of blackie
blackie

Virginia

4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

appearance: Leaving most of the yeast in the bottle, the pour yields a 0.5" white head. It recedes incompletely, fed by streams of bubbles from the bottom. The beer is a hazy, milky medium brown.

smell: I get some immediate strawberry and raspberry aromas. Pale Belgian malts aromas with notes of peach. It's a little farm-housey, with some hay and a slight wildness to it. Hints of oxidized apple flesh, whole bread, white pepper, and flowery honey. Just a touch of hops noticeable.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is high, yet smooth. The body is very light.

taste: Pale malts with appley fruit flavors upfront. A little thin in flavor. There's also a light yeast character. After the swallow an aged, papery hop flavor becomes more evident, and a gentle bitterness dries out the finish.

drinkability:A well balanced beer, though a little uninteresting in some places...even a little watery. Easy to drink.

11.2 oz. bottle from Grapes & Hops in Fayetteville, Bottled 24/06/2005

6/14/2013 - upped some scores after purchasing an Amsterdam/Belgium ticket and cracking a bottle from Lost Dog

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2006 01:05:58 | More by blackie
Photo of ThirdCoast
ThirdCoast

Texas

4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving Type: 11.2 floz Bottle

A:Murky Orange color with a nice head with plenty of lace.

S:Oranges, lemons, citrus.

T: Sharp taste, hard to pinpoint....Earthy

M:Stings the tounge, much like a cola.

D:Overall a good drinkable beer. Great for a summer afternoon.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2006 00:12:09 | More by ThirdCoast
Photo of kenito799
kenito799

New York

4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle, 6.9%alcohol, bottled 1/31/06 drunk 9/9/06, best before 1/31/11

My first taste of the authentic Belgian trappists, poured into a Duvel glass.

I understand that Orval is different in style to the other trappists, I can imagine why. Extreme carbonation, huge off-white head appears and fills the glass, receding slowly with nice lacing from bubbles of many different sizes. Color is hazy amber.

Aromas are sharp and citrusy, vague fruitiness is not dominant (bananas), some metallic scents.

Hitting the mouth the intense carbonation is the first impression, the beer foams on the tongue..the first flavor impression is tart and sour, a bit like a gueuze. Very dry, almost austere, and then bitter hoppiness takes over in the finish. As it warms in the glass and as I drink more, this beer feels like it has its feet in two camps...lambic and bitter, hoppy ale, battling for dominance. A pleasant battle to experience in the mouth. I think by the end of the bottle the ale won...but I miss that first jolt of lambic-like sourness.

I can't wait to try the other trappists...

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2006 23:24:17 | More by kenito799
Photo of Hibernator
Hibernator

Massachusetts

4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orval Trappist Ale
11.2 oz brown bottle
Bottled on: 06/24/2005
Best Before: 06/24/2010
Served in a Chimay goblet glass

Pours a hazy and cloudy light brown. Burnt orange highlights blend in the background. A massive, rocky head forms on top and magnificent patterns of sticky lacings cling all over the goblet.

The nose is amazing. Whiffs of lemon, honey, hops and sour funk yeast. Reminds me of a Lambic, must be the Brettanomyces. I inhale another big whiff and I detect sugary sweetness and random spices. I swirl the beer around and around in the goblet and I receive more complex scents.

My first sip is light, airy and sugary sweet. Complex flavors of sweet & sour battle on my palate. Again, the Lambic connection is on the forefront of my mind. A touch of lemon or lime citrus dipped in honey with a quality that provides a beautiful hop snap on the finish. This beer is also interestingly dry while a pressured carbonation blast prickles my tongue.

This is one amazing, unique and uncompromising monster of a trappist ale. A world class offering and strongly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2006 22:30:59 | More by Hibernator
Photo of depechemode1983
depechemode1983

Texas

4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Serving type - 11.2oz stubby brown bottle with best before date printed on back. the site says 6.20% by volume but my bottle says 6.90% by volume

Apperance - light orange/brown amber color outstanding head plenty of lace to go around. very impressive

Smell - sour-citric smell. acidy fruit comes to mind such as lemons limes. floral smells linger. slight sweet smell

Taste - tart spicy taste up front. crisp finish with a definite hop presence thats excellent. floral and plant tartness that really sticks Mouth feel is decent with good carbonation and a little watery feel.

Note: this is one fine ale. loved it from start to finish..just too bad its so high priced and very hard to find in my area.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2006 19:56:07 | More by depechemode1983
Photo of ndekke39
ndekke39

Ohio

4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared a bottle of this with some good friends. Bottled on 1/24/06 and best-by 1/24/11. Poured a cloudy honey color with a bright white head and lots of lacing. Smells of so many things... apple, honey, banana, peach, yeast. Wonderful to stick your nose in. Taste was dry, fruit, and hoppy. Overall flavors ran the gamut from sweet to bitter to sour. Each sip brought something new out. Mouthfeel was bright and fizzy. Overall, excellent beer. Great to sip. Highly recommended.

Tried another bottle in September 2007. Bottled on 1/24/06 and best-by 1/24/11. Poured like a very cloudy cider. Small, white head, with little bits of lacing. Smells again of apple, plus some champagne. A little bitterness like an apple peel. Needs to warm up a bit. Very effervescent, like a champagne! This must be one result of the aging. Again, it's wonderful to drink, especially with good friends. Looking forward to trying another bottle next Labor Day!

And we shared yet another bottle in September 2008. Bottled 1/24/06, best by 1/24/11. Poured like clear-ish apple juice, nice thick white head, lots of lacing, great retention. Smells of apples and champagne. Taste is starting to flatten out. Very dry. Taste of apples, bitter at the end, like old coffee. Very effervescent mouthfeel. It's getting less nuanced, but we have 2 more bottles and will see it through to Labor Day 2010!

Opened our fourth bottle in September 2009. Like the rest, bottled 1/24/06 and best by 1/24/11. Poured a clear deep yellow. Lots of foam, very fizzy and rocky. Lots of lacing on the glass. Aromas of yeast, fermented apple cider, pears, white wine like a Riesling. Tastes of white wine, champagne, apples. Taste begins well, but ends with a flat burn. Almost tastes old. Mouthfeel is a bit flat, despite all the foam. Still interesting, but the beer is mellowing out. One more bottle for next year!

Opened our fifth and final bottle in September 2010. Like every one of them, bottled 1/24/06 and good until 1/24/11, although it doesn't seem to be holding up too well. Very foamy on the pour, with a consistent fluffy white head. Color looks darker and cloudier this year. Smells like apple cider vinegar. Tastes a little flat, like cardboard or wood; it's like a very weak wine. Mouthfeel is still fizzy and bright. This beer has about three months left in its life, but already it seems to be turning into nothing.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2006 13:10:48 | More by ndekke39
Photo of Vancer
Vancer

Illinois

2.9/5  rDev -31%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Here’s a very disappointing brew, perhaps from over-hyped expectorations. The pour started on the right foot - a hazy amber orange with pillowy, sticky ivory head. This one had legs running down the glass.

Only some hints of Belgium yeast and orange. topped by sweet malts. But the taste – wow, just not there. A stringent and soapy blend of two not pleasant tastes. Dry and crisp, yeah, but the drinkability was off the chart, at a freakin $5 a 11.2 oz bottle.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2006 03:51:58 | More by Vancer
Photo of guzzle211
guzzle211

Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle bought at the foodery in philly poured into a LaTrappe glass.

a:Pretty-close-to-white head explodes from nowhere, made up of lots of tight-packed tiny bubbles which dissipate quickly. Head is slightly reinforced by stready streams of tiny bubbles. Thin lacing holds for a minute or two but melts quickly. Brew is a darker golden-orange-amber; the color is actually very rich.

s: hoppier than i would expect, but still gives hints of that malt / earth aroma.

t/m: first impression is dry / fizz / tang in that order. once my pallate adjusted it washed down a little smoother. for my own personal tastes this is over-carbonated and bloating, much like sweet drinks such as dr. pepper and champagne.

d: i may have rated the drinkability .5 higher than i should simply due to the sheer fact its orval trappist. in order to drink more than one of these i would have to take a half-hour belching break in between, the bloating effect is so high.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2006 01:38:53 | More by guzzle211
Photo of Osiris9588
Osiris9588

Ohio

2.7/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is my first reveiw of an Orval Trappist Ale, but the second bottle I have tried. I disliked the first bottle so much that I figured the bottle had been mishandled, subject to improper conditions. I also think I drank it too cold.

I made sure that this second bottle was down to a proper temperature, but I found it as equally unpleasant--though I did purchase it from the same shop. Also, the beer did progressively improve somewhat from the fist sip to the last. My palate needed to be conditioned to it.

I don't think that it is a completely horrible beer, much of my dislike has to do with personal preference. Both the bottles I have drunk have been capped, 11.2 bottles. The color is a murky amber with traces of sediment. There is ample carbonation, with a torrent of bubbles racing to the surface. The head is thick, leaving considerable, big-bubbled lacing.

The aroma offers strong citrus and yeast, a formidable floral quality, and a hint of cinnamon. The taste offers plenty of citrus and spice, strong yeast and hoppy bitterness. The characteristic that ruins this ale for me is the phenolic aspect--it is so intense and overbearing. A glass full of dirty band-aids. That sums it up. The mouthfeel is crisp and bright, and the drinkability would be fine, except for the extremly unbalanced, phenolic finish, and resulting aftertaste.

A glass full of dirty band-aids. And I love Trappist ales, but not this one. My tongue feels as if I've been been eating pennies all day, and then maybe licked a dead bloated otter.

Maybe the poor quality has something to do in the way the shop handled this particular shipment--but lightning has stuck twice.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2006 20:14:28 | More by Osiris9588
Photo of afinepilsner
afinepilsner

Iowa

3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz brown bottle

Orval Trappist Ale was amber in color with a large white bubbly head. The head had decent retention and left plenty of lacing behind. The nose is full of trappist yeast with a little malt and slight alcohol smell. The taste was fruity (mostly citrus) and lightly spicy. The body was medium to light with plenty of carbonation. Nice drinkabilily. Overall it is a good beer and I will purchase again.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2006 23:20:49 | More by afinepilsner
Photo of wl0307
wl0307

United Kingdom (England)

4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The bottle revisited today is exactly the same as the last one consumed 6 months ago--bottled on 29/11/2005. Now is time to see if half-a-year maturing has rendered it any more complex~~ Served cool in a Orval-glass like broad-rimmed goblet.

A: pours a translucent, dark reddish-orangey hue; nice and thick off-white frothy crust sustains on top of a very lively carbonated body, with a dozen streams of tiny fizziness ejecting from the bottom of the glass. Brilliant.
S: the smell this time reminds me much of dry farmhouse Saison as well as Lambiek!! The dryish-sour and zesty-bitter dried lime+lemon peels combine nicely with a slightly funky and sour note of yeasts, yet is enhanced by a delicately spicy edge like nutmeg+clove+star-anise+blahblahblah... true to Orval's uniqueness of that spicy edge; the yeasty and spicy aroma is backed by a rather subtle but noticeable pale maltiness and a subtle sweetness from mixed fruit-esters. Overall, complex as ever... and crazily enjoyable. It's hard to move my little nose away from the glass~~
T: spicy and yeasty and spicy and yeasty and... followed by a bitter flow of lively yeasts, powdery and rough in texture, and laced with utterly dryish yet bitter flavour of dried lemon rind ground with clove and cinnamon and a little bit of star-anise at the back... also coming to mind is that tangy edge of new wood barrels... turning absolutely dry in the aftertaste with plenty of hops and an herbal-sweet edge very much akin to the aftertaste of Chinese mixed-herb medicine soup~~!!
M&D: effervescent texture with a mouthful of creamy fizziness, medium-bodied and lots of flavours to discern with patience... Absolutely nice, NOT delicious, but very complex and worth one's 3/4 hour for slow sipping... Compared with my previous note, this bottle shows more bitterness and is not as fruity as the last bottle. Will review another bottle from the same batch in another six months~~

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2006 21:55:10 | More by wl0307
Photo of dblinkhorn
dblinkhorn

California

4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance - This beer pours with a large off-white, slightly tan head that is overall pretty soapy (large bubbly head). It dissipates at a pretty slow rate and settles as a thin layer of lace on top of the beer. As it goes down, there is a nice sticky lace on the glass. The brew is hazy honey orange color with a bit of carbonation liveliness in the glass.

Smell - Honey and lemon are the most profound smells on the nose, paired nicely with some medium dark fruits aromas. Cloves and nutmeg make up the spice character of the aromas. There is only a very, very slightly noticeable amount of alcohol on the nose. The hops smell crisp and dry with a low bitterness scent, and the malt scents slightly earthy and raw smelling.

Taste - A rich but fairly mellow malt flavor is up front in the taste. Honey again makes a mark, along with the medium-dark fruit flavors. The spices flavors are stronger than in most beers of this style, but they go well with the rest of the flavors. In the background there is a crisp, lightly bitter hop flavor, along with lemon (or other citrus) rind. The alcohol is present just after the initial part of the taste, and is pretty light in power. It lasts up through the finish, in combination with a moderate earthy flavor. I expected a bit more flavor from this brew.

Mouthfeel - Moderate carbonation level, fairly light alcohol sensation. The brew itself is medium- to light-bodied and somewhat smooth (again not as good as I expected).

Drinkability - This stuff reminds me more of a typical west coast U.S. micro ale than an authentic Trappist ale, which it is. Similar beer of its style easy win in taste and mouthfeel over this beer. Accordingly, it has a very high drinkability because of it's "lightness" all around compared with others of its style and type.

Overall, I'm somewhat dissapointed with this brew (although I was expecting a lot after having the other Trappist ales). This stuff definitely falls short of the other five Trappists, but overall it is still quite a good brew. Recommended at least.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2006 03:26:28 | More by dblinkhorn
Photo of DaveFL1976
DaveFL1976

Florida

4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'd had this beer before in the US, and I wasn't particularly impressed with it. I found it a bit harsh and astringent.

But then I went to Belgium.

Specifically, to a little town called Orval.

After poking around the courtyard of the monestary and meeting a monk, my wife and I went down the road 100 meters to the cafe. I had the full strength, my wife had the green bottle.

It poured a lovely deep reddish/cherry color with a frothy off-white head. Smell was sweet and spicy. The taste...so much better than how I'd remembered it. This was a damn fine beer. Sweet up front, but balanced out with a certain spicyness that balances things out nicely. A nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2006 19:57:27 | More by DaveFL1976
Photo of RobertDwight
RobertDwight

Iowa

4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my lovely Orval challis. It has a deep orange and light reddish/brown color to it. The head is outstanding, it looks so creamy. The head almost reminds me of soft peak egg whites, kind of like meringue. I smell a lot of citrus, and it also reminds me of the smell of a lambic. Tastes of toffee and fresh bread at first, then quickly moves to the citrus & spicy bitterness of the hops which lingers on the tounge a while after taking a drink. This beer reminds me of a lemon meringue pie. I am a huge fan of this beer and think people should drink more of it.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2006 19:49:12 | More by RobertDwight
Photo of jdoolin
jdoolin

Ohio

4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: awesome 11.2 oz bottle, poured into an Orval chalice

Appearance: burnt orange amber, big, foamy head that lasted the entire time. A truly beautiful beer.

Aroma: Citrusy and floral with a bit of horse blanket

Taste: Slight sweetness up front that doesn't last. Crisp and dry, notes of citrus and pine and the ever present brett character. Some bready malt in the finish. Somewhat light but very smooth mouthfeel.

Notes: Such an interesting, flavorful and refreshing beer. The most unique of the Trappists ales that I've had. Great complexity. I'll always have one of these on hand.

[Edit]: The more of this beer I have, the more I love it. This last time, I paired it with the Orval Trappist Cheese and it was a magnificient combination.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2006 07:25:33 | More by jdoolin
Photo of ultralarry2006
ultralarry2006

Illinois

2.58/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle. Left a foamy one finger head that had some good retention, but not much lacing. Body was a hazy orange-amber.

Smell - a sour barn-like odor. Not much else. Some alcohol.

Taste - same as the smell. A sour barn-like must, with very faint tones of plums. Alcohol on the finish, and not really integrated into the taste.

Mouthfeel - thin, fluid, and fizzy.

Drinkability - I don't like this much, so it's not sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2006 18:53:17 | More by ultralarry2006
Photo of rayjay
rayjay

Hawaii

3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled Jan 24, 2006 (7 months old).

Gimongous head, even when poured extremely slow. Had to wait a few minutes to drink it! Very bubbly like champange. Fairly dark pale color and hazy.

Smell is sweet and bready, like pumpernickle. Very Belgian profile, similar to the Saison Dupont I had last night. Additionally, I detect Brett.

Taste is complex; there is a definate pilsner bite with some hoppiness (the skunky kind), but the malts are more along the lines of a Belgian pale. Then there's the sour undertone kind of like...um...the melted ice cubes of an empty glass of orange juice. Unmistakably Belgian, defined by the yeast.

A hard water taste and feel that lingers in the aftertaste, making it very dry. Alcohol warmth also lasts for a while. Almost reminds me of a British mild, one that has sour notes like a Guinness. Also reminds me of homebrew with a slight infection (one that is still pleasant to drink).

Too young, I can see very clearly that this beer has yet to see it's full potential. It tastes a little watered down and unfinished.

I hadn't had this beer in years and completely forgot what it tasted like. I really dig the flavor. Dispite it's young age, it shows it's greatness underneath. Worth cellaring a few bottles. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2006 03:51:34 | More by rayjay
Photo of TastyTaste
TastyTaste

Minnesota

2.35/5  rDev -44%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Takes a while to pour, forms a mammoth fluffy white head, good retention. Well hazed orange body.

Smell: Smells like sweettarts, has an odd artificial watermelon smell, bubblegum, and some other maltiness. Not the most appealing thing I have ever smelled.

Taste: All the smells are well represented. A sour and dry flavor, that is a little fruity, with a slight earthiness and vegetable aspect. Not my favorite, a very weird beer.

Drinkability: My least favorite of the Trappists I have tried, will not buy again.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2006 03:31:40 | More by TastyTaste
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a copper/orange color with a huge white head. It left very nice lacing.

S - It smelled of dried fruits, yeast and alcohol.

T - It had a spicy flavor. There was also a citrusy (orange) taste. Good sour notes.

M - It was crisp and dry. It is medium to heavy-bodied.

D - This is a great Belgian ale. I love the sour kick with is traditional Belgian ale taste.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2006 14:26:08 | More by zeff80
Photo of Naes
Naes

New York

3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a pale golden brown colored ale with a very tall head that laces and retains quite well.
The aroma is of dark fruit and spices. Pepper, plums and raisins surface to the nose.
The flavor seems to be dominated by spices. Black pepper seems to be present with a slight hop presence and an almost mustiness near the finish.
The mouth feel is medium in body and is nicely carbonated.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2006 01:13:12 | More by Naes
Photo of trevorwideman
trevorwideman

Manitoba (Canada)

4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well well well, I'm a lucky guy to have found this one last night here in Manitoba. I was like a kid in a candy store.... 2004 vintage.

Pours a hazy orange copper colour with a huge head. Correction, massive head. This head actually grows as you down the glass. Pour very carefully. The pillowy, fluffy head leaves a thick lace all the way down the glass. The vicious carbonation is a thing of beauty. Smell is exceedingly spicy and a bit musty. There's a huge floral bouquet, like springtime when the Lilacs begin to bloom.

Taste is just as intense, like you were tasting all outdoors at one. Floral and Wild, lots of herbal flavour. Some earthy grassy notes. A tangy and spicy lemony sourness comined with an exquisite hop character that's very well balanced. This beer just dances around the palate, and is very complex.
The mouthfeel is full of body, a little sticky. Clean, with a little dryness in the finish. This was an amazing surprise and a real treat for me, The ABV being what it is, it's exceedingly drinkable, but the actual quality of the beer makes you want to save these for a special occasion. Also, I'd like to come back to it in a year or so, see what's changed. If you live in a place where this stuff is readily available, I'm so jealous.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2006 16:14:00 | More by trevorwideman
Photo of mjc410
mjc410

Vermont

4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The pour into my Chimay chalice brings forth a voluminous head, 3/4 of an inch high. It is just a little tan, and quite rocky. The beer's color is a bright copper, nit the least bit hazy. The fleur-de-lis at the glass's bottom produces a marvelous carbonation column. Head retention in particular is astonsihing, so much that I'm forced to wait ten minutes for my first non-frothy sip. I certainly can't fault it for this .though.

The nose is full of sugar, bubblegum, caramel, bananas, pears, green grapes, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, and a plethora of other scents I can't pin down. A symphony of scent!

Taste begins with vinous fruit, hits a lemon note, hop bitterness, and ends with biscuity grain. Rich, spicy, and complex, and somewhat alcoholic. Pouring in the dregs restrains the flavor a bit, so I would recommend a careful decanting.

Mouthfeel is approaching thick, and the carbonation is enough to be tingly. Surely coats the mouth.

Overall, a great beer, that, despite its low ABV, ages with grace.

Notes: "BOTTLED ON 07.10.2004
BEST BEFORE 07.10.2009"

I wonder how this would taste closer to the "expiration date." I bought this bottle in the summer of '04, along with another, and drank one immediately. I thought the beer at the time too strong, so I cellared this one until now. It is a wonderful drinker, and I'm glad I waited!

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2006 03:53:30 | More by mjc410
Photo of expatsteve
expatsteve

Wisconsin

3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Orange/raw honey amber color, with cloudy finish. Big 1 inch head with sticky lacing. Low/medium viscosity.

Aroma: Honey, golden syrup. Tart - lemon zest, basil, kaffir lime leaves, and pepper. Yeasty finish resembles bread dough after a first rise.

Taste: Dried herbal flavor, resembling a bouquet garni - dried sweet basil, thyme, oregano, and sage. Very dry with a mild fruity body - oranges and honey present underneath herbal body. Develops a little butter, while maintaining good balance between dryness and zesty notes. Unique in its flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: Thin, dry, and cleansing. Raspy finish is assertive but remains refreshing.

Drinkability: One of the most unique, complex beers I've had - a little challenging, as I haven't had this before, but certainly compelling. I'll definitely return to this beer

after further experimentation with Belgian brews.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2006 18:44:03 | More by expatsteve
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,107 ratings.