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Review of Orval Trappist Ale

06 Sep
Hello everyone.  I hope all is well.  I must say I’m very excited about today’s craft beer review because I’m going to be trying one of the most highly praised brews ever produced. 

The Orval Trappist Ale brewed by the Brasserie d’Orval S.A. located in Viller-devant-Orval, Belgium.

The website, http://www.orval.be/, is chocked full of information on the brewery, so I would recommend you check it out. 

Here is the commercial description on the Orval Trappist Ale.

In contrast to all the others, the Orval Trappist brewery makes only one beer for the general public.  It has an intensely aromatic and dry character.  Between the first and second fermentation’s there is also an additional dry-hopping process.  Through this the beer acquires its pronounced hoppy aroma and extra dry taste.  Bottled at 5.2% abv – can go up as high as 7.2%.

Well, let’s not wait any longer.

This Orval has an ABV of 6.9% and comes in an 11.2 oz. bottle.

The appearance was a burgundy to orange color with a little bit of haze.  However, when held to the light I could see a steady stream of bubbles rising from the very center of the chalice.  An easy pour produced an unbelievably huge, slightly off white head.  It was very, very soapy with enormous bubbles and a very rocky texture (not the most aesthetically pleasing crown in my opinion).  Both the retention and lacing were well above average and good.   

The aroma started with some of that “barnyard funk” combined with a sour smelling lemon sweetness.  Other fruits of white grapes and pears contributed more complexity along with subtle, however noticeable, notes of that familiar Belgian yeast and hops. 

The taste provided a bit more of the “funk” combined with a tart lemon sweetness, which gave the savor a little bit of “bite.”  The white grapes were noticed again along with some spiciness that was a mixture of both pepper and cloves.  The Belgian yeast was prevalent without ever being overpowering.  As the brew warmed all of the flavors started to combine to form one congruent taste.  This beer does have one outstanding flavor I must say.

The mouthfeel was a solid medium.  Very dry, smooth, crisp and snappy with decent carbonation.  I was a little surprised that it only left an average amount of flavor behind however.  One thing was for sure though… it slid down the throat with great ease.

Well, my very first Orval Trappist Ale did not disappoint.  It’s not quite the greatest beer that I have ever had, although I can totally see why people think so highly of it.  It’s a well made, easily drinkable beer with tons of character.  It’s very aromatic (even though that “funk” is not my favorite fragrance) and tastes very, very good.  It’s most definitely worth a try if it’s available in your area.

What do you guys think of the Orval Trappist Ale?  Is it a “world class” beer in your opinion?  Please feel free to leave a comment if you would like.

Thanks for reading everyone.

Cheers.

Score:  4.15 out of 5
Grade:  A-     

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20 Comments

Posted by on September 6, 2011 in Country: Belgium, Orval

 

20 responses to “Review of Orval Trappist Ale

  1. bluesandbarbq

    September 6, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    One of my favorites.

     
  2. bluesandbarbq

    September 6, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    One of my favorites.

     
  3. shrews824

    September 6, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Bluesandbarbq,

    It's very good for sure. I think it may have been you that said if I didn't rate this a 5 out of 5 that I would get ridiculed!!! Haha.

    Cheers,
    Scott

     
  4. shrews824

    September 6, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Bluesandbarbq,

    It's very good for sure. I think it may have been you that said if I didn't rate this a 5 out of 5 that I would get ridiculed!!! Haha.

    Cheers,
    Scott

     
  5. Emily

    September 8, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Hello!

    I live in Belgium and Orval is my go-to beer. I recently went to the Abbey with a friend to go straight to the source. It was fantastic. I wrote about it here – http://thepetitfour.com/?p=1200

    I find it's a really hard beer to find in the United States, which is unfortunate because I think it swings a lot of people into the “Beer is a really good drink” category. So I'm glad you liked it, it's such a quality, chameleonic brew!

    Happy drinks!

    Emily

     
  6. Emily

    September 8, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Hello!

    I live in Belgium and Orval is my go-to beer. I recently went to the Abbey with a friend to go straight to the source. It was fantastic. I wrote about it here – http://thepetitfour.com/?p=1200

    I find it's a really hard beer to find in the United States, which is unfortunate because I think it swings a lot of people into the “Beer is a really good drink” category. So I'm glad you liked it, it's such a quality, chameleonic brew!

    Happy drinks!

    Emily

     
  7. shrews824

    September 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Emily,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment on my post. I think it is awesome that you were able to visit the Abbey. Im sure that was an unforgettable experience. I'll be sure to read your piece also. Check back from time to time when you have a moment. I try to post daily.

    Cheers,
    Scott

     
  8. shrews824

    September 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Emily,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment on my post. I think it is awesome that you were able to visit the Abbey. Im sure that was an unforgettable experience. I'll be sure to read your piece also. Check back from time to time when you have a moment. I try to post daily.

    Cheers,
    Scott

     
  9. Anonymous

    September 8, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I had the opportunity to tour the brewery last October and it was a blast. They don't ordinarily open the brewery doors to the public but we were able to go inside with a small tour group (unsolicited and shameless plug for Belgina Beer Me! Trappist beer tours!!). Although they do not provide a tasting at the Abbey, we visited a cafe down the road and where we enjoyed several rounds of fresh Orval. A new and remodeled tourist and visitor center just opened next to the Abbey. Although the beer may change and improve with age, I have never had one in the States that measure up to the ones we had at the cafe. Must have been the atmosphere and ambiance! If you get the chance, visit the Abbey…. it is beautiful. They don't allow you into the monastery itself but the ruins outside make for a great couple of hours. Friendly folks and a really complex beer.

     
  10. Anonymous

    September 8, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I had the opportunity to tour the brewery last October and it was a blast. They don't ordinarily open the brewery doors to the public but we were able to go inside with a small tour group (unsolicited and shameless plug for Belgina Beer Me! Trappist beer tours!!). Although they do not provide a tasting at the Abbey, we visited a cafe down the road and where we enjoyed several rounds of fresh Orval. A new and remodeled tourist and visitor center just opened next to the Abbey. Although the beer may change and improve with age, I have never had one in the States that measure up to the ones we had at the cafe. Must have been the atmosphere and ambiance! If you get the chance, visit the Abbey…. it is beautiful. They don't allow you into the monastery itself but the ruins outside make for a great couple of hours. Friendly folks and a really complex beer.

     
  11. shrews824

    September 9, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Anonymous,

    Oh man!!!! Sounds like a great trip. I would love to be able to do something like that. Your right, I'm sure the atmosphere just makes the beer that much better.

    Thanks for commenting.

    Cheers,
    Scott

     
  12. shrews824

    September 9, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Anonymous,

    Oh man!!!! Sounds like a great trip. I would love to be able to do something like that. Your right, I'm sure the atmosphere just makes the beer that much better.

    Thanks for commenting.

    Cheers,
    Scott

     
  13. Craig H

    December 12, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    We're the US importer for Orval – Emily, we have a beer finder on our website that will help you find Orval anywhere in the US:
    http://www.merchantduvin.com/find-our-beer.php
    Cheers,
    -Craig, MdV

     
  14. Craig H

    December 12, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    We're the US importer for Orval – Emily, we have a beer finder on our website that will help you find Orval anywhere in the US:
    http://www.merchantduvin.com/find-our-beer.php
    Cheers,
    -Craig, MdV

     
  15. shrews824

    December 12, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Craig H,

    Thanks for posting that link for us!!!

    Cheers,
    Scott

     
  16. shrews824

    December 12, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Craig H,

    Thanks for posting that link for us!!!

    Cheers,
    Scott

     
  17. Leurne

    December 21, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Hey! Orval is really a nice beer, and that change of the typical Trappist Beer. Often it's strong, there, it's like a bitter. I just find little bit too dry… I already taste an Orval maturated during 1 years, and it's nice too, the bitterness change completely!

     
  18. Leurne

    December 21, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Hey! Orval is really a nice beer, and that change of the typical Trappist Beer. Often it's strong, there, it's like a bitter. I just find little bit too dry… I already taste an Orval maturated during 1 years, and it's nice too, the bitterness change completely!

     
  19. Scott Shrewsberry

    December 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Leurne,

    Thanks for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it. Yeah, I would love to try an Orval with a bit of age on it. I'm sure it develops nicely. You know, I really liked the beer the way it was, but I just didn't find it to be the “world-class” brew that some have made it out to be.

    Cheers,
    Scott

     
  20. Scott Shrewsberry

    December 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Leurne,

    Thanks for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it. Yeah, I would love to try an Orval with a bit of age on it. I'm sure it develops nicely. You know, I really liked the beer the way it was, but I just didn't find it to be the “world-class” brew that some have made it out to be.

    Cheers,
    Scott

     

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