OldMrCrow (2308) - Seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 5, 2006
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: MAY 20, 2010 Bottle (fresh). Pours a gorgeous golden amber with a rich full fluffy - even foamy - head. The aroma is complex and fascinating: mild vinegar notes and dusty barnyard, honey and mint,spicy yeasts. The flavor is equally complex: very dry, some mouth-puckering sourness around the sides but this comes on late, lemon peel, just a hint of funk, a long dusty hop finish. The mouthfeel is the weakest of the lot; it seems rather thin to me, and rather hollow. But that is a minor concern; this beer deserves its reputation.
Mini-vertical, Spring 2009:
1 year -- mint, herbal.
2 years -- the classic Orval taste that I remember. Juicy through middle with spice on the front and so brett-dry on the close. Perfection.
4 years -- wine-like, acid notes bring out the wood, considerable loss of carbonation
Sept í09 - straight from Whole Foods. I definitely like it with a bit more age.
frizzzzle (76) - Overland Park, Kansas, USA - NOV 3, 2006
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Pours a slightly hazy, bland brownish color with a very tall, almost white head. Nose is malty, with alcohol and dark fruits. Grape, maybe? There are hops in the background, lending to a freshness in the smell. The flavor is slightly sour, with more grape, and maybe a melon-ness toward the finish. The beer has an overall dry character, an interesting contrast to the mildly tart fruitiness. Mouthfeel is just right -- I love the carbonation in Belgians. This beer is very different from what I remember (this was one of my first micros), but itís as tasty as ever.
JB175 (1665) - Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 2, 2006
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: MAR 22, 2009 This one deserves a re-rate from me as my first couple of tries with Orval were from my Cherry-ass days of only appreciating heavily hopped stuff. I now appreciate Bretty and more complex Belgian brews, so its nice to have another one at this point. Nice cloudy rose-amber pour with a substantial head (poured into an Orval glass). Pleasant sour aroma with some yeast, dough, grape, citrus, and floral hops detectable. Flavor is bready, yeasty, and tart - incredibly smooth with some vinous fruit and citrus in there for good measure. Smooth and complex - Iím glad I have several more aging a bit.
sersdf (1018) - chicago, Illinois, USA - NOV 1, 2006
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
bottle, poured 3 mos after purchase/ smuggle from store in belgium. oh, bottled 04/07/2006 i guess. homogenous, 30% opacity. color of a dIPA, mostly orange with a hint of caramel. head sticks around and turns into some fun formation with variably-sized bubbles. WTF iíve been shafted this is totally infected... iím hilarious. god, how does anybody get anything out of the aroma besides bret? aroma sour and spicy. maybe once it warms up... interesting first sip. very dry, extremely short flavor profile, clean finish and surprisingly strong carbonation, given the aforementioned details. taste is actually pretty watered-down. i think my ultimate opinion of this is that itís like a jolly pumpkin that lacks any dimension. i know orvalís the holy grail and grandfather of bret, but this beer canít compare with our modern american super-beers....
AskForJenny (1060) - Ontario, New York, USA - OCT 30, 2006
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
330ml bottle - Thick, lingering toffe colored head on the pour, great lace, tight bubbles, more red than brown. The beer that drinks like a wine, in fact I used a red wine glass here. An overriding sweetness and spice, with a yeasty nose. No where near the complexity of the Westmalle or the Rochefort. I would put it 4th out of the 5 Belgian Trappist brewers Iíve tried.
Bajahobo (30) - USA - OCT 29, 2006
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Bottle. Pours like a murky pilsner with a rather large white head. Aroma is that of dates, citrus fruit, and alcohol. The texture is smooth and the flavor is piney with hints of lemon. Unfortunately, my Orval was also a bit soapy. There is a decent syrupy sweetness in the finish. This beer reminds me of a bigger, more bitter American wheat. Smooth, solid, and drinkable, but kinda blah.
vyvvy (5306) - Florissant, Missouri, USA - OCT 28, 2006
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: NOV 2, 2008 Rating done on a four year old bottle and one year old bottle. Both poured copper with a rich white head. The younger one had a noticably larger head. The on the older bottle was spicy and brett-like with earthy and yeasty notes. Very clean for the age. The younger beerís aroma was spicy with a nectar fruit aspect instead of the brett. There was some earth and yeast, but not as much as the four year old bottle. The mouthfeel for the older bottle was medium / thin and crisp with very light soft carbonation. The younger bottle had a heavier body with carbonation that started out soft, but got more sharp on the finish. For the taste the older bottle had a lot of the brett qualities from the aroma along with lots of spice, coriander and dry earthy traits. The finish has lots of spice and tart lemon. Very dry finish. The year old bottle also has lots of spice and has a taste between brett and dry nectar fruits. The bottle is semi-dry, not as dry as the older bottle. The finish has some fruits and lots of dry spices. Both bottles are crisp and refreshing for a Trappist ale. Both of the bottles show a respectable amount of hops as well adding to the crispness - they are more prominant in the young bottle. Overall an excellent beer coming from both young and old bottles.
Rerate just to bump up numbers. The more I have this beer the more impressive it is. Amazing complexity, works for any season, dry, refreshing and unique. There are some that put out something that is their version of this beer & nothing comes remotely close.
Another numbers bump. This is probably the best beer of the lot of I’ve had. At some point I need to buy a couple cases and try them a few months from each other to see the complexity that comes with age of this. Fantastic beer that is somewhat different (or reveals itself differently) each time, yet is always distinctly and unmistakeably Orval each time.
beerbill (3599) - Laurel, New York, USA - OCT 28, 2006
3.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
UPDATED: MAY 12, 2007 11.2 oz. bottle - Bottled on 31/01/2006. Very sensuous shaped bottle. Pours a cloudy copper orange with a thick, long-lasting creamy off white head not unlike the head on top of a root beer float. A very slow pour is required for this beer. Excellent lacing down to the bottom of the glass. Pleasant yeasty aroma with floral notes as well. It was in the flavor that this beer disappointed me. While the aromas were rather pronounced, I found the flavors to be very subdued. I sat with this beer for a long while allowing it to warm, but I just did not find this beer all that flavorful. Dry, bitter finish. Iíve been told this beer can vary from bottle to bottle, so I will leave myself a note to re-try this brew in a few months and come back to re-rate if necessary.
Sampled again 5/11/2007. No changes to my original review.
jhumphries69 (1034) - Tyrone, Georgia, USA - OCT 27, 2006
3.5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 11/20
Pours deep orange, light amber, with white head. The aroma is lush and floral - a sweet fragrance, literally floral, formed from hop aroma, malts, and some fruity notes (peaches, apples, grapes). The flavor is peculiar - very light body, not very sweet or floral taste. It tastes hoppy with a touch of acidity (maybe some grapefruit or other bitter fruit). The flavor of old, stale hops overpowers the malts and fruitiness in the taste department. The finish is very dry with a very long astringent after-taste. The finish also includes some yeast in the flavor.
pnista (1007) - Bloomington, Indiana, USA - OCT 26, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: JAN 14, 2008 App: 4, Aroma: 8, Palate 4, Flav: 8, Overall: 17.
Pours a slightly hazed orange (becoming more hazed towards the bottleís bottom) with a big white head with some staying power. Looks a bit overcarbonated, maybe. The nose seemed at first run of the mill belgian. Subsequent efforts revealed richer malt, deeper fruit (figgy rather than apple-y), and some herbage, maybe peppermint? I can even smell hops subtly. The palate is smooth and creamy, not overcarbonated as I had first guessed. The flavor is really very nice with big ass malt. Not too sweet, a bit of wheat though. The Belgian sourness is subdued, but thereís discernable herbal flavors like peppermint that also supply balance to malt... and dare I say it, thereís some hops! A piney little taste lingers a bit longer than most of the other flavors. Really complex, yet really easy to drink. I canít think of any beers with this much going on at such a low ABV. Iíd buy/drink more if it werenít 5 bucks a bottle. Glad I finally bought a bottle after having this at a tasting.
Rerate, 8.1.14: App: 4, Aroma: 8, Palate 4, Flav: 8, Overall: 17.
Wow, I was a bit off the mark way back when, but this is still a lovely beer. Appearance spot on, other than the head retention, thins to a decent film more quickly. Now, the herbs seem to come out a TON more. A very very light sweetness. Hops? Bandaids? I might be crazy, but this reminds me a bit of Luciernaga in the nose Some alcohol, but not much. A bit of straw. The mouth is about spot on what I said. Perhaps a little slick. The flavors are sharp. A bit of that tartness that Iím starting to think of as Brett. A very light sweetness, perhaps in the tropical fruit mold, but reminding me of Luciernaga very much still. A good shot of those hops, despite the bottle being two years old. VERY herbal. I think minty is fair. A lingering acidic bitterness, but clean and dry, like champagne in a way. Iím going to have to pick up three bottles and try to age them to different degrees. current ratings reflect most resent tasting.