invalid (302) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - SEP 9, 2003
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
I found the smell to be a lot more reserved than most trappist ales. It was very balanced with all its spices and hops, but I was expecting more character from this beer.
thehoff (596) - Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA - SEP 6, 2003
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Smells of banana and apple, maybe some citrus. After warming maybe 5 minutes smells of cinnamon & nutmeg. You can tell this has extra yeasts added for a second fermentation. The brown yeast clouds up the wonderful murky orange beer. The flavor has many different levels. It seems to taste of apples or apple peels and leads into a type of bitter licorice finish. Very dry beer. Intense. You really need some time to enjoy this beer.
DavidP (1747) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - SEP 2, 2003
3.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: DEC 20, 2008 12192008. I think I have finally seen the light on this one. Dry and earthy held together by tangy brettanomyces, this beer is a crisp work of art.
Cloudy orange-amber body, tightly-bubbled yet short-lived head. The nose features raspberries, followed by apricot and a warm spicy yeastiness. The flavor is quite contrary to the aroma in that it is light and dry. Starts with vinegar, dried wood, musty hops and finishes with some pale malt sweetness. I found the dryness in the flavor to be sort of a tease - I enjoy that component of the flavor, but I would like more fuller sweetness elsewhere.
Wiseblood (700) - Clarksville, Tennessee, USA - SEP 2, 2003
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Cloudy amber with a yeasty, fruity aroma and a large bumpy and permanent head. A musty quality is also present. Somewhat light tasting for a Trappist, it has an intense hoppy bitterness, with an overwhelming orange flavor but also some grapefruit, lemon, and a hint of cinnamon or nutmeg. There is no sweetness anywhere in the beer, which is why this was not of my favorite Belgians. Some malt flavor comes through, but not enough to provide a balance. The aftertaste was very pronounced- dry,tart, with a bitter, grapefruity, long-lasting flavor.
MaBeer1972 (1328) - Taunton, Massachusetts, USA - AUG 21, 2003
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottled 10.2002. What a beautiful big beer! The aroma is pretty intense. Something like a horse barn and a grassy field. The flavor hits from several different angles at once. Chew, chew, chew! As intense as this is to drink, it's amazingly "drinkable". Where have you been all of my life?
vector (163) - Dallas, Texas, USA - AUG 21, 2003
3.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Oh, if this beer only tasted as good as it smelled! I opened the bottle to be greeted by a rousing and complex array of floral and spicy aromas. A wonderfully aromatic beer to be sure, much like the Corsendonk stuff. But, alas, the flavor was nothing at all like the aroma. Flavor was peppery and very dry, without the overwhelmingly pronounced floral and fruit influences so prevalent in the aroma. Mouthfeel like a brut champaign.
wunderbier (1434) - Tampere, FINLAND - AUG 21, 2003
4.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: MAR 28, 2008 Rerate: 26/03/2008, bottled on 10/08/2006. (1.5 years old) Creamy, mountainous white head is well lasting above the blazing orange hued body. Enticing aroma of cinnamon, sweet cream, pepper, leather and hay with a very spicy lemon and floral side. Dry but bright flavour has the roundness of age without undue mustiness. Dry and peppery like fine grain sandpaper and wool. Yoghurt tartness emerges. Light on the tongue with a slight numbing alcohol. Almost airily creamy despite the weight. Perfectly lively. Moved from a 4.7 to a 4.8 by bumping the íoverallí up one point.
Rerate: 20/10/2007, bottled on 06/02/2007. (8 months old) Cautiously exploring the far, dark depths of the beer shelves at my local grocer, I pulled out a couple of these somewhat aged gems. Letís see how it goes... The pre-pour aroma is promising--full of brettanomyces and winey notes. A gentle pour reveals a beautifully carbonated rich amber hue, deep and cloudy, with a masively foamy cream coloured head. Gorgeous interlacing of brett, toasted oak and GewŁrztraminer in the intial aroma. A slightly deeper investigation reveals bananas Foster, tart black cherries and a lush floral bouquet. The flavour begins with wonderful balance between sweet banana bread, grapefruit juice and dry, spicy white wine. Tannic oak, tart acids and snappy brett fill up midpalate. Spicy, peppery and floral finale, drying out into long winey, oaky aftertaste with a quality alcohol retronasal. Dried orange zest comes late to the party, but is an excellent and welcome addition. Elegantly silky texture, dry and medium-light body--everything emphasized by a forceful, pinpoint carbonation. A masterpiece, well beyond the quality of description Iím capable of, but I try none the less. 33cl bottle, Duvel tulip.
Rerate: 10/10/2007, 33cl bottle, Leffe goblet, bottled on 07/05/2007. (5 months old) A frothy, cream coloured head of varying bubble sizes slowly descends on a hazy orange-amber body. Vigorous carbonation soars upward through the deeply hued liquid. Merely opening the bottle releases a strong, pleasant whiff of horse blanket. Further inspection yields oak and maple hardwood alongside simmering potpourri of dried wood, cinnamon and sandalwood oil. A vague rustic element makes me think of wandering through a dry autumnal forest, leaves crushing underneath, damp moss abundant on scattered rocks. Sourdough bread slathered in rich Dijon mustard is also present. I do remember other bottlings of Orval being more aromatically forceful, but the level of intrigue remains the same. The initial flavour is quite bready, dry and tart with the zest of oranges and limes. A little further back citric acidity intensifies and then fades to essential oils like sandalwood and lavender. The finish is so very dry and firm, with a peppery and floral bite. Potpourri hangs on seemingly forever in the aftertaste. A svelte body, light to medium, with a silky mouthfeel and bristling, yet soft, carbonation. Still quite a treat after all this time, though, I am perhaps slightly less enamoured with this particular bottling and the great presence oils herein. Previous rating of 4.7 stands given the number of near perfect bottles Iíve had since my last official rerate.
Rerate: 09/7/2006, bottled on 04/01/2006, Chimay chalice. (7 months old) While Iíve had this several times since my original rating, I believe this will be my first official rerate. A ruddy orange hue at the limits of the glass slowly deepens to a murky brown-red at the centre. Creamy, large and slightly off-white, the head shows no intent of diminishing. The aroma immediately comes to life and, like a cartoon mouse whacked by a hammer, scatters in every direction leaving me to chase it. Soft fruit elements--pears, lemons, peaches--scurry off in one direction. Hearty breads and warm spices (cardamom, ginger) in another. Dry earth, wet leather and horseblanket cavort together. Orange peel, roses, tulips and cucumber make for an interesting group. As brilliantly deft and entertaining as a room full of cartoon mice could possible hope to be. The flavour is very bready and citrus-zesty up front, flowing into an off-dry fruity and floral mid-palate, with strong spices and phenolics lingering throughout the long and dry finish. Pinpoint carbonation and a velvety texture serve to make this treat even more drinkable. Simply remarkable. With different elements arriving at each sip, rating this beer is surely one of the silliest endeavours one can undertake. Just try it for yourself, words will never do it justice.
33 cL bottle, tulip glass, 50 degrees. Medium amber body comes with a large, white, frothy/fizzy head that is somewhat lasting. Cookie, caramel malt. Flowery, herby, slightly citric hops. Leather, doughy yeast. Wow...I know Iím not understanding all the aromas here. Sweet, bitter, dry, lambic-ie, all of these aromas in moderation. I also can detect white wine, some spices, and a little alcohol. Well, I tasted it, and now Iím really confused. Lightly sweet, moderately acidic, moderately bitter flavour; moderately acidic, moderately bitter finish. Light to medium body is dry yet also somewhat creamy. Fizzy carbonation with a long finish. The bottom line is: I feel dumber from trying to wrap my brain around this one.
tsarman (794) - Northern, New Jersey, USA - AUG 20, 2003
2.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
UPDATED: NOV 7, 2004 A little bit of a disappointment with this beer. It might be one of the most beloved here, but I have to agree with my Beer Guide and say that it is sort of musty perfumy. Strong alcoholy, even thought its much weaker than other Belgians that I loved. Incredibly dry and tough to finish. The head was huge when I poured it, and it was really odd cologne tasting. I didnít hate it, but Iíve enjoyed other belgians much more.
ReRate: Still donít get it. Most underrated? More like most overrated.
CaptainCougar (7132) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - AUG 20, 2003
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
17 07 2007: Pours a clear copper blonde color with a dense thick foamy head. Strange aroma of sour oak, cherries, and bready Belgian malts. Flavors are extremely dry and complex with a lightly tart finish. More hops than I'm used to in a Belgian beer. A strange beer overall, not really sure if I like it or not. I'm sure a re-rate will be in order.
FtWorthBrew (105) - Fort Worth, Texas, USA - AUG 19, 2003
4.5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
The best aroma of any beer I have ever smelled/tatsed. Like fresh fruit rinds and produce. The taste is light for a Belgian ale and has a orange peel after taste. Amazingly good beer! Looks wonderful in a glass with an opaque red amber hue and a emense fluffy cloud-like head. Top notch.