Sunday, 18 March 2012

Brasserie d'Orval Orval

Good afternoon all. Contrary to my stated plans I didn't round off St. Patrick's Day with stout and whisky, instead opting for a bottle of Orval, a classic Belgian Pale Ale from Brasserie d'Orval. This is one of the most highly revered Trappist beers and one that goes through a couple of processes that set it apart from the others, including dry hopping and bottle-conditioning using Brettanomyces (wild) yeast. I've had this beer before but it was so long ago that I wanted to refresh my memory and give it the full treatment. Review after the pic....

Orval (6.2% ABV) pours an amber colour with a thick white head that retains itself well throughout drinking. The aroma is quite phenolic, with some funk, a caramelised sweetness and a light hop character (aroma/citrus fruits). Definitely more subtle than the Trappists I've been having recently, but still very interesting, particularly when factoring in the sourness from the bottle-conditioning. The taste is comprised of spice, phenols, bittering hops, some tartness from the yeast and a light hop fruitiness. The finish is light and quite subtle, with the main bite occurring during drinking. The tartness does cause an effervescing sensation during drinking, which is probably why I wrote "sherbert" down as, in retrospect, it was very similar. The mouthfeel is quite thick and the beer is well carbonated. Overall, a more subdued Trappist offering but one that balances a lot of interesting flavours and aromas, including characteristic spicy phenols, fruity hops and sour yeast, making it a very drinkable beer despite the slightly high ABV percentage. If this was more readily available I could see it having a permanent residence in my cellar- highly recommended!

Until next time....


  1. Probably the best beer ever. YOu should try Westmalle triple too.

    But serving Orval in such a glass is pretty shamefull !

    Cheers !

    1. I had Westmalle Tripel a couple of months ago but it was during the initial stages of a cold so I wasn't able to enjoy it that much. When I get another bottle I'll give it a proper review on here. I agree, I need to get an Orval chalice at some point! Thanks for reading