Orval Trappist

Style and Glass: Trappist; trappist, tulip, tumbler, wine
ABV, Volume & Calories:6.2  % in 11.2 fl oz. estimated at 160 C
Purchased at: Super Saver, Pennington, NJ

Aroma: floral, metallic, banana, hops. 8 out of 10.

Visuals: minimal design, orange, thick, hazy, no head, little lace. 4 out of 5.

Taste: unbalanced, metallic, little malt, no hops, weak strength, bad craft. 6 out of 10.

Palate: low quality, smooth texture, watery finish. 2 out of 5.

Overall: I’m very disappointed. Something’s wrong here — what am I missing about why everyone loves this? Not a repeat, not nearly a favorite, little value, low craft. 12 out of 20.

7 Comments so far
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Well, it very well might be old. I really like this beer, it’s actually my favorite Trappist, but I don’t buy it often because it’s hard to find reasonably fresh. Also, it’s completely different than just about any other beer, so it’s difficult to have reference points for expectations.

Comment by Jim

I think that’s likely the issue, Jim. Age. Unlike many imperial styles and Barleywines that enjoy and benefit from age, I think Orval’s Ale probably would rather be enjoyed fresh. (sigh)

Comment by lemasney

Everytime i pay a visit to your blog, i’m surprised to see that you don’t enjoy what we usually consider the best belgian ales (for example Orval or Saint Bernardus) compared to the american styles that i didn’t have a chance to try yet (IPA & Imperial Stout). It’s an interesting thing, we really don’t expect the same from a beer depending on which side of the Atlantic Ocean we live… Did you try Moinette Blonde or Bons Voeux from Dupont brewery? Maybe Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor from Het Anker? These are really hoppy, plus the Dupont ones really benefit from special yeasts that greatly increase the taste…
Anyway, this is a good blog, congratulations!

Comment by JP Koff

I believe this particular bottle was just a bit too old. I haven’t tried you suggestions yet, but they ar eon my list, and I’ll keep them both in mind, Thanks!

Comment by lemasney

[…] John LeMasney’s “Beer Critic” […]

Pingback by Orval :: Beer A Day

Looking at the pictures and your description, you got a bad bottle.

Orval is one of the few strongly hopped ales in Belgium & Holland, and it should have been bitter but fruity, with a clean taste.

Give it another try if you see a fresh one. Better yet, make a pilgrimage to Belgium and visit the town. The cheese isn’t bad either.

Comment by Phil

I’ve taken a break from sampling, Phil, but I appreciate the reinforcement of the idea that this is a very good beer.

Comment by lemasney

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