On separate occasions, G-LO and I had the same great thought: buy a bottle of Orval Trappist Ale. This is another great product brought to America by the fine folks at Merchant du Vin. I have reviewed Merchant du Vin’s offerings from Samuel Smith, Westmalle, Ayinger, and Lindeman’s, so when I saw the Orval at Kress Liquors, I jumped at the chance to try it. G-LO on the other hand, is a huge fan of Belgian beers and has been slowly working his way through all of them, so I guess he is now up to breweries that begin with O. In any event, I had my bottle a couple of weeks ago, while G-LO sampled his bottle a day or two prior to New Year’s Eve. This is a combined review based upon our individual experiences.
Here is what Merchant du Vin has to say about this Trappist Ale…
Brewed and bottle-conditioned at Notre Dame d’Orval monastery, founded around 1070 AD in the pastoral Belgian countryside. Three different malts, two types of hops, Belgian candy sugar, complex fermentation with multiple yeasts, dry-hopping and bottle conditioning all contribute to great character and complexity. This vintage-dated and unique beer can be cellared up to five years.
And now for our impressions of this Belgian beer…
|Appearance:||Cloudy orange with good foam and lacing.||Pale orange. Somewhat opaque. Fast rising foam that settles down to a fluffy, quarter inch head.|
|Aroma:||Citrus, apples, spice and a little hoppy.||Honey. Orange zest and other citrus aromas. Yeast.|
|Taste:||Fresh, crisp and a little malty with a sweet hoppy, dry finish||Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Medium carbnation with lots of tiny, fizzy bubbles. Somewhat tart with lots of citrus flavors coming through. Some sweet malt far off in the distance. Ends with a crisp, clean, and somewhat bitter finish.|
|Impression:||Nowhere near as tart or sharp as the typical Belgium. This was very well-balanced and very good.||Very well balanced and incredibly drinkable. Has qualities that remind me of both a Belgian Saison and a Czech Pilsner. In a word: delicious!|
At an ABV of 6.9%, the Orval Trappist Ale might be dangerous as a session beer, but given its high drinkability, it could easily be enjoyed like one. Once again, Merchant du Vin has scoured the globe (OK, really just England and select bits of Europe) and found a spectacular beer!