Tripel - 6.2% ABV
A Trappist Ale with a Big Reputation and Plenty of Time on it's Side
Ah, my old friend - we meet again.
I'm ashamed to say but it has been many years since I last enjoyed a bottle of Orval, far too long especially by this beer's high standards.
As my ongoing beer journey continues to unfold I am amused at how my tastes change and evolve with the passage of time. Over the past few months and certainly at the turn of the year I have emerged from my 'Imperial Stout Cocoon', spread out some fresh wings and have excitedly flown right into a fragrant new meadow comprised almost entirely of Sweet Belgian Ales.
- And boy, it's a lovely place to be!
Yes it's true, I can't get enough of those caramel, candy like Belgian Beers at the moment, especially if monks have had a hand in brewing them. What started out at the bottle shop as a, 'oh yes, why not' has quickly turned into a 'hmmm, will one be enough or should I get three?' 😐
As far as Belgian beer is concerned there are a number of Trappist Breweries that stand out, Orval are one of them. Named by many Enthusiasts as being their 'Favourite Beer in the World' (a high accolade indeed), Orval has certainly etched it's name on the Wall of Honour for many a beer lover.
Brewed on Holy Ground using lot's of citrus flavoured hops with the addition of orange peel plus a measured helping of Belgian sugary goodness, this is shapes up well. Now introduce some Brettanomyces (wild yeast) to the mixture, with a little helping of time and you have a very interesting beer indeed.
But what does it taste like?
I'm glad you asked...
In The Glass:
Just as you would expect. A deep orange colour with a good fizzy pour and thick foamy white head. The beer laces the sides nicely and it looks like a splendid example of a Belgian Trappist Tripel.
On The Nose:
Malty caramel and candy notes. Good enough to eat, the aromas are simply delicious. God I love these beers!
Sweet caramel flavours teamed up with a surprisingly carbonated character.
This is a wonderful tasting beer with a sweet and malty undertone that lends weight to what is essentially a fizzy and spritely mouthfeel. As soon as the beer is consumed you are left with a layer of light bubbles that dance around your tongue, prolonging the candy esters of the Belgian yeast.
At 6.2% it's a moderate strength Belgian Ale but you can still detect that background 'Alcohol warming' from your stomach that these types of beer are treasured for. The sort of internal glow that makes cold Sunday afternoons seem much more comfortable and pleasant.
Orval tastes like a slightly lighter version of some of the other big Trappist Ales but this isn't necessarily a bad point. If I had to pull out a negative, then I would say that there is something missing - it just doesn't quite feel complete or 'fully formed'.
Let's be honest, with all of those Brettanomyces in there, this brew begs to be cellared. Give it some extra incubation time to develop a more dry and mature character and I would say this you're going to end up with one hell of a beer!
As it is, this is great but I just know there is better to come with time.
So that's it decided, best get another one, put it in storage and do a follow up review in 12 months.
The only question beating around my head now is... 'hmmm, will one be enough or should I get three?' 😐
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