Orval Trappist Ale - Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,179 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

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Reviews: 2,179
Hads: 4,870
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 283
Gots: 638 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001

This beer is 6.2% when released in Europe, US labels say 6.9% due to labeling laws.

Many agree that the somewhat unpractical addition of this sometimes undesired yeast strain is what grants Orval its age worthiness, not to mention unique aroma, making it a one of the few beers worth cellaring.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,179 | Hads: 4,870
Photo of claspada
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aromas begin with a clean herbal smell mixed with some lemon and honey. Has earthy notes mixed in as well that remind you of a cup of tea.
The tastes begin musty and citrusy, both orange and lemon. The yeast characteristics are prevalent throughout which keeps this beer quite dry as you initially consume and well through the finish. Bitterness is clean but also quite prevalent throughout.
Overal this beer is extremely drinkable but just not my cup of tea. Would like some more malt and less yeast flavor. The moderately high carbonation level also is a detriment for enjoying more than one of these. (604 characters)

Photo of Yesac
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 5/2007

A- Cloudy amber/orange with a medium sized bright white head.

S- Belgian yeast, some floral fruits such as orange peel.

T- Crisp. Lemon zest. Dry. Tart. I've heard people describe this as 'horse blanket' and I understand now. My review is fairly biased, this is not a style I prefer much.

M- Very highly carbonated. Thin bodied, almost nothing left on the palate.

D- Tart, dry and highly carbonated makes this one a task to drink. (454 characters)

Photo of mnfinnkidd
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Served in Orval Chalice

Nose: Slightly Sweet with sour notes. Pear. Light Aroma

Apperance: Cloudly reddish orange with white head about 1/4" thick: Long Lasting head.

Mouthfeel: Heavy on the tongue with full carbonation in the back

Taste: Sourness is medium with apple characteristics. Sourness lingers on the tongue for a while after each sip. Maybe burnt tones.

Overall: I've been waiting to try this trappist beer for a while now ever since I bought the glass to match it. The sourness is a little too tart for my tastes at the moment. This is a very subtle beer for a trappist but it's also quite different. (617 characters)

Photo of bigbeerdrinka
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

And now to review one of the most controversal brews on beer advocate..

Pours a bright golden orange color with a huge frothy head that leaves a nice lace. It is quite clear from looking at this beer that there is a ton carbonation from this brew, as the bubbles don't stop shooting up. Aromas are a mix of citrus lemony tones, and acetic almost cat piss like funk. There is also some interesting barnyard aromas. Flavors start off very spritzy to this brew with an in your face carbonation that just explodes on the pallate. There's a heavy dosage of lemony citrus flavors with hints of spice. Following there is a yeasty estery like flavor that brings about quite a dryness to this beer. There is a decent acidic punch throughout this beer which just a light dosage of maltiness and a slight sugary sweetness. Overall this brew was very spritzy and citrusy but of all the trappists probably one of my least favorite. (921 characters)

Photo of LarryKemp
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A slightly cloudy golden with many bubbles rising to the firm, stark white head.

A complex aroma of citrus with a background of malt. A distinct pepperiness is also there. Almost an earthiness that one finds in a lambic.

The taste is not sweet. It almost starts as dry as it finishes. I was expecting more contrasts and am a little disappointed. Their are no off tastes.

There is a little pepperiness to the mouthfeel. It does have a medium light mouthfeel and there is some carbonation playing with tongue. The alcohol does not burn even though it is relitively high.

This is such a subtle Belgian, I would recommend it only to those just starting out trying the style. Most certainly, I would recommend this as the first beer of the night because, it would be hard to appreciate it after a couple other bigger beers. (831 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.64/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

young (5 month old) bottle served in small glass. {Review revised after tasting on 1 Oct. 2011 -- exactly 1 year later!}

A. clear ample with an ample creamy head. Head is exceptionally long lasting!

M - effervescent; thin & bubbly but not quite watery; nice dry finish.

S - A complex nose that is yeasty, floral, fruity but a tad musty.

T - markedly sour; hoppy; malty

O - a unique and interesting dry-hopped Trappist ale. (428 characters)

Photo of GuinnessSmurf
3.64/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was the feature beer for my 2005 tasting "Trapped in Kansas City". It proved to be the most interesting, but not the most enjoyable.

Appearance: Pours a golden orange color with really good head retention. It clings on the glass insistently.

Smell: The smell is very complicated. I got notes of hops, and some very intense herbs (corriander, rosemary, sage) as well as an over all sweetness.

Taste: The flavor is pretty clean in the onset then changes to a strange herbal bitterness. It was a flavor I was not prepared for. The aftertaste lasts for a long time - so if you like the flavor, you get to absorb it for a long time after the sip. (656 characters)

Photo of Heavenisbeer
3.64/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 1/6/10.

A: Gorgeous look to this one. Dark amber body, with a two-finger cloud white head with great retention and enough lacing to make you wanna take a spoon to the sides of the glass to get your money's worth. Hazy, as the yeast is still hanging around.

S: The yeast is front and center. Smells like a combination between a sour and a saison, with barnyard funk and harsh tartness paving the way for some light fruits and oak-y blasts. This doesn't smell like other Trappist ales I've had--it's much more sour in the nose (I'm hoping the bottle isn't infected).

T: I absolutely love sours, but I didn't expect this to be this sour, and although it's not actually offputting, I'm hoping that there's nothing wrong with the beer. That said, this one is funky and tart from the get go. There are hints throughout of some light fruits (apple peel, pear, lemons) and some oak-y notes on the backend, but this is mostly sour.

M: Tart, bubbly, and extremely dry. (976 characters)

Photo of Greasy
3.64/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Very pretty. Nice 3 finger head. Color was beautiful.

S - Tart, yeast, spices, slightly sweet.

T - The taste was disappointing. Very watery. Not as much flavor as I was expecting.

M - Thin. Very thin.

O - Not a bad beer, just not what I was expecting. It lacked the punch that I usually enjoy from Trappist beers. (324 characters)

Photo of pmarlowe
3.64/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 29/02/12. Tulip glass.

A: Pours copper-tinted medium gold, with two fingers of wispy light beige head. Loads of lacing and excellent retention.

S: This just smells dry. Complex malt, minerally chalk, lemon and Brett

T: Again chalk (wtf?), slight tartness, citrus (orange and lemon), malt, and finishing with an off moderate bitterness.

M: Light carbonation, fluffy creamy texture, and medium body.

O: Decent enough but the chalkiness is off-putting. I'll take Rayon Vert over this any day. (503 characters)

Photo of descartes
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 33 cl. bottle.

Appearance: Deep amber with a nice half inch head.
Smell: Very spicey and grainy smell.
Taste: First one gets a slight honey flavor followed by malts and then a overpoweringly bitter taste.
Mouthfeel: A bit over cardinated, moderate body.
Drinkability: Just too bitter, I cann't see myself downing two of these in a row.

Overall: As I stated above this beer was just too strong and bitter, which was surprising considering how sweet it smelled. Maybe giving it a couple of years in the cellar would have mellowed it out and made it more enjoyable. (587 characters)

Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a balloon glass.

Look: Hazy, murky faded amber orange. Fluffy light cream colored head that hardly recedes. Random blobs of foamy lacing.

Aroma: Faint banana, musty cardboard, and a trace of bubblegum.

Taste: Really strong carbonation overpowers everything. Gassy. Some bubblegum sweetness, very slight florals and banana.

Mouthfeel: Really carbonated, harsh.

Overall: I'm going to assume this isn't normal. The beer tasted wrong from the start, and too metallic and carbonated. (495 characters)

Photo of OldYoda
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From an 11.2oz bottle with a bottled on date of 25/9/2007 and a drink by date of 25/9/2012. Pours a dark hazy orange with a small head and no apparent lacing.

Smell is citrus and a whiff of alcohol.

Taste is surprising. Fizzy and warm with the alcohol. A hint of banana and citrus. To me, very like a saisson.

Mouthfeel is great - to me the best part of the beer.

Drinkability is outstanding, with a 6.9% ABV a couple of these in an evening of conversation with friends would be just about perfect. An outstanding beer - worthy of it's reputation. (552 characters)

Photo of JizackFH
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - This beer pours a beautiful hazy orange amber color. It has a huge fluffy white head. This thing took me 6 pours to get it all in the glass. The head has crazy good retention. I mean, it just never goes away. There was nice lacing left on the glass also.

S - The smell is just a big burst of fruit smells, yeast, and a bit of sour dryness.

T - The taste is a little bit sweet, and has a big dry bitterness. There are some notes of hay, yeast, and lemon. The finish is very bitter, dry, and bretty.

M - It has a light to medium body and very high carbonation. The carbonation is very prickly, and tingles the mouth.

D - It has decent drinkability. This beer was not at all what I expected it to be. Overall, I think this is a pretty good beer, and I think it is definitely worth trying. (793 characters)

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Caramel colored with a nice head that is slow to dissipate leaving some delicate lacing around the glass. Some small flecks of dark brown sediment were floating in the glass. *Edit* Second bottle gave me no sediment.

S - Faintly of pine hops and then there is something else. It is almost an adhesive smell like carpet or apolstry, somehow it works though. From that description it sounds like it would be nauseating, but it isn't.

T - Gumball, bitterness, but it doesn't taste quite like a hoppy bitterness, a little peppery. It is a faint flavor all around.

M - Okay, it is smooth, slightly refreshing with a medium viscosity.

D - I liked Orval. Without the monster pricetag I'd probably buy it a lot more often. Went well with the moldy cheese I ate with it. (777 characters)

Photo of shbobdb
3.62/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'd been pinching pennies for a while so I could try this beer . . . and I have to say I was rather let down.
It pours a murky yellow brown. It reminds me of Degobah, you know, where Yoda lives. The head is impressively thick though.
The odour is intense. Citrus and barnyard. Ohhhh, how exciting!
The taste follows the nose . . . but it is simply nowhere near the level of funkiness I was expecting. This is a nice, drinkable beer. I was looking for an over-the-top crazy beer. It sorta leaves me hanging, because I really like easily drinkable beers . . . but not at the price this guy is charging!
Overall, it's just not hit-me-over-the-head wierd enough. If I wanted an easy drinkin' beer, I'd grab a nice Deutsches Bier. (730 characters)

Photo of dbalsock
3.62/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

So I finally decided to try this one, after hearing the name occasionally enough to be interested. I found the appearance to be pretty nice, especially due to the beautiful white head. The amber color was nice, but standard, so the head really did the job of making it a beautiful sight. The aroma was great as well; very fruity and sweet. I picked up a good deal of banana, and maybe some brown sugar plum notes. However, the taste was way different; consisting of some light malts, overly intensive vegetable like hops and the occasional addition from the nose. The mouthfeel was overly bitter for my taste, but the consistency was nice and thin/smooth. I am not interested in trying this beer again, considering I expected much more and am fairly disappointed. (763 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.62/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into a heavy trappist glass. Orange color, big white head; aroma of sour fruits and floral hops; medium body, smooth, lively carbonation; flavor is also of sour fruits like apples and citrus backed up by some delicate sweet malty tones still never stealing the show, which, by the way, has a pretty dry hoppy finish. Actually, this may not be the most complex of trappist beers, but what it has to offer is in just great balance as you would expect from the brewery making only one beer to public. And mine was still very young so I would be curious to find out what good would a little aging do to this. (623 characters)

Photo of jwheeler85
3.62/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I tried to be as objective as possible for this one since I wasn't personally a big fan of it. Higher scores are more based on uniqueness rather than like/dislike.

A- Poured a deep amber with some head retention

S- Slightly grassy and herbal. Also had a slight fruity note with a background smell sort of like musty leather. (very unique, but not personally a fan of this combo)

T- More astringent and bitter than it is sweet. I'm also getting a little bit of orange peel and coriander type flavors. Finishing with that odd sort of leathery note.

M- Medium carbonation, and medium mouthfeel.

D- For me, this had low drinkability... it was one of those beers that I can feel expand like crazy in my gut... makes me feel really bloated.

Overall, I would recommend that everybody try this one at least once... just due to the fact that it is so unique in it's flavor profile. I've never had anything else quite like it. Again, I didn't particularly like it, but it's uniqueness is something to be admired. (1,010 characters)

Photo of beatenbyjacks
3.61/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - holy carbonation! Lots of head a lacing on this orange caramel beer

Smell - this one has so much going on. I smell pear, pineapple, citrus and tartness

Taste - unfortunately I feel the taste is what brought this down. I have an off flavor in my mouth from all the carbonation. Lots of tartness

Mouthfeel - smooth and carbonated

Overall - this beer changed quite a bit as it warmed up. The off taste was off putting, but great smells (449 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.61/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tulip glass.

Brillant golden colored body with a huge white head. Seriously this beer has so much carbonation that the head is huge even with a gentle pour.

Smell: Spicy, yeasty and slight hay funk.

Taste: This is a really spicy tasting beer. Its like a herbal and peppery spice. Then Yeast is tasted next, but does not overtake the the spiciness of this beer. Mild tasting funk and citris too.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and crisp. High level of carbonation and refreshing. Almost seltzer like.

Overall: This was enjoyable, I wanted to try something different and I don't drink many belgian style beers so this was an obvious choice. Glad i tried it, score is lower than average score because this is not really my prefered style of beer that I drink. (770 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.61/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three-finger white head that takes forever to fade leaving a good lace. Hazy amber color. Strong carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is tart and woody, flavor is tart fruit with a lingering tart aftertaste, only an OK Trappist ale. Pricey at $5.99 for a 330ml bottle from Kappy's Fine Wine & Spirits Peabody, Ma. Bottled on 4/22/2010. (342 characters)

Photo of abuliarose
3.61/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a bulbous wine glass to a thick (very, very thick), active cream head over clear amber body. Did I mention how huge the head was? It dies down fairly quickly, though. Smells nice but not overly strong and of estery orange blossom and a little grape. There's a slight floral hop aroma and a little must, but we'll leave it at that.

Tastes like carbonation. After that, a little like apple juice with a metallic tang. There's something very funky mixed in there as well. The ending flavors are citrus sour with tinges of hoppy bitterness. It's... different than the other Belgian pales I've had. This one's got more real farm funk to it.

Mouthfeel is carbonation, basically, but once you're past that it's a fairly light-bodied and smooth beer. The carbonation makes this one a little too hard to drink for me. On the plus side, it bubbles nicely.

All in all, an interesting offering. Would I pick it again over other Trappists? Probably not. But I can appreciate where it's coming from. (1,000 characters)

Photo of barczar
3.61/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy medium brown, almost coppery color with a billowing, foamy 2 inch cream head that lingers. Can't pour the full bottle into the tulip.

Green apple, pear, floral hops and belgian yeast character dominate the initial aroma. Coriander and white pepper add complexity. Notes of tangerine and pineapple surface late, accompanied by confectioners sugar sweetness and a hint of caramel malt.

Flavor is fairly tart initially and somewhat phenolic, becoming slightly bready mid palate, and finishing fairly bitter and a touch peppery. There's significant mustiness throughout. Tart crab apple esters are somewhat overpowering at first, but sweettarts notes emerge later as respite.

Body is moderate, with fairly high carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

More tart than most, as well as more bitter. Wish the tartness weren't so overpowering and allowed more ester variety to shine. Served at suggested temperature, head is out of control. Becomes stale after a while. I just do not like this beer. (1,011 characters)

Photo of 700Uave
3.61/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottled 4-22-2010

loud hiss as the cap was pried off. My Duvel tulip glass was half beer, half foam upon pouring. Unbelievable amount of carbonation. Its a deep orange color and after 5 minutes, still huge head.

The smell reminds me of Fantome Saison, although its been a while since I last had that. pretty bright, acidic and tart smells come through.

Mouthfeel is very effervescent and quite pleasant, however, for my taste its just slightly over carbonated.

champagne-like tastes are present. Slightly tart. aftertaste is dry and unfortunately thin (if that makes sense). I wish this had a better finish.

Sure, I could drink a few of these, but the desire is not quite there tonight. I plan on trying this once more after having a wider range of beers in this style. (778 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,179 ratings.