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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

2,193 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,193
Hads: 4,902
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 285
Gots: 653 | 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: 2,193 | Hads: 4,902
Photo of Reneejane
3.47/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

It came out of the bottle a dark amber color with quite an impressive foamy off-white head that laced down the side of the glass but diminished greatly pretty quickly. The aroma was of a noticeable banana ester with a general floral hop smell to complement it. It tastes spicey, banana-y, and somewhat bitter. It isn't an overwhelming flavor, fairly mild. I really thought it was excessively carbonated, it really fills your mouth (and more) up with gas pretty quickly. "burp!" Overall not bad, not great, but a little overcarbonated. (534 characters)

Photo of Indybeer
3.46/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle. Poured a dark amber/orange color with a massive cratered head that seemed to last forever. Aroma is that of citrus and floral. Kind of odd for a beer to smell like a flower garden. Taste is tart, and very acidic, with its medium carbonation, it finishes very dry. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, it doesn't really leave any aftertaste behind. Different to say the least. Will have to try this one again, just to see. (428 characters)

Photo of lenin2040
3.46/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

First time having this legendary trappist ale...I'm trying to push my palate with more funky/sour beers, and this is one of the originals, so i was very excited.

A: absolutely gorgeous amber with a slight haze. huge, chunky head. bubbles streaming up from the bottom of my DFH signature glass.

S: delicious complex floral notes and a pronounced tange. lemon rind. hay.

T: i think i poured this too cold, as the taste definitely improved after i let it sit for a bit. starts slightly tangy (but not as sour as i'd expect from the nose) then strong medicinal/phenols take over, with just a touch of biscuity malt in the background. a quick hit of horse blanket, then finishes extremely bitter, bordering on astringent, and dries up almost entirely. with a touch more sweetness and/or acidity, this would have been great, but as it was the bitterness as the end took away the complexity in the middle for me...

M: love the intense effervescence.

D: this was certainly complex, but the finish was honestly too bitter for me that made me not crave another at all and give pause for going through the glass. not bitter in a citric/pine american IPDA/DIPA way, but this intense medicinal bitterness.

I will try this one out again in a year or two if/once my palate develops more around wild/brett/funky belgian style brews. but for now, while this was certainly a worthwhile taste, at the price it's not something i'll go back to until i think it's something i'd appreciate more... (1,481 characters)

Photo of dqrull
3.46/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy amber with an airy head that lasts quite a while, visible champagne-like carbonation.

Smell is first and foremost reminiscent of a biere de garde, a very fresh, lemon-ish aroma. Beneath the lemon (and possibly lime) there are some other, rather full fruits hiding, green grapes and green apples along with a certain spicyness. Very fresh.

Taste is fresh, and very dry, with lighter than expected hints of citrus and green fruits, with a very light tartness to it all. Finishes up dry and with a slighty tartness and a biterness that fits well, but I'm not too excited about the whole thing, it surely has character, but not really my thing this.

A very crisp and dry mouthfeell. (694 characters)

Photo of jmdrpi
3.46/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

poured into a tulip glass, the appearance is cloudy dark amber color, with a mountain of off-white head that reaches above the rim. looks great. the smell is somewhat fruity, tart. the taste is heavy on yeast, a little funky, and finishes extremely dry. I'm not really a huge fan of the flavor. body is somewhat thin and carbonation is high. not hard to drink, but probably won't seek out again. . (397 characters)

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.46/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bowling pin bottle dated 22/4/10.

Even a slow deliberate pour yields a nearly three finger chunky fluff atop a clear pale orange pour with sharp yellow highlights. Fizzy carbonation makes itself known from the popping and hissing emitted from the glass. Looks quite appealing.

Initial scent is of sharp tartness. This is quickly overpowered by dusty lemon, some menthol like spiciness, and a healthy dose of funk. I wish the hops and sharp tartness carried more of a star role than that of second fiddle. Eh.

Ditto the smell remarks here. In general, I enjoy sharp acidity over barnyard and I despite the term horse blanket, but can see how it applies here. I want to punch myself for using it however. There....well deserved. The lemon and apple are really cleaved into by the very dry finish, which, in my opinion, inhibits some of the possible stand out flavors. Alot of dust and must. I know this is a cult classic, and it's enjoyable. But it's not a beer that I'd go out of my way to drink on a regular basis. It's got the potential, but falls short for me.

Carbonation is big bubbles and quite high. For the first few post-pour minutes, there a veritable angry swarm of bubbleage than only mildly subsides with time.

Drinkability is fine, but a one-and-done for me, and most likely not a beer I'll seek out again with regularity. (1,341 characters)

Photo of adamette
3.46/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is the 901st review of Orval on BA...I thought that was cool. I bought the bottle at McNaulty's Bier Markt in Cleveland, Ohio. That is a GREAT place for BAs. Bottle is dark yellow brown in the shape of a bowling pin, just like the one pictured above. Date bottled is 2 2 08.

A Poured into clean, clear glass. Body is cloudy, golden brown with a thick head that holds on for several minutes at least. Bubbles rise up from all surfaces of the glass in a very pleasing way. They are like single file lines of bubbles.

S Sweet, Citrusy, Malty, interesting.

T More of the same. Malty, citrusy, not as sweet tasting as the nose suggested. In fact, upon repeated swishing I find that this is actually some bitterness to it. I did not expect that as the other Belgians (and more specifically trappist Belgians) I found to maintain their sweetness.

M Interesting. Not as full as I expected it to be. It has an initial full, malty feel to it but what I wasn't expecting is that it sort of dissapears right down to an immediate aftertaste which is good but it does not have a mouthfeel like other trappists I have had. I do not think that it is bad, just not what I expected.

D The lower alcohol allows me to drink it more than some of the other trappists but it has that bitterness and it moves too quickly to the aftertaste.

Notes: I really struggled with this review. I was ready to be blown away by this beer since every other Belgian trappist totally blew me away. I do think that it is an exceptional beer but the quick shift to the aftertaste and the bitter taste were suprises. I can say that it is NOT my favorite trappist Belgian but it is a good beer. I do believe that I would like to try this again. I wonder if some of the qualities were due to some negative quality in the bottle that I got. (1,806 characters)

Photo of Strix
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 3/15/2007

I can't quite place the smell. Pear, alcohol and kind of an earthy dampness. But in a vaguely pleasant sort of way.

Taste is slow to develop, and gradually fades into a sour taste with a long lingering hoppy? dryness. As it warmed, sour tastes came out with more of a cider feel to it, with an earthy aftertaste.

Taste is smooth and light, a lot of tingly carbonation.

It's more of a sipper for me, drinkability-wise.

I guess I'm in the minority, but this didn't really do it for me. Some complexity to the taste, but the taste itself kind of rubs me the wrong way. (592 characters)

Photo of JohnfromDublin
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasted in De Zolder bierceller bar Bruges, May 2005. Poured beautifully, perfectly presented in its correct chalice. Lovely head over amber to red-brown body. Smell is a wake-up call, reminded me of dank seaweed, very "different". Some would quake at this point, but I always wanted to taste Orval so continued. Thankfully it tasted better that the tough smell, in fact its taste improved as I drank the glass. Delighted to finally taste this beer, it is a fairly complex beer for connoiseurs. I am not quite in that category yet, but my apprenticeship continues. Serious Beer, respect! (586 characters)

Photo of drseamus
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The bottle I got was bottled on 1/31/06 and I drank it on 12/27/06, so it was about 11 months old. I poured this beer into a Chimay glass and it fit perfectly. The beer was a slightly cloudy amber color and the near white creamy head filled the rest of the glass. As with most belgians, the head stuck around for a while and slowly fell unevenly leaving nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is sour smelling, which matches the taste. There isn't enough sweetness to entirely balance the sour as in some other beers I've tried, but the sour flavor isn't bad either. It is fairly smooth for the sourness. Overall, I'm not crazy about this beer, but I would probably drink it again if it was aged more. (698 characters)

Photo of thespaceman
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Nice golden brown in color, looks creamy by the body, facisinating 2 finger head, very soapy lacing.

Smell: A tad bit of banana bread, slight citrus flavor pops when the head starts to dissapate. Not too much to pick out but it's also got a slight roastiness to it.

Taste: This one is pretty interesting. A sour candy like flavor takes over the front of the beer, a bitter, hoppy finish. A tinge of apples creeps through as well. Fairly spicy throughout.

Mouthfeel: Very carbonated, I tipped my bottle in the bag on accident and I paid for it when I opened it. Light bodied yet keeps a good balance on the tongue, a little sour though.

Drinkability: Not very sessionable in the fact that it's a little too bitter and sour tasting. Not that it's a bad beer at all, but not something I would drink all night. Maybe the carbonation is too much? Either way, a good stab at the style. Definetley good for a pre-gamer to start the night. Steep price tag for this (almost 8.99) but it's something that I would maybe consider in the future. (1,049 characters)

Photo of webbcreative
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Feb 22, 2009
Cloudy golden yellow color, Huge head lasted throughout the entire drink. Med Mouthfell. aroma was citrus, tasted of citrus and sour, tart apples, and some other fruit. This was a very flavorful brew, that was all over my pallet! i think ever crevice of my mouth tasted something unique. But that being said, it just wasnt really a favor im too fond of. To me this beer was just okay, after trying a few differnt ones, I guess im just not a fan of this particular style. (484 characters)

Photo of Zetcha7x
3.44/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

single purchased at Wegman's in Mechanicsburg, PA for $9.00 I believe, consumed on 3/14/14

A-hazy amber/brownish with a massive off white head and a ton of lacing.

S-yeast, dark fruits, some banana, floral notes, alcohol. Definitely pick up the "funk" that others mentioned.

T-very complex. there is a lot going on here. earthly taste, some sour, spice, more bitterness comes out as it warms.

M-strong carbonation, creamy, light-medium bodied

O- probably my least favorite Trappist to this point. a beer that tastes better as it warms, and very different from other Belgian ales. however, very expensive so I'm not sure I will have too many more of these. (660 characters)

Photo of brandoneast
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours extremely hazed orange-copper, with a fluffy head letting convoluted aromas of rose hips, chamomile, granny smith apple, leather, and burlap sack. Flavors of wet hay, orange blossom water, lemongrass, petals, some wood, and a slice of hop bitterness towards the back - accumulating to a lingering body and light carbonation.

Orval can challenge the craft beer neophyte, but guarantees to remain etched in your memory as one of the most unique experiences one can have with brew. (486 characters)

Photo of MakenziMantey
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The color of this beer is a medium orange/brown. The aroma you get is a slightly fruity with a hint of spice smell. Tasting this beer it is sweet and spicy with a really bad aftertaste. (185 characters)

Photo of Raebies
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I really wish I had poured this into my chimay goblet, it pours a super fluffy head which settles back into a tightly compact layer.
Light coloured, peachy orange. Smells faintly of an acetone-like sweetness. There's a funky yeasty smell that reminds me of home made cider. It stings the nostrils a little, like smelling a solvent and it tastes... strange. Very dry and only slightly bitter. There are earthy flavours that remind me of hay or straw, it doesn't taste very malty at all.

Until I got to the end of the bottle, I thought this beer was fairly average. Then I poured in the last of the beer along with the yeast sediment on the bottom.. A nice, complex blue-cheese like flavour came through taking this beer to another level. (737 characters)

Photo of lpayette
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Details- Bottled on 1/31/06, Enjoy by 1/31/11. Enjoyed on 10/05/06. 11.2 oz bottle.

5- Appearance- served in a tulip. Unfiltered apple cider color. Huge rocky head with lots of brussels lace. Very very nice.

3- Smell- Subtley tart apple notes, heavy yeast smells- a bit earthy. Faint cloves. smell isn't too impressive to me- just average.

2.5- Taste- I'm sorry to say that I found this a bit bland. Tried with and without yeast and not much changed. Some fruityness... I guess this just isn't for me.

2.5- Mouthfeel- Good initial texture, but aftertaste is long and overly dry in my opinion.

2.5- Drinkablity- A very good looking beer that I had high hopes for, but it let me down. I'll try revisiting this beer some day, but I won't go out of my way to buy it anytime soon.

Revisit Time
Details- Bottled 11/13/2008, Served on 8/26/2009

5- Appearance- This time served in a chalice. Appearance is still right on que with initial impressions.

4.5- Smell- Tart apples, horse/barnyard smells, cloves, medicinal notes, lemon, very floral.

3- Taste- Oddly enough my first few sips of this did not seem very flavorfull, just as I thought before. After that however, the beer seemed to come to life for me. It is slightly tart and has a lemon-rind like bitterness going at the same time. Flavor of hay vies for alot of attention. Seems a bit salty, and finishes very dry with a rubberband-like quality which is more tolerable than I thought it could be. This is certainly a complex beer- there is no denying that. The flavor profile isn't completely for me, but I liked it a lot more this time around than the 1st time.

2.5- Mouthfeel- Dry, dry, dry with ample carbonation.

3- Drinkability- I don't think that this is for most beer drinkers. This one definitely takes some time to get used to and to learn to appreciate it. I'd like to have a bunch more of this to see if I really like it or not after some more time with it. Even if I didn't, at least I'd be left with a bunch of cool bottles to put homebrew in. (2,019 characters)

Photo of Rumrunner
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz. bottle.

Pours a very hazy amber. A nice bubbly head with great lacing. The scents are lemon rind and white wine grape. Some carbonation on the nose as well.

This ale is tart from start to finish. It has a big white wine grape flavor to it. Very sour. There is some lemon rind as well. A mild dark malt helps with balance. The flavors are quite complex. A bit of aromatic hops at the end. Very dry as well.

Mouthfeel is carbonated and bubbly. This ale is very dry and crisp. It drinks okay but is very filling.

I do not enjoy the white wine quality of this ale. (582 characters)

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed 1/9/2006 (330mL bottle):

Pours a cloudy medium brown/red color body. Big white head, with good sized bubbles. Aroma of dark fruit(maybe plum?) , hops, and some sweetness. Fizzy, with a floral taste, slightly alcoholic tasting. Smooth taste. Slight bitter aftertaste. (276 characters)

Photo of BamaBeerBuff
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottled on April 22, 2009. This is a relatively young bottle of Orval.

A: Pours a cloudy orange-amber with a massive off-white head that rockets towards the top of the glass. Thick sheets of lace remain on the sides of the glass and a heavy disc of foam remains atop throughout.

S: There's some noticeable apple and pear fruitiness, a floral component, a hint of peppery alcohol, and a faint musty horse-blanket like aroma. I'd say the predominant component is the fruitiness, but overall the aroma isn't too intense.

T&M: First bottle I had of Orval I really disliked. This bottle I disliked initially, but now about 1/2 way into it, it's growing on me a bit. Pale malt, a dry fruitiness, some leather/horse blanket/funk flavor are all upfront. A metallic and aggressive bitterness comes in late--this is rather hoppy for a Belgian! I'm thinking that some age would settle down those hops (this bottle is quite young) and hopefully reveal some additional complexity on the finish. Body is light to medium with an aggressive carbonation that works well with the bitterness.

D: Well, it's been a bit difficult to get down this glass, mainly because of the intense metallic flavor on the back end. (1,200 characters)

Photo of falloutsnow
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours an off-white, two finger head that decreases to a thin film with plenty of lacing sticking to the sides of the glass. The beer is light copper-orange in color with vigorous carbonation and some murkiness.
S: The scent is somewhat difficult to characterize, along the lines of acidic, ripe pears and apples attached to a sweaty-saltiness that brings to mind beef jerky or tanned leather.
T: Orval boasts an upfront burst of peppery and salty flavors (that I'm not terribly fond of) that cascades into a light, flowery hoppiness, eventually fading out with some mild malt sweetness and robust hop bitterness in the finish. The hops are not citrus-like, as in some other beers with noticeable hop presence. Aftertaste is somewhat malty and fruity, faintly like old berries on hot cereal.
M: Light body with active carbonation leads to a 'fluffy' feel on the tongue. Dry, tart finish that is far from puckering, though. The dry finish does not necessarily lead one to desire another swig: the spicy-salty taste combination is somewhat off-putting.
D: A solid example of the style, with its unique hop characteristics and multi-faceted malt tastes leading to something I have not experienced before. (1,207 characters)

Photo of BWood
3.42/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Didn't live up to the hype for me. Herd great things from this brewery but I have to say I don't think I would buy again. So many other Belgium trappist I would choose over this. (178 characters)

Photo of MadTown1000
3.41/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Overall: It's always disappointing to try a beer you're supposed to like and have to give it a mediocre grade. It's clearly a serious beer, but I think you have to like pale ales in general to really appreciate it, and I don't.

Appearance: Dark, very cloudy straw color. Absolutely insane head of foam - I poured it into a pint glass, and got maybe an inch of beer into the glass before the rest of it was filled with incredibly long lasting foam. I let it settle for a couple of minutes and more than half the foam was still there. The stuff's like bubble bath - it sticks to the inside of the glass like glue. Points given for shock value if nothing else.

Smell - Strong sweet smell similar to what I've noticed in a lot of Belgian and Belgian-style beers. Almost overpoweringly sweet smell that actually doesn't quite match the taste - I'm docking some points for false advertising.

Taste: A very mild pale ale, with a little bit of the sweetness from the smell appearing in the aftertaste. An interesting combination, but it doesn't floor me. It's complex, but it loses the crispness you get with a lot of light colored beers without substituting in the really interesting flavors you get with a darker Belgian beer (like my favorite Gulden Draak). Sort of similar to Piraat, now that I think about it.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: That aftertaste is a negative here - it's a little bit cloying. Of course, this isn't a beer designed to be drank in quantity, so the fact that it would be tough to drink in quantity isn't a big downer. (1,537 characters)

Photo of rhollman
3.4/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Cloudy golden brown

Smell - Fragrant aroma

Taste - Crisp, citrus, hop bitterness, nice dry finish

Mouth Feel - Smooth and dry

Drinkability - Complex yes but no big burst of flavor. Perfect for the person who enjoys a citrus oriented beer (254 characters)

Photo of Living816
3.4/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Oh my the hype. These ratings would imply orgasm like flavors / experience in the mouth. Perhaps the beer pays *me* to drink it?

It pours a rather curious straw, stained oak color with some haze. The head is amazingly robust, persisting for an eternity.

The "brett funk" hits your straightaway along with a bit of sweet aroma, like a syrup. The smell betrays you. The taste is nothing like it.

On the mouth, there is an exceeding dryness and astringency that seems to suck the moisture right out of your mouth. There is a bit of sour, which is obviously anticipated. But the sour doesn't seem to fit in. It just sloshes around in the mouth.

A bit more bitterness on the finish than you expect as well.

I don't know that I would buy it again. It's quite flat, one dimensional. The sour simply is there for, well, I don't know why its there. It's just a bolt on to a typical trappist ale.

Just for the record bottled on 10/2/11, good through 10/2/16. (958 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,193 ratings.