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

2,177 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

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Reviews: 2,177
Hads: 4,865
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 8.41%
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: 2,177 | Hads: 4,865
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)

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

Orval Trappist Ale Bottled June 5 2008
Sampled July 24, 2009

Big hiss on opening but no foaming up in bottle. Pours a cloudy deep amber, kind of pale brown in low light, with three fingers of soft fine foam like meringue. Yellowish amber when held to light. Foam lingers like mad and sticks firmly to the side of the glass.

Big fruit salad nose. Apricot. Tropical fruits: pineapple, among others. A little bit of banana phenol as it starts to warm. A good dose of funk, with slight leather notes and that musty thing. Candied orange and lemon with some spice. Quite tangy overall. Faint hint of medicinal phenol, perhaps eucalyptus. A definite dash of pepper. Kind of like a saison, but different.

Flavor is not at all what I expected. It's exceptionally dry and subdued--actually hard to pick out what the predominant flavor is before the swallow, because it seemed like not much was happening. Quite bitter though. This is one of the hoppiest Belgians I've ever had, especially considering it's over a year old--there is a firmly bracing bitterness in the aftertaste. This lingers with a kind of horehound, old-fashioned candy flavor, just without any sugar. Perhaps this is a touch of something roasted. It's just so dry I can't place the flavors. My accompanying pretzels leave a sweeter taste in the mouth than this. Still, this isn't tart at all... just not sweet at all. This is just underwhelming me--it doesn't have the funky excitement of the Jolly Pumpkin La Roja that I had last night, nor the richness of a Belgian Pale, nor the zest of a saison. I guess it has some funk going on, but it seems to happen over a lackluster backdrop that would be much better with some tang to it. There is some orange citrus to the flavor as it warms. The bitterness seems to override some of the other things going on, in my opinion, and whatever is going on needs to be more going on.

Mouthfeel: a bit of tingling and astringency on the tongue. Overall, light, fluffy and soft feeling texture, though perhaps a bit harsher at first with the strong carbonation.

Overall impression: the nose is quite an artistic achievement, the appearance is fine, the lacing is beautiful, the mouthfeel is delightful, but the flavor is quite lackluster. Rarely have I enjoyed my pretzels more than my beer. Not worth seeking again, though it would be nice to compare a fresh bottle. $6 is so much better spent on some other beer. Disappointing.

I'd give this a B or B- overall. (2,465 characters)

Photo of L-Ray
3.39/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Grabbed one on my way out of the old liquor store. Always meaning to try more Belgian beers so no time like the present. Said it was bottled Oct 2012 but had a best before date of Oct 2017?? Wth? I'm taking my chances and letting my $3 ride.

A - Hazy copper. Poured in cold Stella glass. Freaking 3.5 fingers. Of foamy head with slow retention. How do they do that without paint shakers?
S - Smell is grassy and bready at the same time. Definite notes of sourness. Not my typical brew.
T - Dry sweet hoppy grassy flavours dominate. Carbonation is prominently on board. No real roasted malt or nuttiness. Almost dry and wine-ish.
M- Fizzy carbonated feel.
O- I don't know if its the lack of freshness but this isn't my kind of style anyway. Perhaps sitting at a tap in Brussells and not being at work would rocket this baby up the happy-meter, but I will concede I just parted with $3 in the govt coffers that didn't do me a lot in return. Stella! Stella! (959 characters)

Photo of hophugger
3.38/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A little different than other trappistes beers I have had. Extreme carbonation, had to try three times to get it all int he glass. Aroma is of sweet malt, a touch of pear and a good amount of barnyard excrement. Head settles down quite fast but still has a lot of fizz left. Taste is sweet with some farm funk and hay in the first taste, carbonation still highly in effect. Overall, not quite what I was expecting, too carbonated and alittle more funky than others of this style I have tried. Definitely don't see where the extremely high overall rating came from.... (567 characters)

Photo of pioppo
3.38/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A very particular and characteristic beer from Belgium!! Beautiful the foam that is very adherent.

A lot of wine!! ..with incredible sentor of must both at the nose and in mouth.. This beer remember me a Lambic style.

I don't like very much this beer because it's too much acid and so not many drinkable.. (307 characters)

Photo of Cramshawbar
3.37/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Out of all of the trappist beer I had, this has to be the weakest. Compared to St. Bernardus or Maredsous, this seems like an amateurish attempt.
Too much carbonation, an awkward mouth-feel and a taste that verges into an area of something bittersweet - this beer is a major trappist disappointment. (299 characters)

Photo of allboutbierge
3.37/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ive had Orval quite a few times but never got around to writing a review until now.

This bottle was an '06 purchased from Juilus Meinl in Vienna.

Appearance is light brown with a slight golden hue topped by a gob of white fluffiness. Upon pouring it's a bit murky but yet transparent. However, all cloudiness quickly dissipates away. Scent is soft and sour. I detected some graininess to the smell as well...the smell isn't a high point of this beer.

Taste is pleasant. A mixture of sour fruit flavors accented with a slight hoppiness. Beer is well carbonated and the carbonation may be hiding the depth of the hop favors. Malt background is equally slight. This isn't a taste monster but rather refreshing. (710 characters)

Photo of jhu1995
3.36/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle.

Loved the color and appearance of this beer. Nice orange color with plenty of head retention. Lots of tiny bubbles exploding to the surface. Very fruity smell, almost like a chardonnay. Couldn't wait to taste it. Taste was okay, but was expecting more based on appearance and smell. Not very complex and nothing that really makes you stand up and take notice. Mouthfeel was interesting. Felt very foamy, almost like it was forming a head in my mouth. Overall, a decent beer. (508 characters)

Photo of Quaffer
3.36/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: This was an orange brew with an incredible sustained bead. The head was thick and fluffy and just wouldn't go away, being fueled by all the rising bubles. It coated the sides of the goblet with lace, sometimes in solid sheets.

Smell: There were aromas of citrus fruit, spice, and alcohol. A slight malt smell was present, but it was not prevalent

Mouthfeel: Kind of rough and thin bodied. It improved somewhat as it sat.

Taste: There was hardly any flavor up front. On the finish there was a spicy sweetness and a grapefruit like bitterness. After a few drinks, I started to notice a slight malt flavor. A little bit of alcohol came through, but there was no warming effect to speak of.

This beer was just as I remembered it: very dry. I think that I enjoyed it more this time, but it is not one my favorites by any means. It is definitely my least favorite of all the Trappist brews that I have had.

It's awful perty, though. (953 characters)

Photo of dmamiano
3.36/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, golden straw color with a big, rocky head..almost too be. Kind of "gushed" as it hit the glass.
Smells of hint og bubble gum, yeasty and estery. Cooked apples and pears come to mind.
Taste is rather bland if I can say that. Mouthfeel is good. Fruity and full. Yeast characteristics tasted.
Drink by 8/8/2012 is noted on the bottle. Perhaps I should have aged it more. (381 characters)

Photo of RenoZymurgist
3.36/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

When I was first told about a hoppy belgian brew i was very excited until i thought about how belgians like to use old hops in Lambics, and that got me to be a little worried. Still I bought one and tried it and it poured a huge effervescent head that subsided moderateky leaving some lace. The aroma was slighty fruity and had a malty dryness. The flavor was very strange as it had a strong flavor of hops but not like anything I have ever tried before. The hops were almost like juniper or some other astringent herb but stil retaining the smoothness of quality hops with no cheesiness or weird bitterness. The malt flavor was light and dry making sure that the hops were the highlight of the beer. The body was light and the carbonation led to a champagne like character as it fizzed all over your tongue during the first few drinks. An alright beer it seems pretty extreme to have one after another but if something interesting is needed this brew will certainly come through. (980 characters)

Photo of hero27
3.36/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle

Appearance: Pours with a billowing, white, fluffy head. Hazy, golden amber color. Bubbles stream from the bottom, reminiscent of champagne.

Smell: Can pick up spices and grassy, herbal hop aromas. Hints of fruit and maybe a slight alcohol smell that lingers as well. Nothing too spectacular here.

Taste: More citrousy in the taste than I would have expected after smelling it. Somewhat complex flavors, but all very subtle. I even let this puppy warm up to nearly room temp. after I had finished half the bottle, and it didn't help much. Doesn't taste bad, I've just come to expect more from Trappists (and beer in general).

Mouthfeel: Little too carbonated for my taste. Lively in the mouth due to the carbonation, which carries the flavors well.

Drinkability: Personally, if I spend nearly $5 on a trappist, I want a higher abv..this "tame" trappist pale ale at 6.2% is a lightweight compared to it's relatives. Overall, nice to try, but nothing I'll be running back to the store to buy again. (1,025 characters)

Photo of Murchmac
3.35/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Seen this forever, finally decided to pick up one.

Big frothy white head like a white beard. Golden Graham caramel brown with yellow highlights.

Fruity, sweetness, dry, earthy, I didn't get all those other smells people did, cuz i'm dumb.

Sour, sweet, too sour.

I don't know if I like this beer, so I guess it means it's ok. It's like those slices of pizza you dont really like, at least it's still pizza though. (417 characters)

Photo of alabamagolf
3.35/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy blonde color. Large fluffy head - which lasts a really long time and leaves a thick film of lacing. Reminded me of a Hefeweizen, just with a lot more head and carbonation.

S: Mild Belgian yeast aroma.

T: Well-balanced ale. Alcohol is very hard to detect. The finish is tart and slightly bitter. Medium body.

M: Nicely carbonated.

D: Easy ale to drink. (366 characters)

Photo of Bookseeb
3.35/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled on 29/08/2006, it will be almost a year since bottling when cracked. Appearance has a hazy dirty orange with a real thick fluffy head. Smell has a dry citrus aroma along with some sweet spice. Taste is dry, slightly harsh,earthy and citrusy with a bit of hop and carbonation having a good mouthfeel, but nothing that really stands out. Not what I expected it to be in a $6.00 11.2oz bottle, but I'm willing to give it another try in a well aged bottle. (460 characters)

Photo of bewareOFpenguin
3.33/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was not overly impressed by this offering, in fact a little dissappointed. It poured ok, the classic light color cloudy yellow I have come to exspect from the Belgiums. But after that, it just fell apart. The ABV was not balanced, IMHO, properly. Too much alcohol taste. The hops weren't very impressive, yes they were there, but showing up is only half the work. I felt they didn't blen well. It went down in a forceful way, each sip anticipating it's taste, not in a good way. I'll refrain from this beer in the future. (523 characters)

Photo of SaltyLime
3.33/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - 2 to 3 finger rocky head, a bit hazy orange in color
Smell - fruity citrus smell along with a slight sourness
Taste - the complex Belgian flavors weren't there...tasted weak and bland
Mouthfeel - low carbonation, lightest bodied Belgian I have tried so far
Drinkability - I think the monks feel asleep during this one, would rather drink a generic homebrew extract kit (381 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,177 ratings.