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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: 4,905
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 287
Gots: 655 | 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: 4,905
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)

Photo of ChugginOil
3.33/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A- When poured, the bubbly head dominates. It sits lazy atop the brew for over 10 minutes. From the center of the snifter you can see a carbonation tunnel running up to the surface. Wow. Still waiting to drink this and becoming impatient as the relentless head remains. The color of the brew is an opaue golden orange color.

S- The nose is not offering much at first. Some citrus and port scents come through with a bit of honey mixed with some Belgium style yeast.

T- First I taste a glass/metallic taste, followed by a light nothingness, almost flavorless along side the overpowering carbonation and acidity. Overrated so far. A bit of citrus and yeast make this an okay sipper. Not a big fan but its pretty balanced.

M- Very crisp and light with an ample amount of carbonation.

D- If you like watered down Belgium pale ales, this one's for you. You could chug it with a well fat budget. (894 characters)

Photo of rkinsella
3.32/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Medium yellow / light amber, slightly cloudy. Beautiful head stayed through most of the glass. Decent amount of lacing.

Smell - Actually caught me by surprise. A tad strange. Balanced malt and hop, but with strong notes of a fresh water stream? Dare I say, fresh laundry??? Almost a puzzling smell.

Taste - Right away you can taste the complexity. Fine notes of citrus, spice, tartness, all inside of a big crisp taste. Nice dry finish which faded evenly.

Mouthfeel. Round, velvet, good carbonation.

This beer is beautifully crafted with lots of care I'm sure. Although I don't know how often I would buy it, but I'm very glad I tried it. (657 characters)

Photo of slackattack
3.32/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled November 2013, best before November 2018.

Pours beautiful golden brown, pillowy 3 fingers of head that is persistent and leaves a spotty lace on the drink down. Nose is not overly assertive, bready notes, Belgian yeast prevalent. My first thought was that it was pretty boozy for a 6.9% beer, but I think the extremely dry finish contributed to that. Really clean taste, but not a lot of flavor if that makes sense. Bitterness throughout the drink makes it enjoyable. After it warmed a few degrees I'm starting to think that I wish this wasn't so expensive because it could be session material. Easy to drink, lots of carbonation, good summer front porcher. (666 characters)

Photo of kingjames1
3.31/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Popped the cap, and foam literally erupted down the side. Never had that happen with a belgium bottle-capped beer before. As a result, it poured with a massive, thick tan head. Looks great, and the head lasts and lasts on this one. Smells complex, with lemony citrus, coriander, pepper, and something funky ('wet horse blanket', I once heard suggested, but I wouldn't know). Taste - interesting! Weird. I've had an Orval once before, but stupidly smoked a cigar with it (and as a result, tasted nothing). Now my palate is quite clear. I don't think I've ever tasted a beer quite like it. It has that infamous funk of a farmhouse-style. But it is sour, and really dry. Oh! A fruit fly just got caught in the head - sucker's doomed in this froth-swamp. Fly's are attracted to funk.

The sour-dry finish is reminiscent of a dry red wine, like a cheap merlot ('sideways' comes to mind). Hops are definitely present, and yeast to be sure, but where's the malts? Its there, just under the sour layer of yeast and astringent hops. This is definitely a sipping beer. It kind of grows on you as you sip it - and the fruitiness (from the yeasts) becomes more noticeable to me. But over all, just doesn't agree with me very well (and I like Saisons - at least the few I've had). Good mouthfeel, light, but not terribly drinkable for the style, imo. One is enough, thanks. (1,362 characters)

Photo of Boilermaker88
3.31/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presented in an 11.2 oz. bottle with a bottled on date of 17.09.2004 and a best before date of 17.09.2009 on the rear of the label. Poured gently (I highly recommend a gentle pour!) into my beloved Duvel tulip glass.
Murky brassy color over which blossomed a massively frothy light cream colored head. Very slowly the head dissapated, leaving wads of lace behind.
The smell had elements of lambic and Flanders red to it. Brett yeast is evident in the musty, earthy, old-cat-piss-in-the-litterbox aroma. Definitely gives the nose a tweak. Also has some sour cherry and Band-Aid phenolics. Some doughy malt and lemon peel aroma, too. Light alcohol scent.
Candy sugar sweetness welded to sour cherry up front. Lemon cough drops and an earthy malt taste. Definite brett influence as a slightly puckery leathery stale wet hay flavor becomes prominent. Bitterness of lemon zest and peppery spice complete the taste parade. Rather highly acidic. The feel was light, big-time spritzy, and drying.
Not sure I really care for Orval. Definitely an acquired taste, IMO, and I like the sharp tartness of a lambic or Flanders red or the sharp bite of Brettanomyces. It just doesn't seem to work well with this beer. Maybe I'll age one a couple years and see what happens. But for now, I'm ambivalent at best about Orval. (1,310 characters)

Photo of mrnobody
3.31/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

330 ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a cloudy orange/amber with a massive 4 finger fluffy offwhite head; insane retention. Looks like an ice cream float!

S: Smells floral, yeasty. White wine aromas.

T: Tastes of sour apples, hops. Very dry and crisp. However, there is something vaguely medicinal in the finish that's offputting.

M: Has a light-medium body with lively carbonation.

D: If not for the unpleasant finish, the drinkability would be pretty good. (477 characters)

Photo of dogfooddog
3.31/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled Jan 03, this bottle is just over 3 years old. It has been kept in my 50F refrigerator for at least 2 years. Label does not have the various warnings and mandates for US bottles so I assume i ordered this from belgium.

Poured in chimay glass, head just over 50% of height, well over half of volume of glass. Pours reddish-golden color, clear. Smells floral, strong hop presence.

Taste is very dry, just a hint of floral notes after a very dry start. Not at all what I expected from the nose. Malty middle and finish. I can taste some spices or almost peppery notes towards the end

I remember I have never loved this beer but at 3 years old this is a very presentable beer and an enjoyable bottle on its own merits. (731 characters)

Photo of jsisko01
3.31/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottled on 12-30-2009 and best before 12-30-2014.

Appearance - Poured only half the bottle and it foamed over the top.. 2 inches of soapy looking foam, dissipating very slowly. The color is copper.

Smell - Dark fruits and bitterness is most dominant. Also earthy and has a little funky/musty aroma. I think I smell some clove too.

Taste - Very bitter.. with floral hops. Citrus, tartiness, clove, and some other spices.

Mouthfeel - Medium body with high carbonation.

Overall - Not really what I was expecting. I'd like it better without the spices. (553 characters)

Photo of ChuckMartel
3.3/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a huge head that looks like whipped cream w/ an orangish color. Smells like perfume. Tastes a lot like perfume -- prettier than it needs to be. Tastes a little thin for a Trappist ale. After you have one, you really don't look forward to another. (252 characters)

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