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

Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

3,890 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3890
Reviews: 2078
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%


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

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,890 | Reviews: 2,078 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Aress
Aress

Massachusetts

1.68/5  rDev -60%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

I was highly anticipating trying Orval after having tried all the other Trappists (except Westvleterten) and thoroughly enjoying them. The appearance was nice and the foamy thick head looked like laundry detergent. The smell, however, was quite off-putting.
I'm all for unique beers but the smell reminded me of walking into a doctor's office. There was a faint smell of grapefruit but I mostly smelled what others have noted - hay, horse blanket, medicinal, and as one other reviewer noted, "stale urine.". These are not exactly welcoming smells. Just because something has an identifiable smell (like horse blanket) does not mean its pleasurable. The taste was extremely sour and tart, astringent even, and was very dry. This was not a drinkable beer for me. I'm wondering if the high scores on BA are attributable to the reputation and history of Orval. I appreciate good beer, and maybe my palate is just not as evolved as others for a beer like this, but I can't put Orval in the same class as Rochefort or Chimay.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2011 22:59:57 | More by Aress
Photo of Stingray5
Stingray5

New York

1.73/5  rDev -58.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

11.2oz pours cloudy light brown with a big foamy tan head. Mix of banana and stale urine in the aroma. I don't even want to drink it, but I will. High carbonation and creaminess in the mouthful, taste is similar to the aroma, with some spices and noticible alcohol. Some stale sourness. Very rough. Is it possible I got a bad bottle? Are my tastebuds off tonight? I haven't read any other reviews of this yet - if I'm way off from others then perhaps I've got a dud on my hands. Either that or this REALLY isn't my thing.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2005 03:45:05 | More by Stingray5
Photo of ZenAgnostic
ZenAgnostic

Texas

1.75/5  rDev -58.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

EDIT: Original score was 4.5 / 3 / 3 / 3 / 3

Appearance - Big beautiful offwhite head with good retention. Foggy light amber brown body.

Smell - Fishy. Possibly a bad bottle? I don't know what to expect.

Taste - Sour and dry. Reminds me of a gueuze.

Mouthfeel - Okay on its own, but when combined with the taste just makes it a bit icky.

Overall - My least favorite Trappist so far. I suspect I may have gotten a bad bottle, so I'll have to give it a retry in the future.

EDIT: As promised, I gave this beer a second chance about half a year after the first review. Bottle was stamped 7/10/2010 and 7/10/2015 (I'm assuming those are the born on and drink by dates, respectively). The second time the beer was even worse, I scored it 4 / 4 / 1 / 1 / 1. The horrific fish and soy sauce characters once again return. Perhaps it's just the Texas distributor that's at fault. I'll try again in a different state. One last shot.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2011 18:12:59 | More by ZenAgnostic
Photo of boelker62
boelker62

Pennsylvania

1.8/5  rDev -57.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I was extremely excited at getting my hands on a couple of botles. It all ended there. Pours a craggy, rocky head that simplifies to frothy after it dissipates a bit. Then, I smell some odd combination of soap and apple. "Damn, I hope it doesn't aste like this..." I thought. It did. I didn't finish it.

It was considerably hazy, and maybe I didn't decant it well enough, or it was bad. I'll try another later on and update, if need be...

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2007 14:04:09 | More by boelker62
Photo of John_Henry
John_Henry

Japan

1.81/5  rDev -56.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A: Looks pretty good, as one would expect. Enormous amount of head, leaving good lacing. The head is so big it is actually too much.

S: The first thing that hits, and unfortunately a little off-putting. I racked my mind for a few minutes as it reminded me of something, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Best way I can describe it is Parma ham.

T: Pretty horrific. Lite, dry to the point of sourness. Quite bitter, but overall really rather unpleasant. Awfully disappointing.

M: Seems pretty good, but the taste is so unpleasent that it overpowers, what would potentially be a great mouth feel. I really can't even begin to process whats going o in my mouth.

O: I assumed I had a bad bottle until reading some of the other reviews. I still find it hard to believe that this isn't a bad bottle, and this is how this highly acclaimed beer is meant to taste, am I so pore of a judge? Having been an avid beer enthusiast for the last 20 years, I have to assume this just isn't for me. Strange having enjoyed pretty much every other Belgium beer I've had.

I will give this another try as this was purchased in Japan, so may well be a bad example, but unfortunately I think it may be how this beer is intended.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2013 12:08:54 | More by John_Henry
Photo of marchoftheclouds
marchoftheclouds

Illinois

1.83/5  rDev -56.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

When I pay $4.99 for a 11.2 oz "treat" I expect the trifecta of different, unusual and really exceptional (as in tasty). I'm finding I can't always get the trifecta ... and it's probably due to my preferences. After drinking the Orval, I read an A+ review by Jason Alström. I read other reviews, too, and noticed one beer advocate thought he got a bad bottle. That was the first thought I had after my first mouthful. I don't like beer that has a grapefruit taste in it. I've tried extremely hoppy beers, but they aren't my thing. I think I'll keep trying new things, but I'm leaning more and more to, "If you can see through it, you might not like it!"

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2010 02:16:48 | More by marchoftheclouds
Photo of heavy216
heavy216

New York

1.83/5  rDev -56.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: 11.2 oz bottle. huge head, lasted several minutes, apple cider like color when poured.

S: strong fruit/yeast aroma....possibly banana

T/M: strong carbonation....very strong afterbite

D: Not very impressed especially for large price tag, was hoping this one would have been better

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2011 04:47:57 | More by heavy216
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
brewdlyhooked13

Ohio

1.95/5  rDev -53.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Very distinctive bottle design makes this a classy pick. Massive bubbles on the pour, which I forgot about at first, creating a bubble overage. Impressive aroma, but something happened on the taste part. I know Michael Jackson loves this beer, but I must be too inexperienced to appreciate it. It wasn't until I was halfway through the half glass I had for the taste testing when it hit me - Robitussin. Robitussin and, and...olives? Yeah, olives and Robitussin. The initial sensation in the mouth is different, but it always ended up Robitussin.

After reading all the reviews out here, I owe it to myself to try this again (for a 3rd time) to see if I can taste some of the other things people are commenting on. I've had Duvel, this is nothing like that except for the alcohol content.

This beer had some interesting side components that I liked, but the taste is the thing.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2002 13:44:18 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of dogboy
dogboy

Alberta (Canada)

2.13/5  rDev -49.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I love Belgian beer and especially the Trappist ales. I tried this a while ago and hated it, so time for another go.

Bottle looks beautiful as does the beer in the glass with its golden hue and huge fluffy white head. Unfortunataly for me that's where it stops. Overpowering perfume and medicinal smells on my nose (even furniture polish?). Fizzy, thin, funky and sour in the mouth.

I won't be back for a third try.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2008 23:16:18 | More by dogboy
Photo of nightcrawler
nightcrawler

Illinois

2.17/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Uncapped the bottle and was hit with the sent of bananas and alcohol.

Even with careful decanting, the ale produced a huge head that turned to what best could be compared to melted ice cream. The color was of wheat and looked great.

The mouthfeel was smooth, but I was overwhelmed by a taste of formaldehyde and alcohol. No malt. No sweetness.

I was able to finish it, though. I hope I simply had an old bottle and will try another at some time.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2007 22:54:53 | More by nightcrawler
Photo of lonewolfcry
lonewolfcry

Minnesota

2.18/5  rDev -48.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

2010 bottle poured into my Duvel tulip.

A ~ I was impressed with how much of that amazing head I got from the significantly slow pour. A good 4 fingers. Cloudy light orange, lots of lace as the head dissipated.
S ~ Some barnyard funk, wild berries...actually not too much else that I could pick up on.
T ~ The funk is stealing the show here. I'm getting a peppery taste as well, and a slight touch of medicine. Very dry and no sweetness whatsoever.
M ~ Light, and very carbonated
O ~ I was very excited to post my first review; and thought this would be a great start with the #2 ranked BPA!
Either a got a bad/poorly stored bottle, or I'm simply not a fan of Belgian Pales.
I love most other Belgian styles - but this was my first BPA. It may take awhile before I pick up another, but I'm sure I'll give it one more try...someday.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2012 23:55:42 | More by lonewolfcry
Photo of Hunter
Hunter

Arizona

2.2/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This Belgian monastery's brew has quite a reputation...this is the second time I've sampled their beer, first time reviewing it.

I must say before even pouring I like the small, unusually curved bottle of dark brown glass and the simple label (hey, it's part of the aesthetics, right?). As soon as the cap is off the nose is hit by a wave of malt and candi sugar. There's also an unfortunate undercurrent of formaldehyde, reminding me of hours in the lab during human dissection. As the glass warms to room temperature that preservative smell begins to dominate. Pours a cloudy gold with a thick white head, which doesn't last as long as I felt it should have. Threads of bubbles from bottom to top.

Taste...is surprisingly bland. If Perrier came in beer flavor, this would be the result. Comes off like a very dry, simple white wine. Citrus bite in the aftertaste, little else. Not even an alcohol bite, which at 6.9% is surprising. I was unimpressed the first time I tried this, and remain so. This has nothing on Chimay's beers in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2004 23:17:16 | More by Hunter
Photo of Blakaeris
Blakaeris

Iowa

2.2/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a cloudy brown-orange color. Head is huge and creamy, leaving plenty of lacing as it settles.

Aroma is very unusual. I get citrus and sweet fruit aroma. However it is overwhelmed by a strange medicine like smell. I've never encountered anything quite like this.

Taste is strongly of spices - pepper, cloves, and possibly corriander. Very carbonated. Slight hop flavor in the finish. These flavors are also overwhelmed by a cough medicine flavor. Maybe this brew is an aquired taste. Maybe this is a skunk beer. I normally enjoy belgium pale ales, but there is something wrong here.

Mouthfeel is light and very carbonated.

I need to try another Orval to see if this is the way it is supposed to taste. I had great expectations but this brew certainly didn't meet it.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2005 23:45:00 | More by Blakaeris
Photo of VncentLIFE
VncentLIFE

North Carolina

2.23/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

First time in a bar. Stupid, I know.

Pours a hazy dull orange, Decent white head with what looks like cultures of bacteria or fungi floating on top of it.

Smells strongly of yeast. Slight hints of brett.

Taste is basically yeast. I cant get over the yeast. It fills my mouth entirely, leaving no room for any other flavors. Tone down the yeast, and this might be a great beer, but as is not so much.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2011 14:51:35 | More by VncentLIFE
Photo of seanbhudson
seanbhudson

California

2.25/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: A cloudy orange beer that pours with a huge white head. That fizzles away relatively fast.

Smell: Surprisingly little smell. A little lemon and hay.

Taste: The cabonation almost overwhelms the flavor in the beggining. Then you taste a bit of hay, lemon zest and a slight medicinal taste.

Mouth Feel: Light to medium body. A lot of cabonation and dry.

Drinkability: Dry, hay and medicinal is not what I am looking for in a beer. I know people love this, that is why I wanted to try it. Who knows, maybe I got a bad batch. :-(

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2008 05:08:14 | More by seanbhudson
Photo of JamesBerry
JamesBerry

Massachusetts

2.28/5  rDev -45.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This came out with a blast of foamover and gunsmoke. It has a somewhat light aroma, and a muddy brown appearance completed by a thick, overwhelmingly soapy head. This has a weak, salty taste with a slightly slick mouthfeel to it, as if someone mixed beer with alkaseltzer. A little disappointing all in all. I'd expected more from this, it being a trappist ale and all.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2004 05:03:55 | More by JamesBerry
Photo of Bugsey
Bugsey

District of Columbia

2.33/5  rDev -44.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This was a huge dissapointment to me. I thought because it was Trappist, it had to be good, but it just isn't.

Sure it looks fine, and the head is fine, but it just doesn't taste that good. It is earthy and flat, kind of burnt. There is no complexity and nothing notable.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2007 15:16:41 | More by Bugsey
Photo of sfprint
sfprint

Germany

2.33/5  rDev -44.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A: Insane carbonation, very difficult to pour. Bottle cap flew off with the loudest pop I've ever heard from a beer bottle. Light amber with tons of rising carbonation. Sea foam head.

S: Oddly resembles hash. Bizarre chemically smell. Very strange smell. Sweet, nutty.

T: Also strange taste. Weird chemical taste that really dominates the flavor. Strangely astringent. Sour.

M: Mouth puckering. Light sting.

D: I just don't understand why my taste buds are so different from everyone elses. This is the second Orval I've had in the past few years and I feel the same. Wishing I enjoyed it as much as everyone else.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2011 02:41:20 | More by sfprint
Photo of quasimoto
quasimoto

Ohio

2.35/5  rDev -44%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Its a slightly cloudy deep goolden amber color. It has a nice head that doesnt do much lacing.

S - It has a strong banana aromanad some paper in there. Its definitley fruity, and has some paper towel in there. Not the greatest.

T - this beer has to be old or something. It has a strong aroma of a bus station bathroom. I mean no disrespect but that was the first aroma that came to mind. There are some dry malts that bring up ther rear. this has to be oxidized,

M - Carbination wraps the tongue and has a dry finish.

D - If it is always like this, then it needs to be choked down. Not the beast thing I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2006 02:04:52 | More by quasimoto
Photo of TastyTaste
TastyTaste

Minnesota

2.35/5  rDev -44%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Takes a while to pour, forms a mammoth fluffy white head, good retention. Well hazed orange body.

Smell: Smells like sweettarts, has an odd artificial watermelon smell, bubblegum, and some other maltiness. Not the most appealing thing I have ever smelled.

Taste: All the smells are well represented. A sour and dry flavor, that is a little fruity, with a slight earthiness and vegetable aspect. Not my favorite, a very weird beer.

Drinkability: My least favorite of the Trappists I have tried, will not buy again.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2006 03:31:40 | More by TastyTaste
Photo of Mitchster
Mitchster

Michigan

2.35/5  rDev -44%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

$5.99 for a 11.2oz bottle at Jacks. 6.9% ABV. Bottled on 11/13/08, best by 11/13/13.

I've had this beer a few times, but it's not a regular, so I was surprised to see that I hadn't reviewed it on BA before. Considered a classic by some. Pours out to a lightly chill hazed medium amber, forming a large white head despite a careful pour, with excellent retention and sticky delicate Belgian lace. The carbonation is medium-strong. The aroma opens with the smell of honey, followed by that classic horse blanket, farmhouse musty basement sour funk of Brettanomyces that I adore...much different than most Trappist ales which don't ferment with Brett at all. The funk is followed by orange and pineapple....a deliciously tempting beer. The mouthfeel is spritzy and explodes upon the tongue with a light body. The taste opens with a short-lived tartness, followed by a very strong unpleasant metallic bitterness, spicy cloves, fusels and other higher alcohols, and finishes bone-dry with more metals and higher alcohols. No sweetness whatsoever. Aftertaste of wet cardboard and newspaper. Ugh.

I'm not a big fan. It smells delicious, but it needs more sweetness and less bitterness to balance the tartness of the Brett, no fusels, less carbonation and more body. At $5.99 for a wimpy bottle, skip this and get some De Proef, De Dolle, Duchesse, Rodenbach, or Zoetzuur.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2010 00:37:23 | More by Mitchster
Photo of Hoptometrist
Hoptometrist

Oregon

2.35/5  rDev -44%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Served from the bottle into a globed DFH glass. Bottled on 1/8/2010, which I think means August 1 and not January 8.

A- Poured a mostly clear semi--hazy dark golden color, amazing, huge, fluffy head that left some lace. Lots of small bubbles, highly carbonated

S- Big lemon, hay, banana, citrus, and funky notes

T- This is super bitter, lots of sulfur/salty qualities on the finish. You get some of the flavors in the aroma, but this salty sulfur quality overpowers this whole beer.

M- Highly carbonated, chalky dryness

O- Is this a bad bottle? Maybe. This was a huge and expensive disappointment. Tons of nondescript bitterness, if only the taste matched the aroma. I could not finish this.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2011 02:52:08 | More by Hoptometrist
Photo of rickyleepotts
rickyleepotts

Arizona

2.35/5  rDev -44%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

There is a lot of talk about Trappist beers. It’s a cool concept… beers that are made by monks, within a monastery that produce $0 in profit. All of the money made either goes back into the brewery/monastery or is donated to charity. Now that is what I like to call drinking for a purpose! It’s just funny to me to think that monks made this. Seems wrong. Oh well, I have heard great things about this beer… so let’s see. It is the only beer this brewery makes, so it better be tasty!

In the Glass: There were a TON of bubbles when I poured it into the glass, but it quickly settled. It has a crisp, clean, and carbonated look to it in the glass. It is compared to a champagne-like carbonation, so I will try to keep an open mind here as I try this famous beer.

Nose: It doesn’t smell like beer, that’s for sure. It smells like flowers. No, I’m serious… smell this and tell me you don’t get a big nose full of flowers. It also has a somewhat dry sweetness to it too… I wonder what she tastes likes.

Flavor: Those bubbles are NOT on the tongue, that’s for sure. There is a sublet bitterness at the start, that leads to a dry finish and then the hops sort of kick in toward the middle back half of the palate. Then it’s gone. Not sure what the fuss is about here… this beer is just OK.

Mouthfeel: When I poured it, there were tons of bubbles. I assumed there would be a ton on the tongue. There weren’t. I am not saying that is a bad thing. It doesn’t really taste like beer, either. The mouthfeel is smooth, silky, then dry as it quickly disappears on the back of the tongue.

Aftertaste: What aftertaste? There really isn’t one. All of the flavor happens in the middle as you swallow, then it’s gone. The burp is pretty weak too. Come on monks… you can do better than this! The bottle is cool… saddle, the best part of this beer. That, and the history behind it. Past that, skip it. There are better beers out there.

Orval - The bottle says: “SOLE IMPORTERS OF MERCHANT DU VIN CORP. TUKWILA, WA”

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2012 03:48:49 | More by rickyleepotts
Photo of LestatSabastian
LestatSabastian

Alabama

2.38/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer was weird tasting to me. light color with bubbles around it looked like a soda. head from hell on one poor next poor hardly any. when I said it looked like a soda. Well it tasted like a bottle of sparkling water with a hint of beer.
mouthfeel of water and baking soda. this beer is not strong but not very good tasting. I did not like it.
Beau of Bama

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2009 23:15:55 | More by LestatSabastian
Photo of BucBasil
BucBasil

South Carolina

2.4/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance: Poured into a tulip from a bottle. Said it was bottled in July of 2006, so it's now over a year old. Drink before date is July 2011, so I guess this one could definitely benefit from aging. Poured a deep amber with hints of brown. The head was off-white with a massive head that I had to wait for before I could finish pouring. Good looking brew all-around though.

Smell: Interesting smell of earth and herbs. Alcohol is definitely evident here, and overpowers any other smell that could be sensed by my nose.

Taste: Not very good at all, which is very disappointing for a Trappist beer. I have very high standards for these guys, and Orval does not come close. I must admit, the beer improves as it warms a bit, but not by much. Tastes earthy with an alcohol finish. There's something very chemicalish and offputting about the middle and finish of the beer, with a horrid aftertaste lingering around for a while after. Since the taste was so distracting I couldn't really focus on the mouthfeel of this one. It seemed nice - not too carbonated, but enough.

Drinkability: I won't be buying one of these for a long time. I don't think I could have a second even if I had another one in the fridge. I'm struggling through the first one as it is... Perhaps it drastically improves with age, but I won't be trying it anytime soon.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2007 00:21:40 | More by BucBasil
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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 3,890 ratings.