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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

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

4,404 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,404
Reviews: 2,119
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 211
Gots: 414 | FT: 10
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.

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.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
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Ratings: 4,404 | Reviews: 2,119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kingslotty
1/5  rDev -76.2%

kingslotty, Jul 05, 2012
Photo of Urik
1/5  rDev -76.2%

Urik, Sep 21, 2014
Photo of Staplerfahrer
1/5  rDev -76.2%

Staplerfahrer, Aug 17, 2014
Photo of kennymule
1/5  rDev -76.2%

kennymule, Oct 06, 2013
Photo of tomordonez
1.45/5  rDev -65.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Over carbonated. I took the cap off and heard a noisy champagne-like blop. The head is a big all-over-the-place cloud. Smells like a cigar butt that has been floating in a beer. It has other strong flowery aroma but not a good one. Flavor is very bitter with a really dry aftertaste. I got my first review straight from a Belgian store shipped from Belgium. I got my 2nd one from a local liquor store in Miami. The bottle is awesome but there is something wrong with this beer.

tomordonez, Jun 15, 2014
Photo of desint
1.5/5  rDev -64.3%

desint, May 24, 2013
Photo of Aress
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.

Aress, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of Stingray5
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.

Stingray5, Jan 14, 2005
Photo of ZenAgnostic
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.

ZenAgnostic, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of ErwinGS
1.75/5  rDev -58.3%

ErwinGS, Nov 24, 2012
Photo of boelker62
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...

boelker62, Dec 20, 2007
Photo of John_Henry
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.

John_Henry, Mar 04, 2013
Photo of heavy216
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

heavy216, Feb 01, 2011
Photo of marchoftheclouds
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!"

marchoftheclouds, Dec 16, 2010
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
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.

brewdlyhooked13, Oct 08, 2002
Photo of javlin624
2/5  rDev -52.4%

javlin624, Dec 17, 2013
Photo of ashleysholcomb
2/5  rDev -52.4%

ashleysholcomb, Dec 01, 2013
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
2/5  rDev -52.4%

Hopheadjeffery, Dec 22, 2012
Photo of jonmorgan
2/5  rDev -52.4%

jonmorgan, Dec 08, 2012
Photo of VikeMan
2/5  rDev -52.4%

VikeMan, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of jk3
2/5  rDev -52.4%

jk3, Feb 18, 2012
Photo of ejw127
2/5  rDev -52.4%

ejw127, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of tmm313
2/5  rDev -52.4%

tmm313, Oct 25, 2013
Photo of afrothunder
2/5  rDev -52.4%

afrothunder, Feb 08, 2013
Photo of soxandbeer
2/5  rDev -52.4%

soxandbeer, May 30, 2013
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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,404 ratings.