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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

4,327 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,327
Reviews: 2,113
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 204
Gots: 389 | FT: 8
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
Ratings: 4,327 | Reviews: 2,113 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nightcrawler
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.

nightcrawler, Aug 02, 2007
Photo of lonewolfcry
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.

lonewolfcry, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of Blakaeris
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.

Blakaeris, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of Hunter
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.

Hunter, May 19, 2004
Photo of VncentLIFE
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.

VncentLIFE, Dec 27, 2011
Photo of Noelito76
2.25/5  rDev -46.4%

Noelito76, Jan 25, 2014
Photo of kabritz
2.25/5  rDev -46.4%

kabritz, Oct 01, 2013
Photo of leagr
2.25/5  rDev -46.4%

leagr, Aug 10, 2012
Photo of SimonTja
2.25/5  rDev -46.4%

SimonTja, Mar 09, 2014
Photo of mcss
2.25/5  rDev -46.4%

mcss, Jun 07, 2012
Photo of seanbhudson
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. :-(

seanbhudson, Jul 05, 2008
Photo of s4s
2.25/5  rDev -46.4%

s4s, May 26, 2012
Photo of JamesBerry
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.

JamesBerry, Mar 25, 2004
Photo of sfprint
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.

sfprint, Mar 15, 2011
Photo of Bugsey
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.

Bugsey, Oct 22, 2007
Photo of TastyTaste
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.

TastyTaste, Aug 18, 2006
Photo of Hoptometrist
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.

Hoptometrist, Dec 16, 2011
Photo of rickyleepotts
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”

rickyleepotts, Mar 27, 2012
Photo of quasimoto
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.

quasimoto, Feb 27, 2006
Photo of Mitchster
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.

Mitchster, Aug 18, 2010
Photo of LestatSabastian
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

LestatSabastian, Jun 25, 2009
Photo of ghostdeini
2.4/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I was overall dissapointed in this beer because it is rated as world class.

I would rate this beer as below average espically for a belgian pale ale.

This beer really lacks in flavor, there were barely any hoppy notes and it was weak even as a belgian.

The beer did have a rediculous head that was over four fingers tall and does look very nice.

Stay away from this one, go for harpoon or ommegang for a good bpa.

ghostdeini, Apr 07, 2011
Photo of BucBasil
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.

BucBasil, Aug 12, 2007
Photo of FFreak
2.4/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I've heard so much about this beer that I picked it up when I saw it on the shelf. Its not at all what I was expecting. Poured into a glass, the beer is highly carbonated, which is expected of a Belgian. What was not expected was the odd spicy bitterness that completely overwhelms the malt in this beer. I didn't find it pleasant at all. I couldn't even finish the bottle. Its like biting into a raw bitter cinnamon stick or something. Maybe I don't have a sophisticated enough palette. I've had trapist beer that was amazing, and some funky (brett) beers that I really enjoyed, but this beer has a different and not at all pleasing funkiness. Sorry, i just don't get it.

FFreak, May 01, 2014
Photo of BillBabbitt
2.41/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I enjoy Belgian ales, but I was very disappointed with Orval. It was overly carbonated. I was only able to get about 3 oz of beer in a 16 oz tulip glass, due to the heavy foam. Once I was able to try the Orval, I found it to have a very unusual industrial aroma. I did not finish the beer. The 'brewed on' date indicated that this bottle was nearly 13 months old, so it is possible it had turned.

BillBabbitt, Feb 07, 2014
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,327 ratings.