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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

4,324 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,324
Reviews: 2,112
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 203
Gots: 390 | 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: 4,324 | Reviews: 2,112 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of stevecee2003
2.42/5  rDev -42.4%

APP - Huge head! At least half the glass, maybe more. Light merky amber color.

SMELL - Wow, just take in all those smells. Soft malts. and lemon. Some kind of flowers. Very nice. I have hopes!

TASTE - A bit of a disappointment. Although I must admit I didn't know what to expect, so what's to disappoint? Well, I expected more from a Trappist Ale. It was crisp- yet watered down. There is also that unmistakable lemon in there, and now that I taste it, maybe thats not a good thing. At least for me.

MOUTH - It just feels very watery. I admit I most enjoy strong IPA's, so perhaps this disqualifies me. But this goes down TOO easily. Almost like, and I hate to say it, a Budweiser. Oooohh. Sorry.

DRINKABILITY - Probably good for some as it goes down easily.

NOTES - It may be good for some. If so, go for it! But for me- I am glad I tried it, but no. No.

stevecee2003, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of bnes09
2.45/5  rDev -41.7%

Pale orange in color with a nice haze. Mountainous head forms and retains well. Soapy character to the head with descent lacing.

Aroma is pretty clean. Ginger and faint wheat bread.

Flavor seems off. Somewhat bitter and tart. Rough malt character and stale hops. Off flavor continues in the finish.

Lighter body and a it on the watery side. Overcarbonated as well.

Totally disappointing. I wonder if I got a bad batch or if this particular bottle was stored improperly for some time causing it to go sour. I'll probably rechallenge this some other time to make sure.

bnes09, Jun 29, 2012
Photo of joecast
2.48/5  rDev -41%

re-review 30/4/06
ok, so its only taken 2+ years to get back to this. ive actually had it one other time since my review, but it was in a pub after a long tasting night. other than that, it just hasnt been available in bottleshops. this bottle was marked best before 2009, and is just under two years in the bottle.

appearance is still good. cloudy orange/amber hue with a lightly tanned head that settle to a thickish lace after a few minutes.

yup, theres that skunked aroma. cough inducing if i get too close. i can feel the drying funk (as best i can describe it) invading my nasal passages, and getting into my lungs. a strange feeling it is.

they say smell and taste are linked. it is certainly on display here. taking a big sniff as i sip, and its like the black cloud monster from lost is allowed down my throat. though, not quite as unpleasant as it may sound. the taste here is mellow and subdued compared to the smell. has a light sourness that truly shows the wide range of flavors beer can hold.

well, at least i can say i know that this is what orval is supposed to taste like. i suppose it makes no appologies, nor should it. thought i would enjoy it a bit more now i am a bit further along my beer education. but what i have learned is orval, in all its funkiness, is not for me.
---
i was really looking forward to my second experience with a belgian beer, the first being chimay.
i guess i was expecting something similair but what i got was anything but. also, as others have said, this beer is unique.

pours with a magnificent rising rocky head and an orange hue. dont be fooled by the small, unassuming bottle. grab a large glass for this one.
the aroma jumps up with an eye-opening tartness. reminds me of the wine my dad and grandfather make. also noticed the aroma of green olives maybe.
the taste is a good reflection of the aroma, with a red wine-like flavor and tart/sour finish.

i almost wasnt going to review this beer thinking it had gone bad. however after reading a few posts here about it and doing some research, i learned that maybe that is the attraction of it. i can see why this beer is so liked by some people, it is definitely uniqe and very distinctive. its just not for me right now.

joecast, Mar 12, 2004
Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.48/5  rDev -41%

Bottled on 8-01-03. Michael Jackson, in the latest edition of his 'Great Beers of Belgium', says that the current brewer at Orval likes this beer best at 6 months. Who am I to say different? My bottle is just shy of 7 months, so I should be on pretty solid ground here.

This might be heresy to some, but Orval Trappist Ale looks just like an American IPA. It's a rich, orange-accented amber that is lightly hazy and has a wealth of vigorous carbonation jumping off the bottom of the glass. The head is off-white, large, fairly stiff and falls to a thick, lumpy film, leaving disappointingly little lace.

The aroma is different from anything that I've ever experienced (or even imagined). I do pick up quite a bit of the 'horse barn' smell, but it isn't unpleasant at all. There are also mildly spicy, slightly lemony, grassy notes to go along with it and keep it interesting.

Orval's flavor is not to my liking. The somewhat pleasant horse barniness of the aroma is in full force on the palate and doesn't work nearly as well. There's a huge jolt of sour, earthy unpleasantness that fades quickly and leaves the mouth dry. The mouthfeel, as with many Belgian ales, is too riotously carbonated.

I'm pretty certain that, no matter the age (from fresh to the 5 years of the 'best by' date) Orval Trappist Ale is not for me. If it's an acquired taste, then it's one that I will never acquire... because I won't be drinking any more of it.

BuckeyeNation, Feb 24, 2004
Photo of Andragos
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

Andragos, Nov 12, 2012
Photo of beerhan
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

beerhan, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of Atomicskis5
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

Atomicskis5, Oct 18, 2013
Photo of wyllder
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

Ok,

I had this one recommended to me by a fellow hop-head. My primary love in beer-life is hops. Brews like Hopdevil & Stone IPA top my list of favorites. That said, I'll get into my review of Orval Trappist.

Beer pours a mid-range amber with a big, fizzy, carbonated head. Really, I think the color rating is subjective, as I prefer a deep & clear amber to the lighter and slightly opaque amber of the Orval.

Taste.. Hmm. The first word that came to mind was medicinal. I checked this against two of my friends and the response was the same: cough syrup. Maybe this was my first experience with Bavarian & Yugoslavian hops but I found the flavor altogether unappealing. There's a good bit of malt balance that comes in to hold the hops back, and several floral overtones. None of this, however, could distract my palate from a foreign hop bitterness I was unable to enjoy.

Overall, I would not recommend this to someone who loves American hopped beers.

Update: Sampled this again off a friend during a session at the Moan and Dove. The cough medicine taste noted before is still there. This time, though, I can more appropriately call it an Orajel flavor. Like Orajel, it actually creates an unpleasant numbing sensation on the palate. Like before, I checked my impression with the friend who had ordered it and he concurred: Orajel. Is there benzocaine in this stuff?

Final update: Tried this one last time, after having given my palate a chance to adapt to Belgians such as Achel, Quintine, Westvleteren, Rochefort, Bink, etc... Also followed the suggestion of other BA's and made this beer my first selection of the evening. Net result, I no longer think is completely vile. However, the odd and rather unpleasant medicinal/orajel flavors noted previously remain, though being much more subdued than I recall. While it was more palatable on my third try, I still cannot recommend this beer. I upgraded my taste rating to 2.5.

wyllder, Nov 24, 2003
Photo of bspain5
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

bspain5, Jun 07, 2012
Photo of Jdiddy
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

Pours a great sparkling copper color. The best part of this beer stopped there for me. I just did not like it. It tasted like a farm smells (if that makes sense). Something just does not taste right with this one. An unusual taste that I could not really figure out. Bitter but not in a good way. Like paint thinner would probably taste. I am sure I may stand alone on this one but I will not be trying it again.

Jdiddy, Sep 01, 2002
Photo of prisoner1572
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

prisoner1572, Jan 31, 2013
Photo of SpAiReArGsEonNE
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

SpAiReArGsEonNE, May 26, 2014
Photo of BeerManDan
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

One taste and I didn't like it. Everything up to the taste was appealing. After tasting it, it left me disappointed. In fact I couldn't drink the whole glass. Maybe I got a bad bottle, but if this is what I have to look forward to next time, I'm wasting my time and money on a no nothing beer.

BeerManDan, Jul 27, 2002
Photo of guitarsnbeer
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

guitarsnbeer, Apr 01, 2012
Photo of psm90
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

psm90, Jul 10, 2014
Photo of antichuckmoore
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

antichuckmoore, Jul 07, 2014
Photo of Fettpopps
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

Fettpopps, Mar 16, 2014
Photo of HearneHoppers
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

HearneHoppers, Jul 28, 2013
Photo of thegerm87
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

thegerm87, May 02, 2013
Photo of KenC
2.53/5  rDev -39.8%

A- Cool bottle, with a little tag hawking their glassware for sale. Three fingers of head that lasted until the end. Lacing was just average. Medium copper color and slight cloudiness.

S- Very nice complex aroma of malt and hops, a little pang of things to come, with a chemical type scent.

T- Starts out perfectly balanced. The well blended flavor was unique. Then it hit, just like the nose. That slight hint of chemical. It's really the alcohol, but I was expecting balance end-to-end and l got foul aftertaste. Really a disappointment.

M-Medium body with good balance.

O- I liked everything up to the ending. When you factor in the price, for a non-happy ending I think I'll look elsewhere.

KenC, Apr 02, 2011
Photo of Blanco
2.53/5  rDev -39.8%

poured into a chimay goblet.

murky brown/orange color with a head that foams up and wears itself out similar to a champagne. Also, like champagne, the carbonation is extraordinary on this one and hardly looks like "beer."

smell has that funk of wild yeast not unlike a gueze. citrus is in the background bringing some sweetness to the funk.

taste has a little mix of sweetness upfront and hint of candy, although drier in the finish.

carbonation is through the roof at first but it burns itself out after a bit and becomes almost "flat" after being so highly carbonated.

nice drinkability but not great. definitely different but the carbonation issue through me off here.

Blanco, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of jeffmonarch
2.53/5  rDev -39.8%

11.2 oz. bottle in a snifter glass.

A - Cloudy orange color with a thick white head that stays for a while.

S - Sweet fruity smell. It's almost like orange or lemon pledge.

T - Very bitter and almost medicine like flavor. Alcohol flavor is also present.

M - Light bodied with high carbonation.

D - Not a fan.

jeffmonarch, Aug 16, 2008
Photo of BeerBob
2.55/5  rDev -39.3%

Orval Trappist Ale pours a hazy translucent nut brown from a 11.2 oz very dark brown glass bottle with a pry off cap. Head well over three fingers. Foam turns rocky and clings to everything in large clumps on the way down the sides of my glass to a massive broken reef of foam with a lagoon to one side.

Nose is a firm clove and sour banana, with just the slightest wisp of bubble gum. Palate is just a one-dimensional citrus sour with the bight of carbonation. That is it, just a foamy sour bubbly.

“The king has no clothes!”

Dates on bottle:
Bottled on: 29/08/2006
Best Before: 29/08/2011

BeerBob, Jul 27, 2007
Photo of e11iott
2.55/5  rDev -39.3%

A: 11.2 oz bottle. This beer poured an uncontrolable amount of head, almost thinking I got a bad bottle. Another interesting tid-bit on the bottle was it had a made date of 05/08/2009, best before 05/08/2014. That seams like a long time to collect dust on the bottle and for a beer to settle.

S: Slight fruit, very yeast like, overpowerful yeast.

T/M: Interesting, very dry hop aftertaste and bite. Very high carbination.

D: Paid to much and was let down by this one, I might have to revisit it. Hoping my bottle was bad. Other option is this just isn't my style.

e11iott, Jan 31, 2011
Photo of ultralarry2006
2.58/5  rDev -38.6%

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle. Left a foamy one finger head that had some good retention, but not much lacing. Body was a hazy orange-amber.

Smell - a sour barn-like odor. Not much else. Some alcohol.

Taste - same as the smell. A sour barn-like must, with very faint tones of plums. Alcohol on the finish, and not really integrated into the taste.

Mouthfeel - thin, fluid, and fizzy.

Drinkability - I don't like this much, so it's not sessionable.

ultralarry2006, Aug 20, 2006
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,324 ratings.