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

2,179 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,179
Hads: 4,871
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 283
Gots: 638 | 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: 2,179 | Hads: 4,871
Photo of Osiris9588
2.72/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is my first reveiw of an Orval Trappist Ale, but the second bottle I have tried. I disliked the first bottle so much that I figured the bottle had been mishandled, subject to improper conditions. I also think I drank it too cold.

I made sure that this second bottle was down to a proper temperature, but I found it as equally unpleasant--though I did purchase it from the same shop. Also, the beer did progressively improve somewhat from the fist sip to the last. My palate needed to be conditioned to it.

I don't think that it is a completely horrible beer, much of my dislike has to do with personal preference. Both the bottles I have drunk have been capped, 11.2 bottles. The color is a murky amber with traces of sediment. There is ample carbonation, with a torrent of bubbles racing to the surface. The head is thick, leaving considerable, big-bubbled lacing.

The aroma offers strong citrus and yeast, a formidable floral quality, and a hint of cinnamon. The taste offers plenty of citrus and spice, strong yeast and hoppy bitterness. The characteristic that ruins this ale for me is the phenolic aspect--it is so intense and overbearing. A glass full of dirty band-aids. That sums it up. The mouthfeel is crisp and bright, and the drinkability would be fine, except for the extremly unbalanced, phenolic finish, and resulting aftertaste.

A glass full of dirty band-aids. And I love Trappist ales, but not this one. My tongue feels as if I've been been eating pennies all day, and then maybe licked a dead bloated otter.

Maybe the poor quality has something to do in the way the shop handled this particular shipment--but lightning has stuck twice. (1,679 characters)

Photo of slk22
2.72/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a golden/amber similar to honey. Cloudy with a huge off-white head that seems to last forever. Aroma is very mild malt with some sweetness, much less complex than I expected. Taste was also very mild, mainly corn, having no aftertaste. Mouthfeel is very smooth with a light body and high carbonation, not unlike seltzer water. This is an easy beer to drink, but not very arousing in my opinion. Not sure if I just got a bad bottle as I expected a lot more from this offering. (489 characters)

Photo of Higravity
2.72/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I got a bottle that was 3 years old and I must say not held in the best conditions. I poured beautifully amber golden with a large puff of a head that became chunky a left the best lace I have ever seen. It smelled of sweet and spicey flavor be it hops or corn syrup and yeast I think a mix of all three. It is a little citrusy and horsey but pretty bland dashed with spice. Awful thin too. I will have to find some fresher stock and re-review later. (450 characters)

Photo of MuddyFeet
2.75/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Another beer that does not live up to the hype. Poured a pale copper. The head was thick and faomy, but oddly unappealling to me. Incredibly sticky and stubborn lace. there was nothing distinctive either positive or negative about the aroma. The malts were very mild, and the other flavor rearing its head was dried apples that came across as sour "cider." On the positive side, the overall mouthfeel was crisp. Overall, I was not very interested in this beer and found it kind of a turnoff. (491 characters)

Photo of clvand0
2.76/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a cloudy orange color with a tall head that dies off fast and leaves very little lacing on the glass. The aroma is odd - maybe some fruits in the back and a bready aroma, but I don't like this much. The flavor was quite odd too. Not to my liking. Some fruit is there, but it is very dry and the taste isn't something for me. I feel bad giving a Belgian a bad rating because it's my favorite style, but this one just doesn't do it for me. (453 characters)

Photo of TheBierdimpfe
2.78/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Cloudy amber, gorgeous sexy coating with extra strong legs...stinks like rotten apples! (not finding it pleasing)

Rich flavors of dark fruits and burnt bitter hops with slightly sweet apples and lemon. Powerful coarse and dry after taste. Very strong vinous feel and a dry coarse mouth coat.

Overall : Looks can sometime be deceiving... Perfectly drinkable for trying a different taste, but way too spicy for me, or was my bottle too fresh? I will try this beer again after at least 2 years in the cellar, until then I don't see why this beer is so popular. (562 characters)

Photo of jmasher85
2.8/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

God, I hope to G-d I got a bad bottle of this one. It's really well rated, but neither I nor the rest of my Beer Club were particularly impressed. Again, could have been the bottle, but of all the Trappist Beers we sampled during our meeting that night (almost all of them), this was one of the worst.

Which is not to say that it's terrible, just not world-class. But to be fair, it probably had the most interesting and dynamic flavor profile. Stone fruits on the nose, mainly peach and apricot, but kinda moldy smelling. The taste wasn't much different. A lot of slightly rotton and fermented fruit smells in this one. Most peculiar was the metallic aftertaste that only hits you about 5 seconds after you swallow. So bonus points for being a strange and confusing beer that kept us all guessing, but negative points for being a little too odd and possibly off. I may have to revisit this one with a fresher bottle. (927 characters)

Photo of RoyalT
2.83/5  rDev -32%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – Very deep, cloudy, orange body with a tinge of brown underneath a beautiful, volcanic head that went down slowly and laced the glass. Yep, it’s a BSPA.

Smell – Classic, spicy, BSPA aroma. This one has a nice light malt base filled with clove, coriander, pepper, paprika, and maybe even a little cinnamon. The fruits seem more on the sour side, though, which would be off-style.

Taste – This has a deep, rich flavor, but again it’s heavy on the lemons. Anyway, that said, this is actually dry from the hop balance. The spices are heavy on the tongue as well.

Mouthfeel – Full carbonation and a sour profile makes this medium-bodied BSPA a real sipper.

Drinkability – I was disappointed by this offering. I felt it was off style and lacked the fruity character that I’ve come to enjoy from strong Belgian ales.

Comments – Sorry, not my idea of the style. Pop a Pranqster or La Fin Du Monde to see what I prefer. Or, better yet, read TheLongBeachBum’s review of the Avec Les Bons Voeux. (1,021 characters)

Photo of perrymarcus
2.85/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

11.2oz bottle served in a tulip.
bottled 01/06/2010 (best before 01/06/2015)

pours a cloudy dark amber tone while yielding a massive 3"+ of foamy, off-white head that quickly recedes into a collar around the glass.

nose is of average strength and lead by fruit (apples or maybe pear, some citrus), belgian yeast, and a touch of spice. there's also a little funk, the suggestion that there's some tartness to it.

to me, the flavor disappoints. elements of the nose are present - the fruit, yeast, and some pepper, maybe coriander, but i get a strong astringency to it.

medium-light bodied mouthfeel with very high carbonation.

overall this is my least favorite offering of the trappists to date. surprising, as i had high hopes for this classic. not drainpour territory, and i can see where some would enjoy it, but alas it's just not for me. (846 characters)

Photo of Graham21
2.85/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The appearance was bad but I did not have a good glass at the time... The color is a lite amber(orangish brown) and the head was very high and dissipated to a nice lacing shortly. The smell is flowery with a hint of cinnamon and citrus. Fumes of alcohol can be noticed as well. Tastes of lemon, spices, alcohol, a little malty. lacking in taste. mouth feel is descent and the carbonation is very good. drinkablitly is alright, this beer would be easy to drink because of no real flavors presented either good nor bad. Not one of my favorite Trappists, thats for sure. (567 characters)

Photo of Beercub
2.86/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

The richness, color, lacing, mouthfeel, was what I'd expect from a belgian trappist... i also noticed the nice sweetness and spicy/raisiny flavors. But there was a flavor in there that absolutely did not agree with me. The closes I can come to describing it is a combination of tar and burnt plastic. I guess it's possible that I got a bad bottle, but if this is what this beer is supposed to taste like, it is an acquired taste that I shall not pursue. This was a huge surprise to me as St. Bernardus ABT 12 is probably my favorite beer in the world. (551 characters)

Photo of DerBayer
2.86/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a murky amber with a chestnut tinge and frothy white head. I like cloudy beers but this is not one of my favourites. The smell is fresh and fruity with a sour grapey touch and some bitter hops - very pleasant

The taste however falls way short of my expectations. It is grainy bitter and sour and only the smooth mouthfeel can save it a bit. (357 characters)

Photo of BlackHaddock
2.87/5  rDev -31%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I have two more in my garage, so this review may change after a further tasting, but I was not impressed at all with this bottle. The worst beer a monk has ever made for me!

Slightly cloudy, an off orange colour.

Smell was of sour apples, no head, just a wisp, which went almost straight away.

Tasted of the same sour apples as the smell, sharp and fizzy.

If it had been a blind tasting, I would have said it was a rough Cider or a really poor Geuze. (462 characters)

Photo of PEBKAC
2.9/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Orval Appreciation Day.

Ommegang anniversary glass. Bottled on 20/02/2008. Hiding in the basement since late September.

Glass fills with suds on my first attempt. Stiff, cream peaks, orange amber body. Successfully decanted. Patchy lace.

Smell is first off, intense bitter melon rind & grapefruit zest. Then, soured sauvignon blanc & straw. Touch of sulfur. Lemon/lime acidity. Peppery yeast.

Carbonation is light, almost microbeaded.

Taste is grassy & just barely soured. Very dry & mild, acidic hops upfront. Medicinal, plastic-y, & lacking the ripe fruit flavors I get in fresh or exceedingly old bottles. Just a lot of acid. Alcohol is too big. Saltine, cottonmouth finish.

This one took a bad turn. Usually one of my favorites. Destined to be reviewed again. (769 characters)

Photo of BostonHops
2.9/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2oz bottle served in a tulip.
bottled 01/06/2010 (best before 01/06/2015)

pours a cloudy dark amber tone while yielding a massive 3"+ of foamy, off-white head that quickly recedes into a collar around the glass. nose is of average strength and lead by fruit (apples or maybe pear, some citrus), belgian yeast, and a touch of spice. there's also a little funk, the suggestion that there's some tartness to it.

to me, the flavor disappoints. elements of the nose are present - the fruit, yeast, and some pepper, maybe coriander, but i get a strong astringency to it. medium-light bodied mouthfeel with very high carbonation.

overall this is my least favorite offering of the trappists to date. surprising, as i had high hopes for this classic. not drainpour territory, and i can see where some would enjoy it, but alas it's just not for me.

(originally reviewed: 06-13-2011) (879 characters)

Photo of DaveUK
2.9/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Cloudy, brown-orange with a large frothy head that persisted all the way down the glass.

Aroma - Sweet fruit, spicy hops and a hint of yeast soon after pouring.

Taste - Tart, bitter fruit with a citrusy flavour. Alcohol and light malt present in the long bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium and persistant. Almost unpleasant acidic bite perhaps due to a high level of carbonation.

Drinkability - Powerful bitter taste and potent, unconcealed alcohol make this a beer for sipping at the best of times.

Not one I would be consuming regularly, however I would give it another shot, if only to see if the bottle I had was off/skunked in some way. (670 characters)

Photo of PeterParker
2.91/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Drinking this fresh, only a week old. Bottle erupted upon opening.

Pours deep golden brown, maybe a dark amber/copper color. Big white head with large bubbles and lots of lacing.

Banana, yeast, dark dried fruits, plums, very sweet. Not much by way of bready malt however. Bit of orange perhaps.

Mild, at first overwrought with bubbles, a little sourness. Sourness would be nice if it wasn't so lonely. Followed by some yeast, but not a lot. Very mild and mellow. Sourness is not big but it lingers.

High carbonation, feels like a shaken bottle of soda.

Pedestrian in my opinion. It doesn't really have the Belgian characteristics like malt that I'm used to. I think I'll stick to Dark's and Quad's. Maybe it's the low ABV but this one was lacking to me. (758 characters)

Photo of barefootbrewer
2.91/5  rDev -30%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

First of all...what a classy looking bottle this came in (this beer was produced on 6/30/2005). It poured a cloudy light brown/tan color with a decent head and some lacing. Even though I poured carefully, yeast was noticeable floating in large clumps. The smell was floral and slightly spicy - very inviting. Where this beer took a downturn was the taste. It was bitter and floral, almost tasted like drinking potpourri. The mouth feel was thin and left a bitter coat on the tongue. I wouldn't consider this a highly drinkable beer, but worth a try as it might appeal to some taste buds. (587 characters)

Photo of radioscooter
2.91/5  rDev -30%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Years ago, I was ushered into the Belgian crowd by the selection at the Sharp Edge here in Pittsburgh, run by a true Belgian Beer cheerleader. At the time, I made the rounds of Trappist selections and wound around them, listening to what the experts said and taking it all in.

I landed upon what is still my favorite style: Strong, Dark and Sweet with a lot of flavor. I still favor a Scotch Ale, Barleywine or Wee heavy above any of the light, bubbly, frothy coriander stuff.

I couldn't remember trying Orval then and I have been going back through the catalogs trying to do my due diligence to the style. I knew it wasn't going to be as strong and musky as the Draak, but I figured it would at least be on a similar par with Chimay, which is still one of my go to drinkable favorites and not a sweet dark.

I think maybe this is an ale that really needs some food to be paired with it. I really didn't enjoy it at all. Out of the bottle it had a massive foam and its carbonation stayed too high for my tastes.

The flavor starts out okay, with light fruit and a zesty tinge, but then some taste that I have yet to hear described accurately that I usually attribute to a "preservative" taste when I experience it in countless American microbrews, but am mystified to find it here.

As it warms it does not get any better. Remember I like sweeter brews. This one is just too lackluster and bland for me to value above a food beverage.

Any of the Chimays just kill it, IMO.

An accessory, not a star. (1,504 characters)

Photo of Vancer
2.91/5  rDev -30%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Here’s a very disappointing brew, perhaps from over-hyped expectorations. The pour started on the right foot - a hazy amber orange with pillowy, sticky ivory head. This one had legs running down the glass.

Only some hints of Belgium yeast and orange. topped by sweet malts. But the taste – wow, just not there. A stringent and soapy blend of two not pleasant tastes. Dry and crisp, yeah, but the drinkability was off the chart, at a freakin $5 a 11.2 oz bottle. (467 characters)

Photo of Haydn-Juby
2.92/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

served from a 330ml bottle

A: Hazy copper color partially due to the yeast in it. A bubbly, white two finger head. Looked pretty tasty.

S: Very phenol heavy aroma. Clove like. I found it almost band-aid like.

T: There was a little bit of honey, clove, and bubblegum. Hop bitterness was mild. The aftertaste was very displeasing to me. It tasted very grainy and metallic like. Really it was this gross aftertaste that killed it for me.

M: This was a pretty decent aspect of the beer. It finished pretty crisp and bubbly

O: There seems to be a group of people who loves this beer and those who hate it. Personally I'm the latter. I just don't like it. Not that other people shouldn't its just not what floats my boat. I wish I could like this and it really seemed like something that I would. I'm typically a pretty big fan of anything with a Belgian yeast strain in it but this just didn't do it for me. I feel like I'm going to have to give this another go in the future. (977 characters)

Photo of Tom_Banjo
2.92/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Two 330 ml bottles purchased from Whole Foods and served on different days at different temperatures. Served in a stemmed Spiegelau pilsner glass. Attractive looking beer, but much too yeasty for me. Not a beer I think I will be having again any time soon. (257 characters)

Photo of Guden
2.93/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A- poured into a Tripel Karmeliet tulip it has a large white head that slowly fades to a half inch layer. Golden copper color with a slight haze.

S- must, basement, funk, some hoppiness despite being almost a year old bottle.

T/M- funk, bitterness, light esters (banana) and phenols (clove, medicinal). Light on the tongue with high carbonation and low body. Finishes fairly bitter and dry

O- not really anything great about this beer. It's a bit of a disappointment with the Brett coming more as stale basement funk than anything exciting and interesting. Between light oxidation, faded hops and the yeast derived flavors the overwhelming characteristic is "stale". (670 characters)

Photo of TPSReports
2.94/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I am writing this review, and drinking this brew, following a wonderful Hennepin Saison. What a difference. Maybe I should've reversed the order.

It pours nicely with a lingering head at 49 degrees from my cellar. I finger tall thin bubbled head that lingers appears. Strong lacing on the sides. A very pretty color of amber with tiny bubbles floating upward.

This smell doesn't really give me a hint a what is to follow -- maybe the allergies aren't cooperating.

The first sip is shocking -- quite a bit of alcohol here -- I didn't expect it. There seems to no hopps and not much malt either. Not quite sure what I'm drinking here. It has a bit a of a twang and sourness that I'm not entirely comfortable with.

Mouthfeel is somewhat flat from a carbonation standpoint. Not heavy or light, but medium swill.

I am very disappointed by this beer. It looks like a winner! The bottle is gorgeous. It pours wonderfully, with a sexy head the lingers -- nice lacing. But, I'm drinking beer for taste -- the looks are just part of the package. Without a doubt this is my least favorite Trippist to date. I'm glad I only have one,to be honest. (1,149 characters)

Photo of harrymel
2.94/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Time to revisit this one.
Bottled October 2012

Standard lightly hazed honey colored ale with a huge foam cap that falls to a central dome in about ten minutes. The bubbles almost look like a perfectly toasted marshmallow. Smells of grain, hay, grass, pineapple, pear, and a little clay yeast. Flavor is bitter with a solid biscuity malt profile, some nice corn character and a hint of english cucumber muddled in there someplace. Medium on thin with nearly flat carbonation at this point and a refreshing finish. I'm torn on this beer, as I move toward more delicate beers with nuance and what I currently consider maturity in the beer - I feel like this is a good beer and understand how it's considered world class. I cannot see, however, how this manages to be a approachable beer for me, but leaves me simply empty at the end. I don't long for more, I don't take a sip and immediately want another. For these reasons I continue to steer clear of this one.

From notes verbatim on 10/28/10
A: Pale apricot ale with massive head that just keeps growing. Maybe overly carbonated? Dull clarity.
S: Lots of bretty funk. Sharp, strong, herbal. I'm fairly neutral to this one.
T: This beer is soooo bitter to me. I can't tell why. I may need to revisit this beer to make sure I'm not having an off night.
M: Very carbonated. Medium body ale.
D: I struggled to finish this beer. This makes me wonder if I simply got a bad bottle, or maybe I just am having an off night. But this is horrible.
3.5/3/1/2/1.5=1.72 (1,510 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,179 ratings.