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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

4,323 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,323
Reviews: 2,112
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 202
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
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Ratings: 4,323 | Reviews: 2,112 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%

The upper 1% beer. Everything is interesting about it: bottle, taste, smell. Every taste was different. It was like a great wine. What's in it? Must sip and enjoy because of the taste and the carbination. One for every of your close friends at a special dinner.

I had the 2nd in a special package two months later and it stank. The taste was gone. I stored it in the basement. Aren't these Belgians robust? I think the temperature range was OK.

Two years later, new stock of Orval. Bad Aroma not really there this time, but I am not the only one to notice how many skunked Orvals are about.

Sammy, Dec 07, 2003
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -4.8%

t0rin0, Aug 31, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Pours a hazy amber color with a GIGANTIC 4 inch bone colored head. Chunky head is full of numerous bubbles and lasts a long time. Somewhat formed ring lacing on the drink down. Smells very floral, citrus notes, slight vinegar, and must/funk. Taste is of apple cider, lemon zest, grass/flowers, funk, and a bitterness that starts at the start of each sip. Bitterness is very herbal and is quite mild after each sip. The funk is from the Brett used in creating this beer. This beer is very carbonated and yields a huge head on the pour. The body is somewhat light but crisp and clean. Drinkability is good but this is a beer I can see myself only having occasionally. A very unique tasting and interesting beer.

UCLABrewN84, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -4.8%

djrn2, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
4.56/5  rDev +8.6%

Pours yellow-gold with a nice white head and a good deal of lacing. Initial whiff is earthy funk, hay, green apples, and lemon rind. Slightly hoppy. Taste brings the funk forward really well; nice balance with the hops. Mouthfeel is dry and well carbonated. Very nice and dry finish with a bit of bitterness. Overall, a really fantastic beer.

Thorpe429, Sep 24, 2010
Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

nmann08, Dec 25, 2011
Photo of acurtis
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%

Bottled on 22/04/2010, best before 22/04/2015. Let bottle warm slightly before pouring, Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into oversized red wine glass. Still waiting on my orval goblet. Huge off white bubbly head formed almost overflowing the glass, as I let it sit it stuck to the glass and fell slowly on the sides leaving a large head in the middle, almost like a an egg. Dark orangey brown color. Very spicy aroma. Tastes exceptional, I detect some orange. Tart and dry. Not as strong as the smell might indicate. I've been told the beer should be at its peak right now, it tastes like it could use a little more time to mellow to me. Very light on the tongue but I can feel it starting to kick in. I wouldn't be able to drink too many of these, it is more of a treat or an after dinner drink.

acurtis, Nov 04, 2010
Photo of metter98
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%

A: Poured cloudy golden yellow into a goblet with a white, one finger head. There's a moderate-to high level of carbonation and good head retention.
S: There is a definitive sour smell (reminiscent of a gueuze) with aromas of wild yeasts and floral hops.
T: The taste is very flowery and acidic with some sourness; the finish is of dry hops with citrus and spicy notes.
M: It feels bubbly, crisp and earthy on the palate. The amount of carbonation makes this taste lighter than I had expected it would.
D: It's easy to drink and rather refreshing, which is surprising for the level of complexity in the taste.

metter98, Apr 04, 2010
Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Appearance: Pours an apricot color with a massive head; lots of lacing

Smell: Strong citrus nose; smells like a box of Florida oranges that have started to mold

Taste: Startling in its phenolic hoppiness the first time you taste it; lots of medicinal citrus flavor which, as a result of the Brett, dries out the mouth and lasts forever; I pick up some unsweet licorice, too

Mouthfeel: Heavy on the carbonation and bitterness

Drinkability: Definitely an acquired taste; at first I was repelled but now, on my third try, I am starting to come around; not for amateurs; I won't drink it everyday but it is excellent with a strongly flavored soft cheese

Note: I just took Jason's advice to pair this with a soft cheese (St. Andre, in my case) and what a difference that makes. Just a perfect compliment. The strong flavors of the cheese cut through the medicinal bitterness and, together the two coalesce in a way that I have never seen between a food and a beverage. On my third try, I paired it with an aged sharp cheddar; while it pairs nicely, it was nothing like the combination with the St. Andre; more recently, I paired it with a blue cheese and the flavors blended startlingly well

brentk56, Aug 05, 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 Phyl21ca
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%

Pourred an orangy brew with what I consider to be the most beautiful beige head. Head retention for Orval is what other brewers should aspire to since it is the longest lasting I have ever experience. Taste is of complex spice with great fruit aroma. Also, great wheat taste with a strong body. One of the best trappist in my opinion.

Phyl21ca, Nov 25, 2003
Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

After not having one of these since I've become a better beer taster, I figured it was worth another shot. I am more impressed now than I was before. Of course, I've become a big Belgian Sour Beer fan in the meantime. Pours a prune juice color with a rocky foamstand that varies between eggshell white and amber-tan, sprinkled with spices. Aromatics of sourness, tartness, muskiness, woodsy, metalic, and oysters. Flavors boarder closely on the characters in the aroma. Low levels of barley (maybe too low) lends an overly sour flavor and astringency. Not enough sweetness remains to balance out the tartness. Some DMS qualities come through that reminds me of an ocean muskiness or oyster flavor. Fascinating, but very raw. The beer is well matured and complex. I enjoyed it although there are characteristics within that I did not prefer.

BEERchitect, Mar 06, 2006
Photo of mikesgroove
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%

Can you believe I call myself a BA and I have never tried this? For shame! Thanks to the kind soul who took notice and forwarded it on to me. Served out of my cellar and poured into a chalice, this one was consumed on 10/08/2009.
 
The pour was just what I would have expected. Bright golden amber in color with a nig head of white on top that only slowly faded as the session wore on, dropping tons of lace up and down the sides of the glass. Richness to it that looked just fantastic as it warms up. Aroma of light fruit touches, hints of a light grassy touches, maybe pine. Apples and grape skin start to come to the front as it warms up and it gets a very complex touch to it. Smooth, even flavor here, really quite wonderful. Light and airy on the palate, the carbonation is spot on. Light touches of apples and bananas, hints of light peach and a delicate touch of grape are all coming out at me. Nice bready and grainy touch to it now as well, really again very well done. I was quite impressed with just how flavorful this was. Nice dry finish capped it off quite well and left a near spot on aftertaste.
 
Overall cannot believe I let this one go so long. Cannot believe it as it is such a top not offering. One of the elite for sure I would have this any day.

mikesgroove, Oct 09, 2009
Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Texasfan549, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of kjkinsey
5/5  rDev +19%

kjkinsey, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%

A: Amber orange in color with 2+ fingers of foam (that lasts forever).

S: The nose is yeasty and a little funky with some tart apple notes.

T: I pick up an ever so slight tartness, along with yeast and that subtle barnyard/wet hay funk. This is not necessarily bitter or sweet/malty in any way that I can tell.

M: The body is on the lighter side, with a high level of carbonation and a dry finish..

D: One of the more "interesting" Trappist beers

womencantsail, Jun 24, 2009
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

ygtbsm94, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of GRG1313
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%

July 3, 2014 - re-evaluation. Scores modified to reflect current evaluation.

* * *
(original)
Wow. I forgot how much I like this beer. I'm not going to forget again!

This one was bottled, it looks like 7/29/09 with a "best by" date of 2014.]

Orange amber with a big, thick, pillowy and firm pure white head; great looking.

Nose is all peaches, pears, apricots and hints of bananas all with a light citric kick.

Mouthfeel is light carbonation that is champagne quality and is rich and perfectly balanced.

Flavors are spice and stone fruit with undertones of ginger, lime and green tea. Finish is rich, citric fruity and light grapefruit bitter.

This is one of those perfect beers. It is all around appealing; somewhat unique and extremely drinkable. This may be the universally appealing brew.

GRG1313, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of spycow
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

spycow, Jan 10, 2013
Photo of kylehay2004
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%

A: two finger head with excellent retention. Murky golden amber.

S: dark fruit and spicey. Mostly cherry.

T: complex yeast and spicey character and more dark fruit.

M: high carbonation. Medium bodied. Semi dry finish.

Overall: this is an amazing beer. Certainly one of the best of the few trappist brews and one of my new top favorites.

kylehay2004, Sep 09, 2011
Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

jaydoc, Oct 21, 2013
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%

(Bottled On: 27/06/2006 - Labeled as being 6.9% abv).

Appearance: Pours an orange-amber body with a tall, foamy white head.

Smell: Complex aroma filled with notes of citrus, pears, apple cores, gentian, sauvignon blanc, and a second-hand horseblanket store.

Taste: Flavors of unripened pears, piced citrus, and bitter herbs. Dash of white wine. Sour and funky throughout. Hops come through now and again amongst all the various tastes. Finishes peppery and exceedingly dry. Lingering tongue-numbing sourness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Spritzy, lightly prickly carbonation.

Drinkability: Certainly one of the more unique Trappist beers out there, I'll give it that.

ChainGangGuy, Feb 25, 2008
Photo of Knapp85
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%

This beer poured out as a nice looking hazy golden color, the head was big and needed time to settle before pouring out the rest of the bottle. The smell of the beer was a little spicy on the nose, had some good Belgian yeast aromas going on in there and even a little bit of flowers on the nose. The taste of the beer is a little sweet upfront with some yeast and spice in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was medium bodied and had a good amount of carbonation to it. Overall I found this Trappist to be very good, I liked the different qualities it has which make it unique. I also find the bottle to be very attractive as well. Gotta try this one if you haven't yet.

Knapp85, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%

Poured a very nice orange color with huge rocky head (I have yet to purchase a nice trappist ale glass),the aroma was slightly peppery and a little tart.Taste is pretty dry with a slight peppery tinge to it.I liked this more than what I thought I would not as sour as what I thought it might be,very well done.

oberon, Jun 14, 2003
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

westcoastbeerlvr, Jan 11, 2013
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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,323 ratings.