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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

2,189 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,189
Hads: 4,895
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 285
Gots: 652 | 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: 2,189 | Hads: 4,895
Photo of MakenziMantey
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The color of this beer is a medium orange/brown. The aroma you get is a slightly fruity with a hint of spice smell. Tasting this beer it is sweet and spicy with a really bad aftertaste. (185 characters)

Photo of KatieS5643
2.44/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

This was a caramel colored beer, it had lots of foam when it was poured. It has a nutty scent to it. It tastes very sweet and you can definitely taste the nutty hints. It made me want to brush my teeth after consuming because it felt so sweet. (243 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 mcmidc
3.21/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This trappist ale pours a nice frothy light tan head, with a hazy light copper color. Not a whole lot coming to the nose maybe some mild grains along with some citrus. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Taste is tart at the start and finishes a bit sour. Also some phenol notes in there. Drinkability is good for a 6.9% beer. Not one of my favorites but still enjoyable. (397 characters)

Photo of whiteskittlz
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

bought at TotalWine Tustin, chilled, let unchill a bit, then poured into Chimay goblet

appearance: love its opaqueness. foam isn't on best behaviour: started out big, didn't hold too well

smell: hint of flavours to come

taste: nice, peppery, lemony,

mouthfeel: maybe a bit tinny

so drinkable, it's a shame they only sell these small bottles. also, quite expensive and not THAT outstanding to keep me coming back very often. (429 characters)

Photo of dudelove7485
4.62/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick, fluffy white head that lasts for some time. The color is a rich, cloudy amber. Very pleasant aroma of spice (cloves), orange, malts and yeast. The taste is very malty upfront, but gives way to a hoppy backbone with accents of fruit. Medium bodied with high carbonation. Surprisingly well-balanced. The uncommonly high ABV at 6.7% is masked well without any astringency. The dry, bitter finish ends on the roof of the mouth. This was the first time that I had tried this beer and I would highly recommend it. Extremely satisfying.

visit my blog at selfhatinghipster.com for more beer reviews, book reviews, music and more (636 characters)

Photo of S7R4nG3
4.95/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a nice generic snifter to gain full flavor. Poured a golden amber with an off white half finger or so of head. Some very nice lacing as I quaffed it down.

Smells where very evident of citrusy fruits with a definite hop character and a bit of malty sweetness to balance out perfectly.

Taste was just as rated, "Exceptional". The same citrusy flavors evident in the nose were present in taste as well as a complex malt and hop character. Carbonation was very nice, bubbly to keep it light, but not harsh and overpowering. Aftertaste had a very nice bitterness from the hops with a nice dry finish.

Mouthfeel was excellent. Carbonation gave a very light feel as it coats the inside of your mouth, the hops are very evident giving a nice bitterness and a very dry ending. Very nicely done.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and will definitely be having it much more often. Great way to enter into the Trappist's. (930 characters)

Photo of alamere
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay Chalice..
Bottled on 05-2010, poured on 05-2011.

A - A good looking beer, a bit more amber than I'd expected but pours a huge head with lacing all over the glass and foam lasting throughout the glass. Generally it looks a bit like an American Pale ale but with higher carbonation and champaign style bubbles.

S - Smells a bit of plum, clove and fruit.. no discernible hop aroma to me at this point.

T - The beer really shines in the taste dept... Starts off a little tart and then follows with a fruitiness and med body with a bit of funk or horse blanket or whatever you want to call it. A dry finish and lasting aftertaste with a warming alcohol note in the very end.

M - It's smooth, and soft and 'balanced' (whatever that means). Mouthfeel is really fantastic on this beer..

O - It's certainly a good to great beer, maybe not my personal favorite trappist beer but absolutely in the high class category.
I would wonder if the best buy date of 2015 isn't a bit hopeful though?? Not a super high alcohol offering and by '15 this would certainly be a completely different beer. If you like the belgian funk in your beer.. this is a great example though. Certainly brings along visions of the European countryside and has a tartness, dirt and attitude about it that doesn't taste contrived in any way...
I know that's a strange statement but if you've tried a lot of other attempts at a beer like this.. you probably know what I'm talking about. (1,494 characters)

Photo of stimy
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank this at a "The Belgian Beer Diaspora" beer tasting hosted by the late Michael Jackson at the National Geographic. The tasting involved pairing a number of Belgian beer styles with a Belgian and American interpretation of the style.

These are my tasting notes:

This beer has a malty flavor, but is well balanced with the hop component. (344 characters)

Photo of akogrady
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Rich golden amber color, with a very pale golden head. And lots of it. I'm not sure what caused it, but there was far too much carbonation and the head was massive.

S - Smelled very nice. rich in the hoppy notes with a floral rounding and some spice background. Maybe a hint of apple.

T - Very rich and hoppy with a nice sweetness to complete the rounding out of floral notes. A dry finish that lingers in an enjoyable manner.

M - Again, maybe it was the bottle, but the smoothness of the beer was interrupted by too much carbonation.

D - Definitely drinkable, if only it would fit into my glass. (604 characters)

Photo of WhyBeNormal
3.11/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This one was bottled in '09 and had a best-by date of 2014. Light fruity esters, kind of acidic mustiness, and a reeeeaally dry aspirin-like finish. Pretty good and really complex, but too dry for me. I'd love to try a younger bottle. I've read that the Orval master brewer prefers his at 6 months old. (302 characters)

Photo of boldcity2008
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: The color is a deep orange amber and cloudy in color with a insane 4" white head cloudy white lace, leaving rings, even after 5 minutes there still there.

S: Some pine hops, lemon and orange, something juniper like, lots of herbs and hop flower resin, but not piney, grapefruit like I guess. Brett is there of course.

T: Just out of this world. So it starts very dry lemon and orange, with a bit of hops and juniper and lots of brett in the front end. The sweet candy sugar is there but its just barely, its so well balanced with brett yeast its heaven in glass. the hops are sharp but well in balance.

M: Dry and medium body, great after taste. Smooth and crisp

D: geez this is the great beer to drink straight up or with food and/or cheese its just out of this world. I can never drink just one and even at 5 bucks a pop I always buy 6. This is the one beer worth it, well as most of the Trappists are. (911 characters)

Photo of BreworFerment
3.56/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was really excited to try this beer because I had read how great it was in Michael Jackson's books and also all the reviews here.
Poured into a tulip glass the beer was a beautiful clear orange blonde color with noticeable effervescence. Nice off white head that dissipated quickly with no lacing. Slight hop aroma on the nose but that was about all I got. On first taste I got, beer, decent beer, but nothing near the complexities others have talked about. The beer wasn't, bad, just not as good as I was expecting. Maybe a product of over hyping? Don't get me wrong if someone offered me one I would drink it happily but I don't see what all the fuss is about. I've had other trappist beers that were better. (712 characters)

Photo of Barleythenred
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark yellow color with a bountiful head

Smell: Vanilla notes with a good floral overtone

Taste: bitter with a yeasty under bite

Mouthfell: fizzy with smooth texture

Drinkability: smooth oiliness with a head the bitters and fills

Also on a side tried to open it with the lighter trick and hit myself the lighter trick and it was so pressurized i hit myself with the cap (385 characters)

Photo of CrazyP
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle with a bottled on date of 5/20/2011, and drank on 1/28/2012. Best by date was 5/20/2016.

A - Orangish-brown, clear. Pours with a huge white head due to the heavy carbonation.

S - Yeast, fruit. Not as much aroma as I expected from a Belgian with Brett.

T - This beer has a complex flavor. It begins with classic Belgian yeast and fruit flavors, then peppery spices. Finishes very dry with some bitterness that lingers. A touch of alcohol comes through. I don't really perceive much brett funkiness.

M - Very dry. High carbonation level gives it a crisp feel, despite being fairly high alcohol.

O - A very good Belgian beer. I would like to try different ages of this beer to explore the flavors develop over time. My beer was fairly young so I think it could definitely get more interesting. (817 characters)

Photo of acoatley
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep copper, fairly clear with ever so slight red tint. Moderate head dissipates quickly. Where is the lace?
Aroma: Moderate fruity esters of plum, light malty sweetness no alcohol.
Flavor: Raisins and plum, average malty sweetness, pleasant bitterness with a crisp finish.
Mouthfeel: Light body with moderate carbonation, watery the palate, warm alcohol good for a cold winter night.
Overall: Not my favorite dubbel but a good selection. (455 characters)

Photo of doctorjoeyboey
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The appearance is auburn with lots of head, however less head than many other Belgian beers. The aroma is vivacious and suggests grain. The mouthfeel is full bodied and the taste is very enjoyable. Wheat is evident on the mid palatte and the aftertaste is mild. There isn't any evidence of yeast after pouring the bottom of the bottle into the glass... I was a little surprised. This is a good beer and is fairly complex. (421 characters)

Photo of jlapennas
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Aroma: Tart fruity white wine like aromas dominate. Some flowery notes and something a little rough. Very low barny or funky aromas though they seem to come out more as carbonation dies down.

Appearance: Deep orange, huge rocky head with great lacing. Slight haziness.

Flavor: Fruity, mild tartness, firm hop bitterness and flavor add to an extremely dry finish. Maybe some dry spice notes. Has some qualities that remind me of a tannic English cider. Barny notes are just a whisper rattling around in my nasal cavities.

Mouthfeel: Dry, spritzy, light body but the carbonation makes up for it. Tart acidity.

Overall: Highly complex, lively, dry, very refreshing ale. The tartness isn't outright sour and the many flavors are exceptionally well balanced. I can see wanting to have some of these around at all times. This bottle is about a year old and the emphasis is really the dry fruity acidity and firm bitterness. (922 characters)

Photo of DanielClouser
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11 point... I dunno--2? (less than 12, anyway)--oz bottle into Chimay goblet.

A--Nice amber color. Nothing special, but the head does start out huge. I didn't find that it stuck around for too long, on this bottle.

S--I tend to not get a lot of smell from buggy beers. A nice subtle fruitiness, though.

T--Excellent! Only my second bottle of Orval, and this one is very different from the first, with a lot more Brett. I appreciate Brett but do not love it, but it works so well in this beer. A perfect dry bitterness that does not overwhelm the palate melds seemlessly with the Brett. Really, the perfect integration of flavors is what really makes this beer.

M--Dry, dry, dry, and oh, so great! Usually, mouthfeel is something I struggle to review, but Orval makes it easy. I love this beer.

D--For me, Brett will hurt the drinkability of any beer ever so slightly. But there is just no perceptible residual sugar here to turn me (that's what gets me with the Brett--the way the funk interacts w/ residual sugar). I could drink these until I got kicked out of the bar. (1,075 characters)

Photo of EvilGnome6
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle into a Duvel glass.

A: Pours a copper dark blond with a very generous off-white head.

S: Tart green apple with a hint of mustiness.

T: Bitter and sweet with a hint of green apple peel. The flavors are rich and complex but impossible for me to describe. Definitely has a hint of horse blanket that makes it feel rustic.

M: Very, very dry and a bit thin but somehow refreshing at the same time.

D: A very easy drinking beer that somehow seems different every time I try it.

I've had this several times before and will definitely have it again. (568 characters)

Photo of corcoranjc
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from bottle into Chimay goblet (goblet bought for 25 cents at a garage sale last summer...just had to throw that in there).

appearance: exceptional. rocky, chunky, everlasting, snow white head.

smell: tart, ciderish, sour apple candy....wonderful

taste: funky, earthy, mushrooms, the brett comes through here with the leather and barnyard. however, the taste is very deep and layered.

mouthfeel: full, perfect.

overall: this is a beer for a special occasion. deep, interesting, and ever so complex. i would love to have a ton and chug it and i would love to have just one and savor it for a couple hours which is what i'm doing now. a wonderful beer. (662 characters)

Photo of ciachef1212
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured a hazy deep yellow/gold with tons of carbonation. The head was about 4 fingers and left beautiful lacing on the glass.

S- It smells like lemons, ciders, and flowers with a slight sour funk. Loved it.

T- A slight tartness with lemons and flowers. It then finishes dry.

M- The bubbles dance on the tongue like Champagne.

O- This beer is great. If you haven't had it pick it up. It is a very old traditional beer that is very refreshing. (448 characters)

Photo of BeerMarshall
4.41/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle, bottling date 2/2010. appearance is the color of caramel with good head. Very hoppy compared to other trappist ales. Very refreshing, highly carbed. I don't really get the brettanomyces funk that I was expecting, but not really overly familiar with this class of beers, so maybe I am just not sure what to look for. Overall very good beer, very refreshing and pleasant to drink. (398 characters)

Photo of Brewdacris
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I decided that I would review Orval tonight because I reviewed Delirium Nocturnum last night and wanted to finally determine which I enjoyed more. Delirium Nocturnum is my long time favorite but I tried an Orval for the first time a couple months ago and I remember thinking that it may rival the Nocturnum in overall enjoyment. So tonight I decided to find out for good.

Appearance- Beautiful burnt orange color with a rocky, off-white three finger head. Dissipates after a while leaving a heavy lacing along the glass. Settles into a solid quarter finger covering after a few minutes. Very good looking beer.

Smell- Tart apple and a floral/lemon/banana scent. Very wonderful smelling. Possibly my favorite aspect of this beer.

Taste- Very smooth and surprising flavor. Very tart, sour taste from the get go. Accompanying alcoholic burn, but an extremely pleasant and fitting one. The first taste is almost too overwhelming to separate any flavors, but on the subsequent samplings tart fruit flavors are extremely apparent. Banana and lemon make themselves known, as does a heavy hop bite on the tail end. Sour fruit is present as the dominant aftertaste. I sipped this over a half hour period and the flavors made themselves more apparent as it warmed.

Mouthfeel- Extremely crisp, smooth mouthfeel. If you let the Orval settle in your mouth the carbonation makes itself very apparent. Just ever so slightly too light. Almost perfect for the flavor but could use a little thickness.

Overall, this is indeed a fantastic beer. Although it has failed to overtake Nocturnum as my favorite beer, perhaps it is unfair to compare the two. The Orval is definitely my favorite Belgian Pale Ale but I'm a sucker for Belgian Strong Darks. Overall an excellent beer and one I would recommend to any fan of pale ales. (1,812 characters)

Photo of pijiu
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smell: Heavy citrus, hint of coffee, molasses.

Taste: Dense flavour with a taste that is darker than its colour would suggest. Dark cider backbone. Has a bitter cut throughout. Healthy white head.

Notes of citrus, medicine and spice. Tart, dry and easily drinkable.

Serving type: 11.2 fl. oz. brown bottle. (310 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,189 ratings.