Orval Trappist Ale - Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,180 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

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Reviews: 2,180
Hads: 4,874
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 284
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: 2,180 | Hads: 4,874
Photo of jlindros
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 08/30/12, almost a year old... I love how they actually date the beer and give a best by date, for a famous Trappist Belgian beer.

Even a gentle pour yields a 3 finger huge head and forces me to stop pouring, it fades at a decent rate with big bubbles popping and leaving a nice soap bubbled lacing everywhere like a mess of it, hazy amber color.

Nose is great, a great Belgian with nice wild funk, nice Belgian blond malts, little sweetness and perhaps hint of candi sugar, then grassy aromas, lemony, nice Brett like funk on the lighter side, floral, a little fruity as well, just a touch of a light bready malt, a bit of a sweet candy aroma on the back end as well.

Taste brings sweet malts at first, a nice Belgian golden blond like malt, with some sweetness and a light candi sugar, and general candy like flavor with hint of fruits even. Then into some wild funk, not a ton of funk but a nice Brett like funk, bit chewy and yeasty, with some bready malts. It also brings an interesting bitterness, a light spicy hop character. Funk gets stronger the more I go but never super funky. Finish is dry but a bit sticky, sweet candy malts lingering slightly, a bit more funk, bit more spicy like hops, and light bready malt character.

Mouth is med bodied, lots of fluffy carb.

Overall a really interesting beer, nice Belgian characters blended with nice Brett like funk. This is not even a year old so the wild character is barely there, but I've had some quite aged ones and they are a lot funkier and awesome. Maybe I should re-review an old bottle sometime, but still a great Belgian beer. (1,608 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.96/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Attractive slightly hazy amber in the glass. Perfect cap of foam that lasts through a long sipping session. The fine bubbles last forever in the glass. Lovely creamy mouthfeel.

Quite dry from start to finish. An odd murky flavor, a touch of the barnyard and a hint of plastic. Thin mouthfeel, but the bubbly carbonation gives it some body. Rather austere and certainly no coddling with sweet malt. Grows on you as you sip. Totally distinctive and really intriguing with the yeasty bitterness and barely a hint of hops. Bitter aftertaste stays with you. Reminiscent of the hard-water English beers with the mineral taste. A real pleasure for the purist.

In the 0.33 litre bottle served in the big wide-mouthed chalice at River Hotel in Gent. This bottle says 6.2%. (765 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I picked this bottle up at Julio's kept in my fridge for a couple of months - bottled on 13/11/08 and best before 13/11/2013 accoreding to the label -I poured this chilled from the bowling pin style 11.2oz bottle into a chalice

A - When the pour was finished there was 3 fingers of whipped foam rising out of the glass - the beer started foaming out as the cap was pried off. About 2 fingers below the rim of the glass w/ bead like ball bearings in rows stacked upon each other. The color of the brew is sort of orange and caramel golden w/ cream on top of off white. The clarity is hazed w/ incredible head retention, the lace clings well

S - I was drawn to the aroma w/ brett apparent in the cherry, cedar, tobacco and oak-like nose immediately. The scent of pink peppercorn, pineapple and rose petals w/ light orance rind, and kumquat all intertwined w/ a mild, subtle vanilla spiced note. The nose is seriously tropical with a passionfruit and mild mango note but the sweet woody cherry-like aromas pervade w/ mild spice like tobacco and gentle apple

M - a mild weet feel and highly effervescent w/ a slight tannic essence w/ fruit and tart tinged texture. There is mild spice edges w/ lightly bitter notes and bits of dry fruit skin w/ an herbal accent. The ale finishes lightly tart and dry

T -the taste is wonderful with the brett flavor which is cherry-like and tropical tinged w/ light pineapple flavor and mild woody tinges w/ a light pepper and lemon quality. The gentle floral and tea-like herbal hop quality w/ a subtle toasted note w/ mild honey tip is very delectable w/ hints of lemongrass and cherry skin w/ a mellow twiggy hop and toasted malt taste.
The real standout is the brett which gives the dry yet full flavored fruit elemnent to the ale while I know it is a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces it is still great how balanced and light spice and brett is blended with tropical yeast flavor and spice/pine. The hop taste is hinted at and moves to a dry place which signals me to take another sip and start enjoying everything again w/ a lemony note w/ mild flavor of alcohol in the last sips as it nears cellar temp

D - The drinkability is sublime - stellar, inspirational brew - I have a lot of respect for the method and humble brilliance the monks exude in the style w/ plentle of subtlety and nuance, yet vibrant, intense flavor. The experience is a wonderful taste, words truly can't express it -something I wish I had on hand all the time (2,485 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Love me some Orval. This beer has grown on me quite a bit over time. Probably along the same way that wild ales have. Nice earthy and mildly funky tones on there. Robust and fairly thick. I always wish there was more of this beer when I finish off the bottle. (259 characters)

Photo of Jason
4.92/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 11.2 oz vase like brown bottle, best before date stamped on the back.

Appearance: Orange amber (very light haze) in colour with a magnificent white head ... rocky and dense, leaving rings lace all over.

Smell: Hints of juniper, lemon and flowers.

Taste: Smooth and crisp with a lightish body though the mouth feel appears to be full up front. Touch of lemon rind with a fresh cut hay flavour, hop bitterness makes a snappy bite. Horse blanket and other medicinal phenols over take the tongue for a bit also. Tart from start to finish with hints of cider and other tart fruits. The finish seems to be everlasting in its dryness.

Notes: The sheer complexity of this fine ale is mind boggling ... one of the originals. This brew is all old school ... dating back to the 1100's. If you are into Belgian ales this will be a sure treat. Some soft cheese and dark rye makes a perfect pairing. (911 characters)

Photo of russpowell
3.71/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 04/04/2006 (very young)

Pours an effervescent amber/copper with a 1 finger of fluffy offwhite head. Great head retention & okay lacing

S: Bready, some peppery yeast & a hint of lemon hops

T: Peppery yeast, breadyness & then some fruittyness up front. Apple skins & lemony hops surfaces as this warms. Dryness follows. Finishes really dry, with pears & lemony hops

MF: Lightbodied with lively carbonation, a bit prickly

Drinks fairly easy, but the older this this gets the better it is. A little too prickly when young. I guess if I ever find this again I need to cellar it for 2 years minimum (618 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First had: bottle at Eulogy, Philly, PA

You can't go wrong with this trappist ale. Pours into a signature chalice, a golden brown with a nice finger or two of foamy white head. Retains well, with nice lacing. Tends to be a bit more on the fizzy side, but it's tolerable in that regard. Floral hops in the nose, and lots of fruit. Yeasty background flavor; up front is pears, bananas, allspice, white wine; grassy quality, with a bitter, dry finish. Medium mouthfeel, and very drinkable. (487 characters)

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

The bottle alone makes this beer piece of art, along with the brewing tradition of the trappist ales this beer still being brewed by the monks of the Orval Abbey. Appears a slightly hazy amber brownish orange with a creamy crown of off white foaming head. A good friend of mine describes the aroma of this beer as a barnyard minus all of the cow shit smell. What I think he is referring to is the wild herbal spices that added to this beer, just amazing. The wild spices contain lemongrass, peppery orgegano like herbs, and the ultimate combination of malt and hop bitterness. The taste is a major wow, a grainy herbal spiritual experince exists in every sip mising spices and flavor galore. I love this beer and I must say I'm not worthy of it so complex, I feel that everytime I try it will contain another experience. Mouthfeel is smooth with a medium to light body, let's just say if you have the opportunity to try this one you have been blessed. Very drinkable, but best enjoyed one at a time to savor and enjoy all of the complexities this beer has to offer.

5-22-10 vintage date- 7/29/2009 best by 7/29/2014

This beer has an angelic experience about it, the slightly hazed glowing amber body just lets the beer gods sing down on you. The head forms chunky like clouds in the heavans. Lacing is fine intricate Belgian style all day. Aromatics bring out the barnyard funkiness that makes this a new experience everytime I've come across it, again more zestiness sharp citrus appeal from the hops with a spicy pepper kick that just works so nicely here. Acidic nature waves in as well bringing out lactic acid notes and cider like comparisons in my brain. The more yeast that makes it into the glass the funkier it gets. Drinkability and mouthfeel are great, definitely a brew I will always cherish. Effervescent and drinkable but definitely needs to be enjoyed with a good meal. (1,886 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a La Trappe goblet in Ghent, Belgium.

A: Pours a one finger head of little cream but decent thickness. Nontransparent caramel brown colour. Appealing.

Sm: Cream, caramel, fruit esters. Very hoppy.

T: Fruity body, mixed well. Very sweet - maybe the candy sugar had this effect. A bit of caramel. Very hoppy. Actually quite unbalanced, which is unfortunate. Built pretty well, but not special or unique.

Mf: Very coarse and dry for the style. Poorly executed. Doesn't complement the flavour at all.

Dr: I expected a better beer. I wouldn't have another, even at Belgian prices. Serve warm.

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My last (above) review seemed rather sparse, so I decided to re-review in more detail. I love the design of the bottle; its iconic. Brown glass bottle with branded silver colour pry-off pressure cap and understated neck label acquired at a local bottle shop and served into an Orval stem-goblet in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given that it's a trappist brew. 6.9% ABV per the label. Bottled: 21/06/2013. Best before: 27/06/2018. No style (aside from the nebulous "trappist ale") is listed on the label, so I'm reviewing it open-ended, but as a Belgian style.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm a bit over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours almost entirely head - five fingers wide out of a possible six. It's white in colour, fluffy, and has a nice even soft complexion. Airy light consistency. Head retention is great - 10+ minutes. Uneven lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a clear translucent gold/copper with orange hues. Good vibrance. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Overall, it's looking pretty good for a Belgian ale. I wouldn't quite call it unique or special, but there are no overt flaws and both the head and colour are above average.

Sm: Fragrant perfumey Belgian yeast is the first thing I notice, with a distinct funkiness, vitamins, and some biscuity character coming through quite a bit. It's loaded with fruity esters; I find orchard apple and pear, a hint of faint orange, and something approximating peach. The crisp fruitiness is marvelous. I also find Belgian pale malts, clean barley, and hay. Hop character is an enjoyable mix of floral and fruity notes.

No alcohol is detectable.

A pleasant, soft, inviting aroma of moderate strength. The yeast character is a highlight for me.

T: Fruity esters are as abundant here as on the aroma. The body is comprised of Belgian pale malts, biscuit malt, and clean barley. It's slightly starchy as well. The Belgian/Trappist yeast is marvelous, featuring some subtle funkiness as well as biscuity vitamin-y healthy qualities. Hop character is fruity as well as floral. Pleasant and enjoyable; I like it. I do have some issues with the balance; it gets a bit earthy/herbal on the climax, which doesn't suit it well.

Complex for a Belgian pale, with some decent subtlety as well. But it isn't the masterfully constructed gestalt ale I've seen so many claim it to be. Nuanced, sure, but not particularly intricate. Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour.

No alcohol or other off-notes come through.

Mf: Wonderfully soft on the palate - a characteristic I love. Near perfectly carbonated. The smoothness/wetness is thrown off by the starchiness of the flavour profile; it's almost stale. I don't know if I'd even call it refreshing. Decent thickness and body. Texture suits the taste decently, but is far from feeling custom-tailored to it.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, or boozy.

Dr: Very drinkable; I'll have no trouble killing the bottle. As much as I like it, I can't concede that it's up there with the best Trappist beers. I look forward to trying Petit Orval and to trying this with some age on it, but every time I try it I don't find it to be world class. That said, I've heard every bottle is a bit different, and that alone makes it a unique beer. I'll concede it's a classic, but I wouldn't recommend it to friends per se. I hope to visit the abbey one day and try it in its ideal setting. I could easily drink another. Certainly well above average.

It's absolutely worth trying, but let's not conflate being a classic beer with being a great one. That said, it grows on you the more you drink it. I could see myself appreciating this more and more each time I come back to it.

Low B (4,582 characters)

Photo of smcolw
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried this at a friend's house in Versailles France. He had brought it fresh from Belgium....What a difference freshness makes.

The head was impressive if not excessive. A very nice off brown color. The aroma was warming with a nice balance without too much of any one smell. If anything I'd say it is on the malty side.

The flavors match the aroma profile. Very pleasant; high level of alcohol warmth. A touch of candy sugar sweetness. Great body; relatively low carbonation. (484 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color is a pure golden, edging into orange. Head is full, and frothy white. Aroma is overwhelming and enticing from afar: extraordinarily spicy, very enticing and seductive, though I haven't even even brought this brew close to my nose yet. An arousing blend of the sweet and the sour, with some citric notes speaking up here and there. Loads of sugar and spice, and, well, everything nice. Fierce hops on the palate, and an excellent texture, great hop bite and play upon the tongue. Full of body and flavor. Long lasting finish. Delicious, with plenty of citric tang. Deeply satisfactory, very mellow and pacifying.This is a brew that tastes of the history it contains. A very unique, pleasurable and pacifying beverage. (722 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into my Portsmouth tulip. Bottled on 22/04/2010, best before 22/04/2015.

a - Pours a murky yellow amber color with two fingers of fluffy white head and moderate to high carbonation evident. Great retention and lacing.

s - Smells of lemon/citrus, floral notes, yeast, brett, and some alcohol. Some sour fruit as well.

t - Tastes of lemon, citrus, floral hops, smooth malts, and very light brett. No where near as funky as the smell.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Very smooth and creamy, and easy to drink.

d - I thought this was a pretty good pale ale that was very easy to drink. I enjoyed the brett and sour fruits in the smell a lot, but wish there was more in the taste. It was definitely a step down. That being said, the taste is still above average, and I would certainly try this one again. (852 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured from a bottle into a goblet. Beer is brownish and hazy, forms a thick white head of medium and small white bubbles, falls away leaving lacing all over the glass, looks good. Carbonation is moderate to high.

Smell a little of spice and yeast, there is an underlying sweetness to the beer as well. Slight musky aroma as well.

Beer is medium to light bodied, has a minor forward character and a sour / musky late and aftertaste. This beer is one of a kind but the my first impressions on taste were not that great. Time for taste two, sour and bitter duke it out on this beer and it finishes a little dry.

Any serious Belgian beer fan will probably get around to trying most of the trappists but this has been my least favorite sampling of a Trappist beer so far. Its unique and I understand the souring of the beer. I'm impressed, just not my style yet. (866 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce bottle into tulip, bottled 11/13/2008, best by 2013. Pours hazy deep orange color with a huge foamy khaki head with great retention that reduces to a nice cap. Some spotty lacing on the glass, with plenty of carbonation. Aromas of big brett character: tart apple, wet hay, funk, cherry, pepper, lemon, grass, bread, and yeast spices. Awesome aromas here, the brett did a nice job over 3+ years. Great complexity. Taste of big biscuit, pepper, grass, citrus, lightly tart apple, light cherry, and yeast spices. Fairly dry finish; but some lingering notes of biscuit, pepper, light fruit, and yeast spices on the finish for a bit. Fantastic flavor balance and complexity. Medium-high carbonation and medium boded; with a very crisp and smooth mouthfeel. Very drinkable at 6.9% with no alcohol other than a slight warming after the finish. Overall this is an incredible Belgian pale. Incredibly complex and balanced after 3 years of age. I will definitely pick up a fresh bottling of this to compare how the Brett transforms it. (1,036 characters)

Photo of jwc215
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Best before Oct. 13, 2010 (exactly five years after bottling date, which is also listed).

Poured into an Orval chalice.

Pours cloudy orange with a thick, creamy off-white head that thins to a very well-retained rocky covering. Some lacing clings to the sides of the glass.

The smell is of lemon peel, tartness, and spicy sourdough.

The taste is unique and complex. Tart lemon, spiced dough and a wine-like vinegar are all present throughout. A sharp hop bitterness peeks through. Only slight hints of alcohol are present. The medicinal finish has a fresh, acidic character.

The feel is creamy and light. Somewhat drying. The body stays firm and the fresh feeling lingers on the tongue.

It's a wonderful sipping brew that I enjoy as an occassional treat. A true world classic! (794 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.64/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

young (5 month old) bottle served in small glass. {Review revised after tasting on 1 Oct. 2011 -- exactly 1 year later!}

A. clear ample with an ample creamy head. Head is exceptionally long lasting!

M - effervescent; thin & bubbly but not quite watery; nice dry finish.

S - A complex nose that is yeasty, floral, fruity but a tad musty.

T - markedly sour; hoppy; malty

O - a unique and interesting dry-hopped Trappist ale. (428 characters)

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

Bottle dated 10/03/2011 and best by 10/03/2016.

A: Slightly hazy golden amber in color with a two finger tall foamy white head. This beer exhibited excellent head retention properties and significant lacing is observed.

S: Aromas of green apples, lemon zest, barnyard funk, and spices/pepper. Quite complex and enticing.

T: Flavors of green apple with some brown sugar sweetness, followed by lemon zest and spices/pepper, and finish with a pleasant bitterness. A little of the funk is present as well and the flavors are complex.

M: Medium bodied with moderation to high amounts of carbonation. Mild acidity is present and the beer is crisp.

O: Great beer - a very well done Trappist beer. I'm really glad this is available at the local bottleshop because I have and will continue to enjoy this beer. Nice complexity in the aroma and flavors. (847 characters)

Photo of WesWes
3.6/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a cloudy gold color wit a thick overflowing white head. The aroma is good. It boasts of pale malts and lemon zest. The taste is decent. It is light and citrousy. It has a musty aftertaste, but goes down smooth. The mouthfeel is fair. It is a medium bodied beer with too much carbonation. It drinks well. I thought the taste was good. It just was a little too foamy. All in all, this was pretty decent. (416 characters)

Photo of mothman
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into snifter. Pours a finger of white head. Fades down but then has a decent retention. Color is a hazed golden amber.

Aroma: Floral hops with some herbal notes. Lemon zest and brett shows. A barnyard funk is present. A little bit medicinal.

Taste: Brett funkiness is up front. Hay, lemon zest, citrus, herbal flavors, and floral hops. A fairly large floral profile. A bit amount of brett with light oak.

Mouthfeel: Fizzy and smooth. Lighter bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry and funky.

Overall, a decent beer. It is fairly bretty which makes it a bit harder to drink, but the light body makes up for that. I could drink this again. (662 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours murky orange with a large white head. The aroma is lemon with some brett-funk. The flavor is quite a bit of citrus as well as some funk. The finish is quite a bit of hop bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and high carbonation. This is a very unique beer that everyone that is into craft beer should seek out and try. (316 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Wow, Pours a very nice orange with a massive 3-4 finger head, extremely foamy. I had to pour the beer over the course of a few minutes to allow for space in the glass. Great retention and left tons of foamy lace on the sides.

S: Very nice fruity aroma. I get apples immediately and some grapes, almost reminds of a white wine in a way. There is a nice floral/grassy aroma as well.

T: Again, light fruit flavors. The apples and grapes return, there is also some banana and a little bit of apricot. The flavor profile seems a bit weak compared to the strong aromas though.

M: Very smooth, medium bodied with nice carbonation.

O: The pour and aroma were amazing, and while the flavor was good, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. A very solid beer and I did enjoy it. (783 characters)

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

A ~7 month old bottle poured into a goblet. This brew appears a lightly hazy copper color with a monstrous amount of slightly yellowish off-white head that is 4+ fingers thick and composed of large bubbles. The cap slowly fades back to a finger's worth of thick froth leaving an abundant amount of lace clinging to the glass. Carbonation endlessly erupts out of this brew from some etching on the bottom of the glass supporting the head.

The aroma of this brew is seriously all over the place. Right when the cap was removed, it smelled of fruity hops and light amounts of citrus hops. As it gets poured, it opens up in the glass and starts to showcase sour indications that are reminiscent of lacto and some very light brett'd character fills the back of the nose. A light indication of plastic is noted. Throughout the middle are lemony scents present as well as some other light fruitiness like pear, orange and more lemon. My overall feeling of this brew is that it smells somewhat medicinal and like a solvent type of house cleaner.

The taste of this brew upfront is lightly fruity with a taste somewhat similar to apple and pear skins. Through the body are the sour indications of lacto and brett notes that are drying. It has a light funk quality about it that suggests barnyard without actually going there. It is earthy and somewhat herbal without going right into the typical wet leather brett character. It finishes mostly dry with a long lingering bitter herbal hoppiness mixed with notes of plastic. There is significantly more bitter herbal hop character in the finish of this brew that I would have ever guessed based on the smell and initial taste.

This is a light bodied brew with a bursting amount of carbonation that is both visual and prickly on the tongue. It gets more enjoyable as it sits and is swirled calming the carbonation level down to an acceptable level. I dont have all that much experience with drinking this brew a lot, but I could forsee this brew being something that could be aged and really develop into something completely different from this relatively "young" offering. With a best by year of 2015, I wouldn't mind securing a few more bottles of this and start trying to push that best by dating to see what older bottles are like. Throughout the entire experience, I never once felt like this was a brew that was close to 7% abv. Well done. (2,386 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 05/08/2009

A: Hazy burnt orange color. The head is massive and has many different sized bubbles surrounding a meringue crest. Awesome lacing. Also, there is a notable effervescence that emanates from the bottom center of the glass and resembles an underwater volcano.

S: Belgian yeast and a slight funky that smells nice. Also getting a bit of an outdoor, grass, farm aroma.

T: Interesting to say the least. I don't think one could ever describe Orval as dull or uninteresting. Immediately upon tasting, I get a funky, dry tartness that remains prevalent throughout. It's not the type of funk found in a wild ale, lambic or gueuze. What a cool brew. There is a slight alcohol note in the finish, but it's subtle enough and fits in nicely.

M: Funky Belgian yeast, good carbonation, slight alcohol in the finish. Pretty good feel.

D: It's unique, tasty, and a beer to sniff, sip, and savor. A must try for any beer aficionado. (937 characters)

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

12/31/05- Purchased at Weimax Liquors in Burlingame, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz funky and cool shaped bottle. Bottled on and best by date on the neck of the label. Poured into my Duchesse chalice.

Appearance- Golden in color with a cloudy haze. Larger spritzy off white, maybe yellow in color looking full 3/4 inch head. Great lacing left behind as I drink the last drop in the glass.

Smell- Lots of sweet and sour spices with a barnyard type scent. A tad musky. Maybe some citrus notes such as lemon rind noted.

Taste- More sour than sweet. A really hefty amount of citrus with lemon rind being the foremost. White pepper and other spices fill the void with some powdered sugar to round out the sweetness.

Mouthfeel- Well carbonated...very Duvel-esque. Almost like a kind of champagne. Very puckering and drying.

Drinkability- Because of the carbonation level it's a tad less drinkable for me, but not because the flavor was bad. Orval brings back nice memories as it was the first Belgian beer I ever had back in 2002. I remember liking it then, but I don't remember it tasting like this. Guess my pallete has really grown from 3 years ago. (1,158 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.67/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This review is for Joe Lipa and Craig Hartinger, my two main men at Merchant du Vin. Cheers and thanks for everything (except this beer - that I bought in DC)! I had gotten Joe to send me an apron which I wore pretty religiously (no pun intended for once) until I met the brother who oversees the brewing operation while he was in BOS for a BA BBF and he signed the apron for me using a Sharpie. The apron is now retired, but the memory lives on.

Orval translates from the French to Valley of Gold and the abbey was the gift of a princess who dropped her gold engagement (?)/wedding (?) ring into a nearby river. She prayed fervently for its return and when a fish surfaced with her ring in its mouth (look closely at their logo), she decided to pay homage by building an abbey for the local monks.

This is a beer that must be decanted super slowly not just to avoid stirring up the lees in the bottom of the bottle, but also because it has an inherent tendency to foam. Sure enough, over half of the glass was initially filled with dense, rocky eggshell-white foam. That was okay by me because it also allowed the funk of the strain of brettanomyces yeast that they use to fill the room. Color was a deep coppery-amber with NE-quality clarity thanks to my oh-so-gentle pour. Nose had the Brett funk going, but not in an obtrusive way. I have long characterized Orval as Brett for Beginners, a way to introduce the heretofore uninitiated to the wonders of Brett without causing them to turn away and never want to try any such beer again. I think of Jolly Pumpkin beers in the same way. Mouthfeel was quite full, perhaps due to the large CO2 bubbles inherent in the beer, and with a bitter, funky flavor that is unique to this beer. I cannot adequately describe it, but do know that when I say "bitter", I do not mean hoppy bitter, but more like a vegetable matter bitter. Finish was extremely dry, which is just the way I like my beers. I am not a sweet toothed person and bitter and dry suits me just fine. Do not pass up a chance to try this beer! (2,053 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,180 ratings.