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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,177 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

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Reviews: 2,177
Hads: 4,865
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 8.41%
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: 2,177 | Hads: 4,865
Photo of RenoZymurgist
3.36/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

When I was first told about a hoppy belgian brew i was very excited until i thought about how belgians like to use old hops in Lambics, and that got me to be a little worried. Still I bought one and tried it and it poured a huge effervescent head that subsided moderateky leaving some lace. The aroma was slighty fruity and had a malty dryness. The flavor was very strange as it had a strong flavor of hops but not like anything I have ever tried before. The hops were almost like juniper or some other astringent herb but stil retaining the smoothness of quality hops with no cheesiness or weird bitterness. The malt flavor was light and dry making sure that the hops were the highlight of the beer. The body was light and the carbonation led to a champagne like character as it fizzed all over your tongue during the first few drinks. An alright beer it seems pretty extreme to have one after another but if something interesting is needed this brew will certainly come through. (980 characters)

Photo of trancefishy
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a tarnished amber, large carbonation bubbles, and a giant rocky offwhite head.

smells like bubblegum, cherries, and bread. there is also a wine smell, like what you would smell if you left a red wine bottle open for a few weeks with just a little bit in the bottom, kind of like wine yeast, i guess.

wow, that taste is all about that weird wine flavour. sweet, lingering aftertaste of double-bubble bubblegum. wow, that upfront wacky flavour is really right there. it reminds me of the weird flavour in three floyds gumballhead.

mouthfeel is alright, a bit overcarbonated for my liking, but it does well to reinforce the wine/champagne aspects of this beer.

this beer speaks for itself, if you like this style, you are going to get it, as it's a bit of a classic. (783 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 baiser
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy, golden orange, with a soft, creamy head that was hard to control. Great looking beer, as I expected. Spicy aroma, lemon. Complex taste. Malt up front, with a strong hop bite. Lemon, herbs, grassy, alcohol, fruit. Very nice. Some tartness like a cider. (268 characters)

Photo of beveragecaptain
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yellowish brown hue with a large off-white head. Citrus aroma. As it warms, funky farmhouse aromas are detectable. Many different flavors, such as apples, grapes, candy, and spices. Perfect balance between malt and hops. Hoppier than most Belgian beers. Finishes dry with an alcoholic kick. I would have thought the abv was higher than 6.2%. High level of carbonation. This is an amazingly complex beer, which I liked a lot more the second time I tried it.. (457 characters)

Photo of fdrich29
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 FL. OZ. Bottle from The Wine Cellar of Silene in Waltham, MA. Bottled on 1.06.2004 Best Before 1.06.2009

Thick, frothy head with an apple cidar body.

Smells or citrus fruit and flowers, reminds me of springtime.

Taste of lemon, hops and again, the essence of spring time. Crisp and somewhat bitter.

Tears through the mouth doing and saying so many things, quite an enjoyable sensation.

Great beer. I put off trying this brew for a long time, but it has been on my list of must tries since I discovered Belgians. Try it if you haven't. (556 characters)

Photo of chunkylover53
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

For a pale, this is pretty dark. It pours a very beautiful orangey colour with a large white head made up of huge bubbles. Some of the head got stuck in the neck of the bottle.

It smelled warm and earthy with a hint of dark fruits. I could swear I also smelled peat in there. Like a good single-malt scotch.

The mouthfeel was quite thick, and the taste was a bit bitter - some malt and hops - and again, the "peat" characteristic came out. Sadly, the taste was ruined by the presence of what I can only describe as soap.

Remember that terrible purple soapy-tasting gum that you used to get out of the machine at the local grocery store when you were a kid? Remember how there was always one kid who *loved* that stuff, and everybody else thought he was a freak? Well it tastes like that stuff. And it starts get a bit overwhelming as it warms. Which is really a shame considering that everything else about this beer is excellent. (940 characters)

Photo of tatterdash
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was very pleasently surprised to see this at the LCBO, so picked up a couple. This Trappist Ale is one of the oldest apparently, and looks very good. It pours a coppery-orange with a fluffy, pillowy white head that laces and lingers and clings and clumps. Smell was very earthy and peaty, farm-like, with a hint of dark fruit. What appears to be an off-smell (horse blanket), becomes something I truly look forward with repeated sittings. Taste was a nice hoppy bitterness, dry, very earthy and peaty. It is pretty much exactly what I would picture medival monks drinking in a dank monastary. Nice creamy mouthfeel, almost a crispness to it. It would make a nice start to a night of Trappist Ales, and is slowly becoming my favourite of the bunch. (747 characters)

Photo of ghurux86
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this is a very good beer. i couldn't pour the 11.2 oz bottle into my glass without the head overflowing. the head is VERY thick and VERY creamy and leaves the most impressive lacing i've seen, thick chunks of foam stuck to the sides of my glass. Taste seems to be mainly of hops with maybe some spices i can't identify and alcohol--the alcohol taste isn't too bad though. It's a little bitter but overall good for the ABV. It goes down very smooth and the mouthfeel is just about right-not too thick not too thin. my only complaint is the drinkibility because of the price, 8.99 for two 11.2oz bottles, after tax that about 5 bucks a beer therefore i probably won't get it again. but that doesn't take away from it being an execellent brew. (740 characters)

Photo of elricorico
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a brownish orange with enormous amounts of big fluffy head. The head slowly winds itself down, but leaves its mark all over the glass.

Smell is... different. Smells very fresh, almost a melon or apple aroma. It makes me think of a candle store with a rack of scented candles on display.

Taste is tart up front, I can't put my finger on what the flavours are comparable to. There is a finish of spicyness(though not a lot), then the hops take over nicely. Citrus tastes in the middle for sure. There seems to be a lot to it, but I can't pin down the distinct flavours.

The mouthfeel is bang on for the style, a little bit of body and healthy dose of carbonation. I find myself getting through this beer rather quickly, it certainly is an easy drink.

I like it, sucks that it is even more pricey then Duvel here.... (835 characters)

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

The bottle is 11.2 oz. with a loose label that states 6.9 alc vol. and has bottled on - expiration dates.The beer has a cloudy appearance with a nice foam top that sticks to the sides.
This has the smell of a crisp, sweet, slightly caramel, and mellow ale.
The taste has the same sweet slightly caramel flavor with a crisp carbonation throughout.The after taste is crisp and refreshing.
Mouthfeel is not too syrupy with soft and crip carbonation.
For the type this is a very drinkable beer. (495 characters)

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

I poured this beer into a glass chalice and it is a nice copper, hazy color. It also has a very nice creamy, slightly off white head. The head lasted through the entire beer. The beer appears very carbonated. The smell is yeasty with hints of lemon and hops.

The taste is refreshing with hints of the yeast, lemon, and nice bitterness. The mouthfeel is light, dry, and carbonated. I could imagine drinking more than one of these in a sitting. The aftertaste is quite mild with a small amount of bitterness. This is a very drinkable beer if you are craving something refreshing.

At the end of the beer the lacing still very heavy on the sides of the glass. This would be one of my favorite Trappist beers if I were in the mood for something light and refreshing. (769 characters)

Photo of pootz
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I realize I may have engaged in a self flagellating sin (and changed the taste of this saintly nectar) by serving in a vessel other than the Orval chalice (as demanded by the label)...but I was more concerned with getting a bottle that wasn't skunked from poor handling as I hear is so common...should be a moot point as the bottle date was 4 weeks ago.

It poured into my tulip glass a murky honey-gold with a lovely frothy cap that laces wonderfully...This is a fine smelling brew with lots of complex aromas: Horse blanket, tangerines, medicine, perfume, walnuts...nice nose.

Wow!! Creamy mouth feel...medicinal hopping that pilsners only WISH they could hold in balance with complex fruity spices and a heady nice malt wallop...all wrapped in this great funky yeast taste that defies description...the finish is mercifully slow so you can catch all the different tastes this brew has to depart....with a pleasant warming.

Despite what the monks say this beer is good enough to drink from the bottle. ;-)

This is a world class unique old school ale that sets the standard for complex taste and great drinkability. (1,129 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 WanderingFool
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Having recently attended the Belgian Beer Fest I thought it was time I opened the Orval I had sitting in my cellar for the past year and a half.

The beer pours a slightly hazy copper color with a thick white frothy head on top. The fruity esters combine with hints of orange peel, all spice, and sour apple to create a complex aroma. Each sip of this medium bodied beer is dry with a fizzy tingle on the palate, like champagne. The flavor is a blend of dry malt, citrus (orange and lemon), spice (allspice?) and grapes. It sort of reminds me of a white wine. It finishes with a slightly sour taste.

Orval is a full flavored somewhat complex beer. Flavors seem to grow as the beer warms. (692 characters)

Photo of bashiba
3.23/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into my Goblet it was a very creamy light red color with a huge infusion of head initially which subsided to about an inch thick of thick brown bubbles.

Scent is a very heavy complex mixture of sour yeast and several spices, also has a very earthy hop aroma going on.

Taste has a very fresh bread malty taste up front followed with a nice sour yeast hop taste with various flavors coming and going quickly in between, including some light citrus and various spices.

The mouthfeel is pretty good with a nice light creaminess about it.

Overall though not real impressive or something I would drink on a regular basis. (635 characters)

Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 15.07.2003, best before 15.07.2008. Huge, sandy head full of pits and craters fills half the goblet on the first pour, "subsiding" into boulder-like chunks while snapping, crackling and popping loudly. Clouds of head cling to the sides of the goblet and crust into eternity. A pillar of carbonation rushes through this hemisphere of polished bronze liquid with apricot highlights. Stinks lovingly of sourdough bread, tart green apples, sweaty armpits, curdled milk. Stench of rotting canned fruit cocktail soaking in London dry gin. Nosefeel is cool and sharply acidic, as of vinegar; the aroma practically fogging up the room. Before pouring the yeast this is dry enough on the tongue, with flavors of oregano and bay spiking through a mineral-laden palate and finishing with a twist of lemon. The yeast adds flavors of rancid sweet mint, bread, human feet, and gimlets splashed over a forest floor's worth of mold and spore before fading to a subtle aftertaste of dry herbs. Pinpricks of carbonation punctuate a mouthfeel that is almost airy with lightness and distributes effortlessly over the tongue. Drinkability is dependent only on one's ability to get over one's own senses. I can't write more without rambling pseudo-philosophically about this beer as a living, breathing organism; a metaphor for entropy; and the cyclical nature of decay and rejuvenation. Remarkable. (1,385 characters)

Photo of heidelbeerg
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a copper orange color with a fluffy white large head. Carbonation was very evident upon pouring. The smell was crisp and citrus like. The taste was very interesing and different from anything else I've had. Very zingy yet light citron flavor along with a high amount of carbonation. Acidic and lively. Hops evident in the finish. The mouthfeel was a little odd to me. The carbonation seemed almost too high. I had the feeling off pop rocks going off in the mouth. It wasn't bad, just different. The drinkability was good but not great. The bitey nature would keep me from drinking too many of these. (616 characters)

Photo of dgallina
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy golden amber color. Beautiful thick, rocky, white head which leaves tons of lace on the glass. Very fragrant. Mostly floral and green apple smells with some spicy alcohol undertones. Some initial dry bitterness in flavor, but quickly develops into floral, and hoppy tones. Finishes very dry, with alcohol warmth. Highly carbonated and creamy mouth-feel. Slightly astringent and warming. A classic and very drinkable Trappist ale. (444 characters)

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

Appearance: Hazey peach color with a sparce head.
Smell: Hops, spice, medicinal tones, and alcohol in the nose.
Taste: Very bitter with fig and banana notes. Very fast finish, that leaves a bitter woodiness in the mouth. Not as complex as other Belgians, but still very enjoyable.
Mouthfeel: Very highly carbonated, and sticky in the mouth.
Drinkability: It gets better as it warms, which makes me want another. Very drinkable for a Belgian. (445 characters)

Photo of budgood1
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours out a hazy copperish colour with a charged up sea foam head..lots of carbonation to support the lasting and sticky lace. musty green apple aroma...smells nice. odd but pleasant lemony flavour...lightly malted, a bit yeasty and rather dry. finishes with a bite of alcohol...lingering mustiness in the aftertaste. this is a nice, light on the palate belgian pale ale meant to be paired with a bit of cheese and meat. not my favourite style to drink...but worth respect and i would sample again under the right circumstances. (528 characters)

Photo of beerceller99
2.71/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

33 cl. with a 5- 14- 2003 bottled on date.

Amber colored with a white head that fades quickly to a sheen. Has a strong witch hazel oil smell with a whiff of mild spices and orange peel. A thin to medium body carries a rather bland grain and yeast flavor with a strong, and very off setting medicinal taste. Finishes with a mildly bitter orange peel taste.

For five bucks a bottle there are far better trappist brews. (422 characters)

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

I'm embarrassed to say that it has taken 8 years since I first tried this beer to get my thoughts (and feelings!) posted on the "inter-web." I must start by saying that it is my all-time-favorite commerially available beer.

There is no food I have met that it doesn't pair well with. I have cooked with it (I've got the Orval Cookbook- in French), served it in place of champagne, drunk it while gardening, given spoonfuls to a teething child (Oh, don't be such a prude! I had the parents' consent!). I have converted International-Style-Light-Lager-Only-Drinkers with it (after filling their minds with tearful accounts of my trip to the brewery). And yes, I buy it by the case.

What else can I say? It is the worlds' perfect drink. (739 characters)

Photo of paterlodie
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As soon as I poor out this beer I get warm. Impressed by the fact that you can arleady smell this beer at a distance of 50 cm, which I never did before.... and what a smell! Old hops and the Bayanus yeast make this beer one of the most special one's in Belgium I think... and probably of the world! The taste is dry with a lot of hop and off course the great taste of the used (secondary) fermentation yeast. One that can't be missed in my (beer)cellar! (453 characters)

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.95/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Ah the enigmatic and always polarizing Orval... You either love it or you hate it. The first time I tried it, I didnt like it, then I tried it again. I quickly realised that Orval is an acquired taste, its unconventional profile really grows on you.

This beer poured a hazy orange color with the most massive, invinicible head. This bohemoth literally covers the glass in lace. There lots of frenetic carbonation as well.

The aroma is packed with brett, tropical fruit, honeydew, and also a citrusy tartness. It reminded me of tropical Starburst candies. Hops also make their presence known in the nose.

The taste is intense. There are fruit, perfume, and sour notes, as well as a medicinal bitterness. It reminds me of some kind of tropical fruit, not citrusy, but tart. Theres also a candy sugar flavor as well as some yeasty notes. Leathery brett notes are all over the place. The finish is bittering hops and some risidual tartness.

The mouthfeel is slightly thick, with lots of carbonation evident. This beer is very drinkable, it conceals its alcohol behind an array of unusual flavors. Very unique to say the least, I cant think of any other beer to even compare it too . I will definitely seek it out again.

BTW in Belgian you can Buy this for 1.10 Euros in vending machines! (at least the HUGE indoor one adjoining the Golden Tulip Hotel on the north end of the Grand Place). (1,391 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,177 ratings.