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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

4,328 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,328
Reviews: 2,113
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 204
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
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Ratings: 4,328 | Reviews: 2,113 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Chico1985
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A classic Belgian I've put off for far too long. Bottled on date is 6/1/10...a little over 8 months old at this point. Poured this into a tulip glass.

Opens with a very loud hiss. Pours a beautiful amber/orange with an indestructible white head that retains like a champ leaving good lacing as well. Hazy but not much sediment seen. Beers really don't get much better looking.

Brett-effected fruits dominate the smell. Mostly light fruits like lemon, pear and apple but some red grapes as well. Oak and funky barnyard are plentiful as well, this is musty yet bright and fruity at the same time, great balance.

Much like the smell, a superb balance of fruity, funky, sweet, sour. Drinks very much like a lite-lambic or wild ale without the bracing sourness. Lemons, pear, apples, hints of berries throughout. Funky, cheesy barnyard, basement, and big hay/grassiness throughout as well. Bready malts very noticeable, especially in the finish. Some alcohol here and there. Sweet tart/candy sweetness. I start to get a magically delicious vanilla yeasty flavor towards the end of it all.

Mouthfeel is extremely carbonated, but somehow not a bother and strengthens the beer overall in my opinion, it's very light and fluffy. Funk overtakes a bit with warmth.

Amazing, pretty much. Definitely hits its peak once it warms up some. The fact that this isn't in the top 100 with nearly 1,700 reviews is slightly disturbing. The price is hindering but I will buy this as a once-in-a-while treat, and probably a couple to cellar as well.

Chico1985, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of nickthetick
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: poured a hazy burnt orange into my duvel tulip with three fingers of white frothy head that slims down to two fingers and. Only leaves spotted lacing.

S: plums and pineapple and bananas! Fruity and yeasty and wonderful.

T: definite pineapple and banana, belgian sugars and a little malt biscuit. There's a little bitterness that lingers towards the end.

MF: sweet medium body and very effervescent.

D: a wonderful BPA that has a great history and wonderful attributes. Its one of the easier to find trappist ales. I'll defiantly be picking this one up again.

nickthetick, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of GRG1313
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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 Brunite
3.55/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a Duvel tulip glass. Crazy insane carbonation billowing from the etching on the glass bottom. Murky brown-orange with a mountain of foaming off-white head.

S - Lemon and some floral. Thinking of a white wine here.

T - Spicey and wine-like. Lemon/citrus tones. Bitterness adds a nice kick. Extremely dry.

M - Carbonated. Bitterness is not overdone.

D - Drinkable, but not my favorite. I'd drink this when offered but would not shell out the bucks for it specifically. An enjoyable beer.

Brunite, Feb 03, 2011
Photo of heavy216
1.83/5  rDev -56.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: 11.2 oz bottle. huge head, lasted several minutes, apple cider like color when poured.

S: strong fruit/yeast aroma....possibly banana

T/M: strong carbonation....very strong afterbite

D: Not very impressed especially for large price tag, was hoping this one would have been better

heavy216, Feb 01, 2011
Photo of smakawhat
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into what else, an official Orval chalice glass.. and that my friends.. makes a difference. Bottle is one year from date bottled upon tasting.

Let's talk about how this beer looks in this glass. It is flat out exceptional, just amazing. Not sure the "perfect" way to pour it in, but if you create a simple two finger head it works. Let's start from the top. This head is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Rock solid cap.. nowhere to go, swirl the glass and this thing dances. It's like a giant hockey puck on your glass, yellow off white. There is even some lacing stick on this very tapered glass. The color of this beer through this glass is litteraly multi-colored. From top these honey hues, at top taper it is brown going down to caramel and then gold towards the bottom.. It's almost completely opaque but not quite, you can just.. JUST barely see through it. This glass shows off this beer unlike anything I have ever seen, it looks like a million bucks. Throw some more brown dots of yeast from the bottle on the top of it later too!

Bouquet... WOW. This is unreal, at first a sweet confusing spice, strangely creamy and dry, almost like bananas. In reality it's like sweet-tarts and bottle cap cola candy, this incredible powdery sweetness. On top of that, through in some classic barnyard mustyness. FUNKY!!

Taste is challenging. This is almost like a saison but at least a tolerable one. Quick quinine tonic water tingles and bitterness. Extremely herbal, big pungency bitterness, after a few more tastes the sweetness of candy comes out more often but not totally. Almost but not totally metallic sharp palate slicing feel. Very impressive.

Drinkability for me this is a blast, but I can see others having a lot of trouble with this beer and getting past it. Also this beer is not exactly inexpensive either which is too bad cause it is flat out fantastic.

smakawhat, Feb 01, 2011
Photo of orz
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Unusual Cloudy, dark amber/honey tempting color with big off-white head, which could hold for bit longer.

S: Raisins, bananas, cloves and yeast. Just after pouring into glass it was bit unpleasant. Impression disappeared quickly.

T: Bananas, cloves and yeast again, sweetness plus delicate spiciness and barely noticeable salty aftertaste. Great balance!

M: Carbonation is bit too strong.

D: I could drink it the whole night! ;-)

orz, Jan 31, 2011
Photo of e11iott
2.55/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: 11.2 oz bottle. This beer poured an uncontrolable amount of head, almost thinking I got a bad bottle. Another interesting tid-bit on the bottle was it had a made date of 05/08/2009, best before 05/08/2014. That seams like a long time to collect dust on the bottle and for a beer to settle.

S: Slight fruit, very yeast like, overpowerful yeast.

T/M: Interesting, very dry hop aftertaste and bite. Very high carbination.

D: Paid to much and was let down by this one, I might have to revisit it. Hoping my bottle was bad. Other option is this just isn't my style.

e11iott, Jan 31, 2011
Photo of andrewinski1
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled on April 22, 2010. Drank on January 29, 2011. Poured into a chalice. This is super carbonated. Nice Golden color with a bit of haze. There is a great white frothy head on this beer; two to three inches.

The smell is full of lemon and rhubarb aromas. This smells refreshing. Not much brett in the aroma at all.

The taste is mildly sweet in the front and finishes dry and bretty. A hint of band aid is in the finish. Nice balanced flavor.

The mouthfeel is right in the middle of light and heavy for the style; I guess I'd say perfect. Drinkability is off the charts; great "pale ale."

andrewinski1, Jan 29, 2011
Photo of lenin2040
3.4/5  rDev -19%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

First time having this legendary trappist ale...I'm trying to push my palate with more funky/sour beers, and this is one of the originals, so i was very excited.

A: absolutely gorgeous amber with a slight haze. huge, chunky head. bubbles streaming up from the bottom of my DFH signature glass.

S: delicious complex floral notes and a pronounced tange. lemon rind. hay.

T: i think i poured this too cold, as the taste definitely improved after i let it sit for a bit. starts slightly tangy (but not as sour as i'd expect from the nose) then strong medicinal/phenols take over, with just a touch of biscuity malt in the background. a quick hit of horse blanket, then finishes extremely bitter, bordering on astringent, and dries up almost entirely. with a touch more sweetness and/or acidity, this would have been great, but as it was the bitterness as the end took away the complexity in the middle for me...

M: love the intense effervescence.

D: this was certainly complex, but the finish was honestly too bitter for me that made me not crave another at all and give pause for going through the glass. not bitter in a citric/pine american IPDA/DIPA way, but this intense medicinal bitterness.

I will try this one out again in a year or two if/once my palate develops more around wild/brett/funky belgian style brews. but for now, while this was certainly a worthwhile taste, at the price it's not something i'll go back to until i think it's something i'd appreciate more...

lenin2040, Jan 28, 2011
Photo of silentjay
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours an unattractive muddy, hazy orangish brown but with a huge cludlike eggshell colored head that sticks around forever and leaves tons of lacing on the glass.

aroma is rustic with lemon pepper, lemon zest, swamp, mold, and some flowers.

floral, swampy, a bit tart (but not sour), lemony, rustic,with some light stone fruits, pears, apple peel, kinda like a saison crossed with a tripel.

velvety with small bubbles that tickle the tongue until a tart yet dry finish takes over and lasts.

a lot going on in this one makes it a brew to savor despite the relatively low ABV. unique and tasty, something that I may revisit on occasion.

silentjay, Jan 28, 2011
Photo of stewart124
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled 7/24/09

Pours orange/amber color with a huge pillowy head. Plenty of carbonation visible.

The smell is of lemon bits of spice in the nose.

Loads of esters and caramel characters with lemon and spice in the background. Some horse blanket with a bite and carbonation really kicks this up a notch. Quite tart all the way through that finishes bone dry.

This is delicious and one that I wish was a bottomless glass.

stewart124, Jan 28, 2011
Photo of russwbeck
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 1/6/2010, poured into an Orval Chalice.

A: Pour is a hazy, yellowish brown color with a small white head. Head sticks around and laces nicely.

S: Smells floral, almost like straw up front. Perhaps a bit of alcohol underneath with some banana.

T: Sweet taste up front, Belgian yeasts, some banana. Definitely some hops detected, along with a warming alcohol sensation as you drink.

MF: Dry and light, a lot of carbonation on this one.

D: Extremely drinkable. Really goes down smooth. Would be my preferred Pale Ale...but it isn't as readily available as some other, quality pales.

russwbeck, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of dasenebler
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33cl, bottled on 8/17/10.

Cloudy, glowing orange-amber. Lots of clingy, thick foam even with a slow pour. Clumpy, craggy head sticks around forever.

Aroma is at first strongly estery, with some pear and banana bread, and then becomes decidedly earthy and Bretty.

What a wonderful beer. So dry, hoppy, bitter and complex. Lots of grapefruit, lemon and orange rind. Biscuity malts and wheaty flavors are there, but with no trace of sweetness. Then there's that wonderfully smooth Orval yeast, combined with an earthy, musty component. The finish is so bitter, dry and refreshing, just like eating a grapefruit. The mouthfeel is actively carbonated and fluffy, perhaps a little too aggressive.

This might be the driest Belgian Pale Ale or Saison (whatever it is!) out there. Nothing else like it. The perfect marriage of complexity, dryness and refreshment.

dasenebler, Jan 25, 2011
Photo of Trizzle
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very cloudy straw body topped with a thick quilt of very dense off White head that settles to 5mm and clings to the Orval goblet beautifully.

Subtle nose of straw, interesting yeast and pear.

Taste is dry and complex. Very short hit of Buddhist malt, followed quickly by loads of straw dryness. Gentle apples and pears, some interesting yeasty notes.

Body is medium and helped with good carb levels.

Hugely drinkable.

Not the best Orval I've had. But most of them aren't. Still a great beer.

Trizzle, Jan 25, 2011
Photo of robnews
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Leffe Goblet.

After a not so vigorous pour, I still had a two finger head in my glass. Nice slightly off white head. Cloudy dark amber appearance. Head thins out slowly leaving a full coat of lace even near the end.

Great citrusy floral scent reminiscent of spring. Quite nice. Sweet banana smell almost.

Very nice taste of sweet with low power Belgian yeasts present. Alcohol doesn't seem to come through immediately in the flavor, but is there with a nice warming later on. There are several other flavors in there but I can't pinpoint them. Quite complex.

High carbonation but I'm partial to it so I enjoy this.
Really glad I picked this up. Bottle was 2 years old.

robnews, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of Blanco
2.53/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

poured into a chimay goblet.

murky brown/orange color with a head that foams up and wears itself out similar to a champagne. Also, like champagne, the carbonation is extraordinary on this one and hardly looks like "beer."

smell has that funk of wild yeast not unlike a gueze. citrus is in the background bringing some sweetness to the funk.

taste has a little mix of sweetness upfront and hint of candy, although drier in the finish.

carbonation is through the roof at first but it burns itself out after a bit and becomes almost "flat" after being so highly carbonated.

nice drinkability but not great. definitely different but the carbonation issue through me off here.

Blanco, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of biboergosum
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml, unique flared bottle - hard to mistake this one on the shelf.

This beer pours a murky dirty dishwater orange-brown colour, with a copious amount of frothy, foamy whipped-cream eggshell white head, which displays excellent retention, eventually giving up some random snow crystal lace around the glass.

It smells of sharp, fairly sour yeast, earthy lemon peel, pale grainy malt, a bit of white sugar, mild clove/coriander spice, and floral, musty hops. The taste is pale grainy malt, more tart, somewhat acetic lemon juice, softly spicy phenols, white pepper, a touch of seemingly dry honey, a twinge of barnyard essence, and edgy floral hops.

The carbonation is moderate after that initial outpouring, maybe a tad prickly at worst, the body medium-light in weight, but still weirdly substantial, and duly smooth. It finishes fairly dry, the yeast picking it up alongside the dry, bitter noble hops.

A nice, lightly sour, and decently complex pale ale, when shed of all that Trappist lore. It hides the extra ABV oh so very well, and it makes me want to order some European appies in the here and now - y'know, pommes frites, or something.

biboergosum, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of JoeBloe
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottling date 2/4/2010 - 11.2 oz. -
poured into my big dfh snifter (twice) where it throws up a big 2- 1/2 finger head that holds on for a while on its hazy orange base -
smells herbally fruity with a little black pepper - taste of dry fruit and spice, with a hint of that black pepper - sweet and dry at once pretty complex - above average carbonation puts a prickly tingle on the front of the tongue for the first few sips - goes down pretty easy -... oh those trappists...

JoeBloe, Jan 21, 2011
Photo of cpmichael
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a beautiful yellowish-orange. An inviting sight, especially with the visible carbonation.

S: This beer smells great, with floral and lemon overtones, although not over powering. Very pleasant. Reminds me of spring.

T: Immediately noted the tartness from the start, which never lets up, followed by a biting hoppiness. Also, it has a fruity character in the flavor. Very complex.

M: The tartness and hops have a biting effect on the tongue, with a pretty dry finish.

D: Super enjoyable and delicious, highly drinkable, highly recommended.

cpmichael, Jan 20, 2011
Photo of TheCrowsNest
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

second time pouring this beer.

a very unique bottle shape with simple packaging. pours a light hazel and orange with a large head. it was split into two 8oz tulips and still had to wait on pouring the whole thing due to the head. above-average retention.

complex and very fruity. there's a lot going on with it and difficult to pinpoint a specific scent. there's a little citrus, some banana, maybe vanilla? my girlfriend used the words "manure" and "barn."

fruity, but a little more specific with the banana. light citrus. classic belgian flavors.

it wasn't as carbonated as the huge head suggested it would be.

drank it slowly due to limited quantity. i wouldn't have more than a couple of these because of that sweet/fruity flavor. rich.

TheCrowsNest, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of ivanwatling
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:  Clear orange hue, several inches of froffy head, moderate retention

Smell: A rather unpleasnt aroma akina to stale urine.  I asked for a  second opinion from my wife, she said it smelled of beer and was slightly sweet.

Taste: Citrusy, lively, initially very bitter. But then the bitterness blends in with other flavours to produce a well balanced experience.

My wife said the initial taste was sweet, then some sourness came in.  Intruiging how we can be so different.

Mouthfeel: Above average carbonation that seems to work for this beer.  Aftertaste is mellow and pleasant.  

Drinkability: A very pleasant experience.

ivanwatling, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of sfz
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled 5/19/2010, with a best by date of 5/19/2015. Cool bottle. Huge hiss of carbonation as the cap pops off.

A - Pours a slightly cloudy, medium-dark golden hue with an absolutely monstrous head. Pour this one carefully.

S - Citrus with hints of grapes and other fruity yeasts. Very complex.

T - Citrus with noticeable alcohol. Crisp and refreshing.

M - Light/medium carbonation. Smooth, smooth, smooth.

D - Extremely easy to drink, but price and above average ABV make this one for more special occasions. Meant to be sipped slowly and enjoyed.

sfz, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of 700Uave
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottled 4-22-2010

loud hiss as the cap was pried off. My Duvel tulip glass was half beer, half foam upon pouring. Unbelievable amount of carbonation. Its a deep orange color and after 5 minutes, still huge head.

The smell reminds me of Fantome Saison, although its been a while since I last had that. pretty bright, acidic and tart smells come through.

Mouthfeel is very effervescent and quite pleasant, however, for my taste its just slightly over carbonated.

champagne-like tastes are present. Slightly tart. aftertaste is dry and unfortunately thin (if that makes sense). I wish this had a better finish.

Sure, I could drink a few of these, but the desire is not quite there tonight. I plan on trying this once more after having a wider range of beers in this style.

700Uave, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of wmtxbb
3.4/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a chalice. Bottled on 12-30-11, so it's just over a year old.

Appearance: Thick finger-sized head on top of a golden brew.

Smell: Very clean aroma. Hints of tea and hops.

Taste: Very dry, chalk-like. Some pepper and spice flavors...other than that, it's an extremely boring beer. It's also pretty bland.

Drinkability: Bland and boring... I'd like to try a younger version of this. This has been a real disappointment.

wmtxbb, Jan 18, 2011
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,328 ratings.