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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

4,324 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,324
Reviews: 2,112
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 202
Gots: 390 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is 6.2% when released in Europe, US labels say 6.9% due to labeling laws.

Many agree that the somewhat unpractical addition of this sometimes undesired yeast strain is what grants Orval its age worthiness, not to mention unique aroma, making it a one of the few beers worth cellaring.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,324 | Reviews: 2,112 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Xziz
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%

This is my first review and I really shouldn't put it so far at the top of the scale... but... this ale is simply wonderful. It smells good, it looks great, and tastes simply divine. The taste is very distinct and leaves an aftertaste that keeps you wanting more. I highly recommend it.

Xziz, Aug 08, 2009
Photo of prosper
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%

Bottled 07-03-07 - three-ish years in the bottle.

Pours a hazy gold with a thick white head and lots of co2 streamers. Some lace, but the head is kinda coarse.

Smell - wow, uh, funky. Tart pineapple, acidic fruits. Maybe some light musty cheese. Some herbal character - hops I guess, but they're lost in the huge not-so-subtle blast of smells.

Taste is very good. Lots of different flavours, but they blend well, none overpowering the others. Lots of earthy musty character - damp malts and such. Fruity, but not as intense as most other belgians; same for the phenols - light spice, but supportive and not centre stage. Clean, dry finish.

Mouthfeel is light - lots of carbonation and crisp dry finish help here.

Light (relatively speaking) alcohol, dry body, spritzy carbonation - yep, it's quite drinkeable

prosper, Aug 08, 2009
Photo of JBogan
4.2/5  rDev 0%

Pours an amber/peach color with a huge foamy crown which stays around forever and leaves large amounts of sticky suds clinging to the glass. An exceptional looking beer.

Smells very fruity, with pears, apricot and spices playing the leading parts.

Tastes much as it smells, along with a mustiness which mutes the fruits somewhat. A hint of alcohol in there as well. Good tasting but not quite up the the level the aroma promises.

Mouthfeel was very prickly and dry. A nice crispness is felt in the mouth and on the way down.

This trappist brew has a quite different character from other trappists. While not my favorite beer of this style, it is one I will be revisiting again in the future.

JBogan, Aug 04, 2009
Photo of gyllstromk
3.55/5  rDev -15.5%

A compelling aroma with telltale leather from the Bretts, which hints of great, sour things. Reminiscent of a tart lambic or flanders red. The flavor which follows leaves much to be desired. It's thin, likely over-attenuated from the Brett. Not much perceptible sourness and the Brett flavors (leather and barnyard) are less apparent than in the nose.

gyllstromk, Aug 03, 2009
Photo of Graham5161986
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%

This brew pours a quite brilliant cloudy, orange/amber colour (when held up to light) and exhibits a bubbly, frothy off-white head with good retention and leaves some decent patchy lacing. Aromas of fresh apple, pear, citrus, pepper and spice all touched off with a hint of caramel arise from this beer. As it warms, I am able to detect a bit of salty cured meat as well (it brings prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe to mind). Taste is quite yeast and fruity up front yet very dry and it displays a bitterness from the hops that I have not come across in a Trappist so far. With those hops come along some nice citrusy and even some coriander notes like from a good wheat ale. The spice lasts through the finish and on to the linger with a dryness that is all too refreshing (especially for a Trappist ale). Mouthfeel is champagne like, medium bodied but with a ton of prickly bubbles that tickle the taste buds and leave my mouth watering after its bone-dry, peppery finish. Overall, this ia an achievement of a beer. So complex on the palate and so refreshing - not to mention, its relatively low ABV (for a Trappist, that is) makes it quite drinkable indeed. I have always enjoyed this beer and I will be enjoying it for a long time to come.

Graham5161986, Aug 03, 2009
Photo of kbutler1
4.45/5  rDev +6%

Orval bottle with bottled on date of 24/04/2007, best before 24/04/2012.
Poured into a duvel tulip glass.
Pours a huge pillowy offwhite head that slowly retreats. Color is a red tan hue. Smells of tart fruit and the belgian yeast. Taste is very smooth and lighter than I would have expected. The carbonation bubbles all around your mouth. Slight bite on the tongue is the first flavor I pick up followed by the taste of fruit. Finishes with a slight bitterness.
I was looking forward to trying this after reading all the good reviews. My only negative is that I wish it had a little heavier mouthfeel to it.

kbutler1, Aug 02, 2009
Photo of vrazionale
4.45/5  rDev +6%

The signature 11.2 oz. bottle at refrigerator temperature poured into a snifter. Bottled on 13/11/2008.

A - Pours a thick (3 finger!) creamy white head that backs down to a thin layer across the top of the brew. Body is a slightly ruddy hazy brown color.

S - Horseblanket funk, tart citrus fruit, sage, mushrooms, sea salt minerality, old wood, musty basement. Funky notes step up the most here. I find it difficult to qualify the nose to the extent that it deserves, but suffice it to say that it's beautiful and enticing and unique.

T - Crisp and tart with a well-crafted balance between hoppy pungency and funky yeast action. Mushroomy, musty, herbal, and dirty (in a good way). Completely unique flavor profile. So incredibly refreshing.

M - Good carbonation that acts as a palate cleanser for the next delicious sip. Doesn't feel at all heavy, even considering the indescribably complex flavor profile.

D - What a remarkable brew! I love the musty, dank, minerally flavors here. This brew would pair so well with food (cheese especially!) - ceviche, an aged natural-rind goat's milk cheese, or fried fish tacos. My very first Orval, but certainly not my last!

vrazionale, Aug 02, 2009
Photo of Kemmerlin
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%

A: golden color with a faint haze an lots of carbonation and with a huge head that was creamy fluffy and thick peaking at the center and lasting forever.
S: definitely has a Belgian aroma to it such as banana brown sugar and slight coriander.
T: has a definite pale ale taste but does
not taste anything like it smells. It is a model beer for a Belgian pale ale. Flowery hops and flavorful yeast and caramel malts gives it a rounded out flavorful taste and a long lasting aftertaste.
M/D: the carbonation is quite heavy and the brew is heavy as well with slight bitterness on the tongue. Drink this brew slowly and savor it's complexities.

Kemmerlin, Aug 02, 2009
Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.78/5  rDev -10%

Served in a La Fin Du Monde glass.

A- Golden in color with slight haze. The head on this is crazy foamy. Took a while to settle to pour the whole bottle.

S- I can smell the brett for sure. Very potent and strong smelling. There is also a great fruity smell to it as well.

T- The sour taste is great, very satisfying. There is a great fruity taste, but something else is there that is almost like a bitter hop taste.

M- Great mouthfeel.

D- Very easy to drink, and very refreshing.

Wetpaperbag, Jul 30, 2009
Photo of ecoastman
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%

Drinkability - Easy too drink and unique but not my favourite. I will buy another trappist instead but might try again during a tasting with friends. Not sure if it's the beer or the Indian food I had a couple of hours ago but the acidity might be giving me slight heartburn.

Appearance - hazy golden straw colour with a nice rocky head to start which recedes to a uniform thin layer. Not much lacing.

Smell - mildly malty sweet with herbal perfume and spice. Very unique. Has a bit of a funky dank smell but I like the funk.

Taste - like the smell but is a little less complex than I expected. What's that spice...cardamom? Maybe it's just cloves combined with citrus... Lichee? What the hell do I know? I don't even have a glass beside my name on this site and probably haven't even earned the right to pick up a bottle of this stuff. All I know is that this beer is very different.

A light metallic taste in the dry finish but a good beer for interest sake. Maybe I'm drinking this one a little too cold.

(10 minutes later) Nope - even when it warms up it still isn't my favorite. I think I'm going to be at the lower range of the average scores on this well ranked beer. I'll reluctantly give it a 4 for it's uniqueness.

Maybe fresh is better? Bottled 03/09/2008 - so either March or September if you know the European dating system... that reminds me - we need a world dictator. This is July 26/09.

Mouthfeel - light watery body and smooth. Well carbonated.

ecoastman, Jul 27, 2009
Photo of Aenema
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%

Appearance - Pours a murky golden brown with a voluminous, fluffy off-white head. Sticky lacing rings the glass.
Smell - Hay, citrus, funk.
Taste - Subtle mix of flavors. Leather, funk. Difficult to narrow it down more. Dry astringency.
Mouthfeel - Fine, smooth carbonation with a medium body.
Drinkability - Quite drinkable, though not a beer I'd pick to have more than one of.

Aenema, Jul 26, 2009
Photo of BobZ
3.78/5  rDev -10%

First, different (as Yogi would say) "from your average Trappistes Beer"

Completely unique Belgian Ale, damn near its own category.

Appearance: Cloudy amber, with amazing head, the head is whip cream for god sake.

Smell: Spice and pepper hits you right away, great foreshadow of the taste.

Taste: So different, spicy, peppery, good, all mixing together, really unique ale.

Mouth: Good body and strong carbonation, crisp mouth feel.

Drink: This is "binary" beer, I like it, my good friend hates it; I would say it's a nice beer in the mix but not one for many in a session.

BobZ, Jul 25, 2009
Photo of rustrose
3.35/5  rDev -20.2%

Orval Trappist Ale Bottled June 5 2008
Sampled July 24, 2009

Big hiss on opening but no foaming up in bottle. Pours a cloudy deep amber, kind of pale brown in low light, with three fingers of soft fine foam like meringue. Yellowish amber when held to light. Foam lingers like mad and sticks firmly to the side of the glass.

Big fruit salad nose. Apricot. Tropical fruits: pineapple, among others. A little bit of banana phenol as it starts to warm. A good dose of funk, with slight leather notes and that musty thing. Candied orange and lemon with some spice. Quite tangy overall. Faint hint of medicinal phenol, perhaps eucalyptus. A definite dash of pepper. Kind of like a saison, but different.

Flavor is not at all what I expected. It's exceptionally dry and subdued--actually hard to pick out what the predominant flavor is before the swallow, because it seemed like not much was happening. Quite bitter though. This is one of the hoppiest Belgians I've ever had, especially considering it's over a year old--there is a firmly bracing bitterness in the aftertaste. This lingers with a kind of horehound, old-fashioned candy flavor, just without any sugar. Perhaps this is a touch of something roasted. It's just so dry I can't place the flavors. My accompanying pretzels leave a sweeter taste in the mouth than this. Still, this isn't tart at all... just not sweet at all. This is just underwhelming me--it doesn't have the funky excitement of the Jolly Pumpkin La Roja that I had last night, nor the richness of a Belgian Pale, nor the zest of a saison. I guess it has some funk going on, but it seems to happen over a lackluster backdrop that would be much better with some tang to it. There is some orange citrus to the flavor as it warms. The bitterness seems to override some of the other things going on, in my opinion, and whatever is going on needs to be more going on.

Mouthfeel: a bit of tingling and astringency on the tongue. Overall, light, fluffy and soft feeling texture, though perhaps a bit harsher at first with the strong carbonation.

Overall impression: the nose is quite an artistic achievement, the appearance is fine, the lacing is beautiful, the mouthfeel is delightful, but the flavor is quite lackluster. Rarely have I enjoyed my pretzels more than my beer. Not worth seeking again, though it would be nice to compare a fresh bottle. $6 is so much better spent on some other beer. Disappointing.

I'd give this a B or B- overall.

rustrose, Jul 25, 2009
Photo of JordanEllwanger
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%

Poured into a sniffer, really should have used a goblet. Thick fast rising head. I could only pour half of the bottle at a time. Dark rich opaque amber hues. A strong and full coffee cream caramel colored head.

Smells fruity and malty roasts with deep spices that remind me of Christmas dinners.

Taste is so smooth and enjoyable. Differing slightly than the smell, it is a bit more mellow yet still bursting with flavors. As it gets warmer the other tastes come out of hiding.

Feels on the lighter side of medium. Like It rolls up the back of my throat instead of down.

Extremely drinkable. One of my all time favorite Belgians.

Cheers,
Jordan.

JordanEllwanger, Jul 24, 2009
Photo of BamaBeerBuff
3.38/5  rDev -19.5%

Bottled on April 22, 2009. This is a relatively young bottle of Orval.

A: Pours a cloudy orange-amber with a massive off-white head that rockets towards the top of the glass. Thick sheets of lace remain on the sides of the glass and a heavy disc of foam remains atop throughout.

S: There's some noticeable apple and pear fruitiness, a floral component, a hint of peppery alcohol, and a faint musty horse-blanket like aroma. I'd say the predominant component is the fruitiness, but overall the aroma isn't too intense.

T&M: First bottle I had of Orval I really disliked. This bottle I disliked initially, but now about 1/2 way into it, it's growing on me a bit. Pale malt, a dry fruitiness, some leather/horse blanket/funk flavor are all upfront. A metallic and aggressive bitterness comes in late--this is rather hoppy for a Belgian! I'm thinking that some age would settle down those hops (this bottle is quite young) and hopefully reveal some additional complexity on the finish. Body is light to medium with an aggressive carbonation that works well with the bitterness.

D: Well, it's been a bit difficult to get down this glass, mainly because of the intense metallic flavor on the back end.

BamaBeerBuff, Jul 23, 2009
Photo of steveh
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%

Chosen as my 100th review. An old favorite from back when I first started discovering better beer, been a long time -- hope it's what I remembered.

Bottled on December 27, 2007!!? Oh, best before Dec. 27, 2012 -- ought to be interesting.

BA calls this a Belgian Pale Ale, but the ABV is a bit high according the BJCP guides.

A -- Hazy, bright amber color with a very thick, light tan head.

S -- Fruit esters (peach and pear) with mild malt back -- some alcohol pepperiness peeking through.

T -- Hmm, quite interesting and more Biere de Garde in character to my palate; astringency in first taste, followed very quickly by a Brett funkiness, finishes dryly bitter. There's a mild caramel sweetness back, but no bready or nutty character to the flavor. If this truly is supposed to be a Belgian Pale, it's off. If it's a Biere de Garde, it's not terribly bad.

M -- Light medium body with a slick to crisp mouthfeel.

D -- One of those beers that you sample first to get the unique style and character, but not one to quaff all night.

steveh, Jul 21, 2009
Photo of projectflam86
4.03/5  rDev -4%

Brewed on date reads May 6 2008. This one is a little over a year old.

A- Pours a light orange/golden color with a thick fluffy head that leaves nice lacing.

S- Hints of lemon, banana, and floral scents make up a majority of the nose. A little bit of pale malt aroma with hints of some spices that I can't quite place (coriander or juniper?). A sour funk with sweet dark fruits seems to be a decent description.

T- A prevalent sourness hits initially developing into a mellow citrus flavor. Some definite sweet malty bread flavors in the finish. Kind of has a sour apple flavor in the aftertaste. Loads of phenols and tartness. Not tasting much in the hops department, but this could be due to the age.

M- Medium bodied. A bit of funk and tannin like dryness throughout.

D- A very interesting brew. I didn't use the redundant 'horse blanket' descriptor but I can see how that might fit.

projectflam86, Jul 18, 2009
Photo of benclimbs
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

pours a beautiful red copper with a 3 finger head and lots of carbonation, beautiful!

Nose is sour yeasts, ripe fruit and citrus with earthy grass

Taste is very complex and unique, starts out more sour and sweetens and bitters as it warms. Taste is multigeared, it's like a sour beer that isn't sour! It's a great mix of sour yeastyness, dried fruit malts and a bitter hop finish.

Notes: incredible, unique beer with plenty of complexity and variance. A true classic

benclimbs, Jul 17, 2009
Photo of MeisterBurger
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

This thing has a whopping great head, loads of carbonation and a thick, wonderful lingering head. Which normally I like. But in this instance makes it all but impossible to take a sip without getting a face full of foam. Once it settles down it starts to lace beautifully.

Would you smell that? This is one of the best smelling beers on the planet, like candied fruit and sweet flowers or green Jolly Ranchers, but there's also a funky horsey smell in there too.

I should have taken the time to bring it up to temperature because, when cold, the taste is almost medicinal with a spiciness that stings the tip of the tongue and a bit of sourness. As the beer settles and warms a complex array of toasted, nutty, biscuity malt comes to the fore. The bitterness level is spot on. The 6.9% alcohol is present but it plays nicely with the other flavors. It gets a bit tart and soapy towards the end, and no bad thing.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly creamy for something that seems so carbonated and it has a very dry finish.

MeisterBurger, Jul 17, 2009
Photo of Andrewtherooster
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Wow, I can't say I've ever had a beer that tasted like this. Smells a bit lactic, slightly of shoe-polish (and enjoyably so), buttery and a hint of something sweet I can't quite pin-point. Up-front I get a bit of cheddar flavor, a hint of grapefruit-sweetness, finishing with a nice toasty malt. I suspect some Brett used in this beer, as it has some of that wild/sour characteristic comes through. But where most wild ales would turn tart, Orval turns bready in the finish. It reminds a bit of a quality grilled cheese. In fact, I'm sure this beer would go great with a grilled cheese.

As for mouthfeel, I found the beer to be a bit over-carbonated when I first poured it into my snifter, but with some swishing around, it got much better. A little on the thin side, and a bit dry.

Overall, it's a remarkable beer that I would most certainly try again.

Andrewtherooster, Jul 16, 2009
Photo of StJamesGate
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%

Pours a cloudy deep amber with a rocky, sticky head. Nose is lemon oil, starfruit, and a leathery depth that I presume is the wild yeast. Malts hints at gingerbread, cranberry, candied orange, some buttery notes and a whiff of TCP in the middle, white pepper and nettle, allspice hops to finish. Medium to light body, fairly lively.

Insanely complex, and every nuance is joy. Deserves the cult around it.

StJamesGate, Jul 14, 2009
Photo of philbe311
3.23/5  rDev -23.1%

A - Mammoth rocky light tan colored head comprised of varying sized bubbles with numerous craters throughout... Very impressive retention... Clings to the glass as the head recedes... Hazy... Deep copperish orange color...

S - Pear... Apple... Clove and other unidentified spices... A strong earthiness... A subdued yeast presence... A hint of lemon zest... Some pale malts... Very complex and smells tad bit different with each pass...

T - Lots of funkiness... Apple... Pear... Faint lemon... Tart orange... A strong herbalness... Metallic... An ever so slight tartness permeates each sip...

M - Pringly sophisticated carbonation on the tongue... Dry throughout... Medium bodied... Slightly bitter finish...

D - A truly unique creation that is vastly different from all other beers that I've tried... Sometimes unfamiliarity can be fun and exciting, but in this case it is slightly off putting...

philbe311, Jul 14, 2009
Photo of Jwale73
4.03/5  rDev -4%

11.2oz. bottled served in my Bruery Tulip. Bottled on 13/11/2008. Poured a pale, hazy, orange-gold with a voluminous three-inch bright white head honeycombed with holes. Head slowly recedes leaving behinds delicate strands of lacing. Nose is mild - some light fruity esters (maybe some pear and green apple) with a suggestion of funk that is masked considerably in the nose. Taste is consistent with nose; however, roles reverse in the flavor profile. Fruity flavors are concealed by a bit of funky/skunky tartness. Mouthfeel is light and lively and finishes somewhat dry with a bit of acidity/astringency that lingers lightly. A really nice Trappist ale. Different from many of the Belgian Pale Ales in that it is markedly less sweet and more dry than most I've tried.

Jwale73, Jul 12, 2009
Photo of TheCyturn
4.83/5  rDev +15%

This is a young Orval. Bottled two months ago.
Looks very good:poured into a chalice,great lacing and foamy head.
Great smell: lemon, green apples, a bit of orange. Very fruity.
Extaordinary taste! It's like the taste changes with every sip. It keeps surprising you. I like the bitterness and the sourness(that sourness reminds me perhaps of a sour ale).
An exceptional brew. That's for sure, but I wonder how an older Orval would taste like.

TheCyturn, Jul 11, 2009
Photo of Vengeance526
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%

Pours a hazy light orange color and a HUGE white head that very slowly settles down leaving some nice lacing on the side.

Smells strongly of lemon, strong floral hops and a lot of spices. Very inviting and you can really feel the spices hit the back of your nose so I can tell I'm in for an interesting taste.

Taste hits right off with strong notes of citrus, mostly lemon with a little bit of orange. A floral burst of hop flavor lies underneath with a lot of spice present. Some faint notes of yeast can also be detected.

This one starts and finishes very dry. Overall a pretty amazing beer that can truly be savored.

Vengeance526, Jul 11, 2009
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,324 ratings.