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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

4,322 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,322
Reviews: 2,112
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 202
Gots: 391 | 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: 4,322 | Reviews: 2,112 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tai4ji2x
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%

direct from the importer here in beijing.

330ml, bottled on 20/05/2008, best by 2013. poured into tulip.

dull orangey amber, with gold and brown hues. slightly hazy. great head, slowly recedes to a persistent thin layer. a couple distinct rings of frothy lacing.

whiffs of funky brett in the nose, but give way to floral and herbal tones, and hints of ripe apple and peach. whiffs of malt vinegar and cider, leather and barnhouse along with grassy hop. note of possible buttery diacetyl? some phenols in the backend.

juicy grapefruit in the flavor, both in fruitiness and bitterness. then back to the funkiness of brett, with leathery notes and horse funk, and that acidic twang. hints of yeast bread and faint sweet malt note, but the focus is on the characteristics of brettanomyces. grassy hop bitterness again reminiscent of grapefruit, albeit not citrusy like american hops. dry, moderately bitter finish with slight acidic pucker.

fluffy carbonation, with some prickliness. acidic texture and a decent substantialness in the feel.

i don't know why garrett oliver thinks this beer can win over beginners. this requires a large amount of acclimation. i can appreciate it quite nicely, but i don't see how a typical macro or even crossover craft drinker can be attracted to this at all. certainly not on first taste, and especially not without being educated about the beer.

(NOTE: an even more positive re-review is forthcoming - i love brett now, and this early review does not do the beer justice)

tai4ji2x, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of mj001jk
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%

Pours an orange/amber color with some haze.

Thick persistent foam and lots of carbonation. Aromas jump out of the glass, it is almost like a soda, bursting with bubbles and sour cherry fruit leading the way, followed by orange peel, tiny hints of nutmeg and light hops.

Body is light and dry with sour dried fruits such as apricot, orange and cherries. It is very vibrant and crisp, no underlying sweetness or lingering funkiness on the palate. Finish is short and leave you with some red apple flavors. A very tasty and refreshing beer.

mj001jk, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of Jordan1985rec
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%

I had this at Monk's Cellar in Brookline, MA and was blown away. The taste was far more dry than many of the other Belgian pales and I really enjoyed it all the way through. There was a clear sour and fruity smell and this sour taste carried over into the taste in a good way. Overall this was a very enjoyable beer that seems like it would pair well with roasted chicken or lamb. Cheers.

Jordan1985rec, Nov 19, 2008
Photo of OtherShoe2
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%

Pours a hazy orange with an incredibly dense haed with lots of sticky lace rings. I swirled the bottle and got a couple of floaters as well.

Sweet wheat scents with that musty straw/hay element, as well as some citrus and mild spice.

This is a real funky one, but in a good way. Lots of different flavors that pop out in waves. Sweet grain, a little spice, citrus rind, and a fruit tartness like something that has gone past its prime. Tart and dry in the finish. Hop bite is there, as is the alcohol.

This is moderately carbonated, which keeps these flavors in check enough for you to sip or slug. I gave this a drinkability rating much lower than taste. I love Belgian beer, all styles, and have had it in country. This is one that is absolutely terrific, but after 2 I'd want to stop and move on to something else. You almost need a change (it is like gorging on Belgian chocolate -- delicious and complex, but you need to set limits). It is special beer.

OtherShoe2, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of EPseja
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%

After having this beer thrice before, and not liking it very much on any of the three occasions, I have finally decided to give Orval a proper review with a much more mature palette.

Served from the unmistakably-shaped 33cl Orval bottle in a Chimay goblet at cellar temperature.

A - Very active and audible pour resulting in a dense, meringuey off white head about 1.5 inches high above the translucent rusty orange beer below. Head retention is unbelievable, and lacing is sticky and thick. Amazing.

S - Grainy sweet and sour maltiness. Apple cider vinegar. Green fermenting hay. Also a note of "sterility" that I can't put my finger on that reminds me of the smell of a doctor's office. Unqiue.

T - Malts are so pulled back that there is no initial hit of sweetness at all in the front. In the middle comes some citrusy tartness and a warming alcohol presence, followed by a yeastiness that pushes the alcohol back. Finish is medium dry with a crisp hoppiness and very long. Deep and full of character; much of which I can't pinpoint in the short time it takes me to do this review.

M - Lively and active in the mouth, puffing up to a round, cream of Belgiany goodness. Swallow is voluminous and large.

D - Much better than I remember it, and a pleasure to drink now that I "understand" it better. This is a trappist ale that is not to be missed, and a legend in its own right both in taste and presence.

Afterthought... Make sure to swirl in all the yeast you can coax off the bottom of the bottle. It adds to the depth of flavor and helps quell the alcohol a bit.

EPseja, Nov 14, 2008
Photo of flipper2gv
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%

A: Pours in a very nice dark orange color that is a little hazy because of the yeast. It has a very generous and strong off-white head.

S: Sweet butterscotch aroma. A little bit of spices (cloves) coming from the yeast. Some tart and wheat scents too.

T: Tart comes up front, which is rapidly subdued by the caramel sweetness. Then it's all about spices and wheat. Some phenols and lemon peel are also present. It leaves a very dry aftertaste that is ok.

M: Mid to high carbonation which is pretty standard for the genre. Medium body with creamy feeling to it. Very nice.

D: Mid to high. It's the aftertaste that kills a bit the drinkability.

flipper2gv, Nov 12, 2008
Photo of rtepiak
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%

amber IPA color with quite a bit of murk that has a chestnut quality. medium head, very lightly off white light brown phlegm yellow. lace. smell is flemish funk??? strangely. pineapple musky wonderfulness. taste is every pale ale i've ever had. some butteriness, soft citrus fruit, pineapple, lemon grassy with a light dough in the murk. truly a beer that respects beer.

rtepiak, Nov 11, 2008
Photo of rye726
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%

Not sure why I never tried this, but here it goes. Pours a hazy cedar color with a nice beige head. Nose has citrus fruits, floral hops, musty oak and sour yeasts. The tart and peppery yeast strain come out in the flavor as well in addition to the sugary malts and fruity hops. Clean crisp body with delicate carbonation. A fantastic brew, glad I gave this a try.

rye726, Nov 07, 2008
Photo of jujubeast6000
3.4/5  rDev -19%

Reviewed 1/9/2006 (330mL bottle):

Pours a cloudy medium brown/red color body. Big white head, with good sized bubbles. Aroma of dark fruit(maybe plum?) , hops, and some sweetness. Fizzy, with a floral taste, slightly alcoholic tasting. Smooth taste. Slight bitter aftertaste.

jujubeast6000, Nov 04, 2008
Photo of matt7215
4.97/5  rDev +18.3%

330 ml bottle from the LCBO

Pours beautiful hazy golden with a huge thick white head. Sediment stains the head when the last few drops enter the trappist glass.

The aroma varries from bottle to bottle with this one. Some time you get a funky brett forward farmhouse aroma and sometimes you get a big hop bomb over a belgian ale body. Either way you cant ask for more. I actually salivate just at the thought of smelling this brew.

The flavours are never quite the same with this one. You have a finely brewed hoppy Belgian Ale with the addition of brett. Depending on age you might not even notice the brett but with some age this really comes out and adds layers of complexity.

This is my favourite beer and if I could only drink one brew for the rest of my life it would be Orval.

matt7215, Nov 03, 2008
Photo of Cyberkedi
2.93/5  rDev -30.2%

Aroma is rich and mainly fruity, almost more like a cider or brandy than a beer, except there is a little maltiness. Color is a hazy honey golden with a very thick and persistent head. Flavor is malty and has a strong apple overtone, plus some bitterness that doesn't seem like hoppy bitterness and is a bit unpleasant. Texture is smooth and just a little on the thin side.

Cyberkedi, Nov 03, 2008
Photo of positiverpr
4.45/5  rDev +6%

a:copper/orange with high leve of carbonation. finely beaded pure white head of 2" that fades to 1/2" slowly. significant lacing.

aroma: subtle barnyard hits me first from the brett. dry hopping(or flowering) is obvious. i dont pick up much malt and some light fruit aroma is there

taste: bitterness is noticeable but not harsh. again- for me the brett grabs my attention. its difficult to dissect the malts(possibly from the dryness). as it warms it gets much more complex and i pick up more spiciness and some subtle clove. goldings hops earthiness fleeting at the end.

mouthfeel: fairly dry. interesting water source i think.

o: fairly drinkable. very unique. i cant think of a direct comparison. for me this reminds me more of a bier de garde style. not like any other trappist that i've had, but again the brett flavor and dryness is in the driver seat.
a wonderful beer.

positiverpr, Nov 01, 2008
Photo of spointon
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%

I poured this one from an 11.2oz bowling pin shaped brown bottle into a tulip pint glass. There was a bottling date listed of 1/30/2007.

A= This ale poured a rich dark orange color with just the slightest chill haze. The head was easily 3" of snow white, rocky magnificence that very slowly dropped to a 1/4" dense cap. Lots of sudsy, sticky lace down my glass.

S= I found aromas of malt sweetness, fruity esters, Belgian yeast, honey, and some mild lemon.

T= This is a subtle Belgian ale for sure. Initial flavors of light malt sweetness blend well with lemon grass, tart apples, and barnyarn yeastiness. There is a distinct flash of hops and then more light tartness kicks in and lasts through the drying finish.

MF= Medium bodied up front with a thinning finish that leaves you feeling like it was lighter than it really was. Nice effervescent carbonation cleansed my palate yet never became too sharp.

D= This ale somehow pulls off the neat trick of being very mild and subtle, yet deeply complex. So long as you can find it in relatively good condition, this is definitely a world class beer.

spointon, Oct 31, 2008
Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%

A: Pours a hazy golden orange color with a dense bubbly head about an inch thick. Nice clingy lacing on the sides.

S: Very complex definite belgian yeast strains, some lemon and orange citrus smells as well as some caramel malt smells too. This is somethin that is tricky to place. but very complex. bready, and a hint of hops in there too.

T: Spicy flavors appear first, this is peppery from the start. Then it gets a little more sour and tart. Really a work out for the tongue. Funky bubblegum aftertaste. Apples, peppers. Sour funk to it, not lambic like, but more belgian sour. This is really somethin.

M: thin, crisp, and refreshing, this is one fine beer. it's a little warming from the alcohol, but perfect. very nice.

D: this is a fine crafted beer, and it really should be enjoyed slowly, but i could drink a fair amount of this stuff, very easily. excellent beer. i can't believe i was hesitant on buying this.

pokesbeerdude, Oct 31, 2008
Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%

A good beer all around. Many complexities in the smell and taste; lemon, banana, orange. The overall impression is balanced. Others who review this will get the intricacies more clearly but IMHO it tastes like a blend of a sour beer and a Belgian double or triple with additional hide-and-seek esters.

A must try for any BA.

StrangeBrewer76, Oct 31, 2008
Photo of Natural510
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

11.2oz, bottled on 20-2-08

Pours a golden-orange color with very thick carbonation. Dissipates into a solid 1cm layer which floats on top and laces the glass with a bubbly finish.
Smells strongly of aged yeast, lemon citrus and a sweet peach & banana notes as well.
The yeast is at the forefront, dancing around on the tongue and leaving a tangy bitterness on the tongue, along with a subtle hop note. Lemon, tangerine & black pepper dance around behind the yeast.
Crisp & refreshing on the palate with a dry, champagne-like finish.
Extremely drinkable; goes down easy....along with Duval, what more could you want from a Belgian pale ale?

Natural510, Oct 29, 2008
Photo of guild337
4.83/5  rDev +15%

I have wanted to try one for a long time, and was in the mood for a good trappist when I saw this bottle at my local grocery store (ok it's a slightly higher end grocery store).

A - What you would expect from a Trappist bottle aged ale. Deep golden color, and cloudy with sediment (mmm...sediment). A nice thick off white head.

S - Not overly fragrant, but what little there is, is fresh and clean. Smell is a little bit citrusey.

T- Taste, on the other hand, is quite complex and has a range of different flavors. My pallet is not the most acute, but I was able to enjoy some pear and apple flavors which were both subtle and poignant.

M - A nice light mouthfeel, with quite a bit of carbonation.

D - Very drinkable, and enjoyable ale. Right up there with my favorite Belgian beers.

guild337, Oct 28, 2008
Photo of CampusCrew
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%

I was disapposinted. It was way to carbonated and disappered in your mouth once I drank it. Slightly bland and weak. But, I had high expectations. Still an excellent choice

appearance: dark copper, tons of lacing

smell: pleasant, light hops

taste: too light flavor

mouthfeel: too high carbonation

drinkability: very easy and smooth

CampusCrew, Oct 28, 2008
Photo of Soneast
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%

Pours a very amber to yellow-orange color. Pretty cloudy, minor sediment. Nice thick head, which stays quite creamy and leaves some good lace.

Smell is fairly dry & herbal has a tarty sort of citrus smell to it.

Taste is very unique, starts out spicy and floral but the rest is sort of like a tart lemon, ends up being pretty dry, but not quite bitter. Not exactly sour but some really nice textures on this beer. I detect some banana flavor in there as well.

This medium bodied beer has a fair amount of carbonation, which I feel actually accentuates the tartness of the beer. This is a delicious brew, and I look forward to my next Orval.

Soneast, Oct 27, 2008
Photo of stageseven
3.13/5  rDev -25.5%

Appearance - Poured into a Chimay Goblet. The beer poured a light brown color, with a 1 finger off white head. The head stuck around and left good lacing on the glass. It was on the cloudy side, but we poured the sediment from the bottle into the glass to allow the yeast to dissipate through.

The aroma was also a bit unexpected. It was grassy, with an underlying spice scent. Sweetness and a scent of banana came through as well

The taste was fairly mild. There was a muted citrus fruit flavor that was slightly tangy, along with a light bitterness. The aftertaste had a slightly metallic tinge to it. Some banana flavor comes through as well.

The mouthfeel was thick and smooth, with a light carbonation. It was however a bit on the dry side.

This was a very easy beer to drink. Because the flavor was so mild, and there was no trace of alcohol in the taste, it was not at all difficult to throw back. I wouldn't say it was the best tasting beer ever, but certainly worth trying.

stageseven, Oct 24, 2008
Photo of ommegoose
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%

Purchased at Evanston First Liquors. Bottled on 4/24/2007, best before 4/24/2012.

Foams up incredibly fast and is a little difficult to pour. A mountain of foamy head develops and lasts and lasts. Pale gold with heavy carbonation to start, but turns into a nearly opaque murky brown when the sediment is added. Significant lacing.

The first thing that catches my nose is lemony tartness, followed by herbal and grassy notes. Like potpourri, or an herbal tea.

Full of lemon and herbal flavors. Maybe a hint of honey. Not very sweet at all. Finishes with a hint of spearmint. Hops are there with some bitterness, but they are pretty subdued at this point in the aging (about 18 months). I need some help picking out the flavors, but I know I like them very much. So unique and different with every sip. Amazing.

Dry. Very dry. Carbonation was not as bad as I expected from the pour. In fact, it's pretty smooth and slightly creamy.

I restrained myself because this is expensive and in relatively short supply, but I'd love to drink about four of these in a go. So dry, and that flavor keeps calling you back for sip after sip. A hyped beer, but lives up to it easily. I'm stunned that this is not a top 100 beer. A true classic.

ommegoose, Oct 21, 2008
Photo of illidurit
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%

Bottle dated Sep 13 2007. Poured into a Chimay goblet (closest thing I have to an Orval goblet). Pumpkin pie color with a light tan head that foams up to two fingers' height and manages to maintain itself at a solid half centimeter for most of the duration of the beer. Huge chunky lacing.

Tart bretty nose, almost like an unblended lambic but not as sour. Some distinct phenolic notes with a touch of golden apple and banana. Sort of somewhere between saison, geuze, and tripel. As it breathes it takes on a more sweet and floral character. Wonderful.

Flavor is lightly fruity with unripe pears. Lots of spices, white pepper, orange peel. Funky grassy brett influence. Dry bitter noble hop finish.

Body is a bit chalky (I poured the yeast in) and medium in viscosity. Highly carbonated but somehow it isn't distracting like in some Belgians.

Remarkable complexity, so multifarious that I'm afraid I can't fully describe/appreciate this beer. Phenomenal.

illidurit, Oct 20, 2008
Photo of UPtheHAMMERS
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%

Heard so much about this beer, so picked one up at Vineyards Elite, thanks again for getting this one in!

Citrus and tart, peppery phenol, hint of banana ester, expected pediococcus and brett horsiness are absent! White foamy head, coppery amber color, hazy.

Wonderful flavors of vanilla, tart and bitter like a citrus rind, very peppery and spicy, some cinnamon, hint of banana with some apple, fairly dry with little malt, finish is slightly metallic

The mouthful alternates between slightly prickly and creamy (the latter picks up when the vanilla and banana flavors peek thru), low to medium body, some mild puckering

Overall Impression, I found it to be a refreshing and interesting beer with an emphasis towards the bitter and tart side!

UPtheHAMMERS, Oct 15, 2008
Photo of beerkittycat
4.2/5  rDev 0%

Appearance is slightly cloudy and amber unless you let the dregs from the bottom of the bottle into your glass then it's abundantly cloudy. Very effervescent with a moussey off-white head that settles after a minute into a thin layer. Aroma is a mix of faint flowery hops, toasted malt, bubblegum, coriander, allspice, and some earthy mustiness that reminds me of an underground stone cavern. Flavor is very much the same as aroma, but I must say that I changed my marks for this beer for higher numbers as it warmed up. As it reaches cellar temp more complex and subtle flavors peaked through and the malt profile while nearly absent at a colder temp evolved into something truly sublime in its personality. I look forward to someday sipping this beer on site at the abbey toasting to the good monks who have cradled this beer recipe for centuries.

beerkittycat, Oct 14, 2008
Photo of stulowitz
4.83/5  rDev +15%

Bottled December 5 2006, poured in a Orval chalice.

Slow pour leaves an awesome off-white, fluffy, creamy head. Smells of citrus, wood, horse, barn and seabreeze greet my nostrils.

Appearance is hazy copper. Taste is bone-dry, refreshing, spritzy. Slightly hoppy and a bit of malt in the background.

Man, this is my all-time favorite beer!

stulowitz, Oct 10, 2008
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,322 ratings.