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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

4,402 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,402
Reviews: 2,119
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 211
Gots: 413 | FT: 10
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,402 | Reviews: 2,119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AMo
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orval Trappist Ale pours an opaque, copper orange, with a nice frothy one inch head. The smell is subtle, but pleasant of citrus and malts. Unfortunately, the taste seems a bit off to me. Tastes as though the bitter white of an orange rind was added while brewing. The bitterness isn't good, and is unlike anything I've tasted in any other Trappist Ale. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth, but a bit high on the carbonation. Overall it does smooth out a bit at the end, but not a whole lot. This is a good drink and I like that its unlike anything else, but compared to other Trappist Ales this is my least favorite.

AMo, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of saztheorybook
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

There was almost a marble in its golden and amber blend in the glass with a white brown creamy head. It smelled citrusy and a little rosy, with some hints of maltiness. The first taste was outstandingly bitter and overpowering, with an acrid aftertaste. As I kept drinking, it became fruitier and more enjoyable, but I don't see myself getting this one again for a while.

saztheorybook, Feb 09, 2008
Photo of timbro81
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Carefully poured this lovely into my Chimay chalice. Mounds of head, about a finger ABOVE the rim of my glass. Color is a slightly hazy rich orange that is filled with massive amounts of carbonation. Smells fruity, bready, and yeasty. Tastes of complex fruitiness layered with some booziness and a touch of hop spice (minimal). Nice complexity and nice medium body. Enjoyed.

timbro81, Feb 08, 2008
Photo of Traquairlover
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2-oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A = Awe inspiring off white head with great retention and structure, very foamy at first slowly converting to larger and larger bubbles until a good head is left with heavy lacing on the glass. Liquid is an orange-brown with a very slight haze. Carbonation is medium comprised of small bubbles.

S = Spicy notes of cinnamon and coriander, juniper, lemon zest. Very complex and very enjoyable.

T = Light citrus flavors at the front of the tongue, mostly lemon with maybe some hint of tangerine, then a spicier note of cinnamon and seven grain bread all with a very light yeast underlay, finishing long and deep with a bitter juniper berry taste. Only complaint is that the taste is just a little too watery, but still excellent.

M = Medium bodied, carbonation gets just a little too frothy in mouth, but that dies down as the beer rests longer, decent coating of the mouth.

D = A very good drinking beer, very complex, very enjoyable, not too heavy, not too light.

Traquairlover, Feb 08, 2008
Photo of Homerbag
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip, has beautiful amber body. Darker toward the center, more light coming through on the edges. The head on this is a big two inch pillow that sits like a cloud. Head reduces to a thin foamy layer that laces perfectly.

Smell is floral and warm. Some yeast comming through. Taste is incredible. Floral, some lemon flavors, aged hop, hay-like quality. Everything in perfect balance. Ther real action begins after you let it clear your palate. The after taste dances all over. Notes of apple cider and fresh cut grass soak in. Feel is very dry and crisp. This is asking more more sips.

This is damn near perfect. This is a pleasure to drink and makes any bad day much better. If I could freeze this and ice skate on this then drink it in spring when it thaws, I would. Excellent beer.

Homerbag, Feb 07, 2008
Photo of BMan1113VR
3.18/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle brewed June 20, 2007 with 6.9% ABV indicated. My least favorite brew labeled Trappist that I have tasted thus far. Aroma was pretty nice but did have a slight off scent of sour milk or something similar (maybe chalk). Pours a beautiful amber-orange with a hazy, but still obviously sparkling content. Head is average size, rock, and only just off white. Flavor of mine was just salty and bitter, no real depth or character. Went down dry and metallicy at the end. It would take a bit of convincing for me to buy this again. Maybe I got a bad bottle, but I do not see why this is such a highly rated brew.

BMan1113VR, Feb 07, 2008
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light gold in color. Plenty of huge frothy head sits on top. Probably over two inches. Smell is yeasty, spicy, and floral. Taste is pretty good. There are some astringencies coming from the hops. There is a huge burst of fruity, floral tastes midway through the palate. Then a bittering dryness on the back end.

FtownThrowDown, Feb 07, 2008
Photo of Gehrig
3.15/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Having heard much about the mystical Orval, I decided to finally try it and judge its complexity for myself. The fifth of the seven Trappist beers I've tried, it isn't easy to decide whether this is a work of genius or painful sub-mediocrity at first and, given my penchant for enjoying beers cold, I poured and tried this chilled. [Disclaimer: there is no advised serving temperature on the side, as is often the case.] At first, this was obstreperous, but thankfully improved as it warmed.

The presentation is very good--two fingers of dense off-white foam capping a cloudy, dark orange body. At first glance, it appears to be a kick-ass DIPA. The nose emits plenty of yeast, some hops, and a pungent, sour fruit taste that is perplexing. The taste is distinctly sour, a lemon-pucker taste accompanied by ardent yeast and a very dry, almost metallic taste that's impossible to ignore, and somewhat off-putting. The mouthfeel is a bizarre amalgam of bold carbonation and sour mash texture, producing a bully beer that makes you think twice about grabbing again.

I'm more than willing to finish off this one, especially at a fin a bottle, but won't grab this, ever, ahead of Trappistes, any Westmalle or Chimay, or even La Trappe. I'm going to presume that this is an acquired taste. I'm also going to allow myself the latitude to acquire it at my own pace, which might come at the twelfth of never. Not my cup of trappistes, to be honest. While far different in style and taste, Chimay Grand Reserve, Westmalle Tripel, and Trappistes Rochefort 8 are far superior, as are a number of American Belgian-style offerings.

Gehrig, Feb 07, 2008
Photo of Jerzdevil1116
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz Bottle dated 7/5/07. Purchased at Joe Canals on Fire Road in Egg Harbor Twp., NJ.

A- Light amber body. Tall foamy white head. A lot of carbonation. Plenty of lacing left on the glass.

S- Smells of malt and yeast. A bit lemony also.

T- Fruity. Lemony and yeasty. A slightly bitter finish.

M- Medium bodied. Lively and tingly from the carbonation.

D- A very nicely balanced beer. Easy drinking.

Jerzdevil1116, Feb 06, 2008
Photo of morimech
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Bottled on 30/01/2007 Best before 30/01/2012.

A pour into a chalice a large pillowish white head forms. It takes some time for the head to settle to a thick cap to see what the fluid looks like. The beer is a cloudy amber. As it is drunk a large amount of lacing is left on the glass.

Smell is somewhat like a dry white wine. Very fruity such as passion fruit and pears with some floral hints.

Taste is fruity with a very dry finish at first. As it warms it takes on a earthy aspect with a bit of lemon and grass thrown in. I think I know what people mean by "horse blanket" now. It has that sort of finish. Carbonation makes the beer tingle on the tongue like champagne. I think that is well suited for this beer as it matches well for the light body and flavor.

A very interesting and flavorful beer but the cost and alcohol content does not make this a frequent drinker for me.

morimech, Feb 03, 2008
Photo of essie
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice. Produced a large frothy white head (2-3 fingers) over a slightly hazy amber to golden-colored body

Aromas of lemon, yeast, and some hops

Starts off with a lemon and grass taste, then finishes with a dry hoppy bitterness. Good complexity.

Nice smooth body with a decent amount of carbonation

The smooth mouthfeel and dry finish makes this beer very drinkable for me.

Overall, another trappist beer that's definitely worth trying. I'm not usually crazy about pale ales, but I could definitely see myself getting this again.

essie, Feb 02, 2008
Photo of joepais
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a chalice produced a large white billowy head on top of a hazy golden yellow body

Wonderful aromas of sweet Belgian yeast and flowery hops

Flavors of citrus and grass with a nice hop bitter finish

Medium body with lots of carbonation

Drinkability: It's a Trappist a must try and yes I could drink a lot of these very easy

joepais, Feb 01, 2008
Photo of bassmantin
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep thick golden orange. Great appearance. Nice thick head with strong lacing.

Smell is tart, like a lambic. The Trappists are certainly varied. Very strong tart taste with a fairly bitter finish. This is a nice beer. A solid Trappist.

Overall: You have to love the Trappists...

bassmantin, Feb 01, 2008
Photo of MrIncognito
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a wine glass (I really need to get a chalice). Brewed-on date 15/3/07 best before 15/03/12.

Pours a golden yellow, slight haze with a great billowing head. Lacing all over the glass. Champaign-like bubbles.

Smell is definite lemon, lemon grass. Sweet with slight hops in the background.

Taste is dry and sweet, yet quenching. I really taste some lemon overtones with hop bitterness on the back of my tongue. Carbonation gives a very Champaign feel. Gets better and better as I drink it and as it warms up. Less carbonation midway through. The alcohol is not all too noticable but does have a warming effect midway through. Becomes less dry towards the end.

This is a great beer any time of year. I can't wait to drink this on a summer night out on the deck. I'd be curious to see what more aging will do to this beer... guess I gotta buy a few more.

MrIncognito, Jan 31, 2008
Photo of theopholis
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Body is a crystal clear, light brownish/copper color with tinges of orange. Continually effervesces. A lot. The head is a huge, white, rocky affair with significant staying power and lacing. Looks quite tasty.

Smell- Very potent aroma to start with. Lots of classic Belgian ale smell. Barnyard, horse-blanket, wet diaper stuff going on there. Some malt sweetness comes through. Hints of fresh fruit and earth. Yup. this is a Trappist ale.!!!

Taste- Very complex, sweet, malty flavor mingles with the brett flavor. A strong vinegar-sour on the tip of your tounge. I'm not much on Trappist ales, but I have to admit, this stuff is pretty good.

Mouthfeel -Pretty light body. And quite pleasant with the carbonation level. I've found a high percentage of Belgian ales that were over-carbonated. this one is just about perfect. You can actually taste the beer over the CO2 bite.

Drinkability- Well worth trying.

theopholis, Jan 30, 2008
Photo of jamie2dope
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As far as I am concerned, this is the most mysterious of the Trappist beers in that it tastes like none of the others. Poured in to my Westmalle chalice a beautiful golden orange color, with an impressively sturdy white head. Aroma has lots of lemony zest, a bit of barnyard funk, and an almost salty character. Flavor starts off dry and carbonated, much like champaign, then has qualities of lemon, horse blanket, minerals, and a faint hint of pears. This beer is light to medium in body, and has a cool ability to scrub the palate dry with all of the carbonation going on within it. I would love to have more than one of these in a sitting, one of these days when i have the money I am going to buy a case. Inspiring beer we have right here. The complexity is endless with this one. I especially like the fact that it has some funk similar to some of the Lambics of Belgium, and the Wild Ales of America. Although they are all exceptional, Orval has jumped toward the top of the list for best Trappist beer. Cheers

jamie2dope, Jan 26, 2008
Photo of iconoklaztor
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I really enjoyed this brew. I was expecting something totally different when I tried it. It had a nice carbonation that danced on the tongue and the taste as very nice. It had a slight fruity taste and a nice tart taste to me

Overall, I would love to try this again. I was only able to have a couple oz at the beerfest I tried this at however I would love to knock a bottle or two down of this.

Edit: I picked up a bottle of this finally. I'm so glad I did. I really like this brew. It's a tart, refreshing Trappist! I'm really excited about this brew!

iconoklaztor, Jan 24, 2008
Photo of stimy
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank this at a "The Belgian Beer Diaspora" beer tasting hosted by the late Michael Jackson at the National Geographic. The tasting involved pairing a number of Belgian beer styles with a Belgian and American interpretation of the style.

These are my tasting notes:

This beer has a malty flavor, but is well balanced with the hop component.

stimy, Jan 24, 2008
Photo of umustdrink
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mark and Liz for this one!

A - Opaque light brown dark orange color. Fluffy off-white head retains well at a half inch. Lacing doesn't venture too far from the head.

S - Very pungent fruity yeastiness, lemony citrus, peppery malts.

T/M - Starts out thick, in texture and taste, dry oatty malts with a bit of citrus and some light biting carbonation. Yeasts come in lemony and bittersweet. Unique finish, almost aromatic, like tea with lemon in it; yeasty.

D - A unique experience overall and very drinkable if not for the elevated price. Found the texture to be overly thick and needing more carbonation to compliment the sharp flavors.

umustdrink, Jan 20, 2008
Photo of becktone
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Eye: Looks great. Excellent head retention and lacing with a large, sticky, rocky dirty white head. Color is light brownish copper orange and is very clear. One of the best I've ever seen of this type of style that I've sampled.

Nose: Very potent aroma to start with. As soon as the cap is popped Co2 is visible leaking out from under the cap where it is no longer airtight, as the snake of visible white gas slithers out from under the cap a strong aroma is immediately present. The aroma here is a sweet very strong malt smell. Some spiciness is present as well, mayhaps from the alcohol. Also a bit of fruit and earth type aromas in there...a little sour maybe some brett? reminds me of the mulchy aroma I got from Jolly Pumpkin's Bam Noire.

Tongue: Sweet malt flavor mingles with the brett flavor(at least what I am perceiving to be brett..that is an earthy character, wood mulch) and ultimately seems that the brett wins out, but wait then the sweet malt comes back at the end to give a nice balance to the earthiness of the brew. Not as complex or as sweet as I thought it'd be but still a good brew nonetheless.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: The beer has a very fluffy and light mouthfeel, exactly what the rocky head suggests. It is also high in carbonation and finishes dry. The beer is easy to drink, something that is definitely a sipper, but I don't think that I'll buy it again all that soon. I don't believe that it is worth the $4-5 per 11.2 oz bottle. This beer just doesn't speak to me, good but not something I'd regularly drink.

becktone, Jan 18, 2008
Photo of janubio
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted in its own glass. This is the most singular of the blegina trappist beers, completely different to the other ones. I'd say it's a very difficult beer for the non-initiated.
It has an orange peachy cloudy colour. Strong creamy head, that leaves a great lace. Aroma is very acid, spicy, oranges, apples and leather or horseblanket. Strong body and heavy sour flavor. Taste is very acid, cloves, orange, apples, spicy, dry and again the leather or horseblanket.
I really disliked it first time I tried, guess I'm more used to those extremes aromas and tastes now.

janubio, Jan 18, 2008
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Standard Orval teardrop bottle from the Coop for about $5.50 carefully poured into my New Belgium goblet leaving the yeast sediment behind.

4 finger rocky head that left behind ribbons of thin lace.. brew is slightly hazy orange.

Aroma is complex spicy.. earthy.. some citrus.. perfumy

Flavor is jam-packed.. good bitterness .. very dry finish.. slightly sour with earthy hoppiness abound.. This beer is very complex.. probably too complex for my palate to appreciate.. all I can really say for sure is it is fantastic. Huge carbonation with a light/medium body.

I've had Orval probably 8-10 times over the years and always tell myself I must cellar some... this time I will.. I hope.

JohnGalt1, Jan 18, 2008
Photo of shabbtastic
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first go at a Belgian Pale Ale. The bottle was absolutely phenomenal. 9 more and we're bowling in the basement!!

A - Poured a rich amber with an orange hue into a chalice. Millions of little white bubbles jump for joy!!

S - The smell of the Belgian yeast is very nice. Fruits such as cherries are abound. The clash of earthiness and subtle fruit makes this a very appetizing aroma.

T - Fruity upfront, just like the smell. After that there is a very light and distinct hop finish. This is a very complex array of flavors let me assure you.

M - Very bubbly and bursting kinda like champagne. Quickly fades to a smooth follow with a perfect amount of carbonation.

D - Very drinkable but a little $$$ at the same time. Despite the price I could see this in my fridge a lot.

shabbtastic, Jan 14, 2008
Photo of Mudpuppet
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Ommegang chalice. Pours a cloudy orange with no head.

S- Very light fruity aroma. Did not pick out any specific aromas. Of course this was my 8th trappist of the night so my nose may not have been that great.

T- Yeasty and bready in a very good way. Definite Brett on the after about 30 seconds into the aftertaste. Some orange and citrus flavors.

M- Medium carbonation. Very good amount for this beer.

D- This in an incredible beer. One of my new faves. I will be updating this review when I have many more of these beers.

Mudpuppet, Jan 13, 2008
Photo of giblet
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

poured a nice orange color. 12 oz glass was half head but was a light smooth head. excellent carbonation. it smelled fruity. wonderful on the palate. excellent lace!

a fruitier beer than i prefer but this is an excellent example of Belgian Ale. worth a try.

suckem up and movem out!

giblet

giblet, Jan 13, 2008
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,402 ratings.