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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

4,406 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,406
Reviews: 2,119
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 211
Gots: 414 | 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: 4,406 | Reviews: 2,119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of clickpush
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour: 33cl bottle to wide mouth wine glass. Finger and a half white head with apricot body. Slowly descends. Lots of bubbles along wall of glass. Leaves a huge & healthy white cap with bigger lacing along the outside of the body.

Nose: Unripe peaches and apricots. Malt and grain. Fruit. Green grapes. Almost tropical, coconut and pineapple. Rich. Perfumy.

Mouth: Dry and sour, crisp and foamy and chewy. Strange hop bitterness in the finish. Bret is more present in the flavor than the aroma. Bitter melon rind taste. Mellows as it warms. Perhaps a dry bramble taste.

clickpush, Aug 03, 2007
Photo of nightcrawler
2.17/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Uncapped the bottle and was hit with the sent of bananas and alcohol.

Even with careful decanting, the ale produced a huge head that turned to what best could be compared to melted ice cream. The color was of wheat and looked great.

The mouthfeel was smooth, but I was overwhelmed by a taste of formaldehyde and alcohol. No malt. No sweetness.

I was able to finish it, though. I hope I simply had an old bottle and will try another at some time.

nightcrawler, Aug 02, 2007
Photo of belgbeerdrinker
3.65/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: nice, hazy orange-reddish color, with thick head that settles to very respectable finger-thickness
s: nice sweet malty aroma with hints of raisins
t: sweet malty start with a bitter (citrus) finish that has an interesting linger on the palate rotating between chewy malts and slight bitterness
m: creamy body quickly gives way to crisp carbonation, rather smooth, but a little too bitter. like a journey of thick creaminess to crisp, light feel..
d: aside from somewhat strong bitterness at the end, this is a fine ale that i'd gladly try again.

belgbeerdrinker, Jul 30, 2007
Photo of ablaze
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am very impressed with this one. Bottle looks a bit unique but it is appealing.

I was under the assumption that this beer would be more straw-coloured like Duvel, but upon pour it is a mellow orange with some cloudiness. What impressed me was the head. A creamy light beige that sticks around to the end. This beer just looks delicious from the get-go.

Smell is light, but reminds me of something. Took me a few sniffs but yes! Cotton candy. It's faint, but it's there and reminds me of warm summer evenings at the fair. A bit of cinnamon and biscuits, too.

The taste is remarkable and makes this one of my favourite Belgians already. The malt/hops combination is mild and stays with you for quite a while and is quite flowery, which I like. A very nice pale ale. There's nothing overpowering and the complexity and evolution from taste to finish is astounding. A+++, I'm very impressed. Alcohol taste is nonexistant.

Smooth and creamy with a bit of an effervescence from the alcohol that quickly dissipates. Silky and clings to your mouth, leaving you wanting more. Very appealing quality.

This is something I would drink again and again. There's several cheese, fish and poultry pairings I am going to love to try with this, and I could see myself stocking a few of these for personal pleasure and special guests.

Overall, I'm very satisfied with this Orval.

ablaze, Jul 30, 2007
Photo of nickfl
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Hazy copper color with a large and tenacious head that is one of the few I have seen that deservs to be called rocky; it really reminds me of a rootbeer float.

S - Lemony, sour and funky. Very nice rustic aroma with some ginger and cinnamon notes.

T - Tart and earthy, with a hoppy, leathery finish. Not all that complex, but very nice.

M - Bone dry and highly carbonated.

D - For me this is a beautifully drinkable beer, the dryness and the tart, earthy flavors make it a wonderfully refreshing beer.

nickfl, Jul 28, 2007
Photo of BeerBob
2.55/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Orval Trappist Ale pours a hazy translucent nut brown from a 11.2 oz very dark brown glass bottle with a pry off cap. Head well over three fingers. Foam turns rocky and clings to everything in large clumps on the way down the sides of my glass to a massive broken reef of foam with a lagoon to one side.

Nose is a firm clove and sour banana, with just the slightest wisp of bubble gum. Palate is just a one-dimensional citrus sour with the bight of carbonation. That is it, just a foamy sour bubbly.

“The king has no clothes!”

Dates on bottle:
Bottled on: 29/08/2006
Best Before: 29/08/2011

BeerBob, Jul 27, 2007
Photo of joekfsu
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle, dated 27/06/2006. Pours a hazy amber with a huge, foamy, off-white head that is mostly lasting. Heavy citrus aroma. Initial flavor is citrus, finishes sour and dry. Light body, dry and thin texture, with soft to medium carbonation. Tasty but I don't know how many of these could be enjoyed in one sitting.

joekfsu, Jul 25, 2007
Photo of cyrenaica
3.13/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I tried this beer on July 23, 2007 at 'Smokeless Joe's' in Toronto. The beer was bottled on November 16, 2006 and was 6.9% ABV (as opposed to 6.2%). The beer poured a cloudy brownish gold with a head that lasted through the entire trappist glass. The carbonation was very evident in the glass. The aroma was spicy and fruity, not as yeasty as an Abbey Quadrupel. The mouthfeel was medium-bodied with medium carbonation. The taste was not to my liking. The upfront taste was alright, but there was a lime-like bitterness on the back of the tongue. A very good beer, but not a great beer for me.

cyrenaica, Jul 24, 2007
Photo of goochpunch
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 27/3/07.

Pours out a hazed apricot with abundant carbonation and a humongous, thick head which looks like whipped egg whites. Leaves some raised, bubbly lacing. Smell is a mix of pale malts, light toast, fruit and spice (coriander, passion fruit, banana, apple), and an overall bretty funk. Hops are pretty forward in the smell and come off as herbal and grassy. Flavor starts off with some yeasty fruit and spice atop a malty backbone. Hops start to peak out in the middle and remind me of rosemary. Finish comes around as extremely dry, a tad sour, and with some funk. Mouthfeel is rather light , but not watery by any means, and has a carbonation that is bubbly and lively, but manages to be extremely smooth at the same time. It's hard to keep the glass down with this one. Incredible.

I highly recommend this one as fresh as possible. I've had this beer at almost a year old before and it does not compare to like relatively fresh bottle.

goochpunch, Jul 22, 2007
Photo of oelergud
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange copper translucent body with a huge tan head with good retention and abit of lace. Low carbonation.
Sweet spiced fresh scent. Dark molasses, some nut and brown sugar.
Somewhat subdued flavor. Sweet malts and mild spice. Slightly sour aftertaste with a touch of pear.
Medium body, somewhat puckering and dry.
Pretty good drinkability, mild and pleasant.

-Oelergud

oelergud, Jul 19, 2007
Photo of joeysmokedporter
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow.

Poured a 11.2 oz bottle into a goblet.

A: pours an orange brown color, somewhat hazy, with a substantial slightly off-white head that forms a rocky surface as it dissipates. Lacing as it is consumed.

S: A little outdoor-like, sweet/sour fruit, earthy, grainy. Tough to get specific on the fruit flavor.

T: Begins with the earthy, slightly sour fruit flavor, which lingers for awhile before ending in a dry hoppy bitterness. Upon further reflection the fruit flavor reminds of sour cherries, and is combined with a woody-cherry-pit-like flavor. Somewhat like a geueze with muted characteristics.

M: good amount of carbonation, average body tending a little toward the lighter side.

D: A very drinkable beer among the Trappists, this beer is not as high in alcohol content and is very refreshing. Not as puckering as a geueze but just enough sourness to give it a subtle uniqueness vs other Trappists.

joeysmokedporter, Jul 15, 2007
Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle - bottled 3/17/07

Pours a lightly hazed amber-brown with a mountainous head that fills the remainig space in the tulip. Thick lacing on the glass.

The complexity in the aroma of this beer is amazing. I detect a slight sweet malt scent upfront that is almost candy-like. I smell some very floral hop tones floating above bits of breadiness and a distinct spicy smell. It's very difficult to break them down into separate pieces, because it' so well woven together into a beautiful olfactory tapestry. There is nothing else like this.

The taste is very similar to the smell, except that there is more hop bitterness and less sweetness than the smell indicates. Nice malt tones upfront leading into that amazing floral/spicy/bready taste accompanied by the bitterness. It finishes surprisingly dry, with a very pleasant lingering floral taste and bitterness.

Body is rather light, carbonation in abundance.

A truely unique experience from start to finish, which is a rare find. The complexities in this beer are amazing, and it's ridiculously drinkable. This should be a mandatory addition to every BA's "wants" list.

MaltyGoodness, Jul 14, 2007
Photo of BretSikkink
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Super fizzy beer, a little bit too much so. In a short snifter this one poured out two full fingers, about half the glass, with a very careful pour, and actually continued to rise. While it is staggering and impressive, it's somewhat of an impediment to actual consumption.

A little bit of citric fruit, and also floral, but there's an aroma that I can't quite place. Slightly herbal, maybe like aloe, fresh and spring-like. A little more power and it's a-one.

Slightly tart, with a bit of funkiness, carbonation is high. Crisp and refreshing, not overpowering on any count of flavor. Hops are minimal but present, lending a little bit of grassy flavor, along with the lemon from the nose. Finish is extremely dry and tart. Tasty and complex. Hints towards juniper, with a little pine backup.

Unexceptional Trappist ale, not meant really to wow, but a timeless recipe and great for cooking and pairing. Try it with seared pork chops, garlic mashed potatoes and greens.

BretSikkink, Jul 12, 2007
Photo of Infamous7100
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Poured a dark carmel, almost copper color into a pilsner glass. Offered up an gigantic head, not only on the first pour, but on subsequent ones as well. Had a rocky head the lasted for a pronounced duration. Lots of lacing.
S: I wasn't overwhelmed with any particular scent. A mixture of yeast and a little hops I'd say. There is definitley some fruity overtones, though what fruit, I couldn't say. Alcohol hidden well.
T: Awesome, it almost finished like a lager in my opinion. Finished clean and crisp. Not a lot of aftertast at all. Taste confirmed the yeast smell and also the citrus fruits. Not very hoppy in my opinion. It was well hidden if it was. As I said, hang was minimal, but while on the pallet, it was great, and not overbearing.
M: Very smooth. Nothing too heavy, yet nothing too light. Enough presence to let you know what you were drinking was something of quality.
D: At 6.2% alcohol, this may not be the ideal session beer. Down with that theory. This was great. The bottle was rendered empty before I knew it and I was left wanting another. Well worth the price and I will be buying two or three next time at the store.

Infamous7100, Jul 12, 2007
Photo of OWSLEY069
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy deep copper color with a big off white head. It has the aroma of a sweet yeastiness and hops, a small amout of citrus is in there too. It has the taste of hops, starts kind of sweet and ends dry. It is kind of yeasty, but light. It tickles your mouth as it goes down. Love the dry hopping and it hides its alcohol quite well.

OWSLEY069, Jul 10, 2007
Photo of kmo1030
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

brownish orange with a nice thick beige head that sticks around.
it's got a mild aroma containing orange, corriander, banana, clove, hints of horsey funk. reminds me slightly of champagne actually.
the taste is dry and citrusy, with a tart brettanomyces character coming through. the slightest hint of funk. somewhat champagne like in flavor too. almost too dry, the flavors while good seem to struggle to come through the dryness.
like and very actively carbonated, but suited to the beer.
a unique and good beer, quite drinkable, the bottle is gone before you know it. dry almost to a fault though.

kmo1030, Jul 10, 2007
Photo of Halcyondays
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz. bottle,

A: Sparkling burnt orange with an illustrious white head.

S: Earthy hops upfront, with wet hay, horse blankets, brett funk, and fruity yeast esters.

T: Wow, o' so complex. I don't know where to begin. First the delicious aromatic hops hit you, with the great brett notes to follow. I taste wool, rosemary, sage, grass, old leather, lots of lemon/orange, horse blankets, and some lactic acidity.

M: Incredible - very dry and bitter - so appetizing. The carbonation works wonders and just dances on your tongue.

D: Incredibly drinkable for a beer of this complexity, it can be used as an aperitif, as a perfect complement to a multitude of dishes, or as a perfect drink just by itself. This is my favourite all time beer, I knew it from the first moment I tried it. An absolute masterpiece, I can't say enough about it. Absolutely worth the $4.79 I paid for it. How this isn't in the top 100 is beyond me, but maybe it's just a little too odd and different with the brett. But in my opinion, if this beer is available anywhere in your area - go buy it now.

Edit (6/2010) - Looking back 5 years almost since I first had Orval. This beer is King. At it's peak nothing can overcome. The complexities and flavours in this beer are just incredible, I don't know what could make it better. This beer is almost $6 now, and it's still the best bargain in the beer world. If there is anyone on the fence reading this, go for it, the $6 you pay will change the way you think about beer forever.

Halcyondays, Jul 07, 2007
Photo of BarryNL
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Warm orange with a big fluffy white head which lasts and lasts and laces all the way down the glass.

S: Complex aroma, hoppy, almost cannabis aroma, coriander, floral, fruits - perhaps a touch of leather and grass.

T: Spices, coriander, oranges in the aftertaste. Pleasant bitterness, mild alcohols. Malt flavours are fairly subdued. This was a 4 month old bottle so the bacterial, lambic flavours of the aged beer had not yet had a chance to develop. Good levels of flavour for the alcohol content - I wish some beers almost twice the strength had as much taste.

M: Good body - perhaps slightly over carbonated, although appropriate for the style.

D: Reasonable - I'd have another one or two - perhaps a bit overpowering to drink for an entire night out.

BarryNL, Jul 05, 2007
Photo of genog
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light orangish color with a massive, fluffy white head

Smell Coriander, clove, other spices

Taste is very smooth. Banana, clove, spices

Carbonation that bubbles in your mouth, very good beer.

I enjoyed this beer a lot more than I thought I would. Not necessarily a huge Belgian Pale ale fan, but tried this on a friends suggestion.

genog, Jul 04, 2007
Photo of Cascadia
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a little darker than most Belgian Pales that I've tried. More carmel yellow than golden yellow. HUGE head, tons of lace, looks like a big puffy white cloud sitting on top of my beer. What do they call those? Cummlio Nimbus? Cullio Num-nuts? Anyway, beauty of a beer to look at.

Smells of sour grapes, apricots, carmel and belgian yeast. Damn, this one is already a duzzie. Very complex aroma.

Tastes.... well, it is very hard to pinpoint. It is several things at once. I taste fruit, almonds, burnt carmel and a small hint of heat. Very complex, I think I'll need to revist this one to nail it down better, but it's a tasty one, for sure. One of the more complex Belgian Pales I've ever had. Worth every penny.

Cheers!

Cascadia, Jun 28, 2007
Photo of smcolw
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tried this at a friend's house in Versailles France. He had brought it fresh from Belgium....What a difference freshness makes.

The head was impressive if not excessive. A very nice off brown color. The aroma was warming with a nice balance without too much of any one smell. If anything I'd say it is on the malty side.

The flavors match the aroma profile. Very pleasant; high level of alcohol warmth. A touch of candy sugar sweetness. Great body; relatively low carbonation.

smcolw, Jun 27, 2007
Photo of bosco7
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orange/ golden with red undertones with substantial rocky head. Primo lacing. Beautiful.

Soap, horse, honey, lemon, and apple aromas.

Savory flavors like horse, popcorn, and biscuit upfront and in the middle which gives into tart-fruity lemon zest, pear, and green apple flavors. Finishes bone dry and with a very clean taste. Very unique and flavorful.

Light dry, and spritzy on the tongue rendering this is an easy drinker and a complex one at that. Classic and so unique.

bosco7, Jun 26, 2007
Photo of jjayjaye
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy amber color with a big stiff off white head that resists fading. Huge amount of lacing, some 3D observed.

It has a fresh lemon scent that suggests some sourness to come.

The Medium bodied because of the complexity. The mouth feel has a creamy effervescence that complements the light citrus flavor. Finishes on the dry side and with the swallow a more intense, slightly sour flavor 'notch'.

While i can't say i'd enjoy it as a session beer i do find it to be a good drinker. The mouth feel has a nice complexity to it, but i'm not partial to the dry finish.

jjayjaye, Jun 24, 2007
Photo of FloridaDrinker
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy orange with a robust head. Smell of citrus fruit, malt and sage.. The taste is intensely bitter, lemon, sage with a slight metallic element in the finish. It is surprisingly refreshing.

Orval is a very unique beer, from the bottle to the flavor - there's nothing quite like it. That said, as finely crafted an ale as it is, it's not for everyone. It's my least favorite of the trappist ales.

FloridaDrinker, Jun 22, 2007
Photo of saintwarrick
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My fourth Belgian Trappist brewery down, two to go. Pours an orangey gold, hazy with nice carbonation that keeps a great head on the beer. Aroma is champagne, berries, lemons and other fruit, but not quite as overwhelming as some other Belgian brews. Taste is citrusy and hoppy bitter, with a nice hop bite as it goes down and nice dry finish like an American pale ale.

At 6.2 percent, easily the weakest (by alcohol) and drinkable of the Trappist brews I have had thus far. Another world-class brew.

saintwarrick, Jun 22, 2007
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,406 ratings.