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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: 203
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 Vancer
2.9/5  rDev -31%

Here’s a very disappointing brew, perhaps from over-hyped expectorations. The pour started on the right foot - a hazy amber orange with pillowy, sticky ivory head. This one had legs running down the glass.

Only some hints of Belgium yeast and orange. topped by sweet malts. But the taste – wow, just not there. A stringent and soapy blend of two not pleasant tastes. Dry and crisp, yeah, but the drinkability was off the chart, at a freakin $5 a 11.2 oz bottle.

Vancer, Sep 02, 2006
Photo of guzzle211
3.78/5  rDev -10%

11.2oz bottle bought at the foodery in philly poured into a LaTrappe glass.

a:Pretty-close-to-white head explodes from nowhere, made up of lots of tight-packed tiny bubbles which dissipate quickly. Head is slightly reinforced by stready streams of tiny bubbles. Thin lacing holds for a minute or two but melts quickly. Brew is a darker golden-orange-amber; the color is actually very rich.

s: hoppier than i would expect, but still gives hints of that malt / earth aroma.

t/m: first impression is dry / fizz / tang in that order. once my pallate adjusted it washed down a little smoother. for my own personal tastes this is over-carbonated and bloating, much like sweet drinks such as dr. pepper and champagne.

d: i may have rated the drinkability .5 higher than i should simply due to the sheer fact its orval trappist. in order to drink more than one of these i would have to take a half-hour belching break in between, the bloating effect is so high.

guzzle211, Sep 02, 2006
Photo of Osiris9588
2.7/5  rDev -35.7%

This is my first reveiw of an Orval Trappist Ale, but the second bottle I have tried. I disliked the first bottle so much that I figured the bottle had been mishandled, subject to improper conditions. I also think I drank it too cold.

I made sure that this second bottle was down to a proper temperature, but I found it as equally unpleasant--though I did purchase it from the same shop. Also, the beer did progressively improve somewhat from the fist sip to the last. My palate needed to be conditioned to it.

I don't think that it is a completely horrible beer, much of my dislike has to do with personal preference. Both the bottles I have drunk have been capped, 11.2 bottles. The color is a murky amber with traces of sediment. There is ample carbonation, with a torrent of bubbles racing to the surface. The head is thick, leaving considerable, big-bubbled lacing.

The aroma offers strong citrus and yeast, a formidable floral quality, and a hint of cinnamon. The taste offers plenty of citrus and spice, strong yeast and hoppy bitterness. The characteristic that ruins this ale for me is the phenolic aspect--it is so intense and overbearing. A glass full of dirty band-aids. That sums it up. The mouthfeel is crisp and bright, and the drinkability would be fine, except for the extremly unbalanced, phenolic finish, and resulting aftertaste.

A glass full of dirty band-aids. And I love Trappist ales, but not this one. My tongue feels as if I've been been eating pennies all day, and then maybe licked a dead bloated otter.

Maybe the poor quality has something to do in the way the shop handled this particular shipment--but lightning has stuck twice.

Osiris9588, Aug 31, 2006
Photo of afinepilsner
3.78/5  rDev -10%

11.2 oz brown bottle

Orval Trappist Ale was amber in color with a large white bubbly head. The head had decent retention and left plenty of lacing behind. The nose is full of trappist yeast with a little malt and slight alcohol smell. The taste was fruity (mostly citrus) and lightly spicy. The body was medium to light with plenty of carbonation. Nice drinkabilily. Overall it is a good beer and I will purchase again.

afinepilsner, Aug 27, 2006
Photo of wl0307
4.45/5  rDev +6%

The bottle revisited today is exactly the same as the last one consumed 6 months ago--bottled on 29/11/2005. Now is time to see if half-a-year maturing has rendered it any more complex~~ Served cool in a Orval-glass like broad-rimmed goblet.

A: pours a translucent, dark reddish-orangey hue; nice and thick off-white frothy crust sustains on top of a very lively carbonated body, with a dozen streams of tiny fizziness ejecting from the bottom of the glass. Brilliant.
S: the smell this time reminds me much of dry farmhouse Saison as well as Lambiek!! The dryish-sour and zesty-bitter dried lime+lemon peels combine nicely with a slightly funky and sour note of yeasts, yet is enhanced by a delicately spicy edge like nutmeg+clove+star-anise+blahblahblah... true to Orval's uniqueness of that spicy edge; the yeasty and spicy aroma is backed by a rather subtle but noticeable pale maltiness and a subtle sweetness from mixed fruit-esters. Overall, complex as ever... and crazily enjoyable. It's hard to move my little nose away from the glass~~
T: spicy and yeasty and spicy and yeasty and... followed by a bitter flow of lively yeasts, powdery and rough in texture, and laced with utterly dryish yet bitter flavour of dried lemon rind ground with clove and cinnamon and a little bit of star-anise at the back... also coming to mind is that tangy edge of new wood barrels... turning absolutely dry in the aftertaste with plenty of hops and an herbal-sweet edge very much akin to the aftertaste of Chinese mixed-herb medicine soup~~!!
M&D: effervescent texture with a mouthful of creamy fizziness, medium-bodied and lots of flavours to discern with patience... Absolutely nice, NOT delicious, but very complex and worth one's 3/4 hour for slow sipping... Compared with my previous note, this bottle shows more bitterness and is not as fruity as the last bottle. Will review another bottle from the same batch in another six months~~

wl0307, Aug 25, 2006
Photo of dblinkhorn
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance - This beer pours with a large off-white, slightly tan head that is overall pretty soapy (large bubbly head). It dissipates at a pretty slow rate and settles as a thin layer of lace on top of the beer. As it goes down, there is a nice sticky lace on the glass. The brew is hazy honey orange color with a bit of carbonation liveliness in the glass.

Smell - Honey and lemon are the most profound smells on the nose, paired nicely with some medium dark fruits aromas. Cloves and nutmeg make up the spice character of the aromas. There is only a very, very slightly noticeable amount of alcohol on the nose. The hops smell crisp and dry with a low bitterness scent, and the malt scents slightly earthy and raw smelling.

Taste - A rich but fairly mellow malt flavor is up front in the taste. Honey again makes a mark, along with the medium-dark fruit flavors. The spices flavors are stronger than in most beers of this style, but they go well with the rest of the flavors. In the background there is a crisp, lightly bitter hop flavor, along with lemon (or other citrus) rind. The alcohol is present just after the initial part of the taste, and is pretty light in power. It lasts up through the finish, in combination with a moderate earthy flavor. I expected a bit more flavor from this brew.

Mouthfeel - Moderate carbonation level, fairly light alcohol sensation. The brew itself is medium- to light-bodied and somewhat smooth (again not as good as I expected).

Drinkability - This stuff reminds me more of a typical west coast U.S. micro ale than an authentic Trappist ale, which it is. Similar beer of its style easy win in taste and mouthfeel over this beer. Accordingly, it has a very high drinkability because of it's "lightness" all around compared with others of its style and type.

Overall, I'm somewhat dissapointed with this brew (although I was expecting a lot after having the other Trappist ales). This stuff definitely falls short of the other five Trappists, but overall it is still quite a good brew. Recommended at least.

dblinkhorn, Aug 25, 2006
Photo of DaveFL1976
4.03/5  rDev -4%

I'd had this beer before in the US, and I wasn't particularly impressed with it. I found it a bit harsh and astringent.

But then I went to Belgium.

Specifically, to a little town called Orval.

After poking around the courtyard of the monestary and meeting a monk, my wife and I went down the road 100 meters to the cafe. I had the full strength, my wife had the green bottle.

It poured a lovely deep reddish/cherry color with a frothy off-white head. Smell was sweet and spicy. The taste...so much better than how I'd remembered it. This was a damn fine beer. Sweet up front, but balanced out with a certain spicyness that balances things out nicely. A nice beer.

DaveFL1976, Aug 24, 2006
Photo of RobertDwight
4.58/5  rDev +9%

Poured into my lovely Orval challis. It has a deep orange and light reddish/brown color to it. The head is outstanding, it looks so creamy. The head almost reminds me of soft peak egg whites, kind of like meringue. I smell a lot of citrus, and it also reminds me of the smell of a lambic. Tastes of toffee and fresh bread at first, then quickly moves to the citrus & spicy bitterness of the hops which lingers on the tounge a while after taking a drink. This beer reminds me of a lemon meringue pie. I am a huge fan of this beer and think people should drink more of it.

RobertDwight, Aug 21, 2006
Photo of jdoolin
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%

Presentation: awesome 11.2 oz bottle, poured into an Orval chalice

Appearance: burnt orange amber, big, foamy head that lasted the entire time. A truly beautiful beer.

Aroma: Citrusy and floral with a bit of horse blanket

Taste: Slight sweetness up front that doesn't last. Crisp and dry, notes of citrus and pine and the ever present brett character. Some bready malt in the finish. Somewhat light but very smooth mouthfeel.

Notes: Such an interesting, flavorful and refreshing beer. The most unique of the Trappists ales that I've had. Great complexity. I'll always have one of these on hand.

[Edit]: The more of this beer I have, the more I love it. This last time, I paired it with the Orval Trappist Cheese and it was a magnificient combination.

jdoolin, Aug 21, 2006
Photo of ultralarry2006
2.58/5  rDev -38.6%

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle. Left a foamy one finger head that had some good retention, but not much lacing. Body was a hazy orange-amber.

Smell - a sour barn-like odor. Not much else. Some alcohol.

Taste - same as the smell. A sour barn-like must, with very faint tones of plums. Alcohol on the finish, and not really integrated into the taste.

Mouthfeel - thin, fluid, and fizzy.

Drinkability - I don't like this much, so it's not sessionable.

ultralarry2006, Aug 20, 2006
Photo of rayjay
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%

Bottled Jan 24, 2006 (7 months old).

Gimongous head, even when poured extremely slow. Had to wait a few minutes to drink it! Very bubbly like champange. Fairly dark pale color and hazy.

Smell is sweet and bready, like pumpernickle. Very Belgian profile, similar to the Saison Dupont I had last night. Additionally, I detect Brett.

Taste is complex; there is a definate pilsner bite with some hoppiness (the skunky kind), but the malts are more along the lines of a Belgian pale. Then there's the sour undertone kind of like...um...the melted ice cubes of an empty glass of orange juice. Unmistakably Belgian, defined by the yeast.

A hard water taste and feel that lingers in the aftertaste, making it very dry. Alcohol warmth also lasts for a while. Almost reminds me of a British mild, one that has sour notes like a Guinness. Also reminds me of homebrew with a slight infection (one that is still pleasant to drink).

Too young, I can see very clearly that this beer has yet to see it's full potential. It tastes a little watered down and unfinished.

I hadn't had this beer in years and completely forgot what it tasted like. I really dig the flavor. Dispite it's young age, it shows it's greatness underneath. Worth cellaring a few bottles. Cheers.

rayjay, Aug 20, 2006
Photo of TastyTaste
2.35/5  rDev -44%

Appearance: Takes a while to pour, forms a mammoth fluffy white head, good retention. Well hazed orange body.

Smell: Smells like sweettarts, has an odd artificial watermelon smell, bubblegum, and some other maltiness. Not the most appealing thing I have ever smelled.

Taste: All the smells are well represented. A sour and dry flavor, that is a little fruity, with a slight earthiness and vegetable aspect. Not my favorite, a very weird beer.

Drinkability: My least favorite of the Trappists I have tried, will not buy again.

TastyTaste, Aug 18, 2006
Photo of zeff80
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%

A - Poured out a copper/orange color with a huge white head. It left very nice lacing.

S - It smelled of dried fruits, yeast and alcohol.

T - It had a spicy flavor. There was also a citrusy (orange) taste. Good sour notes.

M - It was crisp and dry. It is medium to heavy-bodied.

D - This is a great Belgian ale. I love the sour kick with is traditional Belgian ale taste.

zeff80, Aug 16, 2006
Photo of Naes
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%

This is a pale golden brown colored ale with a very tall head that laces and retains quite well.
The aroma is of dark fruit and spices. Pepper, plums and raisins surface to the nose.
The flavor seems to be dominated by spices. Black pepper seems to be present with a slight hop presence and an almost mustiness near the finish.
The mouth feel is medium in body and is nicely carbonated.

Naes, Aug 16, 2006
Photo of trevorwideman
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%

Well well well, I'm a lucky guy to have found this one last night here in Manitoba. I was like a kid in a candy store.... 2004 vintage.

Pours a hazy orange copper colour with a huge head. Correction, massive head. This head actually grows as you down the glass. Pour very carefully. The pillowy, fluffy head leaves a thick lace all the way down the glass. The vicious carbonation is a thing of beauty. Smell is exceedingly spicy and a bit musty. There's a huge floral bouquet, like springtime when the Lilacs begin to bloom.

Taste is just as intense, like you were tasting all outdoors at one. Floral and Wild, lots of herbal flavour. Some earthy grassy notes. A tangy and spicy lemony sourness comined with an exquisite hop character that's very well balanced. This beer just dances around the palate, and is very complex.
The mouthfeel is full of body, a little sticky. Clean, with a little dryness in the finish. This was an amazing surprise and a real treat for me, The ABV being what it is, it's exceedingly drinkable, but the actual quality of the beer makes you want to save these for a special occasion. Also, I'd like to come back to it in a year or so, see what's changed. If you live in a place where this stuff is readily available, I'm so jealous.

trevorwideman, Aug 15, 2006
Photo of mjc410
4.58/5  rDev +9%

The pour into my Chimay chalice brings forth a voluminous head, 3/4 of an inch high. It is just a little tan, and quite rocky. The beer's color is a bright copper, nit the least bit hazy. The fleur-de-lis at the glass's bottom produces a marvelous carbonation column. Head retention in particular is astonsihing, so much that I'm forced to wait ten minutes for my first non-frothy sip. I certainly can't fault it for this .though.

The nose is full of sugar, bubblegum, caramel, bananas, pears, green grapes, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, and a plethora of other scents I can't pin down. A symphony of scent!

Taste begins with vinous fruit, hits a lemon note, hop bitterness, and ends with biscuity grain. Rich, spicy, and complex, and somewhat alcoholic. Pouring in the dregs restrains the flavor a bit, so I would recommend a careful decanting.

Mouthfeel is approaching thick, and the carbonation is enough to be tingly. Surely coats the mouth.

Overall, a great beer, that, despite its low ABV, ages with grace.

Notes: "BOTTLED ON 07.10.2004
BEST BEFORE 07.10.2009"

I wonder how this would taste closer to the "expiration date." I bought this bottle in the summer of '04, along with another, and drank one immediately. I thought the beer at the time too strong, so I cellared this one until now. It is a wonderful drinker, and I'm glad I waited!

mjc410, Aug 15, 2006
Photo of expatsteve
3.95/5  rDev -6%

Appearance: Orange/raw honey amber color, with cloudy finish. Big 1 inch head with sticky lacing. Low/medium viscosity.

Aroma: Honey, golden syrup. Tart - lemon zest, basil, kaffir lime leaves, and pepper. Yeasty finish resembles bread dough after a first rise.

Taste: Dried herbal flavor, resembling a bouquet garni - dried sweet basil, thyme, oregano, and sage. Very dry with a mild fruity body - oranges and honey present underneath herbal body. Develops a little butter, while maintaining good balance between dryness and zesty notes. Unique in its flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: Thin, dry, and cleansing. Raspy finish is assertive but remains refreshing.

Drinkability: One of the most unique, complex beers I've had - a little challenging, as I haven't had this before, but certainly compelling. I'll definitely return to this beer

after further experimentation with Belgian brews.

expatsteve, Aug 14, 2006
Photo of ryantupy
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%

This poured a copper orange head with a huge rocky head that clung to the glass all the way down. It smelled very tart with malty sweetness present, ripe fruit, spices, and slight hint of lemon. It tasted smooth and crisp, well balanced with a nice hoppiness to it, the hops gave it a slight bite which was nice. It had a nice crisp dry finish that made it very drinkable and enjoyable. This was a very good tasting complex ale that I would reccomend to anybody really.

ryantupy, Aug 12, 2006
Photo of mfcohiba
3.78/5  rDev -10%

Certainly a nice looking beer, poured into its matching glass. Very little head unlike some of the other reviews. Bottled 4/1/06. Nice hop character and lasting finish. Citrusy, somewhat thin body. Extremely drinkable. I will let the rest of mine sit a while longer and try it then.

mfcohiba, Aug 11, 2006
Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%

Round 3 of the 9-Round Trappapooza/Trappaganza '06 with expatsteve.

Pour: murky/translucent honey-amber under a two-finger off-white head leaving soapy lacing as it fizzles. Very attractive.

Nose: Mild gueuze funk (strengthens and intensifies as it warms), tobacco hops, lemon-pepper with a considerable barnyard finish. P.U.

Taste: dried Italian herb tea (basil, oregano, sage) aromatics, peppery mid-palate, metallic-leafy hops bitterness, dry gueuze finish.

Feel: champagne fizzy/dry body with a gueuze, tongue-wrenching pucker in the finish.

Drinkability/Overall: certainly the most unique of the Trappists we sampled with the gueuze funk and pucker, and odd herbal notes. Not what I was expecting from a Trappist, but glad I tried it, though it's certainly a one-and-done for me.

Golden2wenty1, Aug 10, 2006
Photo of ghostwalker
4.45/5  rDev +6%

Bottled on 31/01/2006. Best by 31/01/2011.

Color is orange-amber, no floaties. Head is huge and lush. Sculptured into a craggy mass, it's a thing of beauty.

Nose is sharp and tangy. Hops with some Belgian spices. Mouthwatering.

Flavor is tangy and tasty. Very unlike any Trappist brew I have had before. A little funk, some malt and spice up-front too. Hops on the finish with a bit of an acidic blast at the end. Very different and very good.

Mouthfeel is smooth with a bit of zip. The remnants of the head make for an interesting palate experience also.

Drinkability is tops. I found this sample disappearing far too quickly.

A great brew, glad I finally tried it!

ghostwalker, Aug 08, 2006
Photo of Estarrio
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%

Poured semi-translucent copper brown with slightly red tones. Big, slightly off-white long lasting head. Frothy chunks of foam seemed to last indefinitely on the sides of the glass.

Smells of flowers, pine, sweet fruit and esters.

Medium/light bodied, fizzy and very drinkable.

Very slight warmth from a subtle hint of alcohol. The pungent, earthy hop taste is immediately balanced by a hint of sweet malt. The hops are strong but not overpowering or lingering.

This is an excellent beer.

Estarrio, Jul 27, 2006
Photo of Graebner
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%

Pours an orange-brown color with a finger+ of fine white head that diminishes slightly but never entirely. The head is very fine, but merengue-like...if you tip the glass, the head will take a long time to slide back down the side. Interesting.

Smell is of esthers, cherries, smoked meat?, black tea, some diacetyl, fresh mown grass, malty goodness. This smells really good.

Taste is really not as complex as I was expecting, but is excellent nonetheless. Grapes, a smoky note, delicate malts that melt in your mouth, curds, and slight alcohol noticable. This beer was somewhat too cold when poured, I expect that as it warms up and sheds a bit of its lively carbonation it will improve in both mouthfeel and taste.

The mouthfeel is also very good. The carbonation, though high, doesn't hit too soon, and the diacetyl gives it a very smooth feeling as you sip. The CO2 hits in the back, and the alcohol has a cleansing effect that leaves your mouth feeling refreshed, even with the loads of malts that were obvious up front.

Overall this is a terrific brew. It's better slightly warm...if you order it, have the patience to let it warm up a bit (I prefer around 55).

Graebner, Jul 26, 2006
Photo of mattcrill
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%

Bottle inspection: Bottled 24/01/2006; Best by 24/01/2011

Aroma: Funky Belgian yeast, spices (coriander, pepper, clove), a touch of alcohol, ripe fruit notes that remind me of pears and white grapes.

Appearance: Effervescent and cloudy ice tea color with a huge white head. The head settles nicely and retains well.

Flavor: More spicy notes (coriander, cloves, black pepper), pears, green apples, and white raisins.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light, bubbly, drying alcohol notes and just a touch of astringency at the end. Could have used a little more body and less carbonation here and it would have put this beer over the top for me. My tongue just couldn't get over the carbonation.

Overall impression: Part of my continuing quest to sample all the classic commercial examples. This one was interesting, well crafted, and worthy of it's reputation. However, with the price tag, it won't be in the regular rotation. A nice Belgian Specialty Ale that was an enjoyable change of pace for me.

mattcrill, Jul 23, 2006
Photo of nicefix
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%

Poured to a giant white fluffy head with various sized bubbles. Good retension and lacing.
Smells of lemon, grass, floral hops and spice.
I'm tasting similar things to what I smelled but also a complex flavor I can't put my finger on.
Very drinkable and complex. If I had more experience I could maybe nail down the complex flavors and aromas with more precision.
Overall, I would recommend this beer. Very interesting.

nicefix, Jul 23, 2006
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,324 ratings.