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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

4,489 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,489
Reviews: 2,127
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 218
Gots: 440 | FT: 12
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: 4,489 | Reviews: 2,127 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of adowney523
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle into a Belgian-style chalice. Bottled on 7/11/2006. Color is a deep amber and appearance is slightly hazy. Lots of carbonation produces a white head that retains well and leaves excellent lacing.

Smells of floral esters with a slight sour twang.

Malt taste upfront is rather toasty. The floral esters are abundant and really overpower the toasty malt. Herbal and citrus fruit hints compliment the floral flavors.

Mouthfeel is characterized by the heavy carbonation and semi-dry finish.

Very drinkable and enjoyable.

adowney523, Aug 23, 2007
Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Bottled on 1/30/07, best before date of 1/30/12 so I think I'm in the clear here.

A: Pours a cloudy orangish brownish color (sort of like laqured wood) with a big and puffy inch and a half off white head that fades rather quickly into a thin cap. Big and bubbly as well with nice pockets of carbonation bubbling along the sides of the glass. The only thing I don't like is the head is not as luxurious as I was hoping for and the lacing was a bit lacking but that was probably my fault.

S: Sweet candied sugar with a big yeasty funk, delicate fruity aromas peek through the yeast just enough to be noticed. Also, I am crazy or does this stuff smell like potpourri?

T/MF: Yeasty and along with a great deal of carbonation that balloons in the mouth and tickles the tongue. This one also has quite a deal of spicy herbal tones along with bits of apple and grapefruit intermixed that increases as the beer warms, an interesting balance to say the least. Has a sort of sour aftertaste as soon as the beer is swallowed but becomes a bit floral and fruity after a bit and is quite enjoyable.

D: Damn well balanced beer in every respect, not overpowering in any way, shape or form, just solid in the taste department every respect. It's going to be real hard to top this one.

bluemoonswoon, Aug 19, 2007
Photo of kernalklink
2.95/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Nice presentation, great looking brew with aromas that were mouthwatering- earthy malts, sweet berry lambic sourness and a yeasty tang. Mouthfeel was an explosion of carbonation, very light and airy and tongue tingling. the taste was missing for me- after a hit of hop bitters all that i was left with was a bready yeasty bitterness, and some grassy, watered down malts. I was dissapointed, as the flavors could not even hide the slight ABV present- there are better belgians out there in my opinion.

kernalklink, Aug 18, 2007
Photo of DaveUK
2.83/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Cloudy, brown-orange with a large frothy head that persisted all the way down the glass.

Aroma - Sweet fruit, spicy hops and a hint of yeast soon after pouring.

Taste - Tart, bitter fruit with a citrusy flavour. Alcohol and light malt present in the long bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium and persistant. Almost unpleasant acidic bite perhaps due to a high level of carbonation.

Drinkability - Powerful bitter taste and potent, unconcealed alcohol make this a beer for sipping at the best of times.

Not one I would be consuming regularly, however I would give it another shot, if only to see if the bottle I had was off/skunked in some way.

DaveUK, Aug 17, 2007
Photo of bruachan
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this bottle had been stored warm so the carbonation was a little crazy. i didn't get much of a first pour, in terms of sediment. good lacing though, when all the foam subsided, and some fuzz still lingered at the beer's surface. nice orangy-gold hue

spicy aroma with hops and a hint of oxidation. sweet and funky with cork

bitter with a slight vinuous character. i think i'm drinking this bottle just in time. the malt profile is slight as is the moutheel. this one is reasonably refreshing, actually. i've heard this is a love or hate beer but i'm not sure that's the case for me. i dig it, though i'm not in love. i would love to try it on draft

bruachan, Aug 12, 2007
Photo of BucBasil
2.4/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance: Poured into a tulip from a bottle. Said it was bottled in July of 2006, so it's now over a year old. Drink before date is July 2011, so I guess this one could definitely benefit from aging. Poured a deep amber with hints of brown. The head was off-white with a massive head that I had to wait for before I could finish pouring. Good looking brew all-around though.

Smell: Interesting smell of earth and herbs. Alcohol is definitely evident here, and overpowers any other smell that could be sensed by my nose.

Taste: Not very good at all, which is very disappointing for a Trappist beer. I have very high standards for these guys, and Orval does not come close. I must admit, the beer improves as it warms a bit, but not by much. Tastes earthy with an alcohol finish. There's something very chemicalish and offputting about the middle and finish of the beer, with a horrid aftertaste lingering around for a while after. Since the taste was so distracting I couldn't really focus on the mouthfeel of this one. It seemed nice - not too carbonated, but enough.

Drinkability: I won't be buying one of these for a long time. I don't think I could have a second even if I had another one in the fridge. I'm struggling through the first one as it is... Perhaps it drastically improves with age, but I won't be trying it anytime soon.

BucBasil, Aug 12, 2007
Photo of Bookseeb
3.3/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled on 29/08/2006, it will be almost a year since bottling when cracked. Appearance has a hazy dirty orange with a real thick fluffy head. Smell has a dry citrus aroma along with some sweet spice. Taste is dry, slightly harsh,earthy and citrusy with a bit of hop and carbonation having a good mouthfeel, but nothing that really stands out. Not what I expected it to be in a $6.00 11.2oz bottle, but I'm willing to give it another try in a well aged bottle.

Bookseeb, Aug 10, 2007
Photo of markaberrant
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a clear orange with fluffy white head. Looks great. Some lacing.

S - fruity apricot with some light pepper. Very pleasing nose.

T - Fruit right off the start, but it is quickly washed away. Mmm... yummy funkiness creeps in. Earthy goodness through to the end, and the hop bitterness compliments it all the more. I'm having trouble describing these flavours, but the finish and aftertaste are just wonderful.

M - Generous carbonation creates a light fullness.

D - Refreshing as can be for a sturdy beer, this is my kinda drink.

I only tried an Orval once before at a beer bar. I enjoyed it immensely at the time, but it's even better now where I can concentrate and fully appreciate everything it has to offer. One of my all time favourites.

markaberrant, Aug 08, 2007
Photo of basica
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is my second Orval and it was a better experience as this time round it was served in my
very own Orval trappist chalice and also maybe because I was able to better appreciate this
controversial taste. It pours out into my Orval chalice a slightly dark and murky golden color
with a big bubbly head. It smells of yeasts and malts and the signature orval smell; the taste
itself malty and with the strong signature orval taste which I believe is owing to a certain
style of fermentation or something manipulation of the malts. I am not sure how to describe the
taste except a wierd bready fermentation somewhat which gives the taste strength and character
despite the low ABV of 6.2. Some people found this taste pungent; I felt that it was pretty ok
but does not impress me. Some dashes of citrus and spices included in the taste packet.
The slightly bitter finish was pretty nicely blended in and the after taste is richly malty,
yeasty and spicey with a bready touch which increases as the after taste lingers. In terms of
mouthfeel, the Orval should be around medium body with a pretty high level of carbonation. It
was fairly smooth but not really. Generally OK on the drinkability but could work better on
the mouthfeel and drinkability. Not as smooth as I would like it to be. Nonetheless quite a
unique beer on the whole and worth the experience. I may do some aged Orvals in future.

basica, Aug 08, 2007
Photo of JustinBathurst
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured cloudy copper (more on the yellow side of things) with a frothy cream-coloured head that remained throughout.

The aroma is floral, with cloves and bubblegum.

The mouthfeel is smooth with heavy carbonation, making it a bit hot on the tongue.

The taste is bitter and tart lemon, with some olive and honeysuckle. The slight warming alcoholic notes are present as well, but overall, it feels like a wit. The aftertaste is of citrus peel and cloves.

A nice beer, but a bit too simple to compell me to always reach for a glass. It does keep its head above water, however.

JustinBathurst, Aug 04, 2007
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
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,489 ratings.