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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

4,361 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,361
Reviews: 2,117
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 206
Gots: 400 | 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: 4,361 | Reviews: 2,117 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Phocion
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 10/05, so this is about 9 months old. Poured into an Orval chalice. Thick golden-brown with a huge foamy head and great retention.

Malty and fruity overtones, especially pear. Quite an alcohol scent as well, though we are approaching 7% (the site lists this at 6.2, but my bottle says 6.9).

Very dry and earthy taste. Alcohol content is evident as well, not as well hidden as most Belgians. The pears are coming through as an undertone, and it is neither as fruity or malty as the scent.

Medium-bodied. Very dry and crisp on the palate.

This is a good treat, but definitely not a session beer. Very dry and fairly high ABV. Overall I'd recommend it, but not more than one or two a night.

Phocion, Jun 17, 2006
Photo of hunteraw
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at a Belgian restaurant/bar in Cape Town, I think this one has become a new favorite.

Appearance: pours a honey-amber color, good head, some lacing.

Smell: floral, fresh hops aromas - this isn't your typical Belgian! I'm surprised by how forward the hops are. There's some sweetness in here, too, but not overwhelming like some others I've had lately. Not so much else going on aroma-wise, though.

Taste: very nice and complex. Sweet at the front, then has a grassy fresh hops flavor before finishing on a fig note.

Mouthfeel: ahh, nice and dry - refreshing in a Belgian, and very unlike the others I've had recently. Carbonation is good, and the aftertaste is nice.

Drinkability: I liked this one a lot. Many Belgians are too sweet for me, but this one was dry, had a real hop presence, and was overall very drinkable.

hunteraw, Jun 13, 2006
Photo of barleyman
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 11.2 oz brown bottle with a born on date of 5/10/2005. Pours a hazy dark amber with an incredible dark white, rocky head that lasts a few minutes before receding. Sourish smell with hints of pine, yeast and bread. Taste includes all of the smell flavors with a hint of candy sugar and clove. The mouthfeel is a bit thin for a trappist, but Orval is one of the lightest bodied trappist beers being a pale ale. Drinkability is one of the best because of the light body. I have been drinking this beer for over 20 years, since it was the only one available in my area, and a wonderful consistency over that time span.

Just a thought,

barleyman

barleyman, Jun 11, 2006
Photo of WMBierguy
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer pours a hazy straw gold, with a thick, thick head. The head stayed with the beer throughout, leaving thick lacing on the side of the glass and chunks of foam on the bottom of the glass. The taste was good, but less than remarkable, slightly weaker than most trappists that I've had. Overall, it was an enjoyable beer. My only problem with it was the cost: I paid $5.50 for a 12 oz. bottle.

WMBierguy, Jun 07, 2006
Photo of VoodooBrew
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"Bottled on 04.01.2005"

Now here we have an interesting beer...

The nose initially reminds me somewhat of a Gueuze, with its musty, candyish notes -- although of course not nearly as over the top. A dose of hop flavor and bitterness greets the palate, joined by a distinctly Belgian funkiness. The finish and aftertaste demonstrate firm bitterness, certainly more so than what we're accustomed to finding in a Trappist brew.

As the beer warms and I take more sips, Orval's flavors begin to achieve greater harmony, and the beer's bitterness and muted tartness begin to play deftly off one another, with the former stepping up in prominence. Each successive sip offers a new perspective, with spice, malt, fruit, and floral notes all taking turns.

Orval is certainly a unique beer, surprising in its flavor profile, and rewarding in its rapid evolution. I do suspect this is a beer that grows on you more and more...

VoodooBrew, May 22, 2006
Photo of jmz62565
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours a clear amber with a large white foamy head. The smell is pretty strong with what seems like winter spices,coriander,cinamon, and also floral scents, lemon, and pepper. The taste has a almost sour spicy flavor. Coriander. pepper, lemon, and malt are all present in this beer. The m/f is light and all the numerous flavors mix very well. A damn good beer that shouldn't be missed.

jmz62565, May 21, 2006
Photo of wedge
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on: 07.10.2004

Beautiful clouded orange color with an explosive, rocky head of off-white foam. Very flowery smell...perfumy even, with faintly sweet dry lemon aromas and coriander - very different yet highly appealing. Complex "farm-like" fruit taste, lightly spiced yeast, phenols, some tart citrus in the middle, hay...again curiously tantalizing. Lively and soft in the mouth with a long, crisp dry finish.

This is a complex belgian for sure full of all kinds of unique floral and perfume tones. This would be a great summer beer. Two years old seems to be a fine time to be drinking this. Good stuff!

wedge, May 13, 2006
Photo of Sephiroth
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Best before August of 2009. Pours with lots of foam, some lacing. The body is orange. Nose contains barnyard characteristics, along with some dry fruitiness. Hop aroma is complex.

Taste is dry, light, and complex. Initial fruit becomes extremely dry, giving way to dirty barnyard flavors. Some lemon. Fruit returns intermittently. Some hops are noted in the dry, clean finish. Mouthfeel is full while it lasts, sterile slightly bitter finish. Plenty drinkable, I must cellar some of these for several years.

Sephiroth, May 09, 2006
Photo of tastybeer
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Mouthwateringly fantastic appearance. Golden orange color that looks thick and full. Tornado shaped sediment spirals through the middle of my glass. Brilliant white giant billowey head rises way above the rim of my glass without spilling over the edge somehow. When the massive head finally fades a 1/4 inch layer of retention lies over the glowing beer. Not to mention lacing goes all the way to the rim.

So appearance aside, this beer has a lot more awesomeness to it. Delicious farm fresh aroma. Very very reminiscent of fresh dandelions, with a plethora of other floral aromas, dry delicious lemon and grassy hops and a hint of spice. Smells like I'm in the middle of a farm on a hot breezy summer day. Taste is nicely tart and very dry hopped. Great texture. Sour lemon and sweet floral. Complex like crazy with everlasting dryness and farm fresh goodness. Great biting dryness on the tongue, with perfect dense medium body and sharp + fast carbonation. Drinkablity is very very very high especially due to this being so yummy and sexy looking.

Awesome Belgian. I see why this brewery only makes two beers. I imagine the Petite Orval is great as well. Will need to have.

tastybeer, May 09, 2006
Photo of haz77
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours cloudy copper with two inches of head which leaves some lacing behind as it drops to a tight meringue-like half inch. Looks to have very little carbonation.

S - Lemon, grapefruit, flowers, pepper, yeast. Complex.

T - Yeast upfront which then bursts into a bitter floral perfume which lingers long into the aftertaste along with a satisfying dryness. There's a lot going on.

M - Smooth and creamy with a low carbonation. Everything works well together.

D - I've had this once before and wasn't overly impressed. Having tried it again my opinion has changed. Very good beer.

haz77, May 06, 2006
Photo of MUSHROOMCLOUD
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 4-1-05

A - 1" bubbly off-white head spread across a chalice. Falls quickly to a spotty cap. Orange / amber beer. Thin lines of lacing left.

S - Yeast. Fruit. Apricot. Clean, inviting aroma.

T - Fruity (again with the apricot). Tangy. Yeast, bready. Lingering bit of hops in the finish. Hint of a gueuze lambic-like sourness. Even a faint sherry nuttiness is apparent in spots. I haven't had Orval in years and this really tripped me out! Very nice.

M - Crisp and dry. A little less than medium bodied with lively carbonation.

D - Very good drinkability. If only the $4.29 were for a 4pk and not for a single!! Great beer, highly enjoyable.

MUSHROOMCLOUD, Apr 30, 2006
Photo of SilentSabre
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is just fantastic. Poured a very cloudy orange colour with a bit of sediment and debris. Nice thick creamy head with sticky lacing. Smell is mild and gentle with nothing even close to over powering; notes of yeast, maybe corriander, a bit of citrus and cloves. Smells wonderful!! Taste is very strange. It seems to start out like a hefe and then radically change direction after the sip has been in your mouth for about 1.5 seconds and turn into a saison or a gueze. Mouthfeel is smooth and wonderfully carbonated. An excellent Belgian!!

-SS

SilentSabre, Apr 25, 2006
Photo of SethB2
3.53/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at Nuggett Market in Woodland, Ca.

Poured from bottle into a Duvel tulip. Pours a deep amber color with a hint of orange. Beer is non transparent and begins with a pillowy head that disipates down to thin layer, leaving a small amount of lacing. Smells OK. Some melon and grape tones coming through, but a little bitter. A little more and I would say the beer was skunky. Taste is better than the smell. Full of fruitiness with some clove. A little metallic flavor is happenning as well. Mouthfeel is full with a good amount of carbonation and finishes a tad dry. Drinkablilty is also good.

All in all a decent Belgian, but for a Trappist beer, I was expecting a little more.

SethB2, Apr 23, 2006
Photo of Crosling
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ya know, I never liked Orval until this moment. Fairly fresh bottle for American standards, only about 6 months young. Attractive dark orange in color, with a monstrous white head that falls eloquently. Expressive, yeasty and hoppy nose, with hints of flowers, perfume and citrus fruits. Flavor is extremely complex, bursting with citrus fruits, exploding with hop flavor, while remaining very funky, somewhat sour, full of horseblanket and wild yeast flavors. Dry, lingering, incredible and oh so unique. Palate is smooth and bubbly and so fitting.

Crosling, Apr 19, 2006
Photo of akorsak
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am drinking a 330 mL bottle poured into an Orval glass (nice to have things that match). The ale is warming.

Appearance: The ale is a very nice auburn color. It is cloudy, but there is no hint of large scale sediment. The ale poured with a nice head that dissapated quickly, leaving nothing.

Smell: The yeasts used to brew this ale have created a most remarkable aroma. I can't place it, but it is fruity and gamey and dry.

Taste: The ale has a relaxed malt character that imparts a slight sweetness. The yeast leaves the ale very dry taste. The hops are light, giving just a bit of a bite.

Mouthfeel: The ale is very dry, making me want another sip. The yeast really is the thing here.

Drinkability: Very drinkable, with a nice bite and lower abv.

akorsak, Apr 18, 2006
Photo of dnrobert24
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Mmmm Orval. I would like to try this beer again with some other kinds of cheese. Unfortunately, at $4.50 a bottle, that is not likely to occur any time soon.

Poured a beautiful yellow gold with an inch-tall head in my tulip goblet. The head remained a quarter of an inch tall throughout the entire session. Even at the end of the glass, tiny bubbles continued to rise. The beer smelled of fine grass, lemon, and hay. The beer had an earthy spiciness to it and almost tasted sweaty. (Horseblanket? I don't know, I've never smelled one). There was a perfect bitterness to balance out the caradmon, black pepper, and grapfruit. I attempted to pair this with a simple grilled salmon and roasted veggies (asparagus, mushrooms, and zuccini) marinated in a dressing made from Penzey's French Country Vinagrette spice blend. The meal and beer did not contrast or compliment each other and were therefore a push. Thus, I pulled out the gruyere cheese. This cheese was a little old and losing its nutty and toasty qualities, but the beer worked wonders on it. Again, it was not the perfect match, but the hard gruyere actually tasted creamy after sipping the beer. The fading nuttiness came forth, despite the lack of nuttiness in the beer, and the cheese helped flesh out some of the spicy earthy sweaty corners of the brew. I would definitely not try this beer again unless I had a good goat cheese, gouda, or aged cheddar to go with it.

dnrobert24, Apr 12, 2006
Photo of sinistermadman
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange with a finely carbonated head. Smell is quite unique. Aroma is fruit/flower perfume accented with a yeast laden barn smell.

This brew has an very active carbonation while wielding a light to moderate mouthfeel. Almost arid in its finish, the flavor is citric and bitter with a lemon rind tone throughout the drink. I like it.

sinistermadman, Apr 11, 2006
Photo of dauss
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Beautiful vase like 11.2oz. bottle. Bottle on 14.05.2003, best before 14.05.2008. 6.9% ABV.

Appearance: surprisingly clear. Amber orange color with a large white head. Excellent head formation, retention, and lacing.

Smell: Definitely lambic like smell. Acidic with a lot of horse blanket and bardyardy funk, yet in the background there is a sweet malt aroma with a hint of citrus.

Taste: Highly carbonated. Thick malty body, lightly sweet, very lightly phenol, some Belgian funk, and a light earthy hop bitterness with a very slight acidic twang in the finish. Its actually a little on the bland side considering how much is going on.

Notes: Aroma is very unique, that brettanomyces really gives it a complexity. Not as sour as it smelled like it would be. Very interesting and good.

dauss, Apr 10, 2006
Photo of acrawf6
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 7/04
Best by 7/09

Pours out a very nice orangish-red amber, hazy enough to stop me from seeing through the beer. Nice slightly tan thick head on top. Great lacing.

Smell. A light sweetness, small honey smell. Also a little floral. But keeps this creamy sweetness throughout the aroma. Small smells of spices-cinnoman and coriander. A little yeasty.

Taste.Pretty dry. A bit sour and earthy. I do get a sugary taste like bubble gum you've chewed on for too long. Small cirtus notes, little lemon peel. Aftertaste is a little sour and dry.

Mouthfeel. Lots of carbonation, decent body (carbonation really blankets over it), nice balance.

Overall, a belgian classic. Alcohol not really noticable, and seems quite light, i think it would pair well with a nice light salad. good stuff.

acrawf6, Apr 10, 2006
Photo of plaztikjezuz
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bought a bottle at wirkd market in lansing, michigan. ($4.99)
pours a cloudy copper with a pillowy off white head, it looked like it does in the ads, perfect head;two fingers thick.
the aroma is dry slight bit of floral, maybe corriander.
the flavor is subitle, bit of malt, some herbal flavors, corriander, very dry.
the mouthfeel is light, maybe watery.

plaztikjezuz, Apr 09, 2006
Photo of FenwaySquid
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 11.2 oz bottle, bottling date of Oct 2005 and Best before date of October 2010 on the back label, poured into a Chimay chalice.

Appearance: Poured a hazy burnt orango color, similar to apple juice. The head formed a beautifully thick tan color and grew to be a good half inch higher than the top of the glass, but never spilled over the sides. Head retention is also excellent.

Aroma: Spicy with hints of lemon.

Taste: Surprisingly smooth and light for such a high alcohol content (6.9%). The taste kind of reminds me of a gueze lambic with the grassy flavors, but this is way more complex. Hints of lemon and orange in there as well. The finish is dry and seems to last forever.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, almost watery. The carbonation is lacking, but the strong flavors more than make up for it.

Overall: If you like Belgian beers, particularly the trappists, this is a must try. It is, however, definitely not a beer that everyone will enjoy. I did, but I'm not going to rush out and buy more.

FenwaySquid, Apr 06, 2006
Photo of Tupperwolf
3.13/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an apple-juice orange-brown, rather clear until I get to the end of the pour and upend the yeast, whereupon it takes on a very slightly hazy iced tea brown with a little bit of sediment visible floating and a few small bubbles; I poured this into my Trappistes Rochefort chalice and was rewarded with a half-inch head that is currently falling down to a plump ring and some whitish scum.

I've always been a little unsure about my first time trying Orval. I've heard that it's either loved or hated, and often more readily hated than loved. I fully intend to try all the trappist beers I can get my hands on, including Orval, despite my inclination away from sour beers..

So in I go for my first cautious whiff. A very slight horsy brett note passes my nose, and then becomes a more usual Belgian scent - spicy yeast, crispy malts, slightly piney hops. I wait for it to warm to get more powerful scents, but the overall scent profile is pretty mild.

I get a bit of fermented apples in the flavor, and just a little bit of dust and must on top of a little biscuity malts and grassy, piney hops. Even as it warms, the taste leaves me less than impressed... It's just not very bold, not very strong.

The mouthfeel is extremely bright - extremely sparkling and 'tart' feeling on the tongue, with very spritzy carbonation in such tiny bubbles that it's an overall tingle. It finishes very dry, with a slight alcohol parched-throat sensation, and some bitter, musty flavor is lefft behind. It's an interesting sensation, and would be better if the flavors were a bit stronger.

Final thoughts - forgettable. I hate to say it after all that worry about what I would finally think, but I really don't think anything. It's okay, but not exceptional.

Tupperwolf, Apr 06, 2006
Photo of soulgrowl
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Body ranges from chestnut brown to iced tea orange depending on the light. The head on this thing is really interesting; after I poured it, I set it down and responded to an e-mail. When I looked back at it, the head had expanded to about an inch higher than it was before! Currently, the head is collapsing along the perimeter of the class, leaving this funny little nipple-like mesa in the middle. Very unusual, very cool.

Smell: Oh yum. This smells great, really, truly, great. It has a very toasty malt character with piney hops, mild phenols, alcohol and some zippy yeast. An odor of old homes. Kind of like a kicked-up American red.

Taste: Wow, great malt profile; buscuity, toasty, and nice and nutty. Woodsy hops, tangy yeast, and alcohol add a little spice. Tart apple cider and a flash of sweet cherry flavor comes out as you swallow. Finish has a bit of Scotch whisky-ish alcohol sweetness, followed by a dry, wheaty tang.

Mouthfeel: Nice and creamy, very frothy and chewy, but also kind of abrasive due to the alcohol.

Drinkability: This is quite drinkable, but obviously no session beer. Drink late and drink slowly... it is exceptionally savorable.

soulgrowl, Apr 04, 2006
Photo of ggaughan
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a hazy brown color with a thick creamy tan head into a tulip glass. The head lasted for quite a bit of time. The smell I got from this one is a bit of malts and some earthy notes. Interesting but not overly complex. The taste is a bit sour but also a bit of a hoppy bit. The taste is fairly complex with the sour and the bitter and some sweet. Overall I really enjoyed my Orval and will enjoy a few more in the near future.

ggaughan, Apr 02, 2006
Photo of kingjames1
3.28/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Popped the cap, and foam literally erupted down the side. Never had that happen with a belgium bottle-capped beer before. As a result, it poured with a massive, thick tan head. Looks great, and the head lasts and lasts on this one. Smells complex, with lemony citrus, coriander, pepper, and something funky ('wet horse blanket', I once heard suggested, but I wouldn't know). Taste - interesting! Weird. I've had an Orval once before, but stupidly smoked a cigar with it (and as a result, tasted nothing). Now my palate is quite clear. I don't think I've ever tasted a beer quite like it. It has that infamous funk of a farmhouse-style. But it is sour, and really dry. Oh! A fruit fly just got caught in the head - sucker's doomed in this froth-swamp. Fly's are attracted to funk.

The sour-dry finish is reminiscent of a dry red wine, like a cheap merlot ('sideways' comes to mind). Hops are definitely present, and yeast to be sure, but where's the malts? Its there, just under the sour layer of yeast and astringent hops. This is definitely a sipping beer. It kind of grows on you as you sip it - and the fruitiness (from the yeasts) becomes more noticeable to me. But over all, just doesn't agree with me very well (and I like Saisons - at least the few I've had). Good mouthfeel, light, but not terribly drinkable for the style, imo. One is enough, thanks.

kingjames1, Apr 02, 2006
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,361 ratings.