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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

4,498 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,498
Reviews: 2,128
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 219
Gots: 446 | 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: 4,498 | Reviews: 2,128 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of atigerlife
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a Orval chalice.

I've had this beer quite a few times over the years and decided it was finally time to write a review. Here goes nothin...

Pours a beautiful opaque orange/brown color with a wonderful creamy off-white head. Head has good lasting strength. Very beautiful sitting in the Orval chalice.

The nose is quite spicy, with hints of many herbs: orange, pepper, and other aromas I couldn't quite pick up. Quite a "refreshing" and curious aroma.

The taste is very complex and spicy. Hints of coriander, mint, pepper, etc. Some decent hops and quite a dry finish. A "crisp" beer. The amount of flavors make this hard to describe.

The mouthfeel is quite cleansing with a medium body. Overall, I found this to be a very distinctive beer that is nicely refreshing. But, as much as I like this beer, I'm not sure how many I could drink. Not really a session beer. The thing that I like about this beer, its complexity, also makes it slightly less drinkable. Not sure if that makes sense. I also think a food match would be challenging [a few cheeses came to mind, but not much else]. Anyway, a wonderfully unique beer.

atigerlife, Mar 31, 2006
Photo of LarryV
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a huge, dense tan head that slowly faded to an island of foam in the middle of the chalice. Nose is earthy, grassy, really quite hard to describe, but I didn't find any off putting aromas in the smell. Color is a murky amber not unlike a darker hefeweizen. Taste starts with a slightly sour note but then turns into a hoppy, dry finish. There are other Belgians I prefer, but this is a damn good beer. A bit expensive at $6 for a 11.2 oz bottle. Because of the price, I would probably not buy it very often if at all.

LarryV, Mar 31, 2006
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Once upon a time I was not a fan of Orval but as my taste buds and olfactory glands have grown to appreciate and even crave sourness in beer they have also learned to love this fine trappist. For me the aroma of Orval is perfect. It is very difficult to describe. The aroma contains a wonderful sourness that is surprisingly not present in the taste. Within that sourness are hop oils, phenols, a perfumed fruitiness and bitterness, quinine, lemon grass, hay, and so much more that I can’t place a finger on. Orval’s body is light and about as dry as it gets. It is well hopped, slightly bitter, and tastes of medicinal light fruits and leather. I prefer most of the other trappist beers to Orval simply because I prefer quads, dubbels, and BSDAs to Pales, however, I believe that this is the quintessential example for the style. It’s certainly the best I’ve had.

DaPeculierDane, Mar 29, 2006
Photo of TrickKnee
2.63/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

After hearing nothing but raves about the orval I decided to give it a go. I heard so many suggest ways to drink i.e. 50 degrees in a glass to bring out the flavors and many others. All i can say is that I was extremely unimpressed for the hype. The head looked almost like that froth that churns up on the sea shore and just stuck to the glass. Taste was not overly great either. For $5 a beer i would say spend a couple extra bucks and get a decent 6 pack, you will be much happier.

TrickKnee, Mar 29, 2006
Photo of timtheenchanta
3.3/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Darker golden color with large white head that doesn't hold too well. Nice lacing down the glass. Steady stream of carbonation rising up.

Belgian yeast, alcohol, and a barnyardish/horse smell funking it up make up the nose.

A little sour at first. Some alcohol and expected yeast flavor.

Little alcohol in the finish despite being in other parts of the drinking.

Overall a little disappointing. Probably my least favorite belgian pale to date.

timtheenchanta, Mar 29, 2006
Photo of kmcnair
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy light brown to copper color and makes a pale tan crown that fades into an island of cloudy bubbles and a thin halo. Satiny lace clings to the sides of the Orval goblet. Aroma has a sour twang, earthy barnyard funk, horsey. Very unusual flavor, earthy hop bitterness, peppery spice and bread yeast, nearly no sweetness, funky lemon-like sour notes from the brettanomyces, has many saison qualities. Light to medium bodied, crisp intense carbonation, super clean dry finish. These monks make a tasty beverage, will definitely drink again.

kmcnair, Mar 27, 2006
Photo of sabrills70
3.65/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The famous orval bottle with a bottled on date of 6/05 and a best by date of 6/10. Pours a slighly hazy medium amber with a good 2 finger head, OK longevity and OK lace. Earthy and grassy citrus smells with slight caramel and raisin. Very earthy and grassy taste mixed with a decent amount of hop flavor and bitterness - although its an odd flavor, not off, but odd. It is different from the other Trappist ales I have tried. It seems a bit harsh. I have one more bottle tucked away that I will have to try in a year or two. Its not a bad flavored beer, I just think this bottle is still too young.

sabrills70, Mar 25, 2006
Photo of allergictomacros
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Hazy copper with a big chunky head. Fades slowly to a 2 mm constant cover and a touch of lace on the chalice.

S - A touch of citrus in the nose, but dominated by "horseblanket?" - that characteristic smell. Reminds me a bit of dirty alley-ways. It's different anyway.

T - Quite dry. Grape-y,wine-y flavours and a mild bitterness. Lots of complexities in this... and a finish is dry and bitter. Has a unique flavour I can't really place that really comes out when it warms in the mouth. At bit of a sweet, fruitiness that comes with an astringency and maybe some tannins.

M - Very light, and a quickly dissipating bubbliness.

D - I don't think I could have too many of these. For me this is something to be savoured once in a while, and not more than one at a time.

allergictomacros, Mar 25, 2006
Photo of RedHaze
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very cloudy amber/brown with a rocky one inch head that fades very slowly to a very thick cap and ring, leaving behind thck lacing.

Smell; strong grassy and earthy notes, as well as some hints of honey.There's a bit of sourness and tartness, along with some fruitiness I can't quites place.

Taste; the grass/hay qualities jump out at me at first as well as a bit of a funky earthiness. The mildly sweet honey flavors come out next, followed by a tartness that's a little drying in the finish with a bit of a hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium boded and creamy, and pretty easy to drink desite it's dry finish.

I didn't really care for this the first time I tried it, but I have come to enjoy Saisons and other similar styles over the last few years, so I figured I'd give it another shot. I'm glad I did.

RedHaze, Mar 21, 2006
Photo of Hautacam
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle freshness date 6/05.
Light, cloudy amber-brown....very lively, foamy head....rises up the chalice...looks great. Head slowly drops to 1/8 in and stays.
Smells of barnyard, yeast and overripe apple, musty....kind of gueuze-like, but not as intense.
Tastes surprizingly light..subtle yeast, horse blanket, malt....cidery; sour...not bitter, with some alcohol coming through. Dry and lighter in mouthfeel than I expected.Carbonation medium.
This was good, but for the price, I think I'll stick to the other abbeys. I would have liked a heavier mouthfeel and a little more malt. My girl friend thought this ale was fantastic...I gave her the rest of mine.

Hautacam, Mar 19, 2006
Photo of dreadnatty08
3.2/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle flown over from Paris by my lovely girfriend.
Bottled on 11/29/05, from 33cl bottle
Pours a dark amber with chunky, foamy lucious looking head. Aromas similiar to a heffe with some banana and clove, alcohol. Astringent on the tongue, has almost a soapy flavor. Alcohol also makes a strong presence in flavor, surprising for a lower ABV trappist. It's good to try another trappist, but I have to say this beer isn't doing much for me; much rather drink a NB Trippel or heffe.

dreadnatty08, Mar 13, 2006
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,498 ratings.