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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

4,536 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,536
Reviews: 2,133
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 226
Gots: 463 | FT: 11
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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,536 | Reviews: 2,133 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Naes
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of trevorwideman
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of mjc410
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

Photo of expatsteve
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of ryantupy
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of mfcohiba
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Golden2wenty1
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of ghostwalker
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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!

Photo of Estarrio
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of Graebner
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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).

Photo of mattcrill
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of nicefix
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of mcarroll10177
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a bottle into an imperial pint glass ( i need a chalce)

A- copper ale with a huge white fluffy head with lots of bubbles and tons of carbination

S- some sweet malts but it is faint not much of a nose here

T- sweet with some fruity overtones and some spice nice

M- wonderful full of carbination yet still light this adds to drinkablity

D- a wonderfully drinkable beligum pale sweet up front with tons of complexity

Notes- tons of carbination and a very nice introduction into the world of Beglum pale ales

Photo of surfadelic23
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This tasty beer (which comes in a relly distinctive bottle) pours a
copper/brownish color that looks great in my chalice.
At first, the taste is sweet, but that doesn't last long at all. A nice bittery hoppy flavor that quickly gets replaced by acidity that must be the result of the yeasties or mebbe bretts?? This one's also pretty carbonated. The first bottle I opened foamed big time! I liked the carbonation on it and found that it imrpoved the drinkability to a certain extent. I did not find this to be a very big alcohol bomb although that may be because We spent the whole weekend trying different Belgian style ales so we may have been used to it. All in all, a pretty nice ale and I'm glad I tried it. While it's not going to knock off othe Belgians that I prefer, this was a nice change from the norm

Photo of BDTyre
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Burnt orange colour, but the head is a little too aggressive on this one. At the end, it pours out of the bottle to thick and actually plugs it up.

Dry, some what sour smell on this. Hints of spice, but almost a farmhouse scent to it...earthy aromas, cloves and cinammon.

The taste is savoury, rather than sour. Definite spice notes, with a hint of tartness. Cinammon and cloves present, but not as detectable in the taste as opposed to the scent. No malt sweetness here, and the hops are only present in traces amounts.

My bottle seems a bit too carbonated. Its been a while since I've had a trappist ale, but this some how seems a bit on the fizzy side.

Drinkable, but sometimes comes off as too savoury and can be a bit harsh on the tongue.

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Prototypical belgian head...barely off white full of creamy bubbles two fingers high. The body is a cloudy maroon color with lots of little bubbles steaming from various locations on the glass.

S: Oak, soury pungent, clove like yeast, honey, floral and some citrus.

T: One of the more confusing beers on the market. Surprises around every corner. Begins very biscuity, earthy. Very dry, almost salty. Bready flavors then slink towards a more grain/wheat flavor. Bittering hops make a play and finish the palate with an extremely dry complexity. Not as sour as the nose would lead you to believe. Aftertaste is somewhat grainy.

M: Medium to full body with the classic Belgian carbonation.

D: In a blind taste test this beer could pass for a saison, easy. This beer is a trip.

Photo of wolffman17
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

One year to the date on BA so I figured I'd write my first review to celebrate.

Bottled on: 11.18.2003
Best before: 11.18.2008
Label says 6.9% ABV, not 6.2%.

Into an Orval goblet, the pour results in a hazy, bright, and golden appearance...inviting. Big bubbly head that faded somewhat fast without leaving much lace.
The smell is intriguing. Sweet and sour apple, and yes, the hay and barnyard animal is evident.
Tastes tart and finishes with the hay. Not as sweet as I expected or wanted, but still very good.
The dryness seems to linger forever.
I found this very drinkable, and could drink this year round.

A unique, intriguing, complex beer. I would love to try this fresh.

Photo of gonzo138
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- nice coppery color, frothy head that was slow to dissapate, good lacing
S - Fruity aroma, light hoppy smell as well
T - sweet, a little hoppy, the fruity taste reiminded me a little of apples
M - nice carbonation, with dry nice feel
D- Very drinkable, smoother than some of the stronger belgian ales, which can really be viewed as a plus or a minus I felt it complemented the taste, goes down lightly

Photo of Damian
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a hazy, dark, copper-amber with a dense foamy head. Tons of bubbly lacing which fell nicely along the glass.

Smell consisted of intense yeast, hops and alcohol.

Taste was sharp. Very sour on the front end. Hoppy with hints of citrus and mild spices. Alcohol flavor was overwhelming and unexpected (seeing as this beer was - according to the bottle - only 6.9% ABV). Huge, hoppy, bitter aftertaste.

Dry mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation.

Photo of jettjon
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Highs: Appearance, flavor
Lows: None

Pours a coppery orange brown with no bubbles beneath a thick whitish-tan head. Fades slowly away leaving good heavy lacing on the wine glass. Nose is quite unusual… asparagus? Dusty? Yes, I was surprised to find others describing this one as “dusty,” but there you have it. Taste is in the same vein. Initially, it’s semi-sweet, rapidly turning dry. There’s a definite sour fruit flavor, something like sour grapes or wild grapes such as muscadine. It’s tart, sour, and a bit oaky. Finishes very crisp and dry, almost like a clean red wine. Mouth is watery, fairly bubbly/sparkling, but borderline thin. Drinkability for me is not so great as I am not a fan of sour beers, but if you don’t mind the taste, it’s probably quite drinkable.

Overall: Definitely an unusual brew, and one that not everyone will enjoy. However, it’s well put together and definitely worth a try.

Photo of bonbright7
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is great ale. I could drink this all night and I have an idea it is a step higher on draft. It poured so well into a fat ivory head, at least 3" tall, before settling in parts, but never really going away. The amber red body had that familiar shake of its tail before my first taste exploded with unusual qualities of bitters, dryness, and light fruits. The taste lingered long after I put the glass down to note various flavors as well as the alcohol content.

This Trappist ale would be superb with broiled or bbq'd pork chops and a little apple sauce on the side.

Photo of kimcgolf
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

While I have been rating beers for only a short time, I have been DRINKING beers of all kinds for 35 years. The taste and finish was so good, that I refrained from drinking or eating for a long while after, to make it last. I plan to try another Orval some time soon to make sure I am consistent in my opinion, but as of right now, I have to say that Orval is the best beer I have ever had.

Photo of klewis
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 5/11/05; Best before 5/11/10
Labeled as 6.9% ABV

A: Pours a hazy copper with a massively huge foamy head. The head subsides into a thick dollop of foam on top, leaving lots of lacing.

S: Unlike most other Belgians that I've had. Aromas of tropical fruit and candi sugar.

T: Somewhat hoppy up front followed by minty flavors and a spicy finish. A very unique taste that I can't get enough of.

M: Medium-full bodied with tons of carbonation.

D: Defnitely the most unique of the Trappist beers that I've had to date, and my favorite, I think. The carbonation is a bit rough on the palate, but otherwise, this is a fine brew.

Photo of kgotcher
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled on 6/24/2005 so almost it's first birthday.

Pours with a big fizzy head, very clear (first pour was clear but clouded up on 2nd pour due to yeast), beautiful orange tinted color. Aroma has distinct sour and slightly funky belgium smell. Complex blend of fruity esters with clove and raisins.

Dry mouthfeel (almost powdery), high carbonation and a tart dry finish. Crackery aftertaste.

Taste is tart apples, strong clove, spicy, and dried fruit.. Kind of crackery malt flavor leaves a very strange feeling in your mouth. I actually feel thirsty!

I've had this beer a few times and always enjoy it. Flavor is a bit different from other trappists but mouthfeel definately can be a little distracting. Still it is a trappist ale with a very nice flavor and aroma.

Photo of soultrain
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an Orval chalice.

A-Orange beer, beige head, murky with small yeast chunks. Looks pretty damn good sitting in the old Orval chalice, yup. 1/2" head settles to 1/4" in a minute. No lacing.
S-Enticing sourness in the aroma. Some alcohol, too. Kinda like a cologne made with dried orange peels.
T-Well hopped, nice bitterness, earthy, a bit sour, but most of all dry. Dryyy in a real good way. The yeast has a peppery spicy flavor to it, and the drying alchohol finish and the "Orval burps" that result make this one of the most unique brews to ever cross my path, lips, palette, etc.... This beer blooms as it warms, of course, and in my experience with this beer, no two sips are the same, and no two bottles are identical. What a chameleon! I find this beer hard to describe, actually, as words like "dust" and "dirt" and "Musty like an old mansion" keep entering my skull as I'm drinking....
Final yeast pour turned the last inch of beer to mud; a tasty mud, though.
M-This particular bottle had an over-ample, fizzy, champagne-like carbonation that I hadn't noticed before in previous bottles. Light body.
D-Unusual beer to say the least. When I have it with dinner, I tend to forget what I'm eating and dwell on this perplexing beer...is this good? Healthy?

CRUX: UNIQUE AND FASCINATING BELGIAN BREW HERE. Each bottle is an aesthetic experience: well worth the sample. I can remember having better bottles of this brew in the past, so I'm looking forward to my next encounter with this brew already.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,536 ratings.