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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

4,358 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,358
Reviews: 2,117
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 206
Gots: 397 | 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: 4,358 | Reviews: 2,117 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle with both brewed on and best before dates, 10.03.04, and 10.03.09, respectively.

Poured a hazy light copper with one of the wackiest, rockiest heads I've ever seen, white in color. Froth is as clingy as a shy girlfriend. I have two of the chalices, which is an extra treat.

Nose is super complex. Lemon twist, orange zest, apple pipe tobacco, band-aids. Tart and musty.

So dry. Leaves a tingling, numbness on the palate. Hops and malts both recognizable, but masked by the staggering complexity of this beer. Apricot, black pepper. Dry as a bone.

Holy shit! What an amazing beer. The driest. So complex. It's been almost ten years since I had Orval, it's better than I remembered.

Shultzerdugen, Mar 18, 2005
Photo of Truh
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Entered the great debate with this one on 3/11/2005. 12-oz. bottle poured in a Rapscallion snifter.

Huge, schizoid, steroid-jacked plume of froth that sticks and laces in a grand way. Light orange to a tumescent amber hue with just a bit of haze and constant action. Orange peel, lemon zest, and cut grass notes on nose. Carbonation jumps on and all over the mouth, but followed by an almost vacuous tinny malt flavor with some light fruity undertones of chalky grapefruit and pear. Middling = over-carbonation takes points off.

Truh, Mar 16, 2005
Photo of isubsmith
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Orval challice for enjoyment. Orange/amber color. Cloudy/hazy body. White, foamy, extra-thick head that lasts quite a long while. Tons of lace.

Nose: Flowery, earthy, grassy smells.

Taste: Smooth, crisp, somewhat light body but pretty full mouthfeel. Earthy flavors of hay or grass. Hop bitterness throughout, but very nice. Some tart, fruity hints. Dry, hoppy finish.

Very complex, but still extremely drinkable. One of my favorite of the Trappist beers.

isubsmith, Mar 12, 2005
Photo of TheGipper
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the beer I buy for myself and keep to myself as a special treat, because of its distinctive flavor, and the wallop it packs in alcohol content. Orval has a rich, thick head that you could almost recognize just by looking at it, without seeing the label. The flavor is dry, with extremely strong, somewhat fruity maltiness that borders on chalky (in a good way!)

TheGipper, Mar 08, 2005
Photo of Toddv29424
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light golden color with a large amount of head which takes much time to settle. The smell is pungent, mostly with fruits especially that of apricots. Like COASTERFREAK75 said, the smell of alcohol is also prevalent although it is pretty well covered up. The taste is fruity, but the alcohol taste takes hold as the drink goes down. This makes it much less smooth, and makes you take your time between sips. It also lingers for a long time after the beer is swallowed with the same alcohol-heavy taste. Any fan of a strong-flavored drink will enjoy this... especially the hops-heavy pale ale lovers out there...

Toddv29424, Mar 08, 2005
Photo of coasterfreak75
3.03/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The pour was light golden yellow with a good three finger head that was very slow to dissapate and left a huge amount of lace on the glass.

The smell was very strong in apricots with the standard Belgian yeast smell. Also hidden in the rear of the nose was a hint of alchohol.

The drink started very dry, this was the first Trappist I'd ever had to do this. The middle was very fruity with stong apricot and citrus flavors. But to my suprise the finish was also dry and clean.

All and all a good Trappist at best, still well worth a try but not the best.

coasterfreak75, Mar 06, 2005
Photo of Tballz420
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew is a sunset orange color, quite a sizable cream head on the top. Fair amount of lace. Sweet bubblegum on nose, bananas, hints of lemon. Fairly light bodied, sweet light malt front dusted with lemon, plently of a nice mix of spiciness and sweetness. Big hop presence. Quite a complex brew, certainly worth trying.

Tballz420, Mar 06, 2005
Photo of carln26
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy copper to orange color with a thick off-white head. The head is composed of huge bubbles that give way to a clumpy head. The aroma is reminiscent of apples and pears. There is a spiciness there too. Mild nutmeg is backed by a light doughy scent. The flavor has more of the apples and pears. The spiciness comes through in the taste, but has more clove character. The fruit is still there, definitely pears now, and backed by grapefruit. A little bit of fig sweetness on the finish. This has a tartness and a slick mouth feel I wasn’t expecting. Very nice, extremely drinkable.

carln26, Mar 05, 2005
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Robust ivory beige head cap dominating the tulip glass with a 50/50 pour. Quite exceptional pour exemplifying a pour divot in the head cap into a mountainous four inch cap, leaving a crime scene of spongy lace clues. Lest we forget a golden orange amber hued pour rife with copious carbonation bubbles rising. A statuesque pour above all else.

Airy garden like bouquet of horse blanket, leather and straw. Funky “stinky feet” abound. Barnyard peppery essence is quite prevalent. Angel food cake notes. The nose is half of the experience.

First swigs: Dry raw hopped sand aftertaste. Soft feel, yet bone jarring dryness. Rank cheeses aftertaste here. The raw hop character is nearly in your face. Acquired delicious palate. ORVAL never ceases to amaze. Like biting into a tumbleweed. An intermingling of bitter and sour citorus peel flavor that create a one of a kind experience.

Last swigs: Earthy straw and musty leather. Orval is a prescence of mythical proportions. With a blind eye the taste is a red light. My first Belgian/Trappist Pale infatuation. An indelible memory that will ever be an exemplary notion. What else can be said about a beer that runs the gamut from 5/5 to 1.6/5 but hefts down at 4+ rating.

*** Re-reviewd and holds down the fort.

Beer is good. Happy beering.

blitheringidiot, Feb 26, 2005
Photo of yeagerbm
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Finally decided to see what this beer is all about.
Pours into my goblet a bright clear amber with a frothy head which sticks to the side of the glass. The aroma is malty but without the medicinal smell of many belgians. The taste is earthy, grainy, and very dry. It has a bitter astringent aftertaste, but no hop flavor or aroma. The flavor is phenolic as usual among Belgians. The mouthfeel is also a disappointment with very high carbonation and a medium light body. Overall I don't think this beer lived up to the hype around it, or even its appearance and good aroma. An interesting beer that is not so bad, but not all that great either.

yeagerbm, Feb 26, 2005
Photo of avylover
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has grabbed my curiosity for awhile, but I never fessed the loot to grab it in favor of IPA's...etc. Thanks to Tinustime for the well priced bottle. Pours cloudy straw yellow into my miami dolphins tapered mini beer glass. The head is huge and foamy and holds steady. Aroma is sweet & sour - full of apples, almost burning, but not in an alcohol way - more acidic. Very nice. The taste is very unique. Not alot of malt here, or even hop flavor really. There is a ton of hop dryness and bitterness. It's as if the beer dries up before I get a chance to taste it. This is the definition of "clean". mouthfeel is quick and dry, making this pretty drinkable....very unique ale...and quite refreshing.

avylover, Feb 24, 2005
Photo of stjarnflikka
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange beer with a lot of yeast and a thick foam thats lifted by just a tocuh of visible carbonation.

Smell comes on fruity. Honeymelon together with ripe pears, yeast, alcohol and carbonation lies lurking behind the fruit. Nice honey sweet smell with a faint touch of citric malts.

Taste hits very harsh (positively here). Extremely dry, tastes like stone. Somewhat bitter at first with a bready touch lifted by a somewhat sour and flowey feel. Somewhat fruity with a very nice dry taste throughout until aftertaste that comes on with carbonation, alcohol, yeast and a nice malty bitterness lifted by some fruits.

Dont serve this to chilled since i think the dry taste takes over. Should be drunk slowely, bear in mind: this is delicious!
I really liked the dry touch after just a few sips, at first it felt overwhelming but it soon became my friend forcing me to take the next sip.

Really great, really tasty.

stjarnflikka, Feb 19, 2005
Photo of deejaydan
3.08/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A dry, dry, dry belgian. Pours with a very nice golden hue, with thick and lasting head. This beer almost glows in the glass. Good lacing as well. Aroma is slightly citruisy and peppery. Taste is dry, dry, dry. It's hard for me to pick up other flavors going around. I do pick up a touch of pepper in here as well. Mouthfeel is thin and overcarbonated. Tiny bubbles of carbonation rest on the head of this beer. Not one of the best beers out there, IMHO.

deejaydan, Feb 16, 2005
Photo of LarryKemp
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A slightly cloudy golden with many bubbles rising to the firm, stark white head.

A complex aroma of citrus with a background of malt. A distinct pepperiness is also there. Almost an earthiness that one finds in a lambic.

The taste is not sweet. It almost starts as dry as it finishes. I was expecting more contrasts and am a little disappointed. Their are no off tastes.

There is a little pepperiness to the mouthfeel. It does have a medium light mouthfeel and there is some carbonation playing with tongue. The alcohol does not burn even though it is relitively high.

This is such a subtle Belgian, I would recommend it only to those just starting out trying the style. Most certainly, I would recommend this as the first beer of the night because, it would be hard to appreciate it after a couple other bigger beers.

LarryKemp, Feb 11, 2005
Photo of Brewfan
3.18/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a Pabst Blue Ribbon chalace (my Rapscallion and Ommegang chalaces have both been recently broken).

Bottled on date 24/10/02.
Cellar temperature. 2 inch off-white head with HUGE bubbles. Large blanket of lace eventually reduced to a thin sheet and stayed throughtout the life of the beer.
Hazy orange-amber in color with much carbonation apparent in the early stages of the beer, though not overly carbonated in the late stages.
Nose of cloves, citrus, hops and banana. Slight alcohol presence, but not all that strong.
Dry and tart, citrus and hops are prevelant, while a slight maltiness stays in the background.
Finishes dry and somewhat weak.

Haven't had many Trappists yet and this is my first to review, so my palate is not quite yet accustomed to this style of beer. May have to edit review once I delve deeper into the Trappist family.

Brewfan, Feb 09, 2005
Photo of allengarvin
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in a Chimay chalice glass. Bottled on 9/17/2004, so about 5 months old. I have some cellared that's 4 years old that I'll review at a later time (I want to try it right at 5 years).

Light orange color, somewhat hazy. Nice initial head that fades a bit quick.

Aroma consists of a huge hop bouquet, reminding me of new-mown grass.

Flavor is highly bitter, full of hop flavor (reminiscent of lemon-grass). Fairly fruity & yeasty, with just a touch of that sour, earthy (fresh-turned compost) Brett character. I had never noticed the Brett until it was pointed out to me, but now it seems an obvious and essential flavor component. Finishes dry and acidic, lingering for long moments past the last sip.

A gorgeous beer, utterly unique and extremely tasty. I just wish it were cheaper.

allengarvin, Feb 08, 2005
Photo of sprackops
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2oz brown bottle with a best before date of 20.01.2009, a full five years after its bottled on date. Poured into a proper Orval chalice, leaving the majority of the yeast in the bottle.

Appearance: Slightly hazy amber with a wide column of bubbles feeding a dense off-white head. Beautiful.

Smell: Lemon, orange, pine, and funky barnyard yeast are just a few of the scents that come to mind. Quite a complex nose.

Taste: Very citric and drying at the start, like a dry white. Beyond this the taste expands to a particularly full balance of sweet malts and candy sugar to high alpha acid hops bitterness. Lurking in the periphery is the funky wild yeast character detected in the nose, bringing along with it an impressive gamut of earthy, rustic flavors similar to those found in complex cheeses that while not immediately appealing, are in my opinion integral to the uniquely satisfying nature of Orval. The experience is rounded out with a pleasant, mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with very lively carbonation. This perfectly accompanies and accentuates the flavor.

Drinkability: As I consider this the most subjective category for obvious reasons, I would normally state that I see no reason why anyone who appreciates this beer couldn't knock back a few more than other representatives of similar styles. However, considering the price that comes along with the Trappist name, it seems proper to deduct a point here.

Comments: This has been my favorite Belgian for nearly as long as I've been aware of the country's beers -- I've delayed reviewing it for so long out of fear of not doing it justice. I'd just like to add that I would love to taste more hoppy beers which utilise wild yeast strains. Oh Brettanomyces, what can't you do?

sprackops, Feb 06, 2005
Photo of neonbrown82
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another delicious Belgian. This is my first Belgian Pale, though. It is actually quite a pleasant change from the intense sweetness of other trappist dubbels, tripels, and quadrupels, and strong ales. Very, very delicious, and if the drinkability could go any higher than 5, I would be sure to give it that. I believe this beer is well deserving of my second ever 5 star rating on BA.

The beer erupted into a large frothy white head regardless of the careful pour. The foam refused to subdue itself, but created little dimples in the surface. The smell was the first thing that hit me as I popped open the cap. It smelled and sounded like a sparkling champagne, even tasted a bit like one. Also in the smell was something that seems to be lacking altogether in many Belgians... hops! It is by no means a hop monster, though, as the malt character clearly shows through in both the smell and taste as well. This beer is perfectly balanced between maltiness and hoppiness, in my opinion. The mouthfeel is so incredibly smooth I can't wait to take another drink. The finish is slightly dry and reveals a bit of alcohol even though is not a very huge beer at 6.9% (according to the label). As I said before, drinkability is off the charts. If you ever get a chance, buy some. I can't believe this is one of the last trappist ales I've tried. If Westy 8 and 12 can live up to their hype, I think I will have reached beer nirvana if they are better than this.

neonbrown82, Feb 06, 2005
Photo of Wonka
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 FL. OZ.
Bottled on 14.05.2003
Best Before 14.05.2008
ALC. 6.9% VOL.

Appearance – at cap removal, the air booms out; champagne crisp sound at pour; slightly murky orange amber; strong stratus cloud-like head; bubbly, sizeable pockets of lace

Smell - strong banana, yeast, flowers, lemon, light wood

Taste – start malty then tart; orange, slight metal, medicinal
Finish – champagne-like tart, hoppy, slight metal and medicinal continue, light sweetness

Mouthfeel & Drinkability - sharp carbonation, dry; starts full and smooth that balks to a medium body with the crisp dryness at the end

This is a great taste of history.

Wonka, Feb 03, 2005
Photo of steinlifter
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This poured copper, with a thick head that retained and left soft peaks, yep, just as a fine meringue, beautiful!, smell was complex and fruity, lemon and other indistinguishable fruit, maybe some apple pie as well, nice crisp tart taste, again some lemon taste, rich and complex, smooth finish, fruity notes, mouthfeel presents as well carbonated, crisp, and a bit creamy on the finish, drinkability is Fantastic!, not a session brew, but one to be savored, truly a great beer, class all the way!

steinlifter, Jan 28, 2005
Photo of santoslhalper
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As part of a session tonight, this one stood out. This was such a simple, pure beer. Nothing about it was meant to be overboard or in your face, like most new school American beers. The balance achieved in this fine ale is absolute bliss for the senses. I only bought one, and I am kicking myself for it now. Brilliance. Sheer brilliance.

santoslhalper, Jan 22, 2005
Photo of Stingray5
1.73/5  rDev -58.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

11.2oz pours cloudy light brown with a big foamy tan head. Mix of banana and stale urine in the aroma. I don't even want to drink it, but I will. High carbonation and creaminess in the mouthful, taste is similar to the aroma, with some spices and noticible alcohol. Some stale sourness. Very rough. Is it possible I got a bad bottle? Are my tastebuds off tonight? I haven't read any other reviews of this yet - if I'm way off from others then perhaps I've got a dud on my hands. Either that or this REALLY isn't my thing.

Stingray5, Jan 14, 2005
Photo of bigbeerdrinka
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

And now to review one of the most controversal brews on beer advocate..

Pours a bright golden orange color with a huge frothy head that leaves a nice lace. It is quite clear from looking at this beer that there is a ton carbonation from this brew, as the bubbles don't stop shooting up. Aromas are a mix of citrus lemony tones, and acetic almost cat piss like funk. There is also some interesting barnyard aromas. Flavors start off very spritzy to this brew with an in your face carbonation that just explodes on the pallate. There's a heavy dosage of lemony citrus flavors with hints of spice. Following there is a yeasty estery like flavor that brings about quite a dryness to this beer. There is a decent acidic punch throughout this beer which just a light dosage of maltiness and a slight sugary sweetness. Overall this brew was very spritzy and citrusy but of all the trappists probably one of my least favorite.

bigbeerdrinka, Jan 13, 2005
Photo of waughbrew
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Light orange with active bubbles creating a big heap of head that stays in crazy sculptures and lacing. Aroma. Wow. Like flower petals mixed with a little potting soil. Like a subtle whiff of perfume off of the loveliest woman in the world. Flavor is a little bit of dangerous nuttiness. A prickle of vegetation. Tantalizing bite. Medium-thin and alive, smooth and dry.

There is something mysterious and unreal about this beer. When I drank it, something made me keep on thinking of spiders. It had a creepiness that tried to scare me off. Then I had nightmares after going to sleep, which is extremely rare for me. I think there is some kind of a curse on this beer. Seriously.

waughbrew, Jan 11, 2005
Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
3.55/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a huge off-white fluffy head that dissipates slowly leaving a moderate amount of lacing clinging to the sides. Head lasts through entire experience. Pours a beautiful copper color with just a bit of chill haze.

There is a lot of spice to the nose especially clove and pepper. Just the faintest bit of medicine in the aroma.

The flavor is full of clove and pepper also with a nice little malt backbone. Finishes very dry with just a bit of bittering hops in the end.

Good carbonation and light to medium body. I would have liked a little more body to this one.

Wolfsdenbrew, Jan 09, 2005
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,358 ratings.