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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

4,439 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,439
Reviews: 2,123
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 215
Gots: 428 | 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
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Ratings: 4,439 | Reviews: 2,123 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of funkengruven
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice deep amber with little head and a little lacing. Smell is aromatic, smells like Oregano, interesting. Taste is smooth, little bitterness and an aroma of cloves. Mouthfeel is not too bad, a little alcoholic but still goes down alright. It's not something you want to take big gulps from, but it isn't too bad and is worth having again.

funkengruven, Dec 22, 2005
Photo of ohitsbrad
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Edit: 24 January 2007

A few Orval's and one year later. When in the mood, an Orval is fantastic.

5 December 2005, Best Before Feb 08

Appears a murky orange brown colour with a foamy head and large bubbles. Aroma of cooked vegetables and spices, particularly nutmeg, some medicinal type aromas there too. Rather strange flavour, celery possibly, very complex. The vegetables, nutmeg and also five spice come to mind. But it's also fresh, hoppy, perfumy and a little salty. Fairly high carbonation, but not too much at this alcohol level and temperature. Overall quite an unusual taste, one is enough for me. I'm afraid to say I didn't particularly enjoy it but I'll still rate it reasonably well for its complexity and originality.

ohitsbrad, Dec 19, 2005
Photo of masikon
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an Orval chalice this was a gorgeous cider-like hazy burnt orange with an outstanding chunky white head which laced like crazy. Smell was unbelievable, absolutely mouth watering with a range of notes from bananas, freshly cut grass, generic citrus, and yogurt? (lol) anyways, really a beer that I would actually refer to as having a true bouquet. Flavors are refreshing and spicy, full of flowery suggestions, yeasty bananas, and plenty of orange peel. Delicious and classic, the only thing that holds down the drinkability is that I want to drink it faster than my wallet can buy it.

masikon, Dec 18, 2005
Photo of kaimcm
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into a St. Bernadus chalice

A: nice honey brown body with frothy almost bleach white head, easily swirled back to glory. light stick.

S: strong yeast quality, citrus fruit, light grain, a little alcohol

T: prickly mouthfeel brings a tart, lemon/lime and citric quality up front that is almost sweet but quickly subsides into the hops which balance extrememly well. finish continues drying while the hops spice up the tongue a little more. slight cloves as well. as the beer warms some of the sugar manages to pull through, the bitterness on the finish subsides and the yeast comes through to book end the profile.

M: fresh from the bottle just awesome, as it warms its losing some of the carbo prick and some of its energy. I prefer it a little colder to create that really bouncy, coating, chewy mouthfeel.

D: a thouroughly enjoyable brew, flavorful, only 6.2%, makes for easy drinkin.

kaimcm, Dec 17, 2005
Photo of Blakaeris
2.2/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a cloudy brown-orange color. Head is huge and creamy, leaving plenty of lacing as it settles.

Aroma is very unusual. I get citrus and sweet fruit aroma. However it is overwhelmed by a strange medicine like smell. I've never encountered anything quite like this.

Taste is strongly of spices - pepper, cloves, and possibly corriander. Very carbonated. Slight hop flavor in the finish. These flavors are also overwhelmed by a cough medicine flavor. Maybe this brew is an aquired taste. Maybe this is a skunk beer. I normally enjoy belgium pale ales, but there is something wrong here.

Mouthfeel is light and very carbonated.

I need to try another Orval to see if this is the way it is supposed to taste. I had great expectations but this brew certainly didn't meet it.

Blakaeris, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of orfeu
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dull, hazy golden amber with huge rocky white head. Fluffy ringed lacing. Aromas of apple, yeast, coriander, mineral water, biscuity malts. Tastes spicy (indefinite), with bready malts, dull lemony citrus rind, and a biting yeast finish. Alcohol comes through solidly, too. Juicy carbonated mouthfeel, but quite dry overall. Very nice. Easy-drinkin' Trappist ale...can I actually say that?

orfeu, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of SacoDeToro
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a burnt orange hue. The carbonation is high and the beer kicks up a tall foamy white head. The aroma is full of grassy noble hops and some yeastiness. The malt profile is that of a pale ale laced with flavors of burnt sugar and toffee. The hop bitterness is intense but finishes very clean with almost no aftertaste. The mouthfeel is good, but the high carbonation thins things out a little more than I'd like.

Overall a very flavorful beer with a unique hop charater to boot.

SacoDeToro, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of Derek
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been saving this for almost a year.

Bottled on 12.08.2004
Best before 12.08.2009

A: Caramel in colour, with tons of fluffy, slightly off-white head! Lots of retention and incredible lacing! (Enough to make some stouts jealous)! Exceptional. Perfect.

S: Some nice bready malt and caramelized sugar, along with a little solvent-like aroma of fresh hops. Only a hint of fruit (appricot?).

T: The balance is slightly bitter, but it's crisp, and not at all harsh. There's a little chewy, bready malt. Hints of fruit, a little citrousy, smooth hop flavour, with a crisp, slightly tart aftertaste (with that horse/leather quality). The alcohol is very subdued, not assertive at all. Brilliantly unique.

M: Light to moderate body, moderately high carbonation.

D: Awesome. Nothing is overwhelming, so it's easily approachable, but there's enough complexity to keep the taste buds amused. Very digestible (in the Belgian tradition).
---
March 8, 2006: I've just had an Aug 29, 2005 bottle and subsequently increased the taste from a 4.5 to a 5.

Derek, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 24-10-2002, making this one a bit over 3 years old! The Orval Trappist Ale pours into my big Orval chalice a nice amber brown hue with streaks of orange as well. A tight bubbly white head lingers atop the brew in a fine fashion. Looks lovely in the glass. Aromas are intensely unqiue and perplexing at the same time. Sweet caramel spice smacks up against a musty, yeasty earthiness. A touch of leather mingles with some cotton candy/bubblegum aromas. Fruity with a touch of sour cherry, cinnamon and brown sugar. Maybe even a bit woody but definetly enchanting with each inhalation evoking new scents in my mind.

First sip brings a crisp, dry spicy caramel infused with a plethora of flavors that dash across the palate on the trip down the throat. Hints of leather and wood along with some musty sour funkiness that brings images of a cobweb filled brewery to my mind. Light fruit notes collide with brown sugar bubblegum. Spice cake. Lots of earthy yeast notes throughout. Quite the complex beer here. Finishes dry and crisp. Eccentric and ultimately a wonderful experience.

Mouthfeel features a burst of champagne-esque carbonation that streaks across the mouth with each sip. A mellow medium body allows for easy drinking but maybe the bubbles could be toned down a tad. Drinkability is really quite wonderful as it goes down smooth and each sip brings a new realm of taste sensations. I would not mind seeing this in 750ml bottles! Purchased this pre-cellared for me at Liquor Stop in Highland, IN...didn't even look at the date when I bought it. I will be on the lookout for a fresh bottle to try in the near future. Another testament to the wonders of the Trappist breweries of Belgium. This will go down as one of my new favorites.

orbitalr0x, Dec 11, 2005
Photo of Litterbean
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very unique brew, in my eyes. Pours a golden amber orange into a chalice which produces a lot of bubbly head. Bits cling to the sides and the white cap remains throughout the entire lifespan of the brew.

Upon agitating the beer, my nose is met with an array of stimuli. There's a very, very tart scent to this beer. I want to say it is reminiscent of a sharp cheese. Fruit smells are also abundant, most prominently is the apple cider undertones.

The taste is something else that I'm not entirely used to. I am trying to judge this though based on its merits and its compliance with the style, and even if I've never had a beer that is complex in the ways that this is, it is still spectacular. Bittersweet tartness all the way through. The yeast really makes this a puckering beer. To balance that out is the ample amounts of maltiness that lay below. Flavors of grapefruit and grapes, plus a lot of that apple cider character that was noted in the smell. Very tasty, and juicy, if that is any way to describe a beer.

A lot of carbonation in this one, which I guess can explain the juiciness as each sip refreshes the tongue. As far as drinkability, this one is good, although the high price for 11.2 ounces of the stuff will probably steer me away unless it's a real special occasion. Judging it based soley on the liquid itself, it is highly drinkable and a real treat.

Litterbean, Dec 08, 2005
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright honey color with a magnificent head. The head is slightly off from white and is mammoth. As the head settles, it kinda looks like a topographic map of Yosemite national park leaving behind a nice lace. There are a steady hail of bubbles rising for the bottom of my glass.

Smells of cantaloupe, honey, marshmallows, black pepper and grapefruit.

The flavor is very dry and sour like grapefruit with this particular flavor amplifying on the finish. There is also a subtle apple, cherry and raisin sweetness here. Unfortunately, the sour dominates and almost feels electric along the sides of my tongue.

The mouth feel is very full and pleasantly carbonated.

This beer is fantastic, right up until the flavor. Too bad.

I found it interesting that pouring the remainder of sediment in the bottom of the bottle into my glass really rounded out the flavor. So, if you find the flavor a bit disagreeable, give that a try.

DarkerTheBetter, Dec 06, 2005
Photo of markman
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Orval Trappist Ale (bottled on 20.01.2004, best before 20.01.2009, 6.9% ABV):

Less then two years old and ready to rock. Funky farmy nose right from the get-go… no doubt about some wildness in the yeast strain. Purest clear brass-orange colored with a busy one inch head looks just beautimus in my Westmalle Chalice. Snap, Crackle, and Pop got nothin’ on this brew…maybe sound should be a reviewable category as well, since I can hear the fizz like no other just as I tilt the glass towards my lips. This is about as dry a beer as I’ve ever tasted…clean and appetizingly so. Tart, hoppy, and drinkable as hell. This beer as a singular uniqueness that separates it from the rest of beerdom…I figure either you like it or you don’t. I freakin’ like it, and maybe the ultimate aperitif.

Now the last quarter-inch…the yeasties; as the Orval website says “one should taste the sediment of the beer separately.” OK, there are some thing monks know best…and beer is damn sure one of ‘em. On to the sediment. Mmmm, so as not to review about a tablespoon of beer, I’ll just say that the mouthfeel is a bit more velvety.

Cheers…

markman, Dec 04, 2005
Photo of barrelman
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very bubbly into the glass. Bubbles coat the glass giving an indirect view of the color which is a beautiful, light amber. Head retreats to light layer with no lacing.

The aroma is extremely pleasant. Fruity with the mild horse-blanket tones being the quiet feature of the nose.

Taste is pretty dry with the wild yeast taking the spotlight in both the fore and after tastes. The after taste lasts a little too long for me with a high, thin flavor.

Mouthfeel started off over-carbonated for me but after a brief warmup and sit, settles down nicely.

The drinkability is pretty good, With most of my pleasure coming from what the small proportion of wild yeast brings to it in both the nose and taste. A thoroughly enjoyable brew.

barrelman, Dec 03, 2005
Photo of stof0048
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into a Watou chalice. Pours a golden brown with a thin head that slowly disappears. Little lacing. Smell is light and a bit fruity with a copper tone and hops. Taste is mildly hoppy, not much of a malt taste, slightly fruity (citrus), a little wheaty, slight hint of alcohol but well balanced. Mouthfeel is good on this beer, very smooth over the palate. Drinkability is wonderful... goes down very easy, very tasty suds, could drink this all night and day.

stof0048, Nov 29, 2005
Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle, dated 17/09/2004, best before 17/09/2009, ABV is 6.9%. Pours a cloudy orange/yellow color, nice carbonation, huge foamy head, tons of lacing throughout the drink. Scents of hops, malts, somekind of citrus, floral. The taste is alittle bitter, and sourery, hard to describe really. Medium body. This is a very nice brew, my first Belgian Pale Ale I believe, so really nothing to compare to, but it's totally different than other Belgian's I've had. Would recommend for sure.

Wasatch, Nov 26, 2005
Photo of mmmbeer
3.05/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

330 mL bowling pin, bottled on 2/17/05, freshness date is 5 years later, 6.9% ABV. Pours into the tulip a slightly hazy amber/orange with 4 fingers of head to 3 fingers of beer. The head is white, very rocky, and sticking all over, leaving 1/4" thick lacing on the glass at places - one of the prettiest heads I've seen on a beer. Smells perfumy/vinous with rubber glove phenols, cough medicine, and some lemon juice. First sip throws me for a loop. Tastes like a rubber glove. It's like I'm at the dentist. The next flavor is cough medicine, like Robitussin or something, and maybe other medicinal flavors. That's pretty much all I can detect. Maybe some perfumy hops. It loses a lot of flavor toward the end. The strong phenols may be the intent of those monks, but they rub me the wrong way and really affect the drinkability of the beer. I was looking forward to trying this one, but am disappointed. I'll try again sometime to see if it will taste different. Maybe it's better when fresh or when properly cellared for a while.

mmmbeer, Nov 18, 2005
Photo of Frozensoul327
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A quaffable trappist ale. Poured out to a hazed orange golden hue with a nice white foam head and rigns of lace in the tulip glass. Higher level of carbonation. Aromas of herbs and spices, with some malt in the background. Taste was decent, but far from what I've come to expect from a Belgian Pale Ale. Flavors of hay, bitter malt and hops, grain and alcohol fill the palate. Somewhat of a bland character as well... can't put my finger on it. Mouthfeel was smooth and rather creamy. Overall drinkability is good enough. Nothing special here. There are better Trappist ales to be had.

Frozensoul327, Nov 13, 2005
Photo of scooter231
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Maple syrup. Is what this looks like. With fantastic head you can draw in. At first smell, I wanted to say, La Fin? Tremens? Very, very similar scents. Baaarely metalic.

Taste is medicinal and metalic. Some earthy/woodsy things goin on, kinda herbaly, but mostly a sour, metal thing. Light sweetness balances out things enough to make it a bit more drinkable. But I feel like I'm drinking a spoon. Too young, this bottle may be...

Mouthfeel is sudsy, very soapy. Full of bubblyness. Fairly drinkable, but... I don't know. The nose and certain flavors make me feel like I could really like this, but the metalic thing is turning me off. I'll have to hunt down an older bottle and compare.

scooter231, Oct 27, 2005
Photo of karst
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bowling pin shapped bottle filled on 17 09 2004 recently purchased ($6) from the shelves of World Market.

Aromatic delight due to interaction of noble hops ( E.K. Goldings, Fuggles and possibly other earthy English varieties along with the fruity ripe bannana esters from the multiple strains of yeast used by the Trappist brewers.

Pours hazy orange-amber with a dense marangue-like super persistant head; eventually dropping to a 2 or 3 mm. covering that leaves Belgian-lace on the walls of my New Belgium 0.4 L Rastal sniffer. Strong beading from high carbonation is evident. Dry-hopped with Goldings gives is a floral nose along with interlaced aromas of horse blanket along with medicinal phenols typical of Belgiums. Mouthfeel of champagne with strong effervescence. The play of aroma and carbonation leaves any thought of grains behind. Sweetness only in the aroma not flavor. Quite a feat! Ester flavors of dried fruits, and woody earthy hops and intense dryness, leading to acidic finish that suggest a fine dry wine. Changing with temperatures but best around 55° to room temp. Like all Belgiums crys out for a fine meal to be paired with.

karst, Oct 22, 2005
Photo of Daredevil
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

the legend ... pour this brew from the thiny bottle (which btw doesn't look anything but special) into a burgundy glass and you will know why ... actually the foam looks like the fermentation would be in full process ... besides the looks smell and aroma all in harmony and balance ... drink this one slow and taste how the aromas change over time ... unique ....

Daredevil, Oct 19, 2005
Photo of Melchizedek
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours Belgian-looking, with a nice big white head and pale coppery-orange color.

Smell is mellow but spiced, with fruit and clove/spice scents, as well as a bit of honey-like sweetness and an almost pineapple tartness. Alcohol is perceptible. In the mouth, it's very dry, hard to perceive the flavors initially past the bubbly carbonation; there's a slight sourness, with mineral, bittering hops, and a tart, gum-like fruitiness. It's light in the mouth, more so than other Belgians I've tried.

This is definitely different--I wouldn't make a huge habit of it, but it's intriguing to try a beer so similar to a very dry champagne. Neat stuff.

Melchizedek, Oct 15, 2005
Photo of arizcards
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 330ml bottle from AJ's back at the end of July for $4.99.

Poured a dark orange/amber color into my recently acquired Duvel glass. Nice head retention and lacing. Nose is of sour apples. Taste is of the light fruits with a nice hop finish. Mouthfeel is lively and having the appropriate weight for the style. Overall dinkability is good. I would recommend one tries this brew once but it is a bit pricey to continue enjoying beyond one!

arizcards, Oct 15, 2005
Photo of AlexJ
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From a bottled labled as 6.9%, this pours a beautiful glowing amber peach with a rusty orange cast. A killer head of sudsy topped froth puffs up and stays with unbelievable retention. Delicate crusty lace is left in it's wake. A pure delight to witness.

Aromas are interesting for a BPA, showing soft floral fields of fruit, highlighting bruised white grapes, grapefruit, and pinapple. Soft and musty, with traces of minerality and crushed rocks.

The flavor opens up with dry grape, pinapple, and apple. There's a beautifully delicate floral note that carries through to tart fruit laced cellar must. It's sweetly perfumed with spice and drying minerality. There's a hefty hop finish that is both unexpected and welcome. It's almost orangey and spicey at the same time, a Belgian Amarillo?

Body is between light and medium, alive with soft effervescence, and has a crisp, fluffy mouthfeel. Very drinkable. Sessionable if you can afford it...$4.50-6.00 a bottle here in Charlotte.

AlexJ, Oct 14, 2005
Photo of jamesdergen
3.23/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy iced tea with a small, fizzy white head that dissipates quickly. Somewhat disappointing.

Smell: Hints of vanilla and maybe caramel and definitely some sour apple aromas. One of very few beers where I can really smell the alcohol.

Taste: Some sour notes, similar to green apples. The Belgian yeast flavors really come through in the middle and lead into a fizzy alcohol/white grape finish.

Mouthfeel: Very fizzy, which really bothered me initially, but wasn't as distracting towards the end. Very light bodied and doesn't really leave an aftertaste.

Drinkability: I wouldn't go past one bottle of Orval. It's isn't very heavy, but it's a sipper for me and the fizziness is a bit much.

Overall, a good-tasting beer, but probably not something I will buy again. If I am ever in the mood for this style again, I would probably go with Duvel.

jamesdergen, Oct 08, 2005
Photo of joedon
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep orange color with cloudy haze. Poured with a nice tan off-white head but that quickly disippated. Pleasing aroma with yeast, bread and maltiness present. Also a little hop aroma.

Has quite a bite on first taste; sort of astringent tang that mellows after a few sips. Spicy bitterness but not much malty flavor. Definite citrus-acid in the taste and after-taste.

I hadn't tried an Orval in a while but decided it was time. Seems to me it is a bit of an acquired taste. Could use a lilttle more sweetness to balance the sour.

joedon, Sep 25, 2005
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,439 ratings.