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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

4,494 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,494
Reviews: 2,128
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 218
Gots: 443 | 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: 4,494 | Reviews: 2,128 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of 99bottles
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can't believe I missed reviewing this. I've had this quite a few times, but when I found it in Milan for the equivalent of $1.85 a bottle I stocked up.

Ok, so Orval is a deep orange brown color, slighty cloudy with a clumpy yellowish off white head and above average carbonation. The smell is really unique; strong citrus rind, some wildflowers, and some sharp medicinal cuts. The taste is much of the same, only more complex. When young, as all these bottles are, it has a real biting astringency of phenols, phenols, and more phenols. The hops add good bitterness to the finish, and the malt seems lost in a sea of fighting flavors. The lemon and orange of the smell is in there, as is some funk, almost akin to a lambic. But, really...it's all phenols at first.

I've had quite a few that were left to age, and that made the voyage across the Atlantic and found them to be much more sweet and aromatic. The sweetness of honey, wild grasses, and jasmine all come out as the medicinal taste subsides over time. I like that the "drink before" date is a full 5 years after the"bottled on" date. A really excellent choice, but try to catch one on the back end of those 5 years.

99bottles, Jul 06, 2005
Photo of PorterLambic
2.6/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Nice bottle.
Pours a cloudy reddish-orange with a smallish creamy head.
Smell is malt, green apple, oak, hops & yeast.
Taste is hops, hops, hops and malt. Not at all what I expected.
Mouthfeel: high carbonation, a bit rougher/hoppier than expected although I was forewarned about that. A very dry finish, by far the driest of any ale I've ever had, drier than almost any lager for that matter..
Drinkability: Not your typical trappist ale, too much like an IPA for my tastes.

PorterLambic, Jun 29, 2005
Photo of taez555
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

June 2005, rereview I don’t know what I smoking when I first reviewed this beer.
Bottled 7.10.2004, best by 2009

Bright reddish/orange body with a bubbly white head.

The nose has a fishy, fresh cut flowers mixed with shit sort of smell.

The taste is dry, bone dry, extremely dry. Sort of an oily, fishy, salty phenol and yeast taste. Hints at other trappist ales but is extremely unique. A HUGE carbonation. Touches of leather or shoe polish even. What a weird myriad of flavors. Hop bitterness is quite interesting. It flows from nothing to a little to this long big hop finish. The hop flavor is a strong earthy, extremely intense but not muted, citrus peel. There’s not your average American IPA sort of citrus touch. This is a very muted but much much more intense at the same time.

What a crazy tasting beer. Seriously I don’t know what to say, the most unique beer of the trappist family, a must try for certain.

taez555, Jun 21, 2005
Photo of mdagnew
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl Bottle from the Vineyard in Belfast

Pours a slightly cloudy / amber colour into my Orval glass. Head is white, quite thick and fairly big… lasted until nearly the end…

Aroma – Where to start !! Peppery, spicy, cloves, fruity (citrus), very slight hint of vanilla.. Very complex smells…

Taste – Quite a shock this one on first taste – very flowery…Quite lemony, definite taste of cloves… quite bitter..

Mouthfeel – Quite smooth and dry, very nice..

Overall – an amazing beer, unlike anything else. It certainly is an acquired taste !! One of my favourites….

mdagnew, Jun 21, 2005
Photo of swid
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33cL bottle; 6.9% ABV listed on label.

Orval pours a hazy-brown color into my tulip class. A large, off-white head forms, containing large bubbles; it slowly collapses in upon itself. Moderate carbonation and lacing. The aromas given off by this beer are quite complex; there's cloves, lemons, a hint of pine, and some unidentifiable funky aroma (it's funky in the very best way, however). Very balanced.

This is one smooth beer. An almost candy-like sweetness is evident when it first hits the front of your tongue. A balanced hop bitterness comes along shortly afterwards. There's a noticeable clove flavor present. This beer is quite full-bodied and is somewhat tart. The alcohol is just perceptable in the aftertaste, which is mildly sour.

This is a funky beer, but if you've become acclimated to sharper-tasting beer, it's very enjoyable. I recommend it.

swid, Jun 17, 2005
Photo of hero27
3.38/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle

Appearance: Pours with a billowing, white, fluffy head. Hazy, golden amber color. Bubbles stream from the bottom, reminiscent of champagne.

Smell: Can pick up spices and grassy, herbal hop aromas. Hints of fruit and maybe a slight alcohol smell that lingers as well. Nothing too spectacular here.

Taste: More citrousy in the taste than I would have expected after smelling it. Somewhat complex flavors, but all very subtle. I even let this puppy warm up to nearly room temp. after I had finished half the bottle, and it didn't help much. Doesn't taste bad, I've just come to expect more from Trappists (and beer in general).

Mouthfeel: Little too carbonated for my taste. Lively in the mouth due to the carbonation, which carries the flavors well.

Drinkability: Personally, if I spend nearly $5 on a trappist, I want a higher abv..this "tame" trappist pale ale at 6.2% is a lightweight compared to it's relatives. Overall, nice to try, but nothing I'll be running back to the store to buy again.

hero27, Jun 14, 2005
Photo of TPSReports
2.88/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I am writing this review, and drinking this brew, following a wonderful Hennepin Saison. What a difference. Maybe I should've reversed the order.

It pours nicely with a lingering head at 49 degrees from my cellar. I finger tall thin bubbled head that lingers appears. Strong lacing on the sides. A very pretty color of amber with tiny bubbles floating upward.

This smell doesn't really give me a hint a what is to follow -- maybe the allergies aren't cooperating.

The first sip is shocking -- quite a bit of alcohol here -- I didn't expect it. There seems to no hopps and not much malt either. Not quite sure what I'm drinking here. It has a bit a of a twang and sourness that I'm not entirely comfortable with.

Mouthfeel is somewhat flat from a carbonation standpoint. Not heavy or light, but medium swill.

I am very disappointed by this beer. It looks like a winner! The bottle is gorgeous. It pours wonderfully, with a sexy head the lingers -- nice lacing. But, I'm drinking beer for taste -- the looks are just part of the package. Without a doubt this is my least favorite Trippist to date. I'm glad I only have one,to be honest.

TPSReports, Jun 14, 2005
Photo of JohnfromDublin
3.53/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasted in De Zolder bierceller bar Bruges, May 2005. Poured beautifully, perfectly presented in its correct chalice. Lovely head over amber to red-brown body. Smell is a wake-up call, reminded me of dank seaweed, very "different". Some would quake at this point, but I always wanted to taste Orval so continued. Thankfully it tasted better that the tough smell, in fact its taste improved as I drank the glass. Delighted to finally taste this beer, it is a fairly complex beer for connoiseurs. I am not quite in that category yet, but my apprenticeship continues. Serious Beer, respect!

JohnfromDublin, May 30, 2005
Photo of JackTheRipper
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

In the spirit of NBS #14, I decided to delve into my all too limited stock of Trappist ales (couldn't bring myself to crack open the Westy)
A: Cloudy amber in color with a wicked huge head and lacing to die for. Lots of carbonation seen in my glass, I think the etching in the bottom of this Chimay glass enhances it? Swirled it in the bottle, I want that yeast.

S: Fruity aromas, hints of cinnamon sugar. Lots of spicy hop aromas. Soft lemony/zesty aromas. Nice.

T: Zingy hop flavors up front, not bitter though. Fruity citrus tastes. Flavors are surprisingly light and dare I say fluffy? Nice base of malts to bring this one home. Definitely enhanced by the chunk of yummy cheese I'm eating with this.

M: Light, soft, highly carbonated and that seems to help carry the flavors and aromas. Alcohol is well masked.

D&N: Wonderful beer and a testament to the Monks who brew it. Very complex, a joy for all the senses.

JackTheRipper, May 30, 2005
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before 7/08, bottled on 7/03, so well aged. My initial reaction to the color of the beer was disappointing. Pale orange with a hint of cherry red. Head was magnificent. Huge 1inch, reluctantly settle after a couple of minutes. Lacing is all over the place, kind of like a cupcake wrapper. Tastes very, grapes and oranges, little hop kick towards the end; has a pretty pungent alcohol smell which is surprising considering its "low" ABV.

Overall a very nice beer. For the price I think I'll visit other Belgium’s again before this one.

FLAbeergutinMASS, May 30, 2005
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bring on the funk! If you like a beer with funk, this is the beer for you.

Pours with a thick head. Reminds me of root beer floats. Cloudy amber. Lots of lace that never goes away.

Smells funky.

Funkiness in taste which ends with a hops bitterness. Refreshing.

Drinkable, but again if this is your thing.

GeoffFromSJ, May 25, 2005
Photo of BeerNutta
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a deep golden yellow. You could smell a fruitty floral aroma.
The taste is the dissapointing part. I was expecting an explosion of flavour, however, all that was presented was spicy dry bitterness.

Some might like it but it wasnt my kind of beer.

Not really my kind of beer.

BeerNutta, May 24, 2005
Photo of hefevice
3.65/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a tough one. After all of the glowing reviews I have read, I found the reality somewhat disappointing. Looks absolutely fantastic, glowing deep dark gold with a massive head, good retention, lacing, etc. Also smells promising, classic flowery, funky, dare I say "horse-blanket" aromas. Taste...well...the first disappointment. Dry then bitter, overwhelming anything else that might be present. I also found the palate a little watery, although there was plenty of carbonation, it was course rather than fine like some of the other Belgians I have enjoyed. Sorry, but while it is a good beer, I think it is unbalanced and over-rated.

hefevice, May 22, 2005
Photo of silenius
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber orange with a generous off-white to yellow tinged head that laces nicely on the way down. A picturesque beer.

Smell is very muted to me with just some just some light pepper and licorice. Good but not too complex or substantial.

Taste hits with a sharp acid zing that fades into pepper and a rich breadiness. A bitter hoppy palate cleaning aftertaste finishes this one off. A food beer if I ever tasted one. This one screams for cheese and meat in my opinion. I almost feel ashamed that I am drinking this without food.

Mouthfeel is good, but there is a sharpness there that is a bit much for me. A zingy prick that is just noticeabley too much.

I could drink this all night with a great meal.

silenius, May 22, 2005
Photo of cubedbee
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 1/20/04 and poured into a Duvel tulip. Pours a golden amber with an immense foamy off-white head and tons of carbonation bubbles sticking on the side of the glass. Smell is earthy, hay, apples, cloves, brown sugar, caramel, spruce, really complex---every sniff gives something new. Mouthfeel was extremely dry and tart. Flavor is very complex, with sweet sweet maltiness, puckering tartness, peppery spices, and a dry hoppy bitterness all coexisting. This is a good Belgian, much less sweet and more bitter than others I've tried, which makes it interesting.

cubedbee, May 21, 2005
Photo of IceAce
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled on: 10:03:2004

Best before: 10:03:2009

Pours medium-copper with outstanding clarity and three fingers of dense off-white foam. Nose is of ripe apples with a beautiful yeasty backdrop.

Soft effervescent entry is followed by a slow build-up of palate pleasing sweetness at midtaste. Flavor is complex with hints of raisens & green apples mixing with an earthiness which becomes addicting midway through a 10 oz. tulip.

A swirl of the bottle and addition of the remnants manages to increase both flavor and intensity to the point of sheer nirvana.

The finish is champagne-quality dryness with a residual fade of funky, yeasty goodness.

IceAce, May 17, 2005
Photo of pentathlete
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in BIF18 from babydoc. Wow! Poured into the snifter a hazy orange with a huge rocky head leaving a entire doilies around the glass. Smell is barnyard and candy, lots of sweet farm aroma. Taste is spices (cloves?) and more farmhouse flavors with some candy sweetness and hops. This is complex and my palate language is inadequate to the task. Mouthfeel is full and there is some crispness toward the end. While this is not a session beer by any means it is easy to consume despite the complexity. Every now and then when working out you have to check your one rep max. Orval is an analogous experience. A must try beer for everyone.

pentathlete, May 14, 2005
Photo of Boilermaker88
3.28/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presented in an 11.2 oz. bottle with a bottled on date of 17.09.2004 and a best before date of 17.09.2009 on the rear of the label. Poured gently (I highly recommend a gentle pour!) into my beloved Duvel tulip glass.
Murky brassy color over which blossomed a massively frothy light cream colored head. Very slowly the head dissapated, leaving wads of lace behind.
The smell had elements of lambic and Flanders red to it. Brett yeast is evident in the musty, earthy, old-cat-piss-in-the-litterbox aroma. Definitely gives the nose a tweak. Also has some sour cherry and Band-Aid phenolics. Some doughy malt and lemon peel aroma, too. Light alcohol scent.
Candy sugar sweetness welded to sour cherry up front. Lemon cough drops and an earthy malt taste. Definite brett influence as a slightly puckery leathery stale wet hay flavor becomes prominent. Bitterness of lemon zest and peppery spice complete the taste parade. Rather highly acidic. The feel was light, big-time spritzy, and drying.
Not sure I really care for Orval. Definitely an acquired taste, IMO, and I like the sharp tartness of a lambic or Flanders red or the sharp bite of Brettanomyces. It just doesn't seem to work well with this beer. Maybe I'll age one a couple years and see what happens. But for now, I'm ambivalent at best about Orval.

Boilermaker88, May 12, 2005
Photo of weeare138
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears as a hazy light gold with a 1 finger head and slight lacing. Mild carbonation coming through. Smells of lemony citrus, pine, ginger, and cloves.
Tastes slightly sour(from the brett addition) with a citrus hop & diet gingerale type taste that seems to be hiding the mild malt buried in this brew. The mouthfeel is fizzy and stays mainly on the front of the tongue. It seems very dry too. Reminds me of a champagne for some reason. It seems like the alcohol is just present in this one and the abv is only 6.2%. On a note, I will say that this particular style is not one of my favorites but it is what it is. For me, I'm doing a one and done with an Orval in hand for the night. Overall, it's not bad though.

Finger licking good.

weeare138, May 11, 2005
Photo of GuinnessSmurf
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was the feature beer for my 2005 tasting "Trapped in Kansas City". It proved to be the most interesting, but not the most enjoyable.

Appearance: Pours a golden orange color with really good head retention. It clings on the glass insistently.

Smell: The smell is very complicated. I got notes of hops, and some very intense herbs (corriander, rosemary, sage) as well as an over all sweetness.

Taste: The flavor is pretty clean in the onset then changes to a strange herbal bitterness. It was a flavor I was not prepared for. The aftertaste lasts for a long time - so if you like the flavor, you get to absorb it for a long time after the sip.

GuinnessSmurf, May 02, 2005
Photo of palma
2.93/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Light copper body with a large rocky off-white head.
Aroma is sweet malt. Spicy with clove and cinnamon standing out. A phenolic band-aid like aroma cannot be missed.
Taste is tart and bitter upfront. Phenolic flavors are present throughout. A rubber-like flavor which is not enticing. A nice peppery spiciness towards the end. Finishes dry and clean.
Light bubbly carbonation.
Medicine-like phenols were very persistent in the aroma and taste of this brew. A little too much for my liking. I could barely finish the bottle.

palma, Apr 25, 2005
Photo of MrSeth
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a huge tan head. I always have a little trouble fitting one of these little bottles into glasses that technically should hold all of the contents. Not just lace, but foam clings to the glass. The nose has a very unusual citrusy quality, strange I guess because it also smells somewhat like sour apple all at once. The malt is way beneath this citrus and pungence in the profile. The taste is different than what the nose suggests.. a warming, lightly bready malt body, citrusy at the end with a slight aftertaste which is alot like the original taste. Orval has a very versatile profile so the food pairings for this ale are almost infinite.

MrSeth, Apr 19, 2005
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured in the Duvel glass clear medium amber with a white, tall, moussy and frothy head which coated the glass.

The aroma was earthy with a farmhouse yeast presence of brett. The aroma was fruity with light maltiness. The fruit aroma was most notably pineapple and slight candy aromas.

The flavor was very earthy in both hop bittering and hop flavor. The balance of the beer was decidedly toward bittering, but the malt presence kept the bittering in check. The malt flavor was slight caramel and was present in the background. The flavor became more fruity as the beer warmed and the brett character emerges.

The finish was dry with a slight spice and earthy flavors lasting long into the aftertaste. The body was medium and well done. The beer was highly drinkable, but their was an alcohol presence despite being less than 7% abv (the bottle said 6.9%).


11.2 ounce bottle. Bottled on 07.10.2004, best before 07.10.2009. Purchased at Green's in Atlanta, Ga.

GCBrewingCo, Apr 16, 2005
Photo of TongoRad
4.97/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle dated 2-23-06

Slightly hazy pale copper color with an incredible rocky head.

Wonderful bouquet of fruit (tangerine, pineapple), caramel, and cotton candy (from candi sugar, I'm sure), and some spicy elements (juniper) in the background. You almost pick up something different with each sniff. There is an overall yeasty/bready/musky quality that is quite inviting.

Full flavored yet dry and quenchingly tart. This beer can withstand a high level of carbonation and not miss a beat. The feel of the bubbles suddenly expanding and then immediately dissipating in the mouth is quite remarkable. Most of the flavor is in the lingering finish- first caramel, then spice, then bread and yeast. Alcohol and bitterness are exactly where they should be and only begin to show themselves at the end of the glass.

It is amazing that a beer can be this full flavored and complex yet delicate and subtle at the same time.

TongoRad, Apr 16, 2005
Photo of revdrjbob
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this beautiful Belgian ale at the new Little Belgium Brasserie in Kingston, Canberra, sadly not in the appropriate glassware, as they didn't have all beers and glasses as yet. Only been open for just over a week.
Cloudy orange hue, huge white sticky head, that clings to the side of the glass.
Aroma: Sour Brettanomyces, acidic, aged hops, very Gueuze.
Flavour: Bitey, sour, lactic, sweet malt, hoppy, Bretts, awesome, complex.
A great beer, an enigma in Belgian brewing, and not a beer liked by many.
Idiots.

revdrjbob, Apr 16, 2005
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,494 ratings.