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Orval Trappist Ale - Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,193 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,193
Hads: 4,902
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 285
Gots: 653 | 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:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001

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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,193 | Hads: 4,902
Photo of OldYoda
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From an 11.2oz bottle with a bottled on date of 25/9/2007 and a drink by date of 25/9/2012. Pours a dark hazy orange with a small head and no apparent lacing.

Smell is citrus and a whiff of alcohol.

Taste is surprising. Fizzy and warm with the alcohol. A hint of banana and citrus. To me, very like a saisson.

Mouthfeel is great - to me the best part of the beer.

Drinkability is outstanding, with a 6.9% ABV a couple of these in an evening of conversation with friends would be just about perfect. An outstanding beer - worthy of it's reputation. (552 characters)

Photo of JizackFH
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - This beer pours a beautiful hazy orange amber color. It has a huge fluffy white head. This thing took me 6 pours to get it all in the glass. The head has crazy good retention. I mean, it just never goes away. There was nice lacing left on the glass also.

S - The smell is just a big burst of fruit smells, yeast, and a bit of sour dryness.

T - The taste is a little bit sweet, and has a big dry bitterness. There are some notes of hay, yeast, and lemon. The finish is very bitter, dry, and bretty.

M - It has a light to medium body and very high carbonation. The carbonation is very prickly, and tingles the mouth.

D - It has decent drinkability. This beer was not at all what I expected it to be. Overall, I think this is a pretty good beer, and I think it is definitely worth trying. (793 characters)

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.63/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Caramel colored with a nice head that is slow to dissipate leaving some delicate lacing around the glass. Some small flecks of dark brown sediment were floating in the glass. *Edit* Second bottle gave me no sediment.

S - Faintly of pine hops and then there is something else. It is almost an adhesive smell like carpet or apolstry, somehow it works though. From that description it sounds like it would be nauseating, but it isn't.

T - Gumball, bitterness, but it doesn't taste quite like a hoppy bitterness, a little peppery. It is a faint flavor all around.

M - Okay, it is smooth, slightly refreshing with a medium viscosity.

D - I liked Orval. Without the monster pricetag I'd probably buy it a lot more often. Went well with the moldy cheese I ate with it. (777 characters)

Photo of shbobdb
3.62/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'd been pinching pennies for a while so I could try this beer . . . and I have to say I was rather let down.
It pours a murky yellow brown. It reminds me of Degobah, you know, where Yoda lives. The head is impressively thick though.
The odour is intense. Citrus and barnyard. Ohhhh, how exciting!
The taste follows the nose . . . but it is simply nowhere near the level of funkiness I was expecting. This is a nice, drinkable beer. I was looking for an over-the-top crazy beer. It sorta leaves me hanging, because I really like easily drinkable beers . . . but not at the price this guy is charging!
Overall, it's just not hit-me-over-the-head wierd enough. If I wanted an easy drinkin' beer, I'd grab a nice Deutsches Bier. (730 characters)

Photo of dbalsock
3.62/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

So I finally decided to try this one, after hearing the name occasionally enough to be interested. I found the appearance to be pretty nice, especially due to the beautiful white head. The amber color was nice, but standard, so the head really did the job of making it a beautiful sight. The aroma was great as well; very fruity and sweet. I picked up a good deal of banana, and maybe some brown sugar plum notes. However, the taste was way different; consisting of some light malts, overly intensive vegetable like hops and the occasional addition from the nose. The mouthfeel was overly bitter for my taste, but the consistency was nice and thin/smooth. I am not interested in trying this beer again, considering I expected much more and am fairly disappointed. (763 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.62/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into a heavy trappist glass. Orange color, big white head; aroma of sour fruits and floral hops; medium body, smooth, lively carbonation; flavor is also of sour fruits like apples and citrus backed up by some delicate sweet malty tones still never stealing the show, which, by the way, has a pretty dry hoppy finish. Actually, this may not be the most complex of trappist beers, but what it has to offer is in just great balance as you would expect from the brewery making only one beer to public. And mine was still very young so I would be curious to find out what good would a little aging do to this. (623 characters)

Photo of jwheeler85
3.62/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I tried to be as objective as possible for this one since I wasn't personally a big fan of it. Higher scores are more based on uniqueness rather than like/dislike.

A- Poured a deep amber with some head retention

S- Slightly grassy and herbal. Also had a slight fruity note with a background smell sort of like musty leather. (very unique, but not personally a fan of this combo)

T- More astringent and bitter than it is sweet. I'm also getting a little bit of orange peel and coriander type flavors. Finishing with that odd sort of leathery note.

M- Medium carbonation, and medium mouthfeel.

D- For me, this had low drinkability... it was one of those beers that I can feel expand like crazy in my gut... makes me feel really bloated.

Overall, I would recommend that everybody try this one at least once... just due to the fact that it is so unique in it's flavor profile. I've never had anything else quite like it. Again, I didn't particularly like it, but it's uniqueness is something to be admired. (1,010 characters)

Photo of beatenbyjacks
3.61/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - holy carbonation! Lots of head a lacing on this orange caramel beer

Smell - this one has so much going on. I smell pear, pineapple, citrus and tartness

Taste - unfortunately I feel the taste is what brought this down. I have an off flavor in my mouth from all the carbonation. Lots of tartness

Mouthfeel - smooth and carbonated

Overall - this beer changed quite a bit as it warmed up. The off taste was off putting, but great smells (449 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.61/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tulip glass.

Brillant golden colored body with a huge white head. Seriously this beer has so much carbonation that the head is huge even with a gentle pour.

Smell: Spicy, yeasty and slight hay funk.

Taste: This is a really spicy tasting beer. Its like a herbal and peppery spice. Then Yeast is tasted next, but does not overtake the the spiciness of this beer. Mild tasting funk and citris too.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and crisp. High level of carbonation and refreshing. Almost seltzer like.

Overall: This was enjoyable, I wanted to try something different and I don't drink many belgian style beers so this was an obvious choice. Glad i tried it, score is lower than average score because this is not really my prefered style of beer that I drink. (770 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.61/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three-finger white head that takes forever to fade leaving a good lace. Hazy amber color. Strong carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is tart and woody, flavor is tart fruit with a lingering tart aftertaste, only an OK Trappist ale. Pricey at $5.99 for a 330ml bottle from Kappy's Fine Wine & Spirits Peabody, Ma. Bottled on 4/22/2010. (342 characters)

Photo of abuliarose
3.61/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a bulbous wine glass to a thick (very, very thick), active cream head over clear amber body. Did I mention how huge the head was? It dies down fairly quickly, though. Smells nice but not overly strong and of estery orange blossom and a little grape. There's a slight floral hop aroma and a little must, but we'll leave it at that.

Tastes like carbonation. After that, a little like apple juice with a metallic tang. There's something very funky mixed in there as well. The ending flavors are citrus sour with tinges of hoppy bitterness. It's... different than the other Belgian pales I've had. This one's got more real farm funk to it.

Mouthfeel is carbonation, basically, but once you're past that it's a fairly light-bodied and smooth beer. The carbonation makes this one a little too hard to drink for me. On the plus side, it bubbles nicely.

All in all, an interesting offering. Would I pick it again over other Trappists? Probably not. But I can appreciate where it's coming from. (1,000 characters)

Photo of barczar
3.61/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy medium brown, almost coppery color with a billowing, foamy 2 inch cream head that lingers. Can't pour the full bottle into the tulip.

Green apple, pear, floral hops and belgian yeast character dominate the initial aroma. Coriander and white pepper add complexity. Notes of tangerine and pineapple surface late, accompanied by confectioners sugar sweetness and a hint of caramel malt.

Flavor is fairly tart initially and somewhat phenolic, becoming slightly bready mid palate, and finishing fairly bitter and a touch peppery. There's significant mustiness throughout. Tart crab apple esters are somewhat overpowering at first, but sweettarts notes emerge later as respite.

Body is moderate, with fairly high carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

More tart than most, as well as more bitter. Wish the tartness weren't so overpowering and allowed more ester variety to shine. Served at suggested temperature, head is out of control. Becomes stale after a while. I just do not like this beer. (1,011 characters)

Photo of 700Uave
3.61/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottled 4-22-2010

loud hiss as the cap was pried off. My Duvel tulip glass was half beer, half foam upon pouring. Unbelievable amount of carbonation. Its a deep orange color and after 5 minutes, still huge head.

The smell reminds me of Fantome Saison, although its been a while since I last had that. pretty bright, acidic and tart smells come through.

Mouthfeel is very effervescent and quite pleasant, however, for my taste its just slightly over carbonated.

champagne-like tastes are present. Slightly tart. aftertaste is dry and unfortunately thin (if that makes sense). I wish this had a better finish.

Sure, I could drink a few of these, but the desire is not quite there tonight. I plan on trying this once more after having a wider range of beers in this style. (778 characters)

Photo of zaphodchak
3.6/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip; 1 inch of foamy ecru-white head that just stays and stays, and plenty of fizzing visible in the amber body.

Nose is tart, piney.

Taste follows nose , dry, slighly hoppy (for a Belgian) finish. Faint bitter tart apple. Not too much flavor, mild and subtle.

Mouthfeel is coarse, foamy. Hard to actually get a sip of liquid in; it's all foam. It kinda kills the taste; mostly foam and air.

Because it's so non-overpowering, drinkability is pretty good, except that the foam would eventually get hard to deal with. (535 characters)

Photo of MmmIPA
3.6/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The bottle I had was almost 14 months old.

Cloudy orangish bosy with a 2 finger white head that looks like soap bubbles.Thick pillowly head.

Smells like peppar and coriander,some banana and like the candy Neco wafers.Smells like pudding also.
Peppery taste sorda bitter in the after taste.Yeasty and very creamy head. Mouthful is delicate and heavenly very creamy head and perfect carb. and thickness.Good beer very enjoyable and worth the price.I drank it with the company of my beutaful girlfreind and a nice night on the back porch.I will look for this beer again but a fresher bottle. (595 characters)

Photo of geetlord
3.6/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer poured a light amber color with a thick and foamy head. It had a good strong bitter aroma. The flavor supprised me, it as very complex, with hints of fruits and spices, over everything there was a very bitter and earthy taste that I found overpowering and which hurt this beer's drinkability significantly, not waht I expected at all. maybe I should try this one again on the chance that I got an odd bottle. im not certain what to make of this beer in general. (471 characters)

Photo of WesWes
3.6/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a cloudy gold color wit a thick overflowing white head. The aroma is good. It boasts of pale malts and lemon zest. The taste is decent. It is light and citrousy. It has a musty aftertaste, but goes down smooth. The mouthfeel is fair. It is a medium bodied beer with too much carbonation. It drinks well. I thought the taste was good. It just was a little too foamy. All in all, this was pretty decent. (416 characters)

Photo of gyllstromk
3.6/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A compelling aroma with telltale leather from the Bretts, which hints of great, sour things. Reminiscent of a tart lambic or flanders red. The flavor which follows leaves much to be desired. It's thin, likely over-attenuated from the Brett. Not much perceptible sourness and the Brett flavors (leather and barnyard) are less apparent than in the nose. (351 characters)

Photo of Truh
3.6/5  rDev -13.5%
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. (531 characters)

Photo of JustinOSU99
3.6/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a light amber color with a huge foamy head that sticks aruond for quite some time
S: All sorts of great smells come out of this beer such as apple, orange rind, fig, slight pear hints, and an undertone of caramel.
T: Up front I tend to notice the alcohol even though this beer doesnt have a huge ABV. It is quite tart, with the apple taste coming through. Lingers a bit on the palate with its tartness.
M: Perfectly balanced in carbonation and doesnt seem too heavy.
D: I didn't enjoy the beer as much as I thought I would, but will give it a second try down the road. (577 characters)

Photo of yamar68
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks gorgeous - ruby/pear with frothy dollops of off-white goodness. The first thing that I notice on the nose is some kind of white wine character - grapes, bitter fruits, etc. Plenty of hop presence with some estery goodness in there. Certainly is a unique tasting beer. Not quite as vibrant as I was hoping. The notes that build the aroma just aren't here on the palate. This one has a year on it, so I guess this beer might just be in an awkward phase because the look and smell suggest something greater and more pronounced. Perhaps my least favorite of the Trappists, which isn't saying much at all. (606 characters)

Photo of sirpsycho
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Bottled on 24/01/2006, best before 24/01/2011. Pours an orange/amber, small white head, no real lacing to speak of. Aroma is flowery and spices, citrusy. Taste was rather mild, nothing really stood out to describe, I was surprised by how mild it was . Finish was slightly spicey and dry. (295 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a La Trappe goblet in Ghent, Belgium.

A: Pours a one finger head of little cream but decent thickness. Nontransparent caramel brown colour. Appealing.

Sm: Cream, caramel, fruit esters. Very hoppy.

T: Fruity body, mixed well. Very sweet - maybe the candy sugar had this effect. A bit of caramel. Very hoppy. Actually quite unbalanced, which is unfortunate. Built pretty well, but not special or unique.

Mf: Very coarse and dry for the style. Poorly executed. Doesn't complement the flavour at all.

Dr: I expected a better beer. I wouldn't have another, even at Belgian prices. Serve warm.

---
My last (above) review seemed rather sparse, so I decided to re-review in more detail. I love the design of the bottle; its iconic. Brown glass bottle with branded silver colour pry-off pressure cap and understated neck label acquired at a local bottle shop and served into an Orval stem-goblet in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given that it's a trappist brew. 6.9% ABV per the label. Bottled: 21/06/2013. Best before: 27/06/2018. No style (aside from the nebulous "trappist ale") is listed on the label, so I'm reviewing it open-ended, but as a Belgian style.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm a bit over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours almost entirely head - five fingers wide out of a possible six. It's white in colour, fluffy, and has a nice even soft complexion. Airy light consistency. Head retention is great - 10+ minutes. Uneven lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a clear translucent gold/copper with orange hues. Good vibrance. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Overall, it's looking pretty good for a Belgian ale. I wouldn't quite call it unique or special, but there are no overt flaws and both the head and colour are above average.

Sm: Fragrant perfumey Belgian yeast is the first thing I notice, with a distinct funkiness, vitamins, and some biscuity character coming through quite a bit. It's loaded with fruity esters; I find orchard apple and pear, a hint of faint orange, and something approximating peach. The crisp fruitiness is marvelous. I also find Belgian pale malts, clean barley, and hay. Hop character is an enjoyable mix of floral and fruity notes.

No alcohol is detectable.

A pleasant, soft, inviting aroma of moderate strength. The yeast character is a highlight for me.

T: Fruity esters are as abundant here as on the aroma. The body is comprised of Belgian pale malts, biscuit malt, and clean barley. It's slightly starchy as well. The Belgian/Trappist yeast is marvelous, featuring some subtle funkiness as well as biscuity vitamin-y healthy qualities. Hop character is fruity as well as floral. Pleasant and enjoyable; I like it. I do have some issues with the balance; it gets a bit earthy/herbal on the climax, which doesn't suit it well.

Complex for a Belgian pale, with some decent subtlety as well. But it isn't the masterfully constructed gestalt ale I've seen so many claim it to be. Nuanced, sure, but not particularly intricate. Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour.

No alcohol or other off-notes come through.

Mf: Wonderfully soft on the palate - a characteristic I love. Near perfectly carbonated. The smoothness/wetness is thrown off by the starchiness of the flavour profile; it's almost stale. I don't know if I'd even call it refreshing. Decent thickness and body. Texture suits the taste decently, but is far from feeling custom-tailored to it.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, or boozy.

Dr: Very drinkable; I'll have no trouble killing the bottle. As much as I like it, I can't concede that it's up there with the best Trappist beers. I look forward to trying Petit Orval and to trying this with some age on it, but every time I try it I don't find it to be world class. That said, I've heard every bottle is a bit different, and that alone makes it a unique beer. I'll concede it's a classic, but I wouldn't recommend it to friends per se. I hope to visit the abbey one day and try it in its ideal setting. I could easily drink another. Certainly well above average.

It's absolutely worth trying, but let's not conflate being a classic beer with being a great one. That said, it grows on you the more you drink it. I could see myself appreciating this more and more each time I come back to it.

Low B (4,582 characters)

Photo of suspect
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz Orval bottle into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A: Cloudy orange color with golden hues. Humongous white fluffy head. Took me at least 5 minutes and about 4 top-offs to pour the whole beer into the glass. Extremely sticky lacing.

S: Fruity overtones - watermelon and some banana mixed with bready yeast and sweet malt.

T: Lemony/citrusy followed by yeasty and sweetness that's indescribable until you taste it. It's an interesting mix of fruit/funk/earth/yeast/malt that's quite unlike any beer I've ever had.

M: Frothy, creamy which is to be expect from such a large-headed beer. Aftertaste lingers forever and ever. Literally 10 minutes later it feels like I just swallowed.

O: This is quite the interesting drink that will have to be spaced over time. I will go back to this one...definitely a "one and done" for a while... (855 characters)

Photo of budgood1
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours out a hazy copperish colour with a charged up sea foam head..lots of carbonation to support the lasting and sticky lace. musty green apple aroma...smells nice. odd but pleasant lemony flavour...lightly malted, a bit yeasty and rather dry. finishes with a bite of alcohol...lingering mustiness in the aftertaste. this is a nice, light on the palate belgian pale ale meant to be paired with a bit of cheese and meat. not my favourite style to drink...but worth respect and i would sample again under the right circumstances. (528 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,193 ratings.