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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
94
outstanding

4,604 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,604
Reviews: 2,147
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 248
Gots: 497 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,604 | Reviews: 2,147 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DoubleJ
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As I warm up the bottle from the fridge, let me tell you a story: I was inside an SAQ in Montréal. I didn't think I'd buy a beer I could easily get at home, but the price tag was attractive: $3.30! And that's with taxes! This goes for $2 more in my area. So what I have here is a double import. The label is a double as well; there's a bilingual label on this one (because it was bought in Québec). Well, now I think it's time to serve this up. On to the beer:

I can already smell the aroma as I slowly lifted the bottle cap. But let's not get ahead, let me pour in into a chalice first. Hot damn, that's a lot of foam on top. Let me go to the kitchen and chop off part of its head so i can pour the rest in...

Head retention is excellent on top of this deep golden colored brew. Okay, now I can smell the fruits of this beer. Candi sugar and peaches, mmm. A little spice as well. Oh boy, I'm getting excited...

I was expecting a sweet treat, and instead got something different. It's just a little sweet. I should note the balance is very nice, but the overall flavor is missing something. It's more of a grassy/hay taste, with aspirin echoing in the background. The alcohol, despite being at 6.9, is camouflaged. A little sourness in the back. Now I'm starting to get used to the taste, so now I can show some appeciation for this work. I'm turned on to it in a weird kind of way.

Okay, so it wasn't what I thought it would be. But it wasn't a dissapointment either. I still want more, though at its price in the US, it will have to settle as a beer to have once in a while.

Photo of mjgooner13
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Some good smoke upon opening the bottle... dirty copper color, fluffy cream colored head with lots of small bubbles...

S- red wine smell comes through immeadiately upon opening the bottle. After a minute or so, the scent become a mix of sweet raisins to start followed by grapefruit and alcohol

T- Get mostly fruit in the mouth. some malt sweetness, i was hoping for more, but still very a very good tasting beer. Alcohol comes through as the beer sits...

M- Med body beer that leaves the mouth a little dry, but in a good way. Carbonation is good, but nothing special in the mouthfeel.

O- Definitely a tasty beer. For me the raisins and grapefuit are the main flavors and they combine well with the alcohol especially as the beer sits for a bit. Good bit of dryness keeps me wanting more.

Photo of MattSweatshirt
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 10/02/2011 and poured into chalice.

Pours a 1.5 finger white with a yellowish tint head. Lots and lots of bubbles work their way through the glass. Can’t see through the hazy orange/amber color of the body.

Earth, grass, and citrus in the nose. It is fairly aromatic as you can smell it as you pour.

Slightest hop bitterness with a citrus and grass flavor for the most part. More bready at the back end. There is a medicinal quality which I have never really noticed before this bottle. Lots of carbonation and dry.

This beer is flat out amazing. I love it. I’m biased. Whatever.

Photo of patm1986
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

.33L bottle into a wide wine glass

the head is beautiful: thick, richly foamy, retains itself well, and dissipates slowly but to a respectable lace while leaving some nice bubbles and residue on the side of my glass. honey-colored, an orange-brown. carb-bubbles visible on the bottom of my glass.

smells of yeast, fruity yest, like some sort of fruit-bread. a swish, and i'm getting stone fruits like peaches, very lightly, some golden-raisin, a little raspberry, and some citrus like a grapefruit or a lemon.

the first splash is a sour shot to the front of the palate followed by the citrus, more lemon in the taste, and an earthy, flowery middle. these fruit flavors don't follow completely through as the sour, wild yeast flavor returns with a slight alcohol tinge. still it is very refreshing and sharp.

smooth at first, then like a thirst-quencher, the carbonation and crispness smacks you around. goes down VERY EASILY. by the end of the glass, she's just sliding down the throat.

at 6.9, this is an ale stronger than one for a session, but it goes down like one. but at 6.9, it's also more punchy than you'd think. in that middle ground of abv, but with the flavors and aromas and body, this is something very special.

a bar-holder and a freak in the style and out of it. really, REALLY good.

Photo of Tucquan
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on 2010-06-25 in Columbia, PA

A - Orange-amber with a monstrous, pillowy, white head into a tulip glass

S - Fresh bread, lemon, orange, mild hop oils

T - Almost a wild ale taste with sourness from start to finish but well-modulated with sweet citrus, lightly roasted grain, grass and reasonable hop bitterness. All of the tastes are exceedingly balanced.

M - Light to medium body and medium-high carbonation. Explosive bubbles mellow to a tingly and mildly creamy feel.

O - A rich and refreshing experience. I shared this brew with my wife who isn't a fan of much bitterness but she really enjoyed it too since the hop bitterness is so well-integrated and balanced. I had to laugh when she said it reminded her of a really great Schlitz!

Notes: On 2011-06-17 I had this side-by-side with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It was fun to compare and contrast these two fine beers. For a day-to-day brew, I'd prefer the SNPA.

Photo of Dave1999
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer is a cloudy amber with a massive fluffy white head.

The smell is lemons, oranges and a bit of a sour vinegar smell.

The taste is sour, lemons, light malts and just a little bitterness.

The mouthfeel is light with high carbonation.

A classic, the sour flavours differentiate this from other Belgian pale ales. Well worth seeking out.

Photo of drxandy
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle dated : bottled - 27/12/2007 - best before 27/12/2012B - 2 days after last years christmas, yay

poured to goblet, hazy deep golden with slight brown, highly carbonated, white head fades to lacing - looks good

smells of apples! sweet and sour funk from the brett yeastiness, peppery spice, pineapple, slight lemon citrus

tastes tangy sweet creamy from carbonation, the carbonation is excellent kicking all the flavors around and lounging on the tongue, bitter, funky brett is sour and dry, very balanced, biscuity malt, bitter hops in the back, light alcohol, wow - complex!

mouthfeel is amazing, crisp dry finish, refreshingly creamy carbonation, very nice!!!

Photo of THECPJ
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: orange with a 2 finger white head

smell: spices, malts, citrus

taste: very sweet, spices

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body, smooth, dry finish

drinkability: goes down easy. wish it was a bit cheaper.

Cheers,

The CPJ

Photo of Jerzdevil1116
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz Bottle dated 7/5/07. Purchased at Joe Canals on Fire Road in Egg Harbor Twp., NJ.

A- Light amber body. Tall foamy white head. A lot of carbonation. Plenty of lacing left on the glass.

S- Smells of malt and yeast. A bit lemony also.

T- Fruity. Lemony and yeasty. A slightly bitter finish.

M- Medium bodied. Lively and tingly from the carbonation.

D- A very nicely balanced beer. Easy drinking.

Photo of codewarrior
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330mL singleton poured into a chalice

My beer guy at Argonaut has been recommending this to me for a while, it's also discussed regularly in the revered halls of the Beer Advocate forums, so I finally got around to picking this bad-boy up in stead of The Dissidant I went in for (as apparently their shipment is delayed!). I digress ...

Bottled on 5/19/2010, best by 5/19/2015

L: Apricot-hay colored, but the more dramatic portion of the look is the absurd amount of head. On first pour the head is at least 5-times as tall as the beer. My cup overfloweth, but damn if it doesn't look good.

S: Sweet and sour. Starts strong with a big front of brett-induced sour, transitions smoothly into a fading lingering sweetness that tails off into nothingness.

T: Brett character is not nearly as pronounced as in the nose, and it's in the back, not the front. Mostly this beer is a subdued dry sweetness. Really quite good, if entirely unexpected from the nose. Smooth into a sweet, then dry middle, then the brett kicks in to compliment with a subtle sourness in the finish. Based on the nose, and on American brews using brett, I expected this to be far more brett-heavy, but in fact the brett is really more an embellishment than the centerpiece.

F: Smoooth, and wicked dry. Really quite spectacular.

D: Pretty phenomenal. Seriously.

Photo of jdense
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bowling Pin bottle enjoyed at The Beer Mongers, PDX, 8.8.11

Two fingers billowing white head, slow dissipation with significant lacing on top of medium gold clear body with multiple streams of carbonation rising quickly to surface. Damn hoppy for the style, just what I expected and a lot more, noble hops with some floral notes for good measure, pretty dry malt aromas. Taste is tres hoppy, a revelation for a trappist beer, absolutely unique, hops up front, a bit of malty sweetness in the middle, bready malts to dry out palate towards end, and a mild hoppy back end. Mouthfeel is on the light side of medium, happy mouth effervescence. I imagine aging will tame the hoppiness a bit, but relatively fresh, well, this is one world class beer. Exceptional.

Photo of Roguer
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Always a nearly unmanageable head fills the glass, with excellent retention. The beer itself is a beautiful dark golden color, with thick clouds and carbonation in the middle. Lacing clings to the glass with a broad line at the top and spiderweb patches below.

S - Smooth and citrusy, with a hefty dose of Brett. Musty and funky. Lovely.

T - The most unique of the Trappist ales - maybe the most unique beer in the world. Taste is sharp and funky, a little hoppy on the tip of the tongue, and a wheat-malt finish. Not particularly sweet. Very spicy, with clove, some pepper, a bit of an earthy feel. Nice tangy (but not citrus) on the back end as the beer warms. Very complex and interesting.

M - Initially a little sharp and carbonated. Easier to take in and swish around as it warms a bit. As it warms, it starts to cling pleasantly to the mouth and throat.

O - This is a very interesting ale. An incredibly complex and fascinating beer.. Reminds me of a good cigar: complex, a little spicy, not overly sweet.

Bottled in July 2012.

Photo of jkanavel
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a wonderful treat that I found in an unexpected place.
It poured dark golden and hazy after I stirred the yeast a bit, with a nice fluffy off-white head.

The first thing I noticed was the smell that came bursting from the bottle when I opened it. I got a rush of ethanol which dissipated quickly and left behind strong banana notes.

The taste was a wonderful combination of sweetness offset by clean hops with alcoholic and yeasty back notes. Maybe some herbal/floral action going on too.

The mouthfeel is the kicker with this one, it is crisp and sharp, you almost get the impression you're drinking a citrus beverage. Its quite refreshing and enhances the flavor a great deal.

Pretty drinkable stuff I dare say, were it not so expensive that is.

Photo of brianmandell
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of VitorDamasceno
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of PeterLemonjello
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: a hazey rich honey or light orange color. Pours a hefty/rocky head with lots of CO2 bubbles

S: mildly sour apples and white grapes

T: very fruity and dry turning giving way to some malt/bready flavors as it reaches cellar temperature

M: nice, full and lots of delicate/soft carbonation

D: Very nice beer with plenty of flavors. Complex beer but very drinkable.

Photo of SacoDeToro
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Photo of botham
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a goblet. pours a semi-hazy amber color witha couple fingers of off-white frothy head.

aroma is lightly fruity, with a subtle sourness that feeds off of grape notes within the fruit character. overall the brew takes on a vinous character, almost reminiscent of a flanders red.

taste is more restrained than the aroma would suggest, but with much of the same present. same notes as aroma, just less intense. finishes with a lingering note of dark fruit.

mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a clean finish and silky texture.

drinkability is decent. the alcohol shows even though it is only 6.9% APV. that being said, this is a brew about subtle flavors and character. overall a wonderful belgian

Photo of Haybeerman
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Slightly hazy orange color. Pours with a dense two inch off-white head; holds throughout. Laces all the way down. One of, if not the, best looking beer I've ever seen.

S: Soft complex light-colored fruits up front; hints of orange. Very mild floral hop aroma. Mildly spicy with a bit of clove and pepper

T: Starts off with a very unique fruit/spice combination; mild tangy sweetness finishing fairly dry.

M: Full yet not heavy; quite a feat. Great balance. Perfectly carbonated.

D: I could pretty much drink and a lot - and think I will more regularly.

Photo of axeman9182
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle, "bottled on" date of 30/12/2009, poured into my Duvel tulip.

Orval pours somewhere betwwen a murky gold and a hazy orange, depending on the lighting and the amount left in the glass. One of the best heads I've ever seen on a beer rises up, 4+ fingers of a frothy, rocky white crown. Crazy head retention, and the side of the glass I'm not drinking from has gobs of lacing on it. Possibly the easiest five I've awarded. I guess this bottle is old enough for the brett to really begin asserting itself, this Orval smells like 100% brett funk. Lots of musty leather and horse blanket. It's good, but it leaves the nose to be fairly one dimensional. The flavor is a bit more diverse, and really works well. There's a brief flash of pale apple sweetness, before the realization of how bone dry the beer is and the brett crashes the party. That distinct funkiness occupies the middle of Orval, and makes up a good chunk of the flavor. Right at the end though a brisk shot of bitterness serves as an entrance cue for a subtle lemongrass finish. All in all Orval comes together spectacularly, and I much prefer this to my other experience with Orval, which was a younger, less brett-y, and in my opinion less interesting beer. As one might expect for a beer so dry on the palate, the lack or residual sugars result in a very light (but not watery) beer. Orval is highly carbonated to give the beer a certain sharpness to it, but doesn't cross the line into fizzy, a nice balancing act by the brewers. Orval is just a solid beer all around, and drinks like it's a 4.5% brew rather than nearly a 7% one. My first bottle of Orval put me off a little bit, but this one has redeemed it and more, a fantastic beer.

Photo of MeisterBurger
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This thing has a whopping great head, loads of carbonation and a thick, wonderful lingering head. Which normally I like. But in this instance makes it all but impossible to take a sip without getting a face full of foam. Once it settles down it starts to lace beautifully.

Would you smell that? This is one of the best smelling beers on the planet, like candied fruit and sweet flowers or green Jolly Ranchers, but there's also a funky horsey smell in there too.

I should have taken the time to bring it up to temperature because, when cold, the taste is almost medicinal with a spiciness that stings the tip of the tongue and a bit of sourness. As the beer settles and warms a complex array of toasted, nutty, biscuity malt comes to the fore. The bitterness level is spot on. The 6.9% alcohol is present but it plays nicely with the other flavors. It gets a bit tart and soapy towards the end, and no bad thing.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly creamy for something that seems so carbonated and it has a very dry finish.

Photo of ajayma
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

LOOK.
Dark honey with a gentle cloudiness. Bottled On: 9/23/2008

AROMA.
I get leather, citrus peel, and hay.

BODY.
Light with a firm carbonation.

FLAVOR.
Starts off with a wash of hay and lemon rind. In the middle, a grassy hop character mingles with a mild pepperiness. In the finish, bitterness becomes more medicinal, with notes of ginger and lemon (and anise too?) in a long, drying finish. Dry through and through.

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

This poured to a dark shade of almost orange and bronze. The head was enormous; it eventually died down but never went away. It's leaving a think and luxurious lace behind.

Alcohol comes through in the smell, just behind all that fruit and banana that one should expect. The taste has the banana flavor as well, with a great hop profile in the finish.

This is a really good beer, and well worth a try if nothing else.

Photo of Infamous7100
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Poured a dark carmel, almost copper color into a pilsner glass. Offered up an gigantic head, not only on the first pour, but on subsequent ones as well. Had a rocky head the lasted for a pronounced duration. Lots of lacing.
S: I wasn't overwhelmed with any particular scent. A mixture of yeast and a little hops I'd say. There is definitley some fruity overtones, though what fruit, I couldn't say. Alcohol hidden well.
T: Awesome, it almost finished like a lager in my opinion. Finished clean and crisp. Not a lot of aftertast at all. Taste confirmed the yeast smell and also the citrus fruits. Not very hoppy in my opinion. It was well hidden if it was. As I said, hang was minimal, but while on the pallet, it was great, and not overbearing.
M: Very smooth. Nothing too heavy, yet nothing too light. Enough presence to let you know what you were drinking was something of quality.
D: At 6.2% alcohol, this may not be the ideal session beer. Down with that theory. This was great. The bottle was rendered empty before I knew it and I was left wanting another. Well worth the price and I will be buying two or three next time at the store.

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

(11.2oz bottle-bottled 5.19.2010). Pours a hazy apricot color with a chunky white head and active carbonation. Nice lacing. The beer is almost one year old and seems to have lost its hop aroma. I’m mostly getting some sour, funkiness with some berries. Taste is tart-not quite sour-but the hops are there, albeit faint. Medium bodied with creamy texture. Finish is bitter and dry. My tastes have changed a great deal since I last had an orval and I like it much more now. It’s taken a loooong time for me to get into sour (or sourish) beers

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,604 ratings.