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

4,833 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,833
Reviews: 2,211
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 12.59%
Wants: 274
Gots: 620 | FT: 13
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: 4,833 | Reviews: 2,211
Photo of solomon1122
3.49/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not my type.
A little bit hop taste and sour

Photo of raynmoon
3.49/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: light gold, orange with a huge foamy head, No lacing.

s: big, big, big grannysmith apples, saison breadiness.

t: dry, dry funky brett flavors and some sweet caramel malt. The Brett is supplying a lot of bitterness, no fruity, sweet tartness, just bitter yeast, not great.

Not as a great as some would say, maybe it's an old bottle, but I was expecting this to be bright and flavorful, but it is rather dry and bitter, the bitterness does not add anything to the beer.

Photo of basica
3.48/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is my second Orval and it was a better experience as this time round it was served in my
very own Orval trappist chalice and also maybe because I was able to better appreciate this
controversial taste. It pours out into my Orval chalice a slightly dark and murky golden color
with a big bubbly head. It smells of yeasts and malts and the signature orval smell; the taste
itself malty and with the strong signature orval taste which I believe is owing to a certain
style of fermentation or something manipulation of the malts. I am not sure how to describe the
taste except a wierd bready fermentation somewhat which gives the taste strength and character
despite the low ABV of 6.2. Some people found this taste pungent; I felt that it was pretty ok
but does not impress me. Some dashes of citrus and spices included in the taste packet.
The slightly bitter finish was pretty nicely blended in and the after taste is richly malty,
yeasty and spicey with a bready touch which increases as the after taste lingers. In terms of
mouthfeel, the Orval should be around medium body with a pretty high level of carbonation. It
was fairly smooth but not really. Generally OK on the drinkability but could work better on
the mouthfeel and drinkability. Not as smooth as I would like it to be. Nonetheless quite a
unique beer on the whole and worth the experience. I may do some aged Orvals in future.

Photo of mechamifune
3.48/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Been looking forward to trying this one for a long time. I've heard a lot of others say that this beer defies simple classification and after drinking it I can see why.

Pours with an immense amount of slightly tan head into a chimay glass. Obvious carbonation and the smell is more subdued that i'm expecting. If I had to pick something out it would be some slight citrus, but i come away with a sense of dryness more than anything.

Upon tasting its somewhat hard to describe.... some subdued hops, but mostly a little fruit and a lingering perfume-ish taste. The mouthfeel is continuously foamy, dry, but somehow still relatively light.

While this drinks relatively light, this is not a beer to drink quickly. There is a lot going on and you really have to sip it to get through it enjoyably. As i progress through the glass the perfume aftertaste subsides a little and some hints of sourness come through.

In the end I'm not really sure what to think. This is obviously a beer with a lot going on and one that a lot of effort has gone into. In the world of beer I would classify this as a pretty unique experience... but still I'm not sure there's anything to bring me back to it. Still, its certainly worth a try for any beer lover.

Photo of saztheorybook
3.48/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

There was almost a marble in its golden and amber blend in the glass with a white brown creamy head. It smelled citrusy and a little rosy, with some hints of maltiness. The first taste was outstandingly bitter and overpowering, with an acrid aftertaste. As I kept drinking, it became fruitier and more enjoyable, but I don't see myself getting this one again for a while.

Photo of HappyHourHero
3.48/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tangy lemon aroma, a bit of grassy hops. Foamy yellowish tan colored head left a solid layer of lace as it faded. Hazy, cider colored beer. Light wheat flavors, a pinch of lemon and bitter grapefruit, Light body, lots of carbonation, barely bitter finish that warms the stomach. Too much carbonation keeps the light flavor from reaching the tongue. I let it sit for 15 minutes before I opened and I think it needs even more time to warm. Overall a fairly crisp and clean beer, but I was expecting more. I'll give it another try, but not in the immediate future.

Photo of Hautacam
3.48/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle freshness date 6/05.
Light, cloudy amber-brown....very lively, foamy head....rises up the chalice...looks great. Head slowly drops to 1/8 in and stays.
Smells of barnyard, yeast and overripe apple, musty....kind of gueuze-like, but not as intense.
Tastes surprizingly light..subtle yeast, horse blanket, malt....cidery; sour...not bitter, with some alcohol coming through. Dry and lighter in mouthfeel than I expected.Carbonation medium.
This was good, but for the price, I think I'll stick to the other abbeys. I would have liked a heavier mouthfeel and a little more malt. My girl friend thought this ale was fantastic...I gave her the rest of mine.

Photo of wmtxbb
3.47/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a chalice. Bottled on 12-30-11, so it's just over a year old.

Appearance: Thick finger-sized head on top of a golden brew.

Smell: Very clean aroma. Hints of tea and hops.

Taste: Very dry, chalk-like. Some pepper and spice flavors...other than that, it's an extremely boring beer. It's also pretty bland.

Drinkability: Bland and boring... I'd like to try a younger version of this. This has been a real disappointment.

Photo of oracle
3.47/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served in an Orval chalice style glass

Beer was light amber, with a thin low density head. No discernable lacing.

Flavor was very mild for a belgian, with a predominance of fruits, mostly plum. Mild hops and a very faintly sour finish that lingers. Way too much carbonation for my liking.

I still haven't decided if I will order this one again.

Photo of cheers2beers
3.47/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a wide mouth mug:

Appearance: Poured a apple cider colored liquid with slightly off white pillowy head.I can't see through this beer due to the cloudiness.A little laceing can be found.

Smell: The aromas of bananas,cinnamon, maybe some clove and raison bread. No alcohol noted.

Taste: The flavors are sour fruits ,probably from the semi-wild yeasts that Orval uses, followed by an apricot dominance.Doesnt have that typical Belgian taste,but could be classified as a bad fruit beer.Seems a little tart in the finish.No alcohol to be detected.

Mouthfeel: This is very plain to me,a little sour in the front with a tart and bubbley finish.Medium carbonation,smooth,and easy to drink. But not memorable

Drinkability: I am very disappionted,I guess I expected this beer to be a superstar Belgian beer and yet was more like a fruit or hefewiezen gone wrong.Sorry Orval, just not my cup of tea. My money will be going to other breweries.

Cheers2Beers

Photo of aesopsgato
3.47/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer looks really nice, but the amounts of head I got from my pour (not overly vigorous) was a LOT. Copper in color, and very hazy. Lots of lacing after the ridiculous amounts of head settle down.

The smell is very nice. Slightly funky, which I was not expecting, but the horse blanket aromas I'm getting from this are very nice. Fresh, not really that musty in nature, more just slight funk. Crisp aroma, malty and the Belgian yeast sneaks in through the funky flavors. Some lemony and honey flavors there too.

Man, I was expecting so much more from this beer from the aroma. I was excited about this! The taste falls flat, some slight funk, very dry, not very satisfying. This is disappointing. It doesn't really taste like anything!

Mouthfeel is equally disappointing. Feels like water. Blah... I don't really want another.

Photo of Reneejane
3.47/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

It came out of the bottle a dark amber color with quite an impressive foamy off-white head that laced down the side of the glass but diminished greatly pretty quickly. The aroma was of a noticeable banana ester with a general floral hop smell to complement it. It tastes spicey, banana-y, and somewhat bitter. It isn't an overwhelming flavor, fairly mild. I really thought it was excessively carbonated, it really fills your mouth (and more) up with gas pretty quickly. "burp!" Overall not bad, not great, but a little overcarbonated.

Photo of Indybeer
3.46/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle. Poured a dark amber/orange color with a massive cratered head that seemed to last forever. Aroma is that of citrus and floral. Kind of odd for a beer to smell like a flower garden. Taste is tart, and very acidic, with its medium carbonation, it finishes very dry. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, it doesn't really leave any aftertaste behind. Different to say the least. Will have to try this one again, just to see.

Photo of lenin2040
3.46/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

First time having this legendary trappist ale...I'm trying to push my palate with more funky/sour beers, and this is one of the originals, so i was very excited.

A: absolutely gorgeous amber with a slight haze. huge, chunky head. bubbles streaming up from the bottom of my DFH signature glass.

S: delicious complex floral notes and a pronounced tange. lemon rind. hay.

T: i think i poured this too cold, as the taste definitely improved after i let it sit for a bit. starts slightly tangy (but not as sour as i'd expect from the nose) then strong medicinal/phenols take over, with just a touch of biscuity malt in the background. a quick hit of horse blanket, then finishes extremely bitter, bordering on astringent, and dries up almost entirely. with a touch more sweetness and/or acidity, this would have been great, but as it was the bitterness as the end took away the complexity in the middle for me...

M: love the intense effervescence.

D: this was certainly complex, but the finish was honestly too bitter for me that made me not crave another at all and give pause for going through the glass. not bitter in a citric/pine american IPDA/DIPA way, but this intense medicinal bitterness.

I will try this one out again in a year or two if/once my palate develops more around wild/brett/funky belgian style brews. but for now, while this was certainly a worthwhile taste, at the price it's not something i'll go back to until i think it's something i'd appreciate more...

Photo of dqrull
3.46/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy amber with an airy head that lasts quite a while, visible champagne-like carbonation.

Smell is first and foremost reminiscent of a biere de garde, a very fresh, lemon-ish aroma. Beneath the lemon (and possibly lime) there are some other, rather full fruits hiding, green grapes and green apples along with a certain spicyness. Very fresh.

Taste is fresh, and very dry, with lighter than expected hints of citrus and green fruits, with a very light tartness to it all. Finishes up dry and with a slighty tartness and a biterness that fits well, but I'm not too excited about the whole thing, it surely has character, but not really my thing this.

A very crisp and dry mouthfeell.

Photo of jmdrpi
3.46/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

poured into a tulip glass, the appearance is cloudy dark amber color, with a mountain of off-white head that reaches above the rim. looks great. the smell is somewhat fruity, tart. the taste is heavy on yeast, a little funky, and finishes extremely dry. I'm not really a huge fan of the flavor. body is somewhat thin and carbonation is high. not hard to drink, but probably won't seek out again. .

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.46/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bowling pin bottle dated 22/4/10.

Even a slow deliberate pour yields a nearly three finger chunky fluff atop a clear pale orange pour with sharp yellow highlights. Fizzy carbonation makes itself known from the popping and hissing emitted from the glass. Looks quite appealing.

Initial scent is of sharp tartness. This is quickly overpowered by dusty lemon, some menthol like spiciness, and a healthy dose of funk. I wish the hops and sharp tartness carried more of a star role than that of second fiddle. Eh.

Ditto the smell remarks here. In general, I enjoy sharp acidity over barnyard and I despite the term horse blanket, but can see how it applies here. I want to punch myself for using it however. There....well deserved. The lemon and apple are really cleaved into by the very dry finish, which, in my opinion, inhibits some of the possible stand out flavors. Alot of dust and must. I know this is a cult classic, and it's enjoyable. But it's not a beer that I'd go out of my way to drink on a regular basis. It's got the potential, but falls short for me.

Carbonation is big bubbles and quite high. For the first few post-pour minutes, there a veritable angry swarm of bubbleage than only mildly subsides with time.

Drinkability is fine, but a one-and-done for me, and most likely not a beer I'll seek out again with regularity.

Photo of Joseph01
3.46/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Color - Mild brown

Aroma - Hint of spice, herbal

Palate - Smooth, sweet, spicy

Overall - Unique profile, good beer

Photo of adamette
3.46/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is the 901st review of Orval on BA...I thought that was cool. I bought the bottle at McNaulty's Bier Markt in Cleveland, Ohio. That is a GREAT place for BAs. Bottle is dark yellow brown in the shape of a bowling pin, just like the one pictured above. Date bottled is 2 2 08.

A Poured into clean, clear glass. Body is cloudy, golden brown with a thick head that holds on for several minutes at least. Bubbles rise up from all surfaces of the glass in a very pleasing way. They are like single file lines of bubbles.

S Sweet, Citrusy, Malty, interesting.

T More of the same. Malty, citrusy, not as sweet tasting as the nose suggested. In fact, upon repeated swishing I find that this is actually some bitterness to it. I did not expect that as the other Belgians (and more specifically trappist Belgians) I found to maintain their sweetness.

M Interesting. Not as full as I expected it to be. It has an initial full, malty feel to it but what I wasn't expecting is that it sort of dissapears right down to an immediate aftertaste which is good but it does not have a mouthfeel like other trappists I have had. I do not think that it is bad, just not what I expected.

D The lower alcohol allows me to drink it more than some of the other trappists but it has that bitterness and it moves too quickly to the aftertaste.

Notes: I really struggled with this review. I was ready to be blown away by this beer since every other Belgian trappist totally blew me away. I do think that it is an exceptional beer but the quick shift to the aftertaste and the bitter taste were suprises. I can say that it is NOT my favorite trappist Belgian but it is a good beer. I do believe that I would like to try this again. I wonder if some of the qualities were due to some negative quality in the bottle that I got.

Photo of Strix
3.45/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 3/15/2007

I can't quite place the smell. Pear, alcohol and kind of an earthy dampness. But in a vaguely pleasant sort of way.

Taste is slow to develop, and gradually fades into a sour taste with a long lingering hoppy? dryness. As it warmed, sour tastes came out with more of a cider feel to it, with an earthy aftertaste.

Taste is smooth and light, a lot of tingly carbonation.

It's more of a sipper for me, drinkability-wise.

I guess I'm in the minority, but this didn't really do it for me. Some complexity to the taste, but the taste itself kind of rubs me the wrong way.

Photo of JohnfromDublin
3.45/5  rDev -18.1%
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!

Photo of drseamus
3.45/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The bottle I got was bottled on 1/31/06 and I drank it on 12/27/06, so it was about 11 months old. I poured this beer into a Chimay glass and it fit perfectly. The beer was a slightly cloudy amber color and the near white creamy head filled the rest of the glass. As with most belgians, the head stuck around for a while and slowly fell unevenly leaving nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is sour smelling, which matches the taste. There isn't enough sweetness to entirely balance the sour as in some other beers I've tried, but the sour flavor isn't bad either. It is fairly smooth for the sourness. Overall, I'm not crazy about this beer, but I would probably drink it again if it was aged more.

Photo of thespaceman
3.45/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Nice golden brown in color, looks creamy by the body, facisinating 2 finger head, very soapy lacing.

Smell: A tad bit of banana bread, slight citrus flavor pops when the head starts to dissapate. Not too much to pick out but it's also got a slight roastiness to it.

Taste: This one is pretty interesting. A sour candy like flavor takes over the front of the beer, a bitter, hoppy finish. A tinge of apples creeps through as well. Fairly spicy throughout.

Mouthfeel: Very carbonated, I tipped my bottle in the bag on accident and I paid for it when I opened it. Light bodied yet keeps a good balance on the tongue, a little sour though.

Drinkability: Not very sessionable in the fact that it's a little too bitter and sour tasting. Not that it's a bad beer at all, but not something I would drink all night. Maybe the carbonation is too much? Either way, a good stab at the style. Definetley good for a pre-gamer to start the night. Steep price tag for this (almost 8.99) but it's something that I would maybe consider in the future.

Photo of webbcreative
3.45/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Feb 22, 2009
Cloudy golden yellow color, Huge head lasted throughout the entire drink. Med Mouthfell. aroma was citrus, tasted of citrus and sour, tart apples, and some other fruit. This was a very flavorful brew, that was all over my pallet! i think ever crevice of my mouth tasted something unique. But that being said, it just wasnt really a favor im too fond of. To me this beer was just okay, after trying a few differnt ones, I guess im just not a fan of this particular style.

Photo of Zetcha7x
3.44/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

single purchased at Wegman's in Mechanicsburg, PA for $9.00 I believe, consumed on 3/14/14

A-hazy amber/brownish with a massive off white head and a ton of lacing.

S-yeast, dark fruits, some banana, floral notes, alcohol. Definitely pick up the "funk" that others mentioned.

T-very complex. there is a lot going on here. earthly taste, some sour, spice, more bitterness comes out as it warms.

M-strong carbonation, creamy, light-medium bodied

O- probably my least favorite Trappist to this point. a beer that tastes better as it warms, and very different from other Belgian ales. however, very expensive so I'm not sure I will have too many more of these.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,833 ratings.