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

2,179 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,179
Hads: 4,872
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 283
Gots: 638 | 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: 2,179 | Hads: 4,872
Photo of arvidkoval
3.17/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark yellow-orange with a big foamy white head. Excellent smell of bubblegum! Tasted like candy with a mild bitter flavor. Very bubbly body. Not crazy about this one. (169 characters)

Photo of Loki
3.16/5  rDev -24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Sampled from 33cl bottle with a Best Before date of 04 2007. Should I have let this age more?

I will try this again, but I was very disappointed. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe it was a bad bottle. Maybe I don't like the style, but I doubt the last one.

Poured a hazy amber color with a big white, frothy head that faded some what quickly to a thin, bumby covering. A quick swirl at anytime during the sampling brought back a 1/4 foam head that had a eye like the center of a hurricane.

The aromas were very fruity. Smells of pear, apricot, peach, and bananas with hints of malt and some hops hidden way in the back and I could only catch a glimpse of occationally. Like that hot girl in a crowded, smokey bar that you can only see when the crowd moves just right and your not really sure through the cloudy haze if it was her.

The taste help more fruit than the nose. Flavors of pear, apricot, bananas, and leather. Yes leather and more banana than I expected or was prepared for. Very unbalanced. The body was medium, but the finish was very sticky. I couldn't get it off the sides of my mouth, teeth, and tongue.

My wife thought it was aweful. Said, "This tastes like fruit and old shoe leather. If this was a wine I would say it was corked."

It didn't think it was that bad, but I was very disappointed. Especially considering the lengths I'll have to go through to get another to try. (1,420 characters)

Photo of stageseven
3.16/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Poured into a Chimay Goblet. The beer poured a light brown color, with a 1 finger off white head. The head stuck around and left good lacing on the glass. It was on the cloudy side, but we poured the sediment from the bottle into the glass to allow the yeast to dissipate through.

The aroma was also a bit unexpected. It was grassy, with an underlying spice scent. Sweetness and a scent of banana came through as well

The taste was fairly mild. There was a muted citrus fruit flavor that was slightly tangy, along with a light bitterness. The aftertaste had a slightly metallic tinge to it. Some banana flavor comes through as well.

The mouthfeel was thick and smooth, with a light carbonation. It was however a bit on the dry side.

This was a very easy beer to drink. Because the flavor was so mild, and there was no trace of alcohol in the taste, it was not at all difficult to throw back. I wouldn't say it was the best tasting beer ever, but certainly worth trying. (986 characters)

Photo of JoeAmerican77
3.15/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Huge amounts of carmel centered head atop a beautiful dark orange liquid, nice and hazy. Head keeps growing and will not go away, slightly annoying.

Yeast and mandarin orange fill the nose, also smell brett and chalk

Brett for sure but no sourness which should accompany the bug, orange flintsones multi vitamin, chalky malts. I expected this flavor profile to be huge and intense yet it denies that experience and gives a more subtle approach.

Mouthfeel is foamy and light bodied, very carbonated

Overall it is a good beer. Not a great one. Frankly I am disappointed, but thats what I get by expecting the stars from every trappist brew I taste. (651 characters)

Photo of TheEclecticGent
3.15/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had the bottled version of this in a beer tasting event. It pours a creamy looking light caramel color with a good head and lacing. It has a musky nose. The flavor is a smooth fruity to fermented fruity flavor, maybe a hint of orange rind. It has an odd bitter finish to me. Something is missing in this beer, it seems a bit unbalanced to me. Not bad overall and I would drink it again especially with a good Belgian dish. (422 characters)

Photo of Tupperwolf
3.14/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an apple-juice orange-brown, rather clear until I get to the end of the pour and upend the yeast, whereupon it takes on a very slightly hazy iced tea brown with a little bit of sediment visible floating and a few small bubbles; I poured this into my Trappistes Rochefort chalice and was rewarded with a half-inch head that is currently falling down to a plump ring and some whitish scum.

I've always been a little unsure about my first time trying Orval. I've heard that it's either loved or hated, and often more readily hated than loved. I fully intend to try all the trappist beers I can get my hands on, including Orval, despite my inclination away from sour beers..

So in I go for my first cautious whiff. A very slight horsy brett note passes my nose, and then becomes a more usual Belgian scent - spicy yeast, crispy malts, slightly piney hops. I wait for it to warm to get more powerful scents, but the overall scent profile is pretty mild.

I get a bit of fermented apples in the flavor, and just a little bit of dust and must on top of a little biscuity malts and grassy, piney hops. Even as it warms, the taste leaves me less than impressed... It's just not very bold, not very strong.

The mouthfeel is extremely bright - extremely sparkling and 'tart' feeling on the tongue, with very spritzy carbonation in such tiny bubbles that it's an overall tingle. It finishes very dry, with a slight alcohol parched-throat sensation, and some bitter, musty flavor is lefft behind. It's an interesting sensation, and would be better if the flavors were a bit stronger.

Final thoughts - forgettable. I hate to say it after all that worry about what I would finally think, but I really don't think anything. It's okay, but not exceptional. (1,759 characters)

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.13/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A 330ml bottle with a BB of Nov 2014. Bottled in Nov 2009. Acquired ages ago from a webshop and stored in my garage. I have no idea what it'll be like after such a long time - fingers crossed. Love the iconic bottle.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottle conditioned. A deep orange-amber hue with faint haze and plentiful carbonation. Produces a vast head of fluffy white foam that resembles a meringue; this slowly reduces to a thick surface layer. Some lacing. Aroma of tart fruitiness with hints of cherries, raisins, barnyard funk, grain, a twinge of sherry, earthy yeast, cardboard and faint solvent. Dry and vinous, with a complex character that is vaguely reminiscent of fruit lambic. Bizarre but smells quite good.

Tastes of harsh stewed leaves with a dry, mildly sour character. Notes of acrid stewed leaves, harsh cardboard, oxidation, a subtle fruitiness, a whisper of funk and vinous yeast. Highly attenuated, followed by a dry, herbal bitterness upon swallowing. None too pleasant. Mouthfeel is dry and tingly with effervescent carbonation and lacklustre body. Very astringent, accompanied by an aftertaste of acrid stewed herbs, faint sourness and dry, earthy yeast.

Oh dear - not a very enjoyable glassful. I guess this hasn't aged well or I've kept it for too long (probably both). Looks great, and the aroma is pleasantly complex with hints of brett and fruity notes. However, the flavour is deeply unpleasant - very harsh and dry with little of what you'd expect from a good beer. Body is also subpar; fizzy and too thin. A great pity, as I've really enjoyed Orval when I've had it before and was looking forward to a top notch brew. Most likely it's just too old. I'll try and re-review a fresher version when I get the chance. Oh well.... (1,757 characters)

Photo of mmmbeer
3.13/5  rDev -24.8%
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. (1,031 characters)

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
3.12/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from bottle into a tulip glass. Pours an orange brownish color with the most aggressive head I can recall in beers that I have had. The beer has quite a bit of lacing as well.

S: I see many reviewers really point out the smell. Maybe I am getting sick, but the beer doesn't seem to have a distinctive scent at all. In fact, I really cant detect any aroma at all even in a tulip glass.

T: Of all the Trappist Ales I have had, this is the least enjoyable to me personally. It has a very earthy type taste and it gets even stronger as you swallow. Although not my cup of tea, I can see why others would enjoy this one.

M: The mouthfeel is totally dominated by the insane amount of carbonation in this one. As you swish the beer in your mouth it continues to create more and more bubbles. It has very little viscosity, but seems to match others in this same style.

D: It doesn't have an overbearing alcohol flavor at all in the mouth. However, the carbonation in this one is so dramatic that I knocked down the drinkability score a couple notches.

Although my scores may not seem to reflect it, this is by no means a bad brew. Just based on my taste I can't rank this one as highly as multiple other Belgian Ales I have tried. (1,237 characters)

Photo of CWiggins
3.11/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I really forward to trying this beer. It's one of the few available Belgian ales I've not tried, and so I purchased a bottle at the EarthFare in Raleigh while there this evening.

It poured a dark gold in my Dogfish Head snifter. A huge head formed; it was nearly snow-white and lasted until the beer was completely consumed. The smell was very full and nice; there were clear aromas of malts and hops, and a distinct floral hint as well.

The flavor was a bit disappointing. This is probably due to the fact that I'm so used to sweet, full-flavored Belgian ales, and this one just doesn't attempt that. Instead, there is a strong floral flavor on the front end, followed by a nutty breadiness at the finish. The mouthfeel is good. There's a full-mouthed, sticky feel to this beer. It has the right idea!

It probably needs another chance. I'll try this again at a later date. (882 characters)

Photo of maddogruss
3.11/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I expected more from this brew.

A: Poured a amber body with a thick, off-white head with very good retention.

S: A sweet, malty smell with hints of alcohol pervading the nostrils a little bit.

T: Not too much of a taste, which surprised me. There were some slight malt characteristics, but tasted pretty dry and grainy. Very surprising to me for a Belgian Pale Ale.

M: There was a lot of carbonation in this beer. reminded me a little bit of seltzer water.

D: This beer does not seem to drinkable. It started out okay - great appearance and decent smell - but ended poorly with a minimal taste and a lot of carbonation.

For the top beer in its category on BA, I was not too impressed. I think Duvel was a much better Belgian Pale Ale. (753 characters)

Photo of WhyBeNormal
3.11/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This one was bottled in '09 and had a best-by date of 2014. Light fruity esters, kind of acidic mustiness, and a reeeeaally dry aspirin-like finish. Pretty good and really complex, but too dry for me. I'd love to try a younger bottle. I've read that the Orval master brewer prefers his at 6 months old. (302 characters)

Photo of deejaydan
3.11/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A dry, dry, dry belgian. Pours with a very nice golden hue, with thick and lasting head. This beer almost glows in the glass. Good lacing as well. Aroma is slightly citruisy and peppery. Taste is dry, dry, dry. It's hard for me to pick up other flavors going around. I do pick up a touch of pepper in here as well. Mouthfeel is thin and overcarbonated. Tiny bubbles of carbonation rest on the head of this beer. Not one of the best beers out there, IMHO. (454 characters)

Photo of coasterfreak75
3.1/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The pour was light golden yellow with a good three finger head that was very slow to dissapate and left a huge amount of lace on the glass.

The smell was very strong in apricots with the standard Belgian yeast smell. Also hidden in the rear of the nose was a hint of alchohol.

The drink started very dry, this was the first Trappist I'd ever had to do this. The middle was very fruity with stong apricot and citrus flavors. But to my suprise the finish was also dry and clean.

All and all a good Trappist at best, still well worth a try but not the best. (563 characters)

Photo of Crittervision
3.1/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A bottle of 2005 and a bottle of 2010 side by side. Consumed at Kulminator on 12 August 2011.

The 2005 is a brighter copper, with the most beautiful, nearly unbroken sheet of off-white lacing on the other side of the glass. Gorgeous. On the 2010, no lacing, bigger bubbles, thinner cap. A 5 for the 2005.

The smell is quite muted on the 2005, with only a slight lemon acidity. The 2010 is perceptibly fresher with at least a weak hop presence.

On the tongue, the 2005 has a subtle, nondescript, and gentle sourness. The 2010 has a nice, tangy, hoppy bitterness. Very simple. Very boring.

The 2010 has a prickle that has faded from the 2005. Both are soft and are gently carbonated.

Fresh is unsurprising. And five years apparently isn't enough for the yeasts to do any thing remarkable. Other glasses of Orval over the past month have been equally unexciting. Not nearly as charming as I thought it was a few years ago. (929 characters)

Photo of karengarys
3.09/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured nice, nice fluffy head, and it retained while it warmed (in my Stella glass - sorry)...

Nice Trappist nose, as expected...

Taste is disappointing to me. Bottled Date on bottle is end of Feb 2012, well within the many year recommended consumption date (2017, did I get that right?).... I'm getting a seltzery and bitter flavor I just don't think matches what I would expect of a beer of this style.

Mouthfeel is watery but somewhat creamy... Did I say watery? ...maybe the taste skewed this perception.

Finish is just... beer. sorry. Slightly bitter like.... aspirin?

overall I'm a bit disappointed. I expected a world class beverage, and ended up with a bottle of stuff to drink.

I will probably re-try this in the future because I question if this bottle or batch was representative of the product. (813 characters)

Photo of mfreire212
3.06/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I saw just a few of these unique bottles at the local Total Wine and decided to plunk down the six bucks to finally try one (I have been tempted in the past, but struggled to justify that much cash for approximately twelve ounces of an unknown quantity). What the hell, it is the holiday season, right?

I poured the "trappist ale" into an Ommegang chalice and immediately noticed a nice sized, pillowy head, covering the burnt orange beverage below (a very respectable start).

From there, everything else was just... average. I am not sure if my inflated hopes for this beer contributed to the let down, or perhaps the price for a single bottle left me wanting a bit more.

The aroma and taste were slighty tart and the oveall taste was pretty dry. I picked up mainly lemony notes. The BPA style is different (more subdued) then "our" pale ales, so I was prepared for a less intense experience, but still...

The mouthfeel was very dry and the aftertaste was acidic, and thin. The overall drinkability was average, for lack of a better term. If you gave me another one, then fine....I would drink it (I actually tried and prefer the Ommegang BPA to this one).

But, for the price and the hype, I was a bit disappointed and I am now indifferent to this offering.

Maybe I just got an "old" bottle...either way, I can't see buying this one again. (1,347 characters)

Photo of StevieW
3.06/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I tried this beer based on the beer advocates reviews and was very dissapointed. Maybe I had a bad bottle, but it was very over carbonated, the head blew up into huge bubbles and poured over the glass. (I used a belgium glass-Corsendonk is the closest I had.) The color looked inviting enough, but the big citrus smell was immediate. The flavor was ok, but was overwhelmed by the carbonation. The freshness date was 01082005, which may explain the taste. Did I drink it too early ? In any event, it didn't live up to the expectations I had. Not a beer worthy of a National Championship game. (591 characters)

Photo of cpn920
3.03/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled in September of 2008 with a best by of 2013. It poured a dark brownish color with not much head which little bit disappeared immediately. Smelled different than I expected but not something I can put my finger on other than light hops and some malt. Not a real great aroma for me. Taste to me was underwhelming and disappointing. Had a bit of sourness and some hop. Carbonation was ok although it didn't show in the head. Drinkability...not very to me. Maybe it needed more aging? Most likely won't try again. Very disappointing based on all the hype. (559 characters)

Photo of Anthony1
3.03/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours a brownish orange color. There is some head retention, but almost no lacing to speak of. On the nose I get very little, maybe a hint of lemon... not really sure. There just isn't much there. On the palate the beer is very tart and very dry at the same time. I guess this beer is trying to be some type of Belgium pale ale, but it really doesn't work for me. The beer tastes fairly light for a Belgium, and I guess with the abv. you could probably drink a few of these, were price not an obstacle. The mouthfeel is OK, and the beer comes across as fairly refreshing. The finish is rather short and crisp, but there are no off flavors. (648 characters)

Photo of kernalklink
3.02/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Nice presentation, great looking brew with aromas that were mouthwatering- earthy malts, sweet berry lambic sourness and a yeasty tang. Mouthfeel was an explosion of carbonation, very light and airy and tongue tingling. the taste was missing for me- after a hit of hop bitters all that i was left with was a bready yeasty bitterness, and some grassy, watered down malts. I was dissapointed, as the flavors could not even hide the slight ABV present- there are better belgians out there in my opinion. (500 characters)

Photo of Bibendum
3/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Orval has changed. It no longer has it's trademark peppery nose, and a head too big to contain that leaves frothy tracings around the edge of the goblet all the way to the bottom.
I have known Orval since 1979, when I worked for Merchant du Vin. It is a favorite beer that I rarely drink for reasons of cost.
However I received 6 bottles as a gift recently that were dated 20-5-11. And to my surprise there was no peppery nose, instead the smell of bubblegum. I did not have to pour with great care to contain the head, in fact I could and did pour it down the center. Something I could not have done 3 years ago.
So today I had one from another batch, this one dated 18-08-11. This one did not smell of bubblegum, but neither did it have it's trademark peppery nose or irrepressible head.
Orval either has a recent quality control problem, or they have intentionally changed their brew. In either case I'm unhappy. Bring back the old Orval, please. (957 characters)

Photo of joshkennedy
2.99/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, burnt-orange with very bubbly head that takes forever to go down. There's a bit of sediment floating around. Very little light passes through. It looks great in the glass.

Smell: Smells fresh if not a little earthy like sweet, cold, wet leaves. There's a hoppy character, but the smell is largely diminished - it's not a very strong smell. Nose is mildly sharp and musty.

Taste: Hoppy character is prominent - tastes fresh and bitterly sharp. Very crisp and while it's heavily carbonated, the bubbles aren't very big so it's pretty smooth.

Mouthfeel: This beer has a large chalky taste. It feels as if I've recently swallowed a bit of dirt or dust. It attacks the tongue and sits at the back of the throat for a while. Finishes pretty mild.

Overall: This bottle is almost two years old and I'm not sure if that's what is affecting the nose on it. It's pretty good, though I'm not particularly fond of the way it hangs at the back of the throat. It really tastes like someone mixed dirt into the mash - doesn't ruin the beer for me, but I'm not sure I'd get it again. (1,099 characters)

Photo of Roeters
2.98/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz

golden color with a thick 2" of head the quickly vanishes

slightly sour with a little bit of a fruit ester

the middle has a light sweetness and mild fruit ester, finishes with a slight bitterness

light carbonation release within the mouth

Easy drinking, light on the APV. Just not one of my favorites (325 characters)

Photo of ZoomanCru
2.98/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

App: Rich pumpkin color with slight haze. Thick head with strong retention and lacing.
Smell: Pungent yeasty aroma, followed by a sharp alcohol twinge. Hints of apple and pepper.
Taste: Subtle sour and sweet maltiness, little to no hop assertiveness. Not as forceful in flavor as most belgians. Lingering toasted flavors after swallowing. Very subtle and herbal.
Mouth: More thin than expected, almost bordering on watery. Lacking significant body. Fairly heavily carbonated. (478 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,179 ratings.