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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

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2,189 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,189
Hads: 4,895
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 285
Gots: 652 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website

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: 2,189 | Hads: 4,895
Photo of NataLukas
3.21/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very effervescent, much like a Champagne, but with larger bubbles. Very bubbly with a rapidly disappearing white head. Light amber / deep golden in color with some haze.

Strong funky sweet orange floral nose.

Slightly sour, strong ester and phenol presence. A slight bit of metallic bitterness in the finish. Completely dry without any hint of malty sweetness. Very little in the way of lingering flavors other than a tanginess in the front of the mouth and a lasting bitterness on the tip of the tongue. All sensations are on the front of the tongue, on the front of the upper palate and in the nose, nothing for the back of the tongue or throat.

This beer lives in the nose and on the front of the tongue. Be sure to pour it in a proper glass and enjoy the nose.

Beer was bottled Jan 2013, so it is a little over 10 months out at this tasting. (853 characters)

Photo of mcmidc
3.21/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This trappist ale pours a nice frothy light tan head, with a hazy light copper color. Not a whole lot coming to the nose maybe some mild grains along with some citrus. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Taste is tart at the start and finishes a bit sour. Also some phenol notes in there. Drinkability is good for a 6.9% beer. Not one of my favorites but still enjoyable. (397 characters)

Photo of BMan1113VR
3.21/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle brewed June 20, 2007 with 6.9% ABV indicated. My least favorite brew labeled Trappist that I have tasted thus far. Aroma was pretty nice but did have a slight off scent of sour milk or something similar (maybe chalk). Pours a beautiful amber-orange with a hazy, but still obviously sparkling content. Head is average size, rock, and only just off white. Flavor of mine was just salty and bitter, no real depth or character. Went down dry and metallicy at the end. It would take a bit of convincing for me to buy this again. Maybe I got a bad bottle, but I do not see why this is such a highly rated brew. (611 characters)

Photo of Brewfan
3.2/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a Pabst Blue Ribbon chalace (my Rapscallion and Ommegang chalaces have both been recently broken).

Bottled on date 24/10/02.
Cellar temperature. 2 inch off-white head with HUGE bubbles. Large blanket of lace eventually reduced to a thin sheet and stayed throughtout the life of the beer.
Hazy orange-amber in color with much carbonation apparent in the early stages of the beer, though not overly carbonated in the late stages.
Nose of cloves, citrus, hops and banana. Slight alcohol presence, but not all that strong.
Dry and tart, citrus and hops are prevelant, while a slight maltiness stays in the background.
Finishes dry and somewhat weak.

Haven't had many Trappists yet and this is my first to review, so my palate is not quite yet accustomed to this style of beer. May have to edit review once I delve deeper into the Trappist family. (870 characters)

Photo of capra12
3.2/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 9/01/09 with Ali @ BXL east served out of a wide mouth Orval Chalice.

Appearance: Light amber with 2 fingers of white head.

Smell: Freah green fruit and Belgian Yeast.

Taste: Opens withe a graininess which is slighty off putting. There is a green apple sourness from the middle to the end and just before the finish there is a bitterness which was quite un-enjoyable. There was a distinct bitter and earthy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and crisp with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: I first had this in a bottle and tasted much like rusty pipe water and was a drain pour. I figured I had a bad bottle considering the reviews on BA, so I thought I should give this another chance and to my surprise I did not find this to be enjoyable seeing that I personally started my craft beer journey with the Trappist selection and have enjoyed the majority of the 7 seven trappist breweries. This is definitely worth the try but I would not have another. (972 characters)

Photo of chilly460
3.18/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - This beer pours a very hazy orange amber color. It has a huge fluffy white head with very good retention.

S - The smell is predominant fruity/banana smells, yeast, and a bit of dry sour type aroma.

T - The taste is a little bit sweet, and the dry bitterness I picked up in the smell. Pretty bland really, mostly yeast.

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

O - Decent beer, but won't come back for it again anytime soon. (510 characters)

Photo of beerwolf77
3.18/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Born on date: 29/07/09 So right where the brewers think it should be consumed. Six months after bottling.

Poured into my Duvel tulip the beer is orange amber. The light tan head is enormous. It fills at least two thirds of the glass. After a brief wait the glass is covered with globs of lace.

The aroma is musty dry citrus fruit. Hints of hops, wood and a nice amount of funk.

The flavor is a bit off putting. It basically full on dry funk. I like horse blanket and barnyard funk bu tnot in this concentrated form. I really can't pick out anything else.

The body is smooth and creamy. Moderate carbonation. Dry finish.

Overall the beer looks and smells fantastic. It falls way short on flavor and drinkibilty. (717 characters)

Photo of cyrenaica
3.18/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I tried this beer on July 23, 2007 at 'Smokeless Joe's' in Toronto. The beer was bottled on November 16, 2006 and was 6.9% ABV (as opposed to 6.2%). The beer poured a cloudy brownish gold with a head that lasted through the entire trappist glass. The carbonation was very evident in the glass. The aroma was spicy and fruity, not as yeasty as an Abbey Quadrupel. The mouthfeel was medium-bodied with medium carbonation. The taste was not to my liking. The upfront taste was alright, but there was a lime-like bitterness on the back of the tongue. A very good beer, but not a great beer for me. (593 characters)

Photo of Gehrig
3.18/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Having heard much about the mystical Orval, I decided to finally try it and judge its complexity for myself. The fifth of the seven Trappist beers I've tried, it isn't easy to decide whether this is a work of genius or painful sub-mediocrity at first and, given my penchant for enjoying beers cold, I poured and tried this chilled. [Disclaimer: there is no advised serving temperature on the side, as is often the case.] At first, this was obstreperous, but thankfully improved as it warmed.

The presentation is very good--two fingers of dense off-white foam capping a cloudy, dark orange body. At first glance, it appears to be a kick-ass DIPA. The nose emits plenty of yeast, some hops, and a pungent, sour fruit taste that is perplexing. The taste is distinctly sour, a lemon-pucker taste accompanied by ardent yeast and a very dry, almost metallic taste that's impossible to ignore, and somewhat off-putting. The mouthfeel is a bizarre amalgam of bold carbonation and sour mash texture, producing a bully beer that makes you think twice about grabbing again.

I'm more than willing to finish off this one, especially at a fin a bottle, but won't grab this, ever, ahead of Trappistes, any Westmalle or Chimay, or even La Trappe. I'm going to presume that this is an acquired taste. I'm also going to allow myself the latitude to acquire it at my own pace, which might come at the twelfth of never. Not my cup of trappistes, to be honest. While far different in style and taste, Chimay Grand Reserve, Westmalle Tripel, and Trappistes Rochefort 8 are far superior, as are a number of American Belgian-style offerings. (1,620 characters)

Photo of mm931c
3.18/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bottled 7/10/10
Best before 7/10/15

Poured into snifter

A-beautiful but understated bottle conjures great expectations for this one. Huge 3.5 finger head that will not go away. Lacing ok but not as good as Duvel; too much dense foam. Medium copper brown slight cloudiness.

S- very nice and refined. Sophisticated. Meets the expecations of the visual presentation of the bottle and the pour. Bouquet had me siced up and ready to be blown away by taste.

T- a let down. balanced but boring.
Ok it's very refined and probably perfect, but you have to strain in oder to appreciate it. The well blended flavors are so weak, they have a hard time fighting the slight hint of chemical taste on the palate. The intensity of the flavors are too weak for a brew this price. Huge disappointment after such a great pour, head, and bouquet. Can get more taste from a brew at a sixth of the price.

M-actually good. Balanced.

O- Too pricey for me to buy this again. Not going to spend this much money just for 3 1/2 inches of foam and a nice smell. Duvel is nearly half the price with just sa good a bouquet and two times better/more taste. Duvel does not have as much lingering foam which is probably why it laces better than this stuff. (1,233 characters)

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)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,189 ratings.