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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,412 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,412
Reviews: 2,119
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 214
Gots: 419 | FT: 10
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:
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.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,412 | Reviews: 2,119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cheers2beers
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
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

cheers2beers, Mar 10, 2006
Photo of scooter231
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Maple syrup. Is what this looks like. With fantastic head you can draw in. At first smell, I wanted to say, La Fin? Tremens? Very, very similar scents. Baaarely metalic.

Taste is medicinal and metalic. Some earthy/woodsy things goin on, kinda herbaly, but mostly a sour, metal thing. Light sweetness balances out things enough to make it a bit more drinkable. But I feel like I'm drinking a spoon. Too young, this bottle may be...

Mouthfeel is sudsy, very soapy. Full of bubblyness. Fairly drinkable, but... I don't know. The nose and certain flavors make me feel like I could really like this, but the metalic thing is turning me off. I'll have to hunt down an older bottle and compare.

scooter231, Oct 27, 2005
Photo of Raebies
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I really wish I had poured this into my chimay goblet, it pours a super fluffy head which settles back into a tightly compact layer.
Light coloured, peachy orange. Smells faintly of an acetone-like sweetness. There's a funky yeasty smell that reminds me of home made cider. It stings the nostrils a little, like smelling a solvent and it tastes... strange. Very dry and only slightly bitter. There are earthy flavours that remind me of hay or straw, it doesn't taste very malty at all.

Until I got to the end of the bottle, I thought this beer was fairly average. Then I poured in the last of the beer along with the yeast sediment on the bottom.. A nice, complex blue-cheese like flavour came through taking this beer to another level.

Raebies, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of saztheorybook
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
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.

saztheorybook, Feb 09, 2008
Photo of BarrytheBear
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
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.

BarrytheBear, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of thespaceman
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
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.

thespaceman, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of allboutbierge
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ive had Orval quite a few times but never got around to writing a review until now.

This bottle was an '06 purchased from Juilus Meinl in Vienna.

Appearance is light brown with a slight golden hue topped by a gob of white fluffiness. Upon pouring it's a bit murky but yet transparent. However, all cloudiness quickly dissipates away. Scent is soft and sour. I detected some graininess to the smell as well...the smell isn't a high point of this beer.

Taste is pleasant. A mixture of sour fruit flavors accented with a slight hoppiness. Beer is well carbonated and the carbonation may be hiding the depth of the hop favors. Malt background is equally slight. This isn't a taste monster but rather refreshing.

allboutbierge, Dec 18, 2007
Photo of raynmoon
3.44/5  rDev -18.1%
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.

raynmoon, Aug 16, 2013
Photo of MadTown1000
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Overall: It's always disappointing to try a beer you're supposed to like and have to give it a mediocre grade. It's clearly a serious beer, but I think you have to like pale ales in general to really appreciate it, and I don't.

Appearance: Dark, very cloudy straw color. Absolutely insane head of foam - I poured it into a pint glass, and got maybe an inch of beer into the glass before the rest of it was filled with incredibly long lasting foam. I let it settle for a couple of minutes and more than half the foam was still there. The stuff's like bubble bath - it sticks to the inside of the glass like glue. Points given for shock value if nothing else.

Smell - Strong sweet smell similar to what I've noticed in a lot of Belgian and Belgian-style beers. Almost overpoweringly sweet smell that actually doesn't quite match the taste - I'm docking some points for false advertising.

Taste: A very mild pale ale, with a little bit of the sweetness from the smell appearing in the aftertaste. An interesting combination, but it doesn't floor me. It's complex, but it loses the crispness you get with a lot of light colored beers without substituting in the really interesting flavors you get with a darker Belgian beer (like my favorite Gulden Draak). Sort of similar to Piraat, now that I think about it.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: That aftertaste is a negative here - it's a little bit cloying. Of course, this isn't a beer designed to be drank in quantity, so the fact that it would be tough to drink in quantity isn't a big downer.

MadTown1000, Apr 27, 2009
Photo of jasonjlewis
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a huge head with excellent retention and a nice cloudy ornage color.

Smell is of sour apple and citrus. The brett funk really comes through.

I was hoping for a nice funky beer, but there is an off bitterness from some dry tannins or yeast autolysis. and overtakes the funk of the brett. It just doesn't go well together. In addition there are a bit of clovey spicy undertones.

Crisp mouthfeel.

I wanted to like this beer after smelling it, but it just has an off bitterness and some tannins that make it less than desirable. I don't know if there are autolysis issues with the beer that lead to the off flavors, but this beer is only 1 1/2 years old and well before it's best by date.

jasonjlewis, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of drseamus
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

drseamus, Dec 28, 2006
Photo of adamette
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

adamette, Sep 07, 2008
Photo of falloutsnow
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours an off-white, two finger head that decreases to a thin film with plenty of lacing sticking to the sides of the glass. The beer is light copper-orange in color with vigorous carbonation and some murkiness.
S: The scent is somewhat difficult to characterize, along the lines of acidic, ripe pears and apples attached to a sweaty-saltiness that brings to mind beef jerky or tanned leather.
T: Orval boasts an upfront burst of peppery and salty flavors (that I'm not terribly fond of) that cascades into a light, flowery hoppiness, eventually fading out with some mild malt sweetness and robust hop bitterness in the finish. The hops are not citrus-like, as in some other beers with noticeable hop presence. Aftertaste is somewhat malty and fruity, faintly like old berries on hot cereal.
M: Light body with active carbonation leads to a 'fluffy' feel on the tongue. Dry, tart finish that is far from puckering, though. The dry finish does not necessarily lead one to desire another swig: the spicy-salty taste combination is somewhat off-putting.
D: A solid example of the style, with its unique hop characteristics and multi-faceted malt tastes leading to something I have not experienced before.

falloutsnow, Jan 17, 2006
Photo of Zetcha7x
3.41/5  rDev -18.8%
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.

Zetcha7x, Mar 17, 2014
Photo of wmtxbb
3.4/5  rDev -19%
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.

wmtxbb, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of aesopsgato
3.4/5  rDev -19%
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.

aesopsgato, Jun 27, 2010
Photo of rkinsella
3.4/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Medium yellow / light amber, slightly cloudy. Beautiful head stayed through most of the glass. Decent amount of lacing.

Smell - Actually caught me by surprise. A tad strange. Balanced malt and hop, but with strong notes of a fresh water stream? Dare I say, fresh laundry??? Almost a puzzling smell.

Taste - Right away you can taste the complexity. Fine notes of citrus, spice, tartness, all inside of a big crisp taste. Nice dry finish which faded evenly.

Mouthfeel. Round, velvet, good carbonation.

This beer is beautifully crafted with lots of care I'm sure. Although I don't know how often I would buy it, but I'm very glad I tried it.

rkinsella, Apr 21, 2008
Photo of lenin2040
3.4/5  rDev -19%
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...

lenin2040, Jan 28, 2011
Photo of dqrull
3.4/5  rDev -19%
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.

dqrull, Mar 15, 2010
Photo of Strix
3.4/5  rDev -19%
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.

Strix, Nov 17, 2007
Photo of jmdrpi
3.4/5  rDev -19%
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. .

jmdrpi, Aug 17, 2010
Photo of Rumrunner
3.4/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz. bottle.

Pours a very hazy amber. A nice bubbly head with great lacing. The scents are lemon rind and white wine grape. Some carbonation on the nose as well.

This ale is tart from start to finish. It has a big white wine grape flavor to it. Very sour. There is some lemon rind as well. A mild dark malt helps with balance. The flavors are quite complex. A bit of aromatic hops at the end. Very dry as well.

Mouthfeel is carbonated and bubbly. This ale is very dry and crisp. It drinks okay but is very filling.

I do not enjoy the white wine quality of this ale.

Rumrunner, Nov 11, 2003
Photo of jujubeast6000
3.4/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed 1/9/2006 (330mL bottle):

Pours a cloudy medium brown/red color body. Big white head, with good sized bubbles. Aroma of dark fruit(maybe plum?) , hops, and some sweetness. Fizzy, with a floral taste, slightly alcoholic tasting. Smooth taste. Slight bitter aftertaste.

jujubeast6000, Nov 04, 2008
Photo of L-Ray
3.39/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Grabbed one on my way out of the old liquor store. Always meaning to try more Belgian beers so no time like the present. Said it was bottled Oct 2012 but had a best before date of Oct 2017?? Wth? I'm taking my chances and letting my $3 ride.

A - Hazy copper. Poured in cold Stella glass. Freaking 3.5 fingers. Of foamy head with slow retention. How do they do that without paint shakers?
S - Smell is grassy and bready at the same time. Definite notes of sourness. Not my typical brew.
T - Dry sweet hoppy grassy flavours dominate. Carbonation is prominently on board. No real roasted malt or nuttiness. Almost dry and wine-ish.
M- Fizzy carbonated feel.
O- I don't know if its the lack of freshness but this isn't my kind of style anyway. Perhaps sitting at a tap in Brussells and not being at work would rocket this baby up the happy-meter, but I will concede I just parted with $3 in the govt coffers that didn't do me a lot in return. Stella! Stella!

L-Ray, Jul 25, 2013
Photo of brandoneast
3.38/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours extremely hazed orange-copper, with a fluffy head letting convoluted aromas of rose hips, chamomile, granny smith apple, leather, and burlap sack. Flavors of wet hay, orange blossom water, lemongrass, petals, some wood, and a slice of hop bitterness towards the back - accumulating to a lingering body and light carbonation.

Orval can challenge the craft beer neophyte, but guarantees to remain etched in your memory as one of the most unique experiences one can have with brew.

brandoneast, Jan 06, 2009
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,412 ratings.