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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,600 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,600
Reviews: 2,145
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 247
Gots: 494 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001

This beer is 6.2% when released in Europe, US labels say 6.9% due to labeling laws.

Many agree that the somewhat unpractical addition of this sometimes undesired yeast strain is what grants Orval its age worthiness, not to mention unique aroma, making it a one of the few beers worth cellaring.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,600 | Reviews: 2,145 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a balloon glass.

Look: Hazy, murky faded amber orange. Fluffy light cream colored head that hardly recedes. Random blobs of foamy lacing.

Aroma: Faint banana, musty cardboard, and a trace of bubblegum.

Taste: Really strong carbonation overpowers everything. Gassy. Some bubblegum sweetness, very slight florals and banana.

Mouthfeel: Really carbonated, harsh.

Overall: I'm going to assume this isn't normal. The beer tasted wrong from the start, and too metallic and carbonated.

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tulip glass.

Brillant golden colored body with a huge white head. Seriously this beer has so much carbonation that the head is huge even with a gentle pour.

Smell: Spicy, yeasty and slight hay funk.

Taste: This is a really spicy tasting beer. Its like a herbal and peppery spice. Then Yeast is tasted next, but does not overtake the the spiciness of this beer. Mild tasting funk and citris too.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and crisp. High level of carbonation and refreshing. Almost seltzer like.

Overall: This was enjoyable, I wanted to try something different and I don't drink many belgian style beers so this was an obvious choice. Glad i tried it, score is lower than average score because this is not really my prefered style of beer that I drink.

Photo of jdhilt
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three-finger white head that takes forever to fade leaving a good lace. Hazy amber color. Strong carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is tart and woody, flavor is tart fruit with a lingering tart aftertaste, only an OK Trappist ale. Pricey at $5.99 for a 330ml bottle from Kappy's Fine Wine & Spirits Peabody, Ma. Bottled on 4/22/2010.

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into a heavy trappist glass. Orange color, big white head; aroma of sour fruits and floral hops; medium body, smooth, lively carbonation; flavor is also of sour fruits like apples and citrus backed up by some delicate sweet malty tones still never stealing the show, which, by the way, has a pretty dry hoppy finish. Actually, this may not be the most complex of trappist beers, but what it has to offer is in just great balance as you would expect from the brewery making only one beer to public. And mine was still very young so I would be curious to find out what good would a little aging do to this.

Photo of AmishT
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep hazy gold with a huge head that utterly dominates my wide body snifter. Leaves a wake of lacing behind as it recedes. Great retention, as the head settles into a foamy cap.

S - A good mix of yeast and dark fruit aromas make up the nose. The yeast does not overwhelm the fruit notes. Overall, the aromas could be a bit stronger, but it's pleasant, nonetheless

T&M - The flavor is yeasty with a tart, lemony-like kick. Pretty spicy. Initially, I found the flavor unpleasant, but it became more drinkable as I continued drinking. The mouth is smooth and medium bodies. Flavors endure decently.

D - Once I got past the flavor, I found this Belgian to be fairly drinkable. Maybe a tad heavy and a little on the heavy side, but nothing too overwhelming.

Photo of GuinnessSmurf
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was the feature beer for my 2005 tasting "Trapped in Kansas City". It proved to be the most interesting, but not the most enjoyable.

Appearance: Pours a golden orange color with really good head retention. It clings on the glass insistently.

Smell: The smell is very complicated. I got notes of hops, and some very intense herbs (corriander, rosemary, sage) as well as an over all sweetness.

Taste: The flavor is pretty clean in the onset then changes to a strange herbal bitterness. It was a flavor I was not prepared for. The aftertaste lasts for a long time - so if you like the flavor, you get to absorb it for a long time after the sip.

Photo of Greasy
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Very pretty. Nice 3 finger head. Color was beautiful.

S - Tart, yeast, spices, slightly sweet.

T - The taste was disappointing. Very watery. Not as much flavor as I was expecting.

M - Thin. Very thin.

O - Not a bad beer, just not what I was expecting. It lacked the punch that I usually enjoy from Trappist beers.

Photo of Truh
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Entered the great debate with this one on 3/11/2005. 12-oz. bottle poured in a Rapscallion snifter.

Huge, schizoid, steroid-jacked plume of froth that sticks and laces in a grand way. Light orange to a tumescent amber hue with just a bit of haze and constant action. Orange peel, lemon zest, and cut grass notes on nose. Carbonation jumps on and all over the mouth, but followed by an almost vacuous tinny malt flavor with some light fruity undertones of chalky grapefruit and pear. Middling = over-carbonation takes points off.

Photo of 700Uave
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottled 4-22-2010

loud hiss as the cap was pried off. My Duvel tulip glass was half beer, half foam upon pouring. Unbelievable amount of carbonation. Its a deep orange color and after 5 minutes, still huge head.

The smell reminds me of Fantome Saison, although its been a while since I last had that. pretty bright, acidic and tart smells come through.

Mouthfeel is very effervescent and quite pleasant, however, for my taste its just slightly over carbonated.

champagne-like tastes are present. Slightly tart. aftertaste is dry and unfortunately thin (if that makes sense). I wish this had a better finish.

Sure, I could drink a few of these, but the desire is not quite there tonight. I plan on trying this once more after having a wider range of beers in this style.

Photo of mortarit
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Well us North Carolina tasters are experiencing a new frontier with the bar lifted.
I saw this bottle at total wine on my way from work so I grab it. The shape of the bottle grab me.
The pour was manageable without to much head retention, about an inch and a half I say.
I notice that the pour was murky and looking at it after the pour that is cloudy. It darken at the widen spaces that the class gives it. It does have lacing forming around the edges.
The taste isn't over powering which I like.
For begin the first trappist ale, I would say not to bad.

Photo of JizackFH
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - This beer pours a beautiful hazy orange amber color. It has a huge fluffy white head. This thing took me 6 pours to get it all in the glass. The head has crazy good retention. I mean, it just never goes away. There was nice lacing left on the glass also.

S - The smell is just a big burst of fruit smells, yeast, and a bit of sour dryness.

T - The taste is a little bit sweet, and has a big dry bitterness. There are some notes of hay, yeast, and lemon. The finish is very bitter, dry, and bretty.

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

D - It has decent drinkability. This beer was not at all what I expected it to be. Overall, I think this is a pretty good beer, and I think it is definitely worth trying.

Photo of zaphodchak
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip; 1 inch of foamy ecru-white head that just stays and stays, and plenty of fizzing visible in the amber body.

Nose is tart, piney.

Taste follows nose , dry, slighly hoppy (for a Belgian) finish. Faint bitter tart apple. Not too much flavor, mild and subtle.

Mouthfeel is coarse, foamy. Hard to actually get a sip of liquid in; it's all foam. It kinda kills the taste; mostly foam and air.

Because it's so non-overpowering, drinkability is pretty good, except that the foam would eventually get hard to deal with.

Photo of geetlord
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer poured a light amber color with a thick and foamy head. It had a good strong bitter aroma. The flavor supprised me, it as very complex, with hints of fruits and spices, over everything there was a very bitter and earthy taste that I found overpowering and which hurt this beer's drinkability significantly, not waht I expected at all. maybe I should try this one again on the chance that I got an odd bottle. im not certain what to make of this beer in general.

Photo of dbalsock
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

So I finally decided to try this one, after hearing the name occasionally enough to be interested. I found the appearance to be pretty nice, especially due to the beautiful white head. The amber color was nice, but standard, so the head really did the job of making it a beautiful sight. The aroma was great as well; very fruity and sweet. I picked up a good deal of banana, and maybe some brown sugar plum notes. However, the taste was way different; consisting of some light malts, overly intensive vegetable like hops and the occasional addition from the nose. The mouthfeel was overly bitter for my taste, but the consistency was nice and thin/smooth. I am not interested in trying this beer again, considering I expected much more and am fairly disappointed.

Photo of kojevergas
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a La Trappe goblet in Ghent, Belgium.

A: Pours a one finger head of little cream but decent thickness. Nontransparent caramel brown colour. Appealing.

Sm: Cream, caramel, fruit esters. Very hoppy.

T: Fruity body, mixed well. Very sweet - maybe the candy sugar had this effect. A bit of caramel. Very hoppy. Actually quite unbalanced, which is unfortunate. Built pretty well, but not special or unique.

Mf: Very coarse and dry for the style. Poorly executed. Doesn't complement the flavour at all.

Dr: I expected a better beer. I wouldn't have another, even at Belgian prices. Serve warm.

---
My last (above) review seemed rather sparse, so I decided to re-review in more detail. I love the design of the bottle; its iconic. Brown glass bottle with branded silver colour pry-off pressure cap and understated neck label acquired at a local bottle shop and served into an Orval stem-goblet in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given that it's a trappist brew. 6.9% ABV per the label. Bottled: 21/06/2013. Best before: 27/06/2018. No style (aside from the nebulous "trappist ale") is listed on the label, so I'm reviewing it open-ended, but as a Belgian style.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm a bit over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours almost entirely head - five fingers wide out of a possible six. It's white in colour, fluffy, and has a nice even soft complexion. Airy light consistency. Head retention is great - 10+ minutes. Uneven lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a clear translucent gold/copper with orange hues. Good vibrance. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Overall, it's looking pretty good for a Belgian ale. I wouldn't quite call it unique or special, but there are no overt flaws and both the head and colour are above average.

Sm: Fragrant perfumey Belgian yeast is the first thing I notice, with a distinct funkiness, vitamins, and some biscuity character coming through quite a bit. It's loaded with fruity esters; I find orchard apple and pear, a hint of faint orange, and something approximating peach. The crisp fruitiness is marvelous. I also find Belgian pale malts, clean barley, and hay. Hop character is an enjoyable mix of floral and fruity notes.

No alcohol is detectable.

A pleasant, soft, inviting aroma of moderate strength. The yeast character is a highlight for me.

T: Fruity esters are as abundant here as on the aroma. The body is comprised of Belgian pale malts, biscuit malt, and clean barley. It's slightly starchy as well. The Belgian/Trappist yeast is marvelous, featuring some subtle funkiness as well as biscuity vitamin-y healthy qualities. Hop character is fruity as well as floral. Pleasant and enjoyable; I like it. I do have some issues with the balance; it gets a bit earthy/herbal on the climax, which doesn't suit it well.

Complex for a Belgian pale, with some decent subtlety as well. But it isn't the masterfully constructed gestalt ale I've seen so many claim it to be. Nuanced, sure, but not particularly intricate. Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour.

No alcohol or other off-notes come through.

Mf: Wonderfully soft on the palate - a characteristic I love. Near perfectly carbonated. The smoothness/wetness is thrown off by the starchiness of the flavour profile; it's almost stale. I don't know if I'd even call it refreshing. Decent thickness and body. Texture suits the taste decently, but is far from feeling custom-tailored to it.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, or boozy.

Dr: Very drinkable; I'll have no trouble killing the bottle. As much as I like it, I can't concede that it's up there with the best Trappist beers. I look forward to trying Petit Orval and to trying this with some age on it, but every time I try it I don't find it to be world class. That said, I've heard every bottle is a bit different, and that alone makes it a unique beer. I'll concede it's a classic, but I wouldn't recommend it to friends per se. I hope to visit the abbey one day and try it in its ideal setting. I could easily drink another. Certainly well above average.

It's absolutely worth trying, but let's not conflate being a classic beer with being a great one. That said, it grows on you the more you drink it. I could see myself appreciating this more and more each time I come back to it.

Low B

Photo of abuliarose
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a bulbous wine glass to a thick (very, very thick), active cream head over clear amber body. Did I mention how huge the head was? It dies down fairly quickly, though. Smells nice but not overly strong and of estery orange blossom and a little grape. There's a slight floral hop aroma and a little must, but we'll leave it at that.

Tastes like carbonation. After that, a little like apple juice with a metallic tang. There's something very funky mixed in there as well. The ending flavors are citrus sour with tinges of hoppy bitterness. It's... different than the other Belgian pales I've had. This one's got more real farm funk to it.

Mouthfeel is carbonation, basically, but once you're past that it's a fairly light-bodied and smooth beer. The carbonation makes this one a little too hard to drink for me. On the plus side, it bubbles nicely.

All in all, an interesting offering. Would I pick it again over other Trappists? Probably not. But I can appreciate where it's coming from.

Photo of WesWes
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a cloudy gold color wit a thick overflowing white head. The aroma is good. It boasts of pale malts and lemon zest. The taste is decent. It is light and citrousy. It has a musty aftertaste, but goes down smooth. The mouthfeel is fair. It is a medium bodied beer with too much carbonation. It drinks well. I thought the taste was good. It just was a little too foamy. All in all, this was pretty decent.

Photo of budgood1
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours out a hazy copperish colour with a charged up sea foam head..lots of carbonation to support the lasting and sticky lace. musty green apple aroma...smells nice. odd but pleasant lemony flavour...lightly malted, a bit yeasty and rather dry. finishes with a bite of alcohol...lingering mustiness in the aftertaste. this is a nice, light on the palate belgian pale ale meant to be paired with a bit of cheese and meat. not my favourite style to drink...but worth respect and i would sample again under the right circumstances.

Photo of acoatley
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep copper, fairly clear with ever so slight red tint. Moderate head dissipates quickly. Where is the lace?
Aroma: Moderate fruity esters of plum, light malty sweetness no alcohol.
Flavor: Raisins and plum, average malty sweetness, pleasant bitterness with a crisp finish.
Mouthfeel: Light body with moderate carbonation, watery the palate, warm alcohol good for a cold winter night.
Overall: Not my favorite dubbel but a good selection.

Photo of Converge
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into a 16oz tulip.

A - Pours with a big head of light tan bubbles, although it's rather short-lived. The color is a murky rusty-copper, with ample yeasty cloudiness. Not much head retention or lacing to speak of.

S - Smells complex and nothing like I had expected. Lots of dark fruits, a touch a anise, and some sour acetaldehyde notes. Some sweet bready malt and grassy hops come through as well, but this is overall much more dark and heavy feeling than I had anticipated. I'm picking up some molasses, figs, and some caramel malt. It's got a slightly herbal, or medicinal quality that turns me off a little, sort of reminds me of a barley wine in this regard. Butterscotch, brown sugar, and a distinct spicy character also come through.

T - Sort of strange, lots of sweet malt presence, kind of butterscotch like. Quite bready and yeasty through the middle, with lots of dark fruits complimenting this. Finishes with a dry, earthy hop feel with a pronounced spiciness. Lots of odd buttery-sweet malt flavors throughout. The dark fruits don't really work well with this malty sweetness, and the strange acetaldehyde funkiness really feels off. I get a touch of oak-like cherry flavor and herbal notes after it warms a bit, furthering the similarities between this and a barley wine. Overall this flavor profile feels a bit disjointed and peculiar to me; it's a decent tasting beer and undeniably complex, but far from other Belgian ales I've enjoyed.

M - Medium bodied feel, with nice smooth carbonation, just like I would expect a Trappist ale feel like, but at the same time the body feels a touch slick and oily. Kind of syrupy even.

D - Definitely feeling a little underwhelmed by Orval. While I'm a big fan of Belgian ales, this one wasn't really my cup of tea - or beer I suppose. It was certainly worth trying once, and maybe I'll even revisit it again with a re-review down the road, but until then Orval will sit comfortably behind the likes of finer Belgian ales out there for me.

Photo of mmahut
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

One year old.

Appearance (3.5): Very active head, well carbonated.

Smell (3): Citrus aroma with light tone of dark fruits.

Taste (4): Associative with the smell, light citrus aroma with sweet malt.

Mouthfee (3): Medium body with higher carbonation I would expected from the smell/appearance.

Drinkability (3.5): Refreshing but heavy.

Photo of JustinOSU99
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a light amber color with a huge foamy head that sticks aruond for quite some time
S: All sorts of great smells come out of this beer such as apple, orange rind, fig, slight pear hints, and an undertone of caramel.
T: Up front I tend to notice the alcohol even though this beer doesnt have a huge ABV. It is quite tart, with the apple taste coming through. Lingers a bit on the palate with its tartness.
M: Perfectly balanced in carbonation and doesnt seem too heavy.
D: I didn't enjoy the beer as much as I thought I would, but will give it a second try down the road.

Photo of barczar
3.56/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy medium brown, almost coppery color with a billowing, foamy 2 inch cream head that lingers. Can't pour the full bottle into the tulip.

Green apple, pear, floral hops and belgian yeast character dominate the initial aroma. Coriander and white pepper add complexity. Notes of tangerine and pineapple surface late, accompanied by confectioners sugar sweetness and a hint of caramel malt.

Flavor is fairly tart initially and somewhat phenolic, becoming slightly bready mid palate, and finishing fairly bitter and a touch peppery. There's significant mustiness throughout. Tart crab apple esters are somewhat overpowering at first, but sweettarts notes emerge later as respite.

Body is moderate, with fairly high carbonation and significant alcohol warmth.

More tart than most, as well as more bitter. Wish the tartness weren't so overpowering and allowed more ester variety to shine. Served at suggested temperature, head is out of control. Becomes stale after a while. I just do not like this beer.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.55/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Orval- Trappist Ale

Re-reviewed on 1-15-09.everyone happy?!

A- Deep reddish orange, hazy, with a huge frothy head. Messy lacing.
S- Light tangy citrusy fruits. Cane sugar and leather.
T- Sweet chunks of cane sugar, light orange/ lemon rind and a slightly sour leather/ tobacco touch in the end.
M- Light and tart up front with a mild tangy fruit body and a souring finish.

Overall- Decent but the sour medicinal aftertaste knock this 1 down a notch.

Photo of pmcadamis
3.55/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is the brew that will earn me my first mug icon for initiate status! For such a special moment, I thought that I should try something special.

A - Honey-gold cloudy brew with a monsterously huge rocky four finger plus head and tons of sticky dry lace. This has one of the most beautiful heads, and definitely the nicest lace that Iv'e ever seen. Lots of tiny bubbles float to the top, and there are a few little sediments of yeast although decanted carefully.

S - Honeycomb, pancakes and waffles, gentle melon and grape notes, sweet bakery yeast, and a little whiff of alcohol. This aroma is gentle and very inviting. Could be a bit more forceful though....I love the smell, but it's on the lighter side (it does, however, open up quite a bit with warmth).

T - Very grapey and fruity at first with a nice hop kick in the middle and a gradually progressive sourness dominates the ending. This really is much fruitier, hoppier, and tart than I would have expected from the nose. I think that the honey sweetness is a bit overpowered by the hops.

M - Bites with sour acidity, and finishes very dry and hoppy.

D - Really, this is not that outstanding. It looks great and smells unique but weak, but the taste is just pretty bad. And at six bucks for a tiny little bottle....this stuff is really not worth it.

My bottle was almost a year old. I would like to try aging this stuff to see if it mellows out a little bit....IMO the hop bite and sour acidity (normally two things I crave!) might have overpowered the subtle nuances of this brew. Way, way overated.

I've never experienced such a disparity between how a beer smells and how it tastes. This one smells beautiful, sweet, and delicate but tastes brash and overbearingly bitter. I guess the lesson here is don't trust your nose...Yankee Candles smell good too, but I wouldn't eat one.

Check out Orval's website while you're at it. It's really cool.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,600 ratings.