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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

4,357 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,357
Reviews: 2,117
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 206
Gots: 397 | 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: 4,357 | Reviews: 2,117 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BlackHaddock
2.88/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I have two more in my garage, so this review may change after a further tasting, but I was not impressed at all with this bottle. The worst beer a monk has ever made for me!

Slightly cloudy, an off orange colour.

Smell was of sour apples, no head, just a wisp, which went almost straight away.

Tasted of the same sour apples as the smell, sharp and fizzy.

If it had been a blind tasting, I would have said it was a rough Cider or a really poor Geuze.

BlackHaddock, Oct 28, 2006
Photo of radioscooter
2.88/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Years ago, I was ushered into the Belgian crowd by the selection at the Sharp Edge here in Pittsburgh, run by a true Belgian Beer cheerleader. At the time, I made the rounds of Trappist selections and wound around them, listening to what the experts said and taking it all in.

I landed upon what is still my favorite style: Strong, Dark and Sweet with a lot of flavor. I still favor a Scotch Ale, Barleywine or Wee heavy above any of the light, bubbly, frothy coriander stuff.

I couldn't remember trying Orval then and I have been going back through the catalogs trying to do my due diligence to the style. I knew it wasn't going to be as strong and musky as the Draak, but I figured it would at least be on a similar par with Chimay, which is still one of my go to drinkable favorites and not a sweet dark.

I think maybe this is an ale that really needs some food to be paired with it. I really didn't enjoy it at all. Out of the bottle it had a massive foam and its carbonation stayed too high for my tastes.

The flavor starts out okay, with light fruit and a zesty tinge, but then some taste that I have yet to hear described accurately that I usually attribute to a "preservative" taste when I experience it in countless American microbrews, but am mystified to find it here.

As it warms it does not get any better. Remember I like sweeter brews. This one is just too lackluster and bland for me to value above a food beverage.

Any of the Chimays just kill it, IMO.

An accessory, not a star.

radioscooter, Sep 30, 2010
Photo of mfkr
2.88/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Hazy orange copper, loads of foam that takes long time before it disappears and leaves some thin lacing.

L - Fruity especially citrus fruits, some grass, acid feeling, some yeast.

T - Apples, lemon, orange, the acid from the smell is there, some yeast and hops. The taste doesn't feel balanced.

M - Very sharp from the carbonation, it's a bit too thin.

Would have been really nice if the taste would have been more balanced.

mfkr, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of PeterParker
2.85/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Drinking this fresh, only a week old. Bottle erupted upon opening.

Pours deep golden brown, maybe a dark amber/copper color. Big white head with large bubbles and lots of lacing.

Banana, yeast, dark dried fruits, plums, very sweet. Not much by way of bready malt however. Bit of orange perhaps.

Mild, at first overwrought with bubbles, a little sourness. Sourness would be nice if it wasn't so lonely. Followed by some yeast, but not a lot. Very mild and mellow. Sourness is not big but it lingers.

High carbonation, feels like a shaken bottle of soda.

Pedestrian in my opinion. It doesn't really have the Belgian characteristics like malt that I'm used to. I think I'll stick to Dark's and Quad's. Maybe it's the low ABV but this one was lacking to me.

PeterParker, Feb 16, 2014
Photo of barefootbrewer
2.85/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

First of all...what a classy looking bottle this came in (this beer was produced on 6/30/2005). It poured a cloudy light brown/tan color with a decent head and some lacing. Even though I poured carefully, yeast was noticeable floating in large clumps. The smell was floral and slightly spicy - very inviting. Where this beer took a downturn was the taste. It was bitter and floral, almost tasted like drinking potpourri. The mouth feel was thin and left a bitter coat on the tongue. I wouldn't consider this a highly drinkable beer, but worth a try as it might appeal to some taste buds.

barefootbrewer, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of BostonHops
2.85/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2oz bottle served in a tulip.
bottled 01/06/2010 (best before 01/06/2015)

pours a cloudy dark amber tone while yielding a massive 3"+ of foamy, off-white head that quickly recedes into a collar around the glass. nose is of average strength and lead by fruit (apples or maybe pear, some citrus), belgian yeast, and a touch of spice. there's also a little funk, the suggestion that there's some tartness to it.

to me, the flavor disappoints. elements of the nose are present - the fruit, yeast, and some pepper, maybe coriander, but i get a strong astringency to it. medium-light bodied mouthfeel with very high carbonation.

overall this is my least favorite offering of the trappists to date. surprising, as i had high hopes for this classic. not drainpour territory, and i can see where some would enjoy it, but alas it's just not for me.

(originally reviewed: 06-13-2011)

BostonHops, Jun 15, 2012
Photo of DaveUK
2.83/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Cloudy, brown-orange with a large frothy head that persisted all the way down the glass.

Aroma - Sweet fruit, spicy hops and a hint of yeast soon after pouring.

Taste - Tart, bitter fruit with a citrusy flavour. Alcohol and light malt present in the long bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium and persistant. Almost unpleasant acidic bite perhaps due to a high level of carbonation.

Drinkability - Powerful bitter taste and potent, unconcealed alcohol make this a beer for sipping at the best of times.

Not one I would be consuming regularly, however I would give it another shot, if only to see if the bottle I had was off/skunked in some way.

DaveUK, Aug 17, 2007
Photo of Graham21
2.83/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The appearance was bad but I did not have a good glass at the time... The color is a lite amber(orangish brown) and the head was very high and dissipated to a nice lacing shortly. The smell is flowery with a hint of cinnamon and citrus. Fumes of alcohol can be noticed as well. Tastes of lemon, spices, alcohol, a little malty. lacking in taste. mouth feel is descent and the carbonation is very good. drinkablitly is alright, this beer would be easy to drink because of no real flavors presented either good nor bad. Not one of my favorite Trappists, thats for sure.

Graham21, Mar 07, 2006
Photo of perrymarcus
2.8/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

11.2oz bottle served in a tulip.
bottled 01/06/2010 (best before 01/06/2015)

pours a cloudy dark amber tone while yielding a massive 3"+ of foamy, off-white head that quickly recedes into a collar around the glass.

nose is of average strength and lead by fruit (apples or maybe pear, some citrus), belgian yeast, and a touch of spice. there's also a little funk, the suggestion that there's some tartness to it.

to me, the flavor disappoints. elements of the nose are present - the fruit, yeast, and some pepper, maybe coriander, but i get a strong astringency to it.

medium-light bodied mouthfeel with very high carbonation.

overall this is my least favorite offering of the trappists to date. surprising, as i had high hopes for this classic. not drainpour territory, and i can see where some would enjoy it, but alas it's just not for me.

perrymarcus, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of PEBKAC
2.78/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Orval Appreciation Day.

Ommegang anniversary glass. Bottled on 20/02/2008. Hiding in the basement since late September.

Glass fills with suds on my first attempt. Stiff, cream peaks, orange amber body. Successfully decanted. Patchy lace.

Smell is first off, intense bitter melon rind & grapefruit zest. Then, soured sauvignon blanc & straw. Touch of sulfur. Lemon/lime acidity. Peppery yeast.

Carbonation is light, almost microbeaded.

Taste is grassy & just barely soured. Very dry & mild, acidic hops upfront. Medicinal, plastic-y, & lacking the ripe fruit flavors I get in fresh or exceedingly old bottles. Just a lot of acid. Alcohol is too big. Saltine, cottonmouth finish.

This one took a bad turn. Usually one of my favorites. Destined to be reviewed again.

PEBKAC, Apr 03, 2009
Photo of Beercub
2.78/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

The richness, color, lacing, mouthfeel, was what I'd expect from a belgian trappist... i also noticed the nice sweetness and spicy/raisiny flavors. But there was a flavor in there that absolutely did not agree with me. The closes I can come to describing it is a combination of tar and burnt plastic. I guess it's possible that I got a bad bottle, but if this is what this beer is supposed to taste like, it is an acquired taste that I shall not pursue. This was a huge surprise to me as St. Bernardus ABT 12 is probably my favorite beer in the world.

Beercub, Oct 11, 2007
Photo of RoyalT
2.75/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – Very deep, cloudy, orange body with a tinge of brown underneath a beautiful, volcanic head that went down slowly and laced the glass. Yep, it’s a BSPA.

Smell – Classic, spicy, BSPA aroma. This one has a nice light malt base filled with clove, coriander, pepper, paprika, and maybe even a little cinnamon. The fruits seem more on the sour side, though, which would be off-style.

Taste – This has a deep, rich flavor, but again it’s heavy on the lemons. Anyway, that said, this is actually dry from the hop balance. The spices are heavy on the tongue as well.

Mouthfeel – Full carbonation and a sour profile makes this medium-bodied BSPA a real sipper.

Drinkability – I was disappointed by this offering. I felt it was off style and lacked the fruity character that I’ve come to enjoy from strong Belgian ales.

Comments – Sorry, not my idea of the style. Pop a Pranqster or La Fin Du Monde to see what I prefer. Or, better yet, read TheLongBeachBum’s review of the Avec Les Bons Voeux.

RoyalT, Sep 17, 2003
Photo of Tjvan2
2.75/5  rDev -34.5%

Tjvan2, May 24, 2013
Photo of Davepoolesque
2.75/5  rDev -34.5%

Davepoolesque, Thursday at 03:38 PM
Photo of blkcld
2.75/5  rDev -34.5%

blkcld, Jun 04, 2013
Photo of Gaddabble
2.75/5  rDev -34.5%

Gaddabble, Apr 13, 2014
Photo of DerBayer
2.75/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a murky amber with a chestnut tinge and frothy white head. I like cloudy beers but this is not one of my favourites. The smell is fresh and fruity with a sour grapey touch and some bitter hops - very pleasant

The taste however falls way short of my expectations. It is grainy bitter and sour and only the smooth mouthfeel can save it a bit.

DerBayer, Oct 31, 2009
Photo of mquartuccio87
2.75/5  rDev -34.5%

mquartuccio87, Oct 03, 2013
Photo of TastyAdventure
2.75/5  rDev -34.5%

TastyAdventure, Jul 03, 2014
Photo of slk22
2.73/5  rDev -35%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a golden/amber similar to honey. Cloudy with a huge off-white head that seems to last forever. Aroma is very mild malt with some sweetness, much less complex than I expected. Taste was also very mild, mainly corn, having no aftertaste. Mouthfeel is very smooth with a light body and high carbonation, not unlike seltzer water. This is an easy beer to drink, but not very arousing in my opinion. Not sure if I just got a bad bottle as I expected a lot more from this offering.

slk22, Apr 22, 2009
Photo of clvand0
2.73/5  rDev -35%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a cloudy orange color with a tall head that dies off fast and leaves very little lacing on the glass. The aroma is odd - maybe some fruits in the back and a bready aroma, but I don't like this much. The flavor was quite odd too. Not to my liking. Some fruit is there, but it is very dry and the taste isn't something for me. I feel bad giving a Belgian a bad rating because it's my favorite style, but this one just doesn't do it for me.

clvand0, Nov 15, 2004
Photo of MuddyFeet
2.73/5  rDev -35%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Another beer that does not live up to the hype. Poured a pale copper. The head was thick and faomy, but oddly unappealling to me. Incredibly sticky and stubborn lace. there was nothing distinctive either positive or negative about the aroma. The malts were very mild, and the other flavor rearing its head was dried apples that came across as sour "cider." On the positive side, the overall mouthfeel was crisp. Overall, I was not very interested in this beer and found it kind of a turnoff.

MuddyFeet, Apr 03, 2005
Photo of Osiris9588
2.7/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is my first reveiw of an Orval Trappist Ale, but the second bottle I have tried. I disliked the first bottle so much that I figured the bottle had been mishandled, subject to improper conditions. I also think I drank it too cold.

I made sure that this second bottle was down to a proper temperature, but I found it as equally unpleasant--though I did purchase it from the same shop. Also, the beer did progressively improve somewhat from the fist sip to the last. My palate needed to be conditioned to it.

I don't think that it is a completely horrible beer, much of my dislike has to do with personal preference. Both the bottles I have drunk have been capped, 11.2 bottles. The color is a murky amber with traces of sediment. There is ample carbonation, with a torrent of bubbles racing to the surface. The head is thick, leaving considerable, big-bubbled lacing.

The aroma offers strong citrus and yeast, a formidable floral quality, and a hint of cinnamon. The taste offers plenty of citrus and spice, strong yeast and hoppy bitterness. The characteristic that ruins this ale for me is the phenolic aspect--it is so intense and overbearing. A glass full of dirty band-aids. That sums it up. The mouthfeel is crisp and bright, and the drinkability would be fine, except for the extremly unbalanced, phenolic finish, and resulting aftertaste.

A glass full of dirty band-aids. And I love Trappist ales, but not this one. My tongue feels as if I've been been eating pennies all day, and then maybe licked a dead bloated otter.

Maybe the poor quality has something to do in the way the shop handled this particular shipment--but lightning has stuck twice.

Osiris9588, Aug 31, 2006
Photo of beerceller99
2.7/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

33 cl. with a 5- 14- 2003 bottled on date.

Amber colored with a white head that fades quickly to a sheen. Has a strong witch hazel oil smell with a whiff of mild spices and orange peel. A thin to medium body carries a rather bland grain and yeast flavor with a strong, and very off setting medicinal taste. Finishes with a mildly bitter orange peel taste.

For five bucks a bottle there are far better trappist brews.

beerceller99, Sep 30, 2004
Photo of Higravity
2.68/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I got a bottle that was 3 years old and I must say not held in the best conditions. I poured beautifully amber golden with a large puff of a head that became chunky a left the best lace I have ever seen. It smelled of sweet and spicey flavor be it hops or corn syrup and yeast I think a mix of all three. It is a little citrusy and horsey but pretty bland dashed with spice. Awful thin too. I will have to find some fresher stock and re-review later.

Higravity, Dec 17, 2004
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,357 ratings.