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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

4,332 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,332
Reviews: 2,114
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 205
Gots: 394 | FT: 8
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: 4,332 | Reviews: 2,114 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TrickKnee
2.63/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

After hearing nothing but raves about the orval I decided to give it a go. I heard so many suggest ways to drink i.e. 50 degrees in a glass to bring out the flavors and many others. All i can say is that I was extremely unimpressed for the hype. The head looked almost like that froth that churns up on the sea shore and just stuck to the glass. Taste was not overly great either. For $5 a beer i would say spend a couple extra bucks and get a decent 6 pack, you will be much happier.

TrickKnee, Mar 29, 2006
Photo of mshanecrowe
2.6/5  rDev -38.1%

mshanecrowe, Aug 18, 2014
Photo of bowersdm
2.6/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I reviewed this a while ago and I decided to revisit tonight. My first review gave this beer a 'C'.

33cL bottle poured into my St. Bernardus goblet;

A - cloudy amber almost brown color. Because of the extreme carbonation, it took about five minutes to get this beer into the glass. There was a stiff 2.5cm tall off-white head that disintegrated into pillowy lumps that looked like a scale model of a group of sand dunes

S - yeast, spice, cherries, apples, oranges, lemons, and grass. There was also a funkiness going on too. I can't figure out what it is.

T - spicy fruitiness, a slight funky taste that, though it was slight, make the beer not that great because it's really about the only thing going on. There was also some spicy/citrusy hops at the end.

M - way, way too much carbonation.

D - I still do not enjoy the taste of this beer.

bowersdm, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of dvb
2.6/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

A - A nice light amber. Abundant white head that dies quickly.

S - Banana. Very pleasant and enticing.

T - The attack is nice, but gives way almost immediately to a unpleasant soapy bitterness from heavy hopping that is not typical of the style.

M - There is mouth-puckering astringency present that is way too prominent to be ignored.

O - Uncharacteristic bitterness and solvent-like mouthfeel made Orval a bad experience for me. I would try it again, but only because I wonder if I somehow got a bad bottle.

dvb, May 05, 2011
Photo of PorterLambic
2.6/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Nice bottle.
Pours a cloudy reddish-orange with a smallish creamy head.
Smell is malt, green apple, oak, hops & yeast.
Taste is hops, hops, hops and malt. Not at all what I expected.
Mouthfeel: high carbonation, a bit rougher/hoppier than expected although I was forewarned about that. A very dry finish, by far the driest of any ale I've ever had, drier than almost any lager for that matter..
Drinkability: Not your typical trappist ale, too much like an IPA for my tastes.

PorterLambic, Jun 29, 2005
Photo of ultralarry2006
2.58/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle. Left a foamy one finger head that had some good retention, but not much lacing. Body was a hazy orange-amber.

Smell - a sour barn-like odor. Not much else. Some alcohol.

Taste - same as the smell. A sour barn-like must, with very faint tones of plums. Alcohol on the finish, and not really integrated into the taste.

Mouthfeel - thin, fluid, and fizzy.

Drinkability - I don't like this much, so it's not sessionable.

ultralarry2006, Aug 20, 2006
Photo of bobhits
2.58/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Poured in a La Trappe glass. A HUGE massive over the top head forms this is amazing and the body that comes with the head, pretty darn impressive. The body does remind one of a thick unfiltered IPA though on the golden side.

The aromas brings out sour notes, cider, apples, maybe pears?, and some lemon notes. Very dry and there isn't much sugar in this one and with that there isn't a lot of sour. It's very subtle.

Complex? Definitely. It reminds me of a cider with brett sour notes. The problem is it isn't good. Those flavors are ok but they could use more brett or more sugar from malts. There's some herbal bitterness perhaps from hops. It's subtle. There's a lingering sour/hop blended finish the lasts a while. I'm just not liking this beer.

Given it is a sour I didn't expect much body and there isn't much. The head was amazing but the carbonation in the body was below average for a beer...somewhat expected for the style.

Look, I know this one has a huge amount of lovers. Maybe this bottle is between ideal age? About 10 months old maybe another year makes it more sour or a bit fresher it is a bit more something? I don't know. Either way there's nothing really wrong. I have no idea what style you'd call this, it isn't a belgian pale ale as I've come to know them. So I'm not sure how to really judge it....a sour but not sour pale ale? Sorry I'll pass.

bobhits, Jun 19, 2013
Photo of BeerBob
2.55/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Orval Trappist Ale pours a hazy translucent nut brown from a 11.2 oz very dark brown glass bottle with a pry off cap. Head well over three fingers. Foam turns rocky and clings to everything in large clumps on the way down the sides of my glass to a massive broken reef of foam with a lagoon to one side.

Nose is a firm clove and sour banana, with just the slightest wisp of bubble gum. Palate is just a one-dimensional citrus sour with the bight of carbonation. That is it, just a foamy sour bubbly.

“The king has no clothes!”

Dates on bottle:
Bottled on: 29/08/2006
Best Before: 29/08/2011

BeerBob, Jul 27, 2007
Photo of e11iott
2.55/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: 11.2 oz bottle. This beer poured an uncontrolable amount of head, almost thinking I got a bad bottle. Another interesting tid-bit on the bottle was it had a made date of 05/08/2009, best before 05/08/2014. That seams like a long time to collect dust on the bottle and for a beer to settle.

S: Slight fruit, very yeast like, overpowerful yeast.

T/M: Interesting, very dry hop aftertaste and bite. Very high carbination.

D: Paid to much and was let down by this one, I might have to revisit it. Hoping my bottle was bad. Other option is this just isn't my style.

e11iott, Jan 31, 2011
Photo of KenC
2.53/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Cool bottle, with a little tag hawking their glassware for sale. Three fingers of head that lasted until the end. Lacing was just average. Medium copper color and slight cloudiness.

S- Very nice complex aroma of malt and hops, a little pang of things to come, with a chemical type scent.

T- Starts out perfectly balanced. The well blended flavor was unique. Then it hit, just like the nose. That slight hint of chemical. It's really the alcohol, but I was expecting balance end-to-end and l got foul aftertaste. Really a disappointment.

M-Medium body with good balance.

O- I liked everything up to the ending. When you factor in the price, for a non-happy ending I think I'll look elsewhere.

KenC, Apr 02, 2011
Photo of Blanco
2.53/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

poured into a chimay goblet.

murky brown/orange color with a head that foams up and wears itself out similar to a champagne. Also, like champagne, the carbonation is extraordinary on this one and hardly looks like "beer."

smell has that funk of wild yeast not unlike a gueze. citrus is in the background bringing some sweetness to the funk.

taste has a little mix of sweetness upfront and hint of candy, although drier in the finish.

carbonation is through the roof at first but it burns itself out after a bit and becomes almost "flat" after being so highly carbonated.

nice drinkability but not great. definitely different but the carbonation issue through me off here.

Blanco, Jan 22, 2011
Photo of jeffmonarch
2.53/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2 oz. bottle in a snifter glass.

A - Cloudy orange color with a thick white head that stays for a while.

S - Sweet fruity smell. It's almost like orange or lemon pledge.

T - Very bitter and almost medicine like flavor. Alcohol flavor is also present.

M - Light bodied with high carbonation.

D - Not a fan.

jeffmonarch, Aug 16, 2008
Photo of Andragos
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

Andragos, Nov 12, 2012
Photo of beerhan
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

beerhan, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of Atomicskis5
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

Atomicskis5, Oct 18, 2013
Photo of wyllder
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Ok,

I had this one recommended to me by a fellow hop-head. My primary love in beer-life is hops. Brews like Hopdevil & Stone IPA top my list of favorites. That said, I'll get into my review of Orval Trappist.

Beer pours a mid-range amber with a big, fizzy, carbonated head. Really, I think the color rating is subjective, as I prefer a deep & clear amber to the lighter and slightly opaque amber of the Orval.

Taste.. Hmm. The first word that came to mind was medicinal. I checked this against two of my friends and the response was the same: cough syrup. Maybe this was my first experience with Bavarian & Yugoslavian hops but I found the flavor altogether unappealing. There's a good bit of malt balance that comes in to hold the hops back, and several floral overtones. None of this, however, could distract my palate from a foreign hop bitterness I was unable to enjoy.

Overall, I would not recommend this to someone who loves American hopped beers.

Update: Sampled this again off a friend during a session at the Moan and Dove. The cough medicine taste noted before is still there. This time, though, I can more appropriately call it an Orajel flavor. Like Orajel, it actually creates an unpleasant numbing sensation on the palate. Like before, I checked my impression with the friend who had ordered it and he concurred: Orajel. Is there benzocaine in this stuff?

Final update: Tried this one last time, after having given my palate a chance to adapt to Belgians such as Achel, Quintine, Westvleteren, Rochefort, Bink, etc... Also followed the suggestion of other BA's and made this beer my first selection of the evening. Net result, I no longer think is completely vile. However, the odd and rather unpleasant medicinal/orajel flavors noted previously remain, though being much more subdued than I recall. While it was more palatable on my third try, I still cannot recommend this beer. I upgraded my taste rating to 2.5.

wyllder, Nov 24, 2003
Photo of bspain5
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

bspain5, Jun 07, 2012
Photo of Jdiddy
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a great sparkling copper color. The best part of this beer stopped there for me. I just did not like it. It tasted like a farm smells (if that makes sense). Something just does not taste right with this one. An unusual taste that I could not really figure out. Bitter but not in a good way. Like paint thinner would probably taste. I am sure I may stand alone on this one but I will not be trying it again.

Jdiddy, Sep 01, 2002
Photo of prisoner1572
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

prisoner1572, Jan 31, 2013
Photo of SpAiReArGsEonNE
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

SpAiReArGsEonNE, May 26, 2014
Photo of BeerManDan
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

One taste and I didn't like it. Everything up to the taste was appealing. After tasting it, it left me disappointed. In fact I couldn't drink the whole glass. Maybe I got a bad bottle, but if this is what I have to look forward to next time, I'm wasting my time and money on a no nothing beer.

BeerManDan, Jul 27, 2002
Photo of guitarsnbeer
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

guitarsnbeer, Apr 01, 2012
Photo of psm90
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

psm90, Jul 10, 2014
Photo of antichuckmoore
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

antichuckmoore, Jul 07, 2014
Photo of Fettpopps
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

Fettpopps, Mar 16, 2014
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,332 ratings.