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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

4,494 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,494
Reviews: 2,128
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 218
Gots: 443 | FT: 12
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: 4,494 | Reviews: 2,128 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Ieatlambfries
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The appearance of this strong pale ale was excellent. Hazy dark gold with an immense fluffy head. The smell was not really to my liking however, not horrible, just not my style. It hit me with musty yeast at first followed by something reminiscent of horse manure. I see one of the bro's used the term horse blanket in their review (as part of taste) and that's a pretty good description also. The taste however was leaps and bounds above the smell. Still very musty, but with a citrus hop bitterness. Defiantly yeasty, with some herby graininess. Mouthfeel was excellent as well, medium bodied and crisp. I found it to be very carbonated. Drinkability was good although, I really could not get over the darn horse manure smell, enough to say it was better than "good," but to some the smell may be to their liking. Just a matter of preference. All and all though an excellent beer, and one of the legendary 6 true Trappist ales. Give it a go if you like Belgian beer and haven't already. You won't be sorry. Oops, almost forgot, my bottle said 6.9% abv., not 6.2%. Go figure.

Ieatlambfries, Feb 08, 2004
Photo of alamere
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay Chalice..
Bottled on 05-2010, poured on 05-2011.

A - A good looking beer, a bit more amber than I'd expected but pours a huge head with lacing all over the glass and foam lasting throughout the glass. Generally it looks a bit like an American Pale ale but with higher carbonation and champaign style bubbles.

S - Smells a bit of plum, clove and fruit.. no discernible hop aroma to me at this point.

T - The beer really shines in the taste dept... Starts off a little tart and then follows with a fruitiness and med body with a bit of funk or horse blanket or whatever you want to call it. A dry finish and lasting aftertaste with a warming alcohol note in the very end.

M - It's smooth, and soft and 'balanced' (whatever that means). Mouthfeel is really fantastic on this beer..

O - It's certainly a good to great beer, maybe not my personal favorite trappist beer but absolutely in the high class category.
I would wonder if the best buy date of 2015 isn't a bit hopeful though?? Not a super high alcohol offering and by '15 this would certainly be a completely different beer. If you like the belgian funk in your beer.. this is a great example though. Certainly brings along visions of the European countryside and has a tartness, dirt and attitude about it that doesn't taste contrived in any way...
I know that's a strange statement but if you've tried a lot of other attempts at a beer like this.. you probably know what I'm talking about.

alamere, May 04, 2011
Photo of johntangus
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful beer produced magnificent head and lacing. A light amber/copper color.

First taste came to mind: bubblegum. Then the complexities came forth - bananas, hops, honey, wheat.

Smelled like Juicyfruit.

Dry but not overpowering so.

A wonderful beer. Would drink several in one sitting if given the chance.

johntangus, Jun 15, 2009
Photo of Kyle424
4.2/5  rDev 0%

Kyle424, Sep 20, 2014
Photo of Voonder
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thank to bobsy for this!
Pours cloudy light copper color with huge off-white head. Very good retention. Smell - somewhat sweet, raisiny, slight hoppiness coming throgh, some grassy aromas, some malts. Pretty complex aroma, very interesting. Taste is hoppier than smell, some citrusy notes appear, maltiness is all the way through, bitter finish. Very nice balanced brew, very smooth, alcohol is not noticeable. Very drinkable.

Voonder, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of tfinn
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bottled 2003-01-28, consumed 2004-06-27

pours a hazy golden color with frothy head reminiscent of small soap bubbles. leaves slidy lacing on the glass. yeast was left in the bottle.

the aroma is a pleasant mix of sweet maltiness, fruit esters (not so much banana -- more skewed towards pineapple / citrus), and a hint of hops.

showing my prejudices of belgian trappist ale, with a wonderful estery scent, I was expecting a full heavy body with this one, but it's not heavy at all. it's light, clean, and very "wet" tasting for lack of a better term. carbonation is mild, yet there is a definite carbonate tang on the tongue. balance is towards the hops, but stops just short of being overtly bitter. there is no hop trail at the end; just a bit of graininess and a nice wet clean finish, which prompts further consumption.

a very satisfying and quenching beer. it's somewhere between american pale ale and a full-bodied belgian dubbel or trippel.

tfinn, Jun 28, 2004
Photo of movingshadow152
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presented in an 11.2 oz bottle, dated 1/6/04. Pouring this beer produces an impressive rocky head with very small bubbles, lacing nicely as it recedes. The beer was served well below proper temperature, and it still produces an amazing pile of foam. The color is golden orange, similar to honey.

The aroma is almost as good as the taste! I have trouble digesting the complex smells, but there are definite floral notes as well as some citrus (lemon) hints. There are sweet smells similar to honey.

The taste is wonderfully complex. Initially it seems sweet, but this is immediately displaced by a dry hoppy bitterness. The flavor is delicate flowers and lemon, finishing very dry and crisp. The active carbonation clears the palate fairly quickly, leaving only a slight dry alcohol burn.

The mouthfeel is very crisp and dry, much more so than most Belgian ales I’ve tasted. This is quite a refreshing beer to drink!

Overall, I’d pick Orval as my favorite Belgian Pale Ale. I usually prefer the darker ales, but this beer definitely stands out above the pale crowd! Those monks have learned a few things about brewing in the last 900 years!

movingshadow152, Apr 05, 2005
Photo of FosterJM
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1211th Review on BA
Bottle to Chimay Goblet
330ml

Bottled 6/10/2011

App- A very dark orange pour with a yellow bit around the edges and falls to the bottom. A gigantic two finger head that just stuck and didnt move.

Smell- Its a classic all right. Undeniable Belgian yeast with a good amount of musty cheesy funk but not overpowering. A bit earthy and damp as well.

Taste- Well its all over the place for me really but not clouded or muddled. Has a large damp citrus flavor and carries over a large chunk of yeasty grassy funk.

Mouth- A fairly medium body with a fairly wet and juicy medium carbonation. Residual funk, earthy, dampness.

Drink- Truly a classic. A well rounded beer with large and balanced flavors.

FosterJM, Apr 10, 2012
Photo of WakeandBake
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, bottled on date 24/04/2007 best before 24/04/2012. A hazy light amber pour ,loads of carbonation bubbles,and a huge fluffy off white head, wonderful lacing and lasted till the very end.
Aroma is a wonderful scent of spices,sugar and lemon,lighter notes of orange and a nice finish of yeast and hops.The flavor is a blend of spices & lemon, Light banana notes and fruity esters form the yeast, nice bready notes, a crisp refreshing mouthfeel with a very dry finish of hops and alcohol. Very complex and balanced.A very fun try .

WakeandBake, Apr 01, 2009
Photo of IPA35
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange with a whitish head.

Nice smell or citrus, flowers and a hint of brett. A crazy yeasty fruitiness, tart.

Taste is very complex.
Malt, tart, quite sour actually, spice and some interesting hops in the back. Bready aftertaste. Very different but nice.

Mouthfeel is medium with quite alot of carbonation.
The bottle is 5 months old.
A recommended beer.

IPA35, Nov 17, 2012
Photo of ciachef1212
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured a hazy deep yellow/gold with tons of carbonation. The head was about 4 fingers and left beautiful lacing on the glass.

S- It smells like lemons, ciders, and flowers with a slight sour funk. Loved it.

T- A slight tartness with lemons and flowers. It then finishes dry.

M- The bubbles dance on the tongue like Champagne.

O- This beer is great. If you haven't had it pick it up. It is a very old traditional beer that is very refreshing.

ciachef1212, Apr 07, 2011
Photo of SmasNadroj
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip glass from a bottle labeled 09/07/2008.

Very intense head, like sea foam that just won't go away- I don't mind this, really, but it makes it a little challenging to pour the whole bottle.

Its a shadowy orange color, much lighter than I was expecting but once it opens up and the "sea foam" subsides, the smell is delicately spicy, like nuts roasted in butter and coriander.

Orval has a nice maltiness to it that gives it a refreshing, almost biscuity crispness. Hints of lemon, sweet yeast, and white grapes are hiding behind the malt. Very refreshing

In a white trash way, I wish they made this beer in "affordable" (I'm talkin $20-$25) 12 packs - even in cans- so us prestigious bastards could easily pick one up and take it to a party, bonfire, or camping because its so easy to drink. Mine was gone before I knew it- and yes, there is still sea foam down one side of my glass.

A great trappist, though not quite what I was expecting. Get you one!

SmasNadroj, Apr 20, 2010
Photo of beerguy101
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle date 11/01/07 - Bright orange color, large head with staying power. Aroma is orange with a touch of banana and a little musty. Initial taste is vinous and very tart and sweet and sour. Very complex tastes, orange peel, grapefruit, malty and dry, champagne and salt. Flavors mellow as it warms. Incredibly complex beer. Definitely not for everybody, but world class. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

beerguy101, Sep 13, 2003
Photo of JBogan
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber/peach color with a huge foamy crown which stays around forever and leaves large amounts of sticky suds clinging to the glass. An exceptional looking beer.

Smells very fruity, with pears, apricot and spices playing the leading parts.

Tastes much as it smells, along with a mustiness which mutes the fruits somewhat. A hint of alcohol in there as well. Good tasting but not quite up the the level the aroma promises.

Mouthfeel was very prickly and dry. A nice crispness is felt in the mouth and on the way down.

This trappist brew has a quite different character from other trappists. While not my favorite beer of this style, it is one I will be revisiting again in the future.

JBogan, Aug 04, 2009
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've heard that this is a very polarizing brew, and unfortunately I fall on the end of the spectrum that doesn't like it. Pours a hazy copper color with sandy head that is comprised of large bubbles. The head fades to a small layer that sticks around for the duration of the beer. Little lacing. Smell is ok, with some clove, cherry, and malty sweetness. The problem with Orval is the way it tastes. It tastes like every time someone at the brewery gets a cut, they save the band-aid for use in the boil with this beer. Seriously the phenol is out of control. I know some people really like that, but I am not a big fan of licking band-aids, especially for the price of this beer. Behind the band-aid, however, there's some nice cherry and citrus notes, along with some nice malt. MF is a little thin and bubbly for me, though not terrible. The phenolic character here is near-impossible to stomach for me, and, as such, drinkability suffers. Stick with St. Bernardus, Duvel, Westy, --I don't care, something other than this.

A-3.5 S-3.5 T-2.5 MF-3.5 D-1.5, Overall 2.9 C

EDIT: That was my first taste of this beer, and I'm almost 100% sure I had a bad bottle because I'm sipping on it again (having avoided it since) and it is nothing like the above description. So here's another go at it:

Pours a pretty copper color with big pillowy white head. The head sticks around for a while, leaving a nice cap on the beer. Laces as it goes as well. Smell is delicious, big tart citrus, some mustiness, some barnyard-y funk, a hint of cherry-like phenol. Very nice, the Brett makes a nice play in this guy.

Taste is what I was afraid of, but this is completely different than last time. None of the band-aid flavor, just a nice pale ale malt base, bready, slightly sweet, underneath some moderately aggressive hopping. A light fruitiness is there in the middle as well. Finish is long and varied between bitter hops, lightly toasted bread, and the yeasty subtle fruitiness. A big surprise, and I am very happy to have revisited it.

On mouthfeel, maybe could use a bit more creaminess to it. Decent body for the style though. Far more drinkable than before, a quite delicious brew, actually. I'm glad I tried it again.

LordAdmNelson, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of mikeyv35
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Sample Type: 11.2oz. Bottle
Sampled: 02/12/10
Glassware: Lucifer Snifter Glass
Vintage: 2008

This delicate brew poured a light brown and slightly cherry red color, w/ a one finger off white frothy head, w/ the typical Belgian small bubbly carbonation that laced the glass minimally. The aroma was of tart cherry floral bouquet, and some funkiness. Taste of light cherry acidicness, funk, and a Belgian yeast breadiness. The mouthfeel was thin, clean, and pillowy. This brew is definately one of the great session beers as it goes down way too easily w/ little to no alcohol bite.

Overall, awesome Belgian Pale Ale! One of the classics.

mikeyv35, Apr 17, 2010
Photo of slyke
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Orval pours a hazy amber with a very large (four fingers) rocky white head from its 11.2 ounce bottle. The aroma is medicinal with notes of licorice. The taste is also medicinal in nature with notes of licorice and yeast. Mouthfeel is very good filling the mouth with a snappy finish. Drinkability is good. This beer is a pretty good sipper. Recommended.

slyke, Feb 17, 2007
Photo of Donnie2112
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into a Corsendonk tulip

It should be noted that I am pairing this beer, not drinking it as an apertif. The pairing is a bison burger on a potato roll with sweet onions and mushrooms with crumbled idaho bleu cheese. It's a solid pairing

It appears redish orange, starts with a huge fluffy head but retains only a film and leaves just a bit of lace on the glass

This beer is very dry, just a bit of malty sweetness, some delightful yeasty mustiness, the yeast also has a sour character to it. This beer has a more perceivable hop finish then most Belgians that I'm used to.

Sufficient carbonation, dry, a bit thin. It cleanses the palate and makes it an excellent companion to greasy food.

Extremely easy to drink

Excellent beer, I can see why it's thought of as so world class.

Donnie2112, Jan 17, 2011
Photo of GianlucaB
4.2/5  rDev 0%

GianlucaB, Nov 17, 2014
Photo of ckeegan04
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Hazy orange color. Unbelieveable off white head. Filled up half the glass with the most gentle pour I could muster. Think chunky head that leaves entire chunks of foam on the glass. Not sure how conducive it is to drinking, but it sure looks good.

S - Funky yeast smell. Little bit of banana.

T - Very tart taste with hints of banana and lemon. Little bit of barnyard funk mixed in as well.

M/D - Full bodied and super carbonated. Very easy drinking.

ckeegan04, May 23, 2008
Photo of Onibubba
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally got around to trying this one. What took me so long? Poured a nice honey gold into a snifter leaving a short white head. Nice looking beer. Smell is slight hops, citrus...Some funk? Nice! The taste is hard for me to pin down. The hops stand out, but not bitter or overly tart. The funk is there, but stripped down. Not picking up as much citrus as I noticed in the smell. Some white pepper maybe. I like this a lot, and one bottle is not enough. Mouthfeel is full and prickly with carbonation. Drinkability is great. I really need a bomber of this. Does it come in bombers? A repeat buy for sure.

Onibubba, Apr 16, 2007
Photo of proc
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very good beer. Pours out to a cloudy, amber in the glass with a generous head. The aroma is the strong point of this beer. It combines essences of a fine liqueur with that of yeast and fruit. Taste is slightly spicy in the Belgium sort of way. Fairly high in carbonation. Finish is quite easy and invites another sip. Rather expensive, but a nice treat.

proc, Jan 13, 2003
Photo of francisweizen
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

**Update**

I recently had an aged (2 year old) sample of this beer and the medicinal taste was in the background more...with the hops taking center stage!

The most interesting trappist beer, from the only single-beer(besides petite orval) trappist brewery. This pours a BEAUtIFUL orangeish amber colour with vast amounts of rocky, white, rich head. The taste is a bit of a let down though. It is spicy and very fruity, but also medicinal in it's alcoholic taste. The after-taste is dry and very bitter(which I like)but it does tend to have a chloroseptic or cherry robitusin after-taste. This is still an amazing and unique beer, with a perfect, creamy mouthfeel, and a nice drinkability factor.
Cheers!
F

francisweizen, Jan 11, 2003
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,494 ratings.