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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

4,644 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,644
Reviews: 2,156
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 251
Gots: 517 | 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: 4,644 | Reviews: 2,156 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of epyon396
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of FosterJM
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Photo of jgasparine
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sample from bottle; bottled on 1/22/09

A- Poured carefully from bottle to yield a huge foamy, well-retained, cream colored head. As I refilled the glass throughout the sampling, the head became less foamy and a lot more rocky (proteinaceous). Lovely lacing throughout. The body was a hazy copper color, with lots of active carbonation visible from the sides and top of the glass.

S- HORSEBLANKET! Horseblankety caramel malt combines with some spicy vinous notes on the nose. The spiciness reminds me a bit of chai tea. Further examination reveals subtle hints of lemongrass, stale hops and sour cherries on the nose.

T- Earthy, leathery tobacco and horseblanket dominate the palate (pediococcus and brett)... these characteristic almost completely mask the underlying crackerlike malt flavors and stale hops bitterness. The finish is exceptionally long/lingering... dry, earthy, horseblankety and somewhat medicinal. An exceptionally complex taste!!

M- Medium body... somewhat viscous, but not what I would call 'oily' or 'creamy'... very well attenuated and surprisingly less carbonation than anticipated. I feel like the mouthfeel is the only relatively weak area of this beer.

D- I would definitely take a second bottle if one were available... don't know if I would consume more than two in a sitting though... ultimately I'd say this is very drinkable for a beer of this strength and complexity.

Photo of Seanniek91
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2011 vintage 12oz bottle into a Grimbergen goblet.

Appearance- Hazy red with beautiful fluffy off white head. Looks like a flanders red.

Smell-Citrus, yeast, fruity hops, earthy floralness. Musty funkiness. Beautiful.

Taste- Dry hoppiness. Yeasty must. Citrus. Very earthy flavors that I can't put a finger on. Different.

Mouthfeel- Very carbonated. Dry.

Overall- Different than I'd though it would be. Nice though.

Photo of pinotboy007
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at Wegmans grocer in Sterling, VA.

A - Beautiful raw honey/burnt orange color with no visibile carbonation. Sports a whipped, rocky head that slowly settles; modest lacing and some floaties.

S - Light citrus, malt.

T/M - Uniquely dry tasting with nice citrus overtones, dry biscuit, maybe even a touch of clove and some hops. Light and a bit creamy. Challenges the palate, but delicious!

D - Probably too drinkable but would complement food nicely, especially pork tenderloin.

Photo of Stillyman11
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ckeegan04
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

one of the best out there, and possibly my favorite of all the trappist brews. pours a sort of copper red color, brassy and thin looking, with a tall white head comprised of fairly large bubbles. the nose is a little bretty, kind of funky and wild, with some malt sweetness and a really robust Belgian yeast. the flavor is quite similar to the nose, rich in taste but not in feel, yeasty, with some brown sugar notes and quite spiced, more than the other trappists anyways. i had an infected bottle of this recently as well, and the brett notes of that were downright overwhelming, like a wild ale. i almost actually preferred this funked out version to the normal offering, and am wondering how i might obtain another. even the standard product has quite a bit of interesting yeasty stuff happening. carbonation is vigorous, and the body is pretty light. this beer has its reputation for a reason, and is the product of top craftsmanship. one of my favorite beers with a nice dinner too, very versatile and palate cleansing with its mild acidity. yum.

Photo of kurtissellen
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aggressive pour into a large goblet yielded an enormous cloud looking head about 2" tall. Buried beneath the bubbles the beer looked an opaque golden amber color with very little if any carbonation. Unique sort of lemon citrus smell to it at first, later on detected a flowery sweetness and a grassy spice. Tasted a mild grape and apple sweetness with a little citrus bitterness and finished very crisp and clean. I would try another just to see the huge head form that was awesome!

Photo of cratez
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 330ml bottle into a goblet. Huge foamy off-white head sits on top of a hazy, dark orange body. Lots of sticky lacing clings to the glass while drinking. This looks like a tasty-ass beer float. I'm impressed. Smell is poignant hay, sour candy, and yeasty aromas. You would think the barnyard smell would be a turnoff, but it's actually quite intriguing. Taste is lightly juicy and fruity malts followed by tart grapefruit and some bitterness on the palate. The overall flavour is mild but well-executed. Mouthfeel is smooth with a nicely carbonated bite and a balanced, dry finish. I have enormous respect for this highly drinkable beer. The funky farm-like character is definitely something I haven't encountered before. A perfect beer for enjoying the spring weather with, though Orval would make for fine drinking any time of the year.

Photo of veinless
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage: Bottled in May 2010

Pours a crystal clear deep sap orange, with some of the most whipped, pillowy soft looking lacy head I have ever seen. It almost looks like soft-serve, and is definitely just as inviting. Combination of large and tiny bubbles is gorgeous.

From the nose I get just some green apple/citrus to go with a Brett barnyard scent. A bit of spice, perhaps coriander, comes from the Belgian yeast I believe, which adds to the back end of the aroma.

Taste is oh so light, which is not to be confused with bland, as the beer skips from citrus tones to very subtle belgian spice, in this case coriander plus a little bit of something else, something just a bit peppery. From there it goes to the Brett funk, and gives you nothing but that til the end. All flavors are delicate and would be tough to distinguish if this was my 4th or 5th beer of the night, so have this one when your palate is fresh, and you don't have a cold or anything like that. It really is a very dainty and light footed beer. Tartness could be a little better, but that may have interfered with some of the other flavors, so I trust they know what they are doing over there.

Mouthfeel is dominated by the carbonation, which never seems to stop. This lends it a nice creamy texture, but also does get in the way of enjoying each individual taste, as you kind of have to cut through the foam and bubbles the entire time. It is a very pleasantly weighted beer though. Drinkability is good too, as I wouldn't have known the abv was 6.9% if I didn't check the bottle. Finish is funky, which may be off-putting to some, but I enjoyed restarting the cycle of flavors each time. Very relaxing beer - this is the beer you want while relaxing in front of the TV after work.

Photo of MVassar
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled about a year ago in early 2006. A very intriguing beer, and I'm definitely going to pick up some more and put a few away for a while. I'm curious to see how it tastes in another year.

Slightly hazy light honey color, very dense head with thick, unbelievably long-lasting lacing. Stunning to look at.

Apple cider, honey, citrus in the nose. Very appealing.

Cider flavor, with nice hop kick. Tastes crisp, slightly tart, with a very floral finish. Lots going on in this one, but it manages to be well-balanced.

Good carbonation, nice creamy oily texture. Long dry bitter finish. Feels sturdy.

A very unique beer, which I found enormously likable. Could easily have more than one. Or two.

Photo of mverity
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an orange amber with an inch of perfectly even bubbled light tan head. Good lacing, head has staying power, thick collar at the edges. Aroma is of aged hops, earthy funk, citrus, and some dark cherry. Very effervescent and bubbly on the tongue. High carbonation, light to medium body. Fun to drink. Taste is grassy and earthy in a dry funky kind of way, with some floral and earthy hops.

Photo of alcohline_trip
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of MMAJYK
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 7/5/07 best before 7/5/12. I have had this one in the staging area for quite some time.

A- Hazy orange/gold color with 1" of soft fluffy head. Lacing is all over the place.

S- Oranges, lemons, cotton candy, figs and vanilla. Totally sweet and fruity; zingy. Very welcoming.

T- Same citrusy tastes, but a lot more dry than the nose was. The smells were sweet and the taste are more sour. Lemons, candi sugar, and little bit of hops round it out for me.

M- Light in the mouth and high carbonation.

D- Definitely a most drinkable Belgain. I will have a few more of these on hand in the near future for immediate consumption.

Photo of akorsak
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am drinking a 330 mL bottle poured into an Orval glass (nice to have things that match). The ale is warming.

Appearance: The ale is a very nice auburn color. It is cloudy, but there is no hint of large scale sediment. The ale poured with a nice head that dissapated quickly, leaving nothing.

Smell: The yeasts used to brew this ale have created a most remarkable aroma. I can't place it, but it is fruity and gamey and dry.

Taste: The ale has a relaxed malt character that imparts a slight sweetness. The yeast leaves the ale very dry taste. The hops are light, giving just a bit of a bite.

Mouthfeel: The ale is very dry, making me want another sip. The yeast really is the thing here.

Drinkability: Very drinkable, with a nice bite and lower abv.

Photo of Plonk
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle poured in my Chimay chalice. Bottled date 4/22/2009.

A - Pours a nice light amber, significant chill haze, two finger rocky head that falls to 1/8 that stays to bottom of glass leaving a good amount of lacing.

S - Bretty barnyard and band aid dominates, slight hay and bit of citrus

T - Brettiness, slight malt sweetness, earth, spritz of lemon, L-O-N-G hop bitter complex finish that lasts for days.

M - Crisp and light, with a creamy carbonation.

D - Could easily drink several at a sitting.

Photo of johntangus
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of tfinn
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of ElegantRose
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: (in a glass chalice) semi-translucent, cloudy, amber/pumpkin/ deepening into pinkish red color. The head is strong, and dissipates within one minute.

Smell: Strong canned-pumpkin-candy esters; deep undertones of alcohol floating to the surface, bubbling into atmosphere (ABV is 6.9).

Taste: Contrasting with the sweet smell, the taste is sour with brettanomyces. A little research reveals that the sourness is also due to dry-hopping.

Overall, sipping on it and considering it over the time frame of ten minutes or so, I find it to be quite refreshing, though my particular taste palate tends to harken to a sweeter, more approachable style. Malheur Tripel is my current ultimate example of a Belgian Tripel, and Rodenbach is my current favorite as far as a sour Flemish red beer; these are but a few of my favorites, which tend to give an example of what my palate savors.

15 or twenty minutes in, I find myself enjoying it, though I would like that hint of sweetness, which I find adds a different measure of complexity, as opposed to the sour, yawning complexity of this unusual, different animal.

Photo of movingshadow152
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
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!

Photo of IPA35
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of ciachef1212
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of chugamugofsud
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orval is an excellent trappist ale, it is bottle conditioned for an extensive period before sale and gets better if you let it sit around. The beer pours an orangey-amber that is cloudy with taste and there is a relatively frothy head on it at first. The beer smells of oranges (probably peel) and various herbal scents (I'm picking up rosemary) and tastes amazing. Some I've been around felt it was too carbonate; however, I think this beer makes a goal of having a symphony of taste with no featured player. Each of the various flavors (spice, fruit, herb and alcohol) work together without any of them overpowering your mouth. This beer comes well recommended (esp. to trappist ale fiends like myself).

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,644 ratings.