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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

4,604 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,604
Reviews: 2,147
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 248
Gots: 497 | 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: 4,604 | Reviews: 2,147 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kmcnair
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy light brown to copper color and makes a pale tan crown that fades into an island of cloudy bubbles and a thin halo. Satiny lace clings to the sides of the Orval goblet. Aroma has a sour twang, earthy barnyard funk, horsey. Very unusual flavor, earthy hop bitterness, peppery spice and bread yeast, nearly no sweetness, funky lemon-like sour notes from the brettanomyces, has many saison qualities. Light to medium bodied, crisp intense carbonation, super clean dry finish. These monks make a tasty beverage, will definitely drink again.

Photo of sabrills70
3.69/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The famous orval bottle with a bottled on date of 6/05 and a best by date of 6/10. Pours a slighly hazy medium amber with a good 2 finger head, OK longevity and OK lace. Earthy and grassy citrus smells with slight caramel and raisin. Very earthy and grassy taste mixed with a decent amount of hop flavor and bitterness - although its an odd flavor, not off, but odd. It is different from the other Trappist ales I have tried. It seems a bit harsh. I have one more bottle tucked away that I will have to try in a year or two. Its not a bad flavored beer, I just think this bottle is still too young.

Photo of allergictomacros
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Hazy copper with a big chunky head. Fades slowly to a 2 mm constant cover and a touch of lace on the chalice.

S - A touch of citrus in the nose, but dominated by "horseblanket?" - that characteristic smell. Reminds me a bit of dirty alley-ways. It's different anyway.

T - Quite dry. Grape-y,wine-y flavours and a mild bitterness. Lots of complexities in this... and a finish is dry and bitter. Has a unique flavour I can't really place that really comes out when it warms in the mouth. At bit of a sweet, fruitiness that comes with an astringency and maybe some tannins.

M - Very light, and a quickly dissipating bubbliness.

D - I don't think I could have too many of these. For me this is something to be savoured once in a while, and not more than one at a time.

Photo of RedHaze
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very cloudy amber/brown with a rocky one inch head that fades very slowly to a very thick cap and ring, leaving behind thck lacing.

Smell; strong grassy and earthy notes, as well as some hints of honey.There's a bit of sourness and tartness, along with some fruitiness I can't quites place.

Taste; the grass/hay qualities jump out at me at first as well as a bit of a funky earthiness. The mildly sweet honey flavors come out next, followed by a tartness that's a little drying in the finish with a bit of a hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium boded and creamy, and pretty easy to drink desite it's dry finish.

I didn't really care for this the first time I tried it, but I have come to enjoy Saisons and other similar styles over the last few years, so I figured I'd give it another shot. I'm glad I did.

Photo of Hautacam
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle freshness date 6/05.
Light, cloudy amber-brown....very lively, foamy head....rises up the chalice...looks great. Head slowly drops to 1/8 in and stays.
Smells of barnyard, yeast and overripe apple, musty....kind of gueuze-like, but not as intense.
Tastes surprizingly light..subtle yeast, horse blanket, malt....cidery; sour...not bitter, with some alcohol coming through. Dry and lighter in mouthfeel than I expected.Carbonation medium.
This was good, but for the price, I think I'll stick to the other abbeys. I would have liked a heavier mouthfeel and a little more malt. My girl friend thought this ale was fantastic...I gave her the rest of mine.

Photo of dreadnatty08
3.23/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle flown over from Paris by my lovely girfriend.
Bottled on 11/29/05, from 33cl bottle
Pours a dark amber with chunky, foamy lucious looking head. Aromas similiar to a heffe with some banana and clove, alcohol. Astringent on the tongue, has almost a soapy flavor. Alcohol also makes a strong presence in flavor, surprising for a lower ABV trappist. It's good to try another trappist, but I have to say this beer isn't doing much for me; much rather drink a NB Trippel or heffe.

Photo of crwills
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My first taste of this, although I just noticed they have large stocks of it at some local LCBOs, so I'll be grabbing some more if I can!

Poured from the unique Orval bottle into an oversized wine glass. Cloudy amber colour with a big fluffy head that fades a little but sticks around for about half of the drink.

Smell is fruity and musty, with "horseblanket" elements and lots of farmy grains. Reminds me of good, stinky cheese. Cool!

Initial tastes are surprising and really hard to identify. As I keep drinking and it warms, I really get into this beer, but I still can't identify specific flavours. Sourish... fruit-like... "wild"... barnyard. Definitely some aromas I remember from living on or near farms as a kid. An incredibily unique flavour. Perfect mouthfeel and a very pleasant aftertaste make this an extremely drinkable brew, even at its ABV level. Looking forward to keeping a decent stock of this -- wish it was more widely available here!

Photo of cheers2beers
3.47/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a wide mouth mug:

Appearance: Poured a apple cider colored liquid with slightly off white pillowy head.I can't see through this beer due to the cloudiness.A little laceing can be found.

Smell: The aromas of bananas,cinnamon, maybe some clove and raison bread. No alcohol noted.

Taste: The flavors are sour fruits ,probably from the semi-wild yeasts that Orval uses, followed by an apricot dominance.Doesnt have that typical Belgian taste,but could be classified as a bad fruit beer.Seems a little tart in the finish.No alcohol to be detected.

Mouthfeel: This is very plain to me,a little sour in the front with a tart and bubbley finish.Medium carbonation,smooth,and easy to drink. But not memorable

Drinkability: I am very disappionted,I guess I expected this beer to be a superstar Belgian beer and yet was more like a fruit or hefewiezen gone wrong.Sorry Orval, just not my cup of tea. My money will be going to other breweries.

Cheers2Beers

Photo of acoatley
3.53/5  rDev -16%
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 Graham21
2.85/5  rDev -32.1%
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.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After not having one of these since I've become a better beer taster, I figured it was worth another shot. I am more impressed now than I was before. Of course, I've become a big Belgian Sour Beer fan in the meantime. Pours a prune juice color with a rocky foamstand that varies between eggshell white and amber-tan, sprinkled with spices. Aromatics of sourness, tartness, muskiness, woodsy, metalic, and oysters. Flavors boarder closely on the characters in the aroma. Low levels of barley (maybe too low) lends an overly sour flavor and astringency. Not enough sweetness remains to balance out the tartness. Some DMS qualities come through that reminds me of an ocean muskiness or oyster flavor. Fascinating, but very raw. The beer is well matured and complex. I enjoyed it although there are characteristics within that I did not prefer.

Photo of bodybyadam
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is definitely a controlled environment server. My first was at SIB 05 off of the tap into those darn shot glass samplers. So my more recent was at a trappist tasting which I was able to enjoy with some excellent Chimay cheese. The appearance is amber in color in my goblet with 1/4" head short lasting. The nose is a distinct floral bouquet. My palette noticed a diverse yeast flavoring including a hint of banana. Smooth finish. Second time around is great. Looking forward to future tastings.
- Adam

Photo of dogfooddog
3.31/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled Jan 03, this bottle is just over 3 years old. It has been kept in my 50F refrigerator for at least 2 years. Label does not have the various warnings and mandates for US bottles so I assume i ordered this from belgium.

Poured in chimay glass, head just over 50% of height, well over half of volume of glass. Pours reddish-golden color, clear. Smells floral, strong hop presence.

Taste is very dry, just a hint of floral notes after a very dry start. Not at all what I expected from the nose. Malty middle and finish. I can taste some spices or almost peppery notes towards the end

I remember I have never loved this beer but at 3 years old this is a very presentable beer and an enjoyable bottle on its own merits.

Photo of quasimoto
2.4/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Its a slightly cloudy deep goolden amber color. It has a nice head that doesnt do much lacing.

S - It has a strong banana aromanad some paper in there. Its definitley fruity, and has some paper towel in there. Not the greatest.

T - this beer has to be old or something. It has a strong aroma of a bus station bathroom. I mean no disrespect but that was the first aroma that came to mind. There are some dry malts that bring up ther rear. this has to be oxidized,

M - Carbination wraps the tongue and has a dry finish.

D - If it is always like this, then it needs to be choked down. Not the beast thing I've ever had.

Photo of kosmoraios
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Snagged one at Central Market in Ft. Worth.

Pours a slightly murky golden colour with a small white head that leaves moderate lace. The aroma is somewhat complex, with ripe fruit (peach, plum, pear) blended with a distincly walnut aroma of the yeast.

The taste grows complex as the ale warms. The bready, nutty yeast flavors begin to dominate the fruit, and the alcohol begins to become evident. This is all complimented by a very phenolic - almost buttery - mouthfeel, with ample carbonation to offset the phenols. Moderately drinkable, though the cost is prohibitive.

Photo of shbobdb
3.62/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'd been pinching pennies for a while so I could try this beer . . . and I have to say I was rather let down.
It pours a murky yellow brown. It reminds me of Degobah, you know, where Yoda lives. The head is impressively thick though.
The odour is intense. Citrus and barnyard. Ohhhh, how exciting!
The taste follows the nose . . . but it is simply nowhere near the level of funkiness I was expecting. This is a nice, drinkable beer. I was looking for an over-the-top crazy beer. It sorta leaves me hanging, because I really like easily drinkable beers . . . but not at the price this guy is charging!
Overall, it's just not hit-me-over-the-head wierd enough. If I wanted an easy drinkin' beer, I'd grab a nice Deutsches Bier.

Photo of Chubby
3.26/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in bottle, made 13/10/2005, best before 13/10/2010

Aroma: Sweet, rosey and floral aroma. A little lavender. Inviting, smells like a shampoo fragrance. A little breadiness and lemony.

Appearance: Hazy, golden, orange with a white medium head with good retention. Appears very effervescent. A little hazy.

Flavor: Very bready malt flavor that gives way to a dry almost citrus rind flavor that lingers in the aftertaste. Some spiciness from what could be a resiny American hop. A little floral and rose petals.

Mouthfeel: A fine carbonic bite but the lemon rindish astringency detracts from what could be a smoother ale.

Overall: Nice aroma, but so much pithiness on the flavor. could age to become dry and citrusy. This is less than a year old so the best thing to do is wait.

Photo of mhillard
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served in a tulip glass poured from a bottle. An enthusiastic head greets you initially and stays throughout the drinking experience. It has a medium orange/red color and has a slight sediment that settles quickly. The smell only hints at the complex flavor that is hidden within. Each time I raise the glass to my nose, I get something new, lots of hay and other funky barnyard smells. The taste is dry with a flowery hop flavor that dominates the musty and yeasty undertones. Overall, this is one of my favorite beers, but its price and availability in my location make it something that I have to save for special occasions.

Photo of GreenWBush
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is the beer that turned me onto Belgian beers, quite some time ago at Quinn's in Camden town outside of London.

This particular example was bottled 3/10/04, and has been kept refrigerated ever since.

Orval comes out of the bottle a creamy, light red/bronze with an insane gushing head. The beer reaches a full 4" above the glass rim with major cling and an odd set of yeast lips. Phenomenal in presentation.

Nose is strongly Brett-funked out; wood pulp, pepper, spices, rotting apples. Boozey pepper gets ground over tart, over-ripe cherries that are something akin to my conception of hops. Also slightly medicinal (band-aids).

Taste is initially peppery with barnyard funk that gets slowly filled in with the most delicious and soothing malts i've experienced; grainy bread and soaking biscuits in cider. Dry-hopping adds to already wicked dryness and drinkability.

I'd drink this by the gallon...if it didn't work out to be like $50 a gallon. I wish I could get this fresh too, as this isn't particularly fair as a stand-alone review.

Photo of texashammer
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I don't like this beer much in the US but was told to try it fresh in Belgium so I did, and I agree that this is a good tactic. I found it better, more complex. orangeish color with big thick rocky head. smells of characteristic Belgian hops, dry and a little austere, also with some yeast. juicier and more complex flavors. good hops.

Photo of doctorjoeyboey
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The appearance is auburn with lots of head, however less head than many other Belgian beers. The aroma is vivacious and suggests grain. The mouthfeel is full bodied and the taste is very enjoyable. Wheat is evident on the mid palatte and the aftertaste is mild. There isn't any evidence of yeast after pouring the bottom of the bottle into the glass... I was a little surprised. This is a good beer and is fairly complex.

Photo of Fugazme
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark ruby in color... large bubbles with some excellent stick. Nice head.

Some tiny bit of floaties in the beer... otherwise, cloudy.

Smells malty, yeasty, grassy, bannana, manure-like at times...

Malty and fruity tastes.. yeasty with lemony citrus tones... very bread-like.

Absolutely Excellent.

Photo of rustymoore
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This ale pours with with a very thick and creamy head and is dark amber in color toward the top and fades lighter at the bottom of the glass . Very hop-driven, fruity, spicy and the alcohol is very present. The taste is nothing that I have ever experienced from a Trappist ale. Good but not the best I have had. The mouthfeel has an acidic feel to it but overall this is a solid ale.

Photo of ColForbin
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My bottle of Orval has a bottled on date of 24/06/2005 (dd/mm/yy) and a best before date of 24/06/2005. Pours a cloudy orange red with a voluminous white head. That has fairly good staying power that leaves an island of foam in the middle of the glass. Aroma has some sour gueze-like notes with some spiciness and mustiness as well. Taste is bone dry and I mean bone dry - think of the driest champagne you've had, and multiply it by ten. Not sour tasting at all, but with a peppery finish. As it warms up I get some more fruitiness. Now I'm thinking that I've served this a bit too cold. Very highly carbonated. A one-of-a-kind beer.

Photo of maddamish
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought at the Acme on Market street in Akron Ohio. On sale for $4.50 a bottle.

This is truely the champ -pagan (For you Futurerama fans out there) of beers. Because that is what it smells and tastes like. A thick creamy head was overfilling my glass before I even got to the half way mark. (And yes I was properly pouring it.) After letting it settle a bit I poured the rest of the bottle in my glass and took a look.

It had the color and consistancy of grapefruit juice. Just a beautiful looking beer. There were grape, sugar, and a champagne notes in the nose. I knew this was going to be a very complex beer and I had not even taken the first sip.

Taste: Champagne, grapefruit mixed in with a bit of spice and tartness that provided the beer with a slight kick. I said it before but this is not beer. It cannot be beer. But here it was. What a great experience.

Notes: Creamy, consistent and just a pleasure to drink. I am sorry that there wasn't more when I was finished with the bottle. But every good beer is like that. Hopefully I will get to experience this great brew again.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,604 ratings.