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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
93
outstanding

2,193 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,193
Hads: 4,903
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 285
Gots: 653 | 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:
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,193 | Hads: 4,903
Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

A – A Foggy orange amber colour that starts with a big rocky head which then dies down to a modest fingernail head leaving mild spotty lace as you drink.

S – Sour orange and citrus smells hit me straight off. There are also bready yeast aromas and deep malty smells along with some vinegary alcoholic notes.

T – Sort of sweet sour combination with coriander and mint combined with bread. This beer is odd and complex the main factor in the taste is the sour flavour which leans towards the cider vinegar edge of things.

MF – Dry and I do mean DRY finish. This beer has light body and crisp nippy bite but it finishes like a mouthful of sloe berries.

O – This is very good ale for its type and will be a winner with those who like Belgian Pale ales. I must confess to not being a massive fan of this one myself but it is doing what it set out to do and it is doing it well therefore I have to give it a mark to reflect that. (938 characters)

Photo of MisterGone
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Pour from 330 into tulip. Bronze-caramel with a massive beige head. Had to let it sit a bit before smelling-tasting, which was OK since it was from the fridge. Aroma was of dried fruits, light phenolic banana, and a yeasty brown bread. Flavor was quite complex. Dried fruits were replaced by stone fruits up front with barnyard (I get it now...), finishing with some spice. Very enjoyable, complex Abbey Ale.

Caveat: I drank this while reading about the Abbey and the legend of Matilda of Tuscany, so my experience may have been artificially enhanced by the power of suggestion. (579 characters)

Photo of TimZebGir
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%

A: Caramel with light haze, really fluffy, creamy head, high carbonation (3/3)
S: Earthy malt with a (barnyardy citrus?) to balance it out (9/12)
T: Crisp caramel malty flavor fades to banana and raisin with a little bitterness at the end (16/20)
M: Starts wet and bubbly but finishes dry(5/5)
O: There’s a lot going on here. The flavor profile is quite complex, and keeps me coming back for more to decipher everything it has to offer. Would definitely drink again. (8/10)
41/50 (484 characters)

Photo of wiscokid920
5/5  rDev +20.2%

Amazing. Never have I experienced something so complex. I seem to pick up something different each and every time I take a sniff and sip. As the beer warms up different flavor profiles are unmasked. Nose welcomes with a pungent bouquet of flowers, lemon zest, juniper spice, yeasty/musk. The flavor profile is just as complex and inviting. Overall, its very dry and tart from start to finish, but the lingering dryness further enhances the flavor profiles. Welcomes you in with a nice sweet caramel and then you get consumed by a unique yeasty musk which later fades into a cider like tartness.

Unbelievably complex. At first the musk might seem abrasive...leading you to question if things can turn around...and oh yes it does! The seemingly abrasive nature sets the stage allowing the flavorful subtle qualities of the yeasty phenols and citrus zest to shine. Very unique. Truly exceptional.

EPIC! (914 characters)

Photo of offthelevel_bytheplumb
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy amber with a huge, foamy, white head that kept me from
pouring any more than 1/3 of my bottle on the first attempt. The head dissipated into a cap
that left behind a moderate amount of lacing.

Aroma: Wild yeast dominates the nose, followed by some lemon zest and a touch of
earthy/grassy notes.

Taste: There's a nice combination of big, musty tartness and light, citrusy sweetness all the
way down, with a decent amount of bitterness rounding everything out in harmony.

Palate: This is a medium bodied beer with a healthy amount of carbonation. The aftertaste
was musty, earthy, and lightly bitter. The aftertaste isn't intense, but it lingers for a good
amount of time.

Overall: I love this beer! The flavors aren't intense, but they all balance each other out well.
This is a must try beer, but I think that it's worth pointing out that Orval is definitely an acquired
taste. (933 characters)

Photo of Bluesman2383
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

Banana on the nose and then malty goodness. The only thing about this beer I did not like was the massive head foam I got from the bottle like Triple Karmelliet. Otherwise, a great beer all the way around. (205 characters)

Photo of Nightwing
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

Poured from bottle. Aroma of citrus with a hint of herbs. Appearance is cloudy amber with significant white head. Light bitter taste. Medium to light body, with a texture that is hard to pin down, and a dry finish. A very complex beer. (236 characters)

Photo of Srkolodn
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Serving: Bottle
Glassware: Tulip
Appearance: This one looks like an IIPA to me, Hazy, Dark orange in color
Aroma: a clear Farmhouse aroma, slight citrus undertones
Taste: A nice complex array of flavors, I pull from this mostly earthy notes. Similar to a funky saison.
Mouthfeel: Medium.
Overall: Really enjoyed this, feel like its a staple for the belgian style pales. (370 characters)

Photo of vinicole
3.25/5  rDev -21.9%

My third Belgian Pale Ale and I've decided it just isn't "my thing". Another underscore to the mean.

Cloudy orange.
Yeast and fruit to the nose.
An initial sweetness led to sour and then musty yeast followed by a hit of bitter.
Good to moderate density. Very boozy.

I took far too long to finish this one. (310 characters)

Photo of Roxie_B
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Serving: Bottle
Glassware: Pint
Appearance: Hazy and a dark honey with amber highlights
Aroma: Citrusy
Taste: Sourdough, vegetables (is that…asparagus?!), damp earth, pears, grape leaf and lots of hay. Oh and brettanomyces expressed mostly as earthy and grassy tastes. This is a whole world of stuff going on.
Mouthfeel: All around medium.
Overall: I love this one. I taste something different with every sip.
Caveat Emptor: Dirty pear burps will haunt you later. (466 characters)

Photo of tyjudd
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Pours a hazy orange. The head is intense. Previous reviews of a stout head is understated. Tried to control the pour to limit head but to no avail. 4/5s of the glass was full of a thick, slow eroding head. The nose was of orange and lemon candy. Smelled delicious. Btw, the head still remains with impressive lacing on the glass. The taste was not what I was expecting. Not sure how to describe it. Malty and boozy. The finish was super dry, like a bourbon. Very good. Only wish I had another one. (498 characters)

Photo of MonkeyDunk
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour:
Foam filled 4/5ths of glass
Slowly falls down into seafoam peaks
Significant lacing stuck to glass

Aroma:
sour
metallic
horse manure
road apples
alcohol

Appearance:
cloudy
apricot
golden amber
bright orange

Taste:
oranges and orange peel
dirt
grass
can taste the vat it was brewed in
rusty oxidation

Overall:
Incredibly unique, a style unto itself. You can taste the grains, the brew equipment and environment, the thousand year old tradition. Would buy this again to treat myself or to open someone's eyes to one of the world's most revered beers. (558 characters)

Photo of HuskyHawk
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

How do you rate a beer in a style you don't care for? This is very well made, very balanced, not funky or offensive. The head is massive and sticks to the glass impressively. It's cloudy, medium amber in color. Nutmeg and wet earth on the nose with a yeasty bread behind it. The taste has more nutmeg, some cinnamon and a light overripe fruit taste. Finishes rather dry, not at all sweet. Medium bodied with strong carbonation. A great example of a style I don't love. (468 characters)

Photo of larryarms847
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden amber brown with a head that literally foams forever, it's like a beer from a cartoon.

Smells of sweet malt, bread, and some Belgian yeast funk.

Tart, sourdough bread like malt backbone with a funky dankness to it.

Mouthfeel is soft and well carbonated.

Overall this is a perfect classic. (307 characters)

Photo of JLSIV
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle into a chalice glass, first impression on pour was the small diameter bubbles and rich two finger head that lasted forever, lacing all around, darker hazy orange brown color

Aroma of musty yeast is the big nose impression, a little fruitiness, Pleasant,but mostly a yeast aroma, very distinctive and unlike any other aroma. Different from any of the other Trappist Ales, even to my less than perfect nose (I often don't smell the same things that appear in many reviews)

Taste of muscadines, sweet at first, develops over time into something even more pleasant. Reminded me of sweeter local vineyard wines than any other beer before.

One of the best mouth feels I have tried. Dry, and smooth, with a very rich full body. Nothing harsh, and only the afterglow lets you know there is more than the usual alcohol here. American Extreme brewers could take a lesson here. Doesn't smack you around.

Overall: I purchased this Trappist Ale expecting to be impressed and I was. I would love to try this one a little closure to its origin. Two of these and I could see myself considering the monastic life…. (1,123 characters)

Photo of Jacobob10
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

With big American hoppy beers dominating tap lines in bars and taking over liquor store shelf space, I have been going in the opposite direction lately for some reason. I have found myself getting enjoyment from visiting some of the classics. Tonight's classic beer: Orval.

Right out of the bottle, this looks like a winner. Slightly hazy, orange color with a large, frothy white head. The head on the beer lasts forever and leaves a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

Strong floral aroma mixed with orange, pear, and lemon. Biscuit malt, hay, musty yeast. The flavor seems to change with almost every sip. Medium-bodied and a chalky - almost metallic - finish. Overwhelmingly dry.

For reasons unknown, I chose to drink this beer on my 31st birthday and couldn't be happier. A total classic in every sense of the word. (822 characters)

Photo of mrjez
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: a slightly darkish amber, hazy, a big two fingers of fluffy white head.
S: plenty of malt and lemon, that Belgian yeast.
T: delicious, sour citrus, bready, a little champagne grape sweetness.
F: it's all about the mouthfeel, effervescent and a fluffiness that really fills the mouth. That stays, and the malt drags back down the throat, leaving you with a fluffy tongue.
O: Classic, wonderful Belgian pale. (413 characters)

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.72/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

$ 5.99/11.2 oz bottle at Lager Mill
Bottled 18/09/2013 Best by 18/09/2018
Aroma faint – yeast phenolics and fruit
Head large (> 8 cm), off white, frothy, slowly diminishing to irregular frothy layer
Lacing ok – few large islands of mostly large bubbles
Body medium yellow, clear
Flavor very light and fruity with some fruity hop bitterness present at the end. No malt, no alcohol, no diacetyl.
Palate light to medium, watery, lively carbonation

Ho hum – another unexciting Belgium pale ale. At least it meets the criteria well. (537 characters)

Photo of ElegantRose
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
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. (1,117 characters)

Photo of RaulMondesi
4.04/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ha. Wow. Raul is giving himself fits on what he's trying to make of this one. At first, like Natalie Portman in sweatpants, it was a bit disappointing (because so much hype was there). But as Raul chilled out as he let Nick Cave serenade him, he warmed to Orval as Orval warmed for him.

First and foremost, the thang is just plum gorgeous. It has an orangish glow/hue like Emily Didinato carving a pumpkin. Then, with the taste (which let Raul down at first) is a very respectable - yet a bit sedated - funk, Belgian yeasts and grass. It's very nice, simplistic, but extremely pleasant like a girl offering to pay on the third date.

So, yes, like after said floozy that offered to pay for dinner, Raul wouldn't mind seeing this one again and again! (750 characters)

Photo of RiverCityBeerGuy
4.76/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Bottle from Sweet T's in Duck, NC. Bottled on 2/29/12, best before 3/1/17. Pours a gorgeous clear dark amber with 3 fingers of light khaki colored head.

Aroma is funk, lemon, funk, raisin, funk and funk.

Flavor is very clean, a little sour. Taste lime, green grapes and flavor that my uninitiated tongue still only knows as Brett. Caramel flavors on the back end.

This is a journey of a beer. (398 characters)

Photo of Guden
2.93/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A- poured into a Tripel Karmeliet tulip it has a large white head that slowly fades to a half inch layer. Golden copper color with a slight haze.

S- must, basement, funk, some hoppiness despite being almost a year old bottle.

T/M- funk, bitterness, light esters (banana) and phenols (clove, medicinal). Light on the tongue with high carbonation and low body. Finishes fairly bitter and dry

O- not really anything great about this beer. It's a bit of a disappointment with the Brett coming more as stale basement funk than anything exciting and interesting. Between light oxidation, faded hops and the yeast derived flavors the overwhelming characteristic is "stale". (670 characters)

Photo of slackattack
3.32/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled November 2013, best before November 2018.

Pours beautiful golden brown, pillowy 3 fingers of head that is persistent and leaves a spotty lace on the drink down. Nose is not overly assertive, bready notes, Belgian yeast prevalent. My first thought was that it was pretty boozy for a 6.9% beer, but I think the extremely dry finish contributed to that. Really clean taste, but not a lot of flavor if that makes sense. Bitterness throughout the drink makes it enjoyable. After it warmed a few degrees I'm starting to think that I wish this wasn't so expensive because it could be session material. Easy to drink, lots of carbonation, good summer front porcher. (666 characters)

Photo of SebD
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has beautiful hazy golden/orange color to it. It has a nice thick bubbly off-white head that dies down moderately slow and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of tart fruit (lemon, white grapes), some grassiness, floral notes and some funk.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a light tartness, white grapes, lemon, floral notes, a slight grassiness and some definite funk.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooths drinkable beer accompanied by good flavors and aromas. (584 characters)

Photo of Bonsall_Phil
3.72/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Year-old bottle poured into a chalice, amber color with an off white head. Bubbles are large, carbonation minimal. Head retains well, and is still covers the surface 90% or so after 5 minutes. Beer was too cold, so I'm letting it sit.

Malt and grain on the nose, no too strong and little else. Clean. First sip is malt forward and extra bubbly. Grain and malt flavor holds through to a dry finish. Warming on the tongue, though not a high abv. Exceptionally bubbly through entire taste.

A good beer for the purist, very simple flavor and enjoyable. I may try again from a different source as my experience is clearly not in line with many others. Though very good, I fail to see this beer as being anything tremendously special. (730 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,193 ratings.