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Orval Trappist Ale | Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,248 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,248
Ratings:
5,133
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
18.9%
 
 
Wants:
322
Gots:
778
For Trade:
13
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

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.

Added by Bierman9 on 09-18-2001

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Reviews: 2,248 | Ratings: 5,133
Photo of palma
2.94/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Light copper body with a large rocky off-white head.
Aroma is sweet malt. Spicy with clove and cinnamon standing out. A phenolic band-aid like aroma cannot be missed.
Taste is tart and bitter upfront. Phenolic flavors are present throughout. A rubber-like flavor which is not enticing. A nice peppery spiciness towards the end. Finishes dry and clean.
Light bubbly carbonation.
Medicine-like phenols were very persistent in the aroma and taste of this brew. A little too much for my liking. I could barely finish the bottle.

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Photo of MrSeth
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a huge tan head. I always have a little trouble fitting one of these little bottles into glasses that technically should hold all of the contents. Not just lace, but foam clings to the glass. The nose has a very unusual citrusy quality, strange I guess because it also smells somewhat like sour apple all at once. The malt is way beneath this citrus and pungence in the profile. The taste is different than what the nose suggests.. a warming, lightly bready malt body, citrusy at the end with a slight aftertaste which is alot like the original taste. Orval has a very versatile profile so the food pairings for this ale are almost infinite.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured in the Duvel glass clear medium amber with a white, tall, moussy and frothy head which coated the glass.

The aroma was earthy with a farmhouse yeast presence of brett. The aroma was fruity with light maltiness. The fruit aroma was most notably pineapple and slight candy aromas.

The flavor was very earthy in both hop bittering and hop flavor. The balance of the beer was decidedly toward bittering, but the malt presence kept the bittering in check. The malt flavor was slight caramel and was present in the background. The flavor became more fruity as the beer warmed and the brett character emerges.

The finish was dry with a slight spice and earthy flavors lasting long into the aftertaste. The body was medium and well done. The beer was highly drinkable, but their was an alcohol presence despite being less than 7% abv (the bottle said 6.9%).


11.2 ounce bottle. Bottled on 07.10.2004, best before 07.10.2009. Purchased at Green's in Atlanta, Ga.

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Photo of TongoRad
4.97/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle dated 2-23-06

Slightly hazy pale copper color with an incredible rocky head.

Wonderful bouquet of fruit (tangerine, pineapple), caramel, and cotton candy (from candi sugar, I'm sure), and some spicy elements (juniper) in the background. You almost pick up something different with each sniff. There is an overall yeasty/bready/musky quality that is quite inviting.

Full flavored yet dry and quenchingly tart. This beer can withstand a high level of carbonation and not miss a beat. The feel of the bubbles suddenly expanding and then immediately dissipating in the mouth is quite remarkable. Most of the flavor is in the lingering finish- first caramel, then spice, then bread and yeast. Alcohol and bitterness are exactly where they should be and only begin to show themselves at the end of the glass.

It is amazing that a beer can be this full flavored and complex yet delicate and subtle at the same time.

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Photo of revdrjbob
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this beautiful Belgian ale at the new Little Belgium Brasserie in Kingston, Canberra, sadly not in the appropriate glassware, as they didn't have all beers and glasses as yet. Only been open for just over a week.
Cloudy orange hue, huge white sticky head, that clings to the side of the glass.
Aroma: Sour Brettanomyces, acidic, aged hops, very Gueuze.
Flavour: Bitey, sour, lactic, sweet malt, hoppy, Bretts, awesome, complex.
A great beer, an enigma in Belgian brewing, and not a beer liked by many.
Idiots.

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Photo of GreatLeo
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came in a 33cl bottle with bottled date of 09/28/2004 and best before date of 09/28/2009 served in its traditional glass.

Its a very unique beer quite distinct from all the other belgian pale ales out there I've tried. The color was a dark coppery color with a very generous head when poured. Definately not one of the strongest pale ales (6.2%) but its got quite a strong taste to it.

The taste was quite bitter especially the aftertaste it left behind which makes this belgian classic a bit more difficult to consume large amounts of. But still overall its a great trappist beer which I would recommend to all especially those who like bitter beers.

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Photo of movingshadow152
4.22/5  rDev +1%
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!

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Photo of MuddyFeet
2.75/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Another beer that does not live up to the hype. Poured a pale copper. The head was thick and faomy, but oddly unappealling to me. Incredibly sticky and stubborn lace. there was nothing distinctive either positive or negative about the aroma. The malts were very mild, and the other flavor rearing its head was dried apples that came across as sour "cider." On the positive side, the overall mouthfeel was crisp. Overall, I was not very interested in this beer and found it kind of a turnoff.

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Photo of rousee
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Murky, yeasty tanned amber. Big active head, exceptional looking white froth. Honey and floral lavender nose. Dry, herbal and less sparkling than I expected. Somewhat hot alcohol throaty feel but it smooths out fairly quickly. There is some residual slick feeling that then dies off quickly. Not too smooth and it doesn't strike me as being extremely versatile. It reminds me of Duvel, but I like Duvel a lot more than this.

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Photo of slitherySOB
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Delicious. Orval is a beer I wish I had tried before, and wish I had more of. Pours an amber/orange, with a slight haze. Large, fluffy, big bubble head that leaves sticky lace on the chalice. Smells of sweet malts, sour lambic-like smell, lemon, grass and butter. Taste has a subdued sweetness, with a blend of bitterness. Kinda generic. Basically, very well balanced, with bitterness leading. Sweetness from malts, butter, and a dry candy. Bitterness from grass, hay, lemons, the lambic sourness, and a bit of veggie. Mouthfeel is like a dry wine. An excellent beer. One I will be buying as soon as I find it again.

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Photo of WetCoaster
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

**Update: After reading Garrett Oliver's lavish praise of this beer in his book "The Brewmaster's Table," I decided it was time to revisit Orval. Now that my palette is a bit older and wiser, I think I'm better able to grasp what's going on here.

What threw me -- and no doubt some other novices -- is that this beer is black to most abbey ales' white; it's really the un-abbey ale in a sense. By that, I mean the flavors are unusual, unexpected and contra to the general style. Where one might expect spice, there's herb. Where there might normally be a citrus sourness, there's a rooty bitterness. Where there might be a dense smoothness there's instead crisp tightness.

Essentially, this is the beer equivalent of bitters. It's quenching, biting and challenging, with light malt base, odd herbal, even leathery, flavors and a brutal chicory bite to finish.

Granted, it's still not a favorite. But it IS intriguing. If you hated it, give it a another shot; if you don't know your Belgian ales that well, come back to this one once you do. A double-black tasting experience -- tough for novices, but an enjoyable challenge for the more experienced.

Original review:
Appearance: Slightly cloudy copper with gold undertone. Absolutely massive Duvel-esque head with endless retention. Huge sheets of sticky, soapy lace. Furious, fine carbonation.

Smell: Cotton candy sweet. Banana, bubblegum, pissy yeast funk. Belgian.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Hmmm. The mouthfeel is thin and a bit crisp. The flavor seems to contradict the scent. Sour, almost bitter, bite. Lemon juice, white pepper yeast. Slighty malty on the back of the tongue with a bit of spiciness. Finishes yeasty and a bit metallic.

Drinkability: Well, it's crisp and refreshing, I guess. I don't know, for all the hype, there's not much to this one. I don't know if I'll be back.

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Photo of medic25
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 15/7/03, served in a tulip glass. Impressive pour, orange-amber, with a huge white head that held up well over time. Pleasant odor (tiny hint of citrus?). Complex flavor; more of a hoppy, bitter character than I'm used to with Belgians, plus a touch of sour lemon. Definitely a dry, clean aftertaste. Don't know how this beer is fresh, but it has stood the test of time in the almost 2 years since it was bottled.

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

11.2oz bottled on 1/28/03.

Dark orange with an off white head that is generous and leaves nice lacing.

Smells of lemons and flowers. The first thought that came to mind was a nursery I worked in during my first year of college. Smells like the old geranium house. There's some mustyness underneath.

Very dry tasting. The musty "barnyard" notes pop up in the middle with dried flowers taking over the finish. The flowers mingle with hops. Interesting.

Nice medium mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. This one has great drinkability, but the complexity compels you to sip it. The abv makes this one a decent session beer.

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Photo of Padron4KM
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle. bottled on 11/18/03 best before 11/18/08.
Pours out cloudy amber with a thick long lasting head. thin sheet of stiky lace left behind. Aroma is fruity and earthy and barnyard,
Flavor is slightly sweet slightly sour with just a touch of bitterness on the finish. nicely balanced.

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Photo of Shaw
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a nice deep golden color with a bit of yeast sediment and a nice frothy white head.

The smell is something. I could smell this beer from a few feet away. It's got a good sour-apples mixed with roses (?) smell. I don't know if tart is a smell, but this beer smells tart.

The taste: Woah! This is different, like other reviewers have said. It smells tart, but it tastes even tarter. I can detect a musty flavor so common in Belgian beers, most likely from aging and wild yeast? Its taste is also dry. There is also a taste of grain, grass and other complex components I can't identify. I'd like to try more beers like this one to compare.

The mouthfeel is very light and crisp.

This is a good beer, but keep your mind open when you try it. It isn't like other sweet Belgian beers. At all.

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Photo of Bierschenker
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is really one of my favourite beers. And one of the best Trappist beers. It pours out a beautiful amber coloured beer with a nice head. If it is poured in the one and only Orval glass of course. The smell is quite unique. A very sour and malty smell. But that is not how the beer tastes. It has a very dry taste. I recognised malt and a sort of dry bitterness, not really sour. In all it’s simplicity, it is a very rich beer. It has a unique aroma. An aroma I can’t recognise in any other Trappist. Although it only has an alcohol percentage of 6.2%, It tastes like it is stronger. And it can be very dangerous when over consumed. The Orval beer is a very distinctive beer. Not only because of the unique taste, but also because of the unique shape of the bottle. At the moment I am enjoying a crate of them and I just can’t get enough of them.

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Photo of HogHill
4.14/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased as a single from Colonial Spirits in Acton, MA for just under $5 bucks. I like the voluptuous bottle, very ergonomical.
A huge 3 finger pillowy white froth tops my Rapscallion snifter, a cloudy dark golden beer supports it. Aroma is a yeasty supplemented with spices.
A medium bodied ale with an enjoyable dryness, and a unique medicinal taste (from the phenols?). Feels moderate to high in carbonation which lends to the dry finish. This beer became more enjoyable as it warmed up, and my palette adjusted.

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Photo of cypressbob
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle, served in an Orval challice, slightly chilled

Pours with a dirty, cloudy pale yellow, almost dirty amber. Creamy, fizzy off white head with a hint of yellow

Smell, fresh grass, farmyard hints. Fresh belgian spritzy yeast, gueuze-esque brett character, some fresh mixed spice.

Taste, some warming alcohol, crisp and sour tartness from the hops, sticky but not cloying malt character. Very unripe apples and pears, a touch of raw lambic sourness and bit of mild puckering. Lasting grainy hop bitterness on the finish, quite tart, dry alcohol finish

A really different belgian pale ale, one of the quintessential if you get a fresh bottle then you're in for a treat

---

Had a much fresher bottle in amsterdam, was like a totally different beer. So much more flavour, tasted so fresh, was only bottled a month or so. I have heard of people aging this for 5-10years but I don't see the point to be honest, the bottle I had on my first encounter was pretty bland and a bit dull but the second (any many there after) was superb.

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Photo of Shultzerdugen
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle with both brewed on and best before dates, 10.03.04, and 10.03.09, respectively.

Poured a hazy light copper with one of the wackiest, rockiest heads I've ever seen, white in color. Froth is as clingy as a shy girlfriend. I have two of the chalices, which is an extra treat.

Nose is super complex. Lemon twist, orange zest, apple pipe tobacco, band-aids. Tart and musty.

So dry. Leaves a tingling, numbness on the palate. Hops and malts both recognizable, but masked by the staggering complexity of this beer. Apricot, black pepper. Dry as a bone.

Holy shit! What an amazing beer. The driest. So complex. It's been almost ten years since I had Orval, it's better than I remembered.

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Photo of Truh
3.6/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Entered the great debate with this one on 3/11/2005. 12-oz. bottle poured in a Rapscallion snifter.

Huge, schizoid, steroid-jacked plume of froth that sticks and laces in a grand way. Light orange to a tumescent amber hue with just a bit of haze and constant action. Orange peel, lemon zest, and cut grass notes on nose. Carbonation jumps on and all over the mouth, but followed by an almost vacuous tinny malt flavor with some light fruity undertones of chalky grapefruit and pear. Middling = over-carbonation takes points off.

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Photo of isubsmith
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Orval challice for enjoyment. Orange/amber color. Cloudy/hazy body. White, foamy, extra-thick head that lasts quite a long while. Tons of lace.

Nose: Flowery, earthy, grassy smells.

Taste: Smooth, crisp, somewhat light body but pretty full mouthfeel. Earthy flavors of hay or grass. Hop bitterness throughout, but very nice. Some tart, fruity hints. Dry, hoppy finish.

Very complex, but still extremely drinkable. One of my favorite of the Trappist beers.

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Photo of TheGipper
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the beer I buy for myself and keep to myself as a special treat, because of its distinctive flavor, and the wallop it packs in alcohol content. Orval has a rich, thick head that you could almost recognize just by looking at it, without seeing the label. The flavor is dry, with extremely strong, somewhat fruity maltiness that borders on chalky (in a good way!)

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Photo of Toddv29424
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light golden color with a large amount of head which takes much time to settle. The smell is pungent, mostly with fruits especially that of apricots. Like COASTERFREAK75 said, the smell of alcohol is also prevalent although it is pretty well covered up. The taste is fruity, but the alcohol taste takes hold as the drink goes down. This makes it much less smooth, and makes you take your time between sips. It also lingers for a long time after the beer is swallowed with the same alcohol-heavy taste. Any fan of a strong-flavored drink will enjoy this... especially the hops-heavy pale ale lovers out there...

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Photo of coasterfreak75
3.1/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The pour was light golden yellow with a good three finger head that was very slow to dissapate and left a huge amount of lace on the glass.

The smell was very strong in apricots with the standard Belgian yeast smell. Also hidden in the rear of the nose was a hint of alchohol.

The drink started very dry, this was the first Trappist I'd ever had to do this. The middle was very fruity with stong apricot and citrus flavors. But to my suprise the finish was also dry and clean.

All and all a good Trappist at best, still well worth a try but not the best.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew is a sunset orange color, quite a sizable cream head on the top. Fair amount of lace. Sweet bubblegum on nose, bananas, hints of lemon. Fairly light bodied, sweet light malt front dusted with lemon, plently of a nice mix of spiciness and sweetness. Big hop presence. Quite a complex brew, certainly worth trying.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,248 ratings.