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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

4,600 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,600
Reviews: 2,145
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 248
Gots: 494 | 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: 4,600 | Reviews: 2,145 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rodrot
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear orange/amber color with a fluffy one inch head. A stream of tiny bubbles rise to the surface of my glass, which looks very inviting. The flavor is spicy and peppery with notes of lemon zest and hops. There was also a sour note to this beer that was not overwhelming at all, but that balanced the sweetness of the malt. I had this beer several years ago and I don't remember it being this tasty and complex. Maybe my tastes have changed. It's an original and is completely different from any other Trappist beer.

Photo of falloutsnow
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours an off-white, two finger head that decreases to a thin film with plenty of lacing sticking to the sides of the glass. The beer is light copper-orange in color with vigorous carbonation and some murkiness.
S: The scent is somewhat difficult to characterize, along the lines of acidic, ripe pears and apples attached to a sweaty-saltiness that brings to mind beef jerky or tanned leather.
T: Orval boasts an upfront burst of peppery and salty flavors (that I'm not terribly fond of) that cascades into a light, flowery hoppiness, eventually fading out with some mild malt sweetness and robust hop bitterness in the finish. The hops are not citrus-like, as in some other beers with noticeable hop presence. Aftertaste is somewhat malty and fruity, faintly like old berries on hot cereal.
M: Light body with active carbonation leads to a 'fluffy' feel on the tongue. Dry, tart finish that is far from puckering, though. The dry finish does not necessarily lead one to desire another swig: the spicy-salty taste combination is somewhat off-putting.
D: A solid example of the style, with its unique hop characteristics and multi-faceted malt tastes leading to something I have not experienced before.

Photo of CDBeerDisappear
3.76/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours rich amber with massive head. Did not require an aggressive pour to create a thick blanket of foam. The aroma is amazing very spicy and kind of floral. The taste is drier than I would expect from the aroma but very pleasant. Inhaling the aroma while sipping maximizes the effect of the sweet spiciness. The taste is also kind of sour with a lot of carbonation. This is a drinkable beer but the cost will prohibit most people from drinking a lot of them.

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Caramel colored with a nice head that is slow to dissipate leaving some delicate lacing around the glass. Some small flecks of dark brown sediment were floating in the glass. *Edit* Second bottle gave me no sediment.

S - Faintly of pine hops and then there is something else. It is almost an adhesive smell like carpet or apolstry, somehow it works though. From that description it sounds like it would be nauseating, but it isn't.

T - Gumball, bitterness, but it doesn't taste quite like a hoppy bitterness, a little peppery. It is a faint flavor all around.

M - Okay, it is smooth, slightly refreshing with a medium viscosity.

D - I liked Orval. Without the monster pricetag I'd probably buy it a lot more often. Went well with the moldy cheese I ate with it.

Photo of TheEclecticGent
3.15/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had the bottled version of this in a beer tasting event. It pours a creamy looking light caramel color with a good head and lacing. It has a musky nose. The flavor is a smooth fruity to fermented fruity flavor, maybe a hint of orange rind. It has an odd bitter finish to me. Something is missing in this beer, it seems a bit unbalanced to me. Not bad overall and I would drink it again especially with a good Belgian dish.

Photo of asabreed
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

33 cl. bottle poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Light brown color, with huge champagne-like bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass. Huge head like ice cream that forms craters inside the glass as it dissipates, and huge clumps of lacing stick crazily.

Smell: Malt and and candy sugar, some peppery spice, citrus zest, flowers, big Belgian yeast, vinegar, fruitiness, and vanilla. Lots of stuff going on, and it gets better, of course, as it warms.

Taste: Not as balanced as I wanted it to be. The bitterness seems to be at the forefront way too much. It's yeasty, spicy, a bit fruity, but by the end it remains pretty hoppy or bitter for some reason. How much hops could be used here? Kind of weird to me in a way. But as it warms the complexity shows itself, as it gets moderately sweeter and fruity and lingers on the tongue. I just wish some of the aromas came out more in the taste better.

Mouthfeel: Slightly creamy, moderately medium in body, with a nice carbonation punch toward the end of the swallow to balance everything out.

Drinkability: I guess maybe I expected much more, considering it's a Trappist, and also that it's around $5 a bottle. Still really good, but I don't know if I'm going to be in a huge hurry to buy it again. Give it a shot, though. I'm glad I finally got to try it.

Photo of filabrazilia
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy pale orange with a thick billowy head that peaks over the rim of the glass like the mountains to the west. The off white head leaves nice lace on the glass.

There is a sour note to the aroma that is joined with citrus and spice.

The taste is tart and rich--like biting into a meaty lemon. Not a bad sensation. A touch of sweetness finishes the taste.

This is a remarkably smooth beer to drink. It is soft and pleasant in the mouth. It finishes dry and bitter but leaves me wanting more.

A nice beer that is worth trying again.

Photo of GClarkage
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/31/05- Purchased at Weimax Liquors in Burlingame, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz funky and cool shaped bottle. Bottled on and best by date on the neck of the label. Poured into my Duchesse chalice.

Appearance- Golden in color with a cloudy haze. Larger spritzy off white, maybe yellow in color looking full 3/4 inch head. Great lacing left behind as I drink the last drop in the glass.

Smell- Lots of sweet and sour spices with a barnyard type scent. A tad musky. Maybe some citrus notes such as lemon rind noted.

Taste- More sour than sweet. A really hefty amount of citrus with lemon rind being the foremost. White pepper and other spices fill the void with some powdered sugar to round out the sweetness.

Mouthfeel- Well carbonated...very Duvel-esque. Almost like a kind of champagne. Very puckering and drying.

Drinkability- Because of the carbonation level it's a tad less drinkable for me, but not because the flavor was bad. Orval brings back nice memories as it was the first Belgian beer I ever had back in 2002. I remember liking it then, but I don't remember it tasting like this. Guess my pallete has really grown from 3 years ago.

Photo of Erdinger2003
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Has a beautiful thick head that resonates a hoppy sweetness. Has a nice caramel color with hints of amber. A very strong lacing. Tastes hoppy, but without strong aftertaste. A new taste for me. Can't figure out quite what it is. My first thought was hints of raisan. Has a nice frothy feeling to it, with fruity undertones of lemon and orange.

Photo of Mandrake
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a fairly dark cloudy orange, very warm and with glinting sunlight coming through. The head is massive, and so thick that it almost feels like cotton candy. Leaves incredible rocky lacing all over the sides of my chalice, and maintains a thick covering over the surface for as long as the beer lasts. Aroma is insanely complex. Subtly alcoholic, which surprised me given its fairly modest ABV. Spices and breads are the dominant aromas. Lots of fruits, ranging from the very dark (raisins and plums) through the light and delicate (apples and bananas), with citrus and gloriously rich sweet malts. Incredible. Tastes bready, musty notes of brett and wild yeast. Spicy as well, cloves and pepper in the mix, with lots of fruits (banana and orange are predominant) as well. Long and sour finish. Mouthfeel is very creamy and nicely carbonated. Full and very warming, superb. Drinkability was incredible for a trappist. I wanted to keep drinking these all night. Nothing warms me up quite as well on a snowy night as Orval does. Gets better every time I have it, and is now one of my absolute favourite beers of all time. Flawless.

Photo of descartes
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 33 cl. bottle.

Appearance: Deep amber with a nice half inch head.
Smell: Very spicey and grainy smell.
Taste: First one gets a slight honey flavor followed by malts and then a overpoweringly bitter taste.
Mouthfeel: A bit over cardinated, moderate body.
Drinkability: Just too bitter, I cann't see myself downing two of these in a row.

Overall: As I stated above this beer was just too strong and bitter, which was surprising considering how sweet it smelled. Maybe giving it a couple of years in the cellar would have mellowed it out and made it more enjoyable.

Photo of funkengruven
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice deep amber with little head and a little lacing. Smell is aromatic, smells like Oregano, interesting. Taste is smooth, little bitterness and an aroma of cloves. Mouthfeel is not too bad, a little alcoholic but still goes down alright. It's not something you want to take big gulps from, but it isn't too bad and is worth having again.

Photo of ohitsbrad
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Edit: 24 January 2007

A few Orval's and one year later. When in the mood, an Orval is fantastic.

5 December 2005, Best Before Feb 08

Appears a murky orange brown colour with a foamy head and large bubbles. Aroma of cooked vegetables and spices, particularly nutmeg, some medicinal type aromas there too. Rather strange flavour, celery possibly, very complex. The vegetables, nutmeg and also five spice come to mind. But it's also fresh, hoppy, perfumy and a little salty. Fairly high carbonation, but not too much at this alcohol level and temperature. Overall quite an unusual taste, one is enough for me. I'm afraid to say I didn't particularly enjoy it but I'll still rate it reasonably well for its complexity and originality.

Photo of masikon
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an Orval chalice this was a gorgeous cider-like hazy burnt orange with an outstanding chunky white head which laced like crazy. Smell was unbelievable, absolutely mouth watering with a range of notes from bananas, freshly cut grass, generic citrus, and yogurt? (lol) anyways, really a beer that I would actually refer to as having a true bouquet. Flavors are refreshing and spicy, full of flowery suggestions, yeasty bananas, and plenty of orange peel. Delicious and classic, the only thing that holds down the drinkability is that I want to drink it faster than my wallet can buy it.

Photo of kaimcm
3.96/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into a St. Bernadus chalice

A: nice honey brown body with frothy almost bleach white head, easily swirled back to glory. light stick.

S: strong yeast quality, citrus fruit, light grain, a little alcohol

T: prickly mouthfeel brings a tart, lemon/lime and citric quality up front that is almost sweet but quickly subsides into the hops which balance extrememly well. finish continues drying while the hops spice up the tongue a little more. slight cloves as well. as the beer warms some of the sugar manages to pull through, the bitterness on the finish subsides and the yeast comes through to book end the profile.

M: fresh from the bottle just awesome, as it warms its losing some of the carbo prick and some of its energy. I prefer it a little colder to create that really bouncy, coating, chewy mouthfeel.

D: a thouroughly enjoyable brew, flavorful, only 6.2%, makes for easy drinkin.

Photo of Blakaeris
2.22/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a cloudy brown-orange color. Head is huge and creamy, leaving plenty of lacing as it settles.

Aroma is very unusual. I get citrus and sweet fruit aroma. However it is overwhelmed by a strange medicine like smell. I've never encountered anything quite like this.

Taste is strongly of spices - pepper, cloves, and possibly corriander. Very carbonated. Slight hop flavor in the finish. These flavors are also overwhelmed by a cough medicine flavor. Maybe this brew is an aquired taste. Maybe this is a skunk beer. I normally enjoy belgium pale ales, but there is something wrong here.

Mouthfeel is light and very carbonated.

I need to try another Orval to see if this is the way it is supposed to taste. I had great expectations but this brew certainly didn't meet it.

Photo of orfeu
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dull, hazy golden amber with huge rocky white head. Fluffy ringed lacing. Aromas of apple, yeast, coriander, mineral water, biscuity malts. Tastes spicy (indefinite), with bready malts, dull lemony citrus rind, and a biting yeast finish. Alcohol comes through solidly, too. Juicy carbonated mouthfeel, but quite dry overall. Very nice. Easy-drinkin' Trappist ale...can I actually say that?

Photo of SacoDeToro
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a burnt orange hue. The carbonation is high and the beer kicks up a tall foamy white head. The aroma is full of grassy noble hops and some yeastiness. The malt profile is that of a pale ale laced with flavors of burnt sugar and toffee. The hop bitterness is intense but finishes very clean with almost no aftertaste. The mouthfeel is good, but the high carbonation thins things out a little more than I'd like.

Overall a very flavorful beer with a unique hop charater to boot.

Photo of Derek
4.49/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been saving this for almost a year.

Bottled on 12.08.2004
Best before 12.08.2009

A: Caramel in colour, with tons of fluffy, slightly off-white head! Lots of retention and incredible lacing! (Enough to make some stouts jealous)! Exceptional. Perfect.

S: Some nice bready malt and caramelized sugar, along with a little solvent-like aroma of fresh hops. Only a hint of fruit (appricot?).

T: The balance is slightly bitter, but it's crisp, and not at all harsh. There's a little chewy, bready malt. Hints of fruit, a little citrousy, smooth hop flavour, with a crisp, slightly tart aftertaste (with that horse/leather quality). The alcohol is very subdued, not assertive at all. Brilliantly unique.

M: Light to moderate body, moderately high carbonation.

D: Awesome. Nothing is overwhelming, so it's easily approachable, but there's enough complexity to keep the taste buds amused. Very digestible (in the Belgian tradition).
---
March 8, 2006: I've just had an Aug 29, 2005 bottle and subsequently increased the taste from a 4.5 to a 5.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.54/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 24-10-2002, making this one a bit over 3 years old! The Orval Trappist Ale pours into my big Orval chalice a nice amber brown hue with streaks of orange as well. A tight bubbly white head lingers atop the brew in a fine fashion. Looks lovely in the glass. Aromas are intensely unqiue and perplexing at the same time. Sweet caramel spice smacks up against a musty, yeasty earthiness. A touch of leather mingles with some cotton candy/bubblegum aromas. Fruity with a touch of sour cherry, cinnamon and brown sugar. Maybe even a bit woody but definetly enchanting with each inhalation evoking new scents in my mind.

First sip brings a crisp, dry spicy caramel infused with a plethora of flavors that dash across the palate on the trip down the throat. Hints of leather and wood along with some musty sour funkiness that brings images of a cobweb filled brewery to my mind. Light fruit notes collide with brown sugar bubblegum. Spice cake. Lots of earthy yeast notes throughout. Quite the complex beer here. Finishes dry and crisp. Eccentric and ultimately a wonderful experience.

Mouthfeel features a burst of champagne-esque carbonation that streaks across the mouth with each sip. A mellow medium body allows for easy drinking but maybe the bubbles could be toned down a tad. Drinkability is really quite wonderful as it goes down smooth and each sip brings a new realm of taste sensations. I would not mind seeing this in 750ml bottles! Purchased this pre-cellared for me at Liquor Stop in Highland, IN...didn't even look at the date when I bought it. I will be on the lookout for a fresh bottle to try in the near future. Another testament to the wonders of the Trappist breweries of Belgium. This will go down as one of my new favorites.

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

This is a very unique brew, in my eyes. Pours a golden amber orange into a chalice which produces a lot of bubbly head. Bits cling to the sides and the white cap remains throughout the entire lifespan of the brew.

Upon agitating the beer, my nose is met with an array of stimuli. There's a very, very tart scent to this beer. I want to say it is reminiscent of a sharp cheese. Fruit smells are also abundant, most prominently is the apple cider undertones.

The taste is something else that I'm not entirely used to. I am trying to judge this though based on its merits and its compliance with the style, and even if I've never had a beer that is complex in the ways that this is, it is still spectacular. Bittersweet tartness all the way through. The yeast really makes this a puckering beer. To balance that out is the ample amounts of maltiness that lay below. Flavors of grapefruit and grapes, plus a lot of that apple cider character that was noted in the smell. Very tasty, and juicy, if that is any way to describe a beer.

A lot of carbonation in this one, which I guess can explain the juiciness as each sip refreshes the tongue. As far as drinkability, this one is good, although the high price for 11.2 ounces of the stuff will probably steer me away unless it's a real special occasion. Judging it based soley on the liquid itself, it is highly drinkable and a real treat.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright honey color with a magnificent head. The head is slightly off from white and is mammoth. As the head settles, it kinda looks like a topographic map of Yosemite national park leaving behind a nice lace. There are a steady hail of bubbles rising for the bottom of my glass.

Smells of cantaloupe, honey, marshmallows, black pepper and grapefruit.

The flavor is very dry and sour like grapefruit with this particular flavor amplifying on the finish. There is also a subtle apple, cherry and raisin sweetness here. Unfortunately, the sour dominates and almost feels electric along the sides of my tongue.

The mouth feel is very full and pleasantly carbonated.

This beer is fantastic, right up until the flavor. Too bad.

I found it interesting that pouring the remainder of sediment in the bottom of the bottle into my glass really rounded out the flavor. So, if you find the flavor a bit disagreeable, give that a try.

Photo of markman
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Orval Trappist Ale (bottled on 20.01.2004, best before 20.01.2009, 6.9% ABV):

Less then two years old and ready to rock. Funky farmy nose right from the get-go… no doubt about some wildness in the yeast strain. Purest clear brass-orange colored with a busy one inch head looks just beautimus in my Westmalle Chalice. Snap, Crackle, and Pop got nothin’ on this brew…maybe sound should be a reviewable category as well, since I can hear the fizz like no other just as I tilt the glass towards my lips. This is about as dry a beer as I’ve ever tasted…clean and appetizingly so. Tart, hoppy, and drinkable as hell. This beer as a singular uniqueness that separates it from the rest of beerdom…I figure either you like it or you don’t. I freakin’ like it, and maybe the ultimate aperitif.

Now the last quarter-inch…the yeasties; as the Orval website says “one should taste the sediment of the beer separately.” OK, there are some thing monks know best…and beer is damn sure one of ‘em. On to the sediment. Mmmm, so as not to review about a tablespoon of beer, I’ll just say that the mouthfeel is a bit more velvety.

Cheers…

Photo of barrelman
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very bubbly into the glass. Bubbles coat the glass giving an indirect view of the color which is a beautiful, light amber. Head retreats to light layer with no lacing.

The aroma is extremely pleasant. Fruity with the mild horse-blanket tones being the quiet feature of the nose.

Taste is pretty dry with the wild yeast taking the spotlight in both the fore and after tastes. The after taste lasts a little too long for me with a high, thin flavor.

Mouthfeel started off over-carbonated for me but after a brief warmup and sit, settles down nicely.

The drinkability is pretty good, With most of my pleasure coming from what the small proportion of wild yeast brings to it in both the nose and taste. A thoroughly enjoyable brew.

Photo of stof0048
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into a Watou chalice. Pours a golden brown with a thin head that slowly disappears. Little lacing. Smell is light and a bit fruity with a copper tone and hops. Taste is mildly hoppy, not much of a malt taste, slightly fruity (citrus), a little wheaty, slight hint of alcohol but well balanced. Mouthfeel is good on this beer, very smooth over the palate. Drinkability is wonderful... goes down very easy, very tasty suds, could drink this all night and day.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,600 ratings.