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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,550 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,550
Reviews: 2,133
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 227
Gots: 470 | 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:
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.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001)
View: Beers (2) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,550 | Reviews: 2,133 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of John_M
3.53/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had not had this beer in some time and now I recall why I've never been a big fan. I'll be sure not to make the mistake of ordering this one again. Nothing wrong with it, but with so many other outstanding Belgium's out there, no reason to buy this one again.

The beer pours a brownish orange color. There is some head retention, but almost no lacing to speak of. On the nose I get very little, maybe a hint of lemon... not really sure. There just isn't much there. On the palate the beer is very tart and very dry at the same time. I guess this beer is trying to be some type of Belgium pale ale, but it really doesn't work for me. The beer tastes fairly light for a Belgium, and I guess with the abv. you could probably drink a few of these, were price not an obstacle. The mouthfeel is OK, and the beer comes across as fairly refreshing. The finish is rather short and crisp, but there are no off flavors.

An OK beer, but nothing special. I more then likely will not be ordering this again any time soon.

Photo of biegaman
4.95/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

If there is ever one beer that it should be considered absolute blasphemy to drink straight out of the bottle, truly, Orval is it. Not only would that waste the illustrious chalice (designed by the abbey's architect) but you'd be missing out on what is surely the poster-boy for Belgian beers. The name Orval is derived from 'Val d'Or' (Golden Valley) and indeed, a beautiful and clear, glistening amber, the beer lives up to that billing.

The Inuits have so many words for snow, as many Asian cultures do for rice; I wish beer reviewers had the same for head. Orval's deserves its own word; its an unfailing ultra-lush marshmallow that climbs a mile high over the beer. It looks like the clouds themselves. They say a picture paints a thousand words, this one paints just one: gorgeous.

Just because a beer is brewed by monks doesn't necessarily mean it's holy - in Orval's case, however, it is. Heaven, I imagine, probably smells something like this - the beer does, after all, smell like God's feet. Every bottle is a religious experience. It is the distilled super-essence of acres of fruit orchards and flower gardens. Sweet bread and tart berries marry. Much of this magic is owed to the 'hocus pocus' of a wild yeast known as Brettanomyces.

Orval has the complexity of a beer its strength, yet the 6.9% alcohol has been completely deferred; I've never encountered a boozy bottle. If you look through most beer books - or at least all the ones that I have - you'll find plenty of information on the history of the abbey and its romantic legend, but you won't find much detailed description about the actual beer itself. Indeed, it's an intricate beer so unique that it's tough to describe...

Pressed, I'd say it tastes like a combination of pungent soft cheese, fresh warm bread and tart berry fruits. (Yeast is truly one of the world's last areas of magic!) It is perhaps the longest taste ever and is dry as a mid-summer breeze. Its carbonation is bubbly and brisk. Hops are a drop in the bucket but a fleeting taste of their earthy, leafy bitterness is readily noted. Such a treat to drink, and so balanced, Orval is true harmony in a bottle.

Orval is a drink that can turn savages into civilized men. Although as a rule I avoid making dramatic and subjective statements, I have no hesitation in saying this is the most perfectly crafted beer ever. And I know for a fact that some of the world's best brewers wouldn't hesitate to agree. Drink it once, remember it forever. If ever I had to chose a perfect beer...

Photo of KAF
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of rab53
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of ppoitras
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from a beer exchange with a friend at the holidays.

Poured into a Rapscallion tulip glass, barely got the whole bottle in with a 2"+ head that snow-coned over the top of the glass. The head is thick and foamy, sort of looks like that foam you see at the ocean when a big storm is coming, or at the edge of a fast moving stream. Anyways, to continue on, the aroma is somewhat effervescent and fruity, raspberry, perhaps? Lacing over the honey hued brew is incredible as the head begins to join it's liquid brethren. Slightly sour flavor where the fruits come into play, and then rounds out a bit with the malt and slight alochol warming. An interesting Belgian, as most are.

Photo of Kelp
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of billab914
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of dmorgan310
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of atrocity
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of ShanePB
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of sendbeer
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of Latarnik
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of Zaphog
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of PEIhop
5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of beerthulhu
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a moderate, dark golden-peach color with a huge pillowy white head that was mostly lasting leaving a sticky lacing behind. The body was very hazy with a soft visible carbonation.

S: yeasty, and very fruity (peaches, tangy apricots) with a touch of sour bread.

T: The initial flavor was yeasty with a burst of fresh fruitiness (peaches), & fresh bread, bananas. There was a nice soft, velvety sourness of oranges that coated the tongue. The beer finished with a big sour fruitiness of oranges, apricots and a big breadiness.

M: creamy with some warm oranges and a sour yeasty citrus bite in the swallow.

D: Overall a beautifully crafted trappist with a great yeasty attribute.

Photo of liamt07
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased at the SAQ from a recent journey home through Quebec from Maine. 33cl bottle into my Duvel tulip.

Pours a murky, golden brown with some shades of plum and orange around the edges. Fantastic billowing head, soapy and sudsy with fat chunks of lace and supreme retention. Aroma is sweet, getting some light fruity notes (some plum) and a very, dry vinous feel to it as well. Taste is fairly similar, I'm getting a very dry vinous feel to it (although very, very muted in the vinous sense) with some relatively darker stone fruits (again, plum primarily) and some raisin as well. Still maintains a bit of sweetness amongst the dry nature of this. Slightest hint of alcohol. Mouthfeel is relatively watery, drying. Good drinkability, but not something I'd reach for on a regular basis. A definite sipper. Very muted, simple and subtle in all aspects.

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.61/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a chalice, the beer is a muddled, hazy, amber-brown coloring with a tall, dense, chunky, off-white head that coats the glass and has a very decent retention. Aromas of coriander, all spice, plum, banana, cotton candy, and a bready backbone. More and more aromas come off as the beer warms. Flavors are spice forward, with a great blend of nutmeg, coriander, all spice, and hints of clove, with an old world fruit backbone both rich and sweet. Smooth, light body with a slight effervescence that keeps the sweet and rich flavors blended and drinkable. The aftertaste is a sugary sweet undertone with the spice blend still holding court overall. Lingering finish, with spices left dancing on your taste buds, waiting for another sip. This beer is a classic!

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle poured into a goblet. Fresh bottle. Bottled 10/3/2011.

Appearance - Frothy white head atop a hazy and even murky deep golden body. Everlasting retention and some sticky lacing down the glass.

Smell - Floral, fruity, slightly yeasty. Hoppy as well, but not a ton. Really fresh and bright flavor. Not as funky as I would have expected, but it's there.

Taste - Not quite as bright as the aroma, but nice. Hops are significantly more dominant and they drown out the fruitiness. It's got a lot of bretty flavors to it, also. I like those, but miss the fruit brightness. Strong bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Extremely dry. I find that it accentuates the bitterness too much. Still, light and refreshing.

Overall - Very fascinating beer. I have two. One to age and one to drink now. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of the other bottle.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Standard Orval teardrop bottle from the Coop for about $5.50 carefully poured into my New Belgium goblet leaving the yeast sediment behind.

4 finger rocky head that left behind ribbons of thin lace.. brew is slightly hazy orange.

Aroma is complex spicy.. earthy.. some citrus.. perfumy

Flavor is jam-packed.. good bitterness .. very dry finish.. slightly sour with earthy hoppiness abound.. This beer is very complex.. probably too complex for my palate to appreciate.. all I can really say for sure is it is fantastic. Huge carbonation with a light/medium body.

I've had Orval probably 8-10 times over the years and always tell myself I must cellar some... this time I will.. I hope.

Photo of rolltide8425
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of Cynic-ale
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Viggo
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very cloudy orange/brown, big off white head forms, laces well and the lace refuses to go away. Smell is orange peel, yeast, sweet and sour, spices. Taste is orange, lots of sweet malt, yeast, and a spicy bitter finish. Medium mouthfeel, high rough carbonation, tart sour aftertaste. Good beer although not my favourite trappist, although interesting.

Photo of Tone
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, maize color. 1/2 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of tart fruit, yeast, hint of hop, slight sugar, and slight sweet malt. Fits the style of a Belgian Pale Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. The feel is also dry and tart. Tastes of slight sweet malt, slight pale malt, slight hop, slight yeast, hint of alcohol, and slight tartness. Overall, good appearance, aroma, and blend.

Photo of DrJay
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy orange colour topped by a GIGANTIC head of dense, cream-coloured foam. Excellent lacing down the sides of the glass and great head retention.

Smell: Lemony citrus, some pine resin, juniper berries, some earthiness

Taste: Bitterness is prominent right from the start and becomes more piney and resinous at the finish. Citrus acidity is present throughout as well as some well-balanced phenolic spiciness.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light body and high carbonation. The texture is very light and smooth -- the beer feels very light on the palate without being watery and thin. Very nice job.

Drinkability: The light body, great complexity, and dry finish all help make this beer highly drinkable. The only thing keeping this from being a good session is the elevated abv.

330mL brown bottle with bottled on and best before dates clearly stamped on the label.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,550 ratings.