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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

4,647 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,647
Reviews: 2,157
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 251
Gots: 521 | 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: 4,647 | Reviews: 2,157 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of OakedCanuck
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tulip.

This beer pours a nice, deep amber clear. A decent rocky head that dissipated fairly quickly with minimal lacing. The smell is of strong belgian yeasts and it make it hard to pick up much else. Definitely some citric zest. The taste is typical belgian, yeasty, bready malt and alcohol. I pick up some of the fruits, orange peel, some apple. The mouthfeel is dry and medium. A good drinker but I think there are some better options out there. Decent beer though.

Photo of MystikCelt
5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of jsnoek
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of schimschim
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of joeseppy
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of EPseja
4.36/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After having this beer thrice before, and not liking it very much on any of the three occasions, I have finally decided to give Orval a proper review with a much more mature palette.

Served from the unmistakably-shaped 33cl Orval bottle in a Chimay goblet at cellar temperature.

A - Very active and audible pour resulting in a dense, meringuey off white head about 1.5 inches high above the translucent rusty orange beer below. Head retention is unbelievable, and lacing is sticky and thick. Amazing.

S - Grainy sweet and sour maltiness. Apple cider vinegar. Green fermenting hay. Also a note of "sterility" that I can't put my finger on that reminds me of the smell of a doctor's office. Unqiue.

T - Malts are so pulled back that there is no initial hit of sweetness at all in the front. In the middle comes some citrusy tartness and a warming alcohol presence, followed by a yeastiness that pushes the alcohol back. Finish is medium dry with a crisp hoppiness and very long. Deep and full of character; much of which I can't pinpoint in the short time it takes me to do this review.

M - Lively and active in the mouth, puffing up to a round, cream of Belgiany goodness. Swallow is voluminous and large.

D - Much better than I remember it, and a pleasure to drink now that I "understand" it better. This is a trappist ale that is not to be missed, and a legend in its own right both in taste and presence.

Afterthought... Make sure to swirl in all the yeast you can coax off the bottom of the bottle. It adds to the depth of flavor and helps quell the alcohol a bit.

Photo of kspongeworthy
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of Psychmusic
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%

Photo of JohnG190
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy orange with a huge white head that settles into a lacy cap. Complex aroma of yeast, caramel and funk. Earthy with a hint of hoppiness and some barnyard. Medium body with light carbonation starts and finishes bone dry. Super complex and superbly crafted, though I would expect nothing less from one of the worlds great beers!

Photo of pmlondrigan
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have had Orval many times before...this was the youngest bottle I have ever had, bottled on 10/03/11. While I love Orval with age on it I was interested to taste a young bottle.
Poured into a Duvel tulip. Big, huge, rocky, merangue like head, lacing abounds. The color is that of a pale ale. This bottle presents fruit on the nose with some malt. Hops are more prominent then anything else. Really great malt/hop balance. Biscuit like malts pair with light tropical and citrus hops. I could use more phenols or esters one or the other I'm just not picking up too much Belgian yeast.
As I stated I prefer this beer when the Brett shines through and I know what it can be. This fresh is still a tasty beer and a nice treat.

Photo of chocosushi
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz -> Tripel Karmeliet tulip

A ~ Pours well. Soft pillowy head. Auburn.

S ~ Dry hay and wispy black pepper

T ~ Grapes, Plums, Dry Hops, White Pepper, Fresh cut hay & a hint of yeast

M ~ Very crisp bitter brew, but smooth smooth mouthfeel. Love swishing it.

D ~ Would gladly drink a bomber if provided. Seriously would drink so much of very fine sessionable ale.

Prost!

Photo of Pinche_Oso
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of d5001986
3/5  rDev -28.6%

Photo of ark57
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It is light-oranmge with a slight haze and a big creamy head. There is a hopsack aroma and some esters (apple?). It is slightly funky from the use of the semi-wild yeast (brettanomyces). It is complex with floral and vanilla notes and some fresh lemon rind. The firm body is bitter and has some sour acidity in the finish. A real treat to drink and very unique.

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

A - Poured from a bottle into a chalice. Pours hazy amber with golden highlights and a towering off-white head.

S - fleeting aroma of some faint bretty yeast, though I don't even know if that's exactly what it is.

T - Crisp tart apple flavor that slides into a dry alcoholic taste like a sweet white wine. The finish is more green apple citrus.

M - Just under medium bodied, decent carbonation.

Photo of Duvel
5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of jmryan8
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of shroompod
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a rocky dense head that lasts the whole glass. Murky orange.

Cloves and a slight floral bouquet are apparent.

Very bready and yeasty tasting. Tasting some cloves or maybe coriander. Some hoppy bitterness lingers.

Mouthfeel is medium to light , somewhat dry tasting.

Very nice Belgium pale ale.

Photo of roblund
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of Brinks
5/5  rDev +19%

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

Well well well, I'm a lucky guy to have found this one last night here in Manitoba. I was like a kid in a candy store.... 2004 vintage.

Pours a hazy orange copper colour with a huge head. Correction, massive head. This head actually grows as you down the glass. Pour very carefully. The pillowy, fluffy head leaves a thick lace all the way down the glass. The vicious carbonation is a thing of beauty. Smell is exceedingly spicy and a bit musty. There's a huge floral bouquet, like springtime when the Lilacs begin to bloom.

Taste is just as intense, like you were tasting all outdoors at one. Floral and Wild, lots of herbal flavour. Some earthy grassy notes. A tangy and spicy lemony sourness comined with an exquisite hop character that's very well balanced. This beer just dances around the palate, and is very complex.
The mouthfeel is full of body, a little sticky. Clean, with a little dryness in the finish. This was an amazing surprise and a real treat for me, The ABV being what it is, it's exceedingly drinkable, but the actual quality of the beer makes you want to save these for a special occasion. Also, I'd like to come back to it in a year or so, see what's changed. If you live in a place where this stuff is readily available, I'm so jealous.

Photo of vtfan77
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark copper with a huge rocky head. Seriously, that head is enormous. It takes a while to dissipate and leaves quite a bit of lacing as it goes down.

S- Pleasantly fruity nose. Spicy, too. Clove is quite evident, along with some alcohol and perhaps a touch of barnyard-like funkiness.

T- Hmm, interesting. I don't really know how to describe the taste. It's fairly mild. It's kind of sweet at first, but it quickly dries out until there is little to no sweetness on the finish. Yeast contributes to some interesting flavors, although I'm finding it tough to pick anything out. Definite notes of spice, some pepper and clove. Some lemon juice sourness in the middle and a cracker-like maltiness on the finish. It's also relatively bitter.

M- Lots of carbonation, but it suits this beer well. No complaints.

D- For some reason I can't see myself drinking a lot of this. All evidence seems to point to this being a very drinkable beer (medium-light body, good carbonation, dry finish) but I really wouldn't want to drink a ton of it. Also, the ABV is kind of high (my bottle says 6.9%), although not too bad. I might have another, but certainly not more than two.

Well, this was definitely an interesting beer. It's also a bit of an enigma, as I can't seem to pinpoint any definite taste characteristics. I know that Brett is used at some point in the making of this beer, so maybe that's throwing my tastes off. Anyway, it's certainly not bad and actually pretty good, but will be a rare purchase for me in the future. I'll recommend it as a beer to try at least once.

Photo of McStagger
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not my first Trappist Ale to drink, but my first to review.

A: Poured into official Orval goblet. Beer pours an extremely hazy brownish orange with an inch of orange/off-white head. Head retention is good, with decent lacing. No carbonation visible except in head.

S: The scent is that of dried orange rind, coriander, honey, clove and lemon zest with hints of candied sugar and bubble gum.

T: The forefront is the same citrus zest. However, it is interwoven with mild soap-like phenols at the beginning of the mid-palate. The citrus and soap notes carry into the mid palate, with the citrus notes dying about halfway through the mid-palate. The soap notes are picked up and accentuated by hop bitterness, which both transition beautifully into the finish, which is (finally) hit by the sugar and spice-box. A tinge of hop bitterness mixed in ensure a long finish on this beer.

M: A crisper front and drier finish than what would be expected from an ale of such flavor. Kinda throws ya off.

D: Easier to drink than a lot of Trappists, sure. The flavor intensity can throw some people off. (Along with the price).

This is the first beer I've reviewed on here in which I did not particularly care for the beer, but could not deny the quality it exhibited. This is a fine Trappist Ale (is there any other?) that most would be happy to drink. It's just not my cup.

Photo of pweis909
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Edit: Suggestion. Try a few beers bottled on different dates. A more recent bottle (dated Dec 27, 2007) seems even more lively and bright to me.

Deep gold, just a shade short of amber, with big white head of tight bubbles. Most of the head dissipated after a few sips, but the carbonation is persistent, leaving a quarter inch foam and lacey rings around the glass.
Edit: The more recent bottle seems more amber to me.

The aroma is phenolic, with a bit of medicinal notes, and maybe a bit of clove. These flavors mesh with hop spiciness, making it tough to separate them all.
Edit: There is much more fruit to the nose in the more recent bottle, maybe a bit of bubble gum, that compliments the clove. The medicinal notes are subdued.

The beer is lively on the tongue, and gives a bit of carbonation bitterness, but as I swirl the beer in the mouth, there is the barest touch of malt sweetness followed by a very dry finish with a slightly resiny hop character.
Edit: the newer beer has a stronger sweetness.

The beer is "digestible", with a light body characteristic of trappist beers. The alcohol helps contribute to the dry light feel.
Very drinkable.
Edit: The newer beer is perhaps a slight tad heavier, but not to the point that drinkability suffers

Photo of clickpush
3.74/5  rDev -11%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour: 33cl bottle to wide mouth wine glass. Finger and a half white head with apricot body. Slowly descends. Lots of bubbles along wall of glass. Leaves a huge & healthy white cap with bigger lacing along the outside of the body.

Nose: Unripe peaches and apricots. Malt and grain. Fruit. Green grapes. Almost tropical, coconut and pineapple. Rich. Perfumy.

Mouth: Dry and sour, crisp and foamy and chewy. Strange hop bitterness in the finish. Bret is more present in the flavor than the aroma. Bitter melon rind taste. Mellows as it warms. Perhaps a dry bramble taste.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,647 ratings.