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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,324 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,324
Reviews: 2,112
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 203
Gots: 390 | FT: 8
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,324 | Reviews: 2,112 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of magnificent70s
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

magnificent70s, May 27, 2014
Photo of Austindanson
5/5  rDev +19%

Austindanson, Aug 03, 2014
Photo of lastauss
5/5  rDev +19%

I'm embarrassed to say that it has taken 8 years since I first tried this beer to get my thoughts (and feelings!) posted on the "inter-web." I must start by saying that it is my all-time-favorite commerially available beer.

There is no food I have met that it doesn't pair well with. I have cooked with it (I've got the Orval Cookbook- in French), served it in place of champagne, drunk it while gardening, given spoonfuls to a teething child (Oh, don't be such a prude! I had the parents' consent!). I have converted International-Style-Light-Lager-Only-Drinkers with it (after filling their minds with tearful accounts of my trip to the brewery). And yes, I buy it by the case.

What else can I say? It is the worlds' perfect drink.

lastauss, Sep 24, 2004
Photo of JorisP
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%

Very thick white head, collapsing but stable.Beer typical orangey colour. Nose is bitter as in vegetable, spicey, flowery. Taste starts immediately quite bitter, combination of hops, flowers, and vegetable. There IS a balance by malt, hinting at sweetness withour ever becoming so. Retronasal aromas of mandarine-zest, hop shoots and olives, without the oil.
Carbonation just perfect: the beer has a milder form of 'Champenoise'-pearl forming, as made with naturally mildly crabonated springwater. Mouthfeel neither chewy, neither watery. No new aftertaste, bitterness lingers on. Drinkablility is second bar none: this is the ultimate Belgian session beer: it gives richness, depth and easy drinking, just as you prefer at the moment given. Unparallelled.

JorisP, Jan 13, 2003
Photo of JimmyMacS
5/5  rDev +19%

JimmyMacS, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of rustrose
3.35/5  rDev -20.2%

Orval Trappist Ale Bottled June 5 2008
Sampled July 24, 2009

Big hiss on opening but no foaming up in bottle. Pours a cloudy deep amber, kind of pale brown in low light, with three fingers of soft fine foam like meringue. Yellowish amber when held to light. Foam lingers like mad and sticks firmly to the side of the glass.

Big fruit salad nose. Apricot. Tropical fruits: pineapple, among others. A little bit of banana phenol as it starts to warm. A good dose of funk, with slight leather notes and that musty thing. Candied orange and lemon with some spice. Quite tangy overall. Faint hint of medicinal phenol, perhaps eucalyptus. A definite dash of pepper. Kind of like a saison, but different.

Flavor is not at all what I expected. It's exceptionally dry and subdued--actually hard to pick out what the predominant flavor is before the swallow, because it seemed like not much was happening. Quite bitter though. This is one of the hoppiest Belgians I've ever had, especially considering it's over a year old--there is a firmly bracing bitterness in the aftertaste. This lingers with a kind of horehound, old-fashioned candy flavor, just without any sugar. Perhaps this is a touch of something roasted. It's just so dry I can't place the flavors. My accompanying pretzels leave a sweeter taste in the mouth than this. Still, this isn't tart at all... just not sweet at all. This is just underwhelming me--it doesn't have the funky excitement of the Jolly Pumpkin La Roja that I had last night, nor the richness of a Belgian Pale, nor the zest of a saison. I guess it has some funk going on, but it seems to happen over a lackluster backdrop that would be much better with some tang to it. There is some orange citrus to the flavor as it warms. The bitterness seems to override some of the other things going on, in my opinion, and whatever is going on needs to be more going on.

Mouthfeel: a bit of tingling and astringency on the tongue. Overall, light, fluffy and soft feeling texture, though perhaps a bit harsher at first with the strong carbonation.

Overall impression: the nose is quite an artistic achievement, the appearance is fine, the lacing is beautiful, the mouthfeel is delightful, but the flavor is quite lackluster. Rarely have I enjoyed my pretzels more than my beer. Not worth seeking again, though it would be nice to compare a fresh bottle. $6 is so much better spent on some other beer. Disappointing.

I'd give this a B or B- overall.

rustrose, Jul 25, 2009
Photo of bebbcorp
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%

Served at cellar temp from bottle poured into wide mouth goblet. Upon opening the bottle it hisses a very healthy carbonation and smells of yeast, lemongrass and a very clean musty attic. A clean pour with no sediment shows just how very carbonated this beer is and results with a very large head that crackles and pops receding into a great bubbling lace. A minute after the pour I put my head close to the glass and the beer is still bubbling and talking to me. Aromas from the glass are pale malt and cream. Beer drinks very dry and creamy with a bit of a pucker at the end, but not in a sour way at all. Almost like hay, dirt, mushrooms, and a very very good bread of a type that I have never had before. I am not experienced with brettanomyces but I think that is what this is and is flourishing in this beer. The beer was bottled on 29/07/2009 and that would explain this. It is all very enjoyable and makes me ponder at the end of every sip and I very much like this beer. So very smooth with no noticable alcohol. I could chug this beer if I wanted to quite easily, but that is not what I want to do. Then it would be gone and I would be sad. This beer is forcing me to enjoy it and I am sipping it slower than any beer I've had in a while. The bretty flavor stays in your mouth long after last sip is gone and that makes this beer all the more valuable. A beer that keeps entertaining the tastebuds even after it's gone. Orval trappists you have created a truly great beer and it's no wonder you only make two different beers. No need to make any more when you nail one perfectly. A 5 out of 5.

bebbcorp, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of stoutmasterjames
4.93/5  rDev +17.4%

A: semi-deep amber, decent retention, good lacing, looks like a masterpiece

S: semi-sweet spices, complex, profound smell, fragrant

T: Oak, flower notes. At the front there is the suggestion of sweetness that never comes to fruition as the dry tone of the tasting experience comes to dominate before the finish evaporates all of the dryness leaving you to contemplate the lightness of the body. Very complex. Every sip encourages you to study the nuances of the flavors involved.

M: light body, perfect ally to taste

I have been chugging craft beer for about four years now and this is THE BEST that I have found.... yet. Spectacular in every way, Orval is what good craft beer is all about. Good complex taste, phenomenal drinking experience. They cost a pretty penny, so if I am having a bad day, or have cause for a mini-celebration... I'll grab one of these.

stoutmasterjames, Jul 04, 2011
Photo of JBaker515
5/5  rDev +19%

JBaker515, Jun 28, 2014
Photo of ShawnB816
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

ShawnB816, Apr 24, 2012
Photo of drzig
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

From a 11.2 oz bottle into a wine glass.
A- golden color with very thick head. The head was impressive
S- Not much to smell but hints of fruit
T- autumn fruit flavored
M- Crisp, carbonated taste, not as smooth as I like most belgians with a little too much carbonation.
O- I typically like Trappist Ales, especially Pale Ales, but this one didn't make me want to order another. Still better than the average beer.

drzig, Sep 05, 2012
Photo of markovlad
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%

A-purred it from a bottle, rich tick foam, small bubbles, enjoyed it very much
S-smell is wonderful: fruity and spicy, it really gets to you when you open it and than you have big expectations.
T- light, fruity and spicy even sour, but it smells better than it tastes. No aftertaste. Weird.
M-sharp, spicy, bites you for tongue somewhere back,

markovlad, Nov 05, 2012
Photo of OldsmarTap
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%

OldsmarTap, May 18, 2013
Photo of cstcyr
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

cstcyr, Nov 04, 2013
Photo of iheartpoopshoot
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

iheartpoopshoot, May 20, 2014
Photo of woolihoo
4/5  rDev -4.8%

woolihoo, Mar 18, 2014
Photo of Drahtschwein
5/5  rDev +19%

Drahtschwein, Sep 01, 2014
Photo of Joshre
4.54/5  rDev +8.1%

A: Poured this into a tulip glass from a bottle. Has a golden, yellow-brass color, the head is huge. Lots of carbonation.

S: Smell was somewhat sweet, grassy, dried hay. Light

T: Taste was less colorful than the smell, but good. Lots of funk, alcohol is barely there. Very dry, not very sweet. Not a hoppy taste

M: Very carbonated, but not too-carbonated in any way. Light and thin

O: Great beer, very unique and interesting

Joshre, Jun 15, 2014
Photo of ElegantRose
4.16/5  rDev -1%

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.

ElegantRose, Jul 09, 2014
Photo of mrsquirrel1718
4/5  rDev -4.8%

mrsquirrel1718, Aug 07, 2014
Photo of ILhophead
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%

33cL bottle poured gently into a Chouffe tulip glass to keep out the dregs (1yr., 10mo. past bottled on date)

A: Pours with a nice looking two finger head. Bright light amber color. Lots of carbonation bubbling up.

S: Smells of Belgian funk and fruit, can't tell what kind of fruit though. I like it.

T: Tastes mildly funky and fruity up front with a bit of hops in the finish. Funk is not overpowering but blends nicely with the other flavors. Very nice.

M: Effervescent, medium body, lingering bitter funk on the back of the tongue.

D: I'd say it's quite drinkable. Tastes very good and is pretty easy drinking. I could drink a few of these if I could afford it.

I'd like to try some fresh Orval sometime. I've read that they add the Brettanomyces at bottling so it's hoppier and less funky fresh and the Brett becomes stronger over time. The brewer said he likes it fresh.

ILhophead, May 03, 2007
Photo of ChuckMartel
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%

Pours a huge head that looks like whipped cream w/ an orangish color. Smells like perfume. Tastes a lot like perfume -- prettier than it needs to be. Tastes a little thin for a Trappist ale. After you have one, you really don't look forward to another.

ChuckMartel, Jun 12, 2007
Photo of sanjosey19
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%

Poured into North Coast goblet. Very thick and cloudy. Orangish in color. Created a very thick, two finger head. I actually liked the smell quite a bit, kind of a fruity citrus mixed with a bit of straw. Very dry mouthfeel, a little high on the carbonation for my taste. Slight hoppiness up front, a little bit of funkiness, nice and sweet. Very drinkable, I actually felt like the beer got better the more I had. All in all, a very good Belgian Pale, very unique citrusy flavor. Not my favorite style, but definitely one of the best, if not the best, of it's style.

sanjosey19, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of sfz
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%

Bottled 5/19/2010, with a best by date of 5/19/2015. Cool bottle. Huge hiss of carbonation as the cap pops off.

A - Pours a slightly cloudy, medium-dark golden hue with an absolutely monstrous head. Pour this one carefully.

S - Citrus with hints of grapes and other fruity yeasts. Very complex.

T - Citrus with noticeable alcohol. Crisp and refreshing.

M - Light/medium carbonation. Smooth, smooth, smooth.

D - Extremely easy to drink, but price and above average ABV make this one for more special occasions. Meant to be sipped slowly and enjoyed.

sfz, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of 700Uave
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%

bottled 4-22-2010

loud hiss as the cap was pried off. My Duvel tulip glass was half beer, half foam upon pouring. Unbelievable amount of carbonation. Its a deep orange color and after 5 minutes, still huge head.

The smell reminds me of Fantome Saison, although its been a while since I last had that. pretty bright, acidic and tart smells come through.

Mouthfeel is very effervescent and quite pleasant, however, for my taste its just slightly over carbonated.

champagne-like tastes are present. Slightly tart. aftertaste is dry and unfortunately thin (if that makes sense). I wish this had a better finish.

Sure, I could drink a few of these, but the desire is not quite there tonight. I plan on trying this once more after having a wider range of beers in this style.

700Uave, Jan 18, 2011
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,324 ratings.