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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BA SCORE
4.21/5
Exceptional
5,437 Ratings
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Belgium
orval.be

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#989
Reviews:
2,353
Ratings:
5,437
pDev:
12.35%
Bros Score:
4.92
 
 
Wants:
361
Gots:
935
Trade:
11
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,437 |  Reviews: 2,353
Photo of Bonis
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into my Unibroue tulip glass. Pours a cloudy amber color with a huge head that disippates somewhat quickly, but sticks around about a half finger for most of the drink. Leaves a fairly nice lacing as well. Way less sediment than I am used to in a trappist ale.

Nose - Spices such as coriander and other belgian ale spices dominate, belgian yeasts are definitely there. I also smell some metal-like earthy notes. This smells unlike any other Trappist ale I have tried.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Again, follows the nose in that this is far different from any Trappist ale I have tried. Tastes sour initially, with hints of cherries and some citrus. Belgian spices dominate. Carbonation is medium, but more apparent than others in this style.

Drinkability - Very very refreshing for a Belgian. If it didn't cost $5 for 11 oz, I could drink this stuff regularly. The ABV is pretty low for a trappist as well, which helps with downing it. So with price factored in, I don't find it drinkable, but if price doesn't matter for you, give this one a try for sure!

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Photo of janubio
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted in its own glass. This is the most singular of the blegina trappist beers, completely different to the other ones. I'd say it's a very difficult beer for the non-initiated.
It has an orange peachy cloudy colour. Strong creamy head, that leaves a great lace. Aroma is very acid, spicy, oranges, apples and leather or horseblanket. Strong body and heavy sour flavor. Taste is very acid, cloves, orange, apples, spicy, dry and again the leather or horseblanket.
I really disliked it first time I tried, guess I'm more used to those extremes aromas and tastes now.

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Photo of jammalamma
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It took a minute just to get to the brew, the head is explosive! great lacing and head retention. Dark golden brown-amber color.

Hints of funk, lite apple/ grape-pear nose, complex. Smooth, very well balanced (no one flavor as wild as head); slightly bitter.

Over all-very good. This bottle is 1yr old, like to try 3-4yr bottle.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Murky dark honey, near white head leaves slow to disk. Some sudsy lace.

S - Extremely funky and barny. I have to admit I was a little afraid.

T - Complex. All over the board. Spice, funk, fruit. It is killer with thinly slice provolone cheese.

M - Medium body, more than enough carb. Decent coat.

D - Too much crazy beer. Exhausting.

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Photo of John
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cloudy amber liquid with good head and retention. Spicey with musty oak aroma. Complex, sweetish, spicey, malty, oaky, faint hop flavor. These characteristics blend extremely well when the brew warms. Interesting beer.

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Photo of Mistofminn
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours much darker than a typical Belgian Pale Ale. Hazy orange with a light carbonation. The head on this one is something else. Off white and absolutely pluming. It's almost too much. Retention is amazing, lacing is great. The head is chunky and sticky, just like a rootbeer float.

Wow. So there is the horse blanket. They sure don't sugar coat it. Definitely some barn smell here. I'm new to the whole brett thing, but if this isn't brett, I don't know what is. Funky and funky. Thats really the only way to describe it, funky. It's not bad, it's just....different.

The taste starts off tart and sour, but mellows out in the aftertaste. That is where the funk shows up. This is truly something else. Definitely an acquired taste. If I was served this last year at this time, I most likely would have sent it back saying it was awful. But at this point in my beer journey, it's interesting. It's not good, and it's definitely not bad, it's just interesting. The taste keeps you coming back for more as you try to figure it out.

Mouthfeel is much like other brews. Light in body and light in carbonation. Drinkability is a little lower than I would usually give a brew, but only because of the strange taste. This is really something else.

I knew going into this that it would be different. I was kind of worried to be honest. I'm pleased that I at least could appreciate the product, and this intriguing brew will be in my fridge again in the future.

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Photo of becktone
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Eye: Looks great. Excellent head retention and lacing with a large, sticky, rocky dirty white head. Color is light brownish copper orange and is very clear. One of the best I've ever seen of this type of style that I've sampled.

Nose: Very potent aroma to start with. As soon as the cap is popped Co2 is visible leaking out from under the cap where it is no longer airtight, as the snake of visible white gas slithers out from under the cap a strong aroma is immediately present. The aroma here is a sweet very strong malt smell. Some spiciness is present as well, mayhaps from the alcohol. Also a bit of fruit and earth type aromas in there...a little sour maybe some brett? reminds me of the mulchy aroma I got from Jolly Pumpkin's Bam Noire.

Tongue: Sweet malt flavor mingles with the brett flavor(at least what I am perceiving to be brett..that is an earthy character, wood mulch) and ultimately seems that the brett wins out, but wait then the sweet malt comes back at the end to give a nice balance to the earthiness of the brew. Not as complex or as sweet as I thought it'd be but still a good brew nonetheless.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: The beer has a very fluffy and light mouthfeel, exactly what the rocky head suggests. It is also high in carbonation and finishes dry. The beer is easy to drink, something that is definitely a sipper, but I don't think that I'll buy it again all that soon. I don't believe that it is worth the $4-5 per 11.2 oz bottle. This beer just doesn't speak to me, good but not something I'd regularly drink.

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Photo of filabrazilia
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a Rochefort goblet.

A: Very nice. Good head with decent retention. A hazy-opaque nutty, medium-brown colour. Thin bubble trails.

S: There's a lot going on here. A tart hoppiness conceals the underlying sour/salty astringency that other reviewers seem to dub a "barnyard smell." I can see the comparison -- the smells suggests at sweaty horses or urine-soaked hay...this isn't nearly as unpleasant as it sounds.

T: Hard to describe. The flavours, largely light and difficult to pin down, swirl about, tending towards malts, sourness, and hops. This sweet/sour/bitter balance characterises the beer's main taste. The aftertaste is mostly bitter, but not very dry. The "barnyard" flavour does lurk in the backround, emerging every now and again to offer a strangely skunky or briny note. Overall, fascinating, but not obviously pleasant.

A: Feels great! Light and somewhat chewy, the initial carbonation and sourness arouse the taste buds, whilst the bitterness prolongs the sensations.

D: Under 7%, but it felt like significantly more. So complicated as to be a sipping brew, so unique as to be desirable only every once in a while.

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Photo of dolemite77
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours hazy orange, with a mammoth rocky head. Aroma is sour and horsey when cold, more perfume like as it warms. Flavor is very funky. The bottle I had was around 1.5 years from bottling. The wild yeasts in this one bring out the horsebarn, sour apples, and dry dry dry finish. Very interesting beer. My new years resolution is to try more of the "wild type" beers. This is the most famous user of brett fermentation, so might as well start it out here.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2ml bottle, bottled on 2/29/2012, poured into a wine glass today, 2/12/2014. Almost 2 years old at this point.

App- Hazy dark orange-brown body, nice 2 finger tan head with fantastic retention, leaves a thick tan collar that doesn't go away. Nice sticky lacing that's part of the collar as it goes down.

Smell- Orange peel, faint green apple tartness, a bit vinous on the white side of the spectrum, a bit of bread and honey. Complex.

Flavour- Less complex- quite bready and dry with a bit of the white vinous backend. Some oak on the finish though I don't know if this is made with any oak. Not as much of the citrus peel or the apple tartness to be honest, which would have added a lot more to this beer.

Mouthfeel- medium bodied, well carbonated, very dry. Which makes sense as the Brett has had two years to work its magic. Aftertaste of a dry oaky white vinous flavour.

Overall- Interesting trappist ale that showcases the effects of Brettanomyces quite well. Dry, a bit funky and bready. Nice one to sip on both a cold winter night or a warm summer evening.

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Photo of ngandhi
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drier than dust. Austere. Dominating yeast presence that is, itself, controlled. Banana/pine esters on the nose, more peppery on the palate, and backed by an unusually noticeable dried herbal hop backbone. Carbonation highlights a touch of grain and fresh grassy hop leaves.

The piney aspect of this is reminiscent of the finish on some American IPAs -- of course, Orval is not nearly as bitter. This is such a clear and balanced display of hops, malt, yeast, and Belgian tradition that it becomes challenging.

The parching dryness makes it difficult, but everso satisfying to consume on its own. Gueuze without the funk (if that means anything), this is one of the world's ultimate food beers, especially with white fish. Hops linger on the finish.

Relax, relax.
ng

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Photo of cetherid
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into a pint glass.

A.

a hazy copper color..a little like cider. a HUGE amount of head. like 80% head with my first small pour. head died down after a bit.

S.

very complex. hard to point out any definitely. a little wheat, malt, citrus rind.

T.

extremely complex. very effervescent, like a champagne a bit. a little sour and tartness in there. every sip a new flavor comes out. spice, pear, fruit rind, gassy hops, everything different.

M.

light bodied. very carbonated for a beer. feels good in the mouth.

D.

pretty good. such a unique beer that you'd probably pick up a different taste, even after having 10+ of these.

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Photo of wolffman17
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

One year to the date on BA so I figured I'd write my first review to celebrate.

Bottled on: 11.18.2003
Best before: 11.18.2008
Label says 6.9% ABV, not 6.2%.

Into an Orval goblet, the pour results in a hazy, bright, and golden appearance...inviting. Big bubbly head that faded somewhat fast without leaving much lace.
The smell is intriguing. Sweet and sour apple, and yes, the hay and barnyard animal is evident.
Tastes tart and finishes with the hay. Not as sweet as I expected or wanted, but still very good.
The dryness seems to linger forever.
I found this very drinkable, and could drink this year round.

A unique, intriguing, complex beer. I would love to try this fresh.

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Photo of SinjaminBentek
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of earthboundagain
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ok been wanting to try this beer for a while, but been putting it off, this bottle is about 14 months old, so I hope it is as good as I am hoping.

Ok the color is a dark honey with a super fluffy of whit head, the beer laces like a champ.

Ok the nose is very complex, and it is hard to sort it all out, but we do have some various spices, light funk, lemon peel, and an earthy mustiness.

Ok the flavor is as complex as the nose. We have some floral hops, mixed with a burst of spice, all intertwined with some lemon peel. The funk in the nose does not show up in the taste though. The beer is a sipper and takes a whack at the ole palate.

The mouthfeel is dry and well carbonated and is built on a slightly full body.

I like this beer but at $4.99 it will be a nice treat.

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Photo of kirok1999
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark gold with a huge head that leaves just a little lacing. Smells huge of fruit and spice. Bananas, pumpkin, some musk and earth. Taste is the same, a bubbly, spicy, fruity concoction. Pretty dense mouthfeel, crisp and well carbonated. I served it a little too cold and it got much better as it warmed up. My first impression was not favorable. I'm glad I let it warm.

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Photo of ItsYourBoyBlue
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Can_if_you_can
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of chickencoop
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Talk about hype, this seems to be the goto belgian beer that guys that don't drink a lot, love saying it's one of their fav's. I've had this before, but never reviewed it, so this is what I got.
A: Deep amber color, thick off white head.
S: Big tart and tangy, with some funky notes on the end.
T: Big bitterness, balanced with some dank musty flavors in the mix.
M: Big bubbly carbonation, i guess typical of the style.
D: Style benchmark, and this is a very good beer, but overall not an everyday belgian pale.

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Photo of whiteskittlz
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

bought at TotalWine Tustin, chilled, let unchill a bit, then poured into Chimay goblet

appearance: love its opaqueness. foam isn't on best behaviour: started out big, didn't hold too well

smell: hint of flavours to come

taste: nice, peppery, lemony,

mouthfeel: maybe a bit tinny

so drinkable, it's a shame they only sell these small bottles. also, quite expensive and not THAT outstanding to keep me coming back very often.

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Photo of FanofHefe
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into the Orval goblet! First time I've reviewed a beer in its own glassware. Cloudy dark orange pour with huge head. Took two pours to get it fully in the glass. Very foamy head that lingers and sticks to the sides of the goblet as you drink.

Aroma is pleasing and not too pungent. A spicy aroama with a noticeable smell of coriander and orange peel.

Taste follows the aroma with the "brett" yeast producing a nice complex flavor. Slightly sour and funky with a citrusy and slightly hoppy backbone.

Mouthfeel is where this one excels for me. Very, very smooth and easy to drink. Unique offering that far exceeds its copies in my opinion.

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Photo of Clarth
4.06/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of NorthCoastPranqster
4.06/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of beveritt
4.06/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from the classically shaped 11.2 oz Orval bottle into a Duvel tulip. Bottle clearly states Bottled On: 05/06/2008 and Best Before: 05/06/2013A. Not sure what the A is for, but come on. How hard is it to put this stuff on labels? Thank you Orval.

Appearance: Pours with an amazingly dense 4 fingered head of nearly white foam. This settles very slowly and hardly at all, still retaining most of its original height. Where it has dropped, the lacing is thick and sticky. Amazing. The beer itself is cloudy and orange.

Smell: Fairly forward hop aroma, with hints of oranges and cloves. Citrus aromas become more prevalent as the drink warms.

Taste: Mild spicy, piney hops upfront. Hop bitterness lingers well after each sip. Very bready/yeasty flavor. Slight sourness as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Higher than average carbonation level. Body is good.

Drinkability: Well, what can I say? Supposedly the classic example of the style, and while it displayed numerous subtle flavors, they were just too subtle for my taste. I can appreciate it for what it represents, but can't see myself hitting it up again.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 4.21 out of 5 with 5,437 ratings
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