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

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
5,378 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
Ratings:
5,378
Reviews:
2,343
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
12.44%
 
 
Wants:
358
Gots:
905
For Trade:
11
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,378 |  Reviews: 2,343
Photo of ghostdeini
2.46/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I was overall dissapointed in this beer because it is rated as world class.

I would rate this beer as below average espically for a belgian pale ale.

This beer really lacks in flavor, there were barely any hoppy notes and it was weak even as a belgian.

The beer did have a rediculous head that was over four fingers tall and does look very nice.

Stay away from this one, go for harpoon or ommegang for a good bpa.

 417 characters

Photo of BillBabbitt
2.46/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I enjoy Belgian ales, but I was very disappointed with Orval. It was overly carbonated. I was only able to get about 3 oz of beer in a 16 oz tulip glass, due to the heavy foam. Once I was able to try the Orval, I found it to have a very unusual industrial aroma. I did not finish the beer. The 'brewed on' date indicated that this bottle was nearly 13 months old, so it is possible it had turned.

 396 characters

Photo of joecast
2.47/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

re-review 30/4/06
ok, so its only taken 2+ years to get back to this. ive actually had it one other time since my review, but it was in a pub after a long tasting night. other than that, it just hasnt been available in bottleshops. this bottle was marked best before 2009, and is just under two years in the bottle.

appearance is still good. cloudy orange/amber hue with a lightly tanned head that settle to a thickish lace after a few minutes.

yup, theres that skunked aroma. cough inducing if i get too close. i can feel the drying funk (as best i can describe it) invading my nasal passages, and getting into my lungs. a strange feeling it is.

they say smell and taste are linked. it is certainly on display here. taking a big sniff as i sip, and its like the black cloud monster from lost is allowed down my throat. though, not quite as unpleasant as it may sound. the taste here is mellow and subdued compared to the smell. has a light sourness that truly shows the wide range of flavors beer can hold.

well, at least i can say i know that this is what orval is supposed to taste like. i suppose it makes no appologies, nor should it. thought i would enjoy it a bit more now i am a bit further along my beer education. but what i have learned is orval, in all its funkiness, is not for me.
---
i was really looking forward to my second experience with a belgian beer, the first being chimay.
i guess i was expecting something similair but what i got was anything but. also, as others have said, this beer is unique.

pours with a magnificent rising rocky head and an orange hue. dont be fooled by the small, unassuming bottle. grab a large glass for this one.
the aroma jumps up with an eye-opening tartness. reminds me of the wine my dad and grandfather make. also noticed the aroma of green olives maybe.
the taste is a good reflection of the aroma, with a red wine-like flavor and tart/sour finish.

i almost wasnt going to review this beer thinking it had gone bad. however after reading a few posts here about it and doing some research, i learned that maybe that is the attraction of it. i can see why this beer is so liked by some people, it is definitely uniqe and very distinctive. its just not for me right now.

 2,257 characters

Photo of Andragos
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of beerhan
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of Atomicskis5
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of DrunkAl
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of bspain5
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of prisoner1572
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of Hoptometrist
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Served from the bottle into a globed DFH glass. Bottled on 1/8/2010, which I think means August 1 and not January 8.

A- Poured a mostly clear semi--hazy dark golden color, amazing, huge, fluffy head that left some lace. Lots of small bubbles, highly carbonated

S- Big lemon, hay, banana, citrus, and funky notes

T- This is super bitter, lots of sulfur/salty qualities on the finish. You get some of the flavors in the aroma, but this salty sulfur quality overpowers this whole beer.

M- Highly carbonated, chalky dryness

O- Is this a bad bottle? Maybe. This was a huge and expensive disappointment. Tons of nondescript bitterness, if only the taste matched the aroma. I could not finish this.

 696 characters

Photo of SpAiReArGsEonNE
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of guitarsnbeer
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of psm90
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of antichuckmoore
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of e11iott
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: 11.2 oz bottle. This beer poured an uncontrolable amount of head, almost thinking I got a bad bottle. Another interesting tid-bit on the bottle was it had a made date of 05/08/2009, best before 05/08/2014. That seams like a long time to collect dust on the bottle and for a beer to settle.

S: Slight fruit, very yeast like, overpowerful yeast.

T/M: Interesting, very dry hop aftertaste and bite. Very high carbination.

D: Paid to much and was let down by this one, I might have to revisit it. Hoping my bottle was bad. Other option is this just isn't my style.

 567 characters

Photo of Fettpopps
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of Mitchster
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

$5.99 for a 11.2oz bottle at Jacks. 6.9% ABV. Bottled on 11/13/08, best by 11/13/13.

I've had this beer a few times, but it's not a regular, so I was surprised to see that I hadn't reviewed it on BA before. Considered a classic by some. Pours out to a lightly chill hazed medium amber, forming a large white head despite a careful pour, with excellent retention and sticky delicate Belgian lace. The carbonation is medium-strong. The aroma opens with the smell of honey, followed by that classic horse blanket, farmhouse musty basement sour funk of Brettanomyces that I adore...much different than most Trappist ales which don't ferment with Brett at all. The funk is followed by orange and pineapple....a deliciously tempting beer. The mouthfeel is spritzy and explodes upon the tongue with a light body. The taste opens with a short-lived tartness, followed by a very strong unpleasant metallic bitterness, spicy cloves, fusels and other higher alcohols, and finishes bone-dry with more metals and higher alcohols. No sweetness whatsoever. Aftertaste of wet cardboard and newspaper. Ugh.

I'm not a big fan. It smells delicious, but it needs more sweetness and less bitterness to balance the tartness of the Brett, no fusels, less carbonation and more body. At $5.99 for a wimpy bottle, skip this and get some De Proef, De Dolle, Duchesse, Rodenbach, or Zoetzuur.

 1,366 characters

Photo of Hunter
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This Belgian monastery's brew has quite a reputation...this is the second time I've sampled their beer, first time reviewing it.

I must say before even pouring I like the small, unusually curved bottle of dark brown glass and the simple label (hey, it's part of the aesthetics, right?). As soon as the cap is off the nose is hit by a wave of malt and candi sugar. There's also an unfortunate undercurrent of formaldehyde, reminding me of hours in the lab during human dissection. As the glass warms to room temperature that preservative smell begins to dominate. Pours a cloudy gold with a thick white head, which doesn't last as long as I felt it should have. Threads of bubbles from bottom to top.

Taste...is surprisingly bland. If Perrier came in beer flavor, this would be the result. Comes off like a very dry, simple white wine. Citrus bite in the aftertaste, little else. Not even an alcohol bite, which at 6.9% is surprising. I was unimpressed the first time I tried this, and remain so. This has nothing on Chimay's beers in my opinion.

Update July 2016: Back after a decade to give this another chance. Upgrading the look by a full point - the pillowy head is lovely, very dense and enduring - almost like whipped cream. Tracing notes complete the presentation. The aroma seems less chemical this time around. The taste is still what I remembered - bland. No improvement there. Small upgrades to feel and overall, but it remains underwhelming.

 1,456 characters

Photo of HearneHoppers
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of thegerm87
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of Houborg1
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 2

Photo of bnes09
2.51/5  rDev -40%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pale orange in color with a nice haze. Mountainous head forms and retains well. Soapy character to the head with descent lacing.

Aroma is pretty clean. Ginger and faint wheat bread.

Flavor seems off. Somewhat bitter and tart. Rough malt character and stale hops. Off flavor continues in the finish.

Lighter body and a it on the watery side. Overcarbonated as well.

Totally disappointing. I wonder if I got a bad batch or if this particular bottle was stored improperly for some time causing it to go sour. I'll probably rechallenge this some other time to make sure.

 570 characters

Photo of stevecee2003
2.52/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

APP - Huge head! At least half the glass, maybe more. Light merky amber color.

SMELL - Wow, just take in all those smells. Soft malts. and lemon. Some kind of flowers. Very nice. I have hopes!

TASTE - A bit of a disappointment. Although I must admit I didn't know what to expect, so what's to disappoint? Well, I expected more from a Trappist Ale. It was crisp- yet watered down. There is also that unmistakable lemon in there, and now that I taste it, maybe thats not a good thing. At least for me.

MOUTH - It just feels very watery. I admit I most enjoy strong IPA's, so perhaps this disqualifies me. But this goes down TOO easily. Almost like, and I hate to say it, a Budweiser. Oooohh. Sorry.

DRINKABILITY - Probably good for some as it goes down easily.

NOTES - It may be good for some. If so, go for it! But for me- I am glad I tried it, but no. No.

 874 characters

Photo of wyllder
2.53/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Ok,

I had this one recommended to me by a fellow hop-head. My primary love in beer-life is hops. Brews like Hopdevil & Stone IPA top my list of favorites. That said, I'll get into my review of Orval Trappist.

Beer pours a mid-range amber with a big, fizzy, carbonated head. Really, I think the color rating is subjective, as I prefer a deep & clear amber to the lighter and slightly opaque amber of the Orval.

Taste.. Hmm. The first word that came to mind was medicinal. I checked this against two of my friends and the response was the same: cough syrup. Maybe this was my first experience with Bavarian & Yugoslavian hops but I found the flavor altogether unappealing. There's a good bit of malt balance that comes in to hold the hops back, and several floral overtones. None of this, however, could distract my palate from a foreign hop bitterness I was unable to enjoy.

Overall, I would not recommend this to someone who loves American hopped beers.

Update: Sampled this again off a friend during a session at the Moan and Dove. The cough medicine taste noted before is still there. This time, though, I can more appropriately call it an Orajel flavor. Like Orajel, it actually creates an unpleasant numbing sensation on the palate. Like before, I checked my impression with the friend who had ordered it and he concurred: Orajel. Is there benzocaine in this stuff?

Final update: Tried this one last time, after having given my palate a chance to adapt to Belgians such as Achel, Quintine, Westvleteren, Rochefort, Bink, etc... Also followed the suggestion of other BA's and made this beer my first selection of the evening. Net result, I no longer think is completely vile. However, the odd and rather unpleasant medicinal/orajel flavors noted previously remain, though being much more subdued than I recall. While it was more palatable on my third try, I still cannot recommend this beer. I upgraded my taste rating to 2.5.

 1,947 characters

Photo of jeffmonarch
2.53/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2 oz. bottle in a snifter glass.

A - Cloudy orange color with a thick white head that stays for a while.

S - Sweet fruity smell. It's almost like orange or lemon pledge.

T - Very bitter and almost medicine like flavor. Alcohol flavor is also present.

M - Light bodied with high carbonation.

D - Not a fan.

 313 characters

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,378 ratings.
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