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

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,287 Reviews
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
Reviews:
2,287
Ratings:
5,236
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
18.9%
 
 
Wants:
339
Gots:
833
For Trade:
11
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Reviews: 2,287 | Ratings: 5,236
Photo of Daniell
4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was heavily disappointed first time I tried this, turned out that was when I had a relatively fresh bottle. I've discovered a stock which were bottled on 2006, and have had far better experiences with them.

A: awesome head and really unique light red/gold colour. Halfway between a golden ale and a rosé. Head dies down perhaps a little quickly for my liking, compared to say Duvel, but I think I have to make this a 5 for the beautiful blood orange colour. 5

S: overripe, almost fermenting fruits. Smells a lot like a botrytis dessert wine actually, mixed with funk and bandaids. Later on as it warms the funk gets vaguely faecal, clovey and honey-y. It really has the sulphuric pale fruity smell I expect from white wines. I can honestly say I do like the liveliness of the funk here, it does make the beer feel alive. 4.5

T: actually get a decent amount of alcohol in the taste, along with fermented fruit. I notice a distinctive aftertaste- kind of nutty, like macadamias. This recedes to substantial bitterness. The bandaids I was overwhelmed by the first time I had this are still there, but they're more subtle. The bottling date is the 23rd of February 2006, which makes this brew more than four years old. It seems that the aging (despite presumably being in a freezer for a large proportion of that time) has tamed the brew compared to the severely band-aidy fresh one I had previously. 4.5

M: Just about right for the style. 4.5

D: One to sip but the complexity definitely keeps me coming back. 4.5

Definitely world class.

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Photo of nickshep7
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours w/ 2-2.5 fingers of shaving cream like head. This may be the densest head I've seen on a beer. The base of the beer is a coludy, deep honey brown/orange color. Smell is musky, almost like an old wine cellar. Solid dose of Belgian yeast and bready notes. Honey cloves are also fairly prominent on the smell. So far, very impressed with this brew. Now only if the head would die down, so I can jump in. Very dry and herbaceous on the mouth. A healthy amount of hops, much more than I was expecting. Clove seems to come through quite a bit on the taste as well. Overall, a great experience worth trying especially if you are into Belgian style brews.

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Photo of darky
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 11-17-2011, poured into chalice. Reviewed 3-16-13

A: pours a brilliant light orange capped with a persistent 1/2" white head.

S: Orange and grapefruit are primary with that characteristic hint of banana so many Belgians have.

T: This is, I believe, the third time I've tried this brew, but the first time really 'tasting' it. I didn't pay any attention to vintage until now, and I would wager those bottles were significantly fresher than this one. I distinctly recall this beer being far dryer (to the point that I struggled with it) with a more pronounced hop character the previous two times. This pour is definitely mellower with muted orange at the start and middle, and then the trademark Orval grapefruit-y (again, mellowed) dry bite on the finish.

M: Soft and creamy, ample carbonation. Quite good really.

O: I really wish I had a younger version to compare this bottle to right now. I don't think this particular bottle is representative of what this beer is like fresh. I am enjoying it, but it's not at all what I remember it to be, or how others have described it here on BA. I will revisit this one with a fresher specimen when I find one.

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Photo of CashMoneyVagrant
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

-Bottled on 1-06-2010, Served in a Orval glass

Pours a thick,dense fluffy white head of foam that rises above the rim of the glass. Rich, deep orange color, with some amber highlights. Light candied fruit in the nose at first. Jolly ranchers and bubblegum. Citrus, fresh squeezed orange juice. A faint touch of lemons, honey and flowers. A little soapy as well. Musty, tart funk behind the fruit. Hay barn, old leather, burlap sack and seasoned wood. Smells of dried corn husks, wheat, peanut shells can be found. Rustic, earthy hop aroma.

Lots of carbonation, thats lively on the palate. Woody, stale hop character. Yeasty, bubblegum fruit. Orange citrus, white grapes. Some wildflower scented honey, lemon and jolly ranchers. Dried wheat, musty hay barn. Bone dry, with a crab apple tartness and earthy hop bitterness that lingers in the mouth. Soapy. Has a feeling of walking through a farmer's field at harvest time. A very old world, dry and rustic brew. That would pair well with cured meats, cheeses and simple grilled or roasted chicken.

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Photo of powellmg
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy orange beer with a thick, creamy head. Aroma of lime and tangerine citrus and a pleasant mustiness. Tart, funky (Brett), and quite bitter taste, more like grapefruit rind than straightforward hops. Creamy mouthfeel balanced by a moderately-high carbonation.

This bottle is about a year old. It has lost the fresh, herbal notes but has only just started to develop complexity from aging. Overall, a refreshing, classy beer, though not amazing to me.

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Photo of Nightwing
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Poured from bottle. Aroma of citrus with a hint of herbs. Appearance is cloudy amber with significant white head. Light bitter taste. Medium to light body, with a texture that is hard to pin down, and a dry finish. A very complex beer.

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Photo of dnrobert24
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Mmmm Orval. I would like to try this beer again with some other kinds of cheese. Unfortunately, at $4.50 a bottle, that is not likely to occur any time soon.

Poured a beautiful yellow gold with an inch-tall head in my tulip goblet. The head remained a quarter of an inch tall throughout the entire session. Even at the end of the glass, tiny bubbles continued to rise. The beer smelled of fine grass, lemon, and hay. The beer had an earthy spiciness to it and almost tasted sweaty. (Horseblanket? I don't know, I've never smelled one). There was a perfect bitterness to balance out the caradmon, black pepper, and grapfruit. I attempted to pair this with a simple grilled salmon and roasted veggies (asparagus, mushrooms, and zuccini) marinated in a dressing made from Penzey's French Country Vinagrette spice blend. The meal and beer did not contrast or compliment each other and were therefore a push. Thus, I pulled out the gruyere cheese. This cheese was a little old and losing its nutty and toasty qualities, but the beer worked wonders on it. Again, it was not the perfect match, but the hard gruyere actually tasted creamy after sipping the beer. The fading nuttiness came forth, despite the lack of nuttiness in the beer, and the cheese helped flesh out some of the spicy earthy sweaty corners of the brew. I would definitely not try this beer again unless I had a good goat cheese, gouda, or aged cheddar to go with it.

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Photo of surfadelic23
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This tasty beer (which comes in a relly distinctive bottle) pours a
copper/brownish color that looks great in my chalice.
At first, the taste is sweet, but that doesn't last long at all. A nice bittery hoppy flavor that quickly gets replaced by acidity that must be the result of the yeasties or mebbe bretts?? This one's also pretty carbonated. The first bottle I opened foamed big time! I liked the carbonation on it and found that it imrpoved the drinkability to a certain extent. I did not find this to be a very big alcohol bomb although that may be because We spent the whole weekend trying different Belgian style ales so we may have been used to it. All in all, a pretty nice ale and I'm glad I tried it. While it's not going to knock off othe Belgians that I prefer, this was a nice change from the norm

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Photo of SpruceFish
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this beer once a while ago now im having it once again

A- dark copper huge billowing white head with some white lacing on the glass

S- earthy a little sour and maybe a little sweetness

T- some sour some fruit apples or grapes an perhaps a little bread

M- light bodied great carbonation

D- great

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Photo of slk22
2.72/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a golden/amber similar to honey. Cloudy with a huge off-white head that seems to last forever. Aroma is very mild malt with some sweetness, much less complex than I expected. Taste was also very mild, mainly corn, having no aftertaste. Mouthfeel is very smooth with a light body and high carbonation, not unlike seltzer water. This is an easy beer to drink, but not very arousing in my opinion. Not sure if I just got a bad bottle as I expected a lot more from this offering.

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Photo of PeterLemonjello
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: a hazey rich honey or light orange color. Pours a hefty/rocky head with lots of CO2 bubbles

S: mildly sour apples and white grapes

T: very fruity and dry turning giving way to some malt/bready flavors as it reaches cellar temperature

M: nice, full and lots of delicate/soft carbonation

D: Very nice beer with plenty of flavors. Complex beer but very drinkable.

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Photo of Living816
3.4/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Oh my the hype. These ratings would imply orgasm like flavors / experience in the mouth. Perhaps the beer pays *me* to drink it?

It pours a rather curious straw, stained oak color with some haze. The head is amazingly robust, persisting for an eternity.

The "brett funk" hits your straightaway along with a bit of sweet aroma, like a syrup. The smell betrays you. The taste is nothing like it.

On the mouth, there is an exceeding dryness and astringency that seems to suck the moisture right out of your mouth. There is a bit of sour, which is obviously anticipated. But the sour doesn't seem to fit in. It just sloshes around in the mouth.

A bit more bitterness on the finish than you expect as well.

I don't know that I would buy it again. It's quite flat, one dimensional. The sour simply is there for, well, I don't know why its there. It's just a bolt on to a typical trappist ale.

Just for the record bottled on 10/2/11, good through 10/2/16.

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Photo of tfinn
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bottled 2003-01-28, consumed 2004-06-27

pours a hazy golden color with frothy head reminiscent of small soap bubbles. leaves slidy lacing on the glass. yeast was left in the bottle.

the aroma is a pleasant mix of sweet maltiness, fruit esters (not so much banana -- more skewed towards pineapple / citrus), and a hint of hops.

showing my prejudices of belgian trappist ale, with a wonderful estery scent, I was expecting a full heavy body with this one, but it's not heavy at all. it's light, clean, and very "wet" tasting for lack of a better term. carbonation is mild, yet there is a definite carbonate tang on the tongue. balance is towards the hops, but stops just short of being overtly bitter. there is no hop trail at the end; just a bit of graininess and a nice wet clean finish, which prompts further consumption.

a very satisfying and quenching beer. it's somewhere between american pale ale and a full-bodied belgian dubbel or trippel.

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Photo of nicefix
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured to a giant white fluffy head with various sized bubbles. Good retension and lacing.
Smells of lemon, grass, floral hops and spice.
I'm tasting similar things to what I smelled but also a complex flavor I can't put my finger on.
Very drinkable and complex. If I had more experience I could maybe nail down the complex flavors and aromas with more precision.
Overall, I would recommend this beer. Very interesting.

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Photo of MVassar
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled about a year ago in early 2006. A very intriguing beer, and I'm definitely going to pick up some more and put a few away for a while. I'm curious to see how it tastes in another year.

Slightly hazy light honey color, very dense head with thick, unbelievably long-lasting lacing. Stunning to look at.

Apple cider, honey, citrus in the nose. Very appealing.

Cider flavor, with nice hop kick. Tastes crisp, slightly tart, with a very floral finish. Lots going on in this one, but it manages to be well-balanced.

Good carbonation, nice creamy oily texture. Long dry bitter finish. Feels sturdy.

A very unique beer, which I found enormously likable. Could easily have more than one. Or two.

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Photo of richmof
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

How to review Orval?

It is the most aesthetically pleasing beer in the world bar none. It pours from its beautifully curvy bottle into the most attractive beer glass there is. It is the one beer most Belgian bartenders can truly pour as well, which means you get a wonderfully frothy creamy head with solid lacing no matter where you go. The deep golden-orange should be relatively clear when probably poured - yeast on the side.

On this occasion, I am review from Chez Bernard in Place Jourdan, where I had the gout d'Orval.

The citrusy yeastiness starts on the nose and continues through to the palate where it is complemented by a hoppy spice quality. Those herby Brettons doing their work.

It rarely disappoints although three is usually enough for a sitting. I am looking forward to those bottles I have put down.

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Photo of WoogityBoogity
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Super thick creamy head. Slow dissipation. Body is a hazy dark amber, with swirls of dark residue.

S - Super complex smell of malt, hops, banana, clove, maybe cider, and other spicey phenols.

T - Great balanced taste. Very mild sweetness at first, then progesses towards a nice warming of spices complimenting hop finish. Very toasty biscuit flavor from the malts. Almost a pear-like fruitiness and peppery spice.

M - Medium mouthfeel. Not much warming at all, and high carbonation.

D - The palate is so complex I can't even begin to describe it. Taste after taste will leave you discovering more.

Perhaps the best example of a Belgian PA.

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Photo of marchoftheclouds
1.88/5  rDev -55%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

When I pay $4.99 for a 11.2 oz "treat" I expect the trifecta of different, unusual and really exceptional (as in tasty). I'm finding I can't always get the trifecta ... and it's probably due to my preferences. After drinking the Orval, I read an A+ review by Jason Alström. I read other reviews, too, and noticed one beer advocate thought he got a bad bottle. That was the first thought I had after my first mouthful. I don't like beer that has a grapefruit taste in it. I've tried extremely hoppy beers, but they aren't my thing. I think I'll keep trying new things, but I'm leaning more and more to, "If you can see through it, you might not like it!"

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Photo of kevo237
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a Chimay goblet. Head retention was great throughout. Very nice looking beer. The head almost looked like whip cream.

Smell was sweet and floral. I continued to get the image of baby blue skittles in my head when I was drinking this beer. It definitely has a candied taste that is hard to describe while having a spicy characteristic. Mouthfeel was excellent as with most trappiste brews. Sizzled on my tongue and went down smoothly with no carbonation build up in my throat. Definitely one of my favorite trappiste beers.

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Photo of BeerMasterD
3.25/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled on 05/08/2009, poured into wine glass in 2010.

A- Pours lively amber color with a huge bubbly foam head that hangs around for a while.
S- Spicey and dank funk aromas, Apple and nutmeg, wintergreen.
T- A bit sour, but not bitter or hoppy. A spicey sour taste that im not used too.
M- Crisp and dry, light-medium body.
D- Not highly drinkable.
O- Im not completely sure how i feel about this beer, it was very interesting though and I'd like to explore the style further.

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Photo of Aml42000
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle into an Orval glass. Deep amber/copper color. The nose is slightly vegetal, but has layers of complexity which keep one sniffing. Fresh mouthfeel with layers of subtle meyer lemon and dried herbs. A touch of honey on the finish. A favorite.

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Photo of Albinoh
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy oragelinke color with a huge rocky head that leaves laces all the way down. Sweet floral aroma. Nice Malty flavor, smooth, with a lot of carbonation. The light bitterness makes this beer very drikable, ends up with a dry mouthfeel. I would say that this trappist is one of the most drinkable ones, I enjoyed others more though.

Good nice beer.

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Photo of Itoclown
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Siciliano's in Grand Rapids. Consumed in a Duvel Tulip.
Smell: Friggen awesome! Very fruity with a fantastic Belgium smell.
Look: Medium brown and hazy. Head remains throughout.
Taste: GREAT! I was taken aback. It's very complex and fruity. It's so good that even my Dad loved it when I gave him a sip and he hates complicated beers.
Mouthfeel: Not the best. Very bubbly but it isn't harsh on the tongue.
Overall: I've put this one off for a very long time. I passed it over for years. I wish I hadn't. It's unreal. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this may be the best Belgium beer I've ever had.

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Photo of dvb
2.67/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

A - A nice light amber. Abundant white head that dies quickly.

S - Banana. Very pleasant and enticing.

T - The attack is nice, but gives way almost immediately to a unpleasant soapy bitterness from heavy hopping that is not typical of the style.

M - There is mouth-puckering astringency present that is way too prominent to be ignored.

O - Uncharacteristic bitterness and solvent-like mouthfeel made Orval a bad experience for me. I would try it again, but only because I wonder if I somehow got a bad bottle.

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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.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,236 ratings.
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