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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
5,428 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:
#981
Reviews:
2,351
Ratings:
5,428
pDev:
12.35%
Bros Score:
4.92
 
 
Wants:
360
Gots:
930
Trade:
11
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,428 |  Reviews: 2,351
Photo of Shilt
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of RaulMondesi
4.04/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ha. Wow. Raul is giving himself fits on what he's trying to make of this one. At first, like Natalie Portman in sweatpants, it was a bit disappointing (because so much hype was there). But as Raul chilled out as he let Nick Cave serenade him, he warmed to Orval as Orval warmed for him.

First and foremost, the thang is just plum gorgeous. It has an orangish glow/hue like Emily Didinato carving a pumpkin. Then, with the taste (which let Raul down at first) is a very respectable - yet a bit sedated - funk, Belgian yeasts and grass. It's very nice, simplistic, but extremely pleasant like a girl offering to pay on the third date.

So, yes, like after said floozy that offered to pay for dinner, Raul wouldn't mind seeing this one again and again!

 750 characters

Photo of twowheelssoar
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of MarioM
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz poured into a Russian River stemmed glass.

A: Nice almost cloudy light orange color with a huge head made from medium to small bubbles. Almost sticky looking foam, very common to brett beers. Ok lacing, head is lingering but is not sticking to the glass but is definitely standing its ground.

S: Light funk from the brett, a bit malty and tropical fruit like. Good phenolic character from the wild bacteria.

T: A lot o brett character, dry crisp and nice phenols. It definitely lets you know your drinking a beer with wild yeast. The Brett character is not as overpowering in the taste as it is in the aroma but still refreshing and fruity enough to be very enjoyable and tasty. Style calls for a Belgian Pale but I've also read and heard of it referenced as a Tripel. Regardless of its classification to a style, Orval is a unique beer and don't really know how to classify it. All I know is its a refreshing Brett Beer that is not a Belgian Pale nor a Tripel, yet far from a saison to confuse and cause much controversy when trying to fit this beer into a style. Which I wouldn't try, Orval is Orval and that's just how it is.

M: Medium bodied with a nice lingering brett funk that differs depending on the age of the bottle. I get a lot of tropical fruit from this one but can also be a bit simplistic and dry when young. High carbonation adds a tiny bit of crisp tartness but not sour at all. Just simply clean Brett character with a good carbonated backbone to balance and make for a refreshing and delicious unique beer. The one and only Orval.

O: Simple yet complicated at the same time. Refreshing and crisp while wanting to be tart and complex without being sour. A must have in my book and one damn unique Trappist brew that can be easily found and decently priced. Highly recommended to anyone.

 1,821 characters

Photo of neurobot01
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Having somehow missed the mass online tasting last week, I treated myself to a mini-vertical yesterday. Reviews of both below.

33 cl bottle dated 1/21/15 into a Duvel tulip at cellar temp.

Look: translucent burnt orange with a monster foam head, great lacing. (4.25)

Smell: spices, hay, lemon tart. (4.25)

Taste: lemon pepper, nutmeg, banana custard, vanilla, alcohol; an orangey, grassy note comes to prominence as it approaches room temp. Also comes to leave a bewitching aftertaste. (4.25)

Feel: pretty spry, with a light/medium body; very dry, woody finish. (4)

Overall: lots of different elements to this beer. I'd like to see everything integrated a bit more cohesively. (4.25)

33 cl bottle dated 10/06/11 into a Duvel tulip at cellar temp.

Look: translucent burnt orange with a monster foam head, great lacing. (4.25)

Smell: wildflowers, lemongrass, bubblegum. (4.25)

Taste: wallop of funk up front; leather, bubblegum, mild brown sugar. (4.25)

Feel: almost cotton-candy, it's so airy; very dry, woody finish. (4)

Overall: compared to the fresher version, this does seem a lot more reined in and focused. Despite the identical scores, I prefer this to fresher. (4.25)

 1,186 characters

Photo of vidisad
3.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of tikk
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a La Fin Du Monde glass.

A- Golden in color with slight haze. The head on this is crazy foamy. Took a while to settle to pour the whole bottle.

S- I can smell the brett for sure. Very potent and strong smelling. There is also a great fruity smell to it as well.

T- The sour taste is great, very satisfying. There is a great fruity taste, but something else is there that is almost like a bitter hop taste.

M- Great mouthfeel.

D- Very easy to drink, and very refreshing.

 484 characters

Photo of FatBoyGotSwagger
4.94/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a murky brown color with a booming 3 finger white head. The smell is a light earthy aroma with an authentic Belgian spice. My first sip of this started with a fantastic tart and spiciness upfront hat literally explodes on the tongue with the fantastic carbonation. There are some funky notes in there also but every note plays off each other so well it leaves me wanting another sip. Halfway through the head is still a good cm and resembles construction foam, the taste becomes increasingly spicy and funky. Notes of fresh grass, lemon, and spicy banana. What an incredible beer, I get it now.

 600 characters

Photo of TBoneJones
4.92/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drawn to this bottle for some reason. Bready boozy smell at outset. Cider-like color with thick lacing. The best part of this brew for me is the complexity. At first taste I do sense the yeast, the astringency is there as others will agree here. I may seem off a bit in this but vinegar comes to mind as a mouth sensation, if you can somehow picture that in a good way. I guess there is an odd abrasiveness that somehow "works". Yes it is quite dry, however I can't help, and can hardly believe, that I also detect fruit or fig in the taste. As I mentioned, this is all about complexity. The mouthfeel for me is most abrasive up front, but it is up front where i also smell the fruit-like bouquet as I am tasting it. For some reason and I can't pinpoint exactly how, but this is very drinkable for a beer with such a distinct character. Spices are picked up too. Unusual. I guess the reason i think Orval is so good despite some unusual characteristics is due to the expertise in the brewery of using their "brettanomyces" yeasts the way they do. Apparently in most beers these yeasts are considered contaminants. With that it's no wonder I also favor saisons. All good here.

 1,175 characters

Photo of MrNate
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%

Photo of dmamiano
3.36/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, golden straw color with a big, rocky head..almost too be. Kind of "gushed" as it hit the glass.
Smells of hint og bubble gum, yeasty and estery. Cooked apples and pears come to mind.
Taste is rather bland if I can say that. Mouthfeel is good. Fruity and full. Yeast characteristics tasted.
Drink by 8/8/2012 is noted on the bottle. Perhaps I should have aged it more.

 381 characters

Photo of JAXSON
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 year old bottle, Nov 2010 bottling. Pours a pinkinsh amber gold with a large head and a tempestuous body. Nose is soft peaches and apples, hay, brett. Mouth is sweet trappist yeast throughout with a bready quality and medium hops over the finish. Dries out a lot toward the back palate but still sweeter than I remembered this being. Fair amount of dry, earthy brett creeping out at this age. Not nearly as bright or hop forward as the recent Jul 2011 bottling. Apples, stewed peaches throughout that avoid being overly sweet.

To me, this succeeds at being many things at once, but I don't feel it's really exceptional on any level. I've enjoyed the 5 month and 13 month old bottles I've had recently (which were massively different), but there are certainly better trappist ales, better dry brett golden ales, better Belgian pale ales out there. This is pretty notable in its transcendence but it's not straightforward enough for me, I suppose.

 948 characters

Photo of matcris
4.69/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

APPEARANCE: A burnt orange, hazy almost to rust. Foamy off white head for days, and it lingers forever. Carbonation is hard to see even with a flashlight up to the glass. Thick lacing down the glass.
AROMA: Almost white wine like. Green grapes, funky, floral...almost smells like hand lotion! Definitely get the yeast in spades.
TASTE: A pleasant sourness, lots of white grapes, the yeastiness you'd expect. There are some really nice, unusual flavors in here that I really can't describe or equate to any other beer I've had. This is unique!
FEEL: Creamy right off the bat, then the nice amount of carbonation really begins to move the flavor around the mouth. You get a nice drying quality a few seconds in and then that goes away and it returns to that creamy vibe.
OVERALL: Probably the most unique beer I've had so far. Hard to describe but I love what i'm getting from it. It's kind of a mystery in some ways.

 915 characters

Photo of watermelonman
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured to a dark shade of almost orange and bronze. The head was enormous; it eventually died down but never went away. It's leaving a think and luxurious lace behind.

Alcohol comes through in the smell, just behind all that fruit and banana that one should expect. The taste has the banana flavor as well, with a great hop profile in the finish.

This is a really good beer, and well worth a try if nothing else.

 423 characters

Photo of gmfessen
3.81/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer is a slightly cloudy, orange topaz color with a frothy, white head. The smell is spicy and slightly fruity and a whiff of alcohol. The taste is interesting; the alcohol is apparent and creates a warming sensation. The flavor is spicy and of dark fruit. The mouthfeel is light in body with a sparkling carbonation and a dry, alcohol finish. Drinkability is decent, not my favorite Belgian by any means but a decent beer overall.

 474 characters

Photo of illeagle05
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of greyghost86
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of zaphodchak
3.6/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip; 1 inch of foamy ecru-white head that just stays and stays, and plenty of fizzing visible in the amber body.

Nose is tart, piney.

Taste follows nose , dry, slighly hoppy (for a Belgian) finish. Faint bitter tart apple. Not too much flavor, mild and subtle.

Mouthfeel is coarse, foamy. Hard to actually get a sip of liquid in; it's all foam. It kinda kills the taste; mostly foam and air.

Because it's so non-overpowering, drinkability is pretty good, except that the foam would eventually get hard to deal with.

 535 characters

Photo of mtrog313
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of Pug
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of EasyReader
5/5  rDev +18.8%

Photo of acrawf6
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 7/04
Best by 7/09

Pours out a very nice orangish-red amber, hazy enough to stop me from seeing through the beer. Nice slightly tan thick head on top. Great lacing.

Smell. A light sweetness, small honey smell. Also a little floral. But keeps this creamy sweetness throughout the aroma. Small smells of spices-cinnoman and coriander. A little yeasty.

Taste.Pretty dry. A bit sour and earthy. I do get a sugary taste like bubble gum you've chewed on for too long. Small cirtus notes, little lemon peel. Aftertaste is a little sour and dry.

Mouthfeel. Lots of carbonation, decent body (carbonation really blankets over it), nice balance.

Overall, a belgian classic. Alcohol not really noticable, and seems quite light, i think it would pair well with a nice light salad. good stuff.

 802 characters

Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.25/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Orangish, cloudy with big head

Aroma: Peppery, tart fruit

Taste: Fruit (gooseberry I guess, based on other reviews), bitter, herbal

Remarks: This is my least favorite of the Trappist Ales that I've had. It's not bad overall, but it clearly doesn't compete with, say, Rochefort, Chimay or Westvleteren. The Abbey is a very interesting place to visit, BTW.

Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

 435 characters

Photo of StoutItOutLoud
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330mL bottle to tulip. Bottled 1-23-2013. Consumed 1-9-2014.

whoa. with one pry of the cap, this one starts to gush. the yeast's been working for the last year. after taking a few seconds to clean up my counter, i start the pour, slowly. gigantic light tan head, orange rust body, very hazy. the head takes a while to recede

the aroma's solid. lemon funk, overripe banana. very bretty, which makes this one stand out from other bpas.

very pleasant mix of spice and fruit, all thanks to the brett. vinous as well, alcohol and hop bitterness with warming

dry, not as much carbonation as expected. quite drinkable

this is a great example of the style, made unique by the brettanomyces

 686 characters

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 4.21 out of 5 with 5,428 ratings
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