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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BA SCORE
4.2/5
Exceptional
5,480 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:
#1,119
Reviews:
2,361
Ratings:
5,480
pDev:
12.38%
Bros Score:
4.92
 
 
Wants:
361
Gots:
953
Trade:
11
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,480 |  Reviews: 2,361
Photo of SteveB24
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of jmryan8
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.99/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass. Bottled 4/1/2005, best before 4/1/2010. Yeah, like I had a chance of waiting that long.

Hazy orange in color with a massive fluffy white head. I mean thick and white and looking like an arctic glacier as is slooowly fades. Lacing is phenomenal.

Aroma of ripe pears, some peppery hops and clove. Real nice. Taste reveals a sourness that it not evident in the aroma. Finishes dry and sour, and not at all unpleasant.

Fairly light bodied, and dries the mouth out a bit. A pretty good sipper. I'll be nursing this one for sure.

 555 characters

Photo of OneDropSoup
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 1/6/10.

Poured into my complementary Orval chalice: Two fingers creamy, rocky, buoyant foam that drops to a finger & retains oh so well. Looks like a cloud. Body is a hazy, translucent burnt orange with brighter orange highlights.

Smell is wow. Overlaying brett character that's pointed but not too sharp, like a tart key lime pie, freshly mown grass, herbs, a little cherry, & that specifically Belgian grapiness in so many of their yeasts. Underlying are mildly creamy tones, a little graham cracker sweetness, even cocoa hints now & again. So complex, I want to sink into this. And that dryness keeps bringing me back. Fantastic.

A sip starts off with some of the spiciness & grape qualities but quickly dries out & becomes herbal & mineral, with a character that I've had before in Orval that I can only describe as "stony," like licking a rock. Not bad, just interesting - it has a solid, dry bitterness to it. Unexpected at first, but it mellows & becomes pretty enjoyable, with some mildly orange sweetness backed by a slightly bitter zest. Mild tonic note.

Mouthfeel is medium-full, very smooth & velvety. That dryness sticks around & hangs on the palate.

Man, this is one complex beer. Some very subtle notes hanging back in this to pay attention to. I can't say I loved every movement I went through with it, but it was all about the ride, & the ups & downs all added to up to a great outcome. This is definitely a once-in-a-while kind of experience, & I wouldn't want to overdo it, but I'll be looking forward to that next "once-in-a-while."

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Photo of atigerlife
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a Orval chalice.

I've had this beer quite a few times over the years and decided it was finally time to write a review. Here goes nothin...

Pours a beautiful opaque orange/brown color with a wonderful creamy off-white head. Head has good lasting strength. Very beautiful sitting in the Orval chalice.

The nose is quite spicy, with hints of many herbs: orange, pepper, and other aromas I couldn't quite pick up. Quite a "refreshing" and curious aroma.

The taste is very complex and spicy. Hints of coriander, mint, pepper, etc. Some decent hops and quite a dry finish. A "crisp" beer. The amount of flavors make this hard to describe.

The mouthfeel is quite cleansing with a medium body. Overall, I found this to be a very distinctive beer that is nicely refreshing. But, as much as I like this beer, I'm not sure how many I could drink. Not really a session beer. The thing that I like about this beer, its complexity, also makes it slightly less drinkable. Not sure if that makes sense. I also think a food match would be challenging [a few cheeses came to mind, but not much else]. Anyway, a wonderfully unique beer.

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Photo of JohnTurano
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Photo of poskok
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of zachpaschal
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Momon
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of McMatt7
4.76/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of pottergator
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of dnichols
3.96/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My BA buddy rdunham shared a couple of bottles with me. The 330 ml capped bottle was poured into a stemless wine glass.

A: I poured a hazy washed out orange body with a robust white head of about two fingers and dense lacing.

S: It smelled most directly of creamy lightly tasted malts and bready white yeast with a large splash of orange and spices. There was also a touch of grassy aroma that seemed out of place.

T: It began with a blast of creamy and smooth sweet malts with a zing of spices and carbonation that was peppery and refreshing. There were light undertones of sweet oranges. It finished clean and warm with little aftertaste.

M: It was medium to full bodied with lots of carbonation. It finished clean and warm with little aftertaste.

D: It is a bit full bodied and has a high ABV making this brew a poor candidate for a session beer. However, it is a pleasant enough BPA to enjoy with dinner or an occasional treat.

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Photo of jbphoto88
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first thing to notice is the giant aggressive white head. Full billowing white bubbles that pop and lace the glass as it recedes. The color is hazy orange with muted yellow highlights. A steady stream of bubbles feed the glorious cap.

Nose is very interesting. The yeastiness of your typical Belgian is there as are your bready, spiced and peppery scents. It's interesting because there is a little hay and farm scents lingering in the background and I don't hate that. I never thought I would describe a beer smelling like a farm and like it... weird!

Taste thankfully doesn't retain much of the farm flavors. I'm not going to lie, there is a hint of it, but not much. The real dominating flavor is lightly toasted grains mixed with crisp sour apples and a touch of peppery spices. All work amazingly well together and none really take center stage which is a good thing. This beer is complex yet balanced.

I can see people being confused and put off by this beer. It can't possibly be everyones cup of tea but I sure am enjoying it. The mouthfeel is sharply tart with a fierce dry finish. A fun bubbly, baby champagne like carbonation burns your tounge and just adds to an already pleasurable experience. A perfectly odd beer that might be exactly what your looking for or the worst you ever had. Either way it's a good find and one I wish I've tried sooner.

 1,368 characters

Photo of BigCheese
4.36/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle, bottlen on 8/1 drank on NYE 2011

A: Orange Cloudy, similiar to a hef but darker, lots of rising bubbles forming a huge white cloudy head. Left a wall of lacing. Impressive.

S:That distinct sweet belgian yeast smell, hard candy, some nutmeg maybe?, hints of orange rinds

T: Very complex, a lot going on, sugary pixie stick sweetness, some cloves/spice as well, a kiss of hops gives it a dry champagne like finish.

M: Really carbonated, has a crisp clean dryness to it that I liked, alcohol is not overly pronounced at all. Drinkable but a tad to sweet for me to have more than 1.

O: Really enjoyed this brew, although I have certainly enjoyed other beers more but I would say everyone should try this atleast once.

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Photo of csmrx7
3.71/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Caskaway
5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of Boo-urns
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of timtim
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

bottled on 7/5/07. i'm interested to see how this would taste in a few months, but i've had this one a few times and i always think it is too good. my favorite belgian pale ale to date. unique. golden orange with a white head that never goes away and leaves lots of good lace. smells of esters, malt, spice, lemony citrus, brett and hops. also has that artisanal barnyard thing that i love. like it came from mother earth's beerspring. tastes well balanced with all the same characteristics as the nose, but with a little hoppy/bitter finish. Really great, modest yet true, hop character. to me, this is near perfection. nice body, great mouthfeel. carbonation carries it through flawlessly.

edit - 8/19/2010... found a stash of these at my local harris teeter that are almost three years old. good luck finds them in perfect condition. i know the brewery thinks that they taste their best at six months, but these babies are awesome. real bretty funk and barn abound with a perfect balance of sweet, sour and bitter. really amazing. just had to add this: if i had to be stranded on a desert island with one beer, this would be it.

 1,132 characters

Photo of J_Dub
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured a semi-opaque amber color. No matter how you pour this beer it will produce a generous white head. Tons of lacing as the head dies down.

The nose is the strongest part of this brew. Fruity smell I can't quite place. Reminds me of a hefeweizen actually. Spicy notes dominate with floral and malty hints throughout. There's also a grassy, earthy yeast smell that is very pleasing.

The taste is a slight let down after the wonderful smell. Malt and spiciness right up front with just hint of floral and malt. The overall taste is similar to the nose but doesn't have all the complex layers. The end of the sip brings some grassy flavors but it is too watered down for my tastes. If you could just boost the flavors that are present it would put this beer into a higher plane. As it is, it's very good but misses just slightly.

The mouthfeel is just as expected from a belgian pale. High levels of carbonation. Nice clean and crisp finish.

Fantastic overall beer. Very drinkable and a good representation of the style. My only letdown was that the flavor wasn't as good as the smell led on (but still fantastic overall).

 1,127 characters

Photo of Kplummer82
3.96/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of GreenMountainBoy
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of jordanimal
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Grebdioz
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of jayhawk73
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orange color w/ a perfect 2 finger off-white head. This beer has a ton of carbonation! The smell is very interesting- citrus, fruit, and hops all make their presence known. The taste is an acquired taste, but I love it. It's very unique. A lot of hops, some citrus, spice and a slight hint of alcohol. Very dry finish, and a dry beer in general. Mouthfeel is good. You can feel the carbonation in your mouth, but it's not bothersome. Aftertaste lingers for a while as well. I probably wouldn't drink more than one of these at a time, but it's pretty easy to drink. Definitely a great beer, and one I will continue to buy from time to time. Not for everyone, but that's more for me...

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Photo of nhindian
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An interesting beer as it is only one of 7 Trappist beers in the world, and the only one to purposely use Brett to sour the beer.

A - The beer itself comes in a wide, unique bottle with the label strewn around the neck. Pours a light, goldenrod color with a deep amber middle. Builds a beautiful 3-fingered head that last for ages, and what doesn't stick around forms a nice, foamy cap. Intermittent lacing the glass.

S - The Brett really adds a ton of funk to this beer. The nose is all sour, barnyard, grassy funk with just a hint of the traditional Belgian yeast qualities. Fruity and spicy, this beer really mixes the senses keeps the nose guessing. Smells light and refreshing.

T - Taste is fruity, floral, and sour. The tart fruits shock the mouth, but the spice and orange bitterness cleanse the mouth and overall its moderately dry. Heavily flavored in a lemon, grass, herbal context and overall it has a pretty dense flavor profile. Unique and complex.

M - Mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied and ample carbonation. Lots of tiny bubbles rise to the surface to replenish the head and you can really feel it in the mouth.

D - Drinkability is moderate. The taste is light, dry, and crisp, with a relatively low ABV, but I can see the sour and fruitiness keeping this one from being night-long drink.

Overall I'm a bit torn on this one. I really appreciate the uniqueness of this, but I expected a bit more from a Trappist ale. It's not as complex as some of the darker Trappists, and if given at a blind tasting, I'd probably assume this to be an American take on the Wild style. I'm glad to have tried it but not sure if I'd seek it out in the future.

 1,665 characters

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 5,480 ratings