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

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,301 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:
2,301
Ratings:
5,265
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
18.9%
 
 
Wants:
336
Gots:
853
For Trade:
11
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Reviews: 2,301 | Ratings: 5,265
Photo of Graebner
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an orange-brown color with a finger+ of fine white head that diminishes slightly but never entirely. The head is very fine, but merengue-like...if you tip the glass, the head will take a long time to slide back down the side. Interesting.

Smell is of esthers, cherries, smoked meat?, black tea, some diacetyl, fresh mown grass, malty goodness. This smells really good.

Taste is really not as complex as I was expecting, but is excellent nonetheless. Grapes, a smoky note, delicate malts that melt in your mouth, curds, and slight alcohol noticable. This beer was somewhat too cold when poured, I expect that as it warms up and sheds a bit of its lively carbonation it will improve in both mouthfeel and taste.

The mouthfeel is also very good. The carbonation, though high, doesn't hit too soon, and the diacetyl gives it a very smooth feeling as you sip. The CO2 hits in the back, and the alcohol has a cleansing effect that leaves your mouth feeling refreshed, even with the loads of malts that were obvious up front.

Overall this is a terrific brew. It's better slightly warm...if you order it, have the patience to let it warm up a bit (I prefer around 55).

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Photo of mattcrill
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle inspection: Bottled 24/01/2006; Best by 24/01/2011

Aroma: Funky Belgian yeast, spices (coriander, pepper, clove), a touch of alcohol, ripe fruit notes that remind me of pears and white grapes.

Appearance: Effervescent and cloudy ice tea color with a huge white head. The head settles nicely and retains well.

Flavor: More spicy notes (coriander, cloves, black pepper), pears, green apples, and white raisins.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light, bubbly, drying alcohol notes and just a touch of astringency at the end. Could have used a little more body and less carbonation here and it would have put this beer over the top for me. My tongue just couldn't get over the carbonation.

Overall impression: Part of my continuing quest to sample all the classic commercial examples. This one was interesting, well crafted, and worthy of it's reputation. However, with the price tag, it won't be in the regular rotation. A nice Belgian Specialty Ale that was an enjoyable change of pace for me.

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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 mcarroll10177
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a bottle into an imperial pint glass ( i need a chalce)

A- copper ale with a huge white fluffy head with lots of bubbles and tons of carbination

S- some sweet malts but it is faint not much of a nose here

T- sweet with some fruity overtones and some spice nice

M- wonderful full of carbination yet still light this adds to drinkablity

D- a wonderfully drinkable beligum pale sweet up front with tons of complexity

Notes- tons of carbination and a very nice introduction into the world of Beglum pale ales

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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 BDTyre
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Burnt orange colour, but the head is a little too aggressive on this one. At the end, it pours out of the bottle to thick and actually plugs it up.

Dry, some what sour smell on this. Hints of spice, but almost a farmhouse scent to it...earthy aromas, cloves and cinammon.

The taste is savoury, rather than sour. Definite spice notes, with a hint of tartness. Cinammon and cloves present, but not as detectable in the taste as opposed to the scent. No malt sweetness here, and the hops are only present in traces amounts.

My bottle seems a bit too carbonated. Its been a while since I've had a trappist ale, but this some how seems a bit on the fizzy side.

Drinkable, but sometimes comes off as too savoury and can be a bit harsh on the tongue.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Prototypical belgian head...barely off white full of creamy bubbles two fingers high. The body is a cloudy maroon color with lots of little bubbles steaming from various locations on the glass.

S: Oak, soury pungent, clove like yeast, honey, floral and some citrus.

T: One of the more confusing beers on the market. Surprises around every corner. Begins very biscuity, earthy. Very dry, almost salty. Bready flavors then slink towards a more grain/wheat flavor. Bittering hops make a play and finish the palate with an extremely dry complexity. Not as sour as the nose would lead you to believe. Aftertaste is somewhat grainy.

M: Medium to full body with the classic Belgian carbonation.

D: In a blind taste test this beer could pass for a saison, easy. This beer is a trip.

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Photo of wolffman17
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
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 gonzo138
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- nice coppery color, frothy head that was slow to dissapate, good lacing
S - Fruity aroma, light hoppy smell as well
T - sweet, a little hoppy, the fruity taste reiminded me a little of apples
M - nice carbonation, with dry nice feel
D- Very drinkable, smoother than some of the stronger belgian ales, which can really be viewed as a plus or a minus I felt it complemented the taste, goes down lightly

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Photo of Damian
3.24/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a hazy, dark, copper-amber with a dense foamy head. Tons of bubbly lacing which fell nicely along the glass.

Smell consisted of intense yeast, hops and alcohol.

Taste was sharp. Very sour on the front end. Hoppy with hints of citrus and mild spices. Alcohol flavor was overwhelming and unexpected (seeing as this beer was - according to the bottle - only 6.9% ABV). Huge, hoppy, bitter aftertaste.

Dry mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation.

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Photo of jettjon
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Highs: Appearance, flavor
Lows: None

Pours a coppery orange brown with no bubbles beneath a thick whitish-tan head. Fades slowly away leaving good heavy lacing on the wine glass. Nose is quite unusual… asparagus? Dusty? Yes, I was surprised to find others describing this one as “dusty,” but there you have it. Taste is in the same vein. Initially, it’s semi-sweet, rapidly turning dry. There’s a definite sour fruit flavor, something like sour grapes or wild grapes such as muscadine. It’s tart, sour, and a bit oaky. Finishes very crisp and dry, almost like a clean red wine. Mouth is watery, fairly bubbly/sparkling, but borderline thin. Drinkability for me is not so great as I am not a fan of sour beers, but if you don’t mind the taste, it’s probably quite drinkable.

Overall: Definitely an unusual brew, and one that not everyone will enjoy. However, it’s well put together and definitely worth a try.

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Photo of bonbright7
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is great ale. I could drink this all night and I have an idea it is a step higher on draft. It poured so well into a fat ivory head, at least 3" tall, before settling in parts, but never really going away. The amber red body had that familiar shake of its tail before my first taste exploded with unusual qualities of bitters, dryness, and light fruits. The taste lingered long after I put the glass down to note various flavors as well as the alcohol content.

This Trappist ale would be superb with broiled or bbq'd pork chops and a little apple sauce on the side.

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Photo of kimcgolf
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

While I have been rating beers for only a short time, I have been DRINKING beers of all kinds for 35 years. The taste and finish was so good, that I refrained from drinking or eating for a long while after, to make it last. I plan to try another Orval some time soon to make sure I am consistent in my opinion, but as of right now, I have to say that Orval is the best beer I have ever had.

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Photo of klewis
4.56/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 5/11/05; Best before 5/11/10
Labeled as 6.9% ABV

A: Pours a hazy copper with a massively huge foamy head. The head subsides into a thick dollop of foam on top, leaving lots of lacing.

S: Unlike most other Belgians that I've had. Aromas of tropical fruit and candi sugar.

T: Somewhat hoppy up front followed by minty flavors and a spicy finish. A very unique taste that I can't get enough of.

M: Medium-full bodied with tons of carbonation.

D: Defnitely the most unique of the Trappist beers that I've had to date, and my favorite, I think. The carbonation is a bit rough on the palate, but otherwise, this is a fine brew.

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Photo of kgotcher
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled on 6/24/2005 so almost it's first birthday.

Pours with a big fizzy head, very clear (first pour was clear but clouded up on 2nd pour due to yeast), beautiful orange tinted color. Aroma has distinct sour and slightly funky belgium smell. Complex blend of fruity esters with clove and raisins.

Dry mouthfeel (almost powdery), high carbonation and a tart dry finish. Crackery aftertaste.

Taste is tart apples, strong clove, spicy, and dried fruit.. Kind of crackery malt flavor leaves a very strange feeling in your mouth. I actually feel thirsty!

I've had this beer a few times and always enjoy it. Flavor is a bit different from other trappists but mouthfeel definately can be a little distracting. Still it is a trappist ale with a very nice flavor and aroma.

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Photo of soultrain
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an Orval chalice.

A-Orange beer, beige head, murky with small yeast chunks. Looks pretty damn good sitting in the old Orval chalice, yup. 1/2" head settles to 1/4" in a minute. No lacing.
S-Enticing sourness in the aroma. Some alcohol, too. Kinda like a cologne made with dried orange peels.
T-Well hopped, nice bitterness, earthy, a bit sour, but most of all dry. Dryyy in a real good way. The yeast has a peppery spicy flavor to it, and the drying alchohol finish and the "Orval burps" that result make this one of the most unique brews to ever cross my path, lips, palette, etc.... This beer blooms as it warms, of course, and in my experience with this beer, no two sips are the same, and no two bottles are identical. What a chameleon! I find this beer hard to describe, actually, as words like "dust" and "dirt" and "Musty like an old mansion" keep entering my skull as I'm drinking....
Final yeast pour turned the last inch of beer to mud; a tasty mud, though.
M-This particular bottle had an over-ample, fizzy, champagne-like carbonation that I hadn't noticed before in previous bottles. Light body.
D-Unusual beer to say the least. When I have it with dinner, I tend to forget what I'm eating and dwell on this perplexing beer...is this good? Healthy?

CRUX: UNIQUE AND FASCINATING BELGIAN BREW HERE. Each bottle is an aesthetic experience: well worth the sample. I can remember having better bottles of this brew in the past, so I'm looking forward to my next encounter with this brew already.

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

Poured an orange amber with a massively thick 3 finger head. Remind me to be less agressive next time.
Aromas are fresh, light fruits and candy...oranges, tangerines..sweet citrus and a touch of melon.
<still waiting for the head to die down a bit so I can taste it>
Ok...10 minutes and I'm now stirring the top with my finger to kill some of the foam.
Taste is extremely dry citus peel. I've never tasted a beer as dry as this. This could very easily substitute for a dry white wine yet with much more flavor and depth.
Mouthfeel very creamy with the tiny carbonation that almost keeps your tongue from touching the roof of your mouth. Almost creamy.
Very dry refreshing beer.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in 2/2005. Pours an orange/amber color with a magnificant looking head that leaves beautiful lacing. The aroma is floral, sour and bit spicey. Taste is dry and crisp that is highly carbonated, spicey, grassy and tart. This has got to be one of the dryest tasting beers I have ever had. While it is a good beer, I admit that it is just not my thing. It was just a little too dry for me and I didn't particularly enjoy the earthy/grassy taste.

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Photo of Phocion
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I originally reviewed this just over nine years ago, let's see how my tastes have changed. New review July 10, 2015. Bottle dated 11/14 and poured into an Orval chalice. Dark golden-brown and a big, frothy, and long-lasting off-white head that leaves thick sheets of lacing along the glass.

Aroma is a nice balance of hops and yeast. Bright fruity esters and a nice floral Continental hoppiness. Subtle biscuit malts and a touch of funk and crisp tartness. Citrus and tropical esters.

Flavor is very hop-forward despite its eight months of age. Grassy, floral, and peppery. Candi sugar and typical Belgian fruity yeast also adds to a caramel maltiness. What really makes this beer unique is the perfectly-implemented level of Brett funk, which is assertive but far from overpowering. Ever-so-subtle light acidic tartness on the finish. Excellent balance.

Medium bodied and with a quite creamy mouthfeel, but doesn't feel too full. Crisp and refreshing finish.

I haven't had this beer in years, and that's a damned shame. Even in today's over-saturated craft market, this thing is still a world-class beer. Even better than I remember from my first ancient review of it.



(Original review: 6/16/2006/Rated 4.03)
Bottle dated 10/05, so this is about 9 months old. Poured into an Orval chalice. Thick golden-brown with a huge foamy head and great retention.

Malty and fruity overtones, especially pear. Quite an alcohol scent as well, though we are approaching 7% (the site lists this at 6.2, but my bottle says 6.9).

Very dry and earthy taste. Alcohol content is evident as well, not as well hidden as most Belgians. The pears are coming through as an undertone, and it is neither as fruity or malty as the scent.

Medium-bodied. Very dry and crisp on the palate.

This is a good treat, but definitely not a session beer. Very dry and fairly high ABV. Overall I'd recommend it, but not more than one or two a night.

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

Sampled at a Belgian restaurant/bar in Cape Town, I think this one has become a new favorite.

Appearance: pours a honey-amber color, good head, some lacing.

Smell: floral, fresh hops aromas - this isn't your typical Belgian! I'm surprised by how forward the hops are. There's some sweetness in here, too, but not overwhelming like some others I've had lately. Not so much else going on aroma-wise, though.

Taste: very nice and complex. Sweet at the front, then has a grassy fresh hops flavor before finishing on a fig note.

Mouthfeel: ahh, nice and dry - refreshing in a Belgian, and very unlike the others I've had recently. Carbonation is good, and the aftertaste is nice.

Drinkability: I liked this one a lot. Many Belgians are too sweet for me, but this one was dry, had a real hop presence, and was overall very drinkable.

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Photo of barleyman
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 11.2 oz brown bottle with a born on date of 5/10/2005. Pours a hazy dark amber with an incredible dark white, rocky head that lasts a few minutes before receding. Sourish smell with hints of pine, yeast and bread. Taste includes all of the smell flavors with a hint of candy sugar and clove. The mouthfeel is a bit thin for a trappist, but Orval is one of the lightest bodied trappist beers being a pale ale. Drinkability is one of the best because of the light body. I have been drinking this beer for over 20 years, since it was the only one available in my area, and a wonderful consistency over that time span.

Just a thought,

barleyman

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Photo of WMBierguy
3.91/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer pours a hazy straw gold, with a thick, thick head. The head stayed with the beer throughout, leaving thick lacing on the side of the glass and chunks of foam on the bottom of the glass. The taste was good, but less than remarkable, slightly weaker than most trappists that I've had. Overall, it was an enjoyable beer. My only problem with it was the cost: I paid $5.50 for a 12 oz. bottle.

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Photo of VoodooBrew
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"Bottled on 04.01.2005"

Now here we have an interesting beer...

The nose initially reminds me somewhat of a Gueuze, with its musty, candyish notes -- although of course not nearly as over the top. A dose of hop flavor and bitterness greets the palate, joined by a distinctly Belgian funkiness. The finish and aftertaste demonstrate firm bitterness, certainly more so than what we're accustomed to finding in a Trappist brew.

As the beer warms and I take more sips, Orval's flavors begin to achieve greater harmony, and the beer's bitterness and muted tartness begin to play deftly off one another, with the former stepping up in prominence. Each successive sip offers a new perspective, with spice, malt, fruit, and floral notes all taking turns.

Orval is certainly a unique beer, surprising in its flavor profile, and rewarding in its rapid evolution. I do suspect this is a beer that grows on you more and more...

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Photo of Dewey0603
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours a clear amber with a large white foamy head. The smell is pretty strong with what seems like winter spices,coriander,cinamon, and also floral scents, lemon, and pepper. The taste has a almost sour spicy flavor. Coriander. pepper, lemon, and malt are all present in this beer. The m/f is light and all the numerous flavors mix very well. A damn good beer that shouldn't be missed.

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Photo of wedge
4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on: 07.10.2004

Beautiful clouded orange color with an explosive, rocky head of off-white foam. Very flowery smell...perfumy even, with faintly sweet dry lemon aromas and coriander - very different yet highly appealing. Complex "farm-like" fruit taste, lightly spiced yeast, phenols, some tart citrus in the middle, hay...again curiously tantalizing. Lively and soft in the mouth with a long, crisp dry finish.

This is a complex belgian for sure full of all kinds of unique floral and perfume tones. This would be a great summer beer. Two years old seems to be a fine time to be drinking this. Good stuff!

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,265 ratings.
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