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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BA SCORE
4.2/5
Exceptional
5,490 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:
#1,130
Reviews:
2,367
Ratings:
5,490
pDev:
12.38%
Bros Score:
4.92
 
 
Wants:
360
Gots:
958
Trade:
11
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,490 |  Reviews: 2,367
Photo of chicagoabbot
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz into a snifter...pours a big golden yellow with a monster head, even with a gentle pour...head on this is actually a bit much, even for the style. More hop character in the nose than any Trappist I've had before and more than most Belgian brews, with a sweet yeast funk that is quite enjoyable. The hops come through on the tongue too--definitely more bitter than most of its peers. I can think of a few other Belgian beers this bitter, but not under 7% abv. Mouthfeel is great. I really like this beer and recommend everyone try it at least once. As awesome as it is, it's still probably the least favorite Trappist that I've had (which doesn't really say anything bad about this beer, just a comment on the general superiority of the Trappist brews).

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Photo of chocosushi
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz -> Tripel Karmeliet tulip

A ~ Pours well. Soft pillowy head. Auburn.

S ~ Dry hay and wispy black pepper

T ~ Grapes, Plums, Dry Hops, White Pepper, Fresh cut hay & a hint of yeast

M ~ Very crisp bitter brew, but smooth smooth mouthfeel. Love swishing it.

D ~ Would gladly drink a bomber if provided. Seriously would drink so much of very fine sessionable ale.

Prost!

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Photo of heygeebee
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow.... Pours a bomb of a head, around 4 fingers - stays fluffy white. Took 3-4 pours to do the bottle into the glass. Taken from fridge and waited 20 mins before drinking. Is that 12-14 ? hmmm....

Aromas of candi yeast, citrus (mandarins) and some cooking apples. Quite strong and dry, if a smell can be described as dry.

Taste is more bitter than most trappist beers. Acidic taste lingers Hops are there but do not dominate. A little soapy on the back palate. Incredibly complex.

Mouthfeel is crisp. And it's fizzy and quite sharp.

Not my favourite of the trappist ales, much drier and more citrus than it counterparts.

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Photo of Homebrew35
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

$5 a single dated 4/2010
Pours a huge 4 fingers worth of off white head. Hazy golden body. Nice lacing a good cap remains. Very appealing and typical of a nice pale ale.
Smell is quite interesting. Lemon, citrus, wet cardboard, touch of white grapes, floral notes of lillys and lavender. In the finish theres a sharp note of lactic acid, it doesn't stick around for long but adds an interesting note. This is very complex as all the flavors play well together.
Mouth feel is very dry yet very pleasing. High carbing.
Overall this is a good beer, the smell is the best part.
I'd get this again to have once in a while.

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Photo of bfields4
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Very large but tight white head great retention and lace. Clear filtered golden body.

Funky Belgian yeast and spices, green apples, and lemony citrus.

Acidic bitterness citrus and lemony tastes present throughout. Apples and spices are present here as well. A nice dry wine-like finish.

Nice complex beer. A very special brew. High carbonation. The booze is present, but it only adds to the complexity and nice dry finish.

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Photo of STKPICR0720
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This brew truly lived up to my expectations. You can understand why this brew has stood the test of time. If it isn't broke don't fix it and the monks at Orval have heeded the saying.

This brew has a bottled on date and a best before date. The bottled on date was 22/04/2009 and the best before date was 22/04/2009

This brew poured golden brown, with a hint of tartness and tart fruit taste. The hops are here but not over powering. The 6.9%abv is just perfect. This brew is mind blowing though. You expect alot from a trappiste and this brew delivers. I would drink this before all other trappiste. My hats off to all who have made this brew as they are deserving of a standing O.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First had: bottle at Eulogy, Philly, PA

You can't go wrong with this trappist ale. Pours into a signature chalice, a golden brown with a nice finger or two (or more) of foamy white head. Retains well, with nice lacing. Tends to be a bit more on the fizzy side, but it's tolerable in that regard. Floral hops in the nose, and lots of fruit. Yeasty background flavor; up front is pears, bananas, allspice, white wine, slight tartness; grassy quality, with a bitter, dry finish. Medium mouthfeel, and very drinkable.

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Photo of CashMoneyVagrant
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
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 angusdegraosta
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have to give them credit: my first pour of the Orval filled the ENTIRE glass with foam. It took me four or five minutes of very slow pouring to get it right. One of the most impressive heads I've seen. I didn't pour it right afterward, either. If you avoid pouring the yeast on the bottom, the color is bright yellow with orange tint. Once the yeast goes in, as I did it, it looks deep and hazy. Oh well. I smell grass, grapes, and citrus - great aroma. The malt and hops work well together. The hops are assertive, but don't detract from the complexity. This is one of those beers where you can notice additional flavor as it warms a bit. Mildly tart and a little drier than other Belgian beers I've had.

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Photo of mudbug
4.73/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the curvy 12 oz. dated bottle (19 5 2010) into a large wine goblet results in a hazy copper body under what must be one of the most impressive heads in beerdom, hugh craggy clouds of white foam that oh so slowly recedes leaving sticky chunks and lace sliding down the side of the glass.
Aroma is strong, Lemon zest, wet hay,orange peelings, clove a slightly astringent note.
This tastes great,tartness, slight funk,a sweet middle then a dry finish, the whole concerto of complexity, some flavors get stronger as it warms keeping every sip a new experience. Wow, just incredible.
There is no doubt that this is a perfected beer, Bravo!

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle (best before 17/11/20, why wait?) served in a glass chalice.

L - hazed amber color with a creamy white head that left lots of sticky lacing.

S - light 'grape jolly rancher' aroma.

T - nice fruity taste upfront with Beglian yeast and spices dancing on the tongue.

F - medium bodied with a effervescent feel.

O - a very good beer.

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Photo of secondtooth
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is my review of a 6-year old bottle! Feared it would be skunked, but alas, I am lucky to have enjoyed this one.

Cloudy amber, with fair bubbles and slight lace. A little sediment.

Tempting citrus spice nose. Maybe some honey and yeast, too.

Taste is delicious! I get some tart orange, some flowery sweetness, and a light wheat-bubblegum-clove finish. A unique and wonderful experience. A great beer!

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Photo of JoeAmerican77
3.15/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Huge amounts of carmel centered head atop a beautiful dark orange liquid, nice and hazy. Head keeps growing and will not go away, slightly annoying.

Yeast and mandarin orange fill the nose, also smell brett and chalk

Brett for sure but no sourness which should accompany the bug, orange flintsones multi vitamin, chalky malts. I expected this flavor profile to be huge and intense yet it denies that experience and gives a more subtle approach.

Mouthfeel is foamy and light bodied, very carbonated

Overall it is a good beer. Not a great one. Frankly I am disappointed, but thats what I get by expecting the stars from every trappist brew I taste.

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Photo of MadCat
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

330ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Light brown, a little hazy, beautiful voluminous tan head that takes its sweet time to dissipate, and leaves quite a bit of lacing.

Smell: Lemony, a little floral, and a little malt. Some fruit and tartness in there

Taste: Complex, with quite a few subtle hints of different things in there. Some hop bitterness, some lemon, some earthiness, some malt. Tart fruit

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, perfect carbonation, slightly dry finish.

Overall: This thing is amazing. Worth every penny. Truly special, and I wish I could afford to drink this regularly. Glad its something that I can find on a shelf instead of having to jump through hoops to get it.

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Photo of alleykatking
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.2oz bottle. Had one the other day and cracked open another one today.

A- Poured a golden copper color with the orange hues not being to over the top. Three finger off white head shows amazing retention. Stick web lacing left on the sides of the glass.

S- Funky brett comes out right off the bat. Darker fruits come through next with some lighter bready malts in the mix. The yeast comes in with a light peppery spicey aroma to it. Hops really never come through more than in the ending of the aroma which showed some earthy dirty quality to it.

T- Darker fruits come through in the front of the beer with a little bit of orange in there as well. Brett funk come into play mid beer along with strong bready pale malts. Toward the ending there seems to be a clinging feel of the flavors which show off belgian yeast flavor along with light clove and peppery notes. Very light hints of earthy dirty hops come through again and all this ends with a funky alcohol flavor to it.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Darker fruits light funk and pale malts are left on the palate. Aftertaste is alcohol, funk, and yeasty pepper notes. Flavors were very well put together as nothing was stop and go about the flavors overall. No off flavors were present but if there was I wouldn't know with the brett this brewed with. High alcohol drying left on the palate after each sip.

O- This was a good beer. Nothing over the top and I respect it for that. A nice trappist beer with a little something different than others. ABV didn't seem to distract me from drinking an entire almost 12oz's of this.

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Photo of TheWhiskerReview
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Voluptuously curved bottle. Bottled on 5/10/09. Best before 5/10/14.

Pours a hazy coppery-orange with some noticable sediment and a fluffy, frothy head so massive it interrupted my pour. Consistent retention and big soapy lace.

The nose emphasizes tart fruit (lemon, pear, touch of orange marmalade) with faint touches of bready pale malt, spring flowers, yeast, honey and toasted caraway seeds. Incredibly complex with a remarkably alluring brightness.

The palate also emphasizes the tartness though not enough to call this a 'sour'. Fruity notes are joined by a bigtime hoppiness (for a Belgian) with more flavors of dried straw and spicy yeast. The long, herbal finish is immensely dry and resinous to the point of being tannic.

What a remarkable brew. So much flavor packed in that sexy bottle. Pour this as an apertif in place of Champagne. This is as high class as beer gets.

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Photo of nickshep7
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
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 indesertum
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

took out bottle from fridge. waited 10 minutes. poured in a tulip goblet.

very nice reddish amber color. clean white three finger foam. head retention is looong. 7, 8 min plus. nice lacing.

aroma is fantastic. lots of floral, fruity, light citrus notes. reminds me of wildflower honey

great lively carbonation. all the aromas are there. plums? tangerines? grapefruit? decent hops that are well balanced with everything else. the yeast adds a nice richness, roundedness, depth to everything

mouthfeel is rich from the liquid, but very lively from the carbonation. very refreshing.

overall, this is top 3 trappist. i've had all the chimay, westmalle, orval, rochefort offerings (ie the widely available ones), and i would choose this over a lot of them many many times. damn good beer

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Photo of dvb
2.67/5  rDev -36.4%
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 zrab11
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a nice orange color with some golden hues. 2 finger Fluffy white head that take 2 minutes or so to dissapate. Nice lacing

S- Has a very malty, yeasty smell to it with some dried friut or banana like smells

T- Has a velvety cirtus yeasty beginning followed by a earthy banna dried fruit taste then finish's with a nice sweetness

M-Medium bodied with a nice velvet smooth feel in the mouth. Unlike any beer ive had

D-Overall this was a very interesting beer. It has such a nice feel in the mouth and the flavors all went well together. I would love to have this on draft sometime and will get it in a bottle again.

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Photo of alamere
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay Chalice..
Bottled on 05-2010, poured on 05-2011.

A - A good looking beer, a bit more amber than I'd expected but pours a huge head with lacing all over the glass and foam lasting throughout the glass. Generally it looks a bit like an American Pale ale but with higher carbonation and champaign style bubbles.

S - Smells a bit of plum, clove and fruit.. no discernible hop aroma to me at this point.

T - The beer really shines in the taste dept... Starts off a little tart and then follows with a fruitiness and med body with a bit of funk or horse blanket or whatever you want to call it. A dry finish and lasting aftertaste with a warming alcohol note in the very end.

M - It's smooth, and soft and 'balanced' (whatever that means). Mouthfeel is really fantastic on this beer..

O - It's certainly a good to great beer, maybe not my personal favorite trappist beer but absolutely in the high class category.
I would wonder if the best buy date of 2015 isn't a bit hopeful though?? Not a super high alcohol offering and by '15 this would certainly be a completely different beer. If you like the belgian funk in your beer.. this is a great example though. Certainly brings along visions of the European countryside and has a tartness, dirt and attitude about it that doesn't taste contrived in any way...
I know that's a strange statement but if you've tried a lot of other attempts at a beer like this.. you probably know what I'm talking about.

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Photo of Ryan011235
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an E&J Cask & Cream glass on 5/3/11

Bottled on: 1/6/10
Best before: 1/6/15

Whoa, there! carbonation. Boasting the loudest pop I've heard from a capped beer and a rushing, fizzy head that hits the two inch mark while cresting the top of the glass. The head immediately crackles away, large bubbles bursting throughout. After several minutes the aftermath finds sporadic chunks of lace and a thin layer resting o'er a faded, golden/amber colored beer. Swirling brings back a solid finger head and better lace.

The aroma seems fairly subdued but has enough going on to keep it interesting. A damp, Brett mustiness is entrenched in aromas of prairie grass, making for a wet grass notion. Light fruit notes, too: apple and pear. Soft floral tones. Swirling draws forth more of the mustiness. Faint suggestions of earth and spice.

The Brett character is far more apparent to taste and shifts through flavors that call to mind waterlogged tree stumps in a boggy marsh; stale air in a flooded basement; chalk; dust and dirt (the latter of which props up the finish and lingers). Intermittently woven there in are notes of grass, orange rind and lemon zest, apple and spices (perhaps a bit of clove and white pepper). Dry cracker hints. Stray fruit notions arise once or twice.

The feel is between medium and light. Despite the depth of funky flavors, this critter maintains a bit of crispness in body. To that end, my biggest gripe is carbonation; it's overly vigorous and washes over the flavor profile. It's something of a chore shaking through the fizziness to fully appreciate the intricacies of the beer. As mentioned before, the finish is dirty. The aforementioned chalk, dust and dirt certainly play into the fell, as well as the taste.

Aside from the overbearing carbonation (took three aggressive swirls to tame the second pour) this is pretty enjoyable. Since it's readily available around these parts it might be interesting to see if I can find different bottlings to compare.

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

(11.2oz bottle-bottled 5.19.2010). Pours a hazy apricot color with a chunky white head and active carbonation. Nice lacing. The beer is almost one year old and seems to have lost its hop aroma. I’m mostly getting some sour, funkiness with some berries. Taste is tart-not quite sour-but the hops are there, albeit faint. Medium bodied with creamy texture. Finish is bitter and dry. My tastes have changed a great deal since I last had an orval and I like it much more now. It’s taken a loooong time for me to get into sour (or sourish) beers

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Photo of suspect
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz Orval bottle into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A: Cloudy orange color with golden hues. Humongous white fluffy head. Took me at least 5 minutes and about 4 top-offs to pour the whole beer into the glass. Extremely sticky lacing.

S: Fruity overtones - watermelon and some banana mixed with bready yeast and sweet malt.

T: Lemony/citrusy followed by yeasty and sweetness that's indescribable until you taste it. It's an interesting mix of fruit/funk/earth/yeast/malt that's quite unlike any beer I've ever had.

M: Frothy, creamy which is to be expect from such a large-headed beer. Aftertaste lingers forever and ever. Literally 10 minutes later it feels like I just swallowed.

O: This is quite the interesting drink that will have to be spaced over time. I will go back to this one...definitely a "one and done" for a while...

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Photo of birderbeerer
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy golden with foamy, over the top head.

Complex and rich aroma. Sour bread and white wine scent in it.

Wonderfully complex taste as well. Bready, spiced pears, flowers. Sharp edge from the carbonation and maybe an herbal hop. Wonderful. Refreshing and fulfilling.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 5,490 ratings