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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 jackndan
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Orval, Trappist Ale: In the handsome bud vase bottle. A deep reddish-orange colored beer, under a thick creamy head that was huge when it was first poured, but settled down to a quarter of inch head. Thick Belgian Lace coats the side of the glass with each sip.

The aroma is very distinctive, lemon, and a least yeast smell. The taste is terrific, but damn hard to describe. Very nice taste, almost lemony, with a little bit of yeast, but much more so. The mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy, with just a hint of carbonation. The aftertaste is pleasant, and very long lasting. I hear you either hate it or you love it, and I love it.

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Photo of marburg
4.78/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Oh, my Belgian sweet, how I love thee...

Orval is far and away the most unique -- for better or worse -- of all the Trappists. But it's unique in a good way -- not odd but, rather, treasured. Pours with a lovely color and a head that looks like a beautiful, rocky glacier. The aroma is really pretty strong -- revealing all sorts of wild fragrances like yeast, pine sap, a barn interior, and some fruity sweetness -- and permeates the air for a couple feet around you for the first minute or so.

And the taste. Goodness, I love it. I'm a big fan of beers with a bit of a tart edge to it, and this is just perfect. It has a sour, acidic quality to it while maintaining a high level of drinkability. While some friends of mine have described it as "tastes like a horse's ass," I find it engaging and unrestrained. How can you not like a beer that combines sweetness with an almost poisonous natural, vinegar sourness?

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Photo of Rocko
3.89/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

When I was in a Systembolaget store gazing over all the available beers a guy tipped me of this one, he said if I like Duvel I will like this one. Very well..need I say I bought it? ;)

Firstly, credits for the bottle, like already mentioned in the earlier reviews, it looks really neat. :) I was very suprised when I poured up this hazy orange fluid, it really looks like blood orange juice. The head was furious, I had to be really careful here. It wasn't too foamy though so it settled quickly. The smell is complex, a bit sour and fruity touch of bitter orange.

A huge bitternes is makes itself at home one the palate after a sip, and it dares to stay there for a long time too! How nice of it to stick around. ;) However I don't think I can rate this one over Duvel like Gusler did, this one rates a little lower imho. In the end however it's a nice ale, everyone should try this if they can get hold of it. Oh, and I payed a little over $2 for this bottle.

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Photo of Gusler
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a magnificent hazy deep orange, the head monstrous in size, creamy in its consistency and as it evanesces, leaves behind a satiny sheet of fine lace. The aroma of ripe bananas, yeast, sweet brown sugar with the malt underpinning it all makes this a real sniffers delight. Start malt and lightly sweet, the top slim in feel on the palate, biting in its acidity, the hops perky in their spicy bite, the aftertaste quite dry and long lasting. A real treat in all aspects and I prefer it to “Duvel”, and many other Belgians for that fact.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Definitely the lightest (in body and in flavor) of the trappist beers I've tried. Almost perfumy, flowery aroma and taste. Smells kind of like a liquor. Spicy, sweet and tangy. Quite unique and enjoyable, but a little too light for a Belgian. 6.9% ABV. Absolutely worth trying, and I can see why some people love this beer. But for $4.50 a bottle, it's not much of a bargain (when I can get Duvel, Westmalle, Unibroue, etc. for less). Note; This beer is terrific with food, my favorite time to drink Orval.

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

Presentation: 11.2 oz dark amber bottle with cap. Date stamped 26 06 2007. This seems to be a young bottle.

Appearance: Slightly cloudy, light amber beer with huge, thick, white foam that lasts long and leaves nice lace on the glass.

Smell: Malty, with alcohol noticeable. A hint of fruit (apples and pears). The aroma tickles the nostrils.

Taste: Dominant flavor is floral hops (aromatics), slight fruitiness, and a hint of oak. The finish is dominated by hop aromaticity and bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, crisp, well balanced. Modest carbonation, moderate body. Slightly astringent.

Drinkability: Very good. Clean and smooth. Though a tad more tart than I prefer.

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Photo of JorisP
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very thick white head, collapsing but stable.Beer typical orangey colour. Nose is bitter as in vegetable, spicey, flowery. Taste starts immediately quite bitter, combination of hops, flowers, and vegetable. There IS a balance by malt, hinting at sweetness withour ever becoming so. Retronasal aromas of mandarine-zest, hop shoots and olives, without the oil.
Carbonation just perfect: the beer has a milder form of 'Champenoise'-pearl forming, as made with naturally mildly crabonated springwater. Mouthfeel neither chewy, neither watery. No new aftertaste, bitterness lingers on. Drinkablility is second bar none: this is the ultimate Belgian session beer: it gives richness, depth and easy drinking, just as you prefer at the moment given. Unparallelled.

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Photo of proc
4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very good beer. Pours out to a cloudy, amber in the glass with a generous head. The aroma is the strong point of this beer. It combines essences of a fine liqueur with that of yeast and fruit. Taste is slightly spicy in the Belgium sort of way. Fairly high in carbonation. Finish is quite easy and invites another sip. Rather expensive, but a nice treat.

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Photo of beerluvr
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours with a rocky, craggy, long lived white head over hazy orangey/gold liquid. The nose is ultra fruity, clean and inviting. Taste is a flash of sweetness before a huge surge of hoppiness mixed with yeast fruitiness fills the mouth. A crisp and acidic mouthfeel gives an impression of light bodiedness. Finishes dry and bitter, complex in it's taste. The reason I chose to delve deeper into all beers Belgian. THE Trappist ale...just wish it wasn't so gosh-darned expen$ive. One of life's great luxuries!

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Photo of francisweizen
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

**Update**

I recently had an aged (2 year old) sample of this beer and the medicinal taste was in the background more...with the hops taking center stage!

The most interesting trappist beer, from the only single-beer(besides petite orval) trappist brewery. This pours a BEAUtIFUL orangeish amber colour with vast amounts of rocky, white, rich head. The taste is a bit of a let down though. It is spicy and very fruity, but also medicinal in it's alcoholic taste. The after-taste is dry and very bitter(which I like)but it does tend to have a chloroseptic or cherry robitusin after-taste. This is still an amazing and unique beer, with a perfect, creamy mouthfeel, and a nice drinkability factor.
Cheers!
F

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Photo of Naerhu
3.74/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark copper color, huge white head, with larger bubbles that I am used to on a Belgian. Massive hoppy, and floral fruity aroma like guava; do they even have guava in Belgium? Someone else said “botanical” which is a brilliant description. Aroma was so amazing I could smell it from 2 meters away. Palate was totally different from the nose. Totally complex palate that was with earthy, spicy, yet creamy. Yet for all this complexity, I was surprised how thin this beer was.

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Photo of jtw5877
4.7/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Complex stuff. Pours a reddish gold color, With a fat white head. A nice combination of wild yeast, malty body with a hop kick. Nice spiciness mixes with the yeastiness, and hopiness. An excellent beer. Belgian beers exist at a different plane than most beers I am used to, And this one is a personal favorite.

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This Trappist style ale is good - IT is not great but it is very good. Similar in character to the Chimay White. But I don't think is to be as good. Still a fine example of one of the few Trappist style Belgian ales left on earth though. This is a must try for the true Belgian fan. I would love to try it on tap someday.

Technical Info:
This brew gains its unusual orangey color from the use of three malts produced to its own specification. Its character has some acidity and spicy sage notes comes from its own single cell yeast in its bottle fermentation.

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Photo of bditty187
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, coppery-tawny-gold hue, a splendid color really, the head is absolutely massive, easily three fingers (on a soft pour no less). What a gorgeous ale! The retention is fantastic, similar to meringue, the very definition of perfect. It laces it thick rings, organized, chucky. The nose is impressive, bubblegum upfront, soft orange wedge candy too, and then hints of grapes and green apples, dashes of pepper, oily hops, and undercurrents of a barnyard. There is a lushness in the nose that I find unique, it is obviously hoppy but so damn soft with the fruitiness. It is very impressive, good potency as well. Inviting. On the palate the hoppiness is assertive and bitter. This is coupled with an amazing dryness that allows a white wine vinous plus influences of apples, pepper, and mellow kiss of horse blanket. The palate is wonderful and akin to the complexities of the bouquet. It is very bitter but very soft. The mouthfeel is similar brut champagne, albeit with much improved carbonation. The finish is done-dry, which is very appetizing; the pepper and hops bitterness is long lasting. The body seems a touch thin but it is workable, the carbonation is high. This aspect of the beer has grown on me, I’d didn’t care for this feature on my first few bottles of Orval but now the mouthfeel is a welcomed attribute. I wrongfully compared this to Duvel and it never stood up in my mind… that was my fault. Orval is too unique and too noteworthy to compare, it is a different version of a Belgian Strong Pale Ale and in many ways better. I love Orval. Highly Recommended.

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Photo of cokes
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just a perfect looking beer. Sparkling deep golden (muddy peach after the yeast pour). Head is massive and unmoving. Like styrofoam.
Intriguing nose full of white grapes, rosemary, fresh hay and perfumey hops. Very botanical.
Taste is quite similar. Begins with a rosemary draped white grape sweet/sourness. Subdued flourishes of spice. Candy fruit sweetness (kiwi perhaps). Yeast pour adds doughiness and some farmhouse qualities, mostly in a grassy, hay-like sense. Recedes with a hefty blast of floral hops. Bitter, dry finish.
Light medium bodied with loads of spastic large bubbles. On the thin side prior to the introduction of the dregs.
Worthy of the praise. This is a very nice one.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.29/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I poured this into a small, Belgian-style goblet and got a huge (I mean huge!) dollop of whipped cream-like head! It just will NOT go away, and the Belgian lace is top-shelf! The bier itself is a dark-golden, orangey color, with some cloudiness (a smidge of yeast may have crept into the goblet...). The predominant aroma I pick up is of grapes, with little else making its way to my nostrils. The body was not quite medium, more on the thin side, yet it was relatively smooth on the tongue. The taste, like the aroma, was heavily grape-accented, much to my dismay. There were other fruity, sourish flavors as well, and it had a distinctly dry finish. I didn't find any spicy qualities to it at all. All-in-all, I was rather let-down by this bier.

overall: 3.55
appearance: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3

418

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Photo of BeerGlassesCollector
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber colour with a beautigul white thick head. Orval is one of greatest beers around. I must admit that the smell makes you not to want to drink this beer... NOT from the bad point of view but the good one. The aroma is PERFECT in every way so you could enjoy it by just smelling it. After enjoying the aroma, taste comes along and it's as good as the smell. One word could only describe this beer... ADDICTIVE

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Photo of Suds
4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orval is one of those beers that I just love to smell. There’s a lot going on in the aroma….clove, spices, fruit, citrus…and very floral. The head is soft and dense, and produces considerable lace. Color is deep, shady amber. The beer is effervescent and light bodied. A nice, biting hop finish is in contrast to a tart and spicy foretaste. Small sips and deep sniffs are the way this beer is meant to be enjoyed!

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Photo of zerk
3.73/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear golden amber, with one of the most interesting heads I've ever witnessed... the head sprouted off in every direction... very odd and alluring. Aroma was sour and sweet... fruity and herbal. Flavor began with some sour fruit flavors... apple and pear maybe... became somewhat spicy and finished like an herbal tea. Light to medium body with a quite noticable alcohol presence. This is a beer that I'll need to try again... as it is with most well brewed Belgians, it's far too complex to fully describe.

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Photo of doerickson
3.55/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Golden coloring with a fine-bubbled pure white head--pleasantly thick and persistent. Active carbonation. Complex nose--barnyard, bubblegum, and Band-Aid aromas; quite sour-smelling. Effervescent in the mouth; light body. Band-Aid in the aroma, as I mentioned; and I don't profess to know what Band-Aids taste like, but if the smell is any indication, this definitely tastes like a Band-Aid would taste. There's a hard-to-define tonic-watery sort of hoppy bitterness present throughout. It has grown on me somewhat as it warmed, but to be honest I expected more from this brew.

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Photo of frank4sail
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06 12 2006 (batch)
Big alcohol nose with some pale malt sweetness. Huge off-white head with big airy bubbles. Classic hazy pale ale look with lots og bubble action in the goblet (center). The rocky head and lace is lasting. This brew starts out on a good footing, because its look is almost flawless. The initial taste is one of smooth malt sweetness then strong warm alcohol notes leads your tongue to a bitter hop/fruit finish. The fruit most resembles bitter peach. Quite a complex and bold brew. Medium to full mouth with a nice creamy feel and coating left in the mouth. A truly crafted Belgian Ale!

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Photo of hyuga
4.95/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours into my Orval chalice, where it is beautifully presented, an orange brew with a huge white head that retains very well. Wonderful complex aroma, consisting mainly of ripe banana and clove. It's like I just got a bunch of fresh bananas and peeled one! Also detectable are fresh sliced green apple, dried fruit (maybe raisin or plum), and spicy hops. Can't say how great that aroma is, it's just overwhelmingly good! I feel like I'm in a fruit market. One of the most aromatically pleasing Belgian beers I've ever had. Cracked pepper jumps in with the first taste, then more of that fresh fruit that was in the aroma. Clove also floats around sporadically. Spicy hops are next, along with dried fruit. Malt is most noticeable with retro-olfaction. Very "carbonated" mouthfeel. Sharp melon rind-like hop twang in the finish. A medium body, but very fruity, spicy, and complex! This beer is so very good! It's well worth the $4.99 or so for the 11.2 oz. bottle in my opinion. Trappist monks certainly know how to brew. And I'm sure they get to drink this wonderful brew every day at the Abbaye Orval. They even make cheese to pair this with. I want to be a monk there now, where do I sign up?

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

May have been biggest head ever. The foam was very stiff and rose over the top of the glass about 1.5 inches and wouldn't have budged in a hurricane. I get Juicy Fruit gum in the aroma underneath which slinks a cigarette smoking man playing baseball with a big eraser in his pocket. To interpret that, underneath the juicy fruit smell and flavor was something that reminded me of cigarettes, wood, and pencil erasers (especially after you've just erased something.)

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Photo of Jon
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Orval's appearance is one of the most outstanding I've seen. Pours a deep apricot-colored liquid with a commanding, bubbly white head. Head retention is ridiculously good. Nose is of various fruit, brettanomyces yeast, and substantial clove. Taste is rather sour and dry, but not overly so. The acidic yet well-carbonated mouthfeel is appropriate. Drinkability is fairly strong for a challenging brew like this. Orval is certainly a unique Trappist ale, and one whose attention is well-deserved.

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Photo of jmatthew
4.82/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice cloudy orange in the glass with a lacy foam that is constantly dancing on the top. Strong aroma of fruit, perhaps citrus, and cloves. Taste is a great balance of bitterness, fruitiness and spiciness. Less pungent than I would have expected from a trappist ale, particularly of higher alcohol content, but I was pleasantly surprised. Overall, a great beer.

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