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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:
359
Gots:
931
Trade:
11
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,428 |  Reviews: 2,351
Photo of kunzbrew
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thick, thick white head. that leaves a silky sexy lace behind. It is a hazy medium dark straw color. tast of pale malt is very strong hense the style. I have been waiting about a month to drink this bad boy, and it was worth the wait. a sweet fruity esters are strong with a bite of earthy undertone. I am glad I paid 6 dollars for it.

Cheers

 358 characters

Photo of MAB
3.26/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I bought this beer with great expectations and was sadly let down. That might have influenced my verdict somewhat. I found it to be excessively foamy, slightly sour, and watery, despite the alcohol level.
It was unlike anything I've had before, and I've tried a dozen Belgian beers, so there is that going for it.
And even a bad Belgian beer is usually better than Molson's or Coors, so it wasn't a total waste of time.
I will probably try it again later, and with lower expectations this time, so I might see something I missed first time round...

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A One-Beer Trappist Brewery (OK - I know they do Petite Orval, but it is not generally available), brewed with 2 yeasts, the latter of which being a composite of several yeast strains, including Brettanomyces (of lambic fame), a beer that undergoes three distinct fermentations, and it is dry-hopped with English Hops. Wow!!. This is no “Run-of-the-Mill” Belgium Trappist Beer; it is, in all fact, probably the singularly most unique and certainly distinctive of all the Trappists.
Gorgeous looking Orangey-Amber color when poured, with a well developed covering, the bubble size diminishing as you rise up the profile of the head. Fantastically - Fabulously - Fruity nose. Perfume almost to the point of being intrusive, yet it invites you to delve into this immensely complex bitter beer. You are not disappointed, bitterness is very prevalent but “other almost indescribable” tastes abound. It really is so hard to explain this beer properly; Hop-Oils, Perfumes, Xmas Spices, almost Phenolic aftertastes – it’s all there. And the balance of these tastes, changes dramatically with its age. I have drunk Orval “fresh”, 1, 2, 3 and 5 years old. For me it is at its epoch between 1 and 2 years old. At 5 yrs old, it was flat and had no perfume or bitterness, and was very dank & musty, fine for a lambic - but not good for Orval. Also, if you intend to Cellar this beer, you MUST keep it Upright, Cool AND Dry – for the crown caps have a very nasty tendency to rust if the bottle is kept on its side, or somewhere damp, I know I lost a whole a whole Crate to Oxidation!!!
Unique, Very Distinctive, and a One-Off Trappist that is quite "English" in a strange way.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
2.09/5  rDev -50.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Very distinctive bottle design makes this a classy pick. Massive bubbles on the pour, which I forgot about at first, creating a bubble overage. Impressive aroma, but something happened on the taste part. I know Michael Jackson loves this beer, but I must be too inexperienced to appreciate it. It wasn't until I was halfway through the half glass I had for the taste testing when it hit me - Robitussin. Robitussin and, and...olives? Yeah, olives and Robitussin. The initial sensation in the mouth is different, but it always ended up Robitussin.

After reading all the reviews out here, I owe it to myself to try this again (for a 3rd time) to see if I can taste some of the other things people are commenting on. I've had Duvel, this is nothing like that except for the alcohol content.

This beer had some interesting side components that I liked, but the taste is the thing.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very pretty color, and thanks to the head it took me over a minute to pour. Not the best beer I have ever had but it was definitely unique and I enjoyed it. Belgian Ales are still new to me but I always appreciate them. Cloudy amber color. Complex aroma with candy and grapes in the nose. Malty, vinous, spicy flavor that stayed interesting throughout. At $4.50 a bottle I probably won't be trying this one often but it should be on everyone's list. I had a pleasant buzz at the end too.

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Photo of putnam
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lunar-eclipse orange with a massive, stiff head. Another aromatic triumph. Pine needles, sourdough, orange peel and clove all take turns on the nose. There is a really medieval feel to the aromatics. This is the beer they drank in Middle Earth, all resinous, peaty and full of crackling wild enzymes. The flavors are pretty and refined, somewhat in contrast to the nose. Sourwood honey, nutmeg, and roasted starch appear. A dry beer overall. A very fine, powdery grain on the finish. One unique beer.

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Photo of beernut7
4.16/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my first voyage into the tremendous world of the Belgian Trappist tradition. The bowling pin shaped bottles emanates a fruity strong aroma that literally fills the room. The pour into the traditional goblet is slow and the creamy head is thicker than harbor fog on top of the deep orange-brown sea. The Belgian yeast imparts a definitive fruity slightly earthy flavor character with a malty alcohol warmth tucked in deep. The mellow crisp hop character leaves a clean finish. A well rounded flavorful wonderful beer.

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Photo of MJR
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Belgian goblet, this beer shows off a beatiful copper red/orange color sitting under a huge fluffy, white head.

If you're not used to drinking Belgian beers, the smell alone is enough to keep you away...not me though. I love the unique taste that these beers have to offer and this beer is a stunning example of the Belgian brewer's craft. The nose is faintly floral and has an organic quality to it: leather, musty attic, horse farm, whatever you want to call it.

The flavor is a wonderful balance of light, fruity esters, hop flavors, and that same organic flavor that showed up in the nose. Smooth, extremely dry finish. Great mouthfeel...massive carbonation doesn't get in the way of the flavor opening itself up fully.

Drinkability really depends on how well you like this style of beer. My combined love for this style and the intense dryness of the finish demand another round.

One of the best Belgian beers I've encountered so far. Outstanding!

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Photo of Jdiddy
2.56/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a great sparkling copper color. The best part of this beer stopped there for me. I just did not like it. It tasted like a farm smells (if that makes sense). Something just does not taste right with this one. An unusual taste that I could not really figure out. Bitter but not in a good way. Like paint thinner would probably taste. I am sure I may stand alone on this one but I will not be trying it again.

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

The first thing I notice about this brew is the high amount of carbonation present. Need to pour this one carefully. The second thing I notice is a very strong aroma. Pretty nice. Somewhat fruity and phenolic. Some leather. And sweet candy. This beer is a chill hazed amber and shows an incredible amount of carbonation in the body of the beer as well. CO2 bubbles rising to the surface faster than I can remember in a beer for a long time. A huge sticky and rocky white head tops this brew. The taste is very forthcoming. Raw leather. Musty attic. Some bubblegum esters. Subdued fruitiness. Earthy, herbal and spicy. And fairly bitter to boot. This may not be my favorite Belgian beer so far, but I do like the character that this one shows. A light bodied beer that doesn't feel as carbonated in the mouth as it looks to be on sight. This is no La Fin du Monde, but it's nice in its own way.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Of all the Trappist beers, I feel that the Orval is the most distinctive and unique - and probably the most misunderstood (or disliked) of the group. It can be a challenging beer at first, but it has great character if given a chance. It pours a lightly hazy pale orange-amber with a dense rocky head that lasts; eventually dropping to a thin creamy covering and leaving a beautiful Belgian-lace throughout the goblet. The tiny bubbles rising quickly through the beer make for a delightful little floor show! The high level of carbonation that produces the strong head, also helps it to give off it's very perfumy aroma. Clearly, there are some earthy British hops involved, Goldings and possibly Fuggles, amongst other noble varieties. In fact, I think this is the only Trappist beer that is dry-hopped (w/ Goldings)! It's fermented with 2 strains of yeast giving it enticingly complex aromas of leather, mineral, and wood. Again, the carbonation gives the beer a spritzy mouthfeel, making the body seem a little bigger than it is. The flavor follows the aroma with lots of dried fruit, and a sometimes "metallic" and intense dryness, leading into a somewhat acidic finish that leaves you with a memory of the beer that is more refreshing than mouth-coating.

 1,259 characters

Photo of BeerManDan
2.6/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

One taste and I didn't like it. Everything up to the taste was appealing. After tasting it, it left me disappointed. In fact I couldn't drink the whole glass. Maybe I got a bad bottle, but if this is what I have to look forward to next time, I'm wasting my time and money on a no nothing beer.

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Photo of Longstaff
4.71/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thick, foamy head falls only in the middle and sticks to the sides of the glass. Deep golden color with reddish highlights. Slight alcoholic aroma. Hints of leather and sulfur in the palate. Dry finish with hop flavors and bitterness lasting on the tounge. Great apertif.

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Photo of ADR
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nutmeg color, upcharging bubbles, 1/2 inch head that lasts. Spicy aroma, very wine-like. Very tangy with bitter notes as well, causes a pucker without a lot of citrus. Light-bodied despite a good amount of bottle feremented carbonation working its way out. Finishes extremely clean. There's a vinous and bitter flavor that's not for me, Bretts not working for me here. Obviously an icon in brewdom, Orval Trappist takes the Belgian Pale style to the limit. I'll give it a good rating on smell and across the board 4s on the rest. Not to my taste.

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Photo of marc77
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

The head is absolutely formidable-- incredibly dense, rocky, thick and sticky. Combined w/ the copious, lively bubbling and clear, light amber hue, this beer is vibrant and visually appealing. The aroma consists of black licorice, pepper, green apple acetaldehyde and sweet orange candy - like notes, w/ just a hint of phenol in the finish. The flavor is comprised of caramelized sugar notes, w/ a hint of black pepper. Most striking about the flavor of Orval is the relatively assertive hop bitterness that prevents malt sweetness from becoming dominant. When combined with the relatively light body for style, Orval is almost dry, and is thus very drinkable. The finish is dry, bitter, and a bit tart. Although the flavor doesn't deliver on the promise of the aroma, Orval is still an intense and unique beer.

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Photo of Wildman
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Okay, this is only my second Belgian. It has a wonderful light orangish amber color to it. Creates a nice light head, maybe due in part to it's colorful bubbly nature. This of course gives it a slightly fizzy taste. The aroma is different a mixture of citrus and others that almost imparts(to me at least) a bubblegum smell. It has a nice body to it and a good finish. I am more a fan of stouts/porters, but still quite enjoyed this.

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

Dark copper maybe broze, solid white head that holds. An amazing array on the nose, smell often and long... citrus, apples, soil. Very hoppy with citrus and spice on the tongue. Nothing unlively about the beers, feels very different at each stage of touching your tongue, flowing over, and going down. I was very impressed. Expensive as sin but I'll make it a annual thing.

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Photo of stoutman
4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brewed at the Trappist monastery founded in the 1100s, this ale is fermented three times with three different malts and two types of hops. Unlike most Trappist ales, Orval has a powerful hop presence. It is a bitter-orange color, with a fruity and slightly sour bouquet. A wonderful hop bitterness and long, dry finish. Best served around 60F with stinky cheese or seafood.

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

Pours a cloudy bronze with an orange tint in it's appearance. Floral hop aromas among other things on the nose. On the palate there was hints of pears and apple peals maybe, tiny sourness to it… hard to explain but I enjoyed it a lot. Very nice alcohol kick but it’s not at all over whelming. Ends with a nice long lingering finish. I thought it was an excellent Belgian Ale. Very pricey though…$4.99 for a single 11.2 Fl oz bottle...that's beat.

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Photo of StevieW
3.06/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I tried this beer based on the beer advocates reviews and was very dissapointed. Maybe I had a bad bottle, but it was very over carbonated, the head blew up into huge bubbles and poured over the glass. (I used a belgium glass-Corsendonk is the closest I had.) The color looked inviting enough, but the big citrus smell was immediate. The flavor was ok, but was overwhelmed by the carbonation. The freshness date was 01082005, which may explain the taste. Did I drink it too early ? In any event, it didn't live up to the expectations I had. Not a beer worthy of a National Championship game.

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Photo of John
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cloudy amber liquid with good head and retention. Spicey with musty oak aroma. Complex, sweetish, spicey, malty, oaky, faint hop flavor. These characteristics blend extremely well when the brew warms. Interesting beer.

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

A very good trappiste beer. Dry, hoopy, elegant, bubbly and just f***in brilliant, great beer and an absolute classic, i'd love to visit the monastry.

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

The true Nectar of the Gods!!! If I had to be stuck on Island this is the beer I would take with me. With it's golden amber color to the incredible white head. The taste is impeccable an absolute frenzy on the taste buds.

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

Presentation: 11.2 oz vase like brown bottle, best before date stamped on the back.

Appearance: Orange amber (very light haze) in colour with a magnificent white head ... rocky and dense, leaving rings lace all over.

Smell: Hints of juniper, lemon and flowers.

Taste: Smooth and crisp with a lightish body though the mouth feel appears to be full up front. Touch of lemon rind with a fresh cut hay flavour, hop bitterness makes a snappy bite. Horse blanket and other medicinal phenols over take the tongue for a bit also. Tart from start to finish with hints of cider and other tart fruits. The finish seems to be everlasting in its dryness.

Notes: The sheer complexity of this fine ale is mind boggling ... one of the originals. This brew is all old school ... dating back to the 1100's. If you are into Belgian ales this will be a sure treat. Some soft cheese and dark rye makes a perfect pairing.

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Photo of BKotch
4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've only had one and had to travel to California (from Texas) for that. It reminded me a bit of Chimay Cinq Cents, but a little smoother, fruitier and drier. Update 12 years later: long available in Texas, this remains a go-to classic. Love the slight barnyardy character.

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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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