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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BA SCORE
4.2/5
Exceptional
5,495 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:
#1,143
Reviews:
2,371
Ratings:
5,495
pDev:
12.38%
Bros Score:
4.92
 
 
Wants:
360
Gots:
961
Trade:
11
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,495 |  Reviews: 2,371
Photo of moulefrite
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Judging from the awesome reviews, it may be that I purchased a lackluster bottle. I will try it again and see if it kicks my ass the way it seems to have others. Anyway, the head on this fellow was a virtual monster!! massive and foamy the head stays and stays! The beer pours a good copper blonde with some orange highlites. Aromas are ripe and fruit driven with flavors of grapefruit, citrus peel and fruitcake. The beer is medium in body with soft carbonation and a creamy feel. The taste is at once bitter citrus hopiness-veryredolent of citrus zest or oil. The whole emphasis in flavor seems to center on bright twangy citrus, and I, betting this is a fantastic food wine. I'll try it with some whitefish and potato and report back. I think I score the drinkability a bit low as this seems most certainly made for food vs simply sipping. I will try again and re review as needed.

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Photo of Brian700
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a beautiful copper with a very nice head. Just like in my dream I had were I was sippin a very special concoction with royalty.

This beer makes you feel like your really experiencing something worth lending your attention towards.

A good glob of head kept me company throughout the whole bevi. And so did a sweet aroma representing a candy flavour wich provided a mouthfeel from the heavens.

This is a good one. One of my favorites. I recently made a trappiste ale and the best one of mine that I tasted came out of the Orval bottle I used during bottling. Maybe its a monk-like sign. Fishy at the least, get it.

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Photo of Sigmund
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(330 ml bottle, ABV 6,2%). This fine beer is cloudy deep golden with an enormous creamy head. It has an intense, overwhelming but lovely aroma of ensilage, horse stable, leather and spicy fruit cake. The flavour is complex and spicy, hops stand out, the aftertaste is dry but could have lasted a little longer. Still, this is clearly a world class beer. Definitely moreish!

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Photo of grynder33
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy amberish color with visible floating setiment.Nice head that doesn't disappear quickly. An exquisite musty hoppy aroma, with just a hint of citrus. Nice classic complex hop taste which lingers nicely in the mouth. Way it coats the mouth may not mix well with many foods, but to savor by itself is great. Glob of head lasted till end. Glass smelled wonderful afterwards

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

11.2oz. bottle poured into an Orval glass. It pours a dark reddish-amber color with two fingers of head. There is minimal lacing left on the glass. The smell is a mix of sweet malts and a little bit of cloves. The taste is spicy and slightly sour, a little weird, very unique. a bit of hops and nutmeg to the super dry finish. Fairly strong mouthfeel, a little bubbly. The drinkability is fairly good for being 6.9%.

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Photo of nomad
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Note to all: this beer can be quite inconsistent. I've had okay bottles, not so great bottles, and truly mind-boggling bottles. So, give it a second try if you didn't like it. My guess is that the very traditional and wholesome ingredients and technique, coupled with those ornery Belgian yeasts and a long ride to the U.S. creates the possibly infrequent quality.

Pours a perfectly clear copper color, with loads and loads of carbonation that never stops bubbling fast the whole session. The soft but very bubbly head stays put, truly never recedes. Also has nice thick and slow moving lace, a good sign. Smells of hops, leather, wild yeast like a gueuze. In turns the scents also: toned down clover, pepper, juniper, grapefruit rind, and a faint light-roasted walnut. In sum, a fresh and active nose of smells. Taste is a slew of flavors coming together all at once: fruity, roasty, sour, hoppy, with emerging slight lemon flavors that were inflected with bits of all of the above. Some interesting malt hiding behind all these wild and savory flavors. The finish is "just enough" as this beer comes on softly and expertly, refreshing and reinvigorating, with a just firm body and a smooth almost oily mouthfeel. With aging the mouthfeel thins out.

Quite a ride, with none others even remotely like it.

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Photo of Indybeer
3.46/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle. Poured a dark amber/orange color with a massive cratered head that seemed to last forever. Aroma is that of citrus and floral. Kind of odd for a beer to smell like a flower garden. Taste is tart, and very acidic, with its medium carbonation, it finishes very dry. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, it doesn't really leave any aftertaste behind. Different to say the least. Will have to try this one again, just to see.

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Photo of Sixpack595
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a textbook example of how a beer should present itself. Huge carbonation creates a dense chunky head that rises in a column above the rim of the glass. The big carbonation also carries a great aroma full of bannanas with hints of spices and other fruit. The lacing is outstanding. As great as the beer looked and smelled, the taste was a bit disapointing. I thought it was a bit too bitter, acidic and had an unpleasant coppery taste. I'll drink it again, but it isn't something I plan to make a habit of.

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Photo of alexgash
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy golden, almost orange with a monstrous orangish-white head--WOW! Smell is sour, bitter, and floral; very interesting, like nothing I've smelled before. Taste is sour and bitter with a sharp, dry, yeasty, fruity, acidic finish. Is there alcohol in this? Ahh, the gentle warming half-way into this beauty says yes. This beer feels amazing: crisp, intriguing carbonation that just envelops the mouth. I would drink this regularly if it weren't $6 a bottle.

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Photo of TheDM
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured an extremely invigorated head of creamy white bubbles and a cloudy light orange body with carbonation rising from the bottom of my mug. It has a mild malty aroma and a flavor that is slightly fizzy with notes of spice and hops. It is very dry in its finish and has no lingering aftertaste. All in all, it is a very nice brew.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice Belgian that would take a while to get used to drinking. Pours out looking very much like apple cider with a half inch head of off white froth. The aroma is mostly of fruit and sour at that. This follows through in the flavor which comes across as a sour fruit taste. No doubt this is a very complex with great complexity, if one is willing to get past the opening nose-wrinking smell and taste. There is clearly a great malt base and dandy yeast and hops at work here. Enjoyable? Depends on your point of view.

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Photo of SeanChouffe
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I had pretty high expectations for this beer -- being a Trappist and all.
The highlight of the Orval was its wonderful aroma (fruity with a hint of clove).
It is a little cloudy with an amber color and a nice full head that lasted all the way through. Pleasant texture that was lively and with good character.
Everything prior to the taste was great -- full and complex but finished with a medicinal flavor. I found it a little disappointing.

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Photo of Shiloh
3.82/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured a very deep golden hue and hazy. The crown was very thick high and foamy. Carbonation was a show in itself, bubbles were huge.
Body was medium/full.
Definite fruity aroma...apples.
Very sweet taste...too sweet, not a session beer.
Not my style...sooooo not my style, but am glad that we met.
Interesting. Enjoyed......alas, never to meet again!

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Photo of hotstuff
4.01/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This particular brew poured with a large white foamy head. There was carbonation observed rising to the top of my glass. The body was cloudy and an orangish color. This brew had a fruity aroma to it. This is one brew that I really enjoyed rating and drinking.

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

Poured a very nice orange color with huge rocky head (I have yet to purchase a nice trappist ale glass),the aroma was slightly peppery and a little tart.Taste is pretty dry with a slight peppery tinge to it.I liked this more than what I thought I would not as sour as what I thought it might be,very well done.

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Photo of SamuraiJack
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a near unique beer in my experience - and a fabulous treat for someone who appreciates Belgian ales.

First pour shows a light amber beer with strong gold and orange highlights. The hazing is quite light and there is only a small amount of yeast sediment. The head is, well, incredible. And magnificent. A stunning, fluffy mass of everlasting rocky white dense foam.

The aromas are equally amazing. There is that intense burst of funky yeast that sets this beer apart from the other Trappists. In some ways the horse blanket aroma here reminds be of the aromas from the Fantome Saison. Strong floral aromas with a nice grapefruit/lemon spice touch. Smelling this beer is perhaps better even than drinking it.

In taste it is immensely smooth with a crisp bite in the middle and a citric/grapefruit finish. The body is rather light for a Trappist and there is a huge amount of effervesence. Noticable hop flavours and some phenol notes in the middle. As the grapefruit fades the dryness takes over. Now this is a dry finishing beer!!

The only downside to this beer is that it is so complex that I honestly don't think I could drink more than a couple without my palette being overwhelmed.

A fabulous, original beer and a true piece of history.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The bowling pin bottle is great, and the freshness date had me good until the Fall of 2007. Colour is a murky mid-range coppery orange, and the foam on this bad boy is a sight to behold, big, thick and chunky, lingering the whole way down the chalice, and leaving behind an impressive amount of lacing. Nose is herbal and citrusy, some earth tones as well. Taste is tart/sour and flowery, with a tart lemon rind aftertaste. I'm not a huge fan of this style, but can appreciate it for what it is.

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Photo of kbub6f
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought locally (Grapevine refrigerated shelves), a couple of weeks in my fridge, reviewed 45F-70F.

The head is huge, off-white and dense. The color is a slight hazy orange-amber. Some swirly sediment. The lacing is thick sticky clumpy.

The nose is slightly sweet, yeasty and a little fruity. Alcohol and spice give it almost a rum-like smell. The front is peppery, with some grapes giving it a dry wine-like flavor. Interesting. The middle goes slightly sour, with hints of apples. The tang is almost a little tonic-watery. The finish is a fantastic fresh, dry, bready experience with noticeable alcohol. There's almost a red wine aftertaste. Very dry. This is one of my favorites. A great, complex, original beer.

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Photo of 86MonteSS
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The word "trappist" immediately imparts high expectations, and I cannot honestly say Orval lived up. It's a good beer, but it was almost as if I was witnessing a catfight between the yeast and the hops. They were both there, but they didn't achieve any sort of harmony. I've had it twice and I've made up my mind: it simply isn't a $3/bottle beer. The bottle is pretty cool and it looks great in my collection, but that simply ain't enough.

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Photo of BierReise
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is unlike any other beer I've ever had in my 17+ years of enjoying fine craft beer. The head on this beer is unbelievable. I poured this beer in it's dedicated Orval glass and drank it slowly which lasted about 20-30 minutes. The head stayed at a peak the entire duration and even after the last sip, it was still hanging on to the side of the chalice for it's dear life. The flavor was so unique and complex that it will most likely require several additional samplings to accurately define what I'm sensing. Burnt sugar, stale fruit, earthy malty taste. I don't know, perhaps my palate doesn't possess the sophistication for this one. What I do know is that It was a most enjoyable if not a religious experience and I look forward to the next. Hmmm, beer as a religion. What a concept.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.11/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark orange/bronze with a big pillowy beige head. Lots of carbonation with an active bubble stream in the middle from the bottom to the top. Leaves decent lace. Sour lactic aroma (brettanomyces) dominates. Soft dry malt flavor and sour as it smells. Light soft airy mouthfeel with a dry finish.

Good Belgain that's worth trying but not sure it's worth the price to buy again.

Label States: "Authentic Trappist Product"

Best By: 12/06/06 (on bottle as 06/12/06)
Tasted: 05/02/03

($3.99 / 11.2 oz./.33L bottle)

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Photo of bewareOFpenguin
3.33/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was not overly impressed by this offering, in fact a little dissappointed. It poured ok, the classic light color cloudy yellow I have come to exspect from the Belgiums. But after that, it just fell apart. The ABV was not balanced, IMHO, properly. Too much alcohol taste. The hops weren't very impressive, yes they were there, but showing up is only half the work. I felt they didn't blen well. It went down in a forceful way, each sip anticipating it's taste, not in a good way. I'll refrain from this beer in the future.

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Photo of Garin
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

As I poured this into the glass, I was flooded with aromas of spice, herbs, and citrus. An impressive, thick, almost ice-cream head formed and actually grew over time, before it eventually calmed leaving a white and clingy lace. Wow. The colour was a mildly hazy, coppery gold in the centre, and a pale amber around the edges of the glass.

This one was very herby in aroma, floral, and yes -- I can easily find the basil that someone else mentioned. Grassy as well, and very strong barnyard. Someone said horse blanket, but for me it's more like horse urine. Wow, be ready for this one, this must be fermented with some seriously interesting yeast.

As I took a sip, I got a mouthful of head -- and it was as thick as pudding and hoppy bitter. In the beer itself, clean herbal and citrus flavours came through, with a healthy dose of bitterness throughout. Anise? Something bitterly herbal is in there as well. A medium body with nice carbonation keeps this one in reality -- otherwise it would be just too much.

I have to say that this was an interesting beer, especially for the aroma. You don't find many like this one.

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

The bottle alone makes this beer piece of art, along with the brewing tradition of the trappist ales this beer still being brewed by the monks of the Orval Abbey. Appears a slightly hazy amber brownish orange with a creamy crown of off white foaming head. A good friend of mine describes the aroma of this beer as a barnyard minus all of the cow shit smell. What I think he is referring to is the wild herbal spices that added to this beer, just amazing. The wild spices contain lemongrass, peppery orgegano like herbs, and the ultimate combination of malt and hop bitterness. The taste is a major wow, a grainy herbal spiritual experince exists in every sip mising spices and flavor galore. I love this beer and I must say I'm not worthy of it so complex, I feel that everytime I try it will contain another experience. Mouthfeel is smooth with a medium to light body, let's just say if you have the opportunity to try this one you have been blessed. Very drinkable, but best enjoyed one at a time to savor and enjoy all of the complexities this beer has to offer.

5-22-10 vintage date- 7/29/2009 best by 7/29/2014

This beer has an angelic experience about it, the slightly hazed glowing amber body just lets the beer gods sing down on you. The head forms chunky like clouds in the heavans. Lacing is fine intricate Belgian style all day. Aromatics bring out the barnyard funkiness that makes this a new experience everytime I've come across it, again more zestiness sharp citrus appeal from the hops with a spicy pepper kick that just works so nicely here. Acidic nature waves in as well bringing out lactic acid notes and cider like comparisons in my brain. The more yeast that makes it into the glass the funkier it gets. Drinkability and mouthfeel are great, definitely a brew I will always cherish. Effervescent and drinkable but definitely needs to be enjoyed with a good meal.

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Photo of kindestcut
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I continue my hike tthrough Belgium.

Let me start by saying that the Orval trappist is a fine beer. However, it's not my favorites of the Belgian pale ales/blondes. OK, let me also say that I appreciate the complexity of this beer. It's is an incredibly well-crafted brew that had be wondering how I was going to describe it.

Let's move on to the appearance and get to the flavor in a moment. the Orval poured a dark gold, darker than I was expecting. The head was massive in it's mass...rising slowly above the lrim of my glass. The head had a very long life, with the appearance of clouds as seen from above. The head melted like ice cream.

The aroma was full of citrus and floral. OK, now to the flavor.

More than any other Belgian I've had, the Orval reminded me the most of a dry white wine. I was struck by the similarity. However, it is far more complex than to call it wine-like. The combination of lemon plus bitter and floral hops results in an interesting flavor.

All in all, not my favorite Belgian, which surprised me given its high reviews.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 5,495 ratings