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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:
5,266
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
18.9%
 
 
Wants:
336
Gots:
856
For Trade:
11
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,301 | Ratings: 5,266
Photo of Lazerlobe
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is an older bottle (11/2008) I picked up yesterday from the store. I'd like to think of it as cellared but I believe it has just been sitting on the shelves for a while.

A huge 3 fingers of pillowy white foam crowns this cloudy orange brew. The smells I'm getting are cider and raisin and who knows what else. It's interesting though. Wow, the flavor covers a huge range. Let's see what I can tease out. A big dry, sour wave carries apple hay and must. That sour/bitter taste sticks around. It is still well carbonated and refreshingly crisp though I believe this style is not for me. I'll leave more for the rest of you guys.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The bottle of Orval that I tried may have been a bit overprimed which I believe effects the scent, taste and mouthfeel. The beer poured a hazy copper with big white head that left some lace. The scent was tru to most trappist....Belgianny. The taste also follow most Trappist ales. The mouthfeel was lighter in body with huge carbonation. Overall it was decent....would like to try this beer on tap....probably wouldn't search out a bottle of it.

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Photo of scottchesterhall
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-beautiful copper, full head that shrunk to 1/4 inch, bottled 2.5 years ago, May 19, 2010, 6.9 abv

S-wonderful: pears, ginger, banana, clove, fruity and spice

T-bright assault on front of tongue with fruity spice, but I was looking for way more flavor...very crisp and refreshing and then quickly disappears with a pleasant residue of fruity hop oil and sour yeast. It's clean and crisp--almost cider-like, but I wanted more layers. Am I drinking it too cold?

M-really effervescent, too much? Dances on the tongue, that's for sure.

O-everything was perfect...and then I was let down when the beer was actually in my mouth. Not bad...but I was disappointed.

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Photo of Rzzzzz
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

As you look at these overall scores for Orval, you might be interested to know that there was once a Major League pitcher named Orval Overall. In fact, he was the winning pitcher for the Cubs the day they won their last World Series. You can look it up.

Flash forward 99 years to my first taste of Oval Trappist Ale. I'd heard nice things about this beer, and it did not let me down.

Poured into a wine glass. Hazy yellow/orange. Nice frothy head and good lacework. Aroma a mixed bag--can't put my finger on anything specific other than maybe apples and of course beer--but there's clearly a lot going on here. Fruity taste gives way to a slightly sour aftertaste that lingers for a while then tugs at you for another refreshing sip. Goes down smooth.

First time I've seen the stuff and now I'm kicking myself for only coming home with one. I could drink a lot of Orval, overall. Speaking of pitchers.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours orange with a ridiculously large head. Lots of great lacing!
Big brett aroma of lemon, orange, elderberry, apple and musty horse-blanket. More like a lambic.
First up upon tasting is sweet caramel malt, with some faint tart orange tang before a pithy bitterness cuts through. Hints of banana in there somewhere.
Good light body with a refreshing carbonation.

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Photo of NODAK
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Smell is very interesting, and pungent. Smells of peppery spices, yeast (which I've read is an uncommon yeast to use), fruit, and some tartness. I saw it described as "leather" on another site, and it isn't a bad descripter. It's a complex aroma.

Carbonation is pretty high. Has a thick head when poured. There's a short initial sweet fruit taste that is swept away by the predominant taste of this beer...which is a yeasty, earthy sensation. I also think the "leathery" taste on the nose transfers into the taste. The finish has a bit of spice on it, with a little tropical fruit. The finish is tart and dry...the mouthfeel is somewhat thin, so not much sticks around. Very little hop bitterness on the backend.

This is a very interesting beer. It may not be my favorite trappist, but it's worth respect.

 808 characters

Photo of SupaCelt
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew presented itself at nearly a year old as a hazed copper orange with a monstrous chunky head. It is extremely bubbly and the head holds strong and produces sheets of lacing with some true substance.

The smell is very nice to the nose. Banana comes through as dominant to my detectors. A bit of ground spice and pepper and other fruity impressions linger as well.

The taste is light and subtle. The banana that was evident in the nose is noticeable as well as a pear impression and the tastefully administered spicery. There is a degree of bitterness here that shows up in the final throes along with a sourness. It has quite a bit of yeast inspired flavor character. The aftertaste comes off too peppery and yeasty for my personal preferences.

The mouthfeel is light. Massive carbonation achieves this effect quite handily.

Drinkability is only as good as taste here. I was truly optimistic about this, but overall I am a bit disappointed in the end. I was expecting more out of this one.

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Photo of 86MonteSS
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
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 Jordan1985rec
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this at Monk's Cellar in Brookline, MA and was blown away. The taste was far more dry than many of the other Belgian pales and I really enjoyed it all the way through. There was a clear sour and fruity smell and this sour taste carried over into the taste in a good way. Overall this was a very enjoyable beer that seems like it would pair well with roasted chicken or lamb. Cheers.

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Photo of femALEist
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It poured a cloudy orange gold hue. It smelled like sour, tart apples, and yeast. It tasted sweet, overripe grape, sour apple, a hint of spice but left the tongue tart and dry. I actually preferred the smell better to the taste. The taste was a bit light, but I guess it is just a pale ale. I thought it was have more umph for 6.3%- guess not. It just wasn't my favorite. I don't see myself buying anymore anytime soon.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured from a bottle into a goblet. Beer is brownish and hazy, forms a thick white head of medium and small white bubbles, falls away leaving lacing all over the glass, looks good. Carbonation is moderate to high.

Smell a little of spice and yeast, there is an underlying sweetness to the beer as well. Slight musky aroma as well.

Beer is medium to light bodied, has a minor forward character and a sour / musky late and aftertaste. This beer is one of a kind but the my first impressions on taste were not that great. Time for taste two, sour and bitter duke it out on this beer and it finishes a little dry.

Any serious Belgian beer fan will probably get around to trying most of the trappists but this has been my least favorite sampling of a Trappist beer so far. Its unique and I understand the souring of the beer. I'm impressed, just not my style yet.

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Photo of siradmiralnelson
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into chalice.

A- Very carbonated beer. Pours a light/pale amber color. Massive head.

S- A sour, perfumy, spicy aroma. Somewhat of a musty smell, the "barn smell".

T- Dry slightly bitter flavor. The sourness comes out the more I drink.

M- Lots of carbonation. Light and creamy mouthfeel.

D. All in all not one of my favorit Belgians. Although it did tend to grow on me towards the end. This is my first tasting, but not my last.

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Photo of 911CROFT
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle into the appropriate Orval branded chalice. Paid £2.49 for a single.
Bottled: 18/08/15

Pours a hazy, but translucent, brassy-copper coloured body with only a few solitary microscopic carbonation bubbles visible. A two-finger in height, thick, creamy, off-white head with excellent retention, slowly sinks to a dense cap, leaving solid bands of sticky lace.

The complex nose is led initially by delicate fruity and spicy esters. Banana, lemon, green apple and coriander are noticeable above a sweet, crisp and bready pale malt background. After warming, tart and funky Brett characteristics become much more prominent, evolving towards a wilder profile and relegating both fruit and malt to supporting roles. Towards the back end, floral hops provide a modest but perceptible bitterness, with grassy, herbal and musty profiles also noticeable but to a lesser extent. Taste roughly follows suit, leading briefly with hints of sweet, grainy pale malts, lemony citrus, apple, white grape, cherry and stone fruits, quickly transitioning towards tarter and funkier profiles. Apple cider vinegar, wet hay and hints of medicinal phenolic spices comprise the majority of the mid palate, before hop bitterness begins to build. In the mouth a light body and abundance of lively, expansive carbonation give a smooth and full feel. Towards the back end, assertive floral, grassy and spicy hops provide a lengthy bitter finish, drying the palate with mild astringency.

Overall this is an excellent beer. Infinitely complex and undoubtedly unique, it’s a classic for good reason. Cellared for 14 months, the flavours imparted by brettanomyces in this bottle were funkier and tarter than I honestly prefer. To my taste it is best drunk reasonably fresh; the flavours are sweeter, brighter and less musty, but each to their own. I’ll certainly look to re-review next time I am able to pick up a fresh bottle.

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Photo of FloridaDrinker
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy orange with a robust head. Smell of citrus fruit, malt and sage.. The taste is intensely bitter, lemon, sage with a slight metallic element in the finish. It is surprisingly refreshing.

Orval is a very unique beer, from the bottle to the flavor - there's nothing quite like it. That said, as finely crafted an ale as it is, it's not for everyone. It's my least favorite of the trappist ales.

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Photo of vtfan77
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark copper with a huge rocky head. Seriously, that head is enormous. It takes a while to dissipate and leaves quite a bit of lacing as it goes down.

S- Pleasantly fruity nose. Spicy, too. Clove is quite evident, along with some alcohol and perhaps a touch of barnyard-like funkiness.

T- Hmm, interesting. I don't really know how to describe the taste. It's fairly mild. It's kind of sweet at first, but it quickly dries out until there is little to no sweetness on the finish. Yeast contributes to some interesting flavors, although I'm finding it tough to pick anything out. Definite notes of spice, some pepper and clove. Some lemon juice sourness in the middle and a cracker-like maltiness on the finish. It's also relatively bitter.

M- Lots of carbonation, but it suits this beer well. No complaints.

D- For some reason I can't see myself drinking a lot of this. All evidence seems to point to this being a very drinkable beer (medium-light body, good carbonation, dry finish) but I really wouldn't want to drink a ton of it. Also, the ABV is kind of high (my bottle says 6.9%), although not too bad. I might have another, but certainly not more than two.

Well, this was definitely an interesting beer. It's also a bit of an enigma, as I can't seem to pinpoint any definite taste characteristics. I know that Brett is used at some point in the making of this beer, so maybe that's throwing my tastes off. Anyway, it's certainly not bad and actually pretty good, but will be a rare purchase for me in the future. I'll recommend it as a beer to try at least once.

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Photo of Ghenna
3.69/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pleasing copper color, lots of off white head. Poured into an Orval chalice.

Huge fruit esters in the nose, slightly citrusy. This is beautiful, and refined. wow.

Taste... well, odd. Lots of bitterness, not all expected. Taste is actually a little bland beyond that- not a lot to it. Kind of disappointed. MF is creamy.

Man, the nose really had me going, but the taste didn't follow through. Bummed :(

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Photo of TheSarge
3.69/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've been dying to try this beer for a while. The ABV listed on my bottle is 6.2% vice the 6.9% listed on this website.

I poured Orval into my Chimay chalice, and it is a beautiful looking brew. There are mounds of off white head, with an orangish/copper and murky body.

The aroma is very fruity and faint. It is somewhat pear like.

The taste is a bit on the sour side, and finishes bitter like slight grapefruit. As it warms up, the hops start to shine through the yeasty characteristics a bit more.

The mouth feel is full with carbonation, and has a slight refreshing edge to the drinkability. As the beer warms up a bit, it is actually quite smooth.

 656 characters

Photo of JaimeLondon
3.69/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Belgian trappist ale of a dark orange color and a great whitey and creamy foam.
Smell and taste are characterized by the yeasty tones, really nice.
Aroma so becomes spicy, possible to feel a bit of black pepper.
The highlights on the taste are the malty tones, a bit disappointing.
Mouthfeel is interesting, somewhat light and efervescent.

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Photo of sabrills70
3.69/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The famous orval bottle with a bottled on date of 6/05 and a best by date of 6/10. Pours a slighly hazy medium amber with a good 2 finger head, OK longevity and OK lace. Earthy and grassy citrus smells with slight caramel and raisin. Very earthy and grassy taste mixed with a decent amount of hop flavor and bitterness - although its an odd flavor, not off, but odd. It is different from the other Trappist ales I have tried. It seems a bit harsh. I have one more bottle tucked away that I will have to try in a year or two. Its not a bad flavored beer, I just think this bottle is still too young.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.68/5  rDev -12%
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 julian89
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into Belgian goblet.
Appearance: Beautiful golden amber, great flow, 1/4" head with no lacing.
Smell: Light malt sweetness, strong pear smell with weak citrus notes. Maybe a little white grape as well.
Mouthfeel: Quite frothy and very light. I was expecting a thicker viscosity.
Taste: Pretty good, not the best Trappist as of yet. Yeasty flavor, citrus, pear, grape, and light alcohol.
Overall: Decent light Belgium. The carbonation takes away from the taste and feel.

 488 characters

Photo of JayTheFinn
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm a novice when it comes to Belgians, so I'll keep this short...

I liked it to a point. It's well done, just not my style.

A-Orangy and hazy body with a powerful head.
S-Smells like it'll be at least slightly sweet but...
T-Very dry with an assertive flavor of...god knows what. I'm really struggling to describe this one, which makes it all the more intriguing.
M-Lays fully on the tongue.
D-Drinkable yes, but as I mentioned, it's not for me. I'd never turn one away, but I'd probably try something different if I had the choice.

 543 characters

Photo of GbVDave
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Pours a hazy dark amber. Amazing head. The three finger head receded from the sides of the glass long before the center. What I was left with was a foam "volcano" complete with sloped mountainsides and a crater in the center. Eventually the volcano also receded and left me with looked like a gigantic Cheerio in the center of the glass. Very cool! Active carbonation and massive lacing.

S: I detected aromas of Brett, spice, wet dirt, and hops.

T: Take everything from above and add in a unique fruit tartness. As it warms, a thin maltiness emerges. Unfortunately the hop flavors are rather subdued. Interesting tang to the finish.

M: Thin and acidic. True to the style, I guess, but I've had BPA's that have had a much fuller mouthfeel than this.

D: Drinkability is decent. To me, this is a beer that is crying out for more hops. The flavors and aromas are pleasant enough, but it's just missing something.

 979 characters

Photo of ellman
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smell: Defiantly a Belgian beer it had a fruity musty smell with hint of the alcohol present.

Appearance: Medium orange brew with a long lasting full whit head.

Taste: Quite complex but I would expect no less. Malty but on the dry side. Also slightly sour

Of the Trappist I have tried this is not high on the list but not bad at all.

 343 characters

Photo of hefevice
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a tough one. After all of the glowing reviews I have read, I found the reality somewhat disappointing. Looks absolutely fantastic, glowing deep dark gold with a massive head, good retention, lacing, etc. Also smells promising, classic flowery, funky, dare I say "horse-blanket" aromas. Taste...well...the first disappointment. Dry then bitter, overwhelming anything else that might be present. I also found the palate a little watery, although there was plenty of carbonation, it was course rather than fine like some of the other Belgians I have enjoyed. Sorry, but while it is a good beer, I think it is unbalanced and over-rated.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,266 ratings.
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