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 bspain5
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

Photo of prisoner1572
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

Photo of Hoptometrist
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Served from the bottle into a globed DFH glass. Bottled on 1/8/2010, which I think means August 1 and not January 8.

A- Poured a mostly clear semi--hazy dark golden color, amazing, huge, fluffy head that left some lace. Lots of small bubbles, highly carbonated

S- Big lemon, hay, banana, citrus, and funky notes

T- This is super bitter, lots of sulfur/salty qualities on the finish. You get some of the flavors in the aroma, but this salty sulfur quality overpowers this whole beer.

M- Highly carbonated, chalky dryness

O- Is this a bad bottle? Maybe. This was a huge and expensive disappointment. Tons of nondescript bitterness, if only the taste matched the aroma. I could not finish this.

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Photo of SpAiReArGsEonNE
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

Photo of guitarsnbeer
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

Photo of NeverSettle
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of psm90
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

Photo of antichuckmoore
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

Photo of e11iott
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: 11.2 oz bottle. This beer poured an uncontrolable amount of head, almost thinking I got a bad bottle. Another interesting tid-bit on the bottle was it had a made date of 05/08/2009, best before 05/08/2014. That seams like a long time to collect dust on the bottle and for a beer to settle.

S: Slight fruit, very yeast like, overpowerful yeast.

T/M: Interesting, very dry hop aftertaste and bite. Very high carbination.

D: Paid to much and was let down by this one, I might have to revisit it. Hoping my bottle was bad. Other option is this just isn't my style.

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Photo of Fettpopps
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

Photo of Mitchster
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

$5.99 for a 11.2oz bottle at Jacks. 6.9% ABV. Bottled on 11/13/08, best by 11/13/13.

I've had this beer a few times, but it's not a regular, so I was surprised to see that I hadn't reviewed it on BA before. Considered a classic by some. Pours out to a lightly chill hazed medium amber, forming a large white head despite a careful pour, with excellent retention and sticky delicate Belgian lace. The carbonation is medium-strong. The aroma opens with the smell of honey, followed by that classic horse blanket, farmhouse musty basement sour funk of Brettanomyces that I adore...much different than most Trappist ales which don't ferment with Brett at all. The funk is followed by orange and pineapple....a deliciously tempting beer. The mouthfeel is spritzy and explodes upon the tongue with a light body. The taste opens with a short-lived tartness, followed by a very strong unpleasant metallic bitterness, spicy cloves, fusels and other higher alcohols, and finishes bone-dry with more metals and higher alcohols. No sweetness whatsoever. Aftertaste of wet cardboard and newspaper. Ugh.

I'm not a big fan. It smells delicious, but it needs more sweetness and less bitterness to balance the tartness of the Brett, no fusels, less carbonation and more body. At $5.99 for a wimpy bottle, skip this and get some De Proef, De Dolle, Duchesse, Rodenbach, or Zoetzuur.

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Photo of Hunter
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This Belgian monastery's brew has quite a reputation...this is the second time I've sampled their beer, first time reviewing it.

I must say before even pouring I like the small, unusually curved bottle of dark brown glass and the simple label (hey, it's part of the aesthetics, right?). As soon as the cap is off the nose is hit by a wave of malt and candi sugar. There's also an unfortunate undercurrent of formaldehyde, reminding me of hours in the lab during human dissection. As the glass warms to room temperature that preservative smell begins to dominate. Pours a cloudy gold with a thick white head, which doesn't last as long as I felt it should have. Threads of bubbles from bottom to top.

Taste...is surprisingly bland. If Perrier came in beer flavor, this would be the result. Comes off like a very dry, simple white wine. Citrus bite in the aftertaste, little else. Not even an alcohol bite, which at 6.9% is surprising. I was unimpressed the first time I tried this, and remain so. This has nothing on Chimay's beers in my opinion.

Update July 2016: Back after a decade to give this another chance. Upgrading the look by a full point - the pillowy head is lovely, very dense and enduring - almost like whipped cream. Tracing notes complete the presentation. The aroma seems less chemical this time around. The taste is still what I remembered - bland. No improvement there. Small upgrades to feel and overall, but it remains underwhelming.

 1,456 characters

Photo of HearneHoppers
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

Photo of thegerm87
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%

Photo of Houborg1
2.5/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 2

Photo of joecast
2.47/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

re-review 30/4/06
ok, so its only taken 2+ years to get back to this. ive actually had it one other time since my review, but it was in a pub after a long tasting night. other than that, it just hasnt been available in bottleshops. this bottle was marked best before 2009, and is just under two years in the bottle.

appearance is still good. cloudy orange/amber hue with a lightly tanned head that settle to a thickish lace after a few minutes.

yup, theres that skunked aroma. cough inducing if i get too close. i can feel the drying funk (as best i can describe it) invading my nasal passages, and getting into my lungs. a strange feeling it is.

they say smell and taste are linked. it is certainly on display here. taking a big sniff as i sip, and its like the black cloud monster from lost is allowed down my throat. though, not quite as unpleasant as it may sound. the taste here is mellow and subdued compared to the smell. has a light sourness that truly shows the wide range of flavors beer can hold.

well, at least i can say i know that this is what orval is supposed to taste like. i suppose it makes no appologies, nor should it. thought i would enjoy it a bit more now i am a bit further along my beer education. but what i have learned is orval, in all its funkiness, is not for me.
---
i was really looking forward to my second experience with a belgian beer, the first being chimay.
i guess i was expecting something similair but what i got was anything but. also, as others have said, this beer is unique.

pours with a magnificent rising rocky head and an orange hue. dont be fooled by the small, unassuming bottle. grab a large glass for this one.
the aroma jumps up with an eye-opening tartness. reminds me of the wine my dad and grandfather make. also noticed the aroma of green olives maybe.
the taste is a good reflection of the aroma, with a red wine-like flavor and tart/sour finish.

i almost wasnt going to review this beer thinking it had gone bad. however after reading a few posts here about it and doing some research, i learned that maybe that is the attraction of it. i can see why this beer is so liked by some people, it is definitely uniqe and very distinctive. its just not for me right now.

 2,257 characters

Photo of ghostdeini
2.46/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I was overall dissapointed in this beer because it is rated as world class.

I would rate this beer as below average espically for a belgian pale ale.

This beer really lacks in flavor, there were barely any hoppy notes and it was weak even as a belgian.

The beer did have a rediculous head that was over four fingers tall and does look very nice.

Stay away from this one, go for harpoon or ommegang for a good bpa.

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Photo of BillBabbitt
2.46/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I enjoy Belgian ales, but I was very disappointed with Orval. It was overly carbonated. I was only able to get about 3 oz of beer in a 16 oz tulip glass, due to the heavy foam. Once I was able to try the Orval, I found it to have a very unusual industrial aroma. I did not finish the beer. The 'brewed on' date indicated that this bottle was nearly 13 months old, so it is possible it had turned.

 396 characters

Photo of KatieS5643
2.44/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

This was a caramel colored beer, it had lots of foam when it was poured. It has a nutty scent to it. It tastes very sweet and you can definitely taste the nutty hints. It made me want to brush my teeth after consuming because it felt so sweet.

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Photo of BucBasil
2.44/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance: Poured into a tulip from a bottle. Said it was bottled in July of 2006, so it's now over a year old. Drink before date is July 2011, so I guess this one could definitely benefit from aging. Poured a deep amber with hints of brown. The head was off-white with a massive head that I had to wait for before I could finish pouring. Good looking brew all-around though.

Smell: Interesting smell of earth and herbs. Alcohol is definitely evident here, and overpowers any other smell that could be sensed by my nose.

Taste: Not very good at all, which is very disappointing for a Trappist beer. I have very high standards for these guys, and Orval does not come close. I must admit, the beer improves as it warms a bit, but not by much. Tastes earthy with an alcohol finish. There's something very chemicalish and offputting about the middle and finish of the beer, with a horrid aftertaste lingering around for a while after. Since the taste was so distracting I couldn't really focus on the mouthfeel of this one. It seemed nice - not too carbonated, but enough.

Drinkability: I won't be buying one of these for a long time. I don't think I could have a second even if I had another one in the fridge. I'm struggling through the first one as it is... Perhaps it drastically improves with age, but I won't be trying it anytime soon.

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Photo of rickyleepotts
2.43/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

There is a lot of talk about Trappist beers. It’s a cool concept… beers that are made by monks, within a monastery that produce $0 in profit. All of the money made either goes back into the brewery/monastery or is donated to charity. Now that is what I like to call drinking for a purpose! It’s just funny to me to think that monks made this. Seems wrong. Oh well, I have heard great things about this beer… so let’s see. It is the only beer this brewery makes, so it better be tasty!

In the Glass: There were a TON of bubbles when I poured it into the glass, but it quickly settled. It has a crisp, clean, and carbonated look to it in the glass. It is compared to a champagne-like carbonation, so I will try to keep an open mind here as I try this famous beer.

Nose: It doesn’t smell like beer, that’s for sure. It smells like flowers. No, I’m serious… smell this and tell me you don’t get a big nose full of flowers. It also has a somewhat dry sweetness to it too… I wonder what she tastes likes.

Flavor: Those bubbles are NOT on the tongue, that’s for sure. There is a sublet bitterness at the start, that leads to a dry finish and then the hops sort of kick in toward the middle back half of the palate. Then it’s gone. Not sure what the fuss is about here… this beer is just OK.

Mouthfeel: When I poured it, there were tons of bubbles. I assumed there would be a ton on the tongue. There weren’t. I am not saying that is a bad thing. It doesn’t really taste like beer, either. The mouthfeel is smooth, silky, then dry as it quickly disappears on the back of the tongue.

Aftertaste: What aftertaste? There really isn’t one. All of the flavor happens in the middle as you swallow, then it’s gone. The burp is pretty weak too. Come on monks… you can do better than this! The bottle is cool… saddle, the best part of this beer. That, and the history behind it. Past that, skip it. There are better beers out there.

Orval - The bottle says: “SOLE IMPORTERS OF MERCHANT DU VIN CORP. TUKWILA, WA”

 2,044 characters

Photo of LestatSabastian
2.42/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer was weird tasting to me. light color with bubbles around it looked like a soda. head from hell on one poor next poor hardly any. when I said it looked like a soda. Well it tasted like a bottle of sparkling water with a hint of beer.
mouthfeel of water and baking soda. this beer is not strong but not very good tasting. I did not like it.
Beau of Bama

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Photo of quasimoto
2.4/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Its a slightly cloudy deep goolden amber color. It has a nice head that doesnt do much lacing.

S - It has a strong banana aromanad some paper in there. Its definitley fruity, and has some paper towel in there. Not the greatest.

T - this beer has to be old or something. It has a strong aroma of a bus station bathroom. I mean no disrespect but that was the first aroma that came to mind. There are some dry malts that bring up ther rear. this has to be oxidized,

M - Carbination wraps the tongue and has a dry finish.

D - If it is always like this, then it needs to be choked down. Not the beast thing I've ever had.

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Photo of TastyTaste
2.39/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Takes a while to pour, forms a mammoth fluffy white head, good retention. Well hazed orange body.

Smell: Smells like sweettarts, has an odd artificial watermelon smell, bubblegum, and some other maltiness. Not the most appealing thing I have ever smelled.

Taste: All the smells are well represented. A sour and dry flavor, that is a little fruity, with a slight earthiness and vegetable aspect. Not my favorite, a very weird beer.

Drinkability: My least favorite of the Trappists I have tried, will not buy again.

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Photo of Phoneguy
2.39/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Either I got a bad bottle or my palate isn't sophisticated enough to appreciate this beer, but it tastes awful to me. My apologies to Orval lovers.

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