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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BA SCORE
4.2/5
Exceptional
5,531 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:
#2,028
Reviews:
2,378
Ratings:
5,531
pDev:
12.38%
 
 
Wants:
363
Gots:
983
Trade:
11
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,531 |  Reviews: 2,378
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.

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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.

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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”

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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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Photo of stinewils24
2.38/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer has a honey gold appearance to it and is rather foamy. It has a spicy and sour smell to it. The taste also has spicy hints with a fruity, earthy, and somewhat bitter aftertaste. The texture holds a light carbonation.

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Photo of sfprint
2.37/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A: Insane carbonation, very difficult to pour. Bottle cap flew off with the loudest pop I've ever heard from a beer bottle. Light amber with tons of rising carbonation. Sea foam head.

S: Oddly resembles hash. Bizarre chemically smell. Very strange smell. Sweet, nutty.

T: Also strange taste. Weird chemical taste that really dominates the flavor. Strangely astringent. Sour.

M: Mouth puckering. Light sting.

D: I just don't understand why my taste buds are so different from everyone elses. This is the second Orval I've had in the past few years and I feel the same. Wishing I enjoyed it as much as everyone else.

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Photo of CahirKeane
2.33/5  rDev -44.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Photo of VncentLIFE
2.31/5  rDev -45%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

First time in a bar. Stupid, I know.

Pours a hazy dull orange, Decent white head with what looks like cultures of bacteria or fungi floating on top of it.

Smells strongly of yeast. Slight hints of brett.

Taste is basically yeast. I cant get over the yeast. It fills my mouth entirely, leaving no room for any other flavors. Tone down the yeast, and this might be a great beer, but as is not so much.

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Photo of Bugsey
2.3/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This was a huge dissapointment to me. I thought because it was Trappist, it had to be good, but it just isn't.

Sure it looks fine, and the head is fine, but it just doesn't taste that good. It is earthy and flat, kind of burnt. There is no complexity and nothing notable.

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Photo of seanbhudson
2.29/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: A cloudy orange beer that pours with a huge white head. That fizzles away relatively fast.

Smell: Surprisingly little smell. A little lemon and hay.

Taste: The cabonation almost overwhelms the flavor in the beggining. Then you taste a bit of hay, lemon zest and a slight medicinal taste.

Mouth Feel: Light to medium body. A lot of cabonation and dry.

Drinkability: Dry, hay and medicinal is not what I am looking for in a beer. I know people love this, that is why I wanted to try it. Who knows, maybe I got a bad batch. :-(

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Photo of nightcrawler
2.26/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Uncapped the bottle and was hit with the sent of bananas and alcohol.

Even with careful decanting, the ale produced a huge head that turned to what best could be compared to melted ice cream. The color was of wheat and looked great.

The mouthfeel was smooth, but I was overwhelmed by a taste of formaldehyde and alcohol. No malt. No sweetness.

I was able to finish it, though. I hope I simply had an old bottle and will try another at some time.

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Photo of ntalexan
2.26/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

-Appearance: Immediately with the foam once I popped the top. Dissipated rather quickly though. Deep but murky/cloudy amber in the glass.



-Nose: Notes of Banana a tiny bit of chocolate and toffee notes. Detect a bit of a sour note on the nose.



-Flavor: So this is a Belgian sour. I didn’t really expect it but it certainly has that malt vinegar mouth puckering flavor to it once sipped. It takes over the banana and toffee notes that I was getting on the nose. The bit of chocolate that I was getting is completely absent on the palate and makes me question if I was even smelling it. It does have a pleasant mouthfeel.



-Rating: 2.5/5: I gotta admit I had high hopes for this one. Definitely not my favorite. I would have liked a bit more banana bready malt to combat the sour. Reminds me more of a Flemish red than what I was expecting.



-Cheers!

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Photo of JamesBerry
2.26/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This came out with a blast of foamover and gunsmoke. It has a somewhat light aroma, and a muddy brown appearance completed by a thick, overwhelmingly soapy head. This has a weak, salty taste with a slightly slick mouthfeel to it, as if someone mixed beer with alkaseltzer. A little disappointing all in all. I'd expected more from this, it being a trappist ale and all.

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Photo of lonewolfcry
2.26/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

2010 bottle poured into my Duvel tulip.

A ~ I was impressed with how much of that amazing head I got from the significantly slow pour. A good 4 fingers. Cloudy light orange, lots of lace as the head dissipated.
S ~ Some barnyard funk, wild berries...actually not too much else that I could pick up on.
T ~ The funk is stealing the show here. I'm getting a peppery taste as well, and a slight touch of medicine. Very dry and no sweetness whatsoever.
M ~ Light, and very carbonated
O ~ I was very excited to post my first review; and thought this would be a great start with the #2 ranked BPA!
Either a got a bad/poorly stored bottle, or I'm simply not a fan of Belgian Pales.
I love most other Belgian styles - but this was my first BPA. It may take awhile before I pick up another, but I'm sure I'll give it one more try...someday.

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Photo of Noelito76
2.25/5  rDev -46.4%

Photo of kabritz
2.25/5  rDev -46.4%

Photo of leagr
2.25/5  rDev -46.4%

Photo of simont1
2.25/5  rDev -46.4%

Photo of mcss
2.25/5  rDev -46.4%

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 5,531 ratings