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

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
5,398 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
Ratings:
5,398
Reviews:
2,347
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
12.44%
 
 
Wants:
359
Gots:
919
For Trade:
11
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,398 |  Reviews: 2,347
Photo of alpinebryant
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky pale straw yellow with a massive straw head.

S: aroma of funky Brett. Barnyard and light pale malts mixing with a slight noble hop presence

T: flavors of slight candied sugars and pale malts mixing with a slightly stronger than expected noble hop presence. There is a respectable Brett flavor starting to kick in with this bottle. Bottled 11/17/2010, this has a year and a few months in a bottle. I am curious ton try a bottle that has been aging longer now to see how the Brett matures after a few years.

M: a medium body for the style, and for a 6% relatively thick. Medium to high carbonation for a belgian pale

O: this is a good Trappist , not my favorite that I have had yet but it is up against tough company.

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Photo of mithrascruor
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle poured into a chalice. Bottled 29 Aug. 2006.

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy orange/copper color. Off-white head is foamy, dense and thick.

Smell: Aroma is a bit herbal and spicy. Light overall; hard to distinguish anything in particular.

Taste: Unique and refreshing spicy/herbal flavor. I'm really having a tough time identifying any of the elements, though there is some yeast. A bit of bitterness towards the end, followed by some alcohol in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light- to medium-bodied, but quite viscous. Very smooth, and with quite a bit of soft carbonation.

Drinkability: ABV is fine, but there is a bit of alcohol in the flavor. And the unusual taste can get a bit overwhelming at times.

Though unique, interesting, and one of the better Belgian pale ales I've had, I still can't quite get into it. It's a nice beer, and I'll certainly get it again, but it's not something that I'd want to have too often.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2oz unique brown bottle with clearly marked "bottled on" and "drink by" dates marked.

Appearance: Slightly hazy (until I screwed up and accidentally got the yeast in the pour) burnt orange beer with a beautiful sticky off-white whipped cream head with great retention.

Smell: Sharp and sweet; incredibly aromatic. There are intense floral and spice notes, as well as hints of bubblegum and sweet candy sugar, with just a touch of earthy must in the background from the yeast.

Taste: Quite floral up front, with slight musty/yeasty and tart lemon and peach flavors as well. Then come lightly toasted malts and a bit of a bitter hop smack at the end.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation and light-medium body...perfect for the style.

Drinkability: 1-2 of these would be nice; it's too complex and the alc. is a bit too high to have more than a couple in a sitting.

Conclusion: This particular sample was bottled in 2008 and it says it drinks well until 2013; with this being a very fresh sample, I'd like to buy another and let it mellow in the cellar a bit. As delicious as this is, I think a year or two might mellow it out a little and take the edge off the hop and alcohol presence. That being said, this is a delicious Trappist offering...its spicy and floral characteristics remind me of a good Alsace Gewurtztraminer, and I think I'd actually prefer this one with food even more than on its own...perhaps some Camembert and crusty French bread?

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Photo of tcfishler
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very hazy orange-amber with a massive, pillowy, long-lasting head and great lacing.

Expressive, high-toned, fruity nose with grape and crabapple character, along with some herbaceousness.

More restrained flavors that lean to the dry side of the spectrum, particularly for a Belgian. Quite complex with notes of tarragon, guava, and exotic spices. Mouthfeel is fairly unimpressive...the only weak point of this brew.

Finishes moderately long and dry.

An interesting, distinctive ale that manages to be both incredibly complex and impressively balanced.

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Photo of jampics2
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at around 6 months of age. Sampled at the Winking Lizard and poured into a cool Orval glass.

Looks nice in it's branded vessel. Orange/copper with some amber and caramel swatches painted here and there. Nice head retention and lace. Very strong start.

Smells of bright hops and mild brett. Some orange and lemon, with some horsehair. Not too barnyard like a stinky gueze, but a nice touch of brett.

Taste is nicely balanced between the base beer, the hops, and the wild edge. The base beer is light and sweet, with just enough malt. The hops give some orange and other citrus notes. The wild funk gives a dusty and basement flavor, but it's nice and balanced. The brett hasn't taken over yet.

The beer has decent body, but the carbonation is a little out of control. This doesn't need to sparkle so much - other trappists with the same sparkling carb have a better overall feel. This is just a bit distracting. I like Orval and it is a classic, but I like more modern BPA's more without the wild edge. I would and will drink this again.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

direct from the importer here in beijing.

330ml, bottled on 20/05/2008, best by 2013. poured into tulip.

dull orangey amber, with gold and brown hues. slightly hazy. great head, slowly recedes to a persistent thin layer. a couple distinct rings of frothy lacing.

whiffs of funky brett in the nose, but give way to floral and herbal tones, and hints of ripe apple and peach. whiffs of malt vinegar and cider, leather and barnhouse along with grassy hop. note of possible buttery diacetyl? some phenols in the backend.

juicy grapefruit in the flavor, both in fruitiness and bitterness. then back to the funkiness of brett, with leathery notes and horse funk, and that acidic twang. hints of yeast bread and faint sweet malt note, but the focus is on the characteristics of brettanomyces. grassy hop bitterness again reminiscent of grapefruit, albeit not citrusy like american hops. dry, moderately bitter finish with slight acidic pucker.

fluffy carbonation, with some prickliness. acidic texture and a decent substantialness in the feel.

i don't know why garrett oliver thinks this beer can win over beginners. this requires a large amount of acclimation. i can appreciate it quite nicely, but i don't see how a typical macro or even crossover craft drinker can be attracted to this at all. certainly not on first taste, and especially not without being educated about the beer.

(NOTE: an even more positive re-review is forthcoming - i love brett now, and this early review does not do the beer justice)

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Photo of hardy008
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cloudy amber color with a huge off white head with excellent retention. After I poured some of this into my glass, I had to wait a long time before I could pour out the rest of the bottle. There were huge bubbles with lots of sticky lacing. Wow. The smell has horse blanket, lemon and floral hops. The taste has lemon peeling and bitter florals hops, some of the horse blanket I noticed, and some grass. This is bitter, but not overwhelmingly bitter.

A lot of carbonation, dry, light to medium bodied and complex. Nice to drink, a bit tart, and there is also a hint of sweetness. Well worth trying, and having again.

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Photo of avylover
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has grabbed my curiosity for awhile, but I never fessed the loot to grab it in favor of IPA's...etc. Thanks to Tinustime for the well priced bottle. Pours cloudy straw yellow into my miami dolphins tapered mini beer glass. The head is huge and foamy and holds steady. Aroma is sweet & sour - full of apples, almost burning, but not in an alcohol way - more acidic. Very nice. The taste is very unique. Not alot of malt here, or even hop flavor really. There is a ton of hop dryness and bitterness. It's as if the beer dries up before I get a chance to taste it. This is the definition of "clean". mouthfeel is quick and dry, making this pretty drinkable....very unique ale...and quite refreshing.

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Photo of emincems
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of joshuadlight
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

If you've never had an Orval, this is one very unique beer. Not many look, smell, or taste anything like it.
Even at a slow pour it produces a swelling head that is very chunky. I mean, this leaves big chunks of lacing on the glass. Unique yeast flavors and aromas coupled with some sweet fruits. There is a slight bite at the end with some yeast/hop bitterness that sticks around in your throat for a while. At first I thought the aftertaste was unpleasant, but after a couple sips I came to enjoy the flavor very much.
As attested to by the large head, this is a very carbonated beer, detracting only slightly from the mouthfeel. I also had to account for the large pricetag when I took away from the drinkability. If it didn't run $6 per 11.2 oz, it would be perfectly drinkable.

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Photo of Jeremy7
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Grackos
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of wisegreensoul
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of trbergman
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance - The beer pours a hazy golden orange with three fingers of pillowy off-white head. The head recedes to about one finger but leaves spectacular lacing on the way down.

Smell - Belgian yeast, bubblegum, with earthy undertones.

Taste - At first very dry and somewhat bitter, the beer opens up and improves on warming. The palate is quite earthy, with other flavors I had trouble describing at first, but would call hay, apple, and pear. The finish is dry with grassy, herbal hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Highly carbonated, this beer dances on the tongue and has a full, round body.

Drinkability - Good. Alcohol is hidden better than other beers of similar strength. A pleasure to drink - I could have two or three.

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Photo of Brewery_Decimal_System
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of StuMonkey
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Omniwar
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of PUbeer
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of dbossman
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A very murky orange/amber color with a thick fast-forming head with pretty good retention; good lacing

S: a nice banana/yeasty smell upfront; the alcohol is fairly evident but there is a fruity/citrusy smell as well

T: the banana flavors still persist; there is a nice fruity and slightly sour quality that is present as well; the alcohol is well masked--more so than in the scent

F: Creamy in the front; it does dissipate rather quickly

D: This is a very drinkable Belgian; it goes down easily but also can be sipped on for quite a while. My kind of beer.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle poured into a goblet. Fresh bottle. Bottled 10/3/2011.

Appearance - Frothy white head atop a hazy and even murky deep golden body. Everlasting retention and some sticky lacing down the glass.

Smell - Floral, fruity, slightly yeasty. Hoppy as well, but not a ton. Really fresh and bright flavor. Not as funky as I would have expected, but it's there.

Taste - Not quite as bright as the aroma, but nice. Hops are significantly more dominant and they drown out the fruitiness. It's got a lot of bretty flavors to it, also. I like those, but miss the fruit brightness. Strong bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Extremely dry. I find that it accentuates the bitterness too much. Still, light and refreshing.

Overall - Very fascinating beer. I have two. One to age and one to drink now. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of the other bottle.

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Photo of Orrshow
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – The look of Orval is great. It pours a cloudy deep orange into my Orval glass and produces a phenomenal amount of whitish meringue head. The head has good staying power and leaves lots of lacing.

Smell – The first aromas I get from this beer are those of apple and coriander. There is some citrus for sure with lemon and orange coming to mind first. There seems to by a slight sweetness with a little pepper as well. Very nice and strong.

Taste – The flavor of this beer is a little different than I expected after smelling it. It has a reasonable amount of citrus but also some sourness. I can detect a little yeast and some spiciness as well. There is a little melon too. There is a slight sweet hay flavor as well as I get to the end of the beer.

Mouthfeel – The body is decent. It feels a little oily and thin. The carbonation is high but doesn’t make itself known as much as it could.

Drinkability – Orval is easy to drink in every way. I preferred savoring this though.

A fairly complex and interesting beer. It have always enjoyed Orval and would never turn one down.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle to tulip, the appearance was a fairly murky red to brown sort of color with a two finger's worth of rocky foamy head that glistened and slid off at a good pace. Lace was somewhat thick and foamy and sticky.
The aroma had a swift sweet to funky barnyard hay/grassy whiff. Roamed nicely into some basement stiffness and had some floral particles coming out to play with a little bit of a brisk earthiness.
The flavor was odd, well, it had that vinous quality that seemed to want to pummel the funk, but in reality, it didn't. So in turn, the earthiness, basement, and floral hop quality played a good part in and all around. Aftertaste seemed to cherish the funk and embrace the wine quality.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied, maybe a touch under with a good sipping quality to it due to the wine harshness. Carbonation felt fine, maybe a bit high, but I gave it a "restrained pour" to assist in the containment. ABV felt good.
Overall, pretty nice Belgian pale ale, not one for the faint of heart but definitely nothing else like it.

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Photo of bmurray10
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Trapiste389
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orval is the real king of beers. Nothing in the world even comes close.

Appearance: A monstrous, rocky and vigorous head full of lace sits atop a beautiful pale straw beer.

Smell: Immediately a powerful hop aroma forces it's way into your nostrils. There is very little malt, just enough for you to know it's there.

Taste: In a word: epic! Like the aroma there is very little malt flavor and you are instantly confronted with the powerful flavor brought on by dry hoping. Very dry, with an extremely pleasant herbal aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Rich and satisfying but not so heavy that it knocks your head back. An excellent medium bodied ale.

Drinkability: Here lies the only problem: you cannot drink this beer all the time. It is powerful and moody and is not a weak beer, so be careful.

As far as I am concerned this the ultimate beer experience, it is a pale ale that is both crisp and moody. as I said before there is no beverage an earth like it.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,398 ratings.
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