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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,274 Reviews
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Belgium | website

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:
2,274
Ratings:
5,198
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
12.44%
 
 
Wants:
334
Gots:
819
For Trade:
12
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,274 | Ratings: 5,198
Photo of Buck89
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My bottle was packaged on 3/12/15. Poured into a snifter. a fiery amber-orange with a faint haze. A voluminous and somewhat coarse light tan head that lingered, then slowly receded with delicate tracks. The nose had pineapple, lemon, yeast and floral estery notes. The taste was not surprisingly complex, with a grapefruit bitterness out of the gate followed by a funky barnyard sensation. This then morphed into herbal/floral flavors followed by a return of a lemony/citrus bitterness and a faint spice. Dry, phenolic finish. Medium-bodied. I liked it better as it warmed slightly - could drink this all day. Would love to get more and compare as it ages.

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Photo of Sorphus
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

1 1/2 year old - Light orange amber and rather opaque with a huge frothy off white head. Aromas of orange zest, funky farmhouse, ginger, some toasted white bread with spices and herbs develop. Softly effervescent with a slick texture and sweet caramelised spicey bitter notes and well balanced acidity. Lasting finish with a nice orangey-ginger action.

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Photo of tekstr1der
3.51/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I'll have to revisit this. I might have had a bad one. I typically love this style, but tried this deep into a tasting night, so my palette may have been tainted.

Pours dark amber with huge big-bubbled head which quickly fades. Aroma is some candy and funk. Flavor has some agreeable malt character, but also a sour skunkiness. I really wanted to just dump this down the drain. Dry and tart finish did not have me craving more.

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Photo of Hugues
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

often cited as the best trappist beer, I find this one a bit of a hit & miss from bottle to bottle. I've had some really excellent bottles, but others were downright poor, once poured. Just the look of it will tell you. if it's orangey, you'll love it. if it's a pale pils colours... don't even sip from the glass. That's why my rating are probably much lower than the average

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Photo of CanadianBacon
4.76/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation- Came in a very cool brown rounded bottle

Appearance- hazy amber, huge foamy head similar to duvel

Aroma- Tarty,Yeasty, Green Apple and bread

Taste- complex taste dominated by green apple and some spice

Mouthfeel- pretty light body crisp and carbonated

Overall- Another A++ trappist beer, Try it

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Photo of Mikus
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Highly carbonated, standard medium amber hue. Some interesting, horsey Brett aromas creeping from a nice background of subtle cherry. Great Brettanymyoces character on the palate. Nicely barnyard funky with a hint of tartness. Nice, super dry finish. What can I say, killer brew. Dregs went into the house bug blend.

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Photo of kbwalters
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured cold into a tapered pilsner glass. Bottled on 4/15/13 and consumed on 1/10/15.
Look = 3.75 Lots of carbonation on this one, should’ve been more careful on the pour. 4 fingers of off white head even with a slow pour. Thick and frothy head composed of big bubbles. Lots of streaming bubbles. Clear orange/gold/amber in color.
Aroma = 4.25 Sour, musky horse blanket smell common to Brett bears. Some yeasty notes.
Taste = 3.75 Candied malt sweetness up front, none of the sour comes through in the taste, a hint of tartness. A dry, bitterness in the aftertaste.
Feel = 4.0 Light to medium bodied with medium to high carbonation; thin and crisp, fizzy on the tongue.
Drinkability = 4.0 Pretty easy drinking.
Overall = 3.9375 Somewhat bland brett beer here, but solid all around. The sour smell doesn’t lead to a sour taste, which leaves the taste a little bland.

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Photo of Brew_42
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy Amber with a thick off-white head that leaves lacing and hangs around

Smell- Green apples

Taste-green apples and yeast with some spice. One warm booziness. Tastes like it should have a higher abv than it does. A little sweeter than the sme would have you believe. Sourness increases as the beer warms up a bit.

MF- lighter than I expected. Decent carbonation. Refreshing and drinkable.

Overall- good beer, not on the high end of trappist ales but that still puts it way ahead of most.

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Photo of Dzu
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Dark copper with massive milky foam head.
S: Spices and fruits. But there is something strange in aroma.
T: A little bitter in start but sweeter aftertaste.
F: Smooth and very good balanced.
O: Not like it much at first time but second was great.

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Photo of bilbobrewer
4.84/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

33cl btl purchased at Brussels bottle shop (v hard to find in grocery stores..).
bottled June 30,2015; BB June 30, 2020. (More info is always better....thx)
Served chilled in a tulip. Bottle is unique....like miniature champagne.
Poured nice clear reddish-brown. Not much head.

I love the taste.. NOT syrupy sweet, and on the heels of tasting several local 'syrup bombs', this is extra-appreciated.
Remarkable mouthfeel on this one...some different flavours. Not sour, but more a more 'mature' malty profile than many highly regarded Belgian tripels and quads. A champagney, bubbly dryness on the throat.
Note this beer is tres fresh...but at only 6%abv, I'm not sure how much taste would change or improve with time.
This might be my Belgian co-favorite. ...a ying to Rochefort-8 yang. And this is much easier to see as a multi-serving beverage...there aren't very many quality beers that lend themselves to 'sessioning' in Belgium.
A last minute throw-in purchase, this is a great find and I highly recommend it.

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Photo of headlessparrot
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled October 2014. Beer pours an almost reddish, copper colour, fairly cloudy, topped by a tremendous amount of loose head that just keeps growing. Lots of small bubbles visible. Dense lacing that not only sticks to the side of the glass but actually visibly protrudes. Even after most of the head recedes, at leas one enormous island persists like an iceberg.

Smell is sour, yeasty, sweet, slightly metallic. A bit of Christmas spice (cinnamon? clove?). Smells a lot like a lambic, a faro, or maybe even a Flanders Red. Slight pine, caramelized sugars, brown sugars. Green apple, apple skins. Apricot or peach--stone fruits, at any rate. Sour cherries.

Given the intensity of the aroma, the taste is a lot lighter than I expected. More toasted and roasted malt-type flavours than I would have expected as well. Slight sourness, a lot of fruit: apple, apricot, peach. Maybe some pear? A faint metallic twang. Some baking spices and Christmas spices. Clove? Faint banana? Carbonation is high, but manageable and the body is dense without being overpowering.

Delicious. The taste doesn't quite live up to the smell, but delicious. This reminds me of a lot of my very favourite Belgian beers, of all different styles: Rodenbach Grand Cru, Lindeman's Faro. . . . And yet the difference is that this retains a drinkability that a lot of those favourites don't (I could drink three of these; I could never drink three Rodenbachs in a sitting). I don't know that it's a *better* beer than either of those I listed. But it's of a different style, and is more drinkable.

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Photo of GerryPendry
4.9/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a hazy amber, gigantic dense head. Complex aroma and flavor. Mouthfeel is a tad bit thin, not too carbonated, with a dry finish. It's almost like it evaporates from your palate, the same way a well-made martini does. Incredibly flavorful for a beer his light and drinkable. Goes down way too easy for a beer this expensive. Very highly recommended.

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Photo of mjurney
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance:
Amber-golden color, murky. Lots of small bubbles streaming. Thick frothy head.

Aroma:
Bananas, pears, hint of nutmeg, deep bready malts, a little tartness.

Taste/Finish/Body:
Strong fruity yeast, bananas, pears, green grape skin. Mild spice, nutmeg. Deep creamy malts, caramel. Hop bitterness towards the end. Finish is most tart, very dry. Body is full, crewy, refreshing, easy drinking.

Overall:
It's a world class beer!

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Photo of SitkaSteve
4.46/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was poured into a tulip.
The appearance was a hazy amber to orange color. There was a decently sized creamy rocky head that lasts for a super long time and then once it dissipates leaves some nice stringy lacing.
The smell starts off with tart apples, brings on a slight rustic funk and then slides into some nice Belgian spices.
The taste remains tart through the apples and then takes on a musty sort of farmhouse sweet funk. The apples take on a sweet persona in the aftertaste and slides into a semi-sweet to musty wet finish.
The mouthfeel is about a light to medium on the body with a pretty good sessionability about it. Carbonation ranges on a delicate soft side allowing the tartness to come back and be the focus of the harshness along my tongue.
Overall, its a classic because of its unique quality of the tartness. Its world class for a reason. And a stellar one to have with some NY strip steaks. I also personally love it with grilled halibut steaks.

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Photo of HopHunter19
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

a - murkey amber orange, nice big creamy head on it that lasts forever and leaves great lacing
s - tart green apple, little bit of funk
t - very light tartness, green apple, lots of funk and mustiness, kind of like sleeping in your grandparent's basement
m - light - medium, alc completely covered, aftertaste is musty funkiness
o - would drink again for it's uniqueness, not my favorite by far though

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Photo of dd43
4.31/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Orval is a fantastic beer, and is considered world class for good reason. It has earned its place in the pantheon of classic beers. Voluminous head requires a careful pour. Swirling the bottle before cracking it open, even gently, can cause a foam geyser if you aren't careful. Venting the bottle upon cracking the cap is wise.

The head on this beer is massive, dense and craggy like whipped cream. It is intoxicating to gaze upon. The aroma is pure magic. That funky quality is ever present, but without the plastic aroma of lesser brettanomyces applications. Aging this beer will change that character significantly. When young it is quite a bit more floral in the bouquet, likely from a medley of noble hop varieties.

Somewhat darker in color than other Belgian pales, giving you the sense that the malt character is going to be a little more pronounced (and it is). Great yeast aromas, candied sugar in the flavor, and massively carbonated. Finishes very dry, not sweet, almost saison like in that regard. Required drinking if you are trying to get a sense of what Belgian pale ales are, consider this a reference beer.

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Photo of tlema1
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Orange/Amber, big billowing white head
S: little funk, little tart
T: lots going on here, I get tart green apple, some Belgian yeast sweetness, a little funk
F: good mouthfeel
O: great beer, first time I've ha one in years

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Photo of Das_Reh
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orval

Bottled 2013, Tasted 4/18/16

Appearance = dark honey color, 4 finger head, constant stream of champagne-like bubbles, dregs left in bottle to improve clarity

Aroma = floral and perfumed, medicinal, spicy Belgian yeast, apple and pear, horse-blanket/barnyard, hay, leather

Taste = same as aroma, astringent and dry like a dry white wine, spiciness, noticeable alcohol, fruity esthers and sweet malts

Feel = medium-soft with champagne-like carbonation

Overall = dynamic beer that becomes more complex and rich with age, not for beginners; 4.5/5

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Photo of SkipZ
4.9/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 27/03/2014.
Look: Poured a huge pillowy white head with plenty of active bubbles streaming. This is a true joy to me. In the glass its a beautiful amber/orange that is light-light/medium body and mostly translucent with no large particles even after I swirled them from the bottom of the bottle. Some head foam remained in the bottle to finish off the top.

Nose: First aromatic blast is a mixture of bubble gum, tutti-frutti snow cone and Harbo red and black raspberry German gummies obviously from the "candied sugar" quickly followed with sweet malts, aromatic hops and a tiny bit of funk.

Taste/Mouth: Sharp carbonation on the tip of the tongue for eye popping refreshment with the sweet,dry,funky and aromatic complexities of this ale battling it out over the tongue to a superb, velvety,crisp and dry finish that left me wanting more. In fact, this is a bottle from the case I traveled about 75 miles to get after sampling a bottle a few days earlier.

Final Thoughts: This is a complex,heavily carbonated Trappist ale that is a crisp,funky and aromatic bliss.

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Photo of TheBlueWaffle
4.71/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

After dealing with the insane carbonation, I'm talking 30 minutes till the foam died down, this beer was ready. Worth the wait for sure. Intense banana yeast notes. Very drinkable!

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Photo of kevinlater
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle into goblet. "bottled on 15/01/2015, best before 15/01/2020B". 6.9% abv. consumed on june 30, 2015

a: light copper with two fingers of off-white head

s: ah brett beers. noticeably funky but miles from offensive. funk, strong bready malt, and sour lemon up front. underneath that are very mild backing notes of overripe bananas, sour apples, pears, and bubblegum

t: follows the nose but is a bit more fruity. a really solid chewy bready malt in the front mixed with those sour funky brett flavours. lots of complex but tame backing flavours throughout -- pear, lemon, banana, papaya, bubblegum, spices, melon, earthy hops, apricot, maybe even some mango? ends with a moderate hop bitterness and lingering subdued funky tastes

m: nice, modest medium-minus body with plenty of bubbly carbonation. very dry finish

o: a massively complex beer that offers so many different flavours upon each sip

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Photo of Gajo74
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful blend of colors; dark golden, copper, Amber and orange. The look is cloudy with some sediment. Huge foam head that takes a while to disappear, excellent creamy lace retention until the very end.
Big fruit aroma; tropical fruits, bannana, lemon. There is also a sugary malt undertone and some herbs.
The taste is quite complex and the feel is amazing. There is a soft but prominent carbonation that tingles slightly. Creamy feel until the very end. Feels full bodied in the mouth but is actually medium all,around and quite drinkable. Tart fruit flavors and bready malt contribute to an overall sweet taste. However, a strong herbal, bitter hops and lemon finish balance it out amazingly. There is alcohol for sure, but it blends so well with the other tastes.
An exceptional beer!

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Photo of JLaw55
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a first for me and very complex. Pretty darn tasty though, and wow the craftsmanship was out of this world. It was a amber/brownish color with a nice fluffy white head. Lots of fragrance coming off of this one, with a complex set of flavors to back it up. Grassy, malty, fruity, bitter, with a hint of clean funkiness and crisp finish.

Would Drink Again: Yes
Would Purchase Again: Yes

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.73/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

330 mL bottle from the LCBO; bottled Jan 15 2015, listed at 6.9% and served at cellar temperature. I totally did not expect to see this one show up locally - the beer selection has really improved in this town over the past couple of years.

Pours a muddy orange-amber colour, topped off with a copious volume of fluffy white head. It's one of those froths that quite literally slowly grows before your very eyes - it looks like some sort of whipped topping, wilting down over an agonizingly long period that exceeds ten minutes. Looks absolutely beautiful. The nose is similarly attractive, boasting a fluid mix of funky, spicy, intensely yeasty aromas; fruity notes such as apple, apricot and lemony citrus; and doughy malt with a touch of caramelized sugar.

I usually find myself to be a little disappointed when it comes to heavily hyped beers, such as Orval, but this one has really lived up to the expectations - it's goddamn delicious, with a lovely mixture of tart and astringent flavours. Some light, grainy malts, caramelized sugar and doughy bread are easily missed, as the funky, leathery barnyard notes from the Brett are what really grab your attention. Not particularly fruity - I am getting a bit of lemon pith and maybe some apricot, banana, and vinous grape, but it finishes with a phenolic, spicy kick and some bitter, leafy hop notes. The aftertaste is totally dry, making it hard to stop yourself from sipping this one quickly. Medium-bodied, with assertive carbonation levels that give this unique pale ale a crisp, prickly mouthfeel. It feels smooth and frothy on the palate; unbelievably refreshing, too.

Final Grade: 4.73, an A+. Orval is a fantastic beer, and certainly one of the best Belgian imports I have had to date. It is undeniably unique-tasting, with a flavour profile that is both mesmerizing, and annoyingly difficult to describe with much accuracy. The Brettanomyces make this one an acquired taste, but if you go into the glass with an open mind, you can safely expect to be blown away. I'm glad I grabbed a couple of extra bottles, but given this one's history of spotty availability (in Ontario) I might need to snatch a few more while I have the opportunity.

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Photo of jmasher85
2.75/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

God, I hope to G-d I got a bad bottle of this one. It's really well rated, but neither I nor the rest of my Beer Club were particularly impressed. Again, could have been the bottle, and I'll have to try another soon to compare, but of all the Trappist Beers we sampled during our meeting that night (almost all of them), this was one of the worst.

To be fair, it probably had the most interesting and dynamic flavor profile. Stone fruits on the nose, mainly peach and apricot, but kinda moldy smelling. The taste wasn't much different. A lot of slightly rotton and fermented fruit smells in this one. Most peculiar was the metallic aftertaste that only hits you about 5 seconds after you swallow. So bonus points for being a strange and confusing beer that kept us all guessing, but negative points for being a little too odd and possibly off. I may have to revisit this one with a fresher bottle.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,274 ratings.
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