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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 slackattack
3.32/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled November 2013, best before November 2018.

Pours beautiful golden brown, pillowy 3 fingers of head that is persistent and leaves a spotty lace on the drink down. Nose is not overly assertive, bready notes, Belgian yeast prevalent. My first thought was that it was pretty boozy for a 6.9% beer, but I think the extremely dry finish contributed to that. Really clean taste, but not a lot of flavor if that makes sense. Bitterness throughout the drink makes it enjoyable. After it warmed a few degrees I'm starting to think that I wish this wasn't so expensive because it could be session material. Easy to drink, lots of carbonation, good summer front porcher.

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Photo of descartes
3.63/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 33 cl. bottle.

Appearance: Deep amber with a nice half inch head.
Smell: Very spicey and grainy smell.
Taste: First one gets a slight honey flavor followed by malts and then a overpoweringly bitter taste.
Mouthfeel: A bit over cardinated, moderate body.
Drinkability: Just too bitter, I cann't see myself downing two of these in a row.

Overall: As I stated above this beer was just too strong and bitter, which was surprising considering how sweet it smelled. Maybe giving it a couple of years in the cellar would have mellowed it out and made it more enjoyable.

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Photo of Bugsey
2.3/5  rDev -45%
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 kurtissellen
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aggressive pour into a large goblet yielded an enormous cloud looking head about 2" tall. Buried beneath the bubbles the beer looked an opaque golden amber color with very little if any carbonation. Unique sort of lemon citrus smell to it at first, later on detected a flowery sweetness and a grassy spice. Tasted a mild grape and apple sweetness with a little citrus bitterness and finished very crisp and clean. I would try another just to see the huge head form that was awesome!

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Photo of turamarth
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Smokestack Chalice.

Appearance: A nice hazy golden brown color. Explodes with a huge rocky head with a medium pour. Excellent retention and leaves nice lacing.

Nose: Every thing seems fairly subtle. But, there is a nice hop presence up front, sort of grassy. Some candied malts maybe fruity esters also peeks through in the nose.

Taste: This beer might be one of the most complex I've tasted so far. Granted this is my first foree into Belgian ales. There is very subtle grassy/hay flavor. But, most of the taste is buried in estery brettonomyces. Fruits are delicious. Theres even a slight sharp cheeseiness. Truly complex, almost too so for my palate at this stage.

Mouth: Nice light smooth mouthfeel, nice carbonation. Leaves the mouth with a hint of thickness.

Drink: This beer is almost too complex for one to have multiples. Though abv isn't very high. I like this beer. It's a special occasionier.

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Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the famous bottle into a duvel glass.

Wow! What a beautiful looking beer. Light, wheat-colored beer with huge amounts of meringue-like head of sticky bubbles.

Smells of citrus, apple, spices and whatever else they use to give it the famous character and aroma of this beer.

A little musty, spices, fruit, citrus tangy all on top of a yeasty belgian hop character with barley malt and little caramel or browned sugar.

Mouthfeel is superb. Enters tangy and becomes sweet with the malty and hoppy breadiness. Goes down smooth with a fine carbonation reminiscent of champagne.

If you enjoy the belgian-style ales then no stock would be complete without Orval.

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Photo of hgw605
4.73/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Orange, reddish amber. Huge white head that sticks around and leaves some nice lacing. Totally transparent.
S: Belgian sweet fruity aroma. Tart with notes of apples, citrus, funk and peppery notes. Slight sweet floral aroma.
T: Similar to nose. A bit bitter and some moderate caramel malt coming through.
F: Feels like it is popping off in your mouth, releasing all of its complexity.
O: A classic, incredible beer.

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Photo of Graham21
2.85/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The appearance was bad but I did not have a good glass at the time... The color is a lite amber(orangish brown) and the head was very high and dissipated to a nice lacing shortly. The smell is flowery with a hint of cinnamon and citrus. Fumes of alcohol can be noticed as well. Tastes of lemon, spices, alcohol, a little malty. lacking in taste. mouth feel is descent and the carbonation is very good. drinkablitly is alright, this beer would be easy to drink because of no real flavors presented either good nor bad. Not one of my favorite Trappists, thats for sure.

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Photo of Ochsenblut
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 10/08/2010

The body is a cloudy orange brown color with a light tan head with very fine bubbles. The head retention is excellent, maintaining substantially throughout the experience.

The smell is of oranges, earth, and spicy goodness.

This beer is extremely creamy, with well attenuated pale malts, and vaguely soapy hops moving into leathery brett funk (moldy, but in a good way!). Rounding out the end is lingering funk and tannic astringency. The tongue is slightly warmed by alcohol alongside the aftertaste, which sticks around practically forever.

I've heard Orval derives its complexity from the Brett yeast used at bottling, and it's no joke. It really does add a new layer to something that might otherwise be 'just good.' Once I have the means, I'll be cellaring a few of these.

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Photo of hobojon
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had both fresh and aged. This review is based on a bottle that was brought back by a friend from belgium. 2 month old bottle.

Aroma- Funky (Brett), floral and fruity, fresh. bready. dry. some tart acid. great malt, bready. pungent spicy, herbal, noble hops.

App- very light haze. amber. creamy off white foam stays and laces.

Taste- sweet mouth coating tart and then dry and clean. fruity pucker, tart berry (cherry). bready and light caramel. crisp malt. hops are great, bitter and resinous. malt is incredible. not very funky compared to aged, I prefer it fresh.

Mouthfeel- high carb, clean, dry. full. alc is slightly noticeable in throat.

Overall- amazing when fresh. tartness is great. beers like this inspire my home brewing.

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Photo of Daniell
4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was heavily disappointed first time I tried this, turned out that was when I had a relatively fresh bottle. I've discovered a stock which were bottled on 2006, and have had far better experiences with them.

A: awesome head and really unique light red/gold colour. Halfway between a golden ale and a rosé. Head dies down perhaps a little quickly for my liking, compared to say Duvel, but I think I have to make this a 5 for the beautiful blood orange colour. 5

S: overripe, almost fermenting fruits. Smells a lot like a botrytis dessert wine actually, mixed with funk and bandaids. Later on as it warms the funk gets vaguely faecal, clovey and honey-y. It really has the sulphuric pale fruity smell I expect from white wines. I can honestly say I do like the liveliness of the funk here, it does make the beer feel alive. 4.5

T: actually get a decent amount of alcohol in the taste, along with fermented fruit. I notice a distinctive aftertaste- kind of nutty, like macadamias. This recedes to substantial bitterness. The bandaids I was overwhelmed by the first time I had this are still there, but they're more subtle. The bottling date is the 23rd of February 2006, which makes this brew more than four years old. It seems that the aging (despite presumably being in a freezer for a large proportion of that time) has tamed the brew compared to the severely band-aidy fresh one I had previously. 4.5

M: Just about right for the style. 4.5

D: One to sip but the complexity definitely keeps me coming back. 4.5

Definitely world class.

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Photo of nickshep7
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours w/ 2-2.5 fingers of shaving cream like head. This may be the densest head I've seen on a beer. The base of the beer is a coludy, deep honey brown/orange color. Smell is musky, almost like an old wine cellar. Solid dose of Belgian yeast and bready notes. Honey cloves are also fairly prominent on the smell. So far, very impressed with this brew. Now only if the head would die down, so I can jump in. Very dry and herbaceous on the mouth. A healthy amount of hops, much more than I was expecting. Clove seems to come through quite a bit on the taste as well. Overall, a great experience worth trying especially if you are into Belgian style brews.

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Photo of darky
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 11-17-2011, poured into chalice. Reviewed 3-16-13

A: pours a brilliant light orange capped with a persistent 1/2" white head.

S: Orange and grapefruit are primary with that characteristic hint of banana so many Belgians have.

T: This is, I believe, the third time I've tried this brew, but the first time really 'tasting' it. I didn't pay any attention to vintage until now, and I would wager those bottles were significantly fresher than this one. I distinctly recall this beer being far dryer (to the point that I struggled with it) with a more pronounced hop character the previous two times. This pour is definitely mellower with muted orange at the start and middle, and then the trademark Orval grapefruit-y (again, mellowed) dry bite on the finish.

M: Soft and creamy, ample carbonation. Quite good really.

O: I really wish I had a younger version to compare this bottle to right now. I don't think this particular bottle is representative of what this beer is like fresh. I am enjoying it, but it's not at all what I remember it to be, or how others have described it here on BA. I will revisit this one with a fresher specimen when I find one.

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Photo of marchoftheclouds
1.88/5  rDev -55%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

When I pay $4.99 for a 11.2 oz "treat" I expect the trifecta of different, unusual and really exceptional (as in tasty). I'm finding I can't always get the trifecta ... and it's probably due to my preferences. After drinking the Orval, I read an A+ review by Jason Alström. I read other reviews, too, and noticed one beer advocate thought he got a bad bottle. That was the first thought I had after my first mouthful. I don't like beer that has a grapefruit taste in it. I've tried extremely hoppy beers, but they aren't my thing. I think I'll keep trying new things, but I'm leaning more and more to, "If you can see through it, you might not like it!"

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Photo of CashMoneyVagrant
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

-Bottled on 1-06-2010, Served in a Orval glass

Pours a thick,dense fluffy white head of foam that rises above the rim of the glass. Rich, deep orange color, with some amber highlights. Light candied fruit in the nose at first. Jolly ranchers and bubblegum. Citrus, fresh squeezed orange juice. A faint touch of lemons, honey and flowers. A little soapy as well. Musty, tart funk behind the fruit. Hay barn, old leather, burlap sack and seasoned wood. Smells of dried corn husks, wheat, peanut shells can be found. Rustic, earthy hop aroma.

Lots of carbonation, thats lively on the palate. Woody, stale hop character. Yeasty, bubblegum fruit. Orange citrus, white grapes. Some wildflower scented honey, lemon and jolly ranchers. Dried wheat, musty hay barn. Bone dry, with a crab apple tartness and earthy hop bitterness that lingers in the mouth. Soapy. Has a feeling of walking through a farmer's field at harvest time. A very old world, dry and rustic brew. That would pair well with cured meats, cheeses and simple grilled or roasted chicken.

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

Hazy orange beer with a thick, creamy head. Aroma of lime and tangerine citrus and a pleasant mustiness. Tart, funky (Brett), and quite bitter taste, more like grapefruit rind than straightforward hops. Creamy mouthfeel balanced by a moderately-high carbonation.

This bottle is about a year old. It has lost the fresh, herbal notes but has only just started to develop complexity from aging. Overall, a refreshing, classy beer, though not amazing to me.

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Photo of Nightwing
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Poured from bottle. Aroma of citrus with a hint of herbs. Appearance is cloudy amber with significant white head. Light bitter taste. Medium to light body, with a texture that is hard to pin down, and a dry finish. A very complex beer.

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Photo of dnrobert24
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Mmmm Orval. I would like to try this beer again with some other kinds of cheese. Unfortunately, at $4.50 a bottle, that is not likely to occur any time soon.

Poured a beautiful yellow gold with an inch-tall head in my tulip goblet. The head remained a quarter of an inch tall throughout the entire session. Even at the end of the glass, tiny bubbles continued to rise. The beer smelled of fine grass, lemon, and hay. The beer had an earthy spiciness to it and almost tasted sweaty. (Horseblanket? I don't know, I've never smelled one). There was a perfect bitterness to balance out the caradmon, black pepper, and grapfruit. I attempted to pair this with a simple grilled salmon and roasted veggies (asparagus, mushrooms, and zuccini) marinated in a dressing made from Penzey's French Country Vinagrette spice blend. The meal and beer did not contrast or compliment each other and were therefore a push. Thus, I pulled out the gruyere cheese. This cheese was a little old and losing its nutty and toasty qualities, but the beer worked wonders on it. Again, it was not the perfect match, but the hard gruyere actually tasted creamy after sipping the beer. The fading nuttiness came forth, despite the lack of nuttiness in the beer, and the cheese helped flesh out some of the spicy earthy sweaty corners of the brew. I would definitely not try this beer again unless I had a good goat cheese, gouda, or aged cheddar to go with it.

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Photo of surfadelic23
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This tasty beer (which comes in a relly distinctive bottle) pours a
copper/brownish color that looks great in my chalice.
At first, the taste is sweet, but that doesn't last long at all. A nice bittery hoppy flavor that quickly gets replaced by acidity that must be the result of the yeasties or mebbe bretts?? This one's also pretty carbonated. The first bottle I opened foamed big time! I liked the carbonation on it and found that it imrpoved the drinkability to a certain extent. I did not find this to be a very big alcohol bomb although that may be because We spent the whole weekend trying different Belgian style ales so we may have been used to it. All in all, a pretty nice ale and I'm glad I tried it. While it's not going to knock off othe Belgians that I prefer, this was a nice change from the norm

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

had this beer once a while ago now im having it once again

A- dark copper huge billowing white head with some white lacing on the glass

S- earthy a little sour and maybe a little sweetness

T- some sour some fruit apples or grapes an perhaps a little bread

M- light bodied great carbonation

D- great

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Photo of slk22
2.72/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a golden/amber similar to honey. Cloudy with a huge off-white head that seems to last forever. Aroma is very mild malt with some sweetness, much less complex than I expected. Taste was also very mild, mainly corn, having no aftertaste. Mouthfeel is very smooth with a light body and high carbonation, not unlike seltzer water. This is an easy beer to drink, but not very arousing in my opinion. Not sure if I just got a bad bottle as I expected a lot more from this offering.

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Photo of PeterLemonjello
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: a hazey rich honey or light orange color. Pours a hefty/rocky head with lots of CO2 bubbles

S: mildly sour apples and white grapes

T: very fruity and dry turning giving way to some malt/bready flavors as it reaches cellar temperature

M: nice, full and lots of delicate/soft carbonation

D: Very nice beer with plenty of flavors. Complex beer but very drinkable.

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Photo of Living816
3.4/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Oh my the hype. These ratings would imply orgasm like flavors / experience in the mouth. Perhaps the beer pays *me* to drink it?

It pours a rather curious straw, stained oak color with some haze. The head is amazingly robust, persisting for an eternity.

The "brett funk" hits your straightaway along with a bit of sweet aroma, like a syrup. The smell betrays you. The taste is nothing like it.

On the mouth, there is an exceeding dryness and astringency that seems to suck the moisture right out of your mouth. There is a bit of sour, which is obviously anticipated. But the sour doesn't seem to fit in. It just sloshes around in the mouth.

A bit more bitterness on the finish than you expect as well.

I don't know that I would buy it again. It's quite flat, one dimensional. The sour simply is there for, well, I don't know why its there. It's just a bolt on to a typical trappist ale.

Just for the record bottled on 10/2/11, good through 10/2/16.

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Photo of tfinn
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bottled 2003-01-28, consumed 2004-06-27

pours a hazy golden color with frothy head reminiscent of small soap bubbles. leaves slidy lacing on the glass. yeast was left in the bottle.

the aroma is a pleasant mix of sweet maltiness, fruit esters (not so much banana -- more skewed towards pineapple / citrus), and a hint of hops.

showing my prejudices of belgian trappist ale, with a wonderful estery scent, I was expecting a full heavy body with this one, but it's not heavy at all. it's light, clean, and very "wet" tasting for lack of a better term. carbonation is mild, yet there is a definite carbonate tang on the tongue. balance is towards the hops, but stops just short of being overtly bitter. there is no hop trail at the end; just a bit of graininess and a nice wet clean finish, which prompts further consumption.

a very satisfying and quenching beer. it's somewhere between american pale ale and a full-bodied belgian dubbel or trippel.

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Photo of nicefix
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured to a giant white fluffy head with various sized bubbles. Good retension and lacing.
Smells of lemon, grass, floral hops and spice.
I'm tasting similar things to what I smelled but also a complex flavor I can't put my finger on.
Very drinkable and complex. If I had more experience I could maybe nail down the complex flavors and aromas with more precision.
Overall, I would recommend this beer. Very interesting.

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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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