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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:
5,199
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
18.9%
 
 
Wants:
334
Gots:
820
For Trade:
12
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,274 | Ratings: 5,199
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.

 958 characters

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

Bottled about a year ago in early 2006. A very intriguing beer, and I'm definitely going to pick up some more and put a few away for a while. I'm curious to see how it tastes in another year.

Slightly hazy light honey color, very dense head with thick, unbelievably long-lasting lacing. Stunning to look at.

Apple cider, honey, citrus in the nose. Very appealing.

Cider flavor, with nice hop kick. Tastes crisp, slightly tart, with a very floral finish. Lots going on in this one, but it manages to be well-balanced.

Good carbonation, nice creamy oily texture. Long dry bitter finish. Feels sturdy.

A very unique beer, which I found enormously likable. Could easily have more than one. Or two.

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Photo of richmof
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

How to review Orval?

It is the most aesthetically pleasing beer in the world bar none. It pours from its beautifully curvy bottle into the most attractive beer glass there is. It is the one beer most Belgian bartenders can truly pour as well, which means you get a wonderfully frothy creamy head with solid lacing no matter where you go. The deep golden-orange should be relatively clear when probably poured - yeast on the side.

On this occasion, I am review from Chez Bernard in Place Jourdan, where I had the gout d'Orval.

The citrusy yeastiness starts on the nose and continues through to the palate where it is complemented by a hoppy spice quality. Those herby Brettons doing their work.

It rarely disappoints although three is usually enough for a sitting. I am looking forward to those bottles I have put down.

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Photo of WoogityBoogity
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Super thick creamy head. Slow dissipation. Body is a hazy dark amber, with swirls of dark residue.

S - Super complex smell of malt, hops, banana, clove, maybe cider, and other spicey phenols.

T - Great balanced taste. Very mild sweetness at first, then progesses towards a nice warming of spices complimenting hop finish. Very toasty biscuit flavor from the malts. Almost a pear-like fruitiness and peppery spice.

M - Medium mouthfeel. Not much warming at all, and high carbonation.

D - The palate is so complex I can't even begin to describe it. Taste after taste will leave you discovering more.

Perhaps the best example of a Belgian PA.

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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 kevo237
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a Chimay goblet. Head retention was great throughout. Very nice looking beer. The head almost looked like whip cream.

Smell was sweet and floral. I continued to get the image of baby blue skittles in my head when I was drinking this beer. It definitely has a candied taste that is hard to describe while having a spicy characteristic. Mouthfeel was excellent as with most trappiste brews. Sizzled on my tongue and went down smoothly with no carbonation build up in my throat. Definitely one of my favorite trappiste beers.

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Photo of BeerMasterD
3.25/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled on 05/08/2009, poured into wine glass in 2010.

A- Pours lively amber color with a huge bubbly foam head that hangs around for a while.
S- Spicey and dank funk aromas, Apple and nutmeg, wintergreen.
T- A bit sour, but not bitter or hoppy. A spicey sour taste that im not used too.
M- Crisp and dry, light-medium body.
D- Not highly drinkable.
O- Im not completely sure how i feel about this beer, it was very interesting though and I'd like to explore the style further.

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Photo of Aml42000
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle into an Orval glass. Deep amber/copper color. The nose is slightly vegetal, but has layers of complexity which keep one sniffing. Fresh mouthfeel with layers of subtle meyer lemon and dried herbs. A touch of honey on the finish. A favorite.

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Photo of Albinoh
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy oragelinke color with a huge rocky head that leaves laces all the way down. Sweet floral aroma. Nice Malty flavor, smooth, with a lot of carbonation. The light bitterness makes this beer very drikable, ends up with a dry mouthfeel. I would say that this trappist is one of the most drinkable ones, I enjoyed others more though.

Good nice beer.

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Photo of Itoclown
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Siciliano's in Grand Rapids. Consumed in a Duvel Tulip.
Smell: Friggen awesome! Very fruity with a fantastic Belgium smell.
Look: Medium brown and hazy. Head remains throughout.
Taste: GREAT! I was taken aback. It's very complex and fruity. It's so good that even my Dad loved it when I gave him a sip and he hates complicated beers.
Mouthfeel: Not the best. Very bubbly but it isn't harsh on the tongue.
Overall: I've put this one off for a very long time. I passed it over for years. I wish I hadn't. It's unreal. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this may be the best Belgium beer I've ever had.

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Photo of dvb
2.67/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

A - A nice light amber. Abundant white head that dies quickly.

S - Banana. Very pleasant and enticing.

T - The attack is nice, but gives way almost immediately to a unpleasant soapy bitterness from heavy hopping that is not typical of the style.

M - There is mouth-puckering astringency present that is way too prominent to be ignored.

O - Uncharacteristic bitterness and solvent-like mouthfeel made Orval a bad experience for me. I would try it again, but only because I wonder if I somehow got a bad bottle.

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Photo of Lupin
3.26/5  rDev -22%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I just don't get it, I guess.

I may or may not have had this at tRotBBF. If I did, it was towards the end of the session, and I actually went out after 40+ samples and kept drinking at a bar, then another bar, and then a house party, so let's just say that this was my first time, mmk?

I really, really, really, wanted to like this beer. The no-nonsense label, the erotic bottle, and the fluffiest head I have ever seen. Pours with just the tiniest bit of yeast in suspension. So inviting, but then I actually give it a taste.

All I can say is that there is an earthiness to this beer that obtains and maintains the focal point throughout the quaff. I started drinking it cold, out of that ommegang flute with the silly scribbled guy on it. That nagging taste was there. I finished drinking it just above cellar temperature.. no change.

There was just something eminently one-dimensional about this beer. I could only taste that one thing, and it wasn't a fresh spiciness or 'complex malt character' or anything like that. It was just, well.. boring, and almost incomparable to anything else. First and possibly last tasting for this beer.

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Photo of BillBabbitt
2.46/5  rDev -41.1%
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 ccm414
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured for the 11.2oz bottle...

A- A slightly golden hue that has an almost amber background. A solid 4 finger head that leaves excellent lacing around the glass.

S- A slight sour and citrus smell, almost like many ciders give off. Scents of what appears to be flowers are also noticeable. Rather complex and i like it.

T- A slight hoppy, flowery flavor. A little tart with some citrus rind in the finish. The flower scents appear to come out in the taste as well.

M- Very carbonated, but crisp. Lighter bodied. Almost champagne-like.

D- Rather drinkable. It is definitely an "old school" Trappist ale that seems to have never strayed from an original recipe. I like to reach for one of these every so often, not a favorite by any means, but I do like it.

Cheers!

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Photo of Newsman
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle dated 12/27/07, poured into a tulip glass. Nice orange-copper color, huge fluffy white head that lasts throughout the experience.

Smells mildly fruity, yeasty, very pleasant without being overpowering.

The taste has notes of citrus, a little spice, some very nice malt complexity and a fairly strong, somewhat suprising alcoholic presence at the end, given the relatively (for Trappists) low 6.9% ABV.

Very effervescent mouthfeel, again a little surprising, but not unpleasant.

Overall, very drinkable, but something to be savored slowly. A very nice, well rounded and interesting beer.

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Photo of jmatthew
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice cloudy orange in the glass with a lacy foam that is constantly dancing on the top. Strong aroma of fruit, perhaps citrus, and cloves. Taste is a great balance of bitterness, fruitiness and spiciness. Less pungent than I would have expected from a trappist ale, particularly of higher alcohol content, but I was pleasantly surprised. Overall, a great beer.

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Photo of Jordan1985rec
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this at Monk's Cellar in Brookline, MA and was blown away. The taste was far more dry than many of the other Belgian pales and I really enjoyed it all the way through. There was a clear sour and fruity smell and this sour taste carried over into the taste in a good way. Overall this was a very enjoyable beer that seems like it would pair well with roasted chicken or lamb. Cheers.

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Photo of RedBeerHead
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours light and cloudy. Very heady. Good fruity smell and flavor and light on the tongue. Excellent drinkability.
This beer is well balanced in both weight and flavor. The yeast gives it good body but it is offset well by the head and carbonation. I am typically a fan of lagers and darker beers but this is definitely one of my favorites.

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Photo of AleDrinkToThat
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Bright copper/orange hue under a wonderful two finger rocky beige head.

Smell: The hops bouquet was readily apparent, and the tart citrus was balanced well with a lightly toasted malt.

Taste: I was a little surprised by the delicious bitter tartness from the citrus and hops. It's so clean, so sharply balanced...it really is the best pale I've had, from any nation. What can I say? The oldest Trappist brewery is still here for a reason. A damn good one.

Mouthfeel: The fruity and malty notes were so sharp...almost as if there were something clouding the clarity of other pale ales. It's like pale ale in HD.

Drinkability: Other than the cost, I say drink up. But do savor it, because it's expertly crafted and worth a longer contemplation than any run-of-the-mill American or English pale.

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Photo of cheapxceptbeer
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well no time to review this beer but I would say this is a great beer that is a bit overhyped, not as good as chimay so I will rarely get this without a boatload of disposable income, but a great beer nonetheless. Subtle and delicate flavors that would be lost if it were not the first beer, but still this is dissapointing, and definitely not the best trappist ale.

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

First of this is not my type of beer. I do not really enjoy pale ales but this is one I definitely had to try. With that said. Golden brown in color with heavy lacing and strong fingers. Previous review stated a sea foam head and that is spot on. Used a New Belgium tulip and even with it being .47L to the mark and probably .5L full the head rose slightly out of the glass. The glass does have a laser etching on the bottom that may have contributed to the larger than normal head. Smell is consistent with a pale ale. Strong hop aroma. Not quite Challenger hop but earthy and very green like. Taste has a sort of consistent flavor from beginning to end hitting you at first with some strong belgian hops with a nice balance of hop/sweet middle and finishing quite smooth and not too dry for my palette. Very active on the tongue and mouth with a sort of brut champagne feel. If I want to drink a pale ale this is the beer for sure. A definite beer to keep around to pair with when I make more spicy foods or blackened fish/chicken.

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Photo of kwill
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep orange with a large 1"+ head that stuck around for quite a while. The only thing I can take away from on the appearance is that I would have liked to see a bit more yeast. The smell is powerfully sweet and fruity with a hint of cloves.

The taste is definitely more mellow than the smell and I had a hard time picking out any of the sweetness or fruit in the smell. There is a definite hoppy bitter aftertaste. The carbonation was way overdone and almost overpowered an otherwise good beer.

Overall it is a very good beer, but for the price I won't be getting it again any time soon.

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Photo of dfitch81
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An extraordinary beer, this. Orval's excellence manifests in its intricate and subtle complexities. The exceptional artisanship that goes into crafting this masterpiece is unmistakeable.

Appearance: Before I even talk about the appearance of the beer I have to mention the bottle itself - a work of art in its own right. The neck flows seamlessly into the body, which then tapers gently to the narrower base. Simple, beautiful, elegant. Pouring the beer into my Orval chalice produced two fingers of rocky white head, which eventually settled into a silver-dollar sized patch in the center. The beer itself is a beautiful hazed-honey amber with numerous tidy bubbles scudding up the side.

Smell and Taste: Distinct to say the least, like no other beer I've ever tried. Some perfuminess and mustiness with hints of hay, tart fruit and roses in the nose; estery and phenolic notes are much in evidence. Taste mirrors and builds on the scent, with the estery, rosy flavor complemented by the subtle fruity tartness (reminiscent of litchis). Yeast flavor emerges towards end of the taste. Curious but wonderful dry finish invites another taste.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable with a wonderfully constructed body that allows you to appreciate the complexities inherent in the palate. Alcohol is difficult to notice, even though at 6.9% it is hardly lacking in that respect. This beer's complexity entices you to refill your glass again and again. The only problem is that unless you have lots of money, you'll never be able to fill your glass with Orval except on special occasions.

Overall a strange yet exquisite thing, to be savored slowly and delicately.

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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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