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

Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BA SCORE
87.5%
Liked This Beer
4.21 w/ 5,411 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:
#960
Reviews:
2,349
Ratings:
5,411
Liked:
4,735
Avg:
4.21/5
pDev:
12.35%
Alströms:
4.92
 
 
Wants:
359
Gots:
923
Trade:
11
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,411 |  Reviews: 2,349
Photo of sdm9465
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of frekky
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of YeastEnthusiast
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of gr0g
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Five month old bottle. Dirty orange in color, quite hazy. Plenty of carbonation leads to an epic head that lasts for ages. For a young bottle, the Brett qualities are very apparent on the nose. Lots of musty, earthy, leathery notes, but then there's also a good amount of ripe fruit - apple, apricot, peach.

Just about bone dry flavor profile with an earthy/funky vibe. Apple and pear skin. Yeasty and leathery. A lot of hard to pin down flavors intermingled. Very carbonated but not punishingly so - the bubbles soften considerably after a few minutes.

Orval has a storied history but it doesn't quite live up to the hype. Has a lot of complexities, but they're muddled and the flavors don't "pop." Hard to recommend over, say, Matilda.

 739 characters

Photo of diablo14
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I've never drank a beer that divides opinion more than this one. While i personally think its up in the top 20, others don't rate it at all.

I don't think there can be any question there are few more complex beers being brewed today. I think this is what makes it so sensational. Everything about Orval to me represents the ultimate in craftsmanship, where as some of my fellow beer connoisseurs feel there's too much going on and its all a bit overwhelming. As far as I'm concerned tho, i love being overwhelmed by this beer. It's brewed in a abbey. and drinking it is a religious experience!

The head has to been seen to be believed! It's like meringue and it just never quits. This is due to the chipped candy sugar they put in the kettle. The rich, cloudy golden orange color matches the head perfectly, and the smell and taste are almost indescribable. You can draw something new from this brew every time you drink it. One day it can be fruity, apple and orange come to mind, whereas others it can be very sugary sweet. I've had this beer taste peppery, and at various times there have been hints of clove, anise, cinnamon even nutmeg, all the while never forgetting the essential backbone of malt and noble hops. These give this beer that classic bready taste, somewhat reminiscent of brioche, and a magnificent finish bordering on bone dry (with a beer of this texture, its pretty hard to finish THAT dry). Depending on the time and mood, a different facet jumps out at you. It's just so perfectly constructed and balanced!

i do find when its very young it can on occasion be a bit astringent. But if you've got the patience to lay it down for a bit (a year or even two), or pick one up from your bottleo that's been around for a while, you will be well rewarded. Orval is proof that a beer can get better with age. It's always syrupy in the mouth, but as it gets older, it really rounds out and comes right into its own.

After a session of several top quality beers, it's awesome to finish the night with one of these just to put it all in perspective. It's almost enuff to make me want to join a monastery.

 2,123 characters

Photo of throwback
5/5  rDev +18.8%

Photo of fortyfield
3.25/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of leaversuch
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of lmaduells
5/5  rDev +18.8%

Photo of tb4475
3.57/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of BlindPig
3.22/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- Huge off white head on a cloudy dark orange body. Good head retention and leaves thick lacing.
S- Sour tart apples. Faint stale aroma. Light wood also comes through.
T- Light sour apple flavor. Not near as much as the smell hints at. Light bitterness. As soon as you swallow it is almost a soap flavor. Light yeast. Some sour fruits come out. Very different taste. Not sure if this bottle is skunked since it was bottled in 2004 and it was just left on the shelf in the store and light is usually on it.
M- High carbonation on a thin body.
D- It is kind of weird. Not to fond of it. To much carbonation. The only thing that I really like about it is the aroma.

 670 characters

Photo of pants678
3.92/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Transparent orange with big white head.

Sorta spicy.

Subtle spices, light on hop and a slightly tangy but very dry finish. Corriander? some. Brett? Some. Has a bready, rustic, mildly sour quality. I could stand a small punch up on the sour but that's knit-picking a fine beer.

Medium, not as heavy as say a tripel.

 318 characters

Photo of constantine_272
4.16/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Huge billowing head flaired up over a dark copper clear and lively beer. Oak and red clay and earth on the nose. The taste is bright and crisp with a clean floral caramel sweetness that sharply contrasts the tart herb of thyme and prickly carbonation. Almost even a little cinnamon warmth there, but ever so subtle. A dank redwood taste builds with molasses and earthy moss. Mouthefeel is good and balanced, but the lovely protein that caused the head also gave me a couple gross sips that just felt like biting through fat. Overall a great Belgian. Not my favorite, but great. This particular bottle was 18 months old; I might prefer it after a little longer in the cellar.

 674 characters

Photo of LittleCreature
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4.0
Poured a finger of rocky off-white head over a cloudy amber-peach body.

Smell - 4.5
Strengthens as it warms. Sweet stone fruit, mandarin, grapefruit, honey, sweet malt. Lots of yeast character to achieve this fruitiness.

Taste - 4.5
What a weird beer! It is more sour than bitter, very yeasty, fruity sweet and dry in the finish. Sweetness is not immediately apparent, flavours of bitter apricot, grapefruit, lemon-like sourness and hoppy bitterness in the very dry finish. All in all, masses of flavour, maybe a little too much for me!

Mouthfeel - 4.0
Slightly rough, more carbonated than expected for the style. Moderate to heavy weight in the mouth, carbonation has a sharp bite to it.

Drinkability - 4.0
Despite the relatively moderate 6.2%ABV, I would rarely want a second of these in a sitting. However, I will definitely be drinking this again, because the "wow" factor is surely there.

OVERALL - 4.35
Part of me feels that I should have scored this higher as I reminisce of the powerful flavours. However, I feel this is a beer that needs food to be really drinkable, as the power and complexity are simply staggering for the tastebuds. Not a beer for the newly initiated, or for drinking quickly, but I know I will be coming back for another taste.

Edit: The more I drink this, the better I like it, hence the increased score (I started by giving it a 4.1!).

 1,390 characters

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good looking beer. Pours a dark golden amber color. Very nice head and nice bubbles. Lacing coats the whole glass.

Aroma is tart and funky. Lemons and barn yard funk. Smells awesome.

The aroma suggests more taste but it's mostly funk taste. Not alot going on. Mostly just funk in the flavor. Little tart. Could use a little more malt.

Mouthfeel is really dry. High carb

overall I love funky beers so this was good. Just wish it could be a little better.

 467 characters

Photo of hotsudge
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of Shilt
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of Antyk
4.49/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of RaulMondesi
4.04/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ha. Wow. Raul is giving himself fits on what he's trying to make of this one. At first, like Natalie Portman in sweatpants, it was a bit disappointing (because so much hype was there). But as Raul chilled out as he let Nick Cave serenade him, he warmed to Orval as Orval warmed for him.

First and foremost, the thang is just plum gorgeous. It has an orangish glow/hue like Emily Didinato carving a pumpkin. Then, with the taste (which let Raul down at first) is a very respectable - yet a bit sedated - funk, Belgian yeasts and grass. It's very nice, simplistic, but extremely pleasant like a girl offering to pay on the third date.

So, yes, like after said floozy that offered to pay for dinner, Raul wouldn't mind seeing this one again and again!

 750 characters

Photo of twowheelssoar
4/5  rDev -5%

Photo of MarioM
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz poured into a Russian River stemmed glass.

A: Nice almost cloudy light orange color with a huge head made from medium to small bubbles. Almost sticky looking foam, very common to brett beers. Ok lacing, head is lingering but is not sticking to the glass but is definitely standing its ground.

S: Light funk from the brett, a bit malty and tropical fruit like. Good phenolic character from the wild bacteria.

T: A lot o brett character, dry crisp and nice phenols. It definitely lets you know your drinking a beer with wild yeast. The Brett character is not as overpowering in the taste as it is in the aroma but still refreshing and fruity enough to be very enjoyable and tasty. Style calls for a Belgian Pale but I've also read and heard of it referenced as a Tripel. Regardless of its classification to a style, Orval is a unique beer and don't really know how to classify it. All I know is its a refreshing Brett Beer that is not a Belgian Pale nor a Tripel, yet far from a saison to confuse and cause much controversy when trying to fit this beer into a style. Which I wouldn't try, Orval is Orval and that's just how it is.

M: Medium bodied with a nice lingering brett funk that differs depending on the age of the bottle. I get a lot of tropical fruit from this one but can also be a bit simplistic and dry when young. High carbonation adds a tiny bit of crisp tartness but not sour at all. Just simply clean Brett character with a good carbonated backbone to balance and make for a refreshing and delicious unique beer. The one and only Orval.

O: Simple yet complicated at the same time. Refreshing and crisp while wanting to be tart and complex without being sour. A must have in my book and one damn unique Trappist brew that can be easily found and decently priced. Highly recommended to anyone.

 1,821 characters

Photo of tikk
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a La Fin Du Monde glass.

A- Golden in color with slight haze. The head on this is crazy foamy. Took a while to settle to pour the whole bottle.

S- I can smell the brett for sure. Very potent and strong smelling. There is also a great fruity smell to it as well.

T- The sour taste is great, very satisfying. There is a great fruity taste, but something else is there that is almost like a bitter hop taste.

M- Great mouthfeel.

D- Very easy to drink, and very refreshing.

 484 characters

Photo of FatBoyGotSwagger
4.94/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a murky brown color with a booming 3 finger white head. The smell is a light earthy aroma with an authentic Belgian spice. My first sip of this started with a fantastic tart and spiciness upfront hat literally explodes on the tongue with the fantastic carbonation. There are some funky notes in there also but every note plays off each other so well it leaves me wanting another sip. Halfway through the head is still a good cm and resembles construction foam, the taste becomes increasingly spicy and funky. Notes of fresh grass, lemon, and spicy banana. What an incredible beer, I get it now.

 600 characters

Photo of MrNate
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 87.5% out of 100 with 5,411 ratings
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