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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BA SCORE
4.2/5
Exceptional
5,495 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:
#1,142
Reviews:
2,371
Ratings:
5,495
pDev:
12.38%
Bros Score:
4.92
 
 
Wants:
360
Gots:
961
Trade:
11
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,495 |  Reviews: 2,371
Photo of hotsudge
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of LittleCreature
4.37/5  rDev +4%
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!).

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

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Photo of Shilt
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of twowheelssoar
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of MarioM
4.41/5  rDev +5%
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.

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Photo of neurobot01
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Having somehow missed the mass online tasting last week, I treated myself to a mini-vertical yesterday. Reviews of both below.

33 cl bottle dated 1/21/15 into a Duvel tulip at cellar temp.

Look: translucent burnt orange with a monster foam head, great lacing. (4.25)

Smell: spices, hay, lemon tart. (4.25)

Taste: lemon pepper, nutmeg, banana custard, vanilla, alcohol; an orangey, grassy note comes to prominence as it approaches room temp. Also comes to leave a bewitching aftertaste. (4.25)

Feel: pretty spry, with a light/medium body; very dry, woody finish. (4)

Overall: lots of different elements to this beer. I'd like to see everything integrated a bit more cohesively. (4.25)

33 cl bottle dated 10/06/11 into a Duvel tulip at cellar temp.

Look: translucent burnt orange with a monster foam head, great lacing. (4.25)

Smell: wildflowers, lemongrass, bubblegum. (4.25)

Taste: wallop of funk up front; leather, bubblegum, mild brown sugar. (4.25)

Feel: almost cotton-candy, it's so airy; very dry, woody finish. (4)

Overall: compared to the fresher version, this does seem a lot more reined in and focused. Despite the identical scores, I prefer this to fresher. (4.25)

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Photo of Holderness
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

L — Pours a moderately hazed golden amber with a two-finger off-white head produced with gentle pour. Great retention and some lacing
S — Green apple, tart cherry, barnyard funk, sour grape, musk, sweet doughiness, caramel
T — Not at all sour, but has a very interesting yeasty funkiness to it. Very earthen and ‘damp’. Getting some bready malts, floral, and maybe a hint of grassy hops as well
F — Dry. Intensely effervescent, which makes the mouthfeel suffer a little. This is one of those beers that even after releasing a large amount of CO2 during the pour, there is still enough left so that a small sip not immediately swallowed turns into an unpleasant mouthful of foam. Probably caused by the bottle conditioning
O — Certainly one of the more unique Belgians. I was expecting the aromas — which by and large remind of a wild ale — to follow through in the flavor, which didn’t really happen.

79/100

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Photo of tikk
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

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Photo of FatBoyGotSwagger
4.94/5  rDev +17.6%
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.

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Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Orangish, cloudy with big head

Aroma: Peppery, tart fruit

Taste: Fruit (gooseberry I guess, based on other reviews), bitter, herbal

Remarks: This is my least favorite of the Trappist Ales that I've had. It's not bad overall, but it clearly doesn't compete with, say, Rochefort, Chimay or Westvleteren. The Abbey is a very interesting place to visit, BTW.

Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

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Photo of dmamiano
3.36/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, golden straw color with a big, rocky head..almost too be. Kind of "gushed" as it hit the glass.
Smells of hint og bubble gum, yeasty and estery. Cooked apples and pears come to mind.
Taste is rather bland if I can say that. Mouthfeel is good. Fruity and full. Yeast characteristics tasted.
Drink by 8/8/2012 is noted on the bottle. Perhaps I should have aged it more.

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Photo of JAXSON
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 year old bottle, Nov 2010 bottling. Pours a pinkinsh amber gold with a large head and a tempestuous body. Nose is soft peaches and apples, hay, brett. Mouth is sweet trappist yeast throughout with a bready quality and medium hops over the finish. Dries out a lot toward the back palate but still sweeter than I remembered this being. Fair amount of dry, earthy brett creeping out at this age. Not nearly as bright or hop forward as the recent Jul 2011 bottling. Apples, stewed peaches throughout that avoid being overly sweet.

To me, this succeeds at being many things at once, but I don't feel it's really exceptional on any level. I've enjoyed the 5 month and 13 month old bottles I've had recently (which were massively different), but there are certainly better trappist ales, better dry brett golden ales, better Belgian pale ales out there. This is pretty notable in its transcendence but it's not straightforward enough for me, I suppose.

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Photo of watermelonman
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured to a dark shade of almost orange and bronze. The head was enormous; it eventually died down but never went away. It's leaving a think and luxurious lace behind.

Alcohol comes through in the smell, just behind all that fruit and banana that one should expect. The taste has the banana flavor as well, with a great hop profile in the finish.

This is a really good beer, and well worth a try if nothing else.

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Photo of gmfessen
3.81/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer is a slightly cloudy, orange topaz color with a frothy, white head. The smell is spicy and slightly fruity and a whiff of alcohol. The taste is interesting; the alcohol is apparent and creates a warming sensation. The flavor is spicy and of dark fruit. The mouthfeel is light in body with a sparkling carbonation and a dry, alcohol finish. Drinkability is decent, not my favorite Belgian by any means but a decent beer overall.

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Photo of Dweedlebug
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of greyghost86
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of jcubz
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MUSHROOMCLOUD
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 4-1-05

A - 1" bubbly off-white head spread across a chalice. Falls quickly to a spotty cap. Orange / amber beer. Thin lines of lacing left.

S - Yeast. Fruit. Apricot. Clean, inviting aroma.

T - Fruity (again with the apricot). Tangy. Yeast, bready. Lingering bit of hops in the finish. Hint of a gueuze lambic-like sourness. Even a faint sherry nuttiness is apparent in spots. I haven't had Orval in years and this really tripped me out - - Very nice.

M - Crisp and dry. A little less than medium bodied with lively carbonation.

D - Very good drinkability. If only the $4.29 were for a 4pk and not for a single!! Great beer, highly enjoyable.

Bottled on 1/14/14 (2-14-2015)
Haven't had Orval since I rated it above in 2006!
Orange with a 3/4 inch head -- good retention and lacing.
Awesome funk, fruity nose...almost barnyard type of aroma in a wine descriptor sort of way.
DRY -- lively carbonation, fruit doesn't follow nose...Spicy, peppery?
Different flavors overall from what I remember.
The nose is definitely the winner here (going form 4 to 4.5...taste from 4.5 down to 4.
Interesting -- I won't wait 8 years between bottles.

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip; 1 inch of foamy ecru-white head that just stays and stays, and plenty of fizzing visible in the amber body.

Nose is tart, piney.

Taste follows nose , dry, slighly hoppy (for a Belgian) finish. Faint bitter tart apple. Not too much flavor, mild and subtle.

Mouthfeel is coarse, foamy. Hard to actually get a sip of liquid in; it's all foam. It kinda kills the taste; mostly foam and air.

Because it's so non-overpowering, drinkability is pretty good, except that the foam would eventually get hard to deal with.

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Photo of mtrog313
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of Pug
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of EasyReader
5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of acrawf6
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 7/04
Best by 7/09

Pours out a very nice orangish-red amber, hazy enough to stop me from seeing through the beer. Nice slightly tan thick head on top. Great lacing.

Smell. A light sweetness, small honey smell. Also a little floral. But keeps this creamy sweetness throughout the aroma. Small smells of spices-cinnoman and coriander. A little yeasty.

Taste.Pretty dry. A bit sour and earthy. I do get a sugary taste like bubble gum you've chewed on for too long. Small cirtus notes, little lemon peel. Aftertaste is a little sour and dry.

Mouthfeel. Lots of carbonation, decent body (carbonation really blankets over it), nice balance.

Overall, a belgian classic. Alcohol not really noticable, and seems quite light, i think it would pair well with a nice light salad. good stuff.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 5,495 ratings