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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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Reviews: 2,301 | Ratings: 5,266
Photo of vfgccp
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy, amber honey.

S - Honey, honeysuckle, golden raisins, moscato cider

T - Bitter/sour bite, yeast, and alcohol all hit early in the profile. Granny smith apples in the middle and cedary hops at the top of your palate. Mild barn-yard aftertaste.

M - Crisp, light body

D - Complex and worth taking your time with. Once you get used to the profile it's fairly drinkable.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Light honey colored amber beer. A nice bubbly head when poured moderately. Some fizzy carbonation.

S - Dry and funky, with some farmhouse aromas. Old linens, old musky wood, hay/straw all whirl about. Sight tartness and acidity present in the nose.

T - Pretty mild flavors in comparison to the nose. Tart and some funk. Definitely fairly earthy and dry flavored. A mellow acidity here. Quite drinkable.

M - Fizzy and tingling carbonation. Drying.

O - Solid drinking brew.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The bottle of Orval that I tried may have been a bit overprimed which I believe effects the scent, taste and mouthfeel. The beer poured a hazy copper with big white head that left some lace. The scent was tru to most trappist....Belgianny. The taste also follow most Trappist ales. The mouthfeel was lighter in body with huge carbonation. Overall it was decent....would like to try this beer on tap....probably wouldn't search out a bottle of it.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a chalice, the beer is a muddled, hazy, amber-brown coloring with a tall, dense, chunky, off-white head that coats the glass and has a very decent retention. Aromas of coriander, all spice, plum, banana, cotton candy, and a bready backbone. More and more aromas come off as the beer warms. Flavors are spice forward, with a great blend of nutmeg, coriander, all spice, and hints of clove, with an old world fruit backbone both rich and sweet. Smooth, light body with a slight effervescence that keeps the sweet and rich flavors blended and drinkable. The aftertaste is a sugary sweet undertone with the spice blend still holding court overall. Lingering finish, with spices left dancing on your taste buds, waiting for another sip. This beer is a classic!

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

11.2 ounce classic heavy glass bottle. "Bottled on 10-04-04" "Best before 10-03-09" Fantastic pour, leaves a huge head which slowly morphs to a rocky, puffy 1/4 inch irregular head, leaves truly world class lacing, at once wispy,puffy and very clinging. Orangy amber,cloudy. Nose is tropical fruit and a bit of pepper. Silky smooth, drying and light. Notes of pepper, yeast nuttyness, ripe fruits,anise.. Quite hoppy in the mid section and all along the finish. Dry with a pine undertone. Wonderful creation in brewing. The allmost 7% nowhere to be found on the tongue. Head explodes and slowly recedes, yet the brew is very soft and not at all prickly on the tongue. Wish I had more of this stuff, or the will power to put some away for a few years.

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

Beer poured from a bottle into a goblet. Beer is brownish and hazy, forms a thick white head of medium and small white bubbles, falls away leaving lacing all over the glass, looks good. Carbonation is moderate to high.

Smell a little of spice and yeast, there is an underlying sweetness to the beer as well. Slight musky aroma as well.

Beer is medium to light bodied, has a minor forward character and a sour / musky late and aftertaste. This beer is one of a kind but the my first impressions on taste were not that great. Time for taste two, sour and bitter duke it out on this beer and it finishes a little dry.

Any serious Belgian beer fan will probably get around to trying most of the trappists but this has been my least favorite sampling of a Trappist beer so far. Its unique and I understand the souring of the beer. I'm impressed, just not my style yet.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/31/05- Purchased at Weimax Liquors in Burlingame, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz funky and cool shaped bottle. Bottled on and best by date on the neck of the label. Poured into my Duchesse chalice.

Appearance- Golden in color with a cloudy haze. Larger spritzy off white, maybe yellow in color looking full 3/4 inch head. Great lacing left behind as I drink the last drop in the glass.

Smell- Lots of sweet and sour spices with a barnyard type scent. A tad musky. Maybe some citrus notes such as lemon rind noted.

Taste- More sour than sweet. A really hefty amount of citrus with lemon rind being the foremost. White pepper and other spices fill the void with some powdered sugar to round out the sweetness.

Mouthfeel- Well carbonated...very Duvel-esque. Almost like a kind of champagne. Very puckering and drying.

Drinkability- Because of the carbonation level it's a tad less drinkable for me, but not because the flavor was bad. Orval brings back nice memories as it was the first Belgian beer I ever had back in 2002. I remember liking it then, but I don't remember it tasting like this. Guess my pallete has really grown from 3 years ago.

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Photo of stevoj
4.99/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into Orval chalice, thick velvety head lasts forever. Smooth taste balances all the ingredients perfectly. Very drinkable, even with the higher ABV. This is close to a perfect beer.

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Photo of Tone
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, maize color. 1/2 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of tart fruit, yeast, hint of hop, slight sugar, and slight sweet malt. Fits the style of a Belgian Pale Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. The feel is also dry and tart. Tastes of slight sweet malt, slight pale malt, slight hop, slight yeast, hint of alcohol, and slight tartness. Overall, good appearance, aroma, and blend.

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Photo of tempest
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single at Abe's Cold Beer for $4.50, not cheap, but not bad for a Trappist. The label says it was bottled 2/20/08, so this is about a year old. Upon pouring I can tell the Brett has taken over, but at first sip I see that it's also not fully developed. When this beer is fresh, it's a relatively hoppy Belgian, but thanks to the addition of wild brettanomyces it turns into a lambic. After a year, however, the tangy lemon sour aren't strong and rich enough to complete the beer. I feel like the malts and hops should come out a little more, but I'm left with a thin taste of sugar-covered bread.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.99/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured in to tulip.

A - Slightly cloudy medium orange with an amber hue towards the centre. A lot of head from the pour that settled off-white and very thick.

S - Funk up front with some bready malts, some lemon zest and Belgian yeast.

T - Funk up front that immediately gives way to Belgian yeast and clove flavours. Mid-palate has a grassy hop profile with lighter lemon zest and herbal notes. Finish is dry with some bitterness and funk.

M - Light to medium body with moderate to high carbonation.

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Photo of Duff27
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Fluffy white three inch head on a slightly murky ruby-red beer. Tons of effervescence going on within the tulip. Clumptastic lacing and great head retention.

S- Undeniable Belgian yeast strain peppery spiciness. It's like a candied funk, hard to describe (albeit undeniable..yeah!).

T- Pale malts, "grape skin", some funk, bubble gum. So much going on. Tasty. Subtle sweet aftertaste. Hard to detect any alcohol, just want to keep drinking.

M- Creamy medium mouthfeel with prickly carbonation bubbles.

D/O- The first sip of this beer is like a kick in the gonads but in your mouth. "What is this!?" Subsequent imbibing produces a flurry of happy chemical release in my brain. Really like nothing I've had before. This is classic. Highly recommended for Belgian beer fans.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel snifter. Good deep brown body and big head. Head laced on the sides and clumped in the middle.
Aroma of ripe (brown) bananas, malt and some citrus hops.
taste was more of an IPA style. Hops and citrus, with some roasted malt, biscuit and basil.
Had a bit of a bite to it, more hops than I expected, finished with a dryness. A complex beer overall.

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Photo of WesWes
3.6/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a cloudy gold color wit a thick overflowing white head. The aroma is good. It boasts of pale malts and lemon zest. The taste is decent. It is light and citrousy. It has a musty aftertaste, but goes down smooth. The mouthfeel is fair. It is a medium bodied beer with too much carbonation. It drinks well. I thought the taste was good. It just was a little too foamy. All in all, this was pretty decent.

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

As I warm up the bottle from the fridge, let me tell you a story: I was inside an SAQ in Montréal. I didn't think I'd buy a beer I could easily get at home, but the price tag was attractive: $3.30! And that's with taxes! This goes for $2 more in my area. So what I have here is a double import. The label is a double as well; there's a bilingual label on this one (because it was bought in Québec). Well, now I think it's time to serve this up. On to the beer:

I can already smell the aroma as I slowly lifted the bottle cap. But let's not get ahead, let me pour in into a chalice first. Hot damn, that's a lot of foam on top. Let me go to the kitchen and chop off part of its head so i can pour the rest in...

Head retention is excellent on top of this deep golden colored brew. Okay, now I can smell the fruits of this beer. Candi sugar and peaches, mmm. A little spice as well. Oh boy, I'm getting excited...

I was expecting a sweet treat, and instead got something different. It's just a little sweet. I should note the balance is very nice, but the overall flavor is missing something. It's more of a grassy/hay taste, with aspirin echoing in the background. The alcohol, despite being at 6.9, is camouflaged. A little sourness in the back. Now I'm starting to get used to the taste, so now I can show some appeciation for this work. I'm turned on to it in a weird kind of way.

Okay, so it wasn't what I thought it would be. But it wasn't a dissapointment either. I still want more, though at its price in the US, it will have to settle as a beer to have once in a while.

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Photo of liamt07
3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased at the SAQ from a recent journey home through Quebec from Maine. 33cl bottle into my Duvel tulip.

Pours a murky, golden brown with some shades of plum and orange around the edges. Fantastic billowing head, soapy and sudsy with fat chunks of lace and supreme retention. Aroma is sweet, getting some light fruity notes (some plum) and a very, dry vinous feel to it as well. Taste is fairly similar, I'm getting a very dry vinous feel to it (although very, very muted in the vinous sense) with some relatively darker stone fruits (again, plum primarily) and some raisin as well. Still maintains a bit of sweetness amongst the dry nature of this. Slightest hint of alcohol. Mouthfeel is relatively watery, drying. Good drinkability, but not something I'd reach for on a regular basis. A definite sipper. Very muted, simple and subtle in all aspects.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an Orval chalice. Foams out of the bottle a bit on opening. Pours a hazy coppery amber with a three finger off-white head with good retention and lots of pillowy lacing. Aroma of citrus, green apple, Bretty yeast, vanilla; floral. Flavor is semi-dry, light apple family fruit, light stone fruit, mild citrus, vanilla, Brett style wild yeast funk, Finishes with fleeting fruit and fruit dessert flavors dominated by the wild yeast funk and bitterness; lightly tart and earthy. Medium bodied with sharp, peppery carbonation. A very distinctive Belgian pale ale with a unique wild yeast component. I did not like this when I first tried it many years ago, but now having grown to enjoy saison yeasts and a light touch of wild yeast, I can see its appeal. Although the flavor is dominated by the funky yeast, there are a lot of interesting light and subtle fruit and spice flavors in the background. A bit too dry and funky to be a frequent choice, it was a pleasure drinking this again and understanding why it is a classic.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours murky orange with a large white head. The aroma is lemon with some brett-funk. The flavor is quite a bit of citrus as well as some funk. The finish is quite a bit of hop bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and high carbonation. This is a very unique beer that everyone that is into craft beer should seek out and try.

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

11.2 oz. bottle, dated 17/09/2004, best before 17/09/2009, ABV is 6.9%. Pours a cloudy orange/yellow color, nice carbonation, huge foamy head, tons of lacing throughout the drink. Scents of hops, malts, somekind of citrus, floral. The taste is alittle bitter, and sourery, hard to describe really. Medium body. This is a very nice brew, my first Belgian Pale Ale I believe, so really nothing to compare to, but it's totally different than other Belgian's I've had. Would recommend for sure.

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Photo of tone77
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 11.2 oz. bottle. Has a cloudy dark golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is fruity, yeast, alive with flavor. Taste is also big on fruits, some malts and yeast, lots of flavor here. Feels full bodied in the mouth and overall is a beer worth seeking out.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Single bottle purchased at Joe Canal's in Jersey. Poured into a St. Bernardus glass on a cold night.

A- Orval pours out a hazy yellow to bright golden color with bubbles seen rising. These bubbles produce a sturdy foamy off white head with staying power. Huge sheets of lace were left on the glass.

S- This one is on the wild side with an apparent brett addition giving off a slight tart twang. Also alot of Belgian yeast on top of some hops and malt additions as well. Maybe some sweetness or candy like essence.

T- I really enjoy the brett addition which makes this not over the top sour but pleasently tart. This is followed by a belgian yeast variety with a very faint hop bite, which is common in most Belgian's I've had of not being hop dominate. Some candi sweetness ensues leaving a nice aftertaste.

M- This BPA is well carbonated and it is felt on the tounge, maybe a bit too much. This leads to a very crisp mouthfeel but that fades as this one warms up. Thin to semi medium bodied with no alcohol in the mouth, just great flavor.

D- I could drink this all night at the alcohol level without ever getting bored. I love brett infused beers and this is one of the leading examples. I had this once in my early drinking days and hated it. Now, I'm glad I revisited it, as this is a near perfect beer.

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

A. Cloudy, orange, nice soapy head and grand retention. Cool bottles.

S. Bready malts, some light fruit. I know I am getting into something good.

T. Malty, fruity. Vague hints of apricot and apple. Some wheat elements. Slightly sour that fades to bitterness from the hops.

M. Crisp, light to medium bodied, nice dry finish, almost like champagne.

D. Real nice beverage here. Great for sessions. Tasty. Drinks slow, a sipper.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orval is always wonderfully complex and hoppy, and it did not disappoint this time. This is a very unique beer brewed by some of those zany Belgian Trappist monks, and is loosely in the pale ale style; being pale, an ale and quite hoppy, including dry hopping. At this point it leaves the standard pale ale road, among possible others, it is made using Brettanomyces yeast which add a complexity of flavor which I typically say adds a musty note. At first thought this does not appear to be all that tasty (musty, horse blanket; I have some old leather shoes like that) but I feel that if done right over the correct amount of time it adds wonderful notes of complexity. This beer does it correctly, and I always love being able to sample this wonderful beer.

The beer pours a hazy copper-orange color, and is topped by a tan creamy head. As I pour this beer the Brett character is immediately noticeable; aromas of musty cellars, and leather. A sweet fruity aroma is here as well but the musty brett character dominates. The beer is well carbonated. It is lightly sweet up front, but only just as this is a dry beer. Has a certain sharp dryness in the finish that is coupled with a funky-woody-musty character. There is some residual hop character still here, though it is hard to separate it out.

This remains a challenging/ characterful brew on this side of the Atlantic. When fresh it is quite a bit different; still good but in a fresh hoppy sort of way. I love that the Belgians still embrace ornery "spoilage" organisms in their brews, it makes for a much more colorful world.

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Photo of biegaman
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

If there is ever one beer that it should be considered absolute blasphemy to drink straight out of the bottle, truly, Orval is it. Not only would that waste the illustrious chalice (designed by the abbey's architect) but you'd be missing out on what is surely the poster-boy for Belgian beers. The name Orval is derived from 'Val d'Or' (Golden Valley) and indeed, a beautiful and clear, glistening amber, the beer lives up to that billing.

The Inuits have so many words for snow, as many Asian cultures do for rice; I wish beer reviewers had the same for head. Orval's deserves its own word; its an unfailing ultra-lush marshmallow that climbs a mile high over the beer. It looks like the clouds themselves. They say a picture paints a thousand words, this one paints just one: gorgeous.

Just because a beer is brewed by monks doesn't necessarily mean it's holy - in Orval's case, however, it is. Heaven, I imagine, probably smells something like this - the beer does, after all, smell like God's feet. Every bottle is a religious experience. It is the distilled super-essence of acres of fruit orchards and flower gardens. Sweet bread and tart berries marry. Much of this magic is owed to the 'hocus pocus' of a wild yeast known as Brettanomyces.

Orval has the complexity of a beer its strength, yet the 6.9% alcohol has been completely deferred; I've never encountered a boozy bottle. If you look through most beer books - or at least all the ones that I have - you'll find plenty of information on the history of the abbey and its romantic legend, but you won't find much detailed description about the actual beer itself. Indeed, it's an intricate beer so unique that it's tough to describe...

Pressed, I'd say it tastes like a combination of pungent soft cheese, fresh warm bread and tart berry fruits. (Yeast is truly one of the world's last areas of magic!) It is perhaps the longest taste ever and is dry as a mid-summer breeze. Its carbonation is bubbly and brisk. Hops are a drop in the bucket but a fleeting taste of their earthy, leafy bitterness is readily noted. Such a treat to drink, and so balanced, Orval is true harmony in a bottle.

Orval is a drink that can turn savages into civilized men. Although as a rule I avoid making dramatic and subjective statements, I have no hesitation in saying this is the most perfectly crafted beer ever. And I know for a fact that some of the world's best brewers wouldn't hesitate to agree. Drink it once, remember it forever. If ever I had to chose a perfect beer...

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Standard Orval teardrop bottle from the Coop for about $5.50 carefully poured into my New Belgium goblet leaving the yeast sediment behind.

4 finger rocky head that left behind ribbons of thin lace.. brew is slightly hazy orange.

Aroma is complex spicy.. earthy.. some citrus.. perfumy

Flavor is jam-packed.. good bitterness .. very dry finish.. slightly sour with earthy hoppiness abound.. This beer is very complex.. probably too complex for my palate to appreciate.. all I can really say for sure is it is fantastic. Huge carbonation with a light/medium body.

I've had Orval probably 8-10 times over the years and always tell myself I must cellar some... this time I will.. I hope.

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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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