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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,318 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,318
Reviews: 2,112
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 201
Gots: 389 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.20% ABV

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.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,318 | Reviews: 2,112 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by 99bottles:
Photo of 99bottles
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%

I can't believe I missed reviewing this. I've had this quite a few times, but when I found it in Milan for the equivalent of $1.85 a bottle I stocked up.

Ok, so Orval is a deep orange brown color, slighty cloudy with a clumpy yellowish off white head and above average carbonation. The smell is really unique; strong citrus rind, some wildflowers, and some sharp medicinal cuts. The taste is much of the same, only more complex. When young, as all these bottles are, it has a real biting astringency of phenols, phenols, and more phenols. The hops add good bitterness to the finish, and the malt seems lost in a sea of fighting flavors. The lemon and orange of the smell is in there, as is some funk, almost akin to a lambic. But, really...it's all phenols at first.

I've had quite a few that were left to age, and that made the voyage across the Atlantic and found them to be much more sweet and aromatic. The sweetness of honey, wild grasses, and jasmine all come out as the medicinal taste subsides over time. I like that the "drink before" date is a full 5 years after the"bottled on" date. A really excellent choice, but try to catch one on the back end of those 5 years.

99bottles, Jul 06, 2005
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%

Poured a very nice orange color with huge rocky head (I have yet to purchase a nice trappist ale glass),the aroma was slightly peppery and a little tart.Taste is pretty dry with a slight peppery tinge to it.I liked this more than what I thought I would not as sour as what I thought it might be,very well done.

oberon, Jun 14, 2003
Photo of Popsinc
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

Appearance: an cloudy amber/brown pour with an enormous and foamy head accompanied with a very lively body. the glass makes for excellent presentation. it LOOKS like a great beer.

Smell: a dull woody nose, different from what i remember sampling in Canada. earthy notes are very prominent although the nose seems subtle and held back.

Taste: rich and creamy, again, more so then i remember. more woodiness is present in the body along with slight herbal characteristics.

Mouthfeel: very rich and very lively. lots of activity in this beer.

Drinkability: to me this is the most different from all the other trappists. obviously much mess sweet. decent drinkability alothough it is not nearly my favorite trappist. i'm suprised it ranks so highly. i wonder if this is b/c it is labelled a "trappist"?

Popsinc, Nov 04, 2003
Photo of RoyalT
2.75/5  rDev -34.5%

Appearance – Very deep, cloudy, orange body with a tinge of brown underneath a beautiful, volcanic head that went down slowly and laced the glass. Yep, it’s a BSPA.

Smell – Classic, spicy, BSPA aroma. This one has a nice light malt base filled with clove, coriander, pepper, paprika, and maybe even a little cinnamon. The fruits seem more on the sour side, though, which would be off-style.

Taste – This has a deep, rich flavor, but again it’s heavy on the lemons. Anyway, that said, this is actually dry from the hop balance. The spices are heavy on the tongue as well.

Mouthfeel – Full carbonation and a sour profile makes this medium-bodied BSPA a real sipper.

Drinkability – I was disappointed by this offering. I felt it was off style and lacked the fruity character that I’ve come to enjoy from strong Belgian ales.

Comments – Sorry, not my idea of the style. Pop a Pranqster or La Fin Du Monde to see what I prefer. Or, better yet, read TheLongBeachBum’s review of the Avec Les Bons Voeux.

RoyalT, Sep 17, 2003
Photo of cam477
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

cam477, May 01, 2014
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%

Once upon a time I was not a fan of Orval but as my taste buds and olfactory glands have grown to appreciate and even crave sourness in beer they have also learned to love this fine trappist. For me the aroma of Orval is perfect. It is very difficult to describe. The aroma contains a wonderful sourness that is surprisingly not present in the taste. Within that sourness are hop oils, phenols, a perfumed fruitiness and bitterness, quinine, lemon grass, hay, and so much more that I can’t place a finger on. Orval’s body is light and about as dry as it gets. It is well hopped, slightly bitter, and tastes of medicinal light fruits and leather. I prefer most of the other trappist beers to Orval simply because I prefer quads, dubbels, and BSDAs to Pales, however, I believe that this is the quintessential example for the style. It’s certainly the best I’ve had.

DaPeculierDane, Mar 29, 2006
Photo of DanGeo
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

DanGeo, Apr 26, 2014
Photo of tectactoe
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%

Had this quite a while ago - figured it was time to do a re-review and see how it went this time around. Orval pours a rustic amber color; opaque for the most part, though some light passes through at the edges of the glass without much trouble. The huge, cream-colored cap is something to marvel at; it remains thick and lasts seemingly for days, leaving huge sheets of lace along the sides of the glass.

The aroma contains a quick, sharp tartness that hints at a combination of orange and lemon zest. Bigger inhales reveal a nice tropical-like fruitiness, highly akin to pineapple - this is most likely from the Brett, which also brings a swift bit of funk to the plate; like a slightly musty, mostly sweaty barnyard. Juicy green hops in the finish show signs of grass, leaves, and light citrus. The nose on this is really unique, and fantastic in it's own right.

The first sip starts off like a carbon copy of the first whiff - a surly tartness hits your palate right away, followed by some calming waves of orange peels and lemon zest. The pineapple is apparent as well, though in more of of a stinging, bitter pith fashion than a juicy, sweet kind. Hops are plentiful; leafy, grassy, dry, citrusy, and quite bitter for a Belgian ale. Again, very discernible and quite complex.

Brettanomyces abound in the latter half of each sip, bringing some musty cellar, mellow barnyard, and stale cork flavors to the table. The finish contains a subtle amount of citrus zest and yeasty funk with a lasting bitterness from the dry hopping. This stuff is carbonated to the brim, giving it a sharp, crisp mouth feel; effervescent and light, despite the medium stature of the body.

Orval is a pretty awesome trappist ale. I guess when you only brew one beer, you have more time to test, tweak, and perfect it, and it seems like the monks at Brasserie d'Orval have done just that. On most days I'd say that this is not my favorite trappist ale, although it always stands out to me as the most unique. The Brett and the dry-hopping really set it apart from the others and always keep me coming back to this funny, oblong bottle.

tectactoe, Nov 12, 2012
Photo of ricke
4.45/5  rDev +6%

Serving date: 2009-01-20. Served in snifter.

Presentation: 330 ml bottle. Bottling date and freshness date on label (Bottled 2008-06-20, best before 2013-06-20). Recommended serving temperature and glassware on label.

Appearance: The beer is amber-colored with red hues, and a bit hazy due to the bottle conditioning and the rather large amount of yeast in the bottle (left most of it in the bottle, though). It develops a big, bubbly and uneven head, despite poured in a quite wide-bodied snifter. The head is almost white, with a light yellow/orange shade, and settles very very slowly. It actually never disappear. Instead it leaves a thick coat of foam. Rocky and airy lacings clings to the glass. This one really pleases the visual faculty.

Smell: Lemon, grass, weeds and sweet, fruity aromas, coupled with a pleasant smell of yeast.

Taste: Lemon peel is mixed with yeast and very faint notes of unripe tart fruits. A hint of pine needles is there as well. Then, a taste of grass and hey enters the picture together with a very mild barnyard funkiness (horse blanket?). Just before the finish, it develops a sharp twang - perhaps a result of hops. The finish is tart at first, then develops a subtle bitterness leaving a long and dry sensation in the mouth. Overall, the taste of this beer is really great with levels of complexity. Basically every sip offers something new. However, the true highlight is the balance between the different flavors - everything is composed in a precise and very pleasant manner.

Mouthfeel: As with the taste, this beer offers a rather unique mouthfeel. At first, with the plentiful foam playing an important part, it's quite smooth and full. However, this quickly changes into a a medium, almost light, body with the lively carbonation providing a sharp and crisp feeling to it.

Drinkability: This is a fantastic beer with an original and unique profile. A true masterpiece from start to finish.

ricke, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of boston2bburg
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%

Bottled on 24/06/2005, enjoyed on 30/07/2008. Two fingers of foamy white head cover a hazy, pale amber body in my snifter. The head retention is remarkable, settling at 1/4" and leaving a layer of lacing like snow coating frost on a window as the liquid below disappears.

The first whiff is mainly of sweet banana, with some residual clove as well. The banana is almost exclusive as the beer warms and is very rich, like banana pudding.

There is more clove than banana to the taste, although both are still present. The initial sour acidity yields to a sweeter bubbly foam as I roll it over my tongue. There's plenty of carbonation and a spiciness from the hops which is more prevalent at lower temperatures.

The quality of this beer is evident across the board, although I'd prefer the banana carry over more to the flavor to override the sourness of the yeast.

boston2bburg, Jul 31, 2008
Photo of TCHopCraver
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%

Reviewed from notes made on 2/11/11.

Holy head, Batman! Even with a ridiculously slow pour into a huge snifter, the fluffy, bubbly, light beige head reaches five fingers high. This buoyantly rests above a beautiful mahogany-amber-gold beer. Very speedy carbonation rushes from the bottom of the glass. Gobs of bubbly lace is left on the glass.

Tart, tart fruits are the name of the game in the smell. Really tart green apple, pear, lemon, lime, and sour cherries combine with an earthy funk to create an original, wild odor. Not in a bad way, sweet animal urine blends into the mix. The smell is also very spicy with notes of clove and pepper. This is a hugely unique smell and I love it.

Wow, the taste is a lot different from the smell. Instead of tart fruits dominating, the earthy-spice-funk grabs the headline. I do get some of the fruity tartness on the sides of my palate, but on the broad of my tongue is nothing but soil, spice, a bit of a phenolic flavor, and tangy funk. This is mostly from the yeast I would guess. AS it warms, the tart fruits do pop a lot more. Yeah, this changed a bunch as it warmed. The finish is deliciously dry and earthy.

Orval has a light to medium body, but the carbonation makes is seem much fuller. It is sparkly and effervescent on my palate for most of the sip with a lingering, bone-dry finish. Each quaff leaves me craving more.

Whenever I need a funky, tart Belgian fix in the future, this is where I will go. It is so enjoyably challenging to my palate and brain. I find this to be greatly drinkable and I would drink it so much more if the price tag wasn't so high. But, I expect to pay for quality, so I am not complaining.

TCHopCraver, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of Rijtjeshuis
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%

Served in a chalice

LOOK (4.5/5) Pours a deep gold with some strong orange in there. I'd call this brew hazy, but not totally opaque. Three fingers of big, cream colored and textured head was produced. This fell to a cap pretty quickly, with some nice lacing. The cap lasted for most of the beer.

SMELL (4.5/5) The comes in first with biscuit and vienna malt; the latter added a bit of apricot fruitiness. The malts are followed quickly by a great yeast/hop blend that is so complex and unique, it's hard to untangle. The yeast brings some fruit, flowers, and black pepper. The hops are citrus, spicey and herbal.

FLAVOUR (4.5/5) Similar to aroma. The hops play a bigger role on the palate than the nose - the overall character was the same, but more pulled into the orbit of the hops. This is also a good and bitter brew with more hop character than most BPAs I've had. Some earthy (maybe even mild a brett) notes are there.

FEEL (4/5) Medium-full bodied with medium-high carbonation. This makes for a fluffy mouthfeel. Hop bitterness gives a lot of kick and plays with the tickle of the spice and carbonation. Very nice and on par for a BPA.

DRINK (4.5/5) The complexity encourages further drinking to figure it out and also because it makes a delicious fugue. It is not that highly drinkable compared to others of the style (like Leffe Blond), but it is FAR superior in flavour and complexity.

I liked this, the power of the hops almost made this reminiscent of a Belgian-IPA (a style I love).

Good job, monks.

Rijtjeshuis, Jul 16, 2011
Photo of CavemanRamblin
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

CavemanRamblin, Jul 28, 2014
Photo of jono0101
4/5  rDev -4.8%

jono0101, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of brownbeer
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%

Pours a brilliant yellowish orange, nice bubbles and a head that will be as big as you want it.

Absolutely wonderful nose; bretty funk, white pepper, a light woody note, white grapes.

Flavors are similar to the nose with brisk carbonation and finishing dry with great noble hop character.

Sensational in refreshment and drinkability. Classic and inspiring. Yes, please.

brownbeer, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of kaimcm
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%

330ml bottle poured into a St. Bernadus chalice

A: nice honey brown body with frothy almost bleach white head, easily swirled back to glory. light stick.

S: strong yeast quality, citrus fruit, light grain, a little alcohol

T: prickly mouthfeel brings a tart, lemon/lime and citric quality up front that is almost sweet but quickly subsides into the hops which balance extrememly well. finish continues drying while the hops spice up the tongue a little more. slight cloves as well. as the beer warms some of the sugar manages to pull through, the bitterness on the finish subsides and the yeast comes through to book end the profile.

M: fresh from the bottle just awesome, as it warms its losing some of the carbo prick and some of its energy. I prefer it a little colder to create that really bouncy, coating, chewy mouthfeel.

D: a thouroughly enjoyable brew, flavorful, only 6.2%, makes for easy drinkin.

kaimcm, Dec 17, 2005
Photo of tbryan5
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

tbryan5, Jan 19, 2013
Photo of TimBeaulieu
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

TimBeaulieu, Nov 13, 2013
Photo of SkiBum22
4/5  rDev -4.8%

SkiBum22, Jan 15, 2013
Photo of JacobMutberg
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

JacobMutberg, Oct 10, 2012
Photo of steelerguy
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%

A - Clear amber hue, high carbonation, large, pillowy white head that leaves lot of lacing.

S - Sweet caramel aroma, a touch of Beglian yeast, some spiciness.

T - The sweet caramel notes come through, very clean flavor, spicy yeast also backed up by a nice spicy hop bite. Ends with a pleasant bitterness.

M - Dry with a clean and refreshing finish made nicer with a touch alcohol warmth and carbonic bite.

O - A very nice, clean, and simple Trappist beer.

steelerguy, Jan 16, 2012
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%

Bottled on 24-10-2002, making this one a bit over 3 years old! The Orval Trappist Ale pours into my big Orval chalice a nice amber brown hue with streaks of orange as well. A tight bubbly white head lingers atop the brew in a fine fashion. Looks lovely in the glass. Aromas are intensely unqiue and perplexing at the same time. Sweet caramel spice smacks up against a musty, yeasty earthiness. A touch of leather mingles with some cotton candy/bubblegum aromas. Fruity with a touch of sour cherry, cinnamon and brown sugar. Maybe even a bit woody but definetly enchanting with each inhalation evoking new scents in my mind.

First sip brings a crisp, dry spicy caramel infused with a plethora of flavors that dash across the palate on the trip down the throat. Hints of leather and wood along with some musty sour funkiness that brings images of a cobweb filled brewery to my mind. Light fruit notes collide with brown sugar bubblegum. Spice cake. Lots of earthy yeast notes throughout. Quite the complex beer here. Finishes dry and crisp. Eccentric and ultimately a wonderful experience.

Mouthfeel features a burst of champagne-esque carbonation that streaks across the mouth with each sip. A mellow medium body allows for easy drinking but maybe the bubbles could be toned down a tad. Drinkability is really quite wonderful as it goes down smooth and each sip brings a new realm of taste sensations. I would not mind seeing this in 750ml bottles! Purchased this pre-cellared for me at Liquor Stop in Highland, IN...didn't even look at the date when I bought it. I will be on the lookout for a fresh bottle to try in the near future. Another testament to the wonders of the Trappist breweries of Belgium. This will go down as one of my new favorites.

orbitalr0x, Dec 11, 2005
Photo of bulldogg915
4/5  rDev -4.8%

bulldogg915, Mar 06, 2014
Photo of JasonA
3.53/5  rDev -16%

This is my first Belgian Pale. Im not sure Im a good reviewer for it, so you may want to disregard my review.

This bottle was purchased at the Chesapeake Gourmet in Queenstown, MD. Poured from as picture bottle.

Looks opaque light brown, with some orange tine. Large and thick head. I dont get much from the smell, was expecting more of a bite from it.

As my first belgian pale, I am not impressed. I picked up this beer simply because it had 'Trappist' in the title. There is no mention of the type on the bottle. Shame on me.

I will say that it tastes very fresh, no real alcohol byte. Little hop after the swallow. Overall tastes dry to me. I was expecting more flavor.

Hopefully after I have tried more Begian pales, I can make my way back to this one.

JasonA, Oct 26, 2006
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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,318 ratings.