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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

4,406 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,406
Reviews: 2,119
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 211
Gots: 414 | FT: 10
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,406 | Reviews: 2,119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of siemer
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%

siemer, Aug 11, 2014
Photo of JasonMcLellan
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%

JasonMcLellan, Saturday at 08:22 AM
Photo of emeyer
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%

emeyer, Sep 24, 2014
Photo of watermelonman
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

watermelonman, Jun 23, 2004
Photo of ojclark
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

7 months old when tasted. Orangey hoppy aroma with notes of sourness/vinegar aroma. Cloudy orange/amber color with a frothy off-white head with a lot of carbonation and light lacing. Flavor a complex mix of bitter, sour, hops with a noticable lambic-type (Brettanomyces) character and some slightly vinegary sourness. Slight sweetness noticable along with the other flavor components in the aftertaste. Effervescent mouthfeel, medium body with a medium length finish with a fairly long aftertaste. Very complex and very good.

ojclark, Feb 17, 2008
Photo of StoutItOutLoud
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330mL bottle to tulip. Bottled 1-23-2013. Consumed 1-9-2014.

whoa. with one pry of the cap, this one starts to gush. the yeast's been working for the last year. after taking a few seconds to clean up my counter, i start the pour, slowly. gigantic light tan head, orange rust body, very hazy. the head takes a while to recede

the aroma's solid. lemon funk, overripe banana. very bretty, which makes this one stand out from other bpas.

very pleasant mix of spice and fruit, all thanks to the brett. vinous as well, alcohol and hop bitterness with warming

dry, not as much carbonation as expected. quite drinkable

this is a great example of the style, made unique by the brettanomyces

StoutItOutLoud, Jan 10, 2014
Photo of corcoranjc
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from bottle into Chimay goblet (goblet bought for 25 cents at a garage sale last summer...just had to throw that in there).

appearance: exceptional. rocky, chunky, everlasting, snow white head.

smell: tart, ciderish, sour apple candy....wonderful

taste: funky, earthy, mushrooms, the brett comes through here with the leather and barnyard. however, the taste is very deep and layered.

mouthfeel: full, perfect.

overall: this is a beer for a special occasion. deep, interesting, and ever so complex. i would love to have a ton and chug it and i would love to have just one and savor it for a couple hours which is what i'm doing now. a wonderful beer.

corcoranjc, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of CyR
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber color, or bronze

S: Citrus and hops

T: full, good performance of mouth, pure hops with a touch on due to Brettanomyces.

M: Aftertaste strong fresh hop

D: So much to drink to cool off than to taste

---

A beer whose taste changes easily with the maturation and redefining each time a special experience. Unique in its kind.
ÉcouterLire phonétiquement

CyR, Feb 10, 2011
Photo of Zorro
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy tan and orange colored brew.

Smell is intensely fruity, apple and lemon smells dominate, almost smells like a wine.

Taste is spicy with plum and apple flavors dominating. Not a sweet brew finishes dry.

Mouthfeel is intense, strong fine bubbles swarm you tongue like good champagne.

Another beer that must be sipped not chugged.

Zorro, Mar 24, 2004
Photo of AlaYank
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%

AlaYank, Aug 16, 2014
Photo of JMad
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a bottle to a snifter...
Pours a murky yellow-brown, with a bubbly off white head.
Smells of lemon lime, salt and pepper, hint of alcohol and banana.
Tastes of lemon zest, yeast and bread.
Has lots of good carbonation, light-medium, very soft and bubbly, leaves the mouth dry.
World class brew, wish it wasn't so expensive.

JMad, Sep 25, 2010
Photo of MartzMimic
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy amber with a root beer float head that lasts for days. Tons of carbonation. Nice aroma of fruit, hay and a touch of funk. Tastes of grapes, apples and yeast. The brett adds a lot. Medium light mouth with some crispness. Just a very flavorful and well-balanced beer.

MartzMimic, May 25, 2014
Photo of DefenCorps
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle, bottled on 27th Dec 2007 consumed 6th July 2008. Poured into my Chimay chalice

A: Mildly hazy orange with a dense two-finger off-white head. Fantastic carbonation. Excellent retention. Possibly the prettiest beer I've ever seen.

S: Mildly fruity with hints of orange, mildly floral with a little bit of rose, mildly spicy with a hint of pepper, clove, mildly funky with a little bit of a leathery note. Complex.

T: This 7 month old Orval starts off mildly funky and is followed by a mild tangy sweetness, like orange mousse before finishing a moderately dry

M: Light with great carbonation, excellent feel.

D: Very drinkable. I need to get more of this

**Edit 13 Oct 2013**
Bottled 20 Feb 2008, this bottle is now 5 years and 8 months old. The nose is dominated by the Brett characteristics. A blend of clove, pepper, a touch of damp hay, fennel, this is one complex beast. The palate is similarly Bretty, earthy, spicy and complex, but with a touch of honey sweetness as well. Crisp and highly carbonated, a touch of acidity (clove like bitterness, carbonic acid) is present. A touch dull due to age, the delicate brightness of the citrusy hops that fresher bottles have is missing. Still, this is really good. 4.25/4/4.25

**Edit 05 Apr 2014**
Bottled 15 Jul 2003. Thank you, Peter.

Wonderfully funky with a blend of melon, earth, fruit and fennel, this smells great! Some citrus, almost a whiff of cola, there isn't much clove present. The palate opens soft, fruity, mellow with honey, fennel, citrus and melons. A shade watery, the fennel note is particularly noticeable here. A touch smoky as well. Awesome stuff, this.4/4/4

DefenCorps, Jul 07, 2008
Photo of garymuchow
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another Super Bowl Belgian. Purchased at a good price too at Zipps.
Surprised on how sweet the initial aroma is that is then followed by the more traditional yeasty, phenolic with a unique funkiness with this one. This has a rather fresh quality - it was bottled in 4/10. Nice fruit intermixed. Nice.
Big full white head. Cloudy brownish amber.
Flavor is tamer than the aroma. Resembles the aroma quite a bit. A bit of bitterness up front. Mild malt, yeasty flavor, but lacking the great fruitiness of the aroma. Even though the flavor is not the level of aroma, it's still very fine tasting. Slight stale, oxidized taste.
Smooth feel even with full on carbonation.
Drinks very easily. No excessive richness. More than one would be not problem.
I'll give this beer another try later to see if the flavor is more robust.

garymuchow, Feb 07, 2011
Photo of cosmicevan
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle (bottled on 5/8/09 best before 5/8/2014) into unibroue tulip. Opened with a gunshot pop.

A - WHOA...like 4 fingers of head...HUGE and foamy. Not sure if this was due to the age or potential shaken-ness/pressure of the bottle (the pop from opening it was the loudest thing I ever heard). Subsequent pours showed just as much head...but this glass really brings out the head in any beer. SUPER frothy. Lacing clung to the glass and might take some work to get off the glass (it's THAT clingy). Color was a soft amber honey color. Nice lively carbonation.

S - Banana, clove, some spices, bubblegum, candy, sugar. Smells awesome!

T - Taste follows the nose. Bubblegum and clove. SPICEY and sweet.

M - Surprisingly bitter mouthfeel and aftertaste. Beyond the bitterness, very smooth.

D - This one is pretty good. I was expecting a bit more based on the rave reviews. Very drinkable and extremely tasty. Was pretty surprised by the bitterness, but really enjoyed this brew. Glad I tried it, not sure if I'll be looking for it on a regular basis though.

cosmicevan, Jul 16, 2010
Photo of theformula
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The ratings are high, and for good reason. When I'm so used to the traditional English and American Pale Ale, this adds a brilliant complexity to the style. And it's my first taste of Orval.

Great looking beer, light amber color. The head just grew and grew to a billow-y, fluffy cloud that doesn't every dissapear. Nice lacing throughout.

Mouthfeel is light, with a bite of carbonation and almost a fine, powder-y texture on the roof of the mouth.

Smells of hops, clove, green banana/fruit, sugar and a little phenolic goodness to make things interesting. Fruit and flowers.

Tastes much hoppier than the aroma lets on. Delicious hop bitterness is subtle, along with "that" yeast strain and some citrus that gives it a tart bite. Sugar cane, wet hay and light honey give this so much complexity.

This is the best pale ale I've had the pleasure to taste, and drinkability is way up there b/c of the bone-dry finish. It's thin, but I guess it's accurate for the style. Awesome.

theformula, Jan 18, 2007
Photo of cnally
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up with about three other brews I had never tried before. This one lasted till the end, since I was so stoked, I wanted to save what I guessed would be the best for the last. We will see.

A monsterous head, fluffy and barely off-white, is a defining characteristic, with a glowing orange color in the body. Hazy and majestic.

The aroma is underutilized here, a foggy floral bouquet and little additional hop or malt character to it. Pleasant yet forgettable.

The flavor...oh, the flavor. A wildly successful blast of bitterness and sweetness, with a multi-layered fruity taste of grapefruit, apple and red grape. Great balance in the amount of hop character, a good dose of bitter.

High carbonation levels in the mouthfeel. A boisterous brew.

Magnificent effort, a subdued aroma meets a crushing flavor, and grand all around. Easy to pop down a few of these...if you can afford it!

cnally, Aug 06, 2010
Photo of jayhawk73
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orange color w/ a perfect 2 finger off-white head. This beer has a ton of carbonation! The smell is very interesting- citrus, fruit, and hops all make their presence known. The taste is an acquired taste, but I love it. It's very unique. A lot of hops, some citrus, spice and a slight hint of alcohol. Very dry finish, and a dry beer in general. Mouthfeel is good. You can feel the carbonation in your mouth, but it's not bothersome. Aftertaste lingers for a while as well. I probably wouldn't drink more than one of these at a time, but it's pretty easy to drink. Definitely a great beer, and one I will continue to buy from time to time. Not for everyone, but that's more for me...

jayhawk73, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of utopiajane
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours hazy orange with a billowing head of resilient foam that finally dwindled to a rocky cap with dense, sticky lacing. A spectacular pour into a tulip. Nose is complex and kept expanding as it warmed. Sweet Belgian yeast, apples, floral, banana, some medicinal alcohol, a little caramel malt poking through all that bright fruit and brett funk and ultimately finds some spice character. Taste is superb. Relaxed, smooth, full without heaviness, some lemon, some hay and horse blanket. No alcohol on the palate at all. Drinks very dry and leaves a long bitter finish that isn’t tart or sour. It’s earthy and hop bitter. Very impressive, indulgent, full of traditional character and easily approachable for a session.

utopiajane, Jun 11, 2013
Photo of a0lbudman
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Amber color with a large tan head that leaves a lace
S-dark fruits, raisins and figs. Has a wine or farmhouse like aroma with spice in every smell
T- caramel sweetness with spice and wine like taste that goes to a spice kick aftertaste that has some sour taste and also some warming in the finish
M-creamy high carbonation with medium body
O-great malty flavor that starts this beer off right. It has good balance.

a0lbudman, Dec 30, 2013
Photo of Petrislav
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into chalice

A: Cloudy dark butterscotch brew, topped with a light sandy head

S: Fruity aroma - hops, yeast, caramel, malt

T: Yeast and carbonation leads to bright floral hops, bitterness and a sweet hop and toasted malt aftertaste

M: Light, almost no body, wish it were a little more full bodied

Petrislav, Apr 30, 2010
Photo of prosper
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 07-03-07 - three-ish years in the bottle.

Pours a hazy gold with a thick white head and lots of co2 streamers. Some lace, but the head is kinda coarse.

Smell - wow, uh, funky. Tart pineapple, acidic fruits. Maybe some light musty cheese. Some herbal character - hops I guess, but they're lost in the huge not-so-subtle blast of smells.

Taste is very good. Lots of different flavours, but they blend well, none overpowering the others. Lots of earthy musty character - damp malts and such. Fruity, but not as intense as most other belgians; same for the phenols - light spice, but supportive and not centre stage. Clean, dry finish.

Mouthfeel is light - lots of carbonation and crisp dry finish help here.

Light (relatively speaking) alcohol, dry body, spritzy carbonation - yep, it's quite drinkeable

prosper, Aug 08, 2009
Photo of Arbitrator
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Re-review. I first had this in Belgium in fall 09 and thought it was awful. I'd go back in time and smack myself if I could.

Chilled bottle into a glass.

A: Pours a lightly hazy amber color with copper highlights. The head is stunning; off-white, refreshed by generous effervescence up the glass, and retention that is nothing short of 10, probably 15 minutes. I pretty much had to let this sit and settle while I went off to do something else. I returned to find a mild cap on the film with thick lacing deposited by the receding head.

S: Pretty funky: it has that musty, hay / barnyard aroma that is characteristic of a bretty beer. Noble comes come through, giving this a perfumey, lemony aroma with hints of grass and spice.

T: That perfumey aroma translates to a distinct hoppy bitterness, accentuating the flavors of lemon to produce a lemon-rind combination. The brett adds a little funk to the end in the form of hay and leather. The finish is rounded out by flavors of grass and light spice. There's a metallic flavor to it that I don't enjoy, but that was the whole reason I revisited this beer: Russian River Sanctification (batch 4) has the same thing, and it reminded me off-hand of Orval. I wanted to try it again and see.

M: Light-medium bodied. Ample carbonation. It finishes dry.

D: An incredibly tasty beer. It's a shame this took me two tries to appreciate, but it's a good demonstration of how quickly a palate can evolve in 8 or 9 months. I have a bone to pick with the metallic flavor I get out of this thing, but otherwise I really enjoy it. Outstanding beer.

Arbitrator, Jul 17, 2010
Photo of amneziak
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Right off the bat I have to say this beauty pours with about 14 fingers of massive pale white soapy looking head. Jeez Louise that's a massive stretch of foam! Additionally, it has a nice clear warm amber color. There is minimal cloudiness, and the immense amount of bubbles proves that this is a very vibrant beer.

Smell: I absolutely love the smell of Orval. There is a ton of banana bread and clove components right up front that are met up later by some funky lemon undertones. This beer really smells old world and the spices, for the most part, are very hard to pick apart. I also get a bit of alcohol presence in the nose which is odd since it only sits around 6.9% ABV.

Taste: Tastes almost identical to the smell. There is lots of banana bread in the mouth with a hint of lemon funk to back it up. Throughout the beer, several strange (yet enjoyable) floral components begin to come out. This is potentially due to the temperature change as you work through it. The lemon and funk essence that lies underneath is very reminiscent of a gueuze. In the end, you are left with a very nice deep banana taste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: In terms of mouthfeel, this is more along the lines of how an IPA hits the palate than a Belgian style ale. It has lots of flavor and a well-rounded bitterness. There is also (as the pouring would insinuate) loads of effervescence that immediately slams into your tongue. In terms of body, this is not quite a medium-bodied beer, but close.

Overall: Of all the Trappist beers I've had so far, this is easily one of my favorite. I'm a huge fan of the whole banana bread and clove element of it. I will say it's maybe a touch too "bubbly" for my taste, but I can't really find a whole lot more to complain about. I'll definitely be picking up some more of these down the road.

amneziak, Mar 11, 2009
Photo of Goliath
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazed, dark amber color with three fingers of yellowed head sitting on top. Great retention and a bit of lacing.

The aroma is nice, but gentle. A little spicey, and a little funky actually. Some floral notes come through as well.

The taste is really nice. Kind of floral up front, with a bit of spice. On the finish there's a bit of alcohol as well as a slight bretty tartness. Slighty bitter and has a bit of acid going on. This beer is more compex than I was ready for on the few occassions I've enjoyed it in the past. I'm glad I picked it up today to re-evaluate.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and highly carbonated.

Drinkability is moderate to high. A great flavorful beer, and you can't go wrong with an authentic trappist product.

Goliath, Sep 30, 2008
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,406 ratings.