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

4,545 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,545
Reviews: 2,133
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 227
Gots: 468 | FT: 11
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)
View: Beers (2) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,545 | Reviews: 2,133 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jeonseh
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this in a GI Reserve Glass and from a bottle. Thanks to Unholy 2 for throwing this in as an extra on a trade.

A - A very nice looking beer as I would call it a light amber color. It has traces of orange and lemon throughout of it. A bit hazy as only a trace of light gets through and can see a ton of carbonation trailing up through it. A nice creamy, one finger head sits on top and is rather strong there.

S - smells lemony fresh mixed in with a bready, yeasty odor. There is also a lint hint of pepper as well.

T - Now, here is where this beer is rather unique. First, it has a hint of orange and lemon that come on first. After that, there is that legendary Orval funkiness which reminds me a bit of the taste of blue cheese. Also has an earthen almost grassy taste and also get a hint of the yeasty, bread flavors as well. There is also a hint of sweet malt that comes on first before the funk comes through and gives the beer a bit of a sweet flavor. Have to say that the aftertaste does a good job of reflecting the beer's flavors as I get a mixture of lemon spiciness and funk just hanging out.

MF - A full mouth feel as this is one bready beer that just hangs out. Plus have to say that this one has a ton of carbonation but somehow manages to make it not overpowering at all, which is sometimes a problem with this style in my opinion.

D - Overall, a very tasty and complex beer that has a surprising note to it with its funk. This would be a beer that I would bust out with a cheese platter whenever I'm not in a mood for a Belgian Dark Ale. I would definitely reach for one of these again and really for the uniqueness that I haven't found in many other beers that I have had before.

Photo of ianjsullivan
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ST: 11.2 oz poured into a Duvel chalice. The bottle lists the ABV, the bottled on date, and a drink by date,

A: Cloudy burnished gold and orange with a very thick, white head that looks like a milkshake.

S: Grapefruit, lemon, funky yeast, and sugar.

T: Delicious toasty malt backed by a strong yet elegant back bone of hoppy grapefruit and pine (there is also a slight bubblegum). The finish has nice hops, but it does not overdue it.

M: Medium and dry with a nice zing of carbonation.

O: Sometimes I feel like people in America assume that since a beer is from Belgium it must be good. There is no mistaking Orval; it is very good. The beer is balanced and elegant, and it easy blends a higher alcohol percentage. Lovely flavors continue to develop as the beer warms. It truly is a a winner.

Photo of cokes
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just a perfect looking beer. Sparkling deep golden (muddy peach after the yeast pour). Head is massive and unmoving. Like styrofoam.
Intriguing nose full of white grapes, rosemary, fresh hay and perfumey hops. Very botanical.
Taste is quite similar. Begins with a rosemary draped white grape sweet/sourness. Subdued flourishes of spice. Candy fruit sweetness (kiwi perhaps). Yeast pour adds doughiness and some farmhouse qualities, mostly in a grassy, hay-like sense. Recedes with a hefty blast of floral hops. Bitter, dry finish.
Light medium bodied with loads of spastic large bubbles. On the thin side prior to the introduction of the dregs.
Worthy of the praise. This is a very nice one.

Photo of ChopperSmith
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a thick and heavy brown bottle into a chalice glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy deep amber/golden color. A nice creamy one and a half finger foam head retained well, and slowly receded to a frothy off white cap. Left nice sticky lacing as it receded.

Smell: Sweet and yeasty with phenols of clove, apricot and banana. Some slight floral hops underneath.

Taste: A great yeasty profile with the perfect amount of malts and hops to balance. Sweet and fruity, but just a hint of hops bitters and malt richness to balance it all out. A really fantastic tasting Belgian Pale Ale.

Mouth feel: Slick and creamy with just the right carbonation for the style.

Overall: An excellent Belgian Pale ale for sessions. I could easily drink several of these in a sitting and would enjoy every drop. Another outstanding trappist ale! A new favorite!

Photo of Infamous7100
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Poured a dark carmel, almost copper color into a pilsner glass. Offered up an gigantic head, not only on the first pour, but on subsequent ones as well. Had a rocky head the lasted for a pronounced duration. Lots of lacing.
S: I wasn't overwhelmed with any particular scent. A mixture of yeast and a little hops I'd say. There is definitley some fruity overtones, though what fruit, I couldn't say. Alcohol hidden well.
T: Awesome, it almost finished like a lager in my opinion. Finished clean and crisp. Not a lot of aftertast at all. Taste confirmed the yeast smell and also the citrus fruits. Not very hoppy in my opinion. It was well hidden if it was. As I said, hang was minimal, but while on the pallet, it was great, and not overbearing.
M: Very smooth. Nothing too heavy, yet nothing too light. Enough presence to let you know what you were drinking was something of quality.
D: At 6.2% alcohol, this may not be the ideal session beer. Down with that theory. This was great. The bottle was rendered empty before I knew it and I was left wanting another. Well worth the price and I will be buying two or three next time at the store.

Photo of Proteus93
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Lovely golden-orange hue, almost reminding me of the sky at sunset. The white, foamy head forms vigorously and quickly, but manages to remain control to build into a fantastic froth topping. Very nice

S + T: Aroma and flavour are very similar. Lemon rind and "horse blanket" with a soft fruitiness below it all. More 'funky' and bitter than other trappists, but quite intriguing and unique.

M + D: Sparkling, foaming, rich. It's a very interesting style, and one of the better ones. It took far too long to finally get around to it, but glad to have done so now... with the lower alcohol, it's inviting to have another.

Photo of metter98
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured cloudy golden yellow into a goblet with a white, one finger head. There's a moderate-to high level of carbonation and good head retention.
S: There is a definitive sour smell (reminiscent of a gueuze) with aromas of wild yeasts and floral hops.
T: The taste is very flowery and acidic with some sourness; the finish is of dry hops with citrus and spicy notes.
M: It feels bubbly, crisp and earthy on the palate. The amount of carbonation makes this taste lighter than I had expected it would.
D: It's easy to drink and rather refreshing, which is surprising for the level of complexity in the taste.

Photo of TheCondor
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I just assumed this beer would be on the Beers of Fame list, well I assumed wrong. It has not yet garnered the necessary 2000 reviews. So I am trying to help that along with this review. Side poured with standard vigor from the bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance - Pours an awesome hazy copper color with a big, bubbly, soapy two finger head with decent retention, probably a few minutes worth. Leaves little lacing. Carbonation is immediately seen inside the glass. Packaging is very simple, but beer shows an excellent presentation.

Smell - I can smell the beer as I pour it, you hardly need to stick your nose close to it to smell it. Fruits, sugar, candies, heavy phenol and clove aroma, exceptionally strong aroma. Complex and delicious.

Taste - Follows the nose pretty closely. The initial rush of carbonation on the palate is followed by the sweetness. Bitter on the beginning, then supplanted by sweet candies, oranges and banana, and finally the clove. Super funky, you could tell this was Belgian with your eyes closed. Very solid. Beer gets more bitter and funky as it warms, don't let it get too warm though.

Mouthfeel - One of my favorite parts of the beer. Heavily carbonated, very dry and crisp on the finish, with the cloves and a bit of bitterness rounded out by a sweet sensation on the palate. Outstanding finish.

Overall - This beer belongs on the Beers of Fame, and it will make it there as soon as it reaches the cusp of that 2000th review. It is an outstanding beer, one I would be more than happy to drink over and over again. Very happy I bought it. Condor recommended and approved.

Photo of joeysmokedporter
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow.

Poured a 11.2 oz bottle into a goblet.

A: pours an orange brown color, somewhat hazy, with a substantial slightly off-white head that forms a rocky surface as it dissipates. Lacing as it is consumed.

S: A little outdoor-like, sweet/sour fruit, earthy, grainy. Tough to get specific on the fruit flavor.

T: Begins with the earthy, slightly sour fruit flavor, which lingers for awhile before ending in a dry hoppy bitterness. Upon further reflection the fruit flavor reminds of sour cherries, and is combined with a woody-cherry-pit-like flavor. Somewhat like a geueze with muted characteristics.

M: good amount of carbonation, average body tending a little toward the lighter side.

D: A very drinkable beer among the Trappists, this beer is not as high in alcohol content and is very refreshing. Not as puckering as a geueze but just enough sourness to give it a subtle uniqueness vs other Trappists.

Photo of BayouBengal1537
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 30/12/2009
Pours an orangish copper with nice fluffy white head. keeps its retention for most of the beer. No lacing left on glass.
Smells mainly floral to me, orange, spice
Taste is belgian hops, belgian yeast, lemon, leathery, complex spice note
Mouthfeel was rather light, pretty high on the carbonation
Overall, a fantastic beer. These Belgian Ales I am really enjoying lately. World class

Photo of baldben
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

10 month old bottle served in a glass chalice. Poured carefully to leave majority of the sediment in the bottle.

Pours with a thick fluffy off-white head that leaves thick lace down the glass. Head retention is very good, slowly reducing to a thin layer. The beer itself is tawny or copper with some haze.

The scent of this Orval is musty and faintly reminiscent of citrus fruit. I think if you put an orange into a baseball mitt it might have the same aroma.

The taste is as unique as the scent. Some musty and citrus notes. Bitter with dominant hop flavor. The malts become more evident as the beer warms. The after taste is dry, hoppy and lingers long on the tongue.

Complex but easy to drink, I give this beer high marks.

Photo of buzzworthy
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle is dated 7/5/07, making it four months old at drinking (couldn't wait). The beer pours a slightly hazy amber with a huge, billowy head, leaving remnants of lace. The aroma has a freshness to it that reminds me of the ocean, with malt fruitiness underpinning it. Orval's taste is of mellow black cherries and plums, not as intense as the American brewed Belgian-style Ommegang that I am more familiar with, but seemingly more balanced. The hops add some bite and the finish is quite dry.The intense carbonation does not bother me and Orval seems surprisingly drinkable.

Photo of stearns16
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Amber orange with massive white head that declines rather quick. This beer seemed like it could not wait to get out of the brown bowling pin-like bottle

S - Lemon and flowers ... very clean scent

T - Goes down smooth and easy. Taste lemon and even hint of tart apple, which makes me think of cider. Dry finish.

D - A throughly enjoy Belgian ale

Photo of PatrickJR
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into red wine glass.

A - Hazy, orangish brown with about a finger of head. Pretty good retention with some lace.

S - Fruity esters like apple, banana, and pineapple shine through first, with a mingled peppery phenol and musty yeast aroma.

T - Fruits pull through first, though less distinct than the nose. The bulk of the brew's taste rests on an overwhelming yeast component, marking its entrance with the most prominant musty/powdery taste I've ever experienced. A moderate sourness coupled with mild bitterness dominates late palate with a slight citric element. Finish is slightly bitter and lemon/orange.

M - Light bodied with huge carbonation.

D - I'm usually not too fond of these pale, phenolic, super-fizzy pale Belgians, but this is some great stuff. Expensive, but highly unique and not quite extreme enough to push it out of the realm of decent drinkability.

Photo of scray24
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from CLO poured into pint glass (yes, heathen!).

Nice clear gold/orange in first pour with significant white head. Head was nice and dense good retention and nice lacing left behind. Second pour little more hazy (to be expected)

Yeasty, spicy, lightly hoppy citrus smell. Finishes nice and dry, no off flavors, very effervescent....

Crisp clean and smooth. Before the flavor is even picked up i am noticing the crispy cleany smoothness. Hops and malt mesh well. Citric zest kicks in, very nice job here.

Photo of OneDropSoup
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 1/6/10.

Poured into my complementary Orval chalice: Two fingers creamy, rocky, buoyant foam that drops to a finger & retains oh so well. Looks like a cloud. Body is a hazy, translucent burnt orange with brighter orange highlights.

Smell is wow. Overlaying brett character that's pointed but not too sharp, like a tart key lime pie, freshly mown grass, herbs, a little cherry, & that specifically Belgian grapiness in so many of their yeasts. Underlying are mildly creamy tones, a little graham cracker sweetness, even cocoa hints now & again. So complex, I want to sink into this. And that dryness keeps bringing me back. Fantastic.

A sip starts off with some of the spiciness & grape qualities but quickly dries out & becomes herbal & mineral, with a character that I've had before in Orval that I can only describe as "stony," like licking a rock. Not bad, just interesting - it has a solid, dry bitterness to it. Unexpected at first, but it mellows & becomes pretty enjoyable, with some mildly orange sweetness backed by a slightly bitter zest. Mild tonic note.

Mouthfeel is medium-full, very smooth & velvety. That dryness sticks around & hangs on the palate.

Man, this is one complex beer. Some very subtle notes hanging back in this to pay attention to. I can't say I loved every movement I went through with it, but it was all about the ride, & the ups & downs all added to up to a great outcome. This is definitely a once-in-a-while kind of experience, & I wouldn't want to overdo it, but I'll be looking forward to that next "once-in-a-while."

Photo of bens0n
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours a murky golden brown color. There are tons of swirling brown particles floating around in this, I really like the way all of the unfiltered parts make a web of shapes in the glass when you take sips. There is also a rather extreme amount of foamy off-white head that stays around for a while and leaves spotty lacing on the glass.

On the nose the most prevalent thing to me is the bready and sweet Belgian yeast that has an ever-so-slight circuity hint to it. The yeast I pick out of this smells amazing.

Flavor wise, its very well balanced. There is a mixture of sweetness and bitterness but is mainly dominated by the yeast. There are tons of delicate flavors that are almost indescribable but still present in this beer.

There is a certain dry crispness to this that reminds me of a hefeweizen. This beer is extremely drinkable given the abv and moderately high carbonation level. The aftertaste is very pleasant too, I almost have a hard time *just* sipping on this beer because its so easy to down.

Photo of Rifugium
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First had: bottle at Eulogy, Philly, PA

You can't go wrong with this trappist ale. Pours into a signature chalice, a golden brown with a nice finger or two of foamy white head. Retains well, with nice lacing. Tends to be a bit more on the fizzy side, but it's tolerable in that regard. Floral hops in the nose, and lots of fruit. Yeasty background flavor; up front is pears, bananas, allspice, white wine; grassy quality, with a bitter, dry finish. Medium mouthfeel, and very drinkable.

Photo of jaz58
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the strongest tasting beer I've had to date. Clear russet brown in the glass with a creamy head which dissipated slowly leaving lots of lace. The nose had sweet malt and black pepper. A distinct effervescent mouthfeel which the tast was a strong hops bitter throughout with a flint flavour.

Photo of crossovert
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orval, my 4th Trappist brewery tasted (5th if you count St. Bernardus), comes in a 11.2 fluid ounce brown, mini 750ml Belgian/French styled/shaped bottle with a trout holding a ring in its mouth on the label. Bottled on 22/01/2009, best before 22/2014. Definitely when I find this a little cheaper at Discount Liquor in Milwaukee I will buy a few to cellar. This bottle is lightly chilled.

This is a fizzer, pours (sediment and all) unlimited off-white head with large bubbles into my Duvel glass. The head recedes fairly quickly leaving huge lumps of lacing behind. not the best looking Trappist ale. The beer itself is a hazy oranginsh brown, caramel colored almost. I've heard with a sediment free pour this is actually a very clear brew.

Smell is the best I've encountered with a Trappist ale. It has a potent farmhouse saison style scent with some fruity sourness, a nice dose of yeast twang, some tropical fruit, white raisin, lemons, and a hint of spice. A very exotic smell, and a good one indeed.

Taste carries over with all the above scents as flavors, and more. It seems even fruitier and more saison-like, tart with a tad bit of cloying bittersweetness in the finish, the cloying taste lasts only the first sip. The spices and yeast are a bit more pronounced in the taste as well. It has a slightly bitter aftertaste with a hint of sour green apple and a bit of hops. It is smooth drinking with the right amount of carbonation, a bit of wateriness mid-drink, and a dry finish. It is whole heartedly complex in taste, scent, and mouthfeel; the appearance seems to be the least flashy/unique attribute to this beer.

The alcohol is hidden pretty well, you get hints of it here and there but nothing overpowering. It warms slightly as it goes. Nothing that would prevent me form at least having another despite the 6.9%abv.

Overall this is a fine Trappist ale, not the pinnacle but on the upper tier. It is the most unique and possibly the most complex one I have had so far. This is also beer #250 tasted for me, hoorah.

Photo of csiewert
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at the Tigin Irish Pub in DFW airport. Pours a hazy orange golden color with a finger of off white foamy head that has good retention and a slight amount of lacing. The aroma is strong with banana, pear and orange notes. The flavor has hints of banana, clove, pear, orange peel and a slight amount of alcohol. The mouthfeel is nice and bubbly, but not too overboard on the carbonation. Overall a great beer and I'm amazed I found it in an airport bar.

Photo of HeyItsChili
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured from a bottle into a chalice. Pours hazy amber with golden highlights and a towering off-white head.

S - fleeting aroma of some faint bretty yeast, though I don't even know if that's exactly what it is.

T - Crisp tart apple flavor that slides into a dry alcoholic taste like a sweet white wine. The finish is more green apple citrus.

M - Just under medium bodied, decent carbonation.

Photo of LambicPentameter
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed out of a 11.2 oz brown bottle with the distinctive Orval curvature. Label is marked with a bottling date of 18/08/2011 and an enjoy by date five years after that. Poured into a large 22 oz snifter. Far from the first time I've tried this beer, but the first time I've sat down with a bottle and made a point to note all the intricate details of what I'm tasting.

Appearance - Pours a deep copper brown with some faint reddish clay-like undertones topped by an eggshell colored head of about two fingers thick, and that's with a fairly gentle pour. Big and rocky, with great retention and solid but spread-out lacing with distinct but faint ringing. Certainly darker than what most people (myself included) would expect from a pale ale, even one of the Belgian distinction, but Orval isn't really an easily-classified beer.

Smell - A complex combination of fruity phenols and floral overtones, but a more funky, musty element, like barnyard, but without the tartness that you'll get from some beers that have been fermented with a strain of Brett. The aroma is more dank, with some bits of malty sweetness coming through as well.

Taste - This particular version is heavy on a blend of the darker fruits--most notably raisin and date--along with a fair amount of pungent bitterness. Some notes of grapefruit rind, dandelion green and bittering spirits comes through, as well as some faint esters reminiscent of rich red wine, like cabernet sauvignon.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with ample carbonation. Mostly dry finish.

Overall, a beer that seems to vacillate wildly from bottle to bottle and depending on age. I've had some that were overpowering hop bitterness and funk, others that were floral and slightly fruity, and still others that hint at the darker fruits of your classic Belgian dark ales and quads. It's an enigma to be sure. One that I always enjoy, but I lament the inability to find it very fresh in the U.S., especially after getting to have some that was about 3 months after bottling when I visited Brussels a couple years ago. No matter, as the weirdness and complexity of this beer is what always draws me back. More often than not, if I go to a bottle shop looking for a beer without luck, but don't want to leave empty-handed, I'll grab a bottle of Orval. If you don't like it the first time you try it, I still would encourage you to give it another try.

Photo of ohitsbrad
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Edit: 24 January 2007

A few Orval's and one year later. When in the mood, an Orval is fantastic.

5 December 2005, Best Before Feb 08

Appears a murky orange brown colour with a foamy head and large bubbles. Aroma of cooked vegetables and spices, particularly nutmeg, some medicinal type aromas there too. Rather strange flavour, celery possibly, very complex. The vegetables, nutmeg and also five spice come to mind. But it's also fresh, hoppy, perfumy and a little salty. Fairly high carbonation, but not too much at this alcohol level and temperature. Overall quite an unusual taste, one is enough for me. I'm afraid to say I didn't particularly enjoy it but I'll still rate it reasonably well for its complexity and originality.

Photo of estereicher
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark Golden, slightly cloudy appearance. Nice head - quite effervescent. Yeasty Alcohol scent w/ various spices. Slightly sour taste but very well balanced. Overall lots of body with a refreshing flavor...

I drank at around 16 deg celcius, and was quite impressed with the balance of flavors and drinkability.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,545 ratings.