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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,546 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,546
Reviews: 2,133
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 227
Gots: 469 | 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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,546 | Reviews: 2,133 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ghurux86
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this is a very good beer. i couldn't pour the 11.2 oz bottle into my glass without the head overflowing. the head is VERY thick and VERY creamy and leaves the most impressive lacing i've seen, thick chunks of foam stuck to the sides of my glass. Taste seems to be mainly of hops with maybe some spices i can't identify and alcohol--the alcohol taste isn't too bad though. It's a little bitter but overall good for the ABV. It goes down very smooth and the mouthfeel is just about right-not too thick not too thin. my only complaint is the drinkibility because of the price, 8.99 for two 11.2oz bottles, after tax that about 5 bucks a beer therefore i probably won't get it again. but that doesn't take away from it being an execellent brew.

Photo of pitasoup
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from 11.2 bottle. pours clear golden orangy. nice whie head, very carbonated at first. floral smells and a bit of banana, also that chewy smell of belgian yeasts. malty body with dry bitter finish. warms to slightly sour and wheaty taste. bottled in '04, 6.9% on label.

-notes from '07

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

Re-review. Didn't really know what to expect when I first had this beer, and found it surprising and not particularly enjoyable.

Bottled 08/06/2010. I assume that is DD/MM/YY, which makes this one almost 2.5 years old.

The beer has an insane amount of head. An enormous cream-white head sits atop the beer, despite a very slow pour. Beer is caramel in colour. The head recedes at a steady pace, but there is so much of it that it is there for a long time.

Smell is great, and noticeable even as the beer is being poured. The brett really sticks out, likely the result of the time this bottle has had to develop. Funk, lots of light fruits and berries, a bit of a medicinal spicy scent, and some bready malt.

Flavour wise, the beer is very dry. Has a powdery, medicinal flavour to it, which doesn't sound good but it works. The funk is prominent, giving a bit of a barnyard flavour. Cherry and some other fruit flavours. Some sweet malt, but the sweetness is overpowered. Complex. Finish is, again, bone dry.

Medium bodied, moderate to low carbonation. What activity there is is quite subtle, resulting in a beer that is active but not irritating. Dries the mouth somewhat.

Overall, just great. Wow, a real difference between having this now and for the first time almost two years ago, when I had never encountered brett and was expecting a typical Belgian pale. I'm glad I held onto this bottle since then, as I think the age has done it well. Unique among the Trappist beers and very good.

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

A - poured from a 0.33L bottle into a weizen glass. The color looks like a Hefeweizen (amber and cloudy). There was a metric ton of head, thick and foamy.

S - grass, hay, and a hint of sweet licorice

T - a bitter grainy taste, with a light sherry like flavor

M - delightful carbonation that fizzles on the tongue then finishes quite dry

D - a complex beer that would go well paired with finger food

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

What a beautiful beer. The head forms immediately and the structure is such that I overpoured and thought I'd lose some of the head down the sides, but no! It stood up on its own a good two fingers above the rim of the glass. The color is amber and cloudy, more opaque than many in this style.

It smells of fragrant wood or cooking wheat bread with some spice and citrus in the background. The floral aspect tells you it's a Belgian.

Oh wow! I immediately got oranges. The sour and citrusy flavors combined to make it seem like this was a beer brewed with oranges, it was that strong of an impression on my tongue. Bolstering that flavor is a bread-like taste further back on the tongue...maybe one of those whole grain loafs.

I usually first sip a beer that I have not tried yet, but this one invited me to gulp, and gulp I did. Just two and then I started to taste. It doesn't attack the back of the mouth, but lingers on the tongue daring you to explain the complexities (and I felt I have done a poor job here).

For a beer this complex it is still refreshing and begs another, and another and another still. I wish I had bought more. Strike that...I WILL buy more.

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

How to review Orval?

It is the most aesthetically pleasing beer in the world bar none. It pours from its beautifully curvy bottle into the most attractive beer glass there is. It is the one beer most Belgian bartenders can truly pour as well, which means you get a wonderfully frothy creamy head with solid lacing no matter where you go. The deep golden-orange should be relatively clear when probably poured - yeast on the side.

On this occasion, I am review from Chez Bernard in Place Jourdan, where I had the gout d'Orval.

The citrusy yeastiness starts on the nose and continues through to the palate where it is complemented by a hoppy spice quality. Those herby Brettons doing their work.

It rarely disappoints although three is usually enough for a sitting. I am looking forward to those bottles I have put down.

Photo of PVMT
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of vancurly
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank this at the Heritage Belgian Beer cafe in Sydney.

Pours a hazy dark burnt orange, head fades, but good lace.

Light aromas of sour fruit. Some oakiness & gamey off-notes. Complex & intriguing.

Flavours of leather, medicine/band-aids. Slight barnyard character, perfumy, with a late cherrywood aftertaste.

Some bitterness, and astringency. The mouthfeel is very dry, almost dusty. Highly attenuated... thin, no sweetness.

For me, this is truly the Burgundy of beers. Wild, gamey, dry, tannic, fleshy.

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

Poured from a bottle into an oversized wine glass.

A - A slightly hazy body with a nice golden color and a big frothy peaky white head. The hed is resiliant as well. The carbination of the beer is somewhat constant as well making it look very nice.

S - The nose is very pleasant. The citrus notes are prevelant throughout. There are some grassy earthen tones underneath it and what makes it interesting and complex is the slight funk that builds on the nose.

T & M & D - Good hop profile here with a great variety of fruits represented. The other note that comes out is the sour funk in this beer. I love the complex mix of the fruits and funk, they mingle well and work off one another. The final notes i pick up are the spices and pepper the play in the back of the taste and in the nose. The carbination makes the body of the beer a little lighter, crisper, and refreshing. It makes the drinkability great as well.

O - A great beer. It reminds me of one of my favorites (pannepot 2007 with the feel and the funks). I would recommend this to anyone. A great sipper and a good beer to explore flavors.

-Cheers

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

Bottled April ' 06, drank Dec.' 06

Strong burst of carbonation on opening bottle. First pour gushes and foams, I wait and pour the rest in one smooth motion. Dense, rocky, off-white creamy head looks too beautiful. I don’t want to drink it - just look at it. Light mahogany color with orange highlights. Aroma of sherbert and damp earth near the stables. Phenolic aromas and flavors of holiday spices and juicy fruit gum. Not very sweet though, with a little sour tang. 15 minutes later and halfway through the beer the head has finally settled down to a thin, soft blanket of melted marshmallow with persistent lacing. I used to not like this beer, but perhaps my pallette has matured beyond hasty expectations of big, overly candy-like dark, fruity tasting Belgian strong ales. I am humbled and exalted at the same time. This beer makes me want to eat something savory and earthy, yet not heavy or too rich.

Photo of DoubleJ
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Photo of Tele
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: 4.25 Cloudy, brownish orange with a massive light tan head.

S: 4.25 Belgian yeast and funk are up front on the nose. Grass, herbs, wheat, and malt follow closely behind. There’s also a dry, oak smell lingering in the background that goes with the funk.

T: 4.25 More funk and less yeast than the nose. A lot more unique than most of the other trappist ales. Dry funk dominates without fruity, spicy esters like other Belgian ales. There’s a little sweetness with some grass, green apple, and breadiness at the end.

M: 4.5 Carbonation is great. It makes the beer feel alive which matches the funk very well. There’s also a very pleasant dry finish.

O: 4.25 I wasn’t sure I liked this beer very much at first, but I came to really enjoy the funk and dryness. It is very well balanced with a very unique and enjoyable character.

Photo of patm1986
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

.33L bottle into a wide wine glass

the head is beautiful: thick, richly foamy, retains itself well, and dissipates slowly but to a respectable lace while leaving some nice bubbles and residue on the side of my glass. honey-colored, an orange-brown. carb-bubbles visible on the bottom of my glass.

smells of yeast, fruity yest, like some sort of fruit-bread. a swish, and i'm getting stone fruits like peaches, very lightly, some golden-raisin, a little raspberry, and some citrus like a grapefruit or a lemon.

the first splash is a sour shot to the front of the palate followed by the citrus, more lemon in the taste, and an earthy, flowery middle. these fruit flavors don't follow completely through as the sour, wild yeast flavor returns with a slight alcohol tinge. still it is very refreshing and sharp.

smooth at first, then like a thirst-quencher, the carbonation and crispness smacks you around. goes down VERY EASILY. by the end of the glass, she's just sliding down the throat.

at 6.9, this is an ale stronger than one for a session, but it goes down like one. but at 6.9, it's also more punchy than you'd think. in that middle ground of abv, but with the flavors and aromas and body, this is something very special.

a bar-holder and a freak in the style and out of it. really, REALLY good.

Photo of snowmg
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%

Photo of DIM
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had several of these now and I finally feel like gotten to know this beer well enough to review. Bottle has a born on date of 30-01-07. Served at cellar temp.

a: I very carefully decanted about 10oz. of the 11.2oz. in the bottle to leave sediment behind. This pour left behind a very clear golden ale with an inch and a half of very frothy looking head. Lots of tiny bubbles (cue music) race to the top of my glass throught the session.

s: I'm surprised by how noticeable the hop aroma is. I've never smelled a peppery hop before. This is one of my favorite beers to whiff, very unique.

t: The pepper I noticed in the smell is also abundant on the tongue. It starts with a spicy yeast/malt flavor, no sweetness to found here. Next the suprisingly bold peppery hops kicks in before making way for a tart bready finish. The peppery hops linger for minutes afterward. Very complex and a challenge to describe.

m: In a word, incredible. Sticky and viscous, I've never had anything like it.

d: Hmm. Definitely a sipper. I certainly would not want two in a session, in fact a couple of weeks in between sounds better.

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

Best before August of 2009. Pours with lots of foam, some lacing. The body is orange. Nose contains barnyard characteristics, along with some dry fruitiness. Hop aroma is complex.

Taste is dry, light, and complex. Initial fruit becomes extremely dry, giving way to dirty barnyard flavors. Some lemon. Fruit returns intermittently. Some hops are noted in the dry, clean finish. Mouthfeel is full while it lasts, sterile slightly bitter finish. Plenty drinkable, I must cellar some of these for several years.

Photo of nicefix
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured to a giant white fluffy head with various sized bubbles. Good retension and lacing.
Smells of lemon, grass, floral hops and spice.
I'm tasting similar things to what I smelled but also a complex flavor I can't put my finger on.
Very drinkable and complex. If I had more experience I could maybe nail down the complex flavors and aromas with more precision.
Overall, I would recommend this beer. Very interesting.

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

330mL singleton poured into a chalice

My beer guy at Argonaut has been recommending this to me for a while, it's also discussed regularly in the revered halls of the Beer Advocate forums, so I finally got around to picking this bad-boy up in stead of The Dissidant I went in for (as apparently their shipment is delayed!). I digress ...

Bottled on 5/19/2010, best by 5/19/2015

L: Apricot-hay colored, but the more dramatic portion of the look is the absurd amount of head. On first pour the head is at least 5-times as tall as the beer. My cup overfloweth, but damn if it doesn't look good.

S: Sweet and sour. Starts strong with a big front of brett-induced sour, transitions smoothly into a fading lingering sweetness that tails off into nothingness.

T: Brett character is not nearly as pronounced as in the nose, and it's in the back, not the front. Mostly this beer is a subdued dry sweetness. Really quite good, if entirely unexpected from the nose. Smooth into a sweet, then dry middle, then the brett kicks in to compliment with a subtle sourness in the finish. Based on the nose, and on American brews using brett, I expected this to be far more brett-heavy, but in fact the brett is really more an embellishment than the centerpiece.

F: Smoooth, and wicked dry. Really quite spectacular.

D: Pretty phenomenal. Seriously.

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

The first mouthful of this stuff is the most memorable, go in with clean mouth, no food or food residue present, heck gargle with water to rid your mouth of other taste. Take the first a sip and bang get hit by a flavour explosion - overwhelming all regions of the tongue - so much going here I don't know where to begin - fruity, citrius-y yeasty . As you get over that initial taste explosion, as your tastebuds have been assaulted and surrender - the bitterness starts to come through and the hops and bitterness are pretty much whats dominates in the final half of the glass.
Needs a careful pour to reveal the murky dark orange colour.
The head is pretty good, but not dense and mine faded very quickly and looked like scungy sea foam on a rocky beach after a while.

Next time I have this I will share it among friends, to enjoy that initial taste explosion and avoid the somewhat disappointing finish to the beer.
and at 600yen a bottle in Japan (Us $7) it's a steep drink and probably a good one to split with a friend anyway.

Glad I tried it and definitely a beer you should try at least once.

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

Poured out a hazy honey orange with a thick head with nice lacing.
Nose is sweet oranges, citrus, bready, and maybe even a little sour. The taste starts off tart and a little sour then almost turns into a hoppy pale ale. The beer foams in the mouth. Highly carbonated and finished dry. Light and refreshing even with the massive carbonation.

Photo of tectactoe
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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.

Photo of blackie
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

appearance: Leaving most of the yeast in the bottle, the pour yields a 0.5" white head. It recedes incompletely, fed by streams of bubbles from the bottom. The beer is a hazy, milky medium brown.

smell: I get some immediate strawberry and raspberry aromas. Pale Belgian malts aromas with notes of peach. It's a little farm-housey, with some hay and a slight wildness to it. Hints of oxidized apple flesh, whole bread, white pepper, and flowery honey. Just a touch of hops noticeable.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is high, yet smooth. The body is very light.

taste: Pale malts with appley fruit flavors upfront. A little thin in flavor. There's also a light yeast character. After the swallow an aged, papery hop flavor becomes more evident, and a gentle bitterness dries out the finish.

drinkability:A well balanced beer, though a little uninteresting in some places...even a little watery. Easy to drink.

11.2 oz. bottle from Grapes & Hops in Fayetteville, Bottled 24/06/2005

6/14/2013 - upped some scores after purchasing an Amsterdam/Belgium ticket and cracking a bottle from Lost Dog

Photo of facundoCNB
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Review of a 1 year old bottle.
Appears much foamier than I recall, a dark golden color with 3 fingers of foamy off white head.
Smells of Brett?? I definitely didn't pick up on this when it was fresh. A bit vinous, oaky, funky.. With lots of malt in the background. The flavor is on par, the Brett is subtle at first but once your palate picks up on the oaky barrel flavor, the barnyard door opens wide!
Medium in body with high carbonation.
This is fantastic aged, but I was bit impressed with it fresh... I honestly had written it off as a standard Belgian ale.. Don't make the same mistake.

Photo of impending
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A

33cl into a tulip. Pours a hazy deep amber. The prodigious head is often cited and for good reason. I carefully poured to minimize the head yet it was a massive three fingers and the nucleation of the tulip caused a dense inner core held in place by a half inch very large bubble outer support - haven't seen this before. Ridiculous lacing as well !

Complicated nose, somewhat difficult to identify - yeast, hay, mild unknown fruit and a whiff of stale musty budweiser.

Taste surprises with the noticeable hops in the dry finish. No fruit sweetness, tiny bit sour. Both the yeast and hay are restrained. Not the easiest brew to describe. I think I would enjoy this more if I was eating a sharp cheese alongside.
cheers
jd

Photo of cam477
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,546 ratings.