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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,193 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,193
Hads: 4,900
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 286
Gots: 654 | FT: 12
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:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001

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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,193 | Hads: 4,900
Photo of Hugues
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

often cited as the best trappist beer, I find this one a bit of a hit & miss from bottle to bottle. I've had some really excellent bottles, but others were downright poor, once poured. Just the look of it will tell you. if it's orangey, you'll love it. if it's a pale pils colours... don't even sip from the glass. That's why my rating are probably much lower than the average (376 characters)

Photo of CanadianBacon
4.76/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation- Came in a very cool brown rounded bottle

Appearance- hazy amber, huge foamy head similar to duvel

Aroma- Tarty,Yeasty, Green Apple and bread

Taste- complex taste dominated by green apple and some spice

Mouthfeel- pretty light body crisp and carbonated

Overall- Another A++ trappist beer, Try it (315 characters)

Photo of Mikus
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Highly carbonated, standard medium amber hue. Some interesting, horsey Brett aromas creeping from a nice background of subtle cherry. Great Brettanymyoces character on the palate. Nicely barnyard funky with a hint of tartness. Nice, super dry finish. What can I say, killer brew. Dregs went into the house bug blend. (316 characters)

Photo of kbwalters
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured cold into a tapered pilsner glass. Bottled on 4/15/13 and consumed on 1/10/15.
Look = 3.75 Lots of carbonation on this one, should’ve been more careful on the pour. 4 fingers of off white head even with a slow pour. Thick and frothy head composed of big bubbles. Lots of streaming bubbles. Clear orange/gold/amber in color.
Aroma = 4.25 Sour, musky horse blanket smell common to Brett bears. Some yeasty notes.
Taste = 3.75 Candied malt sweetness up front, none of the sour comes through in the taste, a hint of tartness. A dry, bitterness in the aftertaste.
Feel = 4.0 Light to medium bodied with medium to high carbonation; thin and crisp, fizzy on the tongue.
Drinkability = 4.0 Pretty easy drinking.
Overall = 3.9375 Somewhat bland brett beer here, but solid all around. The sour smell doesn’t lead to a sour taste, which leaves the taste a little bland. (879 characters)

Photo of Brew_42
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy Amber with a thick off-white head that leaves lacing and hangs around

Smell- Green apples

Taste-green apples and yeast with some spice. One warm booziness. Tastes like it should have a higher abv than it does. A little sweeter than the sme would have you believe. Sourness increases as the beer warms up a bit.

MF- lighter than I expected. Decent carbonation. Refreshing and drinkable.

Overall- good beer, not on the high end of trappist ales but that still puts it way ahead of most. (502 characters)

Photo of bilbobrewer
4.84/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

33cl btl purchased at Brussels bottle shop (v hard to find in grocery stores..).
bottled June 30,2015; BB June 30, 2020. (More info is always better....thx)
Served chilled in a tulip. Bottle is unique....like miniature champagne.
Poured nice clear reddish-brown. Not much head.

I love the taste.. NOT syrupy sweet, and on the heels of tasting several local 'syrup bombs', this is extra-appreciated.
Remarkable mouthfeel on this one...some different flavours. Not sour, but more a more 'mature' malty profile than many highly regarded Belgian tripels and quads. A champagney, bubbly dryness on the throat.
Note this beer is tres fresh...but at only 6%abv, I'm not sure how much taste would change or improve with time.
This might be my Belgian co-favorite. ...a ying to Rochefort-8 yang. And this is much easier to see as a multi-serving beverage...there aren't very many quality beers that lend themselves to 'sessioning' in Belgium.
A last minute throw-in purchase, this is a great find and I highly recommend it. (1,035 characters)

Photo of headlessparrot
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled October 2014. Beer pours an almost reddish, copper colour, fairly cloudy, topped by a tremendous amount of loose head that just keeps growing. Lots of small bubbles visible. Dense lacing that not only sticks to the side of the glass but actually visibly protrudes. Even after most of the head recedes, at leas one enormous island persists like an iceberg.

Smell is sour, yeasty, sweet, slightly metallic. A bit of Christmas spice (cinnamon? clove?). Smells a lot like a lambic, a faro, or maybe even a Flanders Red. Slight pine, caramelized sugars, brown sugars. Green apple, apple skins. Apricot or peach--stone fruits, at any rate. Sour cherries.

Given the intensity of the aroma, the taste is a lot lighter than I expected. More toasted and roasted malt-type flavours than I would have expected as well. Slight sourness, a lot of fruit: apple, apricot, peach. Maybe some pear? A faint metallic twang. Some baking spices and Christmas spices. Clove? Faint banana? Carbonation is high, but manageable and the body is dense without being overpowering.

Delicious. The taste doesn't quite live up to the smell, but delicious. This reminds me of a lot of my very favourite Belgian beers, of all different styles: Rodenbach Grand Cru, Lindeman's Faro. . . . And yet the difference is that this retains a drinkability that a lot of those favourites don't (I could drink three of these; I could never drink three Rodenbachs in a sitting). I don't know that it's a *better* beer than either of those I listed. But it's of a different style, and is more drinkable. (1,567 characters)

Photo of GerryPendry
4.9/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a hazy amber, gigantic dense head. Complex aroma and flavor. Mouthfeel is a tad bit thin, not too carbonated, with a dry finish. It's almost like it evaporates from your palate, the same way a well-made martini does. Incredibly flavorful for a beer his light and drinkable. Goes down way too easy for a beer this expensive. Very highly recommended. (354 characters)

Photo of mjurney
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance:
Amber-golden color, murky. Lots of small bubbles streaming. Thick frothy head.

Aroma:
Bananas, pears, hint of nutmeg, deep bready malts, a little tartness.

Taste/Finish/Body:
Strong fruity yeast, bananas, pears, green grape skin. Mild spice, nutmeg. Deep creamy malts, caramel. Hop bitterness towards the end. Finish is most tart, very dry. Body is full, crewy, refreshing, easy drinking.

Overall:
It's a world class beer! (444 characters)

Photo of SitkaSteve
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was poured into a tulip.
The appearance was a hazy amber to orange color. There was a decently sized creamy rocky head that lasts for a super long time and then once it dissipates leaves some nice stringy lacing.
The smell starts off with tart apples, brings on a slight rustic funk and then slides into some nice Belgian spices.
The taste remains tart through the apples and then takes on a musty sort of farmhouse sweet funk. The apples take on a sweet persona in the aftertaste and slides into a semi-sweet to musty wet finish.
The mouthfeel is about a light to medium on the body with a pretty good sessionability about it. Carbonation ranges on a delicate soft side allowing the tartness to come back and be the focus of the harshness along my tongue.
Overall, its a classic because of its unique quality of the tartness. Its world class for a reason. And a stellar one to have with some NY strip steaks. I also personally love it with grilled halibut steaks. (969 characters)

Photo of HopHunter19
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

a - murkey amber orange, nice big creamy head on it that lasts forever and leaves great lacing
s - tart green apple, little bit of funk
t - very light tartness, green apple, lots of funk and mustiness, kind of like sleeping in your grandparent's basement
m - light - medium, alc completely covered, aftertaste is musty funkiness
o - would drink again for it's uniqueness, not my favorite by far though (402 characters)

Photo of dd43
4.04/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

It will be sacrilege on this site, but I feel like I enjoyed Spencer Trappist more than this. That said Orval is a fantastic beer. Voluminous head requires a careful pour. Swirling the bottle before cracking it open, even gently, can cause a foam geyser if you aren't careful.

Somewhat darker in color than other Belgian pales, giving you the sense that the malt character is going to be a little more pronounced (and it is). Great yeast aromas, candied sugar in the flavor, and massively carbonated. Required drinking if you are trying to get a sense of what Belgian pale ales are, consider this a reference beer. (616 characters)

Photo of tlema1
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Orange/Amber, big billowing white head
S: little funk, little tart
T: lots going on here, I get tart green apple, some Belgian yeast sweetness, a little funk
F: good mouthfeel
O: great beer, first time I've ha one in years (226 characters)

Photo of SkipZ
4.9/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 27/03/2014.
Look: Poured a huge pillowy white head with plenty of active bubbles streaming. This is a true joy to me. In the glass its a beautiful amber/orange that is light-light/medium body and mostly translucent with no large particles even after I swirled them from the bottom of the bottle. Some head foam remained in the bottle to finish off the top.

Nose: First aromatic blast is a mixture of bubble gum, tutti-frutti snow cone and Harbo red and black raspberry German gummies obviously from the "candied sugar" quickly followed with sweet malts, aromatic hops and a tiny bit of funk.

Taste/Mouth: Sharp carbonation on the tip of the tongue for eye popping refreshment with the sweet,dry,funky and aromatic complexities of this ale battling it out over the tongue to a superb, velvety,crisp and dry finish that left me wanting more. In fact, this is a bottle from the case I traveled about 75 miles to get after sampling a bottle a few days earlier.

Final Thoughts: This is a complex,heavily carbonated Trappist ale that is a crisp,funky and aromatic bliss. (1,081 characters)

Photo of TheBlueWaffle
4.71/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

After dealing with the insane carbonation, I'm talking 30 minutes till the foam died down, this beer was ready. Worth the wait for sure. Intense banana yeast notes. Very drinkable! (180 characters)

Photo of kevinlater
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle into goblet. "bottled on 15/01/2015, best before 15/01/2020B". 6.9% abv. consumed on june 30, 2015

a: light copper with two fingers of off-white head

s: ah brett beers. noticeably funky but miles from offensive. funk, strong bready malt, and sour lemon up front. underneath that are very mild backing notes of overripe bananas, sour apples, pears, and bubblegum

t: follows the nose but is a bit more fruity. a really solid chewy bready malt in the front mixed with those sour funky brett flavours. lots of complex but tame backing flavours throughout -- pear, lemon, banana, papaya, bubblegum, spices, melon, earthy hops, apricot, maybe even some mango? ends with a moderate hop bitterness and lingering subdued funky tastes

m: nice, modest medium-minus body with plenty of bubbly carbonation. very dry finish

o: a massively complex beer that offers so many different flavours upon each sip (914 characters)

Photo of Gajo74
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful blend of colors; dark golden, copper, Amber and orange. The look is cloudy with some sediment. Huge foam head that takes a while to disappear, excellent creamy lace retention until the very end.
Big fruit aroma; tropical fruits, bannana, lemon. There is also a sugary malt undertone and some herbs.
The taste is quite complex and the feel is amazing. There is a soft but prominent carbonation that tingles slightly. Creamy feel until the very end. Feels full bodied in the mouth but is actually medium all,around and quite drinkable. Tart fruit flavors and bready malt contribute to an overall sweet taste. However, a strong herbal, bitter hops and lemon finish balance it out amazingly. There is alcohol for sure, but it blends so well with the other tastes.
An exceptional beer! (800 characters)

Photo of JLaw55
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a first for me and very complex. Pretty darn tasty though, and wow the craftsmanship was out of this world. It was a amber/brownish color with a nice fluffy white head. Lots of fragrance coming off of this one, with a complex set of flavors to back it up. Grassy, malty, fruity, bitter, with a hint of clean funkiness and crisp finish.

Would purchase and revisit again. Not the cheapest, but this was very pleasant and would be worth the price every now and then. (473 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

330 mL bottle from the LCBO; bottled Jan 15 2015, listed at 6.9% and served at cellar temperature. I totally did not expect to see this one show up locally - the beer selection has really improved in this town over the past couple of years.

Pours a muddy orange-amber colour, topped off with a copious volume of fluffy white head. It's one of those froths that quite literally slowly grows before your very eyes - it looks like some sort of whipped topping, wilting down over an agonizingly long period that exceeds ten minutes. Looks absolutely beautiful. The nose is similarly attractive, boasting a fluid mix of funky, spicy, intensely yeasty aromas; fruity notes such as apple, apricot and lemony citrus; and doughy malt with a touch of caramelized sugar.

I usually find myself to be a little disappointed when it comes to heavily hyped beers, such as Orval, but this one has really lived up to the expectations - it's goddamn delicious, with a lovely mixture of tart and astringent flavours. Some light, grainy malts, caramelized sugar and doughy bread are easily missed, as the funky, leathery barnyard notes from the Brett are what really grab your attention. Not particularly fruity - I am getting a bit of lemon pith and maybe some apricot, banana, and vinous grape, but it finishes with a phenolic, spicy kick and some bitter, leafy hop notes. The aftertaste is totally dry, making it hard to stop yourself from sipping this one quickly. Medium-bodied, with assertive carbonation levels that give this unique pale ale a crisp, prickly mouthfeel. It feels smooth and frothy on the palate; unbelievably refreshing, too.

Final Grade: 4.73, an A+. Orval is a fantastic beer, and certainly one of the best Belgian imports I have had to date. It is undeniably unique-tasting, with a flavour profile that is both mesmerizing, and annoyingly difficult to describe with much accuracy. The Brettanomyces make this one an acquired taste, but if you go into the glass with an open mind, you can safely expect to be blown away. I'm glad I grabbed a couple of extra bottles, but given this one's history of spotty availability (in Ontario) I might need to snatch a few more while I have the opportunity. (2,202 characters)

Photo of jmasher85
2.75/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

God, I hope to G-d I got a bad bottle of this one. It's really well rated, but neither I nor the rest of my Beer Club were particularly impressed. Again, could have been the bottle, and I'll have to try another soon to compare, but of all the Trappist Beers we sampled during our meeting that night (almost all of them), this was one of the worst.

To be fair, it probably had the most interesting and dynamic flavor profile. Stone fruits on the nose, mainly peach and apricot, but kinda moldy smelling. The taste wasn't much different. A lot of slightly rotton and fermented fruit smells in this one. Most peculiar was the metallic aftertaste that only hits you about 5 seconds after you swallow. So bonus points for being a strange and confusing beer that kept us all guessing, but negative points for being a little too odd and possibly off. I may have to revisit this one with a fresher bottle. (906 characters)

Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One of the classics! From the bottle, which I note is exactly the same as the ones I purchased while stationed in Germany in the 1980s, it pours with a BIG white head over a hazy golden amber nectar. Enjoyable. Bottled in 2013 and drunk in 2015! (248 characters)

Photo of Tom_Banjo
2.92/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Two 330 ml bottles purchased from Whole Foods and served on different days at different temperatures. Served in a stemmed Spiegelau Pilsner glass. Attractive looking beer, but much too yeasty for me. Not a beer I think I will be having again any time soon. (257 characters)

Photo of TDotScott
4.84/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Cellared for four years. Poured into a wine glass

L- gold with a rocky white head that just won't quit.

S- Dat aged Brett, tho. Pineapple and fruits. Not so much funk anymore.

T- bitter phenols, some hops still. Malt has a presence. You can tell it's aged, but still such balance!

F- prickly carbonation helps keep things light

O- a good one to try at this age! (366 characters)

Photo of tigg924
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

For the style, this is quite good. Nice mix of citrus, lemon, apricot, Belgian spices, and light hops at the end. Beer is dry and dances the line between bitter and tart. Probably the beer I would get if I wanted this style. (227 characters)

Photo of majorbase2
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a very murky, dark orange color with a very large bubbly white head. Good retention. Leaves a large ring of lacing around the edges. A ton of carbonation.

Aroma is more of a sour. Green apple, pears, and a bit of and funk.

Taste follows the nose. Heavy on pear and some light tartness, followed white white grape and a slightly more subtle green apple.

Mouthfeel is light, crispy and dry. Very high carbonation, which I anticipated from the moment I opened the bottle.

Overall, very disappointed by this one. A good beer, but easily my least favorite Trappist beer. Worth a try if Belgian is your favorite style, but otherwise a bit of a disappointment. (665 characters)

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,193 ratings.