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

2,178 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,178
Hads: 4,868
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 283
Gots: 639 | 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.
View: Beers (2) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,178 | Hads: 4,868
Photo of sfz
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled 5/19/2010, with a best by date of 5/19/2015. Cool bottle. Huge hiss of carbonation as the cap pops off.

A - Pours a slightly cloudy, medium-dark golden hue with an absolutely monstrous head. Pour this one carefully.

S - Citrus with hints of grapes and other fruity yeasts. Very complex.

T - Citrus with noticeable alcohol. Crisp and refreshing.

M - Light/medium carbonation. Smooth, smooth, smooth.

D - Extremely easy to drink, but price and above average ABV make this one for more special occasions. Meant to be sipped slowly and enjoyed. (554 characters)

Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bring on the funk! If you like a beer with funk, this is the beer for you.

Pours with a thick head. Reminds me of root beer floats. Cloudy amber. Lots of lace that never goes away.

Smells funky.

Funkiness in taste which ends with a hops bitterness. Refreshing.

Drinkable, but again if this is your thing. (316 characters)

Photo of dasenebler
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33cl, bottled on 8/17/10.

Cloudy, glowing orange-amber. Lots of clingy, thick foam even with a slow pour. Clumpy, craggy head sticks around forever.

Aroma is at first strongly estery, with some pear and banana bread, and then becomes decidedly earthy and Bretty.

What a wonderful beer. So dry, hoppy, bitter and complex. Lots of grapefruit, lemon and orange rind. Biscuity malts and wheaty flavors are there, but with no trace of sweetness. Then there's that wonderfully smooth Orval yeast, combined with an earthy, musty component. The finish is so bitter, dry and refreshing, just like eating a grapefruit. The mouthfeel is actively carbonated and fluffy, perhaps a little too aggressive.

This might be the driest Belgian Pale Ale or Saison (whatever it is!) out there. Nothing else like it. The perfect marriage of complexity, dryness and refreshment. (858 characters)

Photo of phishgator
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into an Orval glass. The Light Golden hue with the heavy carbonation and big fluffy head make this a beautiful beer to behold. The aroma is of meadow grass and a hint of the farm. The taste is a drying bitterness with a clean earthy tone. There is a sense of tartness, but without being tart. The body is light and airy. A beer that you wish could be drank everyday. A very unique flavor and aroma that I can't say I've had anywhere else. (445 characters)

Photo of Pahn
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Huge, pillowy white head despite a slow, careful pour. Head sticks around forever, ending up as a dollop of uneven foam with about a 1/4 inch thick head remaining around it. The extensive lacing clings to the glass forming a web. The beer is a deep, rather opaque amber with a few stray bubbles. One of the most beautiful and inviting looking beers I've ever seen.

Smell: Grassy, with a hint of lemon and a mild belgian yeasty funk. The smell exploded out of the bottle as soon as the bottle opener cracked the cap, and stayed nice and strong throughout.

Taste: So deep. Every sip yields an entirely new experience, and always unlike any other beer. I got grassy notes, black pepper, a nice hoppy bite, floral notes, leather. The finish is alternately soapy and tart, or big and bready, occasionally even sweet. Lots of musty tones, again reminding me of the smell of leather or even cologne. It's such a strange tasting beer, and the taste never mellows out or stops delivering new experiences.

Feel: Perfection. Creamy with just the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Also excellent, primarily because of the exceptional mouthfeel, and also because the taste never stops growing. The alcohol is quite well masked as well, though it does occasionally provide some pleasant warmth.

Probably the most interesting beer I've ever tasted. There are many beers whose taste I prefer, but very few that get anywhere near the complexity of Orval (Trappistes Rochefort 10 is the only one I can think of, though I haven't been able to get my hands on any Westvleteren yet).

Note: absolutely do not drink this beer too cold. You may as well not drink it at all if you're not going to have it warm enough to unleash all its complexity. Definitely a beer that every beer drinker--regardless of preferred style--should try at least once. (1,886 characters)

Photo of mgp80
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Really interesting beer, and challenging to rate, since comparing it to other Belgian pales is iffy. To my tastes its a meeting point somewhere between traditional abbey ales and a flanders red. I recommend it to any fan of either style.

Served out of a 12 oz bottle into an oversize wine glass. Pours dark and golden with a foamy head that shrinks fairly quickly into a foamy film. Aroma betrays the brett, with citrus, cranberry, ripe apple. Faint spice of the sort you'd expect from a trappist ale. Mild but nice. Flavor starts off with tart fruit, again cranberry comes to mind, followed by a rise of some peppery spice flavors with a little bit of a leathery taste. Tartness comes back in the aftertaste. High carbonation in the mouthfeel. This is very drinkable, as it strikes a balance between being interesting and going easy on the palate, and the alcohol is pretty well-hidden. (888 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I picked this bottle up at Julio's kept in my fridge for a couple of months - bottled on 13/11/08 and best before 13/11/2013 accoreding to the label -I poured this chilled from the bowling pin style 11.2oz bottle into a chalice

A - When the pour was finished there was 3 fingers of whipped foam rising out of the glass - the beer started foaming out as the cap was pried off. About 2 fingers below the rim of the glass w/ bead like ball bearings in rows stacked upon each other. The color of the brew is sort of orange and caramel golden w/ cream on top of off white. The clarity is hazed w/ incredible head retention, the lace clings well

S - I was drawn to the aroma w/ brett apparent in the cherry, cedar, tobacco and oak-like nose immediately. The scent of pink peppercorn, pineapple and rose petals w/ light orance rind, and kumquat all intertwined w/ a mild, subtle vanilla spiced note. The nose is seriously tropical with a passionfruit and mild mango note but the sweet woody cherry-like aromas pervade w/ mild spice like tobacco and gentle apple

M - a mild weet feel and highly effervescent w/ a slight tannic essence w/ fruit and tart tinged texture. There is mild spice edges w/ lightly bitter notes and bits of dry fruit skin w/ an herbal accent. The ale finishes lightly tart and dry

T -the taste is wonderful with the brett flavor which is cherry-like and tropical tinged w/ light pineapple flavor and mild woody tinges w/ a light pepper and lemon quality. The gentle floral and tea-like herbal hop quality w/ a subtle toasted note w/ mild honey tip is very delectable w/ hints of lemongrass and cherry skin w/ a mellow twiggy hop and toasted malt taste.
The real standout is the brett which gives the dry yet full flavored fruit elemnent to the ale while I know it is a blend of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces it is still great how balanced and light spice and brett is blended with tropical yeast flavor and spice/pine. The hop taste is hinted at and moves to a dry place which signals me to take another sip and start enjoying everything again w/ a lemony note w/ mild flavor of alcohol in the last sips as it nears cellar temp

D - The drinkability is sublime - stellar, inspirational brew - I have a lot of respect for the method and humble brilliance the monks exude in the style w/ plentle of subtlety and nuance, yet vibrant, intense flavor. The experience is a wonderful taste, words truly can't express it -something I wish I had on hand all the time (2,485 characters)

Photo of Weli
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A-Light copper/amber with a rocky white head with great retention.

S-Really reminds me of spring in a hayfield! Kinda fruity maybe apples, a hint of spice

T-Smooth earthy bitterness up front with a hint of citrus and spice, hints of pilsner malt

M-Kinda tart, overall dry and very thirst quenching

O-A must try beer! Definitely a bench mark example of the Belgian Pale Ale (376 characters)

Photo of andrewinski1
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled on April 22, 2010. Drank on January 29, 2011. Poured into a chalice. This is super carbonated. Nice Golden color with a bit of haze. There is a great white frothy head on this beer; two to three inches.

The smell is full of lemon and rhubarb aromas. This smells refreshing. Not much brett in the aroma at all.

The taste is mildly sweet in the front and finishes dry and bretty. A hint of band aid is in the finish. Nice balanced flavor.

The mouthfeel is right in the middle of light and heavy for the style; I guess I'd say perfect. Drinkability is off the charts; great "pale ale." (593 characters)

Photo of msquared36
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Light copper with a little haze. Thick, billowing foam, slightly off white head.

Aroma is yeasty with a bit of barnyard funk.

Funk is very upfront in the first few sips. Becomes more crisp as it warms and settles. By the end there are lemony citrus hints.

Lively carbonation. Mouthfeel is a little thin in comparison to the strong flavor.

I really like the complexity in the taste of this beer. Taste is unique but still recognizable. (438 characters)

Photo of brownbeer
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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. (373 characters)

Photo of hobojon
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had both fresh and aged. This review is based on a bottle that was brought back by a friend from belgium. 2 month old bottle.

Aroma- Funky (Brett), floral and fruity, fresh. bready. dry. some tart acid. great malt, bready. pungent spicy, herbal, noble hops.

App- very light haze. amber. creamy off white foam stays and laces.

Taste- sweet mouth coating tart and then dry and clean. fruity pucker, tart berry (cherry). bready and light caramel. crisp malt. hops are great, bitter and resinous. malt is incredible. not very funky compared to aged, I prefer it fresh.

Mouthfeel- high carb, clean, dry. full. alc is slightly noticeable in throat.

Overall- amazing when fresh. tartness is great. beers like this inspire my home brewing. (736 characters)

Photo of TrueRates
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Roughly 18 months old. A golden copper color of a beer with a white frothy like head. Aromas of musty basement, barnyard, some spicy hops, and many other complex aromas. Full bodied beer with high carbonation. Flavors of spicy hops, white pepper, tons of Brett flavors. Fantastic beer. (285 characters)

Photo of RuudJH
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is defenately the trappist that breathes cloisterlife the most. The experience of sniffing and sipping this ale is something Medieval. It reminds me of old churches and chapels in Europe I've visited.

(Meanwhile looking at the uniquely shaped bottle).

A: Great colour(between orange and brown), great head (beige, very thick and fluffy, and great lacing). Great to look at.
S: Defenately very pleasant. Fruit (cherry, strawberry), entertaining hops, something hard to define (pepperminty), plust the yeast, that gives it great dimension..
T: This beer is very intruiging with the Brettanomyces, topclass malts, but also it's spicy with pepper, plus a taste of both fresh and dried fruits, bread and good hops.
M: This drink is very dry, the taste stays in your mouth long.
D: Allthough it's not too high on alcohol (between 6 and 7% abv on the label, it seems to vary), I think it's a beer for sipping. It also goes well with crackers 'n old hard cheese. (962 characters)

Photo of Rastacouere
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Tasted at "Bistro des Bières Belges" on Montreal's south shore in a bottle labeled 6,9% rather than the 6.2% suggested here. While pouring the liquid, you come to understand what's with everyone talking about all the unique flowers in the aroma from this legendary trappist beer. Lilac is all over the place, your nose doesn't even have to be close to the nice graal-like glass. The numerous and regular bubbles escape relatively fast leaving just a perfect relatively small white head. The taste is very spicy with coriander, citrus and just so many I can't name. Bitterness steps in and dance in unity with those spices among the flowers. A nectar! (651 characters)

Photo of MrIncognito
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a wine glass (I really need to get a chalice). Brewed-on date 15/3/07 best before 15/03/12.

Pours a golden yellow, slight haze with a great billowing head. Lacing all over the glass. Champaign-like bubbles.

Smell is definite lemon, lemon grass. Sweet with slight hops in the background.

Taste is dry and sweet, yet quenching. I really taste some lemon overtones with hop bitterness on the back of my tongue. Carbonation gives a very Champaign feel. Gets better and better as I drink it and as it warms up. Less carbonation midway through. The alcohol is not all too noticable but does have a warming effect midway through. Becomes less dry towards the end.

This is a great beer any time of year. I can't wait to drink this on a summer night out on the deck. I'd be curious to see what more aging will do to this beer... guess I gotta buy a few more. (886 characters)

Photo of donkeyrunner
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've been saving this as a celebration beer for finishing the Vermont 50. Better late than never.

Even a delicate pour produces a runaway white head. Settles into a chunky head like a marshmallow dissolving into a sea of Fluff. Beautiful amber color. Delicate lace nestled down my glass. This is a pin-up girl of beers.

Smells strongly of botanicals, like Herbal Essences shampoo. I think I can pick out juniper and maybe even dome fuzzy hops? Sweet apricot and peach fuzz offsets dry, champagne-like graininess.

Taste is more juniper led botanicals and dry ginger ale and dried apricoty fruit. High carbonation boosts body but could be toned down a bit. Dry finishes cleanses the palette after each sip.

Unique from bottle to finish, this is one of the best beers I've ever had. (784 characters)

Photo of TenHornsProud
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque dark orange with a huge, and I mean huge, white rocky head that lingers and laces. One of the best looking pours I've seen.

Smells of brett, apple, pear, sugar, bubble gum. Really great aroma, makes you want to take a sip.

Taste is up front hop and brett that fades into a fruity, sugar malt and hop character and ends with some yeast spice, hop bitterness, and fruit. Complex as all hell and refreshing.

Lighter to medium body with high carbonation work perfectly for the beer.

Hoppy (maybe a bit too astringent), fruity, spicy, sweet yet dry, just really interesting and complex. The brett is more subtle but present. What's not to love. Amazing beer. (674 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orval is always wonderfully complex and hoppy, and it did not disappoint this time. This is a very unique beer brewed by some of those zany Belgian Trappist monks, and is loosely in the pale ale style; being pale, an ale and quite hoppy, including dry hopping. At this point it leaves the standard pale ale road, among possible others, it is made using Brettanomyces yeast which add a complexity of flavor which I typically say adds a musty note. At first thought this does not appear to be all that tasty (musty, horse blanket; I have some old leather shoes like that) but I feel that if done right over the correct amount of time it adds wonderful notes of complexity. This beer does it correctly, and I always love being able to sample this wonderful beer.

The beer pours a hazy copper-orange color, and is topped by a tan creamy head. As I pour this beer the Brett character is immediately noticeable; aromas of musty cellars, and leather. A sweet fruity aroma is here as well but the musty brett character dominates. The beer is well carbonated. It is lightly sweet up front, but only just as this is a dry beer. Has a certain sharp dryness in the finish that is coupled with a funky-woody-musty character. There is some residual hop character still here, though it is hard to separate it out.

This remains a challenging/ characterful brew on this side of the Atlantic. When fresh it is quite a bit different; still good but in a fresh hoppy sort of way. I love that the Belgians still embrace ornery "spoilage" organisms in their brews, it makes for a much more colorful world. (1,590 characters)

Photo of tpd975
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice cloudy murky orange hue with a nice tall rocky head. Great retention and chunky lace left behind.

S: Nice floral aroma with hints of citrus. Some acidic crushed sweet tarts and a bit of apple. Unique aroma.

T: Yum! Nice bold sparkling citrus flavor which yields to crushed cherry sweet tarts. Hints of bitter hops and some sweet apple and pear. Nice balance between malt and hops, bitter and sweet. Great Beer.

M: Light in body very sparkling. This one dances on the tongue.

D: Very, this one can be pounded or sipped, its one of my favorites. (563 characters)

Photo of markaberrant
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a clear orange with fluffy white head. Looks great. Some lacing.

S - fruity apricot with some light pepper. Very pleasing nose.

T - Fruit right off the start, but it is quickly washed away. Mmm... yummy funkiness creeps in. Earthy goodness through to the end, and the hop bitterness compliments it all the more. I'm having trouble describing these flavours, but the finish and aftertaste are just wonderful.

M - Generous carbonation creates a light fullness.

D - Refreshing as can be for a sturdy beer, this is my kinda drink.

I only tried an Orval once before at a beer bar. I enjoyed it immensely at the time, but it's even better now where I can concentrate and fully appreciate everything it has to offer. One of my all time favourites. (765 characters)

Photo of CPeterson
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A -- A deep cloudy golden amber brew that almost looks like marmalade. Huge, billowing head that settles very slowly and laces the glass like grafitti on a railroad car.

S -- Very complex aroma, ranging from peaches and pears to sour cherries and lightly of acid and some medicinal qualities. Perhaps a hint of dried dark fruit...

T -- Holy wow. Big and fruity, following the yeast and the nose on the front, followed quickly by a sharp bitterness that cuts immediately through the sweetness with an herbaceous note that resembles rosemary and saffron.

M -- Light on the palate, well carbonated even after two years from bottling, fairly drying and cleansing at the same time.

D -- Anyone who fancies themselves a beer drinker should indulge in at least one of these in their lives and several if possible. Just amazing. (824 characters)

Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle served in a chalice.

A: Beautiful bottle and art. Pours a hazy amber to chestnut color, firming a huge yellow to beige head that dissipates slowly leaving many lacings around. A small layer persists and some particles can be seen floating around

S: Sweet, malty and "biscuity". Fruity (reminded me pears and apples). Acid (orange zest). Fresh and grassy hops and the traditional Belgium yeasts the end

T: Distinct and complex as the nose. Sweet caramel upfront but very dry, in overall, bit acid and quite bitter end. Caramel malts. White grapes, apples, notes of wood, nuts, yeasts and finally the hops

M: Medium body and high carbonation. Dry and bitter aftertaste

O: Excellent drinkability. A classic and, at the same time, distinct Belgium Trappist. Mandatory to any beer lover.

Second review 2010.11.20 (improving A and D from 4.5 to 5) (860 characters)

Photo of mwagner1018
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a traveled .33L bottle into an Orval glass. Purchased this beer in Belgium, survived the arduous journey back to the states, settled for about 2 months at about 55deg F....then was thourougly enjoyed!

Orval poured out a beautiful mid October fall color of Orange, dusted yellow, and amber. Settled with a nice head, good aroma, great carbonation release up from the center bottom of the glass. This beer had a very fruit induced, orange and spicy aroma.
I liked the subdued but noticable taste of strong German hops. I would rate this as a good drinkable beer, but would like a bit more substance in the mouthfeel....The taste of this beer definitely shines above 50deg. Overall, I rank it second among the ales of the Trappiste Bieres! (751 characters)

Photo of Hibernator
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orval Trappist Ale
11.2 oz brown bottle
Bottled on: 06/24/2005
Best Before: 06/24/2010
Served in a Chimay goblet glass

Pours a hazy and cloudy light brown. Burnt orange highlights blend in the background. A massive, rocky head forms on top and magnificent patterns of sticky lacings cling all over the goblet.

The nose is amazing. Whiffs of lemon, honey, hops and sour funk yeast. Reminds me of a Lambic, must be the Brettanomyces. I inhale another big whiff and I detect sugary sweetness and random spices. I swirl the beer around and around in the goblet and I receive more complex scents.

My first sip is light, airy and sugary sweet. Complex flavors of sweet & sour battle on my palate. Again, the Lambic connection is on the forefront of my mind. A touch of lemon or lime citrus dipped in honey with a quality that provides a beautiful hop snap on the finish. This beer is also interestingly dry while a pressured carbonation blast prickles my tongue.

This is one amazing, unique and uncompromising monster of a trappist ale. A world class offering and strongly recommended. (1,095 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,178 ratings.