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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
94
outstanding

4,647 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,647
Reviews: 2,157
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 251
Gots: 521 | 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:
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,647 | Reviews: 2,157 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of chugamugofsud
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orval is an excellent trappist ale, it is bottle conditioned for an extensive period before sale and gets better if you let it sit around. The beer pours an orangey-amber that is cloudy with taste and there is a relatively frothy head on it at first. The beer smells of oranges (probably peel) and various herbal scents (I'm picking up rosemary) and tastes amazing. Some I've been around felt it was too carbonate; however, I think this beer makes a goal of having a symphony of taste with no featured player. Each of the various flavors (spice, fruit, herb and alcohol) work together without any of them overpowering your mouth. This beer comes well recommended (esp. to trappist ale fiends like myself).

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've heard that this is a very polarizing brew, and unfortunately I fall on the end of the spectrum that doesn't like it. Pours a hazy copper color with sandy head that is comprised of large bubbles. The head fades to a small layer that sticks around for the duration of the beer. Little lacing. Smell is ok, with some clove, cherry, and malty sweetness. The problem with Orval is the way it tastes. It tastes like every time someone at the brewery gets a cut, they save the band-aid for use in the boil with this beer. Seriously the phenol is out of control. I know some people really like that, but I am not a big fan of licking band-aids, especially for the price of this beer. Behind the band-aid, however, there's some nice cherry and citrus notes, along with some nice malt. MF is a little thin and bubbly for me, though not terrible. The phenolic character here is near-impossible to stomach for me, and, as such, drinkability suffers. Stick with St. Bernardus, Duvel, Westy, --I don't care, something other than this.

A-3.5 S-3.5 T-2.5 MF-3.5 D-1.5, Overall 2.9 C

EDIT: That was my first taste of this beer, and I'm almost 100% sure I had a bad bottle because I'm sipping on it again (having avoided it since) and it is nothing like the above description. So here's another go at it:

Pours a pretty copper color with big pillowy white head. The head sticks around for a while, leaving a nice cap on the beer. Laces as it goes as well. Smell is delicious, big tart citrus, some mustiness, some barnyard-y funk, a hint of cherry-like phenol. Very nice, the Brett makes a nice play in this guy.

Taste is what I was afraid of, but this is completely different than last time. None of the band-aid flavor, just a nice pale ale malt base, bready, slightly sweet, underneath some moderately aggressive hopping. A light fruitiness is there in the middle as well. Finish is long and varied between bitter hops, lightly toasted bread, and the yeasty subtle fruitiness. A big surprise, and I am very happy to have revisited it.

On mouthfeel, maybe could use a bit more creaminess to it. Decent body for the style though. Far more drinkable than before, a quite delicious brew, actually. I'm glad I tried it again.

Photo of Donnie2112
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into a Corsendonk tulip

It should be noted that I am pairing this beer, not drinking it as an apertif. The pairing is a bison burger on a potato roll with sweet onions and mushrooms with crumbled idaho bleu cheese. It's a solid pairing

It appears redish orange, starts with a huge fluffy head but retains only a film and leaves just a bit of lace on the glass

This beer is very dry, just a bit of malty sweetness, some delightful yeasty mustiness, the yeast also has a sour character to it. This beer has a more perceivable hop finish then most Belgians that I'm used to.

Sufficient carbonation, dry, a bit thin. It cleanses the palate and makes it an excellent companion to greasy food.

Extremely easy to drink

Excellent beer, I can see why it's thought of as so world class.

Photo of assurbanipaul
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark orange with a thick, foamy head that lasts forever. One of the most extraordinary aromas in any beer, a complex weave of malt, syrup, plums, tart yeast. I always sit and enjoy the nose for ages before actually taking my first sip. (This beer is a rarity as the aroma is actually far better than the taste.)

Rich malts and a heavy bready nature that fills the palate without coating it. Elements of dark fruits, rum, some apple, even bubblegum, along with a not-so-subtle yeastiness and bitterness. More on the dry side with a slightly burnt, sour finish.

Mouthfeel is creamy but not heavy, slick but tempered with a sharp carbonation. Very drinkable for a Trappist. Bottle dated 10/24/2002, so just over a two-year-old sample.

Photo of aerozeppl
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally got around to reviewing this. Have not had it in a number of years. All the talk of the bret in it made the decision for me.

A: Pours a deep amber color with 3 fingers of fluffy cloud like head. Great lacing.

S There is the bret right up front.A nice musty barnyard note. A little bit of pepper in the back. White pepper. Reminds me of a more subtle version of Avery 15.

T: Starts off with a sharp tart/citrus note. Really nice amount of funk in it. The pepper is there in the taste as well.

m: Has that nice dry wild ale mouthfeel. This beer finishes bone dry. Nice amount of carbonation.

D: I really enjoyed this beer. The price is a factor but it is not insanely overpriced so I will grab one every once in a while. The tartness and funk might bother some but I say the monks did not take it far enough. They have been it for a while now so I will allow it. Great precursor to American Wild Ales.

Photo of rodenbach99
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bouteille classique orval brune de forme bizarre de 330ml.

cette bière blonde passablement trouble, elle est doté d'une belle mousse blanche et épaisse, elle a un nez des plus épicé, ses bons houblons se font sentir, elle a un gout très houblonnée. piquant, elle se termine avec une belle longueur exemplaire.

Photo of tmoneyba
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very interesting brew.

Aroma was a strong yeast, hop with spice.

Poured a cloudy dark amber color with a large rocky head that lasted with good lacing.

Flavor was very complex with the same spicy complex finish of moderate duration with a small bite of alcohol.

Good brew and is one of my top rated active bottled beers for the Belgian Ale style.

Photo of Tim2000
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

330 mL brown bottle.

Pours a murky golden orange with a huge white head.

Aroma is tart and full of fruit - raspberries come to mind.

Starts off grainy and earthy, with sour apple notes. A hint of pepper follows and faint phenols are present. Hops are grassy and pull the beer into a dry, slightly astringent finish. Mouthfeel is a bit watery with very high carbonation. I prefer it once it's died down a bit.

Orval definitely stands out from the other Trappist beers with style all its own and a lambic-like character. Highly recommended.

Photo of asabreed
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

33 cl. bottle poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Light brown color, with huge champagne-like bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass. Huge head like ice cream that forms craters inside the glass as it dissipates, and huge clumps of lacing stick crazily.

Smell: Malt and and candy sugar, some peppery spice, citrus zest, flowers, big Belgian yeast, vinegar, fruitiness, and vanilla. Lots of stuff going on, and it gets better, of course, as it warms.

Taste: Not as balanced as I wanted it to be. The bitterness seems to be at the forefront way too much. It's yeasty, spicy, a bit fruity, but by the end it remains pretty hoppy or bitter for some reason. How much hops could be used here? Kind of weird to me in a way. But as it warms the complexity shows itself, as it gets moderately sweeter and fruity and lingers on the tongue. I just wish some of the aromas came out more in the taste better.

Mouthfeel: Slightly creamy, moderately medium in body, with a nice carbonation punch toward the end of the swallow to balance everything out.

Drinkability: I guess maybe I expected much more, considering it's a Trappist, and also that it's around $5 a bottle. Still really good, but I don't know if I'm going to be in a huge hurry to buy it again. Give it a shot, though. I'm glad I finally got to try it.

Photo of Jon
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Orval's appearance is one of the most outstanding I've seen. Pours a deep apricot-colored liquid with a commanding, bubbly white head. Head retention is ridiculously good. Nose is of various fruit, brettanomyces yeast, and substantial clove. Taste is rather sour and dry, but not overly so. The acidic yet well-carbonated mouthfeel is appropriate. Drinkability is fairly strong for a challenging brew like this. Orval is certainly a unique Trappist ale, and one whose attention is well-deserved.

Photo of TheDTrain
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up this one at Sendiks in Wauwatosa. Bottled on 3-5-10. Poured into a tulip.

This is my second attempt at Trappist Orval. This one MUST be drank at room temp. I made the mistake the first time. With all the action-packed foam, the light orange Belgian Pale ale took 20 minutes just to pour! Crisp uplifting aroma of earthy tones, orange, lemon.. Taste is mild yeast with citrus and mikd funk which is a bit challenging to the tastebuds. Very dry champagne-like finish.

Excellent high quality brew. To be consumed slowly and enjoy!

Photo of wescj
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a chalice.

Looks great. Deep orange and quite cloudy, with a thick and rocky white head. Man, I love big, billowing heads with good retention.

Smells fresh, grassy, a bit citrusy.

Tastes very refreshing, featuring the same notes as the nose along with a good mustyness. A bit light, which fits perfectly with the grassy notes. Good 'n hoppy.

Great mouthfeel, not too light for the style. Everything about this beer comes together very well. My only complaint is the price, but that's not a factor in this review.

Photo of dbtoe
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bowling pin bottle into a Duvel tulip

Looks good, a light brown color with a very active white head.
Smell is pretty faint, a little yeast and some lemon.
Taste a lot going on here. Very complex a little sour, bitter and something I can't put my finger on. Every drink I pick up something a little different and all drinks finish with a very slight grapefruit bite.
Feel all that carbonation is wonderful and every drink is smooth and finishes clean.
Drink I could drink a lot of these and often.
Comment I liked Orval a lot. It is a very unique beer that is full of surprises.

Photo of mntlover
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful hazy dark peach color some bubbles rising to feed a creamy fluffy massive head restin on top of this baby. Looks oh so tasty.

Aroma is fruity pear, grapes, tangerines and bananas mixed with spice on a bready malt background, soothing soft aroma.

Taste is wow big not soft like the smell. Lots of carbonation from the start gives the malt and fruit a kick in the pants so to speak. Nice and fruity malt finishes with some good peppery spice, clove and some herbal hops lend some bitterness and the yeast add some earthy dirt like flavors in the finish also. This is a nice Belgian Pale Ale one of the better ones that I have had.

Mouthfeel is good almost medium, almost creamy, the nice zesty carbonation gives the flavors an added boost.

Drinkability is good enjoyed this one more then normal.

Photo of psuKinger
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into my Chimay chalice. This will be my first experience with Orval.

A: Pours a hazy orange color, darker than most Belgian Pales I've personallyu come across, with a huge (2+ finger) lively white head on top. 4.5

S: Yeasty, spicy, and lemon-zest shine through. 4.0.

T: Smooth at first, with notes of yeast and earthiness. Hops add some bitterness in the middle, and the taste finishes with a lingering lemon-zest that accompanies the hops nicely.

This is particularly well-balanced. Not quite as *bright* as Bruery Mischief with it's hops, but has a stronger earthy/lemony presence throughout. 4.5

M: Light and smooth, with lively carbonation levels. The finish? It almost disappears, leaving just a hint of earth and lemon zest on the tongue. Rather pleasing. 4.0

D/O: I can see why this beer gets such good reviews. It's very well balanced, full of flavor, and easy to enjoy. It didn't hold up quite as well as I would have hoped as it warmed, but I could follow this up with another and be happy. I will be repeating. 4.5

Photo of ppoitras
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from a beer exchange with a friend at the holidays.

Poured into a Rapscallion tulip glass, barely got the whole bottle in with a 2"+ head that snow-coned over the top of the glass. The head is thick and foamy, sort of looks like that foam you see at the ocean when a big storm is coming, or at the edge of a fast moving stream. Anyways, to continue on, the aroma is somewhat effervescent and fruity, raspberry, perhaps? Lacing over the honey hued brew is incredible as the head begins to join it's liquid brethren. Slightly sour flavor where the fruits come into play, and then rounds out a bit with the malt and slight alochol warming. An interesting Belgian, as most are.

Photo of pijiu
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smell: Heavy citrus, hint of coffee, molasses.

Taste: Dense flavour with a taste that is darker than its colour would suggest. Dark cider backbone. Has a bitter cut throughout. Healthy white head.

Notes of citrus, medicine and spice. Tart, dry and easily drinkable.

Serving type: 11.2 fl. oz. brown bottle.

Photo of dbrauneis
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 10/03/2011 and best by 10/03/2016.

A: Slightly hazy golden amber in color with a two finger tall foamy white head. This beer exhibited excellent head retention properties and significant lacing is observed.

S: Aromas of green apples, lemon zest, barnyard funk, and spices/pepper. Quite complex and enticing.

T: Flavors of green apple with some brown sugar sweetness, followed by lemon zest and spices/pepper, and finish with a pleasant bitterness. A little of the funk is present as well and the flavors are complex.

M: Medium bodied with moderation to high amounts of carbonation. Mild acidity is present and the beer is crisp.

O: Great beer - a very well done Trappist beer. I'm really glad this is available at the local bottleshop because I have and will continue to enjoy this beer. Nice complexity in the aroma and flavors.

Photo of Monkeyknife
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle a cloudy apricot color with a meringue-like head that stayed for quite a while. Lacing was plentiful and thick.

Aroma of citrus, bananas, Belgian yeast, and pepper.

Tastes of citrus, bananas, malts, and peppery tartness. Steers away from the over-sweetness of many Belgian pales and gives you an explosion of flavors.

Medium mouthfeel, very drying, with a nice sharp carbonation.

This is a top-of-the-line Belgian pale. Enjoy.

Photo of Asgeirr
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Orval Trappists pours a amber-to-ochre colour along with a massive cream white crown which diminishes quite slowly and leaves plenty of lacing on the side.

Smell: Sweet and flowery, like a peach bubble-gum on a virgins butt. Some yeast can be hinted in the background.

Taste: Yeasty fruitiness along with a sour finish, greatly mellifluous to the smell.

Mouthfeel: Medium full and rather rough to the palate, the carbonation brings a fresh sensation, without being blatantly upfront.

Drinkability: I surely enjoyed this one, and it deserves recommendation due to the flavour-to-scent resonance and overall high character- On a side note worth mentioning is the fact that it's very similar to a Biere de Garde, (or is it vice versa?)

Photo of Estarrio
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured semi-translucent copper brown with slightly red tones. Big, slightly off-white long lasting head. Frothy chunks of foam seemed to last indefinitely on the sides of the glass.

Smells of flowers, pine, sweet fruit and esters.

Medium/light bodied, fizzy and very drinkable.

Very slight warmth from a subtle hint of alcohol. The pungent, earthy hop taste is immediately balanced by a hint of sweet malt. The hops are strong but not overpowering or lingering.

This is an excellent beer.

Photo of flexabull
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I can't believe I have never reviewed this. I am not even sure if I have ever even had this!

Pours a bright hazy gold color with a huge rocky white head.

Aromas are of light brett funk, some vinegar, spices, and orange citrus.

Taste is light on the mouth, but quite flavorful. Some very slightly sweet creamy malts, dusty, flour, dough, and light funk. Finish is smooth, with some crispness, a dry feel, lemon zest and light mineral hops.

Mouthfeel is kind of thin, and a little watery. Not bad though.

Drinkability is really good. Very complex and tasty Belgian Pale. I could drink a few of these, but the price is a little steep for a small bottle.

Photo of GClarkage
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/31/05- Purchased at Weimax Liquors in Burlingame, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz funky and cool shaped bottle. Bottled on and best by date on the neck of the label. Poured into my Duchesse chalice.

Appearance- Golden in color with a cloudy haze. Larger spritzy off white, maybe yellow in color looking full 3/4 inch head. Great lacing left behind as I drink the last drop in the glass.

Smell- Lots of sweet and sour spices with a barnyard type scent. A tad musky. Maybe some citrus notes such as lemon rind noted.

Taste- More sour than sweet. A really hefty amount of citrus with lemon rind being the foremost. White pepper and other spices fill the void with some powdered sugar to round out the sweetness.

Mouthfeel- Well carbonated...very Duvel-esque. Almost like a kind of champagne. Very puckering and drying.

Drinkability- Because of the carbonation level it's a tad less drinkable for me, but not because the flavor was bad. Orval brings back nice memories as it was the first Belgian beer I ever had back in 2002. I remember liking it then, but I don't remember it tasting like this. Guess my pallete has really grown from 3 years ago.

Photo of andrenaline
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this world class ale into my recently acquired tulip glass.

A - Pours a murky caramel colour with two solid fingers of big bubbled off-white head, solid retention and some nice chunky lacing.

S - Quite sweet with some dark fruit notes, touch of booze, caramel and toffee, bananas and cloves.

T - Unique flavours indeed, surprisingly peppery with some sour citrus notes and earthy hops. The caramel notes come through on the finish alongside some bready flavours. A quality Belgian infused pale ale indeed.

M - Quite light, with big bubbles exploding on the tongue, goes down smooth and finishes with a touch of dryness.

O - Overall a very tasty Belgian Pale ale and certainly a quality example of the style. I can understand why this is so highly rated. Some unique flavours and certainly worth a try.

Photo of dsprainman
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First review here, so bear with me.
Bottled 29/3/11
Poured into a Chardonnay glass
A- 1-2 fingers off-white head with an amazing opaque amber body. The body truly catches the light of the room and shows a lighter amber and darker orange hue.
S- Scents of pears and light hoppyness give this beer a rather refreshing nose.
T- Flavors of light pears and mild hops give this beer a refreshing taste. Taste follows the nose very well.
M- This is what truly sets this beer apart from many other Belgian offerings. An almost Champagne like effervescence takes the delicate taste to the next level.
O- A great, refreshing summer sipper, with petite nuances that Trappist's are known for. Also, at 6.2% ABV, this one can be enjoyed without quite as much caution as some of the other Belgian heavy hitters. Defiantly a good choice, that I would buy again.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,647 ratings.