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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

4,412 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,412
Reviews: 2,119
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 213
Gots: 418 | FT: 10
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,412 | Reviews: 2,119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mdfb79
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into my Portsmouth tulip. Bottled on 22/04/2010, best before 22/04/2015.

a - Pours a murky yellow amber color with two fingers of fluffy white head and moderate to high carbonation evident. Great retention and lacing.

s - Smells of lemon/citrus, floral notes, yeast, brett, and some alcohol. Some sour fruit as well.

t - Tastes of lemon, citrus, floral hops, smooth malts, and very light brett. No where near as funky as the smell.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Very smooth and creamy, and easy to drink.

d - I thought this was a pretty good pale ale that was very easy to drink. I enjoyed the brett and sour fruits in the smell a lot, but wish there was more in the taste. It was definitely a step down. That being said, the taste is still above average, and I would certainly try this one again.

mdfb79, Oct 29, 2010
Photo of Trapiste389
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orval is the real king of beers. Nothing in the world even comes close.

Appearance: A monstrous, rocky and vigorous head full of lace sits atop a beautiful pale straw beer.

Smell: Immediately a powerful hop aroma forces it's way into your nostrils. There is very little malt, just enough for you to know it's there.

Taste: In a word: epic! Like the aroma there is very little malt flavor and you are instantly confronted with the powerful flavor brought on by dry hoping. Very dry, with an extremely pleasant herbal aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Rich and satisfying but not so heavy that it knocks your head back. An excellent medium bodied ale.

Drinkability: Here lies the only problem: you cannot drink this beer all the time. It is powerful and moody and is not a weak beer, so be careful.

As far as I am concerned this the ultimate beer experience, it is a pale ale that is both crisp and moody. as I said before there is no beverage an earth like it.

Trapiste389, Oct 28, 2010
Photo of tronester
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark amber with a careful pour. Massive rocky off-white head that slowly recedes and never fully fades. Lacing abundant. Smell is a hint of mustiness and bubblegum. Taste is a hint of sweetness up front, followed by a massive herbal and bubblegum flavor. finish is dry, bready, and acidic. The aftertaste is quite tart and clinging. Mouthfeel is smooth, massively high carbonation from the bottle conditioning. Drinkability is good. I was quite pleased with this beer. I had not had it in a LONG time, and never properly reviewed it. The only downside is its expensive price, which means I wont be getting it too often.

tronester, Oct 28, 2010
Photo of cleolicious
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: A mustard colored and cloudy appearance with a enormous bright white head.

Smell: Tangerine, Lemon, floral. Not too potent but a light hint of each.

Taste: A classic belgian pale Ale taste but filled with orange and lemon. Crisp at first sip then very smooth thereafter. A tad bit art an a hint of cider. Very dry. To be honest, the taste is so complex that I'm certain everyone who reviews it will miss something. I know this beer is ancient and it tastes it.

This is a slow sipping beer, not as up beat as some the Belgians. It's pale ale with a dark and mysterious mood, if that makes sense. I think this beer would be best enjoy once you've sampled many other brands first. This is a classic badass. you just know monks made thus.. old ones.

cleolicious, Oct 27, 2010
Photo of haazer
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Tulip glass. Bottled on 22/4/10, about 6 months ago, which I heard is the best time for Orval.

A- Offwhite, tan head. Big bubbles throughout. Leaves a little bit of lacing on sides of glass. Head explodes up the glass as you pour. Probably shouldn't have chose a Tulip. Head eventually settles onto a orange, tea colored brew. Cloudy, hard to see through.

S- Very different smell to this beer. Not used to it, but I'm guessing that might be the brett? Has an outdoor, inside of a barn type smell, with hay. Underneath that character is some fruits, and hints of yeast.

T- Sweet, kind of reminds me of an orange or tangerine jolly rancher candy. Aftertaste becomes sweet, and then sour. A taste that I can't define at all, I guess would be the brett.

M- Incredibly smooth. Tangy. This beer kind of leaves a funny feeling in the back of my throat, not uncomfortable though.

D- Good mouthfeel, very smooth brew, can't really taste the alcohol. I let this beer warm a little, but I think its actually better colder IMO. Although I do have to say I like it more as I drink it.

haazer, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of grittybrews
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a glowing orange-amber into a tulip with a massive off-white head and lots of lacing. Aroma dominated by peppery spice with soft notes of lemon, banana, and slight funk.

Moderate carbonation and a light, very dry mouthfeel. Citrus and floral notes up front followed by juniper, slight honey sweetness, mild biscuit malt, and a subtle sourness on the finish.

Subtle, balanced, and refreshing. Bought a couple extra for the cellar and am anxious to see what a couple years will bring.

Update: previous review was for an Orval bottled 4/09/09. Just sampled another from 4/29/09 -- with around 18 months on it, the honey faded to almost nothing and the peppery and spicy notes emerged even more. The pucker on the finish wasn't exactly stronger; it was mostly the impression of dryness that increased. All in all, I preferred the balance of flavors in the year-old Orval over the 18-month version.

grittybrews, Oct 25, 2010
Photo of brewerburgundy
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle, New Belgium glass, bottled on 3/25/10.

Wow! I've viewed this beer as a bit of a challenge since it is the only brett beer available to me where I now spend most of my time. This stuff is gorgeous, absolute amber. The head pretty much exploded on the pour into a yellowed mountain of meringue. It really is that thick.

Easter smells. I couldn't have told anybody what Easter smells like if they'd asked, but Easter egg hunt in a fragrant garden sums it up well. Massive floral, lemon, juniper, other green plant matter, and pastel peach. Now I'm finding what I've seen described that brett "bandaid" and ghosts of moderately thick crackers.

This beer is tightly focused around a few flavors that are easily detectable and branches out subtly but expansively. Those core flavors are lemon, juniper, and floral, all dry. Many of those aspects are flora and fauna. A heavy bitterness comes late, as does a sourness. There's even some biscuit malt.

If this New Belgium glass's laser etching didn't knock all the bubbles out of beer quickly this would have an active, spritzing carbonation. The body is moderate and dry.

I have been more than pleasantly surprised, I have been wowed by this beer. Now I'm not in awe, I've gained a respect for trappist beer. I'm slowly going down that Belgian road.

brewerburgundy, Oct 25, 2010
Photo of SmokinSmyth
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this with a steak dinner, a very nice beer. On the low end of the ABV for Belgium and Trappist beers, which is probably part of the reason is tastes so good.

Pours with a tall foamy head, nice amber color and a fine lace along the glass (Leffe glass - sorry).

Hoppy flavor with a good feeling in the mouth. Taste starts out a little bitter but ends on a note heading towards spicy. Keeps the taste buds entertained. Very good.

SmokinSmyth, Oct 24, 2010
Photo of Brideshead
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A beautiful white head with fine, smooth texture. An orange/amber body, delicately hazy.

Scents of tangerine, citrus peel and botanicals float gently to the nose. Yeast is fairly noticeable on the palate, with a variety of light fruits and botanicals coming in mid-sip. A gentle, dry hop and citrus peel finish sits lightly but resiliently on the tongue.

This is one of those beers that exudes a relaxed confidence in its status as a world-class brew. Unassuming and subtle, it's both drinkable and refined.

Brideshead, Oct 24, 2010
Photo of mothman
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into snifter. Pours a finger of white head. Fades down but then has a decent retention. Color is a hazed golden amber.

Aroma: Floral hops with some herbal notes. Lemon zest and brett shows. A barnyard funk is present. A little bit medicinal.

Taste: Brett funkiness is up front. Hay, lemon zest, citrus, herbal flavors, and floral hops. A fairly large floral profile. A bit amount of brett with light oak.

Mouthfeel: Fizzy and smooth. Lighter bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry and funky.

Overall, a decent beer. It is fairly bretty which makes it a bit harder to drink, but the light body makes up for that. I could drink this again.

mothman, Oct 22, 2010
Photo of donkeyrunner
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

donkeyrunner, Oct 21, 2010
Photo of jlmarshall
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer poured with a very tall, foamy head that took a little time to get into the glass. The head stuck around for a bit. Very lacey on the sides of the glass. It's a golden straw, not quite clear, not quite cloudy and fairly bubbley. The smell is warm with nice flowery hops and bit of pumpkin and a soft hint of malt. The mouthfeel is slightly bitter, slightly sweet, very easy with just the right amount of carbonation and very little warmnth of alcohol, full but not thick. The taste is fantastic with bread and grain, slightly sweet, a little banana. I could easily drink a lot of this.

jlmarshall, Oct 20, 2010
Photo of wordemupg
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured into wine glass oct6 2010

A a gusher that's a very hazy brownish orange, very carbonated with a large soapy head that has great retention and leaves plenty of lace

S quite funky with spicy hops some yeast and a little booze

T again nice level of funk with a spicy complexity and some fruit I can't quite place, a fair bit going on here hard to wrap my head around

M medium bodied with almost too much carbonation, it turns too foam in your mouth, nothing unpleasant just very active

D very complex beer that leaves you thinking, before I figured it out my glass was empty

found this one in a hole in the wall liquor store in PEI, a little surprised I'd never reviewed this before I've had it several times. I like the funk and would recommend this to anyone, would love to try a vertical of this beer it seams different every time I try it

wordemupg, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of boMD
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay glass. Appeared brilliant, a hazy copper with a frothy head that lasted through the whole time in the glass. Bubbles kept rising from the bottom to the head. Aroma was pleasant with faint hops that mesh with clove and tart citrus. Palate was wonderful, just enough thickness and carbonation for the realization of it being a beer, but smooth enough to go down easily. Most notable were the citrusy hop flavors that lent towards peppery spices, malt, and herbs. Some alcohol presence towards the finish.

boMD, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of AlexLMS
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: slightly hazy with a deep copper colour. The head is moderate to low in size, kind of off-white and well-formed. It may not be long lasting but presented some nice lacings.
Aroma: wonderfully complex, very spicy, strong herbal hops and fruits (mainly orange-citrus).
Taste: confirms the aroma with sweet malts, spices, herbal hops, citrus, honey and sweet alcohol presence.
Mouthfeel: smooth, low carbonation, warming high alcoholic strength, and full body
Finish: goes on forever. Starts dominated by its bitter side and slowly shows its spicy character.

Overall: superb beer. Extremely complex, unquestionable deserves its spot as one of the best beer of the world.

AlexLMS, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of TaekwonDylan
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A beautiful thick frothy white head protruded slowly out of the top of the bottle, as soon as the top was popped. Burnt amber was the hue, as it was poured into a glass.

S: Citrusy and very yeasty, with some reisdual sugar notes on the nose.

T: Whoa! a bit of everything in the first taste... Dry Hops, malt, yeast, citrus, banana, residual sugars, and slight bitter brettanomyces yeast.

M: Very full and good carbonation, sticky but not too sticky. Love the mouthfeel.

D: By the time you finish one Orval, it leaves a lingering flavor in the tatse buds that eventually transforms into a yearning for another. Good Belgian Beer!!!

TaekwonDylan, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy and burnt orange in color with a big head, good retention and nice lacing.

S - Clove, spice, lemon, hops, very floral.

T - Lots of banana and clove, tart and citrus, somewhat bitter bite on the back end.

M - Slightly over carbonated for me, a little to bright.

D - Although I thoroughly enjoyed the smell and taste of this beer, the level of carbonation it just too much for me to enjoy more than one or two of these.

StoneBrewFanatic, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of yapi
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Has a nice golden color.
Smell & taste is of lemon, hoppy character, floral.
I like the hop here.
Although a bit sharp & dry.
Granny smith apple.
Grassy as well.
Very good beer, but - as a personal preference - I don't really like a dry finish.

edit: really became 1 of my favorites, drinkability is great, so I upped the score

yapi, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of djmichaelk
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle into a perfect pint. Bottled 2/20/08.

A - Slightly hazy yellow, almost amber. Huge, rocky, off-white head that almost overflows the glass. Slight lacing, but not really sticking to the glass. Subsequent pours just stir it right back up. Great legs.

S - Well, this is a really pleasant surprise. While I was expecting a typical trappist pale, this has all of the aromas of an American wild ale. Citrusy, funky notes from the brett, plus some yeastiness in the background. Maybe a little clove and spice. This is just fantastic.

T - A lot going on here -- funkiness at first, less citrus than the nose, plenty of spice: clove and anise, with maybe some allspice. A bit of banana. Little to no alcohol in the finish, although it is somewhat dry.

M - Full and sticky. Just the way I'd like a wild ale to be.

D - This is a really unexpected treat. There's a great combination of a wild and belgian flavors here. Lowish alcohol for a belgian just makes it even more drinkable.

O - I'm heading to the store tomorrow to buy at least another handful of these. Need to have some around the house for everyday drinking. Highly recommended.

djmichaelk, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of axeman9182
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle, "bottled on" date of 30/12/2009, poured into my Duvel tulip.

Orval pours somewhere betwwen a murky gold and a hazy orange, depending on the lighting and the amount left in the glass. One of the best heads I've ever seen on a beer rises up, 4+ fingers of a frothy, rocky white crown. Crazy head retention, and the side of the glass I'm not drinking from has gobs of lacing on it. Possibly the easiest five I've awarded. I guess this bottle is old enough for the brett to really begin asserting itself, this Orval smells like 100% brett funk. Lots of musty leather and horse blanket. It's good, but it leaves the nose to be fairly one dimensional. The flavor is a bit more diverse, and really works well. There's a brief flash of pale apple sweetness, before the realization of how bone dry the beer is and the brett crashes the party. That distinct funkiness occupies the middle of Orval, and makes up a good chunk of the flavor. Right at the end though a brisk shot of bitterness serves as an entrance cue for a subtle lemongrass finish. All in all Orval comes together spectacularly, and I much prefer this to my other experience with Orval, which was a younger, less brett-y, and in my opinion less interesting beer. As one might expect for a beer so dry on the palate, the lack or residual sugars result in a very light (but not watery) beer. Orval is highly carbonated to give the beer a certain sharpness to it, but doesn't cross the line into fizzy, a nice balancing act by the brewers. Orval is just a solid beer all around, and drinks like it's a 4.5% brew rather than nearly a 7% one. My first bottle of Orval put me off a little bit, but this one has redeemed it and more, a fantastic beer.

axeman9182, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of stoutstevie703
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

ok so here goes the my first review,

bottled on date is 22/1/2009 best before 22/1/2014 reviewed on 10/14/10

A- A minimal vigor pour yeilds quite the head, i had to pour this in sections, with a rocky, pillow like head lingering for 5 min+, chunks of lacing stuck to my la fin du mond tulip as i drink it down. lots of yeast particals swirling about. colour is a hazy orange.
S- First thing that hits my nose is a sour, tart note almost reminding me of cherries, then this gives way to the brett laced funkiness, also a bit of malt too.
T- The palate is darn close to the nose, sour tartness up front, with a medium sweetness, then those wonderful brett notes linger in the finish, which is off-dry.
M- Medium to light, with a nice crisp effervesnce, a good level of carb. as well.
D- I truley understand why this is world class ale, each sip begged for another, then i wondered why i didnt buy two. The sour notes upfront balance nicely with the brett, and funkiness which i love so much.

stoutstevie703, Oct 15, 2010
Photo of cetherid
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into a pint glass.

A.

a hazy copper color..a little like cider. a HUGE amount of head. like 80% head with my first small pour. head died down after a bit.

S.

very complex. hard to point out any definitely. a little wheat, malt, citrus rind.

T.

extremely complex. very effervescent, like a champagne a bit. a little sour and tartness in there. every sip a new flavor comes out. spice, pear, fruit rind, gassy hops, everything different.

M.

light bodied. very carbonated for a beer. feels good in the mouth.

D.

pretty good. such a unique beer that you'd probably pick up a different taste, even after having 10+ of these.

cetherid, Oct 15, 2010
Photo of GDBEERMAN
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle into Orval chalice: from notes.
A: Pours a hazy golden body, with a lively amount of carbonation. The white head does not even think about starting to retreat. The lace that is left is in large amounts.
S: The pronounced aroma of a yeasty bubblegum. The medium intensity is a nice, not overpowering aroma, that also lends new aroma characters as the brew warms of subtle spices.
T/M: The front is a smooth, burst of carbonation that fills the mouth with beer. These flavors are all balanced between hops and malts. The body of the mouthfeel is a silky sensation that tends to dry out as it finishes. The overall tastes of spices and pale hoppy characters are very well played.
D: I would say that this is a exceptionally drinkable beer, all around great flavors, spot on for the style and still goes down easy with the amount of ABV. Highly recommended.

GDBEERMAN, Oct 14, 2010
Photo of DaveHS
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a translucent amber with 2 inches of light tan head. It fades quickly, leaving intermittent soapy lacing.

S-Yeasty,earthy,like wet leaves and hay. A bit sour.

T/M-Orval comes about as close to perfection as you can get. Complex earthy flavors, reminiscent of a rainy day in autumn.The brettanomyces is used with subtlety and elegance, and contributes a slick, lingering finish, in addition to its earthy qualities. Subtle grassy hops add some structure, and dry out some of the funk. The body is light and soft, with delicate carbonation.

D-I come back to this more than any other Trappist ale.

DaveHS, Oct 14, 2010
Photo of jsanford
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay chalice

A - Pours a hazy copper with a 2-inch pillowy off-white head. Amazing retention and lacing.

S - Lemon zest, sweet malt and a bit of sour "funk" from the Brett.

T - Notes of green apple, lemon and pear with a solid hop bitterness in the finish, all wrapped up in more "funk". There's so much going on in this, the Brett adds such complexity.

M - Medium bodied with a crisp, sharp carbonation. Incredibly dry finish, the palate is scrubbed clean after every sip.

D - Quite drinkable, but the complexity really makes this a sipper.

jsanford, Oct 12, 2010
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,412 ratings.