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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: 8.41%
Wants: 285
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 puboflyons
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle that was bottled on 22/04/2009 with an expiration date listed as 22/04/2014. Sampled on October 10, 2009. I bought it warm and let it chill but maybe not long enough as the lightweight, cottony foamy head was about three inches thick on top of the glass. Still it poured a nice copper color with plenty of lacing and rather cloudy. The aroma was comforting with its milder sweet malt and light hop mixture. A full bodied mouthfeel. The taste was a fabulous sweet malt, vaguely wheaty, and dryly hopped experience. Overall, a very mild brew with a high ABV. This is top of the line stuff although the next time I buy it, I will let it sit around for a few more months before cracking it open. (705 characters)

Photo of dgilks
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a hazy orange colour. White head with large bubbles dissapates quickly to a small island of head. Decent lacing.

S - Brett funk is very evident with a nice underlying fruit note. Possibly cherries and peaches. Very nice.

T - More bitter than most Trappist ales I've had with a subtle hoppiness. Plenty of Brett funk is evident and the peaches and cherries from the nose are evident. It is nice but could be a bit punchier.

M - Rich, slightly more than medium body. Below average carbonation. This is very nice and silky.

D - Very drinkable. (554 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a lovely golden amber, great effervescant bubbling, and the perfect thick foamy head and stickage with every sip. The picture of Belgian pale ale. Crisp hrbal spice aroma, that evens out with sweet honey like malts and maybe an earthy hop finish. This smells awesome, no other words needed. Starts out with a dry biscuit malt and honey sweetness with a splash of tea-like spices. The dryness turns to a gentle, tart apple skin. Complex palate starts sweet and finishes dry to tart. Lots of flavors and textures to this beer. I'm glad this beer is sold individually instead of via a six-pack and such. Also the $4 and up price in my area, really makesyou apprecite this beer that much more eery time you buy it.

This is the best Begian pale ale I'e ever had... hands down!!! (781 characters)

Photo of bark
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Colour is beige-brown, the liquid is very hazy. The long lasting beige head is finger thick, it leaves lots of lacing.

The balanced smell is fruity (apples, apricots) and bitter with some sweet notes, herbs and yeast.

The taste is also very balanced. Yeast (white loaf), crisp bitter notes, apricots and peaches. Some sweetness and bitter herbs (basilica, oregano). The body is weak. The rather short aftertaste is dry with earthy notes of herbs and mild spices.

The carbonation is strong, fresh and short.

In short, it simply tastes Orval. (553 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 ounce bottle, bottled on 1/24/06, best before 1/24/2011. Served in a snifter, the beer pours an orange/copper color with about an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both pretty good. It smells fruity(lemon, orange, plum and banana), spicy (peppery and herbal/earthy) and malty. There's also other smells that I can't tell exactly what they are. The taste is pretty much like the smell but the citrus taste is the strongest. There's so much to this beer it's pretty hard to figure it all out, if that makes sense at all. Mouthfeel is light/medium, but it has a bit too much carbonation for my liking. Drinkability is decent, but if the carbonation was cut down a bit, it woud be much better. Overall, I'd still drink this again, it's pretty good. (766 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm drinking a bottle of Orval in an Orval chalice, and I just realized that I've never reviewed this beer. Despite having stopped at the monastery 2 years ago, despite having had it in many restaurants over the last few years, despite loving Matilda, etc. Well, here goes: Orval is possibly my least favorite of the Trappist beers, but it also has to be the most unique. The beer is copper colored and clear, maybe slightly hazed, with a thick dry-looking head. The smell is very complex, some grass, leather, barnyard funk, and hops (Belgian-style). The taste is everything from the aroma plus a little sour. The body is medium and the mouthfeel is a little thin, maybe due to a dry acidic after-taste. I think the drinkability is very good, as I'm interested in the complexity of the flavors. A great beer but maybe difficult to appreciate at first. (852 characters)

Photo of glid02
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this from Green's in Atlanta.

Pours a cloudy copper color with a large (2-3 finger) frothy white head. The head sticks around for quite a while, very good retention, looks like a cloud. The head moves with the beer, doesn't hold onto the glass very well.

Smells a lot like a Tripel - a lot of fruit along with some sweet malt. There's not the tinge of alcohol though, probably because it's weaker than a normal Tripel.

Tastes great, fruity with a good bit of sweetness. Not quite crisp enough to be considered amazing.

The mouthfeel is pretty good. The carbonation is a bit intense, and otherwise it feels a little too thin.

This is a pretty drinkable beer. There's nothing that makes it hard to drink it, but there's also nothing that makes it outstanding.

I would recommend this beer, just because it's an interesting melding of a Tripel and a Blonde. There are characteristics of both in this beer, and it's certainly worth trying. (944 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance - The beer pours a murky beige/gold colour with a gigantic frothy and fizzy white head. There is a lot of carbonation showing. There is some good lacing and the head lasted for a long time.

Smell - the beer has a nice grassy smell, also a peppery spice mix, some yeast, hops and malts. The aroma is very appealing.

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a great mouth feel, there is a lot of carbonation, and it works well with the flavour of the beer. I can taste citrus zest, a grassiness, and some sweet notes - similar to grape juice. In the middle I can pick up on a slight bitterness and the hops. The beer finishes with an absolutely perfect balance of sweet and bitter that makes me want to go back for more.

Drink - Wow, one of the better beers I have ever had. I picked this one up without knowing anything about it, and apparently other BA's agree with me that it is really good. A fantastic beer that is a must try for all the beer lovers out there. (1,003 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Great hazy amber color with a very thick two finger fluffy head that slowly dissappeared leaving thick lacing down the sides.

S - Picking up on yeast and a definate pleasant barnyard funk. Very, very faint fruit smell.

T - Just like the smell one can definately taste that funk. A little tart on the front and dry on the finish.

M - Somehow even with this nice medium carbonation its almost creamy. A pleasant surprise.

D - This is really, really good. As someone who is a big fan of the funk this matches up perfectly with the pale ale. (545 characters)

Photo of claspada
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aromas begin with a clean herbal smell mixed with some lemon and honey. Has earthy notes mixed in as well that remind you of a cup of tea.
The tastes begin musty and citrusy, both orange and lemon. The yeast characteristics are prevalent throughout which keeps this beer quite dry as you initially consume and well through the finish. Bitterness is clean but also quite prevalent throughout.
Overal this beer is extremely drinkable but just not my cup of tea. Would like some more malt and less yeast flavor. The moderately high carbonation level also is a detriment for enjoying more than one of these. (604 characters)

Photo of Gusler
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a magnificent hazy deep orange, the head monstrous in size, creamy in its consistency and as it evanesces, leaves behind a satiny sheet of fine lace. The aroma of ripe bananas, yeast, sweet brown sugar with the malt underpinning it all makes this a real sniffers delight. Start malt and lightly sweet, the top slim in feel on the palate, biting in its acidity, the hops perky in their spicy bite, the aftertaste quite dry and long lasting. A real treat in all aspects and I prefer it to “Duvel”, and many other Belgians for that fact. (551 characters)

Photo of pat61
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Orval pours brilliant copper to orange tinted amber under a moussey, finely bubbled 2” bone-white foam cap. It has a funky, wet horse blanket lemony nose with a hint of mustiness. It drinks tart, lemony with a hint of pineapple especially as it ages with a refreshing bitterness and a long lingering tart dry finish with soft leather notes. The texture is soft and effervescent, like drinking a mousse. This is excellent fresh and even better as it ages. (457 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from a bottle into the orval chalice at the Abbey in Orval.

The beer pours a dark orange with a huge light tan lasting and creamy head. Great retention and lacing.

The aroma is very ipaish with a nice balance of sweetness(grapefruit) and some some hops.

The taste is pretty hoppy throughout even the start which you would think would be sweet. The sweet comes in the middle then is followed by a bitter finish.

The feel is full with a slight dry finish that lasts quite awhile.

Overall, pretty different than most of the trappists but I like it pretty well. (578 characters)

Photo of avalon07
3.73/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a deep amber color, with a thick consistency. Had a huge head and some lacing. Very rich-looking appearance.

With the smell, there was some malt, yeast and fruit. Subtle.

Here's where it's interesting. While you get a dose of yeast, apples and malt, there is an off-putting bitterness about this one. I'm guessing this is caused by the hops. It's not a bad taste, but it's this one component that doesn't serve it well.

The mouthfeel is solid, with the typically Belgian high carbonation rate. As I said, the finish is dry, but too bitter.

Overall, this is kind of a mixed bag. It's strong in many categories, but the bitterness of the taste throws it off kilter. Nonetheless, it's still fairly drinkable. (753 characters)

Photo of THECPJ
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: orange with a 2 finger white head

smell: spices, malts, citrus

taste: very sweet, spices

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body, smooth, dry finish

drinkability: goes down easy. wish it was a bit cheaper.

Cheers,

The CPJ (262 characters)

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

330ml bottle, 2011 dated; split

appearance: served in my ale asylum chalice - a darker copper body than memory served, light beige ring

smell: herbal, bready, trace hints of brett, a little funk, some citric hops

taste: some "euroskunk" at first, which thankfully clears as this one opens up...still the funk isn't that heavy, and the brett in say NG Golden Ale seems more graceful. Orval is quite earthy with some rustic bready flavors, must, hay, leafy bitterness

mouthfeel: light, well carbonated

overall: solid stuff, but this bottle isnt reminiscent of ones consumed overseas (585 characters)

Photo of ccrida
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured in my vintage Westmalle chalice, Orval is a hazy golden orange with a thick, rocky, white head with medium bubbles that is very slow to recede, leaving moderate lace.
The aroma is moderate, musty yet bright, earthy flowers and yeast, distinctly belgian and very appetizing.
The taste really nice, incredible depth yet fairly subtle. It is beyond my ability to break it down to specifically, but theres a bit of sourness, salt, yeast (which I swirled off the bottom), leathery, bitterness, straw, only the slightest sweet pale and caramel malts, minerals, bread, honey and flowers, and probably more stuff that I just can't break down. The finish is very bitter dry and clean, but for a nice pucker on the tongue. There is a slight bit of alcohol as the beer warms, but it is clean and good, no solvents or anything. I love any beer with brett, and this is as fine as example as there is - it's tough too beat Gout d'Oraval. I normally prefer more robust flavors, but the subtly here speaks volumes.
The mouthfeel is pretty spritzy and light bodied, very nice and really opens this beer up. Being that it was bottled 15 months ago says alot.
The drinkability for this is as high as it gets (aside from perhaps the cost). The taste is great without being overwhelming, and complex enough that it will take me a lifetime to figure out. Wow. (1,352 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle, bottled on 27th Dec 2007 consumed 6th July 2008. Poured into my Chimay chalice

A: Mildly hazy orange with a dense two-finger off-white head. Fantastic carbonation. Excellent retention. Possibly the prettiest beer I've ever seen.

S: Mildly fruity with hints of orange, mildly floral with a little bit of rose, mildly spicy with a hint of pepper, clove, mildly funky with a little bit of a leathery note. Complex.

T: This 7 month old Orval starts off mildly funky and is followed by a mild tangy sweetness, like orange mousse before finishing a moderately dry

M: Light with great carbonation, excellent feel.

D: Very drinkable. I need to get more of this

**Edit 13 Oct 2013**
Bottled 20 Feb 2008, this bottle is now 5 years and 8 months old. The nose is dominated by the Brett characteristics. A blend of clove, pepper, a touch of damp hay, fennel, this is one complex beast. The palate is similarly Bretty, earthy, spicy and complex, but with a touch of honey sweetness as well. Crisp and highly carbonated, a touch of acidity (clove like bitterness, carbonic acid) is present. A touch dull due to age, the delicate brightness of the citrusy hops that fresher bottles have is missing. Still, this is really good. 4.25/4/4.25

**Edit 05 Apr 2014**
Bottled 15 Jul 2003. Thank you, Peter.

Wonderfully funky with a blend of melon, earth, fruit and fennel, this smells great! Some citrus, almost a whiff of cola, there isn't much clove present. The palate opens soft, fruity, mellow with honey, fennel, citrus and melons. A shade watery, the fennel note is particularly noticeable here. A touch smoky as well. Awesome stuff, this.4/4/4 (1,653 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a cider-colored body with voluminous head that died slowly and was sticky and cloying on my glass. A sharp and somewhat pungent hoppy aroma w/ floral notes - for some reason it was a tad offsetting. A hoppy, springy taste on a medium-bodied and smooth, somewhat creamy beer. Fruits like orange, cherry and apple all seem to be fighting in there along with hints of sweet malts to balance it and a touch of spicing. Finishes with a bite on the end; this is the type of mellow yet enjoyable beer I could drink all day while relaxing and watching a New Year's Day bowl game or two. (585 characters)

Photo of xnicknj
3.76/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

11/13/08 bottle

Pours with an outrageous amount of carbonation. The frothy head almost goes over the top of the glass, leaving patchy lacing everywhere. The retention is high, with frothy notes on the beer.

Bitter and acidic in the nose with some tart hints. Bready notes, citric acid and pith. Touches of grapefruit and orange.

Slightly bitter up front with acidic notes. Tart and refreshing with citrus flavor. Grapefruit and orange flow through the profile. Light bready malt backbone dissolves in between the citrus and funky yeast. Finishes dry, tart, and sweet.

Medium body, ridiculously high carbonation, prickly and sticky on the tongue. This has the potential to be great, but there's definitely some really obvious flaws. (738 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.31/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into an Orval chalice.
6.9% ABV, Bottled on 24/10/2012, best by 24/10/2017.

A - Orval almost gushes from it's bottle even at the 50° serving temperature due to it's abundant carbonation. Hazy but beautiful deep golden in color, the beer forms a massive and loose eggshell head with incredibly retention and heavy lace coating the glass.

S - Lovely honey graham cracker malt backing allows for a luscious aroma of Brett horseblanket funk that contributes suggestions of pine, mint, and goaty, hay undertones.

T - Any hop aroma that faintly emerged disappears completely in flavor, shifting almost entirely to the beer's Brett yeast esters of horseblanket, wet straw, and overall barnyard funk, but tamed down considerably.

M - Highly carbonated, Orval dances on your tongue joyfully while it's seemingly light body washes down with smoothness, lingering on the tongue with dry spice notes.

O - Delicate Brettanomyces exists, in this beer! Restrained barnyard funk allows the dry cracker-like flavor to stay a large part of the beer while nuances continue to come out as it's enjoyed. The crisp drinkability of Orval suggests it would make for a fantastic session Belgian beer if it weren't near $6 a bottle. (1,234 characters)

Photo of Cyberkedi
2.98/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma is rich and mainly fruity, almost more like a cider or brandy than a beer, except there is a little maltiness. Color is a hazy honey golden with a very thick and persistent head. Flavor is malty and has a strong apple overtone, plus some bitterness that doesn't seem like hoppy bitterness and is a bit unpleasant. Texture is smooth and just a little on the thin side. (373 characters)

Photo of tectactoe
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
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. (2,120 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

A-Pours a hazy dark amber color. Mop water. Huge bubbly head is born from a forceful pour. Retains very well and leaves some thick lacing patches.

S-Yeasty funk along with some pale fruits such as pears, lemons and apples. Floral too. Vibrant, bright nose. Waiting for the head to die down a bit so I can take my first sip.

T-Flavor is a bit less intense than I was expecting but still tasty. Less funky and more fruity. Slightly sour. Yeasty funk becomes more noticeable after a few sips. Crisp apple slices and pear. Citrusy and flowery. Light hoppiness on the back end. Surprisingly good amount of sweetness too.

M-Medium bodied with strong carbonation. Dry and crisp. The carbonation is nice. Overall, a good body that complements the flavor well.

O/D-This Trappist beer goes down super easy. Crisp, tart, and unique. I found it to be a pleasurable drink to say the least. Surprised I haven't had this before. Goddamn yummy. (934 characters)

Photo of Durge
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very lively brew showing a hazy deep amber color with a giant golden head with lots of gobby lacing. The aroma is sweet banana malt and lemon herbal hop, very delightful and complex. The taste brings an odd lemon malt blend that immediately grows on you if that makes sense. It has a soft corriander butterscotch blend with a spicey and very tart finish that shows some melon subtleties. The feel is a smooth mid-body with plenty of spritz. It's reasonably drinkable and a very unique option for refreshment and flavor. Pretty good stuff. (548 characters)

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