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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

2,192 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,192
Hads: 4,898
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 286
Gots: 652 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,192 | Hads: 4,898
Photo of Petrislav
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into chalice

A: Cloudy dark butterscotch brew, topped with a light sandy head

S: Fruity aroma - hops, yeast, caramel, malt

T: Yeast and carbonation leads to bright floral hops, bitterness and a sweet hop and toasted malt aftertaste

M: Light, almost no body, wish it were a little more full bodied (307 characters)

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

What can I possibly say about this beer that hasn't already been said? The most idiosyncratic beer ever made. Not like any other beer you will EVER drink -- unless it's specifically designed to mimic Orval. Even then, it won't quite manage it.

Orval is also incredible in how much it changes with age. I can't say that I prefer a bottle with age to a young bottle, they are entirely different beasts. Thanks to cafés serving different vintages here in Belgium (Kulminator in Antwerpen, Dubh-Linn in Langdorp for example), I have had them ranging from a very young, green two months all the way to 6 years' age. They are beautiful young or old. The young tends towards a fresh light hoppiness, and an aged bottle has a creamier quality with the bretts coming forth more.

A true classic, dry-finish and wonderful washing-powder aroma, gorgeous off-white head, mouthfeel that is creamy and light all at the same time, I can't really describe it fully. You can drink one, or you can drink five (though it's quite a bit stronger than, say, your average pilsner and you do so at your own risk). All I can say is that it's the only beer logo I am considering tattooing on my body -- that's how much I adore and revere this beer. My favorite Trappist, hands-down. (1,259 characters)

Photo of Blueapollo420
4.94/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the beers that turned me on to good beer! A credit to the style.
Hazy appearance switch a huge lingering head. Tastes of hay and bubblegum. Very good cannot wait to drink again (183 characters)

Photo of mtrentm
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a snifter.

A: A pale-orange color wit ha nice 3-4 finger pillowy whit head.

S: Sweet candied lemon nose with some floral hints.

T: Very crisp sweet lemon flavors up front with a slight hop bitterness. Finishes somewhat tart & very dry.

M: Light-bodied with a clean dry finish.

D: A very drinkable brew, each drink seems to be better than the one before. (391 characters)

Photo of heavy216
1.86/5  rDev -55.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: 11.2 oz bottle. huge head, lasted several minutes, apple cider like color when poured.

S: strong fruit/yeast aroma....possibly banana

T/M: strong carbonation....very strong afterbite

D: Not very impressed especially for large price tag, was hoping this one would have been better (285 characters)

Photo of mjgooner13
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Some good smoke upon opening the bottle... dirty copper color, fluffy cream colored head with lots of small bubbles...

S- red wine smell comes through immeadiately upon opening the bottle. After a minute or so, the scent become a mix of sweet raisins to start followed by grapefruit and alcohol

T- Get mostly fruit in the mouth. some malt sweetness, i was hoping for more, but still very a very good tasting beer. Alcohol comes through as the beer sits...

M- Med body beer that leaves the mouth a little dry, but in a good way. Carbonation is good, but nothing special in the mouthfeel.

O- Definitely a tasty beer. For me the raisins and grapefuit are the main flavors and they combine well with the alcohol especially as the beer sits for a bit. Good bit of dryness keeps me wanting more. (796 characters)

Photo of Prince_Casual
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 7.18.12, so a bit less than a year old. Poured into a "softball sized" snifter.

Really a pretty pour with a head that sits for a moment, then recedes gradually as if to indicate it's ready to be sampled. Not nearly as milky or hazy as some other BPAs (or more specifically other trappist ales).

The smell on this one can take over an otherwise neutral smelling room. The initial rush has a lot but definitely ripe banana, some spice, lemon (rind)... I am always a sucker for the super dry french/normandy cidres, and this beer has a similar bit of yeast that predicates where the taste will go.

A supremely dry beer. There is hardly a trace of fruit on the tongue, and no alcohol at all. It's just an acidic grain-y sensation that is a unique counter to the huge ripe fruits on the nose.

The first couple times I had this beer I didn't "get" what was all about. Now I see it as a different and valuable part of the belgian/trappist interpretation of Pale Ale. This beer really bridges two of the major Belgian styles: dry and refreshing enough to hang with the classic Saisons, and enough spice and ripeness to rival the finest tripels.

While Rochefort 12 or St Barnardus 12 are on my "must try" list for people just getting started, Orval is the one who can bring the "AH HA!" back to the most jaded Advocate. (1,327 characters)

Photo of jbramley
4.01/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out a nice amber with a good thick, fluffy offwhite head. Nice lacing as the beer went done. Smelled floral, sweet, with a handful of straw thrown in. A sharp carbonation on the tongue that mellowed out a bit as the beer warmed up. There was some bitterness and some hop characteristics, but a typical sweetness to it. A little sharp in the mouth, but otherwise easy to drink. (383 characters)

Photo of OutlawJoseyWales
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

App: Brownish/caramel color, with two fingers of creamy foam

Smell: apples, cinnamon, spice, banana

Taste: cider, juicy hops, clean and crisp, orange peel, there's some strange hint that i guess i'll agree with others and call it horseblanket. adds to the originality of this beer.

while not on par with other trappists beers, this beer is set apart from other beers of the style by the complex taste and originality. (426 characters)

Photo of EmilNoldSinclair
4.67/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into an oversized wine glass. Wowee zowee this has a damn fine head! It looks like I just made a root beer float! And it retains damn well too! Rocky and fluffy, almost cloud like...and the lacing is nice too. The head just doesn't completely go away! Amberish opaque color...Smell of light alcohol and apples and various spices and a mild hop aroma...somewhat reminiscent of a champagne? The taste is well balanced and subtle...I still can't put my finger on what exactly I should compare it to (apple/raspberry/boysenberry/pear?). The hops are nice and don't dominate but they stick with you to the bitter end (sorry for the pun). Anyways, this beer is light bodied with very subtle carbonation. Very nice, love it and would drink it again many a time! (773 characters)

Photo of johntangus
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful beer produced magnificent head and lacing. A light amber/copper color.

First taste came to mind: bubblegum. Then the complexities came forth - bananas, hops, honey, wheat.

Smelled like Juicyfruit.

Dry but not overpowering so.

A wonderful beer. Would drink several in one sitting if given the chance. (315 characters)

Photo of TheNapkin
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a beautiful beer. Sour, malty, and dry. A truly world-class Belgian. Great carbonation (meaning it's balanced with the flavor, not excessive and not underwhelmed), highly drinkable, great tartness and just enough thinness in the body to go down easy. Pleasant in so many ways. (281 characters)

Photo of thistle3189
3.84/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was brewed on 13/11/08 so about 13 mounts old, probably not Ideal but well within the best before date 13/11/2013.

A: Wow big creamy white head and lots of carbonation. Almost like Champagne or some of the questionable cider that I have made. Color is Copper Orange. It is beautiful but anything looks cool in that Belgian style Glassware.
S: Citric and a little Cindery
T: This is a different taste; there is fruitiness and some spiciness. It is very complex some how with out being overpowering, the alcohol comes through in the flavor as well as the carbonation.
M: The carbonation is there in the mouth feel, Dryer than I would have expected.
D: I could drink a few if it were less expensive and more approachable, I will try it again when I have gained more knowledge. (787 characters)

Photo of loobear
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Off-white fizzy yet frothy head with good retention. Caramel, cloudy body.

S - Smells like pollen and sugar, maybe some ginger as well.

T - Crisp, medium hoppiness with a decent bite and a nice dry finish.

M - Lots of carbonation. Incredibly clean finish. Something slightly off with the aftertaste. Fishy? A bit too bitter for my preference as well.

O - Pretty good beer, though the aftertaste threw me off. Wont hinder me from drinking it again though. (491 characters)

Photo of BillBabbitt
2.46/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I enjoy Belgian ales, but I was very disappointed with Orval. It was overly carbonated. I was only able to get about 3 oz of beer in a 16 oz tulip glass, due to the heavy foam. Once I was able to try the Orval, I found it to have a very unusual industrial aroma. I did not finish the beer. The 'brewed on' date indicated that this bottle was nearly 13 months old, so it is possible it had turned. (396 characters)

Photo of sccala
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured out of a bowling pin shaped brown bottle. The bottle was, or at least seemed a bit heavier than the average 11.2 oz bottle. Poured into a dry, room temperature pint glass.

A- Ooo baby! A light gingerbread color with an incredible head...4 finger collar...1 finger of which rose above the rim of the glass. Consistency of the head is that of home made whipped cream. It didn't completely vanish until I was over half way done drinking the beer. Slightly above average lacing.

S- Good, wholesome, feel-good smells here. Pine trees, a bouquet of flowers, herbs...not much hops though.

T- Wheat, lemon, more hops here than in the smell. Nice and crisp and refreshing, yet dry, not sweet.

M- Perfectlly balanced tastes, perfect carbonation, medium body. In my opinion, the after taste reminds me of the after taste you get from Chimay grand reserve.

D- This beer is surprisingly easy on the palate and stomach. Doesn't fill you up instantly...which is actually unlike most trappist style ales. And with a modest 6.9% ABV, you actually can drink and appreciate each one. (1,079 characters)

Photo of aletales
4.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Orval pours a cloudy golden yellow with a beautiful white foamy head that lingers and clings nicely to the glass. It smells of citrus and malt. The flavor of this beer is complex and refreshing at the same time. The carbonation never overpowers the citrus and malt flavors, which leave room for a nice hoppy bitter finish very late. (332 characters)

Photo of bala747
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tried this beer at Brauhaus, Singapore a few times. It's one of my favourite trappists, though I prefer Rochefort or Westmalle myself, this is still an outstanding example of Trappist brewing.

A: A beautiful amber brown pour with a thick head that dissipates quickly leaving some lace.

S: Smells heady, some yeast, some bread and biscuits, and candy.

T: Almost no bitter taste at all, again it tastes of bread (like the kind they serve in fancy restaurants), some hint of candy and spearmint. Really complex and lots of fruity flavours that I couldn't quite tease out.

M: Medium bodied with good carbonation. This was the weakest part of the beer in my view. I was expecting a bit more rounded fullness of body.

D: Very drinkable, but a tad expensive. I would love to drink a few of these with a good book. (814 characters)

Photo of Twincrasher
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Good head retention. Nice deep copper color. Very clear for this type.

S: Floral and fruity.

T: A little bit of a comedown from the appearance and smell. Balance of acidity and malt is not what I'm used to in Trappist. Less yeasty flavor than what I expected.

M: More carbonation than expected.

O: Very good. Not the great ale I was expecting from reputation. Will try again though. (389 characters)

Photo of tomordonez
1.5/5  rDev -63.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Over carbonated. I took the cap off and heard a noisy champagne-like blop. The head is a big all-over-the-place cloud. Smells like a cigar butt that has been floating in a beer. It has other strong flowery aroma but not a good one. Flavor is very bitter with a really dry aftertaste. I got my first review straight from a Belgian store shipped from Belgium. I got my 2nd one from a local liquor store in Miami. The bottle is awesome but there is something wrong with this beer. (477 characters)

Photo of KingSlender
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bowling pin bottle

Glassware - zig-zag tulip

Pours a dark orange with tones of amber spilling through.

The aroma is outstanding. Very floral and fruity. This may be one of my favorite smelling belgians in this category.

The taste is also very fruity and sweet...apples...peaches...oranges. It's also got a nice hop bite.

Very good beer! (359 characters)

Photo of rhollman
3.4/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Cloudy golden brown

Smell - Fragrant aroma

Taste - Crisp, citrus, hop bitterness, nice dry finish

Mouth Feel - Smooth and dry

Drinkability - Complex yes but no big burst of flavor. Perfect for the person who enjoys a citrus oriented beer (254 characters)

Photo of EA728
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: hazy orange/amber with a very nice head that remains.

S: smell is quite bland in my opinion, mostly malty

T: a pleasant malty flavor with the touch of belgium yeast, nice bitterness that I'm not used to in Trappist beers

M: very nice mouthfeel, goes down easy and feels refreshing

O: not my favorite Trappist beer, although it's almost its own style. very refreshing, not too heavy, but it lacks a bold flavor. nice availability in my area, so I will probably pick it up again. (484 characters)

Photo of amart79
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - very big frothy head on a golden brown cloudy body

S - dark fruits, very complex smell

T - The dark fruits and funky complex flavors are right there and stick with you.

M - light carbonation with a smooth feel with a small bite right in the middle (255 characters)

Photo of mfreire212
3.06/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I saw just a few of these unique bottles at the local Total Wine and decided to plunk down the six bucks to finally try one (I have been tempted in the past, but struggled to justify that much cash for approximately twelve ounces of an unknown quantity). What the hell, it is the holiday season, right?

I poured the "trappist ale" into an Ommegang chalice and immediately noticed a nice sized, pillowy head, covering the burnt orange beverage below (a very respectable start).

From there, everything else was just... average. I am not sure if my inflated hopes for this beer contributed to the let down, or perhaps the price for a single bottle left me wanting a bit more.

The aroma and taste were slighty tart and the oveall taste was pretty dry. I picked up mainly lemony notes. The BPA style is different (more subdued) then "our" pale ales, so I was prepared for a less intense experience, but still...

The mouthfeel was very dry and the aftertaste was acidic, and thin. The overall drinkability was average, for lack of a better term. If you gave me another one, then fine....I would drink it (I actually tried and prefer the Ommegang BPA to this one).

But, for the price and the hype, I was a bit disappointed and I am now indifferent to this offering.

Maybe I just got an "old" bottle...either way, I can't see buying this one again. (1,347 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,192 ratings.