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

2,177 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

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Reviews: 2,177
Hads: 4,865
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 8.41%
Wants: 283
Gots: 638 | 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: 2,177 | Hads: 4,865
Photo of ajayma
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

LOOK.
Dark honey with a gentle cloudiness. Bottled On: 9/23/2008

AROMA.
I get leather, citrus peel, and hay.

BODY.
Light with a firm carbonation.

FLAVOR.
Starts off with a wash of hay and lemon rind. In the middle, a grassy hop character mingles with a mild pepperiness. In the finish, bitterness becomes more medicinal, with notes of ginger and lemon (and anise too?) in a long, drying finish. Dry through and through. (422 characters)

Photo of t8s8l8
4.77/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look- a darkish amber orange, reminds me of pretzels. a huge head the thing looks like fresh snow. big bubbles incase the glass as the head starts to fall leaving the lacing in its course.

Aroma- perfume aroma that jumps out of the glass even as i poured it. A sweet maltyness plays nicely in this complex bouquet, but still this floral perfume like cleanliness inoculates the senses, like trail running in the spring. woodsy and spicy and sweet all combined. second pour was slightly more fruity a low fruit (pear with some orange) presence played into the already complex aroma.

Taste- a smooth malt character hangs with this fruit front beer that the yeast has put into play so well. the fruitiness is reminiscent of the aroma. slight hop bitterness, and a great dryness finishes this brew out.

Overall Experience- This is an awesome beer and I will be bringing it to all social gathering. I'm sorry but if this doesn't make you want to drop that commercial beer and make the switch I don't know what will. The cloud like head, the overflowing floral aroma, the complexity, its all amazing. (1,099 characters)

Photo of sogrady
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The one, the only. Chimay may be better recognized, Orval has more complexity to it. I would kill for access to their yeast, because the flavors it yields are complex, mercurial and just perfect. The nose merely hints at the taste, offering snatches of citrus and spice, but the taste is incomparable.

As a Trappist ale, it's got a little more juice than a standard pale at near 7%, but you'd never know it to drink it. The alcohol is completely subsumed in the flavors of this darkened gold ale.

Just an amazing beer. (522 characters)

Photo of stoutmasterjames
4.92/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: semi-deep amber, decent retention, good lacing, looks like a masterpiece

S: semi-sweet spices, complex, profound smell, fragrant

T: Oak, flower notes. At the front there is the suggestion of sweetness that never comes to fruition as the dry tone of the tasting experience comes to dominate before the finish evaporates all of the dryness leaving you to contemplate the lightness of the body. Very complex. Every sip encourages you to study the nuances of the flavors involved.

M: light body, perfect ally to taste

I have been chugging craft beer for about four years now and this is THE BEST that I have found.... yet. Spectacular in every way, Orval is what good craft beer is all about. Good complex taste, phenomenal drinking experience. They cost a pretty penny, so if I am having a bad day, or have cause for a mini-celebration... I'll grab one of these. (866 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 Marc_V
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle from Belgian Beer Shop.com. I drank this one cooled. This gives the beer a lot more freshness. It's a wonderful thirst quencher. The color is hazy amber with a nice off-white head that leaves lots of lacing.
The aroma is very hoppy, fresh with a touch of fruitiness (citrus). The taste is perfectly balanced between the hop bitterness and the fruity sweetness. The beer is also yeasty. This is by far my all time favorite. A true classic that can be drunk on every occasion. (481 characters)

Photo of tyjudd
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Pours a hazy orange. The head is intense. Previous reviews of a stout head is understated. Tried to control the pour to limit head but to no avail. 4/5s of the glass was full of a thick, slow eroding head. The nose was of orange and lemon candy. Smelled delicious. Btw, the head still remains with impressive lacing on the glass. The taste was not what I was expecting. Not sure how to describe it. Malty and boozy. The finish was super dry, like a bourbon. Very good. Only wish I had another one. (498 characters)

Photo of KF_MSU
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Lasting foam, cloudy and golden. Interesting smell-- like melons and somewhat salty. It tasted smooth and slightly savory. I also got hints of citrus/orange. Definitely unique. (180 characters)

Photo of smc143
3.87/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When I popped off the cap, it immediately starting foaming out of the bottle, so you can imagine what the glass looked like - half beer, half thick foamy whitecap. It took a while to get it all into the glass. I tried to leave the yeast in the bottom of the bottle, and not in my glass. It is a deep golden color and slightly cloudy, reminding me of cider in the fall. I smelled a mix of fruity, malty, nutty tang, like citrus and berries and brown sugar with a kick. And maybe just because it looked like cider, I thought I got a hint of apple. At 6.9% ABV, there was a bit of the alcohol sting in the scent as well.

The first sip seems tart, and then warms into a more sweeter flavor, almost a sticky consistency, but finished quite dry. I loved it, but I don't know if I would have many more than one at a time. It is quite a beer! (835 characters)

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

I tend to steer clear of Trappist ales because although I recognise their craft and quality I generally prefer beers under 6 abv but Orval at 6.2 is pretty light. The colour was interesting, paler than I expected, sort of orange, and the mouthfeel was great - a good strong taste but not too much alcohol. It's a very clean, dry beer and goes down exceptionally well. I imagine it would go very well with some decent cheese.

A nice, accessible Belgian ale and one I'll definitely be trying again. (498 characters)

Photo of Brideshead
4.9/5  rDev +17.8%
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. (510 characters)

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

Funky, sour, malty, fizzy, tasty and clearly should be in the Beer Hall of Fame... I've had many of these and each time I open a bottle I'm brought back to the time I had it when my wife and I were in Brussels at the Beer Circus.

btw, this is Vinnie Cilurzo (RRBC) favorite beer. (281 characters)

Photo of robnews
4.62/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Leffe Goblet.

After a not so vigorous pour, I still had a two finger head in my glass. Nice slightly off white head. Cloudy dark amber appearance. Head thins out slowly leaving a full coat of lace even near the end.

Great citrusy floral scent reminiscent of spring. Quite nice. Sweet banana smell almost.

Very nice taste of sweet with low power Belgian yeasts present. Alcohol doesn't seem to come through immediately in the flavor, but is there with a nice warming later on. There are several other flavors in there but I can't pinpoint them. Quite complex.

High carbonation but I'm partial to it so I enjoy this.
Really glad I picked this up. Bottle was 2 years old. (702 characters)

Photo of MakenziMantey
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The color of this beer is a medium orange/brown. The aroma you get is a slightly fruity with a hint of spice smell. Tasting this beer it is sweet and spicy with a really bad aftertaste. (185 characters)

Photo of KatieS5643
2.44/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

This was a caramel colored beer, it had lots of foam when it was poured. It has a nutty scent to it. It tastes very sweet and you can definitely taste the nutty hints. It made me want to brush my teeth after consuming because it felt so sweet. (243 characters)

Photo of Beercub
2.86/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

The richness, color, lacing, mouthfeel, was what I'd expect from a belgian trappist... i also noticed the nice sweetness and spicy/raisiny flavors. But there was a flavor in there that absolutely did not agree with me. The closes I can come to describing it is a combination of tar and burnt plastic. I guess it's possible that I got a bad bottle, but if this is what this beer is supposed to taste like, it is an acquired taste that I shall not pursue. This was a huge surprise to me as St. Bernardus ABT 12 is probably my favorite beer in the world. (551 characters)

Photo of mcmidc
3.21/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This trappist ale pours a nice frothy light tan head, with a hazy light copper color. Not a whole lot coming to the nose maybe some mild grains along with some citrus. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Taste is tart at the start and finishes a bit sour. Also some phenol notes in there. Drinkability is good for a 6.9% beer. Not one of my favorites but still enjoyable. (397 characters)

Photo of whiteskittlz
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

bought at TotalWine Tustin, chilled, let unchill a bit, then poured into Chimay goblet

appearance: love its opaqueness. foam isn't on best behaviour: started out big, didn't hold too well

smell: hint of flavours to come

taste: nice, peppery, lemony,

mouthfeel: maybe a bit tinny

so drinkable, it's a shame they only sell these small bottles. also, quite expensive and not THAT outstanding to keep me coming back very often. (429 characters)

Photo of dudelove7485
4.62/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick, fluffy white head that lasts for some time. The color is a rich, cloudy amber. Very pleasant aroma of spice (cloves), orange, malts and yeast. The taste is very malty upfront, but gives way to a hoppy backbone with accents of fruit. Medium bodied with high carbonation. Surprisingly well-balanced. The uncommonly high ABV at 6.7% is masked well without any astringency. The dry, bitter finish ends on the roof of the mouth. This was the first time that I had tried this beer and I would highly recommend it. Extremely satisfying.

visit my blog at selfhatinghipster.com for more beer reviews, book reviews, music and more (636 characters)

Photo of S7R4nG3
4.95/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a nice generic snifter to gain full flavor. Poured a golden amber with an off white half finger or so of head. Some very nice lacing as I quaffed it down.

Smells where very evident of citrusy fruits with a definite hop character and a bit of malty sweetness to balance out perfectly.

Taste was just as rated, "Exceptional". The same citrusy flavors evident in the nose were present in taste as well as a complex malt and hop character. Carbonation was very nice, bubbly to keep it light, but not harsh and overpowering. Aftertaste had a very nice bitterness from the hops with a nice dry finish.

Mouthfeel was excellent. Carbonation gave a very light feel as it coats the inside of your mouth, the hops are very evident giving a nice bitterness and a very dry ending. Very nicely done.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and will definitely be having it much more often. Great way to enter into the Trappist's. (930 characters)

Photo of alamere
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay Chalice..
Bottled on 05-2010, poured on 05-2011.

A - A good looking beer, a bit more amber than I'd expected but pours a huge head with lacing all over the glass and foam lasting throughout the glass. Generally it looks a bit like an American Pale ale but with higher carbonation and champaign style bubbles.

S - Smells a bit of plum, clove and fruit.. no discernible hop aroma to me at this point.

T - The beer really shines in the taste dept... Starts off a little tart and then follows with a fruitiness and med body with a bit of funk or horse blanket or whatever you want to call it. A dry finish and lasting aftertaste with a warming alcohol note in the very end.

M - It's smooth, and soft and 'balanced' (whatever that means). Mouthfeel is really fantastic on this beer..

O - It's certainly a good to great beer, maybe not my personal favorite trappist beer but absolutely in the high class category.
I would wonder if the best buy date of 2015 isn't a bit hopeful though?? Not a super high alcohol offering and by '15 this would certainly be a completely different beer. If you like the belgian funk in your beer.. this is a great example though. Certainly brings along visions of the European countryside and has a tartness, dirt and attitude about it that doesn't taste contrived in any way...
I know that's a strange statement but if you've tried a lot of other attempts at a beer like this.. you probably know what I'm talking about. (1,494 characters)

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

I drank this at a "The Belgian Beer Diaspora" beer tasting hosted by the late Michael Jackson at the National Geographic. The tasting involved pairing a number of Belgian beer styles with a Belgian and American interpretation of the style.

These are my tasting notes:

This beer has a malty flavor, but is well balanced with the hop component. (344 characters)

Photo of akogrady
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Rich golden amber color, with a very pale golden head. And lots of it. I'm not sure what caused it, but there was far too much carbonation and the head was massive.

S - Smelled very nice. rich in the hoppy notes with a floral rounding and some spice background. Maybe a hint of apple.

T - Very rich and hoppy with a nice sweetness to complete the rounding out of floral notes. A dry finish that lingers in an enjoyable manner.

M - Again, maybe it was the bottle, but the smoothness of the beer was interrupted by too much carbonation.

D - Definitely drinkable, if only it would fit into my glass. (604 characters)

Photo of WhyBeNormal
3.11/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This one was bottled in '09 and had a best-by date of 2014. Light fruity esters, kind of acidic mustiness, and a reeeeaally dry aspirin-like finish. Pretty good and really complex, but too dry for me. I'd love to try a younger bottle. I've read that the Orval master brewer prefers his at 6 months old. (302 characters)

Photo of boldcity2008
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: The color is a deep orange amber and cloudy in color with a insane 4" white head cloudy white lace, leaving rings, even after 5 minutes there still there.

S: Some pine hops, lemon and orange, something juniper like, lots of herbs and hop flower resin, but not piney, grapefruit like I guess. Brett is there of course.

T: Just out of this world. So it starts very dry lemon and orange, with a bit of hops and juniper and lots of brett in the front end. The sweet candy sugar is there but its just barely, its so well balanced with brett yeast its heaven in glass. the hops are sharp but well in balance.

M: Dry and medium body, great after taste. Smooth and crisp

D: geez this is the great beer to drink straight up or with food and/or cheese its just out of this world. I can never drink just one and even at 5 bucks a pop I always buy 6. This is the one beer worth it, well as most of the Trappists are. (911 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,177 ratings.