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

2,179 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

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Reviews: 2,179
Hads: 4,873
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 284
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: 2,179 | Hads: 4,873
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)

Photo of BreworFerment
3.56/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was really excited to try this beer because I had read how great it was in Michael Jackson's books and also all the reviews here.
Poured into a tulip glass the beer was a beautiful clear orange blonde color with noticeable effervescence. Nice off white head that dissipated quickly with no lacing. Slight hop aroma on the nose but that was about all I got. On first taste I got, beer, decent beer, but nothing near the complexities others have talked about. The beer wasn't, bad, just not as good as I was expecting. Maybe a product of over hyping? Don't get me wrong if someone offered me one I would drink it happily but I don't see what all the fuss is about. I've had other trappist beers that were better. (712 characters)

Photo of Barleythenred
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark yellow color with a bountiful head

Smell: Vanilla notes with a good floral overtone

Taste: bitter with a yeasty under bite

Mouthfell: fizzy with smooth texture

Drinkability: smooth oiliness with a head the bitters and fills

Also on a side tried to open it with the lighter trick and hit myself the lighter trick and it was so pressurized i hit myself with the cap (385 characters)

Photo of CrazyP
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle with a bottled on date of 5/20/2011, and drank on 1/28/2012. Best by date was 5/20/2016.

A - Orangish-brown, clear. Pours with a huge white head due to the heavy carbonation.

S - Yeast, fruit. Not as much aroma as I expected from a Belgian with Brett.

T - This beer has a complex flavor. It begins with classic Belgian yeast and fruit flavors, then peppery spices. Finishes very dry with some bitterness that lingers. A touch of alcohol comes through. I don't really perceive much brett funkiness.

M - Very dry. High carbonation level gives it a crisp feel, despite being fairly high alcohol.

O - A very good Belgian beer. I would like to try different ages of this beer to explore the flavors develop over time. My beer was fairly young so I think it could definitely get more interesting. (817 characters)

Photo of acoatley
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep copper, fairly clear with ever so slight red tint. Moderate head dissipates quickly. Where is the lace?
Aroma: Moderate fruity esters of plum, light malty sweetness no alcohol.
Flavor: Raisins and plum, average malty sweetness, pleasant bitterness with a crisp finish.
Mouthfeel: Light body with moderate carbonation, watery the palate, warm alcohol good for a cold winter night.
Overall: Not my favorite dubbel but a good selection. (455 characters)

Photo of doctorjoeyboey
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The appearance is auburn with lots of head, however less head than many other Belgian beers. The aroma is vivacious and suggests grain. The mouthfeel is full bodied and the taste is very enjoyable. Wheat is evident on the mid palatte and the aftertaste is mild. There isn't any evidence of yeast after pouring the bottom of the bottle into the glass... I was a little surprised. This is a good beer and is fairly complex. (421 characters)

Photo of jlapennas
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Aroma: Tart fruity white wine like aromas dominate. Some flowery notes and something a little rough. Very low barny or funky aromas though they seem to come out more as carbonation dies down.

Appearance: Deep orange, huge rocky head with great lacing. Slight haziness.

Flavor: Fruity, mild tartness, firm hop bitterness and flavor add to an extremely dry finish. Maybe some dry spice notes. Has some qualities that remind me of a tannic English cider. Barny notes are just a whisper rattling around in my nasal cavities.

Mouthfeel: Dry, spritzy, light body but the carbonation makes up for it. Tart acidity.

Overall: Highly complex, lively, dry, very refreshing ale. The tartness isn't outright sour and the many flavors are exceptionally well balanced. I can see wanting to have some of these around at all times. This bottle is about a year old and the emphasis is really the dry fruity acidity and firm bitterness. (922 characters)

Photo of DanielClouser
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11 point... I dunno--2? (less than 12, anyway)--oz bottle into Chimay goblet.

A--Nice amber color. Nothing special, but the head does start out huge. I didn't find that it stuck around for too long, on this bottle.

S--I tend to not get a lot of smell from buggy beers. A nice subtle fruitiness, though.

T--Excellent! Only my second bottle of Orval, and this one is very different from the first, with a lot more Brett. I appreciate Brett but do not love it, but it works so well in this beer. A perfect dry bitterness that does not overwhelm the palate melds seemlessly with the Brett. Really, the perfect integration of flavors is what really makes this beer.

M--Dry, dry, dry, and oh, so great! Usually, mouthfeel is something I struggle to review, but Orval makes it easy. I love this beer.

D--For me, Brett will hurt the drinkability of any beer ever so slightly. But there is just no perceptible residual sugar here to turn me (that's what gets me with the Brett--the way the funk interacts w/ residual sugar). I could drink these until I got kicked out of the bar. (1,075 characters)

Photo of EvilGnome6
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle into a Duvel glass.

A: Pours a copper dark blond with a very generous off-white head.

S: Tart green apple with a hint of mustiness.

T: Bitter and sweet with a hint of green apple peel. The flavors are rich and complex but impossible for me to describe. Definitely has a hint of horse blanket that makes it feel rustic.

M: Very, very dry and a bit thin but somehow refreshing at the same time.

D: A very easy drinking beer that somehow seems different every time I try it.

I've had this several times before and will definitely have it again. (568 characters)

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

poured from bottle into Chimay goblet (goblet bought for 25 cents at a garage sale last summer...just had to throw that in there).

appearance: exceptional. rocky, chunky, everlasting, snow white head.

smell: tart, ciderish, sour apple candy....wonderful

taste: funky, earthy, mushrooms, the brett comes through here with the leather and barnyard. however, the taste is very deep and layered.

mouthfeel: full, perfect.

overall: this is a beer for a special occasion. deep, interesting, and ever so complex. i would love to have a ton and chug it and i would love to have just one and savor it for a couple hours which is what i'm doing now. a wonderful beer. (662 characters)

Photo of ciachef1212
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured a hazy deep yellow/gold with tons of carbonation. The head was about 4 fingers and left beautiful lacing on the glass.

S- It smells like lemons, ciders, and flowers with a slight sour funk. Loved it.

T- A slight tartness with lemons and flowers. It then finishes dry.

M- The bubbles dance on the tongue like Champagne.

O- This beer is great. If you haven't had it pick it up. It is a very old traditional beer that is very refreshing. (448 characters)

Photo of BeerMarshall
4.41/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle, bottling date 2/2010. appearance is the color of caramel with good head. Very hoppy compared to other trappist ales. Very refreshing, highly carbed. I don't really get the brettanomyces funk that I was expecting, but not really overly familiar with this class of beers, so maybe I am just not sure what to look for. Overall very good beer, very refreshing and pleasant to drink. (398 characters)

Photo of Brewdacris
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I decided that I would review Orval tonight because I reviewed Delirium Nocturnum last night and wanted to finally determine which I enjoyed more. Delirium Nocturnum is my long time favorite but I tried an Orval for the first time a couple months ago and I remember thinking that it may rival the Nocturnum in overall enjoyment. So tonight I decided to find out for good.

Appearance- Beautiful burnt orange color with a rocky, off-white three finger head. Dissipates after a while leaving a heavy lacing along the glass. Settles into a solid quarter finger covering after a few minutes. Very good looking beer.

Smell- Tart apple and a floral/lemon/banana scent. Very wonderful smelling. Possibly my favorite aspect of this beer.

Taste- Very smooth and surprising flavor. Very tart, sour taste from the get go. Accompanying alcoholic burn, but an extremely pleasant and fitting one. The first taste is almost too overwhelming to separate any flavors, but on the subsequent samplings tart fruit flavors are extremely apparent. Banana and lemon make themselves known, as does a heavy hop bite on the tail end. Sour fruit is present as the dominant aftertaste. I sipped this over a half hour period and the flavors made themselves more apparent as it warmed.

Mouthfeel- Extremely crisp, smooth mouthfeel. If you let the Orval settle in your mouth the carbonation makes itself very apparent. Just ever so slightly too light. Almost perfect for the flavor but could use a little thickness.

Overall, this is indeed a fantastic beer. Although it has failed to overtake Nocturnum as my favorite beer, perhaps it is unfair to compare the two. The Orval is definitely my favorite Belgian Pale Ale but I'm a sucker for Belgian Strong Darks. Overall an excellent beer and one I would recommend to any fan of pale ales. (1,812 characters)

Photo of pijiu
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (310 characters)

Photo of aesopsgato
3.47/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer looks really nice, but the amounts of head I got from my pour (not overly vigorous) was a LOT. Copper in color, and very hazy. Lots of lacing after the ridiculous amounts of head settle down.

The smell is very nice. Slightly funky, which I was not expecting, but the horse blanket aromas I'm getting from this are very nice. Fresh, not really that musty in nature, more just slight funk. Crisp aroma, malty and the Belgian yeast sneaks in through the funky flavors. Some lemony and honey flavors there too.

Man, I was expecting so much more from this beer from the aroma. I was excited about this! The taste falls flat, some slight funk, very dry, not very satisfying. This is disappointing. It doesn't really taste like anything!

Mouthfeel is equally disappointing. Feels like water. Blah... I don't really want another. (834 characters)

Photo of apowar
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into an unfortunate pint glass.

Pours a beautiful rusty orange color that reminds me of my mom's sun tea. Slightly hazy. Very large, persistent, stiff and foamy pale yellow head.

The aroma strikes me as bubble gum, ripe banana, and tart apple.

Flavor is slightly toasty up front and becomes a bit tangy including typical hop flavors such as candied lemon peel. Finishes with slight hop bitterness, belgian brewers yeast, and some very nice banana and candied citrus flavors.

Mouthfeel is very interesting. Clearly present carbonation that completely fills the mouth. It's assertive but not too prickly or strong, but actually rather soft. Overall, very drinkable, refreshing brew with enthralling complexity and richness or flavor. I can definitely see why this is considered the quintessential belgian pale ale. (843 characters)

Photo of scottchesterhall
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-beautiful copper, full head that shrunk to 1/4 inch, bottled 2.5 years ago, May 19, 2010, 6.9 abv

S-wonderful: pears, ginger, banana, clove, fruity and spice

T-bright assault on front of tongue with fruity spice, but I was looking for way more flavor...very crisp and refreshing and then quickly disappears with a pleasant residue of fruity hop oil and sour yeast. It's clean and crisp--almost cider-like, but I wanted more layers. Am I drinking it too cold?

M-really effervescent, too much? Dances on the tongue, that's for sure.

O-everything was perfect...and then I was let down when the beer was actually in my mouth. Not bad...but I was disappointed. (661 characters)

Photo of AlexMunse
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I saw this beer earlier tonight on the shelf and have enjoyed Trappist ales before, so I thought I'd give it a go. The guy at the beer store also told me I should try it and I value his opinion.

I'm pouring at 50 degrees into an 11oz snifter.

It pours a light amber/dark peach color with a bit of cloudyness to it. It looks like a beer I would enjoy just from the color. I've got about a two finger head which is very frothy and thick.

It smells almost sweet, as I've come to expect from Trappist beers, but not so sweet as other beers I've tried (Lindemans). The smell has a lot of complexity, but I can't really pinpoint any one aspect that stands out. I do, however, notice a distinct absence of an alcohol smell, which I appreciate.

The taste is very light and refreshing with, as I said about the smell, a lot of complexity. There isn't an overpowering taste of anything but hops. It's mild, but almost fruity. Oranges or lemons, I can't tell.

I would buy this beer again, the taste and price are right for what I got. I am fully satisfied and would love to share this with friends. The only downside to this beer is the head is a little to much, in my opinion. (1,172 characters)

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

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Snow-white crown dominates this brew for the first five minutes after the pour. Beer has a dark honey color with a bit of cloud in the body.

Smell - Apple and honey in the scent, with a hint of peach. Fruity. A brief whiff of funk.

Taste - I haven't tasted enough into the triple digits to have any authority, I admit, but of what I've had so far, Orval's is definitely the most balanced beer I've had. Champagne hints for sure.

Feel - Fizzes perfectly and leaves just enough hint, like an expensive mineral water.

Drinkability - I wish I had a dozen of these. Not too thick, but not too bitter. (644 characters)

Photo of BurgerJones
4.61/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.7oz bottle poured into an Affligem goblet.

Pours slightly cloudy orange with pillowy white head that outlasts the beer and laces the glass throughout.

Smell is pepper and clove, sweet fruits.

Taste is like no beer I've ever had...spices, unidentifiable fruits and flowers, yeasty tang at the finish and as the beer warms. Almost no identifiable alcohol.

Mouthfeel very fizzy, pleasing and refreshing, light body.

Overall, excellent, unique tastes that are definitely beer but not present in any other beers I know, if that makes any sense. (547 characters)

Photo of drjones633
4.78/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

bottle stamped 27/12/2007

A=pours out a orange/amber with medium head that goes down to a small layer.

S=oranges and apples. sweet smells of ancient yeasts.

T=crisp. orange, clove, cider like finish. Hoppy and bitter.

D= bubbly and delicious, if I didn't pay close to $10 for one bottle I would drink this all night. Although this is one to savor.

Glad I tried this one. A perfect example of a Belgian pale ale (418 characters)

Photo of superswing123
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aye... this is good one...

Appearance: Bold, full of wonderfully small bubbles drumming up from the whole-headed brew into a marvalous lace that lasted that whole way down the glass... never ending..

Smell: Plums, alcohol, fruits and treats, very nice,

Taste: Smooth, velvetly, very nice and so totally "Belgium."

Mouthfeel: Well it sort of takes over the moment.. not to be mistaken as an absolute "Ikon of brews".... that's all to be said.

Drinkalble: Oh yeah, Oh yeah, this is a fabulous beer that you just have to enjoy a few times in your beertasting career. A world-class number, in every regard. I agree with Jason on this...

Highly recommended by your buddy,

Willy from Wanaque, NJ. (698 characters)

Photo of Zeckster
4.16/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of an 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Opaque copper/orange color with a massive frothy head.
Leaves a nice bit of lattice.

Smells of citrus

There was a little touch of tartness to the flavor, maybe some of the citrus. I shall definitely have to try this one again and again. (292 characters)

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

Bottle at the Nouvelle Hostellerie D'Orval.

Orval is a beer that's grown on me through the years. All leather and banana and cinnamon and grated lemon zest and fresh bread and dry spice and, and, and...

... and it turns a cheese sandwich into a banquet. And when Orval's commercial director, Francois de Harenne, insists on pouring it for you as he tells you about the region's political history, it becomes a marker of surreality.

There's beer. There's Belgian beer. And then, there's Orval. Worth falling in love with over and over again. (544 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,179 ratings.