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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.

2,193 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,193
Hads: 4,903
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 285
Gots: 653 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website

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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Reviews: 2,193 | Hads: 4,903
Photo of Joshre
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Poured this into a tulip glass from a bottle. Has a golden, yellow-brass color, the head is huge. Lots of carbonation.

S: Smell was somewhat sweet, grassy, dried hay. Light

T: Taste was less colorful than the smell, but good. Lots of funk, alcohol is barely there. Very dry, not very sweet. Not a hoppy taste

M: Very carbonated, but not too-carbonated in any way. Light and thin

O: Great beer, very unique and interesting (429 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 Tele
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: 4.25 Cloudy, brownish orange with a massive light tan head.

S: 4.25 Belgian yeast and funk are up front on the nose. Grass, herbs, wheat, and malt follow closely behind. There’s also a dry, oak smell lingering in the background that goes with the funk.

T: 4.25 More funk and less yeast than the nose. A lot more unique than most of the other trappist ales. Dry funk dominates without fruity, spicy esters like other Belgian ales. There’s a little sweetness with some grass, green apple, and breadiness at the end.

M: 4.5 Carbonation is great. It makes the beer feel alive which matches the funk very well. There’s also a very pleasant dry finish.

O: 4.25 I wasn’t sure I liked this beer very much at first, but I came to really enjoy the funk and dryness. It is very well balanced with a very unique and enjoyable character. (840 characters)

Photo of mtomlins
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a stemmed tulip glass

Pours a nice, crisp, clear copper in color with a massive, billowy, cloudy head that will not die and eventually leaves some nice lacing. The nose starts with some sweet malt, orange peel, tart lemon and musty yeast. On the palate, the beer opens up further and is much drier than the nose with lemon peel, and a slight tart funkiness to round it all out. The taste finishes with a pleasant floral hop bitterness. Orval is medium body with plenty of carbonation. Overall, this is a unique beer, very subtle and nuanced and stands apart from many/most of the other Trappists. (629 characters)

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.81/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay chalice.
This one was bottled in Oct., 2012.

The bottle opened with a nice, resounding "pop." An aggressive center pour produces a big, foamy root beer head that compacts but lasts to the end of the beer. The color is a very hazy, even cloudy brownish-orange.

The aroma is my favorite part of this beer. First off for me, an odor of yeasty bread rising. then some fruit; raisin, maybe orange and lemon. There is also a little farmyard funk underneath.

The first taste is candy at first, then some dried fruits, then a light bitterness as it warms. I get raisin, dates, some yeastiness and even bitter chocolate. As it warms, some biscuit and even a little caramel come through. Love the slight yeasty funk. Amazingly complex.

This beer is well carbonated, and it feels a little sticky and tongue-coating. It's even got a little creaminess thanks to the never-fading foam.

Just a great beer. (931 characters)

Photo of MartzMimic
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy amber with a root beer float head that lasts for days. Tons of carbonation. Nice aroma of fruit, hay and a touch of funk. Tastes of grapes, apples and yeast. The brett adds a lot. Medium light mouth with some crispness. Just a very flavorful and well-balanced beer. (280 characters)

Photo of MrBoz21
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Served from 11.2 oz bottle. Bottled Sept 18, 2013. 8 months old.

Poured with thick and foamy white head. Very slow to settle with patches of foam sticking to glass. Heavily carbonated. Color is murky golden orange.

Aroma: Pear, banana and coriander. Balanced, smooth and subtle with some nice brett funk (sour grape and must).

Taste: Tart fruit and citrus with a spicy bitter backbone. Tannin notes. Finishes smooth and clean with some dank astringency. Brett horsiness is there and it is pleasant.

Moutfeel: substantive but well attenuated. Dry-ish. Not bubbly.

Overall: Extremely balanced, complex and drinkable. This is a delicious beer that shows that a beer can have lots of flavor without being hops dominant. (720 characters)

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.13/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A 330ml bottle with a BB of Nov 2014. Bottled in Nov 2009. Acquired ages ago from a webshop and stored in my garage. I have no idea what it'll be like after such a long time - fingers crossed. Love the iconic bottle.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottle conditioned. A deep orange-amber hue with faint haze and plentiful carbonation. Produces a vast head of fluffy white foam that resembles a meringue; this slowly reduces to a thick surface layer. Some lacing. Aroma of tart fruitiness with hints of cherries, raisins, barnyard funk, grain, a twinge of sherry, earthy yeast, cardboard and faint solvent. Dry and vinous, with a complex character that is vaguely reminiscent of fruit lambic. Bizarre but smells quite good.

Tastes of harsh stewed leaves with a dry, mildly sour character. Notes of acrid stewed leaves, harsh cardboard, oxidation, a subtle fruitiness, a whisper of funk and vinous yeast. Highly attenuated, followed by a dry, herbal bitterness upon swallowing. None too pleasant. Mouthfeel is dry and tingly with effervescent carbonation and lacklustre body. Very astringent, accompanied by an aftertaste of acrid stewed herbs, faint sourness and dry, earthy yeast.

Oh dear - not a very enjoyable glassful. I guess this hasn't aged well or I've kept it for too long (probably both). Looks great, and the aroma is pleasantly complex with hints of brett and fruity notes. However, the flavour is deeply unpleasant - very harsh and dry with little of what you'd expect from a good beer. Body is also subpar; fizzy and too thin. A great pity, as I've really enjoyed Orval when I've had it before and was looking forward to a top notch brew. Most likely it's just too old. I'll try and re-review a fresher version when I get the chance. Oh well.... (1,757 characters)

Photo of Richardbeerlover
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a nice golden amber with a fabulous head. The smell is fantastic. At first, it smells like bubblegum. Fruity, fragrant, wonderful! Slight champagne smell. Tastes very good with a nice bitter finish. Not your typical beer and definitely not your typical Belgium beer. Great! (279 characters)

Photo of fmccormi
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Straight pour from an 11.2oz/325ml pry-off bottle to a teku; a bottling date of February 7, 2013 and a freshness date of February 7, 2018 (five years, wooo) is printed in white ink to the left of the logo on the label (“BOTTLED ON 02/07/2013 BEST BEFORE 02/07/2018 B”)—so, just over 15 months old. Now that is some excellent freshness info.

Appearance (3.5): Four fingers of ecru-colored foam easily rise off of the pour, capping a rich, copper-colored body that’s moderately hazy but not cloudy. The head dies down at a moderate pace, leaving just sparse lacing in the form of thin splotches and webbing. Admittedly, the lacing is disappointing at first, but the head and body together were gorgeous. As the beer recedes, it does leave a few long, chunky splotches of thick lace.

Smell (4.25): Some interesting vinous notes at first blush (rich, off-dry white wine, but no wood), followed quickly by a little tart fruit (white grapes, unsweetened apple juice), and then a nice, bucolic funk—a little musty basement, plenty of dried hay. As it warms, a little more fruit comes out, in the form of some dry apple cider and a little crushed pineapple.

Taste (4.25): There’s a lot going on here, quite frankly, but it’s lovely and surprisingly crushable considering what the beer looks like (kinda hefty). A grassy, juicy flavor leads, slightly bitter, followed by a light, vinous mixture of mildly tart fruit (white grapes) and minerality (like a not-too-dry sauv blanc). This is all underscored by a well-balanced blend of malt and surprisingly clean funk: fresh-baked, rustic wheat bread, just a little bit of mustiness and hay, a bit of spicy phenolic character (like grains of paradise and coriander, maybe?) and a light, clean snap of lemon zest. A lightly spicy, faintly phenolic aftertaste lingers for a bit, but dissipates cleanly.

Mouthfeel (4.0): The body is medium-weight, nicely fluid (not at all syrupy, but only slightly drying), and accompanied by a voluminous, soft carbonation that enters fully-expanded and leaves with just a soft tingle, overall. Way too easy to drink. It finishes cleanly and pleasantly, leaving very little trace of its presence (absolutely no booze, no particularly notable drying effect, etc.).

Overall (4.25): This beer is always an experience, because I swear it’s different every time I drink it. And, every time it’s delicious. Some common currents between all experiences: lightly tart fruitiness, vinous character, minerality, hay and must, clean phenolic funk, and light spice. Occasionally it’s surprisingly hoppy, occasionally the musty character is very pronounced, occasionally the spice and phenols are greater, occasionally the tartness is much greater, and occasionally the head is absolutely out of control. But every time—including this time—it’s delicious. It’s easy to scoff at the price for a single, but given the quality of the beer it’s always worth buying, at least every once in a while. (2,989 characters)

Photo of reebtaerG
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured bottle dated 2/7/13 into St. Bernardus glass

A-Pours orange with a huge 3 finger off-white head that diminishes to a thin layer. Great lacing.

S-Aroma has an overripe white grapes, hops, and yeast.

T-I taste dry apricots, figs and currants. Little sweet, slight sour and nice bitter.

M-Smooth mouthfeel, medium body. Semi dry finish. Excellent carbonation

O-First time having this beer quite the standard for Belgium pale ale. (441 characters)

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

Pours a murky brown color with a booming 3 finger white head. The smell is a light earthy aroma with an authentic Belgian spice. My first sip of this started with a fantastic tart and spiciness upfront hat literally explodes on the tongue with the fantastic carbonation. There are some funky notes in there also but every note plays off each other so well it leaves me wanting another sip. Halfway through the head is still a good cm and resembles construction foam, the taste becomes increasingly spicy and funky. Notes of fresh grass, lemon, and spicy banana. What an incredible beer, I get it now. (600 characters)

Photo of FFreak
4.59/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've heard so much about this beer that I picked it up when I saw it on the shelf. Its not at all what I was expecting. Poured into a glass, the beer is highly carbonated, which is expected of a Belgian. What was not expected was the odd spicy bitterness that completely overwhelms the malt in this beer. I didn't find it pleasant at all. I couldn't even finish the bottle. Its like biting into a raw bitter cinnamon stick or something. Maybe I don't have a sophisticated enough palette. I've had trapist beer that was amazing, and some funky (brett) beers that I really enjoyed, but this beer has a different and not at all pleasing funkiness. Sorry, i just don't get it.

[EDIT] With the hype about this beer from truly knowledgeable folks in the beer industry, I could not believe that I had such a bad experience to cause the review above. I stand by that review and now attribute it to a bad or very old bottle. Due to my disbelief, I decided to give it another try. This time the bottle was labelled differently, with a manufactured date (almost two years old) and a best by date (almost two years in the future). That puts this bottle right in the sweet spot. This time I was thoroughly impressed with the beer and I see why it is so highly regarded. My numbers are readjusted to reflect the second tasting. (1,320 characters)

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

Bottle dated 8/18/2011, enjoyed 1/19/2013

Split this bottle. The beer itself pours a cloudy hazy orange-tan. One glass had impressive foaming and long head retention, while the other glass had only a thin tight layer of bubbles. (I have both a rinse with cold water prior to pouring.)

The aroma has an earthy, lemony character to it. There’s a light funk which emerges, like wet hay, along with some tangerine peel and something that reminds me of a good sweat from a tough workout.

The flavor is earthy with a mild spice that runs into a funky finish. It’s peppery and earthy with a long, long finish. I found layers of flavor—wet hay, tangerine and orange preserves, leather, and tobacco—that just are a delight to enjoy. Great effervescent, fantastic body. I love how this beer changes over time.

Dated 10/02/2011 but purchased before then. Does it mean February 10, 2011?

First time drinking this iconic beer. This is a moment for the record books! Or, at the least, Beer Advocate.

Poured into a tulip. It’s cloudy, sandy-colored, with a big layer of foam sitting atop. I smell coriander, orange peel, apricot must on the edges. Just a wonderful, wonderfully complex aroma.

First sip is an eye opener. Sharp, concentrated flavor with a dry finish that goes for a victory lap on the palate. Lots of yeasty esters and an effervescence that coats your mouth. There’s some slight sour and funky notes that hang around and become more pronounced as the beer warms. Incredibly complex. I see why this beer has such a reputation and aura around it. (1,576 characters)

Photo of gueuzedreg
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Review #200 for me; I figure do this timeless brew

A- Amber colored, tons of head; and I don't think I did a crappy pour; but I will be very very happy to drink this brew as soon as it settles down. Large lacing, ivory in color.

S- Belgian funk, yeast, malt and then the belgian fruits profile. Very nice proportions of everything. World class brew.

T- Such a spectacular blend of belgian dark fruits, brett and malt backbone; very light on its own right.

M- More carb than I would want, but who am I to say this Orval has any imperfections. Nice numbing on the tip of the tongue.

O- Fantastic brew. I have been looking forward to drinking this for a loooong time! I will buy more if/when I see it! (707 characters)

Photo of itsscience
4.66/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orval is a beer that, more than any other I know, varies from bottle to bottle. Despite this, it remains a favorite and has never let me down. This review covers a beer bottled on 7 Feb 2013 and consumed more than a year later in Apr 2014.

Forceful carbonation almost popped the cap off when I went to open it. It pours murky orange with a huge four-finger head of white foam and there's still carbonation streaming up the glass. The nose is bready, tangy, and full of brett yeast, bringing barnyard funk and a woodsy characteristic. It smells unlike any other Trappist ale I know of, coming across like a high-quality sour. In past tastings I got a lot of spice from the yeast, but I get none of that here. There's a slight sourness and a seriously oaky, earthy quality with more of that barnyard flavor. It finishes dry and vinous, like a white wine. The body on it is pretty light. (885 characters)

Photo of facundoCNB
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Review of a 1 year old bottle.
Appears much foamier than I recall, a dark golden color with 3 fingers of foamy off white head.
Smells of Brett?? I definitely didn't pick up on this when it was fresh. A bit vinous, oaky, funky.. With lots of malt in the background. The flavor is on par, the Brett is subtle at first but once your palate picks up on the oaky barrel flavor, the barnyard door opens wide!
Medium in body with high carbonation.
This is fantastic aged, but I was bit impressed with it fresh... I honestly had written it off as a standard Belgian ale.. Don't make the same mistake. (592 characters)

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

Brasserie d'Orval S.A. - Orval Trappist Ale, poured into a Lawson's tulip.

Look - Pours a cloudy straw amber with a frisky foamy head that hangs around. Tons of sticky lacing.

Smell - Some woody sour brett funk. Pears, white grape, apples, banana, clove, etc.

Taste - Nice sour brett pucker with malt coming in strong behind and fruity, picking up light banana and moderate clove at first, others as it warms.

Mouthfeel - Light-medium bodied with zesty carb. If I had to fault one thing it would be a tad overcarbed, but I didn't mind. Slight malt warmth is pleasant. Great drinkability.

Overall - Terrific brew, a real masterpiece. This certainly earns its ranking as the yardstick by which all Trappist Ales are measured. Brett bottle conditioning, an excellent idea. (774 characters)

Photo of dcmchew
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Been meaning to review this one properly.
Hazy golden pour (light copper tinges) in my Westy glass, one - two fingers bubbly head. The thin lacing later on is extremely sticky, leaving blankets of foam on the side of the glass, popping away to random smaller traces.
The smell is really unique, as i remember it, with sweet apricots, acidic apples and pears, strawberries, low citrus, honey, lots of flowers and a nice green saison-like funk. You could just smell this for hours.
Really complex taste. It doesn't start off with the fruitiness as expected, but with the barnyard funk and the herbs, the candi sugar (just mildly sweet, mind you) and prickly peppercorn. Fruitiness follows, crisp and acidic, with clear green apple (with a tiny bit of tartness) and yellow pears, mixed up with some grains. The green funk never leaves the palate, all till the (rather) bitter finish.
A bit too much carbonation, especially considering the crispness of the beer. Refreshing, yes. Alcohol is very subtle, aftertaste consists of, you guessed it, funk.
No wonder i rated this 5 at first, it's absolutely amazing. Minus the bit of extra carbonation, but still up to its renown. (1,170 characters)

Photo of mverity
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an orange amber with an inch of perfectly even bubbled light tan head. Good lacing, head has staying power, thick collar at the edges. Aroma is of aged hops, earthy funk, citrus, and some dark cherry. Very effervescent and bubbly on the tongue. High carbonation, light to medium body. Fun to drink. Taste is grassy and earthy in a dry funky kind of way, with some floral and earthy hops. (393 characters)

Photo of polloenfuego
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 330 ml bottle to a tulip.

A: a nice amber with some cloudiness and lots of effervescence present. There is a huge frothy head tthat won't quit. Even as the beer volume goes down the head sticks around.

S: funky yeasts and tart fruit such as crab apple perhaps or cherry.

T: funk, fruit pits, hops and a touch of yeast.

M: there is very high carbonation and a dry finish on this beer. Very light on the feel.

O: this is my third time having Orval and I have yet to truly enjoy it to the level that I have other trappist beers. That isn't to say it is bad, far from it, but rather it is so different from what one might expect from a trappist beer. This bottle had a year of age on it, I would like to wait and try the next in another year. (755 characters)

Photo of Abra
3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

My first official authentic Trappist beer.

Pours a beautiful hazy amber color with a MASSIVE frothy, lacy head...my glass of choice could have benefited from a few extra inches at least!
Very high carbonation...there is a constant steady stream of bubbles running up the center.

Aroma is very yeasty, with subtle spice and apricot/sugary fruity undertones...I actually can't stop smelling it-so wonderfully complex and interesting.

Taste unfortunately doesn't expand on the aroma. It's clean, crisp with almost a hint of sour...not unpleasant at all. It befits a Belgian Pale Ale perfectly.

I am very glad I tried it. (622 characters)

Photo of Zetcha7x
3.44/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

single purchased at Wegman's in Mechanicsburg, PA for $9.00 I believe, consumed on 3/14/14

A-hazy amber/brownish with a massive off white head and a ton of lacing.

S-yeast, dark fruits, some banana, floral notes, alcohol. Definitely pick up the "funk" that others mentioned.

T-very complex. there is a lot going on here. earthly taste, some sour, spice, more bitterness comes out as it warms.

M-strong carbonation, creamy, light-medium bodied

O- probably my least favorite Trappist to this point. a beer that tastes better as it warms, and very different from other Belgian ales. however, very expensive so I'm not sure I will have too many more of these. (660 characters)

Photo of msquared36
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Light copper with a little haze. Thick, billowing foam, slightly off white head.

Aroma is yeasty with a bit of barnyard funk.

Funk is very upfront in the first few sips. Becomes more crisp as it warms and settles. By the end there are lemony citrus hints.

Lively carbonation. Mouthfeel is a little thin in comparison to the strong flavor.

I really like the complexity in the taste of this beer. Taste is unique but still recognizable. (438 characters)

Photo of dacrza1
4.79/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

DATE TASTED: February 21, 2014... GLASSWARE: Chimay 125th Anniversary chalice... OCCASION: prepping for Will's 7th birthday party... APPEARANCE: dark cumulonimbus, Everest-like white climbing head--three-fingers edge out of the glass; medium amber body; hazy lacing continues throughout the drinking experience... AROMA: bright, sugary yeast wafts with slightly pungent, earthy grass and raison; grapefruit and pear are present...PALATE: light to medium-bodied; easily drinkable and lengthy aftertaste--one that is desirable...TASTE: sweet candied sweet hops pucker the mouth; pear and apple make for a perfumed blend, supported by a surprisingly hearty malt base--balanced and pleasing... OVERALL: alcohol adequately masked,, this Trappist deftly hits the bliss point---malty/hoppy/yeasty/fruity in equal turns; only regret is waiting nearly a decade to revisit and review the "pearl in the fish" labeled brew... (913 characters)

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