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Orval Trappist Ale - Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,539 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,539
Reviews: 2,133
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 226
Gots: 466 | FT: 11
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:
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.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,539 | Reviews: 2,133 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of match1112
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

purchased this for the first time finally, mainly because of the bowling pin shaped bottle and because because the store had the orval goblet next to it for $4.99. also has a bottled on date of 22/04/2010. pours out a cloudy golden orange color with the thickest three finger bright white head i have ever seen. the head slowly settles to an uneven foam resting atop the beer for the remainder of the drink. smells and tastes of sweet fruits, yeast and a little spice also has a little funk to it, but not in a bad way. mouthfeel is a medium body with a rich creamieness that is overtaken by a slight hop bite with a dry finish but very minimal bitterness. i can see why this is one of the worlds best.

Photo of Belpaire
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle on date 10/03/11. Reviewed on 10/29/11. Probably can't get much fresher than that in the US. How will this effect the funk, we shall find out.

Poured into a Duvel Chalice. A very lively head, dense and compact, that slowly fades to rocky as it leaves a nice lacing behind. A lovely orange color with a minor haze.

Aroma is intoxicating. Funky citrus, oranges would probably be closest, with an almost woody/grassy undertone. It's not subtle.

The first sip is an unexpected slight smokey burnt caramel with grassy hop notes that fade into a refreshingly dry finish. Each sip the flavors settle more on the tongue. The beginning of the sip has a certain sweetness that fades into an assertive but not unpleasant bitterness.

Wait, where's the funk? It's there but it's subtle. It kind of shows up as an aftertaste. A little lingering hint of what would come with age.

Do I wish I had waited for this to age a little? No, I like to be able to taste what the base of this beer is before the bugs have there way with it. Do I wish I had a 2 year old bottle to follow this one up with? Absolutely, unfortunately I don't.

Photo of chodinheaven
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled date is 11-17-2010, so almost a year of age to it. Poured into a snifter.

Hazy burnt amber hue, with some visible carbonation from the bottom. Thick three finger head on top that dissapates slowly and consistently, settling down to about a finger. Silky white in color, nice lacing. Big aromatic nose of white wine, citrusy hops and a hint of booze. Clean malts round it out, but the wine-like smell is the most notable. I expected more of a little Belgian yeast funk, but there isn't much of that. Clean and crisp nose all around.

Where I was reminded of white wine in the smell, the taste yields more of a citrusy sweetness or even a slight tanginess. It is remeniscent of a fresh lemon rind: bitter, but with a dry sweetness as well. It has the same characteristic white wine dryness to it all the way through the taste. Whereas this usually means crisp as well, it doesn't really get crisp until the finish. It has a great full body that forces the citrusy notes into every aspect of the palate. Grapefruit comes to mind. A very balanced consistency to the hops and wine-like characteristics. A nice citrusy bitterness hits and then lingers in the back of the palate, showing off the full effect of those hops. Alcohol taste is barely present, making the drinkability through the roof. A sour little tartness is evident in the linger, giving a slight puckering effect that begs for another sip. A soft carbonation contributes a smooth and easy-going mouthfeel. Combined with the dryness, it is very refreshing.

Great beer, I can see why so many people like it so much. This makes for a nice sit-back-and-relax beer while still giving a complex tasting.

Photo of cbarrett4
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my Karmeleit tulip (man chalice):

Pours a dusky, hazy orange with an insane amount of head with fantastic retention. Smells of funky citrus and flowers, lots of yeast backing it up. Seriously elegant and floral.

Taste centers on malts with a good kick of bready yeast, orange blossom, and dried nectarines. A tad sour but only faintly so.

Texture is rich and layered without being heavy or overly alcoholic. Fine balance of astringency with the sweetness, though light on both. Really well delineated.

Overall one of the best trappist ales out there. And my personal favorite trappist brew.

Photo of tony223366
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From my beer journal. Reviewed on September 14, 2011.

A: Darker amber, almost brown in color. Very cloudy with a hint of light poking through the edges. Nice, but not perfect head. Lots of carbonation in this beer.

S: Lemony-floral smell. Very pleasant and bright.

T: Fruity up front. Certainly tart fruit. Nice malty backbone with a surprising hoppy finish. Phenols are very faint but at a good level for me. So crisp.

M: Light body with nice carbonation.

O: I really, really enjoyed this. This is so complex but also somehow really well balanced. I'm going to get this again... and again... and again

Photo of ianjsullivan
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ST: 11.2 oz poured into a Duvel chalice. The bottle lists the ABV, the bottled on date, and a drink by date,

A: Cloudy burnished gold and orange with a very thick, white head that looks like a milkshake.

S: Grapefruit, lemon, funky yeast, and sugar.

T: Delicious toasty malt backed by a strong yet elegant back bone of hoppy grapefruit and pine (there is also a slight bubblegum). The finish has nice hops, but it does not overdue it.

M: Medium and dry with a nice zing of carbonation.

O: Sometimes I feel like people in America assume that since a beer is from Belgium it must be good. There is no mistaking Orval; it is very good. The beer is balanced and elegant, and it easy blends a higher alcohol percentage. Lovely flavors continue to develop as the beer warms. It truly is a a winner.

Photo of adam42381
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 ounce bottle into a Chimay goblet. Bottled on April 22, 2010 printed on label.

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange caramel color with a huge 4 finger thick and creamy off-white head. A touch of sediment pools right on top of the billowy head. The head was so big it rose a full 2 fingers above the rim of the goblet. Perfect head retention. Halfway through the glass and it's still got a 1/2 finger head. Excellent lacing.

Smell: Strong funky notes with some sweet apple and pear coming through as well.

Taste: Crisp tart fruitiness up front followed by funky "horseblanket" notes in the middle before ending with a grassy hop bitterness at the finish. Aftertaste is funky, mildly phenolic and very dry. The dryness of the aftertaste lingers for long time.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation. The mouth puckers much the same as it does when eating an unripe persimmon.

Drinkability: High drinkability. Goes down smooth. While I wouldn't want multiples, drinking one is a pleasure.

Overall: Very good beer overall. This is probably the most unique of all the Trappist beers. Orval is funky in a good way. Definitely recommend giving it a try.

Photo of readbaron
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

375 ml Bottle poured into a rochfort chalice. Bottled 7/2010.

Pours out a lightly hazy, crisp light brown with 4 fingers of billowy off white head that laces the glass and lingers.

I hadnt read any reviews prior to cracking this one - i was surprised to find that the smell is dominated by the Brett - lightly sour and peppery, with bready malt underneath.

Taste is complex, yet light. Initially it's peppery and mildly tart (lemon), with a bit of spice before fading into some bready malts. Finish is very smooth and refreshing.

Feel is delightful. Light, crisp, somewhat creamy, prickly carbonation that still manages to feel soft.

Overall - a great beer. Not what I was expecting, but delicious. It will definitely be showing up in the fridge again.

Photo of evlu1441
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a Chimay chalice:

It's an ever-so-slightly hazy amber colour. A deep amber with some coppery notes. The head is foamy and off-white. There is a decent amount of carbonation rushing up. A really nice looking beer.

The aroma is quite unlike other trappist ales. Its quite hoppy, but with a strong caramel backbone. There are also some distinctively Belgian flowery notes.

The taste begins slightly malty and bitter. The malt flavours start to flesh out, and a light pear flavour kind of comes through alongside some light sweetness. It finishes on a slightly oily note, but with a hint of hops.

Overall, this is a unique Belgian and a real treat!

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

A: Huge frothy head, nice burnt umber color, darker than expected for a Trappist.

S: Lighty bready with a really nice hit of brett funk. Great.

T: A very subtle beer. Faint hits of bitter hops, fruit, bread, booze. Funk hardly present at all, was hoping for more to come through. Really soft and enjoyable bitter aftertaste.

M: Nicely carbonated. Very delicate. A refreshing palate cleanse.

O: A very beautifully built beer, with nice restraint. Not my favorite Trappist, but a unique variation among its brethren.

Photo of tobelerone
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2 year old bottle still has plenty of carbonation. Huge fluffy slowly settling head on a hazy orange colored body; a few floaties here and there; lovely curtains of creamy lace.

Great aromas of pepper, citrus, yeast. Delicious flavor with Brett funk at appealing but not overpowering levels; peppery notes and the lemony flavors are in there too. Really well rounded and appealing. Slightly bitter.

Clean finish, crisp and refreshing. Flavors are really sharply defined and just excellent. I'd prefer this over the many saisons and other brett beers on the scene today. Does the trick in terms of taste and refreshment. A classic for a reason!

Photo of ikantspel
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle. served into a duvel tulip at 62degrees.

pours a dark copper with enormous lacey head. sticking to the top of the tulip.

overwhelming medicinal and fruit smell. you can smell this right when you open it.

unlike any Trappist ale i have had. great malty and spice flavor. something else is there just cant put a finger on it.

wouldnt mind having this again. this definitely has the potential to become a session beer.

Photo of dudelove7485
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
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

Photo of brewcrew76
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled 4/22/10.

A - Hazy light amber with a huge rocky white head. A delicate pour still gave way to 3-4 fingers of foam leaving a huge dollop of rocky foam sticking out of the center of the glass.

S - Sweet candi sugar with floral and citrus notes, hint of bubblegum, spicy yeast, earthy with a lingering mustiness.

T - Light sweetness, candi sugar, earthy, yeasty, then becomes tart with apple and pear, some citrus and lemon, finishing with some spice and a lingering light musty funk.

M - Medium body with a fizzy carbonation finishing dry.

D - Classic example of Belgian Pale with funk in my opinion.

Photo of hiku7
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours murky orange with a towering off-white head. The head lasts a long time, and dissolved slowly, like vanilla ice cream in a root beer float. Highly carbonated. Intense lacing.

Smell starts out orange rind and cloves, but not medicinal, with a spicy tart old leather funk coming through.

Taste starts malty, a bit sweet, and finishes tart and dry. The flavor has esters like summer fruit, maybe not yet ripe apricots and peaches. Some mild balancing bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is somewhat creamy despite a dry, acidic finish that is prickly with carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

Overall, I really enjoyed this unique trappist ale and will go back to it.

Photo of oline73
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a goblet. Amazingly, this is the first time I've ever had this one.

Appearance: Pours a mildly cloudy amber with two fingers of fluffy off white head and great retention.

Smell: Sweet malt with some citrus notes, fruity notes, and yeast spice.

Taste: Very smooth with Belgian spice, fruity notes, and a mild hop bitterness. The finish is spicy with some bitterness in there as well.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a very good Belgian Pale. The yeast spice was strong, but balanced well with all the other flavors. Very well done.

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

had this from draft and in a chalice type glass. Had a good head to it along with a really good dark orange color

nicely aromatic with tones of oranges, pears, some malts, and a slight touch of citrus hops. very well balanced and aromatic

the aromas are backed up by a real smooth and delicious medium/full body. good depth on the flavors as well with the flavors mostly being more oranges and bits of citrus hops+malts

its been a while since I've had an orval. This reminded me quickly that my next one should be a lot sooner

Photo of doktorhops
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one has been on my 'to do' list since I first started reviewing beers. There's something about Orval that intrigues me; from the shape of the tear-drop bottle to the heavy chalice you drink it from, there's something ethereal about this brew. I imagine Trappist monks in black & white cassocks standing around a large clay urn in the catacombs of a monastery testing the divine brew with their index fingers and kneeling down to praise God's glory that ale exists for human enjoyment... or something along those lines.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a chalice glass.

A: This ale pours with great excitement. A deep clear amber body with a tinge of red and a Belgian beer classic "soap bubble" foamy white head that recedes after a moment to leave that sticky (alcohol laden) lacing.

S: The aroma is more reminiscent of spiced mead than beer, with bold notes of: Juniper, Sloe, Cloves, Honey, Orange peel and yeast - they're all here to party down. The smell of this alone could make a decent cologne!

T: Completely not what I was expecting. It's not sweet at all. The main profile is a Juniper/Sloe berry bitterness, however it also has a similar complexity to Duvel in that the flavour hits every part on the tongue in it's own way. There's sour-dough yeasts after the initial bitterness with a long dry citrus finish. In fact the only area where I find it lacking is the sweetness, which is unusual for a Belgian ale, and this was no doubt intentional.

M: A bit fizzier than the other Belgian ales I've had; medium carbonation with a medium body.

D: I can see why others may not rate this highly, it's definitely an acquired taste beer. If you like something fairly bitter and dry with spice flavours: then this is your beer. If you're looking for something outside the box: this is your beer. If you want a beer that is a divine experience: get Duvel. Orval is great for the fact that it's an unexpected drop but Duvel still stands tall in my taste buds... for now at least.

Food match: It is a challenging beer to food match. The boldness of the bitter/dry profile makes it a perfect match with bold cheeses (much like a red wine). Also venison and game meats would work well.

Photo of Krakistophales
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours medium tint red with a bubbly white head that disappears quickly but leaves a lively film

S: Lots of citrus notes mixed well with a malty sweetness, a touch of honey, and some nice spice

T: Lots of apple and pear at first, which quickly switches into a cherry tartness, with the end being a bit of an orange zest and citrus flare. Nice.

O: I never would've imagined such a simple trappist ale could be so flavorful and pleasant. I'm quite surprised.

Photo of chefelf
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this one on my wish list for a long time and I finally got a chance to try it tonight.

Pours copper with a white head and subtle lacing.

The taste was good but not what I was expecting at all. It had a nearly citrus flavor and tasted almost like a saison.

The finish was very dry with a subtle bitterness.

It was a very nice beer. I'd recommend particularly to fans of saison ales.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: light golden with lots of cluding bubbles. Big pillowy head that lingers.
Smell: slightly sweet fruit. Hint of spice.
Taste: much like the nose at the start with a dry slightly bitter finish.
Glad I finally had this. I must say, didn't live up to admittedly very high expectations.

Photo of kjyost
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Walked into the Liquor Mart today, and what the heck? Orval? Gotta pick that up...

Bottled on 04/01/2010 ABV 6,2%

Poured stiffly into a Leffe chalice that is not nearly large enough, with 2/3 head and 1/3 beer. The beer itself is golden to orangey. The head quickly descends to a small cap leaving lacing all the way.

What a fantastic aroma coming off he head though. Initially a tiny bit of funk came through, but it took we a moment to notice the oriental lily that was very strong. As that aroma weakened the essence of barnyard was coming out, perhaps with a hint of my wet dog, but that could just be me being crazy.

The beer itself is incredibly interesting with a light sourness and funk. When the remnants of the bottle are thrown into the chalice that lily flavour plays across the palate. No substantial bitterness. Different flavours are prevalent in each sip. Sometimes the malt plays through, other times different aspects of the funk, often it is floral esters.

The mouthfeel is a little weak initially, likely due to the stiff pour as the carbonation is almost flat. It gets better when the rest of the beer is poured in, becoming smooth and creamy with a light finish.

Drinkability? Hell yeah. This is lightest drinking trappist I have tried. I suspect though by the third it would quit being so complex, but still just flavour country...

EDIT: 09/24/11 Bottle aged 1.5 years. Strong lily notes have disappeared, much stronger barnyard aroma play through with a stronger finish on the palate. Not remaining hop aromas / flavours are apparent. Not as good as fresh.

Photo of RandyV
3.53/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy amber color with nice head and lacing. The smell is to me somewhat champagne like with a mild yeast note.

The taste is slightly fruity, maybe apple or pear, with a musty quality. Mouthfeel was a bit thin. It finishes dry with a hop bitterness that lingers.

Gotta be honest, this beer underwhelmed me and was not worth the elevated price.

Photo of EA728
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

Photo of skypup
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased and consumed at a roadside fry shop near Dinant, Belgium.
.33L Bottle served in an Orval Chalice

A: Cloudy amber with a thick and pillowish head.

S: Malty, touch of floral hints

T: Complex bitterness with obvious yeast and some pear and cherry after tones.

M: medium carbonation; full bodied beer.

D: This was certainly my favorite trappist beer; these monks know how to brew beer. Enjoyed with a cone of Belgian fries, this is heaven.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,539 ratings.