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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

4,498 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,498
Reviews: 2,128
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 219
Gots: 446 | 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:
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,498 | Reviews: 2,128 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ciachef1212
4.2/5  rDev 0%
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.

ciachef1212, Apr 07, 2011
Photo of BFrost
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a Stella Artois glass.
Beautiful hazy deep golden amber color with three fingers of dense, frothy tan head which sticks and leaves a nice, healthy lace.

Nose hints of hops and citrus, namely lemon, also a bit of sweetness you'd get from honeysuckle? Maybe one other thing I can't quite put my finger on, but it's very nice. I'd keep my nose in it all day!

Crispness of the carbonation fizzes right on the tongue, and then with a wisp of that lemony, lightly hoppy flavor. There are also light notes of honey and tart. It has a nice smooth, crisp, dry finish which would pair well with some sharp cheese.

Notes: Pale ale is just another style that the Belgians seem to get exactly right. It's not too hoppy or too bitter, or too dry. It's everything you want in a pale ale in all the perfect proportions. It is also very refreshing, and it reminds me of Spring. This is the perfect time to have one!

BFrost, Apr 07, 2011
Photo of kojevergas
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a La Trappe goblet in Ghent, Belgium.

A: Pours a one finger head of little cream but decent thickness. Nontransparent caramel brown colour. Appealing.

Sm: Cream, caramel, fruit esters. Very hoppy.

T: Fruity body, mixed well. Very sweet - maybe the candy sugar had this effect. A bit of caramel. Very hoppy. Actually quite unbalanced, which is unfortunate. Built pretty well, but not special or unique.

Mf: Very coarse and dry for the style. Poorly executed. Doesn't complement the flavour at all.

Dr: I expected a better beer. I wouldn't have another, even at Belgian prices. Serve warm.

---
My last (above) review seemed rather sparse, so I decided to re-review in more detail. I love the design of the bottle; its iconic. Brown glass bottle with branded silver colour pry-off pressure cap and understated neck label acquired at a local bottle shop and served into an Orval stem-goblet in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given that it's a trappist brew. 6.9% ABV per the label. Bottled: 21/06/2013. Best before: 27/06/2018. No style (aside from the nebulous "trappist ale") is listed on the label, so I'm reviewing it open-ended, but as a Belgian style.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm a bit over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours almost entirely head - five fingers wide out of a possible six. It's white in colour, fluffy, and has a nice even soft complexion. Airy light consistency. Head retention is great - 10+ minutes. Uneven lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a clear translucent gold/copper with orange hues. Good vibrance. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Overall, it's looking pretty good for a Belgian ale. I wouldn't quite call it unique or special, but there are no overt flaws and both the head and colour are above average.

Sm: Fragrant perfumey Belgian yeast is the first thing I notice, with a distinct funkiness, vitamins, and some biscuity character coming through quite a bit. It's loaded with fruity esters; I find orchard apple and pear, a hint of faint orange, and something approximating peach. The crisp fruitiness is marvelous. I also find Belgian pale malts, clean barley, and hay. Hop character is an enjoyable mix of floral and fruity notes.

No alcohol is detectable.

A pleasant, soft, inviting aroma of moderate strength. The yeast character is a highlight for me.

T: Fruity esters are as abundant here as on the aroma. The body is comprised of Belgian pale malts, biscuit malt, and clean barley. It's slightly starchy as well. The Belgian/Trappist yeast is marvelous, featuring some subtle funkiness as well as biscuity vitamin-y healthy qualities. Hop character is fruity as well as floral. Pleasant and enjoyable; I like it. I do have some issues with the balance; it gets a bit earthy/herbal on the climax, which doesn't suit it well.

Complex for a Belgian pale, with some decent subtlety as well. But it isn't the masterfully constructed gestalt ale I've seen so many claim it to be. Nuanced, sure, but not particularly intricate. Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour.

No alcohol or other off-notes come through.

Mf: Wonderfully soft on the palate - a characteristic I love. Near perfectly carbonated. The smoothness/wetness is thrown off by the starchiness of the flavour profile; it's almost stale. I don't know if I'd even call it refreshing. Decent thickness and body. Texture suits the taste decently, but is far from feeling custom-tailored to it.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, or boozy.

Dr: Very drinkable; I'll have no trouble killing the bottle. As much as I like it, I can't concede that it's up there with the best Trappist beers. I look forward to trying Petit Orval and to trying this with some age on it, but every time I try it I don't find it to be world class. That said, I've heard every bottle is a bit different, and that alone makes it a unique beer. I'll concede it's a classic, but I wouldn't recommend it to friends per se. I hope to visit the abbey one day and try it in its ideal setting. I could easily drink another. Certainly well above average.

It's absolutely worth trying, but let's not conflate being a classic beer with being a great one. That said, it grows on you the more you drink it. I could see myself appreciating this more and more each time I come back to it.

Low B

kojevergas, Apr 05, 2011
Photo of csiewert
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at the Tigin Irish Pub in DFW airport. Pours a hazy orange golden color with a finger of off white foamy head that has good retention and a slight amount of lacing. The aroma is strong with banana, pear and orange notes. The flavor has hints of banana, clove, pear, orange peel and a slight amount of alcohol. The mouthfeel is nice and bubbly, but not too overboard on the carbonation. Overall a great beer and I'm amazed I found it in an airport bar.

csiewert, Apr 03, 2011
Photo of KenC
2.53/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Cool bottle, with a little tag hawking their glassware for sale. Three fingers of head that lasted until the end. Lacing was just average. Medium copper color and slight cloudiness.

S- Very nice complex aroma of malt and hops, a little pang of things to come, with a chemical type scent.

T- Starts out perfectly balanced. The well blended flavor was unique. Then it hit, just like the nose. That slight hint of chemical. It's really the alcohol, but I was expecting balance end-to-end and l got foul aftertaste. Really a disappointment.

M-Medium body with good balance.

O- I liked everything up to the ending. When you factor in the price, for a non-happy ending I think I'll look elsewhere.

KenC, Apr 02, 2011
Photo of claspada
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aromas begin with a clean herbal smell mixed with some lemon and honey. Has earthy notes mixed in as well that remind you of a cup of tea.
The tastes begin musty and citrusy, both orange and lemon. The yeast characteristics are prevalent throughout which keeps this beer quite dry as you initially consume and well through the finish. Bitterness is clean but also quite prevalent throughout.
Overal this beer is extremely drinkable but just not my cup of tea. Would like some more malt and less yeast flavor. The moderately high carbonation level also is a detriment for enjoying more than one of these.

claspada, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of mm931c
3.13/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bottled 7/10/10
Best before 7/10/15

Poured into snifter

A-beautiful but understated bottle conjures great expectations for this one. Huge 3.5 finger head that will not go away. Lacing ok but not as good as Duvel; too much dense foam. Medium copper brown slight cloudiness.

S- very nice and refined. Sophisticated. Meets the expecations of the visual presentation of the bottle and the pour. Bouquet had me siced up and ready to be blown away by taste.

T- a let down. balanced but boring.
Ok it's very refined and probably perfect, but you have to strain in oder to appreciate it. The well blended flavors are so weak, they have a hard time fighting the slight hint of chemical taste on the palate. The intensity of the flavors are too weak for a brew this price. Huge disappointment after such a great pour, head, and bouquet. Can get more taste from a brew at a sixth of the price.

M-actually good. Balanced.

O- Too pricey for me to buy this again. Not going to spend this much money just for 3 1/2 inches of foam and a nice smell. Duvel is nearly half the price with just sa good a bouquet and two times better/more taste. Duvel does not have as much lingering foam which is probably why it laces better than this stuff.

mm931c, Mar 31, 2011
Photo of cdkrenz
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thank you Krista.

This brew was bottled on 4/22/2010 and it's label recommends consumption before 4/22/2015.

A - A hazy copper in my snifter topper by nearly four inches of pristine, frothy, white, enduring head.

S - Sweet aroma of Belgian yeasts complimented by rounded malts and a hint of sharpening alcohol.

T - There's a sharp and abrupt hop presence early in the sip. It's not in any way overwhelming of the flavors that follow but it has a definite presence. The malt is coarse as it evaporates.

M - The feel is light, airy and evaporating.

~ This is certainly a beer to be sought out. While its not the most difficult to find it does carry a heafty price tag. My suggestion is that you pull the trigger on one bottle and then determine if more are in order. In my opinion, I'm thinking this one is enough for me.

cdkrenz, Mar 29, 2011
Photo of BayouBengal1537
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 30/12/2009
Pours an orangish copper with nice fluffy white head. keeps its retention for most of the beer. No lacing left on glass.
Smells mainly floral to me, orange, spice
Taste is belgian hops, belgian yeast, lemon, leathery, complex spice note
Mouthfeel was rather light, pretty high on the carbonation
Overall, a fantastic beer. These Belgian Ales I am really enjoying lately. World class

BayouBengal1537, Mar 29, 2011
Photo of JLeege
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 3/25/10 ~ 1 year old ~ Poured into a chalice

Appearance- Pours a slightly hazy orange color with a big creamy just off white head. Good retention, a little wispy lace.

Smell- An earthy funk fills the air as soon as you open the bottle. When you put your nose in it you get lots of lemon with some leather, tart smelling. Some light spice, a hint of yeast. The aroma is as good as it gets!

Taste- Dry throughout, somewhat musty in a good way. Slight caramel, lemon, peach, a little apple, the fruit presence gives it slightly tart quality. Grassy to dry hay, with some leather showing up on the back end. Very crisp, drying finish, lingering light fruits and leather on the palate.

Mouthfeel- Medium / light body, fairly spritzy carbonation. Dry, refreshing, champagne like. Overly drinkable.

Overall- I can't believe this is the first time I have had this beer! (Maybe it was the unassuming label) Instantly one of my new favorites. Probably the best Belgian Pale I have had.

JLeege, Mar 26, 2011
Photo of atlason
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a somewhat hazy medium amber. Medium head retention with good lacing.

Taste is balanced and well integrated. Citrusy, spicy hops well balanced with slighly caramel flavored and weakly belgian yeast tasting malt.

Good velvety mouthfeel. Overall a very feel good beer with excellent drinkability. Could drink this all night. My favorite trappist ale.

atlason, Mar 26, 2011
Photo of skandha
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Comes in an elegant vase-like bottle with subdued label. Color in the glass is a bruised-apricot, muddled orange/brown with sparkling seafoam head.

Smell: Soft cherry overtones, with a confusing sweet spice blend that made me think of Dr. Pepper.

Taste: Distinctly tripartite. Pleasant stone fruit notes first (cherry, peach), followed next by an herbal bitterness...like nettle and dandelion greens as opposed to the usuall lemon rind. This fades into a soft, malty finish so long that it really could wake you up in the morning if you forgot to brush your teeth before bed.

Mouthfeel: Big! I so heady with foam that on first swig I almost snorted it out my nose. Full and creamy to be certain.

Overall: Delicious. Dry enough throughout to stand up to stronger cuisines, but so lingering and complex that I'd hate to spoil this three-part overture with soy sauce on the side.

skandha, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of brewdenver
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First of this is not my type of beer. I do not really enjoy pale ales but this is one I definitely had to try. With that said. Golden brown in color with heavy lacing and strong fingers. Previous review stated a sea foam head and that is spot on. Used a New Belgium tulip and even with it being .47L to the mark and probably .5L full the head rose slightly out of the glass. The glass does have a laser etching on the bottom that may have contributed to the larger than normal head. Smell is consistent with a pale ale. Strong hop aroma. Not quite Challenger hop but earthy and very green like. Taste has a sort of consistent flavor from beginning to end hitting you at first with some strong belgian hops with a nice balance of hop/sweet middle and finishing quite smooth and not too dry for my palette. Very active on the tongue and mouth with a sort of brut champagne feel. If I want to drink a pale ale this is the beer for sure. A definite beer to keep around to pair with when I make more spicy foods or blackened fish/chicken.

brewdenver, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of ReluctantScooper
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

ReluctantScooper, Mar 21, 2011
Photo of sfprint
2.33/5  rDev -44.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A: Insane carbonation, very difficult to pour. Bottle cap flew off with the loudest pop I've ever heard from a beer bottle. Light amber with tons of rising carbonation. Sea foam head.

S: Oddly resembles hash. Bizarre chemically smell. Very strange smell. Sweet, nutty.

T: Also strange taste. Weird chemical taste that really dominates the flavor. Strangely astringent. Sour.

M: Mouth puckering. Light sting.

D: I just don't understand why my taste buds are so different from everyone elses. This is the second Orval I've had in the past few years and I feel the same. Wishing I enjoyed it as much as everyone else.

sfprint, Mar 15, 2011
Photo of GJ40
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled from an 11.2 oz bottle in a chalice. Bottled on 1/6/10 and best by 1/6/15.

A - An enormous white head that resembles an ice cream sundae. A deep golden color with incredible clarity.

S - Spicy with a hint of fruit.

T - Crisp and clean with subtle fruits, spice and a lingering funk. Very complex.

M - A fine consistency with a constant but not overpowering barrage of bubbles.

D - This is so easy to drink and thought provoking enough to make you come back for more.

GJ40, Mar 14, 2011
Photo of Ochsenblut
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 10/08/2010

The body is a cloudy orange brown color with a light tan head with very fine bubbles. The head retention is excellent, maintaining substantially throughout the experience.

The smell is of oranges, earth, and spicy goodness.

This beer is extremely creamy, with well attenuated pale malts, and vaguely soapy hops moving into leathery brett funk (moldy, but in a good way!). Rounding out the end is lingering funk and tannic astringency. The tongue is slightly warmed by alcohol alongside the aftertaste, which sticks around practically forever.

I've heard Orval derives its complexity from the Brett yeast used at bottling, and it's no joke. It really does add a new layer to something that might otherwise be 'just good.' Once I have the means, I'll be cellaring a few of these.

Ochsenblut, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of pioppo
3.38/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A very particular and characteristic beer from Belgium!! Beautiful the foam that is very adherent.

A lot of wine!! ..with incredible sentor of must both at the nose and in mouth.. This beer remember me a Lambic style.

I don't like very much this beer because it's too much acid and so not many drinkable..

pioppo, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of GodOfBeer
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the nicest looking beers ever! Pours a ridiculously foamy head that never seems wants to die down, looks like fluffy clouds.

Smells like pixie sticks, candy sugar, bready yeast, hay and flowers. Very flowery, almost smells like a funeral home, in a good way.

Malty sweet and sugary upfront, lots of different spices, lots of brett yeast, and nice and hoppy. Tastes like liquid bread, definitely complex and changes over time.

Wonderfully drinkable with a velvety smooth mouthfeel. Overall one of the best beers money can buy!

GodOfBeer, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of estereicher
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark Golden, slightly cloudy appearance. Nice head - quite effervescent. Yeasty Alcohol scent w/ various spices. Slightly sour taste but very well balanced. Overall lots of body with a refreshing flavor...

I drank at around 16 deg celcius, and was quite impressed with the balance of flavors and drinkability.

estereicher, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of marty21
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep copper/amber with a 3 fingers worth of off white creamy/foamy head. Settles to a very thick foamy cap with tons of chunky lacing on the glass.

S: Light fruity aroma. Yeasty with some citrus and spices.

T: Yeasty with some light fruits. Some spices and it's a bit sour.

M: Medium to high carbonation with a medium body.

D: I don't usually enjoy belgian beers but i suprisingly really enjoyed this one. From the appearance down to the mouthfeel it was great.

marty21, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of THECPJ
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: orange with a 2 finger white head

smell: spices, malts, citrus

taste: very sweet, spices

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body, smooth, dry finish

drinkability: goes down easy. wish it was a bit cheaper.

Cheers,

The CPJ

THECPJ, Mar 10, 2011
Photo of KajII
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[Best served in a Trappist glass]

Poured a murky amber with some orange undertones and a huge white foamy head that was mostly diminishing but had fantastic lacing.

The aroma was heavy of a straw like malt, a moderate floral hop and a moldy scented yeast with notes of dried fruit (raisins), a hint of spice and some citrus (lemon and maybe orange) with a mild alcohol tinge.

It tasted a malty, a little bitter and slightly sour with a hint of a peppery spice in the beginning and finished lightly bitter and yeasty with notes of fruit, citrus and a slight alcohol tinge at the end. The flavor was left to linger for a while, leaving a light sourness on the palate.

Mouthfeel was light to medium in body and a little oily in texture with the carbonation being quite pronounced, almost prickly in feel.

Overall a fantastic Trappist Ale, I can see now why the Monks only brew this one beer.

KajII, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber color with a GIGANTIC 4 inch bone colored head. Chunky head is full of numerous bubbles and lasts a long time. Somewhat formed ring lacing on the drink down. Smells very floral, citrus notes, slight vinegar, and must/funk. Taste is of apple cider, lemon zest, grass/flowers, funk, and a bitterness that starts at the start of each sip. Bitterness is very herbal and is quite mild after each sip. The funk is from the Brett used in creating this beer. This beer is very carbonated and yields a huge head on the pour. The body is somewhat light but crisp and clean. Drinkability is good but this is a beer I can see myself only having occasionally. A very unique tasting and interesting beer.

UCLABrewN84, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of BBP
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- An instant eruption of foam after popping it open. Filled the cup twice with head. Settled down and left a thick coating of lace over the glass. Considerably carbonated. Almost too much from the looks of it.

S- A clean herbal aroma filled with honey.A few notes of lemon. Quite unique for a beer. Reminded me more of tea really. Very earthy.

T- Complex and then some. Hops are quite prominent, but not assertive or dominant. Almost seems like a Belgian HopSlam due to the honey. Has a definite medicinal tinge to it. I've heard the term mustiness used to describe it a lot, but I feel like I need to describe it better. It has a ton of flavors that aren't sharp or fresh. It seems aged, and things seem blended rather than mixed. It enhances the character for me, but subtracts from the flavor. All in all, it balances out.

M- Creamy and medium full. The carbonation helps it to sit well, and is quite illusive. It finishes fairly dry.

D- Quite drinkable, but only when it warms up. I've had this cold, and it's a decision that I've regretted. I don't make a point to drink this at any other temperature than room temp.

It's a very unique beer, and there's not a lot like it, and while I appreciate that, it doesn't blow me away. I feel like it's both overrated and under-appreciated. A good beer and must try but nowhere near the top of my charts.

BBP, Mar 07, 2011
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,498 ratings.