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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

4,494 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,494
Reviews: 2,128
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 218
Gots: 443 | 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: 4,494 | Reviews: 2,128 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zoso1967
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice hazy copper with wonderful pillowy head. Lemongrass and flowers in the aroma. I am also getting a hint of clove and mint. Very clean taste with wonderful lemon zest and spicy yeast notes. Perhaps some black pepper in there as well, very complex. It has plenty of hop bitterness and some funky tartness as well, but as stated before it is very clean, allowing all the different flavors to play their part. Fairly dry finish and a nice light to medium body make it very enjoyable to drink. A very well put together and executed brew. Score another one for Monk's.

zoso1967, Jan 26, 2010
Photo of andrewm190
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well done from Orval. This beer was notably sweet, and with a hearty sense of the hops. An initial clean finish with a sneaky aftertaste that kept the hops close to my conscience. Poured a yellow-gold, with yeast for cloud cover. The beer worked well within itself, in that it didn't shy away from acknowledging its complexity, but didn't overwhelm the palate with a kaleidoscope of various sweeteners that hinder other Belgians.

andrewm190, Jan 25, 2010
Photo of Wadsey
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured slowly into my DFH signature glass. The head is so lively and rocky that it took three pours to empty the bottle. I successfully avoided pouring a significant amount of sediment/yeast into my glass.

A: Orval pours as a lively, rocky, but soft-looking head that hangs on until my glass is empty. Once the head subsides a bit, a clear, pale gold beer is revealed.

S: Lemon, grape skins and an undercurrent of horsey funkiness tease the nose.

T: Subtle, but complicated. Lemon, again, but joined with a tartness of green apples. Hint of black pepper, too. Brettanomyces reveals itself in the finish, which is horsey and earthy and very long and dry.

M: Light and well carbonated. Appropriate.

D: Orval is light enough and very interesting, so drinkability rates very well.

Wadsey, Jan 25, 2010
Photo of JamisonM
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: huge head and a copper color poured into a Lost Abbey tulip

S: its funky, its bitter, its sour, bit of grapes like champane

T: taste is like the smell its very complex mask the alcohol so very well its not overly sour or bitter just right and a bit of funk comes with it.

M: Light mouth with tons of carbonation tickles the tongue but this never feels thin always brings a lot of flavor to the party

D: may I have another? nothing wrong with this beer.

JamisonM, Jan 23, 2010
Photo of CharlatanSin
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Word to the wise -- let this one warm up quite a bit before you dive into it. The difference is night and day.

I've had this bottle sitting around for a while, waiting for a good moment to finally try it. Martha Choakley screwing the pooch seems like as good a time as any. It was bottled on 07/05/07, and is "best by" 07/05/12.

It poured a hazy yellow gold into the oversized wine glass. It was a cautious pour, but the head was still way over the top, literally. Gigantic, white and foamy, like laundry detergent.

The smell is very sour and tart. That belgian yeast doing its thing. I'm getting a lot of apple, some grape, and a definite pepper undercurrent. The taste is similar, but it works even better on the tongue. Sweet and tart and extremely dry. If I'd already had a few, you could possibly convince me it was some wonderful white wine.

The mouthfeel is light, and the carbonation is tight and sharp, again, almost wine-like. Already mentioned the super dry finish. I'm still developing my palate as far as Belgians are concerned, but this is a darn good beer any way you slice it.

CharlatanSin, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of number1bum
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can't believe I've never had Orval, but I haven't, so thanks to mymrnngjckt for this bottle. This bottle is not quite 1 year old; bottled 2/20/08.

Pours a slightly murky amber color with a quickly billowing off-white head. Even into a Duvel tulip it takes a little bit of time to pour. Huge creamy head that eventually settles to a rocky, uneven lace with a big dollop in the middle and splashes of stick all over the sides.

Smell immediately greets me with a big dose of funk. It's tart and funky, with a musty horse leather sort of quality to it as well. As I get deeper into it there is some fruity and woody dry hop character.

Taste is not as funky as the smell, but does have some light tartness and some barnyard character. Has a leathery and musty quality to it, which together are probably the most persistent flavors. Also some peppery spiciness. There is some dry hop flavor in the finish; it's woody and earthy.

Mouthfeel is quite crisp and dry, with a very clean finish. Medium bodied.

This is a very good beer with a lot of interesting characteristics. The brett does some nice things for this beer, and it's quite complex. Despite the complexities however it ends up feeling just a tad bland. All of the flavors are somewhat subtle; the funk for instance was more pronounced in the nose. Not quite a great beer in my book, but certainly a very good one.

number1bum, Jan 19, 2010
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.95/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For my 100th review, I decided to drink something exquisite, if not rare.

As a relatively irrelevant aside… check out the weight on the (empty) Orval 11.2 oz bottle. It is excessively sturdy, way heavier than the 22 oz. Rogue bottle I have to compare it to. As I said, trivial…

G – Duvel tulip, my go-to, especially for Belgian styles.

A – Sparkling golden amber with a huge effervescence and a large pillowy head, splattered lacing everywhere.

S – Smells great; impressions of apples, the funky and fruity smell of Brettanomyces shared by Gueuze / Lambic / Oud Bruin / Flanders Red, and also musky sour grape.

T – The taste is phenomenal. Exceptionally dry, tart, and citric all the way through to the astringent finish. I would rate the taste as a 6 out of 5. As an Alstrom once said (though I think he was speaking of Duvel when he said it), "It's pretty much like sex in the bottle and the devil told me to drink it."

M – Thin, with sharp Champagne-like carbonation, pleasantly prickly due to the overall astringent nature.

D – An exceptional brew.

ktrillionaire, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of mfkr
2.88/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Hazy orange copper, loads of foam that takes long time before it disappears and leaves some thin lacing.

L - Fruity especially citrus fruits, some grass, acid feeling, some yeast.

T - Apples, lemon, orange, the acid from the smell is there, some yeast and hops. The taste doesn't feel balanced.

M - Very sharp from the carbonation, it's a bit too thin.

Would have been really nice if the taste would have been more balanced.

mfkr, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of Axic10
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into Chimay chalace. Bottled on 5/8/2009, best before 5/9/2014.

Appearance: Pours a murky, golden orange with a small layer of head which leaves very nice lacing.

Smell: Funky yeast, wine-like aroma...probably one of my favorite smelling beers of all time.

Taste: Sour tartness followed with a dry-wine like aftertaste. Subtle hints of spice. Tasty.

Mouthfeel: Light body with the perfect carbonation.

Drinkability: An often overlooked gem for me. I would say that this is probably my favorite trappist beer that is readily available to me due to it difference from Chimay, Westmalle, Rochefort. I just need to remember to show more affection to this baby more often.

Axic10, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of GrantDuthie
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Murky orange/gold. A thick frothy head which dissapates to a patches of froth which lace the glass slightly

S - citrus, sour grapes, peaches. Very Floral and pleasant

T - Very fruity, zesty. Citrus: Oranges, slight lemon. Peaches. A very delicate and intricate taste

A very good beer which i would definately try again. A must try.

GrantDuthie, Jan 15, 2010
Photo of bump8628
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At 9 months in the bottle Orval pours amber into a chalice with a voluminous airy head that clumps in patches on the edges of the glass. It opens with grainy malt, sweet and perfumy hops, citrus, and sea air. Further on, spicy pepper, tartness, hard mineral water, freshly cut hay, and notes of leather emerge. Hops and the mineral character leave a trace of bitterness at the end. On the palate Orval is extraordinarily dry, yet the ample carbonation gives a full sensation. A timeless beer that's unlike any other.

bump8628, Jan 15, 2010
Photo of Tim2000
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

330 mL brown bottle.

Pours a murky golden orange with a huge white head.

Aroma is tart and full of fruit - raspberries come to mind.

Starts off grainy and earthy, with sour apple notes. A hint of pepper follows and faint phenols are present. Hops are grassy and pull the beer into a dry, slightly astringent finish. Mouthfeel is a bit watery with very high carbonation. I prefer it once it's died down a bit.

Orval definitely stands out from the other Trappist beers with style all its own and a lambic-like character. Highly recommended.

Tim2000, Jan 14, 2010
Photo of BuckyFresh
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Poured from a bottle into an oversize wine glass. Beer is copper/gold in color, hazy, and envelopes the glass with a large head which recedes rather quickly, leaving moderate lacing in its place. Foam is large-bubbled and almost soapy in appearance. Carbonation is moderate to high.

Smell: Smell is quite pungent, with a good deal of spiciness and yeast shining through. Also, there is an underlying sour fruit aroma like lemon zest that is noticeable. Some hops also present.

Taste: The flavor was what was expected following the smell of the beer. The initial taste was sour and spicy and rather dry. The body was fairly light and reminded me of hard cider. There is a great yeasty flavor on the back-end, and it finishes with a slight musky taste.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and light-bodied. With the amount of carbonation and bitter/sour flavor, I could have used a bit more punch from the body, but it is certainly refreshing.

Drinkability: Very drinkable and smooth. The lingering dryness leaves me wanting more!

All in all, I think the word here is unique. It was my first Trappist Ale, and it was definitely worth the experience. The flavor seemed to grow and gain complexity as the beer warmed, so I think I would recommend leaving this one out of the fridge for a while before enjoying.

BuckyFresh, Jan 12, 2010
Photo of Rayek
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my favorite Chalice.

A: Hazy orange copper, with a fair amount of carbonation. An exceedlingly soapy copper tinted cap starts strong and slowly settles to a dense sheet of foam. Leaves bits and pieces of lace.

S: Super funky and very complex. Pepper, anise and cut grass are out front. They're joined by a powerful sourdough aroma. Mixed in is what I would best describe as a barnyard earthiness. There's even a light pear fruitiness to be had.

T: Fruity, spicy and sour all at the same time. Pepper and anise bitterness, plus funky sourdough flavors dominate. Malt is almost hay like. A pale fruit sweetness is at work too. Finishes tart, spicy and dry.

M: The medium body is slightly grainy. Carbonation is vigorous, yet soft.

D: Orval is a beer to approach with an open mind. Truly one of the more unique brews out there. I'm glad I finally revisited this one after many years away.

Rayek, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured from a bottle into a goblet. Beer is brownish and hazy, forms a thick white head of medium and small white bubbles, falls away leaving lacing all over the glass, looks good. Carbonation is moderate to high.

Smell a little of spice and yeast, there is an underlying sweetness to the beer as well. Slight musky aroma as well.

Beer is medium to light bodied, has a minor forward character and a sour / musky late and aftertaste. This beer is one of a kind but the my first impressions on taste were not that great. Time for taste two, sour and bitter duke it out on this beer and it finishes a little dry.

Any serious Belgian beer fan will probably get around to trying most of the trappists but this has been my least favorite sampling of a Trappist beer so far. Its unique and I understand the souring of the beer. I'm impressed, just not my style yet.

drabmuh, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of rarbring
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This trappist is orange/copper a bit hazy with yeast remains in the bottle. A very large head that recedes rather quickly leaving some lacing.

A heavy nearly pungent smell. A fruity acidness. Much promising.

The taste is full of bitter notes and a refreshing sour stamina. Goes very well with a fat cheese.

A strong carbonation is also giving a refreshing feel.

In all it has some resemblance to geuze (and that is not bad!)

rarbring, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.73/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle served in a chalice.

A: Beautiful bottle and art. Pours a hazy amber to chestnut color, firming a huge yellow to beige head that dissipates slowly leaving many lacings around. A small layer persists and some particles can be seen floating around

S: Sweet, malty and "biscuity". Fruity (reminded me pears and apples). Acid (orange zest). Fresh and grassy hops and the traditional Belgium yeasts the end

T: Distinct and complex as the nose. Sweet caramel upfront but very dry, in overall, bit acid and quite bitter end. Caramel malts. White grapes, apples, notes of wood, nuts, yeasts and finally the hops

M: Medium body and high carbonation. Dry and bitter aftertaste

O: Excellent drinkability. A classic and, at the same time, distinct Belgium Trappist. Mandatory to any beer lover.

Second review 2010.11.20 (improving A and D from 4.5 to 5)

eduardolinhalis, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of Mora2000
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours murky orange with a large white head. The aroma is lemon with some brett-funk. The flavor is quite a bit of citrus as well as some funk. The finish is quite a bit of hop bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and high carbonation. This is a very unique beer that everyone that is into craft beer should seek out and try.

Mora2000, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of ThaCreep
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The nose is quite sweet, raised with yeast slightly acidic. In the mouth, we feel the bitterness of these yeasts (which is not unlike the lambics), and coupled with aromatic hops, the body becomes elusive. The finish is hoppy bitterness and acid sticking to the palace, leaving all the flavor of the beverage spread to the buds.

But most of all its obvious advantages, the Orval is a beer that changes gradually as time passes (the alcohol level is changing quickly), making each taste a new discovery. A unique beer.

ThaCreep, Jan 02, 2010
Photo of Durge
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very lively brew showing a hazy deep amber color with a giant golden head with lots of gobby lacing. The aroma is sweet banana malt and lemon herbal hop, very delightful and complex. The taste brings an odd lemon malt blend that immediately grows on you if that makes sense. It has a soft corriander butterscotch blend with a spicey and very tart finish that shows some melon subtleties. The feel is a smooth mid-body with plenty of spritz. It's reasonably drinkable and a very unique option for refreshment and flavor. Pretty good stuff.

Durge, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of Mavajo
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bright yellow-orange with a fluffy, frothy white head. Good retention and generous lacing. Aroma is a mix of light fruits and Belgian yeast, with a lemony-zest undertone. The aroma seems to be a good omen of what's to come, but the taste just doesn't quite deliver, in my opinion. There's a nice blend of light fruits, lemon and white grapes with the typical Belgian yeast notes - but it's all a bit subdued. There's minimal aftertaste, which is always great in my book, but the overall taste just doesn't impress like I feel it should. Dry crisp finish with generous carbonation and a fairly light body. Drinkability is decent - there's nothing offensive here to slow you down, but I just wasn't particularly wow'd either.

In short, the beer does pretty much everything right and doesn't offend in any way...but the total package is somewhat unremarkable, in my opinion. It's missing that proverbial "je ne sais pas." Regardless, it's a good brew - just doesn't bring the "wow" factor.

Mavajo, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of andrewroush
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 4/29/2009 - 11.2 fl oz

A - Hazy amber-orange color with 3 finger rocky white head poured into an oversized wine glass. Lacing almost covers the inside of the glass.

S - Lemon-citrus scent right off the bat with a strong yeasty nose. A hint of wood and something else I can't put my finger on.

T - Mildly bitter with a hoppy citrus aftertaste. Very dry finish. I was little disappointed at the taste after such a beautiful pour. The sweetness of the malt comes through a little after it warms. It's very unique, like nothing I've ever tasted.

M - Highly carbonated and rich, but not too thick.

D - I didn't dislike this beer, but I don't think I would drink another one.

After seeing how highly this beer was rated I was disappointed after I got my hands on it. It's not a bad beer by any means, but it doesn't particularly suit my tastes. I wouldn't purchase it again.

andrewroush, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of brownbeer
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a brilliant yellowish orange, nice bubbles and a head that will be as big as you want it.

Absolutely wonderful nose; bretty funk, white pepper, a light woody note, white grapes.

Flavors are similar to the nose with brisk carbonation and finishing dry with great noble hop character.

Sensational in refreshment and drinkability. Classic and inspiring. Yes, please.

brownbeer, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of mklinger
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet. A very thick, rocky head formed. There's an effervescence about this beer that is very pretty in the pour. The beer pours a pale orange amber. I did my best to get a clean pour but it came out pretty hazy. It's an interesting, complex looking beer.

Aroma was great. i got some lemon & herbs right away followed quickly by a bit of the barnyard aroma that folks talk about as wet horse blanket. Again, this is just such a complex aroma profile.

Taste is complex too, though I didn't find that it held up quite as well as the aroma (but it was close). More of the barnyard in my taste profile, not as much bitterness as I thought there might be. Good bit of sourness, too. Quite tart.

Rich mouthfeel. The carbonation lends a fullness to this beer that is otherwise greater than the body. Quite nice.

mklinger, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of MOB210SA
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the hugest expanding heads I ever came across, even for a Belgian. The head is a pillowy landscape of cloud like forms, dense and lush looking. Very bubbly with carbonation. Somewhat clouded with yeast, which with Orval I think doesn't take away from it. So, I wasn't too careful with the pour. Reddish, burnt copper orange in color. Head finally fell to a dense pillowy blanket, That stays the entire duration of the glass, and probably would stay alive all night.

Mellow spices, some clove, and familiar Belgium yeastiness. Somewhat dry, lightly bitter finish.

Taste is clove spice and a light fruitiness. Somewhat phenolic qualities in the taste and nose.

Medium bodied with great carbonation, crisp tasty finish and light on the tongue.

Great drinkability, this beer is delicious, balanced great, and is so easy to drink it practically disappears. Will improve review later.

MOB210SA, Dec 24, 2009
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,494 ratings.