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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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,601 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,601
Reviews: 2,145
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 249
Gots: 495 | 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:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001

This beer is 6.2% when released in Europe, US labels say 6.9% due to labeling laws.

Many agree that the somewhat unpractical addition of this sometimes undesired yeast strain is what grants Orval its age worthiness, not to mention unique aroma, making it a one of the few beers worth cellaring.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,601 | Reviews: 2,145 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of eagles22
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: beautiful 3 finger white fluffy head nice hazey orange body

Smell: yeast, straw, apricots and also some malts

Taste: very simple but complex brew..nice hop citrus notes first than smooth very light malt character somehwhat of a sour brew but in a good way

Mouthfeel: medium body with carbonation

Drinkability: if you find this beer enjoy this one enjoy it for all its worth cuz its worth every penny

Photo of Brandt
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 vintage (10/03/04)
as part of a vertical 09,08,07,04

this beer poured into a chimay goblet a nice copper orange color with some white head that falls fast and leaves little while drinking

the smell of this aged orval gives off subtle malt character and a moderate brett/sour funk. there are hints of some dark fruit including black cherries and plum. there is also a sourish woody character here with a strong brett presence.

the taste of this beer was far different from that of a new one. there was a moderate sourness to it with a strong dry brett bite. there are also notes of port and cherry with touches of an oak like tannic quality and subtle notes of plum, a very sweet while still being sour beer.

this beer finished out with a medium body and lingering aromatics of the dark fruit and a silky coating on the tongue.

aging this beer turns it into a whole different beast. the turn this beer takes as it apporaches the five years out mark is remarkable if you like the flemish ale characteristics. this beer can go from a relativley bright and spritzy hoppy ale to a much richer beverage with deep complexity, both of which are delightful! i will be keeping a stock around to always have an old one on hand after this tasting!!

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

11.2 fl. oz. bottle poured into Duvel snifter. Bottled 02/20/2008. Served 40-45 degrees.
A: Orange brown. Sticky vanilla colored lace. Sticky lace left around snifter.
S: Very sour, citrus and sweet. Somewhat flowery.
T: Sour intially, works into slight citrus body, and very light malts. Sourness melts away
M: Light on tongue, very smooth, and warming. Leaves behind a slight dry feeling.
D: The dry feeling left behind makes me want to drink more.

Photo of Avagadro
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours copper in color with an impressive amount of sudsy head. Lacing is extensive, though most of it is hidden by the brew's haziness.

S: Potent bouquet is reminiscent of lemon zest, hay, and damp soil.

T: Bone-dry with the tell-tale funk of Mr. Brett. This delicious brew tales off with a subtle hop bitterness that pairs well with the funky flavors.

M: Thin body with an assault of prickly carbonation.

D: A must have for any fan of Brett, or anyone who is interested in seeing what farmhouse funk is all about. A world-class one-of-a-kind brew that is well worth seeking out.

Photo of caresville
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this beer pours a beautiful deep orange to copper, huge foaming head with brilliant lacing as you continue to drink. the smell is orange peels, cinnamon, vanilla, figs, pears, etc... quite a similar taste, it really is amazing like all trappist beers. pears and oranges are evident in the taste as well a hint of fine belgian yeast and spices. those monks really do know how to make a delicious brew!!

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

A- really nice looking beer. pours a burnt orange with a massage off-white head that stays around a while.

S- love the subtleties of the bouquet. figs, malts, floral, brown sugar with a hint of alcohol on the end.

T- so dry in the mouth that it almost causes a numbing sensation on the tongue. light lemon and honey flavors on the front. not much of an aftertaste cause all the carbonation knocks it out

M- medium body with lots of carbonation

D- this is definitely an acquired taste. has a good taste but the carbonation makes it a little too dry to drink on a regular basis.

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

2008 bottle - poured into a snifter.

Beautifully pours a hazy red-orange color with tons of bubbling action emerging throughout the glass. A thick, pillowy and foamy white head sits a top the ale and just stays stationary. No dissipation whatsoever after the initial pour. Reminds me of the Duvel, so lovely. The lacing is fantastic as well - huge clouds of bubbles sticking to the glass. The smell is Belgian yeast, lemon zest, green apple tartness and a touch of pear. Very fruity in scent with just a tad bit of sour funkiness.

Wow, the taste is full of fresh apples and subtle hints of lemon. Very light and refreshing actually. Great balance of sweet and sour. Not so much of a bready taste to the brew, which was a bit surprising, but not essential to its flavor. I can discern a slight Brett funk - not as potent as a gueuze or lambic - and a bit of dryness and tartness towards the aftertaste. This tastes more like a mini gueuze, rather than a pale ale, as there was no discernible hop bitterness.

Very light-bodied and generously carbonated. Crisp and clean the whole way through. Easily drinkable and quite tasty. A great refreshing Trappist brew.

Photo of crnipeter
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The production date says 15.09. 2009 so the beer is quite fresh one.
Hazy light amber-orange. Thick solid ivory head leaving patches and bands of thick lace on the glass walls as the crown retreats. In its own brand glass Orval looks imperial and the crown never fades completely, leaving a solid cap.

Floral with traces of honey, fresh cut hay, lemony esters and juniper.

Herbal one with evident juniper and lemon rind touch. A constant search of balance between bitter and sour is always leaning on a bitter side till it ends with hoppy bitterness accompanied by dry finish. I wonder how this biter-sour game will evolve with aging.

High carbonation produces bubbly sensation yet the beer remains somewhat creamy. Light medium bodied.

A particular brew that you'll never get tired of.

Photo of Shiredave
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

* Vintage Review
best before date 22-6-2010
Poured at cellar temp

This beer billowed a foamy head that the Duvel glass could barely contain as I gently poured down the side of the glass. Strong sour notes wafted to my nose - sharp rotting apples with hints of lemon zest, yeasty esters and candied grain. The head was fizzy with a clotted peak rising from the middle -effusive carbonation streaming from the bottom etch and visible the the hazy orange / gold liquid.

The sour brett aromas linger as I sip - some oxidation is evident but overshadowed by the malt flavor and tart bite from the carbonation. Sourish flavors Ive experienced with fresher bottles is only on the fringe - surprising hop flavors - stale and dry blend with the sugary grain taste - mellowed and balanced more than I remember.

Light medium body this is very drinkable and enjoyable - sharp sour flavors pleasantly coat my mouth and compliment the firm hop bittering at the finish. Abrupt finish to the liquid but the complex flavors and sour notes linger with lip smacking satisfaction .

A truly fine crafted Ale from those crazy Trappist dudes.

Photo of gfreed
4.01/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a bottle in Brussels at Mokafe in the Arcade du Roi, with a ham and cheese sandwich and a small salad. Rich, ruby-red color with a dense white head that took at least five minutes to dissolve enough so I could get to the beer underneath. Nice. Lace everywhere. Surprisingly light aroma, but that was deceptive: there was a nice malty hit in the first taste and ever-so-little bite at the back. Tight, fizzy bubbles and a light texture-- lighter than I expected based on the color. Easy to drink, and the 6.9 ABV doesn't hit hard.

Photo of sanjosey19
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into North Coast goblet. Very thick and cloudy. Orangish in color. Created a very thick, two finger head. I actually liked the smell quite a bit, kind of a fruity citrus mixed with a bit of straw. Very dry mouthfeel, a little high on the carbonation for my taste. Slight hoppiness up front, a little bit of funkiness, nice and sweet. Very drinkable, I actually felt like the beer got better the more I had. All in all, a very good Belgian Pale, very unique citrusy flavor. Not my favorite style, but definitely one of the best, if not the best, of it's style.

Photo of davod23
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Feeling contemplative tonight, so I thought I would see what the monks are up to. Orval. IMO, the most unique of the Trappist ales. Poured from the bottle into my Orval chalice. Score.

Popping the cap resulted in a good amount of beer over my countertop. Damn, that was a quick boilover.

Appearance is a slightly murky orange-yellow color, with a billowing white head that subsides to a thin cap. Just a little lacing.

Smell is good, but not great. It's got the funky Brett barnyard characteristics, maybe a touch of citrus, and yeast. It's pretty understated though, and I have had Belgian pales with a bit more on the nose.

Taste is what I come for for this brew. Funk, yeast, lemon, a hint of orange zest. Very nice, very distinctive. A long lasting yeasty finish, very dry. Perhaps the driest beer I've had.

Mouthfeel is fantastic. It's very highly carbonated, so it's light and fizzy on the palate. Although I tend to like styles that are bigger and lower-carbonated, the mouthfeel is perfect for this brew.

Drinkability: I could drink this all night. And I just might.

An excellent beer. Those monks know what they're doing.

Photo of woosterbill
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle into a snifter.

A: Clear bright orange body topped by a finger of dense white head (lots of foam for such a wide glass); incredible retention, although not much lace. After finally subsiding, the head easily reasserts itself upon a solid swirl of the snifter. Beautiful beer.

S: Dry, floral, yeasty, grassy, bitter. Distinctively Bretty. Complex and nuanced, but surprisingly understated.

T: Largely follows the nose, with fresh herbal qualities in the forefront, followed by a wave of Brett and (later on, at least), a bit of ever-so-slightly-sweet biscuity malt. Supremely dry finish, by far the driest of any beer I've ever had. Very interesting, and quite tasty, but the aridity of the finish sucks all the flavor out of the beer - until the next sip, that is.

M: Light and lively, with loads of fine bubbles; becomes smoother and more tongue-coating as it warms.

D: I sipped on this for quite a while, but definitely could have gone through it more quickly and hand another one or two. The bone-dry finish makes another sip almost a necessity.

Notes: I was excited to see that this showed up on the Union League Cafe's limited (but excellent) beer list, and at less than a 100% markup (unlike the 200%+ on domestic craft). I'd never had Orval before, but knew what to expect from having read reviews. It didn't disappoint, but it certainly didn't blow me away, either. Definitely in a class by itself as far as my experience of Trappist brews can tell, but its distinctiveness seemed to be its biggest strength. On the Trappist side I'd rather have any of the Rochefort or Chimay offerings, and on the bretty side I'd rather have a Wild Devil. Still, a classic beer and one that I'm very happy both to have tried and to have enjoyed.

Cheers!

Photo of DannyS
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a medium brownish red orange with a giant pillow of frothy, loose foam that settles into a half-inch layer. Lacing is thick and webby.

S - Phew! Thick lambic/saison funk with astringent citrus and a touch of floral hops. This one lays the funk on thick!

T - Dry, astringent, somewhat bitter, and grassy. A very earthy brew with a vegetal punch. Finishes surprisingly clean with little to no aftertaste.

M - High carbonation and medium body. Basic, but what I'd expect from a beer.

D - This one's got a tad of a bite to it, as the ABV is a little high and the flavor is pretty bright and in your face, but it's still very drinkable for it's properties.

Overall - Drinks like a cross between a lambic and a saison with some pale ale thrown in. Sounds a little discordant, but it works.

Photo of hardy008
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cloudy amber color with a huge off white head with excellent retention. After I poured some of this into my glass, I had to wait a long time before I could pour out the rest of the bottle. There were huge bubbles with lots of sticky lacing. Wow. The smell has horse blanket, lemon and floral hops. The taste has lemon peeling and bitter florals hops, some of the horse blanket I noticed, and some grass. This is bitter, but not overwhelmingly bitter.

A lot of carbonation, dry, light to medium bodied and complex. Nice to drink, a bit tart, and there is also a hint of sweetness. Well worth trying, and having again.

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

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into a tulip. Label indicates this was bottled on 9/23/2008.

Appearance: beer was extremely foamy when poured (1 finger of beer, 5 fingers of foam). Color is a slightly cloudy attractive cidery hue. As I drink it, huge globules of foam cling preposterously to the sides of the glass. Awesome!

Smell: slightly tart malt with hops both earthy and metallic. Not what I was expecting, but interesting.

Taste: surprisingly tart, astringent and bitter. There is a little sweetness to the malt but plenty of earthy and metallic hops balance that out; there is even a little floral character there at the end. There is even a little chalky flavor, which I like ... a very complex beer.

Mouthfeel: as might be expected from the head, this is an extremely heavily carbonated beer, and I enjoy the creamy texture said carbonation imbues.

Drinkability: this stuff is pretty good, although it may be a little too flavorful and complex to really session.

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

Poured this into an over sized red wine glass. A fairly gentle pour still produces a huge bubbly white head. The hue is a hazy orange/red amber.

The nose contains rich candied syrups. Fruits like cherries and grapes. A nice malt base as well.

Before getting through to any significant taste, my mouth is flooded with an all out carbonation assault. Once getting past the carbonation I can taste cherries surrounded by a vinous character. There is also a syrupy sweetness that mixes with an unknown source of bitterness and finally a bit of alcohol on the finish.

The mouthfeel is very carbonated, but the body is good for a Belgian Pale Ale. The drinkability is also pretty good, minus the onslaught of carbonation.

Overall, this is a tasty Belgian Pale Ale. I would pick this up again, but if the carbonation level is this high in all Orval beers, then I'll probably pass. Just too much to make it enjoyable.

Photo of abuliarose
3.61/5  rDev -14%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a bulbous wine glass to a thick (very, very thick), active cream head over clear amber body. Did I mention how huge the head was? It dies down fairly quickly, though. Smells nice but not overly strong and of estery orange blossom and a little grape. There's a slight floral hop aroma and a little must, but we'll leave it at that.

Tastes like carbonation. After that, a little like apple juice with a metallic tang. There's something very funky mixed in there as well. The ending flavors are citrus sour with tinges of hoppy bitterness. It's... different than the other Belgian pales I've had. This one's got more real farm funk to it.

Mouthfeel is carbonation, basically, but once you're past that it's a fairly light-bodied and smooth beer. The carbonation makes this one a little too hard to drink for me. On the plus side, it bubbles nicely.

All in all, an interesting offering. Would I pick it again over other Trappists? Probably not. But I can appreciate where it's coming from.

Photo of JayNH
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a hazy amber color with a monster rocky, frothy head.

S- Wonderful! Sweet, slightly tart and acidic. Slightly citric, notes of orange/lemon and spice.

T- A very dry sweetness, a subtle tart acidity, apple and orange peels. Simple but complex at the same time...

M- Very dry, light bodied and lightly carbonated.

D- Excellent, well worth a try.

Photo of dbossman
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A very murky orange/amber color with a thick fast-forming head with pretty good retention; good lacing

S: a nice banana/yeasty smell upfront; the alcohol is fairly evident but there is a fruity/citrusy smell as well

T: the banana flavors still persist; there is a nice fruity and slightly sour quality that is present as well; the alcohol is well masked--more so than in the scent

F: Creamy in the front; it does dissipate rather quickly

D: This is a very drinkable Belgian; it goes down easily but also can be sipped on for quite a while. My kind of beer.

Photo of zoso493
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330 ml bottle into a Chimay chalice...

Appearance: Pours a deep, murky orange with a massive three-finger head that takes its sweet time before allowing me to get a decent amount of liquid in the glass.

Smell: Smells of orange peel, spices, cloves, yeast and bananas. Pretty intriguing.

Taste: Tastes of spices, apples and yeast, with some cloves and bananas. Has a lot of a weissen feel to it, with a touch of funk.

Mouthfeel: Very crisp and dry with just the right amount of carbonation. Very good.

Drinkabillity: This is probably one of the lesser trappist ales in terms of alcohol content but I still wouldn't drink a lot of these in one sitting.

Overall, this is a pretty interesting beer. Not as complex as other trappists, but pretty unique, so it's definitely worth a try.

Photo of DerBayer
2.86/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a murky amber with a chestnut tinge and frothy white head. I like cloudy beers but this is not one of my favourites. The smell is fresh and fruity with a sour grapey touch and some bitter hops - very pleasant

The taste however falls way short of my expectations. It is grainy bitter and sour and only the smooth mouthfeel can save it a bit.

Photo of Travlr
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A unique Trappist with a clear orange and amber color, small white head with nice lacing. Aroma of coriander, orange peel, black pepper and faint vanilla. Tastes of citrus, orange and coriander. Medium mouth. Good bitter finish. Mellows slightly with age if kept well. Very nice.

Photo of rhollman
3.4/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Cloudy golden brown

Smell - Fragrant aroma

Taste - Crisp, citrus, hop bitterness, nice dry finish

Mouth Feel - Smooth and dry

Drinkability - Complex yes but no big burst of flavor. Perfect for the person who enjoys a citrus oriented beer

Photo of Fetus
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I pulled the bottle out of my fridge, and perhaps didn't give it long enough to warm up. I cracked the bottle open still cold, and began to pour into my squeaky clean Duvel tulip. I received a good solid pour of almost entirely head. This beer has lips like a porn star. Amazing head.

A - Letting it sit for a good 3-5 minutes and the head had finally calmed down enough to finish my pour. It leaves an amazing lace inside the glass. Very attractive beer. Nice golden/amber color, steady steam of bubbles supporting the ridiculous foamy mass on top.

S - Lots of spice, and apples. Hint of cherry in there somewhere? Slightly earthy, with some dried fruits in the back there behind the mountain of apples. Definitely a bit of sweetness in the nose.

T - grassy, apples, pepper, hint of hoppiness. Very dry. Bit of alcohol warmth. Yeast is in there as well. I don't normally enjoy beers this dry, but it's not bad at all.

M - Crispy, good carbonation, medium body, very dry.

D - For 6.9, I could see this being fairly drinkable if I was more into how dry the beer is. What can I say? I have a sweet tooth.

Overall, not too bad. Again, it's dryer than I prefer but loses no points. Not a bad beer by any means. The smell alone is amazing.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,601 ratings.