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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

4,686 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,686
Reviews: 2,166
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 12.59%
Wants: 253
Gots: 544 | 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: 4,686 | Reviews: 2,166
Photo of randawakes
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a very thick doubled-height head that dissipates at a moderate pace at first, then slows to a crawl with great lace. Milky golden color. Liquid mouthfeel is bubbly! Faint orange taste with mild citrus notes, but nothing stands out too far. Quite a bit of bitterness

Photo of ocelot2500
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange amber with a big, dense, white head. Loads of lacing on the glass.

Smells of some yeast funkiness and light lemon and herbs in the background.

Tastes of some light fruits upfront and some yeast funkiness on the end. The fruits have pear and apple characteristics with some lemon on top. The herbal note is present and provides a spicy bitterness. Some alcohol comes through as it warms.

Mouthfeel is prickly, too much carbonation, but the body is fairly light.

Photo of Pahn
4.68/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Huge, pillowy white head despite a slow, careful pour. Head sticks around forever, ending up as a dollop of uneven foam with about a 1/4 inch thick head remaining around it. The extensive lacing clings to the glass forming a web. The beer is a deep, rather opaque amber with a few stray bubbles. One of the most beautiful and inviting looking beers I've ever seen.

Smell: Grassy, with a hint of lemon and a mild belgian yeasty funk. The smell exploded out of the bottle as soon as the bottle opener cracked the cap, and stayed nice and strong throughout.

Taste: So deep. Every sip yields an entirely new experience, and always unlike any other beer. I got grassy notes, black pepper, a nice hoppy bite, floral notes, leather. The finish is alternately soapy and tart, or big and bready, occasionally even sweet. Lots of musty tones, again reminding me of the smell of leather or even cologne. It's such a strange tasting beer, and the taste never mellows out or stops delivering new experiences.

Feel: Perfection. Creamy with just the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Also excellent, primarily because of the exceptional mouthfeel, and also because the taste never stops growing. The alcohol is quite well masked as well, though it does occasionally provide some pleasant warmth.

Probably the most interesting beer I've ever tasted. There are many beers whose taste I prefer, but very few that get anywhere near the complexity of Orval (Trappistes Rochefort 10 is the only one I can think of, though I haven't been able to get my hands on any Westvleteren yet).

Note: absolutely do not drink this beer too cold. You may as well not drink it at all if you're not going to have it warm enough to unleash all its complexity. Definitely a beer that every beer drinker--regardless of preferred style--should try at least once.

Photo of TheJollyHop
4.04/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 4/29/09

Well finally I got around to tasting this "world class" Belgian trappist brew. Let me start out by saying it lived up to the hype, albeit not completely however.

What a beautiful appearance! Very luxurious frothy head with a steady stream of carbonation. Pours a dark amber/ light brown and there is generous lacing on the tulip glass. This is exactly the appearance I look for when it comes to drinking a fine Belgian ale. It is entices you with the promises of immediate enjoyment at hand, literally speaking.

Now the aroma was somewhat lacking. Some herbal notes and faint sweet and sour funkiness comes through, but overall there are no stand outs and the aroma as a whole is very light. While this is most likely a testament to the high degree of balance this beer has, it just doesn't quite do it for me.

The taste is a very complex mix of subtle overtones, with a pronounced bitterness that is far from harsh. The Brett funk is distinct with some detectable biscuit malt and very faint tart fruit (possibly cherries?). There is some nice alcohol warming and indeed, like the label states, a long and dry finish.

This beer certainly lives up to the hype when it comes to the mouthfeel. Amazingly soft and creamy. Its highly carbonated body feels pillowy on the tongue. Almost as if the beer just is absorbed into the ether after making contact with the tongue. Quite the experience.

While it is a most complex and highly balanced beer, I would not consider having another in any particular session. The beer definitely held my interest in trying to decipher its complexities further, but after one my desire was extinguished. However a positive feeling the beer imparted lingered on... I like to consider this beer as a Belgian take on a bitter ale with a purposeful eye on balance.

Photo of AlexMunse
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I saw this beer earlier tonight on the shelf and have enjoyed Trappist ales before, so I thought I'd give it a go. The guy at the beer store also told me I should try it and I value his opinion.

I'm pouring at 50 degrees into an 11oz snifter.

It pours a light amber/dark peach color with a bit of cloudyness to it. It looks like a beer I would enjoy just from the color. I've got about a two finger head which is very frothy and thick.

It smells almost sweet, as I've come to expect from Trappist beers, but not so sweet as other beers I've tried (Lindemans). The smell has a lot of complexity, but I can't really pinpoint any one aspect that stands out. I do, however, notice a distinct absence of an alcohol smell, which I appreciate.

The taste is very light and refreshing with, as I said about the smell, a lot of complexity. There isn't an overpowering taste of anything but hops. It's mild, but almost fruity. Oranges or lemons, I can't tell.

I would buy this beer again, the taste and price are right for what I got. I am fully satisfied and would love to share this with friends. The only downside to this beer is the head is a little to much, in my opinion.

Photo of flannelman808
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This one pours a somewhat hazy amber color and is topped with a billowy bone white head. Pancake batter head which has nice lacing to boot. Fairly large bubbles throughout the foam.

S: This stuff smells so good! Lots going on; Spice, Lemon zest, ginger, grass, and a bit of a sour dried tangerine quality.

T: Tons of complexity and yet easy to drink. I get spice in the back of my palate, and some nice fruity esters in the front. There is some aloe like qualities going on as well. This is a very dry finishing beer. There is a mild hop quality coming through in the dryness as well.. not overbearing but present.

M: prickly and mouthfilling.

D: very easy to drink (but not fast)... the alcohol is completely hidden.

Photo of caddybuyer
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a nicely cellared bottle (bottled 9/07, best before 9/12) 12/09 review.

A-Beautiful rich golden color with marked clarity and a creamy foamy tan head that lasts forever. Very nice.

S-Pungent yeasty aroma with hints of citrus. A subtle earthiness behind it all. A very clean and refreshing nose.

T-An effervescent tartness reminiscent of slightly sweet citrus rinds, a grassy haylike midrange followed by a refreshing astringent bitterness and a lingering clean bitter finish. This is both complex yet simple as strange as it may sound, and is a very refreshing beer.

M-Slightly overcarbonated like most Belgians, a medium mouthfeel that is neither sticky nor chewy but simply clean and refreshing.

D-A very good beer that I would not hesitate to try again. Would be very nice on a warm summer day in place of the usual American IPA.

Photo of BlackHoleBrew42
5/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Golden amber Nectar, huge head, beautifully and highly carbonated

S- oooh, theres the brettanomyces... noble hops, i think Styrian Goldings. getting goosebumps.

T- Good lord. I dont know why, this beer just makes sense. Not to sout, beautiful hoppiness, but not bitter. perfectly balanced sour sweet bitter. Good lord.

M- As before, high carbonation, delicious lingering sourness, a tear comes to my eye as the flavor fades...

D- For me, my desert island beer.

Theres a store here in Colorado that sells bottles for $2.49 a piece... might need to go buy a case, although i might drink it all in a few days. Seriously. Amazing stuff. I love these Cistercian monks, got to make it to the brewery some day. Soon.

Photo of mikeborglum
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

spruce, citrus, floral, color orange amber, light haze, rocky white head, good lacing, smooth crisp taste medium sweetness, medium sourness, lively carbonation, light body, long finish,

highly recommended from one of my local bottle stores and a great choice. I will try this again.

Photo of dpodratsky3
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into chalice

A: Cloudy and opaque, a dark butterscotch color, but only in color, nice and light looking, foams up nicely then settles to just under half a finger of off frothy and light looking white head, stays thick against the sides

S: Tangy and sweet fruity aromas abound, lots of variety, some spiciness gets imparted from that unique belgian yeast, some mild belgian hop aroma is also present, that tangyness is also accompanied by some of those barnyard/earthy aromas as well, very nice

T: Starts kind of spicy (carbonation also affects this), but turns very tart and also sweet just like the smell with all that fruit/barnyard/earthy hint, almost like fruit skins, then the hops come in and start to increase in intensity, pretty mild flavor but adds good bitterness to the mix, complex flavor profile, but remains light and very enjoyable

M: Highly carbonated like many belgians, creates an airy, light mouthfeel, helps tartness carry, but also cleanses at the end

D: Surprisingly drinkable for all of the flavors present, that nice light mouthfeel really helps

Notes: Very unique, Orval has always been a standard for me, it may not appeal to everyone because of its distinct flavors, but I like its uniqueness. This is definitely a belgian classic.

Photo of eagles22
4.8/5  rDev +14%
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 +10.9%
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 +5.7%
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 +18.8%
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%
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 -9%
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 -2.6%
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 +0.7%
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 +2.1%
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 -4.8%
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 -8.6%
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%
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 -1.9%
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 -10.2%
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 -3.1%
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.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,686 ratings.