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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

4,687 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,687
Reviews: 2,167
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 12.59%
Wants: 254
Gots: 549 | 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: 4,687 | Reviews: 2,167
Photo of Kromes
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a clear copper color with a large thick white head. Tons of carbonation bubbles in the glass. Smells very breadlike with some rich funky wood aromas and some spice. The funkiness is apparent in the flavor also. It's not a bad flavor, just a little twang. This beer really does have a great unique flavor. Some bready flavor, some spice, a little cork/wood (which is weird since there is no cork) and some fruitiness. The alcohol flavor is there too, but doesn't take away from any flavors. Mouthfeel is tingly and spicy and finishes dry. Awesome beer, I would never pass this up if it was available.

Photo of tedsox31
4.07/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330 ml bottle into my St. Bernardus goblet. The head is a rocky off-white color, while the beer itself is a hazy orange-red. There is no lace, but the head sticks around as I drink it.

The smell right-off is very strongly of citrus, clove, and some banana. A bit of hops at the end. As it warms, the clove becomes stronger and the hops are a bit more noticeable as well.

The taste is spicy, and almost peppery. There is a definite presence of pepper. There is a bitterness on the back of the tongue but everything seems to smooth out as it warms. Spices become more present but are also more mellow.

The mouthfeel is creamy and carbonated. This does not stick around in my mouth and is very refreshing.

A very good beer. I like the bitterness that it has. The alcoholic content is not so much that I wouldn't be able to enjoy 2 or 3 glasses. Very refreshing and tasty.

Photo of lpayette
3.43/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Details- Bottled on 1/31/06, Enjoy by 1/31/11. Enjoyed on 10/05/06. 11.2 oz bottle.

5- Appearance- served in a tulip. Unfiltered apple cider color. Huge rocky head with lots of brussels lace. Very very nice.

3- Smell- Subtley tart apple notes, heavy yeast smells- a bit earthy. Faint cloves. smell isn't too impressive to me- just average.

2.5- Taste- I'm sorry to say that I found this a bit bland. Tried with and without yeast and not much changed. Some fruityness... I guess this just isn't for me.

2.5- Mouthfeel- Good initial texture, but aftertaste is long and overly dry in my opinion.

2.5- Drinkablity- A very good looking beer that I had high hopes for, but it let me down. I'll try revisiting this beer some day, but I won't go out of my way to buy it anytime soon.

Revisit Time
Details- Bottled 11/13/2008, Served on 8/26/2009

5- Appearance- This time served in a chalice. Appearance is still right on que with initial impressions.

4.5- Smell- Tart apples, horse/barnyard smells, cloves, medicinal notes, lemon, very floral.

3- Taste- Oddly enough my first few sips of this did not seem very flavorfull, just as I thought before. After that however, the beer seemed to come to life for me. It is slightly tart and has a lemon-rind like bitterness going at the same time. Flavor of hay vies for alot of attention. Seems a bit salty, and finishes very dry with a rubberband-like quality which is more tolerable than I thought it could be. This is certainly a complex beer- there is no denying that. The flavor profile isn't completely for me, but I liked it a lot more this time around than the 1st time.

2.5- Mouthfeel- Dry, dry, dry with ample carbonation.

3- Drinkability- I don't think that this is for most beer drinkers. This one definitely takes some time to get used to and to learn to appreciate it. I'd like to have a bunch more of this to see if I really like it or not after some more time with it. Even if I didn't, at least I'd be left with a bunch of cool bottles to put homebrew in.

Photo of sweemzander
4.78/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass. Bottled on 13/09/2007 printed on the bottle, PLUS the best by date of 13/09/2012A !!
Nobody I have seen so far has both printed on the label **

(A)- Pours a hazy copper color with a large foamy 3+ finger off-white to light yellow head that has superb retention. Lots of sticky lace all the way down the glass.

(S)- Tons of clay and hay funk with a biscuity pineapple. Light mineral nuances.

(T)- Surprising hop bite with drying pale pineapple fruits. Ample yeast and clay characteristics followed by light honeyed cream and mineral finish.

(M)- Creamy yet slight bitter mouthfeel with ample carbonation that fits/compliments the beer very well. Balanced and complex. Rather delicate; layered flavors.

(D)- More hop presence than I was expecting, but a pleasant surprise nonetheless. A trappist beer that I would gladly return to over and over again due to its relatively lower abv (6.9%) than most trappist brews, not to mention the slightly cheaper price as well. I am sure this could age for even longer, but was absolutely fantastic right now.

Photo of jsh420
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

bottled on 1/30/2007
drink by 1/30/2012

pours clear copper orange with a big 3 finger head that left some lacing

smell - oh boy that brett funk!! with sour sour friut pear apples - reminds me of the candy spree's???

taste is a great balance of sweet/sour/funk fruit with a good amount of bitterness - this beer is to hard for me to put into words

mouthfeel is light and highly carbonated but does not have the bite - it remains mighty smooth

drinkability is very good but you want to take your time with this and that can be hard to do

Photo of robertjohnson
4.82/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy orange body with a rocky white head. Even the lacing is foamy.

In the nose I get pear mostly, with some apples and maybe a touch of nectarines.

Immediately I perceive pears in the taste, I think partly from the strong nose. This quickly developed into more tropical fruit-type flavors of pineapple or P.O.G. juice. There's definitely citrus (lemon-rinds?) and spice (cardamom? cloves?) with a firm hop bitterness in the background, maybe some medicinal phenols. I reeally like the dryness of the finish and the way these flavors lingered.

Very effervescent.

This beer blew my mind-hole. Me and my partner both thought this was the most stand-out beer we'd ever had.

Photo of jgasparine
4.21/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sample from bottle; bottled on 1/22/09

A- Poured carefully from bottle to yield a huge foamy, well-retained, cream colored head. As I refilled the glass throughout the sampling, the head became less foamy and a lot more rocky (proteinaceous). Lovely lacing throughout. The body was a hazy copper color, with lots of active carbonation visible from the sides and top of the glass.

S- HORSEBLANKET! Horseblankety caramel malt combines with some spicy vinous notes on the nose. The spiciness reminds me a bit of chai tea. Further examination reveals subtle hints of lemongrass, stale hops and sour cherries on the nose.

T- Earthy, leathery tobacco and horseblanket dominate the palate (pediococcus and brett)... these characteristic almost completely mask the underlying crackerlike malt flavors and stale hops bitterness. The finish is exceptionally long/lingering... dry, earthy, horseblankety and somewhat medicinal. An exceptionally complex taste!!

M- Medium body... somewhat viscous, but not what I would call 'oily' or 'creamy'... very well attenuated and surprisingly less carbonation than anticipated. I feel like the mouthfeel is the only relatively weak area of this beer.

D- I would definitely take a second bottle if one were available... don't know if I would consume more than two in a sitting though... ultimately I'd say this is very drinkable for a beer of this strength and complexity.

Photo of STEG
3.91/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a large head with a very nice dark honey/amber color to it. Wonderful shimmering lacing all the way down the glass.

Smells sweet with a notable vanilla and caramel scent. As you get down further you can begin to smell an almost herbal tea like aroma.

Taste is fruity with a baked bread like aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is dry and heavily carbonated. Very little alcohol presence.

This is very drinkable but I don't think I would want more than one and I'm not sure why?

Photo of Jmoore50
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just because I was extremely curious.

What a good looking beer. It has a great golden color, and pours a nice two finger head. The head retention on this is ridiculous! Just fat fat gobs of lacing on the sides, the head just is a gelatin.

The smell is very good also. Orange citrus is a great characteristic in the smell, as well as a mellow hop aroma. A 'Trappist Yeast' aroma is present as well. This is my way of describing the bread malt smell is this mirrored in the flavor.

The taste is just so so. It has a very very light pale ale flavor. Nothing really stands out. Good carbonation and mouthfeel, the orange tangerine sweetness coming from the hops is nice. Just a slight hint of bread malt, something I usually do not care for. This is super drinkable, just a session beer at its best. I just drank the whole glass in the review. I think the drinkability is so high is because of the flavors are mellow, not offensive. I hate the term but 'well balanced' would be a term used to describe this.

Overall good, did not impress, however can understand the love that people have for this beer.

J

Photo of Evocatus
4.8/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Looks like a cider with a slightly light orange hue; the lead was a light beige and foamy. Smelled like a bunch of sweet apples. Taste was a good mix of sweet and bitter. The apple taste from the aroma was there as well as hints of bread and citrus. Going down you could taste something earthy, can't really think of another description. Mouthfeel was pretty good; right amount of thickness and carbonation, and the head just added to that. Goes down pretty easily. Overall a good combination of flavors, smell, and alcohol level, easily drinkable on any occasion.

Photo of BeanBone
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A hazy, honey-orange body underneath a mountain of creamy, off-white head. The head eventually starts to fade and leaves good lacing on the way down.

Aroma: In my mind, I had constructed an idea of what people were talking about when they said Brett beers have barnyardy and goaty character, but the reality is a whole different story. The reality is much more literal than I had ever imagined; this really does smell like a goat barn. Truly bizarre, and yet deeply intriguing. It's not all livestock though, as there are lemony, grassy, and earthy notes to accompany everything.

Taste: A completely unique mix of spicy (fennel and licorice perhaps), musty, sour, bitter, funky, savory, and earthy tones. There's still plenty of barnyard here, but it's morphed a bit, becoming much more mellow in the process. The aftertaste is full of grassy bitterness and a dash of assorted spice. Wow, I've never even dreamed of a beer like this.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and perhaps a little over-carbonated for my tastes. A dry finish.

Drinkability: The glass went back slowly, but much of that could be due to how utterly different this bee is, it simply demands your attention.

Verdict: Orval is a thoroughly unique experience, and one I'm to glad to have finally experienced. I've heard people refer to this beer as a challenge, and I can certainly see why, but it's a challenge worth taking (at least once).

Photo of thepeter
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- beautiful orange bit of haze and the most wonderful frothy pillowy head that you can imagine that VERY SLOWLY turns to some really nice lacing.

S - Brett, sweet sour fruit, funk and a small shovel full of dirt.

T - Very well balanced tart and hoppy to begin with. Gets down to EARTH towards the end. Musty, earthy with a hint of funk and a clean aftertaste.

M -good carbonation, goes down smooth but not exceptionally.

D - I could drink this all night. the bitterness and funk and Earthiness all, remarkably, leave the palate fresh and clean for the next taste of what ever you are having.
FANTASTIC!

Photo of JEdmund
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance
Pours out with an aggressive head, so a gentle pour is necessary; not quite able to get the whole bottle into the Orval chalice; color is dark, turbid brown--not the most appealing color, but the amazingly whipped head that sits there complacently is very impressive.

Smell
I really love the smell; tart, like sour apples, a bit woodsy, a bit sugary, and just a bit musty (but nothing off-putting like horse blanket); really, it's hard to put into words.

Taste & Mouthfeel
Still as impressive as the fist time I had it; there's just a lot to enjoy here, all delivered in a subtle and intriguing way; profile starts off with the most delicious and smooth bread-like flavors and just a tiny, tiny hint of brown sugar, which is then cut back with a pronounced tartness that then drops off to a bone dry finish; the body is extremely light and airy, with the classic Belgian level of carbonation (high); overall the flavor and body seem so delicate it's really hard to believe it packs 6.9% ABV.

Overall
I think Orval is something really special in the beer world. It's the ultimate in refined craftsmanship; it's overall delicious and packed with nuances to be discovered; as well, it's light and incredibly drinkable. I would drink this all the time if it were more affordable, so, as it is, I will put Orval on a high pedestal and enjoy it on special occasions.

Photo of Xziz
4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my first review and I really shouldn't put it so far at the top of the scale... but... this ale is simply wonderful. It smells good, it looks great, and tastes simply divine. The taste is very distinct and leaves an aftertaste that keeps you wanting more. I highly recommend it.

Photo of prosper
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 07-03-07 - three-ish years in the bottle.

Pours a hazy gold with a thick white head and lots of co2 streamers. Some lace, but the head is kinda coarse.

Smell - wow, uh, funky. Tart pineapple, acidic fruits. Maybe some light musty cheese. Some herbal character - hops I guess, but they're lost in the huge not-so-subtle blast of smells.

Taste is very good. Lots of different flavours, but they blend well, none overpowering the others. Lots of earthy musty character - damp malts and such. Fruity, but not as intense as most other belgians; same for the phenols - light spice, but supportive and not centre stage. Clean, dry finish.

Mouthfeel is light - lots of carbonation and crisp dry finish help here.

Light (relatively speaking) alcohol, dry body, spritzy carbonation - yep, it's quite drinkeable

Photo of JBogan
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber/peach color with a huge foamy crown which stays around forever and leaves large amounts of sticky suds clinging to the glass. An exceptional looking beer.

Smells very fruity, with pears, apricot and spices playing the leading parts.

Tastes much as it smells, along with a mustiness which mutes the fruits somewhat. A hint of alcohol in there as well. Good tasting but not quite up the the level the aroma promises.

Mouthfeel was very prickly and dry. A nice crispness is felt in the mouth and on the way down.

This trappist brew has a quite different character from other trappists. While not my favorite beer of this style, it is one I will be revisiting again in the future.

Photo of gyllstromk
3.6/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A compelling aroma with telltale leather from the Bretts, which hints of great, sour things. Reminiscent of a tart lambic or flanders red. The flavor which follows leaves much to be desired. It's thin, likely over-attenuated from the Brett. Not much perceptible sourness and the Brett flavors (leather and barnyard) are less apparent than in the nose.

Photo of Graham5161986
4.79/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a quite brilliant cloudy, orange/amber colour (when held up to light) and exhibits a bubbly, frothy off-white head with good retention and leaves some decent patchy lacing. Aromas of fresh apple, pear, citrus, pepper and spice all touched off with a hint of caramel arise from this beer. As it warms, I am able to detect a bit of salty cured meat as well (it brings prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe to mind). Taste is quite yeast and fruity up front yet very dry and it displays a bitterness from the hops that I have not come across in a Trappist so far. With those hops come along some nice citrusy and even some coriander notes like from a good wheat ale. The spice lasts through the finish and on to the linger with a dryness that is all too refreshing (especially for a Trappist ale). Mouthfeel is champagne like, medium bodied but with a ton of prickly bubbles that tickle the taste buds and leave my mouth watering after its bone-dry, peppery finish. Overall, this ia an achievement of a beer. So complex on the palate and so refreshing - not to mention, its relatively low ABV (for a Trappist, that is) makes it quite drinkable indeed. I have always enjoyed this beer and I will be enjoying it for a long time to come.

Photo of kbutler1
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orval bottle with bottled on date of 24/04/2007, best before 24/04/2012.
Poured into a duvel tulip glass.
Pours a huge pillowy offwhite head that slowly retreats. Color is a red tan hue. Smells of tart fruit and the belgian yeast. Taste is very smooth and lighter than I would have expected. The carbonation bubbles all around your mouth. Slight bite on the tongue is the first flavor I pick up followed by the taste of fruit. Finishes with a slight bitterness.
I was looking forward to trying this after reading all the good reviews. My only negative is that I wish it had a little heavier mouthfeel to it.

Photo of vrazionale
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The signature 11.2 oz. bottle at refrigerator temperature poured into a snifter. Bottled on 13/11/2008.

A - Pours a thick (3 finger!) creamy white head that backs down to a thin layer across the top of the brew. Body is a slightly ruddy hazy brown color.

S - Horseblanket funk, tart citrus fruit, sage, mushrooms, sea salt minerality, old wood, musty basement. Funky notes step up the most here. I find it difficult to qualify the nose to the extent that it deserves, but suffice it to say that it's beautiful and enticing and unique.

T - Crisp and tart with a well-crafted balance between hoppy pungency and funky yeast action. Mushroomy, musty, herbal, and dirty (in a good way). Completely unique flavor profile. So incredibly refreshing.

M - Good carbonation that acts as a palate cleanser for the next delicious sip. Doesn't feel at all heavy, even considering the indescribably complex flavor profile.

D - What a remarkable brew! I love the musty, dank, minerally flavors here. This brew would pair so well with food (cheese especially!) - ceviche, an aged natural-rind goat's milk cheese, or fried fish tacos. My very first Orval, but certainly not my last!

Photo of Kemmerlin
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: golden color with a faint haze an lots of carbonation and with a huge head that was creamy fluffy and thick peaking at the center and lasting forever.
S: definitely has a Belgian aroma to it such as banana brown sugar and slight coriander.
T: has a definite pale ale taste but does
not taste anything like it smells. It is a model beer for a Belgian pale ale. Flowery hops and flavorful yeast and caramel malts gives it a rounded out flavorful taste and a long lasting aftertaste.
M/D: the carbonation is quite heavy and the brew is heavy as well with slight bitterness on the tongue. Drink this brew slowly and savor it's complexities.

Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a La Fin Du Monde glass.

A- Golden in color with slight haze. The head on this is crazy foamy. Took a while to settle to pour the whole bottle.

S- I can smell the brett for sure. Very potent and strong smelling. There is also a great fruity smell to it as well.

T- The sour taste is great, very satisfying. There is a great fruity taste, but something else is there that is almost like a bitter hop taste.

M- Great mouthfeel.

D- Very easy to drink, and very refreshing.

Photo of ecoastman
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drinkability - Easy too drink and unique but not my favourite. I will buy another trappist instead but might try again during a tasting with friends. Not sure if it's the beer or the Indian food I had a couple of hours ago but the acidity might be giving me slight heartburn.

Appearance - hazy golden straw colour with a nice rocky head to start which recedes to a uniform thin layer. Not much lacing.

Smell - mildly malty sweet with herbal perfume and spice. Very unique. Has a bit of a funky dank smell but I like the funk.

Taste - like the smell but is a little less complex than I expected. What's that spice...cardamom? Maybe it's just cloves combined with citrus... Lichee? What the hell do I know? I don't even have a glass beside my name on this site and probably haven't even earned the right to pick up a bottle of this stuff. All I know is that this beer is very different.

A light metallic taste in the dry finish but a good beer for interest sake. Maybe I'm drinking this one a little too cold.

(10 minutes later) Nope - even when it warms up it still isn't my favorite. I think I'm going to be at the lower range of the average scores on this well ranked beer. I'll reluctantly give it a 4 for it's uniqueness.

Maybe fresh is better? Bottled 03/09/2008 - so either March or September if you know the European dating system... that reminds me - we need a world dictator. This is July 26/09.

Mouthfeel - light watery body and smooth. Well carbonated.

Photo of Aenema
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a murky golden brown with a voluminous, fluffy off-white head. Sticky lacing rings the glass.
Smell - Hay, citrus, funk.
Taste - Subtle mix of flavors. Leather, funk. Difficult to narrow it down more. Dry astringency.
Mouthfeel - Fine, smooth carbonation with a medium body.
Drinkability - Quite drinkable, though not a beer I'd pick to have more than one of.

Photo of BobZ
3.76/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First, different (as Yogi would say) "from your average Trappistes Beer"

Completely unique Belgian Ale, damn near its own category.

Appearance: Cloudy amber, with amazing head, the head is whip cream for god sake.

Smell: Spice and pepper hits you right away, great foreshadow of the taste.

Taste: So different, spicy, peppery, good, all mixing together, really unique ale.

Mouth: Good body and strong carbonation, crisp mouth feel.

Drink: This is "binary" beer, I like it, my good friend hates it; I would say it's a nice beer in the mix but not one for many in a session.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,687 ratings.