Orval Trappist Ale - Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,547 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,547
Reviews: 2,133
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 227
Gots: 469 | 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:
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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,547 | Reviews: 2,133 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CityBoy1986
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter from an 11.2 oz. bottle. My batch was bottled on 6 May 2008, best before 6 May 2013. I think I'm safe ;-).

The pour is a hazy shade-lighter-than-copper with two fingers' white head. Retention and lacing are nice.

The nose is like a flowery version of gin--juniper mixed with floral notes. Some light citrus is also in there I can smell the alcohol, but it is in the background. The taste again contains juniper, flowers and citrus, but all are nicely balanced. Again, there is just a hint of the alcohol. The dry finish seems to last forever.

The mouthfeel is light, but not too light. Carbonation is nice and crisp. Drinkability is high; this is an exceptional sipping beer.

This is the most I've spent on a beer per ounce, and it is worth every penny. Whenever I have some extra in my pocket, this will be in my house.

Photo of ThirdLap
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River has said in interviews that this is his favorite beer. As his brewing efforts have turned me on to a variety of beer styles, I figure Orval is worth a closer look.

Bottled on February 20, 2008, making it about 13 months old. Served at 50°F in a Russian River tulip.

Pours a cloudy medium tan that reminds me of unfiltered apple cider. The off-white two-finger thick head is chunky, uneven, and long-lasting.

The nose on Orval is pure brett, with characteristic wine and vinegar notes. Hints of citrus and spices round things out.

Taste is brilliant. If you enjoy Russian River's sours you will understand how this served as one of Vinnie's inspirations upon the very first sip. The huge brett aroma is muted in the taste, giving it a mild sourness, backed up by green apples and spice. Finish is bitter then dry, almost like champagne. The taste that remains between sips reminds me of Perrier. I'm thinking Orval may be the perfect way to introduce people to the idea of sourness in beer.

As with most proper Belgians, carbonation is huge. Body is right in the middle, and the 6.9% abv is well-masked.

Were it not for the price tag, I would probably pick Orval up much more often. Five bucks for a 33cl bottle is a bit steep, but somehow upon finishing it still seems like a fantastic bargain.

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

This one pours a very slightly hazy copper color. The head is incredible; huge, creamy and thick with the best retention I think I've ever seen. The head follows the whole way and leaves lacing all over the place. Pretty incredible, really.

The smell is a mix of flowery and sharp citrus, more like lemon than grapefruit, with an herbal note. Alcohol is evident but not overbearing. A slightly astringent scent finds its way in there as well.

A sharp hops bitterness hits first, but this one is complex. Herbal, floral and citrus tones blend very well with the hops for a nicely balanced brew. Very tart and tangy with a seemingly endless dry finish.

Mouthfeel is crisp, clean and dry in a fairly light body with good carbonation.

This is a great one and a fantastic example of what a Belgian should be.

Photo of Nick3
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce with a bottle on date of 05/06/2008. Beer poured into an Orval chalice forms a 2 finger head that slowly disappears into a thin coat after 5 minutes or so. Beautiful citrus aroma hits my nose as I'm pouring it. Color is a gorgeous hazy orangish-brown. Lace drapes itself along the glass as the drink is consumed. Taste is nice and sweet initially and then hops come through in the finish. Hint of lemon, grapefruits and banana are there in the taste. A well balanced pale ale that is very smooth and refreshing. I highly recommend it.

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

Poured this into a tulip glass.

Appearance:
Orangy and lively. It actually looks like it would have a bit of lemon in it. The highlight here is the huge sudsy, 3-4 finger head that caught me off guard. And it doesn't go anywhere soon. In fact the head stayed with the beer the entire time, following it down the glass instead of lacing. I noticed it would change funky formations after each sip.... was actually fun to watch. I need a life.

Smell:
Banana bread - but not in a real sweet way. Floral, with notes of lemon and clove.

Taste:
A bit more bitter than I thought it would be, and not as sweet as I was expecting. It's complex, but couldn't get a good sense of any one prominent flavor.

Mouthfeel:
Prickly, sharp, almost felt like a more robust pilsner on the tongue.

Drinkability:
It is definitely drinkable, but I wasn't yearning for a second.

Not a bad beer, but not my favorite of the Belgians.

Photo of jwinship83
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottled on 5/6/08, best before 5/6/13.

A- a dark golden colored body with at least 2 fingers of quickly receding fluffy looking white head. the head stays once it gets down to about a half of a finger and walls of lace are left behind.

S- very soft, very complex. summer fruit comes up first. apples, pears, grapes, and some lemon in there. theres something "wild" and a little sour smelling in here too.

T- the sourness isnt very intense at all, and not what i was expecting. very "funky" though. tastes like a barn would smell. theres some of the fruits i could smell in the taste as well, mostly lemon. might be from the hops.

M- crisp and light. well carbonated.

D- easy to finish, and something i could see myself drinking more of in the future. not really something i think i could have more than one of in a sitting.

Photo of dbtoe
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bowling pin bottle into a Duvel tulip

Looks good, a light brown color with a very active white head.
Smell is pretty faint, a little yeast and some lemon.
Taste a lot going on here. Very complex a little sour, bitter and something I can't put my finger on. Every drink I pick up something a little different and all drinks finish with a very slight grapefruit bite.
Feel all that carbonation is wonderful and every drink is smooth and finishes clean.
Drink I could drink a lot of these and often.
Comment I liked Orval a lot. It is a very unique beer that is full of surprises.

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

Appearance: Right off the bat I have to say this beauty pours with about 14 fingers of massive pale white soapy looking head. Jeez Louise that's a massive stretch of foam! Additionally, it has a nice clear warm amber color. There is minimal cloudiness, and the immense amount of bubbles proves that this is a very vibrant beer.

Smell: I absolutely love the smell of Orval. There is a ton of banana bread and clove components right up front that are met up later by some funky lemon undertones. This beer really smells old world and the spices, for the most part, are very hard to pick apart. I also get a bit of alcohol presence in the nose which is odd since it only sits around 6.9% ABV.

Taste: Tastes almost identical to the smell. There is lots of banana bread in the mouth with a hint of lemon funk to back it up. Throughout the beer, several strange (yet enjoyable) floral components begin to come out. This is potentially due to the temperature change as you work through it. The lemon and funk essence that lies underneath is very reminiscent of a gueuze. In the end, you are left with a very nice deep banana taste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: In terms of mouthfeel, this is more along the lines of how an IPA hits the palate than a Belgian style ale. It has lots of flavor and a well-rounded bitterness. There is also (as the pouring would insinuate) loads of effervescence that immediately slams into your tongue. In terms of body, this is not quite a medium-bodied beer, but close.

Overall: Of all the Trappist beers I've had so far, this is easily one of my favorite. I'm a huge fan of the whole banana bread and clove element of it. I will say it's maybe a touch too "bubbly" for my taste, but I can't really find a whole lot more to complain about. I'll definitely be picking up some more of these down the road.

Photo of PirateUlf73
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Cloudy and golden-orange in color with a slightly off-white head. Retention and lacing were excellent. I could stare at this all day.

S: Aromas of soft wheat, a variety of fruity complexity and some twangy yeast notes. Bright and crisp, fruity and bready, all in one.

T: Soft and bready up front with hints of apple, banana and some lemon. Yeast adds its own magic to the mix, but the aftertaste surprised me somewhat, coming off as dry and almost stale.

M: Lighter end of medium-bodied and well-carbonated, but not overly so. Beer feels nice and silky on the tongue.

D: Goes down really smooth, and rewards sipping and savoring.

Nice blend of flavors. The feel was heavenly and it is massively drinkable. Not the best Trappist beer I've had, but its tasty, quaffable nature was a welcome reprieve from some of the heavier, knock-out beers I've tried recently.

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

First, I have to admit I'm somewhat biased when it comes to the Belgium Trappist ales. I've had nearly everyone, except a Rochefort, including the Westvleteren 12, several Chimay, Westmalle tripel, but this is my favorite right behind the Westvleteren 12.

Pour: Poured from the bottle into a traditional orval siliver-rimmed goblet at about 45 degrees.

Smell: The smell reminds me a lot of a mint-chocolate cookie, with just a hint of the mint.

Taste: Very smooth taste. Mild hoppy flavor with a slight bitterness on the back of the tongue.

Head: Truly one of the best heads of any ale. Very thick through most of the glass, starts to evaporate toward the end.

Drinkability: This is one I have the pleasure of keeping in the house quite often and drink it a lot. Not a cheap one but the stronger alcohol content makes it one you don't need many of, if that's the goal.

Exceptional and highly recommend.

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

Pours a lovely golden amber, great effervescant bubbling, and the perfect thick foamy head and stickage with every sip. The picture of Belgian pale ale. Crisp hrbal spice aroma, that evens out with sweet honey like malts and maybe an earthy hop finish. This smells awesome, no other words needed. Starts out with a dry biscuit malt and honey sweetness with a splash of tea-like spices. The dryness turns to a gentle, tart apple skin. Complex palate starts sweet and finishes dry to tart. Lots of flavors and textures to this beer. I'm glad this beer is sold individually instead of via a six-pack and such. Also the $4 and up price in my area, really makesyou apprecite this beer that much more eery time you buy it.

This is the best Begian pale ale I'e ever had... hands down!!!

Photo of mtrentm
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a snifter.

A: A pale-orange color wit ha nice 3-4 finger pillowy whit head.

S: Sweet candied lemon nose with some floral hints.

T: Very crisp sweet lemon flavors up front with a slight hop bitterness. Finishes somewhat tart & very dry.

M: Light-bodied with a clean dry finish.

D: A very drinkable brew, each drink seems to be better than the one before.

Photo of bartle
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the cool looking 11.2 oz. brown bottle into a crystal chalice.

A - Poured a fantastic hazy orange copper body with a thick cream head. The head was rocky foam. Very appealing to the eye.

S. - A dry, bitter sent of pine and mild citrus. Reminded me of walking through an evergreen forest spiked with a citrus zest.

T. - Dry and bitter with floral overtones. A bitter, yet clean taste. Bitter sweet and beautiful. The citrus really matches the dominate floral aroma. Earthy and balanced.

M. - Smooth even when being a little heavy on the carbonation. The body of the beer just lingers in my mouth and on the back of my tongue. This beer is forceful, it makes you savor every moment. That being said, long after it's gone, it leaves a soft feeling on the taste buds.

D. - Simply for it's unique character I will be drinking this again. It is not my favorite of the trappist ales,though it holds a beauty of its own. It's soft, smooth, bitter and beautiful.

I wish fine beers like this were more readily available in bars, pubs, and lcbo's in Canada.

Photo of joshuadlight
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

If you've never had an Orval, this is one very unique beer. Not many look, smell, or taste anything like it.
Even at a slow pour it produces a swelling head that is very chunky. I mean, this leaves big chunks of lacing on the glass. Unique yeast flavors and aromas coupled with some sweet fruits. There is a slight bite at the end with some yeast/hop bitterness that sticks around in your throat for a while. At first I thought the aftertaste was unpleasant, but after a couple sips I came to enjoy the flavor very much.
As attested to by the large head, this is a very carbonated beer, detracting only slightly from the mouthfeel. I also had to account for the large pricetag when I took away from the drinkability. If it didn't run $6 per 11.2 oz, it would be perfectly drinkable.

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

Single bottle purchased at Joe Canal's in Jersey. Poured into a St. Bernardus glass on a cold night.

A- Orval pours out a hazy yellow to bright golden color with bubbles seen rising. These bubbles produce a sturdy foamy off white head with staying power. Huge sheets of lace were left on the glass.

S- This one is on the wild side with an apparent brett addition giving off a slight tart twang. Also alot of Belgian yeast on top of some hops and malt additions as well. Maybe some sweetness or candy like essence.

T- I really enjoy the brett addition which makes this not over the top sour but pleasently tart. This is followed by a belgian yeast variety with a very faint hop bite, which is common in most Belgian's I've had of not being hop dominate. Some candi sweetness ensues leaving a nice aftertaste.

M- This BPA is well carbonated and it is felt on the tounge, maybe a bit too much. This leads to a very crisp mouthfeel but that fades as this one warms up. Thin to semi medium bodied with no alcohol in the mouth, just great flavor.

D- I could drink this all night at the alcohol level without ever getting bored. I love brett infused beers and this is one of the leading examples. I had this once in my early drinking days and hated it. Now, I'm glad I revisited it, as this is a near perfect beer.

Photo of webbcreative
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Feb 22, 2009
Cloudy golden yellow color, Huge head lasted throughout the entire drink. Med Mouthfell. aroma was citrus, tasted of citrus and sour, tart apples, and some other fruit. This was a very flavorful brew, that was all over my pallet! i think ever crevice of my mouth tasted something unique. But that being said, it just wasnt really a favor im too fond of. To me this beer was just okay, after trying a few differnt ones, I guess im just not a fan of this particular style.

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

Review comes from my notes on this beer.

Poured from the unique bowling pin shaped bottle. Looks a cloudy amber color with a 2 finger head that dissipates slowly.

I smell some fruity aromas, Raisins and figs along with some citrusy aromas.

Tastes somewhat like it smells, a bit fruity, low carbonation.

Feels very smooth. Creamy going down.

Very drinkable. Went down extremely easily.

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

Poured from the ubiquitous 11.2 oz. bowling pin-shaped Orval bottle into a goblet. Bottled on 09/07/2008, with a Best Before date five years from bottling.

Pours a deep, hazy amber hue, giving rise to a humongous light tan head that fills half the vessel. The foam settles very slowly to a thick half-finger that sticks around for the remainder of the drink, leaving thick, broken sheets of lace behind on the walls of the glass.

A very earthy aroma fills the nose, with lemon zest combining with spicy yeast notes, damp earth and a slight mustiness.

A rather light, effervescent body holds within it a mildly spicy brew with a thick underlying base of toasted biscuit. Hops mingle with the yeasty spiciness, keeping in check what little malty sweetness is present. The finish is very dry, with a bit of a grassy aftertaste that lingers.

Nice, refreshing, highly distinctive and absolutely gorgeous to look at, this is one Trappist ale that is well worth its lofty praise and honorable status. Watch out for the 6.9% ABV, though, as it can sneak up just as easily as the beer goes down.

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

I tend to steer clear of Trappist ales because although I recognise their craft and quality I generally prefer beers under 6 abv but Orval at 6.2 is pretty light. The colour was interesting, paler than I expected, sort of orange, and the mouthfeel was great - a good strong taste but not too much alcohol. It's a very clean, dry beer and goes down exceptionally well. I imagine it would go very well with some decent cheese.

A nice, accessible Belgian ale and one I'll definitely be trying again.

Photo of beertunes
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 9/13/07. Poured into Chalice (gotta get a tuilp!). Poured a deep, dark yellow, almost orange. Slightly hazy, this beer is darker than most Pales. A big fluffy head of tight bubbles that dissipated quickly leaving no lacing. A noticeable apple aroma with some spice tones, no apparent yeast scent. The dry, apple flavor follows the aroma without the acidity of cider. The spiciness is reminiscent of apple pie to a small degree. A full, smooth, balanced body. Very drinkable, I could have several of these in row with no trouble. A wonderful beer that is slightly different than most of the style.

Photo of drtth
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 27 Dec., 2007. Chilled and poured into Duvel glass and allowed to warm before tasting. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: Deep dark golden orange color with a faint haziness. Very thick white fluffy/pillowy white head that takes a very long time to recede, leaving lacing and patches of foam around the glass

Smell: The immediate smell is of fresh fruits or flowers, with a hint of lemon. In the background there is a hint of a faint musty or leather character that I'm told becomes more pronounced with bottle age.

Taste: The flavors are initially slightly sweet, fruity, and crisp. The crisp dryness continues as other flavors come into play and remind me a bit of tart cider. One of the flavors that emerges midway through definitely reminds me of leather. The presence of hops is hard to detect except through their dry bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied and crisp with prickly carbonation. The finish is long with a dry, lightly bitter character that begins midway and lasts until its is hard to say when it ends.

Drinkability: The operative word for this beer is "complexity." While the price might give me second thoughts I could drink more than one of these, but this is such a complex brew more than one might be excess. This is a beer one should revisit periodically both to increase one's appreciation and to refresh one's memory.

Photo of flexabull
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

I can't believe I have never reviewed this. I am not even sure if I have ever even had this!

Pours a bright hazy gold color with a huge rocky white head.

Aromas are of light brett funk, some vinegar, spices, and orange citrus.

Taste is light on the mouth, but quite flavorful. Some very slightly sweet creamy malts, dusty, flour, dough, and light funk. Finish is smooth, with some crispness, a dry feel, lemon zest and light mineral hops.

Mouthfeel is kind of thin, and a little watery. Not bad though.

Drinkability is really good. Very complex and tasty Belgian Pale. I could drink a few of these, but the price is a little steep for a small bottle.

Photo of Larrytown
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an orangish-brown with a big head that fades quickly to a solid, consistent ring. The fruit is the first thing noticed off the bat with a bit of malt and hops playing around the edges.

The taste is dry and spicy. Definitely wine-like and there's no trouble seeing the champagne comparisons with such a crisp mouthfeel. It jumps out at you.

This is a very enjoyable, unique beer, but I doubt I'd want more than one in any given evening.

Photo of jjazz
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Crazy cavernous head with great lacing. Pale orangey color.

Aromatic intensity is low/medium, with malty sweetness, and a bit of lemony hops. Urine is also present, but not in an offensive way.

Taste is all over the map, with hop notes accompanied by sour cherries, mild unripe banana, tobacco, and more. Snappy tartness in the finish. Highly complex with fairly low volume. Unique and impressive in its complexity, but not as appealing as what many Belgians have to offer.

Very light body with ample carbonation. A bit more body would be appreciated, and it wouldn't hurt the drinkability at all.

I don't quite know what to think. Unique and drinkable, but not down right delicious like my favorite Belgians/trappists. I would like to try it again, but it'll be tough to convince myself to spend the $5 when I could get so many other great Belgians that I already know I love.

Photo of Beerenauslese
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours hazy amber with a good head that dissipates at first, but then leaves a thin layer of foam and lace.

A little citrusy smell, then spices--clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Bitter green hops at first, then spicecake taste in the finish.

Overall, quite dry with some mild notes of sweet. At first it is creamy, as the carbonation works its magic, then finishes light and dry.

This is one of the most drinkable of the Trappist ales and should be a favorite with hopheads; it's lightness makes it a nice thirst quencher and at only 6.9% ABV, you can enjoy a few.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,547 ratings.