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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,528 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,528
Reviews: 2,133
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 225
Gots: 456 | 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)
View: Beers (2) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,528 | Reviews: 2,133 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of aerozeppl
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally got around to reviewing this. Have not had it in a number of years. All the talk of the bret in it made the decision for me.

A: Pours a deep amber color with 3 fingers of fluffy cloud like head. Great lacing.

S There is the bret right up front.A nice musty barnyard note. A little bit of pepper in the back. White pepper. Reminds me of a more subtle version of Avery 15.

T: Starts off with a sharp tart/citrus note. Really nice amount of funk in it. The pepper is there in the taste as well.

m: Has that nice dry wild ale mouthfeel. This beer finishes bone dry. Nice amount of carbonation.

D: I really enjoyed this beer. The price is a factor but it is not insanely overpriced so I will grab one every once in a while. The tartness and funk might bother some but I say the monks did not take it far enough. They have been it for a while now so I will allow it. Great precursor to American Wild Ales.

Photo of aforbes10
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I realized recently that despite owning several Orval chalices, and having a lot of experience with the other U.S.-distributed Trappist beers, my only experience with this beer has been a horribly oxidized bottle in a shitty bar in Post-Katrina Baton Rouge. ...so...i decided to buy a bottle. Pours an orange-y brown, bright and cloudy. Big puffy white head that becomes creamier as it settles. Laces oddly, head slides around the sides of the glass along with the beer and doesn't stick to the glass at all. Weird. Smells tart, clove-like, withe notes of oranges, coriander. Flavor is similar to the aroma, though with a distinct malt base that's got a bit of caramel and the barest hint of chocolate. Small alcohol evident on the finish. Quite smooth, almost creamy, which is impressive considering the relatively low ABV. Drinks very well and interesting qualities. Yeah, i'd buy it again, glad i decided to finally try it properly.

Photo of sccala
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured out of a bowling pin shaped brown bottle. The bottle was, or at least seemed a bit heavier than the average 11.2 oz bottle. Poured into a dry, room temperature pint glass.

A- Ooo baby! A light gingerbread color with an incredible head...4 finger collar...1 finger of which rose above the rim of the glass. Consistency of the head is that of home made whipped cream. It didn't completely vanish until I was over half way done drinking the beer. Slightly above average lacing.

S- Good, wholesome, feel-good smells here. Pine trees, a bouquet of flowers, herbs...not much hops though.

T- Wheat, lemon, more hops here than in the smell. Nice and crisp and refreshing, yet dry, not sweet.

M- Perfectlly balanced tastes, perfect carbonation, medium body. In my opinion, the after taste reminds me of the after taste you get from Chimay grand reserve.

D- This beer is surprisingly easy on the palate and stomach. Doesn't fill you up instantly...which is actually unlike most trappist style ales. And with a modest 6.9% ABV, you actually can drink and appreciate each one.

Photo of Clubchat
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I kept this beer in my personnal cellar from 3 years now, can't wait anymore

Appearance - Orange to copper color, more darker that the younger ones, nice carbonnation

Smell - Fruit, wood, vineous with the warming alcohol adding a nice layer of complexity

Taste - Oak, alcohol, serious sweet and vineous taste

Mouthfeel - Light and smooth

Drinkability - Very nice light-aged beer, very easy to drink, delicious

Photo of krunchie
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a redbrown to orange colour, bronze, quite cloudy. The head is thick and....big....I had to wait a while to let it set.

S: Lovely! Some hop aroma. Dry cider and herbs.

T: Dry cider and grapefruit. More of the hop aroma, but pretty smooth finish. Light-medium bitterness

M: Semi-full body, Covers the mouth with a bitter aftertaste

D: One is enough. This is a quite nice beer, but the good flavours of it won't last for long. Maybe a good appetizer beer

Will I buy it again? Probably

Photo of darklordlager
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden-sunset colour with a good 1 inch head that sits like a rock.

Smells kind of plasitc-y...with some heavy cider notes..

Tastes very cidery with a fading grapefruit flavor in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is kept in check.

Drinkability: I think this cider flavour would get to me after a while....

Not as good as I remember it....

Photo of tai4ji2x
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

direct from the importer here in beijing.

330ml, bottled on 20/05/2008, best by 2013. poured into tulip.

dull orangey amber, with gold and brown hues. slightly hazy. great head, slowly recedes to a persistent thin layer. a couple distinct rings of frothy lacing.

whiffs of funky brett in the nose, but give way to floral and herbal tones, and hints of ripe apple and peach. whiffs of malt vinegar and cider, leather and barnhouse along with grassy hop. note of possible buttery diacetyl? some phenols in the backend.

juicy grapefruit in the flavor, both in fruitiness and bitterness. then back to the funkiness of brett, with leathery notes and horse funk, and that acidic twang. hints of yeast bread and faint sweet malt note, but the focus is on the characteristics of brettanomyces. grassy hop bitterness again reminiscent of grapefruit, albeit not citrusy like american hops. dry, moderately bitter finish with slight acidic pucker.

fluffy carbonation, with some prickliness. acidic texture and a decent substantialness in the feel.

i don't know why garrett oliver thinks this beer can win over beginners. this requires a large amount of acclimation. i can appreciate it quite nicely, but i don't see how a typical macro or even crossover craft drinker can be attracted to this at all. certainly not on first taste, and especially not without being educated about the beer.

(NOTE: an even more positive re-review is forthcoming - i love brett now, and this early review does not do the beer justice)

Photo of mj001jk
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an orange/amber color with some haze.

Thick persistent foam and lots of carbonation. Aromas jump out of the glass, it is almost like a soda, bursting with bubbles and sour cherry fruit leading the way, followed by orange peel, tiny hints of nutmeg and light hops.

Body is light and dry with sour dried fruits such as apricot, orange and cherries. It is very vibrant and crisp, no underlying sweetness or lingering funkiness on the palate. Finish is short and leave you with some red apple flavors. A very tasty and refreshing beer.

Photo of Jordan1985rec
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this at Monk's Cellar in Brookline, MA and was blown away. The taste was far more dry than many of the other Belgian pales and I really enjoyed it all the way through. There was a clear sour and fruity smell and this sour taste carried over into the taste in a good way. Overall this was a very enjoyable beer that seems like it would pair well with roasted chicken or lamb. Cheers.

Photo of OtherShoe2
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy orange with an incredibly dense haed with lots of sticky lace rings. I swirled the bottle and got a couple of floaters as well.

Sweet wheat scents with that musty straw/hay element, as well as some citrus and mild spice.

This is a real funky one, but in a good way. Lots of different flavors that pop out in waves. Sweet grain, a little spice, citrus rind, and a fruit tartness like something that has gone past its prime. Tart and dry in the finish. Hop bite is there, as is the alcohol.

This is moderately carbonated, which keeps these flavors in check enough for you to sip or slug. I gave this a drinkability rating much lower than taste. I love Belgian beer, all styles, and have had it in country. This is one that is absolutely terrific, but after 2 I'd want to stop and move on to something else. You almost need a change (it is like gorging on Belgian chocolate -- delicious and complex, but you need to set limits). It is special beer.

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

After having this beer thrice before, and not liking it very much on any of the three occasions, I have finally decided to give Orval a proper review with a much more mature palette.

Served from the unmistakably-shaped 33cl Orval bottle in a Chimay goblet at cellar temperature.

A - Very active and audible pour resulting in a dense, meringuey off white head about 1.5 inches high above the translucent rusty orange beer below. Head retention is unbelievable, and lacing is sticky and thick. Amazing.

S - Grainy sweet and sour maltiness. Apple cider vinegar. Green fermenting hay. Also a note of "sterility" that I can't put my finger on that reminds me of the smell of a doctor's office. Unqiue.

T - Malts are so pulled back that there is no initial hit of sweetness at all in the front. In the middle comes some citrusy tartness and a warming alcohol presence, followed by a yeastiness that pushes the alcohol back. Finish is medium dry with a crisp hoppiness and very long. Deep and full of character; much of which I can't pinpoint in the short time it takes me to do this review.

M - Lively and active in the mouth, puffing up to a round, cream of Belgiany goodness. Swallow is voluminous and large.

D - Much better than I remember it, and a pleasure to drink now that I "understand" it better. This is a trappist ale that is not to be missed, and a legend in its own right both in taste and presence.

Afterthought... Make sure to swirl in all the yeast you can coax off the bottom of the bottle. It adds to the depth of flavor and helps quell the alcohol a bit.

Photo of flipper2gv
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours in a very nice dark orange color that is a little hazy because of the yeast. It has a very generous and strong off-white head.

S: Sweet butterscotch aroma. A little bit of spices (cloves) coming from the yeast. Some tart and wheat scents too.

T: Tart comes up front, which is rapidly subdued by the caramel sweetness. Then it's all about spices and wheat. Some phenols and lemon peel are also present. It leaves a very dry aftertaste that is ok.

M: Mid to high carbonation which is pretty standard for the genre. Medium body with creamy feeling to it. Very nice.

D: Mid to high. It's the aftertaste that kills a bit the drinkability.

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

amber IPA color with quite a bit of murk that has a chestnut quality. medium head, very lightly off white light brown phlegm yellow. lace. smell is flemish funk??? strangely. pineapple musky wonderfulness. taste is every pale ale i've ever had. some butteriness, soft citrus fruit, pineapple, lemon grassy with a light dough in the murk. truly a beer that respects beer.

Photo of rye726
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Not sure why I never tried this, but here it goes. Pours a hazy cedar color with a nice beige head. Nose has citrus fruits, floral hops, musty oak and sour yeasts. The tart and peppery yeast strain come out in the flavor as well in addition to the sugary malts and fruity hops. Clean crisp body with delicate carbonation. A fantastic brew, glad I gave this a try.

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.4/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed 1/9/2006 (330mL bottle):

Pours a cloudy medium brown/red color body. Big white head, with good sized bubbles. Aroma of dark fruit(maybe plum?) , hops, and some sweetness. Fizzy, with a floral taste, slightly alcoholic tasting. Smooth taste. Slight bitter aftertaste.

Photo of matt7215
4.97/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330 ml bottle from the LCBO

Pours beautiful hazy golden with a huge thick white head. Sediment stains the head when the last few drops enter the trappist glass.

The aroma varries from bottle to bottle with this one. Some time you get a funky brett forward farmhouse aroma and sometimes you get a big hop bomb over a belgian ale body. Either way you cant ask for more. I actually salivate just at the thought of smelling this brew.

The flavours are never quite the same with this one. You have a finely brewed hoppy Belgian Ale with the addition of brett. Depending on age you might not even notice the brett but with some age this really comes out and adds layers of complexity.

This is my favourite beer and if I could only drink one brew for the rest of my life it would be Orval.

Photo of Cyberkedi
2.93/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma is rich and mainly fruity, almost more like a cider or brandy than a beer, except there is a little maltiness. Color is a hazy honey golden with a very thick and persistent head. Flavor is malty and has a strong apple overtone, plus some bitterness that doesn't seem like hoppy bitterness and is a bit unpleasant. Texture is smooth and just a little on the thin side.

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

a:copper/orange with high leve of carbonation. finely beaded pure white head of 2" that fades to 1/2" slowly. significant lacing.

aroma: subtle barnyard hits me first from the brett. dry hopping(or flowering) is obvious. i dont pick up much malt and some light fruit aroma is there

taste: bitterness is noticeable but not harsh. again- for me the brett grabs my attention. its difficult to dissect the malts(possibly from the dryness). as it warms it gets much more complex and i pick up more spiciness and some subtle clove. goldings hops earthiness fleeting at the end.

mouthfeel: fairly dry. interesting water source i think.

o: fairly drinkable. very unique. i cant think of a direct comparison. for me this reminds me more of a bier de garde style. not like any other trappist that i've had, but again the brett flavor and dryness is in the driver seat.
a wonderful beer.

Photo of spointon
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this one from an 11.2oz bowling pin shaped brown bottle into a tulip pint glass. There was a bottling date listed of 1/30/2007.

A= This ale poured a rich dark orange color with just the slightest chill haze. The head was easily 3" of snow white, rocky magnificence that very slowly dropped to a 1/4" dense cap. Lots of sudsy, sticky lace down my glass.

S= I found aromas of malt sweetness, fruity esters, Belgian yeast, honey, and some mild lemon.

T= This is a subtle Belgian ale for sure. Initial flavors of light malt sweetness blend well with lemon grass, tart apples, and barnyarn yeastiness. There is a distinct flash of hops and then more light tartness kicks in and lasts through the drying finish.

MF= Medium bodied up front with a thinning finish that leaves you feeling like it was lighter than it really was. Nice effervescent carbonation cleansed my palate yet never became too sharp.

D= This ale somehow pulls off the neat trick of being very mild and subtle, yet deeply complex. So long as you can find it in relatively good condition, this is definitely a world class beer.

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy golden orange color with a dense bubbly head about an inch thick. Nice clingy lacing on the sides.

S: Very complex definite belgian yeast strains, some lemon and orange citrus smells as well as some caramel malt smells too. This is somethin that is tricky to place. but very complex. bready, and a hint of hops in there too.

T: Spicy flavors appear first, this is peppery from the start. Then it gets a little more sour and tart. Really a work out for the tongue. Funky bubblegum aftertaste. Apples, peppers. Sour funk to it, not lambic like, but more belgian sour. This is really somethin.

M: thin, crisp, and refreshing, this is one fine beer. it's a little warming from the alcohol, but perfect. very nice.

D: this is a fine crafted beer, and it really should be enjoyed slowly, but i could drink a fair amount of this stuff, very easily. excellent beer. i can't believe i was hesitant on buying this.

Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A good beer all around. Many complexities in the smell and taste; lemon, banana, orange. The overall impression is balanced. Others who review this will get the intricacies more clearly but IMHO it tastes like a blend of a sour beer and a Belgian double or triple with additional hide-and-seek esters.

A must try for any BA.

Photo of Natural510
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz, bottled on 20-2-08

Pours a golden-orange color with very thick carbonation. Dissipates into a solid 1cm layer which floats on top and laces the glass with a bubbly finish.
Smells strongly of aged yeast, lemon citrus and a sweet peach & banana notes as well.
The yeast is at the forefront, dancing around on the tongue and leaving a tangy bitterness on the tongue, along with a subtle hop note. Lemon, tangerine & black pepper dance around behind the yeast.
Crisp & refreshing on the palate with a dry, champagne-like finish.
Extremely drinkable; goes down easy....along with Duval, what more could you want from a Belgian pale ale?

Photo of guild337
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have wanted to try one for a long time, and was in the mood for a good trappist when I saw this bottle at my local grocery store (ok it's a slightly higher end grocery store).

A - What you would expect from a Trappist bottle aged ale. Deep golden color, and cloudy with sediment (mmm...sediment). A nice thick off white head.

S - Not overly fragrant, but what little there is, is fresh and clean. Smell is a little bit citrusey.

T- Taste, on the other hand, is quite complex and has a range of different flavors. My pallet is not the most acute, but I was able to enjoy some pear and apple flavors which were both subtle and poignant.

M - A nice light mouthfeel, with quite a bit of carbonation.

D - Very drinkable, and enjoyable ale. Right up there with my favorite Belgian beers.

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

I was disapposinted. It was way to carbonated and disappered in your mouth once I drank it. Slightly bland and weak. But, I had high expectations. Still an excellent choice

appearance: dark copper, tons of lacing

smell: pleasant, light hops

taste: too light flavor

mouthfeel: too high carbonation

drinkability: very easy and smooth

Photo of Soneast
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very amber to yellow-orange color. Pretty cloudy, minor sediment. Nice thick head, which stays quite creamy and leaves some good lace.

Smell is fairly dry & herbal has a tarty sort of citrus smell to it.

Taste is very unique, starts out spicy and floral but the rest is sort of like a tart lemon, ends up being pretty dry, but not quite bitter. Not exactly sour but some really nice textures on this beer. I detect some banana flavor in there as well.

This medium bodied beer has a fair amount of carbonation, which I feel actually accentuates the tartness of the beer. This is a delicious brew, and I look forward to my next Orval.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,528 ratings.