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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

4,499 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,499
Reviews: 2,128
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 218
Gots: 446 | FT: 12
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,499 | Reviews: 2,128 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BirdFlu
3.28/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a deep amber with thin head. Slight hints of apple and citrus in aroma, though very faint.Some taste of apple, but more apple juice than cider, and also dry champagne with a bit of a spicey, tart finish. Very carbonated mouthfeel with about a medium body. Drinkability is fairly average, not a lot of weight to it, though not light either. Its good, but nothing to write home about.

BirdFlu, Jul 17, 2008
Photo of mcmidc
3.2/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This trappist ale pours a nice frothy light tan head, with a hazy light copper color. Not a whole lot coming to the nose maybe some mild grains along with some citrus. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Taste is tart at the start and finishes a bit sour. Also some phenol notes in there. Drinkability is good for a 6.9% beer. Not one of my favorites but still enjoyable.

mcmidc, Jul 15, 2008
Photo of lightindarkness
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle best-by dated 23/03/2012, poured into a trappist goblet.

Pours a nice deep caramel color with lasting mounds of cream colored froth on top. Very nice coating lace.

Nose has a nice presentation of belgian style, with a sour funk over fainter grains in the back with a notable crisp green grape fruit balance.

Taste sits lightly on the palate at first, then increasing in sour and bitter character to the finish. Overall flavor is somewhat light, with mild grains and slight spicy notes in the middle, washing out, then finishing with an acidic bitterness and very faint alcohol fume. Leaves a bitter/sour flavor on the lips.

Lighter medium bodied, with full soft carbonation. Rather dry finish.

Acidic bitterness is making this one somewhat hard to love. Overall character is good, but much sharper than I expected. the flavor is growing on me a little.

lightindarkness, Jul 14, 2008
Photo of lightspeedplus1
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in tulip glass.

Nice orange transparent color with very slight opaqueness. Large thick head formed and stayed with me for quite a while.

The aroma was not over powering but smelled of spice, citrus and hops. Hints of a floral aroma came in too.

The first sip brought a sharp shot of an orange/citrus flavor. As the tasting progressed it grew in complexity bring out many of the flavors that a good beer does. The tinges of hops and malts played very well with this beer's tanginess.

Good carbination and feel that left my mouth ready for another.

Very nice brew. Certain to be future buy lists.

lightspeedplus1, Jul 13, 2008
Photo of pweis909
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Edit: Suggestion. Try a few beers bottled on different dates. A more recent bottle (dated Dec 27, 2007) seems even more lively and bright to me.

Deep gold, just a shade short of amber, with big white head of tight bubbles. Most of the head dissipated after a few sips, but the carbonation is persistent, leaving a quarter inch foam and lacey rings around the glass.
Edit: The more recent bottle seems more amber to me.

The aroma is phenolic, with a bit of medicinal notes, and maybe a bit of clove. These flavors mesh with hop spiciness, making it tough to separate them all.
Edit: There is much more fruit to the nose in the more recent bottle, maybe a bit of bubble gum, that compliments the clove. The medicinal notes are subdued.

The beer is lively on the tongue, and gives a bit of carbonation bitterness, but as I swirl the beer in the mouth, there is the barest touch of malt sweetness followed by a very dry finish with a slightly resiny hop character.
Edit: the newer beer has a stronger sweetness.

The beer is "digestible", with a light body characteristic of trappist beers. The alcohol helps contribute to the dry light feel.
Very drinkable.
Edit: The newer beer is perhaps a slight tad heavier, but not to the point that drinkability suffers

pweis909, Jul 09, 2008
Photo of DefenCorps
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle, bottled on 27th Dec 2007 consumed 6th July 2008. Poured into my Chimay chalice

A: Mildly hazy orange with a dense two-finger off-white head. Fantastic carbonation. Excellent retention. Possibly the prettiest beer I've ever seen.

S: Mildly fruity with hints of orange, mildly floral with a little bit of rose, mildly spicy with a hint of pepper, clove, mildly funky with a little bit of a leathery note. Complex.

T: This 7 month old Orval starts off mildly funky and is followed by a mild tangy sweetness, like orange mousse before finishing a moderately dry

M: Light with great carbonation, excellent feel.

D: Very drinkable. I need to get more of this

**Edit 13 Oct 2013**
Bottled 20 Feb 2008, this bottle is now 5 years and 8 months old. The nose is dominated by the Brett characteristics. A blend of clove, pepper, a touch of damp hay, fennel, this is one complex beast. The palate is similarly Bretty, earthy, spicy and complex, but with a touch of honey sweetness as well. Crisp and highly carbonated, a touch of acidity (clove like bitterness, carbonic acid) is present. A touch dull due to age, the delicate brightness of the citrusy hops that fresher bottles have is missing. Still, this is really good. 4.25/4/4.25

**Edit 05 Apr 2014**
Bottled 15 Jul 2003. Thank you, Peter.

Wonderfully funky with a blend of melon, earth, fruit and fennel, this smells great! Some citrus, almost a whiff of cola, there isn't much clove present. The palate opens soft, fruity, mellow with honey, fennel, citrus and melons. A shade watery, the fennel note is particularly noticeable here. A touch smoky as well. Awesome stuff, this.4/4/4

DefenCorps, Jul 07, 2008
Photo of DrunkenMaster
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy orange with a mountainous head. I always forget to take it easy with the pour. This is one of the best looking beers. Aroma of lemon and orange citrus, pine, yeast and very floral. The same comes though in the flavor. Sharp alcohol bite towards the end. Overall a delicious beer that went really well with grilled lobster.

DrunkenMaster, Jul 06, 2008
Photo of tubaguy
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: I love the classic yet distinct looking bottle. I poured mine into a beautiful Orval goblet I purchased at the monastary

Appearance: a shade darker than honey and a shade lighter than caramel with a 3/4 inch creamy head, some sediment can be seen when held up to the light

Smell: subtle floral and fruit aroma at first, than yeast and something bitter I can't quite place

taste: complex! bitter (in a good way) at first and than a warming, but not overwhelming alcohol taste down the throat. Hints of lemon but not a fruity beer! Some really nice hoppy spiciness as well.

mouthfeel: a bit chewy but goes down smooth

drinkability: unlike other trappist beers that I love, I could have a few of these in a row. Compared to a Rochefort or a westveleteren the alcohol content is considerably lower at (6.2%). Not my favorite Belgian beer but in my top 10. Goes great with the Orval cheese!

note: I bought a case at the Orval monastary which I would highly recommend visiting. It is the most picturesque of the trappist monastaries and the ruins of the old church is worth the price of admission (5 euros)

tubaguy, Jul 06, 2008
Photo of RustyDiamond
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured very slowly in a Rochefort stem. Glowing orange, with a tad of haze to her. The haze disappeared towards the end. Pillowy off-white froth with, strangely enough, pink hues.
Aroma of crisp hops and sour apple.
Dry, with a nice Brett taste. I thought the Brett would take it in a sour direction, but it did not. Hops kick into the taste and the finish is quite dry. Light in the body, very balanced. Zesty, crisp hop mouthfeel. Very enjoyable.

RustyDiamond, Jul 05, 2008
Photo of seanbhudson
2.25/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: A cloudy orange beer that pours with a huge white head. That fizzles away relatively fast.

Smell: Surprisingly little smell. A little lemon and hay.

Taste: The cabonation almost overwhelms the flavor in the beggining. Then you taste a bit of hay, lemon zest and a slight medicinal taste.

Mouth Feel: Light to medium body. A lot of cabonation and dry.

Drinkability: Dry, hay and medicinal is not what I am looking for in a beer. I know people love this, that is why I wanted to try it. Who knows, maybe I got a bad batch. :-(

seanbhudson, Jul 05, 2008
Photo of kkipple
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pondering independence, I crack out one of these brews to fill my recently acquired Orval chalice. The goblet is a beaut, and it's been months since I've had one of these... maybe longer. Into the fish-adorned goblet it goes!

... and produces a head so staggering, so wonderful, that it takes me aback. Orval creates a thick, rich meringue-like froth that piles up up up! atop the beer. It foams up, then begins to settle, crackling with annoyance as it subsides. Falling from the edges first, it leaves gobs of sea-foam lace and a mound of thick, dense bubbles. If I were a bit smaller, I believe I could walk across the surface of said head... but enough. The Orval itself is hazy, and a burnt, watery orange. The everlasting head still sits commandingly as I raise the glass for a sniff.

Mmm, yeasty... pungent is the word here. This beer brims over with estery yeast character, sour and fruity, dry and rosy. It's simple, yet hard to define. There is a sweetness about the nose that is certainly not found in the mouth. Whatever this smells like, it's pretty memorable.

The flavor is something of a letdown after such high previous marks. This is a tart, very dry Belgian ale. There's a bitter hop note but it's lost amidst the swirl of yeast and sour flavor... hints of lemons, pale malt, light caramel and pear are all here. It comes together nicely but is simply too attenuated for easy drinking. Orval sports very fine, light carbonation and leaves my mouth feeling quite dry. Interesting and unique to be sure, but not really my thing... I do wonder what the original malt bill for this beer was.

Mouthfeel is thin, with light carbonation (see above) and finishes sour, tart and grainy. Clean in its own way, while a touch of malt sweetness teases the palate after you swallow.

To sum: Orval is decently drinkable, if you like it. This is quite a sophisticated and erudite beer and reminiscent of a dry white wine or champagne. Not a good intro to Belgian beers, but it certainly fills a niche. Try Orval at least once.

kkipple, Jul 04, 2008
Photo of Matty1918
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle with a bottled on date of 8/8/07.

Pours a honey color with a nice carbonated, white head. Nice retention and excellent lacing.

Aroma is clean....nice earthy smell of grains and a slight sweet honey smell also.

Ok the first taste was nothing I expected. A nice slight spicieness of clove. Not overpowering very gentle. Lots of earthy grains...nice yeast flavor...there is also a faint bitterness that comes forward. There is also a hint of ripe fruit in the background. It does leave a earthy aftertaste of grass and grains at the end. This is a very complex but balanced tasting ale. Well done.

Mouthfell is very good..lots of carbonation and very creamy. Very good.

This is a nice sipping ale.

Matty1918, Jul 04, 2008
Photo of BucksBrew
4.93/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - The Bottle is unique and beautiful. It sits well among its friends on my shelf. The beer pour a golden yellow with a decent amount of white head.

S - This has an exceptional smell. It smells like Autumn. It makes you feel like you just raked the lawn and you have had a hard days work. Very de mortem in feel.

T - Very rustic and barn like. It makes you feel like you on a ranch.

M - This is very nice. The flavors keeps you entertained. Its not too heavy which makes it perfect for the summer.

D - I could have one of these everyday and still be happy. Those monks do their job well.

BucksBrew, Jul 02, 2008
Photo of Newsman
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle dated 12/27/07, poured into a tulip glass. Nice orange-copper color, huge fluffy white head that lasts throughout the experience.

Smells mildly fruity, yeasty, very pleasant without being overpowering.

The taste has notes of citrus, a little spice, some very nice malt complexity and a fairly strong, somewhat suprising alcoholic presence at the end, given the relatively (for Trappists) low 6.9% ABV.

Very effervescent mouthfeel, again a little surprising, but not unpleasant.

Overall, very drinkable, but something to be savored slowly. A very nice, well rounded and interesting beer.

Newsman, Jul 02, 2008
Photo of JMD
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from an 11.2oz bottle. Amber color with orange tints, active carbonation. A huge fluffy head, that lasted through the entire beer. Beautiful lacing down the glass.

S: Bananas, ripe fruit, some yeast. There was a funky smell with this beer that I couldn't quite distinguish.

T: This is a tough one for me to describe. Fruity, yeasty, with a touch of carmel. Finishes with a bit of alcohol.

M & D: Tingly carbonation but goes down smooth. I was somewhat underwhelmed by this beer. At first I thought everyone made this out to be more complex than it really is, but its mostly likely my palate cannot distinquish its complexities. Overall, still a great beer.

JMD, Jul 01, 2008
Photo of gonzo46and2
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this one at Tank's Taproom in Tampa. Pours a dark orange with a huge frothy head that lasts all night. Huge noseful of dark fruity esters. Taste has nice complexity of spices, raisin, plum, mild hops, sweet malt, yummy yeast. Overall the beer is very sweet with a slight alchoholic finish. Great beer for dessert.

gonzo46and2, Jun 24, 2008
Photo of Beaver13
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle, bottled on 4/24/07, best before 4/24/2012, and purchased 1/26/08. Pours a clear golden orange (the second pour makes it nice and cloudy) with a monstrous fizzy and rocky big bubbled white head that retains fairly well and laces the glass.

The aroma is fruits (pears?) and alcohol with some yeast funk, wood and some slightly metallic and floral hops.

The flavor is yeast funk and slightly sour fruits, with some mild bitter hops. It's pretty subdued but nice. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with tons of sharp carbonation. It mellows out a bit as it sits.

Overall, a nice beer that gets better as it warms and more has been drunk.

Beaver13, Jun 20, 2008
Photo of PiecefulToker
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is truly an amazing beer and one of my all-time favorites. Here it goes...

A: Slightly hazy, copper, dark amber color with thick 2-finger head in my St. Bernardus chalice. A half centimeter head remained through the whole beer while I sipped on it over 40 minutes or so, leaving a sticky lace.

S: Grapes, funk, sweet malt, some grass and hay aromas, the "wet blanket" that everyone talks about.

T: This is a very complex beer, so my attempt at describing will fall short for sure. Starts out prickly on the tongue with some subtleness, followed by a burst of sweet, sour, funk, grass, and grapes. The bitterness moves in at the end, and sustains in the corners of my mouth for several minutes. This is one to sip, savor, sit back, and enjoy.

M: High carbonation, prickly at first but smooth on the finish. Great for the style.

D: This is like a fine wine and should be enjoyed one glass at a time. This is a special treat that I hold myself to once a month or less.

PiecefulToker, Jun 20, 2008
Photo of elniko
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into snifter

A: Rich amber color, huge head that stuck around and dissipated to half finger. Lots of lacing. Beautiful looking brew.

S: The first smell on the nose was of bananas. Very fruity and flowery nose. Very pleasant to smell and definitely whetted my appetite for tasting.

T & M: Taste goes with the smell for the most part. Definite hint of fruitiness. Lots of flavors that I can't quite put my finger on. Very slight sourness on the aftertaste.

D: This is definitely a drinkable beer. A little lighter than some other Trappist ales that I've had which would go towards having multiples in a sitting.

elniko, Jun 18, 2008
Photo of beerthulhu
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a moderate, dark golden-peach color with a huge pillowy white head that was mostly lasting leaving a sticky lacing behind. The body was very hazy with a soft visible carbonation.

S: yeasty, and very fruity (peaches, tangy apricots) with a touch of sour bread.

T: The initial flavor was yeasty with a burst of fresh fruitiness (peaches), & fresh bread, bananas. There was a nice soft, velvety sourness of oranges that coated the tongue. The beer finished with a big sour fruitiness of oranges, apricots and a big breadiness.

M: creamy with some warm oranges and a sour yeasty citrus bite in the swallow.

D: Overall a beautifully crafted trappist with a great yeasty attribute.

beerthulhu, Jun 16, 2008
Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Pours with a huge off white head that just sticks around forever. Beer is a hazy brown color.

Smell- Spicy and sweet smelling, this beer has a great deal going on in the nose!

Taste- Really complex flavor profile, beer is light but with lots of potent flavor profiles. Not terribly sweet, but with some hoppy bitterness and just a touch of tartness.

Mouthfeel- Really fills out the mouth, leaves a great taste on the mouth but a bit grainy.

Drinkability- This beer would be so good with some cheese and a meal, one of the better beers for pairing.

Bowdoinbeerboy, Jun 14, 2008
Photo of Beauregard
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brilliant color that is somewhere between dark gold and orange. High carbonation, decent lacing. The aroma is incredible, sweet, sour, citrus, barnyard, with hop earthiness coming through in the constant effervescence. The first taste is dry but bursting with flavor. Great attenuation lets everything hit the palate: a dry, grainy malt backbone, sweet crystal malts, bitter styrian goldings, refreshing sourness, and pronounced but not overwhelming brett flavors of horse, leather, and even slight (but not innapropriate) band-aid. A fantastic beer.

Beauregard, Jun 14, 2008
Photo of MusicaleMike
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured this 11.2 oz. bottle into my patented Orval glass. Bottled on 25/09/2007 and best before 25/09/2012. I am impressed that this brew could last that long. I wonder if it would need to be stored in a fridge or just in a cool cellar? The strength doesn't seem high enough to "age" for that long. This is the first Trappist ale I have reviewed.

A: It pours a beautiful, clear amber color. There is a thick, off-white head which sits about a finger and a half deep. There is lots of carbonation in this brew. The head tried to cling to the side of the glass at first, but ultimately failed.

S: It gives off the classic Belgian beer aroma. Not much hop aroma, though it is faintly present. There are some very fruity esters in the smell...I say banana and peach are two smells I get out of this one.

T: I am surprised by the taste. I was expecting something more sweet. Really, there is alcohol up front, and the fruity esters make you think that the beer will be sweet, but I guess the attenuation rate is very high in this beer. There is a peppery aspect to this beer, which I assume comes from the yeast and/or malt. Very low hop flavor in the aftertaste. When held in the mouth, there is some sweetness present, with fruit esters (banana/clove).

M: Smooth, light bodied and I think a little dry. The carbonation is not fizzy, just very smooth.

D: This is a great beer to have a few of in the course of a night. The drinkability factor is high for this one. It would be fun to have a few with a monk or two. The 7% alcohol doesn't make much of an impression, so that is good.

MusicaleMike, Jun 13, 2008
Photo of PBBC
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours cloudy orange... nice lingering head.

Smells like apple brandy and spice... tart, slightly sour smelling.

Taste is excellent.... I had hesitated to drink this beer for some reason.... thinking it would be syrupy, or overwhelming. I don't quite know why I had this impression, because this beer is excellently aged.

Strong flavors of apple, light honey, and citrus, as well as ginger, paired with a high level of carbonation and a nice hop finish make this beer very complex... very tart, a perfect pair for a nice salad with some seared spicy pork on top... or any spicy food. The tartness and light sweetness of the beer lifts the hot flavors off the tongue... replacing them with a nice alcohol-inspired warmth and lingering sweet spiciness.

I'm probably rambling... but try this beer... make sure it's the right temperature... try it with seafood, or spicy pasta....

PBBC, Jun 13, 2008
Photo of jophish17
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

33cl bottle

Aroma: Nice lemony, peppery smell with the impending tart flavor flashing its sign

Appearance: Orval pours nicely into the glass, producing a big, fluffy white head and a dark orange body. Lovely lacing sticks to the glass and the head retention is remarkable.

Taste: The tartness first noticed in the nose comes out fairly delicately in the taste. Not a strong tart, but rather a mild bite that sticks on the tongue well into the aftertaste. Hops come out a lot moreso than in any other trappist ale, and it leaves you thirsting for more.

Feel: A little bit of a grainy feel. Medium-bodied with carbonation that sticks around for a while.. pretty smooth overall

Drinkability: Very drinkable, and with a fairly moderate ABV, its not too much to handle. Another nice trappist beer

jophish17, Jun 12, 2008
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,499 ratings.