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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

4,689 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,689
Reviews: 2,168
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 12.59%
Wants: 254
Gots: 550 | 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: 4,689 | Reviews: 2,168
Photo of WYVYRN527
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet from a bottle, Orval pours a hazy amber, almost orange hue with an aggresive frothy white head that thins after a few minutes. The aroma at first is fruity and sour, with hints of banana and tart fruits. It is followed up by a spicy hop aroma. The flavor is immense. Fruity, with hints of spice, candi sugar, and that earthy, signature Brettanomyces funk. It finishes dry and clean, with great hop character that is unlike other Trappist ales. Orval is a medium bodied brew. The flavor only lasts from sip to swallow. Not much lingering on the palate. It is, however, very easy to drink. Not my favorite beer from the seven Monastaries, but definitely up there on the list.

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

Appearance: Orval Trappists pours a amber-to-ochre colour along with a massive cream white crown which diminishes quite slowly and leaves plenty of lacing on the side.

Smell: Sweet and flowery, like a peach bubble-gum on a virgins butt. Some yeast can be hinted in the background.

Taste: Yeasty fruitiness along with a sour finish, greatly mellifluous to the smell.

Mouthfeel: Medium full and rather rough to the palate, the carbonation brings a fresh sensation, without being blatantly upfront.

Drinkability: I surely enjoyed this one, and it deserves recommendation due to the flavour-to-scent resonance and overall high character- On a side note worth mentioning is the fact that it's very similar to a Biere de Garde, (or is it vice versa?)

Photo of babaracas
4.41/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from squat 11.2oz brown bottle, bottled on 9/7/2008, best by 9/7/2013. This is the best dating system I've ever seen, bottled and best by dates. Other brewers please adopt this. Pours a hazy amber with huge meringue-like head. Smell: green apple, yeast funk, orange peel, lemon zest, ginger?, hay, grassiness. Taste: spice cake, honey graham crackers, green grapes, green apple, toffee, more sour yeast funkiness, what I'd imagine hay tastes like. Tangy, soft, medium bodied. This is one is insane, from the ridiculously large head to the ultra funky yeast and the complexities it brings.

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

Poured this one into a La Fin Du Monde tulip. Upon a slow pour a huge head developed that stuck around forever whilst becoming rocky and wonderful. The head sits on top of a pale amber body with golden edges. It's only somewhat hazy as I left most of the sediment in the bottle. Aroma is of sour banana right off the bat, followed up by the famous barnyard funk and hint of apple cider. I've hadd this beer in the past but don't remember it being so sour and funky smelling. The flavor is not as in-your-face funktastic sour as the nose, but it does have that going for it. It's sour, but in a pleasing sort of way. Flavors of ripe fruits, Belgian candy sugar, light acidity, a bit of licorice, and it has a nice hop bitterness on the finish. Body is medium (I think) but it's hard to tell with so much carbonation, which gives it a drying champagne like quality on the tongue. I can't normally see my self drinking too many sour/funky beers in one sitting, but this is so delicious I could easily see myself drinking a couple of these in a night. This is probably the most unique of the Trappist ales and it's one that everyone should try at least once. I can see why some would not like, but I for one am in love!

Photo of Itoclown
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Siciliano's in Grand Rapids. Consumed in a Duvel Tulip.
Smell: Friggen awesome! Very fruity with a fantastic Belgium smell.
Look: Medium brown and hazy. Head remains throughout.
Taste: GREAT! I was taken aback. It's very complex and fruity. It's so good that even my Dad loved it when I gave him a sip and he hates complicated beers.
Mouthfeel: Not the best. Very bubbly but it isn't harsh on the tongue.
Overall: I've put this one off for a very long time. I passed it over for years. I wish I hadn't. It's unreal. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this may be the best Belgium beer I've ever had.

Photo of TMB0424
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into snifter

Poured a beautiful hazy peach body with a massive, pillowy white head. Clung to my glass for its life, excellent lacing and retention. Simply a work of art.

Aroma is of zesty orange peel, lemon rind, other citrus. Cherries, granny smith apples in the background. The scent of the Belgian yeast in this brew is intoxicating by itself. Cloves and a peppery aroma back up the citrus in full force. Vinous, grape-like as well... champagne-like.

Taste is of honey dipped citrus (orange peel once again) but is backed up by a sour/tart element that is indescribably perfect. Once the initial hit of citrus fades away, a nice twang of lemon tartness kicks in, followed by a very dry finish. The finish is peppery and warming as well. The yeast... I can't even explain. Leathery, funky - it's perfect. The vinous character is evident once again as in the aroma.

High carbonation, medium full bodied brew. Very bready and chewy. Has a certain distinct creamy mouthfeel to it. The clove, pepper, lemon finish leaves a somewhat funky (in a good way) lacing in my mouth. To continue the wine-like trend, it's almost tannic. Extremely long lasting and even moreso pleasureable.

Drinkable? Oh yeah. This is what Belgian beer is all about. The complexity of this beer is mind boggling as each sip can bring out different elements in this brew. This is a must try for any Belgian lover (or beer lover for that matter). Truly an experience.

Photo of brewbucker
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 20/02/2008

Poured into my Chimay chalice. Pours a medium slightly hazy orange copper with a large off white head. Beautiful appearance. Very big aroma of spicy fruits. Sharp orange zest and hints of pepper. Flavor is tart citrus, yeasts, and mild malts. This is only the second time I have tried this beer. I tried it for the first time early on in my "beer geekdomness" and thought it was average. I am glad I revisited this. Orval is truly in a class by itself.

Photo of brandoneast
3.43/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours extremely hazed orange-copper, with a fluffy head letting convoluted aromas of rose hips, chamomile, granny smith apple, leather, and burlap sack. Flavors of wet hay, orange blossom water, lemongrass, petals, some wood, and a slice of hop bitterness towards the back - accumulating to a lingering body and light carbonation.

Orval can challenge the craft beer neophyte, but guarantees to remain etched in your memory as one of the most unique experiences one can have with brew.

Photo of sonicdescent
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes:

Poured into a chalice.

Appearance is a very beautiful golden with a thick head. Belgian beers always look so damn tasty and dignified.

Smells like a champagne, very fruity, grapes stand out most.

Taste is similarly fruity with a very dry finish. Again grapes and maybe a tiny hint of a citrus fruit are present. While it is very good, I would have preferred a little more definition.

Mouthfeel is high carbon and thin..a beer with this flavor would be too flat any other way.

As for drinkability, I would buy this again in a pinch if selection is limited, but would likely pass this over in most situations. It's good, but doesn't scream for me to come back to it immediately. On the other side, this would be a great starter beer for someone coming from champagne/wine.

Photo of WeisGuy
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - pours a deep burnt orange color, very hazy, huge rocky off-white head with awesome retention and great lacing

s - lots of spice along with some orange and apple aromas on the nose, a bit of a sour spike in the smell as well as some sweet honey

t - very well integrated taste, lots of citrus mixed with spices, orange is prominent with some lemon, a mild sourness on the mid-palate and finish, finish has a lingering lemon sourness with some yeastiness and a moderate amount of bitterness

m - light-to-medium bodied, fairly high carbonation level, very active in the mouth, pretty dry on the finish

d - very drinkable and incredibly refreshing beer, this would be an awesome warm-weather beer

Very nice beer overall and quite unique. I'll definitely revisit this in the future.

Photo of JayQue
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Belgian experience without being wiped out by high abv!! Poured a slightly cloudy orange color into my Augustijn goblet. Nice big white head on a hard pour that lasts awhile. Some reviewers talked about lacing, I didn't notice any.

Good Belgian smell, spices, citrus, dark fruit with a little bit of funkiness/earthiness.

Good taste. Spiciness, citrus, dark fruit and a nice slightly bitter hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel is rich, and pricks the taste buds with spiciness and carbonation.

Drinkability is good. The flavors are challenging and the abv allows for more than one at a sitting. Very good

Photo of WalrusJockey
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle, poured into Chimay chalice.

Appearance- very nice amber-orange, with an off-white head, a very slight beige.

Smell- fruity and spicy, of course. Pears, apples, spices, a hint of alcohol, and a vague urine odor. Over all very nice.

Taste- honey and apple and berry flavors, paired with spices and toffee, and a mustard-like flavor as well. Swallow is yeasty, and the aftertaste is hoppy and warm.

Mouthfeel- very crisply carbonated, not *bad* but on the high end of good, also fairly dry, especially on the warm finish. After letting the glass sit for a few minutes, the carbonation has calmed a bit and the mouthfeel is much silkier and smoother.

Drinkability- pretty good. This beer smells strange, to me, but it tastes good, it looks good, and goes down well. This is a very enjoyable beer.

Photo of khiasmus
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

"AS IF!" the devil sniffed. "An angel of light, you know. No one could possibly look better than me." So sadly mistaken. For all of his "blonde bombshell" and "lose your innocence" advertising... The head of the fearless Trappist monk's beer destroyed his. AS IF... when one is at 10,000 feet elevation, and looks down and imagines cherubim frolicking over the fluffy whiteness that only moves with the wind... AS IF the walls upon walls of lace that they trail behind them could even be touched by any other beer... Sunset, I suppose, as the glowing white cotton-balls... nay, whipped cream, sits atop a deep amber/light mahogany body... perfect clarity, those adventurous, persnickety bubbles march on up the walls, many in number.
And then an oak barrel, the brettanomyces bug seems to have bitten, and filled the air with its deep, dank warm-ferment-cask notes. There's the malt backbone of a Tripel... nothing has done this before. The depth of the thing... is this a saint or a monster? Caramel, butterscotch, white pepper... all overridden by the immense cave-deep barrel, the light sour, the earth, hops that have been buried for years...
For the flavor... Some metal. Like that level, Nebulous, on Jet Moto... you're in heaven, the clouds, the classical music... then you dive down and there are raging guitars (in the form of Brett sour and a light copper-esque metallic note), potholes in the road, a "swiss cheese" flat stretch, then a solid, lingering, belgian-waffle-biscuit in the end. The hops that exist are dank, earthy, despondent.
The clouds carry into the feel of the thing... light, airy, bubbly, dry. The sourness pushes the dryness down the back of the throat...
And one of the finest ales in the world. One couldn't say fairer than this destroyed the "angel of light" at his own game. Here... have a taste. Heaven and hell.

Photo of froghop
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pour is a deep amber with a huge white foamy head that stays around through the whole experience, lacing is excellent.

smell is spice, dark fruit, orange, hops, and some lemon-lime hidden in the back.

taste is carbonated, sour malt, citrus, orange, sweet fruit, few hops in the end, and some spic, leaves the mouth on the dry side.

Photo of clayrock81
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a cider-colored body with voluminous head that died slowly and was sticky and cloying on my glass. A sharp and somewhat pungent hoppy aroma w/ floral notes - for some reason it was a tad offsetting. A hoppy, springy taste on a medium-bodied and smooth, somewhat creamy beer. Fruits like orange, cherry and apple all seem to be fighting in there along with hints of sweet malts to balance it and a touch of spicing. Finishes with a bite on the end; this is the type of mellow yet enjoyable beer I could drink all day while relaxing and watching a New Year's Day bowl game or two.

Photo of ahalloin
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a clearish dark gold color with a quickly billowing white head that formed about a finger width. The head dissipated rather quickly (like Champagne would) but left a thin ring of varying sized bubbles to float on top. I also see Champagne like bubbles forming on the bottom of the glass and then shooting up to the surface.

The aroma has a slight sourness with hints of orange peel and Brettanomyces. There is also a distinct allusion to a fine Champagne (recurring theme, I know!).

How about that mouthfeel?! It's like there is a party in my mouth and the Swedish bikini team is invited! Again, Champagne-like constant carbonation.

The flavor, for me, leaves a little to be desired. I am getting a lot of brett and sourness. Maybe some sour orange juice. There are hints of citrusy hops as well. The beer finishes extremely dry...like a Champagne!

Photo of Hojaminbag
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A slightly hazy copper to rust colored body. Huge, rocky, lumpy, off-white head. Great retention as the head settles into a thick lumpy ring on top of the beer. Lively carbonation bubbles move throughout the body. Honestly, this looks a little bit like an IPA.

The smell is really tart. Not a really stong sour aroma, just a slightly musty type of sour from a moderate does of brettanomyces. The kind that people refer to as "horse blanket" or "barnyard." I don't like either of these descriptions because they don't sound appealing at all, but I feel people will understand me when I use them. A noticeable hop aroma that is floral and grassy is there too.

The tartness I noticed in the nose is definitely the main flavor in this beer. Most noticeable up front, the tart flavor continues throughout the entire body of the beer. Next a good, really hay or grassy tasting hop profile comes through. The tartness and this hop profile work great together. Underneath these two dominant flavors comes some sweet belgian malt to round it out. From start to finish Orval is tasty, complex and interesting.

This probably has the liveliest mouthfeel I have ever encountered. The carbonation is huge; I'd say more highly carbonated than a soda. Fairly light body. It is a little strange, but I do think this mouthfeel works.

Interesting flavors combine with an extremely light feeling body to make a really drinkable beer. I can't believe I had not tried orval until now, definitely a great beer.

Photo of whiteskittlz
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

bought at TotalWine Tustin, chilled, let unchill a bit, then poured into Chimay goblet

appearance: love its opaqueness. foam isn't on best behaviour: started out big, didn't hold too well

smell: hint of flavours to come

taste: nice, peppery, lemony,

mouthfeel: maybe a bit tinny

so drinkable, it's a shame they only sell these small bottles. also, quite expensive and not THAT outstanding to keep me coming back very often.

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

Poured into an Orval glass. The Light Golden hue with the heavy carbonation and big fluffy head make this a beautiful beer to behold. The aroma is of meadow grass and a hint of the farm. The taste is a drying bitterness with a clean earthy tone. There is a sense of tartness, but without being tart. The body is light and airy. A beer that you wish could be drank everyday. A very unique flavor and aroma that I can't say I've had anywhere else.

Photo of colts9016
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A beautiful orange hue with a slight reddish tint. There is a two finger head that is billowy and foamy. There is a lot of lacing on the glass. The clarity is hazy and not to cloudy. There seems to be particles in suspension. There is some small carbonation bubbles coming from the glass.

Nose: A nice lightly toasted malt aroma follow by some esters, bananas, pears, sweet bread yeast, citrus, and phenols. There hints of leather and grass.

Taste: There is a lightly toasted malt, floral, bananas, and sweet bread yeast. There is some hints of leather, straw, phenols, papery, and pears.

Overall. A very nicely balanced Belgium pale ale. There is a good malt with a delicate but well put hop flavor. The mouth feel is astringent and slightly powdery. The finish is bitter and it last. I felt that the beer finish was inviting me to drink more. The more I drink I felt that this beer had a 3-d complex coming to life in my mouth. I rather enjoyed this beer. I decanted it for almost 30 minutes.

Photo of yesyouam
4.26/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Orval is a shimmering and clear amber ale with a very soft off-white head that lasts forever and leaves excellent lacing. The aroma is of a dusty dank cellar, soft sweet grain, bread and berries and herbs. It is very soft and smooth and medium bodied. Great balance! It is bitter and tart, but softly so. There is a lemon/lime flavor in there. The hops are a bit like juniper, cranberry and rosemary. It's so classic! I love it!
(rated Aug 21, 2007)

Photo of defubar
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: golden brown and cloudy with a thick, white head

S: hints of yeast, flower and citrus

T: bitter hoppy taste, yeast and citrus , a very different taste from what I am used to

M: carbonated and dry

D: it's very drinkable, expensive though - a little over $5 per 11.2 oz bottle

I'm a beer novice, and this is my first review here on BA.

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

A: Orange / Copper hue. Head settles into a nice fluffy layer. A little cloudy (bottle conditioned).

S: Faint caramel and alcohol scents. Not a very aromatic beer (at this point). Faint fruit esters. How do you rate a beer that is hard to smell? The smell reveals some complexity, but it is hard to find.

T: Hard to describe at first taste. Reminiscent (at first) of white wine or champagne with some citrus notes (more orange / tangerine than grapefruit -- not from hops). Minty hop tastes linger for a little while. Finishes dry with a slight metallic edge.

As it warms, caramel and dark cherry cordial (faint) flavors develop in the aftertaste along with tobacco and cloves. The complexity is in the finish. I seem to taste more of what this beer has to offer after I swallow it.

MF: The mouthfeel is the biggest achievement here. Light and effervescent. Certainly comes alive on the palate.

D: A fine beer. I admit that I may raise my expectations too high when I see the words "trappist" or even "Belgian" on the label. A fine beer, but it did not knock my socks off -- maybe I was expecting that too much. There are certainly examples of this style I like better. I am happy I tried it, and would never turn it down.

Photo of Reagan1984
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated with "bottled on 12/27/2007"

Other than the color, this really looked like a champagne. The head was a very light and active at first. Really looked like a champagne head, but then started to act differently and showed some structure. The beer is a bright orange amber color and was crystal clear with some nice visible carbonation. Again, appearing in this manner a bit like champagne. Some tiny splotches of lace, but not much.

The aroma was sharp and fruity with a nice amount of earthiness. I smell some pear. You can also detect the yeast.

The flavor helped me continue my champagne these here. Very tart, light and delicate. Light fruits, a decidedly light sour flavor that again reminds me of nice champagne. I get some more pear notes and also tart green apple. The difference is towards the end where some nice hop character comes through. This is where I like the flavor as the distinctive Belgian yeast flavors meld nicely with the hop bitterness. My fridge is set for 46 degrees, so I believe I started drinking this at the proper temp. Having said that, I still enjoyed it as it warmed slightly. It really opened up nicely and you could really get a better sense of the malt flavors.

The mouth feel is very light and effervescent. Dry and crisp at the finish. Definitely a delicate brew and one to be treated as such. One I think I would enjoy in the summer.

I am happy that my taste has matured enough to really enjoy this. Several years ago I would not have enjoyed this as much.

Photo of jasonjlewis
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a huge head with excellent retention and a nice cloudy ornage color.

Smell is of sour apple and citrus. The brett funk really comes through.

I was hoping for a nice funky beer, but there is an off bitterness from some dry tannins or yeast autolysis. and overtakes the funk of the brett. It just doesn't go well together. In addition there are a bit of clovey spicy undertones.

Crisp mouthfeel.

I wanted to like this beer after smelling it, but it just has an off bitterness and some tannins that make it less than desirable. I don't know if there are autolysis issues with the beer that lead to the off flavors, but this beer is only 1 1/2 years old and well before it's best by date.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,689 ratings.