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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,550 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,550
Reviews: 2,133
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 227
Gots: 471 | 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: 4,550 | Reviews: 2,133 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cameraman
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A light amber color, with a rocky/puffy off white colored head. The scent has sweet spices, corriander, maybe some nutmeg, plus a fruity fragrance of peach. There is a sugary sweet, candy scent in there as well. The taste was very mild, I was expecting this robust, sweet flavor, but it doesn't even seem to leave any flavor on the palate. It does finsh with a strong hop bitterness, though nothing to harsh. The feel is almost like a lager, surprisingly crisp, and very dry finish from beginning to end. I am fairly let down by the taste, everything else was a surprise in this my first trappist ale.

Photo of bradmann
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Long time beer enthusiast and BA member, first time BA review!

Got a 330ml bottle of this delicious Belgian at a Vin Buð in Reykjavik, Iceland! It's one of the few foreign craft beers Iceland imports.

Dig it:

A: opaque but not too cloudy, golden with an orange tint, bubbly, white, two-finger head, so-so retention, ZERO lace
S: winey grape notes, peach (?), alcohol
T: bitter at first, with a crisp, clean-as-a-whistle finish. Dry and more robust than it looks, the alcohol is present but not unsettling and makes for one of the most enjoyable mouthfeels I've encountered in a while.

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

Oval shaped 11.2 oz brown bottle with bottled on date of 8/8/2007 poured into a Chimay chalice

A: Murky golden orange/amber color. Massive, dense slightly off white head that hangs around forever with some splotchy lacing.
S: Very strong, hit me as soon as I opened the bottle. Complex, but no one aroma really jumps out. Orange, lemon, yeast, citrus rind, coriander, slight pepper. Very well balanced, definitely more floral and spicy than sweet.
T: Lighter side of medium bodied, very highly carbonated resulting in a very smooth, creamy taste that is deceptively thicker than the actual body is. Very interesting combination of the sweeter malty flavors, spicy floral like flavors and the citrus rind flavor. The predominant flavor pulls toward the earthy, citrus rind taste, with the sweeter/tarty flavors in the beginning being subdued throughout. The finish is very dry, grainy, earthy and lingers forever.

This is an amazingly complex, balanced beer, but personally I would enjoy this a little more if leaned closer to the tart or sweeter side than the earthy, citrus rind.

Photo of Antilochus
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've been working on covering all the Trappist bases - thus far I've tried all but Westy, Achel, and Koenigshoeven. I haven't reviewed all of them yet though, and this is bringing me one step closer to that goal. Thanks to the LCBO for bringing this one back in Spring Release '08.

6.90% abv, 330mL bottle. Bottled on 09/25/2007, so about five and half months old. Poured into a white wine glass first then my Chimay chalice. This was at cellar temp then got a while in the fridge.

Monster head on this one when I poured it! Big and foamy, amber-y off white, very natural looking. Almost clear effervescent amber body. Not much lace.

Nose has lots of oranginess, tangerine, rind, some lighter floral hop character. Super complex. Spice, of course. Bit of booziness too, tied in with pale malt. Earthy, farmy, got some dirt and hay at the forefront. Cane sugar, vanilla. Caramel, some sour cherriness. A little acetic quality to it - tied to green apple? Very winey, but in a good way. Some subtle mineral aromas, like hard water. The pour in the chalice got more yeasty, but not excessively so.

Feel is very light with substantial spritzy carbonation. I'm already getting some crazy palate stuff here just holding it in my mouth and breathing. Now I remember you, Orval. Gets sharp in the mouth right away. Lollipops, pungent pale malt, apple vinegar again(?), dirt, refined sugar, blue cheese, finish is dry and vegetal, super long, with a big snap of bitterness - sort of resinous but less clean. Cidery, with some yeast to muddle it up. Sahara dry with some physical mouth drying too, winey again. A hint of metal. Citrus fades away compared to the nose. Very earthy, the finish seems gone but little flavours will pop back up on your palate. Just got some sour mix, lime candy. Highly drinkable.

This is something else. One of a kind brew, bravo.

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

Appearance hazy copper in color two finger off white head that stuck around untill the last sip. Smell herbal hop aroma and earthy. Taste same as smell with warming alcohol and a dry snapy finish. Mouthfeel mediem body high carbonation. Drinkability a nice pre dinner beer.

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

Bottle Date: 11/14/2006. Into an Orval Goblet...

A - One of those truely beautiful beers. Perfect head, good retention, wonderfull golden orange body with attractive clairity.

S - Plum, cinnamon, coriander, tripel-like fruityness, cake like maltyness, slight blue cheese, all noted. The best part is that all these aromas are very well balanced. I'm impressed.

T - Starts out quite tart, like most belgian pales, but with B. Bruxellensis earthyness/ blue cheese like funk balancing it out from the start. Nice contrasting of flavors.

M - Crisp and silky, good.

D - Solid beer to experece from time to time. One of the better agers from my experence. Can't go wrong with this one.

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

A-Pours an orange copper amber with thick head that leaves nice intricate lacing. Slightly hazy.

S-Spice, yeast, very slight hint citrus, light fruit, rose hips & floral notes.

T-Tart & bittnerness accompanies slight sweetness and spice w/great results. Attack is reminiscent of spiced cider w/lemon, and the finish brings out bitter hops and citrus rind with floral remnants. Very good.

M-Excellent. Bitterness and tartness are well-balanced, and linger.

D-Highly drinkable. Lots of flavor without being overpowering. Very smooth and tasty.

Photo of edskirk3
4.95/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I always hate when I have (what I consider to be) a "special" beer in my fridge, one which I feel must be saved for a special occasion. Orval is that beer in the fridge today. It is "special" because I've never had it before, however I do have an Orval chalice which I've used many times. I figure Leap Day Eve is as special an occasion as any, so here we are.

I have a single, 11.2 oz brown bottle that looks like it might contain a genie. It has the Authentic Trappist Product seal, as well as a bottling date of 07.05.07 which makes this sample just under 8 months old. I have also allowed it to warm up a bit before opening.

As I've always imagined, Orval looks perfect when poured into its special glass. It sits cloudy amber orange with a very dense, creamy head which creeps up the circumference of the vessel.

The smell is magnificent. And pungent all the way till the end. Like a delicious flower that I'm not allergic to. And that flower has been spritzed with lemon and something peppery and pinelike. My first thought was mint but that's not it. Also banana.

The first thing I noticed when tasting is how light-bodied this ale is. Way more watery than I had expected. Very surprising. That said, I'm amazed how complex the flavors are here. Definite farmhouse character, with flavors of hay and such. Citrus rind. Slight tartness. Very slightly medicinal. And extremely dry altogether.

I have had this sitting around since Christmas. It was worth the wait. I wonder how it would have tasted then. I don't think I've ever sniffed a beer so many times, and pondered so much after each sip. Quite an enlightening, thought provoking ale and a definite world class brew.

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

Pours with a rocky dense head that lasts the whole glass. Murky orange.

Cloves and a slight floral bouquet are apparent.

Very bready and yeasty tasting. Tasting some cloves or maybe coriander. Some hoppy bitterness lingers.

Mouthfeel is medium to light , somewhat dry tasting.

Very nice Belgium pale ale.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Bottled On: 27/06/2006 - Labeled as being 6.9% abv).

Appearance: Pours an orange-amber body with a tall, foamy white head.

Smell: Complex aroma filled with notes of citrus, pears, apple cores, gentian, sauvignon blanc, and a second-hand horseblanket store.

Taste: Flavors of unripened pears, piced citrus, and bitter herbs. Dash of white wine. Sour and funky throughout. Hops come through now and again amongst all the various tastes. Finishes peppery and exceedingly dry. Lingering tongue-numbing sourness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Spritzy, lightly prickly carbonation.

Drinkability: Certainly one of the more unique Trappist beers out there, I'll give it that.

Photo of AleDrinkToThat
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Bright copper/orange hue under a wonderful two finger rocky beige head.

Smell: The hops bouquet was readily apparent, and the tart citrus was balanced well with a lightly toasted malt.

Taste: I was a little surprised by the delicious bitter tartness from the citrus and hops. It's so clean, so sharply balanced...it really is the best pale I've had, from any nation. What can I say? The oldest Trappist brewery is still here for a reason. A damn good one.

Mouthfeel: The fruity and malty notes were so sharp...almost as if there were something clouding the clarity of other pale ales. It's like pale ale in HD.

Drinkability: Other than the cost, I say drink up. But do savor it, because it's expertly crafted and worth a longer contemplation than any run-of-the-mill American or English pale.

Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My first experience with Orval. Picked up a bottle for only 2.49..not bad.

A- A hazy golden brown color, but brighter almost orange. Visible carbonation bubbles, white head, some lace.

S- Smelled just like a glass of champagne. Maybe some white grapes, spice, fruit?

T- I could not put my finger on the flavors on this one. Tasted winey, very similar to champagne. Somewhat peppery aftertaste with a spicy kick to it. A tart sweetness to it in the begining.

M- Mouthfeel was tingly and carbonated, some warming.

D- What a great beer. I enjoyed this all the way. I could taste the "class" in the beer.

Photo of botham
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a goblet. pours a semi-hazy amber color witha couple fingers of off-white frothy head.

aroma is lightly fruity, with a subtle sourness that feeds off of grape notes within the fruit character. overall the brew takes on a vinous character, almost reminiscent of a flanders red.

taste is more restrained than the aroma would suggest, but with much of the same present. same notes as aroma, just less intense. finishes with a lingering note of dark fruit.

mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a clean finish and silky texture.

drinkability is decent. the alcohol shows even though it is only 6.9% APV. that being said, this is a brew about subtle flavors and character. overall a wonderful belgian

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

This is my first trappist ale.

It pours out a hazy golden color, with a ludicrous amount of head. I needed a larger glass - I used a 11oz tulip glass which couldn't contain the head at all, so I had to wait and let it settle, pour some more in, drink some, etc.

Upon sniffing, my first thought was "wine." It's fruity and pleasant.

There's fruity notes in flavor the but a very different fruity than what I experience with IPAs. There are more notes of fruits like plum and grape. The finish nicely balances the beginning, and a potent aftertaste lingers. I can't call this world-class, but it's good.

The carbonation was a little harsh, but otherwise it was nice in the mouth. It kind of coated the mouth. It's a good experience, but I wouldn't be enthralled to drink more.

Photo of korndog
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For the life of me, I cannot understand the low rating by some top reviewers. Great amber appearance into a Chalice, with gorgeous white head. Floral smell with some spice and sour. I think the way this beer transforms in our mouth from start to finish is unreal. There is a subtle Brett sour theme throughout the taste, but the other facets seem to change. Jason said it best; fresh cut hay, citrus, hops. Truly like walking from the barn to the orchard. The dryness of the finish makes you want another sip right away, making this a very expensive habit. Complex and Sensational.

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

Ahh, the classic Belgian Pale Ale. Bright hazy golden-orange color with a really large and fluffy white head. Sweet banana and tart orchard fruit nose with yeasty belgian spice. Quite nice. Light, but hugely creamy carbonation fills the mouth with tastes of apples, bananas, and spicy belgian yeast. A classic and probably the most sessionable of begian ales I've ever had, even at close to 7%. Supremely tasty and hugely refreshing. Oh so satisfying.

Photo of ROMER79
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this for the first time the other night. It was poured straight into an Orval glass. It poured a nice gold color with a two finger white head. The smell was very herbal with hops and fruit coming through. The taste was astonishing, amost like candy. You could really respect the great balance between the hops, berries, and sugar. It has a nice dry flavor to coinside with the other flavors above. It is a crisp refreshing feel on the palate and carbonated as well to give it the extra umph! Very easy to drink, I had it with Nachos and they tasted great together.

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

Appearance: dark honey gold color,light carbonation, 2 finger head + retention. poured from an 11.2oz bottle to a tulip glass.

Smell: sweet and spicy

Taste: I taste graham crackers? This is the hardest one for me. I can't put a finger on it.

Mouthfeel: Feels chewy but smmoth and carbonated perfectly.

Drinkability: One more? Lets go!

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

Bought this as a single at Grapes of Mirth, Columbus, OH. Poured from a 330cc bottle into a Chimay chalice. A 5 month old authentic trappist ale. Nice pillowy white head. Good active carbonation is visible and keeps the head around forever.

Smell is kind of weak, but becomes more pronounced with warming. Apricots, yeasty, sweet light malts, some grassy hops.

Has very bitter citrus rind type of flavor that hits right up front and really surprised me. I almost want to call it vinegar-like and I found this very distracting. This flavor sticks around long after leaving the mouth. I'm not sure if this is imparted by the hops. I initially thought this may be a bad bottle, but upon reading other reviews, I think this may be the character of the beer. Its a characteristic that I haven't experienced with other belgian pales or tripels.

No real detectable alcohol. Very dry with no real sweetness.

Creamy, light mouthfeel with a very light effervescent feel characteristic of Trappist ales. Bitterness limits drinkability.

Not one of the better Trappist ales I've had. Flavor is a little lacking. Has an odd bitterness which I couldn't reall get past and I'm not really used to in this style.

Photo of ojclark
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

7 months old when tasted. Orangey hoppy aroma with notes of sourness/vinegar aroma. Cloudy orange/amber color with a frothy off-white head with a lot of carbonation and light lacing. Flavor a complex mix of bitter, sour, hops with a noticable lambic-type (Brettanomyces) character and some slightly vinegary sourness. Slight sweetness noticable along with the other flavor components in the aftertaste. Effervescent mouthfeel, medium body with a medium length finish with a fairly long aftertaste. Very complex and very good.

Photo of Tilley4
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm just now starting to appreciate some of the Belgian offerings out there and had to give this one a go. Been seeing it everywhere and decided to pick it up for this evening.

Pours out with a very clear amber color, humongous head... white and fluffy..

Very pleasant bready smell with hints of citrus and hay and something underlying that is a little bit funky.

Quite a bit of carbonation present in the taste, a little fizzy on the mouthfeel. Nice taste of spicy malts and bread and just a hint of citrus....

Not a huge fan of this one but I've been drinking more of the darker Belgians and they seem to be a bit more complex and better tasting. Still enjoyed it and glad I tried it.

Photo of SurlyDuff
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours a slightly hazy orange gold with a pillowy head. I poured it a bit harder than I should have, resulting with a good 3 fingers. Taking a very long time to collapse back down, but sticking vigorously to the side of the glass.

Light aroma of lemongrass and flowers. Banana and bread.

Taste is of dried hay (some call it barnyard/farm/horse), lemon peel, and with a sweet perfume up front. Finish is bitter and earthy. Still a bit of a crisp grassy/cholorphyl bite to it is as well, especially in the finish.

Drinkability isnt all there for me, but I am not taking points simply because it's not my style preference. One of the most enjoyable Belgian Pale Ales I have had, and it has enough unique flavors to diferentiate itself from the trappist pack.

Bottled on 4/07, reviewed on 2/08. Expiration is 4/12

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

Poured a wonderful golden creamy color into the chalice. Gorgeous white head.

Delicate spices.

Very complex taste. There's yeast, fruit, spices, and a dryness that is pulls the chalice back to one's mouth.

Good mouthfeel, medium not too heavy but substantial enough to enjoy!

This is good beer. This beer has a wildness to it that I will have to delve into again.

Photo of davidt
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pouring the Orval slowly into an oversized wineglass produced a full, billowing off-white head. The beer is a orange-copper color with some haziness. Spicy, malty aromas are released during the pour and picked up by the nose immediately. There's a pleasing peppery smell, along with some faint fruitiness. The taste is an earthy blend of yeast and a light, bready malt. A light sweetness is present, which balances the hop bitterness. A fruity aspect appears as the beer warms. The finish is somewhat astringent, but pleasant. Bottled 07/05/2007, labeled 6.9% ABV.

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

Poured out of an 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Opaque copper/orange color with a massive frothy head.
Leaves a nice bit of lattice.

Smells of citrus

There was a little touch of tartness to the flavor, maybe some of the citrus. I shall definitely have to try this one again and again.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,550 ratings.