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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,531 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,531
Reviews: 2,133
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 226
Gots: 459 | 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: 4,531 | Reviews: 2,133 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of FloridaDrinker
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy orange with a robust head. Smell of citrus fruit, malt and sage.. The taste is intensely bitter, lemon, sage with a slight metallic element in the finish. It is surprisingly refreshing.

Orval is a very unique beer, from the bottle to the flavor - there's nothing quite like it. That said, as finely crafted an ale as it is, it's not for everyone. It's my least favorite of the trappist ales.

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

My fourth Belgian Trappist brewery down, two to go. Pours an orangey gold, hazy with nice carbonation that keeps a great head on the beer. Aroma is champagne, berries, lemons and other fruit, but not quite as overwhelming as some other Belgian brews. Taste is citrusy and hoppy bitter, with a nice hop bite as it goes down and nice dry finish like an American pale ale.

At 6.2 percent, easily the weakest (by alcohol) and drinkable of the Trappist brews I have had thus far. Another world-class brew.

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

A- Pours an Orangey Caramel Color with a massive head. Head has great body and excellent retention. Overall a beautiful brew.

S- The smell is faint however there are distinctive sweet flowery notes and a muted doughy smell. I detected a slight metallic tinge.

T- Starts off sweet and doughy and progresses to a slightly bitter taste. This finishes very smooth with no lingering flavors left on the palate. Exceptional blend of juniper and sweet doughy flavors.

M- Very smooth, a robust carbonation as well as a full body.

D- Highly drinkable. This beer finishes so smooth that it leaves me wanting more and more. Exceptional mix of flavors that is not overpowering. I could certainly enjoy a few of these in an evening if it was not for the lofty price tag.

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

Appearance - Orange hazy color. A big white head forms upon pour. Fine carbonation feeds this head that resolves to a one-finger presence that remains throughout consumption.

Smell - What a pleasure. Flowery, lemon aroma. Some have said juniper, after having to pause and think about the aroma of juniper, I'll have to agree yes! Very light-hearted aroma with a bright clean presence.

Taste - First word from my mouth: crisp. The carbonation makes it's appearance during the "hold" on the palate. I did notice a light smokey body form towards the end of the sip. Nice crisp and clean finish with a bit of a bite ending.

Mouthfeel - Very mouth-filling. The carbonation transports the bulk of the body around the mouth to make for a very full feel. After the swallow, you are left with a clean slate waiting for more.

Drinkability - This was plain and simple a joy to drink. An outstanding depth and crisp finish may this a wonderful "no nonsense" offering. As the last of the trappists for me to try, this indeed holds a place in the pantheon on great beers. One of my top 20 all time.

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

Poured from the bottle a hazy orange color with a large head and good lacing, Nose of yeast and fruits. Sour taste and some citrus. Sour, dry and bitter finish. Very nice to drink and gets better as it warms u a bit, I enjoyed this one and will buy it again.

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

Checking off my second of the six Trappists. I've been waiting to pull this out of the fridge for a long time now.

APPEARANCE: Pours into my Trois Pistoles goblet a hazy yet translucent dark amber with significant red hues to it. It has the most amazing head I think I've ever seen. It's one finger high and simply will not budge. Marvelous!

SMELL: Big immediate aroma of the bready funk that you'd expect. Sniffing deeper, one can discern some fruity peach smells and a peppery spiciness.

TASTE: "Oh yeah!", I said aloud after my first sip. The peppery spice jumps right out at you as you first drink and bitters slightly from a taste of raw hops. It briefly becomes malty sweet before quickly morphing to bready and light. It finishes very clean, leaving just a trace bitterness in your mouth. A fine beer, for sure!

MOUTHFEEL: The carbonation is great. It's very effervescent and works to enhance the flavors. The body is a bit light and borders on watery toward the finish.

DRINKABILITY: I didn't expect a Trappist beer to have such a "relatively" low ABV like this one does. It's really a great beer to spend an evening drinking.

The monks can do no wrong. At least that's what Orval has led me to believe. It will certainly be returning to my fridge in the very near future.

Photo of ChuckMartel
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a huge head that looks like whipped cream w/ an orangish color. Smells like perfume. Tastes a lot like perfume -- prettier than it needs to be. Tastes a little thin for a Trappist ale. After you have one, you really don't look forward to another.

Photo of brendan13
3.53/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a chalice a orange amber colour with a huge rocky head that just won't go away.
S - Lemon & spice notes with a faint sourness.
T - Along the same lines as the smell but with a earthy, dry grass sort of flavour thrown in.
M - Quite a full mouthfeel, medium carbonation. A pretty dry finish.
D - An interesting beer that is worth trying. Good every now and then but I can certainly see why it wouldn't appeal to some.

Photo of John_M
3.53/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had not had this beer in some time and now I recall why I've never been a big fan. I'll be sure not to make the mistake of ordering this one again. Nothing wrong with it, but with so many other outstanding Belgium's out there, no reason to buy this one again.

The beer pours a brownish orange color. There is some head retention, but almost no lacing to speak of. On the nose I get very little, maybe a hint of lemon... not really sure. There just isn't much there. On the palate the beer is very tart and very dry at the same time. I guess this beer is trying to be some type of Belgium pale ale, but it really doesn't work for me. The beer tastes fairly light for a Belgium, and I guess with the abv. you could probably drink a few of these, were price not an obstacle. The mouthfeel is OK, and the beer comes across as fairly refreshing. The finish is rather short and crisp, but there are no off flavors.

An OK beer, but nothing special. I more then likely will not be ordering this again any time soon.

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

Rockin' Ry Cooder & Getz/Gilberto on the playlist. Poured a rusty-colored Orval into my tastin' glass and watched it take it's precious form. Great color, wonderful head, visible carbonation, and a swirling yeasty presence that reminded me of The Fog. Smell is simple, and sweet. A touch of watermelon and fine malt. Taste is conservative compared to some of the more over-the-top offerings found in the motherland, but refined and delicious. Subdued esters and a nice hop presence. Mouthfeel is perfect, leathery and substantial while maintaining is soft side. Leather and lace. I just realized that aside from the formidable price tag that would be involved, this is a session Trappist.

Photo of sessycuban
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - To say this beer had a lot of head would be an understatement. I gave it a good 10 minutes to settle down before I actually got to the beer. Despite this, I was impressed by how well the beer retained the head as well as the lacing.

S - The smells are quite complex, so much so that it's hard to identify the different smells. While I'm not always a fan of this, I think it works with this beer. I had a long time to smell this after having to wait for the head to settle.

T - The taste is as complex as the smell. Like other trappist ales, I get a citrus flavor at the end. Lots of fruits are present, while still maintaining the hop flavor.

M - Once you actually get the head to settle, this beer feels great in your mouth. It's very rich in tone.

D - This is a great beer. My only problem was finding a suitable pairing for it. I think if you match this beer with the wrong food, you're going to lose out on a lot of the subtleties of the flavors and aromas more so than your average beer.

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

33cL bottle poured gently into a Chouffe tulip glass to keep out the dregs (1yr., 10mo. past bottled on date)

A: Pours with a nice looking two finger head. Bright light amber color. Lots of carbonation bubbling up.

S: Smells of Belgian funk and fruit, can't tell what kind of fruit though. I like it.

T: Tastes mildly funky and fruity up front with a bit of hops in the finish. Funk is not overpowering but blends nicely with the other flavors. Very nice.

M: Effervescent, medium body, lingering bitter funk on the back of the tongue.

D: I'd say it's quite drinkable. Tastes very good and is pretty easy drinking. I could drink a few of these if I could afford it.

I'd like to try some fresh Orval sometime. I've read that they add the Brettanomyces at bottling so it's hoppier and less funky fresh and the Brett becomes stronger over time. The brewer said he likes it fresh.

Photo of Drew966
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orval Trappist Ale pours a light to medium copper color with a thick white head from a brown eleven point two ounce bottle. The aroma is complex, a bit winey even, but I also smell banana and even a little bit of barnyard. The flavor is all these things and more. Bubblegum, banana, wine, funk, it's all here and then some. Really a singular Trappist beer, nothing else is like it. I haven't had one in years, and it's not really my favorite beer, but it's a must try.

Photo of MmmIPA
3.65/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The bottle I had was almost 14 months old.

Cloudy orangish bosy with a 2 finger white head that looks like soap bubbles.Thick pillowly head.

Smells like peppar and coriander,some banana and like the candy Neco wafers.Smells like pudding also.
Peppery taste sorda bitter in the after taste.Yeasty and very creamy head. Mouthful is delicate and heavenly very creamy head and perfect carb. and thickness.Good beer very enjoyable and worth the price.I drank it with the company of my beutaful girlfreind and a nice night on the back porch.I will look for this beer again but a fresher bottle.

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

Bottled 30-6-05, best by 30-6-10, the slightly portly bottle a classic. Into a chalice, pours a lovely golden hue, lightening around the edges, with a bubbly inch of head to start with. After receding to a thick film, the head is brought back with a modest swirl, and lacing falls in sheets. The aroma, though not very assertive, pulls one into the beer, the hops take on a grassy feel, spice, and noble, fruity and floral but coaxing all the way to put it to mouth. And then it doesn't disappoint. There are spices aplenty, pairing well with the lemon, grassy, citric hops, loads of bittering involved, and are only magnified by the crazy carbonation. The body is deceivingly light, not so much for malts around here, but very refreshing, and the dry finish leaves you craving for either more Orval or more cheese (which I'm eating with it). In sum, while not my favorite Belgian, nor my favorite Trappist, Orval is a hands down classic and definitely worth enjoying every so often.

Photo of Onibubba
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally got around to trying this one. What took me so long? Poured a nice honey gold into a snifter leaving a short white head. Nice looking beer. Smell is slight hops, citrus...Some funk? Nice! The taste is hard for me to pin down. The hops stand out, but not bitter or overly tart. The funk is there, but stripped down. Not picking up as much citrus as I noticed in the smell. Some white pepper maybe. I like this a lot, and one bottle is not enough. Mouthfeel is full and prickly with carbonation. Drinkability is great. I really need a bomber of this. Does it come in bombers? A repeat buy for sure.

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

Poured a hazy honey-colored orange-amber with a billowing, rocky white head that retained well. Bottle foamed a lot upon opening, which also made for a very foamy pour.

Not a particularly strong smell - some tart citrus notes.

The taste is pretty similar -- mostly sour citrus, some spice and a nice hoppy bite with a real dry sourness in the finish. Certainly complex.

Good crisp, carbonated mouthfeel. And pretty drinkable at 6.20 ABV without any sort of cloying sweetness.

A good, authentic Trappist beer. Certainly not one of my favorites, but worth trying.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 ounce bottle, bottled on 1/24/06, best before 1/24/2011. Served in a snifter, the beer pours an orange/copper color with about an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both pretty good. It smells fruity(lemon, orange, plum and banana), spicy (peppery and herbal/earthy) and malty. There's also other smells that I can't tell exactly what they are. The taste is pretty much like the smell but the citrus taste is the strongest. There's so much to this beer it's pretty hard to figure it all out, if that makes sense at all. Mouthfeel is light/medium, but it has a bit too much carbonation for my liking. Drinkability is decent, but if the carbonation was cut down a bit, it woud be much better. Overall, I'd still drink this again, it's pretty good.

Photo of Stephen63
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - This bottle should have come with a warning as the beer foamed out upon removing the cap. Lost about one sips worth, not a good start. Deliciously cloudy body and outstanding head, can you tell I am impressed yet!

S - An explosion of aromas hit when the glass is raised to the nose. Fruity and spicy with seemingly sweetness underneath. So complex that difficuly to isolate individual smells.

T - Pretty much in line with the smell, complex. Citrus fruits with hops in the finish, slightly sour.

M - Lovely natural carbonation.

D - Really enjoyed this but the style is intense and having more than one at a time seems almost disrespectful.

Fairly stunning brew that really makes a big impression. Too complex to be a regular but one to savour when sampling.

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

Pours a hazy burnt orange with a nice two finger head that dissipates slowly.

Malt and hops present a balanced aroma, with a touch of undetermined fruit.

Taste echoes the nose, a well balanced brew with the hops coming through in the finish.

Carbonation is excellent making it a pleasure to drink.

Drinkability is good too, considering the lower ABV with the great other qualities exhibited.

Photo of willjschmidt
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 330 ml bottle into my gorgeous new Orval chalice. Bottled 29/08/2006.

A: Hazy orange, looks a lot like honey. Huge white head. The foam exploded out of the bottle after I popped the cap.

S: Some light fruit (lemon & orange) along with some floral accents.

T: A very complex taste. The light fruit is followed by some spices and herbal flavors. Honestly, there are all sorts of interesting flavors in this beer and it's difficult to pin down exactly what they are. Some of them are very grassy and earthy. More hops than other Belgian pale ales that I've had gives it a hoppy bite at the end.

M: It has a light body and is very crisp and finishes dry.

D: An extremely unique, interesting and complex beer. It's definitely something that I'll have again but will likely not be in regular rotation. The complex taste makes this a nice sipping beer but I couldn't see having more than 1 or 2.

Photo of emerge077
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Into an oversized tulip, this ale forms a huge, merengue-like head of foam. The foam is irregular with some bigger bubbles in it, and ivory-white. Body is a tawny orange-brown.

A whiff of Brett is present, and can be detected from a distance. Over time, the aroma subsides a bit.

A hint of dry cinnamon in the finish, and smooth carbonation that creates a luxurious & prickly mouthfeel. Moderate funk from the Brett and yeast. Not overly wild, but certainly a unique strain. Dry finish, hints at sweetness. Tea, spice, aged hops, raw honey, the list goes on. Taste builds and develops over time.

I've always enjoyed reading reviews describing a "basement with cobwebs" and this one just might live up to that description. On my list of top Belgians.

Cellar notes 11/2007: Side by side...2007 bottle aged 6 mos., 2005 bottle aged 2 yrs.

2007: Served at 55º. Fruity aroma, damp cobblestone (minerals), hay. Dry finish, hint of bubblegum and sterile gauze from the Brett. Slight tartness and bitterness of hops. Charged streamers of carbonation through slightly hazy orange. Reminds me alot of JP Bam Biére.

2005: Dramatically billowing foam, still very charged after 2 yrs. Very high clarity jewel-tone orange. Aroma has a slightly sweeter fruit aroma, no more or less intense than the fresher sample. "Cleaner" smell too, not especially funky or barnyard. Some mild sharpness though, more closey related to alcohol. A more subdued tartness. Carbonation is more mellow and much less prickly. Honey aftertaste.

Overall, i'm not sure that extended aging (2 yrs.) benefits or hinders Orval. It's slightly different, but not enough to recommend aging for longer periods.

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

330 mL bottle poured into a chalice. Bottled 29 Aug. 2006.

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy orange/copper color. Off-white head is foamy, dense and thick.

Smell: Aroma is a bit herbal and spicy. Light overall; hard to distinguish anything in particular.

Taste: Unique and refreshing spicy/herbal flavor. I'm really having a tough time identifying any of the elements, though there is some yeast. A bit of bitterness towards the end, followed by some alcohol in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light- to medium-bodied, but quite viscous. Very smooth, and with quite a bit of soft carbonation.

Drinkability: ABV is fine, but there is a bit of alcohol in the flavor. And the unusual taste can get a bit overwhelming at times.

Though unique, interesting, and one of the better Belgian pale ales I've had, I still can't quite get into it. It's a nice beer, and I'll certainly get it again, but it's not something that I'd want to have too often.

Photo of seanyfo
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

0.33cl bottle, which was bottled on 19/1/06, so a year and a bit old.
Poured into a kasteel chalice.


Appearance: foam explosion!! head is four fingers, solid off white, very creamy and produces wonderful lace. Body is hazy amber in colour.

Smell: lots of citrus really hits me here, especially lime, with some fresh grass and a slight manure-esque hint. note* as the beer warms this manure flavour transforms into something resembling a cognac

Taste: Very limey citrus taste up front. This develops quickly into a more sweeter flavour and slightly sticky texture, however finishes very dry and pilsner-like. The lime is always there, but notes of a spice such as nutmeg, coriander maybe, come through to give a sweetness aswell.

M- very spritzy and highly carbonated, firm body, no watery aftertaste here.

D- I dont think i could drink more than 2, the citrus flavours really make this a sipper for me, and not something i could go a session on. A nice one for a summers evening where you just want one or two.

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

This beer was served in my classic Schlitz chalice. The beer was bottled on 4/4/2006.

Appearance: The beer pours an expressively carbonated orange amber coloration. The head is a fluffy creamy biege coloration. The head has major retention. Thick sheets of lacing remain on my glass.

Smell: The beer has a very pleasing clove and citrus combo. This combines very well with a vaguely sour fruityness and peppery corriander. Herbal floral notes complement the beers smell.

Taste: The beer has a sour citrus taste to begin with. The beer then goes peppery and bret yeasty. The beer has a not unpleasant mineral flavor at the back of the taste. The beer stays fairly dry throughout the session.


Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer has a dry mouthfeel from start to finish. The beer is very carbonated but is never becomes stinging. The body seems to be on the lighter side. This might be due to carbonation. This is a dam fine beer and was very easy to drink. I will have this one again.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,531 ratings.