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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

4,649 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,649
Reviews: 2,157
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 252
Gots: 522 | 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: 4,649 | Reviews: 2,157 | Display Reviews Only:
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
3.51/5  rDev -16.4%
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
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
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
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
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
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
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
4.01/5  rDev -4.5%
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
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
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
3.71/5  rDev -11.7%
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
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
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
4.41/5  rDev +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
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Photo of OutlawJoseyWales
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

App: Brownish/caramel color, with two fingers of creamy foam

Smell: apples, cinnamon, spice, banana

Taste: cider, juicy hops, clean and crisp, orange peel, there's some strange hint that i guess i'll agree with others and call it horseblanket. adds to the originality of this beer.

while not on par with other trappists beers, this beer is set apart from other beers of the style by the complex taste and originality.

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

330ml tapered thin-neck bottle into snifter. Bottled on November 14, 2006. Best by November 14, 2011.

Slightly hazy honey hue with an off white thick bubbly head that slowly settles to a thin cap, leaving plenty of lacing behind. The lacing continues to build with each sip.

Light pale malts along with a distinctive spicy aroma that I haven't smelled in other Belgian Pale Ales.

Cracker like malts are the dominant characteristic, with very few of the estery characteristics normally found. A creaminess sneaks in behind the light spice. Mild fruit flavors are spread across the entire experience. The finish is grainy with a little spice.

The first time I had this brew it seemed like I was drinking battery acid. The bottle must have been infected or poorly handled. This time around it was a much better experience. This BPA is a little more malt oriented than others, with esters being only a light addition to the background. The fruity esters are kicked up a notch with the addition of the yeast sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Recommended.

Photo of ccrida
4.73/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured in my vintage Westmalle chalice, Orval is a hazy golden orange with a thick, rocky, white head with medium bubbles that is very slow to recede, leaving moderate lace.
The aroma is moderate, musty yet bright, earthy flowers and yeast, distinctly belgian and very appetizing.
The taste really nice, incredible depth yet fairly subtle. It is beyond my ability to break it down to specifically, but theres a bit of sourness, salt, yeast (which I swirled off the bottom), leathery, bitterness, straw, only the slightest sweet pale and caramel malts, minerals, bread, honey and flowers, and probably more stuff that I just can't break down. The finish is very bitter dry and clean, but for a nice pucker on the tongue. There is a slight bit of alcohol as the beer warms, but it is clean and good, no solvents or anything. I love any beer with brett, and this is as fine as example as there is - it's tough too beat Gout d'Oraval. I normally prefer more robust flavors, but the subtly here speaks volumes.
The mouthfeel is pretty spritzy and light bodied, very nice and really opens this beer up. Being that it was bottled 15 months ago says alot.
The drinkability for this is as high as it gets (aside from perhaps the cost). The taste is great without being overwhelming, and complex enough that it will take me a lifetime to figure out. Wow.

Photo of brushpig
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Slim the bartender at the Hopleaf suggested this fine brew. Served in a tulip glass.

Amber orange appearance with a huge frothy head.

The aroma of flowers citrus light spices.

The taste is something special, smooth, but very complex with lemons, hops, tart, bitter, flowers. All this with a perfect balence that makes this a joy to drink. Not a overwhelming ABV (6.20)
which makes this very drinkable.

This is one of the traditional belgiums that is a must try.

Photo of Byeast
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: a fairly clear peachy amber , with a solid half inch of frothy foam sustained by a steady fast rising carbonation on the sides of my chalice.

Smell: Very strong and exellent smell on this beer , i can smell it as it sits on the table like a vase of flowers. Lots of fruity esters , white grapes , floral, bit of a white wine scent , beery yeast , barnyard undertone.

Taste: Very lively and refreshing. Lots of fruity flavor , white grape , some tartness, flowery/perfumey qualities , some musty/earthiness , bit of phenols and spice, hint of lemon, yeast in the finish. There are some flavors that i can't seem to describe as well , complex.

Mouthfeel: very effervescent , light

Drinkability: A very drinkable and truly unique balgian pale ale. Very floral and bubbly , complex and delicious!

Photo of grbennett
3.71/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-Pours a golden orange color with a big, fluffy white head. One of the most beautiful beers I've ever seen. Head stays with the entire beer, leaving lacing.
S- Fruity aroma with a little bit of a chemical smell.
T-Flavors of citrus, clove, and some dusty or musty smell. The same chemical aroma is in the taste. Some hoppy bitterness to balance the sweetness. Begins to taste better as it warms.
M- Smooth with a little bit of carbonation.
Notes- A good beer but a little pricey. I will definitely buy it again but I won't buy it all the time.

Photo of russpowell
3.71/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 04/04/2006 (very young)

Pours an effervescent amber/copper with a 1 finger of fluffy offwhite head. Great head retention & okay lacing

S: Bready, some peppery yeast & a hint of lemon hops

T: Peppery yeast, breadyness & then some fruittyness up front. Apple skins & lemony hops surfaces as this warms. Dryness follows. Finishes really dry, with pears & lemony hops

MF: Lightbodied with lively carbonation, a bit prickly

Drinks fairly easy, but the older this this gets the better it is. A little too prickly when young. I guess if I ever find this again I need to cellar it for 2 years minimum

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,649 ratings.