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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,181 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

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Reviews: 2,181
Hads: 4,875
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 284
Gots: 639 | 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:
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,181 | Hads: 4,875
Photo of pat61
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Orval pours brilliant copper to orange tinted amber under a moussey, finely bubbled 2” bone-white foam cap. It has a funky, wet horse blanket lemony nose with a hint of mustiness. It drinks tart, lemony with a hint of pineapple especially as it ages with a refreshing bitterness and a long lingering tart dry finish with soft leather notes. The texture is soft and effervescent, like drinking a mousse. This is excellent fresh and even better as it ages. (457 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The bottle alone makes this beer piece of art, along with the brewing tradition of the trappist ales this beer still being brewed by the monks of the Orval Abbey. Appears a slightly hazy amber brownish orange with a creamy crown of off white foaming head. A good friend of mine describes the aroma of this beer as a barnyard minus all of the cow shit smell. What I think he is referring to is the wild herbal spices that added to this beer, just amazing. The wild spices contain lemongrass, peppery orgegano like herbs, and the ultimate combination of malt and hop bitterness. The taste is a major wow, a grainy herbal spiritual experince exists in every sip mising spices and flavor galore. I love this beer and I must say I'm not worthy of it so complex, I feel that everytime I try it will contain another experience. Mouthfeel is smooth with a medium to light body, let's just say if you have the opportunity to try this one you have been blessed. Very drinkable, but best enjoyed one at a time to savor and enjoy all of the complexities this beer has to offer.

5-22-10 vintage date- 7/29/2009 best by 7/29/2014

This beer has an angelic experience about it, the slightly hazed glowing amber body just lets the beer gods sing down on you. The head forms chunky like clouds in the heavans. Lacing is fine intricate Belgian style all day. Aromatics bring out the barnyard funkiness that makes this a new experience everytime I've come across it, again more zestiness sharp citrus appeal from the hops with a spicy pepper kick that just works so nicely here. Acidic nature waves in as well bringing out lactic acid notes and cider like comparisons in my brain. The more yeast that makes it into the glass the funkier it gets. Drinkability and mouthfeel are great, definitely a brew I will always cherish. Effervescent and drinkable but definitely needs to be enjoyed with a good meal. (1,886 characters)

Photo of azorie
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ok this is a new review after I deleted my old ones. The wife bought me a Orval glass, so I had to pour it into that. On my list of my top 5 this is a number 2.

A: Orange amber and cloudy in color with a insane 4" white head cloudy white lace, leaving rings, even after 5 minutes there still there.

S: Citrus, juniper, herbs and hop flowers.

T: a first its very dry lemon and orange, with a bit of hops and juniper. Smooth and crisp. its just a top notch, old fashioned beer than american brewers wish they could make. The sweet candy sugar is there but its just barely, its so well balanced with brett yeast its heaven in glass. the hops are sharp but well in balance.

M: Dry and medium body, great after taste.

D: geez this is the great beer to drink straight up or with food and/or cheese its just out of this world. I can never drink just one and even at 5 bucks a pop I always buy 6. This is the one beer worth it, well as most of the Trappists are. (959 characters)

Photo of Reverand
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The true Nectar of the Gods!!! If I had to be stuck on Island this is the beer I would take with me. With it's golden amber color to the incredible white head. The taste is impeccable an absolute frenzy on the taste buds. (221 characters)

Photo of beerluvr
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours with a rocky, craggy, long lived white head over hazy orangey/gold liquid. The nose is ultra fruity, clean and inviting. Taste is a flash of sweetness before a huge surge of hoppiness mixed with yeast fruitiness fills the mouth. A crisp and acidic mouthfeel gives an impression of light bodiedness. Finishes dry and bitter, complex in it's taste. The reason I chose to delve deeper into all beers Belgian. THE Trappist ale...just wish it wasn't so gosh-darned expen$ive. One of life's great luxuries! (506 characters)

Photo of nickthetick
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: poured a hazy burnt orange into my duvel tulip with three fingers of white frothy head that slims down to two fingers and. Only leaves spotted lacing.

S: plums and pineapple and bananas! Fruity and yeasty and wonderful.

T: definite pineapple and banana, belgian sugars and a little malt biscuit. There's a little bitterness that lingers towards the end.

MF: sweet medium body and very effervescent.

D: a wonderful BPA that has a great history and wonderful attributes. Its one of the easier to find trappist ales. I'll defiantly be picking this one up again. (569 characters)

Photo of hopsbreath
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I actually just tried this beer for the first time a couple weeks ago, so I could harvest the dregs for a saison I was brewing. The dryness and complexity blew me away. Suddenly, every beer I brew is getting Orval dregs in it just so I have an excuse (as if I really needed one) to drink more of this beer. Every store I go into now I'm picking up bottles and checking the date. This review is for the oldest bottle I have found so far. It's "bottled on date" is 5-6-2008 (day first month second). Poured into a Duvel tulip, this review is being done live.

A: A very careful pour still yields a couple fingers of buttered popcorn head. The bubble composition itself is made up of big lazy bubbles with a rocky texture on top. Belgian lacing galore is left all over this thing. The body itself is a deep butterscotch with excellent clarity. Beer does not look more tempting than this. 5/5

S: Think tart green fruits here. Green apples, pears, lime zest, muscat grapes, and kiwi (yes kiwi) are among this fruit basket. An inviting sweetness I'm going to compare to the inside of a salt water taffy shop, is lingering just behind the classic earthy aroma of the brett. Beer does not smell better than this. 5/5

T: An impact of spice to the taste buds make this all about the yeast. Peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardomon... The list can go on and on. Dusky melon rind, bitter grapefruit pith, and avocado essence are all characteristics of what this base malt has turned into. Beer does not taste better than this. 5/5

M: A huge mouth of foam in every gulp. The swallow reveals a sawdust dry finish. It's drier than any Champagne I've had. It might be the single driest drink I have ever drank. A perfect beer for classy parties, celebrations, and weddings. I'll have to keep that in mind. Beer does not get drier than this. 5/5

O: Why oh why did I wait so long to try this out. Without a doubt one of the most unique beers I've enjoyed to date. It's also a beer I'll be returning to with some regularity. To have such a fantastic beer on the shelf of every upscale grocery store is truly remarkable. Beer DOES NOT get any better than this. 5/5 (2,166 characters)

Photo of Mandrake
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a fairly dark cloudy orange, very warm and with glinting sunlight coming through. The head is massive, and so thick that it almost feels like cotton candy. Leaves incredible rocky lacing all over the sides of my chalice, and maintains a thick covering over the surface for as long as the beer lasts. Aroma is insanely complex. Subtly alcoholic, which surprised me given its fairly modest ABV. Spices and breads are the dominant aromas. Lots of fruits, ranging from the very dark (raisins and plums) through the light and delicate (apples and bananas), with citrus and gloriously rich sweet malts. Incredible. Tastes bready, musty notes of brett and wild yeast. Spicy as well, cloves and pepper in the mix, with lots of fruits (banana and orange are predominant) as well. Long and sour finish. Mouthfeel is very creamy and nicely carbonated. Full and very warming, superb. Drinkability was incredible for a trappist. I wanted to keep drinking these all night. Nothing warms me up quite as well on a snowy night as Orval does. Gets better every time I have it, and is now one of my absolute favourite beers of all time. Flawless. (1,133 characters)

Photo of goochpunch
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 27/3/07.

Pours out a hazed apricot with abundant carbonation and a humongous, thick head which looks like whipped egg whites. Leaves some raised, bubbly lacing. Smell is a mix of pale malts, light toast, fruit and spice (coriander, passion fruit, banana, apple), and an overall bretty funk. Hops are pretty forward in the smell and come off as herbal and grassy. Flavor starts off with some yeasty fruit and spice atop a malty backbone. Hops start to peak out in the middle and remind me of rosemary. Finish comes around as extremely dry, a tad sour, and with some funk. Mouthfeel is rather light , but not watery by any means, and has a carbonation that is bubbly and lively, but manages to be extremely smooth at the same time. It's hard to keep the glass down with this one. Incredible.

I highly recommend this one as fresh as possible. I've had this beer at almost a year old before and it does not compare to like relatively fresh bottle. (960 characters)

Photo of paxkey
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bought at LCBO
bowling pin shaped bottle.

poured in a chalice.
all head. fluffy crackling.pure joy.
i dont want to drink this. i just want to look at it. it looks way too pretty to touch.
under the head is hazy honey.

it has a strong and pleasing aroma. Definite yeast present with alot of spice.
minty hops.
banana bread malt.
so complex and tantalazing.

so well made. this yeast does magic inside the bottle. dry crisp finish that leads to the next sip almost immediately.

finding a slightly oily mouthfeel followed by more spicy herbal flavor long after each sip.

heaven in a glass. (591 characters)

Photo of STKPICR0720
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This brew truly lived up to my expectations. You can understand why this brew has stood the test of time. If it isn't broke don't fix it and the monks at Orval have heeded the saying.

This brew has a bottled on date and a best before date. The bottled on date was 22/04/2009 and the best before date was 22/04/2009

This brew poured golden brown, with a hint of tartness and tart fruit taste. The hops are here but not over powering. The 6.9%abv is just perfect. This brew is mind blowing though. You expect alot from a trappiste and this brew delivers. I would drink this before all other trappiste. My hats off to all who have made this brew as they are deserving of a standing O. (684 characters)

Photo of cdrogers
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First, I have to admit I'm somewhat biased when it comes to the Belgium Trappist ales. I've had nearly everyone, except a Rochefort, including the Westvleteren 12, several Chimay, Westmalle tripel, but this is my favorite right behind the Westvleteren 12.

Pour: Poured from the bottle into a traditional orval siliver-rimmed goblet at about 45 degrees.

Smell: The smell reminds me a lot of a mint-chocolate cookie, with just a hint of the mint.

Taste: Very smooth taste. Mild hoppy flavor with a slight bitterness on the back of the tongue.

Head: Truly one of the best heads of any ale. Very thick through most of the glass, starts to evaporate toward the end.

Drinkability: This is one I have the pleasure of keeping in the house quite often and drink it a lot. Not a cheap one but the stronger alcohol content makes it one you don't need many of, if that's the goal.

Exceptional and highly recommend. (908 characters)

Photo of cbutova
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Finally reviewing an all-time favorite. Feb, 02 2012 bottle side by side with March 07, 2013.

02/29/2012:
A- Massive foamy white head builds to at least three fingers high atop a slightly hazy, medium amber body. Head retention is supreme and it never dies down staying about a centimeter thick and leaving a blizzard of thick lace.
S- Surprised to notice so much aged feel here. I guess it is only 6.2% or so but it has a reputation since it contains live bugs. Aged caramel and grape/raisin fruit sweetness feel and some Belgian yeast spices.
T- Follows the nose with some added yeast feel. Vinous grapes, raisin, earthy must and Belgian yeast spice. Has a strong feel of age, almost overshadowing the rest of the beer. With warmth some dry, horsey Brett but just a hint. Some strange tartness, like grapes again.
MF- Foamy and fulfilling texture. Carbonation super high and it bites the palate. Slight spicy bitterness.
A bit too vinous and just has that general old dusty raisin caramel feel. Perhaps it varies bottle by bottle or takes longer to develop but looking forward to the fresh one.

03/07/2013 (for review, I believe in fresh beer)
A- Noticeably louder hiss when popping the cap instantly has me excited. Perhaps the 2012 bottle just wasn't up to the Orval standard (it was perfect for appearance). Even tilting the glass almost flat, it foams up out of the glass and I have to rescue it from getting to wild. One HAND head with infinite retention it seems as bubbles shoot up the glass like machine guns. The head is over an inch out of the chalice. Five minutes later the head has seemed to grow more, what to do... drink through the shield!

S- Brett is on another scale compared to the 2012 bottle, it doesn't even smell similar. Pungent, classic Belgian Brett character with funk, cherries and plenty of horsey barnyard. Sour lemon juice notes makes me anticipate some tartness. Earthy, spicy and funky Brett beast. With some warmth, more Trappist yeast spice comes out and balances the wildness to perfection.

T- Taking a sip and getting a face full of foam reveals something a bit milder but more rounded out than the nose. The earthy and funky Brett dries this out completely with some barnyard, cherry pie, dried fruit and horse blanket notes. Some cracker malts and Belgian Trappist yeast spice provides a nice compliment to the wild bugs. Slight lemon peel but somehow less than the nose.

MF- Foamy and intensely carbonated but somehow it all goes down super smooth, thanks in part to a creamy texture. Finishes with some funky spice feel. Drier than desert sand.

This is more like it! This is the beer I remember having so many times. Not sure if I just got a random off bottle that I ended up aging but the Brett and Trappist yeast balance here is something of beauty. Perhaps the greatest overall beer on the planet. Always available and outstanding... All hail the trout and the golden ring. So many moral problems with perfect fives nowadays but I have a hard time justifying not doing it. This beer is as close as it gets. (3,058 characters)

Photo of simonjohansson
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I´d noticed this one in my local store for a rather long time, but I never tried it until recently. I was pretty bored with the old stuff, so I decided to try something new. And man - this is an excellent beer! Smell is fantastic - spicy (sage? thyme?), a bit sour; black currants, apples, somekind of candy (bubblegum?), sweet malt. In the taste, the spices come forward even more, together with different fruits (currants, apples, some sweeter tropical ones too), grass and some sweet malt, plus a really nice, balanced bitterness, and a dry finish. Excellent mix of sour, bitter and sweet notes.

Perhaps my favorite beer. (627 characters)

Photo of neonbrown82
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another delicious Belgian. This is my first Belgian Pale, though. It is actually quite a pleasant change from the intense sweetness of other trappist dubbels, tripels, and quadrupels, and strong ales. Very, very delicious, and if the drinkability could go any higher than 5, I would be sure to give it that. I believe this beer is well deserving of my second ever 5 star rating on BA.

The beer erupted into a large frothy white head regardless of the careful pour. The foam refused to subdue itself, but created little dimples in the surface. The smell was the first thing that hit me as I popped open the cap. It smelled and sounded like a sparkling champagne, even tasted a bit like one. Also in the smell was something that seems to be lacking altogether in many Belgians... hops! It is by no means a hop monster, though, as the malt character clearly shows through in both the smell and taste as well. This beer is perfectly balanced between maltiness and hoppiness, in my opinion. The mouthfeel is so incredibly smooth I can't wait to take another drink. The finish is slightly dry and reveals a bit of alcohol even though is not a very huge beer at 6.9% (according to the label). As I said before, drinkability is off the charts. If you ever get a chance, buy some. I can't believe this is one of the last trappist ales I've tried. If Westy 8 and 12 can live up to their hype, I think I will have reached beer nirvana if they are better than this. (1,456 characters)

Photo of lastauss
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm embarrassed to say that it has taken 8 years since I first tried this beer to get my thoughts (and feelings!) posted on the "inter-web." I must start by saying that it is my all-time-favorite commerially available beer.

There is no food I have met that it doesn't pair well with. I have cooked with it (I've got the Orval Cookbook- in French), served it in place of champagne, drunk it while gardening, given spoonfuls to a teething child (Oh, don't be such a prude! I had the parents' consent!). I have converted International-Style-Light-Lager-Only-Drinkers with it (after filling their minds with tearful accounts of my trip to the brewery). And yes, I buy it by the case.

What else can I say? It is the worlds' perfect drink. (739 characters)

Photo of Eisen
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my favorit Trapist beer to date; it, in my view is better than Chimey- but very different. Having triied in Chinese "cafe" for $4 out of a wine glass, of which I spent a few miniuites trying to explane why I wonted a glass and particularly that glass, It is by far one of the best beers I have triied. I wont lie, the Chinese air killed my nose and so I can just tell by every thing else that the beer smelled like heaven. The taste was very different, very oylde fashined and very not sweat and not bitter. It was light and crispy but also heavy and wonderful. I could sit and drink these for years. (608 characters)

Photo of halo21
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance:I shared this bottle with a friend, pouring my share into a pint glass, opening up a golden orangish-red liquid, with a white head that held on for the whole serving.

Smell: Sweet and crisp; yeast, with grass and earthy spice.

Taste: Perfectly sweet, with huge yeast esters like no other;big fruit and a tart spiciness, all balanced out with hops. This is an extremely complex beers, as are all the Trappist brews are.

Mouthfeel:Carbonated and medium bodied. Reminds me of heavier ciders.

Drinkability/Palatability:Huge; this is one where you stare at the bottom of your glass, hoping that it is not empty. No rough notes, no imperfections.

Notes: This is my first time trying this brew. It is a perfect beer; they do exist and this is one. But then again, when you have had as much time through history to discover the secrets of beer as these monks have, heavenly perfection is something you strive for; and in this case, obtained. (949 characters)

Photo of kimcgolf
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

While I have been rating beers for only a short time, I have been DRINKING beers of all kinds for 35 years. The taste and finish was so good, that I refrained from drinking or eating for a long while after, to make it last. I plan to try another Orval some time soon to make sure I am consistent in my opinion, but as of right now, I have to say that Orval is the best beer I have ever had. (390 characters)

Photo of 71CrazyOtto
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Home Run.

Never had a beer with lacing and frothing head like it even remotely. Tiny bubbles run high up to upper sides of glass when poured trapped by thick cream colored head.
This "Authentic Trappist" brewer sets itself apart (far apart) from it's fellow monks at the other monastaries that brew the Belgium classics.

Orval I see now brew a 2nd beer but they will always be the best imo because they've been brewing only one for so long so I won't bother to try a cash grab second beer.

If I were to die someday on a porch or watching a game, this is the beer I would want in my hand. Crafted by pure souls/nature ingredients to send me to heaven...well hopefully to heaven hehe. (685 characters)

Photo of chrisgalvin
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Funky, sour, malty, fizzy, tasty and clearly should be in the Beer Hall of Fame... I've had many of these and each time I open a bottle I'm brought back to the time I had it when my wife and I were in Brussels at the Beer Circus.

btw, this is Vinnie Cilurzo (RRBC) favorite beer. (281 characters)

Photo of JamisonM
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: huge head and a copper color poured into a Lost Abbey tulip

S: its funky, its bitter, its sour, bit of grapes like champane

T: taste is like the smell its very complex mask the alcohol so very well its not overly sour or bitter just right and a bit of funk comes with it.

M: Light mouth with tons of carbonation tickles the tongue but this never feels thin always brings a lot of flavor to the party

D: may I have another? nothing wrong with this beer. (460 characters)

Photo of BlackHoleBrew42
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Golden amber Nectar, huge head, beautifully and highly carbonated

S- oooh, theres the brettanomyces... noble hops, i think Styrian Goldings. getting goosebumps.

T- Good lord. I dont know why, this beer just makes sense. Not to sout, beautiful hoppiness, but not bitter. perfectly balanced sour sweet bitter. Good lord.

M- As before, high carbonation, delicious lingering sourness, a tear comes to my eye as the flavor fades...

D- For me, my desert island beer.

Theres a store here in Colorado that sells bottles for $2.49 a piece... might need to go buy a case, although i might drink it all in a few days. Seriously. Amazing stuff. I love these Cistercian monks, got to make it to the brewery some day. Soon. (720 characters)

Photo of mmthompson33
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A legendary beer. Drinking an Orval is a unique experience each time - the fruitiness, subtle maltiness and high alcohol make it one to remember. Not many beers can do that, and no beer has been able to imitate Orval. Orval has that aura that very few beers ever achieve. (274 characters)

Photo of boldcity2008
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: The color is a deep orange amber and cloudy in color with a insane 4" white head cloudy white lace, leaving rings, even after 5 minutes there still there.

S: Some pine hops, lemon and orange, something juniper like, lots of herbs and hop flower resin, but not piney, grapefruit like I guess. Brett is there of course.

T: Just out of this world. So it starts very dry lemon and orange, with a bit of hops and juniper and lots of brett in the front end. The sweet candy sugar is there but its just barely, its so well balanced with brett yeast its heaven in glass. the hops are sharp but well in balance.

M: Dry and medium body, great after taste. Smooth and crisp

D: geez this is the great beer to drink straight up or with food and/or cheese its just out of this world. I can never drink just one and even at 5 bucks a pop I always buy 6. This is the one beer worth it, well as most of the Trappists are. (911 characters)

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,181 ratings.