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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,329 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,329
Reviews: 2,113
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 205
Gots: 391 | FT: 8
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,329 | Reviews: 2,113 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SacoDeToro
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a burnt orange hue. The carbonation is high and the beer kicks up a tall foamy white head. The aroma is full of grassy noble hops and some yeastiness. The malt profile is that of a pale ale laced with flavors of burnt sugar and toffee. The hop bitterness is intense but finishes very clean with almost no aftertaste. The mouthfeel is good, but the high carbonation thins things out a little more than I'd like.

Overall a very flavorful beer with a unique hop charater to boot.

SacoDeToro, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of MOB210SA
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the hugest expanding heads I ever came across, even for a Belgian. The head is a pillowy landscape of cloud like forms, dense and lush looking. Very bubbly with carbonation. Somewhat clouded with yeast, which with Orval I think doesn't take away from it. So, I wasn't too careful with the pour. Reddish, burnt copper orange in color. Head finally fell to a dense pillowy blanket, That stays the entire duration of the glass, and probably would stay alive all night.

Mellow spices, some clove, and familiar Belgium yeastiness. Somewhat dry, lightly bitter finish.

Taste is clove spice and a light fruitiness. Somewhat phenolic qualities in the taste and nose.

Medium bodied with great carbonation, crisp tasty finish and light on the tongue.

Great drinkability, this beer is delicious, balanced great, and is so easy to drink it practically disappears. Will improve review later.

MOB210SA, Dec 24, 2009
Photo of JRdaSconnie
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Been too long since I've had an Orval so picked one up today at Trig's Cellar 70 in Minocqua, WI. Dated 17/11/2011 and taken from fridge and poured into St. Bernardus goblet.

S: Tart, tangy, little funky. Herbal dry hop aroma wafts up. Bready malt with light caramel or toast smell. No alcohol.

A: Deep amber to light copper. Beautiful pillow of white foam slowly drops into a thin layer with ring as I enjoy the beer. Sticky lacing.

T: Dry hops coming through in nice, herbal hop flavor with light but balancing bitterness. Nothing astringent even hints through. Tiny amount of Brett funkiness, but more in aroma than taste. Malt sweetness is present but is phased out by hop flavor. Hint of alcohol on the finish, but no excessive heat.

M: Probably my favorite part of Orval. Highly "digestable," and yet full in mouthfeel all the same. The fluffy carbonation helps fill the mouth and carry the beer over your tongue. The hop bitterness lingers as a dry mouthfeel. Slight amount of enamel-etching acidity.

O: A must try for any beer geek and one of my favorites in the world. This may be a desert island beer for me. I've yet to have a bottle more than about a year old, so haven't appreciated any of the higher level of funk that aging Brett will bring out. World class, indeed.

JRdaSconnie, Oct 28, 2012
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

botham, Feb 21, 2008
Photo of kinged8th
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was craving a Belgium and picked up this one. Nice orange color with a thick head. Smells wonderful and tastes very good. Its more fruity than spicey and the alcohol is very well hiding compared to some other Belgiums Ive had. I could drink several of these at one time. A little pricey though.

kinged8th, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of grittybrews
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a glowing orange-amber into a tulip with a massive off-white head and lots of lacing. Aroma dominated by peppery spice with soft notes of lemon, banana, and slight funk.

Moderate carbonation and a light, very dry mouthfeel. Citrus and floral notes up front followed by juniper, slight honey sweetness, mild biscuit malt, and a subtle sourness on the finish.

Subtle, balanced, and refreshing. Bought a couple extra for the cellar and am anxious to see what a couple years will bring.

Update: previous review was for an Orval bottled 4/09/09. Just sampled another from 4/29/09 -- with around 18 months on it, the honey faded to almost nothing and the peppery and spicy notes emerged even more. The pucker on the finish wasn't exactly stronger; it was mostly the impression of dryness that increased. All in all, I preferred the balance of flavors in the year-old Orval over the 18-month version.

grittybrews, Oct 25, 2010
Photo of MUSHROOMCLOUD
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 4-1-05

A - 1" bubbly off-white head spread across a chalice. Falls quickly to a spotty cap. Orange / amber beer. Thin lines of lacing left.

S - Yeast. Fruit. Apricot. Clean, inviting aroma.

T - Fruity (again with the apricot). Tangy. Yeast, bready. Lingering bit of hops in the finish. Hint of a gueuze lambic-like sourness. Even a faint sherry nuttiness is apparent in spots. I haven't had Orval in years and this really tripped me out! Very nice.

M - Crisp and dry. A little less than medium bodied with lively carbonation.

D - Very good drinkability. If only the $4.29 were for a 4pk and not for a single!! Great beer, highly enjoyable.

MUSHROOMCLOUD, Apr 30, 2006
Photo of Pencible
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured a hazy light orange-brown with fluffy off-white head. It had a wild yeast and potpourri scent with some hops added in. Its flavor mixed the citrus of oranges with the bitterness of hops and a slight aftertaste of bitterness, but had no malt. It had moderate carbonation, and had slightly thick body. This was pretty good overall, and tasted more like a real ale than any of the Chimays.

Pencible, Mar 29, 2008
Photo of nickfl
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Hazy copper color with a large and tenacious head that is one of the few I have seen that deservs to be called rocky; it really reminds me of a rootbeer float.

S - Lemony, sour and funky. Very nice rustic aroma with some ginger and cinnamon notes.

T - Tart and earthy, with a hoppy, leathery finish. Not all that complex, but very nice.

M - Bone dry and highly carbonated.

D - For me this is a beautifully drinkable beer, the dryness and the tart, earthy flavors make it a wonderfully refreshing beer.

nickfl, Jul 28, 2007
Photo of nickshep7
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours w/ 2-2.5 fingers of shaving cream like head. This may be the densest head I've seen on a beer. The base of the beer is a coludy, deep honey brown/orange color. Smell is musky, almost like an old wine cellar. Solid dose of Belgian yeast and bready notes. Honey cloves are also fairly prominent on the smell. So far, very impressed with this brew. Now only if the head would die down, so I can jump in. Very dry and herbaceous on the mouth. A healthy amount of hops, much more than I was expecting. Clove seems to come through quite a bit on the taste as well. Overall, a great experience worth trying especially if you are into Belgian style brews.

nickshep7, May 06, 2011
Photo of fisherman34
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amazing stuff. Solid orange in colour with a pillowy just-off-white head. Aromas of hops, lavender, and grapefruit. Flavorful grapefuit, complex floral, and belgian yeast flavors. It also has a long and sour finish. Perhaps not as complex as some other Trappist ales, but a real pleasure to drink.

fisherman34, Jul 18, 2005
Photo of jenitivecase
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours with a ridiculously huge head - took me a total of four pours to get it all into my Karmeliet chalice (although it is, admittedly, a touch small). Nice, dark tan, with orange overtones. Head pours off-white and leaves crazy lacing. Ends up with a textured, multi-layered head after multiple pours.

S: Malty, yeasty, with lots of spices - cloves, sage, pepper, maybe even some ginger - apples, and dried apricots. A bit of soap and medicinal scent, as well.

T: Complex and brooding. The fruits and spices of the nose are still present, just dark. Sharp peppery zing upon hitting the palate; fades into some soapy flavors in the mid-regions before leaving an aftertaste reminiscent of peat, smoke, and spent charcoal briquettes.

M: Glides along the tongue. Smooth, yet coats the mouth ever so slightly. Medium-bodied, but very well developed. Super carbonated.

D: Pretty drinkable, despite its ridiculous character. Gets better as it warms.

jenitivecase, Oct 07, 2008
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into an Orval chalice.
6.9% ABV, Bottled on 24/10/2012, best by 24/10/2017.

A - Orval almost gushes from it's bottle even at the 50° serving temperature due to it's abundant carbonation. Hazy but beautiful deep golden in color, the beer forms a massive and loose eggshell head with incredibly retention and heavy lace coating the glass.

S - Lovely honey graham cracker malt backing allows for a luscious aroma of Brett horseblanket funk that contributes suggestions of pine, mint, and goaty, hay undertones.

T - Any hop aroma that faintly emerged disappears completely in flavor, shifting almost entirely to the beer's Brett yeast esters of horseblanket, wet straw, and overall barnyard funk, but tamed down considerably.

M - Highly carbonated, Orval dances on your tongue joyfully while it's seemingly light body washes down with smoothness, lingering on the tongue with dry spice notes.

O - Delicate Brettanomyces exists, in this beer! Restrained barnyard funk allows the dry cracker-like flavor to stay a large part of the beer while nuances continue to come out as it's enjoyed. The crisp drinkability of Orval suggests it would make for a fantastic session Belgian beer if it weren't near $6 a bottle.

BeerFMAndy, Nov 01, 2013
Photo of Jacobob10
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

With big American hoppy beers dominating tap lines in bars and taking over liquor store shelf space, I have been going in the opposite direction lately for some reason. I have found myself getting enjoyment from visiting some of the classics. Tonight's classic beer: Orval.

Right out of the bottle, this looks like a winner. Slightly hazy, orange color with a large, frothy white head. The head on the beer lasts forever and leaves a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

Strong floral aroma mixed with orange, pear, and lemon. Biscuit malt, hay, musty yeast. The flavor seems to change with almost every sip. Medium-bodied and a chalky - almost metallic - finish. Overwhelmingly dry.

For reasons unknown, I chose to drink this beer on my 31st birthday and couldn't be happier. A total classic in every sense of the word.

Jacobob10, Jul 22, 2014
Photo of tmzl
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

One year round bottle.

Look: Pours with big bubbly, billowy off-white foam, very sparkly (you can hear it). Slow retention, thick layer stays on top for the whole ride. Leaves some lacing. Cloudy dirty orange/brown with huge amounts of carbonation. A few yeast float around. Why not.

Smell: It fills the room. Dried dark fruit - raisins, figs, slightly brandy-ish. Lots of funk, brett notes. Spice, cloves and sour. Fattening and complex.

Taste: Complex. Heavy farmhouse brett funk, leather but not off-putting. Spicy. Caramel sweetness, but hard to appreciate with all that excessive carbonation. Some metallic aftertaste, but not too much - comes and goes. Also moderate sour and hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Complex and interesting as fuck - not sure it's my cup of tea - but it does get better every sip.

Mouthfeel: Lots of crisp, aggressive carbonation - kinda hinders the overall taste. Medium body, leaves some coating.

Overall: A tough one. I do like the progressive complexity, the not too in-your-face brett character with sour notes, but the carbonation is silly and gets in the way. Still a massive beer, definitely a must try - some old-school shit.

tmzl, Dec 26, 2013
Photo of Danno48
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is very different from what I expected. All these Trappist ales have been very on the sweet side. This beer on the other hand is very dry. Subtle hop and pine notes. Light apricot flavors and a very dry finish. The head on this beer is a soft, egg white, pillow like texture which is very similar to how it feels in the mouth. Smells much sweeter than it tastes though. You would expect a sweet, dark fruit flavor but one would be met by the opposite.

Danno48, Feb 15, 2013
Photo of Dave1999
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer is a cloudy amber with a massive fluffy white head.

The smell is lemons, oranges and a bit of a sour vinegar smell.

The taste is sour, lemons, light malts and just a little bitterness.

The mouthfeel is light with high carbonation.

A classic, the sour flavours differentiate this from other Belgian pale ales. Well worth seeking out.

Dave1999, Feb 23, 2014
Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice. A light amber-orange brew, with a truly magnificient head that displays some of the finest retention I've ever seen. Loads of thick, patchy lacing grace the glass. Impressive.

Nose is floral (I get rose), with some fruity notes, peach pear and apricot. A touch of funky malt and yeast to the nose as well.

A surprisingly dry, sour Trappist - certainly unique among the Trappist lineup. Begins sweet and fruity, but the dry, cider-like quality dominites the finish. Notes of apple, pear and pepper. Dry and refreshing.

Hearty carbonation helps the floral and fruit notes to pop.

A great brew, certainly drier and more subtle than the other Trappists, but very drinkable. Glad to have finally tried it.

JohnnyBarman, Jul 31, 2010
Photo of Stigs
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle, served in an Ommegang chalice

A - the gentlest of pours yields close to two fingers of intensely light and frothy, light grey colored foam. the beer is clear until the sediment from the bottom of the bottle falls into the glass. very dark gold/amber in color.

S - light and airy, yet pungent live yeasts bring a myriad of scents: sourdough bread, grains, grassy hops, lemon zest, orange, and a subtle sour/tartness.

T - very dry, grassy and earthy hop bitterness...hints of lemon and pear, bread, lightly sweetened biscuits, and funky brett yeast.

M - insanely light body with a very characteristic tight and punchy carbonation...this one dances around and almost dissolves in your mouth. very dry and prickly finish.

D - one of the beers that really opened my eyes to what yeast is capable of. truly unique and one of my favorites to pair a light but flavorful breakfast with.

Stigs, Sep 06, 2010
Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After pouring my Orval, I found a foamy, pitted head with fairly large bubbles sitting atop a fragrant, glowing orange-red brew. I'm pretty excited about this beer, as I didn't get a chance to try it while I was in Belgium last summer, and was thrilled to find it at Ashe's last month in Knoxville.

Smells nice and Belgian, with an indescribable roundness and distinct, fruit-sour appeal. Upon further review, I think what I'm trying to get at in the roundness is the "hay" character that others have described.

Sourness (somewhat reminiscent of the gueuze I had a week or two ago, though in taste only) is the first taste to dance across my tongue, followed by a mellow wheat tone and a crisp, dry finish. This beer fills the mouth nicely, and is very, very drinkable, so long as you enjoy the sour notes (and I do).

I didn't really know what to expect with Orval beyond very, very general thoughts (like TheJoj's "Orval is my favorite Belgian beer"), but it's definitely made a good impression as my first Trappist, despite the fact that I think I expected something closer to a Belgian Pale Ale. Either way, it looks like I'll be taking regular pilgrimages to Ashe's on my trips home from college for this one.

Spoils of the 10/11/03 Knoxville Raid.

RockyTopHeel, Nov 23, 2003
Photo of brewerburgundy
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle, New Belgium glass, bottled on 3/25/10.

Wow! I've viewed this beer as a bit of a challenge since it is the only brett beer available to me where I now spend most of my time. This stuff is gorgeous, absolute amber. The head pretty much exploded on the pour into a yellowed mountain of meringue. It really is that thick.

Easter smells. I couldn't have told anybody what Easter smells like if they'd asked, but Easter egg hunt in a fragrant garden sums it up well. Massive floral, lemon, juniper, other green plant matter, and pastel peach. Now I'm finding what I've seen described that brett "bandaid" and ghosts of moderately thick crackers.

This beer is tightly focused around a few flavors that are easily detectable and branches out subtly but expansively. Those core flavors are lemon, juniper, and floral, all dry. Many of those aspects are flora and fauna. A heavy bitterness comes late, as does a sourness. There's even some biscuit malt.

If this New Belgium glass's laser etching didn't knock all the bubbles out of beer quickly this would have an active, spritzing carbonation. The body is moderate and dry.

I have been more than pleasantly surprised, I have been wowed by this beer. Now I'm not in awe, I've gained a respect for trappist beer. I'm slowly going down that Belgian road.

brewerburgundy, Oct 25, 2010
Photo of Roguer
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Always a nearly unmanageable head fills the glass, with excellent retention. The beer itself is a beautiful dark golden color, with thick clouds and carbonation in the middle. Lacing clings to the glass with a broad line at the top and spiderweb patches below.

S - Smooth and citrusy, with a hefty dose of Brett. Musty and funky. Lovely.

T - The most unique of the Trappist ales - maybe the most unique beer in the world. Taste is sharp and funky, a little hoppy on the tip of the tongue, and a wheat-malt finish. Not particularly sweet. Very spicy, with clove, some pepper, a bit of an earthy feel. Nice tangy (but not citrus) on the back end as the beer warms. Very complex and interesting.

M - Initially a little sharp and carbonated. Easier to take in and swish around as it warms a bit. As it warms, it starts to cling pleasantly to the mouth and throat.

O - This is a very interesting ale. An incredibly complex and fascinating beer.. Reminds me of a good cigar: complex, a little spicy, not overly sweet.

Bottled in July 2012.

Roguer, Jun 01, 2013
Photo of BeerSingh
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A : Bang caramel - orange in colour with a soft, fluffy head. Incredible retention and lacing. This is an awesome intro to an awesome beer.

S : A little hop and malt with a big fruity smell - something like a sapodilla, very raisiny

T : Okay, the tilt is on the bitter side. But complementing are ripe fruit flavours and a slight citrusy twang. But, in the end, the bitterness is embodying every other flavour within it

M : Very dry feel, moderate carbonation.

D : I would prefer to have this as an aperitif and a digestif - so basically I can keep at it

BeerSingh, Oct 20, 2009
Photo of theopholis
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Body is a crystal clear, light brownish/copper color with tinges of orange. Continually effervesces. A lot. The head is a huge, white, rocky affair with significant staying power and lacing. Looks quite tasty.

Smell- Very potent aroma to start with. Lots of classic Belgian ale smell. Barnyard, horse-blanket, wet diaper stuff going on there. Some malt sweetness comes through. Hints of fresh fruit and earth. Yup. this is a Trappist ale.!!!

Taste- Very complex, sweet, malty flavor mingles with the brett flavor. A strong vinegar-sour on the tip of your tounge. I'm not much on Trappist ales, but I have to admit, this stuff is pretty good.

Mouthfeel -Pretty light body. And quite pleasant with the carbonation level. I've found a high percentage of Belgian ales that were over-carbonated. this one is just about perfect. You can actually taste the beer over the CO2 bite.

Drinkability- Well worth trying.

theopholis, Jan 30, 2008
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Standard Orval teardrop bottle from the Coop for about $5.50 carefully poured into my New Belgium goblet leaving the yeast sediment behind.

4 finger rocky head that left behind ribbons of thin lace.. brew is slightly hazy orange.

Aroma is complex spicy.. earthy.. some citrus.. perfumy

Flavor is jam-packed.. good bitterness .. very dry finish.. slightly sour with earthy hoppiness abound.. This beer is very complex.. probably too complex for my palate to appreciate.. all I can really say for sure is it is fantastic. Huge carbonation with a light/medium body.

I've had Orval probably 8-10 times over the years and always tell myself I must cellar some... this time I will.. I hope.

JohnGalt1, Jan 18, 2008
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,329 ratings.