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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

4,531 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 Arbitrator
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Re-review. I first had this in Belgium in fall 09 and thought it was awful. I'd go back in time and smack myself if I could.

Chilled bottle into a glass.

A: Pours a lightly hazy amber color with copper highlights. The head is stunning; off-white, refreshed by generous effervescence up the glass, and retention that is nothing short of 10, probably 15 minutes. I pretty much had to let this sit and settle while I went off to do something else. I returned to find a mild cap on the film with thick lacing deposited by the receding head.

S: Pretty funky: it has that musty, hay / barnyard aroma that is characteristic of a bretty beer. Noble comes come through, giving this a perfumey, lemony aroma with hints of grass and spice.

T: That perfumey aroma translates to a distinct hoppy bitterness, accentuating the flavors of lemon to produce a lemon-rind combination. The brett adds a little funk to the end in the form of hay and leather. The finish is rounded out by flavors of grass and light spice. There's a metallic flavor to it that I don't enjoy, but that was the whole reason I revisited this beer: Russian River Sanctification (batch 4) has the same thing, and it reminded me off-hand of Orval. I wanted to try it again and see.

M: Light-medium bodied. Ample carbonation. It finishes dry.

D: An incredibly tasty beer. It's a shame this took me two tries to appreciate, but it's a good demonstration of how quickly a palate can evolve in 8 or 9 months. I have a bone to pick with the metallic flavor I get out of this thing, but otherwise I really enjoy it. Outstanding beer.

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

Appearance: Right off the bat I have to say this beauty pours with about 14 fingers of massive pale white soapy looking head. Jeez Louise that's a massive stretch of foam! Additionally, it has a nice clear warm amber color. There is minimal cloudiness, and the immense amount of bubbles proves that this is a very vibrant beer.

Smell: I absolutely love the smell of Orval. There is a ton of banana bread and clove components right up front that are met up later by some funky lemon undertones. This beer really smells old world and the spices, for the most part, are very hard to pick apart. I also get a bit of alcohol presence in the nose which is odd since it only sits around 6.9% ABV.

Taste: Tastes almost identical to the smell. There is lots of banana bread in the mouth with a hint of lemon funk to back it up. Throughout the beer, several strange (yet enjoyable) floral components begin to come out. This is potentially due to the temperature change as you work through it. The lemon and funk essence that lies underneath is very reminiscent of a gueuze. In the end, you are left with a very nice deep banana taste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: In terms of mouthfeel, this is more along the lines of how an IPA hits the palate than a Belgian style ale. It has lots of flavor and a well-rounded bitterness. There is also (as the pouring would insinuate) loads of effervescence that immediately slams into your tongue. In terms of body, this is not quite a medium-bodied beer, but close.

Overall: Of all the Trappist beers I've had so far, this is easily one of my favorite. I'm a huge fan of the whole banana bread and clove element of it. I will say it's maybe a touch too "bubbly" for my taste, but I can't really find a whole lot more to complain about. I'll definitely be picking up some more of these down the road.

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

Pours a slightly hazed, dark amber color with three fingers of yellowed head sitting on top. Great retention and a bit of lacing.

The aroma is nice, but gentle. A little spicey, and a little funky actually. Some floral notes come through as well.

The taste is really nice. Kind of floral up front, with a bit of spice. On the finish there's a bit of alcohol as well as a slight bretty tartness. Slighty bitter and has a bit of acid going on. This beer is more compex than I was ready for on the few occassions I've enjoyed it in the past. I'm glad I picked it up today to re-evaluate.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and highly carbonated.

Drinkability is moderate to high. A great flavorful beer, and you can't go wrong with an authentic trappist product.

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

Appearance: Hazy orange colour topped by a GIGANTIC head of dense, cream-coloured foam. Excellent lacing down the sides of the glass and great head retention.

Smell: Lemony citrus, some pine resin, juniper berries, some earthiness

Taste: Bitterness is prominent right from the start and becomes more piney and resinous at the finish. Citrus acidity is present throughout as well as some well-balanced phenolic spiciness.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light body and high carbonation. The texture is very light and smooth -- the beer feels very light on the palate without being watery and thin. Very nice job.

Drinkability: The light body, great complexity, and dry finish all help make this beer highly drinkable. The only thing keeping this from being a good session is the elevated abv.

330mL brown bottle with bottled on and best before dates clearly stamped on the label.

Photo of Brian700
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a beautiful copper with a very nice head. Just like in my dream I had were I was sippin a very special concoction with royalty.

This beer makes you feel like your really experiencing something worth lending your attention towards.

A good glob of head kept me company throughout the whole bevi. And so did a sweet aroma representing a candy flavour wich provided a mouthfeel from the heavens.

This is a good one. One of my favorites. I recently made a trappiste ale and the best one of mine that I tasted came out of the Orval bottle I used during bottling. Maybe its a monk-like sign. Fishy at the least, get it.

Photo of bigkahunas4
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured form the Orval bottle into a tulip.

This was one of the more carbonated beers I've ever seen. Huge white, creamy head - amazing lacing. Body is an orange amber, really looks majestic. Nose is quite full, lots of grass, brett, and a honey-lemon.

Beer keeps its carbonation during the sip, big bubble feeling. Feel is quite light and crisp. Flavor is light, with a grass hop finish.

Very tastey, and obviously well constructed. ABV isn't absurd for this Belgian, so it makes a decent session.

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

A: a hazey rich honey or light orange color. Pours a hefty/rocky head with lots of CO2 bubbles

S: mildly sour apples and white grapes

T: very fruity and dry turning giving way to some malt/bready flavors as it reaches cellar temperature

M: nice, full and lots of delicate/soft carbonation

D: Very nice beer with plenty of flavors. Complex beer but very drinkable.

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

Very cloudy straw body topped with a thick quilt of very dense off White head that settles to 5mm and clings to the Orval goblet beautifully.

Subtle nose of straw, interesting yeast and pear.

Taste is dry and complex. Very short hit of Buddhist malt, followed quickly by loads of straw dryness. Gentle apples and pears, some interesting yeasty notes.

Body is medium and helped with good carb levels.

Hugely drinkable.

Not the best Orval I've had. But most of them aren't. Still a great beer.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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