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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

4,604 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,604
Reviews: 2,147
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 248
Gots: 497 | 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: 4,604 | Reviews: 2,147 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of soulgrowl
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Body ranges from chestnut brown to iced tea orange depending on the light. The head on this thing is really interesting; after I poured it, I set it down and responded to an e-mail. When I looked back at it, the head had expanded to about an inch higher than it was before! Currently, the head is collapsing along the perimeter of the class, leaving this funny little nipple-like mesa in the middle. Very unusual, very cool.

Smell: Oh yum. This smells great, really, truly, great. It has a very toasty malt character with piney hops, mild phenols, alcohol and some zippy yeast. An odor of old homes. Kind of like a kicked-up American red.

Taste: Wow, great malt profile; buscuity, toasty, and nice and nutty. Woodsy hops, tangy yeast, and alcohol add a little spice. Tart apple cider and a flash of sweet cherry flavor comes out as you swallow. Finish has a bit of Scotch whisky-ish alcohol sweetness, followed by a dry, wheaty tang.

Mouthfeel: Nice and creamy, very frothy and chewy, but also kind of abrasive due to the alcohol.

Drinkability: This is quite drinkable, but obviously no session beer. Drink late and drink slowly... it is exceptionally savorable.

Photo of flannelman808
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This one pours a somewhat hazy amber color and is topped with a billowy bone white head. Pancake batter head which has nice lacing to boot. Fairly large bubbles throughout the foam.

S: This stuff smells so good! Lots going on; Spice, Lemon zest, ginger, grass, and a bit of a sour dried tangerine quality.

T: Tons of complexity and yet easy to drink. I get spice in the back of my palate, and some nice fruity esters in the front. There is some aloe like qualities going on as well. This is a very dry finishing beer. There is a mild hop quality coming through in the dryness as well.. not overbearing but present.

M: prickly and mouthfilling.

D: very easy to drink (but not fast)... the alcohol is completely hidden.

Photo of essie
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice. Produced a large frothy white head (2-3 fingers) over a slightly hazy amber to golden-colored body

Aromas of lemon, yeast, and some hops

Starts off with a lemon and grass taste, then finishes with a dry hoppy bitterness. Good complexity.

Nice smooth body with a decent amount of carbonation

The smooth mouthfeel and dry finish makes this beer very drinkable for me.

Overall, another trappist beer that's definitely worth trying. I'm not usually crazy about pale ales, but I could definitely see myself getting this again.

Photo of fisherman34
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
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 JohnnyBarman
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of brewerburgundy
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Photo of afrokaze
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 8/18/2011, poured into a dessert wine glass because it's the most suitable choice my parents have around the house.

Pours a pale cloudy gold/orange with crazy carbonation swirling in the glass and a huge rocky dense head that sticks around forever with good lacing.

Aroma is interesting, tons of straight brett funk that's clean and not too musty, slight peach/green apple citrus, flowers, metallic notes, clove, peppercorns, some banana.

Green apple tart up front leads to clean soft malt, clove, light citrus/green apple, ripe pears, hay, some spicy hops and a pronounced dry mineral finish. So complex I can't even really describe, you just sip and peel away layers of flavor. Alcohol is almost nonexistant

Mouthfeel is tight and prickly, but smooths out in the finish. Dry but has just enough sweetness in the end to keep it from being overly tannic. Sits on the palate for a long time but isn't cloying, lets you really sift through the flavors.

A beautiful and crazy beer, I can see why so many rave about it. Really nothing else like it, super complex and light enough to be refreshing but really satisfying to sip and admire. This is gonna be an obsession!

Photo of alcstradamus
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A--Pours a beautiful amber/copper color with a huge 4 finger head in my Dogfish Head signature glass. There are etchings in the bottom of the glass to release the carbonation so this head is not going anywhere. I don't know how I'm going to actually drink this beer, it is just sitting there with 4 fingers of head and seems to keep growing...ok, after a few minutes it is finally dropping. It has settled down to a fluffy marshmallow topping and left THICK lacing down the glass. I know the glass contributed to the appearance here, but this is one of the best looking beers I have poured.

S--Esters, green grapes, caramel, spices. Very pleasant but not huge nose.

T--Light spices, caramel, a bit of a band-aid funkiness. Very malty and easy to drink, no single flavor overpowers. Notes of leather, orange peel, and lemon deep in the background.

M--Medium bodied, the carbonation is high but somewhat soft. I appreciate that and it helps with the drinkability

D--Very fine brew here, nearly flawless for the style.

Photo of adam42381
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 ounce bottle into a Chimay goblet. Bottled on April 22, 2010 printed on label.

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange caramel color with a huge 4 finger thick and creamy off-white head. A touch of sediment pools right on top of the billowy head. The head was so big it rose a full 2 fingers above the rim of the goblet. Perfect head retention. Halfway through the glass and it's still got a 1/2 finger head. Excellent lacing.

Smell: Strong funky notes with some sweet apple and pear coming through as well.

Taste: Crisp tart fruitiness up front followed by funky "horseblanket" notes in the middle before ending with a grassy hop bitterness at the finish. Aftertaste is funky, mildly phenolic and very dry. The dryness of the aftertaste lingers for long time.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation. The mouth puckers much the same as it does when eating an unripe persimmon.

Drinkability: High drinkability. Goes down smooth. While I wouldn't want multiples, drinking one is a pleasure.

Overall: Very good beer overall. This is probably the most unique of all the Trappist beers. Orval is funky in a good way. Definitely recommend giving it a try.

Photo of BMoney575
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 4-16-08
Bottled on 11-14-06
Best before 11-14-11

Pours a very cool neon orange color, with an immense white head that settles to about two inches, and stops. Looks awesome in a Duvel tulip.

Smell is funky and Belgian, spicy and sour, with lots of pine and ripe fruit. There's an off, fermented quality that I can't quite place.

Taste is surprisingly light, a little sour at first, a little bready in the middle, and a nice hop bitterness to balance out the end. A fruity and very dry white wine flavor lasts in the finish.

Mouthfeel is outstanding, super carbonated and light to add to the sharp flavors.

Drinkability is very good, this a hugely easy to drink and refreshing brew.

Overall, impressive. Very light, but flavorful in all the right places. I don't know how age would effect it, but it seems fresh even after 1.5 years.

Photo of Spaceman_Jer
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Naugros
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a beautiful beer. The head forms immediately and the structure is such that I overpoured and thought I'd lose some of the head down the sides, but no! It stood up on its own a good two fingers above the rim of the glass. The color is amber and cloudy, more opaque than many in this style.

It smells of fragrant wood or cooking wheat bread with some spice and citrus in the background. The floral aspect tells you it's a Belgian.

Oh wow! I immediately got oranges. The sour and citrusy flavors combined to make it seem like this was a beer brewed with oranges, it was that strong of an impression on my tongue. Bolstering that flavor is a bread-like taste further back on the tongue...maybe one of those whole grain loafs.

I usually first sip a beer that I have not tried yet, but this one invited me to gulp, and gulp I did. Just two and then I started to taste. It doesn't attack the back of the mouth, but lingers on the tongue daring you to explain the complexities (and I felt I have done a poor job here).

For a beer this complex it is still refreshing and begs another, and another and another still. I wish I had bought more. Strike that...I WILL buy more.

Photo of cnally
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up with about three other brews I had never tried before. This one lasted till the end, since I was so stoked, I wanted to save what I guessed would be the best for the last. We will see.

A monsterous head, fluffy and barely off-white, is a defining characteristic, with a glowing orange color in the body. Hazy and majestic.

The aroma is underutilized here, a foggy floral bouquet and little additional hop or malt character to it. Pleasant yet forgettable.

The flavor...oh, the flavor. A wildly successful blast of bitterness and sweetness, with a multi-layered fruity taste of grapefruit, apple and red grape. Great balance in the amount of hop character, a good dose of bitter.

High carbonation levels in the mouthfeel. A boisterous brew.

Magnificent effort, a subdued aroma meets a crushing flavor, and grand all around. Easy to pop down a few of these...if you can afford it!

Photo of richmof
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

How to review Orval?

It is the most aesthetically pleasing beer in the world bar none. It pours from its beautifully curvy bottle into the most attractive beer glass there is. It is the one beer most Belgian bartenders can truly pour as well, which means you get a wonderfully frothy creamy head with solid lacing no matter where you go. The deep golden-orange should be relatively clear when probably poured - yeast on the side.

On this occasion, I am review from Chez Bernard in Place Jourdan, where I had the gout d'Orval.

The citrusy yeastiness starts on the nose and continues through to the palate where it is complemented by a hoppy spice quality. Those herby Brettons doing their work.

It rarely disappoints although three is usually enough for a sitting. I am looking forward to those bottles I have put down.

Photo of Labeorphile
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet. Amazing fluffy head with good lacing. A beautiful looking beer.

Citrus and funk in the nose. I am guessing Brett yeast. Interesting smell that is very enticing.

Unfortunately, it doesn't show up much in the flavor. Not much happening. Tastes Belgian, but no refundable character. Lots of carbonation and alcohol.

A good beer. Glad I experienced it, but probably wont buy it again, especially for the price.

Photo of dedrinker
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled April ' 06, drank Dec.' 06

Strong burst of carbonation on opening bottle. First pour gushes and foams, I wait and pour the rest in one smooth motion. Dense, rocky, off-white creamy head looks too beautiful. I don’t want to drink it - just look at it. Light mahogany color with orange highlights. Aroma of sherbert and damp earth near the stables. Phenolic aromas and flavors of holiday spices and juicy fruit gum. Not very sweet though, with a little sour tang. 15 minutes later and halfway through the beer the head has finally settled down to a thin, soft blanket of melted marshmallow with persistent lacing. I used to not like this beer, but perhaps my pallette has matured beyond hasty expectations of big, overly candy-like dark, fruity tasting Belgian strong ales. I am humbled and exalted at the same time. This beer makes me want to eat something savory and earthy, yet not heavy or too rich.

Photo of yesyouam
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Orval is a shimmering and clear amber ale with a very soft off-white head that lasts forever and leaves excellent lacing. The aroma is of a dusty dank cellar, soft sweet grain, bread and berries and herbs. It is very soft and smooth and medium bodied. Great balance! It is bitter and tart, but softly so. There is a lemon/lime flavor in there. The hops are a bit like juniper, cranberry and rosemary. It's so classic! I love it!
(rated Aug 21, 2007)

Photo of cam477
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of JacobMutberg
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of JakerLou
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of Homebrew35
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

$5 a single dated 4/2010
Pours a huge 4 fingers worth of off white head. Hazy golden body. Nice lacing a good cap remains. Very appealing and typical of a nice pale ale.
Smell is quite interesting. Lemon, citrus, wet cardboard, touch of white grapes, floral notes of lillys and lavender. In the finish theres a sharp note of lactic acid, it doesn't stick around for long but adds an interesting note. This is very complex as all the flavors play well together.
Mouth feel is very dry yet very pleasing. High carbing.
Overall this is a good beer, the smell is the best part.
I'd get this again to have once in a while.

Photo of Marius
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of standardcherry
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,604 ratings.