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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

4,653 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,653
Reviews: 2,158
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 252
Gots: 523 | 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: 4,653 | Reviews: 2,158 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tectactoe
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this quite a while ago - figured it was time to do a re-review and see how it went this time around. Orval pours a rustic amber color; opaque for the most part, though some light passes through at the edges of the glass without much trouble. The huge, cream-colored cap is something to marvel at; it remains thick and lasts seemingly for days, leaving huge sheets of lace along the sides of the glass.

The aroma contains a quick, sharp tartness that hints at a combination of orange and lemon zest. Bigger inhales reveal a nice tropical-like fruitiness, highly akin to pineapple - this is most likely from the Brett, which also brings a swift bit of funk to the plate; like a slightly musty, mostly sweaty barnyard. Juicy green hops in the finish show signs of grass, leaves, and light citrus. The nose on this is really unique, and fantastic in it's own right.

The first sip starts off like a carbon copy of the first whiff - a surly tartness hits your palate right away, followed by some calming waves of orange peels and lemon zest. The pineapple is apparent as well, though in more of of a stinging, bitter pith fashion than a juicy, sweet kind. Hops are plentiful; leafy, grassy, dry, citrusy, and quite bitter for a Belgian ale. Again, very discernible and quite complex.

Brettanomyces abound in the latter half of each sip, bringing some musty cellar, mellow barnyard, and stale cork flavors to the table. The finish contains a subtle amount of citrus zest and yeasty funk with a lasting bitterness from the dry hopping. This stuff is carbonated to the brim, giving it a sharp, crisp mouth feel; effervescent and light, despite the medium stature of the body.

Orval is a pretty awesome trappist ale. I guess when you only brew one beer, you have more time to test, tweak, and perfect it, and it seems like the monks at Brasserie d'Orval have done just that. On most days I'd say that this is not my favorite trappist ale, although it always stands out to me as the most unique. The Brett and the dry-hopping really set it apart from the others and always keep me coming back to this funny, oblong bottle.

Photo of ojclark
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

7 months old when tasted. Orangey hoppy aroma with notes of sourness/vinegar aroma. Cloudy orange/amber color with a frothy off-white head with a lot of carbonation and light lacing. Flavor a complex mix of bitter, sour, hops with a noticable lambic-type (Brettanomyces) character and some slightly vinegary sourness. Slight sweetness noticable along with the other flavor components in the aftertaste. Effervescent mouthfeel, medium body with a medium length finish with a fairly long aftertaste. Very complex and very good.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Photo of blackie
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

appearance: Leaving most of the yeast in the bottle, the pour yields a 0.5" white head. It recedes incompletely, fed by streams of bubbles from the bottom. The beer is a hazy, milky medium brown.

smell: I get some immediate strawberry and raspberry aromas. Pale Belgian malts aromas with notes of peach. It's a little farm-housey, with some hay and a slight wildness to it. Hints of oxidized apple flesh, whole bread, white pepper, and flowery honey. Just a touch of hops noticeable.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is high, yet smooth. The body is very light.

taste: Pale malts with appley fruit flavors upfront. A little thin in flavor. There's also a light yeast character. After the swallow an aged, papery hop flavor becomes more evident, and a gentle bitterness dries out the finish.

drinkability:A well balanced beer, though a little uninteresting in some places...even a little watery. Easy to drink.

11.2 oz. bottle from Grapes & Hops in Fayetteville, Bottled 24/06/2005

6/14/2013 - upped some scores after purchasing an Amsterdam/Belgium ticket and cracking a bottle from Lost Dog

Photo of Gusler
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a magnificent hazy deep orange, the head monstrous in size, creamy in its consistency and as it evanesces, leaves behind a satiny sheet of fine lace. The aroma of ripe bananas, yeast, sweet brown sugar with the malt underpinning it all makes this a real sniffers delight. Start malt and lightly sweet, the top slim in feel on the palate, biting in its acidity, the hops perky in their spicy bite, the aftertaste quite dry and long lasting. A real treat in all aspects and I prefer it to “Duvel”, and many other Belgians for that fact.

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

Picked up this bottle from OTM in OB. Poured into a Maredsous chalice. Massive, beautiful lacey head from the pour, hangs around forever and leaves a lovely lace on the edge of the glass. As soon as I popped the top of the bottle I was met with the amazing sweet, sour yeasty aroma with lots of esters, one of the most appetizing smelling beers I've tried. The taste is complex and interesting with a lot of flavors from the brettanomyces coming through - leather, horsey on top of the blondey belgiany base. Really an enjoyable beer, definitely going to try again. This bottle was about 9 months from the bottling date.

Photo of pitasoup
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from 11.2 bottle. pours clear golden orangy. nice whie head, very carbonated at first. floral smells and a bit of banana, also that chewy smell of belgian yeasts. malty body with dry bitter finish. warms to slightly sour and wheaty taste. bottled in '04, 6.9% on label.

-notes from '07

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

Bottle (bottled on 5/6/08 and best by 5/6/13) poured into a tulip glass.

A- A conservative pour still left a huge (3+ finger), fluffy, off-white head that was topped with a touch of yeast and never really completely fell, leaving huge sticky patches on the glass. The body was a combination of a deep red-brown with peach and pink accents with medium to heavy carbonation. It was all fairly clean considering the yeast pour.

S- It had a great aroma. It started as some spicy cloves and vanilla. Later on the yeasty qualities came through as green apple that became more pronounced with time and warmth.

T- It had an interesting flavor. It was more highly hopped than I'd expected, making for a dryish quality. There was a little granny smith apple from the funky yeast, and, maybe, a little lemon, citrus flair.

M- It was fairly heavily carbonated as I drank through the fluffy head. There was a definite hop and slight alcohol bite Overall, it was pretty dry on the palate.

D- The great attributes make me want more. Its alcohol was well masked making it an easy drinker and it's a wonderful example of the style. The fairly heavy price tag is the only thing stopping me from making this a regular purchase.

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

Poured into my Tulip glass. Bottled on 22/4/10, about 6 months ago, which I heard is the best time for Orval.

A- Offwhite, tan head. Big bubbles throughout. Leaves a little bit of lacing on sides of glass. Head explodes up the glass as you pour. Probably shouldn't have chose a Tulip. Head eventually settles onto a orange, tea colored brew. Cloudy, hard to see through.

S- Very different smell to this beer. Not used to it, but I'm guessing that might be the brett? Has an outdoor, inside of a barn type smell, with hay. Underneath that character is some fruits, and hints of yeast.

T- Sweet, kind of reminds me of an orange or tangerine jolly rancher candy. Aftertaste becomes sweet, and then sour. A taste that I can't define at all, I guess would be the brett.

M- Incredibly smooth. Tangy. This beer kind of leaves a funny feeling in the back of my throat, not uncomfortable though.

D- Good mouthfeel, very smooth brew, can't really taste the alcohol. I let this beer warm a little, but I think its actually better colder IMO. Although I do have to say I like it more as I drink it.

Photo of AlexFields
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Premo88
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle poured into Orval goblet (finally connected brew with glass!)

bottled on: 8/30/2012
best by: 8/30/2017
drank: 8/8/2013

L: huge head -- biggest head I've seen from a beer poured into a goblet, well over 1/2-inch of tan foam that does not disipate quickly, very thick and full with some of the largest bubbles I've seen. the brew is murky brown/caramel.

S: light and fruity -- definite sweetness. bananas. in fact, most banana-like smell I've encountered ... big banana sweet, almost turning into a bubble gum smell. unique.

T: saisonlike -- dry white wine without the sweet finish. bananas, and showing some sweetness as it warms up; slight hints of alcohol; white wine/soured grapes ... and then near the end: a passing hint of grassiness. was that hops?

F: super carbonation combined with a full but still light weight.

O: reminds me of saisons, hefeweizens, tripels but still unique, especially in the nose. the alcohol does kick in, but it definitely packs a smaller punch than the Belgian strong pale ale. overall, it's not my favorite style, but it's very easy to see the greatness in this brew ...

bonus points: the Orval fish logo is as bad-ass as they come.

Photo of vancurly
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank this at the Heritage Belgian Beer cafe in Sydney.

Pours a hazy dark burnt orange, head fades, but good lace.

Light aromas of sour fruit. Some oakiness & gamey off-notes. Complex & intriguing.

Flavours of leather, medicine/band-aids. Slight barnyard character, perfumy, with a late cherrywood aftertaste.

Some bitterness, and astringency. The mouthfeel is very dry, almost dusty. Highly attenuated... thin, no sweetness.

For me, this is truly the Burgundy of beers. Wild, gamey, dry, tannic, fleshy.

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

Pours a very nice deep amber (near coppe) color with fantastic head and lacing. Great scent, very deep and malty with wonderful fruit attributes (apple, cherry, and banana). Great deep malty flavor, nice hint of fruit; the aftertaste is complex, with a bit of hops and fruit and with a near cloying finish. Goes down thick, but nice and smooth. Not my favorite trappist, but really, really good nonetheless.

Photo of prosper
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 07-03-07 - three-ish years in the bottle.

Pours a hazy gold with a thick white head and lots of co2 streamers. Some lace, but the head is kinda coarse.

Smell - wow, uh, funky. Tart pineapple, acidic fruits. Maybe some light musty cheese. Some herbal character - hops I guess, but they're lost in the huge not-so-subtle blast of smells.

Taste is very good. Lots of different flavours, but they blend well, none overpowering the others. Lots of earthy musty character - damp malts and such. Fruity, but not as intense as most other belgians; same for the phenols - light spice, but supportive and not centre stage. Clean, dry finish.

Mouthfeel is light - lots of carbonation and crisp dry finish help here.

Light (relatively speaking) alcohol, dry body, spritzy carbonation - yep, it's quite drinkeable

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

Pours a hazy light orange color with a bright white, long lasting head. Aroma has some nice citrus notes, along with a latent sweetness. Taste shows some of the characteristic Belgian spices, along with a bit of apple. Mouthfeel is very moist, not to fizzy, and just the right bit of aftertaste. Very drinkable with a low abv. Great beer.

Photo of Bsetz
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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

Bottled on 9/23/08, Chimay glass.

Pours a huge mounding very light tan head. Even a very gentle pour fills more than half the goblet with head. As it falls, a very enticing lacework coats the glass. Color is a hazy orange.
Aroma is very fruity and tart. Orchard fruits, banana, lemon, grass and hay. A faint flowery note?
Flavor is pretty light... sweetness, tart, grainy/grassy. Finish is dry, lightly bitter, with a hint of barnyard. But it also has little astringency in the back of the throat that's a bit distracting.
Very light, extremely dry feel. Lots of carbonation.

Before shelling out the cash for a Trappist (they are expensive little buggers) I did a little looking. I'm only on "sports and weather" terms with many Belgian styles, so I looked around. The reviews of Orval promised something different. Well, I'm pretty impressed. Tart, a little funk. This is a damn tasty brew. I'd like a little more funk, which I may get for an older bottle.

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

11.2oz bottle into a perfect pint. Bottled 2/20/08.

A - Slightly hazy yellow, almost amber. Huge, rocky, off-white head that almost overflows the glass. Slight lacing, but not really sticking to the glass. Subsequent pours just stir it right back up. Great legs.

S - Well, this is a really pleasant surprise. While I was expecting a typical trappist pale, this has all of the aromas of an American wild ale. Citrusy, funky notes from the brett, plus some yeastiness in the background. Maybe a little clove and spice. This is just fantastic.

T - A lot going on here -- funkiness at first, less citrus than the nose, plenty of spice: clove and anise, with maybe some allspice. A bit of banana. Little to no alcohol in the finish, although it is somewhat dry.

M - Full and sticky. Just the way I'd like a wild ale to be.

D - This is a really unexpected treat. There's a great combination of a wild and belgian flavors here. Lowish alcohol for a belgian just makes it even more drinkable.

O - I'm heading to the store tomorrow to buy at least another handful of these. Need to have some around the house for everyday drinking. Highly recommended.

Photo of kinged8th
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
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 facundoCNB
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Review of a 1 year old bottle.
Appears much foamier than I recall, a dark golden color with 3 fingers of foamy off white head.
Smells of Brett?? I definitely didn't pick up on this when it was fresh. A bit vinous, oaky, funky.. With lots of malt in the background. The flavor is on par, the Brett is subtle at first but once your palate picks up on the oaky barrel flavor, the barnyard door opens wide!
Medium in body with high carbonation.
This is fantastic aged, but I was bit impressed with it fresh... I honestly had written it off as a standard Belgian ale.. Don't make the same mistake.

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

Pours a very pale tea-like color with a massive dense off-white head with alot of carbonation. The smell is outstanding. I rarely get waves of smell from brew, but this one has it. It reveals a sweet fruit, coriander?, clove?, light hops, a musty yeast aroma, and some that I can't even explain. It smells complex and it made me antsy to sample this one. The taste is slightly less exciting than the aroma, but still one solid brew! It starts with the carb bite that slides into a light spicey fruit and yeast that tapers into a dry seltzer like taste. This is a light bodied beer that again has dryness that is in the entire second half of each swallow. A very nice Ale that is definitely unique! Op uw gezonheid!

Photo of DIM
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had several of these now and I finally feel like gotten to know this beer well enough to review. Bottle has a born on date of 30-01-07. Served at cellar temp.

a: I very carefully decanted about 10oz. of the 11.2oz. in the bottle to leave sediment behind. This pour left behind a very clear golden ale with an inch and a half of very frothy looking head. Lots of tiny bubbles (cue music) race to the top of my glass throught the session.

s: I'm surprised by how noticeable the hop aroma is. I've never smelled a peppery hop before. This is one of my favorite beers to whiff, very unique.

t: The pepper I noticed in the smell is also abundant on the tongue. It starts with a spicy yeast/malt flavor, no sweetness to found here. Next the suprisingly bold peppery hops kicks in before making way for a tart bready finish. The peppery hops linger for minutes afterward. Very complex and a challenge to describe.

m: In a word, incredible. Sticky and viscous, I've never had anything like it.

d: Hmm. Definitely a sipper. I certainly would not want two in a session, in fact a couple of weeks in between sounds better.

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.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,653 ratings.