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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

4,688 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,688
Reviews: 2,168
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 12.59%
Wants: 254
Gots: 549 | 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: 4,688 | Reviews: 2,168
Photo of theformula
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The ratings are high, and for good reason. When I'm so used to the traditional English and American Pale Ale, this adds a brilliant complexity to the style. And it's my first taste of Orval.

Great looking beer, light amber color. The head just grew and grew to a billow-y, fluffy cloud that doesn't every dissapear. Nice lacing throughout.

Mouthfeel is light, with a bite of carbonation and almost a fine, powder-y texture on the roof of the mouth.

Smells of hops, clove, green banana/fruit, sugar and a little phenolic goodness to make things interesting. Fruit and flowers.

Tastes much hoppier than the aroma lets on. Delicious hop bitterness is subtle, along with "that" yeast strain and some citrus that gives it a tart bite. Sugar cane, wet hay and light honey give this so much complexity.

This is the best pale ale I've had the pleasure to taste, and drinkability is way up there b/c of the bone-dry finish. It's thin, but I guess it's accurate for the style. Awesome.

Photo of jayhawk73
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orange color w/ a perfect 2 finger off-white head. This beer has a ton of carbonation! The smell is very interesting- citrus, fruit, and hops all make their presence known. The taste is an acquired taste, but I love it. It's very unique. A lot of hops, some citrus, spice and a slight hint of alcohol. Very dry finish, and a dry beer in general. Mouthfeel is good. You can feel the carbonation in your mouth, but it's not bothersome. Aftertaste lingers for a while as well. I probably wouldn't drink more than one of these at a time, but it's pretty easy to drink. Definitely a great beer, and one I will continue to buy from time to time. Not for everyone, but that's more for me...

Photo of a0lbudman
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Amber color with a large tan head that leaves a lace
S-dark fruits, raisins and figs. Has a wine or farmhouse like aroma with spice in every smell
T- caramel sweetness with spice and wine like taste that goes to a spice kick aftertaste that has some sour taste and also some warming in the finish
M-creamy high carbonation with medium body
O-great malty flavor that starts this beer off right. It has good balance.

Photo of PVMT
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of midnite2sixman
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330 ml bottle into my Orval snifter. Nothing is more beautiful beer than the proper beer in its proper glass. Great thanks to my friend Kurt for the glass.

A hazy caramel orange pumpkin is what I came up with for the color. Superior frothy head, slightly off white. Nice globby lacing after the first pour, I took 10 minutes to let that settle and finished off the pour. Nice and frothy.

Mellow yeast notes on the nose. Apples, citrus, apricots as well.
Maybe some brett? If so, very mild.

Mildly hoppy, nice yeast tastes and smooth maltiness. Bread, bananas, and some soft fruit flavors.

Incredibly light for the abv, so nice to drink.

If you're in the mood, trappists are hard to beat and this is a testament to that.
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Photo of Goliath
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
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
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
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
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
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 Tele
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: 4.25 Cloudy, brownish orange with a massive light tan head.

S: 4.25 Belgian yeast and funk are up front on the nose. Grass, herbs, wheat, and malt follow closely behind. There’s also a dry, oak smell lingering in the background that goes with the funk.

T: 4.25 More funk and less yeast than the nose. A lot more unique than most of the other trappist ales. Dry funk dominates without fruity, spicy esters like other Belgian ales. There’s a little sweetness with some grass, green apple, and breadiness at the end.

M: 4.5 Carbonation is great. It makes the beer feel alive which matches the funk very well. There’s also a very pleasant dry finish.

O: 4.25 I wasn’t sure I liked this beer very much at first, but I came to really enjoy the funk and dryness. It is very well balanced with a very unique and enjoyable character.

Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured in the Duvel glass clear medium amber with a white, tall, moussy and frothy head which coated the glass.

The aroma was earthy with a farmhouse yeast presence of brett. The aroma was fruity with light maltiness. The fruit aroma was most notably pineapple and slight candy aromas.

The flavor was very earthy in both hop bittering and hop flavor. The balance of the beer was decidedly toward bittering, but the malt presence kept the bittering in check. The malt flavor was slight caramel and was present in the background. The flavor became more fruity as the beer warmed and the brett character emerges.

The finish was dry with a slight spice and earthy flavors lasting long into the aftertaste. The body was medium and well done. The beer was highly drinkable, but their was an alcohol presence despite being less than 7% abv (the bottle said 6.9%).


11.2 ounce bottle. Bottled on 07.10.2004, best before 07.10.2009. Purchased at Green's in Atlanta, Ga.

Photo of MOB210SA
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
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 thetomG
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a GORGEOUS murky amber with HUGE foamy head. Absolutely GORGEOUS beer. Once the foam dies down a bit, the aroma has all the hallmarks of a traditional Belgian with notes of warm bread, caramel and malty goodness.

The flavor changes a lot as it warms up and it changes for the better - some sour notes even seem to come out. This is definitely one you want to let sit for a few minutes before drinking. Overall the palate is similar to the nose. There is a nice but not overwhelming bubbly carbonation that creates an interesting dry finish.

Very very nice interesting beer and something that I will DEFINITELY be drinking again soon.

Photo of drumrboy22
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into an Orval chalice. Beer was a light brown color, with a two-finger, foamy, off-white head. Moderate carbonation and tons of lacing around the glass. Glorious!

Aroma was funky brett, some floral notes and very faint citrus.

Taste was slightly hoppy, caramel, grass, citrus, and a touch of funk and yeast. Dry finish.

Bottle is 16 months old and has aged very well. Love the hints of Brett in the nose. Complex and flavorful beer. This is delish.

Photo of grittybrews
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
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 snowmg
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of Satchboogie
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottled (dated 29/7/09) poured into a Rochefort Chalice

A: Pours golden light amber/yellow, hazy, massive 2 finger off-white head that's thick and pillowy. It slowly recedes in a rocky way then maintains about 1/2 inch and leaves plenty of lacing. Quite the first impression!

S: Apples, pears, peaches, banana/clove, sour and funk.

T: Words are eluding me. I get everything from the nose, the fruit flavors all meld together with the sour and funk to create one complex tasting beer. Malt body is fairly light and has a clean crystal sugar sweetness with a little bit buttered biscuits. The fruit takes on an all-natural awesome mix-fruit sweet tart like taste with lots of clean candy sugar. The funk reminds me of a saison or borderline wild. There's some underlying herbal qualities, almost medicinal, but not in the bad robitussin/advil way. Finish is light and clean. Alcohol is non-existent.

M: Medium carbonation that isn't as fine as champagne. Fairly light body, though it's pretty damn smooth. Right on target for the style.

D: Great beer that's light and the alcohol is completely hidden. A treat for sure.

Photo of ahq514
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into snifter. Bottled 4/22/10.

This beer pours a massive head, as it is super carbonated, and cloudy bright orange. Had to let it set for a several minutes before it settled. After it settles out, there is some beautiful lacing going on.

Aroma is very complex, smells earthy. Spicy belgian yeast, floral hop character, and some slightly sour lemon. Some other spices are there too, maybe some coriander?

Taste starts off with some lemon, then moves on to a little bit of orange. Getting some nice earthy and floral flavors mixed in with those fruits. Getting a nice spicy yeast/coriander flavor in there too. Has a slightly bitter finish, but not overly so.

This is a pretty carbonated beer as was expected. On the lighter side of medium bodied.

This was a good beer. I'm not a huge fan of Belgians, but this was very enjoyable. If it wasn't so expensive, I would drink this more often.

Photo of jenitivecase
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
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 tectactoe
4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
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 +1.4%
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 +1.4%
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 +1.4%
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 +1.4%
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 +1.4%
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 +1.4%
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

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,688 ratings.