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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
93
outstanding

2,193 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,193
Hads: 4,900
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 8.41%
Wants: 285
Gots: 654 | FT: 12
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,193 | Hads: 4,900
Photo of anarchia
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hazy dark orange with a massive head that won't go away before you finish drinking it--beautiful. Aroma is sour apples, barnyard, sour funk, noble hops. Velvety, spicy, and bubbly in the mouth. Carbonation really enhances the diverse flavors. Spicy, fruity hop bitterness. Tart and funky. Fruity and spicy (hints of black pepper). Orange and lemon. I could keep rambling but... a zillion contrasting flavors balanced perfectly. Perfect--yep, that's the word I'm looking for. Perfect. (483 characters)

Photo of wiscokid920
5/5  rDev +20.2%

Amazing. Never have I experienced something so complex. I seem to pick up something different each and every time I take a sniff and sip. As the beer warms up different flavor profiles are unmasked. Nose welcomes with a pungent bouquet of flowers, lemon zest, juniper spice, yeasty/musk. The flavor profile is just as complex and inviting. Overall, its very dry and tart from start to finish, but the lingering dryness further enhances the flavor profiles. Welcomes you in with a nice sweet caramel and then you get consumed by a unique yeasty musk which later fades into a cider like tartness.

Unbelievably complex. At first the musk might seem abrasive...leading you to question if things can turn around...and oh yes it does! The seemingly abrasive nature sets the stage allowing the flavorful subtle qualities of the yeasty phenols and citrus zest to shine. Very unique. Truly exceptional.

EPIC! (914 characters)

Photo of elNopalero
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Update:
Bottle dated 8/18/2011, enjoyed 1/19/2013

Split this bottle. The beer itself pours a cloudy hazy orange-tan. One glass had impressive foaming and long head retention, while the other glass had only a thin tight layer of bubbles. (I have both a rinse with cold water prior to pouring.)

The aroma has an earthy, lemony character to it. There’s a light funk which emerges, like wet hay, along with some tangerine peel and something that reminds me of a good sweat from a tough workout.

The flavor is earthy with a mild spice that runs into a funky finish. It’s peppery and earthy with a long, long finish. I found layers of flavor—wet hay, tangerine and orange preserves, leather, and tobacco—that just are a delight to enjoy. Great effervescent, fantastic body. I love how this beer changes over time.

Dated 10/02/2011 but purchased before then. Does it mean February 10, 2011?

First time drinking this iconic beer. This is a moment for the record books! Or, at the least, Beer Advocate.

Poured into a tulip. It’s cloudy, sandy-colored, with a big layer of foam sitting atop. I smell coriander, orange peel, apricot must on the edges. Just a wonderful, wonderfully complex aroma.

First sip is an eye opener. Sharp, concentrated flavor with a dry finish that goes for a victory lap on the palate. Lots of yeasty esters and an effervescence that coats your mouth. There’s some slight sour and funky notes that hang around and become more pronounced as the beer warms. Incredibly complex. I see why this beer has such a reputation and aura around it. (1,576 characters)

Photo of Avagadro
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours copper in color with an impressive amount of sudsy head. Lacing is extensive, though most of it is hidden by the brew's haziness.

S: Potent bouquet is reminiscent of lemon zest, hay, and damp soil.

T: Bone-dry with the tell-tale funk of Mr. Brett. This delicious brew tales off with a subtle hop bitterness that pairs well with the funky flavors.

M: Thin body with an assault of prickly carbonation.

D: A must have for any fan of Brett, or anyone who is interested in seeing what farmhouse funk is all about. A world-class one-of-a-kind brew that is well worth seeking out. (586 characters)

Photo of RaphaelSC
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330mL bottle to Snifter.

A: Big tar head with good retention, and a smoked orange body.

S: Dried Lemon and wood smell. The smell is unique as the beer itself because the brettanomyces yeast that gives this beer its characteristic aroma.

T: Citric and dry, with mild sweetness and good bitterness, this beer is quite refreshing unlikely its kin trappistes beers that are normally more strong and "hotter" beers, can't feel the alcohol at all, just that fruit unique flavor that I can't barely describe.

M: A mild and dry bitterness that resembles wine to me. A superb mouthfeel in my opinion, that makes you want to contemplate every sip you take of this beer.

O: Unique, this trappist beer is unique between its pars and between every other beer you find out there, I strongly recommend this beer to every one that appreciates a good beer. (844 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a lovely golden amber, great effervescant bubbling, and the perfect thick foamy head and stickage with every sip. The picture of Belgian pale ale. Crisp hrbal spice aroma, that evens out with sweet honey like malts and maybe an earthy hop finish. This smells awesome, no other words needed. Starts out with a dry biscuit malt and honey sweetness with a splash of tea-like spices. The dryness turns to a gentle, tart apple skin. Complex palate starts sweet and finishes dry to tart. Lots of flavors and textures to this beer. I'm glad this beer is sold individually instead of via a six-pack and such. Also the $4 and up price in my area, really makesyou apprecite this beer that much more eery time you buy it.

This is the best Begian pale ale I'e ever had... hands down!!! (781 characters)

Photo of tobi_wan_72
5/5  rDev +20.2%

I tried this one on a whim, and ended up loving it. Unlike almost any ale I've had. Smooth, flavorful, well balanced, not too heavy but substantial all the same. I do recommend, as the Brothers do, that you cellar this one for at least a couple weeks before opening. Enjoy chilled and in a frosty glass. (303 characters)

Photo of Jsteez
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip beer glass from a bottle. Bottled a year ago in Feb. 2012.

A-Deep orange and a cloudy brown. Poured a 2.5 inch bubbly head. Minimal lacing on the glass. The head stuck around for a few minutes and then dissipated into a thin bubbly edge around the sides of the glass.

S-Fruity, pineapple, hints of pepper and spice. Quite a dry smell. Hints of sweet malt as well.

T-Pineapple and citrus fruit; hints of clove, but not too much. There was a spicy dry and peppery taste in the aftertaste. Quite a complex array of flavors. The aftertaste left a slight dry and bitter feeling as well. I like Belgium beers and their complex character. However there are some Belgium beers out there that take a while to get use to. This was much different than I was expecting.

M-Full body with a lighter feel. Very refreshing and crisp to some degree! This is one of the first Belgium brews that, in my opinion, is actually sessionable. Light on the carbonation, but very refreshing.

Overall, this beer deserves hight honors and it is one the highest rated beers in my profile. This beer has been sitting in my cupboard for a year, which really made it taste so good. It is a higher 6.9%, but it felt like a lower 4-5 %. I was quite pleased with the non-alcohol taste. I have a couple more in my cupboard that I will open next year, perhaps the year after. The date says they are good until 2017! Maybe I'll just wait until then to crack these babies open, eh!? The older the better! Cheers! (1,501 characters)

Photo of CharlesRiver
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bowling pin shaped bottle. Very unique and very cool. Pours out a tannish brown with a huge fluffy white head that lasts and lasts. The smell is hoppy, earthy and herbal. With hints of something medicinal and chalky.

The taste is not what I expected at all. Smooth and mellow in the beginning. Giving way to more hoppy notes and alcohol. The flavors kind of intensify all the way through to the aftertaste. Fruity, herbal and dry at the end.

This is not what I expected but I love it. Very unique. The dryness and hoppyness makes this beer for me. (559 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought locally for $3.50.

It pours a cloudy orange gold with a 3 finger head of foam(served cold) with lots of lacing.

The smell is yeasty and bready with some good notes of funk.

The taste has the Brett and yeast at the forefront followed closely by some pepper, light clove, and some hop bitterness which shares finishing duty with some funk. D-licious. Oh, I've had this many times before as I picked em up from CO before but I'm somewhat aghast that I haven't reviewed it before.

Medium bodied with a rather high level of carbonation, I'm having a hard time not raising the glass to my mouth which leads to....

Drinkability. This is one of my favourites so it's damn drinkable for me and the goodness of the Brett is one big factor steering me that way. A world class brew!

Edit: After having so many great experiences drinking Orval, I had to go back and give it a perfect 5. (886 characters)

Photo of HeavyG
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

P: 11.2 oz. bottle. Brewed and best by date on the label.

A: Poured a very nice amber color with a good 2 finger head. The lacing on this beer was great.

S: The smell was light and alomst flowery.

T: The taste was a bit strong at first. After you have a few sips of it, it opens up to a really good and smooth beer.

M: It was very soft on the tongue.

D: By far one of the most drinkable beers out there. (409 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz. bottle,

A: Sparkling burnt orange with an illustrious white head.

S: Earthy hops upfront, with wet hay, horse blankets, brett funk, and fruity yeast esters.

T: Wow, o' so complex. I don't know where to begin. First the delicious aromatic hops hit you, with the great brett notes to follow. I taste wool, rosemary, sage, grass, old leather, lots of lemon/orange, horse blankets, and some lactic acidity.

M: Incredible - very dry and bitter - so appetizing. The carbonation works wonders and just dances on your tongue.

D: Incredibly drinkable for a beer of this complexity, it can be used as an aperitif, as a perfect complement to a multitude of dishes, or as a perfect drink just by itself. This is my favourite all time beer, I knew it from the first moment I tried it. An absolute masterpiece, I can't say enough about it. Absolutely worth the $4.79 I paid for it. How this isn't in the top 100 is beyond me, but maybe it's just a little too odd and different with the brett. But in my opinion, if this beer is available anywhere in your area - go buy it now.

Edit (6/2010) - Looking back 5 years almost since I first had Orval. This beer is King. At it's peak nothing can overcome. The complexities and flavours in this beer are just incredible, I don't know what could make it better. This beer is almost $6 now, and it's still the best bargain in the beer world. If there is anyone on the fence reading this, go for it, the $6 you pay will change the way you think about beer forever. (1,505 characters)

Photo of joesmithrealname
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Seven trillion Monks can't be wrong.

The humongous spongy foamy head, sprinkled ever-so-slightly with some extra yeasts...

The aroma of two hundred years ago.

The looks from people drinking an overly hopped battering ram in a glass, wondering what POSSibly was going on behind my Cheshire Cat grin.

Expensive but worth it, if you value your life, and the moments that remain. (379 characters)

Photo of rdespain
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the most original and funkiest beers ever made! Drinking it makes me feel like I am walking through a hay field during the early harvest. Lots of cows grazing around in the fields, freshly pollinated flowers, and funky fresh smells all on the wind. Love the beer, have had it fresh (less than three months old) and aged (3+ years in bottle), and I love it every time. Every bottle is different but the funk and the pure farm freshness remains each time. (460 characters)

Photo of bulletrain76
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Re-rerate: Four and a half month old bottle. Stunning. The last few bottles have proven this to be a truly perfect beer. There is so much variety depending on age, but that makes me love it even more as it can be multiple beers for multiple moods while still being outstanding in every iteration. The hops and fruity esters are phenomenal in younger examples, with brett and dry elegance taking over as time progresses. This truly is a perfect five, and it is a tragedy that it's not appreciated enough to land in the top 100 when it makes the vast majority of the beers on the list look sloppy and poor.

Re-rate, 11/26/07. I've finally come around to re-rating this almost three months later, and Systemblaget still has bottles bottled on the same day, so I'm getting a sample with 9 months of age instead of 6. It may be that the beer has evolved considerably in those three months, or it may be that I have evolved as well since one of my first ratings, but this rating experience is very different from the original. The pour is a clear orange/amber with an absolutely massive lasting head. Bubbles stream from everywhere to sustain the mountainous foam for quite some time, until you wear it into a creamy layer that laces all the way to the bottom. Beautiful to say the least. The aroma is a little different than I remember: dryer and much more complex. Yeast, sour fruit, hops, bubble-gum ,and cloves hit you to start. Very spicy cloves. As the beer warms, more sugar comes out, with some caramel and a good helping of sweet cherries with a lingering acidity. The flavor is dryer than I recall; much dryer than the aroma would lead you to believe. Hop resin scrapes your tongue with a lasting bitter finish, and a slight citrus acidity rides over it all. The body is light and heavily but smoothly carbonated, with a long bitter and lean finish. the alcohol taste that was present before is completely absent now. I'm awe-struck at the complexity of this beer. I didn't know that you could smell so many amazing things in one glass. It's like a whole table of spiced christmas confections, and I'm loving it. It's leanness and dryness also make it supremely drinkable, which is more than I can say for any other Trappist ale that I've had.

(original rating) From a bottle in Lund, Sweden on 8-28-07. Pours a murky golden orange amber with a substatial head that stays for quite awhile in a tulip glass. The aroma is probably one of the best-sweet apricots linger with tangy lemon and spicy cinnamon. I was expecting a better flavor out of this, but something was lacking. There was a good mouthfeel with heavy carbonation, but an intrusiveness of alcohol lingered over it and ruined the flavor. The bitterness in the finish was definitely refreshing, but for a beer bottled at only 6.2% ABV, there shouldn't have been this prevalent of an alcohol taste. I'll definitely give it another try. (2,902 characters)

Photo of jeffaz02t
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a great dark-gold color. The head is beautiful.So thick and creamy. It was 3 inches, but it kept growing from the middle. Very cool looking.
Aside from the look of the actual beer, the bowling pin style bottle is the coolest bottle I have ever seen! I do not know why but I really like the actual bottle!

S: Cloves, spices, some yeast as well. There is also a hops scent that I have never really smelled before... Actually pretty nice scent. I cannot wait for the head to go down a little more so I can drink this brew. My mouth is watering from the smell of this beer.

T: Hint of spice, nothing over the top. I taste some very tasty yeast in this brew. Very unique hops flavor; again I have not experienced a taste like this from hops. VERY tasty brew.

M: I want to say the mouthfeel seems oily (this is not a bad thing) . This beer rocks.

D: I am glad I picked up a few cases of this. I would have trouble rationing just a few bottles. What a great, drinkable beer!!! My fav. of all time... Very distinct from other beers. This, in my opinion, is the greatest beer in the world! (1,106 characters)

Photo of seancake
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What can I possibly say about this beer that hasn't already been said? The most idiosyncratic beer ever made. Not like any other beer you will EVER drink -- unless it's specifically designed to mimic Orval. Even then, it won't quite manage it.

Orval is also incredible in how much it changes with age. I can't say that I prefer a bottle with age to a young bottle, they are entirely different beasts. Thanks to cafés serving different vintages here in Belgium (Kulminator in Antwerpen, Dubh-Linn in Langdorp for example), I have had them ranging from a very young, green two months all the way to 6 years' age. They are beautiful young or old. The young tends towards a fresh light hoppiness, and an aged bottle has a creamier quality with the bretts coming forth more.

A true classic, dry-finish and wonderful washing-powder aroma, gorgeous off-white head, mouthfeel that is creamy and light all at the same time, I can't really describe it fully. You can drink one, or you can drink five (though it's quite a bit stronger than, say, your average pilsner and you do so at your own risk). All I can say is that it's the only beer logo I am considering tattooing on my body -- that's how much I adore and revere this beer. My favorite Trappist, hands-down. (1,259 characters)

Photo of ReebShorts
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11 oz. bottle, Poured into oversize wine glass. Darkish Orange color, frothy head that settled into a thin white top layer. It looks good.

Wow, there is some stuff going on here. First thing is flowers, like a boquet of wildflowers, there is some fruit present here too, maybe plum and apricot... i need to taste and find out what's going on here.

Oh my, never had anything quite like this, strong spicy flower taste, like I just drank some potpourri mix. Not bad though, the initial flavor is quelled by an abundance of carbonation, and some spicy hops. This is actually getting better with every drink, this is really good. I wish a had a couple more, but at $5.50 per 11 oz bottle I'll have to pace myself on these.

Mouthfeel is excellent,thhere is quite a bit of fizzy carbonation present but is is fine and easy to deal with, plus necessary to cut through the power of the flower.

Edit: ok, i've had a chance to drink this one several more times, and was trying to be somewhat conservative in my early reviews. But I simply love this beer, and see no reason to not give it perfect marks. Wish I had one right now.... (1,134 characters)

Photo of stevoj
4.99/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into Orval chalice, thick velvety head lasts forever. Smooth taste balances all the ingredients perfectly. Very drinkable, even with the higher ABV. This is close to a perfect beer. (188 characters)

Photo of Spineypanda
4.97/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy golden amber, with a billowing head that is made up of the most refined looking bubbles.
Smells of horse sweat, tart apples, and lemon with a serious undertone of so many smells it will take me a few times to pull them out.
With a seriously bubbly mouth feel, it has a nice effect on the belly.
First taste to hit the tongue is the sour citrus which you taste almost immediately on the end of your tongue. Tartness that was smelled is picked up from maybe the hops.

So much more to the beer than what I have written but one of the best if not the best I have ever had. (584 characters)

Photo of matt7215
4.97/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330 ml bottle from the LCBO

Pours beautiful hazy golden with a huge thick white head. Sediment stains the head when the last few drops enter the trappist glass.

The aroma varries from bottle to bottle with this one. Some time you get a funky brett forward farmhouse aroma and sometimes you get a big hop bomb over a belgian ale body. Either way you cant ask for more. I actually salivate just at the thought of smelling this brew.

The flavours are never quite the same with this one. You have a finely brewed hoppy Belgian Ale with the addition of brett. Depending on age you might not even notice the brett but with some age this really comes out and adds layers of complexity.

This is my favourite beer and if I could only drink one brew for the rest of my life it would be Orval. (789 characters)

Photo of Schmidts
4.97/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours light amber from the bottle, with a large creamy tan head that stays through the last drop.
Smells of Lemon and grass. Tasty lemon floral hops and pepper a little sour and very creamy with a dry hop finish.
Very smooth in your mouth bready, a real winner of a Belgian Ale.
I give this one an overall of 5.0 it is world class in all points.

Thanks To Jason at Epps Beverage for this bottle. (396 characters)

Photo of OskarL
4.97/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Deep amber color, cloudy with a big dense head that leaves lacing.

Smell - Very inviting! Citrus, flower and cloves.

Taste - Citrus, hops, cider, a bit sweet, some bitterness and pepper in the finish. A very complex taste!

Mouthfeel - Light body, very dry with carbonation that fits just perfect. (312 characters)

Photo of TimHoss
4.97/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excellent Trappist Ale. The best that I have ever consumed. Great taste, smell, and feel. There is so much happening in this ale that you really need to avoid pairing it with any foods the first time you drink it. The initial presentation is excellent with a strong hoppy/sweet aroma. The taste starts spicy and ends with a great fruity finish. Wonderful drink for any occasion. (378 characters)

Photo of TongoRad
4.97/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle dated 2-23-06

Slightly hazy pale copper color with an incredible rocky head.

Wonderful bouquet of fruit (tangerine, pineapple), caramel, and cotton candy (from candi sugar, I'm sure), and some spicy elements (juniper) in the background. You almost pick up something different with each sniff. There is an overall yeasty/bready/musky quality that is quite inviting.

Full flavored yet dry and quenchingly tart. This beer can withstand a high level of carbonation and not miss a beat. The feel of the bubbles suddenly expanding and then immediately dissipating in the mouth is quite remarkable. Most of the flavor is in the lingering finish- first caramel, then spice, then bread and yeast. Alcohol and bitterness are exactly where they should be and only begin to show themselves at the end of the glass.

It is amazing that a beer can be this full flavored and complex yet delicate and subtle at the same time. (927 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,193 ratings.