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

4,838 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,838
Reviews: 2,213
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 277
Gots: 622 | FT: 13
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: 4,838 | Reviews: 2,213
Photo of Jason
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 11.2 oz vase like brown bottle, best before date stamped on the back.

Appearance: Orange amber (very light haze) in colour with a magnificent white head ... rocky and dense, leaving rings lace all over.

Smell: Hints of juniper, lemon and flowers.

Taste: Smooth and crisp with a lightish body though the mouth feel appears to be full up front. Touch of lemon rind with a fresh cut hay flavour, hop bitterness makes a snappy bite. Horse blanket and other medicinal phenols over take the tongue for a bit also. Tart from start to finish with hints of cider and other tart fruits. The finish seems to be everlasting in its dryness.

Notes: The sheer complexity of this fine ale is mind boggling ... one of the originals. This brew is all old school ... dating back to the 1100's. If you are into Belgian ales this will be a sure treat. Some soft cheese and dark rye makes a perfect pairing.

Photo of TBoneJones
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drawn to this bottle for some reason. Bready boozy smell at outset. Cider-like color with thick lacing. The best part of this brew for me is the complexity. At first taste I do sense the yeast, the astringency is there as others will agree here. I may seem off a bit in this but vinegar comes to mind as a mouth sensation, if you can somehow picture that in a good way. I guess there is an odd abrasiveness that somehow "works". Yes it is quite dry, however I can't help, and can hardly believe, that I also detect fruit or fig in the taste. As I mentioned, this is all about complexity. The mouthfeel for me is most abrasive up front, but it is up front where i also smell the fruit-like bouquet as I am tasting it. For some reason and I can't pinpoint exactly how, but this is very drinkable for a beer with such a distinct character. Spices are picked up too. Unusual. I guess the reason i think Orval is so good despite some unusual characteristics is due to the expertise in the brewery of using their "brettanomyces" yeasts the way they do. Apparently in most beers these yeasts are considered contaminants. With that it's no wonder I also favor saisons. All good here.

Photo of Xul
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a hazy golden orange capped by a part-frothy/part-rocky three finger off-white head. It's been too long since my last Orval, I forgot how massive this head gets. Retention is good but as it dies, it leaves behind moderate lacing.

S: So much going on...tartness is the first to hit with green apple undertones, followed by a waft of funkiness. Lemon zest comes in, some floral notes, peppery spice, some sweet green grapes. Every whiff yields a slightly different balance of the components.

T: Starts off with some barnyard funk but quickly moves into yeasty territory along with a slightly wheaty base, followed by tart green apples balanced by a hint of sweetness, along with a bit of citrus and pale grapes. Finishes dry, leaving hints of every component of the taste behind.

M: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation, it glides over the tongue with a few prickles along the way.

D: Extremely refreshing, with complexity to keep every sip interesting and balance to prevent any one flavor from becoming overwhelming.

Photo of stoutmasterjames
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: semi-deep amber, decent retention, good lacing, looks like a masterpiece

S: semi-sweet spices, complex, profound smell, fragrant

T: Oak, flower notes. At the front there is the suggestion of sweetness that never comes to fruition as the dry tone of the tasting experience comes to dominate before the finish evaporates all of the dryness leaving you to contemplate the lightness of the body. Very complex. Every sip encourages you to study the nuances of the flavors involved.

M: light body, perfect ally to taste

I have been chugging craft beer for about four years now and this is THE BEST that I have found.... yet. Spectacular in every way, Orval is what good craft beer is all about. Good complex taste, phenomenal drinking experience. They cost a pretty penny, so if I am having a bad day, or have cause for a mini-celebration... I'll grab one of these.

Photo of MadCat
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

330ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Light brown, a little hazy, beautiful voluminous tan head that takes its sweet time to dissipate, and leaves quite a bit of lacing.

Smell: Lemony, a little floral, and a little malt. Some fruit and tartness in there

Taste: Complex, with quite a few subtle hints of different things in there. Some hop bitterness, some lemon, some earthiness, some malt. Tart fruit

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, perfect carbonation, slightly dry finish.

Overall: This thing is amazing. Worth every penny. Truly special, and I wish I could afford to drink this regularly. Glad its something that I can find on a shelf instead of having to jump through hoops to get it.

Photo of HopDr
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into a chalice.

A- Cloudy burnt amber color. Really nice lumpy head which just settles in and stays forever.

S- This is what Belgian Pales are all about. Subtle and wonderful. Fruit flavors, mostly green apple with a touch of citrus and just the smallest amount of Belgian musty funk.

T- This is where it really sets itself apart. I get the flavors described in the aroma at first, but there are more layers. There is a hint of sweetness and then sourness which really makes the aroma pop. These flavors and aromas dissipate and fade into a spicy, fairly intense bitterness (maybe form the alcohol? probably not hops) which lasts until the next sip.

M- Really nice. Not too heavy not too light, not too much carbonation, just right.

O- I have to admit that there are a lot of Belgian strong ales which I don't 'get'. Duvel tastes like overcarbonated Heineken to me. I don't see the magic in Chimay Red. But this one is different, it really balances all of what makes Belgian pales what they are, the complexity and unique flavors imparted largely by the yeast and fermentation, while remaining accessible and very drinkable (it just tastes good!).

Photo of Mosstrooper
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into 330mL St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange-gold color with a slight amber hue and a large, fluffy white head that dissipates very slowly and leaves behind spotty lace.

Smell: Lots of lemon, backed up by yeast and some floral notes. A very, very inviting aroma overall.

Taste: Begins with a slight citrus peel bitterness and lemon zest, middling out to apple and herbs, finishing with a very nice hop profile backed up by some musty Belgian yeast.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with well-rounded natural carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: This is an absolutely delightful beer- definitely a new favorite and a brew that I feel completely foolish for overlooking for so long.

Photo of BucksBrew
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - The Bottle is unique and beautiful. It sits well among its friends on my shelf. The beer pour a golden yellow with a decent amount of white head.

S - This has an exceptional smell. It smells like Autumn. It makes you feel like you just raked the lawn and you have had a hard days work. Very de mortem in feel.

T - Very rustic and barn like. It makes you feel like you on a ranch.

M - This is very nice. The flavors keeps you entertained. Its not too heavy which makes it perfect for the summer.

D - I could have one of these everyday and still be happy. Those monks do their job well.

Photo of thierrynantes
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beer bottle (33 cl.), tasted in 1999.

Appearance : golden-orange color (troubled), with abundant white creamy foam head, somewhat saturated.
Smell : complex nose, rich in hops, floral
Taste & mouthfeel : extraordinary flavors of yeast and hops, dry and intense bitterness, ample body, velvety, light acidity.
Drinkability : A Must ! (drink at cellar t°).

Photo of erz316
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 fl oz, Duvel tulip.

A - a very frothy beverage we have here, I could not finish pouring the whole of the bottle, only about 1/8 left though, so not so bad. a dark amber color with a medium opacity, bubbles emanating from the bottom, and a big head that settles down to a more manageable size.

S - now I know I'm going to sound a bit fruity (no pun intended), but the beer actually smells like a mulled apple cider. scouts honor; and a damn good one at that! the spice is complex and right on the same level with the apple smell, and lingering in the background is the faint smell of booze.

T - the first thing I wish to comment on is the dryness of the alcohol. the quality is like that of a brut champagne, that makes you slow down, sip, and respect the drink. my cheeks pinch a bit at the bitter dryness and I love it. now, not to be unnoticed is the spiciness of the brew, like a really dulled down sailor jerry's or captain morgan, the same type of spices, I am unfamiliar, so please forgive me. the apple scent is still there in the taste, which makes it seem like a cider more than a beer to some degree, if anyone has tried S. Smith's organic cider, than they shall know of what I speak. but what keeps this from tasting like a cider is the hops bite and the zestyness of lemon that hits the tongue and reminds me that, indeed, this is one hell of a beer.

MF&D - smooth, crisp, the carbonation is great and makes me want another sip. feels like a good medium body beer.

Photo of gdfan47
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- pours a nice light yellow with soo much white head and lacing (poured into my Duvel glass!)
S- bretty, yeasty, malt, sugar but not too sweet, hops
T- the brett and the yeast taste are front and center then the malt, and a punch of hops, goes down dry and refreshing
M- great carbonation, it was hard to keep in my mouth because i wanted to drink it so bad
D- amazing , couldnt wait to have another, a pretty low abv, an amazing and unique beer havent had anything else quite like this

blurring the lines of a BPA and a wlld beer... very unique a homerun

found a clone recipe, gonna start brewing this one really soon

Photo of StaveHooks
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 12/30/2009
Served in an Orval chalice.

A - Pours a golden honey copper, with an off-white head that never breaks up.

S - Sweet and sour orchard apples, musty basement, old church pews, spicy, banana, peach, earthy hops, grassy hops. Wonderful aroma.

T - Fruity tartness upfront, golden apples, green grassy hops, spicy lemon citrus, dusty yeast adds some woody mustiness while wicking away any wetness on the palate.

M - Moderate smooth carbonation, medium body, dry finish.

The aroma alone is intoxicating. The layers transform flawlessly. I waited until I got my hands on an Orval chalice before I reviewed this. It's a hard one to age because you just want to drink it. In a league of it's own.

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.91/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Orval has an exceptionally huge, spongy, off-white head, extremely thick lacing left behind, and a brilliant, orange appearance, with numerous, tight bubble streams. After swishing the bottom contents and pouring it in, one will notice a thick, descending orange-gray cloud. The aroma is of funky, sweet, pungent yeast, with an overriding horse stall smell. Taste is of some grain husk, sugar, hard candy, caramel, yeast funk, fruit, salt water taffy, and mild hops. Mouthfeel is light, prickly, and somewhat slimy, and Orval finishes sweet, rich, dry, and delicious. Overall, this is an outstanding beer, and all beer enthusiasts should try it!

RJT

Photo of Luiz0930
4.91/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Tulip glass.

Appearance of grape juice with a two finger head.

A Trappist Classic and a well deserving of this title. smells like dark fruits. Tastes like rasberries, blueberries, and dark flavors. Sweet, with a carbonation ending. Refreshing

Photo of merlin48
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

11.2 ouncer, "bottled on 20.02.2003, best before 20.02.2008", label says 6.9 abv. Served at cellar temperature into a goblet, pouring a golden sourwood honey amber color. Enormous head of "monks riding a cloud" lasts the duration, though leaving a few of the brethren to occupy the cumulus cloud lacing. Quite a stunning appearance. Nose is coriander, cloves, orangepeel, allspice, lilac, lavender, kiwis, pineapple, ruby red grapefruit, mangos....I could keep going. Mouthfeel is fizzy, dry, champagne like but crisp.

Taste: A blooming wildflower meadow by a pristine, gurgling, mountain brook, as you are nibbling on honeydew melon and ruby red grapefruit, topped with sparkling Midori. Finishes a "want more" crisp and dry.
I didn't expect to rate this one very high. Its appearance resembles a Duvel, which I like less than when I reviewed it. The Orval is a remarkable enlightenment for me, suggesting I give the Duvel another look, but no...I think it's just the superiority of this complex Strong Pale Belgian Ale. This one belongs in my personal top five. Fantastic all around. Wow!

Photo of DeadGuyRyan
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle which contained bottled and best by date.

Appearance: Poured a great Oranger copper with hints of amber as well. Thick white head that stays around with lacing that never stops. A slightly cloudy beer as well.

Smell: A welcoming smell hints of fruits and flowers along with spices.

Taste: This beer is insane very complex. A very crisp beer that has great zesty notes along with hops as well. Its a bitter beer that has Champagne like carbonation A very dry beer. That kicks the whole way.

Great mouth feel its super complex and its slightly different every time but its always great.

Photo of Brideshead
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A beautiful white head with fine, smooth texture. An orange/amber body, delicately hazy.

Scents of tangerine, citrus peel and botanicals float gently to the nose. Yeast is fairly noticeable on the palate, with a variety of light fruits and botanicals coming in mid-sip. A gentle, dry hop and citrus peel finish sits lightly but resiliently on the tongue.

This is one of those beers that exudes a relaxed confidence in its status as a world-class brew. Unassuming and subtle, it's both drinkable and refined.

Photo of alexgash
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy golden, almost orange with a monstrous orangish-white head--WOW! Smell is sour, bitter, and floral; very interesting, like nothing I've smelled before. Taste is sour and bitter with a sharp, dry, yeasty, fruity, acidic finish. Is there alcohol in this? Ahh, the gentle warming half-way into this beauty says yes. This beer feels amazing: crisp, intriguing carbonation that just envelops the mouth. I would drink this regularly if it weren't $6 a bottle.

Photo of mmva321
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a chalice.

After Chimay, this is my second experience with a trappist brewery. Chimay Red was a definitive experience for me, let's see about this.

A complex, but clear appearance. There are little details I like about this, but the beautful amber body stands out brilliantly. Both the oranges and yellows stand out but blend to make a spectacular color. There is about 2.5-3 fingers of rocky white head that has an appropriate retention. A thick column of carbonation continually jets out from the center while little pillars lace the side.

The auroma fits my personal preferences very well. I love that the sweeter and smoother smells like banana and malts blend very well with slightly funky yeasts to create a velvety smell. But there is also a slight pop to the smell which comes from some understated hops and some lighter fruits such as pear and lemon.

A complex and challenging taste that isn't always easily enjoyable but is rewarding all the more. It seems to evolve in your mouth, starting out sweet and fruity and ending dry and sour and in between there is not a static moment as the taste...???? I can't really explain it. It's a hard beer to describe and each sip seems different as you discover something new. You need to try it.

My one complaint. The carbonation is too much for me. From the pour, the carbonation is very audible and it was no surprise that this would feel very bubbly. It makes the thin beer substantial, but it's a little too distracting and dominating in the mouth.

This beer is such a pleasure to take relaxed and slowly, but it's gone in the blink of an eye. The Orval Ale is perhaps my new favorite beer and one that I could drink every day for the rest of my life and be happy.

Photo of jtingue
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Rochefort chalice.

Appearance. Pours with the most beautiful, well formed head I have personally ever seen. It is so rigid that it rises a good inch above the glass, without spilling. The beer itself has a hazy orange amber color.

Smell. Full of ripe fruits, with berries, mango, pineapple, and other tropical fruits. The now familiar smell of brettanomyces is also present, as well as the sourness that comes with it. The smell has an almost creamy richness to it as well.

Taste. A dry, but sweet, malt profile is initially there, but is immediately overtaken by a moderate level of bitterness. This bitterness fades into herbal, slightly earthy hop notes. Semi-sweet fruits are encountered next, with citrus and some of the tropical fruits described before. A very quick burst of intense sweetness follows which is more sugary than fruit based. The finish is very champagne like: dry and very fruity, but also bitter.

Mouthfeel. A moderate body is masked by an intense amount of carbonation.

Truly a unique beer. A must have for any beer enthusiast, or any human being with taste buds.

Photo of organicbrewer
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 13/10/2005. It's waited long enough.

A- Huge eggshell head on this thing. Doesn't go away. Beautiful bronze. Darker than I remember, maybe from age? Brilliantly clear. The yeast must have settled out.

S-Hay and lemon rinds. Some Breadiness. Slightly metalic but pleasantly so. Yeasty. Very little hop aroma.

T- Still firmly bitter, even after 4 years. Dirty and biscuity.

M- Prickly carbonation keeps the palate ready for the next sip. Bone dry. Bitterness is really high but so good.

d- If i could afford it I would drink this beer everyday. This is near perfect.

Photo of bebbcorp
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served at cellar temp from bottle poured into wide mouth goblet. Upon opening the bottle it hisses a very healthy carbonation and smells of yeast, lemongrass and a very clean musty attic. A clean pour with no sediment shows just how very carbonated this beer is and results with a very large head that crackles and pops receding into a great bubbling lace. A minute after the pour I put my head close to the glass and the beer is still bubbling and talking to me. Aromas from the glass are pale malt and cream. Beer drinks very dry and creamy with a bit of a pucker at the end, but not in a sour way at all. Almost like hay, dirt, mushrooms, and a very very good bread of a type that I have never had before. I am not experienced with brettanomyces but I think that is what this is and is flourishing in this beer. The beer was bottled on 29/07/2009 and that would explain this. It is all very enjoyable and makes me ponder at the end of every sip and I very much like this beer. So very smooth with no noticable alcohol. I could chug this beer if I wanted to quite easily, but that is not what I want to do. Then it would be gone and I would be sad. This beer is forcing me to enjoy it and I am sipping it slower than any beer I've had in a while. The bretty flavor stays in your mouth long after last sip is gone and that makes this beer all the more valuable. A beer that keeps entertaining the tastebuds even after it's gone. Orval trappists you have created a truly great beer and it's no wonder you only make two different beers. No need to make any more when you nail one perfectly. A 5 out of 5.

Photo of Neorebel
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As I pour into my goblet Orval appears as a beautiful shade of clear copper, topped with a very puffy 1" white head. The aroma is very rich and complex. I'm picking up spices, a yeasty 'farmhouse' funk, sugary malt, and various fruits- including green/sour apple, lemon and banana. What's nice about experiencing this beer is that the initial flavor and feel is crisp and peppery, with a subtle hint of hops, and the finish is a nice 'banana bread' aftertaste. Absolutely delicious and drinkable anytime. One of my favorite beers.

Photo of Xziz
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my first review and I really shouldn't put it so far at the top of the scale... but... this ale is simply wonderful. It smells good, it looks great, and tastes simply divine. The taste is very distinct and leaves an aftertaste that keeps you wanting more. I highly recommend it.

Photo of Lukie
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured out honey like with a vibrant thick and fluffy head that stuck to the top of the liquid, barely dissipitating at all.

Very floral smell, with hints of flowery pot purre, and citrus fruits, lemon and bitter orange.

Quite a crisp beer, with citrus and floral notes, much like a typical Pale Ale. Lemon rind and bitterness from the hops rounds this out quite well. Hints of fermented apple in the finish, with incredible dryness.

Incredibly complex through the different yeasts they use, this is one to sit down and really think about. Fantastic beer that is truley amazing. Best of all, VERY drinkable, and for a Belgian, isn't too high in alcohol.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,838 ratings.