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

2,178 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

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Reviews: 2,178
Hads: 4,867
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 283
Gots: 638 | 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: 2,178 | Hads: 4,867
Photo of ryantupy
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a copper orange head with a huge rocky head that clung to the glass all the way down. It smelled very tart with malty sweetness present, ripe fruit, spices, and slight hint of lemon. It tasted smooth and crisp, well balanced with a nice hoppiness to it, the hops gave it a slight bite which was nice. It had a nice crisp dry finish that made it very drinkable and enjoyable. This was a very good tasting complex ale that I would reccomend to anybody really. (469 characters)

Photo of skypup
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased and consumed at a roadside fry shop near Dinant, Belgium.
.33L Bottle served in an Orval Chalice

A: Cloudy amber with a thick and pillowish head.

S: Malty, touch of floral hints

T: Complex bitterness with obvious yeast and some pear and cherry after tones.

M: medium carbonation; full bodied beer.

D: This was certainly my favorite trappist beer; these monks know how to brew beer. Enjoyed with a cone of Belgian fries, this is heaven. (452 characters)

Photo of jtw5877
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Complex stuff. Pours a reddish gold color, With a fat white head. A nice combination of wild yeast, malty body with a hop kick. Nice spiciness mixes with the yeastiness, and hopiness. An excellent beer. Belgian beers exist at a different plane than most beers I am used to, And this one is a personal favorite. (310 characters)

Photo of dacull
4.71/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My first review on here, and as luck would have it I picked a very good beer to start off with.

Poured from bottle into a large wine glass. Honey-like orange color with a thick and persistent white head that left lots of dense lacing all the way up the glass..

Smell is sweet with some fruity notes of citrus and peach and hints of spice.

Taste is sweet, fruity peach up front quickly followed by pronounced flavors of spices, corriander and nutmeg. Slight pine or juniper hint in the aftertaste, along with a persistent corriander-like spice. Several waves of complex flavors over the course of a sip.

Mouthfeel is good, perhapse a bit too much carbonation for my taste, but certainly not unreasonable or out of range for the style.

Very drinkable, I could definitely enjoy one or two more of these in a sitting. Overall an exceptionally well crafted beer and possibly my favorite Belgian pale ale to date. I'll definitely be drinking it again. (950 characters)

Photo of TheBlueWaffle
4.71/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

After dealing with the insane carbonation, I'm talking 30 minutes till the foam died down, this beer was ready. Worth the wait for sure. Intense banana yeast notes. Very drinkable! (180 characters)

Photo of Longstaff
4.71/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thick, foamy head falls only in the middle and sticks to the sides of the glass. Deep golden color with reddish highlights. Slight alcoholic aroma. Hints of leather and sulfur in the palate. Dry finish with hop flavors and bitterness lasting on the tounge. Great apertif. (271 characters)

Photo of jeremy13586
4.71/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After getting an Orval glass from my girlfriend as a birthday gift, I felt that it was fitting that I review the beer as well.

The appearance is amazing. A translucent light-brown/dark-orange fills the glass. The head left in the goblet is nothing short of inviting. A lovely off-white foam towered above the rim without spilling over, creating an almost cavernous formation. A sweet, yet, citrusy and floral aroma is in the nose. A nice spicy, almost nutmeg, note is in there as well. The taste is appley and fresh. There is no other way to describe it.

I am now half way through the beer and trying to warm it with my hands, hoping to reveal something more in the amazing taste and aroma. A fine layer of bubbles lies atop of the brew, with the last two mountains of foam shrinking in to oblivion. With each sip, one takes in a more spicy and flavorful taste than the last. Each swallow finishes crisp and clean, as if you were biting in to a Granny Smith apple.

This beer is not only a beer, but an experience. (1,016 characters)

Photo of Traquairlover
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2-oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A = Awe inspiring off white head with great retention and structure, very foamy at first slowly converting to larger and larger bubbles until a good head is left with heavy lacing on the glass. Liquid is an orange-brown with a very slight haze. Carbonation is medium comprised of small bubbles.

S = Spicy notes of cinnamon and coriander, juniper, lemon zest. Very complex and very enjoyable.

T = Light citrus flavors at the front of the tongue, mostly lemon with maybe some hint of tangerine, then a spicier note of cinnamon and seven grain bread all with a very light yeast underlay, finishing long and deep with a bitter juniper berry taste. Only complaint is that the taste is just a little too watery, but still excellent.

M = Medium bodied, carbonation gets just a little too frothy in mouth, but that dies down as the beer rests longer, decent coating of the mouth.

D = A very good drinking beer, very complex, very enjoyable, not too heavy, not too light. (1,005 characters)

Photo of DandyEssex
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

From 330mL bottle into an Orval glass.

Great cloudy head that basically never goes away... sometimes it seems likes it is actually growing. Hazy, rust colour.

This needs to warm up to serving temperature for it's flavours and aromatics to really open up, but it has such a funky, dirty profile. The nose, once it warms up is huge & complex. Floral hops, citrus, clove and a slight bit boozy. It tastes like it was made in a barn in some back country. It has some similarities to a hot toddy maybe. It is a tiny bit over-carbonated for my liking, but this helps to ensure a very long, bitter & fruity finish.

This is known to be a world class beer, and it never disappoints, even with persistent bottle variations. (717 characters)

Photo of Antilochus
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've been working on covering all the Trappist bases - thus far I've tried all but Westy, Achel, and Koenigshoeven. I haven't reviewed all of them yet though, and this is bringing me one step closer to that goal. Thanks to the LCBO for bringing this one back in Spring Release '08.

6.90% abv, 330mL bottle. Bottled on 09/25/2007, so about five and half months old. Poured into a white wine glass first then my Chimay chalice. This was at cellar temp then got a while in the fridge.

Monster head on this one when I poured it! Big and foamy, amber-y off white, very natural looking. Almost clear effervescent amber body. Not much lace.

Nose has lots of oranginess, tangerine, rind, some lighter floral hop character. Super complex. Spice, of course. Bit of booziness too, tied in with pale malt. Earthy, farmy, got some dirt and hay at the forefront. Cane sugar, vanilla. Caramel, some sour cherriness. A little acetic quality to it - tied to green apple? Very winey, but in a good way. Some subtle mineral aromas, like hard water. The pour in the chalice got more yeasty, but not excessively so.

Feel is very light with substantial spritzy carbonation. I'm already getting some crazy palate stuff here just holding it in my mouth and breathing. Now I remember you, Orval. Gets sharp in the mouth right away. Lollipops, pungent pale malt, apple vinegar again(?), dirt, refined sugar, blue cheese, finish is dry and vegetal, super long, with a big snap of bitterness - sort of resinous but less clean. Cidery, with some yeast to muddle it up. Sahara dry with some physical mouth drying too, winey again. A hint of metal. Citrus fades away compared to the nose. Very earthy, the finish seems gone but little flavours will pop back up on your palate. Just got some sour mix, lime candy. Highly drinkable.

This is something else. One of a kind brew, bravo. (1,857 characters)

Photo of Nesued
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Orange hazy color. A big white head forms upon pour. Fine carbonation feeds this head that resolves to a one-finger presence that remains throughout consumption.

Smell - What a pleasure. Flowery, lemon aroma. Some have said juniper, after having to pause and think about the aroma of juniper, I'll have to agree yes! Very light-hearted aroma with a bright clean presence.

Taste - First word from my mouth: crisp. The carbonation makes it's appearance during the "hold" on the palate. I did notice a light smokey body form towards the end of the sip. Nice crisp and clean finish with a bit of a bite ending.

Mouthfeel - Very mouth-filling. The carbonation transports the bulk of the body around the mouth to make for a very full feel. After the swallow, you are left with a clean slate waiting for more.

Drinkability - This was plain and simple a joy to drink. An outstanding depth and crisp finish may this a wonderful "no nonsense" offering. As the last of the trappists for me to try, this indeed holds a place in the pantheon on great beers. One of my top 20 all time. (1,100 characters)

Photo of JordanEllwanger
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a sniffer, really should have used a goblet. Thick fast rising head. I could only pour half of the bottle at a time. Dark rich opaque amber hues. A strong and full coffee cream caramel colored head.

Smells fruity and malty roasts with deep spices that remind me of Christmas dinners.

Taste is so smooth and enjoyable. Differing slightly than the smell, it is a bit more mellow yet still bursting with flavors. As it gets warmer the other tastes come out of hiding.

Feels on the lighter side of medium. Like It rolls up the back of my throat instead of down.

Extremely drinkable. One of my all time favorite Belgians.

Cheers,
Jordan. (649 characters)

Photo of BorntoLate86
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in Gulden Draak fluted glass.

A - Very large, extremely foamy head. Orange/amber faintly yellow color, light carbonation. Nice lacing left the entire way through the beer. Slightly hazy appearance.

S - Somewhat catty, yeasty smelling. Light fruit notes accompanied by traditional belgian spice scent. Aroma enchanced greatly in fluted glass, goblet allowed for too many volatiles to be released.

T - Acidic, tart and fruity. Unique flavor with a dry finish. Alkaline up front, soft sourness in the middle with a smooth belgian-corriander finish.

M - Puckering, smooth and light, coats tongue quickly but flavor lingers.

D - Excellent drinkability, if it weren't for the price it would make an exceptionl session beer. Light, flavorful, well-balanced.

Orval is one of my favorite beers. Unique, one-off flavor that is unmatched. A true trappist that blows the top off of the traditional Belgian style. Worth the Money. (933 characters)

Photo of illidurit
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle dated Sep 13 2007. Poured into a Chimay goblet (closest thing I have to an Orval goblet). Pumpkin pie color with a light tan head that foams up to two fingers' height and manages to maintain itself at a solid half centimeter for most of the duration of the beer. Huge chunky lacing.

Tart bretty nose, almost like an unblended lambic but not as sour. Some distinct phenolic notes with a touch of golden apple and banana. Sort of somewhere between saison, geuze, and tripel. As it breathes it takes on a more sweet and floral character. Wonderful.

Flavor is lightly fruity with unripe pears. Lots of spices, white pepper, orange peel. Funky grassy brett influence. Dry bitter noble hop finish.

Body is a bit chalky (I poured the yeast in) and medium in viscosity. Highly carbonated but somehow it isn't distracting like in some Belgians.

Remarkable complexity, so multifarious that I'm afraid I can't fully describe/appreciate this beer. Phenomenal. (958 characters)

Photo of johannasclimacus
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Nice, slightly hazy deep copper.
S: A bit of bread, yeasty with some fruit.
T: Tart fruit, especially right in the middle. There is a very nice sweetness that is balanced in the finish.
M: Medium, very easy drinking.
D: No alcohol taste at all for me, and the beer is very easy to drink. I'm not sure if my tastes are evolving, but I'm moving through this a lot quicker than I have through other beers of the and similar styles. I can definitely feel the alcohol, but I wish I had more than one of these.

Overall, this lives up to the hype, and it's a great way to cap off my spring break. I'm raising my glass to all of my fellow collegiates who have consumed a huge quantity of terrible beer this week. (709 characters)

Photo of johnd513
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a hazy amber color with a nice head with nice retention and decent lacing. The aroma is spicy and funky. The taste is floral spices, lemon, bubbly Great mouthfeel and nice carbonation with a dry finish. One of my favorite Belgians but really pricey which makes this a special occasion beer. I can't say enough good things about this beer. (354 characters)

Photo of mudbug
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the curvy 12 oz. dated bottle (19 5 2010) into a large wine goblet results in a hazy copper body under what must be one of the most impressive heads in beerdom, hugh craggy clouds of white foam that oh so slowly recedes leaving sticky chunks and lace sliding down the side of the glass.
Aroma is strong, Lemon zest, wet hay,orange peelings, clove a slightly astringent note.
This tastes great,tartness, slight funk,a sweet middle then a dry finish, the whole concerto of complexity, some flavors get stronger as it warms keeping every sip a new experience. Wow, just incredible.
There is no doubt that this is a perfected beer, Bravo! (649 characters)

Photo of tatterdash
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was very pleasently surprised to see this at the LCBO, so picked up a couple. This Trappist Ale is one of the oldest apparently, and looks very good. It pours a coppery-orange with a fluffy, pillowy white head that laces and lingers and clings and clumps. Smell was very earthy and peaty, farm-like, with a hint of dark fruit. What appears to be an off-smell (horse blanket), becomes something I truly look forward with repeated sittings. Taste was a nice hoppy bitterness, dry, very earthy and peaty. It is pretty much exactly what I would picture medival monks drinking in a dank monastary. Nice creamy mouthfeel, almost a crispness to it. It would make a nice start to a night of Trappist Ales, and is slowly becoming my favourite of the bunch. (747 characters)

Photo of stingrayvr6
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had at Local 44 in Philly. Poured a reddish/brown amber into a chalice with a frothy, sticky cream colored head that stayed until the last drop. Smell was fairly average, a bit yeasty and bitter, earthy as well. The taste was a thing of beauty. It started out a very full, rounded mellow sweetness with medium/heavy carbonation and then turned to a dry, crisp, mellow Belgian-hoppy flavor. Truly excellent complexity. I could drink these all night, fantastic beer, lives up to its hype, will not disappoint. (507 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

330 mL bottle from the LCBO; bottled Jan 15 2015, listed at 6.9% and served at cellar temperature. I totally did not expect to see this one show up locally - the beer selection has really improved in this town over the past couple of years.

Pours a muddy orange-amber colour, topped off with a copious volume of fluffy white head. It's one of those froths that quite literally slowly grows before your very eyes - it looks like some sort of whipped topping, wilting down over an agonizingly long period that exceeds ten minutes. Looks absolutely beautiful. The nose is similarly attractive, boasting a fluid mix of funky, spicy, intensely yeasty aromas; fruity notes such as apple, apricot and lemony citrus; and doughy malt with a touch of caramelized sugar.

I usually find myself to be a little disappointed when it comes to heavily hyped beers, such as Orval, but this one has really lived up to the expectations - it's goddamn delicious, with a lovely mixture of tart and astringent flavours. Some light, grainy malts, caramelized sugar and doughy bread are easily missed, as the funky, leathery barnyard notes from the Brett are what really grab your attention. Not particularly fruity - I am getting a bit of lemon pith and maybe some apricot, banana, and vinous grape, but it finishes with a phenolic, spicy kick and some bitter, leafy hop notes. The aftertaste is totally dry, making it hard to stop yourself from sipping this one quickly. Medium-bodied, with assertive carbonation levels that give this unique pale ale a crisp, prickly mouthfeel. It feels smooth and frothy on the palate; unbelievably refreshing, too.

Final Grade: 4.73, an A+. Orval is a fantastic beer, and certainly one of the best Belgian imports I have had to date. It is undeniably unique-tasting, with a flavour profile that is both mesmerizing, and annoyingly difficult to describe with much accuracy. The Brettanomyces make this one an acquired taste, but if you go into the glass with an open mind, you can safely expect to be blown away. I'm glad I grabbed a couple of extra bottles, but given this one's history of spotty availability (in Ontario) I might need to snatch a few more while I have the opportunity. (2,202 characters)

Photo of berley31
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a nice, creamy, off-white head that is absolutely huge - and continues to rise after sitting. Body is amber-orange and hazy. Excellent lacing...this is a perfect-looking beer! Great aroma as well; quite yeasty, with citrus tones. The first sip is excellent - lightly sweet and acidic, with a medium, creamy body. Fizzy carbonation. At 6.9%, you can taste the alcohol but it's hardly overwhelming... perfectly balanced. The head is fully lasting throughout drinking, and the finish is long as well. Excellent beer - one of my new favorites - and great that you can actually find in many places outside of Belgium. (623 characters)

Photo of JLSIV
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle into a chalice glass, first impression on pour was the small diameter bubbles and rich two finger head that lasted forever, lacing all around, darker hazy orange brown color

Aroma of musty yeast is the big nose impression, a little fruitiness, Pleasant,but mostly a yeast aroma, very distinctive and unlike any other aroma. Different from any of the other Trappist Ales, even to my less than perfect nose (I often don't smell the same things that appear in many reviews)

Taste of muscadines, sweet at first, develops over time into something even more pleasant. Reminded me of sweeter local vineyard wines than any other beer before.

One of the best mouth feels I have tried. Dry, and smooth, with a very rich full body. Nothing harsh, and only the afterglow lets you know there is more than the usual alcohol here. American Extreme brewers could take a lesson here. Doesn't smack you around.

Overall: I purchased this Trappist Ale expecting to be impressed and I was. I would love to try this one a little closure to its origin. Two of these and I could see myself considering the monastic life…. (1,123 characters)

Photo of mshallah
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orange color. Large fluffy head. Nose is very perfumey. A floral bouquet. Citrus aroma of tangerine. Wonderful sweet, tart, fruity and hoppy flavors. Very hoppy for a Belgian brew. Mild metallic flavor. Fruit flavor is tropical. There is alcohol in the nose but only a warming effect remains in the taste. Complex mix of flavors and aromas. Overall flavor profile is mesmerizing. Each sip brings more nuances. Becomes more bitter as it warms. My fave of the Belgians. (467 characters)

Photo of deskim
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: dark amber, fairly cloudy, huge head that seems to stay around

S: sour and orange

T: absolutely amazing. a little sour yet sweet at the same time. tastes similar to an orangy pale ale, not boozy at all, very complex

M: incredibly pleasant, light to moderate carbonation

D: if it wasn't for the price and ABV i could drink this all day. best trappist ale i've had so far. (377 characters)

Photo of ccrida
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured in my vintage Westmalle chalice, Orval is a hazy golden orange with a thick, rocky, white head with medium bubbles that is very slow to recede, leaving moderate lace.
The aroma is moderate, musty yet bright, earthy flowers and yeast, distinctly belgian and very appetizing.
The taste really nice, incredible depth yet fairly subtle. It is beyond my ability to break it down to specifically, but theres a bit of sourness, salt, yeast (which I swirled off the bottom), leathery, bitterness, straw, only the slightest sweet pale and caramel malts, minerals, bread, honey and flowers, and probably more stuff that I just can't break down. The finish is very bitter dry and clean, but for a nice pucker on the tongue. There is a slight bit of alcohol as the beer warms, but it is clean and good, no solvents or anything. I love any beer with brett, and this is as fine as example as there is - it's tough too beat Gout d'Oraval. I normally prefer more robust flavors, but the subtly here speaks volumes.
The mouthfeel is pretty spritzy and light bodied, very nice and really opens this beer up. Being that it was bottled 15 months ago says alot.
The drinkability for this is as high as it gets (aside from perhaps the cost). The taste is great without being overwhelming, and complex enough that it will take me a lifetime to figure out. Wow. (1,352 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,178 ratings.