Orval Trappist Ale - Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

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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 isthatbeer
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from an 11.2 oz bottle poured into tulip shaped glass.

A: Hazy amber with two fingers of a thick, rich cream colored head. The head leaves a nice lacing on the side of the glass as it dissipates.

S: Its got a pleasant sour smell to it with some orange and some malt sweetness lurking behind.

T: Starts out rather tart but then does this dry hoppy, phenolic thing. The finish is rather long and dry. You definitely could sit and ponder the finish for quite a while.

M: Medium to lite mouth feel. Very tightly carbonated. Dry.

O: A really nice well balanced beer. (574 characters)

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

Poured into tulip glass at 46 F.

A: Unfiltered honey with aggressive cream colored head that settles with a very stubborn, intricate lacing.
S: Yeast bomb wrapped in damp wool. Cat pee and tanbark (in a good way).
T: Musty, spicy, lots of citrus peel (cumquat, key lime). Barnyard,
M: Prickly, but balanced.
D: One of the top beers, could drink daily. (353 characters)

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

I am very impressed with this one. Bottle looks a bit unique but it is appealing.

I was under the assumption that this beer would be more straw-coloured like Duvel, but upon pour it is a mellow orange with some cloudiness. What impressed me was the head. A creamy light beige that sticks around to the end. This beer just looks delicious from the get-go.

Smell is light, but reminds me of something. Took me a few sniffs but yes! Cotton candy. It's faint, but it's there and reminds me of warm summer evenings at the fair. A bit of cinnamon and biscuits, too.

The taste is remarkable and makes this one of my favourite Belgians already. The malt/hops combination is mild and stays with you for quite a while and is quite flowery, which I like. A very nice pale ale. There's nothing overpowering and the complexity and evolution from taste to finish is astounding. A+++, I'm very impressed. Alcohol taste is nonexistant.

Smooth and creamy with a bit of an effervescence from the alcohol that quickly dissipates. Silky and clings to your mouth, leaving you wanting more. Very appealing quality.

This is something I would drink again and again. There's several cheese, fish and poultry pairings I am going to love to try with this, and I could see myself stocking a few of these for personal pleasure and special guests.

Overall, I'm very satisfied with this Orval. (1,382 characters)

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

Poured from fancy-cool bottle into a stemmed Belgian Chinmay beer drinking vessel. Monster head with whip cream-like peaks. Nice apricot color. Strong musty-fruity-spicy smell. Wild yeast and fruit-like taste, peppery and with a little hop bitterness. Nicely carbonated mouthfeel with a slight bitter aftertaste. Excellent Belgian brew! (336 characters)

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

An all-time favourite.

Pours an hazy orange color with a large foamy head. Extremely nice head actually.

Smell is nice; sour/acid fruits, citrus and stable-like aromas.

Taste is even better; sour apples, grapefruit, citrus, some stable, slight notes of herbs. This beer has a interesting mix of sourness/acidness together with a dry hopped character and a very good bitterness.

Highly recommended! (402 characters)

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

11.2oz. Bottled on 5/20/2011

A - Hazy, burnt orange. Big, rocky head quickly and continuously builds even with gentle pour. Slowly settles to a 1/2 finger width that remains thanks to a steady stream of bubbles. Leaves some sticky rings of lacing.

S - Citrus acidity. A bit of Belgian yeast provides just the mildest amount of funk. Pick up some green apple as well.

T/M - Awesome! Lemon and orange zest. More green apple in the taste. Finishes with a spicy/peppery dry finish that just makes me want to take another drink. Great level of carbonation.

O - Easily a top example of the style. Always amazing, and worth trying. (628 characters)

Photo of NWer
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a brandy snifter from a 11.2 fl oz. bottle.
Bottled on date: 30/12/2009
Best before date: 30/12/2014

A - Deep bronze appearance, nice white head retained well and dissipated to a foamy layer. What lacing there was disappeared for the most part after a few minutes.

S - Like being in the countryside where there are a lot of farms - in a very nice way.

T - Tart, bitter apples at first, evolving to a smooth aftertaste when you churn the froth in your mouth and let it settle around the taste buds.

M - Effervescent, tangy, smooth, complex. Makes you want to sip it which is a good thing.

D - Like a fine wine - sorry for the wine comparison on a beer thread - to be enjoyed in moderation. (704 characters)

Photo of Bmuncy
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Murky hazelnut, large off-white head appears fluffy and dense, alcohol sticks to sides very well. One finger head remains throughout

Smell: Light fruits, yeast, spice (perhaps cinnamon) and a somewhat earthy smell. Very nice on the nose and is a joy to pick out the separate aromas.

Smell: Flavorful apples, very very slight banana undertones, some yeast and malt. Notes of dryness, fresh grass and an earthy connotation finish out the brew. Very complex and very balanced.

Mouthfeel: Rich, full and creamy. The carbonation is perfect. Orval goes down exceptionally smoothly. (590 characters)

Photo of irishkyle21
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

When I first had this beer a couple of years back I really did not enjoy it. What the hell was wrong with me? Good thing my palate has evolved. Orval pours with a fluffy tanned head that hold up throughout the entire beer and rims the entire Orval glass. Has a murky orange amber color.

The nose is exceptional and one of the most distinctive. Notes of floral hops, some fruitiness, grass, earth and as BuckeyeNation said "I do pick up quite a bit of the so-called 'horse barn' smell", he nailed it with that description.

Tastes of sour fruits, a good amount of hops, earth, grass and the " horse barn" aroma comes into play on the mouth and is actually enjoyable. Has a very dry finish. This is one hugely flavourful and complex beer, top notch. (748 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Bright, hazy amber - not entirely opaque, but not overly clear. Head retention is very good. Served in the Orval chalice, it's pretty impressive. Probably one of the better beer presentations I've seen.

Smell: Lemon, freshly cut grass, oily hops with a big bright citrus character, still-developing barnyard funk and just a hint of sweet, fruity malt.

Taste/mouthfeel: Very dry in the mouth, exhibiting both bitter and tart flavors. It's fruity, but not sweet at all - it has more of a sour, acidic fruit character. Ample hopping lends a pine-like flavor. Slick and oily on the tongue, with a long-lasting dry finish. This stuff is incredibly easy to drink, and by far one of the best Belgian beers out there. (723 characters)

Photo of errantnight
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Simply a great beer, a classic, one of my favorites. Thanks to the brett and the widely varying storage conditions here in the states, each bottle is a little different.

This pours a notably orange hazy hue, a bit darker than I think of pale ales (or the saison I sometimes associate this with thanks to the funk), but it's an attractive pale color with a rich, creamy, mountainous head of craggy silky smooth foam with incredible retention and lacing. Just perfect. Exemplary.

Aroma is insanely complex, there's that ever present background of brett funk in there, not the sour twang, but the earthy barnyard and deep hints of citrus fruit. This compliments an earthy stew of pale malt with mild alcohol esters and phenols, a bit of banana and just faintest hints of warm spice, particularly nutmeg.

The taste is incredibly subtle and delicate, so perhaps for something I love so much so impeccably formulated it's a bit of a crime to knock this all the way down to 4.5, but I find that while there is a masterful retention of body here, the flavor thins out a bit towards the end. It's bone dry, but it's also just a tad watery on the back half of the palate, allowing the intense carbonation to come across very mineraly. What's there, though, builds in layers with each subsequent sip. There's a mild bready sweetness that pulls in the spice and fruit notes, bring out an impression of fresh flowers and springtime.

Having a beer this dry and still retaining a moderately full body is an astonishing accomplishment. There's really not much more to say. I know the high carbonation gives it its great looks, and probably greatly contributes to the early body I appreciate so much, but it sometimes feels a bit spritzier on the back palate than I would like. It's quibbling, and I could just as easily give this a 5 as a 4.5 and feel good about it.

I love this beer. It's pricey, and I don't drink it that often, but I never go too long between bottles, either. A classic, essentially perfect brew to be admired, and to influence others. A beer to try, then try again, then try again as your palate develops. (2,115 characters)

Photo of the42ndtourist
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Orval seems a bit of an intangible to me...

Appearance is a reddish-golden sort of colour. (not crystal-clear, of course). the head billows and stays around until the end.

This is the thing. The first time I had it I was struck by the sourness - it's not exceptionally sour, but there certainly is an element of that. So that jumped out at me and I was fascinated, I loved the toned-down sour ale aspect. Since then, I get a different idea every time (and it's always good). Sometimes it seems like a amber abbey ale with a very distinguished flavour, aromatic and just a little spicy. Most recently (last night) I was hit by the hoppiness - this is probably due to the excessive amount of cask bitters I've had recently. This is truly bitter for an Old World beer. Not too much (never is Orval too much), and there's still a great little sour note to it.

It's because of this ephemeral quality that I think Orval is one of the few beers that I could actually drink day in day out and never get tired of. At least, I hope that's so. (1,041 characters)

Photo of eric5bellies
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank from my Orval Chalice. I can't believe i haven't reviewed this beer yet !

A - Pours a beautiful clear copper colour with a tight White head that stays the course and laces the glass.

S - Magnificent aromas of Melon, Citrus Fruits, yeast and malt all rolled in to one.

T - Plenty of the above flavours with some nice balnaced malt and apple. The finish is incredibly smooth and no sign of the ABV.

M - Medium body and carbonation that is so damn smooth.

O - This is an iconic beer made by perfectionists. You will never grow tired of this beer and it has a flavour all of its own. One of those beers that is both sessionable and serves as a great nightcap. (666 characters)

Photo of e_dawg
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

Pours a cloudy light orange. Some foamy, frothy head which slowly dissipates. A small amount stubbornly lingers. Aroma is candied apples, light citrus notes, cranberries, earthy tones, and graham crackers. Taste is a balanced and enjoyable mix that's initially sour but the sourness quickly mutes, allowing full enjoyment of the flavor. I'm getting some floral notes overlayed with more citrus, bread, and rust. Feel is light and poppy, almost like a champagne. An extremely enjoyable beer that's one of my favorites.

This is based on a 5 month old bottle, but try it aged by a few years for an even more unique Orval experience. (631 characters)

Photo of voteforgoat
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottled Jan 22, 2009 -

Bubbles up like crazy when i poured into my glass. Overflowed a bit even! Unlike any other trappist beer. Sour, dry finish, likely from the Brett. Refreshing. Once you drink the beer, you might notice the bottle is especially heavy, probably to hold the carbonation. A bit stronger than your average beer. Quite unlike most Belgians I've had

I'm going to open bottle #2 now!

My gf said it "reminds me of Cuvee Renee, but not quite" (458 characters)

Photo of twilight
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'm trying to pin down the aroma. It's subtle unless I stick my nose into the goblet- Like old leather, or, rather, like the white part of lemon rind. Yeah, that's it...

Beautiful 12 oz. bottle, Chimay goblet because I have not been able to find an Orval goblet in NYC during the last month. Alas.

The pour makes me nervous, the head is fluffing up above the rim of the goblet and goes up and up. Beautiful, beautiful orange color with a huge head that remains fairly thick until the end of the glass. It's still there, but it's just thinner by the end. Webbed lacing all over the glass. Perfect.

The taste is of smoothness, giving way to sourness and a hint of lemon that gives way to a bite with hoppy undertones. Good, but a little more maltiness would have been in order. The beer is light with just the right amount of carbonation and a hint of the alcoholic content in the aftertaste. In truth, I would love to drink this all night were it not for the price. (973 characters)

Photo of DarrinRasberry
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Snow-white crown dominates this brew for the first five minutes after the pour. Beer has a dark honey color with a bit of cloud in the body.

Smell - Apple and honey in the scent, with a hint of peach. Fruity. A brief whiff of funk.

Taste - I haven't tasted enough into the triple digits to have any authority, I admit, but of what I've had so far, Orval's is definitely the most balanced beer I've had. Champagne hints for sure.

Feel - Fizzes perfectly and leaves just enough hint, like an expensive mineral water.

Drinkability - I wish I had a dozen of these. Not too thick, but not too bitter. (644 characters)

Photo of JackTheRipper
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

In the spirit of NBS #14, I decided to delve into my all too limited stock of Trappist ales (couldn't bring myself to crack open the Westy)
A: Cloudy amber in color with a wicked huge head and lacing to die for. Lots of carbonation seen in my glass, I think the etching in the bottom of this Chimay glass enhances it? Swirled it in the bottle, I want that yeast.

S: Fruity aromas, hints of cinnamon sugar. Lots of spicy hop aromas. Soft lemony/zesty aromas. Nice.

T: Zingy hop flavors up front, not bitter though. Fruity citrus tastes. Flavors are surprisingly light and dare I say fluffy? Nice base of malts to bring this one home. Definitely enhanced by the chunk of yummy cheese I'm eating with this.

M: Light, soft, highly carbonated and that seems to help carry the flavors and aromas. Alcohol is well masked.

D&N: Wonderful beer and a testament to the Monks who brew it. Very complex, a joy for all the senses. (929 characters)

Photo of Bluesman2383
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

Banana on the nose and then malty goodness. The only thing about this beer I did not like was the massive head foam I got from the bottle like Triple Karmelliet. Otherwise, a great beer all the way around. (205 characters)

Photo of Nuke77
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice the head just explodes on this beer. I served mine at about 52F and it seems to be the near perfect temperature to experience the wonderful head. The appearance is a darkish orange with lots of bubbles coming from the bottom of the chalice. I did not observe any "floating" yeast. The scent is all apple and some dark fruit. This beer literally explodes on the tongue with the taste following the scent of apple and dark fruit, a bit of hops and bitterness and sweetness simultaneously. The carbonation is pronounced. I could easily drink this one as a session beer but for my taste it is too special to do so. One of the finest beers I have ever experienced. (681 characters)

Photo of JMScowcroft
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Brasserie d'Orval S.A. - Orval Trappist Ale, poured into a Lawson's tulip.

Look - Pours a cloudy straw amber with a frisky foamy head that hangs around. Tons of sticky lacing.

Smell - Some woody sour brett funk. Pears, white grape, apples, banana, clove, etc.

Taste - Nice sour brett pucker with malt coming in strong behind and fruity, picking up light banana and moderate clove at first, others as it warms.

Mouthfeel - Light-medium bodied with zesty carb. If I had to fault one thing it would be a tad overcarbed, but I didn't mind. Slight malt warmth is pleasant. Great drinkability.

Overall - Terrific brew, a real masterpiece. This certainly earns its ranking as the yardstick by which all Trappist Ales are measured. Brett bottle conditioning, an excellent idea. (774 characters)

Photo of TMB0424
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into snifter

Poured a beautiful hazy peach body with a massive, pillowy white head. Clung to my glass for its life, excellent lacing and retention. Simply a work of art.

Aroma is of zesty orange peel, lemon rind, other citrus. Cherries, granny smith apples in the background. The scent of the Belgian yeast in this brew is intoxicating by itself. Cloves and a peppery aroma back up the citrus in full force. Vinous, grape-like as well... champagne-like.

Taste is of honey dipped citrus (orange peel once again) but is backed up by a sour/tart element that is indescribably perfect. Once the initial hit of citrus fades away, a nice twang of lemon tartness kicks in, followed by a very dry finish. The finish is peppery and warming as well. The yeast... I can't even explain. Leathery, funky - it's perfect. The vinous character is evident once again as in the aroma.

High carbonation, medium full bodied brew. Very bready and chewy. Has a certain distinct creamy mouthfeel to it. The clove, pepper, lemon finish leaves a somewhat funky (in a good way) lacing in my mouth. To continue the wine-like trend, it's almost tannic. Extremely long lasting and even moreso pleasureable.

Drinkable? Oh yeah. This is what Belgian beer is all about. The complexity of this beer is mind boggling as each sip can bring out different elements in this brew. This is a must try for any Belgian lover (or beer lover for that matter). Truly an experience. (1,465 characters)

Photo of mtrentm
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a snifter.

A: A pale-orange color wit ha nice 3-4 finger pillowy whit head.

S: Sweet candied lemon nose with some floral hints.

T: Very crisp sweet lemon flavors up front with a slight hop bitterness. Finishes somewhat tart & very dry.

M: Light-bodied with a clean dry finish.

D: A very drinkable brew, each drink seems to be better than the one before. (391 characters)

Photo of LeDirtyPanda
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

This is one of my favorite beers of all time. When you poor the beer into it's glass it's an orange-esque hue, yet it's first tastes are one of a darker beer, but as you exhale you can taste the hops. Man. Its one of those beers you have to try in your life time. love it! (273 characters)

Photo of steinlifter
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This poured copper, with a thick head that retained and left soft peaks, yep, just as a fine meringue, beautiful!, smell was complex and fruity, lemon and other indistinguishable fruit, maybe some apple pie as well, nice crisp tart taste, again some lemon taste, rich and complex, smooth finish, fruity notes, mouthfeel presents as well carbonated, crisp, and a bit creamy on the finish, drinkability is Fantastic!, not a session brew, but one to be savored, truly a great beer, class all the way! (497 characters)

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