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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,498 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,498
Reviews: 2,128
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 219
Gots: 446 | 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:
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.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,498 | Reviews: 2,128 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheNapkin
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a beautiful beer. Sour, malty, and dry. A truly world-class Belgian. Great carbonation (meaning it's balanced with the flavor, not excessive and not underwhelmed), highly drinkable, great tartness and just enough thinness in the body to go down easy. Pleasant in so many ways.

TheNapkin, Jun 30, 2009
Photo of bobjonesSD
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up this bottle from OTM in OB. Poured into a Maredsous chalice. Massive, beautiful lacey head from the pour, hangs around forever and leaves a lovely lace on the edge of the glass. As soon as I popped the top of the bottle I was met with the amazing sweet, sour yeasty aroma with lots of esters, one of the most appetizing smelling beers I've tried. The taste is complex and interesting with a lot of flavors from the brettanomyces coming through - leather, horsey on top of the blondey belgiany base. Really an enjoyable beer, definitely going to try again. This bottle was about 9 months from the bottling date.

bobjonesSD, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of wnh
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

Pours a clear, light copper, very lively, topped by a huge fluffy white head that lasts. Loud hiss upon uncapping. Fair lacing.

Nose is bright and funky, telltale Brett. Bright lemon-lime up front, herbal, cracked pepper, hay, barnyard. Mouthwatering and inviting.

Lacks much of the brightness on the palate, replaced by a dry earthiness. Prickly and light, almost fluffy. Still funky, but not in a mouthwatering acidic way. A bit of the lemon-lime persists, but plays a small supporting role; adds enough zip and brightness to steer this beer away from being dreary. A touch of dry baking spice adds complexity.

Dry, frothy, and light-feeling. Light to medium bodied, firm-ish. Very pleasant, contemplative but not fussy.

wnh, Apr 12, 2011
Photo of Estarrio
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured semi-translucent copper brown with slightly red tones. Big, slightly off-white long lasting head. Frothy chunks of foam seemed to last indefinitely on the sides of the glass.

Smells of flowers, pine, sweet fruit and esters.

Medium/light bodied, fizzy and very drinkable.

Very slight warmth from a subtle hint of alcohol. The pungent, earthy hop taste is immediately balanced by a hint of sweet malt. The hops are strong but not overpowering or lingering.

This is an excellent beer.

Estarrio, Jul 27, 2006
Photo of jgasparine
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sample from bottle; bottled on 1/22/09

A- Poured carefully from bottle to yield a huge foamy, well-retained, cream colored head. As I refilled the glass throughout the sampling, the head became less foamy and a lot more rocky (proteinaceous). Lovely lacing throughout. The body was a hazy copper color, with lots of active carbonation visible from the sides and top of the glass.

S- HORSEBLANKET! Horseblankety caramel malt combines with some spicy vinous notes on the nose. The spiciness reminds me a bit of chai tea. Further examination reveals subtle hints of lemongrass, stale hops and sour cherries on the nose.

T- Earthy, leathery tobacco and horseblanket dominate the palate (pediococcus and brett)... these characteristic almost completely mask the underlying crackerlike malt flavors and stale hops bitterness. The finish is exceptionally long/lingering... dry, earthy, horseblankety and somewhat medicinal. An exceptionally complex taste!!

M- Medium body... somewhat viscous, but not what I would call 'oily' or 'creamy'... very well attenuated and surprisingly less carbonation than anticipated. I feel like the mouthfeel is the only relatively weak area of this beer.

D- I would definitely take a second bottle if one were available... don't know if I would consume more than two in a sitting though... ultimately I'd say this is very drinkable for a beer of this strength and complexity.

jgasparine, Aug 23, 2009
Photo of ahalloin
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a clearish dark gold color with a quickly billowing white head that formed about a finger width. The head dissipated rather quickly (like Champagne would) but left a thin ring of varying sized bubbles to float on top. I also see Champagne like bubbles forming on the bottom of the glass and then shooting up to the surface.

The aroma has a slight sourness with hints of orange peel and Brettanomyces. There is also a distinct allusion to a fine Champagne (recurring theme, I know!).

How about that mouthfeel?! It's like there is a party in my mouth and the Swedish bikini team is invited! Again, Champagne-like constant carbonation.

The flavor, for me, leaves a little to be desired. I am getting a lot of brett and sourness. Maybe some sour orange juice. There are hints of citrusy hops as well. The beer finishes extremely dry...like a Champagne!

ahalloin, Dec 31, 2008
Photo of mikeys01
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Seved from a nice pear shaped bottle, my Orval poured out very well carbonated and buried in an avalanche of voluminous off white foamy head. This foamy mass took it's sweet old time melting away and becoming quite rocky in nature as it eroded. Buried beneath was a volume of hazy ale the color of early sunset orange. Aroma is yeasty, a bit bitter, and hint of orange peel and spice. Body is medium and almost refreshing while stil chilled a bit. Flavor is at first dominated by malt and funky bread flavors, with only a hint of spice at first as well as some lemon tartness. After a couple sips, more peppery tang and citrus flavors push through the malt and yeast to make them selves known. Finish brings out just a bit of alcohol warmth and is otherwise clean.

mikeys01, Apr 20, 2004
Photo of froghop
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pour is a deep amber with a huge white foamy head that stays around through the whole experience, lacing is excellent.

smell is spice, dark fruit, orange, hops, and some lemon-lime hidden in the back.

taste is carbonated, sour malt, citrus, orange, sweet fruit, few hops in the end, and some spic, leaves the mouth on the dry side.

froghop, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of chicagoabbot
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz into a snifter...pours a big golden yellow with a monster head, even with a gentle pour...head on this is actually a bit much, even for the style. More hop character in the nose than any Trappist I've had before and more than most Belgian brews, with a sweet yeast funk that is quite enjoyable. The hops come through on the tongue too--definitely more bitter than most of its peers. I can think of a few other Belgian beers this bitter, but not under 7% abv. Mouthfeel is great. I really like this beer and recommend everyone try it at least once. As awesome as it is, it's still probably the least favorite Trappist that I've had (which doesn't really say anything bad about this beer, just a comment on the general superiority of the Trappist brews).

chicagoabbot, Jun 01, 2011
Photo of GRPunk
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (bottled on 5/6/08 and best by 5/6/13) poured into a tulip glass.

A- A conservative pour still left a huge (3+ finger), fluffy, off-white head that was topped with a touch of yeast and never really completely fell, leaving huge sticky patches on the glass. The body was a combination of a deep red-brown with peach and pink accents with medium to heavy carbonation. It was all fairly clean considering the yeast pour.

S- It had a great aroma. It started as some spicy cloves and vanilla. Later on the yeasty qualities came through as green apple that became more pronounced with time and warmth.

T- It had an interesting flavor. It was more highly hopped than I'd expected, making for a dryish quality. There was a little granny smith apple from the funky yeast, and, maybe, a little lemon, citrus flair.

M- It was fairly heavily carbonated as I drank through the fluffy head. There was a definite hop and slight alcohol bite Overall, it was pretty dry on the palate.

D- The great attributes make me want more. Its alcohol was well masked making it an easy drinker and it's a wonderful example of the style. The fairly heavy price tag is the only thing stopping me from making this a regular purchase.

GRPunk, Apr 05, 2009
Photo of zeff80
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a copper/orange color with a huge white head. It left very nice lacing.

S - It smelled of dried fruits, yeast and alcohol.

T - It had a spicy flavor. There was also a citrusy (orange) taste. Good sour notes.

M - It was crisp and dry. It is medium to heavy-bodied.

D - This is a great Belgian ale. I love the sour kick with is traditional Belgian ale taste.

zeff80, Aug 16, 2006
Photo of Larrytown
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an orangish-brown with a big head that fades quickly to a solid, consistent ring. The fruit is the first thing noticed off the bat with a bit of malt and hops playing around the edges.

The taste is dry and spicy. Definitely wine-like and there's no trouble seeing the champagne comparisons with such a crisp mouthfeel. It jumps out at you.

This is a very enjoyable, unique beer, but I doubt I'd want more than one in any given evening.

Larrytown, Feb 19, 2009
Photo of chugamugofsud
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orval is an excellent trappist ale, it is bottle conditioned for an extensive period before sale and gets better if you let it sit around. The beer pours an orangey-amber that is cloudy with taste and there is a relatively frothy head on it at first. The beer smells of oranges (probably peel) and various herbal scents (I'm picking up rosemary) and tastes amazing. Some I've been around felt it was too carbonate; however, I think this beer makes a goal of having a symphony of taste with no featured player. Each of the various flavors (spice, fruit, herb and alcohol) work together without any of them overpowering your mouth. This beer comes well recommended (esp. to trappist ale fiends like myself).

chugamugofsud, May 14, 2004
Photo of jzeilinger
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque golden orange, nice creamy white two finger head, very active carbonation.

Smell has hints of spices, lemon, and floral notes. Also getting a little bit of sourness in the aroma which makes me very nervous about this bottle, may not be as fresh as it chould be.

Taste is light citrus, toasted malts, a tinge of sourness but not as bad as I had expected judging from the aroma. Also has some lemon, coriander spice, and a hoppy character that is present almost the entire way through and finishes very, very dry - one of the driest beers I've had.

Mouthfeel is light, "airy" and delicate, the carbonation is "fluffy" on the tongue and is slow to dissipate. Some people have put the body on the medium side but I think it runs closer to the heavier side of light, not quite medium. Drinkability is good, I dig the bitterness factor as I'm not used to getting that very often in a Belgian ale.

jzeilinger, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of dsprainman
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First review here, so bear with me.
Bottled 29/3/11
Poured into a Chardonnay glass
A- 1-2 fingers off-white head with an amazing opaque amber body. The body truly catches the light of the room and shows a lighter amber and darker orange hue.
S- Scents of pears and light hoppyness give this beer a rather refreshing nose.
T- Flavors of light pears and mild hops give this beer a refreshing taste. Taste follows the nose very well.
M- This is what truly sets this beer apart from many other Belgian offerings. An almost Champagne like effervescence takes the delicate taste to the next level.
O- A great, refreshing summer sipper, with petite nuances that Trappist's are known for. Also, at 6.2% ABV, this one can be enjoyed without quite as much caution as some of the other Belgian heavy hitters. Defiantly a good choice, that I would buy again.

dsprainman, Aug 13, 2011
Photo of Slynger
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ahh, the classic Belgian Pale Ale. Bright hazy golden-orange color with a really large and fluffy white head. Sweet banana and tart orchard fruit nose with yeasty belgian spice. Quite nice. Light, but hugely creamy carbonation fills the mouth with tastes of apples, bananas, and spicy belgian yeast. A classic and probably the most sessionable of begian ales I've ever had, even at close to 7%. Supremely tasty and hugely refreshing. Oh so satisfying.

Slynger, Feb 19, 2008
Photo of ypsifly
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottled on 1/28/03.

Dark orange with an off white head that is generous and leaves nice lacing.

Smells of lemons and flowers. The first thought that came to mind was a nursery I worked in during my first year of college. Smells like the old geranium house. There's some mustyness underneath.

Very dry tasting. The musty "barnyard" notes pop up in the middle with dried flowers taking over the finish. The flowers mingle with hops. Interesting.

Nice medium mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. This one has great drinkability, but the complexity compels you to sip it. The abv makes this one a decent session beer.

ypsifly, Mar 23, 2005
Photo of stoutman
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brewed at the Trappist monastery founded in the 1100s, this ale is fermented three times with three different malts and two types of hops. Unlike most Trappist ales, Orval has a powerful hop presence. It is a bitter-orange color, with a fruity and slightly sour bouquet. A wonderful hop bitterness and long, dry finish. Best served around 60F with stinky cheese or seafood.

stoutman, May 29, 2002
Photo of JamesS
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice deep amber (near coppe) color with fantastic head and lacing. Great scent, very deep and malty with wonderful fruit attributes (apple, cherry, and banana). Great deep malty flavor, nice hint of fruit; the aftertaste is complex, with a bit of hops and fruit and with a near cloying finish. Goes down thick, but nice and smooth. Not my favorite trappist, but really, really good nonetheless.

JamesS, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of rodrot
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear orange/amber color with a fluffy one inch head. A stream of tiny bubbles rise to the surface of my glass, which looks very inviting. The flavor is spicy and peppery with notes of lemon zest and hops. There was also a sour note to this beer that was not overwhelming at all, but that balanced the sweetness of the malt. I had this beer several years ago and I don't remember it being this tasty and complex. Maybe my tastes have changed. It's an original and is completely different from any other Trappist beer.

rodrot, Jan 22, 2006
Photo of randawakes
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a very thick doubled-height head that dissipates at a moderate pace at first, then slows to a crawl with great lace. Milky golden color. Liquid mouthfeel is bubbly! Faint orange taste with mild citrus notes, but nothing stands out too far. Quite a bit of bitterness

randawakes, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of mmcave
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I originally had this during a tasting this summer, at that time I was not quite wowed in comparison to other trappist’s, but recently I thought it needed a try all on it’s own. Here goes: poured into a tulip glass rather haphazardly a huge foamy head like the top of mount Everest or something, with thick sticky white snow lacing all over. The retention is wonderful. Smells of pilsner malt, lots of nice citrus, hints of apple, light spice, and saaz hops maybe, first beer I think of in relation is Duvel, at least in the nose. Taste how ever is little like that Belgian “devil”. Taste is crisp and refreshing, bitterness is minimal on this, same with sweetness. I was expecting a little more sweetness toward the middle and finish, which this one does not really have, I think thus it lends it’s self to consumption in mass quantities, or at least more than one. I feel like I can really taste the quality of the water in this, more so than other trappists, something about it’s subtleness allows that element to shine through. I also heard that Orval makes some tasty cheese, which I will have to purchase along with another of these. All and all this is my least favorite trappist ale for just drinking, but I have a sneaking suspicion that with the right food it might do better than its other family members.

mmcave, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of northernbrews
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased 12 oz bottle from Merchant's in Dearborn. Bottled 1/24/06....best by 1/24/11.

Appearance: Nice brown body with hints of orange around the edges. Off-white three finger head that slowly fades to a fluffy mass on top of this beauty. Very nice lacing on my DFH snifter. I bet this looks even better in the Orval chalice.

Smell: Brett, slight funk, and nice hops followed by oranges and more hops. Even a touch of tropical fruits. Man, I forgot how good the aroma was on this.

Taste: Nice balanced taste of hops and malt. Rustic brett like flavors come through paving the way to slight tropical fruit and orange notes in the finish. Quite smooth.

Mouthfeel: Slight hops hit the tongue from the start. Brett and slight tartness covered the roof of my mouth for a bit.

Drinkability: This is a very drinkable beer. If this were cheaper, this would be one of my normal session beers.

Haven't had this in a few years. It won't be another few years before I have another one. This is a nice transition beer for newer "beer" drinkers either to IPA's, wild ales, or other belgians. I recommend trying this to anyone. Haven't had too many beers quite like this. To me, it's like a toned down JP Oro de Calabaza....which is a good thing.

northernbrews, Dec 22, 2006
Photo of djmichaelk
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle into a perfect pint. Bottled 2/20/08.

A - Slightly hazy yellow, almost amber. Huge, rocky, off-white head that almost overflows the glass. Slight lacing, but not really sticking to the glass. Subsequent pours just stir it right back up. Great legs.

S - Well, this is a really pleasant surprise. While I was expecting a typical trappist pale, this has all of the aromas of an American wild ale. Citrusy, funky notes from the brett, plus some yeastiness in the background. Maybe a little clove and spice. This is just fantastic.

T - A lot going on here -- funkiness at first, less citrus than the nose, plenty of spice: clove and anise, with maybe some allspice. A bit of banana. Little to no alcohol in the finish, although it is somewhat dry.

M - Full and sticky. Just the way I'd like a wild ale to be.

D - This is a really unexpected treat. There's a great combination of a wild and belgian flavors here. Lowish alcohol for a belgian just makes it even more drinkable.

O - I'm heading to the store tomorrow to buy at least another handful of these. Need to have some around the house for everyday drinking. Highly recommended.

djmichaelk, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of vishneda
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

33 cl bottle poured into a goblet.

Stands out as one of the nicest looking beers I've had in a while. Nice rocky three finger layer of foam on top of a dark peach colored beer. Tremendous action in the glass and moderate lacing as tbe beer goes down.

The aroma is also fantastic, a wonderful bouquet of fruits and grains. I smell green apple, blueberries and grapes mixed with the grassy Belgian style yeast. Very strong aroma.

This has one of the best flavors I've experienced in a dry beer. Tiny bit of sweetness mixed with grape and blueberry flavors. Lots of grass and earth flavor in and good balance with the bittering in the finish. Sharp almost to the point of being salty.

Huge carbonation on this one; I thought it was high enough to detract from the mouth feel and drinkability. It was very spicy, sharp, and filling. The air settled down some toward the end of the glass.

vishneda, Sep 02, 2009
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,498 ratings.