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

4,833 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,833
Reviews: 2,211
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 12.59%
Wants: 274
Gots: 619 | 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: 4,833 | Reviews: 2,211
Photo of orz
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Unusual Cloudy, dark amber/honey tempting color with big off-white head, which could hold for bit longer.

S: Raisins, bananas, cloves and yeast. Just after pouring into glass it was bit unpleasant. Impression disappeared quickly.

T: Bananas, cloves and yeast again, sweetness plus delicate spiciness and barely noticeable salty aftertaste. Great balance!

M: Carbonation is bit too strong.

D: I could drink it the whole night! ;-)

Photo of NHGrafx
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2oz brown bottle.

Pours a nice cloudy dark orange color with a big foamy head that lasts quite a while. There is some nice sediment on the bottom of the bottle too which takes some swirling to loosen up. It leaves nice foamy lacing on the glass as well.

Aroma is wonderfully complex. Mainly floral aromas with lemony and fruity smells, some yeast as well. Many others too that I can't really name, as they all blend together nicely.

The taste is excellent as well. Has some citrus flavors, can taste the malts in there too. Nice hoppiness on the finish. There are also some fruity flavors too, sort of like a combination of pears and apples. Other spices, too much too name. Very complex. Has excellent mouthfeel and very drinkable.

Overall this was a fantastic beer, another fine Trappist offering. Would definitely have this again.

Photo of nomad
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Note to all: this beer can be quite inconsistent. I've had okay bottles, not so great bottles, and truly mind-boggling bottles. So, give it a second try if you didn't like it. My guess is that the very traditional and wholesome ingredients and technique, coupled with those ornery Belgian yeasts and a long ride to the U.S. creates the possibly infrequent quality.

Pours a perfectly clear copper color, with loads and loads of carbonation that never stops bubbling fast the whole session. The soft but very bubbly head stays put, truly never recedes. Also has nice thick and slow moving lace, a good sign. Smells of hops, leather, wild yeast like a gueuze. In turns the scents also: toned down clover, pepper, juniper, grapefruit rind, and a faint light-roasted walnut. In sum, a fresh and active nose of smells. Taste is a slew of flavors coming together all at once: fruity, roasty, sour, hoppy, with emerging slight lemon flavors that were inflected with bits of all of the above. Some interesting malt hiding behind all these wild and savory flavors. The finish is "just enough" as this beer comes on softly and expertly, refreshing and reinvigorating, with a just firm body and a smooth almost oily mouthfeel. With aging the mouthfeel thins out.

Quite a ride, with none others even remotely like it.

Photo of Norse23
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Fuzzy, amber appearance. Excellent foamy head.
Fruity, yeasty smell.
This is a great tasting beer. Has some fruitiness or tartness, but just the right amount. It really suits the level of carbonation. Very drinkable and very smooth. Not a "one and done" beer. I could drink it all night.
Overall, it is a fantastic and unique beer. One of my absolute favorites.

Photo of udubdawg
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

11.2 oz bottle - this is not an everday beer for me by a longshot, but when I'm in the mood for some "funk", there is no better beverage to turn to.

Pours a hazy light orange color. Several yeast chumks have made it into the glass despite by best efforts. Head is nearly white and very large, lasting for a while before subsideing to an uneven cap, leaving some spotty lacing throughout the glass.

Absolutely full of flowery, funky, barnyardy, lemony scent. Fantastic, and I smile knowing that most of my friends would recoil - I'm still working on them.

Carbonation is quite high and the body a bit light, but neither takes take away from the taste, which is perhaps just short of the aroma. It really defies description, as I expect "Orval-like" will be rather unhelpful to readers of this review...but it really is unique, crisp, a bit sour, and full of spice and phenolics, with a fantastic drying and bittering finish.

Though not overly strong, this is the rare brew where I find myself wanting to sip and enjoy, trying in vain to taste all that is there. A single bottle is very drinkable - I doubt I'd ever session this, but I'd be willing to give it a try!

Photo of scootny
4.76/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a one of a kind brew. A firm, rocky and somewhat lively head sits atop a mostly clear copper fluid. A touch of chill haze. Subsequent pours add the yeast and the lovely roundness it brings to the glass. Retention is exemplary and a touch of carbonation activity in my glass. Lacing is generous and impressive.

Smell is unique. Cinnamon, orange, and lemon hit my nose first. A lovely sweet malt backbone and spicy notes as well. Belgian yeast esters and complex sugary compounds. A mix of apples, grapes, pears, and faint banana. Light hop florals. Wow. You spend a month on the nose alone.

Taste will take six months. Cinnamon and orange from the nose with a bigger lemon presence are bound to a sourdough like Belgian malt backbone. Just enough sweet breadiness to let you know you're drinking beer. A huge, dry but mild hop bittering follows that cleans your mouth out and allows you to savor the malt and yeasty breadiness of the brew as it lingers on your tongue and palate. Subtle fruits from the nose mix in and add depth and intrigue to this vixen in a bottle. Tartness from start to finish. Feel is super creamy and just on the heavy side of medium. A touch full as this is a very satisfying pale ale but still one you want to keep sipping at a good rate because the taste and feel are so inviting.

Drinkability is perfect as the fullness of the feel slows you down just enough to appreciate it while not getting in the way.

I finally get this beer. While anyone can enjoy it this is a beer that is very deep for newbies as the sophistication of it's construction requires an educated palate. While I have always enjoyed Orval for years, understanding it's difference and special place in the beer world requires patience and perspective.

Photo of RiverCityBeerGuy
4.76/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Bottle from Sweet T's in Duck, NC. Bottled on 2/29/12, best before 3/1/17. Pours a gorgeous clear dark amber with 3 fingers of light khaki colored head.

Aroma is funk, lemon, funk, raisin, funk and funk.

Flavor is very clean, a little sour. Taste lime, green grapes and flavor that my uninitiated tongue still only knows as Brett. Caramel flavors on the back end.

This is a journey of a beer.

Photo of AaronRed
4.76/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Strong and wonderful.

Photo of Itoclown
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Siciliano's in Grand Rapids. Consumed in a Duvel Tulip.
Smell: Friggen awesome! Very fruity with a fantastic Belgium smell.
Look: Medium brown and hazy. Head remains throughout.
Taste: GREAT! I was taken aback. It's very complex and fruity. It's so good that even my Dad loved it when I gave him a sip and he hates complicated beers.
Mouthfeel: Not the best. Very bubbly but it isn't harsh on the tongue.
Overall: I've put this one off for a very long time. I passed it over for years. I wish I hadn't. It's unreal. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this may be the best Belgium beer I've ever had.

Photo of GreenCard
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottling date: 5/27/2003

Appearance: orangish pale brown, HUGE layer of off-white head (slightly creamy/rocky on top), hazy, lots of lace and fantastic head retention

Aroma: appley fruitiness, malty, slightly spicey, rotten orange peels, earthy hops, hint of caramel, a touch of Brett. horsiness

Flavor: a very dry flavor profile; bready malt, grapefruity bitterness pervades, somewhat tangy, tart-berry fruitiness, musty, moldy, dry finish with an assertive residual bitterness that seems to be bacteria-related as much as hop-related

Mouthfeel: medium-light body, zesty carbonation, somewhat astringent, warming

Overall Impression: One of the best beers in this earth, IMHO. Very complex. Always changing. Every one tastes a little different. Very fun for vertical tasting sessions. Great with most foods, especially anything needing a nice, dry and slightly bitter counterpoint.

This bottle was quite young, so the flavors were a lot more raw. A bit more bitter and hoppy than some of the older bottles I've tried. An interesting drink even if you get an old, beat-up, mishandled bottle. The balance between malt sweetness and the bitterness fluctuates a lot over time. As does the flavors coming from the bacterial profile. Swirling up all the sediment and dumping in the glass towards the end is always a tasty bonus!

Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Pours a murky brown, like unfiltered apple cider, with a billowing head.

Smell - Lemon, white grapes, musty apple skin, and a little bit of funk.

Taste - Tart, slightly musty, easily one of the driest beers I've ever come across. Musty apple, sour grapes, dry white wine, white pepper. There is more hop bitterness than I expected, definitely a plus. After a little while you notice a little bit of dark fruit sweetness buried in the finish that St. Bernardus beats you over the head with.

Mouthfeel - Light-bodied, highly carbonated - which I normally disagree with, but really compliments the flavor of the beer.

Drinkability - Every element of the flavor and mouthfeel compliment one another. Dry, musty, tart, prickly, spicy: it all adds up to a refreshing and satisfying beer. Truly an original.

Photo of Errto
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at Amity Wine. Bottled 5/08/2009 which puts it right in the 6-12 month sweet spot (unless that means it was brewed in August???)

Pours a rather pale gold color, long lasting head, good carbonation, slightly cloudy.

Usually I don't detect much in the smell of beers at all, which is part of why I don't review much. But this has an incredible flowery, sweet smell that is hard to resist.

The taste is unlike any beer I've had (yet). Hop bitterness is definitely there, more so than in other Belgians I've had, and it's got that rich sweet thing going on, but it's also a touch sour towards the end, enough to notice but not enough to be squirm-inducing.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light considering the taste, kind of nice. Plenty of carbonation to keep the senses tingled.

Drinkability: well, as a pale ale at less than 7%, yeah, it's pretty damn drinkable. I'd drink another right now if I had one.

Overall, I'm extremely glad I finally got to try this. I get the impression from here on BA that there really aren't other beers like Orval, which is a shame because I'd seek them out.

Photo of t8s8l8
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look- a darkish amber orange, reminds me of pretzels. a huge head the thing looks like fresh snow. big bubbles incase the glass as the head starts to fall leaving the lacing in its course.

Aroma- perfume aroma that jumps out of the glass even as i poured it. A sweet maltyness plays nicely in this complex bouquet, but still this floral perfume like cleanliness inoculates the senses, like trail running in the spring. woodsy and spicy and sweet all combined. second pour was slightly more fruity a low fruit (pear with some orange) presence played into the already complex aroma.

Taste- a smooth malt character hangs with this fruit front beer that the yeast has put into play so well. the fruitiness is reminiscent of the aroma. slight hop bitterness, and a great dryness finishes this brew out.

Overall Experience- This is an awesome beer and I will be bringing it to all social gathering. I'm sorry but if this doesn't make you want to drop that commercial beer and make the switch I don't know what will. The cloud like head, the overflowing floral aroma, the complexity, its all amazing.

Photo of allengarvin
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in a Chimay chalice glass. Bottled on 9/17/2004, so about 5 months old. I have some cellared that's 4 years old that I'll review at a later time (I want to try it right at 5 years).

Light orange color, somewhat hazy. Nice initial head that fades a bit quick.

Aroma consists of a huge hop bouquet, reminding me of new-mown grass.

Flavor is highly bitter, full of hop flavor (reminiscent of lemon-grass). Fairly fruity & yeasty, with just a touch of that sour, earthy (fresh-turned compost) Brett character. I had never noticed the Brett until it was pointed out to me, but now it seems an obvious and essential flavor component. Finishes dry and acidic, lingering for long moments past the last sip.

A gorgeous beer, utterly unique and extremely tasty. I just wish it were cheaper.

Photo of hawks10
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz (Bottled September 23rd, 2008) poured into my Orval chalice...

Pours a dark golden orange, slightly hazy with tons of super soft, fluffy white head...looks like a pancake that is ready to be flipped. Chunks of lacing are left down the glass...

Smells funky and tart, reminds me a lot of Fantome Saison. Absolutely perfect. Tons of barnyard funk, some leather and a nice, lemony acidic tart aroma. Very complex, I actually found that I was not drinking this beer, just smelling it for like 10 minutes, perfect...

Hard to describe what I am experiencing here, just an amazingly complex, easy drinking, funky, tart and slightly sour Belgian perfection of a beer...Slight zip of lemon, a bit peppery, some light earthy hops and tons of brett character...

Medium bodied and highly carbonated, could have been a little less carbonated for my tastes, but still very good. Smooth with a slight alcohol presence...

I love Orval. This bottle is just about a year and a half old and I really think the brett has come forward beautifully in both aroma and taste. Gonna crack another one at the two year mark and see what we got...

Photo of stoutstevie703
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

ok so here goes the my first review,

bottled on date is 22/1/2009 best before 22/1/2014 reviewed on 10/14/10

A- A minimal vigor pour yeilds quite the head, i had to pour this in sections, with a rocky, pillow like head lingering for 5 min+, chunks of lacing stuck to my la fin du mond tulip as i drink it down. lots of yeast particals swirling about. colour is a hazy orange.
S- First thing that hits my nose is a sour, tart note almost reminding me of cherries, then this gives way to the brett laced funkiness, also a bit of malt too.
T- The palate is darn close to the nose, sour tartness up front, with a medium sweetness, then those wonderful brett notes linger in the finish, which is off-dry.
M- Medium to light, with a nice crisp effervesnce, a good level of carb. as well.
D- I truley understand why this is world class ale, each sip begged for another, then i wondered why i didnt buy two. The sour notes upfront balance nicely with the brett, and funkiness which i love so much.

Photo of WoogityBoogity
4.77/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Super thick creamy head. Slow dissipation. Body is a hazy dark amber, with swirls of dark residue.

S - Super complex smell of malt, hops, banana, clove, maybe cider, and other spicey phenols.

T - Great balanced taste. Very mild sweetness at first, then progesses towards a nice warming of spices complimenting hop finish. Very toasty biscuit flavor from the malts. Almost a pear-like fruitiness and peppery spice.

M - Medium mouthfeel. Not much warming at all, and high carbonation.

D - The palate is so complex I can't even begin to describe it. Taste after taste will leave you discovering more.

Perhaps the best example of a Belgian PA.

Photo of sweemzander
4.78/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass. Bottled on 13/09/2007 printed on the bottle, PLUS the best by date of 13/09/2012A !!
Nobody I have seen so far has both printed on the label **

(A)- Pours a hazy copper color with a large foamy 3+ finger off-white to light yellow head that has superb retention. Lots of sticky lace all the way down the glass.

(S)- Tons of clay and hay funk with a biscuity pineapple. Light mineral nuances.

(T)- Surprising hop bite with drying pale pineapple fruits. Ample yeast and clay characteristics followed by light honeyed cream and mineral finish.

(M)- Creamy yet slight bitter mouthfeel with ample carbonation that fits/compliments the beer very well. Balanced and complex. Rather delicate; layered flavors.

(D)- More hop presence than I was expecting, but a pleasant surprise nonetheless. A trappist beer that I would gladly return to over and over again due to its relatively lower abv (6.9%) than most trappist brews, not to mention the slightly cheaper price as well. I am sure this could age for even longer, but was absolutely fantastic right now.

Photo of marburg
4.78/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Oh, my Belgian sweet, how I love thee...

Orval is far and away the most unique -- for better or worse -- of all the Trappists. But it's unique in a good way -- not odd but, rather, treasured. Pours with a lovely color and a head that looks like a beautiful, rocky glacier. The aroma is really pretty strong -- revealing all sorts of wild fragrances like yeast, pine sap, a barn interior, and some fruity sweetness -- and permeates the air for a couple feet around you for the first minute or so.

And the taste. Goodness, I love it. I'm a big fan of beers with a bit of a tart edge to it, and this is just perfect. It has a sour, acidic quality to it while maintaining a high level of drinkability. While some friends of mine have described it as "tastes like a horse's ass," I find it engaging and unrestrained. How can you not like a beer that combines sweetness with an almost poisonous natural, vinegar sourness?

Photo of drjones633
4.78/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

bottle stamped 27/12/2007

A=pours out a orange/amber with medium head that goes down to a small layer.

S=oranges and apples. sweet smells of ancient yeasts.

T=crisp. orange, clove, cider like finish. Hoppy and bitter.

D= bubbly and delicious, if I didn't pay close to $10 for one bottle I would drink this all night. Although this is one to savor.

Glad I tried this one. A perfect example of a Belgian pale ale

Photo of jdoolin
4.78/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: awesome 11.2 oz bottle, poured into an Orval chalice

Appearance: burnt orange amber, big, foamy head that lasted the entire time. A truly beautiful beer.

Aroma: Citrusy and floral with a bit of horse blanket

Taste: Slight sweetness up front that doesn't last. Crisp and dry, notes of citrus and pine and the ever present brett character. Some bready malt in the finish. Somewhat light but very smooth mouthfeel.

Notes: Such an interesting, flavorful and refreshing beer. The most unique of the Trappists ales that I've had. Great complexity. I'll always have one of these on hand.

[Edit]: The more of this beer I have, the more I love it. This last time, I paired it with the Orval Trappist Cheese and it was a magnificient combination.

Photo of dacrza1
4.79/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

DATE TASTED: February 21, 2014... GLASSWARE: Chimay 125th Anniversary chalice... OCCASION: prepping for Will's 7th birthday party... APPEARANCE: dark cumulonimbus, Everest-like white climbing head--three-fingers edge out of the glass; medium amber body; hazy lacing continues throughout the drinking experience... AROMA: bright, sugary yeast wafts with slightly pungent, earthy grass and raison; grapefruit and pear are present...PALATE: light to medium-bodied; easily drinkable and lengthy aftertaste--one that is desirable...TASTE: sweet candied sweet hops pucker the mouth; pear and apple make for a perfumed blend, supported by a surprisingly hearty malt base--balanced and pleasing... OVERALL: alcohol adequately masked,, this Trappist deftly hits the bliss point---malty/hoppy/yeasty/fruity in equal turns; only regret is waiting nearly a decade to revisit and review the "pearl in the fish" labeled brew...

Photo of randomNBGD
4.79/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The beer was bottled on 2014/04/29 in a 0.33l package. Pouring it into a tulip glass was a challenge, as the foam head grew rapidly. I had to be very careful and patient to pour the rest of the beer. Apart from the big fluffy head that took some time to fade, I also appreciated the bright orange/amber colour of the base.

The smell was something I did not expect - it was worth waiting for the head to stabilize. Lime, cherry, raspberry and even some elderberry came out there. Unusual, yet exciting notes.

The taste was along the same line, with more floral notes in the beginning, cherry/berry character all along, and the citrusy part becoming prominent as the beer was getting warmer.

Carbonation is zesty in the beggining, and the feel after the sip is quite dry, due to the dry-hopping process.

Although I had a (wrong) preconception that this is another fine classic Belgian ale, the funk this beer gives made it one of my favourite Belgians, and beyond that style.

Photo of IllNate
4.79/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Murky brown-orange with a mountain of foaming off-white head.

S - Wonderful. Remisent of some white wines. Floral. Definite spice aroma.

T - Sensory overload. Spicey and definite wine characteristic. Lemon/citrus tones. Bitterness adds a nice kick. Extremely dry.

M - Carbonated. Bitterness is not overdone, and a surprisingly large warming sensation for a 6.2% beer.

D - Drinkable, but the style doesn't lend itself to endless pints.

I was hoping it wouldn't be over hyped and it's not. A very enjoyable beer.

Dated 28/04/2010. Served at 11c.

Photo of Graham5161986
4.79/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a quite brilliant cloudy, orange/amber colour (when held up to light) and exhibits a bubbly, frothy off-white head with good retention and leaves some decent patchy lacing. Aromas of fresh apple, pear, citrus, pepper and spice all touched off with a hint of caramel arise from this beer. As it warms, I am able to detect a bit of salty cured meat as well (it brings prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe to mind). Taste is quite yeast and fruity up front yet very dry and it displays a bitterness from the hops that I have not come across in a Trappist so far. With those hops come along some nice citrusy and even some coriander notes like from a good wheat ale. The spice lasts through the finish and on to the linger with a dryness that is all too refreshing (especially for a Trappist ale). Mouthfeel is champagne like, medium bodied but with a ton of prickly bubbles that tickle the taste buds and leave my mouth watering after its bone-dry, peppery finish. Overall, this ia an achievement of a beer. So complex on the palate and so refreshing - not to mention, its relatively low ABV (for a Trappist, that is) makes it quite drinkable indeed. I have always enjoyed this beer and I will be enjoying it for a long time to come.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,833 ratings.