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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

2,192 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,192
Hads: 4,897
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 286
Gots: 652 | 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: 2,192 | Hads: 4,897
Photo of hawks10
4.77/5  rDev +14.7%
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... (1,130 characters)

Photo of stoutstevie703
4.77/5  rDev +14.7%
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. (995 characters)

Photo of WoogityBoogity
4.77/5  rDev +14.7%
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. (649 characters)

Photo of sweemzander
4.78/5  rDev +14.9%
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. (1,097 characters)

Photo of marburg
4.78/5  rDev +14.9%
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? (921 characters)

Photo of drjones633
4.78/5  rDev +14.9%
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 (418 characters)

Photo of jdoolin
4.78/5  rDev +14.9%
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. (766 characters)

Photo of dacrza1
4.79/5  rDev +15.1%
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... (913 characters)

Photo of randomNBGD
4.79/5  rDev +15.1%
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. (977 characters)

Photo of IllNate
4.79/5  rDev +15.1%
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. (558 characters)

Photo of Graham5161986
4.79/5  rDev +15.1%
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. (1,239 characters)

Photo of PhillyStyle
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: The beer poured a hazy, orange that produced an amazing, dense, thick, rocky head that was retained throughout the beer.

S: The aroma was mainly yeasty and malty sweet with hints of citrus and perhaps an earthy aroma, grass or flower.

T: The taste of the beer is outstanding, exactly what I would expect for this style. A very nice Belgian yeast flavor with nice hints of the citrus hops that had a nice bit to it that finished with a nice long lasting dry finish. The beer also had a slight taste of alcohol as the beer warmed.

Overall, this is an excellent beer that was extremely easy to drink. It was smooth and crisp and a lighter body than most Belgian beers. Back to the beer store to pick up more. A must try for anyone who loves good Belgian beers. (763 characters)

Photo of kbanks13
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz. into a tulip

A: Pours a clear light brown color with a huge three finger, rocky, airy white head. Dissipates to a half-finger head with great lacing.

S: A little funk, some lemon zest, biscuity malt and some fragrant flowers all in the aroma.

T: Tart cherry and granny smith apple flavors with a hint of spicy lemon flavors. Some flowers and hay/barnyard funk up next that fades to a dry grain taste. Faintest taste of honey on the back of my tongue.

M: Crisp and light, but very satisfying. Slightly bitter film stays on the tongue, a bit puckering. Appropriately carbed for this style.

D: This brew is incredibly delicious and has a great texture. Complex and satisfying, but clean and refreshing too. If I had to drink only one beer for the rest of my life I could be completely satisfied having one of these every day. (836 characters)

Photo of Vendetta
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Original Rating Date:
September 4, 2008

Bottled 12/27/2007. Pop the cap. Super sweet, flowery, perfume smell. Fantastic nose, excellent, excellent. Doughy head. Light, cloudy hue with a very faint bit of plum coloring. A ton of malt, light fruits. Smooth, a little bit of bitter in there. Tingly, natural carbonation that isn't overdone. More sips- this beer is balanced. More bitter now as opposed to overly malty during the first sip. This is an incredibly complex beer. A bit of a bready yeastiness. Trying to pin down the fruit taste but I can't. Some light grapes... peach? Ah, lots of apple and pear here also. It's like a good movie, you notice something new with each time you experience it. This comes highly, highly recommended from me. Absolutely fabulous, one of the best single beers I've ever had.

EDIT- Just noticed that this was a milestone for me... Nice beer to have for my 100th rating. :)

Beeradvocate note: This was the 100th beer that I have rated -- numbering my be different on this website. (1,018 characters)

Photo of Realale
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Slightly hazy orangish tan. Huge rocky beige head settles slowly to a rocky cap leaving chunks of foam on the side of the glass.

Slightly sour malty nose. Bit of the old barnyard. Some orange, and forest floor. Touch of pine as well. Just wonderful to smell.

Plenty of malt on the palate, which serves as a launching pad for a vast array of spice and herb flavors. I always get sage and clove as the predominant elements, but there's a good dose of thyme in this one as well. Strong chalkiness particularly in the finish, which is very long.

Mouthfeel is soft and lovely, and really lets the complexity shine through. Very drinkable and a real treat on its own or with dinner. I love Orval for its uniqueness. There really is nothing else like it. A classic.

Bottled on October 24, 2002, best before October 24, 2007. (830 characters)

Photo of DeFaz
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Is Michael Jordan the best basketball player? It's probably not fair to say since there may be some undiscovered guy out there. And that's how I feel about this beer--in my humble opinion, it seems doubtful that there will ever be a better trappist ale, and yet who knows? What I do know though is that I enjoy the heck out of this--its amazing appearance (a huge foamy head that while receding quickly leaves great lacing) and a smell with complex floral notes and candy-like sweetness that is balanced by something (or everything) and keeps the smell so inviting. The taste is amazing--sweet, delicate, floral, balanced, intense, thoughtful, and beautiful. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy, making it a beer to swirl around in the mouth for several seconds before swallowing, allowing the opportunity to absorb all of the flavors. And yet, even the mouthfeel somehow manages to seek balance with its crispness. Overall, in my opinion this beer is absolutely one of the best out there even considering its relatively high cost (about $4.25 per 11.2 ounce bottle). Some may fail to appreciate the beer because it doesn't have the high ABV of some Belgians or the bitter hop taste of some of their favorite IPAs, but for what it is, it's just about perfect, and I use that word as sparingly as I can. (1,300 characters)

Photo of Homerbag
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip, has beautiful amber body. Darker toward the center, more light coming through on the edges. The head on this is a big two inch pillow that sits like a cloud. Head reduces to a thin foamy layer that laces perfectly.

Smell is floral and warm. Some yeast comming through. Taste is incredible. Floral, some lemon flavors, aged hop, hay-like quality. Everything in perfect balance. Ther real action begins after you let it clear your palate. The after taste dances all over. Notes of apple cider and fresh cut grass soak in. Feel is very dry and crisp. This is asking more more sips.

This is damn near perfect. This is a pleasure to drink and makes any bad day much better. If I could freeze this and ice skate on this then drink it in spring when it thaws, I would. Excellent beer. (800 characters)

Photo of Aiptasia
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my second tasting of a true trappist ale. I purchased it retail in the ubiquitous 12 oz. vase-like brown bottle.

A: Pours a red honey color with a slight misty haze. The head on this beer is absolutely monsterous. Big, big head that's as dense as a Frisco fog. It took me two pours to get all of it into a 64 ounce mug.

S: Citrus and meadow. Smells like springtime just after an afternoon rain.

T: Crisp and dry with apple and plum undertones. A bit of a hopsy grass flavor on the backend. Not sweet, exceptionally dry. The flavor notes are enjoyed immensely as you breathe between the draughts.

M: Medium-Light bodied. The carbonation is smooth. Fruit notes up front, dry hops bite in the middle, finishes dry with the vapors of the fruits trailing happily behind.

D: I wish I could live on a beer like this. Perfection in a bottle for warm spring and summer days. (878 characters)

Photo of tony223366
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From my beer journal. Reviewed on September 14, 2011.

A: Darker amber, almost brown in color. Very cloudy with a hint of light poking through the edges. Nice, but not perfect head. Lots of carbonation in this beer.

S: Lemony-floral smell. Very pleasant and bright.

T: Fruity up front. Certainly tart fruit. Nice malty backbone with a surprising hoppy finish. Phenols are very faint but at a good level for me. So crisp.

M: Light body with nice carbonation.

O: I really, really enjoyed this. This is so complex but also somehow really well balanced. I'm going to get this again... and again... and again (607 characters)

Photo of Evocatus
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Looks like a cider with a slightly light orange hue; the lead was a light beige and foamy. Smelled like a bunch of sweet apples. Taste was a good mix of sweet and bitter. The apple taste from the aroma was there as well as hints of bread and citrus. Going down you could taste something earthy, can't really think of another description. Mouthfeel was pretty good; right amount of thickness and carbonation, and the head just added to that. Goes down pretty easily. Overall a good combination of flavors, smell, and alcohol level, easily drinkable on any occasion. (564 characters)

Photo of keithmurray
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - dark copper color with fluffy tan head

smell - green apple,citrus, yeast, funk, cider

taste - tart apple,citrus,pear, yeast, clove, cinnamon, taste is complex

mouthfeel - medium bodied, fully carbonated, sweet/tart upfront, dry/slightly bitter in the finish

overall - such a great beer, one of my all time favorites, good complexity, yet highly drinkable

Price Point - $5.69/11.2oz bottle (406 characters)

Photo of TheCyturn
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a young Orval. Bottled two months ago.
Looks very good:poured into a chalice,great lacing and foamy head.
Great smell: lemon, green apples, a bit of orange. Very fruity.
Extaordinary taste! It's like the taste changes with every sip. It keeps surprising you. I like the bitterness and the sourness(that sourness reminds me perhaps of a sour ale).
An exceptional brew. That's for sure, but I wonder how an older Orval would taste like. (443 characters)

Photo of gonzo46and2
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this one at Tank's Taproom in Tampa. Pours a dark orange with a huge frothy head that lasts all night. Huge noseful of dark fruity esters. Taste has nice complexity of spices, raisin, plum, mild hops, sweet malt, yummy yeast. Overall the beer is very sweet with a slight alchoholic finish. Great beer for dessert. (317 characters)

Photo of Daredevil
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

the legend ... pour this brew from the thiny bottle (which btw doesn't look anything but special) into a burgundy glass and you will know why ... actually the foam looks like the fermentation would be in full process ... besides the looks smell and aroma all in harmony and balance ... drink this one slow and taste how the aromas change over time ... unique .... (363 characters)

Photo of maddamish
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought at the Acme on Market street in Akron Ohio. On sale for $4.50 a bottle.

This is truely the champ -pagan (For you Futurerama fans out there) of beers. Because that is what it smells and tastes like. A thick creamy head was overfilling my glass before I even got to the half way mark. (And yes I was properly pouring it.) After letting it settle a bit I poured the rest of the bottle in my glass and took a look.

It had the color and consistancy of grapefruit juice. Just a beautiful looking beer. There were grape, sugar, and a champagne notes in the nose. I knew this was going to be a very complex beer and I had not even taken the first sip.

Taste: Champagne, grapefruit mixed in with a bit of spice and tartness that provided the beer with a slight kick. I said it before but this is not beer. It cannot be beer. But here it was. What a great experience.

Notes: Creamy, consistent and just a pleasure to drink. I am sorry that there wasn't more when I was finished with the bottle. But every good beer is like that. Hopefully I will get to experience this great brew again. (1,089 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,192 ratings.