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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
94
outstanding

4,683 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,683
Reviews: 2,166
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 253
Gots: 542 | FT: 11
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: 4,683 | Reviews: 2,166
Photo of rodrot
4.2/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of randawakes
4.2/5  rDev 0%
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

Photo of IreRican
4.2/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Cwrw
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cellared for over nearly two years.

It poured at the start with a giant cream-white head, with very large bubbles, but still very consistent. After a few minutes, it became an ultra creamy small-bubbled covering on the liquid, thin but attractive, and leaving lace that looks like snow sticking to winter glass, or styrofoam particles. Intensely unique lace. The beer is clear, orange-red, chestnut brown. The aroma at first is warmly leathery, earthy oils and must. Smelt with the head still large and churning, a strong sweet-bread note, or fresh pastries, with fruity yeast. Some chemical-like smells. Phenols make their presence known, but there are also strong ripened fruits, as if the mould was already beginning to overtake them, which gives a very good aged feel to the beer, like a vintage wine. Malty sweetness in the background, some sugar, some sryup, and a very fresh smell I am having truoble describing. Lightly detectable hop; definitely enough to add even more character, though. More fruitiness than other Trappists, such as Chimay. The taste is delectable, with definite licorice, vanilla, starchy bread, sour acidic fruits, and it leaves a numb soapy clove feel on the tongue. The main difference I note in ageing this beer for 2 years compared to newer Orvals tried is the smoothness: the aged Orval is intensely smooth, creamy and oily on the palate, making it more drinkable. A strong leather taste, with nuts of different sorts, some sweet malt, and definite hop on the finish, making for an excellent balance of all 4 elements. The lees/sediment is very bitter, fruity, and obviously yeasty/fruity. Ageing has also made the beer more potent, more alcoholic, which is no surprise. The mouthfeel as mentioned is velvety, and very full. It is also quite drinkable, being so smooth and not overly alcoholic. Ahh, the life of a Trappist.

Photo of joaopmgoncalves
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: It's a well carbonated beer with a beautiful orange body.
S: It has a yeasty and grassy smell that mixes very well with the orange within its smell.
T: You can notice the small citric overtones all over the Orval and it's also very yeasty.
M: Good carbonation as said previously. It's smooth and the low IBU (32) mixed with the lower alcohol level makes Orval an easy beer to drink.
O: Basically, it's an awesome beer. It's a good Belgian Pale Ale to introduce your friends to the wonderful world of beer. Anyone can taste the greatness in Orval.

Photo of mikeyv35
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Sample Type: 11.2oz. Bottle
Sampled: 02/12/10
Glassware: Lucifer Snifter Glass
Vintage: 2008

This delicate brew poured a light brown and slightly cherry red color, w/ a one finger off white frothy head, w/ the typical Belgian small bubbly carbonation that laced the glass minimally. The aroma was of tart cherry floral bouquet, and some funkiness. Taste of light cherry acidicness, funk, and a Belgian yeast breadiness. The mouthfeel was thin, clean, and pillowy. This brew is definately one of the great session beers as it goes down way too easily w/ little to no alcohol bite.

Overall, awesome Belgian Pale Ale! One of the classics.

Photo of sonicdescent
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes:

Poured into a chalice.

Appearance is a very beautiful golden with a thick head. Belgian beers always look so damn tasty and dignified.

Smells like a champagne, very fruity, grapes stand out most.

Taste is similarly fruity with a very dry finish. Again grapes and maybe a tiny hint of a citrus fruit are present. While it is very good, I would have preferred a little more definition.

Mouthfeel is high carbon and thin..a beer with this flavor would be too flat any other way.

As for drinkability, I would buy this again in a pinch if selection is limited, but would likely pass this over in most situations. It's good, but doesn't scream for me to come back to it immediately. On the other side, this would be a great starter beer for someone coming from champagne/wine.

Photo of olympicgatorade
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Huge frothy head, nice burnt umber color, darker than expected for a Trappist.

S: Lighty bready with a really nice hit of brett funk. Great.

T: A very subtle beer. Faint hits of bitter hops, fruit, bread, booze. Funk hardly present at all, was hoping for more to come through. Really soft and enjoyable bitter aftertaste.

M: Nicely carbonated. Very delicate. A refreshing palate cleanse.

O: A very beautifully built beer, with nice restraint. Not my favorite Trappist, but a unique variation among its brethren.

Photo of GianlucaB
4.2/5  rDev 0%

Photo of zuccard
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Loved this one...Tremendous head on this beer...great color, slightly amber in color, very frothy and hung in there throughout the entire bottle.

Taste was nice, fruity, with a bit of an almost smoky aftertaste. Color was a hazy orange. With %alc at 6.9, the mouthfeel and apparent alcohol was very well done. Did not seem that high, and no solvent-like taste.

Just a great beer. Loved it and will go back for more

Photo of tchenery
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a wine glass. The beer is a nice rich amber-golden color with a nice pillowy, alive head.

It smells almost wine-like with some apple and pear notes.

It is so bubbly right now that it's hard to pick up on much of the flavor of the beer. It's very smooth and almost creamy tasting and still has a bit of the red-wine flavor to it, possibly some tannins.

This would be a great meal beer as I imagine the pairings are probably quite limitless.

Photo of vdubmatt
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a bottle of this poured into a Duvel glass last night at the Cloverleaf Tavern in Caldwell, NJ. If there is one way I can describe this beer, it is very similar to champagne in some aspects. The high carbonation and light body lend themselves to this description. It has a delicate flavor that goes with the light, ultra carbonated mouthfeel. All in all, I really enjoyed this beer. I should mention I am not a huge belgian fan, but I really enjoyed this beer.

Photo of BeerNemesis
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orval Trappist Ale. 11.2oz. April 2009 vintage.

Appearance:
Semi-opaque orange/amber color with some light haze. 2.5 finger white head mushrooms up the glass and settles into a spongy, rocky landscape. Medium lacing.

Aroma:
Citrusy, some pine, flower

Taste:
It's smooth, crisp, and generally light. Slight tart-fruity flavor with a touch of lemon rind, and some medicinal phenols. The hop bite is not as intense as one would think, but this worked well in conjunction with other flavors.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability:
Orval surprisingly accomplishes a light body but a full mouthfeel. Very nice. Carbonation is good (slightly reduced when ages which was quite nice). I find Orval very drinkable (I could have 2-3 more happily). and venerable.

Notes:
Orval comes in a unique, vase-like brown bottle. It's unusual, but a pleasing shape nonetheless. Orval also has venerable historic origins -- I mean the monastary dates back to the Merovingian period (1100's).

Photo of cswhitehorse
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Orval poured a hazy dark straw color with a overwhelming 3 finger foam head when poured slow. It has a freshness date of 2006 and a drink by date of 2011. It left some nice lacing.

The aroma was yeasty with some floral smells. Slight smell of bananas and peaches.

The taste was right away spicy and held the way through. It was crisp and clean and had nice bitterness on the finish. Overall a pretty solid beer and will have to try again and not have the bottle shoot up at me like a champagne bottle.

Photo of abeaulieu
4.2/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Reagan1984
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated with "bottled on 12/27/2007"

Other than the color, this really looked like a champagne. The head was a very light and active at first. Really looked like a champagne head, but then started to act differently and showed some structure. The beer is a bright orange amber color and was crystal clear with some nice visible carbonation. Again, appearing in this manner a bit like champagne. Some tiny splotches of lace, but not much.

The aroma was sharp and fruity with a nice amount of earthiness. I smell some pear. You can also detect the yeast.

The flavor helped me continue my champagne these here. Very tart, light and delicate. Light fruits, a decidedly light sour flavor that again reminds me of nice champagne. I get some more pear notes and also tart green apple. The difference is towards the end where some nice hop character comes through. This is where I like the flavor as the distinctive Belgian yeast flavors meld nicely with the hop bitterness. My fridge is set for 46 degrees, so I believe I started drinking this at the proper temp. Having said that, I still enjoyed it as it warmed slightly. It really opened up nicely and you could really get a better sense of the malt flavors.

The mouth feel is very light and effervescent. Dry and crisp at the finish. Definitely a delicate brew and one to be treated as such. One I think I would enjoy in the summer.

I am happy that my taste has matured enough to really enjoy this. Several years ago I would not have enjoyed this as much.

Photo of hopfacebrew
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 25/03/2010 best before 25/03/2015. Poured from bottle to NBB Globe. Pours a hazy golden amber with am impressive 3 finger white billowing head. Supreme retention and excellent lacing. Looks great. The aroma filled my office upon pouring, powerful sweet flavors and yeasty with a mix of floral hops, clove, apricot and banana. Very similar to the nose. Very balanced between the malty sweetness, yeasty fruitiness, and mild bitterness. Sharp and crisp. Perfect carbonation for the style. Overall, very good beer. Would happily pour another if I had one ;)

Photo of trancefishy
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a tarnished amber, large carbonation bubbles, and a giant rocky offwhite head.

smells like bubblegum, cherries, and bread. there is also a wine smell, like what you would smell if you left a red wine bottle open for a few weeks with just a little bit in the bottom, kind of like wine yeast, i guess.

wow, that taste is all about that weird wine flavour. sweet, lingering aftertaste of double-bubble bubblegum. wow, that upfront wacky flavour is really right there. it reminds me of the weird flavour in three floyds gumballhead.

mouthfeel is alright, a bit overcarbonated for my liking, but it does well to reinforce the wine/champagne aspects of this beer.

this beer speaks for itself, if you like this style, you are going to get it, as it's a bit of a classic.

Photo of elricorico
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a brownish orange with enormous amounts of big fluffy head. The head slowly winds itself down, but leaves its mark all over the glass.

Smell is... different. Smells very fresh, almost a melon or apple aroma. It makes me think of a candle store with a rack of scented candles on display.

Taste is tart up front, I can't put my finger on what the flavours are comparable to. There is a finish of spicyness(though not a lot), then the hops take over nicely. Citrus tastes in the middle for sure. There seems to be a lot to it, but I can't pin down the distinct flavours.

The mouthfeel is bang on for the style, a little bit of body and healthy dose of carbonation. I find myself getting through this beer rather quickly, it certainly is an easy drink.

I like it, sucks that it is even more pricey then Duvel here....

Photo of angrybabboon
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 7/29/12

Appearance: Slightly hazy, burnt orange with some amber - starts with a big, fluffy, creamy head - leaves sheets of lacing, simply pretty to observe - keeps a great cap until the end

Smell: In a word, unique - Belgian yeast, with some spiciness - flower petals and some herbal notes - some light citrus, and some light fruits - dry white wine and some phenols

Taste: Weird, in a good way - flowers, white wine, pale malts, Belgian yeast, pepper, and some clean funk - remarkably dry - moderately bitter, in an oddly phenolic way - some light, fruity esters in here as well

Mouthfeel: Medium body, very smooth, nicely carbonated, unbelievably dry - epic-level dryness

Overall: I don't know what I'm drinking, but I like it

I drank Orval roughly 4 years ago, and it stuck in my mind as being particularly interesting. Now, I am reaching the realization that this is even more complex than I once thought. This does not really taste like a Belgian Pale Ale. Yes, it has pale ale malts, but it's also very flowery, had some sour/funk notes, and kind of tastes like a white wine. Bonus points for uniqueness.

Photo of jlindros
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 08/30/12, almost a year old... I love how they actually date the beer and give a best by date, for a famous Trappist Belgian beer.

Even a gentle pour yields a 3 finger huge head and forces me to stop pouring, it fades at a decent rate with big bubbles popping and leaving a nice soap bubbled lacing everywhere like a mess of it, hazy amber color.

Nose is great, a great Belgian with nice wild funk, nice Belgian blond malts, little sweetness and perhaps hint of candi sugar, then grassy aromas, lemony, nice Brett like funk on the lighter side, floral, a little fruity as well, just a touch of a light bready malt, a bit of a sweet candy aroma on the back end as well.

Taste brings sweet malts at first, a nice Belgian golden blond like malt, with some sweetness and a light candi sugar, and general candy like flavor with hint of fruits even. Then into some wild funk, not a ton of funk but a nice Brett like funk, bit chewy and yeasty, with some bready malts. It also brings an interesting bitterness, a light spicy hop character. Funk gets stronger the more I go but never super funky. Finish is dry but a bit sticky, sweet candy malts lingering slightly, a bit more funk, bit more spicy like hops, and light bready malt character.

Mouth is med bodied, lots of fluffy carb.

Overall a really interesting beer, nice Belgian characters blended with nice Brett like funk. This is not even a year old so the wild character is barely there, but I've had some quite aged ones and they are a lot funkier and awesome. Maybe I should re-review an old bottle sometime, but still a great Belgian beer.

Photo of epyon396
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of FosterJM
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1211th Review on BA
Bottle to Chimay Goblet
330ml

Bottled 6/10/2011

App- A very dark orange pour with a yellow bit around the edges and falls to the bottom. A gigantic two finger head that just stuck and didnt move.

Smell- Its a classic all right. Undeniable Belgian yeast with a good amount of musty cheesy funk but not overpowering. A bit earthy and damp as well.

Taste- Well its all over the place for me really but not clouded or muddled. Has a large damp citrus flavor and carries over a large chunk of yeasty grassy funk.

Mouth- A fairly medium body with a fairly wet and juicy medium carbonation. Residual funk, earthy, dampness.

Drink- Truly a classic. A well rounded beer with large and balanced flavors.

Photo of jgasparine
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Photo of Seanniek91
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2011 vintage 12oz bottle into a Grimbergen goblet.

Appearance- Hazy red with beautiful fluffy off white head. Looks like a flanders red.

Smell-Citrus, yeast, fruity hops, earthy floralness. Musty funkiness. Beautiful.

Taste- Dry hoppiness. Yeasty must. Citrus. Very earthy flavors that I can't put a finger on. Different.

Mouthfeel- Very carbonated. Dry.

Overall- Different than I'd though it would be. Nice though.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,683 ratings.