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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

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2,179 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,179
Hads: 4,870
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 283
Gots: 638 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website

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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Reviews: 2,179 | Hads: 4,870
Photo of pkalix
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

ive had this many times before, but i'm not sure i remember it smelling this way....
poured a golden, hazy nectar with a light topping of foam.
smell was citric, vinegar-y, apple cider-ish.... <-- the part i dont remember so much....
taste.... is very nice. light fruit, floral, hoppy. perfect balance, but a little bubbly.
i like this but i remember it tasting a little different. almost bubble-gum-my, in the past editions. but i am grading it from a perspective of knowing this is one of my all time favorites. i rate this with the duvel and chimay, up at the very top. these brews can be very rich, but when in the mood, excellent. the only dings in this would be the small bubbly, champagne sensation on the lips and the unexpected vinegar-y smell i got from the start. although i do love those sours, also. (815 characters)

Photo of CityBoy1986
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter from an 11.2 oz. bottle. My batch was bottled on 6 May 2008, best before 6 May 2013. I think I'm safe ;-).

The pour is a hazy shade-lighter-than-copper with two fingers' white head. Retention and lacing are nice.

The nose is like a flowery version of gin--juniper mixed with floral notes. Some light citrus is also in there I can smell the alcohol, but it is in the background. The taste again contains juniper, flowers and citrus, but all are nicely balanced. Again, there is just a hint of the alcohol. The dry finish seems to last forever.

The mouthfeel is light, but not too light. Carbonation is nice and crisp. Drinkability is high; this is an exceptional sipping beer.

This is the most I've spent on a beer per ounce, and it is worth every penny. Whenever I have some extra in my pocket, this will be in my house. (846 characters)

Photo of Dentist666
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Now 6.2% ABV.
Pours murky amber-brown beer with huge resistant golden head. Aroma of fruits and flowers: apricots, gueuze notes (i.e. horse sweat), pine resin and more. Awesome! Magnificent dry & rather bitter (belgian IPA?) taste. Yeasts and herbal hop. Warmth & bitterness, bitterness & warmth. Outstanding specimen. (318 characters)

Photo of mynie
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Resplendent pour, like a honeycomb peacock. Or like Duvel, only thicker, manlier, less like champagne and more like beer, expect for it's just as fancy and just as beautiful.

The aroma is lightly sour but still dry and spicy, sort of like a saison only without the crisp summeryness.

Tastes like a whole new kind of good. It's aggressively fizzy, unlike most other trappists, and so it hits you more like beer than like wine. And I mean that in the most non-judgmental way possible, just as a simple observation: if you sat one of these and a Westy 12 in front of a guy who's only drank Bud, he'd say this is more beery.

The complexities are big Brett, mild ripe fruit, and some dry European hops. It all very dry and yet very sharp, and most of all it tastes like it's alive. This isn't like anything else I've ever had before. The feeling is like when you visit a new, majestic physical place--and maybe you've seen pictures of it before, or maybe you heard about it, but that's nothing like *being* there*, and the newness of it all makes every little part of it seem especially vibrant. (1,095 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.84/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Bottled on 22/04/2010. Best before 22/04/2015.

Appearance: Pours a deep and very hazy brownish orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. Huge six finger off white head that almost climbs out of the tulip. Head slowly fades to a thin layer leaving a lot of lace.

Smell: Funky Belgian yeast with a huge aroma of tropical citrus fruits that really jumps out. Hints of pineapple, mango, orange, and grapefruit. Also some hints of banana, apple, pear, and dark plums and raisins. Some noticeable candied sugar and a mild presence of earthy hops. The complex fruits really stand out.

Taste: Like the smell, a big complex mix of fruits with yeast and some hops. A good amount of Belgian yeast adds some balancing spice. Among the big taste of fruit are notes of banana, pineapple, mango, grapefruit, orange, lemon, apple, pear, sugar, and some subtle dark raisin and plum. Hints of earthy hops in the background. A very complex and great taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with a medium to high level of carbonation. Chewy and prickly. Finishes fairly dry.

Overall: An amazing ale. A great and tasty mix of fruits with just enough spice and hops to keep things in check. (1,229 characters)

Photo of aorloski
4.84/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - Poured into a Duvel tulip this one pours a gorgeous orange, burnt sienna, rust color, huge 3 finger tight head on this one, bubbles screaming from the bottom.

Smell - This is a ridiculously good smelling beer, so many aromas and scents ill try my hardest to even try to pinpoint them. I get sweet fruits right up front, like a light sour beer, some cherries and raspberries but its all wrapped up in a little lemon zest and barnyard funk with an amazing sense of belgian yeast. If i close my eyes its almost like i am smelling an incredibly complex quad.

Taste - WOW, so this is what all the talk is about. Seriously this is one of the best belgians I've ever tasted and I've had a lot. Okay, here we go..As it sits on the tongue i am greeted by a pungent sweetness, almost like a fig with some cheese, there are sweet fruits here like grapes with prunes in the background. I sense some nice lemon zest too like the nose and the belgian yeast lends to an incredibly nice funk to bring all these flavors into one quintessential belgian beer. Just unbelievably complex, dont even read my review, go buy one.

Mouthfeel - Nicely carbonated, swishes nicely over the tongue to allow all the flavors to yield.

Overall - Ive been an avid beer drinker for a few years now and always read about how good this beer was. For some reason i couldn't bring myself to pick one up for 7 bucks a bottle. I finally did and WOW, this is easily one of my favorite belgian beers I've ever had the chance to try, so complex with a ton of nuances. I am a privileged man. (1,563 characters)

Photo of AlexLMS
4.84/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: slightly hazy with a deep copper colour. The head is moderate to low in size, kind of off-white and well-formed. It may not be long lasting but presented some nice lacings.
Aroma: wonderfully complex, very spicy, strong herbal hops and fruits (mainly orange-citrus).
Taste: confirms the aroma with sweet malts, spices, herbal hops, citrus, honey and sweet alcohol presence.
Mouthfeel: smooth, low carbonation, warming high alcoholic strength, and full body
Finish: goes on forever. Starts dominated by its bitter side and slowly shows its spicy character.

Overall: superb beer. Extremely complex, unquestionable deserves its spot as one of the best beer of the world. (680 characters)

Photo of TDotScott
4.84/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Cellared for four years. Poured into a wine glass

L- gold with a rocky white head that just won't quit.

S- Dat aged Brett, tho. Pineapple and fruits. Not so much funk anymore.

T- bitter phenols, some hops still. Malt has a presence. You can tell it's aged, but still such balance!

F- prickly carbonation helps keep things light

O- a good one to try at this age! (366 characters)

Photo of Act25
4.84/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Retried this in tulip at cellar temp at home. Thrilling. I have to have one of these a month.
Upped my review. Out of heavy glass vase like bottle, mine stamped 7-2012 so 2.5 years old.

O: Get ready for a wild, subtle, flowery experience....

A: Pours massive unstoppable head, on top of a very hazy apricot body. The head becomes the tallest set of floating rocks and leaves lots of lacing that make it look tough to wash the glass. One of the best looking beers ever. In a tulip, a .5 l glass and in a Leffe Chalice.

Smell: Strong flower shop plus citrus nose; smells like a box of oranges sitting in a wet barn full of hay with jasmine and lavender flowers growing outside. And a beautiful woman lifting her skirt as she crosses a fresh stream while chewing violet gum.

Taste: Complex. Starts with hops, and bitter fizz, and runs a long arc of flowers, grass, wet hay, barnyard, citrus flavors then a long, long, long dry finish, like good wine. Great with Cheese as Jason wrote. (Tonight French Comte) (cheese almost a must, in another case Irish cheddar with fresh baked bread, and another late harvest garden tomato with balsamic). Ultimate fine and creamy cheese beer pairing.

Mouthfeel: Interesting twist. A wee heavy, and long finish with dry bitterness. WIne-like, long long finish. I like it like I'd like a Jayer Cote de Nuit.

Drinkability: This is a great Trappist beer. I think it just rose above Chimay for me. Shimmy over Chimay, make room for Orval... You must try it. It's not for everyone. But it must have a following because it's been crafted since 1100.

Belgian fans must. (1,605 characters)

Photo of Doomcifer
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow...I haven;t had one of the Bad Larry's in a while!

Bottled on 2/20/08 ; pretty old bottling but should still be great.

Pours a bright golden color with a fantastic rocky, frothy, sticky head that retains unbelievably well. Mass amounts of lacing sticks to the Chimay glass. Smells of brett funk, yeast, vinegar, leather...tons of things going on here. Tastes of tons of funk on the palate, tart cherries, with a huge backbone of IODINE. Reminds me of a spirit ie single malts in it's crazy complexity. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, lots of carbonation, prickly on the mouth, and dry finish. Drinkable on the fact that you can't put it down while you're trying to figure out everything that is going on inside this extraordinarily unique beer. (747 characters)

Photo of jackndan
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Orval, Trappist Ale: In the handsome bud vase bottle. A deep reddish-orange colored beer, under a thick creamy head that was huge when it was first poured, but settled down to a quarter of inch head. Thick Belgian Lace coats the side of the glass with each sip.

The aroma is very distinctive, lemon, and a least yeast smell. The taste is terrific, but damn hard to describe. Very nice taste, almost lemony, with a little bit of yeast, but much more so. The mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy, with just a hint of carbonation. The aftertaste is pleasant, and very long lasting. I hear you either hate it or you love it, and I love it. (637 characters)

Photo of eclaycamp
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orvall is arguably the most recognizable and respected of all the Trappist breweries, save perhaps for Chimay. Orval is immediately identifiable by their unusual bottle shape. It looks like a small brown bowling pin.

12 ounce bottled pulled into a rudimentary glass chalice. I poured this one slowly and tossed out a bit to avoid having the beer overpowered by the yeast cake on the bottom of the bottle. The beer is tangerine in color, more orange than I remember. It's the color of sun tea. Small bubbles make up a larger rocky head. Nice lacing that looks a lot like dish soap. Solid inch worth of head on this one, even with my conservative pouring efforts. Smell is amazing, intoxicating. I get some light hits of yeasty clove and bananas to start things off, before things get a little more hefty. There's a strong fruit presence here, with some cherry standing out for me. Im also getting a distinct apple presence. Combined with the malt profile it's almost like smelling a hot apple pie. There's also some clear earthy barnyard funkiness going on. Mouthfeel is light, almost to the point of effervescence, and there's very little in terms of bitterness.

I haven't had Orval in quite some time. My first real drink in a long while just takes the concept of Trappist beer and turns it directly on it's ear. Huge amount of dry and musky Brett yeast can be found through out the beer, adding an incredible amount of flavor. Hop character is relatively muted, though it's there up front. Reminds me of pear cactus. While there's a ton of things going on, the beer remains an absolute joy to drink. The light body makes this a very quaffable beer, though the flavor profile encourages you to meander. As the beer warms it offers you more, as the brett notes start to highlight more of the caramel malt profile.

Those with a patient palate will find that this beer offers a level of enjoyment few others can match. For me, it's so good it borders on ridiculous. There's really nothing to fault within this beer. Impeccable, simply incomparable. Highly recommended. (2,072 characters)

Photo of cbarrett4
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my Karmeleit tulip (man chalice):

Pours a dusky, hazy orange with an insane amount of head with fantastic retention. Smells of funky citrus and flowers, lots of yeast backing it up. Seriously elegant and floral.

Taste centers on malts with a good kick of bready yeast, orange blossom, and dried nectarines. A tad sour but only faintly so.

Texture is rich and layered without being heavy or overly alcoholic. Fine balance of astringency with the sweetness, though light on both. Really well delineated.

Overall one of the best trappist ales out there. And my personal favorite trappist brew. (606 characters)

Photo of Sigmund
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(330 ml bottle, ABV 6,2%). This fine beer is cloudy deep golden with an enormous creamy head. It has an intense, overwhelming but lovely aroma of ensilage, horse stable, leather and spicy fruit cake. The flavour is complex and spicy, hops stand out, the aftertaste is dry but could have lasted a little longer. Still, this is clearly a world class beer. Definitely moreish! (373 characters)

Photo of mulder1010
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Solid, solid beer. Other reviews are spot on. If you are not into Belgian beers I suggest you try this beer first and it will change your mind. Lve the orange color and how the head retention stays through drinking. Mixed cherries with also a bit of straw (hey). Great pairing with seafood, like mussles!!! Only real negative is that it can be a bit pricy, very worthwhile to drink. (382 characters)

Photo of chanokokoro
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 11.2 oz. uniquely shaped bottle into an Orval chalice

Pours a slightly hazy orangish amber with a two finger clean white head. Abundant lacing visible along the sides of the glass. Smells of citrus and flora with a hint of pine. Seems to be a medium-bodied brew at first but finishes light, very dry, crisp, and clean. Tart citrus rind and grass dominate with dry, fruit tones throughout. Fantastic dry Belgian pale ale. Definitely one of the very best available. (478 characters)

Photo of Cru
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My favorite beer. The perfectly balanced flavor profile. Just enough sour to keep the malty sweetness common in the Trappist Style from taking over. Most of the other Trappist style beers tend to be far to malt-forward for my taste. But I love this beer, I might have married it if I had known about it before I met my wife.

High carbonation, often overflows on opening, head can take some time to dissipate. Straw to copper color.

Strong fruit nose, strong sour apple but clearly the intended flavor. Balanced bitterness. Very clean mouth feel. No lingering after taste. (574 characters)

Photo of RedBeerHead
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours light and cloudy. Very heady. Good fruity smell and flavor and light on the tongue. Excellent drinkability.
This beer is well balanced in both weight and flavor. The yeast gives it good body but it is offset well by the head and carbonation. I am typically a fan of lagers and darker beers but this is definitely one of my favorites. (340 characters)

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A One-Beer Trappist Brewery (OK - I know they do Petite Orval, but it is not generally available), brewed with 2 yeasts, the latter of which being a composite of several yeast strains, including Brettanomyces (of lambic fame), a beer that undergoes three distinct fermentations, and it is dry-hopped with English Hops. Wow!!. This is no “Run-of-the-Mill” Belgium Trappist Beer; it is, in all fact, probably the singularly most unique and certainly distinctive of all the Trappists.
Gorgeous looking Orangey-Amber color when poured, with a well developed covering, the bubble size diminishing as you rise up the profile of the head. Fantastically - Fabulously - Fruity nose. Perfume almost to the point of being intrusive, yet it invites you to delve into this immensely complex bitter beer. You are not disappointed, bitterness is very prevalent but “other almost indescribable” tastes abound. It really is so hard to explain this beer properly; Hop-Oils, Perfumes, Xmas Spices, almost Phenolic aftertastes – it’s all there. And the balance of these tastes, changes dramatically with its age. I have drunk Orval “fresh”, 1, 2, 3 and 5 years old. For me it is at its epoch between 1 and 2 years old. At 5 yrs old, it was flat and had no perfume or bitterness, and was very dank & musty, fine for a lambic - but not good for Orval. Also, if you intend to Cellar this beer, you MUST keep it Upright, Cool AND Dry – for the crown caps have a very nasty tendency to rust if the bottle is kept on its side, or somewhere damp, I know I lost a whole a whole Crate to Oxidation!!!
Unique, Very Distinctive, and a One-Off Trappist that is quite "English" in a strange way. (1,674 characters)

Photo of putnam
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lunar-eclipse orange with a massive, stiff head. Another aromatic triumph. Pine needles, sourdough, orange peel and clove all take turns on the nose. There is a really medieval feel to the aromatics. This is the beer they drank in Middle Earth, all resinous, peaty and full of crackling wild enzymes. The flavors are pretty and refined, somewhat in contrast to the nose. Sourwood honey, nutmeg, and roasted starch appear. A dry beer overall. A very fine, powdery grain on the finish. One unique beer. (500 characters)

Photo of JEdmund
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours out with an aggressive head, so a gentle pour is necessary; not quite able to get the whole bottle into the Orval chalice; color is dark, turbid brown--not the most appealing color, but the amazingly whipped head that sits there complacently is very impressive.

I really love the smell; tart, like sour apples, a bit woodsy, a bit sugary, and just a bit musty (but nothing off-putting like horse blanket); really, it's hard to put into words.

Taste & Mouthfeel
Still as impressive as the fist time I had it; there's just a lot to enjoy here, all delivered in a subtle and intriguing way; profile starts off with the most delicious and smooth bread-like flavors and just a tiny, tiny hint of brown sugar, which is then cut back with a pronounced tartness that then drops off to a bone dry finish; the body is extremely light and airy, with the classic Belgian level of carbonation (high); overall the flavor and body seem so delicate it's really hard to believe it packs 6.9% ABV.

I think Orval is something really special in the beer world. It's the ultimate in refined craftsmanship; it's overall delicious and packed with nuances to be discovered; as well, it's light and incredibly drinkable. I would drink this all the time if it were more affordable, so, as it is, I will put Orval on a high pedestal and enjoy it on special occasions. (1,377 characters)

Photo of korndog
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For the life of me, I cannot understand the low rating by some top reviewers. Great amber appearance into a Chalice, with gorgeous white head. Floral smell with some spice and sour. I think the way this beer transforms in our mouth from start to finish is unreal. There is a subtle Brett sour theme throughout the taste, but the other facets seem to change. Jason said it best; fresh cut hay, citrus, hops. Truly like walking from the barn to the orchard. The dryness of the finish makes you want another sip right away, making this a very expensive habit. Complex and Sensational. (581 characters)

Photo of deapokid
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy reddish-brown, packing on heavy foam and thick lacing. Liquid is too dark to even see the carbonation, but the slightest bit of light peaks in at the bottom of the glass. A mysterious and intriguing beer.

Musky! Scent is dank and mildewy, with hints of tart lemon zest, sugar, acidity and a hint of warming alcohol. Absolutely awesome and wholly inviting.

The flavor is amorphous, seamlessly shifting from lemon to dark berry to tangerine to grape. The sugary aspects are understated, as is the concluding dryness. Certain aspects reminded me of white wine (i.e. the sourness), but the bite of carbonation was all its own. This is a beer that gets better each time I try it.

Liquid is so smooth and balanced from front to back, masterfully coating the tongue while developing such a bevy of flavors.

I've been getting sick of overly sugared Belgians ales as of late and this beer is the perfect antidote. A great balance between flavors and so easy to drink. A flat-out masterpiece! (999 characters)

Photo of DeathbySexyBT
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Delightful light amber glow with a frothy head and decadent lacing on my Satan snifter.

S: Lemon zest, juniper, floral notes and baking flour.

T: That beer is slap yo' momma good! You get all of the flavors that you got in the nose along with a delicate yeasty flavor, sharp hop bite, and a cider note or two as well. The hop bite is not overwhelming but has a threefold purpose: flavor, palate cleansing, and giving the beer an abyss-like dryness to it. Immaculate!

M: Dry, medium bodied, and just a mind-blowing experience.

D: They have been rocking this beer since the 1100s. And I pray they never stop. (613 characters)

Photo of Marc_V
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle from Belgian Beer Shop.com. I drank this one cooled. This gives the beer a lot more freshness. It's a wonderful thirst quencher. The color is hazy amber with a nice off-white head that leaves lots of lacing.
The aroma is very hoppy, fresh with a touch of fruitiness (citrus). The taste is perfectly balanced between the hop bitterness and the fruity sweetness. The beer is also yeasty. This is by far my all time favorite. A true classic that can be drunk on every occasion. (481 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,179 ratings.