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

4,838 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,838
Reviews: 2,213
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 277
Gots: 622 | 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: 4,838 | Reviews: 2,213
Photo of SD-Alefan
4.81/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay chalice.
This one was bottled in Oct., 2012.

The bottle opened with a nice, resounding "pop." An aggressive center pour produces a big, foamy root beer head that compacts but lasts to the end of the beer. The color is a very hazy, even cloudy brownish-orange.

The aroma is my favorite part of this beer. First off for me, an odor of yeasty bread rising. then some fruit; raisin, maybe orange and lemon. There is also a little farmyard funk underneath.

The first taste is candy at first, then some dried fruits, then a light bitterness as it warms. I get raisin, dates, some yeastiness and even bitter chocolate. As it warms, some biscuit and even a little caramel come through. Love the slight yeasty funk. Amazingly complex.

This beer is well carbonated, and it feels a little sticky and tongue-coating. It's even got a little creaminess thanks to the never-fading foam.

Just a great beer.

Photo of fdrich29
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 FL. OZ. Bottle from The Wine Cellar of Silene in Waltham, MA. Bottled on 1.06.2004 Best Before 1.06.2009

Thick, frothy head with an apple cidar body.

Smells or citrus fruit and flowers, reminds me of springtime.

Taste of lemon, hops and again, the essence of spring time. Crisp and somewhat bitter.

Tears through the mouth doing and saying so many things, quite an enjoyable sensation.

Great beer. I put off trying this brew for a long time, but it has been on my list of must tries since I discovered Belgians. Try it if you haven't.

Photo of studentofbeer
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orval trappist ale, 6.9% from their cute 11.2 oz. "bowling pin" or "vase" bottle.

it poured a slightly hazy lipton tea-like color into my ommegang goblet, with a huge blossoming soft head.

smells were apple at first, then cinammon, nutmeg, lime and lime rind, crab apple, sour candy and sour milk. a bit later im picking up mud, wild grass

thick mouthfeel with aggressive carbonation and tangy orange and salt on lemon flavors on the side of the tongue as well as deep bready and earthy hop bitterness. it's almost like two beers going on at once, an english ale and a lambic duking it out or perhaps laying down together.

edit notes: the last few times i have had orval have been disappointing. i am not going to change my original review because i thought it was awesome, but the last two or three i have had have all been a bit fizzy and soda-water like, without a lot of flavor. very sad. i won't be spending the $5 to sample this beer again soon unless i can feel sure it'll be like it was in my first review.

Photo of BeerGodz
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Orange/amber color, slight haze, massive head with excellent retention & lacing

Smell: Brett Funk, bready malts, all kinds of fruit - amazing!

Taste: Up Front: Tart, acidic, earthy, dark fruit. Finish: Brett funk, bready malt

Mouthfeel: Light body, effervescence, with a dry finish

Drinkability: Well balanced and it goes down easy, despite the alcohol bite

Overall Impression: It's been a while since I had this beer. In fact, I had not developed an appreciation for Belgian's back then. I was not expecting much from this one; OH My ME was I wrong!!! This is what Begian beer is all about people!!! I see myself drinking this one very often. In fact, I may have to go get more this evening.

Photo of brushpig
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Slim the bartender at the Hopleaf suggested this fine brew. Served in a tulip glass.

Amber orange appearance with a huge frothy head.

The aroma of flowers citrus light spices.

The taste is something special, smooth, but very complex with lemons, hops, tart, bitter, flowers. All this with a perfect balence that makes this a joy to drink. Not a overwhelming ABV (6.20)
which makes this very drinkable.

This is one of the traditional belgiums that is a must try.

Photo of pweis909
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Edit: Suggestion. Try a few beers bottled on different dates. A more recent bottle (dated Dec 27, 2007) seems even more lively and bright to me.

Deep gold, just a shade short of amber, with big white head of tight bubbles. Most of the head dissipated after a few sips, but the carbonation is persistent, leaving a quarter inch foam and lacey rings around the glass.
Edit: The more recent bottle seems more amber to me.

The aroma is phenolic, with a bit of medicinal notes, and maybe a bit of clove. These flavors mesh with hop spiciness, making it tough to separate them all.
Edit: There is much more fruit to the nose in the more recent bottle, maybe a bit of bubble gum, that compliments the clove. The medicinal notes are subdued.

The beer is lively on the tongue, and gives a bit of carbonation bitterness, but as I swirl the beer in the mouth, there is the barest touch of malt sweetness followed by a very dry finish with a slightly resiny hop character.
Edit: the newer beer has a stronger sweetness.

The beer is "digestible", with a light body characteristic of trappist beers. The alcohol helps contribute to the dry light feel.
Very drinkable.
Edit: The newer beer is perhaps a slight tad heavier, but not to the point that drinkability suffers

Photo of karst
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bowling pin shapped bottle filled on 17 09 2004 recently purchased ($6) from the shelves of World Market.

Aromatic delight due to interaction of noble hops ( E.K. Goldings, Fuggles and possibly other earthy English varieties along with the fruity ripe bannana esters from the multiple strains of yeast used by the Trappist brewers.

Pours hazy orange-amber with a dense marangue-like super persistant head; eventually dropping to a 2 or 3 mm. covering that leaves Belgian-lace on the walls of my New Belgium 0.4 L Rastal sniffer. Strong beading from high carbonation is evident. Dry-hopped with Goldings gives is a floral nose along with interlaced aromas of horse blanket along with medicinal phenols typical of Belgiums. Mouthfeel of champagne with strong effervescence. The play of aroma and carbonation leaves any thought of grains behind. Sweetness only in the aroma not flavor. Quite a feat! Ester flavors of dried fruits, and woody earthy hops and intense dryness, leading to acidic finish that suggest a fine dry wine. Changing with temperatures but best around 55° to room temp. Like all Belgiums crys out for a fine meal to be paired with.

Photo of davey101
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 20/02/2008, best before 20/02/3013B. Four and a half years old. Little 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass at cellar temperature.

A - Dark clear amber body. Massive fluffy head with a rather ugly light tan color. Massive bubbles that took a nice swirling to clean up. Tons of lacing and retention.

S - Perfect. This is the definitive Brettanomyces aroma. A barnyard funk that is pleasant but approaching offensive, light grass and lemons, just a touch of biscuity crackers and ripe apples on the finish. Some warming alcohol as well.

T - Funky hay, rich cheese, lemon grass, pears, crackers, chalk, sweet caramel and a subtle minty herbal finish. This beer is just so complex. I'm just getting so many odd and unique flavors that I'm struggling to pinpoint them all. Yet it comes off as well balanced and simple. Its just...Orval. I've never had a beer taste like this. Mouth feel is effervescent and well carbonated.

O - Theres nothing quite like this beer. Matilda and Rayon Vert may be homages to this beer, but they just can't compete with the insane complexity and high drinkability of this. Age has also turned this into a brett bomb. World class for sure.

Photo of paterlodie
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As soon as I poor out this beer I get warm. Impressed by the fact that you can arleady smell this beer at a distance of 50 cm, which I never did before.... and what a smell! Old hops and the Bayanus yeast make this beer one of the most special one's in Belgium I think... and probably of the world! The taste is dry with a lot of hop and off course the great taste of the used (secondary) fermentation yeast. One that can't be missed in my (beer)cellar!

Photo of jmatthew
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice cloudy orange in the glass with a lacy foam that is constantly dancing on the top. Strong aroma of fruit, perhaps citrus, and cloves. Taste is a great balance of bitterness, fruitiness and spiciness. Less pungent than I would have expected from a trappist ale, particularly of higher alcohol content, but I was pleasantly surprised. Overall, a great beer.

Photo of beveragecaptain
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yellowish brown hue with a large off-white head. Citrus aroma. As it warms, funky farmhouse aromas are detectable. Many different flavors, such as apples, grapes, candy, and spices. Perfect balance between malt and hops. Hoppier than most Belgian beers. Finishes dry with an alcoholic kick. I would have thought the abv was higher than 6.2%. High level of carbonation. This is an amazingly complex beer, which I liked a lot more the second time I tried it..

Photo of robertjohnson
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy orange body with a rocky white head. Even the lacing is foamy.

In the nose I get pear mostly, with some apples and maybe a touch of nectarines.

Immediately I perceive pears in the taste, I think partly from the strong nose. This quickly developed into more tropical fruit-type flavors of pineapple or P.O.G. juice. There's definitely citrus (lemon-rinds?) and spice (cardamom? cloves?) with a firm hop bitterness in the background, maybe some medicinal phenols. I reeally like the dryness of the finish and the way these flavors lingered.

Very effervescent.

This beer blew my mind-hole. Me and my partner both thought this was the most stand-out beer we'd ever had.

Photo of orfeu
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dull, hazy golden amber with huge rocky white head. Fluffy ringed lacing. Aromas of apple, yeast, coriander, mineral water, biscuity malts. Tastes spicy (indefinite), with bready malts, dull lemony citrus rind, and a biting yeast finish. Alcohol comes through solidly, too. Juicy carbonated mouthfeel, but quite dry overall. Very nice. Easy-drinkin' Trappist ale...can I actually say that?

Photo of jIsh
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

The original brett beer!

Awesome label/bottle design. When the cap is popped and the beer is poured into my glass a beautiful aroma fills the empty space around my glass. I could smell this beer indefinitely and never get tired of the smell. In fact, I don't even feel the urge to drink it, rather I just want to stick my nose in the glass!

When I finally get around to drinking this Trappist ale, I was brought to another place and time. A citrus-like, refreshing taste transports me to the Belgian countryside during a sunny summer afternoon under a shady tree. It ends quickly with crisp and tart finish. Incredible!

With the exception of Westy 12 and Rochefort 10, this might just be the best Trappist product on the market!

Photo of BeardedBoffin
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours into the glass with a huge, beautiful head. The head on this thing is really alive here. It just keeps rising. When everything settles, there is a amber-golden brew underneath that active foam.

The effervescence and alcohol clear the senses. The aroma is a thing of beauty. Fresh herbs are contrasted by earthy funk. As the beer warms those leathery, wet wool tones overtake the herbal sage.

Very light on the palate, and bone, bone dry. Bitter and acidic on the palate. A little malt through the center provides a nice balance to this complex ale. Citrus and funk combine with bitterness to make this one appetizing brew.

The successful combination of fresh and funk, new and old, depth and pizazz make this one complex brew. Orval may only produce one beer, but when that one beer is as good as this, why produce anything else?

Photo of Wobbly
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%

The best example of a mild Belgian pale that I have ever tried. No other attempts come close. Expensive, so I only have a few a year. But so good.

Photo of stulowitz
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled December 5 2006, poured in a Orval chalice.

Slow pour leaves an awesome off-white, fluffy, creamy head. Smells of citrus, wood, horse, barn and seabreeze greet my nostrils.

Appearance is hazy copper. Taste is bone-dry, refreshing, spritzy. Slightly hoppy and a bit of malt in the background.

Man, this is my all-time favorite beer!

Photo of tilopud_rye
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am opening a bottle dated November 2011. Almost foams over when opened but it sticks to the mouth of the bottle without spilling. Pours nice violin-resin color with foamy head that falls to a thin layer at the top. Big sour and fruitty smell- a bit of herb but mostly light sour raspberry candy on the nose. Taste starts totally different with the malts bubbling on my tongue with the yeast and fruit coming at the roof and candie with sour dry aftertaste. The sour notes stick lightly to the roof of the mouth and sides of the tongue after but it's relaxing. That's a damn good one!

Photo of EPICAC
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dust-covered 2002 bottle, served in an Orval chalice. I had this at Kulminator in Antwerp.

Appearance: Pours a hazy-golden with a thick, off-white head that fades to a thin film leaving heavy patches of lace.

Smell: Strong Brettanomyces aroma as well as some grassy and citric aromas.

Taste: Tart citric and Brett characters, with a light sweetness. The finish has a nice mellowed hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium-bodied, low carbonation with a dry finish.

Drinkability: Tart with nice dominant Brett character.

Photo of travis224
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer blew me away. A golden amber color with tight white head and little lacing. The smell is amazing: a bit medicinal, fruity lemon, granny smith apples and toasted bread, extremely complex. The taste is a bit drier with wet stones, tart apples and some hop bitterness. This is an exceptional beer.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pourred an orangy brew with what I consider to be the most beautiful beige head. Head retention for Orval is what other brewers should aspire to since it is the longest lasting I have ever experience. Taste is of complex spice with great fruit aroma. Also, great wheat taste with a strong body. One of the best trappist in my opinion.

Photo of ommegoose
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Purchased at Evanston First Liquors. Bottled on 4/24/2007, best before 4/24/2012.

Foams up incredibly fast and is a little difficult to pour. A mountain of foamy head develops and lasts and lasts. Pale gold with heavy carbonation to start, but turns into a nearly opaque murky brown when the sediment is added. Significant lacing.

The first thing that catches my nose is lemony tartness, followed by herbal and grassy notes. Like potpourri, or an herbal tea.

Full of lemon and herbal flavors. Maybe a hint of honey. Not very sweet at all. Finishes with a hint of spearmint. Hops are there with some bitterness, but they are pretty subdued at this point in the aging (about 18 months). I need some help picking out the flavors, but I know I like them very much. So unique and different with every sip. Amazing.

Dry. Very dry. Carbonation was not as bad as I expected from the pour. In fact, it's pretty smooth and slightly creamy.

I restrained myself because this is expensive and in relatively short supply, but I'd love to drink about four of these in a go. So dry, and that flavor keeps calling you back for sip after sip. A hyped beer, but lives up to it easily. I'm stunned that this is not a top 100 beer. A true classic.

Photo of Danny1217
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hazy orange amber with a fluffy white head. Lots of nice lacing and excellent retention. The head lasts forever.
Smells a bit floral, and somewhat funky. Some lemon zest.
Taste is slightly fruity. A bit of tartness and a brett funk. A nice hop bite gives some slight citrus flavors. Lots of tart fruit tastes. Extraordinarily smooth and crisp feel. Highly sessionable, yet incredibly complex. A balance that is hard to find.

This is one incredible beer. The only downside is that they are a bit pricey, being sold only as single bottles for over $5 each. If not for the price, I could drink quite a few of these in one evening.

After having had it a couple times relatively fresh in the states, I drank an aged Orval while in Belgium. It was possibly the best beer I ever drank. The brett takes over and leaves the fruit and hop flavors in the background. It is funky perfection.

Photo of sccala
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured out of a bowling pin shaped brown bottle. The bottle was, or at least seemed a bit heavier than the average 11.2 oz bottle. Poured into a dry, room temperature pint glass.

A- Ooo baby! A light gingerbread color with an incredible head...4 finger collar...1 finger of which rose above the rim of the glass. Consistency of the head is that of home made whipped cream. It didn't completely vanish until I was over half way done drinking the beer. Slightly above average lacing.

S- Good, wholesome, feel-good smells here. Pine trees, a bouquet of flowers, herbs...not much hops though.

T- Wheat, lemon, more hops here than in the smell. Nice and crisp and refreshing, yet dry, not sweet.

M- Perfectlly balanced tastes, perfect carbonation, medium body. In my opinion, the after taste reminds me of the after taste you get from Chimay grand reserve.

D- This beer is surprisingly easy on the palate and stomach. Doesn't fill you up instantly...which is actually unlike most trappist style ales. And with a modest 6.9% ABV, you actually can drink and appreciate each one.

Photo of ProudBeerSnob
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from that funky bottle into a Unibroue tulip. Funky beer, funky bottle.

Marvelous appearance. Dark orange hazy color with that thick head that takes on the appearance of meringue in texture.

Smells of tart citrusy even lime. Can a beer smell dry.

Crisp, tart but not so much that it makes you pucker, just lick your lips and say yummy.

The most unique beer ever, simply a joy to behold and to drink.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,838 ratings.