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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

2,193 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,193
Hads: 4,900
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 8.41%
Wants: 285
Gots: 654 | 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: 2,193 | Hads: 4,900
Photo of tilopud_rye
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
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! (585 characters)

Photo of EPICAC
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
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. (538 characters)

Photo of travis224
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
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. (304 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
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. (334 characters)

Photo of ommegoose
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
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. (1,232 characters)

Photo of Danny1217
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
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. (881 characters)

Photo of sccala
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
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. (1,079 characters)

Photo of ProudBeerSnob
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
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. (410 characters)

Photo of Chico1985
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A classic Belgian I've put off for far too long. Bottled on date is 6/1/10...a little over 8 months old at this point. Poured this into a tulip glass.

Opens with a very loud hiss. Pours a beautiful amber/orange with an indestructible white head that retains like a champ leaving good lacing as well. Hazy but not much sediment seen. Beers really don't get much better looking.

Brett-effected fruits dominate the smell. Mostly light fruits like lemon, pear and apple but some red grapes as well. Oak and funky barnyard are plentiful as well, this is musty yet bright and fruity at the same time, great balance.

Much like the smell, a superb balance of fruity, funky, sweet, sour. Drinks very much like a lite-lambic or wild ale without the bracing sourness. Lemons, pear, apples, hints of berries throughout. Funky, cheesy barnyard, basement, and big hay/grassiness throughout as well. Bready malts very noticeable, especially in the finish. Some alcohol here and there. Sweet tart/candy sweetness. I start to get a magically delicious vanilla yeasty flavor towards the end of it all.

Mouthfeel is extremely carbonated, but somehow not a bother and strengthens the beer overall in my opinion, it's very light and fluffy. Funk overtakes a bit with warmth.

Amazing, pretty much. Definitely hits its peak once it warms up some. The fact that this isn't in the top 100 with nearly 1,700 reviews is slightly disturbing. The price is hindering but I will buy this as a once-in-a-while treat, and probably a couple to cellar as well. (1,530 characters)

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

Just amazing. My perfect daily beer. Great with cheese or just as a refreshing beverage. It is probably where New Belgium got their inspiration for Fat Tire. I love and drink all the Belgium Trapist brews, but this I could drink to my satisfaction and still walk... (265 characters)

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

Holy Sh!t.

Purchased from "By the Bottle" in Vancouver WA.

Poured into a chalice and marveled at the persistent bountiful head. Outstanding aroma - the standard for Trappist Ales. Holy Sh!t, because this beer tastes phenomenal and needs no complicated review. Definitely give this a try. (289 characters)

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

33cl btl purchased at Brussels bottle shop (v hard to find in grocery stores..).
bottled June 30,2015; BB June 30, 2020. (More info is always better....thx)
Served chilled in a tulip. Bottle is unique....like miniature champagne.
Poured nice clear reddish-brown. Not much head.

I love the taste.. NOT syrupy sweet, and on the heels of tasting several local 'syrup bombs', this is extra-appreciated.
Remarkable mouthfeel on this one...some different flavours. Not sour, but more a more 'mature' malty profile than many highly regarded Belgian tripels and quads. A champagney, bubbly dryness on the throat.
Note this beer is tres fresh...but at only 6%abv, I'm not sure how much taste would change or improve with time.
This might be my Belgian co-favorite. ...a ying to Rochefort-8 yang. And this is much easier to see as a multi-serving beverage...there aren't very many quality beers that lend themselves to 'sessioning' in Belgium.
A last minute throw-in purchase, this is a great find and I highly recommend it. (1,035 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)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,193 ratings.