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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: 4,902
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 285
Gots: 653 | 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: 4,902
Photo of elricorico
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
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.... (835 characters)

Photo of Troyone
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The bottle is 11.2 oz. with a loose label that states 6.9 alc vol. and has bottled on - expiration dates.The beer has a cloudy appearance with a nice foam top that sticks to the sides.
This has the smell of a crisp, sweet, slightly caramel, and mellow ale.
The taste has the same sweet slightly caramel flavor with a crisp carbonation throughout.The after taste is crisp and refreshing.
Mouthfeel is not too syrupy with soft and crip carbonation.
For the type this is a very drinkable beer. (495 characters)

Photo of ddarden
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this beer into a glass chalice and it is a nice copper, hazy color. It also has a very nice creamy, slightly off white head. The head lasted through the entire beer. The beer appears very carbonated. The smell is yeasty with hints of lemon and hops.

The taste is refreshing with hints of the yeast, lemon, and nice bitterness. The mouthfeel is light, dry, and carbonated. I could imagine drinking more than one of these in a sitting. The aftertaste is quite mild with a small amount of bitterness. This is a very drinkable beer if you are craving something refreshing.

At the end of the beer the lacing still very heavy on the sides of the glass. This would be one of my favorite Trappist beers if I were in the mood for something light and refreshing. (769 characters)

Photo of pootz
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I realize I may have engaged in a self flagellating sin (and changed the taste of this saintly nectar) by serving in a vessel other than the Orval chalice (as demanded by the label)...but I was more concerned with getting a bottle that wasn't skunked from poor handling as I hear is so common...should be a moot point as the bottle date was 4 weeks ago.

It poured into my tulip glass a murky honey-gold with a lovely frothy cap that laces wonderfully...This is a fine smelling brew with lots of complex aromas: Horse blanket, tangerines, medicine, perfume, walnuts...nice nose.

Wow!! Creamy mouth feel...medicinal hopping that pilsners only WISH they could hold in balance with complex fruity spices and a heady nice malt wallop...all wrapped in this great funky yeast taste that defies description...the finish is mercifully slow so you can catch all the different tastes this brew has to depart....with a pleasant warming.

Despite what the monks say this beer is good enough to drink from the bottle. ;-)

This is a world class unique old school ale that sets the standard for complex taste and great drinkability. (1,129 characters)

Photo of clvand0
2.76/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a cloudy orange color with a tall head that dies off fast and leaves very little lacing on the glass. The aroma is odd - maybe some fruits in the back and a bready aroma, but I don't like this much. The flavor was quite odd too. Not to my liking. Some fruit is there, but it is very dry and the taste isn't something for me. I feel bad giving a Belgian a bad rating because it's my favorite style, but this one just doesn't do it for me. (453 characters)

Photo of WanderingFool
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Having recently attended the Belgian Beer Fest I thought it was time I opened the Orval I had sitting in my cellar for the past year and a half.

The beer pours a slightly hazy copper color with a thick white frothy head on top. The fruity esters combine with hints of orange peel, all spice, and sour apple to create a complex aroma. Each sip of this medium bodied beer is dry with a fizzy tingle on the palate, like champagne. The flavor is a blend of dry malt, citrus (orange and lemon), spice (allspice?) and grapes. It sort of reminds me of a white wine. It finishes with a slightly sour taste.

Orval is a full flavored somewhat complex beer. Flavors seem to grow as the beer warms. (692 characters)

Photo of bashiba
3.23/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into my Goblet it was a very creamy light red color with a huge infusion of head initially which subsided to about an inch thick of thick brown bubbles.

Scent is a very heavy complex mixture of sour yeast and several spices, also has a very earthy hop aroma going on.

Taste has a very fresh bread malty taste up front followed with a nice sour yeast hop taste with various flavors coming and going quickly in between, including some light citrus and various spices.

The mouthfeel is pretty good with a nice light creaminess about it.

Overall though not real impressive or something I would drink on a regular basis. (635 characters)

Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 15.07.2003, best before 15.07.2008. Huge, sandy head full of pits and craters fills half the goblet on the first pour, "subsiding" into boulder-like chunks while snapping, crackling and popping loudly. Clouds of head cling to the sides of the goblet and crust into eternity. A pillar of carbonation rushes through this hemisphere of polished bronze liquid with apricot highlights. Stinks lovingly of sourdough bread, tart green apples, sweaty armpits, curdled milk. Stench of rotting canned fruit cocktail soaking in London dry gin. Nosefeel is cool and sharply acidic, as of vinegar; the aroma practically fogging up the room. Before pouring the yeast this is dry enough on the tongue, with flavors of oregano and bay spiking through a mineral-laden palate and finishing with a twist of lemon. The yeast adds flavors of rancid sweet mint, bread, human feet, and gimlets splashed over a forest floor's worth of mold and spore before fading to a subtle aftertaste of dry herbs. Pinpricks of carbonation punctuate a mouthfeel that is almost airy with lightness and distributes effortlessly over the tongue. Drinkability is dependent only on one's ability to get over one's own senses. I can't write more without rambling pseudo-philosophically about this beer as a living, breathing organism; a metaphor for entropy; and the cyclical nature of decay and rejuvenation. Remarkable. (1,385 characters)

Photo of heidelbeerg
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a copper orange color with a fluffy white large head. Carbonation was very evident upon pouring. The smell was crisp and citrus like. The taste was very interesing and different from anything else I've had. Very zingy yet light citron flavor along with a high amount of carbonation. Acidic and lively. Hops evident in the finish. The mouthfeel was a little odd to me. The carbonation seemed almost too high. I had the feeling off pop rocks going off in the mouth. It wasn't bad, just different. The drinkability was good but not great. The bitey nature would keep me from drinking too many of these. (616 characters)

Photo of dgallina
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy golden amber color. Beautiful thick, rocky, white head which leaves tons of lace on the glass. Very fragrant. Mostly floral and green apple smells with some spicy alcohol undertones. Some initial dry bitterness in flavor, but quickly develops into floral, and hoppy tones. Finishes very dry, with alcohol warmth. Highly carbonated and creamy mouth-feel. Slightly astringent and warming. A classic and very drinkable Trappist ale. (444 characters)

Photo of jvajda
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazey peach color with a sparce head.
Smell: Hops, spice, medicinal tones, and alcohol in the nose.
Taste: Very bitter with fig and banana notes. Very fast finish, that leaves a bitter woodiness in the mouth. Not as complex as other Belgians, but still very enjoyable.
Mouthfeel: Very highly carbonated, and sticky in the mouth.
Drinkability: It gets better as it warms, which makes me want another. Very drinkable for a Belgian. (445 characters)

Photo of budgood1
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours out a hazy copperish colour with a charged up sea foam head..lots of carbonation to support the lasting and sticky lace. musty green apple aroma...smells nice. odd but pleasant lemony flavour...lightly malted, a bit yeasty and rather dry. finishes with a bite of alcohol...lingering mustiness in the aftertaste. this is a nice, light on the palate belgian pale ale meant to be paired with a bit of cheese and meat. not my favourite style to drink...but worth respect and i would sample again under the right circumstances. (528 characters)

Photo of beerceller99
2.71/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

33 cl. with a 5- 14- 2003 bottled on date.

Amber colored with a white head that fades quickly to a sheen. Has a strong witch hazel oil smell with a whiff of mild spices and orange peel. A thin to medium body carries a rather bland grain and yeast flavor with a strong, and very off setting medicinal taste. Finishes with a mildly bitter orange peel taste.

For five bucks a bottle there are far better trappist brews. (422 characters)

Photo of lastauss
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm embarrassed to say that it has taken 8 years since I first tried this beer to get my thoughts (and feelings!) posted on the "inter-web." I must start by saying that it is my all-time-favorite commerially available beer.

There is no food I have met that it doesn't pair well with. I have cooked with it (I've got the Orval Cookbook- in French), served it in place of champagne, drunk it while gardening, given spoonfuls to a teething child (Oh, don't be such a prude! I had the parents' consent!). I have converted International-Style-Light-Lager-Only-Drinkers with it (after filling their minds with tearful accounts of my trip to the brewery). And yes, I buy it by the case.

What else can I say? It is the worlds' perfect drink. (739 characters)

Photo of paterlodie
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
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! (453 characters)

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.95/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Ah the enigmatic and always polarizing Orval... You either love it or you hate it. The first time I tried it, I didnt like it, then I tried it again. I quickly realised that Orval is an acquired taste, its unconventional profile really grows on you.

This beer poured a hazy orange color with the most massive, invinicible head. This bohemoth literally covers the glass in lace. There lots of frenetic carbonation as well.

The aroma is packed with brett, tropical fruit, honeydew, and also a citrusy tartness. It reminded me of tropical Starburst candies. Hops also make their presence known in the nose.

The taste is intense. There are fruit, perfume, and sour notes, as well as a medicinal bitterness. It reminds me of some kind of tropical fruit, not citrusy, but tart. Theres also a candy sugar flavor as well as some yeasty notes. Leathery brett notes are all over the place. The finish is bittering hops and some risidual tartness.

The mouthfeel is slightly thick, with lots of carbonation evident. This beer is very drinkable, it conceals its alcohol behind an array of unusual flavors. Very unique to say the least, I cant think of any other beer to even compare it too . I will definitely seek it out again.

BTW in Belgian you can Buy this for 1.10 Euros in vending machines! (at least the HUGE indoor one adjoining the Golden Tulip Hotel on the north end of the Grand Place). (1,391 characters)

Photo of CharlesRiver
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bowling pin shaped bottle. Very unique and very cool. Pours out a tannish brown with a huge fluffy white head that lasts and lasts. The smell is hoppy, earthy and herbal. With hints of something medicinal and chalky.

The taste is not what I expected at all. Smooth and mellow in the beginning. Giving way to more hoppy notes and alcohol. The flavors kind of intensify all the way through to the aftertaste. Fruity, herbal and dry at the end.

This is not what I expected but I love it. Very unique. The dryness and hoppyness makes this beer for me. (559 characters)

Photo of oracle
3.47/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served in an Orval chalice style glass

Beer was light amber, with a thin low density head. No discernable lacing.

Flavor was very mild for a belgian, with a predominance of fruits, mostly plum. Mild hops and a very faintly sour finish that lingers. Way too much carbonation for my liking.

I still haven't decided if I will order this one again. (353 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours an apricot color with a massive head; lots of lacing

Smell: Strong citrus nose; smells like a box of Florida oranges that have started to mold

Taste: Startling in its phenolic hoppiness the first time you taste it; lots of medicinal citrus flavor which, as a result of the Brett, dries out the mouth and lasts forever; I pick up some unsweet licorice, too

Mouthfeel: Heavy on the carbonation and bitterness

Drinkability: Definitely an acquired taste; at first I was repelled but now, on my third try, I am starting to come around; not for amateurs; I won't drink it everyday but it is excellent with a strongly flavored soft cheese

Note: I just took Jason's advice to pair this with a soft cheese (St. Andre, in my case) and what a difference that makes. Just a perfect compliment. The strong flavors of the cheese cut through the medicinal bitterness and, together the two coalesce in a way that I have never seen between a food and a beverage. On my third try, I paired it with an aged sharp cheddar; while it pairs nicely, it was nothing like the combination with the St. Andre; more recently, I paired it with a blue cheese and the flavors blended startlingly well (1,191 characters)

Photo of jahsausage
3.82/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer amazes me in the way that it combines what I consider conventional and unconventional beer tastes in the same draught. It smells to me of a cross between an english ale and a wheat beer, (sorry to be so simplistiic). And in taste, perhaps the same applies but only in the most limited sense, there is SO much going on. I think I would describe it as mystifyingly good, its something you could drink quite happily but every time you stop and think about it - it just brings up more suprises. (500 characters)

Photo of Cwrw
4.2/5  rDev +1%
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. (1,861 characters)

Photo of noclue
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: 11.2 ounce bottle. Bottled on 12/12/03

Appearance: Highly carbonated. Golden-Amber murky haze. Tall rocky, frothy white head. Decent lacing. Not very long lasting, but my glass wasn't incredibly clean.

Smell: Strong floral aroma. Fruity. Spicy. Leather. I could smell it sitting two feet away from me.

Taste: Tart, sweet, bitter, phenolic, fruity, hay.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied... Crisp, dry finish.

Drinkability/Overall: Crisp and refreshing. Not my favorite Trappist, but still very good. Easy and rewarding to drink. (547 characters)

Photo of tfinn
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bottled 2003-01-28, consumed 2004-06-27

pours a hazy golden color with frothy head reminiscent of small soap bubbles. leaves slidy lacing on the glass. yeast was left in the bottle.

the aroma is a pleasant mix of sweet maltiness, fruit esters (not so much banana -- more skewed towards pineapple / citrus), and a hint of hops.

showing my prejudices of belgian trappist ale, with a wonderful estery scent, I was expecting a full heavy body with this one, but it's not heavy at all. it's light, clean, and very "wet" tasting for lack of a better term. carbonation is mild, yet there is a definite carbonate tang on the tongue. balance is towards the hops, but stops just short of being overtly bitter. there is no hop trail at the end; just a bit of graininess and a nice wet clean finish, which prompts further consumption.

a very satisfying and quenching beer. it's somewhere between american pale ale and a full-bodied belgian dubbel or trippel. (958 characters)

Photo of watermelonman
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured to a dark shade of almost orange and bronze. The head was enormous; it eventually died down but never went away. It's leaving a think and luxurious lace behind.

Alcohol comes through in the smell, just behind all that fruit and banana that one should expect. The taste has the banana flavor as well, with a great hop profile in the finish.

This is a really good beer, and well worth a try if nothing else. (423 characters)

Photo of ngandhi
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drier than dust. Austere. Dominating yeast presence that is, itself, controlled. Banana/pine esters on the nose, more peppery on the palate, and backed by an unusually noticeable dried herbal hop backbone. Carbonation highlights a touch of grain and fresh grassy hop leaves.

The piney aspect of this is reminiscent of the finish on some American IPAs -- of course, Orval is not nearly as bitter. This is such a clear and balanced display of hops, malt, yeast, and Belgian tradition that it becomes challenging.

The parching dryness makes it difficult, but everso satisfying to consume on its own. Gueuze without the funk (if that means anything), this is one of the world's ultimate food beers, especially with white fish. Hops linger on the finish.

Relax, relax.
ng (779 characters)

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