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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

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2,181 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,181
Hads: 4,876
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 284
Gots: 639 | 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: 2,181 | Hads: 4,876
Photo of Popsinc
3.49/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: an cloudy amber/brown pour with an enormous and foamy head accompanied with a very lively body. the glass makes for excellent presentation. it LOOKS like a great beer.

Smell: a dull woody nose, different from what i remember sampling in Canada. earthy notes are very prominent although the nose seems subtle and held back.

Taste: rich and creamy, again, more so then i remember. more woodiness is present in the body along with slight herbal characteristics.

Mouthfeel: very rich and very lively. lots of activity in this beer.

Drinkability: to me this is the most different from all the other trappists. obviously much mess sweet. decent drinkability alothough it is not nearly my favorite trappist. i'm suprised it ranks so highly. i wonder if this is b/c it is labelled a "trappist"? (810 characters)

Photo of Andreji
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It is certainly a pale ale, this one, but a nice decent trappist product.

Pours an orange kinda tainted tone which reminds me of the sorta pale ale that sierra nevada has. And the product itself is very similar: a tough, bitter sweetness both in nose and taste that while being good is not all that great for my taste (les goûts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas!), But still is a nice refreshing malty-hoppy blend that works always. The trappistes at orval have passed the test. (485 characters)

Photo of silks636
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle.

Cloudy orange amber with a huge fluffy ivory head. Excellent retention and lacing. Strong earthy floral nose... banana, lemon, hay, and spice are also present. Taste begins light and tart then turns to a heavy musty earthy flavor with complex hints of spice, lemon, cider, and tangy berry. Curiously strong hop bite. Finishes extremely dry. Mouthfeel is medium and very warming with strong carbonation.

An absolutely stunning ale. Very complex and wonderful. (501 characters)

Photo of GreenCard
4.77/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottling date: 5/27/2003

Appearance: orangish pale brown, HUGE layer of off-white head (slightly creamy/rocky on top), hazy, lots of lace and fantastic head retention

Aroma: appley fruitiness, malty, slightly spicey, rotten orange peels, earthy hops, hint of caramel, a touch of Brett. horsiness

Flavor: a very dry flavor profile; bready malt, grapefruity bitterness pervades, somewhat tangy, tart-berry fruitiness, musty, moldy, dry finish with an assertive residual bitterness that seems to be bacteria-related as much as hop-related

Mouthfeel: medium-light body, zesty carbonation, somewhat astringent, warming

Overall Impression: One of the best beers in this earth, IMHO. Very complex. Always changing. Every one tastes a little different. Very fun for vertical tasting sessions. Great with most foods, especially anything needing a nice, dry and slightly bitter counterpoint.

This bottle was quite young, so the flavors were a lot more raw. A bit more bitter and hoppy than some of the older bottles I've tried. An interesting drink even if you get an old, beat-up, mishandled bottle. The balance between malt sweetness and the bitterness fluctuates a lot over time. As does the flavors coming from the bacterial profile. Swirling up all the sediment and dumping in the glass towards the end is always a tasty bonus! (1,341 characters)

Photo of diablo14
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ive never drank a beer that divides opinion more than this one. while i personally think its up in the top 20, others dont rate it at all.

i dont think there can be any question there are few more complex beers being brewed today. i think this is what makes it so sensational. everything about orval to me represents the ultimate in craftsmanship, where as some of my fellow beer connosieurs feel theres too much going on and its all a bit overwhelming. as far as im concerned tho, i love being overwhelmed by this beer. it's brewed in a abbey. and drinking it is a religious experience!

the head has to been seen to be believed! its like meringue and it just never quits. this is due to the chipped candy sugar they put in the kettle. the rich, cloudy golden orange color matches the head perfectly, and the smell and taste are almost indescribable. you can draw something new from this brew every time you drink it. one day it can be fruity, apple and orange come to mind, whereas others it can be very sugary sweet. ive had this beer taste peppery, and at various times there have been hints of clove, anise, cinnamon even nutmeg. all the while never forgetting the essential backbone of maltiness and noble hops. these give this beer that classic breadiness, somewhat reminicent of brioche, and a magnificent finish bordering on dry.(with a beer of this texture, its pretty hard to finish THAT dry) depending on the time and mood, a different facet jumps out at you. its just so perfectly constructed and balanced!

i do find when its very young it can have the tendency to be a bit astringent. but if youve got the patience to lay it down for a bit(a year or even two), or pick one up from your bottleo thats been around for a while, you will be well rewarded. orval is proof that a beer can get better with age. its always syrupy in the mouth, but as it gets older, it really rounds out and comes right into its own.

after a session of several top quality beers, its awesome to finish the night with one of these just to put it all in perspective. its almost enuff to make me want to join a monastery. (2,121 characters)

Photo of HardTarget
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Orval Trappist Ale: Brown odd shaped bottle, like an upside down champagne flute. Best by date (17 07 2007) Reviewed 10/10/03
Aroma: Bananas with spicy notes, such as clove, and maybe some nutmeg
Appearance: Deep hazy golden with a huge fluffy white head. Moderate pour produced about 5 fingers of head, which condensed more than collapsed into a small thickly packed head that held it’s form over a finger over the rim of the glass on the second pour. Head looks like whipped cream. Did I mention it had a head? Head remained and laced with heavy tidemarks.
Flavor: Tastes like a caramelized banana. This has a deeper flavor than the aroma, with a very fine balance that I have to give the edge to malt, just for some sweetness in the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Medium- light, with some heavy carbonation.
Overall Impression: A mild, but very complex flavor. A nice blending of spice, malt and yeast that gives an impressive, but again, milder taste. While this is obviously a well-made beer, it just didn’t strike a chord with me, which hurt it’s drinkability score in my book. One you should try once to see if it strikes a chord with you. (1,163 characters)

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been waiting a long time to get my hands on one of these again. (Thanks to bennybrew for suggesting Tully's for the Belgians!)

Pours a hazy golden brown with a big foamy head. Smells bitter and yeasty. Floral. Hints of light malt with spice.

Tough to describe the taste as I have had nothing like it. Alternately sweet and bitter up front fading to a sour apple flavor. Yeasty but more than that it tastes bready like sourdough. Strong alcohol finish at times, warming in the throat. Full bodied but with light aftertastes.

This brew fits no specific style. It is truly a one of a kind experience. (613 characters)

Photo of jlervine
3.57/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a dark golden color, somewhat hazy, with a thick medium-bubbled head. The smell was spicy, fruity, and very bready/yeasty. A bit of banana in there, too. The taste was spicy - too spicy, really, like someone accidentally dropped a large container of white pepper in the batch. A bit of malt was hiding back there, and the finish was just as strong spiced with a tinge of clove-numbness. The overabundance of white pepper was just too strong to truly enjoy this one, but it paired with some roquefort cheese very well. (533 characters)

Photo of RoyalT
2.83/5  rDev -32%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – Very deep, cloudy, orange body with a tinge of brown underneath a beautiful, volcanic head that went down slowly and laced the glass. Yep, it’s a BSPA.

Smell – Classic, spicy, BSPA aroma. This one has a nice light malt base filled with clove, coriander, pepper, paprika, and maybe even a little cinnamon. The fruits seem more on the sour side, though, which would be off-style.

Taste – This has a deep, rich flavor, but again it’s heavy on the lemons. Anyway, that said, this is actually dry from the hop balance. The spices are heavy on the tongue as well.

Mouthfeel – Full carbonation and a sour profile makes this medium-bodied BSPA a real sipper.

Drinkability – I was disappointed by this offering. I felt it was off style and lacked the fruity character that I’ve come to enjoy from strong Belgian ales.

Comments – Sorry, not my idea of the style. Pop a Pranqster or La Fin Du Monde to see what I prefer. Or, better yet, read TheLongBeachBum’s review of the Avec Les Bons Voeux. (1,021 characters)

Photo of kwill
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep orange with a large 1"+ head that stuck around for quite a while. The only thing I can take away from on the appearance is that I would have liked to see a bit more yeast. The smell is powerfully sweet and fruity with a hint of cloves.

The taste is definitely more mellow than the smell and I had a hard time picking out any of the sweetness or fruit in the smell. There is a definite hoppy bitter aftertaste. The carbonation was way overdone and almost overpowered an otherwise good beer.

Overall it is a very good beer, but for the price I won't be getting it again any time soon. (602 characters)

Photo of beerguy101
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle date 11/01/07 - Bright orange color, large head with staying power. Aroma is orange with a touch of banana and a little musty. Initial taste is vinous and very tart and sweet and sour. Very complex tastes, orange peel, grapefruit, malty and dry, champagne and salt. Flavors mellow as it warms. Incredibly complex beer. Definitely not for everybody, but world class. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter. (460 characters)

Photo of Loki
3.16/5  rDev -24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Sampled from 33cl bottle with a Best Before date of 04 2007. Should I have let this age more?

I will try this again, but I was very disappointed. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe it was a bad bottle. Maybe I don't like the style, but I doubt the last one.

Poured a hazy amber color with a big white, frothy head that faded some what quickly to a thin, bumby covering. A quick swirl at anytime during the sampling brought back a 1/4 foam head that had a eye like the center of a hurricane.

The aromas were very fruity. Smells of pear, apricot, peach, and bananas with hints of malt and some hops hidden way in the back and I could only catch a glimpse of occationally. Like that hot girl in a crowded, smokey bar that you can only see when the crowd moves just right and your not really sure through the cloudy haze if it was her.

The taste help more fruit than the nose. Flavors of pear, apricot, bananas, and leather. Yes leather and more banana than I expected or was prepared for. Very unbalanced. The body was medium, but the finish was very sticky. I couldn't get it off the sides of my mouth, teeth, and tongue.

My wife thought it was aweful. Said, "This tastes like fruit and old shoe leather. If this was a wine I would say it was corked."

It didn't think it was that bad, but I was very disappointed. Especially considering the lengths I'll have to go through to get another to try. (1,420 characters)

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

Judging from the awesome reviews, it may be that I purchased a lackluster bottle. I will try it again and see if it kicks my ass the way it seems to have others. Anyway, the head on this fellow was a virtual monster!! massive and foamy the head stays and stays! The beer pours a good copper blonde with some orange highlites. Aromas are ripe and fruit driven with flavors of grapefruit, citrus peel and fruitcake. The beer is medium in body with soft carbonation and a creamy feel. The taste is at once bitter citrus hopiness-veryredolent of citrus zest or oil. The whole emphasis in flavor seems to center on bright twangy citrus, and I, betting this is a fantastic food wine. I'll try it with some whitefish and potato and report back. I think I score the drinkability a bit low as this seems most certainly made for food vs simply sipping. I will try again and re review as needed. (884 characters)

Photo of Brian700
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a beautiful copper with a very nice head. Just like in my dream I had were I was sippin a very special concoction with royalty.

This beer makes you feel like your really experiencing something worth lending your attention towards.

A good glob of head kept me company throughout the whole bevi. And so did a sweet aroma representing a candy flavour wich provided a mouthfeel from the heavens.

This is a good one. One of my favorites. I recently made a trappiste ale and the best one of mine that I tasted came out of the Orval bottle I used during bottling. Maybe its a monk-like sign. Fishy at the least, get it. (630 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 grynder33
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy amberish color with visible floating setiment.Nice head that doesn't disappear quickly. An exquisite musty hoppy aroma, with just a hint of citrus. Nice classic complex hop taste which lingers nicely in the mouth. Way it coats the mouth may not mix well with many foods, but to savor by itself is great. Glob of head lasted till end. Glass smelled wonderful afterwards (375 characters)

Photo of SheepNutz
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz. bottle poured into an Orval glass. It pours a dark reddish-amber color with two fingers of head. There is minimal lacing left on the glass. The smell is a mix of sweet malts and a little bit of cloves. The taste is spicy and slightly sour, a little weird, very unique. a bit of hops and nutmeg to the super dry finish. Fairly strong mouthfeel, a little bubbly. The drinkability is fairly good for being 6.9%. (416 characters)

Photo of nomad
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Note to all: this beer can be quite inconsistent. I've had okay bottles, not so great bottles, and truly mind-boggling bottles. So, give it a second try if you didn't like it. My guess is that the very traditional and wholesome ingredients and technique, coupled with those ornery Belgian yeasts and a long ride to the U.S. creates the possibly infrequent quality.

Pours a perfectly clear copper color, with loads and loads of carbonation that never stops bubbling fast the whole session. The soft but very bubbly head stays put, truly never recedes. Also has nice thick and slow moving lace, a good sign. Smells of hops, leather, wild yeast like a gueuze. In turns the scents also: toned down clover, pepper, juniper, grapefruit rind, and a faint light-roasted walnut. In sum, a fresh and active nose of smells. Taste is a slew of flavors coming together all at once: fruity, roasty, sour, hoppy, with emerging slight lemon flavors that were inflected with bits of all of the above. Some interesting malt hiding behind all these wild and savory flavors. The finish is "just enough" as this beer comes on softly and expertly, refreshing and reinvigorating, with a just firm body and a smooth almost oily mouthfeel. With aging the mouthfeel thins out.

Quite a ride, with none others even remotely like it. (1,312 characters)

Photo of Indybeer
3.46/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle. Poured a dark amber/orange color with a massive cratered head that seemed to last forever. Aroma is that of citrus and floral. Kind of odd for a beer to smell like a flower garden. Taste is tart, and very acidic, with its medium carbonation, it finishes very dry. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, it doesn't really leave any aftertaste behind. Different to say the least. Will have to try this one again, just to see. (428 characters)

Photo of Sixpack595
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a textbook example of how a beer should present itself. Huge carbonation creates a dense chunky head that rises in a column above the rim of the glass. The big carbonation also carries a great aroma full of bannanas with hints of spices and other fruit. The lacing is outstanding. As great as the beer looked and smelled, the taste was a bit disapointing. I thought it was a bit too bitter, acidic and had an unpleasant coppery taste. I'll drink it again, but it isn't something I plan to make a habit of. (518 characters)

Photo of alexgash
4.9/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy golden, almost orange with a monstrous orangish-white head--WOW! Smell is sour, bitter, and floral; very interesting, like nothing I've smelled before. Taste is sour and bitter with a sharp, dry, yeasty, fruity, acidic finish. Is there alcohol in this? Ahh, the gentle warming half-way into this beauty says yes. This beer feels amazing: crisp, intriguing carbonation that just envelops the mouth. I would drink this regularly if it weren't $6 a bottle. (466 characters)

Photo of TheDM
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured an extremely invigorated head of creamy white bubbles and a cloudy light orange body with carbonation rising from the bottom of my mug. It has a mild malty aroma and a flavor that is slightly fizzy with notes of spice and hops. It is very dry in its finish and has no lingering aftertaste. All in all, it is a very nice brew. (342 characters)

Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.87/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice Belgian that would take a while to get used to drinking. Pours out looking very much like apple cider with a half inch head of off white froth. The aroma is mostly of fruit and sour at that. This follows through in the flavor which comes across as a sour fruit taste. No doubt this is a very complex with great complexity, if one is willing to get past the opening nose-wrinking smell and taste. There is clearly a great malt base and dandy yeast and hops at work here. Enjoyable? Depends on your point of view. (518 characters)

Photo of SeanChouffe
3.87/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I had pretty high expectations for this beer -- being a Trappist and all.
The highlight of the Orval was its wonderful aroma (fruity with a hint of clove).
It is a little cloudy with an amber color and a nice full head that lasted all the way through. Pleasant texture that was lively and with good character.
Everything prior to the taste was great -- full and complex but finished with a medicinal flavor. I found it a little disappointing. (446 characters)

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

This brew poured a very deep golden hue and hazy. The crown was very thick high and foamy. Carbonation was a show in itself, bubbles were huge.
Body was medium/full.
Definite fruity aroma...apples.
Very sweet taste...too sweet, not a session beer.
Not my style...sooooo not my style, but am glad that we met.
Interesting. Enjoyed......alas, never to meet again! (366 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,181 ratings.