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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 Lupin
3.26/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I just don't get it, I guess.

I may or may not have had this at tRotBBF. If I did, it was towards the end of the session, and I actually went out after 40+ samples and kept drinking at a bar, then another bar, and then a house party, so let's just say that this was my first time, mmk?

I really, really, really, wanted to like this beer. The no-nonsense label, the erotic bottle, and the fluffiest head I have ever seen. Pours with just the tiniest bit of yeast in suspension. So inviting, but then I actually give it a taste.

All I can say is that there is an earthiness to this beer that obtains and maintains the focal point throughout the quaff. I started drinking it cold, out of that ommegang flute with the silly scribbled guy on it. That nagging taste was there. I finished drinking it just above cellar temperature.. no change.

There was just something eminently one-dimensional about this beer. I could only taste that one thing, and it wasn't a fresh spiciness or 'complex malt character' or anything like that. It was just, well.. boring, and almost incomparable to anything else. First and possibly last tasting for this beer. (1,152 characters)

Photo of Tom_Banjo
2.92/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Two 330 ml bottles purchased from Whole Foods and served on different days at different temperatures. Served in a stemmed Spiegelau Pilsner glass. Attractive looking beer, but much too yeasty for me. Not a beer I think I will be having again any time soon. (257 characters)

Photo of ccm414
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured for the 11.2oz bottle...

A- A slightly golden hue that has an almost amber background. A solid 4 finger head that leaves excellent lacing around the glass.

S- A slight sour and citrus smell, almost like many ciders give off. Scents of what appears to be flowers are also noticeable. Rather complex and i like it.

T- A slight hoppy, flowery flavor. A little tart with some citrus rind in the finish. The flower scents appear to come out in the taste as well.

M- Very carbonated, but crisp. Lighter bodied. Almost champagne-like.

D- Rather drinkable. It is definitely an "old school" Trappist ale that seems to have never strayed from an original recipe. I like to reach for one of these every so often, not a favorite by any means, but I do like it.

Cheers! (775 characters)

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

11.2 oz. bottle dated 12/27/07, poured into a tulip glass. Nice orange-copper color, huge fluffy white head that lasts throughout the experience.

Smells mildly fruity, yeasty, very pleasant without being overpowering.

The taste has notes of citrus, a little spice, some very nice malt complexity and a fairly strong, somewhat suprising alcoholic presence at the end, given the relatively (for Trappists) low 6.9% ABV.

Very effervescent mouthfeel, again a little surprising, but not unpleasant.

Overall, very drinkable, but something to be savored slowly. A very nice, well rounded and interesting beer. (608 characters)

Photo of jmatthew
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
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. (364 characters)

Photo of Jordan1985rec
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this at Monk's Cellar in Brookline, MA and was blown away. The taste was far more dry than many of the other Belgian pales and I really enjoyed it all the way through. There was a clear sour and fruity smell and this sour taste carried over into the taste in a good way. Overall this was a very enjoyable beer that seems like it would pair well with roasted chicken or lamb. Cheers. (388 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 AleDrinkToThat
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Bright copper/orange hue under a wonderful two finger rocky beige head.

Smell: The hops bouquet was readily apparent, and the tart citrus was balanced well with a lightly toasted malt.

Taste: I was a little surprised by the delicious bitter tartness from the citrus and hops. It's so clean, so sharply balanced...it really is the best pale I've had, from any nation. What can I say? The oldest Trappist brewery is still here for a reason. A damn good one.

Mouthfeel: The fruity and malty notes were so sharp...almost as if there were something clouding the clarity of other pale ales. It's like pale ale in HD.

Drinkability: Other than the cost, I say drink up. But do savor it, because it's expertly crafted and worth a longer contemplation than any run-of-the-mill American or English pale. (808 characters)

Photo of cheapxceptbeer
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well no time to review this beer but I would say this is a great beer that is a bit overhyped, not as good as chimay so I will rarely get this without a boatload of disposable income, but a great beer nonetheless. Subtle and delicate flavors that would be lost if it were not the first beer, but still this is dissapointing, and definitely not the best trappist ale. (366 characters)

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

First of this is not my type of beer. I do not really enjoy pale ales but this is one I definitely had to try. With that said. Golden brown in color with heavy lacing and strong fingers. Previous review stated a sea foam head and that is spot on. Used a New Belgium tulip and even with it being .47L to the mark and probably .5L full the head rose slightly out of the glass. The glass does have a laser etching on the bottom that may have contributed to the larger than normal head. Smell is consistent with a pale ale. Strong hop aroma. Not quite Challenger hop but earthy and very green like. Taste has a sort of consistent flavor from beginning to end hitting you at first with some strong belgian hops with a nice balance of hop/sweet middle and finishing quite smooth and not too dry for my palette. Very active on the tongue and mouth with a sort of brut champagne feel. If I want to drink a pale ale this is the beer for sure. A definite beer to keep around to pair with when I make more spicy foods or blackened fish/chicken. (1,033 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 dfitch81
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An extraordinary beer, this. Orval's excellence manifests in its intricate and subtle complexities. The exceptional artisanship that goes into crafting this masterpiece is unmistakeable.

Appearance: Before I even talk about the appearance of the beer I have to mention the bottle itself - a work of art in its own right. The neck flows seamlessly into the body, which then tapers gently to the narrower base. Simple, beautiful, elegant. Pouring the beer into my Orval chalice produced two fingers of rocky white head, which eventually settled into a silver-dollar sized patch in the center. The beer itself is a beautiful hazed-honey amber with numerous tidy bubbles scudding up the side.

Smell and Taste: Distinct to say the least, like no other beer I've ever tried. Some perfuminess and mustiness with hints of hay, tart fruit and roses in the nose; estery and phenolic notes are much in evidence. Taste mirrors and builds on the scent, with the estery, rosy flavor complemented by the subtle fruity tartness (reminiscent of litchis). Yeast flavor emerges towards end of the taste. Curious but wonderful dry finish invites another taste.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable with a wonderfully constructed body that allows you to appreciate the complexities inherent in the palate. Alcohol is difficult to notice, even though at 6.9% it is hardly lacking in that respect. This beer's complexity entices you to refill your glass again and again. The only problem is that unless you have lots of money, you'll never be able to fill your glass with Orval except on special occasions.

Overall a strange yet exquisite thing, to be savored slowly and delicately. (1,657 characters)

Photo of johannasclimacus
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Nice, slightly hazy deep copper.
S: A bit of bread, yeasty with some fruit.
T: Tart fruit, especially right in the middle. There is a very nice sweetness that is balanced in the finish.
M: Medium, very easy drinking.
D: No alcohol taste at all for me, and the beer is very easy to drink. I'm not sure if my tastes are evolving, but I'm moving through this a lot quicker than I have through other beers of the and similar styles. I can definitely feel the alcohol, but I wish I had more than one of these.

Overall, this lives up to the hype, and it's a great way to cap off my spring break. I'm raising my glass to all of my fellow collegiates who have consumed a huge quantity of terrible beer this week. (709 characters)

Photo of voteforgoat
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottled Jan 22, 2009 -

Bubbles up like crazy when i poured into my glass. Overflowed a bit even! Unlike any other trappist beer. Sour, dry finish, likely from the Brett. Refreshing. Once you drink the beer, you might notice the bottle is especially heavy, probably to hold the carbonation. A bit stronger than your average beer. Quite unlike most Belgians I've had

I'm going to open bottle #2 now!

My gf said it "reminds me of Cuvee Renee, but not quite" (458 characters)

Photo of Jef59
4.62/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a gorgeous hazy orange with a gigantic off-white head.

The smell is amazing! Vey similar smelling to a white wine. Grapes, oranges, and a little grapefruit. There is a little pine and nuttiness followed by sweet sugary smell. A little boozey but in a nice way.

Tastes of sweet malts with an extremely crisp and refreshing hop note. Very citrusy and grapey like the nose. It's kinda funky, not in a horse blanket kind of way but it has a slight twang to it. Extremely well balanced. Extremely refreshing.

Nicely carbonated. Not very thick and is easily quaffable (I wouldn't dare though)

A truly unique Belgian ale. Very distinct and delicious. (653 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 Tomhet
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a rich, cloudy brown with an amber hue when held up to light. A giant three-finger off-white head sits atop the robust body, making the prospect of tearing into this even more enticing. Talk about a complex nose. First thing that hits you is a boozy hybrid of spiced cherries, banana, sharp grapefruit, and the general Belgian yeast. The yeast logically flows into the bready malts that provide the nose's solid foundation and wonderful balance. A slight grassy/floral hop presence is notable deep in the aroma.

Taste: Very, very relaxed. Sweetness permeates the entire brew, and absolutely none of the alcohol from the nose is apparent. Those floral hops play a much larger role in the taste than the nose would indicate, and it's entirely refreshing when enjoyed under the slick, wet mouthfeel that the brew supplies. Somewhat distinctive, if not generic yeast notes are omnipresent throughout the sip, but I'm not picking up the fruit notes that the aroma indicated nearly as much as I anticipated. Carbonation is medium and crisp. Pepper rings out strong throughout. I saw a review that mentioned a “fresh-cut hay quality”, and it's right on the money. The finish is a really sweet, organic banana note that makes itself known even after you've finished taking a sip. Overall, this is perhaps the most refreshing of the Trappist ales but certainly doesn't compromise in complexity. (1,405 characters)

Photo of John_Henry
1.85/5  rDev -55.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A: Looks pretty good, as one would expect. Enormous amount of head, leaving good lacing. The head is so big it is actually too much.

S: The first thing that hits, and unfortunately a little off-putting. I racked my mind for a few minutes as it reminded me of something, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Best way I can describe it is Parma ham.

T: Pretty horrific. Lite, dry to the point of sourness. Quite bitter, but overall really rather unpleasant. Awfully disappointing.

M: Seems pretty good, but the taste is so unpleasent that it overpowers, what would potentially be a great mouth feel. I really can't even begin to process whats going o in my mouth.

O: I assumed I had a bad bottle until reading some of the other reviews. I still find it hard to believe that this isn't a bad bottle, and this is how this highly acclaimed beer is meant to taste, am I so pore of a judge? Having been an avid beer enthusiast for the last 20 years, I have to assume this just isn't for me. Strange having enjoyed pretty much every other Belgium beer I've had.

I will give this another try as this was purchased in Japan, so may well be a bad example, but unfortunately I think it may be how this beer is intended. (1,212 characters)

Photo of stulowitz
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
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! (342 characters)

Photo of SudNut
3.66/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was my first Belgian Pale Ale I have had a couple of the strong darks before and think I prefer those. This beer pours to a murky golden brown with a creamy head and some lacing.

The smell is citrus like…. lemon, with a hint of spice.

Taste is sweet then tart liked the smell with a tiny hop bite and a light undertone of alcohol. Fairly well balanced if you like tartness.

Mouth feel is light and creamy with plenty of carbonation.

I gave it a low drinkabilty mark because I don’t like tart beers. Other wise a fairly sound choice. This just doesn't seem to be my favorite Belgian style. (607 characters)

Photo of Nuke77
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice the head just explodes on this beer. I served mine at about 52F and it seems to be the near perfect temperature to experience the wonderful head. The appearance is a darkish orange with lots of bubbles coming from the bottom of the chalice. I did not observe any "floating" yeast. The scent is all apple and some dark fruit. This beer literally explodes on the tongue with the taste following the scent of apple and dark fruit, a bit of hops and bitterness and sweetness simultaneously. The carbonation is pronounced. I could easily drink this one as a session beer but for my taste it is too special to do so. One of the finest beers I have ever experienced. (681 characters)

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

Golden/reddish colour with an enormous head that stays there forever. The body is very cloudy, you can't really see through.

The smell is spicy and fruity.

The taste is something different. As complex as it possibly gets, with myriad tastes mixing up. Flowers, hay, grain, lemon, you name it.

It really is that complex.

In saying that, I'm not really that impressed by all the combinations. It's good, I would buy it again, but not one of the world's greatest beers, as some reviews might lead you to think. (511 characters)

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

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle.

A: Cloudy amber with a thick, foamy head. Nice lacing.

S: Floral, apples, hops. Some phenolic character.

T: A little sour apple, a bit of funk. Strong hops presence up front that sticks with you. Long, dry finish.

M: Light bodied, strong carbonation.

D: Very drinkable. Alcohol is well-hidden.

This one was a little surprising. Hoppier than I thought it'd be. (396 characters)

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

The monks know how to get you drunk. These trappist brews always break on through.

What's great about the beer is how well it plays out the expectations. It will be a classy beer. You know this; the price tag shows this.

And what do you find? It will look like a classy beer. The monstrous head just makes you think of having a merry time, and it's truly a joyful time peering through the golden colored brew.

It will taste like a finely balanced, delicious, classy beer. Dry, carbonated, blast to the tongue.

There's nothing exciting about it, and this has to be the only complaint. Surely, though, we don't want a Pale Belgian to be doing too much radically, so this hardly matters. 6.9 abv is precisely what it needs to be for you not to taste it and then to feel it nicely. (781 characters)

Photo of yapi
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Has a nice golden color.
Smell & taste is of lemon, hoppy character, floral.
I like the hop here.
Although a bit sharp & dry.
Granny smith apple.
Grassy as well.
Very good beer, but - as a personal preference - I don't really like a dry finish.

edit: really became 1 of my favorites, drinkability is great, so I upped the score (334 characters)

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