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

2,180 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

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Reviews: 2,180
Hads: 4,874
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 284
Gots: 638 | 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: 2,180 | Hads: 4,874
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)

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

Serving Type: 11.2 floz Bottle

A:Murky Orange color with a nice head with plenty of lace.

S:Oranges, lemons, citrus.

T: Sharp taste, hard to pinpoint....Earthy

M:Stings the tounge, much like a cola.

D:Overall a good drinkable beer. Great for a summer afternoon. (277 characters)

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

I kept this beer in my personnal cellar from 3 years now, can't wait anymore

Appearance - Orange to copper color, more darker that the younger ones, nice carbonnation

Smell - Fruit, wood, vineous with the warming alcohol adding a nice layer of complexity

Taste - Oak, alcohol, serious sweet and vineous taste

Mouthfeel - Light and smooth

Drinkability - Very nice light-aged beer, very easy to drink, delicious (415 characters)

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

This is my favorit Trapist beer to date; it, in my view is better than Chimey- but very different. Having triied in Chinese "cafe" for $4 out of a wine glass, of which I spent a few miniuites trying to explane why I wonted a glass and particularly that glass, It is by far one of the best beers I have triied. I wont lie, the Chinese air killed my nose and so I can just tell by every thing else that the beer smelled like heaven. The taste was very different, very oylde fashined and very not sweat and not bitter. It was light and crispy but also heavy and wonderful. I could sit and drink these for years. (608 characters)

Photo of pioppo
3.38/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A very particular and characteristic beer from Belgium!! Beautiful the foam that is very adherent.

A lot of wine!! ..with incredible sentor of must both at the nose and in mouth.. This beer remember me a Lambic style.

I don't like very much this beer because it's too much acid and so not many drinkable.. (307 characters)

Photo of mmthompson33
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A legendary beer. Drinking an Orval is a unique experience each time - the fruitiness, subtle maltiness and high alcohol make it one to remember. Not many beers can do that, and no beer has been able to imitate Orval. Orval has that aura that very few beers ever achieve. (274 characters)

Photo of PsychoJedi
3.82/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours what would be a nice shade of golden, but filmy. The head is enormous! One of the biggest (but not the biggest) head I have ever poured. It goes down slow with a thickness in the head. The smell is good. I bit fruity, but not to excess with what might be a malty background covering up some of the fruit smell. Taste is alright. Not fruity and not malty, but not much too it than I expected from a Belgium beer. Rather uneventful to some part, but the taste is there. No after taste. Goes down rather smooth. Verdict: try it and judge for yourself. (557 characters)

Photo of frozyn
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Very large head on top of a great caramel color. Sweet, fruity, slightly tart scent. Flavor opens up as it gets warmer, turning a little nutty and herbal. The carbonation at first is too powerful, but letting it sit tones it down a lot and the flavor is more noticeable: to me, the sweetness didn't come through flavor-wise until it had sat for 15 minutes.

Overall quite a good beer. (385 characters)

Photo of vikingmike
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A very opaque rich amber colour. Gorgeous, really. Incredible head retention.

Smell: I detected bread-like notes combined with medicinal herbs
and lemon

Taste: I wish I could put into words how this tastes...dissect the different subtleties and so forth...but I can't. All I can say is very, very unique; truly unlike anything I've tried before. A VERY long, lingering aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: This stuff is really dry, so much so that it almost made me pucker a bit. Medium bodied

Drinkability: It went down very easily.

This is my first time tasting such a unique beer. I'm glad I finally got around to trying it after hearing it hyped up so much. It really wasn't what I was expecting, based on other trappists I've had, but I did enjoy it (757 characters)

Photo of JustinOSU99
3.6/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a light amber color with a huge foamy head that sticks aruond for quite some time
S: All sorts of great smells come out of this beer such as apple, orange rind, fig, slight pear hints, and an undertone of caramel.
T: Up front I tend to notice the alcohol even though this beer doesnt have a huge ABV. It is quite tart, with the apple taste coming through. Lingers a bit on the palate with its tartness.
M: Perfectly balanced in carbonation and doesnt seem too heavy.
D: I didn't enjoy the beer as much as I thought I would, but will give it a second try down the road. (577 characters)

Photo of Andrewtherooster
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow, I can't say I've ever had a beer that tasted like this. Smells a bit lactic, slightly of shoe-polish (and enjoyably so), buttery and a hint of something sweet I can't quite pin-point. Up-front I get a bit of cheddar flavor, a hint of grapefruit-sweetness, finishing with a nice toasty malt. I suspect some Brett used in this beer, as it has some of that wild/sour characteristic comes through. But where most wild ales would turn tart, Orval turns bready in the finish. It reminds a bit of a quality grilled cheese. In fact, I'm sure this beer would go great with a grilled cheese.

As for mouthfeel, I found the beer to be a bit over-carbonated when I first poured it into my snifter, but with some swishing around, it got much better. A little on the thin side, and a bit dry.

Overall, it's a remarkable beer that I would most certainly try again. (855 characters)

Photo of evantwomey
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet. Big, foamy head which lingers for a while. Little lacing. Color is reddish-amber, good clarity. Aroma is fruity and funky. The brett comes through very nicely and really sets this beer apart from the other trappist ales. Taste is not quite as good as the aroma. Faint malt taste with a dry and surprisingly bitter finish. Very vinous. Mouthfeel is 'explosive' - when I swish it in my mouth, it instantly turns to foam. This stuff is seriously carbonated. I think the massive carbonation might mute some of the flavors.

Overall this is a fantastic beer and the weirdest of the trappist beers I've had so far. The brettanomyces sets it apart, and it is easily the best Belgian pale ale I've had. (716 characters)

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

This is a near unique beer in my experience - and a fabulous treat for someone who appreciates Belgian ales.

First pour shows a light amber beer with strong gold and orange highlights. The hazing is quite light and there is only a small amount of yeast sediment. The head is, well, incredible. And magnificent. A stunning, fluffy mass of everlasting rocky white dense foam.

The aromas are equally amazing. There is that intense burst of funky yeast that sets this beer apart from the other Trappists. In some ways the horse blanket aroma here reminds be of the aromas from the Fantome Saison. Strong floral aromas with a nice grapefruit/lemon spice touch. Smelling this beer is perhaps better even than drinking it.

In taste it is immensely smooth with a crisp bite in the middle and a citric/grapefruit finish. The body is rather light for a Trappist and there is a huge amount of effervesence. Noticable hop flavours and some phenol notes in the middle. As the grapefruit fades the dryness takes over. Now this is a dry finishing beer!!

The only downside to this beer is that it is so complex that I honestly don't think I could drink more than a couple without my palette being overwhelmed.

A fabulous, original beer and a true piece of history. (1,263 characters)

Photo of sprackops
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2oz brown bottle with a best before date of 20.01.2009, a full five years after its bottled on date. Poured into a proper Orval chalice, leaving the majority of the yeast in the bottle.

Appearance: Slightly hazy amber with a wide column of bubbles feeding a dense off-white head. Beautiful.

Smell: Lemon, orange, pine, and funky barnyard yeast are just a few of the scents that come to mind. Quite a complex nose.

Taste: Very citric and drying at the start, like a dry white. Beyond this the taste expands to a particularly full balance of sweet malts and candy sugar to high alpha acid hops bitterness. Lurking in the periphery is the funky wild yeast character detected in the nose, bringing along with it an impressive gamut of earthy, rustic flavors similar to those found in complex cheeses that while not immediately appealing, are in my opinion integral to the uniquely satisfying nature of Orval. The experience is rounded out with a pleasant, mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with very lively carbonation. This perfectly accompanies and accentuates the flavor.

Drinkability: As I consider this the most subjective category for obvious reasons, I would normally state that I see no reason why anyone who appreciates this beer couldn't knock back a few more than other representatives of similar styles. However, considering the price that comes along with the Trappist name, it seems proper to deduct a point here.

Comments: This has been my favorite Belgian for nearly as long as I've been aware of the country's beers -- I've delayed reviewing it for so long out of fear of not doing it justice. I'd just like to add that I would love to taste more hoppy beers which utilise wild yeast strains. Oh Brettanomyces, what can't you do? (1,790 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,180 ratings.