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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
94
outstanding

4,655 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,655
Reviews: 2,159
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 252
Gots: 524 | FT: 11
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,655 | Reviews: 2,159 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of roblund
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of Brinks
5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of trevorwideman
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well well well, I'm a lucky guy to have found this one last night here in Manitoba. I was like a kid in a candy store.... 2004 vintage.

Pours a hazy orange copper colour with a huge head. Correction, massive head. This head actually grows as you down the glass. Pour very carefully. The pillowy, fluffy head leaves a thick lace all the way down the glass. The vicious carbonation is a thing of beauty. Smell is exceedingly spicy and a bit musty. There's a huge floral bouquet, like springtime when the Lilacs begin to bloom.

Taste is just as intense, like you were tasting all outdoors at one. Floral and Wild, lots of herbal flavour. Some earthy grassy notes. A tangy and spicy lemony sourness comined with an exquisite hop character that's very well balanced. This beer just dances around the palate, and is very complex.
The mouthfeel is full of body, a little sticky. Clean, with a little dryness in the finish. This was an amazing surprise and a real treat for me, The ABV being what it is, it's exceedingly drinkable, but the actual quality of the beer makes you want to save these for a special occasion. Also, I'd like to come back to it in a year or so, see what's changed. If you live in a place where this stuff is readily available, I'm so jealous.

Photo of vtfan77
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark copper with a huge rocky head. Seriously, that head is enormous. It takes a while to dissipate and leaves quite a bit of lacing as it goes down.

S- Pleasantly fruity nose. Spicy, too. Clove is quite evident, along with some alcohol and perhaps a touch of barnyard-like funkiness.

T- Hmm, interesting. I don't really know how to describe the taste. It's fairly mild. It's kind of sweet at first, but it quickly dries out until there is little to no sweetness on the finish. Yeast contributes to some interesting flavors, although I'm finding it tough to pick anything out. Definite notes of spice, some pepper and clove. Some lemon juice sourness in the middle and a cracker-like maltiness on the finish. It's also relatively bitter.

M- Lots of carbonation, but it suits this beer well. No complaints.

D- For some reason I can't see myself drinking a lot of this. All evidence seems to point to this being a very drinkable beer (medium-light body, good carbonation, dry finish) but I really wouldn't want to drink a ton of it. Also, the ABV is kind of high (my bottle says 6.9%), although not too bad. I might have another, but certainly not more than two.

Well, this was definitely an interesting beer. It's also a bit of an enigma, as I can't seem to pinpoint any definite taste characteristics. I know that Brett is used at some point in the making of this beer, so maybe that's throwing my tastes off. Anyway, it's certainly not bad and actually pretty good, but will be a rare purchase for me in the future. I'll recommend it as a beer to try at least once.

Photo of McStagger
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not my first Trappist Ale to drink, but my first to review.

A: Poured into official Orval goblet. Beer pours an extremely hazy brownish orange with an inch of orange/off-white head. Head retention is good, with decent lacing. No carbonation visible except in head.

S: The scent is that of dried orange rind, coriander, honey, clove and lemon zest with hints of candied sugar and bubble gum.

T: The forefront is the same citrus zest. However, it is interwoven with mild soap-like phenols at the beginning of the mid-palate. The citrus and soap notes carry into the mid palate, with the citrus notes dying about halfway through the mid-palate. The soap notes are picked up and accentuated by hop bitterness, which both transition beautifully into the finish, which is (finally) hit by the sugar and spice-box. A tinge of hop bitterness mixed in ensure a long finish on this beer.

M: A crisper front and drier finish than what would be expected from an ale of such flavor. Kinda throws ya off.

D: Easier to drink than a lot of Trappists, sure. The flavor intensity can throw some people off. (Along with the price).

This is the first beer I've reviewed on here in which I did not particularly care for the beer, but could not deny the quality it exhibited. This is a fine Trappist Ale (is there any other?) that most would be happy to drink. It's just not my cup.

Photo of pweis909
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Edit: Suggestion. Try a few beers bottled on different dates. A more recent bottle (dated Dec 27, 2007) seems even more lively and bright to me.

Deep gold, just a shade short of amber, with big white head of tight bubbles. Most of the head dissipated after a few sips, but the carbonation is persistent, leaving a quarter inch foam and lacey rings around the glass.
Edit: The more recent bottle seems more amber to me.

The aroma is phenolic, with a bit of medicinal notes, and maybe a bit of clove. These flavors mesh with hop spiciness, making it tough to separate them all.
Edit: There is much more fruit to the nose in the more recent bottle, maybe a bit of bubble gum, that compliments the clove. The medicinal notes are subdued.

The beer is lively on the tongue, and gives a bit of carbonation bitterness, but as I swirl the beer in the mouth, there is the barest touch of malt sweetness followed by a very dry finish with a slightly resiny hop character.
Edit: the newer beer has a stronger sweetness.

The beer is "digestible", with a light body characteristic of trappist beers. The alcohol helps contribute to the dry light feel.
Very drinkable.
Edit: The newer beer is perhaps a slight tad heavier, but not to the point that drinkability suffers

Photo of clickpush
3.74/5  rDev -11%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour: 33cl bottle to wide mouth wine glass. Finger and a half white head with apricot body. Slowly descends. Lots of bubbles along wall of glass. Leaves a huge & healthy white cap with bigger lacing along the outside of the body.

Nose: Unripe peaches and apricots. Malt and grain. Fruit. Green grapes. Almost tropical, coconut and pineapple. Rich. Perfumy.

Mouth: Dry and sour, crisp and foamy and chewy. Strange hop bitterness in the finish. Bret is more present in the flavor than the aroma. Bitter melon rind taste. Mellows as it warms. Perhaps a dry bramble taste.

Photo of plfahey
4.39/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle (bottled 7/10/10) poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Vigorous carbonation bursts forth from the bottle-Beer is golden orange with a giant rocky head of off-white foam. Head retention is decent. Also moderately clear, but there seems to be a the slightest cast of haze.

Aroma-Holy god that smells good. Big Belgian yeast character with some notable Brett character as well. Spicy, slightly clove like phenolics, lemon peel, hay, horse blanket, and grassy/spicy hops. There is also some acidic tartness, and a faint mustiness. Malt is just slightly bready, and on the back end, the brett is a little bit floral.

Flavor-Slightly fruity/citrusy (lemon) up front before being dried out by high attenuation and moderate hop bitterness. Hop flavor is grassy/spicy, and there is a distinct lemon-drop tartness that carries through the entire flavor. Brett character is less pronounced than in aroma, but still contributes some slight hay and barnyard flavors. Aftertaste smacks of herbal hops, lemon peel, and Brett.

Mouthfeel-Medium body with very high, effervescent carbonation. Awesome tongue scrubbing action.

This is always an exciting beer, as I feel like every time i've ever had it, it's slightly different. This particular bottle was not quite as delicious as some that I've had (though still quite tasty), but smelled like heaven. A fantastic Belgian brew, endlessly intriguing and complex, and a favorite, for sure.

Photo of sjstraub
5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of Buttermilk
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of mattyrubes
3/5  rDev -28.6%

Photo of Andonato
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of knicks19947
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of cameraman
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A light amber color, with a rocky/puffy off white colored head. The scent has sweet spices, corriander, maybe some nutmeg, plus a fruity fragrance of peach. There is a sugary sweet, candy scent in there as well. The taste was very mild, I was expecting this robust, sweet flavor, but it doesn't even seem to leave any flavor on the palate. It does finsh with a strong hop bitterness, though nothing to harsh. The feel is almost like a lager, surprisingly crisp, and very dry finish from beginning to end. I am fairly let down by the taste, everything else was a surprise in this my first trappist ale.

Photo of MrNate
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of allboutbierge
3.37/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ive had Orval quite a few times but never got around to writing a review until now.

This bottle was an '06 purchased from Juilus Meinl in Vienna.

Appearance is light brown with a slight golden hue topped by a gob of white fluffiness. Upon pouring it's a bit murky but yet transparent. However, all cloudiness quickly dissipates away. Scent is soft and sour. I detected some graininess to the smell as well...the smell isn't a high point of this beer.

Taste is pleasant. A mixture of sour fruit flavors accented with a slight hoppiness. Beer is well carbonated and the carbonation may be hiding the depth of the hop favors. Malt background is equally slight. This isn't a taste monster but rather refreshing.

Photo of SupaCelt
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew presented itself at nearly a year old as a hazed copper orange with a monstrous chunky head. It is extremely bubbly and the head holds strong and produces sheets of lacing with some true substance.

The smell is very nice to the nose. Banana comes through as dominant to my detectors. A bit of ground spice and pepper and other fruity impressions linger as well.

The taste is light and subtle. The banana that was evident in the nose is noticeable as well as a pear impression and the tastefully administered spicery. There is a degree of bitterness here that shows up in the final throes along with a sourness. It has quite a bit of yeast inspired flavor character. The aftertaste comes off too peppery and yeasty for my personal preferences.

The mouthfeel is light. Massive carbonation achieves this effect quite handily.

Drinkability is only as good as taste here. I was truly optimistic about this, but overall I am a bit disappointed in the end. I was expecting more out of this one.

Photo of plaztikjezuz
3.81/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bought a bottle at wirkd market in lansing, michigan. ($4.99)
pours a cloudy copper with a pillowy off white head, it looked like it does in the ads, perfect head;two fingers thick.
the aroma is dry slight bit of floral, maybe corriander.
the flavor is subitle, bit of malt, some herbal flavors, corriander, very dry.
the mouthfeel is light, maybe watery.

Photo of DaveFL1976
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'd had this beer before in the US, and I wasn't particularly impressed with it. I found it a bit harsh and astringent.

But then I went to Belgium.

Specifically, to a little town called Orval.

After poking around the courtyard of the monestary and meeting a monk, my wife and I went down the road 100 meters to the cafe. I had the full strength, my wife had the green bottle.

It poured a lovely deep reddish/cherry color with a frothy off-white head. Smell was sweet and spicy. The taste...so much better than how I'd remembered it. This was a damn fine beer. Sweet up front, but balanced out with a certain spicyness that balances things out nicely. A nice beer.

Photo of Neorebel
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As I pour into my goblet Orval appears as a beautiful shade of clear copper, topped with a very puffy 1" white head. The aroma is very rich and complex. I'm picking up spices, a yeasty 'farmhouse' funk, sugary malt, and various fruits- including green/sour apple, lemon and banana. What's nice about experiencing this beer is that the initial flavor and feel is crisp and peppery, with a subtle hint of hops, and the finish is a nice 'banana bread' aftertaste. Absolutely delicious and drinkable anytime. One of my favorite beers.

Photo of treznor
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of GodOfBeer
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the nicest looking beers ever! Pours a ridiculously foamy head that never seems wants to die down, looks like fluffy clouds.

Smells like pixie sticks, candy sugar, bready yeast, hay and flowers. Very flowery, almost smells like a funeral home, in a good way.

Malty sweet and sugary upfront, lots of different spices, lots of brett yeast, and nice and hoppy. Tastes like liquid bread, definitely complex and changes over time.

Wonderfully drinkable with a velvety smooth mouthfeel. Overall one of the best beers money can buy!

Photo of djmichaelk
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle into a perfect pint. Bottled 2/20/08.

A - Slightly hazy yellow, almost amber. Huge, rocky, off-white head that almost overflows the glass. Slight lacing, but not really sticking to the glass. Subsequent pours just stir it right back up. Great legs.

S - Well, this is a really pleasant surprise. While I was expecting a typical trappist pale, this has all of the aromas of an American wild ale. Citrusy, funky notes from the brett, plus some yeastiness in the background. Maybe a little clove and spice. This is just fantastic.

T - A lot going on here -- funkiness at first, less citrus than the nose, plenty of spice: clove and anise, with maybe some allspice. A bit of banana. Little to no alcohol in the finish, although it is somewhat dry.

M - Full and sticky. Just the way I'd like a wild ale to be.

D - This is a really unexpected treat. There's a great combination of a wild and belgian flavors here. Lowish alcohol for a belgian just makes it even more drinkable.

O - I'm heading to the store tomorrow to buy at least another handful of these. Need to have some around the house for everyday drinking. Highly recommended.

Photo of LeeryLeprechaun
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle Date: 12/02/2011
Tasting Date: 1/5/2013

Beer pours crystal clear. A light amber color. Strong 2 finger head that is rocky and sticky.

Aroma is a little funky. Sweet, phenolic, a little bit of spice and pineapple. Nice Belgian yeast aromas.

Beer is crisp, slight funk at the finish with a little bit of tartness. A little bit of hops peaks through as the beer warms, as does some more funky flavors, nothing too harsh though.

Medium body, good carbonation.

A unique beer, crisp, light on hops, some complexity.

Photo of jsisko01
3.31/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottled on 12-30-2009 and best before 12-30-2014.

Appearance - Poured only half the bottle and it foamed over the top.. 2 inches of soapy looking foam, dissipating very slowly. The color is copper.

Smell - Dark fruits and bitterness is most dominant. Also earthy and has a little funky/musty aroma. I think I smell some clove too.

Taste - Very bitter.. with floral hops. Citrus, tartiness, clove, and some other spices.

Mouthfeel - Medium body with high carbonation.

Overall - Not really what I was expecting. I'd like it better without the spices.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,655 ratings.