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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: 4,900
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 8.41%
Wants: 285
Gots: 654 | 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: 4,900
Photo of phreak1983
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Even after a gentle pour into my goblet I got a huge head. It would have been best to let this one sit a little while after opening. Good carbonation and chunky lacing.

S- Sweet pears, floral scents, and I can actually smell the sourness.

T- Not as sweet or sour as it smelled. Very light and crisp.

M- Fizzy, dry, and finishes clean with no aftertaste at all.

D- Very easy to drink, the only thing that would stop me from drinking more is the price and a desire for a stronger tasting beer. (498 characters)

Photo of 71CrazyOtto
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Home Run.

Never had a beer with lacing and frothing head like it even remotely. Tiny bubbles run high up to upper sides of glass when poured trapped by thick cream colored head.
This "Authentic Trappist" brewer sets itself apart (far apart) from it's fellow monks at the other monastaries that brew the Belgium classics.

Orval I see now brew a 2nd beer but they will always be the best imo because they've been brewing only one for so long so I won't bother to try a cash grab second beer.

If I were to die someday on a porch or watching a game, this is the beer I would want in my hand. Crafted by pure souls/nature ingredients to send me to heaven...well hopefully to heaven hehe. (685 characters)

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

1st review!

Bottle dated 12/30/2009

A - Pours a hazy burnt orange with 3 fingers of clumpy beige head that sticks around forever. Nice sticky lacing all over the glass.

S - Green apple, barnyard funk, lemon zest, slight dry hop smell as well. Great smelling beer.

T - Follows the nose almost exactly with slightly tart green apple and just a hint of citrus up front followed by a touch of Bretty funk. Nice slight bitterness on the back end.

M - Medium body and ample carbonation leaves an amazing dryness.

O - Wow. I didn't expect to like this beer THIS much. I'd like to try a fresher bottle to compare this against, but this really is astounding. (655 characters)

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

no idea of freshness. 11.2 fl oz bottle

appearance:
a wonderfully fizzy head that doesn't last very long. Deep orange color, the last light on the clouds after the sun has dipped below the horizon.

smell:
mild. smells mostly like CO2. citrus, mint.

taste:
mild, but well balanced. slight bitterness and an elusive malty feel.

Not my favorite trappist. I will continue trying to make sure I have had the best representative of the brew, but nothinng new and it's been done better. (494 characters)

Photo of GreatLeo
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came in a 33cl bottle with bottled date of 09/28/2004 and best before date of 09/28/2009 served in its traditional glass.

Its a very unique beer quite distinct from all the other belgian pale ales out there I've tried. The color was a dark coppery color with a very generous head when poured. Definately not one of the strongest pale ales (6.2%) but its got quite a strong taste to it.

The taste was quite bitter especially the aftertaste it left behind which makes this belgian classic a bit more difficult to consume large amounts of. But still overall its a great trappist beer which I would recommend to all especially those who like bitter beers. (659 characters)

Photo of grbennett
3.71/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-Pours a golden orange color with a big, fluffy white head. One of the most beautiful beers I've ever seen. Head stays with the entire beer, leaving lacing.
S- Fruity aroma with a little bit of a chemical smell.
T-Flavors of citrus, clove, and some dusty or musty smell. The same chemical aroma is in the taste. Some hoppy bitterness to balance the sweetness. Begins to taste better as it warms.
M- Smooth with a little bit of carbonation.
Notes- A good beer but a little pricey. I will definitely buy it again but I won't buy it all the time. (548 characters)

Photo of LestatSabastian
2.42/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer was weird tasting to me. light color with bubbles around it looked like a soda. head from hell on one poor next poor hardly any. when I said it looked like a soda. Well it tasted like a bottle of sparkling water with a hint of beer.
mouthfeel of water and baking soda. this beer is not strong but not very good tasting. I did not like it.
Beau of Bama (362 characters)

Photo of kinged8th
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was craving a Belgium and picked up this one. Nice orange color with a thick head. Smells wonderful and tastes very good. Its more fruity than spicey and the alcohol is very well hiding compared to some other Belgiums Ive had. I could drink several of these at one time. A little pricey though. (294 characters)

Photo of jfro
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The golden amber beer poured nicely into a small belgian stong beer glass. Nice white head that left lace as the glass was imbibed. There is nothing really like Orval. The fruit smells are nicely paired with the hop content. I let this one reach optimum temp. before drinking and it paid off. The flavors really compliment each other at the warmer end of the drinking temp. rec's. The mouthfeel on this is quite possibly the best I have ever imbibed. While I may personally prefer the more "standard" expectations of a Trappist bier; Orval is there to remind us that Trappist is a logo, not a style. (599 characters)

Photo of great7dividers
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orval pours a nice hazy golden color with hints of orange. The head is incredibly thick and frothy, and sustains longer than most brews. The aroma from this trappist ale is subtle and citrus-y with a bready undertone (rather yeast-like). The mash of sour and spicy aroma is both impressive and pleasing, without being overpowering. The taste is equally enjoyable being fruity and well balanced. The mouthfeel starts soft and sparkling, then finishes amazingly dry. Orval combines all the best features of belgian-trappist flavors with an immaculate dry finish that makes this ale superbly drinkable. (599 characters)

Photo of Joshre
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Poured this into a tulip glass from a bottle. Has a golden, yellow-brass color, the head is huge. Lots of carbonation.

S: Smell was somewhat sweet, grassy, dried hay. Light

T: Taste was less colorful than the smell, but good. Lots of funk, alcohol is barely there. Very dry, not very sweet. Not a hoppy taste

M: Very carbonated, but not too-carbonated in any way. Light and thin

O: Great beer, very unique and interesting (429 characters)

Photo of dogboy
2.17/5  rDev -47.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I love Belgian beer and especially the Trappist ales. I tried this a while ago and hated it, so time for another go.

Bottle looks beautiful as does the beer in the glass with its golden hue and huge fluffy white head. Unfortunataly for me that's where it stops. Overpowering perfume and medicinal smells on my nose (even furniture polish?). Fizzy, thin, funky and sour in the mouth.

I won't be back for a third try. (417 characters)

Photo of erok
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Gorgeous Orangish-Amber. Pours with a vigorously effervescent head that dissipates quickly to a thin, light tan, persistent layer with decent lacing.
S: Mouthwatering, I couldn't wait to have a sip. Fruity esters, maybe floral, and Belgian yeast, very well balanced, yeast is not overpowering. If I closed my eyes and somebody asked what it was, I'd say immediately, "Belgian Pale Ale" - the type section of the style as far as aroma is concerned. After 10 or so sips, I'm detecting much more spiciness - coriander and pepper.
T: Tart yeastiness, understated maltiness, I was expecting a little more up-front malt. Some hop bitterness.
M: Slightly dry, little or no alcoholic heat.
D: Very drinkable (703 characters)

Photo of essie
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice. Produced a large frothy white head (2-3 fingers) over a slightly hazy amber to golden-colored body

Aromas of lemon, yeast, and some hops

Starts off with a lemon and grass taste, then finishes with a dry hoppy bitterness. Good complexity.

Nice smooth body with a decent amount of carbonation

The smooth mouthfeel and dry finish makes this beer very drinkable for me.

Overall, another trappist beer that's definitely worth trying. I'm not usually crazy about pale ales, but I could definitely see myself getting this again. (549 characters)

Photo of Sleepisforthewik
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: A HUGE RIDICULOUS HEAD! It poured what I would call a cloudy amber.

S: Smells to me of fruit, herbs, and flowers. Smells absolutely delicious.

T: Light, subtle fruit flavor with a hint of cider at times. A mild peppery taste is present with a slight salt aftertaste.

M: This beer is VERY carbonated. It has a smooth mouthfeel that I would translate into being very digestible.

D: I would personally enjoy this beer if I could as part of a weekly rotation.

As a final note, while drinking this, I would have killed to pair it with some warm Brie cheese spread on top of watercress crackers. (597 characters)

Photo of bebbcorp
4.88/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served at cellar temp from bottle poured into wide mouth goblet. Upon opening the bottle it hisses a very healthy carbonation and smells of yeast, lemongrass and a very clean musty attic. A clean pour with no sediment shows just how very carbonated this beer is and results with a very large head that crackles and pops receding into a great bubbling lace. A minute after the pour I put my head close to the glass and the beer is still bubbling and talking to me. Aromas from the glass are pale malt and cream. Beer drinks very dry and creamy with a bit of a pucker at the end, but not in a sour way at all. Almost like hay, dirt, mushrooms, and a very very good bread of a type that I have never had before. I am not experienced with brettanomyces but I think that is what this is and is flourishing in this beer. The beer was bottled on 29/07/2009 and that would explain this. It is all very enjoyable and makes me ponder at the end of every sip and I very much like this beer. So very smooth with no noticable alcohol. I could chug this beer if I wanted to quite easily, but that is not what I want to do. Then it would be gone and I would be sad. This beer is forcing me to enjoy it and I am sipping it slower than any beer I've had in a while. The bretty flavor stays in your mouth long after last sip is gone and that makes this beer all the more valuable. A beer that keeps entertaining the tastebuds even after it's gone. Orval trappists you have created a truly great beer and it's no wonder you only make two different beers. No need to make any more when you nail one perfectly. A 5 out of 5. (1,603 characters)

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

Appearance: Murky hazelnut, large off-white head appears fluffy and dense, alcohol sticks to sides very well. One finger head remains throughout

Smell: Light fruits, yeast, spice (perhaps cinnamon) and a somewhat earthy smell. Very nice on the nose and is a joy to pick out the separate aromas.

Smell: Flavorful apples, very very slight banana undertones, some yeast and malt. Notes of dryness, fresh grass and an earthy connotation finish out the brew. Very complex and very balanced.

Mouthfeel: Rich, full and creamy. The carbonation is perfect. Orval goes down exceptionally smoothly. (590 characters)

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

A: Unusual Cloudy, dark amber/honey tempting color with big off-white head, which could hold for bit longer.

S: Raisins, bananas, cloves and yeast. Just after pouring into glass it was bit unpleasant. Impression disappeared quickly.

T: Bananas, cloves and yeast again, sweetness plus delicate spiciness and barely noticeable salty aftertaste. Great balance!

M: Carbonation is bit too strong.

D: I could drink it the whole night! ;-) (436 characters)

Photo of baldben
4.31/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

10 month old bottle served in a glass chalice. Poured carefully to leave majority of the sediment in the bottle.

Pours with a thick fluffy off-white head that leaves thick lace down the glass. Head retention is very good, slowly reducing to a thin layer. The beer itself is tawny or copper with some haze.

The scent of this Orval is musty and faintly reminiscent of citrus fruit. I think if you put an orange into a baseball mitt it might have the same aroma.

The taste is as unique as the scent. Some musty and citrus notes. Bitter with dominant hop flavor. The malts become more evident as the beer warms. The after taste is dry, hoppy and lingers long on the tongue.

Complex but easy to drink, I give this beer high marks. (729 characters)

Photo of tilopud_rye
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am opening a bottle dated November 2011. Almost foams over when opened but it sticks to the mouth of the bottle without spilling. Pours nice violin-resin color with foamy head that falls to a thin layer at the top. Big sour and fruitty smell- a bit of herb but mostly light sour raspberry candy on the nose. Taste starts totally different with the malts bubbling on my tongue with the yeast and fruit coming at the roof and candie with sour dry aftertaste. The sour notes stick lightly to the roof of the mouth and sides of the tongue after but it's relaxing. That's a damn good one! (585 characters)

Photo of e_dawg
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

Pours a cloudy light orange. Some foamy, frothy head which slowly dissipates. A small amount stubbornly lingers. Aroma is candied apples, light citrus notes, cranberries, earthy tones, and graham crackers. Taste is a balanced and enjoyable mix that's initially sour but the sourness quickly mutes, allowing full enjoyment of the flavor. I'm getting some floral notes overlayed with more citrus, bread, and rust. Feel is light and poppy, almost like a champagne. An extremely enjoyable beer that's one of my favorites.

This is based on a 5 month old bottle, but try it aged by a few years for an even more unique Orval experience. (631 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 JorisP
4.62/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very thick white head, collapsing but stable.Beer typical orangey colour. Nose is bitter as in vegetable, spicey, flowery. Taste starts immediately quite bitter, combination of hops, flowers, and vegetable. There IS a balance by malt, hinting at sweetness withour ever becoming so. Retronasal aromas of mandarine-zest, hop shoots and olives, without the oil.
Carbonation just perfect: the beer has a milder form of 'Champenoise'-pearl forming, as made with naturally mildly crabonated springwater. Mouthfeel neither chewy, neither watery. No new aftertaste, bitterness lingers on. Drinkablility is second bar none: this is the ultimate Belgian session beer: it gives richness, depth and easy drinking, just as you prefer at the moment given. Unparallelled. (758 characters)

Photo of rustrose
3.4/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Orval Trappist Ale Bottled June 5 2008
Sampled July 24, 2009

Big hiss on opening but no foaming up in bottle. Pours a cloudy deep amber, kind of pale brown in low light, with three fingers of soft fine foam like meringue. Yellowish amber when held to light. Foam lingers like mad and sticks firmly to the side of the glass.

Big fruit salad nose. Apricot. Tropical fruits: pineapple, among others. A little bit of banana phenol as it starts to warm. A good dose of funk, with slight leather notes and that musty thing. Candied orange and lemon with some spice. Quite tangy overall. Faint hint of medicinal phenol, perhaps eucalyptus. A definite dash of pepper. Kind of like a saison, but different.

Flavor is not at all what I expected. It's exceptionally dry and subdued--actually hard to pick out what the predominant flavor is before the swallow, because it seemed like not much was happening. Quite bitter though. This is one of the hoppiest Belgians I've ever had, especially considering it's over a year old--there is a firmly bracing bitterness in the aftertaste. This lingers with a kind of horehound, old-fashioned candy flavor, just without any sugar. Perhaps this is a touch of something roasted. It's just so dry I can't place the flavors. My accompanying pretzels leave a sweeter taste in the mouth than this. Still, this isn't tart at all... just not sweet at all. This is just underwhelming me--it doesn't have the funky excitement of the Jolly Pumpkin La Roja that I had last night, nor the richness of a Belgian Pale, nor the zest of a saison. I guess it has some funk going on, but it seems to happen over a lackluster backdrop that would be much better with some tang to it. There is some orange citrus to the flavor as it warms. The bitterness seems to override some of the other things going on, in my opinion, and whatever is going on needs to be more going on.

Mouthfeel: a bit of tingling and astringency on the tongue. Overall, light, fluffy and soft feeling texture, though perhaps a bit harsher at first with the strong carbonation.

Overall impression: the nose is quite an artistic achievement, the appearance is fine, the lacing is beautiful, the mouthfeel is delightful, but the flavor is quite lackluster. Rarely have I enjoyed my pretzels more than my beer. Not worth seeking again, though it would be nice to compare a fresh bottle. $6 is so much better spent on some other beer. Disappointing.

I'd give this a B or B- overall. (2,465 characters)

Photo of EnkiduBrew
4.49/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Bottle, poured into Belgian style tulip goblet.

Appearance: Slightly hazy, golden-orange when held to the light. 2.5 finger, fluffy head that lasts until the end, leaving a nice lacing. Color is reminiscent of maple leaves in early fall.

Smell: Superb Belgian yeasty goodness. Slightly phenolic with ripe citrus (mostly lemon but some pear as well) dominating (wonderfully tart). Some funky, brett-like character comes through but it does not dominate. Sessionable but extremely complex. I could drink this for days.

Taste: Lots of citrus peel comes through. Some peppery character comes through to make this not all about the citrus yeast character. Initial citrus peel flavor fades into a slight malt sweetness before a firm (but not overwhelming) hop driven bitterness ends the swallow.

Mouthfeel: Prickly. Very dry. Leaves me looking forward to take another sip.

Overall: Excellent, excellent beer. This will just be one more review of praise for Orval but it deserves it. This could easily become my favorite warm weather beers. Much different that other Belgian Pales like DeKonick (less malt driven). (1,117 characters)

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