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

2,177 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

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Reviews: 2,177
Hads: 4,865
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 8.41%
Wants: 282
Gots: 637 | 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: 2,177 | Hads: 4,865
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)

Photo of drzig
3.51/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a 11.2 oz bottle into a wine glass.
A- golden color with very thick head. The head was impressive
S- Not much to smell but hints of fruit
T- autumn fruit flavored
M- Crisp, carbonated taste, not as smooth as I like most belgians with a little too much carbonation.
O- I typically like Trappist Ales, especially Pale Ales, but this one didn't make me want to order another. Still better than the average beer. (413 characters)

Photo of markovlad
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-purred it from a bottle, rich tick foam, small bubbles, enjoyed it very much
S-smell is wonderful: fruity and spicy, it really gets to you when you open it and than you have big expectations.
T- light, fruity and spicy even sour, but it smells better than it tastes. No aftertaste. Weird.
M-sharp, spicy, bites you for tongue somewhere back, (344 characters)

Photo of obninsk23
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice honey color. Liked the foam a lot. It covers the full surface forever and I value that. Smells like typical Belgian Ale yeast - very very yeasty. Tastes a bit sour and yeasty again. Medium body. I think it's a food beer meaning it's better with food then just by itself. I am having it now with garlic mashed potatoes, rutabagas and roasted chicken and roasted garlic on top of watercress. Quite pleasant. (410 characters)

Photo of ElegantRose
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: (in a glass chalice) semi-translucent, cloudy, amber/pumpkin/ deepening into pinkish red color. The head is strong, and dissipates within one minute.

Smell: Strong canned-pumpkin-candy esters; deep undertones of alcohol floating to the surface, bubbling into atmosphere (ABV is 6.9).

Taste: Contrasting with the sweet smell, the taste is sour with brettanomyces. A little research reveals that the sourness is also due to dry-hopping.

Overall, sipping on it and considering it over the time frame of ten minutes or so, I find it to be quite refreshing, though my particular taste palate tends to harken to a sweeter, more approachable style. Malheur Tripel is my current ultimate example of a Belgian Tripel, and Rodenbach is my current favorite as far as a sour Flemish red beer; these are but a few of my favorites, which tend to give an example of what my palate savors.

15 or twenty minutes in, I find myself enjoying it, though I would like that hint of sweetness, which I find adds a different measure of complexity, as opposed to the sour, yawning complexity of this unusual, different animal. (1,117 characters)

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

33cL bottle poured gently into a Chouffe tulip glass to keep out the dregs (1yr., 10mo. past bottled on date)

A: Pours with a nice looking two finger head. Bright light amber color. Lots of carbonation bubbling up.

S: Smells of Belgian funk and fruit, can't tell what kind of fruit though. I like it.

T: Tastes mildly funky and fruity up front with a bit of hops in the finish. Funk is not overpowering but blends nicely with the other flavors. Very nice.

M: Effervescent, medium body, lingering bitter funk on the back of the tongue.

D: I'd say it's quite drinkable. Tastes very good and is pretty easy drinking. I could drink a few of these if I could afford it.

I'd like to try some fresh Orval sometime. I've read that they add the Brettanomyces at bottling so it's hoppier and less funky fresh and the Brett becomes stronger over time. The brewer said he likes it fresh. (893 characters)

Photo of ChuckMartel
3.3/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a huge head that looks like whipped cream w/ an orangish color. Smells like perfume. Tastes a lot like perfume -- prettier than it needs to be. Tastes a little thin for a Trappist ale. After you have one, you really don't look forward to another. (252 characters)

Photo of sanjosey19
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into North Coast goblet. Very thick and cloudy. Orangish in color. Created a very thick, two finger head. I actually liked the smell quite a bit, kind of a fruity citrus mixed with a bit of straw. Very dry mouthfeel, a little high on the carbonation for my taste. Slight hoppiness up front, a little bit of funkiness, nice and sweet. Very drinkable, I actually felt like the beer got better the more I had. All in all, a very good Belgian Pale, very unique citrusy flavor. Not my favorite style, but definitely one of the best, if not the best, of it's style. (566 characters)

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

Bottled 5/19/2010, with a best by date of 5/19/2015. Cool bottle. Huge hiss of carbonation as the cap pops off.

A - Pours a slightly cloudy, medium-dark golden hue with an absolutely monstrous head. Pour this one carefully.

S - Citrus with hints of grapes and other fruity yeasts. Very complex.

T - Citrus with noticeable alcohol. Crisp and refreshing.

M - Light/medium carbonation. Smooth, smooth, smooth.

D - Extremely easy to drink, but price and above average ABV make this one for more special occasions. Meant to be sipped slowly and enjoyed. (554 characters)

Photo of 700Uave
3.61/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottled 4-22-2010

loud hiss as the cap was pried off. My Duvel tulip glass was half beer, half foam upon pouring. Unbelievable amount of carbonation. Its a deep orange color and after 5 minutes, still huge head.

The smell reminds me of Fantome Saison, although its been a while since I last had that. pretty bright, acidic and tart smells come through.

Mouthfeel is very effervescent and quite pleasant, however, for my taste its just slightly over carbonated.

champagne-like tastes are present. Slightly tart. aftertaste is dry and unfortunately thin (if that makes sense). I wish this had a better finish.

Sure, I could drink a few of these, but the desire is not quite there tonight. I plan on trying this once more after having a wider range of beers in this style. (778 characters)

Photo of skandha
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Comes in an elegant vase-like bottle with subdued label. Color in the glass is a bruised-apricot, muddled orange/brown with sparkling seafoam head.

Smell: Soft cherry overtones, with a confusing sweet spice blend that made me think of Dr. Pepper.

Taste: Distinctly tripartite. Pleasant stone fruit notes first (cherry, peach), followed next by an herbal bitterness...like nettle and dandelion greens as opposed to the usuall lemon rind. This fades into a soft, malty finish so long that it really could wake you up in the morning if you forgot to brush your teeth before bed.

Mouthfeel: Big! I so heady with foam that on first swig I almost snorted it out my nose. Full and creamy to be certain.

Overall: Delicious. Dry enough throughout to stand up to stronger cuisines, but so lingering and complex that I'd hate to spoil this three-part overture with soy sauce on the side. (892 characters)

Photo of HopDr
4.92/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into a chalice.

A- Cloudy burnt amber color. Really nice lumpy head which just settles in and stays forever.

S- This is what Belgian Pales are all about. Subtle and wonderful. Fruit flavors, mostly green apple with a touch of citrus and just the smallest amount of Belgian musty funk.

T- This is where it really sets itself apart. I get the flavors described in the aroma at first, but there are more layers. There is a hint of sweetness and then sourness which really makes the aroma pop. These flavors and aromas dissipate and fade into a spicy, fairly intense bitterness (maybe form the alcohol? probably not hops) which lasts until the next sip.

M- Really nice. Not too heavy not too light, not too much carbonation, just right.

O- I have to admit that there are a lot of Belgian strong ales which I don't 'get'. Duvel tastes like overcarbonated Heineken to me. I don't see the magic in Chimay Red. But this one is different, it really balances all of what makes Belgian pales what they are, the complexity and unique flavors imparted largely by the yeast and fermentation, while remaining accessible and very drinkable (it just tastes good!). (1,166 characters)

Photo of hungarianwax
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Apricot, clear pour. Sticky lacing. Wispy head.

S: Fruity with noticeable hops. Subtle and sweet

T: A little sour. Lacking spice. Fruit evident. Appears to be lacking in the malt department, hops are pleasant and not overwhelming.

M: Sticky, mildly viscous. Steady carbonation.

Overall 4.25
In Style 4.25 (311 characters)

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

Pour:
Foam filled 4/5ths of glass
Slowly falls down into seafoam peaks
Significant lacing stuck to glass

Aroma:
sour
metallic
horse manure
road apples
alcohol

Appearance:
cloudy
apricot
golden amber
bright orange

Taste:
oranges and orange peel
dirt
grass
can taste the vat it was brewed in
rusty oxidation

Overall:
Incredibly unique, a style unto itself. You can taste the grains, the brew equipment and environment, the thousand year old tradition. Would buy this again to treat myself or to open someone's eyes to one of the world's most revered beers. (558 characters)

Photo of Stjimmy10_1
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Extremely carbonated and does a hell of an Old Faithful impression. I'm glad its on the lighter side and wont stain. Its got a strong tart flavor that mellows out later but its followed by a nice lingering, orange and bitter citrus finish. I'm not the biggest belgian fan out there but its worth the money. (306 characters)

Photo of zuccard
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Loved this one...Tremendous head on this beer...great color, slightly amber in color, very frothy and hung in there throughout the entire bottle.

Taste was nice, fruity, with a bit of an almost smoky aftertaste. Color was a hazy orange. With %alc at 6.9, the mouthfeel and apparent alcohol was very well done. Did not seem that high, and no solvent-like taste.

Just a great beer. Loved it and will go back for more (420 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,177 ratings.