Orval Trappist Ale
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
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Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Pale Ale - Belgian
Ranked #1
ABV:
6.9%
Score:
94
Ranked #1,273
Avg:
4.24 | pDev: 12.26%
Reviews:
2,453
Ratings:
5,728
From:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
 
Belgium
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  374
Gots
  1,029
SCORE
94
Outstanding
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
Notes: Orval beer is a high fermentation beer. The ageing process adds a fruity note, which strikes a subtle balance between the beer’s full-bodied yet complex flavour and bitterness.

The beer was first brewed in 1931 and owes its unparalleled taste to the quality of the water, the hops and the yeast used. The brewery has selected very aromatic and unique hop varieties, which hark back to the first brewmaster of Orval, who hailed from Bavaria. The beer’s aromas are very pronounced while maintaining the right level of bitterness thanks to the English method of dry hopping.

The various stages of fermentation – combined fermentation with the original yeast and with wild yeast, followed by fermentation in the bottle – mean the beer must age for some time and requires numerous quality controls.
Reviews: 2,453 | Ratings: 5,728 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of bigdeuce
bigdeuce from Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful looking pour with a huge 3 finger head as the body is copper like an Oktoberfest. Scents of apricot, apple, anise, and mild cinnamon. Smooth palate with the cinnamon leading the way and a bit of nutmeg. An unusual taste that is fascinating. Well balanced with some hops to calm down what I would assume could be a sweet beer. It is not. Mild liquorish flavors are detected as well.
Needless to state, this is an all-time classic and has no peer. I’ve had many Belgian pales but this one is very unique and a crowd pleaser.

Wednesday at 12:42 AM
Photo of PepRyan
PepRyan from Louisiana

4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: beautiful hazy amber with light orange undertone. big off white head that never fully clears. sticky lacing.
Smell: biscuits with blackberry jam up front on the nose, citrus and caramel in the background.
Taste: nice and dry, moderately bitter on the back end, light and dark fruits, pretty much follows the nose... biscuity. kinda funky.
Feel: moderate to high carbonation, gradually gets more oily as it stays in your mouth, creating an interesting contrast with the bitterness.
Overall: excellent beer with masterfully subtle complexities

Mar 25, 2021
Photo of Pinz412
Pinz412 from Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a goblet, Orval filled it with a beautiful amber liquid with a gentle cloudiness. A careful pour yielded a one inch off-white fluffy head that receded into a blanket of carbonation that lasted throughout. The aroma was that of some yeast, grassy hops, slight spice, malt, and barnyard funk. The first sip was full of unctuous yeast with an almost juicy quality that settled into spice and bitterness. As my palate adjusted and the beer warmed, the juicy qualities intensified along with the funky notes on the nose. The bitterness also mellowed pleasantly and worked well with a somewhat dry finish. The hops brought some brightness with their grassy and sometimes floral notes. The initial ample carbonation was almost unpleasant upon the first sips. It did not stay that way for long and found a middle ground of keeping the soft mouthfeel vibrant. It should not have taken this long, but my first experience with Orval was overwhelmingly positive. A great beer.

Mar 21, 2021
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JLK7299 from North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Strangely I had never had this so when I heard about Orval Day, it was the perfect opportunity to stop at my favorite bottle shop and pick one up. It lived up to the hype, Happy Orval Day!

Mar 20, 2021
Photo of Troy-Hawaii
Troy-Hawaii from Hawaii

3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bought a single bottle $6.59 Tamuras
351 days old
Smell of prune mui
Hazy brownish colr
High carbonation. Huge head when poured into tulip glass
Medium mouthfeel
Taste of cloves, spices, a little bit of tartness. Some funkyness.
Overall a good beer. Not as great as I thought it would be. Maybe it needs to age. Drinking it on Orval day.

Mar 20, 2021
Photo of ChiefRobot
ChiefRobot from Minnesota

4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a glass I got 2 fingers of lacy foam that clung to the sides as it was drunk. Not too much of a smell but it does have a nice golden color that is slightly cloudy. Very smooth and drinkable with a slight bitterness or funk to it. would definitely drink again. I have heard it is a good beer for doing a vertical tasting as it cellars well.

Mar 20, 2021
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AElfwine_Nerevar from Connecticut

4.72/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Happy Orval Day!
Vertical tasting of 2 bottles dated: 09/18/2019 and 03/04/2020

L: Pours a deep gold with great clarity. A gentle pour results in a fine, white 3 fingers of pillowy head. Great retention as the head slowly falls to a nice 6 mm ring of head around the perimeter of the glass with the interior filled with a substantial sheet of head sustained by a plethora of carbonation streamers rising from the bottom of the glass. The head leaves an amazing mass of dense webbed lacing with large splotches of head still adhering to the glass.

S: Green apple, grainy malt character, hints of whole wheat bread crust, citrus notes, light notes of apricot, fresh cut hay, subtle earthy spiciness, and some Brett funk. Overall the nose is a bit subdued, but makes up for it with it's complexity.

T: Following the nose I get a touch of green apple, red grapefruit, apricot, grainy and bready malt notes lending sweetness, some fresh cut hay mixing with a light floral character, light notes of a dark earthy spiciness with hints of clove and subtle cardamom, and a medium bitterness on the back end that has aspects of citrus, funk, and floral notes. Brett funk character permeates the whole palate

F: Light to medium-light body with a high, prickly carbonation. The mouthfeel is slick but a bit of hop oil resin makes an appearance, and the finish has a light dryness. The bottle conditioning shines here.

O: There was not an appreciable difference between the two bottles from what I could tell, maybe a slightly faded nose with the 2019 vintage? Very saison-like, but very pale aleish as well. I like it. In fact I think I love it. The complexity and shelf stability working together in harmony earn this a 5 overall (especially in a vertical tasting). Not much else to say except that this is highly recommended!

Mar 20, 2021
Photo of TheHammer
TheHammer from Canada (ON)

4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured with two fingers of fluffy head that retained exceptionally well and produced a solid amount of lacing. The body is an opaque cloudy brown that leans a bit more towards amber when put up to the light, and is just translucent enough to see the ample carbonation rising from the bottle of the goblet I poured it into. The only thing stopping it from a perfect here is more lacing, and maybe a bit less brown, which I don't really expect in a Pale ale.

Smell: The smell here is everything I would expect from a hike in the country after the rain. I catch wet earth, with mild flowers of the forest, apricots, pear, figs and a hint of plum from the orchard, and grain and barnwood from the farm with maybe a flight bit of grapefruit and while it's probably not the best way to describe it, all with a slight after rain funk. Really that funk, not being able to place it, is my biggest complaint and that it's a bit off putting, but it's kept mild.

Taste: There is a dry leather funk that permeates the beer, and it's a bit more potent then I would like it to be, but it stays to the background, as it starts with grapefruit, multi-grain bread and a hint of clove that gives way to pear and fig before floral and earthy hops take over and round things out with a slight black pepper touch. The beer constantly evolves as apricot, wood and orange make appearances. The only constant though is that dry leather funk, which I really wish would go.

Mouthfeel: While the funk departs in the aftertaste, the dry part doesn't which is a bit of a downer. That transitioning is great, save that ever present funk. The carbonation is great as it helps out the entire beer and the aftertaste is a nice cinnamon and allspice raisin bread with a floral element to it.

Drinkability: Medium bodied, although that seems a bit deceptive given the ample carbonation, and that is made known after it is consumed. There are two major things that I am finding undesirable, the leather funk and the dry aftertaste. They are conspiring to make me partake of one to temporarily stop the other, which while is making me drink it fast, is doing so for the wrong reasons. Thankfully, the other flavorful notes in the beer, and mild aftertaste in brings to the table outweigh these concerns.

Final Thoughts: I was warned ahead of time, that Orval is by far the weirdest of the Trappist brews, and I can see why. It's got a strange funk to it (which seems to be identified in other reviews as Brettanomyces) which I don't seem to care for, but can help it is playing some kind of major role in the aspects of the beer I like, as there is a lot going on with this one. This is a pale ale, so I'm willing to excuse a bit of dryness, and by all accounts the strengths here, overpower the weaknesses. I'm honestly curious how this one will fare if given some time to mellow out or age. Thankfully I bought two bottles, which pretty much sums up this beer. This beer is a curiosity that doesn't seem satiated, before, during and after it has been consumed.

Mar 07, 2021
Photo of harrypowers
harrypowers from Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a translucent orange brown with a runaway overflowing bubbly head that subsides to lacing.

Smells of bread, yeast and spice. Tastes are of the same with a slightly bitter finish. As The glass warms the bitterness and fizziness diminish some dark fruit and dank notes come out. This brew is unusual for me as it has no sweet tastes in it.

Light body with high carbonation that diminishes to an acidic fizziness. Light dry mouthfeel.

For me , this was a brooding complex brew. Definitely recommended!

Feb 03, 2021
Photo of Tony787
Tony787 from Canada (ON)

4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I bought a bottle at the lcbo in Ontario for $4.65 canadian dollars 330ml .
poured a 2finger head into glass nice white head that lasts a while leaving a nice frothy lace as you drink it.
very smooth and enjoyable to drink good carbonation full bodied. meduim sweetness
Another great beer from Belgium.
definitely would buy it again
cheers.

Jan 21, 2021
Photo of Gdabeast
Gdabeast from California

4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A beautiful amber color with a white head, I was surprised by the amount of carbonation, not that it was overpowering but just a little unexpected. On the palate I got a dense fruit and wood, with a citrus note on the finish. A great beer overall!

Jan 17, 2021
Photo of KeithHartwig
KeithHartwig from Pennsylvania

4.84/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 vintage. opened 1-5-20.

A - Slow pour into Orval chalice. Clear amber/deep orange color. High carbonation. Pillowy white head that sticks around.

S - Spicy, woody and floral. Citrus zest. Background of leather and hay.

T - Taste follows aroma with spicy, wood and floral leading. Carbonic bite from high levels of carbonation. Initials flavors lead into an amalgam of citrus and leather, the latter characteristic of a long period of bottle condition with brett. Some caramel malt notes come through as well.

M - Sharp, highly effervescent and dry. The carbonation level creates a full mouthfeel despite the otherwise thin body.

D - Personal bias - this is my favorite brew. It only seems to improve with age. I would love to try an even older vintage.

Jan 11, 2021
Photo of imnodoctorbut
imnodoctorbut from Texas

4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottled 4/25/2019; pouring now 1/9/21

pours a hazy amber body with billowing frothy off-white foam head with a cream base and extremely high retention that leaves thick sudsy lacing behind as is crawls down into a murky cap

a wild and pungent aroma hits the nose. funky barnyard Brettanomyces by the mile, dry hopped flakey bitterness - still slightly floral, rich thick biscuit malt dripping with citrus and a rustic nuttiness on the wings.

taste follows the nose throughout, finishing with an earthy grapefruit bitterness. clove, banana, other yeasty spiciness kicks in more than it did on the nose. blends in peppered throughout.

high carbonation and medium-feeling body that runs thin towards the end, and finishes dry. spiciness lingers with slight hop bitterness.

overall:
wow. just, wow. first time having this beaut and now I get why it's ranked 1st. being one of my all time favorite styles, this was an experience set a part. bucket list to have it in its hometown for sure....

Jan 09, 2021
Photo of HochFliegen
HochFliegen from Oregon

4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Another great beer I'm enjoying in Leuven today. Poured this into a large mouth Orval chalice. The color was a rich amber with a large rocky off white head.

The scent was like no beer aroma I have ever smelled. I don't even know how to begin to describe it. It's an interesting mix of cow pasture with a biscuity malty scent with a pear thrown in. There were hints of banana and stinky cheese mixed with sweet malt and a mellow hop earthy scent in there as well.

The taste was led by a slight malt sweetness of nutty fruity flavors that evolved into a slightly hoppy, spicy and somewhat fruity flavor ending with a dry bitter grapefruit taste that lingered long after the sip. There was a hint of warmth in the aftertaste as well.

The mouthfeel was well carbonated with a medium body to it.

Overall I loved this beer. Very unique and tasty.

Dec 30, 2020
Photo of MaxHops
MaxHops from California

5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Quite simply a world classic and its rating should reflect it. My favorite of all Trappist ales. The dryness, fruitiness, beautiful orange color, the brettanomyces bruxellensis nose, it irresistible. I remember advising a Cost Plus World Market manager on beers to stock and this was one which they then carried for $2.99 a bottle. Wish I could still get them for that..

Dec 26, 2020
Photo of r-m-kaylor
r-m-kaylor from New York

4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 1 April 2015, Best Before 1 April 2020...stored and aged in cellar conditions

6.9%abv (+/-) depending with whom you speak

Poured into an Orval Chalis (gifted to me by the staff of a nice establishment in Brussels) a murkey tan with interesting white to off-white cap of tightly bound bubbles which dissipated relatively quickly (as compared to a younger vintage)

On the nose, classic Orval highlights - pungent malts, yeasts and Orval Barnyard Funk (brettanomyces) which has taken center stage - front and center - reminiscent of a fine French Vin Rouge and Fromage - les pieds des anges, or the feet of angels, which can be off putting to some, but once one acquires the taste, one craves the taste - and this is only the nose...

The taste follows the nose up front, through the middle and back and a bit thin (an artifact of aging perhaps?), but a taste most delightful and satisfying...sediment/yeast cake remains...

Even though this is not my first Orval, the nature of the brewing method and aging always yields up front, in your face, tastes and subtle nuances which linger and beg to be savored and contemplated.

Another rewarding experience.

Thanks for reading....

Cheers.

Nov 15, 2020
Photo of RobertB412
RobertB412 from Pennsylvania

4.31/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.2 oz. bottled 9/18/20 poured into a pint glass. Pours a hazy orange-amber color with a large foamy head and lacing. Smells of spice, sweet malt, fruits, and Belgian yeast. The taste is earthy, spice, herbal hops, and bready malt, very good. Highly carbonated and highly recommended!

Oct 26, 2020
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SimplySinister from Florida

4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Restrained pour into Chimay Chalice producing a beautiful cloudy amber colored brew with a large 3 finger snow-white head and high carbonation. Gorgeous looking brew. Excellent head retention.

S - Floral, citrus, nutmeg.

T - Floral, hops, grapefruit, clove. The citrus element is very much at the forefront.

M - Light viscosity. This is a thin, non-lingering brew.

D - Fantastic. I very much like this offering. I've seen this brew on store shelves several times throughout the years and never reached for it. I see now I made a mistake. Don't let yourself make the same mistake. If you see this brew peeking at you, pick it up and put it in the cart. You won't regret it.

Oct 15, 2020
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MNAle from Minnesota

4.04/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle dated April 3, 2020. Reviewed October 3, 2020

Hazy amber-orange with heavy carbonation. Off-white, thick, sticky, whipped cream, mountainous head with long retention, leaving sticky lacing behind.

Spicy, bready, with a little funk characterize the aroma.

The taste continues with the spicy bread, slightly bitter. The finish has a bit of funk.

Mouth feel is moderate with heavy carbonation tingling.

Overall, an excellent beer, but I guess it doesn't seem as sublime to me as it does to others.

Oct 06, 2020
Photo of SierraNevallagash
SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It's Orval Day! And I've never reviewed Orval? Let's fix that right now!

330ml bottle - bottled on 24/07/2019 - poured into a chalice at 45°F.

Pours a deep amber bronze colour, topped with nearly four fingers of light, airy, almost soapy light tan head, with remarkable retention. A stream of effervescence so intense and lively, it looks like a tornado, swirling upwards. Significant webby lacing left behind. What a beautiful beer.

Nose: Smells like Belgium. It's an interesting nose. Some soft malt, some pale grains, some spicy, slightly herbal hops, and then just an explosion of Belgian yeast. Part of it is very farmhouse-inspired, nodding towards saison, while other parts lend more of a Belgian pale ale vibe. There's also some subtle underlying estery and phenolic notes, lending a hint of clove, nutmeg, unripe banana, black pepper, apricot, peach, and pear. On the other end, there's actually a fair bit of funk - musty, dusty, even slightly cheesy, with some wet hay, wet wood, damp leaves, wildflowers, and a very distinct honey note. Beneath it all is just a wisp of what I would describe as old '70s perfume. Crazy aroma.

Palate: In terms of flavour, Orval's pale ale lineage becomes much more clear. It greets the palate with some dry grain and malt that, while not sweet, does in fact have a bready flavour. There's a melange of light, bright fruity notes - mostly pear, with some apple, apricot, plum, fig, and white grape, and then a firm hoppy bitterness emerges - spicy, herbal, and peppery, with notes of arugala, potpourri, allspice, hop resin, and perhaps even some pine. Some subtle saison notes do intermingle - mostly fresh grass, hay, and a spicy yeast note that even suggests some bretty overripe flavours, but then it finishes on the hoppier side, with more herbal, spicy, peppery, leafy bitterness, some dusty grain, and bone dry. Lingering leafy bitterness.

Mouthfeel/Body: The beer is quite light and fluid, with very little in the way in terms of any kind of malt weight. The two defining features are the slightly oily finish, and the insane level of effervescence. This beer essentially feels like seltzer in that regard - lively, racey, coarse bubbles. Dry overall. Crisp.

Overall: No doubt a unique Belgian pale ale. There are a few well-known examples, and this one probably gets the most recognition. I will not pretend like the aroma isn't insanely complex - it is. It's certainly a fantastic example of a BPA, and it probably sets the bar for the style. I personally enjoy Allagash House Beer a bit more, in terms of drinkability, but for price and availability, this is definitely the gold standard, and a must-try classic.

Oct 04, 2020
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eppCOS from Colorado

4.04/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L - Golden amber translucent; "head for days" and great lacing as it went down the bottle (approximately one year old, July 2019 bottling)
S - Fantastic spice, malt, bready, and restrained hop notes with some 'funk' on the back end of the nose
T - Great carbonated, like white bready wine with some allspice; a little less pronounced spice taste when young, but more peppery with a year on it.
F - Great carbonation and fermentation explosion on the palate; still tastes like trappist even if some debate its purity.
O - One of the great Belgian beers. Just bummed I don't have pork rinds to have with it today (8.29.20 tasting)

Aug 31, 2020
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gatornation from Minnesota

4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky straw color with foamy head and lacing. Smell is yeast and pear,melon notes. Taste has spice,yeast white fruits and funky herbal finish. Medium carbonation with a drinkable delight.

Aug 15, 2020
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BelgianHops from Belgium

4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The 'one of a kind' Belgian trappist ale. It starts of very bitter, yeasty and dry. Hints op pear, bread and fresh yeast. After a while, it just develops nicely in a great trappist that will not leave you unhappy.

Aug 13, 2020
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jimmah120 from Minnesota

4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.2oz bottle from the sto'

Beautiful look, lacing, retention, clarity, all that. Smell is very hop forward with some champagne character. The taste is very much the same: drying hops and champange-like yeast, extremely clean grains, mild grass and floral stuff goin' on. A little slick feeling, maybe, very bubbly, it remains "light" and is deceptive at 6.9%

An awesome beer all-around

Aug 05, 2020
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Ant777uk from England

4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Foamy, looks inviting.

Amazingly complex aroma.

Highly complex, bubbling and tingling on the tongue and totally transporting you away from the current world bollocks. It's a highly complex beer and will definitely buy again!

Jul 30, 2020
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 5728 ratings