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 #1,240
Avg:
4.24 | pDev: 12.26%
Reviews:
2,437
Ratings:
5,705
From:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
 
Belgium
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  372
Gots
  1,021
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: 2,437 | Ratings: 5,705 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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
Photo of eppCOS
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
Photo of BelgianHops
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
Photo of jimmah120
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
Photo of kevanb
kevanb from Illinois

4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.2oz bottle, dated July 24, 2019, poured into a stemless wine glass.

The beer pours a nice medium amber color, cloudy with orange marmalade hues and a foamy, tall off white head, that rises quite high even without an aggressive pour and has impeccable retention and lacing. The aroma is lovely, soft earthy funk, light spice, hearty cereal grains, sweet fruitiness, pear and banana with some leather and a touch of hop bitterness. The flavors are great, leathery funk jumps out of the glass, earthy and with a nice grassiness, light hop spice, assertive cereal grains and a really pleasant fruit character, pear skin with a bit of apple that lingers nicely. The mouthfeel is great, coating and very lively with a nicely carbonated medium body that finishes with a dry bite.

Verdict: A stellar pale ale and one of my all time favorite beers. Complex, delicate, refreshing and so distinctive in flavor yet remains remarkably easy to drink. A very special beer that everyone should try.

Jul 07, 2020
Photo of KRug
KRug from Massachusetts

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

Bottled 9/18/19

Oh boy here we go. I haven’t had many Belgian pales so I’m no expert of the style, let’s give the top rated one a go!

Pours a cloudy amber/copper with an absolutely fucking massive off white head that never fades, at least 3 fingers here. Leaves a moderate amount of lacing

The nose is very distinctly Belgian. Tons of fruity and spicy esters from the yeast. I’m getting white pepper, lemon, funky leather, and floral hops

Tons of lemon and pepper to start out the sip here. Very floral in nature and not as much funk as the aroma would lead to believe. On the finish, I’m getting more focused and earthy fruits and hops with lingering notes of sweet cherry

Medium bodied with moderate tingly carbonation, this drinks way to easy, for both the abv and the small bottle. Mostly dry in the finish, this is hoppy and refreshing

Wow, very complex stuff here, and a lot better than the last Belgian pale I had. Paired perfectly with pork Singapore noodles. This was an incredible treat, and I will be seeking it out again

Jul 03, 2020
Photo of drdiesel9483
drdiesel9483 from Ohio

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

Look - lots and lots of white head and sticky lacing. The beer itself is a brownish gold hazy color
Smell - very farmhouse earthy spicy
Taste - slight bitter funky herbal yeasty along with some pepper and spice
Feel - medium body with a lighter carb than expected slight creamy and dry
Overall - pretty good but not sure if I’d get it again

Jun 28, 2020
Photo of DrDaveK
DrDaveK from Massachusetts

4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This wonder Trappist ale packs a lot of flavor, good carbonation, and a frothy head. The color is cloudy amber and the head does not disappoint (still hanging on 15 minutes after pouring). The myriad of flavors include hints of licorice, spice and cinnamon. Between the artfully shaped bottle and my memories visiting Belgium, this ale provides a very pleasurable experience.

Jun 27, 2020
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monkist from Hungary

4.76/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Hey hey ho! I think I’m starting to like Belgian beer! At the same time I think this rather classifies as a “Trappist beer” instead of a typical “Belgian beer” because it’s just different - the yeast, the hops, the feel, the whole thing.
First of all, I love brett, Prairie and the like with their wild ales and farmhouse ales are one of my favorite beer varieties. And then comes this one, with the same amazing wild fermentation and quality - with a tradition and history of almost a hundred years! I love its aroma, its champagne-like quality, perhaps it’s not that spikey but rather rounder off, very elegant but fascinating.
The first sip into it felt slightly bitter but from then on it immediately started tasting like a hop-forward beer and not without a reason. No idea what hops they used but it is very tasty and lacks that typical English bitterness, perfectly well done.
The body is quite light and it feels almost dry, like a saison or a wild ale should be and the brett is prevailent. This brett in question has a very nice taste, not overwhelming, it just makes you want to drink more (was quite hard to pour it without a large head because of its intensity...)
There is a slight booziness to it, unlike the farmhouse ales but it’s very well disguised, goes perfectly well with the taste and feels great.
What should I say? I expected an “older” type of beer, maybe less interesting from an Abbey beer but I was wrong. It is quite modern and interesting, actually good to know where many of today’s great beers got their inspiration from. A quite unique beer, considering its history and everything, it’s understandable that the brewery makes only this one single beer - as with this, nothing else is necessary. An unmatched beer.

Jun 12, 2020
Photo of PSanger
PSanger from Connecticut

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

Enjoyed a single bottle which wasbottled on October 2018. When I first port it it gave a huge white formed head. Color is caramel brown.
Taste is of cherries and other slightly sweet flavors. This beer is very carbonated. This beer is extremely drinkable but I did not find it to be anything very worthwhile. Actually somewhat forgettable.

May 31, 2020
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SushiSakeBeer from Oregon

4.31/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: luscious head, murky golden hue, nice carbonation (4.25) Smell: Fruity, yet quiet (3.75) Taste: Clean and luscious, a soft finish with a hint of bitterness (4.5) Feel: very well composed, easy drinking (4.5) Overall: A comfortable, happy experience (4.5)

May 31, 2020
Photo of just1cho
just1cho from California

3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

*Poured into a Teku glass from a 11.2oz bottle*

This beer had a apple juice copper color to it with a two finger thick white colored head with great retention. This had a classic look of a great fluffy head typically found in Belgian-style beers. Great looking beer!

On the nose, there were lots of fruity esters upfront ranging from overripe apples with lemon to pears, these were then followed by characters of bananas with a bit of clove spice note.

I found that there was a more noticeable presence of phenol on the taste, getting a spicy peppery note upfront. There was also a noticeable but faint hop bitterness with the peppery taste which then faded a bit to notes of biscuit and caramel in the finish with a slight bitterness from the hops.

This beer was pretty medium bodied and had a high amount of carbonation to it. It had a dry start and finish along with little to no lingering bitterness which all contributed to its overall drink-ability.

Overall, I thought this beer was decent but forgettable to me. Not really my favorite style of beer but this definitely represents the style well.

May 29, 2020
Photo of andypeters1971
andypeters1971 from Georgia

4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Checks the box for a lot of things. Beer-flavored beer and not some ridiculous passion fruit hazy IPA? check. Enigmatic logo dating pre-20th century? Check. Nonprofit monk-produced beer? Check. All of which is subservient to the most important questions and I don't need to tell you it meets all of those requirements. Oh and the bottle is outstanding too

May 28, 2020
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Griffin2 from Virginia

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

This was my first time trying this beer. Poured from a bottle dated 1/21/2020 into a Willi Becher pint glass.
L - Pours a dark amber color with a frothy white head that dissipates slowly leaving tons of lacing on the glass.
S - Smells of bread and caramel.
T - Taste of Belgian yeast, some nice sweetness with a slight caramel and some mild funkiness.
F - Medium body and lightly carbonated.
O - Really interesting pale ale. I need to try this again.

May 25, 2020
Photo of faraday326
faraday326 from California

4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It pours an awesome apple-y hazy amber, with a white head thick with seemingly high carbonation. The aroma is amazing... it's a touch floral and a bunch of rich sweetness. Apple. The taste doesn't quite live up to the aroma for me. It's got a quick, seemingly very carbonated, punch that almost, imo, lacks a bits of flavor because of the carbonation.. it quickly transitions into medium hop-bitterness at the finish and a hint of sour ale.

Overall, this is a very "interesting" flavor so its worth trying, for sure.

May 15, 2020
Photo of DannyBoy15347
DannyBoy15347 from Missouri

4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured hard into a pint glass. Shows a beautiful copper amber color with lots of light foam. Aroma is nice with the malt character really showing through. Taste is similar with maybe a biscuit, bready feel to it; finishes dry with a mild bitterness and an excellent feel. This is only my 2nd Trappist ale now that I've started really rexploring the style, but Ive really enjoyed both and would definitely have this one again. Cheers!

May 10, 2020
Photo of rex_4539
rex_4539 from Greece

4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Clear red/amber color, two to three finger white head, excellent fluffy, thin lacing, good carbonation.

S: I couldn't point out what it smells like but smells nice. It's floral and sweet.

T: Floral, sweet but also has slight sour notes. Some slight bitterness on the back end. Nice.

F: Light bodied, super smooth.

O: Good ale. Would happily drink again.

Apr 28, 2020
Photo of DerekGilboe
DerekGilboe

4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a really good blonde ale of Trappist heritage that is very lively and highly effervescent - something that turned me off slightly. When poured it provides a very substantial head that is nicely aromatic but leaves a liquid that is not as substantial as the aroma. It is one of the the beers I gravitate towards but there are better choices out there despite this being a very good blonde ale.

Apr 21, 2020
Photo of misteil
misteil from Ireland

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

look: first of all, never seen so much smoke on a bottle opening, massive head on the beer, big bubbly with good lacing, beer orange to amber in colour, quite hazy, lots of bubbles flying through the beer.

smell: almost smells like cider, massive whack of red apple at first, quite sweet, some vanilla, somewhat floral, very aromatic.

taste: really quite apple-y, really quite sweet, floral, herbal, nice bit of malt at first, loght bitterness on the finish, totally unique taste, quite nice.

feel: light to medium bodied, highly carbonated, really dry, really crisp, good bit of warmth in the throat, really good.

overall: haven’t ever had anything like it, most unique, quite good indeed, great stuff.

*edit 03/10/20
i’ve grown to like this beer a lot more, there really is nothing else like it, it’s a fun beer to drink, light but full of nuanced and complex flavours, just such a cool beer.

Apr 17, 2020
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 5705 ratings