Orval Trappist Ale | Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
5,364 Ratings
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Belgium
orval.be

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Bierman9 on 09-18-2001

BEER STATS
Ratings:
5,364
Reviews:
2,335
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
12.44%
 
 
Wants:
358
Gots:
902
For Trade:
11
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,364 |  Reviews: 2,335
Photo of Labeorphile
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet. Amazing fluffy head with good lacing. A beautiful looking beer.

Citrus and funk in the nose. I am guessing Brett yeast. Interesting smell that is very enticing.

Unfortunately, it doesn't show up much in the flavor. Not much happening. Tastes Belgian, but no refundable character. Lots of carbonation and alcohol.

A good beer. Glad I experienced it, but probably wont buy it again, especially for the price.

 452 characters

Photo of dedrinker
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled April ' 06, drank Dec.' 06

Strong burst of carbonation on opening bottle. First pour gushes and foams, I wait and pour the rest in one smooth motion. Dense, rocky, off-white creamy head looks too beautiful. I don’t want to drink it - just look at it. Light mahogany color with orange highlights. Aroma of sherbert and damp earth near the stables. Phenolic aromas and flavors of holiday spices and juicy fruit gum. Not very sweet though, with a little sour tang. 15 minutes later and halfway through the beer the head has finally settled down to a thin, soft blanket of melted marshmallow with persistent lacing. I used to not like this beer, but perhaps my pallette has matured beyond hasty expectations of big, overly candy-like dark, fruity tasting Belgian strong ales. I am humbled and exalted at the same time. This beer makes me want to eat something savory and earthy, yet not heavy or too rich.

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Photo of Squire123
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful amber gold color with World class white cap and lacing.

I swear I smell roses and violets in this thing. Remarkable aroma of classic Belgian hallmarks, yeast, clove and dark fruit.

Taste is Belgian but unlike other Belgians in a good way. Like a dark fruit compote has been laced with citrus and spice then bolstered up with something both tart and sour at the same time. It's a mature taste yet a refreshing one. For all it's power I can see it matching with a variety of dishes.

Full texture with balancing carbonation.

Drinking this it's easy to see why Michael Jackson coined the term "the Burgundies of Belgium".

 635 characters

Photo of yesyouam
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Orval is a shimmering and clear amber ale with a very soft off-white head that lasts forever and leaves excellent lacing. The aroma is of a dusty dank cellar, soft sweet grain, bread and berries and herbs. It is very soft and smooth and medium bodied. Great balance! It is bitter and tart, but softly so. There is a lemon/lime flavor in there. The hops are a bit like juniper, cranberry and rosemary. It's so classic! I love it!
(rated Aug 21, 2007)

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Photo of tectactoe
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this quite a while ago - figured it was time to do a re-review and see how it went this time around. Orval pours a rustic amber color; opaque for the most part, though some light passes through at the edges of the glass without much trouble. The huge, cream-colored cap is something to marvel at; it remains thick and lasts seemingly for days, leaving huge sheets of lace along the sides of the glass.

The aroma contains a quick, sharp tartness that hints at a combination of orange and lemon zest. Bigger inhales reveal a nice tropical-like fruitiness, highly akin to pineapple - this is most likely from the Brett, which also brings a swift bit of funk to the plate; like a slightly musty, mostly sweaty barnyard. Juicy green hops in the finish show signs of grass, leaves, and light citrus. The nose on this is really unique, and fantastic in it's own right.

The first sip starts off like a carbon copy of the first whiff - a surly tartness hits your palate right away, followed by some calming waves of orange peels and lemon zest. The pineapple is apparent as well, though in more of of a stinging, bitter pith fashion than a juicy, sweet kind. Hops are plentiful; leafy, grassy, dry, citrusy, and quite bitter for a Belgian ale. Again, very discernible and quite complex.

Brettanomyces abound in the latter half of each sip, bringing some musty cellar, mellow barnyard, and stale cork flavors to the table. The finish contains a subtle amount of citrus zest and yeasty funk with a lasting bitterness from the dry hopping. This stuff is carbonated to the brim, giving it a sharp, crisp mouth feel; effervescent and light, despite the medium stature of the body.

Orval is a pretty awesome trappist ale. I guess when you only brew one beer, you have more time to test, tweak, and perfect it, and it seems like the monks at Brasserie d'Orval have done just that. On most days I'd say that this is not my favorite trappist ale, although it always stands out to me as the most unique. The Brett and the dry-hopping really set it apart from the others and always keep me coming back to this funny, oblong bottle.

 2,120 characters

Photo of ojclark
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

7 months old when tasted. Orangey hoppy aroma with notes of sourness/vinegar aroma. Cloudy orange/amber color with a frothy off-white head with a lot of carbonation and light lacing. Flavor a complex mix of bitter, sour, hops with a noticable lambic-type (Brettanomyces) character and some slightly vinegary sourness. Slight sweetness noticable along with the other flavor components in the aftertaste. Effervescent mouthfeel, medium body with a medium length finish with a fairly long aftertaste. Very complex and very good.

 525 characters

Photo of nebula1999
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Outstanding.

12 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Standard Orval teardrop bottle from the Coop for about $5.50 carefully poured into my New Belgium goblet leaving the yeast sediment behind.

4 finger rocky head that left behind ribbons of thin lace.. brew is slightly hazy orange.

Aroma is complex spicy.. earthy.. some citrus.. perfumy

Flavor is jam-packed.. good bitterness .. very dry finish.. slightly sour with earthy hoppiness abound.. This beer is very complex.. probably too complex for my palate to appreciate.. all I can really say for sure is it is fantastic. Huge carbonation with a light/medium body.

I've had Orval probably 8-10 times over the years and always tell myself I must cellar some... this time I will.. I hope.

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Photo of blackie
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

appearance: Leaving most of the yeast in the bottle, the pour yields a 0.5" white head. It recedes incompletely, fed by streams of bubbles from the bottom. The beer is a hazy, milky medium brown.

smell: I get some immediate strawberry and raspberry aromas. Pale Belgian malts aromas with notes of peach. It's a little farm-housey, with some hay and a slight wildness to it. Hints of oxidized apple flesh, whole bread, white pepper, and flowery honey. Just a touch of hops noticeable.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is high, yet smooth. The body is very light.

taste: Pale malts with appley fruit flavors upfront. A little thin in flavor. There's also a light yeast character. After the swallow an aged, papery hop flavor becomes more evident, and a gentle bitterness dries out the finish.

drinkability:A well balanced beer, though a little uninteresting in some places...even a little watery. Easy to drink.

11.2 oz. bottle from Grapes & Hops in Fayetteville, Bottled 24/06/2005

6/14/2013 - upped some scores after purchasing an Amsterdam/Belgium ticket and cracking a bottle from Lost Dog

 1,092 characters

Photo of Gusler
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a magnificent hazy deep orange, the head monstrous in size, creamy in its consistency and as it evanesces, leaves behind a satiny sheet of fine lace. The aroma of ripe bananas, yeast, sweet brown sugar with the malt underpinning it all makes this a real sniffers delight. Start malt and lightly sweet, the top slim in feel on the palate, biting in its acidity, the hops perky in their spicy bite, the aftertaste quite dry and long lasting. A real treat in all aspects and I prefer it to “Duvel”, and many other Belgians for that fact.

 551 characters

Photo of Allurex
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bobjonesSD
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up this bottle from OTM in OB. Poured into a Maredsous chalice. Massive, beautiful lacey head from the pour, hangs around forever and leaves a lovely lace on the edge of the glass. As soon as I popped the top of the bottle I was met with the amazing sweet, sour yeasty aroma with lots of esters, one of the most appetizing smelling beers I've tried. The taste is complex and interesting with a lot of flavors from the brettanomyces coming through - leather, horsey on top of the blondey belgiany base. Really an enjoyable beer, definitely going to try again. This bottle was about 9 months from the bottling date.

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Photo of BakaGaijin
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of pitasoup
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from 11.2 bottle. pours clear golden orangy. nice whie head, very carbonated at first. floral smells and a bit of banana, also that chewy smell of belgian yeasts. malty body with dry bitter finish. warms to slightly sour and wheaty taste. bottled in '04, 6.9% on label.

-notes from '07

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Photo of GRPunk
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (bottled on 5/6/08 and best by 5/6/13) poured into a tulip glass.

A- A conservative pour still left a huge (3+ finger), fluffy, off-white head that was topped with a touch of yeast and never really completely fell, leaving huge sticky patches on the glass. The body was a combination of a deep red-brown with peach and pink accents with medium to heavy carbonation. It was all fairly clean considering the yeast pour.

S- It had a great aroma. It started as some spicy cloves and vanilla. Later on the yeasty qualities came through as green apple that became more pronounced with time and warmth.

T- It had an interesting flavor. It was more highly hopped than I'd expected, making for a dryish quality. There was a little granny smith apple from the funky yeast, and, maybe, a little lemon, citrus flair.

M- It was fairly heavily carbonated as I drank through the fluffy head. There was a definite hop and slight alcohol bite Overall, it was pretty dry on the palate.

D- The great attributes make me want more. Its alcohol was well masked making it an easy drinker and it's a wonderful example of the style. The fairly heavy price tag is the only thing stopping me from making this a regular purchase.

 1,213 characters

Photo of haazer
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Tulip glass. Bottled on 22/4/10, about 6 months ago, which I heard is the best time for Orval.

A- Offwhite, tan head. Big bubbles throughout. Leaves a little bit of lacing on sides of glass. Head explodes up the glass as you pour. Probably shouldn't have chose a Tulip. Head eventually settles onto a orange, tea colored brew. Cloudy, hard to see through.

S- Very different smell to this beer. Not used to it, but I'm guessing that might be the brett? Has an outdoor, inside of a barn type smell, with hay. Underneath that character is some fruits, and hints of yeast.

T- Sweet, kind of reminds me of an orange or tangerine jolly rancher candy. Aftertaste becomes sweet, and then sour. A taste that I can't define at all, I guess would be the brett.

M- Incredibly smooth. Tangy. This beer kind of leaves a funny feeling in the back of my throat, not uncomfortable though.

D- Good mouthfeel, very smooth brew, can't really taste the alcohol. I let this beer warm a little, but I think its actually better colder IMO. Although I do have to say I like it more as I drink it.

 1,093 characters

Photo of AlexFields
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of tallarend
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Premo88
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle poured into Orval goblet (finally connected brew with glass!)

bottled on: 8/30/2012
best by: 8/30/2017
drank: 8/8/2013

L: huge head -- biggest head I've seen from a beer poured into a goblet, well over 1/2-inch of tan foam that does not disipate quickly, very thick and full with some of the largest bubbles I've seen. the brew is murky brown/caramel.

S: light and fruity -- definite sweetness. bananas. in fact, most banana-like smell I've encountered ... big banana sweet, almost turning into a bubble gum smell. unique.

T: saisonlike -- dry white wine without the sweet finish. bananas, and showing some sweetness as it warms up; slight hints of alcohol; white wine/soured grapes ... and then near the end: a passing hint of grassiness. was that hops?

F: super carbonation combined with a full but still light weight.

O: reminds me of saisons, hefeweizens, tripels but still unique, especially in the nose. the alcohol does kick in, but it definitely packs a smaller punch than the Belgian strong pale ale. overall, it's not my favorite style, but it's very easy to see the greatness in this brew ...

bonus points: the Orval fish logo is as bad-ass as they come.

 1,189 characters

Photo of vancurly
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank this at the Heritage Belgian Beer cafe in Sydney.

Pours a hazy dark burnt orange, head fades, but good lace.

Light aromas of sour fruit. Some oakiness & gamey off-notes. Complex & intriguing.

Flavours of leather, medicine/band-aids. Slight barnyard character, perfumy, with a late cherrywood aftertaste.

Some bitterness, and astringency. The mouthfeel is very dry, almost dusty. Highly attenuated... thin, no sweetness.

For me, this is truly the Burgundy of beers. Wild, gamey, dry, tannic, fleshy.

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Photo of JamesS
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice deep amber (near coppe) color with fantastic head and lacing. Great scent, very deep and malty with wonderful fruit attributes (apple, cherry, and banana). Great deep malty flavor, nice hint of fruit; the aftertaste is complex, with a bit of hops and fruit and with a near cloying finish. Goes down thick, but nice and smooth. Not my favorite trappist, but really, really good nonetheless.

 407 characters

Photo of prosper
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 07-03-07 - three-ish years in the bottle.

Pours a hazy gold with a thick white head and lots of co2 streamers. Some lace, but the head is kinda coarse.

Smell - wow, uh, funky. Tart pineapple, acidic fruits. Maybe some light musty cheese. Some herbal character - hops I guess, but they're lost in the huge not-so-subtle blast of smells.

Taste is very good. Lots of different flavours, but they blend well, none overpowering the others. Lots of earthy musty character - damp malts and such. Fruity, but not as intense as most other belgians; same for the phenols - light spice, but supportive and not centre stage. Clean, dry finish.

Mouthfeel is light - lots of carbonation and crisp dry finish help here.

Light (relatively speaking) alcohol, dry body, spritzy carbonation - yep, it's quite drinkeable

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Photo of tmzl
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

One year round bottle.

Look: Pours with big bubbly, billowy off-white foam, very sparkly (you can hear it). Slow retention, thick layer stays on top for the whole ride. Leaves some lacing. Cloudy dirty orange/brown with huge amounts of carbonation. A few yeast float around. Why not.

Smell: It fills the room. Dried dark fruit - raisins, figs, slightly brandy-ish. Lots of funk, brett notes. Spice, cloves and sour. Fattening and complex.

Taste: Complex. Heavy farmhouse brett funk, leather but not off-putting. Spicy. Caramel sweetness, but hard to appreciate with all that excessive carbonation. Some metallic aftertaste, but not too much - comes and goes. Also moderate sour and hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Complex and interesting as fuck - not sure it's my cup of tea - but it does get better every sip.

Mouthfeel: Lots of crisp, aggressive carbonation - kinda hinders the overall taste. Medium body, leaves some coating.

Overall: A tough one. I do like the progressive complexity, the not too in-your-face brett character with sour notes, but the carbonation is silly and gets in the way. Still a massive beer, definitely a must try - some old-school shit.

 1,175 characters

Photo of BigJTrucker
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy light orange color with a bright white, long lasting head. Aroma has some nice citrus notes, along with a latent sweetness. Taste shows some of the characteristic Belgian spices, along with a bit of apple. Mouthfeel is very moist, not to fizzy, and just the right bit of aftertaste. Very drinkable with a low abv. Great beer.

 338 characters

Photo of delta490
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque light brown with a golden tint. Has a big foamy off white head with great retention. Has a light aroma, spicy and fruity with a little yeasty funk. The taste is much the same. The body is lighter with a delicate carbonation.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,364 ratings.
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