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

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
5,377 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:
5,377
Reviews:
2,342
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
12.44%
 
 
Wants:
358
Gots:
905
For Trade:
11
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,377 |  Reviews: 2,342
Photo of momc
4.39/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BEERMILER12
4.39/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on leap day 2012 (29/02/2012). Best Before 01/03/2017 (March 1, 2017). Consumed January 19, 2013, at nearly 11 months old

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden color with 2 fingers of head that retains very well and leaves some nice lacing

S: Huge amount of Brett funk right off the bat, along with a very pleasant fruitiness and alcohol/malt combination. Nice and complex

T: Follows the nose, but a bit toned down with the funk. This allows for the malt and fruitiness to really shine. Some hops also come through to really even things out. Again, fairly complex

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth

O: A nice and complex Trappist pale, with a good showing of what Brett can do for a beer. Definitely worth a shot if you like Belgians and Trappist beers

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Photo of jpro
4.39/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle at CBX. Poured into a Chimay chalice. (Brewed 04.10.12; Drink By 04.10.17)

A: Cloudy; light copper / orange; three-finger, sudsy, rocky, white head leaves a few thicks wads of lace.

S: Light clove and spice notes; green apple skin; lightly tart, in a white grape kind of way; notes of bread.

T: White bread / cracker malt; light fruit... apple / pear; some esters come out on the end.

M: Medium body; high, lively carbonation; more bitter than expected on the end.

O: Lighter, yet complex; tasty and refreshing... delicious.

*from notes 10.03.13

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.39/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I remember trying Orval many, many years ago when I was first geiing into beer and thinking it was okay. I almost feel ashamed now, realizing what a truly great beer this is. Unique yeast notes on the nose have floral and spicy characteristics. The flavor changes from initial taste to the finish, and changes further as it breathes and warms a bit. I don't find it funky in a traditional Brett sense, but it adds another flavor layer that all comes together.
Different and special, this is one to go back to over and over.

Edit...just a note that with one year of age, the brett funk makes the nose on this amazing. However, the taste suffers. Overall, I definitely prefer fresh, although I'll try a 3 year vertical next year.

Edit 2...I've had this many times over the past few years and about half the beers just haven't been as good. Hard to say if there is a consistency issue or the storage or time in the bottle is causing issues. I have to dock it a bit since so many bottles have a relatively simple flavor profile compared to the best bottles.

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Photo of Tigerbrau
4.39/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Swedes21
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Special thanks to spinrsx on this 50th beer for getting me hooked on craft beers and BA!

Served in a chilled glass..

Appearance - The beer pours with a tremendous amount of head, over 3/4 of my glass. The beer is a gorgeous pale golden and a decent amount of carbonation is present. The head is a foamy white with some decent lacing. Looks amazing!

Smell - First smell is a grassy base, kind of earthy with some citrus base. The hops are present and delightful.

Taste - very unique taste, the beer taste as it smells, true to its form. I can taste like an orange peel citrus upfront followed by the grassy earth tones. Some decent spice taste as well added to the end. The bitterness is almost none.

Mouthfeel - There is a good amount of carbonation added that i found brought the hops fwd. The beer has a little bit more after taste, from the spices during the mouthfeel. As the carbonation is added, the beer maintains a light mouthfeel, not too creamy.

Drinkability - This is a beer i have had for awhile and wanted to give it a special spot. It is well deserving of the 50th spot in my beer adventures. I will want to stock this beer and share with friends. Such a good beer!

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottled on 1/22/09

pours murky copper with hints or orange. massive white pillow head that sits around forever.

light tartness up front with subtle hints of vinegar. light sour apple and white grape. bits of lemon zest.

lots of funk although it is rather muted. very light hint of sourness. light orange and lemon. brett is making itself known but lightly. a bit earthy. citrus hops in the finish.

light body with moderate carbonation. a bit dry.

fun to drink, lots of complex flavor. i think i drank this too early. i can only imagine what this may turn into in 4 years or so.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 33 cl bottle into a tulip- pours a slightly hazy golden orange color with a 3-finger head, pretty decent retention, nice lacing. Fine looking Belgian.

Smell is nice- that patent Belgian yeast smell; earthy. Plus a little malt sweetness.

Tastes a little less exciting than I was imaging but you can really taste lots of different flavors- very well balanced. A little funk, a little earthiness, some nice pale malt sweetness, with a little hop bitterness as well. Great that you can actually taste the hops. A little stale though.

Mouthfeel is great- light to medium body with full carbonation. Not my favorite golden belgian but certainly worth trying for the complexity of flavor. And an excellent beer.

Update: As I continue to drink it (it's been about an hour now), the yeast REALLY dominates the flavor; almost as if it's totally consumed the malt. Still some hops.

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Photo of davod23
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Feeling contemplative tonight, so I thought I would see what the monks are up to. Orval. IMO, the most unique of the Trappist ales. Poured from the bottle into my Orval chalice. Score.

Popping the cap resulted in a good amount of beer over my countertop. Damn, that was a quick boilover.

Appearance is a slightly murky orange-yellow color, with a billowing white head that subsides to a thin cap. Just a little lacing.

Smell is good, but not great. It's got the funky Brett barnyard characteristics, maybe a touch of citrus, and yeast. It's pretty understated though, and I have had Belgian pales with a bit more on the nose.

Taste is what I come for for this brew. Funk, yeast, lemon, a hint of orange zest. Very nice, very distinctive. A long lasting yeasty finish, very dry. Perhaps the driest beer I've had.

Mouthfeel is fantastic. It's very highly carbonated, so it's light and fizzy on the palate. Although I tend to like styles that are bigger and lower-carbonated, the mouthfeel is perfect for this brew.

Drinkability: I could drink this all night. And I just might.

An excellent beer. Those monks know what they're doing.

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Photo of Sharkophile
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a goblet. Appears a gorgeous, murky dark orange with some shades of brown. Crowned with an big, dense white head with excellent retention. Looks excellent.

S: Smells very fruity, with some apple, strawberry and banana flavors thrown around. Also some earthy funk, grain and booze evident.

T: Oh boy... initially grainy and fruity, with apple-y and subtle banana flavors. Then comes the funk, with a big, earthy, peppery spiciness with some vanilla and bitter flavors. Finishes dry with some grainy sweetness and some residual peppery flavors. Very different. I like.

M: Medium body with a smooth, creamy carbonation which suits the beer perfectly.

O: A terrific beer with a completely unique flavor profile. The earthiness of from the yeast, hops and brett make for a terrific, in-your-face drinking experience.

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Photo of rdrummer
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am very impressed with this Trappist. I like most of the Trappist ales, in fact if I could afford it I would drink nothing but them. The Orval is a very nice hazy golden brown with a huge white head that is long lasting, and the lacing is also long lasting.

The aroma is one of herbal essences, very field-like so that it is a grainy smell almost new-mown hay, really unusual. But the tast is what is unique and fantastic. It is a little different than any other Belgian and any other Trappist. It definitely has the herbal tastes, but even more overwhelming is the hoppy flavor of a variety of hops that I haven't experienced before. Very strong, very good, but the alcohol content is only mild.

It has a very clean, refreshing mouthfeel with a lot of body and no watery tinges. It is a wonderfully drinkable beer that I might have given a 5 to for taste and drinkability except that I think there is still a beer out there that will be better. If you have a chance to try this one, you should. I wish the price was such that I could make it a regular thing.

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Photo of redneckchugger
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a duvel tulip, huge billowing pillowy head, lasts forever it seems, sheets upon sheets of lacing.
The nose is great, i get a little funk, some grass, citrus notes, maybe some caramel hidden in there too
taste is hoppier that expected, i've had this beer in the past, but i don't remember hops showing up at all really, oh well maybe my pallate is more sensitive now. also some faint lemon notes, lots more funk, and a grassy note on the finish.
very effervecent mothfeel, quite refreshing, very drinkable. orval more than lives up to its reputation.

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Photo of Raymond69
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a rocky dense head that lasts the whole glass. Murky orange.

Cloves and a slight floral bouquet are apparent.

Very bready and yeasty tasting. Tasting some cloves or maybe coriander. Some hoppy bitterness lingers.

Mouthfeel is medium to light , somewhat dry tasting.

Very nice Belgium pale ale.

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Photo of beerpirates
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33cl Poured from bottle into a trappist orval glass

A- Huge head that took a bit of time to reduce , cloudy orange color with lots of lacing.

S- citrus hops, pepper, and some earthy funk, yeast

T- mild sweet malt, earthy under tones reminds me of wet hay, nice hop bitterness. nice taste from the yeast , bread

M- light body, dry finish, nice carbonation i, it does mellow toward the end.

D- Great refreshing beer, dry finish that leaves you wanting more.

imo one of the best blond trappist beers out there

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Photo of Clydesdale
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a somewhat hazy amber/burnt orange. The tall, foamy and fluffy head has an amber tint. Retention is quite sturdy, and a substantial speckling of lacing sticks to the glass as the head gradually recedes.

S: Lightly sweet in the nose. Rather tart notes are prominent. A bit dusty and yeasty. Fruity. Notes of pear and apple, with a bit of vinous aroma as well. Some citric hop (?) notes are also detectable. Light phenols.

T: Some light sweetness up front. Distinctively yeasty. Equally tart, phenolic, and spicy. Fruity notes of pears and/or apples are moderate. Lightly funky. Hop bitterness is not especially assertive, but it is more noticeably present than I was expecting. Hop flavors recall candied citrus peel.

M: Medium-firm body. Carbonation is smooth and supple. Quite smooth and refined overall, before a modest finishing prickliness.

D: Quite enjoyable and complex, but in a relatively accessible fashion. This is a unique beer. I'm a bit embarrassed that I've never tried this (or many other Belgian standards) before.

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Photo of jjkatter
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle poured into a Trappistes Rochefort chalice …

A- Dark amber, cloudy color. White head with high effervescence. Nice pillowy lacing that stays with the beer to the end.

S- subtle in the aroma department. Faint citrus with

T- dry twang that sets this beer apart from any other I have tasted. A truly unique flavor. A bit of a unsweetened tea with lemon taste up front, quickly replaced with an extremely dry with pleasant spice finish. First taste presents itself sort of simplistic, but as you delve into the beer, its elegant complexity becomes more and more apparent.

MF- refreshing and moderate ABV which does not present itself. Plenty of carbonation

O- This beer is like no other out there that I have come across. It’s definitely one of those beers that a certain percentage of people will not appreciate. It may even be said to have an acquired taste. While I find this beer a bit pricey, I do enjoy revisiting it from time to time.

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on May 05 2010, bottle opened on December 15 2010. Poured into a snifter.

I poured this beer at fridge temp with the utmost care (remembering that it produces an amazing head) and it still yielded three fingers of head below the rim of my glass, and continued to rise above the rim another two fingers! I had to suck off foam to keep it from spilling down the side of the glass, not once, but twice. Without a doubt the most fantastic head on any beer I have ever seen. Body is a rusty luminescent orange with the slightest cloudiness, which would probably clear if I let this stand for a week or so (this bottle was kept undisturbed for 24 hours before opening). I can't see how this beer could be better, and it earns the first '5' I have ever awarded for appearance for any beer.

It is hard to fully smell this beer because the head is rising out of the glass. What I do smell is interesting and refined. Candy-fruits; granny smith apple, peach, and apricot. The slightest near-funk "barnyard" or old cheese, and cider. A little swirling uncovers slight malts and some English hops.

The flavor is intricate, and unlike anything I have tasted. The aged hops lend a mellow and subtle hop bitterness that is paired with complex malts. All this is underneath the flavors that I am guessing are produced by a variety of bacteria and yeast. Cider is very prominent, as is a slight funk and some horseblanket and fresh apples. As I get into the glass, more bitterness shows up and the hops become more assertive. The malts seem to strengthen as well. The aftertaste is a cross section of the entire flavor profile, and it lasts and lasts.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium, and has the thin character that some aged beers can have (although this bottle is only 7 months old). Carbonation feels authentic. Drinkability is wonderful, but the flavors are so complex I can't imagine drinking this fast.

Conclusion: This is one of the most complex liquids I have ever smelled or tasted, and certainly one of my favorite beers of all time. Orval takes the meaning of beer to a new level in its own way. Everything about this beer is interesting, including the bottle, which seems to fit the beer perfectly. I wouldn't be surprised if this beer's taste differs significantly between vintages because there are so many flavors that lead me to believe that this beer has a number of microorganisms that contributed to its fermentation. Drinking this ale reminds me why I love beer in the first place- no wine ever tastes this intriguing to me.

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Chimay chalice yields a hazy honey body with active carbonation topped by a fat finger of fine-bubbled white head that retains at thick, creamy sheet.

Smells citrusy, sprucey, and rich. Hint of fresh bread and magnolia blossoms.

Thick-medium body meets with with fine carbonation and explodes into light-bodied tangy, yeasty, earthy, fruity, bready, bitter, dry perfection. Lemon rind dry finish.

Wow.

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Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 15.07.2003, best before 15.07.2008. Huge, sandy head full of pits and craters fills half the goblet on the first pour, "subsiding" into boulder-like chunks while snapping, crackling and popping loudly. Clouds of head cling to the sides of the goblet and crust into eternity. A pillar of carbonation rushes through this hemisphere of polished bronze liquid with apricot highlights. Stinks lovingly of sourdough bread, tart green apples, sweaty armpits, curdled milk. Stench of rotting canned fruit cocktail soaking in London dry gin. Nosefeel is cool and sharply acidic, as of vinegar; the aroma practically fogging up the room. Before pouring the yeast this is dry enough on the tongue, with flavors of oregano and bay spiking through a mineral-laden palate and finishing with a twist of lemon. The yeast adds flavors of rancid sweet mint, bread, human feet, and gimlets splashed over a forest floor's worth of mold and spore before fading to a subtle aftertaste of dry herbs. Pinpricks of carbonation punctuate a mouthfeel that is almost airy with lightness and distributes effortlessly over the tongue. Drinkability is dependent only on one's ability to get over one's own senses. I can't write more without rambling pseudo-philosophically about this beer as a living, breathing organism; a metaphor for entropy; and the cyclical nature of decay and rejuvenation. Remarkable.

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Photo of BabySnakes
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Whoa. Poured it staright down the center and almost the entire glass was a tannish color head instantly. Incredible lacing that ends in thick clumpy gobs.

Mostly Copper with some orange hue. Very solid and dense/cloudy.

Faint maltyness with an orange accent aroma. Slight barn/horse/belgian wafts. Not too much overall aroma, maybe inhibited from the pour?

Nice orange flavor comes thru, solid malt base. Barnish/earthy flavors in the finish along with a spiciness.

Excellent mouthfeel. More carbonated than your average beer. Starts medium heavy bodied from the malt but the dry finish helps to keep it a solid medium. Spicy flavor finish is felt in the mouth also. An excellent earthy BPA as opposed to a more dry, hoppy fruity offering like Ommegang's.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Cloudy, orange, nice soapy head and grand retention. Cool bottles.

S. Bready malts, some light fruit. I know I am getting into something good.

T. Malty, fruity. Vague hints of apricot and apple. Some wheat elements. Slightly sour that fades to bitterness from the hops.

M. Crisp, light to medium bodied, nice dry finish, almost like champagne.

D. Real nice beverage here. Great for sessions. Tasty. Drinks slow, a sipper.

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Photo of DemoniChris
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%

Photo of necoadam
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured out a hazy orange with lots, and I mean lots of head that took forever to settle. Smell was actually fot floral with some fruits in there as well. Taste was very, very dry. But it was a good dry, if you try you'll understand what I mean. Some lemon in there with some sugar, but not much. Then it's like citric acid taste in the middle then some hops at the end. Quite complex. Aftertaste is very, very dry and it's quite longlasting. Let this beer warm up to room temperature and you'll get the full effect of this beer. Seek this out.

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Photo of Jaisell
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

For my 800th review I thought I'd review a beer from the one Trappist brewery I'd somehow missed reviewing before. I've had this brew many times, and I've found that it is extremely changeable over time- the older it is the more Brett comes out and the funkier and more sour it is and more Saison-like. The younger it is the spicier and cleaner and hoppier it is- but still with Saison elements. I like it both ways and at every point inbetween, but the bottle I'm reviewing is of the younger variety.

It pours a hazy golden with a fine white head that sticks around and leaves some spotty lacing. The aroma is slightly sour, a bit grassy and herbal, and has a touch of lemon and pepper in it as well. The taste is a complex mixture of light lemon, herbal hops, black and white pepper, and a dry, light astringency. Very nice. Smooth and slightly peppery mouthfeel make this a delight to drink on this hot day on my back porch. If it were a bit older and more sour, I'd probably edge the flavor score up to a five. Any way you find it, its worth drinking.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,377 ratings.
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