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

5,390 Ratings
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

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

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Ratings: 5,390 |  Reviews: 2,346
Photo of HOMEPL8
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Twincrasher
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Good head retention. Nice deep copper color. Very clear for this type.

S: Floral and fruity.

T: A little bit of a comedown from the appearance and smell. Balance of acidity and malt is not what I'm used to in Trappist. Less yeasty flavor than what I expected.

M: More carbonation than expected.

O: Very good. Not the great ale I was expecting from reputation. Will try again though.

 389 characters

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled: May 2011
Opened/notes from: Nov 2011

Orval has a pretty yet rustic appearance. Misty-hazy and pink-amber in color. Half liquid / half foam on pour - a pearly, sticky, cotton candy-like foam that collapses somewhat fast but with abundant replenishment throughout.

A complex potpourri of aromas: hoppy, first off - spicy/floral, very (arguably) resiny. A little bit of caramel (malt) poking through, but just a kiss. Only tiny hints of funk (early) - ultimately smells most similar to a (fruited) lambic as far as its brett influence goes. Lastly, something like strawberry(?) extract? A vibrant overall smell, with some depth.

On my palate, a warm saison-like spice is the first sensation, not to mention some musty, slightly twangy, and haystack nuances. The hops lend some firm bitterness, for sure, but the alcohol (and, to a lesser extent, malt flavors) helps keep balance. Malt is there, perhaps lending to the golden raisin and subtle sweetness I'm tasting, however, it seems muted by the brett and hops. The hops really round things out nicely - something I hadn't given much attention to in the past.

My first impression of its body is: "compact"- not thin, not syrupy, like an extract/syrup thinned with liqueur. A wee bit warming.

Orval reveals something different every time I've had it - every experience enjoyable.

 1,341 characters

Photo of nlmartin
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served in my classic Schlitz chalice. The beer was bottled on 4/4/2006.

Appearance: The beer pours an expressively carbonated orange amber coloration. The head is a fluffy creamy biege coloration. The head has major retention. Thick sheets of lacing remain on my glass.

Smell: The beer has a very pleasing clove and citrus combo. This combines very well with a vaguely sour fruityness and peppery corriander. Herbal floral notes complement the beers smell.

Taste: The beer has a sour citrus taste to begin with. The beer then goes peppery and bret yeasty. The beer has a not unpleasant mineral flavor at the back of the taste. The beer stays fairly dry throughout the session.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer has a dry mouthfeel from start to finish. The beer is very carbonated but is never becomes stinging. The body seems to be on the lighter side. This might be due to carbonation. This is a dam fine beer and was very easy to drink. I will have this one again.

 997 characters

Photo of phreak1983
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Even after a gentle pour into my goblet I got a huge head. It would have been best to let this one sit a little while after opening. Good carbonation and chunky lacing.

S- Sweet pears, floral scents, and I can actually smell the sourness.

T- Not as sweet or sour as it smelled. Very light and crisp.

M- Fizzy, dry, and finishes clean with no aftertaste at all.

D- Very easy to drink, the only thing that would stop me from drinking more is the price and a desire for a stronger tasting beer.

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Photo of RMW66
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of 99bottles
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can't believe I missed reviewing this. I've had this quite a few times, but when I found it in Milan for the equivalent of $1.85 a bottle I stocked up.

Ok, so Orval is a deep orange brown color, slighty cloudy with a clumpy yellowish off white head and above average carbonation. The smell is really unique; strong citrus rind, some wildflowers, and some sharp medicinal cuts. The taste is much of the same, only more complex. When young, as all these bottles are, it has a real biting astringency of phenols, phenols, and more phenols. The hops add good bitterness to the finish, and the malt seems lost in a sea of fighting flavors. The lemon and orange of the smell is in there, as is some funk, almost akin to a lambic. But, really...it's all phenols at first.

I've had quite a few that were left to age, and that made the voyage across the Atlantic and found them to be much more sweet and aromatic. The sweetness of honey, wild grasses, and jasmine all come out as the medicinal taste subsides over time. I like that the "drink before" date is a full 5 years after the"bottled on" date. A really excellent choice, but try to catch one on the back end of those 5 years.

 1,183 characters

Photo of Wildman
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Okay, this is only my second Belgian. It has a wonderful light orangish amber color to it. Creates a nice light head, maybe due in part to it's colorful bubbly nature. This of course gives it a slightly fizzy taste. The aroma is different a mixture of citrus and others that almost imparts(to me at least) a bubblegum smell. It has a nice body to it and a good finish. I am more a fan of stouts/porters, but still quite enjoyed this.

 439 characters

Photo of BeersAndBears
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Calvarro
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of Chris-1911
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Photo of fitius5150
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of barrelman
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very bubbly into the glass. Bubbles coat the glass giving an indirect view of the color which is a beautiful, light amber. Head retreats to light layer with no lacing.

The aroma is extremely pleasant. Fruity with the mild horse-blanket tones being the quiet feature of the nose.

Taste is pretty dry with the wild yeast taking the spotlight in both the fore and after tastes. The after taste lasts a little too long for me with a high, thin flavor.

Mouthfeel started off over-carbonated for me but after a brief warmup and sit, settles down nicely.

The drinkability is pretty good, With most of my pleasure coming from what the small proportion of wild yeast brings to it in both the nose and taste. A thoroughly enjoyable brew.

 745 characters

Photo of Japerrault
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy golden color with a coarse-bubbled head.

S: Flowery, spicy, lemony

T: Hops give the most flavor to this beer. Tartness noticed first with flowery citrus flavors dominating throughout. Candy sugar coming through slightly in the finish with a mild bitterness.

M: light bodied and a bit over-carbonated.

D: For me this is a beer to be savored and enjoyed. Many complex flavors involved make this a slow drinker.

 422 characters

Photo of Muhly
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a snifter. Warmed bottle 20 minutes after removing from the refrigerator.

Bottled in September 2011 with a best before date of September 2016.

A-Pours with a good deal of foamy head. Head it is quite fluffy with one large bubbles foaming. Retains the head nicely. No lacing when I tip the glass, but the head seems to retain its form very well. As I drink it down the lacing becomes much more apparent. Colour is a red-copper and very clear.

S-A fair bit of sweet malt with and a little yeasty. Some floral hops that are more summer time field than citrusy.

T-Hit with a bit of the sweet maltiness right away, which fades to a mildly funky yeast and then finally a bit of tartness. Mild grassy/citrusy hops. I think I'm also detecting a slight spicy note as well, but it doesn't pop out on every sip it seems.

M-Light in body and it kind of just dances on your tongue. Very dry finish that lingers on the mouth. Maybe a touch of alcohol, but not really noticeable.

O-It seems that all of the flavours in this beer come to play in equal quantity. Nothing takes the lead and everything comes together at the right moment. Thoroughly enjoyable and well made beer.

 1,197 characters

Photo of siege06nd
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Pours a very cloudy brown orange color with a beautiful, consistent, pillowy two and a half finger cream colored head. Huge clumps of lacing are left behind on the sides of the glass. Some light sediment resting at the bottom. Looks good.

S. Apple, pear, banana, clove, grape skin, and some hints of brown sugar.

T. Grape skin, apple, pie crust, some light hop bitterness. Very fruity and juicy.

M. Light bodied, highly carbonated, crisp mouthfeel, some lingering bitterness from fruit rinds and hops.

O. A very solid Belgian pale. Sweetness and bitterness and balanced very nicely here and this is definitely a refreshing beer.

 636 characters

Photo of Dactrius
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of timbro81
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Carefully poured this lovely into my Chimay chalice. Mounds of head, about a finger ABOVE the rim of my glass. Color is a slightly hazy rich orange that is filled with massive amounts of carbonation. Smells fruity, bready, and yeasty. Tastes of complex fruitiness layered with some booziness and a touch of hop spice (minimal). Nice complexity and nice medium body. Enjoyed.

 374 characters

Photo of Shaw
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a nice deep golden color with a bit of yeast sediment and a nice frothy white head.

The smell is something. I could smell this beer from a few feet away. It's got a good sour-apples mixed with roses (?) smell. I don't know if tart is a smell, but this beer smells tart.

The taste: Woah! This is different, like other reviewers have said. It smells tart, but it tastes even tarter. I can detect a musty flavor so common in Belgian beers, most likely from aging and wild yeast? Its taste is also dry. There is also a taste of grain, grass and other complex components I can't identify. I'd like to try more beers like this one to compare.

The mouthfeel is very light and crisp.

This is a good beer, but keep your mind open when you try it. It isn't like other sweet Belgian beers. At all.

 809 characters

Photo of usmittymc
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle (best before 8/8/12)into an Orval chalice.

A: Hazy deep amber color. Pours an incredibly tight two finger head that just sits there and calls you out.

S: Spice, clove, bubble gum all from the yeast.

T: Surprisigly clean on the front. The spiciness/ fruitiness doesn't really hit you until after the swallow.

M: Highly carbonated. This beer is almost alive when you drink it. Medium mouthfeel.

D: You could easily throw back a couple of these during a long session, but this one is meant to sip and enjoy. The complexity increases as it warms, so let it sit for a while in the glass. I probably should ahve let this one sit in the bottle for a while and get some age under it's belt, but it was too tempting.

 733 characters

Photo of defubar
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: golden brown and cloudy with a thick, white head

S: hints of yeast, flower and citrus

T: bitter hoppy taste, yeast and citrus , a very different taste from what I am used to

M: carbonated and dry

D: it's very drinkable, expensive though - a little over $5 per 11.2 oz bottle

I'm a beer novice, and this is my first review here on BA.

 341 characters

Photo of drizzam
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a cloudy orange/amber in color. A fairly aggressive pour yielded a monster three finger white foamy head. Good head retention with moderate lacing.

S - This is a seriously aromatic brew! As soon as I cracked open the bottle, my living room was flooded with fruity odors...seems like predominantly pear. Also a very dominant spice aroma to go with the pear. This beer almost smells like a champagne to me.

T & M - Tastes mainly like a ripe pear with a peppery finish. There is an earthy hop presence that seems to peek in and say "Hi", but it is just a ghost and seems to disappear just as quickly as it appeared. There is a strange complexity at work here. Mouthfeel is on the thin side and it finishes pretty crisp...just a bit of that pepper for an aftertaste.

D - This is certainly a fine brew, but the drinkability is hampered by the cost. I'm not one that could quaff this all night even if cost was not a factor, as the spiciness would prohibit it. Certainly worth a try...this is a perfect example of the style.

 1,034 characters

Photo of MDDMD
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-hazy amber color with a huge off-white head and good lacing

S-fruit, bread, yeast funk, sweetness, grassy, slight herbal, very complex

T-bread, caramel malt, grassy, lemon, orange, some bitterness in the finish

F-medium body with moderate to high carbonation, crisp and dry

O-solid BPA with a great aroma, would be great pared with some cheese

 349 characters

Photo of AlexandreNys
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of tsauce2
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P: 11.2 fl oz bottle dated 29/04/2009 into a New Belgium snifter.

A: SRM is a muddy stone ground mustard yellow. Hazy with some sediment. Head is off white, frothy, 1 in, dissipates to 1 cm. Medium carbonation. Medium lacing.

S: Malt base with moderate hop additions. Tart apple notes and some barnyard funk.

T: Light Belgian yeast notes, malty base, semi-citrusy and lightly bitter hops. A light tartness and a little funk. A touch of alcohol is discernable. Aftertaste is light malt and medium hops.

M: Medium body. Complex for a Belgian Pale. Flavors meld nicely, giving a light yet robust feel. Semi-dry finish.

O: Easy drinking, big flavor, very smooth, balanced, and complex. Great nose and feel. Will buy this again.

 728 characters

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,390 ratings.
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