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

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,304 Reviews
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
Reviews:
2,304
Ratings:
5,287
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
12.44%
 
 
Wants:
348
Gots:
869
For Trade:
11
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Reviews: 2,304 | Ratings: 5,287
Photo of cheapxceptbeer
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well no time to review this beer but I would say this is a great beer that is a bit overhyped, not as good as chimay so I will rarely get this without a boatload of disposable income, but a great beer nonetheless. Subtle and delicate flavors that would be lost if it were not the first beer, but still this is dissapointing, and definitely not the best trappist ale.

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

First of this is not my type of beer. I do not really enjoy pale ales but this is one I definitely had to try. With that said. Golden brown in color with heavy lacing and strong fingers. Previous review stated a sea foam head and that is spot on. Used a New Belgium tulip and even with it being .47L to the mark and probably .5L full the head rose slightly out of the glass. The glass does have a laser etching on the bottom that may have contributed to the larger than normal head. Smell is consistent with a pale ale. Strong hop aroma. Not quite Challenger hop but earthy and very green like. Taste has a sort of consistent flavor from beginning to end hitting you at first with some strong belgian hops with a nice balance of hop/sweet middle and finishing quite smooth and not too dry for my palette. Very active on the tongue and mouth with a sort of brut champagne feel. If I want to drink a pale ale this is the beer for sure. A definite beer to keep around to pair with when I make more spicy foods or blackened fish/chicken.

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Photo of kwill
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep orange with a large 1"+ head that stuck around for quite a while. The only thing I can take away from on the appearance is that I would have liked to see a bit more yeast. The smell is powerfully sweet and fruity with a hint of cloves.

The taste is definitely more mellow than the smell and I had a hard time picking out any of the sweetness or fruit in the smell. There is a definite hoppy bitter aftertaste. The carbonation was way overdone and almost overpowered an otherwise good beer.

Overall it is a very good beer, but for the price I won't be getting it again any time soon.

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Photo of dfitch81
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An extraordinary beer, this. Orval's excellence manifests in its intricate and subtle complexities. The exceptional artisanship that goes into crafting this masterpiece is unmistakeable.

Appearance: Before I even talk about the appearance of the beer I have to mention the bottle itself - a work of art in its own right. The neck flows seamlessly into the body, which then tapers gently to the narrower base. Simple, beautiful, elegant. Pouring the beer into my Orval chalice produced two fingers of rocky white head, which eventually settled into a silver-dollar sized patch in the center. The beer itself is a beautiful hazed-honey amber with numerous tidy bubbles scudding up the side.

Smell and Taste: Distinct to say the least, like no other beer I've ever tried. Some perfuminess and mustiness with hints of hay, tart fruit and roses in the nose; estery and phenolic notes are much in evidence. Taste mirrors and builds on the scent, with the estery, rosy flavor complemented by the subtle fruity tartness (reminiscent of litchis). Yeast flavor emerges towards end of the taste. Curious but wonderful dry finish invites another taste.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable with a wonderfully constructed body that allows you to appreciate the complexities inherent in the palate. Alcohol is difficult to notice, even though at 6.9% it is hardly lacking in that respect. This beer's complexity entices you to refill your glass again and again. The only problem is that unless you have lots of money, you'll never be able to fill your glass with Orval except on special occasions.

Overall a strange yet exquisite thing, to be savored slowly and delicately.

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Photo of johannasclimacus
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Nice, slightly hazy deep copper.
S: A bit of bread, yeasty with some fruit.
T: Tart fruit, especially right in the middle. There is a very nice sweetness that is balanced in the finish.
M: Medium, very easy drinking.
D: No alcohol taste at all for me, and the beer is very easy to drink. I'm not sure if my tastes are evolving, but I'm moving through this a lot quicker than I have through other beers of the and similar styles. I can definitely feel the alcohol, but I wish I had more than one of these.

Overall, this lives up to the hype, and it's a great way to cap off my spring break. I'm raising my glass to all of my fellow collegiates who have consumed a huge quantity of terrible beer this week.

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Photo of voteforgoat
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottled Jan 22, 2009 -

Bubbles up like crazy when i poured into my glass. Overflowed a bit even! Unlike any other trappist beer. Sour, dry finish, likely from the Brett. Refreshing. Once you drink the beer, you might notice the bottle is especially heavy, probably to hold the carbonation. A bit stronger than your average beer. Quite unlike most Belgians I've had

I'm going to open bottle #2 now!

My gf said it "reminds me of Cuvee Renee, but not quite"

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Photo of Jef59
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a gorgeous hazy orange with a gigantic off-white head.

The smell is amazing! Vey similar smelling to a white wine. Grapes, oranges, and a little grapefruit. There is a little pine and nuttiness followed by sweet sugary smell. A little boozey but in a nice way.

Tastes of sweet malts with an extremely crisp and refreshing hop note. Very citrusy and grapey like the nose. It's kinda funky, not in a horse blanket kind of way but it has a slight twang to it. Extremely well balanced. Extremely refreshing.

Nicely carbonated. Not very thick and is easily quaffable (I wouldn't dare though)

A truly unique Belgian ale. Very distinct and delicious.

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Photo of travis224
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer blew me away. A golden amber color with tight white head and little lacing. The smell is amazing: a bit medicinal, fruity lemon, granny smith apples and toasted bread, extremely complex. The taste is a bit drier with wet stones, tart apples and some hop bitterness. This is an exceptional beer.

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Photo of Tomhet
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a rich, cloudy brown with an amber hue when held up to light. A giant three-finger off-white head sits atop the robust body, making the prospect of tearing into this even more enticing. Talk about a complex nose. First thing that hits you is a boozy hybrid of spiced cherries, banana, sharp grapefruit, and the general Belgian yeast. The yeast logically flows into the bready malts that provide the nose's solid foundation and wonderful balance. A slight grassy/floral hop presence is notable deep in the aroma.

Taste: Very, very relaxed. Sweetness permeates the entire brew, and absolutely none of the alcohol from the nose is apparent. Those floral hops play a much larger role in the taste than the nose would indicate, and it's entirely refreshing when enjoyed under the slick, wet mouthfeel that the brew supplies. Somewhat distinctive, if not generic yeast notes are omnipresent throughout the sip, but I'm not picking up the fruit notes that the aroma indicated nearly as much as I anticipated. Carbonation is medium and crisp. Pepper rings out strong throughout. I saw a review that mentioned a “fresh-cut hay quality”, and it's right on the money. The finish is a really sweet, organic banana note that makes itself known even after you've finished taking a sip. Overall, this is perhaps the most refreshing of the Trappist ales but certainly doesn't compromise in complexity.

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Photo of John_Henry
1.85/5  rDev -55.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A: Looks pretty good, as one would expect. Enormous amount of head, leaving good lacing. The head is so big it is actually too much.

S: The first thing that hits, and unfortunately a little off-putting. I racked my mind for a few minutes as it reminded me of something, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Best way I can describe it is Parma ham.

T: Pretty horrific. Lite, dry to the point of sourness. Quite bitter, but overall really rather unpleasant. Awfully disappointing.

M: Seems pretty good, but the taste is so unpleasent that it overpowers, what would potentially be a great mouth feel. I really can't even begin to process whats going o in my mouth.

O: I assumed I had a bad bottle until reading some of the other reviews. I still find it hard to believe that this isn't a bad bottle, and this is how this highly acclaimed beer is meant to taste, am I so pore of a judge? Having been an avid beer enthusiast for the last 20 years, I have to assume this just isn't for me. Strange having enjoyed pretty much every other Belgium beer I've had.

I will give this another try as this was purchased in Japan, so may well be a bad example, but unfortunately I think it may be how this beer is intended.

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Photo of Chessmaster
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Pours a golden, orange-brown with 1-2 inches of dense white head that slowly dissipates to about 1/4 inch that lingers and lingers. Nice lacing

S: Light, floral

T: Floral bitterness, finishing with a touch of fresh hop notes. Refreshing, somewhat complex.

M: Pleasant

O: A nice beer although I like Chimay or Westmalle better.

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Photo of TDotScott
4.84/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Cellared for four years. Poured into a wine glass

L- gold with a rocky white head that just won't quit.

S- Dat aged Brett, tho. Pineapple and fruits. Not so much funk anymore.

T- bitter phenols, some hops still. Malt has a presence. You can tell it's aged, but still such balance!

F- prickly carbonation helps keep things light

O- a good one to try at this age!

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Photo of mmthompson33
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A legendary beer. Drinking an Orval is a unique experience each time - the fruitiness, subtle maltiness and high alcohol make it one to remember. Not many beers can do that, and no beer has been able to imitate Orval. Orval has that aura that very few beers ever achieve.

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Photo of stulowitz
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled December 5 2006, poured in a Orval chalice.

Slow pour leaves an awesome off-white, fluffy, creamy head. Smells of citrus, wood, horse, barn and seabreeze greet my nostrils.

Appearance is hazy copper. Taste is bone-dry, refreshing, spritzy. Slightly hoppy and a bit of malt in the background.

Man, this is my all-time favorite beer!

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Photo of SudNut
3.66/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was my first Belgian Pale Ale I have had a couple of the strong darks before and think I prefer those. This beer pours to a murky golden brown with a creamy head and some lacing.

The smell is citrus like…. lemon, with a hint of spice.

Taste is sweet then tart liked the smell with a tiny hop bite and a light undertone of alcohol. Fairly well balanced if you like tartness.

Mouth feel is light and creamy with plenty of carbonation.

I gave it a low drinkabilty mark because I don’t like tart beers. Other wise a fairly sound choice. This just doesn't seem to be my favorite Belgian style.

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Photo of Nuke77
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice the head just explodes on this beer. I served mine at about 52F and it seems to be the near perfect temperature to experience the wonderful head. The appearance is a darkish orange with lots of bubbles coming from the bottom of the chalice. I did not observe any "floating" yeast. The scent is all apple and some dark fruit. This beer literally explodes on the tongue with the taste following the scent of apple and dark fruit, a bit of hops and bitterness and sweetness simultaneously. The carbonation is pronounced. I could easily drink this one as a session beer but for my taste it is too special to do so. One of the finest beers I have ever experienced.

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Photo of dolzan
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Golden/reddish colour with an enormous head that stays there forever. The body is very cloudy, you can't really see through.

The smell is spicy and fruity.

The taste is something different. As complex as it possibly gets, with myriad tastes mixing up. Flowers, hay, grain, lemon, you name it.

It really is that complex.

In saying that, I'm not really that impressed by all the combinations. It's good, I would buy it again, but not one of the world's greatest beers, as some reviews might lead you to think.

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Photo of xrdsci
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle.

A: Cloudy amber with a thick, foamy head. Nice lacing.

S: Floral, apples, hops. Some phenolic character.

T: A little sour apple, a bit of funk. Strong hops presence up front that sticks with you. Long, dry finish.

M: Light bodied, strong carbonation.

D: Very drinkable. Alcohol is well-hidden.

This one was a little surprising. Hoppier than I thought it'd be.

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Photo of sellmeagod
3.87/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The monks know how to get you drunk. These trappist brews always break on through.

What's great about the beer is how well it plays out the expectations. It will be a classy beer. You know this; the price tag shows this.

And what do you find? It will look like a classy beer. The monstrous head just makes you think of having a merry time, and it's truly a joyful time peering through the golden colored brew.

It will taste like a finely balanced, delicious, classy beer. Dry, carbonated, blast to the tongue.

There's nothing exciting about it, and this has to be the only complaint. Surely, though, we don't want a Pale Belgian to be doing too much radically, so this hardly matters. 6.9 abv is precisely what it needs to be for you not to taste it and then to feel it nicely.

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Photo of yapi
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Has a nice golden color.
Smell & taste is of lemon, hoppy character, floral.
I like the hop here.
Although a bit sharp & dry.
Granny smith apple.
Grassy as well.
Very good beer, but - as a personal preference - I don't really like a dry finish.

edit: really became 1 of my favorites, drinkability is great, so I upped the score

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Photo of Prince_Casual
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 7.18.12, so a bit less than a year old. Poured into a "softball sized" snifter.

Really a pretty pour with a head that sits for a moment, then recedes gradually as if to indicate it's ready to be sampled. Not nearly as milky or hazy as some other BPAs (or more specifically other trappist ales).

The smell on this one can take over an otherwise neutral smelling room. The initial rush has a lot but definitely ripe banana, some spice, lemon (rind)... I am always a sucker for the super dry french/normandy cidres, and this beer has a similar bit of yeast that predicates where the taste will go.

A supremely dry beer. There is hardly a trace of fruit on the tongue, and no alcohol at all. It's just an acidic grain-y sensation that is a unique counter to the huge ripe fruits on the nose.

The first couple times I had this beer I didn't "get" what was all about. Now I see it as a different and valuable part of the belgian/trappist interpretation of Pale Ale. This beer really bridges two of the major Belgian styles: dry and refreshing enough to hang with the classic Saisons, and enough spice and ripeness to rival the finest tripels.

While Rochefort 12 or St Barnardus 12 are on my "must try" list for people just getting started, Orval is the one who can bring the "AH HA!" back to the most jaded Advocate.

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Photo of ThirdCoast
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving Type: 11.2 floz Bottle

A:Murky Orange color with a nice head with plenty of lace.

S:Oranges, lemons, citrus.

T: Sharp taste, hard to pinpoint....Earthy

M:Stings the tounge, much like a cola.

D:Overall a good drinkable beer. Great for a summer afternoon.

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Photo of Clubchat
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I kept this beer in my personnal cellar from 3 years now, can't wait anymore

Appearance - Orange to copper color, more darker that the younger ones, nice carbonnation

Smell - Fruit, wood, vineous with the warming alcohol adding a nice layer of complexity

Taste - Oak, alcohol, serious sweet and vineous taste

Mouthfeel - Light and smooth

Drinkability - Very nice light-aged beer, very easy to drink, delicious

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Photo of Eisen
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my favorit Trapist beer to date; it, in my view is better than Chimey- but very different. Having triied in Chinese "cafe" for $4 out of a wine glass, of which I spent a few miniuites trying to explane why I wonted a glass and particularly that glass, It is by far one of the best beers I have triied. I wont lie, the Chinese air killed my nose and so I can just tell by every thing else that the beer smelled like heaven. The taste was very different, very oylde fashined and very not sweat and not bitter. It was light and crispy but also heavy and wonderful. I could sit and drink these for years.

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Photo of PsychoJedi
3.82/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours what would be a nice shade of golden, but filmy. The head is enormous! One of the biggest (but not the biggest) head I have ever poured. It goes down slow with a thickness in the head. The smell is good. I bit fruity, but not to excess with what might be a malty background covering up some of the fruit smell. Taste is alright. Not fruity and not malty, but not much too it than I expected from a Belgium beer. Rather uneventful to some part, but the taste is there. No after taste. Goes down rather smooth. Verdict: try it and judge for yourself.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,287 ratings.
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