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

5,363 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: 5,363 |  Reviews: 2,335
Photo of RuudJH
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is defenately the trappist that breathes cloisterlife the most. The experience of sniffing and sipping this ale is something Medieval. It reminds me of old churches and chapels in Europe I've visited.

(Meanwhile looking at the uniquely shaped bottle).

A: Great colour(between orange and brown), great head (beige, very thick and fluffy, and great lacing). Great to look at.
S: Defenately very pleasant. Fruit (cherry, strawberry), entertaining hops, something hard to define (pepperminty), plust the yeast, that gives it great dimension..
T: This beer is very intruiging with the Brettanomyces, topclass malts, but also it's spicy with pepper, plus a taste of both fresh and dried fruits, bread and good hops.
M: This drink is very dry, the taste stays in your mouth long.
D: Allthough it's not too high on alcohol (between 6 and 7% abv on the label, it seems to vary), I think it's a beer for sipping. It also goes well with crackers 'n old hard cheese.

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Photo of scottDC
5/5  rDev +19.6%

Photo of vidisad
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Peyton5410
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Antyk
4.49/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Slynger
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ahh, the classic Belgian Pale Ale. Bright hazy golden-orange color with a really large and fluffy white head. Sweet banana and tart orchard fruit nose with yeasty belgian spice. Quite nice. Light, but hugely creamy carbonation fills the mouth with tastes of apples, bananas, and spicy belgian yeast. A classic and probably the most sessionable of begian ales I've ever had, even at close to 7%. Supremely tasty and hugely refreshing. Oh so satisfying.

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

What a beautiful beer. The head forms immediately and the structure is such that I overpoured and thought I'd lose some of the head down the sides, but no! It stood up on its own a good two fingers above the rim of the glass. The color is amber and cloudy, more opaque than many in this style.

It smells of fragrant wood or cooking wheat bread with some spice and citrus in the background. The floral aspect tells you it's a Belgian.

Oh wow! I immediately got oranges. The sour and citrusy flavors combined to make it seem like this was a beer brewed with oranges, it was that strong of an impression on my tongue. Bolstering that flavor is a bread-like taste further back on the tongue...maybe one of those whole grain loafs.

I usually first sip a beer that I have not tried yet, but this one invited me to gulp, and gulp I did. Just two and then I started to taste. It doesn't attack the back of the mouth, but lingers on the tongue daring you to explain the complexities (and I felt I have done a poor job here).

For a beer this complex it is still refreshing and begs another, and another and another still. I wish I had bought more. Strike that...I WILL buy more.

 1,173 characters

Photo of sdm9465
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of vancean2
4.31/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of gelasin
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of berley31
4.73/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a nice, creamy, off-white head that is absolutely huge - and continues to rise after sitting. Body is amber-orange and hazy. Excellent lacing...this is a perfect-looking beer! Great aroma as well; quite yeasty, with citrus tones. The first sip is excellent - lightly sweet and acidic, with a medium, creamy body. Fizzy carbonation. At 6.9%, you can taste the alcohol but it's hardly overwhelming... perfectly balanced. The head is fully lasting throughout drinking, and the finish is long as well. Excellent beer - one of my new favorites - and great that you can actually find in many places outside of Belgium.

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Photo of TheSleepyMonkey
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

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

Photo of Atomicskis5
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%

Photo of DoctorDog
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2 oz bottle into an oversized wine glass.

A- Pours a hazy rich amber with a fluffy white, 2+ finger head. Head fades gradually to a thin covering that remains throughout.

S- A moderately funky green-apple-esque bouquet, with a slight metallic hint.

T- A bit of a hoppy/citrusy crispness on the front, which is surprisingly dry. Sweetness is there, but not overwhelming in the least. The finish is moderately bitter. Bit of a funky, yeasty aftertaste, but not unpleasantly so.

M- Moderately carbonated and fairly creamy.

D- Pretty decent. This one can be savored as a solitary sipper, though - especially considering the moderate ABV- multiples could be consumed without difficulty.

Future outlook: I'm sure we'll meet again someday!

 756 characters

Photo of ChadQuest
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wonderful looking beer with a massive head and lacing and citrus sunburst color.A light and lemony aroma, with a bright straw character on the pallete, light crisp fruits like pear,apple. The souring from the Brett is very slight and mild. thinner and crisper mouthfeel, with a tight champaign like carbination, and a refreshing dry finish.

 340 characters

Photo of timoteo833
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of clake
4.19/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ludachris
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 03/09/2008

Pours a brilliant marmalade hue that seems to have somewhat of a glow to it. A massive 3 and a half finger billowing, thick, chunky, creamy, slightly off white head top the beer after a gentle pour, coming to a rocky peek in the centre of the glass. Chunky, sticky lacing coat the sides.

Smell of sour white grapes almost salty in nature, chewy raison, biscuity malt, spice, banana and fruity esters. Incredibly complex.

Green grapes make quite an appearance in the taste along with fruity esters, green apple, sweet malts, biscuit, hints of citrus and a peppery dry finish. 6.9 ABV is well hidden.

Smooth and refreshingly crisp. I think it could have been made a tad more full in the body but nothing to complain about.

Overall, an EXCELLENT brew. By far one of the most complex beers I've had to date. Took me about 4 or 5 mouthfulls before I pegged down what I could in the taste. Things seemed to just keep popping up. The head seemed to rival Duvel, but paired with the magnificent orange hue, the appearance is unparalleled to anything else I've ever had. Highly recommended and would gladly buy another.

 1,135 characters

Photo of bucklemyshoe
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle at 42* into a chalice.

A: This pours a cloudy burnt orange color with ruby colored hues. The head billows out to a full finger and it laces the sides very well.

S: It has aromas of apricot, apple, berries, and funky, tart yeast.

T: The taste is of sweet berries, grapefruit, cherry, apricot, hay, and a bit of biscuit flavor.

M: It shows the heavy carbonation, a medium body, and lasting funky yeast flavors.

D: This is a lovely brew. Thanks monks!

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Photo of GallowsThief
4.48/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured out of a bottle into a Duvel Tulip glass.

A - Deep, dark ale with a good 2 inch foamy head formed. Head is think and creamy looking with a good bit of sticky lacing.

S - I get some real subtle peppery smell. Nice. It also has a fair amount of spice in the nose. I thought champagne smell as well albeit just a touch.

T - This has just a touch of bitterness. Not much. Also is tart in a good way. Is a realy clean taste all around with a nice dryness throughout.

M - Light bodied trappist with a nice tingly carbonation on the tongue. Wonderful really.

D - Hell yes.

 580 characters

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

11.2 oz bowling pin shaped bottle. Very unique and very cool. Pours out a tannish brown with a huge fluffy white head that lasts and lasts. The smell is hoppy, earthy and herbal. With hints of something medicinal and chalky.

The taste is not what I expected at all. Smooth and mellow in the beginning. Giving way to more hoppy notes and alcohol. The flavors kind of intensify all the way through to the aftertaste. Fruity, herbal and dry at the end.

This is not what I expected but I love it. Very unique. The dryness and hoppyness makes this beer for me.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drawn to this bottle for some reason. Bready boozy smell at outset. Cider-like color with thick lacing. The best part of this brew for me is the complexity. At first taste I do sense the yeast, the astringency is there as others will agree here. I may seem off a bit in this but vinegar comes to mind as a mouth sensation, if you can somehow picture that in a good way. I guess there is an odd abrasiveness that somehow "works". Yes it is quite dry, however I can't help, and can hardly believe, that I also detect fruit or fig in the taste. As I mentioned, this is all about complexity. The mouthfeel for me is most abrasive up front, but it is up front where i also smell the fruit-like bouquet as I am tasting it. For some reason and I can't pinpoint exactly how, but this is very drinkable for a beer with such a distinct character. Spices are picked up too. Unusual. I guess the reason i think Orval is so good despite some unusual characteristics is due to the expertise in the brewery of using their "brettanomyces" yeasts the way they do. Apparently in most beers these yeasts are considered contaminants. With that it's no wonder I also favor saisons. All good here.

 1,175 characters

Photo of cavemanlawyer1999
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of SitkaSteve
4.46/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was poured into a tulip.
The appearance was a hazy amber to orange color. There was a decently sized creamy rocky head that lasts for a super long time and then once it dissipates leaves some nice stringy lacing.
The smell starts off with tart apples, brings on a slight rustic funk and then slides into some nice Belgian spices.
The taste remains tart through the apples and then takes on a musty sort of farmhouse sweet funk. The apples take on a sweet persona in the aftertaste and slides into a semi-sweet to musty wet finish.
The mouthfeel is about a light to medium on the body with a pretty good sessionability about it. Carbonation ranges on a delicate soft side allowing the tartness to come back and be the focus of the harshness along my tongue.
Overall, its a classic because of its unique quality of the tartness. Its world class for a reason. And a stellar one to have with some NY strip steaks. I also personally love it with grilled halibut steaks.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,363 ratings.
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