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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,214 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,214
Hads: 4,969
Avg: 4.17
pDev: 18.94%
Wants: 300
Gots: 684 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001

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.
View: Beers (2) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,214 | Hads: 4,969
Photo of BucBasil
2.44/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance: Poured into a tulip from a bottle. Said it was bottled in July of 2006, so it's now over a year old. Drink before date is July 2011, so I guess this one could definitely benefit from aging. Poured a deep amber with hints of brown. The head was off-white with a massive head that I had to wait for before I could finish pouring. Good looking brew all-around though.

Smell: Interesting smell of earth and herbs. Alcohol is definitely evident here, and overpowers any other smell that could be sensed by my nose.

Taste: Not very good at all, which is very disappointing for a Trappist beer. I have very high standards for these guys, and Orval does not come close. I must admit, the beer improves as it warms a bit, but not by much. Tastes earthy with an alcohol finish. There's something very chemicalish and offputting about the middle and finish of the beer, with a horrid aftertaste lingering around for a while after. Since the taste was so distracting I couldn't really focus on the mouthfeel of this one. It seemed nice - not too carbonated, but enough.

Drinkability: I won't be buying one of these for a long time. I don't think I could have a second even if I had another one in the fridge. I'm struggling through the first one as it is... Perhaps it drastically improves with age, but I won't be trying it anytime soon.

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Photo of ghostdeini
2.46/5  rDev -41%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I was overall dissapointed in this beer because it is rated as world class.

I would rate this beer as below average espically for a belgian pale ale.

This beer really lacks in flavor, there were barely any hoppy notes and it was weak even as a belgian.

The beer did have a rediculous head that was over four fingers tall and does look very nice.

Stay away from this one, go for harpoon or ommegang for a good bpa.

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Photo of BillBabbitt
2.46/5  rDev -41%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I enjoy Belgian ales, but I was very disappointed with Orval. It was overly carbonated. I was only able to get about 3 oz of beer in a 16 oz tulip glass, due to the heavy foam. Once I was able to try the Orval, I found it to have a very unusual industrial aroma. I did not finish the beer. The 'brewed on' date indicated that this bottle was nearly 13 months old, so it is possible it had turned.

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Photo of joecast
2.47/5  rDev -40.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

re-review 30/4/06
ok, so its only taken 2+ years to get back to this. ive actually had it one other time since my review, but it was in a pub after a long tasting night. other than that, it just hasnt been available in bottleshops. this bottle was marked best before 2009, and is just under two years in the bottle.

appearance is still good. cloudy orange/amber hue with a lightly tanned head that settle to a thickish lace after a few minutes.

yup, theres that skunked aroma. cough inducing if i get too close. i can feel the drying funk (as best i can describe it) invading my nasal passages, and getting into my lungs. a strange feeling it is.

they say smell and taste are linked. it is certainly on display here. taking a big sniff as i sip, and its like the black cloud monster from lost is allowed down my throat. though, not quite as unpleasant as it may sound. the taste here is mellow and subdued compared to the smell. has a light sourness that truly shows the wide range of flavors beer can hold.

well, at least i can say i know that this is what orval is supposed to taste like. i suppose it makes no appologies, nor should it. thought i would enjoy it a bit more now i am a bit further along my beer education. but what i have learned is orval, in all its funkiness, is not for me.
i was really looking forward to my second experience with a belgian beer, the first being chimay.
i guess i was expecting something similair but what i got was anything but. also, as others have said, this beer is unique.

pours with a magnificent rising rocky head and an orange hue. dont be fooled by the small, unassuming bottle. grab a large glass for this one.
the aroma jumps up with an eye-opening tartness. reminds me of the wine my dad and grandfather make. also noticed the aroma of green olives maybe.
the taste is a good reflection of the aroma, with a red wine-like flavor and tart/sour finish.

i almost wasnt going to review this beer thinking it had gone bad. however after reading a few posts here about it and doing some research, i learned that maybe that is the attraction of it. i can see why this beer is so liked by some people, it is definitely uniqe and very distinctive. its just not for me right now.

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Photo of Hoptometrist
2.5/5  rDev -40%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Served from the bottle into a globed DFH glass. Bottled on 1/8/2010, which I think means August 1 and not January 8.

A- Poured a mostly clear semi--hazy dark golden color, amazing, huge, fluffy head that left some lace. Lots of small bubbles, highly carbonated

S- Big lemon, hay, banana, citrus, and funky notes

T- This is super bitter, lots of sulfur/salty qualities on the finish. You get some of the flavors in the aroma, but this salty sulfur quality overpowers this whole beer.

M- Highly carbonated, chalky dryness

O- Is this a bad bottle? Maybe. This was a huge and expensive disappointment. Tons of nondescript bitterness, if only the taste matched the aroma. I could not finish this.

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Photo of e11iott
2.5/5  rDev -40%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: 11.2 oz bottle. This beer poured an uncontrolable amount of head, almost thinking I got a bad bottle. Another interesting tid-bit on the bottle was it had a made date of 05/08/2009, best before 05/08/2014. That seams like a long time to collect dust on the bottle and for a beer to settle.

S: Slight fruit, very yeast like, overpowerful yeast.

T/M: Interesting, very dry hop aftertaste and bite. Very high carbination.

D: Paid to much and was let down by this one, I might have to revisit it. Hoping my bottle was bad. Other option is this just isn't my style.

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Photo of Mitchster
2.5/5  rDev -40%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

$5.99 for a 11.2oz bottle at Jacks. 6.9% ABV. Bottled on 11/13/08, best by 11/13/13.

I've had this beer a few times, but it's not a regular, so I was surprised to see that I hadn't reviewed it on BA before. Considered a classic by some. Pours out to a lightly chill hazed medium amber, forming a large white head despite a careful pour, with excellent retention and sticky delicate Belgian lace. The carbonation is medium-strong. The aroma opens with the smell of honey, followed by that classic horse blanket, farmhouse musty basement sour funk of Brettanomyces that I adore...much different than most Trappist ales which don't ferment with Brett at all. The funk is followed by orange and pineapple....a deliciously tempting beer. The mouthfeel is spritzy and explodes upon the tongue with a light body. The taste opens with a short-lived tartness, followed by a very strong unpleasant metallic bitterness, spicy cloves, fusels and other higher alcohols, and finishes bone-dry with more metals and higher alcohols. No sweetness whatsoever. Aftertaste of wet cardboard and newspaper. Ugh.

I'm not a big fan. It smells delicious, but it needs more sweetness and less bitterness to balance the tartness of the Brett, no fusels, less carbonation and more body. At $5.99 for a wimpy bottle, skip this and get some De Proef, De Dolle, Duchesse, Rodenbach, or Zoetzuur.

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Photo of bnes09
2.51/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pale orange in color with a nice haze. Mountainous head forms and retains well. Soapy character to the head with descent lacing.

Aroma is pretty clean. Ginger and faint wheat bread.

Flavor seems off. Somewhat bitter and tart. Rough malt character and stale hops. Off flavor continues in the finish.

Lighter body and a it on the watery side. Overcarbonated as well.

Totally disappointing. I wonder if I got a bad batch or if this particular bottle was stored improperly for some time causing it to go sour. I'll probably rechallenge this some other time to make sure.

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Photo of stevecee2003
2.52/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

APP - Huge head! At least half the glass, maybe more. Light merky amber color.

SMELL - Wow, just take in all those smells. Soft malts. and lemon. Some kind of flowers. Very nice. I have hopes!

TASTE - A bit of a disappointment. Although I must admit I didn't know what to expect, so what's to disappoint? Well, I expected more from a Trappist Ale. It was crisp- yet watered down. There is also that unmistakable lemon in there, and now that I taste it, maybe thats not a good thing. At least for me.

MOUTH - It just feels very watery. I admit I most enjoy strong IPA's, so perhaps this disqualifies me. But this goes down TOO easily. Almost like, and I hate to say it, a Budweiser. Oooohh. Sorry.

DRINKABILITY - Probably good for some as it goes down easily.

NOTES - It may be good for some. If so, go for it! But for me- I am glad I tried it, but no. No.

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Photo of wyllder
2.53/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2


I had this one recommended to me by a fellow hop-head. My primary love in beer-life is hops. Brews like Hopdevil & Stone IPA top my list of favorites. That said, I'll get into my review of Orval Trappist.

Beer pours a mid-range amber with a big, fizzy, carbonated head. Really, I think the color rating is subjective, as I prefer a deep & clear amber to the lighter and slightly opaque amber of the Orval.

Taste.. Hmm. The first word that came to mind was medicinal. I checked this against two of my friends and the response was the same: cough syrup. Maybe this was my first experience with Bavarian & Yugoslavian hops but I found the flavor altogether unappealing. There's a good bit of malt balance that comes in to hold the hops back, and several floral overtones. None of this, however, could distract my palate from a foreign hop bitterness I was unable to enjoy.

Overall, I would not recommend this to someone who loves American hopped beers.

Update: Sampled this again off a friend during a session at the Moan and Dove. The cough medicine taste noted before is still there. This time, though, I can more appropriately call it an Orajel flavor. Like Orajel, it actually creates an unpleasant numbing sensation on the palate. Like before, I checked my impression with the friend who had ordered it and he concurred: Orajel. Is there benzocaine in this stuff?

Final update: Tried this one last time, after having given my palate a chance to adapt to Belgians such as Achel, Quintine, Westvleteren, Rochefort, Bink, etc... Also followed the suggestion of other BA's and made this beer my first selection of the evening. Net result, I no longer think is completely vile. However, the odd and rather unpleasant medicinal/orajel flavors noted previously remain, though being much more subdued than I recall. While it was more palatable on my third try, I still cannot recommend this beer. I upgraded my taste rating to 2.5.

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Photo of jeffmonarch
2.53/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2 oz. bottle in a snifter glass.

A - Cloudy orange color with a thick white head that stays for a while.

S - Sweet fruity smell. It's almost like orange or lemon pledge.

T - Very bitter and almost medicine like flavor. Alcohol flavor is also present.

M - Light bodied with high carbonation.

D - Not a fan.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.55/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottled on 8-01-03. Michael Jackson, in the latest edition of his 'Great Beers of Belgium', says that the current brewer at Orval likes this beer best at 6 months. Who am I to say different? My bottle is just shy of 7 months, so I should be on pretty solid ground here.

This might be heresy to some, but Orval Trappist Ale looks just like an American IPA. It's a rich, orange-accented amber that is lightly hazy and has a wealth of vigorous carbonation jumping off the bottom of the glass. The head is off-white, large, fairly stiff and falls to a thick, lumpy film, leaving disappointingly little lace.

The aroma is different from anything that I've ever experienced (or even imagined). I do pick up quite a bit of the 'horse barn' smell, but it isn't unpleasant at all. There are also mildly spicy, slightly lemony, grassy notes to go along with it and keep it interesting.

Orval's flavor is not to my liking. The somewhat pleasant horse barniness of the aroma is in full force on the palate and doesn't work nearly as well. There's a huge jolt of sour, earthy unpleasantness that fades quickly and leaves the mouth dry. The mouthfeel, as with many Belgian ales, is too riotously carbonated.

I'm pretty certain that, no matter the age (from fresh to the 5 years of the 'best by' date) Orval Trappist Ale is not for me. If it's an acquired taste, then it's one that I will never acquire... because I won't be drinking any more of it.

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Photo of Jdiddy
2.56/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a great sparkling copper color. The best part of this beer stopped there for me. I just did not like it. It tasted like a farm smells (if that makes sense). Something just does not taste right with this one. An unusual taste that I could not really figure out. Bitter but not in a good way. Like paint thinner would probably taste. I am sure I may stand alone on this one but I will not be trying it again.

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Photo of KenC
2.59/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Cool bottle, with a little tag hawking their glassware for sale. Three fingers of head that lasted until the end. Lacing was just average. Medium copper color and slight cloudiness.

S- Very nice complex aroma of malt and hops, a little pang of things to come, with a chemical type scent.

T- Starts out perfectly balanced. The well blended flavor was unique. Then it hit, just like the nose. That slight hint of chemical. It's really the alcohol, but I was expecting balance end-to-end and l got foul aftertaste. Really a disappointment.

M-Medium body with good balance.

O- I liked everything up to the ending. When you factor in the price, for a non-happy ending I think I'll look elsewhere.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
2.59/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle. Left a foamy one finger head that had some good retention, but not much lacing. Body was a hazy orange-amber.

Smell - a sour barn-like odor. Not much else. Some alcohol.

Taste - same as the smell. A sour barn-like must, with very faint tones of plums. Alcohol on the finish, and not really integrated into the taste.

Mouthfeel - thin, fluid, and fizzy.

Drinkability - I don't like this much, so it's not sessionable.

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Photo of BeerManDan
2.6/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

One taste and I didn't like it. Everything up to the taste was appealing. After tasting it, it left me disappointed. In fact I couldn't drink the whole glass. Maybe I got a bad bottle, but if this is what I have to look forward to next time, I'm wasting my time and money on a no nothing beer.

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Photo of BeerBob
2.6/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Orval Trappist Ale pours a hazy translucent nut brown from a 11.2 oz very dark brown glass bottle with a pry off cap. Head well over three fingers. Foam turns rocky and clings to everything in large clumps on the way down the sides of my glass to a massive broken reef of foam with a lagoon to one side.

Nose is a firm clove and sour banana, with just the slightest wisp of bubble gum. Palate is just a one-dimensional citrus sour with the bight of carbonation. That is it, just a foamy sour bubbly.

“The king has no clothes!”

Dates on bottle:
Bottled on: 29/08/2006
Best Before: 29/08/2011

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Photo of Blanco
2.62/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

poured into a chimay goblet.

murky brown/orange color with a head that foams up and wears itself out similar to a champagne. Also, like champagne, the carbonation is extraordinary on this one and hardly looks like "beer."

smell has that funk of wild yeast not unlike a gueze. citrus is in the background bringing some sweetness to the funk.

taste has a little mix of sweetness upfront and hint of candy, although drier in the finish.

carbonation is through the roof at first but it burns itself out after a bit and becomes almost "flat" after being so highly carbonated.

nice drinkability but not great. definitely different but the carbonation issue through me off here.

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Photo of TrickKnee
2.65/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

After hearing nothing but raves about the orval I decided to give it a go. I heard so many suggest ways to drink i.e. 50 degrees in a glass to bring out the flavors and many others. All i can say is that I was extremely unimpressed for the hype. The head looked almost like that froth that churns up on the sea shore and just stuck to the glass. Taste was not overly great either. For $5 a beer i would say spend a couple extra bucks and get a decent 6 pack, you will be much happier.

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Photo of Overlord
2.65/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Stunned at the love this beer receives. It's a jack of all trades, master of none.

Pours a ginger ale looking light brown. Huge carbonation issues. Just crazy frothing. Why does it take 5 minutes to pour an 11 oz. bottle?

Smells medicinally, soapy, of grass hops, and faintly of spices. Taste is a muddled mess. I actually like the slightly sour taste and lemony bite, but it doesn't meld well with the bit of horse blanket, fresh hay/grass hops, and medicinal herbiness.

Just really strange. It's almost like they took two decent beers and blended them, with bad results.

The carbonation did result in a very nice mouthfeel, once it settled down.

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Photo of PorterLambic
2.65/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Nice bottle.
Pours a cloudy reddish-orange with a smallish creamy head.
Smell is malt, green apple, oak, hops & yeast.
Taste is hops, hops, hops and malt. Not at all what I expected.
Mouthfeel: high carbonation, a bit rougher/hoppier than expected although I was forewarned about that. A very dry finish, by far the driest of any ale I've ever had, drier than almost any lager for that matter..
Drinkability: Not your typical trappist ale, too much like an IPA for my tastes.

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Photo of bobhits
2.65/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Poured in a La Trappe glass. A HUGE massive over the top head forms this is amazing and the body that comes with the head, pretty darn impressive. The body does remind one of a thick unfiltered IPA though on the golden side.

The aromas brings out sour notes, cider, apples, maybe pears?, and some lemon notes. Very dry and there isn't much sugar in this one and with that there isn't a lot of sour. It's very subtle.

Complex? Definitely. It reminds me of a cider with brett sour notes. The problem is it isn't good. Those flavors are ok but they could use more brett or more sugar from malts. There's some herbal bitterness perhaps from hops. It's subtle. There's a lingering sour/hop blended finish the lasts a while. I'm just not liking this beer.

Given it is a sour I didn't expect much body and there isn't much. The head was amazing but the carbonation in the body was below average for a beer...somewhat expected for the style.

Look, I know this one has a huge amount of lovers. Maybe this bottle is between ideal age? About 10 months old maybe another year makes it more sour or a bit fresher it is a bit more something? I don't know. Either way there's nothing really wrong. I have no idea what style you'd call this, it isn't a belgian pale ale as I've come to know them. So I'm not sure how to really judge it....a sour but not sour pale ale? Sorry I'll pass.

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Photo of bowersdm
2.66/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I reviewed this a while ago and I decided to revisit tonight. My first review gave this beer a 'C'.

33cL bottle poured into my St. Bernardus goblet;

A - cloudy amber almost brown color. Because of the extreme carbonation, it took about five minutes to get this beer into the glass. There was a stiff 2.5cm tall off-white head that disintegrated into pillowy lumps that looked like a scale model of a group of sand dunes

S - yeast, spice, cherries, apples, oranges, lemons, and grass. There was also a funkiness going on too. I can't figure out what it is.

T - spicy fruitiness, a slight funky taste that, though it was slight, make the beer not that great because it's really about the only thing going on. There was also some spicy/citrusy hops at the end.

M - way, way too much carbonation.

D - I still do not enjoy the taste of this beer.

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Photo of dvb
2.67/5  rDev -36%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

A - A nice light amber. Abundant white head that dies quickly.

S - Banana. Very pleasant and enticing.

T - The attack is nice, but gives way almost immediately to a unpleasant soapy bitterness from heavy hopping that is not typical of the style.

M - There is mouth-puckering astringency present that is way too prominent to be ignored.

O - Uncharacteristic bitterness and solvent-like mouthfeel made Orval a bad experience for me. I would try it again, but only because I wonder if I somehow got a bad bottle.

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Photo of beerceller99
2.71/5  rDev -35%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

33 cl. with a 5- 14- 2003 bottled on date.

Amber colored with a white head that fades quickly to a sheen. Has a strong witch hazel oil smell with a whiff of mild spices and orange peel. A thin to medium body carries a rather bland grain and yeast flavor with a strong, and very off setting medicinal taste. Finishes with a mildly bitter orange peel taste.

For five bucks a bottle there are far better trappist brews.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,214 ratings.