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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: 4,975
Avg: 4.17
pDev: 18.94%
Wants: 302
Gots: 683 | 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: 4,975
Photo of clvand0
2.76/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a cloudy orange color with a tall head that dies off fast and leaves very little lacing on the glass. The aroma is odd - maybe some fruits in the back and a bready aroma, but I don't like this much. The flavor was quite odd too. Not to my liking. Some fruit is there, but it is very dry and the taste isn't something for me. I feel bad giving a Belgian a bad rating because it's my favorite style, but this one just doesn't do it for me.

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Photo of WanderingFool
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Having recently attended the Belgian Beer Fest I thought it was time I opened the Orval I had sitting in my cellar for the past year and a half.

The beer pours a slightly hazy copper color with a thick white frothy head on top. The fruity esters combine with hints of orange peel, all spice, and sour apple to create a complex aroma. Each sip of this medium bodied beer is dry with a fizzy tingle on the palate, like champagne. The flavor is a blend of dry malt, citrus (orange and lemon), spice (allspice?) and grapes. It sort of reminds me of a white wine. It finishes with a slightly sour taste.

Orval is a full flavored somewhat complex beer. Flavors seem to grow as the beer warms.

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Photo of bashiba
3.23/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into my Goblet it was a very creamy light red color with a huge infusion of head initially which subsided to about an inch thick of thick brown bubbles.

Scent is a very heavy complex mixture of sour yeast and several spices, also has a very earthy hop aroma going on.

Taste has a very fresh bread malty taste up front followed with a nice sour yeast hop taste with various flavors coming and going quickly in between, including some light citrus and various spices.

The mouthfeel is pretty good with a nice light creaminess about it.

Overall though not real impressive or something I would drink on a regular basis.

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Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
4.38/5  rDev +5%
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 heidelbeerg
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a copper orange color with a fluffy white large head. Carbonation was very evident upon pouring. The smell was crisp and citrus like. The taste was very interesing and different from anything else I've had. Very zingy yet light citron flavor along with a high amount of carbonation. Acidic and lively. Hops evident in the finish. The mouthfeel was a little odd to me. The carbonation seemed almost too high. I had the feeling off pop rocks going off in the mouth. It wasn't bad, just different. The drinkability was good but not great. The bitey nature would keep me from drinking too many of these.

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Photo of dgallina
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy golden amber color. Beautiful thick, rocky, white head which leaves tons of lace on the glass. Very fragrant. Mostly floral and green apple smells with some spicy alcohol undertones. Some initial dry bitterness in flavor, but quickly develops into floral, and hoppy tones. Finishes very dry, with alcohol warmth. Highly carbonated and creamy mouth-feel. Slightly astringent and warming. A classic and very drinkable Trappist ale.

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Photo of jvajda
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazey peach color with a sparce head.
Smell: Hops, spice, medicinal tones, and alcohol in the nose.
Taste: Very bitter with fig and banana notes. Very fast finish, that leaves a bitter woodiness in the mouth. Not as complex as other Belgians, but still very enjoyable.
Mouthfeel: Very highly carbonated, and sticky in the mouth.
Drinkability: It gets better as it warms, which makes me want another. Very drinkable for a Belgian.

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Photo of budgood1
3.58/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours out a hazy copperish colour with a charged up sea foam head..lots of carbonation to support the lasting and sticky lace. musty green apple aroma...smells nice. odd but pleasant lemony flavour...lightly malted, a bit yeasty and rather dry. finishes with a bite of alcohol...lingering mustiness in the aftertaste. this is a nice, light on the palate belgian pale ale meant to be paired with a bit of cheese and meat. not my favourite style to drink...but worth respect and i would sample again under the right circumstances.

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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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Photo of lastauss
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm embarrassed to say that it has taken 8 years since I first tried this beer to get my thoughts (and feelings!) posted on the "inter-web." I must start by saying that it is my all-time-favorite commerially available beer.

There is no food I have met that it doesn't pair well with. I have cooked with it (I've got the Orval Cookbook- in French), served it in place of champagne, drunk it while gardening, given spoonfuls to a teething child (Oh, don't be such a prude! I had the parents' consent!). I have converted International-Style-Light-Lager-Only-Drinkers with it (after filling their minds with tearful accounts of my trip to the brewery). And yes, I buy it by the case.

What else can I say? It is the worlds' perfect drink.

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Photo of paterlodie
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As soon as I poor out this beer I get warm. Impressed by the fact that you can arleady smell this beer at a distance of 50 cm, which I never did before.... and what a smell! Old hops and the Bayanus yeast make this beer one of the most special one's in Belgium I think... and probably of the world! The taste is dry with a lot of hop and off course the great taste of the used (secondary) fermentation yeast. One that can't be missed in my (beer)cellar!

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.95/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Ah the enigmatic and always polarizing Orval... You either love it or you hate it. The first time I tried it, I didnt like it, then I tried it again. I quickly realised that Orval is an acquired taste, its unconventional profile really grows on you.

This beer poured a hazy orange color with the most massive, invinicible head. This bohemoth literally covers the glass in lace. There lots of frenetic carbonation as well.

The aroma is packed with brett, tropical fruit, honeydew, and also a citrusy tartness. It reminded me of tropical Starburst candies. Hops also make their presence known in the nose.

The taste is intense. There are fruit, perfume, and sour notes, as well as a medicinal bitterness. It reminds me of some kind of tropical fruit, not citrusy, but tart. Theres also a candy sugar flavor as well as some yeasty notes. Leathery brett notes are all over the place. The finish is bittering hops and some risidual tartness.

The mouthfeel is slightly thick, with lots of carbonation evident. This beer is very drinkable, it conceals its alcohol behind an array of unusual flavors. Very unique to say the least, I cant think of any other beer to even compare it too . I will definitely seek it out again.

BTW in Belgian you can Buy this for 1.10 Euros in vending machines! (at least the HUGE indoor one adjoining the Golden Tulip Hotel on the north end of the Grand Place).

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Photo of CharlesRiver
5/5  rDev +19.9%
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 oracle
3.47/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served in an Orval chalice style glass

Beer was light amber, with a thin low density head. No discernable lacing.

Flavor was very mild for a belgian, with a predominance of fruits, mostly plum. Mild hops and a very faintly sour finish that lingers. Way too much carbonation for my liking.

I still haven't decided if I will order this one again.

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Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours an apricot color with a massive head; lots of lacing

Smell: Strong citrus nose; smells like a box of Florida oranges that have started to mold

Taste: Startling in its phenolic hoppiness the first time you taste it; lots of medicinal citrus flavor which, as a result of the Brett, dries out the mouth and lasts forever; I pick up some unsweet licorice, too

Mouthfeel: Heavy on the carbonation and bitterness

Drinkability: Definitely an acquired taste; at first I was repelled but now, on my third try, I am starting to come around; not for amateurs; I won't drink it everyday but it is excellent with a strongly flavored soft cheese

Note: I just took Jason's advice to pair this with a soft cheese (St. Andre, in my case) and what a difference that makes. Just a perfect compliment. The strong flavors of the cheese cut through the medicinal bitterness and, together the two coalesce in a way that I have never seen between a food and a beverage. On my third try, I paired it with an aged sharp cheddar; while it pairs nicely, it was nothing like the combination with the St. Andre; more recently, I paired it with a blue cheese and the flavors blended startlingly well

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Photo of jahsausage
3.82/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer amazes me in the way that it combines what I consider conventional and unconventional beer tastes in the same draught. It smells to me of a cross between an english ale and a wheat beer, (sorry to be so simplistiic). And in taste, perhaps the same applies but only in the most limited sense, there is SO much going on. I think I would describe it as mystifyingly good, its something you could drink quite happily but every time you stop and think about it - it just brings up more suprises.

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Photo of Cwrw
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cellared for over nearly two years.

It poured at the start with a giant cream-white head, with very large bubbles, but still very consistent. After a few minutes, it became an ultra creamy small-bubbled covering on the liquid, thin but attractive, and leaving lace that looks like snow sticking to winter glass, or styrofoam particles. Intensely unique lace. The beer is clear, orange-red, chestnut brown. The aroma at first is warmly leathery, earthy oils and must. Smelt with the head still large and churning, a strong sweet-bread note, or fresh pastries, with fruity yeast. Some chemical-like smells. Phenols make their presence known, but there are also strong ripened fruits, as if the mould was already beginning to overtake them, which gives a very good aged feel to the beer, like a vintage wine. Malty sweetness in the background, some sugar, some sryup, and a very fresh smell I am having truoble describing. Lightly detectable hop; definitely enough to add even more character, though. More fruitiness than other Trappists, such as Chimay. The taste is delectable, with definite licorice, vanilla, starchy bread, sour acidic fruits, and it leaves a numb soapy clove feel on the tongue. The main difference I note in ageing this beer for 2 years compared to newer Orvals tried is the smoothness: the aged Orval is intensely smooth, creamy and oily on the palate, making it more drinkable. A strong leather taste, with nuts of different sorts, some sweet malt, and definite hop on the finish, making for an excellent balance of all 4 elements. The lees/sediment is very bitter, fruity, and obviously yeasty/fruity. Ageing has also made the beer more potent, more alcoholic, which is no surprise. The mouthfeel as mentioned is velvety, and very full. It is also quite drinkable, being so smooth and not overly alcoholic. Ahh, the life of a Trappist.

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Photo of noclue
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: 11.2 ounce bottle. Bottled on 12/12/03

Appearance: Highly carbonated. Golden-Amber murky haze. Tall rocky, frothy white head. Decent lacing. Not very long lasting, but my glass wasn't incredibly clean.

Smell: Strong floral aroma. Fruity. Spicy. Leather. I could smell it sitting two feet away from me.

Taste: Tart, sweet, bitter, phenolic, fruity, hay.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied... Crisp, dry finish.

Drinkability/Overall: Crisp and refreshing. Not my favorite Trappist, but still very good. Easy and rewarding to drink.

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Photo of tfinn
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bottled 2003-01-28, consumed 2004-06-27

pours a hazy golden color with frothy head reminiscent of small soap bubbles. leaves slidy lacing on the glass. yeast was left in the bottle.

the aroma is a pleasant mix of sweet maltiness, fruit esters (not so much banana -- more skewed towards pineapple / citrus), and a hint of hops.

showing my prejudices of belgian trappist ale, with a wonderful estery scent, I was expecting a full heavy body with this one, but it's not heavy at all. it's light, clean, and very "wet" tasting for lack of a better term. carbonation is mild, yet there is a definite carbonate tang on the tongue. balance is towards the hops, but stops just short of being overtly bitter. there is no hop trail at the end; just a bit of graininess and a nice wet clean finish, which prompts further consumption.

a very satisfying and quenching beer. it's somewhere between american pale ale and a full-bodied belgian dubbel or trippel.

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Photo of watermelonman
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured to a dark shade of almost orange and bronze. The head was enormous; it eventually died down but never went away. It's leaving a think and luxurious lace behind.

Alcohol comes through in the smell, just behind all that fruit and banana that one should expect. The taste has the banana flavor as well, with a great hop profile in the finish.

This is a really good beer, and well worth a try if nothing else.

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Photo of ngandhi
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drier than dust. Austere. Dominating yeast presence that is, itself, controlled. Banana/pine esters on the nose, more peppery on the palate, and backed by an unusually noticeable dried herbal hop backbone. Carbonation highlights a touch of grain and fresh grassy hop leaves.

The piney aspect of this is reminiscent of the finish on some American IPAs -- of course, Orval is not nearly as bitter. This is such a clear and balanced display of hops, malt, yeast, and Belgian tradition that it becomes challenging.

The parching dryness makes it difficult, but everso satisfying to consume on its own. Gueuze without the funk (if that means anything), this is one of the world's ultimate food beers, especially with white fish. Hops linger on the finish.

Relax, relax.

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Photo of cbl2
3.3/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Best before 2/23/2006 Stamped on bottle. Pours a nice orange brown that is clear but for the intense carbonation leading to 2 inches of head that laces nicely as it settles.


A uniquely fruity quality to this one. Tart odor of strawberry and cherry, almost kriek like.


So carbonated, it expands in the mouth. Cherry flavor is still present, and lingers throughout. Finish is very bitter, almost sour. This is disappointing, and not worth the $5.49/bottle I paid.

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Photo of studentofbeer
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orval trappist ale, 6.9% from their cute 11.2 oz. "bowling pin" or "vase" bottle.

it poured a slightly hazy lipton tea-like color into my ommegang goblet, with a huge blossoming soft head.

smells were apple at first, then cinammon, nutmeg, lime and lime rind, crab apple, sour candy and sour milk. a bit later im picking up mud, wild grass

thick mouthfeel with aggressive carbonation and tangy orange and salt on lemon flavors on the side of the tongue as well as deep bready and earthy hop bitterness. it's almost like two beers going on at once, an english ale and a lambic duking it out or perhaps laying down together.

edit notes: the last few times i have had orval have been disappointing. i am not going to change my original review because i thought it was awesome, but the last two or three i have had have all been a bit fizzy and soda-water like, without a lot of flavor. very sad. i won't be spending the $5 to sample this beer again soon unless i can feel sure it'll be like it was in my first review.

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Photo of Skidz
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out light yellow and sits light orange in the glass with a good light fluffy head on top.

Smells of cherries, apples, figs in a red-wine like aroma. Light traces of alcohol and bits of yeast in between. A very nice, fruity aroma.

Tastes mildly bitter up front with cidery apples and grapes coming out in the front. Good spiciness along with some more yeasty flavors move into a nice bitter finish with some light hoppiness.

Fairly light in the mouth with heavy carbonation, much like a sparkiling wine. Dry and abrasive. Decent taste and a great nose. A good after dinner drink; nice and light, but still refreshing.

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Photo of Hunter
2.17/5  rDev -48%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This Belgian monastery's brew has quite a reputation...this is the second time I've sampled their beer, first time reviewing it.

I must say before even pouring I like the small, unusually curved bottle of dark brown glass and the simple label (hey, it's part of the aesthetics, right?). As soon as the cap is off the nose is hit by a wave of malt and candi sugar. There's also an unfortunate undercurrent of formaldehyde, reminding me of hours in the lab during human dissection. As the glass warms to room temperature that preservative smell begins to dominate. Pours a cloudy gold with a thick white head, which doesn't last as long as I felt it should have. Threads of bubbles from bottom to top.

Taste...is surprisingly bland. If Perrier came in beer flavor, this would be the result. Comes off like a very dry, simple white wine. Citrus bite in the aftertaste, little else. Not even an alcohol bite, which at 6.9% is surprising. I was unimpressed the first time I tried this, and remain so. This has nothing on Chimay's beers in my opinion.

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