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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 arvidkoval
3.17/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark yellow-orange with a big foamy white head. Excellent smell of bubblegum! Tasted like candy with a mild bitter flavor. Very bubbly body. Not crazy about this one.

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Photo of hreb
3.78/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Distinctive 11.2 oz bottle served in my new Libbey Belgian ale glass. Bottled on 15/05/2014, best before 15/05/2019. Peer pours mid amber in color, very hazy, with an enormous white pillowy head. Aroma is classic Belgian golden ale, suggesting the distinctive yeasty note and caramelized sugar. But this beer is both more dry and more tart than others in its category (BPA). It has a really crisp, thin mouthfeel. Surprising for a beer as high OG as this. The bottle conditioning has left this beer highly carbonated, which works well with the subtle tartness. It's almost like a mild Gose, or even dry cider. This beer is unique, distinctive, and impeccably balanced. It reveals none of its alcohol (note: my label claims 6.9%, although that figure may assume a large amount of fermentation happening in the bottle), and doesn't tire the palate at all. However being so neutral I do find it a little bland for my taste.

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.64/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Updated from a previous review: Pours beautifully amber with a keen, pillowy head. Less 'gush' than I anticipated, but still plenty of carbonation to be found.
Moderately funky in taste, with some peppery notes in there amongst the lemon/pear fruit layers that I am getting a feel for. This reminds me of boiled sweets (candies) enjoyed long ago back in Europe, the sugar sweetness is lively and zesty and brings to mind sugar cookies also. Some herbiness comes in on the back end here too.

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Photo of The_Mad_Capper
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The aroma is reminiscent of bubblegum and chewable vitamins (sweet, fruity, tart) with an undertone of doctor's office. The body is copper/light brown and mostly clear with a large, soapy, cream-colored head. The flavor includes spicy/herbaceous bitterness, latex, biscuity malt sweetness, some vaguely lemon-like citrus, and fairly rich malty sweetness in the finish. It's quite carbonated and fizzy, moderately crisp, and somewhat light in body.

This is a peculiar one, though I can't say I dislike it. It's certainly interesting—crisp, flavorful, tart, somewhat fruity and sweet. The Brett though just makes me think of latex; and while it adds a unique dimension to the beer, it's taking some getting used to.

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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
2.78/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Cloudy amber, gorgeous sexy coating with extra strong legs...stinks like rotten apples! (not finding it pleasing)

Rich flavors of dark fruits and burnt bitter hops with slightly sweet apples and lemon. Powerful coarse and dry after taste. Very strong vinous feel and a dry coarse mouth coat.

Overall : Looks can sometime be deceiving... Perfectly drinkable for trying a different taste, but way too spicy for me, or was my bottle too fresh? I will try this beer again after at least 2 years in the cellar, until then I don't see why this beer is so popular.

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Photo of pants678
3.92/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Transparent orange with big white head.

Sorta spicy.

Subtle spices, light on hop and a slightly tangy but very dry finish. Corriander? some. Brett? Some. Has a bready, rustic, mildly sour quality. I could stand a small punch up on the sour but that's knit-picking a fine beer.

Medium, not as heavy as say a tripel.

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Photo of Blueapollo420
4.94/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the beers that turned me on to good beer! A credit to the style.
Hazy appearance switch a huge lingering head. Tastes of hay and bubblegum. Very good cannot wait to drink again

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.01/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pinkish orange/amber, plenty of loose quick-moving streams of carbonation. Leaves a blanket of slowly retreating lace, decent head coverage that lasts for a while, even if it is thin.

S: A sourness that gets noticed more easily, but the funk is probably stronger. Saccharine fruits (strawberry and cherry), but not sweet, just juicy.

T: Outright funk, lightly herbacious and bready, hay, traces of lemon and cherry fruits. Belgian chalkiness/minerality in the middle but mild and appreciable as just another dimension of this complex work. Sour aspect is very mild here, but still around. Dry and even bitter, especially at the end. The first beer I've ever tried to be sour, bitter, and falsely sweet all at the same time.

M: Well carbonated, medium bodied. Lenient astringency.

O: Deserving of more samplings. This is my third tasting of it, and I can't quite nail what's going on exactly, possibly due to the widely ranging freshness of my bottles. Definitely a good quality brew, but I think the coolest aspect of it is bound to be the history, not the taste. Maybe it is my privileged 21st century palate or my over-worked/dulled 21st century palate, but as good as this beer is, I think the best in the world were first concocted within the past century.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an Orval chalice. Foams out of the bottle a bit on opening. Pours a hazy coppery amber with a three finger off-white head with good retention and lots of pillowy lacing. Aroma of citrus, green apple, Bretty yeast, vanilla; floral. Flavor is semi-dry, light apple family fruit, light stone fruit, mild citrus, vanilla, Brett style wild yeast funk, Finishes with fleeting fruit and fruit dessert flavors dominated by the wild yeast funk and bitterness; lightly tart and earthy. Medium bodied with sharp, peppery carbonation. A very distinctive Belgian pale ale with a unique wild yeast component. I did not like this when I first tried it many years ago, but now having grown to enjoy saison yeasts and a light touch of wild yeast, I can see its appeal. Although the flavor is dominated by the funky yeast, there are a lot of interesting light and subtle fruit and spice flavors in the background. A bit too dry and funky to be a frequent choice, it was a pleasure drinking this again and understanding why it is a classic.

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Photo of Sandalwood
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Pours a dark orange color with a huge three finger off white foamy head. There is quite a bit of carbonation and a good amount of lacing. The odor is powerful, spices, cardamom, coriander, bread like, fruity, apple, pear, citrus, lemon, and malty. The taste is crisp, spices, clove, coriander, pine, a little bit of apple, grassy, bread like, yeasty. There is some bitterness on the end.

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Photo of LeDirtyPanda
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%

This is one of my favorite beers of all time. When you poor the beer into it's glass it's an orange-esque hue, yet it's first tastes are one of a darker beer, but as you exhale you can taste the hops. Man. Its one of those beers you have to try in your life time. love it!

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Photo of Flashy
1.25/5  rDev -70%

Purchased in Vermont for $5.99. Have not had this beer since 1980 and now I know why.

Appearance: Looks like a standard solid beer, nice head.
Mouthfeel: A bit over carbonated, but not the problem.
Body: Not watery, but not the problem.
Smell: I am not a fan of sours and this smells bitter and sour.
Taste: Bitter, sour and very dry.

Overall: Just don't get this one, and I get a lot of things. Will wait another 35 years before trying again- or maybe not. If I was on a beach, on a hot summer day and this choice was warm Orval or warm Bud- I would take the Orval, but under no other circumstances.

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Photo of JackRWatkins
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

A: frothy persistent head, deep copper color, magnificent to look at
S: a hint of lavender, a little fruit and a little funk
T: bitter and sharp, zesty, the hint of lavender comes through here as well but it is very subdued, clean and crisp, bears some interesting similarities to lindemans cuvée Renee
M: the bitterness lingers but not for long, the effervescence really takes over
O: a delicious beer and a unique offering as far as Trappist beer is concerned, not so easy to describe in detail for me but absolutely worth your time

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Photo of charlzm
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Consumed on November 4th, 2014 from an 11.2 ounce bottle labeled:
"bottled on 14/01/2014 - best before 14/01/2019"
Poured into a DeKonnick chalice.

Beer pours a hazy medium yellow. Very effervescent, a two finger head springs up instantly. Had to wait for it to die down to finish pouring the bottle. Head settles after a while to a thick, clingy, meringue-like head: beautiful.

Aroma: this is as close to a genre-defining Belgian pale ale as I have ever had. Peppery, estery (bananas and cherry), sweet, floral, ever-so-slightly tart: this is a really awesome nose.

Flavor: a little bit of a letdown after the awesome nose, it's still solid and well-sorted. Bitterness hits first, followed by a lightly grassy note with a clean, refreshing finish. Some residual bitterness and a yeasty note wrap it up. Ever-so-subtle funk lurks in the wings but never asserts itself.

Mouthfeel: very well-carbonated. Tingly and a little prickly if held in the mouth a moment before swallowing. Medium-bodied and a bit smooth.

I don't know why, despite being into craft beer for over 14 years, I never tried Orval. I am so glad I finally got around to it. Doesn't dethrone Duvel as my favorite Belgian pale ale, but it is a worthy brew in any estimation.

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Photo of aleigator
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Has a deep orange color, and a perfect white head, which doens’t want to vanish at all.

Strong refreshing aroma of vanilla, some lime, yeast and spices.

Tastes bitter, has a refreshing touch, yeast, with a sweeter finish. Carbonation is pretty high, but not too present. Has a warm pleasant finish, gets into balance in the end (less bitterness). Smells much sweeter than it actually tastes. Bitterness is very present at the beginning, sweet yeast and spices add complexity which results in a very adorable mouthfeel.

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Photo of e_dawg
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%

Pours a cloudy light orange. Some foamy, frothy head which slowly dissipates. A small amount stubbornly lingers. Aroma is candied apples, light citrus notes, cranberries, earthy tones, and graham crackers. Taste is a balanced and enjoyable mix that's initially sour but the sourness quickly mutes, allowing full enjoyment of the flavor. I'm getting some floral notes overlayed with more citrus, bread, and rust. Feel is light and poppy, almost like a champagne. An extremely enjoyable beer that's one of my favorites.

This is based on a 5 month old bottle, but try it aged by a few years for an even more unique Orval experience.

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Photo of tobi_wan_72
5/5  rDev +19.9%

I tried this one on a whim, and ended up loving it. Unlike almost any ale I've had. Smooth, flavorful, well balanced, not too heavy but substantial all the same. I do recommend, as the Brothers do, that you cellar this one for at least a couple weeks before opening. Enjoy chilled and in a frosty glass.

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Photo of 312HopBomb
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Huge foamy pour nets 5 fingers of fluffy white head. Head falls slowly to a skimcoat without leaving any lacing. A rusty golden hue is slightly cloudy. The aroma is distinctive with sour apple, medicinal, spicy Belgian funk, fruity, and some lemony notes. The taste follows with the Belgian funk and medicinal, fruit, bandaid, also tart then ending with a surprising bitterness. Not sure if it's from lots of hops though. Maybe the yeast? Very unique taste. Effervescent, crisp, light and refreshing. I was surprised by the drinkability. This went down the gullet quickly. I tried this beer in the 1980's and poured it. I liked Chimay but thought the Orval went bad. Nowadays I fully appreciate unique Belgian flavors. This reminds me of Rayon Vert which is good!

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Photo of infinitebruner
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

October 18, 2014

11.2 oz bottle (bottled June 2013), tulip glass

A – Huge, rocky, frothy, white to slightly of-white head, at least three inches, with most of it sticking around for several minutes. Medium amber with high clarity, slight red tinge.

S – Very strong bubble gum aroma, sourdough bread. Some mild estery fruit follows, red apples and light citrus. Mild Brett character.

T – Yeasty, spicy notes with again some fruity esters and a spritz of citrus. The Brett is evident, but not prominent. Some slight malty sweetness and just the barest hint of some floral hop flavors.

M – Foamy from the carbonation, carries all the way through to the finish. Pretty juicy up front with a champagne-like dryness on the swallow.

O – This is a very fresh, bright, spritzy, spring time in the hills type beer. I really love the aromas, but the rest is not at the same level. A true Trappist beer, so it meets expectations and is very well crafted, but I don’t think it’s the best of that group. Still a fantastic beer. It’s all relative.

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Photo of JackieKu
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle. Bottled on 2015-02-19. Best before 2020-02-19.

Poured into tulip.
A: amber, hazy, much foam and long retention.
S: Fig, floral, slightly pineapple. Somewhat honey.
T: Fig, plum, pineapple. Mildly sourness. Slightly malty. Moderate bitterness. Dry.
M: Light bodied. High carbonation.
O: Drank it so many times. Each time it gave different feedback. Complex and interesting. Just excellent.

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Photo of PacNWDad
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

11.2 oz. bottle from Bottleworks poured into an Orval chalice. Solid amount of head, thick, which lasts a long time. Golden hue, slightly cloudy. Fruity aroma, some leather and mustiness from the Brett yeast. Spice, apple and a little citrus. Hits with tartness and some sweet in the front, with some hops bitterness, then finishes with sweet malt still with a little bitterness. Light to medium on the tongue, medium carbonation, finishes fairly medium and fairly dry. I am going to try cellaring a couple of these bottles for a few years and see what changes.

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Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

A – A Foggy orange amber colour that starts with a big rocky head which then dies down to a modest fingernail head leaving mild spotty lace as you drink.

S – Sour orange and citrus smells hit me straight off. There are also bready yeast aromas and deep malty smells along with some vinegary alcoholic notes.

T – Sort of sweet sour combination with coriander and mint combined with bread. This beer is odd and complex the main factor in the taste is the sour flavour which leans towards the cider vinegar edge of things.

MF – Dry and I do mean DRY finish. This beer has light body and crisp nippy bite but it finishes like a mouthful of sloe berries.

O – This is very good ale for its type and will be a winner with those who like Belgian Pale ales. I must confess to not being a massive fan of this one myself but it is doing what it set out to do and it is doing it well therefore I have to give it a mark to reflect that.

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Photo of MisterGone
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Pour from 330 into tulip. Bronze-caramel with a massive beige head. Had to let it sit a bit before smelling-tasting, which was OK since it was from the fridge. Aroma was of dried fruits, light phenolic banana, and a yeasty brown bread. Flavor was quite complex. Dried fruits were replaced by stone fruits up front with barnyard (I get it now...), finishing with some spice. Very enjoyable, complex Abbey Ale.

Caveat: I drank this while reading about the Abbey and the legend of Matilda of Tuscany, so my experience may have been artificially enhanced by the power of suggestion.

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Photo of TimZebGir
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%

A: Caramel with light haze, really fluffy, creamy head, high carbonation (3/3)
S: Earthy malt with a (barnyardy citrus?) to balance it out (9/12)
T: Crisp caramel malty flavor fades to banana and raisin with a little bitterness at the end (16/20)
M: Starts wet and bubbly but finishes dry(5/5)
O: There’s a lot going on here. The flavor profile is quite complex, and keeps me coming back for more to decipher everything it has to offer. Would definitely drink again. (8/10)

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Photo of wiscokid920
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Amazing. Never have I experienced something so complex. I seem to pick up something different each and every time I take a sniff and sip. As the beer warms up different flavor profiles are unmasked. Nose welcomes with a pungent bouquet of flowers, lemon zest, juniper spice, yeasty/musk. The flavor profile is just as complex and inviting. Overall, its very dry and tart from start to finish, but the lingering dryness further enhances the flavor profiles. Welcomes you in with a nice sweet caramel and then you get consumed by a unique yeasty musk which later fades into a cider like tartness.

Unbelievably complex. At first the musk might seem abrasive...leading you to question if things can turn around...and oh yes it does! The seemingly abrasive nature sets the stage allowing the flavorful subtle qualities of the yeasty phenols and citrus zest to shine. Very unique. Truly exceptional.


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