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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: 4,970
Avg: 4.17
pDev: 18.94%
Wants: 301
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: 4,970
Photo of plaztikjezuz
3.81/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bought a bottle at wirkd market in lansing, michigan. ($4.99)
pours a cloudy copper with a pillowy off white head, it looked like it does in the ads, perfect head;two fingers thick.
the aroma is dry slight bit of floral, maybe corriander.
the flavor is subitle, bit of malt, some herbal flavors, corriander, very dry.
the mouthfeel is light, maybe watery.

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Photo of FenwaySquid
4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 11.2 oz bottle, bottling date of Oct 2005 and Best before date of October 2010 on the back label, poured into a Chimay chalice.

Appearance: Poured a hazy burnt orango color, similar to apple juice. The head formed a beautifully thick tan color and grew to be a good half inch higher than the top of the glass, but never spilled over the sides. Head retention is also excellent.

Aroma: Spicy with hints of lemon.

Taste: Surprisingly smooth and light for such a high alcohol content (6.9%). The taste kind of reminds me of a gueze lambic with the grassy flavors, but this is way more complex. Hints of lemon and orange in there as well. The finish is dry and seems to last forever.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, almost watery. The carbonation is lacking, but the strong flavors more than make up for it.

Overall: If you like Belgian beers, particularly the trappists, this is a must try. It is, however, definitely not a beer that everyone will enjoy. I did, but I'm not going to rush out and buy more.

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Photo of Tupperwolf
3.14/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an apple-juice orange-brown, rather clear until I get to the end of the pour and upend the yeast, whereupon it takes on a very slightly hazy iced tea brown with a little bit of sediment visible floating and a few small bubbles; I poured this into my Trappistes Rochefort chalice and was rewarded with a half-inch head that is currently falling down to a plump ring and some whitish scum.

I've always been a little unsure about my first time trying Orval. I've heard that it's either loved or hated, and often more readily hated than loved. I fully intend to try all the trappist beers I can get my hands on, including Orval, despite my inclination away from sour beers..

So in I go for my first cautious whiff. A very slight horsy brett note passes my nose, and then becomes a more usual Belgian scent - spicy yeast, crispy malts, slightly piney hops. I wait for it to warm to get more powerful scents, but the overall scent profile is pretty mild.

I get a bit of fermented apples in the flavor, and just a little bit of dust and must on top of a little biscuity malts and grassy, piney hops. Even as it warms, the taste leaves me less than impressed... It's just not very bold, not very strong.

The mouthfeel is extremely bright - extremely sparkling and 'tart' feeling on the tongue, with very spritzy carbonation in such tiny bubbles that it's an overall tingle. It finishes very dry, with a slight alcohol parched-throat sensation, and some bitter, musty flavor is lefft behind. It's an interesting sensation, and would be better if the flavors were a bit stronger.

Final thoughts - forgettable. I hate to say it after all that worry about what I would finally think, but I really don't think anything. It's okay, but not exceptional.

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Photo of soulgrowl
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Body ranges from chestnut brown to iced tea orange depending on the light. The head on this thing is really interesting; after I poured it, I set it down and responded to an e-mail. When I looked back at it, the head had expanded to about an inch higher than it was before! Currently, the head is collapsing along the perimeter of the class, leaving this funny little nipple-like mesa in the middle. Very unusual, very cool.

Smell: Oh yum. This smells great, really, truly, great. It has a very toasty malt character with piney hops, mild phenols, alcohol and some zippy yeast. An odor of old homes. Kind of like a kicked-up American red.

Taste: Wow, great malt profile; buscuity, toasty, and nice and nutty. Woodsy hops, tangy yeast, and alcohol add a little spice. Tart apple cider and a flash of sweet cherry flavor comes out as you swallow. Finish has a bit of Scotch whisky-ish alcohol sweetness, followed by a dry, wheaty tang.

Mouthfeel: Nice and creamy, very frothy and chewy, but also kind of abrasive due to the alcohol.

Drinkability: This is quite drinkable, but obviously no session beer. Drink late and drink slowly... it is exceptionally savorable.

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

The beer poured a hazy brown color with a thick creamy tan head into a tulip glass. The head lasted for quite a bit of time. The smell I got from this one is a bit of malts and some earthy notes. Interesting but not overly complex. The taste is a bit sour but also a bit of a hoppy bit. The taste is fairly complex with the sour and the bitter and some sweet. Overall I really enjoyed my Orval and will enjoy a few more in the near future.

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Photo of kingjames1
3.31/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Popped the cap, and foam literally erupted down the side. Never had that happen with a belgium bottle-capped beer before. As a result, it poured with a massive, thick tan head. Looks great, and the head lasts and lasts on this one. Smells complex, with lemony citrus, coriander, pepper, and something funky ('wet horse blanket', I once heard suggested, but I wouldn't know). Taste - interesting! Weird. I've had an Orval once before, but stupidly smoked a cigar with it (and as a result, tasted nothing). Now my palate is quite clear. I don't think I've ever tasted a beer quite like it. It has that infamous funk of a farmhouse-style. But it is sour, and really dry. Oh! A fruit fly just got caught in the head - sucker's doomed in this froth-swamp. Fly's are attracted to funk.

The sour-dry finish is reminiscent of a dry red wine, like a cheap merlot ('sideways' comes to mind). Hops are definitely present, and yeast to be sure, but where's the malts? Its there, just under the sour layer of yeast and astringent hops. This is definitely a sipping beer. It kind of grows on you as you sip it - and the fruitiness (from the yeasts) becomes more noticeable to me. But over all, just doesn't agree with me very well (and I like Saisons - at least the few I've had). Good mouthfeel, light, but not terribly drinkable for the style, imo. One is enough, thanks.

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Photo of atigerlife
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a Orval chalice.

I've had this beer quite a few times over the years and decided it was finally time to write a review. Here goes nothin...

Pours a beautiful opaque orange/brown color with a wonderful creamy off-white head. Head has good lasting strength. Very beautiful sitting in the Orval chalice.

The nose is quite spicy, with hints of many herbs: orange, pepper, and other aromas I couldn't quite pick up. Quite a "refreshing" and curious aroma.

The taste is very complex and spicy. Hints of coriander, mint, pepper, etc. Some decent hops and quite a dry finish. A "crisp" beer. The amount of flavors make this hard to describe.

The mouthfeel is quite cleansing with a medium body. Overall, I found this to be a very distinctive beer that is nicely refreshing. But, as much as I like this beer, I'm not sure how many I could drink. Not really a session beer. The thing that I like about this beer, its complexity, also makes it slightly less drinkable. Not sure if that makes sense. I also think a food match would be challenging [a few cheeses came to mind, but not much else]. Anyway, a wonderfully unique beer.

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Photo of LarryV
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a huge, dense tan head that slowly faded to an island of foam in the middle of the chalice. Nose is earthy, grassy, really quite hard to describe, but I didn't find any off putting aromas in the smell. Color is a murky amber not unlike a darker hefeweizen. Taste starts with a slightly sour note but then turns into a hoppy, dry finish. There are other Belgians I prefer, but this is a damn good beer. A bit expensive at $6 for a 11.2 oz bottle. Because of the price, I would probably not buy it very often if at all.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Once upon a time I was not a fan of Orval but as my taste buds and olfactory glands have grown to appreciate and even crave sourness in beer they have also learned to love this fine trappist. For me the aroma of Orval is perfect. It is very difficult to describe. The aroma contains a wonderful sourness that is surprisingly not present in the taste. Within that sourness are hop oils, phenols, a perfumed fruitiness and bitterness, quinine, lemon grass, hay, and so much more that I can’t place a finger on. Orval’s body is light and about as dry as it gets. It is well hopped, slightly bitter, and tastes of medicinal light fruits and leather. I prefer most of the other trappist beers to Orval simply because I prefer quads, dubbels, and BSDAs to Pales, however, I believe that this is the quintessential example for the style. It’s certainly the best I’ve had.

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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 timtheenchanta
3.28/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Darker golden color with large white head that doesn't hold too well. Nice lacing down the glass. Steady stream of carbonation rising up.

Belgian yeast, alcohol, and a barnyardish/horse smell funking it up make up the nose.

A little sour at first. Some alcohol and expected yeast flavor.

Little alcohol in the finish despite being in other parts of the drinking.

Overall a little disappointing. Probably my least favorite belgian pale to date.

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Photo of kmcnair
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy light brown to copper color and makes a pale tan crown that fades into an island of cloudy bubbles and a thin halo. Satiny lace clings to the sides of the Orval goblet. Aroma has a sour twang, earthy barnyard funk, horsey. Very unusual flavor, earthy hop bitterness, peppery spice and bread yeast, nearly no sweetness, funky lemon-like sour notes from the brettanomyces, has many saison qualities. Light to medium bodied, crisp intense carbonation, super clean dry finish. These monks make a tasty beverage, will definitely drink again.

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Photo of sabrills70
3.69/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The famous orval bottle with a bottled on date of 6/05 and a best by date of 6/10. Pours a slighly hazy medium amber with a good 2 finger head, OK longevity and OK lace. Earthy and grassy citrus smells with slight caramel and raisin. Very earthy and grassy taste mixed with a decent amount of hop flavor and bitterness - although its an odd flavor, not off, but odd. It is different from the other Trappist ales I have tried. It seems a bit harsh. I have one more bottle tucked away that I will have to try in a year or two. Its not a bad flavored beer, I just think this bottle is still too young.

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.78/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Hazy copper with a big chunky head. Fades slowly to a 2 mm constant cover and a touch of lace on the chalice.

S - A touch of citrus in the nose, but dominated by "horseblanket?" - that characteristic smell. Reminds me a bit of dirty alley-ways. It's different anyway.

T - Quite dry. Grape-y,wine-y flavours and a mild bitterness. Lots of complexities in this... and a finish is dry and bitter. Has a unique flavour I can't really place that really comes out when it warms in the mouth. At bit of a sweet, fruitiness that comes with an astringency and maybe some tannins.

M - Very light, and a quickly dissipating bubbliness.

D - I don't think I could have too many of these. For me this is something to be savoured once in a while, and not more than one at a time.

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Photo of RedHaze
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very cloudy amber/brown with a rocky one inch head that fades very slowly to a very thick cap and ring, leaving behind thck lacing.

Smell; strong grassy and earthy notes, as well as some hints of honey.There's a bit of sourness and tartness, along with some fruitiness I can't quites place.

Taste; the grass/hay qualities jump out at me at first as well as a bit of a funky earthiness. The mildly sweet honey flavors come out next, followed by a tartness that's a little drying in the finish with a bit of a hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium boded and creamy, and pretty easy to drink desite it's dry finish.

I didn't really care for this the first time I tried it, but I have come to enjoy Saisons and other similar styles over the last few years, so I figured I'd give it another shot. I'm glad I did.

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Photo of Hautacam
3.48/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle freshness date 6/05.
Light, cloudy amber-brown....very lively, foamy head....rises up the chalice...looks great. Head slowly drops to 1/8 in and stays.
Smells of barnyard, yeast and overripe apple, musty....kind of gueuze-like, but not as intense.
Tastes surprizingly light..subtle yeast, horse blanket, malt....cidery; sour...not bitter, with some alcohol coming through. Dry and lighter in mouthfeel than I expected.Carbonation medium.
This was good, but for the price, I think I'll stick to the other abbeys. I would have liked a heavier mouthfeel and a little more malt. My girl friend thought this ale was fantastic...I gave her the rest of mine.

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Photo of dreadnatty08
3.23/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle flown over from Paris by my lovely girfriend.
Bottled on 11/29/05, from 33cl bottle
Pours a dark amber with chunky, foamy lucious looking head. Aromas similiar to a heffe with some banana and clove, alcohol. Astringent on the tongue, has almost a soapy flavor. Alcohol also makes a strong presence in flavor, surprising for a lower ABV trappist. It's good to try another trappist, but I have to say this beer isn't doing much for me; much rather drink a NB Trippel or heffe.

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Photo of crwills
4.52/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My first taste of this, although I just noticed they have large stocks of it at some local LCBOs, so I'll be grabbing some more if I can!

Poured from the unique Orval bottle into an oversized wine glass. Cloudy amber colour with a big fluffy head that fades a little but sticks around for about half of the drink.

Smell is fruity and musty, with "horseblanket" elements and lots of farmy grains. Reminds me of good, stinky cheese. Cool!

Initial tastes are surprising and really hard to identify. As I keep drinking and it warms, I really get into this beer, but I still can't identify specific flavours. Sourish... fruit-like... "wild"... barnyard. Definitely some aromas I remember from living on or near farms as a kid. An incredibily unique flavour. Perfect mouthfeel and a very pleasant aftertaste make this an extremely drinkable brew, even at its ABV level. Looking forward to keeping a decent stock of this -- wish it was more widely available here!

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Photo of cheers2beers
3.47/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a wide mouth mug:

Appearance: Poured a apple cider colored liquid with slightly off white pillowy head.I can't see through this beer due to the cloudiness.A little laceing can be found.

Smell: The aromas of bananas,cinnamon, maybe some clove and raison bread. No alcohol noted.

Taste: The flavors are sour fruits ,probably from the semi-wild yeasts that Orval uses, followed by an apricot dominance.Doesnt have that typical Belgian taste,but could be classified as a bad fruit beer.Seems a little tart in the finish.No alcohol to be detected.

Mouthfeel: This is very plain to me,a little sour in the front with a tart and bubbley finish.Medium carbonation,smooth,and easy to drink. But not memorable

Drinkability: I am very disappionted,I guess I expected this beer to be a superstar Belgian beer and yet was more like a fruit or hefewiezen gone wrong.Sorry Orval, just not my cup of tea. My money will be going to other breweries.


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Photo of acoatley
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep copper, fairly clear with ever so slight red tint. Moderate head dissipates quickly. Where is the lace?
Aroma: Moderate fruity esters of plum, light malty sweetness no alcohol.
Flavor: Raisins and plum, average malty sweetness, pleasant bitterness with a crisp finish.
Mouthfeel: Light body with moderate carbonation, watery the palate, warm alcohol good for a cold winter night.
Overall: Not my favorite dubbel but a good selection.

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Photo of Graham21
2.85/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The appearance was bad but I did not have a good glass at the time... The color is a lite amber(orangish brown) and the head was very high and dissipated to a nice lacing shortly. The smell is flowery with a hint of cinnamon and citrus. Fumes of alcohol can be noticed as well. Tastes of lemon, spices, alcohol, a little malty. lacking in taste. mouth feel is descent and the carbonation is very good. drinkablitly is alright, this beer would be easy to drink because of no real flavors presented either good nor bad. Not one of my favorite Trappists, thats for sure.

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

After not having one of these since I've become a better beer taster, I figured it was worth another shot. I am more impressed now than I was before. Of course, I've become a big Belgian Sour Beer fan in the meantime. Pours a prune juice color with a rocky foamstand that varies between eggshell white and amber-tan, sprinkled with spices. Aromatics of sourness, tartness, muskiness, woodsy, metalic, and oysters. Flavors boarder closely on the characters in the aroma. Low levels of barley (maybe too low) lends an overly sour flavor and astringency. Not enough sweetness remains to balance out the tartness. Some DMS qualities come through that reminds me of an ocean muskiness or oyster flavor. Fascinating, but very raw. The beer is well matured and complex. I enjoyed it although there are characteristics within that I did not prefer.

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Photo of bodybyadam
3.92/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is definitely a controlled environment server. My first was at SIB 05 off of the tap into those darn shot glass samplers. So my more recent was at a trappist tasting which I was able to enjoy with some excellent Chimay cheese. The appearance is amber in color in my goblet with 1/4" head short lasting. The nose is a distinct floral bouquet. My palette noticed a diverse yeast flavoring including a hint of banana. Smooth finish. Second time around is great. Looking forward to future tastings.
- Adam

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Photo of dogfooddog
3.31/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled Jan 03, this bottle is just over 3 years old. It has been kept in my 50F refrigerator for at least 2 years. Label does not have the various warnings and mandates for US bottles so I assume i ordered this from belgium.

Poured in chimay glass, head just over 50% of height, well over half of volume of glass. Pours reddish-golden color, clear. Smells floral, strong hop presence.

Taste is very dry, just a hint of floral notes after a very dry start. Not at all what I expected from the nose. Malty middle and finish. I can taste some spices or almost peppery notes towards the end

I remember I have never loved this beer but at 3 years old this is a very presentable beer and an enjoyable bottle on its own merits.

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Photo of quasimoto
2.4/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Its a slightly cloudy deep goolden amber color. It has a nice head that doesnt do much lacing.

S - It has a strong banana aromanad some paper in there. Its definitley fruity, and has some paper towel in there. Not the greatest.

T - this beer has to be old or something. It has a strong aroma of a bus station bathroom. I mean no disrespect but that was the first aroma that came to mind. There are some dry malts that bring up ther rear. this has to be oxidized,

M - Carbination wraps the tongue and has a dry finish.

D - If it is always like this, then it needs to be choked down. Not the beast thing I've ever had.

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