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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,321 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,321
Reviews: 2,112
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 202
Gots: 390 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.20% ABV

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.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,321 | Reviews: 2,112 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JMad
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%

From a bottle to a snifter...
Pours a murky yellow-brown, with a bubbly off white head.
Smells of lemon lime, salt and pepper, hint of alcohol and banana.
Tastes of lemon zest, yeast and bread.
Has lots of good carbonation, light-medium, very soft and bubbly, leaves the mouth dry.
World class brew, wish it wasn't so expensive.

JMad, Sep 25, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
4.56/5  rDev +8.6%

Pours yellow-gold with a nice white head and a good deal of lacing. Initial whiff is earthy funk, hay, green apples, and lemon rind. Slightly hoppy. Taste brings the funk forward really well; nice balance with the hops. Mouthfeel is dry and well carbonated. Very nice and dry finish with a bit of bitterness. Overall, a really fantastic beer.

Thorpe429, Sep 24, 2010
Photo of FourQuarters
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%

Poured from an 11.5 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance - Opaque, tawny, cidery colour with an intense, pillowy white head. Strong carbonation with a steady stream of bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass.

Smell - Prominent tart cider apples, yeasty/bready aromas with a background of spices (peppery notes

Taste -Tart cider apples, citrus, funky sourness on the back of the tongue. Finishes on a note of spice and hop bitterness, bubbling quickly off the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel - light mouthfeel with quick, effervescent but round drying finish

Drinkability - I love this beer and could drink it almost any time.

FourQuarters, Sep 22, 2010
Photo of RDHerm
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%

Pours a gorgeous hazy amber color with golden yellow highlights. Has an exceptionally thick, cream colored head that slowly thins out, but still holds for the duration.

Aroma is fairly faint. Strong notes of yeast, spice, and fruit (predominantly apple, with a slight trace of peach). Slight hints of malt.

Incredibly complex. I felt like every sip I was tasting something different. Initial taste is sweet, then bitter, but then a slightly sweet finish. Notes of yeast, sweet fruit, tart fruit, spice, and hops. Slight taste of bread and malt.

Smooth feel, good carbonation level, but leaves the palate a bit too dry.

Great taste, lighter body, if you don't mind the dry-mouth (and the price), you could drink this all night.

RDHerm, Sep 20, 2010
Photo of RRoeb1123
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%

Tried this beer with one of my friends, who is also my partner in crime in tasting beers.

Appearance: Absolutely beautiful, cloudy amber-yellow, with a very nice head that is almost fluffy, that stays for a LONG time. Leaves wonderful lacing on the glass as you enjoy it too. There is also some nice visible carbonation.

Smell: Heavenly to say the least. There are distinctive aromas that I picked up, which was a very earthy smell, which I really liked. There was also a gentle scent of lemon, spice, and clove, along with apples, and almost a peachy scent. Very very inviting to the nose, and makes you just want to bury your nose in the beer.

Taste: Absolutely great, the scents merely hint what underlies this awesome beer, the flavors come at you in a way that you know they are there, but they don't shout at you. Lemon peel, cloves, apples, and even an earthiness taste, that this yeast imparts is absolutely astonishing. The finish is nice and dry, which makes you long for another sip. As the beer warms, it imparts more of a spiciness, which is very pleasant.

The mouthfeel of this beer is great, because of the carbonation. There is a bit of carbonation, which is perfect because it allows the beer to really hang on your palate, but not allowing it to become too heavy on you.

Drinkability: I find this to be a very enjoyable beer, and I would absolutely drink this again. The complexity within the beer on other tastings may be different, and I'm curious to find what else may be hidden within it.

Verdict: An absolutely heavenly beer (literally!)

RRoeb1123, Sep 19, 2010
Photo of SuperSpy
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%

Bottled on 22/04/2009 Best before 22/04/2015

Big rocky white head. A cloudy golden color that I can still see through until I stir up the sediment and add it to the glass. The aroma is amazing. Spices, yeast, apple, lemon and a nice floral scent. The flavor has lemon peel with a touch of lemon pith, sweet, spicy while equally tart and bitter. Incredibly complex with various flavors becoming more pronounced as the beer warms. A thoroughly exceptional and enjoyable beer.

SuperSpy, Sep 18, 2010
Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%

A: A beautiful and massive cream color head that has a rocky texture. It last forever and sits upon a slightly hazy copper color body with visible carbonation.

S: A complex aroma of spices, Belgian yeast, peaches, apples, and lemon notes. For some reason I'm getting a little metallic smell as well.

T: Wow! This beer does not taste like it smells. Initial taste is green apple and finish taste is green apple. Clove can also be picked up making me think of an apple pie. A little Belgian yeast on the palate but overall it's a clean and crisp flavor that is perfectly balanced between sweet and bitter.

M: Light body with lively carbonation and a silky texture. Dry finish.

D: I don't see myself drinking 6 at a time, but if I want to chill and have a Trappist, this would be it.

BrewCrew2010, Sep 16, 2010
Photo of tewaris
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%

Orval Trappist Ale
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Belgian Specialty/Pale Ale
6.9% ABV
330 ml bottled April 29, 2009 with a freshness date of April 20, 2014 poured into a Gouden Carolus chalice on September 15, 2010.

Appearance 5/5
Pours slightly hazy, amber-orange colored, with a huge, thick, creamy off-white head that lasted forever. Excellent lacing on the glass. Very inviting.

Aroma 4/5
Fruity and spicy, as expected. The fruit character is of fresh fruit, not dry/dark. Not much funk here though; could be because of the relatively young bottle.

Taste 4/5
Very spicy and fruity with some fruity tartness, and possibly, pepper. Flavorful, yet very light on palate. Another very unique taste that I can't quite place, but is not to my personal liking; hate to say this but it reminds me of detergent at some points. Warmth brings out the hop bitterness at the back of the tongue. Also, the balance of the beer shifts from fruit to spice as the temperature increases. Extremely dry finish; although some remnant maltiness and bitter aftertaste is felt overall.

Mouthfeel 5/5
Light and crisp. Generously carbonated and very refreshing. Initially brewed to compete locally against pilsners, and I can see why.

Drinkability 5/5
If only this one was cheaper!

tewaris, Sep 15, 2010
Photo of sogrady
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%

The one, the only. Chimay may be better recognized, Orval has more complexity to it. I would kill for access to their yeast, because the flavors it yields are complex, mercurial and just perfect. The nose merely hints at the taste, offering snatches of citrus and spice, but the taste is incomparable.

As a Trappist ale, it's got a little more juice than a standard pale at near 7%, but you'd never know it to drink it. The alcohol is completely subsumed in the flavors of this darkened gold ale.

Just an amazing beer.

sogrady, Sep 15, 2010
Photo of trevorjn06
4.45/5  rDev +6%

Pours orange/copper with a massive head that very slowly recedes into meringue-like shapes and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass.

The aroma is bright, up front I get fruit and a bit of tartness. I can smell lemon, peaches, apples and a slight peppery/yeasty note. There are more subtle notes of earthy hops and sweet malt.

Taste is smooth up front with prickly carbonation on the tongue. There are mouth-coating flavors of almost creamy, light caramel flavors along with fruit such as peaches and lemons. The beer exiting brings a nice balancing hop bitterness along with a tartness that combine for a very dry finish. This beer improves immensely as it warms, near room temperature is probably my favorite.

Mouthfeel is medium, leaning towards thin with fairly high carbonation. The flavors coat the mouth well.

Overall this beer is quite refreshing and dry with a wonderful complexity. The flavors of this ale are very unique and some of them are hard for me to place, however very enjoyable.

trevorjn06, Sep 14, 2010
Photo of Bubba83
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%

Poured into a tulip at around 50 degrees.

Dark orange amber color with a dark brown quality towards the top of the beer. Almost appears two-tone. Despite my careful pouring, a lot of yeast got into the glass and made the beer extremely cloudy. Also, there was like four finger widths of head. The color of the head is a light brown. Good retention, and good lacing, despite the rather large bubbles.

Hugely complex and aromatic brett character. Pineapple, mango, tart green apple, rose pedal are among the more vibrant aromas. A lot of barnyard funk here too, straw/hay, balsamic vinegar, black pepper, and dirty earth. Loving it, but I can't seem to smell much past the yeast. MAYBE some underlying caramel, just maybe.

Gigantic green apple note up front with some lemon, which gives way to some tropical fruit flavors including a noticeable amount of pineapple. In the mid-range the funk hits HARD. Big barnyard sweat and salt battles with the tropical fruits for dominance. Taste is rounded out with a bit of vinegar, sourness, and peppery spice in the finish, which is incredibly dry. Some bread is apparent in the background throughout the flavor too. It just doesn't get more complex than this.

Mouthfeel is SUPER DUPER DRY. Holy crap it's like my tongue is sand paper right now. Consistency is about right on, but the way it sort of bubbles up in your mouth all airy, it really is kinda rough on the palate. I have to dock it a bit for that, but it's still an experience to say the least. No alcohol presence to speak of.

Overall it's the standard if you're looking to showoff brettanomyces' potential in its rawest form. It's tough to find another beer similar, so it has a great originality to it and is great fun to drink. I can't wait to try the newest batch of Sanctification and see if Vinnie got a lot closer to Orval like he has openly said he wanted to with the new batch.

Bubba83, Sep 08, 2010
Photo of jsprain1
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%

A- Pours a copper color with a 2 finger had that retains itself in a very rocky formation. Lots of carbonation bubbles and plenty of webbed lacing. Hard to imagine a beer looking better in this style.
S- Smell was very yeasty, very earthy. Grain, slight floral and lemon hop aromas, a bit of spice.
T- Very herbal and earthy. A bit biscuity with fruit flavors playing subtley in. A bit of that brett yeast flavor as well.
M- Ridiculously light body but substantiated by a snappy carbonation. Very much a dry finish.
D- A tasty beer and very drinkable. The alcohol content seemed to weigh pretty solidly for a 6.9% beer, but as light as it is in the body and as tasty as it is, it surely is a drinkable brew.

jsprain1, Sep 08, 2010
Photo of GallowsThief
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

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.

GallowsThief, Sep 06, 2010
Photo of spinrsx
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance - The beer pours a murky beige/gold colour with a gigantic frothy and fizzy white head. There is a lot of carbonation showing. There is some good lacing and the head lasted for a long time.

Smell - the beer has a nice grassy smell, also a peppery spice mix, some yeast, hops and malts. The aroma is very appealing.

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a great mouth feel, there is a lot of carbonation, and it works well with the flavour of the beer. I can taste citrus zest, a grassiness, and some sweet notes - similar to grape juice. In the middle I can pick up on a slight bitterness and the hops. The beer finishes with an absolutely perfect balance of sweet and bitter that makes me want to go back for more.

Drink - Wow, one of the better beers I have ever had. I picked this one up without knowing anything about it, and apparently other BA's agree with me that it is really good. A fantastic beer that is a must try for all the beer lovers out there.

spinrsx, Sep 06, 2010
Photo of eclaycamp
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%

Orvall is arguably the most recognizable and respected of all the Trappist breweries, save perhaps for Chimay. Orval is immediately identifiable by their unusual bottle shape. It looks like a small brown bowling pin.

12 ounce bottled pulled into a rudimentary glass chalice. I poured this one slowly and tossed out a bit to avoid having the beer overpowered by the yeast cake on the bottom of the bottle. The beer is tangerine in color, more orange than I remember. It's the color of sun tea. Small bubbles make up a larger rocky head. Nice lacing that looks a lot like dish soap. Solid inch worth of head on this one, even with my conservative pouring efforts. Smell is amazing, intoxicating. I get some light hits of yeasty clove and bananas to start things off, before things get a little more hefty. There's a strong fruit presence here, with some cherry standing out for me. Im also getting a distinct apple presence. Combined with the malt profile it's almost like smelling a hot apple pie. There's also some clear earthy barnyard funkiness going on. Mouthfeel is light, almost to the point of effervescence, and there's very little in terms of bitterness.

I haven't had Orval in quite some time. My first real drink in a long while just takes the concept of Trappist beer and turns it directly on it's ear. Huge amount of dry and musky Brett yeast can be found through out the beer, adding an incredible amount of flavor. Hop character is relatively muted, though it's there up front. Reminds me of pear cactus. While there's a ton of things going on, the beer remains an absolute joy to drink. The light body makes this a very quaffable beer, though the flavor profile encourages you to meander. As the beer warms it offers you more, as the brett notes start to highlight more of the caramel malt profile.

Those with a patient palate will find that this beer offers a level of enjoyment few others can match. For me, it's so good it borders on ridiculous. There's really nothing to fault within this beer. Impeccable, simply incomparable. Highly recommended.

eclaycamp, Sep 06, 2010
Photo of Stigs
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%

11.2oz bottle, served in an Ommegang chalice

A - the gentlest of pours yields close to two fingers of intensely light and frothy, light grey colored foam. the beer is clear until the sediment from the bottom of the bottle falls into the glass. very dark gold/amber in color.

S - light and airy, yet pungent live yeasts bring a myriad of scents: sourdough bread, grains, grassy hops, lemon zest, orange, and a subtle sour/tartness.

T - very dry, grassy and earthy hop bitterness...hints of lemon and pear, bread, lightly sweetened biscuits, and funky brett yeast.

M - insanely light body with a very characteristic tight and punchy carbonation...this one dances around and almost dissolves in your mouth. very dry and prickly finish.

D - one of the beers that really opened my eyes to what yeast is capable of. truly unique and one of my favorites to pair a light but flavorful breakfast with.

Stigs, Sep 06, 2010
Photo of liamt07
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%

Bottle purchased at the SAQ from a recent journey home through Quebec from Maine. 33cl bottle into my Duvel tulip.

Pours a murky, golden brown with some shades of plum and orange around the edges. Fantastic billowing head, soapy and sudsy with fat chunks of lace and supreme retention. Aroma is sweet, getting some light fruity notes (some plum) and a very, dry vinous feel to it as well. Taste is fairly similar, I'm getting a very dry vinous feel to it (although very, very muted in the vinous sense) with some relatively darker stone fruits (again, plum primarily) and some raisin as well. Still maintains a bit of sweetness amongst the dry nature of this. Slightest hint of alcohol. Mouthfeel is relatively watery, drying. Good drinkability, but not something I'd reach for on a regular basis. A definite sipper. Very muted, simple and subtle in all aspects.

liamt07, Sep 05, 2010
Photo of geryeb624
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into my DFH Signature Glass.

A- Pours a dark, cloudy amber with loads of fluffy white head. It hangs a round for a long time too, with considerable lacing.

S- Crisp wheat-like malts with some spicy Belgian yeast scents and a bit of tart barnyard funk.

T- Dry and hoppy, without being too bitter. Some nice spice and funk notes peek through, but nothing overpowers. Malt, hops, and yeast all work together quite well.

M- A little thin, but creamy and nicely carbonated.

D- Very high. Strange to be saying about a Trappist Ale, IMO, but it was refreshing and went well with the football game I was watching.

Not knock your socks off in flavor or complexity, but a humble and subtle brew that is still outstanding. Very well-balanced, very drinkable, and very tasty.

geryeb624, Sep 04, 2010
Photo of bmwats
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%

Poured from a 33 cl bottle into my Orval chalice.

A: Pours a medium, kinda' dirty, reddish, brown. About a 1 finger, foamy, beige head. Settles fairly slowly, leaving little patches of coagulated foam on the surface, and a beer ring buildup around the rim. Sticky beer ring lacing forms as you drink it down. Head never really totally dissipates.

S: A light roasted malt, raisin, orange citrus, clove, and just a bit of a floral note.

T: Light malt flavor, slight bitter hop, and almost a lemon pepper and coriander note. Just a subtle touch of the raisin that came out in the nose makes an appearance in the palette.

M: Light body, lightly hoppy and steely palette, dry finish, and something of a strong alcohol tone.

D: Sip and savor.

Atmosphere is great. Really great appearance with a rich, pure hue and a nice primary head which settles into a great secondary head that remains throughout. Nose is a great combination of grain, sweet, and spice components. Flavor is hearty and pure with a great balance. The sweet notes don't come out so much in the flavor making for a nice dynamic. The sweet notes tease the nose, but don't distract or cloy in the palette. Overall, this is a great quaff.

bmwats, Sep 04, 2010
Photo of ryanobeirne
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%

A - Super high carbonation! I'm assuming that is due to the bottle conditioning. I actually have two pours from this bottle. The first is a quick pour into a pint glass that fills the glass but is about 80% foam. The head is bubbly and dense but only lasting about two minutes or so. The second pour is much slower and into a goblet with almost no head. The color is a bright golden color with a slight pale amber haze. Looks very delicious.

S - Smells slightly sour with a sweet undertone. I can almost feel the carbonation in my nose.

T - This beer is mostly about the malt, I think, the hops having a secondary role. The sourness doesn't come through as much in the taste as it does in the smell. The flavor has a bit of a sharpness to it, much like a sharp cheddar cheese, although it's definitely not cheesy. This beer is very complex and inviting, yet it still seems like something is missing. I don't know what's missing, but I think the monks are on to something over there at Orval!

M - Very carbonated, very tingly on the tongue. Even the last sip gets a bit of buzz from the bubbles. Incredibly smooth and almost creamy without being heavy.

D - Very drinkable: I don't want this beer to end! But, alas, it does, and I am left wanting more! I'll be sure to revisit this one in the future.

ryanobeirne, Sep 04, 2010
Photo of earthboundagain
4.03/5  rDev -4%

Ok been wanting to try this beer for a while, but been putting it off, this bottle is about 14 months old, so I hope it is as good as I am hoping.

Ok the color is a dark honey with a super fluffy of whit head, the beer laces like a champ.

Ok the nose is very complex, and it is hard to sort it all out, but we do have some various spices, light funk, lemon peel, and an earthy mustiness.

Ok the flavor is as complex as the nose. We have some floral hops, mixed with a burst of spice, all intertwined with some lemon peel. The funk in the nose does not show up in the taste though. The beer is a sipper and takes a whack at the ole palate.

The mouthfeel is dry and well carbonated and is built on a slightly full body.

I like this beer but at $4.99 it will be a nice treat.

earthboundagain, Sep 02, 2010
Photo of Daniellobo
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%

Quite the funky classic. Rich in range, yet nicely delicate.

Presentation: 11.2 oz vase shaped, brown, capped bottle. Small label with the fish icon design of Orval, and Trappist seal. Shows bottling date (30/12/2009), best before (30/12/2014), and Alc. by Vol. (6.9%)

A - Lightly hazed, medium amber pour. Towering foamy head, medium retention, nice surface memory and good lacing.

S - Tart nose with a citrusy sense, touch of spices.

T - Nice funky sense, the Brettanomyces yeast of the bottle fermentation is beautifully evident, hoppy citrus sense, grassy touch. It is not overwhelmingly funky, not at all, in fact, if anything it is the subtlety alongside a saison-like memory that makes it rather rich.

M - Light-medium body with generous carbonation and a nice long dry finish.

D - Works like a charm, the subtle range is very nicely woven into a very desirable brew. If one is keen on funky brews, that is...

Notes: Quite the classic. Quite balanced and subtle on this incarnation, a classic reference not only for Trappist offerings but for Brett tasting. The least unexpected of Trappist ales, which always reminds that it is a denomination and not a style.

Daniellobo, Sep 02, 2010
Photo of NODAK
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%

Smell is very interesting, and pungent. Smells of peppery spices, yeast (which I've read is an uncommon yeast to use), fruit, and some tartness. I saw it described as "leather" on another site, and it isn't a bad descripter. It's a complex aroma.

Carbonation is pretty high. Has a thick head when poured. There's a short initial sweet fruit taste that is swept away by the predominant taste of this beer...which is a yeasty, earthy sensation. I also think the "leathery" taste on the nose transfers into the taste. The finish has a bit of spice on it, with a little tropical fruit. The finish is tart and dry...the mouthfeel is somewhat thin, so not much sticks around. Very little hop bitterness on the backend.

This is a very interesting beer. It may not be my favorite trappist, but it's worth respect.

NODAK, Aug 31, 2010
Photo of jampics2
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%

Bottle at around 6 months of age. Sampled at the Winking Lizard and poured into a cool Orval glass.

Looks nice in it's branded vessel. Orange/copper with some amber and caramel swatches painted here and there. Nice head retention and lace. Very strong start.

Smells of bright hops and mild brett. Some orange and lemon, with some horsehair. Not too barnyard like a stinky gueze, but a nice touch of brett.

Taste is nicely balanced between the base beer, the hops, and the wild edge. The base beer is light and sweet, with just enough malt. The hops give some orange and other citrus notes. The wild funk gives a dusty and basement flavor, but it's nice and balanced. The brett hasn't taken over yet.

The beer has decent body, but the carbonation is a little out of control. This doesn't need to sparkle so much - other trappists with the same sparkling carb have a better overall feel. This is just a bit distracting. I like Orval and it is a classic, but I like more modern BPA's more without the wild edge. I would and will drink this again.

jampics2, Aug 30, 2010
Photo of sellmeagod
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%

The monks know how to get you drunk. These trappist brews always break on through.

What's great about the beer is how well it plays out the expectations. It will be a classy beer. You know this; the price tag shows this.

And what do you find? It will look like a classy beer. The monstrous head just makes you think of having a merry time, and it's truly a joyful time peering through the golden colored brew.

It will taste like a finely balanced, delicious, classy beer. Dry, carbonated, blast to the tongue.

There's nothing exciting about it, and this has to be the only complaint. Surely, though, we don't want a Pale Belgian to be doing too much radically, so this hardly matters. 6.9 abv is precisely what it needs to be for you not to taste it and then to feel it nicely.

sellmeagod, Aug 30, 2010
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,321 ratings.