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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.

4,274 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,274
Reviews: 2,107
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 197
Gots: 373 | FT: 9
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: 4,274 | Reviews: 2,107 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of phreak1983


4.08/5  rDev -2.9%

A- Even after a gentle pour into my goblet I got a huge head. It would have been best to let this one sit a little while after opening. Good carbonation and chunky lacing.

S- Sweet pears, floral scents, and I can actually smell the sourness.

T- Not as sweet or sour as it smelled. Very light and crisp.

M- Fizzy, dry, and finishes clean with no aftertaste at all.

D- Very easy to drink, the only thing that would stop me from drinking more is the price and a desire for a stronger tasting beer.

04-04-2010 04:15:53 | More by phreak1983
Photo of metter98

New York

4.33/5  rDev +3.1%

A: Poured cloudy golden yellow into a goblet with a white, one finger head. There's a moderate-to high level of carbonation and good head retention.
S: There is a definitive sour smell (reminiscent of a gueuze) with aromas of wild yeasts and floral hops.
T: The taste is very flowery and acidic with some sourness; the finish is of dry hops with citrus and spicy notes.
M: It feels bubbly, crisp and earthy on the palate. The amount of carbonation makes this taste lighter than I had expected it would.
D: It's easy to drink and rather refreshing, which is surprising for the level of complexity in the taste.

04-04-2010 00:05:05 | More by metter98
Photo of digita7693


4.63/5  rDev +10.2%

A orange/gold and cloudy with a wonderful head

S some citrus with malts, grass/barnyard and a tart-sour smell in the background

T some citrus going on with bread and a slight sourness, with some fruits in there (tart apples) delicious

D wonderful beer, extremely drinkable, the alcohol, with all the flavors and smells is almost undetectable

04-02-2010 13:15:34 | More by digita7693
Photo of augustgarage


3.93/5  rDev -6.4%

Poured from its distinctive 330mL bottle into my Trappistes Rochefort goblet. Bottled on July 29th, 2009.

Cloudy butterscotch body with amber highlights and an everlasting, whipped, pearl-tinged head. Heavy, soapy, rocky lacing adorns the sides of the glass.
The aromatics are fruity and hoppy at this relatively young stage of the ale's shelf-life. Wildflowers, grass, hints of melon, kiwi, cherimoya, and even quinoa abound.

One of the most unique flavor profiles, which adds to those ingredients in the nose, a hint of chocolate, pale malt, a subtle very dry yeasty character, and a vague suggestion of toast. The finish brings to mind pear skins, white tea, unleavened bread, and a whisper of tonic water. The over all impression is one of corks, cellars, and caves - a sort of musty sophistication that is difficult for me to convey. The character changes significantly as this ale is laid down, so I may add to this review when I crack open an aged example.

Sufficient carbonation, creamy, yet relatively light-bodied despite what it looks like at first glance.

It took me a long time to learn to appreciate this ale, the first several bottles I had, I assumed were "off" somehow. The dry, slightly bitter, slightly funky, not quite sour flavor was not at all what I expected from a Trappist brewery (as if they were all the same). Considering the integrity and longevity of this product, I think the deficiency was likely with my palate rather than with Orval - but I still can't help but knock some points off the drinkability scale none the less.

04-01-2010 03:37:55 | More by augustgarage
Photo of cld253


4.43/5  rDev +5.5%

A- poured from 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass. First thing I notice is the incredible, billowing head. Half the glass with all different size bubbles. Pale to medium amber, somewhere in that 7-9 SRM area. Lace everywhere. Some hazing, but I may have poured a little heavy near the end. Still, a 5.

S- Tart and cider like, like an old barn with fresh hay upstairs (modified the brother there talking of a horse blanket, but it's almost spot on for me as well) some citrus and a bit of alcohol present.

T- cider again, tart and some citric bite, changing throughout the mouth-full and swallow, slightly sweet malt comes through, but just for a moment. Dry, earthy finish that lingers.

F- Bit of a carbonation bite upfront that accentuates how dry and crisp this beer really is.

D- I feel like if I had the privilege of more than one of these, they could all disappear very quickly if it were not for wanting to savor them.

03-30-2010 21:12:22 | More by cld253
Photo of Xul


4.93/5  rDev +17.4%

A: Pours a hazy golden orange capped by a part-frothy/part-rocky three finger off-white head. It's been too long since my last Orval, I forgot how massive this head gets. Retention is good but as it dies, it leaves behind moderate lacing.

S: So much going on...tartness is the first to hit with green apple undertones, followed by a waft of funkiness. Lemon zest comes in, some floral notes, peppery spice, some sweet green grapes. Every whiff yields a slightly different balance of the components.

T: Starts off with some barnyard funk but quickly moves into yeasty territory along with a slightly wheaty base, followed by tart green apples balanced by a hint of sweetness, along with a bit of citrus and pale grapes. Finishes dry, leaving hints of every component of the taste behind.

M: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation, it glides over the tongue with a few prickles along the way.

D: Extremely refreshing, with complexity to keep every sip interesting and balance to prevent any one flavor from becoming overwhelming.

03-28-2010 23:49:05 | More by Xul
Photo of Lukecook

New Brunswick (Canada)

4.38/5  rDev +4.3%

Poured from bottle into a tulip glass

A- Huge head that took a bit of time to receed to the point were I could pour more in, cloudy orange color with lots of lacing.

S- citrus hops, pepper, and some earthy funk.

T- mild sweet malt, earthy under tones reminds me of wet hay, nice hop bitterness.

M- light body, dry finish, carbonation is a little fizzy, it does mellow toward the end.

D- Great refreshing beer, dry finish that leaves you wanting more.

03-27-2010 17:21:55 | More by Lukecook
Photo of femALEist


3.68/5  rDev -12.4%

It poured a cloudy orange gold hue. It smelled like sour, tart apples, and yeast. It tasted sweet, overripe grape, sour apple, a hint of spice but left the tongue tart and dry. I actually preferred the smell better to the taste. The taste was a bit light, but I guess it is just a pale ale. I thought it was have more umph for 6.3%- guess not. It just wasn't my favorite. I don't see myself buying anymore anytime soon.

03-25-2010 20:05:24 | More by femALEist
Photo of jlapennas

New York

4.72/5  rDev +12.4%

Aroma: Tart fruity white wine like aromas dominate. Some flowery notes and something a little rough. Very low barny or funky aromas though they seem to come out more as carbonation dies down.

Appearance: Deep orange, huge rocky head with great lacing. Slight haziness.

Flavor: Fruity, mild tartness, firm hop bitterness and flavor add to an extremely dry finish. Maybe some dry spice notes. Has some qualities that remind me of a tannic English cider. Barny notes are just a whisper rattling around in my nasal cavities.

Mouthfeel: Dry, spritzy, light body but the carbonation makes up for it. Tart acidity.

Overall: Highly complex, lively, dry, very refreshing ale. The tartness isn't outright sour and the many flavors are exceptionally well balanced. I can see wanting to have some of these around at all times. This bottle is about a year old and the emphasis is really the dry fruity acidity and firm bitterness.

03-25-2010 19:51:06 | More by jlapennas
Photo of rhinos00


3.65/5  rDev -13.1%

Big thanks to Viggo for sending this to me in the Gentlemen's Club BIF. Bottled on 09/25/2007. Poured from a 330 mL bottle into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a clear, copper/amber color. Produced a massive three fingers width of white, foamy head. Clung to the sides of the glass throughout consumption. Tremendous lacing.

S- Very unique. Has a floral, light citrus aroma going on with tons of earthy funk beneath. Really hard to put a finger on it. The funk underneath is a combination of earth, horse blanket and leather. There is a mild sweetness to boot.

T- Upfront a mild malt sweetness hits the palate followed by earthy tones. The funk is not as forward as the aroma led to believe. In fact, it was quite weird. Almost gave the beer a taste of flat spritzer along with a bit of grassy hay.

M- Well carbonated with a light to medium body. Mouth is left rather dry.

D- I appreciated the uniqueness of this beer, but I couldn't get over how similar it was to old, flat seltzer water.

Overall, will have to try this one fresh as I did not care for this too much.

03-25-2010 00:36:20 | More by rhinos00
Photo of OnThenIn


4.55/5  rDev +8.3%

Appearance: There was a finger of tan head on top of a cloudy amber copper body.

Smell: There was a strong citrus, floral aroma that was almost candy like, with a strong funky aroma that was almost leather like.

Taste: The beer had a similar taste to the smell and an additional earthy flavor. There was also a serious sweet malt taste.

Mouthfeel: The was effervescent and medium bodied.

Drinkability: The beer was very drinkable and extremely refreshing. I really loved it and think it would be wonderful in the summer time.

03-20-2010 03:00:01 | More by OnThenIn
Photo of Jamison27


3.63/5  rDev -13.6%

Poured into an oversized wine glass from a bottle dated 09/2008.
I was very excited to try my first Trappist ale after discovering one of my favorite refreshing beers, Hoegaarden. I will say it was not at all what I expected.

A- cloudy, amber / gold. Big head that lasts = I'm talking a caricature of a MONGOLOID.

S- fruit, cider, faint horse blanket

T- tangy, a bit of orange peel, funk became more apparent as this beer warmed. I didn't get any alcohol bite.

M- This is where it went downhill for me. Light, crisp and dry, but overly carbonated. My first impression was, "This is like champagne!"

D- I couldn't drink more than one of these. The carbonation made me feel bloated with half the glass left. I will age the other bottle I have to see if the carbonation subsides.

Looking forward to trying some other Trappist beers to see how they compare. For now I'm thinking some Lost Abbey with its low carbonation might be my next purchase.

03-19-2010 06:24:01 | More by Jamison27
Photo of PEIBeerGuy

Prince Edward Island (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev -3.6%

After seeing the reviews on here, I think I was expecting more than I got. It's a good beer, but it didn't wow me.

Well, the head wowed me. As soon as I popped the cap, it foamed out of the bottle a bit, and I had to pour it in stages. So much head! A very firm, light, creamy head, like beaten egg whites. It does die down, but it takes a few moments. The colour is great. A nice, foggy amber / orange-brown.

Smell is good... pick up some citrus in there... maybe orange or even a little grapefruit... apple. Hint of spice.

The taste is akin to the smell. It's very understated & mellow. I like that, but at the same time, I was hoping for something a bit more distinct.

In the mouth, it's good. Carbonated just enough, smooth and creamy... dry finish.

For a Trappist ale, quite drinkable. It wouldn't be hard to put a few of these away if they were cheaper.

03-18-2010 19:21:57 | More by PEIBeerGuy
Photo of sunrisesolara


4/5  rDev -4.8%

.33L emptied into a Snifter.

A: Pours a cloudy amber with a fluffy 2-finger white head which was slow to receed. Lots of sticky lacing throughout.

S: Yeasty bread, over-ripe fruit. Rather complex to say the least. Spices and raisins appear as the beer warms. Then a funk. Wow.

M: Viscous with a tad too much carbonation.

T: Floral hops come to the fore here, sour fruit through the midrange. Funk upsets the balance at the end. Lingering sour aftertaste.

D: Exceptional drink. Light enough to finish a few in an evening, but a little too pricey to do so on my budget.

03-16-2010 13:56:43 | More by sunrisesolara
Photo of Stunner97

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -4.8%

Appearance- Massive white foamy puffy cloud, with just loads and loads of fast intense carbonation, golden murkey yellow brew with the born on date of 04/22/09,

Smell- citrus, orange peel, coriander, yeast, slight malts, very nice belgian spice smell

Taste- very unique yeast strain, overall a very spicey dry finish, very hoppy, very enjoyable and unique flavor profile, moderate finish, nice complexity,

Mouthfeel- crisp and very carbonated with very dry mouthfeel

Drinkability- Highly drinkable with a crisp dryness that leaves you wanting a next sip, overall a very nice beer one I would be intrigued to try with some time, overall a very unique complex beer with plenty of hops and that signature belgian funk, not the best trappist I have had but certainly good

03-16-2010 01:47:55 | More by Stunner97
Photo of dqrull


3.4/5  rDev -19%

Pours a hazy amber with an airy head that lasts quite a while, visible champagne-like carbonation.

Smell is first and foremost reminiscent of a biere de garde, a very fresh, lemon-ish aroma. Beneath the lemon (and possibly lime) there are some other, rather full fruits hiding, green grapes and green apples along with a certain spicyness. Very fresh.

Taste is fresh, and very dry, with lighter than expected hints of citrus and green fruits, with a very light tartness to it all. Finishes up dry and with a slighty tartness and a biterness that fits well, but I'm not too excited about the whole thing, it surely has character, but not really my thing this.

A very crisp and dry mouthfeell.

03-15-2010 22:17:16 | More by dqrull
Photo of Flashsp2

New Mexico

3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Orval Ale

Poured a nice orange hue with a gigantic eggshell head. Nice retention with a huge patch of taffy style lacing.

Aroma is lots a overripe fruit (apricot comes to mind). The next few whiffs pull in some nice funky/sour notes and a little horse-blanket.

Taste is a little sweet malty hit, followed by some earthy flavors, sour/barnyard, and a big dry finish that is only very slightly bitter. The finish lasts forever on this one.

Carbonation is a bit too high for my liking, it seems to distract from an otherwise very interesting and unique beer. Other than the carbonation it is a bit closer to medium body, and feels a bit thin a times.

Overall a nice beer, something worth trying, but I would likely spend my $4 on something else. Not bad, I will eventually try again, but not something that I would get on a regular basis. The overdone carbonation is basically what did me in on an otherwise very, very cool beer.

Aged approximately 1.5 years.

03-15-2010 21:55:54 | More by Flashsp2
Photo of zoolzoo


3.95/5  rDev -6%

Bottled in May of 2009, oversized wine glass

I know this one changes quite substantially over time given the brett. I have also heard six months to a year is a sweet spot for Orval, and my review is in reflection of that time frame.

A: Hazy, lighter side of an amber color. Large, fluffy/foamy head. I can already detect alot of carbonation - swish this around and the little bubbles just stick to the sides of the glass before slowly falling back down into the liquid. Ok, this is nice to look at, how does it smell?

S: The first thing im looking for is the brett funk, its there, but doesn't overwhelm. It blends nicely with spice, grass, and light fruity esters. Alot to find if you take your time, I think I was smelling this more than I was sipping it. The aroma is pleasing, but subtle.

T/M: Cloves and a little coriander (I usually hate coriander!), light oranges and lemons, some malt comes through though absent from the nose. Wheres the funk? Its there but I had to search for it. I actually wanted this to be a little more sour or tart. Finish was super dry leaving me with little to savor.

To me, Orval's flavor is a bit subdued. I will attribute that somewhat to the copious amount of champagne like carbonation found in this brew, its a bit distracting. On the other hand, Orval is quite elegant in its subtleness. Its easy to drink; I tasted this from chilled to room temperature and it never got boozy or cloying like some of the other Trappists.

This is a positive review of Orval from someone who really isnt a huge fan of Trappists to begin with. Orval is understated and refined. Certainly not something I want all the time, but enjoyable none the less.

03-13-2010 16:42:30 | More by zoolzoo
Photo of johannasclimacus


4.7/5  rDev +11.9%

A: Nice, slightly hazy deep copper.
S: A bit of bread, yeasty with some fruit.
T: Tart fruit, especially right in the middle. There is a very nice sweetness that is balanced in the finish.
M: Medium, very easy drinking.
D: No alcohol taste at all for me, and the beer is very easy to drink. I'm not sure if my tastes are evolving, but I'm moving through this a lot quicker than I have through other beers of the and similar styles. I can definitely feel the alcohol, but I wish I had more than one of these.

Overall, this lives up to the hype, and it's a great way to cap off my spring break. I'm raising my glass to all of my fellow collegiates who have consumed a huge quantity of terrible beer this week.

03-12-2010 01:07:39 | More by johannasclimacus
Photo of BeerGodz

New Jersey

4.83/5  rDev +15%

Look: Orange/amber color, slight haze, massive head with excellent retention & lacing

Smell: Brett Funk, bready malts, all kinds of fruit - amazing!

Taste: Up Front: Tart, acidic, earthy, dark fruit. Finish: Brett funk, bready malt

Mouthfeel: Light body, effervescence, with a dry finish

Drinkability: Well balanced and it goes down easy, despite the alcohol bite

Overall Impression: It's been a while since I had this beer. In fact, I had not developed an appreciation for Belgian's back then. I was not expecting much from this one; OH My ME was I wrong!!! This is what Begian beer is all about people!!! I see myself drinking this one very often. In fact, I may have to go get more this evening.

03-11-2010 21:31:37 | More by BeerGodz
Photo of BorntoLate86


4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Served in Gulden Draak fluted glass.

A - Very large, extremely foamy head. Orange/amber faintly yellow color, light carbonation. Nice lacing left the entire way through the beer. Slightly hazy appearance.

S - Somewhat catty, yeasty smelling. Light fruit notes accompanied by traditional belgian spice scent. Aroma enchanced greatly in fluted glass, goblet allowed for too many volatiles to be released.

T - Acidic, tart and fruity. Unique flavor with a dry finish. Alkaline up front, soft sourness in the middle with a smooth belgian-corriander finish.

M - Puckering, smooth and light, coats tongue quickly but flavor lingers.

D - Excellent drinkability, if it weren't for the price it would make an exceptionl session beer. Light, flavorful, well-balanced.

Orval is one of my favorite beers. Unique, one-off flavor that is unmatched. A true trappist that blows the top off of the traditional Belgian style. Worth the Money.

03-09-2010 19:47:07 | More by BorntoLate86
Photo of thegodfather2701

North Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +4.3%

A-Hazy gold with a bubbly white head that leaves some nice cascading.

S-Fruity, floral, malty with a hint of hops.

T-White pepper, floral, hops, malt, and some carbonated water are present at first. As it warmed I noticed some grape notes and a nice bready note in the finish. Its complex and unique from any other beer I've tried.

M-Carbonated, yet thick, but I think its a little too carbonated.

D-Drinkability is through the roof.

Overall, this is a classic and truley unique beer. I must try.

03-06-2010 22:35:32 | More by thegodfather2701
Photo of CMW


4.55/5  rDev +8.3%

A - Pour a dark golden color, much darker than most Belgian pale ales. Head is huge with a good amount of soapy lacing. Tons of carbonation can be seen from the side of the glass.

S - There are a few aromas going on here. Floral notes are mixed with some cherries and a heap of funk.

T - The taste starts out with some earthy grass flavor. Then I pick up the sweetness from sour dark fruits like cherries and figs. Finally there is some nice funk in the end to provide an extra kick of sour.

M - The high carbonation provides a nice creamy feel.

D - This thing is highly drinkable. Great tasting and not overpowering with alcohol.

03-06-2010 03:24:40 | More by CMW
Photo of voteforgoat


4.78/5  rDev +13.8%

Bottled Jan 22, 2009 -

Bubbles up like crazy when i poured into my glass. Overflowed a bit even! Unlike any other trappist beer. Sour, dry finish, likely from the Brett. Refreshing. Once you drink the beer, you might notice the bottle is especially heavy, probably to hold the carbonation. A bit stronger than your average beer. Quite unlike most Belgians I've had

I'm going to open bottle #2 now!

My gf said it "reminds me of Cuvee Renee, but not quite"

03-05-2010 04:55:26 | More by voteforgoat
Photo of olympuszymurgus


4.08/5  rDev -2.9%

this was a fine 08 vintage bottle...
falls delightfully into my glass like a perfumed fat kid into a pit of balls, spewing forth odors and kicking balls up from the deep in a futile effort to right himself. the carbonation continues to flow up, bringing the smells. the sharpness of lemon, a little funk, a touch of malty sweetness, a twinge of earthy hops. the flavor profile is similar, a bit sharp and bitter, and delectable, but it feels a bit overcarbonated in my glass. i wait to let it warm up but some asshole finishes my glass so we can taste some homebrew. what a hard life.

03-04-2010 07:00:21 | More by olympuszymurgus
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,274 ratings.