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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.

4,496 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,496
Reviews: 2,128
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 218
Gots: 444 | 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:
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: 4,496 | Reviews: 2,128 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of darkmartin
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours to a murky, light golden brown with a HUGE white fluffy head. Even with a delicate pour I had four inches of head.

Smell: Smells of spicy fruit and some sweet malt.

Taste: Very powerful spicy hops up front. The sweet malt present in the nose takes a backseat and seems to make a hint of a return in the finish. Fairly dry and full of fruit and spice. The alcohol is almost unidentifiable.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and highly carbonated.

Drinkability: Simply delicious, and can only fully be appreciated slowly. Although it takes me a while to finish this one, its only because I don't want it to be gone.

darkmartin, Aug 28, 2010
Photo of Chizoad
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I curse the fact it took me so long to try this!

Poured into a tall, narrow glass that really showed off the amazing fluffy head. The beer itself changed from a pale yellow amber at the thinnest part of the glass to a gorgeous orange/tan at a thicker spot. Slightly hazed.

Interesting smell that pulls out funk, malt, and spices. I can't identify the spices here, and I hope they are coming just from the yeast.

Amazing flavor! The funk is up front but so beautifully balanced and nuanced that it really is a pleasure to drink this beer. Excellent malt and spices on the finish, and just a little astringency that puts a twist on the flavor.

Highly carbonated but bubble size is tiny so it's like a pillow on your tongue. Medium body.

Highly drinkable, and I would love many more of these. For $5 and change, this is a go to beer.

Chizoad, Aug 28, 2010
Photo of carpezytha
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into tulip glass at 46 F.

A: Unfiltered honey with aggressive cream colored head that settles with a very stubborn, intricate lacing.
S: Yeast bomb wrapped in damp wool. Cat pee and tanbark (in a good way).
T: Musty, spicy, lots of citrus peel (cumquat, key lime). Barnyard,
M: Prickly, but balanced.
D: One of the top beers, could drink daily.

carpezytha, Aug 28, 2010
Photo of chickencoop
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Talk about hype, this seems to be the goto belgian beer that guys that don't drink a lot, love saying it's one of their fav's. I've had this before, but never reviewed it, so this is what I got.
A: Deep amber color, thick off white head.
S: Big tart and tangy, with some funky notes on the end.
T: Big bitterness, balanced with some dank musty flavors in the mix.
M: Big bubbly carbonation, i guess typical of the style.
D: Style benchmark, and this is a very good beer, but overall not an everyday belgian pale.

chickencoop, Aug 27, 2010
Photo of herman77
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Changed review score on 11-3-12. Old review below. Bottled 11/17/11

A: Orangish/amberish/murky-light brownish color that is pretty hazy. Tons of carbonation ripping up that creates a huge, rocky and very thick, light khaki head. Nice sticky lacing. 5

S: Orange spice. Pear, apple and some funk/barnyard smell. Haven't ever smelled anything quite like it. Its a little odd, but in a good way. 4

T: Not what I expected. Strong phenolic hops. Orange spice. White wine. Some funk barniness to it as well. Pretty complex... Long phenolic/medicinal dry aftertaste. Wasn't a big fan of the taste at first, but after I got to know it a little more, I appreciated and liked it more. 3.5

M: Lighter to medium body. Very strong, active carbonation. Prickly on the tongue, almost like champagne. After taste leaves my mouth somewhat numb feeling since its so dry. 3.5

D: Not the greatest since its just so different for me. Very dry and phenolic. It is very unique though, I'll give it that. 3

Bottled on 7/29/09, best by 7/29/14

herman77, Aug 21, 2010
Photo of StlHopHead77
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours out a hazy,rusty,brown with two fingers of pillowy,off-white head with excellent retention and very little lacing.

S-Big spice on the nose.Clove and cinnamon,baked apple,distinctive Belgian yeast,lemon and sweet malt.

T-Not what I expected.Not as sweet.Red apple,pear,brown sugar but also yeast and a slightly,tart earthiness.

M-Medium bodied with active carbonation.Smooth and lively with a slightly dry finish.

D-Really nice beer with good drinkability.

StlHopHead77, Aug 19, 2010
Photo of mbulandr
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think Orval is good, but is overpriced given it's alcohol content. There are several other beers in the $5 plus range that have better alcohol content and similar taste.

With all due respect the the other reviewer that compares this beer to Goose Island's Matilda, I completely disagree. I was anxious to try Matilda and recently purchased a four pack. I found the beer to be very bitter and nearly undrinkable. The other 3 bottles will sit in my fridge. Orval is a far superior and very different beer.

mbulandr, Aug 18, 2010
Photo of rudzud
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Great hazy amber color with a very thick two finger fluffy head that slowly dissappeared leaving thick lacing down the sides.

S - Picking up on yeast and a definate pleasant barnyard funk. Very, very faint fruit smell.

T - Just like the smell one can definately taste that funk. A little tart on the front and dry on the finish.

M - Somehow even with this nice medium carbonation its almost creamy. A pleasant surprise.

D - This is really, really good. As someone who is a big fan of the funk this matches up perfectly with the pale ale.

rudzud, Aug 18, 2010
Photo of Mitchster
2.35/5  rDev -44%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

$5.99 for a 11.2oz bottle at Jacks. 6.9% ABV. Bottled on 11/13/08, best by 11/13/13.

I've had this beer a few times, but it's not a regular, so I was surprised to see that I hadn't reviewed it on BA before. Considered a classic by some. Pours out to a lightly chill hazed medium amber, forming a large white head despite a careful pour, with excellent retention and sticky delicate Belgian lace. The carbonation is medium-strong. The aroma opens with the smell of honey, followed by that classic horse blanket, farmhouse musty basement sour funk of Brettanomyces that I adore...much different than most Trappist ales which don't ferment with Brett at all. The funk is followed by orange and pineapple....a deliciously tempting beer. The mouthfeel is spritzy and explodes upon the tongue with a light body. The taste opens with a short-lived tartness, followed by a very strong unpleasant metallic bitterness, spicy cloves, fusels and other higher alcohols, and finishes bone-dry with more metals and higher alcohols. No sweetness whatsoever. Aftertaste of wet cardboard and newspaper. Ugh.

I'm not a big fan. It smells delicious, but it needs more sweetness and less bitterness to balance the tartness of the Brett, no fusels, less carbonation and more body. At $5.99 for a wimpy bottle, skip this and get some De Proef, De Dolle, Duchesse, Rodenbach, or Zoetzuur.

Mitchster, Aug 18, 2010
Photo of jmdrpi
3.4/5  rDev -19%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

poured into a tulip glass, the appearance is cloudy dark amber color, with a mountain of off-white head that reaches above the rim. looks great. the smell is somewhat fruity, tart. the taste is heavy on yeast, a little funky, and finishes extremely dry. I'm not really a huge fan of the flavor. body is somewhat thin and carbonation is high. not hard to drink, but probably won't seek out again. .

jmdrpi, Aug 17, 2010
Photo of Soilworker
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 12oz bottle into an Orval goblet. Bottled on 4/29/2009.

A: Pours a beautiful amber color with nice orange hues glistening off of the glass. There is a one finger thick off white head. Lots of nice lacing going on.

S: Tart, yet sweet, green apple dominates this one. THere are nice fruity esters and some phenolic notes coming through. There is a definite presence of some nice yeast notes and subtle undertones of barnyard-like aromas.

T: There is a nice yeasty, estery base which supports the green apple flavors, quite similar to the smell. I get some hint of the brett through the baryard like flavors I get. There is also more bitterness here than I would have expected, I definitely do not remember detecting any last time I tried it. I'm not sure I'm a huge fan of this bitterness but it does fit the style well. Finish is quite dry with some lingering fruity esters and bitterness.

M: Surprisingly more carbonated than I would have expected. Medium bodied overall.

D: This is a very good beer and I could definitely see having a few of these throughout the course of the night but its no session beer...especially considering the price tag on this one.

Notes: I enjoyed this one quite a bit but its not as good as I remember it being when I tried it a year ago. Stil a very good beer and I'll still try it again from time to time. The price tag makes it hard to go back to regularly for me though.

Soilworker, Aug 17, 2010
Photo of Beejay
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Muddy, murky brown, cloudy as a river after a rainstorm. Massive white head on this.

S: Sweet and tart with a yeasty background. Fruits and berries, a bit floral with a nice tart finish. A slight vinegar or cider smell to the tartness.

T: That is a wake up call. Tart, with a bit of funk. Some nice light fruit flavors specifically strawberry. A bit of yeast there as well.

M: Thin to medium bodied, but with effervescent carbonation.

D: Good, but not really my bag. I get why it is popular, and appreciate the style, but I think I would stick to the other trappist styles. This seems like an odd combo of funk, and a regular pale ale, and I can't get too into it.

Beejay, Aug 16, 2010
Photo of EvilGnome6
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle into a Duvel glass.

A: Pours a copper dark blond with a very generous off-white head.

S: Tart green apple with a hint of mustiness.

T: Bitter and sweet with a hint of green apple peel. The flavors are rich and complex but impossible for me to describe. Definitely has a hint of horse blanket that makes it feel rustic.

M: Very, very dry and a bit thin but somehow refreshing at the same time.

D: A very easy drinking beer that somehow seems different every time I try it.

I've had this several times before and will definitely have it again.

EvilGnome6, Aug 14, 2010
Photo of 4000qtrap
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Source/Serving: Bottle

Smell: Cider, slightly sour apples, raspberries. A touch of barnyard a nutmeg with a load of other phenolics. Understated and complex.

Taste: A little brown sugar and raisins up front with a heavy dose of horsefunk and some grassy bitterness. Deep bread and yeast notes. The middle has a nice crisp, tart edge to it that's very refreshing with intense spiciness, a hint of vanilla and underlying sour apple cider. There are even some caramel and biscuit notes thrown in there. Finish is creamy with a slight fruit skin and grassy bitterness to it that is integrated seamlessly with cider, spice, funk, yeast and apples.

Notes: Really complex, unusual flavors but not in your face. A classic.

4000qtrap, Aug 13, 2010
Photo of SFLpunk
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz brown glass proprietary brown bottle. Bottled 05/08/09. Poured into my Orval chalice.

Appearance: Hazy amber brown with a good amount of chunky sediment and thick creamy khaki head that won't recede. It looks like a cappuccino really: tan head with some dark streaks from the sediment passing through.

Nose: Brett! Woohoo. Apricot and white oak. Tarragon, ginger and the aroma of Campari (or SanBitter).

Palate: Crisp with some acidity and hop bitterness. Flavors of oak, licorice and herbs/botanicals. I've never noticed the similarities between Campari and Orval, but it's super obvious today. Herbs, bitter orange peel, blood orange and botanicals plus wood. As the beer warms, more floral characters come out, like clover honey.

Notes: Never seems to disappoint. A tasty beer. Really want to try the Petite Orval!

SFLpunk, Aug 10, 2010
Photo of DrewKid4
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a bottle with a chalice glass at Rattle N Hum on 33rd Street in Manhattan.

A: Pours a thick glowing orange with a fluffy white head with nice lacing on the glass.

S: Smells like a strong cider more than a strong ale. Very fruity and some hops but very unique.

T: Bitter sweetness of sour fruits - grapes, apples, and ... cranberries? A very bitter Trappist.

M: Crisp, dry feel like a cider but thick like many Belgians.

D: A good Belgian for all tastes. Uncommon at most bars, so when you find a place that has it, definitely try it out.

DrewKid4, Aug 10, 2010
Photo of Anthony1
3.03/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours a brownish orange color. There is some head retention, but almost no lacing to speak of. On the nose I get very little, maybe a hint of lemon... not really sure. There just isn't much there. On the palate the beer is very tart and very dry at the same time. I guess this beer is trying to be some type of Belgium pale ale, but it really doesn't work for me. The beer tastes fairly light for a Belgium, and I guess with the abv. you could probably drink a few of these, were price not an obstacle. The mouthfeel is OK, and the beer comes across as fairly refreshing. The finish is rather short and crisp, but there are no off flavors.

Anthony1, Aug 09, 2010
Photo of bala747
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tried this beer at Brauhaus, Singapore a few times. It's one of my favourite trappists, though I prefer Rochefort or Westmalle myself, this is still an outstanding example of Trappist brewing.

A: A beautiful amber brown pour with a thick head that dissipates quickly leaving some lace.

S: Smells heady, some yeast, some bread and biscuits, and candy.

T: Almost no bitter taste at all, again it tastes of bread (like the kind they serve in fancy restaurants), some hint of candy and spearmint. Really complex and lots of fruity flavours that I couldn't quite tease out.

M: Medium bodied with good carbonation. This was the weakest part of the beer in my view. I was expecting a bit more rounded fullness of body.

D: Very drinkable, but a tad expensive. I would love to drink a few of these with a good book.

bala747, Aug 09, 2010
Photo of BeerNinja007
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've heard a lot about this beer so I finally picked one up. 11.2oz bottle for $5.00 at Beverage King in West Lebanon NH. Bottled on 30/12/2009, Best before 30/12/2014. Served cold in a chilled pint glass.

Huge frothy tan head, 4" of foam on top of 1" of beer early into a moderately strong pour. Had to back off quickly or it would've easily gone over the rim. Decided to smell it as I wati for it to settle a bit. Pretty complex, a lot going on... semi-sweet, hops, spices, citrus, earthy. There's a bunch of cinnamon, yeast, dry lemon rind. The brew itself is a dark murky yellowish brown. The head is hugely chunky, parts have settled to create a 1" deep canyon across the middle of my glass. The foam is finally to a drinkable level, so here goes. It's completely dry throughout, nothing sweet at all, somewhat fizzy. Dry lemon rind, cinnamon, yeast, parsley. Moderately hoppy and very herbal. Some lemon zest and parsley in the dry finish.

Overall I think it's a good beer but I'd stop far short of calling it fantastic. The mouthfeel is a bit thin and there's not much malt body to the taste.

BeerNinja007, Aug 07, 2010
Photo of cnally
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up with about three other brews I had never tried before. This one lasted till the end, since I was so stoked, I wanted to save what I guessed would be the best for the last. We will see.

A monsterous head, fluffy and barely off-white, is a defining characteristic, with a glowing orange color in the body. Hazy and majestic.

The aroma is underutilized here, a foggy floral bouquet and little additional hop or malt character to it. Pleasant yet forgettable.

The flavor...oh, the flavor. A wildly successful blast of bitterness and sweetness, with a multi-layered fruity taste of grapefruit, apple and red grape. Great balance in the amount of hop character, a good dose of bitter.

High carbonation levels in the mouthfeel. A boisterous brew.

Magnificent effort, a subdued aroma meets a crushing flavor, and grand all around. Easy to pop down a few of these...if you can afford it!

cnally, Aug 06, 2010
Photo of jeranbrews
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Hmm did I get the same beer? Mine may have needed to sit a few months.

A - Fizzy murky marmalade color. Fluffy bone white head.  

S - Blueberry and a touch of black bean vinegar in the yeast. Lovely. Smells Dance along in the bubbles up into your nose giving hopes of syrupy candied delights. Only slightly malty.

T - More bitter than I initially imagined.
Slightly dry. Before adding all the yeast from the bottle it was sour after adding it all it was much more wholesome and rounded. Just a touch of vegimite. Spices were there and I'll give this beer points for uniqueness but not for flavor.

M - Loose like white wine or cooking sherry

D - Overall good appearance and enticing smell but flavor left something to be desired average but not worth premium Belgian prices. Wondering if mine was too young or too old.

jeranbrews, Aug 04, 2010
Photo of mmva321
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a chalice.

After Chimay, this is my second experience with a trappist brewery. Chimay Red was a definitive experience for me, let's see about this.

A complex, but clear appearance. There are little details I like about this, but the beautful amber body stands out brilliantly. Both the oranges and yellows stand out but blend to make a spectacular color. There is about 2.5-3 fingers of rocky white head that has an appropriate retention. A thick column of carbonation continually jets out from the center while little pillars lace the side.

The auroma fits my personal preferences very well. I love that the sweeter and smoother smells like banana and malts blend very well with slightly funky yeasts to create a velvety smell. But there is also a slight pop to the smell which comes from some understated hops and some lighter fruits such as pear and lemon.

A complex and challenging taste that isn't always easily enjoyable but is rewarding all the more. It seems to evolve in your mouth, starting out sweet and fruity and ending dry and sour and in between there is not a static moment as the taste...???? I can't really explain it. It's a hard beer to describe and each sip seems different as you discover something new. You need to try it.

My one complaint. The carbonation is too much for me. From the pour, the carbonation is very audible and it was no surprise that this would feel very bubbly. It makes the thin beer substantial, but it's a little too distracting and dominating in the mouth.

This beer is such a pleasure to take relaxed and slowly, but it's gone in the blink of an eye. The Orval Ale is perhaps my new favorite beer and one that I could drink every day for the rest of my life and be happy.

mmva321, Aug 04, 2010
Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice. A light amber-orange brew, with a truly magnificient head that displays some of the finest retention I've ever seen. Loads of thick, patchy lacing grace the glass. Impressive.

Nose is floral (I get rose), with some fruity notes, peach pear and apricot. A touch of funky malt and yeast to the nose as well.

A surprisingly dry, sour Trappist - certainly unique among the Trappist lineup. Begins sweet and fruity, but the dry, cider-like quality dominites the finish. Notes of apple, pear and pepper. Dry and refreshing.

Hearty carbonation helps the floral and fruit notes to pop.

A great brew, certainly drier and more subtle than the other Trappists, but very drinkable. Glad to have finally tried it.

JohnnyBarman, Jul 31, 2010
Photo of kiddynamite920
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: This is taking a while to pour...huge carbonation going on. The head of this beer is literally floating on top of the glass. Huge, fluffy white head that looks sticky as hell. The beer itself is a dark orange, cloudy brown. Never seen lacing like this. The head is literally forming clumpy shapes on the side of the glass.

S: Getting the Brett right off the bat, haven't even put my nose up to it yet. Floral spiciness, bready yeast and some funk. Citrus notes. Very nice nose. Herb garden and some earth mixed in.

T: Great funkiness from the Brett, citrus of the nose dies a bit on the palate. There's still a lump of head stuck to the top edge of my glass. Outstanding. Good spice and banana notes, not as pronounced as most Belgians I have tried.

M: The high carbonation is fantastic for this style. Brings out the floral and citrus notes quite nicely. Good pepper bite on the aftertaste as well. Crisp and complex. Divine BPA.

D: This beer is finding its way into my stomach rather quickly, fantastic drinkability. Everything about the beer was spot on for its style. Light, yet complex. Crisp and refreshing, with a bit of Brett funk. Perfect balance.

kiddynamite920, Jul 30, 2010
Photo of Bonis
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into my Unibroue tulip glass. Pours a cloudy amber color with a huge head that disippates somewhat quickly, but sticks around about a half finger for most of the drink. Leaves a fairly nice lacing as well. Way less sediment than I am used to in a trappist ale.

Nose - Spices such as coriander and other belgian ale spices dominate, belgian yeasts are definitely there. I also smell some metal-like earthy notes. This smells unlike any other Trappist ale I have tried.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Again, follows the nose in that this is far different from any Trappist ale I have tried. Tastes sour initially, with hints of cherries and some citrus. Belgian spices dominate. Carbonation is medium, but more apparent than others in this style.

Drinkability - Very very refreshing for a Belgian. If it didn't cost $5 for 11 oz, I could drink this stuff regularly. The ABV is pretty low for a trappist as well, which helps with downing it. So with price factored in, I don't find it drinkable, but if price doesn't matter for you, give this one a try for sure!

Bonis, Jul 30, 2010
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,496 ratings.