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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.

4,604 Ratings

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Ratings: 4,604
Reviews: 2,147
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 248
Gots: 496 | FT: 11
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.
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Ratings: 4,604 | Reviews: 2,147 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of penguinjive7
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour is a light amber with a huge foamy head that dissapates along the sides of the glass but remains in the center for the duration.

The initial smell is that of fruity and floral hops with a hint of Belgian yeast sweet fruit.

As the brew toused the tongue there is a pleasant bite from the hops that is particularly strong for a Belgian ale. This fades quickly to a the tangy flavor of young fruit. There is a bit of barnyard presence in the finish that does not overpower the other flovors, but rather ties them together.

The feel in the mouth is of the sharp carbonation of champaign, which makes for easy drinking.

This is a brew with many levels. It is easy drinking, but you have to take your time and enjoy each sip to appreciate everything that is going on. Another fantastic trappist brew.

Photo of RickS95
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's a dark amber color, slightly cloudy, sitting under the most amazing head. The head never really goes away. It dissipates slightly around the glass, but not so much in the middle, leaving lacing all over.

Smells like a combination of cherries and champagne. You can almost smell the carbonation.

There's a slight cherry taste. It's almost an earthy taste, but again, champagne is what comes to mind.

It's extremely carbonated and the bite is sharp, almost astrigent-like. While it starts off sweet, there is a bitterness in the finish. Extremely refreshing wiping the palate clean with each sip.

Despite high alcohol and lots of astringent bite, it's actually pretty easy to drink. It's a quality beer and you won't want to stop with just one.

Photo of chinchill
3.64/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

young (5 month old) bottle served in small glass. {Review revised after tasting on 1 Oct. 2011 -- exactly 1 year later!}

A. clear ample with an ample creamy head. Head is exceptionally long lasting!

M - effervescent; thin & bubbly but not quite watery; nice dry finish.

S - A complex nose that is yeasty, floral, fruity but a tad musty.

T - markedly sour; hoppy; malty

O - a unique and interesting dry-hopped Trappist ale.

Photo of kingcrowing
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a St. Bernardus Chalice. Bottle on 05/08/2009 so this is just over a year old.

Opens with a surprisingly loud "psst", and then this pours with a crazy amount of thick, light brown sticky head, over three fingers pillow up over the top of the rim. Color is slightly hazy wheat/amber color that's quite pleasant, slowly huge craters form on the top and within the lacing. Nose is very Belgian, but somewhat unique, it's got that Belgian yeast nose with a bit of tart funkiness from the bret. It's also a bit sweet and sharp.

Very surprising. It's quite tart and sharp with a nice amount of barnyard funk that sticks around. It's got a very interesting mouthfeel, it's a bit thin/watery but the carbonation is so huge that it makes up for it - never had anything quite like this before. Overall it's quite easy drinking but given the funk it's a slow sipper.

Photo of radioscooter
2.91/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Years ago, I was ushered into the Belgian crowd by the selection at the Sharp Edge here in Pittsburgh, run by a true Belgian Beer cheerleader. At the time, I made the rounds of Trappist selections and wound around them, listening to what the experts said and taking it all in.

I landed upon what is still my favorite style: Strong, Dark and Sweet with a lot of flavor. I still favor a Scotch Ale, Barleywine or Wee heavy above any of the light, bubbly, frothy coriander stuff.

I couldn't remember trying Orval then and I have been going back through the catalogs trying to do my due diligence to the style. I knew it wasn't going to be as strong and musky as the Draak, but I figured it would at least be on a similar par with Chimay, which is still one of my go to drinkable favorites and not a sweet dark.

I think maybe this is an ale that really needs some food to be paired with it. I really didn't enjoy it at all. Out of the bottle it had a massive foam and its carbonation stayed too high for my tastes.

The flavor starts out okay, with light fruit and a zesty tinge, but then some taste that I have yet to hear described accurately that I usually attribute to a "preservative" taste when I experience it in countless American microbrews, but am mystified to find it here.

As it warms it does not get any better. Remember I like sweeter brews. This one is just too lackluster and bland for me to value above a food beverage.

Any of the Chimays just kill it, IMO.

An accessory, not a star.

Photo of drizzam
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a cloudy orange/amber in color. A fairly aggressive pour yielded a monster three finger white foamy head. Good head retention with moderate lacing.

S - This is a seriously aromatic brew! As soon as I cracked open the bottle, my living room was flooded with fruity odors...seems like predominantly pear. Also a very dominant spice aroma to go with the pear. This beer almost smells like a champagne to me.

T & M - Tastes mainly like a ripe pear with a peppery finish. There is an earthy hop presence that seems to peek in and say "Hi", but it is just a ghost and seems to disappear just as quickly as it appeared. There is a strange complexity at work here. Mouthfeel is on the thin side and it finishes pretty crisp...just a bit of that pepper for an aftertaste.

D - This is certainly a fine brew, but the drinkability is hampered by the cost. I'm not one that could quaff this all night even if cost was not a factor, as the spiciness would prohibit it. Certainly worth a try...this is a perfect example of the style.

Photo of tchenery
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a wine glass. The beer is a nice rich amber-golden color with a nice pillowy, alive head.

It smells almost wine-like with some apple and pear notes.

It is so bubbly right now that it's hard to pick up on much of the flavor of the beer. It's very smooth and almost creamy tasting and still has a bit of the red-wine flavor to it, possibly some tannins.

This would be a great meal beer as I imagine the pairings are probably quite limitless.

Photo of BeerMasterD
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled on 05/08/2009, poured into wine glass in 2010.

A- Pours lively amber color with a huge bubbly foam head that hangs around for a while.
S- Spicey and dank funk aromas, Apple and nutmeg, wintergreen.
T- A bit sour, but not bitter or hoppy. A spicey sour taste that im not used too.
M- Crisp and dry, light-medium body.
D- Not highly drinkable.
O- Im not completely sure how i feel about this beer, it was very interesting though and I'd like to explore the style further.

Photo of JMad
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

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.

Photo of FourQuarters
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of RDHerm
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of RRoeb1123
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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!)

Photo of SuperSpy
4.87/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.11/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of tewaris
4.36/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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!

Photo of sogrady
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of trevorjn06
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of Bubba83
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of jsprain1
4.11/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of GallowsThief
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of spinrsx
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of eclaycamp
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Stigs
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of liamt07
3.71/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,604 ratings.