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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.

4,164 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,164
Reviews: 2,102
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 181
Gots: 323 | FT: 10
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.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001)
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Ratings: 4,164 | Reviews: 2,102 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nms1987

North Carolina

4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into Duvel tulip glass.
Brownish orange color. Kind of clay colored. Completely opaque.
Massive foamy white/cream head. More head than Duvel.

Smells Belgian. Funky yeast notes and a slight bit of hoppy notes coming through there.

Wow, thats a dry beer. Definately a sipper despite the low (for a Belgian) ABV. More hoppy than most Belgians but not what I'd call a "hoppy" beer compared to many American beers. The brett adds a fun dimension though, the moderate brett and moderate hopping synergize nicely to add up to more than the sum of their parts.
The combination almost gives it a west-coast citrus/pine vibe although the beer is much more moderate, complex and understated than that.

I like it, I just don't know how often I'd seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2009 05:20:06 | More by nms1987
Photo of stingrayvr6

New Jersey

4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had at Local 44 in Philly. Poured a reddish/brown amber into a chalice with a frothy, sticky cream colored head that stayed until the last drop. Smell was fairly average, a bit yeasty and bitter, earthy as well. The taste was a thing of beauty. It started out a very full, rounded mellow sweetness with medium/heavy carbonation and then turned to a dry, crisp, mellow Belgian-hoppy flavor. Truly excellent complexity. I could drink these all night, fantastic beer, lives up to its hype, will not disappoint.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2009 20:05:04 | More by stingrayvr6
Photo of siradmiralnelson


3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into chalice.

A- Very carbonated beer. Pours a light/pale amber color. Massive head.

S- A sour, perfumy, spicy aroma. Somewhat of a musty smell, the "barn smell".

T- Dry slightly bitter flavor. The sourness comes out the more I drink.

M- Lots of carbonation. Light and creamy mouthfeel.

D. All in all not one of my favorit Belgians. Although it did tend to grow on me towards the end. This is my first tasting, but not my last.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2009 23:47:30 | More by siradmiralnelson
Photo of GRPunk


4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (bottled on 5/6/08 and best by 5/6/13) poured into a tulip glass.

A- A conservative pour still left a huge (3+ finger), fluffy, off-white head that was topped with a touch of yeast and never really completely fell, leaving huge sticky patches on the glass. The body was a combination of a deep red-brown with peach and pink accents with medium to heavy carbonation. It was all fairly clean considering the yeast pour.

S- It had a great aroma. It started as some spicy cloves and vanilla. Later on the yeasty qualities came through as green apple that became more pronounced with time and warmth.

T- It had an interesting flavor. It was more highly hopped than I'd expected, making for a dryish quality. There was a little granny smith apple from the funky yeast, and, maybe, a little lemon, citrus flair.

M- It was fairly heavily carbonated as I drank through the fluffy head. There was a definite hop and slight alcohol bite Overall, it was pretty dry on the palate.

D- The great attributes make me want more. Its alcohol was well masked making it an easy drinker and it's a wonderful example of the style. The fairly heavy price tag is the only thing stopping me from making this a regular purchase.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2009 20:18:11 | More by GRPunk
Photo of UA8


4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a cloudy copper color with a huge 4 plus finger cream colored head.

S- Wet hay, mineral notes, smoke, and grassy earth. Reminds me a lot of a big Italian red wine.

T- Grassy earth, hay, leather. Reminiscent of Italian red wine.

M- Clingy, flavors linger, smooth carbonation.

D- This is quite the complex beer. There's a ton going on in the nose and palate. This is the type of beer that broadens your palate.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2009 23:35:02 | More by UA8
Photo of Murchmac


3.35/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Seen this forever, finally decided to pick up one.

Big frothy white head like a white beard. Golden Graham caramel brown with yellow highlights.

Fruity, sweetness, dry, earthy, I didn't get all those other smells people did, cuz i'm dumb.

Sour, sweet, too sour.

I don't know if I like this beer, so I guess it means it's ok. It's like those slices of pizza you dont really like, at least it's still pizza though.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2009 05:07:46 | More by Murchmac
Photo of PEBKAC

New York

2.78/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Orval Appreciation Day.

Ommegang anniversary glass. Bottled on 20/02/2008. Hiding in the basement since late September.

Glass fills with suds on my first attempt. Stiff, cream peaks, orange amber body. Successfully decanted. Patchy lace.

Smell is first off, intense bitter melon rind & grapefruit zest. Then, soured sauvignon blanc & straw. Touch of sulfur. Lemon/lime acidity. Peppery yeast.

Carbonation is light, almost microbeaded.

Taste is grassy & just barely soured. Very dry & mild, acidic hops upfront. Medicinal, plastic-y, & lacking the ripe fruit flavors I get in fresh or exceedingly old bottles. Just a lot of acid. Alcohol is too big. Saltine, cottonmouth finish.

This one took a bad turn. Usually one of my favorites. Destined to be reviewed again.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2009 04:40:17 | More by PEBKAC
Photo of ottovon


4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: a dark straw color with a thin white head. can see carbonation coming up the glass.

S: a belgian yeast, estery smell. some citrus.

T: a belgian yeast, estery taste. fruity. some citrus. a nice banana taste, with a hint of clove. some alcohol on the finish, with a nice dry finish. some bitterness in the end. i do get some tartness as it warms.

M: light and carbonated. crisp.

D: very drinkable. a very good beer.

bottled on: 05.06.08

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2009 00:16:51 | More by ottovon
Photo of WakeandBake


4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, bottled on date 24/04/2007 best before 24/04/2012. A hazy light amber pour ,loads of carbonation bubbles,and a huge fluffy off white head, wonderful lacing and lasted till the very end.
Aroma is a wonderful scent of spices,sugar and lemon,lighter notes of orange and a nice finish of yeast and hops.The flavor is a blend of spices & lemon, Light banana notes and fruity esters form the yeast, nice bready notes, a crisp refreshing mouthfeel with a very dry finish of hops and alcohol. Very complex and balanced.A very fun try .

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2009 01:28:19 | More by WakeandBake
Photo of ArrogantB


3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Funny shaped bottle with no visible date anywhere. Massive white head and a dark cloudy orange color, looks cool. Smells like brett and tastes like it too, funky, dusty pineapple and malty biscuity flavor. This is an interesting beer and unlike any other trappist beer I've tasted thus far.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2009 03:01:23 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of jwhawkins81


4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma - Awesome brett horse blanket barn aroma with a hint of sweet fruitiness

Appearance - Crazy carbonation huge head otherwise cloudy light orange

Taste - Dry with a slight sour funkiness to it. Very unique. A little bitter bit but no real detectable level of sweet maltiness. This beer screams to be tasted again.

Mouthfeel - Very carbonated thin to medium body

Drinkability - Drinkable? Yes. So dry through that I don't know how many I could drink in a session. Probably not more than three.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2009 21:46:22 | More by jwhawkins81
Photo of bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a bizarre beer, full of character, complexity and curiosity.

It pours a cloudy orange with a cumulonimbus of white head, that leaves huge gobs of foam on the side of the glass. Holy shit...its a beast of a beer to look at, but then when you get your nose in there its just mindblowing. The aroma is pure brett - cider, stable and leather. I've heard people say horseblanket, and though I've never been that close, I can agree that Orval probably does smell a bit like Mr. Ed's comforter. The taste is really funky, with spicy, fruity and herbal hints popping up. Lots of leather, cider and hay. Oh, and did I say funk? Later on it transitions to a lemon soapiness. What a complex and confusing beer this is!The mouthfeel and carbonation is remarkably soft and smooth for a lighter bodied beer. Wow, is it ever drying. More so than any other beer I've had.

A strange brew for sure, and stylistically leagues apart from its Trappist brethren. I didn't 'get' this beer in the past - it seemed like a strange goose and on the knife edge between love and hate. Over time, taste changes and the palate develops. Orval is a beast of a beer, and a classic. Everyone should try it.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2009 14:11:17 | More by bobsy
Photo of errantnight


4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Simply a great beer, a classic, one of my favorites. Thanks to the brett and the widely varying storage conditions here in the states, each bottle is a little different.

This pours a notably orange hazy hue, a bit darker than I think of pale ales (or the saison I sometimes associate this with thanks to the funk), but it's an attractive pale color with a rich, creamy, mountainous head of craggy silky smooth foam with incredible retention and lacing. Just perfect. Exemplary.

Aroma is insanely complex, there's that ever present background of brett funk in there, not the sour twang, but the earthy barnyard and deep hints of citrus fruit. This compliments an earthy stew of pale malt with mild alcohol esters and phenols, a bit of banana and just faintest hints of warm spice, particularly nutmeg.

The taste is incredibly subtle and delicate, so perhaps for something I love so much so impeccably formulated it's a bit of a crime to knock this all the way down to 4.5, but I find that while there is a masterful retention of body here, the flavor thins out a bit towards the end. It's bone dry, but it's also just a tad watery on the back half of the palate, allowing the intense carbonation to come across very mineraly. What's there, though, builds in layers with each subsequent sip. There's a mild bready sweetness that pulls in the spice and fruit notes, bring out an impression of fresh flowers and springtime.

Having a beer this dry and still retaining a moderately full body is an astonishing accomplishment. There's really not much more to say. I know the high carbonation gives it its great looks, and probably greatly contributes to the early body I appreciate so much, but it sometimes feels a bit spritzier on the back palate than I would like. It's quibbling, and I could just as easily give this a 5 as a 4.5 and feel good about it.

I love this beer. It's pricey, and I don't drink it that often, but I never go too long between bottles, either. A classic, essentially perfect brew to be admired, and to influence others. A beer to try, then try again, then try again as your palate develops.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2009 01:23:30 | More by errantnight
Photo of Japerrault


4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy golden color with a coarse-bubbled head.

S: Flowery, spicy, lemony

T: Hops give the most flavor to this beer. Tartness noticed first with flowery citrus flavors dominating throughout. Candy sugar coming through slightly in the finish with a mild bitterness.

M: light bodied and a bit over-carbonated.

D: For me this is a beer to be savored and enjoyed. Many complex flavors involved make this a slow drinker.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2009 06:44:23 | More by Japerrault
Photo of EatsTacos

Yukon (Canada)

4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy amber/brown with a thick, pillowy, white head which remained at about half a finger.

The smell is of candied apples, caramel malt, a lot of pecan pie. Some slight dark fruits like figs, or dates.

Taste begins with a sweet, buttery caramel malt. Crispy pie crust comes to mind. Hops are decently spicy and add a lot to the bitter finish which is extremely dry. Complex to say the least and alcohol is well hidden.

Creamy, medium bodied with a sharp, biting carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2009 03:16:07 | More by EatsTacos
Photo of katan


3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz into a goblet - bottled on 5/6/2008

A - Very brown in color. Strong off-white eggshell color head. Well retained at almost a 1/2 inch. Hazy and cloudy - probably yeast.

S - Funky sour yeast notes - certainly a trappist apel. Very earthy and spicy.

T - Starts off rather subdued, with only a light amount of malt and yeast shining through. Mid-stream starts to show bitterness, but nothing involving hops. Finishes with an extremely sour, almost oxidized note. Acidic as all get out.

M - Carbonation bite is very noticeable. Makes this thing sting the tongue. Coats the mouth with a small amount of an oily texture.

D - Weighty on the palette and high in ABV, I don't find this beer to be extremely drinkable. More of a single session beer.

Seems to be a 100% representation of the style - not sure this is exactly my favorite style.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2009 20:58:48 | More by katan
Photo of cratez

Ontario (Canada)

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

Poured out of a 330ml bottle into a goblet. Huge foamy off-white head sits on top of a hazy, dark orange body. Lots of sticky lacing clings to the glass while drinking. This looks like a tasty-ass beer float. I'm impressed. Smell is poignant hay, sour candy, and yeasty aromas. You would think the barnyard smell would be a turnoff, but it's actually quite intriguing. Taste is lightly juicy and fruity malts followed by tart grapefruit and some bitterness on the palate. The overall flavour is mild but well-executed. Mouthfeel is smooth with a nicely carbonated bite and a balanced, dry finish. I have enormous respect for this highly drinkable beer. The funky farm-like character is definitely something I haven't encountered before. A perfect beer for enjoying the spring weather with, though Orval would make for fine drinking any time of the year.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2009 16:08:27 | More by cratez
Photo of CityBoy1986


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

Poured into a snifter from an 11.2 oz. bottle. My batch was bottled on 6 May 2008, best before 6 May 2013. I think I'm safe ;-).

The pour is a hazy shade-lighter-than-copper with two fingers' white head. Retention and lacing are nice.

The nose is like a flowery version of gin--juniper mixed with floral notes. Some light citrus is also in there I can smell the alcohol, but it is in the background. The taste again contains juniper, flowers and citrus, but all are nicely balanced. Again, there is just a hint of the alcohol. The dry finish seems to last forever.

The mouthfeel is light, but not too light. Carbonation is nice and crisp. Drinkability is high; this is an exceptional sipping beer.

This is the most I've spent on a beer per ounce, and it is worth every penny. Whenever I have some extra in my pocket, this will be in my house.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2009 09:23:52 | More by CityBoy1986
Photo of ThirdLap


4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River has said in interviews that this is his favorite beer. As his brewing efforts have turned me on to a variety of beer styles, I figure Orval is worth a closer look.

Bottled on February 20, 2008, making it about 13 months old. Served at 50°F in a Russian River tulip.

Pours a cloudy medium tan that reminds me of unfiltered apple cider. The off-white two-finger thick head is chunky, uneven, and long-lasting.

The nose on Orval is pure brett, with characteristic wine and vinegar notes. Hints of citrus and spices round things out.

Taste is brilliant. If you enjoy Russian River's sours you will understand how this served as one of Vinnie's inspirations upon the very first sip. The huge brett aroma is muted in the taste, giving it a mild sourness, backed up by green apples and spice. Finish is bitter then dry, almost like champagne. The taste that remains between sips reminds me of Perrier. I'm thinking Orval may be the perfect way to introduce people to the idea of sourness in beer.

As with most proper Belgians, carbonation is huge. Body is right in the middle, and the 6.9% abv is well-masked.

Were it not for the price tag, I would probably pick Orval up much more often. Five bucks for a 33cl bottle is a bit steep, but somehow upon finishing it still seems like a fantastic bargain.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2009 05:13:21 | More by ThirdLap
Photo of Brenden


4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a very slightly hazy copper color. The head is incredible; huge, creamy and thick with the best retention I think I've ever seen. The head follows the whole way and leaves lacing all over the place. Pretty incredible, really.

The smell is a mix of flowery and sharp citrus, more like lemon than grapefruit, with an herbal note. Alcohol is evident but not overbearing. A slightly astringent scent finds its way in there as well.

A sharp hops bitterness hits first, but this one is complex. Herbal, floral and citrus tones blend very well with the hops for a nicely balanced brew. Very tart and tangy with a seemingly endless dry finish.

Mouthfeel is crisp, clean and dry in a fairly light body with good carbonation.

This is a great one and a fantastic example of what a Belgian should be.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2009 14:44:33 | More by Brenden
Photo of Nick3


4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce with a bottle on date of 05/06/2008. Beer poured into an Orval chalice forms a 2 finger head that slowly disappears into a thin coat after 5 minutes or so. Beautiful citrus aroma hits my nose as I'm pouring it. Color is a gorgeous hazy orangish-brown. Lace drapes itself along the glass as the drink is consumed. Taste is nice and sweet initially and then hops come through in the finish. Hint of lemon, grapefruits and banana are there in the taste. A well balanced pale ale that is very smooth and refreshing. I highly recommend it.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2009 03:16:18 | More by Nick3
Photo of jbertsch


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

Poured this into a tulip glass.

Orangy and lively. It actually looks like it would have a bit of lemon in it. The highlight here is the huge sudsy, 3-4 finger head that caught me off guard. And it doesn't go anywhere soon. In fact the head stayed with the beer the entire time, following it down the glass instead of lacing. I noticed it would change funky formations after each sip.... was actually fun to watch. I need a life.

Banana bread - but not in a real sweet way. Floral, with notes of lemon and clove.

A bit more bitter than I thought it would be, and not as sweet as I was expecting. It's complex, but couldn't get a good sense of any one prominent flavor.

Prickly, sharp, almost felt like a more robust pilsner on the tongue.

It is definitely drinkable, but I wasn't yearning for a second.

Not a bad beer, but not my favorite of the Belgians.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2009 00:59:39 | More by jbertsch
Photo of jwinship83


3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottled on 5/6/08, best before 5/6/13.

A- a dark golden colored body with at least 2 fingers of quickly receding fluffy looking white head. the head stays once it gets down to about a half of a finger and walls of lace are left behind.

S- very soft, very complex. summer fruit comes up first. apples, pears, grapes, and some lemon in there. theres something "wild" and a little sour smelling in here too.

T- the sourness isnt very intense at all, and not what i was expecting. very "funky" though. tastes like a barn would smell. theres some of the fruits i could smell in the taste as well, mostly lemon. might be from the hops.

M- crisp and light. well carbonated.

D- easy to finish, and something i could see myself drinking more of in the future. not really something i think i could have more than one of in a sitting.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2009 03:56:19 | More by jwinship83
Photo of dbtoe


4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bowling pin bottle into a Duvel tulip

Looks good, a light brown color with a very active white head.
Smell is pretty faint, a little yeast and some lemon.
Taste a lot going on here. Very complex a little sour, bitter and something I can't put my finger on. Every drink I pick up something a little different and all drinks finish with a very slight grapefruit bite.
Feel all that carbonation is wonderful and every drink is smooth and finishes clean.
Drink I could drink a lot of these and often.
Comment I liked Orval a lot. It is a very unique beer that is full of surprises.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2009 16:36:54 | More by dbtoe
Photo of amneziak


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

Appearance: Right off the bat I have to say this beauty pours with about 14 fingers of massive pale white soapy looking head. Jeez Louise that's a massive stretch of foam! Additionally, it has a nice clear warm amber color. There is minimal cloudiness, and the immense amount of bubbles proves that this is a very vibrant beer.

Smell: I absolutely love the smell of Orval. There is a ton of banana bread and clove components right up front that are met up later by some funky lemon undertones. This beer really smells old world and the spices, for the most part, are very hard to pick apart. I also get a bit of alcohol presence in the nose which is odd since it only sits around 6.9% ABV.

Taste: Tastes almost identical to the smell. There is lots of banana bread in the mouth with a hint of lemon funk to back it up. Throughout the beer, several strange (yet enjoyable) floral components begin to come out. This is potentially due to the temperature change as you work through it. The lemon and funk essence that lies underneath is very reminiscent of a gueuze. In the end, you are left with a very nice deep banana taste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: In terms of mouthfeel, this is more along the lines of how an IPA hits the palate than a Belgian style ale. It has lots of flavor and a well-rounded bitterness. There is also (as the pouring would insinuate) loads of effervescence that immediately slams into your tongue. In terms of body, this is not quite a medium-bodied beer, but close.

Overall: Of all the Trappist beers I've had so far, this is easily one of my favorite. I'm a huge fan of the whole banana bread and clove element of it. I will say it's maybe a touch too "bubbly" for my taste, but I can't really find a whole lot more to complain about. I'll definitely be picking up some more of these down the road.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2009 19:48:04 | More by amneziak
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,164 ratings.