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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.

4,494 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,494
Reviews: 2,128
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 218
Gots: 443 | 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: 4,494 | Reviews: 2,128 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mechamifune
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Been looking forward to trying this one for a long time. I've heard a lot of others say that this beer defies simple classification and after drinking it I can see why.

Pours with an immense amount of slightly tan head into a chimay glass. Obvious carbonation and the smell is more subdued that i'm expecting. If I had to pick something out it would be some slight citrus, but i come away with a sense of dryness more than anything.

Upon tasting its somewhat hard to describe.... some subdued hops, but mostly a little fruit and a lingering perfume-ish taste. The mouthfeel is continuously foamy, dry, but somehow still relatively light.

While this drinks relatively light, this is not a beer to drink quickly. There is a lot going on and you really have to sip it to get through it enjoyably. As i progress through the glass the perfume aftertaste subsides a little and some hints of sourness come through.

In the end I'm not really sure what to think. This is obviously a beer with a lot going on and one that a lot of effort has gone into. In the world of beer I would classify this as a pretty unique experience... but still I'm not sure there's anything to bring me back to it. Still, its certainly worth a try for any beer lover.

mechamifune, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of beerwolf77
3.08/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Born on date: 29/07/09 So right where the brewers think it should be consumed. Six months after bottling.

Poured into my Duvel tulip the beer is orange amber. The light tan head is enormous. It fills at least two thirds of the glass. After a brief wait the glass is covered with globs of lace.

The aroma is musty dry citrus fruit. Hints of hops, wood and a nice amount of funk.

The flavor is a bit off putting. It basically full on dry funk. I like horse blanket and barnyard funk bu tnot in this concentrated form. I really can't pick out anything else.

The body is smooth and creamy. Moderate carbonation. Dry finish.

Overall the beer looks and smells fantastic. It falls way short on flavor and drinkibilty.

beerwolf77, Feb 20, 2010
Photo of Brabander
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank this beer in my Westvleteren chalice.

Pouring the beer in the glass it all looks very promissing. A nice white couloured head and an orangelike cloured beer. Nice carbonation.

The beer smells allright, citruslike, but the taste is not so good as the looks. I was a bit dissapointed after the first taste. The beers is a bit too (how can i say this?)hoppy. It is not as refreshing as one of the other abbey beers. I gives a strange aftertaste which i can't describe very well in English. It was the same taste like i had with some USA ipa beers.

That makes the review as it is. I see and smell a good beer, the rest is average which is not good enough when you are an abbey product.

Brabander, Feb 20, 2010
Photo of BeerNemesis
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orval Trappist Ale. 11.2oz. April 2009 vintage.

Semi-opaque orange/amber color with some light haze. 2.5 finger white head mushrooms up the glass and settles into a spongy, rocky landscape. Medium lacing.

Citrusy, some pine, flower

It's smooth, crisp, and generally light. Slight tart-fruity flavor with a touch of lemon rind, and some medicinal phenols. The hop bite is not as intense as one would think, but this worked well in conjunction with other flavors.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability:
Orval surprisingly accomplishes a light body but a full mouthfeel. Very nice. Carbonation is good (slightly reduced when ages which was quite nice). I find Orval very drinkable (I could have 2-3 more happily). and venerable.

Orval comes in a unique, vase-like brown bottle. It's unusual, but a pleasing shape nonetheless. Orval also has venerable historic origins -- I mean the monastary dates back to the Merovingian period (1100's).

BeerNemesis, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of beerdrifter
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A recent trip to the Kulminator in Antwerp led me to break out an aged Orval from my own cellar. This one was bottled in Nov of 2007 and I've had it aging for almost 2 years.

When I popped the top it immediately overflowed but I only lost a bit. Huge fluffy white head and a cloudy orange amber pour with incredible lacing. Very complex nose with hints of bread dough, perfume, clove, vanilla and oak. The alcohol scent was definitely more pronounced than a typical non-aged Orval.

The taste is also very complex and totally unique. Hints of lemon, vanilla, black pepper, apples, anise, and oak. It's sweet, spicy and sour all at once. Nice dry, bitter hop finish. A bit flat tasting but it's been my experience having drank several aged Belgians that most of them do taste flat. Alcohol is more evident than in the non-aged Orval but still well hidden. Truly one of the great beers of the world. Makes me realize how fortunate I am to have easy access to all I can drink!

beerdrifter, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of wescj
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a chalice.

Looks great. Deep orange and quite cloudy, with a thick and rocky white head. Man, I love big, billowing heads with good retention.

Smells fresh, grassy, a bit citrusy.

Tastes very refreshing, featuring the same notes as the nose along with a good mustyness. A bit light, which fits perfectly with the grassy notes. Good 'n hoppy.

Great mouthfeel, not too light for the style. Everything about this beer comes together very well. My only complaint is the price, but that's not a factor in this review.

wescj, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of alysonwhite
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dark orange, very cloudy, perfect carbonation, full of life.

Smell - citrusy, flowery, caramel dank aroma.

Taste - caramel, biscuit, dense with excellent balance (no one taste too overpowering), great example of trappist beer.

Mouthfeel - somewhat heavy and coarse, but not over carbonated.

Drinkability - I would definitely drink this beer again.

alysonwhite, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of jrallen34
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from a bottle into the orval chalice at the Abbey in Orval.

The beer pours a dark orange with a huge light tan lasting and creamy head. Great retention and lacing.

The aroma is very ipaish with a nice balance of sweetness(grapefruit) and some some hops.

The taste is pretty hoppy throughout even the start which you would think would be sweet. The sweet comes in the middle then is followed by a bitter finish.

The feel is full with a slight dry finish that lasts quite awhile.

Overall, pretty different than most of the trappists but I like it pretty well.

jrallen34, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of meeekyh
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am re-reviewing this beer from the comfort of my living room as opposed to the hustle and bustle of the Falling Rock.

Tonight I review the beer I got two more of to enjoy tomorrow with turkey and festivities and friends. The unique bottle is attractive and feminine. Bottled on '25/03/2010' and best before '25/03/2015'.

I am using a belled glass with a narrow column at the bottom for the tasting. It is my most commonly used glass and will provide a good baseline comparison.

As I pop the cap in my customary way the sound is crisp and loud. The beer is a light golden color with a yellowish off-white head that is very tall and fluffy. Head sticks around for awhile.

Smells are tart and lactic and incredibly floral. My right nasal passage is somewhat clogged so I am missing some of the complexity, and that is sad.

Flavors are quite complex and I am going to sit and enjoy them a bit and then, maybe, get back to the writing... Spice flavors and a uncanny balance mark this beer. It really outshines most others for depth and drinkability. I love the tiny bubbles and the fact the head is still somewhat present at the end of the glass.

Super good beer and well worth the quest to acquire it.

Re-reviewed Nov 24, 2010

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Rochefort glass (at Falling Rock Taphouse, Denver)

Really pretty colour, a beautiful golden orange. Head is fluffy, red tinted and tan.

Smells are of the sea, floral, pickles and caramel.

Tastes remind me of wild beers. Tangy, spicy (purple?), bitter hops, and grapefruit. Mouthfeel is light-medium with great big carbonation and a nice dry finish.

Drinkability is great and I am pleased... More Beer like This!

This beer is pretty. Overall the beer is floral, enticing and intoxicating. I am enamored. Happy Valentines day and...

meeekyh, Feb 12, 2010
Photo of VWBuggirl
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into my Grimbergen chalice.

This is a great hazy light amber color that looks delicious. It has a bit of a bready-vanilla smell that has a certain sweetness to it.

This starts mildly sweet, then you get a punch of hoppiness that I wasn't expecting, and then sweet again. I love the amount of carbonation too. Very drinkable and enjoyable!

VWBuggirl, Feb 11, 2010
Photo of HopEnforcer
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Darker golden color and slightly hazy in appearance. About two inches of white head that quickly dissipated, leaving some moderate lacing.

S: Lemon and Brett aroma.

T: Lemony with earthy bitterness that lingers. A slight spiciness came through as it warmed up.

M: Very dry mouthfeel with a fairly high level of carbonation.

D: Pretty good drinkability, although I really wasn't craving a second one.

Note: the bottle I drank was dated January, 2006 (4 years old).

HopEnforcer, Feb 11, 2010
Photo of BigMike
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

For most of my first 199 reviews, i've stayed within my comfort zone. That said comfort zone has been mostly Ipa's, DIPA's, and stouts. I'm going to make a concerned effort to try to branch out for my next 200. I figured i'd make my 200th a style of beer of never really tried. That is a beer brewed with the wild yeast Brettanomyces. Also known as Brett. This is a Trappist beer called Orvel. So here's to another 200 beer reviews!


Poured from a bottle that has a bottled on date of 5/08/09.

Poured into a Golden Monkey Tulip glass.

Watch on the pour because this thing just explodes in the glass. I have about 4 fingers of head to about 2 fingers of beer. The beer is a hazy orange color with some yellow highlights. THe head is almost pure white and its larger bubbles that are disappearing quickly. It sticks to the side of the glass like crazy. The effervescence of this thing is crazy! Bubbles racing to the top of the glass.

This thing smells awesome! Some orange peel scented yeastiness with some clove and orange blossom honey flavor. A small touch of some mustiness.

Flavor is almost identical to the nose. Orange,Yeast, clove. Like i said with the nose, its a bit musty like. I'm guessing thats from the Brett.

Mouthfeel is light, and effervescent. Tons of bubbles tingling every part of my mouth.

This beer is super easy to drink. Most definitely my favorite Belgian, and Trappist beer to date. I could drink a couple of these! I highly recommend this beer to just about anyone!
The f

BigMike, Feb 07, 2010
Photo of Plonk
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle poured in my Chimay chalice. Bottled date 4/22/2009.

A - Pours a nice light amber, significant chill haze, two finger rocky head that falls to 1/8 that stays to bottom of glass leaving a good amount of lacing.

S - Bretty barnyard and band aid dominates, slight hay and bit of citrus

T - Brettiness, slight malt sweetness, earth, spritz of lemon, L-O-N-G hop bitter complex finish that lasts for days.

M - Crisp and light, with a creamy carbonation.

D - Could easily drink several at a sitting.

Plonk, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of taigor
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into regular glass.

A - Poured hazy copper color with huge head that quickly dissipated leaving signifficant lacing around the glass.

S - Fruit scents upfront with yeast and hints of grass and tartness.

T - Fruity and bready to start followed by slight hoppiness and tartness to finish.

M - Medium bodied, complex with very high carbonation.

D - Might be impacted by high carbonation but other than that very drinkable and pleasant.

taigor, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of TCgoalie
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a bit darker than expected. It is a caramely amber clear color. The bottle unleashes a nice large bubbly head that likes to stick around.

At first I can smell yeasty alcohol esters. There is also a hint of lemon/orange peel.

The taste starts up front with a nice kick of hops which transitions into light malt but mostly yeasty mid to aftertaste. It definitely has a good amount of carbonation. As the beer warms, more flavor comes out. A lot of citrus and even some piney flavor in there.

The mouthfeel isn't as full as I would expect. The beer feels pretty crisp with a decent amount of carbonation.

A pretty easy drinker for the most part. I feel as though it would be easy to sit down and drink 4 or 5. You will enjoy this beer better at a warmer temperature!

TCgoalie, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of rfgetz
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice cloudy amber orange with dense, white rocky head that has some of the best retention i have ever seen. Smell is wonderfully funky, touches of doughy bread, faint citrus and candi sugar. Taste is mild in relation to the scent. Doughy bread throughout backed by touches of funk, lemon, juniper and sugar. Tastes its best as close to room temperature as possible. Medium bodied, dry and fully carbonated to begin, but feels somewhat thin and watery as the glass sits. A very nice beer with many extraordinary qualities, but lacks a little in assertiveness and body.

rfgetz, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of MrHassellYaHurd
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a perfectly transparent copper-orange. Thick three-finger head supported by a rush of carbonation.

Smells of hard candies with just a hint of dusty yeast. Dried apricots and other fruity notes. I can't exactly pick them out, but it gives a sense of subdued or understated sweetness.

The taste carries a zesty orange peel/ tart bitterness of green apple. The big malty grain flavors balance nicely against the acidic fruity qualities. The nearly 7% alcohol is nearly undetectable, and makes the brew all the more pleasant, if not deceitful.

The Orval has a spot on middle of the road medium body, just right IMO and really compliments the gentle tastes. Carbonation is certainly vigorous, but just feels "right" with this particular beer.

Overall, the Orval is superbly drinkable, and only the price could stop me from consuming several in a night.

MrHassellYaHurd, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of acelin
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased tonight for my 50th beer review. Poured a deep golden orange with a huge 2 finger head and copious amounts of lacing.

Typical belgian yeast scents paired with apples, pale malts, dried raisins and candi sugar.

The first wave of taste mimics dried Apples with hints of candi sugar, followed by pale ale hops, dried raisins then more hops. It's quite delicious and perfectly balanced.

Has a wonderful mouthfeel and amazing drinkability.

acelin, Feb 02, 2010
Photo of Cmack15
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orval the bowling pin shaped bottled beer. Poured down the middle of a tulip glass and whoa did I get some head on this beer. Thick creamy awesome looking head, some real eye candy. The aroma is pleasant Belgian yeast smell. At first your taste buds are stimulated by the sweet yeast notes of this beer then it finishes long with a dry charred note. This is a beer you want to take your time with and savor not reccomended as a session beer. Relax and enjoy a fine trappist ale.

Cmack15, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of BreworFerment
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was really excited to try this beer because I had read how great it was in Michael Jackson's books and also all the reviews here.
Poured into a tulip glass the beer was a beautiful clear orange blonde color with noticeable effervescence. Nice off white head that dissipated quickly with no lacing. Slight hop aroma on the nose but that was about all I got. On first taste I got, beer, decent beer, but nothing near the complexities others have talked about. The beer wasn't, bad, just not as good as I was expecting. Maybe a product of over hyping? Don't get me wrong if someone offered me one I would drink it happily but I don't see what all the fuss is about. I've had other trappist beers that were better.

BreworFerment, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of hobojon
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had both fresh and aged. This review is based on a bottle that was brought back by a friend from belgium. 2 month old bottle.

Aroma- Funky (Brett), floral and fruity, fresh. bready. dry. some tart acid. great malt, bready. pungent spicy, herbal, noble hops.

App- very light haze. amber. creamy off white foam stays and laces.

Taste- sweet mouth coating tart and then dry and clean. fruity pucker, tart berry (cherry). bready and light caramel. crisp malt. hops are great, bitter and resinous. malt is incredible. not very funky compared to aged, I prefer it fresh.

Mouthfeel- high carb, clean, dry. full. alc is slightly noticeable in throat.

Overall- amazing when fresh. tartness is great. beers like this inspire my home brewing.

hobojon, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of joshstevens87
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a blond orange with a generous white head
S-nice sweet fruit presence (apple, banana, pear)with a nice yeast background with very little hops evident at all
T-very delicious a nice dose of fruits mention above and a bit of raisiny hint to it and a more pronounced yeasty spicyness giving it a nice dry finish very different and very delicious
M-medium body a nice strong carbonation with a very dry finish
D-very drinkable and absolute pleasure to drink its dry finish makes the beer rather refreshing

joshstevens87, Jan 30, 2010
Photo of fastsrt
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured 11.2 ounces to chalice, bottled 11/13/08
A:honey brown with a perfect rocky head
S:Fruity, grapes,wine, oak.
T: juicy fruits, oak, spicy, smooth balanced, some funky flavors adding to the vast complexity of this one.
M: crispy, finishing extremely dry, perfectly hoped, all aspects of this one contribute to a nice rounded out balance.
D: drinks like silk, would love to have another this was the first time i have had this brew and i am going to pick up another bottle, the cost makes this a sipper but, could drink quite a few in one session. this is a great beer that would go well with many foods and could be a staple at the table. this is a great beer.

fastsrt, Jan 29, 2010
Photo of bum732
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy red-orange, big creamy head with great lacing. Smells of spicy malt, cinnamon, clove, subtle fruitiness, touch of vanilla, touch of oak or maybe funkiness. Tastes of slightly fruity and spicy malt. Lots of dry earthiness, touch of oak and lemon rind. Finishes dry with a touch of spice.

A really great beer, so many subtle layers. Truly unique and a really fantastic beer.

bum732, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of OskarL
4.97/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Deep amber color, cloudy with a big dense head that leaves lacing.

Smell - Very inviting! Citrus, flower and cloves.

Taste - Citrus, hops, cider, a bit sweet, some bitterness and pepper in the finish. A very complex taste!

Mouthfeel - Light body, very dry with carbonation that fits just perfect.

OskarL, Jan 26, 2010
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,494 ratings.