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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.

4,406 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,406
Reviews: 2,119
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 211
Gots: 415 | 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.

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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,406 | Reviews: 2,119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Voonder
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thank to bobsy for this!
Pours cloudy light copper color with huge off-white head. Very good retention. Smell - somewhat sweet, raisiny, slight hoppiness coming throgh, some grassy aromas, some malts. Pretty complex aroma, very interesting. Taste is hoppier than smell, some citrusy notes appear, maltiness is all the way through, bitter finish. Very nice balanced brew, very smooth, alcohol is not noticeable. Very drinkable.

Voonder, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of dgilks
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a hazy orange colour. White head with large bubbles dissapates quickly to a small island of head. Decent lacing.

S - Brett funk is very evident with a nice underlying fruit note. Possibly cherries and peaches. Very nice.

T - More bitter than most Trappist ales I've had with a subtle hoppiness. Plenty of Brett funk is evident and the peaches and cherries from the nose are evident. It is nice but could be a bit punchier.

M - Rich, slightly more than medium body. Below average carbonation. This is very nice and silky.

D - Very drinkable.

dgilks, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of SleepyMonk
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Chilled brown bottle poured into chalice glass.

Immediately generates a surging dense head that measures in around 3 fingers. The body of the beer is very much inviting. A rich and glowing amber color moving towards the darker edge of the color scale. The session is marked by sticky lacing through out.

The aroma is well defined with a beautiful and rich saturated pine scent. Cut grass and spring time themes run strong as to does yeast and a certain amount of citrus.

The taste is also focused on pine via an energetic mix with citrus like orange, mild peppers, yeast and a very subdued malt.

In the mouth this is creamy with a sustained taste delivery and a long dry sticky finish.

One can find the Orval experience a little unusual when first encountered perhaps due to the complexity and hefty pine theme, however you will be rewarded if you give it some time.

SleepyMonk, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of rapidsequence
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a twelve oz bottle (maybe 11.2-- its all the way in the kitchen)

Appearance: Hazy orange. Head is ridiculously good-- like a scoop of ice cream on my beer. Leaves beautiful lacing that will probably have to be scrubbed out of the glass.

Smell: Brett! It overpowers everything for me. I happen to like the smell though. I describe it as hay from a horse stable, but an even better description is the smell of dogwood flowers as they start to rot-- these sound gross, but they're actually nice smells for me very organic.

Taste: Its crisp, thirst quenching, a little citrusy, and dry, dry, dry. Hope you like a little funk. Yum.

Mouthfeel: Tingly, dry, lots of carbonation. I can't stop rolling it around in my mouth.

Drinkablility: Certainly easy to drink. Truthfully, I like smelling it as much as drinking it. As fun and interesting as it is, I don't want another right now. Tomorrow, yes.

rapidsequence, Jun 04, 2009
Photo of bhalter8
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Have been looking forward to sitting down and sipping this bottle, even ended up with a free Orval goblet to pour in. How authentically Belgian of me. Pours a hazy amber to orange color with beautiful dense white head. Following a few sips, I am extremely impressed by the lacing left around the glass. I am not a complete appreciator of the wild funk, but this definitely has it. The brett is there, as is some citrus hints. There is definitely a lot going on in the nose, and I guess I need to continue to explore these styles to fully appreciate it. There is a nice bitter and citrus balance in the taste, nothing too offensive. I have had some that are all sour, but in this case there is enough other flavors to balance it out. The funk (some call it barn) smell is there in the flavor, but is not too powerful. A very crisp and tart ale, with a fair amount of carbonization. In the end, I am enjoying each taste of this sipper, trying to pick up everything, but it is certainly a new realm for me. I do believe I'd like to pair this with some food in the future, alone you are left to ponder this beer too much, and I bet it is nice with some cheese and bread.

bhalter8, Jun 03, 2009
Photo of Mistofminn
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours much darker than a typical Belgian Pale Ale. Hazy orange with a light carbonation. The head on this one is something else. Off white and absolutely pluming. It's almost too much. Retention is amazing, lacing is great. The head is chunky and sticky, just like a rootbeer float.

Wow. So there is the horse blanket. They sure don't sugar coat it. Definitely some barn smell here. I'm new to the whole brett thing, but if this isn't brett, I don't know what is. Funky and funky. Thats really the only way to describe it, funky. It's not bad, it's just....different.

The taste starts off tart and sour, but mellows out in the aftertaste. That is where the funk shows up. This is truly something else. Definitely an acquired taste. If I was served this last year at this time, I most likely would have sent it back saying it was awful. But at this point in my beer journey, it's interesting. It's not good, and it's definitely not bad, it's just interesting. The taste keeps you coming back for more as you try to figure it out.

Mouthfeel is much like other brews. Light in body and light in carbonation. Drinkability is a little lower than I would usually give a brew, but only because of the strange taste. This is really something else.

I knew going into this that it would be different. I was kind of worried to be honest. I'm pleased that I at least could appreciate the product, and this intriguing brew will be in my fridge again in the future.

Mistofminn, Jun 02, 2009
Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle marked 03.08.2004 / 03.08.2009, so a bit past the recommended date. Poured into a Chimay chalice.

A: Vigorously carbonated opaque orange body. Head has decent retention as the bubbles fly off the carving on the bottom of the glass.

S: Brett tang is the most dominant aroma. A pretty intense fruitiness, and some mild complex 'farmy' smells. Nothing off putting.

T: Light fruit up front, mild tang is enjoyable and interesting. A bit a hop flavor in the middle, nothing crazy of course. A medium bitterness follows. On the finish I think I taste the regular Belgian yeast character, if only slighty.

M: Highly carbonated and refreshing.

D: The acidity along with no really crazy flavors keep it Highly drinkable and actually really refreshing.

UPDATE: Had a fresher bottle (01/06/10) tasted on 9/2011, the hop presence is much more prevalent.

51mmz0rz, Jun 01, 2009
Photo of climax
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in December of 2007, sampled May 2009. Bottle erupted when I popped the top. Needless to say, it was eager to give some wicked head, one which never really faded. Color was an entirely cloudy burnt orange.

Excellent nose, very invigorating and complex. Great balance of sweet, sour, and bitter. Flavors include, but not entirely entail; green apple, sour grapes, hay, spice and grassy hops.

Flavor was equally as enjoyable. The malt seemed to shine through a bit more in taste as opposed to nose. The malt and hops were in perfect harmony. Dark sugars, spice, cranberry, apple, wood, and maybe licorice are some discernible flavors among several others of which I cannot put my finger on.

The body was very light-hearted given the flavor explosion. However, it was never watery and the ample carbonation left a nice sharpness on the tongue through a somewhat dry long finish.

This one went down quite smooth and was really a joy to break down and review... as well as drink. Really my first honest example of this style (other than perhaps Leffe and some others that I didn't think were anything to write home about), it turned me on and hopefully more are in my (immediate) future.

climax, May 31, 2009
Photo of Bitterbill
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought locally for $3.50.

It pours a cloudy orange gold with a 3 finger head of foam(served cold) with lots of lacing.

The smell is yeasty and bready with some good notes of funk.

The taste has the Brett and yeast at the forefront followed closely by some pepper, light clove, and some hop bitterness which shares finishing duty with some funk. D-licious. Oh, I've had this many times before as I picked em up from CO before but I'm somewhat aghast that I haven't reviewed it before.

Medium bodied with a rather high level of carbonation, I'm having a hard time not raising the glass to my mouth which leads to....

Drinkability. This is one of my favourites so it's damn drinkable for me and the goodness of the Brett is one big factor steering me that way. A world class brew!

Edit: After having so many great experiences drinking Orval, I had to go back and give it a perfect 5.

Bitterbill, May 30, 2009
Photo of bellebouche
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle, served at 13c into a large 500ml snifter glass. Beer was bottled on 14/10/08, served on 29/5/09 and marked as best before end 14/10/13.

A- opaque tangerine body, massive fluffy head that only just squeezed into the glass. Slowly subsided and kept a persistent head throughout due to unending carbonation.

S- Spices, citrus, leather. Outstanding hop complexity - background of the rind of a munster cheese.

T- Tart, Sour - overwhelming farmyardy flavour not unlike a pinot noir.

M- light bodied great carbonation

D- slow sipper. Would not drink this all evening.

bellebouche, May 29, 2009
Photo of TheSarge
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've been dying to try this beer for a while. The ABV listed on my bottle is 6.2% vice the 6.9% listed on this website.

I poured Orval into my Chimay chalice, and it is a beautiful looking brew. There are mounds of off white head, with an orangish/copper and murky body.

The aroma is very fruity and faint. It is somewhat pear like.

The taste is a bit on the sour side, and finishes bitter like slight grapefruit. As it warms up, the hops start to shine through the yeasty characteristics a bit more.

The mouth feel is full with carbonation, and has a slight refreshing edge to the drinkability. As the beer warms up a bit, it is actually quite smooth.

TheSarge, May 28, 2009
Photo of redneckchugger
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a duvel tulip, huge billowing pillowy head, lasts forever it seems, sheets upon sheets of lacing.
The nose is great, i get a little funk, some grass, citrus notes, maybe some caramel hidden in there too
taste is hoppier that expected, i've had this beer in the past, but i don't remember hops showing up at all really, oh well maybe my pallate is more sensitive now. also some faint lemon notes, lots more funk, and a grassy note on the finish.
very effervecent mothfeel, quite refreshing, very drinkable. orval more than lives up to its reputation.

redneckchugger, May 26, 2009
Photo of BeerImmediately
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a massive, chunky head, which took some time to tame, leaving plenty of sticky lacing. Color was cloudy ice tea with some carbonation present.

Orange citrus, nectar-sweet smell, with some florals and spice.

Good hop bitterness caught me off guard, with flowery and grassy 'sweetness' that kept the flavor tight.

Plenty of carbonation (maybe too much) matched the hop profile to give this a crisp, dry mouthfeel.

A really nice choice for Spring/Summer, Would love to cellar some to see how it ages, esp since these are dated to be good w/in 5 years.

BeerImmediately, May 24, 2009
Photo of Foxtrot
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into a red wine glass

The pour presented with a nice medium dark amber gold with a massive white cap followed by massive head retention and massive lacing.

Aroma's are prominent with some citrus lemon, and hops are every present throughout with good doses of spices that sting the nostrils.

Taste was a blast of carbonated goodness with lemon zest, phenols, spices and a very nice hop presence in each and every sip. The complexity of this beer is mind boggling. I loved how each sip presented each flavor a little different from the last.

Big mouthfeel. Lots of carbonation on the tongue. Fantastic

This to me is the epitome of drinkability. Keeps one guessing but is still satisfying until the last drop.

Foxtrot, May 23, 2009
Photo of cheapxceptbeer
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well no time to review this beer but I would say this is a great beer that is a bit overhyped, not as good as chimay so I will rarely get this without a boatload of disposable income, but a great beer nonetheless. Subtle and delicate flavors that would be lost if it were not the first beer, but still this is dissapointing, and definitely not the best trappist ale.

cheapxceptbeer, May 23, 2009
Photo of SpruceFish
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this beer once a while ago now im having it once again

A- dark copper huge billowing white head with some white lacing on the glass

S- earthy a little sour and maybe a little sweetness

T- some sour some fruit apples or grapes an perhaps a little bread

M- light bodied great carbonation

D- great

SpruceFish, May 22, 2009
Photo of seand
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a large red wine glass.

A: Pours a slightly cloudy medium to light brown, with a monstrous 3+ finger white head. Good retention, great lacing.

S: Sweet, with some earthy tones.

T: Malty up front, with hints of earth, grass, and finishes with some tartness. Quite interesting and complex, quite a bit different than other Belgians I've tried.

M: Carbonation isn't too high. Medium bodied, slightly crisp.

D: Drinks easy, and even easier when paired with some good cheese.

Good, and unique - I haven't had anything similar. I'll probably buy this again.

seand, May 21, 2009
Photo of mjaskula
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 20/2/08, just over a year old. Also picked up an 07 to cellar.

Served in a pint glass. Pours a light, cloudy amber color with a thick rocky head that climbs the glass.

The aroma is very interesting, fresh, bright, and fruity and sweet. There's a strange quality to it that must be the brett. The taste is more of the same, a bit of a sour tartness to it, some grass flavors and some citrus. It's a bit over carbonated, but overall easy drinking.

mjaskula, May 20, 2009
Photo of alcstradamus
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A--Pours a beautiful amber/copper color with a huge 4 finger head in my Dogfish Head signature glass. There are etchings in the bottom of the glass to release the carbonation so this head is not going anywhere. I don't know how I'm going to actually drink this beer, it is just sitting there with 4 fingers of head and seems to keep growing...ok, after a few minutes it is finally dropping. It has settled down to a fluffy marshmallow topping and left THICK lacing down the glass. I know the glass contributed to the appearance here, but this is one of the best looking beers I have poured.

S--Esters, green grapes, caramel, spices. Very pleasant but not huge nose.

T--Light spices, caramel, a bit of a band-aid funkiness. Very malty and easy to drink, no single flavor overpowers. Notes of leather, orange peel, and lemon deep in the background.

M--Medium bodied, the carbonation is high but somewhat soft. I appreciate that and it helps with the drinkability

D--Very fine brew here, nearly flawless for the style.

alcstradamus, May 20, 2009
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Snifter.

A - Pale orange color when poured that looks like a light amber in the glass with a thick white head that retains for a long time with medium sized bubbles. Hazy.

S - Smells of coriander and cloves and spice with some slight peach as well. Very malty almost no hops character. Some mild nut hints as well like almonds. There is great funk to this beer very delicious aroma. Nice farmhouse hints. Phenolic hints.

T - Very malty at the beginning with extreme hints of nuts and some slight hints of banana as it goes down as well. Spices a plenty with some nice coriander and some great surprising funk from a Belgian PA. Nice tartness is present as well. Very complex with different flavors swirling about. Very good tasting beer. A bit of hops at the end but only noticeable really as it finishes. Some phenolic tastes as well.

M - Very attractive. Carbonation is on the high side but its not crazy. Light to medium bodied.

D - Refreshing and complex at the same time.

JoEBoBpr, May 18, 2009
Photo of jeremy13586
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After getting an Orval glass from my girlfriend as a birthday gift, I felt that it was fitting that I review the beer as well.

The appearance is amazing. A translucent light-brown/dark-orange fills the glass. The head left in the goblet is nothing short of inviting. A lovely off-white foam towered above the rim without spilling over, creating an almost cavernous formation. A sweet, yet, citrusy and floral aroma is in the nose. A nice spicy, almost nutmeg, note is in there as well. The taste is appley and fresh. There is no other way to describe it.

I am now half way through the beer and trying to warm it with my hands, hoping to reveal something more in the amazing taste and aroma. A fine layer of bubbles lies atop of the brew, with the last two mountains of foam shrinking in to oblivion. With each sip, one takes in a more spicy and flavorful taste than the last. Each swallow finishes crisp and clean, as if you were biting in to a Granny Smith apple.

This beer is not only a beer, but an experience.

jeremy13586, May 18, 2009
Photo of ToasterChef
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle. Split between two 8 oz glasses. There is a significant amount of head with this beer, full of tiny bubbles. The head is reducing over time. You can see the bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass, much more so than other beers. There is a floral, yeasty smell to this beer. There is noticeable carbonation to the mouthfeel, This doesn't seem as light as I remember the other Trappist beers being, but it is exceptionally drinkable. The taste is slightly alcohol with overtones of grass. Because it is a Trappist beer, you know it will be good. I recommend Orval to any beer drinker.

ToasterChef, May 17, 2009
Photo of Stavage
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into the correct Orval glassware, a nice slightly hazed orange amber colour with a big rocky frothy white head. Nice and thick, lasted long and left a decent lacing.

Smell was refreshing, you can tell you're in for a dry beer. Grassy, citrus, and a kind of sharp herbal scent.

Taste was very crisp, very dry, very refreshing yet complex. This is my first Belgian pale but I've had many an English and American Pale ale and I've never had one that manages to be this full of flavour AND have complexity AND be highly refreshing. Had a citric malt bite which eases into that refreshing grassiness whilst maintaining its sourness. Sour like sourdough tartness not like lemons. Just a good mix of very subtle citric fruitiness with grassy malty goodness. Ends in a sharp bitter hops high note which lingers leaving a nice dryness.

Mouthfeel is light, well carbonated, crisp and dry. And it may be too drinkable for it's own good. In a barbaric moment I could see myself slamming this down to quench a ferocious thirst. Which would be horrible considering the complexities in this brew. I really did have to hold myself back from drinking this too fast though.

Damn...this is hard to find here and expensive when I do see it...generally I prefer forking out for the darks and dubbels and tripels and quads. I'm content with Australian pale ales. But damn this was really really nice. Just wish it was more common and affordable.

Stavage, May 16, 2009
Photo of nighthawk
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330mL bottle with bottled-on and best-before dates on label. Poured into chalice.

Huge rush of carbonation and head production as I pour. When the head has settled a little I see a cloudy orange body, with plenty of carbonation visible. I suspect it will retain until the end, and it does.

Aromas of peaches, apple, banana and some spices (pepper, coriander maybe, clove) and a bit of sugary bubblegum. With the surging carbonation of the pour it's readily apparent, but is more muted once the beer has settled down.

Taste is hugely complex. I doubt I've been able to tease them all out. Barn flavours, some grassiness, lemon tartness, some mildly citrus hops, mild peppery and cinnamon spice and a bit of yeast.

Mouthfeel is light, well-carbonated, and fairly dry. Crisp, but lingering finish.

Drinkability is high for its enticing complexity - I want more just to be able to soak in its complexities.

nighthawk, May 15, 2009
Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip.

Appearance: While pouring this, I moved from pouring slowly down the side to dropping the beer in the center, and the head simply exploded, Duvel style. The carbonation keeps replenishing while there is still beer in the glass as well. This is a nice dark orange and copper color, with a monster head that leaves all kinds of sticky lacing on the glass. Very nice.

Smell: A little bit light in the smell department. Some citrus and apple aromas, along with a variety of spices.

Taste: By far the best aspect of this beer. I get some strong tart flavor with the malt up front, mostly apple and maybe some grape. A nice blend of nutmeg and even a little cinnamon is present throughout the sip. The hops are fairly light and citrusy in nature, leaving me with more of a tart than a true bitter taste on my palate. Quite tasty and definitely unique.

Mouthfeel: Actually a little bit light, which I would not have expected from the darker color. A nuanced breadiness stays on my tongue, giving it a little bit of texture.

Drinkability: Very easy to drink. After what seemed like just a sip, I looked down and I was almost done with the glass. Very smooth, propped up by a nice level of carbonation and a crisp, balanced flavor.

After my first try, I think that I will have to sample a few more of these, in order to accustom myself to the different taste. I did not feel it was "dirty" or "funky" as a few other reviewers thought, but maybe I will get those senses next time I drink it.

KickInTheChalice, May 14, 2009
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,406 ratings.