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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

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,604
Reviews: 2,147
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 248
Gots: 497 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,604 | Reviews: 2,147 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rfgetz
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Photo of MrHassellYaHurd
4.39/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

Photo of acelin
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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.

Photo of BreworFerment
3.56/5  rDev -15.2%
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.

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.

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

Photo of fastsrt
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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.

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.

Photo of zoso1967
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice hazy copper with wonderful pillowy head. Lemongrass and flowers in the aroma. I am also getting a hint of clove and mint. Very clean taste with wonderful lemon zest and spicy yeast notes. Perhaps some black pepper in there as well, very complex. It has plenty of hop bitterness and some funky tartness as well, but as stated before it is very clean, allowing all the different flavors to play their part. Fairly dry finish and a nice light to medium body make it very enjoyable to drink. A very well put together and executed brew. Score another one for Monk's.

Photo of andrewm190
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well done from Orval. This beer was notably sweet, and with a hearty sense of the hops. An initial clean finish with a sneaky aftertaste that kept the hops close to my conscience. Poured a yellow-gold, with yeast for cloud cover. The beer worked well within itself, in that it didn't shy away from acknowledging its complexity, but didn't overwhelm the palate with a kaleidoscope of various sweeteners that hinder other Belgians.

Photo of Wadsey
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured slowly into my DFH signature glass. The head is so lively and rocky that it took three pours to empty the bottle. I successfully avoided pouring a significant amount of sediment/yeast into my glass.

A: Orval pours as a lively, rocky, but soft-looking head that hangs on until my glass is empty. Once the head subsides a bit, a clear, pale gold beer is revealed.

S: Lemon, grape skins and an undercurrent of horsey funkiness tease the nose.

T: Subtle, but complicated. Lemon, again, but joined with a tartness of green apples. Hint of black pepper, too. Brettanomyces reveals itself in the finish, which is horsey and earthy and very long and dry.

M: Light and well carbonated. Appropriate.

D: Orval is light enough and very interesting, so drinkability rates very well.

Photo of JamisonM
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: huge head and a copper color poured into a Lost Abbey tulip

S: its funky, its bitter, its sour, bit of grapes like champane

T: taste is like the smell its very complex mask the alcohol so very well its not overly sour or bitter just right and a bit of funk comes with it.

M: Light mouth with tons of carbonation tickles the tongue but this never feels thin always brings a lot of flavor to the party

D: may I have another? nothing wrong with this beer.

Photo of CharlatanSin
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Word to the wise -- let this one warm up quite a bit before you dive into it. The difference is night and day.

I've had this bottle sitting around for a while, waiting for a good moment to finally try it. Martha Choakley screwing the pooch seems like as good a time as any. It was bottled on 07/05/07, and is "best by" 07/05/12.

It poured a hazy yellow gold into the oversized wine glass. It was a cautious pour, but the head was still way over the top, literally. Gigantic, white and foamy, like laundry detergent.

The smell is very sour and tart. That belgian yeast doing its thing. I'm getting a lot of apple, some grape, and a definite pepper undercurrent. The taste is similar, but it works even better on the tongue. Sweet and tart and extremely dry. If I'd already had a few, you could possibly convince me it was some wonderful white wine.

The mouthfeel is light, and the carbonation is tight and sharp, again, almost wine-like. Already mentioned the super dry finish. I'm still developing my palate as far as Belgians are concerned, but this is a darn good beer any way you slice it.

Photo of number1bum
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can't believe I've never had Orval, but I haven't, so thanks to mymrnngjckt for this bottle. This bottle is not quite 1 year old; bottled 2/20/08.

Pours a slightly murky amber color with a quickly billowing off-white head. Even into a Duvel tulip it takes a little bit of time to pour. Huge creamy head that eventually settles to a rocky, uneven lace with a big dollop in the middle and splashes of stick all over the sides.

Smell immediately greets me with a big dose of funk. It's tart and funky, with a musty horse leather sort of quality to it as well. As I get deeper into it there is some fruity and woody dry hop character.

Taste is not as funky as the smell, but does have some light tartness and some barnyard character. Has a leathery and musty quality to it, which together are probably the most persistent flavors. Also some peppery spiciness. There is some dry hop flavor in the finish; it's woody and earthy.

Mouthfeel is quite crisp and dry, with a very clean finish. Medium bodied.

This is a very good beer with a lot of interesting characteristics. The brett does some nice things for this beer, and it's quite complex. Despite the complexities however it ends up feeling just a tad bland. All of the flavors are somewhat subtle; the funk for instance was more pronounced in the nose. Not quite a great beer in my book, but certainly a very good one.

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.94/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For my 100th review, I decided to drink something exquisite, if not rare.

As a relatively irrelevant aside… check out the weight on the (empty) Orval 11.2 oz bottle. It is excessively sturdy, way heavier than the 22 oz. Rogue bottle I have to compare it to. As I said, trivial…

G – Duvel tulip, my go-to, especially for Belgian styles.

A – Sparkling golden amber with a huge effervescence and a large pillowy head, splattered lacing everywhere.

S – Smells great; impressions of apples, the funky and fruity smell of Brettanomyces shared by Gueuze / Lambic / Oud Bruin / Flanders Red, and also musky sour grape.

T – The taste is phenomenal. Exceptionally dry, tart, and citric all the way through to the astringent finish. I would rate the taste as a 6 out of 5. As an Alstrom once said (though I think he was speaking of Duvel when he said it), "It's pretty much like sex in the bottle and the devil told me to drink it."

M – Thin, with sharp Champagne-like carbonation, pleasantly prickly due to the overall astringent nature.

D – An exceptional brew.

Photo of mfkr
2.95/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Hazy orange copper, loads of foam that takes long time before it disappears and leaves some thin lacing.

L - Fruity especially citrus fruits, some grass, acid feeling, some yeast.

T - Apples, lemon, orange, the acid from the smell is there, some yeast and hops. The taste doesn't feel balanced.

M - Very sharp from the carbonation, it's a bit too thin.

Would have been really nice if the taste would have been more balanced.

Photo of Axic10
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into Chimay chalace. Bottled on 5/8/2009, best before 5/9/2014.

Appearance: Pours a murky, golden orange with a small layer of head which leaves very nice lacing.

Smell: Funky yeast, wine-like aroma...probably one of my favorite smelling beers of all time.

Taste: Sour tartness followed with a dry-wine like aftertaste. Subtle hints of spice. Tasty.

Mouthfeel: Light body with the perfect carbonation.

Drinkability: An often overlooked gem for me. I would say that this is probably my favorite trappist beer that is readily available to me due to it difference from Chimay, Westmalle, Rochefort. I just need to remember to show more affection to this baby more often.

Photo of GrantDuthie
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Murky orange/gold. A thick frothy head which dissapates to a patches of froth which lace the glass slightly

S - citrus, sour grapes, peaches. Very Floral and pleasant

T - Very fruity, zesty. Citrus: Oranges, slight lemon. Peaches. A very delicate and intricate taste

A very good beer which i would definately try again. A must try.

Photo of bump8628
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

At 9 months in the bottle Orval pours amber into a chalice with a voluminous airy head that clumps in patches on the edges of the glass. It opens with grainy malt, sweet and perfumy hops, citrus, and sea air. Further on, spicy pepper, tartness, hard mineral water, freshly cut hay, and notes of leather emerge. Hops and the mineral character leave a trace of bitterness at the end. On the palate Orval is extraordinarily dry, yet the ample carbonation gives a full sensation. A timeless beer that's unlike any other.

Photo of Tim2000
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

330 mL brown bottle.

Pours a murky golden orange with a huge white head.

Aroma is tart and full of fruit - raspberries come to mind.

Starts off grainy and earthy, with sour apple notes. A hint of pepper follows and faint phenols are present. Hops are grassy and pull the beer into a dry, slightly astringent finish. Mouthfeel is a bit watery with very high carbonation. I prefer it once it's died down a bit.

Orval definitely stands out from the other Trappist beers with style all its own and a lambic-like character. Highly recommended.

Photo of BuckyFresh
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Poured from a bottle into an oversize wine glass. Beer is copper/gold in color, hazy, and envelopes the glass with a large head which recedes rather quickly, leaving moderate lacing in its place. Foam is large-bubbled and almost soapy in appearance. Carbonation is moderate to high.

Smell: Smell is quite pungent, with a good deal of spiciness and yeast shining through. Also, there is an underlying sour fruit aroma like lemon zest that is noticeable. Some hops also present.

Taste: The flavor was what was expected following the smell of the beer. The initial taste was sour and spicy and rather dry. The body was fairly light and reminded me of hard cider. There is a great yeasty flavor on the back-end, and it finishes with a slight musky taste.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and light-bodied. With the amount of carbonation and bitter/sour flavor, I could have used a bit more punch from the body, but it is certainly refreshing.

Drinkability: Very drinkable and smooth. The lingering dryness leaves me wanting more!

All in all, I think the word here is unique. It was my first Trappist Ale, and it was definitely worth the experience. The flavor seemed to grow and gain complexity as the beer warmed, so I think I would recommend leaving this one out of the fridge for a while before enjoying.

Photo of Rayek
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my favorite Chalice.

A: Hazy orange copper, with a fair amount of carbonation. An exceedlingly soapy copper tinted cap starts strong and slowly settles to a dense sheet of foam. Leaves bits and pieces of lace.

S: Super funky and very complex. Pepper, anise and cut grass are out front. They're joined by a powerful sourdough aroma. Mixed in is what I would best describe as a barnyard earthiness. There's even a light pear fruitiness to be had.

T: Fruity, spicy and sour all at the same time. Pepper and anise bitterness, plus funky sourdough flavors dominate. Malt is almost hay like. A pale fruit sweetness is at work too. Finishes tart, spicy and dry.

M: The medium body is slightly grainy. Carbonation is vigorous, yet soft.

D: Orval is a beer to approach with an open mind. Truly one of the more unique brews out there. I'm glad I finally revisited this one after many years away.

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

Beer poured from a bottle into a goblet. Beer is brownish and hazy, forms a thick white head of medium and small white bubbles, falls away leaving lacing all over the glass, looks good. Carbonation is moderate to high.

Smell a little of spice and yeast, there is an underlying sweetness to the beer as well. Slight musky aroma as well.

Beer is medium to light bodied, has a minor forward character and a sour / musky late and aftertaste. This beer is one of a kind but the my first impressions on taste were not that great. Time for taste two, sour and bitter duke it out on this beer and it finishes a little dry.

Any serious Belgian beer fan will probably get around to trying most of the trappists but this has been my least favorite sampling of a Trappist beer so far. Its unique and I understand the souring of the beer. I'm impressed, just not my style yet.

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