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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 scottyshades
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very interesting brew here. Served in an 11.2oz odd-shaped bottle. The label notes that it was bottled on 9/7/2008.

A: Pours a nice cloudy, amber color that produces a massive billowy head. The head itself if about 4 inches thick and bone white. Slight lacing is present, and the carbonation shows itself in the head.

S: Yeasty (brettanomyces), bready, sweet candy, sugar cane, spices (clove, coriander, and a few other subtle ones), citrus (lemon zest)...nice nose, the yeast smells similar to that of a lambic, along with the tart notes. Very nice and unique. Also, behind all that tartness lies the dry hops! A little subtle, but they are there...Styrian Goldings if I'm not mistaken

T: Very tart right off the bat. I personally am not a huge fan of tart brews, but this one is a little more balanced. The yeast notes are present, as well as a bready note. Earthier than the nose predicts, and less spicy. I do think one of the faults with this one is the carbonation, which is waaay overdone in my book. It takes away from the other flavors that try to make this brew more enjoyable. Just realized (Drinking as I'm reviewing this one), but there is a lingering metallic note that is very up-front and present.

MF/D: Very very dry the whole way through, over-carbonated, light bodied, finishes tart.

This is one unique brew, if you spot one, try it

scottyshades, Jun 26, 2009
Photo of LestatSabastian
2.38/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer was weird tasting to me. light color with bubbles around it looked like a soda. head from hell on one poor next poor hardly any. when I said it looked like a soda. Well it tasted like a bottle of sparkling water with a hint of beer.
mouthfeel of water and baking soda. this beer is not strong but not very good tasting. I did not like it.
Beau of Bama

LestatSabastian, Jun 26, 2009
Photo of Grunewald
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - poured from a 0.33L bottle into a weizen glass. The color looks like a Hefeweizen (amber and cloudy). There was a metric ton of head, thick and foamy.

S - grass, hay, and a hint of sweet licorice

T - a bitter grainy taste, with a light sherry like flavor

M - delightful carbonation that fizzles on the tongue then finishes quite dry

D - a complex beer that would go well paired with finger food

Grunewald, Jun 25, 2009
Photo of DanielClouser
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11 point... I dunno--2? (less than 12, anyway)--oz bottle into Chimay goblet.

A--Nice amber color. Nothing special, but the head does start out huge. I didn't find that it stuck around for too long, on this bottle.

S--I tend to not get a lot of smell from buggy beers. A nice subtle fruitiness, though.

T--Excellent! Only my second bottle of Orval, and this one is very different from the first, with a lot more Brett. I appreciate Brett but do not love it, but it works so well in this beer. A perfect dry bitterness that does not overwhelm the palate melds seemlessly with the Brett. Really, the perfect integration of flavors is what really makes this beer.

M--Dry, dry, dry, and oh, so great! Usually, mouthfeel is something I struggle to review, but Orval makes it easy. I love this beer.

D--For me, Brett will hurt the drinkability of any beer ever so slightly. But there is just no perceptible residual sugar here to turn me (that's what gets me with the Brett--the way the funk interacts w/ residual sugar). I could drink these until I got kicked out of the bar.

DanielClouser, Jun 24, 2009
Photo of womencantsail
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber orange in color with 2+ fingers of foam (that lasts forever).

S: The nose is yeasty and a little funky with some tart apple notes.

T: I pick up an ever so slight tartness, along with yeast and that subtle barnyard/wet hay funk. This is not necessarily bitter or sweet/malty in any way that I can tell.

M: The body is on the lighter side, with a high level of carbonation and a dry finish..

D: One of the more "interesting" Trappist beers

womencantsail, Jun 24, 2009
Photo of alabamagolf
3.33/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy blonde color. Large fluffy head - which lasts a really long time and leaves a thick film of lacing. Reminded me of a Hefeweizen, just with a lot more head and carbonation.

S: Mild Belgian yeast aroma.

T: Well-balanced ale. Alcohol is very hard to detect. The finish is tart and slightly bitter. Medium body.

M: Nicely carbonated.

D: Easy ale to drink.

alabamagolf, Jun 22, 2009
Photo of Orangevango
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Honey-colored and cloudy, Orval produces a healthy off-white creamy head that sticks around. It is a sight for sore after a day out in the sun; it looks thirst quenching (if something can). I swirl the glass to take the first wiff and am presented with a delicate malt aroma accented very nicely by strong and earthy Brett. The lacing after my swirl is impressive. The hop aroma is earthy as well, and it mingles with the Brett so nicely that it is difficult to say where one stops and the other begins. The flavor is odd. My first thought was tart, but upon a second sip, it was no longer tart, thats when the DMS hit me, not overbearing but certainly present. Bitterness is far more assertive than the hops were in the nose. This beer is quite refreshing. The hop flavor is spicy, and the bitterness lingers. Add a little bit of funk from the brett and you've got Orval. The flavor is pleasent, but nothing to write home about, and certainly no peer of the aroma.
The carbonation is quite high and the body quite light.

Orangevango, Jun 22, 2009
Photo of jammalamma
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It took a minute just to get to the brew, the head is explosive! great lacing and head retention. Dark golden brown-amber color.

Hints of funk, lite apple/ grape-pear nose, complex. Smooth, very well balanced (no one flavor as wild as head); slightly bitter.

Over all-very good. This bottle is 1yr old, like to try 3-4yr bottle.

jammalamma, Jun 19, 2009
Photo of berley31
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a nice, creamy, off-white head that is absolutely huge - and continues to rise after sitting. Body is amber-orange and hazy. Excellent lacing...this is a perfect-looking beer! Great aroma as well; quite yeasty, with citrus tones. The first sip is excellent - lightly sweet and acidic, with a medium, creamy body. Fizzy carbonation. At 6.9%, you can taste the alcohol but it's hardly overwhelming... perfectly balanced. The head is fully lasting throughout drinking, and the finish is long as well. Excellent beer - one of my new favorites - and great that you can actually find in many places outside of Belgium.

berley31, Jun 18, 2009
Photo of jwheeler85
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I tried to be as objective as possible for this one since I wasn't personally a big fan of it. Higher scores are more based on uniqueness rather than like/dislike.

A- Poured a deep amber with some head retention

S- Slightly grassy and herbal. Also had a slight fruity note with a background smell sort of like musty leather. (very unique, but not personally a fan of this combo)

T- More astringent and bitter than it is sweet. I'm also getting a little bit of orange peel and coriander type flavors. Finishing with that odd sort of leathery note.

M- Medium carbonation, and medium mouthfeel.

D- For me, this had low drinkability... it was one of those beers that I can feel expand like crazy in my gut... makes me feel really bloated.

Overall, I would recommend that everybody try this one at least once... just due to the fact that it is so unique in it's flavor profile. I've never had anything else quite like it. Again, I didn't particularly like it, but it's uniqueness is something to be admired.

jwheeler85, Jun 18, 2009
Photo of jpaltan
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 10/14/2006. Big head that refuses to go away. Lacing all over the sides. Golden amber colored. Smell is slightly tart and sour, but mostly has smells of light fruits like pears and apples. Smell is tart up front then a bitter finish mixed with spiciness and the tartness. Very peppery in the end. Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated for sitting almost three years in the bottle. Beer is rather dry in the end.

jpaltan, Jun 17, 2009
Photo of Cylinsier
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle.

This beer comes out a hazy amber that glows orange against the light. The head is thick and massive, and it simply refuses to go away. The bubbles are extremely fine.

Smells malty and tart, like citrus. The aroma is also a bit floral, like honey.

Taste is extravagant. Its delicately sour and sweet. The tartness is almost wine like but the understated sweetness is like sugary malts. This one has a resemblance to some of the taste features of the Flanders red ale style, but more subdued than the ones of that style I've had before.

The mouthfeel is fluffy and carbonated. Just as you could see the head as being very fine, you can feel the carbonation is very fine.

A really fantastic and mesmerizing beer. I could probably drink a case of these in a day and not realize I was doing it.

Cylinsier, Jun 16, 2009
Photo of PsychoJedi
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours what would be a nice shade of golden, but filmy. The head is enormous! One of the biggest (but not the biggest) head I have ever poured. It goes down slow with a thickness in the head. The smell is good. I bit fruity, but not to excess with what might be a malty background covering up some of the fruit smell. Taste is alright. Not fruity and not malty, but not much too it than I expected from a Belgium beer. Rather uneventful to some part, but the taste is there. No after taste. Goes down rather smooth. Verdict: try it and judge for yourself.

PsychoJedi, Jun 16, 2009
Photo of johntangus
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful beer produced magnificent head and lacing. A light amber/copper color.

First taste came to mind: bubblegum. Then the complexities came forth - bananas, hops, honey, wheat.

Smelled like Juicyfruit.

Dry but not overpowering so.

A wonderful beer. Would drink several in one sitting if given the chance.

johntangus, Jun 15, 2009
Photo of grayburn
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a love or hate beer, I compare it best to the Dallas Cowboys. The only difference, I love this beer.

The pour is this massively alive frothy cauldron explosion. Not explosion to the point of losing ambrosia, just some heady bubbles. Amazing retention and lacing.

The smell and taste are both amazingly complex. I could write different details about every singly sip, but let me say that some light pepper-citrus notes blend with some citrus-funk to amaze the senses. Changes all the time, sour to sweet to hoppy to malty to wtf...stop changing you crazy beast....

The mouthfeel is incredibly dry without being even slightly offensive, nice..very nice.

I could drink a few of these, great beer.

grayburn, Jun 14, 2009
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
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,494 ratings.