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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.

4,407 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,407
Reviews: 2,119
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 211
Gots: 416 | 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
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Ratings: 4,407 | Reviews: 2,119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of stephens101
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A hazy orange pour is completed with a magnificent, fluffy, thick and bubbly tan head that practically wears out it's welcome, which in this case, is a good thing. It fades around the edges of the tulip, leaving a chunk of head in the middle, until finally it's all gone, with a splattering of thick and thin residuals left behind. Aromatically this brew is quite unique and ultra-complex. A mixture of sour and sweet aromas are noticed initially. Malts, spice, yeasts, cloves, wheat, some fruitiness and a bit of welcomed funkiness make for a complex experience for the nose.

I haven't even tasted this brew yet, but the future looks quite bright. Tastes malty and fruity up front. It's good, drinkable and smooth. I'm getting an undercurrent of hops and some estery goodness mixed in to keep things moving along.

Mouth-feel is medium to full bodied. There's not a lot of carbonation, which works well in this setting, as the creamy smoothness goes unadulterated. This brew is a perfect medium between something new, and something familiar.

stephens101, Sep 21, 2008
Photo of mnj21655
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle, bottle on 20/02/2008, poured into the appropriate glass (my Orval Chalice)

This is one beautiful beer. Pours a slightly hazy orange-amber color with a bit over a finger of amazingly persistent dense off-white head. Wonderful aroma, some light Brett funk and lots of fruit esters namely sour apples with other indistinct fruits. Very complex, there is a certain harmony in the aroma so that no one portion is overwhelming. Taste is reminiscent of the aroma but with decidedly more Brett funk. This brew is a bit tart at first then becomes somewhat more malty. The funk really starts to come through towards the finish. Good mouthfeel, medium-ish body, meium-high carbonation and a somewhat dry finish. Drinkability is ok, I really don't know if I could have more than two of these. The flavors are really quite complex and unique but I think that if I had this too often of in too large a quantity I'd loose my fondness for it. I'm really not a huge fan of Brett but this beer is just so intriguing that I'm sure to come back to it.

mnj21655, Sep 20, 2008
Photo of Jmamay22
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy amber with a crisp full white head of foam. No lacing.

Orval carries a medicinal, musty grass and horse blanket scent due to the intense effect of the brettanomyces. Beneath this lies a light honey and herbal note.

The taste begins with a delightful interplay of bitter spices and sour brett. Things sweeten midway through as there is a growing aspect of fruit, such as pear and apple. Semi-dry clean finish with a slightly warming and enjoyable alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium, but the carbonation contributes to a light airy character. Very drinkable and a shame it isn't cheaper. Phenomenal and pairs well with good bread and fresh runny goat cheese.

Jmamay22, Sep 20, 2008
Photo of trbergman
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance - The beer pours a hazy golden orange with three fingers of pillowy off-white head. The head recedes to about one finger but leaves spectacular lacing on the way down.

Smell - Belgian yeast, bubblegum, with earthy undertones.

Taste - At first very dry and somewhat bitter, the beer opens up and improves on warming. The palate is quite earthy, with other flavors I had trouble describing at first, but would call hay, apple, and pear. The finish is dry with grassy, herbal hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Highly carbonated, this beer dances on the tongue and has a full, round body.

Drinkability - Good. Alcohol is hidden better than other beers of similar strength. A pleasure to drink - I could have two or three.

trbergman, Sep 20, 2008
Photo of PerzentRizen
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Kapittel Watou trappist ale glass. The head formed quickly and disappeared at the same rate. I love the bottle; it is extremely unique. And to be fair to this beer I did not review it until I had tried at least 3 of them. This beer is the third.

The aroma fruity but somewhat one note. I like the smell, but it isn't something to write home about. I actually liked the aroma of just about any trappist ale I've tried better.

The taste is clean, tart, rustic, and refreshing all in the same mouthful. I have to say it is quit good. I enjoy this beer very much.

The mouthfeel is dry, tart, and refreshingly carbonated. The carbonation of this beer is definately felt in comparison to other trappist ales. I may have this beer at too low a temperature (50 Degrees Fahrenheit).

Drinkability is surprisingly easy. This is by far and away the most drinkable trappist ale I've had even if its not the best. I could probably have 5 or 6 of these in a session before feeling too overwhelmed.

PerzentRizen, Sep 20, 2008
Photo of tr4nc3d
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this into clean, clear glass. Poured a nice dark amber color with a huge head that lasted for a while. Nice little bubbles could be seen on top. Lacing was very noticable.

Smelled citrusy, sweet, and very interesting.

Taste was just like I smelled, to me it was a little bitter at first then jus a hint of sweetness. Nothing to exciting like I hoped, especially for the cost. But still another good belgium beer.

tr4nc3d, Sep 19, 2008
Photo of dstc
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly cloudy deep golden burnt orange. Big white head that stays and beautiful lacing.

Big sweet fruit aroma in the nose.

First thing to hit you is the tanginess. Then the flavors come through, lemon and an earthiness. Ends with mild hops.

Full in the mouth and very smooth.

One of the best.

dstc, Sep 10, 2008
Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 20/06/2007:

I have had this beer many times before but never had a chance to review it. Bar none, one of my favorite Belgian beers. I am actually harvesting the Brett yeast dregs from this bottle to add to my current wild yeast culture. I will end up pitching it into a Fantome clone. The appearance of this pour is out of this world! I have never lacing like this before. A massive blanket of airy foam clings thickly to every inch of my Chimay chalice. A rusty copper body dances with carbonation. The aroma is spicy and is heavy with earthy, "Wet cork" overtones. The brett is definitely present as is the herbal dry hopping. The taste is slightly tart up front but spicy and sweet in the body. The slight acidity adds a sense of dryness to the finish. A nice hint of peppercorn makes a presence time and again. This may be a little too tart for those who do not appreciate a nice hint of Brettanomyces, but it is fantastic in my eyes. Truly a one-of-a-kind Trappist brew that has layers of uniqueness and satisfaction.

ALESwhatCURESya, Sep 09, 2008
Photo of adamette
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is the 901st review of Orval on BA...I thought that was cool. I bought the bottle at McNaulty's Bier Markt in Cleveland, Ohio. That is a GREAT place for BAs. Bottle is dark yellow brown in the shape of a bowling pin, just like the one pictured above. Date bottled is 2 2 08.

A Poured into clean, clear glass. Body is cloudy, golden brown with a thick head that holds on for several minutes at least. Bubbles rise up from all surfaces of the glass in a very pleasing way. They are like single file lines of bubbles.

S Sweet, Citrusy, Malty, interesting.

T More of the same. Malty, citrusy, not as sweet tasting as the nose suggested. In fact, upon repeated swishing I find that this is actually some bitterness to it. I did not expect that as the other Belgians (and more specifically trappist Belgians) I found to maintain their sweetness.

M Interesting. Not as full as I expected it to be. It has an initial full, malty feel to it but what I wasn't expecting is that it sort of dissapears right down to an immediate aftertaste which is good but it does not have a mouthfeel like other trappists I have had. I do not think that it is bad, just not what I expected.

D The lower alcohol allows me to drink it more than some of the other trappists but it has that bitterness and it moves too quickly to the aftertaste.

Notes: I really struggled with this review. I was ready to be blown away by this beer since every other Belgian trappist totally blew me away. I do think that it is an exceptional beer but the quick shift to the aftertaste and the bitter taste were suprises. I can say that it is NOT my favorite trappist Belgian but it is a good beer. I do believe that I would like to try this again. I wonder if some of the qualities were due to some negative quality in the bottle that I got.

adamette, Sep 07, 2008
Photo of tpd975
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice cloudy murky orange hue with a nice tall rocky head. Great retention and chunky lace left behind.

S: Nice floral aroma with hints of citrus. Some acidic crushed sweet tarts and a bit of apple. Unique aroma.

T: Yum! Nice bold sparkling citrus flavor which yields to crushed cherry sweet tarts. Hints of bitter hops and some sweet apple and pear. Nice balance between malt and hops, bitter and sweet. Great Beer.

M: Light in body very sparkling. This one dances on the tongue.

D: Very, this one can be pounded or sipped, its one of my favorites.

tpd975, Sep 06, 2008
Photo of NHGrafx
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2oz brown bottle.

Pours a nice cloudy dark orange color with a big foamy head that lasts quite a while. There is some nice sediment on the bottom of the bottle too which takes some swirling to loosen up. It leaves nice foamy lacing on the glass as well.

Aroma is wonderfully complex. Mainly floral aromas with lemony and fruity smells, some yeast as well. Many others too that I can't really name, as they all blend together nicely.

The taste is excellent as well. Has some citrus flavors, can taste the malts in there too. Nice hoppiness on the finish. There are also some fruity flavors too, sort of like a combination of pears and apples. Other spices, too much too name. Very complex. Has excellent mouthfeel and very drinkable.

Overall this was a fantastic beer, another fine Trappist offering. Would definitely have this again.

NHGrafx, Sep 05, 2008
Photo of jkanavel
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a wonderful treat that I found in an unexpected place.
It poured dark golden and hazy after I stirred the yeast a bit, with a nice fluffy off-white head.

The first thing I noticed was the smell that came bursting from the bottle when I opened it. I got a rush of ethanol which dissipated quickly and left behind strong banana notes.

The taste was a wonderful combination of sweetness offset by clean hops with alcoholic and yeasty back notes. Maybe some herbal/floral action going on too.

The mouthfeel is the kicker with this one, it is crisp and sharp, you almost get the impression you're drinking a citrus beverage. Its quite refreshing and enhances the flavor a great deal.

Pretty drinkable stuff I dare say, were it not so expensive that is.

jkanavel, Sep 04, 2008
Photo of velkyal
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I fear I am about to commit beer heresy by admitting to not really enjoying this one all that much. The beer was bottled on the 31 May 2007 and as such was 14 months old when I drank it.

It poured a very nice copper colour, and was of course cloudy - as a personaly opinion this is a good thing, as I like beer unfiltered and unpastuerised. There was a fluffy head which dissipated slowly, and was gone within five minutes.

On the nose were distinctly citrus notes. The first taste was a shock to be honest. This will sound odd, but it tasted fizzy, rather tart and almost like popping candy on the tongue.

It wasn't awful, just not what I was expecting - so I will of course have another one to further hone my opinion.

velkyal, Sep 03, 2008
Photo of SirSketch
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've heard so much about this beer I finally had to try it. Poured into a tulip glass. Mountain of cream colored, soapy textured head arises and sticks around for awhile. Murky golden copper color with shades of light red as well. Column of carbonation bubbles rise from the center. Very potent aroma! Smells of biscuity yeast, banana, citrus, rum-like alcohol. Very complex.

This is easily one of the top five beers I've ever had. Kind of acidic at first, then turns to a sweet and tangy taste that ends dry. The finish is so good. Phenols present, complex esters as well. So many other tastes I can't describe thoroughly. Bubbly in mouthfeel, medium in body. Simply pleasurable.

SirSketch, Sep 02, 2008
Photo of SaucyA
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 2/20/08

A - Poured into my wicked St Feuillien balloon/goblet/wine glass awesomeness. Looks truly killer. Orange/brown body with an ample, frothy, unreceding offwhite head. Just an absolutely remarkable looking beer.

S - Apples, slight brett funk, light fruits, belgian yeast. Light acidity.

T - This may very well be my favorite trappist offering yet. Westies are one thing, but when it comes to a BPA, this pup takes the cake. Slightly tart in the front, mineral notes in the middle, and a rather malty back end. Spice notes. Extremely complex for a rather "light" brew.

M - Medium body and rather huge carbonation, but the lasting head adds a bit of creaminess to the mix.

D - Fantastic drinkability. Just... fantastic.

Notes: I think this may have knocked Westies off the top of my "Best Belgian Brew" list. Plus, it's available in the USA to boot.

SaucyA, Sep 01, 2008
Photo of Ljunkan
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An all-time favourite.

Pours an hazy orange color with a large foamy head. Extremely nice head actually.

Smell is nice; sour/acid fruits, citrus and stable-like aromas.

Taste is even better; sour apples, grapefruit, citrus, some stable, slight notes of herbs. This beer has a interesting mix of sourness/acidness together with a dry hopped character and a very good bitterness.

Highly recommended!

Ljunkan, Aug 31, 2008
Photo of itcomesnpints
3.23/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Light golden color with a massive head. Bouquet of different, glucose-free scents including: lemon peel, pepper and herbs. The taste follows the aroma and ends up producing a taste similar to Perrier mixed with tart lemons. Mouthfeel is very fizzy and the alcohol is well-hidden, yet the finish is desert arid. Orval is unlike anything I have ever tasted, but to be honest, it just was not enjoyable. It's possible that I may try it again someday, but only to experience its profound uniqueness. I am a relatively new beer connoisseur, so I may be changing this rating as my palate continues its education in the world of beer.

itcomesnpints, Aug 31, 2008
Photo of usmittymc
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle (best before 8/8/12)into an Orval chalice.

A: Hazy deep amber color. Pours an incredibly tight two finger head that just sits there and calls you out.

S: Spice, clove, bubble gum all from the yeast.

T: Surprisigly clean on the front. The spiciness/ fruitiness doesn't really hit you until after the swallow.

M: Highly carbonated. This beer is almost alive when you drink it. Medium mouthfeel.

D: You could easily throw back a couple of these during a long session, but this one is meant to sip and enjoy. The complexity increases as it warms, so let it sit for a while in the glass. I probably should ahve let this one sit in the bottle for a while and get some age under it's belt, but it was too tempting.

usmittymc, Aug 30, 2008
Photo of changeup45
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 8/8/07. Pours a bright orange color, slightly carbonated, with a thick pillowy off-white head. Aroma is amazing; quite flowery, tangy, fruity, with some yeast and a perfume presence. Not quite as strong or balanced as the aroma would indicate. Tangy fruits, hard cider, fragrance, some yeast but not as much as I expected. Quite acidic as well with a dry and sour finish. Light numbing on the tongue. Very complex as it seems I pick something different up with each taste. An interesting and unique brew.

changeup45, Aug 27, 2008
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Cloudy, orange, nice soapy head and grand retention. Cool bottles.

S. Bready malts, some light fruit. I know I am getting into something good.

T. Malty, fruity. Vague hints of apricot and apple. Some wheat elements. Slightly sour that fades to bitterness from the hops.

M. Crisp, light to medium bodied, nice dry finish, almost like champagne.

D. Real nice beverage here. Great for sessions. Tasty. Drinks slow, a sipper.

Stinkypuss, Aug 24, 2008
Photo of seaoflament
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle today from Bevmo. Bottled on date of: 20/02/2008 Good thing I checked because the first one I picked up was bottled in early 2007 and I wanted a fresher bottle.

Wow what a massive head! Easily three fingers worth of foam, the beer itself is dark golden and amber. The head takes forever to settle and leaves some thick lacing on the glass.

The aroma is darn good. Yeasty on the nose with tropical sour fruits like peaches, apricots, peaches, sour orange, and a bit of pineapple. Oh, some crisp green apples too. Some toasted malts and quite bready too. Spices and wild flowers open up as the beer settles. Pretty interesting aroma.

Tastes a little funky, like stale bread and bitter orange, apples and lemons in the back. The flavor is almost a shock, not nearly as close to the aroma. A lot more malt oriented than the sour fruits and spices you get on the nose. I also get an initial bitterness but it doesn't last too long. There are some apple and pears in the aftertaste. The subsequent sips have more fruit flavors; the apple and pear is pushed closer to the beginning and you get some orange and grapefruit rind, and also a little lemon. Stale bread and multi-grain bread holds near the end but the sour fruit cleans it up in the aftertaste. Again, very interesting.

Very good mouthfeel with some lively carbonation.

seaoflament, Aug 22, 2008
Photo of scray24
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from CLO poured into pint glass (yes, heathen!).

Nice clear gold/orange in first pour with significant white head. Head was nice and dense good retention and nice lacing left behind. Second pour little more hazy (to be expected)

Yeasty, spicy, lightly hoppy citrus smell. Finishes nice and dry, no off flavors, very effervescent....

Crisp clean and smooth. Before the flavor is even picked up i am noticing the crispy cleany smoothness. Hops and malt mesh well. Citric zest kicks in, very nice job here.

scray24, Aug 22, 2008
Photo of mshallah
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orange color. Large fluffy head. Nose is very perfumey. A floral bouquet. Citrus aroma of tangerine. Wonderful sweet, tart, fruity and hoppy flavors. Very hoppy for a Belgian brew. Mild metallic flavor. Fruit flavor is tropical. There is alcohol in the nose but only a warming effect remains in the taste. Complex mix of flavors and aromas. Overall flavor profile is mesmerizing. Each sip brings more nuances. Becomes more bitter as it warms. My fave of the Belgians.

mshallah, Aug 21, 2008
Photo of Bananaman
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Great Trappist beer from Orval! The only commercial beer from Brasserie d'Orval, and I think that's enough (because it's so good!).

Hazy orange-golden colour with a nice white-off head.

Smells amazing with lots of hops and some dryness. I think the smell is mostly really nice hops, and some yeast tones.

The taste really lives up to the smell and it's full on hops,light sourness. You can really tell that this one is Dry-hopped.

Lovely beer, great that it's pretty easy to get to. You can order them at any Systembolag in Sweden.

Bananaman, Aug 21, 2008
Photo of kzoobrew
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in to snifter, bottled 04/24/07.

Pours orange and hazy. Massive three finger white head. Very dense. Great retention, as head subsides nice lacing left along side of glass.

Yeast and spice are hitting the nose first. Sweet aroma some banana clove and the usual Belgian funk. Good Stuff.

Crisp clean and smooth. Before the flavor is even picked up i am noticing the crispy cleany smoothness. Hops and malt mesh well. Citric zest kicks in, very nice job here.

As stated before, crisp clean and smooth. Finishes dry. While above the sessionable abv, this is a very sessionable brew. Excellent.

kzoobrew, Aug 21, 2008
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,407 ratings.