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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.

4,333 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,333
Reviews: 2,114
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 206
Gots: 394 | FT: 8
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: 4,333 | Reviews: 2,114 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kirok1999
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark gold with a huge head that leaves just a little lacing. Smells huge of fruit and spice. Bananas, pumpkin, some musk and earth. Taste is the same, a bubbly, spicy, fruity concoction. Pretty dense mouthfeel, crisp and well carbonated. I served it a little too cold and it got much better as it warmed up. My first impression was not favorable. I'm glad I let it warm.

kirok1999, Oct 17, 2007
Photo of tapman
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Unfiltered, large, foamy white head with a brown-orange body. Lacing is decent as well.

Very medicinal. Not quite alcohol, but of something that would contain alcohol, like a cough syrup. Also sweet and slightly malty...its hard to get away from the medicinal smell.

Also medicinal. Though if one concentrates one can find extremely sweet (like brown sugar) malts with a floral aftertaste that is pretty good if you like savory-type beers and foods.

Very crisp, clean, and full. A mouthfeel that is very full of life and opportunity.

While this is a really iteresting beer, I must say that I am disappointed in my own review points. I thought it would be higher, but the last couple times I tried it, it was after I had had a few other brews. My muddled taste buds aside, a very interesting brew that one could re-review with multiple tastings, which makes it worthy of the fame I has.

tapman, Oct 16, 2007
Photo of Beercub
2.78/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

The richness, color, lacing, mouthfeel, was what I'd expect from a belgian trappist... i also noticed the nice sweetness and spicy/raisiny flavors. But there was a flavor in there that absolutely did not agree with me. The closes I can come to describing it is a combination of tar and burnt plastic. I guess it's possible that I got a bad bottle, but if this is what this beer is supposed to taste like, it is an acquired taste that I shall not pursue. This was a huge surprise to me as St. Bernardus ABT 12 is probably my favorite beer in the world.

Beercub, Oct 11, 2007
Photo of ericj551
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 7/11/06, Orval pours a cloudy orange/red with a thick foamy head that puffs up above the rim of the glass and stays put. The aroma is crisp earthy and almost metallic, with hints of hops and some dry dark fruit. As the beer warms I smell a nice farmhouse funkiness, what I assume is some Brett character. The flavor is dry, not a lot of sweetness left. I taste a nice lemony flavor, but different from the typical citrus flavors from hops. There nice dry toasty malt flavor with light yeasty funk, more earthy flavors. The beer is very complex and delicious, I'm not even getting past the surface on all the different flavors going on. The mouthfeel is almost gritty, like there is a lot of texture to the beer.

ericj551, Oct 09, 2007
Photo of timtim
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

bottled on 7/5/07. i'm interested to see how this would taste in a few months, but i've had this one a few times and i always think it is too good. my favorite belgian pale ale to date. unique. golden orange with a white head that never goes away and leaves lots of good lace. smells of esters, malt, spice, lemony citrus, brett and hops. also has that artisanal barnyard thing that i love. like it came from mother earth's beerspring. tastes well balanced with all the same characteristics as the nose, but with a little hoppy/bitter finish. Really great, modest yet true, hop character. to me, this is near perfection. nice body, great mouthfeel. carbonation carries it through flawlessly.

edit - 8/19/2010... found a stash of these at my local harris teeter that are almost three years old. good luck finds them in perfect condition. i know the brewery thinks that they taste their best at six months, but these babies are awesome. real bretty funk and barn abound with a perfect balance of sweet, sour and bitter. really amazing. just had to add this: if i had to be stranded on a desert island with one beer, this would be it.

timtim, Oct 05, 2007
Photo of irishkyle21
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

When I first had this beer a couple of years back I really did not enjoy it. What the hell was wrong with me? Good thing my palate has evolved. Orval pours with a fluffy tanned head that hold up throughout the entire beer and rims the entire Orval glass. Has a murky orange amber color.

The nose is exceptional and one of the most distinctive. Notes of floral hops, some fruitiness, grass, earth and as BuckeyeNation said "I do pick up quite a bit of the so-called 'horse barn' smell", he nailed it with that description.

Tastes of sour fruits, a good amount of hops, earth, grass and the " horse barn" aroma comes into play on the mouth and is actually enjoyable. Has a very dry finish. This is one hugely flavourful and complex beer, top notch.

irishkyle21, Oct 02, 2007
Photo of SafeAtFirst
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 1/30/07 opened on 9/26/07
Poured into a Duvel Tulip

Poured with a huge head that was in no hurry to go anywhere. Color is a hazy orange/amber color. The nose is quite fragrant and complex. At first I picked up hints of citrus and flowers (is that bubble gum?) as it warmed the aromas became a little more earthy and hay like. I really dig this smell and could sit here and sniff this beer all night, but, alas thirst takes over. The taste is tart and dry with hints of leather and earth - all kinds of hop flavors dancing around as well. Finishes with plenty of bitterness to give it a real crisp finish.

This is my first Orval and I'm really enjoying it, it's definitely not your run-of-mill beer. It makes me wonder why we're not all monks.

SafeAtFirst, Sep 27, 2007
Photo of wheelinshirt
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip glass after allowing to warm from fridge temp. Cute tear drop shaped bottle, bottled on 4/01/06, best before 4/01/11

First impression is sheer amazement--this beer looks ridiculous in the glass. The head was out of control, at least 3 fingers and i couldn't even finish pouring the bottle because there was no room. The retention was excellent, the lacing left was like big puffy clouds that just clung to the sides of the glass and just wouldn't move.

The smell was good, not a lot of hops as this bottle is about a year and a half old but there was some fruitiness and some alcohol in the smell. It tastes dry, fruity with some alcohol, the hops on this have definately faded with age. I hear it is pretty hoppy when it is fresh. It is well carbonated and medium bodied. By the time i was finished, i just wanted another, but i only have a couple so i have to ration them.

wheelinshirt, Sep 27, 2007
Photo of McStagger
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not my first Trappist Ale to drink, but my first to review.

A: Poured into official Orval goblet. Beer pours an extremely hazy brownish orange with an inch of orange/off-white head. Head retention is good, with decent lacing. No carbonation visible except in head.

S: The scent is that of dried orange rind, coriander, honey, clove and lemon zest with hints of candied sugar and bubble gum.

T: The forefront is the same citrus zest. However, it is interwoven with mild soap-like phenols at the beginning of the mid-palate. The citrus and soap notes carry into the mid palate, with the citrus notes dying about halfway through the mid-palate. The soap notes are picked up and accentuated by hop bitterness, which both transition beautifully into the finish, which is (finally) hit by the sugar and spice-box. A tinge of hop bitterness mixed in ensure a long finish on this beer.

M: A crisper front and drier finish than what would be expected from an ale of such flavor. Kinda throws ya off.

D: Easier to drink than a lot of Trappists, sure. The flavor intensity can throw some people off. (Along with the price).

This is the first beer I've reviewed on here in which I did not particularly care for the beer, but could not deny the quality it exhibited. This is a fine Trappist Ale (is there any other?) that most would be happy to drink. It's just not my cup.

McStagger, Sep 25, 2007
Photo of bluegrassbrew
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a deep orange color with the typical huge frothy white head. Nice retention and lacing.

Smell is like a Flanders Red mixed with a nice Saison. Some sour fruit and musky earth. Very interesting.

Taste is more of the same. I must say, not what I was expecting. Earthy notes on the backend of a subtle sourness. Citrus and barnyard rolled into one very tasty brew.

Overall, this is a delicious and refreshing beer. It caught me off guard. Not at all like any other Trappist ale I've had. Highly recommended!

bluegrassbrew, Sep 22, 2007
Photo of dogger6253
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark brown color with a huge, bubbly head. Banana and cloves in the nose with corriander and hops, some plums, some raisins, and some pears. The taste is fruity up front with dates, plums, pears, grapes and bananas taking the center stage. The finish is more bitter, a little more than you'd think to expect, yet so crisp and delightful: sour grapes, hops, and spice at the end.

A major carbonation buzz going on in this one, medium body - crisp and refreshing. Great taste, this was incredibly unque and very welcomed.

dogger6253, Sep 22, 2007
Photo of KarlHungus
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a hazy orange-red color. The head is massive, billowy, firm, and creamy. Lacing is strong and lasts until the beer is gone. The aroma is of banryard, hay, leather, lemon, tangerine. The taste is of a bit more earty than the aroma with less of the zesty lemon and tangerine notes. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a lot of carbonation. Overall, this beer is a classic, and I will certainly have it again.

KarlHungus, Sep 16, 2007
Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.23/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

the bottle is quite cool, if a bit pricey, and interestingly sports a bottled on date and a consume by date of 5 years after...i had this particular one almost a year after the bottle date after storing in the fridge. poured into a goblet, this was a clear amber at first that got murkier as i got towards the end of a slow pour...i left most of the large amount of sediment in the bottle. huge, rocky white head that lasted quite some time as bubbles arose in a fountain from the bottom center of the chalice. thick, thick lacing. not surprisingly, this had a very complex nose of caramel, toffee, alcohol, stone fruits...and a lot of general funkiness. taste is mostly sour throughout...somewhat of a disappointment in this all-important area. just a tinge of hop bitterness. light to medium in body and effervescent in mouthfeel. this is definitely not a session beer, but a complex sipper.

MrMcGibblets, Sep 03, 2007
Photo of domtronzero
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden copper with reddish hues. It will be very clear if you pour correctly, leaving the yeast sediment in the bottle. However, I enjoy the extra bite provided by the sediment. I like it hazy and thick. A huge, rocky, foamy whitish head mounds over the beer; head retention is astounding. The head lasts forever, leaving a roadmap of lacing all over the glass. Aroma is very pungent of spicy hops and fruity esters. Taste is very strong and full of fruity esters and spicy hops. Very full and complex, typical of the Belgian Trappist brews. Mouthfeel is dry and thin, with a high carbonation tingling my tongue well into the taste. A very well-crafted beer, simply world class.

domtronzero, Sep 02, 2007
Photo of DIM
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had several of these now and I finally feel like gotten to know this beer well enough to review. Bottle has a born on date of 30-01-07. Served at cellar temp.

a: I very carefully decanted about 10oz. of the 11.2oz. in the bottle to leave sediment behind. This pour left behind a very clear golden ale with an inch and a half of very frothy looking head. Lots of tiny bubbles (cue music) race to the top of my glass throught the session.

s: I'm surprised by how noticeable the hop aroma is. I've never smelled a peppery hop before. This is one of my favorite beers to whiff, very unique.

t: The pepper I noticed in the smell is also abundant on the tongue. It starts with a spicy yeast/malt flavor, no sweetness to found here. Next the suprisingly bold peppery hops kicks in before making way for a tart bready finish. The peppery hops linger for minutes afterward. Very complex and a challenge to describe.

m: In a word, incredible. Sticky and viscous, I've never had anything like it.

d: Hmm. Definitely a sipper. I certainly would not want two in a session, in fact a couple of weeks in between sounds better.

DIM, Aug 29, 2007
Photo of jdubjacket
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I had higher expections for this beer.

Poured an amber color from the bottle. The head starts off strong and dissipates fairly quickly.

The smell and taste are somewhat citrusy. Unfortunately the smell is better than the taste. For a trappist ale, this beer is lacking in the taste & mouthfeel. Overall, I prefer the other trappist ales.

jdubjacket, Aug 28, 2007
Photo of maddogruss
3.08/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I expected more from this brew.

A: Poured a amber body with a thick, off-white head with very good retention.

S: A sweet, malty smell with hints of alcohol pervading the nostrils a little bit.

T: Not too much of a taste, which surprised me. There were some slight malt characteristics, but tasted pretty dry and grainy. Very surprising to me for a Belgian Pale Ale.

M: There was a lot of carbonation in this beer. reminded me a little bit of seltzer water.

D: This beer does not seem to drinkable. It started out okay - great appearance and decent smell - but ended poorly with a minimal taste and a lot of carbonation.

For the top beer in its category on BA, I was not too impressed. I think Duvel was a much better Belgian Pale Ale.

maddogruss, Aug 28, 2007
Photo of Ratman197
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 4 1996 poured a clear golden amber with a small lasting light amber head.

The nose was fullof tropical fruits, citrus and cookie. there were also some light vanilla notes and a hint of leather.

The mouthfeel was light bodied and crisp with some dryness and lighty tart.

The flavor was fruity with some straw and cookie, light leather and a bit of carmel. It was even more complex but hard to find words for all the flavors going on . It finishes crisp dry and a bit tart.

This beer was very drikable and aged amazingly well with no hints of oxidation.

Ratman197, Aug 28, 2007
Photo of udubdawg
4.73/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle - this is not an everday beer for me by a longshot, but when I'm in the mood for some "funk", there is no better beverage to turn to.

Pours a hazy light orange color. Several yeast chumks have made it into the glass despite by best efforts. Head is nearly white and very large, lasting for a while before subsideing to an uneven cap, leaving some spotty lacing throughout the glass.

Absolutely full of flowery, funky, barnyardy, lemony scent. Fantastic, and I smile knowing that most of my friends would recoil - I'm still working on them.

Carbonation is quite high and the body a bit light, but neither takes take away from the taste, which is perhaps just short of the aroma. It really defies description, as I expect "Orval-like" will be rather unhelpful to readers of this review...but it really is unique, crisp, a bit sour, and full of spice and phenolics, with a fantastic drying and bittering finish.

Though not overly strong, this is the rare brew where I find myself wanting to sip and enjoy, trying in vain to taste all that is there. A single bottle is very drinkable - I doubt I'd ever session this, but I'd be willing to give it a try!

udubdawg, Aug 25, 2007
Photo of adowney523
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle into a Belgian-style chalice. Bottled on 7/11/2006. Color is a deep amber and appearance is slightly hazy. Lots of carbonation produces a white head that retains well and leaves excellent lacing.

Smells of floral esters with a slight sour twang.

Malt taste upfront is rather toasty. The floral esters are abundant and really overpower the toasty malt. Herbal and citrus fruit hints compliment the floral flavors.

Mouthfeel is characterized by the heavy carbonation and semi-dry finish.

Very drinkable and enjoyable.

adowney523, Aug 23, 2007
Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Bottled on 1/30/07, best before date of 1/30/12 so I think I'm in the clear here.

A: Pours a cloudy orangish brownish color (sort of like laqured wood) with a big and puffy inch and a half off white head that fades rather quickly into a thin cap. Big and bubbly as well with nice pockets of carbonation bubbling along the sides of the glass. The only thing I don't like is the head is not as luxurious as I was hoping for and the lacing was a bit lacking but that was probably my fault.

S: Sweet candied sugar with a big yeasty funk, delicate fruity aromas peek through the yeast just enough to be noticed. Also, I am crazy or does this stuff smell like potpourri?

T/MF: Yeasty and along with a great deal of carbonation that balloons in the mouth and tickles the tongue. This one also has quite a deal of spicy herbal tones along with bits of apple and grapefruit intermixed that increases as the beer warms, an interesting balance to say the least. Has a sort of sour aftertaste as soon as the beer is swallowed but becomes a bit floral and fruity after a bit and is quite enjoyable.

D: Damn well balanced beer in every respect, not overpowering in any way, shape or form, just solid in the taste department every respect. It's going to be real hard to top this one.

bluemoonswoon, Aug 19, 2007
Photo of kernalklink
2.95/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Nice presentation, great looking brew with aromas that were mouthwatering- earthy malts, sweet berry lambic sourness and a yeasty tang. Mouthfeel was an explosion of carbonation, very light and airy and tongue tingling. the taste was missing for me- after a hit of hop bitters all that i was left with was a bready yeasty bitterness, and some grassy, watered down malts. I was dissapointed, as the flavors could not even hide the slight ABV present- there are better belgians out there in my opinion.

kernalklink, Aug 18, 2007
Photo of DaveUK
2.83/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Cloudy, brown-orange with a large frothy head that persisted all the way down the glass.

Aroma - Sweet fruit, spicy hops and a hint of yeast soon after pouring.

Taste - Tart, bitter fruit with a citrusy flavour. Alcohol and light malt present in the long bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium and persistant. Almost unpleasant acidic bite perhaps due to a high level of carbonation.

Drinkability - Powerful bitter taste and potent, unconcealed alcohol make this a beer for sipping at the best of times.

Not one I would be consuming regularly, however I would give it another shot, if only to see if the bottle I had was off/skunked in some way.

DaveUK, Aug 17, 2007
Photo of bruachan
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this bottle had been stored warm so the carbonation was a little crazy. i didn't get much of a first pour, in terms of sediment. good lacing though, when all the foam subsided, and some fuzz still lingered at the beer's surface. nice orangy-gold hue

spicy aroma with hops and a hint of oxidation. sweet and funky with cork

bitter with a slight vinuous character. i think i'm drinking this bottle just in time. the malt profile is slight as is the moutheel. this one is reasonably refreshing, actually. i've heard this is a love or hate beer but i'm not sure that's the case for me. i dig it, though i'm not in love. i would love to try it on draft

bruachan, Aug 12, 2007
Photo of BucBasil
2.4/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance: Poured into a tulip from a bottle. Said it was bottled in July of 2006, so it's now over a year old. Drink before date is July 2011, so I guess this one could definitely benefit from aging. Poured a deep amber with hints of brown. The head was off-white with a massive head that I had to wait for before I could finish pouring. Good looking brew all-around though.

Smell: Interesting smell of earth and herbs. Alcohol is definitely evident here, and overpowers any other smell that could be sensed by my nose.

Taste: Not very good at all, which is very disappointing for a Trappist beer. I have very high standards for these guys, and Orval does not come close. I must admit, the beer improves as it warms a bit, but not by much. Tastes earthy with an alcohol finish. There's something very chemicalish and offputting about the middle and finish of the beer, with a horrid aftertaste lingering around for a while after. Since the taste was so distracting I couldn't really focus on the mouthfeel of this one. It seemed nice - not too carbonated, but enough.

Drinkability: I won't be buying one of these for a long time. I don't think I could have a second even if I had another one in the fridge. I'm struggling through the first one as it is... Perhaps it drastically improves with age, but I won't be trying it anytime soon.

BucBasil, Aug 12, 2007
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,333 ratings.