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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.

4,650 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,650
Reviews: 2,157
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 252
Gots: 523 | 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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Ratings: 4,650 | Reviews: 2,157 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of turamarth
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Smokestack Chalice.

Appearance: A nice hazy golden brown color. Explodes with a huge rocky head with a medium pour. Excellent retention and leaves nice lacing.

Nose: Every thing seems fairly subtle. But, there is a nice hop presence up front, sort of grassy. Some candied malts maybe fruity esters also peeks through in the nose.

Taste: This beer might be one of the most complex I've tasted so far. Granted this is my first foree into Belgian ales. There is very subtle grassy/hay flavor. But, most of the taste is buried in estery brettonomyces. Fruits are delicious. Theres even a slight sharp cheeseiness. Truly complex, almost too so for my palate at this stage.

Mouth: Nice light smooth mouthfeel, nice carbonation. Leaves the mouth with a hint of thickness.

Drink: This beer is almost too complex for one to have multiples. Though abv isn't very high. I like this beer. It's a special occasionier.

Photo of coalcracker
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a dark golden color with billowy head that clings heavily to the glass like cobwebs.
Smell: Very fruity and tart aroma. Quite unique. Base malt aroma almost buried here.
Taste: Sharp fruitiness upon tasting, tart and a bit bitter (but not overpowering). Malts bring forth notes of caramel and fig through the middle of the tasting. The taste profiles begin to meld and tame as the beer warms. A dry aftertaste hangs around for a bit.
Mouthfeel: Smooth and moderate-bodied despite the taste profile lurking above.
Drinkability: Based upon this beer's complexity, I would certainly savor this slowly and not in a session. In that respect- very drinkable.

Overall: One of the first brews introduced to me on my journey to beerdom- I couldn't recall the complexity of this beer. Not everyone will dig this. Me? I'll take this masterpiece anyday.

Photo of dolemite77
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours hazy orange, with a mammoth rocky head. Aroma is sour and horsey when cold, more perfume like as it warms. Flavor is very funky. The bottle I had was around 1.5 years from bottling. The wild yeasts in this one bring out the horsebarn, sour apples, and dry dry dry finish. Very interesting beer. My new years resolution is to try more of the "wild type" beers. This is the most famous user of brett fermentation, so might as well start it out here.

Photo of bowersdm
2.66/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I reviewed this a while ago and I decided to revisit tonight. My first review gave this beer a 'C'.

33cL bottle poured into my St. Bernardus goblet;

A - cloudy amber almost brown color. Because of the extreme carbonation, it took about five minutes to get this beer into the glass. There was a stiff 2.5cm tall off-white head that disintegrated into pillowy lumps that looked like a scale model of a group of sand dunes

S - yeast, spice, cherries, apples, oranges, lemons, and grass. There was also a funkiness going on too. I can't figure out what it is.

T - spicy fruitiness, a slight funky taste that, though it was slight, make the beer not that great because it's really about the only thing going on. There was also some spicy/citrusy hops at the end.

M - way, way too much carbonation.

D - I still do not enjoy the taste of this beer.

Photo of prsguitarsr4me
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My 50th review - I'm glad its on a good brew! This poured a hazy straw blonde, with a great head with great retention - all the way to the last sip. Aroma wasn't as interested as I've seen in other Belgian ales, but was nice. Taste is similar to Duvel, but I like Duvel more. Very sweet and smooth - that fantastic Belgian taste that it seems only the Belgians can get.

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

Very interesting brew.

Aroma was a strong yeast, hop with spice.

Poured a cloudy dark amber color with a large rocky head that lasted with good lacing.

Flavor was very complex with the same spicy complex finish of moderate duration with a small bite of alcohol.

Good brew and is one of my top rated active bottled beers for the Belgian Ale style.

Photo of meatmallet
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy amber colored beer with one of the best heads around. Tons of lace and an amazing stream of carbonation rising from the bottom of the galss.

Smell: A very powerful smell that really stands out. Sweet and full of spice with notes of orange and lemon.

Taste: Tastes like it smells with lemon being the dominating flavor and spice. Bread and hopps and a slight banana taste also make an appearance but they are not as dominant as the lemon and spice.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: Carbonation is great and the bitter aftertaste eases up as you drink it. Very crisp finish.

Photo of dancinwillie
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy brownish/dark orange. Very active, it took me 4 tries to get it all poured. Topped by a giant, fluffy white head. Spotty chunks of foam lacing remain on the glass. Hazy.

S: Musty funk, or funky must. Leather and vinegar. Brett.

T: Quite a bit of hop bitterness up front, which surprised me a little. Quickly followed by everything from the aroma: leather, vinegar, must be the brettomyces (sp?). Underneath though, is a restrained fruitiness, reminiscent of a good saison. Apple/pear flavors, and a real slight hint of banana. Still manages to have some tame carmel flavors too. Somewhat sour, although tartness might better describe it. Very good taste here. It keeps going, and you pick up different things with each blessed sip.

M: Highly carbonated, very active beer. Medium in body, with a soft, smooth finish. Rich, earthy aftertaste lingers.

D: High. What can I say that hasn't been said? This is an absolutely delicious beverage. The only thing stopping me from drinking this on a regular basis, is the almost $5/bottle price tag. Still, a nice treat every once in awhile. And, if like me, you try it, and don't like it, wait a year or two, and give it another go. It worked for me. I couldn't taste anything here 2 years ago. Just tasted bland. But now, well, I feel like the trout just returned MY gold ring. Cheers, and thanks to the brothers at Orval.

Photo of thecheapies
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Translucent, mirky amber. Almost pond water, almost dirty iced tea. Incredible boasting head. The last of the it remained in the neck and mouth of the bottle. Lacing was persistent with every sip and every swirl.

S - Of dishsoap. Almost fishy. Hints of pine and clove were discovered. Rather mild in aroma, overall.

T - Spicy, soapy flavor. Tart fruits and a touch of smooth grain (rye) enveloped this beer. Some note of alcohol present with a mild hop-bitterness. Hint of lemony zing in the finish. It got warmer, presenting more spiciness. Then, at almost room temp, it became mild again.

M - Medium-bodied. With a carbonation that lingers in the finish.

D - Remarkably easy drink. Long time to wait for the head to subside, but a smooth and polishing beer.

Photo of erz316
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 fl oz, Duvel tulip.

A - a very frothy beverage we have here, I could not finish pouring the whole of the bottle, only about 1/8 left though, so not so bad. a dark amber color with a medium opacity, bubbles emanating from the bottom, and a big head that settles down to a more manageable size.

S - now I know I'm going to sound a bit fruity (no pun intended), but the beer actually smells like a mulled apple cider. scouts honor; and a damn good one at that! the spice is complex and right on the same level with the apple smell, and lingering in the background is the faint smell of booze.

T - the first thing I wish to comment on is the dryness of the alcohol. the quality is like that of a brut champagne, that makes you slow down, sip, and respect the drink. my cheeks pinch a bit at the bitter dryness and I love it. now, not to be unnoticed is the spiciness of the brew, like a really dulled down sailor jerry's or captain morgan, the same type of spices, I am unfamiliar, so please forgive me. the apple scent is still there in the taste, which makes it seem like a cider more than a beer to some degree, if anyone has tried S. Smith's organic cider, than they shall know of what I speak. but what keeps this from tasting like a cider is the hops bite and the zestyness of lemon that hits the tongue and reminds me that, indeed, this is one hell of a beer.

MF&D - smooth, crisp, the carbonation is great and makes me want another sip. feels like a good medium body beer.

Photo of bigkahunas4
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured form the Orval bottle into a tulip.

This was one of the more carbonated beers I've ever seen. Huge white, creamy head - amazing lacing. Body is an orange amber, really looks majestic. Nose is quite full, lots of grass, brett, and a honey-lemon.

Beer keeps its carbonation during the sip, big bubble feeling. Feel is quite light and crisp. Flavor is light, with a grass hop finish.

Very tastey, and obviously well constructed. ABV isn't absurd for this Belgian, so it makes a decent session.

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet from a bottle, Orval pours a hazy amber, almost orange hue with an aggresive frothy white head that thins after a few minutes. The aroma at first is fruity and sour, with hints of banana and tart fruits. It is followed up by a spicy hop aroma. The flavor is immense. Fruity, with hints of spice, candi sugar, and that earthy, signature Brettanomyces funk. It finishes dry and clean, with great hop character that is unlike other Trappist ales. Orval is a medium bodied brew. The flavor only lasts from sip to swallow. Not much lingering on the palate. It is, however, very easy to drink. Not my favorite beer from the seven Monastaries, but definitely up there on the list.

Photo of Asgeirr
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Orval Trappists pours a amber-to-ochre colour along with a massive cream white crown which diminishes quite slowly and leaves plenty of lacing on the side.

Smell: Sweet and flowery, like a peach bubble-gum on a virgins butt. Some yeast can be hinted in the background.

Taste: Yeasty fruitiness along with a sour finish, greatly mellifluous to the smell.

Mouthfeel: Medium full and rather rough to the palate, the carbonation brings a fresh sensation, without being blatantly upfront.

Drinkability: I surely enjoyed this one, and it deserves recommendation due to the flavour-to-scent resonance and overall high character- On a side note worth mentioning is the fact that it's very similar to a Biere de Garde, (or is it vice versa?)

Photo of babaracas
4.41/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from squat 11.2oz brown bottle, bottled on 9/7/2008, best by 9/7/2013. This is the best dating system I've ever seen, bottled and best by dates. Other brewers please adopt this. Pours a hazy amber with huge meringue-like head. Smell: green apple, yeast funk, orange peel, lemon zest, ginger?, hay, grassiness. Taste: spice cake, honey graham crackers, green grapes, green apple, toffee, more sour yeast funkiness, what I'd imagine hay tastes like. Tangy, soft, medium bodied. This is one is insane, from the ridiculously large head to the ultra funky yeast and the complexities it brings.

Photo of KeefD
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this one into a La Fin Du Monde tulip. Upon a slow pour a huge head developed that stuck around forever whilst becoming rocky and wonderful. The head sits on top of a pale amber body with golden edges. It's only somewhat hazy as I left most of the sediment in the bottle. Aroma is of sour banana right off the bat, followed up by the famous barnyard funk and hint of apple cider. I've hadd this beer in the past but don't remember it being so sour and funky smelling. The flavor is not as in-your-face funktastic sour as the nose, but it does have that going for it. It's sour, but in a pleasing sort of way. Flavors of ripe fruits, Belgian candy sugar, light acidity, a bit of licorice, and it has a nice hop bitterness on the finish. Body is medium (I think) but it's hard to tell with so much carbonation, which gives it a drying champagne like quality on the tongue. I can't normally see my self drinking too many sour/funky beers in one sitting, but this is so delicious I could easily see myself drinking a couple of these in a night. This is probably the most unique of the Trappist ales and it's one that everyone should try at least once. I can see why some would not like, but I for one am in love!

Photo of Itoclown
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Siciliano's in Grand Rapids. Consumed in a Duvel Tulip.
Smell: Friggen awesome! Very fruity with a fantastic Belgium smell.
Look: Medium brown and hazy. Head remains throughout.
Taste: GREAT! I was taken aback. It's very complex and fruity. It's so good that even my Dad loved it when I gave him a sip and he hates complicated beers.
Mouthfeel: Not the best. Very bubbly but it isn't harsh on the tongue.
Overall: I've put this one off for a very long time. I passed it over for years. I wish I hadn't. It's unreal. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this may be the best Belgium beer I've ever had.

Photo of TMB0424
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into snifter

Poured a beautiful hazy peach body with a massive, pillowy white head. Clung to my glass for its life, excellent lacing and retention. Simply a work of art.

Aroma is of zesty orange peel, lemon rind, other citrus. Cherries, granny smith apples in the background. The scent of the Belgian yeast in this brew is intoxicating by itself. Cloves and a peppery aroma back up the citrus in full force. Vinous, grape-like as well... champagne-like.

Taste is of honey dipped citrus (orange peel once again) but is backed up by a sour/tart element that is indescribably perfect. Once the initial hit of citrus fades away, a nice twang of lemon tartness kicks in, followed by a very dry finish. The finish is peppery and warming as well. The yeast... I can't even explain. Leathery, funky - it's perfect. The vinous character is evident once again as in the aroma.

High carbonation, medium full bodied brew. Very bready and chewy. Has a certain distinct creamy mouthfeel to it. The clove, pepper, lemon finish leaves a somewhat funky (in a good way) lacing in my mouth. To continue the wine-like trend, it's almost tannic. Extremely long lasting and even moreso pleasureable.

Drinkable? Oh yeah. This is what Belgian beer is all about. The complexity of this beer is mind boggling as each sip can bring out different elements in this brew. This is a must try for any Belgian lover (or beer lover for that matter). Truly an experience.

Photo of brewbucker
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 20/02/2008

Poured into my Chimay chalice. Pours a medium slightly hazy orange copper with a large off white head. Beautiful appearance. Very big aroma of spicy fruits. Sharp orange zest and hints of pepper. Flavor is tart citrus, yeasts, and mild malts. This is only the second time I have tried this beer. I tried it for the first time early on in my "beer geekdomness" and thought it was average. I am glad I revisited this. Orval is truly in a class by itself.

Photo of brandoneast
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours extremely hazed orange-copper, with a fluffy head letting convoluted aromas of rose hips, chamomile, granny smith apple, leather, and burlap sack. Flavors of wet hay, orange blossom water, lemongrass, petals, some wood, and a slice of hop bitterness towards the back - accumulating to a lingering body and light carbonation.

Orval can challenge the craft beer neophyte, but guarantees to remain etched in your memory as one of the most unique experiences one can have with brew.

Photo of sonicdescent
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes:

Poured into a chalice.

Appearance is a very beautiful golden with a thick head. Belgian beers always look so damn tasty and dignified.

Smells like a champagne, very fruity, grapes stand out most.

Taste is similarly fruity with a very dry finish. Again grapes and maybe a tiny hint of a citrus fruit are present. While it is very good, I would have preferred a little more definition.

Mouthfeel is high carbon and thin..a beer with this flavor would be too flat any other way.

As for drinkability, I would buy this again in a pinch if selection is limited, but would likely pass this over in most situations. It's good, but doesn't scream for me to come back to it immediately. On the other side, this would be a great starter beer for someone coming from champagne/wine.

Photo of WeisGuy
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - pours a deep burnt orange color, very hazy, huge rocky off-white head with awesome retention and great lacing

s - lots of spice along with some orange and apple aromas on the nose, a bit of a sour spike in the smell as well as some sweet honey

t - very well integrated taste, lots of citrus mixed with spices, orange is prominent with some lemon, a mild sourness on the mid-palate and finish, finish has a lingering lemon sourness with some yeastiness and a moderate amount of bitterness

m - light-to-medium bodied, fairly high carbonation level, very active in the mouth, pretty dry on the finish

d - very drinkable and incredibly refreshing beer, this would be an awesome warm-weather beer

Very nice beer overall and quite unique. I'll definitely revisit this in the future.

Photo of JayQue
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Belgian experience without being wiped out by high abv!! Poured a slightly cloudy orange color into my Augustijn goblet. Nice big white head on a hard pour that lasts awhile. Some reviewers talked about lacing, I didn't notice any.

Good Belgian smell, spices, citrus, dark fruit with a little bit of funkiness/earthiness.

Good taste. Spiciness, citrus, dark fruit and a nice slightly bitter hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel is rich, and pricks the taste buds with spiciness and carbonation.

Drinkability is good. The flavors are challenging and the abv allows for more than one at a sitting. Very good

Photo of WalrusJockey
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle, poured into Chimay chalice.

Appearance- very nice amber-orange, with an off-white head, a very slight beige.

Smell- fruity and spicy, of course. Pears, apples, spices, a hint of alcohol, and a vague urine odor. Over all very nice.

Taste- honey and apple and berry flavors, paired with spices and toffee, and a mustard-like flavor as well. Swallow is yeasty, and the aftertaste is hoppy and warm.

Mouthfeel- very crisply carbonated, not *bad* but on the high end of good, also fairly dry, especially on the warm finish. After letting the glass sit for a few minutes, the carbonation has calmed a bit and the mouthfeel is much silkier and smoother.

Drinkability- pretty good. This beer smells strange, to me, but it tastes good, it looks good, and goes down well. This is a very enjoyable beer.

Photo of khiasmus
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

"AS IF!" the devil sniffed. "An angel of light, you know. No one could possibly look better than me." So sadly mistaken. For all of his "blonde bombshell" and "lose your innocence" advertising... The head of the fearless Trappist monk's beer destroyed his. AS IF... when one is at 10,000 feet elevation, and looks down and imagines cherubim frolicking over the fluffy whiteness that only moves with the wind... AS IF the walls upon walls of lace that they trail behind them could even be touched by any other beer... Sunset, I suppose, as the glowing white cotton-balls... nay, whipped cream, sits atop a deep amber/light mahogany body... perfect clarity, those adventurous, persnickety bubbles march on up the walls, many in number.
And then an oak barrel, the brettanomyces bug seems to have bitten, and filled the air with its deep, dank warm-ferment-cask notes. There's the malt backbone of a Tripel... nothing has done this before. The depth of the thing... is this a saint or a monster? Caramel, butterscotch, white pepper... all overridden by the immense cave-deep barrel, the light sour, the earth, hops that have been buried for years...
For the flavor... Some metal. Like that level, Nebulous, on Jet Moto... you're in heaven, the clouds, the classical music... then you dive down and there are raging guitars (in the form of Brett sour and a light copper-esque metallic note), potholes in the road, a "swiss cheese" flat stretch, then a solid, lingering, belgian-waffle-biscuit in the end. The hops that exist are dank, earthy, despondent.
The clouds carry into the feel of the thing... light, airy, bubbly, dry. The sourness pushes the dryness down the back of the throat...
And one of the finest ales in the world. One couldn't say fairer than this destroyed the "angel of light" at his own game. Here... have a taste. Heaven and hell.

Photo of froghop
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pour is a deep amber with a huge white foamy head that stays around through the whole experience, lacing is excellent.

smell is spice, dark fruit, orange, hops, and some lemon-lime hidden in the back.

taste is carbonated, sour malt, citrus, orange, sweet fruit, few hops in the end, and some spic, leaves the mouth on the dry side.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,650 ratings.