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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.

4,533 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,533
Reviews: 2,133
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 226
Gots: 461 | 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:
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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,533 | Reviews: 2,133 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Beaver13
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle, bottled on 4/24/07, best before 4/24/2012, and purchased 1/26/08. Pours a clear golden orange (the second pour makes it nice and cloudy) with a monstrous fizzy and rocky big bubbled white head that retains fairly well and laces the glass.

The aroma is fruits (pears?) and alcohol with some yeast funk, wood and some slightly metallic and floral hops.

The flavor is yeast funk and slightly sour fruits, with some mild bitter hops. It's pretty subdued but nice. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with tons of sharp carbonation. It mellows out a bit as it sits.

Overall, a nice beer that gets better as it warms and more has been drunk.

Photo of PiecefulToker
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is truly an amazing beer and one of my all-time favorites. Here it goes...

A: Slightly hazy, copper, dark amber color with thick 2-finger head in my St. Bernardus chalice. A half centimeter head remained through the whole beer while I sipped on it over 40 minutes or so, leaving a sticky lace.

S: Grapes, funk, sweet malt, some grass and hay aromas, the "wet blanket" that everyone talks about.

T: This is a very complex beer, so my attempt at describing will fall short for sure. Starts out prickly on the tongue with some subtleness, followed by a burst of sweet, sour, funk, grass, and grapes. The bitterness moves in at the end, and sustains in the corners of my mouth for several minutes. This is one to sip, savor, sit back, and enjoy.

M: High carbonation, prickly at first but smooth on the finish. Great for the style.

D: This is like a fine wine and should be enjoyed one glass at a time. This is a special treat that I hold myself to once a month or less.

Photo of elniko
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into snifter

A: Rich amber color, huge head that stuck around and dissipated to half finger. Lots of lacing. Beautiful looking brew.

S: The first smell on the nose was of bananas. Very fruity and flowery nose. Very pleasant to smell and definitely whetted my appetite for tasting.

T & M: Taste goes with the smell for the most part. Definite hint of fruitiness. Lots of flavors that I can't quite put my finger on. Very slight sourness on the aftertaste.

D: This is definitely a drinkable beer. A little lighter than some other Trappist ales that I've had which would go towards having multiples in a sitting.

Photo of beerthulhu
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a moderate, dark golden-peach color with a huge pillowy white head that was mostly lasting leaving a sticky lacing behind. The body was very hazy with a soft visible carbonation.

S: yeasty, and very fruity (peaches, tangy apricots) with a touch of sour bread.

T: The initial flavor was yeasty with a burst of fresh fruitiness (peaches), & fresh bread, bananas. There was a nice soft, velvety sourness of oranges that coated the tongue. The beer finished with a big sour fruitiness of oranges, apricots and a big breadiness.

M: creamy with some warm oranges and a sour yeasty citrus bite in the swallow.

D: Overall a beautifully crafted trappist with a great yeasty attribute.

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

Appearance- Pours with a huge off white head that just sticks around forever. Beer is a hazy brown color.

Smell- Spicy and sweet smelling, this beer has a great deal going on in the nose!

Taste- Really complex flavor profile, beer is light but with lots of potent flavor profiles. Not terribly sweet, but with some hoppy bitterness and just a touch of tartness.

Mouthfeel- Really fills out the mouth, leaves a great taste on the mouth but a bit grainy.

Drinkability- This beer would be so good with some cheese and a meal, one of the better beers for pairing.

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

Pours a brilliant color that is somewhere between dark gold and orange. High carbonation, decent lacing. The aroma is incredible, sweet, sour, citrus, barnyard, with hop earthiness coming through in the constant effervescence. The first taste is dry but bursting with flavor. Great attenuation lets everything hit the palate: a dry, grainy malt backbone, sweet crystal malts, bitter styrian goldings, refreshing sourness, and pronounced but not overwhelming brett flavors of horse, leather, and even slight (but not innapropriate) band-aid. A fantastic beer.

Photo of MusicaleMike
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured this 11.2 oz. bottle into my patented Orval glass. Bottled on 25/09/2007 and best before 25/09/2012. I am impressed that this brew could last that long. I wonder if it would need to be stored in a fridge or just in a cool cellar? The strength doesn't seem high enough to "age" for that long. This is the first Trappist ale I have reviewed.

A: It pours a beautiful, clear amber color. There is a thick, off-white head which sits about a finger and a half deep. There is lots of carbonation in this brew. The head tried to cling to the side of the glass at first, but ultimately failed.

S: It gives off the classic Belgian beer aroma. Not much hop aroma, though it is faintly present. There are some very fruity esters in the smell...I say banana and peach are two smells I get out of this one.

T: I am surprised by the taste. I was expecting something more sweet. Really, there is alcohol up front, and the fruity esters make you think that the beer will be sweet, but I guess the attenuation rate is very high in this beer. There is a peppery aspect to this beer, which I assume comes from the yeast and/or malt. Very low hop flavor in the aftertaste. When held in the mouth, there is some sweetness present, with fruit esters (banana/clove).

M: Smooth, light bodied and I think a little dry. The carbonation is not fizzy, just very smooth.

D: This is a great beer to have a few of in the course of a night. The drinkability factor is high for this one. It would be fun to have a few with a monk or two. The 7% alcohol doesn't make much of an impression, so that is good.

Photo of PBBC
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours cloudy orange... nice lingering head.

Smells like apple brandy and spice... tart, slightly sour smelling.

Taste is excellent.... I had hesitated to drink this beer for some reason.... thinking it would be syrupy, or overwhelming. I don't quite know why I had this impression, because this beer is excellently aged.

Strong flavors of apple, light honey, and citrus, as well as ginger, paired with a high level of carbonation and a nice hop finish make this beer very complex... very tart, a perfect pair for a nice salad with some seared spicy pork on top... or any spicy food. The tartness and light sweetness of the beer lifts the hot flavors off the tongue... replacing them with a nice alcohol-inspired warmth and lingering sweet spiciness.

I'm probably rambling... but try this beer... make sure it's the right temperature... try it with seafood, or spicy pasta....

Photo of jophish17
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

33cl bottle

Aroma: Nice lemony, peppery smell with the impending tart flavor flashing its sign

Appearance: Orval pours nicely into the glass, producing a big, fluffy white head and a dark orange body. Lovely lacing sticks to the glass and the head retention is remarkable.

Taste: The tartness first noticed in the nose comes out fairly delicately in the taste. Not a strong tart, but rather a mild bite that sticks on the tongue well into the aftertaste. Hops come out a lot moreso than in any other trappist ale, and it leaves you thirsting for more.

Feel: A little bit of a grainy feel. Medium-bodied with carbonation that sticks around for a while.. pretty smooth overall

Drinkability: Very drinkable, and with a fairly moderate ABV, its not too much to handle. Another nice trappist beer

Photo of Douglas14
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours out an awesome hazy, pale orange color with an incredible, fluffy, dense head that leaves a layer of lace on the glass and stays intact the whole way down. The smell is heavily of smoky light wood, lightly roasted malt and possibly some banana. Fruit, spices and malt overwhelm the palate, in a good way. Slight hops are very noticeable towards the end, and your mouth is left very dry. As for mouthfeel, the heavy carbonation gives it a nice, light quality that plays with the senses (b/c of how complex it really is). Awesome beer. For some reason I had avoided this beer and I don't know why (I'm guessing because of its easy popularity and my prejudgments against it). I am glad I finally decided to try it. Incredible Belgian Pale Ale!

Photo of robbyc1
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle dated Jan 30, 2007, obtained recently from local retailer.

Huge fluffy head, deep amber, orange yellow, can't see through it, lovely looking pale ale.

Fruity nose, yeasty esters, just as it should. Apple and lime in the nose.

Tartness with offsetting sweetness, just nicely balanced, the malt character is subtle, very easy to enjoy. Nothing stands out, in a good way.

Very drinkable and quafable, nice full mouthfeel, an excellent choice with food or not!

Photo of daythree16
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a little goblet. Pours a cloudy golden color with lots of head.

Smells very spicy with touch of that Belgian yeasty goodness. Tastes like it smells. A little piney with a phenolic aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is very light, and almost reminiscent of a hefeweizen. It's not my the best tasting or my favorite Trappist, but it may be the lightest and easiest to drink.

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

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Chimay chalice yields a hazy honey body with active carbonation topped by a fat finger of fine-bubbled white head that retains at thick, creamy sheet.

Smells citrusy, sprucey, and rich. Hint of fresh bread and magnolia blossoms.

Thick-medium body meets with with fine carbonation and explodes into light-bodied tangy, yeasty, earthy, fruity, bready, bitter, dry perfection. Lemon rind dry finish.


Photo of ckeegan04
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Hazy orange color. Unbelieveable off white head. Filled up half the glass with the most gentle pour I could muster. Think chunky head that leaves entire chunks of foam on the glass. Not sure how conducive it is to drinking, but it sure looks good.

S - Funky yeast smell. Little bit of banana.

T - Very tart taste with hints of banana and lemon. Little bit of barnyard funk mixed in as well.

M/D - Full bodied and super carbonated. Very easy drinking.

Photo of ledemie
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving: Chalice
Temp: 52
date of birth:9/25/07

A: nice garnet color, huge head that desapear after a couple of minutes.

S: fruity, a little alcohol, oranges, cloves ( a hint)

T: Yeasty,Clove, Champagne like background , raisin.

D: that is a respectable beer, I do not think it was worth the $5.50 for the 11 OZ, but I had to try it, it is a complex beer a little disappointing because I though it could have a little more character, it reminded my of an American cousin the the "fat tire ale by New Belgium Brewery" this is not my type of beer I still have to respect the Orval name.

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

Poured this 11.2 oz. dark brown bottle into a Duvel glass. Bottled on 14/11/06. Huge head developed and left clumpy lacing. The body was murky and honey colored.

Smell was fruity with a Belgian yeasty aroma. Not chalky smelling. Seven-Up!. Earthy. Floral. Woody. Wild, Lambic-like funkiness (in a very good way).

Taste was tangy and fruity. Complex. Bitterness and sweetness. Peppery. Yeast breadiness. There was a long, subtle finish of hops flavors and graininess. Baked fruits. Alcohol peaked as it warmed, but it was never too strong. Pretty dry.

Mouthfeel was medium to full with medium to mild carbonation.

This one had aged longer than I prefer. I like the fresh, hoppy Orval, however, this one was great too.

Photo of cbros
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep amber color with medium head lasting till finish. Smelled of citrus. It had a bitter/tart taste that was everlasting. Its strong presence was masked by its appeal.

After learning about Belgium beers I was told that this was a must try and I found out why. Although this not my favorite of the Belgium's I have tasted it certainly is a remarkable beer. I can now see why people of this site are such fans. Definately a must have again.

Photo of USCTrojanBrian
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle dated 8/1/2008

A - Poured an off-colored cloudy amber, some mahogany to it. Massive billowy off-white head like a root beer float, more little bubbles than big bubbles.

S - Magnificent. Sour cherry burst. Later mellows, a bit like some fruit jam/preserves wafting from hot toast.

T - Interesting mix of bittersweet/sour and mild funk. Hoping for a bit of that cherry even though it isn't the intended flavor, not finding it. Something fruity though, like a red apple.

M/D - Classic bitey front of tongue kick I find with most trappist beers, abbeys, tripels, etc. Nothing too puckery after a few sips, really mellows out. Incredibly easy to drink.

Worth the hype, but a bit on the mild (if drinkable) side. Lots of flavor things going on that I'm still chasing. Consistency of flavor is notable, doesn't change too much from the cold pour to being warm over a period of time. Wonderful aromatics. Not the prettiest beer I've ever seen (not by a mile), but complex and worthy of repeat visits.

Update: 2nd tasting, and I've been drinking a lot more Belgians lately. This deserves a modest bump in rating.

Photo of aubuc1
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle date 07/05/07 into goblet. Pours hazy orange with significant, but diminishing head. Smells of sugars and bananas,and maybe cloves. Very tart and dry. Taste is hard to explain for me. Very nice carbonation feel in the mouth. Light taste that cuts sharply. This was my first Orval.

Photo of Offa
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a wonderful light, refreshingly crisp, yet tasty and interesting beer.

Light amber, it has a huge, light tan had that is shrinks only slowly, leaving pretty good lace.

The aroma is mostly sweet grain and fruit, with hints of lemon, honey, caramel, yeast, alcohol, and a light meatiness.

The taste at first mostly is sweet with an interesting blend of pine sap, juice, fruity wine, and a light herbal bitterness. It has a crisp, lightly sweet-tart finish with grain, toast, herbs and pine sap.

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

11.2oz bottle purchased in March at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $6.29. According to the label, it was bottled March 27, 2007.

Poured a honey-copper color, with a big two-finger (I have thick fingers), off-white head. Said head took a while to drop, leaving thin sheets of lace in my St. Bernardus goblet.

The nose is of fruit, candy sweetness and cloves, with a tiny hop touch providing a scent of new-mown hay.

A bit more bitter and spicy in the taste than in the smell. Tart, sour apples compete with cloves and pepper, with a touch of herbal bitterness and dryness at the swallow.

Light-bodied, with a mouthfeel that was prickly, effervescent and slightly oily.

A tasty Belgian pale ale that would probably taste even better were it a hot day. I could see it being quite refreshing on such a day. It's not half-bad on a cool, blustery afternoon, either. I'd buy this again.

Photo of Big78CJ
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2006: Cellared 1.5 years

This is the picture perfect Orval. Beautiful orangey blonde beer with saison-like carbonation and a royal looking head of slightly off-white foam.

The smell is amazing on this glass. Light fruity notes and a touch of candy sweetness. Very mild hop character peaking through the fruit.

All of the fruit from the nose is there in flavor but in spirit only. I can't identify a specific flavor but they all are muted as the hop character of the orval and slight yeasty taste (it was decanted perfectly so this was not the result of a bad pour or agitated bottle). I taste bits of fresh cut grass and hay, almost as if this was a trappist saison.

The mouthfeel is light, bright, and refreshing.

This is the perfect summer trappist!

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

The Orval poured a hazy dark straw color with a overwhelming 3 finger foam head when poured slow. It has a freshness date of 2006 and a drink by date of 2011. It left some nice lacing.

The aroma was yeasty with some floral smells. Slight smell of bananas and peaches.

The taste was right away spicy and held the way through. It was crisp and clean and had nice bitterness on the finish. Overall a pretty solid beer and will have to try again and not have the bottle shoot up at me like a champagne bottle.

Photo of akogrady
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Rich golden amber color, with a very pale golden head. And lots of it. I'm not sure what caused it, but there was far too much carbonation and the head was massive.

S - Smelled very nice. rich in the hoppy notes with a floral rounding and some spice background. Maybe a hint of apple.

T - Very rich and hoppy with a nice sweetness to complete the rounding out of floral notes. A dry finish that lingers in an enjoyable manner.

M - Again, maybe it was the bottle, but the smoothness of the beer was interrupted by too much carbonation.

D - Definitely drinkable, if only it would fit into my glass.

Photo of csmiley
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours light copper in color. In the right light there is some orange that shows up. Head was massive at just under two inches. Retention was excellent. Lacing was also excellent.

S - Some sour apple comes through on the nose first. There is some spiciness but it is mostly mild spices. Midway the yeast shows up. Some sweetness is on the end but it is light (honey and maybe some caramel).

T - More sour apple in the flavor. The spice that is present in the flavor is much sharper than the aroma lets on. Almost peppery in taste. Caramel and sugars show midway. Alcohol and more sour fruit round things out. There is a slight hint of metallic flavor throughout but it is very, very hard to pick out

M - Medium bodied with excellent carbonation. Finish starts out smooth but has a dryness that lingers for a while.

D - Drinkability is good. The fruity flavors in the Orval are great. Everything in this beer achieves a balance that is quite nice. This is one that I would have again, and again, and again...

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,533 ratings.