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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.

4,406 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,406
Reviews: 2,119
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 211
Gots: 415 | 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: 4,406 | Reviews: 2,119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ccrida
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured in my vintage Westmalle chalice, Orval is a hazy golden orange with a thick, rocky, white head with medium bubbles that is very slow to recede, leaving moderate lace.
The aroma is moderate, musty yet bright, earthy flowers and yeast, distinctly belgian and very appetizing.
The taste really nice, incredible depth yet fairly subtle. It is beyond my ability to break it down to specifically, but theres a bit of sourness, salt, yeast (which I swirled off the bottom), leathery, bitterness, straw, only the slightest sweet pale and caramel malts, minerals, bread, honey and flowers, and probably more stuff that I just can't break down. The finish is very bitter dry and clean, but for a nice pucker on the tongue. There is a slight bit of alcohol as the beer warms, but it is clean and good, no solvents or anything. I love any beer with brett, and this is as fine as example as there is - it's tough too beat Gout d'Oraval. I normally prefer more robust flavors, but the subtly here speaks volumes.
The mouthfeel is pretty spritzy and light bodied, very nice and really opens this beer up. Being that it was bottled 15 months ago says alot.
The drinkability for this is as high as it gets (aside from perhaps the cost). The taste is great without being overwhelming, and complex enough that it will take me a lifetime to figure out. Wow.

ccrida, Mar 07, 2007
Photo of brushpig
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Slim the bartender at the Hopleaf suggested this fine brew. Served in a tulip glass.

Amber orange appearance with a huge frothy head.

The aroma of flowers citrus light spices.

The taste is something special, smooth, but very complex with lemons, hops, tart, bitter, flowers. All this with a perfect balence that makes this a joy to drink. Not a overwhelming ABV (6.20)
which makes this very drinkable.

This is one of the traditional belgiums that is a must try.

brushpig, Mar 06, 2007
Photo of Byeast
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: a fairly clear peachy amber , with a solid half inch of frothy foam sustained by a steady fast rising carbonation on the sides of my chalice.

Smell: Very strong and exellent smell on this beer , i can smell it as it sits on the table like a vase of flowers. Lots of fruity esters , white grapes , floral, bit of a white wine scent , beery yeast , barnyard undertone.

Taste: Very lively and refreshing. Lots of fruity flavor , white grape , some tartness, flowery/perfumey qualities , some musty/earthiness , bit of phenols and spice, hint of lemon, yeast in the finish. There are some flavors that i can't seem to describe as well , complex.

Mouthfeel: very effervescent , light

Drinkability: A very drinkable and truly unique balgian pale ale. Very floral and bubbly , complex and delicious!

Byeast, Mar 04, 2007
Photo of grbennett
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-Pours a golden orange color with a big, fluffy white head. One of the most beautiful beers I've ever seen. Head stays with the entire beer, leaving lacing.
S- Fruity aroma with a little bit of a chemical smell.
T-Flavors of citrus, clove, and some dusty or musty smell. The same chemical aroma is in the taste. Some hoppy bitterness to balance the sweetness. Begins to taste better as it warms.
M- Smooth with a little bit of carbonation.
Notes- A good beer but a little pricey. I will definitely buy it again but I won't buy it all the time.

grbennett, Mar 03, 2007
Photo of russpowell
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 04/04/2006 (very young)

Pours an effervescent amber/copper with a 1 finger of fluffy offwhite head. Great head retention & okay lacing

S: Bready, some peppery yeast & a hint of lemon hops

T: Peppery yeast, breadyness & then some fruittyness up front. Apple skins & lemony hops surfaces as this warms. Dryness follows. Finishes really dry, with pears & lemony hops

MF: Lightbodied with lively carbonation, a bit prickly

Drinks fairly easy, but the older this this gets the better it is. A little too prickly when young. I guess if I ever find this again I need to cellar it for 2 years minimum

russpowell, Feb 24, 2007
Photo of vtfan77
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark copper with a huge rocky head. Seriously, that head is enormous. It takes a while to dissipate and leaves quite a bit of lacing as it goes down.

S- Pleasantly fruity nose. Spicy, too. Clove is quite evident, along with some alcohol and perhaps a touch of barnyard-like funkiness.

T- Hmm, interesting. I don't really know how to describe the taste. It's fairly mild. It's kind of sweet at first, but it quickly dries out until there is little to no sweetness on the finish. Yeast contributes to some interesting flavors, although I'm finding it tough to pick anything out. Definite notes of spice, some pepper and clove. Some lemon juice sourness in the middle and a cracker-like maltiness on the finish. It's also relatively bitter.

M- Lots of carbonation, but it suits this beer well. No complaints.

D- For some reason I can't see myself drinking a lot of this. All evidence seems to point to this being a very drinkable beer (medium-light body, good carbonation, dry finish) but I really wouldn't want to drink a ton of it. Also, the ABV is kind of high (my bottle says 6.9%), although not too bad. I might have another, but certainly not more than two.

Well, this was definitely an interesting beer. It's also a bit of an enigma, as I can't seem to pinpoint any definite taste characteristics. I know that Brett is used at some point in the making of this beer, so maybe that's throwing my tastes off. Anyway, it's certainly not bad and actually pretty good, but will be a rare purchase for me in the future. I'll recommend it as a beer to try at least once.

vtfan77, Feb 19, 2007
Photo of david131
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 7-10-04
Best Before 7-10-09

A- Pours a great looking, barely cloudy, luminescent liquid. It is a great golden color. The slightly off white massive head. This looks great in a Duvel tulip.

S- There is a lot to the smell here- some sourness, lighter fruit, lemon, pepper. Vinegar.

T- A lot of olive, vinegar, fruit, bready. I get a little bit of snow flavor too- I can't think of any other way to put it. Again with the lemon and pepper. What is up with the olive?

M- Pretty light on the palate due to the massive amount of carbonation. It is also pretty dry on the palate.

D- This is pretty different for a trappist beer. Not really what I was expecting, but I am glad I tried it.

david131, Feb 19, 2007
Photo of bjohnson
3.53/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a murky rusty straw color with a puffy marshmellow like cream colored head. Nice retention. Sticky lacing.
S: Spicy with lemon zest and orange rind. Tangy aromas also. Fresh with floral notes.
T/M: Lemon zest, orange peel, spices, and a grassy hop presence. Flower petal aroma a bold flavor that's present. Almost champagne like carbonation that's spritzy on the tongue. Bready wheat notes hang on the palate well into the finish. Tarty fruit sweetness hangs into the aftertaste from the initial introduction. Also a tad sour. Dry finish. A bit thin imo.
D: Not bad, but not one I'd go out of my way for, especially considering the price. it just didn't do it for me.

bjohnson, Feb 17, 2007
Photo of slyke
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Orval pours a hazy amber with a very large (four fingers) rocky white head from its 11.2 ounce bottle. The aroma is medicinal with notes of licorice. The taste is also medicinal in nature with notes of licorice and yeast. Mouthfeel is very good filling the mouth with a snappy finish. Drinkability is good. This beer is a pretty good sipper. Recommended.

slyke, Feb 17, 2007
Photo of Hammarby
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Cloudy amber with an enormous tan head. Head is foamy with quite large bubbles, stays forever and laces.
S: Grapefruit, peares, yeast, lilac, leather, amonia. Big nose, very complex. Smells like a nice bourgogne.
T: Lilac (translated from the aroma), grapefruit, grapes, some malt, bitterness. Winelike qualities when it comes to complexity. Aftertaste of honey and eucalyptus. Alcohol not at all dominant.
M: Moderately carbonated, light to medium body, but the lightness is balanced by the extraordinary complexity.

Outstanding. Not for beginners.

Hammarby, Feb 15, 2007
Photo of ojiikun
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in an oversized wineglass. Upon popping the cap, the beer nearly shot out, despite having just rested in my beer fridge for almost a month. Go figure. Pours very dark for the style, almost an orange. Very cloudy, but no particles to be seen. Head is loose around the edges but thick and creamy in the middle. Outrageously long lasting, but with no lace at all.

Smell is delectable - spicy but strong malt, cherry, sweet asringency, fresh yeast, no bad belgian funk, lots of beet candi.

Taste was more dry than expected and incredibly light - powdered sugar, lemon zest, sweet Indian spice, bubblegum. Totally different than what the nose suggested.

Mouthfeel is smooth and well-carbonated, though a little bit astringent and drying. With so little body to chew on, this one can really clean you out.

Even near the end when warming a good deal, the flavours locked in this beer stay just there - inside. With no body to ride on, it's hard to really taste much of anything. That said, I could sit and sniff this one all day. Smells absolutely brilliant.

ojiikun, Feb 13, 2007
Photo of rec
2.98/5  rDev -29%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

An explosive light white frothy creates an almost three-finger head. It laces exceptionally well throughout the consumption of this rich copper ale.

The smell is almost non-existent, but when an effort is made, clove and nuts are apparent. Clove also comes through in the taste, alongside pear and very mild spice. The aftertaste is a dry yet sour yeast.

It's generally quite a bland tasting beer in my opinion, and paired with its overcarbonation isn't really one I'd be keen to enter a session with, but is definately something to try.

rec, Feb 10, 2007
Photo of brdc
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting. This one was bought in Minnesotta, and it has the exact same manufacturing date of the previous review, presumably bought in California. I did not know their production was this big.
Anyway, beautiful murky reddish-brown beer with a foamy white head.
Smell is more delicate than I expected, with hops and malts, sugar and molasses.
Heavy mouthfeel, and a surprising taste for a trappist beer: it has the usual heavy malts, warming alcohol, but also has a bitter, cleansing hoppy finish. There are a lot more hops here than Chimay, Rochefort, Westmalle or Achel.
Not my favorite trappist, but still an interesting brew.

brdc, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of KingG
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First time i had this brew it was served too cold to enjoy. This time i'm gonna try it at room temp.
Bottled on - 04-04-2006
Best Before - 04-04-2011

Appearance is exceptional. Huge spiderweb-like head appears and doesn't die. looks liek a foam eruption in my glass. Lace coats the inside of the glass like a DIPA. Color of the beer is copper. Huge stream of carbonated bubbles shoot upward toward the head. Lovely.

Smell is very good. Clove, hops and a small amount of nutty, malty goodness hits the nose. Very unique fragrance.

Taste is good. Much like the nose but surprisingly milder. Clove, hops and light fruit (pear?) are the main flavors. Nice.

Mouthfeel is good. Slightly over-carbonated but enjoyable. Very lively in the mouth. Slick going down. Little less carbonation would have given it a higher score but by no means bad.

Drinkability is exceptional. I could drink this all day. Quite easy to put down.

Overall: A very nice Trappist ale that is unique and enjoyable. Orval must be consumed at cellar or room temp to be fully appreciated though.
Highly recommended.

KingG, Jan 30, 2007
Photo of stereosforgeeks
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Wow what head on this one! It just never left. Talk about lacing as well. The beer itself pours a light to medium brown with some cloudiness.

Smell: I smell spices and a bit of banana and apples.

Taste: Taste those fruit and spices! It has a very bready yeast but still manages to contain a nice tartness that continues into the mouthfeel. There is a subtle hop taste but it's masked by the fruits.

Mouthfeel: Rather thin and acidic but with lasting flavors that just continue to develop.

Drinkability: This beer is definitely an acquired taste but it's incredibly drinkable if you like it. I definitely could go for a couple more of these at the moment.

stereosforgeeks, Jan 28, 2007
Photo of kajerm
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottle from the local (awesome) grocery store, I wish Merchant du Vin wouldn't relabel their beers. label says the beer was bottled on 8/29/2006.

poured into a wine glass with a monster white head that didn't lace so much as clung to the walls for dear life. it hangs around forever and stands up pretty well. the beer is a beautiful opaque light brown, with a color gradient around the edges-- between the color and that sweet head, this is a nice beer to look at.

smells like... brett. loads and loads of brett, but there's a paradox here-- there's nothing but brett to be found (at least by me), but it has enough subtlety to smell very nice. there's a kind of appleish aroma hiding behind it, but gueuze always smelled a little like apple cider to me too.

the flavor is a little belgian yeast, a drop of malt,and mounds of bretty tanginess and funk. the sourness is pleasant, and bretty as this beer is, it doesn't have the nasty taste of infected beer-- maybe because the "infection" has nothing to compete with? in any case, I like it.

and it feels so good to drink. sour as it is, the high carbonation, the crispness, and the weight of the yeast come together for a great mouthfeel.

drinkability? depends on how much of a weirdo you are. with a suitable pairing for the sourness (maybe a dessert), I could put away a few of these, but there's only so much brettanomyces that one human being can take. it seems to stand up pretty well to spicy food as well.

kajerm, Jan 27, 2007
Photo of BlindPig
3.18/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- Huge off white head on a cloudy dark orange body. Good head retention and leaves thick lacing.
S- Sour tart apples. Faint stale aroma. Light wood also comes through.
T- Light sour apple flavor. Not near as much as the smell hints at. Light bitterness. As soon as you swallow it is almost a soap flavor. Light yeast. Some sour fruits come out. Very different taste. Not sure if this bottle is skunked since it was bottled in 2004 and it was just left on the shelf in the store and light is usually on it.
M- High carbonation on a thin body.
D- It is kind of weird. Not to fond of it. To much carbonation. The only thing that I really like about it is the aroma.

BlindPig, Jan 26, 2007
Photo of vancurly
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank this at the Heritage Belgian Beer cafe in Sydney.

Pours a hazy dark burnt orange, head fades, but good lace.

Light aromas of sour fruit. Some oakiness & gamey off-notes. Complex & intriguing.

Flavours of leather, medicine/band-aids. Slight barnyard character, perfumy, with a late cherrywood aftertaste.

Some bitterness, and astringency. The mouthfeel is very dry, almost dusty. Highly attenuated... thin, no sweetness.

For me, this is truly the Burgundy of beers. Wild, gamey, dry, tannic, fleshy.

vancurly, Jan 19, 2007
Photo of Metalmonk
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first taste of Orval was summer 2005, and I thought it was really bizarre stuff, something my wife called "sweaty socks". Its strange flavor lead me to search for opinions online, and lo and behold there was this website called Beer Advocate. After a bit I started to acquire a taste for Brett-ified beers (especially via the great Flemish Primitive). A trip to the actual abbey and a couple fresh ones later, I am converted. No matter what you think of Orval, it remains one of a kind.

This bottled was brewed on June 24, 2005. A year-and-a-half age on it. Produces a healthy "zissss!" when the cap pops, so carbonation is still high. Poured one of the most dense and beautiful heads I've ever seen on a beer. Wowza. Looks almost like gooey mozzarella. The bubbles are abundant, and the head sticks around forever. The color is a rusty copper color. Very very nice.

A quick sniff gives off grassy, herbal aromas, also some honey and banana...a longer whiff brings in that "horse-blanket" Brett mania that makes this such a love-or-hate beer. An incredibly unique aroma that I cannot stop inhaling. (We have two horses, and we have two horse-blankets, so I can say with confidence that this indeed does resemble the smell of horse-blanket!)

First sip brings in fresh-baked wheat bread, banana, something somewhere between clove and nutmeg...and there it is again, that wacky "armpit" aroma (once again, my wife's words). I'd describe it more like leather, maybe really yeasty bread. The dry finish offers a bit more funk, but twisted in a different way, and you get a feel for the hops at this stage. There are indeed some hops here, but they're extremely well-incorporated. Freshly mown grass also comes to mind throughout.

Mouthfeel is full and round, while also buoyant and light. Not at all thick. Clearly there's a good bit of carbonation (the undying head is proof of that), but it's not overly sharp.

This isn't the biggest, baddest, boldest, or even most extreme beer, but it satisfies in some of the same ways as those kinds of beers, yet it also works well with various foods and for quiet, contemplative sipping sessions. A textbook-definition "Acquired Taste" beer.

Metalmonk, Jan 18, 2007
Photo of theformula
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The ratings are high, and for good reason. When I'm so used to the traditional English and American Pale Ale, this adds a brilliant complexity to the style. And it's my first taste of Orval.

Great looking beer, light amber color. The head just grew and grew to a billow-y, fluffy cloud that doesn't every dissapear. Nice lacing throughout.

Mouthfeel is light, with a bite of carbonation and almost a fine, powder-y texture on the roof of the mouth.

Smells of hops, clove, green banana/fruit, sugar and a little phenolic goodness to make things interesting. Fruit and flowers.

Tastes much hoppier than the aroma lets on. Delicious hop bitterness is subtle, along with "that" yeast strain and some citrus that gives it a tart bite. Sugar cane, wet hay and light honey give this so much complexity.

This is the best pale ale I've had the pleasure to taste, and drinkability is way up there b/c of the bone-dry finish. It's thin, but I guess it's accurate for the style. Awesome.

theformula, Jan 18, 2007
Photo of GbVDave
3.65/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Pours a hazy dark amber. Amazing head. The three finger head receded from the sides of the glass long before the center. What I was left with was a foam "volcano" complete with sloped mountainsides and a crater in the center. Eventually the volcano also receded and left me with looked like a gigantic Cheerio in the center of the glass. Very cool! Active carbonation and massive lacing.

S: I detected aromas of Brett, spice, wet dirt, and hops.

T: Take everything from above and add in a unique fruit tartness. As it warms, a thin maltiness emerges. Unfortunately the hop flavors are rather subdued. Interesting tang to the finish.

M: Thin and acidic. True to the style, I guess, but I've had BPA's that have had a much fuller mouthfeel than this.

D: Drinkability is decent. To me, this is a beer that is crying out for more hops. The flavors and aromas are pleasant enough, but it's just missing something.

GbVDave, Jan 14, 2007
Photo of Absumaster
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a classic, but for some reason I have never reviewed it before.

Appearance is a murky orange beer with a big, rocky head that lasts throughout the beer.

Smell is very interesting with the Bretta and dryhopped smell. There is also something what I would call cork and it has a slightly sour smell.

Taste of Bretta and a slightly sharp acidity, which is a bit too sharp for me and it also has a medicinal taste. The typical Orval yeast is a strange animal that seems to be behave differently every time and over time. The hops quickly overrule the sharp taste and give the beer a nice (dry)hoppy taste that is resinous and spicy. Body is quite thin, but in style.

Absumaster, Jan 13, 2007
Photo of zuccard
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Loved this one...Tremendous head on this beer...great color, slightly amber in color, very frothy and hung in there throughout the entire bottle.

Taste was nice, fruity, with a bit of an almost smoky aftertaste. Color was a hazy orange. With %alc at 6.9, the mouthfeel and apparent alcohol was very well done. Did not seem that high, and no solvent-like taste.

Just a great beer. Loved it and will go back for more

zuccard, Jan 12, 2007
Photo of jeffaz02t
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a great dark-gold color. The head is beautiful.So thick and creamy. It was 3 inches, but it kept growing from the middle. Very cool looking.
Aside from the look of the actual beer, the bowling pin style bottle is the coolest bottle I have ever seen! I do not know why but I really like the actual bottle!

S: Cloves, spices, some yeast as well. There is also a hops scent that I have never really smelled before... Actually pretty nice scent. I cannot wait for the head to go down a little more so I can drink this brew. My mouth is watering from the smell of this beer.

T: Hint of spice, nothing over the top. I taste some very tasty yeast in this brew. Very unique hops flavor; again I have not experienced a taste like this from hops. VERY tasty brew.

M: I want to say the mouthfeel seems oily (this is not a bad thing) . This beer rocks.

D: I am glad I picked up a few cases of this. I would have trouble rationing just a few bottles. What a great, drinkable beer!!! My fav. of all time... Very distinct from other beers. This, in my opinion, is the greatest beer in the world!

jeffaz02t, Jan 11, 2007
Photo of bigreduw64
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark gold color with a very nice head. At first had a light flavor with a taste of a slight banana yeast flavor. It had a moderate finish that hung around in my mouth for about 20 seconds. The mouthfel was good and had a decent carbonation that seemed to fit the beer.

bigreduw64, Jan 09, 2007
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,406 ratings.