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Orval Trappist Ale - Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

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4,687 Ratings

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Ratings: 4,687
Reviews: 2,167
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 12.59%
Wants: 254
Gots: 549 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,687 | Reviews: 2,167
Photo of Orrshow
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – The look of Orval is great. It pours a cloudy deep orange into my Orval glass and produces a phenomenal amount of whitish meringue head. The head has good staying power and leaves lots of lacing.

Smell – The first aromas I get from this beer are those of apple and coriander. There is some citrus for sure with lemon and orange coming to mind first. There seems to by a slight sweetness with a little pepper as well. Very nice and strong.

Taste – The flavor of this beer is a little different than I expected after smelling it. It has a reasonable amount of citrus but also some sourness. I can detect a little yeast and some spiciness as well. There is a little melon too. There is a slight sweet hay flavor as well as I get to the end of the beer.

Mouthfeel – The body is decent. It feels a little oily and thin. The carbonation is high but doesn’t make itself known as much as it could.

Drinkability – Orval is easy to drink in every way. I preferred savoring this though.

A fairly complex and interesting beer. It have always enjoyed Orval and would never turn one down.

Photo of mmcave
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I originally had this during a tasting this summer, at that time I was not quite wowed in comparison to other trappist’s, but recently I thought it needed a try all on it’s own. Here goes: poured into a tulip glass rather haphazardly a huge foamy head like the top of mount Everest or something, with thick sticky white snow lacing all over. The retention is wonderful. Smells of pilsner malt, lots of nice citrus, hints of apple, light spice, and saaz hops maybe, first beer I think of in relation is Duvel, at least in the nose. Taste how ever is little like that Belgian “devil”. Taste is crisp and refreshing, bitterness is minimal on this, same with sweetness. I was expecting a little more sweetness toward the middle and finish, which this one does not really have, I think thus it lends it’s self to consumption in mass quantities, or at least more than one. I feel like I can really taste the quality of the water in this, more so than other trappists, something about it’s subtleness allows that element to shine through. I also heard that Orval makes some tasty cheese, which I will have to purchase along with another of these. All and all this is my least favorite trappist ale for just drinking, but I have a sneaking suspicion that with the right food it might do better than its other family members.

Photo of chadspivey
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just bought it the other day, says it was bottled 24/01/2006, so I guess it's almost a year aged.

Poured into a goblet glass...

A: pours a murky brown orange. like a dark apple cider. nice half inch head that dissipates in a minute.

S: can smell some kind of sour fruits..apples maybe. yep, sour fruits.... somehow VERY intruguing very interesting...

T: this is definitely the most unique trappist ive ever had. apples mostly, but a sour taste gives it an interesting twist. still, not anything to get excited about, IMO...

M: medium-bodied. Seems to suit the beer at hand, but still kinda thin for me....

D: Could keep it up all night. However, would prefer to drink a different beer now.

Photo of pmcadamis
3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is the brew that will earn me my first mug icon for initiate status! For such a special moment, I thought that I should try something special.

A - Honey-gold cloudy brew with a monsterously huge rocky four finger plus head and tons of sticky dry lace. This has one of the most beautiful heads, and definitely the nicest lace that Iv'e ever seen. Lots of tiny bubbles float to the top, and there are a few little sediments of yeast although decanted carefully.

S - Honeycomb, pancakes and waffles, gentle melon and grape notes, sweet bakery yeast, and a little whiff of alcohol. This aroma is gentle and very inviting. Could be a bit more forceful though....I love the smell, but it's on the lighter side (it does, however, open up quite a bit with warmth).

T - Very grapey and fruity at first with a nice hop kick in the middle and a gradually progressive sourness dominates the ending. This really is much fruitier, hoppier, and tart than I would have expected from the nose. I think that the honey sweetness is a bit overpowered by the hops.

M - Bites with sour acidity, and finishes very dry and hoppy.

D - Really, this is not that outstanding. It looks great and smells unique but weak, but the taste is just pretty bad. And at six bucks for a tiny little bottle....this stuff is really not worth it.

My bottle was almost a year old. I would like to try aging this stuff to see if it mellows out a little bit....IMO the hop bite and sour acidity (normally two things I crave!) might have overpowered the subtle nuances of this brew. Way, way overated.

I've never experienced such a disparity between how a beer smells and how it tastes. This one smells beautiful, sweet, and delicate but tastes brash and overbearingly bitter. I guess the lesson here is don't trust your nose...Yankee Candles smell good too, but I wouldn't eat one.

Check out Orval's website while you're at it. It's really cool.

Photo of Grundle20
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours copper in color with a fair amount of sedimentary haze. There is a massive pillowy white head that laces the glass with swards of foam.

There's an apparent banana scent that is paired well with a Belgian yeast character. The smell is mildly obvious and pleasant overall.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
Tropical fruit notes and minor banana hints build up the majority of this beer's flavor. It drinks light and crisp which works well with how effervescent the beer is. The beer finishes dry with an exit of fruit punch and leaves you with little aftertaste.

This beer is damn tasty and pretty low ABV for a Belgian beer. I could easily supplant my american hefeweizen for this beer on any day. One of the more drinkable Belgian beers I've ever had.

Bottom Line:
A beer, that to me, lives up to it's reputation. I think it would have been even better had it aged a little because this bottle was a little on the "green" side. A must for any Belgian fan or somebody looking to get in to Belgian beer.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 0.33L bottle into an over-sized wine glass.

A: The beer is a bright amber color, with a large foamy white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is robust with mostly yeast and fruit, along with some spice.

T: The taste is very sweet and fruity with flavors of lemon, orange, banana & pineapple. There’s some yeast presence and a mild hops character, but hardly any bitterness. I wasn’t expecting this beer to be so sweet, but it’s definitely a unique and pleasant surprise.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, high carbonation, very clean finish for such a sweet beer.

D: This one is very tasty and goes down ridiculously easy with no hint of alcohol. I could certainly stay with this beer for quite a while.

Photo of Pegasus
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy medium brown color, with a small scattering of white foam, and little carbonation.

Aroma: The aroma manifests incredible complexity, with banana, vanilla, candy sugar, and hints of earth combined in a dazzling manner.

Taste: Opens with a slightly toasty, earthy note. The taste turns mildly hoppy midway through the taste, and finishes dry with a mildly earthy character.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, very full, and quite pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: Simply superb, one of the best of the Trappist-brewed beers, remarkable in its excellence.

Photo of HoustonTX
4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Orval Trappist Ale, take number two.

Pours a light brown with highlights of amber. Frothy, bubbly head sits upon the body. Loads of carbonation streams easily float upwards.

Damn, this beer is still one of the best smelling ones I have encountered to date. Such balance, euphoria, and loads of flavor. Tons of fruity flavors enter the nasals. Dark fruit, grapes, and pear. Mandarin oranges, pineapple, and sweet melon fringe the edges. The fruit esters in this Belgium are absolutely amazing, and give proof that lower ABV does not take away from the quality of the brew.

Taste is appealing, and flavorful. While not living up to the high expectations of the smell the taste does not dissapoint. Sweet malty upfront that lingers throughout. With background flavors of fruit and floral hops. It's swift, and stingy mouthfeel feels great. This may be one of the most drinkable Belgians made. In my opinion that is.

A classic, and the definitive Belgian Pale Ale. Thank you Orval.

Photo of mwagner1018
4.7/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a traveled .33L bottle into an Orval glass. Purchased this beer in Belgium, survived the arduous journey back to the states, settled for about 2 months at about 55deg F....then was thourougly enjoyed!

Orval poured out a beautiful mid October fall color of Orange, dusted yellow, and amber. Settled with a nice head, good aroma, great carbonation release up from the center bottom of the glass. This beer had a very fruit induced, orange and spicy aroma.
I liked the subdued but noticable taste of strong German hops. I would rate this as a good drinkable beer, but would like a bit more substance in the mouthfeel....The taste of this beer definitely shines above 50deg. Overall, I rank it second among the ales of the Trappiste Bieres!

Photo of tcfishler
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very hazy orange-amber with a massive, pillowy, long-lasting head and great lacing.

Expressive, high-toned, fruity nose with grape and crabapple character, along with some herbaceousness.

More restrained flavors that lean to the dry side of the spectrum, particularly for a Belgian. Quite complex with notes of tarragon, guava, and exotic spices. Mouthfeel is fairly unimpressive...the only weak point of this brew.

Finishes moderately long and dry.

An interesting, distinctive ale that manages to be both incredibly complex and impressively balanced.

Photo of dbalsock
3.62/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

So I finally decided to try this one, after hearing the name occasionally enough to be interested. I found the appearance to be pretty nice, especially due to the beautiful white head. The amber color was nice, but standard, so the head really did the job of making it a beautiful sight. The aroma was great as well; very fruity and sweet. I picked up a good deal of banana, and maybe some brown sugar plum notes. However, the taste was way different; consisting of some light malts, overly intensive vegetable like hops and the occasional addition from the nose. The mouthfeel was overly bitter for my taste, but the consistency was nice and thin/smooth. I am not interested in trying this beer again, considering I expected much more and am fairly disappointed.

Photo of boblog
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy orange amber with a wonderfull large dense white white head which leaves tons of lacing.

Smell: Tart orange with hints of lemon and flowers.

Taste: Crisp and smooth. Medium body. Taste is amazingly complex it has hints or orange, lemons, apples, with a nice hop bitterness. The beer has a bit of a tart flavor to it as well

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated and medium bodied.

Overall an amazing beer prhaps my favorite Trappist ive had, atleast over Chimay and Archel

Photo of bucko
4.07/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nice orange, Autumn-inspired color with a big, fluffy, off-white head that slowly recedes into purdy lacing. Truth be told, there's still some head in the glass and I'm halfway through this sucker. The smell is niiice, reminding me of a rose garden, apples and perhaps a bit of citrus... lemon maybe... The flavor is complex as well with subtle tastes of apple, flowers and a bit of spice, among other things. Mouthfeel is smooth, crisp, slightly "snappy." Very drinkable, with the only thing keeping me from having at least a couple at a time being the price. Well done.

Photo of doppelmeup
3.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a bottle of this at the Rathskeller in Indianapolis.

Poured into a snifter glass, this beer was dark amber and had a nice creamy layer of foam which floated on top of the beer and refreshed itself everytime I swirled the glass.

Slight bubblegum, slight yeast aroma. Not as strong as other Belgian ales I've had, but definitely a Belgian aroma.

Taste was surprisingly dry, with a bit of bubblegum flavor in the background. This beer was quite unique, somewhere between a saison and a Duval, but defitely unique. Slightly bitter.

Moderate carbonation with a clean, crisp finish.

Overall, a unique brew but not my favorite Belgian ale. And at $6-7 per bottle in the store and $10 at the restaurant, it is quite pricey. I won't buy this again.

Photo of JayTheFinn
3.68/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm a novice when it comes to Belgians, so I'll keep this short...

I liked it to a point. It's well done, just not my style.

A-Orangy and hazy body with a powerful head.
S-Smells like it'll be at least slightly sweet but...
T-Very dry with an assertive flavor of...god knows what. I'm really struggling to describe this one, which makes it all the more intriguing.
M-Lays fully on the tongue.
D-Drinkable yes, but as I mentioned, it's not for me. I'd never turn one away, but I'd probably try something different if I had the choice.

Photo of dherling
4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out a hazy honey orange with a thick head with nice lacing.
Nose is sweet oranges, citrus, bready, and maybe even a little sour. The taste starts off tart and a little sour then almost turns into a hoppy pale ale. The beer foams in the mouth. Highly carbonated and finished dry. Light and refreshing even with the massive carbonation.

Photo of yelterdow
3.82/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cellared for four years almost to the day, I've been saving this one for an uninterrupted hour for reviewing. Bottled 10/22/02, this is being served in the appropriate Orval clalice with the little fish on it. Here goes nothing.

Appearance- Upon popping the cap, I'm greeted with a loud *hiss* and that unmistakable Orval nose... part funk, part I have no idea. The first pour is crystal clear medium gold, with a crackling white head that spreads evenly over the beer's surface. Draperies of lacing cling behind, showing good structure... there are many streams of effervescence launching from the bottom of the glass.

Smell- There is nothing quite like Orval's aroma. Love it or hate it, it's the most unique and distinctive nose on any beer... it sounds crazy to list gauze pads and a first-aid kit as positive attributes, but the yeast strain is just phenomenally weird. I'll stop there.

Taste- This beer is a difficult one to review, it's so indescribably unique. Funky plastic hops with a sourbready, bone dry finish... the aftertaste lingers and echoes its yeast, calling out for an appropriate cheese to pair with. Complex and a delightful anomaly.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- A lively, crisp entry defers to a subtle, easy seafoaminess... elegantly drinkable. The big flavors mentioned earlier can get a bit tiring over the course of a tasting, so food is recommended. A one-of-a-kind authentic Trappist ale with its own story.

The final pour with sediment: Disappointing. Leave it behind.

Photo of SudNut
3.66/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was my first Belgian Pale Ale I have had a couple of the strong darks before and think I prefer those. This beer pours to a murky golden brown with a creamy head and some lacing.

The smell is citrus like…. lemon, with a hint of spice.

Taste is sweet then tart liked the smell with a tiny hop bite and a light undertone of alcohol. Fairly well balanced if you like tartness.

Mouth feel is light and creamy with plenty of carbonation.

I gave it a low drinkabilty mark because I don’t like tart beers. Other wise a fairly sound choice. This just doesn't seem to be my favorite Belgian style.

Photo of jwc215
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Best before Oct. 13, 2010 (exactly five years after bottling date, which is also listed).

Poured into an Orval chalice.

Pours cloudy orange with a thick, creamy off-white head that thins to a very well-retained rocky covering. Some lacing clings to the sides of the glass.

The smell is of lemon peel, tartness, and spicy sourdough.

The taste is unique and complex. Tart lemon, spiced dough and a wine-like vinegar are all present throughout. A sharp hop bitterness peeks through. Only slight hints of alcohol are present. The medicinal finish has a fresh, acidic character.

The feel is creamy and light. Somewhat drying. The body stays firm and the fresh feeling lingers on the tongue.

It's a wonderful sipping brew that I enjoy as an occassional treat. A true world classic!

Photo of BlackHaddock
2.87/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I have two more in my garage, so this review may change after a further tasting, but I was not impressed at all with this bottle. The worst beer a monk has ever made for me!

Slightly cloudy, an off orange colour.

Smell was of sour apples, no head, just a wisp, which went almost straight away.

Tasted of the same sour apples as the smell, sharp and fizzy.

If it had been a blind tasting, I would have said it was a rough Cider or a really poor Geuze.

Photo of JasonA
3.53/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my first Belgian Pale. Im not sure Im a good reviewer for it, so you may want to disregard my review.

This bottle was purchased at the Chesapeake Gourmet in Queenstown, MD. Poured from as picture bottle.

Looks opaque light brown, with some orange tine. Large and thick head. I dont get much from the smell, was expecting more of a bite from it.

As my first belgian pale, I am not impressed. I picked up this beer simply because it had 'Trappist' in the title. There is no mention of the type on the bottle. Shame on me.

I will say that it tastes very fresh, no real alcohol byte. Little hop after the swallow. Overall tastes dry to me. I was expecting more flavor.

Hopefully after I have tried more Begian pales, I can make my way back to this one.

Photo of vwcraig
4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this Orval at Dawg's Bottle Shop.

33cL bottle with an interesting pin shape to it. Best before 31/01/2011.

Poured a nice medium brown with orangish notes into a goblet. Thick, off-white head about two fingers high.

Smelled of sweet malts and yeast.

First taste hit me with sweet dark fruits, grapes almost. Definitely a bitter aftertaste that is almost hoppy to me. Could hardly detect the alcohol.

Liked the mouthfeel as it was not heavily carbonated as I have encountered with other Belgians. Kinda medium bodied and chewy.

Lots of lacing left on the glass and head retained until the last swig. But that may be due to drinking it quicker than usual; but I couldn't help it. Delicious. Can't wait to have another.

Photo of Beerzebub
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 04/04/2006

Bright, slightly translucent amber. Huge crown of blobby head that slowly melt into a dense, wrinkly volcano shaped thing.

Smells of spices (cloves, cinnamon, anise), herbs (hops, grass, basil), red apple, black currant, banana, yeast, leather. Complex and appetizing.

Very dry. Some herbal, medicinal hoppy bitterness, and the flavor of herbal hops. Some acidity. Some brett-induced leathery notes, very well integrated. Very long finish - dry, herbal, medicinal.

Some astringency, which really works with the overall dryness and exaggerates it. Good carbonation. Refreshing, and surprisingly drinkable.

Perhaps an austere hardliner among the Trappists, this beer is nonetheless one of the greats.

Photo of peabody
3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a nice reddish tan clear brew with lots of carbonation yeilding 3 fingers of off-white suds that stay high in my tulip glass.
Smell is a very light banana and cherry orange. Mabey a little sugar in there too but no alcohol is present.
Taste is a bitter mix of banana and lemon candy sugar with just a hint of hops and alcohol and cherry.
Mouthfeel is pretty clean with lots of carbonation but the flavors that are left in the mouth are like a heavy perfume.
Drinkability isn't all that great here because of the perfume feel in the aftertaste.

Photo of rsyberg01
3.97/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

S - Teardrop 11.2 oz bottle. Bottled on 3-22-05. Best by 3-22-2010

A - Deep hazy copper. Head is great, tightly packed off white bubbles.

S - Tropical esters, spicy, banana, sugary malts, biscuity to a certain sense, citrusy orange as well.

T - Banana, orange zest, malty sweetness, not as strong as it all is in the nose. Nice little hop hit at the end.

M - Carbonated balanced pretty well with the weight of the beer. A little above average.

D - I think it would become pretty neutral after two or three in succession. Overall though it is not bad.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,687 ratings.