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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.

2,214 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,214
Hads: 4,973
Avg: 4.17
pDev: 18.94%
Wants: 302
Gots: 682 | FT: 12
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.
View: Beers (2) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,214 | Hads: 4,973
Photo of AmishT
3.66/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep hazy gold with a huge head that utterly dominates my wide body snifter. Leaves a wake of lacing behind as it recedes. Great retention, as the head settles into a foamy cap.

S - A good mix of yeast and dark fruit aromas make up the nose. The yeast does not overwhelm the fruit notes. Overall, the aromas could be a bit stronger, but it's pleasant, nonetheless

T&M - The flavor is yeasty with a tart, lemony-like kick. Pretty spicy. Initially, I found the flavor unpleasant, but it became more drinkable as I continued drinking. The mouth is smooth and medium bodies. Flavors endure decently.

D - Once I got past the flavor, I found this Belgian to be fairly drinkable. Maybe a tad heavy and a little on the heavy side, but nothing too overwhelming.

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Photo of kkipple
3.66/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pondering independence, I crack out one of these brews to fill my recently acquired Orval chalice. The goblet is a beaut, and it's been months since I've had one of these... maybe longer. Into the fish-adorned goblet it goes!

... and produces a head so staggering, so wonderful, that it takes me aback. Orval creates a thick, rich meringue-like froth that piles up up up! atop the beer. It foams up, then begins to settle, crackling with annoyance as it subsides. Falling from the edges first, it leaves gobs of sea-foam lace and a mound of thick, dense bubbles. If I were a bit smaller, I believe I could walk across the surface of said head... but enough. The Orval itself is hazy, and a burnt, watery orange. The everlasting head still sits commandingly as I raise the glass for a sniff.

Mmm, yeasty... pungent is the word here. This beer brims over with estery yeast character, sour and fruity, dry and rosy. It's simple, yet hard to define. There is a sweetness about the nose that is certainly not found in the mouth. Whatever this smells like, it's pretty memorable.

The flavor is something of a letdown after such high previous marks. This is a tart, very dry Belgian ale. There's a bitter hop note but it's lost amidst the swirl of yeast and sour flavor... hints of lemons, pale malt, light caramel and pear are all here. It comes together nicely but is simply too attenuated for easy drinking. Orval sports very fine, light carbonation and leaves my mouth feeling quite dry. Interesting and unique to be sure, but not really my thing... I do wonder what the original malt bill for this beer was.

Mouthfeel is thin, with light carbonation (see above) and finishes sour, tart and grainy. Clean in its own way, while a touch of malt sweetness teases the palate after you swallow.

To sum: Orval is decently drinkable, if you like it. This is quite a sophisticated and erudite beer and reminiscent of a dry white wine or champagne. Not a good intro to Belgian beers, but it certainly fills a niche. Try Orval at least once.

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Photo of SudNut
3.66/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

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Photo of TerryW
3.66/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Exceptional head and lace. Needs a big glass to handle the head as the beer is poured. Big, rough, chunky, substantial lace. Cloudy amber colour. Impressive to look at and earns full points on that count.

Interesting smell. Yeasty, earthy, some sharp alcohol notes mixed with banana. Not for anyone shy of how their beer smells. Wet horse/wet wool smell buried in there.

Hits the mouth somewhat sweetly, but finishes up dryly. Winelike in character. Interesting, but a somewhat watery mouthfeel.

This is one to linger over and not put away by the bucket full. Good to imbibe as part of a beer and cheese evening.

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Photo of pmcadamis
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
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.

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Photo of peabody
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
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.

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Photo of Jamison27
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into an oversized wine glass from a bottle dated 09/2008.
I was very excited to try my first Trappist ale after discovering one of my favorite refreshing beers, Hoegaarden. I will say it was not at all what I expected.

A- cloudy, amber / gold. Big head that lasts = I'm talking a caricature of a MONGOLOID.

S- fruit, cider, faint horse blanket

T- tangy, a bit of orange peel, funk became more apparent as this beer warmed. I didn't get any alcohol bite.

M- This is where it went downhill for me. Light, crisp and dry, but overly carbonated. My first impression was, "This is like champagne!"

D- I couldn't drink more than one of these. The carbonation made me feel bloated with half the glass left. I will age the other bottle I have to see if the carbonation subsides.

Looking forward to trying some other Trappist beers to see how they compare. For now I'm thinking some Lost Abbey with its low carbonation might be my next purchase.

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Photo of claspada
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aromas begin with a clean herbal smell mixed with some lemon and honey. Has earthy notes mixed in as well that remind you of a cup of tea.
The tastes begin musty and citrusy, both orange and lemon. The yeast characteristics are prevalent throughout which keeps this beer quite dry as you initially consume and well through the finish. Bitterness is clean but also quite prevalent throughout.
Overal this beer is extremely drinkable but just not my cup of tea. Would like some more malt and less yeast flavor. The moderately high carbonation level also is a detriment for enjoying more than one of these.

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Photo of Yesac
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 5/2007

A- Cloudy amber/orange with a medium sized bright white head.

S- Belgian yeast, some floral fruits such as orange peel.

T- Crisp. Lemon zest. Dry. Tart. I've heard people describe this as 'horse blanket' and I understand now. My review is fairly biased, this is not a style I prefer much.

M- Very highly carbonated. Thin bodied, almost nothing left on the palate.

D- Tart, dry and highly carbonated makes this one a task to drink.

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Photo of mnfinnkidd
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Served in Orval Chalice

Nose: Slightly Sweet with sour notes. Pear. Light Aroma

Apperance: Cloudly reddish orange with white head about 1/4" thick: Long Lasting head.

Mouthfeel: Heavy on the tongue with full carbonation in the back

Taste: Sourness is medium with apple characteristics. Sourness lingers on the tongue for a while after each sip. Maybe burnt tones.

Overall: I've been waiting to try this trappist beer for a while now ever since I bought the glass to match it. The sourness is a little too tart for my tastes at the moment. This is a very subtle beer for a trappist but it's also quite different.

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Photo of bigbeerdrinka
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

And now to review one of the most controversal brews on beer advocate..

Pours a bright golden orange color with a huge frothy head that leaves a nice lace. It is quite clear from looking at this beer that there is a ton carbonation from this brew, as the bubbles don't stop shooting up. Aromas are a mix of citrus lemony tones, and acetic almost cat piss like funk. There is also some interesting barnyard aromas. Flavors start off very spritzy to this brew with an in your face carbonation that just explodes on the pallate. There's a heavy dosage of lemony citrus flavors with hints of spice. Following there is a yeasty estery like flavor that brings about quite a dryness to this beer. There is a decent acidic punch throughout this beer which just a light dosage of maltiness and a slight sugary sweetness. Overall this brew was very spritzy and citrusy but of all the trappists probably one of my least favorite.

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Photo of LarryKemp
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A slightly cloudy golden with many bubbles rising to the firm, stark white head.

A complex aroma of citrus with a background of malt. A distinct pepperiness is also there. Almost an earthiness that one finds in a lambic.

The taste is not sweet. It almost starts as dry as it finishes. I was expecting more contrasts and am a little disappointed. Their are no off tastes.

There is a little pepperiness to the mouthfeel. It does have a medium light mouthfeel and there is some carbonation playing with tongue. The alcohol does not burn even though it is relitively high.

This is such a subtle Belgian, I would recommend it only to those just starting out trying the style. Most certainly, I would recommend this as the first beer of the night because, it would be hard to appreciate it after a couple other bigger beers.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
3.64/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was the feature beer for my 2005 tasting "Trapped in Kansas City". It proved to be the most interesting, but not the most enjoyable.

Appearance: Pours a golden orange color with really good head retention. It clings on the glass insistently.

Smell: The smell is very complicated. I got notes of hops, and some very intense herbs (corriander, rosemary, sage) as well as an over all sweetness.

Taste: The flavor is pretty clean in the onset then changes to a strange herbal bitterness. It was a flavor I was not prepared for. The aftertaste lasts for a long time - so if you like the flavor, you get to absorb it for a long time after the sip.

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Photo of Heavenisbeer
3.64/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 1/6/10.

A: Gorgeous look to this one. Dark amber body, with a two-finger cloud white head with great retention and enough lacing to make you wanna take a spoon to the sides of the glass to get your money's worth. Hazy, as the yeast is still hanging around.

S: The yeast is front and center. Smells like a combination between a sour and a saison, with barnyard funk and harsh tartness paving the way for some light fruits and oak-y blasts. This doesn't smell like other Trappist ales I've had--it's much more sour in the nose (I'm hoping the bottle isn't infected).

T: I absolutely love sours, but I didn't expect this to be this sour, and although it's not actually offputting, I'm hoping that there's nothing wrong with the beer. That said, this one is funky and tart from the get go. There are hints throughout of some light fruits (apple peel, pear, lemons) and some oak-y notes on the backend, but this is mostly sour.

M: Tart, bubbly, and extremely dry.

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Photo of Greasy
3.64/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Very pretty. Nice 3 finger head. Color was beautiful.

S - Tart, yeast, spices, slightly sweet.

T - The taste was disappointing. Very watery. Not as much flavor as I was expecting.

M - Thin. Very thin.

O - Not a bad beer, just not what I was expecting. It lacked the punch that I usually enjoy from Trappist beers.

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.64/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 29/02/12. Tulip glass.

A: Pours copper-tinted medium gold, with two fingers of wispy light beige head. Loads of lacing and excellent retention.

S: This just smells dry. Complex malt, minerally chalk, lemon and Brett

T: Again chalk (wtf?), slight tartness, citrus (orange and lemon), malt, and finishing with an off moderate bitterness.

M: Light carbonation, fluffy creamy texture, and medium body.

O: Decent enough but the chalkiness is off-putting. I'll take Rayon Vert over this any day.

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Photo of descartes
3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 33 cl. bottle.

Appearance: Deep amber with a nice half inch head.
Smell: Very spicey and grainy smell.
Taste: First one gets a slight honey flavor followed by malts and then a overpoweringly bitter taste.
Mouthfeel: A bit over cardinated, moderate body.
Drinkability: Just too bitter, I cann't see myself downing two of these in a row.

Overall: As I stated above this beer was just too strong and bitter, which was surprising considering how sweet it smelled. Maybe giving it a couple of years in the cellar would have mellowed it out and made it more enjoyable.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a balloon glass.

Look: Hazy, murky faded amber orange. Fluffy light cream colored head that hardly recedes. Random blobs of foamy lacing.

Aroma: Faint banana, musty cardboard, and a trace of bubblegum.

Taste: Really strong carbonation overpowers everything. Gassy. Some bubblegum sweetness, very slight florals and banana.

Mouthfeel: Really carbonated, harsh.

Overall: I'm going to assume this isn't normal. The beer tasted wrong from the start, and too metallic and carbonated.

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Photo of OldYoda
3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From an 11.2oz bottle with a bottled on date of 25/9/2007 and a drink by date of 25/9/2012. Pours a dark hazy orange with a small head and no apparent lacing.

Smell is citrus and a whiff of alcohol.

Taste is surprising. Fizzy and warm with the alcohol. A hint of banana and citrus. To me, very like a saisson.

Mouthfeel is great - to me the best part of the beer.

Drinkability is outstanding, with a 6.9% ABV a couple of these in an evening of conversation with friends would be just about perfect. An outstanding beer - worthy of it's reputation.

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Photo of JizackFH
3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - This beer pours a beautiful hazy orange amber color. It has a huge fluffy white head. This thing took me 6 pours to get it all in the glass. The head has crazy good retention. I mean, it just never goes away. There was nice lacing left on the glass also.

S - The smell is just a big burst of fruit smells, yeast, and a bit of sour dryness.

T - The taste is a little bit sweet, and has a big dry bitterness. There are some notes of hay, yeast, and lemon. The finish is very bitter, dry, and bretty.

M - It has a light to medium body and very high carbonation. The carbonation is very prickly, and tingles the mouth.

D - It has decent drinkability. This beer was not at all what I expected it to be. Overall, I think this is a pretty good beer, and I think it is definitely worth trying.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.63/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Caramel colored with a nice head that is slow to dissipate leaving some delicate lacing around the glass. Some small flecks of dark brown sediment were floating in the glass. *Edit* Second bottle gave me no sediment.

S - Faintly of pine hops and then there is something else. It is almost an adhesive smell like carpet or apolstry, somehow it works though. From that description it sounds like it would be nauseating, but it isn't.

T - Gumball, bitterness, but it doesn't taste quite like a hoppy bitterness, a little peppery. It is a faint flavor all around.

M - Okay, it is smooth, slightly refreshing with a medium viscosity.

D - I liked Orval. Without the monster pricetag I'd probably buy it a lot more often. Went well with the moldy cheese I ate with it.

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Photo of shbobdb
3.62/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'd been pinching pennies for a while so I could try this beer . . . and I have to say I was rather let down.
It pours a murky yellow brown. It reminds me of Degobah, you know, where Yoda lives. The head is impressively thick though.
The odour is intense. Citrus and barnyard. Ohhhh, how exciting!
The taste follows the nose . . . but it is simply nowhere near the level of funkiness I was expecting. This is a nice, drinkable beer. I was looking for an over-the-top crazy beer. It sorta leaves me hanging, because I really like easily drinkable beers . . . but not at the price this guy is charging!
Overall, it's just not hit-me-over-the-head wierd enough. If I wanted an easy drinkin' beer, I'd grab a nice Deutsches Bier.

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Photo of dbalsock
3.62/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.62/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into a heavy trappist glass. Orange color, big white head; aroma of sour fruits and floral hops; medium body, smooth, lively carbonation; flavor is also of sour fruits like apples and citrus backed up by some delicate sweet malty tones still never stealing the show, which, by the way, has a pretty dry hoppy finish. Actually, this may not be the most complex of trappist beers, but what it has to offer is in just great balance as you would expect from the brewery making only one beer to public. And mine was still very young so I would be curious to find out what good would a little aging do to this.

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Photo of jwheeler85
3.62/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I tried to be as objective as possible for this one since I wasn't personally a big fan of it. Higher scores are more based on uniqueness rather than like/dislike.

A- Poured a deep amber with some head retention

S- Slightly grassy and herbal. Also had a slight fruity note with a background smell sort of like musty leather. (very unique, but not personally a fan of this combo)

T- More astringent and bitter than it is sweet. I'm also getting a little bit of orange peel and coriander type flavors. Finishing with that odd sort of leathery note.

M- Medium carbonation, and medium mouthfeel.

D- For me, this had low drinkability... it was one of those beers that I can feel expand like crazy in my gut... makes me feel really bloated.

Overall, I would recommend that everybody try this one at least once... just due to the fact that it is so unique in it's flavor profile. I've never had anything else quite like it. Again, I didn't particularly like it, but it's uniqueness is something to be admired.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,214 ratings.