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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

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4,688 Ratings

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Ratings: 4,688
Reviews: 2,168
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: 4,688 | Reviews: 2,168
Photo of JRdaSconnie
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Been too long since I've had an Orval so picked one up today at Trig's Cellar 70 in Minocqua, WI. Dated 17/11/2011 and taken from fridge and poured into St. Bernardus goblet.

S: Tart, tangy, little funky. Herbal dry hop aroma wafts up. Bready malt with light caramel or toast smell. No alcohol.

A: Deep amber to light copper. Beautiful pillow of white foam slowly drops into a thin layer with ring as I enjoy the beer. Sticky lacing.

T: Dry hops coming through in nice, herbal hop flavor with light but balancing bitterness. Nothing astringent even hints through. Tiny amount of Brett funkiness, but more in aroma than taste. Malt sweetness is present but is phased out by hop flavor. Hint of alcohol on the finish, but no excessive heat.

M: Probably my favorite part of Orval. Highly "digestable," and yet full in mouthfeel all the same. The fluffy carbonation helps fill the mouth and carry the beer over your tongue. The hop bitterness lingers as a dry mouthfeel. Slight amount of enamel-etching acidity.

O: A must try for any beer geek and one of my favorites in the world. This may be a desert island beer for me. I've yet to have a bottle more than about a year old, so haven't appreciated any of the higher level of funk that aging Brett will bring out. World class, indeed.

Photo of Kadonny
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle (of course) into a tulip glass.

A: A dark golden orange color almost brownish. A huge billowy white fluffy head that leaves sticky glass lacing throughout the glass.

S: Fruits, with grape, citrus and a candy sweetness, spicy yeast also detected.

T: Yeasty with fruit flavors of concord grape, lemon, apple, pear, citrus and a floral hop flavor. A nice sweetness follows along like candied fruit or sugar, but not overly so like I expected. Very complex as it warms, the spicy yeasty characters come out more so. The floral hops stick through the finish. Very nice, I like this.

M: Sweet but dry. Finish is getting sweeter as it warms, no alcohol (or very little) is detected.

D: Fairly high, unexpectedly so. I heard a ton about this beer.

Overall I was more than impressed. I heard this is a love it or hate it beer because of the brett, I personally loved it. Very good, very complex, great belgian and another great trappist beer.

Photo of Rayek
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my favorite Chalice.

A: Hazy orange copper, with a fair amount of carbonation. An exceedlingly soapy copper tinted cap starts strong and slowly settles to a dense sheet of foam. Leaves bits and pieces of lace.

S: Super funky and very complex. Pepper, anise and cut grass are out front. They're joined by a powerful sourdough aroma. Mixed in is what I would best describe as a barnyard earthiness. There's even a light pear fruitiness to be had.

T: Fruity, spicy and sour all at the same time. Pepper and anise bitterness, plus funky sourdough flavors dominate. Malt is almost hay like. A pale fruit sweetness is at work too. Finishes tart, spicy and dry.

M: The medium body is slightly grainy. Carbonation is vigorous, yet soft.

D: Orval is a beer to approach with an open mind. Truly one of the more unique brews out there. I'm glad I finally revisited this one after many years away.

Photo of dpodratsky3
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into chalice

A: Cloudy and opaque, a dark butterscotch color, but only in color, nice and light looking, foams up nicely then settles to just under half a finger of off frothy and light looking white head, stays thick against the sides

S: Tangy and sweet fruity aromas abound, lots of variety, some spiciness gets imparted from that unique belgian yeast, some mild belgian hop aroma is also present, that tangyness is also accompanied by some of those barnyard/earthy aromas as well, very nice

T: Starts kind of spicy (carbonation also affects this), but turns very tart and also sweet just like the smell with all that fruit/barnyard/earthy hint, almost like fruit skins, then the hops come in and start to increase in intensity, pretty mild flavor but adds good bitterness to the mix, complex flavor profile, but remains light and very enjoyable

M: Highly carbonated like many belgians, creates an airy, light mouthfeel, helps tartness carry, but also cleanses at the end

D: Surprisingly drinkable for all of the flavors present, that nice light mouthfeel really helps

Notes: Very unique, Orval has always been a standard for me, it may not appeal to everyone because of its distinct flavors, but I like its uniqueness. This is definitely a belgian classic.

Photo of DeDolle
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perfect appearance - orange and cloudy with an inch thick creamy lasting head and since I`m having it in it`s own glass it looks even better.The aroma is slightly sour and the tase is zesty and citrussy and instantly recognisable. Great Beer, I feel privaliged to drink it,wonderful!!

Photo of CharlatanSin
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Word to the wise -- let this one warm up quite a bit before you dive into it. The difference is night and day.

I've had this bottle sitting around for a while, waiting for a good moment to finally try it. Martha Choakley screwing the pooch seems like as good a time as any. It was bottled on 07/05/07, and is "best by" 07/05/12.

It poured a hazy yellow gold into the oversized wine glass. It was a cautious pour, but the head was still way over the top, literally. Gigantic, white and foamy, like laundry detergent.

The smell is very sour and tart. That belgian yeast doing its thing. I'm getting a lot of apple, some grape, and a definite pepper undercurrent. The taste is similar, but it works even better on the tongue. Sweet and tart and extremely dry. If I'd already had a few, you could possibly convince me it was some wonderful white wine.

The mouthfeel is light, and the carbonation is tight and sharp, again, almost wine-like. Already mentioned the super dry finish. I'm still developing my palate as far as Belgians are concerned, but this is a darn good beer any way you slice it.

Photo of emeyer
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 8/16/08. Bottle, bottled 2/20/08. Pours a cloudy dark orange with a huge thick light head that leaves nice lacing. Aroma of Belgian yeast, lots of light fruits, light sourness, slight hop bitterness, and spices. Wow, does this smell good! Flavor is equally as complex, perhaps even more so. Spices, Belgian yeast, dark, light and tropical fruits--but not as fruity as aroma-- rather malty, vegetables, lemon, and tartness. Closes with a bitter, dry finish. I love Belgian ales and this was a good one! Awesome.
9/4/9/4/17 (4.3/5)

Update 12/3/08: Tried some of the 9/7/08 batch. Aroma of lemon, sour fruits, and a slight hoppy bitterness. Ah, heaven. Flavor is dry with lots of bitter hops. Not as fruity as the aroma nor the aged Orval. But always a fun treat!

Photo of nickfl
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Hazy copper color with a large and tenacious head that is one of the few I have seen that deservs to be called rocky; it really reminds me of a rootbeer float.

S - Lemony, sour and funky. Very nice rustic aroma with some ginger and cinnamon notes.

T - Tart and earthy, with a hoppy, leathery finish. Not all that complex, but very nice.

M - Bone dry and highly carbonated.

D - For me this is a beautifully drinkable beer, the dryness and the tart, earthy flavors make it a wonderfully refreshing beer.

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been waiting a long time to get my hands on one of these again. (Thanks to bennybrew for suggesting Tully's for the Belgians!)

Pours a hazy golden brown with a big foamy head. Smells bitter and yeasty. Floral. Hints of light malt with spice.

Tough to describe the taste as I have had nothing like it. Alternately sweet and bitter up front fading to a sour apple flavor. Yeasty but more than that it tastes bready like sourdough. Strong alcohol finish at times, warming in the throat. Full bodied but with light aftertastes.

This brew fits no specific style. It is truly a one of a kind experience.

Photo of jeonseh
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this in a GI Reserve Glass and from a bottle. Thanks to Unholy 2 for throwing this in as an extra on a trade.

A - A very nice looking beer as I would call it a light amber color. It has traces of orange and lemon throughout of it. A bit hazy as only a trace of light gets through and can see a ton of carbonation trailing up through it. A nice creamy, one finger head sits on top and is rather strong there.

S - smells lemony fresh mixed in with a bready, yeasty odor. There is also a lint hint of pepper as well.

T - Now, here is where this beer is rather unique. First, it has a hint of orange and lemon that come on first. After that, there is that legendary Orval funkiness which reminds me a bit of the taste of blue cheese. Also has an earthen almost grassy taste and also get a hint of the yeasty, bread flavors as well. There is also a hint of sweet malt that comes on first before the funk comes through and gives the beer a bit of a sweet flavor. Have to say that the aftertaste does a good job of reflecting the beer's flavors as I get a mixture of lemon spiciness and funk just hanging out.

MF - A full mouth feel as this is one bready beer that just hangs out. Plus have to say that this one has a ton of carbonation but somehow manages to make it not overpowering at all, which is sometimes a problem with this style in my opinion.

D - Overall, a very tasty and complex beer that has a surprising note to it with its funk. This would be a beer that I would bust out with a cheese platter whenever I'm not in a mood for a Belgian Dark Ale. I would definitely reach for one of these again and really for the uniqueness that I haven't found in many other beers that I have had before.

Photo of vancean2
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into an Orval chalice.
6.9% ABV, Bottled on 24/10/2012, best by 24/10/2017.

A - Orval almost gushes from it's bottle even at the 50° serving temperature due to it's abundant carbonation. Hazy but beautiful deep golden in color, the beer forms a massive and loose eggshell head with incredibly retention and heavy lace coating the glass.

S - Lovely honey graham cracker malt backing allows for a luscious aroma of Brett horseblanket funk that contributes suggestions of pine, mint, and goaty, hay undertones.

T - Any hop aroma that faintly emerged disappears completely in flavor, shifting almost entirely to the beer's Brett yeast esters of horseblanket, wet straw, and overall barnyard funk, but tamed down considerably.

M - Highly carbonated, Orval dances on your tongue joyfully while it's seemingly light body washes down with smoothness, lingering on the tongue with dry spice notes.

O - Delicate Brettanomyces exists, in this beer! Restrained barnyard funk allows the dry cracker-like flavor to stay a large part of the beer while nuances continue to come out as it's enjoyed. The crisp drinkability of Orval suggests it would make for a fantastic session Belgian beer if it weren't near $6 a bottle.

Photo of Proteus93
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Lovely golden-orange hue, almost reminding me of the sky at sunset. The white, foamy head forms vigorously and quickly, but manages to remain control to build into a fantastic froth topping. Very nice

S + T: Aroma and flavour are very similar. Lemon rind and "horse blanket" with a soft fruitiness below it all. More 'funky' and bitter than other trappists, but quite intriguing and unique.

M + D: Sparkling, foaming, rich. It's a very interesting style, and one of the better ones. It took far too long to finally get around to it, but glad to have done so now... with the lower alcohol, it's inviting to have another.

Photo of baldben
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

10 month old bottle served in a glass chalice. Poured carefully to leave majority of the sediment in the bottle.

Pours with a thick fluffy off-white head that leaves thick lace down the glass. Head retention is very good, slowly reducing to a thin layer. The beer itself is tawny or copper with some haze.

The scent of this Orval is musty and faintly reminiscent of citrus fruit. I think if you put an orange into a baseball mitt it might have the same aroma.

The taste is as unique as the scent. Some musty and citrus notes. Bitter with dominant hop flavor. The malts become more evident as the beer warms. The after taste is dry, hoppy and lingers long on the tongue.

Complex but easy to drink, I give this beer high marks.

Photo of jbone78
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is my final Trappist! After this one, I have tasted all of the Trappist Breweries. Not all of their beers, just their breweries. I am excited.

A- Poured slightly hazy into my Chimay gobblet. large head that I scraped with a butter knife like a traditional Belgian person would to open the nose.
S- If you read through my reviews, I am not a big smeller. I get more aroma from the actual drink than I do sticking my nose in there.
T- Great carbonated lemon zesty flavor that is great. Did I mention it was great? Very well balanced and not at all too sweet like any of the other Trappist.
M- Smooth, slight yeast aftertaste that goes with the territory.
D- One of the best Trappist I have had. And different because not all Trappist breweries make a Belgian Pale.


Photo of dorianmarley
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is golden, opaque honey amber. Massive, fluffy head. Light, bubbly lacing.

Nose has tons of yeast. Spicy too; cinnamon and nutmeg. Sour fruit. Sweet lime.

Taste is dry, with an almost rye quality. Tons of fresh baked bread. Yeasty in a good way. Not as sweet as the smell suggested.

Almost perfect mouthfeel. It has a lot of carbonation; almost like a seltzer water. Very smooth. Fluffy head lightens every sip.

Overall, not as complex as many Belgians. In a way, it is refreshing in how straightforward it is. Fun to drink, but the heavy carbonation makes it sippable, not gluggable. Never overwhelming; every sip is pleasant. The head is the most impressive I have seen. Not a nerdy beer, more of a back porch easygoing beer when you're trying to kick back and sip on one or two.

Photo of cavedave
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Duvel'esque topper of fine knit and long lasting off white. Brownish bronze and quite cloudy beer looks thick, all right.

Light funk and lemon tart, a touch of candy sweet, spice and herbs as well provide a fragrant treat.

Spicy lemon drops, pepper and earth, deep tart tangy funk, lingering bite. For many folks this would be overkill, for me it's a delight.

Spritzy feel, full bodied for style to say the least, unreal, but hints of resin builup make a great, not perfect, feel.

I love this beer. For true sincere.

Photo of bigkahunas4
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured form the Orval bottle into a tulip.

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

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

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

Photo of majorlance
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mush
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BitteBier
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a beautiful, active pour. Golden amber with a monstrous head reminiscent of a (root) beer float. Active carbonation on the way up and swirls of sediment on the way down. Subtle, clean grain smell with spiciness on the fringes. Eminently smooth texture with a complex palate that ranges from a sweet, malty start to a very crisp middle and dry, warm finish. A very pleasant find.

Photo of mj001jk
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an orange/amber color with some haze.

Thick persistent foam and lots of carbonation. Aromas jump out of the glass, it is almost like a soda, bursting with bubbles and sour cherry fruit leading the way, followed by orange peel, tiny hints of nutmeg and light hops.

Body is light and dry with sour dried fruits such as apricot, orange and cherries. It is very vibrant and crisp, no underlying sweetness or lingering funkiness on the palate. Finish is short and leave you with some red apple flavors. A very tasty and refreshing beer.

Photo of ianjsullivan
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ST: 11.2 oz poured into a Duvel chalice. The bottle lists the ABV, the bottled on date, and a drink by date,

A: Cloudy burnished gold and orange with a very thick, white head that looks like a milkshake.

S: Grapefruit, lemon, funky yeast, and sugar.

T: Delicious toasty malt backed by a strong yet elegant back bone of hoppy grapefruit and pine (there is also a slight bubblegum). The finish has nice hops, but it does not overdue it.

M: Medium and dry with a nice zing of carbonation.

O: Sometimes I feel like people in America assume that since a beer is from Belgium it must be good. There is no mistaking Orval; it is very good. The beer is balanced and elegant, and it easy blends a higher alcohol percentage. Lovely flavors continue to develop as the beer warms. It truly is a a winner.

Photo of Stigs
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle, served in an Ommegang chalice

A - the gentlest of pours yields close to two fingers of intensely light and frothy, light grey colored foam. the beer is clear until the sediment from the bottom of the bottle falls into the glass. very dark gold/amber in color.

S - light and airy, yet pungent live yeasts bring a myriad of scents: sourdough bread, grains, grassy hops, lemon zest, orange, and a subtle sour/tartness.

T - very dry, grassy and earthy hop bitterness...hints of lemon and pear, bread, lightly sweetened biscuits, and funky brett yeast.

M - insanely light body with a very characteristic tight and punchy carbonation...this one dances around and almost dissolves in your mouth. very dry and prickly finish.

D - one of the beers that really opened my eyes to what yeast is capable of. truly unique and one of my favorites to pair a light but flavorful breakfast with.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,688 ratings.