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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

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2,205 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,205
Hads: 4,942
Avg: 4.17
pDev: 18.94%
Wants: 295
Gots: 670 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,205 | Hads: 4,942
Photo of Bookseeb
3.35/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled on 29/08/2006, it will be almost a year since bottling when cracked. Appearance has a hazy dirty orange with a real thick fluffy head. Smell has a dry citrus aroma along with some sweet spice. Taste is dry, slightly harsh,earthy and citrusy with a bit of hop and carbonation having a good mouthfeel, but nothing that really stands out. Not what I expected it to be in a $6.00 11.2oz bottle, but I'm willing to give it another try in a well aged bottle.

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Photo of bewareOFpenguin
3.33/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was not overly impressed by this offering, in fact a little dissappointed. It poured ok, the classic light color cloudy yellow I have come to exspect from the Belgiums. But after that, it just fell apart. The ABV was not balanced, IMHO, properly. Too much alcohol taste. The hops weren't very impressive, yes they were there, but showing up is only half the work. I felt they didn't blen well. It went down in a forceful way, each sip anticipating it's taste, not in a good way. I'll refrain from this beer in the future.

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Photo of SaltyLime
3.33/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - 2 to 3 finger rocky head, a bit hazy orange in color
Smell - fruity citrus smell along with a slight sourness
Taste - the complex Belgian flavors weren't there...tasted weak and bland
Mouthfeel - low carbonation, lightest bodied Belgian I have tried so far
Drinkability - I think the monks feel asleep during this one, would rather drink a generic homebrew extract kit

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Photo of ChugginOil
3.33/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A- When poured, the bubbly head dominates. It sits lazy atop the brew for over 10 minutes. From the center of the snifter you can see a carbonation tunnel running up to the surface. Wow. Still waiting to drink this and becoming impatient as the relentless head remains. The color of the brew is an opaue golden orange color.

S- The nose is not offering much at first. Some citrus and port scents come through with a bit of honey mixed with some Belgium style yeast.

T- First I taste a glass/metallic taste, followed by a light nothingness, almost flavorless along side the overpowering carbonation and acidity. Overrated so far. A bit of citrus and yeast make this an okay sipper. Not a big fan but its pretty balanced.

M- Very crisp and light with an ample amount of carbonation.

D- If you like watered down Belgium pale ales, this one's for you. You could chug it with a well fat budget.

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Photo of rkinsella
3.32/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Medium yellow / light amber, slightly cloudy. Beautiful head stayed through most of the glass. Decent amount of lacing.

Smell - Actually caught me by surprise. A tad strange. Balanced malt and hop, but with strong notes of a fresh water stream? Dare I say, fresh laundry??? Almost a puzzling smell.

Taste - Right away you can taste the complexity. Fine notes of citrus, spice, tartness, all inside of a big crisp taste. Nice dry finish which faded evenly.

Mouthfeel. Round, velvet, good carbonation.

This beer is beautifully crafted with lots of care I'm sure. Although I don't know how often I would buy it, but I'm very glad I tried it.

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Photo of slackattack
3.32/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled November 2013, best before November 2018.

Pours beautiful golden brown, pillowy 3 fingers of head that is persistent and leaves a spotty lace on the drink down. Nose is not overly assertive, bready notes, Belgian yeast prevalent. My first thought was that it was pretty boozy for a 6.9% beer, but I think the extremely dry finish contributed to that. Really clean taste, but not a lot of flavor if that makes sense. Bitterness throughout the drink makes it enjoyable. After it warmed a few degrees I'm starting to think that I wish this wasn't so expensive because it could be session material. Easy to drink, lots of carbonation, good summer front porcher.

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Photo of kingjames1
3.31/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Popped the cap, and foam literally erupted down the side. Never had that happen with a belgium bottle-capped beer before. As a result, it poured with a massive, thick tan head. Looks great, and the head lasts and lasts on this one. Smells complex, with lemony citrus, coriander, pepper, and something funky ('wet horse blanket', I once heard suggested, but I wouldn't know). Taste - interesting! Weird. I've had an Orval once before, but stupidly smoked a cigar with it (and as a result, tasted nothing). Now my palate is quite clear. I don't think I've ever tasted a beer quite like it. It has that infamous funk of a farmhouse-style. But it is sour, and really dry. Oh! A fruit fly just got caught in the head - sucker's doomed in this froth-swamp. Fly's are attracted to funk.

The sour-dry finish is reminiscent of a dry red wine, like a cheap merlot ('sideways' comes to mind). Hops are definitely present, and yeast to be sure, but where's the malts? Its there, just under the sour layer of yeast and astringent hops. This is definitely a sipping beer. It kind of grows on you as you sip it - and the fruitiness (from the yeasts) becomes more noticeable to me. But over all, just doesn't agree with me very well (and I like Saisons - at least the few I've had). Good mouthfeel, light, but not terribly drinkable for the style, imo. One is enough, thanks.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.31/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presented in an 11.2 oz. bottle with a bottled on date of 17.09.2004 and a best before date of 17.09.2009 on the rear of the label. Poured gently (I highly recommend a gentle pour!) into my beloved Duvel tulip glass.
Murky brassy color over which blossomed a massively frothy light cream colored head. Very slowly the head dissapated, leaving wads of lace behind.
The smell had elements of lambic and Flanders red to it. Brett yeast is evident in the musty, earthy, old-cat-piss-in-the-litterbox aroma. Definitely gives the nose a tweak. Also has some sour cherry and Band-Aid phenolics. Some doughy malt and lemon peel aroma, too. Light alcohol scent.
Candy sugar sweetness welded to sour cherry up front. Lemon cough drops and an earthy malt taste. Definite brett influence as a slightly puckery leathery stale wet hay flavor becomes prominent. Bitterness of lemon zest and peppery spice complete the taste parade. Rather highly acidic. The feel was light, big-time spritzy, and drying.
Not sure I really care for Orval. Definitely an acquired taste, IMO, and I like the sharp tartness of a lambic or Flanders red or the sharp bite of Brettanomyces. It just doesn't seem to work well with this beer. Maybe I'll age one a couple years and see what happens. But for now, I'm ambivalent at best about Orval.

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Photo of mrnobody
3.31/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

330 ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a cloudy orange/amber with a massive 4 finger fluffy offwhite head; insane retention. Looks like an ice cream float!

S: Smells floral, yeasty. White wine aromas.

T: Tastes of sour apples, hops. Very dry and crisp. However, there is something vaguely medicinal in the finish that's offputting.

M: Has a light-medium body with lively carbonation.

D: If not for the unpleasant finish, the drinkability would be pretty good.

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Photo of dogfooddog
3.31/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled Jan 03, this bottle is just over 3 years old. It has been kept in my 50F refrigerator for at least 2 years. Label does not have the various warnings and mandates for US bottles so I assume i ordered this from belgium.

Poured in chimay glass, head just over 50% of height, well over half of volume of glass. Pours reddish-golden color, clear. Smells floral, strong hop presence.

Taste is very dry, just a hint of floral notes after a very dry start. Not at all what I expected from the nose. Malty middle and finish. I can taste some spices or almost peppery notes towards the end

I remember I have never loved this beer but at 3 years old this is a very presentable beer and an enjoyable bottle on its own merits.

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Photo of jsisko01
3.31/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottled on 12-30-2009 and best before 12-30-2014.

Appearance - Poured only half the bottle and it foamed over the top.. 2 inches of soapy looking foam, dissipating very slowly. The color is copper.

Smell - Dark fruits and bitterness is most dominant. Also earthy and has a little funky/musty aroma. I think I smell some clove too.

Taste - Very bitter.. with floral hops. Citrus, tartiness, clove, and some other spices.

Mouthfeel - Medium body with high carbonation.

Overall - Not really what I was expecting. I'd like it better without the spices.

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Photo of ChuckMartel
3.3/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a huge head that looks like whipped cream w/ an orangish color. Smells like perfume. Tastes a lot like perfume -- prettier than it needs to be. Tastes a little thin for a Trappist ale. After you have one, you really don't look forward to another.

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Photo of Brabander
3.3/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank this beer in my Westvleteren chalice.

Pouring the beer in the glass it all looks very promissing. A nice white couloured head and an orangelike cloured beer. Nice carbonation.

The beer smells allright, citruslike, but the taste is not so good as the looks. I was a bit dissapointed after the first taste. The beers is a bit too (how can i say this?)hoppy. It is not as refreshing as one of the other abbey beers. I gives a strange aftertaste which i can't describe very well in English. It was the same taste like i had with some USA ipa beers.

That makes the review as it is. I see and smell a good beer, the rest is average which is not good enough when you are an abbey product.

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Photo of cbl2
3.3/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Best before 2/23/2006 Stamped on bottle. Pours a nice orange brown that is clear but for the intense carbonation leading to 2 inches of head that laces nicely as it settles.


A uniquely fruity quality to this one. Tart odor of strawberry and cherry, almost kriek like.


So carbonated, it expands in the mouth. Cherry flavor is still present, and lingers throughout. Finish is very bitter, almost sour. This is disappointing, and not worth the $5.49/bottle I paid.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.29/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I poured this into a small, Belgian-style goblet and got a huge (I mean huge!) dollop of whipped cream-like head! It just will NOT go away, and the Belgian lace is top-shelf! The bier itself is a dark-golden, orangey color, with some cloudiness (a smidge of yeast may have crept into the goblet...). The predominant aroma I pick up is of grapes, with little else making its way to my nostrils. The body was not quite medium, more on the thin side, yet it was relatively smooth on the tongue. The taste, like the aroma, was heavily grape-accented, much to my dismay. There were other fruity, sourish flavors as well, and it had a distinctly dry finish. I didn't find any spicy qualities to it at all. All-in-all, I was rather let-down by this bier.

overall: 3.55
appearance: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3


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Photo of joedon
3.29/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep orange color with cloudy haze. Poured with a nice tan off-white head but that quickly disippated. Pleasing aroma with yeast, bread and maltiness present. Also a little hop aroma.

Has quite a bite on first taste; sort of astringent tang that mellows after a few sips. Spicy bitterness but not much malty flavor. Definite citrus-acid in the taste and after-taste.

I hadn't tried an Orval in a while but decided it was time. Seems to me it is a bit of an acquired taste. Could use a lilttle more sweetness to balance the sour.

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Photo of philbe311
3.28/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Mammoth rocky light tan colored head comprised of varying sized bubbles with numerous craters throughout... Very impressive retention... Clings to the glass as the head recedes... Hazy... Deep copperish orange color...

S - Pear... Apple... Clove and other unidentified spices... A strong earthiness... A subdued yeast presence... A hint of lemon zest... Some pale malts... Very complex and smells tad bit different with each pass...

T - Lots of funkiness... Apple... Pear... Faint lemon... Tart orange... A strong herbalness... Metallic... An ever so slight tartness permeates each sip...

M - Pringly sophisticated carbonation on the tongue... Dry throughout... Medium bodied... Slightly bitter finish...

D - A truly unique creation that is vastly different from all other beers that I've tried... Sometimes unfamiliarity can be fun and exciting, but in this case it is slightly off putting...

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Photo of timtheenchanta
3.28/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Darker golden color with large white head that doesn't hold too well. Nice lacing down the glass. Steady stream of carbonation rising up.

Belgian yeast, alcohol, and a barnyardish/horse smell funking it up make up the nose.

A little sour at first. Some alcohol and expected yeast flavor.

Little alcohol in the finish despite being in other parts of the drinking.

Overall a little disappointing. Probably my least favorite belgian pale to date.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.28/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A quaffable trappist ale. Poured out to a hazed orange golden hue with a nice white foam head and rigns of lace in the tulip glass. Higher level of carbonation. Aromas of herbs and spices, with some malt in the background. Taste was decent, but far from what I've come to expect from a Belgian Pale Ale. Flavors of hay, bitter malt and hops, grain and alcohol fill the palate. Somewhat of a bland character as well... can't put my finger on it. Mouthfeel was smooth and rather creamy. Overall drinkability is good enough. Nothing special here. There are better Trappist ales to be had.

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Photo of jpittman80
3.27/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Orangy amber with hick full head. Big cloud of yeast sediment that fills the glass, rendering hazy.

S - Smells great. Bready belgian yeast character with banana, lemon, and some tropical fruit characteristics.

T - Mostly yeast, with lemon, banana, and a pretty good bit of hop bitterness for a Belgian. Very dry.

M - Light-medium body with plenty of carbonation.

D - It's actually making me a little gassy, but maybe I'm having an off night. The hop bitterness gets a little old after awhile. I think I might give the rest of the goblet to my wife, see if she likes it a little better.


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Photo of Chubby
3.26/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in bottle, made 13/10/2005, best before 13/10/2010

Aroma: Sweet, rosey and floral aroma. A little lavender. Inviting, smells like a shampoo fragrance. A little breadiness and lemony.

Appearance: Hazy, golden, orange with a white medium head with good retention. Appears very effervescent. A little hazy.

Flavor: Very bready malt flavor that gives way to a dry almost citrus rind flavor that lingers in the aftertaste. Some spiciness from what could be a resiny American hop. A little floral and rose petals.

Mouthfeel: A fine carbonic bite but the lemon rindish astringency detracts from what could be a smoother ale.

Overall: Nice aroma, but so much pithiness on the flavor. could age to become dry and citrusy. This is less than a year old so the best thing to do is wait.

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Photo of Lupin
3.26/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I just don't get it, I guess.

I may or may not have had this at tRotBBF. If I did, it was towards the end of the session, and I actually went out after 40+ samples and kept drinking at a bar, then another bar, and then a house party, so let's just say that this was my first time, mmk?

I really, really, really, wanted to like this beer. The no-nonsense label, the erotic bottle, and the fluffiest head I have ever seen. Pours with just the tiniest bit of yeast in suspension. So inviting, but then I actually give it a taste.

All I can say is that there is an earthiness to this beer that obtains and maintains the focal point throughout the quaff. I started drinking it cold, out of that ommegang flute with the silly scribbled guy on it. That nagging taste was there. I finished drinking it just above cellar temperature.. no change.

There was just something eminently one-dimensional about this beer. I could only taste that one thing, and it wasn't a fresh spiciness or 'complex malt character' or anything like that. It was just, well.. boring, and almost incomparable to anything else. First and possibly last tasting for this beer.

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Photo of PHSCAPT
3.26/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay chalice. Pours an unclarified dark honey with a two inch creamy persistent head. Smell is a soury lemon that dissipates afer a few minutes. Predominant taste is that of hoppy bitterness. Mild carbonation that makes this ale go down easily. Pale ales not my thing and this reminds me of why.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.26/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

the bottle is quite cool, if a bit pricey, and interestingly sports a bottled on date and a consume by date of 5 years after...i had this particular one almost a year after the bottle date after storing in the fridge. poured into a goblet, this was a clear amber at first that got murkier as i got towards the end of a slow pour...i left most of the large amount of sediment in the bottle. huge, rocky white head that lasted quite some time as bubbles arose in a fountain from the bottom center of the chalice. thick, thick lacing. not surprisingly, this had a very complex nose of caramel, toffee, alcohol, stone fruits...and a lot of general funkiness. taste is mostly sour throughout...somewhat of a disappointment in this all-important area. just a tinge of hop bitterness. light to medium in body and effervescent in mouthfeel. this is definitely not a session beer, but a complex sipper.

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Photo of BirdFlu
3.26/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a deep amber with thin head. Slight hints of apple and citrus in aroma, though very faint.Some taste of apple, but more apple juice than cider, and also dry champagne with a bit of a spicey, tart finish. Very carbonated mouthfeel with about a medium body. Drinkability is fairly average, not a lot of weight to it, though not light either. Its good, but nothing to write home about.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,205 ratings.