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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.

4,489 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,489
Reviews: 2,127
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 218
Gots: 440 | 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:
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: 4,489 | Reviews: 2,127 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PEBKAC
2.78/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Orval Appreciation Day.

Ommegang anniversary glass. Bottled on 20/02/2008. Hiding in the basement since late September.

Glass fills with suds on my first attempt. Stiff, cream peaks, orange amber body. Successfully decanted. Patchy lace.

Smell is first off, intense bitter melon rind & grapefruit zest. Then, soured sauvignon blanc & straw. Touch of sulfur. Lemon/lime acidity. Peppery yeast.

Carbonation is light, almost microbeaded.

Taste is grassy & just barely soured. Very dry & mild, acidic hops upfront. Medicinal, plastic-y, & lacking the ripe fruit flavors I get in fresh or exceedingly old bottles. Just a lot of acid. Alcohol is too big. Saltine, cottonmouth finish.

This one took a bad turn. Usually one of my favorites. Destined to be reviewed again.

PEBKAC, Apr 03, 2009
Photo of Beercub
2.78/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

The richness, color, lacing, mouthfeel, was what I'd expect from a belgian trappist... i also noticed the nice sweetness and spicy/raisiny flavors. But there was a flavor in there that absolutely did not agree with me. The closes I can come to describing it is a combination of tar and burnt plastic. I guess it's possible that I got a bad bottle, but if this is what this beer is supposed to taste like, it is an acquired taste that I shall not pursue. This was a huge surprise to me as St. Bernardus ABT 12 is probably my favorite beer in the world.

Beercub, Oct 11, 2007
Photo of perrymarcus
2.8/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

11.2oz bottle served in a tulip.
bottled 01/06/2010 (best before 01/06/2015)

pours a cloudy dark amber tone while yielding a massive 3"+ of foamy, off-white head that quickly recedes into a collar around the glass.

nose is of average strength and lead by fruit (apples or maybe pear, some citrus), belgian yeast, and a touch of spice. there's also a little funk, the suggestion that there's some tartness to it.

to me, the flavor disappoints. elements of the nose are present - the fruit, yeast, and some pepper, maybe coriander, but i get a strong astringency to it.

medium-light bodied mouthfeel with very high carbonation.

overall this is my least favorite offering of the trappists to date. surprising, as i had high hopes for this classic. not drainpour territory, and i can see where some would enjoy it, but alas it's just not for me.

perrymarcus, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of DaveUK
2.83/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Cloudy, brown-orange with a large frothy head that persisted all the way down the glass.

Aroma - Sweet fruit, spicy hops and a hint of yeast soon after pouring.

Taste - Tart, bitter fruit with a citrusy flavour. Alcohol and light malt present in the long bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium and persistant. Almost unpleasant acidic bite perhaps due to a high level of carbonation.

Drinkability - Powerful bitter taste and potent, unconcealed alcohol make this a beer for sipping at the best of times.

Not one I would be consuming regularly, however I would give it another shot, if only to see if the bottle I had was off/skunked in some way.

DaveUK, Aug 17, 2007
Photo of Graham21
2.83/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The appearance was bad but I did not have a good glass at the time... The color is a lite amber(orangish brown) and the head was very high and dissipated to a nice lacing shortly. The smell is flowery with a hint of cinnamon and citrus. Fumes of alcohol can be noticed as well. Tastes of lemon, spices, alcohol, a little malty. lacking in taste. mouth feel is descent and the carbonation is very good. drinkablitly is alright, this beer would be easy to drink because of no real flavors presented either good nor bad. Not one of my favorite Trappists, thats for sure.

Graham21, Mar 07, 2006
Photo of PeterParker
2.85/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Drinking this fresh, only a week old. Bottle erupted upon opening.

Pours deep golden brown, maybe a dark amber/copper color. Big white head with large bubbles and lots of lacing.

Banana, yeast, dark dried fruits, plums, very sweet. Not much by way of bready malt however. Bit of orange perhaps.

Mild, at first overwrought with bubbles, a little sourness. Sourness would be nice if it wasn't so lonely. Followed by some yeast, but not a lot. Very mild and mellow. Sourness is not big but it lingers.

High carbonation, feels like a shaken bottle of soda.

Pedestrian in my opinion. It doesn't really have the Belgian characteristics like malt that I'm used to. I think I'll stick to Dark's and Quad's. Maybe it's the low ABV but this one was lacking to me.

PeterParker, Feb 16, 2014
Photo of barefootbrewer
2.85/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

First of all...what a classy looking bottle this came in (this beer was produced on 6/30/2005). It poured a cloudy light brown/tan color with a decent head and some lacing. Even though I poured carefully, yeast was noticeable floating in large clumps. The smell was floral and slightly spicy - very inviting. Where this beer took a downturn was the taste. It was bitter and floral, almost tasted like drinking potpourri. The mouth feel was thin and left a bitter coat on the tongue. I wouldn't consider this a highly drinkable beer, but worth a try as it might appeal to some taste buds.

barefootbrewer, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of BostonHops
2.85/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2oz bottle served in a tulip.
bottled 01/06/2010 (best before 01/06/2015)

pours a cloudy dark amber tone while yielding a massive 3"+ of foamy, off-white head that quickly recedes into a collar around the glass. nose is of average strength and lead by fruit (apples or maybe pear, some citrus), belgian yeast, and a touch of spice. there's also a little funk, the suggestion that there's some tartness to it.

to me, the flavor disappoints. elements of the nose are present - the fruit, yeast, and some pepper, maybe coriander, but i get a strong astringency to it. medium-light bodied mouthfeel with very high carbonation.

overall this is my least favorite offering of the trappists to date. surprising, as i had high hopes for this classic. not drainpour territory, and i can see where some would enjoy it, but alas it's just not for me.

(originally reviewed: 06-13-2011)

BostonHops, Jun 15, 2012
Photo of Guden
2.88/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A- poured into a Tripel Karmeliet tulip it has a large white head that slowly fades to a half inch layer. Golden copper color with a slight haze.

S- must, basement, funk, some hoppiness despite being almost a year old bottle.

T/M- funk, bitterness, light esters (banana) and phenols (clove, medicinal). Light on the tongue with high carbonation and low body. Finishes fairly bitter and dry

O- not really anything great about this beer. It's a bit of a disappointment with the Brett coming more as stale basement funk than anything exciting and interesting. Between light oxidation, faded hops and the yeast derived flavors the overwhelming characteristic is "stale".

Guden, Jun 29, 2014
Photo of TPSReports
2.88/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I am writing this review, and drinking this brew, following a wonderful Hennepin Saison. What a difference. Maybe I should've reversed the order.

It pours nicely with a lingering head at 49 degrees from my cellar. I finger tall thin bubbled head that lingers appears. Strong lacing on the sides. A very pretty color of amber with tiny bubbles floating upward.

This smell doesn't really give me a hint a what is to follow -- maybe the allergies aren't cooperating.

The first sip is shocking -- quite a bit of alcohol here -- I didn't expect it. There seems to no hopps and not much malt either. Not quite sure what I'm drinking here. It has a bit a of a twang and sourness that I'm not entirely comfortable with.

Mouthfeel is somewhat flat from a carbonation standpoint. Not heavy or light, but medium swill.

I am very disappointed by this beer. It looks like a winner! The bottle is gorgeous. It pours wonderfully, with a sexy head the lingers -- nice lacing. But, I'm drinking beer for taste -- the looks are just part of the package. Without a doubt this is my least favorite Trippist to date. I'm glad I only have one,to be honest.

TPSReports, Jun 14, 2005
Photo of BlackHaddock
2.88/5  rDev -31.4%
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.

BlackHaddock, Oct 28, 2006
Photo of radioscooter
2.88/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Years ago, I was ushered into the Belgian crowd by the selection at the Sharp Edge here in Pittsburgh, run by a true Belgian Beer cheerleader. At the time, I made the rounds of Trappist selections and wound around them, listening to what the experts said and taking it all in.

I landed upon what is still my favorite style: Strong, Dark and Sweet with a lot of flavor. I still favor a Scotch Ale, Barleywine or Wee heavy above any of the light, bubbly, frothy coriander stuff.

I couldn't remember trying Orval then and I have been going back through the catalogs trying to do my due diligence to the style. I knew it wasn't going to be as strong and musky as the Draak, but I figured it would at least be on a similar par with Chimay, which is still one of my go to drinkable favorites and not a sweet dark.

I think maybe this is an ale that really needs some food to be paired with it. I really didn't enjoy it at all. Out of the bottle it had a massive foam and its carbonation stayed too high for my tastes.

The flavor starts out okay, with light fruit and a zesty tinge, but then some taste that I have yet to hear described accurately that I usually attribute to a "preservative" taste when I experience it in countless American microbrews, but am mystified to find it here.

As it warms it does not get any better. Remember I like sweeter brews. This one is just too lackluster and bland for me to value above a food beverage.

Any of the Chimays just kill it, IMO.

An accessory, not a star.

radioscooter, Sep 30, 2010
Photo of mfkr
2.88/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Hazy orange copper, loads of foam that takes long time before it disappears and leaves some thin lacing.

L - Fruity especially citrus fruits, some grass, acid feeling, some yeast.

T - Apples, lemon, orange, the acid from the smell is there, some yeast and hops. The taste doesn't feel balanced.

M - Very sharp from the carbonation, it's a bit too thin.

Would have been really nice if the taste would have been more balanced.

mfkr, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of harrymel
2.89/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Time to revisit this one.
Bottled October 2012

Standard lightly hazed honey colored ale with a huge foam cap that falls to a central dome in about ten minutes. The bubbles almost look like a perfectly toasted marshmallow. Smells of grain, hay, grass, pineapple, pear, and a little clay yeast. Flavor is bitter with a solid biscuity malt profile, some nice corn character and a hint of english cucumber muddled in there someplace. Medium on thin with nearly flat carbonation at this point and a refreshing finish. I'm torn on this beer, as I move toward more delicate beers with nuance and what I currently consider maturity in the beer - I feel like this is a good beer and understand how it's considered world class. I cannot see, however, how this manages to be a approachable beer for me, but leaves me simply empty at the end. I don't long for more, I don't take a sip and immediately want another. For these reasons I continue to steer clear of this one.

From notes verbatim on 10/28/10
A: Pale apricot ale with massive head that just keeps growing. Maybe overly carbonated? Dull clarity.
S: Lots of bretty funk. Sharp, strong, herbal. I'm fairly neutral to this one.
T: This beer is soooo bitter to me. I can't tell why. I may need to revisit this beer to make sure I'm not having an off night.
M: Very carbonated. Medium body ale.
D: I struggled to finish this beer. This makes me wonder if I simply got a bad bottle, or maybe I just am having an off night. But this is horrible.

harrymel, Jul 29, 2013
Photo of Vancer
2.9/5  rDev -31%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Here’s a very disappointing brew, perhaps from over-hyped expectorations. The pour started on the right foot - a hazy amber orange with pillowy, sticky ivory head. This one had legs running down the glass.

Only some hints of Belgium yeast and orange. topped by sweet malts. But the taste – wow, just not there. A stringent and soapy blend of two not pleasant tastes. Dry and crisp, yeah, but the drinkability was off the chart, at a freakin $5 a 11.2 oz bottle.

Vancer, Sep 02, 2006
Photo of Haydn-Juby
2.91/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

served from a 330ml bottle

A: Hazy copper color partially due to the yeast in it. A bubbly, white two finger head. Looked pretty tasty.

S: Very phenol heavy aroma. Clove like. I found it almost band-aid like.

T: There was a little bit of honey, clove, and bubblegum. Hop bitterness was mild. The aftertaste was very displeasing to me. It tasted very grainy and metallic like. Really it was this gross aftertaste that killed it for me.

M: This was a pretty decent aspect of the beer. It finished pretty crisp and bubbly

O: There seems to be a group of people who loves this beer and those who hate it. Personally I'm the latter. I just don't like it. Not that other people shouldn't its just not what floats my boat. I wish I could like this and it really seemed like something that I would. I'm typically a pretty big fan of anything with a Belgian yeast strain in it but this just didn't do it for me. I feel like I'm going to have to give this another go in the future.

Haydn-Juby, Mar 28, 2013
Photo of Roeters
2.93/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz

golden color with a thick 2" of head the quickly vanishes

slightly sour with a little bit of a fruit ester

the middle has a light sweetness and mild fruit ester, finishes with a slight bitterness

light carbonation release within the mouth

Easy drinking, light on the APV. Just not one of my favorites

Roeters, Sep 25, 2008
Photo of palma
2.93/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Light copper body with a large rocky off-white head.
Aroma is sweet malt. Spicy with clove and cinnamon standing out. A phenolic band-aid like aroma cannot be missed.
Taste is tart and bitter upfront. Phenolic flavors are present throughout. A rubber-like flavor which is not enticing. A nice peppery spiciness towards the end. Finishes dry and clean.
Light bubbly carbonation.
Medicine-like phenols were very persistent in the aroma and taste of this brew. A little too much for my liking. I could barely finish the bottle.

palma, Apr 25, 2005
Photo of Cyberkedi
2.93/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma is rich and mainly fruity, almost more like a cider or brandy than a beer, except there is a little maltiness. Color is a hazy honey golden with a very thick and persistent head. Flavor is malty and has a strong apple overtone, plus some bitterness that doesn't seem like hoppy bitterness and is a bit unpleasant. Texture is smooth and just a little on the thin side.

Cyberkedi, Nov 03, 2008
Photo of kernalklink
2.95/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Nice presentation, great looking brew with aromas that were mouthwatering- earthy malts, sweet berry lambic sourness and a yeasty tang. Mouthfeel was an explosion of carbonation, very light and airy and tongue tingling. the taste was missing for me- after a hit of hop bitters all that i was left with was a bready yeasty bitterness, and some grassy, watered down malts. I was dissapointed, as the flavors could not even hide the slight ABV present- there are better belgians out there in my opinion.

kernalklink, Aug 18, 2007
Photo of CraftFan5
2.95/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

CraftFan5, Feb 25, 2014
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 ZoomanCru
2.98/5  rDev -29%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

App: Rich pumpkin color with slight haze. Thick head with strong retention and lacing.
Smell: Pungent yeasty aroma, followed by a sharp alcohol twinge. Hints of apple and pepper.
Taste: Subtle sour and sweet maltiness, little to no hop assertiveness. Not as forceful in flavor as most belgians. Lingering toasted flavors after swallowing. Very subtle and herbal.
Mouth: More thin than expected, almost bordering on watery. Lacking significant body. Fairly heavily carbonated.

ZoomanCru, Dec 02, 2013
Photo of djcreepshow
3/5  rDev -28.6%

djcreepshow, Jun 22, 2014
Photo of lcdawg
3/5  rDev -28.6%

lcdawg, Oct 23, 2012
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,489 ratings.