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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 berley31
4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a nice, creamy, off-white head that is absolutely huge - and continues to rise after sitting. Body is amber-orange and hazy. Excellent lacing...this is a perfect-looking beer! Great aroma as well; quite yeasty, with citrus tones. The first sip is excellent - lightly sweet and acidic, with a medium, creamy body. Fizzy carbonation. At 6.9%, you can taste the alcohol but it's hardly overwhelming... perfectly balanced. The head is fully lasting throughout drinking, and the finish is long as well. Excellent beer - one of my new favorites - and great that you can actually find in many places outside of Belgium.

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Photo of JLSIV
4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle into a chalice glass, first impression on pour was the small diameter bubbles and rich two finger head that lasted forever, lacing all around, darker hazy orange brown color

Aroma of musty yeast is the big nose impression, a little fruitiness, Pleasant,but mostly a yeast aroma, very distinctive and unlike any other aroma. Different from any of the other Trappist Ales, even to my less than perfect nose (I often don't smell the same things that appear in many reviews)

Taste of muscadines, sweet at first, develops over time into something even more pleasant. Reminded me of sweeter local vineyard wines than any other beer before.

One of the best mouth feels I have tried. Dry, and smooth, with a very rich full body. Nothing harsh, and only the afterglow lets you know there is more than the usual alcohol here. American Extreme brewers could take a lesson here. Doesn't smack you around.

Overall: I purchased this Trappist Ale expecting to be impressed and I was. I would love to try this one a little closure to its origin. Two of these and I could see myself considering the monastic life….

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Photo of mshallah
4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orange color. Large fluffy head. Nose is very perfumey. A floral bouquet. Citrus aroma of tangerine. Wonderful sweet, tart, fruity and hoppy flavors. Very hoppy for a Belgian brew. Mild metallic flavor. Fruit flavor is tropical. There is alcohol in the nose but only a warming effect remains in the taste. Complex mix of flavors and aromas. Overall flavor profile is mesmerizing. Each sip brings more nuances. Becomes more bitter as it warms. My fave of the Belgians.

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Photo of deskim
4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: dark amber, fairly cloudy, huge head that seems to stay around

S: sour and orange

T: absolutely amazing. a little sour yet sweet at the same time. tastes similar to an orangy pale ale, not boozy at all, very complex

M: incredibly pleasant, light to moderate carbonation

D: if it wasn't for the price and ABV i could drink this all day. best trappist ale i've had so far.

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Photo of ccrida
4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured in my vintage Westmalle chalice, Orval is a hazy golden orange with a thick, rocky, white head with medium bubbles that is very slow to recede, leaving moderate lace.
The aroma is moderate, musty yet bright, earthy flowers and yeast, distinctly belgian and very appetizing.
The taste really nice, incredible depth yet fairly subtle. It is beyond my ability to break it down to specifically, but theres a bit of sourness, salt, yeast (which I swirled off the bottom), leathery, bitterness, straw, only the slightest sweet pale and caramel malts, minerals, bread, honey and flowers, and probably more stuff that I just can't break down. The finish is very bitter dry and clean, but for a nice pucker on the tongue. There is a slight bit of alcohol as the beer warms, but it is clean and good, no solvents or anything. I love any beer with brett, and this is as fine as example as there is - it's tough too beat Gout d'Oraval. I normally prefer more robust flavors, but the subtly here speaks volumes.
The mouthfeel is pretty spritzy and light bodied, very nice and really opens this beer up. Being that it was bottled 15 months ago says alot.
The drinkability for this is as high as it gets (aside from perhaps the cost). The taste is great without being overwhelming, and complex enough that it will take me a lifetime to figure out. Wow.

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Photo of isthatbeer
4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from an 11.2 oz bottle poured into tulip shaped glass.

A: Hazy amber with two fingers of a thick, rich cream colored head. The head leaves a nice lacing on the side of the glass as it dissipates.

S: Its got a pleasant sour smell to it with some orange and some malt sweetness lurking behind.

T: Starts out rather tart but then does this dry hoppy, phenolic thing. The finish is rather long and dry. You definitely could sit and ponder the finish for quite a while.

M: Medium to lite mouth feel. Very tightly carbonated. Dry.

O: A really nice well balanced beer.

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Photo of carpezytha
4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into tulip glass at 46 F.

A: Unfiltered honey with aggressive cream colored head that settles with a very stubborn, intricate lacing.
S: Yeast bomb wrapped in damp wool. Cat pee and tanbark (in a good way).
T: Musty, spicy, lots of citrus peel (cumquat, key lime). Barnyard,
M: Prickly, but balanced.
D: One of the top beers, could drink daily.

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Photo of ablaze
4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am very impressed with this one. Bottle looks a bit unique but it is appealing.

I was under the assumption that this beer would be more straw-coloured like Duvel, but upon pour it is a mellow orange with some cloudiness. What impressed me was the head. A creamy light beige that sticks around to the end. This beer just looks delicious from the get-go.

Smell is light, but reminds me of something. Took me a few sniffs but yes! Cotton candy. It's faint, but it's there and reminds me of warm summer evenings at the fair. A bit of cinnamon and biscuits, too.

The taste is remarkable and makes this one of my favourite Belgians already. The malt/hops combination is mild and stays with you for quite a while and is quite flowery, which I like. A very nice pale ale. There's nothing overpowering and the complexity and evolution from taste to finish is astounding. A+++, I'm very impressed. Alcohol taste is nonexistant.

Smooth and creamy with a bit of an effervescence from the alcohol that quickly dissipates. Silky and clings to your mouth, leaving you wanting more. Very appealing quality.

This is something I would drink again and again. There's several cheese, fish and poultry pairings I am going to love to try with this, and I could see myself stocking a few of these for personal pleasure and special guests.

Overall, I'm very satisfied with this Orval.

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Photo of thartman
4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from fancy-cool bottle into a stemmed Belgian Chinmay beer drinking vessel. Monster head with whip cream-like peaks. Nice apricot color. Strong musty-fruity-spicy smell. Wild yeast and fruit-like taste, peppery and with a little hop bitterness. Nicely carbonated mouthfeel with a slight bitter aftertaste. Excellent Belgian brew!

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Photo of Ljunkan
4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An all-time favourite.

Pours an hazy orange color with a large foamy head. Extremely nice head actually.

Smell is nice; sour/acid fruits, citrus and stable-like aromas.

Taste is even better; sour apples, grapefruit, citrus, some stable, slight notes of herbs. This beer has a interesting mix of sourness/acidness together with a dry hopped character and a very good bitterness.

Highly recommended!

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Photo of bigaltemple
4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz. Bottled on 5/20/2011

A - Hazy, burnt orange. Big, rocky head quickly and continuously builds even with gentle pour. Slowly settles to a 1/2 finger width that remains thanks to a steady stream of bubbles. Leaves some sticky rings of lacing.

S - Citrus acidity. A bit of Belgian yeast provides just the mildest amount of funk. Pick up some green apple as well.

T/M - Awesome! Lemon and orange zest. More green apple in the taste. Finishes with a spicy/peppery dry finish that just makes me want to take another drink. Great level of carbonation.

O - Easily a top example of the style. Always amazing, and worth trying.

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Photo of NWer
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a brandy snifter from a 11.2 fl oz. bottle.
Bottled on date: 30/12/2009
Best before date: 30/12/2014

A - Deep bronze appearance, nice white head retained well and dissipated to a foamy layer. What lacing there was disappeared for the most part after a few minutes.

S - Like being in the countryside where there are a lot of farms - in a very nice way.

T - Tart, bitter apples at first, evolving to a smooth aftertaste when you churn the froth in your mouth and let it settle around the taste buds.

M - Effervescent, tangy, smooth, complex. Makes you want to sip it which is a good thing.

D - Like a fine wine - sorry for the wine comparison on a beer thread - to be enjoyed in moderation.

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Photo of Bmuncy
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Murky hazelnut, large off-white head appears fluffy and dense, alcohol sticks to sides very well. One finger head remains throughout

Smell: Light fruits, yeast, spice (perhaps cinnamon) and a somewhat earthy smell. Very nice on the nose and is a joy to pick out the separate aromas.

Smell: Flavorful apples, very very slight banana undertones, some yeast and malt. Notes of dryness, fresh grass and an earthy connotation finish out the brew. Very complex and very balanced.

Mouthfeel: Rich, full and creamy. The carbonation is perfect. Orval goes down exceptionally smoothly.

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Photo of irishkyle21
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

When I first had this beer a couple of years back I really did not enjoy it. What the hell was wrong with me? Good thing my palate has evolved. Orval pours with a fluffy tanned head that hold up throughout the entire beer and rims the entire Orval glass. Has a murky orange amber color.

The nose is exceptional and one of the most distinctive. Notes of floral hops, some fruitiness, grass, earth and as BuckeyeNation said "I do pick up quite a bit of the so-called 'horse barn' smell", he nailed it with that description.

Tastes of sour fruits, a good amount of hops, earth, grass and the " horse barn" aroma comes into play on the mouth and is actually enjoyable. Has a very dry finish. This is one hugely flavourful and complex beer, top notch.

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Photo of largadeer
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Bright, hazy amber - not entirely opaque, but not overly clear. Head retention is very good. Served in the Orval chalice, it's pretty impressive. Probably one of the better beer presentations I've seen.

Smell: Lemon, freshly cut grass, oily hops with a big bright citrus character, still-developing barnyard funk and just a hint of sweet, fruity malt.

Taste/mouthfeel: Very dry in the mouth, exhibiting both bitter and tart flavors. It's fruity, but not sweet at all - it has more of a sour, acidic fruit character. Ample hopping lends a pine-like flavor. Slick and oily on the tongue, with a long-lasting dry finish. This stuff is incredibly easy to drink, and by far one of the best Belgian beers out there.

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Photo of errantnight
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Simply a great beer, a classic, one of my favorites. Thanks to the brett and the widely varying storage conditions here in the states, each bottle is a little different.

This pours a notably orange hazy hue, a bit darker than I think of pale ales (or the saison I sometimes associate this with thanks to the funk), but it's an attractive pale color with a rich, creamy, mountainous head of craggy silky smooth foam with incredible retention and lacing. Just perfect. Exemplary.

Aroma is insanely complex, there's that ever present background of brett funk in there, not the sour twang, but the earthy barnyard and deep hints of citrus fruit. This compliments an earthy stew of pale malt with mild alcohol esters and phenols, a bit of banana and just faintest hints of warm spice, particularly nutmeg.

The taste is incredibly subtle and delicate, so perhaps for something I love so much so impeccably formulated it's a bit of a crime to knock this all the way down to 4.5, but I find that while there is a masterful retention of body here, the flavor thins out a bit towards the end. It's bone dry, but it's also just a tad watery on the back half of the palate, allowing the intense carbonation to come across very mineraly. What's there, though, builds in layers with each subsequent sip. There's a mild bready sweetness that pulls in the spice and fruit notes, bring out an impression of fresh flowers and springtime.

Having a beer this dry and still retaining a moderately full body is an astonishing accomplishment. There's really not much more to say. I know the high carbonation gives it its great looks, and probably greatly contributes to the early body I appreciate so much, but it sometimes feels a bit spritzier on the back palate than I would like. It's quibbling, and I could just as easily give this a 5 as a 4.5 and feel good about it.

I love this beer. It's pricey, and I don't drink it that often, but I never go too long between bottles, either. A classic, essentially perfect brew to be admired, and to influence others. A beer to try, then try again, then try again as your palate develops.

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Photo of the42ndtourist
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Orval seems a bit of an intangible to me...

Appearance is a reddish-golden sort of colour. (not crystal-clear, of course). the head billows and stays around until the end.

This is the thing. The first time I had it I was struck by the sourness - it's not exceptionally sour, but there certainly is an element of that. So that jumped out at me and I was fascinated, I loved the toned-down sour ale aspect. Since then, I get a different idea every time (and it's always good). Sometimes it seems like a amber abbey ale with a very distinguished flavour, aromatic and just a little spicy. Most recently (last night) I was hit by the hoppiness - this is probably due to the excessive amount of cask bitters I've had recently. This is truly bitter for an Old World beer. Not too much (never is Orval too much), and there's still a great little sour note to it.

It's because of this ephemeral quality that I think Orval is one of the few beers that I could actually drink day in day out and never get tired of. At least, I hope that's so.

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Photo of eric5bellies
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank from my Orval Chalice. I can't believe i haven't reviewed this beer yet !

A - Pours a beautiful clear copper colour with a tight White head that stays the course and laces the glass.

S - Magnificent aromas of Melon, Citrus Fruits, yeast and malt all rolled in to one.

T - Plenty of the above flavours with some nice balnaced malt and apple. The finish is incredibly smooth and no sign of the ABV.

M - Medium body and carbonation that is so damn smooth.

O - This is an iconic beer made by perfectionists. You will never grow tired of this beer and it has a flavour all of its own. One of those beers that is both sessionable and serves as a great nightcap.

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Photo of e_dawg
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%

Pours a cloudy light orange. Some foamy, frothy head which slowly dissipates. A small amount stubbornly lingers. Aroma is candied apples, light citrus notes, cranberries, earthy tones, and graham crackers. Taste is a balanced and enjoyable mix that's initially sour but the sourness quickly mutes, allowing full enjoyment of the flavor. I'm getting some floral notes overlayed with more citrus, bread, and rust. Feel is light and poppy, almost like a champagne. An extremely enjoyable beer that's one of my favorites.

This is based on a 5 month old bottle, but try it aged by a few years for an even more unique Orval experience.

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Photo of voteforgoat
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottled Jan 22, 2009 -

Bubbles up like crazy when i poured into my glass. Overflowed a bit even! Unlike any other trappist beer. Sour, dry finish, likely from the Brett. Refreshing. Once you drink the beer, you might notice the bottle is especially heavy, probably to hold the carbonation. A bit stronger than your average beer. Quite unlike most Belgians I've had

I'm going to open bottle #2 now!

My gf said it "reminds me of Cuvee Renee, but not quite"

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Photo of twilight
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'm trying to pin down the aroma. It's subtle unless I stick my nose into the goblet- Like old leather, or, rather, like the white part of lemon rind. Yeah, that's it...

Beautiful 12 oz. bottle, Chimay goblet because I have not been able to find an Orval goblet in NYC during the last month. Alas.

The pour makes me nervous, the head is fluffing up above the rim of the goblet and goes up and up. Beautiful, beautiful orange color with a huge head that remains fairly thick until the end of the glass. It's still there, but it's just thinner by the end. Webbed lacing all over the glass. Perfect.

The taste is of smoothness, giving way to sourness and a hint of lemon that gives way to a bite with hoppy undertones. Good, but a little more maltiness would have been in order. The beer is light with just the right amount of carbonation and a hint of the alcoholic content in the aftertaste. In truth, I would love to drink this all night were it not for the price.

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Photo of DarrinRasberry
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Snow-white crown dominates this brew for the first five minutes after the pour. Beer has a dark honey color with a bit of cloud in the body.

Smell - Apple and honey in the scent, with a hint of peach. Fruity. A brief whiff of funk.

Taste - I haven't tasted enough into the triple digits to have any authority, I admit, but of what I've had so far, Orval's is definitely the most balanced beer I've had. Champagne hints for sure.

Feel - Fizzes perfectly and leaves just enough hint, like an expensive mineral water.

Drinkability - I wish I had a dozen of these. Not too thick, but not too bitter.

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Photo of JackTheRipper
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

In the spirit of NBS #14, I decided to delve into my all too limited stock of Trappist ales (couldn't bring myself to crack open the Westy)
A: Cloudy amber in color with a wicked huge head and lacing to die for. Lots of carbonation seen in my glass, I think the etching in the bottom of this Chimay glass enhances it? Swirled it in the bottle, I want that yeast.

S: Fruity aromas, hints of cinnamon sugar. Lots of spicy hop aromas. Soft lemony/zesty aromas. Nice.

T: Zingy hop flavors up front, not bitter though. Fruity citrus tastes. Flavors are surprisingly light and dare I say fluffy? Nice base of malts to bring this one home. Definitely enhanced by the chunk of yummy cheese I'm eating with this.

M: Light, soft, highly carbonated and that seems to help carry the flavors and aromas. Alcohol is well masked.

D&N: Wonderful beer and a testament to the Monks who brew it. Very complex, a joy for all the senses.

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Photo of Bluesman2383
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%

Banana on the nose and then malty goodness. The only thing about this beer I did not like was the massive head foam I got from the bottle like Triple Karmelliet. Otherwise, a great beer all the way around.

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Photo of Nuke77
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice the head just explodes on this beer. I served mine at about 52F and it seems to be the near perfect temperature to experience the wonderful head. The appearance is a darkish orange with lots of bubbles coming from the bottom of the chalice. I did not observe any "floating" yeast. The scent is all apple and some dark fruit. This beer literally explodes on the tongue with the taste following the scent of apple and dark fruit, a bit of hops and bitterness and sweetness simultaneously. The carbonation is pronounced. I could easily drink this one as a session beer but for my taste it is too special to do so. One of the finest beers I have ever experienced.

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