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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.

4,647 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,647
Reviews: 2,157
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.62%
Wants: 251
Gots: 522 | 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: 4,647 | Reviews: 2,157 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Slynger
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ahh, the classic Belgian Pale Ale. Bright hazy golden-orange color with a really large and fluffy white head. Sweet banana and tart orchard fruit nose with yeasty belgian spice. Quite nice. Light, but hugely creamy carbonation fills the mouth with tastes of apples, bananas, and spicy belgian yeast. A classic and probably the most sessionable of begian ales I've ever had, even at close to 7%. Supremely tasty and hugely refreshing. Oh so satisfying.

Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

EDIT: Sat on this for at least six months and I think it had aged considerably. Had some Orvals since this review and they were sublime, far better than my aged version.

A: Dulled copper. Some strings of champagne bubbles barely visable. Large off white head, typical of quality Belgian pale ale. Looks great.

S: Whiffing from the bottle I get a most beautiful scent of fruity hops which is strong but refined and delicate. From the glass it's a different story. The hops are overwhelmed by a second vinegary pong which is very pungent. Is this what people mean by horse blanket? Absolutely foul!

T: Very dry and bitter. Pleasant bath watery hops with delicate earthiness. A perfumey citrus fragrance breezes across the tongue and pervades in the finish with a not so prominent bread flavour. It has that kind of English hop profile that I associate with bathwater but it's a refined one. Again, very bitter. Reminds me of when I have trouble swallowing a paracetamol and the bitterness lingers.

O: A real quality beer, no doubt about that, but I found it too dry and bitter. Wouldn't be a problem if it were balanced accordingly but from my experience bitter hops in Belgians tend to stick out like a sore thumb. It's definitely an interesting beer however and I'll have it again.

Photo of beerguy101
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle date 11/01/07 - Bright orange color, large head with staying power. Aroma is orange with a touch of banana and a little musty. Initial taste is vinous and very tart and sweet and sour. Very complex tastes, orange peel, grapefruit, malty and dry, champagne and salt. Flavors mellow as it warms. Incredibly complex beer. Definitely not for everybody, but world class. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber color with a GIGANTIC 4 inch bone colored head. Chunky head is full of numerous bubbles and lasts a long time. Somewhat formed ring lacing on the drink down. Smells very floral, citrus notes, slight vinegar, and must/funk. Taste is of apple cider, lemon zest, grass/flowers, funk, and a bitterness that starts at the start of each sip. Bitterness is very herbal and is quite mild after each sip. The funk is from the Brett used in creating this beer. This beer is very carbonated and yields a huge head on the pour. The body is somewhat light but crisp and clean. Drinkability is good but this is a beer I can see myself only having occasionally. A very unique tasting and interesting beer.

Photo of elgiacomo
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottled on Sept 7, 2008, enjoyed over 2 years old and probably warmer than I should've. Oh well.

Pours hazy orange/amber with a gigantic foamy, bubbly, and fluffy off white head that a Duvel tulip couldn't contain. Takes forever to recede and leaves rings of foamy, bubbly lacing and a rocky island behind.

Aroma features the most authentic bubblegum aroma I've encountered, very grassy, floral and herbal, spices, some lemon, a bit of orange, as well as some funk buried underneath. Complex and strong aroma.

Flavor is fruity apples, lemon, orange, pear, bubblegum, some spice, some tartness up front, then a bit of caramel sweetness in the middle transitioning to a touch more spice and an overall dry finish.

Mouthfeel is light to medium, low to medium carbonation, a little creamy and sometimes sticky.

My first Orval, unique, definitely. I can dig it and now want to try a fresher one for some comparison.

Photo of JBogan
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber/peach color with a huge foamy crown which stays around forever and leaves large amounts of sticky suds clinging to the glass. An exceptional looking beer.

Smells very fruity, with pears, apricot and spices playing the leading parts.

Tastes much as it smells, along with a mustiness which mutes the fruits somewhat. A hint of alcohol in there as well. Good tasting but not quite up the the level the aroma promises.

Mouthfeel was very prickly and dry. A nice crispness is felt in the mouth and on the way down.

This trappist brew has a quite different character from other trappists. While not my favorite beer of this style, it is one I will be revisiting again in the future.

Photo of gmcfarre
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into St. Bernardus chalice

A - Pours a slightly cloudy amber color with a massive, soapy head (even with a careful pour). Lacing is distinct and well-represented as the head fades.

S - Scent is grassy with a good dose of the funky "horse blanket" smell. Presents some slightly sweet caramel malt flavor as well.

T - Starts with a bit of caramel sweetness, then quickly dries and becomes pleasantly funky. A great balance of horse blanket funk and traditional sweet malt with some bitterness at the finish. A bit of scotch-esque alcohol near the finish rounds out this classic beer.

M - Medium bodied, starts smooth but becomes tacky and chalky over the course of a sip. Finish remains chalky with some dryness.

D - Flavor stays interesting and tasty throughout, with a not too intimidating amount of alcohol. A classic Belgian ale for a reason, as well as a great entry into funky, wild-yeast beers. A beer everyone needs to check off their list at some point.

Photo of slyke
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Orval pours a hazy amber with a very large (four fingers) rocky white head from its 11.2 ounce bottle. The aroma is medicinal with notes of licorice. The taste is also medicinal in nature with notes of licorice and yeast. Mouthfeel is very good filling the mouth with a snappy finish. Drinkability is good. This beer is a pretty good sipper. Recommended.

Photo of weazal
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2nd Experience:

S: Solid, balanced aroma. Decent part funky/sour cherries (in a good way), but also seems close to tripel style spices. Similar to fresh, crisp fruit - like ripe nectarine, lemon but retains a pear mellowness.

T: Sharp carbonation, tart sourness, clean but lengthy finish, bit of a lingering pineapple-y bitterness from the hops. Flavors all flow together while still standing on their own in true Belgium balanced expertise. Good contrast with sharp carbonation, thick body, and finishing dryness.

1st Experience:

S: Rich and pungent dried lemon and spices. Some balanced yeast but overwhelmingly spicy.

T: Rush of carbonation up front that frankly overwhelms, hard to pickup on a lot of flavors with 1st sip. Mellow. Not as the aroma would lead you think. Interesting contrast between sharp carbonation and notably dry feel. The subtle flavors that 1st eek out are some sweet, gentle citrus, pear, and bitter yeast that continues into a briefly metallic finish and lingering, light hoppy bitterness.

Interesting for sure...but underwhelming.

Photo of francisweizen
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


I recently had an aged (2 year old) sample of this beer and the medicinal taste was in the background more...with the hops taking center stage!

The most interesting trappist beer, from the only single-beer(besides petite orval) trappist brewery. This pours a BEAUtIFUL orangeish amber colour with vast amounts of rocky, white, rich head. The taste is a bit of a let down though. It is spicy and very fruity, but also medicinal in it's alcoholic taste. The after-taste is dry and very bitter(which I like)but it does tend to have a chloroseptic or cherry robitusin after-taste. This is still an amazing and unique beer, with a perfect, creamy mouthfeel, and a nice drinkability factor.

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally got around to trying this last night. Even though this was bottled this past Spring, I wasn't worried about this being skunked. I knew that many people aged their beers and as soon as I took a whiff of this, I could tell that this was one of the few that aged well without being full of hops. Everything about this beer screamed classic and if this was available in bigger servings, I would buy some and share it with those who have yet to try it.

I loved the pour to this since I had never seen anything like it before - the hue was a light, cloudy olive to the point of being a faded amber and the head filled up the remainder of my pint glass. The aroma was complex to the point where not much stood out and the same went for the taste as well. Lots of sugar and booze to be sure but there were also notes of apricot and plum underneath. This was slightly bitter but what was there complemented the beer nicely, since it was a earthy and herbal type of hoppiness. This was full and didn't go down quickly even though it was enjoyable from start to finish.

This beer gave me the impression that was much stronger than it actually turned out to be. While the taste isn't for everyone, this has a classic appeal to it based on the cloudy hue and flavors that might not appeal to the hophead or extreme beer fanatic. The complex taste and slightly sticky mouthfeel lead to a slow session that's every bit enjoyable from start to finish. Any lover of beer owes it to him or herself to try and enjoy this!

Photo of Robje
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first review on BeerAdvocate, and hence my terminology might not quite be up to scratch, nor my ability to pick out any subtle flavours, so I will try to give a general impression of the properties of this beer. (I have tasted many styles of Belgian beers whilst living in the Netherlands, and will post some reviews as I find the inkling).

The beer was poured into a Westmalle chalice from the bottle, marked best before 22/06/2016 (Bottled 22/06/2011). Pouring was stopped just as I could see the cloudy yeast about to enter the cup (reviewers preference).

Appearance: 4.5
This beer poured nicely with an average head. The head lasted for a moderate amount of time, but not very long, the lacing was minimal as the beer was consumed. The beer poured very clear, with a medium amber colouring, with a golden tinge towards the edges. A very appetising appearance.

Smell: 4
The beer overall smelt quite good, with a slightly fruity smell, but quite overpowered by hops and carbonation to begin with. There were hints of some spices and the smell was enticing.

Taste: 4.5
Quite a strong presence of alcohol in the beginning for this style of beer. Fruity tastes with a mild yeast, and a slightly bitter after taste. There is a complexity to the taste that can be enjoyed from the first sip until the last. The bitterness tended to mellow towards the middle of the beer as the beer warmed, leaving a semi sweet tasting beer towards the end. I drank the remaining beer and yeast from the bottle about 3/4 of the way through the tasting, and they contained a pleasant flavour, that perhaps could offset the starting bitterness (Will try a second tasting with yeast in the glass).

Mouthfeel: 4
A smooth mouth feel, with a nice amount of carbonation that lasted until past midway through the tasting. The start of the beer provides a sharpness that is contrary to the smoothness that follows.

Overall: 4
This beer starts very nicely with complex tastes, and an enticing smell and ends with a smooth slightly fruity and semi sweet flavour that is easy on the mouth and sits nicely in the stomach. This is definitely a beer that can be enjoyed for a glass or three in the summer, autumn or spring, without overpowering the taste buds or cognitive functions.

Conclusion, a beer that is complex enough to enjoy the tasting, as well as smooth enough to follow with another in the evening. I would recommend this beer to anyone who wants to enjoy a fine example of a Belgian Pale Ale, and it "feels" a bit special, being one of the Trappist beers.

Photo of colts9016
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A beautiful orange hue with a slight reddish tint. There is a two finger head that is billowy and foamy. There is a lot of lacing on the glass. The clarity is hazy and not to cloudy. There seems to be particles in suspension. There is some small carbonation bubbles coming from the glass.

Nose: A nice lightly toasted malt aroma follow by some esters, bananas, pears, sweet bread yeast, citrus, and phenols. There hints of leather and grass.

Taste: There is a lightly toasted malt, floral, bananas, and sweet bread yeast. There is some hints of leather, straw, phenols, papery, and pears.

Overall. A very nicely balanced Belgium pale ale. There is a good malt with a delicate but well put hop flavor. The mouth feel is astringent and slightly powdery. The finish is bitter and it last. I felt that the beer finish was inviting me to drink more. The more I drink I felt that this beer had a 3-d complex coming to life in my mouth. I rather enjoyed this beer. I decanted it for almost 30 minutes.

Photo of KKB
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A – Dear sweet holy baby jesus mary joseph and john. Would you have a look at that beer. I don’t even want to drink it, I want to ask it out to a fine dinner and slowly woo it before I take it home to be with me forever, and just stare at it. It is perfect looking. Beautiful golden amber color with loads of carbonation dancing up the glass, HUGE beige/off-white head that simply will not quit, crazy lacing, so much yes. Yes, yes please, yes.

S – The smell is gorgeous as well, it’s sweet and citrusy and hoppy and definitely a little bit funky with a grassy and earthy element to it as well. It’s just so very pleasant though.

T – The taste is good. Perhaps even very good. A little bit let down though to be perfectly honest. I was expecting…well, I guess something more. After the appearance and the smell the taste is a tiny bit off. It has a really nice very slight tartness, citrus, barnyard/wet hay funk (in a lovely way) but it’s not really very sweet and not very bitter either and it’s lacking the spice that I have grown so fond of in trappist ales. It’s just slightly underwhelming really. It’s still good, but not quite elite, unfortunately.

M – The mouthfeel is very nice, I will concede that. Rather light body, a ton of carbonation, dry finish.

O – Overall it’s good. But it’s not unbelievable, and not the best trappist ale that I have had. I’m sorry.

….I’m going to leave this somewhat open. The more I drink it the more it’s growing on me. I’ll return to this and give an update, this shant be my last Orval.

Photo of jeffjfindley
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Rockin' Ry Cooder & Getz/Gilberto on the playlist. Poured a rusty-colored Orval into my tastin' glass and watched it take it's precious form. Great color, wonderful head, visible carbonation, and a swirling yeasty presence that reminded me of The Fog. Smell is simple, and sweet. A touch of watermelon and fine malt. Taste is conservative compared to some of the more over-the-top offerings found in the motherland, but refined and delicious. Subdued esters and a nice hop presence. Mouthfeel is perfect, leathery and substantial while maintaining is soft side. Leather and lace. I just realized that aside from the formidable price tag that would be involved, this is a session Trappist.

Photo of Pencible
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured a hazy light orange-brown with fluffy off-white head. It had a wild yeast and potpourri scent with some hops added in. Its flavor mixed the citrus of oranges with the bitterness of hops and a slight aftertaste of bitterness, but had no malt. It had moderate carbonation, and had slightly thick body. This was pretty good overall, and tasted more like a real ale than any of the Chimays.

Photo of Stephen63
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - This bottle should have come with a warning as the beer foamed out upon removing the cap. Lost about one sips worth, not a good start. Deliciously cloudy body and outstanding head, can you tell I am impressed yet!

S - An explosion of aromas hit when the glass is raised to the nose. Fruity and spicy with seemingly sweetness underneath. So complex that difficuly to isolate individual smells.

T - Pretty much in line with the smell, complex. Citrus fruits with hops in the finish, slightly sour.

M - Lovely natural carbonation.

D - Really enjoyed this but the style is intense and having more than one at a time seems almost disrespectful.

Fairly stunning brew that really makes a big impression. Too complex to be a regular but one to savour when sampling.

Photo of petacutlasaurus
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed a bottle at the Village Pump last night for $4. Great deal after almost getting one for $12 at L'enfant downtown. The trade-off though, not on draft. In this case, that made a big difference. I think the bottle wasn't very fresh. Ouch.

Oh well. Still a great beer, if a little dusty. Nice balanced body, pours beautifully; it's sweet, and memorably bready. That's the quality that sticks, and out of a draft, it's just great. If you're in the DC area, I'd recommend hitting L'enfant's happy hour to grab some glasses for $6.

Photo of soper2000
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on date: 10/24/2002

This one poured out a bit darker than i expected: a nice dull orange color instead of a clear golden. Smell is very spicy with hints of citrus fruit. I wish they made air fresheners that had this aroma. Taste seems a bit muted to me. Some citrus and spice came through as did a small small bit of hops but i sense no malt backbone. I just wish it had a little more balance. Mouthfeel is decent, nice and smooth. Drinkability seems pretty good too. This is a great beer, but to be honest I was kind of hoping for my first perfect score (well i do with all beers, but i thought this one had a chance). I'll probably buy a couple more bottles and revisit this beer at a later date.

Photo of Douberd
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

ABV 6,2%
I got this beer at my local liquor store without knowing anything about it. It was just another option among all the other beers on the shelf. After coming home though and reading all those positive reviews, I was looking forward to drinking it. Instead, for a bunch of reasons, it stayed in my fridge till now.
A uniquely shaped bottle of 330 ml, with just one small, modest label mentioning the beer's name and other info, around the neck of the bottle. Poured into a chalice, after letting it warm up a little bit, since it has a recommended drinking temperature of 12°-14° C. Dark amber coloured, with a two finger head, white in colour, with some yelow spots every here and there.. Foam is thick in texture. Quite a few bubbles rising to the surface. Head has an average retention.Once most of it is gone, a thick enough part stays behindand covers the surface.
Aroma was quite complex when I sniffed it the moment I opened the bottle, with the most obvious smell being a fig aroma.. After smelling it from the glass, I sense plums, pears, some light caramel aromaand maybe some old redgrapes. Great aroma.
Taste is great too, somehow in the middle between fruity sweet and hoppy bitter, with the scale turning on the bitterness' side when it comes to the aftertaste. It's very difficult to name some flavours exactly. There are fruity flavours, some clove too. Now I perceive some white wine flavour and some spices too. This beer is so complex, to the point you get another flavour with every sip. Alcohol very well concealed.
Full body with average carbonation, a bit tart on the palate.
Overall, a fantastic beer. Its complexity makes for a great sipping beer. Those monks are doing a great job at their brewery.

Photo of crnipeter
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The production date says 15.09. 2009 so the beer is quite fresh one.
Hazy light amber-orange. Thick solid ivory head leaving patches and bands of thick lace on the glass walls as the crown retreats. In its own brand glass Orval looks imperial and the crown never fades completely, leaving a solid cap.

Floral with traces of honey, fresh cut hay, lemony esters and juniper.

Herbal one with evident juniper and lemon rind touch. A constant search of balance between bitter and sour is always leaning on a bitter side till it ends with hoppy bitterness accompanied by dry finish. I wonder how this biter-sour game will evolve with aging.

High carbonation produces bubbly sensation yet the beer remains somewhat creamy. Light medium bodied.

A particular brew that you'll never get tired of.

Photo of kyulfo
4.24/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Kremlock
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Thick fluffy white head that has great retention. High apparent carbonation, hazy dark copper colour.

S: Green apples, pears, candied apples,

T: Tart flavours, some green apples, candied apples, some bready flavours.

M: High carbonation, dry finish, cleans up the palate, very smooth going down, full bodied.

O: This is a great trappist beer with great green fruit flavours.

Photo of JohnG190
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy orange with a huge white head that settles into a lacy cap. Complex aroma of yeast, caramel and funk. Earthy with a hint of hoppiness and some barnyard. Medium body with light carbonation starts and finishes bone dry. Super complex and superbly crafted, though I would expect nothing less from one of the worlds great beers!

Photo of proc
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very good beer. Pours out to a cloudy, amber in the glass with a generous head. The aroma is the strong point of this beer. It combines essences of a fine liqueur with that of yeast and fruit. Taste is slightly spicy in the Belgium sort of way. Fairly high in carbonation. Finish is quite easy and invites another sip. Rather expensive, but a nice treat.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,647 ratings.