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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 pweis909
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Edit: Suggestion. Try a few beers bottled on different dates. A more recent bottle (dated Dec 27, 2007) seems even more lively and bright to me.

Deep gold, just a shade short of amber, with big white head of tight bubbles. Most of the head dissipated after a few sips, but the carbonation is persistent, leaving a quarter inch foam and lacey rings around the glass.
Edit: The more recent bottle seems more amber to me.

The aroma is phenolic, with a bit of medicinal notes, and maybe a bit of clove. These flavors mesh with hop spiciness, making it tough to separate them all.
Edit: There is much more fruit to the nose in the more recent bottle, maybe a bit of bubble gum, that compliments the clove. The medicinal notes are subdued.

The beer is lively on the tongue, and gives a bit of carbonation bitterness, but as I swirl the beer in the mouth, there is the barest touch of malt sweetness followed by a very dry finish with a slightly resiny hop character.
Edit: the newer beer has a stronger sweetness.

The beer is "digestible", with a light body characteristic of trappist beers. The alcohol helps contribute to the dry light feel.
Very drinkable.
Edit: The newer beer is perhaps a slight tad heavier, but not to the point that drinkability suffers

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Photo of karst
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bowling pin shapped bottle filled on 17 09 2004 recently purchased ($6) from the shelves of World Market.

Aromatic delight due to interaction of noble hops ( E.K. Goldings, Fuggles and possibly other earthy English varieties along with the fruity ripe bannana esters from the multiple strains of yeast used by the Trappist brewers.

Pours hazy orange-amber with a dense marangue-like super persistant head; eventually dropping to a 2 or 3 mm. covering that leaves Belgian-lace on the walls of my New Belgium 0.4 L Rastal sniffer. Strong beading from high carbonation is evident. Dry-hopped with Goldings gives is a floral nose along with interlaced aromas of horse blanket along with medicinal phenols typical of Belgiums. Mouthfeel of champagne with strong effervescence. The play of aroma and carbonation leaves any thought of grains behind. Sweetness only in the aroma not flavor. Quite a feat! Ester flavors of dried fruits, and woody earthy hops and intense dryness, leading to acidic finish that suggest a fine dry wine. Changing with temperatures but best around 55° to room temp. Like all Belgiums crys out for a fine meal to be paired with.

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Photo of davey101
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 20/02/2008, best before 20/02/3013B. Four and a half years old. Little 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass at cellar temperature.

A - Dark clear amber body. Massive fluffy head with a rather ugly light tan color. Massive bubbles that took a nice swirling to clean up. Tons of lacing and retention.

S - Perfect. This is the definitive Brettanomyces aroma. A barnyard funk that is pleasant but approaching offensive, light grass and lemons, just a touch of biscuity crackers and ripe apples on the finish. Some warming alcohol as well.

T - Funky hay, rich cheese, lemon grass, pears, crackers, chalk, sweet caramel and a subtle minty herbal finish. This beer is just so complex. I'm just getting so many odd and unique flavors that I'm struggling to pinpoint them all. Yet it comes off as well balanced and simple. Its just...Orval. I've never had a beer taste like this. Mouth feel is effervescent and well carbonated.

O - Theres nothing quite like this beer. Matilda and Rayon Vert may be homages to this beer, but they just can't compete with the insane complexity and high drinkability of this. Age has also turned this into a brett bomb. World class for sure.

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Photo of paterlodie
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As soon as I poor out this beer I get warm. Impressed by the fact that you can arleady smell this beer at a distance of 50 cm, which I never did before.... and what a smell! Old hops and the Bayanus yeast make this beer one of the most special one's in Belgium I think... and probably of the world! The taste is dry with a lot of hop and off course the great taste of the used (secondary) fermentation yeast. One that can't be missed in my (beer)cellar!

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Photo of jmatthew
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice cloudy orange in the glass with a lacy foam that is constantly dancing on the top. Strong aroma of fruit, perhaps citrus, and cloves. Taste is a great balance of bitterness, fruitiness and spiciness. Less pungent than I would have expected from a trappist ale, particularly of higher alcohol content, but I was pleasantly surprised. Overall, a great beer.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yellowish brown hue with a large off-white head. Citrus aroma. As it warms, funky farmhouse aromas are detectable. Many different flavors, such as apples, grapes, candy, and spices. Perfect balance between malt and hops. Hoppier than most Belgian beers. Finishes dry with an alcoholic kick. I would have thought the abv was higher than 6.2%. High level of carbonation. This is an amazingly complex beer, which I liked a lot more the second time I tried it..

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Photo of robertjohnson
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy orange body with a rocky white head. Even the lacing is foamy.

In the nose I get pear mostly, with some apples and maybe a touch of nectarines.

Immediately I perceive pears in the taste, I think partly from the strong nose. This quickly developed into more tropical fruit-type flavors of pineapple or P.O.G. juice. There's definitely citrus (lemon-rinds?) and spice (cardamom? cloves?) with a firm hop bitterness in the background, maybe some medicinal phenols. I reeally like the dryness of the finish and the way these flavors lingered.

Very effervescent.

This beer blew my mind-hole. Me and my partner both thought this was the most stand-out beer we'd ever had.

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Photo of orfeu
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dull, hazy golden amber with huge rocky white head. Fluffy ringed lacing. Aromas of apple, yeast, coriander, mineral water, biscuity malts. Tastes spicy (indefinite), with bready malts, dull lemony citrus rind, and a biting yeast finish. Alcohol comes through solidly, too. Juicy carbonated mouthfeel, but quite dry overall. Very nice. Easy-drinkin' Trappist ale...can I actually say that?

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Photo of jIsh
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

The original brett beer!

Awesome label/bottle design. When the cap is popped and the beer is poured into my glass a beautiful aroma fills the empty space around my glass. I could smell this beer indefinitely and never get tired of the smell. In fact, I don't even feel the urge to drink it, rather I just want to stick my nose in the glass!

When I finally get around to drinking this Trappist ale, I was brought to another place and time. A citrus-like, refreshing taste transports me to the Belgian countryside during a sunny summer afternoon under a shady tree. It ends quickly with crisp and tart finish. Incredible!

With the exception of Westy 12 and Rochefort 10, this might just be the best Trappist product on the market!

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours into the glass with a huge, beautiful head. The head on this thing is really alive here. It just keeps rising. When everything settles, there is a amber-golden brew underneath that active foam.

The effervescence and alcohol clear the senses. The aroma is a thing of beauty. Fresh herbs are contrasted by earthy funk. As the beer warms those leathery, wet wool tones overtake the herbal sage.

Very light on the palate, and bone, bone dry. Bitter and acidic on the palate. A little malt through the center provides a nice balance to this complex ale. Citrus and funk combine with bitterness to make this one appetizing brew.

The successful combination of fresh and funk, new and old, depth and pizazz make this one complex brew. Orval may only produce one beer, but when that one beer is as good as this, why produce anything else?

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Photo of stulowitz
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled December 5 2006, poured in a Orval chalice.

Slow pour leaves an awesome off-white, fluffy, creamy head. Smells of citrus, wood, horse, barn and seabreeze greet my nostrils.

Appearance is hazy copper. Taste is bone-dry, refreshing, spritzy. Slightly hoppy and a bit of malt in the background.

Man, this is my all-time favorite beer!

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Photo of tilopud_rye
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am opening a bottle dated November 2011. Almost foams over when opened but it sticks to the mouth of the bottle without spilling. Pours nice violin-resin color with foamy head that falls to a thin layer at the top. Big sour and fruitty smell- a bit of herb but mostly light sour raspberry candy on the nose. Taste starts totally different with the malts bubbling on my tongue with the yeast and fruit coming at the roof and candie with sour dry aftertaste. The sour notes stick lightly to the roof of the mouth and sides of the tongue after but it's relaxing. That's a damn good one!

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Photo of EPICAC
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dust-covered 2002 bottle, served in an Orval chalice. I had this at Kulminator in Antwerp.

Appearance: Pours a hazy-golden with a thick, off-white head that fades to a thin film leaving heavy patches of lace.

Smell: Strong Brettanomyces aroma as well as some grassy and citric aromas.

Taste: Tart citric and Brett characters, with a light sweetness. The finish has a nice mellowed hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium-bodied, low carbonation with a dry finish.

Drinkability: Tart with nice dominant Brett character.

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Photo of travis224
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer blew me away. A golden amber color with tight white head and little lacing. The smell is amazing: a bit medicinal, fruity lemon, granny smith apples and toasted bread, extremely complex. The taste is a bit drier with wet stones, tart apples and some hop bitterness. This is an exceptional beer.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pourred an orangy brew with what I consider to be the most beautiful beige head. Head retention for Orval is what other brewers should aspire to since it is the longest lasting I have ever experience. Taste is of complex spice with great fruit aroma. Also, great wheat taste with a strong body. One of the best trappist in my opinion.

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Photo of ommegoose
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Purchased at Evanston First Liquors. Bottled on 4/24/2007, best before 4/24/2012.

Foams up incredibly fast and is a little difficult to pour. A mountain of foamy head develops and lasts and lasts. Pale gold with heavy carbonation to start, but turns into a nearly opaque murky brown when the sediment is added. Significant lacing.

The first thing that catches my nose is lemony tartness, followed by herbal and grassy notes. Like potpourri, or an herbal tea.

Full of lemon and herbal flavors. Maybe a hint of honey. Not very sweet at all. Finishes with a hint of spearmint. Hops are there with some bitterness, but they are pretty subdued at this point in the aging (about 18 months). I need some help picking out the flavors, but I know I like them very much. So unique and different with every sip. Amazing.

Dry. Very dry. Carbonation was not as bad as I expected from the pour. In fact, it's pretty smooth and slightly creamy.

I restrained myself because this is expensive and in relatively short supply, but I'd love to drink about four of these in a go. So dry, and that flavor keeps calling you back for sip after sip. A hyped beer, but lives up to it easily. I'm stunned that this is not a top 100 beer. A true classic.

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Photo of Danny1217
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hazy orange amber with a fluffy white head. Lots of nice lacing and excellent retention. The head lasts forever.
Smells a bit floral, and somewhat funky. Some lemon zest.
Taste is slightly fruity. A bit of tartness and a brett funk. A nice hop bite gives some slight citrus flavors. Lots of tart fruit tastes. Extraordinarily smooth and crisp feel. Highly sessionable, yet incredibly complex. A balance that is hard to find.

This is one incredible beer. The only downside is that they are a bit pricey, being sold only as single bottles for over $5 each. If not for the price, I could drink quite a few of these in one evening.

After having had it a couple times relatively fresh in the states, I drank an aged Orval while in Belgium. It was possibly the best beer I ever drank. The brett takes over and leaves the fruit and hop flavors in the background. It is funky perfection.

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Photo of sccala
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured out of a bowling pin shaped brown bottle. The bottle was, or at least seemed a bit heavier than the average 11.2 oz bottle. Poured into a dry, room temperature pint glass.

A- Ooo baby! A light gingerbread color with an incredible head...4 finger collar...1 finger of which rose above the rim of the glass. Consistency of the head is that of home made whipped cream. It didn't completely vanish until I was over half way done drinking the beer. Slightly above average lacing.

S- Good, wholesome, feel-good smells here. Pine trees, a bouquet of flowers, herbs...not much hops though.

T- Wheat, lemon, more hops here than in the smell. Nice and crisp and refreshing, yet dry, not sweet.

M- Perfectlly balanced tastes, perfect carbonation, medium body. In my opinion, the after taste reminds me of the after taste you get from Chimay grand reserve.

D- This beer is surprisingly easy on the palate and stomach. Doesn't fill you up instantly...which is actually unlike most trappist style ales. And with a modest 6.9% ABV, you actually can drink and appreciate each one.

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Photo of ProudBeerSnob
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from that funky bottle into a Unibroue tulip. Funky beer, funky bottle.

Marvelous appearance. Dark orange hazy color with that thick head that takes on the appearance of meringue in texture.

Smells of tart citrusy even lime. Can a beer smell dry.

Crisp, tart but not so much that it makes you pucker, just lick your lips and say yummy.

The most unique beer ever, simply a joy to behold and to drink.

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Photo of Chico1985
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A classic Belgian I've put off for far too long. Bottled on date is 6/1/10...a little over 8 months old at this point. Poured this into a tulip glass.

Opens with a very loud hiss. Pours a beautiful amber/orange with an indestructible white head that retains like a champ leaving good lacing as well. Hazy but not much sediment seen. Beers really don't get much better looking.

Brett-effected fruits dominate the smell. Mostly light fruits like lemon, pear and apple but some red grapes as well. Oak and funky barnyard are plentiful as well, this is musty yet bright and fruity at the same time, great balance.

Much like the smell, a superb balance of fruity, funky, sweet, sour. Drinks very much like a lite-lambic or wild ale without the bracing sourness. Lemons, pear, apples, hints of berries throughout. Funky, cheesy barnyard, basement, and big hay/grassiness throughout as well. Bready malts very noticeable, especially in the finish. Some alcohol here and there. Sweet tart/candy sweetness. I start to get a magically delicious vanilla yeasty flavor towards the end of it all.

Mouthfeel is extremely carbonated, but somehow not a bother and strengthens the beer overall in my opinion, it's very light and fluffy. Funk overtakes a bit with warmth.

Amazing, pretty much. Definitely hits its peak once it warms up some. The fact that this isn't in the top 100 with nearly 1,700 reviews is slightly disturbing. The price is hindering but I will buy this as a once-in-a-while treat, and probably a couple to cellar as well.

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Photo of Ooji
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Just amazing. My perfect daily beer. Great with cheese or just as a refreshing beverage. It is probably where New Belgium got their inspiration for Fat Tire. I love and drink all the Belgium Trapist brews, but this I could drink to my satisfaction and still walk...

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Photo of SickBrew
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Holy Sh!t.

Purchased from "By the Bottle" in Vancouver WA.

Poured into a chalice and marveled at the persistent bountiful head. Outstanding aroma - the standard for Trappist Ales. Holy Sh!t, because this beer tastes phenomenal and needs no complicated review. Definitely give this a try.

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Photo of pkalix
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

ive had this many times before, but i'm not sure i remember it smelling this way....
poured a golden, hazy nectar with a light topping of foam.
smell was citric, vinegar-y, apple cider-ish.... <-- the part i dont remember so much....
taste.... is very nice. light fruit, floral, hoppy. perfect balance, but a little bubbly.
i like this but i remember it tasting a little different. almost bubble-gum-my, in the past editions. but i am grading it from a perspective of knowing this is one of my all time favorites. i rate this with the duvel and chimay, up at the very top. these brews can be very rich, but when in the mood, excellent. the only dings in this would be the small bubbly, champagne sensation on the lips and the unexpected vinegar-y smell i got from the start. although i do love those sours, also.

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Photo of CityBoy1986
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter from an 11.2 oz. bottle. My batch was bottled on 6 May 2008, best before 6 May 2013. I think I'm safe ;-).

The pour is a hazy shade-lighter-than-copper with two fingers' white head. Retention and lacing are nice.

The nose is like a flowery version of gin--juniper mixed with floral notes. Some light citrus is also in there I can smell the alcohol, but it is in the background. The taste again contains juniper, flowers and citrus, but all are nicely balanced. Again, there is just a hint of the alcohol. The dry finish seems to last forever.

The mouthfeel is light, but not too light. Carbonation is nice and crisp. Drinkability is high; this is an exceptional sipping beer.

This is the most I've spent on a beer per ounce, and it is worth every penny. Whenever I have some extra in my pocket, this will be in my house.

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Photo of Dentist666
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Now 6.2% ABV.
Pours murky amber-brown beer with huge resistant golden head. Aroma of fruits and flowers: apricots, gueuze notes (i.e. horse sweat), pine resin and more. Awesome! Magnificent dry & rather bitter (belgian IPA?) taste. Yeasts and herbal hop. Warmth & bitterness, bitterness & warmth. Outstanding specimen.

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