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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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,230 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,230
Hads: 5,052
Avg: 4.18
pDev: 18.9%
Wants: 317
Gots: 735 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Belgium | 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: 2,230 | Hads: 5,052
Photo of DeFaz
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Is Michael Jordan the best basketball player? It's probably not fair to say since there may be some undiscovered guy out there. And that's how I feel about this beer--in my humble opinion, it seems doubtful that there will ever be a better trappist ale, and yet who knows? What I do know though is that I enjoy the heck out of this--its amazing appearance (a huge foamy head that while receding quickly leaves great lacing) and a smell with complex floral notes and candy-like sweetness that is balanced by something (or everything) and keeps the smell so inviting. The taste is amazing--sweet, delicate, floral, balanced, intense, thoughtful, and beautiful. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy, making it a beer to swirl around in the mouth for several seconds before swallowing, allowing the opportunity to absorb all of the flavors. And yet, even the mouthfeel somehow manages to seek balance with its crispness. Overall, in my opinion this beer is absolutely one of the best out there even considering its relatively high cost (about $4.25 per 11.2 ounce bottle). Some may fail to appreciate the beer because it doesn't have the high ABV of some Belgians or the bitter hop taste of some of their favorite IPAs, but for what it is, it's just about perfect, and I use that word as sparingly as I can.

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Photo of Homerbag
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip, has beautiful amber body. Darker toward the center, more light coming through on the edges. The head on this is a big two inch pillow that sits like a cloud. Head reduces to a thin foamy layer that laces perfectly.

Smell is floral and warm. Some yeast comming through. Taste is incredible. Floral, some lemon flavors, aged hop, hay-like quality. Everything in perfect balance. Ther real action begins after you let it clear your palate. The after taste dances all over. Notes of apple cider and fresh cut grass soak in. Feel is very dry and crisp. This is asking more more sips.

This is damn near perfect. This is a pleasure to drink and makes any bad day much better. If I could freeze this and ice skate on this then drink it in spring when it thaws, I would. Excellent beer.

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Photo of Aiptasia
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my second tasting of a true trappist ale. I purchased it retail in the ubiquitous 12 oz. vase-like brown bottle.

A: Pours a red honey color with a slight misty haze. The head on this beer is absolutely monsterous. Big, big head that's as dense as a Frisco fog. It took me two pours to get all of it into a 64 ounce mug.

S: Citrus and meadow. Smells like springtime just after an afternoon rain.

T: Crisp and dry with apple and plum undertones. A bit of a hopsy grass flavor on the backend. Not sweet, exceptionally dry. The flavor notes are enjoyed immensely as you breathe between the draughts.

M: Medium-Light bodied. The carbonation is smooth. Fruit notes up front, dry hops bite in the middle, finishes dry with the vapors of the fruits trailing happily behind.

D: I wish I could live on a beer like this. Perfection in a bottle for warm spring and summer days.

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Photo of tony223366
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From my beer journal. Reviewed on September 14, 2011.

A: Darker amber, almost brown in color. Very cloudy with a hint of light poking through the edges. Nice, but not perfect head. Lots of carbonation in this beer.

S: Lemony-floral smell. Very pleasant and bright.

T: Fruity up front. Certainly tart fruit. Nice malty backbone with a surprising hoppy finish. Phenols are very faint but at a good level for me. So crisp.

M: Light body with nice carbonation.

O: I really, really enjoyed this. This is so complex but also somehow really well balanced. I'm going to get this again... and again... and again

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Photo of Evocatus
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Looks like a cider with a slightly light orange hue; the lead was a light beige and foamy. Smelled like a bunch of sweet apples. Taste was a good mix of sweet and bitter. The apple taste from the aroma was there as well as hints of bread and citrus. Going down you could taste something earthy, can't really think of another description. Mouthfeel was pretty good; right amount of thickness and carbonation, and the head just added to that. Goes down pretty easily. Overall a good combination of flavors, smell, and alcohol level, easily drinkable on any occasion.

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Photo of keithmurray
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - dark copper color with fluffy tan head

smell - green apple,citrus, yeast, funk, cider

taste - tart apple,citrus,pear, yeast, clove, cinnamon, taste is complex

mouthfeel - medium bodied, fully carbonated, sweet/tart upfront, dry/slightly bitter in the finish

overall - such a great beer, one of my all time favorites, good complexity, yet highly drinkable

Price Point - $5.69/11.2oz bottle

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Photo of TheCyturn
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a young Orval. Bottled two months ago.
Looks very good:poured into a chalice,great lacing and foamy head.
Great smell: lemon, green apples, a bit of orange. Very fruity.
Extaordinary taste! It's like the taste changes with every sip. It keeps surprising you. I like the bitterness and the sourness(that sourness reminds me perhaps of a sour ale).
An exceptional brew. That's for sure, but I wonder how an older Orval would taste like.

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Photo of gonzo46and2
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this one at Tank's Taproom in Tampa. Pours a dark orange with a huge frothy head that lasts all night. Huge noseful of dark fruity esters. Taste has nice complexity of spices, raisin, plum, mild hops, sweet malt, yummy yeast. Overall the beer is very sweet with a slight alchoholic finish. Great beer for dessert.

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Photo of Daredevil
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

the legend ... pour this brew from the thiny bottle (which btw doesn't look anything but special) into a burgundy glass and you will know why ... actually the foam looks like the fermentation would be in full process ... besides the looks smell and aroma all in harmony and balance ... drink this one slow and taste how the aromas change over time ... unique ....

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Photo of maddamish
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought at the Acme on Market street in Akron Ohio. On sale for $4.50 a bottle.

This is truely the champ -pagan (For you Futurerama fans out there) of beers. Because that is what it smells and tastes like. A thick creamy head was overfilling my glass before I even got to the half way mark. (And yes I was properly pouring it.) After letting it settle a bit I poured the rest of the bottle in my glass and took a look.

It had the color and consistancy of grapefruit juice. Just a beautiful looking beer. There were grape, sugar, and a champagne notes in the nose. I knew this was going to be a very complex beer and I had not even taken the first sip.

Taste: Champagne, grapefruit mixed in with a bit of spice and tartness that provided the beer with a slight kick. I said it before but this is not beer. It cannot be beer. But here it was. What a great experience.

Notes: Creamy, consistent and just a pleasure to drink. I am sorry that there wasn't more when I was finished with the bottle. But every good beer is like that. Hopefully I will get to experience this great brew again.

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Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Pours a hazy orange colour, great head and awesome lacing.

Smells of light spices, and citrus - very light and refreshing.

Taste is immense, so complex almost indescribable - well balanced citrus, crisp and refreshing light hops, medicine undertones similar to de Dolle's Stille Nacht.

An excellent beer - great at 7 months - must try again soon.

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Photo of Chizoad
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I curse the fact it took me so long to try this!

Poured into a tall, narrow glass that really showed off the amazing fluffy head. The beer itself changed from a pale yellow amber at the thinnest part of the glass to a gorgeous orange/tan at a thicker spot. Slightly hazed.

Interesting smell that pulls out funk, malt, and spices. I can't identify the spices here, and I hope they are coming just from the yeast.

Amazing flavor! The funk is up front but so beautifully balanced and nuanced that it really is a pleasure to drink this beer. Excellent malt and spices on the finish, and just a little astringency that puts a twist on the flavor.

Highly carbonated but bubble size is tiny so it's like a pillow on your tongue. Medium body.

Highly drinkable, and I would love many more of these. For $5 and change, this is a go to beer.

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Photo of guild337
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have wanted to try one for a long time, and was in the mood for a good trappist when I saw this bottle at my local grocery store (ok it's a slightly higher end grocery store).

A - What you would expect from a Trappist bottle aged ale. Deep golden color, and cloudy with sediment (mmm...sediment). A nice thick off white head.

S - Not overly fragrant, but what little there is, is fresh and clean. Smell is a little bit citrusey.

T- Taste, on the other hand, is quite complex and has a range of different flavors. My pallet is not the most acute, but I was able to enjoy some pear and apple flavors which were both subtle and poignant.

M - A nice light mouthfeel, with quite a bit of carbonation.

D - Very drinkable, and enjoyable ale. Right up there with my favorite Belgian beers.

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Photo of Belpaire
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle on date 10/03/11. Reviewed on 10/29/11. Probably can't get much fresher than that in the US. How will this effect the funk, we shall find out.

Poured into a Duvel Chalice. A very lively head, dense and compact, that slowly fades to rocky as it leaves a nice lacing behind. A lovely orange color with a minor haze.

Aroma is intoxicating. Funky citrus, oranges would probably be closest, with an almost woody/grassy undertone. It's not subtle.

The first sip is an unexpected slight smokey burnt caramel with grassy hop notes that fade into a refreshingly dry finish. Each sip the flavors settle more on the tongue. The beginning of the sip has a certain sweetness that fades into an assertive but not unpleasant bitterness.

Wait, where's the funk? It's there but it's subtle. It kind of shows up as an aftertaste. A little lingering hint of what would come with age.

Do I wish I had waited for this to age a little? No, I like to be able to taste what the base of this beer is before the bugs have there way with it. Do I wish I had a 2 year old bottle to follow this one up with? Absolutely, unfortunately I don't.

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Photo of ROMER79
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this for the first time the other night. It was poured straight into an Orval glass. It poured a nice gold color with a two finger white head. The smell was very herbal with hops and fruit coming through. The taste was astonishing, amost like candy. You could really respect the great balance between the hops, berries, and sugar. It has a nice dry flavor to coinside with the other flavors above. It is a crisp refreshing feel on the palate and carbonated as well to give it the extra umph! Very easy to drink, I had it with Nachos and they tasted great together.

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Photo of greg202stewart
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Definitely one of a kind. This is one of the light trappists, golden yellow. The smell I've pinpointed as new sneaker. I know that sounds gross, but there is an undeniable funk to Oval. But it is one of the most crisp and refreshing beers I've come to enjoy.

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Photo of omnigrits
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a globe.

A. A pale copper colour, slightly hazy, and with a vigorous off-white head. Masses of sticky lace.

S. Quite sweet and sugary at first, but then the other notes start coming in - floral, earthy, spicy yeast, a slight hint of mustiness.

T. This is not like any of the other Trappist beers I've tasted. The classic spicy Belgian yeast character is relatively muted, although it's there, and I'm getting a prominent lemon flavour along with some sourness (but not a funky kind of sour), and other flavours I can't even begin to pin down. A very complex ale.

M. Fairly light, highly carbonated, refreshing and dry.

O. That's a quality beer, and no mistake. It's far too easy to keep going back to the glass for another sip, but at least it's not up there in the ABV. This one's going to be burning a hole in my pocket from now on, dammit.

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Photo of eagles22
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: beautiful 3 finger white fluffy head nice hazey orange body

Smell: yeast, straw, apricots and also some malts

Taste: very simple but complex brew..nice hop citrus notes first than smooth very light malt character somehwhat of a sour brew but in a good way

Mouthfeel: medium body with carbonation

Drinkability: if you find this beer enjoy this one enjoy it for all its worth cuz its worth every penny

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Photo of SD-Alefan
4.81/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay chalice.
This one was bottled in Oct., 2012.

The bottle opened with a nice, resounding "pop." An aggressive center pour produces a big, foamy root beer head that compacts but lasts to the end of the beer. The color is a very hazy, even cloudy brownish-orange.

The aroma is my favorite part of this beer. First off for me, an odor of yeasty bread rising. then some fruit; raisin, maybe orange and lemon. There is also a little farmyard funk underneath.

The first taste is candy at first, then some dried fruits, then a light bitterness as it warms. I get raisin, dates, some yeastiness and even bitter chocolate. As it warms, some biscuit and even a little caramel come through. Love the slight yeasty funk. Amazingly complex.

This beer is well carbonated, and it feels a little sticky and tongue-coating. It's even got a little creaminess thanks to the never-fading foam.

Just a great beer.

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Photo of fdrich29
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 FL. OZ. Bottle from The Wine Cellar of Silene in Waltham, MA. Bottled on 1.06.2004 Best Before 1.06.2009

Thick, frothy head with an apple cidar body.

Smells or citrus fruit and flowers, reminds me of springtime.

Taste of lemon, hops and again, the essence of spring time. Crisp and somewhat bitter.

Tears through the mouth doing and saying so many things, quite an enjoyable sensation.

Great beer. I put off trying this brew for a long time, but it has been on my list of must tries since I discovered Belgians. Try it if you haven't.

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Photo of studentofbeer
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orval trappist ale, 6.9% from their cute 11.2 oz. "bowling pin" or "vase" bottle.

it poured a slightly hazy lipton tea-like color into my ommegang goblet, with a huge blossoming soft head.

smells were apple at first, then cinammon, nutmeg, lime and lime rind, crab apple, sour candy and sour milk. a bit later im picking up mud, wild grass

thick mouthfeel with aggressive carbonation and tangy orange and salt on lemon flavors on the side of the tongue as well as deep bready and earthy hop bitterness. it's almost like two beers going on at once, an english ale and a lambic duking it out or perhaps laying down together.

edit notes: the last few times i have had orval have been disappointing. i am not going to change my original review because i thought it was awesome, but the last two or three i have had have all been a bit fizzy and soda-water like, without a lot of flavor. very sad. i won't be spending the $5 to sample this beer again soon unless i can feel sure it'll be like it was in my first review.

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Photo of BeerGodz
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Orange/amber color, slight haze, massive head with excellent retention & lacing

Smell: Brett Funk, bready malts, all kinds of fruit - amazing!

Taste: Up Front: Tart, acidic, earthy, dark fruit. Finish: Brett funk, bready malt

Mouthfeel: Light body, effervescence, with a dry finish

Drinkability: Well balanced and it goes down easy, despite the alcohol bite

Overall Impression: It's been a while since I had this beer. In fact, I had not developed an appreciation for Belgian's back then. I was not expecting much from this one; OH My ME was I wrong!!! This is what Begian beer is all about people!!! I see myself drinking this one very often. In fact, I may have to go get more this evening.

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Photo of brushpig
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Slim the bartender at the Hopleaf suggested this fine brew. Served in a tulip glass.

Amber orange appearance with a huge frothy head.

The aroma of flowers citrus light spices.

The taste is something special, smooth, but very complex with lemons, hops, tart, bitter, flowers. All this with a perfect balence that makes this a joy to drink. Not a overwhelming ABV (6.20)
which makes this very drinkable.

This is one of the traditional belgiums that is a must try.

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Photo of pweis909
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
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 +15.3%
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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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,230 ratings.