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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 headlessparrot
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled October 2014. Beer pours an almost reddish, copper colour, fairly cloudy, topped by a tremendous amount of loose head that just keeps growing. Lots of small bubbles visible. Dense lacing that not only sticks to the side of the glass but actually visibly protrudes. Even after most of the head recedes, at leas one enormous island persists like an iceberg.

Smell is sour, yeasty, sweet, slightly metallic. A bit of Christmas spice (cinnamon? clove?). Smells a lot like a lambic, a faro, or maybe even a Flanders Red. Slight pine, caramelized sugars, brown sugars. Green apple, apple skins. Apricot or peach--stone fruits, at any rate. Sour cherries.

Given the intensity of the aroma, the taste is a lot lighter than I expected. More toasted and roasted malt-type flavours than I would have expected as well. Slight sourness, a lot of fruit: apple, apricot, peach. Maybe some pear? A faint metallic twang. Some baking spices and Christmas spices. Clove? Faint banana? Carbonation is high, but manageable and the body is dense without being overpowering.

Delicious. The taste doesn't quite live up to the smell, but delicious. This reminds me of a lot of my very favourite Belgian beers, of all different styles: Rodenbach Grand Cru, Lindeman's Faro. . . . And yet the difference is that this retains a drinkability that a lot of those favourites don't (I could drink three of these; I could never drink three Rodenbachs in a sitting). I don't know that it's a *better* beer than either of those I listed. But it's of a different style, and is more drinkable.

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Photo of GerryPendry
4.9/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a hazy amber, gigantic dense head. Complex aroma and flavor. Mouthfeel is a tad bit thin, not too carbonated, with a dry finish. It's almost like it evaporates from your palate, the same way a well-made martini does. Incredibly flavorful for a beer his light and drinkable. Goes down way too easy for a beer this expensive. Very highly recommended.

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Photo of mjurney
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Amber-golden color, murky. Lots of small bubbles streaming. Thick frothy head.

Bananas, pears, hint of nutmeg, deep bready malts, a little tartness.

Strong fruity yeast, bananas, pears, green grape skin. Mild spice, nutmeg. Deep creamy malts, caramel. Hop bitterness towards the end. Finish is most tart, very dry. Body is full, crewy, refreshing, easy drinking.

It's a world class beer!

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Photo of SitkaSteve
4.46/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was poured into a tulip.
The appearance was a hazy amber to orange color. There was a decently sized creamy rocky head that lasts for a super long time and then once it dissipates leaves some nice stringy lacing.
The smell starts off with tart apples, brings on a slight rustic funk and then slides into some nice Belgian spices.
The taste remains tart through the apples and then takes on a musty sort of farmhouse sweet funk. The apples take on a sweet persona in the aftertaste and slides into a semi-sweet to musty wet finish.
The mouthfeel is about a light to medium on the body with a pretty good sessionability about it. Carbonation ranges on a delicate soft side allowing the tartness to come back and be the focus of the harshness along my tongue.
Overall, its a classic because of its unique quality of the tartness. Its world class for a reason. And a stellar one to have with some NY strip steaks. I also personally love it with grilled halibut steaks.

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Photo of HopHunter19
3.88/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

a - murkey amber orange, nice big creamy head on it that lasts forever and leaves great lacing
s - tart green apple, little bit of funk
t - very light tartness, green apple, lots of funk and mustiness, kind of like sleeping in your grandparent's basement
m - light - medium, alc completely covered, aftertaste is musty funkiness
o - would drink again for it's uniqueness, not my favorite by far though

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Photo of dd43
4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

It will be sacrilege on this site, but I feel like I enjoyed Spencer Trappist more than this. That said Orval is a fantastic beer. Voluminous head requires a careful pour. Swirling the bottle before cracking it open, even gently, can cause a foam geyser if you aren't careful.

Somewhat darker in color than other Belgian pales, giving you the sense that the malt character is going to be a little more pronounced (and it is). Great yeast aromas, candied sugar in the flavor, and massively carbonated. Required drinking if you are trying to get a sense of what Belgian pale ales are, consider this a reference beer.

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Photo of tlema1
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Orange/Amber, big billowing white head
S: little funk, little tart
T: lots going on here, I get tart green apple, some Belgian yeast sweetness, a little funk
F: good mouthfeel
O: great beer, first time I've ha one in years

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Photo of SkipZ
4.9/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 27/03/2014.
Look: Poured a huge pillowy white head with plenty of active bubbles streaming. This is a true joy to me. In the glass its a beautiful amber/orange that is light-light/medium body and mostly translucent with no large particles even after I swirled them from the bottom of the bottle. Some head foam remained in the bottle to finish off the top.

Nose: First aromatic blast is a mixture of bubble gum, tutti-frutti snow cone and Harbo red and black raspberry German gummies obviously from the "candied sugar" quickly followed with sweet malts, aromatic hops and a tiny bit of funk.

Taste/Mouth: Sharp carbonation on the tip of the tongue for eye popping refreshment with the sweet,dry,funky and aromatic complexities of this ale battling it out over the tongue to a superb, velvety,crisp and dry finish that left me wanting more. In fact, this is a bottle from the case I traveled about 75 miles to get after sampling a bottle a few days earlier.

Final Thoughts: This is a complex,heavily carbonated Trappist ale that is a crisp,funky and aromatic bliss.

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Photo of TheBlueWaffle
4.71/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

After dealing with the insane carbonation, I'm talking 30 minutes till the foam died down, this beer was ready. Worth the wait for sure. Intense banana yeast notes. Very drinkable!

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Photo of kevinlater
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle into goblet. "bottled on 15/01/2015, best before 15/01/2020B". 6.9% abv. consumed on june 30, 2015

a: light copper with two fingers of off-white head

s: ah brett beers. noticeably funky but miles from offensive. funk, strong bready malt, and sour lemon up front. underneath that are very mild backing notes of overripe bananas, sour apples, pears, and bubblegum

t: follows the nose but is a bit more fruity. a really solid chewy bready malt in the front mixed with those sour funky brett flavours. lots of complex but tame backing flavours throughout -- pear, lemon, banana, papaya, bubblegum, spices, melon, earthy hops, apricot, maybe even some mango? ends with a moderate hop bitterness and lingering subdued funky tastes

m: nice, modest medium-minus body with plenty of bubbly carbonation. very dry finish

o: a massively complex beer that offers so many different flavours upon each sip

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Photo of Gajo74
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful blend of colors; dark golden, copper, Amber and orange. The look is cloudy with some sediment. Huge foam head that takes a while to disappear, excellent creamy lace retention until the very end.
Big fruit aroma; tropical fruits, bannana, lemon. There is also a sugary malt undertone and some herbs.
The taste is quite complex and the feel is amazing. There is a soft but prominent carbonation that tingles slightly. Creamy feel until the very end. Feels full bodied in the mouth but is actually medium all,around and quite drinkable. Tart fruit flavors and bready malt contribute to an overall sweet taste. However, a strong herbal, bitter hops and lemon finish balance it out amazingly. There is alcohol for sure, but it blends so well with the other tastes.
An exceptional beer!

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Photo of JLaw55
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a first for me and very complex. Pretty darn tasty though, and wow the craftsmanship was out of this world. It was a amber/brownish color with a nice fluffy white head. Lots of fragrance coming off of this one, with a complex set of flavors to back it up. Grassy, malty, fruity, bitter, with a hint of clean funkiness and crisp finish.

Would purchase and revisit again. Not the cheapest, but this was very pleasant and would be worth the price every now and then.

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

330 mL bottle from the LCBO; bottled Jan 15 2015, listed at 6.9% and served at cellar temperature. I totally did not expect to see this one show up locally - the beer selection has really improved in this town over the past couple of years.

Pours a muddy orange-amber colour, topped off with a copious volume of fluffy white head. It's one of those froths that quite literally slowly grows before your very eyes - it looks like some sort of whipped topping, wilting down over an agonizingly long period that exceeds ten minutes. Looks absolutely beautiful. The nose is similarly attractive, boasting a fluid mix of funky, spicy, intensely yeasty aromas; fruity notes such as apple, apricot and lemony citrus; and doughy malt with a touch of caramelized sugar.

I usually find myself to be a little disappointed when it comes to heavily hyped beers, such as Orval, but this one has really lived up to the expectations - it's goddamn delicious, with a lovely mixture of tart and astringent flavours. Some light, grainy malts, caramelized sugar and doughy bread are easily missed, as the funky, leathery barnyard notes from the Brett are what really grab your attention. Not particularly fruity - I am getting a bit of lemon pith and maybe some apricot, banana, and vinous grape, but it finishes with a phenolic, spicy kick and some bitter, leafy hop notes. The aftertaste is totally dry, making it hard to stop yourself from sipping this one quickly. Medium-bodied, with assertive carbonation levels that give this unique pale ale a crisp, prickly mouthfeel. It feels smooth and frothy on the palate; unbelievably refreshing, too.

Final Grade: 4.73, an A+. Orval is a fantastic beer, and certainly one of the best Belgian imports I have had to date. It is undeniably unique-tasting, with a flavour profile that is both mesmerizing, and annoyingly difficult to describe with much accuracy. The Brettanomyces make this one an acquired taste, but if you go into the glass with an open mind, you can safely expect to be blown away. I'm glad I grabbed a couple of extra bottles, but given this one's history of spotty availability (in Ontario) I might need to snatch a few more while I have the opportunity.

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Photo of jmasher85
2.75/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

God, I hope to G-d I got a bad bottle of this one. It's really well rated, but neither I nor the rest of my Beer Club were particularly impressed. Again, could have been the bottle, and I'll have to try another soon to compare, but of all the Trappist Beers we sampled during our meeting that night (almost all of them), this was one of the worst.

To be fair, it probably had the most interesting and dynamic flavor profile. Stone fruits on the nose, mainly peach and apricot, but kinda moldy smelling. The taste wasn't much different. A lot of slightly rotton and fermented fruit smells in this one. Most peculiar was the metallic aftertaste that only hits you about 5 seconds after you swallow. So bonus points for being a strange and confusing beer that kept us all guessing, but negative points for being a little too odd and possibly off. I may have to revisit this one with a fresher bottle.

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

One of the classics! From the bottle, which I note is exactly the same as the ones I purchased while stationed in Germany in the 1980s, it pours with a BIG white head over a hazy golden amber nectar. Enjoyable. Bottled in 2013 and drunk in 2015!

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Photo of Tom_Banjo
2.92/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Two 330 ml bottles purchased from Whole Foods and served on different days at different temperatures. Served in a stemmed Spiegelau Pilsner glass. Attractive looking beer, but much too yeasty for me. Not a beer I think I will be having again any time soon.

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Photo of TDotScott
4.84/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Cellared for four years. Poured into a wine glass

L- gold with a rocky white head that just won't quit.

S- Dat aged Brett, tho. Pineapple and fruits. Not so much funk anymore.

T- bitter phenols, some hops still. Malt has a presence. You can tell it's aged, but still such balance!

F- prickly carbonation helps keep things light

O- a good one to try at this age!

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Photo of tigg924
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

For the style, this is quite good. Nice mix of citrus, lemon, apricot, Belgian spices, and light hops at the end. Beer is dry and dances the line between bitter and tart. Probably the beer I would get if I wanted this style.

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Photo of majorbase2
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a very murky, dark orange color with a very large bubbly white head. Good retention. Leaves a large ring of lacing around the edges. A ton of carbonation.

Aroma is more of a sour. Green apple, pears, and a bit of and funk.

Taste follows the nose. Heavy on pear and some light tartness, followed white white grape and a slightly more subtle green apple.

Mouthfeel is light, crispy and dry. Very high carbonation, which I anticipated from the moment I opened the bottle.

Overall, very disappointed by this one. A good beer, but easily my least favorite Trappist beer. Worth a try if Belgian is your favorite style, but otherwise a bit of a disappointment.

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Photo of hophugger
3.38/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A little different than other trappistes beers I have had. Extreme carbonation, had to try three times to get it all int he glass. Aroma is of sweet malt, a touch of pear and a good amount of barnyard excrement. Head settles down quite fast but still has a lot of fizz left. Taste is sweet with some farm funk and hay in the first taste, carbonation still highly in effect. Overall, not quite what I was expecting, too carbonated and alittle more funky than others of this style I have tried. Definitely don't see where the extremely high overall rating came from....

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.06/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Pours a c.oudy burnt orange with a large three-finger foamy white head. The head dissapates quickly leaving tons of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is green apple, white grape, pear, and brett.

T - The taste follows the aroma. Pear, white grape, green apple, spices, and lots of brett funkiness.

M - Medium bodied with high carbonation. The mouthfeel is very crisp with a dry finish.

O - A classic trappist ale.

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Photo of frozyn
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Very large head on top of a great caramel color. Sweet, fruity, slightly tart scent. Flavor opens up as it gets warmer, turning a little nutty and herbal. The carbonation at first is too powerful, but letting it sit tones it down a lot and the flavor is more noticeable: to me, the sweetness didn't come through flavor-wise until it had sat for 15 minutes.

Overall quite a good beer.

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Photo of Reedbrew
3.49/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

Just not my thing. Compared to the taste of other Belgian Trappist beers this just doesn't impress me as much. Well-made but the flavor profile was a bit disappointing. Positives: excellent carbonation (maybe a bit too much though) and interesting bottle.

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Photo of MrDell
4.99/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Orval – bottled 03.06.15 – (3 1/2 months old)

Appearance: Amber coloured beer, one finger, fluffy, cloud-like white head - very tightly packed. Leaves nice lacing on glass which then slowly slips away to rejoin the beer in the glass. Very nice looking beer, especially when served in the correct Orval glass (that was designed by the Abbey’s Architect, no less).
As I’m coming to the end of the glass, the head is still made up of the tinniest bubbles you can imagine. Bubbles so small that you can barely see them, they are ever so tightly packed. As I swirl the last, probably 15ml of beer in the glass it remains stuck together almost like a fried egg in a frying pan - a sure sign of a quality product.

Aroma: Strong aroma of apples and pears with dry white wine and other acidic sour fruits. The smell is really nice, can’t pull my nose away from the glass. Getting a hint of banana along side the apples and pears as its warming up.

Taste: Hoppy then sour then hops coming on strong again in the finish. A very refreshing beer. This beer is still fairly cold as I poured it straight from the fridge. It’s very unique taste wise and seems to be different every time I try it - which is fairly often. Always thoroughly enjoyable. Love the way the hops are fighting with the sour flavours of the brett yeast all the way from start to finish.

Mouth feel: Dry, tart and bittering (which doesn’t sound pleseant but absolutely is where this beer is concerned).

Overall: An absolute all-time favourite. If I could only drink one beer for the rest of my life (heaven forbid!), then this might quite possibly be the one, purely because it never fails to surprise and is always familiar yet somehow different. 10/10, no questions asked!

Orval – bottled 06.08.14 – (14 Months Old)

Appearance: I was really surprised by how much the appearance has changed over the 3.5 month old Orval. It has lost a lot of its bright amber colour and is now much paler. Head is not is not fluffy as it was in the younger brew and, although it is covering the surface of the beer completely, the beer can seen through the head when looking from above.

Aroma: The aroma has become stronger, punchier and more acidic. The apple and pears are still present.

Taste: The hop flavour has dropped off a lot but is still dectectable in the finish. The sourness from the brett is now dominating from the start.

Mouth feel: Dry and slightly tart, as with the younger brew.

Overall: While I am thoroughly enjoying this beer, I have to say I preferred the younger brew but I’m not sure if that’s due to me being extremely tired while reviewing this slightly older Orval. It seems that while I’m not a huge fan of hop forward beers, the hops in the fresher Orval complement the unusual yeast strain, as both fight to dominate the palate.

UPDATE: 16.10.2015
Ignore the above – must have been due to me being overtired! Just tried another 14 month old bottle (06.08.2014) and it was amazing. Yes, the brett has become more pronounced over time, making the beer more sour but it’s a beautiful thing. Beer seems less complex but more refreshing at this age - different but equally as good.

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Photo of Rootscipio
3.84/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled on 1/14/14 BB 1/14/19

Extremely lively carbonation takes several pours to get it in the glass. big white foaming head sits on top of the dark yellow liquid.
Smells of sweet malts and pears. Taste is of spices and pears with a touch of white grapes.
Feel is highly carbonated that dances across the palate but ends dry with a slightly wine after taste.

This is the start of my resolution for the summer to get a better baseline understanding of the classic Belgian beers . Orval is certainly not bad but not sure if I will return to it very often. I am certainly glad to have it under my belt however as far as beers I have experienced.

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