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Orval Trappist Ale - Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

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4,322 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,322
Reviews: 2,112
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 202
Gots: 391 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
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.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,322 | Reviews: 2,112 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JorisP
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%

Very thick white head, collapsing but stable.Beer typical orangey colour. Nose is bitter as in vegetable, spicey, flowery. Taste starts immediately quite bitter, combination of hops, flowers, and vegetable. There IS a balance by malt, hinting at sweetness withour ever becoming so. Retronasal aromas of mandarine-zest, hop shoots and olives, without the oil.
Carbonation just perfect: the beer has a milder form of 'Champenoise'-pearl forming, as made with naturally mildly crabonated springwater. Mouthfeel neither chewy, neither watery. No new aftertaste, bitterness lingers on. Drinkablility is second bar none: this is the ultimate Belgian session beer: it gives richness, depth and easy drinking, just as you prefer at the moment given. Unparallelled.

JorisP, Jan 13, 2003
Photo of proc
4.2/5  rDev 0%

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.

proc, Jan 13, 2003
Photo of beerluvr
5/5  rDev +19%

Pours with a rocky, craggy, long lived white head over hazy orangey/gold liquid. The nose is ultra fruity, clean and inviting. Taste is a flash of sweetness before a huge surge of hoppiness mixed with yeast fruitiness fills the mouth. A crisp and acidic mouthfeel gives an impression of light bodiedness. Finishes dry and bitter, complex in it's taste. The reason I chose to delve deeper into all beers Belgian. THE Trappist ale...just wish it wasn't so gosh-darned expen$ive. One of life's great luxuries!

beerluvr, Jan 11, 2003
Photo of francisweizen
4.2/5  rDev 0%


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.

francisweizen, Jan 11, 2003
Photo of Naerhu
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%

Dark copper color, huge white head, with larger bubbles that I am used to on a Belgian. Massive hoppy, and floral fruity aroma like guava; do they even have guava in Belgium? Someone else said “botanical” which is a brilliant description. Aroma was so amazing I could smell it from 2 meters away. Palate was totally different from the nose. Totally complex palate that was with earthy, spicy, yet creamy. Yet for all this complexity, I was surprised how thin this beer was.

Naerhu, Jan 10, 2003
Photo of jtw5877
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%

Complex stuff. Pours a reddish gold color, With a fat white head. A nice combination of wild yeast, malty body with a hop kick. Nice spiciness mixes with the yeastiness, and hopiness. An excellent beer. Belgian beers exist at a different plane than most beers I am used to, And this one is a personal favorite.

jtw5877, Jan 03, 2003
Photo of AtrumAnimus
4.45/5  rDev +6%

This Trappist style ale is good - IT is not great but it is very good. Similar in character to the Chimay White. But I don't think is to be as good. Still a fine example of one of the few Trappist style Belgian ales left on earth though. This is a must try for the true Belgian fan. I would love to try it on tap someday.

Technical Info:
This brew gains its unusual orangey color from the use of three malts produced to its own specification. Its character has some acidity and spicy sage notes comes from its own single cell yeast in its bottle fermentation.

AtrumAnimus, Jan 02, 2003
Photo of bditty187
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%

Hazy, coppery-tawny-gold hue, a splendid color really, the head is absolutely massive, easily three fingers (on a soft pour no less). What a gorgeous ale! The retention is fantastic, similar to meringue, the very definition of perfect. It laces it thick rings, organized, chucky. The nose is impressive, bubblegum upfront, soft orange wedge candy too, and then hints of grapes and green apples, dashes of pepper, oily hops, and undercurrents of a barnyard. There is a lushness in the nose that I find unique, it is obviously hoppy but so damn soft with the fruitiness. It is very impressive, good potency as well. Inviting. On the palate the hoppiness is assertive and bitter. This is coupled with an amazing dryness that allows a white wine vinous plus influences of apples, pepper, and mellow kiss of horse blanket. The palate is wonderful and akin to the complexities of the bouquet. It is very bitter but very soft. The mouthfeel is similar brut champagne, albeit with much improved carbonation. The finish is done-dry, which is very appetizing; the pepper and hops bitterness is long lasting. The body seems a touch thin but it is workable, the carbonation is high. This aspect of the beer has grown on me, I’d didn’t care for this feature on my first few bottles of Orval but now the mouthfeel is a welcomed attribute. I wrongfully compared this to Duvel and it never stood up in my mind… that was my fault. Orval is too unique and too noteworthy to compare, it is a different version of a Belgian Strong Pale Ale and in many ways better. I love Orval. Highly Recommended.

bditty187, Dec 02, 2002
Photo of cokes
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%

Just a perfect looking beer. Sparkling deep golden (muddy peach after the yeast pour). Head is massive and unmoving. Like styrofoam.
Intriguing nose full of white grapes, rosemary, fresh hay and perfumey hops. Very botanical.
Taste is quite similar. Begins with a rosemary draped white grape sweet/sourness. Subdued flourishes of spice. Candy fruit sweetness (kiwi perhaps). Yeast pour adds doughiness and some farmhouse qualities, mostly in a grassy, hay-like sense. Recedes with a hefty blast of floral hops. Bitter, dry finish.
Light medium bodied with loads of spastic large bubbles. On the thin side prior to the introduction of the dregs.
Worthy of the praise. This is a very nice one.

cokes, Dec 01, 2002
Photo of Bierman9
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%

I poured this into a small, Belgian-style goblet and got a huge (I mean huge!) dollop of whipped cream-like head! It just will NOT go away, and the Belgian lace is top-shelf! The bier itself is a dark-golden, orangey color, with some cloudiness (a smidge of yeast may have crept into the goblet...). The predominant aroma I pick up is of grapes, with little else making its way to my nostrils. The body was not quite medium, more on the thin side, yet it was relatively smooth on the tongue. The taste, like the aroma, was heavily grape-accented, much to my dismay. There were other fruity, sourish flavors as well, and it had a distinctly dry finish. I didn't find any spicy qualities to it at all. All-in-all, I was rather let-down by this bier.

overall: 3.55
appearance: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | mouthfeel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3


Bierman9, Nov 30, 2002
Photo of ipogios
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%

Pours an amber colour with a beautigul white thick head. Orval is one of greatest beers around. I must admit that the smell makes you not to want to drink this beer... NOT from the bad point of view but the good one. The aroma is PERFECT in every way so you could enjoy it by just smelling it. After enjoying the aroma, taste comes along and it's as good as the smell. One word could only describe this beer... ADDICTIVE

ipogios, Nov 28, 2002
Photo of Suds
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%

Orval is one of those beers that I just love to smell. There’s a lot going on in the aroma….clove, spices, fruit, citrus…and very floral. The head is soft and dense, and produces considerable lace. Color is deep, shady amber. The beer is effervescent and light bodied. A nice, biting hop finish is in contrast to a tart and spicy foretaste. Small sips and deep sniffs are the way this beer is meant to be enjoyed!

Suds, Nov 24, 2002
Photo of zerk
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%

Clear golden amber, with one of the most interesting heads I've ever witnessed... the head sprouted off in every direction... very odd and alluring. Aroma was sour and sweet... fruity and herbal. Flavor began with some sour fruit flavors... apple and pear maybe... became somewhat spicy and finished like an herbal tea. Light to medium body with a quite noticable alcohol presence. This is a beer that I'll need to try again... as it is with most well brewed Belgians, it's far too complex to fully describe.

zerk, Nov 23, 2002
Photo of doerickson
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%

Golden coloring with a fine-bubbled pure white head--pleasantly thick and persistent. Active carbonation. Complex nose--barnyard, bubblegum, and Band-Aid aromas; quite sour-smelling. Effervescent in the mouth; light body. Band-Aid in the aroma, as I mentioned; and I don't profess to know what Band-Aids taste like, but if the smell is any indication, this definitely tastes like a Band-Aid would taste. There's a hard-to-define tonic-watery sort of hoppy bitterness present throughout. It has grown on me somewhat as it warmed, but to be honest I expected more from this brew.

doerickson, Nov 16, 2002
Photo of frank4sail
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%

06 12 2006 (batch)
Big alcohol nose with some pale malt sweetness. Huge off-white head with big airy bubbles. Classic hazy pale ale look with lots og bubble action in the goblet (center). The rocky head and lace is lasting. This brew starts out on a good footing, because its look is almost flawless. The initial taste is one of smooth malt sweetness then strong warm alcohol notes leads your tongue to a bitter hop/fruit finish. The fruit most resembles bitter peach. Quite a complex and bold brew. Medium to full mouth with a nice creamy feel and coating left in the mouth. A truly crafted Belgian Ale!

frank4sail, Nov 15, 2002
Photo of hyuga
4.95/5  rDev +17.9%

Pours into my Orval chalice, where it is beautifully presented, an orange brew with a huge white head that retains very well. Wonderful complex aroma, consisting mainly of ripe banana and clove. It's like I just got a bunch of fresh bananas and peeled one! Also detectable are fresh sliced green apple, dried fruit (maybe raisin or plum), and spicy hops. Can't say how great that aroma is, it's just overwhelmingly good! I feel like I'm in a fruit market. One of the most aromatically pleasing Belgian beers I've ever had. Cracked pepper jumps in with the first taste, then more of that fresh fruit that was in the aroma. Clove also floats around sporadically. Spicy hops are next, along with dried fruit. Malt is most noticeable with retro-olfaction. Very "carbonated" mouthfeel. Sharp melon rind-like hop twang in the finish. A medium body, but very fruity, spicy, and complex! This beer is so very good! It's well worth the $4.99 or so for the 11.2 oz. bottle in my opinion. Trappist monks certainly know how to brew. And I'm sure they get to drink this wonderful brew every day at the Abbaye Orval. They even make cheese to pair this with. I want to be a monk there now, where do I sign up?

hyuga, Nov 10, 2002
Photo of aracauna
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%

May have been biggest head ever. The foam was very stiff and rose over the top of the glass about 1.5 inches and wouldn't have budged in a hurricane. I get Juicy Fruit gum in the aroma underneath which slinks a cigarette smoking man playing baseball with a big eraser in his pocket. To interpret that, underneath the juicy fruit smell and flavor was something that reminded me of cigarettes, wood, and pencil erasers (especially after you've just erased something.)

aracauna, Nov 08, 2002
Photo of Jon
4.2/5  rDev 0%

Orval's appearance is one of the most outstanding I've seen. Pours a deep apricot-colored liquid with a commanding, bubbly white head. Head retention is ridiculously good. Nose is of various fruit, brettanomyces yeast, and substantial clove. Taste is rather sour and dry, but not overly so. The acidic yet well-carbonated mouthfeel is appropriate. Drinkability is fairly strong for a challenging brew like this. Orval is certainly a unique Trappist ale, and one whose attention is well-deserved.

Jon, Oct 23, 2002
Photo of jmatthew
4.83/5  rDev +15%

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.

jmatthew, Oct 18, 2002
Photo of kunzbrew
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%

Pours a thick, thick white head. that leaves a silky sexy lace behind. It is a hazy medium dark straw color. tast of pale malt is very strong hense the style. I have been waiting about a month to drink this bad boy, and it was worth the wait. a sweet fruity esters are strong with a bite of earthy undertone. I am glad I paid 6 dollars for it.


kunzbrew, Oct 17, 2002
Photo of MAB
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%

I bought this beer with great expectations and was sadly let down. That might have influenced my verdict somewhat. I found it to be excessively foamy, slightly sour, and watery, despite the alcohol level.
It was unlike anything I've had before, and I've tried a dozen Belgian beers, so there is that going for it.
And even a bad Belgian beer is usually better than Molson's or Coors, so it wasn't a total waste of time.
I will probably try it again later, and with lower expectations this time, so I might see something I missed first time round...

MAB, Oct 17, 2002
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%

A One-Beer Trappist Brewery (OK - I know they do Petite Orval, but it is not generally available), brewed with 2 yeasts, the latter of which being a composite of several yeast strains, including Brettanomyces (of lambic fame), a beer that undergoes three distinct fermentations, and it is dry-hopped with English Hops. Wow!!. This is no “Run-of-the-Mill” Belgium Trappist Beer; it is, in all fact, probably the singularly most unique and certainly distinctive of all the Trappists.
Gorgeous looking Orangey-Amber color when poured, with a well developed covering, the bubble size diminishing as you rise up the profile of the head. Fantastically - Fabulously - Fruity nose. Perfume almost to the point of being intrusive, yet it invites you to delve into this immensely complex bitter beer. You are not disappointed, bitterness is very prevalent but “other almost indescribable” tastes abound. It really is so hard to explain this beer properly; Hop-Oils, Perfumes, Xmas Spices, almost Phenolic aftertastes – it’s all there. And the balance of these tastes, changes dramatically with its age. I have drunk Orval “fresh”, 1, 2, 3 and 5 years old. For me it is at its epoch between 1 and 2 years old. At 5 yrs old, it was flat and had no perfume or bitterness, and was very dank & musty, fine for a lambic - but not good for Orval. Also, if you intend to Cellar this beer, you MUST keep it Upright, Cool AND Dry – for the crown caps have a very nasty tendency to rust if the bottle is kept on its side, or somewhere damp, I know I lost a whole a whole Crate to Oxidation!!!
Unique, Very Distinctive, and a One-Off Trappist that is quite "English" in a strange way.

TheLongBeachBum, Oct 10, 2002
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
1.95/5  rDev -53.6%

Very distinctive bottle design makes this a classy pick. Massive bubbles on the pour, which I forgot about at first, creating a bubble overage. Impressive aroma, but something happened on the taste part. I know Michael Jackson loves this beer, but I must be too inexperienced to appreciate it. It wasn't until I was halfway through the half glass I had for the taste testing when it hit me - Robitussin. Robitussin and, and...olives? Yeah, olives and Robitussin. The initial sensation in the mouth is different, but it always ended up Robitussin.

After reading all the reviews out here, I owe it to myself to try this again (for a 3rd time) to see if I can taste some of the other things people are commenting on. I've had Duvel, this is nothing like that except for the alcohol content.

This beer had some interesting side components that I liked, but the taste is the thing.

brewdlyhooked13, Oct 08, 2002
Photo of Dogbrick
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%

Very pretty color, and thanks to the head it took me over a minute to pour. Not the best beer I have ever had but it was definitely unique and I enjoyed it. Belgian Ales are still new to me but I always appreciate them. Cloudy amber color. Complex aroma with candy and grapes in the nose. Malty, vinous, spicy flavor that stayed interesting throughout. At $4.50 a bottle I probably won't be trying this one often but it should be on everyone's list. I had a pleasant buzz at the end too.

Dogbrick, Oct 07, 2002
Photo of putnam
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%

Lunar-eclipse orange with a massive, stiff head. Another aromatic triumph. Pine needles, sourdough, orange peel and clove all take turns on the nose. There is a really medieval feel to the aromatics. This is the beer they drank in Middle Earth, all resinous, peaty and full of crackling wild enzymes. The flavors are pretty and refined, somewhat in contrast to the nose. Sourwood honey, nutmeg, and roasted starch appear. A dry beer overall. A very fine, powdery grain on the finish. One unique beer.

putnam, Oct 02, 2002
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,322 ratings.