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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,324 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,324
Reviews: 2,112
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 203
Gots: 390 | 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: 4,324 | Reviews: 2,112 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JDM44
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

JDM44, Oct 22, 2013
Photo of alexm1309
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

alexm1309, Jul 27, 2014
Photo of ndekke39
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared a bottle of this with some good friends. Bottled on 1/24/06 and best-by 1/24/11. Poured a cloudy honey color with a bright white head and lots of lacing. Smells of so many things... apple, honey, banana, peach, yeast. Wonderful to stick your nose in. Taste was dry, fruit, and hoppy. Overall flavors ran the gamut from sweet to bitter to sour. Each sip brought something new out. Mouthfeel was bright and fizzy. Overall, excellent beer. Great to sip. Highly recommended.

Tried another bottle in September 2007. Bottled on 1/24/06 and best-by 1/24/11. Poured like a very cloudy cider. Small, white head, with little bits of lacing. Smells again of apple, plus some champagne. A little bitterness like an apple peel. Needs to warm up a bit. Very effervescent, like a champagne! This must be one result of the aging. Again, it's wonderful to drink, especially with good friends. Looking forward to trying another bottle next Labor Day!

And we shared yet another bottle in September 2008. Bottled 1/24/06, best by 1/24/11. Poured like clear-ish apple juice, nice thick white head, lots of lacing, great retention. Smells of apples and champagne. Taste is starting to flatten out. Very dry. Taste of apples, bitter at the end, like old coffee. Very effervescent mouthfeel. It's getting less nuanced, but we have 2 more bottles and will see it through to Labor Day 2010!

Opened our fourth bottle in September 2009. Like the rest, bottled 1/24/06 and best by 1/24/11. Poured a clear deep yellow. Lots of foam, very fizzy and rocky. Lots of lacing on the glass. Aromas of yeast, fermented apple cider, pears, white wine like a Riesling. Tastes of white wine, champagne, apples. Taste begins well, but ends with a flat burn. Almost tastes old. Mouthfeel is a bit flat, despite all the foam. Still interesting, but the beer is mellowing out. One more bottle for next year!

Opened our fifth and final bottle in September 2010. Like every one of them, bottled 1/24/06 and good until 1/24/11, although it doesn't seem to be holding up too well. Very foamy on the pour, with a consistent fluffy white head. Color looks darker and cloudier this year. Smells like apple cider vinegar. Tastes a little flat, like cardboard or wood; it's like a very weak wine. Mouthfeel is still fizzy and bright. This beer has about three months left in its life, but already it seems to be turning into nothing.

ndekke39, Sep 05, 2006
Photo of ricke
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving date: 2009-01-20. Served in snifter.

Presentation: 330 ml bottle. Bottling date and freshness date on label (Bottled 2008-06-20, best before 2013-06-20). Recommended serving temperature and glassware on label.

Appearance: The beer is amber-colored with red hues, and a bit hazy due to the bottle conditioning and the rather large amount of yeast in the bottle (left most of it in the bottle, though). It develops a big, bubbly and uneven head, despite poured in a quite wide-bodied snifter. The head is almost white, with a light yellow/orange shade, and settles very very slowly. It actually never disappear. Instead it leaves a thick coat of foam. Rocky and airy lacings clings to the glass. This one really pleases the visual faculty.

Smell: Lemon, grass, weeds and sweet, fruity aromas, coupled with a pleasant smell of yeast.

Taste: Lemon peel is mixed with yeast and very faint notes of unripe tart fruits. A hint of pine needles is there as well. Then, a taste of grass and hey enters the picture together with a very mild barnyard funkiness (horse blanket?). Just before the finish, it develops a sharp twang - perhaps a result of hops. The finish is tart at first, then develops a subtle bitterness leaving a long and dry sensation in the mouth. Overall, the taste of this beer is really great with levels of complexity. Basically every sip offers something new. However, the true highlight is the balance between the different flavors - everything is composed in a precise and very pleasant manner.

Mouthfeel: As with the taste, this beer offers a rather unique mouthfeel. At first, with the plentiful foam playing an important part, it's quite smooth and full. However, this quickly changes into a a medium, almost light, body with the lively carbonation providing a sharp and crisp feeling to it.

Drinkability: This is a fantastic beer with an original and unique profile. A true masterpiece from start to finish.

ricke, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of gr0g
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Five month old bottle. Dirty orange in color, quite hazy. Plenty of carbonation leads to an epic head that lasts for ages. For a young bottle, the Brett qualities are very apparent on the nose. Lots of musty, earthy, leathery notes, but then there's also a good amount of ripe fruit - apple, apricot, peach.

Just about bone dry flavor profile with an earthy/funky vibe. Apple and pear skin. Yeasty and leathery. A lot of hard to pin down flavors intermingled. Very carbonated but not punishingly so - the bubbles soften considerably after a few minutes.

Orval has a storied history but it doesn't quite live up to the hype. Has a lot of complexities, but they're muddled and the flavors don't "pop." Hard to recommend over, say, Matilda.

gr0g, Dec 07, 2013
Photo of bkrbdan
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

bkrbdan, May 05, 2013
Photo of packetknife
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark copper maybe broze, solid white head that holds. An amazing array on the nose, smell often and long... citrus, apples, soil. Very hoppy with citrus and spice on the tongue. Nothing unlively about the beers, feels very different at each stage of touching your tongue, flowing over, and going down. I was very impressed. Expensive as sin but I'll make it a annual thing.

packetknife, Jun 02, 2002
Photo of dpodratsky3
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into chalice

A: Cloudy and opaque, a dark butterscotch color, but only in color, nice and light looking, foams up nicely then settles to just under half a finger of off frothy and light looking white head, stays thick against the sides

S: Tangy and sweet fruity aromas abound, lots of variety, some spiciness gets imparted from that unique belgian yeast, some mild belgian hop aroma is also present, that tangyness is also accompanied by some of those barnyard/earthy aromas as well, very nice

T: Starts kind of spicy (carbonation also affects this), but turns very tart and also sweet just like the smell with all that fruit/barnyard/earthy hint, almost like fruit skins, then the hops come in and start to increase in intensity, pretty mild flavor but adds good bitterness to the mix, complex flavor profile, but remains light and very enjoyable

M: Highly carbonated like many belgians, creates an airy, light mouthfeel, helps tartness carry, but also cleanses at the end

D: Surprisingly drinkable for all of the flavors present, that nice light mouthfeel really helps

Notes: Very unique, Orval has always been a standard for me, it may not appeal to everyone because of its distinct flavors, but I like its uniqueness. This is definitely a belgian classic.

dpodratsky3, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of YobroitsJoe
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

YobroitsJoe, Mar 25, 2013
Photo of jordanimal
4/5  rDev -4.8%

jordanimal, Aug 26, 2014
Photo of McStagger
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not my first Trappist Ale to drink, but my first to review.

A: Poured into official Orval goblet. Beer pours an extremely hazy brownish orange with an inch of orange/off-white head. Head retention is good, with decent lacing. No carbonation visible except in head.

S: The scent is that of dried orange rind, coriander, honey, clove and lemon zest with hints of candied sugar and bubble gum.

T: The forefront is the same citrus zest. However, it is interwoven with mild soap-like phenols at the beginning of the mid-palate. The citrus and soap notes carry into the mid palate, with the citrus notes dying about halfway through the mid-palate. The soap notes are picked up and accentuated by hop bitterness, which both transition beautifully into the finish, which is (finally) hit by the sugar and spice-box. A tinge of hop bitterness mixed in ensure a long finish on this beer.

M: A crisper front and drier finish than what would be expected from an ale of such flavor. Kinda throws ya off.

D: Easier to drink than a lot of Trappists, sure. The flavor intensity can throw some people off. (Along with the price).

This is the first beer I've reviewed on here in which I did not particularly care for the beer, but could not deny the quality it exhibited. This is a fine Trappist Ale (is there any other?) that most would be happy to drink. It's just not my cup.

McStagger, Sep 25, 2007
Photo of mklinger
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet. A very thick, rocky head formed. There's an effervescence about this beer that is very pretty in the pour. The beer pours a pale orange amber. I did my best to get a clean pour but it came out pretty hazy. It's an interesting, complex looking beer.

Aroma was great. i got some lemon & herbs right away followed quickly by a bit of the barnyard aroma that folks talk about as wet horse blanket. Again, this is just such a complex aroma profile.

Taste is complex too, though I didn't find that it held up quite as well as the aroma (but it was close). More of the barnyard in my taste profile, not as much bitterness as I thought there might be. Good bit of sourness, too. Quite tart.

Rich mouthfeel. The carbonation lends a fullness to this beer that is otherwise greater than the body. Quite nice.

mklinger, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of FatBoyGotSwagger
4.95/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a murky brown color with a booming 3 finger white head. The smell is a light earthy aroma with an authentic Belgian spice. My first sip of this started with a fantastic tart and spiciness upfront hat literally explodes on the tongue with the fantastic carbonation. There are some funky notes in there also but every note plays off each other so well it leaves me wanting another sip. Halfway through the head is still a good cm and resembles construction foam, the taste becomes increasingly spicy and funky. Notes of fresh grass, lemon, and spicy banana. What an incredible beer, I get it now.

FatBoyGotSwagger, May 05, 2014
Photo of Fitzmke
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Fitzmke, Feb 08, 2012
Photo of BalancingBrooms
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

BalancingBrooms, Apr 18, 2014
Photo of hyuga
4.95/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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 AudioGilz
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, amber/orange.....enormous white head that slowly reduces to a coating that leaves lots of lace.
The aroma is pungent lemon and flowers that gave me goosebumps. One of the best smelling beers I have tried.
The mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, medium bodied, and crisp.
I really enjoy the tartness in this beer, lemony, spicy hops, then a slightly bitter and crisp finish. This beer is different than other Belgian's I have tried in that it's more tart and pungent. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and will definitely purchase it regularly.

AudioGilz, Feb 14, 2003
Photo of drxandy
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle dated : bottled - 27/12/2007 - best before 27/12/2012B - 2 days after last years christmas, yay

poured to goblet, hazy deep golden with slight brown, highly carbonated, white head fades to lacing - looks good

smells of apples! sweet and sour funk from the brett yeastiness, peppery spice, pineapple, slight lemon citrus

tastes tangy sweet creamy from carbonation, the carbonation is excellent kicking all the flavors around and lounging on the tongue, bitter, funky brett is sour and dry, very balanced, biscuity malt, bitter hops in the back, light alcohol, wow - complex!

mouthfeel is amazing, crisp dry finish, refreshingly creamy carbonation, very nice!!!

drxandy, Aug 18, 2008
Photo of LeeryLeprechaun
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle Date: 12/02/2011
Tasting Date: 1/5/2013

Beer pours crystal clear. A light amber color. Strong 2 finger head that is rocky and sticky.

Aroma is a little funky. Sweet, phenolic, a little bit of spice and pineapple. Nice Belgian yeast aromas.

Beer is crisp, slight funk at the finish with a little bit of tartness. A little bit of hops peaks through as the beer warms, as does some more funky flavors, nothing too harsh though.

Medium body, good carbonation.

A unique beer, crisp, light on hops, some complexity.

LeeryLeprechaun, Apr 03, 2012
Photo of nollie77
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

nollie77, Apr 16, 2013
Photo of Converge
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into a 16oz tulip.

A - Pours with a big head of light tan bubbles, although it's rather short-lived. The color is a murky rusty-copper, with ample yeasty cloudiness. Not much head retention or lacing to speak of.

S - Smells complex and nothing like I had expected. Lots of dark fruits, a touch a anise, and some sour acetaldehyde notes. Some sweet bready malt and grassy hops come through as well, but this is overall much more dark and heavy feeling than I had anticipated. I'm picking up some molasses, figs, and some caramel malt. It's got a slightly herbal, or medicinal quality that turns me off a little, sort of reminds me of a barley wine in this regard. Butterscotch, brown sugar, and a distinct spicy character also come through.

T - Sort of strange, lots of sweet malt presence, kind of butterscotch like. Quite bready and yeasty through the middle, with lots of dark fruits complimenting this. Finishes with a dry, earthy hop feel with a pronounced spiciness. Lots of odd buttery-sweet malt flavors throughout. The dark fruits don't really work well with this malty sweetness, and the strange acetaldehyde funkiness really feels off. I get a touch of oak-like cherry flavor and herbal notes after it warms a bit, furthering the similarities between this and a barley wine. Overall this flavor profile feels a bit disjointed and peculiar to me; it's a decent tasting beer and undeniably complex, but far from other Belgian ales I've enjoyed.

M - Medium bodied feel, with nice smooth carbonation, just like I would expect a Trappist ale feel like, but at the same time the body feels a touch slick and oily. Kind of syrupy even.

D - Definitely feeling a little underwhelmed by Orval. While I'm a big fan of Belgian ales, this one wasn't really my cup of tea - or beer I suppose. It was certainly worth trying once, and maybe I'll even revisit it again with a re-review down the road, but until then Orval will sit comfortably behind the likes of finer Belgian ales out there for me.

Converge, Mar 03, 2012
Photo of Allurex
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Allurex, Nov 13, 2013
Photo of cclark67789
5/5  rDev +19%

cclark67789, Feb 21, 2013
Photo of RichardMNixon
4/5  rDev -4.8%

RichardMNixon, Jun 21, 2013
Photo of GRUUMSH
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

GRUUMSH, Jun 07, 2014
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,324 ratings.