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

5,398 Ratings
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

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.

Added by Bierman9 on 09-18-2001

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Ratings: 5,398 |  Reviews: 2,347
Photo of magictacosinus
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Chimay glass, bottled on 02/10/11.

Appearance: Pours a magnificent, giant head with a bold amber color. The head maintains throughout.

Smell: Dried fruits, such as apricots, as well as granny smith apples! It contains a spiciness that creates an immediate tingling sensation on the nose. The Belgian yeast is instantly identifiable here, as with all Trappist ales.

Taste: A thick yet smooth taste. Hard to describe, really. There nevertheless is a wonderful dryness to it. A honey-tinged, fruity sweetness seems to overpower my palate.

Mouthfeel: Definitely has the smooth yet foamy resemblance to champagne. Unlike champagne, however, Orval contains a bitter aftertaste. As it warms up, it becomes considerably smoother and far tastier.

Overall: A truly fantastic beer, and what I feel is a prototype for what a Belgian pale ale should be. The hops are strong and flavorful but do not overpower the taste of the beer. The amount of malts in this ale allow it to be a creamy and tasty experience. While it gives a nice little warming buzz after by the end, I'd consider it be an ideal beer to have during the summer. If I'd ever want a beer that is flavorful and dry yet not too intense, like a Duvel, I would pick this one up again.

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Photo of burnstar
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance is clear light copper with big rocky head. Smell is complex with notes of honey, light fruit, floral and herbal notes, a bit of citrus, and slight earthy and phenolic yeasty smells. Taste is bitter at first and then herbal with a touch of fruit and bit of wild yeast funk. Unlike anything I've ever had, although some American wild ales are the closest. Dry with a some bite in the finish and a nice lingering bitterness. Very well carbonated with a great mouthfeel. Very drinkable. Not one to gulp down, but take a sip and then you will quickly take another and another. Overall this is one of the big classic Belgians you pretty much have to try. (I can't believe it's taken me this long.) Unique and very good.

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Photo of Krey213
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of jjwisenheimer
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of krisandajt
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another tasty brew courtesy of a great trade with Adouble. I raise my glass to you, sir!

Appearance: Whoa, it appears we have ourselves a gusher! With what I thought was an easy pour, the beer nearly overflows clean out of my DFH Off-Centered pint glass. I barely got half the bottle in. I suppose carbonation isn't going to be an issue with this bad boy! Anyway, aside from the mountain of head (which is fading slowly, by the way), the beer is a cloudy, amber color that is surprisingly vibrant for a pale ale.

Smell: The smell is surprisingly strong for a pale ale. It reminds me more of what I'd expect from a tripel, or even a mild quad sans the sweet candied fruit. The smell is sweet, with a classic Belgian yeast characteristic. Outstanding.

Taste: In every aspect so far this beer has surprised me. The taste is no exception. For a Belgian Pale Ale, this beer packs some amazing flavor. There's a nice sweetness to the brew, with a bit of a grassy quality to it, all wrapped up with a nice Belgian-y finish. This is very very good.

Mouthfeel: If I had one grip about this beer, I would have to say that the mouthfeel is a bit thin. Maybe given the style it's what it should be, but with every other quality of this beer being so robust, the mouthfeel was a bit of a let down. Not necessarily bad, but not up to par with the rest of the beer.

Drinkability: I have to give this beer top marks. I've seen it on the shelf before, but I've always passed it by. I can safely say that that is a mistake I will not make again. This beer is fantastic, packing some immense flavor in a sessionable package. Coming close to 7% ABV, I don't think I could pack away too many in an evening, but I'd certainly give it a good shot. Definitely recommend.

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Photo of wl0307
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The bottle revisited today is exactly the same as the last one consumed 6 months ago--bottled on 29/11/2005. Now is time to see if half-a-year maturing has rendered it any more complex~~ Served cool in a Orval-glass like broad-rimmed goblet.

A: pours a translucent, dark reddish-orangey hue; nice and thick off-white frothy crust sustains on top of a very lively carbonated body, with a dozen streams of tiny fizziness ejecting from the bottom of the glass. Brilliant.
S: the smell this time reminds me much of dry farmhouse Saison as well as Lambiek!! The dryish-sour and zesty-bitter dried lime+lemon peels combine nicely with a slightly funky and sour note of yeasts, yet is enhanced by a delicately spicy edge like nutmeg+clove+star-anise+blahblahblah... true to Orval's uniqueness of that spicy edge; the yeasty and spicy aroma is backed by a rather subtle but noticeable pale maltiness and a subtle sweetness from mixed fruit-esters. Overall, complex as ever... and crazily enjoyable. It's hard to move my little nose away from the glass~~
T: spicy and yeasty and spicy and yeasty and... followed by a bitter flow of lively yeasts, powdery and rough in texture, and laced with utterly dryish yet bitter flavour of dried lemon rind ground with clove and cinnamon and a little bit of star-anise at the back... also coming to mind is that tangy edge of new wood barrels... turning absolutely dry in the aftertaste with plenty of hops and an herbal-sweet edge very much akin to the aftertaste of Chinese mixed-herb medicine soup~~!!
M&D: effervescent texture with a mouthful of creamy fizziness, medium-bodied and lots of flavours to discern with patience... Absolutely nice, NOT delicious, but very complex and worth one's 3/4 hour for slow sipping... Compared with my previous note, this bottle shows more bitterness and is not as fruity as the last bottle. Will review another bottle from the same batch in another six months~~

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

bottled: 2/20/2008. Into Bells tulip glass.

A- Biggest head I've ever seen. Takes 3 tries and 5 minutes to get it all in the glass. Big, thick, snowdrift of a head on a hazy light brown base.

S- Fruity, spicy, floral, great yeast character in the nose.

T- Wow. Nice crisp tartness, great spicy notes, medicinal/earthy hop bitterness. Lingering bitterness meshes well with yeast notes.

M- Great carbonation, fantastic crispness and body.

D- Fairly high. This is well-crafted and really peerless in the BPA category. Very nice stuff.

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Photo of MusicaleMike
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured this 11.2 oz. bottle into my patented Orval glass. Bottled on 25/09/2007 and best before 25/09/2012. I am impressed that this brew could last that long. I wonder if it would need to be stored in a fridge or just in a cool cellar? The strength doesn't seem high enough to "age" for that long. This is the first Trappist ale I have reviewed.

A: It pours a beautiful, clear amber color. There is a thick, off-white head which sits about a finger and a half deep. There is lots of carbonation in this brew. The head tried to cling to the side of the glass at first, but ultimately failed.

S: It gives off the classic Belgian beer aroma. Not much hop aroma, though it is faintly present. There are some very fruity esters in the smell...I say banana and peach are two smells I get out of this one.

T: I am surprised by the taste. I was expecting something more sweet. Really, there is alcohol up front, and the fruity esters make you think that the beer will be sweet, but I guess the attenuation rate is very high in this beer. There is a peppery aspect to this beer, which I assume comes from the yeast and/or malt. Very low hop flavor in the aftertaste. When held in the mouth, there is some sweetness present, with fruit esters (banana/clove).

M: Smooth, light bodied and I think a little dry. The carbonation is not fizzy, just very smooth.

D: This is a great beer to have a few of in the course of a night. The drinkability factor is high for this one. It would be fun to have a few with a monk or two. The 7% alcohol doesn't make much of an impression, so that is good.

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Photo of wschmit
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into a Perfect Pint.

A: Pale, hazy bronze body with great effervescence beneath a soft, big, beautiful head with some nice lacing.

S: A bit musty, and fairly floral--a rose garden is how I like to describe this beer. A bit of hop bite and a touch of sweetness round it out.

T: Good rounded brett character with some of those same floral notes. Clean candi sugar fermentation in an otherwise fairly dry beer. Orval is one of the best, if you like a balanced brett and flowers--a personal favorite.

M: Well carbonated, clean, light body. Goes down easy.

D: I love Orval. It may not be for everyone, but it's pretty unique among the Trappists, and among the best Belgians, for a very good reason.

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Photo of kevinglin
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Belgian-style goblet; orange-copper with an off-white head that filled nearly half the glass. What a unique aroma! I'm not even sure how to describe it - fruity, floral, malty, damp - quite different than other beers I've had. I know there is Brett in this brew, my first, so perhaps I'm trying to figure out what that bug causes in the drink.

Taste is great. Again, very unique to my palate as I have not had a lot of Belgian beers. A sour, puckering in the swallow and a slight hint of alcohol warmth wrapped up in malty, fruity overtones. I've let the brew warm a bit here and the aroma and flavor are really shining through now. Mouthfeel is medium, with a finish more dry than sweet.

Overall, I'll look for this again for sure. A very pleasing brew that I really enjoyed.

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Photo of ummswimmin
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this beer at the local bar. They served it in a chalice provided by the brewer.

This beer pours straw yellow with a light, fluffy head. This head retains for a couple minutes.

The flavor is light and clean. It is a great example of a well made belgian beer. This is one of those great examples why everyone thinks so highly of belgian made beers.

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Photo of mhillard
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served in a tulip glass poured from a bottle. An enthusiastic head greets you initially and stays throughout the drinking experience. It has a medium orange/red color and has a slight sediment that settles quickly. The smell only hints at the complex flavor that is hidden within. Each time I raise the glass to my nose, I get something new, lots of hay and other funky barnyard smells. The taste is dry with a flowery hop flavor that dominates the musty and yeasty undertones. Overall, this is one of my favorite beers, but its price and availability in my location make it something that I have to save for special occasions.

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Photo of BKotch
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've only had one and had to travel to California (from Texas) for that. It reminded me a bit of Chimay Cinq Cents, but a little smoother, fruitier and drier. Update 12 years later: long available in Texas, this remains a go-to classic. Love the slight barnyardy character.

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Photo of Squelch
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: slightly cloudy. Pale in color. Huge lasting finely bubbled head that lasts and leaves a nice lace.

Smell: Smells of champagne. No hop aroma. Wonderful.

Taste: Slightly sweet, moderately bitter. Some tartness and sourness. Little to no hop flavor. Lingering sweetness towards the end.

Mouthfeel: Much dryer and lighter than I expected. Very nice.

Drinkability: Belgians are not usually my style but I enjoyed this one alot. Will buy it again.

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Photo of HoustonTX
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Orval Trappist Ale, take number two.

Pours a light brown with highlights of amber. Frothy, bubbly head sits upon the body. Loads of carbonation streams easily float upwards.

Damn, this beer is still one of the best smelling ones I have encountered to date. Such balance, euphoria, and loads of flavor. Tons of fruity flavors enter the nasals. Dark fruit, grapes, and pear. Mandarin oranges, pineapple, and sweet melon fringe the edges. The fruit esters in this Belgium are absolutely amazing, and give proof that lower ABV does not take away from the quality of the brew.

Taste is appealing, and flavorful. While not living up to the high expectations of the smell the taste does not dissapoint. Sweet malty upfront that lingers throughout. With background flavors of fruit and floral hops. It's swift, and stingy mouthfeel feels great. This may be one of the most drinkable Belgians made. In my opinion that is.

A classic, and the definitive Belgian Pale Ale. Thank you Orval.

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Photo of Cosmic_Chieftain
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Nakay
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of SurlyDuff
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours a slightly hazy orange gold with a pillowy head. I poured it a bit harder than I should have, resulting with a good 3 fingers. Taking a very long time to collapse back down, but sticking vigorously to the side of the glass.

Light aroma of lemongrass and flowers. Banana and bread.

Taste is of dried hay (some call it barnyard/farm/horse), lemon peel, and with a sweet perfume up front. Finish is bitter and earthy. Still a bit of a crisp grassy/cholorphyl bite to it is as well, especially in the finish.

Drinkability isnt all there for me, but I am not taking points simply because it's not my style preference. One of the most enjoyable Belgian Pale Ales I have had, and it has enough unique flavors to diferentiate itself from the trappist pack.

Bottled on 4/07, reviewed on 2/08. Expiration is 4/12

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Photo of Suds
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

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Photo of JakeBarnett
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of WantonFaun
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of ericcmay
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of RobertColianni
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of khmel
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours with a massive head and long retention. A dark straw or light amber color with low carbonation trails. A bit hazy. The nose is hints of lemon and candy sugar, with some floral hop and even ginger notes. The taste is smooth but complex. Lemony hops and some light maltiness with notes of honey. Dry hoppy finish. The mouth is very smooth and full bodied, but manages to keep a light and dry finish. This is really almost a Belgian IPA with all the hop flavors going on. Really excellent!

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Photo of digitalflood
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,398 ratings.
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