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

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2,290 Reviews
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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Reviews: 2,290 | Ratings: 5,242
Photo of kindestcut
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I continue my hike tthrough Belgium.

Let me start by saying that the Orval trappist is a fine beer. However, it's not my favorites of the Belgian pale ales/blondes. OK, let me also say that I appreciate the complexity of this beer. It's is an incredibly well-crafted brew that had be wondering how I was going to describe it.

Let's move on to the appearance and get to the flavor in a moment. the Orval poured a dark gold, darker than I was expecting. The head was massive in it's mass...rising slowly above the lrim of my glass. The head had a very long life, with the appearance of clouds as seen from above. The head melted like ice cream.

The aroma was full of citrus and floral. OK, now to the flavor.

More than any other Belgian I've had, the Orval reminded me the most of a dry white wine. I was struck by the similarity. However, it is far more complex than to call it wine-like. The combination of lemon plus bitter and floral hops results in an interesting flavor.

All in all, not my favorite Belgian, which surprised me given its high reviews.

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Hazy copper with a big chunky head. Fades slowly to a 2 mm constant cover and a touch of lace on the chalice.

S - A touch of citrus in the nose, but dominated by "horseblanket?" - that characteristic smell. Reminds me a bit of dirty alley-ways. It's different anyway.

T - Quite dry. Grape-y,wine-y flavours and a mild bitterness. Lots of complexities in this... and a finish is dry and bitter. Has a unique flavour I can't really place that really comes out when it warms in the mouth. At bit of a sweet, fruitiness that comes with an astringency and maybe some tannins.

M - Very light, and a quickly dissipating bubbliness.

D - I don't think I could have too many of these. For me this is something to be savoured once in a while, and not more than one at a time.

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Photo of Fetus
3.77/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I pulled the bottle out of my fridge, and perhaps didn't give it long enough to warm up. I cracked the bottle open still cold, and began to pour into my squeaky clean Duvel tulip. I received a good solid pour of almost entirely head. This beer has lips like a porn star. Amazing head.

A - Letting it sit for a good 3-5 minutes and the head had finally calmed down enough to finish my pour. It leaves an amazing lace inside the glass. Very attractive beer. Nice golden/amber color, steady steam of bubbles supporting the ridiculous foamy mass on top.

S - Lots of spice, and apples. Hint of cherry in there somewhere? Slightly earthy, with some dried fruits in the back there behind the mountain of apples. Definitely a bit of sweetness in the nose.

T - grassy, apples, pepper, hint of hoppiness. Very dry. Bit of alcohol warmth. Yeast is in there as well. I don't normally enjoy beers this dry, but it's not bad at all.

M - Crispy, good carbonation, medium body, very dry.

D - For 6.9, I could see this being fairly drinkable if I was more into how dry the beer is. What can I say? I have a sweet tooth.

Overall, not too bad. Again, it's dryer than I prefer but loses no points. Not a bad beer by any means. The smell alone is amazing.

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Photo of joshwlt
3.77/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lemon-iced tea color, low level of clarity, with an off white head that rose to a couple inches and dropped to half an inch within a minute. Smells lightly of yeast, clovey, and banana. Fairly interesting for a belgian pale ale, has a lemony/citrusy, slightly minerally, hop bitterness accompanying the fruityness and lightly bready malt..

Edit: Had to lower the taste score on this because after it warmed a bit it had an overpowering and offensive resemblance to nail polish remover; prominent in the smell as well

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Photo of CDBeerDisappear
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours rich amber with massive head. Did not require an aggressive pour to create a thick blanket of foam. The aroma is amazing very spicy and kind of floral. The taste is drier than I would expect from the aroma but very pleasant. Inhaling the aroma while sipping maximizes the effect of the sweet spiciness. The taste is also kind of sour with a lot of carbonation. This is a drinkable beer but the cost will prohibit most people from drinking a lot of them.

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Photo of vandemonian
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Orval Trappist Ale has nice yellow-orange colour and an excellent head that lasts. It smells like a wheatbeer to me, with a hint of yeast. This is a very unusual beer and is very spicy. The most prominent flavour is cloves especially in the aftertaste. Like all trappist brews, it feels great in the mouth and is very drinkable.

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Photo of SiccarPoint
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First review... here goes!

bottle, served in a tulip, bottled 06/10/11.

A - Dark pale, coppery, rusty. Quite cloudy. Not what I was expecting, but... intriguing. Monster, slightly off-white head with some big, big bubbles forming.Leaves a nice lacing. Pleasing stringers of tiny bubbles abound.

S - Suprisingly unfragrant, but what there is is nice. Orange citrus, spicy/peppery, subtle notes of Brett on the the first sniff - "wet hay" - but not much after. Hadn't realised this was going to be a bit sour - nice surprise!

T - Whoa! Again, another surprise. Was expecting malt from the colour, but dominant impression is "structural" - bitter, hoppy, very, very dry, slightly yeasty, slightly sour. Very little fruit. Mineral, flinty character, almost like a chablis. Front edge is all bitterness, with the mouthfeel (if not flavour) of banana-y esters, easing out into very light citrus zest, then a long tail of... all sorts. Definite notes of bitter leafy greens - rocket, dandelion. Bitter hops. Woody deliciousness, with a hint of oak. Peppery. Gets gradually sweeter. For a fairly strong beer though, surprisingly thin/watery. Flavours are great, but quite subtle. First thought was "What the...?", but a few mouthfuls later, was fantastic.

M - Nice. Very light, high carb. Almost champagne-like. Perhaps a little watery.

O - Very unusual; very nice. Not one for the regular circulation, but definitely a must try.

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Photo of david131
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 7-10-04
Best Before 7-10-09

A- Pours a great looking, barely cloudy, luminescent liquid. It is a great golden color. The slightly off white massive head. This looks great in a Duvel tulip.

S- There is a lot to the smell here- some sourness, lighter fruit, lemon, pepper. Vinegar.

T- A lot of olive, vinegar, fruit, bready. I get a little bit of snow flavor too- I can't think of any other way to put it. Again with the lemon and pepper. What is up with the olive?

M- Pretty light on the palate due to the massive amount of carbonation. It is also pretty dry on the palate.

D- This is pretty different for a trappist beer. Not really what I was expecting, but I am glad I tried it.

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Photo of darklordlager
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden-sunset colour with a good 1 inch head that sits like a rock.

Smells kind of plasitc-y...with some heavy cider notes..

Tastes very cidery with a fading grapefruit flavor in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is kept in check.

Drinkability: I think this cider flavour would get to me after a while....

Not as good as I remember it....

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Photo of Matty1918
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle with a bottled on date of 8/8/07.

Pours a honey color with a nice carbonated, white head. Nice retention and excellent lacing.

Aroma is clean....nice earthy smell of grains and a slight sweet honey smell also.

Ok the first taste was nothing I expected. A nice slight spicieness of clove. Not overpowering very gentle. Lots of earthy grains...nice yeast flavor...there is also a faint bitterness that comes forward. There is also a hint of ripe fruit in the background. It does leave a earthy aftertaste of grass and grains at the end. This is a very complex but balanced tasting ale. Well done.

Mouthfell is very good..lots of carbonation and very creamy. Very good.

This is a nice sipping ale.

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Photo of guzzle211
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle bought at the foodery in philly poured into a LaTrappe glass.

a:Pretty-close-to-white head explodes from nowhere, made up of lots of tight-packed tiny bubbles which dissipate quickly. Head is slightly reinforced by stready streams of tiny bubbles. Thin lacing holds for a minute or two but melts quickly. Brew is a darker golden-orange-amber; the color is actually very rich.

s: hoppier than i would expect, but still gives hints of that malt / earth aroma.

t/m: first impression is dry / fizz / tang in that order. once my pallate adjusted it washed down a little smoother. for my own personal tastes this is over-carbonated and bloating, much like sweet drinks such as dr. pepper and champagne.

d: i may have rated the drinkability .5 higher than i should simply due to the sheer fact its orval trappist. in order to drink more than one of these i would have to take a half-hour belching break in between, the bloating effect is so high.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

11/13/08 bottle

Pours with an outrageous amount of carbonation. The frothy head almost goes over the top of the glass, leaving patchy lacing everywhere. The retention is high, with frothy notes on the beer.

Bitter and acidic in the nose with some tart hints. Bready notes, citric acid and pith. Touches of grapefruit and orange.

Slightly bitter up front with acidic notes. Tart and refreshing with citrus flavor. Grapefruit and orange flow through the profile. Light bready malt backbone dissolves in between the citrus and funky yeast. Finishes dry, tart, and sweet.

Medium body, ridiculously high carbonation, prickly and sticky on the tongue. This has the potential to be great, but there's definitely some really obvious flaws.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- This is one beautiful beer. Cloudy translucent pale yellow body that pours with giant 3+ finger white head that slowly settles to 1 1/2 finger and with great retention. Plenty of lacing is left behind in the glass.

S- Floral hops are noticed first followed by Belgian yeast and a peppery spice-somewhat of a funky ale yeast strain.

T- Initial taste is dominated by carbonation but lots of Belgian yeast and hints of peppery spice can be detected. The finish is a kick of bitter hops and peppery spice that was surprising to me considering the style. Lingering is a mild hop bitterness and hints of yeast and peppery spice.

M- High carbonation and medium weight body heavy in yeast and alcohol. Not as smooth as I expected on the swallow.

D- I am probably harsh since this is a style that I like and it just didn't live as far up to my expectations. It is actually good and easy to drink overall but it doesn't stand out to me. I would it buy it much more often if it were more affordable.

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Photo of bbothen
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep hazt orange/rust like color with a beautiful 2+ finger head. The head billows up into a big fluffy pillow of goodness. Looks picture perfect. Liquid bubbles like champagne.

Smells yeasty, spicy, hoppy, & breadlike.

Somewhat sour, but with plenty of sweet character as well. Hops make their presence known. Sharp, crisp dry finish. Complex for sure.

Highly carbonated, effervescent, dry finish.

One bottle was enough for me.

There is alot going on here. I bet I'd find different aromas/flavors next time. A unique brew indeed. I can see both sides of the love/hate for this brew. I'm somewhere in the middle.

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Photo of tlazaroff
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Opaque dark honey in color with a frothy off-white head reminiscent of what you'd find on top of your favorite starbucks option.

S: I get a light sour funk on the nose followed by some light fruit esters: peach, nectarine, raspberry.

T: Pretty much tastes as it smells only more pronounced and more enjoyable. I get the sour peaches mostly. Tastes pretty good.

M: Highly carbonated with a medium body and a tad dry on the finish.

D: Pretty drinkable overall (or should I say 'orval'?), I like it a lot.

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Photo of BobZ
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First, different (as Yogi would say) "from your average Trappistes Beer"

Completely unique Belgian Ale, damn near its own category.

Appearance: Cloudy amber, with amazing head, the head is whip cream for god sake.

Smell: Spice and pepper hits you right away, great foreshadow of the taste.

Taste: So different, spicy, peppery, good, all mixing together, really unique ale.

Mouth: Good body and strong carbonation, crisp mouth feel.

Drink: This is "binary" beer, I like it, my good friend hates it; I would say it's a nice beer in the mix but not one for many in a session.

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Photo of Melchizedek
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours Belgian-looking, with a nice big white head and pale coppery-orange color.

Smell is mellow but spiced, with fruit and clove/spice scents, as well as a bit of honey-like sweetness and an almost pineapple tartness. Alcohol is perceptible. In the mouth, it's very dry, hard to perceive the flavors initially past the bubbly carbonation; there's a slight sourness, with mineral, bittering hops, and a tart, gum-like fruitiness. It's light in the mouth, more so than other Belgians I've tried.

This is definitely different--I wouldn't make a huge habit of it, but it's intriguing to try a beer so similar to a very dry champagne. Neat stuff.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

July 3, 2014 - re-evaluation. Scores modified to reflect current evaluation.

* * *
Wow. I forgot how much I like this beer. I'm not going to forget again!

This one was bottled, it looks like 7/29/09 with a "best by" date of 2014.]

Orange amber with a big, thick, pillowy and firm pure white head; great looking.

Nose is all peaches, pears, apricots and hints of bananas all with a light citric kick.

Mouthfeel is light carbonation that is champagne quality and is rich and perfectly balanced.

Flavors are spice and stone fruit with undertones of ginger, lime and green tea. Finish is rich, citric fruity and light grapefruit bitter.

This is one of those perfect beers. It is all around appealing; somewhat unique and extremely drinkable. This may be the universally appealing brew.

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Photo of Nightwing
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Poured from bottle. Aroma of citrus with a hint of herbs. Appearance is cloudy amber with significant white head. Light bitter taste. Medium to light body, with a texture that is hard to pin down, and a dry finish. A very complex beer.

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Photo of ledemie
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving: Chalice
Temp: 52
date of birth:9/25/07

A: nice garnet color, huge head that desapear after a couple of minutes.

S: fruity, a little alcohol, oranges, cloves ( a hint)

T: Yeasty,Clove, Champagne like background , raisin.

D: that is a respectable beer, I do not think it was worth the $5.50 for the 11 OZ, but I had to try it, it is a complex beer a little disappointing because I though it could have a little more character, it reminded my of an American cousin the the "fat tire ale by New Belgium Brewery" this is not my type of beer I still have to respect the Orval name.

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Photo of HuskyHawk
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

How do you rate a beer in a style you don't care for? This is very well made, very balanced, not funky or offensive. The head is massive and sticks to the glass impressively. It's cloudy, medium amber in color. Nutmeg and wet earth on the nose with a yeasty bread behind it. The taste has more nutmeg, some cinnamon and a light overripe fruit taste. Finishes rather dry, not at all sweet. Medium bodied with strong carbonation. A great example of a style I don't love.

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Photo of jar2574
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Really zesty, spicy, hoppy smell with some funkiness - Brett(?). A giant 3-finger tan head. Looks pretty darn good.

The taste is sort of disappointing though, after that great smell/presentation. Some funky, barnyardy yeasts, which I like. Light and watery. Some sweetness, maybe from malts. Not an overly hoppy or overly malty beer, pretty balanced. Could use a little more spiciness - there was some here and I liked it but could have used more.

Started off looking and smelling fantastic but ultimately didn't live up to that initial impression.

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Photo of bort11
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into St Bernardus chalice. Loud fizzy off white head and leaves a film of lace on the surface. Color is a hazy light orange

Smell is a mild ginger and honey spice. Hints of lemon grass. Very dry. Taste is musty with a bit of a twang from the yeast. Finishes with some cinnamon.

Mouthfeel is dry and crisp. A little bit of a pucker in the finish. Good, but not he best Trappist I've had.

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Photo of schlimenhaumer
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz. standard pressure cap bottle into a Delirium tulip at low altitude.

A: Pours a hazy dark gold color with a creamy two-finger white head that leaves a bit of lacing. Looks appealing.

S: Tangerine-like citrus with Belgian yeast. A bit of alcohol in the background. Smells refreshing.

T: Tangerine peels up front carry all the way through to a bitter finish. There are some nice spicy yeast notes in the middle. The finish has some salty qualities that I'm not sure I like.

M: Medium-bodied with a dry finish. I would have liked a bit more carbonation here to go with the citric flavors.

D: This is very different from the other Trappist beers I've had to date. The hop character is interesting and it's easy to drink. Although it's not my favorite Trappist beer, I think it's definitely worth a try.

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Photo of ljbrisson
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cracked this in celebration of my wife and I buying our first house! Poured an absolutely beautiful slightly cloudy orange into my Duvel glass with a voluminous, off-white 2-finger head that shows great retention. Aroma is strongly of orange and citrus. Mouthfeel is very light and there is a lot of carbonation. Taste is... well I've never tasted anything like this before. I was expecting much more fruitiness, based on the aroma. Instead there are a lot of flavors I'm not familiar with - I can only describe it as very "wild". Wood? Dried grass? Earthiness? A very dry finish and none of the acidic tang that the aroma suggests. Very smooth, though drinkability might not be as high as other brews due to the sheer complexity of flavors.

Overall I enjoy this beer, although am totally befuddled by it. I would try this again just to try to wrap my mind about what I'm tasting.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,242 ratings.
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