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

2,320 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: 2,320 | Ratings: 5,324
Photo of RickS95
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's a dark amber color, slightly cloudy, sitting under the most amazing head. The head never really goes away. It dissipates slightly around the glass, but not so much in the middle, leaving lacing all over.

Smells like a combination of cherries and champagne. You can almost smell the carbonation.

There's a slight cherry taste. It's almost an earthy taste, but again, champagne is what comes to mind.

It's extremely carbonated and the bite is sharp, almost astrigent-like. While it starts off sweet, there is a bitterness in the finish. Extremely refreshing wiping the palate clean with each sip.

Despite high alcohol and lots of astringent bite, it's actually pretty easy to drink. It's a quality beer and you won't want to stop with just one.

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Photo of texashammer
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I don't like this beer much in the US but was told to try it fresh in Belgium so I did, and I agree that this is a good tactic. I found it better, more complex. orangeish color with big thick rocky head. smells of characteristic Belgian hops, dry and a little austere, also with some yeast. juicier and more complex flavors. good hops.

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Photo of aubuc1
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle date 07/05/07 into goblet. Pours hazy orange with significant, but diminishing head. Smells of sugars and bananas,and maybe cloves. Very tart and dry. Taste is hard to explain for me. Very nice carbonation feel in the mouth. Light taste that cuts sharply. This was my first Orval.

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Photo of steveh
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Chosen as my 100th review. An old favorite from back when I first started discovering better beer, been a long time -- hope it's what I remembered.

Bottled on December 27, 2007!!? Oh, best before Dec. 27, 2012 -- ought to be interesting.

BA calls this a Belgian Pale Ale, but the ABV is a bit high according the BJCP guides.

A -- Hazy, bright amber color with a very thick, light tan head.

S -- Fruit esters (peach and pear) with mild malt back -- some alcohol pepperiness peeking through.

T -- Hmm, quite interesting and more Biere de Garde in character to my palate; astringency in first taste, followed very quickly by a Brett funkiness, finishes dryly bitter. There's a mild caramel sweetness back, but no bready or nutty character to the flavor. If this truly is supposed to be a Belgian Pale, it's off. If it's a Biere de Garde, it's not terribly bad.

M -- Light medium body with a slick to crisp mouthfeel.

D -- One of those beers that you sample first to get the unique style and character, but not one to quaff all night.

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Photo of Madigan
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tend to steer clear of Trappist ales because although I recognise their craft and quality I generally prefer beers under 6 abv but Orval at 6.2 is pretty light. The colour was interesting, paler than I expected, sort of orange, and the mouthfeel was great - a good strong taste but not too much alcohol. It's a very clean, dry beer and goes down exceptionally well. I imagine it would go very well with some decent cheese.

A nice, accessible Belgian ale and one I'll definitely be trying again.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a La Fin Du Monde glass.

A- Golden in color with slight haze. The head on this is crazy foamy. Took a while to settle to pour the whole bottle.

S- I can smell the brett for sure. Very potent and strong smelling. There is also a great fruity smell to it as well.

T- The sour taste is great, very satisfying. There is a great fruity taste, but something else is there that is almost like a bitter hop taste.

M- Great mouthfeel.

D- Very easy to drink, and very refreshing.

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Photo of afinepilsner
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz brown bottle

Orval Trappist Ale was amber in color with a large white bubbly head. The head had decent retention and left plenty of lacing behind. The nose is full of trappist yeast with a little malt and slight alcohol smell. The taste was fruity (mostly citrus) and lightly spicy. The body was medium to light with plenty of carbonation. Nice drinkabilily. Overall it is a good beer and I will purchase again.

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Photo of loobear
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Off-white fizzy yet frothy head with good retention. Caramel, cloudy body.

S - Smells like pollen and sugar, maybe some ginger as well.

T - Crisp, medium hoppiness with a decent bite and a nice dry finish.

M - Lots of carbonation. Incredibly clean finish. Something slightly off with the aftertaste. Fishy? A bit too bitter for my preference as well.

O - Pretty good beer, though the aftertaste threw me off. Wont hinder me from drinking it again though.

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Photo of PatrickSwayze
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on March 10, 2011

A: Pours a great deep tangerine copper with massive froth dome.

S: Banana spiciness that gracefully kisses the nose

T: Taste is way better then the previous bottles ive cracked. A forward flavor is all brett with simple and tame esters that bite at the taste buds. Slight spices mixed with orange peel are quite prominent.

M: Fuller and thicker then the last bottle that i had which ended up watery and dull/muddled in flavor. Sharp and dry

O: A great tasting beer that offers great subtle complexities of the trappist style. Not my favorite but definitely a go to belgian. If seen at a bar i wont hesitate to order me on.

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Photo of yeagerbm
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Finally decided to see what this beer is all about.
Pours into my goblet a bright clear amber with a frothy head which sticks to the side of the glass. The aroma is malty but without the medicinal smell of many belgians. The taste is earthy, grainy, and very dry. It has a bitter astringent aftertaste, but no hop flavor or aroma. The flavor is phenolic as usual among Belgians. The mouthfeel is also a disappointment with very high carbonation and a medium light body. Overall I don't think this beer lived up to the hype around it, or even its appearance and good aroma. An interesting beer that is not so bad, but not all that great either.

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Photo of beersnobraven
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A: Poured a hazy yellow with an enormous bubbly white head that almost bubbled over the top of the glass.

S: Funk, wet hay.

T: Follows the nose pretty well, with a sweet, almost vanilla-like aftertaste.

F: Medium, with tons of bubbles. Could almost be a little too bubbly.

O: I see why people like this beer. It's not a style I typically gravitate to, but the mood struck me today and it didn't disappoint!

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Photo of cadenwhitaker
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I feel odd... I really didn't fall head-over-heels on this beer... and I love belgians..

I'm getting some honey in the nose, a mild carbonation, sweet malts and a bit of bitterness at the end.

For 6.9% I'm getting a bit of alcohol in the taste... more then I expected for something that is only 7%.

Overall I enjoyed the beer, there is quite a bit of complexity to it, maybe I need to revisit this when I'm more experienced with reviewing belgians - but for now I'm glad to just have had only a single bottle.

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Photo of Sammy
3.79/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The upper 1% beer. Everything is interesting about it: bottle, taste, smell. Every taste was different. It was like a great wine. What's in it? Must sip and enjoy because of the taste and the carbination. One for every of your close friends at a special dinner.

I had the 2nd in a special package two months later and it stank. The taste was gone. I stored it in the basement. Aren't these Belgians robust? I think the temperature range was OK.

Two years later, new stock of Orval. Bad Aroma not really there this time, but I am not the only one to notice how many skunked Orvals are about.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.79/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle(best by Jan. 2014) into a large wine glass. Pours hazy and deep golden in color. A light two finger head sits atop the beer as a champagne like carbonation emanated from the bottom of the pour. Frothy lacing clung as the head settled.

Not a whole lot on the nose. Warms up to offer some light berries and just a hint of yeast intermingled with the malty effervescence.

Tastes is fruity and carries forward that champagne like carbonation from the pour. Actually reminds me of drinking some Mo√ęt & Chandon with a dash of Chambord in it. Otherwise a touch bittersweet on the finish. Pleasant malt backdrop.

Offers a decent feel with a lingering finish from the combination of fruit and carbonation. Drinkability is held in check by both the carbonation and the price. Glad I sampled this beer but will I do so again? I doubt it, though there are certainly friends I could recommend it to.

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Photo of thebeers
3.79/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark orange, highly effervescent, with an overly massive airy white head that leaves thick, lumpy lacing.

Nice fruity, sour, dry aroma, with plum skins most prevalent. Maybe a hint of sour apple and pear as well. Smells delicious.

Unfortunately, it's very yeasty, dry and flat tasting. The sourness I loved in the aroma sort of lurks in the background, and there's just a little of the fruitiness (plum, Apple, and now maybe lemon) behind that. I understand this beer changes considerably with age. This seven-month old bottle doesn't seem at its prime. Clearly there is something special underneath here, but it's masked.

For a beer that required me waiting a very good while for the head to die down, it also has a surprisingly still mouthfeel. Dryness is the dominant quality.

In a world before sours became ubiquitous, I could see this being a cult favorite, but the dry yeastiness cuts into the enjoyment for me. I do see a lot of potential in it, though, and expect I will try it again.

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Photo of hreb
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Distinctive 11.2 oz bottle served in my new Libbey Belgian ale glass. Bottled on 15/05/2014, best before 15/05/2019. Peer pours mid amber in color, very hazy, with an enormous white pillowy head. Aroma is classic Belgian golden ale, suggesting the distinctive yeasty note and caramelized sugar. But this beer is both more dry and more tart than others in its category (BPA). It has a really crisp, thin mouthfeel. Surprising for a beer as high OG as this. The bottle conditioning has left this beer highly carbonated, which works well with the subtle tartness. It's almost like a mild Gose, or even dry cider. This beer is unique, distinctive, and impeccably balanced. It reveals none of its alcohol (note: my label claims 6.9%, although that figure may assume a large amount of fermentation happening in the bottle), and doesn't tire the palate at all. However being so neutral I do find it a little bland for my taste.

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Photo of Dubber55
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 05/08/2009- I think that is August 5th, 2009

Pours a hazy golden hue with orange highlights. One and half fingers of white head. A lot of retention and plenty of lace.

Initially, I get an aroma of a musty barnyard. Along with that, I smell plenty of citrus like lemon and grapefruit, grass, hay, and I think some leather.

The taste initially consists of citrus with some peppery spice. There is also some kind of herbal and floral thing going on with a musty barnyard flavor. There is a decent amount of funk in this beer. In the midpalate, I am tasting some bready/biscuity malt and in the finish I taste lots of herbs, peppery spice, and hop bitterness. Dry finish.

Light to medium on the mouthfeel with some prickly carbonation.

The drinkability is above average. The alcohol is nicely hidden by the funkiness of this beer but the peppery spiciness is a bit much for me. I would also like a little less of the herbal/floral character in the flavor profile. With that being said, this is still a very good representation of the style.

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Photo of Flashsp2
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orval Ale

Poured a nice orange hue with a gigantic eggshell head. Nice retention with a huge patch of taffy style lacing.

Aroma is lots a overripe fruit (apricot comes to mind). The next few whiffs pull in some nice funky/sour notes and a little horse-blanket.

Taste is a little sweet malty hit, followed by some earthy flavors, sour/barnyard, and a big dry finish that is only very slightly bitter. The finish lasts forever on this one.

Carbonation is a bit too high for my liking, it seems to distract from an otherwise very interesting and unique beer. Other than the carbonation it is a bit closer to medium body, and feels a bit thin a times.

Overall a nice beer, something worth trying, but I would likely spend my $4 on something else. Not bad, I will eventually try again, but not something that I would get on a regular basis. The overdone carbonation is basically what did me in on an otherwise very, very cool beer.

Aged approximately 1.5 years.

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

Just bought it the other day, says it was bottled 24/01/2006, so I guess it's almost a year aged.

Poured into a goblet glass...

A: pours a murky brown orange. like a dark apple cider. nice half inch head that dissipates in a minute.

S: can smell some kind of sour fruits..apples maybe. yep, sour fruits.... somehow VERY intruguing very interesting...

T: this is definitely the most unique trappist ive ever had. apples mostly, but a sour taste gives it an interesting twist. still, not anything to get excited about, IMO...

M: medium-bodied. Seems to suit the beer at hand, but still kinda thin for me....

D: Could keep it up all night. However, would prefer to drink a different beer now.

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Photo of thebigredone
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Finally purchased a bottle so I could add one more tick to the Top 250.

Pours a coppery golden color with a rocky white head.

Smell comes in somewhere between belgian yeast, apples, and nail polish remover. Not unappetizing, but not fantastic either. Over time the nose becomes dominated by a darkly sweet smell, like overly ripe fruit.

Taste is interesting, starts a bit sweet and nice, then moves to funky and what I consider to be a bit astringent on the back end. Almost a bit cidery in some aspect. Weird.

Mouthfeel is incredibly dry, like drinking a very tannic red wine.

Overall, a very strange beer. Certainly not one I would seek out again, but not terrible either.

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

Certainly a nice looking beer, poured into its matching glass. Very little head unlike some of the other reviews. Bottled 4/1/06. Nice hop character and lasting finish. Citrusy, somewhat thin body. Extremely drinkable. I will let the rest of mine sit a while longer and try it then.

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

This is a pale golden brown colored ale with a very tall head that laces and retains quite well.
The aroma is of dark fruit and spices. Pepper, plums and raisins surface to the nose.
The flavor seems to be dominated by spices. Black pepper seems to be present with a slight hop presence and an almost mustiness near the finish.
The mouth feel is medium in body and is nicely carbonated.

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Photo of Sixpack595
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a textbook example of how a beer should present itself. Huge carbonation creates a dense chunky head that rises in a column above the rim of the glass. The big carbonation also carries a great aroma full of bannanas with hints of spices and other fruit. The lacing is outstanding. As great as the beer looked and smelled, the taste was a bit disapointing. I thought it was a bit too bitter, acidic and had an unpleasant coppery taste. I'll drink it again, but it isn't something I plan to make a habit of.

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Photo of Redwood21
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a little disappointed, i think it looks gorgeous but something about the aroma and taste is a bit off for me. it is by no means a bad beer though

there is almost an overly yeasty aroma and taste taht i keep picking up on. i am not too sure. i wish i could be more insightful, but i feel the way i do...

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

I tasted a new bottle and a bottle I had in the cellar for a year so this review is combination of both bottles.

The first thing you notice is the horse blanket aroma that dominates this beer. It is less pronounced in the aged version but make no mistake this beer is not for beginners. My father
and brother-in-law couldn't get past the nose and taste even though they love and know trappiste beers. I however find this
beer singularly good because of its strangeness.

Cellaring this beer smoothes out the edges and creates a poire
william flavour that makes it almost sweet. The new bottle was rough and yeasty and at times almost too much for the palate.

I think everyone should try this beer and if it interests you,put a bottle or two away.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,324 ratings.
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