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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: 5,243
Photo of zerk
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

 508 characters

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Prototypical belgian head...barely off white full of creamy bubbles two fingers high. The body is a cloudy maroon color with lots of little bubbles steaming from various locations on the glass.

S: Oak, soury pungent, clove like yeast, honey, floral and some citrus.

T: One of the more confusing beers on the market. Surprises around every corner. Begins very biscuity, earthy. Very dry, almost salty. Bready flavors then slink towards a more grain/wheat flavor. Bittering hops make a play and finish the palate with an extremely dry complexity. Not as sour as the nose would lead you to believe. Aftertaste is somewhat grainy.

M: Medium to full body with the classic Belgian carbonation.

D: In a blind taste test this beer could pass for a saison, easy. This beer is a trip.

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Photo of Tilley4
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm just now starting to appreciate some of the Belgian offerings out there and had to give this one a go. Been seeing it everywhere and decided to pick it up for this evening.

Pours out with a very clear amber color, humongous head... white and fluffy..

Very pleasant bready smell with hints of citrus and hay and something underlying that is a little bit funky.

Quite a bit of carbonation present in the taste, a little fizzy on the mouthfeel. Nice taste of spicy malts and bread and just a hint of citrus....

Not a huge fan of this one but I've been drinking more of the darker Belgians and they seem to be a bit more complex and better tasting. Still enjoyed it and glad I tried it.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.72/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

How have I never reviewed Orval before? Noticing the oversight, I purchased a bottle from Steve's Cool Booze in Kingsford.

Pours a clear golden-tending-to-amber hue, with a fluffy, relatively large-bubbled, white head, that stays pretty solid and consistent. Body is light, but smooth riddled with very fine carbonation. Looks reasonably good.

Nose is clean and crisp, with a hint of wood, and a slight apple overtone. Some peppery tones and a slight cedar character. It all melds together nicely, giving a slightly aged, slightly fruity character. But it stays pretty light throughout. Yes, indeed.

Taste is actually a lot lighter, a lot dryer than expected. Clean, appley tones on the front. Slight biting phenolic characters towards the back and an uptilt of mild aged funk. The funk actually just dries out the back, and provides much less true funk than I remember.

Feel is light but smooth.

Overall, it's a decent brew, but I remember this being much better. I guess the brett can be patchy anyway, and this may just be a more subtle one than the usual. As it is, it's a decent, but not exciting Belgian ale for me, and one I may well revisit and re-review.

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Photo of Bonsall_Phil
3.72/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Year-old bottle poured into a chalice, amber color with an off white head. Bubbles are large, carbonation minimal. Head retains well, and is still covers the surface 90% or so after 5 minutes. Beer was too cold, so I'm letting it sit.

Malt and grain on the nose, no too strong and little else. Clean. First sip is malt forward and extra bubbly. Grain and malt flavor holds through to a dry finish. Warming on the tongue, though not a high abv. Exceptionally bubbly through entire taste.

A good beer for the purist, very simple flavor and enjoyable. I may try again from a different source as my experience is clearly not in line with many others. Though very good, I fail to see this beer as being anything tremendously special.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.72/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle into a tulip glass - bottled 6/10/11, almost a year old

A: Pours a hazy golden color with two fingers of white head. active carbonation throughout the beer.

S: A mixture of citrus and brett funk work very well together. This beer smells quite dry but I get a good amount of lemon and grapefruit from the yeast. Very nice.

T: Bitter and dry, I get some brett funkiness in the way of wet hay, but do not get any of the citrus that I got in the aroma. I was expecting a bit more citrus and juiciness, though I knew it would be very dry. I do get some bready malts behind the bitterness and funk, but little to no sweetness.

M: Very light with very high prickly carbonation.

O: I remember this being better on previous occasions. The aroma was a very nice mixture of citrus and funkiness, but the flavor didn't quite pack the intensity I was expecting from the aroma. Decent nonetheless.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.72/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

$ 5.99/11.2 oz bottle at Lager Mill
Bottled 18/09/2013 Best by 18/09/2018
Aroma faint – yeast phenolics and fruit
Head large (> 8 cm), off white, frothy, slowly diminishing to irregular frothy layer
Lacing ok – few large islands of mostly large bubbles
Body medium yellow, clear
Flavor very light and fruity with some fruity hop bitterness present at the end. No malt, no alcohol, no diacetyl.
Palate light to medium, watery, lively carbonation

Ho hum – another unexciting Belgium pale ale. At least it meets the criteria well.

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Photo of grbennett
3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-Pours a golden orange color with a big, fluffy white head. One of the most beautiful beers I've ever seen. Head stays with the entire beer, leaving lacing.
S- Fruity aroma with a little bit of a chemical smell.
T-Flavors of citrus, clove, and some dusty or musty smell. The same chemical aroma is in the taste. Some hoppy bitterness to balance the sweetness. Begins to taste better as it warms.
M- Smooth with a little bit of carbonation.
Notes- A good beer but a little pricey. I will definitely buy it again but I won't buy it all the time.

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Photo of russpowell
3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 04/04/2006 (very young)

Pours an effervescent amber/copper with a 1 finger of fluffy offwhite head. Great head retention & okay lacing

S: Bready, some peppery yeast & a hint of lemon hops

T: Peppery yeast, breadyness & then some fruittyness up front. Apple skins & lemony hops surfaces as this warms. Dryness follows. Finishes really dry, with pears & lemony hops

MF: Lightbodied with lively carbonation, a bit prickly

Drinks fairly easy, but the older this this gets the better it is. A little too prickly when young. I guess if I ever find this again I need to cellar it for 2 years minimum

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Photo of liamt07
3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased at the SAQ from a recent journey home through Quebec from Maine. 33cl bottle into my Duvel tulip.

Pours a murky, golden brown with some shades of plum and orange around the edges. Fantastic billowing head, soapy and sudsy with fat chunks of lace and supreme retention. Aroma is sweet, getting some light fruity notes (some plum) and a very, dry vinous feel to it as well. Taste is fairly similar, I'm getting a very dry vinous feel to it (although very, very muted in the vinous sense) with some relatively darker stone fruits (again, plum primarily) and some raisin as well. Still maintains a bit of sweetness amongst the dry nature of this. Slightest hint of alcohol. Mouthfeel is relatively watery, drying. Good drinkability, but not something I'd reach for on a regular basis. A definite sipper. Very muted, simple and subtle in all aspects.

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Photo of eberkman
3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy honey-colored orange-amber with a billowing, rocky white head that retained well. Bottle foamed a lot upon opening, which also made for a very foamy pour.

Not a particularly strong smell - some tart citrus notes.

The taste is pretty similar -- mostly sour citrus, some spice and a nice hoppy bite with a real dry sourness in the finish. Certainly complex.

Good crisp, carbonated mouthfeel. And pretty drinkable at 6.20 ABV without any sort of cloying sweetness.

A good, authentic Trappist beer. Certainly not one of my favorites, but worth trying.

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Photo of justintcoons
3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy amber with golden highlights. Low-medium carbonation and two fingers of fluffy white head that dissipates slowly give way to some excellent lacing.

N: Pear, apple, lemony citrus and grains.

T: Lemon, orange zest and some barnyard. Muted pear and apple with notes of tangy apricot make an appearance along with light grains throughout. Finishes dry and earthy along with some floral hop notes.

M: Medium bodied, prickly, sudsy and dry.

O: Showcases the grain nicely. Good citrus and light fruit notes. Moderate bitterness, light and refreshing. Overall I'm not too impressed by this Trappist ale.

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Photo of bruachan
3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this bottle had been stored warm so the carbonation was a little crazy. i didn't get much of a first pour, in terms of sediment. good lacing though, when all the foam subsided, and some fuzz still lingered at the beer's surface. nice orangy-gold hue

spicy aroma with hops and a hint of oxidation. sweet and funky with cork

bitter with a slight vinuous character. i think i'm drinking this bottle just in time. the malt profile is slight as is the moutheel. this one is reasonably refreshing, actually. i've heard this is a love or hate beer but i'm not sure that's the case for me. i dig it, though i'm not in love. i would love to try it on draft

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Photo of argock
3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 11.2oz svelte brown bottle into a Chimay goblet. Bottled on 4/22/10 on bottle neck label. Purchased at WIne Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $4.99.

A: Slightly murky amber with big-bubbled white 2-finger head even with a slow pour with good foamy retention and a coating of lace down the glass. Exquisite.

S: Strong aromas of phenolic medicine, bandaid and mustiness are up front, but more herbal, lemongras hoppiness and ever so subtle pale malt sweetness holds this aroma together with wonderful complexity.

T: The tartness is abrupt and unique and works pretty well, but the phenolic medicine component is over the top to my buds. There is a strong lemon citrus, herbal aspect that is slightly puckering along with the dryness of the tart, wild Brett flavors. I usually am pretty turned off by Brett character, but in this one-of-a-kind brew, it works pretty well with the lemongrass and pale malt crispness that is most apparent in the finish/aftertaste. If the phenols were toned down somehow, I would really dig this brew a lot more.

M: Too heavily carbonated to my taste as I like a more layer, thicker feel, but I think that's the brewers' point to some degree to try to work well with the dryness. It give is a saison-like crisp feel in the finish.

D: A truly unique beer that I'm glad I tried but probably won't pick up too often as I like a bit more sweetness and a more slick, coating feel to Belgian Pale Ales (more akin to Duvel).

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Photo of Lazerlobe
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is an older bottle (11/2008) I picked up yesterday from the store. I'd like to think of it as cellared but I believe it has just been sitting on the shelves for a while.

A huge 3 fingers of pillowy white foam crowns this cloudy orange brew. The smells I'm getting are cider and raisin and who knows what else. It's interesting though. Wow, the flavor covers a huge range. Let's see what I can tease out. A big dry, sour wave carries apple hay and must. That sour/bitter taste sticks around. It is still well carbonated and refreshingly crisp though I believe this style is not for me. I'll leave more for the rest of you guys.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The bottle of Orval that I tried may have been a bit overprimed which I believe effects the scent, taste and mouthfeel. The beer poured a hazy copper with big white head that left some lace. The scent was tru to most trappist....Belgianny. The taste also follow most Trappist ales. The mouthfeel was lighter in body with huge carbonation. Overall it was decent....would like to try this beer on tap....probably wouldn't search out a bottle of it.

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Photo of scottchesterhall
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-beautiful copper, full head that shrunk to 1/4 inch, bottled 2.5 years ago, May 19, 2010, 6.9 abv

S-wonderful: pears, ginger, banana, clove, fruity and spice

T-bright assault on front of tongue with fruity spice, but I was looking for way more flavor...very crisp and refreshing and then quickly disappears with a pleasant residue of fruity hop oil and sour yeast. It's clean and crisp--almost cider-like, but I wanted more layers. Am I drinking it too cold?

M-really effervescent, too much? Dances on the tongue, that's for sure.

O-everything was perfect...and then I was let down when the beer was actually in my mouth. Not bad...but I was disappointed.

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Photo of Rzzzzz
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

As you look at these overall scores for Orval, you might be interested to know that there was once a Major League pitcher named Orval Overall. In fact, he was the winning pitcher for the Cubs the day they won their last World Series. You can look it up.

Flash forward 99 years to my first taste of Oval Trappist Ale. I'd heard nice things about this beer, and it did not let me down.

Poured into a wine glass. Hazy yellow/orange. Nice frothy head and good lacework. Aroma a mixed bag--can't put my finger on anything specific other than maybe apples and of course beer--but there's clearly a lot going on here. Fruity taste gives way to a slightly sour aftertaste that lingers for a while then tugs at you for another refreshing sip. Goes down smooth.

First time I've seen the stuff and now I'm kicking myself for only coming home with one. I could drink a lot of Orval, overall. Speaking of pitchers.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours orange with a ridiculously large head. Lots of great lacing!
Big brett aroma of lemon, orange, elderberry, apple and musty horse-blanket. More like a lambic.
First up upon tasting is sweet caramel malt, with some faint tart orange tang before a pithy bitterness cuts through. Hints of banana in there somewhere.
Good light body with a refreshing carbonation.

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Photo of NODAK
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Smell is very interesting, and pungent. Smells of peppery spices, yeast (which I've read is an uncommon yeast to use), fruit, and some tartness. I saw it described as "leather" on another site, and it isn't a bad descripter. It's a complex aroma.

Carbonation is pretty high. Has a thick head when poured. There's a short initial sweet fruit taste that is swept away by the predominant taste of this beer...which is a yeasty, earthy sensation. I also think the "leathery" taste on the nose transfers into the taste. The finish has a bit of spice on it, with a little tropical fruit. The finish is tart and dry...the mouthfeel is somewhat thin, so not much sticks around. Very little hop bitterness on the backend.

This is a very interesting beer. It may not be my favorite trappist, but it's worth respect.

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Photo of SupaCelt
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew presented itself at nearly a year old as a hazed copper orange with a monstrous chunky head. It is extremely bubbly and the head holds strong and produces sheets of lacing with some true substance.

The smell is very nice to the nose. Banana comes through as dominant to my detectors. A bit of ground spice and pepper and other fruity impressions linger as well.

The taste is light and subtle. The banana that was evident in the nose is noticeable as well as a pear impression and the tastefully administered spicery. There is a degree of bitterness here that shows up in the final throes along with a sourness. It has quite a bit of yeast inspired flavor character. The aftertaste comes off too peppery and yeasty for my personal preferences.

The mouthfeel is light. Massive carbonation achieves this effect quite handily.

Drinkability is only as good as taste here. I was truly optimistic about this, but overall I am a bit disappointed in the end. I was expecting more out of this one.

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Photo of 86MonteSS
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The word "trappist" immediately imparts high expectations, and I cannot honestly say Orval lived up. It's a good beer, but it was almost as if I was witnessing a catfight between the yeast and the hops. They were both there, but they didn't achieve any sort of harmony. I've had it twice and I've made up my mind: it simply isn't a $3/bottle beer. The bottle is pretty cool and it looks great in my collection, but that simply ain't enough.

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Photo of Jordan1985rec
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this at Monk's Cellar in Brookline, MA and was blown away. The taste was far more dry than many of the other Belgian pales and I really enjoyed it all the way through. There was a clear sour and fruity smell and this sour taste carried over into the taste in a good way. Overall this was a very enjoyable beer that seems like it would pair well with roasted chicken or lamb. Cheers.

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Photo of femALEist
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It poured a cloudy orange gold hue. It smelled like sour, tart apples, and yeast. It tasted sweet, overripe grape, sour apple, a hint of spice but left the tongue tart and dry. I actually preferred the smell better to the taste. The taste was a bit light, but I guess it is just a pale ale. I thought it was have more umph for 6.3%- guess not. It just wasn't my favorite. I don't see myself buying anymore anytime soon.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured from a bottle into a goblet. Beer is brownish and hazy, forms a thick white head of medium and small white bubbles, falls away leaving lacing all over the glass, looks good. Carbonation is moderate to high.

Smell a little of spice and yeast, there is an underlying sweetness to the beer as well. Slight musky aroma as well.

Beer is medium to light bodied, has a minor forward character and a sour / musky late and aftertaste. This beer is one of a kind but the my first impressions on taste were not that great. Time for taste two, sour and bitter duke it out on this beer and it finishes a little dry.

Any serious Belgian beer fan will probably get around to trying most of the trappists but this has been my least favorite sampling of a Trappist beer so far. Its unique and I understand the souring of the beer. I'm impressed, just not my style yet.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,243 ratings.
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