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

2,316 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: 2,316 | Ratings: 5,314
Photo of matt7215
4.97/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330 ml bottle from the LCBO

Pours beautiful hazy golden with a huge thick white head. Sediment stains the head when the last few drops enter the trappist glass.

The aroma varries from bottle to bottle with this one. Some time you get a funky brett forward farmhouse aroma and sometimes you get a big hop bomb over a belgian ale body. Either way you cant ask for more. I actually salivate just at the thought of smelling this brew.

The flavours are never quite the same with this one. You have a finely brewed hoppy Belgian Ale with the addition of brett. Depending on age you might not even notice the brett but with some age this really comes out and adds layers of complexity.

This is my favourite beer and if I could only drink one brew for the rest of my life it would be Orval.

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Photo of Schmidts
4.97/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours light amber from the bottle, with a large creamy tan head that stays through the last drop.
Smells of Lemon and grass. Tasty lemon floral hops and pepper a little sour and very creamy with a dry hop finish.
Very smooth in your mouth bready, a real winner of a Belgian Ale.
I give this one an overall of 5.0 it is world class in all points.

Thanks To Jason at Epps Beverage for this bottle.

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Photo of OskarL
4.97/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Deep amber color, cloudy with a big dense head that leaves lacing.

Smell - Very inviting! Citrus, flower and cloves.

Taste - Citrus, hops, cider, a bit sweet, some bitterness and pepper in the finish. A very complex taste!

Mouthfeel - Light body, very dry with carbonation that fits just perfect.

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Photo of TimHoss
4.97/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excellent Trappist Ale. The best that I have ever consumed. Great taste, smell, and feel. There is so much happening in this ale that you really need to avoid pairing it with any foods the first time you drink it. The initial presentation is excellent with a strong hoppy/sweet aroma. The taste starts spicy and ends with a great fruity finish. Wonderful drink for any occasion.

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Photo of TongoRad
4.97/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle dated 2-23-06

Slightly hazy pale copper color with an incredible rocky head.

Wonderful bouquet of fruit (tangerine, pineapple), caramel, and cotton candy (from candi sugar, I'm sure), and some spicy elements (juniper) in the background. You almost pick up something different with each sniff. There is an overall yeasty/bready/musky quality that is quite inviting.

Full flavored yet dry and quenchingly tart. This beer can withstand a high level of carbonation and not miss a beat. The feel of the bubbles suddenly expanding and then immediately dissipating in the mouth is quite remarkable. Most of the flavor is in the lingering finish- first caramel, then spice, then bread and yeast. Alcohol and bitterness are exactly where they should be and only begin to show themselves at the end of the glass.

It is amazing that a beer can be this full flavored and complex yet delicate and subtle at the same time.

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Photo of Dr-Baltar
4.96/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Bottled Mid 2014, Opened June 2016

Look- Thick white head, slightly cloudy off of a slow pour, dark straw color

Smell - Fruity, BRETT, cheesey hops

Taste - Brett right off the bat. It is a gentle brett character though. A little farmhouse, but the brett offers much more fruitness than funkiness. Also, HOPS. Aged over 2 years and there is a definite hop presence.

Feel - Dry, highly carbed. and a good bite from the CO2

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Photo of hyuga
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
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?

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Photo of edskirk3
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I always hate when I have (what I consider to be) a "special" beer in my fridge, one which I feel must be saved for a special occasion. Orval is that beer in the fridge today. It is "special" because I've never had it before, however I do have an Orval chalice which I've used many times. I figure Leap Day Eve is as special an occasion as any, so here we are.

I have a single, 11.2 oz brown bottle that looks like it might contain a genie. It has the Authentic Trappist Product seal, as well as a bottling date of 07.05.07 which makes this sample just under 8 months old. I have also allowed it to warm up a bit before opening.

As I've always imagined, Orval looks perfect when poured into its special glass. It sits cloudy amber orange with a very dense, creamy head which creeps up the circumference of the vessel.

The smell is magnificent. And pungent all the way till the end. Like a delicious flower that I'm not allergic to. And that flower has been spritzed with lemon and something peppery and pinelike. My first thought was mint but that's not it. Also banana.

The first thing I noticed when tasting is how light-bodied this ale is. Way more watery than I had expected. Very surprising. That said, I'm amazed how complex the flavors are here. Definite farmhouse character, with flavors of hay and such. Citrus rind. Slight tartness. Very slightly medicinal. And extremely dry altogether.

I have had this sitting around since Christmas. It was worth the wait. I wonder how it would have tasted then. I don't think I've ever sniffed a beer so many times, and pondered so much after each sip. Quite an enlightening, thought provoking ale and a definite world class brew.

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Photo of S7R4nG3
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a nice generic snifter to gain full flavor. Poured a golden amber with an off white half finger or so of head. Some very nice lacing as I quaffed it down.

Smells where very evident of citrusy fruits with a definite hop character and a bit of malty sweetness to balance out perfectly.

Taste was just as rated, "Exceptional". The same citrusy flavors evident in the nose were present in taste as well as a complex malt and hop character. Carbonation was very nice, bubbly to keep it light, but not harsh and overpowering. Aftertaste had a very nice bitterness from the hops with a nice dry finish.

Mouthfeel was excellent. Carbonation gave a very light feel as it coats the inside of your mouth, the hops are very evident giving a nice bitterness and a very dry ending. Very nicely done.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and will definitely be having it much more often. Great way to enter into the Trappist's.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my lucky day....after putting this beer aside in my fridge for over a month (massive willpower) I pulled it out for the sunday night baseball game and it didn't dissapoint.

Beautiful thick chunky head that falls to a solid blanket coating. Mmmm. spritzy carbonation.

At first I thought I was in a flower shop. potpouri type smells but very complex. just imagine about 100 selected varieties of flowers all in one room and that is the smell. Pleasant but powerful. Tasted the same...potpouri with some kick ass mouthfeel (sizzles to make its point but overall smooth). Wild yeast, almost lambic like, with some drying in the middle.

One of the only knocks I could have on this beer is the carbonation is a bit spritzy...some may like it that way. I wish it was toned down just one level and it would have gotten 5's

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Ah the enigmatic and always polarizing Orval... You either love it or you hate it. The first time I tried it, I didnt like it, then I tried it again. I quickly realised that Orval is an acquired taste, its unconventional profile really grows on you.

This beer poured a hazy orange color with the most massive, invinicible head. This bohemoth literally covers the glass in lace. There lots of frenetic carbonation as well.

The aroma is packed with brett, tropical fruit, honeydew, and also a citrusy tartness. It reminded me of tropical Starburst candies. Hops also make their presence known in the nose.

The taste is intense. There are fruit, perfume, and sour notes, as well as a medicinal bitterness. It reminds me of some kind of tropical fruit, not citrusy, but tart. Theres also a candy sugar flavor as well as some yeasty notes. Leathery brett notes are all over the place. The finish is bittering hops and some risidual tartness.

The mouthfeel is slightly thick, with lots of carbonation evident. This beer is very drinkable, it conceals its alcohol behind an array of unusual flavors. Very unique to say the least, I cant think of any other beer to even compare it too . I will definitely seek it out again.

BTW in Belgian you can Buy this for 1.10 Euros in vending machines! (at least the HUGE indoor one adjoining the Golden Tulip Hotel on the north end of the Grand Place).

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Photo of biegaman
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

If there is ever one beer that it should be considered absolute blasphemy to drink straight out of the bottle, truly, Orval is it. Not only would that waste the illustrious chalice (designed by the abbey's architect) but you'd be missing out on what is surely the poster-boy for Belgian beers. The name Orval is derived from 'Val d'Or' (Golden Valley) and indeed, a beautiful and clear, glistening amber, the beer lives up to that billing.

The Inuits have so many words for snow, as many Asian cultures do for rice; I wish beer reviewers had the same for head. Orval's deserves its own word; its an unfailing ultra-lush marshmallow that climbs a mile high over the beer. It looks like the clouds themselves. They say a picture paints a thousand words, this one paints just one: gorgeous.

Just because a beer is brewed by monks doesn't necessarily mean it's holy - in Orval's case, however, it is. Heaven, I imagine, probably smells something like this - the beer does, after all, smell like God's feet. Every bottle is a religious experience. It is the distilled super-essence of acres of fruit orchards and flower gardens. Sweet bread and tart berries marry. Much of this magic is owed to the 'hocus pocus' of a wild yeast known as Brettanomyces.

Orval has the complexity of a beer its strength, yet the 6.9% alcohol has been completely deferred; I've never encountered a boozy bottle. If you look through most beer books - or at least all the ones that I have - you'll find plenty of information on the history of the abbey and its romantic legend, but you won't find much detailed description about the actual beer itself. Indeed, it's an intricate beer so unique that it's tough to describe...

Pressed, I'd say it tastes like a combination of pungent soft cheese, fresh warm bread and tart berry fruits. (Yeast is truly one of the world's last areas of magic!) It is perhaps the longest taste ever and is dry as a mid-summer breeze. Its carbonation is bubbly and brisk. Hops are a drop in the bucket but a fleeting taste of their earthy, leafy bitterness is readily noted. Such a treat to drink, and so balanced, Orval is true harmony in a bottle.

Orval is a drink that can turn savages into civilized men. Although as a rule I avoid making dramatic and subjective statements, I have no hesitation in saying this is the most perfectly crafted beer ever. And I know for a fact that some of the world's best brewers wouldn't hesitate to agree. Drink it once, remember it forever. If ever I had to chose a perfect beer...

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Photo of GregoryVII
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is a delight. The aroma is very earthy and evokes a drive through the countryside. You inhale the hops from the dry hopping greedily as it blends beautifully with the bouquet the yeast imparts. The color is a light sunset and the beer is slightly cloudy, with a good foamy head. The taste is slightly acidic, with invigorating hop notes that work as well with the spice of the yeast in taste as they do in the aroma--a beautiful marriage. Orval finishes dry as you bring the glass up to your mouth for another sip. It's been said before, I think by Randy Mosher, but this...this is beer.

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Photo of chaduvel
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beer #100. Pours a slightly hazy dark orange, about the color of iced tea. Magnificent gigantic voluminous creamy head that laces the entire glass for the entire beer. Smell is amazing. Sour, fruity, earthy, yeasty, and malty. Taste follows the nose's lead. Tangy fruits, followed by a touch of horse blanket, hay, touch of hops maybe?, then touch of complex malts. Finish is dry, smooth and refreshing. One of the most easy drinking Belgians I've ever had, as well as one of the best beers I've ever had. Amazing.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

6/8/12 (re-review, 2008 vintage, 4.95/5.0)
Translucent light amber/clover honey with much bubbling and frothing. A piling, chunky, white head towered over my Leffe goblet and receded slowly, leaving behind a huge mass of bubbles on the side of the glass. Bubbles continuously rose from the apex of the glass. Estery, hint of white grape with lemon/orange rinds, yeasty and a touch of funk akin to the grassy meadows behind a barn. Very light alcohol tone. Bananas in the flavor along with the aforementioned flavors. Dry finish, effervescent carbonation. Very drinkable, very delicious.

6/1/08 (4.85/5.0)
A - poured a cloudy honey amber with a massive frothing white 3" head that piled above my tulip goblet that retained beautifully and of course, had the signature Belgian lacing with giant islands of bubbly lace on my glass. Never seen anything quite like it!

S - orange peel, malts, fresh lemon grass, slight yeast and esters. Very Belgian.

T - citrusy, tangy, and mildly bitter finish. Notes of yeastiness and breadiness. Very clean. Well hidden alcohol.

M - light/medium bodied with very mild carbonation

D - excellent drinkability. This brew really captures what a tasty beer should be. Just because it's tasty and full flavored doesn't mean it needs to be undrinkable. Yet, with the price, I would only have one on occasion :(

Overall - I must first note that I let this age for about 4.5 months before I couldn't help it any longer and enjoyed it as a graduation gift to myself. A most excellent Belgian Trappist Ale. Very interesting and complex. I highly recommend this gem of an ale to be enjoyed during a light dinner or as a stand-alone. I had this by itself and it was most satisfying. Will buy again...when I can afford $6 for an 11.2 vase-like bottle.

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Photo of Brew33
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Orval has become one of my absolute favorite beers. The Aroma and flavor are distinct and fantastic. The brett character is perfect. Slight mustiness. Nice lemony zing. Bright, crisp, dangerously drinkable. Puffy white head, a constant stream of bubbles from the center of a Duvel tulip. Beatiful beer. Legendary. One of the best beers on the face of the earth. I can't really think of anything to say about this beer that hasn't already been said. Seek out. Worth every penny.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a very nice trappistbeer.

A: When you pour this one it's all head at first, thick white creamy head. After a while the head sets and a pale orange beer appears. Since the beer is bottle-conditioned there is a murky tone to it.

S: The complexity is enormous. You can sence yeast (I'm geussing brettanomyces), fruit (citurs), a bit malt and a slight tone of hops.

T: At first it tastes a little funky, but then you get both floral- and bitterhops and fruit (citrus). This is a very complex-tasting beer that even holds a mix of dry and sweet. The aftertaste is long with some hops and also some dryness.

M: Powerful, like a punch in the mouth, creamy and a thickeling sencation - almost like a gueuze.

D: Buy this one and enjoy!!! This is a fantastic beer.

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Photo of Wegomlegging
4.94/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours nice orange-gold with an excellent white head that is textbook Belgian lace. It seems no matter how long you stand this beer up, or no matter how quick you pull back on the pour, or no matter how careful you are to watch the neck of the bottle for sediment, a slight amount of cloudiness is present. The smell is just outstanding, with a full nose like a bouquet of flowers that is unlike anything that is brewed in the universe. The flavor follows the same road, with a yeasty flowery flavor that is not the slightest bit cloying, sweet, or skunky. What a great ride down the gullet, with about the perfect amount of carbonation. Since it finishes so dry and complete, it's as drinkable as it gets. What a great, great beer.

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Photo of Brent
4.94/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Definite aroma of pears. Beautiful fluffy head. Very snappy and sharp at the front, then settles down to a mildly fruity hops finish. Most Dubbels finish too sweet for my taste, and the reserved sweetness in this ale is appreciated. Very complex and smooth. Hoo-hah!

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.94/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For my 100th review, I decided to drink something exquisite, if not rare.

As a relatively irrelevant aside… check out the weight on the (empty) Orval 11.2 oz bottle. It is excessively sturdy, way heavier than the 22 oz. Rogue bottle I have to compare it to. As I said, trivial…

G – Duvel tulip, my go-to, especially for Belgian styles.

A – Sparkling golden amber with a huge effervescence and a large pillowy head, splattered lacing everywhere.

S – Smells great; impressions of apples, the funky and fruity smell of Brettanomyces shared by Gueuze / Lambic / Oud Bruin / Flanders Red, and also musky sour grape.

T – The taste is phenomenal. Exceptionally dry, tart, and citric all the way through to the astringent finish. I would rate the taste as a 6 out of 5. As an Alstrom once said (though I think he was speaking of Duvel when he said it), "It's pretty much like sex in the bottle and the devil told me to drink it."

M – Thin, with sharp Champagne-like carbonation, pleasantly prickly due to the overall astringent nature.

D – An exceptional brew.

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Photo of Blueapollo420
4.94/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the beers that turned me on to good beer! A credit to the style.
Hazy appearance switch a huge lingering head. Tastes of hay and bubblegum. Very good cannot wait to drink again

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Photo of sniper061
4.94/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was poured into a pint glass and I found it wonderfully enchanting. This is one of those beers that you know you are going to love just from the way it pours into the glass. I asked the bartender at Brazil craft beer what his favorite was and this is what he gave me. At first I thought he had picked it to boost up my bar tab but after the first glance knew it was going to be special.

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Photo of FatBoyGotSwagger
4.94/5  rDev +18.2%
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.

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Photo of RedSpecial1
4.94/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy amber with a thick billowy head that lingers. The nose smells of clean farm yard scents and nice earthy notes. The flavor has a slight farm funk, but it blends smoothly into the overall dryness, and slight grain flavor, of the beer. The mouthfeel is fairly dry, but refreshing. This is quite a drinkable beer, if it were a bit cheaper.

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Photo of OlaB
4.93/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: a gold amber color , a huge top of foam when i por it in the glass
S: citrus fruits , spices ,yeast
T: Incredible taste, hint of vanilla,citrus .slight bitterness in this beer,taste that stays in the mouth for a while after first sip.is quite a unique taste on this beer
F: Low carbonation,medium bodied, feel of the sourness in the beer, the alchol contest very noticable.A very fresh mouthfeel.
O: This one of the best beers out there and one of the resons i fell in love with beligian beers , the beer is unique in my wiev . highly recommended

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,314 ratings.
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