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

2,318 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: 2,318 | Ratings: 5,321
Photo of weareallfalafel
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a funny shaped 11.2 oz bottle into (sorry) a wine glass. I don't have an Orval chalice, but perhaps I'll get me one now! Pours a copper color. Hazy, lively bubbles, and a thick two or three white head that shrinks fast, but stays about a finger thick and leaves plenty of lacing. Absolutely beautiful in the glass! Smell is earthy, slightly funky, and a touch of grassy hops, not what I expected from a Trappist pale, but wonderful, for sure. Taste follows suit with the earthy yeast more at the center, transitioning well to a slight touch of sweetness and then a touch of bitter grassy hops and a wonderfully dry finish. Feel is smooth and fluffy, medium body, lively but not distracting carbonation. Overall, great in many ways, but especially in its uniqueness. Pairs perfectly with a night in and Jacques Brel and a cigarette. Highly recommend it!

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Photo of Frazz
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

What a delicious, beautiful beer. I love drier, funkier beers and this one is lovely. The smell is intoxicating and the taste is complex with plenty of different flavor notes. Definitely a sipping beer, seems like it would go well with cheese or something of that nature. A new favorite for me.

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Photo of SargeMcCluck
4.49/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a translucent, nutty caramel with a monstrous, sudsy head and a few sporadic bubbles clinging to the edge of the glass. Holding it up to the light reveals a dust devil of violent carbonation in the centre. Quite a bit of sediment lines the bottom of the bottle.

Let this one sit for a good few minutes to enjoy the distinct aroma - green apple, pear, white wine, fruit vinegars and wet hay mingling on a backbone of sweet, bready malt. The taste follows, bringing musk, boozy esters and punches of bitter lemon rind. This one really shows the variety of Belgian beers, and how futile it is to shepherd them into distinct categories. Definitely a palette-tester.

The mouthfeel is akin to champagne - high, tight carbonation with one of the driest finishes of any beer that I've yet had. I wouldn't recommend drinking this when out and about, as people may well ask why you're chewing on your tongue.

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Photo of 911CROFT
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle into the appropriate Orval branded chalice. Paid £2.49 for a single.
Bottled: 18/08/15

Pours a hazy, but translucent, brassy-copper coloured body with only a few solitary microscopic carbonation bubbles visible. A two-finger in height, thick, creamy, off-white head with excellent retention, slowly sinks to a dense cap, leaving solid bands of sticky lace.

The complex nose is led initially by delicate fruity and spicy esters. Banana, lemon, green apple and coriander are noticeable above a sweet, crisp and bready pale malt background. After warming, tart and funky Brett characteristics become much more prominent, evolving towards a wilder profile and relegating both fruit and malt to supporting roles. Towards the back end, floral hops provide a modest but perceptible bitterness, with grassy, herbal and musty profiles also noticeable but to a lesser extent. Taste roughly follows suit, leading briefly with hints of sweet, grainy pale malts, lemony citrus, apple, white grape, cherry and stone fruits, quickly transitioning towards tarter and funkier profiles. Apple cider vinegar, wet hay and hints of medicinal phenolic spices comprise the majority of the mid palate, before hop bitterness begins to build. In the mouth a light body and abundance of lively, expansive carbonation give a smooth and full feel. Towards the back end, assertive floral, grassy and spicy hops provide a lengthy bitter finish, drying the palate with mild astringency.

Overall this is an excellent beer. Infinitely complex and undoubtedly unique, it’s a classic for good reason. Cellared for 14 months, the flavours imparted by brettanomyces in this bottle were funkier and tarter than I honestly prefer. To my taste it is best drunk reasonably fresh; the flavours are sweeter, brighter and less musty, but each to their own. I’ll certainly look to re-review next time I am able to pick up a fresh bottle.

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Photo of OldSwampy
4.61/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Amazing tall cream-colored head over a hazy to murky amber / gold ale. Head is huge, stiff, and leaves ample lacing. Balanced spicy, floral nose. Taste with clove and other dark spices dominating, with an interesting funky element, balanced, complex, and not exactly like any other beer I've had. Taste develops long and slowly. Not a hint of an off-balanced mouthfeel, with smooth feel that never distracts from the flavor. Could perhaps have a stronger nose and a stronger finish, but nevertheless a superb beer. This one was bottled on 04/06/2015 per the label.

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Photo of MaineBeerDinner
3.82/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

L: light amber, copper, biggest head of any beer. Bubbles for days, pourer beware.
S: Floral, even through all the bubbles. Not particularly strong, not particularly inviting
T: Sparkling bubbles, giving way to raisins and fruit, medium body
F: Carbonation for days, crisp giving way to slight sour, bitter finish
Definitely not to be drunk from the bottle, then again definitely not easily poured into a glass, definitely worth letting it open

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Photo of Lunruj
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Darker pale to amber color, hazy. Huge head. Be careful pouring it into glass. Totally characteristic smell. I've heard the beer tastes like rotten strawberries. And I have to agree. The smell is fruity and it really reminds me strawberries, maybe cherries and possibly wine. The taste is actually quite bitter. Other than that is reminds fermented fruit. One can feel the alcohol quite well considering it only has 6.2 % ABV. However, it mixes well with the aroma and overall feel. The foam tastes disgusting though. (Which is pretty surprising and unusual.) Pretty different from anything I've had so far. A beer you will remember, definitely worth trying!

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Photo of ichorNet
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah, one of the eternal greats of Belgian brewing, Orval. Not sure what more there is to say about this classic than has already been said, but I'll try to add my thoughts in a meaningful way. Bottled September 25th, 2014, so it's almost 2 years old. This is probably the oldest bottle of Orval I've had yet, so I'm excited!

Pours a phenomenal deep amber hue with absurd, climbing — towering, even! — head that just fails to relent throughout each small pour. Needless to say, this is a gorgeous beer with a remarkable appearance. The foamy cap is so thorough that I can barely get 9 ounces into my 12 ounce glass, as the rest of the vertical space is reserved for the Brett-induced bubble eruption. No clarity is apparent, as is logical with the use of such a well-defined yeast strain. Lace is spotty but not exactly required in the style regardless.

Nose is funky with green apple, white grape must, rustic notes, baking spice, pie crust and earthy/herbal and floral hop elements. A beautifully strong and distinct smell that also comes across as slightly fragile and delicate as well. There's an excellent balance here, obviously based on creating the same beer (and only that one beer!) for nearly a century. I'm getting some slight ethanol notes as well, which makes sense as this is probably slightly stronger than the ~7% it's marked as due to Brett yeast conditioning over the course of two years since bottling.

Palate is delightfully earthy, spicy and funky with some definite green apple skin, dry white wine notes and sweaty (weird description but it works, trust me... not a bad thing at all!), rustic aspects as well. I even get a slightly tannic flavor and some fruity candy like notes as well. A very slight acidity comes across on the tongue, too, perhaps a result of the long bottle conditioning. White pepper, tart and doughy yeast and an almost "Saison-like" dryness finish out each sip.

Feel is perfectly balanced between effervescent and chewy, with an adequate yet massaging carbonation and rather dry finish that combines all of the flavors perfectly. Ethanol is mildly apparent, but serves only to help savor the experience. I will definitely buy more moderately-aged (bottle says best before 2019) Orval soon. Though it's a pretty expensive single bottle, it is a world-class Belgian Trappist product that deserves its high ratings.

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Photo of jamesroses
4.31/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 21/4/2016, drank on 18/8/2016

Appearance: hazy copper orange with a big head every time it's poured, like 5 finger head. Great lacing and retention.

Aroma: reminded me of good sparkling wine, fruity and floral, red apple skin and perfume. Not strong, but delicate.

Taste: similar to the aroma, tasted like white sparkling wine, sour golden raisins and something similar to a fruity minty flavour.

Mouthfeel: crisp carbonation that makes for a medium bodied mouthfeel with a champagne-like bitter aftertaste.

Overall: I liked it and would drink it again, maybe was a bit more sour or bitter than I'd expected. This bottle was pretty fresh, so I'm looking forward to get another one and cellar it for a couple of years to see what it's like in that condition.

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Photo of ksimons
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 12/03/2015

A-a slightly hazy caramel color with a fingers worth of cream colored head that sticks around

S-caramel malts, spices, some banana and bubble gum

T-tart fruitiness, pale malts, spices, and some sweet banana and bubble gum

M-medium body, crisp carbonation

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Photo of kalosjakar
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Burnt orange, amber colored.

Aroma: slight yeast, bubblegum, plum, raisin, dark fruits, slight yeast, bread.

Taste: similar to aroma.

Feel: well carbonated

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Photo of adamhdg
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I tried to pour this into a glass but the carbonation was insane. Had to wait a while. Nice caramel color with a rich tan head. Smells of biscuits and caramel. Taste of the same with some fruity notes of very mild citrus and bananas. Overall a delicious brew at a premium price.

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Photo of erk0607
4.49/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks: Fiery copper, amber and gold throughout the glass bending the light. Huge slightly off-white, foam head that proliferated even when pouring slowly. Awesome.

Smell: Like what comes to mind when you think of Belgian beer: spicy, yeasty, banana, clove, overall phenolic, cellar-y aromas.

Taste: Peppery funk front and center, with straw and hay and dirt. Bitter, with slightly burnt bread notes. Yet there's also some sugar there too on the back of the tongue. Quite different than the smell was.

Feel: The foam lasts super long. Medium-heavy mouthfeel that turns to light foam as soon as you swish it around your mouth.

Overal: Wow. This is one heck of a complex beer. I need to pick up some to age.

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Photo of HipCzech
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving: 11.2 oz bottle ("bottled on 09/10/2015") poured into a Spiegelau beer tulip.

Appearance: Slightly hazy pale copper with a fluffy, bubbly head of nearly white bubbles. A good cap of foam persists with sparse lace.

Smell: Deep and complex; musty cellar and barnyard straw fill the nose along with

Taste: Clean and dry; tart citrus, minerals, grass and herbal hop bitterness. Crisp and funky like Fino sherry, almost medicinal.

Mouthfeel: Creamy smooth, medium body and lively soft carbonation.

Overall: Dry, complex and funky - an ideal aperitif.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.39/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottled on 17/07/2015

Pours hazy burnt amber orange with a dense creamy off-white foam head. Smells like plum, apricots, raisin, mild caramel, apple, doughy bready toasted biscuity grain, some orange citrus, spice, with a slightly tart funky earthy floral grass and hay note. Tastes like toasted biscuity doughy bready grain, red apple, mild caramel, plums, apricot, raisin, tart orange citrus, some spice, with slightly funky dank earthy floral grass and hay. Feels medium-light bodied, creamy with moderate low carbonation. Overall a really nice brew.

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Photo of davidperez
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a St. Bernardus chalice, it pours a deep and dark orange, tilting towards brown.
It forms a three-finger head with excellent retention, ecru, foamy and sudsy.
After a while the head diminished, yet a one-finger remnant head is perennial.
The lacing in this beer is thick and intricate.

The bouquet is so intense that it imbued the atmosphere with dried fruits as soon as I opened the bottle. While observing the beer, the aromas still reached my senses.
This is a young Orval, and yet a clear and distinct funk is there… all hail Brettanomyces! Barnyard, horse blanket, wet hay. Those are the most predominant aromas, yet there are also some dried fruits, overripe apple and pear, clove.
So unique and enticing.

The depth of this beer has no paragon.
It introduces itself with a high carbonation that teases your palate.
Right after, a strong, complex and predominantly bitter flavor, that follows the nose zealously. The farmyard notes and clove are the strongest flavors, followed closely by the dried and overripe fruits, which resemble undertones.
I am enamored by Orval's finish. It enters so subtle and yet so assertive; right after the aggressive flavors fade, a fruity, herbal note rises and lingers, sweet and long.
The last sensation in your mouth, though, is that of dryness.
Medium body, slightly velvety and smooth.

I just found a new favorite.

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Photo of MoohMooh
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 33cl bottle.

L: Dark amber, opaque. The head is huge when poured and stays about a finger thick.
S: Grassy and floral, with apple notes. A bit boozy too.
T: Mainly apple with a bitter finish, tart. Bready. The malt brings a nice sweetness. Very well balanced.
F: Medium carbonation, very fluid and quenching.
O: Very nice -- I could see myself drinking pint after pint of this and enjoying every last drop (if only bars in Paris cared more about the beers they serve...).

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Photo of lic217
4.48/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: Reddish orange, slightly hazy, huge head
Smell: Smells funky, a little fruity and sour
Taste: Soapy, earthy, wheats, and bready, finishes dry and tart (when first poured it was slightly harsh, but as it warmed it became a more balanced beer
Feel: Prickly carbonation, extremely high carbonation, as it warmed it started to feel better
Overall: A great beer, I really enjoyed it. I wish this was an out half the price. I would buy it frequently.

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Photo of BSiegs
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark amber reddish in color, fairly opaque. Massive, sticky off white head that retains and laces beautifully. Aromas are fruity, slightly spicy, and loads of brett. The taste follows, slightly tart with the slight spice lingering on the aftertaste. Medium light body, high carbonation. Slight tingling sensation on the finish. An interesting belgian with very unique character.

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Photo of GoRedbirds1982WorldSeries
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Aroma is wet, musty, attic blanket. Color is dark straw from the barnyard. Head is like a Dairy Queen. Lacing is like looking through a pane of glass after a rain. Taste is must, grit, dust in a dirty corner of the kitchen, chewy with bacon, saltines, horsehair. If Webster's had a photo of funk next to the definition of the word in the dictionary, then the beautiful bowling pin bottle of Orval would be it. If Alexander the Great wanted a beer after crossing the Khyber Pass then Orval would be it. If St. Thomas Aquinas needed a sixth proof for God's existence, it would be a bottle of Orval. It is without doubt my favorite beer. Go Trappists!

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Photo of arthurspoor
4.81/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

At first I didn't like this beer. Neither did I like the other Trappisten. But as with the best things in life, you have to learn to love it.

This is my favorite beer. There is nothing like it. It is low in alcohol, but it is so heavily flavoured.

The smell is wonderful. So fresh and misterious.

For me there is nothing that beats it.

You must try it!

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Photo of Bierliebhaber3
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This Belgian pale ale pours a not so pale, slightly opaque orange tinted caramel color with a massive white foamy head that has some serious retention. The smell is amazing and complex with elements of fruit including pear, apple, and citrus, flowers, a bready caramel malt scent, and yeast. The flavor is incredibly well balanced and very pleasant. The fruit flavors are not as strong as I would have guessed from the scent, but they are still very much present. With apple and citrus coming through the most and blending nicely with flowery elements. These flavor brings to mind the first day of spring. There is a very solid malt backbone that imparts a sweet caramel and brown bread flavor and serves to give the beer a body that is on the high end of medium. Flavors of yeast and herbal hops also come through particularly in the aftertaste. The beer finishes semi-dry. I often forego the Belgian pale ale for the higher alcohol Belgians (strong ales, triples, quads, etc.), but this beer has reminded me why I shouldn’t always skip this style. This is a really exceptionally delicious and particularly complex example of what for me is probably an underappreciated style.

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Photo of diemilio
4.73/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled on 21/01/2015. Cool hazy dark amber color.
Smell, picking up mostly dark fruit notes, a teeny-tiny bit of raisin, a hint of sweet red wine, and definitely what grape NERDS smell like; a little bit of breadyness and spiciness too.
Taste, again, sweetness of the dark fruit (especially as it warms up), bitterness in the back, and definitely getting the alcohol.
Feel, mmmmhh, medium body I guess? Decent carbonation.

Overall, pretty goooood!

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Photo of JayAre46
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - poured softly into snifter, very active white fluffy head sits and slowly recedes clinging to the glass. Deep orange color and hazy.

Smell - Belgian yeast, bready malt with a subtle barnyard funk in the back and not a lot of dark fruit in the nose.

Taste - Orange rind, belgian yeast, peppery, very light grassy character and finishes with a light bitterness.

Feel - Medium bodied, good carbonation level but more coating than prickly, dry mouthfeel not astringent.

Overall - This is such an underrated beer that is widely available that i'm also guilty of continually passing on, in my opinion the yeast is such a great twist and really helps the drinkability and experience. I think the brett does a great job of balancing the normal sweet dark fruits characteristics that typically dominate the style.

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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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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,321 ratings.
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