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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
5,481 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,481 |  Reviews: 2,361
Photo of killcore
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of Rudgers73
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Duvel tulip very slowly. There is a huge plume of head that fills a full 2/3 of the glass while the amber beer sites underneath. The beer is amber/orange color and incredibly clear for having been bottle conditioned. The carbonation billows from the etched Duvel "D". The head sticks with great lacing as it settles down after a few long minutes. I smell the head as it begins to fall and I smell a hop aroma (maybe Saaz) and metallic brett funk. As the head clears more I can faintly smell pale malt and peppery yeast. The taste is much more funky and bitter than I had anticipated. The sweet pale malt is almost entirely covered up with a literal blanket or warm, soft brett. The finish is then dry and metallic. This aftertaste and mouthfeel effect make the beer quite a unique offering, and although it has a seemingly one-sided flavor profile there is adjustment that can be made based on temperatures that the beer is served at. Very complex in that aspect. As far as drinkability, it is great. As far as affordability, it is not so great. I'll call this a special occasion beer; maybe to serve at a birthday or for New Years.

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Photo of zdk9
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- This one foams like the ocean out of the bottle; takes me a while to pour. The color is a dark cloudy orange, though it's brown out of the light. Lacing is a little hard to tell through all the foam but it looks like there's some.

S- Delicious cider notes. Touches of lighter malt. And perhaps some yeast spiciness- pepper? The smell doesn't smack you in the face, but the cider is pleasant enough.

T- A stronger taste than the smell definitely. And more complex too. Spices- sort of pepper and cardamom. Bitterness on the outsides of the tongue. Nice cider vinegar bordering on malt vinegar too.

M- This beer reminds me a lot of JP stuff, particularly the Bam Noire (gee I wonder why), but here's the big difference. This one is thinner on the palate and with more lingering bitterness, that makes it taste more like beers I'm used to.

D- Very good. Complex taste, but could've used more aroma.

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Photo of SebD
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has beautiful hazy golden/orange color to it. It has a nice thick bubbly off-white head that dies down moderately slow and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of tart fruit (lemon, white grapes), some grassiness, floral notes and some funk.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a light tartness, white grapes, lemon, floral notes, a slight grassiness and some definite funk.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooths drinkable beer accompanied by good flavors and aromas.

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Photo of winehead247
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of goalie35
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of herman77
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Changed review score on 11-3-12. Old review below. Bottled 11/17/11

A: Orangish/amberish/murky-light brownish color that is pretty hazy. Tons of carbonation ripping up that creates a huge, rocky and very thick, light khaki head. Nice sticky lacing. 5

S: Orange spice. Pear, apple and some funk/barnyard smell. Haven't ever smelled anything quite like it. Its a little odd, but in a good way. 4

T: Not what I expected. Strong phenolic hops. Orange spice. White wine. Some funk barniness to it as well. Pretty complex... Long phenolic/medicinal dry aftertaste. Wasn't a big fan of the taste at first, but after I got to know it a little more, I appreciated and liked it more. 3.5

M: Lighter to medium body. Very strong, active carbonation. Prickly on the tongue, almost like champagne. After taste leaves my mouth somewhat numb feeling since its so dry. 3.5

D: Not the greatest since its just so different for me. Very dry and phenolic. It is very unique though, I'll give it that. 3

Bottled on 7/29/09, best by 7/29/14

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Photo of chefelf
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this one on my wish list for a long time and I finally got a chance to try it tonight.

Pours copper with a white head and subtle lacing.

The taste was good but not what I was expecting at all. It had a nearly citrus flavor and tasted almost like a saison.

The finish was very dry with a subtle bitterness.

It was a very nice beer. I'd recommend particularly to fans of saison ales.

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Photo of mhaugo
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle decanted into a tulip. 6.9% ABV. Bottled on 6/27/13, and best before 6/27/18.
Appearance: Deep, opaque amber with bubbles that run for days. This beer has the most incredible head I’ve seen in a long time, and it seems to have no intention of going anywhere soon (4/5).
Aroma: Musty and woody. Like a back of an old cabin. I also get a faint whiff of pineapple (4/5).
Taste: The earthy Brett character is dominant, but there is also a touch of pine, honey, and apples. The background flavors become more predominant as the beer nears room temperature (4.25/5).
Mouthfeel: Highly effervesent. There is so much carbonation, in fact, that I get a touch of a burn following the swallow. Medium body (3.75/5).
Overall: Amazing beer that has been an inspiration to many brewers all over the world. This pint is incredible, but it seems like some of the edges could be rounded out a bit. Considering the generous window of expiration, I would be interested in trying a bottle that had been aged for a couple years (4/5).

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Photo of frekky
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Tyecko
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of GeoffW
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a copper color with a big head that lingered for a long time.

Smell was complex with a lot of fruit and spice aromas coming through.

Taste was somewhat spicy and a little bitter with a nice lingering after taste. The alcohol was very present in this beer. Mouthfeel was quite nice with again more fruitiness.

Not the most drinkable beer as far as my preferences are concerned, but good nonetheless.

Overall not quite my style of beer, but it was still good.

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Photo of alpinebryant
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky pale straw yellow with a massive straw head.

S: aroma of funky Brett. Barnyard and light pale malts mixing with a slight noble hop presence

T: flavors of slight candied sugars and pale malts mixing with a slightly stronger than expected noble hop presence. There is a respectable Brett flavor starting to kick in with this bottle. Bottled 11/17/2010, this has a year and a few months in a bottle. I am curious ton try a bottle that has been aging longer now to see how the Brett matures after a few years.

M: a medium body for the style, and for a 6% relatively thick. Medium to high carbonation for a belgian pale

O: this is a good Trappist , not my favorite that I have had yet but it is up against tough company.

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Photo of mithrascruor
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle poured into a chalice. Bottled 29 Aug. 2006.

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy orange/copper color. Off-white head is foamy, dense and thick.

Smell: Aroma is a bit herbal and spicy. Light overall; hard to distinguish anything in particular.

Taste: Unique and refreshing spicy/herbal flavor. I'm really having a tough time identifying any of the elements, though there is some yeast. A bit of bitterness towards the end, followed by some alcohol in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Light- to medium-bodied, but quite viscous. Very smooth, and with quite a bit of soft carbonation.

Drinkability: ABV is fine, but there is a bit of alcohol in the flavor. And the unusual taste can get a bit overwhelming at times.

Though unique, interesting, and one of the better Belgian pale ales I've had, I still can't quite get into it. It's a nice beer, and I'll certainly get it again, but it's not something that I'd want to have too often.

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2oz unique brown bottle with clearly marked "bottled on" and "drink by" dates marked.

Appearance: Slightly hazy (until I screwed up and accidentally got the yeast in the pour) burnt orange beer with a beautiful sticky off-white whipped cream head with great retention.

Smell: Sharp and sweet; incredibly aromatic. There are intense floral and spice notes, as well as hints of bubblegum and sweet candy sugar, with just a touch of earthy must in the background from the yeast.

Taste: Quite floral up front, with slight musty/yeasty and tart lemon and peach flavors as well. Then come lightly toasted malts and a bit of a bitter hop smack at the end.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation and light-medium body...perfect for the style.

Drinkability: 1-2 of these would be nice; it's too complex and the alc. is a bit too high to have more than a couple in a sitting.

Conclusion: This particular sample was bottled in 2008 and it says it drinks well until 2013; with this being a very fresh sample, I'd like to buy another and let it mellow in the cellar a bit. As delicious as this is, I think a year or two might mellow it out a little and take the edge off the hop and alcohol presence. That being said, this is a delicious Trappist offering...its spicy and floral characteristics remind me of a good Alsace Gewurtztraminer, and I think I'd actually prefer this one with food even more than on its own...perhaps some Camembert and crusty French bread?

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Photo of mchegash
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: A very hazy burnt orange. With tons and tons of off-white head.
S: Light fruit flavors, along with Belgian spices. Hints of sourness.
T: A slightly unusual/unique taste. Very hard to describe. So I won't try :)
F: Medium bodied, moderate-light carbonation. A tad bitter.
O: overall a unique and interesting beer. Not something I would probably buy again though.

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Photo of tcfishler
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very hazy orange-amber with a massive, pillowy, long-lasting head and great lacing.

Expressive, high-toned, fruity nose with grape and crabapple character, along with some herbaceousness.

More restrained flavors that lean to the dry side of the spectrum, particularly for a Belgian. Quite complex with notes of tarragon, guava, and exotic spices. Mouthfeel is fairly unimpressive...the only weak point of this brew.

Finishes moderately long and dry.

An interesting, distinctive ale that manages to be both incredibly complex and impressively balanced.

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Photo of jampics2
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at around 6 months of age. Sampled at the Winking Lizard and poured into a cool Orval glass.

Looks nice in it's branded vessel. Orange/copper with some amber and caramel swatches painted here and there. Nice head retention and lace. Very strong start.

Smells of bright hops and mild brett. Some orange and lemon, with some horsehair. Not too barnyard like a stinky gueze, but a nice touch of brett.

Taste is nicely balanced between the base beer, the hops, and the wild edge. The base beer is light and sweet, with just enough malt. The hops give some orange and other citrus notes. The wild funk gives a dusty and basement flavor, but it's nice and balanced. The brett hasn't taken over yet.

The beer has decent body, but the carbonation is a little out of control. This doesn't need to sparkle so much - other trappists with the same sparkling carb have a better overall feel. This is just a bit distracting. I like Orval and it is a classic, but I like more modern BPA's more without the wild edge. I would and will drink this again.

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Photo of chinabeergeek
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

direct from the importer here in beijing.

330ml, bottled on 20/05/2008, best by 2013. poured into tulip.

dull orangey amber, with gold and brown hues. slightly hazy. great head, slowly recedes to a persistent thin layer. a couple distinct rings of frothy lacing.

whiffs of funky brett in the nose, but give way to floral and herbal tones, and hints of ripe apple and peach. whiffs of malt vinegar and cider, leather and barnhouse along with grassy hop. note of possible buttery diacetyl? some phenols in the backend.

juicy grapefruit in the flavor, both in fruitiness and bitterness. then back to the funkiness of brett, with leathery notes and horse funk, and that acidic twang. hints of yeast bread and faint sweet malt note, but the focus is on the characteristics of brettanomyces. grassy hop bitterness again reminiscent of grapefruit, albeit not citrusy like american hops. dry, moderately bitter finish with slight acidic pucker.

fluffy carbonation, with some prickliness. acidic texture and a decent substantialness in the feel.

i don't know why garrett oliver thinks this beer can win over beginners. this requires a large amount of acclimation. i can appreciate it quite nicely, but i don't see how a typical macro or even crossover craft drinker can be attracted to this at all. certainly not on first taste, and especially not without being educated about the beer.

(NOTE: an even more positive re-review is forthcoming - i love brett now, and this early review does not do the beer justice)

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Photo of hardy008
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cloudy amber color with a huge off white head with excellent retention. After I poured some of this into my glass, I had to wait a long time before I could pour out the rest of the bottle. There were huge bubbles with lots of sticky lacing. Wow. The smell has horse blanket, lemon and floral hops. The taste has lemon peeling and bitter florals hops, some of the horse blanket I noticed, and some grass. This is bitter, but not overwhelmingly bitter.

A lot of carbonation, dry, light to medium bodied and complex. Nice to drink, a bit tart, and there is also a hint of sweetness. Well worth trying, and having again.

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Photo of avylover
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has grabbed my curiosity for awhile, but I never fessed the loot to grab it in favor of IPA's...etc. Thanks to Tinustime for the well priced bottle. Pours cloudy straw yellow into my miami dolphins tapered mini beer glass. The head is huge and foamy and holds steady. Aroma is sweet & sour - full of apples, almost burning, but not in an alcohol way - more acidic. Very nice. The taste is very unique. Not alot of malt here, or even hop flavor really. There is a ton of hop dryness and bitterness. It's as if the beer dries up before I get a chance to taste it. This is the definition of "clean". mouthfeel is quick and dry, making this pretty drinkable....very unique ale...and quite refreshing.

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Photo of joshuadlight
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

If you've never had an Orval, this is one very unique beer. Not many look, smell, or taste anything like it.
Even at a slow pour it produces a swelling head that is very chunky. I mean, this leaves big chunks of lacing on the glass. Unique yeast flavors and aromas coupled with some sweet fruits. There is a slight bite at the end with some yeast/hop bitterness that sticks around in your throat for a while. At first I thought the aftertaste was unpleasant, but after a couple sips I came to enjoy the flavor very much.
As attested to by the large head, this is a very carbonated beer, detracting only slightly from the mouthfeel. I also had to account for the large pricetag when I took away from the drinkability. If it didn't run $6 per 11.2 oz, it would be perfectly drinkable.

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Photo of Jeremy7
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Grackos
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of wisegreensoul
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 5,481 ratings