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

5,363 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

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Ratings: 5,363 |  Reviews: 2,335
Photo of RBorsato
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark orange/bronze with a big pillowy beige head. Lots of carbonation with an active bubble stream in the middle from the bottom to the top. Leaves decent lace. Sour lactic aroma (brettanomyces) dominates. Soft dry malt flavor and sour as it smells. Light soft airy mouthfeel with a dry finish.

Good Belgain that's worth trying but not sure it's worth the price to buy again.

Label States: "Authentic Trappist Product"

Best By: 12/06/06 (on bottle as 06/12/06)
Tasted: 05/02/03

($3.99 / 11.2 oz./.33L bottle)

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

Photo of jsprain1
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a copper color with a 2 finger had that retains itself in a very rocky formation. Lots of carbonation bubbles and plenty of webbed lacing. Hard to imagine a beer looking better in this style.
S- Smell was very yeasty, very earthy. Grain, slight floral and lemon hop aromas, a bit of spice.
T- Very herbal and earthy. A bit biscuity with fruit flavors playing subtley in. A bit of that brett yeast flavor as well.
M- Ridiculously light body but substantiated by a snappy carbonation. Very much a dry finish.
D- A tasty beer and very drinkable. The alcohol content seemed to weigh pretty solidly for a 6.9% beer, but as light as it is in the body and as tasty as it is, it surely is a drinkable brew.

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Photo of Snamnoum
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - gorgeous hazy nut brown with FOUR!!! fingers of outrageously thick off white head. Incredible retention and the most sticky lace I have ever seen.

Smell - light hop profile, doughy yeast, pale malt, aggressive phenols

Taste - surprisingly strong hop presence, very IPA-like, sweet malt, champagne esque like tartness, strong bitter finish. Water tasted a bit heavy, a little tinny

Mouthfeel - light/medium bodied, very effervescent, thin feeling

Drinkability - very light and drinkable, one could easily have several of these. I would have liked to have had more of a malt presence and some more yeast as well. I was so excited to try this brew and while excellent I'm still left a little disappointed.

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

Photo of aforbes10
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I realized recently that despite owning several Orval chalices, and having a lot of experience with the other U.S.-distributed Trappist beers, my only experience with this beer has been a horribly oxidized bottle in a shitty bar in Post-Katrina Baton Rouge. ...so...i decided to buy a bottle. Pours an orange-y brown, bright and cloudy. Big puffy white head that becomes creamier as it settles. Laces oddly, head slides around the sides of the glass along with the beer and doesn't stick to the glass at all. Weird. Smells tart, clove-like, withe notes of oranges, coriander. Flavor is similar to the aroma, though with a distinct malt base that's got a bit of caramel and the barest hint of chocolate. Small alcohol evident on the finish. Quite smooth, almost creamy, which is impressive considering the relatively low ABV. Drinks very well and interesting qualities. Yeah, i'd buy it again, glad i decided to finally try it properly.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A beautiful and massive cream color head that has a rocky texture. It last forever and sits upon a slightly hazy copper color body with visible carbonation.

S: A complex aroma of spices, Belgian yeast, peaches, apples, and lemon notes. For some reason I'm getting a little metallic smell as well.

T: Wow! This beer does not taste like it smells. Initial taste is green apple and finish taste is green apple. Clove can also be picked up making me think of an apple pie. A little Belgian yeast on the palate but overall it's a clean and crisp flavor that is perfectly balanced between sweet and bitter.

M: Light body with lively carbonation and a silky texture. Dry finish.

D: I don't see myself drinking 6 at a time, but if I want to chill and have a Trappist, this would be it.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at a room temperature minus several degrees to a 3 minute chill in the fridge.
bottled on 01/06/2010 (a year and 3 days old after bottling)

Tremendous carbonation when poured into my Chimay chalice, almost 2 full inches of head before 1/2 the bottle had been poured in. This fact excites me because I know magic went down in the bottle. The beer appeares to be a dull copper with an impenetrable haze. When held to the light there is an cider-like amber haloed by yellow around the edges. There is no visible yeast sediment on the bottom.
Giving the beer a chance to settle (aka letting the head fall) leaves lacing and a constant white fluff over the top.

Incredible depth and complexity. A nail-polish acetone fruitiness from the yeast comes through pundgently with a chlorine-like chemical burn following. I am highly intrigued, but not sure whether the pool water aroma will translate to good or bad in the flavor profile.

This beer tastes of must and sweet citrus. Elemental, earthy flavors that rely heavily on the yeast for both body and flavor. A grainy malt makes an appearance towards the end of the sip. I am impressed with this beer and its obvious roots deep within Belgian brewing history. I prefer to sip this beer casually because there is a tremendous amount going on.

The beer feels rich and flavorful, medium body followed by a dry finish. This beer is sweet yet tart and travels smoothly (no bite) as most of the carbonation was blown off in the initial pour!

The beer is less drinkable compared to other Belgians, ie Chimay or Duvel, but still a treat to enjoy. I am uncertain how colder serving temperatures would affect the beer's drinkability.
I would say the overall appearance and flavor profile drive this beer to having a "good" drinkability rating, but its pungent chemical aroma would take away from a delicate meal. I have not proven this theory and may be completely wrong; if I every see it on tap I will test the waters. For a relaxing night in, this beer does the trick, although price would keep me from having more than 2.


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Photo of PerzentRizen
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Kapittel Watou trappist ale glass. The head formed quickly and disappeared at the same rate. I love the bottle; it is extremely unique. And to be fair to this beer I did not review it until I had tried at least 3 of them. This beer is the third.

The aroma fruity but somewhat one note. I like the smell, but it isn't something to write home about. I actually liked the aroma of just about any trappist ale I've tried better.

The taste is clean, tart, rustic, and refreshing all in the same mouthful. I have to say it is quit good. I enjoy this beer very much.

The mouthfeel is dry, tart, and refreshingly carbonated. The carbonation of this beer is definately felt in comparison to other trappist ales. I may have this beer at too low a temperature (50 Degrees Fahrenheit).

Drinkability is surprisingly easy. This is by far and away the most drinkable trappist ale I've had even if its not the best. I could probably have 5 or 6 of these in a session before feeling too overwhelmed.

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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 ADR
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nutmeg color, upcharging bubbles, 1/2 inch head that lasts. Spicy aroma, very wine-like. Very tangy with bitter notes as well, causes a pucker without a lot of citrus. Light-bodied despite a good amount of bottle feremented carbonation working its way out. Finishes extremely clean. There's a vinous and bitter flavor that's not for me, Bretts not working for me here. Obviously an icon in brewdom, Orval Trappist takes the Belgian Pale style to the limit. I'll give it a good rating on smell and across the board 4s on the rest. Not to my taste.

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Photo of BeardedRiker
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First of all, a warning: TAKE IT EASY WHEN POURING THIS BEER! The Orval Trappist Ale is one of those Belgians that produces a massive head if you don't pour it carefully. Pour slowly so you don't end up filling up the bottle opening and then having it come out in waves, thus creating an overly massive head.

That being said, the head on this is simply beautiful. It's so frothy that it is almost a creme. It fizzles away oh-so-slowly and keeps its form. The head is almost like an appetizer to the beer! The beer is a copper-orange color that has a steady but minimal amount of bubbles rising from the bottom. I have this Orval in my glass goblet.

I can smell the beer from where I am sitting. It smells as a Belgian ought to smell: fruity, sweet, and just a whiff of alcohol. Wow! This is an interesting beer. It reminds me a bit of Brooklyn's Local #1.

There is a lot of orange citrus flavor and the bubbly carbonation excites the tongue. Some peppery hoppiness is evident too. This is an extremely dry Belgian. It's smooth but probably the driest Belgian I've had. I don't taste any of the alcohol which isn't bad or good. Dry, orangey, sour, and peppery.

That sums up this interesting brew. Good stuff.

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Photo of frozyn
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Very large head on top of a great caramel color. Sweet, fruity, slightly tart scent. Flavor opens up as it gets warmer, turning a little nutty and herbal. The carbonation at first is too powerful, but letting it sit tones it down a lot and the flavor is more noticeable: to me, the sweetness didn't come through flavor-wise until it had sat for 15 minutes.

Overall quite a good beer.

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Photo of tkelley
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Chimay glass.

A - super pillowy head on initial pour. Quickly draws down to a light covering with good lacing. Pale firey orange hazy body.

N - phenols. Belgian yeast. Not a lot going on with the nose, but what's there is good.

T - nice light taste. Yeasty and light malts. Small bit of citrus and spice. Dry.

M - very effervescent. But smooth. Good aftertaste of beer.

O - good Belgian. Taste the tradition!


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Photo of adowney523
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle into a Belgian-style chalice. Bottled on 7/11/2006. Color is a deep amber and appearance is slightly hazy. Lots of carbonation produces a white head that retains well and leaves excellent lacing.

Smells of floral esters with a slight sour twang.

Malt taste upfront is rather toasty. The floral esters are abundant and really overpower the toasty malt. Herbal and citrus fruit hints compliment the floral flavors.

Mouthfeel is characterized by the heavy carbonation and semi-dry finish.

Very drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of SmokinSmyth
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this with a steak dinner, a very nice beer. On the low end of the ABV for Belgium and Trappist beers, which is probably part of the reason is tastes so good.

Pours with a tall foamy head, nice amber color and a fine lace along the glass (Leffe glass - sorry).

Hoppy flavor with a good feeling in the mouth. Taste starts out a little bitter but ends on a note heading towards spicy. Keeps the taste buds entertained. Very good.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a gigantic overflowing head that filled my glass. I had to wait a long time for it to dissapate. Hazy, orange blonde color.

The aroma is very complex with tons of tart fruit. Lemon, candied orange rind, grape skins, green apples, and pear with a complex blend of spices too. Black pepper, coriander, clove and nutmeg notes. Grassy and floral hops peek through and tons of yeasty farmhoue funk.

The taste has a background of wet hay and white wine, with tart green apple, pear, grape, and orange zest. Some slight candied sugar notes and spices. Black pepper, cloves, coriander and lemon peel. Grassy and earthy notes with plenty of barnyard funk.

Hazy cloudy, medium bodied and higly carbonated.

Not my favorite begian blonde. Lacking in some complexity and over carbonated for my tates.

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Photo of bmwats
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 33 cl bottle into my Orval chalice.

A: Pours a medium, kinda' dirty, reddish, brown. About a 1 finger, foamy, beige head. Settles fairly slowly, leaving little patches of coagulated foam on the surface, and a beer ring buildup around the rim. Sticky beer ring lacing forms as you drink it down. Head never really totally dissipates.

S: A light roasted malt, raisin, orange citrus, clove, and just a bit of a floral note.

T: Light malt flavor, slight bitter hop, and almost a lemon pepper and coriander note. Just a subtle touch of the raisin that came out in the nose makes an appearance in the palette.

M: Light body, lightly hoppy and steely palette, dry finish, and something of a strong alcohol tone.

D: Sip and savor.

Atmosphere is great. Really great appearance with a rich, pure hue and a nice primary head which settles into a great secondary head that remains throughout. Nose is a great combination of grain, sweet, and spice components. Flavor is hearty and pure with a great balance. The sweet notes don't come out so much in the flavor making for a nice dynamic. The sweet notes tease the nose, but don't distract or cloy in the palette. Overall, this is a great quaff.

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Photo of aggiearcher13
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from July 29, 2009.

A: Orange amber, a little hazy with a big frothy light tan head. Leaves excellent lacing.

S: Spicy, a little lemon, a little bit of funk but not as much as I was expecting. Boozy. Very nice aroma.

T: A bit more funky on the palate. Sour, bitter and earthy. More hops than I was expecting, maybe fuggles/goldings?

M: Spritzy. Medium body, high carbonation.

D: Not something i would want to drink more than one of at a time but it is quite unique and enjoyable.

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Photo of Evan87
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S - Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into Chimay goblet.

A - Lush, creamy head dissolves rather quickly. Pours a hazy orange with nice lacing.

S - I love the smell of this beer. Oranges and appricots comes to mind.

T - Tastes likes it smells, delicious. Paired wonderfully with a platefull of cheese and crackers.

D - The carbonation of these beer is the only thing stopping me from having another. It makes me crave a beer with a more fullness.

While I liked this beer, I prefer a Chimay.

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Photo of HOMEPL8
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Twincrasher
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Good head retention. Nice deep copper color. Very clear for this type.

S: Floral and fruity.

T: A little bit of a comedown from the appearance and smell. Balance of acidity and malt is not what I'm used to in Trappist. Less yeasty flavor than what I expected.

M: More carbonation than expected.

O: Very good. Not the great ale I was expecting from reputation. Will try again though.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled: May 2011
Opened/notes from: Nov 2011

Orval has a pretty yet rustic appearance. Misty-hazy and pink-amber in color. Half liquid / half foam on pour - a pearly, sticky, cotton candy-like foam that collapses somewhat fast but with abundant replenishment throughout.

A complex potpourri of aromas: hoppy, first off - spicy/floral, very (arguably) resiny. A little bit of caramel (malt) poking through, but just a kiss. Only tiny hints of funk (early) - ultimately smells most similar to a (fruited) lambic as far as its brett influence goes. Lastly, something like strawberry(?) extract? A vibrant overall smell, with some depth.

On my palate, a warm saison-like spice is the first sensation, not to mention some musty, slightly twangy, and haystack nuances. The hops lend some firm bitterness, for sure, but the alcohol (and, to a lesser extent, malt flavors) helps keep balance. Malt is there, perhaps lending to the golden raisin and subtle sweetness I'm tasting, however, it seems muted by the brett and hops. The hops really round things out nicely - something I hadn't given much attention to in the past.

My first impression of its body is: "compact"- not thin, not syrupy, like an extract/syrup thinned with liqueur. A wee bit warming.

Orval reveals something different every time I've had it - every experience enjoyable.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served in my classic Schlitz chalice. The beer was bottled on 4/4/2006.

Appearance: The beer pours an expressively carbonated orange amber coloration. The head is a fluffy creamy biege coloration. The head has major retention. Thick sheets of lacing remain on my glass.

Smell: The beer has a very pleasing clove and citrus combo. This combines very well with a vaguely sour fruityness and peppery corriander. Herbal floral notes complement the beers smell.

Taste: The beer has a sour citrus taste to begin with. The beer then goes peppery and bret yeasty. The beer has a not unpleasant mineral flavor at the back of the taste. The beer stays fairly dry throughout the session.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer has a dry mouthfeel from start to finish. The beer is very carbonated but is never becomes stinging. The body seems to be on the lighter side. This might be due to carbonation. This is a dam fine beer and was very easy to drink. I will have this one again.

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Photo of phreak1983
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Even after a gentle pour into my goblet I got a huge head. It would have been best to let this one sit a little while after opening. Good carbonation and chunky lacing.

S- Sweet pears, floral scents, and I can actually smell the sourness.

T- Not as sweet or sour as it smelled. Very light and crisp.

M- Fizzy, dry, and finishes clean with no aftertaste at all.

D- Very easy to drink, the only thing that would stop me from drinking more is the price and a desire for a stronger tasting beer.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,363 ratings.
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