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

2,311 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: 2,311 | Ratings: 5,302
Photo of jeffaz02t
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a great dark-gold color. The head is beautiful.So thick and creamy. It was 3 inches, but it kept growing from the middle. Very cool looking.
Aside from the look of the actual beer, the bowling pin style bottle is the coolest bottle I have ever seen! I do not know why but I really like the actual bottle!

S: Cloves, spices, some yeast as well. There is also a hops scent that I have never really smelled before... Actually pretty nice scent. I cannot wait for the head to go down a little more so I can drink this brew. My mouth is watering from the smell of this beer.

T: Hint of spice, nothing over the top. I taste some very tasty yeast in this brew. Very unique hops flavor; again I have not experienced a taste like this from hops. VERY tasty brew.

M: I want to say the mouthfeel seems oily (this is not a bad thing) . This beer rocks.

D: I am glad I picked up a few cases of this. I would have trouble rationing just a few bottles. What a great, drinkable beer!!! My fav. of all time... Very distinct from other beers. This, in my opinion, is the greatest beer in the world!

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Photo of dolemite77
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours hazy orange, with a mammoth rocky head. Aroma is sour and horsey when cold, more perfume like as it warms. Flavor is very funky. The bottle I had was around 1.5 years from bottling. The wild yeasts in this one bring out the horsebarn, sour apples, and dry dry dry finish. Very interesting beer. My new years resolution is to try more of the "wild type" beers. This is the most famous user of brett fermentation, so might as well start it out here.

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Photo of Krevee
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Drank 5/18/10
Poured from the bottle into a Bruery tulip

A - Pours a dark orange with hints of red. This beer has a massive amount of head. I poured semi-aggressively and had to wait to finish pouring because of the amount of head. The head took quite a bit of time to fade, and even as I drank it there remained a little bit of head along with a good looking lace.

S - This beer has a very interesting smell. It has that brett funk, along with fruit and yeast. Also has a light sour smell. I enjoyed the smell quite a bit.

T - Taste as usual is similar to the smell. There is a very light sour/funky characteristic to this beers taste. Has the flavor of some lighter fruits such as apple/pear. I can also taste a little bit of spice and yeast.

M - Mouthfeel was disappointing to me. I know this beer was not flat because of the head, but when I drank it, it felt flat in my mouth. The consistency was alright it felt very smooth with a light/medium body. It also leaves a residue in the mouth after taking a sip.

D - Drinkability is alright a little above average because of the ABV I could not drink to many of these. It also has some alcohol heat to it that makes it difficult to drink to many. Along with this beers mouthfeel lowers the drinkability for me.

Overall this is a beautiful beer with a good taste and smell, but the mouthfeel killed some part of it for me. It was hard drinking it at times when it felt like there was no carbonation. Maybe it was just the bottle I had, but I did get this beer from Hi Times Wines Cellar so I doubt quality control was the issue. I guess I will just have to revisit this beer some time.

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Photo of mmahut
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

One year old.

Appearance (3.5): Very active head, well carbonated.

Smell (3): Citrus aroma with light tone of dark fruits.

Taste (4): Associative with the smell, light citrus aroma with sweet malt.

Mouthfee (3): Medium body with higher carbonation I would expected from the smell/appearance.

Drinkability (3.5): Refreshing but heavy.

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Photo of JamesQuaff
4.86/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured into a Duvel tulip from an 11.2oz bottle, with a bottling date of 08/18/2011. Gifted to my on my birthday by a good friend with great taste and extreme patience. Told myself I was going to wait for a special occasion, but today thought "wouldn't cracking this aged Orval MAKE today a special occasion?".

A: Pours a rich copper-orange with a dense and luxurious one finger head which leaves rather thick fingers of lacing that slowly retract completely into the brew. Plenty of carbonation rising up from the bottom of the glass. Beautiful.

S: The nose is giving me something different every time I go back. Wildflower honey, banana, grains, some pepper, a tiny bit of horehound candy, tropical fruit, and a funky barnyard vibe toward the back. Belgian all the way. The honey seems to come up to the front to me the most.

T: Oh man... the taste. This beer is absolutely sublime. Subtle initial hop bitterness fades into a slight honeyed sweetness which gives way to a most delicious funky finish. Kind of like how you can taste the Asturian hill country in Cabrales blue cheese or taste the ocean in a fresh oyster. This fleeting idea of a flavor note that floats away from the finish must be what an abbey tastes like. Mind-blowing.

M: Medium-bodied, creamy and smooth. The carbonation is luxurious and velvety.

O: Definitely one of the finest beers to ever cross my lips. Hands down the best example of a BPA I've ever had. This was my first encounter with Orval, so I've never had a young version to compare with this one. I will absolutely be adding a few bottles to my growing collection and sampling them at various ages.

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Photo of ledemie
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving: Chalice
Temp: 52
date of birth:9/25/07

A: nice garnet color, huge head that desapear after a couple of minutes.

S: fruity, a little alcohol, oranges, cloves ( a hint)

T: Yeasty,Clove, Champagne like background , raisin.

D: that is a respectable beer, I do not think it was worth the $5.50 for the 11 OZ, but I had to try it, it is a complex beer a little disappointing because I though it could have a little more character, it reminded my of an American cousin the the "fat tire ale by New Belgium Brewery" this is not my type of beer I still have to respect the Orval name.

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Photo of DaveUK
2.9/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Cloudy, brown-orange with a large frothy head that persisted all the way down the glass.

Aroma - Sweet fruit, spicy hops and a hint of yeast soon after pouring.

Taste - Tart, bitter fruit with a citrusy flavour. Alcohol and light malt present in the long bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium and persistant. Almost unpleasant acidic bite perhaps due to a high level of carbonation.

Drinkability - Powerful bitter taste and potent, unconcealed alcohol make this a beer for sipping at the best of times.

Not one I would be consuming regularly, however I would give it another shot, if only to see if the bottle I had was off/skunked in some way.

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Photo of brewbucker
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 20/02/2008

Poured into my Chimay chalice. Pours a medium slightly hazy orange copper with a large off white head. Beautiful appearance. Very big aroma of spicy fruits. Sharp orange zest and hints of pepper. Flavor is tart citrus, yeasts, and mild malts. This is only the second time I have tried this beer. I tried it for the first time early on in my "beer geekdomness" and thought it was average. I am glad I revisited this. Orval is truly in a class by itself.

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Photo of NicholasCasber
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer was stored for roughly 1 1/2 years after bottled on date (5/6/08), however, best before date was 5/6/13.

A: This beer poured a nice muddy tan, with some nice head that seems to have some staying power, which has given some nice lacing.

S: The smell was slightly citrus and hops, but wasn't overwhelming.

T: The taste was outstanding, and a little bit on the alcohol side.

M: The beer felt fairly watery, and not what I was expecting.

D: I'd rate this higher if it wasn't for the mouthfeel that I got, overall it's a decent beer, but slightly disappointed in the actual feel.

I'd recommend this one to any body. Good beer overall, best of luck in your finds. Cheers.

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Photo of RandyV
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy amber color with nice head and lacing. The smell is to me somewhat champagne like with a mild yeast note.

The taste is slightly fruity, maybe apple or pear, with a musty quality. Mouthfeel was a bit thin. It finishes dry with a hop bitterness that lingers.

Gotta be honest, this beer underwhelmed me and was not worth the elevated price.

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Photo of Brewsephus
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Bottled on 18/8/2011, poured into tulip glass at refrigerator temps.

A- Pours a deep mahogany color, with hints of bright caramel when it catches the light. Massive three finger head which lingers for quite a while. Head is thick and dense with pockets of large bubbles.

S- Figs, plums, dark currants, unripe strawberry, biscuit, fresh baked wheat bread.

T-The figs are here in the taste again, up front. Black cherry stems. Finishes with a light bitterness, but there is a bit of residual sweetness to keep your palate intact. The brett is much more subdued than I anticipated. That tell tale bitterness is there, but without any funk or mustiness.

M-Full bodied, rich but not feeling heavy. Fairly well carbonated, finishes very clean.

O- Great example of a trappist institution. Pleased to have found a bottle with some age on it. 10/10 would buy again.

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Photo of slackattack
3.32/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled November 2013, best before November 2018.

Pours beautiful golden brown, pillowy 3 fingers of head that is persistent and leaves a spotty lace on the drink down. Nose is not overly assertive, bready notes, Belgian yeast prevalent. My first thought was that it was pretty boozy for a 6.9% beer, but I think the extremely dry finish contributed to that. Really clean taste, but not a lot of flavor if that makes sense. Bitterness throughout the drink makes it enjoyable. After it warmed a few degrees I'm starting to think that I wish this wasn't so expensive because it could be session material. Easy to drink, lots of carbonation, good summer front porcher.

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Photo of AustinWadkins
4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark hazy Amber color with a froathy off white/ opaque 2 finger head that soon falls, leaving a blanket over the surface

Snifer picks up banana, clove, hint of bubblegum, spice, bread

Taste follows the nose

Overall a fantastic beer! Doesn't get much better than this! Aging deffinetly shows!

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Photo of descartes
3.63/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 33 cl. bottle.

Appearance: Deep amber with a nice half inch head.
Smell: Very spicey and grainy smell.
Taste: First one gets a slight honey flavor followed by malts and then a overpoweringly bitter taste.
Mouthfeel: A bit over cardinated, moderate body.
Drinkability: Just too bitter, I cann't see myself downing two of these in a row.

Overall: As I stated above this beer was just too strong and bitter, which was surprising considering how sweet it smelled. Maybe giving it a couple of years in the cellar would have mellowed it out and made it more enjoyable.

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Photo of Bugsey
2.3/5  rDev -45%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This was a huge dissapointment to me. I thought because it was Trappist, it had to be good, but it just isn't.

Sure it looks fine, and the head is fine, but it just doesn't taste that good. It is earthy and flat, kind of burnt. There is no complexity and nothing notable.

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Photo of kurtissellen
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aggressive pour into a large goblet yielded an enormous cloud looking head about 2" tall. Buried beneath the bubbles the beer looked an opaque golden amber color with very little if any carbonation. Unique sort of lemon citrus smell to it at first, later on detected a flowery sweetness and a grassy spice. Tasted a mild grape and apple sweetness with a little citrus bitterness and finished very crisp and clean. I would try another just to see the huge head form that was awesome!

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Photo of turamarth
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Smokestack Chalice.

Appearance: A nice hazy golden brown color. Explodes with a huge rocky head with a medium pour. Excellent retention and leaves nice lacing.

Nose: Every thing seems fairly subtle. But, there is a nice hop presence up front, sort of grassy. Some candied malts maybe fruity esters also peeks through in the nose.

Taste: This beer might be one of the most complex I've tasted so far. Granted this is my first foree into Belgian ales. There is very subtle grassy/hay flavor. But, most of the taste is buried in estery brettonomyces. Fruits are delicious. Theres even a slight sharp cheeseiness. Truly complex, almost too so for my palate at this stage.

Mouth: Nice light smooth mouthfeel, nice carbonation. Leaves the mouth with a hint of thickness.

Drink: This beer is almost too complex for one to have multiples. Though abv isn't very high. I like this beer. It's a special occasionier.

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Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the famous bottle into a duvel glass.

Wow! What a beautiful looking beer. Light, wheat-colored beer with huge amounts of meringue-like head of sticky bubbles.

Smells of citrus, apple, spices and whatever else they use to give it the famous character and aroma of this beer.

A little musty, spices, fruit, citrus tangy all on top of a yeasty belgian hop character with barley malt and little caramel or browned sugar.

Mouthfeel is superb. Enters tangy and becomes sweet with the malty and hoppy breadiness. Goes down smooth with a fine carbonation reminiscent of champagne.

If you enjoy the belgian-style ales then no stock would be complete without Orval.

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Photo of hgw605
4.73/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Orange, reddish amber. Huge white head that sticks around and leaves some nice lacing. Totally transparent.
S: Belgian sweet fruity aroma. Tart with notes of apples, citrus, funk and peppery notes. Slight sweet floral aroma.
T: Similar to nose. A bit bitter and some moderate caramel malt coming through.
F: Feels like it is popping off in your mouth, releasing all of its complexity.
O: A classic, incredible beer.

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Photo of Graham21
2.85/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The appearance was bad but I did not have a good glass at the time... The color is a lite amber(orangish brown) and the head was very high and dissipated to a nice lacing shortly. The smell is flowery with a hint of cinnamon and citrus. Fumes of alcohol can be noticed as well. Tastes of lemon, spices, alcohol, a little malty. lacking in taste. mouth feel is descent and the carbonation is very good. drinkablitly is alright, this beer would be easy to drink because of no real flavors presented either good nor bad. Not one of my favorite Trappists, thats for sure.

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Photo of Ochsenblut
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 10/08/2010

The body is a cloudy orange brown color with a light tan head with very fine bubbles. The head retention is excellent, maintaining substantially throughout the experience.

The smell is of oranges, earth, and spicy goodness.

This beer is extremely creamy, with well attenuated pale malts, and vaguely soapy hops moving into leathery brett funk (moldy, but in a good way!). Rounding out the end is lingering funk and tannic astringency. The tongue is slightly warmed by alcohol alongside the aftertaste, which sticks around practically forever.

I've heard Orval derives its complexity from the Brett yeast used at bottling, and it's no joke. It really does add a new layer to something that might otherwise be 'just good.' Once I have the means, I'll be cellaring a few of these.

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Photo of hobojon
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had both fresh and aged. This review is based on a bottle that was brought back by a friend from belgium. 2 month old bottle.

Aroma- Funky (Brett), floral and fruity, fresh. bready. dry. some tart acid. great malt, bready. pungent spicy, herbal, noble hops.

App- very light haze. amber. creamy off white foam stays and laces.

Taste- sweet mouth coating tart and then dry and clean. fruity pucker, tart berry (cherry). bready and light caramel. crisp malt. hops are great, bitter and resinous. malt is incredible. not very funky compared to aged, I prefer it fresh.

Mouthfeel- high carb, clean, dry. full. alc is slightly noticeable in throat.

Overall- amazing when fresh. tartness is great. beers like this inspire my home brewing.

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Photo of Daniell
4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was heavily disappointed first time I tried this, turned out that was when I had a relatively fresh bottle. I've discovered a stock which were bottled on 2006, and have had far better experiences with them.

A: awesome head and really unique light red/gold colour. Halfway between a golden ale and a rosé. Head dies down perhaps a little quickly for my liking, compared to say Duvel, but I think I have to make this a 5 for the beautiful blood orange colour. 5

S: overripe, almost fermenting fruits. Smells a lot like a botrytis dessert wine actually, mixed with funk and bandaids. Later on as it warms the funk gets vaguely faecal, clovey and honey-y. It really has the sulphuric pale fruity smell I expect from white wines. I can honestly say I do like the liveliness of the funk here, it does make the beer feel alive. 4.5

T: actually get a decent amount of alcohol in the taste, along with fermented fruit. I notice a distinctive aftertaste- kind of nutty, like macadamias. This recedes to substantial bitterness. The bandaids I was overwhelmed by the first time I had this are still there, but they're more subtle. The bottling date is the 23rd of February 2006, which makes this brew more than four years old. It seems that the aging (despite presumably being in a freezer for a large proportion of that time) has tamed the brew compared to the severely band-aidy fresh one I had previously. 4.5

M: Just about right for the style. 4.5

D: One to sip but the complexity definitely keeps me coming back. 4.5

Definitely world class.

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Photo of nickshep7
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours w/ 2-2.5 fingers of shaving cream like head. This may be the densest head I've seen on a beer. The base of the beer is a coludy, deep honey brown/orange color. Smell is musky, almost like an old wine cellar. Solid dose of Belgian yeast and bready notes. Honey cloves are also fairly prominent on the smell. So far, very impressed with this brew. Now only if the head would die down, so I can jump in. Very dry and herbaceous on the mouth. A healthy amount of hops, much more than I was expecting. Clove seems to come through quite a bit on the taste as well. Overall, a great experience worth trying especially if you are into Belgian style brews.

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Photo of darky
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 11-17-2011, poured into chalice. Reviewed 3-16-13

A: pours a brilliant light orange capped with a persistent 1/2" white head.

S: Orange and grapefruit are primary with that characteristic hint of banana so many Belgians have.

T: This is, I believe, the third time I've tried this brew, but the first time really 'tasting' it. I didn't pay any attention to vintage until now, and I would wager those bottles were significantly fresher than this one. I distinctly recall this beer being far dryer (to the point that I struggled with it) with a more pronounced hop character the previous two times. This pour is definitely mellower with muted orange at the start and middle, and then the trademark Orval grapefruit-y (again, mellowed) dry bite on the finish.

M: Soft and creamy, ample carbonation. Quite good really.

O: I really wish I had a younger version to compare this bottle to right now. I don't think this particular bottle is representative of what this beer is like fresh. I am enjoying it, but it's not at all what I remember it to be, or how others have described it here on BA. I will revisit this one with a fresher specimen when I find one.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,302 ratings.
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