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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
5,469 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: 5,469 |  Reviews: 2,358
Photo of MrNate
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of proc
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very good beer. Pours out to a cloudy, amber in the glass with a generous head. The aroma is the strong point of this beer. It combines essences of a fine liqueur with that of yeast and fruit. Taste is slightly spicy in the Belgium sort of way. Fairly high in carbonation. Finish is quite easy and invites another sip. Rather expensive, but a nice treat.

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Photo of Andreji
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It is certainly a pale ale, this one, but a nice decent trappist product.

Pours an orange kinda tainted tone which reminds me of the sorta pale ale that sierra nevada has. And the product itself is very similar: a tough, bitter sweetness both in nose and taste that while being good is not all that great for my taste (les goƻts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas!), But still is a nice refreshing malty-hoppy blend that works always. The trappistes at orval have passed the test.

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Photo of aubuc1
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle date 07/05/07 into goblet. Pours hazy orange with significant, but diminishing head. Smells of sugars and bananas,and maybe cloves. Very tart and dry. Taste is hard to explain for me. Very nice carbonation feel in the mouth. Light taste that cuts sharply. This was my first Orval.

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Photo of everetends
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A bottle I picked up from Green's in ATL. This was bottled on 9-07-08, not too bad. I was told to let it age, but I figure what the hell. Served up in a tulip.

A: Pours a really nice and mild orangish/brown color. Held to the light you get more of a lighter orange glow. The head is off white and a good three fingers. The head is seriously rocky and huge foam. The head has great retention thanks to the constant carbonation activity that is feeding the head and moving around in here. Lace is very soapy and sticky. Lots of rocky foam remains on the glass. This is a great looking brew for sure.

S: Smell is solid. Getting some nice Belgian yeasty quality. Nice bready malt character coming through here and it really works with the fruit goodness that lies within. Getting some really nice and crisp apple skin and some nice pear. There is a touch of banana in here which is a pleasant suprise. There is a little bit of dirty funk going on in here. Its very light but its just a nice earthy hay and dusty, wet wood.

T: Taste is very nice indeed. Yet again a really nice bready and crackery malt mixes wonderfully with the Belgian yeast coming out here. That fruit is very present. Lots of apple and ome sweet pear are on display in a big way. The banana is not as big time as I was hoping but a very nice addition to the flavors. Getting a little bit of lemon lime coming out that really reminds me of a light and sparkly lemon lime soda I used to have in europe. The hops are light and floral. All together, beautiful.

M: Light side of medium in body with a really huge and crisp carbonation presence that works oh so well here. This beer has a touch of a tart feel going on in here. This beer is slightly dry. ABV is no where to be found. Aftertaste is mostly some slightly tart apple and fruity goodness. This all works and very nice.

D: This beer is incredibly drinkable thanks to is light wieght and big time carbonation. Overall, this beer works on every level. The flavors are complex but still remain light and delicate. I think that is the best way to describe this beer. It has some much going on but it still remains delicate. Just a beautifully crafted brew. Glad I followed the advice of whoever it was who told me to get a bottle of this to give a go. Just great.

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Photo of mixed_master7
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of jman005
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of kzoobrew
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in to snifter, bottled 04/24/07.

Pours orange and hazy. Massive three finger white head. Very dense. Great retention, as head subsides nice lacing left along side of glass.

Yeast and spice are hitting the nose first. Sweet aroma some banana clove and the usual Belgian funk. Good Stuff.

Crisp clean and smooth. Before the flavor is even picked up i am noticing the crispy cleany smoothness. Hops and malt mesh well. Citric zest kicks in, very nice job here.

As stated before, crisp clean and smooth. Finishes dry. While above the sessionable abv, this is a very sessionable brew. Excellent.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drawn to this bottle for some reason. Bready boozy smell at outset. Cider-like color with thick lacing. The best part of this brew for me is the complexity. At first taste I do sense the yeast, the astringency is there as others will agree here. I may seem off a bit in this but vinegar comes to mind as a mouth sensation, if you can somehow picture that in a good way. I guess there is an odd abrasiveness that somehow "works". Yes it is quite dry, however I can't help, and can hardly believe, that I also detect fruit or fig in the taste. As I mentioned, this is all about complexity. The mouthfeel for me is most abrasive up front, but it is up front where i also smell the fruit-like bouquet as I am tasting it. For some reason and I can't pinpoint exactly how, but this is very drinkable for a beer with such a distinct character. Spices are picked up too. Unusual. I guess the reason i think Orval is so good despite some unusual characteristics is due to the expertise in the brewery of using their "brettanomyces" yeasts the way they do. Apparently in most beers these yeasts are considered contaminants. With that it's no wonder I also favor saisons. All good here.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the ubiquitous 11.2 oz. bowling pin-shaped Orval bottle into a goblet. Bottled on 09/07/2008, with a Best Before date five years from bottling.

Pours a deep, hazy amber hue, giving rise to a humongous light tan head that fills half the vessel. The foam settles very slowly to a thick half-finger that sticks around for the remainder of the drink, leaving thick, broken sheets of lace behind on the walls of the glass.

A very earthy aroma fills the nose, with lemon zest combining with spicy yeast notes, damp earth and a slight mustiness.

A rather light, effervescent body holds within it a mildly spicy brew with a thick underlying base of toasted biscuit. Hops mingle with the yeasty spiciness, keeping in check what little malty sweetness is present. The finish is very dry, with a bit of a grassy aftertaste that lingers.

Nice, refreshing, highly distinctive and absolutely gorgeous to look at, this is one Trappist ale that is well worth its lofty praise and honorable status. Watch out for the 6.9% ABV, though, as it can sneak up just as easily as the beer goes down.

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Photo of brownbeer
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a brilliant yellowish orange, nice bubbles and a head that will be as big as you want it.

Absolutely wonderful nose; bretty funk, white pepper, a light woody note, white grapes.

Flavors are similar to the nose with brisk carbonation and finishing dry with great noble hop character.

Sensational in refreshment and drinkability. Classic and inspiring. Yes, please.

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Photo of hotstuff
4.01/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This particular brew poured with a large white foamy head. There was carbonation observed rising to the top of my glass. The body was cloudy and an orangish color. This brew had a fruity aroma to it. This is one brew that I really enjoyed rating and drinking.

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Photo of WakeandBake
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, bottled on date 24/04/2007 best before 24/04/2012. A hazy light amber pour ,loads of carbonation bubbles,and a huge fluffy off white head, wonderful lacing and lasted till the very end.
Aroma is a wonderful scent of spices,sugar and lemon,lighter notes of orange and a nice finish of yeast and hops.The flavor is a blend of spices & lemon, Light banana notes and fruity esters form the yeast, nice bready notes, a crisp refreshing mouthfeel with a very dry finish of hops and alcohol. Very complex and balanced.A very fun try .

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Photo of Barnsley
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of errantnight
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Simply a great beer, a classic, one of my favorites. Thanks to the brett and the widely varying storage conditions here in the states, each bottle is a little different.

This pours a notably orange hazy hue, a bit darker than I think of pale ales (or the saison I sometimes associate this with thanks to the funk), but it's an attractive pale color with a rich, creamy, mountainous head of craggy silky smooth foam with incredible retention and lacing. Just perfect. Exemplary.

Aroma is insanely complex, there's that ever present background of brett funk in there, not the sour twang, but the earthy barnyard and deep hints of citrus fruit. This compliments an earthy stew of pale malt with mild alcohol esters and phenols, a bit of banana and just faintest hints of warm spice, particularly nutmeg.

The taste is incredibly subtle and delicate, so perhaps for something I love so much so impeccably formulated it's a bit of a crime to knock this all the way down to 4.5, but I find that while there is a masterful retention of body here, the flavor thins out a bit towards the end. It's bone dry, but it's also just a tad watery on the back half of the palate, allowing the intense carbonation to come across very mineraly. What's there, though, builds in layers with each subsequent sip. There's a mild bready sweetness that pulls in the spice and fruit notes, bring out an impression of fresh flowers and springtime.

Having a beer this dry and still retaining a moderately full body is an astonishing accomplishment. There's really not much more to say. I know the high carbonation gives it its great looks, and probably greatly contributes to the early body I appreciate so much, but it sometimes feels a bit spritzier on the back palate than I would like. It's quibbling, and I could just as easily give this a 5 as a 4.5 and feel good about it.

I love this beer. It's pricey, and I don't drink it that often, but I never go too long between bottles, either. A classic, essentially perfect brew to be admired, and to influence others. A beer to try, then try again, then try again as your palate develops.

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Photo of burnstar
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance is clear light copper with big rocky head. Smell is complex with notes of honey, light fruit, floral and herbal notes, a bit of citrus, and slight earthy and phenolic yeasty smells. Taste is bitter at first and then herbal with a touch of fruit and bit of wild yeast funk. Unlike anything I've ever had, although some American wild ales are the closest. Dry with a some bite in the finish and a nice lingering bitterness. Very well carbonated with a great mouthfeel. Very drinkable. Not one to gulp down, but take a sip and then you will quickly take another and another. Overall this is one of the big classic Belgians you pretty much have to try. (I can't believe it's taken me this long.) Unique and very good.

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Photo of vidisad
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of SteveB24
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of jmryan8
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.99/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass. Bottled 4/1/2005, best before 4/1/2010. Yeah, like I had a chance of waiting that long.

Hazy orange in color with a massive fluffy white head. I mean thick and white and looking like an arctic glacier as is slooowly fades. Lacing is phenomenal.

Aroma of ripe pears, some peppery hops and clove. Real nice. Taste reveals a sourness that it not evident in the aroma. Finishes dry and sour, and not at all unpleasant.

Fairly light bodied, and dries the mouth out a bit. A pretty good sipper. I'll be nursing this one for sure.

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

Bottled on 1/6/10.

Poured into my complementary Orval chalice: Two fingers creamy, rocky, buoyant foam that drops to a finger & retains oh so well. Looks like a cloud. Body is a hazy, translucent burnt orange with brighter orange highlights.

Smell is wow. Overlaying brett character that's pointed but not too sharp, like a tart key lime pie, freshly mown grass, herbs, a little cherry, & that specifically Belgian grapiness in so many of their yeasts. Underlying are mildly creamy tones, a little graham cracker sweetness, even cocoa hints now & again. So complex, I want to sink into this. And that dryness keeps bringing me back. Fantastic.

A sip starts off with some of the spiciness & grape qualities but quickly dries out & becomes herbal & mineral, with a character that I've had before in Orval that I can only describe as "stony," like licking a rock. Not bad, just interesting - it has a solid, dry bitterness to it. Unexpected at first, but it mellows & becomes pretty enjoyable, with some mildly orange sweetness backed by a slightly bitter zest. Mild tonic note.

Mouthfeel is medium-full, very smooth & velvety. That dryness sticks around & hangs on the palate.

Man, this is one complex beer. Some very subtle notes hanging back in this to pay attention to. I can't say I loved every movement I went through with it, but it was all about the ride, & the ups & downs all added to up to a great outcome. This is definitely a once-in-a-while kind of experience, & I wouldn't want to overdo it, but I'll be looking forward to that next "once-in-a-while."

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Photo of atigerlife
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a Orval chalice.

I've had this beer quite a few times over the years and decided it was finally time to write a review. Here goes nothin...

Pours a beautiful opaque orange/brown color with a wonderful creamy off-white head. Head has good lasting strength. Very beautiful sitting in the Orval chalice.

The nose is quite spicy, with hints of many herbs: orange, pepper, and other aromas I couldn't quite pick up. Quite a "refreshing" and curious aroma.

The taste is very complex and spicy. Hints of coriander, mint, pepper, etc. Some decent hops and quite a dry finish. A "crisp" beer. The amount of flavors make this hard to describe.

The mouthfeel is quite cleansing with a medium body. Overall, I found this to be a very distinctive beer that is nicely refreshing. But, as much as I like this beer, I'm not sure how many I could drink. Not really a session beer. The thing that I like about this beer, its complexity, also makes it slightly less drinkable. Not sure if that makes sense. I also think a food match would be challenging [a few cheeses came to mind, but not much else]. Anyway, a wonderfully unique beer.

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Photo of poskok
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of zachpaschal
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of JohnTurano
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 5,469 ratings