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

2,329 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: 2,329 | Ratings: 5,344
Photo of mjohn27603
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours almost clear in appearance. Leaving a high foamy head. 4 fingers worth in the glass with big bubbles of carbonation. ARoma of grape juice and fruityness with clean crisp smell. Second pours reveals a more golden apperance but stiill with transperancy. A slight hint of orange and grape flavor. Kind of like champagne beer. A very light and crisp taste. Flavor is like a knife to the palate. Extremely drinkable.

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Photo of unklesyd
3.55/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

After all I'd heard about this beer, I was pretty disappointed, especially at the price.

Poured like a typical Belg. Pale, big head, lots of retention. Interesting color change when the last 1/3 of the bottle was swirled and yeast added.

Subdued fruity, earthy nose.

The taste was very earthy as well. Very low hop flavor, but great balance and bitterness. Very woody. Before sediment was added, the woodiness was crisper and snappier; after, it became more subtle in its character and brought out a hint of licorice.

After finishing this bottle, I didn't want another. The weight of the beer combined with its flavor profile was too heavy, although the balance was excellent.

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

11 oz. bottle, Poured into oversize wine glass. Darkish Orange color, frothy head that settled into a thin white top layer. It looks good.

Wow, there is some stuff going on here. First thing is flowers, like a boquet of wildflowers, there is some fruit present here too, maybe plum and apricot... i need to taste and find out what's going on here.

Oh my, never had anything quite like this, strong spicy flower taste, like I just drank some potpourri mix. Not bad though, the initial flavor is quelled by an abundance of carbonation, and some spicy hops. This is actually getting better with every drink, this is really good. I wish a had a couple more, but at $5.50 per 11 oz bottle I'll have to pace myself on these.

Mouthfeel is excellent,thhere is quite a bit of fizzy carbonation present but is is fine and easy to deal with, plus necessary to cut through the power of the flower.

Edit: ok, i've had a chance to drink this one several more times, and was trying to be somewhat conservative in my early reviews. But I simply love this beer, and see no reason to not give it perfect marks. Wish I had one right now....

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

11.2 oz bowling pin bottle

Glassware - zig-zag tulip

Pours a dark orange with tones of amber spilling through.

The aroma is outstanding. Very floral and fruity. This may be one of my favorite smelling belgians in this category.

The taste is also very fruity and sweet...apples...peaches...oranges. It's also got a nice hop bite.

Very good beer!

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Photo of danielharper
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Purchased from Woody's Smokes and Brews, Franklin, TN.

I had a taste of this at the Bring-a-Friend Beer Tasting in Birmingham a few weeks back, but not enough for a full review. Bought a single bottle and poured it into my oversized wine glass. Appearance is really quite nice, with a sort of orange-yellow body covered with one of the thickest off-white foamy heads I've ever seen. I didn't even pour that aggressively, and this thing just took off. Almost too much head since I'm having to dribble the remainder of the brew into the glass a little bit at a time.

Aroma is very sweet, with hints of soft honey and possibly even a hint of cinnamon. Fascinating the way these Belgian Ales seem to produce the strangest scents that have nothing to do with barley, malt, and hops, but when it smells this nice I'm not complaining.

I may have let this warm a bit too long, for the beer has a strongly astringent flavor first and foremost, which only later softens into a nice soft sweetness that coats the mouth and the tongue. Alcohol is quite strong here, present in large quantities in the flavor even if not in the nose. Bitterness follows every swallow, but it's a nice sort of non-hoppy bitterness. Enjoyable but not exactly to my taste.

This has a thick and luxurious mouthfeel and a low carbonation that work together nicely. The bitter flavors make me not really want to swish this around a lot when drinking it, but the mouthfeel doesn't stand in the way of drinking it that way.

This beer tastes good, and it's fairly low alcohol for a Trappist, but I find myself actually wanting to finish this bottle and move on to something else. I'll certainly try it again next time I can get ahold of it, and this time I'll open it up when it's a few degrees cooler, but at this temperature I really don't enjoy it as much as I'd like to. North Coast Pranqster is much better, and much cheaper.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my lucky day....after putting this beer aside in my fridge for over a month (massive willpower) I pulled it out for the sunday night baseball game and it didn't dissapoint.

Beautiful thick chunky head that falls to a solid blanket coating. Mmmm. spritzy carbonation.

At first I thought I was in a flower shop. potpouri type smells but very complex. just imagine about 100 selected varieties of flowers all in one room and that is the smell. Pleasant but powerful. Tasted the same...potpouri with some kick ass mouthfeel (sizzles to make its point but overall smooth). Wild yeast, almost lambic like, with some drying in the middle.

One of the only knocks I could have on this beer is the carbonation is a bit spritzy...some may like it that way. I wish it was toned down just one level and it would have gotten 5's

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

Appearance: Pretty cloudy Orangish copper color at first pour with an extremely thick dense head at first pour. This head turned into bigger bubbles and fell within a couple minutes or so. There is a whole bunch of thick Belgian lace left in its wake.

Aroma: At first pour, I get all kinds of fruit in the aroma. You can definitely make out Lemons, Grapefruits, Pears, and I would even be so bold as to say that I can pick out Limes in this beer. As it warms, you can pick out a bit of the malt mixed with cherries, but the citrus still rules.

Taste: The taste is really citrusy as the nose suggests, but there is also a caramel component that I didn’t get in the aroma. The taste starts out with a complex meld of fruit and malt, but the flavor takes on many facets before it finally calms down. The finish is amazingly dry and refreshing. I believe that this may have to do with the attenuation and mouthfeel as much as anything. I don’t pick up enough hops in here to actually balance the malt, but the high attenuation makes it come across as almost balanced toward the bitter.

Opinion: All I can really say is WOW! This beer is really amazing! I have had it on multiple occasions, but that was after quite a few beers. As my first beer of the evening, it really shines. There is a really complex flavor and aroma profile that is not done justice after you have already had something else to drink. This is one world class beer that you have to try all by itself to really appreciate. Excellent beer! I highly recommend it!

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Photo of ikats
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Very hazy, deep gold in color, with lots and lots of small bubbles building to a huge off-white head that lingers for some time. Beautiful lacing.

Aroma: Bananas and some citrus notes. Yeast reasserts its presence, and floral notes are in the air too.

Taste: Heavy carbonation and sweet sourness make the toungue tingle with delight. Hops balance sweetness so nicely. This ale goes down smooth and crisp. Easy to drink, yet full of flavor. Light to medium body. Every sip is a pleasure in its own.

This is not my favorite Belgian ale, but it is still a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of theozag
3.87/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Please pardon the brevity of this review, I am attempting to catch up (between work assignments) from weeks of tasting based on notes...

I bought this beer on a whim from my local military package store and I was delighted to realize I'd struck beer-drinking gold with my flight of fancy.

This beer has heavy clouding in its body but no sediments; very thick white head that lasts for several minutes; caramel-colored body with brown whisps throughout

Smell is absolutely outstanding: a sugary-sweet, fruity blend of aromas that is complimentary to the rest of the beer and very clean and crisp.

Flavors I found much harder to describe as virtually of this beer's character revealed itself to me just as I began to swallow each mouthful.

Start is imperceptible and light; settles full-boided with limited bitter flavors; finishes with a strong hop bitterness that comes out from behind a soft malty cushion.

Strong aftertaste takes a long time to fade.

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Photo of fisherman34
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amazing stuff. Solid orange in colour with a pillowy just-off-white head. Aromas of hops, lavender, and grapefruit. Flavorful grapefuit, complex floral, and belgian yeast flavors. It also has a long and sour finish. Perhaps not as complex as some other Trappist ales, but a real pleasure to drink.

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Photo of malty
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on Nov. 2003

Poured into its namesake goblet a brilliant copper orange with a billowing dusty beige head that settled down to a dense 1/4" with visible carbonation streaks bubbling upward.

The scent of this one is truly a fantastic mysterious myriad (somebody stop me) of components: FRESH citrus/flowery hops. Hand squeezed lime. That familiar scent of ripe queen green olives.

Flavor: Where do I start...The scent is very indicative of the tongue treat to follow. Tart, tangy & dry. Very citrusy with substantial malt softness to provide perfect balance. Yeasty esters are prevalent that are even somewhat dusty tasting. Cloves wrapped around tart lemons. Fantastic chalky dryness weaves in-and-out of some kind of spice that reminds me of autumn (not allspice though). I'll have to drink a few more to nail it (twist my arm if you have to).

Mouthfeel: Are you kidding me? Imagine a tempurpedic memory foam mattress... Now equate that to mouthfeel. 'Nuf said.

Drinkability: For me, more and more please! For the next guy, maybe not as much - who knows? Locate a keg and I'll walk, swim, cycle or crawl for it.

Overall: I guess by now you know I loved this ale. Love is a word carelessly abused and overused. I truly love this beer. Now I know why it's known for one name, and one name only: 'Orval'. Worth every penny. Maximum respect!

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Photo of 99bottles
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can't believe I missed reviewing this. I've had this quite a few times, but when I found it in Milan for the equivalent of $1.85 a bottle I stocked up.

Ok, so Orval is a deep orange brown color, slighty cloudy with a clumpy yellowish off white head and above average carbonation. The smell is really unique; strong citrus rind, some wildflowers, and some sharp medicinal cuts. The taste is much of the same, only more complex. When young, as all these bottles are, it has a real biting astringency of phenols, phenols, and more phenols. The hops add good bitterness to the finish, and the malt seems lost in a sea of fighting flavors. The lemon and orange of the smell is in there, as is some funk, almost akin to a lambic. But, really...it's all phenols at first.

I've had quite a few that were left to age, and that made the voyage across the Atlantic and found them to be much more sweet and aromatic. The sweetness of honey, wild grasses, and jasmine all come out as the medicinal taste subsides over time. I like that the "drink before" date is a full 5 years after the"bottled on" date. A really excellent choice, but try to catch one on the back end of those 5 years.

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Photo of PorterLambic
2.65/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Nice bottle.
Pours a cloudy reddish-orange with a smallish creamy head.
Smell is malt, green apple, oak, hops & yeast.
Taste is hops, hops, hops and malt. Not at all what I expected.
Mouthfeel: high carbonation, a bit rougher/hoppier than expected although I was forewarned about that. A very dry finish, by far the driest of any ale I've ever had, drier than almost any lager for that matter..
Drinkability: Not your typical trappist ale, too much like an IPA for my tastes.

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Photo of taez555
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

June 2005, rereview I don’t know what I smoking when I first reviewed this beer.
Bottled 7.10.2004, best by 2009

Bright reddish/orange body with a bubbly white head.

The nose has a fishy, fresh cut flowers mixed with shit sort of smell.

The taste is dry, bone dry, extremely dry. Sort of an oily, fishy, salty phenol and yeast taste. Hints at other trappist ales but is extremely unique. A HUGE carbonation. Touches of leather or shoe polish even. What a weird myriad of flavors. Hop bitterness is quite interesting. It flows from nothing to a little to this long big hop finish. The hop flavor is a strong earthy, extremely intense but not muted, citrus peel. There’s not your average American IPA sort of citrus touch. This is a very muted but much much more intense at the same time.

What a crazy tasting beer. Seriously I don’t know what to say, the most unique beer of the trappist family, a must try for certain.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl Bottle from the Vineyard in Belfast

Pours a slightly cloudy / amber colour into my Orval glass. Head is white, quite thick and fairly big… lasted until nearly the end…

Aroma – Where to start !! Peppery, spicy, cloves, fruity (citrus), very slight hint of vanilla.. Very complex smells…

Taste – Quite a shock this one on first taste – very flowery…Quite lemony, definite taste of cloves… quite bitter..

Mouthfeel – Quite smooth and dry, very nice..

Overall – an amazing beer, unlike anything else. It certainly is an acquired taste !! One of my favourites….

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Photo of swid
4.19/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33cL bottle; 6.9% ABV listed on label.

Orval pours a hazy-brown color into my tulip class. A large, off-white head forms, containing large bubbles; it slowly collapses in upon itself. Moderate carbonation and lacing. The aromas given off by this beer are quite complex; there's cloves, lemons, a hint of pine, and some unidentifiable funky aroma (it's funky in the very best way, however). Very balanced.

This is one smooth beer. An almost candy-like sweetness is evident when it first hits the front of your tongue. A balanced hop bitterness comes along shortly afterwards. There's a noticeable clove flavor present. This beer is quite full-bodied and is somewhat tart. The alcohol is just perceptable in the aftertaste, which is mildly sour.

This is a funky beer, but if you've become acclimated to sharper-tasting beer, it's very enjoyable. I recommend it.

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Photo of hero27
3.36/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle

Appearance: Pours with a billowing, white, fluffy head. Hazy, golden amber color. Bubbles stream from the bottom, reminiscent of champagne.

Smell: Can pick up spices and grassy, herbal hop aromas. Hints of fruit and maybe a slight alcohol smell that lingers as well. Nothing too spectacular here.

Taste: More citrousy in the taste than I would have expected after smelling it. Somewhat complex flavors, but all very subtle. I even let this puppy warm up to nearly room temp. after I had finished half the bottle, and it didn't help much. Doesn't taste bad, I've just come to expect more from Trappists (and beer in general).

Mouthfeel: Little too carbonated for my taste. Lively in the mouth due to the carbonation, which carries the flavors well.

Drinkability: Personally, if I spend nearly $5 on a trappist, I want a higher abv..this "tame" trappist pale ale at 6.2% is a lightweight compared to it's relatives. Overall, nice to try, but nothing I'll be running back to the store to buy again.

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Photo of TPSReports
2.94/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I am writing this review, and drinking this brew, following a wonderful Hennepin Saison. What a difference. Maybe I should've reversed the order.

It pours nicely with a lingering head at 49 degrees from my cellar. I finger tall thin bubbled head that lingers appears. Strong lacing on the sides. A very pretty color of amber with tiny bubbles floating upward.

This smell doesn't really give me a hint a what is to follow -- maybe the allergies aren't cooperating.

The first sip is shocking -- quite a bit of alcohol here -- I didn't expect it. There seems to no hopps and not much malt either. Not quite sure what I'm drinking here. It has a bit a of a twang and sourness that I'm not entirely comfortable with.

Mouthfeel is somewhat flat from a carbonation standpoint. Not heavy or light, but medium swill.

I am very disappointed by this beer. It looks like a winner! The bottle is gorgeous. It pours wonderfully, with a sexy head the lingers -- nice lacing. But, I'm drinking beer for taste -- the looks are just part of the package. Without a doubt this is my least favorite Trippist to date. I'm glad I only have one,to be honest.

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Photo of JohnfromDublin
3.45/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasted in De Zolder bierceller bar Bruges, May 2005. Poured beautifully, perfectly presented in its correct chalice. Lovely head over amber to red-brown body. Smell is a wake-up call, reminded me of dank seaweed, very "different". Some would quake at this point, but I always wanted to taste Orval so continued. Thankfully it tasted better that the tough smell, in fact its taste improved as I drank the glass. Delighted to finally taste this beer, it is a fairly complex beer for connoiseurs. I am not quite in that category yet, but my apprenticeship continues. Serious Beer, respect!

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Photo of JackTheRipper
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

In the spirit of NBS #14, I decided to delve into my all too limited stock of Trappist ales (couldn't bring myself to crack open the Westy)
A: Cloudy amber in color with a wicked huge head and lacing to die for. Lots of carbonation seen in my glass, I think the etching in the bottom of this Chimay glass enhances it? Swirled it in the bottle, I want that yeast.

S: Fruity aromas, hints of cinnamon sugar. Lots of spicy hop aromas. Soft lemony/zesty aromas. Nice.

T: Zingy hop flavors up front, not bitter though. Fruity citrus tastes. Flavors are surprisingly light and dare I say fluffy? Nice base of malts to bring this one home. Definitely enhanced by the chunk of yummy cheese I'm eating with this.

M: Light, soft, highly carbonated and that seems to help carry the flavors and aromas. Alcohol is well masked.

D&N: Wonderful beer and a testament to the Monks who brew it. Very complex, a joy for all the senses.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before 7/08, bottled on 7/03, so well aged. My initial reaction to the color of the beer was disappointing. Pale orange with a hint of cherry red. Head was magnificent. Huge 1inch, reluctantly settle after a couple of minutes. Lacing is all over the place, kind of like a cupcake wrapper. Tastes very, grapes and oranges, little hop kick towards the end; has a pretty pungent alcohol smell which is surprising considering its "low" ABV.

Overall a very nice beer. For the price I think I'll visit other Belgium’s again before this one.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bring on the funk! If you like a beer with funk, this is the beer for you.

Pours with a thick head. Reminds me of root beer floats. Cloudy amber. Lots of lace that never goes away.

Smells funky.

Funkiness in taste which ends with a hops bitterness. Refreshing.

Drinkable, but again if this is your thing.

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Photo of BeerNutta
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a deep golden yellow. You could smell a fruitty floral aroma.
The taste is the dissapointing part. I was expecting an explosion of flavour, however, all that was presented was spicy dry bitterness.

Some might like it but it wasnt my kind of beer.

Not really my kind of beer.

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Photo of hefevice
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a tough one. After all of the glowing reviews I have read, I found the reality somewhat disappointing. Looks absolutely fantastic, glowing deep dark gold with a massive head, good retention, lacing, etc. Also smells promising, classic flowery, funky, dare I say "horse-blanket" aromas. Taste...well...the first disappointment. Dry then bitter, overwhelming anything else that might be present. I also found the palate a little watery, although there was plenty of carbonation, it was course rather than fine like some of the other Belgians I have enjoyed. Sorry, but while it is a good beer, I think it is unbalanced and over-rated.

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Photo of silenius
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber orange with a generous off-white to yellow tinged head that laces nicely on the way down. A picturesque beer.

Smell is very muted to me with just some just some light pepper and licorice. Good but not too complex or substantial.

Taste hits with a sharp acid zing that fades into pepper and a rich breadiness. A bitter hoppy palate cleaning aftertaste finishes this one off. A food beer if I ever tasted one. This one screams for cheese and meat in my opinion. I almost feel ashamed that I am drinking this without food.

Mouthfeel is good, but there is a sharpness there that is a bit much for me. A zingy prick that is just noticeabley too much.

I could drink this all night with a great meal.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,344 ratings.
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