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

5,397 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: 5,397 |  Reviews: 2,347
Photo of Duhast500
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a stemmed tulip glass. (There were no chalice glasses at the place I was having this)

The color is a slightly hazy orange/amber with a finger of foamy head that disappeared a little quickly and left a small amount of lacing on the glass.

The smell is fruity in the nose with some nice slight Belgian yeast aroma that is giving it a bit of dusty-like feel to it.

The taste is a bit fruity with some yeasty flavor. There is a slight tartness to the flavor as it is also sweet with some malt flavor that has mellow bread flavor.

The feel of this beer is complex but smooth as it goes down. There is a multitude of different levels of flavor and feel.

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Photo of pmlondrigan
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have had Orval many times before...this was the youngest bottle I have ever had, bottled on 10/03/11. While I love Orval with age on it I was interested to taste a young bottle.
Poured into a Duvel tulip. Big, huge, rocky, merangue like head, lacing abounds. The color is that of a pale ale. This bottle presents fruit on the nose with some malt. Hops are more prominent then anything else. Really great malt/hop balance. Biscuit like malts pair with light tropical and citrus hops. I could use more phenols or esters one or the other I'm just not picking up too much Belgian yeast.
As I stated I prefer this beer when the Brett shines through and I know what it can be. This fresh is still a tasty beer and a nice treat.

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Photo of Robje
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first review on BeerAdvocate, and hence my terminology might not quite be up to scratch, nor my ability to pick out any subtle flavours, so I will try to give a general impression of the properties of this beer. (I have tasted many styles of Belgian beers whilst living in the Netherlands, and will post some reviews as I find the inkling).

The beer was poured into a Westmalle chalice from the bottle, marked best before 22/06/2016 (Bottled 22/06/2011). Pouring was stopped just as I could see the cloudy yeast about to enter the cup (reviewers preference).

Appearance: 4.5
This beer poured nicely with an average head. The head lasted for a moderate amount of time, but not very long, the lacing was minimal as the beer was consumed. The beer poured very clear, with a medium amber colouring, with a golden tinge towards the edges. A very appetising appearance.

Smell: 4
The beer overall smelt quite good, with a slightly fruity smell, but quite overpowered by hops and carbonation to begin with. There were hints of some spices and the smell was enticing.

Taste: 4.5
Quite a strong presence of alcohol in the beginning for this style of beer. Fruity tastes with a mild yeast, and a slightly bitter after taste. There is a complexity to the taste that can be enjoyed from the first sip until the last. The bitterness tended to mellow towards the middle of the beer as the beer warmed, leaving a semi sweet tasting beer towards the end. I drank the remaining beer and yeast from the bottle about 3/4 of the way through the tasting, and they contained a pleasant flavour, that perhaps could offset the starting bitterness (Will try a second tasting with yeast in the glass).

Mouthfeel: 4
A smooth mouth feel, with a nice amount of carbonation that lasted until past midway through the tasting. The start of the beer provides a sharpness that is contrary to the smoothness that follows.

Overall: 4
This beer starts very nicely with complex tastes, and an enticing smell and ends with a smooth slightly fruity and semi sweet flavour that is easy on the mouth and sits nicely in the stomach. This is definitely a beer that can be enjoyed for a glass or three in the summer, autumn or spring, without overpowering the taste buds or cognitive functions.

Conclusion, a beer that is complex enough to enjoy the tasting, as well as smooth enough to follow with another in the evening. I would recommend this beer to anyone who wants to enjoy a fine example of a Belgian Pale Ale, and it "feels" a bit special, being one of the Trappist beers.

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Photo of sim0n17
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Love it!!! But who doesn't? Great Trappist ale with a sweet finish and a very round mouthfeel. That cloudy amber coloring is classic with a bit of a citrussy, sweeter aroma. It's well worth stocking up your cellar to "age" some of it for later. If you've never had one, then please wait no longer!!

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

A: Poured a orangish amber color with great carbonation leaving a nice fluffy white cap

S: A light mix of light and dark fruits, bubblegum, spice

T: Candy sugar, light toastiness, finshes with pepper, spices,light booze

M: Light to medium body

O: Very good

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Photo of keanex
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a small bottle bottled on 10-3-2011 into my tulip glass.

A: Hazy orange brown, almost like carbonated iced tea. Carbonation bubbles plenty floating up to meet a light tan white head that is slowly dissipating on the side but staying up in the middle making a mound.

S: Light floral and citrus with some juniper berries. Very pleasant and inoffensive.

T: Very fresh tasting, floral notes take the cake here, but I notice some citrus hints here with a slight yeasty taste to it.

M: Rather light bodied with a lot of carbonation makes this very easy to down.

O: This is my first Trappist beer and I like it. Very easy to drink with a nice flavor to it. I'll be trying more.

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Photo of powellmg
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy orange beer with a thick, creamy head. Aroma of lime and tangerine citrus and a pleasant mustiness. Tart, funky (Brett), and quite bitter taste, more like grapefruit rind than straightforward hops. Creamy mouthfeel balanced by a moderately-high carbonation.

This bottle is about a year old. It has lost the fresh, herbal notes but has only just started to develop complexity from aging. Overall, a refreshing, classy beer, though not amazing to me.

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Photo of dansmcd
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Two fingers of pocked, active, bubbly, fizzy head with great retention. Clouds of lacing follow up. Body is a clear, furiously carbonated pinkish amber.

S - This is a real pot pouri of floral, herbal, barn and fruity aromas. Rosemary, cough syrup, musty wet horse blanket, pepper, booze, strawberries, champagne.

T - Follows on with a lot of the same character, with the addition of funky belgian yeast.

M - High carbonation, light body, tart and super crisp.

O - A classic belgian. The old mustiness combined with the tart strawberry is a beautiful mix. Great beer.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

11/13/08 bottle

Pours with an outrageous amount of carbonation. The frothy head almost goes over the top of the glass, leaving patchy lacing everywhere. The retention is high, with frothy notes on the beer.

Bitter and acidic in the nose with some tart hints. Bready notes, citric acid and pith. Touches of grapefruit and orange.

Slightly bitter up front with acidic notes. Tart and refreshing with citrus flavor. Grapefruit and orange flow through the profile. Light bready malt backbone dissolves in between the citrus and funky yeast. Finishes dry, tart, and sweet.

Medium body, ridiculously high carbonation, prickly and sticky on the tongue. This has the potential to be great, but there's definitely some really obvious flaws.

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Photo of jar2574
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Really zesty, spicy, hoppy smell with some funkiness - Brett(?). A giant 3-finger tan head. Looks pretty darn good.

The taste is sort of disappointing though, after that great smell/presentation. Some funky, barnyardy yeasts, which I like. Light and watery. Some sweetness, maybe from malts. Not an overly hoppy or overly malty beer, pretty balanced. Could use a little more spiciness - there was some here and I liked it but could have used more.

Started off looking and smelling fantastic but ultimately didn't live up to that initial impression.

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Photo of match1112
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

purchased this for the first time finally, mainly because of the bowling pin shaped bottle and because because the store had the orval goblet next to it for $4.99. also has a bottled on date of 22/04/2010. pours out a cloudy golden orange color with the thickest three finger bright white head i have ever seen. the head slowly settles to an uneven foam resting atop the beer for the remainder of the drink. smells and tastes of sweet fruits, yeast and a little spice also has a little funk to it, but not in a bad way. mouthfeel is a medium body with a rich creamieness that is overtaken by a slight hop bite with a dry finish but very minimal bitterness. i can see why this is one of the worlds best.

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Photo of Belpaire
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle on date 10/03/11. Reviewed on 10/29/11. Probably can't get much fresher than that in the US. How will this effect the funk, we shall find out.

Poured into a Duvel Chalice. A very lively head, dense and compact, that slowly fades to rocky as it leaves a nice lacing behind. A lovely orange color with a minor haze.

Aroma is intoxicating. Funky citrus, oranges would probably be closest, with an almost woody/grassy undertone. It's not subtle.

The first sip is an unexpected slight smokey burnt caramel with grassy hop notes that fade into a refreshingly dry finish. Each sip the flavors settle more on the tongue. The beginning of the sip has a certain sweetness that fades into an assertive but not unpleasant bitterness.

Wait, where's the funk? It's there but it's subtle. It kind of shows up as an aftertaste. A little lingering hint of what would come with age.

Do I wish I had waited for this to age a little? No, I like to be able to taste what the base of this beer is before the bugs have there way with it. Do I wish I had a 2 year old bottle to follow this one up with? Absolutely, unfortunately I don't.

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Photo of Rschis16
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled date is 11-17-2010, so almost a year of age to it. Poured into a snifter.

Hazy burnt amber hue, with some visible carbonation from the bottom. Thick three finger head on top that dissapates slowly and consistently, settling down to about a finger. Silky white in color, nice lacing. Big aromatic nose of white wine, citrusy hops and a hint of booze. Clean malts round it out, but the wine-like smell is the most notable. I expected more of a little Belgian yeast funk, but there isn't much of that. Clean and crisp nose all around.

Where I was reminded of white wine in the smell, the taste yields more of a citrusy sweetness or even a slight tanginess. It is remeniscent of a fresh lemon rind: bitter, but with a dry sweetness as well. It has the same characteristic white wine dryness to it all the way through the taste. Whereas this usually means crisp as well, it doesn't really get crisp until the finish. It has a great full body that forces the citrusy notes into every aspect of the palate. Grapefruit comes to mind. A very balanced consistency to the hops and wine-like characteristics. A nice citrusy bitterness hits and then lingers in the back of the palate, showing off the full effect of those hops. Alcohol taste is barely present, making the drinkability through the roof. A sour little tartness is evident in the linger, giving a slight puckering effect that begs for another sip. A soft carbonation contributes a smooth and easy-going mouthfeel. Combined with the dryness, it is very refreshing.

Great beer, I can see why so many people like it so much. This makes for a nice sit-back-and-relax beer while still giving a complex tasting.

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Photo of cbarrett4
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my Karmeleit tulip (man chalice):

Pours a dusky, hazy orange with an insane amount of head with fantastic retention. Smells of funky citrus and flowers, lots of yeast backing it up. Seriously elegant and floral.

Taste centers on malts with a good kick of bready yeast, orange blossom, and dried nectarines. A tad sour but only faintly so.

Texture is rich and layered without being heavy or overly alcoholic. Fine balance of astringency with the sweetness, though light on both. Really well delineated.

Overall one of the best trappist ales out there. And my personal favorite trappist brew.

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Photo of tony223366
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From my beer journal. Reviewed on September 14, 2011.

A: Darker amber, almost brown in color. Very cloudy with a hint of light poking through the edges. Nice, but not perfect head. Lots of carbonation in this beer.

S: Lemony-floral smell. Very pleasant and bright.

T: Fruity up front. Certainly tart fruit. Nice malty backbone with a surprising hoppy finish. Phenols are very faint but at a good level for me. So crisp.

M: Light body with nice carbonation.

O: I really, really enjoyed this. This is so complex but also somehow really well balanced. I'm going to get this again... and again... and again

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Photo of ianjsullivan
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ST: 11.2 oz poured into a Duvel chalice. The bottle lists the ABV, the bottled on date, and a drink by date,

A: Cloudy burnished gold and orange with a very thick, white head that looks like a milkshake.

S: Grapefruit, lemon, funky yeast, and sugar.

T: Delicious toasty malt backed by a strong yet elegant back bone of hoppy grapefruit and pine (there is also a slight bubblegum). The finish has nice hops, but it does not overdue it.

M: Medium and dry with a nice zing of carbonation.

O: Sometimes I feel like people in America assume that since a beer is from Belgium it must be good. There is no mistaking Orval; it is very good. The beer is balanced and elegant, and it easy blends a higher alcohol percentage. Lovely flavors continue to develop as the beer warms. It truly is a a winner.

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Photo of carolinabeerguy
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 ounce bottle into a Chimay goblet. Bottled on April 22, 2010 printed on label.

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange caramel color with a huge 4 finger thick and creamy off-white head. A touch of sediment pools right on top of the billowy head. The head was so big it rose a full 2 fingers above the rim of the goblet. Perfect head retention. Halfway through the glass and it's still got a 1/2 finger head. Excellent lacing.

Smell: Strong funky notes with some sweet apple and pear coming through as well.

Taste: Crisp tart fruitiness up front followed by funky "horseblanket" notes in the middle before ending with a grassy hop bitterness at the finish. Aftertaste is funky, mildly phenolic and very dry. The dryness of the aftertaste lingers for long time.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation. The mouth puckers much the same as it does when eating an unripe persimmon.

Drinkability: High drinkability. Goes down smooth. While I wouldn't want multiples, drinking one is a pleasure.

Overall: Very good beer overall. This is probably the most unique of all the Trappist beers. Orval is funky in a good way. Definitely recommend giving it a try.

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Photo of readbaron
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

375 ml Bottle poured into a rochfort chalice. Bottled 7/2010.

Pours out a lightly hazy, crisp light brown with 4 fingers of billowy off white head that laces the glass and lingers.

I hadnt read any reviews prior to cracking this one - i was surprised to find that the smell is dominated by the Brett - lightly sour and peppery, with bready malt underneath.

Taste is complex, yet light. Initially it's peppery and mildly tart (lemon), with a bit of spice before fading into some bready malts. Finish is very smooth and refreshing.

Feel is delightful. Light, crisp, somewhat creamy, prickly carbonation that still manages to feel soft.

Overall - a great beer. Not what I was expecting, but delicious. It will definitely be showing up in the fridge again.

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Photo of evlu1441
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a Chimay chalice:

It's an ever-so-slightly hazy amber colour. A deep amber with some coppery notes. The head is foamy and off-white. There is a decent amount of carbonation rushing up. A really nice looking beer.

The aroma is quite unlike other trappist ales. Its quite hoppy, but with a strong caramel backbone. There are also some distinctively Belgian flowery notes.

The taste begins slightly malty and bitter. The malt flavours start to flesh out, and a light pear flavour kind of comes through alongside some light sweetness. It finishes on a slightly oily note, but with a hint of hops.

Overall, this is a unique Belgian and a real treat!

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

A: Huge frothy head, nice burnt umber color, darker than expected for a Trappist.

S: Lighty bready with a really nice hit of brett funk. Great.

T: A very subtle beer. Faint hits of bitter hops, fruit, bread, booze. Funk hardly present at all, was hoping for more to come through. Really soft and enjoyable bitter aftertaste.

M: Nicely carbonated. Very delicate. A refreshing palate cleanse.

O: A very beautifully built beer, with nice restraint. Not my favorite Trappist, but a unique variation among its brethren.

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Photo of tobelerone
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2 year old bottle still has plenty of carbonation. Huge fluffy slowly settling head on a hazy orange colored body; a few floaties here and there; lovely curtains of creamy lace.

Great aromas of pepper, citrus, yeast. Delicious flavor with Brett funk at appealing but not overpowering levels; peppery notes and the lemony flavors are in there too. Really well rounded and appealing. Slightly bitter.

Clean finish, crisp and refreshing. Flavors are really sharply defined and just excellent. I'd prefer this over the many saisons and other brett beers on the scene today. Does the trick in terms of taste and refreshment. A classic for a reason!

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Photo of ikantspel
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle. served into a duvel tulip at 62degrees.

pours a dark copper with enormous lacey head. sticking to the top of the tulip.

overwhelming medicinal and fruit smell. you can smell this right when you open it.

unlike any Trappist ale i have had. great malty and spice flavor. something else is there just cant put a finger on it.

wouldnt mind having this again. this definitely has the potential to become a session beer.

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Photo of dudelove7485
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick, fluffy white head that lasts for some time. The color is a rich, cloudy amber. Very pleasant aroma of spice (cloves), orange, malts and yeast. The taste is very malty upfront, but gives way to a hoppy backbone with accents of fruit. Medium bodied with high carbonation. Surprisingly well-balanced. The uncommonly high ABV at 6.7% is masked well without any astringency. The dry, bitter finish ends on the roof of the mouth. This was the first time that I had tried this beer and I would highly recommend it. Extremely satisfying.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled 4/22/10.

A - Hazy light amber with a huge rocky white head. A delicate pour still gave way to 3-4 fingers of foam leaving a huge dollop of rocky foam sticking out of the center of the glass.

S - Sweet candi sugar with floral and citrus notes, hint of bubblegum, spicy yeast, earthy with a lingering mustiness.

T - Light sweetness, candi sugar, earthy, yeasty, then becomes tart with apple and pear, some citrus and lemon, finishing with some spice and a lingering light musty funk.

M - Medium body with a fizzy carbonation finishing dry.

D - Classic example of Belgian Pale with funk in my opinion.

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Photo of hiku7
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours murky orange with a towering off-white head. The head lasts a long time, and dissolved slowly, like vanilla ice cream in a root beer float. Highly carbonated. Intense lacing.

Smell starts out orange rind and cloves, but not medicinal, with a spicy tart old leather funk coming through.

Taste starts malty, a bit sweet, and finishes tart and dry. The flavor has esters like summer fruit, maybe not yet ripe apricots and peaches. Some mild balancing bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is somewhat creamy despite a dry, acidic finish that is prickly with carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

Overall, I really enjoyed this unique trappist ale and will go back to it.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,397 ratings.
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