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 oline73
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a goblet. Amazingly, this is the first time I've ever had this one.

Appearance: Pours a mildly cloudy amber with two fingers of fluffy off white head and great retention.

Smell: Sweet malt with some citrus notes, fruity notes, and yeast spice.

Taste: Very smooth with Belgian spice, fruity notes, and a mild hop bitterness. The finish is spicy with some bitterness in there as well.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a very good Belgian Pale. The yeast spice was strong, but balanced well with all the other flavors. Very well done.

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

had this from draft and in a chalice type glass. Had a good head to it along with a really good dark orange color

nicely aromatic with tones of oranges, pears, some malts, and a slight touch of citrus hops. very well balanced and aromatic

the aromas are backed up by a real smooth and delicious medium/full body. good depth on the flavors as well with the flavors mostly being more oranges and bits of citrus hops+malts

its been a while since I've had an orval. This reminded me quickly that my next one should be a lot sooner

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

This one has been on my 'to do' list since I first started reviewing beers. There's something about Orval that intrigues me; from the shape of the tear-drop bottle to the heavy chalice you drink it from, there's something ethereal about this brew. I imagine Trappist monks in black & white cassocks standing around a large clay urn in the catacombs of a monastery testing the divine brew with their index fingers and kneeling down to praise God's glory that ale exists for human enjoyment... or something along those lines.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a chalice glass.

A: This ale pours with great excitement. A deep clear amber body with a tinge of red and a Belgian beer classic "soap bubble" foamy white head that recedes after a moment to leave that sticky (alcohol laden) lacing.

S: The aroma is more reminiscent of spiced mead than beer, with bold notes of: Juniper, Sloe, Cloves, Honey, Orange peel and yeast - they're all here to party down. The smell of this alone could make a decent cologne!

T: Completely not what I was expecting. It's not sweet at all. The main profile is a Juniper/Sloe berry bitterness, however it also has a similar complexity to Duvel in that the flavour hits every part on the tongue in it's own way. There's sour-dough yeasts after the initial bitterness with a long dry citrus finish. In fact the only area where I find it lacking is the sweetness, which is unusual for a Belgian ale, and this was no doubt intentional.

M: A bit fizzier than the other Belgian ales I've had; medium carbonation with a medium body.

D: I can see why others may not rate this highly, it's definitely an acquired taste beer. If you like something fairly bitter and dry with spice flavours: then this is your beer. If you're looking for something outside the box: this is your beer. If you want a beer that is a divine experience: get Duvel. Orval is great for the fact that it's an unexpected drop but Duvel still stands tall in my taste buds... for now at least.

Food match: It is a challenging beer to food match. The boldness of the bitter/dry profile makes it a perfect match with bold cheeses (much like a red wine). Also venison and game meats would work well.

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

A: Pours medium tint red with a bubbly white head that disappears quickly but leaves a lively film

S: Lots of citrus notes mixed well with a malty sweetness, a touch of honey, and some nice spice

T: Lots of apple and pear at first, which quickly switches into a cherry tartness, with the end being a bit of an orange zest and citrus flare. Nice.

O: I never would've imagined such a simple trappist ale could be so flavorful and pleasant. I'm quite surprised.

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Photo of chefelf
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this one on my wish list for a long time and I finally got a chance to try it tonight.

Pours copper with a white head and subtle lacing.

The taste was good but not what I was expecting at all. It had a nearly citrus flavor and tasted almost like a saison.

The finish was very dry with a subtle bitterness.

It was a very nice beer. I'd recommend particularly to fans of saison ales.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: light golden with lots of cluding bubbles. Big pillowy head that lingers.
Smell: slightly sweet fruit. Hint of spice.
Taste: much like the nose at the start with a dry slightly bitter finish.
Glad I finally had this. I must say, didn't live up to admittedly very high expectations.

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Photo of kjyost
4.87/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Walked into the Liquor Mart today, and what the heck? Orval? Gotta pick that up...

Bottled on 04/01/2010 ABV 6,2%

Poured stiffly into a Leffe chalice that is not nearly large enough, with 2/3 head and 1/3 beer. The beer itself is golden to orangey. The head quickly descends to a small cap leaving lacing all the way.

What a fantastic aroma coming off he head though. Initially a tiny bit of funk came through, but it took we a moment to notice the oriental lily that was very strong. As that aroma weakened the essence of barnyard was coming out, perhaps with a hint of my wet dog, but that could just be me being crazy.

The beer itself is incredibly interesting with a light sourness and funk. When the remnants of the bottle are thrown into the chalice that lily flavour plays across the palate. No substantial bitterness. Different flavours are prevalent in each sip. Sometimes the malt plays through, other times different aspects of the funk, often it is floral esters.

The mouthfeel is a little weak initially, likely due to the stiff pour as the carbonation is almost flat. It gets better when the rest of the beer is poured in, becoming smooth and creamy with a light finish.

Drinkability? Hell yeah. This is lightest drinking trappist I have tried. I suspect though by the third it would quit being so complex, but still just flavour country...

EDIT: 09/24/11 Bottle aged 1.5 years. Strong lily notes have disappeared, much stronger barnyard aroma play through with a stronger finish on the palate. Not remaining hop aromas / flavours are apparent. Not as good as fresh.

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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 EA728
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: hazy orange/amber with a very nice head that remains.

S: smell is quite bland in my opinion, mostly malty

T: a pleasant malty flavor with the touch of belgium yeast, nice bitterness that I'm not used to in Trappist beers

M: very nice mouthfeel, goes down easy and feels refreshing

O: not my favorite Trappist beer, although it's almost its own style. very refreshing, not too heavy, but it lacks a bold flavor. nice availability in my area, so I will probably pick it up again.

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Photo of skypup
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased and consumed at a roadside fry shop near Dinant, Belgium.
.33L Bottle served in an Orval Chalice

A: Cloudy amber with a thick and pillowish head.

S: Malty, touch of floral hints

T: Complex bitterness with obvious yeast and some pear and cherry after tones.

M: medium carbonation; full bodied beer.

D: This was certainly my favorite trappist beer; these monks know how to brew beer. Enjoyed with a cone of Belgian fries, this is heaven.

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

Bottle from Perry's liquor in Livermore, CA

A - Poured a rusty brown color with a tan head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of slightly sweet malt some fruit light funk and spiced yeast

T - Just like the nose starts off with sweetness and fruit upfront then the funk and spicy yeast come through in the finish

M - This beer has a medium body with higher carbonation to it

O - I love this beer had it so many times before today with out reviewing it but finally brought a bottle home to review and each time I have it I like it more a complex beer thats easy to drink its going down great after a long day a of work

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Photo of Ghenna
3.69/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pleasing copper color, lots of off white head. Poured into an Orval chalice.

Huge fruit esters in the nose, slightly citrusy. This is beautiful, and refined. wow.

Taste... well, odd. Lots of bitterness, not all expected. Taste is actually a little bland beyond that- not a lot to it. Kind of disappointed. MF is creamy.

Man, the nose really had me going, but the taste didn't follow through. Bummed :(

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Photo of t8s8l8
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look- a darkish amber orange, reminds me of pretzels. a huge head the thing looks like fresh snow. big bubbles incase the glass as the head starts to fall leaving the lacing in its course.

Aroma- perfume aroma that jumps out of the glass even as i poured it. A sweet maltyness plays nicely in this complex bouquet, but still this floral perfume like cleanliness inoculates the senses, like trail running in the spring. woodsy and spicy and sweet all combined. second pour was slightly more fruity a low fruit (pear with some orange) presence played into the already complex aroma.

Taste- a smooth malt character hangs with this fruit front beer that the yeast has put into play so well. the fruitiness is reminiscent of the aroma. slight hop bitterness, and a great dryness finishes this brew out.

Overall Experience- This is an awesome beer and I will be bringing it to all social gathering. I'm sorry but if this doesn't make you want to drop that commercial beer and make the switch I don't know what will. The cloud like head, the overflowing floral aroma, the complexity, its all amazing.

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Photo of tlazaroff
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Opaque dark honey in color with a frothy off-white head reminiscent of what you'd find on top of your favorite starbucks option.

S: I get a light sour funk on the nose followed by some light fruit esters: peach, nectarine, raspberry.

T: Pretty much tastes as it smells only more pronounced and more enjoyable. I get the sour peaches mostly. Tastes pretty good.

M: Highly carbonated with a medium body and a tad dry on the finish.

D: Pretty drinkable overall (or should I say 'orval'?), I like it a lot.

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Photo of meatyard
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on March 3, 2011

Pours a lightly hazed amber with a large, meringue-like, light tan head that has excellent retention that lasts the length of the beer.

The smell is a sweet, juicy, cherry bubblegum aroma along with a yeastiness.

The taste is spicy and fruity (lemon) with plenty of the Belgian yeast and is a bit phenolic. There's nothing overpowering from any of the flavors and, in fact, they seem somewhat delicate and complex.

Mouthfeel is medium and on the dry side. The flavors seem to linger on the tongue and the back of my mouth. Carbonation is more than adequate and seems just right.

Overall: Yeah, this beer does deserve it's high grades. There's not much out there, can't think of anything, that is like this beer. You have to at least try it, especially you're a fan of Belgian beer.

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

330mL bottle (bottled 5/19/10, best by 5/19/15) poured into a tulip. Gorgeous golden amber color with an enormous fluffy white head that fills the glass. Wonderful effervescent carbonation erupts from the bottom of the glass. Head just won't quit, looks like a mountain of delicious whipped cream. This is what a beer should look like. As the head ever so slowly breaks down, it leaves behind not lace but lovely cobwebs around the sides of my glass.

Aroma is tart and funky - green apples and Belgian yeast.

Taste is crisp, dry, refreshing. Pale malt, Belgian yeast and some hops to pull everything together for a nice clean finish.

Overall this is hands down one of my favorite year-round, always-available beers. Why don't I have a case of this at the ready at all times?

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.48/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: two finger head with excellent retention. Murky golden amber.

S: dark fruit and spicey. Mostly cherry.

T: complex yeast and spicey character and more dark fruit.

M: high carbonation. Medium bodied. Semi dry finish.

Overall: this is an amazing beer. Certainly one of the best of the few trappist brews and one of my new top favorites.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 4" off-white head. Hazy raw sienna yellow color. Smells of dried fruits and a little funk. Taste has the fruits, a little caramel, malt, and an aspect I had a hard time describing and I'm going to settle on almost a cola type flavor and sensation. Add a pretty long finish to it and you've got one classic beer.

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

Bottled on 3/10/11. Ive had bottles with a couple years age on them as well, though not recently. This is quite fresh.

A- Poured into a Orval goblet. Pale amber/copper in color with a pure white head of over a finger. Great lacing and retention as is to be expected from Orval.

S- Sweet and spicey at the start, developing into classic Abbey style yeast aromas. Girlfriend said she smells a bubblegum hint. I didnt get it but its definately the Belgian Yeast strain.

T- Fantastic first of all (it is Orval). Candied Sugar notes at the begining evolving into a citrus and I almost got a little alcohol flavour on the way down even though its only 6.9%. Long lasting on the palate. Stays on the tongue and back of the throat for while which is truly pleasant.

M- Medium bodied. Just seems to last forever even after no longer in the mouth. Great stuff.

O- Some of the best beer period. Orval is amazing. Almost a sweet golden pale its just in a league of its own and will be forever in my mind.

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

Poured from the bottle into a globe.

A. A pale copper colour, slightly hazy, and with a vigorous off-white head. Masses of sticky lace.

S. Quite sweet and sugary at first, but then the other notes start coming in - floral, earthy, spicy yeast, a slight hint of mustiness.

T. This is not like any of the other Trappist beers I've tasted. The classic spicy Belgian yeast character is relatively muted, although it's there, and I'm getting a prominent lemon flavour along with some sourness (but not a funky kind of sour), and other flavours I can't even begin to pin down. A very complex ale.

M. Fairly light, highly carbonated, refreshing and dry.

O. That's a quality beer, and no mistake. It's far too easy to keep going back to the glass for another sip, but at least it's not up there in the ABV. This one's going to be burning a hole in my pocket from now on, dammit.

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

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Pours a hazy orange colour, great head and awesome lacing.

Smells of light spices, and citrus - very light and refreshing.

Taste is immense, so complex almost indescribable - well balanced citrus, crisp and refreshing light hops, medicine undertones similar to de Dolle's Stille Nacht.

An excellent beer - great at 7 months - must try again soon.

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Photo of Clydesdale
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a somewhat hazy amber/burnt orange. The tall, foamy and fluffy head has an amber tint. Retention is quite sturdy, and a substantial speckling of lacing sticks to the glass as the head gradually recedes.

S: Lightly sweet in the nose. Rather tart notes are prominent. A bit dusty and yeasty. Fruity. Notes of pear and apple, with a bit of vinous aroma as well. Some citric hop (?) notes are also detectable. Light phenols.

T: Some light sweetness up front. Distinctively yeasty. Equally tart, phenolic, and spicy. Fruity notes of pears and/or apples are moderate. Lightly funky. Hop bitterness is not especially assertive, but it is more noticeably present than I was expecting. Hop flavors recall candied citrus peel.

M: Medium-firm body. Carbonation is smooth and supple. Quite smooth and refined overall, before a modest finishing prickliness.

D: Quite enjoyable and complex, but in a relatively accessible fashion. This is a unique beer. I'm a bit embarrassed that I've never tried this (or many other Belgian standards) before.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before date of 09/09/2015.

A: Massive 2 1/2" light peach coloured head that left a nice lacing over cloudy amber liquid.

S: Cloves, floral hops, and yeast.

T: Pleasant taste of floral hops and spices which transitions into a faint taste of alcohol which then disappears. The taste is quite nice and disappears so fast that it made me go back quickly for a second sip.

M: Medium to thin viscosity with a medium level of fine carbonation.

O: An extremely easy drinker. It would be tough to sip this beer because it almost beckons you to go back to it quickly for another sip.

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Photo of Crittervision
3.1/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A bottle of 2005 and a bottle of 2010 side by side. Consumed at Kulminator on 12 August 2011.

The 2005 is a brighter copper, with the most beautiful, nearly unbroken sheet of off-white lacing on the other side of the glass. Gorgeous. On the 2010, no lacing, bigger bubbles, thinner cap. A 5 for the 2005.

The smell is quite muted on the 2005, with only a slight lemon acidity. The 2010 is perceptibly fresher with at least a weak hop presence.

On the tongue, the 2005 has a subtle, nondescript, and gentle sourness. The 2010 has a nice, tangy, hoppy bitterness. Very simple. Very boring.

The 2010 has a prickle that has faded from the 2005. Both are soft and are gently carbonated.

Fresh is unsurprising. And five years apparently isn't enough for the yeasts to do any thing remarkable. Other glasses of Orval over the past month have been equally unexciting. Not nearly as charming as I thought it was a few years ago.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.7oz brown bottle. Freshness date on label. Served in an Allagash goblet.
It pours slightly cloudy orange-hued copper color with a frothy white head and loads of lacing.
Smells of spices, cloves, fruit cup and distant bananas, followed by malt and wood and resinous hop.
Flavors are wide –ranging from, fruit cup, spices, citrusy hops, and sweet malt. A little candi sugar rolls in as it warms, as does some alcoholic fuminess.
An effervescent fizziness fades from the first pour and becomes very velvety and rounded.
Just a beautiful beer and the benchmark for the Belgian Pale Ale style.

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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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