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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
5,428 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: 5,428 |  Reviews: 2,351
Photo of estereicher
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark Golden, slightly cloudy appearance. Nice head - quite effervescent. Yeasty Alcohol scent w/ various spices. Slightly sour taste but very well balanced. Overall lots of body with a refreshing flavor...

I drank at around 16 deg celcius, and was quite impressed with the balance of flavors and drinkability.

 310 characters

Photo of marty21
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep copper/amber with a 3 fingers worth of off white creamy/foamy head. Settles to a very thick foamy cap with tons of chunky lacing on the glass.

S: Light fruity aroma. Yeasty with some citrus and spices.

T: Yeasty with some light fruits. Some spices and it's a bit sour.

M: Medium to high carbonation with a medium body.

D: I don't usually enjoy belgian beers but i suprisingly really enjoyed this one. From the appearance down to the mouthfeel it was great.

 477 characters

Photo of THECPJ
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: orange with a 2 finger white head

smell: spices, malts, citrus

taste: very sweet, spices

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body, smooth, dry finish

drinkability: goes down easy. wish it was a bit cheaper.



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Photo of KajII
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[Best served in a Trappist glass]

Poured a murky amber with some orange undertones and a huge white foamy head that was mostly diminishing but had fantastic lacing.

The aroma was heavy of a straw like malt, a moderate floral hop and a moldy scented yeast with notes of dried fruit (raisins), a hint of spice and some citrus (lemon and maybe orange) with a mild alcohol tinge.

It tasted a malty, a little bitter and slightly sour with a hint of a peppery spice in the beginning and finished lightly bitter and yeasty with notes of fruit, citrus and a slight alcohol tinge at the end. The flavor was left to linger for a while, leaving a light sourness on the palate.

Mouthfeel was light to medium in body and a little oily in texture with the carbonation being quite pronounced, almost prickly in feel.

Overall a fantastic Trappist Ale, I can see now why the Monks only brew this one beer.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber color with a GIGANTIC 4 inch bone colored head. Chunky head is full of numerous bubbles and lasts a long time. Somewhat formed ring lacing on the drink down. Smells very floral, citrus notes, slight vinegar, and must/funk. Taste is of apple cider, lemon zest, grass/flowers, funk, and a bitterness that starts at the start of each sip. Bitterness is very herbal and is quite mild after each sip. The funk is from the Brett used in creating this beer. This beer is very carbonated and yields a huge head on the pour. The body is somewhat light but crisp and clean. Drinkability is good but this is a beer I can see myself only having occasionally. A very unique tasting and interesting beer.

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Photo of BBP
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- An instant eruption of foam after popping it open. Filled the cup twice with head. Settled down and left a thick coating of lace over the glass. Considerably carbonated. Almost too much from the looks of it.

S- A clean herbal aroma filled with honey.A few notes of lemon. Quite unique for a beer. Reminded me more of tea really. Very earthy.

T- Complex and then some. Hops are quite prominent, but not assertive or dominant. Almost seems like a Belgian HopSlam due to the honey. Has a definite medicinal tinge to it. I've heard the term mustiness used to describe it a lot, but I feel like I need to describe it better. It has a ton of flavors that aren't sharp or fresh. It seems aged, and things seem blended rather than mixed. It enhances the character for me, but subtracts from the flavor. All in all, it balances out.

M- Creamy and medium full. The carbonation helps it to sit well, and is quite illusive. It finishes fairly dry.

D- Quite drinkable, but only when it warms up. I've had this cold, and it's a decision that I've regretted. I don't make a point to drink this at any other temperature than room temp.

It's a very unique beer, and there's not a lot like it, and while I appreciate that, it doesn't blow me away. I feel like it's both overrated and under-appreciated. A good beer and must try but nowhere near the top of my charts.

 1,360 characters

Photo of RedSpecial1
4.94/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy amber with a thick billowy head that lingers. The nose smells of clean farm yard scents and nice earthy notes. The flavor has a slight farm funk, but it blends smoothly into the overall dryness, and slight grain flavor, of the beer. The mouthfeel is fairly dry, but refreshing. This is quite a drinkable beer, if it were a bit cheaper.

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Photo of Intrinsic
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Orval has the most intense head I've ever seen in a beer. This is likely because I served it too cold, but it persists even after the beer warms up. Its very frothy, almost like an Orange Julius but in beer form. It has a very nice cloudy amber colour.

Right away the smell really sets this beer apart from others. It has strong citrus notes, highlighted with spice and hops that come together in an almost perfect bouquet.

Perfect. Absolutely perfect. This beer is everything that a beer should be in terms of taste. Almost no sweetness at all, the up-front bitter hops assault your taste buds in a very pleasurable way. No flavour out of the myriad different notes overpowers the others. It is perfectly balanced.

This beer is very crisp, clean and dry. In fact, even 30 seconds later my taste buds are still trying to recuperate from the dryness of each sip. My only complaint (and I have a feeling this is my problem) is that it doesn't sit very well in my stomach. If I could drink more than one, and it wasn't so darn expensive, I'd drink nothing but this beer. Orval deserves the "world class" title it has.

 1,117 characters

Photo of bens0n
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours a murky golden brown color. There are tons of swirling brown particles floating around in this, I really like the way all of the unfiltered parts make a web of shapes in the glass when you take sips. There is also a rather extreme amount of foamy off-white head that stays around for a while and leaves spotty lacing on the glass.

On the nose the most prevalent thing to me is the bready and sweet Belgian yeast that has an ever-so-slight circuity hint to it. The yeast I pick out of this smells amazing.

Flavor wise, its very well balanced. There is a mixture of sweetness and bitterness but is mainly dominated by the yeast. There are tons of delicate flavors that are almost indescribable but still present in this beer.

There is a certain dry crispness to this that reminds me of a hefeweizen. This beer is extremely drinkable given the abv and moderately high carbonation level. The aftertaste is very pleasant too, I almost have a hard time *just* sipping on this beer because its so easy to down.

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Photo of baldben
4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

10 month old bottle served in a glass chalice. Poured carefully to leave majority of the sediment in the bottle.

Pours with a thick fluffy off-white head that leaves thick lace down the glass. Head retention is very good, slowly reducing to a thin layer. The beer itself is tawny or copper with some haze.

The scent of this Orval is musty and faintly reminiscent of citrus fruit. I think if you put an orange into a baseball mitt it might have the same aroma.

The taste is as unique as the scent. Some musty and citrus notes. Bitter with dominant hop flavor. The malts become more evident as the beer warms. The after taste is dry, hoppy and lingers long on the tongue.

Complex but easy to drink, I give this beer high marks.

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Photo of pixieskid
3.94/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer created quite the discussion the other day on the forums because of ChugginOil's distaste and dissapointment with his first experience with a Trappist brewed beer.

I said I would revisit this beer, which I was planning on doing that same day anyway and thus, here is an updated review.

First tasted just about a year ago and then revisited on the 4th of March. Honestly, my opinion did not change a whole lot, but I was able to pick up on a few more subtitles and thus a bit higher grade.

Poured into a chalice, it had a nice frothy bright white head, about 2 inches that lasted a while.

Thin body, incredibly crisp and bitey; rabid carbonation.
Mild note of candied sugar up front with a strong earthiness, crisp grassy hop presence with slight undertones of pine and citrus.
Finishes with a clean bitterness and lingering earthiness with a slight tartness;lemon.

Overall, enjoyed it a bit more than the first time I tried it, but not something I am dying to have, even though it is incredibly cheap here in Paris (1.90Euro) about $2.50.

 1,054 characters

Photo of windypete
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured a golden copper with a creamy head & lots of bubbles.

aroma was not as strong as other trappist ales, but there was yeasty & malty notes in there.

taste was yeasty with a piney background, this is a complex beer & needs time on the taste buds to be enjoyed to its full.

overall a very nice beer & at 6.9abv makes it a easy going beer to drink more than a few in a sitting. will buy again in future.


 416 characters

Photo of ChugginOil
3.33/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A- When poured, the bubbly head dominates. It sits lazy atop the brew for over 10 minutes. From the center of the snifter you can see a carbonation tunnel running up to the surface. Wow. Still waiting to drink this and becoming impatient as the relentless head remains. The color of the brew is an opaue golden orange color.

S- The nose is not offering much at first. Some citrus and port scents come through with a bit of honey mixed with some Belgium style yeast.

T- First I taste a glass/metallic taste, followed by a light nothingness, almost flavorless along side the overpowering carbonation and acidity. Overrated so far. A bit of citrus and yeast make this an okay sipper. Not a big fan but its pretty balanced.

M- Very crisp and light with an ample amount of carbonation.

D- If you like watered down Belgium pale ales, this one's for you. You could chug it with a well fat budget.

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

Appearance: This beer pours with a antique orange color and a massive rocky head. There is a steady stream of bubbles supporting the copious head and woderful lacing.

Smell: This beer has a huge smell of yeast and malts. The brew smells of apples and pears, and these aromas leap out of the glass.

Taste: There is a lot going on with this beer. Indeed, Very complex flavors. Lots of malt sweetness and fruit flavors. For example, the beer tastes of grapes, wine, and raisin-bread.

Mouthfeel: Full body and thick.

Drinkability: An awesome beer and I will be buying more.

 573 characters

Photo of godfathermg57
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice.

A: A fizzy copper. Well carbonated with a large head.

S: Funk and yeast. It smells like the far off land of Belgium.

T: Dry and refreshing. It's tart with a slight piney and hoppy taste. It's got a fairly subtle taste to it, nothing overpowering in any one direction.

M: Quite a fizzy mouthfeel, like a saison.

D: Quite drinkable and refreshing. A very fine beer, though its taste is not overpowering.

 429 characters

Photo of zaphodchak
3.6/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip; 1 inch of foamy ecru-white head that just stays and stays, and plenty of fizzing visible in the amber body.

Nose is tart, piney.

Taste follows nose , dry, slighly hoppy (for a Belgian) finish. Faint bitter tart apple. Not too much flavor, mild and subtle.

Mouthfeel is coarse, foamy. Hard to actually get a sip of liquid in; it's all foam. It kinda kills the taste; mostly foam and air.

Because it's so non-overpowering, drinkability is pretty good, except that the foam would eventually get hard to deal with.

 535 characters

Photo of UTCengOwl
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this plenty of times and I've even used it to funk up some homebrew. Heck, I even pitched the dregs into my current sour brew. This is one heck of a world class beer. Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

The beer pours hazy orange with a huge white head. This thing definitely comes well carbonated. The dregs themselves are filled with wonderful funky yeast. A good looker.

The nose is funky, with a bright hop character. Barnyard and big. This thing almost smells carbonated and dry, if that makes sense. Complex and layered, a unique nose.

The taste itself is dry and complex. Every bottle I've had has been slightly different and all of them have been good. Funky as all heck at times, but never overpowering. Somewhat hoppy, but never really bitter. Great carbonation, bright. Extremely drinkable and I keep wanting more. This beer is a classic and I'll never turn it down.

 911 characters

Photo of musicforairports
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottled 4/22/10, good until 4/22/15. Reviewed 2/27/11.

Hazy copper in color, with a head that's absolutely enormous and fluffy and lasts the whole way through with some crazy lacing. took more than one pour to get into the glass. Lots of bubbles.

Smells like yeast, dark fruits and some funkiness.

Taste is complex: Some bready yeast, some hay-like funkiness, some bitter hops, and some darker malt flavors going on. None too overpowering, but none weak either. Lots of balance. Finishes bitter. It's flavorful from start to finish, and I find something new every sip. A fun one to drink.

Mouthfeel is light and reasonably fizzy, but the flavors keep it from feeling very watery.

Really a fantastic beer here, and one I could drink a lot of.

 746 characters

Photo of Barleythenred
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark yellow color with a bountiful head

Smell: Vanilla notes with a good floral overtone

Taste: bitter with a yeasty under bite

Mouthfell: fizzy with smooth texture

Drinkability: smooth oiliness with a head the bitters and fills

Also on a side tried to open it with the lighter trick and hit myself the lighter trick and it was so pressurized i hit myself with the cap

 385 characters

Photo of nickd717
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review transcribed from notes dated February 2009.

Great hazy copper color with a really lacy white head.

Strong aroma of Belgian yeast and brett, candi sugar, sweet malt, and a little spice.

Flavor is more of the same with some fruity flavors, very yeasty, with brett very noticeable.

Smooth mouthfeel, with a good crispness and fairly lively carbonation.

Nice trappist ale, if a bit overhyped by some. Refreshing.

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Photo of Luk13
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle. Dark gold pour with very abundant pillowy head. Aroma is strangely tart and funky, red fruits (cherries), some herbal hay-like and brett aromas, lemon rind and so on.. Taste is rather grassy, herbal with some good bitterness with a yeasty and citrus background. Lively carbonation, full bodied and dry finish gives a distinctive mouthfeel. I didnt like it so much at first but now I'm totally addicted. If there was one beer I'd drink on a daily basis, that would be it.

 478 characters

Photo of BeardedRiker
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First of all, a warning: TAKE IT EASY WHEN POURING THIS BEER! The Orval Trappist Ale is one of those Belgians that produces a massive head if you don't pour it carefully. Pour slowly so you don't end up filling up the bottle opening and then having it come out in waves, thus creating an overly massive head.

That being said, the head on this is simply beautiful. It's so frothy that it is almost a creme. It fizzles away oh-so-slowly and keeps its form. The head is almost like an appetizer to the beer! The beer is a copper-orange color that has a steady but minimal amount of bubbles rising from the bottom. I have this Orval in my glass goblet.

I can smell the beer from where I am sitting. It smells as a Belgian ought to smell: fruity, sweet, and just a whiff of alcohol. Wow! This is an interesting beer. It reminds me a bit of Brooklyn's Local #1.

There is a lot of orange citrus flavor and the bubbly carbonation excites the tongue. Some peppery hoppiness is evident too. This is an extremely dry Belgian. It's smooth but probably the driest Belgian I've had. I don't taste any of the alcohol which isn't bad or good. Dry, orangey, sour, and peppery.

That sums up this interesting brew. Good stuff.

 1,215 characters

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes made on 2/11/11.

Holy head, Batman! Even with a ridiculously slow pour into a huge snifter, the fluffy, bubbly, light beige head reaches five fingers high. This buoyantly rests above a beautiful mahogany-amber-gold beer. Very speedy carbonation rushes from the bottom of the glass. Gobs of bubbly lace is left on the glass.

Tart, tart fruits are the name of the game in the smell. Really tart green apple, pear, lemon, lime, and sour cherries combine with an earthy funk to create an original, wild odor. Not in a bad way, sweet animal urine blends into the mix. The smell is also very spicy with notes of clove and pepper. This is a hugely unique smell and I love it.

Wow, the taste is a lot different from the smell. Instead of tart fruits dominating, the earthy-spice-funk grabs the headline. I do get some of the fruity tartness on the sides of my palate, but on the broad of my tongue is nothing but soil, spice, a bit of a phenolic flavor, and tangy funk. This is mostly from the yeast I would guess. AS it warms, the tart fruits do pop a lot more. Yeah, this changed a bunch as it warmed. The finish is deliciously dry and earthy.

Orval has a light to medium body, but the carbonation makes is seem much fuller. It is sparkly and effervescent on my palate for most of the sip with a lingering, bone-dry finish. Each quaff leaves me craving more.

Whenever I need a funky, tart Belgian fix in the future, this is where I will go. It is so enjoyably challenging to my palate and brain. I find this to be greatly drinkable and I would drink it so much more if the price tag wasn't so high. But, I expect to pay for quality, so I am not complaining.

 1,679 characters

Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
4.63/5  rDev +10%
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.

 672 characters

Photo of jayhawk73
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orange color w/ a perfect 2 finger off-white head. This beer has a ton of carbonation! The smell is very interesting- citrus, fruit, and hops all make their presence known. The taste is an acquired taste, but I love it. It's very unique. A lot of hops, some citrus, spice and a slight hint of alcohol. Very dry finish, and a dry beer in general. Mouthfeel is good. You can feel the carbonation in your mouth, but it's not bothersome. Aftertaste lingers for a while as well. I probably wouldn't drink more than one of these at a time, but it's pretty easy to drink. Definitely a great beer, and one I will continue to buy from time to time. Not for everyone, but that's more for me...

 692 characters

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 4.21 out of 5 with 5,428 ratings
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