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

5,398 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: 5,398 |  Reviews: 2,347
Photo of heebes
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle

Pours a hazy golden amber with a massive white foamy head. The nose is sweet light fruits, bready malt, faint hops. Taste is familiar to a pale ale; a very grainy taste of wheat, well rounded malt backbone. A stand out for the style. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth. Great tasting and ease of drinkability being high makes this a well made beer. Cheers!

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Photo of mfreire212
3.06/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I saw just a few of these unique bottles at the local Total Wine and decided to plunk down the six bucks to finally try one (I have been tempted in the past, but struggled to justify that much cash for approximately twelve ounces of an unknown quantity). What the hell, it is the holiday season, right?

I poured the "trappist ale" into an Ommegang chalice and immediately noticed a nice sized, pillowy head, covering the burnt orange beverage below (a very respectable start).

From there, everything else was just... average. I am not sure if my inflated hopes for this beer contributed to the let down, or perhaps the price for a single bottle left me wanting a bit more.

The aroma and taste were slighty tart and the oveall taste was pretty dry. I picked up mainly lemony notes. The BPA style is different (more subdued) then "our" pale ales, so I was prepared for a less intense experience, but still...

The mouthfeel was very dry and the aftertaste was acidic, and thin. The overall drinkability was average, for lack of a better term. If you gave me another one, then fine....I would drink it (I actually tried and prefer the Ommegang BPA to this one).

But, for the price and the hype, I was a bit disappointed and I am now indifferent to this offering.

Maybe I just got an "old" bottle...either way, I can't see buying this one again.

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Photo of argock
3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 11.2oz svelte brown bottle into a Chimay goblet. Bottled on 4/22/10 on bottle neck label. Purchased at WIne Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $4.99.

A: Slightly murky amber with big-bubbled white 2-finger head even with a slow pour with good foamy retention and a coating of lace down the glass. Exquisite.

S: Strong aromas of phenolic medicine, bandaid and mustiness are up front, but more herbal, lemongras hoppiness and ever so subtle pale malt sweetness holds this aroma together with wonderful complexity.

T: The tartness is abrupt and unique and works pretty well, but the phenolic medicine component is over the top to my buds. There is a strong lemon citrus, herbal aspect that is slightly puckering along with the dryness of the tart, wild Brett flavors. I usually am pretty turned off by Brett character, but in this one-of-a-kind brew, it works pretty well with the lemongrass and pale malt crispness that is most apparent in the finish/aftertaste. If the phenols were toned down somehow, I would really dig this brew a lot more.

M: Too heavily carbonated to my taste as I like a more layer, thicker feel, but I think that's the brewers' point to some degree to try to work well with the dryness. It give is a saison-like crisp feel in the finish.

D: A truly unique beer that I'm glad I tried but probably won't pick up too often as I like a bit more sweetness and a more slick, coating feel to Belgian Pale Ales (more akin to Duvel).

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

bought at LCBO
bowling pin shaped bottle.

poured in a chalice.
all head. fluffy crackling.pure joy.
i dont want to drink this. i just want to look at it. it looks way too pretty to touch.
under the head is hazy honey.

it has a strong and pleasing aroma. Definite yeast present with alot of spice.
minty hops.
banana bread malt.
so complex and tantalazing.

so well made. this yeast does magic inside the bottle. dry crisp finish that leads to the next sip almost immediately.

finding a slightly oily mouthfeel followed by more spicy herbal flavor long after each sip.

heaven in a glass.

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Photo of gopens44
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Wonderful ginourmous frothy super fun-time head sitting atop the murky ice tea colored beer.

S - A touch spicy with plenty of fruit smell. Pear was probably the most dominant fruit presence, followed by a touch of banana.

T - The pear presence makes an appearance here, as well as the spicy undertones. A little malty, but not enough to chase away the pleasant fruitiness. A touch of bitterness balances this beer very nicely.

M - Similar to an effervescent white wine on the tongue. Very nice with little to no aftertaste.

I thoroughly enjoyed this beverage. IF I ever see it, I'll buy it without question.

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

A: Huge frothy head as tall as the liquid. Apricot color. Cloudy.
S: Quite a complex nose. Citrus. Birch juice. Refreshing spices. Apples. Pine. Brett funk.
T: Starts off slightly tart, with fruit flavors like apples, peaches . Mid-palate introduces some candy sweetness. Some astringency from husk in aftertaste. Brett funkiness/citrusy flavor makes an appearance as well, balancing the sweetness from sugar and grains.
M: High carbonation, which contributes a silky texture. Light mouthfeel but not watery. Some acidity. Fairly dry.
O: Rarely is a beer both complex and refreshing. When it does, you know you have found something special.

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Photo of kjc51478
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in a traditional Belgian goblet, the beer pours to a nice golden brown-yellow color with a rather dense head. What sold me immediately about this beer was the aroma. Wow! Waves of citrus, spices, and wheaty hoppiness fill your nose, and you know at that point this is going to be a good beer. The taste is nice and complex with lemon citrus and wheat hay flavor on the front end and nice clean hop bite to finish.

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Photo of uno99
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this a few times, but only in Belgium. We don't see this too often in Ontario so naturally I snapped up a few once they hit the shelves. Bottled 02/09/2010

A: huge head atop an apricot colored beer. the head density is very light, the body of which is huge bubbles. leaves some nice lace once things settle down a bit.

S: Quite citrusy, and nice hop presence. the yeast is very distinct. slightly funky. Smells almost like a Lambic!

T: I love how balanced this is and... complex. every time you raise the glass its a new taste. Brett character is there, but also light fruits, citrus hops, etc.

M: This is where Orval dips below an A+ for me. Very thin, carbonation seems harsh,. a sort of seltzer water feeling in the mouth.

D: This is a complex beer when you want a complex beer, but if you just want a good glass of beer to keep you company while watching TV or playing a game, then this fits the bill as well. A very drinkable strong ale from those crazy Belgians.

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

330mL singleton poured into a chalice

My beer guy at Argonaut has been recommending this to me for a while, it's also discussed regularly in the revered halls of the Beer Advocate forums, so I finally got around to picking this bad-boy up in stead of The Dissidant I went in for (as apparently their shipment is delayed!). I digress ...

Bottled on 5/19/2010, best by 5/19/2015

L: Apricot-hay colored, but the more dramatic portion of the look is the absurd amount of head. On first pour the head is at least 5-times as tall as the beer. My cup overfloweth, but damn if it doesn't look good.

S: Sweet and sour. Starts strong with a big front of brett-induced sour, transitions smoothly into a fading lingering sweetness that tails off into nothingness.

T: Brett character is not nearly as pronounced as in the nose, and it's in the back, not the front. Mostly this beer is a subdued dry sweetness. Really quite good, if entirely unexpected from the nose. Smooth into a sweet, then dry middle, then the brett kicks in to compliment with a subtle sourness in the finish. Based on the nose, and on American brews using brett, I expected this to be far more brett-heavy, but in fact the brett is really more an embellishment than the centerpiece.

F: Smoooth, and wicked dry. Really quite spectacular.

D: Pretty phenomenal. Seriously.

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Photo of MattyV
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel Tulip. Deep golden/amber in colour, with a huge rocky white head that lasts forever and leaves big chunks behind on the sides of the glass.

The nose is amazing and very complex. It's very light and fruity with hints of citrus, mixed berries, apple, and sugary sweetness, as well as some spiciness.

The taste is, wow, much more hop-centric than expected. While I wouldn't necessarily call this a bitter beer by any stretch, it has alot more hop character than most other Belgian pales I've tried to date. The light sweet fruitiness (apple, grape, etc.?) is beautifully balanced by a pronounced grassy, floral hoppiness that provides a crisp and dry finish that leaves just a slightest apple/bubblegum taste coating the mouth, yearning for more.

Medium to light bodied, vigorous carbonation, maybe slightly overcarbonated, but to be expected for the style.

Hides its ABV very well, would gladly session a few of these on any evening, until of course I get knocked off my chair due to the 6.9% ABV. Many nice balanced complex flavours and a nice hoppy character and smooth finish.

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Photo of stearns16
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Amber orange with massive white head that declines rather quick. This beer seemed like it could not wait to get out of the brown bowling pin-like bottle

S - Lemon and flowers ... very clean scent

T - Goes down smooth and easy. Taste lemon and even hint of tart apple, which makes me think of cider. Dry finish.

D - A throughly enjoy Belgian ale

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Photo of ztaylor1
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First belgian I've ever had. Don't know what to expect.

Appearance-cloudy golden brown color with a massive tan head.

Smell- light malts and almost a champaigne fragrance.

Taste- sweet candylike malt into a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel- very carbonated. Again, champaignelike.

Drink- not my cup of tea, but a solid beer.

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

A ~7 month old bottle poured into a goblet. This brew appears a lightly hazy copper color with a monstrous amount of slightly yellowish off-white head that is 4+ fingers thick and composed of large bubbles. The cap slowly fades back to a finger's worth of thick froth leaving an abundant amount of lace clinging to the glass. Carbonation endlessly erupts out of this brew from some etching on the bottom of the glass supporting the head.

The aroma of this brew is seriously all over the place. Right when the cap was removed, it smelled of fruity hops and light amounts of citrus hops. As it gets poured, it opens up in the glass and starts to showcase sour indications that are reminiscent of lacto and some very light brett'd character fills the back of the nose. A light indication of plastic is noted. Throughout the middle are lemony scents present as well as some other light fruitiness like pear, orange and more lemon. My overall feeling of this brew is that it smells somewhat medicinal and like a solvent type of house cleaner.

The taste of this brew upfront is lightly fruity with a taste somewhat similar to apple and pear skins. Through the body are the sour indications of lacto and brett notes that are drying. It has a light funk quality about it that suggests barnyard without actually going there. It is earthy and somewhat herbal without going right into the typical wet leather brett character. It finishes mostly dry with a long lingering bitter herbal hoppiness mixed with notes of plastic. There is significantly more bitter herbal hop character in the finish of this brew that I would have ever guessed based on the smell and initial taste.

This is a light bodied brew with a bursting amount of carbonation that is both visual and prickly on the tongue. It gets more enjoyable as it sits and is swirled calming the carbonation level down to an acceptable level. I dont have all that much experience with drinking this brew a lot, but I could forsee this brew being something that could be aged and really develop into something completely different from this relatively "young" offering. With a best by year of 2015, I wouldn't mind securing a few more bottles of this and start trying to push that best by dating to see what older bottles are like. Throughout the entire experience, I never once felt like this was a brew that was close to 7% abv. Well done.

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Photo of IllNate
4.79/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Murky brown-orange with a mountain of foaming off-white head.

S - Wonderful. Remisent of some white wines. Floral. Definite spice aroma.

T - Sensory overload. Spicey and definite wine characteristic. Lemon/citrus tones. Bitterness adds a nice kick. Extremely dry.

M - Carbonated. Bitterness is not overdone, and a surprisingly large warming sensation for a 6.2% beer.

D - Drinkable, but the style doesn't lend itself to endless pints.

I was hoping it wouldn't be over hyped and it's not. A very enjoyable beer.

Dated 28/04/2010. Served at 11c.

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Photo of scottakelly
4.64/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy gold with a pillowy white head. There is nice lacing throughout the glass. Aroma is of spicy hops, citrus, and leather, and begs for you to take a sip. Flavor follows the aroma, with spicy hop flavors and a backgorund of graininess. This is a very dry and hoppy beer. The dryness makes this beer a standout, and also makes it very drinkable for 6.9% abv. Had it back to back with Goose Island Matilda, which supposedly is an homage to Orval. Matilda might be a little more complex, and is definately not as dry and hoppy. I give a slight edge to Orval.

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Photo of jneiswender
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a bottle into a tasting glass. Served cool.

A-raspberry blonde body and a very, very thick white head

S-berry and horse blanket smell...roasted chestnut?

T-berry, fruit stone, celery

M-dry, light-medium and very highly carbonated.

D-okay at best. Unique for sure. Probably a good food pairing beer but not one I might go to first.

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Photo of mrnobody
3.31/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

330 ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a cloudy orange/amber with a massive 4 finger fluffy offwhite head; insane retention. Looks like an ice cream float!

S: Smells floral, yeasty. White wine aromas.

T: Tastes of sour apples, hops. Very dry and crisp. However, there is something vaguely medicinal in the finish that's offputting.

M: Has a light-medium body with lively carbonation.

D: If not for the unpleasant finish, the drinkability would be pretty good.

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Photo of punkrkr27
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 4-1-05. Pours a nice amber color with a huge pillowy off-white head. Complex and strong aroma of wild flowers, banana, orange and coriander. Initial flavor is grassy and floral. Just a tiny hint of sweetness before a huge hop bitterness finishes it off. Very dry, almost champagne-like mouth feel.

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Photo of confer
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was our selection from our BOTM club.
A- Orange/brown. This beer is alive out of the bottle. You have to take a few pours in between letting the head settle. The head sticks around very frothy.
S- A few smells are present. Just out of the bottle when very cold there is a real hoppy smell. As it warms there is a boozy smell and also a sweet fruity smell. Then the barnyard funk smell comes out.
T- Sour funk with a small bitter finish. Not exaclty what I was expecting.
MD- Very creamy feel.This is a sipping beer for me. For the price I don't know if I would buy this beer again, but it had to be tried once.

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Photo of bskrtz
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 ounce bottle served very cold in glass beer challis @ Small Bar in Chicago

A) Pours a beautiful bright straw gold with puffy white head. Appearance is cloudy & thick with suspended carbonation and yeasties

S) Waft of powerful floral & herbal scent. Lemon-orange citrus and strong alcohol.

T) I was surprised by pine-bitter hops -- the floral-herbal dominates the sweet caramel I expected from this Trappist Belgian classic.

M) Seemingly perfect carbonation adds to this smooth & complex brew that you know is pacticed, time tested quality

D) An excellent beer but the bitter & funky-pine hops (I believe) will limit it's appeal.

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Photo of bound4er
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Poured into my Duval glass. Huge white pillowy head sits atop a hazy dark amber liquid. The puffy head slowly recedes but never disappears.

S. Fruity, ester-like Belgian yeast aromas dominate. Very inviting. As it warms a bit, the fruitiness really shows along with baking spice.

T. Some of the nice fruitiness on the nose is lost in the taste. Bready malt flavors take center stage. Finishes clean.

M. Prickly carbonation with a lively mouthfeel.

D. This is a highly quaffable beer that falls short due to the taste being on the simple side. Glad to have tried this but not something I will buy on a regular basis.

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

First ever Ba review

Enjoyed in an Orval Chalice

Full thick head that quickly diminished to a thin,solid head that lasted until the last sip. Cloudy dark orange color. Faint citrus aroma. Taste was crisp, dry with no aftertaste what so ever. Not as hoppy as I had read it would be. Very refreshing taste. I enjoyed this beer with some Cotswold cheese. Match made in heaven.

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Photo of WhiteOak
3.24/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Hazy copper color with a big, expansive, rocky, lacy head.

S- An alluring, seductive aroma of juicy fruit gum, tropicals, sweet fruits, banana.

T- Nice malt, but the tart bitterness dominates. A touch flat in flavor - a let-down compared to the lovely aroma. Sour grassy finish.

M, D- Medium/light in feel, the drinkability is good if you enjoy your brews with this degree of tartness. Probably best with a careful food pairing.

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Photo of kinged8th
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was craving a Belgium and picked up this one. Nice orange color with a thick head. Smells wonderful and tastes very good. Its more fruity than spicey and the alcohol is very well hiding compared to some other Belgiums Ive had. I could drink several of these at one time. A little pricey though.

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Photo of CHickman
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy dark orange in color with a creamy 2 finger off white head that faded slowly and left a nice creamy layer on top; good foamy lacing that slides down the glass fast.

Smells of yeast (strong yeast odor), sweet malt, coriander, hay, dark sweet fruits and light spices like pepper. Pretty mellow nose overall, but still quite nice.

Tastes of sweet malt, yeast, coriander, orange peel, hay, dark fruits like plum, butter, light spices like pepper, cinnamon and toasted grains. Complicated and funky, this is extremely tasty with just a hint of spices.

Very smooth and easy to drink, the mouthfeel is creamy and slick with little to no carbonation, a medium to heavy body.

Very good beer that was tasty and enjoyable, it went down very easy on it's own and complimented my meal as well; I will seek out again.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,398 ratings.
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