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

Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
Liked This Beer
4.21 w/ 5,412 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,412 |  Reviews: 2,349
4.6/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle into Orval chalice: from notes.
A: Pours a hazy golden body, with a lively amount of carbonation. The white head does not even think about starting to retreat. The lace that is left is in large amounts.
S: The pronounced aroma of a yeasty bubblegum. The medium intensity is a nice, not overpowering aroma, that also lends new aroma characters as the brew warms of subtle spices.
T/M: The front is a smooth, burst of carbonation that fills the mouth with beer. These flavors are all balanced between hops and malts. The body of the mouthfeel is a silky sensation that tends to dry out as it finishes. The overall tastes of spices and pale hoppy characters are very well played.
D: I would say that this is a exceptionally drinkable beer, all around great flavors, spot on for the style and still goes down easy with the amount of ABV. Highly recommended.

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Photo of DaveHS
4.58/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a translucent amber with 2 inches of light tan head. It fades quickly, leaving intermittent soapy lacing.

S-Yeasty,earthy,like wet leaves and hay. A bit sour.

T/M-Orval comes about as close to perfection as you can get. Complex earthy flavors, reminiscent of a rainy day in autumn.The brettanomyces is used with subtlety and elegance, and contributes a slick, lingering finish, in addition to its earthy qualities. Subtle grassy hops add some structure, and dry out some of the funk. The body is light and soft, with delicate carbonation.

D-I come back to this more than any other Trappist ale.

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

Poured into a Chimay chalice

A - Pours a hazy copper with a 2-inch pillowy off-white head. Amazing retention and lacing.

S - Lemon zest, sweet malt and a bit of sour "funk" from the Brett.

T - Notes of green apple, lemon and pear with a solid hop bitterness in the finish, all wrapped up in more "funk". There's so much going on in this, the Brett adds such complexity.

M - Medium bodied with a crisp, sharp carbonation. Incredibly dry finish, the palate is scrubbed clean after every sip.

D - Quite drinkable, but the complexity really makes this a sipper.

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Photo of xrdsci
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle.

A: Cloudy amber with a thick, foamy head. Nice lacing.

S: Floral, apples, hops. Some phenolic character.

T: A little sour apple, a bit of funk. Strong hops presence up front that sticks with you. Long, dry finish.

M: Light bodied, strong carbonation.

D: Very drinkable. Alcohol is well-hidden.

This one was a little surprising. Hoppier than I thought it'd be.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Signature 12. oz bottle poured into a snifter glass. Bottled 4/22/2010. This is my first experience with this beer, so I'm not sure what to expect.

Appearance: Ridiculous, big head on first pour. Takes a while for it to settle down and for me to pour the entire bottle. Autumn bronw in color and rather hazy. No sediment floating around the glass.

Aroma: Citrus zest, green apple tartness, and barnyard funk all come to mind. Also some peach and cherries come through a little. Very aromatic and complex.

Taste: A strong hop presence upfront, some grapefruit and orange notes. Some green apple and funk accompany and counter the bitterness well. Clean fruity finish, very refreshing.

Mouthfeel: Heavy carbonation and light body. Works well with all the crisp flavors.

Drinkability: The ABV never interferes and this drinks really easy. I could definitely have more than a couple of these.

Overall, a really complex and refreshing trappist ale. There is so much going on here, but the assertive hop presense paired with the fruit and funk is great. Highly recommended.

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Photo of megahurts4
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orval Trappist Belgian Ale

Appearance: Hazy honey in color, large head, some lacing.

Smell: Citrus and Wheat.

Taste: Wheat, floral hops, slight citrus and dark fruit.

Mouthfeel: Medium and smooth.

Overall: Very nice! Hoppy and wheaty with fruit subtleties. This was my second meeting with Orval after a few years. My first time, I was more-or-less new to good beer. Now, I can say I am definitely a fan!

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Photo of Snamnoum
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - gorgeous hazy nut brown with FOUR!!! fingers of outrageously thick off white head. Incredible retention and the most sticky lace I have ever seen.

Smell - light hop profile, doughy yeast, pale malt, aggressive phenols

Taste - surprisingly strong hop presence, very IPA-like, sweet malt, champagne esque like tartness, strong bitter finish. Water tasted a bit heavy, a little tinny

Mouthfeel - light/medium bodied, very effervescent, thin feeling

Drinkability - very light and drinkable, one could easily have several of these. I would have liked to have had more of a malt presence and some more yeast as well. I was so excited to try this brew and while excellent I'm still left a little disappointed.

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Photo of vandemonian
3.76/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Orval Trappist Ale has nice yellow-orange colour and an excellent head that lasts. It smells like a wheatbeer to me, with a hint of yeast. This is a very unusual beer and is very spicy. The most prominent flavour is cloves especially in the aftertaste. Like all trappist brews, it feels great in the mouth and is very drinkable.

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

Orval, an all-time classic. It's been a fav of mine for quite a while, but in the constant search for new flavors I've overlooked it a bit recently. I just put a few of these in the cellar to try once a year to see how the brett develops, so I surely need to try one fresh (bottled 04/22/10).

As remembered, an absurd pour. Beautiful caramel color with a nice clarity. Poured carefully into a large wine glass, the head towers above the lip of the glass into a mountainy cone. Excellent retention and lace. Pretty much hits on all marks for appearance. Aroma is balanced, complex and simple all at once. Lightly grassy and hoppy up front with a nice bread and honey maltyness and light peppery notes, all wrapped up in a bit of funk. Taste again is simple, but deep. Nice base of pale malt and a slight sweetness, akin to a good tripel, topped by a grassy hop profile and a nice dry, dusty, peppery finish. The thing that takes this beer to the next level is the mild dose of brett, that slightest funky bite that sneaks up providing an array of oddball flavors. Pretty spectacular. Nice melding of a soft trappist feel and also a hoppy, funky, quirky ale with a prickly texture. A real treat to drink, anytime. I can't wait to see what happens to this beer in a year, or two, or three...

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Photo of penguinjive7
4.53/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour is a light amber with a huge foamy head that dissapates along the sides of the glass but remains in the center for the duration.

The initial smell is that of fruity and floral hops with a hint of Belgian yeast sweet fruit.

As the brew toused the tongue there is a pleasant bite from the hops that is particularly strong for a Belgian ale. This fades quickly to a the tangy flavor of young fruit. There is a bit of barnyard presence in the finish that does not overpower the other flovors, but rather ties them together.

The feel in the mouth is of the sharp carbonation of champaign, which makes for easy drinking.

This is a brew with many levels. It is easy drinking, but you have to take your time and enjoy each sip to appreciate everything that is going on. Another fantastic trappist brew.

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Photo of RickS95
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's a dark amber color, slightly cloudy, sitting under the most amazing head. The head never really goes away. It dissipates slightly around the glass, but not so much in the middle, leaving lacing all over.

Smells like a combination of cherries and champagne. You can almost smell the carbonation.

There's a slight cherry taste. It's almost an earthy taste, but again, champagne is what comes to mind.

It's extremely carbonated and the bite is sharp, almost astrigent-like. While it starts off sweet, there is a bitterness in the finish. Extremely refreshing wiping the palate clean with each sip.

Despite high alcohol and lots of astringent bite, it's actually pretty easy to drink. It's a quality beer and you won't want to stop with just one.

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Photo of chinchill
3.74/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

young (5 month old) bottle served in small glass. {Review revised after tasting on 1 Oct. 2011 -- exactly 1 year later!}

A. clear with an ample creamy head. Head is exceptionally long lasting!

M - effervescent; thin & bubbly but not quite watery; nice dry finish.

S - A complex nose that is yeasty, floral, fruity but a tad musty.

T - markedly sour; hoppy; malty

O - a unique and interesting dry-hopped Trappist ale.

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

11.2oz bottle poured into a St. Bernardus Chalice. Bottle on 05/08/2009 so this is just over a year old.

Opens with a surprisingly loud "psst", and then this pours with a crazy amount of thick, light brown sticky head, over three fingers pillow up over the top of the rim. Color is slightly hazy wheat/amber color that's quite pleasant, slowly huge craters form on the top and within the lacing. Nose is very Belgian, but somewhat unique, it's got that Belgian yeast nose with a bit of tart funkiness from the bret. It's also a bit sweet and sharp.

Very surprising. It's quite tart and sharp with a nice amount of barnyard funk that sticks around. It's got a very interesting mouthfeel, it's a bit thin/watery but the carbonation is so huge that it makes up for it - never had anything quite like this before. Overall it's quite easy drinking but given the funk it's a slow sipper.

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Photo of radioscooter
2.91/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Years ago, I was ushered into the Belgian crowd by the selection at the Sharp Edge here in Pittsburgh, run by a true Belgian Beer cheerleader. At the time, I made the rounds of Trappist selections and wound around them, listening to what the experts said and taking it all in.

I landed upon what is still my favorite style: Strong, Dark and Sweet with a lot of flavor. I still favor a Scotch Ale, Barleywine or Wee heavy above any of the light, bubbly, frothy coriander stuff.

I couldn't remember trying Orval then and I have been going back through the catalogs trying to do my due diligence to the style. I knew it wasn't going to be as strong and musky as the Draak, but I figured it would at least be on a similar par with Chimay, which is still one of my go to drinkable favorites and not a sweet dark.

I think maybe this is an ale that really needs some food to be paired with it. I really didn't enjoy it at all. Out of the bottle it had a massive foam and its carbonation stayed too high for my tastes.

The flavor starts out okay, with light fruit and a zesty tinge, but then some taste that I have yet to hear described accurately that I usually attribute to a "preservative" taste when I experience it in countless American microbrews, but am mystified to find it here.

As it warms it does not get any better. Remember I like sweeter brews. This one is just too lackluster and bland for me to value above a food beverage.

Any of the Chimays just kill it, IMO.

An accessory, not a star.

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

A - Poured a cloudy orange/amber in color. A fairly aggressive pour yielded a monster three finger white foamy head. Good head retention with moderate lacing.

S - This is a seriously aromatic brew! As soon as I cracked open the bottle, my living room was flooded with fruity odors...seems like predominantly pear. Also a very dominant spice aroma to go with the pear. This beer almost smells like a champagne to me.

T & M - Tastes mainly like a ripe pear with a peppery finish. There is an earthy hop presence that seems to peek in and say "Hi", but it is just a ghost and seems to disappear just as quickly as it appeared. There is a strange complexity at work here. Mouthfeel is on the thin side and it finishes pretty crisp...just a bit of that pepper for an aftertaste.

D - This is certainly a fine brew, but the drinkability is hampered by the cost. I'm not one that could quaff this all night even if cost was not a factor, as the spiciness would prohibit it. Certainly worth a try...this is a perfect example of the style.

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Photo of tchenery
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a wine glass. The beer is a nice rich amber-golden color with a nice pillowy, alive head.

It smells almost wine-like with some apple and pear notes.

It is so bubbly right now that it's hard to pick up on much of the flavor of the beer. It's very smooth and almost creamy tasting and still has a bit of the red-wine flavor to it, possibly some tannins.

This would be a great meal beer as I imagine the pairings are probably quite limitless.

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Photo of BeerMasterD
3.25/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled on 05/08/2009, poured into wine glass in 2010.

A- Pours lively amber color with a huge bubbly foam head that hangs around for a while.
S- Spicey and dank funk aromas, Apple and nutmeg, wintergreen.
T- A bit sour, but not bitter or hoppy. A spicey sour taste that im not used too.
M- Crisp and dry, light-medium body.
D- Not highly drinkable.
O- Im not completely sure how i feel about this beer, it was very interesting though and I'd like to explore the style further.

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

From a bottle to a snifter...
Pours a murky yellow-brown, with a bubbly off white head.
Smells of lemon lime, salt and pepper, hint of alcohol and banana.
Tastes of lemon zest, yeast and bread.
Has lots of good carbonation, light-medium, very soft and bubbly, leaves the mouth dry.
World class brew, wish it wasn't so expensive.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours yellow-gold with a nice white head and a good deal of lacing. Initial whiff is earthy funk, hay, green apples, and lemon rind. Slightly hoppy. Taste brings the funk forward really well; nice balance with the hops. Mouthfeel is dry and well carbonated. Very nice and dry finish with a bit of bitterness. Overall, a really fantastic beer.

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Photo of FourQuarters
4.67/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.5 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance - Opaque, tawny, cidery colour with an intense, pillowy white head. Strong carbonation with a steady stream of bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass.

Smell - Prominent tart cider apples, yeasty/bready aromas with a background of spices (peppery notes

Taste -Tart cider apples, citrus, funky sourness on the back of the tongue. Finishes on a note of spice and hop bitterness, bubbling quickly off the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel - light mouthfeel with quick, effervescent but round drying finish

Drinkability - I love this beer and could drink it almost any time.

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Photo of RDHerm
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a gorgeous hazy amber color with golden yellow highlights. Has an exceptionally thick, cream colored head that slowly thins out, but still holds for the duration.

Aroma is fairly faint. Strong notes of yeast, spice, and fruit (predominantly apple, with a slight trace of peach). Slight hints of malt.

Incredibly complex. I felt like every sip I was tasting something different. Initial taste is sweet, then bitter, but then a slightly sweet finish. Notes of yeast, sweet fruit, tart fruit, spice, and hops. Slight taste of bread and malt.

Smooth feel, good carbonation level, but leaves the palate a bit too dry.

Great taste, lighter body, if you don't mind the dry-mouth (and the price), you could drink this all night.

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Photo of RRoeb1123
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tried this beer with one of my friends, who is also my partner in crime in tasting beers.

Appearance: Absolutely beautiful, cloudy amber-yellow, with a very nice head that is almost fluffy, that stays for a LONG time. Leaves wonderful lacing on the glass as you enjoy it too. There is also some nice visible carbonation.

Smell: Heavenly to say the least. There are distinctive aromas that I picked up, which was a very earthy smell, which I really liked. There was also a gentle scent of lemon, spice, and clove, along with apples, and almost a peachy scent. Very very inviting to the nose, and makes you just want to bury your nose in the beer.

Taste: Absolutely great, the scents merely hint what underlies this awesome beer, the flavors come at you in a way that you know they are there, but they don't shout at you. Lemon peel, cloves, apples, and even an earthiness taste, that this yeast imparts is absolutely astonishing. The finish is nice and dry, which makes you long for another sip. As the beer warms, it imparts more of a spiciness, which is very pleasant.

The mouthfeel of this beer is great, because of the carbonation. There is a bit of carbonation, which is perfect because it allows the beer to really hang on your palate, but not allowing it to become too heavy on you.

Drinkability: I find this to be a very enjoyable beer, and I would absolutely drink this again. The complexity within the beer on other tastings may be different, and I'm curious to find what else may be hidden within it.

Verdict: An absolutely heavenly beer (literally!)

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Photo of SuperSpy
4.87/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottled on 22/04/2009 Best before 22/04/2015

Big rocky white head. A cloudy golden color that I can still see through until I stir up the sediment and add it to the glass. The aroma is amazing. Spices, yeast, apple, lemon and a nice floral scent. The flavor has lemon peel with a touch of lemon pith, sweet, spicy while equally tart and bitter. Incredibly complex with various flavors becoming more pronounced as the beer warms. A thoroughly exceptional and enjoyable beer.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A beautiful and massive cream color head that has a rocky texture. It last forever and sits upon a slightly hazy copper color body with visible carbonation.

S: A complex aroma of spices, Belgian yeast, peaches, apples, and lemon notes. For some reason I'm getting a little metallic smell as well.

T: Wow! This beer does not taste like it smells. Initial taste is green apple and finish taste is green apple. Clove can also be picked up making me think of an apple pie. A little Belgian yeast on the palate but overall it's a clean and crisp flavor that is perfectly balanced between sweet and bitter.

M: Light body with lively carbonation and a silky texture. Dry finish.

D: I don't see myself drinking 6 at a time, but if I want to chill and have a Trappist, this would be it.

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Photo of tewaris
4.36/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Orval Trappist Ale
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Belgian Specialty/Pale Ale
6.9% ABV
330 ml bottled April 29, 2009 with a freshness date of April 20, 2014 poured into a Gouden Carolus chalice on September 15, 2010.

Appearance 5/5
Pours slightly hazy, amber-orange colored, with a huge, thick, creamy off-white head that lasted forever. Excellent lacing on the glass. Very inviting.

Aroma 4/5
Fruity and spicy, as expected. The fruit character is of fresh fruit, not dry/dark. Not much funk here though; could be because of the relatively young bottle.

Taste 4/5
Very spicy and fruity with some fruity tartness, and possibly, pepper. Flavorful, yet very light on palate. Another very unique taste that I can't quite place, but is not to my personal liking; hate to say this but it reminds me of detergent at some points. Warmth brings out the hop bitterness at the back of the tongue. Also, the balance of the beer shifts from fruit to spice as the temperature increases. Extremely dry finish; although some remnant maltiness and bitter aftertaste is felt overall.

Mouthfeel 5/5
Light and crisp. Generously carbonated and very refreshing. Initially brewed to compete locally against pilsners, and I can see why.

Drinkability 5/5
If only this one was cheaper!

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 87.5% out of 100 with 5,412 ratings
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