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

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2,290 Reviews
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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Reviews: 2,290 | Ratings: 5,242
Photo of siradmiralnelson
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into chalice.

A- Very carbonated beer. Pours a light/pale amber color. Massive head.

S- A sour, perfumy, spicy aroma. Somewhat of a musty smell, the "barn smell".

T- Dry slightly bitter flavor. The sourness comes out the more I drink.

M- Lots of carbonation. Light and creamy mouthfeel.

D. All in all not one of my favorit Belgians. Although it did tend to grow on me towards the end. This is my first tasting, but not my last.

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Photo of 911CROFT
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle into the appropriate Orval branded chalice. Paid £2.49 for a single.
Bottled: 18/08/15

Pours a hazy, but translucent, brassy-copper coloured body with only a few solitary microscopic carbonation bubbles visible. A two-finger in height, thick, creamy, off-white head with excellent retention, slowly sinks to a dense cap, leaving solid bands of sticky lace.

The complex nose is led initially by delicate fruity and spicy esters. Banana, lemon, green apple and coriander are noticeable above a sweet, crisp and bready pale malt background. After warming, tart and funky Brett characteristics become much more prominent, evolving towards a wilder profile and relegating both fruit and malt to supporting roles. Towards the back end, floral hops provide a modest but perceptible bitterness, with grassy, herbal and musty profiles also noticeable but to a lesser extent. Taste roughly follows suit, leading briefly with hints of sweet, grainy pale malts, lemony citrus, apple, white grape, cherry and stone fruits, quickly transitioning towards tarter and funkier profiles. Apple cider vinegar, wet hay and hints of medicinal phenolic spices comprise the majority of the mid palate, before hop bitterness begins to build. In the mouth a light body and abundance of lively, expansive carbonation give a smooth and full feel. Towards the back end, assertive floral, grassy and spicy hops provide a lengthy bitter finish, drying the palate with mild astringency.

Overall this is an excellent beer. Infinitely complex and undoubtedly unique, it’s a classic for good reason. Cellared for 14 months, the flavours imparted by brettanomyces in this bottle were funkier and tarter than I honestly prefer. To my taste it is best drunk reasonably fresh; the flavours are sweeter, brighter and less musty, but each to their own. I’ll certainly look to re-review next time I am able to pick up a fresh bottle.

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Photo of FloridaDrinker
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy orange with a robust head. Smell of citrus fruit, malt and sage.. The taste is intensely bitter, lemon, sage with a slight metallic element in the finish. It is surprisingly refreshing.

Orval is a very unique beer, from the bottle to the flavor - there's nothing quite like it. That said, as finely crafted an ale as it is, it's not for everyone. It's my least favorite of the trappist ales.

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Photo of vtfan77
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark copper with a huge rocky head. Seriously, that head is enormous. It takes a while to dissipate and leaves quite a bit of lacing as it goes down.

S- Pleasantly fruity nose. Spicy, too. Clove is quite evident, along with some alcohol and perhaps a touch of barnyard-like funkiness.

T- Hmm, interesting. I don't really know how to describe the taste. It's fairly mild. It's kind of sweet at first, but it quickly dries out until there is little to no sweetness on the finish. Yeast contributes to some interesting flavors, although I'm finding it tough to pick anything out. Definite notes of spice, some pepper and clove. Some lemon juice sourness in the middle and a cracker-like maltiness on the finish. It's also relatively bitter.

M- Lots of carbonation, but it suits this beer well. No complaints.

D- For some reason I can't see myself drinking a lot of this. All evidence seems to point to this being a very drinkable beer (medium-light body, good carbonation, dry finish) but I really wouldn't want to drink a ton of it. Also, the ABV is kind of high (my bottle says 6.9%), although not too bad. I might have another, but certainly not more than two.

Well, this was definitely an interesting beer. It's also a bit of an enigma, as I can't seem to pinpoint any definite taste characteristics. I know that Brett is used at some point in the making of this beer, so maybe that's throwing my tastes off. Anyway, it's certainly not bad and actually pretty good, but will be a rare purchase for me in the future. I'll recommend it as a beer to try at least once.

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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 TheSarge
3.69/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've been dying to try this beer for a while. The ABV listed on my bottle is 6.2% vice the 6.9% listed on this website.

I poured Orval into my Chimay chalice, and it is a beautiful looking brew. There are mounds of off white head, with an orangish/copper and murky body.

The aroma is very fruity and faint. It is somewhat pear like.

The taste is a bit on the sour side, and finishes bitter like slight grapefruit. As it warms up, the hops start to shine through the yeasty characteristics a bit more.

The mouth feel is full with carbonation, and has a slight refreshing edge to the drinkability. As the beer warms up a bit, it is actually quite smooth.

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Photo of JaimeLondon
3.69/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Belgian trappist ale of a dark orange color and a great whitey and creamy foam.
Smell and taste are characterized by the yeasty tones, really nice.
Aroma so becomes spicy, possible to feel a bit of black pepper.
The highlights on the taste are the malty tones, a bit disappointing.
Mouthfeel is interesting, somewhat light and efervescent.

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Photo of sabrills70
3.69/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The famous orval bottle with a bottled on date of 6/05 and a best by date of 6/10. Pours a slighly hazy medium amber with a good 2 finger head, OK longevity and OK lace. Earthy and grassy citrus smells with slight caramel and raisin. Very earthy and grassy taste mixed with a decent amount of hop flavor and bitterness - although its an odd flavor, not off, but odd. It is different from the other Trappist ales I have tried. It seems a bit harsh. I have one more bottle tucked away that I will have to try in a year or two. Its not a bad flavored beer, I just think this bottle is still too young.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The bowling pin bottle is great, and the freshness date had me good until the Fall of 2007. Colour is a murky mid-range coppery orange, and the foam on this bad boy is a sight to behold, big, thick and chunky, lingering the whole way down the chalice, and leaving behind an impressive amount of lacing. Nose is herbal and citrusy, some earth tones as well. Taste is tart/sour and flowery, with a tart lemon rind aftertaste. I'm not a huge fan of this style, but can appreciate it for what it is.

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Photo of julian89
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into Belgian goblet.
Appearance: Beautiful golden amber, great flow, 1/4" head with no lacing.
Smell: Light malt sweetness, strong pear smell with weak citrus notes. Maybe a little white grape as well.
Mouthfeel: Quite frothy and very light. I was expecting a thicker viscosity.
Taste: Pretty good, not the best Trappist as of yet. Yeasty flavor, citrus, pear, grape, and light alcohol.
Overall: Decent light Belgium. The carbonation takes away from the taste and feel.

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Photo of JayTheFinn
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm a novice when it comes to Belgians, so I'll keep this short...

I liked it to a point. It's well done, just not my style.

A-Orangy and hazy body with a powerful head.
S-Smells like it'll be at least slightly sweet but...
T-Very dry with an assertive flavor of...god knows what. I'm really struggling to describe this one, which makes it all the more intriguing.
M-Lays fully on the tongue.
D-Drinkable yes, but as I mentioned, it's not for me. I'd never turn one away, but I'd probably try something different if I had the choice.

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Photo of GbVDave
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Pours a hazy dark amber. Amazing head. The three finger head receded from the sides of the glass long before the center. What I was left with was a foam "volcano" complete with sloped mountainsides and a crater in the center. Eventually the volcano also receded and left me with looked like a gigantic Cheerio in the center of the glass. Very cool! Active carbonation and massive lacing.

S: I detected aromas of Brett, spice, wet dirt, and hops.

T: Take everything from above and add in a unique fruit tartness. As it warms, a thin maltiness emerges. Unfortunately the hop flavors are rather subdued. Interesting tang to the finish.

M: Thin and acidic. True to the style, I guess, but I've had BPA's that have had a much fuller mouthfeel than this.

D: Drinkability is decent. To me, this is a beer that is crying out for more hops. The flavors and aromas are pleasant enough, but it's just missing something.

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Photo of ellman
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smell: Defiantly a Belgian beer it had a fruity musty smell with hint of the alcohol present.

Appearance: Medium orange brew with a long lasting full whit head.

Taste: Quite complex but I would expect no less. Malty but on the dry side. Also slightly sour

Of the Trappist I have tried this is not high on the list but not bad at all.

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Photo of hefevice
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a tough one. After all of the glowing reviews I have read, I found the reality somewhat disappointing. Looks absolutely fantastic, glowing deep dark gold with a massive head, good retention, lacing, etc. Also smells promising, classic flowery, funky, dare I say "horse-blanket" aromas. Taste...well...the first disappointment. Dry then bitter, overwhelming anything else that might be present. I also found the palate a little watery, although there was plenty of carbonation, it was course rather than fine like some of the other Belgians I have enjoyed. Sorry, but while it is a good beer, I think it is unbalanced and over-rated.

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Photo of belgbeerdrinker
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: nice, hazy orange-reddish color, with thick head that settles to very respectable finger-thickness
s: nice sweet malty aroma with hints of raisins
t: sweet malty start with a bitter (citrus) finish that has an interesting linger on the palate rotating between chewy malts and slight bitterness
m: creamy body quickly gives way to crisp carbonation, rather smooth, but a little too bitter. like a journey of thick creaminess to crisp, light feel..
d: aside from somewhat strong bitterness at the end, this is a fine ale that i'd gladly try again.

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Photo of brdc
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting. This one was bought in Minnesotta, and it has the exact same manufacturing date of the previous review, presumably bought in California. I did not know their production was this big.
Anyway, beautiful murky reddish-brown beer with a foamy white head.
Smell is more delicate than I expected, with hops and malts, sugar and molasses.
Heavy mouthfeel, and a surprising taste for a trappist beer: it has the usual heavy malts, warming alcohol, but also has a bitter, cleansing hoppy finish. There are a lot more hops here than Chimay, Rochefort, Westmalle or Achel.
Not my favorite trappist, but still an interesting brew.

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Photo of TheDM
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured an extremely invigorated head of creamy white bubbles and a cloudy light orange body with carbonation rising from the bottom of my mug. It has a mild malty aroma and a flavor that is slightly fizzy with notes of spice and hops. It is very dry in its finish and has no lingering aftertaste. All in all, it is a very nice brew.

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Photo of rhinos00
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Viggo for sending this to me in the Gentlemen's Club BIF. Bottled on 09/25/2007. Poured from a 330 mL bottle into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a clear, copper/amber color. Produced a massive three fingers width of white, foamy head. Clung to the sides of the glass throughout consumption. Tremendous lacing.

S- Very unique. Has a floral, light citrus aroma going on with tons of earthy funk beneath. Really hard to put a finger on it. The funk underneath is a combination of earth, horse blanket and leather. There is a mild sweetness to boot.

T- Upfront a mild malt sweetness hits the palate followed by earthy tones. The funk is not as forward as the aroma led to believe. In fact, it was quite weird. Almost gave the beer a taste of flat spritzer along with a bit of grassy hay.

M- Well carbonated with a light to medium body. Mouth is left rather dry.

D- I appreciated the uniqueness of this beer, but I couldn't get over how similar it was to old, flat seltzer water.

Overall, will have to try this one fresh as I did not care for this too much.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle dated 3/27/2014 (BB 2019), 1.5 years:
Pours a little dirty golden, translucent to hazy, with billowing pillow-like head that is slow to recede. The head rolled slowly, but continued to build a couple seconds after I stopped pouring. Lacing is overall fairly decent in volume, but spotty and soapy.

Nose is mildly tart and slightly yeasty. I actually think it smells a slight bit like a grapefruit soda, one that isn't all sugared up. Maybe I can also see it being lightly wine-like. Some herbal notes come through with warmth, and the yeast scent peaks at me here and there, but never comes through very strong. A warm beer opens some flower-like scents.

Feel actually comes into play with strong carbonation - biting into my tongue just a bit. I do this first because the beer is so carbonated it actually affects the taste, I think. It takes a good 15 minutes in the glass to subside.

Taste starts out almost a little lemon-herb in nature behind the prickly carbonation. Even when the carbonation subsides a bit, there is still a peppery spice bite from somewhere. Warmth also opens up a little bit of a more fleshy fruit note, but one that is muted by the earthy notes that pervade the beer.

I have had this beer before and recall not being a big fan. I've gained a little more appreciation for it after analyzing it, but it still just doesn't quite do it for me.

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Photo of quirkzoo
3.67/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 29/4/09

Pours a nice rich mahogany with a ton of off white head that sticks all over the glass. Nose is slightly tart up front, with some fresh green apple followed with a funky woodsiness (I imagine a mushroom growing on a slightly rotted out log). I get just a little bit of a flowery soft scent, like lavender. The taste was good but I marked it lower than the nose because I am getting a harsh/flat bitterness like aspirin left to dissolve in the mouth. The mouthfeel was also very, very thin, combined with the very active and prickly carbonation, this felt more like a soda which really detracted from the taste. As I let it warm up the mouthfeel is improving and I am able to taste more balance but it is still not quite there for me. This one might just have a bit too much age on it (~3 years) and the brett has thrown it out of balance, I would like to try a fresher bottle to compare

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Photo of DaveBar
3.67/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at the LCBO for $3.30 for a 330ml bottle. Served at 8deg C in a tulip. Bottled on date of 22/8/13 so 1.5yrs old before I pulled it from the cellar.

A- Opens well and pours a ton of head. Watch out as if not careful it will overflow any glass. Rather dark gold almost brown. The head stays forever.

S- Oodles of yeast and hops here. Efflorescent

T- Brett yeast hits you in the face on the first sip. A bit sour. Low on the hops. Not what I was expecting after all the hoopla on this beer. No heat at all

M- Super carbonated. Dry and tart.

O- Not very good beer overall. Overhyped to the max. Will try one last time with a fresh one to see how it goes but don't expect a big change. This beer starts off like a house on fire then wimpers off into the distance.

Food Pairing

This ok beer went well with..... grilled mahi mahi. Nice meaty fish with this beer was fairly good


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Photo of AmishT
3.66/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep hazy gold with a huge head that utterly dominates my wide body snifter. Leaves a wake of lacing behind as it recedes. Great retention, as the head settles into a foamy cap.

S - A good mix of yeast and dark fruit aromas make up the nose. The yeast does not overwhelm the fruit notes. Overall, the aromas could be a bit stronger, but it's pleasant, nonetheless

T&M - The flavor is yeasty with a tart, lemony-like kick. Pretty spicy. Initially, I found the flavor unpleasant, but it became more drinkable as I continued drinking. The mouth is smooth and medium bodies. Flavors endure decently.

D - Once I got past the flavor, I found this Belgian to be fairly drinkable. Maybe a tad heavy and a little on the heavy side, but nothing too overwhelming.

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Photo of kkipple
3.66/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pondering independence, I crack out one of these brews to fill my recently acquired Orval chalice. The goblet is a beaut, and it's been months since I've had one of these... maybe longer. Into the fish-adorned goblet it goes!

... and produces a head so staggering, so wonderful, that it takes me aback. Orval creates a thick, rich meringue-like froth that piles up up up! atop the beer. It foams up, then begins to settle, crackling with annoyance as it subsides. Falling from the edges first, it leaves gobs of sea-foam lace and a mound of thick, dense bubbles. If I were a bit smaller, I believe I could walk across the surface of said head... but enough. The Orval itself is hazy, and a burnt, watery orange. The everlasting head still sits commandingly as I raise the glass for a sniff.

Mmm, yeasty... pungent is the word here. This beer brims over with estery yeast character, sour and fruity, dry and rosy. It's simple, yet hard to define. There is a sweetness about the nose that is certainly not found in the mouth. Whatever this smells like, it's pretty memorable.

The flavor is something of a letdown after such high previous marks. This is a tart, very dry Belgian ale. There's a bitter hop note but it's lost amidst the swirl of yeast and sour flavor... hints of lemons, pale malt, light caramel and pear are all here. It comes together nicely but is simply too attenuated for easy drinking. Orval sports very fine, light carbonation and leaves my mouth feeling quite dry. Interesting and unique to be sure, but not really my thing... I do wonder what the original malt bill for this beer was.

Mouthfeel is thin, with light carbonation (see above) and finishes sour, tart and grainy. Clean in its own way, while a touch of malt sweetness teases the palate after you swallow.

To sum: Orval is decently drinkable, if you like it. This is quite a sophisticated and erudite beer and reminiscent of a dry white wine or champagne. Not a good intro to Belgian beers, but it certainly fills a niche. Try Orval at least once.

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Photo of SudNut
3.66/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was my first Belgian Pale Ale I have had a couple of the strong darks before and think I prefer those. This beer pours to a murky golden brown with a creamy head and some lacing.

The smell is citrus like…. lemon, with a hint of spice.

Taste is sweet then tart liked the smell with a tiny hop bite and a light undertone of alcohol. Fairly well balanced if you like tartness.

Mouth feel is light and creamy with plenty of carbonation.

I gave it a low drinkabilty mark because I don’t like tart beers. Other wise a fairly sound choice. This just doesn't seem to be my favorite Belgian style.

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Photo of TerryW
3.66/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Exceptional head and lace. Needs a big glass to handle the head as the beer is poured. Big, rough, chunky, substantial lace. Cloudy amber colour. Impressive to look at and earns full points on that count.

Interesting smell. Yeasty, earthy, some sharp alcohol notes mixed with banana. Not for anyone shy of how their beer smells. Wet horse/wet wool smell buried in there.

Hits the mouth somewhat sweetly, but finishes up dryly. Winelike in character. Interesting, but a somewhat watery mouthfeel.

This is one to linger over and not put away by the bucket full. Good to imbibe as part of a beer and cheese evening.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,242 ratings.
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