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

Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
Liked This Beer
4.21 w/ 5,411 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: 5,411 |  Reviews: 2,349
Photo of expatsteve
3.96/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Orange/raw honey amber color, with cloudy finish. Big 1 inch head with sticky lacing. Low/medium viscosity.

Aroma: Honey, golden syrup. Tart - lemon zest, basil, kaffir lime leaves, and pepper. Yeasty finish resembles bread dough after a first rise.

Taste: Dried herbal flavor, resembling a bouquet garni - dried sweet basil, thyme, oregano, and sage. Very dry with a mild fruity body - oranges and honey present underneath herbal body. Develops a little butter, while maintaining good balance between dryness and zesty notes. Unique in its flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: Thin, dry, and cleansing. Raspy finish is assertive but remains refreshing.

Drinkability: One of the most unique, complex beers I've had - a little challenging, as I haven't had this before, but certainly compelling. I'll definitely return to this beer

after further experimentation with Belgian brews.

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Photo of zoolzoo
3.96/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottled in May of 2009, oversized wine glass

I know this one changes quite substantially over time given the brett. I have also heard six months to a year is a sweet spot for Orval, and my review is in reflection of that time frame.

A: Hazy, lighter side of an amber color. Large, fluffy/foamy head. I can already detect alot of carbonation - swish this around and the little bubbles just stick to the sides of the glass before slowly falling back down into the liquid. Ok, this is nice to look at, how does it smell?

S: The first thing im looking for is the brett funk, its there, but doesn't overwhelm. It blends nicely with spice, grass, and light fruity esters. Alot to find if you take your time, I think I was smelling this more than I was sipping it. The aroma is pleasing, but subtle.

T/M: Cloves and a little coriander (I usually hate coriander!), light oranges and lemons, some malt comes through though absent from the nose. Wheres the funk? Its there but I had to search for it. I actually wanted this to be a little more sour or tart. Finish was super dry leaving me with little to savor.

To me, Orval's flavor is a bit subdued. I will attribute that somewhat to the copious amount of champagne like carbonation found in this brew, its a bit distracting. On the other hand, Orval is quite elegant in its subtleness. Its easy to drink; I tasted this from chilled to room temperature and it never got boozy or cloying like some of the other Trappists.

This is a positive review of Orval from someone who really isnt a huge fan of Trappists to begin with. Orval is understated and refined. Certainly not something I want all the time, but enjoyable none the less.

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Photo of dnichols
3.96/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My BA buddy rdunham shared a couple of bottles with me. The 330 ml capped bottle was poured into a stemless wine glass.

A: I poured a hazy washed out orange body with a robust white head of about two fingers and dense lacing.

S: It smelled most directly of creamy lightly tasted malts and bready white yeast with a large splash of orange and spices. There was also a touch of grassy aroma that seemed out of place.

T: It began with a blast of creamy and smooth sweet malts with a zing of spices and carbonation that was peppery and refreshing. There were light undertones of sweet oranges. It finished clean and warm with little aftertaste.

M: It was medium to full bodied with lots of carbonation. It finished clean and warm with little aftertaste.

D: It is a bit full bodied and has a high ABV making this brew a poor candidate for a session beer. However, it is a pleasant enough BPA to enjoy with dinner or an occasional treat.

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Photo of redsoxjim
3.96/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Kplummer82
3.96/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of augustgarage
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from its distinctive 330mL bottle into my Trappistes Rochefort goblet. Bottled on July 29th, 2009.

Cloudy butterscotch body with amber highlights and an everlasting, whipped, pearl-tinged head. Heavy, soapy, rocky lacing adorns the sides of the glass.
The aromatics are fruity and hoppy at this relatively young stage of the ale's shelf-life. Wildflowers, grass, hints of melon, kiwi, cherimoya, and even quinoa abound.

One of the most unique flavor profiles, which adds to those ingredients in the nose, a hint of chocolate, pale malt, a subtle very dry yeasty character, and a vague suggestion of toast. The finish brings to mind pear skins, white tea, unleavened bread, and a whisper of tonic water. The over all impression is one of corks, cellars, and caves - a sort of musty sophistication that is difficult for me to convey. The character changes significantly as this ale is laid down, so I may add to this review when I crack open an aged example.

Sufficient carbonation, creamy, yet relatively light-bodied despite what it looks like at first glance.

It took me a long time to learn to appreciate this ale, the first several bottles I had, I assumed were "off" somehow. The dry, slightly bitter, slightly funky, not quite sour flavor was not at all what I expected from a Trappist brewery (as if they were all the same). Considering the integrity and longevity of this product, I think the deficiency was likely with my palate rather than with Orval - but I still can't help but knock some points off the drinkability scale none the less.

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Photo of tempest
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single at Abe's Cold Beer for $4.50, not cheap, but not bad for a Trappist. The label says it was bottled 2/20/08, so this is about a year old. Upon pouring I can tell the Brett has taken over, but at first sip I see that it's also not fully developed. When this beer is fresh, it's a relatively hoppy Belgian, but thanks to the addition of wild brettanomyces it turns into a lambic. After a year, however, the tangy lemon sour aren't strong and rich enough to complete the beer. I feel like the malts and hops should come out a little more, but I'm left with a thin taste of sugar-covered bread.

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Photo of kbwalters
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured cold into a tapered pilsner glass. Bottled on 4/15/13 and consumed on 1/10/15.
Look = 3.75 Lots of carbonation on this one, should’ve been more careful on the pour. 4 fingers of off white head even with a slow pour. Thick and frothy head composed of big bubbles. Lots of streaming bubbles. Clear orange/gold/amber in color.
Aroma = 4.25 Sour, musky horse blanket smell common to Brett bears. Some yeasty notes.
Taste = 3.75 Candied malt sweetness up front, none of the sour comes through in the taste, a hint of tartness. A dry, bitterness in the aftertaste.
Feel = 4.0 Light to medium bodied with medium to high carbonation; thin and crisp, fizzy on the tongue.
Drinkability = 4.0 Pretty easy drinking.
Overall = 3.9375 Somewhat bland brett beer here, but solid all around. The sour smell doesn’t lead to a sour taste, which leaves the taste a little bland.

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Photo of NiceGuyMike
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Second review of a 330 ml bottle. First review it was loaded with sediment. This time I'm using recommended technique. First pour is a perfectly settled half bottle. Second is swirled to pick up sediment.

Decent off white head that disapates quick with a bit of lacing.
Smells of fruity sourness. First half glass: bitter taste, maybe some biscut not much else. Last gulp was a big with which revealed this not to be a sipping brew. Taste included a strong alcohol presents accompanied with some fruitiness.

Second half poured very cloudy orange. Turning out to be a stronger flavored brew. With more of a spicey fruit smell.

Notes: towards the end of the second glass I started eating some tater-tots and some store brought meat balls. This proved to be a good move cause it showed me how well this brew can go with foods. I wouldn't go as far to recommend anything, but the spicey bitterness went well with what I had.

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Photo of FreshHawk
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy light copper orange with a huge frothy, creamy white head. Excellent retention with a good thick lacing left.

S - Complex smell. Good mix of tangy and funky smell. You get a lot of tangy and zesty orange and lemon along with some pear. There is a slight alcohol and winey smell as well. A bit of pepper smell comes out. The Brett funk comes out a lot as well with a bit of horse blanket smell. A good, complex mix of citrus, tangy, sweet, spiced, funky smells.

T - Quite different from the smell. A good amount of medicinal and metallic taste are upfront. There is also a bit of lemony citrus zest along with that. There is a strong funky Brett taste in the background as well. Even fainter is a bit of herbal hops, a bit of pepper, and some white wine like flavors. Interesting and complex, but I didn't find it incredibly enjoyable. I did like it better the more I drank though.

M - Light to medium body with above average carbonation. Fairly creamy but a bit drying at the end.

D - Well the taste was interesting, and I kept wanting to drink more to discover more flavors and get a better handle on the beer. It went down easy and was somewhat refreshing, but the taste wasn't great, and I probably wouldn't drink a number of these in a night.

Notes: Bottled on 06/10/2009. Very interesting beer that is completely different from the other Trappist beers. Definitely had a funky Brett taste, I was just hoping for a bit more fruity taste to go with it. Not a bad beer, but i might get some getting used to. I did start liking it better the more I drank it.

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Photo of Cozzatoad
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle, bottled 29/02/2012. Used to love this beer and previously rated it a 4.6, but it's now been quite a while since i've been drinking a really great one

A- Unattractive, murky dark orange, with some brighter shades if seen through light. Healty, dense 2 fingers white head that shows very good retention while also leaving loads of lacing on the sides of the glass

S- Fresh and sharply bitter herbal/grassy aroma with an earthy/bretty note on the back of things. Some citric hints may also be detected

T- A slight touch of malt sweetness (caramel) is soon overwhelmed by a strong yeasty character, which brings notes of funk along with a bit of spiciness. Nice dose of hop bitterness (though maybe not as bitter as the smell suggested), with strong citric (definitely lemon) and grapefruit notes in evidence. Overall slighty more on the earthy side than the smell suggested

M- Medium to full bodied with quite strong, sharp carbonation. Very lively on the tongue, still decently creamy on the palate thanks to the everlasting head. Very much a raw mouthfeel

O- Has a quite unique, peculiar bittering profile that does not make it an easy drinker, though i would still consider this one as a quite refreshing ale. Overall, a super-yeasty, unique beer that is packed with flavour, though it's been a lot of tries since i last found that amazing complexity and balance that i'm still expecting everytime i'm trying one of these

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Photo of Rilesmiles
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of joekfsu
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle, dated 27/06/2006. Pours a hazy amber with a huge, foamy, off-white head that is mostly lasting. Heavy citrus aroma. Initial flavor is citrus, finishes sour and dry. Light body, dry and thin texture, with soft to medium carbonation. Tasty but I don't know how many of these could be enjoyed in one sitting.

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Photo of InfragilisBrew
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of khargro2
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Viggo
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very cloudy orange/brown, big off white head forms, laces well and the lace refuses to go away. Smell is orange peel, yeast, sweet and sour, spices. Taste is orange, lots of sweet malt, yeast, and a spicy bitter finish. Medium mouthfeel, high rough carbonation, tart sour aftertaste. Good beer although not my favourite trappist, although interesting.

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Photo of tapman
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Unfiltered, large, foamy white head with a brown-orange body. Lacing is decent as well.

Very medicinal. Not quite alcohol, but of something that would contain alcohol, like a cough syrup. Also sweet and slightly malty...its hard to get away from the medicinal smell.

Also medicinal. Though if one concentrates one can find extremely sweet (like brown sugar) malts with a floral aftertaste that is pretty good if you like savory-type beers and foods.

Very crisp, clean, and full. A mouthfeel that is very full of life and opportunity.

While this is a really iteresting beer, I must say that I am disappointed in my own review points. I thought it would be higher, but the last couple times I tried it, it was after I had had a few other brews. My muddled taste buds aside, a very interesting brew that one could re-review with multiple tastings, which makes it worthy of the fame I has.

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Photo of jed
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 33 cl bottle with Orval logo and "Authentic Trappist Product" mark. Suggested serving temperature, glassware, and pouring technique on the back of the bottle. Bottled on date 12/10/2003, best by 12/10/2008. Poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a warm, reddish brown/amber with a huge two finger head. Head is fluffy, clean white that sticks around for quite awhile. As it dissipates, leaves behind a very thick web of lacing that almost completely covers the sides of the glass. Large amount of carbonation at the bottom of the glass.

Smell: Interesting aroma, dominated by sweet herbal aromas, a hint of hops, lemon and even some grass. This beer smells almost like an American IPA at first, with less dominant citrus notes. There's also a sweet citrus aroma, maybe oranges.

Taste: The nose is dominated by strong lemon citrus and bitter hops, which quickly fade to a more bread-like flavor. This beer has the initial "IPA bite," but the aftertaste is much more complex, with sweetness coming from dry apples. Very dry, bitter finish with more lemon and some grain. As the beer warms, the aftertaste includes more lingering sweetness, a hint of banana, and more raw grain that other reviewers have described as "barnyard." But in a good way. No evident alcohol flavors in the finish.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is noticeably thinner than the other Trappist Ales I've tried, and the carbonation is a little too high.

Drinkability: For a Belgian beer, a fairly low alcohol content combined with a dry, clean taste makes this one very drinkable.

Orval Trappist Ale is different from the other Trappist beers I've tried, with a lower alcohol content and a flavor that reminds me of an American pale ale or IPA. Nevertheless, it's damn tasty, very affordable (at least in Paris), and the only Trappist I've had so far that could be a session beer. Not as good as St. Bernadus or Rochefort, but if you haven't already tried it, one to consider.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Super fizzy beer, a little bit too much so. In a short snifter this one poured out two full fingers, about half the glass, with a very careful pour, and actually continued to rise. While it is staggering and impressive, it's somewhat of an impediment to actual consumption.

A little bit of citric fruit, and also floral, but there's an aroma that I can't quite place. Slightly herbal, maybe like aloe, fresh and spring-like. A little more power and it's a-one.

Slightly tart, with a bit of funkiness, carbonation is high. Crisp and refreshing, not overpowering on any count of flavor. Hops are minimal but present, lending a little bit of grassy flavor, along with the lemon from the nose. Finish is extremely dry and tart. Tasty and complex. Hints towards juniper, with a little pine backup.

Unexceptional Trappist ale, not meant really to wow, but a timeless recipe and great for cooking and pairing. Try it with seared pork chops, garlic mashed potatoes and greens.

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Photo of dansushi
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of majorbase2
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a very murky, dark orange color with a very large bubbly white head. Good retention. Leaves a large ring of lacing around the edges. A ton of carbonation.

Aroma is more of a sour. Green apple, pears, and a bit of and funk.

Taste follows the nose. Heavy on pear and some light tartness, followed white white grape and a slightly more subtle green apple.

Mouthfeel is light, crispy and dry. Very high carbonation, which I anticipated from the moment I opened the bottle.

Overall, very disappointed by this one. A good beer, but easily my least favorite Trappist beer. Worth a try if Belgian is your favorite style, but otherwise a bit of a disappointment.

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Photo of evantwomey
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet. Big, foamy head which lingers for a while. Little lacing. Color is reddish-amber, good clarity. Aroma is fruity and funky. The brett comes through very nicely and really sets this beer apart from the other trappist ales. Taste is not quite as good as the aroma. Faint malt taste with a dry and surprisingly bitter finish. Very vinous. Mouthfeel is 'explosive' - when I swish it in my mouth, it instantly turns to foam. This stuff is seriously carbonated. I think the massive carbonation might mute some of the flavors.

Overall this is a fantastic beer and the weirdest of the trappist beers I've had so far. The brettanomyces sets it apart, and it is easily the best Belgian pale ale I've had.

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Photo of callmescraps
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good looking bottle that's for damn sure. Great cap too.

Appearance - A hazy apple cider color. Sort of gold orange with a massive rocky off-white head. Huge iceberg of a head. Great looking. Nice lacing.

Smell - Funky hay. Sweet cherries. A little medicinal spice. Tart apples. A little funky yeast and a hint of booze. Smells just awesome.

Taste - Sweet tart apples up front. Not quite as much spice as I might want. Honestly, kind of thin. It smells so nice but it just doesn't follow up on the potential. A little bread. A hint of the medicinal goodness that I love, but sort of fades away. It's sort of complex, but it just doesn't add up to quite enough.

Mouthfeel - Nice carbonation. Not too thick. Pretty smooth, but no tongue coating goodness.

Drinkability - Pretty solid. It's a nice beer, goes down easy.

This is a good beer, just not lighting my world on fire. I was so excited from the look and the smell, but then it just fell a little flat for me. A little oomph away from being fantastic.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into my Portsmouth tulip. Bottled on 22/04/2010, best before 22/04/2015.

a - Pours a murky yellow amber color with two fingers of fluffy white head and moderate to high carbonation evident. Great retention and lacing.

s - Smells of lemon/citrus, floral notes, yeast, brett, and some alcohol. Some sour fruit as well.

t - Tastes of lemon, citrus, floral hops, smooth malts, and very light brett. No where near as funky as the smell.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Very smooth and creamy, and easy to drink.

d - I thought this was a pretty good pale ale that was very easy to drink. I enjoyed the brett and sour fruits in the smell a lot, but wish there was more in the taste. It was definitely a step down. That being said, the taste is still above average, and I would certainly try this one again.

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Photo of CPAles
3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 87.5% out of 100 with 5,411 ratings
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