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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
5,467 Ratings
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This beer is 6.2% when released in Europe, US labels say 6.9% due to labeling laws.

Many agree that the somewhat unpractical addition of this sometimes undesired yeast strain is what grants Orval its age worthiness, not to mention unique aroma, making it a one of the few beers worth cellaring.

Added by Bierman9 on 09-18-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,467 |  Reviews: 2,358
Photo of NicholasCasber
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer was stored for roughly 1 1/2 years after bottled on date (5/6/08), however, best before date was 5/6/13.

A: This beer poured a nice muddy tan, with some nice head that seems to have some staying power, which has given some nice lacing.

S: The smell was slightly citrus and hops, but wasn't overwhelming.

T: The taste was outstanding, and a little bit on the alcohol side.

M: The beer felt fairly watery, and not what I was expecting.

D: I'd rate this higher if it wasn't for the mouthfeel that I got, overall it's a decent beer, but slightly disappointed in the actual feel.

I'd recommend this one to any body. Good beer overall, best of luck in your finds. Cheers.

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Photo of rugene
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jmalex
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Checking off my second of the six Trappists. I've been waiting to pull this out of the fridge for a long time now.

APPEARANCE: Pours into my Trois Pistoles goblet a hazy yet translucent dark amber with significant red hues to it. It has the most amazing head I think I've ever seen. It's one finger high and simply will not budge. Marvelous!

SMELL: Big immediate aroma of the bready funk that you'd expect. Sniffing deeper, one can discern some fruity peach smells and a peppery spiciness.

TASTE: "Oh yeah!", I said aloud after my first sip. The peppery spice jumps right out at you as you first drink and bitters slightly from a taste of raw hops. It briefly becomes malty sweet before quickly morphing to bready and light. It finishes very clean, leaving just a trace bitterness in your mouth. A fine beer, for sure!

MOUTHFEEL: The carbonation is great. It's very effervescent and works to enhance the flavors. The body is a bit light and borders on watery toward the finish.

DRINKABILITY: I didn't expect a Trappist beer to have such a "relatively" low ABV like this one does. It's really a great beer to spend an evening drinking.

The monks can do no wrong. At least that's what Orval has led me to believe. It will certainly be returning to my fridge in the very near future.

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Photo of sfwild18
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of baiser
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy, golden orange, with a soft, creamy head that was hard to control. Great looking beer, as I expected. Spicy aroma, lemon. Complex taste. Malt up front, with a strong hop bite. Lemon, herbs, grassy, alcohol, fruit. Very nice. Some tartness like a cider.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light gold in color. Plenty of huge frothy head sits on top. Probably over two inches. Smell is yeasty, spicy, and floral. Taste is pretty good. There are some astringencies coming from the hops. There is a huge burst of fruity, floral tastes midway through the palate. Then a bittering dryness on the back end.

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Photo of Mako82
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a brandy snifter

A - Burnt orange color that was cloudy. Very foamy white head that lasted ridiculously long!

S - Nice smell of floral, hint of spice, mild malts in the background, slight hint of clove, and picked up some yeast

T - Mild floral type taste with traces of yeast (nothing overwhelming). Picking up a hint of wheat/grassy type taste with a hint of clove. Aftertaste didn't last too long.

M - Very dry, light feeling

Drinking the beer with a good amount of head will really help bring out the taste

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Photo of Newsman
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle dated 12/27/07, poured into a tulip glass. Nice orange-copper color, huge fluffy white head that lasts throughout the experience.

Smells mildly fruity, yeasty, very pleasant without being overpowering.

The taste has notes of citrus, a little spice, some very nice malt complexity and a fairly strong, somewhat suprising alcoholic presence at the end, given the relatively (for Trappists) low 6.9% ABV.

Very effervescent mouthfeel, again a little surprising, but not unpleasant.

Overall, very drinkable, but something to be savored slowly. A very nice, well rounded and interesting beer.

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Photo of JayQue
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Belgian experience without being wiped out by high abv!! Poured a slightly cloudy orange color into my Augustijn goblet. Nice big white head on a hard pour that lasts awhile. Some reviewers talked about lacing, I didn't notice any.

Good Belgian smell, spices, citrus, dark fruit with a little bit of funkiness/earthiness.

Good taste. Spiciness, citrus, dark fruit and a nice slightly bitter hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel is rich, and pricks the taste buds with spiciness and carbonation.

Drinkability is good. The flavors are challenging and the abv allows for more than one at a sitting. Very good

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Photo of heidelbeerg
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a copper orange color with a fluffy white large head. Carbonation was very evident upon pouring. The smell was crisp and citrus like. The taste was very interesing and different from anything else I've had. Very zingy yet light citron flavor along with a high amount of carbonation. Acidic and lively. Hops evident in the finish. The mouthfeel was a little odd to me. The carbonation seemed almost too high. I had the feeling off pop rocks going off in the mouth. It wasn't bad, just different. The drinkability was good but not great. The bitey nature would keep me from drinking too many of these.

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Photo of whitenads
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of ajm5108
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very tart, musty nose followed by a grassy dry flavor with spikes of bitter citrus. Finishes clean. Heavy on the yeast but brings a lot of flavors to the mix.

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Photo of nelnutter
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured 11.2 oz bottle into Chimay glass. Bottled date of 5/8/09.

A: Pours a hazy copper/orange color with a ginormous and agressive foamy/soapy white head of foam that sticks around for quite a long time. Sticky lacing left everywhere. Gorgeous brew.

S: Fruity, cider, peppery, and some citrus. Very sweet overall.

T: Wow, this is an interesting one. Definitely peppery and cidery, and mostly sour and bitter hoppiness coming, and leaves long-lasting dry finish.

M: Full-bodied and lots of carbonation, and very very dry!

D: I thoroughly enjoyed this, and like the style overall, and it's one that is just so dry I can only put down one. Granted, I enjoy it thoroughly, but I can understand those that don't like this.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Seen this gofy little bottle on the shelf for a while, though I may give it a whirl.

Poured into Duvel tulip, this is my first Belgian Pale

A- Murky orange with a huge finely bubbled head
S- Smells of bitter Pilsner , similar to Belgian IPA style beers.
T- Bitterness up front with some crazy carbonation, hard to pick out individual tastes really. These some pilsner, faint hop tastes. Nothing stands out too much and I can tell there was a lot of effort put into balancing it out and they did a good job of that.
M- This beer is so carbonated I feel like its filling my mouth with foam every sip which i am not crazy about. It doesn't over do it though, the foamy texture allows you to get a better Idea of the flavors. Leaves my mouth feeling dry.
O- I dont have much to compare it to but this is a good beer. Im having trouble picking out individual flavors and I have little grounds for comparison. Its good and I think I may develop a taste Belgian styles sometime so until then, its just good and nothing better.

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Photo of flipper2gv
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours in a very nice dark orange color that is a little hazy because of the yeast. It has a very generous and strong off-white head.

S: Sweet butterscotch aroma. A little bit of spices (cloves) coming from the yeast. Some tart and wheat scents too.

T: Tart comes up front, which is rapidly subdued by the caramel sweetness. Then it's all about spices and wheat. Some phenols and lemon peel are also present. It leaves a very dry aftertaste that is ok.

M: Mid to high carbonation which is pretty standard for the genre. Medium body with creamy feeling to it. Very nice.

D: Mid to high. It's the aftertaste that kills a bit the drinkability.

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Photo of soultrain
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an Orval chalice.

A-Orange beer, beige head, murky with small yeast chunks. Looks pretty damn good sitting in the old Orval chalice, yup. 1/2" head settles to 1/4" in a minute. No lacing.
S-Enticing sourness in the aroma. Some alcohol, too. Kinda like a cologne made with dried orange peels.
T-Well hopped, nice bitterness, earthy, a bit sour, but most of all dry. Dryyy in a real good way. The yeast has a peppery spicy flavor to it, and the drying alchohol finish and the "Orval burps" that result make this one of the most unique brews to ever cross my path, lips, palette, etc.... This beer blooms as it warms, of course, and in my experience with this beer, no two sips are the same, and no two bottles are identical. What a chameleon! I find this beer hard to describe, actually, as words like "dust" and "dirt" and "Musty like an old mansion" keep entering my skull as I'm drinking....
Final yeast pour turned the last inch of beer to mud; a tasty mud, though.
M-This particular bottle had an over-ample, fizzy, champagne-like carbonation that I hadn't noticed before in previous bottles. Light body.
D-Unusual beer to say the least. When I have it with dinner, I tend to forget what I'm eating and dwell on this perplexing beer...is this good? Healthy?

CRUX: UNIQUE AND FASCINATING BELGIAN BREW HERE. Each bottle is an aesthetic experience: well worth the sample. I can remember having better bottles of this brew in the past, so I'm looking forward to my next encounter with this brew already.

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Photo of WetCoaster
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

**Update: After reading Garrett Oliver's lavish praise of this beer in his book "The Brewmaster's Table," I decided it was time to revisit Orval. Now that my palette is a bit older and wiser, I think I'm better able to grasp what's going on here.

What threw me -- and no doubt some other novices -- is that this beer is black to most abbey ales' white; it's really the un-abbey ale in a sense. By that, I mean the flavors are unusual, unexpected and contra to the general style. Where one might expect spice, there's herb. Where there might normally be a citrus sourness, there's a rooty bitterness. Where there might be a dense smoothness there's instead crisp tightness.

Essentially, this is the beer equivalent of bitters. It's quenching, biting and challenging, with light malt base, odd herbal, even leathery, flavors and a brutal chicory bite to finish.

Granted, it's still not a favorite. But it IS intriguing. If you hated it, give it a another shot; if you don't know your Belgian ales that well, come back to this one once you do. A double-black tasting experience -- tough for novices, but an enjoyable challenge for the more experienced.

Original review:
Appearance: Slightly cloudy copper with gold undertone. Absolutely massive Duvel-esque head with endless retention. Huge sheets of sticky, soapy lace. Furious, fine carbonation.

Smell: Cotton candy sweet. Banana, bubblegum, pissy yeast funk. Belgian.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Hmmm. The mouthfeel is thin and a bit crisp. The flavor seems to contradict the scent. Sour, almost bitter, bite. Lemon juice, white pepper yeast. Slighty malty on the back of the tongue with a bit of spiciness. Finishes yeasty and a bit metallic.

Drinkability: Well, it's crisp and refreshing, I guess. I don't know, for all the hype, there's not much to this one. I don't know if I'll be back.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a massive, chunky head, which took some time to tame, leaving plenty of sticky lacing. Color was cloudy ice tea with some carbonation present.

Orange citrus, nectar-sweet smell, with some florals and spice.

Good hop bitterness caught me off guard, with flowery and grassy 'sweetness' that kept the flavor tight.

Plenty of carbonation (maybe too much) matched the hop profile to give this a crisp, dry mouthfeel.

A really nice choice for Spring/Summer, Would love to cellar some to see how it ages, esp since these are dated to be good w/in 5 years.

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Photo of xrdsci
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
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 IRONRakkasan
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's a damn good cloudy dark amber with a frothy head that just doesn't want to go away. This brew's got a spiced citrus aroma with a very carbonated and dry feel on the tongue. Aside from near liquid gold the taste is lightly bitter citrus with an aftertaste that reminds me of lemon/orange rinds....whatever!

It's a refreshing brew, and feels like it has a higher alcohol content then it's 6.9%.

Recommended, just like all the others who've also reviewed. It wont disappoint!

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Photo of ILhophead
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

33cL bottle poured gently into a Chouffe tulip glass to keep out the dregs (1yr., 10mo. past bottled on date)

A: Pours with a nice looking two finger head. Bright light amber color. Lots of carbonation bubbling up.

S: Smells of Belgian funk and fruit, can't tell what kind of fruit though. I like it.

T: Tastes mildly funky and fruity up front with a bit of hops in the finish. Funk is not overpowering but blends nicely with the other flavors. Very nice.

M: Effervescent, medium body, lingering bitter funk on the back of the tongue.

D: I'd say it's quite drinkable. Tastes very good and is pretty easy drinking. I could drink a few of these if I could afford it.

I'd like to try some fresh Orval sometime. I've read that they add the Brettanomyces at bottling so it's hoppier and less funky fresh and the Brett becomes stronger over time. The brewer said he likes it fresh.

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Photo of hungarianwax
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Apricot, clear pour. Sticky lacing. Wispy head.

S: Fruity with noticeable hops. Subtle and sweet

T: A little sour. Lacking spice. Fruit evident. Appears to be lacking in the malt department, hops are pleasant and not overwhelming.

M: Sticky, mildly viscous. Steady carbonation.

Overall 4.25
In Style 4.25

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Photo of jettjon
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Highs: Appearance, flavor
Lows: None

Pours a coppery orange brown with no bubbles beneath a thick whitish-tan head. Fades slowly away leaving good heavy lacing on the wine glass. Nose is quite unusual… asparagus? Dusty? Yes, I was surprised to find others describing this one as “dusty,” but there you have it. Taste is in the same vein. Initially, it’s semi-sweet, rapidly turning dry. There’s a definite sour fruit flavor, something like sour grapes or wild grapes such as muscadine. It’s tart, sour, and a bit oaky. Finishes very crisp and dry, almost like a clean red wine. Mouth is watery, fairly bubbly/sparkling, but borderline thin. Drinkability for me is not so great as I am not a fan of sour beers, but if you don’t mind the taste, it’s probably quite drinkable.

Overall: Definitely an unusual brew, and one that not everyone will enjoy. However, it’s well put together and definitely worth a try.

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Photo of jjayjaye
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy amber color with a big stiff off white head that resists fading. Huge amount of lacing, some 3D observed.

It has a fresh lemon scent that suggests some sourness to come.

The Medium bodied because of the complexity. The mouth feel has a creamy effervescence that complements the light citrus flavor. Finishes on the dry side and with the swallow a more intense, slightly sour flavor 'notch'.

While i can't say i'd enjoy it as a session beer i do find it to be a good drinker. The mouth feel has a nice complexity to it, but i'm not partial to the dry finish.

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Photo of mattcrill
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle inspection: Bottled 24/01/2006; Best by 24/01/2011

Aroma: Funky Belgian yeast, spices (coriander, pepper, clove), a touch of alcohol, ripe fruit notes that remind me of pears and white grapes.

Appearance: Effervescent and cloudy ice tea color with a huge white head. The head settles nicely and retains well.

Flavor: More spicy notes (coriander, cloves, black pepper), pears, green apples, and white raisins.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light, bubbly, drying alcohol notes and just a touch of astringency at the end. Could have used a little more body and less carbonation here and it would have put this beer over the top for me. My tongue just couldn't get over the carbonation.

Overall impression: Part of my continuing quest to sample all the classic commercial examples. This one was interesting, well crafted, and worthy of it's reputation. However, with the price tag, it won't be in the regular rotation. A nice Belgian Specialty Ale that was an enjoyable change of pace for me.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 5,467 ratings