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

2,329 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: 2,329 | Ratings: 5,344
Photo of FatBoyGotSwagger
4.94/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a murky brown color with a booming 3 finger white head. The smell is a light earthy aroma with an authentic Belgian spice. My first sip of this started with a fantastic tart and spiciness upfront hat literally explodes on the tongue with the fantastic carbonation. There are some funky notes in there also but every note plays off each other so well it leaves me wanting another sip. Halfway through the head is still a good cm and resembles construction foam, the taste becomes increasingly spicy and funky. Notes of fresh grass, lemon, and spicy banana. What an incredible beer, I get it now.

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Photo of RedSpecial1
4.94/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy amber with a thick billowy head that lingers. The nose smells of clean farm yard scents and nice earthy notes. The flavor has a slight farm funk, but it blends smoothly into the overall dryness, and slight grain flavor, of the beer. The mouthfeel is fairly dry, but refreshing. This is quite a drinkable beer, if it were a bit cheaper.

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Photo of OlaB
4.93/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: a gold amber color , a huge top of foam when i por it in the glass
S: citrus fruits , spices ,yeast
T: Incredible taste, hint of vanilla,citrus .slight bitterness in this beer,taste that stays in the mouth for a while after first sip.is quite a unique taste on this beer
F: Low carbonation,medium bodied, feel of the sourness in the beer, the alchol contest very noticable.A very fresh mouthfeel.
O: This one of the best beers out there and one of the resons i fell in love with beligian beers , the beer is unique in my wiev . highly recommended

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Photo of artoolemomo
4.93/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance- I just poured a whole glass of head. This has huge bubbles and is receding quickly. The foam is white with hints of yellow and the body is clearer than a typical pale ale. It is light honey/amber. Very little lacing is left and it seems to have slowed at about an inch. Leaves lacing after additional pours.

Nose- Starts off with lots of typical Belgian notes- yeast, esters, apple, floral fragrances. Very perfumey. Lots of crisp apple. If the flavor profile is anything like the aroma, this is going to be a very enjoyable beer. Some soapiness as well.

Taste- This is intense to say the least. Lots of Brettomyces. Very funky, very overpowering. Apple and sour lemon come out at the edges. There's a little burn on it but it aids in the structure of the beer. On the second taste, the funkiness of the Brett dies down and allows the more temperate flavors of orange, apple, orange peel, lemon and strawberry take over. This is very crisp and very dry. It is perfect for summertime.

Mouthfeel- This is pretty heavy but it is balanced by a super smooth creaminess. The carbonation is perfect with some slight tingling. The mouthfeel is one of the best aspects of this beer.

Drinkability- This goes down fast and easy. Even it's 6 dollar price tag isn't prohibitive. This beer is that good.

Overall- Easy to review and grade. A+, no doubts about it. I have founded a new go to beer. This easily one of the top ten Belgian beers that I have had. This is much more exciting than a quad. It has the simplicity and perfection of some Tripels with the added positive of Saison messiness. This is a delight to drink.

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Photo of ChrisMyhre
4.93/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a stemless wineglass from the 12 oz. bottle.

Bottles on 7/3/13, best before 7/3/18. Making this the youngest Orval I've tasted. The hops are much more forward in an un-aged bottle.

a: Copper with 3 finger effervescent head, very nitro/Guinness like.

s: Spicy, apricot and something very familiar that I can't quite place.

t: Huge carbonation, Spicy, yeasty notes. Tart, but less barnyard brett flavor from recent bottling date. Lots of complexity from much more upfront hops than any other trappist brew. Completely unique experience .

m: Full, thick and highly carbonated.

o: Completely unique, on of my favorites.

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Photo of Jason
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: 11.2 oz vase like brown bottle, best before date stamped on the back.

Appearance: Orange amber (very light haze) in colour with a magnificent white head ... rocky and dense, leaving rings lace all over.

Smell: Hints of juniper, lemon and flowers.

Taste: Smooth and crisp with a lightish body though the mouth feel appears to be full up front. Touch of lemon rind with a fresh cut hay flavour, hop bitterness makes a snappy bite. Horse blanket and other medicinal phenols over take the tongue for a bit also. Tart from start to finish with hints of cider and other tart fruits. The finish seems to be everlasting in its dryness.

Notes: The sheer complexity of this fine ale is mind boggling ... one of the originals. This brew is all old school ... dating back to the 1100's. If you are into Belgian ales this will be a sure treat. Some soft cheese and dark rye makes a perfect pairing.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drawn to this bottle for some reason. Bready boozy smell at outset. Cider-like color with thick lacing. The best part of this brew for me is the complexity. At first taste I do sense the yeast, the astringency is there as others will agree here. I may seem off a bit in this but vinegar comes to mind as a mouth sensation, if you can somehow picture that in a good way. I guess there is an odd abrasiveness that somehow "works". Yes it is quite dry, however I can't help, and can hardly believe, that I also detect fruit or fig in the taste. As I mentioned, this is all about complexity. The mouthfeel for me is most abrasive up front, but it is up front where i also smell the fruit-like bouquet as I am tasting it. For some reason and I can't pinpoint exactly how, but this is very drinkable for a beer with such a distinct character. Spices are picked up too. Unusual. I guess the reason i think Orval is so good despite some unusual characteristics is due to the expertise in the brewery of using their "brettanomyces" yeasts the way they do. Apparently in most beers these yeasts are considered contaminants. With that it's no wonder I also favor saisons. All good here.

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Photo of Xul
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a hazy golden orange capped by a part-frothy/part-rocky three finger off-white head. It's been too long since my last Orval, I forgot how massive this head gets. Retention is good but as it dies, it leaves behind moderate lacing.

S: So much going on...tartness is the first to hit with green apple undertones, followed by a waft of funkiness. Lemon zest comes in, some floral notes, peppery spice, some sweet green grapes. Every whiff yields a slightly different balance of the components.

T: Starts off with some barnyard funk but quickly moves into yeasty territory along with a slightly wheaty base, followed by tart green apples balanced by a hint of sweetness, along with a bit of citrus and pale grapes. Finishes dry, leaving hints of every component of the taste behind.

M: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation, it glides over the tongue with a few prickles along the way.

D: Extremely refreshing, with complexity to keep every sip interesting and balance to prevent any one flavor from becoming overwhelming.

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Photo of stoutmasterjames
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: semi-deep amber, decent retention, good lacing, looks like a masterpiece

S: semi-sweet spices, complex, profound smell, fragrant

T: Oak, flower notes. At the front there is the suggestion of sweetness that never comes to fruition as the dry tone of the tasting experience comes to dominate before the finish evaporates all of the dryness leaving you to contemplate the lightness of the body. Very complex. Every sip encourages you to study the nuances of the flavors involved.

M: light body, perfect ally to taste

I have been chugging craft beer for about four years now and this is THE BEST that I have found.... yet. Spectacular in every way, Orval is what good craft beer is all about. Good complex taste, phenomenal drinking experience. They cost a pretty penny, so if I am having a bad day, or have cause for a mini-celebration... I'll grab one of these.

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Photo of MadCat
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

330ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Light brown, a little hazy, beautiful voluminous tan head that takes its sweet time to dissipate, and leaves quite a bit of lacing.

Smell: Lemony, a little floral, and a little malt. Some fruit and tartness in there

Taste: Complex, with quite a few subtle hints of different things in there. Some hop bitterness, some lemon, some earthiness, some malt. Tart fruit

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, perfect carbonation, slightly dry finish.

Overall: This thing is amazing. Worth every penny. Truly special, and I wish I could afford to drink this regularly. Glad its something that I can find on a shelf instead of having to jump through hoops to get it.

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Photo of HopDr
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into a chalice.

A- Cloudy burnt amber color. Really nice lumpy head which just settles in and stays forever.

S- This is what Belgian Pales are all about. Subtle and wonderful. Fruit flavors, mostly green apple with a touch of citrus and just the smallest amount of Belgian musty funk.

T- This is where it really sets itself apart. I get the flavors described in the aroma at first, but there are more layers. There is a hint of sweetness and then sourness which really makes the aroma pop. These flavors and aromas dissipate and fade into a spicy, fairly intense bitterness (maybe form the alcohol? probably not hops) which lasts until the next sip.

M- Really nice. Not too heavy not too light, not too much carbonation, just right.

O- I have to admit that there are a lot of Belgian strong ales which I don't 'get'. Duvel tastes like overcarbonated Heineken to me. I don't see the magic in Chimay Red. But this one is different, it really balances all of what makes Belgian pales what they are, the complexity and unique flavors imparted largely by the yeast and fermentation, while remaining accessible and very drinkable (it just tastes good!).

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Photo of Mosstrooper
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 11.2oz bottle into 330mL St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange-gold color with a slight amber hue and a large, fluffy white head that dissipates very slowly and leaves behind spotty lace.

Smell: Lots of lemon, backed up by yeast and some floral notes. A very, very inviting aroma overall.

Taste: Begins with a slight citrus peel bitterness and lemon zest, middling out to apple and herbs, finishing with a very nice hop profile backed up by some musty Belgian yeast.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with well-rounded natural carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: This is an absolutely delightful beer- definitely a new favorite and a brew that I feel completely foolish for overlooking for so long.

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Photo of BucksBrew
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - The Bottle is unique and beautiful. It sits well among its friends on my shelf. The beer pour a golden yellow with a decent amount of white head.

S - This has an exceptional smell. It smells like Autumn. It makes you feel like you just raked the lawn and you have had a hard days work. Very de mortem in feel.

T - Very rustic and barn like. It makes you feel like you on a ranch.

M - This is very nice. The flavors keeps you entertained. Its not too heavy which makes it perfect for the summer.

D - I could have one of these everyday and still be happy. Those monks do their job well.

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Photo of thierrynantes
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beer bottle (33 cl.), tasted in 1999.

Appearance : golden-orange color (troubled), with abundant white creamy foam head, somewhat saturated.
Smell : complex nose, rich in hops, floral
Taste & mouthfeel : extraordinary flavors of yeast and hops, dry and intense bitterness, ample body, velvety, light acidity.
Drinkability : A Must ! (drink at cellar t°).

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Photo of puck1225
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Got to love the funk! A beautiful pour into a snifter. Huge foamy, creamy head and lovely Belgian lacing. The smell is so fragrant and inviting, sweet,sour, and earthy. The taste is kaleidoscopic, changing as it warms. I like it best toward the end when it is spicey, fruity, earthy, funky all at once. Make sure swirl the bottom of the bottle. This beer is always an adventure! It has been my favorite for thirty years!

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Photo of erz316
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 fl oz, Duvel tulip.

A - a very frothy beverage we have here, I could not finish pouring the whole of the bottle, only about 1/8 left though, so not so bad. a dark amber color with a medium opacity, bubbles emanating from the bottom, and a big head that settles down to a more manageable size.

S - now I know I'm going to sound a bit fruity (no pun intended), but the beer actually smells like a mulled apple cider. scouts honor; and a damn good one at that! the spice is complex and right on the same level with the apple smell, and lingering in the background is the faint smell of booze.

T - the first thing I wish to comment on is the dryness of the alcohol. the quality is like that of a brut champagne, that makes you slow down, sip, and respect the drink. my cheeks pinch a bit at the bitter dryness and I love it. now, not to be unnoticed is the spiciness of the brew, like a really dulled down sailor jerry's or captain morgan, the same type of spices, I am unfamiliar, so please forgive me. the apple scent is still there in the taste, which makes it seem like a cider more than a beer to some degree, if anyone has tried S. Smith's organic cider, than they shall know of what I speak. but what keeps this from tasting like a cider is the hops bite and the zestyness of lemon that hits the tongue and reminds me that, indeed, this is one hell of a beer.

MF&D - smooth, crisp, the carbonation is great and makes me want another sip. feels like a good medium body beer.

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Photo of gdfan47
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- pours a nice light yellow with soo much white head and lacing (poured into my Duvel glass!)
S- bretty, yeasty, malt, sugar but not too sweet, hops
T- the brett and the yeast taste are front and center then the malt, and a punch of hops, goes down dry and refreshing
M- great carbonation, it was hard to keep in my mouth because i wanted to drink it so bad
D- amazing , couldnt wait to have another, a pretty low abv, an amazing and unique beer havent had anything else quite like this

blurring the lines of a BPA and a wlld beer... very unique a homerun

found a clone recipe, gonna start brewing this one really soon

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 12/30/2009
Served in an Orval chalice.

A - Pours a golden honey copper, with an off-white head that never breaks up.

S - Sweet and sour orchard apples, musty basement, old church pews, spicy, banana, peach, earthy hops, grassy hops. Wonderful aroma.

T - Fruity tartness upfront, golden apples, green grassy hops, spicy lemon citrus, dusty yeast adds some woody mustiness while wicking away any wetness on the palate.

M - Moderate smooth carbonation, medium body, dry finish.

The aroma alone is intoxicating. The layers transform flawlessly. I waited until I got my hands on an Orval chalice before I reviewed this. It's a hard one to age because you just want to drink it. In a league of it's own.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.91/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Orval has an exceptionally huge, spongy, off-white head, extremely thick lacing left behind, and a brilliant, orange appearance, with numerous, tight bubble streams. After swishing the bottom contents and pouring it in, one will notice a thick, descending orange-gray cloud. The aroma is of funky, sweet, pungent yeast, with an overriding horse stall smell. Taste is of some grain husk, sugar, hard candy, caramel, yeast funk, fruit, salt water taffy, and mild hops. Mouthfeel is light, prickly, and somewhat slimy, and Orval finishes sweet, rich, dry, and delicious. Overall, this is an outstanding beer, and all beer enthusiasts should try it!


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Photo of Luiz0930
4.91/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Tulip glass.

Appearance of grape juice with a two finger head.

A Trappist Classic and a well deserving of this title. smells like dark fruits. Tastes like rasberries, blueberries, and dark flavors. Sweet, with a carbonation ending. Refreshing

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Photo of PorterPro125
4.91/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Serving Type: 330 mL Bottle (Bottled on March 26, 2015)

A- Pours a Hazy Copper topped by an endless white head. Got half of the 330 mL Bottle into a 500 mL Tulip before the head was threatening to jump out of the glass. Annoying enough but the fascinating part it that it took around 5 minutes for the head to die down enough that I could pour the rest of the bottle into the glass; there was one clump that lasted the entire 15-20 minutes it took me to drink the glassful! Lots of thick lacing on the glass.

S- Grapefruit, Apple, pear, peach, grapes. A lot of fruit flavours that I did not expect with this Ale! Slight funk mixed in. Absolutely beautiful. A Masterpiece for the nose...

T- The perfect amount of grassy/earthy bitterness followed by the beautiful fruit found in the nose.

M- Moderate yet very active carbonation and a Medium dry body. Excellent drinkability.

O- I'll start by saying that this beer is a one-of-a-kind; an absolute masterpiece. The unexpected hoppy and fruity flavours are exceptional an according to what i've heard, this beer ages wonderfully. I can't wait to try an aged bottle (I have one in my cellar now)!

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Photo of merlin48
4.9/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

11.2 ouncer, "bottled on 20.02.2003, best before 20.02.2008", label says 6.9 abv. Served at cellar temperature into a goblet, pouring a golden sourwood honey amber color. Enormous head of "monks riding a cloud" lasts the duration, though leaving a few of the brethren to occupy the cumulus cloud lacing. Quite a stunning appearance. Nose is coriander, cloves, orangepeel, allspice, lilac, lavender, kiwis, pineapple, ruby red grapefruit, mangos....I could keep going. Mouthfeel is fizzy, dry, champagne like but crisp.

Taste: A blooming wildflower meadow by a pristine, gurgling, mountain brook, as you are nibbling on honeydew melon and ruby red grapefruit, topped with sparkling Midori. Finishes a "want more" crisp and dry.
I didn't expect to rate this one very high. Its appearance resembles a Duvel, which I like less than when I reviewed it. The Orval is a remarkable enlightenment for me, suggesting I give the Duvel another look, but no...I think it's just the superiority of this complex Strong Pale Belgian Ale. This one belongs in my personal top five. Fantastic all around. Wow!

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Photo of GerryPendry
4.9/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a hazy amber, gigantic dense head. Complex aroma and flavor. Mouthfeel is a tad bit thin, not too carbonated, with a dry finish. It's almost like it evaporates from your palate, the same way a well-made martini does. Incredibly flavorful for a beer his light and drinkable. Goes down way too easy for a beer this expensive. Very highly recommended.

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Photo of SkipZ
4.9/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 27/03/2014.
Look: Poured a huge pillowy white head with plenty of active bubbles streaming. This is a true joy to me. In the glass its a beautiful amber/orange that is light-light/medium body and mostly translucent with no large particles even after I swirled them from the bottom of the bottle. Some head foam remained in the bottle to finish off the top.

Nose: First aromatic blast is a mixture of bubble gum, tutti-frutti snow cone and Harbo red and black raspberry German gummies obviously from the "candied sugar" quickly followed with sweet malts, aromatic hops and a tiny bit of funk.

Taste/Mouth: Sharp carbonation on the tip of the tongue for eye popping refreshment with the sweet,dry,funky and aromatic complexities of this ale battling it out over the tongue to a superb, velvety,crisp and dry finish that left me wanting more. In fact, this is a bottle from the case I traveled about 75 miles to get after sampling a bottle a few days earlier.

Final Thoughts: This is a complex,heavily carbonated Trappist ale that is a crisp,funky and aromatic bliss.

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Photo of DeadGuyRyan
4.9/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle which contained bottled and best by date.

Appearance: Poured a great Oranger copper with hints of amber as well. Thick white head that stays around with lacing that never stops. A slightly cloudy beer as well.

Smell: A welcoming smell hints of fruits and flowers along with spices.

Taste: This beer is insane very complex. A very crisp beer that has great zesty notes along with hops as well. Its a bitter beer that has Champagne like carbonation A very dry beer. That kicks the whole way.

Great mouth feel its super complex and its slightly different every time but its always great.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,344 ratings.
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