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

5,397 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

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Ratings: 5,397 |  Reviews: 2,347
Photo of jera1350
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy deep golden brownish orange color with massive pale tan head of sudsyness. Lots of active carbonation moving about. Nice amount of lace on the glass. Halfway through the beer and there is still a tight, one-finger head hanging around.

Sweet, fruity and spicy smelling. Some yeast and a hard to describe except spiced up hop scent. Similar to a fruit scented soap or perfume.

Complex and boozy fruit. Apple cider, citrus zest, champagne, green tea and moderate hoppiness, but lacking in much sweetness. Very unique.

About medium bodied. Some harshness in the carbonation that gets better as it warms up. Nice and smooth on the palate with an extremely dry finish.

Nice drinkability. Probably the best BPA I've had, but not a beer I will rush out to have again.

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Photo of BierReise
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is unlike any other beer I've ever had in my 17+ years of enjoying fine craft beer. The head on this beer is unbelievable. I poured this beer in it's dedicated Orval glass and drank it slowly which lasted about 20-30 minutes. The head stayed at a peak the entire duration and even after the last sip, it was still hanging on to the side of the chalice for it's dear life. The flavor was so unique and complex that it will most likely require several additional samplings to accurately define what I'm sensing. Burnt sugar, stale fruit, earthy malty taste. I don't know, perhaps my palate doesn't possess the sophistication for this one. What I do know is that It was a most enjoyable if not a religious experience and I look forward to the next. Hmmm, beer as a religion. What a concept.

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Photo of mikecharley
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light, murky, amberish straw color. Huge pillowey, craggy head stays for well over 2 minutes. This looks amazing. The head actually sticks out well over the edge of the glass, but doesnt run over. Leaves a really nice lacing on the way down too. Lovely looking brew.

Nose is musty, malty, spicy. These are the main components, in this order. there is some slight bittering hops, but not much.

The taste is wonderful. Lots of spice. Some underlying hops. All this with a background of musty, funky yeast. Freakin fantastic.

Light airy carbo. Very soft in the mouth. Really nice

This is the best example of the style I've ever had. Hands down. This is also a style I typically do not like.

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Photo of divineaudio
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle into a snifter. bottled on 7/29/2009.

color is a hazy orange to amber shade and the head is outta control! a gentle pour gave me three fingers of thick, tan foam that calms to a pinky's worth and hangs around for quite a while. leaves big, cloud like puffs of sticky lace all over the glass too.

smells of banana with hints of clove, apple and a maybe a little freshly baked bread. taste is mostly toasted malts with a lot of spiciness and herbal hop bitterness. i can also just barely make out pale malts and some fruity notes. finish is long and a little malt sweetness comes back after the bitterness fades.

medium bodied with a lot of carbonation. feels oddly heavy in the stomach after drinking, i'm guessing from the co2.

very drinkable and very true to style, but i'd prefer a dubble or trippel over the pales. certainly worth seeking out, but given it's high import price, i probably won't be buying too many of these.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden-brown with lots of foam. Yeasty.

Smell: Tons of pepper and dark fruit. Very yeast too and surprisinly sweet.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Tastes mostly of pepper and yeast. Mouthfeel is not nearly as full-bodied as I'd like and I wish there was more complexity in the flavor.

Overall Drinkability: It's very rare that I find a beer disappointing but still think it's one of the better beers out there. This is worth a go.

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Photo of Richardbeerlover
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a nice golden amber with a fabulous head. The smell is fantastic. At first, it smells like bubblegum. Fruity, fragrant, wonderful! Slight champagne smell. Tastes very good with a nice bitter finish. Not your typical beer and definitely not your typical Belgium beer. Great!

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Photo of vainosuomi
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look: Mostly opaque cloudy amber with a foamy off-white head
Smell: Green apple, yeast, spice, banana. Very fruity.
Taste: Plenty of that apple up front, along with citrus, yeast, and spice. Slightly sour, decent amount of sweet malt, and plenty of bitterness . Bitter/sour finish.
Feel: Frothy, plenty of carbonation, medium bodied. Smooth and slightly astringent.

Overall a very good ale. The fruit flavors definitely have the largest profile, but are complemented well by everything else that's going on.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've been getting into funky brews, and was told by many that aged Orval was nice and funky. Bottled 7/2009.

Pours a nice dark auburn color, with a bubbly, creamy off white head. Laces wonderfully.

Yeast aroma, with mild fruitiness and a good level of funkitude! Maybe a hint of spicy tinged hops.

Fruity, yeasty taste, some subtle funkiness, slight citrus and a funkier finish.

Crisp carbonation, that may or may not be appropriate of the style, but a little harsh to me. Got better with some temperature.

Pretty pleased with this. I have a thought as to some places that may carry some even older bottles, so I'll seek more out...freshies too.

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Photo of infinitebruner
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

October 18, 2014

11.2 oz bottle (bottled June 2013), tulip glass

A – Huge, rocky, frothy, white to slightly of-white head, at least three inches, with most of it sticking around for several minutes. Medium amber with high clarity, slight red tinge.

S – Very strong bubble gum aroma, sourdough bread. Some mild estery fruit follows, red apples and light citrus. Mild Brett character.

T – Yeasty, spicy notes with again some fruity esters and a spritz of citrus. The Brett is evident, but not prominent. Some slight malty sweetness and just the barest hint of some floral hop flavors.

M – Foamy from the carbonation, carries all the way through to the finish. Pretty juicy up front with a champagne-like dryness on the swallow.

O – This is a very fresh, bright, spritzy, spring time in the hills type beer. I really love the aromas, but the rest is not at the same level. A true Trappist beer, so it meets expectations and is very well crafted, but I don’t think it’s the best of that group. Still a fantastic beer. It’s all relative.

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Photo of DrMindbender
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of bucko
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nice orange, Autumn-inspired color with a big, fluffy, off-white head that slowly recedes into purdy lacing. Truth be told, there's still some head in the glass and I'm halfway through this sucker. The smell is niiice, reminding me of a rose garden, apples and perhaps a bit of citrus... lemon maybe... The flavor is complex as well with subtle tastes of apple, flowers and a bit of spice, among other things. Mouthfeel is smooth, crisp, slightly "snappy." Very drinkable, with the only thing keeping me from having at least a couple at a time being the price. Well done.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy deep copper color with a big off white head. It has the aroma of a sweet yeastiness and hops, a small amout of citrus is in there too. It has the taste of hops, starts kind of sweet and ends dry. It is kind of yeasty, but light. It tickles your mouth as it goes down. Love the dry hopping and it hides its alcohol quite well.

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Photo of Ryan011235
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an E&J Cask & Cream glass on 5/3/11

Bottled on: 1/6/10
Best before: 1/6/15

Whoa, there! carbonation. Boasting the loudest pop I've heard from a capped beer and a rushing, fizzy head that hits the two inch mark while cresting the top of the glass. The head immediately crackles away, large bubbles bursting throughout. After several minutes the aftermath finds sporadic chunks of lace and a thin layer resting o'er a faded, golden/amber colored beer. Swirling brings back a solid finger head and better lace.

The aroma seems fairly subdued but has enough going on to keep it interesting. A damp, Brett mustiness is entrenched in aromas of prairie grass, making for a wet grass notion. Light fruit notes, too: apple and pear. Soft floral tones. Swirling draws forth more of the mustiness. Faint suggestions of earth and spice.

The Brett character is far more apparent to taste and shifts through flavors that call to mind waterlogged tree stumps in a boggy marsh; stale air in a flooded basement; chalk; dust and dirt (the latter of which props up the finish and lingers). Intermittently woven there in are notes of grass, orange rind and lemon zest, apple and spices (perhaps a bit of clove and white pepper). Dry cracker hints. Stray fruit notions arise once or twice.

The feel is between medium and light. Despite the depth of funky flavors, this critter maintains a bit of crispness in body. To that end, my biggest gripe is carbonation; it's overly vigorous and washes over the flavor profile. It's something of a chore shaking through the fizziness to fully appreciate the intricacies of the beer. As mentioned before, the finish is dirty. The aforementioned chalk, dust and dirt certainly play into the fell, as well as the taste.

Aside from the overbearing carbonation (took three aggressive swirls to tame the second pour) this is pretty enjoyable. Since it's readily available around these parts it might be interesting to see if I can find different bottlings to compare.

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Photo of WesMantooth
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of Sleepisforthewik
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: A HUGE RIDICULOUS HEAD! It poured what I would call a cloudy amber.

S: Smells to me of fruit, herbs, and flowers. Smells absolutely delicious.

T: Light, subtle fruit flavor with a hint of cider at times. A mild peppery taste is present with a slight salt aftertaste.

M: This beer is VERY carbonated. It has a smooth mouthfeel that I would translate into being very digestible.

D: I would personally enjoy this beer if I could as part of a weekly rotation.

As a final note, while drinking this, I would have killed to pair it with some warm Brie cheese spread on top of watercress crackers.

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Photo of akogrady
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Rich golden amber color, with a very pale golden head. And lots of it. I'm not sure what caused it, but there was far too much carbonation and the head was massive.

S - Smelled very nice. rich in the hoppy notes with a floral rounding and some spice background. Maybe a hint of apple.

T - Very rich and hoppy with a nice sweetness to complete the rounding out of floral notes. A dry finish that lingers in an enjoyable manner.

M - Again, maybe it was the bottle, but the smoothness of the beer was interrupted by too much carbonation.

D - Definitely drinkable, if only it would fit into my glass.

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Photo of TrappistJohnMD
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A - Nice amber color with a huge head that I thought might spill out of my tulip. Tons of lacing.

S - Slight lemony citrus. Lots of ripe plum and clove.

T - Lots of ripe banana and plum. Very sweet malt. Slight hoppiness. Hides alcohol well.

M - Mild carbonation and medium body.

O - Very drinkable.

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Photo of bartle
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the cool looking 11.2 oz. brown bottle into a crystal chalice.

A - Poured a fantastic hazy orange copper body with a thick cream head. The head was rocky foam. Very appealing to the eye.

S. - A dry, bitter sent of pine and mild citrus. Reminded me of walking through an evergreen forest spiked with a citrus zest.

T. - Dry and bitter with floral overtones. A bitter, yet clean taste. Bitter sweet and beautiful. The citrus really matches the dominate floral aroma. Earthy and balanced.

M. - Smooth even when being a little heavy on the carbonation. The body of the beer just lingers in my mouth and on the back of my tongue. This beer is forceful, it makes you savor every moment. That being said, long after it's gone, it leaves a soft feeling on the taste buds.

D. - Simply for it's unique character I will be drinking this again. It is not my favorite of the trappist ales,though it holds a beauty of its own. It's soft, smooth, bitter and beautiful.

I wish fine beers like this were more readily available in bars, pubs, and lcbo's in Canada.

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Photo of MunchkinDrinker
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Deep hazy orange with a large foamy rocky cream colored head. Leaves lacing all over the place. Head stays around forever as a thick foamy layer.

S - Lemon, some other citrusy sweetness I can't quite place. Caramely sweetness underneath. There's alot of little scents I can't place, but it's so nice to smell. Vague spice, very slight grassiness. Some orange rind.

T/M - Very light, frothy feel with a flavor that creeps up on you. Dry earthy hops flavor hits first, but it dissolves into a bitter fruit flavor. Has a quality not unlike a good white wine on the back end. I want to say there's a white grape flavor in there as well. It's tremendously complex, but too wine-like for my liking.

D - Very wine-like. This might be right up some people's alleys, but I was disappointed actually.

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Photo of tlema1
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Orange/Amber, big billowing white head
S: little funk, little tart
T: lots going on here, I get tart green apple, some Belgian yeast sweetness, a little funk
F: good mouthfeel
O: great beer, first time I've ha one in years

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Photo of rkhaze
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a slightly hazy orange.Thick creamy head that left good lace.Smells of earthy sweet malt, citrus and spices. Oranges, tangerines and a bit of grapefruit sweetened with some clover honey. Hints of heather and lavender. Very perfumey.
I've seen beers described as barnyard before but never picked up on that until I tasted this. It's certainly that, with almost a leathery tinge. Gives way to the sour fruits and a mild hop bitterness. Finishes crisp, dry and long. Didn't quite deliver on the promise of the aroma but interesting nonetheless.
Seemed a little thin and overcarbonated. Decent drinkability.
Haven't made up my mind on whether I like that "barnyard" character yet. This is definitly an unique beer and certainly worth a try.

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Photo of Roman5150
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle from Total Beverage in Murfreesboro, TN. Vastly different from other trappist beers i've had. Unique Bottle shape. Poured into a tulip. Highly carbonated, huge head. Lot's of lacing. Pours very light yellow/orange, cloudy like a hefe as it's unfiltered, pretty decent looking beer can't lie. Smells decently hoppy, with other similaraities to a hefe with notes of citrus, subtle banana, and clove, with a splash of coriander. Drinks very smooth, with a subtle hoppy bite. Very distinictive belgian yeast taste, but with more bitterness than than sweetness, yet not overpowering. Lot's of carbonation. Has a sort of wine like aftertaste, but lacks the punch i was expecting for a 7% beer, i guess this could be good or bad. Very well balanced beer, will buy more, although I prefer other Trappist Beers, this one stylistically is very different stylistically from the likes of Rochefort, Westmalle, etc..

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Photo of bonkers
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured from a 11.2 ounce bottle into a tulip glass. It pours an orange/yellow with enormous white head. The beer leaves lots of lacing and a white littlt cap on top. The aroma is of fresh lemons. The flavor is slightly sweet with a hint of phenol. The finish is crisp. The beer is medium body and IMO overcarbonated. The beer is very drinkable.

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Photo of q33jeff
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Bottle to glass, at Parc, Philadelphia.

AROMA: Excellent bready yeasty aroma.
LOOK: Dark yellow (light Orange) color. Bubbly head.
TASTE: Tasty. Yeast, but not too much wang. Dark fruits, raisin and such.
FEEL: Bubbly and good drinking.

Great peripherals, and a well crafted ale, but the taste is not as amazing as I remember from years ago. Still very good.


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Photo of Oxymoron
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brettanomyces. Pours darker yellow color with a amber hue throughout. Poured a fluffy head with mid sized bubbles. Great retention though but limited lacing overall.

Then nose is funk. Some lighter malty undertones with more of a biscuit aroma. There is stronger yeast notes. Horse and barnyard esters. Some lighter fruity esters citrus and bananas. A touch of spice as well, mostly pepper.

The taste is similar. Lighter malt flavors with more of a bready and sweet flavor, but finishes very dry. Fruit notes come out more with citrus and pears. A touch of white wine tastes as well as some herbal hints. Some spice, coriander and pepper. Some yeasty characteristics, mostly Brett flavors, but definite funk.

The body is light with a very dry finish. Some sticky, yeasty finishes. Overall this is just a fun beer and does change over time. Hard to clone, gush city.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,397 ratings.
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