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

2,316 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: 2,316 | Ratings: 5,315
Photo of JonMich13
3.82/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A = Enormous 3 finger white head. Billowy on top. Lasted forever. Still had a bit left at the end. Strong lacing throughout. Challenges the most beautiful of beers - Duvel - but falls a tad short.

S = Typical Belgian funky yeast. Not much else.

T = Some nice sweet malt up front quickly giving way to a surprising bitterness. Maybe a bit of a hop character.

M = Light and crisp. A bit prickly on the tongue. Finishes dry. Not bad.

D = The light crispness and relatively low ABV make this a pretty good drinker.

All in all, a very good belgian ale, but IMO not in the same class with Duvel and Tremens.

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Photo of BarryNL
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Warm orange with a big fluffy white head which lasts and lasts and laces all the way down the glass.

S: Complex aroma, hoppy, almost cannabis aroma, coriander, floral, fruits - perhaps a touch of leather and grass.

T: Spices, coriander, oranges in the aftertaste. Pleasant bitterness, mild alcohols. Malt flavours are fairly subdued. This was a 4 month old bottle so the bacterial, lambic flavours of the aged beer had not yet had a chance to develop. Good levels of flavour for the alcohol content - I wish some beers almost twice the strength had as much taste.

M: Good body - perhaps slightly over carbonated, although appropriate for the style.

D: Reasonable - I'd have another one or two - perhaps a bit overpowering to drink for an entire night out.

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Photo of guild337
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have wanted to try one for a long time, and was in the mood for a good trappist when I saw this bottle at my local grocery store (ok it's a slightly higher end grocery store).

A - What you would expect from a Trappist bottle aged ale. Deep golden color, and cloudy with sediment (mmm...sediment). A nice thick off white head.

S - Not overly fragrant, but what little there is, is fresh and clean. Smell is a little bit citrusey.

T- Taste, on the other hand, is quite complex and has a range of different flavors. My pallet is not the most acute, but I was able to enjoy some pear and apple flavors which were both subtle and poignant.

M - A nice light mouthfeel, with quite a bit of carbonation.

D - Very drinkable, and enjoyable ale. Right up there with my favorite Belgian beers.

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Photo of Brandt
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 vintage (10/03/04)
as part of a vertical 09,08,07,04

this beer poured into a chimay goblet a nice copper orange color with some white head that falls fast and leaves little while drinking

the smell of this aged orval gives off subtle malt character and a moderate brett/sour funk. there are hints of some dark fruit including black cherries and plum. there is also a sourish woody character here with a strong brett presence.

the taste of this beer was far different from that of a new one. there was a moderate sourness to it with a strong dry brett bite. there are also notes of port and cherry with touches of an oak like tannic quality and subtle notes of plum, a very sweet while still being sour beer.

this beer finished out with a medium body and lingering aromatics of the dark fruit and a silky coating on the tongue.

aging this beer turns it into a whole different beast. the turn this beer takes as it apporaches the five years out mark is remarkable if you like the flemish ale characteristics. this beer can go from a relativley bright and spritzy hoppy ale to a much richer beverage with deep complexity, both of which are delightful! i will be keeping a stock around to always have an old one on hand after this tasting!!

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Photo of Soilworker
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 12oz bottle into an Orval goblet. Bottled on 4/29/2009.

A: Pours a beautiful amber color with nice orange hues glistening off of the glass. There is a one finger thick off white head. Lots of nice lacing going on.

S: Tart, yet sweet, green apple dominates this one. THere are nice fruity esters and some phenolic notes coming through. There is a definite presence of some nice yeast notes and subtle undertones of barnyard-like aromas.

T: There is a nice yeasty, estery base which supports the green apple flavors, quite similar to the smell. I get some hint of the brett through the baryard like flavors I get. There is also more bitterness here than I would have expected, I definitely do not remember detecting any last time I tried it. I'm not sure I'm a huge fan of this bitterness but it does fit the style well. Finish is quite dry with some lingering fruity esters and bitterness.

M: Surprisingly more carbonated than I would have expected. Medium bodied overall.

D: This is a very good beer and I could definitely see having a few of these throughout the course of the night but its no session beer...especially considering the price tag on this one.

Notes: I enjoyed this one quite a bit but its not as good as I remember it being when I tried it a year ago. Stil a very good beer and I'll still try it again from time to time. The price tag makes it hard to go back to regularly for me though.

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Photo of kjc51478
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served in a traditional Belgian goblet, the beer pours to a nice golden brown-yellow color with a rather dense head. What sold me immediately about this beer was the aroma. Wow! Waves of citrus, spices, and wheaty hoppiness fill your nose, and you know at that point this is going to be a good beer. The taste is nice and complex with lemon citrus and wheat hay flavor on the front end and nice clean hop bite to finish.

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Photo of Beelzebeer
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottle, served in a chimay goblet, bottled on June 8, 2010.

A - Darker side of pale with 1.5" robust, frothy head

S - Bitter hops, mixed with the slightly sour scent of brett. Very appetizing.

T - A very pleasant bitter mixed with a slight yeast comes in just before the carbonation. The carbonation and taste are tasted at the same time, even though the carbonation level is high. Quite delightful. Barnyard funk comes in afterward with dandelion. Unusual, but delicious.

M - Good amount of carbonation, exemplary representation of the style.

Wow. What a delight. One of my favorite pale ales for sure. Got another couple in the cupboard. Ill let them age a bit, see how they mature.

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Photo of anarchia
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hazy dark orange with a massive head that won't go away before you finish drinking it--beautiful. Aroma is sour apples, barnyard, sour funk, noble hops. Velvety, spicy, and bubbly in the mouth. Carbonation really enhances the diverse flavors. Spicy, fruity hop bitterness. Tart and funky. Fruity and spicy (hints of black pepper). Orange and lemon. I could keep rambling but... a zillion contrasting flavors balanced perfectly. Perfect--yep, that's the word I'm looking for. Perfect.

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Photo of nightcrawler
2.26/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Uncapped the bottle and was hit with the sent of bananas and alcohol.

Even with careful decanting, the ale produced a huge head that turned to what best could be compared to melted ice cream. The color was of wheat and looked great.

The mouthfeel was smooth, but I was overwhelmed by a taste of formaldehyde and alcohol. No malt. No sweetness.

I was able to finish it, though. I hope I simply had an old bottle and will try another at some time.

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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 anchordrinker
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottled on 7-29-09, poured into duvel tulip

A- Hazy, orange-amber appearance with a massive, cloud-like, fluffy white head. Great lacing. Gorgeous to behold!

S- Funky-brett notes are most pronounced. Sweet caramelized-banana, lemon rind citric sit in the background.

T- Lemon rind, light cherry notes, green grapeskin, granny smith apple, abrasive hay underlying, mild sweetness leaks through at points, leathery finish. Unreal complexity.

M- Lots of fine carbo lightens up the medium body, making this a great choice for a midday spring beer (like today!)

D- Very drinkable for 6.9%, however I think it would be hard to give a second one the appreciation it deserves, as it overwhelms the palate a bit in ways I'm not used to.

If you've never tried this beer, GO GET ONE and watch your life become significantly better.

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Photo of PeterParker
2.91/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Drinking this fresh, only a week old. Bottle erupted upon opening.

Pours deep golden brown, maybe a dark amber/copper color. Big white head with large bubbles and lots of lacing.

Banana, yeast, dark dried fruits, plums, very sweet. Not much by way of bready malt however. Bit of orange perhaps.

Mild, at first overwrought with bubbles, a little sourness. Sourness would be nice if it wasn't so lonely. Followed by some yeast, but not a lot. Very mild and mellow. Sourness is not big but it lingers.

High carbonation, feels like a shaken bottle of soda.

Pedestrian in my opinion. It doesn't really have the Belgian characteristics like malt that I'm used to. I think I'll stick to Dark's and Quad's. Maybe it's the low ABV but this one was lacking to me.

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Photo of gnaussea
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very spicy, floral notes emerge the second of the pour. Accumulates in a beautiful, hazy, dark amber with a gigantic, spumey, unsettling head. An undertone of vinegar is notable in the smell. The carbonation hits your palate hard, but the beer has so much flavor that this doesn't detract. Most belgian beers are somewhat shadowed by their carbonation levels, but not here. Sweet, tart hops followed by sweet darkmalts and alcohol. Spices do a good job blending the flavors together, adding a layer of complexity that is quite enjoyable to sort out. A must have for me on special occasions, despite the price.

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Photo of ddarden
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this beer into a glass chalice and it is a nice copper, hazy color. It also has a very nice creamy, slightly off white head. The head lasted through the entire beer. The beer appears very carbonated. The smell is yeasty with hints of lemon and hops.

The taste is refreshing with hints of the yeast, lemon, and nice bitterness. The mouthfeel is light, dry, and carbonated. I could imagine drinking more than one of these in a sitting. The aftertaste is quite mild with a small amount of bitterness. This is a very drinkable beer if you are craving something refreshing.

At the end of the beer the lacing still very heavy on the sides of the glass. This would be one of my favorite Trappist beers if I were in the mood for something light and refreshing.

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Photo of jdoolin
4.78/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: awesome 11.2 oz bottle, poured into an Orval chalice

Appearance: burnt orange amber, big, foamy head that lasted the entire time. A truly beautiful beer.

Aroma: Citrusy and floral with a bit of horse blanket

Taste: Slight sweetness up front that doesn't last. Crisp and dry, notes of citrus and pine and the ever present brett character. Some bready malt in the finish. Somewhat light but very smooth mouthfeel.

Notes: Such an interesting, flavorful and refreshing beer. The most unique of the Trappists ales that I've had. Great complexity. I'll always have one of these on hand.

[Edit]: The more of this beer I have, the more I love it. This last time, I paired it with the Orval Trappist Cheese and it was a magnificient combination.

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Photo of OutFox
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 3/10/11. Ive had bottles with a couple years age on them as well, though not recently. This is quite fresh.

A- Poured into a Orval goblet. Pale amber/copper in color with a pure white head of over a finger. Great lacing and retention as is to be expected from Orval.

S- Sweet and spicey at the start, developing into classic Abbey style yeast aromas. Girlfriend said she smells a bubblegum hint. I didnt get it but its definately the Belgian Yeast strain.

T- Fantastic first of all (it is Orval). Candied Sugar notes at the begining evolving into a citrus and I almost got a little alcohol flavour on the way down even though its only 6.9%. Long lasting on the palate. Stays on the tongue and back of the throat for while which is truly pleasant.

M- Medium bodied. Just seems to last forever even after no longer in the mouth. Great stuff.

O- Some of the best beer period. Orval is amazing. Almost a sweet golden pale its just in a league of its own and will be forever in my mind.

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Photo of Cascadia
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a little darker than most Belgian Pales that I've tried. More carmel yellow than golden yellow. HUGE head, tons of lace, looks like a big puffy white cloud sitting on top of my beer. What do they call those? Cummlio Nimbus? Cullio Num-nuts? Anyway, beauty of a beer to look at.

Smells of sour grapes, apricots, carmel and belgian yeast. Damn, this one is already a duzzie. Very complex aroma.

Tastes.... well, it is very hard to pinpoint. It is several things at once. I taste fruit, almonds, burnt carmel and a small hint of heat. Very complex, I think I'll need to revist this one to nail it down better, but it's a tasty one, for sure. One of the more complex Belgian Pales I've ever had. Worth every penny.


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Photo of jenitivecase
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours with a ridiculously huge head - took me a total of four pours to get it all into my Karmeliet chalice (although it is, admittedly, a touch small). Nice, dark tan, with orange overtones. Head pours off-white and leaves crazy lacing. Ends up with a textured, multi-layered head after multiple pours.

S: Malty, yeasty, with lots of spices - cloves, sage, pepper, maybe even some ginger - apples, and dried apricots. A bit of soap and medicinal scent, as well.

T: Complex and brooding. The fruits and spices of the nose are still present, just dark. Sharp peppery zing upon hitting the palate; fades into some soapy flavors in the mid-regions before leaving an aftertaste reminiscent of peat, smoke, and spent charcoal briquettes.

M: Glides along the tongue. Smooth, yet coats the mouth ever so slightly. Medium-bodied, but very well developed. Super carbonated.

D: Pretty drinkable, despite its ridiculous character. Gets better as it warms.

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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 soultrain
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
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 Weli
4.69/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A-Light copper/amber with a rocky white head with great retention.

S-Really reminds me of spring in a hayfield! Kinda fruity maybe apples, a hint of spice

T-Smooth earthy bitterness up front with a hint of citrus and spice, hints of pilsner malt

M-Kinda tart, overall dry and very thirst quenching

O-A must try beer! Definitely a bench mark example of the Belgian Pale Ale

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Photo of Cannybrew
4.39/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a beautiful golden Amber with good frothy head which slowly dissipitates. Smells are subtle. Black cherry, honey sweetness, and a spicy zing. A definite malty sweetness comes through at the back of the tongue. A very well balanced, yet highly carbonated beer leaves a dry mouthfeel. Fab!

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Photo of jkanavel
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a wonderful treat that I found in an unexpected place.
It poured dark golden and hazy after I stirred the yeast a bit, with a nice fluffy off-white head.

The first thing I noticed was the smell that came bursting from the bottle when I opened it. I got a rush of ethanol which dissipated quickly and left behind strong banana notes.

The taste was a wonderful combination of sweetness offset by clean hops with alcoholic and yeasty back notes. Maybe some herbal/floral action going on too.

The mouthfeel is the kicker with this one, it is crisp and sharp, you almost get the impression you're drinking a citrus beverage. Its quite refreshing and enhances the flavor a great deal.

Pretty drinkable stuff I dare say, were it not so expensive that is.

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Photo of MP72
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Beautiful orangish color with a thick white head ,,very dense bubbles.

S-Citrus and alcohol

T-yeasty , bitter ,sweet and citrusy all at the same time.

M- tingly and crisp

D- to me average couldnt do more than 2

All in all a very good Belgian Pale Ale,, I would buy this again. The taste hides the high 6.9 ABV very well.

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Photo of nms1987
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into Duvel tulip glass.
Brownish orange color. Kind of clay colored. Completely opaque.
Massive foamy white/cream head. More head than Duvel.

Smells Belgian. Funky yeast notes and a slight bit of hoppy notes coming through there.

Wow, thats a dry beer. Definately a sipper despite the low (for a Belgian) ABV. More hoppy than most Belgians but not what I'd call a "hoppy" beer compared to many American beers. The brett adds a fun dimension though, the moderate brett and moderate hopping synergize nicely to add up to more than the sum of their parts.
The combination almost gives it a west-coast citrus/pine vibe although the beer is much more moderate, complex and understated than that.

I like it, I just don't know how often I'd seek it out.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,315 ratings.
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