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

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2,290 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: 2,290 | Ratings: 5,244
Photo of dolzan
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Golden/reddish colour with an enormous head that stays there forever. The body is very cloudy, you can't really see through.

The smell is spicy and fruity.

The taste is something different. As complex as it possibly gets, with myriad tastes mixing up. Flowers, hay, grain, lemon, you name it.

It really is that complex.

In saying that, I'm not really that impressed by all the combinations. It's good, I would buy it again, but not one of the world's greatest beers, as some reviews might lead you to think.

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Photo of xrdsci
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
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 sellmeagod
3.87/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The monks know how to get you drunk. These trappist brews always break on through.

What's great about the beer is how well it plays out the expectations. It will be a classy beer. You know this; the price tag shows this.

And what do you find? It will look like a classy beer. The monstrous head just makes you think of having a merry time, and it's truly a joyful time peering through the golden colored brew.

It will taste like a finely balanced, delicious, classy beer. Dry, carbonated, blast to the tongue.

There's nothing exciting about it, and this has to be the only complaint. Surely, though, we don't want a Pale Belgian to be doing too much radically, so this hardly matters. 6.9 abv is precisely what it needs to be for you not to taste it and then to feel it nicely.

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Photo of yapi
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Has a nice golden color.
Smell & taste is of lemon, hoppy character, floral.
I like the hop here.
Although a bit sharp & dry.
Granny smith apple.
Grassy as well.
Very good beer, but - as a personal preference - I don't really like a dry finish.

edit: really became 1 of my favorites, drinkability is great, so I upped the score

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Photo of pioppo
3.38/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A very particular and characteristic beer from Belgium!! Beautiful the foam that is very adherent.

A lot of wine!! ..with incredible sentor of must both at the nose and in mouth.. This beer remember me a Lambic style.

I don't like very much this beer because it's too much acid and so not many drinkable..

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Photo of mmthompson33
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A legendary beer. Drinking an Orval is a unique experience each time - the fruitiness, subtle maltiness and high alcohol make it one to remember. Not many beers can do that, and no beer has been able to imitate Orval. Orval has that aura that very few beers ever achieve.

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Photo of ThirdCoast
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving Type: 11.2 floz Bottle

A:Murky Orange color with a nice head with plenty of lace.

S:Oranges, lemons, citrus.

T: Sharp taste, hard to pinpoint....Earthy

M:Stings the tounge, much like a cola.

D:Overall a good drinkable beer. Great for a summer afternoon.

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Photo of Clubchat
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I kept this beer in my personnal cellar from 3 years now, can't wait anymore

Appearance - Orange to copper color, more darker that the younger ones, nice carbonnation

Smell - Fruit, wood, vineous with the warming alcohol adding a nice layer of complexity

Taste - Oak, alcohol, serious sweet and vineous taste

Mouthfeel - Light and smooth

Drinkability - Very nice light-aged beer, very easy to drink, delicious

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

This is my favorit Trapist beer to date; it, in my view is better than Chimey- but very different. Having triied in Chinese "cafe" for $4 out of a wine glass, of which I spent a few miniuites trying to explane why I wonted a glass and particularly that glass, It is by far one of the best beers I have triied. I wont lie, the Chinese air killed my nose and so I can just tell by every thing else that the beer smelled like heaven. The taste was very different, very oylde fashined and very not sweat and not bitter. It was light and crispy but also heavy and wonderful. I could sit and drink these for years.

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Photo of PsychoJedi
3.82/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours what would be a nice shade of golden, but filmy. The head is enormous! One of the biggest (but not the biggest) head I have ever poured. It goes down slow with a thickness in the head. The smell is good. I bit fruity, but not to excess with what might be a malty background covering up some of the fruit smell. Taste is alright. Not fruity and not malty, but not much too it than I expected from a Belgium beer. Rather uneventful to some part, but the taste is there. No after taste. Goes down rather smooth. Verdict: try it and judge for yourself.

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Photo of vikingmike
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A very opaque rich amber colour. Gorgeous, really. Incredible head retention.

Smell: I detected bread-like notes combined with medicinal herbs
and lemon

Taste: I wish I could put into words how this tastes...dissect the different subtleties and so forth...but I can't. All I can say is very, very unique; truly unlike anything I've tried before. A VERY long, lingering aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: This stuff is really dry, so much so that it almost made me pucker a bit. Medium bodied

Drinkability: It went down very easily.

This is my first time tasting such a unique beer. I'm glad I finally got around to trying it after hearing it hyped up so much. It really wasn't what I was expecting, based on other trappists I've had, but I did enjoy it

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Photo of JustinOSU99
3.6/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a light amber color with a huge foamy head that sticks aruond for quite some time
S: All sorts of great smells come out of this beer such as apple, orange rind, fig, slight pear hints, and an undertone of caramel.
T: Up front I tend to notice the alcohol even though this beer doesnt have a huge ABV. It is quite tart, with the apple taste coming through. Lingers a bit on the palate with its tartness.
M: Perfectly balanced in carbonation and doesnt seem too heavy.
D: I didn't enjoy the beer as much as I thought I would, but will give it a second try down the road.

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Photo of Andrewtherooster
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow, I can't say I've ever had a beer that tasted like this. Smells a bit lactic, slightly of shoe-polish (and enjoyably so), buttery and a hint of something sweet I can't quite pin-point. Up-front I get a bit of cheddar flavor, a hint of grapefruit-sweetness, finishing with a nice toasty malt. I suspect some Brett used in this beer, as it has some of that wild/sour characteristic comes through. But where most wild ales would turn tart, Orval turns bready in the finish. It reminds a bit of a quality grilled cheese. In fact, I'm sure this beer would go great with a grilled cheese.

As for mouthfeel, I found the beer to be a bit over-carbonated when I first poured it into my snifter, but with some swishing around, it got much better. A little on the thin side, and a bit dry.

Overall, it's a remarkable beer that I would most certainly try again.

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Photo of evantwomey
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
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 SamuraiJack
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a near unique beer in my experience - and a fabulous treat for someone who appreciates Belgian ales.

First pour shows a light amber beer with strong gold and orange highlights. The hazing is quite light and there is only a small amount of yeast sediment. The head is, well, incredible. And magnificent. A stunning, fluffy mass of everlasting rocky white dense foam.

The aromas are equally amazing. There is that intense burst of funky yeast that sets this beer apart from the other Trappists. In some ways the horse blanket aroma here reminds be of the aromas from the Fantome Saison. Strong floral aromas with a nice grapefruit/lemon spice touch. Smelling this beer is perhaps better even than drinking it.

In taste it is immensely smooth with a crisp bite in the middle and a citric/grapefruit finish. The body is rather light for a Trappist and there is a huge amount of effervesence. Noticable hop flavours and some phenol notes in the middle. As the grapefruit fades the dryness takes over. Now this is a dry finishing beer!!

The only downside to this beer is that it is so complex that I honestly don't think I could drink more than a couple without my palette being overwhelmed.

A fabulous, original beer and a true piece of history.

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Photo of sprackops
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2oz brown bottle with a best before date of 20.01.2009, a full five years after its bottled on date. Poured into a proper Orval chalice, leaving the majority of the yeast in the bottle.

Appearance: Slightly hazy amber with a wide column of bubbles feeding a dense off-white head. Beautiful.

Smell: Lemon, orange, pine, and funky barnyard yeast are just a few of the scents that come to mind. Quite a complex nose.

Taste: Very citric and drying at the start, like a dry white. Beyond this the taste expands to a particularly full balance of sweet malts and candy sugar to high alpha acid hops bitterness. Lurking in the periphery is the funky wild yeast character detected in the nose, bringing along with it an impressive gamut of earthy, rustic flavors similar to those found in complex cheeses that while not immediately appealing, are in my opinion integral to the uniquely satisfying nature of Orval. The experience is rounded out with a pleasant, mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with very lively carbonation. This perfectly accompanies and accentuates the flavor.

Drinkability: As I consider this the most subjective category for obvious reasons, I would normally state that I see no reason why anyone who appreciates this beer couldn't knock back a few more than other representatives of similar styles. However, considering the price that comes along with the Trappist name, it seems proper to deduct a point here.

Comments: This has been my favorite Belgian for nearly as long as I've been aware of the country's beers -- I've delayed reviewing it for so long out of fear of not doing it justice. I'd just like to add that I would love to taste more hoppy beers which utilise wild yeast strains. Oh Brettanomyces, what can't you do?

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Photo of amneziak
4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Right off the bat I have to say this beauty pours with about 14 fingers of massive pale white soapy looking head. Jeez Louise that's a massive stretch of foam! Additionally, it has a nice clear warm amber color. There is minimal cloudiness, and the immense amount of bubbles proves that this is a very vibrant beer.

Smell: I absolutely love the smell of Orval. There is a ton of banana bread and clove components right up front that are met up later by some funky lemon undertones. This beer really smells old world and the spices, for the most part, are very hard to pick apart. I also get a bit of alcohol presence in the nose which is odd since it only sits around 6.9% ABV.

Taste: Tastes almost identical to the smell. There is lots of banana bread in the mouth with a hint of lemon funk to back it up. Throughout the beer, several strange (yet enjoyable) floral components begin to come out. This is potentially due to the temperature change as you work through it. The lemon and funk essence that lies underneath is very reminiscent of a gueuze. In the end, you are left with a very nice deep banana taste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: In terms of mouthfeel, this is more along the lines of how an IPA hits the palate than a Belgian style ale. It has lots of flavor and a well-rounded bitterness. There is also (as the pouring would insinuate) loads of effervescence that immediately slams into your tongue. In terms of body, this is not quite a medium-bodied beer, but close.

Overall: Of all the Trappist beers I've had so far, this is easily one of my favorite. I'm a huge fan of the whole banana bread and clove element of it. I will say it's maybe a touch too "bubbly" for my taste, but I can't really find a whole lot more to complain about. I'll definitely be picking up some more of these down the road.

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Photo of mfkr
2.95/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Hazy orange copper, loads of foam that takes long time before it disappears and leaves some thin lacing.

L - Fruity especially citrus fruits, some grass, acid feeling, some yeast.

T - Apples, lemon, orange, the acid from the smell is there, some yeast and hops. The taste doesn't feel balanced.

M - Very sharp from the carbonation, it's a bit too thin.

Would have been really nice if the taste would have been more balanced.

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Photo of Errto
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at Amity Wine. Bottled 5/08/2009 which puts it right in the 6-12 month sweet spot (unless that means it was brewed in August???)

Pours a rather pale gold color, long lasting head, good carbonation, slightly cloudy.

Usually I don't detect much in the smell of beers at all, which is part of why I don't review much. But this has an incredible flowery, sweet smell that is hard to resist.

The taste is unlike any beer I've had (yet). Hop bitterness is definitely there, more so than in other Belgians I've had, and it's got that rich sweet thing going on, but it's also a touch sour towards the end, enough to notice but not enough to be squirm-inducing.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light considering the taste, kind of nice. Plenty of carbonation to keep the senses tingled.

Drinkability: well, as a pale ale at less than 7%, yeah, it's pretty damn drinkable. I'd drink another right now if I had one.

Overall, I'm extremely glad I finally got to try this. I get the impression from here on BA that there really aren't other beers like Orval, which is a shame because I'd seek them out.

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Photo of ivanwatling
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:  Clear orange hue, several inches of froffy head, moderate retention

Smell: A rather unpleasnt aroma akina to stale urine.  I asked for a  second opinion from my wife, she said it smelled of beer and was slightly sweet.

Taste: Citrusy, lively, initially very bitter. But then the bitterness blends in with other flavours to produce a well balanced experience.

My wife said the initial taste was sweet, then some sourness came in.  Intruiging how we can be so different.

Mouthfeel: Above average carbonation that seems to work for this beer.  Aftertaste is mellow and pleasant.  

Drinkability: A very pleasant experience.

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Photo of e11iott
2.5/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: 11.2 oz bottle. This beer poured an uncontrolable amount of head, almost thinking I got a bad bottle. Another interesting tid-bit on the bottle was it had a made date of 05/08/2009, best before 05/08/2014. That seams like a long time to collect dust on the bottle and for a beer to settle.

S: Slight fruit, very yeast like, overpowerful yeast.

T/M: Interesting, very dry hop aftertaste and bite. Very high carbination.

D: Paid to much and was let down by this one, I might have to revisit it. Hoping my bottle was bad. Other option is this just isn't my style.

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Photo of Prince_Casual
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled 7.18.12, so a bit less than a year old. Poured into a "softball sized" snifter.

Really a pretty pour with a head that sits for a moment, then recedes gradually as if to indicate it's ready to be sampled. Not nearly as milky or hazy as some other BPAs (or more specifically other trappist ales).

The smell on this one can take over an otherwise neutral smelling room. The initial rush has a lot but definitely ripe banana, some spice, lemon (rind)... I am always a sucker for the super dry french/normandy cidres, and this beer has a similar bit of yeast that predicates where the taste will go.

A supremely dry beer. There is hardly a trace of fruit on the tongue, and no alcohol at all. It's just an acidic grain-y sensation that is a unique counter to the huge ripe fruits on the nose.

The first couple times I had this beer I didn't "get" what was all about. Now I see it as a different and valuable part of the belgian/trappist interpretation of Pale Ale. This beer really bridges two of the major Belgian styles: dry and refreshing enough to hang with the classic Saisons, and enough spice and ripeness to rival the finest tripels.

While Rochefort 12 or St Barnardus 12 are on my "must try" list for people just getting started, Orval is the one who can bring the "AH HA!" back to the most jaded Advocate.

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Photo of stof0048
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into a Watou chalice. Pours a golden brown with a thin head that slowly disappears. Little lacing. Smell is light and a bit fruity with a copper tone and hops. Taste is mildly hoppy, not much of a malt taste, slightly fruity (citrus), a little wheaty, slight hint of alcohol but well balanced. Mouthfeel is good on this beer, very smooth over the palate. Drinkability is wonderful... goes down very easy, very tasty suds, could drink this all night and day.

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Photo of godfathermg57
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice.

A: A fizzy copper. Well carbonated with a large head.

S: Funk and yeast. It smells like the far off land of Belgium.

T: Dry and refreshing. It's tart with a slight piney and hoppy taste. It's got a fairly subtle taste to it, nothing overpowering in any one direction.

M: Quite a fizzy mouthfeel, like a saison.

D: Quite drinkable and refreshing. A very fine beer, though its taste is not overpowering.

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Photo of seabass87
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.2 FL OZ. bottle into Chimay chalice.

A- Pours a very attractive glowing copper brown. A healthy but short-lived head that quickly dissipates into a creamy cap that retains throughout consumption. Leaves brilliant lacing.

S- Complex scent - picking up sweet lemon, rich orange, barnyard funk, grass, floral hops, and some spices.

T- Citrus fruit and yeast up front in a bitter bite, followed by a smooth hoppy aftertaste with some funky grass hanging around. A zesty beer with nice bitterness.

M- Medium body with slight carbonation - this beer is built well. Very smooth.

O- All in all, this beer was still impressive. It's not my favorite Belgian pale, or favorite Trappist ale, but you can tell this is a quality beer that has been made forever.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,244 ratings.
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