1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,358 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,358
Reviews: 2,117
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 206
Gots: 397 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.20% ABV

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.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,358 | Reviews: 2,117 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of chugamugofsud
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orval is an excellent trappist ale, it is bottle conditioned for an extensive period before sale and gets better if you let it sit around. The beer pours an orangey-amber that is cloudy with taste and there is a relatively frothy head on it at first. The beer smells of oranges (probably peel) and various herbal scents (I'm picking up rosemary) and tastes amazing. Some I've been around felt it was too carbonate; however, I think this beer makes a goal of having a symphony of taste with no featured player. Each of the various flavors (spice, fruit, herb and alcohol) work together without any of them overpowering your mouth. This beer comes well recommended (esp. to trappist ale fiends like myself).

chugamugofsud, May 14, 2004
Photo of jzeilinger
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque golden orange, nice creamy white two finger head, very active carbonation.

Smell has hints of spices, lemon, and floral notes. Also getting a little bit of sourness in the aroma which makes me very nervous about this bottle, may not be as fresh as it chould be.

Taste is light citrus, toasted malts, a tinge of sourness but not as bad as I had expected judging from the aroma. Also has some lemon, coriander spice, and a hoppy character that is present almost the entire way through and finishes very, very dry - one of the driest beers I've had.

Mouthfeel is light, "airy" and delicate, the carbonation is "fluffy" on the tongue and is slow to dissipate. Some people have put the body on the medium side but I think it runs closer to the heavier side of light, not quite medium. Drinkability is good, I dig the bitterness factor as I'm not used to getting that very often in a Belgian ale.

jzeilinger, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of dsprainman
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First review here, so bear with me.
Bottled 29/3/11
Poured into a Chardonnay glass
A- 1-2 fingers off-white head with an amazing opaque amber body. The body truly catches the light of the room and shows a lighter amber and darker orange hue.
S- Scents of pears and light hoppyness give this beer a rather refreshing nose.
T- Flavors of light pears and mild hops give this beer a refreshing taste. Taste follows the nose very well.
M- This is what truly sets this beer apart from many other Belgian offerings. An almost Champagne like effervescence takes the delicate taste to the next level.
O- A great, refreshing summer sipper, with petite nuances that Trappist's are known for. Also, at 6.2% ABV, this one can be enjoyed without quite as much caution as some of the other Belgian heavy hitters. Defiantly a good choice, that I would buy again.

dsprainman, Aug 13, 2011
Photo of Slynger
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ahh, the classic Belgian Pale Ale. Bright hazy golden-orange color with a really large and fluffy white head. Sweet banana and tart orchard fruit nose with yeasty belgian spice. Quite nice. Light, but hugely creamy carbonation fills the mouth with tastes of apples, bananas, and spicy belgian yeast. A classic and probably the most sessionable of begian ales I've ever had, even at close to 7%. Supremely tasty and hugely refreshing. Oh so satisfying.

Slynger, Feb 19, 2008
Photo of ypsifly
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottled on 1/28/03.

Dark orange with an off white head that is generous and leaves nice lacing.

Smells of lemons and flowers. The first thought that came to mind was a nursery I worked in during my first year of college. Smells like the old geranium house. There's some mustyness underneath.

Very dry tasting. The musty "barnyard" notes pop up in the middle with dried flowers taking over the finish. The flowers mingle with hops. Interesting.

Nice medium mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. This one has great drinkability, but the complexity compels you to sip it. The abv makes this one a decent session beer.

ypsifly, Mar 23, 2005
Photo of stoutman
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brewed at the Trappist monastery founded in the 1100s, this ale is fermented three times with three different malts and two types of hops. Unlike most Trappist ales, Orval has a powerful hop presence. It is a bitter-orange color, with a fruity and slightly sour bouquet. A wonderful hop bitterness and long, dry finish. Best served around 60F with stinky cheese or seafood.

stoutman, May 29, 2002
Photo of JamesS
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice deep amber (near coppe) color with fantastic head and lacing. Great scent, very deep and malty with wonderful fruit attributes (apple, cherry, and banana). Great deep malty flavor, nice hint of fruit; the aftertaste is complex, with a bit of hops and fruit and with a near cloying finish. Goes down thick, but nice and smooth. Not my favorite trappist, but really, really good nonetheless.

JamesS, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of rodrot
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear orange/amber color with a fluffy one inch head. A stream of tiny bubbles rise to the surface of my glass, which looks very inviting. The flavor is spicy and peppery with notes of lemon zest and hops. There was also a sour note to this beer that was not overwhelming at all, but that balanced the sweetness of the malt. I had this beer several years ago and I don't remember it being this tasty and complex. Maybe my tastes have changed. It's an original and is completely different from any other Trappist beer.

rodrot, Jan 22, 2006
Photo of randawakes
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a very thick doubled-height head that dissipates at a moderate pace at first, then slows to a crawl with great lace. Milky golden color. Liquid mouthfeel is bubbly! Faint orange taste with mild citrus notes, but nothing stands out too far. Quite a bit of bitterness

randawakes, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of mmcave
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I originally had this during a tasting this summer, at that time I was not quite wowed in comparison to other trappist’s, but recently I thought it needed a try all on it’s own. Here goes: poured into a tulip glass rather haphazardly a huge foamy head like the top of mount Everest or something, with thick sticky white snow lacing all over. The retention is wonderful. Smells of pilsner malt, lots of nice citrus, hints of apple, light spice, and saaz hops maybe, first beer I think of in relation is Duvel, at least in the nose. Taste how ever is little like that Belgian “devil”. Taste is crisp and refreshing, bitterness is minimal on this, same with sweetness. I was expecting a little more sweetness toward the middle and finish, which this one does not really have, I think thus it lends it’s self to consumption in mass quantities, or at least more than one. I feel like I can really taste the quality of the water in this, more so than other trappists, something about it’s subtleness allows that element to shine through. I also heard that Orval makes some tasty cheese, which I will have to purchase along with another of these. All and all this is my least favorite trappist ale for just drinking, but I have a sneaking suspicion that with the right food it might do better than its other family members.

mmcave, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of northernbrews
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased 12 oz bottle from Merchant's in Dearborn. Bottled 1/24/06....best by 1/24/11.

Appearance: Nice brown body with hints of orange around the edges. Off-white three finger head that slowly fades to a fluffy mass on top of this beauty. Very nice lacing on my DFH snifter. I bet this looks even better in the Orval chalice.

Smell: Brett, slight funk, and nice hops followed by oranges and more hops. Even a touch of tropical fruits. Man, I forgot how good the aroma was on this.

Taste: Nice balanced taste of hops and malt. Rustic brett like flavors come through paving the way to slight tropical fruit and orange notes in the finish. Quite smooth.

Mouthfeel: Slight hops hit the tongue from the start. Brett and slight tartness covered the roof of my mouth for a bit.

Drinkability: This is a very drinkable beer. If this were cheaper, this would be one of my normal session beers.

Haven't had this in a few years. It won't be another few years before I have another one. This is a nice transition beer for newer "beer" drinkers either to IPA's, wild ales, or other belgians. I recommend trying this to anyone. Haven't had too many beers quite like this. To me, it's like a toned down JP Oro de Calabaza....which is a good thing.

northernbrews, Dec 22, 2006
Photo of djmichaelk
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle into a perfect pint. Bottled 2/20/08.

A - Slightly hazy yellow, almost amber. Huge, rocky, off-white head that almost overflows the glass. Slight lacing, but not really sticking to the glass. Subsequent pours just stir it right back up. Great legs.

S - Well, this is a really pleasant surprise. While I was expecting a typical trappist pale, this has all of the aromas of an American wild ale. Citrusy, funky notes from the brett, plus some yeastiness in the background. Maybe a little clove and spice. This is just fantastic.

T - A lot going on here -- funkiness at first, less citrus than the nose, plenty of spice: clove and anise, with maybe some allspice. A bit of banana. Little to no alcohol in the finish, although it is somewhat dry.

M - Full and sticky. Just the way I'd like a wild ale to be.

D - This is a really unexpected treat. There's a great combination of a wild and belgian flavors here. Lowish alcohol for a belgian just makes it even more drinkable.

O - I'm heading to the store tomorrow to buy at least another handful of these. Need to have some around the house for everyday drinking. Highly recommended.

djmichaelk, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of vishneda
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

33 cl bottle poured into a goblet.

Stands out as one of the nicest looking beers I've had in a while. Nice rocky three finger layer of foam on top of a dark peach colored beer. Tremendous action in the glass and moderate lacing as tbe beer goes down.

The aroma is also fantastic, a wonderful bouquet of fruits and grains. I smell green apple, blueberries and grapes mixed with the grassy Belgian style yeast. Very strong aroma.

This has one of the best flavors I've experienced in a dry beer. Tiny bit of sweetness mixed with grape and blueberry flavors. Lots of grass and earth flavor in and good balance with the bittering in the finish. Sharp almost to the point of being salty.

Huge carbonation on this one; I thought it was high enough to detract from the mouth feel and drinkability. It was very spicy, sharp, and filling. The air settled down some toward the end of the glass.

vishneda, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of dansmcd
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Two fingers of pocked, active, bubbly, fizzy head with great retention. Clouds of lacing follow up. Body is a clear, furiously carbonated pinkish amber.

S - This is a real pot pouri of floral, herbal, barn and fruity aromas. Rosemary, cough syrup, musty wet horse blanket, pepper, booze, strawberries, champagne.

T - Follows on with a lot of the same character, with the addition of funky belgian yeast.

M - High carbonation, light body, tart and super crisp.

O - A classic belgian. The old mustiness combined with the tart strawberry is a beautiful mix. Great beer.

dansmcd, Nov 06, 2011
Photo of zuccard
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Loved this one...Tremendous head on this beer...great color, slightly amber in color, very frothy and hung in there throughout the entire bottle.

Taste was nice, fruity, with a bit of an almost smoky aftertaste. Color was a hazy orange. With %alc at 6.9, the mouthfeel and apparent alcohol was very well done. Did not seem that high, and no solvent-like taste.

Just a great beer. Loved it and will go back for more

zuccard, Jan 12, 2007
Photo of Bendurgin
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is actually the first time I've had this beer. For some reason I just never grabbed it so here goes. Bottled on 17/11/2010. Poured into a chalice. Pours a hazy straw color with three fingers of bubbly off white head. Real nice retention on this. Settles down with some soapy lace.

A little bit of white grape juice on the aroma. Kind of reminds me of an ice wine. A little bit of spicy floral hops. A little bit of sweet candied orange in the aroma. Dry flavors here. A little peppery with a little bit of fruit juice to the flavor. The flavors are a little bit two dimenional but on point and refreshing.

Light body with soft carbonation on this one. Overall one of the better Belgian Pales around. Great that this one is readily available. I'll be drinking more here.

Bendurgin, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of Grundle20
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:
Pours copper in color with a fair amount of sedimentary haze. There is a massive pillowy white head that laces the glass with swards of foam.

Smell:
There's an apparent banana scent that is paired well with a Belgian yeast character. The smell is mildly obvious and pleasant overall.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
Tropical fruit notes and minor banana hints build up the majority of this beer's flavor. It drinks light and crisp which works well with how effervescent the beer is. The beer finishes dry with an exit of fruit punch and leaves you with little aftertaste.

Drinkability:
This beer is damn tasty and pretty low ABV for a Belgian beer. I could easily supplant my american hefeweizen for this beer on any day. One of the more drinkable Belgian beers I've ever had.

Bottom Line:
A beer, that to me, lives up to it's reputation. I think it would have been even better had it aged a little because this bottle was a little on the "green" side. A must for any Belgian fan or somebody looking to get in to Belgian beer.

Grundle20, Nov 28, 2006
Photo of vdubmatt
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a bottle of this poured into a Duvel glass last night at the Cloverleaf Tavern in Caldwell, NJ. If there is one way I can describe this beer, it is very similar to champagne in some aspects. The high carbonation and light body lend themselves to this description. It has a delicate flavor that goes with the light, ultra carbonated mouthfeel. All in all, I really enjoyed this beer. I should mention I am not a huge belgian fan, but I really enjoyed this beer.

vdubmatt, Jan 09, 2008
Photo of BeerNemesis
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orval Trappist Ale. 11.2oz. April 2009 vintage.

Appearance:
Semi-opaque orange/amber color with some light haze. 2.5 finger white head mushrooms up the glass and settles into a spongy, rocky landscape. Medium lacing.

Aroma:
Citrusy, some pine, flower

Taste:
It's smooth, crisp, and generally light. Slight tart-fruity flavor with a touch of lemon rind, and some medicinal phenols. The hop bite is not as intense as one would think, but this worked well in conjunction with other flavors.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability:
Orval surprisingly accomplishes a light body but a full mouthfeel. Very nice. Carbonation is good (slightly reduced when ages which was quite nice). I find Orval very drinkable (I could have 2-3 more happily). and venerable.

Notes:
Orval comes in a unique, vase-like brown bottle. It's unusual, but a pleasing shape nonetheless. Orval also has venerable historic origins -- I mean the monastary dates back to the Merovingian period (1100's).

BeerNemesis, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of cswhitehorse
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Orval poured a hazy dark straw color with a overwhelming 3 finger foam head when poured slow. It has a freshness date of 2006 and a drink by date of 2011. It left some nice lacing.

The aroma was yeasty with some floral smells. Slight smell of bananas and peaches.

The taste was right away spicy and held the way through. It was crisp and clean and had nice bitterness on the finish. Overall a pretty solid beer and will have to try again and not have the bottle shoot up at me like a champagne bottle.

cswhitehorse, May 07, 2008
Photo of BeerAngel
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very pale tea-like color with a massive dense off-white head with alot of carbonation. The smell is outstanding. I rarely get waves of smell from brew, but this one has it. It reveals a sweet fruit, coriander?, clove?, light hops, a musty yeast aroma, and some that I can't even explain. It smells complex and it made me antsy to sample this one. The taste is slightly less exciting than the aroma, but still one solid brew! It starts with the carb bite that slides into a light spicey fruit and yeast that tapers into a dry seltzer like taste. This is a light bodied beer that again has dryness that is in the entire second half of each swallow. A very nice Ale that is definitely unique! Op uw gezonheid!

BeerAngel, Mar 11, 2004
Photo of soulgrowl
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Body ranges from chestnut brown to iced tea orange depending on the light. The head on this thing is really interesting; after I poured it, I set it down and responded to an e-mail. When I looked back at it, the head had expanded to about an inch higher than it was before! Currently, the head is collapsing along the perimeter of the class, leaving this funny little nipple-like mesa in the middle. Very unusual, very cool.

Smell: Oh yum. This smells great, really, truly, great. It has a very toasty malt character with piney hops, mild phenols, alcohol and some zippy yeast. An odor of old homes. Kind of like a kicked-up American red.

Taste: Wow, great malt profile; buscuity, toasty, and nice and nutty. Woodsy hops, tangy yeast, and alcohol add a little spice. Tart apple cider and a flash of sweet cherry flavor comes out as you swallow. Finish has a bit of Scotch whisky-ish alcohol sweetness, followed by a dry, wheaty tang.

Mouthfeel: Nice and creamy, very frothy and chewy, but also kind of abrasive due to the alcohol.

Drinkability: This is quite drinkable, but obviously no session beer. Drink late and drink slowly... it is exceptionally savorable.

soulgrowl, Apr 04, 2006
Photo of Arithmeticus
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured chilled in tulip glass at Pizza Paradiso

A: slightly reddish copper color; huge head; great carb action; good lacing
S: light, spritzy, rather nondescript
T: wild ale, Belgian style; not sweet; yeast, dry, bitter; slightly sour, more of a dubbel than I expected; complex

Overall, a very fine beer

Arithmeticus, Nov 10, 2011
Photo of flannelman808
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This one pours a somewhat hazy amber color and is topped with a billowy bone white head. Pancake batter head which has nice lacing to boot. Fairly large bubbles throughout the foam.

S: This stuff smells so good! Lots going on; Spice, Lemon zest, ginger, grass, and a bit of a sour dried tangerine quality.

T: Tons of complexity and yet easy to drink. I get spice in the back of my palate, and some nice fruity esters in the front. There is some aloe like qualities going on as well. This is a very dry finishing beer. There is a mild hop quality coming through in the dryness as well.. not overbearing but present.

M: prickly and mouthfilling.

D: very easy to drink (but not fast)... the alcohol is completely hidden.

flannelman808, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of aerozeppl
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally got around to reviewing this. Have not had it in a number of years. All the talk of the bret in it made the decision for me.

A: Pours a deep amber color with 3 fingers of fluffy cloud like head. Great lacing.

S There is the bret right up front.A nice musty barnyard note. A little bit of pepper in the back. White pepper. Reminds me of a more subtle version of Avery 15.

T: Starts off with a sharp tart/citrus note. Really nice amount of funk in it. The pepper is there in the taste as well.

m: Has that nice dry wild ale mouthfeel. This beer finishes bone dry. Nice amount of carbonation.

D: I really enjoyed this beer. The price is a factor but it is not insanely overpriced so I will grab one every once in a while. The tartness and funk might bother some but I say the monks did not take it far enough. They have been it for a while now so I will allow it. Great precursor to American Wild Ales.

aerozeppl, Nov 29, 2008
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,358 ratings.