1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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

4,532 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,532
Reviews: 2,133
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 226
Gots: 460 | FT: 11
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)
View: Beers (2) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,532 | Reviews: 2,133 | 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).

Photo of cj8311
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of BILF
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of cambabeer
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of RWACKO
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of TheyCallMeYukon
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before 7/08, bottled on 7/03, so well aged. My initial reaction to the color of the beer was disappointing. Pale orange with a hint of cherry red. Head was magnificent. Huge 1inch, reluctantly settle after a couple of minutes. Lacing is all over the place, kind of like a cupcake wrapper. Tastes very, grapes and oranges, little hop kick towards the end; has a pretty pungent alcohol smell which is surprising considering its "low" ABV.

Overall a very nice beer. For the price I think I'll visit other Belgium’s again before this one.

Photo of treznor
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of Vengeance526
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy light orange color and a HUGE white head that very slowly settles down leaving some nice lacing on the side.

Smells strongly of lemon, strong floral hops and a lot of spices. Very inviting and you can really feel the spices hit the back of your nose so I can tell I'm in for an interesting taste.

Taste hits right off with strong notes of citrus, mostly lemon with a little bit of orange. A floral burst of hop flavor lies underneath with a lot of spice present. Some faint notes of yeast can also be detected.

This one starts and finishes very dry. Overall a pretty amazing beer that can truly be savored.

Photo of SteveB24
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of ndekke39
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared a bottle of this with some good friends. Bottled on 1/24/06 and best-by 1/24/11. Poured a cloudy honey color with a bright white head and lots of lacing. Smells of so many things... apple, honey, banana, peach, yeast. Wonderful to stick your nose in. Taste was dry, fruit, and hoppy. Overall flavors ran the gamut from sweet to bitter to sour. Each sip brought something new out. Mouthfeel was bright and fizzy. Overall, excellent beer. Great to sip. Highly recommended.

Tried another bottle in September 2007. Bottled on 1/24/06 and best-by 1/24/11. Poured like a very cloudy cider. Small, white head, with little bits of lacing. Smells again of apple, plus some champagne. A little bitterness like an apple peel. Needs to warm up a bit. Very effervescent, like a champagne! This must be one result of the aging. Again, it's wonderful to drink, especially with good friends. Looking forward to trying another bottle next Labor Day!

And we shared yet another bottle in September 2008. Bottled 1/24/06, best by 1/24/11. Poured like clear-ish apple juice, nice thick white head, lots of lacing, great retention. Smells of apples and champagne. Taste is starting to flatten out. Very dry. Taste of apples, bitter at the end, like old coffee. Very effervescent mouthfeel. It's getting less nuanced, but we have 2 more bottles and will see it through to Labor Day 2010!

Opened our fourth bottle in September 2009. Like the rest, bottled 1/24/06 and best by 1/24/11. Poured a clear deep yellow. Lots of foam, very fizzy and rocky. Lots of lacing on the glass. Aromas of yeast, fermented apple cider, pears, white wine like a Riesling. Tastes of white wine, champagne, apples. Taste begins well, but ends with a flat burn. Almost tastes old. Mouthfeel is a bit flat, despite all the foam. Still interesting, but the beer is mellowing out. One more bottle for next year!

Opened our fifth and final bottle in September 2010. Like every one of them, bottled 1/24/06 and good until 1/24/11, although it doesn't seem to be holding up too well. Very foamy on the pour, with a consistent fluffy white head. Color looks darker and cloudier this year. Smells like apple cider vinegar. Tastes a little flat, like cardboard or wood; it's like a very weak wine. Mouthfeel is still fizzy and bright. This beer has about three months left in its life, but already it seems to be turning into nothing.

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

Bottle dated 10/05, so this is about 9 months old. Poured into an Orval chalice. Thick golden-brown with a huge foamy head and great retention.

Malty and fruity overtones, especially pear. Quite an alcohol scent as well, though we are approaching 7% (the site lists this at 6.2, but my bottle says 6.9).

Very dry and earthy taste. Alcohol content is evident as well, not as well hidden as most Belgians. The pears are coming through as an undertone, and it is neither as fruity or malty as the scent.

Medium-bodied. Very dry and crisp on the palate.

This is a good treat, but definitely not a session beer. Very dry and fairly high ABV. Overall I'd recommend it, but not more than one or two a night.

Photo of dpodratsky3
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into chalice

A: Cloudy and opaque, a dark butterscotch color, but only in color, nice and light looking, foams up nicely then settles to just under half a finger of off frothy and light looking white head, stays thick against the sides

S: Tangy and sweet fruity aromas abound, lots of variety, some spiciness gets imparted from that unique belgian yeast, some mild belgian hop aroma is also present, that tangyness is also accompanied by some of those barnyard/earthy aromas as well, very nice

T: Starts kind of spicy (carbonation also affects this), but turns very tart and also sweet just like the smell with all that fruit/barnyard/earthy hint, almost like fruit skins, then the hops come in and start to increase in intensity, pretty mild flavor but adds good bitterness to the mix, complex flavor profile, but remains light and very enjoyable

M: Highly carbonated like many belgians, creates an airy, light mouthfeel, helps tartness carry, but also cleanses at the end

D: Surprisingly drinkable for all of the flavors present, that nice light mouthfeel really helps

Notes: Very unique, Orval has always been a standard for me, it may not appeal to everyone because of its distinct flavors, but I like its uniqueness. This is definitely a belgian classic.

Photo of ricke
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving date: 2009-01-20. Served in snifter.

Presentation: 330 ml bottle. Bottling date and freshness date on label (Bottled 2008-06-20, best before 2013-06-20). Recommended serving temperature and glassware on label.

Appearance: The beer is amber-colored with red hues, and a bit hazy due to the bottle conditioning and the rather large amount of yeast in the bottle (left most of it in the bottle, though). It develops a big, bubbly and uneven head, despite poured in a quite wide-bodied snifter. The head is almost white, with a light yellow/orange shade, and settles very very slowly. It actually never disappear. Instead it leaves a thick coat of foam. Rocky and airy lacings clings to the glass. This one really pleases the visual faculty.

Smell: Lemon, grass, weeds and sweet, fruity aromas, coupled with a pleasant smell of yeast.

Taste: Lemon peel is mixed with yeast and very faint notes of unripe tart fruits. A hint of pine needles is there as well. Then, a taste of grass and hey enters the picture together with a very mild barnyard funkiness (horse blanket?). Just before the finish, it develops a sharp twang - perhaps a result of hops. The finish is tart at first, then develops a subtle bitterness leaving a long and dry sensation in the mouth. Overall, the taste of this beer is really great with levels of complexity. Basically every sip offers something new. However, the true highlight is the balance between the different flavors - everything is composed in a precise and very pleasant manner.

Mouthfeel: As with the taste, this beer offers a rather unique mouthfeel. At first, with the plentiful foam playing an important part, it's quite smooth and full. However, this quickly changes into a a medium, almost light, body with the lively carbonation providing a sharp and crisp feeling to it.

Drinkability: This is a fantastic beer with an original and unique profile. A true masterpiece from start to finish.

Photo of bkrbdan
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of amstokesdb9
3.25/5  rDev -22.6%

Photo of danipp
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of packetknife
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark copper maybe broze, solid white head that holds. An amazing array on the nose, smell often and long... citrus, apples, soil. Very hoppy with citrus and spice on the tongue. Nothing unlively about the beers, feels very different at each stage of touching your tongue, flowing over, and going down. I was very impressed. Expensive as sin but I'll make it a annual thing.

Photo of mklinger
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet. A very thick, rocky head formed. There's an effervescence about this beer that is very pretty in the pour. The beer pours a pale orange amber. I did my best to get a clean pour but it came out pretty hazy. It's an interesting, complex looking beer.

Aroma was great. i got some lemon & herbs right away followed quickly by a bit of the barnyard aroma that folks talk about as wet horse blanket. Again, this is just such a complex aroma profile.

Taste is complex too, though I didn't find that it held up quite as well as the aroma (but it was close). More of the barnyard in my taste profile, not as much bitterness as I thought there might be. Good bit of sourness, too. Quite tart.

Rich mouthfeel. The carbonation lends a fullness to this beer that is otherwise greater than the body. Quite nice.

Photo of ezperkins2
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of Fitzmke
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of bigbeerfan
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of hyuga
4.95/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours into my Orval chalice, where it is beautifully presented, an orange brew with a huge white head that retains very well. Wonderful complex aroma, consisting mainly of ripe banana and clove. It's like I just got a bunch of fresh bananas and peeled one! Also detectable are fresh sliced green apple, dried fruit (maybe raisin or plum), and spicy hops. Can't say how great that aroma is, it's just overwhelmingly good! I feel like I'm in a fruit market. One of the most aromatically pleasing Belgian beers I've ever had. Cracked pepper jumps in with the first taste, then more of that fresh fruit that was in the aroma. Clove also floats around sporadically. Spicy hops are next, along with dried fruit. Malt is most noticeable with retro-olfaction. Very "carbonated" mouthfeel. Sharp melon rind-like hop twang in the finish. A medium body, but very fruity, spicy, and complex! This beer is so very good! It's well worth the $4.99 or so for the 11.2 oz. bottle in my opinion. Trappist monks certainly know how to brew. And I'm sure they get to drink this wonderful brew every day at the Abbaye Orval. They even make cheese to pair this with. I want to be a monk there now, where do I sign up?

Photo of AudioGilz
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, amber/orange.....enormous white head that slowly reduces to a coating that leaves lots of lace.
The aroma is pungent lemon and flowers that gave me goosebumps. One of the best smelling beers I have tried.
The mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, medium bodied, and crisp.
I really enjoy the tartness in this beer, lemony, spicy hops, then a slightly bitter and crisp finish. This beer is different than other Belgian's I have tried in that it's more tart and pungent. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and will definitely purchase it regularly.

Photo of drxandy
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle dated : bottled - 27/12/2007 - best before 27/12/2012B - 2 days after last years christmas, yay

poured to goblet, hazy deep golden with slight brown, highly carbonated, white head fades to lacing - looks good

smells of apples! sweet and sour funk from the brett yeastiness, peppery spice, pineapple, slight lemon citrus

tastes tangy sweet creamy from carbonation, the carbonation is excellent kicking all the flavors around and lounging on the tongue, bitter, funky brett is sour and dry, very balanced, biscuity malt, bitter hops in the back, light alcohol, wow - complex!

mouthfeel is amazing, crisp dry finish, refreshingly creamy carbonation, very nice!!!

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,532 ratings.