Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,214 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,214
Hads: 4,970
Avg: 4.17
pDev: 18.94%
Wants: 300
Gots: 684 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001

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.
View: Beers (2) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,214 | Hads: 4,970
Photo of joedon
3.29/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep orange color with cloudy haze. Poured with a nice tan off-white head but that quickly disippated. Pleasing aroma with yeast, bread and maltiness present. Also a little hop aroma.

Has quite a bite on first taste; sort of astringent tang that mellows after a few sips. Spicy bitterness but not much malty flavor. Definite citrus-acid in the taste and after-taste.

I hadn't tried an Orval in a while but decided it was time. Seems to me it is a bit of an acquired taste. Could use a lilttle more sweetness to balance the sour.

 534 characters

Photo of NiceGuyMike
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Second review of a 330 ml bottle. First review it was loaded with sediment. This time I'm using recommended technique. First pour is a perfectly settled half bottle. Second is swirled to pick up sediment.

Decent off white head that disapates quick with a bit of lacing.
Smells of fruity sourness. First half glass: bitter taste, maybe some biscut not much else. Last gulp was a big with which revealed this not to be a sipping brew. Taste included a strong alcohol presents accompanied with some fruitiness.

Second half poured very cloudy orange. Turning out to be a stronger flavored brew. With more of a spicey fruit smell.

Notes: towards the end of the second glass I started eating some tater-tots and some store brought meat balls. This proved to be a good move cause it showed me how well this brew can go with foods. I wouldn't go as far to recommend anything, but the spicey bitterness went well with what I had.

 931 characters

Photo of amicar
4.65/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours from one of the nicest looking bottles in the business. Light copper- orange with a fluffy large white head. Smell is of banannas and bubble- gum with some slight spice and orange. Taste is really nice- again, spicy, herbal, with slight undertones of pepper and orange. Stays in the throat and persists for awhile, changing all the way. Quite dry and refreshing; Amazing with food- the dry crisp acidity of it cuts through even rich and spicy foods; and it tastes even richer with food. Easy to drink it; really lovely.

Overall, another world- class trappist. Those that don't love it just need to have it with food- that's when it really shines.

 655 characters

Photo of mortarit
3.56/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Well us North Carolina tasters are experiencing a new frontier with the bar lifted.
I saw this bottle at total wine on my way from work so I grab it. The shape of the bottle grab me.
The pour was manageable without to much head retention, about an inch and a half I say.
I notice that the pour was murky and looking at it after the pour that is cloudy. It darken at the widen spaces that the class gives it. It does have lacing forming around the edges.
The taste isn't over powering which I like.
For begin the first trappist ale, I would say not to bad.

 565 characters

Photo of murrayswine
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Biglove or the trade, very awesome guy.
I poured this one into my Delirium tulip.

The pour is perfect with a full cotton head. The smell presents esters, oily chocalate, rose, citrus and raisins.
The taste is wonderful, light and complex with chocalate, and cherries and walnuts coming through.
The mouthfeel is awesome, light and smooth.
If you have the means, I highly recommend it.

 404 characters

Photo of mntlover
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful hazy dark peach color some bubbles rising to feed a creamy fluffy massive head restin on top of this baby. Looks oh so tasty.

Aroma is fruity pear, grapes, tangerines and bananas mixed with spice on a bready malt background, soothing soft aroma.

Taste is wow big not soft like the smell. Lots of carbonation from the start gives the malt and fruit a kick in the pants so to speak. Nice and fruity malt finishes with some good peppery spice, clove and some herbal hops lend some bitterness and the yeast add some earthy dirt like flavors in the finish also. This is a nice Belgian Pale Ale one of the better ones that I have had.

Mouthfeel is good almost medium, almost creamy, the nice zesty carbonation gives the flavors an added boost.

Drinkability is good enjoyed this one more then normal.

 823 characters

Photo of SupaCelt
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew presented itself at nearly a year old as a hazed copper orange with a monstrous chunky head. It is extremely bubbly and the head holds strong and produces sheets of lacing with some true substance.

The smell is very nice to the nose. Banana comes through as dominant to my detectors. A bit of ground spice and pepper and other fruity impressions linger as well.

The taste is light and subtle. The banana that was evident in the nose is noticeable as well as a pear impression and the tastefully administered spicery. There is a degree of bitterness here that shows up in the final throes along with a sourness. It has quite a bit of yeast inspired flavor character. The aftertaste comes off too peppery and yeasty for my personal preferences.

The mouthfeel is light. Massive carbonation achieves this effect quite handily.

Drinkability is only as good as taste here. I was truly optimistic about this, but overall I am a bit disappointed in the end. I was expecting more out of this one.

 1,012 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.92/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an oversized wine goblet)

A-This beer pours a hazy orangeish-brown with a thick creamy off-white head. Lots of very tiny bubbles move rapidly to the surface.

S- The perfumed smell of orange, pear and a hint of banana are mixed with a slight white wine nose. Some soft pale malt notes are also in the smell.

T- Very light fruit and soft malt flavor with a hint of bitterness in a dry finish. This has a little bit of young mead in the finish.

M- This beer has a creamy mouthfeel with a bit of a fizziness to it.

D-This is a very soft yet complex beer that has a lot of nice flavors. However some of the flavors that are not as pleasant tend to shine through more that I would like. Very drinkable just a bit too much carbonic bitterness.

 766 characters

Photo of Viggo
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very cloudy orange/brown, big off white head forms, laces well and the lace refuses to go away. Smell is orange peel, yeast, sweet and sour, spices. Taste is orange, lots of sweet malt, yeast, and a spicy bitter finish. Medium mouthfeel, high rough carbonation, tart sour aftertaste. Good beer although not my favourite trappist, although interesting.

 359 characters

Photo of jhu1995
3.36/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle.

Loved the color and appearance of this beer. Nice orange color with plenty of head retention. Lots of tiny bubbles exploding to the surface. Very fruity smell, almost like a chardonnay. Couldn't wait to taste it. Taste was okay, but was expecting more based on appearance and smell. Not very complex and nothing that really makes you stand up and take notice. Mouthfeel was interesting. Felt very foamy, almost like it was forming a head in my mouth. Overall, a decent beer.

 508 characters

Photo of mjohn27603
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours almost clear in appearance. Leaving a high foamy head. 4 fingers worth in the glass with big bubbles of carbonation. ARoma of grape juice and fruityness with clean crisp smell. Second pours reveals a more golden apperance but stiill with transperancy. A slight hint of orange and grape flavor. Kind of like champagne beer. A very light and crisp taste. Flavor is like a knife to the palate. Extremely drinkable.

 417 characters

Photo of unklesyd
3.55/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

After all I'd heard about this beer, I was pretty disappointed, especially at the price.

Poured like a typical Belg. Pale, big head, lots of retention. Interesting color change when the last 1/3 of the bottle was swirled and yeast added.

Subdued fruity, earthy nose.

The taste was very earthy as well. Very low hop flavor, but great balance and bitterness. Very woody. Before sediment was added, the woodiness was crisper and snappier; after, it became more subtle in its character and brought out a hint of licorice.

After finishing this bottle, I didn't want another. The weight of the beer combined with its flavor profile was too heavy, although the balance was excellent.

 688 characters

Photo of ReebShorts
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11 oz. bottle, Poured into oversize wine glass. Darkish Orange color, frothy head that settled into a thin white top layer. It looks good.

Wow, there is some stuff going on here. First thing is flowers, like a boquet of wildflowers, there is some fruit present here too, maybe plum and apricot... i need to taste and find out what's going on here.

Oh my, never had anything quite like this, strong spicy flower taste, like I just drank some potpourri mix. Not bad though, the initial flavor is quelled by an abundance of carbonation, and some spicy hops. This is actually getting better with every drink, this is really good. I wish a had a couple more, but at $5.50 per 11 oz bottle I'll have to pace myself on these.

Mouthfeel is excellent,thhere is quite a bit of fizzy carbonation present but is is fine and easy to deal with, plus necessary to cut through the power of the flower.

Edit: ok, i've had a chance to drink this one several more times, and was trying to be somewhat conservative in my early reviews. But I simply love this beer, and see no reason to not give it perfect marks. Wish I had one right now....

 1,134 characters

Photo of KingSlender
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bowling pin bottle

Glassware - zig-zag tulip

Pours a dark orange with tones of amber spilling through.

The aroma is outstanding. Very floral and fruity. This may be one of my favorite smelling belgians in this category.

The taste is also very fruity and sweet...apples...peaches...oranges. It's also got a nice hop bite.

Very good beer!

 359 characters

Photo of danielharper
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Purchased from Woody's Smokes and Brews, Franklin, TN.

I had a taste of this at the Bring-a-Friend Beer Tasting in Birmingham a few weeks back, but not enough for a full review. Bought a single bottle and poured it into my oversized wine glass. Appearance is really quite nice, with a sort of orange-yellow body covered with one of the thickest off-white foamy heads I've ever seen. I didn't even pour that aggressively, and this thing just took off. Almost too much head since I'm having to dribble the remainder of the brew into the glass a little bit at a time.

Aroma is very sweet, with hints of soft honey and possibly even a hint of cinnamon. Fascinating the way these Belgian Ales seem to produce the strangest scents that have nothing to do with barley, malt, and hops, but when it smells this nice I'm not complaining.

I may have let this warm a bit too long, for the beer has a strongly astringent flavor first and foremost, which only later softens into a nice soft sweetness that coats the mouth and the tongue. Alcohol is quite strong here, present in large quantities in the flavor even if not in the nose. Bitterness follows every swallow, but it's a nice sort of non-hoppy bitterness. Enjoyable but not exactly to my taste.

This has a thick and luxurious mouthfeel and a low carbonation that work together nicely. The bitter flavors make me not really want to swish this around a lot when drinking it, but the mouthfeel doesn't stand in the way of drinking it that way.

This beer tastes good, and it's fairly low alcohol for a Trappist, but I find myself actually wanting to finish this bottle and move on to something else. I'll certainly try it again next time I can get ahold of it, and this time I'll open it up when it's a few degrees cooler, but at this temperature I really don't enjoy it as much as I'd like to. North Coast Pranqster is much better, and much cheaper.

 1,907 characters

Photo of DogFood11
4.95/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my lucky day....after putting this beer aside in my fridge for over a month (massive willpower) I pulled it out for the sunday night baseball game and it didn't dissapoint.

Beautiful thick chunky head that falls to a solid blanket coating. Mmmm. spritzy carbonation.

At first I thought I was in a flower shop. potpouri type smells but very complex. just imagine about 100 selected varieties of flowers all in one room and that is the smell. Pleasant but powerful. Tasted the same...potpouri with some kick ass mouthfeel (sizzles to make its point but overall smooth). Wild yeast, almost lambic like, with some drying in the middle.

One of the only knocks I could have on this beer is the carbonation is a bit spritzy...some may like it that way. I wish it was toned down just one level and it would have gotten 5's

 832 characters

Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pretty cloudy Orangish copper color at first pour with an extremely thick dense head at first pour. This head turned into bigger bubbles and fell within a couple minutes or so. There is a whole bunch of thick Belgian lace left in its wake.

Aroma: At first pour, I get all kinds of fruit in the aroma. You can definitely make out Lemons, Grapefruits, Pears, and I would even be so bold as to say that I can pick out Limes in this beer. As it warms, you can pick out a bit of the malt mixed with cherries, but the citrus still rules.

Taste: The taste is really citrusy as the nose suggests, but there is also a caramel component that I didn’t get in the aroma. The taste starts out with a complex meld of fruit and malt, but the flavor takes on many facets before it finally calms down. The finish is amazingly dry and refreshing. I believe that this may have to do with the attenuation and mouthfeel as much as anything. I don’t pick up enough hops in here to actually balance the malt, but the high attenuation makes it come across as almost balanced toward the bitter.

Opinion: All I can really say is WOW! This beer is really amazing! I have had it on multiple occasions, but that was after quite a few beers. As my first beer of the evening, it really shines. There is a really complex flavor and aroma profile that is not done justice after you have already had something else to drink. This is one world class beer that you have to try all by itself to really appreciate. Excellent beer! I highly recommend it!

 1,538 characters

Photo of ikats
4.57/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Very hazy, deep gold in color, with lots and lots of small bubbles building to a huge off-white head that lingers for some time. Beautiful lacing.

Aroma: Bananas and some citrus notes. Yeast reasserts its presence, and floral notes are in the air too.

Taste: Heavy carbonation and sweet sourness make the toungue tingle with delight. Hops balance sweetness so nicely. This ale goes down smooth and crisp. Easy to drink, yet full of flavor. Light to medium body. Every sip is a pleasure in its own.

This is not my favorite Belgian ale, but it is still a pleasure to drink.

 595 characters

Photo of theozag
3.87/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Please pardon the brevity of this review, I am attempting to catch up (between work assignments) from weeks of tasting based on notes...

I bought this beer on a whim from my local military package store and I was delighted to realize I'd struck beer-drinking gold with my flight of fancy.

This beer has heavy clouding in its body but no sediments; very thick white head that lasts for several minutes; caramel-colored body with brown whisps throughout

Smell is absolutely outstanding: a sugary-sweet, fruity blend of aromas that is complimentary to the rest of the beer and very clean and crisp.

Flavors I found much harder to describe as virtually of this beer's character revealed itself to me just as I began to swallow each mouthful.

Start is imperceptible and light; settles full-boided with limited bitter flavors; finishes with a strong hop bitterness that comes out from behind a soft malty cushion.

Strong aftertaste takes a long time to fade.

 970 characters

Photo of fisherman34
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amazing stuff. Solid orange in colour with a pillowy just-off-white head. Aromas of hops, lavender, and grapefruit. Flavorful grapefuit, complex floral, and belgian yeast flavors. It also has a long and sour finish. Perhaps not as complex as some other Trappist ales, but a real pleasure to drink.

 297 characters

Photo of malty
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on Nov. 2003

Poured into its namesake goblet a brilliant copper orange with a billowing dusty beige head that settled down to a dense 1/4" with visible carbonation streaks bubbling upward.

The scent of this one is truly a fantastic mysterious myriad (somebody stop me) of components: FRESH citrus/flowery hops. Hand squeezed lime. That familiar scent of ripe queen green olives.

Flavor: Where do I start...The scent is very indicative of the tongue treat to follow. Tart, tangy & dry. Very citrusy with substantial malt softness to provide perfect balance. Yeasty esters are prevalent that are even somewhat dusty tasting. Cloves wrapped around tart lemons. Fantastic chalky dryness weaves in-and-out of some kind of spice that reminds me of autumn (not allspice though). I'll have to drink a few more to nail it (twist my arm if you have to).

Mouthfeel: Are you kidding me? Imagine a tempurpedic memory foam mattress... Now equate that to mouthfeel. 'Nuf said.

Drinkability: For me, more and more please! For the next guy, maybe not as much - who knows? Locate a keg and I'll walk, swim, cycle or crawl for it.

Overall: I guess by now you know I loved this ale. Love is a word carelessly abused and overused. I truly love this beer. Now I know why it's known for one name, and one name only: 'Orval'. Worth every penny. Maximum respect!

 1,363 characters

Photo of 99bottles
4.12/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can't believe I missed reviewing this. I've had this quite a few times, but when I found it in Milan for the equivalent of $1.85 a bottle I stocked up.

Ok, so Orval is a deep orange brown color, slighty cloudy with a clumpy yellowish off white head and above average carbonation. The smell is really unique; strong citrus rind, some wildflowers, and some sharp medicinal cuts. The taste is much of the same, only more complex. When young, as all these bottles are, it has a real biting astringency of phenols, phenols, and more phenols. The hops add good bitterness to the finish, and the malt seems lost in a sea of fighting flavors. The lemon and orange of the smell is in there, as is some funk, almost akin to a lambic. But, really...it's all phenols at first.

I've had quite a few that were left to age, and that made the voyage across the Atlantic and found them to be much more sweet and aromatic. The sweetness of honey, wild grasses, and jasmine all come out as the medicinal taste subsides over time. I like that the "drink before" date is a full 5 years after the"bottled on" date. A really excellent choice, but try to catch one on the back end of those 5 years.

 1,183 characters

Photo of PorterLambic
2.65/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Nice bottle.
Pours a cloudy reddish-orange with a smallish creamy head.
Smell is malt, green apple, oak, hops & yeast.
Taste is hops, hops, hops and malt. Not at all what I expected.
Mouthfeel: high carbonation, a bit rougher/hoppier than expected although I was forewarned about that. A very dry finish, by far the driest of any ale I've ever had, drier than almost any lager for that matter..
Drinkability: Not your typical trappist ale, too much like an IPA for my tastes.

 480 characters

Photo of taez555
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

June 2005, rereview I don’t know what I smoking when I first reviewed this beer.
Bottled 7.10.2004, best by 2009

Bright reddish/orange body with a bubbly white head.

The nose has a fishy, fresh cut flowers mixed with shit sort of smell.

The taste is dry, bone dry, extremely dry. Sort of an oily, fishy, salty phenol and yeast taste. Hints at other trappist ales but is extremely unique. A HUGE carbonation. Touches of leather or shoe polish even. What a weird myriad of flavors. Hop bitterness is quite interesting. It flows from nothing to a little to this long big hop finish. The hop flavor is a strong earthy, extremely intense but not muted, citrus peel. There’s not your average American IPA sort of citrus touch. This is a very muted but much much more intense at the same time.

What a crazy tasting beer. Seriously I don’t know what to say, the most unique beer of the trappist family, a must try for certain.

 934 characters

Photo of mdagnew
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl Bottle from the Vineyard in Belfast

Pours a slightly cloudy / amber colour into my Orval glass. Head is white, quite thick and fairly big… lasted until nearly the end…

Aroma – Where to start !! Peppery, spicy, cloves, fruity (citrus), very slight hint of vanilla.. Very complex smells…

Taste – Quite a shock this one on first taste – very flowery…Quite lemony, definite taste of cloves… quite bitter..

Mouthfeel – Quite smooth and dry, very nice..

Overall – an amazing beer, unlike anything else. It certainly is an acquired taste !! One of my favourites….

 588 characters

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,214 ratings.