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

4,495 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,495
Reviews: 2,128
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 218
Gots: 443 | FT: 12
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: 4,495 | Reviews: 2,128 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Adamdc
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into tulip.

A: Cloudy, deep amber body topped off by dense, rocky white head. It took a while to pour the whole beer due to very actice carbonation.

S: Lots of lemon right of the bat followed by yeast, hay and bread.

T: There's some nice funk and sour that hits you. The lemon is still there with some green apple and banana and the finish is earthy and bitter. Lots going on here.

M: Very, very dry with just the right amount of crispness.

D: Very high! I wanr one of these on a hot summer day. It's very refreshing.

This is my fourth Orval. The first two times I had it, my palate wasn't quite 'there' yet. The third one tasted pretty good but tonight...this one was great!

Adamdc, Jun 27, 2010
Photo of Gyle41386
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally, my first Orval. It's always been so readily available that I was never in a huge rush to try it. Not sure why, but it caught my eye during my last beer run, and I grabbed a bottle. Always fun to crack open a legend for the first time.

Bottled 5/10/09, poured into a tulip.

Loud hiss as soon as I start to pry off the cap, so I know this one's going to be bubbly. Absolute monstrous wall of white foam fills just as much of the glass as the beer does. The pour is a surprisingly orange-amber one. Head retention is outstanding, and the glass is completely plastered with sticky lacing.

I'm smelling a pretty good bit of gueuze in Orval...lots of tart lemon and green apple, along with some barnyard funk. The flavor is essentially the same, with a very, very dry finish. It's funny - this is one of the more complex beers I've had, yet I don't have a whole lot to say about it. It's got flavors of Belgian Pale, British Pale, and Gueuze in it, which I really enjoy. There's a mineral-like (I don't want to say metallic) taste in the finish.

Fairly light body with very active carbonation. I can certainly see Orval being an acquired taste, and probably wouldn't have liked it two years ago when I was first exploring new beers. Probably not something I'll be chasing after very frequently, but it's nice to know that it's always on the shelves.

Gyle41386, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of Tucquan
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on 2010-06-25 in Columbia, PA

A - Orange-amber with a monstrous, pillowy, white head into a tulip glass

S - Fresh bread, lemon, orange, mild hop oils

T - Almost a wild ale taste with sourness from start to finish but well-modulated with sweet citrus, lightly roasted grain, grass and reasonable hop bitterness. All of the tastes are exceedingly balanced.

M - Light to medium body and medium-high carbonation. Explosive bubbles mellow to a tingly and mildly creamy feel.

O - A rich and refreshing experience. I shared this brew with my wife who isn't a fan of much bitterness but she really enjoyed it too since the hop bitterness is so well-integrated and balanced. I had to laugh when she said it reminded her of a really great Schlitz!

Notes: On 2011-06-17 I had this side-by-side with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It was fun to compare and contrast these two fine beers. For a day-to-day brew, I'd prefer the SNPA.

Tucquan, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of goldbot
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 13 Nov. 2008. Best by 13 Nov. 2010.

Pale copper with loads of silky white head. Tons of carbonation; nice clarity and great head retention.

Aroma has plenty of Belgian yeast spice notes, some clove and definitely spicy coriander. Lemony citrus aromas and some other fruity notes. Underlying this is a definite nice earthy funk aroma.

More spicy yeast notes, the definitive Belgian trappist flavor. Paired with very musty, earthy and funky Brett notes. The flavor is brightened nicely with a lemony acidity.

Crisp and well carbonated, silky. The earthy Brett characteristics make for a very heavy body that is somewhat fatiguing to the palate.

A lovely brew all around. Great yeast and spicy notes; and the Brett pairs quite nicely with the brighter acidic and fruity notes.

goldbot, Jun 24, 2010
Photo of Eisen
5/5  rDev +19%
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.

Eisen, Jun 20, 2010
Photo of TommyW
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Dark copper/gold with a fluffy white head that doesn't stick too much.

S- Dry/tart fruity aromas, clean floral hops and a slight medicinal quality.

T- Buttery malt backbone is barely noticeable with everything else going on. A fresh, floral hop taste comes in with a quick bittering phase. A slight medicinal quality is also present. The finish is not overly dry but has a long-lingering clean hay aspect.

M- Medium to light with an aggressive carbonation.

D- Really a great brew; the history behind the beer only makes it more interesting. Truly a great beer to try.

TommyW, Jun 15, 2010
Photo of kbanks13
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz. into a tulip

A: Pours a clear light brown color with a huge three finger, rocky, airy white head. Dissipates to a half-finger head with great lacing.

S: A little funk, some lemon zest, biscuity malt and some fragrant flowers all in the aroma.

T: Tart cherry and granny smith apple flavors with a hint of spicy lemon flavors. Some flowers and hay/barnyard funk up next that fades to a dry grain taste. Faintest taste of honey on the back of my tongue.

M: Crisp and light, but very satisfying. Slightly bitter film stays on the tongue, a bit puckering. Appropriately carbed for this style.

D: This brew is incredibly delicious and has a great texture. Complex and satisfying, but clean and refreshing too. If I had to drink only one beer for the rest of my life I could be completely satisfied having one of these every day.

kbanks13, Jun 15, 2010
Photo of rootbeerman
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottled on date of 9/8/09 poured into duvel tulip

A: pours hazy gold with a bit of orange. the head is a huge four fingers of off white foam which is lacing as it falls and with every sip.
S: has a citrus fruit, a little bit of cherries, a nice yeast funk
T: dry, earthy malt along with some orange, lemon and again a little bit of light cherry, a nice hop bitterness to push along the dryness.
M: the dryness and carbonation make for an almost champagne like feeling.
D: very is about all i can say

rootbeerman, Jun 14, 2010
Photo of llllDrGONZOllll
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2floz bottle poured into a chalice.

The pop of the cap let out a rather loud hiss. This baby is highly carbonated, and poured gently into my chalice. The head is white and rocky with an assortment of bubbles small and large. The inside of the glass has beautiful lacing. Lacing that is only present due to the imbibing and not the fading of the head. The body of the ale is a beautiful copper and gold. My nose is being filled with floral hops, lemon, dark fruit and a yeasty warm bread. The high amount of carbonation tickles my nasal cavity and leaves me smelling lemon and flowers. The first sip is non aggressive and dry. The body is thin and inviting. Very low bitterness meets biscuit and dark fruit. Champagne like body and mouthfeel pave the way for this complex ale. Dry from start to finish. Orval has a very floral aftertaste with a dry fruit balance. In winter cold or summer sun this ale will fit the bill.

llllDrGONZOllll, Jun 11, 2010
Photo of Dubber55
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 05/08/2009- I think that is August 5th, 2009

Pours a hazy golden hue with orange highlights. One and half fingers of white head. A lot of retention and plenty of lace.

Initially, I get an aroma of a musty barnyard. Along with that, I smell plenty of citrus like lemon and grapefruit, grass, hay, and I think some leather.

The taste initially consists of citrus with some peppery spice. There is also some kind of herbal and floral thing going on with a musty barnyard flavor. There is a decent amount of funk in this beer. In the midpalate, I am tasting some bready/biscuity malt and in the finish I taste lots of herbs, peppery spice, and hop bitterness. Dry finish.

Light to medium on the mouthfeel with some prickly carbonation.

The drinkability is above average. The alcohol is nicely hidden by the funkiness of this beer but the peppery spiciness is a bit much for me. I would also like a little less of the herbal/floral character in the flavor profile. With that being said, this is still a very good representation of the style.

Dubber55, Jun 08, 2010
Photo of Boto
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly orangish in color, and slightly opaque. Big foamy head. Get aroma of spices, something that I wouldn't usually expect from this type of beer. Spices are also evident in the taste,as well as some fruitiness. Lacks the caramel taste of other trappistes. Has some hopiness that the others don't. It may be different from some of the other trappistes, but this is still an excellent brew. I'd definitely pay another $5 for a bottle.

Boto, Jun 08, 2010
Photo of endovelico
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled in 16/06/2009. Taken from notes. Reviewed in 05/06/2010. Poured into Chimay gobblet.

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange brew with a full three finger white head. Light perceived effervescence. No floaties.

Aroma: Intense aroma of orange zest, nectarines, lemon drop, roses and yeast. Some nuanced sourness and mild leather notes. Very complex with potential for alot more as it ages.

Taste: Medium high intensity. Follows up on the nose with orange zest, nectarine and some spiciness on the front. Yeast, citrus and melanoidin carameliness on the back. The Barnyard/Rustic character is not coming through much. I would rate it a 4 but i'll add half a point knowing the potential and range it brushes through as it ages.

Palate: Light medium carbonation, Low bitterness, Medium body and lasting yeasty and citrusy taste. No sourness and mild acidity. Finishes sweet. Drank it a bit too young, but still showcases amazing texture.

Drinkability: Perfect drinkability. It has undeniable potential as it ages achieving a wide range of profiles that will no doubt cover the quirkiest of tastes. You can't deny it's unique, interesting and complex yet accessible, PLUS it goes great with alot of different foods. This, in my mind, is what drinkability is about. Solid five.

endovelico, Jun 05, 2010
Photo of
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip, aged 6 months.

The pour took a while because it was all foam. Once this subsided, the beer had had some nice lacing and a beautiful brown, murkey appearance.

I spent more time smelling this beer than I did drinking it. Sour cherries, oranges and "funk" come from the yeast, and the hops give grapefruit rind and a grassy scent.

This has some hints of sourness. Very well balanced with the same fruity notes mentioned above. With age I bet this is exceptional.

This had a pretty good mouthfeel, but was a little undercarbonated (given the huge head).

, Jun 04, 2010
Photo of Daniell
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was heavily disappointed first time I tried this, turned out that was when I had a relatively fresh bottle. I've discovered a stock which were bottled on 2006, and have had far better experiences with them.

A: awesome head and really unique light red/gold colour. Halfway between a golden ale and a rosé. Head dies down perhaps a little quickly for my liking, compared to say Duvel, but I think I have to make this a 5 for the beautiful blood orange colour. 5

S: overripe, almost fermenting fruits. Smells a lot like a botrytis dessert wine actually, mixed with funk and bandaids. Later on as it warms the funk gets vaguely faecal, clovey and honey-y. It really has the sulphuric pale fruity smell I expect from white wines. I can honestly say I do like the liveliness of the funk here, it does make the beer feel alive. 4.5

T: actually get a decent amount of alcohol in the taste, along with fermented fruit. I notice a distinctive aftertaste- kind of nutty, like macadamias. This recedes to substantial bitterness. The bandaids I was overwhelmed by the first time I had this are still there, but they're more subtle. The bottling date is the 23rd of February 2006, which makes this brew more than four years old. It seems that the aging (despite presumably being in a freezer for a large proportion of that time) has tamed the brew compared to the severely band-aidy fresh one I had previously. 4.5

M: Just about right for the style. 4.5

D: One to sip but the complexity definitely keeps me coming back. 4.5

Definitely world class.

Daniell, Jun 04, 2010
Photo of yemenmocha
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful dark golden to light amber with enormous white head that remains long, and laces well. Nose has the traditional barnyard/brett, but a lighter and more approachable take on that. Some ripe apples and candied nuts are noted as well. On the palate the wild flavors come through as well, with some suggestions of black tea, and a musty/musky old wood chest in the attic sort of flavor. Finish is musty as well.

yemenmocha, Jun 04, 2010
Photo of wyattshotmaker
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottled on 7/29/09 so i'm expecting a good bit of brett.poured into a dfh chalice, incredible white head that does not go down. left a great amount of lacing and was incredibly persistent.

nose has some mustiness to it,fruity sweet tart like aroma.

taste is very dry and funky. bit of fruitiness, firm but not overpowering bitterness. bit of a bready malt flavor comes though in the end. still finishes dry and slightly bitter.

moutfeel is thin and light, the higher carbonation levels stops it from being watery.very refreshing. i could drink this all day.

wyattshotmaker, Jun 03, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-pours a hazy golden orange with dark yellow edges and a thin bubbly white head.

S-tons of brett, yeast, notes of pepper and corriander, lemon rind underneath with a light herbal hop presence in the back.

T-brett right up front, hints of sour lemon, yeast. notes of a peppery spice and corriander.

M-medium body, grainy on the palate with a slightly syrupy texture, very dry finish with good carbonation that allows it to finish crisp without the bite.

D-insanely drinkable, all sorts of things going on working in harmony, world class beer!

cpetrone84, Jun 03, 2010
Photo of GregoryVII
4.95/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is a delight. The aroma is very earthy and evokes a drive through the countryside. You inhale the hops from the dry hopping greedily as it blends beautifully with the bouquet the yeast imparts. The color is a light sunset and the beer is slightly cloudy, with a good foamy head. The taste is slightly acidic, with invigorating hop notes that work as well with the spice of the yeast in taste as they do in the aroma--a beautiful marriage. Orval finishes dry as you bring the glass up to your mouth for another sip. It's been said before, I think by Randy Mosher, but this...this is beer.

GregoryVII, May 28, 2010
Photo of bonsreeb85
3.2/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

What a great looking beer! Possibly one of the largest heads, rocky and climbing out of the glass. Big soapy bubbles rest over a dirty copper body.

The nose has lots of tart peach(and other stone fruit??) lime juice, lemon, grassy, musty and earthy hops. A good deal of barnyard is also present. Peppery spice and possibly some lavender also as to the overall aroma.

The taste is a bit less tart than the nose suggests.Dry as a bone with lemony and other citrus flavors. VERY earthy and musty hops are used in abundance. I am not really sure I am digging this barnyard thing though. I must also not this brew is very yeasty.

Highly carbonated, ligher bodied and a crisp texture.

Again, this brew is complex as hell and has a very refreshing quality to it thanks to the mouthfeel. However i am not sure that I really enjoyed the barnyard/hay/funky taste. It was sort of off putting. Honestly this just wasn't my thing. I had to force myself to finish the bottle.

bonsreeb85, May 28, 2010
Photo of skullsplitter
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first Trappist in a few years. I let my wife pick this at random while vacationing. What a find!

The appearance was wonderful! It was very cloudy, hazy, and foamy. It had a lemon orange appearance which reminded me of a half and half. There were some really nice lacing.

The smell was quite good as well. Floral and citrusy. A slight hint of malts.

The taste was was very light all things considering. A very well balanced beer. It had a wonderful taste of yeastiness and citrus. I found it to be extremely refreshing and quite drinkable. Quite complex in terms of balance. I haven't had a lot of Trappists so I am unable to compare it to anything at the moment. But it's a style that I will be trying more of in the future.

skullsplitter, May 25, 2010
Photo of ChadQuest
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Wonderful looking beer with a massive head and lacing and citrus sunburst color.A light and lemony aroma, with a bright straw character on the pallete, light crisp fruits like pear,apple. The souring from the Brett is very slight and mild. thinner and crisper mouthfeel, with a tight champaign like carbination, and a refreshing dry finish.

ChadQuest, May 23, 2010
Photo of BabyBastard
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 9/7/08, and best before same date in 2013. Poured in my chalice a great looking amber shade, very lively carbonation produce prodigious head that has no problem sticking around. It really is a treat to watch those crazy bubbles make way to the surface.

Smell is great malt, yeast, and a whole bouquet of herb like spiciness. One of the best smelling brews I have had in quite awhile.

Tastes bread like with citrus notes, great yeast flavors and perfect malt balance round out this wonderful brew.

Feel is super bubbly and full of carbonation. Very light and lively at the same time. Good drinkability right here, just wish I had some more to enjoy.

BabyBastard, May 23, 2010
Photo of Wolfhausen
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Orval Chalice

Appears to be a dark earth tone color that retains a quarter inch head.

Smell reminiscent of hay with spices and herbs.

The taste begins with a little sour hop bitterness middle through the end has significant hay flavor mixed with herbs and spice.

Mouthfeel is very nice that swooshes across the tongue with carbanation then subsides.

Very drinkable trappist with alot of unique flavors that can be detected after the tempature warms.

Wolfhausen, May 23, 2010
Photo of SpdKilz
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

New Beer Friday!

Appearance - Wow, over a HAND of head pouring this down the side of the glass. Almost annoying because I am sitting here patiently waiting for it to go down and it is...but ever so slowly. Leaves chunky lacing on the sides of the glass. Pours a slight hazy deep golden color.

Smell - Banana, clove, slight barnyard funk (reminiscent of Jolly Pumpkin), bready yeast, and slight malt.

Taste - Immediate funky mouth puckering taste which gives way to a slight banana flavor. Massive amount of spices, slight hops, and grassy/hay flavor on the back end.

Mouthfeel - Medium to light bodied. Not as full as I would have expected but still good for what it is.

Drinkability - Relatively drinkable. This reminds me of a mix of delirium tremens and a really funk saison. An interesting beer and am glad to finally try it. Not in my top beer list but enjoyable nonetheless.

SpdKilz, May 21, 2010
Photo of Krevee
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Drank 5/18/10
Poured from the bottle into a Bruery tulip

A - Pours a dark orange with hints of red. This beer has a massive amount of head. I poured semi-aggressively and had to wait to finish pouring because of the amount of head. The head took quite a bit of time to fade, and even as I drank it there remained a little bit of head along with a good looking lace.

S - This beer has a very interesting smell. It has that brett funk, along with fruit and yeast. Also has a light sour smell. I enjoyed the smell quite a bit.

T - Taste as usual is similar to the smell. There is a very light sour/funky characteristic to this beers taste. Has the flavor of some lighter fruits such as apple/pear. I can also taste a little bit of spice and yeast.

M - Mouthfeel was disappointing to me. I know this beer was not flat because of the head, but when I drank it, it felt flat in my mouth. The consistency was alright it felt very smooth with a light/medium body. It also leaves a residue in the mouth after taking a sip.

D - Drinkability is alright a little above average because of the ABV I could not drink to many of these. It also has some alcohol heat to it that makes it difficult to drink to many. Along with this beers mouthfeel lowers the drinkability for me.

Overall this is a beautiful beer with a good taste and smell, but the mouthfeel killed some part of it for me. It was hard drinking it at times when it felt like there was no carbonation. Maybe it was just the bottle I had, but I did get this beer from Hi Times Wines Cellar so I doubt quality control was the issue. I guess I will just have to revisit this beer some time.

Krevee, May 19, 2010
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,495 ratings.