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.

4,530 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,530
Reviews: 2,133
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 225
Gots: 457 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website

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: 4,530 | Reviews: 2,133 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Proteus93
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Lovely golden-orange hue, almost reminding me of the sky at sunset. The white, foamy head forms vigorously and quickly, but manages to remain control to build into a fantastic froth topping. Very nice

S + T: Aroma and flavour are very similar. Lemon rind and "horse blanket" with a soft fruitiness below it all. More 'funky' and bitter than other trappists, but quite intriguing and unique.

M + D: Sparkling, foaming, rich. It's a very interesting style, and one of the better ones. It took far too long to finally get around to it, but glad to have done so now... with the lower alcohol, it's inviting to have another.

Photo of everetends
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A bottle I picked up from Green's in ATL. This was bottled on 9-07-08, not too bad. I was told to let it age, but I figure what the hell. Served up in a tulip.

A: Pours a really nice and mild orangish/brown color. Held to the light you get more of a lighter orange glow. The head is off white and a good three fingers. The head is seriously rocky and huge foam. The head has great retention thanks to the constant carbonation activity that is feeding the head and moving around in here. Lace is very soapy and sticky. Lots of rocky foam remains on the glass. This is a great looking brew for sure.

S: Smell is solid. Getting some nice Belgian yeasty quality. Nice bready malt character coming through here and it really works with the fruit goodness that lies within. Getting some really nice and crisp apple skin and some nice pear. There is a touch of banana in here which is a pleasant suprise. There is a little bit of dirty funk going on in here. Its very light but its just a nice earthy hay and dusty, wet wood.

T: Taste is very nice indeed. Yet again a really nice bready and crackery malt mixes wonderfully with the Belgian yeast coming out here. That fruit is very present. Lots of apple and ome sweet pear are on display in a big way. The banana is not as big time as I was hoping but a very nice addition to the flavors. Getting a little bit of lemon lime coming out that really reminds me of a light and sparkly lemon lime soda I used to have in europe. The hops are light and floral. All together, beautiful.

M: Light side of medium in body with a really huge and crisp carbonation presence that works oh so well here. This beer has a touch of a tart feel going on in here. This beer is slightly dry. ABV is no where to be found. Aftertaste is mostly some slightly tart apple and fruity goodness. This all works and very nice.

D: This beer is incredibly drinkable thanks to is light wieght and big time carbonation. Overall, this beer works on every level. The flavors are complex but still remain light and delicate. I think that is the best way to describe this beer. It has some much going on but it still remains delicate. Just a beautifully crafted brew. Glad I followed the advice of whoever it was who told me to get a bottle of this to give a go. Just great.

Photo of organicbrewer
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 13/10/2005. It's waited long enough.

A- Huge eggshell head on this thing. Doesn't go away. Beautiful bronze. Darker than I remember, maybe from age? Brilliantly clear. The yeast must have settled out.

S-Hay and lemon rinds. Some Breadiness. Slightly metalic but pleasantly so. Yeasty. Very little hop aroma.

T- Still firmly bitter, even after 4 years. Dirty and biscuity.

M- Prickly carbonation keeps the palate ready for the next sip. Bone dry. Bitterness is really high but so good.

d- If i could afford it I would drink this beer everyday. This is near perfect.

Photo of scootny
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a one of a kind brew. A firm, rocky and somewhat lively head sits atop a mostly clear copper fluid. A touch of chill haze. Subsequent pours add the yeast and the lovely roundness it brings to the glass. Retention is exemplary and a touch of carbonation activity in my glass. Lacing is generous and impressive.

Smell is unique. Cinnamon, orange, and lemon hit my nose first. A lovely sweet malt backbone and spicy notes as well. Belgian yeast esters and complex sugary compounds. A mix of apples, grapes, pears, and faint banana. Light hop florals. Wow. You spend a month on the nose alone.

Taste will take six months. Cinnamon and orange from the nose with a bigger lemon presence are bound to a sourdough like Belgian malt backbone. Just enough sweet breadiness to let you know you're drinking beer. A huge, dry but mild hop bittering follows that cleans your mouth out and allows you to savor the malt and yeasty breadiness of the brew as it lingers on your tongue and palate. Subtle fruits from the nose mix in and add depth and intrigue to this vixen in a bottle. Tartness from start to finish. Feel is super creamy and just on the heavy side of medium. A touch full as this is a very satisfying pale ale but still one you want to keep sipping at a good rate because the taste and feel are so inviting.

Drinkability is perfect as the fullness of the feel slows you down just enough to appreciate it while not getting in the way.

I finally get this beer. While anyone can enjoy it this is a beer that is very deep for newbies as the sophistication of it's construction requires an educated palate. While I have always enjoyed Orval for years, understanding it's difference and special place in the beer world requires patience and perspective.

Photo of tedpeer
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 11.2 into a Chimay chalice.

A - Poured orange with a 3/4 inch white head that subsided into an 1/8 layer. Some lacing.

S - Sour apples and citrus.

T - Tart, dry, sour. Bitter hop finish.

M - Light, thin and very carbonated.

D - Drinking this was a job.

Photo of apowar
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into an unfortunate pint glass.

Pours a beautiful rusty orange color that reminds me of my mom's sun tea. Slightly hazy. Very large, persistent, stiff and foamy pale yellow head.

The aroma strikes me as bubble gum, ripe banana, and tart apple.

Flavor is slightly toasty up front and becomes a bit tangy including typical hop flavors such as candied lemon peel. Finishes with slight hop bitterness, belgian brewers yeast, and some very nice banana and candied citrus flavors.

Mouthfeel is very interesting. Clearly present carbonation that completely fills the mouth. It's assertive but not too prickly or strong, but actually rather soft. Overall, very drinkable, refreshing brew with enthralling complexity and richness or flavor. I can definitely see why this is considered the quintessential belgian pale ale.

Photo of badmoon
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a tulip from a bottle.

A: Hazy orange...almost like looking at the sun! Gorgeous, deep tone.

S: Spice and citrus. Very complex and I love it! Reeks of a Belgian.

T: Very crisp. I didn't notice the hops at the beginning but they are VERY noticeable on the finish.

M: Carbonation is noticeable but not overwhelming. It's almost dry but the bitter hop finish balances that out.

D: I couldn't drink more than one of these...it's really big.

Overall: Great beer! I'll be picking up a couple more of these ASAP.

Photo of PeterLemonjello
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: a hazey rich honey or light orange color. Pours a hefty/rocky head with lots of CO2 bubbles

S: mildly sour apples and white grapes

T: very fruity and dry turning giving way to some malt/bready flavors as it reaches cellar temperature

M: nice, full and lots of delicate/soft carbonation

D: Very nice beer with plenty of flavors. Complex beer but very drinkable.

Photo of goblet
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured this one from a 33 cl unique looking ovalish bottle into my goblet .

Appearance:it`s a hazy,cloudy pale orange sun rising with beautiful slightly off white clouds in the sky that reduces but sticks around with early morning lite carbonation .

Smell: the aroma is haystacks on the farm ,even woodies with a mild friutiness ,like peaches and pears the malt and hops are hanging out on this farm though it was foggy and left a wet environment.

Taste:this particular farm is growing mild spices and grains that need an acquired taste to truly appreciate this brew the malt and dry hops are unique and pleasent .

Mouthfeel: a spiciness that is all over the place on this farm its picking hay and feeding the animals watering the grains on a dry day in june.

Drinkablilty:this is a great pale ale full of spices and dry grains ,i would think that some might not get it but try this beer more then once and you will..

Photo of BarrelO
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a goblet. Bottled on November 13, 2008.

A: Dark orange with an enormous head that simply will not go away. The head's a bit too large, to be honest. I could barely get half the bottle in the glass on the first pour.

S: Tartness with a hint of brett funkiness.

T: Dry, tart, and bitter. Bready aftertaste with just enough brett to add character.

M: Light and carbonated, almost ephemeral.

D: This is definitely a unique brew that is completely unlike any other Trappist beer. If you like dry Belgian ales like Duvel and Saison Dupont, this will be right up your alley. The price keeps me from seeking it out too often, though.

Photo of jjanega08
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on date= 11/14/2006
A= ENORMOUS head on this one. Sticky lacing and great retention. Pours a golden amber color with bubbles rising to replenish the head the entire time.
S= Pungent funk coming from it. Yeasty and spicy are the only things that come to mind.
T= Funkiness and smooth belgian yeast taste. Spicy but not overly complex. Apples come through for sure. Very funky on the later sips as it warms. The alcohol is very very very well hidden.
M= High carbonation. Fluffy and light. Dry finish on the tip of my tongue
D= Pretty good. Not a bad beer at all. I was expecting a lot more just from what I've heard about it. I thought it was pretty basic. Good though.

Photo of Yesac
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 5/2007

A- Cloudy amber/orange with a medium sized bright white head.

S- Belgian yeast, some floral fruits such as orange peel.

T- Crisp. Lemon zest. Dry. Tart. I've heard people describe this as 'horse blanket' and I understand now. My review is fairly biased, this is not a style I prefer much.

M- Very highly carbonated. Thin bodied, almost nothing left on the palate.

D- Tart, dry and highly carbonated makes this one a task to drink.

Photo of youngblood
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Duvel glass. Had a very lively white head. Disappated unevenly, showing just how alive this brew is. Leaves heavy lace. The brew itself is a rusty brown. Very cool color.

Smelled very citric with a nice biscuity undertone. Bits of flowers in there also. Slight leather and tobacco scents.

Very nice taste here, heavier hop profile than most other trappists that I've had. Nice sweetness providing some lovely fruit flavors and butterscotch/caramel sweetness. Excellent depth here. Leaves the mouth quite dry, but still satisfied. Has a very creamy body to it/ definitely medium to full bodied beer here. Would love to drink a few of these.

Photo of cadenwhitaker
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I feel odd... I really didn't fall head-over-heels on this beer... and I love belgians..

I'm getting some honey in the nose, a mild carbonation, sweet malts and a bit of bitterness at the end.

For 6.9% I'm getting a bit of alcohol in the taste... more then I expected for something that is only 7%.

Overall I enjoyed the beer, there is quite a bit of complexity to it, maybe I need to revisit this when I'm more experienced with reviewing belgians - but for now I'm glad to just have had only a single bottle.

Photo of JonMich13
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A = Enormous 3 finger white head. Billowy on top. Lasted forever. Still had a bit left at the end. Strong lacing throughout. Challenges the most beautiful of beers - Duvel - but falls a tad short.

S = Typical Belgian funky yeast. Not much else.

T = Some nice sweet malt up front quickly giving way to a surprising bitterness. Maybe a bit of a hop character.

M = Light and crisp. A bit prickly on the tongue. Finishes dry. Not bad.

D = The light crispness and relatively low ABV make this a pretty good drinker.

All in all, a very good belgian ale, but IMO not in the same class with Duvel and Tremens.

Photo of greg202stewart
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Definitely one of a kind. This is one of the light trappists, golden yellow. The smell I've pinpointed as new sneaker. I know that sounds gross, but there is an undeniable funk to Oval. But it is one of the most crisp and refreshing beers I've come to enjoy.

Photo of nms1987
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into Duvel tulip glass.
Brownish orange color. Kind of clay colored. Completely opaque.
Massive foamy white/cream head. More head than Duvel.

Smells Belgian. Funky yeast notes and a slight bit of hoppy notes coming through there.

Wow, thats a dry beer. Definately a sipper despite the low (for a Belgian) ABV. More hoppy than most Belgians but not what I'd call a "hoppy" beer compared to many American beers. The brett adds a fun dimension though, the moderate brett and moderate hopping synergize nicely to add up to more than the sum of their parts.
The combination almost gives it a west-coast citrus/pine vibe although the beer is much more moderate, complex and understated than that.

I like it, I just don't know how often I'd seek it out.

Photo of stingrayvr6
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had at Local 44 in Philly. Poured a reddish/brown amber into a chalice with a frothy, sticky cream colored head that stayed until the last drop. Smell was fairly average, a bit yeasty and bitter, earthy as well. The taste was a thing of beauty. It started out a very full, rounded mellow sweetness with medium/heavy carbonation and then turned to a dry, crisp, mellow Belgian-hoppy flavor. Truly excellent complexity. I could drink these all night, fantastic beer, lives up to its hype, will not disappoint.

Photo of siradmiralnelson
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into chalice.

A- Very carbonated beer. Pours a light/pale amber color. Massive head.

S- A sour, perfumy, spicy aroma. Somewhat of a musty smell, the "barn smell".

T- Dry slightly bitter flavor. The sourness comes out the more I drink.

M- Lots of carbonation. Light and creamy mouthfeel.

D. All in all not one of my favorit Belgians. Although it did tend to grow on me towards the end. This is my first tasting, but not my last.

Photo of GRPunk
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (bottled on 5/6/08 and best by 5/6/13) poured into a tulip glass.

A- A conservative pour still left a huge (3+ finger), fluffy, off-white head that was topped with a touch of yeast and never really completely fell, leaving huge sticky patches on the glass. The body was a combination of a deep red-brown with peach and pink accents with medium to heavy carbonation. It was all fairly clean considering the yeast pour.

S- It had a great aroma. It started as some spicy cloves and vanilla. Later on the yeasty qualities came through as green apple that became more pronounced with time and warmth.

T- It had an interesting flavor. It was more highly hopped than I'd expected, making for a dryish quality. There was a little granny smith apple from the funky yeast, and, maybe, a little lemon, citrus flair.

M- It was fairly heavily carbonated as I drank through the fluffy head. There was a definite hop and slight alcohol bite Overall, it was pretty dry on the palate.

D- The great attributes make me want more. Its alcohol was well masked making it an easy drinker and it's a wonderful example of the style. The fairly heavy price tag is the only thing stopping me from making this a regular purchase.

Photo of UA8
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a cloudy copper color with a huge 4 plus finger cream colored head.

S- Wet hay, mineral notes, smoke, and grassy earth. Reminds me a lot of a big Italian red wine.

T- Grassy earth, hay, leather. Reminiscent of Italian red wine.

M- Clingy, flavors linger, smooth carbonation.

D- This is quite the complex beer. There's a ton going on in the nose and palate. This is the type of beer that broadens your palate.

Photo of Murchmac
3.35/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Seen this forever, finally decided to pick up one.

Big frothy white head like a white beard. Golden Graham caramel brown with yellow highlights.

Fruity, sweetness, dry, earthy, I didn't get all those other smells people did, cuz i'm dumb.

Sour, sweet, too sour.

I don't know if I like this beer, so I guess it means it's ok. It's like those slices of pizza you dont really like, at least it's still pizza though.

Photo of PEBKAC
2.78/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Orval Appreciation Day.

Ommegang anniversary glass. Bottled on 20/02/2008. Hiding in the basement since late September.

Glass fills with suds on my first attempt. Stiff, cream peaks, orange amber body. Successfully decanted. Patchy lace.

Smell is first off, intense bitter melon rind & grapefruit zest. Then, soured sauvignon blanc & straw. Touch of sulfur. Lemon/lime acidity. Peppery yeast.

Carbonation is light, almost microbeaded.

Taste is grassy & just barely soured. Very dry & mild, acidic hops upfront. Medicinal, plastic-y, & lacking the ripe fruit flavors I get in fresh or exceedingly old bottles. Just a lot of acid. Alcohol is too big. Saltine, cottonmouth finish.

This one took a bad turn. Usually one of my favorites. Destined to be reviewed again.

Photo of ottovon
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: a dark straw color with a thin white head. can see carbonation coming up the glass.

S: a belgian yeast, estery smell. some citrus.

T: a belgian yeast, estery taste. fruity. some citrus. a nice banana taste, with a hint of clove. some alcohol on the finish, with a nice dry finish. some bitterness in the end. i do get some tartness as it warms.

M: light and carbonated. crisp.

D: very drinkable. a very good beer.

bottled on: 05.06.08

Photo of WakeandBake
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, bottled on date 24/04/2007 best before 24/04/2012. A hazy light amber pour ,loads of carbonation bubbles,and a huge fluffy off white head, wonderful lacing and lasted till the very end.
Aroma is a wonderful scent of spices,sugar and lemon,lighter notes of orange and a nice finish of yeast and hops.The flavor is a blend of spices & lemon, Light banana notes and fruity esters form the yeast, nice bready notes, a crisp refreshing mouthfeel with a very dry finish of hops and alcohol. Very complex and balanced.A very fun try .

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,530 ratings.