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

Appearance - 4.0
Poured a finger of rocky off-white head over a cloudy amber-peach body.

Smell - 4.5
Strengthens as it warms. Sweet stone fruit, mandarin, grapefruit, honey, sweet malt. Lots of yeast character to achieve this fruitiness.

Taste - 4.5
What a weird beer! It is more sour than bitter, very yeasty, fruity sweet and dry in the finish. Sweetness is not immediately apparent, flavours of bitter apricot, grapefruit, lemon-like sourness and hoppy bitterness in the very dry finish. All in all, masses of flavour, maybe a little too much for me!

Mouthfeel - 4.0
Slightly rough, more carbonated than expected for the style. Moderate to heavy weight in the mouth, carbonation has a sharp bite to it.

Drinkability - 4.0
Despite the relatively moderate 6.2%ABV, I would rarely want a second of these in a sitting. However, I will definitely be drinking this again, because the "wow" factor is surely there.

OVERALL - 4.35
Part of me feels that I should have scored this higher as I reminisce of the powerful flavours. However, I feel this is a beer that needs food to be really drinkable, as the power and complexity are simply staggering for the tastebuds. Not a beer for the newly initiated, or for drinking quickly, but I know I will be coming back for another taste.

Edit: The more I drink this, the better I like it, hence the increased score (I started by giving it a 4.1!).

LittleCreature, Apr 16, 2008
Photo of laituegonflable
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a darkish brown-tinged amber, very good-looking head but no real retention. Lacing is dense and divine, clawing at the sides of the glass waiting to explode with flavour - or something similarly anthropomorphic.

Nose is excellent, lots of fruity malt with a hint of peppery spice. Very complex but could be stronger, it's necessary to burrow your nose right into the glass to get the full effect. Not to take anything away from it though - it could be called subtle, and it really is an excellent aromatic beer.

Taste is next to Godliness with a rich complex palate of malty cinnamon-spiced apple characters with a long finish of burgeoning hop flavours. It's not really a bitter finish, just a robust hop flavour that makes you look back on the long, winding journey of deliciousness you were just taken on and smile. This is a truly great brew, with pleasant flavours, a velvety smooth and soft mouthfeel and a delightfully complex character. Highly recommended.

laituegonflable, Apr 11, 2008
Photo of Hujak22
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into snifter glass. Best before 8/8/2012.

A: Excellent presentation. Poured a clear, deep red amber with a beautiful two finger, foamy white head. Moderate carbonation and it leaves nice sticky lacing. Looks incredibly inviting.

S: Light and hoppy, with some citrus highlights. I'm picking up mainly lemon. Has a slight alcohol smell akin to a dry white wine.

T: A hint of fizzy carbonation on the front, with a nice hoppy duration. Finished off the back with a bit of roasted nut, leaving a wonderful balance.

M: Very smooth, and has a lot of body. A little slick, and leaves a small drying feeling, but in a good way.

D: Very good, balanced representation of the trappist. I wouldn't drink more than one or two in a sitting, but it's a great beer for relaxing and openning up with friends. I'll come back to this beer.

Hujak22, Apr 08, 2008
Photo of generallee
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one is a stands out from the other trappist beers that I have had. It pours a hazy orange/brown with a thick creamy head. Nice floral aroma with a funky yeast and citrus in the bouquet. The brettanomyces yeast imparts a wild and funky flavor. Sour and tart with a citrusy and floral hops. Unique and complex, refreshing and effervescent. Medium body and a smooth mouth feel. Tart dry finish that leaves you wanting more. Great beer with a big price tag [5 bucks +deposit] for a 11.2 oz bottle that I could drink a lot of.

generallee, Apr 08, 2008
Photo of cjohnson
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very cloudy, slightly dark orange with a nice 1.5 inch head that lasts for a little bit before it fades out. Nice lacing.

This isn't a particularly strong smelling beer, but there's definitely a bit of fruitiness in the nose, most noticeably oranges, apricots, and maybe just a touch of bananas.

A very interesting tasting brew with some a nice bit of sweetness and a lot of fruitiness. Apricots are the main fruit taste for me, and a little bit of malted sweetness.

Medium-bodied with some nice carbonation, but I thought it made this a little hard to drink too quickly (which may not be a bad thing, but it's something I have to nurse for a bit).

cjohnson, Apr 07, 2008
Photo of Evan87
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S - Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into Chimay goblet.

A - Lush, creamy head dissolves rather quickly. Pours a hazy orange with nice lacing.

S - I love the smell of this beer. Oranges and appricots comes to mind.

T - Tastes likes it smells, delicious. Paired wonderfully with a platefull of cheese and crackers.

D - The carbonation of these beer is the only thing stopping me from having another. It makes me crave a beer with a more fullness.

While I liked this beer, I prefer a Chimay.

Evan87, Apr 04, 2008
Photo of Oxymoron
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brettanomyces. Pours darker yellow color with a amber hue throughout. Poured a fluffy head with mid sized bubbles. Great retention though but limited lacing overall.

Then nose is funk. Some lighter malty undertones with more of a biscuit aroma. There is stronger yeast notes. Horse and barnyard esters. Some lighter fruity esters citrus and bananas. A touch of spice as well, mostly pepper.

The taste is similar. Lighter malt flavors with more of a bready and sweet flavor, but finishes very dry. Fruit notes come out more with citrus and pears. A touch of white wine tastes as well as some herbal hints. Some spice, coriander and pepper. Some yeasty characteristics, mostly Brett flavors, but definite funk.

The body is light with a very dry finish. Some sticky, yeasty finishes. Overall this is just a fun beer and does change over time. Hard to clone, gush city.

Oxymoron, Mar 31, 2008
Photo of Pencible
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured a hazy light orange-brown with fluffy off-white head. It had a wild yeast and potpourri scent with some hops added in. Its flavor mixed the citrus of oranges with the bitterness of hops and a slight aftertaste of bitterness, but had no malt. It had moderate carbonation, and had slightly thick body. This was pretty good overall, and tasted more like a real ale than any of the Chimays.

Pencible, Mar 29, 2008
Photo of jaz58
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the strongest tasting beer I've had to date. Clear russet brown in the glass with a creamy head which dissipated slowly leaving lots of lace. The nose had sweet malt and black pepper. A distinct effervescent mouthfeel which the tast was a strong hops bitter throughout with a flint flavour.

jaz58, Mar 29, 2008
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bowling pin shaped bottle > Chimay Goblet update on 12/4/10 bottled 12/30/09

This is a burnt-orange amber color with gyser-like carbonation from the middle of the glass which creates this massive four inch high fluffy, lively, cream colored head that only dissipates about three inches in all, leaving at least a full inch of foam covering and a bit of sticky lace.

Sweet, spicey and herbal maltiness greets the nose at first with sour banana's fruity tangy yeast scent that blends pretty well together. Lemmons and corriander with spicey apples and honey. not an overwhelming aroma, but very pleasant. wild yeast all over, tangy and a brett style sharpness.

A semi-sweet pale malt flavor with warm cinnemon and a hot, bitter heat, wild, brett-like yeast sharpness, not metallic but very wild! all hit the palate hard at first. Sweet tarts, orange peels, lemmon and an overall tangy fruitiness adds depth and further balance. The balance is divine with each flavor riding a strong wave to make maximum impact. The finish is of bitter herbals and spices. Dry and airy wheat and spring water in the end, fresh and strong flavor's...mostly the complex, weird and wild yeast strain!

The feel is classic, crisp but creamy, refreshing and smooth...very light overall. Champagne-like lightness but much smoother going down. finishes dry but refreshing. amazing feel.

This is a nice warm and fuzzy hot-weather brew that is complex and easy.

GratefulBeerGuy, Mar 28, 2008
Photo of ATPete
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i love those ATP's

Pours a pale orange yellow color with a big rocky off white head sporting enormous swiss cheese like holes. Nice belgian yeasty aroma, some hops, some malts, some lemon, very nice. My tongue loves Orval, bone dry, with hints of a green tea like bitterness upon the finish, and rather good hop/malt balance. It is definitely the strangest trappist bier i have encountered. Extremely effervescent, and very refreshing makes the Orval very drinkable.

This review is from a bottle with an 8/08/07 bottling date

They also say that Orval has been rumored to have some certain medicinal qualities? Can anyone confirm or deny this?

ATPete, Mar 28, 2008
Photo of dmamiano
3.35/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, golden straw color with a big, rocky head..almost too be. Kind of "gushed" as it hit the glass.
Smells of hint og bubble gum, yeasty and estery. Cooked apples and pears come to mind.
Taste is rather bland if I can say that. Mouthfeel is good. Fruity and full. Yeast characteristics tasted.
Drink by 8/8/2012 is noted on the bottle. Perhaps I should have aged it more.

dmamiano, Mar 28, 2008
Photo of dnichols
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My BA buddy rdunham shared a couple of bottles with me. The 330 ml capped bottle was poured into a stemless wine glass.

A: I poured a hazy washed out orange body with a robust white head of about two fingers and dense lacing.

S: It smelled most directly of creamy lightly tasted malts and bready white yeast with a large splash of orange and spices. There was also a touch of grassy aroma that seemed out of place.

T: It began with a blast of creamy and smooth sweet malts with a zing of spices and carbonation that was peppery and refreshing. There were light undertones of sweet oranges. It finished clean and warm with little aftertaste.

M: It was medium to full bodied with lots of carbonation. It finished clean and warm with little aftertaste.

D: It is a bit full bodied and has a high ABV making this brew a poor candidate for a session beer. However, it is a pleasant enough BPA to enjoy with dinner or an occasional treat.

dnichols, Mar 27, 2008
Photo of churchillps
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 11oz bottle into a broad mouthed glass. Freshness date up til 2011.

A: Amber/bronzed honey color. Nice frothy head. No retention but head lingers.

S/T: Both so complex I hardly know what to pinpoint. Floral, herbs, a bunch of lemon. Super dry all over. Incredibly complex and delicious

churchillps, Mar 27, 2008
Photo of Lukie
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured out honey like with a vibrant thick and fluffy head that stuck to the top of the liquid, barely dissipitating at all.

Very floral smell, with hints of flowery pot purre, and citrus fruits, lemon and bitter orange.

Quite a crisp beer, with citrus and floral notes, much like a typical Pale Ale. Lemon rind and bitterness from the hops rounds this out quite well. Hints of fermented apple in the finish, with incredible dryness.

Incredibly complex through the different yeasts they use, this is one to sit down and really think about. Fantastic beer that is truley amazing. Best of all, VERY drinkable, and for a Belgian, isn't too high in alcohol.

Lukie, Mar 26, 2008
Photo of Rainintheface
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Orval chalice which was generously given to me at Julio's Liquors.

A: cloudy, dark orange with a one + finger rocky white head. high carbonation is visible thru the haze

S: floral, earthy, grass, apple and faint lemon

T: same as aroma for the most part. citrusy, apple, a little spiciness. the earthiness comes thru in taste as well.

M: crisp, tart, dry finishing with high carbonation. very refreshing

D: Quite the ale. Why did I buy just one?

Rainintheface, Mar 26, 2008
Photo of SaltyLime
3.3/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - 2 to 3 finger rocky head, a bit hazy orange in color
Smell - fruity citrus smell along with a slight sourness
Taste - the complex Belgian flavors weren't there...tasted weak and bland
Mouthfeel - low carbonation, lightest bodied Belgian I have tried so far
Drinkability - I think the monks feel asleep during this one, would rather drink a generic homebrew extract kit

SaltyLime, Mar 24, 2008
Photo of kurtissellen
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aggressive pour into a large goblet yielded an enormous cloud looking head about 2" tall. Buried beneath the bubbles the beer looked an opaque golden amber color with very little if any carbonation. Unique sort of lemon citrus smell to it at first, later on detected a flowery sweetness and a grassy spice. Tasted a mild grape and apple sweetness with a little citrus bitterness and finished very crisp and clean. I would try another just to see the huge head form that was awesome!

kurtissellen, Mar 23, 2008
Photo of Sidedrummer
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the bottle into an Orval chalice it poured out a lovely slightly cloudy golden orange beer with a two finger rocky off-white head that colapsed down to a thin blanket, lasting till the very last drop.

Aroma of orange peel, leather and grass. As I neared the bottom of the chalice, (bummer), I could smell the alcohol as I rolled the goblet around at an angle.

Tasted of bread and wild orange blossom honey.
A very pleasing level of hoppiness, with just a touch of bitterness at the beginning and sweetness at the end.

Not one of my favorite trappists, but a good one none-the-less, I look forward to my next Orval.

Sidedrummer, Mar 22, 2008
Photo of avalon07
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a deep amber color, with a thick consistency. Had a huge head and some lacing. Very rich-looking appearance.

With the smell, there was some malt, yeast and fruit. Subtle.

Here's where it's interesting. While you get a dose of yeast, apples and malt, there is an off-putting bitterness about this one. I'm guessing this is caused by the hops. It's not a bad taste, but it's this one component that doesn't serve it well.

The mouthfeel is solid, with the typically Belgian high carbonation rate. As I said, the finish is dry, but too bitter.

Overall, this is kind of a mixed bag. It's strong in many categories, but the bitterness of the taste throws it off kilter. Nonetheless, it's still fairly drinkable.

avalon07, Mar 18, 2008
Photo of cameraman
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A light amber color, with a rocky/puffy off white colored head. The scent has sweet spices, corriander, maybe some nutmeg, plus a fruity fragrance of peach. There is a sugary sweet, candy scent in there as well. The taste was very mild, I was expecting this robust, sweet flavor, but it doesn't even seem to leave any flavor on the palate. It does finsh with a strong hop bitterness, though nothing to harsh. The feel is almost like a lager, surprisingly crisp, and very dry finish from beginning to end. I am fairly let down by the taste, everything else was a surprise in this my first trappist ale.

cameraman, Mar 16, 2008
Photo of bradmann
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Long time beer enthusiast and BA member, first time BA review!

Got a 330ml bottle of this delicious Belgian at a Vin Buð in Reykjavik, Iceland! It's one of the few foreign craft beers Iceland imports.

Dig it:

A: opaque but not too cloudy, golden with an orange tint, bubbly, white, two-finger head, so-so retention, ZERO lace
S: winey grape notes, peach (?), alcohol
T: bitter at first, with a crisp, clean-as-a-whistle finish. Dry and more robust than it looks, the alcohol is present but not unsettling and makes for one of the most enjoyable mouthfeels I've encountered in a while.

bradmann, Mar 14, 2008
Photo of yourefragile
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oval shaped 11.2 oz brown bottle with bottled on date of 8/8/2007 poured into a Chimay chalice

A: Murky golden orange/amber color. Massive, dense slightly off white head that hangs around forever with some splotchy lacing.
S: Very strong, hit me as soon as I opened the bottle. Complex, but no one aroma really jumps out. Orange, lemon, yeast, citrus rind, coriander, slight pepper. Very well balanced, definitely more floral and spicy than sweet.
T: Lighter side of medium bodied, very highly carbonated resulting in a very smooth, creamy taste that is deceptively thicker than the actual body is. Very interesting combination of the sweeter malty flavors, spicy floral like flavors and the citrus rind flavor. The predominant flavor pulls toward the earthy, citrus rind taste, with the sweeter/tarty flavors in the beginning being subdued throughout. The finish is very dry, grainy, earthy and lingers forever.

This is an amazingly complex, balanced beer, but personally I would enjoy this a little more if leaned closer to the tart or sweeter side than the earthy, citrus rind.

yourefragile, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of Antilochus
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've been working on covering all the Trappist bases - thus far I've tried all but Westy, Achel, and Koenigshoeven. I haven't reviewed all of them yet though, and this is bringing me one step closer to that goal. Thanks to the LCBO for bringing this one back in Spring Release '08.

6.90% abv, 330mL bottle. Bottled on 09/25/2007, so about five and half months old. Poured into a white wine glass first then my Chimay chalice. This was at cellar temp then got a while in the fridge.

Monster head on this one when I poured it! Big and foamy, amber-y off white, very natural looking. Almost clear effervescent amber body. Not much lace.

Nose has lots of oranginess, tangerine, rind, some lighter floral hop character. Super complex. Spice, of course. Bit of booziness too, tied in with pale malt. Earthy, farmy, got some dirt and hay at the forefront. Cane sugar, vanilla. Caramel, some sour cherriness. A little acetic quality to it - tied to green apple? Very winey, but in a good way. Some subtle mineral aromas, like hard water. The pour in the chalice got more yeasty, but not excessively so.

Feel is very light with substantial spritzy carbonation. I'm already getting some crazy palate stuff here just holding it in my mouth and breathing. Now I remember you, Orval. Gets sharp in the mouth right away. Lollipops, pungent pale malt, apple vinegar again(?), dirt, refined sugar, blue cheese, finish is dry and vegetal, super long, with a big snap of bitterness - sort of resinous but less clean. Cidery, with some yeast to muddle it up. Sahara dry with some physical mouth drying too, winey again. A hint of metal. Citrus fades away compared to the nose. Very earthy, the finish seems gone but little flavours will pop back up on your palate. Just got some sour mix, lime candy. Highly drinkable.

This is something else. One of a kind brew, bravo.

Antilochus, Mar 12, 2008
Photo of BeerTaster
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance hazy copper in color two finger off white head that stuck around untill the last sip. Smell herbal hop aroma and earthy. Taste same as smell with warming alcohol and a dry snapy finish. Mouthfeel mediem body high carbonation. Drinkability a nice pre dinner beer.

BeerTaster, Mar 11, 2008
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,495 ratings.