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

4,406 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,406
Reviews: 2,119
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 211
Gots: 414 | FT: 10
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: 4,406 | Reviews: 2,119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- This is one beautiful beer. Cloudy translucent pale yellow body that pours with giant 3+ finger white head that slowly settles to 1 1/2 finger and with great retention. Plenty of lacing is left behind in the glass.

S- Floral hops are noticed first followed by Belgian yeast and a peppery spice-somewhat of a funky ale yeast strain.

T- Initial taste is dominated by carbonation but lots of Belgian yeast and hints of peppery spice can be detected. The finish is a kick of bitter hops and peppery spice that was surprising to me considering the style. Lingering is a mild hop bitterness and hints of yeast and peppery spice.

M- High carbonation and medium weight body heavy in yeast and alcohol. Not as smooth as I expected on the swallow.

D- I am probably harsh since this is a style that I like and it just didn't live as far up to my expectations. It is actually good and easy to drink overall but it doesn't stand out to me. I would it buy it much more often if it were more affordable.

PittBeerGirl, Dec 13, 2007
Photo of 1fastz28
3.28/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pours a really pretty cloudy amber color, with a big white head, now i may be absolutely crazy, but it smells like the crazy cat ladies house. everyone had one in their neighborhood, the lady who would keep cats all day long, it smells like her house, i could be crazy but thats what it reminds me of. taste luckily is different yeast and alcohol warmness are accompanied by malt and fruit flavor. mouthfeel is full and yummy, drink ability is average. maybe it was the delirium i had before this one that outshines this beer but its still decent

1fastz28, Dec 09, 2007
Photo of Patrick999
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

I didn't know what I wanted to drink, then noticed a lone Orval in the fridge. Score!

Poured into an Ommegang chalice. Lumpy head sticks around forever. Cloudy amber, visibly active carbonation. The head did not once quit on me, hanging tough until the very end.

Nose is of sweet black cherry, and a good bit of sour, cidery funk. Not lacking at all - very nice beer to sniff.

Slight brett sourness upfront, with lots of medicinal hop and peppery clove drying things out on the back end. Seems ultra-dry; not much residual sweetness at all. It's a bit of a gob-smacking taste that newcomers to this beer may not necessarily enjoy. However, the combination of hoppy, sour and dry makes for a refreshing beer.

Like other Trappist beers, this feels wispy yet crisp, as if taking a ride on a band of high cirrus. Such a delicate, careful touch. Exceptional.

(Relatively) low ABV helps this along the drinkability road, but the dry, herbal complexities might be a bit much after a while. I love this, but I tend to want only one at a time.

Patrick999, Dec 06, 2007
Photo of twbrewer
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 04/04/2006 Opened 11/29/2007-couldn't wait any longer!

A-poured into Orval goblet a dark orange/light brown color.Huge bed of thick off white foam,took awhile to pour entire bottle.

S-Smells of yeast,pepper,light malt and a touch of hops,also smell a fruit,maybe plum and a old apple smell,that is slighty tart.

T-Tastes exactly like the smell only every sip is a different flavor.Very very complex beer.

M-Light/medium bodied,great carbonation.Very smooth yet crisp feel.

D-This is a very drinkable beer, I would consider this as a staple beer if it wasn't so expensive,so it is a great special occasion beer instead.I would love to visit this brewery and the country.

twbrewer, Nov 30, 2007
Photo of dickieb
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This Bottle is about a year old, i dont know how i have sat on it for so long. Pours a hazy copper with a huge white head, that leaves all kind of lacing. The smell is slightly bread like, with hints of belgian yeast and alcohol. Taste is complex and extremely dry, starting malty but not sweet with a definite hop crisp to it, and some spices and warming alcohol to finish it off. Mouthfeel is a bit metallic, and the drinkability is good, but a sipper do to the complexity.

dickieb, Nov 30, 2007
Photo of hwwty4
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a bottle into a Chimay Chalice. Poured a cloudy, hazy, golden color with a huge billowing white head. Left lacing all the way down the glass. Aroma is yeasty with a little hops and a citrus background. Taste is hoppy and yeasty, coating your mouth with the taste. Also there is a slight metallic taste at the back. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with lots of carbonation. Definitely a sipper.

hwwty4, Nov 29, 2007
Photo of SargeC
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 21 Jan 2006

Appearance: Hazy orange-brown with a big off white head that hangs around.

Smell: Sweetish bread, citrus, touch of bubblegum, alcohol.

Taste: Straightforward, yet complex. The yeast and hop flavors evolve with each sip. Spicy, citrus flavors finish with an acidic quality. The alcohol is evident but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light. This made this brew go down extremely smoothly. I want to try a fresher bottle to see if aging has made a difference in this area.

Drinkability: This brew provides a challenging spectrum of flavors to the drinker. It was enjoyable to attempt to sense everything this beer has to offer.

SargeC, Nov 23, 2007
Photo of bloberglawp
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

What is there to be said?
.
Served in a chimay chalise, golden ale with nice fluffy head and sexy lacing. Brett and hop aroma some aromas of wild flowers seems to come about, same 2 elements (brett and hops) take the front row seat in flavor as well. Carbonation is prickly and makes you want to take another gulp... if this came in huge 3L, bombers I'd not work for I'd drink all day for shure.

Soooo... basicaly a very good trappist ale, more of these please!

bloberglawp, Nov 22, 2007
Photo of Rudgers73
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Duvel tulip very slowly. There is a huge plume of head that fills a full 2/3 of the glass while the amber beer sites underneath. The beer is amber/orange color and incredibly clear for having been bottle conditioned. The carbonation billows from the etched Duvel "D". The head sticks with great lacing as it settles down after a few long minutes. I smell the head as it begins to fall and I smell a hop aroma (maybe Saaz) and metallic brett funk. As the head clears more I can faintly smell pale malt and peppery yeast. The taste is much more funky and bitter than I had anticipated. The sweet pale malt is almost entirely covered up with a literal blanket or warm, soft brett. The finish is then dry and metallic. This aftertaste and mouthfeel effect make the beer quite a unique offering, and although it has a seemingly one-sided flavor profile there is adjustment that can be made based on temperatures that the beer is served at. Very complex in that aspect. As far as drinkability, it is great. As far as affordability, it is not so great. I'll call this a special occasion beer; maybe to serve at a birthday or for New Years.

Rudgers73, Nov 21, 2007
Photo of buzzworthy
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle is dated 7/5/07, making it four months old at drinking (couldn't wait). The beer pours a slightly hazy amber with a huge, billowy head, leaving remnants of lace. The aroma has a freshness to it that reminds me of the ocean, with malt fruitiness underpinning it. Orval's taste is of mellow black cherries and plums, not as intense as the American brewed Belgian-style Ommegang that I am more familiar with, but seemingly more balanced. The hops add some bite and the finish is quite dry.The intense carbonation does not bother me and Orval seems surprisingly drinkable.

buzzworthy, Nov 18, 2007
Photo of Rzzzzz
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

As you look at these overall scores for Orval, you might be interested to know that there was once a Major League pitcher named Orval Overall. In fact, he was the winning pitcher for the Cubs the day they won their last World Series. You can look it up.

Flash forward 99 years to my first taste of Oval Trappist Ale. I'd heard nice things about this beer, and it did not let me down.

Poured into a wine glass. Hazy yellow/orange. Nice frothy head and good lacework. Aroma a mixed bag--can't put my finger on anything specific other than maybe apples and of course beer--but there's clearly a lot going on here. Fruity taste gives way to a slightly sour aftertaste that lingers for a while then tugs at you for another refreshing sip. Goes down smooth.

First time I've seen the stuff and now I'm kicking myself for only coming home with one. I could drink a lot of Orval, overall. Speaking of pitchers.

Rzzzzz, Nov 18, 2007
Photo of Strix
3.4/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 3/15/2007

I can't quite place the smell. Pear, alcohol and kind of an earthy dampness. But in a vaguely pleasant sort of way.

Taste is slow to develop, and gradually fades into a sour taste with a long lingering hoppy? dryness. As it warmed, sour tastes came out with more of a cider feel to it, with an earthy aftertaste.

Taste is smooth and light, a lot of tingly carbonation.

It's more of a sipper for me, drinkability-wise.

I guess I'm in the minority, but this didn't really do it for me. Some complexity to the taste, but the taste itself kind of rubs me the wrong way.

Strix, Nov 17, 2007
Photo of JustinOSU99
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a light amber color with a huge foamy head that sticks aruond for quite some time
S: All sorts of great smells come out of this beer such as apple, orange rind, fig, slight pear hints, and an undertone of caramel.
T: Up front I tend to notice the alcohol even though this beer doesnt have a huge ABV. It is quite tart, with the apple taste coming through. Lingers a bit on the palate with its tartness.
M: Perfectly balanced in carbonation and doesnt seem too heavy.
D: I didn't enjoy the beer as much as I thought I would, but will give it a second try down the road.

JustinOSU99, Nov 17, 2007
Photo of rallison
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Haven't had this since drinking a fair share of these in Belgium a year ago, so I decided it was time for a revisit.

Pours a cloudy amber with a touch of brown with a big, fluffy white head that stays around for the full session.

Smells wonderfully tart and barnyard-y. Love that smell! You just know you are in for a treat. Maybe a touch of apple in the smell as well I'd say.

Taste. Oh the taste. Wonderful horse blanket funkiness with a nice, mellow tartness. Apple cider. Earthy, slightly sweet malts. There is a wonderful complexity here - especially given the relatively low ABV. I really need to age some bottles of this...

Mouthfeel is well carbonated but appropriate for this beer. Both rich and light at the same time. Nice dry finish.

Drinkability, for me, is quite high.

rallison, Nov 14, 2007
Photo of largadeer
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Bright, hazy amber - not entirely opaque, but not overly clear. Head retention is very good. Served in the Orval chalice, it's pretty impressive. Probably one of the better beer presentations I've seen.

Smell: Lemon, freshly cut grass, oily hops with a big bright citrus character, still-developing barnyard funk and just a hint of sweet, fruity malt.

Taste/mouthfeel: Very dry in the mouth, exhibiting both bitter and tart flavors. It's fruity, but not sweet at all - it has more of a sour, acidic fruit character. Ample hopping lends a pine-like flavor. Slick and oily on the tongue, with a long-lasting dry finish. This stuff is incredibly easy to drink, and by far one of the best Belgian beers out there.

largadeer, Nov 14, 2007
Photo of smc143
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When I popped off the cap, it immediately starting foaming out of the bottle, so you can imagine what the glass looked like - half beer, half thick foamy whitecap. It took a while to get it all into the glass. I tried to leave the yeast in the bottom of the bottle, and not in my glass. It is a deep golden color and slightly cloudy, reminding me of cider in the fall. I smelled a mix of fruity, malty, nutty tang, like citrus and berries and brown sugar with a kick. And maybe just because it looked like cider, I thought I got a hint of apple. At 6.9% ABV, there was a bit of the alcohol sting in the scent as well.

The first sip seems tart, and then warms into a more sweeter flavor, almost a sticky consistency, but finished quite dry. I loved it, but I don't know if I would have many more than one at a time. It is quite a beer!

smc143, Nov 13, 2007
Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass. Bottled 4/1/2005, best before 4/1/2010. Yeah, like I had a chance of waiting that long.

Hazy orange in color with a massive fluffy white head. I mean thick and white and looking like an arctic glacier as is slooowly fades. Lacing is phenomenal.

Aroma of ripe pears, some peppery hops and clove. Real nice. Taste reveals a sourness that it not evident in the aroma. Finishes dry and sour, and not at all unpleasant.

Fairly light bodied, and dries the mouth out a bit. A pretty good sipper. I'll be nursing this one for sure.

ZimZamZoom, Nov 04, 2007
Photo of thierrynantes
4.93/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beer bottle (33 cl.), tasted in 1999.

Appearance : golden-orange color (troubled), with abundant white creamy foam head, somewhat saturated.
Smell : complex nose, rich in hops, floral
Taste & mouthfeel : extraordinary flavors of yeast and hops, dry and intense bitterness, ample body, velvety, light acidity.
Drinkability : A Must ! (drink at cellar t°).

thierrynantes, Oct 24, 2007
Photo of mnfinnkidd
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Served in Orval Chalice

Nose: Slightly Sweet with sour notes. Pear. Light Aroma

Apperance: Cloudly reddish orange with white head about 1/4" thick: Long Lasting head.

Mouthfeel: Heavy on the tongue with full carbonation in the back

Taste: Sourness is medium with apple characteristics. Sourness lingers on the tongue for a while after each sip. Maybe burnt tones.

Overall: I've been waiting to try this trappist beer for a while now ever since I bought the glass to match it. The sourness is a little too tart for my tastes at the moment. This is a very subtle beer for a trappist but it's also quite different.

mnfinnkidd, Oct 23, 2007
Photo of Bugsey
2.33/5  rDev -44.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This was a huge dissapointment to me. I thought because it was Trappist, it had to be good, but it just isn't.

Sure it looks fine, and the head is fine, but it just doesn't taste that good. It is earthy and flat, kind of burnt. There is no complexity and nothing notable.

Bugsey, Oct 22, 2007
Photo of GatorBeerNerd
3.18/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from bottle into a tulip glass. Pours an orange brownish color with the most aggressive head I can recall in beers that I have had. The beer has quite a bit of lacing as well.

S: I see many reviewers really point out the smell. Maybe I am getting sick, but the beer doesn't seem to have a distinctive scent at all. In fact, I really cant detect any aroma at all even in a tulip glass.

T: Of all the Trappist Ales I have had, this is the least enjoyable to me personally. It has a very earthy type taste and it gets even stronger as you swallow. Although not my cup of tea, I can see why others would enjoy this one.

M: The mouthfeel is totally dominated by the insane amount of carbonation in this one. As you swish the beer in your mouth it continues to create more and more bubbles. It has very little viscosity, but seems to match others in this same style.

D: It doesn't have an overbearing alcohol flavor at all in the mouth. However, the carbonation in this one is so dramatic that I knocked down the drinkability score a couple notches.

Although my scores may not seem to reflect it, this is by no means a bad brew. Just based on my taste I can't rank this one as highly as multiple other Belgian Ales I have tried.

GatorBeerNerd, Oct 21, 2007
Photo of kirok1999
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark gold with a huge head that leaves just a little lacing. Smells huge of fruit and spice. Bananas, pumpkin, some musk and earth. Taste is the same, a bubbly, spicy, fruity concoction. Pretty dense mouthfeel, crisp and well carbonated. I served it a little too cold and it got much better as it warmed up. My first impression was not favorable. I'm glad I let it warm.

kirok1999, Oct 17, 2007
Photo of tapman
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Unfiltered, large, foamy white head with a brown-orange body. Lacing is decent as well.

Very medicinal. Not quite alcohol, but of something that would contain alcohol, like a cough syrup. Also sweet and slightly malty...its hard to get away from the medicinal smell.

Also medicinal. Though if one concentrates one can find extremely sweet (like brown sugar) malts with a floral aftertaste that is pretty good if you like savory-type beers and foods.

Very crisp, clean, and full. A mouthfeel that is very full of life and opportunity.

While this is a really iteresting beer, I must say that I am disappointed in my own review points. I thought it would be higher, but the last couple times I tried it, it was after I had had a few other brews. My muddled taste buds aside, a very interesting brew that one could re-review with multiple tastings, which makes it worthy of the fame I has.

tapman, Oct 16, 2007
Photo of Beercub
2.78/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

The richness, color, lacing, mouthfeel, was what I'd expect from a belgian trappist... i also noticed the nice sweetness and spicy/raisiny flavors. But there was a flavor in there that absolutely did not agree with me. The closes I can come to describing it is a combination of tar and burnt plastic. I guess it's possible that I got a bad bottle, but if this is what this beer is supposed to taste like, it is an acquired taste that I shall not pursue. This was a huge surprise to me as St. Bernardus ABT 12 is probably my favorite beer in the world.

Beercub, Oct 11, 2007
Photo of ericj551
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 7/11/06, Orval pours a cloudy orange/red with a thick foamy head that puffs up above the rim of the glass and stays put. The aroma is crisp earthy and almost metallic, with hints of hops and some dry dark fruit. As the beer warms I smell a nice farmhouse funkiness, what I assume is some Brett character. The flavor is dry, not a lot of sweetness left. I taste a nice lemony flavor, but different from the typical citrus flavors from hops. There nice dry toasty malt flavor with light yeasty funk, more earthy flavors. The beer is very complex and delicious, I'm not even getting past the surface on all the different flavors going on. The mouthfeel is almost gritty, like there is a lot of texture to the beer.

ericj551, Oct 09, 2007
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,406 ratings.