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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,324 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,324
Reviews: 2,112
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 202
Gots: 390 | FT: 8
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: 4,324 | Reviews: 2,112 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of doppelmeup
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%

Had a bottle of this at the Rathskeller in Indianapolis.

Poured into a snifter glass, this beer was dark amber and had a nice creamy layer of foam which floated on top of the beer and refreshed itself everytime I swirled the glass.

Slight bubblegum, slight yeast aroma. Not as strong as other Belgian ales I've had, but definitely a Belgian aroma.

Taste was surprisingly dry, with a bit of bubblegum flavor in the background. This beer was quite unique, somewhere between a saison and a Duval, but defitely unique. Slightly bitter.

Moderate carbonation with a clean, crisp finish.

Overall, a unique brew but not my favorite Belgian ale. And at $6-7 per bottle in the store and $10 at the restaurant, it is quite pricey. I won't buy this again.

doppelmeup, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of JayTheFinn
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%

I'm a novice when it comes to Belgians, so I'll keep this short...

I liked it to a point. It's well done, just not my style.

A-Orangy and hazy body with a powerful head.
S-Smells like it'll be at least slightly sweet but...
T-Very dry with an assertive flavor of...god knows what. I'm really struggling to describe this one, which makes it all the more intriguing.
M-Lays fully on the tongue.
D-Drinkable yes, but as I mentioned, it's not for me. I'd never turn one away, but I'd probably try something different if I had the choice.

JayTheFinn, Nov 11, 2006
Photo of dherling
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%

Poured out a hazy honey orange with a thick head with nice lacing.
Nose is sweet oranges, citrus, bready, and maybe even a little sour. The taste starts off tart and a little sour then almost turns into a hoppy pale ale. The beer foams in the mouth. Highly carbonated and finished dry. Light and refreshing even with the massive carbonation.

dherling, Nov 08, 2006
Photo of yelterdow
3.78/5  rDev -10%

Cellared for four years almost to the day, I've been saving this one for an uninterrupted hour for reviewing. Bottled 10/22/02, this is being served in the appropriate Orval clalice with the little fish on it. Here goes nothing.

Appearance- Upon popping the cap, I'm greeted with a loud *hiss* and that unmistakable Orval nose... part funk, part I have no idea. The first pour is crystal clear medium gold, with a crackling white head that spreads evenly over the beer's surface. Draperies of lacing cling behind, showing good structure... there are many streams of effervescence launching from the bottom of the glass.

Smell- There is nothing quite like Orval's aroma. Love it or hate it, it's the most unique and distinctive nose on any beer... it sounds crazy to list gauze pads and a first-aid kit as positive attributes, but the yeast strain is just phenomenally weird. I'll stop there.

Taste- This beer is a difficult one to review, it's so indescribably unique. Funky plastic hops with a sourbready, bone dry finish... the aftertaste lingers and echoes its yeast, calling out for an appropriate cheese to pair with. Complex and a delightful anomaly.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- A lively, crisp entry defers to a subtle, easy seafoaminess... elegantly drinkable. The big flavors mentioned earlier can get a bit tiring over the course of a tasting, so food is recommended. A one-of-a-kind authentic Trappist ale with its own story.

The final pour with sediment: Disappointing. Leave it behind.

yelterdow, Oct 31, 2006
Photo of SudNut
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%

This was my first Belgian Pale Ale I have had a couple of the strong darks before and think I prefer those. This beer pours to a murky golden brown with a creamy head and some lacing.

The smell is citrus like…. lemon, with a hint of spice.

Taste is sweet then tart liked the smell with a tiny hop bite and a light undertone of alcohol. Fairly well balanced if you like tartness.

Mouth feel is light and creamy with plenty of carbonation.

I gave it a low drinkabilty mark because I don’t like tart beers. Other wise a fairly sound choice. This just doesn't seem to be my favorite Belgian style.

SudNut, Oct 30, 2006
Photo of jwc215
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%

Best before Oct. 13, 2010 (exactly five years after bottling date, which is also listed).

Poured into an Orval chalice.

Pours cloudy orange with a thick, creamy off-white head that thins to a very well-retained rocky covering. Some lacing clings to the sides of the glass.

The smell is of lemon peel, tartness, and spicy sourdough.

The taste is unique and complex. Tart lemon, spiced dough and a wine-like vinegar are all present throughout. A sharp hop bitterness peeks through. Only slight hints of alcohol are present. The medicinal finish has a fresh, acidic character.

The feel is creamy and light. Somewhat drying. The body stays firm and the fresh feeling lingers on the tongue.

It's a wonderful sipping brew that I enjoy as an occassional treat. A true world classic!

jwc215, Oct 28, 2006
Photo of BlackHaddock
2.88/5  rDev -31.4%

I have two more in my garage, so this review may change after a further tasting, but I was not impressed at all with this bottle. The worst beer a monk has ever made for me!

Slightly cloudy, an off orange colour.

Smell was of sour apples, no head, just a wisp, which went almost straight away.

Tasted of the same sour apples as the smell, sharp and fizzy.

If it had been a blind tasting, I would have said it was a rough Cider or a really poor Geuze.

BlackHaddock, Oct 28, 2006
Photo of JasonA
3.53/5  rDev -16%

This is my first Belgian Pale. Im not sure Im a good reviewer for it, so you may want to disregard my review.

This bottle was purchased at the Chesapeake Gourmet in Queenstown, MD. Poured from as picture bottle.

Looks opaque light brown, with some orange tine. Large and thick head. I dont get much from the smell, was expecting more of a bite from it.

As my first belgian pale, I am not impressed. I picked up this beer simply because it had 'Trappist' in the title. There is no mention of the type on the bottle. Shame on me.

I will say that it tastes very fresh, no real alcohol byte. Little hop after the swallow. Overall tastes dry to me. I was expecting more flavor.

Hopefully after I have tried more Begian pales, I can make my way back to this one.

JasonA, Oct 26, 2006
Photo of vwcraig
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%

Bought this Orval at Dawg's Bottle Shop.

33cL bottle with an interesting pin shape to it. Best before 31/01/2011.

Poured a nice medium brown with orangish notes into a goblet. Thick, off-white head about two fingers high.

Smelled of sweet malts and yeast.

First taste hit me with sweet dark fruits, grapes almost. Definitely a bitter aftertaste that is almost hoppy to me. Could hardly detect the alcohol.

Liked the mouthfeel as it was not heavily carbonated as I have encountered with other Belgians. Kinda medium bodied and chewy.

Lots of lacing left on the glass and head retained until the last swig. But that may be due to drinking it quicker than usual; but I couldn't help it. Delicious. Can't wait to have another.

vwcraig, Oct 25, 2006
Photo of Beerzebub
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Bottled 04/04/2006

Bright, slightly translucent amber. Huge crown of blobby head that slowly melt into a dense, wrinkly volcano shaped thing.

Smells of spices (cloves, cinnamon, anise), herbs (hops, grass, basil), red apple, black currant, banana, yeast, leather. Complex and appetizing.

Very dry. Some herbal, medicinal hoppy bitterness, and the flavor of herbal hops. Some acidity. Some brett-induced leathery notes, very well integrated. Very long finish - dry, herbal, medicinal.

Some astringency, which really works with the overall dryness and exaggerates it. Good carbonation. Refreshing, and surprisingly drinkable.

Perhaps an austere hardliner among the Trappists, this beer is nonetheless one of the greats.

Beerzebub, Oct 25, 2006
Photo of peabody
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%

Pours out a nice reddish tan clear brew with lots of carbonation yeilding 3 fingers of off-white suds that stay high in my tulip glass.
Smell is a very light banana and cherry orange. Mabey a little sugar in there too but no alcohol is present.
Taste is a bitter mix of banana and lemon candy sugar with just a hint of hops and alcohol and cherry.
Mouthfeel is pretty clean with lots of carbonation but the flavors that are left in the mouth are like a heavy perfume.
Drinkability isn't all that great here because of the perfume feel in the aftertaste.

peabody, Oct 15, 2006
Photo of rsyberg01
3.95/5  rDev -6%

S - Teardrop 11.2 oz bottle. Bottled on 3-22-05. Best by 3-22-2010

A - Deep hazy copper. Head is great, tightly packed off white bubbles.

S - Tropical esters, spicy, banana, sugary malts, biscuity to a certain sense, citrusy orange as well.

T - Banana, orange zest, malty sweetness, not as strong as it all is in the nose. Nice little hop hit at the end.

M - Carbonated balanced pretty well with the weight of the beer. A little above average.

D - I think it would become pretty neutral after two or three in succession. Overall though it is not bad.

rsyberg01, Oct 14, 2006
Photo of Foxman
4.03/5  rDev -4%

It pours a hazy orange amber, and is extremely carbonated. Many fingers of thick, sculptable beige head settle glacially. There's not so much lacing as a wall of froth on the inside of the glass.

The aroma reveals an underlying blanket of viscous malt, somewhat sweet and sneakily boasting caramel, vanilla, and ripe melon. Clove and coriander mate with a minty sour draft of bready yeast.

Upon tasting, there jabs a punch of semi-sweet malted grain, briefly fruity with peach and melon, then utterly dried by a maelstrom of clove, coriander, and black pepper, as well as a powerfully crisp and drying eddy of bitter herbal hops. An earthy, even funky, sourness interrupts before it becomes acrid, and the finish is an only slilghtly less bitter lingerance. It's an assertive, biting flavor personality that grows on me as I drain the glass.

Medium bodied, the tingling, edgy bitterness is very present, and quite poignant and dominant.

Ive heard people rave, and I've heard them trash this beer. For me, well, the first sip was an eye-opener, and then I slid into a very cozy comfort zone with it. It's sharp and fresh, and certainly drinkable, if you like it, that is. And I like it, and will again, when the mood strikes, which could be virtually any moment now.

Foxman, Oct 06, 2006
Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%

No surprise, there's a ton of reviews on this beer already. I've found that from memory, I didn't enjoy this beer much a few years ago. I took a flyer on it again after having been exposed to a lot more styles of beers through BA.

This time around, quite enjoyable. I like it as a summer / warm fall day beer. Adventurous, wide ranging and truly a belgian treat. Enjoy!

barleywinebrewer, Oct 04, 2006
Photo of bark
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%

Colour is beige-brown, the liquid is very hazy. The long lasting beige head is finger thick, it leaves lots of lacing.

The balanced smell is fruity (apples, apricots) and bitter with some sweet notes, herbs and yeast.

The taste is also very balanced. Yeast (white loaf), crisp bitter notes, apricots and peaches. Some sweetness and bitter herbs (basilica, oregano). The body is weak. The rather short aftertaste is dry with earthy notes of herbs and mild spices.

The carbonation is strong, fresh and short.

In short, it simply tastes Orval.

bark, Oct 03, 2006
Photo of beckje01
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%

Poured into an Orval Glass

A- Dark golden brownwith an inch of head thatsa cream color and kind of thick.

S- Sweet smell with a slight floral hint.

T- Sweet with a tang at the end. Slight floral and good zest.

M- Active zesty very good consistancy.

D- Very easy to drink almost to good at this ABV.

I will be haveing more of these.

beckje01, Sep 25, 2006
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Murky orange body with 5 or 6 fingers of head, typical of an abbey or trappist ale. Tons of lacing too. Smells sweet, citrussy, and yeasty. Rather complex flavor, tastes citrusy, spicy, piney, slightly sour, but in a good way. Somewhat peppery and alcolic as well... I like this beer. It definitely worth the hype!

MrHurmateeowish, Sep 24, 2006
Photo of Mebuzzard
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%

Poured into a Duvel snifter. Good deep brown body and big head. Head laced on the sides and clumped in the middle.
Aroma of ripe (brown) bananas, malt and some citrus hops.
taste was more of an IPA style. Hops and citrus, with some roasted malt, biscuit and basil.
Had a bit of a bite to it, more hops than I expected, finished with a dryness. A complex beer overall.

Mebuzzard, Sep 22, 2006
Photo of Rezzin
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%

Bottled on 30/06/2005 best by 30/06/2010 consumed 9/20/2006.

A - Pours a hazy honey orange with a 2" thick head that leaves nice lacing on it's way down.

S - Sweet oranges, somewhat bready, citrus and maybe even a little sour. Smells great.

T - The first sip foams in the mouth. Starts off tart and maybe even a little sour then fades into a flavor much like a hoppy pale ale. Somewhat of a metallic twang to the flavor. As I let it warm it pretty much follows the same taste pattern... lambic, a hoppy ale, then metallic.

M - Highly carbonated and finished dry. Light and refreshing even with the massive carbonation.

D - I'm wondering if I got a light struck bottle. The aroma is wonderful but the flavor is just not I was hoping for. I'll re-review this beer later when I pick up another bottle. The place by my house sells these 11.2oz bottles for $4.

Rezzin, Sep 21, 2006
Photo of blackie
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%

appearance: Leaving most of the yeast in the bottle, the pour yields a 0.5" white head. It recedes incompletely, fed by streams of bubbles from the bottom. The beer is a hazy, milky medium brown.

smell: I get some immediate strawberry and raspberry aromas. Pale Belgian malts aromas with notes of peach. It's a little farm-housey, with some hay and a slight wildness to it. Hints of oxidized apple flesh, whole bread, white pepper, and flowery honey. Just a touch of hops noticeable.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is high, yet smooth. The body is very light.

taste: Pale malts with appley fruit flavors upfront. A little thin in flavor. There's also a light yeast character. After the swallow an aged, papery hop flavor becomes more evident, and a gentle bitterness dries out the finish.

drinkability:A well balanced beer, though a little uninteresting in some places...even a little watery. Easy to drink.

11.2 oz. bottle from Grapes & Hops in Fayetteville, Bottled 24/06/2005

6/14/2013 - upped some scores after purchasing an Amsterdam/Belgium ticket and cracking a bottle from Lost Dog

blackie, Sep 17, 2006
Photo of ThirdCoast
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%

Serving Type: 11.2 floz Bottle

A:Murky Orange color with a nice head with plenty of lace.

S:Oranges, lemons, citrus.

T: Sharp taste, hard to pinpoint....Earthy

M:Stings the tounge, much like a cola.

D:Overall a good drinkable beer. Great for a summer afternoon.

ThirdCoast, Sep 13, 2006
Photo of kenito799
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%

11.2 oz bottle, 6.9%alcohol, bottled 1/31/06 drunk 9/9/06, best before 1/31/11

My first taste of the authentic Belgian trappists, poured into a Duvel glass.

I understand that Orval is different in style to the other trappists, I can imagine why. Extreme carbonation, huge off-white head appears and fills the glass, receding slowly with nice lacing from bubbles of many different sizes. Color is hazy amber.

Aromas are sharp and citrusy, vague fruitiness is not dominant (bananas), some metallic scents.

Hitting the mouth the intense carbonation is the first impression, the beer foams on the tongue..the first flavor impression is tart and sour, a bit like a gueuze. Very dry, almost austere, and then bitter hoppiness takes over in the finish. As it warms in the glass and as I drink more, this beer feels like it has its feet in two camps...lambic and bitter, hoppy ale, battling for dominance. A pleasant battle to experience in the mouth. I think by the end of the bottle the ale won...but I miss that first jolt of lambic-like sourness.

I can't wait to try the other trappists...

kenito799, Sep 09, 2006
Photo of Hibernator
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%

Orval Trappist Ale
11.2 oz brown bottle
Bottled on: 06/24/2005
Best Before: 06/24/2010
Served in a Chimay goblet glass

Pours a hazy and cloudy light brown. Burnt orange highlights blend in the background. A massive, rocky head forms on top and magnificent patterns of sticky lacings cling all over the goblet.

The nose is amazing. Whiffs of lemon, honey, hops and sour funk yeast. Reminds me of a Lambic, must be the Brettanomyces. I inhale another big whiff and I detect sugary sweetness and random spices. I swirl the beer around and around in the goblet and I receive more complex scents.

My first sip is light, airy and sugary sweet. Complex flavors of sweet & sour battle on my palate. Again, the Lambic connection is on the forefront of my mind. A touch of lemon or lime citrus dipped in honey with a quality that provides a beautiful hop snap on the finish. This beer is also interestingly dry while a pressured carbonation blast prickles my tongue.

This is one amazing, unique and uncompromising monster of a trappist ale. A world class offering and strongly recommended.

Hibernator, Sep 09, 2006
Photo of depechemode1983
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%

Serving type - 11.2oz stubby brown bottle with best before date printed on back. the site says 6.20% by volume but my bottle says 6.90% by volume

Apperance - light orange/brown amber color outstanding head plenty of lace to go around. very impressive

Smell - sour-citric smell. acidy fruit comes to mind such as lemons limes. floral smells linger. slight sweet smell

Taste - tart spicy taste up front. crisp finish with a definite hop presence thats excellent. floral and plant tartness that really sticks Mouth feel is decent with good carbonation and a little watery feel.

Note: this is one fine ale. loved it from start to finish..just too bad its so high priced and very hard to find in my area.

depechemode1983, Sep 06, 2006
Photo of ndekke39
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%

Shared a bottle of this with some good friends. Bottled on 1/24/06 and best-by 1/24/11. Poured a cloudy honey color with a bright white head and lots of lacing. Smells of so many things... apple, honey, banana, peach, yeast. Wonderful to stick your nose in. Taste was dry, fruit, and hoppy. Overall flavors ran the gamut from sweet to bitter to sour. Each sip brought something new out. Mouthfeel was bright and fizzy. Overall, excellent beer. Great to sip. Highly recommended.

Tried another bottle in September 2007. Bottled on 1/24/06 and best-by 1/24/11. Poured like a very cloudy cider. Small, white head, with little bits of lacing. Smells again of apple, plus some champagne. A little bitterness like an apple peel. Needs to warm up a bit. Very effervescent, like a champagne! This must be one result of the aging. Again, it's wonderful to drink, especially with good friends. Looking forward to trying another bottle next Labor Day!

And we shared yet another bottle in September 2008. Bottled 1/24/06, best by 1/24/11. Poured like clear-ish apple juice, nice thick white head, lots of lacing, great retention. Smells of apples and champagne. Taste is starting to flatten out. Very dry. Taste of apples, bitter at the end, like old coffee. Very effervescent mouthfeel. It's getting less nuanced, but we have 2 more bottles and will see it through to Labor Day 2010!

Opened our fourth bottle in September 2009. Like the rest, bottled 1/24/06 and best by 1/24/11. Poured a clear deep yellow. Lots of foam, very fizzy and rocky. Lots of lacing on the glass. Aromas of yeast, fermented apple cider, pears, white wine like a Riesling. Tastes of white wine, champagne, apples. Taste begins well, but ends with a flat burn. Almost tastes old. Mouthfeel is a bit flat, despite all the foam. Still interesting, but the beer is mellowing out. One more bottle for next year!

Opened our fifth and final bottle in September 2010. Like every one of them, bottled 1/24/06 and good until 1/24/11, although it doesn't seem to be holding up too well. Very foamy on the pour, with a consistent fluffy white head. Color looks darker and cloudier this year. Smells like apple cider vinegar. Tastes a little flat, like cardboard or wood; it's like a very weak wine. Mouthfeel is still fizzy and bright. This beer has about three months left in its life, but already it seems to be turning into nothing.

ndekke39, Sep 05, 2006
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,324 ratings.