1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Orval Trappist Ale - Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,599 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,599
Reviews: 2,145
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 247
Gots: 495 | FT: 11
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:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001

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.
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: 4,599 | Reviews: 2,145 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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°).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of timtim
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

bottled on 7/5/07. i'm interested to see how this would taste in a few months, but i've had this one a few times and i always think it is too good. my favorite belgian pale ale to date. unique. golden orange with a white head that never goes away and leaves lots of good lace. smells of esters, malt, spice, lemony citrus, brett and hops. also has that artisanal barnyard thing that i love. like it came from mother earth's beerspring. tastes well balanced with all the same characteristics as the nose, but with a little hoppy/bitter finish. Really great, modest yet true, hop character. to me, this is near perfection. nice body, great mouthfeel. carbonation carries it through flawlessly.

edit - 8/19/2010... found a stash of these at my local harris teeter that are almost three years old. good luck finds them in perfect condition. i know the brewery thinks that they taste their best at six months, but these babies are awesome. real bretty funk and barn abound with a perfect balance of sweet, sour and bitter. really amazing. just had to add this: if i had to be stranded on a desert island with one beer, this would be it.

Photo of irishkyle21
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

When I first had this beer a couple of years back I really did not enjoy it. What the hell was wrong with me? Good thing my palate has evolved. Orval pours with a fluffy tanned head that hold up throughout the entire beer and rims the entire Orval glass. Has a murky orange amber color.

The nose is exceptional and one of the most distinctive. Notes of floral hops, some fruitiness, grass, earth and as BuckeyeNation said "I do pick up quite a bit of the so-called 'horse barn' smell", he nailed it with that description.

Tastes of sour fruits, a good amount of hops, earth, grass and the " horse barn" aroma comes into play on the mouth and is actually enjoyable. Has a very dry finish. This is one hugely flavourful and complex beer, top notch.

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

Bottled on 1/30/07 opened on 9/26/07
Poured into a Duvel Tulip

Poured with a huge head that was in no hurry to go anywhere. Color is a hazy orange/amber color. The nose is quite fragrant and complex. At first I picked up hints of citrus and flowers (is that bubble gum?) as it warmed the aromas became a little more earthy and hay like. I really dig this smell and could sit here and sniff this beer all night, but, alas thirst takes over. The taste is tart and dry with hints of leather and earth - all kinds of hop flavors dancing around as well. Finishes with plenty of bitterness to give it a real crisp finish.

This is my first Orval and I'm really enjoying it, it's definitely not your run-of-mill beer. It makes me wonder why we're not all monks.

Photo of wheelinshirt
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip glass after allowing to warm from fridge temp. Cute tear drop shaped bottle, bottled on 4/01/06, best before 4/01/11

First impression is sheer amazement--this beer looks ridiculous in the glass. The head was out of control, at least 3 fingers and i couldn't even finish pouring the bottle because there was no room. The retention was excellent, the lacing left was like big puffy clouds that just clung to the sides of the glass and just wouldn't move.

The smell was good, not a lot of hops as this bottle is about a year and a half old but there was some fruitiness and some alcohol in the smell. It tastes dry, fruity with some alcohol, the hops on this have definately faded with age. I hear it is pretty hoppy when it is fresh. It is well carbonated and medium bodied. By the time i was finished, i just wanted another, but i only have a couple so i have to ration them.

Photo of McStagger
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not my first Trappist Ale to drink, but my first to review.

A: Poured into official Orval goblet. Beer pours an extremely hazy brownish orange with an inch of orange/off-white head. Head retention is good, with decent lacing. No carbonation visible except in head.

S: The scent is that of dried orange rind, coriander, honey, clove and lemon zest with hints of candied sugar and bubble gum.

T: The forefront is the same citrus zest. However, it is interwoven with mild soap-like phenols at the beginning of the mid-palate. The citrus and soap notes carry into the mid palate, with the citrus notes dying about halfway through the mid-palate. The soap notes are picked up and accentuated by hop bitterness, which both transition beautifully into the finish, which is (finally) hit by the sugar and spice-box. A tinge of hop bitterness mixed in ensure a long finish on this beer.

M: A crisper front and drier finish than what would be expected from an ale of such flavor. Kinda throws ya off.

D: Easier to drink than a lot of Trappists, sure. The flavor intensity can throw some people off. (Along with the price).

This is the first beer I've reviewed on here in which I did not particularly care for the beer, but could not deny the quality it exhibited. This is a fine Trappist Ale (is there any other?) that most would be happy to drink. It's just not my cup.

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,599 ratings.