Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,193 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,193
Hads: 4,901
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 285
Gots: 653 | 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:
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,193 | Hads: 4,901
Photo of jeranbrews
3.52/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Hmm did I get the same beer? Mine may have needed to sit a few months.

A - Fizzy murky marmalade color. Fluffy bone white head.  

S - Blueberry and a touch of black bean vinegar in the yeast. Lovely. Smells Dance along in the bubbles up into your nose giving hopes of syrupy candied delights. Only slightly malty.

T - More bitter than I initially imagined.
Slightly dry. Before adding all the yeast from the bottle it was sour after adding it all it was much more wholesome and rounded. Just a touch of vegimite. Spices were there and I'll give this beer points for uniqueness but not for flavor.

M - Loose like white wine or cooking sherry

D - Overall good appearance and enticing smell but flavor left something to be desired average but not worth premium Belgian prices. Wondering if mine was too young or too old. (826 characters)

Photo of John_M
3.51/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had not had this beer in some time and now I recall why I've never been a big fan. I'll be sure not to make the mistake of ordering this one again. Nothing wrong with it, but with so many other outstanding Belgium's out there, no reason to buy this one again.

The beer pours a brownish orange color. There is some head retention, but almost no lacing to speak of. On the nose I get very little, maybe a hint of lemon... not really sure. There just isn't much there. On the palate the beer is very tart and very dry at the same time. I guess this beer is trying to be some type of Belgium pale ale, but it really doesn't work for me. The beer tastes fairly light for a Belgium, and I guess with the abv. you could probably drink a few of these, were price not an obstacle. The mouthfeel is OK, and the beer comes across as fairly refreshing. The finish is rather short and crisp, but there are no off flavors.

An OK beer, but nothing special. I more then likely will not be ordering this again any time soon. (1,013 characters)

Photo of SethB2
3.51/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at Nuggett Market in Woodland, Ca.

Poured from bottle into a Duvel tulip. Pours a deep amber color with a hint of orange. Beer is non transparent and begins with a pillowy head that disipates down to thin layer, leaving a small amount of lacing. Smells OK. Some melon and grape tones coming through, but a little bitter. A little more and I would say the beer was skunky. Taste is better than the smell. Full of fruitiness with some clove. A little metallic flavor is happenning as well. Mouthfeel is full with a good amount of carbonation and finishes a tad dry. Drinkablilty is also good.

All in all a decent Belgian, but for a Trappist beer, I was expecting a little more. (691 characters)

Photo of drzig
3.51/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a 11.2 oz bottle into a wine glass.
A- golden color with very thick head. The head was impressive
S- Not much to smell but hints of fruit
T- autumn fruit flavored
M- Crisp, carbonated taste, not as smooth as I like most belgians with a little too much carbonation.
O- I typically like Trappist Ales, especially Pale Ales, but this one didn't make me want to order another. Still better than the average beer. (413 characters)

Photo of spoony
3.51/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip.

A-Nice golden honey color with a thick, off-white head. The head is quite impressive...it really sticks around.

S-Floral notes dominate for me. I also picked up a few subtle notes of apple and some funk. Not a strong nose.

T- Some hay and floral flavors. A touch of apple and cracker. Not much funk.

M-Crisp with a lighter body and pleasant carbonation.

O-I wanted to like this beer, but I was not blown away. I found it rather simple. Perhaps I have ruined my palate by drinking too many crazy IPAs recently, but this one was underwhelming. It drinks easily, but I expected more intrigue for the $5 per 11.2 oz I paid for my two bottles recently. (688 characters)

Photo of ivanwatling
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:  Clear orange hue, several inches of froffy head, moderate retention

Smell: A rather unpleasnt aroma akina to stale urine.  I asked for a  second opinion from my wife, she said it smelled of beer and was slightly sweet.

Taste: Citrusy, lively, initially very bitter. But then the bitterness blends in with other flavours to produce a well balanced experience.

My wife said the initial taste was sweet, then some sourness came in.  Intruiging how we can be so different.

Mouthfeel: Above average carbonation that seems to work for this beer.  Aftertaste is mellow and pleasant.  

Drinkability: A very pleasant experience. (643 characters)

Photo of surfadelic23
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This tasty beer (which comes in a relly distinctive bottle) pours a
copper/brownish color that looks great in my chalice.
At first, the taste is sweet, but that doesn't last long at all. A nice bittery hoppy flavor that quickly gets replaced by acidity that must be the result of the yeasties or mebbe bretts?? This one's also pretty carbonated. The first bottle I opened foamed big time! I liked the carbonation on it and found that it imrpoved the drinkability to a certain extent. I did not find this to be a very big alcohol bomb although that may be because We spent the whole weekend trying different Belgian style ales so we may have been used to it. All in all, a pretty nice ale and I'm glad I tried it. While it's not going to knock off othe Belgians that I prefer, this was a nice change from the norm (814 characters)

Photo of scooter231
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Maple syrup. Is what this looks like. With fantastic head you can draw in. At first smell, I wanted to say, La Fin? Tremens? Very, very similar scents. Baaarely metalic.

Taste is medicinal and metalic. Some earthy/woodsy things goin on, kinda herbaly, but mostly a sour, metal thing. Light sweetness balances out things enough to make it a bit more drinkable. But I feel like I'm drinking a spoon. Too young, this bottle may be...

Mouthfeel is sudsy, very soapy. Full of bubblyness. Fairly drinkable, but... I don't know. The nose and certain flavors make me feel like I could really like this, but the metalic thing is turning me off. I'll have to hunt down an older bottle and compare. (693 characters)

Photo of jasonjlewis
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a huge head with excellent retention and a nice cloudy ornage color.

Smell is of sour apple and citrus. The brett funk really comes through.

I was hoping for a nice funky beer, but there is an off bitterness from some dry tannins or yeast autolysis. and overtakes the funk of the brett. It just doesn't go well together. In addition there are a bit of clovey spicy undertones.

Crisp mouthfeel.

I wanted to like this beer after smelling it, but it just has an off bitterness and some tannins that make it less than desirable. I don't know if there are autolysis issues with the beer that lead to the off flavors, but this beer is only 1 1/2 years old and well before it's best by date. (694 characters)

Photo of Andreji
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It is certainly a pale ale, this one, but a nice decent trappist product.

Pours an orange kinda tainted tone which reminds me of the sorta pale ale that sierra nevada has. And the product itself is very similar: a tough, bitter sweetness both in nose and taste that while being good is not all that great for my taste (les goûts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas!), But still is a nice refreshing malty-hoppy blend that works always. The trappistes at orval have passed the test. (485 characters)

Photo of BeerNutta
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a deep golden yellow. You could smell a fruitty floral aroma.
The taste is the dissapointing part. I was expecting an explosion of flavour, however, all that was presented was spicy dry bitterness.

Some might like it but it wasnt my kind of beer.

Not really my kind of beer. (290 characters)

Photo of CTbrew32
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Hazy orange amber in color with a 4 finger head produced on the pour. Extremely carbonated so a slow pour is necessary.

Aroma- Funky aroma, citrus, and a little caramel sweetness. The funky/tart/barnyard aroma definitely dominates though.

Taste- Immediately noticing the funky from the brett which lends to a slightly dry and tart taste. In the middle some acidic fruits show up, especially lemon and orange. Some caramel malt rounds out the finish, along with some honey sweetness.

Feel- High carbonation upfront but a little more mellow in the finish. Medium bodied and very dry and crisp.

Overall- Honestly didn't know what to expect with this and definitely didn't anticipate the Brett aspect. Funky barnyard beers usually aren't up my alley, but this strikes a good balance with some funk upfront but fading to citrus and caramel combine for a crisp finish. Good beer in my book and worth trying again, but this would probably be more enjoyed by those who like Brett influenced beers. (1,014 characters)

Photo of Hugues
3.5/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

often cited as the best trappist beer, I find this one a bit of a hit & miss from bottle to bottle. I've had some really excellent bottles, but others were downright poor, once poured. Just the look of it will tell you. if it's orangey, you'll love it. if it's a pale pils colours... don't even sip from the glass. That's why my rating are probably much lower than the average (376 characters)

Photo of Popsinc
3.49/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: an cloudy amber/brown pour with an enormous and foamy head accompanied with a very lively body. the glass makes for excellent presentation. it LOOKS like a great beer.

Smell: a dull woody nose, different from what i remember sampling in Canada. earthy notes are very prominent although the nose seems subtle and held back.

Taste: rich and creamy, again, more so then i remember. more woodiness is present in the body along with slight herbal characteristics.

Mouthfeel: very rich and very lively. lots of activity in this beer.

Drinkability: to me this is the most different from all the other trappists. obviously much mess sweet. decent drinkability alothough it is not nearly my favorite trappist. i'm suprised it ranks so highly. i wonder if this is b/c it is labelled a "trappist"? (810 characters)

Photo of Reedbrew
3.49/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

Just not my thing. Compared to the taste of other Belgian Trappist beers this just doesn't impress me as much. Well-made but the flavor profile was a bit disappointing. Positives: excellent carbonation (maybe a bit too much though) and interesting bottle. (258 characters)

Photo of raynmoon
3.49/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a: light gold, orange with a huge foamy head, No lacing.

s: big, big, big grannysmith apples, saison breadiness.

t: dry, dry funky brett flavors and some sweet caramel malt. The Brett is supplying a lot of bitterness, no fruity, sweet tartness, just bitter yeast, not great.

Not as a great as some would say, maybe it's an old bottle, but I was expecting this to be bright and flavorful, but it is rather dry and bitter, the bitterness does not add anything to the beer. (476 characters)

Photo of basica
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is my second Orval and it was a better experience as this time round it was served in my
very own Orval trappist chalice and also maybe because I was able to better appreciate this
controversial taste. It pours out into my Orval chalice a slightly dark and murky golden color
with a big bubbly head. It smells of yeasts and malts and the signature orval smell; the taste
itself malty and with the strong signature orval taste which I believe is owing to a certain
style of fermentation or something manipulation of the malts. I am not sure how to describe the
taste except a wierd bready fermentation somewhat which gives the taste strength and character
despite the low ABV of 6.2. Some people found this taste pungent; I felt that it was pretty ok
but does not impress me. Some dashes of citrus and spices included in the taste packet.
The slightly bitter finish was pretty nicely blended in and the after taste is richly malty,
yeasty and spicey with a bready touch which increases as the after taste lingers. In terms of
mouthfeel, the Orval should be around medium body with a pretty high level of carbonation. It
was fairly smooth but not really. Generally OK on the drinkability but could work better on
the mouthfeel and drinkability. Not as smooth as I would like it to be. Nonetheless quite a
unique beer on the whole and worth the experience. I may do some aged Orvals in future. (1,413 characters)

Photo of mechamifune
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Been looking forward to trying this one for a long time. I've heard a lot of others say that this beer defies simple classification and after drinking it I can see why.

Pours with an immense amount of slightly tan head into a chimay glass. Obvious carbonation and the smell is more subdued that i'm expecting. If I had to pick something out it would be some slight citrus, but i come away with a sense of dryness more than anything.

Upon tasting its somewhat hard to describe.... some subdued hops, but mostly a little fruit and a lingering perfume-ish taste. The mouthfeel is continuously foamy, dry, but somehow still relatively light.

While this drinks relatively light, this is not a beer to drink quickly. There is a lot going on and you really have to sip it to get through it enjoyably. As i progress through the glass the perfume aftertaste subsides a little and some hints of sourness come through.

In the end I'm not really sure what to think. This is obviously a beer with a lot going on and one that a lot of effort has gone into. In the world of beer I would classify this as a pretty unique experience... but still I'm not sure there's anything to bring me back to it. Still, its certainly worth a try for any beer lover. (1,241 characters)

Photo of saztheorybook
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

There was almost a marble in its golden and amber blend in the glass with a white brown creamy head. It smelled citrusy and a little rosy, with some hints of maltiness. The first taste was outstandingly bitter and overpowering, with an acrid aftertaste. As I kept drinking, it became fruitier and more enjoyable, but I don't see myself getting this one again for a while. (371 characters)

Photo of HappyHourHero
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tangy lemon aroma, a bit of grassy hops. Foamy yellowish tan colored head left a solid layer of lace as it faded. Hazy, cider colored beer. Light wheat flavors, a pinch of lemon and bitter grapefruit, Light body, lots of carbonation, barely bitter finish that warms the stomach. Too much carbonation keeps the light flavor from reaching the tongue. I let it sit for 15 minutes before I opened and I think it needs even more time to warm. Overall a fairly crisp and clean beer, but I was expecting more. I'll give it another try, but not in the immediate future. (561 characters)

Photo of Hautacam
3.48/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle freshness date 6/05.
Light, cloudy amber-brown....very lively, foamy head....rises up the chalice...looks great. Head slowly drops to 1/8 in and stays.
Smells of barnyard, yeast and overripe apple, musty....kind of gueuze-like, but not as intense.
Tastes surprizingly light..subtle yeast, horse blanket, malt....cidery; sour...not bitter, with some alcohol coming through. Dry and lighter in mouthfeel than I expected.Carbonation medium.
This was good, but for the price, I think I'll stick to the other abbeys. I would have liked a heavier mouthfeel and a little more malt. My girl friend thought this ale was fantastic...I gave her the rest of mine. (662 characters)

Photo of wmtxbb
3.47/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a chalice. Bottled on 12-30-11, so it's just over a year old.

Appearance: Thick finger-sized head on top of a golden brew.

Smell: Very clean aroma. Hints of tea and hops.

Taste: Very dry, chalk-like. Some pepper and spice flavors...other than that, it's an extremely boring beer. It's also pretty bland.

Drinkability: Bland and boring... I'd like to try a younger version of this. This has been a real disappointment. (442 characters)

Photo of oracle
3.47/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served in an Orval chalice style glass

Beer was light amber, with a thin low density head. No discernable lacing.

Flavor was very mild for a belgian, with a predominance of fruits, mostly plum. Mild hops and a very faintly sour finish that lingers. Way too much carbonation for my liking.

I still haven't decided if I will order this one again. (353 characters)

Photo of cheers2beers
3.47/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a wide mouth mug:

Appearance: Poured a apple cider colored liquid with slightly off white pillowy head.I can't see through this beer due to the cloudiness.A little laceing can be found.

Smell: The aromas of bananas,cinnamon, maybe some clove and raison bread. No alcohol noted.

Taste: The flavors are sour fruits ,probably from the semi-wild yeasts that Orval uses, followed by an apricot dominance.Doesnt have that typical Belgian taste,but could be classified as a bad fruit beer.Seems a little tart in the finish.No alcohol to be detected.

Mouthfeel: This is very plain to me,a little sour in the front with a tart and bubbley finish.Medium carbonation,smooth,and easy to drink. But not memorable

Drinkability: I am very disappionted,I guess I expected this beer to be a superstar Belgian beer and yet was more like a fruit or hefewiezen gone wrong.Sorry Orval, just not my cup of tea. My money will be going to other breweries.

Cheers2Beers (972 characters)

Photo of aesopsgato
3.47/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer looks really nice, but the amounts of head I got from my pour (not overly vigorous) was a LOT. Copper in color, and very hazy. Lots of lacing after the ridiculous amounts of head settle down.

The smell is very nice. Slightly funky, which I was not expecting, but the horse blanket aromas I'm getting from this are very nice. Fresh, not really that musty in nature, more just slight funk. Crisp aroma, malty and the Belgian yeast sneaks in through the funky flavors. Some lemony and honey flavors there too.

Man, I was expecting so much more from this beer from the aroma. I was excited about this! The taste falls flat, some slight funk, very dry, not very satisfying. This is disappointing. It doesn't really taste like anything!

Mouthfeel is equally disappointing. Feels like water. Blah... I don't really want another. (834 characters)

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,193 ratings.