Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

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: 4,903
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 12.5%
Wants: 286
Gots: 655 | 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: 4,903
Photo of JaimeLondon
3.69/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Belgian trappist ale of a dark orange color and a great whitey and creamy foam.
Smell and taste are characterized by the yeasty tones, really nice.
Aroma so becomes spicy, possible to feel a bit of black pepper.
The highlights on the taste are the malty tones, a bit disappointing.
Mouthfeel is interesting, somewhat light and efervescent. (339 characters)

Photo of pat61
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Orval pours brilliant copper to orange tinted amber under a moussey, finely bubbled 2” bone-white foam cap. It has a funky, wet horse blanket lemony nose with a hint of mustiness. It drinks tart, lemony with a hint of pineapple especially as it ages with a refreshing bitterness and a long lingering tart dry finish with soft leather notes. The texture is soft and effervescent, like drinking a mousse. This is excellent fresh and even better as it ages. (457 characters)

Photo of geodonnokepyo
3.81/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

look - hazy golden amber, very frothy, excellent head retention and lacing

smell - hints of raisins and bubble gum along with other belgian yeast complexities, malty with some hop aromas sneaking through

taste - like cooper's sparkling ale (which i am not a huge fan of) bitter, musty, finishes slightly sweet

feel - very sticky, also sort of chalky and chewy. very carbonated

overall - the flavor was not what i expected. however, the craftsmanship of this beer is admirable. i might have to age one and try it again. (522 characters)

Photo of tillmac62
3.82/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

BOD 2/7/13, BBD 2/7/18. Pours a clear medium amber (copper) with just a hint of garnet. World Class head volume, lacing and retention - the best I have ever seen. The final pour provides a mild cloudiness.

Complex nose of sweet fruit (grape, pineapple) coupled with tart lemon. Underneath there are notes of Belgian yeast, a slight spice, subtle sweetness and a bit of slightly sour earthiness (funk).

Medium body with a creamy texture. Normal carbonation with a bit of effervescence in the finish.

Unfortunately, the flavor profile isn't as impressive as the appearance or the aroma. It is intense, lacks complexity, and is poorly balanced. From the onset, phenols dominate and little else comes forward. In the middle, a bit of biscuit sweetness is underneath, but you really have to "look" for it. The finish is dry. (832 characters)

Photo of cottonkoozie
4.86/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A - Pours a deep copper color with a monster off-white head that sticks around like many of this style.

S - Little bit of sweetness. Some citrus. Something else i'm not sure how to describe, assuming it is the yeast strain, a little musky. Somewhat of a sour smell. Picking up some fruits, banana. A lot going on here.

T - Wow. A lot going on here, like the smell. Citrus, light fruits up front. Slightly sour, almost lemony. Yeast strain lends an interesting complexity that is very nice. finishes a little bitter but dry.

F - Very carbonated, works nicely with the clean finish.

Very good beer. Unique, and in a good way. This one was bottled about 10 months ago, and can be cellared up to 5 years. Would like to see how it changes over time. Nice complexity of sweet, sour, bitter, citrus. Very good depth of flavors here. Great beer. (863 characters)

Photo of arvidkoval
3.17/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark yellow-orange with a big foamy white head. Excellent smell of bubblegum! Tasted like candy with a mild bitter flavor. Very bubbly body. Not crazy about this one. (169 characters)

Photo of hreb
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Distinctive 11.2 oz bottle served in my new Libbey Belgian ale glass. Bottled on 15/05/2014, best before 15/05/2019. Peer pours mid amber in color, very hazy, with an enormous white pillowy head. Aroma is classic Belgian golden ale, suggesting the distinctive yeasty note and caramelized sugar. But this beer is both more dry and more tart than others in its category (BPA). It has a really crisp, thin mouthfeel. Surprising for a beer as high OG as this. The bottle conditioning has left this beer highly carbonated, which works well with the subtle tartness. It's almost like a mild Gose, or even dry cider. This beer is unique, distinctive, and impeccably balanced. It reveals none of its alcohol (note: my label claims 6.9%, although that figure may assume a large amount of fermentation happening in the bottle), and doesn't tire the palate at all. However being so neutral I do find it a little bland for my taste. (930 characters)

Photo of Barnoloid
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Farmhouse funk and wet dog pervade the nose and initial taste here. This is edging towards the sour end of the spectrum. The initial bottle pour unloads a vast foamy head that settles into a slightly cloudy, amber looking toned ale. (232 characters)

Photo of The_Mad_Capper
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The aroma is reminiscent of bubblegum and chewable vitamins (sweet, fruity, tart) with an undertone of doctor's office. The body is copper/light brown and mostly clear with a large, soapy, cream-colored head. The flavor includes spicy/herbaceous bitterness, latex, biscuity malt sweetness, some vaguely lemon-like citrus, and fairly rich malty sweetness in the finish. It's quite carbonated and fizzy, moderately crisp, and somewhat light in body.

This is a peculiar one, though I can't say I dislike it. It's certainly interesting—crisp, flavorful, tart, somewhat fruity and sweet. The Brett though just makes me think of latex; and while it adds a unique dimension to the beer, it's taking some getting used to. (717 characters)

Photo of TheBierdimpfe
2.78/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Cloudy amber, gorgeous sexy coating with extra strong legs...stinks like rotten apples! (not finding it pleasing)

Rich flavors of dark fruits and burnt bitter hops with slightly sweet apples and lemon. Powerful coarse and dry after taste. Very strong vinous feel and a dry coarse mouth coat.

Overall : Looks can sometime be deceiving... Perfectly drinkable for trying a different taste, but way too spicy for me, or was my bottle too fresh? I will try this beer again after at least 2 years in the cellar, until then I don't see why this beer is so popular. (562 characters)

Photo of pants678
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Transparent orange with big white head.

Sorta spicy.

Subtle spices, light on hop and a slightly tangy but very dry finish. Corriander? some. Brett? Some. Has a bready, rustic, mildly sour quality. I could stand a small punch up on the sour but that's knit-picking a fine beer.

Medium, not as heavy as say a tripel. (318 characters)

Photo of Blueapollo420
4.94/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the beers that turned me on to good beer! A credit to the style.
Hazy appearance switch a huge lingering head. Tastes of hay and bubblegum. Very good cannot wait to drink again (183 characters)

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.01/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pinkish orange/amber, plenty of loose quick-moving streams of carbonation. Leaves a blanket of slowly retreating lace, decent head coverage that lasts for a while, even if it is thin.

S: A sourness that gets noticed more easily, but the funk is probably stronger. Saccharine fruits (strawberry and cherry), but not sweet, just juicy.

T: Outright funk, lightly herbacious and bready, hay, traces of lemon and cherry fruits. Belgian chalkiness/minerality in the middle but mild and appreciable as just another dimension of this complex work. Sour aspect is very mild here, but still around. Dry and even bitter, especially at the end. The first beer I've ever tried to be sour, bitter, and falsely sweet all at the same time.

M: Well carbonated, medium bodied. Lenient astringency.

O: Deserving of more samplings. This is my third tasting of it, and I can't quite nail what's going on exactly, possibly due to the widely ranging freshness of my bottles. Definitely a good quality brew, but I think the coolest aspect of it is bound to be the history, not the taste. Maybe it is my privileged 21st century palate or my over-worked/dulled 21st century palate, but as good as this beer is, I think the best in the world were first concocted within the past century. (1,267 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an Orval chalice. Foams out of the bottle a bit on opening. Pours a hazy coppery amber with a three finger off-white head with good retention and lots of pillowy lacing. Aroma of citrus, green apple, Bretty yeast, vanilla; floral. Flavor is semi-dry, light apple family fruit, light stone fruit, mild citrus, vanilla, Brett style wild yeast funk, Finishes with fleeting fruit and fruit dessert flavors dominated by the wild yeast funk and bitterness; lightly tart and earthy. Medium bodied with sharp, peppery carbonation. A very distinctive Belgian pale ale with a unique wild yeast component. I did not like this when I first tried it many years ago, but now having grown to enjoy saison yeasts and a light touch of wild yeast, I can see its appeal. Although the flavor is dominated by the funky yeast, there are a lot of interesting light and subtle fruit and spice flavors in the background. A bit too dry and funky to be a frequent choice, it was a pleasure drinking this again and understanding why it is a classic. (1,033 characters)

Photo of Sandalwood
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Pours a dark orange color with a huge three finger off white foamy head. There is quite a bit of carbonation and a good amount of lacing. The odor is powerful, spices, cardamom, coriander, bread like, fruity, apple, pear, citrus, lemon, and malty. The taste is crisp, spices, clove, coriander, pine, a little bit of apple, grassy, bread like, yeasty. There is some bitterness on the end. (391 characters)

Photo of LeDirtyPanda
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

This is one of my favorite beers of all time. When you poor the beer into it's glass it's an orange-esque hue, yet it's first tastes are one of a darker beer, but as you exhale you can taste the hops. Man. Its one of those beers you have to try in your life time. love it! (273 characters)

Photo of Flashy
1.25/5  rDev -70%

Purchased in Vermont for $5.99. Have not had this beer since 1980 and now I know why.

Appearance: Looks like a standard solid beer, nice head.
Mouthfeel: A bit over carbonated, but not the problem.
Body: Not watery, but not the problem.
Smell: I am not a fan of sours and this smells bitter and sour.
Taste: Bitter, sour and very dry.

Overall: Just don't get this one, and I get a lot of things. Will wait another 35 years before trying again- or maybe not. If I was on a beach, on a hot summer day and this choice was warm Orval or warm Bud- I would take the Orval, but under no other circumstances. (609 characters)

Photo of JackRWatkins
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

A: frothy persistent head, deep copper color, magnificent to look at
S: a hint of lavender, a little fruit and a little funk
T: bitter and sharp, zesty, the hint of lavender comes through here as well but it is very subdued, clean and crisp, bears some interesting similarities to lindemans cuvée Renee
M: the bitterness lingers but not for long, the effervescence really takes over
O: a delicious beer and a unique offering as far as Trappist beer is concerned, not so easy to describe in detail for me but absolutely worth your time (536 characters)

Photo of charlzm
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Consumed on November 4th, 2014 from an 11.2 ounce bottle labeled:
"bottled on 14/01/2014 - best before 14/01/2019"
Poured into a DeKonnick chalice.

Beer pours a hazy medium yellow. Very effervescent, a two finger head springs up instantly. Had to wait for it to die down to finish pouring the bottle. Head settles after a while to a thick, clingy, meringue-like head: beautiful.

Aroma: this is as close to a genre-defining Belgian pale ale as I have ever had. Peppery, estery (bananas and cherry), sweet, floral, ever-so-slightly tart: this is a really awesome nose.

Flavor: a little bit of a letdown after the awesome nose, it's still solid and well-sorted. Bitterness hits first, followed by a lightly grassy note with a clean, refreshing finish. Some residual bitterness and a yeasty note wrap it up. Ever-so-subtle funk lurks in the wings but never asserts itself.

Mouthfeel: very well-carbonated. Tingly and a little prickly if held in the mouth a moment before swallowing. Medium-bodied and a bit smooth.

I don't know why, despite being into craft beer for over 14 years, I never tried Orval. I am so glad I finally got around to it. Doesn't dethrone Duvel as my favorite Belgian pale ale, but it is a worthy brew in any estimation. (1,254 characters)

Photo of aleigator
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

Has a deep orange color, and a perfect white head, which doens’t want to vanish at all.

Strong refreshing aroma of vanilla, some lime, yeast and spices.

Tastes bitter, has a refreshing touch, yeast, with a sweeter finish. Carbonation is pretty high, but not too present. Has a warm pleasant finish, gets into balance in the end (less bitterness). Smells much sweeter than it actually tastes. Bitterness is very present at the beginning, sweet yeast and spices add complexity which results in a very adorable mouthfeel. (524 characters)

Photo of e_dawg
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

Pours a cloudy light orange. Some foamy, frothy head which slowly dissipates. A small amount stubbornly lingers. Aroma is candied apples, light citrus notes, cranberries, earthy tones, and graham crackers. Taste is a balanced and enjoyable mix that's initially sour but the sourness quickly mutes, allowing full enjoyment of the flavor. I'm getting some floral notes overlayed with more citrus, bread, and rust. Feel is light and poppy, almost like a champagne. An extremely enjoyable beer that's one of my favorites.

This is based on a 5 month old bottle, but try it aged by a few years for an even more unique Orval experience. (631 characters)

Photo of tobi_wan_72
5/5  rDev +20.2%

I tried this one on a whim, and ended up loving it. Unlike almost any ale I've had. Smooth, flavorful, well balanced, not too heavy but substantial all the same. I do recommend, as the Brothers do, that you cellar this one for at least a couple weeks before opening. Enjoy chilled and in a frosty glass. (303 characters)

Photo of 312HopBomb
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Huge foamy pour nets 5 fingers of fluffy white head. Head falls slowly to a skimcoat without leaving any lacing. A rusty golden hue is slightly cloudy. The aroma is distinctive with sour apple, medicinal, spicy Belgian funk, fruity, and some lemony notes. The taste follows with the Belgian funk and medicinal, fruit, bandaid, also tart then ending with a surprising bitterness. Not sure if it's from lots of hops though. Maybe the yeast? Very unique taste. Effervescent, crisp, light and refreshing. I was surprised by the drinkability. This went down the gullet quickly. I tried this beer in the 1980's and poured it. I liked Chimay but thought the Orval went bad. Nowadays I fully appreciate unique Belgian flavors. This reminds me of Rayon Vert which is good! (776 characters)

Photo of infinitebruner
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

October 18, 2014

11.2 oz bottle (bottled June 2013), tulip glass

A – Huge, rocky, frothy, white to slightly of-white head, at least three inches, with most of it sticking around for several minutes. Medium amber with high clarity, slight red tinge.

S – Very strong bubble gum aroma, sourdough bread. Some mild estery fruit follows, red apples and light citrus. Mild Brett character.

T – Yeasty, spicy notes with again some fruity esters and a spritz of citrus. The Brett is evident, but not prominent. Some slight malty sweetness and just the barest hint of some floral hop flavors.

M – Foamy from the carbonation, carries all the way through to the finish. Pretty juicy up front with a champagne-like dryness on the swallow.

O – This is a very fresh, bright, spritzy, spring time in the hills type beer. I really love the aromas, but the rest is not at the same level. A true Trappist beer, so it meets expectations and is very well crafted, but I don’t think it’s the best of that group. Still a fantastic beer. It’s all relative. (1,062 characters)

Photo of PacNWDad
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

11.2 oz. bottle from Bottleworks poured into an Orval chalice. Solid amount of head, thick, which lasts a long time. Golden hue, slightly cloudy. Fruity aroma, some leather and mustiness from the Brett yeast. Spice, apple and a little citrus. Hits with tartness and some sweet in the front, with some hops bitterness, then finishes with sweet malt still with a little bitterness. Light to medium on the tongue, medium carbonation, finishes fairly medium and fairly dry. I am going to try cellaring a couple of these bottles for a few years and see what changes. (570 characters)

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