Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,214 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,214
Hads: 4,973
Avg: 4.17
pDev: 18.94%
Wants: 302
Gots: 682 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website

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: 2,214 | Hads: 4,973
Photo of sprackops
4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2oz brown bottle with a best before date of 20.01.2009, a full five years after its bottled on date. Poured into a proper Orval chalice, leaving the majority of the yeast in the bottle.

Appearance: Slightly hazy amber with a wide column of bubbles feeding a dense off-white head. Beautiful.

Smell: Lemon, orange, pine, and funky barnyard yeast are just a few of the scents that come to mind. Quite a complex nose.

Taste: Very citric and drying at the start, like a dry white. Beyond this the taste expands to a particularly full balance of sweet malts and candy sugar to high alpha acid hops bitterness. Lurking in the periphery is the funky wild yeast character detected in the nose, bringing along with it an impressive gamut of earthy, rustic flavors similar to those found in complex cheeses that while not immediately appealing, are in my opinion integral to the uniquely satisfying nature of Orval. The experience is rounded out with a pleasant, mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with very lively carbonation. This perfectly accompanies and accentuates the flavor.

Drinkability: As I consider this the most subjective category for obvious reasons, I would normally state that I see no reason why anyone who appreciates this beer couldn't knock back a few more than other representatives of similar styles. However, considering the price that comes along with the Trappist name, it seems proper to deduct a point here.

Comments: This has been my favorite Belgian for nearly as long as I've been aware of the country's beers -- I've delayed reviewing it for so long out of fear of not doing it justice. I'd just like to add that I would love to taste more hoppy beers which utilise wild yeast strains. Oh Brettanomyces, what can't you do?

 1,790 characters

Photo of neonbrown82
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another delicious Belgian. This is my first Belgian Pale, though. It is actually quite a pleasant change from the intense sweetness of other trappist dubbels, tripels, and quadrupels, and strong ales. Very, very delicious, and if the drinkability could go any higher than 5, I would be sure to give it that. I believe this beer is well deserving of my second ever 5 star rating on BA.

The beer erupted into a large frothy white head regardless of the careful pour. The foam refused to subdue itself, but created little dimples in the surface. The smell was the first thing that hit me as I popped open the cap. It smelled and sounded like a sparkling champagne, even tasted a bit like one. Also in the smell was something that seems to be lacking altogether in many Belgians... hops! It is by no means a hop monster, though, as the malt character clearly shows through in both the smell and taste as well. This beer is perfectly balanced between maltiness and hoppiness, in my opinion. The mouthfeel is so incredibly smooth I can't wait to take another drink. The finish is slightly dry and reveals a bit of alcohol even though is not a very huge beer at 6.9% (according to the label). As I said before, drinkability is off the charts. If you ever get a chance, buy some. I can't believe this is one of the last trappist ales I've tried. If Westy 8 and 12 can live up to their hype, I think I will have reached beer nirvana if they are better than this.

 1,456 characters

Photo of Wonka
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 FL. OZ.
Bottled on 14.05.2003
Best Before 14.05.2008
ALC. 6.9% VOL.

Appearance – at cap removal, the air booms out; champagne crisp sound at pour; slightly murky orange amber; strong stratus cloud-like head; bubbly, sizeable pockets of lace

Smell - strong banana, yeast, flowers, lemon, light wood

Taste – start malty then tart; orange, slight metal, medicinal
Finish – champagne-like tart, hoppy, slight metal and medicinal continue, light sweetness

Mouthfeel & Drinkability - sharp carbonation, dry; starts full and smooth that balks to a medium body with the crisp dryness at the end

This is a great taste of history.

 649 characters

Photo of steinlifter
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This poured copper, with a thick head that retained and left soft peaks, yep, just as a fine meringue, beautiful!, smell was complex and fruity, lemon and other indistinguishable fruit, maybe some apple pie as well, nice crisp tart taste, again some lemon taste, rich and complex, smooth finish, fruity notes, mouthfeel presents as well carbonated, crisp, and a bit creamy on the finish, drinkability is Fantastic!, not a session brew, but one to be savored, truly a great beer, class all the way!

 497 characters

Photo of santoslhalper
4.57/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As part of a session tonight, this one stood out. This was such a simple, pure beer. Nothing about it was meant to be overboard or in your face, like most new school American beers. The balance achieved in this fine ale is absolute bliss for the senses. I only bought one, and I am kicking myself for it now. Brilliance. Sheer brilliance.

 338 characters

Photo of Stingray5
1.73/5  rDev -58.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

11.2oz pours cloudy light brown with a big foamy tan head. Mix of banana and stale urine in the aroma. I don't even want to drink it, but I will. High carbonation and creaminess in the mouthful, taste is similar to the aroma, with some spices and noticible alcohol. Some stale sourness. Very rough. Is it possible I got a bad bottle? Are my tastebuds off tonight? I haven't read any other reviews of this yet - if I'm way off from others then perhaps I've got a dud on my hands. Either that or this REALLY isn't my thing.

 521 characters

Photo of bigbeerdrinka
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

And now to review one of the most controversal brews on beer advocate..

Pours a bright golden orange color with a huge frothy head that leaves a nice lace. It is quite clear from looking at this beer that there is a ton carbonation from this brew, as the bubbles don't stop shooting up. Aromas are a mix of citrus lemony tones, and acetic almost cat piss like funk. There is also some interesting barnyard aromas. Flavors start off very spritzy to this brew with an in your face carbonation that just explodes on the pallate. There's a heavy dosage of lemony citrus flavors with hints of spice. Following there is a yeasty estery like flavor that brings about quite a dryness to this beer. There is a decent acidic punch throughout this beer which just a light dosage of maltiness and a slight sugary sweetness. Overall this brew was very spritzy and citrusy but of all the trappists probably one of my least favorite.

 921 characters

Photo of waughbrew
4.57/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Light orange with active bubbles creating a big heap of head that stays in crazy sculptures and lacing. Aroma. Wow. Like flower petals mixed with a little potting soil. Like a subtle whiff of perfume off of the loveliest woman in the world. Flavor is a little bit of dangerous nuttiness. A prickle of vegetation. Tantalizing bite. Medium-thin and alive, smooth and dry.

There is something mysterious and unreal about this beer. When I drank it, something made me keep on thinking of spiders. It had a creepiness that tried to scare me off. Then I had nightmares after going to sleep, which is extremely rare for me. I think there is some kind of a curse on this beer. Seriously.

 681 characters

Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
3.56/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a huge off-white fluffy head that dissipates slowly leaving a moderate amount of lacing clinging to the sides. Head lasts through entire experience. Pours a beautiful copper color with just a bit of chill haze.

There is a lot of spice to the nose especially clove and pepper. Just the faintest bit of medicine in the aroma.

The flavor is full of clove and pepper also with a nice little malt backbone. Finishes very dry with just a bit of bittering hops in the end.

Good carbonation and light to medium body. I would have liked a little more body to this one.

 579 characters

Photo of DrJay
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy orange colour topped by a GIGANTIC head of dense, cream-coloured foam. Excellent lacing down the sides of the glass and great head retention.

Smell: Lemony citrus, some pine resin, juniper berries, some earthiness

Taste: Bitterness is prominent right from the start and becomes more piney and resinous at the finish. Citrus acidity is present throughout as well as some well-balanced phenolic spiciness.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light body and high carbonation. The texture is very light and smooth -- the beer feels very light on the palate without being watery and thin. Very nice job.

Drinkability: The light body, great complexity, and dry finish all help make this beer highly drinkable. The only thing keeping this from being a good session is the elevated abv.

330mL brown bottle with bottled on and best before dates clearly stamped on the label.

 885 characters

Photo of assurbanipaul
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark orange with a thick, foamy head that lasts forever. One of the most extraordinary aromas in any beer, a complex weave of malt, syrup, plums, tart yeast. I always sit and enjoy the nose for ages before actually taking my first sip. (This beer is a rarity as the aroma is actually far better than the taste.)

Rich malts and a heavy bready nature that fills the palate without coating it. Elements of dark fruits, rum, some apple, even bubblegum, along with a not-so-subtle yeastiness and bitterness. More on the dry side with a slightly burnt, sour finish.

Mouthfeel is creamy but not heavy, slick but tempered with a sharp carbonation. Very drinkable for a Trappist. Bottle dated 10/24/2002, so just over a two-year-old sample.

 752 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.36/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce classic heavy glass bottle. "Bottled on 10-04-04" "Best before 10-03-09" Fantastic pour, leaves a huge head which slowly morphs to a rocky, puffy 1/4 inch irregular head, leaves truly world class lacing, at once wispy,puffy and very clinging. Orangy amber,cloudy. Nose is tropical fruit and a bit of pepper. Silky smooth, drying and light. Notes of pepper, yeast nuttyness, ripe fruits,anise.. Quite hoppy in the mid section and all along the finish. Dry with a pine undertone. Wonderful creation in brewing. The allmost 7% nowhere to be found on the tongue. Head explodes and slowly recedes, yet the brew is very soft and not at all prickly on the tongue. Wish I had more of this stuff, or the will power to put some away for a few years.

 750 characters

Photo of RenoZymurgist
3.36/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

When I was first told about a hoppy belgian brew i was very excited until i thought about how belgians like to use old hops in Lambics, and that got me to be a little worried. Still I bought one and tried it and it poured a huge effervescent head that subsided moderateky leaving some lace. The aroma was slighty fruity and had a malty dryness. The flavor was very strange as it had a strong flavor of hops but not like anything I have ever tried before. The hops were almost like juniper or some other astringent herb but stil retaining the smoothness of quality hops with no cheesiness or weird bitterness. The malt flavor was light and dry making sure that the hops were the highlight of the beer. The body was light and the carbonation led to a champagne like character as it fizzed all over your tongue during the first few drinks. An alright beer it seems pretty extreme to have one after another but if something interesting is needed this brew will certainly come through.

 980 characters

Photo of trancefishy
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a tarnished amber, large carbonation bubbles, and a giant rocky offwhite head.

smells like bubblegum, cherries, and bread. there is also a wine smell, like what you would smell if you left a red wine bottle open for a few weeks with just a little bit in the bottom, kind of like wine yeast, i guess.

wow, that taste is all about that weird wine flavour. sweet, lingering aftertaste of double-bubble bubblegum. wow, that upfront wacky flavour is really right there. it reminds me of the weird flavour in three floyds gumballhead.

mouthfeel is alright, a bit overcarbonated for my liking, but it does well to reinforce the wine/champagne aspects of this beer.

this beer speaks for itself, if you like this style, you are going to get it, as it's a bit of a classic.

 783 characters

Photo of Higravity
2.72/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I got a bottle that was 3 years old and I must say not held in the best conditions. I poured beautifully amber golden with a large puff of a head that became chunky a left the best lace I have ever seen. It smelled of sweet and spicey flavor be it hops or corn syrup and yeast I think a mix of all three. It is a little citrusy and horsey but pretty bland dashed with spice. Awful thin too. I will have to find some fresher stock and re-review later.

 450 characters

Photo of baiser
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy, golden orange, with a soft, creamy head that was hard to control. Great looking beer, as I expected. Spicy aroma, lemon. Complex taste. Malt up front, with a strong hop bite. Lemon, herbs, grassy, alcohol, fruit. Very nice. Some tartness like a cider.

 268 characters

Photo of beveragecaptain
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yellowish brown hue with a large off-white head. Citrus aroma. As it warms, funky farmhouse aromas are detectable. Many different flavors, such as apples, grapes, candy, and spices. Perfect balance between malt and hops. Hoppier than most Belgian beers. Finishes dry with an alcoholic kick. I would have thought the abv was higher than 6.2%. High level of carbonation. This is an amazingly complex beer, which I liked a lot more the second time I tried it..

 457 characters

Photo of fdrich29
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 FL. OZ. Bottle from The Wine Cellar of Silene in Waltham, MA. Bottled on 1.06.2004 Best Before 1.06.2009

Thick, frothy head with an apple cidar body.

Smells or citrus fruit and flowers, reminds me of springtime.

Taste of lemon, hops and again, the essence of spring time. Crisp and somewhat bitter.

Tears through the mouth doing and saying so many things, quite an enjoyable sensation.

Great beer. I put off trying this brew for a long time, but it has been on my list of must tries since I discovered Belgians. Try it if you haven't.

 556 characters

Photo of chunkylover53
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

For a pale, this is pretty dark. It pours a very beautiful orangey colour with a large white head made up of huge bubbles. Some of the head got stuck in the neck of the bottle.

It smelled warm and earthy with a hint of dark fruits. I could swear I also smelled peat in there. Like a good single-malt scotch.

The mouthfeel was quite thick, and the taste was a bit bitter - some malt and hops - and again, the "peat" characteristic came out. Sadly, the taste was ruined by the presence of what I can only describe as soap.

Remember that terrible purple soapy-tasting gum that you used to get out of the machine at the local grocery store when you were a kid? Remember how there was always one kid who *loved* that stuff, and everybody else thought he was a freak? Well it tastes like that stuff. And it starts get a bit overwhelming as it warms. Which is really a shame considering that everything else about this beer is excellent.

 940 characters

Photo of tatterdash
4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was very pleasently surprised to see this at the LCBO, so picked up a couple. This Trappist Ale is one of the oldest apparently, and looks very good. It pours a coppery-orange with a fluffy, pillowy white head that laces and lingers and clings and clumps. Smell was very earthy and peaty, farm-like, with a hint of dark fruit. What appears to be an off-smell (horse blanket), becomes something I truly look forward with repeated sittings. Taste was a nice hoppy bitterness, dry, very earthy and peaty. It is pretty much exactly what I would picture medival monks drinking in a dank monastary. Nice creamy mouthfeel, almost a crispness to it. It would make a nice start to a night of Trappist Ales, and is slowly becoming my favourite of the bunch.

 747 characters

Photo of ghurux86
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this is a very good beer. i couldn't pour the 11.2 oz bottle into my glass without the head overflowing. the head is VERY thick and VERY creamy and leaves the most impressive lacing i've seen, thick chunks of foam stuck to the sides of my glass. Taste seems to be mainly of hops with maybe some spices i can't identify and alcohol--the alcohol taste isn't too bad though. It's a little bitter but overall good for the ABV. It goes down very smooth and the mouthfeel is just about right-not too thick not too thin. my only complaint is the drinkibility because of the price, 8.99 for two 11.2oz bottles, after tax that about 5 bucks a beer therefore i probably won't get it again. but that doesn't take away from it being an execellent brew.

 740 characters

Photo of elricorico
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a brownish orange with enormous amounts of big fluffy head. The head slowly winds itself down, but leaves its mark all over the glass.

Smell is... different. Smells very fresh, almost a melon or apple aroma. It makes me think of a candle store with a rack of scented candles on display.

Taste is tart up front, I can't put my finger on what the flavours are comparable to. There is a finish of spicyness(though not a lot), then the hops take over nicely. Citrus tastes in the middle for sure. There seems to be a lot to it, but I can't pin down the distinct flavours.

The mouthfeel is bang on for the style, a little bit of body and healthy dose of carbonation. I find myself getting through this beer rather quickly, it certainly is an easy drink.

I like it, sucks that it is even more pricey then Duvel here....

 835 characters

Photo of Troyone
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The bottle is 11.2 oz. with a loose label that states 6.9 alc vol. and has bottled on - expiration dates.The beer has a cloudy appearance with a nice foam top that sticks to the sides.
This has the smell of a crisp, sweet, slightly caramel, and mellow ale.
The taste has the same sweet slightly caramel flavor with a crisp carbonation throughout.The after taste is crisp and refreshing.
Mouthfeel is not too syrupy with soft and crip carbonation.
For the type this is a very drinkable beer.

 495 characters

Photo of ddarden
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this beer into a glass chalice and it is a nice copper, hazy color. It also has a very nice creamy, slightly off white head. The head lasted through the entire beer. The beer appears very carbonated. The smell is yeasty with hints of lemon and hops.

The taste is refreshing with hints of the yeast, lemon, and nice bitterness. The mouthfeel is light, dry, and carbonated. I could imagine drinking more than one of these in a sitting. The aftertaste is quite mild with a small amount of bitterness. This is a very drinkable beer if you are craving something refreshing.

At the end of the beer the lacing still very heavy on the sides of the glass. This would be one of my favorite Trappist beers if I were in the mood for something light and refreshing.

 769 characters

Photo of pootz
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I realize I may have engaged in a self flagellating sin (and changed the taste of this saintly nectar) by serving in a vessel other than the Orval chalice (as demanded by the label)...but I was more concerned with getting a bottle that wasn't skunked from poor handling as I hear is so common...should be a moot point as the bottle date was 4 weeks ago.

It poured into my tulip glass a murky honey-gold with a lovely frothy cap that laces wonderfully...This is a fine smelling brew with lots of complex aromas: Horse blanket, tangerines, medicine, perfume, walnuts...nice nose.

Wow!! Creamy mouth feel...medicinal hopping that pilsners only WISH they could hold in balance with complex fruity spices and a heady nice malt wallop...all wrapped in this great funky yeast taste that defies description...the finish is mercifully slow so you can catch all the different tastes this brew has to depart....with a pleasant warming.

Despite what the monks say this beer is good enough to drink from the bottle. ;-)

This is a world class unique old school ale that sets the standard for complex taste and great drinkability.

 1,129 characters

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,214 ratings.