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: 4,900
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 8.41%
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
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 2,193 | Hads: 4,900
Photo of Sammy
3.79/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The upper 1% beer. Everything is interesting about it: bottle, taste, smell. Every taste was different. It was like a great wine. What's in it? Must sip and enjoy because of the taste and the carbination. One for every of your close friends at a special dinner.

I had the 2nd in a special package two months later and it stank. The taste was gone. I stored it in the basement. Aren't these Belgians robust? I think the temperature range was OK.

Two years later, new stock of Orval. Bad Aroma not really there this time, but I am not the only one to notice how many skunked Orvals are about. (592 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber color with a GIGANTIC 4 inch bone colored head. Chunky head is full of numerous bubbles and lasts a long time. Somewhat formed ring lacing on the drink down. Smells very floral, citrus notes, slight vinegar, and must/funk. Taste is of apple cider, lemon zest, grass/flowers, funk, and a bitterness that starts at the start of each sip. Bitterness is very herbal and is quite mild after each sip. The funk is from the Brett used in creating this beer. This beer is very carbonated and yields a huge head on the pour. The body is somewhat light but crisp and clean. Drinkability is good but this is a beer I can see myself only having occasionally. A very unique tasting and interesting beer. (709 characters)

Photo of acurtis
3.84/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Bottled on 22/04/2010, best before 22/04/2015. Let bottle warm slightly before pouring, Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into oversized red wine glass. Still waiting on my orval goblet. Huge off white bubbly head formed almost overflowing the glass, as I let it sit it stuck to the glass and fell slowly on the sides leaving a large head in the middle, almost like a an egg. Dark orangey brown color. Very spicy aroma. Tastes exceptional, I detect some orange. Tart and dry. Not as strong as the smell might indicate. I've been told the beer should be at its peak right now, it tastes like it could use a little more time to mellow to me. Very light on the tongue but I can feel it starting to kick in. I wouldn't be able to drink too many of these, it is more of a treat or an after dinner drink. (795 characters)

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

July 3, 2014 - re-evaluation. Scores modified to reflect current evaluation.

* * *
(original)
Wow. I forgot how much I like this beer. I'm not going to forget again!

This one was bottled, it looks like 7/29/09 with a "best by" date of 2014.]

Orange amber with a big, thick, pillowy and firm pure white head; great looking.

Nose is all peaches, pears, apricots and hints of bananas all with a light citric kick.

Mouthfeel is light carbonation that is champagne quality and is rich and perfectly balanced.

Flavors are spice and stone fruit with undertones of ginger, lime and green tea. Finish is rich, citric fruity and light grapefruit bitter.

This is one of those perfect beers. It is all around appealing; somewhat unique and extremely drinkable. This may be the universally appealing brew. (806 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: two finger head with excellent retention. Murky golden amber.

S: dark fruit and spicey. Mostly cherry.

T: complex yeast and spicey character and more dark fruit.

M: high carbonation. Medium bodied. Semi dry finish.

Overall: this is an amazing beer. Certainly one of the best of the few trappist brews and one of my new top favorites. (341 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured cloudy golden yellow into a goblet with a white, one finger head. There's a moderate-to high level of carbonation and good head retention.
S: There is a definitive sour smell (reminiscent of a gueuze) with aromas of wild yeasts and floral hops.
T: The taste is very flowery and acidic with some sourness; the finish is of dry hops with citrus and spicy notes.
M: It feels bubbly, crisp and earthy on the palate. The amount of carbonation makes this taste lighter than I had expected it would.
D: It's easy to drink and rather refreshing, which is surprising for the level of complexity in the taste. (609 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours yellow-gold with a nice white head and a good deal of lacing. Initial whiff is earthy funk, hay, green apples, and lemon rind. Slightly hoppy. Taste brings the funk forward really well; nice balance with the hops. Mouthfeel is dry and well carbonated. Very nice and dry finish with a bit of bitterness. Overall, a really fantastic beer. (342 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

one of the best out there, and possibly my favorite of all the trappist brews. pours a sort of copper red color, brassy and thin looking, with a tall white head comprised of fairly large bubbles. the nose is a little bretty, kind of funky and wild, with some malt sweetness and a really robust Belgian yeast. the flavor is quite similar to the nose, rich in taste but not in feel, yeasty, with some brown sugar notes and quite spiced, more than the other trappists anyways. i had an infected bottle of this recently as well, and the brett notes of that were downright overwhelming, like a wild ale. i almost actually preferred this funked out version to the normal offering, and am wondering how i might obtain another. even the standard product has quite a bit of interesting yeasty stuff happening. carbonation is vigorous, and the body is pretty light. this beer has its reputation for a reason, and is the product of top craftsmanship. one of my favorite beers with a nice dinner too, very versatile and palate cleansing with its mild acidity. yum. (1,052 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours an apricot color with a massive head; lots of lacing

Smell: Strong citrus nose; smells like a box of Florida oranges that have started to mold

Taste: Startling in its phenolic hoppiness the first time you taste it; lots of medicinal citrus flavor which, as a result of the Brett, dries out the mouth and lasts forever; I pick up some unsweet licorice, too

Mouthfeel: Heavy on the carbonation and bitterness

Drinkability: Definitely an acquired taste; at first I was repelled but now, on my third try, I am starting to come around; not for amateurs; I won't drink it everyday but it is excellent with a strongly flavored soft cheese

Note: I just took Jason's advice to pair this with a soft cheese (St. Andre, in my case) and what a difference that makes. Just a perfect compliment. The strong flavors of the cheese cut through the medicinal bitterness and, together the two coalesce in a way that I have never seen between a food and a beverage. On my third try, I paired it with an aged sharp cheddar; while it pairs nicely, it was nothing like the combination with the St. Andre; more recently, I paired it with a blue cheese and the flavors blended startlingly well (1,191 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a nice looking hazy golden color, the head was big and needed time to settle before pouring out the rest of the bottle. The smell of the beer was a little spicy on the nose, had some good Belgian yeast aromas going on in there and even a little bit of flowers on the nose. The taste of the beer is a little sweet upfront with some yeast and spice in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was medium bodied and had a good amount of carbonation to it. Overall I found this Trappist to be very good, I liked the different qualities it has which make it unique. I also find the bottle to be very attractive as well. Gotta try this one if you haven't yet. (666 characters)

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

After not having one of these since I've become a better beer taster, I figured it was worth another shot. I am more impressed now than I was before. Of course, I've become a big Belgian Sour Beer fan in the meantime. Pours a prune juice color with a rocky foamstand that varies between eggshell white and amber-tan, sprinkled with spices. Aromatics of sourness, tartness, muskiness, woodsy, metalic, and oysters. Flavors boarder closely on the characters in the aroma. Low levels of barley (maybe too low) lends an overly sour flavor and astringency. Not enough sweetness remains to balance out the tartness. Some DMS qualities come through that reminds me of an ocean muskiness or oyster flavor. Fascinating, but very raw. The beer is well matured and complex. I enjoyed it although there are characteristics within that I did not prefer. (840 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pourred an orangy brew with what I consider to be the most beautiful beige head. Head retention for Orval is what other brewers should aspire to since it is the longest lasting I have ever experience. Taste is of complex spice with great fruit aroma. Also, great wheat taste with a strong body. One of the best trappist in my opinion. (334 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
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. (723 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml, unique flared bottle - hard to mistake this one on the shelf.

This beer pours a murky dirty dishwater orange-brown colour, with a copious amount of frothy, foamy whipped-cream eggshell white head, which displays excellent retention, eventually giving up some random snow crystal lace around the glass.

It smells of sharp, fairly sour yeast, earthy lemon peel, pale grainy malt, a bit of white sugar, mild clove/coriander spice, and floral, musty hops. The taste is pale grainy malt, more tart, somewhat acetic lemon juice, softly spicy phenols, white pepper, a touch of seemingly dry honey, a twinge of barnyard essence, and edgy floral hops.

The carbonation is moderate after that initial outpouring, maybe a tad prickly at worst, the body medium-light in weight, but still weirdly substantial, and duly smooth. It finishes fairly dry, the yeast picking it up alongside the dry, bitter noble hops.

A nice, lightly sour, and decently complex pale ale, when shed of all that Trappist lore. It hides the extra ABV oh so very well, and it makes me want to order some European appies in the here and now - y'know, pommes frites, or something. (1,151 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Into an oversized tulip, this ale forms a huge, merengue-like head of foam. The foam is irregular with some bigger bubbles in it, and ivory-white. Body is a tawny orange-brown.

A whiff of Brett is present, and can be detected from a distance. Over time, the aroma subsides a bit.

A hint of dry cinnamon in the finish, and smooth carbonation that creates a luxurious & prickly mouthfeel. Moderate funk from the Brett and yeast. Not overly wild, but certainly a unique strain. Dry finish, hints at sweetness. Tea, spice, aged hops, raw honey, the list goes on. Taste builds and develops over time.

I've always enjoyed reading reviews describing a "basement with cobwebs" and this one just might live up to that description. On my list of top Belgians.

Cellar notes 11/2007: Side by side...2007 bottle aged 6 mos., 2005 bottle aged 2 yrs.

2007: Served at 55º. Fruity aroma, damp cobblestone (minerals), hay. Dry finish, hint of bubblegum and sterile gauze from the Brett. Slight tartness and bitterness of hops. Charged streamers of carbonation through slightly hazy orange. Reminds me alot of JP Bam Biére.

2005: Dramatically billowing foam, still very charged after 2 yrs. Very high clarity jewel-tone orange. Aroma has a slightly sweeter fruit aroma, no more or less intense than the fresher sample. "Cleaner" smell too, not especially funky or barnyard. Some mild sharpness though, more closey related to alcohol. A more subdued tartness. Carbonation is more mellow and much less prickly. Honey aftertaste.

Overall, i'm not sure that extended aging (2 yrs.) benefits or hinders Orval. It's slightly different, but not enough to recommend aging for longer periods. (1,677 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.55/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottled on 8-01-03. Michael Jackson, in the latest edition of his 'Great Beers of Belgium', says that the current brewer at Orval likes this beer best at 6 months. Who am I to say different? My bottle is just shy of 7 months, so I should be on pretty solid ground here.

This might be heresy to some, but Orval Trappist Ale looks just like an American IPA. It's a rich, orange-accented amber that is lightly hazy and has a wealth of vigorous carbonation jumping off the bottom of the glass. The head is off-white, large, fairly stiff and falls to a thick, lumpy film, leaving disappointingly little lace.

The aroma is different from anything that I've ever experienced (or even imagined). I do pick up quite a bit of the 'horse barn' smell, but it isn't unpleasant at all. There are also mildly spicy, slightly lemony, grassy notes to go along with it and keep it interesting.

Orval's flavor is not to my liking. The somewhat pleasant horse barniness of the aroma is in full force on the palate and doesn't work nearly as well. There's a huge jolt of sour, earthy unpleasantness that fades quickly and leaves the mouth dry. The mouthfeel, as with many Belgian ales, is too riotously carbonated.

I'm pretty certain that, no matter the age (from fresh to the 5 years of the 'best by' date) Orval Trappist Ale is not for me. If it's an acquired taste, then it's one that I will never acquire... because I won't be drinking any more of it. (1,440 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a copper/orange color with a huge white head. It left very nice lacing.

S - It smelled of dried fruits, yeast and alcohol.

T - It had a spicy flavor. There was also a citrusy (orange) taste. Good sour notes.

M - It was crisp and dry. It is medium to heavy-bodied.

D - This is a great Belgian ale. I love the sour kick with is traditional Belgian ale taste. (375 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Can you believe I call myself a BA and I have never tried this? For shame! Thanks to the kind soul who took notice and forwarded it on to me. Served out of my cellar and poured into a chalice, this one was consumed on 10/08/2009.
 
The pour was just what I would have expected. Bright golden amber in color with a nig head of white on top that only slowly faded as the session wore on, dropping tons of lace up and down the sides of the glass. Richness to it that looked just fantastic as it warms up. Aroma of light fruit touches, hints of a light grassy touches, maybe pine. Apples and grape skin start to come to the front as it warms up and it gets a very complex touch to it. Smooth, even flavor here, really quite wonderful. Light and airy on the palate, the carbonation is spot on. Light touches of apples and bananas, hints of light peach and a delicate touch of grape are all coming out at me. Nice bready and grainy touch to it now as well, really again very well done. I was quite impressed with just how flavorful this was. Nice dry finish capped it off quite well and left a near spot on aftertaste.
 
Overall cannot believe I let this one go so long. Cannot believe it as it is such a top not offering. One of the elite for sure I would have this any day. (1,275 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a very nice orange color with huge rocky head (I have yet to purchase a nice trappist ale glass),the aroma was slightly peppery and a little tart.Taste is pretty dry with a slight peppery tinge to it.I liked this more than what I thought I would not as sour as what I thought it might be,very well done. (310 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber orange in color with 2+ fingers of foam (that lasts forever).

S: The nose is yeasty and a little funky with some tart apple notes.

T: I pick up an ever so slight tartness, along with yeast and that subtle barnyard/wet hay funk. This is not necessarily bitter or sweet/malty in any way that I can tell.

M: The body is on the lighter side, with a high level of carbonation and a dry finish..

D: One of the more "interesting" Trappist beers (450 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Bottled On: 27/06/2006 - Labeled as being 6.9% abv).

Appearance: Pours an orange-amber body with a tall, foamy white head.

Smell: Complex aroma filled with notes of citrus, pears, apple cores, gentian, sauvignon blanc, and a second-hand horseblanket store.

Taste: Flavors of unripened pears, piced citrus, and bitter herbs. Dash of white wine. Sour and funky throughout. Hops come through now and again amongst all the various tastes. Finishes peppery and exceedingly dry. Lingering tongue-numbing sourness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Spritzy, lightly prickly carbonation.

Drinkability: Certainly one of the more unique Trappist beers out there, I'll give it that. (687 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Hazy copper color with a large and tenacious head that is one of the few I have seen that deservs to be called rocky; it really reminds me of a rootbeer float.

S - Lemony, sour and funky. Very nice rustic aroma with some ginger and cinnamon notes.

T - Tart and earthy, with a hoppy, leathery finish. Not all that complex, but very nice.

M - Bone dry and highly carbonated.

D - For me this is a beautifully drinkable beer, the dryness and the tart, earthy flavors make it a wonderfully refreshing beer. (517 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.11/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a goblet. Amazingly, this is the first time I've ever had this one.

Appearance: Pours a mildly cloudy amber with two fingers of fluffy off white head and great retention.

Smell: Sweet malt with some citrus notes, fruity notes, and yeast spice.

Taste: Very smooth with Belgian spice, fruity notes, and a mild hop bitterness. The finish is spicy with some bitterness in there as well.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a very good Belgian Pale. The yeast spice was strong, but balanced well with all the other flavors. Very well done. (614 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Of all the Trappist beers, I feel that the Orval is the most distinctive and unique - and probably the most misunderstood (or disliked) of the group. It can be a challenging beer at first, but it has great character if given a chance. It pours a lightly hazy pale orange-amber with a dense rocky head that lasts; eventually dropping to a thin creamy covering and leaving a beautiful Belgian-lace throughout the goblet. The tiny bubbles rising quickly through the beer make for a delightful little floor show! The high level of carbonation that produces the strong head, also helps it to give off it's very perfumy aroma. Clearly, there are some earthy British hops involved, Goldings and possibly Fuggles, amongst other noble varieties. In fact, I think this is the only Trappist beer that is dry-hopped (w/ Goldings)! It's fermented with 2 strains of yeast giving it enticingly complex aromas of leather, mineral, and wood. Again, the carbonation gives the beer a spritzy mouthfeel, making the body seem a little bigger than it is. The flavor follows the aroma with lots of dried fruit, and a sometimes "metallic" and intense dryness, leading into a somewhat acidic finish that leaves you with a memory of the beer that is more refreshing than mouth-coating. (1,259 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 08/30/12, almost a year old... I love how they actually date the beer and give a best by date, for a famous Trappist Belgian beer.

Even a gentle pour yields a 3 finger huge head and forces me to stop pouring, it fades at a decent rate with big bubbles popping and leaving a nice soap bubbled lacing everywhere like a mess of it, hazy amber color.

Nose is great, a great Belgian with nice wild funk, nice Belgian blond malts, little sweetness and perhaps hint of candi sugar, then grassy aromas, lemony, nice Brett like funk on the lighter side, floral, a little fruity as well, just a touch of a light bready malt, a bit of a sweet candy aroma on the back end as well.

Taste brings sweet malts at first, a nice Belgian golden blond like malt, with some sweetness and a light candi sugar, and general candy like flavor with hint of fruits even. Then into some wild funk, not a ton of funk but a nice Brett like funk, bit chewy and yeasty, with some bready malts. It also brings an interesting bitterness, a light spicy hop character. Funk gets stronger the more I go but never super funky. Finish is dry but a bit sticky, sweet candy malts lingering slightly, a bit more funk, bit more spicy like hops, and light bready malt character.

Mouth is med bodied, lots of fluffy carb.

Overall a really interesting beer, nice Belgian characters blended with nice Brett like funk. This is not even a year old so the wild character is barely there, but I've had some quite aged ones and they are a lot funkier and awesome. Maybe I should re-review an old bottle sometime, but still a great Belgian beer. (1,608 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,193 ratings.