1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,432 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,432
Reviews: 2,122
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 213
Gots: 426 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
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.

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,432 | Reviews: 2,122 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of trbergman
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance - The beer pours a hazy golden orange with three fingers of pillowy off-white head. The head recedes to about one finger but leaves spectacular lacing on the way down.

Smell - Belgian yeast, bubblegum, with earthy undertones.

Taste - At first very dry and somewhat bitter, the beer opens up and improves on warming. The palate is quite earthy, with other flavors I had trouble describing at first, but would call hay, apple, and pear. The finish is dry with grassy, herbal hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Highly carbonated, this beer dances on the tongue and has a full, round body.

Drinkability - Good. Alcohol is hidden better than other beers of similar strength. A pleasure to drink - I could have two or three.

trbergman, Sep 20, 2008
Photo of beertardis
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

beertardis, Jun 21, 2013
Photo of danipp
4/5  rDev -4.8%

danipp, May 14, 2013
Photo of MrNate
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

MrNate, Mar 29, 2013
Photo of bulldogg915
4/5  rDev -4.8%

bulldogg915, Mar 06, 2014
Photo of TonyJ815
4/5  rDev -4.8%

TonyJ815, May 18, 2014
Photo of petewheeler
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

petewheeler, Aug 15, 2014
Photo of juju7
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a brew. Haven't had it or a while so it was great revisiting tonight. That complexity on the nose of brett, pine, potpourri, barnyard is quite unique. To then deliver something tart, slightly sour yet so palatable is pretty special. It looks great too, radiant orange with a billowing head. Fairly low carbonation and a finish that doesn't give up. This is top shelf stuff.

juju7, Sep 30, 2009
Photo of Quafftastic
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Quafftastic, Aug 23, 2014
Photo of CBFanWish
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I've never been a fan of any belgain beer all too much, but lately I've been digging them quite a bit. Yes, I would rather have a porter or an imperial stout, but these damned belgains are eating away at me. Don't get me wrong, I still think Chimay and Ommegang are gross, but I can't let them ruin it for the rest of them.

Orval Trappist Ale is a spectacular testament to Belgain trappist brewing. Brewed to the highest standards, it holds true to its rock solid reputation as one of the finest ales in the world.

Poured from a blue tear-drop bottle, it radiated with a beautiful orange amber colour with a hazy, unfiltered clarity. The head, thick and mountainous, released a wonderful aroma of fruits and grains. Enough to bring one back to moms kitchen.

After all the "work" examining the nectar, I had to taste it.

Apple cider, bananas, coreander, a touch of lemon. Fruity and tart with only the most mild bit of bitterness. A fantastic complexity with the most incredible simplicity rolled into one. Smooth and pleasing to the palate.

This is a wonderful beer in so many ways that one cannot put it all into words. This is the beer to convert any "wine snob" to the ways of the heathen. Orval is a beer that is enjoyed in the company of a casual chess game or a formal party. One which should be respected, is respected, and always will be respected.

CBFanWish, Apr 14, 2004
Photo of bbothen
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep hazt orange/rust like color with a beautiful 2+ finger head. The head billows up into a big fluffy pillow of goodness. Looks picture perfect. Liquid bubbles like champagne.

Smells yeasty, spicy, hoppy, & breadlike.

Somewhat sour, but with plenty of sweet character as well. Hops make their presence known. Sharp, crisp dry finish. Complex for sure.

Highly carbonated, effervescent, dry finish.

One bottle was enough for me.

There is alot going on here. I bet I'd find different aromas/flavors next time. A unique brew indeed. I can see both sides of the love/hate for this brew. I'm somewhere in the middle.

bbothen, Aug 09, 2008
Photo of jar2574
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Really zesty, spicy, hoppy smell with some funkiness - Brett(?). A giant 3-finger tan head. Looks pretty darn good.

The taste is sort of disappointing though, after that great smell/presentation. Some funky, barnyardy yeasts, which I like. Light and watery. Some sweetness, maybe from malts. Not an overly hoppy or overly malty beer, pretty balanced. Could use a little more spiciness - there was some here and I liked it but could have used more.

Started off looking and smelling fantastic but ultimately didn't live up to that initial impression.

jar2574, Nov 06, 2011
Photo of BeerNemesis
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orval Trappist Ale. 11.2oz. April 2009 vintage.

Semi-opaque orange/amber color with some light haze. 2.5 finger white head mushrooms up the glass and settles into a spongy, rocky landscape. Medium lacing.

Citrusy, some pine, flower

It's smooth, crisp, and generally light. Slight tart-fruity flavor with a touch of lemon rind, and some medicinal phenols. The hop bite is not as intense as one would think, but this worked well in conjunction with other flavors.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability:
Orval surprisingly accomplishes a light body but a full mouthfeel. Very nice. Carbonation is good (slightly reduced when ages which was quite nice). I find Orval very drinkable (I could have 2-3 more happily). and venerable.

Orval comes in a unique, vase-like brown bottle. It's unusual, but a pleasing shape nonetheless. Orval also has venerable historic origins -- I mean the monastary dates back to the Merovingian period (1100's).

BeerNemesis, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of Stumpy29er
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

Stumpy29er, May 13, 2012
Photo of jbdpsu82
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

jbdpsu82, Nov 14, 2013
Photo of TheDoctor
4.49/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a muddy brownish gold with an immense, airy beige head. Really active head necessitates a few pours. Huge soapy bubbles pop and leave gorgeous, sticky lacing as the head eases down; only okay retention though.

Really present, cohesive nose. Great yeasty Belgian smell with some sweeter notes of over ripe fruit, dough set out to rise, and burnt sugar.

Nice mellow flavor. It is neither sweet nor bitter. Extremely well-balanced with a generally stanky, grassy, funk. Fabulous.

Really smooth overall. Effortlessly hits all the right notes. Crisp up front, a little tinge of citrusy tea that gets darker and danker. Nice smooth, lingering finish.

Fantastic beer. Has everything that a beer needs. Every good beer characteristic (refreshing, warm, hoppy, malty, creamy, earthy, etc., etc.) balanced in a single bottle. Would actively seek it out in the future to try again.

TheDoctor, Jun 08, 2013
Photo of MJR
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Belgian goblet, this beer shows off a beatiful copper red/orange color sitting under a huge fluffy, white head.

If you're not used to drinking Belgian beers, the smell alone is enough to keep you away...not me though. I love the unique taste that these beers have to offer and this beer is a stunning example of the Belgian brewer's craft. The nose is faintly floral and has an organic quality to it: leather, musty attic, horse farm, whatever you want to call it.

The flavor is a wonderful balance of light, fruity esters, hop flavors, and that same organic flavor that showed up in the nose. Smooth, extremely dry finish. Great mouthfeel...massive carbonation doesn't get in the way of the flavor opening itself up fully.

Drinkability really depends on how well you like this style of beer. My combined love for this style and the intense dryness of the finish demand another round.

One of the best Belgian beers I've encountered so far. Outstanding!

MJR, Sep 04, 2002
Photo of RustyDiamond
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured very slowly in a Rochefort stem. Glowing orange, with a tad of haze to her. The haze disappeared towards the end. Pillowy off-white froth with, strangely enough, pink hues.
Aroma of crisp hops and sour apple.
Dry, with a nice Brett taste. I thought the Brett would take it in a sour direction, but it did not. Hops kick into the taste and the finish is quite dry. Light in the body, very balanced. Zesty, crisp hop mouthfeel. Very enjoyable.

RustyDiamond, Jul 05, 2008
Photo of mattyrubes
3/5  rDev -28.6%

mattyrubes, Jan 21, 2012
Photo of d5001986
3/5  rDev -28.6%

d5001986, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of ThisMoonlife
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

ThisMoonlife, Apr 03, 2014
Photo of treznor
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

treznor, May 06, 2014
Photo of benclimbs
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a beautiful red copper with a 3 finger head and lots of carbonation, beautiful!

Nose is sour yeasts, ripe fruit and citrus with earthy grass

Taste is very complex and unique, starts out more sour and sweetens and bitters as it warms. Taste is multigeared, it's like a sour beer that isn't sour! It's a great mix of sour yeastyness, dried fruit malts and a bitter hop finish.

Notes: incredible, unique beer with plenty of complexity and variance. A true classic

benclimbs, Jul 18, 2009
Photo of Zimbo
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A great beer with more complexity to shake a stick at but at the same time easy to understand why some people, especially beer rookies, don't get in the first time around. Fine backbone with a glorious array of spicy herbal hops, this does the business and does so with dignity.

Zimbo, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of ObiWanKushnobi
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

ObiWanKushnobi, Sep 29, 2012
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,432 ratings.