Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select 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: 4,970
Avg: 4.17
pDev: 18.94%
Wants: 300
Gots: 684 | 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: 4,970
Photo of S7R4nG3
4.95/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a nice generic snifter to gain full flavor. Poured a golden amber with an off white half finger or so of head. Some very nice lacing as I quaffed it down.

Smells where very evident of citrusy fruits with a definite hop character and a bit of malty sweetness to balance out perfectly.

Taste was just as rated, "Exceptional". The same citrusy flavors evident in the nose were present in taste as well as a complex malt and hop character. Carbonation was very nice, bubbly to keep it light, but not harsh and overpowering. Aftertaste had a very nice bitterness from the hops with a nice dry finish.

Mouthfeel was excellent. Carbonation gave a very light feel as it coats the inside of your mouth, the hops are very evident giving a nice bitterness and a very dry ending. Very nicely done.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and will definitely be having it much more often. Great way to enter into the Trappist's.

 930 characters

Photo of alamere
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay Chalice..
Bottled on 05-2010, poured on 05-2011.

A - A good looking beer, a bit more amber than I'd expected but pours a huge head with lacing all over the glass and foam lasting throughout the glass. Generally it looks a bit like an American Pale ale but with higher carbonation and champaign style bubbles.

S - Smells a bit of plum, clove and fruit.. no discernible hop aroma to me at this point.

T - The beer really shines in the taste dept... Starts off a little tart and then follows with a fruitiness and med body with a bit of funk or horse blanket or whatever you want to call it. A dry finish and lasting aftertaste with a warming alcohol note in the very end.

M - It's smooth, and soft and 'balanced' (whatever that means). Mouthfeel is really fantastic on this beer..

O - It's certainly a good to great beer, maybe not my personal favorite trappist beer but absolutely in the high class category.
I would wonder if the best buy date of 2015 isn't a bit hopeful though?? Not a super high alcohol offering and by '15 this would certainly be a completely different beer. If you like the belgian funk in your beer.. this is a great example though. Certainly brings along visions of the European countryside and has a tartness, dirt and attitude about it that doesn't taste contrived in any way...
I know that's a strange statement but if you've tried a lot of other attempts at a beer like this.. you probably know what I'm talking about.

 1,494 characters

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

I drank this at a "The Belgian Beer Diaspora" beer tasting hosted by the late Michael Jackson at the National Geographic. The tasting involved pairing a number of Belgian beer styles with a Belgian and American interpretation of the style.

These are my tasting notes:

This beer has a malty flavor, but is well balanced with the hop component.

 344 characters

Photo of akogrady
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Rich golden amber color, with a very pale golden head. And lots of it. I'm not sure what caused it, but there was far too much carbonation and the head was massive.

S - Smelled very nice. rich in the hoppy notes with a floral rounding and some spice background. Maybe a hint of apple.

T - Very rich and hoppy with a nice sweetness to complete the rounding out of floral notes. A dry finish that lingers in an enjoyable manner.

M - Again, maybe it was the bottle, but the smoothness of the beer was interrupted by too much carbonation.

D - Definitely drinkable, if only it would fit into my glass.

 604 characters

Photo of WhyBeNormal
3.11/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This one was bottled in '09 and had a best-by date of 2014. Light fruity esters, kind of acidic mustiness, and a reeeeaally dry aspirin-like finish. Pretty good and really complex, but too dry for me. I'd love to try a younger bottle. I've read that the Orval master brewer prefers his at 6 months old.

 302 characters

Photo of boldcity2008
5/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: The color is a deep orange amber and cloudy in color with a insane 4" white head cloudy white lace, leaving rings, even after 5 minutes there still there.

S: Some pine hops, lemon and orange, something juniper like, lots of herbs and hop flower resin, but not piney, grapefruit like I guess. Brett is there of course.

T: Just out of this world. So it starts very dry lemon and orange, with a bit of hops and juniper and lots of brett in the front end. The sweet candy sugar is there but its just barely, its so well balanced with brett yeast its heaven in glass. the hops are sharp but well in balance.

M: Dry and medium body, great after taste. Smooth and crisp

D: geez this is the great beer to drink straight up or with food and/or cheese its just out of this world. I can never drink just one and even at 5 bucks a pop I always buy 6. This is the one beer worth it, well as most of the Trappists are.

 911 characters

Photo of BreworFerment
3.56/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was really excited to try this beer because I had read how great it was in Michael Jackson's books and also all the reviews here.
Poured into a tulip glass the beer was a beautiful clear orange blonde color with noticeable effervescence. Nice off white head that dissipated quickly with no lacing. Slight hop aroma on the nose but that was about all I got. On first taste I got, beer, decent beer, but nothing near the complexities others have talked about. The beer wasn't, bad, just not as good as I was expecting. Maybe a product of over hyping? Don't get me wrong if someone offered me one I would drink it happily but I don't see what all the fuss is about. I've had other trappist beers that were better.

 712 characters

Photo of Barleythenred
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark yellow color with a bountiful head

Smell: Vanilla notes with a good floral overtone

Taste: bitter with a yeasty under bite

Mouthfell: fizzy with smooth texture

Drinkability: smooth oiliness with a head the bitters and fills

Also on a side tried to open it with the lighter trick and hit myself the lighter trick and it was so pressurized i hit myself with the cap

 385 characters

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

Poured from a bottle with a bottled on date of 5/20/2011, and drank on 1/28/2012. Best by date was 5/20/2016.

A - Orangish-brown, clear. Pours with a huge white head due to the heavy carbonation.

S - Yeast, fruit. Not as much aroma as I expected from a Belgian with Brett.

T - This beer has a complex flavor. It begins with classic Belgian yeast and fruit flavors, then peppery spices. Finishes very dry with some bitterness that lingers. A touch of alcohol comes through. I don't really perceive much brett funkiness.

M - Very dry. High carbonation level gives it a crisp feel, despite being fairly high alcohol.

O - A very good Belgian beer. I would like to try different ages of this beer to explore the flavors develop over time. My beer was fairly young so I think it could definitely get more interesting.

 817 characters

Photo of Hugues
3.5/5  rDev -16.1%
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 Ninjakillzu
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

L: Poured into a Chimay chalice. Three finger width head which took forever to go down. The body was dark orange.

S: Sour green apple, a musty funk like an old attic, and grapefruit.

T: Taste followed the nose, also included spices and vanilla.

F: Creamy, foamy, full bodied with a slight warmth.

O: Quite a unique taste and smell, in a good way.

 350 characters

Photo of acoatley
3.53/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep copper, fairly clear with ever so slight red tint. Moderate head dissipates quickly. Where is the lace?
Aroma: Moderate fruity esters of plum, light malty sweetness no alcohol.
Flavor: Raisins and plum, average malty sweetness, pleasant bitterness with a crisp finish.
Mouthfeel: Light body with moderate carbonation, watery the palate, warm alcohol good for a cold winter night.
Overall: Not my favorite dubbel but a good selection.

 455 characters

Photo of doctorjoeyboey
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The appearance is auburn with lots of head, however less head than many other Belgian beers. The aroma is vivacious and suggests grain. The mouthfeel is full bodied and the taste is very enjoyable. Wheat is evident on the mid palatte and the aftertaste is mild. There isn't any evidence of yeast after pouring the bottom of the bottle into the glass... I was a little surprised. This is a good beer and is fairly complex.

 421 characters

Photo of jlapennas
4.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Aroma: Tart fruity white wine like aromas dominate. Some flowery notes and something a little rough. Very low barny or funky aromas though they seem to come out more as carbonation dies down.

Appearance: Deep orange, huge rocky head with great lacing. Slight haziness.

Flavor: Fruity, mild tartness, firm hop bitterness and flavor add to an extremely dry finish. Maybe some dry spice notes. Has some qualities that remind me of a tannic English cider. Barny notes are just a whisper rattling around in my nasal cavities.

Mouthfeel: Dry, spritzy, light body but the carbonation makes up for it. Tart acidity.

Overall: Highly complex, lively, dry, very refreshing ale. The tartness isn't outright sour and the many flavors are exceptionally well balanced. I can see wanting to have some of these around at all times. This bottle is about a year old and the emphasis is really the dry fruity acidity and firm bitterness.

 922 characters

Photo of DanielClouser
4.57/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11 point... I dunno--2? (less than 12, anyway)--oz bottle into Chimay goblet.

A--Nice amber color. Nothing special, but the head does start out huge. I didn't find that it stuck around for too long, on this bottle.

S--I tend to not get a lot of smell from buggy beers. A nice subtle fruitiness, though.

T--Excellent! Only my second bottle of Orval, and this one is very different from the first, with a lot more Brett. I appreciate Brett but do not love it, but it works so well in this beer. A perfect dry bitterness that does not overwhelm the palate melds seemlessly with the Brett. Really, the perfect integration of flavors is what really makes this beer.

M--Dry, dry, dry, and oh, so great! Usually, mouthfeel is something I struggle to review, but Orval makes it easy. I love this beer.

D--For me, Brett will hurt the drinkability of any beer ever so slightly. But there is just no perceptible residual sugar here to turn me (that's what gets me with the Brett--the way the funk interacts w/ residual sugar). I could drink these until I got kicked out of the bar.

 1,075 characters

Photo of EvilGnome6
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle into a Duvel glass.

A: Pours a copper dark blond with a very generous off-white head.

S: Tart green apple with a hint of mustiness.

T: Bitter and sweet with a hint of green apple peel. The flavors are rich and complex but impossible for me to describe. Definitely has a hint of horse blanket that makes it feel rustic.

M: Very, very dry and a bit thin but somehow refreshing at the same time.

D: A very easy drinking beer that somehow seems different every time I try it.

I've had this several times before and will definitely have it again.

 568 characters

Photo of corcoranjc
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from bottle into Chimay goblet (goblet bought for 25 cents at a garage sale last summer...just had to throw that in there).

appearance: exceptional. rocky, chunky, everlasting, snow white head.

smell: tart, ciderish, sour apple candy....wonderful

taste: funky, earthy, mushrooms, the brett comes through here with the leather and barnyard. however, the taste is very deep and layered.

mouthfeel: full, perfect.

overall: this is a beer for a special occasion. deep, interesting, and ever so complex. i would love to have a ton and chug it and i would love to have just one and savor it for a couple hours which is what i'm doing now. a wonderful beer.

 662 characters

Photo of ciachef1212
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured a hazy deep yellow/gold with tons of carbonation. The head was about 4 fingers and left beautiful lacing on the glass.

S- It smells like lemons, ciders, and flowers with a slight sour funk. Loved it.

T- A slight tartness with lemons and flowers. It then finishes dry.

M- The bubbles dance on the tongue like Champagne.

O- This beer is great. If you haven't had it pick it up. It is a very old traditional beer that is very refreshing.

 448 characters

Photo of BeerMarshall
4.41/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle, bottling date 2/2010. appearance is the color of caramel with good head. Very hoppy compared to other trappist ales. Very refreshing, highly carbed. I don't really get the brettanomyces funk that I was expecting, but not really overly familiar with this class of beers, so maybe I am just not sure what to look for. Overall very good beer, very refreshing and pleasant to drink.

 398 characters

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

I decided that I would review Orval tonight because I reviewed Delirium Nocturnum last night and wanted to finally determine which I enjoyed more. Delirium Nocturnum is my long time favorite but I tried an Orval for the first time a couple months ago and I remember thinking that it may rival the Nocturnum in overall enjoyment. So tonight I decided to find out for good.

Appearance- Beautiful burnt orange color with a rocky, off-white three finger head. Dissipates after a while leaving a heavy lacing along the glass. Settles into a solid quarter finger covering after a few minutes. Very good looking beer.

Smell- Tart apple and a floral/lemon/banana scent. Very wonderful smelling. Possibly my favorite aspect of this beer.

Taste- Very smooth and surprising flavor. Very tart, sour taste from the get go. Accompanying alcoholic burn, but an extremely pleasant and fitting one. The first taste is almost too overwhelming to separate any flavors, but on the subsequent samplings tart fruit flavors are extremely apparent. Banana and lemon make themselves known, as does a heavy hop bite on the tail end. Sour fruit is present as the dominant aftertaste. I sipped this over a half hour period and the flavors made themselves more apparent as it warmed.

Mouthfeel- Extremely crisp, smooth mouthfeel. If you let the Orval settle in your mouth the carbonation makes itself very apparent. Just ever so slightly too light. Almost perfect for the flavor but could use a little thickness.

Overall, this is indeed a fantastic beer. Although it has failed to overtake Nocturnum as my favorite beer, perhaps it is unfair to compare the two. The Orval is definitely my favorite Belgian Pale Ale but I'm a sucker for Belgian Strong Darks. Overall an excellent beer and one I would recommend to any fan of pale ales.

 1,812 characters

Photo of pijiu
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smell: Heavy citrus, hint of coffee, molasses.

Taste: Dense flavour with a taste that is darker than its colour would suggest. Dark cider backbone. Has a bitter cut throughout. Healthy white head.

Notes of citrus, medicine and spice. Tart, dry and easily drinkable.

Serving type: 11.2 fl. oz. brown bottle.

 310 characters

Photo of aesopsgato
3.47/5  rDev -16.8%
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

Photo of apowar
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into an unfortunate pint glass.

Pours a beautiful rusty orange color that reminds me of my mom's sun tea. Slightly hazy. Very large, persistent, stiff and foamy pale yellow head.

The aroma strikes me as bubble gum, ripe banana, and tart apple.

Flavor is slightly toasty up front and becomes a bit tangy including typical hop flavors such as candied lemon peel. Finishes with slight hop bitterness, belgian brewers yeast, and some very nice banana and candied citrus flavors.

Mouthfeel is very interesting. Clearly present carbonation that completely fills the mouth. It's assertive but not too prickly or strong, but actually rather soft. Overall, very drinkable, refreshing brew with enthralling complexity and richness or flavor. I can definitely see why this is considered the quintessential belgian pale ale.

 843 characters

Photo of scottchesterhall
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-beautiful copper, full head that shrunk to 1/4 inch, bottled 2.5 years ago, May 19, 2010, 6.9 abv

S-wonderful: pears, ginger, banana, clove, fruity and spice

T-bright assault on front of tongue with fruity spice, but I was looking for way more flavor...very crisp and refreshing and then quickly disappears with a pleasant residue of fruity hop oil and sour yeast. It's clean and crisp--almost cider-like, but I wanted more layers. Am I drinking it too cold?

M-really effervescent, too much? Dances on the tongue, that's for sure.

O-everything was perfect...and then I was let down when the beer was actually in my mouth. Not bad...but I was disappointed.

 661 characters

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

I saw this beer earlier tonight on the shelf and have enjoyed Trappist ales before, so I thought I'd give it a go. The guy at the beer store also told me I should try it and I value his opinion.

I'm pouring at 50 degrees into an 11oz snifter.

It pours a light amber/dark peach color with a bit of cloudyness to it. It looks like a beer I would enjoy just from the color. I've got about a two finger head which is very frothy and thick.

It smells almost sweet, as I've come to expect from Trappist beers, but not so sweet as other beers I've tried (Lindemans). The smell has a lot of complexity, but I can't really pinpoint any one aspect that stands out. I do, however, notice a distinct absence of an alcohol smell, which I appreciate.

The taste is very light and refreshing with, as I said about the smell, a lot of complexity. There isn't an overpowering taste of anything but hops. It's mild, but almost fruity. Oranges or lemons, I can't tell.

I would buy this beer again, the taste and price are right for what I got. I am fully satisfied and would love to share this with friends. The only downside to this beer is the head is a little to much, in my opinion.

 1,172 characters

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