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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

4,408 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,408
Reviews: 2,119
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 12.86%
Wants: 212
Gots: 416 | FT: 10
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:
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: 4,408 | Reviews: 2,119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of EnkiduBrew
4.49/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Bottle, poured into Belgian style tulip goblet.

Appearance: Slightly hazy, golden-orange when held to the light. 2.5 finger, fluffy head that lasts until the end, leaving a nice lacing. Color is reminiscent of maple leaves in early fall.

Smell: Superb Belgian yeasty goodness. Slightly phenolic with ripe citrus (mostly lemon but some pear as well) dominating (wonderfully tart). Some funky, brett-like character comes through but it does not dominate. Sessionable but extremely complex. I could drink this for days.

Taste: Lots of citrus peel comes through. Some peppery character comes through to make this not all about the citrus yeast character. Initial citrus peel flavor fades into a slight malt sweetness before a firm (but not overwhelming) hop driven bitterness ends the swallow.

Mouthfeel: Prickly. Very dry. Leaves me looking forward to take another sip.

Overall: Excellent, excellent beer. This will just be one more review of praise for Orval but it deserves it. This could easily become my favorite warm weather beers. Much different that other Belgian Pales like DeKonick (less malt driven).

EnkiduBrew, Jan 12, 2013
Photo of cloeren13
5/5  rDev +19%

cloeren13, Feb 12, 2012
Photo of HopDr
4.93/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into a chalice.

A- Cloudy burnt amber color. Really nice lumpy head which just settles in and stays forever.

S- This is what Belgian Pales are all about. Subtle and wonderful. Fruit flavors, mostly green apple with a touch of citrus and just the smallest amount of Belgian musty funk.

T- This is where it really sets itself apart. I get the flavors described in the aroma at first, but there are more layers. There is a hint of sweetness and then sourness which really makes the aroma pop. These flavors and aromas dissipate and fade into a spicy, fairly intense bitterness (maybe form the alcohol? probably not hops) which lasts until the next sip.

M- Really nice. Not too heavy not too light, not too much carbonation, just right.

O- I have to admit that there are a lot of Belgian strong ales which I don't 'get'. Duvel tastes like overcarbonated Heineken to me. I don't see the magic in Chimay Red. But this one is different, it really balances all of what makes Belgian pales what they are, the complexity and unique flavors imparted largely by the yeast and fermentation, while remaining accessible and very drinkable (it just tastes good!).

HopDr, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of botbegone
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

botbegone, Jul 18, 2012
Photo of AJSweeney
5/5  rDev +19%

AJSweeney, Sep 17, 2012
Photo of obninsk23
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice honey color. Liked the foam a lot. It covers the full surface forever and I value that. Smells like typical Belgian Ale yeast - very very yeasty. Tastes a bit sour and yeasty again. Medium body. I think it's a food beer meaning it's better with food then just by itself. I am having it now with garlic mashed potatoes, rutabagas and roasted chicken and roasted garlic on top of watercress. Quite pleasant.

obninsk23, Nov 03, 2012
Photo of cedelattes
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

cedelattes, Dec 31, 2012
Photo of hungarianwax
3.96/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Apricot, clear pour. Sticky lacing. Wispy head.

S: Fruity with noticeable hops. Subtle and sweet

T: A little sour. Lacking spice. Fruit evident. Appears to be lacking in the malt department, hops are pleasant and not overwhelming.

M: Sticky, mildly viscous. Steady carbonation.

Overall 4.25
In Style 4.25

hungarianwax, Feb 04, 2013
Photo of Numba1Stunna
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Numba1Stunna, Dec 12, 2013
Photo of Crafty_Beer
4.76/5  rDev +13.3%

Crafty_Beer, Oct 12, 2014
Photo of MonkeyDunk
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour:
Foam filled 4/5ths of glass
Slowly falls down into seafoam peaks
Significant lacing stuck to glass

Aroma:
sour
metallic
horse manure
road apples
alcohol

Appearance:
cloudy
apricot
golden amber
bright orange

Taste:
oranges and orange peel
dirt
grass
can taste the vat it was brewed in
rusty oxidation

Overall:
Incredibly unique, a style unto itself. You can taste the grains, the brew equipment and environment, the thousand year old tradition. Would buy this again to treat myself or to open someone's eyes to one of the world's most revered beers.

MonkeyDunk, Jul 31, 2014
Photo of LostCrew
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

LostCrew, Jul 31, 2014
Photo of zuccard
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Loved this one...Tremendous head on this beer...great color, slightly amber in color, very frothy and hung in there throughout the entire bottle.

Taste was nice, fruity, with a bit of an almost smoky aftertaste. Color was a hazy orange. With %alc at 6.9, the mouthfeel and apparent alcohol was very well done. Did not seem that high, and no solvent-like taste.

Just a great beer. Loved it and will go back for more

zuccard, Jan 12, 2007
Photo of TheDr
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

TheDr, Dec 26, 2011
Photo of beeristhefuture
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was excited to try one of the more rarefied trappists, but was a bit confused by this one.

Appearance: A thick, burnt-golden color with a firm and very durable head that just did not quit. It definitely had the appearance of tradition, and that was very appealing.

Smell: Strangely, it did not have a very powerful aroma; champagne grape and grapefruit were the predominant fruit tones, with a faint lingering of pine.

Taste: This sense can't be discussed without including the mouthfeel. A huge amount of gas makes all of the flavors explode in the mouth, which definitely accented all of the sensations. Primarily champagne flavors resulting from a delicate balance of hops and pale malts made for a sweet, delicate experience.

Drinkability: With the higher weight it's a good thing this beer is so expensive. The large amount of gas made it very easy to drink, which could have bad results. Fortunately, it's got a built-in mechanism in being expensive, which prevents it from being drunk in excess.

beeristhefuture, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of bellebouche
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle, served at 13c into a large 500ml snifter glass. Beer was bottled on 14/10/08, served on 29/5/09 and marked as best before end 14/10/13.

A- opaque tangerine body, massive fluffy head that only just squeezed into the glass. Slowly subsided and kept a persistent head throughout due to unending carbonation.

S- Spices, citrus, leather. Outstanding hop complexity - background of the rind of a munster cheese.

T- Tart, Sour - overwhelming farmyardy flavour not unlike a pinot noir.

M- light bodied great carbonation

D- slow sipper. Would not drink this all evening.

bellebouche, May 29, 2009
Photo of joshkennedy
3/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, burnt-orange with very bubbly head that takes forever to go down. There's a bit of sediment floating around. Very little light passes through. It looks great in the glass.

Smell: Smells fresh if not a little earthy like sweet, cold, wet leaves. There's a hoppy character, but the smell is largely diminished - it's not a very strong smell. Nose is mildly sharp and musty.

Taste: Hoppy character is prominent - tastes fresh and bitterly sharp. Very crisp and while it's heavily carbonated, the bubbles aren't very big so it's pretty smooth.

Mouthfeel: This beer has a large chalky taste. It feels as if I've recently swallowed a bit of dirt or dust. It attacks the tongue and sits at the back of the throat for a while. Finishes pretty mild.

Overall: This bottle is almost two years old and I'm not sure if that's what is affecting the nose on it. It's pretty good, though I'm not particularly fond of the way it hangs at the back of the throat. It really tastes like someone mixed dirt into the mash - doesn't ruin the beer for me, but I'm not sure I'd get it again.

joshkennedy, Jun 29, 2011
Photo of TimHoss
4.97/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excellent Trappist Ale. The best that I have ever consumed. Great taste, smell, and feel. There is so much happening in this ale that you really need to avoid pairing it with any foods the first time you drink it. The initial presentation is excellent with a strong hoppy/sweet aroma. The taste starts spicy and ends with a great fruity finish. Wonderful drink for any occasion.

TimHoss, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of Trapiste389
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orval is the real king of beers. Nothing in the world even comes close.

Appearance: A monstrous, rocky and vigorous head full of lace sits atop a beautiful pale straw beer.

Smell: Immediately a powerful hop aroma forces it's way into your nostrils. There is very little malt, just enough for you to know it's there.

Taste: In a word: epic! Like the aroma there is very little malt flavor and you are instantly confronted with the powerful flavor brought on by dry hoping. Very dry, with an extremely pleasant herbal aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Rich and satisfying but not so heavy that it knocks your head back. An excellent medium bodied ale.

Drinkability: Here lies the only problem: you cannot drink this beer all the time. It is powerful and moody and is not a weak beer, so be careful.

As far as I am concerned this the ultimate beer experience, it is a pale ale that is both crisp and moody. as I said before there is no beverage an earth like it.

Trapiste389, Oct 28, 2010
Photo of cmanzer
5/5  rDev +19%

cmanzer, Mar 13, 2013
Photo of BFrost
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a Stella Artois glass.
Beautiful hazy deep golden amber color with three fingers of dense, frothy tan head which sticks and leaves a nice, healthy lace.

Nose hints of hops and citrus, namely lemon, also a bit of sweetness you'd get from honeysuckle? Maybe one other thing I can't quite put my finger on, but it's very nice. I'd keep my nose in it all day!

Crispness of the carbonation fizzes right on the tongue, and then with a wisp of that lemony, lightly hoppy flavor. There are also light notes of honey and tart. It has a nice smooth, crisp, dry finish which would pair well with some sharp cheese.

Notes: Pale ale is just another style that the Belgians seem to get exactly right. It's not too hoppy or too bitter, or too dry. It's everything you want in a pale ale in all the perfect proportions. It is also very refreshing, and it reminds me of Spring. This is the perfect time to have one!

BFrost, Apr 07, 2011
Photo of FourQuarters
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.5 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance - Opaque, tawny, cidery colour with an intense, pillowy white head. Strong carbonation with a steady stream of bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass.

Smell - Prominent tart cider apples, yeasty/bready aromas with a background of spices (peppery notes

Taste -Tart cider apples, citrus, funky sourness on the back of the tongue. Finishes on a note of spice and hop bitterness, bubbling quickly off the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel - light mouthfeel with quick, effervescent but round drying finish

Drinkability - I love this beer and could drink it almost any time.

FourQuarters, Sep 22, 2010
Photo of weissjoh
5/5  rDev +19%

weissjoh, Jan 07, 2014
Photo of incapacitant
5/5  rDev +19%

incapacitant, Jul 19, 2013
Photo of jhubeifc
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was the third of my Trappist tastings this week and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It had a beautiful, thick and incredibly long lasting head. The color was a beautiful light brown/caramel, nice and cloudy.
It smelled hoppy and full of yeast, a definite sourdough bread.
It tasted of spice, grass and hops, with an pleasant even carbonation that made the beer feel like it was a blanket across ,y palate. A mild bitter dry finish.
I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and will certainly add it to my regular rotation whenever I am able to find it. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

jhubeifc, Feb 12, 2011
Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
94 out of 100 based on 4,408 ratings.