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

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
5,398 Ratings
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Belgium
orval.be

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

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.

Added by Bierman9 on 09-18-2001

BEER STATS
Ratings:
5,398
Reviews:
2,347
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
12.44%
 
 
Wants:
359
Gots:
919
For Trade:
11
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,398 |  Reviews: 2,347
Photo of DIM
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had several of these now and I finally feel like gotten to know this beer well enough to review. Bottle has a born on date of 30-01-07. Served at cellar temp.

a: I very carefully decanted about 10oz. of the 11.2oz. in the bottle to leave sediment behind. This pour left behind a very clear golden ale with an inch and a half of very frothy looking head. Lots of tiny bubbles (cue music) race to the top of my glass throught the session.

s: I'm surprised by how noticeable the hop aroma is. I've never smelled a peppery hop before. This is one of my favorite beers to whiff, very unique.

t: The pepper I noticed in the smell is also abundant on the tongue. It starts with a spicy yeast/malt flavor, no sweetness to found here. Next the suprisingly bold peppery hops kicks in before making way for a tart bready finish. The peppery hops linger for minutes afterward. Very complex and a challenge to describe.

m: In a word, incredible. Sticky and viscous, I've never had anything like it.

d: Hmm. Definitely a sipper. I certainly would not want two in a session, in fact a couple of weeks in between sounds better.

 1,122 characters

Photo of prost2hefeweizen
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of soulgrowl
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Body ranges from chestnut brown to iced tea orange depending on the light. The head on this thing is really interesting; after I poured it, I set it down and responded to an e-mail. When I looked back at it, the head had expanded to about an inch higher than it was before! Currently, the head is collapsing along the perimeter of the class, leaving this funny little nipple-like mesa in the middle. Very unusual, very cool.

Smell: Oh yum. This smells great, really, truly, great. It has a very toasty malt character with piney hops, mild phenols, alcohol and some zippy yeast. An odor of old homes. Kind of like a kicked-up American red.

Taste: Wow, great malt profile; buscuity, toasty, and nice and nutty. Woodsy hops, tangy yeast, and alcohol add a little spice. Tart apple cider and a flash of sweet cherry flavor comes out as you swallow. Finish has a bit of Scotch whisky-ish alcohol sweetness, followed by a dry, wheaty tang.

Mouthfeel: Nice and creamy, very frothy and chewy, but also kind of abrasive due to the alcohol.

Drinkability: This is quite drinkable, but obviously no session beer. Drink late and drink slowly... it is exceptionally savorable.

 1,186 characters

Photo of flannelman808
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This one pours a somewhat hazy amber color and is topped with a billowy bone white head. Pancake batter head which has nice lacing to boot. Fairly large bubbles throughout the foam.

S: This stuff smells so good! Lots going on; Spice, Lemon zest, ginger, grass, and a bit of a sour dried tangerine quality.

T: Tons of complexity and yet easy to drink. I get spice in the back of my palate, and some nice fruity esters in the front. There is some aloe like qualities going on as well. This is a very dry finishing beer. There is a mild hop quality coming through in the dryness as well.. not overbearing but present.

M: prickly and mouthfilling.

D: very easy to drink (but not fast)... the alcohol is completely hidden.

 725 characters

Photo of Beef_Curtains
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of essie
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice. Produced a large frothy white head (2-3 fingers) over a slightly hazy amber to golden-colored body

Aromas of lemon, yeast, and some hops

Starts off with a lemon and grass taste, then finishes with a dry hoppy bitterness. Good complexity.

Nice smooth body with a decent amount of carbonation

The smooth mouthfeel and dry finish makes this beer very drinkable for me.

Overall, another trappist beer that's definitely worth trying. I'm not usually crazy about pale ales, but I could definitely see myself getting this again.

 549 characters

Photo of mrjbrown27
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of fisherman34
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amazing stuff. Solid orange in colour with a pillowy just-off-white head. Aromas of hops, lavender, and grapefruit. Flavorful grapefuit, complex floral, and belgian yeast flavors. It also has a long and sour finish. Perhaps not as complex as some other Trappist ales, but a real pleasure to drink.

 297 characters

Photo of watermelonman
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured to a dark shade of almost orange and bronze. The head was enormous; it eventually died down but never went away. It's leaving a think and luxurious lace behind.

Alcohol comes through in the smell, just behind all that fruit and banana that one should expect. The taste has the banana flavor as well, with a great hop profile in the finish.

This is a really good beer, and well worth a try if nothing else.

 423 characters

Photo of Infamous7100
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Poured a dark carmel, almost copper color into a pilsner glass. Offered up an gigantic head, not only on the first pour, but on subsequent ones as well. Had a rocky head the lasted for a pronounced duration. Lots of lacing.
S: I wasn't overwhelmed with any particular scent. A mixture of yeast and a little hops I'd say. There is definitley some fruity overtones, though what fruit, I couldn't say. Alcohol hidden well.
T: Awesome, it almost finished like a lager in my opinion. Finished clean and crisp. Not a lot of aftertast at all. Taste confirmed the yeast smell and also the citrus fruits. Not very hoppy in my opinion. It was well hidden if it was. As I said, hang was minimal, but while on the pallet, it was great, and not overbearing.
M: Very smooth. Nothing too heavy, yet nothing too light. Enough presence to let you know what you were drinking was something of quality.
D: At 6.2% alcohol, this may not be the ideal session beer. Down with that theory. This was great. The bottle was rendered empty before I knew it and I was left wanting another. Well worth the price and I will be buying two or three next time at the store.

 1,147 characters

Photo of needMIbeer
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of trappistlover
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(11.2oz bottle-bottled 5.19.2010). Pours a hazy apricot color with a chunky white head and active carbonation. Nice lacing. The beer is almost one year old and seems to have lost its hop aroma. I’m mostly getting some sour, funkiness with some berries. Taste is tart-not quite sour-but the hops are there, albeit faint. Medium bodied with creamy texture. Finish is bitter and dry. My tastes have changed a great deal since I last had an orval and I like it much more now. It’s taken a loooong time for me to get into sour (or sourish) beers

 544 characters

Photo of papat444
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 330ml bottle, bottled 22/08/2013 - best before 22/08/2018.

A dark honey body, almost like a light apple cider. Very voluminous head, long retention and mountainous foam on top. Good funk in aroma with classic Belgian influences including cloves, strawberry (thank you Brett!) and pineapple (?). Flavor is again a nice mix of Brett and traditional Belgian flavors. Spicy cloves, herbal bitterness (not too much). IMO, this is a notch above most Belgian ales and sets itself apart.

 494 characters

Photo of ne0m00re
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this one at the Burgundy Room in Columbus, Ohio as a bottle poured into a wine glass. The 33 cL bottle was dated 11/13/2008.
A: Golden honey; it poured with a huge white head that stuck.
S: Slightly sour, musty, horse-saddle, barnyard, mild apples (Jonathon), with lemony citrus and figs. Overall it is very rustic.
T: A biting horse-saddle, slightly sour, cinnamon with pungent dried fruit and figs and an overall underripe fruit backbone. In general, grassy funk.
M: Super foamy, but crisp.
D: Pretty good.
Wow! This one is peculiar.

 539 characters

Photo of CyR
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber color, or bronze

S: Citrus and hops

T: full, good performance of mouth, pure hops with a touch on due to Brettanomyces.

M: Aftertaste strong fresh hop

D: So much to drink to cool off than to taste

---

A beer whose taste changes easily with the maturation and redefining each time a special experience. Unique in its kind.
ÉcouterLire phonétiquement

 370 characters

Photo of JMad
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a bottle to a snifter...
Pours a murky yellow-brown, with a bubbly off white head.
Smells of lemon lime, salt and pepper, hint of alcohol and banana.
Tastes of lemon zest, yeast and bread.
Has lots of good carbonation, light-medium, very soft and bubbly, leaves the mouth dry.
World class brew, wish it wasn't so expensive.

 328 characters

Photo of MartzMimic
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy amber with a root beer float head that lasts for days. Tons of carbonation. Nice aroma of fruit, hay and a touch of funk. Tastes of grapes, apples and yeast. The brett adds a lot. Medium light mouth with some crispness. Just a very flavorful and well-balanced beer.

 280 characters

Photo of Reaper16
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is my 100th review... again. I already did my 100th review (Arrogant Bastard from Stone) but it became my 98th review overnight as the Great Database Error of 2009 ate my reviews for Stone Ruination and Allagash Odyssey. So... cheers for me reaching the 100th review milestone for the second time this week!

11.2oz. bottle (dated 9/23/08) served into a globe glass

Pours a lemon/orange sun-kissed dark yellow. Its very much in between yellow and orange. The head... wow. Forget the finger scale, Orval pours a greater than one HAND sized white head. Large bubbles mixed with small and oh, so creamy looking at the top. The lacing is all over the place, notches of sporadic sea foam splashed all over the glass. This is the kind of appearance that photographers would do nasty things to achieve. It looks like the Platonic form of beer itself. I have to say that this beer was very difficult to pour. It was explosive out of the bottle, ala Duvel. The foam is so spectacular that there were notches of lacing IN THE BOTTLE.

Aromas of sweet, ripe bananas hit first. Its a very juicy banana smell that is completely unlike the banana of a hefewiezen, say. Golden delicious apple and white grape bolster the yeasty fruitiness. Actually, it can't all be yeast fruitiness; some of it is coming from lupulin. There is a kiss of pine to go along with the other hop flavors. Mild funk from the Brett does wonderful things here. Strands (not the best word but its what comes to mind) of sourness serve to highlight the inherent qualities of the fruit aromas, while fleeting ghosts of horseblanket ground everything in this lovely farm sort of context. All of the aromas in Orval work together to tell a story, which is amazing to me. The malt is sort of lost in all of the yeast aromas, but I can forgive that.

The base of the flavor comes from the pale malts and the pale ale-level of hoppiness. Drying, piny flavors cover the mouth only to give way to developing flavors of banana and white grape from the nose. The Brett ensures that everything is tart and suitably sour. Its not funky on the palate, but the Brett is appreciated just the same. Its hard to pin this beer down. Its very complex and it happens to be almost completely unique, especially amongst its Trappist brethren.

The mouthfeel is too watery for me. I think a little more substance in the body would carry the flavors better. This beer is certainly drinkable enough; its an expensive session candidate but a couple of bottles paired with a dish of pork with seasonal vegetables would be exquisite.

This is a very unique beer; direct comparisons are nearly impossible. I did recently review a beer that comes close though -- Goose Island's Sofie. I don't know why I'm sharing that information. Back on track: this beer is complex, drying yet refreshing, worthy of universal praise. Everyone should have this at least once.

 2,897 characters

Photo of jmg480
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of HappyGuy12345
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into tulip glass
Appearance: Orange/brown with huge amount of head
Smell: Fruity aroma, specifically apples
Taste: Complex array of flavors, including citrus, apples, and hops. There is a subtle, but noticeable, bitter aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Moderate-to-heavy carbonation. Feels almost like a soda or champagne on the tongue. Goes down easy.
Overall: Like many other highly-rated Belgium Trappist Ales, this is a very tasty beer with complex flavors. You will not be disappointed after trying this one.

 530 characters

Photo of ghurux86
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
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 Grunewald
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - poured from a 0.33L bottle into a weizen glass. The color looks like a Hefeweizen (amber and cloudy). There was a metric ton of head, thick and foamy.

S - grass, hay, and a hint of sweet licorice

T - a bitter grainy taste, with a light sherry like flavor

M - delightful carbonation that fizzles on the tongue then finishes quite dry

D - a complex beer that would go well paired with finger food

 402 characters

Photo of theformula
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The ratings are high, and for good reason. When I'm so used to the traditional English and American Pale Ale, this adds a brilliant complexity to the style. And it's my first taste of Orval.

Great looking beer, light amber color. The head just grew and grew to a billow-y, fluffy cloud that doesn't every dissapear. Nice lacing throughout.

Mouthfeel is light, with a bite of carbonation and almost a fine, powder-y texture on the roof of the mouth.

Smells of hops, clove, green banana/fruit, sugar and a little phenolic goodness to make things interesting. Fruit and flowers.

Tastes much hoppier than the aroma lets on. Delicious hop bitterness is subtle, along with "that" yeast strain and some citrus that gives it a tart bite. Sugar cane, wet hay and light honey give this so much complexity.

This is the best pale ale I've had the pleasure to taste, and drinkability is way up there b/c of the bone-dry finish. It's thin, but I guess it's accurate for the style. Awesome.

 990 characters

Photo of jayhawk73
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orange color w/ a perfect 2 finger off-white head. This beer has a ton of carbonation! The smell is very interesting- citrus, fruit, and hops all make their presence known. The taste is an acquired taste, but I love it. It's very unique. A lot of hops, some citrus, spice and a slight hint of alcohol. Very dry finish, and a dry beer in general. Mouthfeel is good. You can feel the carbonation in your mouth, but it's not bothersome. Aftertaste lingers for a while as well. I probably wouldn't drink more than one of these at a time, but it's pretty easy to drink. Definitely a great beer, and one I will continue to buy from time to time. Not for everyone, but that's more for me...

 692 characters

Photo of a0lbudman
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Amber color with a large tan head that leaves a lace
S-dark fruits, raisins and figs. Has a wine or farmhouse like aroma with spice in every smell
T- caramel sweetness with spice and wine like taste that goes to a spice kick aftertaste that has some sour taste and also some warming in the finish
M-creamy high carbonation with medium body
O-great malty flavor that starts this beer off right. It has good balance.

 417 characters

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,398 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.