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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,282 Reviews
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Belgium | website

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
Reviews:
2,282
Ratings:
5,215
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
18.9%
 
 
Wants:
335
Gots:
826
For Trade:
12
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,282 | Ratings: 5,215
Photo of Nightwing
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Poured from bottle. Aroma of citrus with a hint of herbs. Appearance is cloudy amber with significant white head. Light bitter taste. Medium to light body, with a texture that is hard to pin down, and a dry finish. A very complex beer.

 236 characters

Photo of dnrobert24
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Mmmm Orval. I would like to try this beer again with some other kinds of cheese. Unfortunately, at $4.50 a bottle, that is not likely to occur any time soon.

Poured a beautiful yellow gold with an inch-tall head in my tulip goblet. The head remained a quarter of an inch tall throughout the entire session. Even at the end of the glass, tiny bubbles continued to rise. The beer smelled of fine grass, lemon, and hay. The beer had an earthy spiciness to it and almost tasted sweaty. (Horseblanket? I don't know, I've never smelled one). There was a perfect bitterness to balance out the caradmon, black pepper, and grapfruit. I attempted to pair this with a simple grilled salmon and roasted veggies (asparagus, mushrooms, and zuccini) marinated in a dressing made from Penzey's French Country Vinagrette spice blend. The meal and beer did not contrast or compliment each other and were therefore a push. Thus, I pulled out the gruyere cheese. This cheese was a little old and losing its nutty and toasty qualities, but the beer worked wonders on it. Again, it was not the perfect match, but the hard gruyere actually tasted creamy after sipping the beer. The fading nuttiness came forth, despite the lack of nuttiness in the beer, and the cheese helped flesh out some of the spicy earthy sweaty corners of the brew. I would definitely not try this beer again unless I had a good goat cheese, gouda, or aged cheddar to go with it.

 1,432 characters

Photo of surfadelic23
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This tasty beer (which comes in a relly distinctive bottle) pours a
copper/brownish color that looks great in my chalice.
At first, the taste is sweet, but that doesn't last long at all. A nice bittery hoppy flavor that quickly gets replaced by acidity that must be the result of the yeasties or mebbe bretts?? This one's also pretty carbonated. The first bottle I opened foamed big time! I liked the carbonation on it and found that it imrpoved the drinkability to a certain extent. I did not find this to be a very big alcohol bomb although that may be because We spent the whole weekend trying different Belgian style ales so we may have been used to it. All in all, a pretty nice ale and I'm glad I tried it. While it's not going to knock off othe Belgians that I prefer, this was a nice change from the norm

 814 characters

Photo of SpruceFish
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this beer once a while ago now im having it once again

A- dark copper huge billowing white head with some white lacing on the glass

S- earthy a little sour and maybe a little sweetness

T- some sour some fruit apples or grapes an perhaps a little bread

M- light bodied great carbonation

D- great

 308 characters

Photo of slk22
2.72/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a golden/amber similar to honey. Cloudy with a huge off-white head that seems to last forever. Aroma is very mild malt with some sweetness, much less complex than I expected. Taste was also very mild, mainly corn, having no aftertaste. Mouthfeel is very smooth with a light body and high carbonation, not unlike seltzer water. This is an easy beer to drink, but not very arousing in my opinion. Not sure if I just got a bad bottle as I expected a lot more from this offering.

 489 characters

Photo of PeterLemonjello
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: a hazey rich honey or light orange color. Pours a hefty/rocky head with lots of CO2 bubbles

S: mildly sour apples and white grapes

T: very fruity and dry turning giving way to some malt/bready flavors as it reaches cellar temperature

M: nice, full and lots of delicate/soft carbonation

D: Very nice beer with plenty of flavors. Complex beer but very drinkable.

 367 characters

Photo of Living816
3.4/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Oh my the hype. These ratings would imply orgasm like flavors / experience in the mouth. Perhaps the beer pays *me* to drink it?

It pours a rather curious straw, stained oak color with some haze. The head is amazingly robust, persisting for an eternity.

The "brett funk" hits your straightaway along with a bit of sweet aroma, like a syrup. The smell betrays you. The taste is nothing like it.

On the mouth, there is an exceeding dryness and astringency that seems to suck the moisture right out of your mouth. There is a bit of sour, which is obviously anticipated. But the sour doesn't seem to fit in. It just sloshes around in the mouth.

A bit more bitterness on the finish than you expect as well.

I don't know that I would buy it again. It's quite flat, one dimensional. The sour simply is there for, well, I don't know why its there. It's just a bolt on to a typical trappist ale.

Just for the record bottled on 10/2/11, good through 10/2/16.

 958 characters

Photo of tfinn
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bottled 2003-01-28, consumed 2004-06-27

pours a hazy golden color with frothy head reminiscent of small soap bubbles. leaves slidy lacing on the glass. yeast was left in the bottle.

the aroma is a pleasant mix of sweet maltiness, fruit esters (not so much banana -- more skewed towards pineapple / citrus), and a hint of hops.

showing my prejudices of belgian trappist ale, with a wonderful estery scent, I was expecting a full heavy body with this one, but it's not heavy at all. it's light, clean, and very "wet" tasting for lack of a better term. carbonation is mild, yet there is a definite carbonate tang on the tongue. balance is towards the hops, but stops just short of being overtly bitter. there is no hop trail at the end; just a bit of graininess and a nice wet clean finish, which prompts further consumption.

a very satisfying and quenching beer. it's somewhere between american pale ale and a full-bodied belgian dubbel or trippel.

 958 characters

Photo of nicefix
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured to a giant white fluffy head with various sized bubbles. Good retension and lacing.
Smells of lemon, grass, floral hops and spice.
I'm tasting similar things to what I smelled but also a complex flavor I can't put my finger on.
Very drinkable and complex. If I had more experience I could maybe nail down the complex flavors and aromas with more precision.
Overall, I would recommend this beer. Very interesting.

 424 characters

Photo of MVassar
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled about a year ago in early 2006. A very intriguing beer, and I'm definitely going to pick up some more and put a few away for a while. I'm curious to see how it tastes in another year.

Slightly hazy light honey color, very dense head with thick, unbelievably long-lasting lacing. Stunning to look at.

Apple cider, honey, citrus in the nose. Very appealing.

Cider flavor, with nice hop kick. Tastes crisp, slightly tart, with a very floral finish. Lots going on in this one, but it manages to be well-balanced.

Good carbonation, nice creamy oily texture. Long dry bitter finish. Feels sturdy.

A very unique beer, which I found enormously likable. Could easily have more than one. Or two.

 708 characters

Photo of richmof
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

How to review Orval?

It is the most aesthetically pleasing beer in the world bar none. It pours from its beautifully curvy bottle into the most attractive beer glass there is. It is the one beer most Belgian bartenders can truly pour as well, which means you get a wonderfully frothy creamy head with solid lacing no matter where you go. The deep golden-orange should be relatively clear when probably poured - yeast on the side.

On this occasion, I am review from Chez Bernard in Place Jourdan, where I had the gout d'Orval.

The citrusy yeastiness starts on the nose and continues through to the palate where it is complemented by a hoppy spice quality. Those herby Brettons doing their work.

It rarely disappoints although three is usually enough for a sitting. I am looking forward to those bottles I have put down.

 822 characters

Photo of WoogityBoogity
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Super thick creamy head. Slow dissipation. Body is a hazy dark amber, with swirls of dark residue.

S - Super complex smell of malt, hops, banana, clove, maybe cider, and other spicey phenols.

T - Great balanced taste. Very mild sweetness at first, then progesses towards a nice warming of spices complimenting hop finish. Very toasty biscuit flavor from the malts. Almost a pear-like fruitiness and peppery spice.

M - Medium mouthfeel. Not much warming at all, and high carbonation.

D - The palate is so complex I can't even begin to describe it. Taste after taste will leave you discovering more.

Perhaps the best example of a Belgian PA.

 649 characters

Photo of marchoftheclouds
1.88/5  rDev -55%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

When I pay $4.99 for a 11.2 oz "treat" I expect the trifecta of different, unusual and really exceptional (as in tasty). I'm finding I can't always get the trifecta ... and it's probably due to my preferences. After drinking the Orval, I read an A+ review by Jason Alström. I read other reviews, too, and noticed one beer advocate thought he got a bad bottle. That was the first thought I had after my first mouthful. I don't like beer that has a grapefruit taste in it. I've tried extremely hoppy beers, but they aren't my thing. I think I'll keep trying new things, but I'm leaning more and more to, "If you can see through it, you might not like it!"

 654 characters

Photo of kevo237
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a Chimay goblet. Head retention was great throughout. Very nice looking beer. The head almost looked like whip cream.

Smell was sweet and floral. I continued to get the image of baby blue skittles in my head when I was drinking this beer. It definitely has a candied taste that is hard to describe while having a spicy characteristic. Mouthfeel was excellent as with most trappiste brews. Sizzled on my tongue and went down smoothly with no carbonation build up in my throat. Definitely one of my favorite trappiste beers.

 548 characters

Photo of BeerMasterD
3.25/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled on 05/08/2009, poured into wine glass in 2010.

A- Pours lively amber color with a huge bubbly foam head that hangs around for a while.
S- Spicey and dank funk aromas, Apple and nutmeg, wintergreen.
T- A bit sour, but not bitter or hoppy. A spicey sour taste that im not used too.
M- Crisp and dry, light-medium body.
D- Not highly drinkable.
O- Im not completely sure how i feel about this beer, it was very interesting though and I'd like to explore the style further.

 481 characters

Photo of Aml42000
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle into an Orval glass. Deep amber/copper color. The nose is slightly vegetal, but has layers of complexity which keep one sniffing. Fresh mouthfeel with layers of subtle meyer lemon and dried herbs. A touch of honey on the finish. A favorite.

 261 characters

Photo of The_Epopt
4.44/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

You just don't get the depth of flavor in most American Craft beer as you have in the European classics. Poured into the glass my nose is assaulted by the yeast and hops. First taste, the yeast presents first high and tight then the hops mild yet bitter followed by a sweet malt that balances it all out. There's so many things happening in this beer at once you can ping pong between them once per second.

 407 characters

Photo of Albinoh
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy oragelinke color with a huge rocky head that leaves laces all the way down. Sweet floral aroma. Nice Malty flavor, smooth, with a lot of carbonation. The light bitterness makes this beer very drikable, ends up with a dry mouthfeel. I would say that this trappist is one of the most drinkable ones, I enjoyed others more though.

Good nice beer.

 358 characters

Photo of Itoclown
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Siciliano's in Grand Rapids. Consumed in a Duvel Tulip.
Smell: Friggen awesome! Very fruity with a fantastic Belgium smell.
Look: Medium brown and hazy. Head remains throughout.
Taste: GREAT! I was taken aback. It's very complex and fruity. It's so good that even my Dad loved it when I gave him a sip and he hates complicated beers.
Mouthfeel: Not the best. Very bubbly but it isn't harsh on the tongue.
Overall: I've put this one off for a very long time. I passed it over for years. I wish I hadn't. It's unreal. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this may be the best Belgium beer I've ever had.

 626 characters

Photo of dvb
2.67/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

A - A nice light amber. Abundant white head that dies quickly.

S - Banana. Very pleasant and enticing.

T - The attack is nice, but gives way almost immediately to a unpleasant soapy bitterness from heavy hopping that is not typical of the style.

M - There is mouth-puckering astringency present that is way too prominent to be ignored.

O - Uncharacteristic bitterness and solvent-like mouthfeel made Orval a bad experience for me. I would try it again, but only because I wonder if I somehow got a bad bottle.

 513 characters

Photo of BillBabbitt
2.46/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I enjoy Belgian ales, but I was very disappointed with Orval. It was overly carbonated. I was only able to get about 3 oz of beer in a 16 oz tulip glass, due to the heavy foam. Once I was able to try the Orval, I found it to have a very unusual industrial aroma. I did not finish the beer. The 'brewed on' date indicated that this bottle was nearly 13 months old, so it is possible it had turned.

 396 characters

Photo of Lupin
3.26/5  rDev -22%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I just don't get it, I guess.

I may or may not have had this at tRotBBF. If I did, it was towards the end of the session, and I actually went out after 40+ samples and kept drinking at a bar, then another bar, and then a house party, so let's just say that this was my first time, mmk?

I really, really, really, wanted to like this beer. The no-nonsense label, the erotic bottle, and the fluffiest head I have ever seen. Pours with just the tiniest bit of yeast in suspension. So inviting, but then I actually give it a taste.

All I can say is that there is an earthiness to this beer that obtains and maintains the focal point throughout the quaff. I started drinking it cold, out of that ommegang flute with the silly scribbled guy on it. That nagging taste was there. I finished drinking it just above cellar temperature.. no change.

There was just something eminently one-dimensional about this beer. I could only taste that one thing, and it wasn't a fresh spiciness or 'complex malt character' or anything like that. It was just, well.. boring, and almost incomparable to anything else. First and possibly last tasting for this beer.

 1,152 characters

Photo of ccm414
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured for the 11.2oz bottle...

A- A slightly golden hue that has an almost amber background. A solid 4 finger head that leaves excellent lacing around the glass.

S- A slight sour and citrus smell, almost like many ciders give off. Scents of what appears to be flowers are also noticeable. Rather complex and i like it.

T- A slight hoppy, flowery flavor. A little tart with some citrus rind in the finish. The flower scents appear to come out in the taste as well.

M- Very carbonated, but crisp. Lighter bodied. Almost champagne-like.

D- Rather drinkable. It is definitely an "old school" Trappist ale that seems to have never strayed from an original recipe. I like to reach for one of these every so often, not a favorite by any means, but I do like it.

Cheers!

 775 characters

Photo of Newsman
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle dated 12/27/07, poured into a tulip glass. Nice orange-copper color, huge fluffy white head that lasts throughout the experience.

Smells mildly fruity, yeasty, very pleasant without being overpowering.

The taste has notes of citrus, a little spice, some very nice malt complexity and a fairly strong, somewhat suprising alcoholic presence at the end, given the relatively (for Trappists) low 6.9% ABV.

Very effervescent mouthfeel, again a little surprising, but not unpleasant.

Overall, very drinkable, but something to be savored slowly. A very nice, well rounded and interesting beer.

 608 characters

Photo of jmatthew
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice cloudy orange in the glass with a lacy foam that is constantly dancing on the top. Strong aroma of fruit, perhaps citrus, and cloves. Taste is a great balance of bitterness, fruitiness and spiciness. Less pungent than I would have expected from a trappist ale, particularly of higher alcohol content, but I was pleasantly surprised. Overall, a great beer.

 364 characters

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,282 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe