Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,301 Reviews
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
Reviews:
2,301
Ratings:
5,265
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
18.9%
 
 
Wants:
336
Gots:
853
For Trade:
11
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,301 | Ratings: 5,265
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 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 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 adamhdg
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I tried to pour this into a glass but the carbonation was insane. Had to wait a while. Nice caramel color with a rich tan head. Smells of biscuits and caramel. Taste of the same with some fruity notes of very mild citrus and bananas. Overall a delicious brew at a premium price.

 278 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 descobar
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

bottled 4/2012. the aroma is mostly catty (in a pleasant way), earthy, grassy with some dark fruit and spices. estery Belgian ale yeast. pours medium amber with a full-on head with large white bubbles. head has great retention. its def hazy. med body with slightly oily texture and more than moderate astringency. flavors of raisins and candy sugars. fruity esters and slight funkyness. significant bitterness that lasts long through in the aftertaste but smooths out over time. this is great Belgian ale drinking very close to its peak. label says it should cellar well into 2017. A CLASSIC!

 592 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

Photo of Jordan1985rec
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this at Monk's Cellar in Brookline, MA and was blown away. The taste was far more dry than many of the other Belgian pales and I really enjoyed it all the way through. There was a clear sour and fruity smell and this sour taste carried over into the taste in a good way. Overall this was a very enjoyable beer that seems like it would pair well with roasted chicken or lamb. Cheers.

 388 characters

Photo of RedBeerHead
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours light and cloudy. Very heady. Good fruity smell and flavor and light on the tongue. Excellent drinkability.
This beer is well balanced in both weight and flavor. The yeast gives it good body but it is offset well by the head and carbonation. I am typically a fan of lagers and darker beers but this is definitely one of my favorites.

 340 characters

Photo of AleDrinkToThat
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Bright copper/orange hue under a wonderful two finger rocky beige head.

Smell: The hops bouquet was readily apparent, and the tart citrus was balanced well with a lightly toasted malt.

Taste: I was a little surprised by the delicious bitter tartness from the citrus and hops. It's so clean, so sharply balanced...it really is the best pale I've had, from any nation. What can I say? The oldest Trappist brewery is still here for a reason. A damn good one.

Mouthfeel: The fruity and malty notes were so sharp...almost as if there were something clouding the clarity of other pale ales. It's like pale ale in HD.

Drinkability: Other than the cost, I say drink up. But do savor it, because it's expertly crafted and worth a longer contemplation than any run-of-the-mill American or English pale.

 808 characters

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

Well no time to review this beer but I would say this is a great beer that is a bit overhyped, not as good as chimay so I will rarely get this without a boatload of disposable income, but a great beer nonetheless. Subtle and delicate flavors that would be lost if it were not the first beer, but still this is dissapointing, and definitely not the best trappist ale.

 366 characters

Photo of brewdenver
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First of this is not my type of beer. I do not really enjoy pale ales but this is one I definitely had to try. With that said. Golden brown in color with heavy lacing and strong fingers. Previous review stated a sea foam head and that is spot on. Used a New Belgium tulip and even with it being .47L to the mark and probably .5L full the head rose slightly out of the glass. The glass does have a laser etching on the bottom that may have contributed to the larger than normal head. Smell is consistent with a pale ale. Strong hop aroma. Not quite Challenger hop but earthy and very green like. Taste has a sort of consistent flavor from beginning to end hitting you at first with some strong belgian hops with a nice balance of hop/sweet middle and finishing quite smooth and not too dry for my palette. Very active on the tongue and mouth with a sort of brut champagne feel. If I want to drink a pale ale this is the beer for sure. A definite beer to keep around to pair with when I make more spicy foods or blackened fish/chicken.

 1,033 characters

Photo of pioppo
3.38/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A very particular and characteristic beer from Belgium!! Beautiful the foam that is very adherent.

A lot of wine!! ..with incredible sentor of must both at the nose and in mouth.. This beer remember me a Lambic style.

I don't like very much this beer because it's too much acid and so not many drinkable..

 307 characters

Photo of kwill
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep orange with a large 1"+ head that stuck around for quite a while. The only thing I can take away from on the appearance is that I would have liked to see a bit more yeast. The smell is powerfully sweet and fruity with a hint of cloves.

The taste is definitely more mellow than the smell and I had a hard time picking out any of the sweetness or fruit in the smell. There is a definite hoppy bitter aftertaste. The carbonation was way overdone and almost overpowered an otherwise good beer.

Overall it is a very good beer, but for the price I won't be getting it again any time soon.

 602 characters

Photo of dfitch81
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An extraordinary beer, this. Orval's excellence manifests in its intricate and subtle complexities. The exceptional artisanship that goes into crafting this masterpiece is unmistakeable.

Appearance: Before I even talk about the appearance of the beer I have to mention the bottle itself - a work of art in its own right. The neck flows seamlessly into the body, which then tapers gently to the narrower base. Simple, beautiful, elegant. Pouring the beer into my Orval chalice produced two fingers of rocky white head, which eventually settled into a silver-dollar sized patch in the center. The beer itself is a beautiful hazed-honey amber with numerous tidy bubbles scudding up the side.

Smell and Taste: Distinct to say the least, like no other beer I've ever tried. Some perfuminess and mustiness with hints of hay, tart fruit and roses in the nose; estery and phenolic notes are much in evidence. Taste mirrors and builds on the scent, with the estery, rosy flavor complemented by the subtle fruity tartness (reminiscent of litchis). Yeast flavor emerges towards end of the taste. Curious but wonderful dry finish invites another taste.

Drinkability: Highly drinkable with a wonderfully constructed body that allows you to appreciate the complexities inherent in the palate. Alcohol is difficult to notice, even though at 6.9% it is hardly lacking in that respect. This beer's complexity entices you to refill your glass again and again. The only problem is that unless you have lots of money, you'll never be able to fill your glass with Orval except on special occasions.

Overall a strange yet exquisite thing, to be savored slowly and delicately.

 1,657 characters

Photo of johannasclimacus
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Nice, slightly hazy deep copper.
S: A bit of bread, yeasty with some fruit.
T: Tart fruit, especially right in the middle. There is a very nice sweetness that is balanced in the finish.
M: Medium, very easy drinking.
D: No alcohol taste at all for me, and the beer is very easy to drink. I'm not sure if my tastes are evolving, but I'm moving through this a lot quicker than I have through other beers of the and similar styles. I can definitely feel the alcohol, but I wish I had more than one of these.

Overall, this lives up to the hype, and it's a great way to cap off my spring break. I'm raising my glass to all of my fellow collegiates who have consumed a huge quantity of terrible beer this week.

 709 characters

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,265 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.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe