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

5,378 Ratings
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

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

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Ratings: 5,378 |  Reviews: 2,343
Photo of blange3
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of SpillyBeers
5/5  rDev +19.6%

Photo of dryndantheman
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of silenius
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber orange with a generous off-white to yellow tinged head that laces nicely on the way down. A picturesque beer.

Smell is very muted to me with just some just some light pepper and licorice. Good but not too complex or substantial.

Taste hits with a sharp acid zing that fades into pepper and a rich breadiness. A bitter hoppy palate cleaning aftertaste finishes this one off. A food beer if I ever tasted one. This one screams for cheese and meat in my opinion. I almost feel ashamed that I am drinking this without food.

Mouthfeel is good, but there is a sharpness there that is a bit much for me. A zingy prick that is just noticeabley too much.

I could drink this all night with a great meal.

 725 characters

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

Appearance: slightly cloudy. Pale in color. Huge lasting finely bubbled head that lasts and leaves a nice lace.

Smell: Smells of champagne. No hop aroma. Wonderful.

Taste: Slightly sweet, moderately bitter. Some tartness and sourness. Little to no hop flavor. Lingering sweetness towards the end.

Mouthfeel: Much dryer and lighter than I expected. Very nice.

Drinkability: Belgians are not usually my style but I enjoyed this one alot. Will buy it again.

 459 characters

Photo of JLeege
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 3/25/10 ~ 1 year old ~ Poured into a chalice

Appearance- Pours a slightly hazy orange color with a big creamy just off white head. Good retention, a little wispy lace.

Smell- An earthy funk fills the air as soon as you open the bottle. When you put your nose in it you get lots of lemon with some leather, tart smelling. Some light spice, a hint of yeast. The aroma is as good as it gets!

Taste- Dry throughout, somewhat musty in a good way. Slight caramel, lemon, peach, a little apple, the fruit presence gives it slightly tart quality. Grassy to dry hay, with some leather showing up on the back end. Very crisp, drying finish, lingering light fruits and leather on the palate.

Mouthfeel- Medium / light body, fairly spritzy carbonation. Dry, refreshing, champagne like. Overly drinkable.

Overall- I can't believe this is the first time I have had this beer! (Maybe it was the unassuming label) Instantly one of my new favorites. Probably the best Belgian Pale I have had.

 988 characters

Photo of mcss
2.25/5  rDev -46.2%

Photo of Vogie
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of tr4nc3d
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this into clean, clear glass. Poured a nice dark amber color with a huge head that lasted for a while. Nice little bubbles could be seen on top. Lacing was very noticable.

Smelled citrusy, sweet, and very interesting.

Taste was just like I smelled, to me it was a little bitter at first then jus a hint of sweetness. Nothing to exciting like I hoped, especially for the cost. But still another good belgium beer.

 421 characters

Photo of JJWIGHT
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of karengarys
3.09/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured nice, nice fluffy head, and it retained while it warmed (in my Stella glass - sorry)...

Nice Trappist nose, as expected...

Taste is disappointing to me. Bottled Date on bottle is end of Feb 2012, well within the many year recommended consumption date (2017, did I get that right?).... I'm getting a seltzery and bitter flavor I just don't think matches what I would expect of a beer of this style.

Mouthfeel is watery but somewhat creamy... Did I say watery? ...maybe the taste skewed this perception.

Finish is just... beer. sorry. Slightly bitter like.... aspirin?

overall I'm a bit disappointed. I expected a world class beverage, and ended up with a bottle of stuff to drink.

I will probably re-try this in the future because I question if this bottle or batch was representative of the product.

 813 characters

Photo of Travlr
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A unique Trappist with a clear orange and amber color, small white head with nice lacing. Aroma of coriander, orange peel, black pepper and faint vanilla. Tastes of citrus, orange and coriander. Medium mouth. Good bitter finish. Mellows slightly with age if kept well. Very nice.

 279 characters

Photo of dvanhandel
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of ISmith87
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one was a gusher, probably from the brett.

A - great looking beer, huge thick foamy head that dies down to frothy lumps on top of the beer. Laces the glass well. Beer is a nice hazy orange.
S - Nice sour, funky, bread smell, lemony.
T - Also sour, funky, bread taste. Biscuit, lemon, pepper.
M - Light to Medium mouth feel, alc completely covered. Dry finish.
O - Great beer, different from pretty much anything I've tried. Reminds me of a beer my grandpa used to drink, from Sraub Brewing Company in PA. The beer used to come in brown boxes and

 556 characters

Photo of Epicfail97081
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of RenoZymurgist
3.36/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

When I was first told about a hoppy belgian brew i was very excited until i thought about how belgians like to use old hops in Lambics, and that got me to be a little worried. Still I bought one and tried it and it poured a huge effervescent head that subsided moderateky leaving some lace. The aroma was slighty fruity and had a malty dryness. The flavor was very strange as it had a strong flavor of hops but not like anything I have ever tried before. The hops were almost like juniper or some other astringent herb but stil retaining the smoothness of quality hops with no cheesiness or weird bitterness. The malt flavor was light and dry making sure that the hops were the highlight of the beer. The body was light and the carbonation led to a champagne like character as it fizzed all over your tongue during the first few drinks. An alright beer it seems pretty extreme to have one after another but if something interesting is needed this brew will certainly come through.

 980 characters

Photo of veinless
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage: Bottled in May 2010

Pours a crystal clear deep sap orange, with some of the most whipped, pillowy soft looking lacy head I have ever seen. It almost looks like soft-serve, and is definitely just as inviting. Combination of large and tiny bubbles is gorgeous.

From the nose I get just some green apple/citrus to go with a Brett barnyard scent. A bit of spice, perhaps coriander, comes from the Belgian yeast I believe, which adds to the back end of the aroma.

Taste is oh so light, which is not to be confused with bland, as the beer skips from citrus tones to very subtle belgian spice, in this case coriander plus a little bit of something else, something just a bit peppery. From there it goes to the Brett funk, and gives you nothing but that til the end. All flavors are delicate and would be tough to distinguish if this was my 4th or 5th beer of the night, so have this one when your palate is fresh, and you don't have a cold or anything like that. It really is a very dainty and light footed beer. Tartness could be a little better, but that may have interfered with some of the other flavors, so I trust they know what they are doing over there.

Mouthfeel is dominated by the carbonation, which never seems to stop. This lends it a nice creamy texture, but also does get in the way of enjoying each individual taste, as you kind of have to cut through the foam and bubbles the entire time. It is a very pleasantly weighted beer though. Drinkability is good too, as I wouldn't have known the abv was 6.9% if I didn't check the bottle. Finish is funky, which may be off-putting to some, but I enjoyed restarting the cycle of flavors each time. Very relaxing beer - this is the beer you want while relaxing in front of the TV after work.

 1,759 characters

Photo of 1Nrwyscotch
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle(bottled 11/17/11) poured into a chalice

A. A nice cloudy amber color with a thick solid head that faded with no lacing.

S. I get sweet fruit with some lemon followed by some Belgian yeast, very nice.

T. A touch of bitterness to begin with and then some sweet malt. I get some spiciness on the finish

M. It has a light body with some decent carbonation.

O. A very enjoyable Belgian pale ale that is very well balanced.

 431 characters

Photo of mjacquard
3.25/5  rDev -22.2%

Photo of DJoe
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Fellysmarts
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Darkale
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

UPDATE, 12/7/10

On a whim, I bought an older bottle of Orval from one of my favorite beer stores, and I remain impressed with its unique, sharp, funky, cheesy goodness. This is a beer that must be revisited.

UPDATE, 2-18-07

Wonderful to see how one's tastes change. Three years after I wrote the review below, I bought another single bottle of Orval today and sampled it tonight. I was very impressed with its mixture of spice and alcohol, supported by a mouthfeel that seemed so much more lush than I remembered it. A fabulous sipper. A truly interesting beer, and I am happy to kick up my old ratings, across the board.


Orval comes in a beautiful, candlepin shaped brown bottle, with a simple label; the 11.2 ounces pour out in a cloudy butterscotch color, forming an immediate, lumpy, fizzy tan head with great resilience and lacing.

The aroma to me is not pleasant. Hint of fruit, but more than anything it smelled sour.

The beer is highly carbonated, brisk, almost brash in its carbonation; it made my cheeks tingle. The taste is of cinnamon and other spices, flowers, and hops. Drinkable because of the low ABV; fun to sip while it warms. But, overall, I find myself turned off by its bitterness; it's like very, very dry champagne, and there is a sourness in its taste that is similar to the sourness of its aroma.

Tremendous work obviously went into this beer; I'm glad that I tried it, but it's not a beer that I would seek out.

 1,459 characters

Photo of Caterwaul
5/5  rDev +19.6%

Photo of Apathetiq
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of ohyayitstrey
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,378 ratings.
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