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

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
5,378 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:
5,378
Reviews:
2,343
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
12.44%
 
 
Wants:
358
Gots:
905
For Trade:
11
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,378 |  Reviews: 2,343
Photo of thatoneguymike
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of paulish
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of atlbravsrno1
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Zaphog
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.48/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 05/08/2009

A: Hazy burnt orange color. The head is massive and has many different sized bubbles surrounding a meringue crest. Awesome lacing. Also, there is a notable effervescence that emanates from the bottom center of the glass and resembles an underwater volcano.

S: Belgian yeast and a slight funky that smells nice. Also getting a bit of an outdoor, grass, farm aroma.

T: Interesting to say the least. I don't think one could ever describe Orval as dull or uninteresting. Immediately upon tasting, I get a funky, dry tartness that remains prevalent throughout. It's not the type of funk found in a wild ale, lambic or gueuze. What a cool brew. There is a slight alcohol note in the finish, but it's subtle enough and fits in nicely.

M: Funky Belgian yeast, good carbonation, slight alcohol in the finish. Pretty good feel.

D: It's unique, tasty, and a beer to sniff, sip, and savor. A must try for any beer aficionado.

 937 characters

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of johnnnniee
3.99/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

I've passed over this peculiar looking bottle for years now, I guess today will be the day to try it.
Pours into the glass a lightly hazy deep golden color with a frothy meringue head that persists forever. The label is correct about the fruitiness I get that in spades as soon as I pop the cap off the top of the bottle. Pepper, spice, yeast, and a bit of golden syrup round out the nose. The flavor is sugary sweet with a lot of orange and sweet dark fruits along with some pepper, a hint of hop and a touch of alcohol. Medium to thin body with a spirited level of carbonation and a bubbly sweet mouthfeel. This is a really nice beer that's easy to drink, I can't believe it took so many years to try this.

 709 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The bottle of Orval that I tried may have been a bit overprimed which I believe effects the scent, taste and mouthfeel. The beer poured a hazy copper with big white head that left some lace. The scent was tru to most trappist....Belgianny. The taste also follow most Trappist ales. The mouthfeel was lighter in body with huge carbonation. Overall it was decent....would like to try this beer on tap....probably wouldn't search out a bottle of it.

 451 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The bottle alone makes this beer piece of art, along with the brewing tradition of the trappist ales this beer still being brewed by the monks of the Orval Abbey. Appears a slightly hazy amber brownish orange with a creamy crown of off white foaming head. A good friend of mine describes the aroma of this beer as a barnyard minus all of the cow shit smell. What I think he is referring to is the wild herbal spices that added to this beer, just amazing. The wild spices contain lemongrass, peppery orgegano like herbs, and the ultimate combination of malt and hop bitterness. The taste is a major wow, a grainy herbal spiritual experince exists in every sip mising spices and flavor galore. I love this beer and I must say I'm not worthy of it so complex, I feel that everytime I try it will contain another experience. Mouthfeel is smooth with a medium to light body, let's just say if you have the opportunity to try this one you have been blessed. Very drinkable, but best enjoyed one at a time to savor and enjoy all of the complexities this beer has to offer.

5-22-10 vintage date- 7/29/2009 best by 7/29/2014

This beer has an angelic experience about it, the slightly hazed glowing amber body just lets the beer gods sing down on you. The head forms chunky like clouds in the heavans. Lacing is fine intricate Belgian style all day. Aromatics bring out the barnyard funkiness that makes this a new experience everytime I've come across it, again more zestiness sharp citrus appeal from the hops with a spicy pepper kick that just works so nicely here. Acidic nature waves in as well bringing out lactic acid notes and cider like comparisons in my brain. The more yeast that makes it into the glass the funkier it gets. Drinkability and mouthfeel are great, definitely a brew I will always cherish. Effervescent and drinkable but definitely needs to be enjoyed with a good meal.

 1,886 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Light honey colored amber beer. A nice bubbly head when poured moderately. Some fizzy carbonation.

S - Dry and funky, with some farmhouse aromas. Old linens, old musky wood, hay/straw all whirl about. Sight tartness and acidity present in the nose.

T - Pretty mild flavors in comparison to the nose. Tart and some funk. Definitely fairly earthy and dry flavored. A mellow acidity here. Quite drinkable.

M - Fizzy and tingling carbonation. Drying.

O - Solid drinking brew.

 479 characters

Photo of stakem
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A ~7 month old bottle poured into a goblet. This brew appears a lightly hazy copper color with a monstrous amount of slightly yellowish off-white head that is 4+ fingers thick and composed of large bubbles. The cap slowly fades back to a finger's worth of thick froth leaving an abundant amount of lace clinging to the glass. Carbonation endlessly erupts out of this brew from some etching on the bottom of the glass supporting the head.

The aroma of this brew is seriously all over the place. Right when the cap was removed, it smelled of fruity hops and light amounts of citrus hops. As it gets poured, it opens up in the glass and starts to showcase sour indications that are reminiscent of lacto and some very light brett'd character fills the back of the nose. A light indication of plastic is noted. Throughout the middle are lemony scents present as well as some other light fruitiness like pear, orange and more lemon. My overall feeling of this brew is that it smells somewhat medicinal and like a solvent type of house cleaner.

The taste of this brew upfront is lightly fruity with a taste somewhat similar to apple and pear skins. Through the body are the sour indications of lacto and brett notes that are drying. It has a light funk quality about it that suggests barnyard without actually going there. It is earthy and somewhat herbal without going right into the typical wet leather brett character. It finishes mostly dry with a long lingering bitter herbal hoppiness mixed with notes of plastic. There is significantly more bitter herbal hop character in the finish of this brew that I would have ever guessed based on the smell and initial taste.

This is a light bodied brew with a bursting amount of carbonation that is both visual and prickly on the tongue. It gets more enjoyable as it sits and is swirled calming the carbonation level down to an acceptable level. I dont have all that much experience with drinking this brew a lot, but I could forsee this brew being something that could be aged and really develop into something completely different from this relatively "young" offering. With a best by year of 2015, I wouldn't mind securing a few more bottles of this and start trying to push that best by dating to see what older bottles are like. Throughout the entire experience, I never once felt like this was a brew that was close to 7% abv. Well done.

 2,386 characters

Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of ejimhof
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%

Photo of tdm168
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

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

Photo of rolltide8425
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of chippo33
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of PA-Michigander
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of rab53
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

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

Love me some Orval. This beer has grown on me quite a bit over time. Probably along the same way that wild ales have. Nice earthy and mildly funky tones on there. Robust and fairly thick. I always wish there was more of this beer when I finish off the bottle.

 259 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into what else, an official Orval chalice glass.. and that my friends.. makes a difference. Bottle is one year from date bottled upon tasting.

Let's talk about how this beer looks in this glass. It is flat out exceptional, just amazing. Not sure the "perfect" way to pour it in, but if you create a simple two finger head it works. Let's start from the top. This head is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Rock solid cap.. nowhere to go, swirl the glass and this thing dances. It's like a giant hockey puck on your glass, yellow off white. There is even some lacing stick on this very tapered glass. The color of this beer through this glass is litteraly multi-colored. From top these honey hues, at top taper it is brown going down to caramel and then gold towards the bottom.. It's almost completely opaque but not quite, you can just.. JUST barely see through it. This glass shows off this beer unlike anything I have ever seen, it looks like a million bucks. Throw some more brown dots of yeast from the bottle on the top of it later too!

Bouquet... WOW. This is unreal, at first a sweet confusing spice, strangely creamy and dry, almost like bananas. In reality it's like sweet-tarts and bottle cap cola candy, this incredible powdery sweetness. On top of that, through in some classic barnyard mustyness. FUNKY!!

Taste is challenging. This is almost like a saison but at least a tolerable one. Quick quinine tonic water tingles and bitterness. Extremely herbal, big pungency bitterness, after a few more tastes the sweetness of candy comes out more often but not totally. Almost but not totally metallic sharp palate slicing feel. Very impressive.

Drinkability for me this is a blast, but I can see others having a lot of trouble with this beer and getting past it. Also this beer is not exactly inexpensive either which is too bad cause it is flat out fantastic.

 1,894 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce classic heavy glass bottle. "Bottled on 10-04-04" "Best before 10-03-09" Fantastic pour, leaves a huge head which slowly morphs to a rocky, puffy 1/4 inch irregular head, leaves truly world class lacing, at once wispy,puffy and very clinging. Orangy amber,cloudy. Nose is tropical fruit and a bit of pepper. Silky smooth, drying and light. Notes of pepper, yeast nuttyness, ripe fruits,anise.. Quite hoppy in the mid section and all along the finish. Dry with a pine undertone. Wonderful creation in brewing. The allmost 7% nowhere to be found on the tongue. Head explodes and slowly recedes, yet the brew is very soft and not at all prickly on the tongue. Wish I had more of this stuff, or the will power to put some away for a few years.

 750 characters

Photo of mklisz
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of jwc215
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Best before Oct. 13, 2010 (exactly five years after bottling date, which is also listed).

Poured into an Orval chalice.

Pours cloudy orange with a thick, creamy off-white head that thins to a very well-retained rocky covering. Some lacing clings to the sides of the glass.

The smell is of lemon peel, tartness, and spicy sourdough.

The taste is unique and complex. Tart lemon, spiced dough and a wine-like vinegar are all present throughout. A sharp hop bitterness peeks through. Only slight hints of alcohol are present. The medicinal finish has a fresh, acidic character.

The feel is creamy and light. Somewhat drying. The body stays firm and the fresh feeling lingers on the tongue.

It's a wonderful sipping brew that I enjoy as an occassional treat. A true world classic!

 794 characters

Photo of Lare453
4/5  rDev -4.3%

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

    Learn More
  • Our Events

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

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

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

    Learn More