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

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
5,467 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,467 |  Reviews: 2,358
Photo of plfahey
4.39/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle (bottled 7/10/10) poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Vigorous carbonation bursts forth from the bottle-Beer is golden orange with a giant rocky head of off-white foam. Head retention is decent. Also moderately clear, but there seems to be a the slightest cast of haze.

Aroma-Holy god that smells good. Big Belgian yeast character with some notable Brett character as well. Spicy, slightly clove like phenolics, lemon peel, hay, horse blanket, and grassy/spicy hops. There is also some acidic tartness, and a faint mustiness. Malt is just slightly bready, and on the back end, the brett is a little bit floral.

Flavor-Slightly fruity/citrusy (lemon) up front before being dried out by high attenuation and moderate hop bitterness. Hop flavor is grassy/spicy, and there is a distinct lemon-drop tartness that carries through the entire flavor. Brett character is less pronounced than in aroma, but still contributes some slight hay and barnyard flavors. Aftertaste smacks of herbal hops, lemon peel, and Brett.

Mouthfeel-Medium body with very high, effervescent carbonation. Awesome tongue scrubbing action.

This is always an exciting beer, as I feel like every time i've ever had it, it's slightly different. This particular bottle was not quite as delicious as some that I've had (though still quite tasty), but smelled like heaven. A fantastic Belgian brew, endlessly intriguing and complex, and a favorite, for sure.

 1,443 characters

Photo of Mako82
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a brandy snifter

A - Burnt orange color that was cloudy. Very foamy white head that lasted ridiculously long!

S - Nice smell of floral, hint of spice, mild malts in the background, slight hint of clove, and picked up some yeast

T - Mild floral type taste with traces of yeast (nothing overwhelming). Picking up a hint of wheat/grassy type taste with a hint of clove. Aftertaste didn't last too long.

M - Very dry, light feeling

Drinking the beer with a good amount of head will really help bring out the taste

 540 characters

Photo of seabass87
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.2 FL OZ. bottle into Chimay chalice.

A- Pours a very attractive glowing copper brown. A healthy but short-lived head that quickly dissipates into a creamy cap that retains throughout consumption. Leaves brilliant lacing.

S- Complex scent - picking up sweet lemon, rich orange, barnyard funk, grass, floral hops, and some spices.

T- Citrus fruit and yeast up front in a bitter bite, followed by a smooth hoppy aftertaste with some funky grass hanging around. A zesty beer with nice bitterness.

M- Medium body with slight carbonation - this beer is built well. Very smooth.

O- All in all, this beer was still impressive. It's not my favorite Belgian pale, or favorite Trappist ale, but you can tell this is a quality beer that has been made forever.

 767 characters

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

Poured from a bottle into a Belgian tulip glass.

A: Hazy, nice golden hay appearance. Poured with a very large head. I Poured this like I would a stout; poured a bit, let head
subside, poured the rest.

S: I got hints of grass, hay and a good amount of yeasty funk

T: Nice and dry. Same flavors as in smell but with an additional fruity, wheaty flavor. Very smooth. Little to no hop bitterness.A very subtle beer. No flavors are going to hit you over the head.

M: Very light and smooth. Crisp with a bit of a dry finish that I really enjoyed.

O: I don't have much experience with Belgian pales, but this one is very enjoyable. One I will definitely pick up again.

 668 characters

Photo of DavidST
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330ml bottle into an Orval Goblet, bottled on 7/10/2010.

This pours a hazy dull orange with a large foamy white head with large bubbles and a long retention. Smell is nice and fruity, some spices, maybe some flowers. Medium light feel with lots of carbonation. The taste is different from the way it smells, there is very little sweetness up front, maybe a little citrus fruit and malted wheat, a little peppery and lemon hints but its mostly dry / bitter on the way down with a little alcohol burn, very tasty. Overall an excellent beer, more bitter and drier than the few other Trappist beers I've had tastes like I love, its very good.

 653 characters

Photo of Knapp85
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a nice looking hazy golden color, the head was big and needed time to settle before pouring out the rest of the bottle. The smell of the beer was a little spicy on the nose, had some good Belgian yeast aromas going on in there and even a little bit of flowers on the nose. The taste of the beer is a little sweet upfront with some yeast and spice in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was medium bodied and had a good amount of carbonation to it. Overall I found this Trappist to be very good, I liked the different qualities it has which make it unique. I also find the bottle to be very attractive as well. Gotta try this one if you haven't yet.

 666 characters

Photo of stoutmasterjames
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: semi-deep amber, decent retention, good lacing, looks like a masterpiece

S: semi-sweet spices, complex, profound smell, fragrant

T: Oak, flower notes. At the front there is the suggestion of sweetness that never comes to fruition as the dry tone of the tasting experience comes to dominate before the finish evaporates all of the dryness leaving you to contemplate the lightness of the body. Very complex. Every sip encourages you to study the nuances of the flavors involved.

M: light body, perfect ally to taste

I have been chugging craft beer for about four years now and this is THE BEST that I have found.... yet. Spectacular in every way, Orval is what good craft beer is all about. Good complex taste, phenomenal drinking experience. They cost a pretty penny, so if I am having a bad day, or have cause for a mini-celebration... I'll grab one of these.

 866 characters

Photo of magictacosinus
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Chimay glass, bottled on 02/10/11.

Appearance: Pours a magnificent, giant head with a bold amber color. The head maintains throughout.

Smell: Dried fruits, such as apricots, as well as granny smith apples! It contains a spiciness that creates an immediate tingling sensation on the nose. The Belgian yeast is instantly identifiable here, as with all Trappist ales.

Taste: A thick yet smooth taste. Hard to describe, really. There nevertheless is a wonderful dryness to it. A honey-tinged, fruity sweetness seems to overpower my palate.

Mouthfeel: Definitely has the smooth yet foamy resemblance to champagne. Unlike champagne, however, Orval contains a bitter aftertaste. As it warms up, it becomes considerably smoother and far tastier.

Overall: A truly fantastic beer, and what I feel is a prototype for what a Belgian pale ale should be. The hops are strong and flavorful but do not overpower the taste of the beer. The amount of malts in this ale allow it to be a creamy and tasty experience. While it gives a nice little warming buzz after by the end, I'd consider it be an ideal beer to have during the summer. If I'd ever want a beer that is flavorful and dry yet not too intense, like a Duvel, I would pick this one up again.

 1,250 characters

Photo of rvdoorn
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orval, the trappist you either love or don’t like at all….
Look: pours a orange amber color with a large, long lasting white head.
Smell: Sweet malts, fruits (lemon), flowers, earth, grass and crisp hops. Some hints of sour apples as well.
Taste: Beautiful sourness, horse blanket, crisp, earth and grass/hay all over the place. Clove and lemon up front as well. Tartness all over with a very dry finish. Perfect balance.
Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, medium body.
Overall: Because of the wild fermentation process, I always call this beer the geuze beer under the trappist beers. This beer is so unique, so perfectly balanced, on of the best trappist beers out there. I love it! For most regular trappist beer drinkers out of their style, which maybe explains the IMO the low average score this beers has.

 812 characters

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

From notes

This is not a style I'm very familiar with. I think the only other beer I've tried in this style is the Leffe Blonde (which I like quite well).

Poured into a Leffe chalice to reveal a moderately carbonated apricot ale with a nice just-off-white head, not as rocky and pillowy as a Duvel, for example, but nice, with good retention. Looks good.

Smell is really quite interesting. I get citrus and grass with an earthy (wet dirt) background and some mild fruitiness. Not sure I like it lots, but it's not boring.

This is a pretty complex beer. Grapefruit and clove, some banana on the first sip but then really not seen again for most of the rest of the beer. What really does come out is that odd earthiness, like there wet dirt and leaves, which is interesting next to the fruity parts that come through...it just changes and shifts so many times, it's hard to keep up. Do I like it? yes. Love it? Not sure...I think it takes getting used to.

Mouthfeel seems just about right for this beer. I like the carbonation and the smooth way it seems to facilitate all the taste shifts.

Overall, this is a pretty cool beer. I don't know whether I'd seek it out or not. Maybe that's just my taste though. It's certainly a very interesting beer worth trying.

 1,265 characters

Photo of kevo237
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
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 thecheekybrewer
2.99/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, burnt-orange with very bubbly head that takes forever to go down. There's a bit of sediment floating around. Very little light passes through. It looks great in the glass.

Smell: Smells fresh if not a little earthy like sweet, cold, wet leaves. There's a hoppy character, but the smell is largely diminished - it's not a very strong smell. Nose is mildly sharp and musty.

Taste: Hoppy character is prominent - tastes fresh and bitterly sharp. Very crisp and while it's heavily carbonated, the bubbles aren't very big so it's pretty smooth.

Mouthfeel: This beer has a large chalky taste. It feels as if I've recently swallowed a bit of dirt or dust. It attacks the tongue and sits at the back of the throat for a while. Finishes pretty mild.

Overall: This bottle is almost two years old and I'm not sure if that's what is affecting the nose on it. It's pretty good, though I'm not particularly fond of the way it hangs at the back of the throat. It really tastes like someone mixed dirt into the mash - doesn't ruin the beer for me, but I'm not sure I'd get it again.

 1,099 characters

Photo of Bendurgin
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is actually the first time I've had this beer. For some reason I just never grabbed it so here goes. Bottled on 17/11/2010. Poured into a chalice. Pours a hazy straw color with three fingers of bubbly off white head. Real nice retention on this. Settles down with some soapy lace.

A little bit of white grape juice on the aroma. Kind of reminds me of an ice wine. A little bit of spicy floral hops. A little bit of sweet candied orange in the aroma. Dry flavors here. A little peppery with a little bit of fruit juice to the flavor. The flavors are a little bit two dimenional but on point and refreshing.

Light body with soft carbonation on this one. Overall one of the better Belgian Pales around. Great that this one is readily available. I'll be drinking more here.

 777 characters

Photo of mjgooner13
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Some good smoke upon opening the bottle... dirty copper color, fluffy cream colored head with lots of small bubbles...

S- red wine smell comes through immeadiately upon opening the bottle. After a minute or so, the scent become a mix of sweet raisins to start followed by grapefruit and alcohol

T- Get mostly fruit in the mouth. some malt sweetness, i was hoping for more, but still very a very good tasting beer. Alcohol comes through as the beer sits...

M- Med body beer that leaves the mouth a little dry, but in a good way. Carbonation is good, but nothing special in the mouthfeel.

O- Definitely a tasty beer. For me the raisins and grapefuit are the main flavors and they combine well with the alcohol especially as the beer sits for a bit. Good bit of dryness keeps me wanting more.

 796 characters

Photo of petacutlasaurus
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed a bottle at the Village Pump last night for $4. Great deal after almost getting one for $12 at L'enfant downtown. The trade-off though, not on draft. In this case, that made a big difference. I think the bottle wasn't very fresh. Ouch.

Oh well. Still a great beer, if a little dusty. Nice balanced body, pours beautifully; it's sweet, and memorably bready. That's the quality that sticks, and out of a draft, it's just great. If you're in the DC area, I'd recommend hitting L'enfant's happy hour to grab some glasses for $6.

 533 characters

Photo of damndirtyape
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a Rochefort Chalice. Bottled on 01/06/10, best by 01/06/15 stamped on label.

Appearance: Slow pour gave a cloudy orange-brown-amber beer with a massively thick and persistent tan foam. Bubbles slowly coming up through the beer. Delicate strands of lacing all over the glass. Outstanding looking beer.

Smell: Sweet, floral, and something else that I cannot place. Forest fruits? Definitely something fruity in that sweet flavor. I'm not getting any of the potential "Brett" funk I hear about. Not very strong in smell, but still very nice in that I keep taking really deep inhales and liking it more each time I smell it.

Taste: Does not taste like it smells at all which is throwing me off as I try to taste it. Earthy flavor up front, moving into an unusual bitter finish. Some phenol in here as well. As it warms up some of the malt comes through in the middle, but the earthiness and bitterness dominate here.

Mouthfeel: Prickly carbonation on the tongue, almost airy at times. Slick and coats the throat nicely.

Overall / Drinkability: I had this before about a year or more ago, and I didn't get it. So now some time later and more educated, I find I still only want one and I'm done. So not very drinkable in that I want more, but a very ineresting beer to have due to the appearance and complex smell/taste combinations. Let's just say this beer leaves me challenged for how to define it.

 1,422 characters

Photo of Bmuncy
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Murky hazelnut, large off-white head appears fluffy and dense, alcohol sticks to sides very well. One finger head remains throughout

Smell: Light fruits, yeast, spice (perhaps cinnamon) and a somewhat earthy smell. Very nice on the nose and is a joy to pick out the separate aromas.

Smell: Flavorful apples, very very slight banana undertones, some yeast and malt. Notes of dryness, fresh grass and an earthy connotation finish out the brew. Very complex and very balanced.

Mouthfeel: Rich, full and creamy. The carbonation is perfect. Orval goes down exceptionally smoothly.

 590 characters

Photo of jIsh
4.82/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

The original brett beer!

Awesome label/bottle design. When the cap is popped and the beer is poured into my glass a beautiful aroma fills the empty space around my glass. I could smell this beer indefinitely and never get tired of the smell. In fact, I don't even feel the urge to drink it, rather I just want to stick my nose in the glass!

When I finally get around to drinking this Trappist ale, I was brought to another place and time. A citrus-like, refreshing taste transports me to the Belgian countryside during a sunny summer afternoon under a shady tree. It ends quickly with crisp and tart finish. Incredible!

With the exception of Westy 12 and Rochefort 10, this might just be the best Trappist product on the market!

 731 characters

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

A: hue that ranges from orange to copper, slightly opaque body with constant carbonation, a wide and generous crown, creamy, compact, white head made of wide bubbles high retention and leaves residue on the glass

S: is not impressive, tiny caramel notes, earthy and grass, spicy

T: hop and belgian yeast, malty flavour, medium ligth body, perfectly balanced, you never get too much but neves too less

 403 characters

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.87/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

For as many times as I've had this, I just assumed I had reviewed it at some point. Alas, I have not and now is the time. Poured into a snifter. Bottled 01/06/2010, about a year and a half old.

4.5 A: Plenty of carbonation in this one. The first pour yielded 80% head. Hazed medium orange color. Second pour gave me a full glass. Three fingers of pillowy white head with excellent retention. Rather than just lacing, there are gobs of head permanently stuck to the sides of the glass.

5.0 S: Wonderful! Loads of funk in here: horse blanket, musty basement, and old socks. Peppery spiciness, perhaps a touch of clove, lemongrass, old hay, peach, and wild apple.

5.0 T: Again, wonderful! Barnyard funk, horse blanket, dank wet basement, and wet hay. Below that is pepper, clove, and tumeric spiciness. Mega earthy overall. Hints of what were grassy and earthy hops. Peach fruitiness again with crab apple. Sweet in the middle and drying on finish.

4.0 M: Lighter medium body. A bit too much carbonation, but it is happily very spritzy and super smooth.

5.0 D: I've yet to have a bottle of this at any age that wasn't good, but it seems like 1.5 years is a pretty good place for it. Lots of funk without any hints of being "stale" or whatever you want to call it. Probably the best single out there.

 1,305 characters

Photo of perrymarcus
2.85/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

11.2oz bottle served in a tulip.
bottled 01/06/2010 (best before 01/06/2015)

pours a cloudy dark amber tone while yielding a massive 3"+ of foamy, off-white head that quickly recedes into a collar around the glass.

nose is of average strength and lead by fruit (apples or maybe pear, some citrus), belgian yeast, and a touch of spice. there's also a little funk, the suggestion that there's some tartness to it.

to me, the flavor disappoints. elements of the nose are present - the fruit, yeast, and some pepper, maybe coriander, but i get a strong astringency to it.

medium-light bodied mouthfeel with very high carbonation.

overall this is my least favorite offering of the trappists to date. surprising, as i had high hopes for this classic. not drainpour territory, and i can see where some would enjoy it, but alas it's just not for me.

 846 characters

Photo of andrenaline
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this world class ale into my recently acquired tulip glass.

A - Pours a murky caramel colour with two solid fingers of big bubbled off-white head, solid retention and some nice chunky lacing.

S - Quite sweet with some dark fruit notes, touch of booze, caramel and toffee, bananas and cloves.

T - Unique flavours indeed, surprisingly peppery with some sour citrus notes and earthy hops. The caramel notes come through on the finish alongside some bready flavours. A quality Belgian infused pale ale indeed.

M - Quite light, with big bubbles exploding on the tongue, goes down smooth and finishes with a touch of dryness.

O - Overall a very tasty Belgian Pale ale and certainly a quality example of the style. I can understand why this is so highly rated. Some unique flavours and certainly worth a try.

 813 characters

Photo of OneDropSoup
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 1/6/10.

Poured into my complementary Orval chalice: Two fingers creamy, rocky, buoyant foam that drops to a finger & retains oh so well. Looks like a cloud. Body is a hazy, translucent burnt orange with brighter orange highlights.

Smell is wow. Overlaying brett character that's pointed but not too sharp, like a tart key lime pie, freshly mown grass, herbs, a little cherry, & that specifically Belgian grapiness in so many of their yeasts. Underlying are mildly creamy tones, a little graham cracker sweetness, even cocoa hints now & again. So complex, I want to sink into this. And that dryness keeps bringing me back. Fantastic.

A sip starts off with some of the spiciness & grape qualities but quickly dries out & becomes herbal & mineral, with a character that I've had before in Orval that I can only describe as "stony," like licking a rock. Not bad, just interesting - it has a solid, dry bitterness to it. Unexpected at first, but it mellows & becomes pretty enjoyable, with some mildly orange sweetness backed by a slightly bitter zest. Mild tonic note.

Mouthfeel is medium-full, very smooth & velvety. That dryness sticks around & hangs on the palate.

Man, this is one complex beer. Some very subtle notes hanging back in this to pay attention to. I can't say I loved every movement I went through with it, but it was all about the ride, & the ups & downs all added to up to a great outcome. This is definitely a once-in-a-while kind of experience, & I wouldn't want to overdo it, but I'll be looking forward to that next "once-in-a-while."

 1,570 characters

Photo of Allpe45
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

bottled 23/03/2008
Best before 23/03/2013A

Poured into a tulip, carefully decanted. Kind of annoying how much head comes from this beer, regardless of how gentle the pour. Appears bright orange with a gargantuan off-white head that sticks all over the sides of the glass. Smells like crisp/tart fruit (pear, green apple), yeasty funk, hay, bready malts, and spices. The taste is very similar to the smell, bready malts and funk up front, followed by hay and an assortment of spices, tart fruit in the finish along with a dry serving of funk. Light bodied, heavily carbonated, became foamy in the mouth at times.

 619 characters

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.61/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tulip glass.

Brillant golden colored body with a huge white head. Seriously this beer has so much carbonation that the head is huge even with a gentle pour.

Smell: Spicy, yeasty and slight hay funk.

Taste: This is a really spicy tasting beer. Its like a herbal and peppery spice. Then Yeast is tasted next, but does not overtake the the spiciness of this beer. Mild tasting funk and citris too.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and crisp. High level of carbonation and refreshing. Almost seltzer like.

Overall: This was enjoyable, I wanted to try something different and I don't drink many belgian style beers so this was an obvious choice. Glad i tried it, score is lower than average score because this is not really my prefered style of beer that I drink.

 770 characters

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 5,467 ratings