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

5,392 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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,392 |  Reviews: 2,347
Photo of Lukecook
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a tulip glass

A- Huge head that took a bit of time to receed to the point were I could pour more in, cloudy orange color with lots of lacing.

S- citrus hops, pepper, and some earthy funk.

T- mild sweet malt, earthy under tones reminds me of wet hay, nice hop bitterness.

M- light body, dry finish, carbonation is a little fizzy, it does mellow toward the end.

D- Great refreshing beer, dry finish that leaves you wanting more.

 455 characters

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

It poured a cloudy orange gold hue. It smelled like sour, tart apples, and yeast. It tasted sweet, overripe grape, sour apple, a hint of spice but left the tongue tart and dry. I actually preferred the smell better to the taste. The taste was a bit light, but I guess it is just a pale ale. I thought it was have more umph for 6.3%- guess not. It just wasn't my favorite. I don't see myself buying anymore anytime soon.

 419 characters

Photo of jlapennas
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Aroma: Tart fruity white wine like aromas dominate. Some flowery notes and something a little rough. Very low barny or funky aromas though they seem to come out more as carbonation dies down.

Appearance: Deep orange, huge rocky head with great lacing. Slight haziness.

Flavor: Fruity, mild tartness, firm hop bitterness and flavor add to an extremely dry finish. Maybe some dry spice notes. Has some qualities that remind me of a tannic English cider. Barny notes are just a whisper rattling around in my nasal cavities.

Mouthfeel: Dry, spritzy, light body but the carbonation makes up for it. Tart acidity.

Overall: Highly complex, lively, dry, very refreshing ale. The tartness isn't outright sour and the many flavors are exceptionally well balanced. I can see wanting to have some of these around at all times. This bottle is about a year old and the emphasis is really the dry fruity acidity and firm bitterness.

 922 characters

Photo of rhinos00
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Viggo for sending this to me in the Gentlemen's Club BIF. Bottled on 09/25/2007. Poured from a 330 mL bottle into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a clear, copper/amber color. Produced a massive three fingers width of white, foamy head. Clung to the sides of the glass throughout consumption. Tremendous lacing.

S- Very unique. Has a floral, light citrus aroma going on with tons of earthy funk beneath. Really hard to put a finger on it. The funk underneath is a combination of earth, horse blanket and leather. There is a mild sweetness to boot.

T- Upfront a mild malt sweetness hits the palate followed by earthy tones. The funk is not as forward as the aroma led to believe. In fact, it was quite weird. Almost gave the beer a taste of flat spritzer along with a bit of grassy hay.

M- Well carbonated with a light to medium body. Mouth is left rather dry.

D- I appreciated the uniqueness of this beer, but I couldn't get over how similar it was to old, flat seltzer water.

Overall, will have to try this one fresh as I did not care for this too much.

 1,068 characters

Photo of OnThenIn
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: There was a finger of tan head on top of a cloudy amber copper body.

Smell: There was a strong citrus, floral aroma that was almost candy like, with a strong funky aroma that was almost leather like.

Taste: The beer had a similar taste to the smell and an additional earthy flavor. There was also a serious sweet malt taste.

Mouthfeel: The was effervescent and medium bodied.

Drinkability: The beer was very drinkable and extremely refreshing. I really loved it and think it would be wonderful in the summer time.

 530 characters

Photo of Jamison27
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into an oversized wine glass from a bottle dated 09/2008.
I was very excited to try my first Trappist ale after discovering one of my favorite refreshing beers, Hoegaarden. I will say it was not at all what I expected.

A- cloudy, amber / gold. Big head that lasts = I'm talking a caricature of a MONGOLOID.

S- fruit, cider, faint horse blanket

T- tangy, a bit of orange peel, funk became more apparent as this beer warmed. I didn't get any alcohol bite.

M- This is where it went downhill for me. Light, crisp and dry, but overly carbonated. My first impression was, "This is like champagne!"

D- I couldn't drink more than one of these. The carbonation made me feel bloated with half the glass left. I will age the other bottle I have to see if the carbonation subsides.

Looking forward to trying some other Trappist beers to see how they compare. For now I'm thinking some Lost Abbey with its low carbonation might be my next purchase.

 959 characters

Photo of PEIBeerGuy
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After seeing the reviews on here, I think I was expecting more than I got. It's a good beer, but it didn't wow me.

Well, the head wowed me. As soon as I popped the cap, it foamed out of the bottle a bit, and I had to pour it in stages. So much head! A very firm, light, creamy head, like beaten egg whites. It does die down, but it takes a few moments. The colour is great. A nice, foggy amber / orange-brown.

Smell is good... pick up some citrus in there... maybe orange or even a little grapefruit... apple. Hint of spice.

The taste is akin to the smell. It's very understated & mellow. I like that, but at the same time, I was hoping for something a bit more distinct.

In the mouth, it's good. Carbonated just enough, smooth and creamy... dry finish.

For a Trappist ale, quite drinkable. It wouldn't be hard to put a few of these away if they were cheaper.

 864 characters

Photo of sunrisesolara
4.01/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

.33L emptied into a Snifter.

A: Pours a cloudy amber with a fluffy 2-finger white head which was slow to receed. Lots of sticky lacing throughout.

S: Yeasty bread, over-ripe fruit. Rather complex to say the least. Spices and raisins appear as the beer warms. Then a funk. Wow.

M: Viscous with a tad too much carbonation.

T: Floral hops come to the fore here, sour fruit through the midrange. Funk upsets the balance at the end. Lingering sour aftertaste.

D: Exceptional drink. Light enough to finish a few in an evening, but a little too pricey to do so on my budget.

 572 characters

Photo of Stunner97
4.01/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Massive white foamy puffy cloud, with just loads and loads of fast intense carbonation, golden murkey yellow brew with the born on date of 04/22/09,

Smell- citrus, orange peel, coriander, yeast, slight malts, very nice belgian spice smell

Taste- very unique yeast strain, overall a very spicey dry finish, very hoppy, very enjoyable and unique flavor profile, moderate finish, nice complexity,

Mouthfeel- crisp and very carbonated with very dry mouthfeel

Drinkability- Highly drinkable with a crisp dryness that leaves you wanting a next sip, overall a very nice beer one I would be intrigued to try with some time, overall a very unique complex beer with plenty of hops and that signature belgian funk, not the best trappist I have had but certainly good

 772 characters

Photo of dqrull
3.46/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy amber with an airy head that lasts quite a while, visible champagne-like carbonation.

Smell is first and foremost reminiscent of a biere de garde, a very fresh, lemon-ish aroma. Beneath the lemon (and possibly lime) there are some other, rather full fruits hiding, green grapes and green apples along with a certain spicyness. Very fresh.

Taste is fresh, and very dry, with lighter than expected hints of citrus and green fruits, with a very light tartness to it all. Finishes up dry and with a slighty tartness and a biterness that fits well, but I'm not too excited about the whole thing, it surely has character, but not really my thing this.

A very crisp and dry mouthfeell.

 694 characters

Photo of Flashsp2
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orval Ale

Poured a nice orange hue with a gigantic eggshell head. Nice retention with a huge patch of taffy style lacing.

Aroma is lots a overripe fruit (apricot comes to mind). The next few whiffs pull in some nice funky/sour notes and a little horse-blanket.

Taste is a little sweet malty hit, followed by some earthy flavors, sour/barnyard, and a big dry finish that is only very slightly bitter. The finish lasts forever on this one.

Carbonation is a bit too high for my liking, it seems to distract from an otherwise very interesting and unique beer. Other than the carbonation it is a bit closer to medium body, and feels a bit thin a times.

Overall a nice beer, something worth trying, but I would likely spend my $4 on something else. Not bad, I will eventually try again, but not something that I would get on a regular basis. The overdone carbonation is basically what did me in on an otherwise very, very cool beer.

Aged approximately 1.5 years.

 967 characters

Photo of zoolzoo
3.96/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottled in May of 2009, oversized wine glass

I know this one changes quite substantially over time given the brett. I have also heard six months to a year is a sweet spot for Orval, and my review is in reflection of that time frame.

A: Hazy, lighter side of an amber color. Large, fluffy/foamy head. I can already detect alot of carbonation - swish this around and the little bubbles just stick to the sides of the glass before slowly falling back down into the liquid. Ok, this is nice to look at, how does it smell?

S: The first thing im looking for is the brett funk, its there, but doesn't overwhelm. It blends nicely with spice, grass, and light fruity esters. Alot to find if you take your time, I think I was smelling this more than I was sipping it. The aroma is pleasing, but subtle.

T/M: Cloves and a little coriander (I usually hate coriander!), light oranges and lemons, some malt comes through though absent from the nose. Wheres the funk? Its there but I had to search for it. I actually wanted this to be a little more sour or tart. Finish was super dry leaving me with little to savor.

To me, Orval's flavor is a bit subdued. I will attribute that somewhat to the copious amount of champagne like carbonation found in this brew, its a bit distracting. On the other hand, Orval is quite elegant in its subtleness. Its easy to drink; I tasted this from chilled to room temperature and it never got boozy or cloying like some of the other Trappists.

This is a positive review of Orval from someone who really isnt a huge fan of Trappists to begin with. Orval is understated and refined. Certainly not something I want all the time, but enjoyable none the less.

 1,681 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

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

Look: Orange/amber color, slight haze, massive head with excellent retention & lacing

Smell: Brett Funk, bready malts, all kinds of fruit - amazing!

Taste: Up Front: Tart, acidic, earthy, dark fruit. Finish: Brett funk, bready malt

Mouthfeel: Light body, effervescence, with a dry finish

Drinkability: Well balanced and it goes down easy, despite the alcohol bite

Overall Impression: It's been a while since I had this beer. In fact, I had not developed an appreciation for Belgian's back then. I was not expecting much from this one; OH My ME was I wrong!!! This is what Begian beer is all about people!!! I see myself drinking this one very often. In fact, I may have to go get more this evening.

 703 characters

Photo of BorntoLate86
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in Gulden Draak fluted glass.

A - Very large, extremely foamy head. Orange/amber faintly yellow color, light carbonation. Nice lacing left the entire way through the beer. Slightly hazy appearance.

S - Somewhat catty, yeasty smelling. Light fruit notes accompanied by traditional belgian spice scent. Aroma enchanced greatly in fluted glass, goblet allowed for too many volatiles to be released.

T - Acidic, tart and fruity. Unique flavor with a dry finish. Alkaline up front, soft sourness in the middle with a smooth belgian-corriander finish.

M - Puckering, smooth and light, coats tongue quickly but flavor lingers.

D - Excellent drinkability, if it weren't for the price it would make an exceptionl session beer. Light, flavorful, well-balanced.

Orval is one of my favorite beers. Unique, one-off flavor that is unmatched. A true trappist that blows the top off of the traditional Belgian style. Worth the Money.

 933 characters

Photo of thegodfather2701
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A-Hazy gold with a bubbly white head that leaves some nice cascading.

S-Fruity, floral, malty with a hint of hops.

T-White pepper, floral, hops, malt, and some carbonated water are present at first. As it warmed I noticed some grape notes and a nice bready note in the finish. Its complex and unique from any other beer I've tried.

M-Carbonated, yet thick, but I think its a little too carbonated.

D-Drinkability is through the roof.

Overall, this is a classic and truley unique beer. I must try.

 503 characters

Photo of CMW
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pour a dark golden color, much darker than most Belgian pale ales. Head is huge with a good amount of soapy lacing. Tons of carbonation can be seen from the side of the glass.

S - There are a few aromas going on here. Floral notes are mixed with some cherries and a heap of funk.

T - The taste starts out with some earthy grass flavor. Then I pick up the sweetness from sour dark fruits like cherries and figs. Finally there is some nice funk in the end to provide an extra kick of sour.

M - The high carbonation provides a nice creamy feel.

D - This thing is highly drinkable. Great tasting and not overpowering with alcohol.

 634 characters

Photo of voteforgoat
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottled Jan 22, 2009 -

Bubbles up like crazy when i poured into my glass. Overflowed a bit even! Unlike any other trappist beer. Sour, dry finish, likely from the Brett. Refreshing. Once you drink the beer, you might notice the bottle is especially heavy, probably to hold the carbonation. A bit stronger than your average beer. Quite unlike most Belgians I've had

I'm going to open bottle #2 now!

My gf said it "reminds me of Cuvee Renee, but not quite"

 458 characters

Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this was a fine 08 vintage bottle...
falls delightfully into my glass like a perfumed fat kid into a pit of balls, spewing forth odors and kicking balls up from the deep in a futile effort to right himself. the carbonation continues to flow up, bringing the smells. the sharpness of lemon, a little funk, a touch of malty sweetness, a twinge of earthy hops. the flavor profile is similar, a bit sharp and bitter, and delectable, but it feels a bit overcarbonated in my glass. i wait to let it warm up but some asshole finishes my glass so we can taste some homebrew. what a hard life.

 584 characters

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

This beer pours into the glass with a huge, beautiful head. The head on this thing is really alive here. It just keeps rising. When everything settles, there is a amber-golden brew underneath that active foam.

The effervescence and alcohol clear the senses. The aroma is a thing of beauty. Fresh herbs are contrasted by earthy funk. As the beer warms those leathery, wet wool tones overtake the herbal sage.

Very light on the palate, and bone, bone dry. Bitter and acidic on the palate. A little malt through the center provides a nice balance to this complex ale. Citrus and funk combine with bitterness to make this one appetizing brew.

The successful combination of fresh and funk, new and old, depth and pizazz make this one complex brew. Orval may only produce one beer, but when that one beer is as good as this, why produce anything else?

 849 characters

Photo of Chambic
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

02.05.10 at Bloodhound

A: light opaque brown, sort of copper

S: very interesting leather-like scent

T: a mixed bag, it's got a bit of everything: kinda funky, kinda malty, slightly spiced

M: crisp and a bit dry

D: not bad, but not my favorite trappist

 256 characters

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

I've heard that this is a very polarizing brew, and unfortunately I fall on the end of the spectrum that doesn't like it. Pours a hazy copper color with sandy head that is comprised of large bubbles. The head fades to a small layer that sticks around for the duration of the beer. Little lacing. Smell is ok, with some clove, cherry, and malty sweetness. The problem with Orval is the way it tastes. It tastes like every time someone at the brewery gets a cut, they save the band-aid for use in the boil with this beer. Seriously the phenol is out of control. I know some people really like that, but I am not a big fan of licking band-aids, especially for the price of this beer. Behind the band-aid, however, there's some nice cherry and citrus notes, along with some nice malt. MF is a little thin and bubbly for me, though not terrible. The phenolic character here is near-impossible to stomach for me, and, as such, drinkability suffers. Stick with St. Bernardus, Duvel, Westy, --I don't care, something other than this.

A-3.5 S-3.5 T-2.5 MF-3.5 D-1.5, Overall 2.9 C

EDIT: That was my first taste of this beer, and I'm almost 100% sure I had a bad bottle because I'm sipping on it again (having avoided it since) and it is nothing like the above description. So here's another go at it:

Pours a pretty copper color with big pillowy white head. The head sticks around for a while, leaving a nice cap on the beer. Laces as it goes as well. Smell is delicious, big tart citrus, some mustiness, some barnyard-y funk, a hint of cherry-like phenol. Very nice, the Brett makes a nice play in this guy.

Taste is what I was afraid of, but this is completely different than last time. None of the band-aid flavor, just a nice pale ale malt base, bready, slightly sweet, underneath some moderately aggressive hopping. A light fruitiness is there in the middle as well. Finish is long and varied between bitter hops, lightly toasted bread, and the yeasty subtle fruitiness. A big surprise, and I am very happy to have revisited it.

On mouthfeel, maybe could use a bit more creaminess to it. Decent body for the style though. Far more drinkable than before, a quite delicious brew, actually. I'm glad I tried it again.

 2,215 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque golden orange, nice creamy white two finger head, very active carbonation.

Smell has hints of spices, lemon, and floral notes. Also getting a little bit of sourness in the aroma which makes me very nervous about this bottle, may not be as fresh as it chould be.

Taste is light citrus, toasted malts, a tinge of sourness but not as bad as I had expected judging from the aroma. Also has some lemon, coriander spice, and a hoppy character that is present almost the entire way through and finishes very, very dry - one of the driest beers I've had.

Mouthfeel is light, "airy" and delicate, the carbonation is "fluffy" on the tongue and is slow to dissipate. Some people have put the body on the medium side but I think it runs closer to the heavier side of light, not quite medium. Drinkability is good, I dig the bitterness factor as I'm not used to getting that very often in a Belgian ale.

 909 characters

Photo of BostonBrewins
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a glowing golden orange opaque. Head is frothy and brilliantly white. Alot of lacing with this one. Truly a beautiful ale.

S - Very fragrant, it hit my nose as I was pouring it. Smells very sweet (fruity esters) with some spicy undertones. An intriguing combination.

T - This is one of those rare beers in which the smell only hints at the taste. Some nice complexity here. Toasty with a hint of sweetness. Spicy flavors of pepper and coriander contrast with a bit of citrussy fruitiness. The hops really come through in the finish.

M - Pleasant mouthfeel. Medium bodied and moderately carbonated.

D - Complex and flavorful yet fairly light. This would be perfect on a spring day.

 695 characters

Photo of mechamifune
3.48/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Been looking forward to trying this one for a long time. I've heard a lot of others say that this beer defies simple classification and after drinking it I can see why.

Pours with an immense amount of slightly tan head into a chimay glass. Obvious carbonation and the smell is more subdued that i'm expecting. If I had to pick something out it would be some slight citrus, but i come away with a sense of dryness more than anything.

Upon tasting its somewhat hard to describe.... some subdued hops, but mostly a little fruit and a lingering perfume-ish taste. The mouthfeel is continuously foamy, dry, but somehow still relatively light.

While this drinks relatively light, this is not a beer to drink quickly. There is a lot going on and you really have to sip it to get through it enjoyably. As i progress through the glass the perfume aftertaste subsides a little and some hints of sourness come through.

In the end I'm not really sure what to think. This is obviously a beer with a lot going on and one that a lot of effort has gone into. In the world of beer I would classify this as a pretty unique experience... but still I'm not sure there's anything to bring me back to it. Still, its certainly worth a try for any beer lover.

 1,241 characters

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,392 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.
  • Our Events

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

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