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

5,345 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:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,329 | Ratings: 5,345
Photo of thepenguin
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours a pretty turbid dark amber with tinges of burnt orange and a massive billowy head with exceptional foam retention.

S: Very saison-esque. Smells very dry, with lots of yeasty Brett funk followed by bright fruity esters of apple, pear, apricot and a touch of banana. Some minor white pepper, grassy hops and spice notes as well. There’s some earthiness from the yeast, but not enough to take away from the liveliness.

T: Nice mix of dry malt, grassy hops and funk with some peppery/spicy esters and Belgian yeast. There’s a certain degree of bread crust-like malt bringing this beer into balance.

F: Medium-body with quite high fizzy carbonation that you can feel post-sip.

Thoughts: Probably my favorite Belgian pale ale on the market, perhaps because it’s bordering on saison territory.

 805 characters

Photo of sjccmd
4.64/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pears, herbs, apple, wood, damp earth in the nose. Mushrooms and tropical fruit. White pepper. Farmy brett comes out more and more with each whiff. Spicy herbal hops. Wet stone, mineral water. Juicy fruit and chamomile. Something new comes out with each whiff.

Hazy golden amber/orange with large frothy off-white head. Good retention and lacing. Tons of bubbles.

Rush of sweet fruits, apricots, and mango followed quickly with bitter spicy hops, and graham cracker malt and honey coming up as well. Bitter orange peel, perhaps even the pith. Grapefruit and pomelo. White pepper and grains of paradise. Sweet impression upfront finishing bone dry.

Medium light body with the highest carbonation. Stinging fine bubbles. Bright and snappy.

I seem to have this more often with more age on it. The balance of hop character and funk is quite nice in this one.

 859 characters

Photo of indytim
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This was a pour at Koelschip (Mikkeller's Belgian bar) in Copenhagen. I had the 2010 cellaring (in Apr 2016).

Color - dark brown, cloudy. Tan head which dissapated fairly quickly.

Smell - exotic, complex, rich.

Taste - strong licorice with notes of carmel and raisin.

Feel - expansive carbonation but not too strong. Just about right.

This was the most complex brew I've ever tried. Wonderfully rich, dark licorice taste. Fabulous.

 446 characters

Photo of sjdevel
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Hazy deep copper color. 3 – finger head and quite effervescent. Great head retention as it fades a bit, but never seems to disappear. Bubbles are different though…more like a glass of soapy water “styled” bubbling.

Instant blast of sour fruit and extra dry white wine (actually quite champagne-like). A bit of sweet caramel shows through. Alcohol is noticeable, but not too strong.

First sip is a bit bitter. The bitterness bite is short-lived as it quickly turns to sour fruit and wine. The alcohol breaks through as well. By smell and taste, you’d think this beer was 8%+ ABV. Next in line are the malt flavors. There is a brief sweet caramel malt flavor (medium roast), then it seems to take on a heavier roasted/almost charred black malt flavor.

Fairly light mouthfeel and seems a bit thin for the “color”. Very foamy in the mouth.

Pretty good. Not as sour as I expected. Little disappointed as I expected a much richer flavor. This one had bottled date of: 11-20-14

 1,054 characters

Photo of ntalexan
2.26/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

-Appearance: Immediately with the foam once I popped the top. Dissipated rather quickly though. Deep but murky/cloudy amber in the glass.

-Nose: Notes of Banana a tiny bit of chocolate and toffee notes. Detect a bit of a sour note on the nose.

-Flavor: So this is a Belgian sour. I didn’t really expect it but it certainly has that malt vinegar mouth puckering flavor to it once sipped. It takes over the banana and toffee notes that I was getting on the nose. The bit of chocolate that I was getting is completely absent on the palate and makes me question if I was even smelling it. It does have a pleasant mouthfeel.

-Rating: 2.5/5: I gotta admit I had high hopes for this one. Definitely not my favorite. I would have liked a bit more banana bready malt to combat the sour. Reminds me more of a Flemish red than what I was expecting.


 866 characters

Photo of CoreyC
2.88/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

bottle was a bit over a year old
A - nice golden color with crazy carbonation - it took four separate pour to drink!
S - unfortunately I found the smell very bad
T - the taste was ok, not malty sweet or hoppy - unique
M - nice once you got past the carbonation
O - dissapointing, although I knew it was a unique beer with Brett, the aroma was a real negative

 359 characters

Photo of Apellonious
4.16/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

11.2 fl oz bottled on 1/21/2015, poured into a tulip glass.

A - Cloudy, brilliant orange, with a three finger fluffy white head that retains for a good while. Excellent lacing retention.

S - Tart citrus funk. A heavy dose of TCF. Some Belgian yeast notes buried underneath.

T - All three facets of TCF are muted in the taste. I am getting more of a spicy, earthy dirt mix. Maybe some pear/apple cider notes later as it warms, and some pale malts.

M - Sharp. Carbonation high. Finishes dry. The heft is medium.

O - Saw the tasting thread, figured it was worth a shot. Great aroma. Taste is probably an acquired one, and it sounds like it varies a lot with age.

 675 characters

Photo of puck1225
4.92/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Got to love the funk! A beautiful pour into a snifter. Huge foamy, creamy head and lovely Belgian lacing. The smell is so fragrant and inviting, sweet,sour, and earthy. The taste is kaleidoscopic, changing as it warms. I like it best toward the end when it is spicey, fruity, earthy, funky all at once. Make sure swirl the bottom of the bottle. This beer is always an adventure! It has been my favorite for thirty years!

 421 characters

Photo of MacMalt
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 11.2 oz. bottle into tulip glass. The bottle is dated 4/6/2015. It pours a hazy, orange-brown color-like apple cider-with a huge, foamy, milk-white head and extensive lacing. It smells of yeast, citrus, green apple, banana, and spice. The taste is primarily bready malt, yeast, lemon peel, and spice, with a hint of sour apple. It is quite dry, sour throughout, and bitter at the finish. I don't taste the banana I smelled and there is only hint of sweet malt. This ale is medium-bodied and highly carbonated; the head and lacing persisted throughout the pour. The manageable ABV of 6.9% lends to easy drinking but to me the sour bitterness militates against having a second pour. Overall, I appreciate that this ale is legendary and it is certainly worth enjoying from time to time but I won't make a steady diet of it.

 839 characters

Photo of Franziskaner
4.24/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep copper to light amber in color with a thin beige to off white head covering the vast majority of the middle. Aroma is of sweet Belgian candy sugar, light Belgian malt, and vinous Belgian yeast. I taste plenty of sweet Belgian candy sugar, marzipan, and light white bready malt. The mouth is heavily carbonated, crisp, effervescent, and moderately alcoholic.

 365 characters

Photo of dcotom
3.94/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured cold from 11.2-ounce bottle into snifter. Bottle date 15/05/2014.

L - A bit of a gusher upon opening. Pours a cloudy caramel color, with 3-4 fingers of thick, white head despite a rather tentative pour. Quite a bit of lacing.

S - A little yeast funk and citrus at first. Aroma develops as it warms, revealing more of the banana and spice notes.

T - Not as intense as I imagined it would be. The flavors I expected from the aroma, while there, were muted. This may have been due to the carbonation and the rather strong alcohol presence (surprising, since it clocks in at just under 7% ABV).

F - A touch on the lighter side in terms of body. The finish is dry and bitter, with a faint aftertaste mirroring the notes of the aroma.

O - This had nearly two years on it when I purchased it. I would love to try a fresh one, just to see whether the lack of intensity on the palate might have been due to the age of the sample. Still an awesome Belgian Pale.

 963 characters

Photo of vainosuomi
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look: Mostly opaque cloudy amber with a foamy off-white head
Smell: Green apple, yeast, spice, banana. Very fruity.
Taste: Plenty of that apple up front, along with citrus, yeast, and spice. Slightly sour, decent amount of sweet malt, and plenty of bitterness . Bitter/sour finish.
Feel: Frothy, plenty of carbonation, medium bodied. Smooth and slightly astringent.

Overall a very good ale. The fruit flavors definitely have the largest profile, but are complemented well by everything else that's going on.

 508 characters

Photo of bark
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.5

Brewed on June 4th 2015.

The colour is orange-brown (30 EBC), the liquid is clear. The gigantic head is beige and airy with a fine crater; it sinks very slowly leaving lots of thick lacing.

The smell is bitter with lots of herbs and spices. Some alcohol, ripe apples, cherries and red peppers. Hints of stable and gunpowder.

The taste is bitter and alcoholic with ripe fruits, salty crackers, caramel, spices (nutmeg, allspice), and fresh herbs. Passing herbal bitterness and stable notes. Medium to full body. The aftertaste got warming alcohol, smooth caramel, spices (basilica, oregano) and bitter orange juice. The finish is fresh with gunpowder, bitter tea and herbs.

The carbonation is very strong; the long-lived small bubbles are sharp. The liquid is smooth.

A solid classic... I think it would gain on a few years cellaring.

 840 characters

Photo of matcris
4.69/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

APPEARANCE: A burnt orange, hazy almost to rust. Foamy off white head for days, and it lingers forever. Carbonation is hard to see even with a flashlight up to the glass. Thick lacing down the glass.
AROMA: Almost white wine like. Green grapes, funky, floral...almost smells like hand lotion! Definitely get the yeast in spades.
TASTE: A pleasant sourness, lots of white grapes, the yeastiness you'd expect. There are some really nice, unusual flavors in here that I really can't describe or equate to any other beer I've had. This is unique!
FEEL: Creamy right off the bat, then the nice amount of carbonation really begins to move the flavor around the mouth. You get a nice drying quality a few seconds in and then that goes away and it returns to that creamy vibe.
OVERALL: Probably the most unique beer I've had so far. Hard to describe but I love what i'm getting from it. It's kind of a mystery in some ways.

 915 characters

Photo of Dravin
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 330 ml bottle into a duvel tulip. Bottled on date of 17/07/14 with a best by date 5 years past that.

Look -- Pours a deep gold with mountains of fluffy white head that laces the glass beautifully. It generated so much head it took a fair amount of time to pour.

Smell -- Clove, bubblegum, banana, in a word fruity. There is also some barnyard funk coming through on the nose.

Taste -- As the nose it taste fruity and the funk comes through more prominently with a slight addition of band aid. It has a fair amount of bitterness that lingers. There isn't much in the way in sweetness coming through for me. Possibly a consequence of the brett and being bottled in 2014.

Feel -- Lively carbonation and medium body keeps it light on the palate. It's fairly dry, and it would be crisp except for the bitterness.

Overall -- It's a beautiful beer to behold with that deep gold body and pillows of creamy white head. The brett character comes through, my first experience with it, and it's quite interesting. It's a shame it's more expensive or I'd probably see this gracing my fridge in the near future but that's probably a lament for any trappist ale.

 1,166 characters

Photo of amano_h
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

<1yr old 37.5cl at Dulle Griet (Gent, Belgium)

Wonderful lemony zest and honey jump straight out along with loads and loads of carbonation. Mild grassy hops with a faint hint of yeast and funk also join the party after you give it some time.

A harmonious blend of lemon, honey, and earthy flavors first comes to mind on the palate, followed by some unforeseen fruit in the form of melons, white grapes and some pear. (shoutout to all the pear!) Faint flavors of caramel and pine are also present on the back end.

Medium-light body with explosive carbonation comparable to mineral water. Mostly dry finish with the fruit bouquet and hops tenaciously holding on to the bitter finish (pun intended)

 698 characters

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

L - Giant head, really got to take your time pouring this. Head retains throughout, with some residual lacing. the beer itself is a hazy orange.

S - Real fruity smell, like raisins and plums.

T - Upfront tastes are those raisins and plums that you got on the nose. A great sugary start that slowly transforms into a slight sour finish, kind of like a Flanders Red. There's also some toasty malt characteristics. A seriously delicious beer.

F - Smooth. Just...smooth

O - This was my introduction into Trappist Ales and it was a goddamn heavenly experience. This beer made me understand the concept of a balanced, complex beer. If I could have this beer every day, I would.

 675 characters

Photo of HappyGuy12345
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into tulip glass
Appearance: Orange/brown with huge amount of head
Smell: Fruity aroma, specifically apples
Taste: Complex array of flavors, including citrus, apples, and hops. There is a subtle, but noticeable, bitter aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Moderate-to-heavy carbonation. Feels almost like a soda or champagne on the tongue. Goes down easy.
Overall: Like many other highly-rated Belgium Trappist Ales, this is a very tasty beer with complex flavors. You will not be disappointed after trying this one.

 530 characters

Photo of nbbyrd
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330 mL bottle poured into a tulip glass. Bottled on 25/09/2014, and best before 25/09/2019. My first trappist ale! 1 year and 4.5 months old from bottling date.
Look: Absolutely stunning. A glowing and crystal clear amber with three fingers of rocky fluffy white head with tons of little champagne-like bubbles streaming up to the top. The head fades to one finger rather quickly, leaving sticky soapy bubbly lacing around the top of the glass.
Smell: Tart citrus, like lemon and lime zest, light and funky wet hay, light colored caramel and candy sugar sweetness, some subtle breadiness.
Taste: Funky and fruity, tart and crisp green apples, lemon zest and fresh squeezed lemon juice, sweet and distinctively Brett with the hay flavor, so very floral like fresh cut flowers in the garden, juicy while still dry, no hint of the 6.9% alcohol. The subtle soft breadiness tip-toes ever so lightly with the sweet floral and zesty hops chasing it across my palate. An absolute joy.
Feel: Thin and bubbly, like champagne, dry and soft bitterness that plays with the funky Brett and sweet floral hops so nicely.
Overall: Wow. So complex yet easy to drink and so fun to review and dissect the flavors. Unique and tasty, did not disappoint. Will definitely grab a few more to see how it develops even more with time.

 1,323 characters

Photo of BergBeer
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Orange-Copper with a thick white head. Very active.

Smell: Green apple, white grapes, farmhouse funk, slight ginger, and warm honey. Bright and sweet.

Taste: Honey covered apples, juicy green figs, green grassy hops, Belgian sugar, earthy bitter hops, and just a hint of grapefruit citrus zest. Beautiful.

Feel: Bright. Flavors dance with a peppery lightness on the palate. As the flavors play out the beer dries out earthy. No hint of alcohol.

Overall: Deceptively light with depth of flavor and complexity. Fruity, funky, juicy, earthy all these flavors dance on the palate and leave just a kiss of flavor as it departs leaving you wanting more.

 661 characters

Photo of Andrewharemza
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From bottle, pours a slight brown/orange hazey with quite a large head that laces quite well. Aroma lemon, apricots, orange, Apple, pear, grapes fruityness. Taste very fruity, pretty much follows the nose. Very nice.

 216 characters

Photo of ljdrinksbeer
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

BB 12/03/2020
Pours with a generous, billowy head that takes awhile to dissipate. Deep dark and hazy gold.
This is beer folks, smells like beer, grainy malty goodness and a touch of hops
Hops are the first flavor, bitterness with a little lemon, but there is an undeniably earthy aftertaste
medium body with a dry finish
Overall the most striking thing is the finish, very complex and it lingers for quite some time.

BB 27/03/2019
head is a little calmer, smaller bubbles body is clear golden, amber
smell is fruity, vinous
the taste is incredibly different, very fruity, much less bitter
medium body
hard to compare the two that's how different the beer is, both great though

 679 characters

Photo of Malt_Man
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at cellar temperature from 330ml bottle into Saison Regal glass.

L) Massive off-white foamy head, takes an age to pour. Pale chestnut body, very hazy.

S) Boozy odour, akin to red wine. Strong yeasty odour. Very unique.

T) Slight bitter yeast flavour, again with the red wine and tannins. Very slight hints of lemon or orange. Long but subtle bitter aftertaste. Very definite hints of bourbon or scotch.

F) Smooth. Light carbonation. The subtle but long lasting bitterness so nicely done.

O) Superb. I need to get to know Belgian beer better.

 564 characters

Photo of Hat_Fulla_Beer
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

330ml bottle poured into tulip.

Pours a hazy deep copper with an overflowing tan head of pillowy bubbles that leave puffy clouds of lace as they take their sweet time to recede.

Smells wonderful. Lemon zest, honeyed fruit salad, wildflowers and pleasant grassy hops.

Tastes of lemon juice, honeyed melon and juicy stone fruit, white table grapes, faint caramel malt and soft pine needles.

Feels soft and bouncy. Medium-light bodied with springy carbonation. Finishes off-sweet, the fruit banquet playing with the piney hops.

Verdict: Vigorously recommended. A Belgian ale masterclass.

 589 characters

Photo of Sabtos
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This review has been updated for the Oud version I enjoyed on 3/4/17, bottled 4/5/15, poured into a large Orval chalice, with the bottom fifth of the contents then poured into a small Orval chalice.

Gold amber with a soft white blanket that is permanent, and leaves a soft cling on the glass.

This has a fruitier smell than expected, and than I remember the fresher version having, starting with green apple, pear, and bread. The yeast is nicely subdued, with just a hint of spice.

Taste is apple, pear, and closely reminiscent of a fancy soda bread made by my favorite local fine dining establishment. I also get corn, and delicate floral flavors I've not had before and am having a hard time pinpointing. Needless to say its subtly complex, with a little hay and barn coming in as it warms.

Orval-Oud is really exceptionally pillowy, smooth, with good carbonation, and a middle-ground finish that begins leaning semi-dry as it warms.

 939 characters

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,345 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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