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

Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
Liked This Beer
4.21 w/ 5,411 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

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,411 |  Reviews: 2,349
Photo of jjkatter
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle poured into a Trappistes Rochefort chalice …

A- Dark amber, cloudy color. White head with high effervescence. Nice pillowy lacing that stays with the beer to the end.

S- subtle in the aroma department. Faint citrus with

T- dry twang that sets this beer apart from any other I have tasted. A truly unique flavor. A bit of a unsweetened tea with lemon taste up front, quickly replaced with an extremely dry with pleasant spice finish. First taste presents itself sort of simplistic, but as you delve into the beer, its elegant complexity becomes more and more apparent.

MF- refreshing and moderate ABV which does not present itself. Plenty of carbonation

O- This beer is like no other out there that I have come across. It’s definitely one of those beers that a certain percentage of people will not appreciate. It may even be said to have an acquired taste. While I find this beer a bit pricey, I do enjoy revisiting it from time to time.

 959 characters

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

Bottled on May 05 2010, bottle opened on December 15 2010. Poured into a snifter.

I poured this beer at fridge temp with the utmost care (remembering that it produces an amazing head) and it still yielded three fingers of head below the rim of my glass, and continued to rise above the rim another two fingers! I had to suck off foam to keep it from spilling down the side of the glass, not once, but twice. Without a doubt the most fantastic head on any beer I have ever seen. Body is a rusty luminescent orange with the slightest cloudiness, which would probably clear if I let this stand for a week or so (this bottle was kept undisturbed for 24 hours before opening). I can't see how this beer could be better, and it earns the first '5' I have ever awarded for appearance for any beer.

It is hard to fully smell this beer because the head is rising out of the glass. What I do smell is interesting and refined. Candy-fruits; granny smith apple, peach, and apricot. The slightest near-funk "barnyard" or old cheese, and cider. A little swirling uncovers slight malts and some English hops.

The flavor is intricate, and unlike anything I have tasted. The aged hops lend a mellow and subtle hop bitterness that is paired with complex malts. All this is underneath the flavors that I am guessing are produced by a variety of bacteria and yeast. Cider is very prominent, as is a slight funk and some horseblanket and fresh apples. As I get into the glass, more bitterness shows up and the hops become more assertive. The malts seem to strengthen as well. The aftertaste is a cross section of the entire flavor profile, and it lasts and lasts.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium, and has the thin character that some aged beers can have (although this bottle is only 7 months old). Carbonation feels authentic. Drinkability is wonderful, but the flavors are so complex I can't imagine drinking this fast.

Conclusion: This is one of the most complex liquids I have ever smelled or tasted, and certainly one of my favorite beers of all time. Orval takes the meaning of beer to a new level in its own way. Everything about this beer is interesting, including the bottle, which seems to fit the beer perfectly. I wouldn't be surprised if this beer's taste differs significantly between vintages because there are so many flavors that lead me to believe that this beer has a number of microorganisms that contributed to its fermentation. Drinking this ale reminds me why I love beer in the first place- no wine ever tastes this intriguing to me.

 2,553 characters

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

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Chimay chalice yields a hazy honey body with active carbonation topped by a fat finger of fine-bubbled white head that retains at thick, creamy sheet.

Smells citrusy, sprucey, and rich. Hint of fresh bread and magnolia blossoms.

Thick-medium body meets with with fine carbonation and explodes into light-bodied tangy, yeasty, earthy, fruity, bready, bitter, dry perfection. Lemon rind dry finish.


 433 characters

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

Bottled 15.07.2003, best before 15.07.2008. Huge, sandy head full of pits and craters fills half the goblet on the first pour, "subsiding" into boulder-like chunks while snapping, crackling and popping loudly. Clouds of head cling to the sides of the goblet and crust into eternity. A pillar of carbonation rushes through this hemisphere of polished bronze liquid with apricot highlights. Stinks lovingly of sourdough bread, tart green apples, sweaty armpits, curdled milk. Stench of rotting canned fruit cocktail soaking in London dry gin. Nosefeel is cool and sharply acidic, as of vinegar; the aroma practically fogging up the room. Before pouring the yeast this is dry enough on the tongue, with flavors of oregano and bay spiking through a mineral-laden palate and finishing with a twist of lemon. The yeast adds flavors of rancid sweet mint, bread, human feet, and gimlets splashed over a forest floor's worth of mold and spore before fading to a subtle aftertaste of dry herbs. Pinpricks of carbonation punctuate a mouthfeel that is almost airy with lightness and distributes effortlessly over the tongue. Drinkability is dependent only on one's ability to get over one's own senses. I can't write more without rambling pseudo-philosophically about this beer as a living, breathing organism; a metaphor for entropy; and the cyclical nature of decay and rejuvenation. Remarkable.

 1,385 characters

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

Whoa. Poured it staright down the center and almost the entire glass was a tannish color head instantly. Incredible lacing that ends in thick clumpy gobs.

Mostly Copper with some orange hue. Very solid and dense/cloudy.

Faint maltyness with an orange accent aroma. Slight barn/horse/belgian wafts. Not too much overall aroma, maybe inhibited from the pour?

Nice orange flavor comes thru, solid malt base. Barnish/earthy flavors in the finish along with a spiciness.

Excellent mouthfeel. More carbonated than your average beer. Starts medium heavy bodied from the malt but the dry finish helps to keep it a solid medium. Spicy flavor finish is felt in the mouth also. An excellent earthy BPA as opposed to a more dry, hoppy fruity offering like Ommegang's.

 759 characters

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

A. Cloudy, orange, nice soapy head and grand retention. Cool bottles.

S. Bready malts, some light fruit. I know I am getting into something good.

T. Malty, fruity. Vague hints of apricot and apple. Some wheat elements. Slightly sour that fades to bitterness from the hops.

M. Crisp, light to medium bodied, nice dry finish, almost like champagne.

D. Real nice beverage here. Great for sessions. Tasty. Drinks slow, a sipper.

 428 characters

Photo of DemoniChris
4.38/5  rDev +4%

Photo of necoadam
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured out a hazy orange with lots, and I mean lots of head that took forever to settle. Smell was actually fot floral with some fruits in there as well. Taste was very, very dry. But it was a good dry, if you try you'll understand what I mean. Some lemon in there with some sugar, but not much. Then it's like citric acid taste in the middle then some hops at the end. Quite complex. Aftertaste is very, very dry and it's quite longlasting. Let this beer warm up to room temperature and you'll get the full effect of this beer. Seek this out.

 553 characters

Photo of Jaisell
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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

For my 800th review I thought I'd review a beer from the one Trappist brewery I'd somehow missed reviewing before. I've had this brew many times, and I've found that it is extremely changeable over time- the older it is the more Brett comes out and the funkier and more sour it is and more Saison-like. The younger it is the spicier and cleaner and hoppier it is- but still with Saison elements. I like it both ways and at every point inbetween, but the bottle I'm reviewing is of the younger variety.

It pours a hazy golden with a fine white head that sticks around and leaves some spotty lacing. The aroma is slightly sour, a bit grassy and herbal, and has a touch of lemon and pepper in it as well. The taste is a complex mixture of light lemon, herbal hops, black and white pepper, and a dry, light astringency. Very nice. Smooth and slightly peppery mouthfeel make this a delight to drink on this hot day on my back porch. If it were a bit older and more sour, I'd probably edge the flavor score up to a five. Any way you find it, its worth drinking.

 1,057 characters

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

330ml bottle into goblet. "bottled on 15/01/2015, best before 15/01/2020B". 6.9% abv. consumed on june 30, 2015

a: light copper with two fingers of off-white head

s: ah brett beers. noticeably funky but miles from offensive. funk, strong bready malt, and sour lemon up front. underneath that are very mild backing notes of overripe bananas, sour apples, pears, and bubblegum

t: follows the nose but is a bit more fruity. a really solid chewy bready malt in the front mixed with those sour funky brett flavours. lots of complex but tame backing flavours throughout -- pear, lemon, banana, papaya, bubblegum, spices, melon, earthy hops, apricot, maybe even some mango? ends with a moderate hop bitterness and lingering subdued funky tastes

m: nice, modest medium-minus body with plenty of bubbly carbonation. very dry finish

o: a massively complex beer that offers so many different flavours upon each sip

 914 characters

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

First time i had this brew it was served too cold to enjoy. This time i'm gonna try it at room temp.
Bottled on - 04-04-2006
Best Before - 04-04-2011

Appearance is exceptional. Huge spiderweb-like head appears and doesn't die. looks liek a foam eruption in my glass. Lace coats the inside of the glass like a DIPA. Color of the beer is copper. Huge stream of carbonated bubbles shoot upward toward the head. Lovely.

Smell is very good. Clove, hops and a small amount of nutty, malty goodness hits the nose. Very unique fragrance.

Taste is good. Much like the nose but surprisingly milder. Clove, hops and light fruit (pear?) are the main flavors. Nice.

Mouthfeel is good. Slightly over-carbonated but enjoyable. Very lively in the mouth. Slick going down. Little less carbonation would have given it a higher score but by no means bad.

Drinkability is exceptional. I could drink this all day. Quite easy to put down.

Overall: A very nice Trappist ale that is unique and enjoyable. Orval must be consumed at cellar or room temp to be fully appreciated though.
Highly recommended.

 1,099 characters

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

My fourth Belgian Trappist brewery down, two to go. Pours an orangey gold, hazy with nice carbonation that keeps a great head on the beer. Aroma is champagne, berries, lemons and other fruit, but not quite as overwhelming as some other Belgian brews. Taste is citrusy and hoppy bitter, with a nice hop bite as it goes down and nice dry finish like an American pale ale.

At 6.2 percent, easily the weakest (by alcohol) and drinkable of the Trappist brews I have had thus far. Another world-class brew.

 503 characters

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

First of this is not my type of beer. I do not really enjoy pale ales but this is one I definitely had to try. With that said. Golden brown in color with heavy lacing and strong fingers. Previous review stated a sea foam head and that is spot on. Used a New Belgium tulip and even with it being .47L to the mark and probably .5L full the head rose slightly out of the glass. The glass does have a laser etching on the bottom that may have contributed to the larger than normal head. Smell is consistent with a pale ale. Strong hop aroma. Not quite Challenger hop but earthy and very green like. Taste has a sort of consistent flavor from beginning to end hitting you at first with some strong belgian hops with a nice balance of hop/sweet middle and finishing quite smooth and not too dry for my palette. Very active on the tongue and mouth with a sort of brut champagne feel. If I want to drink a pale ale this is the beer for sure. A definite beer to keep around to pair with when I make more spicy foods or blackened fish/chicken.

 1,033 characters

Photo of Allpe45
4.38/5  rDev +4%
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 TheWhiskerReview
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Voluptuously curved bottle. Bottled on 5/10/09. Best before 5/10/14.

Pours a hazy coppery-orange with some noticable sediment and a fluffy, frothy head so massive it interrupted my pour. Consistent retention and big soapy lace.

The nose emphasizes tart fruit (lemon, pear, touch of orange marmalade) with faint touches of bready pale malt, spring flowers, yeast, honey and toasted caraway seeds. Incredibly complex with a remarkably alluring brightness.

The palate also emphasizes the tartness though not enough to call this a 'sour'. Fruity notes are joined by a bigtime hoppiness (for a Belgian) with more flavors of dried straw and spicy yeast. The long, herbal finish is immensely dry and resinous to the point of being tannic.

What a remarkable brew. So much flavor packed in that sexy bottle. Pour this as an apertif in place of Champagne. This is as high class as beer gets.

 885 characters

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

Best before date of 09/09/2015.

A: Massive 2 1/2" light peach coloured head that left a nice lacing over cloudy amber liquid.

S: Cloves, floral hops, and yeast.

T: Pleasant taste of floral hops and spices which transitions into a faint taste of alcohol which then disappears. The taste is quite nice and disappears so fast that it made me go back quickly for a second sip.

M: Medium to thin viscosity with a medium level of fine carbonation.

O: An extremely easy drinker. It would be tough to sip this beer because it almost beckons you to go back to it quickly for another sip.

 583 characters

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

a tremendous white head crowns this attractive burnt orange colored beer. steady activity promises a long lasting head. it's a weird looking head with varying heights and craggy terrain. great clinging lace, cumulonimbus formations.
an absolutely astounding and complex scent. the fruit and florals are myriadical with pear, lemon, raspberry, bannanas and kiwi. some light sugary scents and a sour note. rope hemp or barn twine is here as is a light leathery horsey scent. way down in there i noted a thin hot pepper. overall a fresher lighter scent, not ripe or dark. smells like a summer field where the foals have been playing.
the fruit is barely here and there's next to no sweetness. it starts on an earthy and slightly sweet note that gets barged in on by a super pepper and sour middle. a gargantuan hoppy herbal and green wood bitter tonic finishes long and strong. powerful and extreme!
bubbly effervescance and a smooth light body.
amazing beer overall, not for the weak or timid.

 995 characters

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

Poured into a large red wine glass.

A: Pours a slightly cloudy medium to light brown, with a monstrous 3+ finger white head. Good retention, great lacing.

S: Sweet, with some earthy tones.

T: Malty up front, with hints of earth, grass, and finishes with some tartness. Quite interesting and complex, quite a bit different than other Belgians I've tried.

M: Carbonation isn't too high. Medium bodied, slightly crisp.

D: Drinks easy, and even easier when paired with some good cheese.

Good, and unique - I haven't had anything similar. I'll probably buy this again.

 569 characters

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

Bottle into chalice.

Pours cloudy orange-copper, with a big, rocky off-white head that settles down into a creamy, long lasting cap, with plenty of robust lacing.

Nose has a light, tart citrus quality, dry, with a light funky barnyard note underneath, and a bit of a floral note as well. Clean but complex.

Taste is quite complex - starts off with a crisp citrus tartness, quite funky around the edges with a dry barnyard character, then takes on a lemon meringue pie character around the middle of the tongue - clear lemon, some smooth vanilla sweetness. Gives way to a light, floral hop note on the finish, with a lingering, dry, earthy funk.

Mouthfeel is lively, a soft but active carbonation, with a creamy, fluffy character from the ever-present cap. Medium bodied.

A crime that it took me so long to give it a go with this masterpiece of a beer. Beautiful.

 872 characters

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

A: Warm orange with a big fluffy white head which lasts and lasts and laces all the way down the glass.

S: Complex aroma, hoppy, almost cannabis aroma, coriander, floral, fruits - perhaps a touch of leather and grass.

T: Spices, coriander, oranges in the aftertaste. Pleasant bitterness, mild alcohols. Malt flavours are fairly subdued. This was a 4 month old bottle so the bacterial, lambic flavours of the aged beer had not yet had a chance to develop. Good levels of flavour for the alcohol content - I wish some beers almost twice the strength had as much taste.

M: Good body - perhaps slightly over carbonated, although appropriate for the style.

D: Reasonable - I'd have another one or two - perhaps a bit overpowering to drink for an entire night out.

 770 characters

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

Pours a cloudy bronze with an orange tint in it's appearance. Floral hop aromas among other things on the nose. On the palate there was hints of pears and apple peals maybe, tiny sourness to it… hard to explain but I enjoyed it a lot. Very nice alcohol kick but it’s not at all over whelming. Ends with a nice long lingering finish. I thought it was an excellent Belgian Ale. Very pricey though…$4.99 for a single 11.2 Fl oz bottle...that's beat.

 450 characters

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

Appearance: Pours a dark golden color with billowy head that clings heavily to the glass like cobwebs.
Smell: Very fruity and tart aroma. Quite unique. Base malt aroma almost buried here.
Taste: Sharp fruitiness upon tasting, tart and a bit bitter (but not overpowering). Malts bring forth notes of caramel and fig through the middle of the tasting. The taste profiles begin to meld and tame as the beer warms. A dry aftertaste hangs around for a bit.
Mouthfeel: Smooth and moderate-bodied despite the taste profile lurking above.
Drinkability: Based upon this beer's complexity, I would certainly savor this slowly and not in a session. In that respect- very drinkable.

Overall: One of the first brews introduced to me on my journey to beerdom- I couldn't recall the complexity of this beer. Not everyone will dig this. Me? I'll take this masterpiece anyday.

 862 characters

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

A beauty. Pours hazy pale color with a thick, tall white head. Lots of bubbles continue to rise as the beer settles. Smells of lemony hops, musty yeast and fresh meadow. Tastes great, floral hop notes, crisp tangy malt profile, mild & earthy yeast profile. I could drink this beer all night. The mouthfeel was well balanced, what an easy drinking beer that really had tons of taste. May be my new favorite belgian?

 414 characters

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 87.5% out of 100 with 5,411 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.