Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,301 Reviews
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Belgium
orval.be

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This beer is 6.2% when released in Europe, US labels say 6.9% due to labeling laws.

Many agree that the somewhat unpractical addition of this sometimes undesired yeast strain is what grants Orval its age worthiness, not to mention unique aroma, making it a one of the few beers worth cellaring.

Added by Bierman9 on 09-18-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,301
Ratings:
5,265
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
18.9%
 
 
Wants:
336
Gots:
853
For Trade:
11
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,301 | Ratings: 5,265
Photo of BurgerJones
4.61/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.7oz bottle poured into an Affligem goblet.

Pours slightly cloudy orange with pillowy white head that outlasts the beer and laces the glass throughout.

Smell is pepper and clove, sweet fruits.

Taste is like no beer I've ever had...spices, unidentifiable fruits and flowers, yeasty tang at the finish and as the beer warms. Almost no identifiable alcohol.

Mouthfeel very fizzy, pleasing and refreshing, light body.

Overall, excellent, unique tastes that are definitely beer but not present in any other beers I know, if that makes any sense.

 547 characters

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes made on 2/11/11.

Holy head, Batman! Even with a ridiculously slow pour into a huge snifter, the fluffy, bubbly, light beige head reaches five fingers high. This buoyantly rests above a beautiful mahogany-amber-gold beer. Very speedy carbonation rushes from the bottom of the glass. Gobs of bubbly lace is left on the glass.

Tart, tart fruits are the name of the game in the smell. Really tart green apple, pear, lemon, lime, and sour cherries combine with an earthy funk to create an original, wild odor. Not in a bad way, sweet animal urine blends into the mix. The smell is also very spicy with notes of clove and pepper. This is a hugely unique smell and I love it.

Wow, the taste is a lot different from the smell. Instead of tart fruits dominating, the earthy-spice-funk grabs the headline. I do get some of the fruity tartness on the sides of my palate, but on the broad of my tongue is nothing but soil, spice, a bit of a phenolic flavor, and tangy funk. This is mostly from the yeast I would guess. AS it warms, the tart fruits do pop a lot more. Yeah, this changed a bunch as it warmed. The finish is deliciously dry and earthy.

Orval has a light to medium body, but the carbonation makes is seem much fuller. It is sparkly and effervescent on my palate for most of the sip with a lingering, bone-dry finish. Each quaff leaves me craving more.

Whenever I need a funky, tart Belgian fix in the future, this is where I will go. It is so enjoyably challenging to my palate and brain. I find this to be greatly drinkable and I would drink it so much more if the price tag wasn't so high. But, I expect to pay for quality, so I am not complaining.

 1,679 characters

Photo of robnews
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Leffe Goblet.

After a not so vigorous pour, I still had a two finger head in my glass. Nice slightly off white head. Cloudy dark amber appearance. Head thins out slowly leaving a full coat of lace even near the end.

Great citrusy floral scent reminiscent of spring. Quite nice. Sweet banana smell almost.

Very nice taste of sweet with low power Belgian yeasts present. Alcohol doesn't seem to come through immediately in the flavor, but is there with a nice warming later on. There are several other flavors in there but I can't pinpoint them. Quite complex.

High carbonation but I'm partial to it so I enjoy this.
Really glad I picked this up. Bottle was 2 years old.

 702 characters

Photo of Padron4KM
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle. bottled on 11/18/03 best before 11/18/08.
Pours out cloudy amber with a thick long lasting head. thin sheet of stiky lace left behind. Aroma is fruity and earthy and barnyard,
Flavor is slightly sweet slightly sour with just a touch of bitterness on the finish. nicely balanced.

 296 characters

Photo of ZorPrime
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this is an extraordinary beer.

Amber color with a fruity smell with some spices. Faint notes of banana too. The head is nice and doesn't disappear. The taste is complex... very hard for me to describe the taste. In the end, I do taste the hops. However, very hard to describe the spicyness... I would guess some cloves. Anyway, I love it... with more beer tasting, maybe I'll get more in the taste.

The mouthfeel is very good with a good amount of carbonation in the mouth. I could certainly drink more than one of this one.

This is definitely a good beer.

 564 characters

Photo of ThaCreep
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The nose is quite sweet, raised with yeast slightly acidic. In the mouth, we feel the bitterness of these yeasts (which is not unlike the lambics), and coupled with aromatic hops, the body becomes elusive. The finish is hoppy bitterness and acid sticking to the palace, leaving all the flavor of the beverage spread to the buds.

But most of all its obvious advantages, the Orval is a beer that changes gradually as time passes (the alcohol level is changing quickly), making each taste a new discovery. A unique beer.

 519 characters

Photo of megahurts4
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orval Trappist Belgian Ale

Appearance: Hazy honey in color, large head, some lacing.

Smell: Citrus and Wheat.

Taste: Wheat, floral hops, slight citrus and dark fruit.

Mouthfeel: Medium and smooth.

Overall: Very nice! Hoppy and wheaty with fruit subtleties. This was my second meeting with Orval after a few years. My first time, I was more-or-less new to good beer. Now, I can say I am definitely a fan!

 408 characters

Photo of JLeege
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 3/25/10 ~ 1 year old ~ Poured into a chalice

Appearance- Pours a slightly hazy orange color with a big creamy just off white head. Good retention, a little wispy lace.

Smell- An earthy funk fills the air as soon as you open the bottle. When you put your nose in it you get lots of lemon with some leather, tart smelling. Some light spice, a hint of yeast. The aroma is as good as it gets!

Taste- Dry throughout, somewhat musty in a good way. Slight caramel, lemon, peach, a little apple, the fruit presence gives it slightly tart quality. Grassy to dry hay, with some leather showing up on the back end. Very crisp, drying finish, lingering light fruits and leather on the palate.

Mouthfeel- Medium / light body, fairly spritzy carbonation. Dry, refreshing, champagne like. Overly drinkable.

Overall- I can't believe this is the first time I have had this beer! (Maybe it was the unassuming label) Instantly one of my new favorites. Probably the best Belgian Pale I have had.

 988 characters

Photo of Cresant
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 11.2 oz. dark brown bottle into a Duvel glass. Bottled on 14/11/06. Huge head developed and left clumpy lacing. The body was murky and honey colored.

Smell was fruity with a Belgian yeasty aroma. Not chalky smelling. Seven-Up!. Earthy. Floral. Woody. Wild, Lambic-like funkiness (in a very good way).

Taste was tangy and fruity. Complex. Bitterness and sweetness. Peppery. Yeast breadiness. There was a long, subtle finish of hops flavors and graininess. Baked fruits. Alcohol peaked as it warmed, but it was never too strong. Pretty dry.

Mouthfeel was medium to full with medium to mild carbonation.

This one had aged longer than I prefer. I like the fresh, hoppy Orval, however, this one was great too.

 723 characters

Photo of ThirdLap
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River has said in interviews that this is his favorite beer. As his brewing efforts have turned me on to a variety of beer styles, I figure Orval is worth a closer look.

Bottled on February 20, 2008, making it about 13 months old. Served at 50°F in a Russian River tulip.

Pours a cloudy medium tan that reminds me of unfiltered apple cider. The off-white two-finger thick head is chunky, uneven, and long-lasting.

The nose on Orval is pure brett, with characteristic wine and vinegar notes. Hints of citrus and spices round things out.

Taste is brilliant. If you enjoy Russian River's sours you will understand how this served as one of Vinnie's inspirations upon the very first sip. The huge brett aroma is muted in the taste, giving it a mild sourness, backed up by green apples and spice. Finish is bitter then dry, almost like champagne. The taste that remains between sips reminds me of Perrier. I'm thinking Orval may be the perfect way to introduce people to the idea of sourness in beer.

As with most proper Belgians, carbonation is huge. Body is right in the middle, and the 6.9% abv is well-masked.

Were it not for the price tag, I would probably pick Orval up much more often. Five bucks for a 33cl bottle is a bit steep, but somehow upon finishing it still seems like a fantastic bargain.

 1,334 characters

Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle - bottled 3/17/07

Pours a lightly hazed amber-brown with a mountainous head that fills the remainig space in the tulip. Thick lacing on the glass.

The complexity in the aroma of this beer is amazing. I detect a slight sweet malt scent upfront that is almost candy-like. I smell some very floral hop tones floating above bits of breadiness and a distinct spicy smell. It's very difficult to break them down into separate pieces, because it' so well woven together into a beautiful olfactory tapestry. There is nothing else like this.

The taste is very similar to the smell, except that there is more hop bitterness and less sweetness than the smell indicates. Nice malt tones upfront leading into that amazing floral/spicy/bready taste accompanied by the bitterness. It finishes surprisingly dry, with a very pleasant lingering floral taste and bitterness.

Body is rather light, carbonation in abundance.

A truely unique experience from start to finish, which is a rare find. The complexities in this beer are amazing, and it's ridiculously drinkable. This should be a mandatory addition to every BA's "wants" list.

 1,144 characters

Photo of digita7693
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A orange/gold and cloudy with a wonderful head

S some citrus with malts, grass/barnyard and a tart-sour smell in the background

T some citrus going on with bread and a slight sourness, with some fruits in there (tart apples) delicious

D wonderful beer, extremely drinkable, the alcohol, with all the flavors and smells is almost undetectable

 344 characters

Photo of AleWatcher
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my first Orval... So here goes--

I poured this into my Duvel tulip with the same method of pouring I always use... It filled up the entire glass with head. It literally rose all the way to the top and stopped just before cascading over the sides! It was as though I used the Jedi mind trick on it.
Anyway... the color is burnt orangey gold. The giant fluffy head reminds me of lemon meringue pie filling and leaves spotty chunks of lacing just from settling.

Smells of lemons and fresh herbal grassiness. Maybe a light spicy yeast note too. There seems to be a little fruitiness in here-- banana? plantain? even a slight scent of bubble gum. A slight funky earthiness blends in and fills the gap between each scent making it hard to fully distinguish them. That leads directly into the taste as well... There are certainly some herbal, grassy, and fruity notes, with hints of bananas. But just like in smell, there is a touch of funk that blends them all together. Very interesting. Very little hop presence, but it still works in terms of taste. Something here reminds me of apple juice...

Very dry finish. Actually between the finish and the mouthfeel, you could possibly convince some people that this was a new type of flavored champagne. The feel is very light and airy with lots and lots of fine bubbles fizzing around your mouth.

To rate this beer in terms of drinkability--- It's hard to believe this is 7% abv. It is deceptively smooth. I could certainly drink 3 or 4 of these before standing up and noticing my level of inebriation. And perhaps I'll pick up a few more and conduct such an experiment.

Overall impression-- I can see how many American versions attempt to recreate this particular beer. This is arguably the measuring bar by which the style is judged. As well it should be. Those monks know their stuff!

 1,841 characters

Photo of Lolli1315
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Golden orange with a billowing egg shell white head. The head is pillowy and resilient as about a half finger sticks around. It is slightly hazy and leaves behind a sticky lacing.

S- Tart fruits with a reasonable amount of lemon. Some medicinal and phenolic smells with little underlying malt sweetness. Some earthy musty character as well.

T- The lemon and citrus flavors are not as pronounced in the taste although they can be tasted lingering in the background. Medicinal and other phenolic flavors are apparent throughout the beer. The earthy, musty, slightly barnyard characteristic starts in the middle of the beer and carries through the finish. Slightly tart, but certainly not mouth puckering and it is not off putting. Slight hop bitterness in the finish.

M- Medium, maybe medium light body. Carbonation is slightly prickly on the tongue at first, but it has become more smooth as the beer has settled. Finish is dry as well.

O- A great belgian pale ale and the earthy character makes this both different from others in the same style as well as providing it with a little more character. As a person who edges towards the funky/sour end, this is my type of beer, but likely not offensive to others who do not prefer funk all that much.

 1,255 characters

Photo of Jef59
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a gorgeous hazy orange with a gigantic off-white head.

The smell is amazing! Vey similar smelling to a white wine. Grapes, oranges, and a little grapefruit. There is a little pine and nuttiness followed by sweet sugary smell. A little boozey but in a nice way.

Tastes of sweet malts with an extremely crisp and refreshing hop note. Very citrusy and grapey like the nose. It's kinda funky, not in a horse blanket kind of way but it has a slight twang to it. Extremely well balanced. Extremely refreshing.

Nicely carbonated. Not very thick and is easily quaffable (I wouldn't dare though)

A truly unique Belgian ale. Very distinct and delicious.

 653 characters

Photo of JorisP
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very thick white head, collapsing but stable.Beer typical orangey colour. Nose is bitter as in vegetable, spicey, flowery. Taste starts immediately quite bitter, combination of hops, flowers, and vegetable. There IS a balance by malt, hinting at sweetness withour ever becoming so. Retronasal aromas of mandarine-zest, hop shoots and olives, without the oil.
Carbonation just perfect: the beer has a milder form of 'Champenoise'-pearl forming, as made with naturally mildly crabonated springwater. Mouthfeel neither chewy, neither watery. No new aftertaste, bitterness lingers on. Drinkablility is second bar none: this is the ultimate Belgian session beer: it gives richness, depth and easy drinking, just as you prefer at the moment given. Unparallelled.

 758 characters

Photo of packetknife
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark copper maybe broze, solid white head that holds. An amazing array on the nose, smell often and long... citrus, apples, soil. Very hoppy with citrus and spice on the tongue. Nothing unlively about the beers, feels very different at each stage of touching your tongue, flowing over, and going down. I was very impressed. Expensive as sin but I'll make it a annual thing.

 373 characters

Photo of Cylinsier
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle.

This beer comes out a hazy amber that glows orange against the light. The head is thick and massive, and it simply refuses to go away. The bubbles are extremely fine.

Smells malty and tart, like citrus. The aroma is also a bit floral, like honey.

Taste is extravagant. Its delicately sour and sweet. The tartness is almost wine like but the understated sweetness is like sugary malts. This one has a resemblance to some of the taste features of the Flanders red ale style, but more subdued than the ones of that style I've had before.

The mouthfeel is fluffy and carbonated. Just as you could see the head as being very fine, you can feel the carbonation is very fine.

A really fantastic and mesmerizing beer. I could probably drink a case of these in a day and not realize I was doing it.

 820 characters

Photo of BuzzLitebier
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured chilled a pint glass (hey, I'm all about class!)

A: poured a golden/orange honey color with a HUGE head and nice lacing after it subsided, clearly unfiltered, and had nice carbonation with a mix of big and largish bubbles
S: crisp nose; reminded me of a pilsner
T: It had a bitterness that was nice and didn't linger with a bit of apple vinegar.- very nice balance.
M: medium body with a nice carb.

Would I have it again? HELL YES! This was a treat.

 458 characters

Photo of dudelove7485
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick, fluffy white head that lasts for some time. The color is a rich, cloudy amber. Very pleasant aroma of spice (cloves), orange, malts and yeast. The taste is very malty upfront, but gives way to a hoppy backbone with accents of fruit. Medium bodied with high carbonation. Surprisingly well-balanced. The uncommonly high ABV at 6.7% is masked well without any astringency. The dry, bitter finish ends on the roof of the mouth. This was the first time that I had tried this beer and I would highly recommend it. Extremely satisfying.

visit my blog at selfhatinghipster.com for more beer reviews, book reviews, music and more

 636 characters

Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle 6,2 % abv

Appearance: Murky burned orange body topped by a massive, off white head that lasts an absolute age. When the head finally subsides it leaves good lace on the upper reaches of the glass.

Smell: WOW, now here is something truly special, certainly one of the most complex aromas I have come across. The nose is dominated by a funky barnyard aroma, consisting of horse blanket, musty leather, woodiness, wild sage etc. I grew up on a farm so I love this smell, though I can see why some people find it a tad offensive.

Taste: As with the nose, funky barnyard dominates. A slight woodiness and some bitter herbs are also present. Slightly tart (though I was expecting more). Hops come through fairly well in the ultra long, dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a high level of carbonation. Thankfully the carbonation is smooth and quite soft of the palate and thus doesn't ruin the mouthfeel for me (I usually do not enjoy highly carbonated beers).

Drinkability: Superb beer,I will most certaily have this again.

I love this beer, though I can see that there will be many who do not (my mother took one sip and was nearly sick...), but I think it's certainly a beer everyone should try at least once.

 1,235 characters

Photo of SummitVA
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Opens with a loud hiss. Crystal clear auburn with a 4-inch, rocky white head. Needless to say, carbonation is bountiful.

S - Beautiful barnyard funk with some light fruitiness. Musty and earthy.

T - Funk and sweet pils, along with a rough graininess. Hop bitterness, along with a delicate herbal hop flavor, balances the sweetness quite well but is not overpowering. Earthiness, leather, and musty character. Just a hint of the slightly-tropical fruitiness that I get from Brett-finished beers, finishing with more earthiness.

M - Light and crisp on the palate.

Overall - The legend lives on. Absolutely fantastic. Whenever I have a bottle, I wonder why I don't do so more often. Cheers,

 697 characters

Photo of shigg85
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a bottle of this from Tanakaya in Mejiro, Tokyo. Poured it into a Trappistes Rochefort goblet. Amazing thick head that settles and remains for the life of the brew in a fried egg pattern with a thick yolk in the middle of the glass that thins out from there. The smell is the first thing that embraces me as I pour it. Amazingly strong and pleasant! The taste is equally wonderful: a strong barley base with fruity notes of apple and spice. The mouthfeel was a little thin, but still pleasant in how it foamed back up in the mouth a bit. Overall, another great Belgian trappist brew to add to the list.

 609 characters

Photo of popery
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An exceptional, unique beer. The beer pours a beautiful shade of burnt orange-amber, medium, with a slight haze. The head is white and rocky and dissipates at a medium pace. The aroma is exquisite. The sour barnyard funk is just precisely right and blends wonderfully with the underlying Belgian ale notes. One of my favorite aspects of Orval is the perfect dryness. This nature even comes through in the aroma. There are fruit notes, apricots, grapes, lemons, figs, and earthy complexity. The flavor is just wonderful. I'm a bit of a sucker for a dry, delicious beer, and Orval pulls this off this combination better than nearly any other. The flavor is somewhere between a gueuze and a Belgian ale. Orval makes me imagine how good Belgian-style ales must have tasted before modernity imposed sanitary conditions and end of the sour beer as the norm. Orval is a world classic and everyone should try it. I will be buying some bottles for the cellar soon and look forward to witnessing this beer's maturation.

 1,009 characters

Photo of ipogios
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber colour with a beautigul white thick head. Orval is one of greatest beers around. I must admit that the smell makes you not to want to drink this beer... NOT from the bad point of view but the good one. The aroma is PERFECT in every way so you could enjoy it by just smelling it. After enjoying the aroma, taste comes along and it's as good as the smell. One word could only describe this beer... ADDICTIVE

 420 characters

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,265 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe