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:
5,266
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
18.9%
 
 
Wants:
336
Gots:
856
For Trade:
11
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,301 | Ratings: 5,266
Photo of briggssteel
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light brown to orange flavor with tons of head on it. I waited about 10 minutes and it didn't really dissipate. Smells very sweet but not a ton on the nose. Tastes citrusy and very crisp but what I'm really noticing is that great brett flavor that trails. Mouthfeel is pretty light and smooth.

This is a lot different from other trappist ales I've tried. Others were all very malty but this is much smoother, crisp and I love the brett flavor. Definitely worth a try.

 468 characters

Photo of StJamesGate
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy deep amber with a rocky, sticky head. Nose is lemon oil, starfruit, and a leathery depth that I presume is the wild yeast. Malts hints at gingerbread, cranberry, candied orange, some buttery notes and a whiff of TCP in the middle, white pepper and nettle, allspice hops to finish. Medium to light body, fairly lively.

Insanely complex, and every nuance is joy. Deserves the cult around it.

 405 characters

Photo of tubaguy
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: I love the classic yet distinct looking bottle. I poured mine into a beautiful Orval goblet I purchased at the monastary

Appearance: a shade darker than honey and a shade lighter than caramel with a 3/4 inch creamy head, some sediment can be seen when held up to the light

Smell: subtle floral and fruit aroma at first, than yeast and something bitter I can't quite place

taste: complex! bitter (in a good way) at first and than a warming, but not overwhelming alcohol taste down the throat. Hints of lemon but not a fruity beer! Some really nice hoppy spiciness as well.

mouthfeel: a bit chewy but goes down smooth

drinkability: unlike other trappist beers that I love, I could have a few of these in a row. Compared to a Rochefort or a westveleteren the alcohol content is considerably lower at (6.2%). Not my favorite Belgian beer but in my top 10. Goes great with the Orval cheese!

note: I bought a case at the Orval monastary which I would highly recommend visiting. It is the most picturesque of the trappist monastaries and the ruins of the old church is worth the price of admission (5 euros)

 1,120 characters

Photo of boblog
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy orange amber with a wonderfull large dense white white head which leaves tons of lacing.

Smell: Tart orange with hints of lemon and flowers.

Taste: Crisp and smooth. Medium body. Taste is amazingly complex it has hints or orange, lemons, apples, with a nice hop bitterness. The beer has a bit of a tart flavor to it as well

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated and medium bodied.

Overall an amazing beer prhaps my favorite Trappist ive had, atleast over Chimay and Archel

 492 characters

Photo of FourQuarters
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.5 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance - Opaque, tawny, cidery colour with an intense, pillowy white head. Strong carbonation with a steady stream of bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass.

Smell - Prominent tart cider apples, yeasty/bready aromas with a background of spices (peppery notes

Taste -Tart cider apples, citrus, funky sourness on the back of the tongue. Finishes on a note of spice and hop bitterness, bubbling quickly off the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel - light mouthfeel with quick, effervescent but round drying finish

Drinkability - I love this beer and could drink it almost any time.

 637 characters

Photo of PBBC
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours cloudy orange... nice lingering head.

Smells like apple brandy and spice... tart, slightly sour smelling.

Taste is excellent.... I had hesitated to drink this beer for some reason.... thinking it would be syrupy, or overwhelming. I don't quite know why I had this impression, because this beer is excellently aged.

Strong flavors of apple, light honey, and citrus, as well as ginger, paired with a high level of carbonation and a nice hop finish make this beer very complex... very tart, a perfect pair for a nice salad with some seared spicy pork on top... or any spicy food. The tartness and light sweetness of the beer lifts the hot flavors off the tongue... replacing them with a nice alcohol-inspired warmth and lingering sweet spiciness.

I'm probably rambling... but try this beer... make sure it's the right temperature... try it with seafood, or spicy pasta....

 880 characters

Photo of sejorules
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

L: Amber cloudy with white thick head

S: Very strong smell. Yeast, sweet banana, plums, slight alcoholic like fermented fruit. Spicy.

T: Very well defined smell. Plums, yeast, Slight tartness, slight bread, a little spicy.

F: Warming and medium fizzy.

O: This was amazing. Superb beer, I will buy again.

 309 characters

Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I loved the Orval Trappist.

(L) Cloudy amber color with a thick white head.

(A) Wonderful aroma with spices and banana and more.

(T) Grassy, tart, banana, and a surprising dankness.

(F) Fairly fizzy, medium body.

 216 characters

Photo of beertunes
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 9/13/07. Poured into Chalice (gotta get a tuilp!). Poured a deep, dark yellow, almost orange. Slightly hazy, this beer is darker than most Pales. A big fluffy head of tight bubbles that dissipated quickly leaving no lacing. A noticeable apple aroma with some spice tones, no apparent yeast scent. The dry, apple flavor follows the aroma without the acidity of cider. The spiciness is reminiscent of apple pie to a small degree. A full, smooth, balanced body. Very drinkable, I could have several of these in row with no trouble. A wonderful beer that is slightly different than most of the style.

 607 characters

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

09' Vintage: Bottled on 29/07/2009. 11.2oz. bottle poured into a Chimay goblet.

A: Pours a cloudy copper color with a massive off white head that takes quite a while to die down and never really goes away. A good amount of lacing is left on the glass.

S: The faint aroma of yellow apples. A little bit of lemon. A good bit of brett funk coming through with this one being a year old. The hops are still there in the background, but you've really got to search for them.

T: The hops are have faded and are definitely more subtle than when fresh, but they're still detectable. The brett has come to the foreground as opposed to being much less noticeable in a fresh bottle. A bit of tart apple flavor. Just a touch sour. A slight bit of a phenolic medicinal prescence as the beer warms.

M: Good, moderate carbonation but just oh so smooth and very creamy. The thin cap of foam that never leaves certainly helps this. Medium bodied.

D: Off the charts. This is simply a great beer that goes down very easy while at the same time remaining intensely complex. I will be stocking up on a lot more of this one. Truly a world class beer, and my absolute favorite Trappist Ale by far.

 1,179 characters

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

This is really one of my favourite beers. And one of the best Trappist beers. It pours out a beautiful amber coloured beer with a nice head. If it is poured in the one and only Orval glass of course. The smell is quite unique. A very sour and malty smell. But that is not how the beer tastes. It has a very dry taste. I recognised malt and a sort of dry bitterness, not really sour. In all it’s simplicity, it is a very rich beer. It has a unique aroma. An aroma I can’t recognise in any other Trappist. Although it only has an alcohol percentage of 6.2%, It tastes like it is stronger. And it can be very dangerous when over consumed. The Orval beer is a very distinctive beer. Not only because of the unique taste, but also because of the unique shape of the bottle. At the moment I am enjoying a crate of them and I just can’t get enough of them.

 852 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 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 MarkBlackout
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this last night after a LONG time without having one. $5 at Stoney's liquor store in Indianapolis. Great beer, I really enjoyed it. Has a nice sourness and dry hop presence. Poured REALLY foamy, had to let it settle 2-3 times to get the tall drinking glass filled. This is a classic, no doubt about it. I love the simple presentation of the label, and (rarely for me) the lack of a totally in your face flavor. This has a nice subtlety. Its hard to beat when it comes to Belgians if you're looking for something on the dryer side. Thanks for reading. Drink one soon.

 570 characters

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

Pours a somewhat hazy medium amber. Medium head retention with good lacing.

Taste is balanced and well integrated. Citrusy, spicy hops well balanced with slighly caramel flavored and weakly belgian yeast tasting malt.

Good velvety mouthfeel. Overall a very feel good beer with excellent drinkability. Could drink this all night. My favorite trappist ale.

 356 characters

Photo of Douglas14
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours out an awesome hazy, pale orange color with an incredible, fluffy, dense head that leaves a layer of lace on the glass and stays intact the whole way down. The smell is heavily of smoky light wood, lightly roasted malt and possibly some banana. Fruit, spices and malt overwhelm the palate, in a good way. Slight hops are very noticeable towards the end, and your mouth is left very dry. As for mouthfeel, the heavy carbonation gives it a nice, light quality that plays with the senses (b/c of how complex it really is). Awesome beer. For some reason I had avoided this beer and I don't know why (I'm guessing because of its easy popularity and my prejudgments against it). I am glad I finally decided to try it. Incredible Belgian Pale Ale!

 746 characters

Photo of J_Dub
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured a semi-opaque amber color. No matter how you pour this beer it will produce a generous white head. Tons of lacing as the head dies down.

The nose is the strongest part of this brew. Fruity smell I can't quite place. Reminds me of a hefeweizen actually. Spicy notes dominate with floral and malty hints throughout. There's also a grassy, earthy yeast smell that is very pleasing.

The taste is a slight let down after the wonderful smell. Malt and spiciness right up front with just hint of floral and malt. The overall taste is similar to the nose but doesn't have all the complex layers. The end of the sip brings some grassy flavors but it is too watered down for my tastes. If you could just boost the flavors that are present it would put this beer into a higher plane. As it is, it's very good but misses just slightly.

The mouthfeel is just as expected from a belgian pale. High levels of carbonation. Nice clean and crisp finish.

Fantastic overall beer. Very drinkable and a good representation of the style. My only letdown was that the flavor wasn't as good as the smell led on (but still fantastic overall).

 1,127 characters

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

I originally reviewed this just over nine years ago, let's see how my tastes have changed. New review July 10, 2015. Bottle dated 11/14 and poured into an Orval chalice. Dark golden-brown and a big, frothy, and long-lasting off-white head that leaves thick sheets of lacing along the glass.

Aroma is a nice balance of hops and yeast. Bright fruity esters and a nice floral Continental hoppiness. Subtle biscuit malts and a touch of funk and crisp tartness. Citrus and tropical esters.

Flavor is very hop-forward despite its eight months of age. Grassy, floral, and peppery. Candi sugar and typical Belgian fruity yeast also adds to a caramel maltiness. What really makes this beer unique is the perfectly-implemented level of Brett funk, which is assertive but far from overpowering. Ever-so-subtle light acidic tartness on the finish. Excellent balance.

Medium bodied and with a quite creamy mouthfeel, but doesn't feel too full. Crisp and refreshing finish.

I haven't had this beer in years, and that's a damned shame. Even in today's over-saturated craft market, this thing is still a world-class beer. Even better than I remember from my first ancient review of it.



(Original review: 6/16/2006/Rated 4.03)
Bottle dated 10/05, so this is about 9 months old. Poured into an Orval chalice. Thick golden-brown with a huge foamy head and great retention.

Malty and fruity overtones, especially pear. Quite an alcohol scent as well, though we are approaching 7% (the site lists this at 6.2, but my bottle says 6.9).

Very dry and earthy taste. Alcohol content is evident as well, not as well hidden as most Belgians. The pears are coming through as an undertone, and it is neither as fruity or malty as the scent.

Medium-bodied. Very dry and crisp on the palate.

This is a good treat, but definitely not a session beer. Very dry and fairly high ABV. Overall I'd recommend it, but not more than one or two a night.

 1,925 characters

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

1st review!

Bottle dated 12/30/2009

A - Pours a hazy burnt orange with 3 fingers of clumpy beige head that sticks around forever. Nice sticky lacing all over the glass.

S - Green apple, barnyard funk, lemon zest, slight dry hop smell as well. Great smelling beer.

T - Follows the nose almost exactly with slightly tart green apple and just a hint of citrus up front followed by a touch of Bretty funk. Nice slight bitterness on the back end.

M - Medium body and ample carbonation leaves an amazing dryness.

O - Wow. I didn't expect to like this beer THIS much. I'd like to try a fresher bottle to compare this against, but this really is astounding.

 655 characters

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

Presentation: 11.2oz brown bottle with a best before date of 20.01.2009, a full five years after its bottled on date. Poured into a proper Orval chalice, leaving the majority of the yeast in the bottle.

Appearance: Slightly hazy amber with a wide column of bubbles feeding a dense off-white head. Beautiful.

Smell: Lemon, orange, pine, and funky barnyard yeast are just a few of the scents that come to mind. Quite a complex nose.

Taste: Very citric and drying at the start, like a dry white. Beyond this the taste expands to a particularly full balance of sweet malts and candy sugar to high alpha acid hops bitterness. Lurking in the periphery is the funky wild yeast character detected in the nose, bringing along with it an impressive gamut of earthy, rustic flavors similar to those found in complex cheeses that while not immediately appealing, are in my opinion integral to the uniquely satisfying nature of Orval. The experience is rounded out with a pleasant, mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with very lively carbonation. This perfectly accompanies and accentuates the flavor.

Drinkability: As I consider this the most subjective category for obvious reasons, I would normally state that I see no reason why anyone who appreciates this beer couldn't knock back a few more than other representatives of similar styles. However, considering the price that comes along with the Trappist name, it seems proper to deduct a point here.

Comments: This has been my favorite Belgian for nearly as long as I've been aware of the country's beers -- I've delayed reviewing it for so long out of fear of not doing it justice. I'd just like to add that I would love to taste more hoppy beers which utilise wild yeast strains. Oh Brettanomyces, what can't you do?

 1,790 characters

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

Bottled 5/19/2010, with a best by date of 5/19/2015. Cool bottle. Huge hiss of carbonation as the cap pops off.

A - Pours a slightly cloudy, medium-dark golden hue with an absolutely monstrous head. Pour this one carefully.

S - Citrus with hints of grapes and other fruity yeasts. Very complex.

T - Citrus with noticeable alcohol. Crisp and refreshing.

M - Light/medium carbonation. Smooth, smooth, smooth.

D - Extremely easy to drink, but price and above average ABV make this one for more special occasions. Meant to be sipped slowly and enjoyed.

 554 characters

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

Bring on the funk! If you like a beer with funk, this is the beer for you.

Pours with a thick head. Reminds me of root beer floats. Cloudy amber. Lots of lace that never goes away.

Smells funky.

Funkiness in taste which ends with a hops bitterness. Refreshing.

Drinkable, but again if this is your thing.

 316 characters

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

33cl, bottled on 8/17/10.

Cloudy, glowing orange-amber. Lots of clingy, thick foam even with a slow pour. Clumpy, craggy head sticks around forever.

Aroma is at first strongly estery, with some pear and banana bread, and then becomes decidedly earthy and Bretty.

What a wonderful beer. So dry, hoppy, bitter and complex. Lots of grapefruit, lemon and orange rind. Biscuity malts and wheaty flavors are there, but with no trace of sweetness. Then there's that wonderfully smooth Orval yeast, combined with an earthy, musty component. The finish is so bitter, dry and refreshing, just like eating a grapefruit. The mouthfeel is actively carbonated and fluffy, perhaps a little too aggressive.

This might be the driest Belgian Pale Ale or Saison (whatever it is!) out there. Nothing else like it. The perfect marriage of complexity, dryness and refreshment.

 858 characters

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

Poured into an Orval glass. The Light Golden hue with the heavy carbonation and big fluffy head make this a beautiful beer to behold. The aroma is of meadow grass and a hint of the farm. The taste is a drying bitterness with a clean earthy tone. There is a sense of tartness, but without being tart. The body is light and airy. A beer that you wish could be drank everyday. A very unique flavor and aroma that I can't say I've had anywhere else.

 445 characters

Photo of Act25
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Retried this in tulip at cellar temp at home. Thrilling. I have to have one of these a month.
Upped my review. Out of heavy glass vase like bottle, mine stamped 7-2012 so 2.5 years old.
** re-review on 10-25-15 a 1 year old edition. Equally good.

O: Get ready for a wild, subtle, flowery experience....

A: Pours massive unstoppable head, on top of a very hazy apricot body. The head becomes the tallest set of floating rocks and leaves lots of lacing that make it look tough to wash the glass. One of the best looking beers ever. In a tulip, a .5 l glass, a nonic pint, a wine balloon, and in a Leffe Chalice.

Smell: Strong flower shop plus citrus nose; smells like a box of oranges sitting in a wet barn full of hay with jasmine and lavender flowers growing outside. And a beautiful woman lifting her skirt as she crosses a fresh stream while chewing violet gum.
**must let it warm. Do not drink cold or without cheese!

Taste: Complex. Starts with hops, and bitter fizz, and runs a long arc of flowers, grass, wet hay, barnyard, citrus flavors then a long, long, long dry finish, like good wine. Great with Cheese as Jason wrote. (Tonight French Comte) (cheese almost a must, in another case Irish cheddar with fresh baked bread, and another late harvest garden tomato with balsamic). Ultimate fine and creamy cheese beer pairing.
**As soon as I poured, I went back to the fridge for the cheddar. Cheese a must!

Mouthfeel: Interesting twist. A wee heavy, and long finish with dry bitterness. WIne-like, long long finish. I like it like I'd like a Jayer Cote de Nuit.

Drinkability: This is a great Trappist beer. I think it just rose above Chimay for me. Shimmy over Chimay, make room for Orval... You must try it. It's not for everyone. But it must have a following because it's been crafted since 1100.

Belgian fans must.

 1,838 characters

Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,266 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