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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,256 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,256
Ratings:
5,147
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
18.9%
 
 
Wants:
323
Gots:
781
For Trade:
13
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Belgium | website

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

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Reviews: 2,256 | Ratings: 5,147
Photo of JustinOSU99
3.6/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a light amber color with a huge foamy head that sticks aruond for quite some time
S: All sorts of great smells come out of this beer such as apple, orange rind, fig, slight pear hints, and an undertone of caramel.
T: Up front I tend to notice the alcohol even though this beer doesnt have a huge ABV. It is quite tart, with the apple taste coming through. Lingers a bit on the palate with its tartness.
M: Perfectly balanced in carbonation and doesnt seem too heavy.
D: I didn't enjoy the beer as much as I thought I would, but will give it a second try down the road.

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Photo of yamar68
3.58/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks gorgeous - ruby/pear with frothy dollops of off-white goodness. The first thing that I notice on the nose is some kind of white wine character - grapes, bitter fruits, etc. Plenty of hop presence with some estery goodness in there. Certainly is a unique tasting beer. Not quite as vibrant as I was hoping. The notes that build the aroma just aren't here on the palate. This one has a year on it, so I guess this beer might just be in an awkward phase because the look and smell suggest something greater and more pronounced. Perhaps my least favorite of the Trappists, which isn't saying much at all.

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Photo of sirpsycho
3.58/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Bottled on 24/01/2006, best before 24/01/2011. Pours an orange/amber, small white head, no real lacing to speak of. Aroma is flowery and spices, citrusy. Taste was rather mild, nothing really stood out to describe, I was surprised by how mild it was . Finish was slightly spicey and dry.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.58/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a La Trappe goblet in Ghent, Belgium.

A: Pours a one finger head of little cream but decent thickness. Nontransparent caramel brown colour. Appealing.

Sm: Cream, caramel, fruit esters. Very hoppy.

T: Fruity body, mixed well. Very sweet - maybe the candy sugar had this effect. A bit of caramel. Very hoppy. Actually quite unbalanced, which is unfortunate. Built pretty well, but not special or unique.

Mf: Very coarse and dry for the style. Poorly executed. Doesn't complement the flavour at all.

Dr: I expected a better beer. I wouldn't have another, even at Belgian prices. Serve warm.

---
My last (above) review seemed rather sparse, so I decided to re-review in more detail. I love the design of the bottle; its iconic. Brown glass bottle with branded silver colour pry-off pressure cap and understated neck label acquired at a local bottle shop and served into an Orval stem-goblet in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given that it's a trappist brew. 6.9% ABV per the label. Bottled: 21/06/2013. Best before: 27/06/2018. No style (aside from the nebulous "trappist ale") is listed on the label, so I'm reviewing it open-ended, but as a Belgian style.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm a bit over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours almost entirely head - five fingers wide out of a possible six. It's white in colour, fluffy, and has a nice even soft complexion. Airy light consistency. Head retention is great - 10+ minutes. Uneven lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a clear translucent gold/copper with orange hues. Good vibrance. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Overall, it's looking pretty good for a Belgian ale. I wouldn't quite call it unique or special, but there are no overt flaws and both the head and colour are above average.

Sm: Fragrant perfumey Belgian yeast is the first thing I notice, with a distinct funkiness, vitamins, and some biscuity character coming through quite a bit. It's loaded with fruity esters; I find orchard apple and pear, a hint of faint orange, and something approximating peach. The crisp fruitiness is marvelous. I also find Belgian pale malts, clean barley, and hay. Hop character is an enjoyable mix of floral and fruity notes.

No alcohol is detectable.

A pleasant, soft, inviting aroma of moderate strength. The yeast character is a highlight for me.

T: Fruity esters are as abundant here as on the aroma. The body is comprised of Belgian pale malts, biscuit malt, and clean barley. It's slightly starchy as well. The Belgian/Trappist yeast is marvelous, featuring some subtle funkiness as well as biscuity vitamin-y healthy qualities. Hop character is fruity as well as floral. Pleasant and enjoyable; I like it. I do have some issues with the balance; it gets a bit earthy/herbal on the climax, which doesn't suit it well.

Complex for a Belgian pale, with some decent subtlety as well. But it isn't the masterfully constructed gestalt ale I've seen so many claim it to be. Nuanced, sure, but not particularly intricate. Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour.

No alcohol or other off-notes come through.

Mf: Wonderfully soft on the palate - a characteristic I love. Near perfectly carbonated. The smoothness/wetness is thrown off by the starchiness of the flavour profile; it's almost stale. I don't know if I'd even call it refreshing. Decent thickness and body. Texture suits the taste decently, but is far from feeling custom-tailored to it.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, gushed, or boozy.

Dr: Very drinkable; I'll have no trouble killing the bottle. As much as I like it, I can't concede that it's up there with the best Trappist beers. I look forward to trying Petit Orval and to trying this with some age on it, but every time I try it I don't find it to be world class. That said, I've heard every bottle is a bit different, and that alone makes it a unique beer. I'll concede it's a classic, but I wouldn't recommend it to friends per se. I hope to visit the abbey one day and try it in its ideal setting. I could easily drink another. Certainly well above average.

It's absolutely worth trying, but let's not conflate being a classic beer with being a great one. That said, it grows on you the more you drink it. I could see myself appreciating this more and more each time I come back to it.

Low B

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Photo of suspect
3.58/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz Orval bottle into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A: Cloudy orange color with golden hues. Humongous white fluffy head. Took me at least 5 minutes and about 4 top-offs to pour the whole beer into the glass. Extremely sticky lacing.

S: Fruity overtones - watermelon and some banana mixed with bready yeast and sweet malt.

T: Lemony/citrusy followed by yeasty and sweetness that's indescribable until you taste it. It's an interesting mix of fruit/funk/earth/yeast/malt that's quite unlike any beer I've ever had.

M: Frothy, creamy which is to be expect from such a large-headed beer. Aftertaste lingers forever and ever. Literally 10 minutes later it feels like I just swallowed.

O: This is quite the interesting drink that will have to be spaced over time. I will go back to this one...definitely a "one and done" for a while...

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Photo of budgood1
3.58/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours out a hazy copperish colour with a charged up sea foam head..lots of carbonation to support the lasting and sticky lace. musty green apple aroma...smells nice. odd but pleasant lemony flavour...lightly malted, a bit yeasty and rather dry. finishes with a bite of alcohol...lingering mustiness in the aftertaste. this is a nice, light on the palate belgian pale ale meant to be paired with a bit of cheese and meat. not my favourite style to drink...but worth respect and i would sample again under the right circumstances.

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Photo of jlervine
3.57/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a dark golden color, somewhat hazy, with a thick medium-bubbled head. The smell was spicy, fruity, and very bready/yeasty. A bit of banana in there, too. The taste was spicy - too spicy, really, like someone accidentally dropped a large container of white pepper in the batch. A bit of malt was hiding back there, and the finish was just as strong spiced with a tinge of clove-numbness. The overabundance of white pepper was just too strong to truly enjoy this one, but it paired with some roquefort cheese very well.

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Photo of Converge
3.57/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into a 16oz tulip.

A - Pours with a big head of light tan bubbles, although it's rather short-lived. The color is a murky rusty-copper, with ample yeasty cloudiness. Not much head retention or lacing to speak of.

S - Smells complex and nothing like I had expected. Lots of dark fruits, a touch a anise, and some sour acetaldehyde notes. Some sweet bready malt and grassy hops come through as well, but this is overall much more dark and heavy feeling than I had anticipated. I'm picking up some molasses, figs, and some caramel malt. It's got a slightly herbal, or medicinal quality that turns me off a little, sort of reminds me of a barley wine in this regard. Butterscotch, brown sugar, and a distinct spicy character also come through.

T - Sort of strange, lots of sweet malt presence, kind of butterscotch like. Quite bready and yeasty through the middle, with lots of dark fruits complimenting this. Finishes with a dry, earthy hop feel with a pronounced spiciness. Lots of odd buttery-sweet malt flavors throughout. The dark fruits don't really work well with this malty sweetness, and the strange acetaldehyde funkiness really feels off. I get a touch of oak-like cherry flavor and herbal notes after it warms a bit, furthering the similarities between this and a barley wine. Overall this flavor profile feels a bit disjointed and peculiar to me; it's a decent tasting beer and undeniably complex, but far from other Belgian ales I've enjoyed.

M - Medium bodied feel, with nice smooth carbonation, just like I would expect a Trappist ale feel like, but at the same time the body feels a touch slick and oily. Kind of syrupy even.

D - Definitely feeling a little underwhelmed by Orval. While I'm a big fan of Belgian ales, this one wasn't really my cup of tea - or beer I suppose. It was certainly worth trying once, and maybe I'll even revisit it again with a re-review down the road, but until then Orval will sit comfortably behind the likes of finer Belgian ales out there for me.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Orval- Trappist Ale

Re-reviewed on 1-15-09.everyone happy?!

A- Deep reddish orange, hazy, with a huge frothy head. Messy lacing.
S- Light tangy citrusy fruits. Cane sugar and leather.
T- Sweet chunks of cane sugar, light orange/ lemon rind and a slightly sour leather/ tobacco touch in the end.
M- Light and tart up front with a mild tangy fruit body and a souring finish.

Overall- Decent but the sour medicinal aftertaste knock this 1 down a notch.

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Photo of Brunite
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a Duvel tulip glass. Crazy insane carbonation billowing from the etching on the glass bottom. Murky brown-orange with a mountain of foaming off-white head.

S - Lemon and some floral. Thinking of a white wine here.

T - Spicey and wine-like. Lemon/citrus tones. Bitterness adds a nice kick. Extremely dry.

M - Carbonated. Bitterness is not overdone.

D - Drinkable, but not my favorite. I'd drink this when offered but would not shell out the bucks for it specifically. An enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a huge off-white fluffy head that dissipates slowly leaving a moderate amount of lacing clinging to the sides. Head lasts through entire experience. Pours a beautiful copper color with just a bit of chill haze.

There is a lot of spice to the nose especially clove and pepper. Just the faintest bit of medicine in the aroma.

The flavor is full of clove and pepper also with a nice little malt backbone. Finishes very dry with just a bit of bittering hops in the end.

Good carbonation and light to medium body. I would have liked a little more body to this one.

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Photo of NoLeafClover44
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle poured into Orval beer chalice. Bottled on May 20, 2011. Best by the same day in 2016.

A - Pours a slightly hazy golden orange color. The dense, bright white head is two fingers and lasts for the duration. Beautiful lacing. I am having a hard time finding any reason not to give this a 5, so I will.

S - Lemon peel, pepper, clove, and a tiny bit of vinegar-like funk. Some bready malt rounds out the smell and gives it a a little bit of richness.

T - The taste is spicy and earth-like with some lemon zest and Belgian yeast. The flavor is crisp and refreshing, but it leaves a strong astringent aftertaste that I am not enjoying. It improves as I drink more, but I am very sensitive to the chemical-astringent taste that is left behind.

M - Aggressive carbonation and a light feel. Leaves my mouth dry, yet refreshed.

O - I was impressed by the appearance, smell, and mouthfeel of this beer. The flavor had all of the elements I was looking for, but there was an additional astringent aftertaste I was not pleased with. I was a little bit disappointed with this beer, especially at $5.99 for an 11 oz. bottle. I may try it again at some point to see if the aftertaste is typical or not.

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Photo of BreworFerment
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was really excited to try this beer because I had read how great it was in Michael Jackson's books and also all the reviews here.
Poured into a tulip glass the beer was a beautiful clear orange blonde color with noticeable effervescence. Nice off white head that dissipated quickly with no lacing. Slight hop aroma on the nose but that was about all I got. On first taste I got, beer, decent beer, but nothing near the complexities others have talked about. The beer wasn't, bad, just not as good as I was expecting. Maybe a product of over hyping? Don't get me wrong if someone offered me one I would drink it happily but I don't see what all the fuss is about. I've had other trappist beers that were better.

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Photo of mortarit
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Well us North Carolina tasters are experiencing a new frontier with the bar lifted.
I saw this bottle at total wine on my way from work so I grab it. The shape of the bottle grab me.
The pour was manageable without to much head retention, about an inch and a half I say.
I notice that the pour was murky and looking at it after the pour that is cloudy. It darken at the widen spaces that the class gives it. It does have lacing forming around the edges.
The taste isn't over powering which I like.
For begin the first trappist ale, I would say not to bad.

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Photo of robbrandes
3.55/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours slightly cloudy, almost like clover honey. ridiculously big, billowing head. forget lacing, by the end of things, my glass had a 2" wide strip of lacing the entire circumference.
aroma - what's there is nice - floral notes, fruity esters. but as it warmed, i kept waiting for it to really open up...never quite gets there.
taste - fairly smooth drinking, big yeasty twang, a bit of earthy/mustiness. well-rounded hop profile. i am getting quite a bit of metallic twang as well, not horrible, but distracting from the overall profile. very good mouthfeel, not as scary as the initial pour.
not a bad belgian, but there are better fish in the sea.

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Photo of goindownsouth
3.55/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A very good Belgian brew. I came across this one on a recomendation from the barkeep at the Steelgarden, within the Bethlehem Brew Works. It is not a restaurant, it is an experience. Pretty much what a basic Belgian brew should be. It offers a balanced nose with a full-bodied, spicey, yet not too spicey bier. A very flexible bier to go along with just about any kind of bar food, even the really spicey stuff. Prost!

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Photo of ElGuapo
3.55/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The pour is very nice. It is a chocolatey brown color and very murky. The head is massive, and chunky. It sits around for a while. Aroma is pretty good with a lot of dark fruits. There are nice spices and big whiffs of alcohol. Some sour hints are in there as well.

A bottle of '04 was very mild, with no real spiciness to it. It had a nice sweet malt backbone with some kicks of alcohol, but not a lot of complexity. I thought that if it mellowed, it would taste like nothing, but the '03 was much better. It had a nice spicy bite, and a big warming alcohol blast that was a bit too much at times, but didn't really hurt it. The carbonation is pretty big, but it smoothes out. This one didn't really do it for me as compared to others in the style.

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Photo of unklesyd
3.55/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

After all I'd heard about this beer, I was pretty disappointed, especially at the price.

Poured like a typical Belg. Pale, big head, lots of retention. Interesting color change when the last 1/3 of the bottle was swirled and yeast added.

Subdued fruity, earthy nose.

The taste was very earthy as well. Very low hop flavor, but great balance and bitterness. Very woody. Before sediment was added, the woodiness was crisper and snappier; after, it became more subtle in its character and brought out a hint of licorice.

After finishing this bottle, I didn't want another. The weight of the beer combined with its flavor profile was too heavy, although the balance was excellent.

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Photo of doerickson
3.55/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Golden coloring with a fine-bubbled pure white head--pleasantly thick and persistent. Active carbonation. Complex nose--barnyard, bubblegum, and Band-Aid aromas; quite sour-smelling. Effervescent in the mouth; light body. Band-Aid in the aroma, as I mentioned; and I don't profess to know what Band-Aids taste like, but if the smell is any indication, this definitely tastes like a Band-Aid would taste. There's a hard-to-define tonic-watery sort of hoppy bitterness present throughout. It has grown on me somewhat as it warmed, but to be honest I expected more from this brew.

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Photo of Philousa
3.55/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy dark tan with a thick three finger head. Takes a while to settle down, but it's not out of control. Belgian yeast is the showcase for the nose. Banana, allspice, some beligan pale malt aroma and some sweet caramel. Lighter than I was expecting. The taste is thoroughly bitter with a light body. Most spices come through well in taste, allspice and pepper mostly, but it's mild. Tart lemon zest lingers with the bitterness. Medium moutfheel, well balanced. Dry finish.

This was very mild. I can tell that there are complexities in here, but it's hard to coax out of the glass. I get more malt aroma with a good swirl, which showcases the grains well, but the yeast really doesn't stand out as much as I think it should. I feel pretentious saying how this beer should be brewed, one that has been brewed for hundreds of years, but hey, it's how I feel. I'm thinking this was built up too much for me and I wanted more complexity. It's a great Belgian Pale, but nothing spectacular.

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Photo of Rezzin
3.54/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 30/06/2005 best by 30/06/2010 consumed 9/20/2006.

A - Pours a hazy honey orange with a 2" thick head that leaves nice lacing on it's way down.

S - Sweet oranges, somewhat bready, citrus and maybe even a little sour. Smells great.

T - The first sip foams in the mouth. Starts off tart and maybe even a little sour then fades into a flavor much like a hoppy pale ale. Somewhat of a metallic twang to the flavor. As I let it warm it pretty much follows the same taste pattern... lambic, a hoppy ale, then metallic.

M - Highly carbonated and finished dry. Light and refreshing even with the massive carbonation.

D - I'm wondering if I got a light struck bottle. The aroma is wonderful but the flavor is just not I was hoping for. I'll re-review this beer later when I pick up another bottle. The place by my house sells these 11.2oz bottles for $4.

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Photo of JasonA
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my first Belgian Pale. Im not sure Im a good reviewer for it, so you may want to disregard my review.

This bottle was purchased at the Chesapeake Gourmet in Queenstown, MD. Poured from as picture bottle.

Looks opaque light brown, with some orange tine. Large and thick head. I dont get much from the smell, was expecting more of a bite from it.

As my first belgian pale, I am not impressed. I picked up this beer simply because it had 'Trappist' in the title. There is no mention of the type on the bottle. Shame on me.

I will say that it tastes very fresh, no real alcohol byte. Little hop after the swallow. Overall tastes dry to me. I was expecting more flavor.

Hopefully after I have tried more Begian pales, I can make my way back to this one.

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Photo of RandyV
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy amber color with nice head and lacing. The smell is to me somewhat champagne like with a mild yeast note.

The taste is slightly fruity, maybe apple or pear, with a musty quality. Mouthfeel was a bit thin. It finishes dry with a hop bitterness that lingers.

Gotta be honest, this beer underwhelmed me and was not worth the elevated price.

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Photo of mikeg67
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle dated 02/29/12. Pours hazy amber with tall, foamy, long lasting white head and nice lacing. Aroma is of sourdough, Belgian yeast, candy sugar and earthy hops. Body is full and creamy. Taste is Belgian yeast, caramel malt, ripe fruit, peppery hops. Finish is long, peppery. I don’t think this bottle have aged well.

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Photo of Vixie
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours manly yellow with a hint of orange. Has a nice large white head.

The smell was mainly of malt and yeast, with a bit of spice tossed in.

The flavor was very much on the hoppy side. The hops are more floral, which to me was more pleasing than other highly hopped beers. Once the beer starts to warm a bit, the malt flavor starts kicking in a bit.

The feel was solid, with a decent amount of carbonation.

Definitely a nice beer, although a bit more hops flavor than I prefer. They floral taste of the hops actually made it nicer to drink than other beers that are high on the hops. No doubt this is a Belgian ale, has that Belgian character I really enjoy in a beer.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,256 ratings.