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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,214 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,214
Hads: 4,969
Avg: 4.17
pDev: 18.94%
Wants: 300
Gots: 684 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A. visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 09-18-2001

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.
View: Beers (2) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Orval Trappist Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,214 | Hads: 4,969
Photo of adamette
3.46/5  rDev -17%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is the 901st review of Orval on BA...I thought that was cool. I bought the bottle at McNaulty's Bier Markt in Cleveland, Ohio. That is a GREAT place for BAs. Bottle is dark yellow brown in the shape of a bowling pin, just like the one pictured above. Date bottled is 2 2 08.

A Poured into clean, clear glass. Body is cloudy, golden brown with a thick head that holds on for several minutes at least. Bubbles rise up from all surfaces of the glass in a very pleasing way. They are like single file lines of bubbles.

S Sweet, Citrusy, Malty, interesting.

T More of the same. Malty, citrusy, not as sweet tasting as the nose suggested. In fact, upon repeated swishing I find that this is actually some bitterness to it. I did not expect that as the other Belgians (and more specifically trappist Belgians) I found to maintain their sweetness.

M Interesting. Not as full as I expected it to be. It has an initial full, malty feel to it but what I wasn't expecting is that it sort of dissapears right down to an immediate aftertaste which is good but it does not have a mouthfeel like other trappists I have had. I do not think that it is bad, just not what I expected.

D The lower alcohol allows me to drink it more than some of the other trappists but it has that bitterness and it moves too quickly to the aftertaste.

Notes: I really struggled with this review. I was ready to be blown away by this beer since every other Belgian trappist totally blew me away. I do think that it is an exceptional beer but the quick shift to the aftertaste and the bitter taste were suprises. I can say that it is NOT my favorite trappist Belgian but it is a good beer. I do believe that I would like to try this again. I wonder if some of the qualities were due to some negative quality in the bottle that I got.

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Photo of Strix
3.45/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 3/15/2007

I can't quite place the smell. Pear, alcohol and kind of an earthy dampness. But in a vaguely pleasant sort of way.

Taste is slow to develop, and gradually fades into a sour taste with a long lingering hoppy? dryness. As it warmed, sour tastes came out with more of a cider feel to it, with an earthy aftertaste.

Taste is smooth and light, a lot of tingly carbonation.

It's more of a sipper for me, drinkability-wise.

I guess I'm in the minority, but this didn't really do it for me. Some complexity to the taste, but the taste itself kind of rubs me the wrong way.

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Photo of JohnfromDublin
3.45/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasted in De Zolder bierceller bar Bruges, May 2005. Poured beautifully, perfectly presented in its correct chalice. Lovely head over amber to red-brown body. Smell is a wake-up call, reminded me of dank seaweed, very "different". Some would quake at this point, but I always wanted to taste Orval so continued. Thankfully it tasted better that the tough smell, in fact its taste improved as I drank the glass. Delighted to finally taste this beer, it is a fairly complex beer for connoiseurs. I am not quite in that category yet, but my apprenticeship continues. Serious Beer, respect!

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Photo of drseamus
3.45/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The bottle I got was bottled on 1/31/06 and I drank it on 12/27/06, so it was about 11 months old. I poured this beer into a Chimay glass and it fit perfectly. The beer was a slightly cloudy amber color and the near white creamy head filled the rest of the glass. As with most belgians, the head stuck around for a while and slowly fell unevenly leaving nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is sour smelling, which matches the taste. There isn't enough sweetness to entirely balance the sour as in some other beers I've tried, but the sour flavor isn't bad either. It is fairly smooth for the sourness. Overall, I'm not crazy about this beer, but I would probably drink it again if it was aged more.

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Photo of thespaceman
3.45/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Nice golden brown in color, looks creamy by the body, facisinating 2 finger head, very soapy lacing.

Smell: A tad bit of banana bread, slight citrus flavor pops when the head starts to dissapate. Not too much to pick out but it's also got a slight roastiness to it.

Taste: This one is pretty interesting. A sour candy like flavor takes over the front of the beer, a bitter, hoppy finish. A tinge of apples creeps through as well. Fairly spicy throughout.

Mouthfeel: Very carbonated, I tipped my bottle in the bag on accident and I paid for it when I opened it. Light bodied yet keeps a good balance on the tongue, a little sour though.

Drinkability: Not very sessionable in the fact that it's a little too bitter and sour tasting. Not that it's a bad beer at all, but not something I would drink all night. Maybe the carbonation is too much? Either way, a good stab at the style. Definetley good for a pre-gamer to start the night. Steep price tag for this (almost 8.99) but it's something that I would maybe consider in the future.

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Photo of webbcreative
3.45/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Feb 22, 2009
Cloudy golden yellow color, Huge head lasted throughout the entire drink. Med Mouthfell. aroma was citrus, tasted of citrus and sour, tart apples, and some other fruit. This was a very flavorful brew, that was all over my pallet! i think ever crevice of my mouth tasted something unique. But that being said, it just wasnt really a favor im too fond of. To me this beer was just okay, after trying a few differnt ones, I guess im just not a fan of this particular style.

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Photo of SaisonRichBiere
3.44/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 9-25-2014. Poured into a snifter

Poured clear light amber, super fizzy and bubbly, but as it sat, the head subsided into a nice frothy layer on top.

Smells Brett-funky, woody, grainy, very light citrus zest.

Tastes like thin malt sugars and herbal, muted cola vibe. Grass and hay notes, hints of spices and cider

Feels soft and creamy with some fizz.

Pretty average beer overall. I was hoping for more flavor as it warmed, but it didn't round out. Lots of subtle flavors, but nothing really sticks out and grabs the palate. Did have a "belgian" flavor from the spice notes and yeasty funk. A good suggestion for someone looking to get into Belgian beers.


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Photo of Zetcha7x
3.44/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

single purchased at Wegman's in Mechanicsburg, PA for $9.00 I believe, consumed on 3/14/14

A-hazy amber/brownish with a massive off white head and a ton of lacing.

S-yeast, dark fruits, some banana, floral notes, alcohol. Definitely pick up the "funk" that others mentioned.

T-very complex. there is a lot going on here. earthly taste, some sour, spice, more bitterness comes out as it warms.

M-strong carbonation, creamy, light-medium bodied

O- probably my least favorite Trappist to this point. a beer that tastes better as it warms, and very different from other Belgian ales. however, very expensive so I'm not sure I will have too many more of these.

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Photo of brandoneast
3.43/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours extremely hazed orange-copper, with a fluffy head letting convoluted aromas of rose hips, chamomile, granny smith apple, leather, and burlap sack. Flavors of wet hay, orange blossom water, lemongrass, petals, some wood, and a slice of hop bitterness towards the back - accumulating to a lingering body and light carbonation.

Orval can challenge the craft beer neophyte, but guarantees to remain etched in your memory as one of the most unique experiences one can have with brew.

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Photo of MakenziMantey
3.43/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The color of this beer is a medium orange/brown. The aroma you get is a slightly fruity with a hint of spice smell. Tasting this beer it is sweet and spicy with a really bad aftertaste.

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Photo of Raebies
3.43/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I really wish I had poured this into my chimay goblet, it pours a super fluffy head which settles back into a tightly compact layer.
Light coloured, peachy orange. Smells faintly of an acetone-like sweetness. There's a funky yeasty smell that reminds me of home made cider. It stings the nostrils a little, like smelling a solvent and it tastes... strange. Very dry and only slightly bitter. There are earthy flavours that remind me of hay or straw, it doesn't taste very malty at all.

Until I got to the end of the bottle, I thought this beer was fairly average. Then I poured in the last of the beer along with the yeast sediment on the bottom.. A nice, complex blue-cheese like flavour came through taking this beer to another level.

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Photo of lpayette
3.43/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Details- Bottled on 1/31/06, Enjoy by 1/31/11. Enjoyed on 10/05/06. 11.2 oz bottle.

5- Appearance- served in a tulip. Unfiltered apple cider color. Huge rocky head with lots of brussels lace. Very very nice.

3- Smell- Subtley tart apple notes, heavy yeast smells- a bit earthy. Faint cloves. smell isn't too impressive to me- just average.

2.5- Taste- I'm sorry to say that I found this a bit bland. Tried with and without yeast and not much changed. Some fruityness... I guess this just isn't for me.

2.5- Mouthfeel- Good initial texture, but aftertaste is long and overly dry in my opinion.

2.5- Drinkablity- A very good looking beer that I had high hopes for, but it let me down. I'll try revisiting this beer some day, but I won't go out of my way to buy it anytime soon.

Revisit Time
Details- Bottled 11/13/2008, Served on 8/26/2009

5- Appearance- This time served in a chalice. Appearance is still right on que with initial impressions.

4.5- Smell- Tart apples, horse/barnyard smells, cloves, medicinal notes, lemon, very floral.

3- Taste- Oddly enough my first few sips of this did not seem very flavorfull, just as I thought before. After that however, the beer seemed to come to life for me. It is slightly tart and has a lemon-rind like bitterness going at the same time. Flavor of hay vies for alot of attention. Seems a bit salty, and finishes very dry with a rubberband-like quality which is more tolerable than I thought it could be. This is certainly a complex beer- there is no denying that. The flavor profile isn't completely for me, but I liked it a lot more this time around than the 1st time.

2.5- Mouthfeel- Dry, dry, dry with ample carbonation.

3- Drinkability- I don't think that this is for most beer drinkers. This one definitely takes some time to get used to and to learn to appreciate it. I'd like to have a bunch more of this to see if I really like it or not after some more time with it. Even if I didn't, at least I'd be left with a bunch of cool bottles to put homebrew in.

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Photo of Rumrunner
3.43/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz. bottle.

Pours a very hazy amber. A nice bubbly head with great lacing. The scents are lemon rind and white wine grape. Some carbonation on the nose as well.

This ale is tart from start to finish. It has a big white wine grape flavor to it. Very sour. There is some lemon rind as well. A mild dark malt helps with balance. The flavors are quite complex. A bit of aromatic hops at the end. Very dry as well.

Mouthfeel is carbonated and bubbly. This ale is very dry and crisp. It drinks okay but is very filling.

I do not enjoy the white wine quality of this ale.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.43/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed 1/9/2006 (330mL bottle):

Pours a cloudy medium brown/red color body. Big white head, with good sized bubbles. Aroma of dark fruit(maybe plum?) , hops, and some sweetness. Fizzy, with a floral taste, slightly alcoholic tasting. Smooth taste. Slight bitter aftertaste.

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Photo of BamaBeerBuff
3.43/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottled on April 22, 2009. This is a relatively young bottle of Orval.

A: Pours a cloudy orange-amber with a massive off-white head that rockets towards the top of the glass. Thick sheets of lace remain on the sides of the glass and a heavy disc of foam remains atop throughout.

S: There's some noticeable apple and pear fruitiness, a floral component, a hint of peppery alcohol, and a faint musty horse-blanket like aroma. I'd say the predominant component is the fruitiness, but overall the aroma isn't too intense.

T&M: First bottle I had of Orval I really disliked. This bottle I disliked initially, but now about 1/2 way into it, it's growing on me a bit. Pale malt, a dry fruitiness, some leather/horse blanket/funk flavor are all upfront. A metallic and aggressive bitterness comes in late--this is rather hoppy for a Belgian! I'm thinking that some age would settle down those hops (this bottle is quite young) and hopefully reveal some additional complexity on the finish. Body is light to medium with an aggressive carbonation that works well with the bitterness.

D: Well, it's been a bit difficult to get down this glass, mainly because of the intense metallic flavor on the back end.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.43/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours an off-white, two finger head that decreases to a thin film with plenty of lacing sticking to the sides of the glass. The beer is light copper-orange in color with vigorous carbonation and some murkiness.
S: The scent is somewhat difficult to characterize, along the lines of acidic, ripe pears and apples attached to a sweaty-saltiness that brings to mind beef jerky or tanned leather.
T: Orval boasts an upfront burst of peppery and salty flavors (that I'm not terribly fond of) that cascades into a light, flowery hoppiness, eventually fading out with some mild malt sweetness and robust hop bitterness in the finish. The hops are not citrus-like, as in some other beers with noticeable hop presence. Aftertaste is somewhat malty and fruity, faintly like old berries on hot cereal.
M: Light body with active carbonation leads to a 'fluffy' feel on the tongue. Dry, tart finish that is far from puckering, though. The dry finish does not necessarily lead one to desire another swig: the spicy-salty taste combination is somewhat off-putting.
D: A solid example of the style, with its unique hop characteristics and multi-faceted malt tastes leading to something I have not experienced before.

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Photo of BWood
3.42/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Didn't live up to the hype for me. Herd great things from this brewery but I have to say I don't think I would buy again. So many other Belgium trappist I would choose over this.

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Photo of MadTown1000
3.41/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Overall: It's always disappointing to try a beer you're supposed to like and have to give it a mediocre grade. It's clearly a serious beer, but I think you have to like pale ales in general to really appreciate it, and I don't.

Appearance: Dark, very cloudy straw color. Absolutely insane head of foam - I poured it into a pint glass, and got maybe an inch of beer into the glass before the rest of it was filled with incredibly long lasting foam. I let it settle for a couple of minutes and more than half the foam was still there. The stuff's like bubble bath - it sticks to the inside of the glass like glue. Points given for shock value if nothing else.

Smell - Strong sweet smell similar to what I've noticed in a lot of Belgian and Belgian-style beers. Almost overpoweringly sweet smell that actually doesn't quite match the taste - I'm docking some points for false advertising.

Taste: A very mild pale ale, with a little bit of the sweetness from the smell appearing in the aftertaste. An interesting combination, but it doesn't floor me. It's complex, but it loses the crispness you get with a lot of light colored beers without substituting in the really interesting flavors you get with a darker Belgian beer (like my favorite Gulden Draak). Sort of similar to Piraat, now that I think about it.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: That aftertaste is a negative here - it's a little bit cloying. Of course, this isn't a beer designed to be drank in quantity, so the fact that it would be tough to drink in quantity isn't a big downer.

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Photo of rhollman
3.4/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Cloudy golden brown

Smell - Fragrant aroma

Taste - Crisp, citrus, hop bitterness, nice dry finish

Mouth Feel - Smooth and dry

Drinkability - Complex yes but no big burst of flavor. Perfect for the person who enjoys a citrus oriented beer

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Photo of Living816
3.4/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Oh my the hype. These ratings would imply orgasm like flavors / experience in the mouth. Perhaps the beer pays *me* to drink it?

It pours a rather curious straw, stained oak color with some haze. The head is amazingly robust, persisting for an eternity.

The "brett funk" hits your straightaway along with a bit of sweet aroma, like a syrup. The smell betrays you. The taste is nothing like it.

On the mouth, there is an exceeding dryness and astringency that seems to suck the moisture right out of your mouth. There is a bit of sour, which is obviously anticipated. But the sour doesn't seem to fit in. It just sloshes around in the mouth.

A bit more bitterness on the finish than you expect as well.

I don't know that I would buy it again. It's quite flat, one dimensional. The sour simply is there for, well, I don't know why its there. It's just a bolt on to a typical trappist ale.

Just for the record bottled on 10/2/11, good through 10/2/16.

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Photo of rustrose
3.4/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Orval Trappist Ale Bottled June 5 2008
Sampled July 24, 2009

Big hiss on opening but no foaming up in bottle. Pours a cloudy deep amber, kind of pale brown in low light, with three fingers of soft fine foam like meringue. Yellowish amber when held to light. Foam lingers like mad and sticks firmly to the side of the glass.

Big fruit salad nose. Apricot. Tropical fruits: pineapple, among others. A little bit of banana phenol as it starts to warm. A good dose of funk, with slight leather notes and that musty thing. Candied orange and lemon with some spice. Quite tangy overall. Faint hint of medicinal phenol, perhaps eucalyptus. A definite dash of pepper. Kind of like a saison, but different.

Flavor is not at all what I expected. It's exceptionally dry and subdued--actually hard to pick out what the predominant flavor is before the swallow, because it seemed like not much was happening. Quite bitter though. This is one of the hoppiest Belgians I've ever had, especially considering it's over a year old--there is a firmly bracing bitterness in the aftertaste. This lingers with a kind of horehound, old-fashioned candy flavor, just without any sugar. Perhaps this is a touch of something roasted. It's just so dry I can't place the flavors. My accompanying pretzels leave a sweeter taste in the mouth than this. Still, this isn't tart at all... just not sweet at all. This is just underwhelming me--it doesn't have the funky excitement of the Jolly Pumpkin La Roja that I had last night, nor the richness of a Belgian Pale, nor the zest of a saison. I guess it has some funk going on, but it seems to happen over a lackluster backdrop that would be much better with some tang to it. There is some orange citrus to the flavor as it warms. The bitterness seems to override some of the other things going on, in my opinion, and whatever is going on needs to be more going on.

Mouthfeel: a bit of tingling and astringency on the tongue. Overall, light, fluffy and soft feeling texture, though perhaps a bit harsher at first with the strong carbonation.

Overall impression: the nose is quite an artistic achievement, the appearance is fine, the lacing is beautiful, the mouthfeel is delightful, but the flavor is quite lackluster. Rarely have I enjoyed my pretzels more than my beer. Not worth seeking again, though it would be nice to compare a fresh bottle. $6 is so much better spent on some other beer. Disappointing.

I'd give this a B or B- overall.

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Photo of jooler
3.4/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Look is good with a ton of head. Smell is alright. Taste is sort of funky. It feels like a sour ale is mixed with a dark ale. This beer is sort of confusing to me

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Photo of L-Ray
3.39/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Grabbed one on my way out of the old liquor store. Always meaning to try more Belgian beers so no time like the present. Said it was bottled Oct 2012 but had a best before date of Oct 2017?? Wth? I'm taking my chances and letting my $3 ride.

A - Hazy copper. Poured in cold Stella glass. Freaking 3.5 fingers. Of foamy head with slow retention. How do they do that without paint shakers?
S - Smell is grassy and bready at the same time. Definite notes of sourness. Not my typical brew.
T - Dry sweet hoppy grassy flavours dominate. Carbonation is prominently on board. No real roasted malt or nuttiness. Almost dry and wine-ish.
M- Fizzy carbonated feel.
O- I don't know if its the lack of freshness but this isn't my kind of style anyway. Perhaps sitting at a tap in Brussells and not being at work would rocket this baby up the happy-meter, but I will concede I just parted with $3 in the govt coffers that didn't do me a lot in return. Stella! Stella!

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Photo of hophugger
3.38/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A little different than other trappistes beers I have had. Extreme carbonation, had to try three times to get it all int he glass. Aroma is of sweet malt, a touch of pear and a good amount of barnyard excrement. Head settles down quite fast but still has a lot of fizz left. Taste is sweet with some farm funk and hay in the first taste, carbonation still highly in effect. Overall, not quite what I was expecting, too carbonated and alittle more funky than others of this style I have tried. Definitely don't see where the extremely high overall rating came from....

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Photo of pioppo
3.38/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A very particular and characteristic beer from Belgium!! Beautiful the foam that is very adherent.

A lot of wine!! ..with incredible sentor of must both at the nose and in mouth.. This beer remember me a Lambic style.

I don't like very much this beer because it's too much acid and so not many drinkable..

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,214 ratings.