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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,264 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,264
Ratings:
5,168
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
18.9%
 
 
Wants:
329
Gots:
793
For Trade:
12
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: 2,264 | Ratings: 5,168
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.

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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.

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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

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Photo of bsp77
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Tulip.

Appearance: Cloudy but bright orange with an enormous billowing off-white head that does not go away and clings to everything.

Smell: Musty fruit, banana and clove. Hard to describe but dry, musty and tart overall - actually this seems to be the horse blanket smell I have heard described before.

Taste: Very earthy malts with lots of clove and general Belgian funk. A little fruit is present as well. Turns ever-so-slightly bitter and peppery at the end of each sip.

Feel: Very high carbonation, light-medium body, very dry finish.

Drinkability: This and Duvel are by far the best Belgian Ales that fall on the paler side of the spectrum. Orval is a true original - refreshing and complex.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Of all the Trappist beers, I feel that the Orval is the most distinctive and unique - and probably the most misunderstood (or disliked) of the group. It can be a challenging beer at first, but it has great character if given a chance. It pours a lightly hazy pale orange-amber with a dense rocky head that lasts; eventually dropping to a thin creamy covering and leaving a beautiful Belgian-lace throughout the goblet. The tiny bubbles rising quickly through the beer make for a delightful little floor show! The high level of carbonation that produces the strong head, also helps it to give off it's very perfumy aroma. Clearly, there are some earthy British hops involved, Goldings and possibly Fuggles, amongst other noble varieties. In fact, I think this is the only Trappist beer that is dry-hopped (w/ Goldings)! It's fermented with 2 strains of yeast giving it enticingly complex aromas of leather, mineral, and wood. Again, the carbonation gives the beer a spritzy mouthfeel, making the body seem a little bigger than it is. The flavor follows the aroma with lots of dried fruit, and a sometimes "metallic" and intense dryness, leading into a somewhat acidic finish that leaves you with a memory of the beer that is more refreshing than mouth-coating.

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Photo of jsh420
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

bottled on 1/30/2007
drink by 1/30/2012

pours clear copper orange with a big 3 finger head that left some lacing

smell - oh boy that brett funk!! with sour sour friut pear apples - reminds me of the candy spree's???

taste is a great balance of sweet/sour/funk fruit with a good amount of bitterness - this beer is to hard for me to put into words

mouthfeel is light and highly carbonated but does not have the bite - it remains mighty smooth

drinkability is very good but you want to take your time with this and that can be hard to do

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Photo of aletales
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Orval pours a cloudy golden yellow with a beautiful white foamy head that lingers and clings nicely to the glass. It smells of citrus and malt. The flavor of this beer is complex and refreshing at the same time. The carbonation never overpowers the citrus and malt flavors, which leave room for a nice hoppy bitter finish very late.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Can you believe I call myself a BA and I have never tried this? For shame! Thanks to the kind soul who took notice and forwarded it on to me. Served out of my cellar and poured into a chalice, this one was consumed on 10/08/2009.
 
The pour was just what I would have expected. Bright golden amber in color with a nig head of white on top that only slowly faded as the session wore on, dropping tons of lace up and down the sides of the glass. Richness to it that looked just fantastic as it warms up. Aroma of light fruit touches, hints of a light grassy touches, maybe pine. Apples and grape skin start to come to the front as it warms up and it gets a very complex touch to it. Smooth, even flavor here, really quite wonderful. Light and airy on the palate, the carbonation is spot on. Light touches of apples and bananas, hints of light peach and a delicate touch of grape are all coming out at me. Nice bready and grainy touch to it now as well, really again very well done. I was quite impressed with just how flavorful this was. Nice dry finish capped it off quite well and left a near spot on aftertaste.
 
Overall cannot believe I let this one go so long. Cannot believe it as it is such a top not offering. One of the elite for sure I would have this any day.

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Photo of RRoeb1123
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tried this beer with one of my friends, who is also my partner in crime in tasting beers.

Appearance: Absolutely beautiful, cloudy amber-yellow, with a very nice head that is almost fluffy, that stays for a LONG time. Leaves wonderful lacing on the glass as you enjoy it too. There is also some nice visible carbonation.

Smell: Heavenly to say the least. There are distinctive aromas that I picked up, which was a very earthy smell, which I really liked. There was also a gentle scent of lemon, spice, and clove, along with apples, and almost a peachy scent. Very very inviting to the nose, and makes you just want to bury your nose in the beer.

Taste: Absolutely great, the scents merely hint what underlies this awesome beer, the flavors come at you in a way that you know they are there, but they don't shout at you. Lemon peel, cloves, apples, and even an earthiness taste, that this yeast imparts is absolutely astonishing. The finish is nice and dry, which makes you long for another sip. As the beer warms, it imparts more of a spiciness, which is very pleasant.

The mouthfeel of this beer is great, because of the carbonation. There is a bit of carbonation, which is perfect because it allows the beer to really hang on your palate, but not allowing it to become too heavy on you.

Drinkability: I find this to be a very enjoyable beer, and I would absolutely drink this again. The complexity within the beer on other tastings may be different, and I'm curious to find what else may be hidden within it.

Verdict: An absolutely heavenly beer (literally!)

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Photo of Sam21
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle into tulip. Bottled on November 13th, 2008.

Appearance - Glowing hazy orange with lively carbonation and a billowing white head that sticks to everything. A decent foam cap sticks around the entire time. Absolutely beautiful.

Smell - Clove, funk, lemon peel, freshly cut orange, green apple, maybe some pear, and a nice earthiness that holds it all together.

Taste - Citrus notes seem start off more subdued, but increase in intensity as the beer goes down. Funk comes out to play. Still picking up some apple, lemon peel, and orange, but they are really hidden within that textbook Brettanomyces medicinal funk. Spicy clove, grassy hops, and a hint (very slight) of alcohol in the finish. Crisp and complex.

Mouth Feel - Very light and fluffy across the tongue with a dry finish. Carbonation tickles the tongue very lightly.

Drinkability - A wonderful experience. Easy to drink, yet bursting with flavors. I will definitely be turning to this beer again and again... and again.

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Photo of Parrotshake
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I try to have a few of these lying around at all times, because this is what beer is all about. At this point, the couple I had left over for the explicit purposes of blowing people-who-aren't-really-into-beer's minds are fair game, because I have to move in a few days and can always buy more, right?

If you've never had Orval, you have no idea what to expect. Last Christmas Eve a friend and I went to the Platform Bar here in Brisbane while waiting for his girlfriend to come pick us up for dinner. I'd first tried it a year or so before and disliked it (but was somewhat intrigued), but I thought it was time to give it another chance.

I bought 2 on my first round and seconds after his first sip, my friend turned to me and asked, and I quote: "What's wrong with you, you weirdo?". But at the end of the round, he got 2 more. And as his girlfriend got later and later, we became more and more enlightened (beacuse you can't get drunk off Trappist ales, anyway >_>).

If you've an open mind, this beer can make a convert of you. And your friends, and their friends.

Presentation-wise, the teardrop bottle is a timeless classic. But it looks good out of the bottle, too. Rich orange, massive unyielding off-white head, a little sediment. A picture in a glass.

Smell is the least appealing thing about this beer - if there is such a thing - only because it's not indicative of what's to come. Still respectable - big-time yeast, cut grass, citrus peel, sourdough bread, cold-sore cream (!), turned soil. Just a lot of stuff going on.

Tastes like your spice rack smells, along with champange, bubblegum, underripe red apples, (dried?) flowers, green wood and lemon pith, all under a blanket of medicine/iodine. There's a sweetness throughout, but it defers to everything else.

Quite carbonated, but no more than it needs to be. Like biting into a slightly chalky green apple - dryish.

This is a big leap from the kind of beer you can buy in a plastic cup at a football game, and I admit, I'd had a dozen of these before I could honestly say I unequivocally love it. But do persevere. God has a special place in his heart for the monks at Abbaye Orval. This is proof.

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Photo of caresville
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this beer pours a beautiful deep orange to copper, huge foaming head with brilliant lacing as you continue to drink. the smell is orange peels, cinnamon, vanilla, figs, pears, etc... quite a similar taste, it really is amazing like all trappist beers. pears and oranges are evident in the taste as well a hint of fine belgian yeast and spices. those monks really do know how to make a delicious brew!!

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Photo of Matt1516
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Decanted into an Orval signature tulip and paired with Quebec raw milk cheese.

Spectacular white head on an cloudy orangy-amber ale. Citrus and meadow on the nose.

Slightly carbonated mouthfeel. Peppery almost spicy taste, definitely some citrus, a bit of funk and some grassiness. VERY dry finish.

Quite delightful and very interesting.

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Photo of markman
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Orval Trappist Ale (bottled on 20.01.2004, best before 20.01.2009, 6.9% ABV):

Less then two years old and ready to rock. Funky farmy nose right from the get-go… no doubt about some wildness in the yeast strain. Purest clear brass-orange colored with a busy one inch head looks just beautimus in my Westmalle Chalice. Snap, Crackle, and Pop got nothin’ on this brew…maybe sound should be a reviewable category as well, since I can hear the fizz like no other just as I tilt the glass towards my lips. This is about as dry a beer as I’ve ever tasted…clean and appetizingly so. Tart, hoppy, and drinkable as hell. This beer as a singular uniqueness that separates it from the rest of beerdom…I figure either you like it or you don’t. I freakin’ like it, and maybe the ultimate aperitif.

Now the last quarter-inch…the yeasties; as the Orval website says “one should taste the sediment of the beer separately.” OK, there are some thing monks know best…and beer is damn sure one of ‘em. On to the sediment. Mmmm, so as not to review about a tablespoon of beer, I’ll just say that the mouthfeel is a bit more velvety.

Cheers…

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Photo of rye726
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Not sure why I never tried this, but here it goes. Pours a hazy cedar color with a nice beige head. Nose has citrus fruits, floral hops, musty oak and sour yeasts. The tart and peppery yeast strain come out in the flavor as well in addition to the sugary malts and fruity hops. Clean crisp body with delicate carbonation. A fantastic brew, glad I gave this a try.

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Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the famous bottle into a duvel glass.

Wow! What a beautiful looking beer. Light, wheat-colored beer with huge amounts of meringue-like head of sticky bubbles.

Smells of citrus, apple, spices and whatever else they use to give it the famous character and aroma of this beer.

A little musty, spices, fruit, citrus tangy all on top of a yeasty belgian hop character with barley malt and little caramel or browned sugar.

Mouthfeel is superb. Enters tangy and becomes sweet with the malty and hoppy breadiness. Goes down smooth with a fine carbonation reminiscent of champagne.

If you enjoy the belgian-style ales then no stock would be complete without Orval.

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Photo of travMI13
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What better way to break in an Orval goblet than with the beer itself? Also, this may be the freshest I have ever had this beer, and that was by design. 2011 vintage. Bottled on 10/2/2011. 12 oz. bottle poured into an Orval goblet.

A: Deep, golden orange with a finger of fluffy, white head. Excellent head retention with tons of lacing.

S: A mild fruity aroma with hints of hops and yeast. The smell is pretty mellow, but it is very inviting.

T: The subtle hint of sweet fruits like some sort of wild berries hits first, transitioning to caramel malts and caramelized sugar. I get slight yeasty funk next, followed up by a nice bitterness from the hops, finishing out with the sweetness that was there from the start. Whoa. It really has been a while since I've had this, and I must have missed it. This is incredibly complex.

M: Great carbonation, mild acidity, and near perfect balance. The flavor lingering on the mouth constantly changes and lures me back in for more. Wow.

O: Doing a formal review only confirms why this is a classic. It also reaffirms why one could argue that this is the class of the Trappist ales, and why it remains one of the best beers in the world. I can't believe I went a year or two without having it. This should be in both my refrigerator and cellar at all times.

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Photo of legalpete19340
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured a burnt orange with a massive head. More head than beer infact. The head fell back to two fingers and stayed one full finger for nearly the entire session. Incredible lacing.

S: Sweetness jumps out initially: figs, oranges. Nice spice and herbal profile. Like a wild field of flowers on a hot day. White bread.

T: Comes on with fruity sweetness like mild peach and green pear, then quickly passes into a long note of bread and butter. Great grassy hop profile in here. Some saltiness on the end. Very crisp and dry (read not bitter but tiddied up) finish.

M: Big and foamy bordering on chewy.

O: Wow, impressive beer. The alcohol snuck up on me because it was so easy to drink. Initially it came on sweet but that quickly ended and it was a great belgian pale ale: grassy and bready. Cant think of anything to change!

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Photo of mschind
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- This bottle is good until 6-2016. Been sitting here for 10 minutes waiting for the two inch meringue like mocha colored head to dissipate and it shows no sign of doing so. Clear dark gold with amber tints and a big cloud of bubbles. The foam is very sticky and really coats the glass. (tulip)

S- Floral and fruit with mild hops and light malt and the unique scent of the Belgian yeast strain.

T- The taste is drier than the nose would suggest. Starts faintly sweet with pear like notes whiich quickly shifts to a slightly bitter middle and then some yeast before a balanced but dry finish.

M- Clean, medium light body with some warm alcohol at the back.

O- Perhaps the best Belgian pale on the market.

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Photo of timtim
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

bottled on 7/5/07. i'm interested to see how this would taste in a few months, but i've had this one a few times and i always think it is too good. my favorite belgian pale ale to date. unique. golden orange with a white head that never goes away and leaves lots of good lace. smells of esters, malt, spice, lemony citrus, brett and hops. also has that artisanal barnyard thing that i love. like it came from mother earth's beerspring. tastes well balanced with all the same characteristics as the nose, but with a little hoppy/bitter finish. Really great, modest yet true, hop character. to me, this is near perfection. nice body, great mouthfeel. carbonation carries it through flawlessly.

edit - 8/19/2010... found a stash of these at my local harris teeter that are almost three years old. good luck finds them in perfect condition. i know the brewery thinks that they taste their best at six months, but these babies are awesome. real bretty funk and barn abound with a perfect balance of sweet, sour and bitter. really amazing. just had to add this: if i had to be stranded on a desert island with one beer, this would be it.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, VA. Poured into a Watou chalice.

Appearance: A deep, slightly-hazed orange-bodied, ruddy amber beer. A good one-finger head rises and stays around for a great long time, considering the "head-killing" nature of the glass. Great sticky lacing. Sparse and fine, pinprick lacing rises slowly towards the surface.

Aroma: Hints of earthy yeast funk, simple candy sugar, tart citrus, and plenty of good, spicy hop notes.

Taste: Never what you expect from looking at it. Sure, there's a solid, grainy, earthy, bready backbone, lightly roasted with hints of caramel, as well as some lighter, sweeter, simpler candy sugar notes. But the real unique aspect of this beer is, obviously, the hops - tons of tart, dry lemon zest, apricot, and spicy, earthy, vegetal dry hop notes which follow you through to the finish. Earthy, spicy funk - definitely imparted by the Brett - close this one out. Truly unique.

Mouthfeel: Big bodied and fluffy, medium-sized bubbles that are consistently even, not thin, but not thick either - a few hints of hop oils make things nice and slick.

Drinkability: Wonderfully complex and unique, low in alcohol, not sweet or cloying - what's not to love about this historical beer?

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Photo of Barnoloid
4.64/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Updated from a previous review: Pours beautifully amber with a keen, pillowy head. Less 'gush' than I anticipated, but still plenty of carbonation to be found.
Moderately funky in taste, with some peppery notes in there amongst the lemon/pear fruit layers that I am getting a feel for. This reminds me of boiled sweets (candies) enjoyed long ago back in Europe, the sugar sweetness is lively and zesty and brings to mind sugar cookies also. Some herbiness comes in on the back end here too.

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Photo of sjccmd
4.64/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pears, herbs, apple, wood, damp earth in the nose. Mushrooms and tropical fruit. White pepper. Farmy brett comes out more and more with each whiff. Spicy herbal hops. Wet stone, mineral water. Juicy fruit and chamomile. Something new comes out with each whiff.

Hazy golden amber/orange with large frothy off-white head. Good retention and lacing. Tons of bubbles.

Rush of sweet fruits, apricots, and mango followed quickly with bitter spicy hops, and graham cracker malt and honey coming up as well. Bitter orange peel, perhaps even the pith. Grapefruit and pomelo. White pepper and grains of paradise. Sweet impression upfront finishing bone dry.

Medium light body with the highest carbonation. Stinging fine bubbles. Bright and snappy.

I seem to have this more often with more age on it. The balance of hop character and funk is quite nice in this one.

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Photo of kellyst
4.64/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy gold with a pillowy white head. There is nice lacing throughout the glass. Aroma is of spicy hops, citrus, and leather, and begs for you to take a sip. Flavor follows the aroma, with spicy hop flavors and a backgorund of graininess. This is a very dry and hoppy beer. The dryness makes this beer a standout, and also makes it very drinkable for 6.9% abv. Had it back to back with Goose Island Matilda, which supposedly is an homage to Orval. Matilda might be a little more complex, and is definately not as dry and hoppy. I give a slight edge to Orval.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Bottled on 1/30/07, best before date of 1/30/12 so I think I'm in the clear here.

A: Pours a cloudy orangish brownish color (sort of like laqured wood) with a big and puffy inch and a half off white head that fades rather quickly into a thin cap. Big and bubbly as well with nice pockets of carbonation bubbling along the sides of the glass. The only thing I don't like is the head is not as luxurious as I was hoping for and the lacing was a bit lacking but that was probably my fault.

S: Sweet candied sugar with a big yeasty funk, delicate fruity aromas peek through the yeast just enough to be noticed. Also, I am crazy or does this stuff smell like potpourri?

T/MF: Yeasty and along with a great deal of carbonation that balloons in the mouth and tickles the tongue. This one also has quite a deal of spicy herbal tones along with bits of apple and grapefruit intermixed that increases as the beer warms, an interesting balance to say the least. Has a sort of sour aftertaste as soon as the beer is swallowed but becomes a bit floral and fruity after a bit and is quite enjoyable.

D: Damn well balanced beer in every respect, not overpowering in any way, shape or form, just solid in the taste department every respect. It's going to be real hard to top this one.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,264 ratings.