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

Not Rated.
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

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2,205 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,205
Hads: 4,942
Avg: 4.17
pDev: 18.94%
Wants: 295
Gots: 670 | FT: 11
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.
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Reviews: 2,205 | Hads: 4,942
Photo of larryarms847
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden amber brown with a head that literally foams forever, it's like a beer from a cartoon.

Smells of sweet malt, bread, and some Belgian yeast funk.

Tart, sourdough bread like malt backbone with a funky dankness to it.

Mouthfeel is soft and well carbonated.

Overall this is a perfect classic.

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Photo of JLSIV
4.73/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from bottle into a chalice glass, first impression on pour was the small diameter bubbles and rich two finger head that lasted forever, lacing all around, darker hazy orange brown color

Aroma of musty yeast is the big nose impression, a little fruitiness, Pleasant,but mostly a yeast aroma, very distinctive and unlike any other aroma. Different from any of the other Trappist Ales, even to my less than perfect nose (I often don't smell the same things that appear in many reviews)

Taste of muscadines, sweet at first, develops over time into something even more pleasant. Reminded me of sweeter local vineyard wines than any other beer before.

One of the best mouth feels I have tried. Dry, and smooth, with a very rich full body. Nothing harsh, and only the afterglow lets you know there is more than the usual alcohol here. American Extreme brewers could take a lesson here. Doesn't smack you around.

Overall: I purchased this Trappist Ale expecting to be impressed and I was. I would love to try this one a little closure to its origin. Two of these and I could see myself considering the monastic life….

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Photo of Jacobob10
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

With big American hoppy beers dominating tap lines in bars and taking over liquor store shelf space, I have been going in the opposite direction lately for some reason. I have found myself getting enjoyment from visiting some of the classics. Tonight's classic beer: Orval.

Right out of the bottle, this looks like a winner. Slightly hazy, orange color with a large, frothy white head. The head on the beer lasts forever and leaves a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

Strong floral aroma mixed with orange, pear, and lemon. Biscuit malt, hay, musty yeast. The flavor seems to change with almost every sip. Medium-bodied and a chalky - almost metallic - finish. Overwhelmingly dry.

For reasons unknown, I chose to drink this beer on my 31st birthday and couldn't be happier. A total classic in every sense of the word.

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Photo of mrjez
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: a slightly darkish amber, hazy, a big two fingers of fluffy white head.
S: plenty of malt and lemon, that Belgian yeast.
T: delicious, sour citrus, bready, a little champagne grape sweetness.
F: it's all about the mouthfeel, effervescent and a fluffiness that really fills the mouth. That stays, and the malt drags back down the throat, leaving you with a fluffy tongue.
O: Classic, wonderful Belgian pale.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.72/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

$ 5.99/11.2 oz bottle at Lager Mill
Bottled 18/09/2013 Best by 18/09/2018
Aroma faint – yeast phenolics and fruit
Head large (> 8 cm), off white, frothy, slowly diminishing to irregular frothy layer
Lacing ok – few large islands of mostly large bubbles
Body medium yellow, clear
Flavor very light and fruity with some fruity hop bitterness present at the end. No malt, no alcohol, no diacetyl.
Palate light to medium, watery, lively carbonation

Ho hum – another unexciting Belgium pale ale. At least it meets the criteria well.

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Photo of ElegantRose
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: (in a glass chalice) semi-translucent, cloudy, amber/pumpkin/ deepening into pinkish red color. The head is strong, and dissipates within one minute.

Smell: Strong canned-pumpkin-candy esters; deep undertones of alcohol floating to the surface, bubbling into atmosphere (ABV is 6.9).

Taste: Contrasting with the sweet smell, the taste is sour with brettanomyces. A little research reveals that the sourness is also due to dry-hopping.

Overall, sipping on it and considering it over the time frame of ten minutes or so, I find it to be quite refreshing, though my particular taste palate tends to harken to a sweeter, more approachable style. Malheur Tripel is my current ultimate example of a Belgian Tripel, and Rodenbach is my current favorite as far as a sour Flemish red beer; these are but a few of my favorites, which tend to give an example of what my palate savors.

15 or twenty minutes in, I find myself enjoying it, though I would like that hint of sweetness, which I find adds a different measure of complexity, as opposed to the sour, yawning complexity of this unusual, different animal.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ha. Wow. Raul is giving himself fits on what he's trying to make of this one. At first, like Natalie Portman in sweatpants, it was a bit disappointing (because so much hype was there). But as Raul chilled out as he let Nick Cave serenade him, he warmed to Orval as Orval warmed for him.

First and foremost, the thang is just plum gorgeous. It has an orangish glow/hue like Emily Didinato carving a pumpkin. Then, with the taste (which let Raul down at first) is a very respectable - yet a bit sedated - funk, Belgian yeasts and grass. It's very nice, simplistic, but extremely pleasant like a girl offering to pay on the third date.

So, yes, like after said floozy that offered to pay for dinner, Raul wouldn't mind seeing this one again and again!

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Photo of RiverCityBeerGuy
4.76/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Bottle from Sweet T's in Duck, NC. Bottled on 2/29/12, best before 3/1/17. Pours a gorgeous clear dark amber with 3 fingers of light khaki colored head.

Aroma is funk, lemon, funk, raisin, funk and funk.

Flavor is very clean, a little sour. Taste lime, green grapes and flavor that my uninitiated tongue still only knows as Brett. Caramel flavors on the back end.

This is a journey of a beer.

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Photo of Guden
2.93/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A- poured into a Tripel Karmeliet tulip it has a large white head that slowly fades to a half inch layer. Golden copper color with a slight haze.

S- must, basement, funk, some hoppiness despite being almost a year old bottle.

T/M- funk, bitterness, light esters (banana) and phenols (clove, medicinal). Light on the tongue with high carbonation and low body. Finishes fairly bitter and dry

O- not really anything great about this beer. It's a bit of a disappointment with the Brett coming more as stale basement funk than anything exciting and interesting. Between light oxidation, faded hops and the yeast derived flavors the overwhelming characteristic is "stale".

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Photo of slackattack
3.32/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled November 2013, best before November 2018.

Pours beautiful golden brown, pillowy 3 fingers of head that is persistent and leaves a spotty lace on the drink down. Nose is not overly assertive, bready notes, Belgian yeast prevalent. My first thought was that it was pretty boozy for a 6.9% beer, but I think the extremely dry finish contributed to that. Really clean taste, but not a lot of flavor if that makes sense. Bitterness throughout the drink makes it enjoyable. After it warmed a few degrees I'm starting to think that I wish this wasn't so expensive because it could be session material. Easy to drink, lots of carbonation, good summer front porcher.

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Photo of SebD
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has beautiful hazy golden/orange color to it. It has a nice thick bubbly off-white head that dies down moderately slow and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of tart fruit (lemon, white grapes), some grassiness, floral notes and some funk.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a light tartness, white grapes, lemon, floral notes, a slight grassiness and some definite funk.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooths drinkable beer accompanied by good flavors and aromas.

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Photo of Bonsall_Phil
3.72/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Year-old bottle poured into a chalice, amber color with an off white head. Bubbles are large, carbonation minimal. Head retains well, and is still covers the surface 90% or so after 5 minutes. Beer was too cold, so I'm letting it sit.

Malt and grain on the nose, no too strong and little else. Clean. First sip is malt forward and extra bubbly. Grain and malt flavor holds through to a dry finish. Warming on the tongue, though not a high abv. Exceptionally bubbly through entire taste.

A good beer for the purist, very simple flavor and enjoyable. I may try again from a different source as my experience is clearly not in line with many others. Though very good, I fail to see this beer as being anything tremendously special.

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Photo of Joshre
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Poured this into a tulip glass from a bottle. Has a golden, yellow-brass color, the head is huge. Lots of carbonation.

S: Smell was somewhat sweet, grassy, dried hay. Light

T: Taste was less colorful than the smell, but good. Lots of funk, alcohol is barely there. Very dry, not very sweet. Not a hoppy taste

M: Very carbonated, but not too-carbonated in any way. Light and thin

O: Great beer, very unique and interesting

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Photo of tomordonez
1.5/5  rDev -64%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Over carbonated. I took the cap off and heard a noisy champagne-like blop. The head is a big all-over-the-place cloud. Smells like a cigar butt that has been floating in a beer. It has other strong flowery aroma but not a good one. Flavor is very bitter with a really dry aftertaste. I got my first review straight from a Belgian store shipped from Belgium. I got my 2nd one from a local liquor store in Miami. The bottle is awesome but there is something wrong with this beer.

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Photo of Tele
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: 4.25 Cloudy, brownish orange with a massive light tan head.

S: 4.25 Belgian yeast and funk are up front on the nose. Grass, herbs, wheat, and malt follow closely behind. There’s also a dry, oak smell lingering in the background that goes with the funk.

T: 4.25 More funk and less yeast than the nose. A lot more unique than most of the other trappist ales. Dry funk dominates without fruity, spicy esters like other Belgian ales. There’s a little sweetness with some grass, green apple, and breadiness at the end.

M: 4.5 Carbonation is great. It makes the beer feel alive which matches the funk very well. There’s also a very pleasant dry finish.

O: 4.25 I wasn’t sure I liked this beer very much at first, but I came to really enjoy the funk and dryness. It is very well balanced with a very unique and enjoyable character.

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Photo of mtomlins
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a stemmed tulip glass

Pours a nice, crisp, clear copper in color with a massive, billowy, cloudy head that will not die and eventually leaves some nice lacing. The nose starts with some sweet malt, orange peel, tart lemon and musty yeast. On the palate, the beer opens up further and is much drier than the nose with lemon peel, and a slight tart funkiness to round it all out. The taste finishes with a pleasant floral hop bitterness. Orval is medium body with plenty of carbonation. Overall, this is a unique beer, very subtle and nuanced and stands apart from many/most of the other Trappists.

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Photo of SD-Alefan
4.81/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay chalice.
This one was bottled in Oct., 2012.

The bottle opened with a nice, resounding "pop." An aggressive center pour produces a big, foamy root beer head that compacts but lasts to the end of the beer. The color is a very hazy, even cloudy brownish-orange.

The aroma is my favorite part of this beer. First off for me, an odor of yeasty bread rising. then some fruit; raisin, maybe orange and lemon. There is also a little farmyard funk underneath.

The first taste is candy at first, then some dried fruits, then a light bitterness as it warms. I get raisin, dates, some yeastiness and even bitter chocolate. As it warms, some biscuit and even a little caramel come through. Love the slight yeasty funk. Amazingly complex.

This beer is well carbonated, and it feels a little sticky and tongue-coating. It's even got a little creaminess thanks to the never-fading foam.

Just a great beer.

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Photo of MartzMimic
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy amber with a root beer float head that lasts for days. Tons of carbonation. Nice aroma of fruit, hay and a touch of funk. Tastes of grapes, apples and yeast. The brett adds a lot. Medium light mouth with some crispness. Just a very flavorful and well-balanced beer.

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Photo of MrBoz21
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Served from 11.2 oz bottle. Bottled Sept 18, 2013. 8 months old.

Poured with thick and foamy white head. Very slow to settle with patches of foam sticking to glass. Heavily carbonated. Color is murky golden orange.

Aroma: Pear, banana and coriander. Balanced, smooth and subtle with some nice brett funk (sour grape and must).

Taste: Tart fruit and citrus with a spicy bitter backbone. Tannin notes. Finishes smooth and clean with some dank astringency. Brett horsiness is there and it is pleasant.

Moutfeel: substantive but well attenuated. Dry-ish. Not bubbly.

Overall: Extremely balanced, complex and drinkable. This is a delicious beer that shows that a beer can have lots of flavor without being hops dominant.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.13/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A 330ml bottle with a BB of Nov 2014. Bottled in Nov 2009. Acquired ages ago from a webshop and stored in my garage. I have no idea what it'll be like after such a long time - fingers crossed. Love the iconic bottle.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottle conditioned. A deep orange-amber hue with faint haze and plentiful carbonation. Produces a vast head of fluffy white foam that resembles a meringue; this slowly reduces to a thick surface layer. Some lacing. Aroma of tart fruitiness with hints of cherries, raisins, barnyard funk, grain, a twinge of sherry, earthy yeast, cardboard and faint solvent. Dry and vinous, with a complex character that is vaguely reminiscent of fruit lambic. Bizarre but smells quite good.

Tastes of harsh stewed leaves with a dry, mildly sour character. Notes of acrid stewed leaves, harsh cardboard, oxidation, a subtle fruitiness, a whisper of funk and vinous yeast. Highly attenuated, followed by a dry, herbal bitterness upon swallowing. None too pleasant. Mouthfeel is dry and tingly with effervescent carbonation and lacklustre body. Very astringent, accompanied by an aftertaste of acrid stewed herbs, faint sourness and dry, earthy yeast.

Oh dear - not a very enjoyable glassful. I guess this hasn't aged well or I've kept it for too long (probably both). Looks great, and the aroma is pleasantly complex with hints of brett and fruity notes. However, the flavour is deeply unpleasant - very harsh and dry with little of what you'd expect from a good beer. Body is also subpar; fizzy and too thin. A great pity, as I've really enjoyed Orval when I've had it before and was looking forward to a top notch brew. Most likely it's just too old. I'll try and re-review a fresher version when I get the chance. Oh well....

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Photo of Richardbeerlover
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a nice golden amber with a fabulous head. The smell is fantastic. At first, it smells like bubblegum. Fruity, fragrant, wonderful! Slight champagne smell. Tastes very good with a nice bitter finish. Not your typical beer and definitely not your typical Belgium beer. Great!

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Photo of fmccormi
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Straight pour from an 11.2oz/325ml pry-off bottle to a teku; a bottling date of February 7, 2013 and a freshness date of February 7, 2018 (five years, wooo) is printed in white ink to the left of the logo on the label (“BOTTLED ON 02/07/2013 BEST BEFORE 02/07/2018 B”)—so, just over 15 months old. Now that is some excellent freshness info.

Appearance (3.5): Four fingers of ecru-colored foam easily rise off of the pour, capping a rich, copper-colored body that’s moderately hazy but not cloudy. The head dies down at a moderate pace, leaving just sparse lacing in the form of thin splotches and webbing. Admittedly, the lacing is disappointing at first, but the head and body together were gorgeous. As the beer recedes, it does leave a few long, chunky splotches of thick lace.

Smell (4.25): Some interesting vinous notes at first blush (rich, off-dry white wine, but no wood), followed quickly by a little tart fruit (white grapes, unsweetened apple juice), and then a nice, bucolic funk—a little musty basement, plenty of dried hay. As it warms, a little more fruit comes out, in the form of some dry apple cider and a little crushed pineapple.

Taste (4.25): There’s a lot going on here, quite frankly, but it’s lovely and surprisingly crushable considering what the beer looks like (kinda hefty). A grassy, juicy flavor leads, slightly bitter, followed by a light, vinous mixture of mildly tart fruit (white grapes) and minerality (like a not-too-dry sauv blanc). This is all underscored by a well-balanced blend of malt and surprisingly clean funk: fresh-baked, rustic wheat bread, just a little bit of mustiness and hay, a bit of spicy phenolic character (like grains of paradise and coriander, maybe?) and a light, clean snap of lemon zest. A lightly spicy, faintly phenolic aftertaste lingers for a bit, but dissipates cleanly.

Mouthfeel (4.0): The body is medium-weight, nicely fluid (not at all syrupy, but only slightly drying), and accompanied by a voluminous, soft carbonation that enters fully-expanded and leaves with just a soft tingle, overall. Way too easy to drink. It finishes cleanly and pleasantly, leaving very little trace of its presence (absolutely no booze, no particularly notable drying effect, etc.).

Overall (4.25): This beer is always an experience, because I swear it’s different every time I drink it. And, every time it’s delicious. Some common currents between all experiences: lightly tart fruitiness, vinous character, minerality, hay and must, clean phenolic funk, and light spice. Occasionally it’s surprisingly hoppy, occasionally the musty character is very pronounced, occasionally the spice and phenols are greater, occasionally the tartness is much greater, and occasionally the head is absolutely out of control. But every time—including this time—it’s delicious. It’s easy to scoff at the price for a single, but given the quality of the beer it’s always worth buying, at least every once in a while.

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Photo of reebtaerG
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured bottle dated 2/7/13 into St. Bernardus glass

A-Pours orange with a huge 3 finger off-white head that diminishes to a thin layer. Great lacing.

S-Aroma has an overripe white grapes, hops, and yeast.

T-I taste dry apricots, figs and currants. Little sweet, slight sour and nice bitter.

M-Smooth mouthfeel, medium body. Semi dry finish. Excellent carbonation

O-First time having this beer quite the standard for Belgium pale ale.

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Photo of FatBoyGotSwagger
4.94/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a murky brown color with a booming 3 finger white head. The smell is a light earthy aroma with an authentic Belgian spice. My first sip of this started with a fantastic tart and spiciness upfront hat literally explodes on the tongue with the fantastic carbonation. There are some funky notes in there also but every note plays off each other so well it leaves me wanting another sip. Halfway through the head is still a good cm and resembles construction foam, the taste becomes increasingly spicy and funky. Notes of fresh grass, lemon, and spicy banana. What an incredible beer, I get it now.

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Photo of FFreak
4.59/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've heard so much about this beer that I picked it up when I saw it on the shelf. Its not at all what I was expecting. Poured into a glass, the beer is highly carbonated, which is expected of a Belgian. What was not expected was the odd spicy bitterness that completely overwhelms the malt in this beer. I didn't find it pleasant at all. I couldn't even finish the bottle. Its like biting into a raw bitter cinnamon stick or something. Maybe I don't have a sophisticated enough palette. I've had trapist beer that was amazing, and some funky (brett) beers that I really enjoyed, but this beer has a different and not at all pleasing funkiness. Sorry, i just don't get it.

[EDIT] With the hype about this beer from truly knowledgeable folks in the beer industry, I could not believe that I had such a bad experience to cause the review above. I stand by that review and now attribute it to a bad or very old bottle. Due to my disbelief, I decided to give it another try. This time the bottle was labelled differently, with a manufactured date (almost two years old) and a best by date (almost two years in the future). That puts this bottle right in the sweet spot. This time I was thoroughly impressed with the beer and I see why it is so highly regarded. My numbers are readjusted to reflect the second tasting.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,205 ratings.