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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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,230 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,230
Hads: 5,049
Avg: 4.18
pDev: 18.9%
Wants: 316
Gots: 732 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Belgium | 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: 2,230 | Hads: 5,049
Photo of WesWes
3.6/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a cloudy gold color wit a thick overflowing white head. The aroma is good. It boasts of pale malts and lemon zest. The taste is decent. It is light and citrousy. It has a musty aftertaste, but goes down smooth. The mouthfeel is fair. It is a medium bodied beer with too much carbonation. It drinks well. I thought the taste was good. It just was a little too foamy. All in all, this was pretty decent.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle poured into a goblet. Fresh bottle. Bottled 10/3/2011.

Appearance - Frothy white head atop a hazy and even murky deep golden body. Everlasting retention and some sticky lacing down the glass.

Smell - Floral, fruity, slightly yeasty. Hoppy as well, but not a ton. Really fresh and bright flavor. Not as funky as I would have expected, but it's there.

Taste - Not quite as bright as the aroma, but nice. Hops are significantly more dominant and they drown out the fruitiness. It's got a lot of bretty flavors to it, also. I like those, but miss the fruit brightness. Strong bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Extremely dry. I find that it accentuates the bitterness too much. Still, light and refreshing.

Overall - Very fascinating beer. I have two. One to age and one to drink now. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of the other bottle.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours murky orange with a large white head. The aroma is lemon with some brett-funk. The flavor is quite a bit of citrus as well as some funk. The finish is quite a bit of hop bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and high carbonation. This is a very unique beer that everyone that is into craft beer should seek out and try.

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Photo of Billolick
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce classic heavy glass bottle. "Bottled on 10-04-04" "Best before 10-03-09" Fantastic pour, leaves a huge head which slowly morphs to a rocky, puffy 1/4 inch irregular head, leaves truly world class lacing, at once wispy,puffy and very clinging. Orangy amber,cloudy. Nose is tropical fruit and a bit of pepper. Silky smooth, drying and light. Notes of pepper, yeast nuttyness, ripe fruits,anise.. Quite hoppy in the mid section and all along the finish. Dry with a pine undertone. Wonderful creation in brewing. The allmost 7% nowhere to be found on the tongue. Head explodes and slowly recedes, yet the brew is very soft and not at all prickly on the tongue. Wish I had more of this stuff, or the will power to put some away for a few years.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.99/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

I've passed over this peculiar looking bottle for years now, I guess today will be the day to try it.
Pours into the glass a lightly hazy deep golden color with a frothy meringue head that persists forever. The label is correct about the fruitiness I get that in spades as soon as I pop the cap off the top of the bottle. Pepper, spice, yeast, and a bit of golden syrup round out the nose. The flavor is sugary sweet with a lot of orange and sweet dark fruits along with some pepper, a hint of hop and a touch of alcohol. Medium to thin body with a spirited level of carbonation and a bubbly sweet mouthfeel. This is a really nice beer that's easy to drink, I can't believe it took so many years to try this.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel snifter. Good deep brown body and big head. Head laced on the sides and clumped in the middle.
Aroma of ripe (brown) bananas, malt and some citrus hops.
taste was more of an IPA style. Hops and citrus, with some roasted malt, biscuit and basil.
Had a bit of a bite to it, more hops than I expected, finished with a dryness. A complex beer overall.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Single bottle purchased at Joe Canal's in Jersey. Poured into a St. Bernardus glass on a cold night.

A- Orval pours out a hazy yellow to bright golden color with bubbles seen rising. These bubbles produce a sturdy foamy off white head with staying power. Huge sheets of lace were left on the glass.

S- This one is on the wild side with an apparent brett addition giving off a slight tart twang. Also alot of Belgian yeast on top of some hops and malt additions as well. Maybe some sweetness or candy like essence.

T- I really enjoy the brett addition which makes this not over the top sour but pleasently tart. This is followed by a belgian yeast variety with a very faint hop bite, which is common in most Belgian's I've had of not being hop dominate. Some candi sweetness ensues leaving a nice aftertaste.

M- This BPA is well carbonated and it is felt on the tounge, maybe a bit too much. This leads to a very crisp mouthfeel but that fades as this one warms up. Thin to semi medium bodied with no alcohol in the mouth, just great flavor.

D- I could drink this all night at the alcohol level without ever getting bored. I love brett infused beers and this is one of the leading examples. I had this once in my early drinking days and hated it. Now, I'm glad I revisited it, as this is a near perfect beer.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As I warm up the bottle from the fridge, let me tell you a story: I was inside an SAQ in Montréal. I didn't think I'd buy a beer I could easily get at home, but the price tag was attractive: $3.30! And that's with taxes! This goes for $2 more in my area. So what I have here is a double import. The label is a double as well; there's a bilingual label on this one (because it was bought in Québec). Well, now I think it's time to serve this up. On to the beer:

I can already smell the aroma as I slowly lifted the bottle cap. But let's not get ahead, let me pour in into a chalice first. Hot damn, that's a lot of foam on top. Let me go to the kitchen and chop off part of its head so i can pour the rest in...

Head retention is excellent on top of this deep golden colored brew. Okay, now I can smell the fruits of this beer. Candi sugar and peaches, mmm. A little spice as well. Oh boy, I'm getting excited...

I was expecting a sweet treat, and instead got something different. It's just a little sweet. I should note the balance is very nice, but the overall flavor is missing something. It's more of a grassy/hay taste, with aspirin echoing in the background. The alcohol, despite being at 6.9, is camouflaged. A little sourness in the back. Now I'm starting to get used to the taste, so now I can show some appeciation for this work. I'm turned on to it in a weird kind of way.

Okay, so it wasn't what I thought it would be. But it wasn't a dissapointment either. I still want more, though at its price in the US, it will have to settle as a beer to have once in a while.

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Photo of tempest
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single at Abe's Cold Beer for $4.50, not cheap, but not bad for a Trappist. The label says it was bottled 2/20/08, so this is about a year old. Upon pouring I can tell the Brett has taken over, but at first sip I see that it's also not fully developed. When this beer is fresh, it's a relatively hoppy Belgian, but thanks to the addition of wild brettanomyces it turns into a lambic. After a year, however, the tangy lemon sour aren't strong and rich enough to complete the beer. I feel like the malts and hops should come out a little more, but I'm left with a thin taste of sugar-covered bread.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a chalice, the beer is a muddled, hazy, amber-brown coloring with a tall, dense, chunky, off-white head that coats the glass and has a very decent retention. Aromas of coriander, all spice, plum, banana, cotton candy, and a bready backbone. More and more aromas come off as the beer warms. Flavors are spice forward, with a great blend of nutmeg, coriander, all spice, and hints of clove, with an old world fruit backbone both rich and sweet. Smooth, light body with a slight effervescence that keeps the sweet and rich flavors blended and drinkable. The aftertaste is a sugary sweet undertone with the spice blend still holding court overall. Lingering finish, with spices left dancing on your taste buds, waiting for another sip. This beer is a classic!

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orval is always wonderfully complex and hoppy, and it did not disappoint this time. This is a very unique beer brewed by some of those zany Belgian Trappist monks, and is loosely in the pale ale style; being pale, an ale and quite hoppy, including dry hopping. At this point it leaves the standard pale ale road, among possible others, it is made using Brettanomyces yeast which add a complexity of flavor which I typically say adds a musty note. At first thought this does not appear to be all that tasty (musty, horse blanket; I have some old leather shoes like that) but I feel that if done right over the correct amount of time it adds wonderful notes of complexity. This beer does it correctly, and I always love being able to sample this wonderful beer.

The beer pours a hazy copper-orange color, and is topped by a tan creamy head. As I pour this beer the Brett character is immediately noticeable; aromas of musty cellars, and leather. A sweet fruity aroma is here as well but the musty brett character dominates. The beer is well carbonated. It is lightly sweet up front, but only just as this is a dry beer. Has a certain sharp dryness in the finish that is coupled with a funky-woody-musty character. There is some residual hop character still here, though it is hard to separate it out.

This remains a challenging/ characterful brew on this side of the Atlantic. When fresh it is quite a bit different; still good but in a fresh hoppy sort of way. I love that the Belgians still embrace ornery "spoilage" organisms in their brews, it makes for a much more colorful world.

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Photo of Halcyondays
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz. bottle,

A: Sparkling burnt orange with an illustrious white head.

S: Earthy hops upfront, with wet hay, horse blankets, brett funk, and fruity yeast esters.

T: Wow, o' so complex. I don't know where to begin. First the delicious aromatic hops hit you, with the great brett notes to follow. I taste wool, rosemary, sage, grass, old leather, lots of lemon/orange, horse blankets, and some lactic acidity.

M: Incredible - very dry and bitter - so appetizing. The carbonation works wonders and just dances on your tongue.

D: Incredibly drinkable for a beer of this complexity, it can be used as an aperitif, as a perfect complement to a multitude of dishes, or as a perfect drink just by itself. This is my favourite all time beer, I knew it from the first moment I tried it. An absolute masterpiece, I can't say enough about it. Absolutely worth the $4.79 I paid for it. How this isn't in the top 100 is beyond me, but maybe it's just a little too odd and different with the brett. But in my opinion, if this beer is available anywhere in your area - go buy it now.

Edit (6/2010) - Looking back 5 years almost since I first had Orval. This beer is King. At it's peak nothing can overcome. The complexities and flavours in this beer are just incredible, I don't know what could make it better. This beer is almost $6 now, and it's still the best bargain in the beer world. If there is anyone on the fence reading this, go for it, the $6 you pay will change the way you think about beer forever.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oval shaped 11.2 oz brown bottle with bottled on date of 8/8/2007 poured into a Chimay chalice

A: Murky golden orange/amber color. Massive, dense slightly off white head that hangs around forever with some splotchy lacing.
S: Very strong, hit me as soon as I opened the bottle. Complex, but no one aroma really jumps out. Orange, lemon, yeast, citrus rind, coriander, slight pepper. Very well balanced, definitely more floral and spicy than sweet.
T: Lighter side of medium bodied, very highly carbonated resulting in a very smooth, creamy taste that is deceptively thicker than the actual body is. Very interesting combination of the sweeter malty flavors, spicy floral like flavors and the citrus rind flavor. The predominant flavor pulls toward the earthy, citrus rind taste, with the sweeter/tarty flavors in the beginning being subdued throughout. The finish is very dry, grainy, earthy and lingers forever.

This is an amazingly complex, balanced beer, but personally I would enjoy this a little more if leaned closer to the tart or sweeter side than the earthy, citrus rind.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
2.87/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I have two more in my garage, so this review may change after a further tasting, but I was not impressed at all with this bottle. The worst beer a monk has ever made for me!

Slightly cloudy, an off orange colour.

Smell was of sour apples, no head, just a wisp, which went almost straight away.

Tasted of the same sour apples as the smell, sharp and fizzy.

If it had been a blind tasting, I would have said it was a rough Cider or a really poor Geuze.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The bottle of Orval that I tried may have been a bit overprimed which I believe effects the scent, taste and mouthfeel. The beer poured a hazy copper with big white head that left some lace. The scent was tru to most trappist....Belgianny. The taste also follow most Trappist ales. The mouthfeel was lighter in body with huge carbonation. Overall it was decent....would like to try this beer on tap....probably wouldn't search out a bottle of it.

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Photo of liamt07
3.71/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased at the SAQ from a recent journey home through Quebec from Maine. 33cl bottle into my Duvel tulip.

Pours a murky, golden brown with some shades of plum and orange around the edges. Fantastic billowing head, soapy and sudsy with fat chunks of lace and supreme retention. Aroma is sweet, getting some light fruity notes (some plum) and a very, dry vinous feel to it as well. Taste is fairly similar, I'm getting a very dry vinous feel to it (although very, very muted in the vinous sense) with some relatively darker stone fruits (again, plum primarily) and some raisin as well. Still maintains a bit of sweetness amongst the dry nature of this. Slightest hint of alcohol. Mouthfeel is relatively watery, drying. Good drinkability, but not something I'd reach for on a regular basis. A definite sipper. Very muted, simple and subtle in all aspects.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.99/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured in to tulip.

A - Slightly cloudy medium orange with an amber hue towards the centre. A lot of head from the pour that settled off-white and very thick.

S - Funk up front with some bready malts, some lemon zest and Belgian yeast.

T - Funk up front that immediately gives way to Belgian yeast and clove flavours. Mid-palate has a grassy hop profile with lighter lemon zest and herbal notes. Finish is dry with some bitterness and funk.

M - Light to medium body with moderate to high carbonation.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Cloudy, orange, nice soapy head and grand retention. Cool bottles.

S. Bready malts, some light fruit. I know I am getting into something good.

T. Malty, fruity. Vague hints of apricot and apple. Some wheat elements. Slightly sour that fades to bitterness from the hops.

M. Crisp, light to medium bodied, nice dry finish, almost like champagne.

D. Real nice beverage here. Great for sessions. Tasty. Drinks slow, a sipper.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy, amber honey.

S - Honey, honeysuckle, golden raisins, moscato cider

T - Bitter/sour bite, yeast, and alcohol all hit early in the profile. Granny smith apples in the middle and cedary hops at the top of your palate. Mild barn-yard aftertaste.

M - Crisp, light body

D - Complex and worth taking your time with. Once you get used to the profile it's fairly drinkable.

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Photo of Duff27
4.36/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Fluffy white three inch head on a slightly murky ruby-red beer. Tons of effervescence going on within the tulip. Clumptastic lacing and great head retention.

S- Undeniable Belgian yeast strain peppery spiciness. It's like a candied funk, hard to describe (albeit undeniable..yeah!).

T- Pale malts, "grape skin", some funk, bubble gum. So much going on. Tasty. Subtle sweet aftertaste. Hard to detect any alcohol, just want to keep drinking.

M- Creamy medium mouthfeel with prickly carbonation bubbles.

D/O- The first sip of this beer is like a kick in the gonads but in your mouth. "What is this!?" Subsequent imbibing produces a flurry of happy chemical release in my brain. Really like nothing I've had before. This is classic. Highly recommended for Belgian beer fans.

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Photo of Zorro
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy tan and orange colored brew.

Smell is intensely fruity, apple and lemon smells dominate, almost smells like a wine.

Taste is spicy with plum and apple flavors dominating. Not a sweet brew finishes dry.

Mouthfeel is intense, strong fine bubbles swarm you tongue like good champagne.

Another beer that must be sipped not chugged.

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Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle, dated 17/09/2004, best before 17/09/2009, ABV is 6.9%. Pours a cloudy orange/yellow color, nice carbonation, huge foamy head, tons of lacing throughout the drink. Scents of hops, malts, somekind of citrus, floral. The taste is alittle bitter, and sourery, hard to describe really. Medium body. This is a very nice brew, my first Belgian Pale Ale I believe, so really nothing to compare to, but it's totally different than other Belgian's I've had. Would recommend for sure.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Standard Orval teardrop bottle from the Coop for about $5.50 carefully poured into my New Belgium goblet leaving the yeast sediment behind.

4 finger rocky head that left behind ribbons of thin lace.. brew is slightly hazy orange.

Aroma is complex spicy.. earthy.. some citrus.. perfumy

Flavor is jam-packed.. good bitterness .. very dry finish.. slightly sour with earthy hoppiness abound.. This beer is very complex.. probably too complex for my palate to appreciate.. all I can really say for sure is it is fantastic. Huge carbonation with a light/medium body.

I've had Orval probably 8-10 times over the years and always tell myself I must cellar some... this time I will.. I hope.

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Photo of biegaman
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

If there is ever one beer that it should be considered absolute blasphemy to drink straight out of the bottle, truly, Orval is it. Not only would that waste the illustrious chalice (designed by the abbey's architect) but you'd be missing out on what is surely the poster-boy for Belgian beers. The name Orval is derived from 'Val d'Or' (Golden Valley) and indeed, a beautiful and clear, glistening amber, the beer lives up to that billing.

The Inuits have so many words for snow, as many Asian cultures do for rice; I wish beer reviewers had the same for head. Orval's deserves its own word; its an unfailing ultra-lush marshmallow that climbs a mile high over the beer. It looks like the clouds themselves. They say a picture paints a thousand words, this one paints just one: gorgeous.

Just because a beer is brewed by monks doesn't necessarily mean it's holy - in Orval's case, however, it is. Heaven, I imagine, probably smells something like this - the beer does, after all, smell like God's feet. Every bottle is a religious experience. It is the distilled super-essence of acres of fruit orchards and flower gardens. Sweet bread and tart berries marry. Much of this magic is owed to the 'hocus pocus' of a wild yeast known as Brettanomyces.

Orval has the complexity of a beer its strength, yet the 6.9% alcohol has been completely deferred; I've never encountered a boozy bottle. If you look through most beer books - or at least all the ones that I have - you'll find plenty of information on the history of the abbey and its romantic legend, but you won't find much detailed description about the actual beer itself. Indeed, it's an intricate beer so unique that it's tough to describe...

Pressed, I'd say it tastes like a combination of pungent soft cheese, fresh warm bread and tart berry fruits. (Yeast is truly one of the world's last areas of magic!) It is perhaps the longest taste ever and is dry as a mid-summer breeze. Its carbonation is bubbly and brisk. Hops are a drop in the bucket but a fleeting taste of their earthy, leafy bitterness is readily noted. Such a treat to drink, and so balanced, Orval is true harmony in a bottle.

Orval is a drink that can turn savages into civilized men. Although as a rule I avoid making dramatic and subjective statements, I have no hesitation in saying this is the most perfectly crafted beer ever. And I know for a fact that some of the world's best brewers wouldn't hesitate to agree. Drink it once, remember it forever. If ever I had to chose a perfect beer...

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

For my 800th review I thought I'd review a beer from the one Trappist brewery I'd somehow missed reviewing before. I've had this brew many times, and I've found that it is extremely changeable over time- the older it is the more Brett comes out and the funkier and more sour it is and more Saison-like. The younger it is the spicier and cleaner and hoppier it is- but still with Saison elements. I like it both ways and at every point inbetween, but the bottle I'm reviewing is of the younger variety.

It pours a hazy golden with a fine white head that sticks around and leaves some spotty lacing. The aroma is slightly sour, a bit grassy and herbal, and has a touch of lemon and pepper in it as well. The taste is a complex mixture of light lemon, herbal hops, black and white pepper, and a dry, light astringency. Very nice. Smooth and slightly peppery mouthfeel make this a delight to drink on this hot day on my back porch. If it were a bit older and more sour, I'd probably edge the flavor score up to a five. Any way you find it, its worth drinking.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,230 ratings.