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

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,301 Reviews
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Belgium
orval.be

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,301
Ratings:
5,266
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
12.44%
 
 
Wants:
336
Gots:
856
For Trade:
11
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Reviews: 2,301 | Ratings: 5,266
Photo of jtingue
4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Rochefort chalice.

Appearance. Pours with the most beautiful, well formed head I have personally ever seen. It is so rigid that it rises a good inch above the glass, without spilling. The beer itself has a hazy orange amber color.

Smell. Full of ripe fruits, with berries, mango, pineapple, and other tropical fruits. The now familiar smell of brettanomyces is also present, as well as the sourness that comes with it. The smell has an almost creamy richness to it as well.

Taste. A dry, but sweet, malt profile is initially there, but is immediately overtaken by a moderate level of bitterness. This bitterness fades into herbal, slightly earthy hop notes. Semi-sweet fruits are encountered next, with citrus and some of the tropical fruits described before. A very quick burst of intense sweetness follows which is more sugary than fruit based. The finish is very champagne like: dry and very fruity, but also bitter.

Mouthfeel. A moderate body is masked by an intense amount of carbonation.

Truly a unique beer. A must have for any beer enthusiast, or any human being with taste buds.

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Photo of organicbrewer
4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 13/10/2005. It's waited long enough.

A- Huge eggshell head on this thing. Doesn't go away. Beautiful bronze. Darker than I remember, maybe from age? Brilliantly clear. The yeast must have settled out.

S-Hay and lemon rinds. Some Breadiness. Slightly metalic but pleasantly so. Yeasty. Very little hop aroma.

T- Still firmly bitter, even after 4 years. Dirty and biscuity.

M- Prickly carbonation keeps the palate ready for the next sip. Bone dry. Bitterness is really high but so good.

d- If i could afford it I would drink this beer everyday. This is near perfect.

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Photo of bebbcorp
4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served at cellar temp from bottle poured into wide mouth goblet. Upon opening the bottle it hisses a very healthy carbonation and smells of yeast, lemongrass and a very clean musty attic. A clean pour with no sediment shows just how very carbonated this beer is and results with a very large head that crackles and pops receding into a great bubbling lace. A minute after the pour I put my head close to the glass and the beer is still bubbling and talking to me. Aromas from the glass are pale malt and cream. Beer drinks very dry and creamy with a bit of a pucker at the end, but not in a sour way at all. Almost like hay, dirt, mushrooms, and a very very good bread of a type that I have never had before. I am not experienced with brettanomyces but I think that is what this is and is flourishing in this beer. The beer was bottled on 29/07/2009 and that would explain this. It is all very enjoyable and makes me ponder at the end of every sip and I very much like this beer. So very smooth with no noticable alcohol. I could chug this beer if I wanted to quite easily, but that is not what I want to do. Then it would be gone and I would be sad. This beer is forcing me to enjoy it and I am sipping it slower than any beer I've had in a while. The bretty flavor stays in your mouth long after last sip is gone and that makes this beer all the more valuable. A beer that keeps entertaining the tastebuds even after it's gone. Orval trappists you have created a truly great beer and it's no wonder you only make two different beers. No need to make any more when you nail one perfectly. A 5 out of 5.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As I pour this sacred liquid into my goblet, Orval appears as a beautiful shade of clear copper, topped with a very puffy 1" white head. The aroma is rich and complex... I'm picking up spices, a yeasty 'farmhouse' funk, sugary malts, and various fruits- including green/sour apple, lemon and banana. What's unique about experiencing this beer is that the initial flavor and feel is crisp and peppery, with a subtle hint of hops, and the finish is a nice 'banana bread' aftertaste. Two quite different flavor effects merging together to form a tasty union. Absolutely delicious and drinkable anytime, and one of my favorite beers of all time.

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Photo of Xziz
4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my first review and I really shouldn't put it so far at the top of the scale... but... this ale is simply wonderful. It smells good, it looks great, and tastes simply divine. The taste is very distinct and leaves an aftertaste that keeps you wanting more. I highly recommend it.

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Photo of Lukie
4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured out honey like with a vibrant thick and fluffy head that stuck to the top of the liquid, barely dissipitating at all.

Very floral smell, with hints of flowery pot purre, and citrus fruits, lemon and bitter orange.

Quite a crisp beer, with citrus and floral notes, much like a typical Pale Ale. Lemon rind and bitterness from the hops rounds this out quite well. Hints of fermented apple in the finish, with incredible dryness.

Incredibly complex through the different yeasts they use, this is one to sit down and really think about. Fantastic beer that is truley amazing. Best of all, VERY drinkable, and for a Belgian, isn't too high in alcohol.

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Photo of stewart124
4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled 7/24/09

Pours orange/amber color with a huge pillowy head. Plenty of carbonation visible.

The smell is of lemon bits of spice in the nose.

Loads of esters and caramel characters with lemon and spice in the background. Some horse blanket with a bite and carbonation really kicks this up a notch. Quite tart all the way through that finishes bone dry.

This is delicious and one that I wish was a bottomless glass.

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Photo of GiveEmilyBeer
4.87/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Sour, funky, smooth, delicious. Can be drank cold, cool or at room temperature, and will reveal different complexities and aromas at different temps. Notes of cherries, fruit, citrus aroma. Should be served in a chalice or tulip glass. A world class trappist ale.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.87/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

For as many times as I've had this, I just assumed I had reviewed it at some point. Alas, I have not and now is the time. Poured into a snifter. Bottled 01/06/2010, about a year and a half old.

4.5 A: Plenty of carbonation in this one. The first pour yielded 80% head. Hazed medium orange color. Second pour gave me a full glass. Three fingers of pillowy white head with excellent retention. Rather than just lacing, there are gobs of head permanently stuck to the sides of the glass.

5.0 S: Wonderful! Loads of funk in here: horse blanket, musty basement, and old socks. Peppery spiciness, perhaps a touch of clove, lemongrass, old hay, peach, and wild apple.

5.0 T: Again, wonderful! Barnyard funk, horse blanket, dank wet basement, and wet hay. Below that is pepper, clove, and tumeric spiciness. Mega earthy overall. Hints of what were grassy and earthy hops. Peach fruitiness again with crab apple. Sweet in the middle and drying on finish.

4.0 M: Lighter medium body. A bit too much carbonation, but it is happily very spritzy and super smooth.

5.0 D: I've yet to have a bottle of this at any age that wasn't good, but it seems like 1.5 years is a pretty good place for it. Lots of funk without any hints of being "stale" or whatever you want to call it. Probably the best single out there.

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Photo of SuperSpy
4.87/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottled on 22/04/2009 Best before 22/04/2015

Big rocky white head. A cloudy golden color that I can still see through until I stir up the sediment and add it to the glass. The aroma is amazing. Spices, yeast, apple, lemon and a nice floral scent. The flavor has lemon peel with a touch of lemon pith, sweet, spicy while equally tart and bitter. Incredibly complex with various flavors becoming more pronounced as the beer warms. A thoroughly exceptional and enjoyable beer.

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Photo of kjyost
4.87/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Walked into the Liquor Mart today, and what the heck? Orval? Gotta pick that up...

Bottled on 04/01/2010 ABV 6,2%

Poured stiffly into a Leffe chalice that is not nearly large enough, with 2/3 head and 1/3 beer. The beer itself is golden to orangey. The head quickly descends to a small cap leaving lacing all the way.

What a fantastic aroma coming off he head though. Initially a tiny bit of funk came through, but it took we a moment to notice the oriental lily that was very strong. As that aroma weakened the essence of barnyard was coming out, perhaps with a hint of my wet dog, but that could just be me being crazy.

The beer itself is incredibly interesting with a light sourness and funk. When the remnants of the bottle are thrown into the chalice that lily flavour plays across the palate. No substantial bitterness. Different flavours are prevalent in each sip. Sometimes the malt plays through, other times different aspects of the funk, often it is floral esters.

The mouthfeel is a little weak initially, likely due to the stiff pour as the carbonation is almost flat. It gets better when the rest of the beer is poured in, becoming smooth and creamy with a light finish.

Drinkability? Hell yeah. This is lightest drinking trappist I have tried. I suspect though by the third it would quit being so complex, but still just flavour country...

EDIT: 09/24/11 Bottle aged 1.5 years. Strong lily notes have disappeared, much stronger barnyard aroma play through with a stronger finish on the palate. Not remaining hop aromas / flavours are apparent. Not as good as fresh.

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Photo of cottonkoozie
4.86/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A - Pours a deep copper color with a monster off-white head that sticks around like many of this style.

S - Little bit of sweetness. Some citrus. Something else i'm not sure how to describe, assuming it is the yeast strain, a little musky. Somewhat of a sour smell. Picking up some fruits, banana. A lot going on here.

T - Wow. A lot going on here, like the smell. Citrus, light fruits up front. Slightly sour, almost lemony. Yeast strain lends an interesting complexity that is very nice. finishes a little bitter but dry.

F - Very carbonated, works nicely with the clean finish.

Very good beer. Unique, and in a good way. This one was bottled about 10 months ago, and can be cellared up to 5 years. Would like to see how it changes over time. Nice complexity of sweet, sour, bitter, citrus. Very good depth of flavors here. Great beer.

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Photo of JamesQuaff
4.86/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured into a Duvel tulip from an 11.2oz bottle, with a bottling date of 08/18/2011. Gifted to my on my birthday by a good friend with great taste and extreme patience. Told myself I was going to wait for a special occasion, but today thought "wouldn't cracking this aged Orval MAKE today a special occasion?".

A: Pours a rich copper-orange with a dense and luxurious one finger head which leaves rather thick fingers of lacing that slowly retract completely into the brew. Plenty of carbonation rising up from the bottom of the glass. Beautiful.

S: The nose is giving me something different every time I go back. Wildflower honey, banana, grains, some pepper, a tiny bit of horehound candy, tropical fruit, and a funky barnyard vibe toward the back. Belgian all the way. The honey seems to come up to the front to me the most.

T: Oh man... the taste. This beer is absolutely sublime. Subtle initial hop bitterness fades into a slight honeyed sweetness which gives way to a most delicious funky finish. Kind of like how you can taste the Asturian hill country in Cabrales blue cheese or taste the ocean in a fresh oyster. This fleeting idea of a flavor note that floats away from the finish must be what an abbey tastes like. Mind-blowing.

M: Medium-bodied, creamy and smooth. The carbonation is luxurious and velvety.

O: Definitely one of the finest beers to ever cross my lips. Hands down the best example of a BPA I've ever had. This was my first encounter with Orval, so I've never had a young version to compare with this one. I will absolutely be adding a few bottles to my growing collection and sampling them at various ages.

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Photo of Doomcifer
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow...I haven;t had one of the Bad Larry's in a while!

Bottled on 2/20/08 ; pretty old bottling but should still be great.

Pours a bright golden color with a fantastic rocky, frothy, sticky head that retains unbelievably well. Mass amounts of lacing sticks to the Chimay glass. Smells of brett funk, yeast, vinegar, leather...tons of things going on here. Tastes of tons of funk on the palate, tart cherries, with a huge backbone of IODINE. Reminds me of a spirit ie single malts in it's crazy complexity. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, lots of carbonation, prickly on the mouth, and dry finish. Drinkable on the fact that you can't put it down while you're trying to figure out everything that is going on inside this extraordinarily unique beer.

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Photo of jackndan
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Orval, Trappist Ale: In the handsome bud vase bottle. A deep reddish-orange colored beer, under a thick creamy head that was huge when it was first poured, but settled down to a quarter of inch head. Thick Belgian Lace coats the side of the glass with each sip.

The aroma is very distinctive, lemon, and a least yeast smell. The taste is terrific, but damn hard to describe. Very nice taste, almost lemony, with a little bit of yeast, but much more so. The mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy, with just a hint of carbonation. The aftertaste is pleasant, and very long lasting. I hear you either hate it or you love it, and I love it.

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Photo of eclaycamp
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orvall is arguably the most recognizable and respected of all the Trappist breweries, save perhaps for Chimay. Orval is immediately identifiable by their unusual bottle shape. It looks like a small brown bowling pin.

12 ounce bottled pulled into a rudimentary glass chalice. I poured this one slowly and tossed out a bit to avoid having the beer overpowered by the yeast cake on the bottom of the bottle. The beer is tangerine in color, more orange than I remember. It's the color of sun tea. Small bubbles make up a larger rocky head. Nice lacing that looks a lot like dish soap. Solid inch worth of head on this one, even with my conservative pouring efforts. Smell is amazing, intoxicating. I get some light hits of yeasty clove and bananas to start things off, before things get a little more hefty. There's a strong fruit presence here, with some cherry standing out for me. Im also getting a distinct apple presence. Combined with the malt profile it's almost like smelling a hot apple pie. There's also some clear earthy barnyard funkiness going on. Mouthfeel is light, almost to the point of effervescence, and there's very little in terms of bitterness.

I haven't had Orval in quite some time. My first real drink in a long while just takes the concept of Trappist beer and turns it directly on it's ear. Huge amount of dry and musky Brett yeast can be found through out the beer, adding an incredible amount of flavor. Hop character is relatively muted, though it's there up front. Reminds me of pear cactus. While there's a ton of things going on, the beer remains an absolute joy to drink. The light body makes this a very quaffable beer, though the flavor profile encourages you to meander. As the beer warms it offers you more, as the brett notes start to highlight more of the caramel malt profile.

Those with a patient palate will find that this beer offers a level of enjoyment few others can match. For me, it's so good it borders on ridiculous. There's really nothing to fault within this beer. Impeccable, simply incomparable. Highly recommended.

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Photo of cbarrett4
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my Karmeleit tulip (man chalice):

Pours a dusky, hazy orange with an insane amount of head with fantastic retention. Smells of funky citrus and flowers, lots of yeast backing it up. Seriously elegant and floral.

Taste centers on malts with a good kick of bready yeast, orange blossom, and dried nectarines. A tad sour but only faintly so.

Texture is rich and layered without being heavy or overly alcoholic. Fine balance of astringency with the sweetness, though light on both. Really well delineated.

Overall one of the best trappist ales out there. And my personal favorite trappist brew.

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Photo of Sigmund
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(330 ml bottle, ABV 6,2%). This fine beer is cloudy deep golden with an enormous creamy head. It has an intense, overwhelming but lovely aroma of ensilage, horse stable, leather and spicy fruit cake. The flavour is complex and spicy, hops stand out, the aftertaste is dry but could have lasted a little longer. Still, this is clearly a world class beer. Definitely moreish!

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Photo of mulder1010
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Solid, solid beer. Other reviews are spot on. If you are not into Belgian beers I suggest you try this beer first and it will change your mind. Lve the orange color and how the head retention stays through drinking. Mixed cherries with also a bit of straw (hey). Great pairing with seafood, like mussles!!! Only real negative is that it can be a bit pricy, very worthwhile to drink.

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Photo of chanokokoro
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 11.2 oz. uniquely shaped bottle into an Orval chalice

Pours a slightly hazy orangish amber with a two finger clean white head. Abundant lacing visible along the sides of the glass. Smells of citrus and flora with a hint of pine. Seems to be a medium-bodied brew at first but finishes light, very dry, crisp, and clean. Tart citrus rind and grass dominate with dry, fruit tones throughout. Fantastic dry Belgian pale ale. Definitely one of the very best available.

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Photo of Cru
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My favorite beer. The perfectly balanced flavor profile. Just enough sour to keep the malty sweetness common in the Trappist Style from taking over. Most of the other Trappist style beers tend to be far to malt-forward for my taste. But I love this beer, I might have married it if I had known about it before I met my wife.

High carbonation, often overflows on opening, head can take some time to dissipate. Straw to copper color.

Strong fruit nose, strong sour apple but clearly the intended flavor. Balanced bitterness. Very clean mouth feel. No lingering after taste.

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Photo of RedBeerHead
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours light and cloudy. Very heady. Good fruity smell and flavor and light on the tongue. Excellent drinkability.
This beer is well balanced in both weight and flavor. The yeast gives it good body but it is offset well by the head and carbonation. I am typically a fan of lagers and darker beers but this is definitely one of my favorites.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A One-Beer Trappist Brewery (OK - I know they do Petite Orval, but it is not generally available), brewed with 2 yeasts, the latter of which being a composite of several yeast strains, including Brettanomyces (of lambic fame), a beer that undergoes three distinct fermentations, and it is dry-hopped with English Hops. Wow!!. This is no “Run-of-the-Mill” Belgium Trappist Beer; it is, in all fact, probably the singularly most unique and certainly distinctive of all the Trappists.
Gorgeous looking Orangey-Amber color when poured, with a well developed covering, the bubble size diminishing as you rise up the profile of the head. Fantastically - Fabulously - Fruity nose. Perfume almost to the point of being intrusive, yet it invites you to delve into this immensely complex bitter beer. You are not disappointed, bitterness is very prevalent but “other almost indescribable” tastes abound. It really is so hard to explain this beer properly; Hop-Oils, Perfumes, Xmas Spices, almost Phenolic aftertastes – it’s all there. And the balance of these tastes, changes dramatically with its age. I have drunk Orval “fresh”, 1, 2, 3 and 5 years old. For me it is at its epoch between 1 and 2 years old. At 5 yrs old, it was flat and had no perfume or bitterness, and was very dank & musty, fine for a lambic - but not good for Orval. Also, if you intend to Cellar this beer, you MUST keep it Upright, Cool AND Dry – for the crown caps have a very nasty tendency to rust if the bottle is kept on its side, or somewhere damp, I know I lost a whole a whole Crate to Oxidation!!!
Unique, Very Distinctive, and a One-Off Trappist that is quite "English" in a strange way.

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Photo of putnam
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lunar-eclipse orange with a massive, stiff head. Another aromatic triumph. Pine needles, sourdough, orange peel and clove all take turns on the nose. There is a really medieval feel to the aromatics. This is the beer they drank in Middle Earth, all resinous, peaty and full of crackling wild enzymes. The flavors are pretty and refined, somewhat in contrast to the nose. Sourwood honey, nutmeg, and roasted starch appear. A dry beer overall. A very fine, powdery grain on the finish. One unique beer.

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Photo of JEdmund
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance
Pours out with an aggressive head, so a gentle pour is necessary; not quite able to get the whole bottle into the Orval chalice; color is dark, turbid brown--not the most appealing color, but the amazingly whipped head that sits there complacently is very impressive.

Smell
I really love the smell; tart, like sour apples, a bit woodsy, a bit sugary, and just a bit musty (but nothing off-putting like horse blanket); really, it's hard to put into words.

Taste & Mouthfeel
Still as impressive as the fist time I had it; there's just a lot to enjoy here, all delivered in a subtle and intriguing way; profile starts off with the most delicious and smooth bread-like flavors and just a tiny, tiny hint of brown sugar, which is then cut back with a pronounced tartness that then drops off to a bone dry finish; the body is extremely light and airy, with the classic Belgian level of carbonation (high); overall the flavor and body seem so delicate it's really hard to believe it packs 6.9% ABV.

Overall
I think Orval is something really special in the beer world. It's the ultimate in refined craftsmanship; it's overall delicious and packed with nuances to be discovered; as well, it's light and incredibly drinkable. I would drink this all the time if it were more affordable, so, as it is, I will put Orval on a high pedestal and enjoy it on special occasions.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,266 ratings.
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