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

2,312 Reviews
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.

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: 2,312 | Ratings: 5,303
Photo of nezelrac
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured from 11.2oz bottle into tulip; bottled 22/04/10

A - medium orange with reddish highlights; slight haze; big, fluffy, craggy head rises from a gentle pour and lasts; thick rings and lacing all the way down

S - lemon rind, lime zest, yeast, hints of clove, juniper, coriander; simply captivating

T - sour and brett-y up front; lemon rind; hints of shortbread; always seems to be hiding something and revealing a fleeting glimpse of something else; the brett is evident throughout without being overbearing; excellent length - just keeps going!

M - high CO2 leaves a fizzy/almost prickly impression; medium-full on entry, then lightens through the mid-palate and gains through the back end

O - the sum is greater than the parts; truly a classic

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

A - Great hazy amber color with a very thick two finger fluffy head that slowly dissappeared leaving thick lacing down the sides.

S - Picking up on yeast and a definate pleasant barnyard funk. Very, very faint fruit smell.

T - Just like the smell one can definately taste that funk. A little tart on the front and dry on the finish.

M - Somehow even with this nice medium carbonation its almost creamy. A pleasant surprise.

D - This is really, really good. As someone who is a big fan of the funk this matches up perfectly with the pale ale.

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

Appearance: A mustard colored and cloudy appearance with a enormous bright white head.

Smell: Tangerine, Lemon, floral. Not too potent but a light hint of each.

Taste: A classic belgian pale Ale taste but filled with orange and lemon. Crisp at first sip then very smooth thereafter. A tad bit art an a hint of cider. Very dry. To be honest, the taste is so complex that I'm certain everyone who reviews it will miss something. I know this beer is ancient and it tastes it.

This is a slow sipping beer, not as up beat as some the Belgians. It's pale ale with a dark and mysterious mood, if that makes sense. I think this beer would be best enjoy once you've sampled many other brands first. This is a classic badass. you just know monks made thus.. old ones.

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

Bottled in 16/06/2009. Taken from notes. Reviewed in 05/06/2010. Poured into Chimay gobblet.

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange brew with a full three finger white head. Light perceived effervescence. No floaties.

Aroma: Intense aroma of orange zest, nectarines, lemon drop, roses and yeast. Some nuanced sourness and mild leather notes. Very complex with potential for alot more as it ages.

Taste: Medium high intensity. Follows up on the nose with orange zest, nectarine and some spiciness on the front. Yeast, citrus and melanoidin carameliness on the back. The Barnyard/Rustic character is not coming through much. I would rate it a 4 but i'll add half a point knowing the potential and range it brushes through as it ages.

Palate: Light medium carbonation, Low bitterness, Medium body and lasting yeasty and citrusy taste. No sourness and mild acidity. Finishes sweet. Drank it a bit too young, but still showcases amazing texture.

Drinkability: Perfect drinkability. It has undeniable potential as it ages achieving a wide range of profiles that will no doubt cover the quirkiest of tastes. You can't deny it's unique, interesting and complex yet accessible, PLUS it goes great with alot of different foods. This, in my mind, is what drinkability is about. Solid five.

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

Bottled on: 10:03:2004

Best before: 10:03:2009

Pours medium-copper with outstanding clarity and three fingers of dense off-white foam. Nose is of ripe apples with a beautiful yeasty backdrop.

Soft effervescent entry is followed by a slow build-up of palate pleasing sweetness at midtaste. Flavor is complex with hints of raisens & green apples mixing with an earthiness which becomes addicting midway through a 10 oz. tulip.

A swirl of the bottle and addition of the remnants manages to increase both flavor and intensity to the point of sheer nirvana.

The finish is champagne-quality dryness with a residual fade of funky, yeasty goodness.

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Photo of MrSeth
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a huge tan head. I always have a little trouble fitting one of these little bottles into glasses that technically should hold all of the contents. Not just lace, but foam clings to the glass. The nose has a very unusual citrusy quality, strange I guess because it also smells somewhat like sour apple all at once. The malt is way beneath this citrus and pungence in the profile. The taste is different than what the nose suggests.. a warming, lightly bready malt body, citrusy at the end with a slight aftertaste which is alot like the original taste. Orval has a very versatile profile so the food pairings for this ale are almost infinite.

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Photo of Biggness
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer pours beautifully! A very cloudy amber with a white head. This beer has very strong smells of spices and malts! YUM! The taste was incredibly smooth with flavors of malts and tons of spices, the followthrough of the flavor didn't knock my socks off but it was close to a 5. The mouthfeel was amazing, kind of like having a icecream soda in your mouth, it fizzed and was creamy! Not something I would drink all night due to a high carbonation level but a wonderful all around beer.

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Photo of OldSwampy
4.61/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Amazing tall cream-colored head over a hazy to murky amber / gold ale. Head is huge, stiff, and leaves ample lacing. Balanced spicy, floral nose. Taste with clove and other dark spices dominating, with an interesting funky element, balanced, complex, and not exactly like any other beer I've had. Taste develops long and slowly. Not a hint of an off-balanced mouthfeel, with smooth feel that never distracts from the flavor. Could perhaps have a stronger nose and a stronger finish, but nevertheless a superb beer. This one was bottled on 04/06/2015 per the label.

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Photo of BelgiumBill
4.61/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presented in the bowling pin bottle with a bottled on date of 10/3/2011.

Poured into an Orval chalice glass at 40 degrees. The color was a deep clover honey and hazy producing a moderate dense foamy pillowy head khaki in color. After a while it settles down to a persistent thin blanket sticking to the sides of the glass. Very attractive.

fragrances were sweet, toffee, yeast, hint of pine forest.

The flavors diverged from what the nose may lead you to expect. There was a strong piney hoppy bite that hit you up front and stayed throughout the finish. There was the citrus rind and some other herbaceous haylike flavors rolling around.

Great complexity drawing you in for most sips. Carbonation was just right - enough to cleanse the palate and release the flavors but not too much to distract.

Overall, a nice pale ale done the Belgian way.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.61/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

How have I not reviewed this beer? I mean, good lord, we visited the Orval brewery 3 years ago, I've enjoyed it a number of times before and since...shame on me. This is an 11.2 oz/33cl bottle (bottled on 23/09/2008, so just over a year old), poured to an Orval goblet.

A: Others may claim to compare, but there is quite simply none other than an Orval when it comes to the appearance. Massive head, a flocculant 2+ fingers of ivory. It would easily crest the glass if not for its solid, tight-spun foam. A honey-amber beneath that ridiculous cap, a light haze and plenty of tiny bubbles wriggling from the etched base. Lace coats the entire glass in a complete sheet, thicker foam sticks in bands.

S: Hay-like grassiness and flowery honey rise from the glass, a captivating 'brett' yeastiness balances. Sneaking sweetness approaches then regresses: dried cherries, candied apples, cinnamon, apricots.

T: Nuances abound: grassy grain, peach cobbler, baked apples, cracked pepper, ripe pears, tart cherries, mint sprigs. Ends with a dusty dryness, an almost brutal mineral flavor, but sugars still jockey for position to the end.

M: Clean and crisp effervescence, smooth carbonation, delicate feel, maybe on the thin side if we're looking for 'faults'. Light-medium body, long mineral-dry finish.

D: Epitomizes the Belgian Pale style for me: crisp, yeasty dryness, 'rustic' flavor, bountiful aroma, and, oh, that look. Do yourself a favor and buy some for now and for later...among the world's best fresh, even better with some age. I don't recall loving this beer nearly as much in my early days but now it's divine: A+.

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Photo of BurgerJones
4.61/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.7oz bottle poured into an Affligem goblet.

Pours slightly cloudy orange with pillowy white head that outlasts the beer and laces the glass throughout.

Smell is pepper and clove, sweet fruits.

Taste is like no beer I've ever had...spices, unidentifiable fruits and flowers, yeasty tang at the finish and as the beer warms. Almost no identifiable alcohol.

Mouthfeel very fizzy, pleasing and refreshing, light body.

Overall, excellent, unique tastes that are definitely beer but not present in any other beers I know, if that makes any sense.

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Photo of TCHopCraver
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes made on 2/11/11.

Holy head, Batman! Even with a ridiculously slow pour into a huge snifter, the fluffy, bubbly, light beige head reaches five fingers high. This buoyantly rests above a beautiful mahogany-amber-gold beer. Very speedy carbonation rushes from the bottom of the glass. Gobs of bubbly lace is left on the glass.

Tart, tart fruits are the name of the game in the smell. Really tart green apple, pear, lemon, lime, and sour cherries combine with an earthy funk to create an original, wild odor. Not in a bad way, sweet animal urine blends into the mix. The smell is also very spicy with notes of clove and pepper. This is a hugely unique smell and I love it.

Wow, the taste is a lot different from the smell. Instead of tart fruits dominating, the earthy-spice-funk grabs the headline. I do get some of the fruity tartness on the sides of my palate, but on the broad of my tongue is nothing but soil, spice, a bit of a phenolic flavor, and tangy funk. This is mostly from the yeast I would guess. AS it warms, the tart fruits do pop a lot more. Yeah, this changed a bunch as it warmed. The finish is deliciously dry and earthy.

Orval has a light to medium body, but the carbonation makes is seem much fuller. It is sparkly and effervescent on my palate for most of the sip with a lingering, bone-dry finish. Each quaff leaves me craving more.

Whenever I need a funky, tart Belgian fix in the future, this is where I will go. It is so enjoyably challenging to my palate and brain. I find this to be greatly drinkable and I would drink it so much more if the price tag wasn't so high. But, I expect to pay for quality, so I am not complaining.

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Photo of robnews
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Leffe Goblet.

After a not so vigorous pour, I still had a two finger head in my glass. Nice slightly off white head. Cloudy dark amber appearance. Head thins out slowly leaving a full coat of lace even near the end.

Great citrusy floral scent reminiscent of spring. Quite nice. Sweet banana smell almost.

Very nice taste of sweet with low power Belgian yeasts present. Alcohol doesn't seem to come through immediately in the flavor, but is there with a nice warming later on. There are several other flavors in there but I can't pinpoint them. Quite complex.

High carbonation but I'm partial to it so I enjoy this.
Really glad I picked this up. Bottle was 2 years old.

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Photo of Padron4KM
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle. bottled on 11/18/03 best before 11/18/08.
Pours out cloudy amber with a thick long lasting head. thin sheet of stiky lace left behind. Aroma is fruity and earthy and barnyard,
Flavor is slightly sweet slightly sour with just a touch of bitterness on the finish. nicely balanced.

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Photo of ZorPrime
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this is an extraordinary beer.

Amber color with a fruity smell with some spices. Faint notes of banana too. The head is nice and doesn't disappear. The taste is complex... very hard for me to describe the taste. In the end, I do taste the hops. However, very hard to describe the spicyness... I would guess some cloves. Anyway, I love it... with more beer tasting, maybe I'll get more in the taste.

The mouthfeel is very good with a good amount of carbonation in the mouth. I could certainly drink more than one of this one.

This is definitely a good beer.

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Photo of ThaCreep
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The nose is quite sweet, raised with yeast slightly acidic. In the mouth, we feel the bitterness of these yeasts (which is not unlike the lambics), and coupled with aromatic hops, the body becomes elusive. The finish is hoppy bitterness and acid sticking to the palace, leaving all the flavor of the beverage spread to the buds.

But most of all its obvious advantages, the Orval is a beer that changes gradually as time passes (the alcohol level is changing quickly), making each taste a new discovery. A unique beer.

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Photo of megahurts4
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orval Trappist Belgian Ale

Appearance: Hazy honey in color, large head, some lacing.

Smell: Citrus and Wheat.

Taste: Wheat, floral hops, slight citrus and dark fruit.

Mouthfeel: Medium and smooth.

Overall: Very nice! Hoppy and wheaty with fruit subtleties. This was my second meeting with Orval after a few years. My first time, I was more-or-less new to good beer. Now, I can say I am definitely a fan!

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Photo of JLeege
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 3/25/10 ~ 1 year old ~ Poured into a chalice

Appearance- Pours a slightly hazy orange color with a big creamy just off white head. Good retention, a little wispy lace.

Smell- An earthy funk fills the air as soon as you open the bottle. When you put your nose in it you get lots of lemon with some leather, tart smelling. Some light spice, a hint of yeast. The aroma is as good as it gets!

Taste- Dry throughout, somewhat musty in a good way. Slight caramel, lemon, peach, a little apple, the fruit presence gives it slightly tart quality. Grassy to dry hay, with some leather showing up on the back end. Very crisp, drying finish, lingering light fruits and leather on the palate.

Mouthfeel- Medium / light body, fairly spritzy carbonation. Dry, refreshing, champagne like. Overly drinkable.

Overall- I can't believe this is the first time I have had this beer! (Maybe it was the unassuming label) Instantly one of my new favorites. Probably the best Belgian Pale I have had.

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Photo of Cresant
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 11.2 oz. dark brown bottle into a Duvel glass. Bottled on 14/11/06. Huge head developed and left clumpy lacing. The body was murky and honey colored.

Smell was fruity with a Belgian yeasty aroma. Not chalky smelling. Seven-Up!. Earthy. Floral. Woody. Wild, Lambic-like funkiness (in a very good way).

Taste was tangy and fruity. Complex. Bitterness and sweetness. Peppery. Yeast breadiness. There was a long, subtle finish of hops flavors and graininess. Baked fruits. Alcohol peaked as it warmed, but it was never too strong. Pretty dry.

Mouthfeel was medium to full with medium to mild carbonation.

This one had aged longer than I prefer. I like the fresh, hoppy Orval, however, this one was great too.

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Photo of ThirdLap
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River has said in interviews that this is his favorite beer. As his brewing efforts have turned me on to a variety of beer styles, I figure Orval is worth a closer look.

Bottled on February 20, 2008, making it about 13 months old. Served at 50°F in a Russian River tulip.

Pours a cloudy medium tan that reminds me of unfiltered apple cider. The off-white two-finger thick head is chunky, uneven, and long-lasting.

The nose on Orval is pure brett, with characteristic wine and vinegar notes. Hints of citrus and spices round things out.

Taste is brilliant. If you enjoy Russian River's sours you will understand how this served as one of Vinnie's inspirations upon the very first sip. The huge brett aroma is muted in the taste, giving it a mild sourness, backed up by green apples and spice. Finish is bitter then dry, almost like champagne. The taste that remains between sips reminds me of Perrier. I'm thinking Orval may be the perfect way to introduce people to the idea of sourness in beer.

As with most proper Belgians, carbonation is huge. Body is right in the middle, and the 6.9% abv is well-masked.

Were it not for the price tag, I would probably pick Orval up much more often. Five bucks for a 33cl bottle is a bit steep, but somehow upon finishing it still seems like a fantastic bargain.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle - bottled 3/17/07

Pours a lightly hazed amber-brown with a mountainous head that fills the remainig space in the tulip. Thick lacing on the glass.

The complexity in the aroma of this beer is amazing. I detect a slight sweet malt scent upfront that is almost candy-like. I smell some very floral hop tones floating above bits of breadiness and a distinct spicy smell. It's very difficult to break them down into separate pieces, because it' so well woven together into a beautiful olfactory tapestry. There is nothing else like this.

The taste is very similar to the smell, except that there is more hop bitterness and less sweetness than the smell indicates. Nice malt tones upfront leading into that amazing floral/spicy/bready taste accompanied by the bitterness. It finishes surprisingly dry, with a very pleasant lingering floral taste and bitterness.

Body is rather light, carbonation in abundance.

A truely unique experience from start to finish, which is a rare find. The complexities in this beer are amazing, and it's ridiculously drinkable. This should be a mandatory addition to every BA's "wants" list.

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Photo of digita7693
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A orange/gold and cloudy with a wonderful head

S some citrus with malts, grass/barnyard and a tart-sour smell in the background

T some citrus going on with bread and a slight sourness, with some fruits in there (tart apples) delicious

D wonderful beer, extremely drinkable, the alcohol, with all the flavors and smells is almost undetectable

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my first Orval... So here goes--

I poured this into my Duvel tulip with the same method of pouring I always use... It filled up the entire glass with head. It literally rose all the way to the top and stopped just before cascading over the sides! It was as though I used the Jedi mind trick on it.
Anyway... the color is burnt orangey gold. The giant fluffy head reminds me of lemon meringue pie filling and leaves spotty chunks of lacing just from settling.

Smells of lemons and fresh herbal grassiness. Maybe a light spicy yeast note too. There seems to be a little fruitiness in here-- banana? plantain? even a slight scent of bubble gum. A slight funky earthiness blends in and fills the gap between each scent making it hard to fully distinguish them. That leads directly into the taste as well... There are certainly some herbal, grassy, and fruity notes, with hints of bananas. But just like in smell, there is a touch of funk that blends them all together. Very interesting. Very little hop presence, but it still works in terms of taste. Something here reminds me of apple juice...

Very dry finish. Actually between the finish and the mouthfeel, you could possibly convince some people that this was a new type of flavored champagne. The feel is very light and airy with lots and lots of fine bubbles fizzing around your mouth.

To rate this beer in terms of drinkability--- It's hard to believe this is 7% abv. It is deceptively smooth. I could certainly drink 3 or 4 of these before standing up and noticing my level of inebriation. And perhaps I'll pick up a few more and conduct such an experiment.

Overall impression-- I can see how many American versions attempt to recreate this particular beer. This is arguably the measuring bar by which the style is judged. As well it should be. Those monks know their stuff!

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Photo of Lolli1315
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Golden orange with a billowing egg shell white head. The head is pillowy and resilient as about a half finger sticks around. It is slightly hazy and leaves behind a sticky lacing.

S- Tart fruits with a reasonable amount of lemon. Some medicinal and phenolic smells with little underlying malt sweetness. Some earthy musty character as well.

T- The lemon and citrus flavors are not as pronounced in the taste although they can be tasted lingering in the background. Medicinal and other phenolic flavors are apparent throughout the beer. The earthy, musty, slightly barnyard characteristic starts in the middle of the beer and carries through the finish. Slightly tart, but certainly not mouth puckering and it is not off putting. Slight hop bitterness in the finish.

M- Medium, maybe medium light body. Carbonation is slightly prickly on the tongue at first, but it has become more smooth as the beer has settled. Finish is dry as well.

O- A great belgian pale ale and the earthy character makes this both different from others in the same style as well as providing it with a little more character. As a person who edges towards the funky/sour end, this is my type of beer, but likely not offensive to others who do not prefer funk all that much.

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Photo of Jef59
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a gorgeous hazy orange with a gigantic off-white head.

The smell is amazing! Vey similar smelling to a white wine. Grapes, oranges, and a little grapefruit. There is a little pine and nuttiness followed by sweet sugary smell. A little boozey but in a nice way.

Tastes of sweet malts with an extremely crisp and refreshing hop note. Very citrusy and grapey like the nose. It's kinda funky, not in a horse blanket kind of way but it has a slight twang to it. Extremely well balanced. Extremely refreshing.

Nicely carbonated. Not very thick and is easily quaffable (I wouldn't dare though)

A truly unique Belgian ale. Very distinct and delicious.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,303 ratings.
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