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

2,316 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: 2,316 | Ratings: 5,315
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 JasonA
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my first Belgian Pale. Im not sure Im a good reviewer for it, so you may want to disregard my review.

This bottle was purchased at the Chesapeake Gourmet in Queenstown, MD. Poured from as picture bottle.

Looks opaque light brown, with some orange tine. Large and thick head. I dont get much from the smell, was expecting more of a bite from it.

As my first belgian pale, I am not impressed. I picked up this beer simply because it had 'Trappist' in the title. There is no mention of the type on the bottle. Shame on me.

I will say that it tastes very fresh, no real alcohol byte. Little hop after the swallow. Overall tastes dry to me. I was expecting more flavor.

Hopefully after I have tried more Begian pales, I can make my way back to this one.

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

Bought this Orval at Dawg's Bottle Shop.

33cL bottle with an interesting pin shape to it. Best before 31/01/2011.

Poured a nice medium brown with orangish notes into a goblet. Thick, off-white head about two fingers high.

Smelled of sweet malts and yeast.

First taste hit me with sweet dark fruits, grapes almost. Definitely a bitter aftertaste that is almost hoppy to me. Could hardly detect the alcohol.

Liked the mouthfeel as it was not heavily carbonated as I have encountered with other Belgians. Kinda medium bodied and chewy.

Lots of lacing left on the glass and head retained until the last swig. But that may be due to drinking it quicker than usual; but I couldn't help it. Delicious. Can't wait to have another.

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Photo of Beerzebub
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 04/04/2006

Bright, slightly translucent amber. Huge crown of blobby head that slowly melt into a dense, wrinkly volcano shaped thing.

Smells of spices (cloves, cinnamon, anise), herbs (hops, grass, basil), red apple, black currant, banana, yeast, leather. Complex and appetizing.

Very dry. Some herbal, medicinal hoppy bitterness, and the flavor of herbal hops. Some acidity. Some brett-induced leathery notes, very well integrated. Very long finish - dry, herbal, medicinal.

Some astringency, which really works with the overall dryness and exaggerates it. Good carbonation. Refreshing, and surprisingly drinkable.

Perhaps an austere hardliner among the Trappists, this beer is nonetheless one of the greats.

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Photo of peabody
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a nice reddish tan clear brew with lots of carbonation yeilding 3 fingers of off-white suds that stay high in my tulip glass.
Smell is a very light banana and cherry orange. Mabey a little sugar in there too but no alcohol is present.
Taste is a bitter mix of banana and lemon candy sugar with just a hint of hops and alcohol and cherry.
Mouthfeel is pretty clean with lots of carbonation but the flavors that are left in the mouth are like a heavy perfume.
Drinkability isn't all that great here because of the perfume feel in the aftertaste.

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Photo of rsyberg01
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

S - Teardrop 11.2 oz bottle. Bottled on 3-22-05. Best by 3-22-2010

A - Deep hazy copper. Head is great, tightly packed off white bubbles.

S - Tropical esters, spicy, banana, sugary malts, biscuity to a certain sense, citrusy orange as well.

T - Banana, orange zest, malty sweetness, not as strong as it all is in the nose. Nice little hop hit at the end.

M - Carbonated balanced pretty well with the weight of the beer. A little above average.

D - I think it would become pretty neutral after two or three in succession. Overall though it is not bad.

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Photo of Foxman
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a hazy orange amber, and is extremely carbonated. Many fingers of thick, sculptable beige head settle glacially. There's not so much lacing as a wall of froth on the inside of the glass.

The aroma reveals an underlying blanket of viscous malt, somewhat sweet and sneakily boasting caramel, vanilla, and ripe melon. Clove and coriander mate with a minty sour draft of bready yeast.

Upon tasting, there jabs a punch of semi-sweet malted grain, briefly fruity with peach and melon, then utterly dried by a maelstrom of clove, coriander, and black pepper, as well as a powerfully crisp and drying eddy of bitter herbal hops. An earthy, even funky, sourness interrupts before it becomes acrid, and the finish is an only slilghtly less bitter lingerance. It's an assertive, biting flavor personality that grows on me as I drain the glass.

Medium bodied, the tingling, edgy bitterness is very present, and quite poignant and dominant.

Ive heard people rave, and I've heard them trash this beer. For me, well, the first sip was an eye-opener, and then I slid into a very cozy comfort zone with it. It's sharp and fresh, and certainly drinkable, if you like it, that is. And I like it, and will again, when the mood strikes, which could be virtually any moment now.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

No surprise, there's a ton of reviews on this beer already. I've found that from memory, I didn't enjoy this beer much a few years ago. I took a flyer on it again after having been exposed to a lot more styles of beers through BA.

This time around, quite enjoyable. I like it as a summer / warm fall day beer. Adventurous, wide ranging and truly a belgian treat. Enjoy!

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Photo of beckje01
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an Orval Glass

A- Dark golden brownwith an inch of head thatsa cream color and kind of thick.

S- Sweet smell with a slight floral hint.

T- Sweet with a tang at the end. Slight floral and good zest.

M- Active zesty very good consistancy.

D- Very easy to drink almost to good at this ABV.

I will be haveing more of these.

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

Murky orange body with 5 or 6 fingers of head, typical of an abbey or trappist ale. Tons of lacing too. Smells sweet, citrussy, and yeasty. Rather complex flavor, tastes citrusy, spicy, piney, slightly sour, but in a good way. Somewhat peppery and alcolic as well... I like this beer. It definitely worth the hype!

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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 Rezzin
3.54/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 30/06/2005 best by 30/06/2010 consumed 9/20/2006.

A - Pours a hazy honey orange with a 2" thick head that leaves nice lacing on it's way down.

S - Sweet oranges, somewhat bready, citrus and maybe even a little sour. Smells great.

T - The first sip foams in the mouth. Starts off tart and maybe even a little sour then fades into a flavor much like a hoppy pale ale. Somewhat of a metallic twang to the flavor. As I let it warm it pretty much follows the same taste pattern... lambic, a hoppy ale, then metallic.

M - Highly carbonated and finished dry. Light and refreshing even with the massive carbonation.

D - I'm wondering if I got a light struck bottle. The aroma is wonderful but the flavor is just not I was hoping for. I'll re-review this beer later when I pick up another bottle. The place by my house sells these 11.2oz bottles for $4.

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Photo of blackie
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

appearance: Leaving most of the yeast in the bottle, the pour yields a 0.5" white head. It recedes incompletely, fed by streams of bubbles from the bottom. The beer is a hazy, milky medium brown.

smell: I get some immediate strawberry and raspberry aromas. Pale Belgian malts aromas with notes of peach. It's a little farm-housey, with some hay and a slight wildness to it. Hints of oxidized apple flesh, whole bread, white pepper, and flowery honey. Just a touch of hops noticeable.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is high, yet smooth. The body is very light.

taste: Pale malts with appley fruit flavors upfront. A little thin in flavor. There's also a light yeast character. After the swallow an aged, papery hop flavor becomes more evident, and a gentle bitterness dries out the finish.

drinkability:A well balanced beer, though a little uninteresting in some places...even a little watery. Easy to drink.

11.2 oz. bottle from Grapes & Hops in Fayetteville, Bottled 24/06/2005

6/14/2013 - upped some scores after purchasing an Amsterdam/Belgium ticket and cracking a bottle from Lost Dog

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

Serving Type: 11.2 floz Bottle

A:Murky Orange color with a nice head with plenty of lace.

S:Oranges, lemons, citrus.

T: Sharp taste, hard to pinpoint....Earthy

M:Stings the tounge, much like a cola.

D:Overall a good drinkable beer. Great for a summer afternoon.

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Photo of kenito799
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle, 6.9%alcohol, bottled 1/31/06 drunk 9/9/06, best before 1/31/11

My first taste of the authentic Belgian trappists, poured into a Duvel glass.

I understand that Orval is different in style to the other trappists, I can imagine why. Extreme carbonation, huge off-white head appears and fills the glass, receding slowly with nice lacing from bubbles of many different sizes. Color is hazy amber.

Aromas are sharp and citrusy, vague fruitiness is not dominant (bananas), some metallic scents.

Hitting the mouth the intense carbonation is the first impression, the beer foams on the tongue..the first flavor impression is tart and sour, a bit like a gueuze. Very dry, almost austere, and then bitter hoppiness takes over in the finish. As it warms in the glass and as I drink more, this beer feels like it has its feet in two camps...lambic and bitter, hoppy ale, battling for dominance. A pleasant battle to experience in the mouth. I think by the end of the bottle the ale won...but I miss that first jolt of lambic-like sourness.

I can't wait to try the other trappists...

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

Orval Trappist Ale
11.2 oz brown bottle
Bottled on: 06/24/2005
Best Before: 06/24/2010
Served in a Chimay goblet glass

Pours a hazy and cloudy light brown. Burnt orange highlights blend in the background. A massive, rocky head forms on top and magnificent patterns of sticky lacings cling all over the goblet.

The nose is amazing. Whiffs of lemon, honey, hops and sour funk yeast. Reminds me of a Lambic, must be the Brettanomyces. I inhale another big whiff and I detect sugary sweetness and random spices. I swirl the beer around and around in the goblet and I receive more complex scents.

My first sip is light, airy and sugary sweet. Complex flavors of sweet & sour battle on my palate. Again, the Lambic connection is on the forefront of my mind. A touch of lemon or lime citrus dipped in honey with a quality that provides a beautiful hop snap on the finish. This beer is also interestingly dry while a pressured carbonation blast prickles my tongue.

This is one amazing, unique and uncompromising monster of a trappist ale. A world class offering and strongly recommended.

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Photo of depechemode1983
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Serving type - 11.2oz stubby brown bottle with best before date printed on back. the site says 6.20% by volume but my bottle says 6.90% by volume

Apperance - light orange/brown amber color outstanding head plenty of lace to go around. very impressive

Smell - sour-citric smell. acidy fruit comes to mind such as lemons limes. floral smells linger. slight sweet smell

Taste - tart spicy taste up front. crisp finish with a definite hop presence thats excellent. floral and plant tartness that really sticks Mouth feel is decent with good carbonation and a little watery feel.

Note: this is one fine ale. loved it from start to finish..just too bad its so high priced and very hard to find in my area.

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Photo of ndekke39
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared a bottle of this with some good friends. Bottled on 1/24/06 and best-by 1/24/11. Poured a cloudy honey color with a bright white head and lots of lacing. Smells of so many things... apple, honey, banana, peach, yeast. Wonderful to stick your nose in. Taste was dry, fruit, and hoppy. Overall flavors ran the gamut from sweet to bitter to sour. Each sip brought something new out. Mouthfeel was bright and fizzy. Overall, excellent beer. Great to sip. Highly recommended.

Tried another bottle in September 2007. Bottled on 1/24/06 and best-by 1/24/11. Poured like a very cloudy cider. Small, white head, with little bits of lacing. Smells again of apple, plus some champagne. A little bitterness like an apple peel. Needs to warm up a bit. Very effervescent, like a champagne! This must be one result of the aging. Again, it's wonderful to drink, especially with good friends. Looking forward to trying another bottle next Labor Day!

And we shared yet another bottle in September 2008. Bottled 1/24/06, best by 1/24/11. Poured like clear-ish apple juice, nice thick white head, lots of lacing, great retention. Smells of apples and champagne. Taste is starting to flatten out. Very dry. Taste of apples, bitter at the end, like old coffee. Very effervescent mouthfeel. It's getting less nuanced, but we have 2 more bottles and will see it through to Labor Day 2010!

Opened our fourth bottle in September 2009. Like the rest, bottled 1/24/06 and best by 1/24/11. Poured a clear deep yellow. Lots of foam, very fizzy and rocky. Lots of lacing on the glass. Aromas of yeast, fermented apple cider, pears, white wine like a Riesling. Tastes of white wine, champagne, apples. Taste begins well, but ends with a flat burn. Almost tastes old. Mouthfeel is a bit flat, despite all the foam. Still interesting, but the beer is mellowing out. One more bottle for next year!

Opened our fifth and final bottle in September 2010. Like every one of them, bottled 1/24/06 and good until 1/24/11, although it doesn't seem to be holding up too well. Very foamy on the pour, with a consistent fluffy white head. Color looks darker and cloudier this year. Smells like apple cider vinegar. Tastes a little flat, like cardboard or wood; it's like a very weak wine. Mouthfeel is still fizzy and bright. This beer has about three months left in its life, but already it seems to be turning into nothing.

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Photo of Vancer
2.91/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Here’s a very disappointing brew, perhaps from over-hyped expectorations. The pour started on the right foot - a hazy amber orange with pillowy, sticky ivory head. This one had legs running down the glass.

Only some hints of Belgium yeast and orange. topped by sweet malts. But the taste – wow, just not there. A stringent and soapy blend of two not pleasant tastes. Dry and crisp, yeah, but the drinkability was off the chart, at a freakin $5 a 11.2 oz bottle.

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Photo of guzzle211
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle bought at the foodery in philly poured into a LaTrappe glass.

a:Pretty-close-to-white head explodes from nowhere, made up of lots of tight-packed tiny bubbles which dissipate quickly. Head is slightly reinforced by stready streams of tiny bubbles. Thin lacing holds for a minute or two but melts quickly. Brew is a darker golden-orange-amber; the color is actually very rich.

s: hoppier than i would expect, but still gives hints of that malt / earth aroma.

t/m: first impression is dry / fizz / tang in that order. once my pallate adjusted it washed down a little smoother. for my own personal tastes this is over-carbonated and bloating, much like sweet drinks such as dr. pepper and champagne.

d: i may have rated the drinkability .5 higher than i should simply due to the sheer fact its orval trappist. in order to drink more than one of these i would have to take a half-hour belching break in between, the bloating effect is so high.

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Photo of Osiris9588
2.72/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is my first reveiw of an Orval Trappist Ale, but the second bottle I have tried. I disliked the first bottle so much that I figured the bottle had been mishandled, subject to improper conditions. I also think I drank it too cold.

I made sure that this second bottle was down to a proper temperature, but I found it as equally unpleasant--though I did purchase it from the same shop. Also, the beer did progressively improve somewhat from the fist sip to the last. My palate needed to be conditioned to it.

I don't think that it is a completely horrible beer, much of my dislike has to do with personal preference. Both the bottles I have drunk have been capped, 11.2 bottles. The color is a murky amber with traces of sediment. There is ample carbonation, with a torrent of bubbles racing to the surface. The head is thick, leaving considerable, big-bubbled lacing.

The aroma offers strong citrus and yeast, a formidable floral quality, and a hint of cinnamon. The taste offers plenty of citrus and spice, strong yeast and hoppy bitterness. The characteristic that ruins this ale for me is the phenolic aspect--it is so intense and overbearing. A glass full of dirty band-aids. That sums it up. The mouthfeel is crisp and bright, and the drinkability would be fine, except for the extremly unbalanced, phenolic finish, and resulting aftertaste.

A glass full of dirty band-aids. And I love Trappist ales, but not this one. My tongue feels as if I've been been eating pennies all day, and then maybe licked a dead bloated otter.

Maybe the poor quality has something to do in the way the shop handled this particular shipment--but lightning has stuck twice.

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Photo of afinepilsner
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz brown bottle

Orval Trappist Ale was amber in color with a large white bubbly head. The head had decent retention and left plenty of lacing behind. The nose is full of trappist yeast with a little malt and slight alcohol smell. The taste was fruity (mostly citrus) and lightly spicy. The body was medium to light with plenty of carbonation. Nice drinkabilily. Overall it is a good beer and I will purchase again.

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Photo of wl0307
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The bottle revisited today is exactly the same as the last one consumed 6 months ago--bottled on 29/11/2005. Now is time to see if half-a-year maturing has rendered it any more complex~~ Served cool in a Orval-glass like broad-rimmed goblet.

A: pours a translucent, dark reddish-orangey hue; nice and thick off-white frothy crust sustains on top of a very lively carbonated body, with a dozen streams of tiny fizziness ejecting from the bottom of the glass. Brilliant.
S: the smell this time reminds me much of dry farmhouse Saison as well as Lambiek!! The dryish-sour and zesty-bitter dried lime+lemon peels combine nicely with a slightly funky and sour note of yeasts, yet is enhanced by a delicately spicy edge like nutmeg+clove+star-anise+blahblahblah... true to Orval's uniqueness of that spicy edge; the yeasty and spicy aroma is backed by a rather subtle but noticeable pale maltiness and a subtle sweetness from mixed fruit-esters. Overall, complex as ever... and crazily enjoyable. It's hard to move my little nose away from the glass~~
T: spicy and yeasty and spicy and yeasty and... followed by a bitter flow of lively yeasts, powdery and rough in texture, and laced with utterly dryish yet bitter flavour of dried lemon rind ground with clove and cinnamon and a little bit of star-anise at the back... also coming to mind is that tangy edge of new wood barrels... turning absolutely dry in the aftertaste with plenty of hops and an herbal-sweet edge very much akin to the aftertaste of Chinese mixed-herb medicine soup~~!!
M&D: effervescent texture with a mouthful of creamy fizziness, medium-bodied and lots of flavours to discern with patience... Absolutely nice, NOT delicious, but very complex and worth one's 3/4 hour for slow sipping... Compared with my previous note, this bottle shows more bitterness and is not as fruity as the last bottle. Will review another bottle from the same batch in another six months~~

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Photo of dblinkhorn
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance - This beer pours with a large off-white, slightly tan head that is overall pretty soapy (large bubbly head). It dissipates at a pretty slow rate and settles as a thin layer of lace on top of the beer. As it goes down, there is a nice sticky lace on the glass. The brew is hazy honey orange color with a bit of carbonation liveliness in the glass.

Smell - Honey and lemon are the most profound smells on the nose, paired nicely with some medium dark fruits aromas. Cloves and nutmeg make up the spice character of the aromas. There is only a very, very slightly noticeable amount of alcohol on the nose. The hops smell crisp and dry with a low bitterness scent, and the malt scents slightly earthy and raw smelling.

Taste - A rich but fairly mellow malt flavor is up front in the taste. Honey again makes a mark, along with the medium-dark fruit flavors. The spices flavors are stronger than in most beers of this style, but they go well with the rest of the flavors. In the background there is a crisp, lightly bitter hop flavor, along with lemon (or other citrus) rind. The alcohol is present just after the initial part of the taste, and is pretty light in power. It lasts up through the finish, in combination with a moderate earthy flavor. I expected a bit more flavor from this brew.

Mouthfeel - Moderate carbonation level, fairly light alcohol sensation. The brew itself is medium- to light-bodied and somewhat smooth (again not as good as I expected).

Drinkability - This stuff reminds me more of a typical west coast U.S. micro ale than an authentic Trappist ale, which it is. Similar beer of its style easy win in taste and mouthfeel over this beer. Accordingly, it has a very high drinkability because of it's "lightness" all around compared with others of its style and type.

Overall, I'm somewhat dissapointed with this brew (although I was expecting a lot after having the other Trappist ales). This stuff definitely falls short of the other five Trappists, but overall it is still quite a good brew. Recommended at least.

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Photo of DaveFL1976
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'd had this beer before in the US, and I wasn't particularly impressed with it. I found it a bit harsh and astringent.

But then I went to Belgium.

Specifically, to a little town called Orval.

After poking around the courtyard of the monestary and meeting a monk, my wife and I went down the road 100 meters to the cafe. I had the full strength, my wife had the green bottle.

It poured a lovely deep reddish/cherry color with a frothy off-white head. Smell was sweet and spicy. The taste...so much better than how I'd remembered it. This was a damn fine beer. Sweet up front, but balanced out with a certain spicyness that balances things out nicely. A nice beer.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,315 ratings.
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