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

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
5,364 Ratings
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
Ratings:
5,364
Reviews:
2,335
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
12.44%
 
 
Wants:
358
Gots:
903
For Trade:
11
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,364 |  Reviews: 2,335
Photo of dasenebler
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33cl, bottled on 8/17/10.

Cloudy, glowing orange-amber. Lots of clingy, thick foam even with a slow pour. Clumpy, craggy head sticks around forever.

Aroma is at first strongly estery, with some pear and banana bread, and then becomes decidedly earthy and Bretty.

What a wonderful beer. So dry, hoppy, bitter and complex. Lots of grapefruit, lemon and orange rind. Biscuity malts and wheaty flavors are there, but with no trace of sweetness. Then there's that wonderfully smooth Orval yeast, combined with an earthy, musty component. The finish is so bitter, dry and refreshing, just like eating a grapefruit. The mouthfeel is actively carbonated and fluffy, perhaps a little too aggressive.

This might be the driest Belgian Pale Ale or Saison (whatever it is!) out there. Nothing else like it. The perfect marriage of complexity, dryness and refreshment.

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Photo of Trizzle
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very cloudy straw body topped with a thick quilt of very dense off White head that settles to 5mm and clings to the Orval goblet beautifully.

Subtle nose of straw, interesting yeast and pear.

Taste is dry and complex. Very short hit of Buddhist malt, followed quickly by loads of straw dryness. Gentle apples and pears, some interesting yeasty notes.

Body is medium and helped with good carb levels.

Hugely drinkable.

Not the best Orval I've had. But most of them aren't. Still a great beer.

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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 Blanco
2.62/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

poured into a chimay goblet.

murky brown/orange color with a head that foams up and wears itself out similar to a champagne. Also, like champagne, the carbonation is extraordinary on this one and hardly looks like "beer."

smell has that funk of wild yeast not unlike a gueze. citrus is in the background bringing some sweetness to the funk.

taste has a little mix of sweetness upfront and hint of candy, although drier in the finish.

carbonation is through the roof at first but it burns itself out after a bit and becomes almost "flat" after being so highly carbonated.

nice drinkability but not great. definitely different but the carbonation issue through me off here.

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

330ml, unique flared bottle - hard to mistake this one on the shelf.

This beer pours a murky, dirty dishwater orange-brown colour, with a copious amount of frothy and foamy whipped-cream eggshell white head, which displays excellent retention, eventually giving up some random snow crystal lace around the glass.

It smells of sharp, fairly sour yeast, earthy lemon peel, pale grainy malt, a bit of white sugar, mild clove/coriander spice, and floral, musty hops. The taste is pale grainy malt, more tart, somewhat acetic lemon juice, softly spicy phenols, white pepper, a touch of seemingly dry honey, a twinge of barnyard essence, and edgy floral hops.

The carbonation is moderate after that initial outpouring, maybe a tad prickly at worst, the body medium-light in weight, but still weirdly substantial, and duly smooth. It finishes fairly dry, the yeast picking it up alongside the dry, bitter noble hops.

A nice, lightly sour, and decently complex pale ale, when shed of all that Trappist lore. It hides the extra ABV oh so very well, and it makes me want to order some European appies in the here and now - y'know, pommes frites, or something.

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Photo of JoeBloe
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottling date 2/4/2010 - 11.2 oz. -
poured into my big dfh snifter (twice) where it throws up a big 2- 1/2 finger head that holds on for a while on its hazy orange base -
smells herbally fruity with a little black pepper - taste of dry fruit and spice, with a hint of that black pepper - sweet and dry at once pretty complex - above average carbonation puts a prickly tingle on the front of the tongue for the first few sips - goes down pretty easy -... oh those trappists...

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Photo of cpmichael
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a beautiful yellowish-orange. An inviting sight, especially with the visible carbonation.

S: This beer smells great, with floral and lemon overtones, although not over powering. Very pleasant. Reminds me of spring.

T: Immediately noted the tartness from the start, which never lets up, followed by a biting hoppiness. Also, it has a fruity character in the flavor. Very complex.

M: The tartness and hops have a biting effect on the tongue, with a pretty dry finish.

D: Super enjoyable and delicious, highly drinkable, highly recommended.

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Photo of TheCrowsNest
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

second time pouring this beer.

a very unique bottle shape with simple packaging. pours a light hazel and orange with a large head. it was split into two 8oz tulips and still had to wait on pouring the whole thing due to the head. above-average retention.

complex and very fruity. there's a lot going on with it and difficult to pinpoint a specific scent. there's a little citrus, some banana, maybe vanilla? my girlfriend used the words "manure" and "barn."

fruity, but a little more specific with the banana. light citrus. classic belgian flavors.

it wasn't as carbonated as the huge head suggested it would be.

drank it slowly due to limited quantity. i wouldn't have more than a couple of these because of that sweet/fruity flavor. rich.

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Photo of ivanwatling
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance:  Clear orange hue, several inches of froffy head, moderate retention

Smell: A rather unpleasnt aroma akina to stale urine.  I asked for a  second opinion from my wife, she said it smelled of beer and was slightly sweet.

Taste: Citrusy, lively, initially very bitter. But then the bitterness blends in with other flavours to produce a well balanced experience.

My wife said the initial taste was sweet, then some sourness came in.  Intruiging how we can be so different.

Mouthfeel: Above average carbonation that seems to work for this beer.  Aftertaste is mellow and pleasant.  

Drinkability: A very pleasant experience.

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Photo of sfz
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled 5/19/2010, with a best by date of 5/19/2015. Cool bottle. Huge hiss of carbonation as the cap pops off.

A - Pours a slightly cloudy, medium-dark golden hue with an absolutely monstrous head. Pour this one carefully.

S - Citrus with hints of grapes and other fruity yeasts. Very complex.

T - Citrus with noticeable alcohol. Crisp and refreshing.

M - Light/medium carbonation. Smooth, smooth, smooth.

D - Extremely easy to drink, but price and above average ABV make this one for more special occasions. Meant to be sipped slowly and enjoyed.

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Photo of 700Uave
3.61/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottled 4-22-2010

loud hiss as the cap was pried off. My Duvel tulip glass was half beer, half foam upon pouring. Unbelievable amount of carbonation. Its a deep orange color and after 5 minutes, still huge head.

The smell reminds me of Fantome Saison, although its been a while since I last had that. pretty bright, acidic and tart smells come through.

Mouthfeel is very effervescent and quite pleasant, however, for my taste its just slightly over carbonated.

champagne-like tastes are present. Slightly tart. aftertaste is dry and unfortunately thin (if that makes sense). I wish this had a better finish.

Sure, I could drink a few of these, but the desire is not quite there tonight. I plan on trying this once more after having a wider range of beers in this style.

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Photo of wmtxbb
3.47/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a chalice. Bottled on 12-30-11, so it's just over a year old.

Appearance: Thick finger-sized head on top of a golden brew.

Smell: Very clean aroma. Hints of tea and hops.

Taste: Very dry, chalk-like. Some pepper and spice flavors...other than that, it's an extremely boring beer. It's also pretty bland.

Drinkability: Bland and boring... I'd like to try a younger version of this. This has been a real disappointment.

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Photo of Donnie2112
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into a Corsendonk tulip

It should be noted that I am pairing this beer, not drinking it as an apertif. The pairing is a bison burger on a potato roll with sweet onions and mushrooms with crumbled idaho bleu cheese. It's a solid pairing

It appears redish orange, starts with a huge fluffy head but retains only a film and leaves just a bit of lace on the glass

This beer is very dry, just a bit of malty sweetness, some delightful yeasty mustiness, the yeast also has a sour character to it. This beer has a more perceivable hop finish then most Belgians that I'm used to.

Sufficient carbonation, dry, a bit thin. It cleanses the palate and makes it an excellent companion to greasy food.

Extremely easy to drink

Excellent beer, I can see why it's thought of as so world class.

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Photo of TheDTrain
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up this one at Sendiks in Wauwatosa. Bottled on 3-5-10. Poured into a tulip.

This is my second attempt at Trappist Orval. This one MUST be drank at room temp. I made the mistake the first time. With all the action-packed foam, the light orange Belgian Pale ale took 20 minutes just to pour! Crisp uplifting aroma of earthy tones, orange, lemon.. Taste is mild yeast with citrus and mikd funk which is a bit challenging to the tastebuds. Very dry champagne-like finish.

Excellent high quality brew. To be consumed slowly and enjoy!

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

A -- A deep cloudy golden amber brew that almost looks like marmalade. Huge, billowing head that settles very slowly and laces the glass like grafitti on a railroad car.

S -- Very complex aroma, ranging from peaches and pears to sour cherries and lightly of acid and some medicinal qualities. Perhaps a hint of dried dark fruit...

T -- Holy wow. Big and fruity, following the yeast and the nose on the front, followed quickly by a sharp bitterness that cuts immediately through the sweetness with an herbaceous note that resembles rosemary and saffron.

M -- Light on the palate, well carbonated even after two years from bottling, fairly drying and cleansing at the same time.

D -- Anyone who fancies themselves a beer drinker should indulge in at least one of these in their lives and several if possible. Just amazing.

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Photo of Everydayoff
4.48/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle 6.2% ABV poured into an Orval goblet by freshness date.

A:
Slightly haze eyes-catchy orange amber hue with immense, billowy, dense off-white head containing soft and silky froths, it outlasts over a quite length of time by exceptional retention then gradually recedes to sudsy layer cover on top and leaves ring of lace yet several sticky patches here and there. Active carbonation roars upwards.

S:
Fruity, sweet citrus, honey, candy sugar, floral hop, some phenolic herbal and medicinal; all these scents blend well together and generate unique inviting aroma.

T:
Quite complex, this beer leads me to bottle by bottle to identify its characteristic. After first sip, run a distinctive pinch of bitterness derives from hop throughout then becomes slightly sweet yet with citrus zest and leaves long tail of bitterness inside a gullet thereafter its passage. The taste seems to belittle alter in each sip from hint of medicinal and quality of hop.

M:
Smooth throughout medium body, well carbonated with some lively crisp against the palate, finish is dry.

D:
Personally my top of the Belgian Pale Ale, it is brewed with the Belgian’s magic. Complex yet achieves the art of brewing. This is a truly unique beer.

 1,230 characters

Photo of patm1986
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

.33L bottle into a wide wine glass

the head is beautiful: thick, richly foamy, retains itself well, and dissipates slowly but to a respectable lace while leaving some nice bubbles and residue on the side of my glass. honey-colored, an orange-brown. carb-bubbles visible on the bottom of my glass.

smells of yeast, fruity yest, like some sort of fruit-bread. a swish, and i'm getting stone fruits like peaches, very lightly, some golden-raisin, a little raspberry, and some citrus like a grapefruit or a lemon.

the first splash is a sour shot to the front of the palate followed by the citrus, more lemon in the taste, and an earthy, flowery middle. these fruit flavors don't follow completely through as the sour, wild yeast flavor returns with a slight alcohol tinge. still it is very refreshing and sharp.

smooth at first, then like a thirst-quencher, the carbonation and crispness smacks you around. goes down VERY EASILY. by the end of the glass, she's just sliding down the throat.

at 6.9, this is an ale stronger than one for a session, but it goes down like one. but at 6.9, it's also more punchy than you'd think. in that middle ground of abv, but with the flavors and aromas and body, this is something very special.

a bar-holder and a freak in the style and out of it. really, REALLY good.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at a room temperature minus several degrees to a 3 minute chill in the fridge.
bottled on 01/06/2010 (a year and 3 days old after bottling)

Appearance:
Tremendous carbonation when poured into my Chimay chalice, almost 2 full inches of head before 1/2 the bottle had been poured in. This fact excites me because I know magic went down in the bottle. The beer appeares to be a dull copper with an impenetrable haze. When held to the light there is an cider-like amber haloed by yellow around the edges. There is no visible yeast sediment on the bottom.
Giving the beer a chance to settle (aka letting the head fall) leaves lacing and a constant white fluff over the top.

Smell:
Incredible depth and complexity. A nail-polish acetone fruitiness from the yeast comes through pundgently with a chlorine-like chemical burn following. I am highly intrigued, but not sure whether the pool water aroma will translate to good or bad in the flavor profile.

Taste:
This beer tastes of must and sweet citrus. Elemental, earthy flavors that rely heavily on the yeast for both body and flavor. A grainy malt makes an appearance towards the end of the sip. I am impressed with this beer and its obvious roots deep within Belgian brewing history. I prefer to sip this beer casually because there is a tremendous amount going on.

Mouthfeel:
The beer feels rich and flavorful, medium body followed by a dry finish. This beer is sweet yet tart and travels smoothly (no bite) as most of the carbonation was blown off in the initial pour!

Drinkability:
The beer is less drinkable compared to other Belgians, ie Chimay or Duvel, but still a treat to enjoy. I am uncertain how colder serving temperatures would affect the beer's drinkability.
I would say the overall appearance and flavor profile drive this beer to having a "good" drinkability rating, but its pungent chemical aroma would take away from a delicate meal. I have not proven this theory and may be completely wrong; if I every see it on tap I will test the waters. For a relaxing night in, this beer does the trick, although price would keep me from having more than 2.

Cheers.

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Photo of elgiacomo
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottled on Sept 7, 2008, enjoyed over 2 years old and probably warmer than I should've. Oh well.

Pours hazy orange/amber with a gigantic foamy, bubbly, and fluffy off white head that a Duvel tulip couldn't contain. Takes forever to recede and leaves rings of foamy, bubbly lacing and a rocky island behind.

Aroma features the most authentic bubblegum aroma I've encountered, very grassy, floral and herbal, spices, some lemon, a bit of orange, as well as some funk buried underneath. Complex and strong aroma.

Flavor is fruity apples, lemon, orange, pear, bubblegum, some spice, some tartness up front, then a bit of caramel sweetness in the middle transitioning to a touch more spice and an overall dry finish.

Mouthfeel is light to medium, low to medium carbonation, a little creamy and sometimes sticky.

My first Orval, unique, definitely. I can dig it and now want to try a fresher one for some comparison.

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

A: Cloudy amber color with a thick off-white long lasting head.

S: Many lighter aromas take over, most notably some rose petals and a bit of background hops.

T: Starts out with a citrus sweetness that finishes with a rosy, slightly hoppy, dryness.

M: Light body loaded with carbonation that crisply moves throughout.

Refreshing beer that pleasantly hits every sense in every stage. Very enjoyable beer that works well in all seasons of the year and kept me wanting more. I would hurry back to get more of this.

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Photo of jbphoto88
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first thing to notice is the giant aggressive white head. Full billowing white bubbles that pop and lace the glass as it recedes. The color is hazy orange with muted yellow highlights. A steady stream of bubbles feed the glorious cap.

Nose is very interesting. The yeastiness of your typical Belgian is there as are your bready, spiced and peppery scents. It's interesting because there is a little hay and farm scents lingering in the background and I don't hate that. I never thought I would describe a beer smelling like a farm and like it... weird!

Taste thankfully doesn't retain much of the farm flavors. I'm not going to lie, there is a hint of it, but not much. The real dominating flavor is lightly toasted grains mixed with crisp sour apples and a touch of peppery spices. All work amazingly well together and none really take center stage which is a good thing. This beer is complex yet balanced.

I can see people being confused and put off by this beer. It can't possibly be everyones cup of tea but I sure am enjoying it. The mouthfeel is sharply tart with a fierce dry finish. A fun bubbly, baby champagne like carbonation burns your tounge and just adds to an already pleasurable experience. A perfectly odd beer that might be exactly what your looking for or the worst you ever had. Either way it's a good find and one I wish I've tried sooner.

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Photo of Buschyfor3
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle served into my Tripel Karmeleit tulip

A: Golden-orange body... slightly hazy but with a lot of shimmering highlights; HUGE rocky whipped head - 3 fingers thick on the initial pour. Sticky lacing leaves littles patterns like clouds along the insides of the glass

S: Kind of sharp at first - a bit of bitterness (from the hops perhaps?) and a funky barnyard kind of smell; getting peppery notes and a medicinal kind of scent; there is also a faint, sweet floral-like note that comes through occasionally, though its harder to pick up this note amongst the medicinal note and the bit of funk (I think those scents are getting stronger as the beer warms)

T: Very interesting and hard to describe - getting light fruit notes (pear), a touch of citrusy lemon, and alot of grassy flavors; a bit of funk that I really dont know how to describe. Some residual hop like bitterness on the finish that dries out very quickly and leaves a grainy/bready note competing with some peppery flavors.

M: Very fine carbonation - a lot of tingly little bubbles across the palate; lends a nice crispness to this beer

D: 6.9% ABV and this is a treat to drink; alcohol is present but the flavors (the peppery notes and the barnyard funk) meld well to disguise its sting.

An enjoyable Belgian Pale Ale. Heard a lot of good things about this beer and its readily available around me but I never tried it until now. Glad I did. Another solid Belgian... and the strong/pale ale styles are really starting to grow on me thanks to beers like this.

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

Poured into goblet. It produced a big fluffy beige head. The color was like a cloudy honey.
The smell was fairly strong. It was earthy, with a fruity/citrus tone. I have only tried Chimay Blue prior to this Trappist, and this is is more citrusy, by far.
It tastes like it smells. It is very dry, lightly hopped, and had medium-high carbonation.

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Photo of IRONRakkasan
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's a damn good cloudy dark amber with a frothy head that just doesn't want to go away. This brew's got a spiced citrus aroma with a very carbonated and dry feel on the tongue. Aside from near liquid gold the taste is lightly bitter citrus with an aftertaste that reminds me of lemon/orange rinds....whatever!

It's a refreshing brew, and feels like it has a higher alcohol content then it's 6.9%.

Recommended, just like all the others who've also reviewed. It wont disappoint!

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Photo of TimHoss
4.97/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excellent Trappist Ale. The best that I have ever consumed. Great taste, smell, and feel. There is so much happening in this ale that you really need to avoid pairing it with any foods the first time you drink it. The initial presentation is excellent with a strong hoppy/sweet aroma. The taste starts spicy and ends with a great fruity finish. Wonderful drink for any occasion.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,364 ratings.
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