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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
5,449 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 5,449 |  Reviews: 2,353
Photo of obrendano
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - neat little bowling pin like bottle. beer pours a massive, massive head that I had to wait on a couple times to subside a little before I could keep pouring. beer is a hazy grayish gold with lots of bubbles making their way up

S - spicy dried fruit, excellent hop aroma, quite different than I expected

T - thick musty malt highlighted by a lemon-lime bite, hops are tart and noticeable, spicy cherry finish is warm and comforting. this is excellent

M - I really like how this feels, slightly heavy and sticky, and given less restraint I could down this like water

D - a pretty standout beer that doesn't follow the other routes of Trappists. I'd love to shake the hands of the monks that made it

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Photo of TheBrewo
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We pour a glowing brew of golden orange. It supports a white head of two fingers, composed of soft miniscule bubbles that slowly dissipate. Chunky lacing appears around the glass as they go. The brew darkens with the last few ounces from the bottle, which are heavily yeast laden. Aside from the haze this produces, tiny flecks float about the glass, and carbonation looks to be standard. The nose fills with grain, a touch of wheat, faint booze, and orange hiding behind a huge curtain of brettanomyces. These blend further with medicinal phenols, furthering the warm and bitter bite of the aroma. As we sip, the mouth is bombarded with malts and that wild brettiness. These act synergistically to give a curious, but subdued, cherry flavor to the front. The middle mellows out, with heavy malts, bittering orange rind, and spices, with special attention given to coriander. We end on a nicely balanced note, with earthen hops coming in to cleanly meet the malts half way. Here, too, there is a leathery flavoring, certainly contributed to by the yeast. The latter breathes through the aftertaste, with a bit of citrus, and faint dry hops. The body is medium to full, and the carbonation is on the higher end. The brew is frothy and slurpable, and each sip comes equipped with some heady cream. With the mouth initially coated, it is left to quickly dry. The abv is appropriate and the beer drinks easily, but slowly.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was how unique it is for not only the style, but in comparison to the vast majority of Belgian beers. The use of brettanomyces yeast makes for a wildly inviting and different aroma than one might expect from a trappist, and goes even further in the taste, to change a standard pale into something entirely distinct.

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Photo of peensteen
4.36/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep orange, 2" thick white sticky head, sticky brussels lace that was perfect, I didn't want to wash it out of the glass...one of the best I've ever seen. Smells musty, yeasty, spicy, grain, malt, brett is wonderful here. Taste is slightly hoppy, funky, yeasty and grainy, good malt backbone. Nice mouthfeel, creamy, good carbonation that at times were leaning a bit on the high side. Drinks near perfect, this is world class no doubt, such a unique brew, very near perfect.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.96/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated April 2010.

A: Amber-golden, the color of late-summer wheat, and translucent, with a massive white head (had to pour very gently) that never went away.

S: Grain, grain, and some yeast.

T: Very interesting, but difficult to describe. Again, very grain-y, light malt flavor, with some spice in the middle, and a smooth gentle hop finish.

M: Lovely - buoyant and mouth-filling, with medium body and substantial carbonation that really carries the flavors around the mouth.

D: Very drinkable. Nice flavors, interesting without being odd, and a good balance of satisfying and refreshing.

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Photo of veinless
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage: Bottled in May 2010

Pours a crystal clear deep sap orange, with some of the most whipped, pillowy soft looking lacy head I have ever seen. It almost looks like soft-serve, and is definitely just as inviting. Combination of large and tiny bubbles is gorgeous.

From the nose I get just some green apple/citrus to go with a Brett barnyard scent. A bit of spice, perhaps coriander, comes from the Belgian yeast I believe, which adds to the back end of the aroma.

Taste is oh so light, which is not to be confused with bland, as the beer skips from citrus tones to very subtle belgian spice, in this case coriander plus a little bit of something else, something just a bit peppery. From there it goes to the Brett funk, and gives you nothing but that til the end. All flavors are delicate and would be tough to distinguish if this was my 4th or 5th beer of the night, so have this one when your palate is fresh, and you don't have a cold or anything like that. It really is a very dainty and light footed beer. Tartness could be a little better, but that may have interfered with some of the other flavors, so I trust they know what they are doing over there.

Mouthfeel is dominated by the carbonation, which never seems to stop. This lends it a nice creamy texture, but also does get in the way of enjoying each individual taste, as you kind of have to cut through the foam and bubbles the entire time. It is a very pleasantly weighted beer though. Drinkability is good too, as I wouldn't have known the abv was 6.9% if I didn't check the bottle. Finish is funky, which may be off-putting to some, but I enjoyed restarting the cycle of flavors each time. Very relaxing beer - this is the beer you want while relaxing in front of the TV after work.

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

Poured from a bottle with a bottled on date of July 29, 2009 making this one just over 1.5 years old.

Pours a hazy almost murky looking copper color with some pale orange highlights. A huge rocky and dense looking head builds itself up to almost 4 fingers thick and dissipates just quick enough for my level of impatience.

Aroma is notably citrusy and estery with hints of lemon and a bit flowery too. The yeast profile does however seem to mute this a bit with a slightly musty funk to it.

Whoa, first sip and there seems to be a lot more going on in this beer than the aroma suggested. The lemony citrus is there, but it almost plays second fiddle to musty Brett character. Also there seems to be some spice-like character and even a bit of a grassy/cereal grain malt profile. That being said, this has got to be one of the most complex and subtle Belgians I've come across. Lots of good things going on here but I'm not quite sure the blend together all that well, keeping me from giving anything higher than a 4 for taste.

Mouthfeel is light and even a bit airy. Overall, Orval is a rather unique Trappist ale and one I would like to experiment with at different ages. I have a feeling though that I would enjoy this if it were a bit younger, like 6mos to 1 year instead. Still, not bad at all though and quite a challenge for the palate to comprehend.

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Photo of Sachsenfreude
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

appearance; hazy orange with no sediment. Light pillowy white head. Excellent retention and chunky lacing.

smell; sour and tart with herbal hops and an apple-like maltyness. Some sweet caramelized sugars. Nectarines and apricots come to mind as well.

taste; upfront a rustic lambic-like tart and sour flavor tries to come through but is too weak to poke through the hop bitterness that soon takes control and carries with a Herbes de Provence-like complexity, to the finish. Some yeasty flavors dance with the alcohol and snuggle the hops into the finish and aftertaste. Very good but from the smell, more tart flavors are to be expected.

mouthfeel; rich and creamy carbonation, slick and smooth finish...a tiny bit chewy.

drinkability; superb and tasty, easy to drink with well blended flavors and smooth alcohol.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.62/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into a heavy trappist glass. Orange color, big white head; aroma of sour fruits and floral hops; medium body, smooth, lively carbonation; flavor is also of sour fruits like apples and citrus backed up by some delicate sweet malty tones still never stealing the show, which, by the way, has a pretty dry hoppy finish. Actually, this may not be the most complex of trappist beers, but what it has to offer is in just great balance as you would expect from the brewery making only one beer to public. And mine was still very young so I would be curious to find out what good would a little aging do to this.

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Photo of Wegomlegging
4.94/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours nice orange-gold with an excellent white head that is textbook Belgian lace. It seems no matter how long you stand this beer up, or no matter how quick you pull back on the pour, or no matter how careful you are to watch the neck of the bottle for sediment, a slight amount of cloudiness is present. The smell is just outstanding, with a full nose like a bouquet of flowers that is unlike anything that is brewed in the universe. The flavor follows the same road, with a yeasty flowery flavor that is not the slightest bit cloying, sweet, or skunky. What a great ride down the gullet, with about the perfect amount of carbonation. Since it finishes so dry and complete, it's as drinkable as it gets. What a great, great beer.

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Photo of great7dividers
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orval pours a nice hazy golden color with hints of orange. The head is incredibly thick and frothy, and sustains longer than most brews. The aroma from this trappist ale is subtle and citrus-y with a bready undertone (rather yeast-like). The mash of sour and spicy aroma is both impressive and pleasing, without being overpowering. The taste is equally enjoyable being fruity and well balanced. The mouthfeel starts soft and sparkling, then finishes amazingly dry. Orval combines all the best features of belgian-trappist flavors with an immaculate dry finish that makes this ale superbly drinkable.

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Photo of jhubeifc
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was the third of my Trappist tastings this week and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It had a beautiful, thick and incredibly long lasting head. The color was a beautiful light brown/caramel, nice and cloudy.
It smelled hoppy and full of yeast, a definite sourdough bread.
It tasted of spice, grass and hops, with an pleasant even carbonation that made the beer feel like it was a blanket across ,y palate. A mild bitter dry finish.
I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and will certainly add it to my regular rotation whenever I am able to find it. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

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Photo of CaptainTripps
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a duvel tulip
Bottling date date: 25/3/2010
Best before: 25/3/2015

A: Well WOW, what a head this beer poured. Right from the get go with about half of the bottle in the glass this had 4 fingers worth of creamy off white head. Head dissipated quickly leaving a artwork of lacing behind on the glass. Beer poured a slightly hazy amberish orange color.

S: The scent starts off with this weird tartness almost similar to a flemish red (think rodenbach). Lots of citrus going on in the nose - lemon and orange peel along with a great about of spicy funkiness. Pretty big hop character. The belgian yeast is very subtle but there.

T: As one previous reviewer put, this beer has some belgian "twang" to it. Got a weird combo of Belgian yeast, some spice and citrusy hopness going on. Pretty complex if you as me. Has a little bit of weird fruit tartness that isn't bad but its just kind of funky.

M: Medium bodied beer with plentiful carbonation that models a Triple. Pretty dang smooth and if you are used to drinking high ABV beers, the alcohol is non-existent here. Beer rolls of the tongue nicely.

D: Drink ability is pretty good on this one. Its a very interesting beer that is something out of the norm when you want to stray away from your core styles. Will be coming back to this one when the weather gets better.

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Photo of CyR
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber color, or bronze

S: Citrus and hops

T: full, good performance of mouth, pure hops with a touch on due to Brettanomyces.

M: Aftertaste strong fresh hop

D: So much to drink to cool off than to taste


A beer whose taste changes easily with the maturation and redefining each time a special experience. Unique in its kind.
ÉcouterLire phonétiquement

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Photo of Mancer
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The distinctly Belgian bottle poured (into an Orval glass) out a hazy golden orange body with a one finger high off-white head. The thick foam kept its form and slowly dissipated. Overall the head was thick and clung to the glass. The initial aromas were of belgian yeast, fruits, spices, and malts. The initial flavors of the beer were of barley, yeast, distinct fruity notes (specifically banana), and light spices. The beer was slightly sour and bitter, and had a light to medium body with medium stong carbonation. Aerating the beer in your mouth results in what I call hyper foaming, where the beer in your mouth converts almost immediately to foam.

This is a slow drinking beer in order to appreciate the extremely dynamic flavors found within. Overall, this was really nice and relaxing to drink and made for a nice birthday beer.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Re-review. Didn't really know what to expect when I first had this beer, and found it surprising and not particularly enjoyable.

Bottled 08/06/2010. I assume that is DD/MM/YY, which makes this one almost 2.5 years old.

The beer has an insane amount of head. An enormous cream-white head sits atop the beer, despite a very slow pour. Beer is caramel in colour. The head recedes at a steady pace, but there is so much of it that it is there for a long time.

Smell is great, and noticeable even as the beer is being poured. The brett really sticks out, likely the result of the time this bottle has had to develop. Funk, lots of light fruits and berries, a bit of a medicinal spicy scent, and some bready malt.

Flavour wise, the beer is very dry. Has a powdery, medicinal flavour to it, which doesn't sound good but it works. The funk is prominent, giving a bit of a barnyard flavour. Cherry and some other fruit flavours. Some sweet malt, but the sweetness is overpowered. Complex. Finish is, again, bone dry.

Medium bodied, moderate to low carbonation. What activity there is is quite subtle, resulting in a beer that is active but not irritating. Dries the mouth somewhat.

Overall, just great. Wow, a real difference between having this now and for the first time almost two years ago, when I had never encountered brett and was expecting a typical Belgian pale. I'm glad I held onto this bottle since then, as I think the age has done it well. Unique among the Trappist beers and very good.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.46/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bowling pin bottle dated 22/4/10.

Even a slow deliberate pour yields a nearly three finger chunky fluff atop a clear pale orange pour with sharp yellow highlights. Fizzy carbonation makes itself known from the popping and hissing emitted from the glass. Looks quite appealing.

Initial scent is of sharp tartness. This is quickly overpowered by dusty lemon, some menthol like spiciness, and a healthy dose of funk. I wish the hops and sharp tartness carried more of a star role than that of second fiddle. Eh.

Ditto the smell remarks here. In general, I enjoy sharp acidity over barnyard and I despite the term horse blanket, but can see how it applies here. I want to punch myself for using it however. There....well deserved. The lemon and apple are really cleaved into by the very dry finish, which, in my opinion, inhibits some of the possible stand out flavors. Alot of dust and must. I know this is a cult classic, and it's enjoyable. But it's not a beer that I'd go out of my way to drink on a regular basis. It's got the potential, but falls short for me.

Carbonation is big bubbles and quite high. For the first few post-pour minutes, there a veritable angry swarm of bubbleage than only mildly subsides with time.

Drinkability is fine, but a one-and-done for me, and most likely not a beer I'll seek out again with regularity.

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Photo of WhyBeNormal
3.11/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This one was bottled in '09 and had a best-by date of 2014. Light fruity esters, kind of acidic mustiness, and a reeeeaally dry aspirin-like finish. Pretty good and really complex, but too dry for me. I'd love to try a younger bottle. I've read that the Orval master brewer prefers his at 6 months old.

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Photo of gdrydenc
3.89/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from their cool shaped bottle into my Duvel Tulip.

A - Well I poured about 1/3 of this bottle into my tulip and had to stop... unless I wanted to gulp down Orval head from my carpet. Pours with at least 4 fingers of aggressive head. It slowly dies down, turning into huge crevasses of bubbles. The color is dark orange amber.

S - Well, for a BPA, this certainly doesn't fit many of the characteristics. The smell is almost like wine, very complex. Hints of fruit, quite a bit of hoppiness. Definitely a musty type smell to it, almost like an attic.

T - A bit more muted than I expected from the smell of it. The mustiness is still there, which I don't mind, but the hop character is not nearly as present. The Belgian twang is present, and the alcohol is present as it warms.

M - Similar in part to a tripel, lots of aggressive, large bubbles. I'm shocked there's any carbonation left after the angry head this baby produced.

D - Whew, I don't think I could handle more than one of these guys.

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Photo of Satchboogie
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottled (dated 29/7/09) poured into a Rochefort Chalice

A: Pours golden light amber/yellow, hazy, massive 2 finger off-white head that's thick and pillowy. It slowly recedes in a rocky way then maintains about 1/2 inch and leaves plenty of lacing. Quite the first impression!

S: Apples, pears, peaches, banana/clove, sour and funk.

T: Words are eluding me. I get everything from the nose, the fruit flavors all meld together with the sour and funk to create one complex tasting beer. Malt body is fairly light and has a clean crystal sugar sweetness with a little bit buttered biscuits. The fruit takes on an all-natural awesome mix-fruit sweet tart like taste with lots of clean candy sugar. The funk reminds me of a saison or borderline wild. There's some underlying herbal qualities, almost medicinal, but not in the bad robitussin/advil way. Finish is light and clean. Alcohol is non-existent.

M: Medium carbonation that isn't as fine as champagne. Fairly light body, though it's pretty damn smooth. Right on target for the style.

D: Great beer that's light and the alcohol is completely hidden. A treat for sure.

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Photo of wschmit
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into a Perfect Pint.

A: Pale, hazy bronze body with great effervescence beneath a soft, big, beautiful head with some nice lacing.

S: A bit musty, and fairly floral--a rose garden is how I like to describe this beer. A bit of hop bite and a touch of sweetness round it out.

T: Good rounded brett character with some of those same floral notes. Clean candi sugar fermentation in an otherwise fairly dry beer. Orval is one of the best, if you like a balanced brett and flowers--a personal favorite.

M: Well carbonated, clean, light body. Goes down easy.

D: I love Orval. It may not be for everyone, but it's pretty unique among the Trappists, and among the best Belgians, for a very good reason.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another Super Bowl Belgian. Purchased at a good price too at Zipps.
Surprised on how sweet the initial aroma is that is then followed by the more traditional yeasty, phenolic with a unique funkiness with this one. This has a rather fresh quality - it was bottled in 4/10. Nice fruit intermixed. Nice.
Big full white head. Cloudy brownish amber.
Flavor is tamer than the aroma. Resembles the aroma quite a bit. A bit of bitterness up front. Mild malt, yeasty flavor, but lacking the great fruitiness of the aroma. Even though the flavor is not the level of aroma, it's still very fine tasting. Slight stale, oxidized taste.
Smooth feel even with full on carbonation.
Drinks very easily. No excessive richness. More than one would be not problem.
I'll give this beer another try later to see if the flavor is more robust.

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Photo of Aress
1.69/5  rDev -59.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

I was highly anticipating trying Orval after having tried all the other Trappists (except Westvleterten) and thoroughly enjoying them. The appearance was nice and the foamy thick head looked like laundry detergent. The smell, however, was quite off-putting.
I'm all for unique beers but the smell reminded me of walking into a doctor's office. There was a faint smell of grapefruit but I mostly smelled what others have noted - hay, horse blanket, medicinal, and as one other reviewer noted, "stale urine.". These are not exactly welcoming smells. Just because something has an identifiable smell (like horse blanket) does not mean its pleasurable. The taste was extremely sour and tart, astringent even, and was very dry. This was not a drinkable beer for me. I'm wondering if the high scores on BA are attributable to the reputation and history of Orval. I appreciate good beer, and maybe my palate is just not as evolved as others for a beer like this, but I can't put Orval in the same class as Rochefort or Chimay.

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Photo of Chico1985
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A classic Belgian I've put off for far too long. Bottled on date is 6/1/10...a little over 8 months old at this point. Poured this into a tulip glass.

Opens with a very loud hiss. Pours a beautiful amber/orange with an indestructible white head that retains like a champ leaving good lacing as well. Hazy but not much sediment seen. Beers really don't get much better looking.

Brett-effected fruits dominate the smell. Mostly light fruits like lemon, pear and apple but some red grapes as well. Oak and funky barnyard are plentiful as well, this is musty yet bright and fruity at the same time, great balance.

Much like the smell, a superb balance of fruity, funky, sweet, sour. Drinks very much like a lite-lambic or wild ale without the bracing sourness. Lemons, pear, apples, hints of berries throughout. Funky, cheesy barnyard, basement, and big hay/grassiness throughout as well. Bready malts very noticeable, especially in the finish. Some alcohol here and there. Sweet tart/candy sweetness. I start to get a magically delicious vanilla yeasty flavor towards the end of it all.

Mouthfeel is extremely carbonated, but somehow not a bother and strengthens the beer overall in my opinion, it's very light and fluffy. Funk overtakes a bit with warmth.

Amazing, pretty much. Definitely hits its peak once it warms up some. The fact that this isn't in the top 100 with nearly 1,700 reviews is slightly disturbing. The price is hindering but I will buy this as a once-in-a-while treat, and probably a couple to cellar as well.

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Photo of nickthetick
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: poured a hazy burnt orange into my duvel tulip with three fingers of white frothy head that slims down to two fingers and. Only leaves spotted lacing.

S: plums and pineapple and bananas! Fruity and yeasty and wonderful.

T: definite pineapple and banana, belgian sugars and a little malt biscuit. There's a little bitterness that lingers towards the end.

MF: sweet medium body and very effervescent.

D: a wonderful BPA that has a great history and wonderful attributes. Its one of the easier to find trappist ales. I'll defiantly be picking this one up again.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

July 3, 2014 - re-evaluation. Scores modified to reflect current evaluation.

* * *
Wow. I forgot how much I like this beer. I'm not going to forget again!

This one was bottled, it looks like 7/29/09 with a "best by" date of 2014.]

Orange amber with a big, thick, pillowy and firm pure white head; great looking.

Nose is all peaches, pears, apricots and hints of bananas all with a light citric kick.

Mouthfeel is light carbonation that is champagne quality and is rich and perfectly balanced.

Flavors are spice and stone fruit with undertones of ginger, lime and green tea. Finish is rich, citric fruity and light grapefruit bitter.

This is one of those perfect beers. It is all around appealing; somewhat unique and extremely drinkable. This may be the universally appealing brew.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 5,449 ratings
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