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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
5,490 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:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,490 |  Reviews: 2,367
Photo of cudmud
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This beer pours with a antique orange color and a massive rocky head. There is a steady stream of bubbles supporting the copious head and woderful lacing.

Smell: This beer has a huge smell of yeast and malts. The brew smells of apples and pears, and these aromas leap out of the glass.

Taste: There is a lot going on with this beer. Indeed, Very complex flavors. Lots of malt sweetness and fruit flavors. For example, the beer tastes of grapes, wine, and raisin-bread.

Mouthfeel: Full body and thick.

Drinkability: An awesome beer and I will be buying more.

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Photo of godfathermg57
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice.

A: A fizzy copper. Well carbonated with a large head.

S: Funk and yeast. It smells like the far off land of Belgium.

T: Dry and refreshing. It's tart with a slight piney and hoppy taste. It's got a fairly subtle taste to it, nothing overpowering in any one direction.

M: Quite a fizzy mouthfeel, like a saison.

D: Quite drinkable and refreshing. A very fine beer, though its taste is not overpowering.

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip; 1 inch of foamy ecru-white head that just stays and stays, and plenty of fizzing visible in the amber body.

Nose is tart, piney.

Taste follows nose , dry, slighly hoppy (for a Belgian) finish. Faint bitter tart apple. Not too much flavor, mild and subtle.

Mouthfeel is coarse, foamy. Hard to actually get a sip of liquid in; it's all foam. It kinda kills the taste; mostly foam and air.

Because it's so non-overpowering, drinkability is pretty good, except that the foam would eventually get hard to deal with.

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Photo of UTCengOwl
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this plenty of times and I've even used it to funk up some homebrew. Heck, I even pitched the dregs into my current sour brew. This is one heck of a world class beer. Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

The beer pours hazy orange with a huge white head. This thing definitely comes well carbonated. The dregs themselves are filled with wonderful funky yeast. A good looker.

The nose is funky, with a bright hop character. Barnyard and big. This thing almost smells carbonated and dry, if that makes sense. Complex and layered, a unique nose.

The taste itself is dry and complex. Every bottle I've had has been slightly different and all of them have been good. Funky as all heck at times, but never overpowering. Somewhat hoppy, but never really bitter. Great carbonation, bright. Extremely drinkable and I keep wanting more. This beer is a classic and I'll never turn it down.

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

Bottled 4/22/10, good until 4/22/15. Reviewed 2/27/11.

Hazy copper in color, with a head that's absolutely enormous and fluffy and lasts the whole way through with some crazy lacing. took more than one pour to get into the glass. Lots of bubbles.

Smells like yeast, dark fruits and some funkiness.

Taste is complex: Some bready yeast, some hay-like funkiness, some bitter hops, and some darker malt flavors going on. None too overpowering, but none weak either. Lots of balance. Finishes bitter. It's flavorful from start to finish, and I find something new every sip. A fun one to drink.

Mouthfeel is light and reasonably fizzy, but the flavors keep it from feeling very watery.

Really a fantastic beer here, and one I could drink a lot of.

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Photo of Barleythenred
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark yellow color with a bountiful head

Smell: Vanilla notes with a good floral overtone

Taste: bitter with a yeasty under bite

Mouthfell: fizzy with smooth texture

Drinkability: smooth oiliness with a head the bitters and fills

Also on a side tried to open it with the lighter trick and hit myself the lighter trick and it was so pressurized i hit myself with the cap

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Photo of nickd717
4.11/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review transcribed from notes dated February 2009.

Great hazy copper color with a really lacy white head.

Strong aroma of Belgian yeast and brett, candi sugar, sweet malt, and a little spice.

Flavor is more of the same with some fruity flavors, very yeasty, with brett very noticeable.

Smooth mouthfeel, with a good crispness and fairly lively carbonation.

Nice trappist ale, if a bit overhyped by some. Refreshing.

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Photo of Luk13
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle. Dark gold pour with very abundant pillowy head. Aroma is strangely tart and funky, red fruits (cherries), some herbal hay-like and brett aromas, lemon rind and so on.. Taste is rather grassy, herbal with some good bitterness with a yeasty and citrus background. Lively carbonation, full bodied and dry finish gives a distinctive mouthfeel. I didnt like it so much at first but now I'm totally addicted. If there was one beer I'd drink on a daily basis, that would be it.

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Photo of BeardedRiker
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First of all, a warning: TAKE IT EASY WHEN POURING THIS BEER! The Orval Trappist Ale is one of those Belgians that produces a massive head if you don't pour it carefully. Pour slowly so you don't end up filling up the bottle opening and then having it come out in waves, thus creating an overly massive head.

That being said, the head on this is simply beautiful. It's so frothy that it is almost a creme. It fizzles away oh-so-slowly and keeps its form. The head is almost like an appetizer to the beer! The beer is a copper-orange color that has a steady but minimal amount of bubbles rising from the bottom. I have this Orval in my glass goblet.

I can smell the beer from where I am sitting. It smells as a Belgian ought to smell: fruity, sweet, and just a whiff of alcohol. Wow! This is an interesting beer. It reminds me a bit of Brooklyn's Local #1.

There is a lot of orange citrus flavor and the bubbly carbonation excites the tongue. Some peppery hoppiness is evident too. This is an extremely dry Belgian. It's smooth but probably the driest Belgian I've had. I don't taste any of the alcohol which isn't bad or good. Dry, orangey, sour, and peppery.

That sums up this interesting brew. Good stuff.

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Photo of TCHopCraver
4.62/5  rDev +10%
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 Hellabeerguzzler
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the famous bottle into a duvel glass.

Wow! What a beautiful looking beer. Light, wheat-colored beer with huge amounts of meringue-like head of sticky bubbles.

Smells of citrus, apple, spices and whatever else they use to give it the famous character and aroma of this beer.

A little musty, spices, fruit, citrus tangy all on top of a yeasty belgian hop character with barley malt and little caramel or browned sugar.

Mouthfeel is superb. Enters tangy and becomes sweet with the malty and hoppy breadiness. Goes down smooth with a fine carbonation reminiscent of champagne.

If you enjoy the belgian-style ales then no stock would be complete without Orval.

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Photo of jayhawk73
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orange color w/ a perfect 2 finger off-white head. This beer has a ton of carbonation! The smell is very interesting- citrus, fruit, and hops all make their presence known. The taste is an acquired taste, but I love it. It's very unique. A lot of hops, some citrus, spice and a slight hint of alcohol. Very dry finish, and a dry beer in general. Mouthfeel is good. You can feel the carbonation in your mouth, but it's not bothersome. Aftertaste lingers for a while as well. I probably wouldn't drink more than one of these at a time, but it's pretty easy to drink. Definitely a great beer, and one I will continue to buy from time to time. Not for everyone, but that's more for me...

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Photo of HeyItsChili
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured from a bottle into a chalice. Pours hazy amber with golden highlights and a towering off-white head.

S - fleeting aroma of some faint bretty yeast, though I don't even know if that's exactly what it is.

T - Crisp tart apple flavor that slides into a dry alcoholic taste like a sweet white wine. The finish is more green apple citrus.

M - Just under medium bodied, decent carbonation.

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Photo of Aiptasia
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my second tasting of a true trappist ale. I purchased it retail in the ubiquitous 12 oz. vase-like brown bottle.

A: Pours a red honey color with a slight misty haze. The head on this beer is absolutely monsterous. Big, big head that's as dense as a Frisco fog. It took me two pours to get all of it into a 64 ounce mug.

S: Citrus and meadow. Smells like springtime just after an afternoon rain.

T: Crisp and dry with apple and plum undertones. A bit of a hopsy grass flavor on the backend. Not sweet, exceptionally dry. The flavor notes are enjoyed immensely as you breathe between the draughts.

M: Medium-Light bodied. The carbonation is smooth. Fruit notes up front, dry hops bite in the middle, finishes dry with the vapors of the fruits trailing happily behind.

D: I wish I could live on a beer like this. Perfection in a bottle for warm spring and summer days.

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Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
4.11/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked me up a four pack at the local supermarket. Paired it with some aged Gouda cheese.

Poured into my Westvleteren glass.

It's one of the most wonderfull looking beers among the trappist's. A little hazy. Nice orange amber brown. Almost one inch of very lively foam.

Has that typical Belgian smell. Citrus, fruits, malt, hops and ofcourse some yeast.

Some sweet malts bits of the fruits and a nice bitter finish.

A medium bodied beer full of carbonation but a very smooth drink.

Pairing this beer with some aged cheese really helps this beer and the cheese. This is a classic and one of my go to beers when in doubt. If you never had it I suggest you try it when you have the chance and admire the beautifull appearance of this wonderfull drink. Recomended.

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Photo of JizackFH
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - This beer pours a beautiful hazy orange amber color. It has a huge fluffy white head. This thing took me 6 pours to get it all in the glass. The head has crazy good retention. I mean, it just never goes away. There was nice lacing left on the glass also.

S - The smell is just a big burst of fruit smells, yeast, and a bit of sour dryness.

T - The taste is a little bit sweet, and has a big dry bitterness. There are some notes of hay, yeast, and lemon. The finish is very bitter, dry, and bretty.

M - It has a light to medium body and very high carbonation. The carbonation is very prickly, and tingles the mouth.

D - It has decent drinkability. This beer was not at all what I expected it to be. Overall, I think this is a pretty good beer, and I think it is definitely worth trying.

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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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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 5,490 ratings