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

5,360 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

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Ratings: 5,360 |  Reviews: 2,335
Photo of Soilworker
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 12oz bottle into an Orval goblet. Bottled on 4/29/2009.

A: Pours a beautiful amber color with nice orange hues glistening off of the glass. There is a one finger thick off white head. Lots of nice lacing going on.

S: Tart, yet sweet, green apple dominates this one. THere are nice fruity esters and some phenolic notes coming through. There is a definite presence of some nice yeast notes and subtle undertones of barnyard-like aromas.

T: There is a nice yeasty, estery base which supports the green apple flavors, quite similar to the smell. I get some hint of the brett through the baryard like flavors I get. There is also more bitterness here than I would have expected, I definitely do not remember detecting any last time I tried it. I'm not sure I'm a huge fan of this bitterness but it does fit the style well. Finish is quite dry with some lingering fruity esters and bitterness.

M: Surprisingly more carbonated than I would have expected. Medium bodied overall.

D: This is a very good beer and I could definitely see having a few of these throughout the course of the night but its no session beer...especially considering the price tag on this one.

Notes: I enjoyed this one quite a bit but its not as good as I remember it being when I tried it a year ago. Stil a very good beer and I'll still try it again from time to time. The price tag makes it hard to go back to regularly for me though.

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Photo of Beejay
3.94/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Muddy, murky brown, cloudy as a river after a rainstorm. Massive white head on this.

S: Sweet and tart with a yeasty background. Fruits and berries, a bit floral with a nice tart finish. A slight vinegar or cider smell to the tartness.

T: That is a wake up call. Tart, with a bit of funk. Some nice light fruit flavors specifically strawberry. A bit of yeast there as well.

M: Thin to medium bodied, but with effervescent carbonation.

D: Good, but not really my bag. I get why it is popular, and appreciate the style, but I think I would stick to the other trappist styles. This seems like an odd combo of funk, and a regular pale ale, and I can't get too into it.

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Photo of EvilGnome6
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle into a Duvel glass.

A: Pours a copper dark blond with a very generous off-white head.

S: Tart green apple with a hint of mustiness.

T: Bitter and sweet with a hint of green apple peel. The flavors are rich and complex but impossible for me to describe. Definitely has a hint of horse blanket that makes it feel rustic.

M: Very, very dry and a bit thin but somehow refreshing at the same time.

D: A very easy drinking beer that somehow seems different every time I try it.

I've had this several times before and will definitely have it again.

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Photo of 4000qtrap
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Source/Serving: Bottle

Smell: Cider, slightly sour apples, raspberries. A touch of barnyard a nutmeg with a load of other phenolics. Understated and complex.

Taste: A little brown sugar and raisins up front with a heavy dose of horsefunk and some grassy bitterness. Deep bread and yeast notes. The middle has a nice crisp, tart edge to it that's very refreshing with intense spiciness, a hint of vanilla and underlying sour apple cider. There are even some caramel and biscuit notes thrown in there. Finish is creamy with a slight fruit skin and grassy bitterness to it that is integrated seamlessly with cider, spice, funk, yeast and apples.

Notes: Really complex, unusual flavors but not in your face. A classic.

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Photo of SFLpunk
4.19/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz brown glass proprietary brown bottle. Bottled 05/08/09. Poured into my Orval chalice.

Appearance: Hazy amber brown with a good amount of chunky sediment and thick creamy khaki head that won't recede. It looks like a cappuccino really: tan head with some dark streaks from the sediment passing through.

Nose: Brett! Woohoo. Apricot and white oak. Tarragon, ginger and the aroma of Campari (or SanBitter).

Palate: Crisp with some acidity and hop bitterness. Flavors of oak, licorice and herbs/botanicals. I've never noticed the similarities between Campari and Orval, but it's super obvious today. Herbs, bitter orange peel, blood orange and botanicals plus wood. As the beer warms, more floral characters come out, like clover honey.

Notes: Never seems to disappoint. A tasty beer. Really want to try the Petite Orval!

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Photo of DrewKid4
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a bottle with a chalice glass at Rattle N Hum on 33rd Street in Manhattan.

A: Pours a thick glowing orange with a fluffy white head with nice lacing on the glass.

S: Smells like a strong cider more than a strong ale. Very fruity and some hops but very unique.

T: Bitter sweetness of sour fruits - grapes, apples, and ... cranberries? A very bitter Trappist.

M: Crisp, dry feel like a cider but thick like many Belgians.

D: A good Belgian for all tastes. Uncommon at most bars, so when you find a place that has it, definitely try it out.

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Photo of Anthony1
3.03/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours a brownish orange color. There is some head retention, but almost no lacing to speak of. On the nose I get very little, maybe a hint of lemon... not really sure. There just isn't much there. On the palate the beer is very tart and very dry at the same time. I guess this beer is trying to be some type of Belgium pale ale, but it really doesn't work for me. The beer tastes fairly light for a Belgium, and I guess with the abv. you could probably drink a few of these, were price not an obstacle. The mouthfeel is OK, and the beer comes across as fairly refreshing. The finish is rather short and crisp, but there are no off flavors.

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Photo of bala747
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tried this beer at Brauhaus, Singapore a few times. It's one of my favourite trappists, though I prefer Rochefort or Westmalle myself, this is still an outstanding example of Trappist brewing.

A: A beautiful amber brown pour with a thick head that dissipates quickly leaving some lace.

S: Smells heady, some yeast, some bread and biscuits, and candy.

T: Almost no bitter taste at all, again it tastes of bread (like the kind they serve in fancy restaurants), some hint of candy and spearmint. Really complex and lots of fruity flavours that I couldn't quite tease out.

M: Medium bodied with good carbonation. This was the weakest part of the beer in my view. I was expecting a bit more rounded fullness of body.

D: Very drinkable, but a tad expensive. I would love to drink a few of these with a good book.

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Photo of BeerNinja007
3.81/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've heard a lot about this beer so I finally picked one up. 11.2oz bottle for $5.00 at Beverage King in West Lebanon NH. Bottled on 30/12/2009, Best before 30/12/2014. Served cold in a chilled pint glass.

Huge frothy tan head, 4" of foam on top of 1" of beer early into a moderately strong pour. Had to back off quickly or it would've easily gone over the rim. Decided to smell it as I wati for it to settle a bit. Pretty complex, a lot going on... semi-sweet, hops, spices, citrus, earthy. There's a bunch of cinnamon, yeast, dry lemon rind. The brew itself is a dark murky yellowish brown. The head is hugely chunky, parts have settled to create a 1" deep canyon across the middle of my glass. The foam is finally to a drinkable level, so here goes. It's completely dry throughout, nothing sweet at all, somewhat fizzy. Dry lemon rind, cinnamon, yeast, parsley. Moderately hoppy and very herbal. Some lemon zest and parsley in the dry finish.

Overall I think it's a good beer but I'd stop far short of calling it fantastic. The mouthfeel is a bit thin and there's not much malt body to the taste.

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Photo of cnally
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up with about three other brews I had never tried before. This one lasted till the end, since I was so stoked, I wanted to save what I guessed would be the best for the last. We will see.

A monsterous head, fluffy and barely off-white, is a defining characteristic, with a glowing orange color in the body. Hazy and majestic.

The aroma is underutilized here, a foggy floral bouquet and little additional hop or malt character to it. Pleasant yet forgettable.

The flavor...oh, the flavor. A wildly successful blast of bitterness and sweetness, with a multi-layered fruity taste of grapefruit, apple and red grape. Great balance in the amount of hop character, a good dose of bitter.

High carbonation levels in the mouthfeel. A boisterous brew.

Magnificent effort, a subdued aroma meets a crushing flavor, and grand all around. Easy to pop down a few of these...if you can afford it!

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Photo of jeranbrews
3.52/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Hmm did I get the same beer? Mine may have needed to sit a few months.

A - Fizzy murky marmalade color. Fluffy bone white head.  

S - Blueberry and a touch of black bean vinegar in the yeast. Lovely. Smells Dance along in the bubbles up into your nose giving hopes of syrupy candied delights. Only slightly malty.

T - More bitter than I initially imagined.
Slightly dry. Before adding all the yeast from the bottle it was sour after adding it all it was much more wholesome and rounded. Just a touch of vegimite. Spices were there and I'll give this beer points for uniqueness but not for flavor.

M - Loose like white wine or cooking sherry

D - Overall good appearance and enticing smell but flavor left something to be desired average but not worth premium Belgian prices. Wondering if mine was too young or too old.

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Photo of mmva321
4.9/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a chalice.

After Chimay, this is my second experience with a trappist brewery. Chimay Red was a definitive experience for me, let's see about this.

A complex, but clear appearance. There are little details I like about this, but the beautful amber body stands out brilliantly. Both the oranges and yellows stand out but blend to make a spectacular color. There is about 2.5-3 fingers of rocky white head that has an appropriate retention. A thick column of carbonation continually jets out from the center while little pillars lace the side.

The auroma fits my personal preferences very well. I love that the sweeter and smoother smells like banana and malts blend very well with slightly funky yeasts to create a velvety smell. But there is also a slight pop to the smell which comes from some understated hops and some lighter fruits such as pear and lemon.

A complex and challenging taste that isn't always easily enjoyable but is rewarding all the more. It seems to evolve in your mouth, starting out sweet and fruity and ending dry and sour and in between there is not a static moment as the taste...???? I can't really explain it. It's a hard beer to describe and each sip seems different as you discover something new. You need to try it.

My one complaint. The carbonation is too much for me. From the pour, the carbonation is very audible and it was no surprise that this would feel very bubbly. It makes the thin beer substantial, but it's a little too distracting and dominating in the mouth.

This beer is such a pleasure to take relaxed and slowly, but it's gone in the blink of an eye. The Orval Ale is perhaps my new favorite beer and one that I could drink every day for the rest of my life and be happy.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice. A light amber-orange brew, with a truly magnificient head that displays some of the finest retention I've ever seen. Loads of thick, patchy lacing grace the glass. Impressive.

Nose is floral (I get rose), with some fruity notes, peach pear and apricot. A touch of funky malt and yeast to the nose as well.

A surprisingly dry, sour Trappist - certainly unique among the Trappist lineup. Begins sweet and fruity, but the dry, cider-like quality dominites the finish. Notes of apple, pear and pepper. Dry and refreshing.

Hearty carbonation helps the floral and fruit notes to pop.

A great brew, certainly drier and more subtle than the other Trappists, but very drinkable. Glad to have finally tried it.

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Photo of kiddynamite920
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: This is taking a while to pour...huge carbonation going on. The head of this beer is literally floating on top of the glass. Huge, fluffy white head that looks sticky as hell. The beer itself is a dark orange, cloudy brown. Never seen lacing like this. The head is literally forming clumpy shapes on the side of the glass.

S: Getting the Brett right off the bat, haven't even put my nose up to it yet. Floral spiciness, bready yeast and some funk. Citrus notes. Very nice nose. Herb garden and some earth mixed in.

T: Great funkiness from the Brett, citrus of the nose dies a bit on the palate. There's still a lump of head stuck to the top edge of my glass. Outstanding. Good spice and banana notes, not as pronounced as most Belgians I have tried.

M: The high carbonation is fantastic for this style. Brings out the floral and citrus notes quite nicely. Good pepper bite on the aftertaste as well. Crisp and complex. Divine BPA.

D: This beer is finding its way into my stomach rather quickly, fantastic drinkability. Everything about the beer was spot on for its style. Light, yet complex. Crisp and refreshing, with a bit of Brett funk. Perfect balance.

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Photo of Bonis
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into my Unibroue tulip glass. Pours a cloudy amber color with a huge head that disippates somewhat quickly, but sticks around about a half finger for most of the drink. Leaves a fairly nice lacing as well. Way less sediment than I am used to in a trappist ale.

Nose - Spices such as coriander and other belgian ale spices dominate, belgian yeasts are definitely there. I also smell some metal-like earthy notes. This smells unlike any other Trappist ale I have tried.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Again, follows the nose in that this is far different from any Trappist ale I have tried. Tastes sour initially, with hints of cherries and some citrus. Belgian spices dominate. Carbonation is medium, but more apparent than others in this style.

Drinkability - Very very refreshing for a Belgian. If it didn't cost $5 for 11 oz, I could drink this stuff regularly. The ABV is pretty low for a trappist as well, which helps with downing it. So with price factored in, I don't find it drinkable, but if price doesn't matter for you, give this one a try for sure!

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

330mL bottle into a Leffe chalice. Bottled 26/01/2010.

A - Solid two finger head of frothy, pillowy lucious beauty. Huge bubbles cling to the glass but it fades quickly. Still looks great though. Very effervescent, darkish amber, organgey colour with strong carbonation. A lovely beer.

S - Good amount of hops in the aroma. Smells yeasty too with what I can only assume is what Americans always call 'funk'. Smells what I would describe and fresh and lively with some citrus. The aroma is really complex and intriguing.

T - Woah. Funk is definately evident. Hops aren't as present as they are in the aroma. My entire mouth is working hard to figure this beer out. I now understand the funkiness described. There is some definate sweetness to it too.

M - Taste lingers for a LONG time and carbonation is obvious as it moves around in the mouth.

D - This baby is great. Really complex flavour with lower abv for a trappist brew.

The famous Orval! I've had t his a few times and never really took the time to appreciate it. I would have liked more hops but this has just the right amount of balance. Delicious!

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Photo of pitasoup
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from 11.2 bottle. pours clear golden orangy. nice whie head, very carbonated at first. floral smells and a bit of banana, also that chewy smell of belgian yeasts. malty body with dry bitter finish. warms to slightly sour and wheaty taste. bottled in '04, 6.9% on label.

-notes from '07

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Photo of travis224
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer blew me away. A golden amber color with tight white head and little lacing. The smell is amazing: a bit medicinal, fruity lemon, granny smith apples and toasted bread, extremely complex. The taste is a bit drier with wet stones, tart apples and some hop bitterness. This is an exceptional beer.

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Photo of
4.41/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Chimay chalice. The beer pours up with a huge head that lasts a considerable time. Appearance is off the scale. Nice reddish color. A complex taste. Very different from other Trappist ales. A bit astringent but nice. This one grows on you and leaves you wanting another.

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Photo of deapokid
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy reddish-brown, packing on heavy foam and thick lacing. Liquid is too dark to even see the carbonation, but the slightest bit of light peaks in at the bottom of the glass. A mysterious and intriguing beer.

Musky! Scent is dank and mildewy, with hints of tart lemon zest, sugar, acidity and a hint of warming alcohol. Absolutely awesome and wholly inviting.

The flavor is amorphous, seamlessly shifting from lemon to dark berry to tangerine to grape. The sugary aspects are understated, as is the concluding dryness. Certain aspects reminded me of white wine (i.e. the sourness), but the bite of carbonation was all its own. This is a beer that gets better each time I try it.

Liquid is so smooth and balanced from front to back, masterfully coating the tongue while developing such a bevy of flavors.

I've been getting sick of overly sugared Belgians ales as of late and this beer is the perfect antidote. A great balance between flavors and so easy to drink. A flat-out masterpiece!

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Photo of beerpirates
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33cl Poured from bottle into a trappist orval glass

A- Huge head that took a bit of time to reduce , cloudy orange color with lots of lacing.

S- citrus hops, pepper, and some earthy funk, yeast

T- mild sweet malt, earthy under tones reminds me of wet hay, nice hop bitterness. nice taste from the yeast , bread

M- light body, dry finish, nice carbonation i, it does mellow toward the end.

D- Great refreshing beer, dry finish that leaves you wanting more.

imo one of the best blond trappist beers out there

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Photo of halo21
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance:I shared this bottle with a friend, pouring my share into a pint glass, opening up a golden orangish-red liquid, with a white head that held on for the whole serving.

Smell: Sweet and crisp; yeast, with grass and earthy spice.

Taste: Perfectly sweet, with huge yeast esters like no other;big fruit and a tart spiciness, all balanced out with hops. This is an extremely complex beers, as are all the Trappist brews are.

Mouthfeel:Carbonated and medium bodied. Reminds me of heavier ciders.

Drinkability/Palatability:Huge; this is one where you stare at the bottom of your glass, hoping that it is not empty. No rough notes, no imperfections.

Notes: This is my first time trying this brew. It is a perfect beer; they do exist and this is one. But then again, when you have had as much time through history to discover the secrets of beer as these monks have, heavenly perfection is something you strive for; and in this case, obtained.

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Photo of dolzan
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Golden/reddish colour with an enormous head that stays there forever. The body is very cloudy, you can't really see through.

The smell is spicy and fruity.

The taste is something different. As complex as it possibly gets, with myriad tastes mixing up. Flowers, hay, grain, lemon, you name it.

It really is that complex.

In saying that, I'm not really that impressed by all the combinations. It's good, I would buy it again, but not one of the world's greatest beers, as some reviews might lead you to think.

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

09' Vintage: Bottled on 29/07/2009. 11.2oz. bottle poured into a Chimay goblet.

A: Pours a cloudy copper color with a massive off white head that takes quite a while to die down and never really goes away. A good amount of lacing is left on the glass.

S: The faint aroma of yellow apples. A little bit of lemon. A good bit of brett funk coming through with this one being a year old. The hops are still there in the background, but you've really got to search for them.

T: The hops are have faded and are definitely more subtle than when fresh, but they're still detectable. The brett has come to the foreground as opposed to being much less noticeable in a fresh bottle. A bit of tart apple flavor. Just a touch sour. A slight bit of a phenolic medicinal prescence as the beer warms.

M: Good, moderate carbonation but just oh so smooth and very creamy. The thin cap of foam that never leaves certainly helps this. Medium bodied.

D: Off the charts. This is simply a great beer that goes down very easy while at the same time remaining intensely complex. I will be stocking up on a lot more of this one. Truly a world class beer, and my absolute favorite Trappist Ale by far.

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

330ml bottle 6,2 % abv

Appearance: Murky burned orange body topped by a massive, off white head that lasts an absolute age. When the head finally subsides it leaves good lace on the upper reaches of the glass.

Smell: WOW, now here is something truly special, certainly one of the most complex aromas I have come across. The nose is dominated by a funky barnyard aroma, consisting of horse blanket, musty leather, woodiness, wild sage etc. I grew up on a farm so I love this smell, though I can see why some people find it a tad offensive.

Taste: As with the nose, funky barnyard dominates. A slight woodiness and some bitter herbs are also present. Slightly tart (though I was expecting more). Hops come through fairly well in the ultra long, dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a high level of carbonation. Thankfully the carbonation is smooth and quite soft of the palate and thus doesn't ruin the mouthfeel for me (I usually do not enjoy highly carbonated beers).

Drinkability: Superb beer,I will most certaily have this again.

I love this beer, though I can see that there will be many who do not (my mother took one sip and was nearly sick...), but I think it's certainly a beer everyone should try at least once.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,360 ratings.
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