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

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Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
5,467 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: 5,467 |  Reviews: 2,358
Photo of
4.41/5  rDev +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 +15.5%
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 +4.3%
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%
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 -3.6%
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 +11.4%
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%
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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Photo of blakereik
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very good Belgian Ale. Has the distinct charateristics you are looking for in a Belgian. Warning: Very thick head, so pour slowly. This is one of the beers that is always in my fridge, and one of the few I don't have to check myself due to the alcohol content.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Re-review. I first had this in Belgium in fall 09 and thought it was awful. I'd go back in time and smack myself if I could.

Chilled bottle into a glass.

A: Pours a lightly hazy amber color with copper highlights. The head is stunning; off-white, refreshed by generous effervescence up the glass, and retention that is nothing short of 10, probably 15 minutes. I pretty much had to let this sit and settle while I went off to do something else. I returned to find a mild cap on the film with thick lacing deposited by the receding head.

S: Pretty funky: it has that musty, hay / barnyard aroma that is characteristic of a bretty beer. Noble comes come through, giving this a perfumey, lemony aroma with hints of grass and spice.

T: That perfumey aroma translates to a distinct hoppy bitterness, accentuating the flavors of lemon to produce a lemon-rind combination. The brett adds a little funk to the end in the form of hay and leather. The finish is rounded out by flavors of grass and light spice. There's a metallic flavor to it that I don't enjoy, but that was the whole reason I revisited this beer: Russian River Sanctification (batch 4) has the same thing, and it reminded me off-hand of Orval. I wanted to try it again and see.

M: Light-medium bodied. Ample carbonation. It finishes dry.

D: An incredibly tasty beer. It's a shame this took me two tries to appreciate, but it's a good demonstration of how quickly a palate can evolve in 8 or 9 months. I have a bone to pick with the metallic flavor I get out of this thing, but otherwise I really enjoy it. Outstanding beer.

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Photo of WalkingStickMan
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Caught some nail polish at the end of the smell...weird.

Always love this, I like this beer to warm a little while drinking for sure, but but also think that it benefits from a colder temperature in the beginning. Love this monkfood fresh and aged, this one's sort of middle of the road because it's sort of in between the best ages.

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Photo of impending
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5


33cl into a tulip. Pours a hazy deep amber. The prodigious head is often cited and for good reason. I carefully poured to minimize the head yet it was a massive three fingers and the nucleation of the tulip caused a dense inner core held in place by a half inch very large bubble outer support - haven't seen this before. Ridiculous lacing as well !

Complicated nose, somewhat difficult to identify - yeast, hay, mild unknown fruit and a whiff of stale musty budweiser.

Taste surprises with the noticeable hops in the dry finish. No fruit sweetness, tiny bit sour. Both the yeast and hay are restrained. Not the easiest brew to describe. I think I would enjoy this more if I was eating a sharp cheese alongside.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle (bottled on 5/8/09 best before 5/8/2014) into unibroue tulip. Opened with a gunshot pop.

A - WHOA...like 4 fingers of head...HUGE and foamy. Not sure if this was due to the age or potential shaken-ness/pressure of the bottle (the pop from opening it was the loudest thing I ever heard). Subsequent pours showed just as much head...but this glass really brings out the head in any beer. SUPER frothy. Lacing clung to the glass and might take some work to get off the glass (it's THAT clingy). Color was a soft amber honey color. Nice lively carbonation.

S - Banana, clove, some spices, bubblegum, candy, sugar. Smells awesome!

T - Taste follows the nose. Bubblegum and clove. SPICEY and sweet.

M - Surprisingly bitter mouthfeel and aftertaste. Beyond the bitterness, very smooth.

D - This one is pretty good. I was expecting a bit more based on the rave reviews. Very drinkable and extremely tasty. Was pretty surprised by the bitterness, but really enjoyed this brew. Glad I tried it, not sure if I'll be looking for it on a regular basis though.

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Photo of NWer
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a brandy snifter from a 11.2 fl oz. bottle.
Bottled on date: 30/12/2009
Best before date: 30/12/2014

A - Deep bronze appearance, nice white head retained well and dissipated to a foamy layer. What lacing there was disappeared for the most part after a few minutes.

S - Like being in the countryside where there are a lot of farms - in a very nice way.

T - Tart, bitter apples at first, evolving to a smooth aftertaste when you churn the froth in your mouth and let it settle around the taste buds.

M - Effervescent, tangy, smooth, complex. Makes you want to sip it which is a good thing.

D - Like a fine wine - sorry for the wine comparison on a beer thread - to be enjoyed in moderation.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.82/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle into Chimay goblet. Bottled seven months ago.

A: Pours a dark amber with a billowing tan head that slowly reduced into a chunky film that left streaks of sticky lacing down the glass.
S: Smells of Belgian yeast and spices with notes of nutmeg, ginger, coriander and clove. Hints of overly ripe bananas as well. Very very good smelling.
T: Follows the nose with complex sweet, spicy and fruity flavors. Finish is full of hops that leave the aftertaste bitter, earthy, barnyardy, sour and a little funky. Very funky and sour actually.
M: Carbonation froths up when it first hits your mouth but finishes very dry and slightly thin. Body is light, and despite the spritzy carbonation, a tad watery.
D: Not the greatest aftertaste on this one, although I really like the nose. I'm glad I got to try it, but I probably won't seek this out again. The flavors are very complex and good, but there are other beers I'd rather drink.

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Photo of aggiearcher13
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from July 29, 2009.

A: Orange amber, a little hazy with a big frothy light tan head. Leaves excellent lacing.

S: Spicy, a little lemon, a little bit of funk but not as much as I was expecting. Boozy. Very nice aroma.

T: A bit more funky on the palate. Sour, bitter and earthy. More hops than I was expecting, maybe fuggles/goldings?

M: Spritzy. Medium body, high carbonation.

D: Not something i would want to drink more than one of at a time but it is quite unique and enjoyable.

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Photo of jporf911
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a snifter. The label says Bottled On: May 10th, 2009. Best Before: May 10th, 2014. That's a hell of a shelf life. It also has a hexagon with the words "Authentic Trappist Product" within it. Given its size, shape, and density, you could easily bludgeon someone with this bottle. I love a beer that can make you incoherent in more ways than one!

Appearance- 4 out of 5. This beer pours a hazy amber-orange color with a mountainous four-finger head that is frothy and dense. It leaves lots of lacing all around the glass and takes a long time to die down. The head is seriously incredible.

Smell- 3.5 out of 5. Compared to the appearance, the smell is very light and subtle. It's good, but I wish it were stronger. There are fruity hints that can be compared to juniper, apple, and lemon, slight tartness from the hops, and an strangely intriguing scent that I have heard others refer to as being reminiscent of a barnyard, but not in a bad way. Imagine a rustic barnyard in sepia-tone with a shirtless peasant relaxing on a rake after a hard day's work, surrounded by aromatic hay and strong, muscular horses.

Taste- 4.5 out of 5. The taste matches the smell quite well. It's light but pleasing, with initial notes of malt and green apple that give way to a slightly sour taste of citrus. It finishes with a tart, mildly bitter bite of hops. It's complex but not in the often-arrogant way of beers that barge into your mouth and leave the untrained tongue confused about the complexity and confounded about the conflicting flavors; instead, Orval is crafted in such a way that anyone can take their time to linger over its subtle tastes and learn to appreciate them.

Mouthfeel- 4 out of 5. Light, easy, and smooth is the best way to describe this. It's crisp and leaves an unusual feeling on the top of the mouth. As it goes down, it fades from being wet to a dry aftertaste. The carbonation is noticeable but not particularly strong.

Drinkability- 4.5 out of 5. If it weren't so damnably expensive on this side of the Atlantic ($5.79 for an 11.2oz bottle), it would make regular appearances in my fridge; as it is, it's a delicious treat. It can easily be consumed in great quantity. For those of you who can afford it, Orval would make a great Summer beer. For those of you looking to break into the wide world of Belgian ales, this would be a good starting point because its flavors are fairly easy to pick out without being overwhelmed by the complexity and richness of the brew.

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Photo of GPHarris
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a - poured a four-fingers thick dense and billowy white head into a tulip glass. the body was a bright and bubbly amber.
s - fruity with a light citrus aroma with hints of flowers.
t - bread, yeast, a slight dirty funkiness.
m - medium and slick.
d - great sipper and a classic BPA.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a Rochefort goblet.

A: Very nice. Good head with decent retention. A hazy-opaque nutty, medium-brown colour. Thin bubble trails.

S: There's a lot going on here. A tart hoppiness conceals the underlying sour/salty astringency that other reviewers seem to dub a "barnyard smell." I can see the comparison -- the smells suggests at sweaty horses or urine-soaked hay...this isn't nearly as unpleasant as it sounds.

T: Hard to describe. The flavours, largely light and difficult to pin down, swirl about, tending towards malts, sourness, and hops. This sweet/sour/bitter balance characterises the beer's main taste. The aftertaste is mostly bitter, but not very dry. The "barnyard" flavour does lurk in the backround, emerging every now and again to offer a strangely skunky or briny note. Overall, fascinating, but not obviously pleasant.

A: Feels great! Light and somewhat chewy, the initial carbonation and sourness arouse the taste buds, whilst the bitterness prolongs the sensations.

D: Under 7%, but it felt like significantly more. So complicated as to be a sipping brew, so unique as to be desirable only every once in a while.

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

The golden amber beer poured nicely into a small belgian stong beer glass. Nice white head that left lace as the glass was imbibed. There is nothing really like Orval. The fruit smells are nicely paired with the hop content. I let this one reach optimum temp. before drinking and it paid off. The flavors really compliment each other at the warmer end of the drinking temp. rec's. The mouthfeel on this is quite possibly the best I have ever imbibed. While I may personally prefer the more "standard" expectations of a Trappist bier; Orval is there to remind us that Trappist is a logo, not a style.

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Photo of appenzeller
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Wow, can't believe this is my first Orval. What was I thinking? This is superb! Pours a massive head, this beer has a beautiful reddish hue. Aroma is distinctly fruity, pear and apple are evident and this is also true in the taste. This is a beautifully balanced beer with sufficient bitterness to offset the great savory flavors--something that I appreciate greatly. It also really has its own footprint, I've tasted nothing else exactly like this. The mouthfeel? What can you say, I want to swirl this around for a while. This beer is just plain decadent.

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Photo of biggred1
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 12/30/09- Happy new year's eve!

Hazed, orange amber with tiny jets of bubbles risng to the surface. Big airy eggshell head that leaves sheets of lace on the glass. Nice brett and funky horsey yeast aroma with cherries and pear. Wow, where to start..citrus and cloves with white fruit and champagne. Forest floor qualities are solidly in the background. A very complex beer that clearly evolves over time as it seems different every time I enjoy one. I personally like it about where it is, around six months old. On the lighter side of medium bodied with seltzery carbonation. One of a kind for sure.

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Photo of WeedKing4
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pours a dark amber colour with an insane amount of foam and loads of bubbles floating up under the foam. Took 10 minutes to finish pouring this, using the duvel tulip glass. The taste is of bready, yeasty malts with dark fruits lingering in the finish. Its not a bad beer overall and it disappeared pretty quick.

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Photo of aesopsgato
3.47/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer looks really nice, but the amounts of head I got from my pour (not overly vigorous) was a LOT. Copper in color, and very hazy. Lots of lacing after the ridiculous amounts of head settle down.

The smell is very nice. Slightly funky, which I was not expecting, but the horse blanket aromas I'm getting from this are very nice. Fresh, not really that musty in nature, more just slight funk. Crisp aroma, malty and the Belgian yeast sneaks in through the funky flavors. Some lemony and honey flavors there too.

Man, I was expecting so much more from this beer from the aroma. I was excited about this! The taste falls flat, some slight funk, very dry, not very satisfying. This is disappointing. It doesn't really taste like anything!

Mouthfeel is equally disappointing. Feels like water. Blah... I don't really want another.

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Photo of Adamdc
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into tulip.

A: Cloudy, deep amber body topped off by dense, rocky white head. It took a while to pour the whole beer due to very actice carbonation.

S: Lots of lemon right of the bat followed by yeast, hay and bread.

T: There's some nice funk and sour that hits you. The lemon is still there with some green apple and banana and the finish is earthy and bitter. Lots going on here.

M: Very, very dry with just the right amount of crispness.

D: Very high! I wanr one of these on a hot summer day. It's very refreshing.

This is my fourth Orval. The first two times I had it, my palate wasn't quite 'there' yet. The third one tasted pretty good but tonight...this one was great!

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Photo of Gyle41386
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally, my first Orval. It's always been so readily available that I was never in a huge rush to try it. Not sure why, but it caught my eye during my last beer run, and I grabbed a bottle. Always fun to crack open a legend for the first time.

Bottled 5/10/09, poured into a tulip.

Loud hiss as soon as I start to pry off the cap, so I know this one's going to be bubbly. Absolute monstrous wall of white foam fills just as much of the glass as the beer does. The pour is a surprisingly orange-amber one. Head retention is outstanding, and the glass is completely plastered with sticky lacing.

I'm smelling a pretty good bit of gueuze in Orval...lots of tart lemon and green apple, along with some barnyard funk. The flavor is essentially the same, with a very, very dry finish. It's funny - this is one of the more complex beers I've had, yet I don't have a whole lot to say about it. It's got flavors of Belgian Pale, British Pale, and Gueuze in it, which I really enjoy. There's a mineral-like (I don't want to say metallic) taste in the finish.

Fairly light body with very active carbonation. I can certainly see Orval being an acquired taste, and probably wouldn't have liked it two years ago when I was first exploring new beers. Probably not something I'll be chasing after very frequently, but it's nice to know that it's always on the shelves.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 5,467 ratings