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

5,398 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: 5,398 |  Reviews: 2,347
Photo of Sam21
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle into tulip. Bottled on November 13th, 2008.

Appearance - Glowing hazy orange with lively carbonation and a billowing white head that sticks to everything. A decent foam cap sticks around the entire time. Absolutely beautiful.

Smell - Clove, funk, lemon peel, freshly cut orange, green apple, maybe some pear, and a nice earthiness that holds it all together.

Taste - Citrus notes seem start off more subdued, but increase in intensity as the beer goes down. Funk comes out to play. Still picking up some apple, lemon peel, and orange, but they are really hidden within that textbook Brettanomyces medicinal funk. Spicy clove, grassy hops, and a hint (very slight) of alcohol in the finish. Crisp and complex.

Mouth Feel - Very light and fluffy across the tongue with a dry finish. Carbonation tickles the tongue very lightly.

Drinkability - A wonderful experience. Easy to drink, yet bursting with flavors. I will definitely be turning to this beer again and again... and again.

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

How to review Orval?

It is the most aesthetically pleasing beer in the world bar none. It pours from its beautifully curvy bottle into the most attractive beer glass there is. It is the one beer most Belgian bartenders can truly pour as well, which means you get a wonderfully frothy creamy head with solid lacing no matter where you go. The deep golden-orange should be relatively clear when probably poured - yeast on the side.

On this occasion, I am review from Chez Bernard in Place Jourdan, where I had the gout d'Orval.

The citrusy yeastiness starts on the nose and continues through to the palate where it is complemented by a hoppy spice quality. Those herby Brettons doing their work.

It rarely disappoints although three is usually enough for a sitting. I am looking forward to those bottles I have put down.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Pours a murky brown, like unfiltered apple cider, with a billowing head.

Smell - Lemon, white grapes, musty apple skin, and a little bit of funk.

Taste - Tart, slightly musty, easily one of the driest beers I've ever come across. Musty apple, sour grapes, dry white wine, white pepper. There is more hop bitterness than I expected, definitely a plus. After a little while you notice a little bit of dark fruit sweetness buried in the finish that St. Bernardus beats you over the head with.

Mouthfeel - Light-bodied, highly carbonated - which I normally disagree with, but really compliments the flavor of the beer.

Drinkability - Every element of the flavor and mouthfeel compliment one another. Dry, musty, tart, prickly, spicy: it all adds up to a refreshing and satisfying beer. Truly an original.

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Photo of bsp77
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Tulip.

Appearance: Cloudy but bright orange with an enormous billowing off-white head that does not go away and clings to everything.

Smell: Musty fruit, banana and clove. Hard to describe but dry, musty and tart overall - actually this seems to be the horse blanket smell I have heard described before.

Taste: Very earthy malts with lots of clove and general Belgian funk. A little fruit is present as well. Turns ever-so-slightly bitter and peppery at the end of each sip.

Feel: Very high carbonation, light-medium body, very dry finish.

Drinkability: This and Duvel are by far the best Belgian Ales that fall on the paler side of the spectrum. Orval is a true original - refreshing and complex.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Something must be said about presentation with this beer. You gotta love custom glass bottles. The label is also unlike anything else in the beer world. Add the unique cap characteristic of Trappist beers and you have one sweet presentation.

Now the appearance of the actual beer.
A- Poured into a Chimay chalice. The beer is cloudy and tan. Its like a hue related to sienna. The head is big, billowing and ever lasting. It does fade but it still retains a size thats way bigger than many other beers.

S- Sour grapes are the strongest scent. There are also fruity characteristics found in many trappist tripels. Apple peals, pears, earthy and funky yeast and white pepper.

T- Very different. Sour, but not at all puckering, grapes, apple peals, pears, and white wine.

M- Fruity and dry at the same time. Carbonation is very prickly. The finish is very clean and easy going. The only trace left is a slightly sour aftertaste.

D- Low abv, clean and crisp finish and not too heavy of a body makes this a really drinkable Trappist beer.

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Photo of mmahut
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

One year old.

Appearance (3.5): Very active head, well carbonated.

Smell (3): Citrus aroma with light tone of dark fruits.

Taste (4): Associative with the smell, light citrus aroma with sweet malt.

Mouthfee (3): Medium body with higher carbonation I would expected from the smell/appearance.

Drinkability (3.5): Refreshing but heavy.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Date of bottling 5/09

A: Poured into chalice a hazy copper to light amber color with a tall fluffy white head that was quite impressive. It remained a good size all the way down with great lacing on the glass too.

S: Roasted malt, fresh grains, some banana bread, apricots and a sweaty funk. Hops were flowery and herbal.

T: Roasted malt, toffee, apricot and a tart funkiness that was not too strong but curious. Hops were bitter, herbal and floral. Some spice from yeast and very little heat from alcohol.

M: Medium body and bubbly carbonation yet a smooth texture.

D: I was happy with this beer but it did not totally impress me and I was looking for some more complexity but very drinkable and I would try this again and age some also.

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

Pours a cloudy golden amber, with a billowing head that is made up of the most refined looking bubbles.
Smells of horse sweat, tart apples, and lemon with a serious undertone of so many smells it will take me a few times to pull them out.
With a seriously bubbly mouth feel, it has a nice effect on the belly.
First taste to hit the tongue is the sour citrus which you taste almost immediately on the end of your tongue. Tartness that was smelled is picked up from maybe the hops.

So much more to the beer than what I have written but one of the best if not the best I have ever had.

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Photo of nelnutter
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured 11.2 oz bottle into Chimay glass. Bottled date of 5/8/09.

A: Pours a hazy copper/orange color with a ginormous and agressive foamy/soapy white head of foam that sticks around for quite a long time. Sticky lacing left everywhere. Gorgeous brew.

S: Fruity, cider, peppery, and some citrus. Very sweet overall.

T: Wow, this is an interesting one. Definitely peppery and cidery, and mostly sour and bitter hoppiness coming, and leaves long-lasting dry finish.

M: Full-bodied and lots of carbonation, and very very dry!

D: I thoroughly enjoyed this, and like the style overall, and it's one that is just so dry I can only put down one. Granted, I enjoy it thoroughly, but I can understand those that don't like this.

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

This is a good looking beer. Pours a dark golden amber color. Very nice head and nice bubbles. Lacing coats the whole glass.

Aroma is tart and funky. Lemons and barn yard funk. Smells awesome.

The aroma suggests more taste but it's mostly funk taste. Not alot going on. Mostly just funk in the flavor. Little tart. Could use a little more malt.

Mouthfeel is really dry. High carb

overall I love funky beers so this was good. Just wish it could be a little better.

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Photo of SmasNadroj
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip glass from a bottle labeled 09/07/2008.

Very intense head, like sea foam that just won't go away- I don't mind this, really, but it makes it a little challenging to pour the whole bottle.

Its a shadowy orange color, much lighter than I was expecting but once it opens up and the "sea foam" subsides, the smell is delicately spicy, like nuts roasted in butter and coriander.

Orval has a nice maltiness to it that gives it a refreshing, almost biscuity crispness. Hints of lemon, sweet yeast, and white grapes are hiding behind the malt. Very refreshing

In a white trash way, I wish they made this beer in "affordable" (I'm talkin $20-$25) 12 packs - even in cans- so us prestigious bastards could easily pick one up and take it to a party, bonfire, or camping because its so easy to drink. Mine was gone before I knew it- and yes, there is still sea foam down one side of my glass.

A great trappist, though not quite what I was expecting. Get you one!

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Photo of htomsirveaux
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330 cL bottle tried 21 Mar 2010. Received as an extra in trade from... ummm... crap, don't remember, sometime in 2009... Bottled on date of 06/07/2005, best before date of 06/07/2010.

Poured into a 512 tulip. Big foamy off white head. Well carbonated. Clear chestnut brown color. Aromas of candy sugar, some yeast, lots of sweet cherries. Tastes initially of dried fruits, apricots, golden raisins, cherries. Some champagne notes. Chewy, yeasty. Finish is yeasty with some ethanol. Aroma becomes more boozy as it warms.

Quite good at 57 months old.

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Photo of mikeyv35
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Sample Type: 11.2oz. Bottle
Sampled: 02/12/10
Glassware: Lucifer Snifter Glass
Vintage: 2008

This delicate brew poured a light brown and slightly cherry red color, w/ a one finger off white frothy head, w/ the typical Belgian small bubbly carbonation that laced the glass minimally. The aroma was of tart cherry floral bouquet, and some funkiness. Taste of light cherry acidicness, funk, and a Belgian yeast breadiness. The mouthfeel was thin, clean, and pillowy. This brew is definately one of the great session beers as it goes down way too easily w/ little to no alcohol bite.

Overall, awesome Belgian Pale Ale! One of the classics.

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3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into an oversized wine glass. Bottled on 9.23.08 with a best before date of 9.23.13.

A: Pours with a ferociously rocky, barely off white head. Plenty of stick-to-the-glass so far. Excellent retention. Very volatile appearance but also very rich and luscious looking. Appearance is hazy with a completely opaque burnt sienna, twenty year old penny color. The head is falling at a ridiculously inconsistent rate, creating lopsided mountains. 5.0 HANDS DOWN.

S & T: The aroma is strong, filled with fruity fermented berries, sweaty socks and spicy phenols. The hops are present on the nose, but are merely ambient at this point. The flavor gets fruitier and spicier and the hops are much more noticeable now, presenting lemony and grassy flavors. Lightly chalky.

M: Heavily carbonated, almost unbearablly so. Lively, prickly, fizzy, a full-bodied mouthfeel that finishes really, REALLY dry. Astringent with an acidic quality. Holy shit. Whether this beer is to your liking or not, there is no debate that the mouthfeel on this sucker is an experience unto itself.

D: Orval's drinkability is low based on it's mouthfeel alone. The aroma and taste are very good, but I can't see myself having more than one of these in a sitting.

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Photo of kirkpjr
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 4/22/09.
Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a huge 3 finger head with an endless stream of bubbles coming up from the laser etching on the bottom of the glass. The head lingers and gives way to nice lacing. Color is a murky orange with golden and copper hues.

S: Overwhelming sweet and dark fruits. Cherries, apples, and raspberries with hints of funk and spice. No real strong Belgian yeast scent I've become familiar with in this style. Very pleasing.

T: A strong spice hits immediately. Very peppery with a hint of lemon. Slightly sour and tart too. The most unique of the Trappist beers I've tried.

M: Tons of carbonation here. Can feel it tingle in every sip and swallow. Fairly dry finish.

D: Great beer for a summer afternoon. Don't know how many of these I could drink back to back.

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Photo of hawks10
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz (Bottled September 23rd, 2008) poured into my Orval chalice...

Pours a dark golden orange, slightly hazy with tons of super soft, fluffy white head...looks like a pancake that is ready to be flipped. Chunks of lacing are left down the glass...

Smells funky and tart, reminds me a lot of Fantome Saison. Absolutely perfect. Tons of barnyard funk, some leather and a nice, lemony acidic tart aroma. Very complex, I actually found that I was not drinking this beer, just smelling it for like 10 minutes, perfect...

Hard to describe what I am experiencing here, just an amazingly complex, easy drinking, funky, tart and slightly sour Belgian perfection of a beer...Slight zip of lemon, a bit peppery, some light earthy hops and tons of brett character...

Medium bodied and highly carbonated, could have been a little less carbonated for my tastes, but still very good. Smooth with a slight alcohol presence...

I love Orval. This bottle is just about a year and a half old and I really think the brett has come forward beautifully in both aroma and taste. Gonna crack another one at the two year mark and see what we got...

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Photo of Vixie
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours manly yellow with a hint of orange. Has a nice large white head.

The smell was mainly of malt and yeast, with a bit of spice tossed in.

The flavor was very much on the hoppy side. The hops are more floral, which to me was more pleasing than other highly hopped beers. Once the beer starts to warm a bit, the malt flavor starts kicking in a bit.

The feel was solid, with a decent amount of carbonation.

Definitely a nice beer, although a bit more hops flavor than I prefer. They floral taste of the hops actually made it nicer to drink than other beers that are high on the hops. No doubt this is a Belgian ale, has that Belgian character I really enjoy in a beer.

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Photo of Lazerlobe
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is an older bottle (11/2008) I picked up yesterday from the store. I'd like to think of it as cellared but I believe it has just been sitting on the shelves for a while.

A huge 3 fingers of pillowy white foam crowns this cloudy orange brew. The smells I'm getting are cider and raisin and who knows what else. It's interesting though. Wow, the flavor covers a huge range. Let's see what I can tease out. A big dry, sour wave carries apple hay and must. That sour/bitter taste sticks around. It is still well carbonated and refreshingly crisp though I believe this style is not for me. I'll leave more for the rest of you guys.

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Photo of Kendo
3.85/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on March 2, 2010. Consumed on April 11, 2010, so this one's about as fresh as you can get it in the USA. Big thanks to my wife's boss for hand-delivering it on his way home from the airport after flying in from Belgium, where he bought this at the brewery -- er, monastery. OK, here goes. . . .

A: Poured into a Chimay chalice. Body is cloudy, goldeny-brown, with an almost 2-finger ivory head. Good lace down the glass.

S: Hops are there at first, but sniffing deeply I get some tartness/sourness as well. Also a bit of that barnyardy funkiness and some basic spice. Interesting nose.

T: Not what I expected -- tinny, metallic taste is the first impression, flavor-wise. That and the lighter body than expected. Finishes with a citric bitterness that passes into sour territory as it lingers on the palate. I don't get much from the malt at all - at least I don't think I do, even as it warms.

M: Active but fine carbonation. Light-to-medium in weight.

D: Good. Not quaffable -- the sourness that lingers on the palate slows you down a bit -- but light and certainly flavorful.

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Photo of FreshHawk
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy light copper orange with a huge frothy, creamy white head. Excellent retention with a good thick lacing left.

S - Complex smell. Good mix of tangy and funky smell. You get a lot of tangy and zesty orange and lemon along with some pear. There is a slight alcohol and winey smell as well. A bit of pepper smell comes out. The Brett funk comes out a lot as well with a bit of horse blanket smell. A good, complex mix of citrus, tangy, sweet, spiced, funky smells.

T - Quite different from the smell. A good amount of medicinal and metallic taste are upfront. There is also a bit of lemony citrus zest along with that. There is a strong funky Brett taste in the background as well. Even fainter is a bit of herbal hops, a bit of pepper, and some white wine like flavors. Interesting and complex, but I didn't find it incredibly enjoyable. I did like it better the more I drank though.

M - Light to medium body with above average carbonation. Fairly creamy but a bit drying at the end.

D - Well the taste was interesting, and I kept wanting to drink more to discover more flavors and get a better handle on the beer. It went down easy and was somewhat refreshing, but the taste wasn't great, and I probably wouldn't drink a number of these in a night.

Notes: Bottled on 06/10/2009. Very interesting beer that is completely different from the other Trappist beers. Definitely had a funky Brett taste, I was just hoping for a bit more fruity taste to go with it. Not a bad beer, but i might get some getting used to. I did start liking it better the more I drank it.

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Photo of ne0m00re
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this one at the Burgundy Room in Columbus, Ohio as a bottle poured into a wine glass. The 33 cL bottle was dated 11/13/2008.
A: Golden honey; it poured with a huge white head that stuck.
S: Slightly sour, musty, horse-saddle, barnyard, mild apples (Jonathon), with lemony citrus and figs. Overall it is very rustic.
T: A biting horse-saddle, slightly sour, cinnamon with pungent dried fruit and figs and an overall underripe fruit backbone. In general, grassy funk.
M: Super foamy, but crisp.
D: Pretty good.
Wow! This one is peculiar.

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Photo of scott451
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

revised on Nov 14, 2010

Bottled 2010 best before 2015. Poured into a Duvel tulip after letting it warm up from fridge temperature for about an hour. The unique bottle shape does a good job in keeping sediment out of the pour. A slightly hazy reddish amber. The toweing rocky head head sticks around. Lots of bubbly lacing.

Strongly carbonated. Fruity smell. There is a lot to the taste. It is very smooth but "deep". One taste I can pick out is leather although there is much more there. The brett gives it a nice twang, not sour at all, but a bit of a bitter finish.

Medium light body. Complex and very drinkable. A top shelf brew.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle with both bottled on (29/04/09) and best before (29/04/14). Poured into my Chimay chalice.

Pours a hazy honey/orange with a crazy rush of bubbles coming up from the bottom. Looks almost as effervescent as champagne. A fat three finger white head that rises above the rim of the glass comes from a slow pour. Retention is crazy. One finger head still hanging around after a good 10 minutes.

Smells of funk and sour brett. An estery fruitiness. Smell reminds me a bit of green apples. Pretty sour ones.

The taste is light and fruity (apples and perhaps a hint of ripe berries) with a nice barnyard funk and a sourness that is much more mild than in the smell. A mellow spicy hop presence towards the end as well.

The mouthfeel is light bodied, incredibly creamy from the head that never quits. Very dry with a high level of assertive carbonation. A little bit of a hop bite at the end.

Very drinkable. A superb beer. The first time I had it... totally hated it. That was almost a year ago. Glad I tried it again. A seriously world class beer.

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Photo of portia99
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle (bottled 5/10/09 -best by 5/10/14)poured into an Orval goblet.

A - Pours a hazy light amber color with lots of yeast suspended throughout (I did not attempt to keep the yeast in the bottle). A finger of dense, whipped creamy, and long lasting head sits forever. No sign of this going away.

S - Ahh, the funky sweet smell of brett...you can smell that from a mile away. Plenty of funk, spices, cloves, horse blankets. Great smelling beer.

T - Funky brett is really up front and in the face - very dry, yeasty and bitter. Horseblanket is high and the bitterness seems more brett derived than hops. Malt character is very light - just a slight hint of bread.

M - Light to medium bodied with medium carbonation. Bitterness and funk fill the mouth entirely. Feel is very dry and crisp, but not quite a refreshing taste.

D - An excellent overall beer, but I think it is this beers weakest aspect. Flavors are intense and very good, but tends more towards a sipper for me. Always glad to revisit this one, though I don't do it often enough. Excellent beer - one bottle in a sitting is perfect for me though.

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Photo of pzrhsau
4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nice orangish brown haze from the yeast with a superior head.
Smell: Nice fruity scent with a slight tang and a good weight to it from the yeast.
Taste: Great fruity undertones of pear and other fruits balanced with the yeast. A latent spiciness that reminds me of gin in the latent flavors.
Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Very smooth refreshing beer, not too strong from the alcohol. How can you not love a beer brewed by monks?

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,398 ratings.
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