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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
93
outstanding
2,274 Reviews
Orval Trappist AleOrval Trappist Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
Belgium | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
2,274
Ratings:
5,199
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
18.9%
 
 
Wants:
334
Gots:
820
For Trade:
12
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,274 | Ratings: 5,199
Photo of brdc
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting. This one was bought in Minnesotta, and it has the exact same manufacturing date of the previous review, presumably bought in California. I did not know their production was this big.
Anyway, beautiful murky reddish-brown beer with a foamy white head.
Smell is more delicate than I expected, with hops and malts, sugar and molasses.
Heavy mouthfeel, and a surprising taste for a trappist beer: it has the usual heavy malts, warming alcohol, but also has a bitter, cleansing hoppy finish. There are a lot more hops here than Chimay, Rochefort, Westmalle or Achel.
Not my favorite trappist, but still an interesting brew.

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Photo of TheDM
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured an extremely invigorated head of creamy white bubbles and a cloudy light orange body with carbonation rising from the bottom of my mug. It has a mild malty aroma and a flavor that is slightly fizzy with notes of spice and hops. It is very dry in its finish and has no lingering aftertaste. All in all, it is a very nice brew.

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Photo of rhinos00
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Viggo for sending this to me in the Gentlemen's Club BIF. Bottled on 09/25/2007. Poured from a 330 mL bottle into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a clear, copper/amber color. Produced a massive three fingers width of white, foamy head. Clung to the sides of the glass throughout consumption. Tremendous lacing.

S- Very unique. Has a floral, light citrus aroma going on with tons of earthy funk beneath. Really hard to put a finger on it. The funk underneath is a combination of earth, horse blanket and leather. There is a mild sweetness to boot.

T- Upfront a mild malt sweetness hits the palate followed by earthy tones. The funk is not as forward as the aroma led to believe. In fact, it was quite weird. Almost gave the beer a taste of flat spritzer along with a bit of grassy hay.

M- Well carbonated with a light to medium body. Mouth is left rather dry.

D- I appreciated the uniqueness of this beer, but I couldn't get over how similar it was to old, flat seltzer water.

Overall, will have to try this one fresh as I did not care for this too much.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle dated 3/27/2014 (BB 2019), 1.5 years:
Pours a little dirty golden, translucent to hazy, with billowing pillow-like head that is slow to recede. The head rolled slowly, but continued to build a couple seconds after I stopped pouring. Lacing is overall fairly decent in volume, but spotty and soapy.

Nose is mildly tart and slightly yeasty. I actually think it smells a slight bit like a grapefruit soda, one that isn't all sugared up. Maybe I can also see it being lightly wine-like. Some herbal notes come through with warmth, and the yeast scent peaks at me here and there, but never comes through very strong. A warm beer opens some flower-like scents.

Feel actually comes into play with strong carbonation - biting into my tongue just a bit. I do this first because the beer is so carbonated it actually affects the taste, I think. It takes a good 15 minutes in the glass to subside.

Taste starts out almost a little lemon-herb in nature behind the prickly carbonation. Even when the carbonation subsides a bit, there is still a peppery spice bite from somewhere. Warmth also opens up a little bit of a more fleshy fruit note, but one that is muted by the earthy notes that pervade the beer.

I have had this beer before and recall not being a big fan. I've gained a little more appreciation for it after analyzing it, but it still just doesn't quite do it for me.

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Photo of quirkzoo
3.67/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 29/4/09

Pours a nice rich mahogany with a ton of off white head that sticks all over the glass. Nose is slightly tart up front, with some fresh green apple followed with a funky woodsiness (I imagine a mushroom growing on a slightly rotted out log). I get just a little bit of a flowery soft scent, like lavender. The taste was good but I marked it lower than the nose because I am getting a harsh/flat bitterness like aspirin left to dissolve in the mouth. The mouthfeel was also very, very thin, combined with the very active and prickly carbonation, this felt more like a soda which really detracted from the taste. As I let it warm up the mouthfeel is improving and I am able to taste more balance but it is still not quite there for me. This one might just have a bit too much age on it (~3 years) and the brett has thrown it out of balance, I would like to try a fresher bottle to compare

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Photo of DaveBar
3.67/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at the LCBO for $3.30 for a 330ml bottle. Served at 8deg C in a tulip. Bottled on date of 22/8/13 so 1.5yrs old before I pulled it from the cellar.

A- Opens well and pours a ton of head. Watch out as if not careful it will overflow any glass. Rather dark gold almost brown. The head stays forever.

S- Oodles of yeast and hops here. Efflorescent

T- Brett yeast hits you in the face on the first sip. A bit sour. Low on the hops. Not what I was expecting after all the hoopla on this beer. No heat at all

M- Super carbonated. Dry and tart.

O- Not very good beer overall. Overhyped to the max. Will try one last time with a fresh one to see how it goes but don't expect a big change. This beer starts off like a house on fire then wimpers off into the distance.

Food Pairing

This ok beer went well with..... grilled mahi mahi. Nice meaty fish with this beer was fairly good

Enjoy

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Photo of AmishT
3.66/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep hazy gold with a huge head that utterly dominates my wide body snifter. Leaves a wake of lacing behind as it recedes. Great retention, as the head settles into a foamy cap.

S - A good mix of yeast and dark fruit aromas make up the nose. The yeast does not overwhelm the fruit notes. Overall, the aromas could be a bit stronger, but it's pleasant, nonetheless

T&M - The flavor is yeasty with a tart, lemony-like kick. Pretty spicy. Initially, I found the flavor unpleasant, but it became more drinkable as I continued drinking. The mouth is smooth and medium bodies. Flavors endure decently.

D - Once I got past the flavor, I found this Belgian to be fairly drinkable. Maybe a tad heavy and a little on the heavy side, but nothing too overwhelming.

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Photo of kkipple
3.66/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pondering independence, I crack out one of these brews to fill my recently acquired Orval chalice. The goblet is a beaut, and it's been months since I've had one of these... maybe longer. Into the fish-adorned goblet it goes!

... and produces a head so staggering, so wonderful, that it takes me aback. Orval creates a thick, rich meringue-like froth that piles up up up! atop the beer. It foams up, then begins to settle, crackling with annoyance as it subsides. Falling from the edges first, it leaves gobs of sea-foam lace and a mound of thick, dense bubbles. If I were a bit smaller, I believe I could walk across the surface of said head... but enough. The Orval itself is hazy, and a burnt, watery orange. The everlasting head still sits commandingly as I raise the glass for a sniff.

Mmm, yeasty... pungent is the word here. This beer brims over with estery yeast character, sour and fruity, dry and rosy. It's simple, yet hard to define. There is a sweetness about the nose that is certainly not found in the mouth. Whatever this smells like, it's pretty memorable.

The flavor is something of a letdown after such high previous marks. This is a tart, very dry Belgian ale. There's a bitter hop note but it's lost amidst the swirl of yeast and sour flavor... hints of lemons, pale malt, light caramel and pear are all here. It comes together nicely but is simply too attenuated for easy drinking. Orval sports very fine, light carbonation and leaves my mouth feeling quite dry. Interesting and unique to be sure, but not really my thing... I do wonder what the original malt bill for this beer was.

Mouthfeel is thin, with light carbonation (see above) and finishes sour, tart and grainy. Clean in its own way, while a touch of malt sweetness teases the palate after you swallow.

To sum: Orval is decently drinkable, if you like it. This is quite a sophisticated and erudite beer and reminiscent of a dry white wine or champagne. Not a good intro to Belgian beers, but it certainly fills a niche. Try Orval at least once.

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Photo of SudNut
3.66/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was my first Belgian Pale Ale I have had a couple of the strong darks before and think I prefer those. This beer pours to a murky golden brown with a creamy head and some lacing.

The smell is citrus like…. lemon, with a hint of spice.

Taste is sweet then tart liked the smell with a tiny hop bite and a light undertone of alcohol. Fairly well balanced if you like tartness.

Mouth feel is light and creamy with plenty of carbonation.

I gave it a low drinkabilty mark because I don’t like tart beers. Other wise a fairly sound choice. This just doesn't seem to be my favorite Belgian style.

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Photo of TerryW
3.66/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Exceptional head and lace. Needs a big glass to handle the head as the beer is poured. Big, rough, chunky, substantial lace. Cloudy amber colour. Impressive to look at and earns full points on that count.

Interesting smell. Yeasty, earthy, some sharp alcohol notes mixed with banana. Not for anyone shy of how their beer smells. Wet horse/wet wool smell buried in there.

Hits the mouth somewhat sweetly, but finishes up dryly. Winelike in character. Interesting, but a somewhat watery mouthfeel.

This is one to linger over and not put away by the bucket full. Good to imbibe as part of a beer and cheese evening.

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Photo of pmcadamis
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is the brew that will earn me my first mug icon for initiate status! For such a special moment, I thought that I should try something special.

A - Honey-gold cloudy brew with a monsterously huge rocky four finger plus head and tons of sticky dry lace. This has one of the most beautiful heads, and definitely the nicest lace that Iv'e ever seen. Lots of tiny bubbles float to the top, and there are a few little sediments of yeast although decanted carefully.

S - Honeycomb, pancakes and waffles, gentle melon and grape notes, sweet bakery yeast, and a little whiff of alcohol. This aroma is gentle and very inviting. Could be a bit more forceful though....I love the smell, but it's on the lighter side (it does, however, open up quite a bit with warmth).

T - Very grapey and fruity at first with a nice hop kick in the middle and a gradually progressive sourness dominates the ending. This really is much fruitier, hoppier, and tart than I would have expected from the nose. I think that the honey sweetness is a bit overpowered by the hops.

M - Bites with sour acidity, and finishes very dry and hoppy.

D - Really, this is not that outstanding. It looks great and smells unique but weak, but the taste is just pretty bad. And at six bucks for a tiny little bottle....this stuff is really not worth it.

My bottle was almost a year old. I would like to try aging this stuff to see if it mellows out a little bit....IMO the hop bite and sour acidity (normally two things I crave!) might have overpowered the subtle nuances of this brew. Way, way overated.

I've never experienced such a disparity between how a beer smells and how it tastes. This one smells beautiful, sweet, and delicate but tastes brash and overbearingly bitter. I guess the lesson here is don't trust your nose...Yankee Candles smell good too, but I wouldn't eat one.

Check out Orval's website while you're at it. It's really cool.

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Photo of peabody
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a nice reddish tan clear brew with lots of carbonation yeilding 3 fingers of off-white suds that stay high in my tulip glass.
Smell is a very light banana and cherry orange. Mabey a little sugar in there too but no alcohol is present.
Taste is a bitter mix of banana and lemon candy sugar with just a hint of hops and alcohol and cherry.
Mouthfeel is pretty clean with lots of carbonation but the flavors that are left in the mouth are like a heavy perfume.
Drinkability isn't all that great here because of the perfume feel in the aftertaste.

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Photo of Jamison27
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into an oversized wine glass from a bottle dated 09/2008.
I was very excited to try my first Trappist ale after discovering one of my favorite refreshing beers, Hoegaarden. I will say it was not at all what I expected.

A- cloudy, amber / gold. Big head that lasts = I'm talking a caricature of a MONGOLOID.

S- fruit, cider, faint horse blanket

T- tangy, a bit of orange peel, funk became more apparent as this beer warmed. I didn't get any alcohol bite.

M- This is where it went downhill for me. Light, crisp and dry, but overly carbonated. My first impression was, "This is like champagne!"

D- I couldn't drink more than one of these. The carbonation made me feel bloated with half the glass left. I will age the other bottle I have to see if the carbonation subsides.

Looking forward to trying some other Trappist beers to see how they compare. For now I'm thinking some Lost Abbey with its low carbonation might be my next purchase.

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Photo of claspada
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aromas begin with a clean herbal smell mixed with some lemon and honey. Has earthy notes mixed in as well that remind you of a cup of tea.
The tastes begin musty and citrusy, both orange and lemon. The yeast characteristics are prevalent throughout which keeps this beer quite dry as you initially consume and well through the finish. Bitterness is clean but also quite prevalent throughout.
Overal this beer is extremely drinkable but just not my cup of tea. Would like some more malt and less yeast flavor. The moderately high carbonation level also is a detriment for enjoying more than one of these.

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Photo of Yesac
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 5/2007

A- Cloudy amber/orange with a medium sized bright white head.

S- Belgian yeast, some floral fruits such as orange peel.

T- Crisp. Lemon zest. Dry. Tart. I've heard people describe this as 'horse blanket' and I understand now. My review is fairly biased, this is not a style I prefer much.

M- Very highly carbonated. Thin bodied, almost nothing left on the palate.

D- Tart, dry and highly carbonated makes this one a task to drink.

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Photo of mnfinnkidd
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Served in Orval Chalice

Nose: Slightly Sweet with sour notes. Pear. Light Aroma

Apperance: Cloudly reddish orange with white head about 1/4" thick: Long Lasting head.

Mouthfeel: Heavy on the tongue with full carbonation in the back

Taste: Sourness is medium with apple characteristics. Sourness lingers on the tongue for a while after each sip. Maybe burnt tones.

Overall: I've been waiting to try this trappist beer for a while now ever since I bought the glass to match it. The sourness is a little too tart for my tastes at the moment. This is a very subtle beer for a trappist but it's also quite different.

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Photo of bigbeerdrinka
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

And now to review one of the most controversal brews on beer advocate..

Pours a bright golden orange color with a huge frothy head that leaves a nice lace. It is quite clear from looking at this beer that there is a ton carbonation from this brew, as the bubbles don't stop shooting up. Aromas are a mix of citrus lemony tones, and acetic almost cat piss like funk. There is also some interesting barnyard aromas. Flavors start off very spritzy to this brew with an in your face carbonation that just explodes on the pallate. There's a heavy dosage of lemony citrus flavors with hints of spice. Following there is a yeasty estery like flavor that brings about quite a dryness to this beer. There is a decent acidic punch throughout this beer which just a light dosage of maltiness and a slight sugary sweetness. Overall this brew was very spritzy and citrusy but of all the trappists probably one of my least favorite.

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Photo of LarryKemp
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A slightly cloudy golden with many bubbles rising to the firm, stark white head.

A complex aroma of citrus with a background of malt. A distinct pepperiness is also there. Almost an earthiness that one finds in a lambic.

The taste is not sweet. It almost starts as dry as it finishes. I was expecting more contrasts and am a little disappointed. Their are no off tastes.

There is a little pepperiness to the mouthfeel. It does have a medium light mouthfeel and there is some carbonation playing with tongue. The alcohol does not burn even though it is relitively high.

This is such a subtle Belgian, I would recommend it only to those just starting out trying the style. Most certainly, I would recommend this as the first beer of the night because, it would be hard to appreciate it after a couple other bigger beers.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
3.64/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was the feature beer for my 2005 tasting "Trapped in Kansas City". It proved to be the most interesting, but not the most enjoyable.

Appearance: Pours a golden orange color with really good head retention. It clings on the glass insistently.

Smell: The smell is very complicated. I got notes of hops, and some very intense herbs (corriander, rosemary, sage) as well as an over all sweetness.

Taste: The flavor is pretty clean in the onset then changes to a strange herbal bitterness. It was a flavor I was not prepared for. The aftertaste lasts for a long time - so if you like the flavor, you get to absorb it for a long time after the sip.

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Photo of Heavenisbeer
3.64/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 1/6/10.

A: Gorgeous look to this one. Dark amber body, with a two-finger cloud white head with great retention and enough lacing to make you wanna take a spoon to the sides of the glass to get your money's worth. Hazy, as the yeast is still hanging around.

S: The yeast is front and center. Smells like a combination between a sour and a saison, with barnyard funk and harsh tartness paving the way for some light fruits and oak-y blasts. This doesn't smell like other Trappist ales I've had--it's much more sour in the nose (I'm hoping the bottle isn't infected).

T: I absolutely love sours, but I didn't expect this to be this sour, and although it's not actually offputting, I'm hoping that there's nothing wrong with the beer. That said, this one is funky and tart from the get go. There are hints throughout of some light fruits (apple peel, pear, lemons) and some oak-y notes on the backend, but this is mostly sour.

M: Tart, bubbly, and extremely dry.

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Photo of Greasy
3.64/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Very pretty. Nice 3 finger head. Color was beautiful.

S - Tart, yeast, spices, slightly sweet.

T - The taste was disappointing. Very watery. Not as much flavor as I was expecting.

M - Thin. Very thin.

O - Not a bad beer, just not what I was expecting. It lacked the punch that I usually enjoy from Trappist beers.

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.64/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 29/02/12. Tulip glass.

A: Pours copper-tinted medium gold, with two fingers of wispy light beige head. Loads of lacing and excellent retention.

S: This just smells dry. Complex malt, minerally chalk, lemon and Brett

T: Again chalk (wtf?), slight tartness, citrus (orange and lemon), malt, and finishing with an off moderate bitterness.

M: Light carbonation, fluffy creamy texture, and medium body.

O: Decent enough but the chalkiness is off-putting. I'll take Rayon Vert over this any day.

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Photo of descartes
3.63/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 33 cl. bottle.

Appearance: Deep amber with a nice half inch head.
Smell: Very spicey and grainy smell.
Taste: First one gets a slight honey flavor followed by malts and then a overpoweringly bitter taste.
Mouthfeel: A bit over cardinated, moderate body.
Drinkability: Just too bitter, I cann't see myself downing two of these in a row.

Overall: As I stated above this beer was just too strong and bitter, which was surprising considering how sweet it smelled. Maybe giving it a couple of years in the cellar would have mellowed it out and made it more enjoyable.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.63/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a balloon glass.

Look: Hazy, murky faded amber orange. Fluffy light cream colored head that hardly recedes. Random blobs of foamy lacing.

Aroma: Faint banana, musty cardboard, and a trace of bubblegum.

Taste: Really strong carbonation overpowers everything. Gassy. Some bubblegum sweetness, very slight florals and banana.

Mouthfeel: Really carbonated, harsh.

Overall: I'm going to assume this isn't normal. The beer tasted wrong from the start, and too metallic and carbonated.

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Photo of OldYoda
3.63/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From an 11.2oz bottle with a bottled on date of 25/9/2007 and a drink by date of 25/9/2012. Pours a dark hazy orange with a small head and no apparent lacing.

Smell is citrus and a whiff of alcohol.

Taste is surprising. Fizzy and warm with the alcohol. A hint of banana and citrus. To me, very like a saisson.

Mouthfeel is great - to me the best part of the beer.

Drinkability is outstanding, with a 6.9% ABV a couple of these in an evening of conversation with friends would be just about perfect. An outstanding beer - worthy of it's reputation.

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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
93 out of 100 based on 2,274 ratings.
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