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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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Reviews: 2,274 | Ratings: 5,199
Photo of Cylinsier
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle.

This beer comes out a hazy amber that glows orange against the light. The head is thick and massive, and it simply refuses to go away. The bubbles are extremely fine.

Smells malty and tart, like citrus. The aroma is also a bit floral, like honey.

Taste is extravagant. Its delicately sour and sweet. The tartness is almost wine like but the understated sweetness is like sugary malts. This one has a resemblance to some of the taste features of the Flanders red ale style, but more subdued than the ones of that style I've had before.

The mouthfeel is fluffy and carbonated. Just as you could see the head as being very fine, you can feel the carbonation is very fine.

A really fantastic and mesmerizing beer. I could probably drink a case of these in a day and not realize I was doing it.

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Photo of BuzzLitebier
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured chilled a pint glass (hey, I'm all about class!)

A: poured a golden/orange honey color with a HUGE head and nice lacing after it subsided, clearly unfiltered, and had nice carbonation with a mix of big and largish bubbles
S: crisp nose; reminded me of a pilsner
T: It had a bitterness that was nice and didn't linger with a bit of apple vinegar.- very nice balance.
M: medium body with a nice carb.

Would I have it again? HELL YES! This was a treat.

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Photo of dudelove7485
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick, fluffy white head that lasts for some time. The color is a rich, cloudy amber. Very pleasant aroma of spice (cloves), orange, malts and yeast. The taste is very malty upfront, but gives way to a hoppy backbone with accents of fruit. Medium bodied with high carbonation. Surprisingly well-balanced. The uncommonly high ABV at 6.7% is masked well without any astringency. The dry, bitter finish ends on the roof of the mouth. This was the first time that I had tried this beer and I would highly recommend it. Extremely satisfying.

visit my blog at selfhatinghipster.com for more beer reviews, book reviews, music and more

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

A - Opens with a loud hiss. Crystal clear auburn with a 4-inch, rocky white head. Needless to say, carbonation is bountiful.

S - Beautiful barnyard funk with some light fruitiness. Musty and earthy.

T - Funk and sweet pils, along with a rough graininess. Hop bitterness, along with a delicate herbal hop flavor, balances the sweetness quite well but is not overpowering. Earthiness, leather, and musty character. Just a hint of the slightly-tropical fruitiness that I get from Brett-finished beers, finishing with more earthiness.

M - Light and crisp on the palate.

Overall - The legend lives on. Absolutely fantastic. Whenever I have a bottle, I wonder why I don't do so more often. Cheers,

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Photo of shigg85
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a bottle of this from Tanakaya in Mejiro, Tokyo. Poured it into a Trappistes Rochefort goblet. Amazing thick head that settles and remains for the life of the brew in a fried egg pattern with a thick yolk in the middle of the glass that thins out from there. The smell is the first thing that embraces me as I pour it. Amazingly strong and pleasant! The taste is equally wonderful: a strong barley base with fruity notes of apple and spice. The mouthfeel was a little thin, but still pleasant in how it foamed back up in the mouth a bit. Overall, another great Belgian trappist brew to add to the list.

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

An exceptional, unique beer. The beer pours a beautiful shade of burnt orange-amber, medium, with a slight haze. The head is white and rocky and dissipates at a medium pace. The aroma is exquisite. The sour barnyard funk is just precisely right and blends wonderfully with the underlying Belgian ale notes. One of my favorite aspects of Orval is the perfect dryness. This nature even comes through in the aroma. There are fruit notes, apricots, grapes, lemons, figs, and earthy complexity. The flavor is just wonderful. I'm a bit of a sucker for a dry, delicious beer, and Orval pulls this off this combination better than nearly any other. The flavor is somewhere between a gueuze and a Belgian ale. Orval makes me imagine how good Belgian-style ales must have tasted before modernity imposed sanitary conditions and end of the sour beer as the norm. Orval is a world classic and everyone should try it. I will be buying some bottles for the cellar soon and look forward to witnessing this beer's maturation.

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

Pours an amber colour with a beautigul white thick head. Orval is one of greatest beers around. I must admit that the smell makes you not to want to drink this beer... NOT from the bad point of view but the good one. The aroma is PERFECT in every way so you could enjoy it by just smelling it. After enjoying the aroma, taste comes along and it's as good as the smell. One word could only describe this beer... ADDICTIVE

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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 NeroFiddled
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Of all the Trappist beers, I feel that the Orval is the most distinctive and unique - and probably the most misunderstood (or disliked) of the group. It can be a challenging beer at first, but it has great character if given a chance. It pours a lightly hazy pale orange-amber with a dense rocky head that lasts; eventually dropping to a thin creamy covering and leaving a beautiful Belgian-lace throughout the goblet. The tiny bubbles rising quickly through the beer make for a delightful little floor show! The high level of carbonation that produces the strong head, also helps it to give off it's very perfumy aroma. Clearly, there are some earthy British hops involved, Goldings and possibly Fuggles, amongst other noble varieties. In fact, I think this is the only Trappist beer that is dry-hopped (w/ Goldings)! It's fermented with 2 strains of yeast giving it enticingly complex aromas of leather, mineral, and wood. Again, the carbonation gives the beer a spritzy mouthfeel, making the body seem a little bigger than it is. The flavor follows the aroma with lots of dried fruit, and a sometimes "metallic" and intense dryness, leading into a somewhat acidic finish that leaves you with a memory of the beer that is more refreshing than mouth-coating.

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Photo of jsh420
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

bottled on 1/30/2007
drink by 1/30/2012

pours clear copper orange with a big 3 finger head that left some lacing

smell - oh boy that brett funk!! with sour sour friut pear apples - reminds me of the candy spree's???

taste is a great balance of sweet/sour/funk fruit with a good amount of bitterness - this beer is to hard for me to put into words

mouthfeel is light and highly carbonated but does not have the bite - it remains mighty smooth

drinkability is very good but you want to take your time with this and that can be hard to do

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Photo of aletales
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Orval pours a cloudy golden yellow with a beautiful white foamy head that lingers and clings nicely to the glass. It smells of citrus and malt. The flavor of this beer is complex and refreshing at the same time. The carbonation never overpowers the citrus and malt flavors, which leave room for a nice hoppy bitter finish very late.

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

Can you believe I call myself a BA and I have never tried this? For shame! Thanks to the kind soul who took notice and forwarded it on to me. Served out of my cellar and poured into a chalice, this one was consumed on 10/08/2009.
 
The pour was just what I would have expected. Bright golden amber in color with a nig head of white on top that only slowly faded as the session wore on, dropping tons of lace up and down the sides of the glass. Richness to it that looked just fantastic as it warms up. Aroma of light fruit touches, hints of a light grassy touches, maybe pine. Apples and grape skin start to come to the front as it warms up and it gets a very complex touch to it. Smooth, even flavor here, really quite wonderful. Light and airy on the palate, the carbonation is spot on. Light touches of apples and bananas, hints of light peach and a delicate touch of grape are all coming out at me. Nice bready and grainy touch to it now as well, really again very well done. I was quite impressed with just how flavorful this was. Nice dry finish capped it off quite well and left a near spot on aftertaste.
 
Overall cannot believe I let this one go so long. Cannot believe it as it is such a top not offering. One of the elite for sure I would have this any day.

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Photo of RRoeb1123
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tried this beer with one of my friends, who is also my partner in crime in tasting beers.

Appearance: Absolutely beautiful, cloudy amber-yellow, with a very nice head that is almost fluffy, that stays for a LONG time. Leaves wonderful lacing on the glass as you enjoy it too. There is also some nice visible carbonation.

Smell: Heavenly to say the least. There are distinctive aromas that I picked up, which was a very earthy smell, which I really liked. There was also a gentle scent of lemon, spice, and clove, along with apples, and almost a peachy scent. Very very inviting to the nose, and makes you just want to bury your nose in the beer.

Taste: Absolutely great, the scents merely hint what underlies this awesome beer, the flavors come at you in a way that you know they are there, but they don't shout at you. Lemon peel, cloves, apples, and even an earthiness taste, that this yeast imparts is absolutely astonishing. The finish is nice and dry, which makes you long for another sip. As the beer warms, it imparts more of a spiciness, which is very pleasant.

The mouthfeel of this beer is great, because of the carbonation. There is a bit of carbonation, which is perfect because it allows the beer to really hang on your palate, but not allowing it to become too heavy on you.

Drinkability: I find this to be a very enjoyable beer, and I would absolutely drink this again. The complexity within the beer on other tastings may be different, and I'm curious to find what else may be hidden within it.

Verdict: An absolutely heavenly beer (literally!)

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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 Parrotshake
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I try to have a few of these lying around at all times, because this is what beer is all about. At this point, the couple I had left over for the explicit purposes of blowing people-who-aren't-really-into-beer's minds are fair game, because I have to move in a few days and can always buy more, right?

If you've never had Orval, you have no idea what to expect. Last Christmas Eve a friend and I went to the Platform Bar here in Brisbane while waiting for his girlfriend to come pick us up for dinner. I'd first tried it a year or so before and disliked it (but was somewhat intrigued), but I thought it was time to give it another chance.

I bought 2 on my first round and seconds after his first sip, my friend turned to me and asked, and I quote: "What's wrong with you, you weirdo?". But at the end of the round, he got 2 more. And as his girlfriend got later and later, we became more and more enlightened (beacuse you can't get drunk off Trappist ales, anyway >_>).

If you've an open mind, this beer can make a convert of you. And your friends, and their friends.

Presentation-wise, the teardrop bottle is a timeless classic. But it looks good out of the bottle, too. Rich orange, massive unyielding off-white head, a little sediment. A picture in a glass.

Smell is the least appealing thing about this beer - if there is such a thing - only because it's not indicative of what's to come. Still respectable - big-time yeast, cut grass, citrus peel, sourdough bread, cold-sore cream (!), turned soil. Just a lot of stuff going on.

Tastes like your spice rack smells, along with champange, bubblegum, underripe red apples, (dried?) flowers, green wood and lemon pith, all under a blanket of medicine/iodine. There's a sweetness throughout, but it defers to everything else.

Quite carbonated, but no more than it needs to be. Like biting into a slightly chalky green apple - dryish.

This is a big leap from the kind of beer you can buy in a plastic cup at a football game, and I admit, I'd had a dozen of these before I could honestly say I unequivocally love it. But do persevere. God has a special place in his heart for the monks at Abbaye Orval. This is proof.

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

this beer pours a beautiful deep orange to copper, huge foaming head with brilliant lacing as you continue to drink. the smell is orange peels, cinnamon, vanilla, figs, pears, etc... quite a similar taste, it really is amazing like all trappist beers. pears and oranges are evident in the taste as well a hint of fine belgian yeast and spices. those monks really do know how to make a delicious brew!!

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Photo of Matt1516
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Decanted into an Orval signature tulip and paired with Quebec raw milk cheese.

Spectacular white head on an cloudy orangy-amber ale. Citrus and meadow on the nose.

Slightly carbonated mouthfeel. Peppery almost spicy taste, definitely some citrus, a bit of funk and some grassiness. VERY dry finish.

Quite delightful and very interesting.

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

Orval Trappist Ale (bottled on 20.01.2004, best before 20.01.2009, 6.9% ABV):

Less then two years old and ready to rock. Funky farmy nose right from the get-go… no doubt about some wildness in the yeast strain. Purest clear brass-orange colored with a busy one inch head looks just beautimus in my Westmalle Chalice. Snap, Crackle, and Pop got nothin’ on this brew…maybe sound should be a reviewable category as well, since I can hear the fizz like no other just as I tilt the glass towards my lips. This is about as dry a beer as I’ve ever tasted…clean and appetizingly so. Tart, hoppy, and drinkable as hell. This beer as a singular uniqueness that separates it from the rest of beerdom…I figure either you like it or you don’t. I freakin’ like it, and maybe the ultimate aperitif.

Now the last quarter-inch…the yeasties; as the Orval website says “one should taste the sediment of the beer separately.” OK, there are some thing monks know best…and beer is damn sure one of ‘em. On to the sediment. Mmmm, so as not to review about a tablespoon of beer, I’ll just say that the mouthfeel is a bit more velvety.

Cheers…

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Photo of rye726
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Not sure why I never tried this, but here it goes. Pours a hazy cedar color with a nice beige head. Nose has citrus fruits, floral hops, musty oak and sour yeasts. The tart and peppery yeast strain come out in the flavor as well in addition to the sugary malts and fruity hops. Clean crisp body with delicate carbonation. A fantastic brew, glad I gave this a try.

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

Poured from the famous bottle into a duvel glass.

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of travMI13
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What better way to break in an Orval goblet than with the beer itself? Also, this may be the freshest I have ever had this beer, and that was by design. 2011 vintage. Bottled on 10/2/2011. 12 oz. bottle poured into an Orval goblet.

A: Deep, golden orange with a finger of fluffy, white head. Excellent head retention with tons of lacing.

S: A mild fruity aroma with hints of hops and yeast. The smell is pretty mellow, but it is very inviting.

T: The subtle hint of sweet fruits like some sort of wild berries hits first, transitioning to caramel malts and caramelized sugar. I get slight yeasty funk next, followed up by a nice bitterness from the hops, finishing out with the sweetness that was there from the start. Whoa. It really has been a while since I've had this, and I must have missed it. This is incredibly complex.

M: Great carbonation, mild acidity, and near perfect balance. The flavor lingering on the mouth constantly changes and lures me back in for more. Wow.

O: Doing a formal review only confirms why this is a classic. It also reaffirms why one could argue that this is the class of the Trappist ales, and why it remains one of the best beers in the world. I can't believe I went a year or two without having it. This should be in both my refrigerator and cellar at all times.

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Photo of legalpete19340
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Poured a burnt orange with a massive head. More head than beer infact. The head fell back to two fingers and stayed one full finger for nearly the entire session. Incredible lacing.

S: Sweetness jumps out initially: figs, oranges. Nice spice and herbal profile. Like a wild field of flowers on a hot day. White bread.

T: Comes on with fruity sweetness like mild peach and green pear, then quickly passes into a long note of bread and butter. Great grassy hop profile in here. Some saltiness on the end. Very crisp and dry (read not bitter but tiddied up) finish.

M: Big and foamy bordering on chewy.

O: Wow, impressive beer. The alcohol snuck up on me because it was so easy to drink. Initially it came on sweet but that quickly ended and it was a great belgian pale ale: grassy and bready. Cant think of anything to change!

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

A- This bottle is good until 6-2016. Been sitting here for 10 minutes waiting for the two inch meringue like mocha colored head to dissipate and it shows no sign of doing so. Clear dark gold with amber tints and a big cloud of bubbles. The foam is very sticky and really coats the glass. (tulip)

S- Floral and fruit with mild hops and light malt and the unique scent of the Belgian yeast strain.

T- The taste is drier than the nose would suggest. Starts faintly sweet with pear like notes whiich quickly shifts to a slightly bitter middle and then some yeast before a balanced but dry finish.

M- Clean, medium light body with some warm alcohol at the back.

O- Perhaps the best Belgian pale on the market.

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

bottled on 7/5/07. i'm interested to see how this would taste in a few months, but i've had this one a few times and i always think it is too good. my favorite belgian pale ale to date. unique. golden orange with a white head that never goes away and leaves lots of good lace. smells of esters, malt, spice, lemony citrus, brett and hops. also has that artisanal barnyard thing that i love. like it came from mother earth's beerspring. tastes well balanced with all the same characteristics as the nose, but with a little hoppy/bitter finish. Really great, modest yet true, hop character. to me, this is near perfection. nice body, great mouthfeel. carbonation carries it through flawlessly.

edit - 8/19/2010... found a stash of these at my local harris teeter that are almost three years old. good luck finds them in perfect condition. i know the brewery thinks that they taste their best at six months, but these babies are awesome. real bretty funk and barn abound with a perfect balance of sweet, sour and bitter. really amazing. just had to add this: if i had to be stranded on a desert island with one beer, this would be it.

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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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