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

2,318 Reviews
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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Reviews: 2,318 | Ratings: 5,317
Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle - bottled 3/17/07

Pours a lightly hazed amber-brown with a mountainous head that fills the remainig space in the tulip. Thick lacing on the glass.

The complexity in the aroma of this beer is amazing. I detect a slight sweet malt scent upfront that is almost candy-like. I smell some very floral hop tones floating above bits of breadiness and a distinct spicy smell. It's very difficult to break them down into separate pieces, because it' so well woven together into a beautiful olfactory tapestry. There is nothing else like this.

The taste is very similar to the smell, except that there is more hop bitterness and less sweetness than the smell indicates. Nice malt tones upfront leading into that amazing floral/spicy/bready taste accompanied by the bitterness. It finishes surprisingly dry, with a very pleasant lingering floral taste and bitterness.

Body is rather light, carbonation in abundance.

A truely unique experience from start to finish, which is a rare find. The complexities in this beer are amazing, and it's ridiculously drinkable. This should be a mandatory addition to every BA's "wants" list.

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Photo of digita7693
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A orange/gold and cloudy with a wonderful head

S some citrus with malts, grass/barnyard and a tart-sour smell in the background

T some citrus going on with bread and a slight sourness, with some fruits in there (tart apples) delicious

D wonderful beer, extremely drinkable, the alcohol, with all the flavors and smells is almost undetectable

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my first Orval... So here goes--

I poured this into my Duvel tulip with the same method of pouring I always use... It filled up the entire glass with head. It literally rose all the way to the top and stopped just before cascading over the sides! It was as though I used the Jedi mind trick on it.
Anyway... the color is burnt orangey gold. The giant fluffy head reminds me of lemon meringue pie filling and leaves spotty chunks of lacing just from settling.

Smells of lemons and fresh herbal grassiness. Maybe a light spicy yeast note too. There seems to be a little fruitiness in here-- banana? plantain? even a slight scent of bubble gum. A slight funky earthiness blends in and fills the gap between each scent making it hard to fully distinguish them. That leads directly into the taste as well... There are certainly some herbal, grassy, and fruity notes, with hints of bananas. But just like in smell, there is a touch of funk that blends them all together. Very interesting. Very little hop presence, but it still works in terms of taste. Something here reminds me of apple juice...

Very dry finish. Actually between the finish and the mouthfeel, you could possibly convince some people that this was a new type of flavored champagne. The feel is very light and airy with lots and lots of fine bubbles fizzing around your mouth.

To rate this beer in terms of drinkability--- It's hard to believe this is 7% abv. It is deceptively smooth. I could certainly drink 3 or 4 of these before standing up and noticing my level of inebriation. And perhaps I'll pick up a few more and conduct such an experiment.

Overall impression-- I can see how many American versions attempt to recreate this particular beer. This is arguably the measuring bar by which the style is judged. As well it should be. Those monks know their stuff!

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Photo of Lolli1315
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Golden orange with a billowing egg shell white head. The head is pillowy and resilient as about a half finger sticks around. It is slightly hazy and leaves behind a sticky lacing.

S- Tart fruits with a reasonable amount of lemon. Some medicinal and phenolic smells with little underlying malt sweetness. Some earthy musty character as well.

T- The lemon and citrus flavors are not as pronounced in the taste although they can be tasted lingering in the background. Medicinal and other phenolic flavors are apparent throughout the beer. The earthy, musty, slightly barnyard characteristic starts in the middle of the beer and carries through the finish. Slightly tart, but certainly not mouth puckering and it is not off putting. Slight hop bitterness in the finish.

M- Medium, maybe medium light body. Carbonation is slightly prickly on the tongue at first, but it has become more smooth as the beer has settled. Finish is dry as well.

O- A great belgian pale ale and the earthy character makes this both different from others in the same style as well as providing it with a little more character. As a person who edges towards the funky/sour end, this is my type of beer, but likely not offensive to others who do not prefer funk all that much.

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Photo of Jef59
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a gorgeous hazy orange with a gigantic off-white head.

The smell is amazing! Vey similar smelling to a white wine. Grapes, oranges, and a little grapefruit. There is a little pine and nuttiness followed by sweet sugary smell. A little boozey but in a nice way.

Tastes of sweet malts with an extremely crisp and refreshing hop note. Very citrusy and grapey like the nose. It's kinda funky, not in a horse blanket kind of way but it has a slight twang to it. Extremely well balanced. Extremely refreshing.

Nicely carbonated. Not very thick and is easily quaffable (I wouldn't dare though)

A truly unique Belgian ale. Very distinct and delicious.

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Photo of JorisP
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very thick white head, collapsing but stable.Beer typical orangey colour. Nose is bitter as in vegetable, spicey, flowery. Taste starts immediately quite bitter, combination of hops, flowers, and vegetable. There IS a balance by malt, hinting at sweetness withour ever becoming so. Retronasal aromas of mandarine-zest, hop shoots and olives, without the oil.
Carbonation just perfect: the beer has a milder form of 'Champenoise'-pearl forming, as made with naturally mildly crabonated springwater. Mouthfeel neither chewy, neither watery. No new aftertaste, bitterness lingers on. Drinkablility is second bar none: this is the ultimate Belgian session beer: it gives richness, depth and easy drinking, just as you prefer at the moment given. Unparallelled.

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

Dark copper maybe broze, solid white head that holds. An amazing array on the nose, smell often and long... citrus, apples, soil. Very hoppy with citrus and spice on the tongue. Nothing unlively about the beers, feels very different at each stage of touching your tongue, flowing over, and going down. I was very impressed. Expensive as sin but I'll make it a annual thing.

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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 BeerGlassesCollector
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 Martin194
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Dark tan-orange, cloudy, big white head (pour gently, this one has a lot of head)

Smell: Apple, citrus, banana, plum, molasses, bread, very sweet overall

Taste: Lots of green apple and citrus, hoppy, bready aftertaste, spice throughout

Feel: Very bubbly, leaves a cool refreshing aftertaste immediately followed by dry

Overall: A fantastic beer all around!

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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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Orval Trappist Ale from Brasserie d'Orval S.A.
4.18 out of 5 based on 5,317 ratings.
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